Book Reviews for March 2019

12 Apr

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for at least two weeks. Yikes! So much for getting it written early and scheduling it for spring break, eh? But, all well, ce la vie.

I hope you find something to add to your To-Read pile! And as always, I want to remind you that: while covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

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Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer- When Will runs away from his Amish community at nineteen, he leaves behind his faith, family, and a pregnant girlfriend. Years later, he returns – with a wife and two sons, and with a very different world view. What he won’t realize for many years is that his new family and life are tainted by sins of the past. And if he ever wants to reconcile with his father, or himself, he must face those head-on.

~I have had this on my shelf for quite a few months (sorry mom) and despite having picked it up several times, I never read it. I’m pleased that I finally did though- it was a different Amish story than I normally read. Part of that was that the main character was a man, and well, just the story itself. I don’t want to spoil anything for you here, but looking back on Levi’s life with him, and seeing the present consequences of it, was heartbreaking and encouraging and just…tinged with sorrow. Cramer really pulls you in with his descriptions of the locations – the Amish countryside, the mobile home the young family lives in, the war, etc. Along with that the characters were well formed – and useful. (I have this thing about useless characters in a novel). All in all, I really enjoyed this story. I don’t know how young of an audience I would recommend for it though as it does deal with some pretty heavy stuff. As always, I suggest you read it yourself before passing it on to someone younger. A book I definitely recommend!

Amish Peace : Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World by Suzanne Woods Fisher – Peace is something that we all strive for – each in our own way. Fisher shares the way that the Amish have found it – by focusing on five different themes of their faith, she shares stories, proverbs and interesting facts about their life. She’s also included questions and thoughts to help you find peace in your own life.

~Thanks to Beverly Lewis (and some other historical fiction authors), I have a mini love for the Amish. While I don’t agree with all of the tenets of their faith, I was still drawn in by this book. Their focus on community, forgiveness and faith is incredible. Fisher shares some great stories to move her point along. I recommend this book for anyone wanting to slow down for a few minutes and think about how they are living their lives.

The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke  – A separate review of this series will be coming – once I finish the last two books! Suffice it to say, right now, that I adore this series.

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Praying Through Lyme Disease by Rebecca Vandemark – A compilation of prayers and verses that focus on topics that Lyme disease patients deal with daily. A daily reminder that you are not alone.

~First off, I received this book free for my honest review. I wasn’t compensated in any way. I have been following Vandemark for years now. (I’ve also reviewed December Caravan) I greatly appreciated these heartfelt prayers and corresponding scriptures touching on so many of the struggles/emotions that I, as someone who struggles with chronic Lyme, deal with on a daily basis. If you know someone, or are yourself, struggling with Lyme, don’t hesitate, get this book! I anticipate going through it again and again. Did I mention that there are pages to take notes for each prayer? Love it. 

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Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery – When his younger brother is stolen from them, Dym Ingleford promises his dying mother that he’ll never stop looking for him. That promise hasn’t been forgotten when, years later, he rather stumbles upon young Max Eckermann, a German prisoner.  Dym is convinced he’s Anthony. But the years of Nazi ideology have not been lost on the young boy, and convincing him that he’s now home, and safe, is quite the task. (first published 1944)

~Another book that I haven’t read in a few years, although now it will probably get moved to the ‘read-yearly’ list. Savery delivers a delightful, heart rending tale set WWII, which she wrote during the war. DURING THE WAR. That, for me, really made this tale come alive.  But the story itself is so good that I had a hard time putting it down. Max’s flight(s) from the White Priory (the family home), the patience of Dym and the danger of the war all join in a wonderful story. A five star book for me! 

Princess Aline by Richard Harding Davis – Falling for a picture of a Princess, a young American artist sets out across Europe to meet her. When they are finally close enough to speak, to touch, he stands, propriety-bound and too scared to offend such a creature. He does all he can to meet her properly, but will it be enough? (first published 1895)

~ I hadn’t pulled this off of my classic shelves in so many years, I only vaguely remembered it. It was delightful. It’s a light-hearted story that you just don’t want to end. It was fun to follow Carlton as he traveled across Europe, always one step behind Aline. I highly recommend this classic!

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Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh, edited by Irving Stone – Vincent and his brother Theo, kept up regular correspondence for years. This collection of Vincent’s letters shows how close they were; his feelings on everyday life, his family and art. (first published 1914)

~I cannot believe it took me eight months to read this book. While on the other hand, I do. It is a hard one to read in a way because he did lead such a difficult life and you already know how it ends… and in such a tragic way. (spoiler: he commits suicide). But reading in his own letters the descriptions of the places he saw – the way he saw his own art – the way he saw colors – it keeps you reaching for it again. Will I ever read it again? I don’t know. But I’m glad that I read it at least once. 

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee — as I didn’t finish this book before it had to go back to the library, I’m just going to quickly say that what I did read was interesting and I have plans to one day request it again. What I didn’t like was the talk of evolution (how that has any real bearing on the talk of color and how it affects us, is beyond me – I thought the author could have handled that differently. Overall, what I read (the first 1/4 of it?) was interesting.

 

Currently Reading:

Sons And Soldiers by Bruce Henderson

At the Back of the North Wind by George Macdonald

Eliza by Patricia Campbell

 

To Read:

The Fires of Heaven (book 5 of the Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

Love Finds a Home (#8 of Love Comes Softly series) by Janette Oke

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

 

Coming up in April’s book review: 

Love Takes Wing (book 7 of Love Comes Softly series) by Janette Oke

The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke

A Falcon For a Queen by Catherine Gaskin

~I am going to say that I’ve got a few trilogy’s to read but I’m waiting until I finish at least one of the series that I’m currently in. Anyone else have this problem?! The nice side effect of that is, that I’m reaching for books that I haven’t read in quite a while (that are mainly quick-reads).

~Laura

What have you been reading?

If you missed it, go check out the Michelli Family Series Review. Also, the City of Tranquil Light Book Review  is a must read as well!

 

Michelli Family Series Review

21 Mar

This series by Kristen Heitzmann is by far the most unique christian romance suspense series that I’ve read.

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Secrets-  When Lance Michelli’s grandmother sends him on a quest to her past, he’s not sure what secrets he’ll uncover. He ends up at a Sonoma villa, recently purchased by Rese Barrett, a toughened young woman whose own secrets will sweep him away if he’s not careful. They clash as she works on fixing the place up and he tries to complete his goal for his grandmother. The unexpected attraction that springs up causes even more complication.

Unforgotten – Lance returns to New York, to his grandmother to tell her what he’s learned about that night long ago at the villa. He’s also brought Rese, who’s hiding her own secrets. But when he tells his grandmother, she won’t listen, instead sending him on another quest. This quest, however, hits closer to home, forcing Lance to choose between the two women.

Echoes – Finchè c’è vita c’è speranza” Where there’s life, there’s hope. Sofie Michelli’s world opens up again when she hears these words. Her years of living in despair and loss are at an end and she’s ready to start again. That comes in the form of the old villa that her brother Lance, and Rese, fixed up. What was once intended as an inn, has become a refuge for the hurting and downtrodden. It takes some time for Rese to adjust to the humbled version of Lance, but this new gift of healing of his leaves her with even more questions. Things get even more complicated when Child Protective Services, Matt Hammond, shows up on their doorstep to investigate the infant left unexpectedly in their care.

This series touches on faith, mental illness, physical healing and SO much more. Some of it was outside of my normal ‘read’ so while I still enjoyed each book, I feel like my favorite was the first. That’s not to say that each book didn’t impart some wisdom as the characters learned and grew. I loved reading about Matt’s journey as he gets to know the residents at the Sonoma villa and deals with his own painful past.

While this series might not be a regular read for me, I can see myself coming back to it simply to fall back in love with the characters, appreciate how Heitzmann wove such a stunning plot that keeps you reading until the last page.

I definitely recommend this series but I would suggest pre-reading it before passing it on to a younger reader. As it deals with heavier things, it might be too much for them.

~Laura

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

 

February 2019 Book Reviews

13 Mar

This is a short and sweet book review for February, and then in just a few weeks, there will be another (longer) one for March!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I set myself a crazy goal – to read The Shadow Rising in just a few weeks. As it’s one thousand pages, it was a hefty goal. Thankfully I realized that I’d read the library due date for it wrong, and I actually had almost a week extra. I did it though, I finished it the night before! If it wasn’t such a great story – so engrossing – there’s no way I would have even attempted it. I read SO MUCH. By the time I finish each one of these books though, I am ready to jump right into the next one.

Also, remember, while covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

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Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2) by Theodora Goss – Mary Jekell and the other four members of the Athena Club are enjoying a break after helping Sherlock Holmes solve the WhiteChapel murders. But then Mary receives a telegram from another monstrous girl and they set off across Europe to rescue her. And to stop the Alchemical Society’s evil experiments once and for all.

~This was a random pick-up at the library, although I didn’t realize that it was the second in a series. While it was vastly different from what I am used to, I overall enjoyed it. The story took many plot twists that I didn’t see coming, keeping me guessing as to who was on the girls’ side and who wasn’t. Goss also did something that I’ve never encountered in a novel – one of the characters was writing the story (their adventures) and occasionally, the others would interrupt her telling of it. At first, I felt like it really just stopped the story without adding anything to it but by the end, I liked the extra insights into who they were. Goss pulled off that clever bit of writing, I think. I wouldn’t recommend this to younger readers as there was quite a bit of killing, some insinuations and just overall intensity. 

Maire )Fires of Gleannamara #1) by Linda Windsor – When Maire, queen of Gleannamara, takes Rowan Ap Emrys as hostage -and husband – she doesn’t understand his ways. Or his God. Full review here.

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan- When Min once again enters the White Tower, she sees disturbing images, portending doom. In Tear, the Dragon Reborn debates his next move. The man with the golden eyes is hunted in Two Rivers. The only one who can stand against the rising of the Shadow is the Dragon Reborn. What he does next has to be something no one expects.

~I’ve already told you about my ‘speed read’ through this hefty book . The way that Jordan continues each character’s story without leaving you feeling like one or more are superfluous is incredible. I think that my favorite storyline and character is Perrin although Min’s is intriguing me as well. I can’t wait to get book 5 from the library! 

Medical Medium’s Liver Rescue by Anthony William – Unbeknown to the majority, having an overloaded liver can cause many health problems. With a practical guide and compassionate insight, William shares just how to save our livers and turn around our health

~I have a confession to make. I didn’t read very much of this at all. I hope to get it from the library again this year and read it through. 

I also realized that I haven’t reviewed the Michelli Family series by Kristen Heitzmann like I said I would! It’s on the calendar for next week now though.

Currently Reading: 

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson

Love’s Unending Legacy (Love Comes Softly #5) by Janette Oke

 

To Read:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

Diamond of the Rockies Series by Kristen Heitzmann

The Fires of Heaven (Wheel of Time series #5) by Robert Jordan

 

In case you missed it, I reviewed the Sisters of Bethelehem Springs Series last month. To check out what I read in March of last year, click here!

~Laura

Health Update Jan/Feb 2019

8 Mar

Well, it’s a little later than I wanted to get it up, but my health update for January and February is finally here.

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Overall Health:  Fatigue and fibromyalgia have been hard this past month odd.  Having motivation to get anything more than the bare minimum done has been hard most weeks.

Jan 22- still bad fatigue but went grocery shopping in am. Brain fog in afternoon/evening. Migraine kicked up in late evening but not severe. Some achy fibropain last night and thru today
Jan 25 – less fatigue the past few days and have been able to take short naps. Migraine kicks up in evening. 
Pre-cycle symptoms: fibro flaring in calves, back pain, weird/bad dream
Jan 30- tired first thing but had decent energy thru out the day. Some minor fibro cramps in calves and hands. Left hip hurting in afternoon and evening. Decent day overall
Jan 31- pretty good today till fatigue hit in afternoon. Nap and clonidine kicked the migraine. Left calf cramping
Feb 2- fatigue and migraine upon getting up. Took 2 clonidine in am and took a 2 hr nap. 
Feb 6 – increased iberogast to 2 drops/day. 
— bad fatigue most of weekend and Monday (11th) and even worse on Tuesday (12th). Severe migraine on Sunday (10th). Wondering if the iberogast is why the fatigue is so bad? Or am I going low on h2plx? 🤯
Feb 13- fatigue wasn’t as bad today. Did minor housework, blogged, read. Only took one nap. A bit of a struggle to keep migraine down all day. Did 1 drop iberogast in am and evening each. Testing to see if it helps. Left hip and calf started hurting in evening
Feb 18- changing times of iberogast seems to be helping fatigue. Even with a busy Friday and Saturday, I was still able to take Abby to the park this morning. Migraine/mood flared afternoon. Calmed by evening. Left calf and Hip hurt in evenings. Took half a melatonin
Feb 19- decent in am, a little more myself. Ran to Costco in am. Hit w/ fatigue after but not awful. Migraine flared to 6/7 in afternoon. Ice and tylenol/Bayer helped. Going to bed with ice pack 💤 left calf tight, migraine in temples
Feb 25- some less fatigue but still strong. Migraine kept down with Tylenol/aspirin. Took one nap. Upset stomach afternoon and then again after dinner. Bloated stomach. Also had the sweats when stomach was worst. Foggy brain. 
Feb 27- pain in eyes, felt like auras were coming. Fatigue. took a nap and woke up exhausted. Migraine off and on all day. Did some housework etc today though so, some improvement. No stomach issues!

Migraine: Frequently, Clonidine (my prescription pain killer) doesn’t work and I take 2 Tylenol/1 Bayer instead and that does the trick. Some days, the migraine refuses to ease but others, it chills out readily. Commonly it’s in my left temple, band around the head or base of skull.

Sleep: Surprisingly, I’ve started getting more like 8 hours of sleep a night. (still with a few wakings each night of course). I’m not taking a nap every day, which, while that’s nice, I think most days I should be and just can’t.

Memory/Brain Fog: brain fog has been a definite struggle still. And of course, some words are still escaping me.

Nutrient IV : so this might be an odd category but I want to keep track of what we do, and how I respond to it. We did a drip bag this time with the full spectrum of B vitamins, A bunch of Vitamin C and whatever else she adds to it =) and a push of glutathione at the end. I’d hoped to notice a huge increase in my energy and decrease in symptoms (like I used to) but I didn’t. I noticed a small change in those things at least.

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Vision: I didn’t have one major visual aura! I have had the feelings of the beginnings of them but have been able to catch them (ice pack, eyes closed in a dark room, protein snack). However, I have had just…aching in my eyes the past few weeks. Dryness as well.

TMJ: I’ve been having more painful popping the last week odd, but before that it was pretty non-existent. My teeth/jaw do hurt every day, pretty badly sometimes.

Fatigue: Once again, this has been such a killer. I have increased my dosage of H2PLX to 3/day and that has already helped. (I just did this a few days ago). While I don’t like the price of H2PLX, the results can’t be denied. I’m trying to get more iron in my diet and contemplating going back on the liver because I’m just so worn out from this. It’s a crushing exhaustion that just wears you down all day.

Fibromyalgia:  Sadly, this hasn’t eased since last month. My left calf is still tense/self flexing throughout the day and my knees/elbows hurt to some degree all day/night. My knees hurt the worst though – some days they get ‘stuck’ and I have to slowly straighten them. Ice is still the current magic treatment.

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Weight Loss: I have gained and lost, gained and lost. It’s not been a priority lately but I’m trying to focus on it again. I’m trying to cut out corn, starch and processed sugar.

Digestion:  Somehow, this has eased to an extent. I still get an upset stomach a few times a week. I still need to talk to my doctor about it (as I ended up having to cancel my last scheduled appointment). I’m wondering if the Resveratrol was one of the main culprits to it freaking out so badly.

Mood: Overall, this has stabilized, and I haven’t even started taking the Xiao Chai Hu Tang. (one of my favorite herb combos you guys, look into it! Check the source though, the levels of arsenic can be high).

I just decided to share with you the vitamins/supplements that I’m currently taking, since I’ve had to really pare down and start over on these.

2 each : Feverfew, Magnesium, St. John’s Wort, Fibronol

1 each: Turmeric, Vitex, Andrographis, Berberine, Butterbur, Bearberry

1 Complete Mineral Complex only 3/week

3 H2PLX/day

2 drops/day Iberogast

I am wanting to start next, B2 and Calcium (and so many more after those). I also need to work on increasing the Iberogast.

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~This has been a hard month, to be completely honest. I feel like I’ve hit a valley and pitched a tent there. With my brain fog, I can’t write. With my knee pain I can’t be up and around as much as I want/need to. With the fatigue, I’m so drained that just getting food and taking care of Abby is all I can do most days.  I am trying to focus on the positives – one of those being that the fatigue has eased slightly the past few days – and look ahead to better days.

~Laura

In case you missed it, I wrote about a time recently that I took Excedrin. I used to take it regularly for my migraines (about 10 years ago now) but no longer! It’s just…. well, go check out the post. I also have a series on Encouragement for Living with Chronic Pain. 

That time I took Excedrin

27 Feb

 

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Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

I sit here with tremors running through me. My feet are freezing, but I’m burning up. A migraine is trying to come back and my stomachs roiling, causing nausea. I just want to sleep but there’s no way to relax enough when my body’s freaking out like this.

the cause?

I ran out of prescription pain pills and had to take excedrin tension headache. Caffeine is not my friend. In this moment, I’m not really sure if the pain relief was worth it.

This is my life – deciding which pain I’d rather deal with.

And let me tell you, I hate that fact.

~~~I wrote this a year ago, and never came back to finish it. Perhaps I just needed to get these words out. But I decided to share them with you today in part to remind myself to never ever take Excedrin again.

And to say that if you ever find yourself up in the middle of the night with pain keeping you awake, I know what you’re going through. And if you want to chat about it, or books, or food, or anything, drop me a line. I’d love to talk with you!

Writing Prompt – Confession

21 Feb

 

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On This Page I Write My Last Confession. Read It Well.

I confess to wandering, when my place was by your side. My heart was happiest with you but little things, daily things, pulled me away and sought to take your place. To my ever-lasting shame, I let them. They seemed so important then, but truly they weren’t. What a life we could have lived, if I’d only stayed by your side.           

I admit that I lied, when it seemed like it didn’t matter. Little white lies, that hurt no one, I told myself. If I could make my path a little smoother, I easily let slip a lie. Relieved when I got away with it and angry when I got caught. Were those lies worth the worry of being caught, keeping them straight day after day? 

I confess to holding grudges over the years. I knew that I should let them go but instead I ignored them. Pretended that if I didn’t think about them, they weren’t affecting me.

I admit to begrudging others my time, my attention, my love. I was so focused on me and my wants and desires, that I rarely saw the truth. The beauty of helping and connecting and sharing. By rote, I carried out these things but they didn’t reach my heart.

I confess to getting caught up in comparisons and striving for more, always more. A bigger house, a better car, nicer clothes, fancier things. 

I confess to giving such an outward appearance of morality, faithfulness and charity, that I never stopped and looked inside myself. To see myself truly. 

But as I write this with shaking hand and certainty that my last days are coming, I regret that. My life was good and full of good, but in striving for more, I lost sight of that. The end does not justify the means, because in the end, so much of what I was aiming for, no longer matters. In the end, I find that it’s me with my thoughts. Me with my family. Me with failing body and struggling words. Too late I’ve learned the truth. Too late I’ve come to realize what I should have been focusing on. All I can say is, I confess it. And don’t make the same mistake.”

~I don’t do much editing at all with these writing prompts. The idea, for me, is to let the words come as they will and leave them be. Getting the creative juices flowing is the goal.

~Laura

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series Review

14 Feb

I’m excited to be sharing this series by Robin Lee Hatcher with you guys today. I know I promised this review to you way back in December but it’s finally here! And it’s definitely worth the wait. Trust me. I actually heard about this series from my aunt who found it at her local library.

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A Vote of Confidence, When Gwen Arlington complains about the mayoral candidate for their small town of Bethlehem Springs, she is encouraged to run for office herself. Although she’s unsure about upsetting her cozy life as a piano teacher and writing for the local newspaper, she decides to go for it. Unknown to her, newcomer Morgan Mckinley also decides to run for mayor. The health spa that he’s trying to build has stalled and he’s decided that being mayor will help cut through all the red tape. As both Gwen and Morgan try to prove that they are the best candidate for the job, not only to the residents of the town but to each other, sparks fly. But Gwen’s fiercely protected independence and Morgan’s guarded heart may just keep them as adversaries instead of allies.

Fit to Be Tied,  Cleo Arlington isn’t your typical young woman. She can rope, ride and wrangle a horse with the best of the outfit on her father’s ranch. But in 1916, those qualities aren’t what men are looking for in a wife. Her dreams of being married and having a family of her own look grim. So when Sherwood Statham comes to their ranch, she has a hard time with his uppity attitude. This English aristocrat isn’t there in Idaho by choice, but by order of his father. Cleo and Sherwood’s every encounter leaves one or the other mad as all get out. There’s no way he’s the one she’s been waiting  for, is there?

A Matter of Character, Writing dime novels isn’t what people expect of an heiress, so Daphne Mckinley keeps her hobby to herself. But the stories are a hit and the readers keep asking for more. Daphne eagerly obliges, continuing the saga of her villian Rawhide Rick, who is loosely based off local lore. But when Joshua Crawford comes to town in search of the man who has slandered his grandfather’s good name, Daphne learns just how powerful words are. She also has to make a choice on using her gift and just what she wants her life to be.

 

This series was so much fun. I love the time period – starting in 1915 – and Hatcher describes just enough of the world that you can picture it without there being too much reminding. Know what I mean? (there really can be too much description in a book. . .) The main characters are great, although I have to admit to liking Daphne the most (although I do remember getting frustrated at her a few times…) but I suppose that’s no surprise as she’s a writer and I’m a writer.

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aren’t these covers just perfect?! I’m in love

Anyway, this series was SO much fun, my friends. I read them all so quickly and was sad when they were over! Faith was an aspect of each book, but not overly done. (there can also be too much preaching in books…)  There is something so fun about reading novels set in this time period – the newfangled contraptions of typewriters and automobiles. The dresses, gloves and hats. (happy sigh)

The twists and turns were great as well, keeping me in suspense as to just how each book would end. I highly recommend this series, from teens on up! This series is definitely on my re-read list (we all have one of those, don’t we?)

Also, I have reviewed another of Hatcher’s books, The Shepherd’s Voice. Go check it out! It’s also set in Idaho.

~Laura

 

Online Accounts I’ve been LOVING lately

7 Feb

I decided to share some of my favorite accounts from across the internet with you today. They are an assortment of crochet, writing, books, faith and the cutest little farm in a city that you’ll ever see. I hope you find something to brighten your day!

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Photo by Oleg Danylenko on Unsplash

Weed Em and Reap 

– a family farm in Arizona with the cutest (baby) goats, some chickens, pet pigs, yummy recipes and gardening.

A Bookish Baker

– her name says it all, she talks about books and baking. As well as creativity all around. She’s also got a youtube channel that I love.

Make and Do Crew

– CROCHET. Need I say more? They’ve got so many great patterns, you’ve got to check it out!

All About Ami 

– So many lovely crochet patterns – including amigurumi – that Stephanie creates. She also knits if that’s more your style!

Women Living Well

– Bible studies that you can join, or just do on your own; encouragement and resources. This is the home of Good Morning Girls.

Catherine Ryan Howard

– a writer and a reader, I love reading any posts Howard puts up. Her tagline for her blog is perfect, go check it out.

Ninja Writers

– There are SO many resources for writers here. She has helped me a lot these past years with learning to plot, build worlds, character development, etc.

The Wads

– this is my newest find, and it doesn’t fit with any of the others! Ha. She’s so fun to watch as she does store hauls, DIY projects and, my favorite, decluttering.

 

~Laura

January 2019 Book Reviews

31 Jan

I read so much this past month! Books of quite different styles as well. I didn’t make it to a few that I had planned on reading but that’s okay, they’ll be picked up next month (hopefully…)

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has swearing or blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

 

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope – Newly orphaned Peggy wishes she could ignore her father’s last request but honor bound, she makes her way to the family’s ancestral estate – and her eccentric uncle. Her welcome is hardly what she expected though, when her uncle drives away her only new acquaintance and is then ignored herself. But the estate isn’t lonely for Peggy as she finds out that it really is haunted. And her ancestors are eager to share their story, one of a centuries-old romance, spies and plots.

~This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different eras. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

 The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan – Rand al’Thor is left to his own devices to learn how to control the One Power, knowing only that he will eventually face the Dark One. Perrin Aybara is on the hunt with Moraine Sedai, Lan and Loial but is grappling with losing his own humanity. Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are on their way to Tar Valon, with a very sick Mat in tow, to tell the Amrylin that the Black Ajah is real but they’ve no idea that worse awaits them. None know that the greatest test is awaiting the Dragon Reborn in the Heart of the Stone.

~I’ve fallen more and more for Perrin you guys. His story just… intrigues me. And Loial. Mat’s storyline is also getting more interesting as well. The way Robert weaves so much information about so many people together is absolutely captivating. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey – Saving doomed infants (premies) in incubators at Coney Island, alongside burlesque shows and sword swallowers, Martin Couney ignored the scorn of the medical community and accepted any baby brought to him. His love for every one of his tiny patients was evident, as he fought against the popularity of eugenics. At the end of his career, it’s estimated that he saved some seven thousand babies.

~ Raffey uses historical documentation, interviews and original reports to tell the story of this incredible carnival doctor. Some of the information on her search was a bit dry for me, I was after all, reading it for the story of Couney but overall I really enjoyed this book. Learning about the invention of incubators (something I’d never really given much thought to before) and how, for years while Couney was using them, hospitals didn’t. A very intriguing read about an incredible man.

Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann – series review coming in February!

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme – When Tassie is told about the history of the blood moons, she brushes it off, focusing instead on her career and boyfriend. But her unbelief is threatened when she finds herself in the midst of terrifying worldwide turmoil, including a terrorist plot. Can she accept her destiny in the midst of these times and help save the country of her heritage?

~I was excited about the different/Jewish take on an end-times thriller. Plus the cover of the book is just stunning and let’s be honest, that affects us all probably more than it should… I ended up being discouraged quickly though. Part of it being that the writing style was distracting to me (I felt we were told the same thing repeatedly)- and I felt like the story could have been developed a lot more. I fell for a few of the characters -Tassie’s Dad for example. I was sad to realize that the Jewish aspect ended up feeling like it was a Christian take on Jewishness. While I did finish it, I ended it feeling unsatisfied and wishing that the author had really delved into the Jewish aspect (that which originally called to me about it) a lot more. I received this book free for my honest review from Ambassador International. 

The Princess by Lori Wick – Following the tradition of Pendarin, Prince Nikolai agrees to an arranged marriage with Shelby Parker. He’s still deeply in love with his late wife but knows he must move on. He doesn’t reckon on just how hard that will be though, even if Shelby is sweet, and steps easily into the role of Princess. She isn’t sure just what to think of Nikolai as he avoids her at home but is the perfect gentleman in public. Can they both find peace and love in this arranged marriage?

~I honestly am surprised that I haven’t reviewed this before! This is such a gem of a book. It’s sweet and romantic. I love reading this when I need an uplifting, easy read. The main character, Shelby, reminds me a little bit of Sophie from Sophie’s Heart. I fall for Nikolai every time I read it. As this is a Lori Wick, the men are ‘perfect even in their imperfections’ as I like to say, but I so appreciate the faith encouragement that I get from Wick’s books.

Good bye, Lover by Rachel Britz – For Honora Gallagher, her life is turned upside down when her father unexpectedly dies. The news of his death, and the unlikely requirement for her to inherit the estate, spreads across the country.

~I’d only read this once before, back in 2015 where I reviewed it here. Suffice it to say, you really should go check out my full review ( and the full synopsis)

 

Currently Reading:

Maire by Linda Windsor

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2 by Theodora Goss

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh (I’m making headway on this one!)

 

To Read:

Praying Through Lyme Disease by Rebecca Vandermark

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Medical Medium’s Liver Detox by Anthony William

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (finally got it from the library!)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

 

I’ve got crazy long lists of books I’ve read and To-Read on Goodreads if you want to follow me! I’ve got a page on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to follow me either place. I am much more active on IG than FB though.

~Laura

Health Update Dec 2018/Jan 2019

23 Jan

I don’t like writing these sometimes – although living the pain is obviously worse. Heh. Over the weeks I’d really slipped into ‘pure survival’ mode. Which for me, means I wasn’t doing any detoxing or anything to help diminish the pain except for my vitamins and clonidine. So, beginning of the new year, I have made it a point to do the extra detoxes and other things to try and get me out of this funk.

 

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Overall Health: I’ve taken some steps backward this past month and that is incredibly frustrating. Stomach issues and debilitating migraines and fibro flaring again.

Dec 20- drove to bend. Very tired after but did pretty well all day
Dec 21- fatigue and some fibro. Short nap in afternoon, fuzzy brain after
Dec 22- decent fatigue, but went shopping. 2 hr nap in afternoon, helped. Some fibro cramps in feet/ constant left calf cramping. Took 1/2 melatonin at night
Dec 24- didn’t sleep well last night. Achy all over – teeth, joints etc. So tired. Some migraine
Dec 27- drive home from bend. Didn’t crash much at all in evening
-Have been having painful twitches for a few weeks. Right eyelid twitching off and on. Fatigue strong but mostly not overwhelming.  
Dec  29- fatigue and some fibropain. Bad foot cramp last evening that took a while to wear off. 
Iron breath has returned, even though stomach feels fine. Didn’t take any pills/drops on Jan 1 to see if that helps like it did last time. 
Jan 2nd – vision loss and nuclear migraine in evening after feeling well all day. Day 25. 
Jan 3- recovery from last night. Fatigue and sore. 
Jan 7 – bad fatigue all day with minimal ability to focus. Migraine and fibropain kicked up bad in evening. BAD. E of C?
Jan 8 –  tired and achy but better so far. Went grocery shopping in am
Jan 17- IV day. Fatigue
Jan 18. – strong fatigue (probably from yesterday) started feeling strange in afternoon, kinda shaky and like I’d had caffeine or sugar. Stomach worse the later it got
Jan 19- stomach still upset. Not hungry in am

Migraine: Two nuclear migraines in the space of a week along with a few almost- nuclear ones. The daily ones have been responding to a combo of tylenol and aspirin better than clonidine lately (so strange).

Sleep:  I’m still getting about 7 hours with 2 or 3 wakings in the night. Most nights I am completely exhausted but have to wait til I can get the pain down to a decent level to go to bed.

Memory/Brain Fog: I’ve been struggling with words a lot lately. Brain fog has been a pretty frequent thing as well.

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Vision: I had two visual auras in the space of one week. Sigh.

TMJ:  It pops painfully frequently and aches so that my teeth hurt daily. The front of my neck has started hurting again as well. I really need to get in to my bodywork doctor soon.

Fatigue: sadly, this has increased once again and stayed strong. I have been resistant to naps lately, just having gotten so very tired of sleeping so long during the day. I’m sure this isn’t a good way to handle fatigue… It’s just been weighing me down every single day.

Fibromyalgia:  It’s increased a bit since last month. My left calf is still tense/self flexing throughout the day and cramping in my feet/calves. I’m glad that they haven’t started again in my hands/elbows though. Ice is still the current magic treatment – be it on my calves or neck. If I’m resting, I’ve got one on me.

Weight Loss: Oy. I was losing steadily and slowly and now it’s just to the point where I’m hoping I can start working out again so i don’t end up at the weight I was when I first started losing a year ago. Augh.

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Mood: I’m sad to report that this has been touch-and-go the last while. I’ve run out of Xiao Chai Hu Tang and haven’t replaced it. (the price is what’s stopping me but I’m going to have to break down and do it soon.)

Digestion: Not good. I have been struggling with iron breath and sometimes an upset stomach again. Cutting back the amount of pills I take has helped but it hasn’t taken care of the problem. I’m really not sure what’s going on – if it’s something I’m eating or what. But I go in to see my Dr. in a few weeks to talk about it.

~Laura

If you want to check out a post about pain keeping you up at night, The Dark before the Dawn is the one for you. Or check out Chronic Illness Silence to read about feeling like I often have a gag in my mouth about my health. This title says it all – Unexpected Side Effects of Chronic Pain.

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