January Books

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Thank you to the Instagrammers whose pictures I used. Their instagram names are above each photo. Go check them out!

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.”― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Great Train Robbery best books list

The Great Train Robbery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As a novel, this book is too dry, technical and lacks luster. As a nonfiction account of a historical event, it’s very interesting and well told.

But then I learned he literally made it all up! He made up the transcripts, the dialogue and quotes, the newspapers he “quoted” from, all of it! Even some of the books he mentioned weren’t actually real. In that light, the book is genius!

I learned a lot about the time period as he would dive off into a tangential essay about some aspect of Victorian life that was germane to whatever plot trail he was next going to unveil.

I had a hard time with a lot of the period slang; some I could figure out from the context, some he did explain, but a lot of the time I felt the conversations read like The Jabberwocky. A Victorian criminal glossary would’ve been welcome. Modern dictionaries did not help with a lot of the jargon used in this book.

Other than that, it was an enjoyable read.

PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt:  A book you meant to read in 2018

“>the bird box best book list

Bird Box: A Novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


I’m one of those who hadn’t heard of the book until everyone started talking about the movie. I devoured both in short order. Both are powerful. Changes are made. I honestly won’t say “the book was better.”

I loved the style of writing. Sometimes it was lyrical. Sometimes short choppy sentences. Always got my heart racing. You never knew who the narrator would be. Usually Malorie, but sometimes a housemate or the omniscient narrator. The simplest act of drinking a glass of water was terrifying. Highly recommended if you like to be scared. Watch the movie too!

PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt: A debut novel


Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave⭐️⭐️ 1/2

The pictures are absolutely incredible. At the beginning of the book, it has good definitions of what your style profile is (farmhouse, modern, boho, etc) along with describing each house by what combinations of styles it’s decorated in.

There are 22 homes pictured randomly throughout the book and they are never really redefined. So if you like the style of one bedroom, you have to read through the text to see which house it is, then flip back to the front to find out what style it’s in. Total pain.

Also, the styles all seem to run together to me-they are very much “Johanna” with lots of black and white and neutrally muted colors, even the boho styles.

There aren’t a lot of ideas for people who have to store a lot of stuff. If you have lots of things you need to be able to access but want hidden, like a typical homeschool family would, you’re out of luck. Also, all the open shelving in all the kitchens is ridiculous! Who actually has the time and money to have that few things which all match and coordinate? There is a lot of impracticality.

Also, if you aren’t, or aren’t married to, someone incredibly handy and willing to exploit that skill, you’re out of luck. There are lots of custom beds and other furniture featured, which just isn’t possible for most of us.

If you’re looking for a pretty book, this is it. If you’re looking for a book with concrete design ideas which you can put to immediate use, look elsewhere.

“>warm bodies zombie book book list best books

Warm Bodies: A Novel (The Warm Bodies Series)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale from a zombie’s point of view. Of course it was little incongruous because- hey, they’re zombies how could they even be coherent to begin with? but if you suspend everything you thought you knew, you can really get into this book. It’s not super fast paced and rather a lot more thoughtful and even angsty than I expected.

I love the closing lines of the book and the idea that we CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGE!, even if up until this point, you’ve been a zombie.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book written by a musician  –Isaac Marion is also hilarious incidentally.cozy minimalist home the nester book list

Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I was reading, I thought of several to whom people I really wanted to recommend this book. She helps you step by step break down your home, rebuild your style, and design your home according to what you’ve discovered, and do it in the proper order.

She’s funny and has great ideas and understands actual people and their actual abilities and budgets. She recommends shopping your house first. She encourages you to start small. She says God was the first artist and created us in His image, therefore we’re all artists. It’s just lots of good advice and concrete how-tos. Highly recommend even if you don’t think you need home styling help.

Educated: A Memoir ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was enthralled and deeply moved by this powerful memoir. Once I started it, I had a difficult time pulling myself away. I thought this book was going to be about homeschooling and then how, in order to be successful you have to be all “Ivy League”. This is not the case.

Tara wasn’t educated in the ways we think of education. She had never heard of many basic things until she went to college.

She knew her life didn’t feel right, but she didn’t know what it really could be like. Her grandparents both had “normal” homes but due to her brainwashing, she didn’t feel like that was how people should live.

Her childhood is affected over and over by serious injuries of family members, injuries which are not treated. Reading about the injuries that happened was terrifying for me. I couldn’t not read it but at the same time I was horrified. What saddens me the most however, was that her parents didn’t know her birthday, or how old she was at multiple points in the story. It seemed like that was what made it so real to me that she didn’t matter to them.

One older brother in particular starts tormenting her, and the tormenting rises to the level of devastating abuse. In part in response to this, she decides to go to college, and by pretty much sheer force of will, teaching herself trigonometry, after learning basic math. She does well enough on the ACT to get into Brigham Young University when she’s only 17. From there, she starts a college career that at first she fails, but with support she eventually gets a doctorate from Cambridge.

However, each time she is drawn back to her family, her brother’s abuse continues, and the family denial turns more and more severe. The memoir becomes a story of her internal struggle—to believe her own version of her life and to have the strength to break away from her past.

I can’t remember most of my childhood due to traumatic events, and hearing her struggle with not having her point of view believed, and her family trying to change her memories and gaslight her was sickening.

I hope everyone reads this book. To quote an Amazon reviewer’s completely apropos words: “It’s a powerful, amazing glimpse into a way of life that most of us will never know, and an inspiring story of one woman’s ability to change her future.”

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about a family

desolation mountain book lists

Desolation Mountain: A Novel (Cork O’Connor Mystery Series)⭐️⭐️⭐️

I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and was immediately attracted by the title and book jacket blurb. I didn’t realize it was the one of many starring the same main character, but it worked well as a stand alone novel. It opened well and I read half of it in about a day because it was riveting. Then…I don’t know. It just tapered off and seemed like it was just trying to add pages before the big reveal at the end. Then the end just boom! Finished up. I wasn’t a fan.

I loved the relationships. I loved that the grown daughter, her family, and the college age son lived with the dad. I wasn’t actually even sure if the dad, Cork, or the grown son Stephen were the main characters. I was a bit disappointed that the women were all peripheral characters, sort of back drops to the men. I loved learning about the Native culture in northern Minnesota. It was clean.

But all in all, it was a book that was mostly, meh.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a two word title

“>Bring Me Back: A Novel⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved trying to figure out the twist and am proud to say I saw it coming. My suspicions were a bit different than how it all played out. I thought Finn was pretty much a jerk who took advantage of the people in his life and he and the other characters seemed rather one dimensional. I wanted him to do the right thing so badly. By the time I got to the end, I didn’t even know what I wanted to happen. I was satisfied and left hanging at the same time. I say YES, if you like thrillers, give it a go.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book told from multiple character Points of View

“>stephen king outsider book lists best to readThe Outsider: A Novel⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

I haven’t read Stephen King in a long time. This book made me remember why I used to be obsessed with him. I love how he’ll take a minor character, one you’ll never see again and tell their whole back story in a such a compelling way that you’re riveted. Some of the characters here though were the red shirted Star Trek guys.

This particular book had some plot holes and repetition in the conversation. The first part was straight up CSI and the second part was “oh-call up Sam and Dean!”. It was also a HUGE coincidence how the main characters got connected-almost so far of a reach as to be unbelievable-but I lovingly suspend a lot of disbelief when I read SK.

Over all, I liked it. I may pick up another of his more recent repertoire. Probably closer to 3 1/2 stars .

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A Book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature

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Thank you to the Instagrammers whose pictures I used. Their instagram names are above each photo. Go check them out!

Books I Read in October

Frozen Charlotte Alex Bell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review frozen Charlotte

Perfect October book! Creepy and chilly. Sometimes YA can be trite and overdone, and there admittedly was a little of that in here. I loved the setting, Sophie, the fact that you didn’t know who or what to believe. Classic clean horror.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review fall of giants

Another phenomenal epic by one of my favorite authors. I didn’t give it 5 stars only because of personal reasons. I was getting so bogged down and it felt so depressing-it IS about a war and the characters’ five specific families and how they intersect with different aspects of WWI and each other. I had to take a long break in the middle to give my emotions a rest, but it wasn’t that difficult to pick it back up again thanks to Follett’s skilled plot lines.

I learned more from this single volume about WWI than in school. I love how Follett can take fictional characters and seamlessly weave them into real historical figures and events. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the many story lines seemed complicated and hard to follow at first, but Follett makes everything so impactful and intriguing it helps to keep track of everyone.

I kind of picked up this book on a whim, not realizing it is the first of a trilogy or how long it would be, but I am definitely glad I did!

The Humans Matt Haig ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the humans

I was laughing out loud from page 1 (or possibly page 2). Light hearted and entertaining, The Humans is also quite serious. I found myself wanting to read bits out loud to passers by and memorize segments to better integrate them into my real life. I’m still reeling from all the subsequent thoughts swirling in my mind. The alien perspective of humans was rich and heart warming. What really matters after all? The question we all ask ourselves and truly, already know the answer to, is explored beautifully. As long as you don’t mind on the surface, gratuitous, but oddly necessary F-bombs, read this book.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Brynn Greenwood. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review all the ugly and wonderful things

So many emotions continurally resound long after I stayed up late to find out what happened to our brave Wavy. Ugly and Wonderful is an apt title; as it is love story in an unusual way-a beautiful rendering of a horrible childhood. Prose I want to keep reading, honestly raw, the compassion and character development, and even the different points of view make this a book I really loved.

I gave it four stars instead of five because since it IS so blunt in its descriptions of the life Wavy grew up in and lived, it couldn’t be recommended to all readers.

Breakdown B.A. Paris ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What a ride!

I loved Cass. I had my suspicions from the beginning which were justified of what was really happening to her, but I was still thrown for a loop. I was drawn into the story right away and wondered what I would do in the same situations. It’s a beautiful thing when I can relate to a protagonist so thoroughly. The energy in this book never stopped, even when all Cass was doing was sleeping.

It’s sad that books take so long to write when I want to devour good ones, like this one, in a single setting.

I need B.A. Paris to start writing faster because she’s my new favorite author.

The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Rules were never the point. It was finding out who you were meant to be.”

Once again Alice Hoffman delights in her poetic writing and crafting of a beautiful love story. Or, shall I say, several love stories. It would be hard to write a prequel to an iconic story, but of course she managed with aplomb. You love the Owenses, even when you think they’re screwing up their lives.

The Wife Between Us Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the wife between us

This book started out with a lot of potential-it’s hard to write what my experience was without giving away too much, but I’ll try. I was about 1/3 done when came across an Instagram review which told me what I had already assumed to be true, was actually the big twist. To put it a different way-I didn’t “get” the shocker at all because what I had thought to be true actually was true, but apparently most people think something different than I did.

Obviously that plot twist failed for me. I was still interested in the book though-I was loving the voice of the reader in the audio book, and I was still curious about how it would all turn out. I was impressed with the strength of the protagonist-she defined real courage to me. Even though she was terrified and sometimes opted to almost wallow in it and her depression, just like I would likely do, she still chose to do the hard, hard thing and face her fears.

I only gave it three stars though because there was a lot of repetition for which I couldn’t figure out a purpose. The extra twists toward the end seemed really contrived, the Epilogue especially! There was a subplot which happened in college that honestly didn’t seem to contribute to the story at all.

This book is above a shrug and a “meh” but you won’t miss anything if you don’t read it.

The Dinner by Herman Koch ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the dinner

** teensy spoiler alert **

 I hated this book and at the same time couldn’t put it down! The entire book takes place at dinner, which seems like it would be quite boring. Paul, however is an adroit storyteller. I begin to feel the same towards his brother as he does, and think Paul is the good guy. And then you learn more. This story line was intense and intriguing and despite having no action, except in flashbacks, it kept me riveted. It was so negative though, that despite how badly I wanted to tear through it, I didn’t have the stomach for it.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book review the last Mrs Parrish

I didn’t really enjoy the first half of the book because I hated the protagonist so much. Then when the protagonist changed halfway through, having just read The Wife Between Us, I knew almost exactly what was going to happen. I was really happy with the ending and how everything wrapped up. I enjoyed the book and it was well written.

Thank you to these wonderful Instagrammers for their pictures. Since I almost exclusively read library books, my pictures aren’t as perfect .

Which book do you want to add to your To Be Read list?


September Books and Reviews

Fall weather makes me want to read! There’s nothing like snuggling up under a puppy on a drizzly, cool day with an excellent book. As this past month was mostly all a steamer though, but I still managed to sweat and a read a few excellent (and a couple rather mediocre) book.

Thank you to the amazing Instagram community for allowing me to share their photos. Follow these reading ladies! (And me, FarmFreshJessica, if you don’t already!)

The Alice Network–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– Seriously, meet your next favorite book. Raw. emotion, humor, love, betrayal, passion, pain, beauty-this book has everything. Historically accurate and based on real people, some of whom are quoted word for word, and beautifully narrated from two diametrically opposes perspectives, you won’t be able to put it down.

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore–⭐️⭐️–Normally, I don’t even finish books that I like so little, but this was an audio book, so I could read while doing laundry, and I wanted to knock off my prompt for the 2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, “A book which takes place in a library or bookstore.” Suffice it to say, the premise had potential, but it was boring and pat, and I didn’t even understand what was going on half the time. The setting wasn’t developed and the characters even less so. Find a different book to fulfill that prompt, please.

The Good Daughter–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– An intense book from page one, it just keeps getting deeper. Filled with emotional drama and family trauma, this story isn’t as much psychological thriller as I thought it was, but more a mystery to be solved. The twists and turns are brutal and heartbreaking. You truly feel for even the minor characters in the story, which is a sign of an excellent tale. I was repulsed by the repeated graphic descriptions of the horror Sam and Charlie underwent, but I can see how it was necessary to help you really empathize with what they’d overcome. A fierce novel-one I had to stay up late to finish.

It’s All Under Control–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– This book speaks right to my heart. I was flabbergasted to find the author knows me! As in, she wrote this for herself and for women in general, but it was as if she knows me personally and sees my struggle. She brought tears to my eyes several times with her poignant encouragement. She offered real ideas and solutions and understands how hard this sense of control is to let go of. She never once seemed condescending, but always loving. Highly recommend.

The Giver–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– The Giver fascinated me. I was plopped down in the middle of a world for which I have no understanding or concept for. I am able to make judgements based on my experience and memories, as it were, but the characters in The Giver don’t have that capacity. Jonas eventually does and he realizes that with that knowledge comes understanding and with understanding wisdom and action. I recommend you read this book for you and with your kids. Lots of good conversations to be had and introspection to be done.

Kabul Beauty School–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve read several books similar in nature which were badly written and not at all interesting, even though the story SHOULD have been a winner. Kabul Beauty School is nothing like that. Debbie can tell a story that helps you visualize it and feel what she felt. She helps you understand, as much as any western person could, what these women in Afghanistan are tied to. It’s hard for us to comprehend at all.

She shares her mistakes and is very real with the reader, and at the same time feels proud of what she has helped accomplish. This book is a vital read for all of us in the West to take to heart.

George Muller–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️– We read this as a family and LOVED it! Just enough detail to get an excellent idea of this incredible man, but not too much that it didn’t hold the children’s interest. We love learning of all of God’s miracles and pray for George’s faith ourselves!

1984–⭐️⭐️⭐️– Fascinating. Disturbing. Thought provoking. Even haunting. I took quite a while to read this book because my brain just didn’t want to go back inside that world. I didn’t want to give it four stars as I didn’t really like it enjoy it but I think it almost deserves five. That this book was written 70 years ago and is still completely relevant today is awful. I would not want my kids to read Orwell’s “future” but I feel they should. Obviously, I’m conflicted about 1984.

Revolutionary Road–⭐️⭐️⭐️(⭐️)– Truly the writing deserves five stars. As for my personal taste in books though, I can only dole out three. It was a grim and morose tale of two people who thought very highly of themselves and found out they really didn’t have what it took to live their lives unselfishly and freely. They were stuck in so many constraints, in the past, and in doubt of their meaning here on earth. It was beautifully written and aroused compassion and curiosity for them. I want to see how they depict it in the movie.

In a personal tidbit, I was interested especially because it was written a year before my in-laws got married and the ideals and modes of society would have been their life song too. It helped me see how their mentality and upbringing and time affected their thinking, and thereby my husband’s.

I can see why this is considered an American classic, it just wasn’t for me. Finding out the ending makes me doubt I can stomach the movie, although I’ve heard it’s superb.

Behind Closed Doors–⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ — What a page turner!!
The writing seemed a little trite at times but I could easily overlook it because the concept was so strong. Suffice it to say it was completely believable even as it was out of the realm of every day understanding. I loved the idea of telling the story in the present and the past and bringing the past ever closer to the current present. I LOVED the ending. It literally gave me goosebumps.

What was the best book you read last month?


Books I Read: Honest Reviews

When I read book reviews, I just want the reviewer’s opinion. I don’t need a synopsis of the book because if it looks appealing, I’ll find that out for myself. I give you what I myself prefer, which is just straight up an honest review. Pretty much, nothing I read is less than three stars because Mama ain’t got time for bad books!

Besides, I link all my books to Amazon so you can easily purchase the book if it appeals to you. (And if you do, I’ll get a little sumpin’ sumpin’ out of the deal because they are affiliate links–win, win!)

Incredible Story of Redemption 

I watched Tiffany open a Fab Fit Fun box knowing nothing about her and laugh-crying by the end of her FB live. I promptly then watched several more of her videos. When I told a friend how much I enjoyed them, she told me Tiffany was in recovery. I bought the book that night.

Her honesty and raw real-ness was breathtaking. I was awed by her story and how much she could remember! She has lived a powerful life already and I’m excited to follow along as she continues to help change lives. 

Adorable photos.

Lots of sweet and cute ideas. I love the Japanese flair. Many of the ideas were quite simple and I’ve actually done, but still, this book is worth picking up for a peaceful afternoon read.


I never expected a book that was half about CONSTRUCTION to be interesting, but it was! The chapters flipped between the incredible construction of the amazing World’s Fair and the destruction of human lives at the hands of a psychopath. I also enjoyed learning several tidbits of trivia about Chicago and every day items that for their start at the 1893 World’s Fair.


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose a book about such a difficult topic, but this author knocked it out of the park just like his beloved Giants. I was blown away by the love and pain and passion that came through his words. Thank you both for honoring us with your story.

Well done!

Herein you’ll find lots of novel and actually implementable ideas for a beautiful home.  I like the mix of DIY projects, thrift store finds (you KNOW I LOVE THAT!), and elements they hired done. The colors are delightful, and even though a lot of it isn’t my style, I still gleaned a lot of ideas. The writing is humble but with the sense of humor I love it an author.  Lots of inspiration!

What!? Mind blown

I am usually pretty good at figuring out twists in the plot before they’re revealed but I LOVE an author who keeps me guessing! And how!  I was puzzled by the very last couple of pages though. It was almost as if the author thought, hmm, what can I just throw in there to throw everyone for a loop. Based on the reviews on Good reads, I’m not the only confused one either. I liked all of it up until then. If you like psychological thrillers, this is a do not miss.

I can’t stop thinking about it

I loved the truth telling In the story. I loved how it was told from start to finish in the Deep South vernacular and still painted beautiful word pictures. This tale made me laugh and cry, and wanted to know more about the rest of the story. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Literally a cozy book: just what I needed.

I LOVED this book. The suggestions for crafts were adorable and easy to implement. Some of the food recipes were “highbrow” but not so much so that I felt intimidated. I loved the thoughtful suggestions for ways of interacting with your world. She even had a page with directions on how to “do nothing”. I pretty much understand how to do nothing, as I’m sure you do as well, but what was novel for me, was putting it on your calendar. I NEED to do that! The pictures drew you in and gave you peace. I want to get to know the author better and follow her blog and buy all her things. She did an outstanding job with this book. It was perfect.

What books have you loved recently? What kind of book reviews do YOU like?


Books You Need to Read (and a couple you may not)

I hate when people waste my time describing a book in their review. That is not the point of a review. I want to know if it was good and if the book will be worth reading. That’s what I do in my book reviews.  I don’t really have time to finish less than three star books anyway,  so you won’t find a bad book (at least in my opinion) here.

Here’s what I read in April.

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

Oh my gosh. I read a book about hockey, and I loved it. My reading a book about hockey, which isn’t really about hockey, is a feat in and of itself, but loving it, even while I hated it, was incredible. It’s beautiful and tough and real and gritty. I was filled with despair and hope and satisfaction.

The quotable material and phrases and words I want to remember forever filled several notebook pages. I couldn’t make it five stars because of the depth of detail about some of the awfulness that can happen to people, but it will still be one of the best books I read this year. You must read this book.

**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **







This is the Queen of Mystery in excellent form. If you’ve never read her, I recommend starting with this one or And Then There Were None. It’s dated, obviously, so you do need to prepare yourself for that. I generally like Miss Marple better than Hercule Poirot, as far as Agatha’s detectives go. We have integrated one of his phrases from this book into our family lexicon as a joke, with an exaggerated French accent; “Because sir, I do not like your face.”

I would have liked to have a handy French dictionary with all the pronunciations for the many French phrases. Maybe when she wrote this, it was expected that the general public spoke French, but it certainly isn’t the case now!







Oh my goodness! The entire first half of the book made me want to gnaw my arm off! I hated being kept in suspense about what had happened the day of the ding-dong-dang barbeque! But once we got into the second half, it was a wonderful thing. It was so real, so healing. I cried in several different places. It was a phenomenal ending with so many good things.










As guide to motivate you and explain why you should pursue your dream of an internet based business, this book is on the mark. As an actual how-to do that, it is seriously a fail.  It does help to get you motivated and it does make you believe that you can leave the regular workaday life and start something you’re passionate about via the internet. He does a good job of outlining how people seem to make money from a variety of sources via social media and the web. He describes it’s possible for you to take your blog from basic, to a full time income. And possibly that’s all the book is supposed to be. Maybe it’s not meant to get into detail of how to actually make that dream happen.

My understanding was that it was supposed to though. It was disappointing that he didn’t get into the nitty gritty or the actual how to. I got this book because one of my favorite YouTubers recommended this as a life changing book. I definitely wouldn’t go that far, but it was encouraging. It was a fast read, so I didn’t feel like it was a lot of time wasted.



I love World War II stories, there  is something so powerful about the triumphs and tragedies that happened in my grandparents’ and in-laws’ life times. This book was especially compelling. I seriously found it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. It contained such interesting and incredible perspectives and intersections. Wonderfully well researched, Lilac Girls was enjoyable and heart touching, as well as awful to contemplate. I can’t recommend highly enough.








I was fascinated by this book. It is written in an anthropological style, so it is just a report of people, their stuff and how they interact with it. No judgement, no assessment, just details. I loved being invited into these families’s homes and peeking around at their belongings and  home life. It’s an aspect we often, if ever, are not privy to. If you’re as interested in other people and how they live as I am, you need to get a hold of Life at Home. It’s real life, y’all.







 It was intriguing enough to make me want to keep reading but I had already forgotten the title by the time I came to put in in Goodreads a few days later. The title was why I picked it up in the first place. I wasn’t even sure I liked the main characters and didn’t know whether I wanted good things to happen to them. I was also irritated that being thin and good looking was emphasized so much in the main character’s transformation into becoming more confident.








What an amazing book! I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning because I had to finish this story. It’s been ages since I have been that engrossed in a book, or that affected by a story for that matter. There aren’t words to describe the emotions you feel while reading this.

Awed that the author was able to impart such an unvarnished, yet grippingly beautiful story of life in Virginia in the late 18th century, the plight and powerlessness of both slaves and women, the interesting turns in fortune, I rate this book unputdownable.  I should tell you, that I read Alex Haley’s Roots and Queen at a young impressionable age, so my bar for this type of story is pretty high.  I felt like I could genuinely SEE each of the characters in my mind as I read, which, frankly, doesn’t really happen to me all that often. So much tragedy happens to so many people that one does start to get a little numb, but I still couldn’t stop reading. I felt as if I were an unfortunate witness to their lives. Nearly everyone in this story is admirable, and even those who aren’t, you still feel anguish for the things they went through to make them be as they are. This is a book I will remember for years to come.  I highly recommend you block out some time and pick up this book.

**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **


Book Review (March Edition)

March Book Reviews

March was a great book month! I read a lot of winners. I rate books on 1-5 stars, but it’s really kind of silly because I never finish books less than three stars, and have trouble even when they are perfectly average. And then when I realized I could use the emojis to make the stars, I thought to myself, as anyone would, “I’m going to rate these books on a scale of 1 to 5 tacos!”

Happy Handmade Home 🌮🌮🌮

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space

I’ve been using A Beautiful Mess’s filters for years, so when I saw they had a book out, I jumped on it. It was easy to read, lots of beautiful photos, much inspiration. If you like home decorating books, check it out! If you don’t like home interior books, this would be a good one to read and change your mind.

Into the Water. 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Into the Water: A Novel

I read this for Paper and Glam bookclub. I was halfway through before I even realized this is the same author as Girl on a Train, which I really loved. I’m a huge fan of quality mystery, and turns of the plot, as well as strong leads. This one was a bit confusing because it had so many different people’s points of view telling the story, as well as many different flashbacks, it was intriguing though, and because I was riveted, I still gave it four stars.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter


Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

This book was filled with all of the Kennedy drama and tragedy, but honestly it was pretty boring. It was mostly a litany of day to day list type writing. I wish the author would have helped me feel more sympathetic and compassionate toward Rosemary, or any of the characters. I wanted to feel their pain, feel for them more deeply, but the matter of fact style of telling the story was completely devoid of emotion.

A Wrinkle in Time 🌮🌮🌮

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)

Although it fit the category of “A Childhood Classic You’ve Never Read” for the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge, I didn’t really love it. My 13 year old said it’s one of her favorite books, so maybe it’s just very much a children’s book, which is disappointing because there is lots of other so-called children’s lit I love to come back to. I’m not a huge sci-fi or fantasy fan either, so maybe that’s part of it. It was very simplistic, with very little character development. It reminds me of a book I would have written in the 6th grade.

The Woman in the Window 🌮🌮🌮🌮

The Woman in the Window: A Novel

Reminding me frequently of the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window, Woman in the Window was filled with plot twists. I loved that I guessed some of them, but not to the extent they were written. I fell in love with the spirit of the protagonist. I couldn’t put this one down. Highly recommended: I almost gave it 4 ½ stars.

Safe With Me 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Safe With Me: A psychological thriller so tense it will take your breath away

March must have been the month for un-put-downable thrillers. This one had me hopping as well. This one had twists I never saw coming, as well as a hard to love, but still adorable narrator.

Night Road 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Night Road: A Novel

In my opinion, Kristin Hanna can do no wrong. I love how every book of hers is a different time period and about a different topic all together, and still hits me in all the feelings, and makes me cry, teaches me something new, and still has a happy ending. When you have to work through a lot of crud for that happy wrap-up, it makes the end all the sweeter. I do so love a happy ending.

Underground Railroad 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

The Underground Railroad: A Novel

This is the best book I’ve read all year. I loved all of it—the gritty, hardness of it. The truth of it. The absolute fantastical aspects of it. The spirit of the main character. The heartbreak of it. The beauty of it. Just read it.

Little Fires Everywhere 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Little Fires Everywhere
I will just come right out and say I was completely unsatisfied with the ending, but up until then, everything about this book was stellar. I was riveted the entire time. I loved the backstories by way of explanation of certain characters’ behavior, I loved all the different, yet intertwining plot lines, I genuinely loved the characters. Despite everything still being at loose ends at its conclustion, this was a book I was disappointed to have end.

What were your favorite books in March? I have a never ending TBR (to be read) list; I’ll be happy to add your recommendations!

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KonMari Life

I read The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up in January, and have watched several YouTube videos about the KonMari Method, and minimalism in general. I have been incentivized to change my life!

I haven’t done her program to the letter exactly how she describes, but what I have done has been fantastic!

I’ve done most of the kids’ clothes, mine and Kevin’s clothes, all the books in the entire house, a lot of our homeschool supplies, and some of the kitchen. As a mom of many, it would be impossible to do it exactly as she lays out in the book, and knock out all of the “odd and ends” for example, in one day. I try to tackle one category of things or a room every other Friday.

I had the goal of fashioning a creative environment to use as an office. I want to blog more. I want a space of my own. I also am taking on a job within our Classical Conversations community which requires more responsibility and record keeping, so I needed a spot for that.

I’m lucky enough to have a studio already. Sort of a glorified closet, it’s a small room on the south side of the upstairs. I love the natural light in here. I used to scrapbook in here, and I still sew and make cards. My needs have changed considerably, and all of the things I’ve been keeping have inched their way farther and farther from the wall until there wasn’t much room at all. And, with all the clutter, it does not invite creativity.

After a hard day’s work, I ended up with this: 

Much better, but it was still sort of cluttery, especially on top of my drawers, and with the sunlight I loved so much, I couldn’t see my computer screen due to the glare.
I made a few purchases to decorate it a bit, AND cleaned out our entire storage room to make room for Kevin’s steel guitar you see in front of the window. 
Now I truly have a Fortress of Serenity. I have a room I love to be in and a room that is once again useful and welcoming.

If you need motivation to change your life, I highly recommend The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up!