July Happenings

It’s the end of JULY already! Wow, the summer has flown by! I would love to hear how your summer is going or what you’ve been reading lately in the comments. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog.

on the bookshelf

July was a fun month for book gathering! Someone needs to stop me from clicking on the “purchase” and “request for review” buttons all. the. time. Or, someone could just lock me in a cabin with food and my TBR and I might make a dent after a few weeks…..

The bookshelves gained these titles: A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, Many Sparrows by Lori Benton, His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman, Not by Sight by Kate Breslin, Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh, A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White, Where the Light Falls by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki, and finally a physical copy of Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Book Spotlight, Author Interview, & Giveaway: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray
  2. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favorite Book Quotes About Books
  3. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project

Most popular book reviews:

  1. The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo (plus author interview)
  2. His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman (plus book snippet)
  3. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones

in the kitchen

I altered this PBS food recipe for dairy-free spinach stuffed shells. Thanks to a cow dairy allergy, it caught my attention, though I did alter it by using ricotta made from almonds and a little sheep cheese. It’s highly recommended!

on the screen

Dunkirk One SheetOf the movies I’ve seen this month, Dunkirk (just released July 21) is the one that left the biggest impression. Extremely well done from start to finish, every element, from the cast to the cinematography, musical score, and riveting timeline of the story worked together to create an immersive experience. This lesser-known event (to those of us on this “side of the pond”) was of key import to the UK and its allies as it struggled to evade the advancing Germans and evacuate France from the beach of Dunkirk. It’s a film to be taken seriously — both its subject matter and story of the prevailing good of humanity during an atrocious time of history. I highly recommend it!

around the web

Carrying forward more Jane Austen fun (because you can never have too much Jane Austen), check out Hillary Manton Lodge’s Jane Austen Week interviews and recipes in honor of the bicentenary (200 year mark) of Jane’s passing. And, check out my #bookbestie Rissi’s review of Hillary’s novel, Jane of Austin, over at Finding Wonderland.

More bookish fun! Title news for Joanne Bischof’s upcoming series, book 1 releasing in 2018.

Fellow book blogger Kate over at Fiction Aficionado has published a fabulous series discussing a common book and story trope: the love triangle. She introduces and gives specific examples of several kinds (from the Christian fiction genre), then further discusses the good and the bad of this trope in two more posts!

Finally, this is an old article, but SO MUCH FUN! 10 of the Best European Train Trips, compiled by National Geographic.

So, tell me: what was your month like?

 

 

Wednesday Wonderings, edition 3

It’s time for another “Wednesday Wonderings” question!

Wednesday Wonderings

With all the book reviews and North & South discussion posts going on lately, I think it’s time for a small “break” with this meme. My question today is about books, though (can you believe it?).

THE question: How long does it take you to read a book?

I think there are two types of people in the world: those that read crazy fast (1+ books in 1 day) and those that read at a normal (several days to finish) pace. I’ve often wondered how people can finish a book in a day – did they take a speed reading class? Do they skip portions of the book? If you’re a crazy fast reader, I’d love to hear your skill secrets!

I’d like to think that I’m one of the “normal” people. For myself, it varies. Typically it takes me a few days, but sometimes, I can be slow. Like, 1 book in 15-20 days. It really depends on my schedule and interest in the book. Sometimes my good intentions get lost in the possibility of some extra sleep. I CAN read an average book in 4 days, under ideal conditions 🙂

What I really want to know is, how fast do YOU read? Are you one of the crazy fast, or the so-called “normal” readers?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer

Today, I’m jumping in to a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed reading other bloggers’ weekly posts and participated in some fabulous “I love this book, too” discussions on other blogs. So, today, I thought I’d join in the fun.Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is “Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer. I’m going to go with a little of both and share some new favorites as well as classic summer relaxation must-reads – and some that are on my TBR list this summer. I may not read by the beach this summer (I’m more of the mountain-type), but I’ll be reading some of these in the sun!

Books That Should Be (or Will Be) In Your Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday - beach bag reads

These should be in your beach bag:

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann (a page-turner + it’s set in Hawaii. Can we say perfect beach read? It was my first of Heitzmann’s, and I was an instant fan)

Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Springs #2) by Denise Hunter (captivating and awesome contemporary romance) Read my review here.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (truly unique, one of last year’s favorites) Read my gushing review here.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (one of my favorites this year) You MUST read my review here.

To Know Her By Name (Rocky Mountain Memories #3) by Lori Wick (a classic in my book, a great historical romance involving undercover agents galore)

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley (blackberries, family mystery, summer in a small town) Read my review here.

These will be in mine:

A Table By The Window by Hillary Lodge (up soon in my TBR, I’ve heard great things about this story: family secrets +recipes has to be a great combo)

When I Fall In Love (Christiansen Family #3) by Susan May Warren (another set in Hawaii + a cooking competition)

Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) by Denise Hunter (the title says it all, plus it’s Denise Hunter. And I loved the second in the series)

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth (much-anticipated by me)

Have you read any of these? Are there any I need to add to my summer TBR? What will be in YOUR beach bag this summer?

Inside & Out Book Tag

inside and out book tag

What is a book tag, you ask? Well, it’s a lovely set of bookish questions re-posted from another person or blog with your own answers. It’s like a get-to-know me (and my bookish habits) post!

I first saw this book tag over at Melanie’s blog, Christian Bookshelf Reviews. It was created by MathomBooks on YouTube. I thought this would be a fun post to share because I enjoy seeing other readers’ habits. Here are some of mine:

I ~ Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)

Most book summaries are well-written and provide just the right amount of info for me. I prefer when summaries leave a little mystery to the plot – no spoilers, please!

N ~ New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I prefer paperback – e-books second. I still love the feel of a freshly-printed book in my hands. And they’re easier to flip back through and find favorite parts or quotes. Ebooks are great for traveling and portability, though. My Nook usually fits better in my purse 🙂

S ~ Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

I admit, I scribble sometimes. Especially if it’s a great nonfiction book, I like to underline and/or highlight favorite quotes. When taking notes (for reviews), I use a notebook or word document. Unless we’re talking about ebooks, then I fully utilize the highlight and notes features.

I ~ In your best voice, read for us your favorite 1st sentence from a book.

This is from my current read by Susan May Warren. Ahem, *clears throat*…
“Eden Christiansen’s career, her love life –even her car battery, for that matter– were frozen stiffer than the late-January cold snap encasing the city of Minneapolis.” It Had To Be You
What a first line, huh?

D ~ Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I’m curious to know an author’s gender, especially if they write under initial like “L. J.”, but I really don’t care either way.

E ~ Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Never! That would spoil the ending! No, I haven’t ever read the last page before I got there – even if it’s a really tense book.

&

O ~ Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

A little of both. Some shelves are grouped by author and/or genre, other shelves are packed tight with a variety of books. Except for my Empty Shelf Challenge shelf – that one’s slowly accumulating books.

U ~ Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Probably yes, though I don’t remember a specific one. Book covers play a large role in the way books appeal to me. I love antique copies of books, and I recently bought a copy of “Last of the Mohicans” because it had a beautiful green cover with gold scrollwork.

T~ Take it outside to read, or stay in?

When the weather is warm enough, definitely outside! My favorite spot is my porch swing, even on rainy days.

Tag, you’re it now!

Do you agree with my Inside & Out answers? What are your bookish habits? Tell me in the comments below!
If you post this book tag, please leave a comment with a link to your blog post. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for visiting my blog! -Courtney