Mini-Reviews: The Summer 2020 Edition

Hey Everyone.

I’m back and ready to share yet another list of mini-reviews, admittedly it is shorter than normal and mostly made up of books that have been sitting on my shelf for weeks if not months, but there are a couple good ones. It feels really good to be sharing these with all of you, I have missed putting bookish content together. 😀

Without a further intro (I am quite terrible at writing them, as I am sure you are all aware), let’s get started.

*Note: Reviews marked with ❤️ are books I would recommend to older readers and contain some form of slightly more mature content.


The Weaver's Daughter

Title: The Weaver’s Daughter

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

The Weaver’s Daughter is a slow-paced, historically interesting story with a wintery and cozy feel. Not exactly the type of book anyone is looking for right now, but definitely worth adding to your winter tbr list.

Family and loyalty are the main themes of The Weaver’s Daughter. The story follows two people as they try to determine how to keep their parents’ and grandparents’ legacies alive while being true to themselves.


A Touch of Gold (A Touch of Gold, #1)

Title: A Touch of Gold

Author: Annie Sullivan

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about A Touch of Gold. On one hand it is an interesting and unique retelling of the story of King Midas, on the other it just felt like it was lacking something. Maybe depth, maybe the author wasn’t particularly passionate about it or maybe it was just me.

From the first time Kora met a certain character, his words rang extremely hollow to me. Finding out that he was actually a villian, not the hero, did not come as a shock. What was frustrating was that as soon as he is out of the picture, Kora begins falling for a man who previously drove her crazy. Another issue for me was the logic behind Kora’s powers, in fact there was none.

All that said, A Touch of Gold is overall an enjoyable story, if you can ignore it’s issues.


Between Shades of Gray

Title: Between Shades of Gray ❤️

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Published: 2011

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

As you all know, I adore Ruta Sepetys’ writing. Despite the fact that Between Shades of Gray is not my favorite of her beautiful stories (I’m looking at you FOTS), it did not disappoint. Although the writing format and style is slightly more simple than FOTS and Salt To The Sea, it in no way lacks depth.

Between Shades of Gray is about a piece of WWII that is not covered by many (or any) historical fiction writers. We meet Lina as a fifteen year old and follow the next years of her life as she is exiled to Siberia with her family. Between Shades of Gray is filled with sadness and a strong thread of hope.


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn ❤️

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Published: 2019

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

Spin the Dawn is an interesting and entertaining story with a definite Mulan feel. It is unique and the ending came as a complete surprise. I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next book in the series.

Spin the Dawn has it’s fair share of issues though. Starting with the fact that it could have used some more editing and that at times things just didn’t quite make sense. I could ignore those issues if it weren’t for the fact that the author couldn’t seem to decide whether Spin the Dawn was a middle-grade or YA book. The writing level felt absolutely middle-grade for much of the book and then at chapter 27, all of the sudden, you have YA content thrown at you. Sure it is subtle, but it is very much there. That said, overall I enjoyed this story.


In Too Deep (Dive Team Investigations, #2)

Title: In Too Deep ❤️

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Published: 2018

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Lynn Blackburn’s books have found a place on my close-to-favorites mental list. They have a very similar feel to Lynette Eason’s books, which is a positive thing in my opinion. In Too Deep was enjoyable and interesting, with wonderful characters. It also is giving me small amount of hope for the future of the “Christian fiction” genre, but that’s a post for another time.


Have you read any of these books? Who else has seen the cover for Shannon Messenger’s Unlocked!? What are you currently reading?

June // Protector – Kim Walker-Smith

I come out of agreement with the lie that You have left me on my own

I come out of agreement with the worry

And the fear I’ve come to know

They won’t have a hold on me 

Protector, You never let me go

You said You wouldn’t leave me, and You won’t

You’re right by my side, Protector 

I come into agreement with the truth

That You are who You say You are

I can trust Your heart

I come into agreement with what Heaven has declared over my life

You’re right by my side, Protector

You hide me in the shadow of Your wings

Your presence is my peace, my covering, my song in the night, Protector

No weapon, no worry will prosper against me

No darkness, no evil will tease or torment me

All power, dominion to one Name is given

My fortress, my freedom, my refuge, my Jesus

Protector

Protector – Kim Walker Smith


Hey Everyone.

And I’m back with more pictures from the past couple months. This year we have had more flowers than ever and I am, unsurprisingly, enjoying taking pictures of them all. The roses have been particularly beautiful along with the irises. Every year I am amazed by how much beauty flowers can bring to spaces that are not exactly beautiful in themselves.

I wanted to share Protector with you all because it has been serving as an important reminder to me to put my complete trust in Jesus, because despite my frustrations and struggles He will never leave me. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed Kim Walker-Smith’s music and the fact that she is putting out an entire new album is really exciting to me. 😀

On a completely unrelated note, I have actually been reading again! It has been wonderful to be able to read without feeling guilty or at least as guilty. I’m currently in the middle of Kara Isaac’s newest book (!!!) Start With Me, so far I love it, and Kellyn Roth’s The Dressmaker’s Secret, I have mixed feelings about this one. Full reviews to come soon. 😀

Have you heard Protector yet? What have you been reading?

May // Praise Him In The Storm – Natalie Grant

I was sure by now, God you would have reached down

And wiped our tears away

Stepped in and saved the day

But once again, I say Amen

And it’s still raining

And as the thunder rolls, I barely hear Your whisper through the rain

I’m with you

And as your mercy falls


I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away

And I’ll praise you in this storm

And I will lift my hands

‘Cause you are who you are, no matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried You hold in your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn I will praise you in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind

You heard my cry, You raised me up again

My strength is almost gone, how can I carry on?

But as the thunder rolls, I barely hear You whisper through the rain

I’m with you

And I’ll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands

‘Cause you are who you are, no matter where I am

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The maker of heaven and earth

And though my heart is torn

I will praise you in this storm

Praise Him In The Storm – Natalie Grant


Hey Everyone.

It’s been awhile, just about a whole month. I didn’t plan on taking the month of June (and most of May) off of blogging, but that’s what ended up happening. When does life go as planned anyway, especially not this year. Taking a break was needed and simply because I just didn’t have time to put a post together. June was a crazy busy month and I know July will be crazy as well. I don’t know if I’m back for good or just for the week, I guess that only time will tell.

July is usually my favorite month of the year. Mainly because it is when I have gone to camp (it’s also my birthday month :). This year camp was canceled, just like so many of the other things we were all looking forward to, and I’ve been missing it every day. It’s hard to not focus on the many things that are not happening this year, but I am trying to choose to focus on the things that I can do (read, go for walks, spend time with my family) instead of the things that can’t do. I am so thankful for all of the space that I have to move around and for the books that I have access to. Although my summer doesn’t look like I planned, that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy it fully.

I have a bunch of post ideas (Hamilton themed!! Introducing Animals) and I hope that I end up with enough time to put them together. 🙂

I hope that you are all well and staying safe and healthy.

Who else literally cannot contain their excitement that Hamilton is coming to Disney+ this Friday!? How have you been filling your summer break free time? How are you?

Say It Louder

Hey Everyone.
Lacking words of my own, I want to share the words of a young woman, who like me is a white American. Her words are true and we need to speak up.
My thoughts are with you all during this continually difficult time.
Esmeralda

Amie Anne

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White silence is violence.

I am white, I have remained silent, I have wondered, questioned, disbelieved.

I am part of the violence, one voice that has stayed silent, because my skin wasn’t targeted. Because I was continually told that I was privileged.

And for a long time, I thought that was an insult. But I have since learned that it is not. It is truly a privilege and an opportunity.

I wish they would only take me as I am
— Vincent Van Gogh

One of the people I admire the most doesn’t share my skin color. My co-workers don’t share my skin color. To me, it’s never mattered. To me, that made them prettier than I am, it made me marvel and admire our diversity.

The beauty and uniqueness of life.

But not to others. Others see my friends as less. See them was lives that don’t matter, lives…

View original post 585 more words

Spring Photos// feat. Days Gone By – Hillsong Young And Free

I walked the world afar

Built up a thousand walls

To try and hide away

I searched to find my soul

A journey far from home

Lost in a life I’d made

And I’d been ’round in circles

Living for the moment

I know I ran so far

Was acting kind of crazy

Coming up with empty

Felt like I lost my heart

Now I’ve found a love that is clearer than the deep blue skies

It’s true You were right there

I can see it in the days gone by

I see You in the days gone by

Your promise never left my side

I know sometimes I tried to give up

Still You caught me when I fell from high

You took my fragile fate and didn’t hesitate

Your love in every scar

Passion with no restraints

Held back the darkest days

So now my life is Yours

You’ve got me when I’m broken

You’re with me when I’m hopeless

I know You’re never far

Your mercy has no ending

It perseveres unfailing

You’ll always have my heart

Now I’ve found a love that is clearer than the deep blue skies

It’s true You were right there

I can see it in the days gone by

I see you in the days gone by

Days Gone By – Hillsong Young & Free


Hey Everyone.

I can’t believe that the first week of May is already over! It has been a windy, chilly and sunny May so far for us. All of our cows and calves are now out on grass! (Pictures coming soon.) It is exciting to see things beginning to grow, although the grass is growing slower than we might want.

My brothers found four kittens this morning! A few years ago we got their mom from another farm with a litter of four kittens. Since that litter she has basically become feral and just comes to our barn (or attic) to have kittens every year. We have been seeing her around recently and we were guessing that she had kittens. My brothers have been looking around but didn’t find them until today. There are two boys and two girls, all of them absolutely adorable. I’ll be sure to share some pictures soon. 😀

Do you have a favorite spring flower? What is your favorite thing about spring?

Adventures In Cooking// Quiches

Hey Everyone.

Yesterday, I decided to make a few quiches. We had eggs and cream, and we always have cheese, and it seemed like an easy enough thing to make. Turns out making quiches takes a bit longer than I expected, but I am glad that I spent the time to make them. 😀

So, without further ado, here is another Adventure In Cooking with me.

*Once again I am sorry for the bad quality of some of these pictures, unfortunately it is cloudy almost every time I want to take food pictures.


Step 1: Grate cheese

Step 2: Crack eggs into a bowl

Step 3: Add pepper and salt to eggs

Step 4: Add cream to eggs and whisk together

Step 5: Chop spinach and crush garlic

Step 6: Cook spinach in garlic and ghee

Step 7: Cook bulk sausage, until lightly browned

Step 8: For plain quiche, pour egg mixture into pie pan and sprinkle cheese over it

Step 9: For sausage-spinach quiche, spread sausage and spinach mixture in the bottom of a pie pan and sprinkle with cheese

Step 10: For sausage- spinach quiche, cover with egg mixture and more cheese

Step 11: Bake and enjoy!

(The sausage-spinach quiche was long gone by the time I managed to take pictures. It turned out nicely, although there was a bit too much moisture in it, because I didn’t dry the spinach before adding it to the meat.)


Well, that was fun and time consuming. We enjoyed the quiche with some extra sausages and roasted potatoes. *sighs contentedly* It was quite enjoyable. 😀

Have you ever made quiche? What is one of your favorite foods? How have you been spending your time while stuck at home?

I hope that you are staying healthy and well! Thinking of all my readers.

Spring Colors//feat. Over And Over- Riley Clemmons

Staring at a mountain thought I had already climbed

The weight of my mistakes hold me down like I’m paralyzed, yeah

How many times have I asked for grace

Standing in the same broken place?

I’ve given You every good reason to walk away

But somehow You choose me

Over and over again

You keep running to me

No matter where I am

Over and over again

I get lost I must confess

Oh, how quickly I forget

But You keep on showing me I’m loved, over and over again

God of second chances, here to catch me every time

I thought I was unlovable ’till You told this heart of mine, yeah

I’m worth more than my past mistakes

I’m never too far gone to save

I’ve given You every good reason to walk away

But somehow You choose me, over and over again

You keep running to me, no matter where I am, over and over again

But You keep on showing me I’m loved

Over and over again

In every sunrise I find

Another reminder of how much You love me

For all of this lifetime

You’ll never get tired of chasing my heart

Over And Over – Riley Clemmons


How are you doing amidst the current panic, anxiety and confusion of the world right now? What have you been doing to stay busy and somewhat sane?

Have you heard For King & Country’s new song with Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin, Together? What have you been listening to? What is your current favorite song?

Interesting And Inspiring Women: Virginia Hall

Hey Everyone.

I hope that you are all staying healthy and at least relatively sane during this difficult time. Today I have something a bit different to share with you all. I have for a long while now been thinking about doing some sort of series about women who I have spent time learning about and have found interesting and inspiring. The first woman who I have written about is Virginia Hall. You won’t regret spending the time to read through this (very long) post about her. 😀


A Woman Of No Importance': American Spy Virginia Hall Finally Gets ...
Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall was a remarkable woman with a fascinating story. Contrary how most people viewed her, Virginia Hall was an extremely important woman. She is a classic example of how women and their accomplishments have not been valued throughout history. Virginia played a part in the fight to win WWII by working to free France from Hitler’s clutches.

Virginia’s childhood was mostly happy and easy. She had a loving stepfather, a caring if particular mother and an older brother. Virginia was an outdoorswoman and an excellent markswoman. As she grew older, she became discontent with what her mother wanted her to do with her life, which was to marry a wealthy man and increase the family’s social standing. Virginia wanted more out of life and her solution was to go to Europe. Virginia spent several years in Europe as a young woman. She fell further in love with her “second country” France and enjoyed the freedom of the lifestyle offered to her there. Virginia’s time in France increased her fluency in French, a skill that would serve her well later in life.

Virginia returned home right before World War II began. Her dream was to become an ambassador. This was sadly impossible due to the fact that women at the time were not allowed to be ambassadors. Virginia, who was desperate to do something worked a series of desk jobs in different parts of the government. On one of these assignments she was sent to Indonesia. 

While Virginia was in Indonesia, she went shooting multiple times. On one of these occasions she seriously injured herself. After shooting on one occasion, Virginia tripped and fired a blank into her leg. The wound quickly got infected, it got so bad that for some time they were not sure that Virginia was going to make it. Amazingly Virginia did pull through, but she lost her leg in the process. For the rest of her life Virginia had a prosthetic leg that she called Cuthbert.

As Virginia was recovering, the war was gathering in momentum. When Virginia was fully recovered she decided that she was done sitting behind a desk. The closest a woman got to the battlefields was through nursing or other medical work. Virginia did not have any training as a nurse and was uninterested in receiving any training. So Virginia did the only other thing that was available to her at the time, she began driving ambulances, helping those fighting on the front lines in Europe. She drove under extremely intense conditions and was braver and more determined than her fellow ambulance drivers. 

At some point during Virginia’s time as an ambulance driver, she was approached by a man who offered to put her in touch with someone who he thought could use her skills. At first Virginia was unwilling to pursue this opportunity, but eventually she decided to use the contact information given too her. Through those contacts she became connected to Baker Street, the British Intelligence agency who was trying to help stir resistance in France.

After Virginia received basic training she was sent to Paris undercover as an American journalist. For the first year or so of the time that Virginia was in France she wrote articles and sent them to Baker Street to uphold the cover. Virginia’s goal was to find people willing to help in the fight to liberate France from Hitler and Germany. She very carefully began to contact and find people willing to aid her and their country. These people helped with many things, such as providing safe houses and forging needed papers.

Very quickly Virginia established herself as a successful and superior agent. Her fellow male agents time and again found themselves in trouble due to their own stupidity. These agents often drank heavily due to the constant stress of their lives, gambled away money that was not their own and also took mistresses. These women often had loose lips and the alcohol made these men spill information. Virginia was extremely private and careful, preventing these common mistakes.

Virginia worked hard during her time in France. She had setbacks, had to do difficult things and at times end fellow agents’ or others’, who were a liability to everything she was working towards, lives. Virginia lived in a constant state of stress and relied heavily on sleeping pills. Despite the setbacks and occasional mistakes everyone who worked with Virginia admired and respected her. One man who worked with her said that Virginia’s “amazing personality, integrity and enthusiasm was an example and inspiration for us all”.

Virginia helped British and American soldiers leave and enter France safely. She also lead multiple jailbreaks to free British and American soldiers and French resistance fighters. After working for years to the benefit of the Allies, at the end of the war, Virginia returned to the United States. Virginia later became one of the first women to join the CIA, sadly this was not everything that she hoped it would be and she retired after a series of different jobs within the CIA. While Virginia was part of the CIA she was once again not appreciated and her skills were not taken advantage of. Instead agents were taught and led by young wealthy men without any experience.

Virginia died on July 8, 1982, she was seventy-six. Virginia’s health had gone downhill as she got older, leading to her quiet death in 1982. This was a quiet ending to a life that at many times was disappointing, but also was extremely full of adventure at other times.

Source: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by  Sonia Purnell


I hope that you enjoyed learning a bit about Virginia Hall’s life. She was an remarkable woman in a male-dominated area of work. Virginia’s story is both inspiring and sad. It is truly incredible what she able to accomplish despite the fact that she had a prosthetic leg. Learning about the last years of Virginia’s life made me sad, there was so much she could have done, but was unable to do because she was a woman.

Had you ever heard of Virginia Hall? What did you find most interesting about her story?

Adventures In Cooking// Soaked Bread

Hey Everyone.

I am really excited to share with you all some pictures and my bread making process. We go through quite a bit of bread when it is made. Usually six smallish loaves will last two or maybe three days. We go through food pretty quickly, especially as my brothers are getting older. 😀

I have been making this particular bread recipe for a long time and this year I have made it more than ever before. Sadly I do not know where the recipe came from so I can’t share it, but it is just a very simple soaked bread recipe.

Well. Let’s get started! I’m sorry for the not great photo quality for a bunch of these!


Step 1: Mix flour, I use a mixture of organic flours, yogurt and water.

Step 2: Cover bowl with damp towel and let sit overnight.

Step 3: (The next morning.) Add yeast, sugar and salt and use dough hook to mix.

Step 4: Knead into ball, on a floured surface. Sometimes the dough is more wet than other times (basically, did I measure right or not. usually I don’t.), and will need more flour to keep it from sticking to the counter.

Step 5: Place dough in large buttered bowl.

Step 6: Cover with damp towel, use the same one as before so there is one less towel to wash (not that it makes much of a difference. *sighs*), and put the bowl into a warm oven. I usually put the bowel in the oven and the turn it on to 350 for a minute.

Step 7: (Two hours later.) Butter the pans you plan to put the bread in.

Step 8: Remove dough from oven. (Note the pattern on the top from where the towel pressed into the dough. 😀)

Step 9: Remove dough from bowl and form into massive loaf.

Step 10: Cut the massive loaf into as many pieces as you want loaves. Knead each piece into a loaf shape.

Step 11: Place loaves in buttered pans and let them rise for, at least, half an hour.

Step 12: When the loaves have risen, place them in the oven and turn timer on for 30 minutes.

Step 13: When the timer beeps remove the loaves from the oven and take them out of the pans. Place the loaves on what we call a “drying rack”.

And now all that’s left is the absolute most important part of making bread, eating the bread! You may be tempted to pick off some of the crust, like my littlest sister, before you can get some butter or whatever you want on your bread. 😀


And there you have it! My first post of this type. I hope that you enjoyed learning about my bread baking process. Hopefully it inspired you to try to make some of your own!

I hope that you are all staying healthy and safe during these very difficult time. ❤︎

Have you made bread before? Do you like baking? Did this post inspire you to do some baking or cooking of your own?

Spring Is Here//feat. King of Kings – Hillsong

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Without hope without light

Till from heaven You came running

There was mercy in Your eyes

To fulfil the law and prophets

To a virgin came the Word

From a throne of endless glory

To a cradle in the dirt

Praise the Father, Praise the Son

Praise the Spirit three in one

God of glory, Majesty

Praise forever to the King of Kings

To reveal the kingdom coming and to reconcile the lost

To redeem the whole creation

You did not despise the cross

For even in Your suffering, You saw to the other side

Knowing this was our salvation

Jesus for our sake You died

And the morning that You rose all of heaven held its breath

Till that stone was moved for good

For the Lamb had conquered death

And the dead rose from their tombs

And the angels stood in awe

For the souls of all who’d come to the Father are restored

And the Church of Christ was born

Then the Spirit lit the flame

Now this gospel truth of old, shall not kneel shall not faint

By His blood and in His Name, in His freedom I am free

For the love of Jesus Christ who has resurrected me

King of Kings – Hillsong Worship


Thinking of you all during this very difficult time. I hope that you take some time celebrate this special day, the day we remember the resurrection of Jesus.

Has spring arrived where you live? What is your favorite thing about spring? Do you have a favorite of the (many) pictures above?