Weekend Coffee Share 8/12/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting at my library.  I’d be sipping on a mocha with an extra shot of caffeine that I picked up on the way to work.  It’s a slow morning… I’ve been here over an hour and only five people have come and gone.  Thank goodness, you’re here to divert me!

It’s crazy that summer is almost over!  It always goes by way too quickly.  My August is turning out to be very busy.  Between weddings and out-of-town commitments, my weekends are almost all booked.  When I get off work today, I’m heading down to Rochester to spend the weekend with L’Abri friends.  I’ve wanted to visit them all summer, but haven’t had the chance until now.  Next weekend, I’m taking off work to go on a retreat with the church my family has been attending.

I’ve had multiple cousins get married this summer–one was last weekend.  Is it just me, or are family weddings the most awkward of them all?  I’m not close with my dad’s side of the family, so it’s always uncomfortable spending time with them.  I’m one of the youngest and was painfully shy as a child, which didn’t help forge good relationships with my cousins.  Despite that, the wedding was really nice, there was an open bar, and fantastic cake.  And I learned that some of my cousins (and their significant others) are actually pretty cool!  So that was a win. Continue reading

What I’m Reading 8/7/17

Since I last did one of these, I’ve started writing short, one paragraph reactions in a notebook every time I finish a book.  I do so much reading that stories often blend together and, when I come to do these kind of posts, I forget details.  I’m finding that I really enjoy processing books in this way–it helps me express my opinions and give the experience closure.  In addition, I’m also adding star ratings, just for fun.

I hope you enjoy my list of recent reads!  Have you read any of them?  What did you think?  What have you been reading lately?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

5/5 stars

When I reached the end of this book, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  I rarely give books five-star ratings, but this series was absolute perfection.  All six main characters are distinct, fully, fleshed out, and deeply relatable.  They feel like real people–deeply flawed and broken and beautiful–and I love them all so, so much.  I can’t help being in awe of Bardugo’s planning skills–there are so many character arcs, schemes, plots, and back-stabbing… how does she juggle it all?  And given how complex it all is, how the heck does she manage to pull it off?!  This book sealed the deal: Bardugo is a top-notch writer and I will gladly read anything she publishes.


Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4/5 stars

This YA book has been on my radar for months and I finally got my hands on a copy.  It combines two of my deep loves: fairytale retellings and fandom.  I found the story delightful and endearing–the plot familiar, but a comforting kind of familiar.  More than anything, I was reminded of the movie “A Cinderella Story” with Hillary Duff–only with more cosplay and a pumpkin-themed vegan food truck.  It was a clever, fresh retelling of one of my favorite fairytales.  And, oh, how I wish that Starfield was a real show–it sounds like something I would love to watch.


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

4.5/5 stars

This was easily one of the best YA contemporaries I’ve read in a long while.  Lately, I’ve found it harder and harder to relate to that corner of the genre.  This book, though, hit home in so many ways.  It’s about a Christian girl who, after discovering that her mom’s cancer has returned, spends her summer as a counselor at a camp for troubled youth.  There, she wrestles with her faith and learns about life, love, and friendship.  The book is about growing up, discovering yourself, and allowing your worldview to grow and change.  Although our circumstances are different, I deeply related with Lucy.  I spent several summers camp counseling, so the exhausting pace of her days was familiar.  What I love about this book is that, while Lucy questions and struggles with her faith, she doesn’t walk away from it.  It’s really hard to write about faith journeys in a way that doesn’t come off as preachy and Lord handles Lucy’s journey so, so well.  Her faith shifts into something new, but it doesn’t go away.  The book also features a rich array of diverse characters and I adored the friendships Lucy forms.  They reminded me of the friendships I forged in my own camp years.  This is a book that doesn’t shy away from life’s biggest questions–it leans into hard questions, tough situations, and embraces the challenges of life.  I’m thankful for books like these–books that act as mirrors to our own experiences.


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I Was Going to Blog About Something Else, but Then my Day was Beautifully Wrecked by a Book

Don’t you just hate it when your day becomes ruined by a book?

I sure don’t.

You see, when you read as much as I do, stories become familiar.  They fall into patterns.  As you read, you think, “I’ve seen this plot before.  I’ve met these characters.  I know how this is going to end.”  Without realizing it, your standards skyrocket and a couple of things can happen: you become a snob or you lower your standards.  I’ve done both.  There are times when I’ve turned up my nose on stories because their predictability is beneath me.  There are also times when I’ve pushed aside that critical voice and chosen to enjoy things for what they are.

All the while, though, I have this tug in the back of my mind–this nagging desire to read that one story that is going to sweep me away and leave me breathless.  My subconscious knows what kind of story it longs to get lost in… I just need to go out and find it.  This longing propels me forward, keeps me reading.  Despite genuinely enjoying almost everything I choose to read, there’s always the hope that the next book will be it. Continue reading

Inbox // Outbox 1/23/16

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The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I’ve been on the list for this at the library for quite a while.  I’ve never read anything by Fisher before and, in honor of her passing, am looking forward to exploring what she has to say.  In addition, I’ve been engaging with Star Wars a great deal lately and this fits right in.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

This memoir has been on my library list for a while… I’m not really sure what to expect, but am going to give it a chance.

Darth Vader, Vol 1-4 by Kieron Gillen

This graphic novel series takes my current obsession with graphic novels and combines it with my Star Wars kick.  Vader isn’t my favorite character, but my brother told me these were good, so I’ll see how this goes.

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The beauty of a first-read

Nostalgia, at its etymological roots, translates roughly to “the pain of home”.  It’s the emptiness in your chest when places, or people, near and dear to your heart are now unreachable.

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When you finish a gripping book, it’s the desire to be in the know that pushes you forward.  You’re sitting on the edge of your seat, frantically flipping pages and gazing over words because you absolutely HAVE to know what happens…

… then it’s over.

And, in one sweeping wave, you’re drenched in the deep ache of nostalgia.  You long to be back in the good old days before you knew the story’s end.  “If only I can erase my memory and read it all again,” you say to yourself.  But you know that’s not happening.

To cope with the pain, you find yourself daydreaming about the future of the story.  What happens to the characters next?  You imagine it.  You dream it.  You create it.

But it’s not the same.  It’s never the same as the raw excitement as you flip those pages.  The beauty of a first-read is so precious.  So, when you read a good book, soak it in.  Forego pressing on to the next chapter, set the book down, and delight in the pure joy of a first read.

Have you read a book that makes you feel like this?  What was it?