Saturday, April 27, 2019

Whispers and Wildflowers: 30 Days to Slow Your Pace, Savor Scripture, & Draw Closer to God by Sarah Beth Marr

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Whispers and Wildflowers: 30 Days to Slow Your Pace, Savor Scripture, & Draw Closer to God by Sarah Beth Marr

5 stars

As the Master Gardener, He wants your life to blossom in all its beauty and flourish from a deeply planted root system of a precious relationship with Him. He wants to meet with you, encourage you, nurture you, and guide you so that the garden of your life in Him is healthy and flourishing."

Whispers and Wildflowers is a gem. This little devotional book was chocked full of wonderful Scripture, great and thought-provoking questions, prayer, and encouragement. This book was exactly what I needed over the last month. I took the challenge to read this for a full thirty days and tried to not miss any days, but I missed a couple. However, the time that I spent with God each day with this extra, supplementary devotional time was so invigorating. The Holy Spirit often prompts me through flowers and vision of gardens, so this book sang to my sweet and aching soul. I felt refreshed after reading this book and it was wonderful to see how God chose to speak to me each day. I'll be real, some days He was more blunt than others, but this book refreshed my spirit and made me feel like my soul-garden was being doused with water that it had been thirsting for. This book helped me seek God out in a deeper way outside of my Bible-reading and prayer time. I want to strongly encourage you not to use this novel as a replacement for the word of God. Reading Scripture every day is SO, SO important and this can help further your time with Jesus, but it shouldn't replace the living word of God. Sarah Beth Marr has become a new favorite Christian writer and I'll definitely be seeking out some of her stuff in the future.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: I LOVE this cover. It's my weakness- illustrated flowers.


Thank you, Netgalley and Baker Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
 
Have you read Whispers and Wildflowers? Do you plan to? Are you a fan of devotional books? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Spring Reading Reflections +5-star Predictions

Hey, everyone! I love to reflect on reading and on life in general. I've seen a lot of bloggers and BookTubers do round-ups of their wrap-ups (Howling Libraries does some of my favorite ones) as well as seasonal wrap-ups (Books and Lala and Peruse Project do this). I am going to be a blend of this with reflecting on if I successfully completed my TBRs, showing what I did read, and adding 5-star predictions for what I want to get to to. Welcome to my Reading Reflections!

BOOKS READ IN JANUARY, FEBRUARY, & MARCH
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Amity- 1.25 stars
The Drawing of the Three- 5 stars
In Cold Blood- 5 stars (reread)
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts- 3 stars
She's Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You- 5 stars
I Know You Know- 3.5 stars
 Finding Selah: The Simple Practice of Peace When You Need it Most- 5 stars
The Dreamers- 4 stars
Beartown- 5 stars
The Yellow Wallpaper- 3.75  stars
Bleed Like Me- 1 star DNF
Dumplin'- 2 stars
Sadie- 5 stars
The Bell Jar- 4 stars
A Simple Favor- 2.5 stars

BOOKS ON MY TBR SHELF
✔️=Read for the Month
❌= Removed from Top Priority
January TBR:
Read in Jan:
Into the Drowning Deep✔️
 Amity✔️
The Drawing of the Three✔️
In Cold Blood✔️
The 5 Love Languages✔️
An Anonymous Girl✔️
She's Still There✔️
Love Looks Pretty on You ✔️
I Know You Know✔️
Read, But Didn't Finish: 
Finding Selah 
A Woman's Battle for Grace
The Purple Book
Helter Skelter
East of Eden
A Darker Shade of Magic
Not That Bad
Dumplin'
The Bell Jar 
Beartown
Didn't Get To:
The Dreamers
Snow White Learns Witchcraft
Dark of the West
The Devil in the White City❌
Never Seduce a Scot❌
The Haunting of Hill House
China Rich Girlfriend
The Passage
An Ember in the Ashes
A Simple Favor
The Pillars of the Earth❌
Gone with the Wind
February TBR:
Read in Feb:                                                                  
Finding Selah ✔️
Not That Bad✔️
The Dreamers✔️
A Woman's Battle for Grace✔️
Not on TBR:
the mermaid's voice returns in this one ✔️
Read, But Didn't Finish:
 Beartown
 Worry Less, Pray More
Searching for Spring
Bleed Like Me
Bird Box
The Spiritual Gifts Handbook
Dumplin'
Helter Skelter
The Bell Jar
The Purple Book
East of Eden
A Darker Shade of Magic
Didn't Get To:
Snow White Learns Witchcraft
Dark of the West
Never Tell
The Familiars
We Must Be Brave
The Passage
The Haunting of Hill House
An Ember in the Ashes
Emma in the Night
China Rich Girlfriend
Anxious for Nothing
Approval Addiction
A Simple Favor
The Devil in the White City❌
Throne of Glass❌
Gone with the Wind
The Yellow Wallpaper
March TBR:
 Read in March:
Beartown✔️
The Yellow Wallpaper ✔️
Bleed Like Me ✔️ (DNF)
Dumplin' ✔️
Worry Less, Pray More✔️
The Bell Jar✔️
A Simple Favor ✔️
Not on TBR:
Sadie ✔️

Read, But Didn't Finish:
Optimisfits
Snow White Learns Witchcraft
Whispers and Wildflowers
Searching for Spring
Helter Skleter
Never-Contented Things
What the Wind Knows
The Spiritual Gifts Handbook
Gone with the Wind
Bird Box
A Darker Shade of Magic
The Purple Book
East of Eden
Didn't Get To:
Snow White Learns Witchcraft
Dark of the West
Never Tell
The Familiars
We Must Be Brave
Disciple Her
What the Wind Knows
Sick of Me
A Cloud by Day, A Fire by Night
NEW SUNS
Never-Contented Things
The Witch's Kind
Optimisfits
Highland Crown
The Haunting of Hill House
China Rich Girlfriend
The Passage
An Ember in the Ashes
Emma in the Night
Anxious for Nothing
Approval Addiction
Never, Never
5-STAR PREDICTIONS FOR APRIL-JUNE
 I love 5-star prediction videos, but I have never done any. *gasp* I know, the shame. I figured this would be a fun place to incorporate this. I won't be predicting books I've started or am currently reading because that defeats the purpose of guessing. 
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I wanted to only choose ten books. It was hard because I have a long list of books I want to read this year, but I wanted to highlight these because I'm either most excited about them or I feel like I'm going to absolutely love them.

How has your TBR reading going? I think I'm going to stop adding so many books to mine. Let me know down below in the comments!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss

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Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss

3.75 stars

This anthology collection focuses on retellings through short stories and poetry (which I thought was a nice blended-medium form of storytelling and it was cohesive). Goss has a good mix of darker concepts, but tends to sway toward the more enchanting, whimsical, and fun side of retellings. I prefer dark retellings because I’m a glutton for punishment and like to cry, but these were so much fun. Goss is a fantastic poet who weaves fantasy, reality, and humanity into her poems. Her stories are fun and full of talking cats. She offers a different, but enjoyable take to the stories we are familiar with as well as ones that we aren’t.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 4

Since this is a collection, here are my thoughts and ratings on each story / poem:

Snow White Learns Witchcraft (poem)- 3 stars I liked this one well enough, but I wasn’t captured by it. I’ll be honest, at first, I thought I would not like this collection because of my lukewarm feelings towards its opening selection.

The Ogress Queen (poem)- 3 stars This is a darker take on Sleeping Beauty with the ogre being the wife of the king who rapes her as she sleeps. The Ogre Queen wants to eat her. It’s weird and definitely dark.

The Rose in Twelve Petals (short story)- 3.5 stars I really liked this one. The story is told through different points of view (it’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling) and one of my favorites was the Spinning Wheel. I liked how different of a story this one was, but I didn’t love it as I hoped to. Goss’s humor and social commentary really peaks out in this one.

Thorns and Briars (poem)- 4 stars This poem was wonderful. I thought it was an excellent representation of how women will let themselves become hardened but present themselves as doing the right thing to appease and impress people.

Rose Child (poem)- 2 stars I was not a fan of this one.

Thumbelina (poem)- 3 stars I liked this one, especially the ending lines.
“I would like to be small enough to hear the dawn breaking, the tulip opening, the sand as it shifts under each tide, the long dream of rocks.”

Blanchefleur (short story)- 3.5 stars This was a cute story about a boy who experiences great loss after his mother dies and how the town sees him as the village idiot. His aunt petitions for him to come on a quest and help those she knows in need in the magical realm. Blanchefleur is a talking cat who is his cousin and they go on many quests together.

Mr. Fox (poem)- 4 stars “How does on fall out of love with a thief who has already stolen one’s heart?” I really liked this poem.

What Her Mother Said (poem)- 3 stars I was so letdown because I loved the concept of this one so much that I wanted it to be longer as well as an actual story instead of a poem.

Snow, Blood, Fur (short story)- 4.5 stars I got my desire. This story follows the theme of the above poem and it was fantastic. It was a fantastic story steeped in darkness and cruelty.

The Red Shoes (poem)- 2.5 stars This was not a bad poem, but I wanted more from it. This is a common feeling towards most of the poems in this collection.

Girl, Wolf, Woods (poem)- 2 stars This one wasn’t bad, but I was not gripped by it.

Red as Blood and White as Bone (short story)- 5 stars This story was amazing. We follow a young girl who works in the kitchens of the palace as a lowly cook and her love of fairy tales. A woman comes to castle and the girl thinks she is a princess. A revenge story steeped with magic. I cried, I gasped, I loved it.

The Gold Spinner (poem)- 3 stars This was a decent poem, but after how good the last story was, I wasn’t feeling it.

Rumpelstiltskin (poem)- 4.25 stars This poem was fantastic. It follows two different halves who live different lives.

Goldilocks and the Bear (poem)- 5 stars I loved the concept of Goldilocks being a thief who is hidden by the young bear and they become friends. It was a beautiful form of storytelling for this story and it worked so well.

Sleeping with Bears (short story)- 3.5 stars This story was ridiculous, but funny. It follows a girl who is confused by the fact that her sister is marrying a bear.

The Stepsister’s Tale (poem)- 4 stars This poem is interesting because it talks about feet in the context of the stepsister being a foot doctor and how the stepsister did what she did to her own feet for her mother’s love.

The Clever Serving-Maid (poem)- 3 stars I would’ve liked more from this story because it felt like a rushed poem and I didn’t think the format helped the story.

Seven Shoes(poem)- 4 stars The witch says that you will get your desire when you have worn through seven pairs of shoes. Is this that story and I really liked the concept of it.

The Other Thea (short story)- 3.25 stars This one follows a witch who has it find her shadow in a different realm or else she will disappear. This one was a bit darker, but had a lot of whimsy infused into it. I loved the shadow concept, but I was very underwhelmed by it.

The Sensitive Woman (poem)- 3.25 stars I liked how raw and vulnerable this one felt.

The Bear’s Wife (poem)- 2 stars I was not a fan of this one.

The Bear’s Daughter (poem)- 3.5 stars I love the lyrical pattern of this one.

A Country Called Winter (short story)- 4.5 stars This one follows a grad student who is an immigrant from a foreign country. It is full of human drama and then it takes royal turn. It felt like a magic Princess Diaries and I loved that.

How to Make It Snow (poem)- 4 stars I liked this poem and the concept. It felt like it connected to the previous story.

Diamonds and Toads (poem)- 3.5 stars This follows a twist on why it’s not so bad to have toads coming out of your mouth, but how having diamonds coming can also be good.

The Princess and the Frog (poem)- 4 stars This one has a great twist and I loved that.

Conversations with the Sea Witch (short story)- 5 stars We follow The Little Mermaid as an old woman in her wheel chair. When she gave her song to the sea witch, she lost her legs and she could speak, but she didn’t know the language of humans. She and her husband (the prince) successfully built an empire and in her old age she feels death coming. Everyday she talks to the sea witch, but this conversation is different from the others. This conversation shows us what the sea witch’s biggest regret with her dead love is. This one got dark surprisingly quick.

The Nightingale and the Rose (poem)- 5 stars In this poem, we follow a nightingale who is a hopeless romantic and she wants to help a boy get a red rose for the professor’s daughter. This is a tale about sacrifice for the sake of love and the tragedy of when that sacrifice is not appreciated by anyone but the earth and its creator. I cried and I fell in love. This is the type of story that I love.

Mirror, Mirror (poem)- 3.5 stars I liked this one, but it wasn’t a favorite.

Overall, this is an excellent collection with a lot of fantastic stories and poems. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some more fairy tale retellings.


Plotastic Scale: 4

Cover Thoughts: I adore this cover. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I have an adoring heart for it.


Thank you, Netgalley and Mythic Delirium Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
 
Have you read Snow White Learns Witchcraft? Are you a fan of retellings? What is your favorite fairy tale? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Monday, April 15, 2019

2019 January- April ARC Haul

Hey, everyone!! I don't talk about the ARCs I receive often for review and I want to try to change that for the year of 2019. This isn't to brag or anything, but to show potential novels that are upcoming (or have passed because I'm later than January) that you may be interested in reading. I vary rarely receive ARCs from the publisher, but if I do happen to receive one then I will most certainly list those as well. Predominately, these will all be from Netgalley unless stated otherwise! So, let's dive into the books!

JANUARY RELEASES
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Newborn on Her Doorstep by Yuuki Mizusawa- 3 stars (Read December 2018) Manga. Baby. Cheesy. Check out my review here.
Child of the Moon by Jessica Samaan- 3.75 stars (Read December 2018) Poetry. Trauma. Vulnerability. Check out my review here.
 An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen- 4 stars (Read January 2019) Morality. Grey. Cheating. Check out my review here.
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker- 4 stars (Read Jan-February 2019) Sleeping. Virus. Lyrical. Check out my review here.
A Woman's Battle for Grace: Why God is More Than You Expected and Everything You Need by Cheryl Brodersen- 4 stars (Read Jan-February 2019) Grace. Jesus. Conviction. Check out my review here.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (Audiobook Read)
Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav- 4.75 stars (Read January 2019) Feminism. Love. Resiliency. Check out my review here.
Read: 6/7
Avg. Rating: 3.9 stars
 Favorite January Release: Love Looks Pretty on You

FEBRUARY RELEASES

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Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss (Currently Reading) Retelling. Dark. Poetry.
Whispers and Wallflowers: 30 Days to Slow Your Pace, Savor Scripture, & Draw Closer to God by Sarah Beth Marr (Currently Reading) Joy. Flowers Dance.
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway (To Read Soon)
Bleed Like Me: Poems for the Broken by Azzurra Nox- 1 star DNF (Read Feb-March 2019) Poetic. Macabre. Gritty. Check out my review here.
Disciple Her: Using the Word, Work, Wonder of God to Invest in Women by Kandi Gallaty (Received Physical Review Copy- Will Read Soon)
You Have a Very Soft  Voice, Susan: A Shocking True Story of Internet Stalking by Susan Fensten and Brian Whitney (True Crime Read)
Never Tell by Lisa Gardener (Potential Summer Thriller)
The Familiars by Stacey Halls (To Read Soon- I forgot what this was about and I'm kicking myself for not making it a priority.)
We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet (Potential Audiobook)
Read: 1/9
Avg. Rating: 1 star 
Favorite February Release: Snow White Learns Witchcraft

MARCH RELEASES 

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Worry Less, Pray More: A Woman's Devotional Guide to Anxiety-Free Living by Donna K. Maltese- 4 stars (Read Feb-March 2019) Devotional. Snippets. Anxiety. Check out my review here.
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (Currently Reading) Ireland. Death. Discovery.
the mermaid's voice returns in this one by amanda lovelace- 2.75 stars (Read February 2019) Small. Voice. Hurt. Check out my review here.
Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation by Whitney Capps (Currently Reading- Received Physical Review Copy) Sanctification. Old Testament. Conviction.
A Cloud by Day, A Fire by Night: Finding and Following God's Will for You by A.W. Tozer (To Read Soon)
New Suns edited by Nisi Shawl (To Read Soon)
Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter (Currently Reading) Dark. Fairies. Horror.
The Witch's Kind by Louisa Morgan (Potential Halloween Read)
Optimisfits: Igniting a Fierce Rebellion Against Hopelessness by Ben Courson- 2.75 stars (Read March-Apil 2019) Outcast. Relationship. Squad. Check out my review here.
Highland Crown by Mary McGoldrick (Highland Historical Romance)
Read: 3/10
Avg. Rating: 3.2 stars
Favorite March Release: Worry Less, Pray More: A Woman's Devotional Guide to Anxiety-Free Living

APRIL RELEASES 
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Here, Now: Unearthing Peace and Presence in an Overconnected World by Kate Merrick (To Read Soon)
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow (To Read ASAP)
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar (Summer TBR)
The Stillwater Girls by Mika Kent (To Read Thriller)
The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters (To Read ASAP)
The Invited by Jennifer McMahon (To Read ASAP)
Read: 0/6
Avg. Rating:
Favorite April Read: I haven't read any of these yet, but I must say that four of these are ones that I'm highly anticipating, so I'm hoping to love them!

Have you read any of these 2019 releases? What books do I need to make a priority that I missed getting to during their release month? Let me know down below in the comments!

What I've Read in August & September (I'm Not Gone, Just Busy)

Hi, everyone! Wow, I miss blogging. I miss sitting down and writing my posts that don't get much attention, but make me so happy to writ...