A Hope Undaunted... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 

Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently

Current book:

A Hope Undaunted

Julie Lessman

A Hope Undaunted a Sneak Peek on Reading List

Goodreads Summary:

What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

Sneak Peek:

"'They're not like us, you know, the men that God bring into lives-they're as different as the night is from the day.' The tenderness of her tone seemed to unravel Faith, causing her to list against the counter with a broken heave. Emma wrapped her in a gentle hug, her head resting against Faith's. 'They don't see things they way we do, Faith - the temptations, the dangers.'"  p 152

Initial Thoughts

This book follows a very large family in the 1920's and because of that the cast is hard to keep up with.  The intro is very long as each character is introduced.  Katie and Luke's story is so interesting though because it does not seem like the story that is usually told from this time period. I am very interested to see how their story pans out, I only wish there were so many side stories making this book so long. 

Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:

Marissa, writes book reviews from a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

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Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.

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Here are some rules if you decide to join in:

• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!

Marissa at Reading List

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How Can Anyone Love the Real Me?

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Lovable You

Even Through the Darkness

There is nothing more intimidating than walking into a room full of strangers, well for most of us.  Of course, it gets worse if you are the new person walking into a group that is already established.  What about if you are returning to a group after some huge secret about your past was uncovered?

Fears of judgment and rejection often keep us from ever walking into such a situation.

How Can Anyone Love the Real Me?  A Song Reflection on Reading List

Instead, we find ways to bury the parts of us, the parts of our past, deep under layers of personality, friendly smiles, kind eyes, and maybe even bouncy steps.  We find aspects of ourselves that align with the popular people of the group and try to magnify them while minimizing the aspects of us that do not appear to fit in.

In some cases, maybe this natural tendency to project parts of us while restraining others is a good thing.  I mean you need to make sure at a job interview you are selling the aspects of you that make you the best candidate for the job.  But what about when we are "interviewing" for acceptance into a group of peers?  A new church group maybe?  A new relationship?

Before you know it, the persona you displayed in order to be accepted is who you are in the eyes of these people - or this person.  As time goes on you might just start to realize that you are keeping some very important points hidden... why?

Are you keeping parts of your life hidden because you are truly trying to change? Or are you keeping secrets because there is a darkness that is in you that could change the opinion of your new friend?

Let's talk about that inner darkness a little bit...

Let's talk about that inner darkness a little bit... #Demons @Reading_List1

When you are alone - in your car, at home... you know those times when your true thoughts can fill your mind, and you can really discover yourself- how often do you notice a darkness? A bend towards something ugly that you hope no one ever knows about you?   Come on be honest, isn't that the joy of the internet... you can be honest about this because you are looking at the screen...

Imagine Dragons  Demons   a Reflection

I am pretty sure there are quite a few that are nodding along at this point... why?  Well because Imagine Dragon's Demons has been on the top of the charts for 31 weeks (at the time of this writing) and what is the song about?  The struggle to keep the darkness, the beast, those aspects of ourselves that we want desperately to hide from others, especially those we love most.

Once we allow someone into our hearts, we fear their rejection more than anything.  As a result, we work harder and harder to keep the demons from being apparent.  There are some things that this kind of practice can lead to a better personality... but do people really change?  Or does this practice just make us into gullible kings and queens of our own kingdoms, kingdoms that are at risk of invasion and overthrow daily?

There has to come a point in time when this effort of keeping someone from getting too close can't be done anymore because your love, your need to be loved, takes over.  So what do you do?

Do you push them away?  Do you risk hurting them in order to protect yourself?

Do you show them the truth? Do you risk disappointing them? Of their rejection?

What if the answers do not really lie in the relationship with another person at all.  What if the answers are calling you right now - a person who knows just how dark your demons are, have been, and still He calls to you.  He calls with words of comfort because even knowing how full of greed you are He loves you.  He can look in your eyes, see the hidden demons, see deeper into your soul and know that there is also beauty.  Could that kind of love change you?

Could it change your willingness to be honest with yourself?  To be honest with those around you, the ones you have been hiding from?

Rick Warren Quote   a Song Reflection on Reading List

While you think about those questions, check out these amazing quotes from my favorite book.  And then if you feel like it,  leave a comment below with what your heart and your head are thinking...

  • But God put His love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatsoever to Him.  (Rom 5:8 MSG)
  • This is real love - not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  (1 Jn 4:10 NLT)
  • "...Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You are mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough, dark waters, you will not go down. When you are between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end- Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.  I paid a huge price for you, the lives of many. That is how much you mean to me. That is how much I love you. I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade all of creation, trade a part of myself, just for you." (paraphrase of Is 43:4 MSG)

When you are alone, how often do you notice a darkness? #Demons @Reading_list1

Marissa @ Reading List

Cozy book hop

The Cozy Reading Spot #138

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Welcome to Cozy Reading Spot! 

This is your chance to share your posts, and then grab your favorite drink to curl up with and read other's posts.  You are welcome to share posts that tell us what has been on your heart, mind and bookshelves - yes that means just about anything goes.  As book lovers, we love to read, so share something for us to read today!

Last Week's Features

Marissa's Favorite

My favorite link from last week was from Raising Samuels: $600 Giveaway  to Celebrate Wonderfully Made.  She shares a great giveaway that is focused on some amazing tools to help parents answer the question - "Where do babies come from?"

Celebrate Wonderfully Made with a wonderful giveaway  a feature on Reading List

Most Popular

The most popular link from last week was by Sharon from Sharon Sharing God: Spill the Beans. She reflects on why Jesus requested his work be kept quiet while he started his miracles on earth. 
Spill the Beans a feature on the Cozy Reading Spot on Reading List

Please link up all you've got!  

This is an open link up, not just a book link up...

There are just a few small requests I have. 
  • Please link to a direct post, and not just your home page.
  • I wish I didn't have to say this, but please keep it clean. I know books & posts can range the gamut on adult content, but please keep your posts and images clean for this one. 
  • Try to stop by another link and say hi. I know we are all busy blogging, reading and writing, not mention living our lives and keeping up with responsibilities - however, what makes the link up so fun is having new people visit your blog!  So spread the love and hop to at least one link for each link you leave.
  • Please include a link back to the hop in your post - the button codes are part of the flair page, but a text hyperlink is just as good! This simply allows others to join in the fun, and isn't that the whole point?                    

Join #TheCozyReadingSpot - share your posts & find new friends! #BloggingFun @Reading_List1

Cozy Reading Spot  {Reading List}

** If you're reading this from your email, click over and join us!  Reading List

The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with the Cozy Reading Spot, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to feature you in a future post.  That includes a link to your post, and a picture you've used on that post.  You are also allowing Reading List to share any post you link up with pinterest, facebook, twitter and/or google+.  Also, by posting in this hop, you are allowing your email address to be used for a weekly reminder of the hop - your email will not be used for any other purpose, period.

See where I link up!

Book review

Playing the Part or Being Yourself

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Playing the Part

Jen Turano

There are times when a friend recommends a book and that is the only reason why we read it.  Of course, it gets a little difficult when a friend recommends a book because they love it, but once you read it, you are not really a fan.   That is what happened with Jen Turano's book, In Good Company. I read it after hearing from some friends that Jen Turano was such a great writer... but I was not really impressed with the book.

Recently I was asked if I would read Jen Turano's third book in the series (of which In Good Company is part of) to review, particularly because I didn't give the last book a stellar review.  After some thought, I decided it was worth it.  Partly because the summary was intriguing... I mean aren't we all playing a part?

Playing the Part by Jen Turano  a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

Lucetta Plum, a friend of Harriet and Millie, is an actress who has worked hard to be an independent woman, well as much as is possible in the regency era. While she technically resides with Abigail Hart, she keeps up a steady income and even has received a nice inheritance... which is actually going to cause her some serious problems.  As her fame starts to attract attention, that attention comes as both good and bad... Lucetta is soon running from one specific fan who is overly infatuated and demanding.  Of course, Abigail is more than happy to assist Lucetta and suggests hiding out at her grandson's castle... 

Bram Haverstein, Abigail's grandson, is a complex man who has a compassionate heart for those who are desperate for a second chance in life.  He has put together a wonderfully eclectic staff of misfits in his very own castle.  While he is from a wealthy family, he has dreams of his own, dreams he isn't ready to share with others. As a result, he is more than comfortable to live fairly secluded in his castle. So when Abigail shows up with the famous Lucetta Plum his somewhat secluded life is subjected to intruders he didn't know he always wanted. 

The issues become complicated as Bram's private life starts to cause suspension and Lucetta's stage life leaks into the picture. 

Personal Likes

For me, Bram made this story worth reading. He is the exact gentleman one would expect to find in a Regency-era romance, yet there is a side to him that is surprising too. He wants to provide and help those around him, yet he can get sucked into his imaginative thinking entirely and loose track of time... if I say more I'll give away the whole plot twist...  Needless to say, when he is in a scene it captured my attention simply because he was a well-developed character.

I also felt like Turano's humor showed through in a much more acceptable light in this story.  I had been told she wrote humor well, and while I could get a small taste for it in the previous story, this book lived up to what I had originally hoped for.  There are some silly plot twists that will certainly make you smile, if not laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it.

Playing the Part by Jen Turano a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

Maybe it's this genre, but the heroine of the story is just too predictable for me.  A woman who wants to be strong and independent in a time when women were barely seen as people, yet in the midst of her attempts to be strong she forgets that she still needs to be loved.  The dichotomy of it was a little much.  Yes, she is a wonderfully strong female lead who knows what she wants.  Then at the same time, she feels like there is a part of her that isn't seen because if she shows it she will be seen as weak.

As far as that goes, while there are small humorous twists, the whole plot is easy to see coming.  This book fits exactly in the clean romance genre, especially for regency-era stories.  In fact, I would even call this a modern romantic comedy set in the regency era.  The issue I always have with these stories is that the main character desperately wants something, and if she/he would only ask, it would be so much easier. Instead, the character stubbornly tries to do everything on their own, flat out refusing the help of others in a way that comes across as childish if not downright ignorant.

Reading List Rating

three heart rating on Reading List

I can give this book a three heart rating - it was good, and at times quite enjoyable.  As far as actually reading it again, well it's not quite my favorite genre. 

My Suggested Audience

I would highly suggest this to fans of the classic romance novel (like Wuthering Heights) and even those who love all romantic comedies (I'm thinking fans of Notting Hill...).  This is a completely clean romance and while there are small instances of violence, and threatening behavior, the book is very typically Christian romance.   As far as ages... I'm thinking if you are reading classic romance novels, this can fit right in. 

Wondering Questions to Consider

Lucetta is struggling mostly with finding who she is off the stage - how she can portray herself honestly to those around her while still being respected.  How often in life do we portray ourselves one way in public and yet wish we could be more of ourselves in the process?  Bram, while being secure in his behavior, is struggling with sharing the truth about his career dreams with his family for fear he would not live up to their expectations.  How often do you hide your dreams from those who love you simply because you fear their reactions?

"It was rare to see genuine kindness in the world, and yet..." #PlayingthePart @Reading_List1

Are you a fan of Christian romance novels?  Is the Regency Era your thing?  If you've read Jen Turano's books, what did you think?  

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process. 

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

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Book review

Mother's Day Plan: Book & Craft Ideas

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Children's Corner

Mother's Day Play: Book with Craft Ideas

Books filled my childhood - and not in that loner kind of way either.  They were the gifts my grandmother gave me.  They were the little extras my dad would give me as a reward.  They gave me ideas to expand upon in my imagination. They helped my brain connect the concepts of science, life, and critical thinking.  There were probably thousands of books that were checked out on my library card before I even old enough to know how blessed I was to have such a card.  All this to say I can remember exactly what book started it all.  

The Barenstain Bears Get the Gimmies by Jan & Stan Barenstain

The Berenstain Bears Mother's Day Blessing a Children's Corner feature on Reading List

Fairly recently Mike Berenstain continued the Berenstain Bear books full of wonderful morals and truth for a new generation of kids.

Today I am very excited to share this new book from Mike Berenstain, Mother's Day Blessings.

About the Book

The familiar Berenstain Bear family is enjoying early spring when this story starts. Brother, Sister and Honey Bear are trying to find a way to make Mother's Day special for their Mama, so of course they go to Papa and ask for help.

The story follows the family on Mother's Day Sunday as they make their way to church. Mama reminds the kids about all the moms who celebrate the special day differently while the kids are excited about their Mother's Day surprise.

Why We Like It

This is one of those fictional families that lives their life similarly to typical families so that readers can see how behavior and choices can impact those closest to us.  This book is fun because the bear kids want to show love and appreciate to their mom so they ask their dad for help. And their decision is a simple one and it impacted mama greatly.  A book teaching kids that it is not about gifts but about spending time with your family to show your love.

An extra bonus in this book is at the very end: there are a couple of quick discussion questions for kids to answer about the book. A perfect way to help develop critical thinking.

The Berenstain Bears Mother's Day Blessings

Title: The Berenstain Bears  Mother's Day Blessings **
Author:  Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Publication Date: March 2016
For ages: 3-8
Type: Childern's Books, Christian

"Did you ever stop to think that children everywhere think their own mothers are the most special mothers of all?" #MothersDay @Reading_List1

A few Mother's Day activities  

  1. Paging Fun Mums has a simple tutorial on easy tile art for coasters or any sized tile that could be used for a great background for all those great print art ideas
  2. Who Arted? has some adorable questionnaires to print and interview your kiddos - these are always fun to see!
  3. Fun Handprint Art has a wonderful collection of ideas for all kinds of handprint and footprint crafts for your little ones to make for their moms and grandmas.
  4. I love these adorable flower pots from Edventures with Kids - so easy even for younger kids, and the perfect way to present mom with a pretty flower. 
  5. Scholastic put together three super adorable crafts for your older kids to put together. 
  6. We made a stepping stone footprint a few years back with CRAFT's method, and while it takes some time to set and an extra set of adult hands for set up & clean up - its been one of the best gifts! 

How do you celebrate Mother's Day?  What is your favorite Mother's Day memory?

Marissa on Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process.

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you!

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