Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life

The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused LifeThe Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a fan of Joshua Becker. One of my favorite books of his, that I re-read often, is Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life. I've also read The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own & Inside-Out Simplicity- both great books.
This book focused specifically on decluttering and minimizing in each individual room of one's home. I can see how this could be a fabulous reference guide for someone new to the minimalist lifestyle or someone who is overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start. I appreciated how he went from room to room with step-by-step instructions/suggestions on where to start in each room. At the end of each room chapter he gave a "Minimizing Checklist"- much like a summary checklist of what he had gone through in the chapter. I thought that was helpful.
Overall the book was exactly what the title says - A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life. Having read several of his other books, this book seemed to repeat a lot of what I've already read and have put into play in my own life, but that is understandable when it comes to teaching about minimalism. He had a lot of quotes that I highlighted because they spoke to me. If you are thinking of minimizing or need help decluttering your home, this book can help. He has it set up in a easy method to follow and he doesn't force anything. A person can minimize as much or as little as they feel comfortable with during that specific season in their life.

A few quotes I liked:

"Ask yourself what is really important and then have the courage to build your home and life around that answer."

"Just because you have the space doesn't mean you have to fill it with stuff."

"Never organize what you can discard."

"A home that is filled with only the things you use and love will be a home that you love to use."

Source: Netgalley

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter


Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter is the first of the series Haven Manor. I would recommend reading the novella A Search for Refuge to get a little more background, although this novel can stand alone. In the novella we hear about Kit briefly, Defense of Honor tells her story along with why she works at Haven Manor. In the beginning we meet Graham, a future Earl who is looking for purpose in his life. By odd chance, him and Kit meet and he is captivated by her. Although I am a fan of this author, I felt the story line was too drawn out and some details could have been left out. Kit as a character was hesitant and scared due to the scandal she faced years ago. This made it hard to open up to Graham. I did love that she had a desire to help these women even if her intentions were not right. I did like Graham’s character, he was charming and really changed Kit’s opinion of how she felt about men in general. Clean content with some religious references. Will I continue to read from this author? Yes. This book just was not a fave for me. 3.5 stars

Saturday, May 19, 2018

More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer

363533694.5 stars
Karen Witemeyer is one of the few authors I always pre-order any new books. I trust she will keep me thoroughly entertained & captivated. This novel was no different. My paperback copy will grace my bookshelf soon, but I was thankfully able to review an advanced digital copy.
The Hamilton siblings are a motley crew that you can't help but love. They only had each other & the fierce loyalty they showed was inspiring. I loved Zach's protective nature, Seth's inner strength, & Evie's positivity &; desire to see good in everyone.
Logan is the outsider looking for vengeance. But thanks to Hezekiah, the pig, he is introduced to Evie, and life will never be the same. This book basically had it all: Romance, love, loss, humor, mystery, & lots of twists & turns. One of my favorite lines from the books is, "We're all broken." A lot of healing happens in the pages of More Than Meets the Eye. I also see a sequel in the future... I'm looking forward to reading more about Zach. I pictured Jason Momoa as him in my head as I read. :)

** Very clean, although some violence. Some Christian themes sprinkled throughout.
** Releases June 5th. Available for pre-order.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Together Forever is second of the Orphan Train series, but can be read as a stand alone. I definitely recommend reading the first book, With you Always, as it will help clear up any confusion and is just a great book as well. This novel is about Marianne, the second of the Nuemann sisters. She is looking for her younger sister Sophie who is missing. She signs up to be an agent for the Children’s Aid Society in New York where they escort orphans to cities in Illinois. This is where she meets the dashing Andrew, better known as Drew Brady another fellow agent. There is definitely an instant attraction on both parts ,its kind of hard to deny it. Both Marianne and Drew have issues from their past they are trying to work thorough and earn the forgiveness from past mistakes. There is a tragedy with one of the kids and I was glad to know I was right on the murderer and the proper justice was served. Just as the first book, this leaves you wanting to read the next of the series. Jody Hedlund is one of my top authors to read and I always enjoy her novels.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for the opportunity to read this novel! All opinions expressed are my own. 

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Image result for falling for you becky wade 

Falling for you, by Becky Wade, is the second of the Bradford Sisters series but can be read as a stand alone.
Willow- the oldest of the Bradford sisters- is a model who has taken a break to help run her parents inn in Washington. I would best describe her as having a Type-A personality with an addiction to shopping for housewares, which is apparent throughout the book. 

Four years previously, she dated NFL Corbin Stewart which ended terribly and happens to come back into her life when she least expects. Now, Corbin and Willow must work together with his niece to help solve a 40 year old crime. I would say this is a reunion of sorts, two people who are meant to be together but the first time didn’t work in their favor so they have this second chance. There was definitely chemistry, but each tried to fight due to personal reasons. Throughout the book, you can see the determination in Corbin to reconnect, but Willow is hesitant due to past hurts. There are multiple religious references about finding forgiveness and finding your faith.

Thank you to Bethany House and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book! All opinions stated are my own.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blubber was the worst. THE WORST

BlubberBlubber by Judy Blume
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I remembered loving this book when I was in 4th grade. This week, reading it as an adult, as a mom, with my 12 yr old... I have no idea why I loved it so much before. I've never wanted to punch a 5th grader in the face like I did while reading this book. Wendy, and her little minions, needed their butts whooped. I wanted Linda to start beating Wendy with her lunch pail, like Mary Ingalls and all the girls did to the bully on Little House on the Prairie.
When we finished reading the book tonight my daughter took it and threw it across the room. It was that bad. I seriously wonder where Wendy is now. Probably in a women's high security prison. Freakin' psycho...

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Top Reads of 2017

It's that time of year where I make one of my very fews posts... I really need to blog better, but I digress. This is my list of my top reads for 2017. I based it on my personal Goodreads rating and how much the book affected me or made me feel. If you would like to see my Goodreads "My Year in Books" for 2017 click here. If you would like to read my reviews for my 2017 favorites just click on the title of the book.


Favorite Historical Non-Fiction:
Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

Favorite Book I Read with my 11 year old:
 Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Favorite Memoir (I read a bunch of memoirs this year...):
*What is interesting is my 2 favorites were written 1- by the mom of Dylan Klebold, one of the murderers in the Columbine school shooting and 2- by the mom of Emilie Parker, a victim in the Sandy Hook shooting. 2 very different perspectives of 2 mothers who lost.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold 
A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

 An Unseen Angel by Alissa Parker
An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook

Favorite Book Released in 2017:
 Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden
Romancing Daphne

 Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Heart on the Line

 Love Remains by Sarah M. Eden
Love Remains 

Favorite Novella:
 The Hidden Prince by Nadine Millard
The Hidden Prince

Favorite from the Teen Section:
 Under a Painted Sky by Stacey  Lee
Under a Painted Sky

Favorite Contemporary:
 One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
One True Loves

Favorite Books Based During World War 2 (I have a Goodreads shelf dedicated to these):
 From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
From Sand and Ash

Favorite Surprise (A book I didn't start out loving, but loved by the end):
 A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove

Favorite Re-read (A book I had read before and decided to read again this year... I do this a lot.):
I've read all 3 of these at least twice...

 Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
Short Straw Bride

 Highway Revenge (Revenge #1)
Highway Revenge

 A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist
A Bride in the Bargain 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Pursuit of Lady Harriet Book Review and GIVEAWAY


The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson  
When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.


Harriett looked at what remained of the cake. Appar-ently, he didn’t intend to finish it off after all, so she collected their forks and stood. “Forgive me for saying so, but you look quite done in, Chris. If you do not go up to bed now, you will probably fall asleep here. Only imagine what Mrs. Caddy might say if she discovers you here with the mostly-eaten cake. For your own sake, you ought to retire. I will do my best to tidy things up.” Before she could move away from him, he grabbed her hand and guided her to sit back down, keeping hold of her fingers. “Not so fast, my lady. I meant it when I said that I’m in desperate need of the distraction that only you can provide. Thus far, all I have done is burden you with my troubles.” “I do not feel at all burdened, sir.” Indeed, Harriett suddenly felt breathless and somewhat giddy. The effect this man had on her was something of a wonder. “Sir?” he asked. “I thought we were beyond that.” “I thought so as well, but you only just called me ‘my lady.’” He frowned and blinked as though he hadn’t realized he had. “Forgive me, Harry. I fear my exhaustion has muddled my thinking.” This time, she did not let the name slide. She snatched her hand free and frowned at him. “Obviously it has.” He laughed—not a tired attempt at a laugh, but a real one filled with the richness that warmed her straight through. Only this time, it did not bother her at all. In fact, it felt wonderful, almost like a compliment. “I knew you’d come through for me,” he said, leaning close enough to touch shoulders with her. “You have no idea how much I needed to laugh or how good that felt. I could honestly kiss you right now.” Harriett tried her best not to blush or appear astonished by the suggestion—he had obviously made the comment in jest—but when his smile widened into a devilish grin, she knew she’d failed. He leaned in closer, and his gaze wandered briefly to her mouth before returning to her eyes. She could smell vanilla and lemon and a hint of something else—leather perhaps? A delightful pulse whipped down her arm, and she was hard-pressed not to shiver. Admit it,” he said. “You have missed me.” 


Author Rachael Anderson 
 A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

 My Review
As the third book in the Tanglewood series, The Pursuit of Lady Harriett definitely lived up to my expectations. Tanglewood has become quite the matchmaking estate.

In the beginning, Lieutenant Jamison's character kind of irritated me and I felt badly for Lady Harriett. But as time passed, my feelings flip flopped. The lieutenant became hopelessly charming, in my eyes, and really SO MALE. He was falling all over himself trying to express his feelings to Harriett. I just kept thinking, "Bless his heart!"

This was a fun novel and a fabulous edition to the series!! I'm so glad Rachael branched out into recency romance. :)


$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 10/1/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander BOOK REVIEW


Anyone who knows me, knows that TAMERA ALEXANDER is one of my top "go to" authors.  I've met her in person and have loved everything I've read by her.  Every time she writes you can see the love and research and devotion put into the work on each page, in each line.
To Wager Her Heart is no different.


 With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn't tear them apart first.  
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancee—and what has broken her heart.
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both. Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.


My Thoughts

Once again, Tamera Alexander has woven a beautiful story inside real history. Set in post-Civil War Nashville, and including parts of our nation's past, such as Fisk University (a freedmen's school), The Jubilee Singers, Philip Bliss, and of course the beautiful Belle Meade Plantation, I didn't want to put the book down.  
Tamera did a wonderful job showing us the hard truths of that time, the prejudice, and the shifting in society as freedmen and Southerns attempted to reconstruct their lives. I enjoyed all the characters- the main and minor. The building up of Sylas and Alexandra's relationship was believable and not overdone. It was great to see Uncle Bob and the Hardings again. I also enjoyed the theme of trusting God in everything and of continuing education. Both important during that time period, and today!

To Wager Her Heart is available TODAY!!! It is book #3 in the Belle Meade Plantation series, but can definitely stand alone. 5 stars- Highly Recommend!!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Heart on the Line (Ladies of Harper’s Station, #2)Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a reason I pre-order all books, unread, written by Karen Witemeyer. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn't thoroughly enjoy!! I've read No Other Will Do and the novella, Worth the Wait, both featured in the female-run town, Harper Station. This was the 2nd full length novel set in the same town. The ladies of Harper Station each have their own story of why they have searched out an all-gal town. Grace is no different. She has been in hiding since her father was murdered right in front of her. She works as the telegraph operator in Harper Station, where she has made some amazing friends. She has one chat friend, Amos, who she has never met in person, but has grown to know and admire via telegraph. (Picture "online dating" 1800's style...)
When those who have been tracking Grace find where she's been hiding, Amos drops everything to come to her rescue. Y'all, Amos is the cutest. He's not the tough, burly, hot ranchhand or lawman. He's not a big guy, not real athletic, but what he lacks in brawn, he makes up for in heart. Grace, she was brave and feisty. I admired her fight!
This book has it all: romance, mystery, wit... We also get to see Emma and Malachi, Tori and Ben, and all the ladies of Harper Station we've grown to love!! Even Helen- the biggest anti-man woman in town, does her best to help the opposite sex. So, my advice to you is to pre-order this book as well. Your personal library needs it. :)

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