July 21, 2014

Comfort Reads I Love

Comfort reads - adj. a story that you love, which you can read and reread and reread over and over, yet you don't even have to read it for it to give comfort (i.e. just looking at it on your bookshelf gives you warm fuzzies)
You know those moments when life is crazy and chaotic, your mind is spinning hither and yon, and you just need a moment of peace? Of course, just sitting by your bookshelf looking at all those lovely covers helps tremendously! But you need to escape into a story, forgetting real life for a while...

So your hand reaches out and without even thinking about it, it lands on a certain book, pulling it off the shelf and into your line of sight. At that moment, when all else is driving you crazy, you know this book won't. You've read it a million times. You even know most of it by heart by now. You know the exact moment when the hero or heroine will discover the thing which has been driving them the entire narrative to find, or when the hero and heroine finally end up riding off into the sunset together, or when the child finally realizes how amazing his/her parents really are.

Whatever the plotlines, you know them well! They've sunk into your heart and there they remain. Yet you never tire of reading them again. Waiting with baited breath for the climactic moment to arrive just one more time...

Yes! Those books! They give you comfort when you need it most. I know I've mentioned a few times (or a lot of times!) in the last several months about how life has been chaotic for me. And how all the changes have driven me to seek out my comfort books. In fact, I wrote this post about how these sorts of books give you hugs. :)  And after reading this post written by the always lovely Amber, I decided it was high time to share my comfort reads with y'all! (I just know you've been waiting for this list, right? :)

So, without further ado, here are a few (or twenty, yes, this list is long so be warned) of my comfort reads. (In no particular order.)

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster - Since I consider this story one of my absolute favorites ever, of course it's on this list! :)

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - I've had the kindle book for ages, but just recently picked up a paperback copy and reread it again. I LOVE this story! I mean, the guy falls for the girl based on her writing, he doesn't see what she actually looks like until very near the end of the book, after he's already fell for her. How awesome is that?!

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella - I'm not sure what it is about this story, but I've reread it multiple times and it never fails to make me smile. Sadie is fabulous!

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt - When I first read this one, I really liked it, but I never imagined it would grow to become one of my favorites. Yet multiple times have I picked it up just to reread Oliver's parts. He's quirky and amazing, and so great with Mallory. Their conversations are so much fun to read!

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen - Ms. Dessen has quickly become a favorite author of mine. Her characters are so easy to fall for! And watching Anabel come to understand herself better is just lovely.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - I love this story from the opening scene to the final word! It has spent a great deal of time sitting on my nightstand, letting me reread my favorite scenes so I can go to sleep with happy in my head. :) Hadley's (and Oliver's!) journey is wonderful and always gets me in the heart. Loveliness abounds in this story!

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - Macy. Wes. READ IT! Enough said.

Court Duel by Sherwood Smith - I wrote this post on my love of Mel. Read it and maybe you'll understand. ;)

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh - Piper Wick is awesome. I want an Uncle Obe of my own. And Axel is awfully sigh-worthy. A combo worth reading over and over! :D

Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh - I think I could about recite every single plotline in this story I've read it so many times. I never, ever get tired of it! Harri is spectacular, Maddox is hard to ignore, and watching these two circle each other is beyond fun! Harri's journey to find herself is so real and relatable. I love her to pieces!

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay - I know, I know. I've only told you about this story a million times. But seriously! If you haven't read this one, read it! IT'S AMAZING!

Ruby's Slippers by Leanna Ellis - A retelling of The Wizard of Oz? (Kind of anyway. In a modern setting.) Definitely worth reading! I love Dottie. And Leo is just the right kind of shaking up in her life that she needs.

An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers - Phenomenal series!!! And book two is my favorite. But the entire series is worth reading!

Moon Over Tokyo by Siri L. Mitchell - There's just something about Allie that I connect with. And now I really want to visit Japan!

The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz - Ms. Frantz is an amazing writer! And this story just gets me in the heart every single time. I love it whole bunches! You should read it. Really! You should!

On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang - I love books that combine a present story as well as a historical one. Both Berrie and Rebecca are so wonderfully relatable and watching both of them find their way is an excellent way to spend a few hours! I've reread this one countless times. It's another one that spends a great deal of time on my nightstand. :)

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter - I fell in love with this story from the first moment I read it. Therefore, you should read it and fall in love as well! :D

You Had Me at Goodbye by Tracey Bateman - Another one I can't really explain why I love it so much. But I do. Dancy's life is so vastly different than mine, but she's just so much fun to read about!

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones - Finley. Beckett. And Ireland. No more words necessary.

Mending Places by Denise Hunter - This story gets me in the gut every single time I read it! The twist Ms. Hunter throws in near the end is heart-wrenchingly good. And watching Hannah and Micah deal with it....yeah, you definitely need to read this one if you haven't already.

Okay then! We're finally at the end! (Of this list anyway. There are so many more I could have added. Perhaps another post someday?) And you know, after writing about all these stories, I now have this uncontrollable urge to rush home to my bookshelves and reread them all again. They're just that good! :D I love comfort reads. They simply make me happy. What about you? :)

July 14, 2014

Review: When I Fall In Love by Susan May Warren

*happy sigh* That was my first reaction during and after finishing this wonderful story! Ms. Warren certainly knows how to write characters who I fall in love with immediately. Grace and Max are simply delightful to get to know! :)

The thing about Ms. Warren's writing though, isn't just that she has great characters, it's that she tackles some tough subjects in her stories and strikes you in the heart with how real it feels. Grace and Max both have things in their lives that are hard. Max most especially, and the way Ms. Warren handles it is brilliant. Max's choices aren't always the right ones, but yet you understand why he makes them. He's got such a tender heart and doesn't want anyone else to suffer with him. Which is noble, but still. Nobility is for the birds! Grace is so good for him though. I really enjoyed watching their friendship bloom.

Relationships that start from a friendship are one of my favorites to read about. And Max and Grace have an amazing friendship! They understand one another and work so great together, especially in the kitchen. The cooking competition was fun! Plus it gave them something to bond on. And the way that continues throughout the rest of the story is so sweet. They take care of each other.

Yes, obviously their relationship is the highlight of the entire story. But there's so much more awesomeness in between their bickering and fun! I loved seeing the other couples from the first two books show up. (Another thing I love about a series like this. Where each book can be a stand alone, yet the characters all connect and show up in each one.) And just the Christianson family as a whole is wonderful. The way they care for and love each other is just how a family should be. It made me want to jump into the story just to be part of them all! :)

So. In short, I think you should definitely read this one. It's fabulous and lovely and fantastic and...well, you get the picture. Read it!

"She and the other girls took me under their wing. They would let me help make the late-night snack, and they'd talk about boys and high school, and I felt like they let me into their world."
"So food isn't really about food for you," Max said, finishing his shrimp. "It's about camaraderie."
"Sometimes I don't even eat what I make. But I always watch people eat it. I love it when they make those little sounds of joy." She closed her mouth. "Mmm...yum...those sounds."
"Like these?" He slurped, then licked his lips.
She laughed. "I like watching people be happy."

July 13, 2014

Sunflowers Bring Questions

Amber showered me with this lovely award a few weeks ago. Now I'm finally getting around to joining in! Except I'm going to change it up. I'm only going to answer the 11 questions. My time is slightly pressed today :( so I'm refraining from all the 11 facts about me and nominating 11 other blogs and all that jazz. Hope y'all don't mind!

Anyway, here goes nothing. Enjoy! (And if you'd like to join in, feel free!)

What's one book you already know will go on your list of favorites for 2014?

Cruel Beauty!!! (What? Did you not guess that already? I've only mentioned it a time or five on here. ;)

What's one book you're looking forward to reading this summer?

The Seahorse Legacy (Which I just won thanks to Amber! And the author too. How awesome is that?!)

What's your favorite type of blog post to read?

Hmmm. As much as I love book reviews, I probably enjoy the ones where the writer is posting about something they love, some new awesome book they fell in love with, or something they're passionate about, the most.

What's your favorite type of blog post to write/put together?

Definitely the ones where I'm writing my thoughts on something. With a picture attached. But I just really enjoy getting the chance to write out my thoughts. And to think that other people will read them....maybe even enjoy them? Is pretty awesome indeed. :)

Hardcover or paperback?

Paperback (SO much easier to hold.)

For paperbacks, soft cover (matte) or glossy?

I'll go with the soft (matte) covers, they just feel so nice when I'm holding them. :)

Which do you enjoy most: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Goodreads?

Oh my. Decisions, decisions. Hmmmm. They're all so fun in their own ways! But I'd say it comes down to a duel between Twitter and Pinterest. They're the two I'm on the most. Which one wins? *shrugs* ;)

Which national park or country would you most like to visit?

I've been wanting to visit Italy for years. Hopefully someday!

What's your favorite genre of music?

It really just depends on the song. It has to inspire and encourage me. And be uplifting! I'm a fan of music in general actually.

Name one movie or TV show that surprised you recently.

Not sure about surprising me, but I've fallen in love with When Calls the Heart from the Hallmark Channel. SO fun! :)

What's your favorite flower?

Gerber daisies! They're just so cheerful. And friendly! :)

July 12, 2014

Review: On The Fence by Kasie West

How fun! That's what my first thought was upon sitting down with this book. I confess I actually ended up reading most of it in Barnes and Noble, it was that hard to put down! ;) From the cute cover to the sweet ending, it's a very entertaining read.

Charlie has grown up around all boys in her family (her mother died 10 years ago) and has a love of sports that rivals her brothers. Her tomboyish ways are endearing though and you can't help to enjoy watching as she begins learning all about "girlish" ways, namely makeup and clothes and...crushes. I think that's what struck me about Charlie. She acted her age. She was confused and unsure about lots of things (as most teens are), yet she never lost sight of herself, of what she enjoyed. She loves sports and isn't shy about it. She doesn't try to change her true self, even as she is still learning who her true self is. I loved how she enjoys life. Through all the embarrassing and frustrating moments, she still has a loving family surrounding her. And that is an awesome thing! I love a happy, and (mostly) settled family. Oh, they have their secrets, but none that are crazy-weird, and they have good reasons for them (at least in their own minds anyway). They're just normal. Hooray for normal!

And then there's Braden. Their fence talks are so sweet! They've both got confusing and hard things in their lives and to be able to open up to another person (somewhat anonymously, as they never discuss these fence talks elsewhere), about the hard stuff, is just what they both need to help them deal. They learn a lot about each other through this and when Charlie starts to realize her feelings may go a little deeper than just friendship, let's just say there's a few pretty cute (and embarrassing) moments. :D What I'm trying to say is that they get each other. And watching them slowly come around to how good they are together is great!

Fun...charming...delightful...it's a very likeable story! Like your favorite drink, it goes down smooth and leaves a sweet aftertaste. Well worth spending a few hours with! :)

He was right. He did know me well. Better than I thought he would. I didn't think he'd been paying such close attention over the years. He was always around, and being a year younger I was always interested in what he and my brother were doing. But I didn't think it went both ways. "Yeah, it counts," I said quickly.
"What was that?"
"Your voice sounds funny."
"Yeah, well, your face looks funny. See you tomorrow." I walked away from his laughter.


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