And, I’m Back {Aka, Finding My New Normal}

Y’all. Today. Today is the most perfect of all perfect autumn days. And I might gush about that a little in the video before I get down to business which is: reviewing one of the coolest books ever.

Do you see a trend of amazingness here? Yeah, life is pretty good. ūüėČ

The last six months have been some of the craziest I’ve ever seen, and my delightful little sphere here on the internet has suffered as a result. But guess what? The craziness has abated, at least for a bit, and I’m so excited about jumping back into writing and blogging and finding a new normal.

Autumn has this fantastic way of making me feel more alive and ready to embrace life than any other season, and autumn is currently in full swing over here. This morning I’m sitting by my open window wrapped up in a cozy sweater with hedgehog socks on, drinking deliciously strong coffee from a “My Weekend is All Booked” mug while listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. (Yeah, as I said, life is pretty amazing.)

What have you been up to recently? I’d be delighted to connect with y’all again. ‚̧

Giveaway Time!

Y’all! Today I’m spotlighting two great books for a giveaway! (Winner chooses which book they win.)

Gain entries by:

Books, Books, Books!

It was yesterday after a long day at work and a two mile jog on my way home that I settled down to read a book for review. I have two of them that need to be read in the next week – both look interesting and but both are nonfiction. And yesterday? Well, I felt like an easy-breezy summer-read-ie. (Yeah, folks, that sounded a lot better in my head then it looks on paper.)

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Then I realized I had a whole stack of books from the library.

And three more books for review that I’ve barely even paged through.

And three more book packages I haven’t even opened.

And several Kindle books – including one for review – that were just waiting for me.

And then I remembered Kindle Unlimited.

They’d sent me a great offer via email: Two whole months of Kindle Unlimited for only $0.99. And who could pass that up? So, I also had a gigantic amount of nearly unlimited books on Amazon that I could read for “free.”¬†So I settled down with a Kindle Unlimited book and enjoyed a peaceful evening with reading.

I’m so thankful for the wide verity¬†of books I have to choose from when I want to read, but it also made me realize how many books EVERYONE has to choose from, and therefore how hard it is to get my books to stand out in a crowd.

So! Question(s) of the day: What makes a book stand out to you? What makes you pick up a book and read it? The Cover? The Blurb? I’d be delighted to hear and learn from you.

What I Listened To While Blogging:
Nothing
Where I Blogged:
In the living room
Fun Fact:
All swans in England belong to the queen.

That Sad Moment When I Dislike A Book I Have To Review {Keturah – Book Review}

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Find it on:
Goodreads
Amazon
Watch my Book Unboxing here

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Quite simply I got authors confused. #BookWormProblem

When I requested this book I thought it was by Lisa Wingate who’s audiobooks I’ve greatly enjoyed the last couple of years. I’d also listened to a couple of Lisa T. Bergen’s audiobooks, and while I didn’t dislike them, they weren’t my style enough to request one of her books for review. So, #ooops

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I’m sorry, folks, but sadly this book was not my cup of tea. I always try and put a good spin on book reviews of books – no matter if I liked them or not, so I’ll start out with a list of the things I did¬†find interesting in the book:

  • I’ve never read Historical fiction with this setting before, so props to the author for that
  • Despite the wide cast of characters, I was able to keep them straight most of the time, which is something I sometimes have trouble with
  • There was a redemptive plotline to the book – and while I didn’t benefit from it because I’ve never gone through what the main character did, I can imagine that a lot of people would find it relatable
  • The premise was a fairly strong one
  • Descriptions were strong and I could feel the heat wafting over me as I read

With that being said, I’ll skim over what I¬†didn’t¬†like, because unfortunately, I disliked every character from the first page. Later on, there were some slaves that I didn’t find face-palming worthy, but they were few and far between.

There was also quite a bit more romance than I appreciate in books – as well as romance that felt out of place, and downright annoying. Violence was another unexpected aspect of the book that left me wrinkling my nose.

The main complaint I have with the book though was the main character. I couldn’t find anything relatable in her, and she was thoroughly unlikeable from my point of view. The way she ended up treating a certain slave when she arrived on the island was something I could¬†hardly fathom. (Especially with her own backstory!) Although, I will say she did have a soft spot and did try and rescue some slaves, so I guess she did have a redeeming quality.

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I don’t recommend this book, and I don’t foresee myself reading another book by the same author. BUT! This book does have a 4.4 out of 5 Star Rating on Amazon, so if the book looks interesting to you, you should totally try it.

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I’m giving¬†Keturah¬†2 out of 5 stars. This book was given to me in exchange for writing this review. All thoughts and opinions are honest. (I mean, obviously, folks.)

New Book Releases for March and April {Vlog}

Folks! Happy March! It’s amazing because the month only started seven hours and one minute ago, and I already feel like I’m ahead.

A month or so ago I posted a vlog with books I was looking forward to that were going to be released in Februay.¬†Someone, and I think it was Kate, said they’d like to see more of those types of vidoes, so…here y’all go!

Snarky Book Reviews

The truth of the matter is I’m very opinionated when it comes to books.

*Gasp*

The black and white snarky side of me bursts through and gives a running commentary on what is wrong with the book and how I can’t stand it. (To be fair, I do the same thing when I’m editing my own books…so at least I’m consistent.)

Most books bother me a lot. And even in books that I¬†really¬†like, there’s generally at least one aspect I can’t stand – a romance that makes my brain hurt, a side character who says all the right things at all the right times and is incredibly unrealistic, a main character who’s mean to the hilt and yet everyone things is so sweet…

And then there are the tropes that make me want to bury my head in my hands and groan for five hours. (Or text my friend Hosanna and moan to her.) Tropes like: Oh, this character is gloriously beautiful so we’ll not worry about how they treat the rest of the characters because they’re nice to look at. Or yes, we’re getting along splendidly, so let’s discover a deep, dark secret that tears us apart until the last chapter of the book. Or let’s throw in a romance that really has no place in the book, simply so we can checkmark that part of the plot.

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Y’all. There are so many times when I want to sit down and write a snarky review. I want to use my skills as a writer to pull a book apart in an amusing manner. I want to outline all the issues and problems I’ve found in a certain book.

And yet I don’t. And I won’t.

Why? Because I, too, am a writer. I know what it’s like to pour my heart and life into a book. I know what it’s like to feel vulnerable and lost as I send that book out into the world to see how people respond. I know what it’s like to eagerly await feedback, hoping, praying, longing for people to have kind words to say about the story that I’ve invested so much into.

So, even when I look at a book askance and wonder “How in the world¬†did anyone think that was a story worth spending so much time working on?” I still want to be kind. Even when I have a witty retort¬†or elegant argument, I keep it inside.

Even with books that I do write one and two-star reviews for, I strive to write those reviews with kind professionalism and always focus on the book Рnot the author. A review is to showcase the book Рbe it good or bad Рnot my ability to wield snark. (Although I will say, I do sometimes enjoy writing amusing reviews when I did like the book.)

Writing reviews is a gift we can give Рnot only to other readers but also to the authors. But please, remember to keep the author in mind as you write the review. It really does make a difference.

*I posted the screenshots above because I’m in an interlude between book reviews, plus y’all have no idea when the screenshots were taken, therefore you don’t know what book we were discussing. ūüėČ

Top Ten Book Recommendations for Nonfiction Readers

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for a Top Ten Tuesday post. The prompt for today was “Ten books we’d recommend to ________,” and I choose ten books I’d recommend to someone who wanted to read nonfiction. Even if you’ve never enjoyed nonfiction before, these books would be a¬†great¬†place for you to get your feet wet.

I came up with a variety of my four and five star reads, trying to stay away from books I’ve talked about recently. These books seriously contain fantastic stories, information, writing, and ideas. I’ll give a little blurb about each book below. I highly recommend all these books and have even bought extra copies of some of them to give away.

  1. Whatever the Cost
    Written by identical twin brothers, this book is brimming with wit, laughter, and solid information.
  2. Life Creative
    So, so beautiful. The book itself, the writing, the ideas that are shared. Living a balanced life while being a creative person is possible.
  3. 20 Things We’d Tell our Twenty-Something Selves¬†
    Told by a husband/wife team, the writing is honest, clear, and helpful. (What twenty-something person¬†doesn’t¬†need advice and honesty?)
  4. Every Body Matters 
    This one dives right into the heart of the matter that most people in the church today avoid.
  5. Screens and Teens
    Yes, yes, and yes. How to have a healthy balance in today’s age of screens all over the place.
  6. Knowing God By Name
    This book goes through various names of God, exploring what they really mean and who God really is.
  7. Dangerous Love 
    Getting shot by terrorists? Yep. Finding forgiveness? Yep. There’s a bit of an info dump near the beginning of the book, but when you get past that the story is riveting.
  8. God’s Smuggler¬†
    Smuggling. For God. Say, what??? Yeah – it’s a mouth-dropping (and sometimes laughable) true account of the life of a man from Holland.
  9. Forensic Faith 
    Picture this: A real-life detective sets out to prove that God couldn’t exist, and instead becomes a passionate Christian. Here’s how that happened.
  10. Control Girl
    Nothing like wanting to take control of a situation (or should I say¬†every¬†situation). But that’s dangerous. Here’s a good look at just how dangerous that can be.

Have you read any of these books? Which looks most interesting to you?