Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sparks of Joy: Summer Edition

This morning, my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of first days back to school, officially marking the end of summer. In honor of ye old summer's passing, here are the highlights from my sunny hiatus, what I read, enjoyed and laughed at for the past three months.


 A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

In May, I devoured the second installment to A Court of Thorn and Roses series, A Court of Mist and Fury. The series details a huntress, Feyre, who kills a faerie and is taken into the faerie lands as retribution, a life for a life. The first book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, with Feyre learning about the magical world, the fae that inhabit it and the foes that threaten its peace, but the second (ACOMAF) outdoes the first, rich with world building and character development. I won't spoil ACOMAF for you, but I will say that it left me with a two week book hangover and the immediate need for the third and final installment. I recommend it for anyone who loves a new adult, high fantasy novel filled with faeries and intrigue.

Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown

 Over the course of a month, I enveloped myself in the futuristic world of Pierce Brown. The story takes place in a futuristic society where a caste system based on color defines the peoples socio-economic station and their role in the society.The protagonist, Darrow, is from the lowest caste in society, a Red, but joins the rebel force to take down and upset the system created by the Golds, the highest caste. The series spans about seven years and is a fascinating journey of Darrow's development. There are space battles, tragic deaths and deep friendships. It's a sweeping epic, with a cinematic feel. I recommend this read for anyone who enjoys space operas and science fiction.

Bella Grace 

Okay, not a book, but this is a lovely magazine with beautiful photography and grace-filled articles. I would read it as I sipped on my morning coffee, savoring the encouragement to rest in the simple things. You can find it at your local bookstore in the inspiration section, but if you're looking for it at Barnes and Noble, it's found up front at checkout. Tricky marketing B&N.

Bandersnatch by Erika Morrison

If I'm being honest, the title is what first caught my attention. How can a mystical creature of Lewis Carrol's creation be connected to faith? In Morrison's words, a Bandersnatch is "a person with unconventional habits and attitudes" (back cover). The book is really about discovering your uniqueness and how that feeds into your experience with the Holy Spirit. I'm halfway through the book but am finding it a fresh look on faith and spirituality.

Simple Joys


When the heat rises, I put away the comfort of my tea for the ease of coffee. My favorite, though, is a local cafe and coffee roaster called Coffee Emporium. I've tried out a few different ones, but so far, my favorites are the OBM Espresso and Cool Carnivore blends. 


Part of my morning routine is opening up Instagram, a portal to beauty and inspiration. I enjoy scrolling through the posts and reading the brief captions. There's something about that square format that ignites a lightness and joy in my soul. 

A Few New Discoveries: kittiesncoffee, charliebowater, keishua, woodsermom
Old Favorites: shannanwrites, shellymillerwriter, emilypfreeman


Whether I'm kayaking with a group of friends or taking off to Hocking Hills for a week with my husband, nature, during the summer, gives me life. The stillness of the forest, the sun glancing off the water, the fresh air, the solitude, it all brings me back to the center of who I am. Being in nature calms the restlessness of my soul and rejuvenates my ravaged heart. I'm so glad I got to get out and enjoy it this summer with amazing company.


Queen Beryl is at it again:

So many people...:

Hank from Finding Dory, favorite quote:

Here's to you summer. You served us well. Bring on the fall!
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