The World Came to Us

Have you ever lost a person so close to you that you couldn’t figure out a way to move on with your life?  I have, when  my first husband died in 2007. That’s a small part of the reason The World Came to Us drew me in right away.

After Meg loses her wife to cancer, she is thrown into the depths of grief. She decides that she will stay home for one year in mourning. Soon Tommy, her daughter, moves home to be with her. They make a pact that they will be recluses for one year. They stay at home except for Tommy walking her dogs. As the 2 grow closer, people begin to come to them in need of healing themselves. The dogs play a major part in bringing healing and love to everyone. Ultimately Meg finds comfort by helping others who are hurting in their own unique ways. 

Do you need a “literary hug”?

Campbell weaves sexual identity, grief, foster care, bullying, depression, & aging into her story. This sounds like too big of a stretch, but Campbell makes it flow together in a beautiful way that works. For me this book is a warm “literary hug”! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my heart is no longer broken, and I’ve found love once again with my amazing second husband. 

Nugget gained: people everywhere are hurting. Who can I help today? 

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours, Molly D Campbell, and The Story Plant for the gifted copy of this lovely book!

http://mollydcampbell.com

https://suzyapprovedbooktours.com

This is Not How it Ends

Are you ready to be transported out of the cold climate? I’ll bet Rochelle Weinstein’s coastal romance will do the trick!

Have your Kleenex ready!

In This is Not How it Ends, characters Charlotte & Phillip have a chance meeting on a flight from Kansas City to Miami, they are immediately drawn to each other. Their love develops, and they move to the Florida Keys where they meet Ben, a widower, and his son. They each have experienced pain and loss in some way. What ensues involves a deep friendship/love triangle between the three of them.

We learn right away that Phillip travels for work often and seems to be keeping some kind of secret. Charlotte begins to wonder if the two of them being separated is what she wants for her life. At the same time, Phillip encourages Charlotte and Ben’s relationship so she has someone to talk to while he’s gone.

The story is told from Charlotte’s point of view, and the chapters alternate between past and present. The mentioning of Hurricane Irma scattered throughout the book was something to which I could relate since I live in Florida and experienced the same hurricane. I loved the setting, and Weinsten’s descriptive language made me feel like I was visiting the islands once more.

This book is a beautiful romance that I looked forward to reading, with kleenex in hand, each time I picked it up. The writing caused me to feel the characters’ pain and left me wanting to give them advice as well. I know a book is superb, if I want to befriend the characters!

NUGGET GAINED:
Don’t let past losses keep you from experiencing present joy.

Thank you Rochelle Weinstein, Suzy Approved Book Tours, Lake Union Publishing, and Get Red PR for my copy in exchange for my honest review!

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge

A long time ago in a Hollywood far, far away…

A baby girl was born to the ultra-beautiful, talented and successful singer, dancer, and actress Debbie Reynolds and the dangerously handsome singing genius Eddie Fisher.  This baby girl never had a shot at a regular childhood and life like you and me.  The girl, of course is Carrie Fisher.  Sheila Weller’s latest book is Carrie Fisher:  A Life on the Edge and it is a masterful telling of Fisher’s life.  

I have a new appreciation for Carrie after reading this book.

Early in the book I watched the documentary, Wishful Drinking, written and performed by Carrie Fisher, hoping there wouldn’t be too many book plot spoilers, and this was no problem because the author weaves such a complete and detailed tapestry of Fisher’s life.  

Weller’s book goes deep and describes Carrie growing up in the shadow of “Hollywood-royalty” parents and her ongoing relationship with them, her own relationships and marriages, all while battling bipolar-disorder and drug addiction.  Going into the book, I knew that Carrie and her mother had a special relationship and thanks to Weller’s research and writing, I better understand the depth of the riches mother and daughter shared.

Most are familiar with Fisher’s own professional Hollywood success, as well as authoring several books and nearly everyone has been touched in some way by watching Carrie Fisher in her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies; wait until you read A Life on the Edge and see the impact she had on the musicians, movie and television celebrities, politicians, and the people like you and me that she interacted with throughout her life.  

May the force be with you…And may you get caught up in the force of Carrie Fisher’s life as you enjoy this stellar read.

QOTD: How would your life be different if you had starred in Star Wars when you were 19 years old?

NUGGET GAINED:  Being famous doesn’t look very easy.

Thank you to http://suzy approved book tours, http://sheila weller and http://farer, straus, and giroux for my copy of the book!

Lake Season

Thank you @tlcbooktours, @denisehunter, and @thomasnelson for the opportunity to review Lake Season, a romance by Denise Hunter, that I loved! 

Yesterday was a glorious day to read by the water!

Molly and her two siblings have lost their parents in a tragic accident. Before they died, they had dreams of turning their historic home in the Blue Ridge Mountains into an inn. The three grown children decide to  make their parents’ dream a reality. While working on  the Bluebell Inn, Adam Bradford (aka Nathaniel Grey) arrives at the door. Nathaniel is a famous author who has been successful in remaining anonymous. Molly has read all of Nathaniel’s books; they happen to be her favorites! 

After Molly finds a secret letter in the wall of the inn, she and Adam work together to find the writer and the person to whom the letter is addressed. Molly can’t stop searching and Adam is caught up with helping Molly. I will end there, so as not to spoil it for you. 

The discussion of books and libraries made this book a page turner for me. I could imagine Molly being my friend on Bookstagram! The book is laid out in a then and now fashion, which I enjoy. It’s a delightful romance with a bit of mystery thrown in. While Lake Season is written with Christian people in mind, it doesn’t come across as preachy, and people of all faiths (or no particular spirituality) will enjoy. If you like clean romance, you’ll love this book! 

QOTD: If you could have any living author stay as your houseguest overnight, who would it be?

NUGGET GAINED:

Don’t let your insecurities come between you and the people you love. 

Side note: My superhero muffins (see link below) are featured here in honor of Miss Della, the cook at the Inn who always had her muffins ready.

https://denisehunterbooks.com 

https://tlcbooktours.com

https://runfasteatslow.com/blogs/news/superhero-muffins

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House takes place post WWII. Two siblings, Danny & Maeve Conroy face life together through thick & thin, poverty & wealth. Their father, Cyril Conroy, becomes wealthy through real estate and buys the Dutch House, a lavish estate outside of Philadelphia. 

Difficulty arises when Elva Conroy, Danny & Maeve’s mother, doesn’t like the old house and leaves. Her husband and children are left behind. We don’t know where she went. Divorce papers are served to Cyril, and following that he meets and marries Andrea, a woman who could be likened to an evil stepmother. 

There are twists and turns that occur throughout the book, and to tell you more would risk spoiling this amazing story for you. I listened to the audiobook with Tom Hanks as the narrator. His performance, undoubtedly, was superb. The way he conveys the love Danny & Maeve had for each other is heart-warming. 

NUGGET RECEIVED:

Love your family now, and don’t take one day of your life for granted.

How do you prep for Thanksgiving?

This morning I’m thinking about Thanksgiving week. We’ll have quite a bit of dear family with us. While they do help with meal prep and cleanup, it requires advance planning on my part or the week will be rough! What will be on the menu, how may people will we have, where will they all sleep?

My kids in their pilgrim costumes MANY years ago, resting on some of my favorite books!

I’m wondering…do you have any secrets for a happy family holiday? Are there any activities or games you can suggest?

The Grace Year

Can you believe I read three thrillers in October? Thrillers are a relatively new thing for scaredy-cat Carey! For me The Grace Year was right at the top in my newfound thriller relationship. 

Perfect with some pumpkin chai and dove dark chocolate!

I know you’ve probably heard that The Grace Year can be compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, it is dystopian, but there are differences, and this book should definitely stand on its own. For me it was an easier read than The Handmaid’s Tale. There were two nights where I couldn’t put it down, thus making it a fast read for me. 

In the county, girls are believed to hold power over men. They attract them with their magic. The community banishes sixteen year old girls to a camp where they’ll lose their magic so they can come back after their “Grace Year” ready to be good, weak, submissive little wives who serve their dominant husbands. Sadly, instead of girls “laying down their magic” they use it on each other causing horrifying bullying among themselves. Many girls can’t survive in the camp and leave. Outside there are poachers who consider the girls prey, and they sell them on the black market. 

In this book you’ll meet the Grace Year girls, wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, guards, and poachers. There’s only two men in the book who are somewhat worthy of respect. I loved Tierney, a bad ass sixteen year old who strives to make friends with the other girls as well as make the camp a better place in which they can survive the year. I abhorred Kiersten, the wicked bully who rose to the top and used her powers to make the other girls sick, confused, and mentally incapacitated. 

Liggett’s writing is stunningly beautiful, and will be enjoyed by women who consider themselves to be equal with men, and men who believe women should not be subject in any way to a patriarchal society.   

NUGGET GAINED: 

Be a woman who strives to be kind to other women, befriend them, support them, and love them. We’re all in this female circle together.  

Bullet Journal 101

The Bullet Journal Method goes on a Blue Ridge Parkway hike!

We bought a few books while in Asheville last week, which is rare since we don’t like the weight in our suitcases; however, I’ve started carrying an extra smaller suitcase for books, shoes, things we buy, and incidentals that’d make my suitcase over the 50 lb. limit! 

The Bullet Journal Method is one of the books my husband bought at Malaprop’s Books. He’s recently been bitten by the bullet journal bug! I’ve been bullet journaling for a few years now. The beauty of bullet journaling is you can personalize it to fit your life. Ryder Carrol, creator and author of the Bullet Journal Method, says “it will help you go from passenger to pilot of your own life.” It works, and I love it! Oh, another thing…it provides a place for me to get creative with my wide variety of colored pens that I seem to be constantly buying! 

These are some of the things I plan with it: 

Daily activities and appointments

Meal planning

Workouts

Travel plans

Packing list

Dreams and Goals

Quotes I like 

TBR list

Movies/TV shows I’d like to watch

Medical section on my husband, myself, and my mother (I take her to her doctor appointments)

Daily Gratitude section

QOTD: Do you use a bullet journal? Do you have any additional things you plan with it that I may need to add to mine?  

http://www.rydercarroll.com

The Prophetess

The Prophetess, the debut book by Evonne Marzouk, features the Jewish faith, mysticism, and fantasy. 

Rachel traveled with me to Sedona!

Rachel, a young Jewish girl lives in Baltimore. After her orthodox grandfather dies, she is suddenly drawn to Yonatan, a wise older man in their synagogue. She gains a wealth of information about the Jewish faith, prayer, and meditation from him. When Rachel begins to have visions involving people in danger, she seeks ways to help them. During the story, she learns about herself, her gifts and callings, and the direction she chooses for her life. 

The book is written with footnotes that explain the Hebrew terms Evonne uses throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their faith. 

While The Prophetess is about people of the Jewish religion, the lessons woven throughout are relatable to people of all faiths. The further I got into the book, the stronger I was drawn into the story. 

My awesome husband carried the book on our hike!

NUGGETS I GAINED:
Learn/know your gifts & ways to use them to make the world a better place for you and the people you know. 

Thank you Bancroft Press, Evonne Marzouk, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for this ARC in exchange for my review.

To learn more check out these websites: https://www.evonnemarzouk.com https://suzyapprovedbooktours.com/home/ https://bancroftpress.com https://www.jewishbookcouncil.org

When anxiety interferes with joy…

We had a wonderful time in Asheville last week! The colors were not quite as vibrant as we’d hoped they’d be, but it was still gorgeous, and it was wonderful to get out of Florida and experience the cooler temperatures. 

This morning as I was scrolling through what seems like hundreds of pictures, I began reflecting upon our hot air balloon ride. The ride was first scheduled for Wednesday morning, but due to weather, it was rescheduled for Friday morning. Early Thursday morning, I began experiencing anxiety about the flight. I’ve also had a respiratory issue that I’ve been worried about as well. I only slept 3 hours on Thursday. 

Early morning in Candler, NC

My fear was causing me to only focus on what could happen if something went awry. What if the pilot became incapacitated, the balloon had a whole in it, we ran out of gas, we hit a power line, or an angry shotgun totin’ farmer who doesn’t want us to land in his pasture shoots at us! All of this, and I’m not even afraid of heights! In addition, I was fearful about being able to breathe once we were in the air. 

I now realize I had a major case of tunnel vision. I was only focused on the balloon ride and what could go wrong. When we finally made it to the launch site, and I saw that the pilot appeared physically and mentally competent, and the flight staff looked like they had it under control, I gained hope that all would be ok. Once in the air, it was calm and peaceful, and there was no room for fear! We could see the beautiful country side and the colors of the trees as far as our eyes could see. The colors were more dynamic from the sky. Our world is such a beautiful place! My fears were relieved, and I was able to enjoy the ride. I’m grateful we didn’t back out due to the anxiety I felt! How sad that would have been. Hopefully, the next time I can only focus on what could go wrong with a situation I’m facing, I’ll look back and remember my balloon ride. 

The view from “down under”
Absolutely gorgeous! How grateful I am, my anxiety didn’t stop us!

QOTD: Do you struggle with this type of tunnel vision or anxiety? If so, how do you break through and see the big picture? 

http://ashevillehotairballoons.com