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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

I recently received an advanced copy of The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. The story focuses on the Bird family, specifically matriarch Lorelai. She has a problem with hoarding that grows worse as she ages. The four children Meg, Bethan, Rory and Rhys and their father, Colin, each face issues of their own particularly after a family members death. The book details the spiral of the family members. 

The House We Grew Up In was beautifully written and well constructed. While it bounced back and forth between the characters past and present with different perspectives on each part of their lives, the story was cohesive and never left me confused as to who was narrating and what was happening. The story followed an obvious trajectory as it waded through three different eras. 

The plot though led the characters into deeper and darker corners of themselves and the world. This was what I didn't like about the book. I don't like to go into corners as deep and dark as the ones Jewell negotiates. It was a bit unsettling to me and made it hard to keep picking up the book. It took me a long time to finish this book. (So long in fact that I am now 4 books behind schedule on my Goodreads challenge.) I can't, in good conscience, recommend this book as it was so grisly. However, you may have a tolerance for such subjects. If not consider this fair warning.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell releases on August 27.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this post are my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Min Pin Monday: 7.21.14

What do you do when your little brother won't leave you alone?

Take a page from the Cat Handbook and climb to the top of the sofa and sit, of course!

Friday, July 11, 2014


I want to update you, my dear readers, but the truth is that I don't have a lot going on right now. So I thought I would let know some of the boring stuff going on right now. 

*There are some affiliate links here, because, why not?

I've been watching 7th Heaven which showed up on Hulu Plus* in June. I loved this show in middle and high school. While I was Simon's age when the show aired, I always related most to Lucy and adored Ruthie. It's a great show, you should definitely check it out. You should note that the show (which has 11 seasons) started in 1996 and references a lot of topics that were hot button issues in those days.

I'm currently reading 4 books! I don't really know what happened. I am also 3 books behind on my Goodreads challenge for 2014. (Follow me at that link!) I am reading The House We Grew Up In* by Lisa Jewell and will review it sometime in August - it releases on August 27. I am trying to finish Quitter* by Jon Acuff. I have been reading this for a while. Its great, but I tend to get distracted when reading non-fiction. I really recommend it, even if you have a job you love and don't want to leave. I am also loving How to Pick up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness* by Todd and Erin Stevens. This book is fabulous and is really challenging me. In fact it has altered the way I pray in the morning. I will be reviewing this one as well, once I get it finished. Finally, I started Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett the other day. I didn't intend to start it, but I did and the first chapter really made me want to keep reading. Although it was raw and different from how I lived at the girls age, I could relate in a lot of ways.

I think I am going to dedicate this weekend to reading.

I started sewing back in the fall and into the winter. I love it, but stopped after we went on vacation. Pop Rock's grannie told me that it was ok, she always like to sew better in the colder weather. I'll pick it back up soon. I only have so many hours in the day and I need to spend more time reading (see above). I did make some really cute necklaces to sell, but I haven't sold them yet. Hopefully soon…

Finally, what inspired this post, I wrote a post that I didn't publish sort of about politics and religion. Topics I don't generally get involved with here or in many conversations. Then this post came out and I was like, that's what I was trying to say. So go read it instead. In fact, I had titled my post, "The Gray."

Anyway, I hope that you all have a great weekend. Enjoy yourself, whatever that looks like for you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How She Does It by Anne Bogel

One of my favorite bloggers, Anne Bogel, re-released her e-book as How She Does It. I picked it up when it was free, but I would have bought it anyway.

You need to read this book.

It is geared toward women with children who are trying to figure out what their career and family balance will look like. I think it is perfect if you don't have kids, yet. Even if you aren't planning to have kids, but you live with other people it is good. It will make you rethink what it takes to really thrive in life.

Pop Rocks and I don't have kids yet (other than these kids, at least) but it had lots of pertinent information for our family.

My favorite was when Anne talks about sharing tasks around the house. She says, "I have to remind myself of this when I am tempted to correct my husband's housecleaning… Likewise, I would rather he not tell me if I'm not perfectly executing tasks I'm not great at - like trimming the bushes. We're both trying and we're both getting the job done - well enough at least."

I love the idea of getting the job done well enough. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be better than it was.

Anyway I really encourage you to read this book. You can purchase How She Does It: An everywoman's guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life  on Amazon. (That's an affiliate link for you.) 

Friday, May 30, 2014

To the Class of 2014

Its been 10 years since I graduated from high school (the photo is from my college graduation - with my Grandmother). While I am not old enough to really give much advice, the song "Wake Me Up" by Aviccii has struck a chord with me lately. If you aren't familiar with it watch it here.

The line in the song that has gotten me most is: "Wake me up when its all over / when I'm wiser and I'm older"

The thing is that if you were to sleep through the next ten years, you would wake up older, but you wouldn't wake up wiser. 

The past ten years for me have been full of incredible learning and growth experiences. Many of the lessons that I have learned have  come with high costs. Many I couldn't learn except through my own struggles. 

Everything you go through has a way of shaping and molding you for the future. At some point you will have to stop looking at crisis as something horrible and awful and look at it as a part of life that you can grow from. 

Another line from the song that resonates with me is "All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost." 

You don't have to get lost in order to find yourself. You will find yourself as you go through life. You can jumpstart the process by figuring out your personality type (though it may change). There are lots of different tests, each will explain who you are differently. 

Your quirks and pet peeves will also develop as you age. Don't let them get out of control. 

Finally remember, "Lifes a game made for everyone / And love is the prize."

Don't be afraid to love hard. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your life. Love your school. Love where you live. Love what you do. Love who you are. Love who you want to become.  Love your neighbors. Love your boss. Love everything and everyone. 

You are going to be great and to do great things. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Right Thing by Amy Conner

I recently received an advanced copy of The Right Thing by Amy Conner. The book releases today and its worth a read. You can pick it up from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

The story follows the story of Annie Banks and Starr Dukes in Jackson, Mississippi. The girls were best friends at the age of seven, but because of circumstances outside of their control the two are forced apart. When they meet again in the dressing room of their favorite department store, their lives collide again. The book alternates between the girls childhood and their present day (1993). The story is told from Annie's perspective. Annie is from a well to-do family in the town and Starr from a poor family. Their lives should not have intertwined but they did and the result was a delightful read. 

Two quick notes: This book contains a few adult scenes (nothing too racy, but definitely not appropriate for children/young teens) and adult language (there were a couple of bombs).

I did not want to put this book down. It captured the southern parts of my heart and did not let go. I highly recommend it if you liked The Help or The Secret Life of Bees. I definitely recommend it, as long as you know about my two quick notes. I don't want to offend you with this one. 

I received a free copy of this book (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. I really did like this book a lot and definitely recommend you add it to your summer reading list. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I've Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale

I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale is about her life. Hale starts with the story that resulted in the title of the book. From there she backtracks to high school through college. Hale became a Christian and then tells about landing her dream job. She lost that job and then explains how it sent her into a spiral. A deep, dark spiral. After her recovery she lands on her feet and drifts in and out relationships which are explained in detail. One of these was an abusive relationship which she does not gloss over. Among all of the relationship drama Hale began her blog The Single Woman and that weaves its way through the rest of her story.

I really did not like this book. I keep trying to find something about it that I did like, but I’ve struggled and can not. I didn’t find Hale’s story relatable or her writing enjoyable. Apparently a lot of people do. I was really excited to read this book and was thoroughly let down. There are a lot of cliches and trite “christianese” phrases. There is even a section about how Hale would speak her dreams into life, “I would dream aloud about how I wanted a certain celebrity to follow me on Twitter, and a week or so late they would start following me.” (From page 165)

Maybe its because I’m not single and I didn’t really spend much time on the dating scene. Maybe its because I am somewhat younger than Hale. Maybe it is something else, but this book fell more than flat for me. If I wasn’t writing a review I would have stopped reading it about a quarter of the way through. I did put it down and read something else in the meantime, but it was still lost on me. I hate writing about how I didn’t like it because it goes against everything in me. I am happy for Hale, for her accomplishments, her fulfilled dreams, and all of the good things that have happened to her. I wish her all the best. Truly.

If you want to read a different perspective check out my friend Brenda’s.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. If you don’t think this review is honest, then I’m at a loss for what would be honest.