Thursday, March 31, 2016

Looking for Lovely

Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that MatterLooking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter by Annie F. Downs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really like Annie Downs & her writing - loved Let's all be brave.
So when I heard she had another book coming out, I was excited about it.
After all, I always feel connected to these Nashville girls that I follow on Twitter or Instagram - its like, they go to places I visit when I'm there - we must be best friends :)
But I just love Annie mainly because of her honesty & the real way she looks at life.
This book is the exact same Annie I see everywhere in social media world.
How life is full of hard times, struggles, in all honesty - ugly.
But I love how she has found things that are 'lovely' - finding a different view of the world. Finding beauty in all things.
I so was connected to this book because I even did a blog post at the beginning of the year talking about how the word PERSEVERANCE was on my heart so deeply... well, I can't tell you how many times Annie used this word throughout the book. Probably in every chapter. & it was exactly what I felt like God has been trying to tell me. Life is all about NOT GIVING UP... sticking it out... PRESSING ON!
& Annie wraps this all up so beautifully with this book. Reminding us there are lovely things to see - that through the hard of life, not giving up & making it through.
Annie summed up her chapters with ideas on what to find lovely in life... I kept a post card in my book &wrote down each one ... & I'm excited to use it as a check list for the rest of the year... taking the time to purposely see some of the lovely things God gives to us.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Running Dream

The Running DreamThe Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish there was a half star... I'd give it 3.5

I really did like the book, but it was just an easy read with not a lot of depth to it. You can totally tell its a YA book in its simplicity, but I still totally enjoyed it.

The story of a girl, Jessica who was in an accident coming from a track meet with her school's running team. She wakes up to find she's lost her leg... & with it, her love of running.

With the help of her running team, & her best friend Fiona, they try to get a campaign going to raise money for a running prosthesis.

So we see Jessica's path from the hospital & when she wakes up to getting her leg fitted &learning to walk all over again. The way it changed the way she views the world & the new friends she makes along the way.

It really was a good, fast read - & if I didn't love running, I may not have given it that many stars, but I do love a good running story - especially how this one ended. I wasn't expecting the turn it took & it was very heart warming.

It really would be good for a middle school group to read this book. A story of never giving up, starting over again & dedication to friendships.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Soooo... I know this book has been all the rage lately. & I'm late to the game.
Well, I'm glad I'm late to the game because this had to work for me differently. Normally, I love to read a book before a movie. This time I saw the movie before I read the book.
I'm so glad I did.
I'm not a good sci-fi reader. I'm clueless when it comes to all things science... so when the point of this book is to F** the S*** out of science - I am totally lost & confused.
Luckily, seeing the movie first, I knew what was going on in the story.
& that helped... but it also hurt. Because I knew what was going on & what was going to happen, I sort of skimmed over parts & just felt sort of blah about the story.
Of course, I love the parts where you get a little more depth in the mind of Watney ... but the more science explanations? I was like, Nope. Not for me.
So I give this just a basic average score. & am thankful that Matt Damon was the one who helped me through this book.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

All the Bright Places

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book did not go as I thought it would go...
but what an amazing touching story, that will break your heart in the process.

The story of a unique boy, Finch, who everyone sees as odd & strange & dubbed a freak.
Violet, the popular girl at school who lost her sister in a car accident & is struggled to get back into life.

When the two of them meet on a ledge on a bell tower, they are forever connected. Who saves who - that's really the ultimate story.

The two of them start their "Wanderings" around Indiana & learn so much about each other, themselves.

I don't want to give any spoilers away but I heard this was labeled as The Fault in our Stars mixed with Eleanor & Park... that's a good way to look at it.
& I also saw this was becoming a movie. Glad I read it when I did! I cant wait to see it now.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

One Plus One

One Plus OneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just really loved this book. The story of a single mom with a daughter & a step son she has taken responsibility for, Tanzie & Nicky. LIving a hard life. Kids getting bullied & beat up. Mom trying to make ends meet working a few jobs. Can't ever seem to get ahead. But always keeps a positive attitude that things will work out.
& when her daughter, who is a math genius, has a chance to win enough money to get her in a good school, they are off on an adventure. All in thanks to the man they meet that offers to give them a ride.
Jess & Ed are from 2 different worlds & the ride is a little rough. But as they hit snag after snag, they learn to depend on each other as everything wrong seems to happen on this trip.
Ed isn't without his own issues with a charge of insider trading & loosing everything he owns, & with a father who is sick & a sister who is giving it to him every chance she can get.
... & let's not forget the family dog, Norman, who is along for the ride the whole way.
I love seeing how Jess & Ed interact together & how the kids come to rely on him as well.
I was just so into where this story was going to go & how things would be handled & if things really would work out.
I will say, there is one point of the story that I was so angry about... like, I was thinking I wouldnt even finish... but I'm so glad I did.
I honestly just loved the story. I really loved Me Before You from Jojo Moyes, so now that I've read 2 of her books, I'm totally going to have to check out more of her stuff.
**Lots of language

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Gift for All People

The Gift for All People: Thoughts on God's Great GraceThe Gift for All People: Thoughts on God's Great Grace by Max Lucado
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I dont think I have ever given Max Lucado's books any thing less than 5 stars.
This one - such a quick little read. & full of such inspiring stories & words.
I think this would be perfect for a devotional. I think there are around 33 little stories in it so it would be perfect to do in a month.
Each one going through the life of Jesus & the gifts he gives us... short, fast, but all powerful & moving.
As always, Lucado has just a simple way of putting things, but still beautiful & to the heart.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What Alice Forgot

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

what would you do if 10 years of your memory was gone?
I have read 2 other Moriarty books & this is by far my favorite!
The story of Alice, who passes out at spin class, hitting her head & waking up to what she thought was 10 years previous. All the things that 10 years can hold - now a mystery.
It was such a fun read on learning the mystery of how Alice's life turned out... & makes you think how much you change over the span of 10 years.
I love the relationships in the past & how they developed - with her sister, her husband & kids (who she doesn't even remember)
I really loved the story of Elisabeth, her sister, who struggles with Infertility - that was a bonus story for me.
I honestly couldn't stop reading this book & then didn't want it to end. Totally a favorite.

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