Book Review: Where The Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick 

I haven’t posted in awhile, so I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on this gem of a book. 

A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.


Where the Woods Grow Wild Review 
I don’t read much Fantasy; and it takes a lot for me to like anything in the Fantasy genre. ( I realize that a bunch of people love Fantasy and that’s wonderful! I just have found few I truly enjoy.) 

 I can easily say Where the Woods Grow Wild is a new favorite ! I shall name a few reasons why :
 • No Useless Background Information : I didn’t get bogged down with all the background of relationships and history. Instead, Nate Philbrick, did a wonderful job of showing the characters connections through their actions / feelings. 

 • Bramble is the cutest mischief maker! I want him as a friend even with his trouble making ways. 

 • The World Building: What perfection. Just enough detail to get my imagination going. I found myself perfectly seeing everything , without being overwhelmed by details. 

 • Strong Female Characters : The females were strong and independent without being masculine ( as sometimes happens). Honestly, all the characters were well written .Each had a distinguishable voice! I really enjoyed all the different character strengths and quirks:) 

 • The Dialogue : while being witty was still realistic. The characters conversations never felt forced and had a natural flow to them . Also I laughed out loud at some of Illo and Martins exchanges.

 • The plot was simple ,but still intriguing . I wasn’t left running circles in my mind, I knew what was going on.         

 Over all it was a lighthearted read that I enjoyed immensely ! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet , quick and fun read.
Forever & Always ,

Emily

Let’s chat! Do you like Fantasy? Any recommendations ? 

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Book Review : Savoring Single by Shelley Black

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I’m so excited to be participating in the Savoring Single Blog Tour!! Y’all this book is a precious gift and I can tell you it is going to bless so many young women’s lives! I was blessed with a free copy of Savoring Single to do a book review. So lets begin, shall we….

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Why savoring single? Because you were meant to enjoy it!
Finding purpose, knowing love, and experiencing adventure aren’t reserved solely for the married girls! You can enjoy a full and vibrant life even while being single. It’s also a perfect time to partner with what God wants to develop in you through this once-in-a-lifetime part of your journey! Girl, being single is okay. There is a purpose for it, and it won’t last forever. So savor it!

 

Savoring Single is truly perfect! From front to back, the author Shelley Black gives us girls the truth that we all needed to hear. Its like reading a book from a big sister… our sister in Christ. I knew I was going to love this book from the first pages upon Shelley praying for you, how unique and awesome is that!!
Every point that is made in this gem of a book is backed with Scripture. Even the prayers at the end of each chapter, have Scripture quotations. This book isn’t just Shelley’s opinion on being single, she gives you practical advice on how to enjoy your single season and use it to the glory of God.

Chapter Eight -Pursuing Adventure was one of my favorites (although it was a hard choice). I love the fact that we are encouraged to find our own adventures and not wait for a specific season of life; to do things on our own (or with family & friends when available). Try unfamiliar places to eat, or travel to locations you have always wanted to see. I personally want to start going on coffee dates, just me and Jesus, because with him as company I won’t be lacking a plus one.

I’ve read books about being single before, and honestly few have measured up. I often come away feeling my whole life is about preparing for marriage, and while that’s a good goal, its not my life purpose. Shelley really lays out that our whole lives boil down to our relationship with God, anything after that is just icing on the cupcake 😉 I love the fact that the author encourages us to fully live life right now!

 

About The Author:

Shelley Black has journeyed through being single longer than she expected and has since found joy, hope and purpose from a once begrudged season. She now challenges the status quo of what it means to be single as a modern-day Christian female, with a passion to infuse hope and restore joy to every single-girl heart. Shelley is a loving momma to her pup Lucy, is one proud “T” to six nieces and nephews and serves her local church in North Mississippi as the worship leader. Find her at SavoringSingle.com and across social media at Savoring Single.

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I highly recommend this book for any single young woman out there! You can buy yourself or someone special a copy of Savoring Single Here

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Hosted by Livy Lynn Blog Tours! If you are a Christian Author , let Livy plan your blog tour. You can find Livy Here

 

 

Forever & Always,

Emily

Book Review: Belle by Sarah Price

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To most townsfolk, he’s known simply as The Beast. Annabelle Beiler has little interest in gossip, but she’s heard about Adam Herschberger’s scars and his gruff, solitary ways. Though he sounds like a character from one of Belle’s treasured books, the man is real and, it turns out, just as unreasonable as the rumors claim. When a buggy accident wipes out the last of her daed’s money, forcing him to sell their farm, Adam buys it. Then he offers Belle a deal—marry him, and her family can keep their home.

Everyone is shocked by Belle’s decision, but she’s determined to be a good fraa, cleaning Adam’s rundown house and tending the overgrown garden. Breaking through her new husband’s icy reserve will be another matter. Belle’s courage and strength are abundant, but it will take true faith to guide Adam back to the heart of his Amish community—and to the loving marriage they both deserve.

Belle : An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, was such a unique twist. I love reading about the Amish lifestyle.

It took me a little bit to get into the story but I immediately loved the characters. Belle is such a sweet character, and I knew I was going to like Adam quickly. I think the romance aspect was done nicely, Belle and Adam’s relationship grows over time and through small acts of love and devotion.

Reasons I loved it :

  • Belle deals with her emotions well and helps Adam learn to work through his past.
  • Their couple moments were so cute and precious 🙂
  • The community isn’t perfect and depicts all real life situations and behaviors.

I enjoyed this retelling immensely and considering the amount of retellings I read I didn’t expect to be surprised by Belle ; I was however wrong. Belle turned out to be the perfect retelling.

The ending was perfect! Anyone who has to listen to me babble about books knows I love happy endings 🙂 I can’t wait to try the other books in this series written by Sarah Price.

 

This or That Book Tag

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I seen this prompt floating around the Bookstagram world and thought it would be fun to do as a blog post. So without further delay …..

  • Male or Female main character? While I enjoy both, I find I prefer Male main characters.
  • A book that is character driven or a book with lots of plots? Honestly if I don’t like at least one character the chances of me finishing a book are zero. Plus if I’m in love with the characters and they have good development than the plot isn’t a big deal to me.
  • First or Third person narrative? Definitely Third.
  • Trilogies or Quartets? Trilogies, though I don’t recall ever reading a Quartet; maybe I should try it before I say for sure 😉
  • Black or White covers? Black.
  • Library or Bookstore? If I haven’t read a book and I’m unsure that I will like it than I get it at the library or free eBook (when possible). For books that I love and will reread I get them from a secondhand site.
  • Reading in bed or on the couch? I do most of my reading in bed, however I do enjoy reading in the chair in my living room.
  • Books that make you cry or laugh? Preferably both, forced to choose I would say books that make me laugh.
  • Sweet or Salty? Salty???? I feel like a good book would have just the right amount of both.

So there it is, my answers to this or that.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Agree or disagree with any of my answers? Do you like books that make you laugh or cry more?

Book Review: Letters to a Romantic On Dating

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Whether or not you’re currently dating someone, if you’re a young person thinking about romance, you probably have a lot of questions. Who should you date? How do you turn down an unwanted date, navigate a first date, or break up with someone? Is kissing OK? Is marriage really for you?

The Bible is sufficient to help you to think through the concerns of singleness and dating, and it has crucial things to say about the thoughts, attitudes, actions, and situations that commonly arise in this exciting stage of life. In friendly, practical letters, Sean and Spencer (and sometimes their wives, Jenny and Taylor) explore God’s Word for answers on singleness, the start of a relationship, and tough dating situations, from breakups to broken boundaries. Their biblical insights will help you to make informed decisions on the road ahead.

 

Letters to a Romantic : On Dating by Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon was such a delightful read. This book is filled with godly advice for guys and girls ;though a few of the letters focus on one gender or the other, for practical reasons. One of my favorite chapters was why believers shouldn’t date unbelievers; I don’t think I’ve had it so clearly explained and the concept was fully backed by scripture.

Sean and Spencer took everything that makes dating scary and complex, and they simplified it down to the basics. They walk you through: how to Honor God with your relationships, turning down dates (in a kind manner), dealing with past sexual sin and knowing when to break up.

While a few chapters were irrelevant for my life situation, I know that everyone can gain something from this short insightful book. I took notes and wrote out all the discussion questions from the end of each chapter; I felt this really helped me soak up everything “Letters to a Romantic” had to offer.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Have you read any books lately that changed the way you viewed things?

Book Review: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

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Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her.

When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time–and their own

 

I was intrigued by the synopsis for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, I mean come on paranormal activity, time travel = an excited me. I don’t know why but this book just didn’t work for me, not to say others wouldn’t enjoy it.

The problems started for me once they traveled back in time, before that I was quite interested. Once they are back at Castle Creighton, in the bodies of two wedding guests, things rapidly plummeted. All of the characters were in love with someone who loved someone else and I can’t even call it a love triangle because it was more like a octagon. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, I didn’t like any of the main characters. Plus the whole concept that if Kat pretended she didn’t believe in ghosts and chanted a little saying it just made them invisible…….how though?!? I mean she clearly believes in ghosts so it really shouldn’t have worked.

So for me “The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts” didn’t really become what I thought it could but I would recommend that if the synopsis  peeked your interest to give it a try, different books work for different people.

Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat. Have you read this book? If so what are your thoughts? Do you like books about ghosts and paranormal activity? What about time travel?

 

 

Book Review: Intentional Christian By Daniel Ryan Day

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 Our Christian culture tends to emphasize specific life callings. God does call certain believers to specific short-term tasks or even lifelong careers. But too many of us are waiting for God to hand us a dream job or reveal some big plan for our lives. All we really need to know has already been revealed in Scripture by directives like “love God and love others” and “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” Daniel Ryan Day defines the difference between “specific callings” and “common callings” so you can become an “intentional Christian,” finding fulfillment by serving God in all things.

I wish I had Intentional Christian years ago. It would have soothed my soul to read about Daniel’s struggle to find a career and a calling, and know that I was not alone. This book is full of the practical wisdom I needed. I loved the common callings, and the concept that you don’t have to be a missionary or pastor to have a “calling ” from God.

A quick read that left me breathing easier about Gods plan for my life. I felt I could start doing the will of God right where I am and I think that’s the point of the book.

Intentional Christian would make a great group read ,especially if you researched in your Bible as you went.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is : “And may we not be overly concerned with discovering a specific call or dream job, but instead with faithfully obeying the many common callings the Bible teaches.”

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

Fiercehearted By Holley Gerth

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A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they’ll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fiercehearted is an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

I’ve read quite a few inspirational books recently that have changed my perspective . Of these, I gained the most encouragement from Fiercehearted.

This book is for those who feel they will never be, do , or accomplish enough. Holley comes beside you and says “When you get to the end of these pages. I want you to also be able to say with certainty, “I’m not the only one.” I want all of us to feel less alone and more comfortable in our God-sewn skin and a little surer that we are a force to be reckoned with in this world.”  I can say Holley accomplished this!  That’s exactly how I felt , not just during reading , but as I finished the last page.

Fiercehearted encourages you to replace all the striving for the wrong things and start embracing who God created you to be. Chapter 26 was one of my favorites. The way my anxiety works is very similar and it felt so wonderful to see it expressed in words I often struggle to find.

This book was easily five stars and I recommended it to everyone.

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

Book Review: The Watchman By V.B. Tenery

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When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene—and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah’s special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening. Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody’s deranged father has taken his son and it’s up to Noah to follow the judge’s twisted trail to find the boy before it’s too late. Corrupt city officials, a missing socialite, an attempted murder, and a rescue in the middle of a blizzard entangle Noah in the most complicated case of his career. A case that will mean his ultimate redemption or will take him back into the dark history that haunts him.
 This was such an enjoyable read! Let me list the reasons :
  • The adventure is set at a steady pace and continues till the very last page.
  • It handled the topic of abuse in a good way,( this topic can be very triggering , so I wouldn’t recommend the book to just anyone)
  • I did not see the plot twist coming, in hindsight I probably should have but I didn’t.
  • All the characters were well written , though my favorites were Noah and Jake.
  • Noah is a wonderful character. His backstory and special abilities are unique and interesting. I loved reading about a gentle man who really cared about the work he was doing . He couldn’t be bought or forced into doing the wrong thing, which was refreshing.
  • It has diversity. One character is mentally challenged, there is multiple ethnicities.
  • While being a Christian read, it doesn’t shy away from the question of why God allows pain.
  • It has humor in it, despite handling such a serious topic.

I have to share a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. I rarely laugh out loud at books, but The Watchman accomplished just that.

The day we met must have been my lucky day Adams. I can’t imagine what I did to God to deserve you.” Jake really loved me. He just liked to complain.”

You never cease to amaze me with your perceptive grasp of the obvious.”

I like what you’ve done with the place. Is boring your style of choice or is this an accident?”

The Watchman by V.B. Tenery was a refreshing and unique read , I enjoyed every page. Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Have you read any books recently that handled a hard subject well? Do you like books with continually action? Do you like good, bad, or morally gray Main Characters?

 

Book Review: Dangerous Territory By Amy Peterson

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Amy Peterson grew up in church, where she loved the adventurous stories of missionaries in foreign countries who won people to the Lord. After college, she was ready to “do big things for God” on the mission field herself. Dangerous Territory is a captivating memoir that tells Amy’s personal journey from wide-eyed adventurer to questioning believer to simply a beloved child of God. Her story will challenge your notion of “mission work,” showing how you can have a vital relationship with God that naturally spills over to affect others.

 

Dangerous Territory was a refreshing read. I don’t know about others but when I read a memoir (especially a missionary / Christian one)  instead of finding inspiration and encouragement, I come away feeling a little drained .

Amy Peterson did such an amazing job with this book. There are chapter interludes every so often where you learn some history and interesting facts about missionaries. In Dangerous Territory I really felt like I knew Amy, she wrote the book being very honest, unfiltered and raw about her feelings and experiences. She doesn’t try to sugar coat her struggles or glorify herself, you get a real sense of who Amy is.

I loved that she is simultaneously telling you about her mission opportunities and all the other things happening in her life! I enjoyed reading about her adventures and all the interesting food she ate. However Amy is not afraid to tackle some harder subjects such as conservative Christians, why God lets things happen, and having blessings while so many suffer.

This book was an enjoyable read and has a wonderful way of looking at things differently.

Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy 🙂

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s Chat! Have you read any memoirs that changed your way of thinking? Any Christian books you would recommend?