July 31, 2016

A Beauty Refined | Book Review

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem.  

summary via Amazon

Wow...where to start!  I must admit, I'm not all that hard to please when it comes to novels.  As long as they're clean and entertaining, I'm happy.  But I feel that this particular story is an exceptionally well cut gem (pun totally intended - I'm not sorry).  I really enjoyed Tracie's first book in the Sapphire Brides series (review here), but this one completely and utterly surpassed it!  The plot was fabulous.  Kept me on the edge of my seat and turning pages as fast as I could.

Phoebe is not only the main character, but ended up being my favorite character, which doesn't always happen.  Very sweet, proper, very in control of her emotions, willing to experience new adventures. I found much to admire about her.  I appreciated her loyalty to her father, refusing to believe the worst about him until she was forced to.  We know from the beginning that he is a hard man, willing to do anything to keep is business (and secrets) safe, but it takes a lot for her to believe it.  I will say no more because spoilers.

Ian is very nice.  Not very exciting, but nice.  And I don't mean that in a negative way at all.  He's the type that girls would actually want to marry.  Maybe he doesn't lead a super exciting life, but he's steady, has a good job, and loves the Lord.  And, of course, good looking, so how could you go wrong?

I appreciate the strong Christian characters in this story.  When they live and talk their faith, it feels real and believable.  Not forced at all.  Which is rare in Christian fiction, unfortunately.  I also really, really appreciated the fact that Ian and Phoebe saved their first kiss for after they were married.  So many "Christian" novels are packed full of steamy, border-line inappropriate romantic scenes.  I would gladly hand this book to my daughter when she's in her later teens with an easy mind.

Well done Tracie Peterson!  I can't wait to read your next book!

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

July 29, 2016

take me to the lake

Sorry for the long silence around here!  It's been so long, that my blogging voice (that's totally a thing) feels stiff and awkward.  Like my fingers did when I sat down at the piano today and tried to play and old favorite.  I was so hoping to be able to post once a month and keep you all updated.  I have a zillion pictures of Ivy Rose being adorable that I wanted to share.  But find time, I could not.  So you'll have to be happy with these pictures. :smile:

We went for a hike on the Shoreline trail at Farragut State Park last week.  It was really fun for all three of us to get out and do something fun together.  Ivy loves water and really enjoyed getting her toes wet.

Ivy can crawl now (very fast), pull herself up and stand, she's got her first two teeth coming in, has discovered she can't always have what she wants, and she gets into EVERYTHING (did I mention she crawls very fast??).  And she is the most adorable, sweet, beautiful little girl ever!  Amen.

I've been kept busy not just by our little princess, but by an insane amount of cleaning and de-cluttering.  We are getting our house ready to sell, hence the cleaning.  I had not idea how much work that would be, but we are so, so close to being done.  Which is good, since we need to have the house listed by August 3rd.  

Why are we selling?  We need more space.  Not house space, but more acreage.   Five acres is a nice size, but not for what we want to do.  Which is raise sheep (lots of them), and pigs, and chickens, and goats, and hay, and...you get the idea.  I'll let you know when we find our dream location (we do have one in mind, but nothing is official...yet).

So what is new with all of you?  I want to know!