Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I broke a fingernail on Saturday. I'm not a high maintenance girly girl, but I do have long fingernails. I don't do much of anything with them - and breaking one didn't hurt my heart or anything - but it did make me think.

The nail had covered the skin on the end of my pinky. Breaking that nail exposed sensitive skin. It didn't hurt - but everything felt differently - and ... more.

I found myself constantly touching it -- and using it to touch other things. I would use it to pet my cats, feel the fabric on my couch, the cold of my water bottle ... It was like noticing all my everyday things in a brand new way.

The experience gave me a new appreciation for the blessings I'd been taking for granted. I found myself wishing that I could break the fingernail of my heart and soul so I could be like a child -- in awe-- aware of and discovering everything and everyone around me. Loving in that no-holds-barred - nothing held back kind of way.

So, today I'm thankful for a broken fingernail and the lessons it taught me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Irish Meadows - Review

Back Cover Summary: Irish immigrant James O’Leary has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men–ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
My Take:

I haven't read anything else by this author, so I wasn't sure what kind of story to expect. It was a surprise in a few ways.

First of all there isn't one main couple and the book isn't focused almost entirely on their story. It's the story of two couples. Neither relationship goes as expected and the relationships are as different as the sisters.

There is also the element of Catholic believers and practices, which isn't something you see a lot in Christian fiction. Since the story revolves around Irish immigrants, it is very appropriate.

I had a hard time with the characters for a while, especially Colleen. She really starts off as a selfish, immature, manipulative... not nice person. I guess she came by it naturally because her father was playing them all like a puppet master. I thought that for immigrants making their way in a new country -- they seemed a little weak willed and too easily led.

The story had a few twists and turns and little surprises but I think the men and the horses are what made me love this book the most. Gil and Rylan are very "swoon worthy" and I think I cried a little with the newborn foal with the bad leg.

The biggest thing for me with books is whether the characters feel like real people. The next is a satisfying ending. The last is a relationship (or in the case two of them) that progress  -- not love without any conversation or growth. Irish Meadows satisfies on all counts. This is an author I will seek out in the future.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am thankful, but it in no way influenced my review.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dauntless by Dina Sleiman - Review

Back Cover Summary: Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king. 

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, will he choose fame or love?

My Take:

I'm a big fan of the time period and Robin Hood, so I was super excited to read this book even though I wasn't familiar with the author. 

The beginning grabbed and held my attention. I didn't want to put the book down. I loved the way she became the leader of the ghosts in order to protect and provide for the children. She was educating them academically and morally. She resented God because of what happened to her family -- though she didn't share those thoughts with the children and rob them of their faith. I really believed she could be a real person who made the decisions she did for the reasons the book provides.

Timothy is also very authentic. He tries to be smart - even strategic - about what to do and when. You can understand why as he struggles to stand apart in a large family. When faced with how his decisions can hurt others, he is willing to change and reevaluated his goals. 

There is an outstanding and interesting supporting cast of characters, especially little Wren and Allen.

The end was tense and took an unexpected twist.

If I had one tiny grumble, it would be that I would have loved a few more exciting raids peppered in the story. 

I got my copy from the publishers and although thankful, it did not alter or influence my review.