December 3, 2019

Review: Ruby Jane by Susan May Warren

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I loved this one! Which will come as no surprise because I only gushed about how much I loved RJ and York in my Ford review way back when. I was so excited that I only waited long enough to download the book before diving in and not coming up for air until I closed the final page. :) And it was so worth it! I think you'll think so too.

For one, there's the obvious. It's about RJ and York and goodness do those two have chemistry. Even when York can't remember anything about himself or anyone else! These two just fit so perfectly together and everyone around them can see it. Then there's the nonstop action. Barely do any of the characters get a small breather before they're full speed ahead into the next mysterious and life-threatening adventure! I don't think my heart rate ever had a moment to come down until I finally reached the end. What a wild ride! I loved how each of the other family members show up and we get time with the other Marshalls that we've grown to know and love. Although I do have to admit that there was one moment I wanted to hug RJ extra hard and slap every single one of her brothers upside the head. But only for a moment. They wised up soon enough.

There really is so much going on in this book. From the constant tension of just who is actually out to hurt our good guys to each of the family members getting their small bits of time intertwined among the larger story of RJ and York figuring out where life is going to take them and what to do about each other. I truly don't know how Ms. Warren keeps every thread so intricately woven so that nothing feels chaotic or too much. It all fits together so seamlessly. This is a wonderful conclusion to the series and I am definitely looking forward to rereads of this one!

**I received a complimentary copy via JustRead Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

November 22, 2019

Blog Tour :: Review :: A Match For Emma by Pepper Basham

A Match for Emma JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

My Thoughts

Oh friends, this was super cute! I’ve been a fan of Ms. Basham’s for a few years now, especially since she seems to love Jane Austen as much as I do. ;) So when I heard this one was going to be based off of Austen’s Emma, I knew I was in for a treat. And oh what a sweet treat it is! I love a good friends-to-lovers trope and it is presented so very wonderfully here. Plus there’s the southern charm of the Mitchell clan and the town they call home which just burrows down deep in my southern-born-and-raised heart.

First, can I just mention once again how much I love the friendship between Emma and Jon? Like I said before, watching a friendship turn to something more is one of my favorites tropes in literature and Jon and Emma’s friendship is just so delightful and real. I think that’s what I appreciated most about it. There was real chemistry between them, they truly loved and cared for each other deeply and they had done for years, it shone through their every interaction. This is no attempt at making characters good friends, this is a true friendship that feels natural and honest. The spark that dances between them is adorable, but the foundation of years of friendship makes the romance that much more compelling. At least for me! And I also loved the way every single person around them could see how they truly felt about each other long before they could. A particular conversation between Emma and her mama just made me grin all over! :)

Then, of course, there’s all the shenanigans Emma instigates (and the ensuing dramatics that come with), and best of all, the family that is the heart at the center of this series of books. I do love these Mitchell’s, every single one. The way they know one another so well and no matter how many times one or another may say or do something they regret, forgiveness and love flows through every time. Sometimes, do you ever wish a fictional family were real? I’d love to spend time with the Mitchell’s!

Overall, this was simply a wonderful tribute to Austen’s classic with a twangy southern twist to make things fun. I flew through the pages with a huge smile on my face. I think you will too, so I suggest finding a copy for yourself asap, settle down in your favorite chair, and whisk away for a few delightful hours!

** I received a complimentary copy via JustRead Tours. All opinions are my own.


A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham
Title: A Match for Emma
Author: Pepper Basham
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2019

Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.

When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.

With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | AmazonBook Depository


Pepper Basham 
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and family history, as well as her love for humor and family.

She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her upcoming release, A Match for Emma, is the third book in her popular Mitchell’s Crossroads series.

Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media. You may also learn more about her on her website!

CONNECT WITH PEPPER: Website | FacebookTwitterInstagram


(1) winner will receive a Paris cube decorative tote, paperback copy of Jane Austen's Emma, paperback copy of A Match for Emma (or another one of the Mitchell's Crossroads books, if preferred), a 'love' ornament,  a mug that reads "You're my cup of tea", and Misty Mountain handcrafted soap (made locally) - the scent is Mountain Berries!

A Match for Emma JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 19, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 26, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

November 16, 2019

Review: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology! I haven't read much by Ms. Griep before this and I've never read anything by Charles Dickens, but the synopsis of these short stories intrigued me enough to convince me to try them. And I'm so glad I did! They left me with a desire to try a Dickens novel sometime... (We shall hope! My TBR is quite tall.)

Diving into my thoughts, I have to say that I wasn't all that sure what to expect when I pulled this up on my kindle. Even though I haven't read Dickens, I have watched a few adaptations of his novels, and was curious to see just how Ms. Griep would mesh his tendency towards dark and harsh environments with a sweet love story. I shouldn't have worried because it worked wonderfully. The mysterious and sometimes sort of spooky-ish settings certainly grabbed my attention. Yet it was the unforgettable characters and the way they each fought bravely for their happy ever after that kept me turning pages. Clara and Ben, Mina and William, Bella and Edmund...none of them have it easy, but that doesn't deter them from seeking out the small glimpses of joy and warmth just on the horizon. Even as they struggled, they knew there would be a prize worthy of the battle at the end.

Suffice it to say, I had a lot of fun with these stories. Rather than a hallmark-worthy fairytale, they have some darkness and a little raw emotion at times. There is a depth here that made me decide I want to try more of Ms. Griep's writing. She had a way of making the atmosphere around the characters just as mesmerizing as they themselves. To put it simply, it worked. And I am definitely intrigued for more! :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"My mother--God rest her-- always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o' whittlin' down our current troubles to a size we can crumple up into a ball and toss aside."


Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

Hello, my lovelies! Long time, no talk, right? My October went a lot differently than I imagined and time for blogging just didn't happen. But here I am! In the frigid cold of VA right now. Brrrr. I was not prepared for winter to arrive quite so soon, so I feel like an ice cube when I go outside. This lady has been used to HOT weather for over a year! So this 30 something degree weather means I am wrapped in all kinds of layers while all around me people are just barely wearing sweatshirts and sweaters. *sigh* My body had a lot of adjusting yet to do! :)

Anyhoo, I finally made it to the library today and though I have a review (or ten! *sigh*) to catch up on, I wanted to write something a little more general and fun. So! Here we are, life currently for me...

Listening to: No current audiobooks, but I have been keeping up with the latest season of the Speaking With Joy podcast. It's been good for my soul.

Reading: Currently I only have two books going and they're both nonfiction. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. (Both are excellent, in case you're wondering. Very challenging and inspiring.) I have read some fun stories recently and have a few on my to-read-next list, but nothing current...

Enjoying: My hot tea in the mornings. I mean, I enjoy hot tea always, but as it's been so cold, drinking something hot has felt extra good. My favorite is Lady Grey, in case you wondered...

Watching: Hallmark Christmas movies, of course! (You knew this already, though, didn't you? ;) I thought Merry and Bright was super cute, the actors had good chemistry (which isn't always true of these movies, I have to admit). There are a number of upcoming ones that I'm excited about, too. So! Yay for Christmas movies! :D

Feeling: Relieved. I've been fighting a cold for much too many days now, but I think I might finally be on the upswing! (I sincerely hope so anyway. Being sick is for the birds.) Perfect timing to head into the holiday season. I mean, I guess technically that season has already begun, but I haven't had a clear head to truly enjoy it yet. Looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas at home this year! Last year the holidays were fun, but very, very, VERY different. Plus I was sick over Christmas day last year (in a hotel room in Cambodia and it was NOT pleasant let me tell you). This year I cannot wait to see all my family together! :)

Dreaming of: The Christmas letter and poem I'd like to send out this year. Hoping to work on that in the next few days and I'm looking forward to seeing my words come together. (Wish me the best? I'm just hoping I can get both written and actually sent out! *fingers crossed*)

So! What's new with you??

October 2, 2019

Review: Something Needs to Change by David Platt

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After reading Radical by this same author several months ago, I knew I'd want to read more of his books. This one did not disappoint! It is not an easy read, however. The situations he faced on the journey he is describing within these pages are fierce and difficult. I admit to crying a few times as I pictured the scenes and the people within them. When faced with so much heartbreak and need, what does one do?

That is the ultimate question which Mr. Platt is forced to reckon with, he plops it down before our eyes and there it sits. Having spent several months in Southeast Asia personally, I recognized the uncertainties and fears, feelings with which I didn't know what to do (and still don't, for that matter). When one looks into the eyes of hurting people, whether that be overseas or here at home in America, how does one respond? More than just the immediate need that you can see, how do you respond to the underlying needs that the person may not even be aware is there? How do you truly love people with the depth of love that Jesus requires? There are no easy answers to any of these questions and I appreciated that Mr. Platt is honest about that. Those answers are going to look different for everyone. But the most important thing is to begin to realize that you can and should do something.

So here's why I recommend you read this book. Mr. Platt describes quite vividly a week long journey he took through the Himalayas and all the people he met and the things he experienced. For those not able to physically visit such a place, this book will place you inside the adventure for a bit. In such a place, you will confront severe and intense need. And you won't be able to look away. (Well. I suppose you could put the book down, but I don't think you'll want to.) This will enable you to question and ponder...and that is what I feel the point of this book is. To make all of us sit up and take notice of our own hearts and our own choices and wonder if we're truly living out the purpose God has for us. Mr. Platt doesn't give us answers to everything, he only seems to want to cause us to be willing to have our perspective changed, to challenge our own status quo. We all need a bit of shaking up now and again, right? :)

This may not be a book for everyone, I can admit that. But for those desiring to see life and culture just a tiny bit differently, I think this is a good place to start.

**I received a complimentary copy via Waterbrook & Multnoma. All opinions are my own.

"It’s easier to stomach poverty as long as you just look at numbers on a page. The poor are easier to ignore if they’re a statistic. But everything changes when you know one of them. Everything changes when you spend time with one and then two days later he’s dead. Not only does he die, but he’s dead because he was poor."

October 1, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Nine

Hello, my lovelies! And a shoutout to my awesome #bookbesties and blogging friends. There are a certain few of you who show up in my comment feed around here, even when I don't reciprocate (which is totally not cool of me!) and I am SO extremely grateful for you. You are seen. You are heard. You are loved. (In case you doubted.) THANK YOU. *blows kisses*

And just in case someone else reads my sporadic posts and doesn't comment...I appreciate you too! I hope your September has been life-giving and hope-bringing. Fall is attempting to make itself known around my little hometown, although you wouldn't know it by the heat index... Yet the changing leaves are sweet reminders that cooler weather is coming, so... (Although to be truly honest, I've had a whole year and three months of summer now, so this cooler weather potential is sorta freaking me out. I'm not ready to give up my sandal-wearing yet!!)

Anyhoo! On to reviews...

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott
This is such a humorous and engaging sort of read! I literally giggled my way through many descriptions of happenings in Ms. Philpott's life. As a bookish sort just like her, I loved how she connected stories with her life. Most of all, there was simply a whole lot of head nodding going on while I read. Especially regarding her idea that having a "mid-life crisis" is not a one and done thing. Or a stereotypical "mid-life" sort of thing either. Her uncertainties about her own life and what her purpose is were the bits I understood most. And she writes in such a relatable way. Definitely recommend if you're into quirky and wonderful memoirs.

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Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World by Rebecca K. Reynolds
Oh my goodness, this was so good, people! I have so many paragraphs highlighted, sentences that kept making me pause and reread them at least three more times. There is such depth and honesty here. The truth in these pages will hit your heart and remind it to hope again, even midst darkness. "But even in the dark, I can wait for the voice of Christ saying, “Step here. Step here.” I can know that his leading will come because this is the time that has been given to me. He has already provided strong memories to undergird me. He has provided open skies and deep forests full of running water. He has provided good, long paths to walk, lungs to take in morning air, blood that grows delightfully warm with exertion. I have been given bread, and water, and sleep. I have been given honest friends to remind me of truth I forget."

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Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson
This book is FABULOUS. With brimfuls of booklists and quotes, I don't think you could possibly read it and not immediately want to be a book girl yourself. It's not just the booklists though, it's the joyful way Ms. Clarkson interweaves the wonder of story and how it can change you through every chapter and description. The way it is clearly woven throughout her own life and how she makes you want to be the same. I've always been a book girl, but this little volume arrived in my life at just the exact time I was already thinking how I wanted to expand my reading life. How I wanted to read outside my comfort zone a little more often and search out the truth to be found within pages where I wouldn't have imagined it being. This book spoke so beautifully to that part of my heart and gave courage. Life as a book girl is a wonderful place of being and I loved this honest and joy-filled bit of encouragement.

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
I confess to choosing this one because I love the movie so much. Of course, as adaptations are wont to do, the movie is nothing like the book. Which disappointed me. I knew there would probably be a lot of differences, but I wasn't expecting such a vast amount. That's not to say this book doesn't have lovely parts, however. The beginning portions, when Hassan is remembering his life in India, I really liked those bits. There is a slight atmospheric quality to those descriptions. Which continues on into the family's life in France. If the book had stopped there, I think I could've loved it more. Unfortunately, the rest of the story felt more...I don't know. Like something was missing, maybe? The heart of the story, for me, was the Haji family and the assortment of people surrounding them, so once Hassan breaks off from the rest things fell a bit flat for me. I did enjoy picturing the actors as their characters, though. And the audiobook narrator was excellent at varying accents, which considering all the ones needed is perfect for this story!

September 25, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Eight

Hello, my lovelies! And good day to you. It's been a while, hasn't it? Yet here I am at last! :) I've known I had some reviews to catch up on, yet for some reason my heart hasn't been up for blogging about them. So I didn't. However! I am determined to get my reviews up to date once again, so here we are about to embark on such... Fun, right?? (And before you ask, yes, I was indeed on a bit of a Jaimie Admans kick for a few days there... ;)

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The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans
The meet cute totally convinced me to read further in this one. :) And the rest of the story was pretty adorable! Not perfect, but adorable nonetheless. Ness is a fairly relatable character and I was rooting for her and Nathan to hold on to each other, once they finally got introduced. These two characters are pretty much made for each other and everyone around them knows it. It simply takes them a bit longer to figure things out. But that's the fun part, so I'm not complaining. The awkwardness between them just makes for more smiles from me!

The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans
I confess that I read this one purely for the banter between Bonnie and Rohan. Those two have great chemistry! They are "frenemies" who have to figure out a way to work around the attraction they weren't prepared to feel for the other. Watching them gingerly tiptoe around the unexpected circumstances thrown their way provided me a great deal of laughter, as well as a bit of swooning at times. The premise is pretty unreal, yet I had no trouble setting aside my brain for a bit and just enjoying my time on the island. Cheers to fake engagements! :)

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The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans
I was rooting for Wendy pretty much from the very first paragraphs in chapter one, she desperately needed her life to get a bit shaken up. To be given the ability to dream and see beyond her mundane life she's led up to that point. But Julian? He took a bit of warming up to. Much like Wendy, I was very uncertain of his motives and it was a while before I trusted him. But I have to say that once he won me over, I was hooked. I loved the banter between the two, especially as they warmed up to each other! I didn't love this story, though, as much as I enjoyed others I've read by Ms. Admans. I simply wasn't as pulled into the story-world like I wished to be. But that's okay! I enjoyed my time in France anyway!

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
This story went so very, very differently than I'd imagined when I picked it up. Yet something about it had to me hooked and I could not put it down until I'd read the final pages! Olivia is a quirky soul and there were times I understood her and times I simply couldn't. More than once I wanted to slap some sense into her. Yet I loved the crowd of people that slowly built around her. They became their own little family, of sorts, and I enjoyed their interactions together. I finished this book feeling like it was a bit strange, but sort of heart-warming all at the same time? I don't quite know how to describe the feelings it provoked. Either way, it certainly was an intriguing way to escape real life for a bit!

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The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan
Ms. Colgan clearly enjoys creating very quirky characters! Ones who slide into your heart when you aren't looking and decide to make it home for a little while. This little Scottish island is filled to the brim with just such a myriad of characters and I grew to love them all. Especially Flora herself! I understood all too well all the feelings invoked within her as she went home again. Those complicated emotions that defy description, yet refuse to dissipate. Instigated by grief and family entanglements, all that she felt and reacted to simply resonated with me. And then you bring Joel into her little world and the complications and uncertainties only seem to rise. Not a perfect story, but certainly one that I couldn't forget once I was finished!

September 12, 2019

Review: Ford by Susan May Warren

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Seriously, I don't know how Ms. Warren does it. She is incredibly gifted at writing edge-of-your-seat tension, both romantically and otherwise! I was pulled into this story pretty much from the first page and then was only further hooked as I got to know RJ better. Because I have to admit that I came for Ford and Scarlett, but I stayed for RJ and York. (And now I have to wait so long for their story! Humph. ;)

Let's begin with the fact that most of this book takes place in Russia. What a harsh and fascinating landscape to have as a backdrop. The uncertainty and fierceness felt by our characters is only enhanced by this country. I confess that I really want to visit just to experience it for myself! :) Ms. Warren's descriptions of the area create an atmospheric-feel to the story. All the (practically) non-stop action is fueled on by this feeling, which means I spent most my time anxiously turning each page, wondering what was on the horizon.

Then there are the characters. Watching Ford be confronted with so much of what he fears and how those who love him and know him so well help move him into growth and courageous-living (as if he wasn't already courageous! But he did need a little more of a push in a certain direction...) is wonderful to witness. Scarlett has some growth and courage to learn as well. These two are one of those couples that understand and fit each other so perfectly. Enough so they can also preach some good truth to one another when needed. And then there's RJ...and York. Oh my heart, I was utterly captivated by those two! *happy sigh* They face a scary situation, yet each has a fierce determination that captures the other's notice. There's simply something so vivid and pivotal between them. I cannot wait to find out more of their story.

The plot turns and twists all over the place and you never know just where you'll end up next. There is really such a great lot of things all going on at once and somehow Ms. Warren pulls all the threads just so, perfectly timed, and the picture becomes a whole lot clearer. With still a lot of threads yet to be pulled! So yes. I am now officially onboard the Montana Marshalls train and will (sort of) happily wait for more! (It's a good thing there are two previous stories to help me through the waiting period....)

**I received a complimentary copy via Just Read Publicity Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

"For a second she saw the brother she’d known better than herself. Proud, strong, faithful, determined, and yes, just reckless enough to save them all."

September 11, 2019

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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Just wow, people! This is simply a fantastical bit of storytelling which is filled to the brim with plot twists and intriguing characters. I was utterly fascinated with this world that Ms. Harrow has created. From those first few paragraphs until the final words on the final page, I was swept into January's life and subsequently was unable to put her story down! Let me attempt to describe to you why...

Firstly, there's the world-building. Ms. Harrow has created a complex world which requires some delving out. I learned never to assume anything about anything, there are always more possibilities than you may be imagining. And also one never can tell for sure who may be trustworthy and who isn't. I was constantly kept on my toes wondering just what may yet come in the next chapter. The details that we begin to uncover about who everyone truly is and how they truly fit into this world are slowly, tantalizingly revealed. There is so much going on underneath the surface that I think a reread or three will probably reveal even more details that I completely missed my first go round!

Then there are the characters. Most of which I liked, but they don't sit comfortably either. Oh no. These characters have depth and a fierceness about them that doesn't soften much. Even January herself has a few unexpected sharp corners. There were times I understood her and times I didn't. All the others pretty much had guaranteed sharpish places and so much that they weren't saying, either to January or to me. I'm not complaining about this, however! It meant I was always endeavoring to figure them out further. These aren't your typical warm and fuzzy type of people. They've seen things, they've experienced things, and those things have changed them forever.

For all the fantastical bits that enthralled me, there were other things that I didn't enjoy, sadly. The romance parts didn't really sit well with me. There are two central romances (both mostly subtle in the background) and while I never felt a connection to either couple, the one caused me to dislike the ending just a tad. I almost think I would have enjoyed it more had that romance not happened at all. I simply never saw enough true emotion going on to help me understand some of the choices made. But that's just my own personal qualm and one which may not bother someone else...

Overall, I was so thoroughly involved within this story that when I finally finished a few hours later, it felt like I hit real life with a jolt! :) There are so many wondrously written sentences that I kept finding another and another I had to stop and reread. Her lyrical way of writing means that Ms. Harrow is certainly an author I will keep an eye out for in the future. Her attention to detail and ability to withhold information while seeming not to withhold it at all is a skill that not many writers have. I was suitably impressed and look forward to rereading this one again!

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.

This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.

It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page."

"If we address stories as archeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, mundane and magical. It is at the moment when the doors open, when things flow between worlds, that stories happen."

August 28, 2019


Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

Listening to: I discovered podcasts this summer! I know, I know. They've actually been around for ages, but I hadn't ever listened to any. Until now. I've tried several, but one of my newest faves is Speaking With Joy. I even had the privilege of going to hear her speak (and sing) in person a couple weeks ago! That was pretty cool, I admit. Joy talks a lot about literary awesomeness, as well as art in many forms. She's a deep thinker and I like that.

Reading: I've been slowly savoring my way through Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson. Loads of book lists plus just wanting to take my time in delighting in it has caused me not to rush my way through it. I have been adding to my TBR as well as highlighting SO many sentences and paragraphs that resonate! If you haven't read this one, friends, I recommend it.

Enjoying: My birthday was last weekend, so a friend and I went on a non-strenuous hike (that description is a must when I'm the one going hiking, friends! A hiker I am not) and were rewarded with BEAUTIFUL views and quiet (which made for splendid conversation time). It was delightful!

Watching: Not too long ago I rewatched Under the Greenwood Tree. Fancy Day and Dick Dewey are very fun to spend time with! If you haven't watched it ever, please do if you get the chance. It's funny and sweet, with a bit of drama and romantic woes thrown in. (And seriously, those names?! Makes me kinda want to read the book this is adapted from...)

Feeling: Curious. Wondering what is yet on the horizon for me. After a busy, crazy eight months overseas, it's been....interesting readjusting to life at home again. And now I've been home for half the time I was gone! Time is crazy fast. There is so much I'm dreaming of and so much I'm wondering about...I am simply in a season of wonderment and uncertainty, yet enjoying a good life all at the same time. It's weird, but good? Kinda hard to explain, in other words... :)

Dreaming of: Adding lots of different types of books to my TBR. I've already got several non-fiction titles piled up on my bedside table! And after listening to Joy's podcast (and reading her sister Sarah's book!), I've been wishing to add a lot of different things to my TBR actually. I've always tended to veer towards certain genres and certain aspects of those genres when it came to choosing what to read next, but now I'm thinking I need to branch out and try new things...even if they don't intrigue me at first notice they could yet surprise me! And broaden my ideas and thoughts.
So. Any suggestions for me???

Intrigued by: The way that men really like to talk. At least, the men who live around my little town seem to! I have been greatly amused (and intrigued!) by the amount of gentlemen who call and/or stop by at work just to chat with my employer, apparently. I've decided that the stereotype of teenage girls talking a lot needs to change! I think the gentlemen around here can top anything a teenage girl could do. By far! :D

So what's new with you??

August 7, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Seven

More reviews coming your way! And how's your reading life going these days? I've slowed down a bit from May and June where it felt like I reading all the time. I did have a Saturday a couple weeks ago where I basically read all day. But the last few days or so, I haven't done a lot of reading. I've been writing instead! Go me. :)

Anyhoo! On to the fun stuff...

I Owe you One by Sophie Kinsella
This was cute. Sort of forgettable once I was finished, but cute while reading. I liked Fixie, yet she kind of drove me nuts a few times. Which necessitated me skimming quickly through a scene or two more than once. I just didn't love this one as much I'd hoped I would, but I did enjoy the romantic bits with Seb! He, too, made a couple decisions that made me wonder what in the world, but I liked him fairly well overall. So! If you're in the mood for an entertaining story to forget the world for a tiny slice of time, this may be the one for you! Especially the middle to latter half which had the best moments in my humble opinion...

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
A delightful story about a bookish Nina who I loved from the first pages! This book was just a whole lot of fun and it made me want to completely overhaul my life and go run a bookmobile in the UK somewhere. :D I did love Nina a lot. I wanted her to choose this new life for herself so badly and so once she did, I was quite happy to travel alongside her as she figures this new chapter out. She is simply the endearing sort of bookish person who I could totally picture myself having lovely bookish convos with while we sat sipping our hot drinks in her bookmobile. Of course, her romantic prospects were an enjoyable diversion as well! This was simply a charming story that I want to reread again right now...

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
This went in a very different direction than I expected from the synopsis, I admit. But that is not a complaint! I really enjoyed the world-building as the first few chapters sets up how everything works and just what sort of sword's edge Isobel is balancing on. It's a fascinating atmosphere that Ms. Rogerson creates around her characters and I loved getting all these tension-filled glimpses of things going on underneath the surface. The romance bits were pretty adorable, I wasn't sure what sort Rook would be. But I liked him! He and Isobel have great chemistry, especially in the beginning stages where I could so easily picture the both of them falling in love almost unknowingly. The story isn't perfect, but overall quite enjoyable! Enough that I hope to read Ms. Rogerson's next book sometime soonish. :)

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
A bookish Nina (yes, another one! :) whom I loved to bits! I loved her passion for trivia and how it was such an unconscious fascination for her. I loved her bookishness and love of stories. And I loved her way of pushing through all the new family who find her and bring her into their drama. How she basically finds her people (more than she had before now, I mean, because the girl has quite the awesome tribe around her already) and finally allows who she truly is to settle more firmly inside her. I related so much to her, even if my life is so completely different! I just got all her introverted uncertainties and how she was just fine as she was thank you very much. But being pushed out of her comfort zone is good for our Nina and her subsequent journey of discovery is simply delightful. Reading this story just made me want to go hug all my books in my personal library and if that doesn't convince you to read it I don't know what will. ;)

August 6, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: The Unputdownable Edition {#46}

These two stories were SUCH memorable reads for me that I thought they deserved showcasing by themselves...

The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden
Wow! This was quite the adventurous ride. Mostly. I understood all too well all the indescribable feelings of visiting another culture for the first time and being faced with all the needs you aren’t certain how to handle. Listening to this audiobook just took me immediately back to my first foray into a different country and culture from my own and every bit of wonder and uncertainty I felt. Mia's emotions as she tried to understand just what this adventure was doing to her insides completely resonated with me! I loved, especially, all the bits once the group arrived at the refugee camp. Those chapters made me fully believe that Ms. Linden has experienced such herself because there was this atmospheric and real quality to all the confusion, the uneasiness felt among everyone there--helpers and refugees alike, and the sheer necessity to do all that you can to help those in need. The way this experience changes every single person in the group and the way they do and don't handle that change all spoke to my heart and my own personal experiences.

I will have to say that there was far too many descriptions of the drinks and outfits of the characters. That bit pretty much got old quick and pulled me away from my investment in the story a few times. But that mostly settled down once the overseas adventure began for which I was grateful. Overall, I was able to overlook those bits and would still highly recommend this story for those willing to dig a little deeper into the world and catch a glimpse of life outside of your comfort zone.

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
This book, y'all. Oh my stars, I loved every single bit of it! I loved the characters, especially Annie. And all her uncertainty, grief, fears, and fierce desire to do right by her beloved Uncle Bob. Her journey to understanding her own story by searching out her uncle's was just lovely. I loved Ansel-by-the-Sea and all the people who populated it, especially Jeremiah Fletcher. Discovering his story bit by tiny bit alongside of Annie was delightful as well! I loved the backstory which took place during WWII. I loved the finely held tension that gripped me as I was sucked into this amazing story of love and all that people will do in honor of it. Love is so multifaceted and Ms. Dykes delves into several of those facets here. From family relationships, to romances, to friendships, to grief, ah all the emotions are here, people! I was fully invested in both storylines going on (past and present) and couldn't wait to get back to each one. I held my breath so many times hoping what I foresaw wasn't going to be true or hoping it would. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! :)

Ms. Dykes' writing just flows so beautifully and I kept having to pause and reread glorious sentences that made me look twice. Her lyrical way of writing perhaps won't be for everyone, but I am definitely a fan! This story is simply worth checking out and I don't think you'll be disappointed. There's a depth here that you need to dive into for yourself, trust me.

August 5, 2019

Austen in August :: {aka Fun Times I'd Forgotten About}

So yeah. I'd totally forgotten about this annual shendig over at The Book Rat this year! (I know. The horror.) But I discovered my folly today and proceeded to giggle my way through the following post. Which I just had to share with y'all! Go here, read it, guffaw at the ridiculously awesome menfolk, and then come back here and tell me how cool it was that I shared it with you! :D

Also, in honor of these lovely shenanigans, I thought I'd share a mini review of an Austen sequel I read just the other evening....

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Miss Eleanor Tilney: or, The Reluctant Heroine 
by Sherwood Smith
I've had this one on my TBR ever since reading Ms. Smith's Henry and Fanny a couple years ago. Don't know why it took me so long to get to it, but what fun! I LOVED getting a peek into Eleanor and Henry's minds. To watch Catherine from their point of view and figure out what it was that endeared her to them so quickly. This is a short story, but it packs a wallop of joy and loveliness in a small amount of pages. I love Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and I'm so pleased that Ms. Smith took these beloved characters and treated them with love and kindness while staying true to Ms. Austen's writing. And seriously. There's a certain scene that only made me love Mr. Henry Tilney even more than I already do! The man is such a charmer and here we find him much the same only we get to understand him a bit better. Loved it! Will definitely be reading it again and highly recommend for Janeites who enjoy sequels! :)

August 3, 2019

Chitchat at the Library

Hello, my lovelies! Here I am at the library, attempting to get some writing accomplished. But there's also people watching and mind wandering to do as well. Because does that happen to anyone else? You go to a library or coffee shop or wherever to write. You go by yourself specifically to write! Only your mind wanders and the writing? Well....your blank computer screen sort of stares at you in condemnation at all that you're not doing. Yet it takes far too long for you to notice because your mind has wandered so many other places, rather than what you're supposed to be focused on. Which is whatever your goal was to write today. No? That never happens to you? Ah, well. Must just be me then.

Anyhoo! It's been ages since I've done a random post and I thought today it might be worth a try. My mind has been wandering a great deal recently. Full of all these thoughts and uncertainties and ponderings. And also Thailand. Because I'm trying a Thing.

Yes, that's right. I'm trying a Thing and I'm not sure how far I'll get with it or if I'll stay committed to it. But I want to! What's that? You'd like to know what the Thing is? Probably not, actually, but you know I'm gonna share it anyway, right? :)

So yeah. A friend and I were chatting a few weeks ago. She messaged me right in the middle of this excellent story I was reading (it's okay. She's the dearest friend, so I was willing to pause my reading to respond.) and our subsequent convo inspired me to challenge myself with a new project. A writing project! That's right! I feel like I'm definitely still in transition from my eight months overseas and some days it's harder to work through the confusing emotions and mess of my thoughts. So what I decided to try is to write about my time over there. Only I'm writing it more like a story and in third person. With an omniscient narrator. Of sorts. Something like that. Not really sure what I'd actually call it? I don't know all my proper technical writing terms. However! I do know it's been fun to write so far. I haven't gotten very far, I admit. Only a couple chapters, which equates to about three to four days worth of activity. And it's not really great writing. But it's so much fun! I thought I might share it somewhere besides just on my computer, but I've gotta get a lot more written and a lot more brave before I do that.

Well! We shall see what I do with it, if I even complete it all. I mean, eight months is a long time to write about, you know... :) I'm hoping writing like that will help me process through all the stuff I'm working through during transition. So yeah....

Where else has my mind been wandering? It is now officially August and I have been home from Thailand for a little over three months! How crazy is that?! Before I left a year ago, I remember thinking that four, potentially eight months (I wasn't sure how long I'd officially be there...), was quite a long time to be living overseas, especially for someone who'd never been out of the country before. (When I decide to do a thing, I go big, I guess? *shrugs*) And now here I am with the full eight months totally gone to the past and even another three down the road yet. That's just craziness to my mind, folks. It is.

Anyway. I have these thoughts and ideas and all this uncertainty about what to actually put into action and what is actually feasible to put into action. And how to get up the gumption to put things into action at all! Yes. I'm weird. And in a weird place right now. But that's okay! I'll figure it out....eventually. (I hope.)

So that's me. Thanks for listening.

What's new with you?

July 30, 2019

Review: Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

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What a sweet and wonderfully complicated story! The romance bits and cuteness convinced me to try this one, but I ended up feeling blown away by the depth of emotion that resonated so clearly. Ms. Kate is certainly an author to keep an eye on!

Firstly, let's talk Natalie and Jem. They have their super adorable moments, yes, but also have a super complicated relationship. The hurt and pain they're both struggling underneath are weights on their shoulders that they don't know how to handle. Watching as they breathe new life into each other while simultaneously balancing that chemistry between the two of makes for a good read, is what I'm saying. Both have made mistakes and have need of some growth when our story opens. But as the chapters flew by, I loved that they continued to push each other onward, even if unconsciously.

Secondly, I have to mention Lili because I loved her pretty much from the moment she showed up on the page! I wanted SO badly to give her a hug several times because the poor girl has a whole lot of yuck to deal with in her life. (I will also say that I am not a fan of her parents at all. *frowny face*) Still, she's got some awesome people around her, namely Nick, and I loved all their moments together. I think Lili's chapters were my favorite actually. Her uncertainty, her fears, trying to figure out her life...I just connected with all her emotional upheaval and was with her every step as she pushed towards a shaky but clearer future.

So! This is a pretty intriguing story that seems like a romcom only it chooses to go a lot deeper with the issues its characters are going through. But don't let that keep you away! There is a depth here that is very worth diving into, reader friends. And I hope you do so and soon. :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.


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