Two Homes?

It’s 8:09 Wednesday morning and I can hear a host of birds singing outside my open camper windows. The interstate traffic is a muffled hum behind them, but the birds are doing a brilliant job of vying for attention and have certainly won mine.

It’s a strange feeling because on Sunday I went “home” – but then yesterday I came back “home.” Because apparently I now have two homes. I’ve only lived in my little camper in Kentucky for a little over six weeks now, but it’s won me over and I miss it when I’m gone.

Sunday was only the second time I’ve gone back to the beautiful countryside in Ohio that I lived in for the last sixteen years since moving to Kentucky – and seriously, it was great. Like, driving down the road and yelling hello out the window to all the familiar landmarks as I passed them type of great. (Y’all, being able to actually yell out the windows and have no one around to see me was – in and of itself – rather magical.)

IMG_1096.jpg

I had a wonderful time driving down the country roads, swinging on my familiar swingset, sitting out on the porch in the early morning stillness, the calmness of my bedroom, having a pantry full of snacks I didn’t buy, and best of all being around my family. I have a lot of family in the area and receiving enthusiastic hugs from my little nieces, holding babies while chatting with my sisters, playing games with my brother, and chatting with my parents? It was all delightful and I’m so thankful I got to do it.

Yet, when it was time for me to head back to Kentucky, I was like “Oh, it’s time to go home.” And that was really weird because I was home, and yet I wasn’t.

IMG_1112.JPG

After the next month and a half, I’m not sure what my life is going to look like, but for now, I’m thankful for this little sphere that makes up my world. I’m thankful for a job that I genuinely enjoy and that makes a difference. I’m thankful to be close enough to my family that I can go visit them and help out when needed. I’m thankful that my driving abilities have grown to the point where I can take on a four-hour road trip without freaking out.

I’m exceedingly thankful for two homes. For two places where I can feel completely comfortable, at home, and miss when I’m gone. I’m thankful for all I’m learning, experiencing, and doing. I’m thankful for the delights of new adventures, old comforts, and all the thousands of little elements that make up this season of my life.

And now I’ve got to shut the computer and scurry off so I’m not late for that job that I’m so thankful for. 😉

Whose Waves These Are

Y’all, hang on tight because we have a little bit of a rambly review below. This is generally what happens when I really do or really don’t like a book.

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Title: Whose Waves These Are
Fiction

3

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn’t anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Mostly the cover. And the title. The title sounds so intriguing. I also read the back cover blurb, but that wasn’t the tipping point for me.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Oh guys. This isn’t a review I’m looking forward to writing because I always feel so bad writing a negative review when I’ve received a book for free. Yet, honest reviews are my specialty, so here I am.

Let me start off by saying that there isn’t really anything wrong with the book. The content is clean, the editing is good, and the writing is lovely.

But.

It just wasn’t the book for me. And that’s sad, because after reading the first several chapters I was super excited. As in, it’s been a long time since I’ve started a book by a new author and felt so much promise. I was intrigued by the characters, delighted by the quirks, and drawn in by the lyrical tone of the writing.

But then the time hops started, and the writing style changed, and I fell into bookerly woes and didn’t even want to finish the story. The good news about all those things I just mentioned is they’re purely subjective. That means that there’s a good chance you will like the story.

For me, when a book begins going back and forth with time periods, it’s a total hit or miss for me. Meaning, I either really, really like it, or else I really don’t like it. And this book was one that I really didn’t like. I’m not even sure why it was. I liked each of the time periods, but when the switching began I lost interest in all of them.

One thing that I think is super cool in theory but didn’t actually like in reality, was that the tenses changed with the different time periods. One of the storylines was told in present tense, and the other was told in past tense. (Both third-person.) This is a brillant way to tell a story, but sadly, for me, present tense just messes with my brain and it’s hard and takes a super long time for me to get into a story. So, to be pulled back and forth meant I never really had time to immerse myself in present tense, which is probably the biggest reason as to why I didn’t like the book.

Also, when I re-read the back cover copy just now I was amazed by how long it takes in the book to find out what the rocks are for. I read the back cover copy before I requested the book, but then forgot what the book was about before I started reading. I’m not sure if the knowledge of what was going on would have made the book better for me, or been spoiler-y?

As for the plot itself… It felt kinda jumbled together. Not everything made sense to me and I was a bit confused by why the relationships were so messed up. I mean, it you find out in the book, but it just felt off. 

I read this as an e-book because I was on vacation, but in retrospect, if I would have realized sooner that it was a time hopping book I would have waited to read my physical copy of the book and probably would have enjoyed it more.

To end on a positive note, there were some things I really liked in the book: The small town feel, the way Ann communicated with her uncle (SO COOL and one of my favorite things I’ve read about in a loooonnnngggg time), Rob and Roy’s relationship with each other (sweetest thing ever), and a certain chapter near the end of the book involving watching the sunrise over the ocean.

CONCLUSION

Y’all will probably like the book. I certainly don’t not recommend it. It was clean and interesting. I do encourage y’all to get a physical copy instead of an e-copy if possible because this is one of those books that is better read while physically.

Also, the book has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, with over 75 reviews, so that’s pretty great.

RATING

I’m giving Whose Waves These Are two out of five stars and am thankful for NetGalley giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

Across the Blue

It’s time for me to review some of the books I read while I was gone on vacation, and that’s kinda a lot of books because I read nine of them in ten days. What can I say? May is always one of my best-read months out of the year.

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 354
Publisher: Multnomah
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Title: Across the Blue
Fiction

13.jpg

ABOUT THE BOOK

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year.

When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I don’t think I even read the back cover copy to this book. I’ve just heard about it in the on-line bookish community and it sounded interesting and clean, so I thought I’d give it a go.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

*Slight Spoilers in the Cons Section*

Three Pros: 
-The aviation aspect of the book was truly fascinating. It felt very well researched and I learned a lot without feeling like I was being pounded over the head with information. It’s amazing to think of how recently air-travel was something people only dreamed of. How in the world did we get from trying to fly across the English Channel to landing on the moon in such a short amount of time?
-Even though we didn’t get quite as much detail about the newspaper side in the book, that was still interesting to me. The glimpses we saw in the newspaper office, as well as watching Isabella’s emerging journalistic dreams was pretty cool.
-The pace of the book and writing style were both well-done and kept my interest most of the time.

Three Cons (With Slight Spoilers, so read at your own risk):
-It wasn’t really insta-love, but it was far too close to that for my enjoyment. Isabella has a secret she can’t tell anyone, and she feels guilty and like she’s betraying James not to tell him. She doesn’t owe James anything at this point, so even though feeling slightly bad makes sense, the amount of guilt she felt over it made me feel like she’d formed an emotional attachment to him way too fast.
-That said secret was cajoled out of her by someone else far too easily, and then she didn’t respond the way I hoped she would have.
-James’ family secret, and how it all ended kinda annoyed me, but that’s probably not the case for most people…

CONCLUSION

There were aspects of this book that I actually enjoyed far more than I had thought I would. The relationship was kinda meh in my opinion, but it was clean, so that’s a plus.

After reading this book I’d be open to reading more of Carrie Turansky’s books in the future.

RATING

I’m giving Across the Blue three out of five stars and am thankful for NetGalley giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

Top Ten Authors I Wanted to Meet in 2017

Y’all! Today I’m having fun reminiscing. I looked back in my old blog posts and decided to share one with you from March 28th, 2017. Enjoy seeing a little bit of what was going on in my bookish world two years ago. 🙂

Aug

It’s Tuesday so I’m joining The Broke and Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday linkup. Today’s theme is the top ten authors I want to meet. For any of y’all who don’t know I am an author, so meeting other authors is something I really like doing.

ttt

  1. Cathrine Farns
    It was late one evening when I was around sixteen that I first found Miss Cathrine’s books. At the time I had been sick for two years and had recently given up trying to sleep at night due to having my days and nights switched around.
    My family ordered a box of books, and Way of Escape was the first book I choose to read from that box (and I later realized it was the last book in the series – oh well). The book pulled me in, held me tight, and eight years later still hasn’t let go. All of Miss Cathrine’s books are now like old friends to me – friends that helped me through a very hard time in life.
  2. Stephanie Morrill
    If you’ve been around Noveltea for long, you’ve heard me talk about Miss Stephanie. She started Go Teen Writers, as well as a book by the same title, and has been one of the most influential people in the writing part of my life. I happily call her my writing mentor, and although I’ve never met her in person, I’m quite thankful that I have gotten to email with her some.
  3. Bob Goff
    When it comes to inspiring, Mr. Goff is high up on my list. I’m incredibly thankful for how he’s choosing to live his life for God’s glory. I’d love to get to learn from him in person.
  4. Maria Goff
    I was first “introduced” to Miss Maria through the pages of her husband’s, Mr. Goff, book. Earlier this month her first book was published and I was thrilled to read it. I gave it to my sister, and the next time she saw me she’s like “Wow, Lydia! You’re so much like Miss Maria – it’s crazy!” And I agree – our personalities are a lot alike, which means I was able to learn a lot through her book.
  5. Franklin Graham
    I can’t even imagine how much I’d be able to learn from him. His life is so inspiring to me. I don’t want to wander through my time on earth, I want to make a difference that will count for eternity, and Mr. Graham is doing just that.
  6.  Julie Nye
    Miss Julie was one of my favorite authors growing up, and therefore she was one of those influential people who made me dream of being an author. I can’t begin to thank those authors enough for filling my little-girl-heart with starry-eyed ideas of writing.
  7. Patricia St. John
    As a child I didn’t just want to meet Miss Patricia, I wanted to be Miss Patricia. Since that wasn’t possible, I figured I would just name a daughter after her. Strangely enough, I have a hard time saying “Patricia” though, so that probably won’t happen either.
    Growing up, Miss Patricia was my favorite author. I read her books over, and over, and over again, and delighted in them each time.
  8. Dawn L. Watkins
    Someday I hope little children look at my book as fondly as I looked at Miss Dawn’s books. I’d like to thank her in person for being a writer.
  9.  Corrie ten Boom
    I am so looking forward to one-day meeting this heroine in heaven. If you don’t know who she is, please stop what you’re doing and click on her name. It will be well worth your time.
  10. Brother Andrew
    I feel like his books should have a warning about not reading them unless you’re prepared to have your life change. They are that good. I am SO thankful for his work. As a young teen, I dreamed of one day meeting him, and being a part of his work.

What about you? What authors would YOU like to meet?

9 Quirky Things That Make Me Happy

The older I get, the more I realize that I get exceedingly happy at quirky little things.

  1. Running my fork along the insides of a baked potato – I always imagine the fork is a plow and I’m making furrows in a field. (Apparently this isn’t what everyone thinks?)
  2. When people use their car’s turning signal – it makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. Just think about it, you’re communicating with complete strangers without using any sound or hand motions. It’s so cool. Kinda like being a spy. (Or at least that’s what I always imagine.)
  3. When people pay with $10 billsDo y’all know how uncommon $10 bills are? At least at our coffee shop, they’re a total rarity. And yes, I have cheered when people hand me one. And yes, I have gotten weird looks.

IMG_8084.JPG

 

4.    When I successfully crack an egg into a bowl one-handedly. I often crack eggs with just one hand, and sometimes the shells accompany the inside of the egg, and that’s a bummer. But when the egg drops and all the shells stay in my hand? #success

5.   Putting silverware away from the dishwasher. I always imagine that I’m putting money in a cash register. It just hit me recently that most people don’t visualize that?

6.   Sleeping under an open window and having snow hit my face. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this is the best way to sleep. Especially if the wind is blowing hard.

7.   Deleting things off my phone. Pictures, apps, contacts, notes… I like using my phone as a tool and for recreation purposes, but I only like having things on my phone that I’m using in that season of my life. Decluttering my phone is the best.

8.   Dandelions. Folks. They’re so resilient and beautiful and live nearly year-around.

9.  Acting like a vacuum sweeper is an elephant. Surely I’m not the only one who acts like a vacuum hose is an elephant’s trunk? Because if y’all don’t imagine that when you’re sweeping than you’re missing out on life.

10.  Having a word pop into your mind that you don’t really recall using before, but seem to know it will fit the sentence, looking it up and discovering that you were right. Yo, I’m not sure how this happens, but it does and it kinda amazes me.

Currently
Setting: Chapman’s Coffee House 
Listening to: College girl’s talking at the next table over because I forgot my earbuds
Random Fact: It was below zero today for the first time this year 
Question of the Day: What’s a quirky thing that makes you happy? 

Unimaginable

1.jpg
FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Title: Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity
Author: Jeremiah J. Johnston
Nonfiction

BACK COVER BLURB:

A Stirring Account of Christianity’s Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you’ll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world–and has been since the first century AD–including:
· How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
· Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity
· How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
· How Christians today are extending God’s kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus’ teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK:

The concept of the book really grasped my attention. Other than that, I don’t quite remember why I chose this book because I got it a while ago. I didn’t read it for about a year because I thought it was going to be really heavy and I wasn’t in the mood for that type of book. But then I read it and…

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

Folks! I could barely put this book down. It was so good and grabbed my interest from the first page. Most of the time I skim read books – at least to a point – but I had to read every word of this book to get the full story. I read it over the period of two and a half days and want to read more by the same author.

The book was divided into three parts, so I’ll give a brief overview of each of the parts:

The World Before Christianity
This is probably the segment that I found most interesting. It talked a lot about what the world looked like before Jesus’ time, and how we often see the world back then through the eyes of how our world is today. Mr. Johnston then spent several chapters breaking it down subject by subject and showing the worldview was quite different back then. I really like history, so this part of the book was right up my alley.

The World Without Christianity
This section discussed some of the big influencers of philosophical thoughts from the nineteenth century – men like Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. There were several other men named also, and we got a brief overview of each of their lives, as well as what they thought/taught and what impact their teachings then had on the world.

This part was also highly interesting to me and made me want to read more books like it. I had to keep my phone next to me so I could look up what was being said from time to time because there were a lot of concepts I wasn’t familiar with.

The main point of this segment was pointing out what happens when men try to take God out of the picture, and what a disaster that turns into. (Examples: WW2 and Communism.)

The World With Christianity
The last section opens with a bunch of stats and that was really intriguing to me. (In fact, I promptly found a few people who I could share some of them with because it’s so interesting.) Overall though, the last few chapters of the book found my attention lagging a bit. I’m not sure if it’s because it covered more information that I knew already, or if I was simply ready to move on, but it was the last few chapters that brought the book from a five star read to a four star read for me. I still learned a lot from the last segment though.

Conclusion:

There were several things I didn’t agree with, plus a few things that left me confused. For instance: Mr. Johnston clearly sees how Darwin’s teachings negatively affected the world, and yet Mr. Johnston seems to believe that evolution is true instead of a literal interpretation of Genesis.
At times there were also concluding statements that were made that sounded reasonable, but I’m not sure if they were entirely accurate.
One warning: This book does deal with some harsh realities of the world, as well as talking about some pretty bad beliefs some people hold, so I don’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 15.

RATING:

This book was just a millimeter away from five stars. So Good! And yet, in the end, I’m giving it four out of five stars. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for reviewing it on my blog and I’m so thankful for the opportunity!

Keep Calm and Read On (8 Benefits​ of Reading)

As it turns out, reading can boast a host of benefits. As it also turns out, I read a lot so I stand here before you today (actually, I’m sitting on the couch, but that’s beside the point), to share some of said benefits with you. 😉

Blank 11 x 8.5 in-3.png

  1. Reading Makes You Smarter 
    Okay, so maybe it doesn’t literally raise your IQ (but then again, it might), but reading does add to your bank of information that you then have stored in your brain. That means that in the future you’ll be able to pull from that information (on purpose and also automatically), so therefore reading does help you have more knowledge.
  2. Reading Helps You Empathize with More People 
    There have been many times when I can relate to an emotion someone is experiencing, not from my own life, but because I’ve seen the same emotion through the eyes of a character. Add thousands of these experiences together and it can give a helpful framework for how someone may want to be treated.
  3. Reading Is A Great Escape 
    It’s not always a good idea to “escape” a problem, but sometimes stepping back and getting some relief in a stressful or trying situation can do a world of good. Grabbing a light-hearted contemporary generally does the trick for me.
  4. Reading Can Make You More Well-Rounded 
    It was an eye-opening day for me when a friend of mine mentioned how a book that took place in Egypt helped her to imagine the Bible times better. I hadn’t realized until then that not everyone had the backdrop to a thousand different time periods, cultures, and settings painted into their mind through the pages of books.
  5. Reading Expands Your Vocabulary
    It’s hard to describe something when you don’t have words with which to work. Reading helps more words enter your brain, and by either using the clues of context or by looking them up, you can add them to your repertoire of words to use in the future.
  6. Reading Is A Great Way To Learn New Skills 
    There are so many how-to books out there. It’s actually rather glorious what all we can learn from reading. And, in addition to all the books, there are millions of articles. Isn’t it crazy to think of the fact that we will never run out of things to read?
  7. Reading Opens Up A Whole World Of Friendships 
    I’m not talking about friendships with characters, although that’s pretty epic, too. I’m speaking more about when you get to talk about reading with other people – it can be instant connectivity.
  8. Reading Is A Delightful, Inexpensive Form of Entertainment  
    Sure, you can spend a lot of money on books, but there are also great alternatives – like the library and book sales. So go, have fun, and learn a lot!
What is one of your favorite benefits to reading?

P.S. Stay tuned for a list of bookish recommendations coming soon!