Anything But Books Tag + Another Mini-Update

Anything But Books Tag

Hello everybody! I know I’ve been wildly inconsistent lately and although I know that your feeds are so full of lovely bloggers you probably didn’t notice I was still gone, I feel like I owe everyone an explanation.

A few weeks ago I made a post with a few quick updates: exciting plans for my website, soon-to-be progress on my second book, and finishing my second to last semester of graduate school. Aaaaaaaand then two days later my family and I were in a car accident. No life-threatening injuries and it wasn’t our fault, but the car was totaled so I’m now the cheif chauffer for my mom and brother. It’s two and a half weeks later and things are finally settling back down so I swear this time I’m actually going to start cranking out the content I promised!

Now on to the fun stuff! Pretty much since my finals a month ago, I haven’t been blogging, reading (I finally just convinced myself to start Daisy Jones and the Six and I’m LIVING), or even working on my own book. In my spare time I’ve been a couch potato and since we all know I love a properly timed book tag, I had to do the Anything But Books Tag!

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Name a cartoon that you love

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I love Avatar: The Last Airbender with all my heart. I’m rewatching it now for the first time in years and years because I never got to watch Legends of Korra and I want to watch the original show first. I got both of the complete series for myself as an end of semester treat.

What is your favorite song right now?

I can’t pick just one, so here are a few current favorites!

Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

When The Night Is Over – Lord Huron

As She’s Walking Away – Zac Brown Band

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Ancestry research! I’m obsessed with mapping out my family tree and once I get started I can’t make myself stop. Last night I was up until 2 am following a trail of clues.

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What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

Maybe crafts? I like to do something while I’m watching TV to make myself feel less guilty about it, so I usually crochet. My grandma taught me as a kid and I ran with it. I do some hand sewing and cross stitch too.

What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

I’m going to be that annoying person right now… I don’t think anything you learn about is unnecessary, even if it’s super specific.

What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I don’t think I have any usual talents, and I’m kinda bummed lol.

Name something that you made in the last year and show us if you can.

Most of the things that I make are gifts (and I’m the worst and always forget to take pictures before I give them away) but I did make my mom a cross stitched hummingbird for her birthday last month!

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What is your most recent personal project?

Besides the family tree, current crochet project, and book in progress, I’ve been working on journaling consistently. Nothing fancy or artistic, just plain old words on paper.

Tell us something that you think about often?

The future! Doesn’t everyone?

Give us something that’s your favorite.

Having the windows open in my house! Weirdly specific, but I love the fresh air.

Say the first thing that pops into your head.

I wish I had more of my drink left. I just finished my Dr. Pepper 😂😂

 

Review: An Amish Reunion by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Reunion Title: An Amish Reunion
Author: 
Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Amish
Format: ARC, Paperback
Rating: 4 Stars


From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four stories about reuniting with those you love.

Their True Home by Amy Clipston

When Marlene Bawell moved from Bird-in-Hand ten years ago, she was in the deepest of mourning for her mother. Now her family has moved back so her father can seek employment after being laid off. To help save money, Marlene works at the hardware store owned by Rudy Swarey’s father. She knew Rudy growing up and had a secret crush on him, though he never seemed to notice her. But just as a friendship between them begins to blossom, her life is once again turned upside down. Will Marlene ever have a chance to find her own true home?

A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman

Ruth and Gideon Beiler experienced one of life’s most tragic events. Unable to get past their grief, the couple abandoned their Amish faith and went in different directions, though neither could bear to formally dissolve the marriage. When their loved ones reach out to them to come home for a family reunion, Ruth has reason to believe that Gideon won’t be there. Gideon also thinks that Ruth has declined the invitation. Family and friends are rooting for them to reunite, but will it all be enough for Ruth and Gideon to get past their grief and recapture a time when they were in love and had a bright future ahead of them?

A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller

Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else?

Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin

At eighteen Hannah Kauffman made a terrible mistake. Her parents and members of her Jamesport Amish community say they’ve forgiven her. But she feels their eyes following her everywhere she goes with eighteen-month-old Evie. Thaddeus, Evie’s father, escaped this fate by running away from Jamesport. Now that Thaddeus is gone, Hannah’s old friend Phillip is stepping up to be by her side. He has waited patiently for Hannah to realize just how much he cares for her. But when Thaddeus returns after two years, Hannah can’t deny the love she feels for him. Does the fact that Phillip has waited patiently for her all this time mean that she owes him something? Can she trust either one of them? Can she trust herself? She has repented and been forgiven by the One who is most important—her heavenly Father. But is she willing to risk making more mistakes by opening herself up to love?


Review_I’ve been reading – or, more accurately, listening to – a ton of these Amish short story collections lately, so I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to get an ARC of the latest publication. It arrived on my doorstep the day it was published so I jumped right in. Before I get into the review of the actual stories, I wanted to point out that when you have a physcial copy, versus the audiobook version that I was used to, there’s a dictionary for all of the Pennsylvania Dutch words used in the stories. For the most part they’re straight forward and I didn’t have to bother looking them up, but every now and then I ran across one that I had to check!

Now, on to the actual stories! One thing that all four had in common (besides being about reunions) was that they took a different twist on Amish romance. Divorce, senior citizens finding love, and unwed parents were featured – tough topics for any community, but especially difficult for the Amish. It was refreshing to read some nontypical romance after working through several of these collections nearly back to back. I was able to connect with most of the character and once I started a story I would get sucked in and read it in one sitting. The last story, Mended Hearts, was my favorite out of the four.

The only qualm I had with this collection was that I noticed that several tied in to other stories by the authors. That’s totally fine, and actually makes me interested in reading some of the other full length stories, but I did feel like I was missing out. Maybe because I was reading instead of listening, it seemed like there was important information missing. I also found A Chance to Remember a little off. The romance takes place between an Amish woman and English man, which generally isn’t allowed unless the other party is willing to convert (he wasn’t). The ending felt a little odd and forced, but there was a mention that the two characters in the short story would have their own novel so maybe I just need to pick up the rest of the story!

4 Stars

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

 

Mulan Book Tag!

Mulan Book Tag

I saw this tag floating around a few years ago and I knew if I ever started a blog I wanted to do it stat. Mulan is one of my favorite characters of all time (and by default my favorite Disney princess) so I’ve been super stoked to see so many new or upcoming releases featuring her in some way. In honor of finally reading Reflection (review HERE) and being too tired to put a coherent disucssion or review post together, I thought I’d finally do the tag!


Reflection: A book cover that doesn’t accurately reflect what the book is about

Keep Me SafeI love this book series so, so much but I don’t care for the covers at all. None of them tell you anything about the story or the main characters and they don’t really grab your attention.

Mushu: A character with a lot to prove

Daughter of the Pirate KingAlosa is constantly trying to prove herself to her father and goes to some pretty great lengths to impress him.

I’ll Make a Man Out of You: A character who develops a lot, or a book with some kick-ass training scenes

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It’s been years since I’ve read Divergent (5, according to Goodreads) but for some reason it’s the book that popped into my head for this prompt. Tris definitely changed a ton throughout the series and there were some pretty good training scenes in the first book if I remember correctly.

A Girl Worth Fighting For: A ship you’ll defend until your last breath

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There’s some insta-love and their relationship isn’t perfect, but I’m in LOVE with Diana and Matthew.

Huns: A book or character that gave you the creeps

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Okay, I’m fudging on this a little bit. I’ve *technically* only read the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I have seen the whole TV show (so far) and the Ice King and his undead army was pretty creepy. I’m

Mulan: Your favorite bad-ass female protagonist

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Recently (because, as usual, I refuse to pick all-time favorites) my favorite bad ass females have been Inej and Nina. They’re pretty hard to top.


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April Book Haul | ARCs and Overindulgence

Book Haul (6)

Remember last month when I said I was hitting my stride? Yeah, that’s all over now. I went NUTS in April. Completely off the rails. Down the rabbit hole of indulgence and poor impulse control. One treat yo self turned into a lottttttttt of treat yo selves… you get the idea.

New Purchases:

I bought 16 brand new books this month. Oops. Daisy Jones and the Six, Fly Girls, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? were all bought at nearly full price at my local bulk store, and Rumple Buttercup was my only (and first ever) pre-order. Wicked Saints came from my OwlCrate box, and the rest were snagged super cheap at either my dollar store or a local discount store where books are only a couple of dollars a pop.

Used Purchases:

These are a mix of thrift store finds and books I got with my store credit at Second and Charles. I was especially excited to find The Nightingale for only 4 bucks!

Digital ARCs:

When I saw The Flight Girls on Netgalley I squealed. Literally. A noise came out of my mouth because I was so stinkin’ excited by the cover. Women Airforce Service Pilots are one of my all time favorite historical topics and I’m so mad at myself for somehow not knowing there was a historical fiction book being written about them! Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, I’ve been craving a good contemporary romance and Fix Her Up sounded too good to pass up.

Physical ARCs:

An Amish Reunion was delivered to me on its publishing date and I immediately started reading. I’ve been loving the Amish short story collections on audiobook and this was the first one I’ve actually read. Review coming soon! Nottingham was a bit of a surprise – I think I must have won it in a giveaway I don’t remember entering – and is a big hunk of a book. All I know about it is Robin Hood and Maid Marian are involved and that’s pretty much all I need.


Phew, we’re finally done! What did you haul in April?

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Quick Updates!

Hello everyone!

This is just a short, quick post to update y’all on some things that have been going on (is there really a point in having a website if you can’t use it as a diary every now and then?)

First off, I just finished my last class before summer break! Woohoooooo! Only two left to go before I have my master’s.

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I’ve basically been an octopus behind the computer screen between finishing the final assignments for this class, keep up with the blog, and keep up with TV because let’s be honest, Game of Thrones was at the top of ya girls to-do list.

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You probably haven’t noticed my absence because it wasn’t that big of a deal because I used every. single. one. of my pre-made posts. I pulled posts that were scheduled from 3 weeks out to fill in the gaps 😂😂 I was trying to do a post every weekday but I’m not sure if that’s going to be manageable in the future.

Anywho, now that all that’s out of the way, I have some fun new posts coming out in the next couple of months. I’ve never had a summer off from college before so I’m super excited to use this time to write and finish my second book, which means I’ll be publishing the blog post series on how to write a book and self-publish it (I promise it’ll be more eloquent than this blog post). I’ve also got some SUPER EXCITING ideas for reading related content that everyone else can join in on!

So, how’s everyone else been while I’ve been in the black hole of school, school, and more school?

 

Review: Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

ReflectionTitle: Reflection
Author: 
Elizabeth Lim
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars


What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?

When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily. With the help of Shang’s great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang’s spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise–or become King Yama’s prisoner forever. Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend. Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it’s too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him–and be lost in the Underworld–forever?

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I’ve loved the story of Mulan for as long as I can remember. It’s always been my favorite Disney movie, so when I saw this book on a shelf in Target last year I spazzed out and nearly sprinted to the check out. And then it sat on my shelf, where I stared at it longingly for a year before finally getting myself together enough to read it. And I am SO. GLAD. I finally did. I had really high expectations for this book and it surpassed all of them! It’s for sure going to be one of my favorite reads of 2019.

There are so many things that brought this story together in an absolutely perfect way, not the least of which is the fact that Elizabeth Lim knows her stuff. Not only is she Asian herself, she has a degree in East Asian studies. It was clear the whole time I was reading that she had a massive knowledge base of Diyu and had watched the Mulan movie over and over. Every now and then she’d drop a line from the movie in a clever way and I lived for those little nuggets.

I was so relieved that Lim didn’t make the book all about a romance between Mulan and Shang. She stuck true to the heart of the movie and kept the book focused on finding your inner strength, honor, and friendship – although we do get a few flirty bits towards the end, just like in the movie. My biggest worry going into the book was that it would be turned into a book about Mulan trying to pull Shang out of the Underworld because she was in love with him and blah blah blah, but Lim adds layers of complexity on top of any feelings Mulan may or may not be having. There isn’t anything about it I would change (except the fact that there won’t be a sequel coming). 

I can’t recommend this book enough!

5 Stars