Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

#CoverCrush: Some Women

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I loved this cover as soon as I saw it. The bright colors, the tea cups. Even without the word "women" in the title, this cover invokes a feeling of friendship and camaraderie. The cups immediately have me thinking about a group of friends sitting together, sharing a cup of tea or coffee and chatting. The top cup has a chip in it. Why? Is it indicative of a broken marriage? An estranged friendship? Women with flaws? One must read the book to find out.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Flashlight Commentary, indieBRAG.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Follow Me on Facebook!

I admit I was skeptical about creating a Facebook page for 2 Kids and Tired. I've always kept FB personal. But, finding myself with a random moment of free time (or it could have been part of a stream of distractedness, I don't remember) I created a page.

It's been fun. I can follow Book Bloggers and book-related pages. I can follow authors and connect with readers.  All under the 2 Kids and Tired name, rather than my own. I now have a place on Facebook to share all the book-related things I want, without giving up the privacy that my own profile gives me.

So, are you on Facebook? Want to follow 2 Kids and Tired there? You'll get first notice of blog posts and find some funny and thoughtful things that might not make it here.

Find me on Facebook here:  2 Kids and Tired. Are you on Facebook? Let me know!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

He is Risen

Gethsemane by Melanie Hoffman. Sung by Claire Ryann Crosby.

Because of Him. Easter Morning. He is Risen.

The hardest thing that ever was done
The greatest pain that ever was known
The biggest battle that ever was won
This was done by Jesus.
The fight was won by Jesus.

Friday, March 25, 2016

5 Books I want to Read: Sisters

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2510. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. This month I hadn't planned a theme, but as I went through my wish list, books about sisters kept popping up. I have three sisters, so books about sisters have always appealed to me.

Sisters on Bread Street by Frances Brody

Leeds, 1914. Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above devastating poverty, while the threat of war looms large over their community. Angry feelings about foreigners have reached boiling point; their German-Jewish father's search for work proves hopeless, leaving entrepreneurial Julia to keep the family afloat by hawking homemade pies on the streets of Leeds.

Her beautiful elder sister Margaret, an apprentice milliner and new member of the suffragette set, seeks a faster way out of the daily grind, pinning her hopes on a rich suffragette's journalist son, Thomas.

But as the war rages on, it is left to Julia to discover the true meaning of courage and family, as she learns to look forward to the start of the new day - and the promise of a better life ahead.

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan... and never cook again.

But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.

The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

Two Sisters by Mary Hogan

Mary Hogan’s powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—plus their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.

One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets...

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired and round, she worships her beautiful blonde sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.

But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgmental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.

Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.

The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott

From an award-winning young adult author comes a touching women’s fiction debut featuring three sisters who discover that coming home for the holidays isn’t as easy as it seems...
Sometimes coming home for the holidays isn’t as easy as it seems...

It’s December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They’re also coming to bury their father.

Claire, the youngest, a free spirit who journeyed to California, returns first. Then comes Julia, the eldest, a college professor with a teenage son of her own. And finally there’s Maya, the middle child, who works so hard to be the perfect mother and wife.

During the sisters’ week together, old conflicts surface, new secrets emerge, and the limits and definitions of family are tested. And as the longest night of the year slips by and brightening days beckon, the sisters will have to answer one question: When you’re a sister, aren’t you a sister forever?

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.


What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, A Bookaholic Swede, Flashlight Commentary, Layered Pages, A Literate Vacation.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#CoverCrush: Saving Amelie

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

This cover was the reason I took the book for review. I instantly knew it had something to do with WW2 because of the colors and clothing. The cover also immediately invoked peril and secrecy. And when you read the story, it is apparent that this young girl's life is in danger and the woman pictured with her, must take her away from the SS father who would have her killed for her deafness.

I enjoyed this book and you can see my review of Saving Amelie here.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Flashlight Commentary.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Belle Reading

I never feel lonely if I've got a book - they're like old friends. Even if you're not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they're part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life.--Emilia Fox


Monday, March 21, 2016

The Secret of Pembrooke Park...Review

About the book:
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

As I work my way through toppling TBR stacks, I was delighted to discover a Julie Klassen book I'd forgotten was there. Julie is one of my favorite historical authors and I always enjoy her books.

Abigail Foster's father loses most of his fortune in a bad investment and is forced to retrench. An unexpected offer from a distant relative to live in an abandoned manor house comes at the right time. The house is surrounded by a mysterious past as the previous owners left suddenly and the house still looks as it did that night.

Abigail soon begins receiving unsigned letters from the manor's previous occupant and she is led to discover the secrets of the manor, including an alleged secret room and a missing treasure.

I liked Abigail and her strength and substance. The Chapman family was fantastic: I loved Leah and discovering her story and William and Abigail's romance was sweet, even as they danced around each other for far too long. Abigail's mother and sister were selfish and self-centered.

I felt the story dragged and took far too long to find its conclusion, satisfying as it was. This one won't go on my favorites shelf, but it was enjoyable.

Thanks to Bethany House and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Julie Klassen here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/16

* * *
3/5 Stars

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Weekend Reflections 3/19

Looking outside....the sun is shining, and it's a bit windy.

Listening...to the sound of the fish tank filter (which means it needs some more water) and The Doctor fixing a leaky kitchen sink.

Loving...that Daredevil Season 2 is on Netflix. The Doctor and I watched six episodes last night with my sister. Oh. My. Goodness. It's a lot darker than last season. I really like Frank Castle. I hate Elektra.

Thinking...that we really need to do some yard work.

In my kitchen...I am enjoying my morning cup of hot chocolate. 

Wearing...red penguin pajama pants and a gray turtleneck with gray fuzzy socks.

Needing...to do some house work and laundry.

Reading...Finished The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen. Review to go up on Monday. Also finished Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund. Need to write that review. Still need to finish A Perfumer's Secret. I'm hoping it doesn't end up as a DNF.

Today...The Doctor is off. He doesn't have many Saturdays off, so we really enjoy the ones he does. The Boy went golfing. The Artist had a sleepover at Nonna's with his cousins.

Quoting...“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine..” ― Alan Turing, The Imitation Game

Planning...It's Spring Break this next week, so we're planning a few activities.

Gratitude...for sunshine and blue skies.

From my world... 

My Sunday School class knows what team they're on. Even at church! #TeamCap all the way.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

#CoverCrush: A Spool of Blue Thread

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I have decided that I am drawn to simple covers. This in particular caused me to take a second look. I was immediately curious: is it a story about a seamstress or dressmaker? What is the setting or the time period? None of that is apparent simply by looking at the cover. It requires picking up the book or looking for a synopsis to see if I am finally reeled in and want to read it.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Luna Tree: The Baby Project...Spotlight

About the book:
Maya is kicking up her heels, living the fabulous and mostly carefree life of a twenty-something young woman. However, in the back of her mind continuous longing for a good marriage and family lingered. How do you find the right man, the one who sticks through thick and thin? Will he provide you with the things you find essential in a relationship? Maya kissed a few frogs before finding her Prince Charming, but what followed was of higher importance. 

She started feeling chronic pain in her lower back, the pain that wouldn't let her neither sit nor stand. Thus Maya began her relentless quest for diagnosis and healing, which she ends after discovering Energy healing. She travels the globe to receive and raise her own stored Energy, the one that changes everything. Her ultimate desires come true.

About the author:
Maya Berger is a middle-aged, first-time mother born in Croatia, at the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe. She is also a survivor of a rare autoimmune disease that affects the spine and bigger joints.

The daughter of two physicians, Maya grew up feeling she should follow their footsteps and become a pediatrician.

However, Maya did not think much of the school system, and didn’t feel it was good enough to support that choice. As a child, she doubted herself a lot, and chose getting the Economics Degree at the University instead, probably because it was the natural thing to do.

Maya worked in big corporations' sales and marketing teams for ten years, but decided to become her own boss and started a Pilates studio. Today, she coaches energy relaxations sessions, promotes Croatian tourism, and writes books.

Thanks to Maya for the opportunity to spotlight her book. You can learn more about Maya on her website, Facebook and Twitter. You can purchase your own copy here.


Monday, March 14, 2016

The Mistress of Tall Acre...Review

About the book:
There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre...

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--you will find it all in the rich pages of this newest novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz.

The time period surrounding the Revolutionary War has always fascinated me. That farmers went to war against the British Army and won should surprise me, but it doesn't. They were brave and fought with the belief that God would permit them victory. In fact, The Doctor (who is British) has often been heard to say, "You won because you had God on your side."

This novel takes place after the war is over. The colonies are decimated, the British soldiers invaded homes and properties much like the Union army did to Confederate homes during the Civil War. Familes were torn apart when some who were loyal to the crown returned to England, branded as traitors by the Americans. Sophie Menzies' father is considered a Tory--a traitor--and as he returned to England, Sophie stayed, but is tarnished by his reputation.

Seamus Ogilvy returns home a widowed General with a young daughter and an estate to bring back into posterity.  Needing a wife and mother for his daughter, he eventually asks Sophie to marry him. Already loving his daughter Lily Cate, Sophie agrees and finds herself falling in love with Seamus, but believes him to still be mourning his deceased wife.

When trouble turns up, it appears someone is out to scare Sophie away and with the appearance of someone from Seamus' past, Sophie's world is thrown into turmoil.

I love Laura Frantz and I have adored nearly every book she has written. Courting Morrow Little is still one of my favorite books of all time.  This one, I am ashamed to say languished in my TBR pile for far too long. I finally picked it up and it was fantastic. Laura has an amazing way with words; her descriptions are vivid and rich. Her heroines are strong and their stories compelling. Sophie is fantastic and her love and care of Lily Cate and her influence on Tall Acre is nothing short of amazing.

Sophie finds a place next to Morrow Little as one of my favorite Frantz characters.

Thanks to Revell and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Laura Frantz here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/16

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weekend Reflections 3/12

Looking outside....the sun is shining, but there is a chance of rain this afternoon. However, we should hit high 50s, which will feel so warm!

Listening...to a music mix with headphones while I work on computer. That seems to be the MO these days. Current song is Kiss Beth. Next up is Jason Collett Rave on Sad Songs. (Discovered from watching the film Before We Go. Not something I would normally go for, but I really liked it.)

Loving...that Spring is on its way. There were fat Robins in our yard yesterday. I love every season except Summer. I don't do well with the heat.

Thinking...that we need to do some spring trimming in the yard.

In my kitchen...I am enjoying my morning cup of hot chocolate. We grilled steak last night for dinner, so I need to figure out something for tonight. These people I live with? They expect to be fed every day. Seriously! 

Wearing...red penguin pajama pants and a black t-shirt with gray fuzzy socks.

Needing...to work do the transcription tape from yesterday and put in a couple of hours for editing.

Reading...The Secret of Pembrooke Park. I finished The Mistress of Tall Acre and loved it. Review goes up Monday.

Today...The Doctor is at work. The Boy is contemplating whether he can golf later because golf season has started for the High School Golf Team and he golfs every day, even when it's drizzling. The Artist is up in McCall for a scout camp out. I think they went tubing last night.

Quoting...“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

Planning...I don't know what I'm planning, actually. Some times it's nice to just go with the flow.

Gratitude...for so many things. The flowers that are starting to creep through the ground (my peonies are pushing their way up). Rain instead of snow. Amazing Young Men's leaders for my boys. 

From my world... 

I am giddy, absolutely giddy for this movie. It is probably going to break my heart in a thousand ways, but damn, I am absolutely excited to see it. I love Tony, but I am #TeamCap all the way.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Пятница Ponderings: What Have You Done?

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

I'm not sure where this originated, but I'd done it on my personal blog several years ago. It was fun to revisit.

The things I have done are highlighted in bold:

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (I was 3, does that still count?)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World (Both, although Disney World was so long ago that the Epcot Center wasn't even built yet...)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (It will never happen in this lifetime.)
11. Bungee jumped (No way in hell.)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (I managed some raspberries last year.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (I went to the Orsay and saw Monet instead.)
20. Slept on an overnight train (From Venice to Paris.)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (ok, so it wasn't a gondola, it was a vapparetto, but it was in Venice!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (Does a dinner/dance cruise in the San Francisco Bay count?)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (if Utah and Idaho counts)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (In all his glory, yes I have!! ;)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (It was snowing, we couldn't see it)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (No, but I've paid for the people behind me on toll bridges before)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (No, but my son was, as a newborn.)
47. Had my portrait painted (Do Caricatures count?)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (I'd love to go!)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching (tried, it got canceled because of the weather)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (All three, thank you very much.)
65. Gone sky diving (No way. Not ever.)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (A really long time ago.)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (Does the Okefenokee Swamp count?)
75. Been fired from a job (A really, really long time ago. It was the first real paying one I had.)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (Not yet.)
77. Broken a bone (Seeing how I fell down the stairs twice in one month, fortunately, no.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (Just twice.)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (We tend to stick with gently used.)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (Only if fish is included in that.)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby 
(I had two!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

If you want to play along, go ahead!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

#CoverCrush: I'll See You in Paris

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I loved this cover immediately. Even without the title, Paris is obviously in the background. The blues are bright and captured my attention. What is the significance of the book? It's old, but is it a novel or a journal? What part does it play in the story? I can't wait to find out.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday: Nerd Quirk

I couldn't find a place to credit the graphic as this one seems invalid.

This was me. I would get all my work done in class so I could read. One of my elementary school teachers once called my mom because I was always reading, even though I'd finished my work.
My mom's reaction: "You have a child who wants to read and you're upset about it?"
My teacher's response: "To the other children it looks like she isn't doing her work."
My mom: "Just send her to the library when she's done with her work and let her read."

I don't think it will surprise anyone to know that my favorite elementary school teacher was the school librarian.

Even today, I have a mindset that if I get my work done (job, housework, whatever) then I can read.

What about you?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Plain Choice...Review

About the book:
Amanda’s husband, Cuban pop star Alejandro, believed he was doing right by his wife when he left her on her parents’ farm in the familiar shelter of Lancaster’s Amish community. Amanda, however, has other ideas. Unwilling to sit idly by and hide from the paparazzi, she follows her husband to Europe for the start of his world tour to find out if their marriage can be saved once and for all.

When the two reunite, it’s plain to see that their love is stronger than their differences. But as they travel together, Amanda is surprised to discover that her own fame is beginning to match her husband’s. Now she must struggle to bridge her Amish upbringing and a new, unasked-for role in the public eye. As other unexpected tensions challenge their bond, can Amanda and Alejandro keep their promises and make space for her faith, his fame, and a growing love?

As with the first four books in this series, this one picks up immediately where the last one ended. It is a series you must read in order. And while I have liked this series well enough, it wasn't until this last book that I truly enjoyed it.

Believing that the touring wasn't good for his recently acquired daughter Isadora, Alejandro has Amanda return to her family's farm with her young stepdaughter. However, Amanda is finding her backbone and refuses to be separated from Alejandro and watch the tabloids speculate on the end of her marriage. Amanda leaves Isadora with her sister and returns to Europe, surprising Alejandro.

Thrust back into the spotlight, Amanda soon learns that her fame equals that of her husband. His fans are enamored of the Amish girl turned famous. Amanda loves being with her husband but struggles with finding a public role, when all she wants is to be a wife and mother.

Throughout each book I have wondered why Alejandro kept himself surrounded by such selfish, mean people. I don't care who you are or what your fame. You are responsible for yourself and there were multiple times over this first year of marriage where he could have said, "No, I'm not going to do that" or "My family is important". He was selfish and self-centered and it took him a year and 5 bloody books to finally learn what was important in life and that was to have his family reunited.

And while I loved that Alejandro finally woke up and took control of his life and career, what I really appreciated was Amanda coming into her own and realizing that she didn't have to put up with demanding schedules and publicists. She could express her opinions and she could talk to fans in her own way and, by doing so, could touch them and teach by her own example. Bravo.

This book is also the most sensual of the series. But, it was actually refreshing to see a married Christian couple passionate about each other, which is something you don't normally find in Amish or even Christian fiction.

Easily my favorite of the series.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Sarah Price here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 2/16

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Confessions of a Book Blogger Interview

I have blogging since 2007. It's been quite the ride. I've had some great experiences. I've met some fantastic people and I've discovered literally hundreds of books I might not have looked at too closely before finding this unique little corner of the internet.

This year I've had the opportunity to get to know a team of amazing bloggers as a group of us came together to promote and support each other and work together to make blogging an even better experience. We've started collaborating on weekly and monthly posts and it has been a lot of fun. It's renewed my interest in blogging and I've made some wonderful friends.

Stephanie at Layered Pages came up with the idea to interview fellow bloggers and have them share their experiences with blogging and reviewing. I was privileged to talk with Stephanie and my interview can be read HERE.

She has also interviewed my friends: Colleen from A Literary Vacation. Check out her interview here. Heather from The Maiden's Court. See her interview here.

Colleen, Heather and Stephanie are delightful and I highly encourage you to follow them both!