Sunday, January 21, 2018

Top 16 books of 2017

Favorite books I read in 2017. In the order that I read them.



1.  Bake Me A Match, by Erynn Mangum.  I have reviewed this book.
This is the last book in the Lauren Holbrook series, and one my favorites.  It is the most Bakery one, and I just love, love, love that!

2.  The Best Man, by Grace Livingston Hill.
This is a crazy book, by someone whose name will be on a lot of this list.  I am SO glad I did away with my crazy rule of only mentioning an author once.  Basically this guy is running away from some evil guys and ducks into a wedding.  He get's mistaken for a member of the wedding party.  He thinks he's the look alike for the best man.  He's actually the groom.  He is also kind of a International agent.  It's insane, but it's so good!

3.  The Christmas Bride, by Grace Livingston Hill.
This one is a super sweet Christmasy Romance, written and set in the Great Depression.  It was beautiful, and had a wonderful faith message.



4.  The Enchanted Barn, by Grace Livingston Hill.  You can read my review of the book.
But briefly, basically sick Mom needs to move to the country.  Oldest daughter finds a barn that is available at an affordable price, but it's like a really nice barn, some might even say it's enchanted.



5.  A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael, by Elisabeth Elliott.
An amazing biography by an amazing missionary woman about another amazing missionary woman.  It was amazingly inspiring to learn about Amy Carmichael's life, and all the work she did, especially in India.  Can you tell this was amazing?

6.  Betsy's Wedding, by Maud Heart Lovelace.
Yep, last year was the year I read the last book of the Besty Tacy Series.  This was just icing on the cake, or the bow on top of the beautiful gift box, or the cherry on top of the sundae, but not an artificially flavored, high fructose corn syrup dipped cherry, like a non-gmo, organic, heirloom cherry.  It was so fun to read about the crazy wedding and return from abroad (Belated spoiler alert about the wedding. SORRY!).  I liked seeing all the characters that I have been reading about since they were little becoming all grown up.  And after reading Carney's House Party, I finally know who Sam is! Yay!

7.  The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.
This was a deep thinking one.  And totally as good as everyone says it is!  Really hard to describe though.



8.  Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis.  I also have reviewed this.
The book is about Katie Davis's life, and her adventures in trusting God.

9.  Identical Differences, by Erynn Mangum.
A super sweet Novella about twin sisters who are very different and how one of them gets married. Lots of coming home and changing your mind about things which you used to feel strongly about.

10.  Daring To Hope, by Katie Davis Majors.
Hope to have review posted for this soon.  More of Katie Davis, now Majors, life.  And even more about trusting God.

11.  Out of The Ordinary, by Jen Turano, book two in her Apart From the Crowd series.
Historical fiction set in 1880's, in and around New York, super funny, super cute.  I want it to be a movie.  An adorable romance that is just so amusing to read!  Love, love, love.  Also, has an amazing faith message.



12.  Merry And Bright, by Erynn Mangum.  This Novella is reviewed in the Christmas collection review.
Christmas cuteness with a really good message.  Basically girl's fiance breaks up with her right before Christmas, chaos and romance ensue.

13.  Blue Ruin, by Grace Livingston Hill.
This book is a great example of how God's plans are so much better than our own.  The main character thinks she has life after college all planned out, marrying the pastor man who she's been dating for like ever.  She's declined going on a European Tour with her Aunt, Uncle and Cousin, because she thinks she'll be planning a wedding.  When the proposal doesn't come, and she gets a wake up call about the true position of her almost-fiance's heart and soul, life takes a change that is good, complicated, and unexpected.

14.  Marigold, by Grace Livingston Hill.
Marigold is just really trying to live her life, and has to make some mildly hard choices, and deal with all the crazy that is her life.  The story's beginning conflict is if she will go to a not super-morally good party, or if she will visit her sickly aunt, and then what goes on from there.  This is set around Washington DC in the the 1930's, which was super fun to read.  Another one with a good faith story.

15.  Mystery Flowers, by Grace Livingston Hill.
Girl's mother dies.  Then her father marries her cousin, who is not a nice girl and is like 20 years younger than our main girl's Dad.  Our main character has to deal with the repercussions of that, and all the crazy associated.

16.  The Missionary Meeting (short story), by Grace Livingston Hill.
Basically a really heated missionary meeting, plus more.  The leader of the group wants to give the missionary money to a man who is going go feed hungry people, but the money was supposed to go to a missionary woman who was going to feed them and share the gospel message.  The group is divided.  The leader will not budge, but very soon her argument is not the most important position in her life.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hear Them Ring by Erynn Mangum Book Review


This is a Christmas Special from The Library In My Room.  Today we are going to be reviewing a Christmas Novella collection called Hear Them Ring, by Erynn Mangum.  Hear Them Ring is four novellas and was released this year.  I got this book for Christmas, but I got to read it before then, so Yay!

As a bonus Christmas Special, I'm also going to recommend The Substitute Guest, by Grace Livingston Hill. This is a really good Christmas read if you don't want a collection of stories, but instead a full length novel. (A review for The Substitute Guest is something that will probably happen eventually).

Anyway, back to the review.  It will be in four parts, because every novella is its own thing, and I want to review them separately, but together.  Something to note is that all four of the novellas are available separately on eBook for pretty cheap.

1. The Christmas Watch
This is about a woman who works at her family's floral shop and gets asked out there, by someone buying flowers for his mom.  She also has a guy best friend, who is *practically* family.  So, you can guess what's going to happen.  But it is really cute and lovely and Christmassy.  Lots of mentions of White Christmas; I really like that. 
Content:  It was a very clean read.  Very LITTLE kissy romance.  There is a mention of wine.

2. Merry And Bright
We have our our main girl, who has a pre-law degree, but is currently working at a grocery store.  She is recently engaged, living in Kansas City, and about to go home for Christmas with her fiance.  Even her grandmother, who rarely comes to Christmas, is going to be there to meet her fiance.  But then he ends it!  And in a turn of events, a friend from work ends up driving her to Arizona, since he also is going home to his family in Arizona for Christmas.  I love our main girl's family so much!  They are so funny and sweet!  This one is really amusing.  I like that our main girl, Kelly, thinks about how her life did not go as she planned
Content:  A few curse word Replacements like heck. And one kiss.

3. My Revised Christmas List
Nursing student, Chloe, is just trying to set her sister up with a man, and pass finals.  It's Christmas time, what can happen?  Chloe works at a really cute cafe, and she likes pie.  They sell a lot of pie at the cafe.  I like hearing about people eating pie, because I, myself, am not really a fan.
Content:  A random couple kisses, and our main girls thinks they have had to much eggnog.  When her sister is really happy, she asks her if she has been drinking.  One cheek kiss and one on the lips.

4. O Christmas Bree
This is about a woman and her family's Christmas Tree Farm, and mainly about all the crazy that goes on with that.  I was a little disappointed in this book, but I can't say why because it would spoil the story.  But I do know this novella has been loved my many, just not by me.  I don't have much to say about this one.

To conclude, very Christmassy and Fun!  I am sure I will be re-reading many of these in the New Year.  These are like Hallmark movies with just a little bit more substance.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kisses From Katie Book Review


*This book does deal with and talk about tough topics, but more in the way the Bible talks of them. As in these things are in the world, but we don't need to accept them;  God can change the world and make it a better place.*

Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis (now Majors, but not when the first book was written and published), is the autobiography of Katie and how she came to adopt 13 girls in Africa, how she started her Ministry, and how she even came to be in Africa, in the first place.  This book has tons of encouragement and it's just super cool to see Katie's walk of faith and her life.  Katie is such an inspiration; she does so much with God, and she is so real.  This book has journal entries and pictures and just normal storytelling, it mixes it up really well.  Katie is an adoption queen and this was supposed to be go up in November, which is National Adoption Month, but that didn't happen because I was busy *violent sobbing noises*!  This is also one of my favorite books.

Here is what Kisses From Katie is all about:
This book starts out with Katie's senior year in high school, when she finds out about an orphanage in Africa and then asks her parents to let her volunteer there.  She gets to go!  Then when she graduates, she talks her parents into letting her have a gap year before college.  She is only 18, and she goes back to teach kindergarten at the same orphanage.  So, already she is totally doing something different than most other people.

I went in knowing almost nothing about her and her life, and I think that was a good thing.  I was always on my toes to see what would happen, even when I read it a 2nd time.  I love This book so much, because it is real and encouraging.  I am sad I waited so long to read this.

Content:
Because this book is read life, not fiction. It talks about real things that may not be something for little ones to read.

Here are the details:
Lots of mensions of HIV, and diseases and blood.
Katie talks about the need for hygiene and sexual behavior education.
The war that was going on at the time.
And domestic and child abuse.
And mentions of alcohol.
And for the girls who are easily grossed out, there is talk of poor living conditions and all the yuck that is there.



Life update/why I didn't post for the month of November:
Birthdays, so much birthday things for so many people! Also, thanksgiving and going to see the Nutcracker and other fun, exhausting things, like trying to write an entire novel in a month.
Let's just say, after getting sick, we are going to need at little more time, but I am proud of all of the stuff I got written, and how much plot and words I made it to.  Oh, and my hair got turned into a Christmas Tree for a Cosmetology competition (we won!).  So, yeah, the blog took a hit and so did my reading.  Here's to doing what you can when you can!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The King's War by Katherine Wilson Book Review


The King's War, by Katherine Wilson, is the third and final book in the Maidens of Malidone series. This one is finishing up Amira's story.  And this story is my favorite of the series.  I previously reviewed Book 1:  The Stolen Princess and Book 2:  Amira's Secret.

The first book, The Stolen Princess, is about Princess Rose, who gets stolen from her family at a young age by an evil tyrant.  She becomes a slave in the tyrant's country.  Book 2 is about Rose's Daughter, Princess Amira, who gets sent away from her family to try to protect her from an invading villain.  She ends up shipwrecked and trying to find her way home.

Book 3 picks up shortly after the end of book 2.  The evil villain of the story has taken over, as we already know from book 2.  Amira and her brothers are reunited, but they must find the missing members of the royal family.  Once the family is found, they must disappear to protect themselves from the evil villain.

Princess Amira and her brother, Prince Charles, end up going around the country to rally soldiers and non-soldiers alike to fight for their family to reclaim the Kingdom.  Their cousins are also a small part of this book.   I like that we get to see Elly, again, and I love the new female character we meet.  Amira's family, and all the characters I care to remember from Book 1 are back in Book 3.

This book is very exciting and action-packed.  This would be classified as a Non-Magical Fantasy.  As I have said before, this is the best writing and storytelling of the series.  As the first two books in this series talked about, this book also talks about trust in God.

CONTENT:

Language/profundity:
Amira is called a wench by some evil guys.

Romance:
Two different couples get engaged.  There is a kiss on the forehead for our main girl.  The main girl also thinks briefly about kissing on her wedding day.

Violence:
There is a war, so this is going to be long.  There's a coliseum that the evil guy has and he has killed people in it * no more details mentioned*, sword fighting, good versus evil, and people die.  And some of our main characters have to kill.  In no way is killing glorified.  There is also bleeding and blood, but not described in depth.  There are injuries.

Drugs/Alcohol:
NA

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips for going gulten free. A guide for the newly gluten free, by a fellow gluten free.

Tips for first timers going G-free.

1. Learn all the sneaky names for gluten and read labels more than meticulously.

2. Don't jump into your favorite gultenous food in a gluten-free replacement, it WILL taste different and there are many brands to choose from.  One brand will probably taste closer... but not good enough when you're first going gluten-free.

3. Focus on what you can have over what you can't.  Try to eat 100% naturally gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, some whole grains and whatever else you can have, if you don't have other food allergies.

4. Drink tons of water.

5. If you know that a glutinous food is your main source of something, let's say fiber, know that you will need to find a new thing that supplies that such as nuts or fruits.

6. Gluten detox is a real thing and it can make you feel crummy, for quite a while, so keep it up even if at first you don't feel that great.  Some people feel amazing right away, some people feel crummy for weeks, or even months.

7. Gluten is addictive.  So, know that you may kind of have withdrawals, and you will most likely have cravings.

8. After a while without gluten-free replacements, you need to figure out what it is you like about the gluten products without eating them, such as flavor versus texture.  There are so many different brands nowadays that offer so many different things, whether they get the flavor exactly right or the texture is perfect.  Then you can read reviews and start trying things like rice flour pasta, or corn flour pasta, or lentil pasta.

9. Don't care about what other people think, go on and offend people, because you are taking care of your health and that is more important than someone's feelings.  Obviously, explain to them if you can, but don't stress over it.  And if they don't understand, it's their loss, keep yourself healthy.

I hope this helps.  I wish I had someone to tell me all of this when I was going gluten free.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Katie In Waiting by Erynn Mangum Book Review



Katie In Waiting, by Erynn Mangum, is the first book in the Carrington Springs series.  The series is three books long, and they are all available in paperback and e-book.  This is a companion series, each book follows a different girl in the friend group.

This one is about Katie, a book editor who's just moved to Missouri, Carrington Springs, Missouri.  Her Grandmother lives there, and Katie was sick and tired of New York.  Katie has always wanted to get married and have a family, but is not sure it will ever happen.  Her Grandma loves to set her up with guys!  Katie becomes friends with a girl her age that moves in across the street.  Fun things ensue.

I enjoyed the spiritual Christianity content a lot, because I think it is very true to life.  I really like this series!  I have read, and re-read, all three books!

Nitpicking things:

On page 9 it is said that Katie's siblings are age 11, then on page 188, she says her brother is 6 years old.
On page 7, it is said that Katie is in her still-dark apartment, but in all the rest of the book, Katie lives in a house.

CONTENT:

Language/profanity:
Heck is thought.  Katie's Grandma says "I swear-".

Romance/you know:
Having a spark or chemistry is talked about.  Katie thinks about getting married a lot.

Violence:
Katie meets a guy and wonders if he is a murderer, turns out he's just a nice guy.

Drugs/Alcohol:
I don't remember anything, but there may have been a mention of wine.

Spoiler chatting:




I really like her Grandmother, she was so fun to read about.
I thought it was hilarious when Katie went to the wrong wedding.
I like how we can kind of see who Ashton's going to end up with, even in this one; if you have read the last book, you know who.
Another funny moment was when Katie's Grandmother invites over the boy she's already going out with, to set them up.
I don't have very many notes, because this was a pretty short book and I read it a lot at night.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Resistance By Jaye L. Knight Book Review



Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight, is a Christian fantasy book.  This book follows lots of different characters, their encounters and how they join the resistance.  The emporer is forcing people to bow down to false gods and the followers of the true God are ending up dead, because of this.

We read from the point of view of a girl working in the emperor's palace and trying to hide her faith.  We also get the point of view of the girl's twin brother and his life at the Academy.  He and his sister were trained at the Academy, because they have special skills.  There is also a half-blood boy whose perspective we get to read from  (he is half of a made up species that is generally regarded as monsters), who is having a really rough life.  There is an assortment of other characters whose point of view we also receive from time to time.

Things I liked:
Atmosphere at the resistance camp.
The world building and the writing.
The characters, even the smallest character is well-rounded.
The faith content of "would you be able to stand up for your faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego?".
All the work that was obviously put in to make this book a believable story in a very different land.

Fun fact: the author is a homeschool graduate!

This is a novel written for older teens, so it does have a bit of content, not in a bad way, it just tackles mature topics.  I have only read the first two books, and only the first four books are released.  I am planning on taking a little break on reading this series.  I re-read the first book and then went straight into the second one.



CONTENT:


Language/Profanity:
Not really a thing in this.

Romance/You Know:
A couple is semi-serious and one has asked the other to marry them, but the other said it was not the right time.  Afore mentioned couple has a quick kiss.
There are two characters I could see being romantically involved in future books, but they're not in this one.
A guy is really into a girl, and it is said that he likes the shape of her body.
One of our characters wears a dress that she thinks is too low cut and is uncomfortable in, no details.
When a girl is working at the palace, she is told that marriage and children are forbidden and should she at anytime find herself with child, she is required to see the palace physician to have it dealt with promptly and it will be at her own expense.  Our character is appalled, not by her having to pay for it, but that they even do that.
Note: There is nothing YOU know in this, but I feel the need to mention it.  When one of our female characters is arrested she is forced to strip down to her under-dress, nothing about her body is mentioned. Also, same girl is almost killed/taken prisoner and the guys trying to do that give the impression that they're going to take advantage of her.

Violence:
There is a lot of violence, fighting, Good vs Evil, being captured and imprisoned for your faith.  People you love being tortured and killed.  One of my favorite characters was forced to be a gladiator at one point in his life.  Some people have to kill, or be killed, or see people they love killed.  All that to say, very much violence, but not too bloody as some books are and not sick to your stomach description.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Not a thing really, unless it is used to clean wounds, but even then, not really talked about.  Someone might drink alcohol at the emperor's palace, but I don't remember it happening.