Friday, December 5, 2014

the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

From the publisher:
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
This is a fascinating book.  I have never read any other "tidying up" book but I have read blogs and talked with many others about tidying up. Marie Kondo's approach is completely different.  

What really amazes me is the doesn't dismiss the senimenal and emotional value of objects that people (usually) have the most trouble getting rid of, but helps the reader be able to get rid of them, or keep them if they "spark joy".  

This book is different, and I think will definitely help to change the way people see de-cluttering and tidying up.  

At first glance the book might seem overwhelming to someone who wants to clean up their house and life, but the chapters are shorts and small.  And if even that is too much, then just skim to the bold faced words and read around them and the reader can still get the basic jist of what Marie Kondo is trying to say.  

Marie Kondo has very practical suggestions and this will make readers feel that they can attempt her ideas.  She also shares the rational and logic behind her ideas as well as shares her own failures and successes in these areas.  

I look forward to trying these ideas out in my own home!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

From the publisher:
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

Jody Hedlund is a master writer of historical fiction.  She takes pockets of history, little known history, and creates an intriguing story for readers to enjoy. I love reading her novels and don't want to miss a single one. 

You won't have to wait pages upon pages to feel drawn into this story, the first pages will have you into the lives of Emma and her brother Ryan as they journey.  

I really liked how Jody Hedlund wrote Emma's character.  A sweet and beautiful soul who wanted nothing more than a home.  She was not a complex character but one who the reader will feel bonded with.  Patrick's character is more complex but his gentleness with his son will capture the reader.  

While this book does not preach on each page, the theme of God's redemption and new beginnings is throughout the story.  Hedlund also touches on the idea of prayers and answered vs. unanswered prayers through the conversations of the characters.  

There is a novella prequel to this book "Out of the Storm" which I highly recommend reading.  It will give additional insight to a certain part of this story, but if you haven't read it, you will still be able to thoroughly enjoy this story.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A November Bride by Beth Vogt

From the publisher:
Sadie McAllister is fastidious to a fault-but that serves her well as a personal chef to her clients in Denver. But her earliest attempt at managing romance was a bust when Erik Davis declined her invitation to the school's eighth grade Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Having celebrated the big 3-0 by ending a relationship, Sadie is tired of romantic relationships-by-text. The only man she knows willing to put down his iPhone and have face-to-face conversations with her is Erik. It's time to put a 21st-century twist on the Sadie Hawkins' tradition of a woman going after her man. He may not be the hero of her romantic dreams, but she can propose to Erik and achieve some sort of happily ever after with her best friend.
Erik is good at two things: his freelance job and maintaining casual, no-one-gets-hurt relationships with women. What is Sadie thinking, proposing to him? This is marriage-not a middle school dance. Erik decides to show Sadie what romance looks like when the man takes the lead. And while he's at it, he'll prove just how wrong they are for each other. But when he realizes he's fallen for her, can Erik convince Sadie his just-for-fun dates were the prelude to "'til death do us part"?
This is part of the Year of Weddings novella series.
Beth Vogt is a talented author who can create a story for you to love in about 100 pages.  This friendship-turned-true-love novella is a wonderful read.  It is a the perfect setting for a novella, as it is more realistic than strangers meeting and falling in love.  
 The friendship is believable and fun to read.  The banter between Erik and Sadie is entertaining to read. The love that was always there and comes to the surface is endearing to read.  I also liked how both Erik and Sadie had personal moments of talking with God and/or trusted spiritual friends.  There is nothing in life that we don't need God for and Beth Vogt put that into her story in a natural way.
I look forward to reading more from Beth Vogt.
I received this ebook free from BookLookBloogers in exchange for my honest review.

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love

From the publisher:
The mystery surrounding Celia's home in Savannah threatens her family reputation . . . and her very life.
Celia Browning is counting the days until her childhood sweetheart Sutton Mackay returns to Savannah after two years in Jamaica looking after his family's shipping interests. She's certain he will propose marriage, thus joining two of the city's most prominent families. But just as Sutton returns, an unsavory newspaper reporter arrives in town, determined to revive interest in the secret tragedies that occurred in the Browning mansion on Madison Square when Celia was a child.
A series of mysterious notes arrives at the house, followed by an anonymous gift-a bracelet imbued with a sinister message. Is it merely a coincidence, or is someone out to harm her?
As war clouds gather over Savannah and her beloved father's health worsens, Celia determines to uncover the truth about what really happened all those years ago.
Inspired by actual events in one of Savannah's most prominent 19th-century families,The Bracelet combines romance, rich historical detail, and breathtaking suspense as one young woman embarks upon a dangerous quest to free herself from her family's tragic past.
I was surprised at the level of suspense and mystery in this book.  The prologue will give readers chills and have them turning the pages as fast as they can to discover the truth of Celia Browning's family past.  
Celia Browning's character was interesting to me because she was not the usual heroine in a novel.  This was more a suspense and Celia was the mystery solver.  There is sadness in this novel, they tragic past is tragic and the fact that it is based on actual events makes it even more so.  But I appreciated reading this historical novel knowing the research that Dorothy Love put into it.
Dorothy Love takes the south prior to the Civil War and creates characters that will give sympathy and understanding to the south during this time period.  The secondary characters of Ivy, Mrs. Maguire, Leo Channing, and others really enriched the story.  They created the depth and richness to the book.  
I eagerly await the next by Dorothy Love to learn more about Celia.
I received this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Brave Mom by Sherry Surratt

From the publisher:
In Brave Mom, Sherry Surratt, president and CEO of MOPS  International, shares honestly and openly about the fears every mom struggles with.  From worry about your child’s safety and health to wondering if you are a good parent, to fears about your marriage and loss of self-identity, Sherry comes alongside every mom with practical, real, and hopeful help for these common fears that we’re all afraid to talk about.


I am so glad I chose to read this book.  Sherry Surratt has written a gift of a book for moms.  As I read her words, and the stories of other moms in this book I felt a kinship with them.  I wanted to sit down with Sherry and become her friend and share what I was feeling and thinking as I read the chapters.  

I really liked that at the end of the chapters there were questions to journal about.  This makes the book more personal to the reader by allowing them the opportunity to really engage with each topic.

Every mom has fears and this book makes you feel like you have a community that understands and cares for you.  Whether you are part of MOPs or not, this book can be a blessing to any mom.  New moms to expert moms I think we relate to the things shared here.  

I am so glad I read this book.

I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition by Mollie Katzen

From the publisher:
In 1974, Mollie Katzen hand-wrote, illustrated, and locally published a spiral-bound notebook of recipes for vegetarian dishes inspired by those she and fellow cooks served at their small restaurant co-op in Ithaca, NY. Several iterations and millions of copies later, the Moosewood Cookbook has become one of the most influential and beloved cookbooks of all time—listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbooks in history, inducted into the James Beard Award Cookbook Hall of Fame, and coined a Cookbook Classic by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Mollie’sMoosewood Cookbook has inspired generations to fall in love with plant-based home cooking, and, on the fortieth anniversary of that initial booklet, continues to be a seminal, timely, and wholly personal work. With a new introduction by Mollie, this commemorative edition will be a cornerstone for any cookbook collection that long-time fans and those just discovering Moosewood will treasure.

I wasn't sure about this cookbook, I had never heard of Mollie Katzen and the colorless cover didn't call to me, but I was interested in the vegetarian recipes that this book boasted of.  

While this book does not have pictures or color, I believe it stays true to the original handwritten cookbook. So this this 40th edition is a wonderful tribute to that.  The font is "handwritten" but easy to read and that is nice. I like cookbooks with pictures though, so I missed that.

I love the recipes.  They are simple and don't appear to be fussy and extravagant but instead make delicious meals.  There are so many recipes that you could cook from this one book for a good-long time before ever needing another book.  

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.