Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankfully Reading Day 2

I managed to avoid the turkey coma. I set out to eat until I was full and I did exactly that. No stuffed feeling! We ate dinner with friends and ended up eating in 3 waves, because of all the food! Roasted turkey and sides first, smoked turkey and smoked mac and cheese second, and dessert third, including this ridiculous Mile-High Apple Pie topped with caramel and pecans. Yes.

That was easily the best apple pie I have ever consumed. My friend said it was a Paula Deen recipe, so if you're interested in recreating that amazing deliciousness, I'm sure you could Google it!

On the reading side of things, I managed to get quite a bit done yesterday! We didn't head to our friend's home until 4:30, so all morning and E's nap time were spent occasionally fitting in 10 or so pages and when we got home and the little one was off to bed, I sat for a couple hours and sped through The Book of Strange New Things. Almost done with that one and it's 500 pages! Hoping to finish that and maybe 2 more of the course of this long weekend. 

For today's update, Jenn asked us to answer the question "what book are we most thankful for this year?" I didn't even have to think about my answer, as it's the one book that brought back my love of reading this fall. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. 

I had too much on my plate, signing up for event after event and though most of these things were fun and I had a great time while I was out, it definitely took away my reading time and often left me exhausted. I didn't have time to read, because I wasn't ever home and when I was home, I just wanted to sleep. The Best Yes spoke truth into my life and made me realize that I was craving the ability to slow down and return to the quieter life I loved... and how to be ok with saying no. 

I have started slowly taking myself out of obligations that were making me exhausted and that I felt like I absolutely had to do and sticking with the things I truly love. My dinner club and book club are sticking around, but the second book club and my Bunco group had to go. I've taken leave from the bookstore, so I'm no longer working on weekends, and amazingly my reading numbers have gone up and I'm just happier. So, thank you Lysa Terkeurst, you changed my year. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfully Reading Weekend Kick-off

I'm thankful for a lot of things this year. The special parts of my life that I give thanks daily for: family, friends, my home, the resources we've been blessed with, etc. But, I'm also thankful for my love of reading. In the first half of this year, I lost it a bit. I couldn't pick up a book and want to finish it... couldn't seem to keep my attention on anything. For the first time in my life, I didn't want to sit down and read at the end of a long day. I didn't want to browse books online or talk about books with my other book nerd friends. No podcasts, audiobooks, or long visits to the library to browse. I sort of lost myself for awhile.

Around September, I got it back and I realized that loving books and reading is a gift. I am truly thankful that I have this little world -- really, a big world -- of bookish friends and book clubs and awesome podcasts to listen to. I'm so thankful for audiobooks and people to talk about them with. I'm just thankful for books. Period.

I'm spending my weekend participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted by Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves. Relaxed weekend, reading when I can, and focusing on the important things rather than Black Friday shopping madness. Amen for that.

I'm starting off with The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber and if I get through that with a 3-year-old running around, it will be a Thanksgiving miracle!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankfully Reading Weekend and 2 quick reviews

One of my blogging besties, Jenn, over at Jenn's Bookshelves, is hosting her annual Thankfully Reading Weekend (starting tomorrow!!)

and I just signed up! I wasn't sure if we'd be traveling for the holiday, but since we're just staying at home and eating with friends, I know I can spend some time relaxing and reading. I'd love to get another 10 books or so read before the end of the year and this is a great, laid-back, way to starting that challenge off.

Let me know if you decide to sign up!

I recently received a couple of books from BookLook to review and I wanted to sneak them in here before Thanksgiving.

The first, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagery is one I'll be giving to several of my friends this Christmas! Her writing, reminiscent of Ann Voskamp, made me tear up in the middle of every chapter, speaking truth to my soul. Despite every setback - no matter how big or small - the hope the author exhibits is both intense and inspiring. She constantly recognized that God was present in her life and helped lead her to the adoption of her beautiful children. If you have a friend going through a rough patch (or you are!), read this book and it will change your heart.

The First Christmas Ever, illustrated by Dennis Jones, a book sent for Elliott to "review," unfortunately didn't please either of us. Though he seemed intrigued by the silly illustrations, the text was much too wordy to hold his attention. I was disappointed in the writing style, as the words and message seemed too 2014 (possibly to reach for higher appeal...?) and dumbed down. There are lots of excellent books on the Christmas story out there, so we'll pass on this one.

Not every book can be a winner!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Put Me in the Story giveaway!

One of my very first memories is unloading the entire Berenstain Bears shelf at the library into our book bag to take home. The librarian didn't say a word and despite the length and wordiness of each book, my mom and I sprawled out on the living room floor and read every single one over and over. It was hours of reading, without a single complaint from my mom about spending so much time in the land of that bear family, and an awesome memory was implanted.

Many of my memories of growing up include books and the reading lifestyle I created for myself. Books make amazing memories and they're instantly what I go to when needing to buy gifts -- as do most of you! Finding that special book for each child on my list is my favorite part of shopping during the holidays.

When Sourcebooks contacted me about hosting this contest for Put Me In a Story, I jumped on it. Personalized books make that gift even more special, as it's obvious you were thinking exactly of that particular child when you chose it. Books were such a treasured position in my own childhood, that I really wanted to help one of you make a great memory with your own kids. They have a huge range of titles for you to chose from and below you could win one of 50 copies or a $500 shopping spree!

I had the chance to chose a book to be personalized and because a very special little girl in our lives is having a birthday soon, Doc McStuffins: A Knight in Sticky Armor  is being personalized just for her! I know she's going to love it.

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win! All winners will be chosen on December 6th. If you choose to Tweet about this contest, be sure to use #BookMagic! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

While Beauty Slept review

A reimagined telling of the famous Sleeping Beauty story, Blackwell has given us a beautiful novel filled with backstory and details on all the characters within reach of who "Sleeping Beauty" really was. Told from the perspective of a young girl, Elise, raised in poverty and eventually ending up in service at the castle, we are able to watch the story unfold from the eyes of an insider to royalty. 

Fairy tale retellings are some of my very favorite books and with While Beauty Slept, Elizabeth Blackwell has rocketed to the top of my favorites list. I loved the story, with the cozy feeling it managed to evoke despite the darkness in the story, and managed to read it in one sitting -- no small feat with an almost 3-year-old. The setting, the incredible descriptions, and an amazing cast of characters has made this a book I'm going to recommend again and again. 

Thanks to Penguin for the review copy! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Brave Mom by Sherry Surratt

As most of you know, I'm the coordinator for my local chapter of MOPS International. It's an amazing position to hold -- leading over 40 women in biweekly meetings of fellowship, prayer, crafts, speakers, and just a good, relaxing experience. I feel completely overwhelmed with the passion I have for helping these women experience a couple hours of escape from mom-life. It's amazing.

Sherry Surratt is the President of MOPS International and Brave Mom is the theme book this year. It's filled with great advice for the us moms, battling through the trenches of raising little ones, and focusing on ten of our biggest fears as mothers. I can always use encouragement direct from Scripture, as well as from a seasoned mom.

Nothing in the book was new information to me or totally attention-grabbing, but it was a nice read to confirm that my fears as a mom are completely normal and reiterated practical ways to get over them and move on. Would make a great gift for a new mom!

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy!