Emma of Aurora: A Tendering in the Storm

I requested this 1,168-page trilogy for review back in December, and have decided to review each book separately so I don't forget any important details along the way. If I ever actually make it through all three books, I may post a summary review at the end. Click here to see my review of book one, A Clearing in the Wild.

Emma of Aurora is based off of the true story of Emma Wagner, who challenged the submissive role of women in her close-knit Christian colony even as they ventured west to seek a more isolated home.

A Tendering in the Storm (Change and Cherish #2)
Jane Kirkpatrick

Although I can't seem to really get into these books, I do enjoy them on some level. Reading about Emma's spiritual journey--and that of others around her--helps me to examine my own faith. I also appreciate the historical aspects of the novels.


oh happy day

This week is rather exciting for me, book-wise. First off, today is the release date for Dragon's Curse, the fantasy/romance I recently beta read and then raved over. Author H.L. Burke is hosting a virtual launch party on Facebook, so if you're interested, hop on over!

Secondly, the book I've been waiting for since, well, sometime last year is finally hitting the shelves tomorrow! One Realm Beyond is the first book in the newest series by Donita K. Paul (who you're probably tired of hearing about from me), and though a fantasy, it apparently has some sci-fi and steampunk thrown in.


childhood favorites

Since I'm in-between book reviews right now and haven't written a poem lately (and have already flooded you with borrowed words this week), I thought I'd share a bit of my childhood with you. I know I'm missing some--probably some obvious ones--but here are twelve that come to mind as favorites, in no particular order.

1. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
My mom read it to me at least once, and I read it on my own multiple times after that. I even went to Chincoteague Island with my family to see the pony swim when I was seven! I actually could have put most of Marguerite Henry's books on this list, especially Brighty of the Grand Canyon, but there were too many others to include.

2. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
I don't actually remember anything about this picture book, but I know it was well-loved and that I was devastated when a classmate tore the dust jacket of my copy.


words borrowed from Robert Frost

Again? Two days in a row? Yes. Because it is blizzardish outside, and this poem popped into my head, and I thought you might enjoy it, too. So I'm borrowing words again. It's one of my (many) favorites!

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
--Robert Frost


words borrowed from Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
--Emily Dickinson


Emma of Aurora: A Clearing in the Wild

I requested this 1,168-page trilogy for review several weeks ago, and have decided to review each book separately so I don't forget any important details along the way. If I ever actually make it through all three books, I may post a summary review at the end. I've only just finished book one, so that's all I can do right now, anyway.

Emma of Aurora is based off of the true story of Emma Wagner, who challenged the submissive role of women in her close-knit Christian colony even as they ventured west to seek a more isolated home.

A Clearing in the Wild (Change and Cherish #1)
Jane Kirkpatrick

This first book follows Emma as she enters adulthood--rebelliously sewing ruffles into her petticoat, exasperating all with her endless questioning, learning what it means to love, and developing her own sense of spirituality. Jane Kirkpatrick clearly put extensive research into this story, and also fabricated wonderful details to flesh it out.


just because

who says rain can't be beautiful?
that we can't awake in the morning
to pattering drops
and gleefully run outside--barefoot--
careless of dragging hems and
raindrops on glasses
with face uplifted towards the impenetrable clouds
to watch raindrops fall and geese fly overhead
rushing back inside only when icy pavement reminds
toes that it is only January
and then to stand in open doorway longing
to escape outside again and laughing
just because


Grace Alive (book spotlight)

Meet Zoe Reed. She is 26, unmarried, and still living with her parents. She works at a lame craft store, where she feels like her life has become one giant disappointment. She's waiting for Mr. Right, yet having never been on a date—let alone kissed a man—she wonders if he will ever come. When Branson Tate and his three kids stumble into her life, she finds the breathtaking man to be exactly opposite of what her parents want for her. He’s not a virgin, has a crazy past, and three children to prove it. Even still, the moment Branson asks her out for coffee, she hears God tell her to go, and her life begins to flip upside down.

Grace Alive (Heart of Grace, #1)


free copyediting for Christian authors!

As an aspiring editor hoping to gain some experience and build a reputation, I’m willing to copyedit your manuscript for FREE. All you have to do is write a brief review of my services. In addition, if you send me a copy of your book when it’s finally published, I will post an honest review of it on this blog and on Goodreads.

Why should you let me copyedit your book? I minored in journalism, have experience proofreading magazine articles and webpages, and have been beta reading since September.

If interested, please use the contact form to send me the title, genre, and length of your book, as well as any time requirement you have. Although I prefer Christian novels, I will consider other clean works as well.


to be full again

cleansing words flow
through my eyes and pour
into my soul
filling crevices I'd forgotten
were there and
creating a thirst, a hunger, a longing
replacing emptiness with hope
and driving out fear
restoring confidence and self-worth
through the Light and the

and the emotionless void
that was once me
suddenly overflows again

I was in a terrible mood Sunday morning, so rather than study the passages in Genesis I had planned to read, I opened to a random page. I started in Proverbs ("A happy heart makes the face cheerful... The discerning heart seeks knowledge... the cheerful heart has a continual feast." --15:13-15), moved back to Psalms, and eventually found myself in Ephesians, one of my favorite books. 

By the time I reached the passage below, it was like eating chocolate cake--I couldn't stop, I couldn't get enough. As I read 4:31-32 I could feel layers peeling off and falling away as the hollowness inside began to fill. And yet I did stop, because I felt something, and I had to let it out. I suppose it was an epiphany of sorts.

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every from of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." --Ephesians 4:31-32


inspire me

I've noticed an overabundance of New Year posts in the past week, but instead of becoming annoyed at the repetitiveness of it all, I found inspiration. They're all about beginnings and goals and resolutions, but they each have something different and beautiful to say. Here are my favorites:

A Time of Refreshing at Kindred Grace
--Cleaning, organizing, and renewing

Steadfast. Immovable. at Melinda Blogs
--"Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." -1 Cor. 15:58

Hello, 2014: Plans + Goals for a New Year at sara m. brink
--"enjoy the present... smile more in the here and now."

You may also want to check out How to Pick Up the Pieces + Start Somewhere. It's an older post by sara m. brink, but beautifully inspiring nonetheless.

What inspired you this New Year?


a photo blog

If you're interested at all in photography (or if you just like pretty pictures), you should pay a visit to my husband's new blog, A Photo A Day! He began it on the first of the year to help form a habit of taking a photo a day, but it must be something like potato chips because he hasn't posted just one photo on any given day. :)


Dragon's Curse (The Dragon and the Scholar #1)

by H.L. Burke

Look for this book coming out on January 27! I beta read it, and was blown away.

Dragon's Curse is a wonderful self-published fantasy/romance and, true to the title, it features dragons. I devoured it in just a few days, my only disappointment being that the second book is still in the works.

It is fairly short as far as novels go, but great things come in small packages, right? Of course they do. H.L. Burke packs action, romance and just enough detail into her book without making it feel rushed. Dragon's Curse is a light read while also being incredibly difficult to put down.

I love the relationships between all of the characters in this book, both existing ones and those that develop throughout the story. The plot is wonderfully unique and mostly unpredictable.

Dragon's Curse is reminiscent of Donita K. Paul's books, and if you've read this post you know that is a grand compliment, coming from me.

5/5 leaves

Dragon's Curse (book 1)


wordless wednesday: glancing back, looking forward

So, this Wednesday isn't exactly wordless, but there are quite a few pictures to make up for it. :) A lot happened this year, between a graduation, four weddings and several vacations, so I thought I might give you a peek.

annual family xc ski trip in WV
(Dad, Mom, and my shadow pictured)

family vacation to NYC
(me and my brother with the New Year ball)