Favorite Reads of 2016

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I finally whittled down my favorite reads from 2016 to the top eight you see above. Out of the 52 books that I read last year, these were the ones that stayed with me and touched me the most. And of course, they’re ones that I would recommend everyone read. So if you haven’t read these yet, I highly encourage you to put them on your 2017 reading list.

  • Evidence No Seen by: Darlene Diebler Rose
  • Things We Couldn’t Say by: Diet Eman
  • Twice a Slave by: Randy Willis & Sammy Tippitt
  • Life Together by: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The True Gospel of Christ Versus the False Gospel of Carnal Christianity by: L.R. Shelton Jr.
  • Keep the Faith Vol. 1 & 2 by: Kevin Swanson
  • Hearts of Fire by: Voice Of the Martyrs

Review | Our Man In Charleston

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For once in my life, I’m in a quandary as to how to review a book (this book). Our Man In Charleston intrigued me the minute I saw the cover and read the title. I love a good, riveting, true life spy story. And this one was set in Civil War times … I’d never read about a civil war spy before. But was this actually a spy story? I had a hard time remembering that it was while reading. Maybe it was just me, maybe I wasn’t concentrating properly while reading, but for the life of me, I couldn’t extract any spy flair. I can’t even tell you what Bunch did that made him a spy (Robert Bunch is the spy the book is written about). He was a British consul, but what was he doing in America? I guess you could say this book rather confused me. In one way I feel bad saying this, because the amount of research that went into this project is astounding. The author went into incredible detail and made sure not a single fact was missing. But unfortunately, it was simply too much. It was too much to follow, too much to remember, just too much to digest, even if you only read a few pages. Strangely enough though, it kept me interested enough to continue reading even when I couldn’t keep anything straight and didn’t have a clue what was going on. So, it’s quite probable that this is just a personal thing: that this book just didn’t ‘click’ with me. Someone that loves detail for sure would love this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | Simply Calligraphy

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If you’ve ever wanted to lean the at of calligraphy, this is the book to get. The author, Judy Detrick, a professional calligrapher & graphic designer, does a great job introducing newbies and beginners to the world of calligraphy. Her well organized layout and easy to follow instructions make is seem all too easy. The wording is on the left side of the page and the picture example on the right. And can I say, I love that there is a generous amount of white space around the wording and pictures. It’s so much easier to follow along when everything isn’t tightly packed on the pages.

There are eight chapters in the book covering, 1.Tools and Materials 2.Getting Started 3.Small Letters 4.Capitals 5.Numerals 6.Flourishes 7.Project Ideas 8.Additional Alphabets. In the back is a small index along with a page giving a few websites for additional studies and resources. Overall an excellent intro into the world of calligraphy.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | The More of Less

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I’m a minimalist. Have I mentioned that before? I can’t remember. But I can remember my excitement when I saw that this book was coming out. I mean, hello, what minimalist wouldn’t want to read this. So, as soon as I could, I snatched up a copy and dove right in.

While I did enjoy a lot of this book, I’m not sure I would have if I wasn’t a minimalist. I agreed with most everything written. Becker and I seriously share the same minimalist brain waves, so much so that I felt like I was reading my own book in the beginning. But, at the same time, I felt like the author was trying too hard to sell minimalism to his audience; something I would have resented had I not already agreed with him. And he seemed to repeat himself a lot. He kept going way past the “I got this” stage, which contributed to my third issue; the book was a little too long. I think he could have said everything he needed to in about three-fourths of the size.

Overall, it was laid out nicely and I did like that Becker incorporated real life stories from his own personal minimalist journey as well as others. This kept me reading when I started getting a bit bored, which happened a few chapters in. However, If you are wanting to learn about minimalism (or more about it), or just want some motivation to keep going in your own minimalist journey, this would be a good book to pick up.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

End of Winter | Beginning of Spring

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“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell…” Song of Solomon 2: 11-13

With Spring just around the corner, the anticipation of what’s to come is extra high. And so it should be. Spring means warmer weather, sunshine, and color, lots of it; color in leaves, flowers, grass, greenery, growing fruits, vegetables, and so on. With the end of winter comes the beginning of life. And I am so grateful. I am reminded that no matter what I may go through in life, God will always make a new beginning (whether on this earth or in Heaven). With the end of the winter of trials comes the spring of newfound joy and peace in the Saviour. He does indeed make all things beautiful in His time.

Review | Paris Street Style

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I was so excited when I ordered this coloring book. The cover was so enticing … I loved the gold drawing on the front. And I love everything Paris. But, I have to say, I was really disappointed once I opened it up. The drawings are not exact, but rather free-handed, open-ended, and anything but exact. This makes is quite difficult to color, even for an adult. To be perfectly honest, the pictures were of such a style as to not be conducive to coloring. I also didn’t care for the lingerie pages. But, I did appreciate that this was a thick book … you won’t be cheated on pages to color. And I loved the attached ribbon bookmark. However the binding made it difficult to keep the book open while coloring. Overall, I rather disliked this coloring book, but I think that has more to do with my personal preference than anything else.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | Priceless Weddings

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Priceless Weddings is definitely a book that I needed to read. I’m not married, and neither are any of my five siblings, but we are all very frugal. Budget weddings are a must in my family. I was so excited to dig into this book and learn how to create a wedding under $5,ooo dollars. It sounds impossible to plan a wedding for that little amount of money, but Kennedy does a fabulous job of walking you through every aspect of the process. The book is filled with her personal ideas that she has learned as a wedding planner along with stories of other real life couples who budgeted their weddings. She walks you through saving money on the location, clothing, decor, flowers, food, photographer, music, invitations, and much more. If you are planning a wedding, this book is a must read!

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.