Diamond in the Rough: Book Review

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Title: Diamond in the Rough

Author: Jen Turano

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Christian Romance

My Thoughts:

I love this book, it is definitely one of my favorite recent reads! All of Jen Turano’s books are so fun to read. I love her characters, their dialogue is always hilarious. I always end up laughing when I read her books. They are the kind of books I love to read when I am stressed (and grouchy), they always cheer me up.

Poppy is someone who I would love to meet in real life, or to spend more time with in a book. She is smart, funny, stubborn and tough. Poppy is always getting into trouble in some way, she just can’t seem to help it! Poppy is a breath of fresh air to her grandparents and all of the New York 400.

I loved seeing Reginald’s character develop over the book. He really lightened up and learned how to smile. Poppy and Reginald really balance each other out. I loved reading their conversations with each other, it always made me smile.

I love this book, that really sums it all up. 🙂

I’ve always felt that misfits are far more interesting than normal folks.” Diamond in the Rough

I hope that your fall has been a wonderful season. I miss posting regularly on here, but school has to be priority. Right? Sadly, yes. Ihope that you all enjoyed this review, I’ll be back soon with a….well a something post. I’m not sure yet what it will be, maybe a photography post or a cooking post or a…well you get the idea.

Have you read any of Jen Turano’s books? Are you going to check them out now? Did you know that KOTLC book 8, Legacy, was released last week?

Lady Jayne Disappears: Book Review

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Title: Lady Jayne Disappears

Author: Joanna Davidson Politano

Published: 2017

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

Another amazing book by Joanna Politano, she is currently one of my favorite authors. All three of her beautiful books pulled me in and kept me engaged until the last page. I have so enjoyed each of her books! I am so glad that I happened upon A Rumored Fortune.

There are so many things I love about this book! Let’s start with the names, Aurelie, Juliette, Eudora, Glenna and Garamond. They all seemed to really fit their characters. I loved that Joanna used very few common names. Whenever I read a book about a Sarah, Rachel or Elizabeth, I wish that the author had been a bit more creative. Afterall why not come up or give your characters fun names! It was refreshing to have some interestingly named characters.

The name Lady Jayne Disappears immediately made me curious. What made the title even more interesting was that Aurelie’s novel shared the same title. Very rarely have I read a read a book that’s title shares the title of the story being written within the book. Lady Jayne Disappears‘ cover is so mysterious, in a way, and beautiful.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Aurelie’s parents. It was in many ways a surprising story. I was in some ways disappointed by how Aurelie’s parents’ story ended but it worked for this book somehow.

The romance element of this story in some ways felt unremarkable. For some reason it felt like an afterthought to me.The romance honestly was not needed and didn’t really add much to the story for me. All that said, I am glad that Aurelie and Silas ended up together, since I love both characters.

I loved the excerpts of Nathaniel Droll’s Lady Jayne Disappears! It really added to the story.

“Lady Jayne dreamed endlessly of escaping to something different, of living a fascinating and dramatic life – until she did.” – Nathaniel Droll

I hope that you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book? Do you want to read it now? What have you been reading lately?

Autumn Leaves//feat. Highlands (Song of Ascent) – Hillsong UNITED

O how high would I climb mountains, if the mountains were where You hide

O how far I’d scale the valleys, if You graced the other side

O how long have I chased rivers from lowly seas to where they rise

Against the rush of grace descending from the source of its supply

In the highlands and the heartache

You’re neither more or less inclined

I would search and stop at nothing

You’re just not that hard to find

So I will praise You on the mountain

And I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way

You’re the summit where my feet are

So I will praise You in the valleys all the same

No less God within the shadows

No less faithful when the night leads me astray

You’re the heaven where my heart is in the highlands and the heartache all the same

O how far beneath Your glory, does Your kindness extend the path

From where Your feet rest on the sunrise to where You sweep the sinner’s past

O how fast would You come running

If just to shadow me through the night

Trace my steps through all my failure and walk me out the other side

Whatever I walk through

Wherever I am

Your Name can move mountains

Wherever I stand

And if ever I walk through the valley of death

I’ll sing through the shadows my song of ascent

From the gravest of all valleys

Come the pastures we call grace

A mighty river flowing upwards

From a deep but empty grave

Highlands (Song of Ascent) – Hillsong UNITED


Hey Everyone.

I hope you are having a wonderful fall. My fall has been very busy but pretty great overall. I have more work than ever for school and it has been keeping me busy, especially on top of everything else that has to be done.

The leaves here have been wonderful this fall. The past few years the colors have been pretty dull, but this year they are mostly vibrante and beautiful. I am really enjoying taking pictures of them.

Congratulations to anyone who actually looked at all the pictures in this post! I hope that you enjoyed reading the lyrics to this amazing song alongside my pictures.

What songs have you been listening to this fall? Have you listened to Hillsong UNITED’s album People?

Have a wonderful week!

Mini-Reviews//End of Summer Reads

Hey Everyone,

I am, as always, really excited to share with you all some of what I have been reading. Reading is one of my favorite parts of life, I wish that I could write stories as well as read them, but sadly I can’t (or maybe I just haven’t really tried…).

Books are special and beautiful things and I am so thankful that I have access to so many through our wonderful library system. I love finishing a book and feeling full and satisfied by the story. For me there is nothing that can truly compete with my love of reading (other then my love of God of course). One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that it gives me time to read (one of the many benefits of homeschooling, such as getting to keep taking chocolate all day throughout school, not having to be social everyday and the list goes on. 😀) .

All that said here’s a list of mini-reviews of books that I have read in the past few months.


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Title: Truly Madly Royally

Author: Debbie Rigaud

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Truly Madly Royally is a fun light-hearted story about a girl who meets her prince. I can hardly ever resist a book about a normal girl and a real-live prince, from a made up country of course. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean this YA book was, to be honest it felt a bit younger then YA but it was still quite enjoyable. 😀


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Title: The Best of Intentions

Author: Susan Anne Mason

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

When I see a book about a governess or nanny that sounds even semi-interesting I just about always get it. The Best of Intentions is my new favorite of these books. I really felt for Grace, even if I didn’t always agree that she made the right choice. Grace’s pain over her sister’s death and her relationship with her mother felt very genuine (you know how sometimes a character’s feelings just feel so fake?).

Andrew was one of those main characters who you don’t really want to like but just can’t help liking. He is frustrating in how he treats Grace, but at least he is honest with her. That definitely counts for something!

Christian is so sweet and I love his part in the story! He helped make the story enjoyable.


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Title: United We Spy

Author: Ally Carter

Published: 2013

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

United We Spy was both a disappointing and satisfactory ending to the Gallagher Girls series. Ally Carter wrapped up all the loose ends and still gave us a good ending. It was not my favorite Gallagher Girls book but definitely not my least favorite either. It was fun to see Cammie and her friends graduate and to hear where they were heading. I wish that this wasn’t the end of the series though.


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Title: When You Are Near

Author: Tracie Peterson

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Running away to join a circus act sounds like fun, and is always lots of fun to read about. When You Are Near is about two women who trick ride, I loved hearing about the riding and the tricks that they performed, this is a great book for anyone who loves historical fiction and horses.


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Title: The Pelican Bride

Author: Beth White

Published: 2014

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

I really loved this book. I enjoyed having a native american as one of the main characters and it reminded me why I love reading about the colonial time period. The Pelican Bride definitely had its issues, like how rushed Tristan and Geneviéve’s relationship was, but overall it was a great book.


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Title: A Rumored Fortune

Author: Joanna Davidson Politano

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

This was a beautiful story, just as beautiful as the gorgeous cover. It was original and interesting, a really remarkable story.

Joanna’s characters are very human and her descriptions of them are wonderful. Tressa is beautiful and honestly fascinating in a way. Donnegan is an interesting character, really that sums him up.

The setting of a Rumored Fortune was new and beautiful. The story took place in an old mansion where they searched for the treasure and in incredible vineyards where Tressa and Donnegan spent much of their time. I love learning from books and I definitely learned from this one. Having the vineyards be a major part of the story was a wonderful idea.

Joana’s writing style and characters are refreshing and beautiful. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.


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Title: A Tailor-Made Bride

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Published: 2010

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

What a great story! I absolutely loved all of it! A Tailor-Made Bride is a perfect example of why you should never judge a book by it’s cover (which is sadly terrible). It was so fun to read Jericho and Hannah’s dialogue and to see Jericho soften towards Hannah over time. I love when the main characters are in many ways opposites as was the case with Hannah and Jericho. Hannah was like a ray of sunshine wherever she went and Jericho rarely smiled but was kind (of course 😀).

It was a mostly light hearted, completely clean, very enjoyable read!


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Title: Keturah

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Keturah was an interesting book. I learned some new things and visited a completely new place through it. I have never read any book set in the West Indies in 1700s before and it was a conflicting experience. This is one of not many books that I have read where the main character owns slaves. It was as I said a conflicting read, in some ways I loved it and in others I just couldn’t. I am glad I read it and I plan on reading the second book of the series, but I just am not sure how I feel about it.


Have you read any of these books? Do you have any book recommendations for me? What have you been reading?

Well, there you have it, my latest mini-reviews. That’s all for today, I guess. I’ll (hopefully) be back soon with a fall related post of some kind and a bit of a life-update, but until then have great Friday!

The Sea and the Sky//feat. As You Find Me -Hillsong UNITED

I’ve been strong and I’ve been broken within a moment

I’ve been faithful and I’ve been reckless at every bend

I’ve held everything together and watched it shatter

I’ve stood tall and I have crumbled in the same breath

I have wrestled and I have trembled toward surrender

Chased my heart adrift and drifted home again

Plundered blessing, till I’ve been desperate to find redemption

And every time I turn around

Lord You’re still there

I was found, before I was lost

I was Yours, before I was not

Grace to spare for all my mistakes

And that part just wrecks me

And I know I don’t deserve this kind of love

Somehow this kind of love is who You are

It’s a grace I could never add up

To be somebody You still want

But somehow

You love me as You find me

As You Find Me – Hillsong UNITED

Summer Skies//feat. Free by Riley Clemmons

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There is a world outside, so why do I hide, when You tell me I am free?

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I see the open door

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Yeah,  I know there’s more, but I’ve been too scared to leave

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But I’m ready now, I’m letting go

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I’m leaving all the prisons I have known

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I follow You, because I believe it’s time to start living

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Living like I’m free, I’m not gonna let the past keep holding me

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No matter what tomorrow brings, I’m never going back again

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I’m only looking up ahead

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I hear You telling me, it’s time to start living like I’m free

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Living like I’m free

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You called me from this mess

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You put my fear to rest

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I am not locked up anymore

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You are the reason why I’m coming back to life

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All of my chains are on the floor

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I follow You

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Because I believe, it’s time to start living

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Living like……

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I’d love to hear in the comments if you guys like this type of post!

Goodbye Summer 2019//feat. Summer Goals Update

Hey Everyone!

I have had a wonderful summer. It was fun and chaotic and amazing. I spent hours every day reading and my love of books has only grown, which I didn’t even know was possible!

We took a day trip to the ocean with my amazing Tia and had an awesome time! I haven’t ever had so much fun at the ocean, we played in the waves and had a picnic lunch, it was just a wonderful day.

My dad grilled so many times this summer! I don’t think I will ever get tired of grilled food, just about everything just tastes so much better when you cook it on the grill. Summer squash and zucchini covered in olive oil with some garlic and salt grilled is to die for. I already miss it.

I fell in love with my hammock. Not necessarily for sleeping in, but definitely for reading, boondoggling, resting and listening to music in. It was where I did most of summertime reading.

My summer was sort of split in half, before camp and after camp. Before camp I was productive, I walked, jogged or something every day, I wrote and took pictures and baked. After camp I did my chores, made bread, slept, ate and read and read some more. Honestly I liked the second half of my summer best (who wouldn’t :), which surprises me, because usually I like to get things done and to be productive. I am glad that I let myself just relax and read for awhile, it made it easier in some ways to start school again.

All that said, let’s get on to finding out how I did on my summer goals!


Summer Goals Update

Life:

(1) Keep up with my very small outdoor chores. ✔️

(2) Take pictures daily or at least often. I took pictures in spurts, sometimes taking many and often taking none, so I guess I did it…sort of. ✔️

(3) Take walks three to four times a week. Nope, I definitely did not take walk daily or even weekly, after June.

(4) Spend time with our dogs. Sort of. I mean, I spent a couple of afternoons in our basement during thunderstorms, with one of our livestock guard dogs, Zip. ✔️

Blogging:

(1) Post weekly throughout the summer. X

(2) Post at least one book review. I posted the mini-reviews at the beginning of the summer. ✔️

(3) Write a farm tour post. X

(4) Introduce some of our animals to you all. X

Reading:

(1) Read and review three YA contemporary novels. I read three Ya contemporary novels, but I didn’t review them (at least not yet).

(2) Read about 75 to 100 books, bringing me close to completing my Goodreads reading challenge. I’m not exactly sure how many books I read this summer, bu I am currently at 210 books read in 2019 on Goodreads (which i think is pretty good :).

(3) Find a few new authors.✔️

(4) Read two biographies. X

(5) Write three actual book reviews. X

Summer Bucket-List

(1) Go to summer camp (I literally can’t wait)!✔️

(2) Take a day trip to the ocean. It was amazing! ✔️

(3) Have smores. I had smores a bunch of times. ✔️

(4) Sleep outside in my hammock at least twice. I did it! Once at camp and once with my siblings and Tia! ✔️

(5) Have friends visit our farm. ✔️

(6) Have a outdoor sleepover with my closest friend and siblings. I’m counting sleeping in my hammock with my siblings!✔️

(7) Do a photo-shoot with my sister. X

(8) Watch the sunrise from our front yard. ✔️ (sort of)

(9) Watch the sun set on Kite Hill. X

(10) Make chocolate ice cream a few times. X


I am really excited to be getting back to blogging. This summer was a break I hadn’t realized I needed until I stopped. I am looking forward to getting back into blogging as this school year is starting, thanks for being patient and understanding when I didn’t do the all the posting I had hoped to.

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This year I am hoping and planning to be sharing more book related and more actual writing alongside of my photography. At the moment I thinking that I will be posting weekly, maybe a bit more as I post pictures from the summer.

I am really excited to be beginning my second year of blogging! Thank you to all of you who have been following me from the very beginning. I love reading and responding to your comments!

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How was your summer? What was a highlight of your summer? Has school started for you?