Friday, January 19, 2018

The Pursued // Blog Tour + Book Review

Hello readers! I'm still technically on break, but today I'm dropping in with a blog tour for Willowy Whisper's latest release, The Pursued. :D

// Synopsis 

Fawn Wendell has no choice but to flee. Her life depends on it. She has no where to go, but that doesn’t matter. She has to disappear. She has to get lost, never to be found again, before her pursuer attacks.

Adam Preston loves his children. They’re all he has left. But with the ranch to run, is there any way he can give them what they need, especially when he’s hurting himself?

Jake Sumner returns to an old house, a place that arouses too many memories. If he decides to stay, he may have trouble on his hands . . . trouble a whole lot bigger than him.

Sadie is an injured, silent bird, locked in a cage she can’t free herself from. Her nightmares are real. The fear kills her voice. Will she ever fly again?

// Review 

I'm not okay. After spending yesterday evening sucked into this book, staying up until the wee hours of the morning to read (I was legit reading while I brushed my teeth), and then awaking this morning and devouring the last 25% in just over an hour, I'm really not okay. 

This story wrenched my heart right out of my chest. It made me eat cake for breakfast—e-reader in hand, of course. My pulse has yet to return to normal, and my poor lungs not even know how to function. My heart hurt, I teared up, I stared wide-eyed, soaking up the words.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe in the slightest. But y'all, this book... <3

I've read all but one of this author's published works, and with every new book that releases, I think I've finally found a favorite. And then the next book comes out and it changes again. :P And yes, that happened here. Why? Sadie.

While I did love Fawn and Adam, Sadie and Jake were my favorite part of the story. The way he protected her, took care of her and looked out for her. Ahh! <3 It was seriously just the sweetest thing. Precious. I loved their story, so, so, SO much. I need a sequel with the two of them, m'kay? ;)

Fawn and Adam's story was darling as well. His backstory and struggles with guilt absolutely broke my heart, and at the same time he infuriated me. ("Just be honest and let healing come, man!") Fawn needed someone to protect her and love her and make sure she was taken care of. And, oh my goodness gracious, Betsy. She was the most precious child I do think I've ever read. So adorable!! <3

Also, the dual storyline. How does the author pull this off so well?! The two stories (well, four really) are not vitally connected. They probably could stand alone. But they're woven together so nicely, loosely drawn together in a darling story that tugs at the heartstrings. <3

As far as the ending did leave some loose ends hanging, which I personally would have liked to see the outcome off. *spoilers ahead* Like, was Fawn ever reunited with Mrs. Taylor? When/how did Jake learn that she was finally safe? Did Jake ever introduce Sadie to Brock and his family? Some other things were not explained. Like, how did Adam know Fawn was at the laundry? Where did the sheriff disappear to after showing up at the Preston ranch? *end of spoilers*

Aside from that, I adored the book. The Pursued is an amazing tale, with a lovely, simplistic writing style. I was dying to know how everything turned out, and yet I did not want it to ever end. <3

5 stars! Only because that's as high as I'm allowed to go. ;)

**I received an e-copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 

// Favorite Quotes 

Let the sky cry. Let it grieve with him. 

"Did you know that angels watch over us, Sadie?" 

There was a certain feel to it, this night. A calmness, maybe. As if the trees sang songs, as if the wind told tales. Even the sun, lowering across the horizon, blazed in shades more intense, more stirring, than ever before.

// Author Bio

Willowy Whisper is a young, Christian fiction author. She lives in a beautiful place called West Virginia, nestled between mountain and field. She is the author of nine novels, eight of which are published, and numerous short stories. She is also a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, an incurable romantic, and a passionate dreamer. To follow her, visit her blog:

Have you read any of Miss Willowy's books? Do you have a favorite? :D 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

From the Shelves {Winter Reads}

Welcome to the winter edition of From the Shelves! Today I bring to you six winter-ish books, in three fun genres, and two books from winter TBR. :)

My prop for this picture is a dandelion decoration that a friend gave me. It makes me think of a snowflake too, so I figured it would work for this. ;)

It certainly feels like winter here lately – lots of cold! Unfortunately, no snow recently, but maybe soon. 

Here goes! :D


Ahh, the Little House books. I have read this series at least two or three times. When my brother and I were young, we read the entire series aloud as a family more than once, and then I read the series as a unit study in fifth grade. The Long Winter is one of my favorites and a definite winter read!

classic // historical fiction // always re-readable

This is another precious series that I've read more than once! Caleb's Story is my least favorite of the five, probably because it's from Caleb's POV and the others are from one of the sisters' POVs. It's a very sweet story though. I just love Cassie and Grandpa! <3

historical fiction // children's book // reunion story

I was scouring my shelves for wintery books, thinking I needed a Janette Oke book to make the selection complete, when I spotted this one. It starts with a blizzard, so it's obviously a winter book... And such a wonderful one too! :D

historical fiction // christian fiction // romance // western

This is a super sweet story of winter on a family farm in the '30s!! I really enjoyed the A Life of Faith: Kathleen McKenzie series, and this was one of my favorite books! The extended McKenzie family is barrels of fun. ;)

historial fiction // christian fiction // great depression era


The Rachel Yoder: Always Trouble Somewhere series was one that I really enjoyed as a preteen. Book three, Out of Control, is a wintery book that has to do with snow and sledding and the like. Very cute story!

contemporary // amish // juvenile fiction


The Blades of Acktar is an amazing fantasy series, and one of my top favorites. Dare starts with one of our main characters walking around during a blizzard... Definitely a winter book! It's been around two years since I started reading them, and I'm looking forward to re-reading these books soon. 

*Read my full review of this book here

fantasy // christian fiction // no magic


// Little Women by Louisa May Alcott // 

In New England while their chaplain father serves during the Civil War, mother "Marmee" watches the four March sisters grow up. Beautiful capable Meg, tomboy writer Jo, shy musical Beth, and selfish temperamental Amy struggle to pursue their dreams. Kindly neighbor Mr Laurence and his grandson "Teddie" soon become part of the friendly family.

I actually started this book last month, but I'm only about one-quarter of the way through it. It's so sweet and whimsy! I'm really enjoying it. Winter is the perfect time for lengthy reads.

// Winter is not Forever by Janette Oke // 

"What are you gonna do after graduation?"

Everybody's been askin' me that question. With graduation only a month away, it seems like I'm the only one in our little school who doesn't know what he's gonna do after the big day. I've been prayin' about it, but I still don't have an answer.

Is God nudgin' me to become a minister? A farmer? A husband? Life is filled with choices. The hard thing is figurin' out what to do!

I've read the first two books in this series and somehow it's taken me forever to get around to reading the last two! What better time than winter to read it wth a title like that, am I right? ;)

Have you read any of these? Got any favorite winter reads? :D

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Reading Jar Challenge // Wanna Join?!

Good morning, readers! :)

Today I bring to you a reading challenge that I recently came up with. Upon realizing that I have lots of books that I have not even read (and I'm constantly buying more... O.O), I decided that I need to remedy that.

Thus, the challenge.

And what's a challenge without friends to keep me accountable? ;) If you'd like to take part in the reading challenge, you can do so for any reason. It's not hard – just read books!

In my case, the purpose of the challenge is to encourage myself to read all the books I own but have not read. (Yes, there are literal tons of them.) Then, I'll reward myself with a money system. Once I finish a book, I'll put money in the jar (pictured above) according to how much the book is worth. Then I'll only use money from the jar to buy more books!

Here's what I'm planning to do...

Owned book -- $2
Library book -- $1
All review books (physical copy and e-copies) -- $2
Ebook -- $1

If y'all want to join, you can decide what type of reward would work best for you. Maybe you want to use candy or free time. Maybe you want to finish multiple books before sticking something 'in the jar'. Or maybe you want to follow the system I set for myself. It's totally up to you! :D 

Y'all wanna join? Post the graphic on your blog (if you have one, and then only if you want xD), and read, read, READ! :D I'll be adding updates to how this is going in my monthly recaps this year as well as on the new '2018 Reads'.

Have a blessed day, all! :)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye 2017 + Hello 2018

(Yes, I'm combining the two posts. Be a dear and don't complain, m'kay?)

2017 was an interesting year...and that feels like an understatement. I don't think I'd before experienced a year that changed me so much. It was hard sometimes, but it was a truly beautiful journey and one that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

At the beginning of the year, I chose my 'word of the year.' I had never did this before, but it sounded like a fun concept. So I chose cherish.

(If you've read Dandelion Dust, you're probably smirking at me right now. That book taught me a lot.)

When I chose that word I had no idea what God had in plan for me throughout the 365 days that would follow. I did learn to cherish, on a much deeper level than I'd had in mind. But I also learned how fragile time and life and beauty and love truly are.

We're not here by chance. Every single happening in my life and yours didn't come about by chance. It happened because it's a part of the amazing and intricate plan of the Father in Heaven.

I mentioned that I learned how fragile time is, but I'm also beginning to learn the mystery of waiting. For around a year, I've asked God what He wants me to do. At first He said 'wait, its not time for you to know'...which was not an answer Faith wanted.

But soon after, He gave me an answer. Not a complete answer, but one that's enough for right now. I asked what He wanted me to do, and He said writing.

And yet it took me months to even realize that; I remember the moment clearly. I was talking about writing with a lady at church and she said something about how wonderful it was that, at 16, I already knew what my passion was.

...I'd never thought of writing as a passion. In the few moments that followed that brief conversation, I realize that writing is my passion. I honestly don't think its the only plan God has for me, but it's what I'm supposed to be doing at this moment in time. And for now, that's enough.

2017 also brought a lot of change. Not changes like a move or a new church or a death in the family. But changes inside of me.

I'm a doubter, y'all. I constantly question things, and it's really not good for me.

But this year, I learned that some things are just truths. Things like God's love, how beautiful I am in His sight, and that He has a plan for every bit of pain, every rough spot in the road.

This summer, I learned so many valuable lessons. I discovered who I am in Christ. I grew closer to my Savior than I've ever been before. I held on to Him and learned to rest in His love. <3

(If you're extremely bored, hop over to Chosen Vessels where I wrote more about all that happened this summer.)

Last year around this time, I made a list of goals for 2017. Most of them I accomplished – I read more than 12 books of the Bible, kept a Bible journal for the most part, and grew closer to God. I strengthened my friendships and was (hopefully) a better friend. I finished and published Dandelion Dust *insert squealing* and finished War Tears. I wrote over 190,000 words. I read over 170 books. I started 12th grade.

There were three things on the list that I did not do – go to WinterJam (this year?), keep a writing journal (I legit wrote in it like 3 times), and learn to drive a stick-shift. But I'm not too worried about those things. ;)

A few weeks ago, Shannon Dittemore from Go Teen Writers posted a list of her accomplishments of the year, prompting me to attempt the same. It's quite encouraging to see all that's come about in the past year.

// 2017 accomplishments 

> finished writing, edited, and published by debut indie novella (49k)
> finished writing two other books (127k and 63k)
> wrote 168 blog posts
> hosted/co-hosted two blog parties
> wrote around 190k words 
> read 172 books
> went on a week-long youth/ministry trip
> camped with my family and friends for a week
> met one of my favorite authors in person
> one of my best friends from 1,000 miles away visited for 10 days 
> finished 11th grade and started 12th grade
> took a week-long adult/semi-advanced ceramics/pottery class
> grew closer to God <3 

I suppose that's enough reminiscing. Now for 2018...and for this year, I'm again choosing a word for the year. After flipping the question over in my mind for a few days, I finally settled on Light and Love. I desire to be a light in the world for Christ in everything I do, showing His love to others. <3

Goals for 2018... 

>> Read 15 books of the Bible and continue keeping a journal. 

>> Grow closer to God <3

>> Publish War Tears.

>> Graduate from high school. 

>> Read 120 books. 

>> Write another novel. 

>> Write 125,000 words 

>> Keep up with both blogs. 

>> Meet two online friends in person for the first time. 

Here's to 2018. May it be a year of beauty and growth. Of light and love. Of grace and mercy. Of lessons learned and stories woven.

To God be the glory,

**Images from Pinterest.