These are the ramblings of a wanna-be writer and enamored reader. They promise to be raw, enthusiastic and probably repetitive and ramble-y. But they are a true representation of my word-filled mind trying desperately to sort out the feelings and thoughts that consume me as I read. Enjoy?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Time to Heal...

I went to a friends house for the weekend in NC, to participate in a walk to raise money for her to have a new, wheelchair accessible room built onto her house. She has Spina Bifida like I do, but she can't walk (I use forearm crutches). I didn't walk very much at all, really, but I came home with an infection in my foot. I wasn't terribly surprised...this foot has been giving me trouble since I burned in 6 years ago. There's just this one stubborn spot that keeps coming back. But this time it was pretty bad. The pain started on Saturday night, and I had a low fever. By Sunday night, after I came home and went to church, I could hardly walk and the pain started shooting up my leg. We went to the ER, and found that it was, indeed, pretty badly infected. I've been on IV meds for the past 2 days, but now I'm home with the same meds in pill form, and orders to stay off my foot completely.

Guess what that means? *Hopefully* I'll get lots of reading done! I got like 6 new books from friends while I was in the hospital, came home and found that I had another in the mail from a blog giveaway and an email that I had won another. I really, really want to reorganize my books now, but that'll have to wait. Thankfully, it's nice and rainy and perfect for reading.

I'll try to make the most of this time to heal.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miracles (A 52-Week Devotional)

Oddly enough, this is not the book I said that I was working on in the previous post. I just wanted an "easy read" that I could get through quickly and check of my list. Today I cut my goal of 100 books down to 50. Some/most people on the blogs that I follow and websites I look at, who are doing the same goal (100), are on about book 40. Miracles is book 7 for me. Yeeaaaah. 50 seems a whole lot more do-able. Who knows, I could make to to 50 and keep going to 100 after all! We'll see. For now, here is my review of number 7.

Book: Miracles (A 52-Week Devotional)

Author: 52 witnesses of a miracle. Put together by Karen Kingsbury.

Pages: 223

Summary: I bought Miracles at the end of last year, thinking it would be a great devotional book for 2011. While it does have Bible verses throughout, it's not really that kind of devo book...at least not for me. It's a little like a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, which I've always liked - a collection of short stories of miraculous...miracles.

Thoughts: Although it wasn't what I expected, I loved it. Even if I wasn't trying to just cross off one more book, I would've read it straight through. I was too hooked to just read one a week for the year. Every single story gave me chills or made me tear up. I mean, how awesome is God? So awesome. I loved that there were so many adoption stories, because I know how dear that is to Karen. I can just see her in my mind, being so touched by the stories as she put the book together.

Favorite things: I liked the adoption stories best, I think.

Least favorite: How can I choose a least favorite thing about a book of real-life miracles?

The cover story: I love the simplicity of its beauty. I really like the shade of blue of the single flower, and the crisp white writing of the title and Karen's name. It's eye-catching without taking away from the greatness that is inside...does that make sense? What you see is what you get. "Simple", beautiful stories

My Favorite Quote: Don't have one this time...

Casting Call: Can't really cast this one either.

My final say: A powerful book about the works of a powerful God. I recommend it, for sure!

Leaving: In Stores Now!

March 22 is finally here! And you know what that means? You can go buy Leaving now! I really, really think you need to read this book. And if you haven't read the Baxter books(Redemption, Firstborn and Sunrise series) or the Above the Line series (18 books altogether) leading up to Leaving, you better get on it! I promise you will be hooked and you will fall in love with the characters. Go do it!

(I'm reading another book now, but I'm the world's slowest reader apparently {didn't realize just how slow until I started this blog} It is coming though!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Ooh, I'm so excited about this post! This past week, I had the unique privilege of reviewing an advanced copy of Karen Kingsbury's new book, Leaving! It releases in stores on March 22, but Karen wanted some of her readers to review it and spread the word, to get people even more excited. I couldn't believe it when I was chosen!

If you really know me, you know how much I love Karen's books. There is just something about them that, as I said in my last post, touches me in a way that nothing else can. The characters feel like friends and their stories as real as my own. I have a shelf in my room for her books only, and it's finally full...I don't know what I'll do now! :) I also have a KK tote-bag and coffee mug (It's my favorite too. That's a big deal). My goal is to own everything KK that I can. I can't get enough! I know, I'm kind of a geek.

Book: Leaving

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Pages: 322

Summary: Leaving is the first story in the new Bailey Flanigan series. It follows Bailey as she starts the journey of life on her own, away from her home and family. It also continues the stories of the other members of the Flanigan family and the beloved Baxters.

Thoughts: (this is the review I submitted to Karen)

With every new book that follows the Baxters and the Flanigans, I am amazed at how much more I grow to love them and how involved I get in their fictional lives. There is an aspect of every story that I can relate to, but none more than Bailey Flanigan's. I will be 18 next month, and while I don't have plans to leave home just yet, I know it is coming one day. Leaving definitely hit home and made me think of all the lasts I am experiencing right now, and all the firsts that are just around the corner.

I was expecting yet another wonderful book from Karen, of course, but I was still blown away. Each page held something new to stop and think about and learn from. It had me laughing at something Devin said one minute, and sobbing the next. At times, I even found myself talking to the characters, begging them to do what I wanted. Now, some people might think I'm crazy, but I think it's just a testament to Karen's incredible, God-given gift.

Favorite things: Every single thing about it. I loved the story and how involved I felt in it. I loved the new things my favorite character encounters, even when they were sad, because of how they relied on God through everything.

Least Favorite: There were some twists that I didn't expect and some things that happened that I'm not super happy about right now, but I know it'll work out by the end of the series. There are always loose ends at the end of the first book, but I know she'll get her happily-ever-after. It definitely made me anxious for the next book, Learning, which comes out in June. I wish I didn't have to wait so long!

The cover story: The cover of Leaving is one of my favorites. Karen's daughter, Kelsey, who is the inspiration behind Bailey Flanigan, is the cover model. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous?! The cover really is perfect for the story. It shows Bailey standing in Times Square, where she moves to pursue her dream of being on Broadway. I like that it's kind of blurred in the background, but she's clear. It kind of gives the sense that, even in all the craziness that is NYC, Bailey is completely at peace because she knows she is where God wants her. I love the look in her stunning blue eyes; a look of wonder and the promise of endless possibilities.

My favorite quote: There are always so many great quotes in Karen's books. I'm always stopping to re-read the lines that really hit me, and there are so many. The way that Karen views the world is beautiful, and her words never fail to speak to my heart and soul. I don't have a favorite quote from Leaving, but my favorite quote of all time comes from Take Three, in her Above the Line series, which is right before the Bailey Flanigan series.

"Life is too short for half-hearted connections and meaningless run throughs."

Casting Call: Being the super nerd/HUGE Karen Kingsbury fan that I am, I do have a list of people that I would want to play every single Baxter and most of the Flanigans and other friends, but I'm resisting the urge to share it because I just know there will be a movie or tv series one day and they'll need some help with casting the perfect person, and it'll be me to the rescue! Plus, I can't narrow down my ideas so there's about a billion...

My final say: Another gem by Karen Kingsbury that will be cherished and re-read over and over. I highly recommend that you go out and buy it on March 22!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Side of Heaven

Finally, another review! I was hoping to post sooner, but oh well. I'm still learning how to do this. I think I'll read more than one book at a time and just see which is ready to be reviewed first. I like to savor a book, but I'll take forever to read them if I savor them one at a time. :) I'm also going to add who I would cast in a movie version of (some of) the fiction books I review, just because I think that's a lot of fun. I know the posts are going to be a million miles long, but you can just call them "thorough". Sorry, just thinking "out loud." Here's the review:

Book: This Side of Heaven

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Pages: 307

Summary: (back cover) A story of family secrets, broken relationships and a love strong enough to span the nation.

Thoughts: I am so e
xcited to be reviewing a book by my favorite author, Karen Kingsbury, and I wish this review could do her gift justice. There is just something about her writing that makes the story come to life and the characters become my friends. Every word touches my heart in a way no other thing can. I usually have tears streaming down my face before I even get through the dedications she writes to her family at the beginning of each book.

Karen is not one to shy away from tough, real life issues, and This Side of Heaven is no exception. It dealt with having a child out of wedlock (with a married woman) and pain killer addiction, among other things. As I said before, her characters are always incredibly special and wonderful. They are perfectly imperfect, and you can't help but love them. In This Side of Heaven, there were some returning friends, and some new ones. I fell in love with Josh on the first page - he was so real. Savannah stole my heart instantly. I sympathized with Annie, I appreciated Nate's quiet, steady strength and Lindsey's loyalty. The story captured my attention and held it, so that I just needed to know how it all worked out, how they got to their happy ending. I think this one would make an excellent movie.

Favorite things: Carl Joseph, Daisy, Cody and Elle were back! I was so excited! They're from two of my very favorite books, A Thousand Tomorrows and Just Beyond the Clouds, and I've missed them. :) The mention of Ali was great too, and I like knowing that she's still not forgotten. I also liked that it started with a renewed faith for Josh, instead of ending with it. It was a unique perspective. I also enjoyed the story being told from Savannah's point of view at times - Karen is great at capturing a child's innocence in her writing.

Least favorite: Maria Cameron. She made me so angry. I like all the "smaller" parts with Cara, Becky and even Lindsey, but it made me wish for more of their stories. I would LOVE to read Cara's and Becky's in another book, especially Becky.

The Cover Story: This cover is beautiful! I've had my eye on this one for a while because of it. It really captures the innocence of Savannah's character and is just how I would've imagined her. Her eyes are stunning!

My favorite quote:
"Wondering is a part of life. As long as it doesn't keep you from living."
Casting Call:

Josh - Josh Braaten - (I had him in mind from page 1, but the others I had to look for. :P)
Savannah - Dannika Northcutt -
Annie - Kate Mulgrew -
Nate - James Read -
Lindsey - Sophia Bush -

There you go! More of Karen's books will be posted in the future. Let me know what you think about my reviews - I'm learning and could use some tips!