Title: The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Pages: 400

Genres: contemporary, literary fiction

Publisher: Riverhead Books (July 6th, 2021)

Summary

“This house, this place, knows all my secrets.” 

It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”–the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside. Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.


Wow! Where do I even begin with a book like The Paper Palace? Within the first

chapter I knew this book would be an intense journey. After finishing the book, I can safely say that my initial thoughts were correct!

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Hello again!

Well, it’s been about nine months since I last wrote on this blog. It’s not that I ever intentionally stopped writing, it’s just life got in the way – as life usually does – and I got distracted. That being said, I’ve missed it on here. It’s almost my 7 year blogaversary! I can’t believe it’s been that long since I started The Calico Books. So much has changed in my life since then. Through it all though, one thing has stayed the same and that is books.

That’s why I want to start blogging again – not because of the views or the follows or the ARCs (which I do always appreciate) but because of the love of reading. Books have transformed every aspect of my life. From the cheesy romance novels to the timeless classics and everything in between. I truly love them all. I want this blog to transcend judgement and stereotypes of what I “should” be reading and fully and freely share the books I’ve read, am currently reading and want to read.

I know I’ve posted several “I’m back” posts over the years. But then I never really stick with it for too long. I’ll be honest, there have been times where I wonder if I’m just done blogging. I’ve even considered officially quitting. But the truth is, I don’t want to be done. I love the idea of writing and sharing my thoughts online – even if only 5 people read it. So this time, I’m going into this blog with a different mindset. I’m writing what I want when I want and I’m going to be authentically me through all of it. I’m going to talk mostly about books here, but don’t be surprised if a few other posts pop up along the way.

This post is turning rambly, so I think I’ll wrap it up for now. Just know that I’m back. You can look forward to some reviews coming up very soon. Who knows what else is in store, but I’m looking forward to it. 🙂


Title: At the Table with Jesus by Louie Giglio

Pages: 224

Genres: nonfiction, Christian, Devotional

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Mar. 29th, 2022)

Summary

At the Table with Jesus invites readers to sixty-six days of rich engagements with the Good Shepherd, providing deeper truths, power, and connection to walk through life’s troubles.  

Through practical daily devotions, At the Table with Jesus invites readers to sit at the table with the Good Shepherd, building a habit of living life with him. The journey starts in Psalm 23 but takes the reader throughout all of Scripture to build a stronger relationship with the God of the universe.


*I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

This was such an engaging and thoughtful devotional! This is a companion to Louie Giglio’s other book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, but you don’t need to read that one to appreciate this one. Each devotional is short and snappy with solid, biblical truths. Each day also ends with a few questions to think about that relate to the day’s message.

This devotional is one that really challenges you to consider your walk with God. I fell in love with the Bible all over again while reading this book. I truly enjoyed reading this one and plan to reread it again in the future!

Title: Undistracted by Bob Goff

Pages: 256

Genres: nonfiction, self help, Christian

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Mar. 1, 2022)

Summary

Through his pithy and inspiring storytelling that has endeared him to millions, New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff reassures readers that they can harness today’s distractions, follow Jesus’ example, and find focus, purpose, and joy.

You probably know what it’s like to be driving down the road when you suddenly feel the vibration and hear the guh-guh-guhguh-guh of the rumble strips–those groves in the pavement–warning you that you’ve drifted out of your lane. You didn’t mean to get distracted. You only took your eyes off the road for a moment, but you drifted off course. And that’s a lot like life, isn’t it?

In Undistracted, Bob Goff lovingly yanks us back in our lane and helps us get back on track so we can live our lives with real purpose and joy. In his trademark storytelling style, Bob helps us

  • learn the destruction of distraction and the benefits of living a life of undistracted love and authentic connection;
  • identify the distractions in our lives and either eliminate them or route around them; and
  • catch a vision of our future, undistracted selves where we can experience true happiness and joy.

Bob’s inspiring and entertaining stories in Undistracted show us what it looks like to live a beautiful and purposeful life rather than drifting aimlessly from one season to the next. He encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus and harness life’s distractions so we can find joy despite our circumstances.

Purchase Links
Thomas Nelson |Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

Filled with wisdom and wit, Undistracted by Bob Goff, takes an honest and thoughtful look at how to combat the busyness and distracted lifestyle that so many of us are living.

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Title: Who Are You Following? by Sadie Robertson Huff

Pages: 224

Genres: Thomas Nelson (Feb. 1st., 2022)

Summary

If influencers have power over us, who are you allowing to influence you?

In an online world obsessed with follows and likes, it’s important to consider what you’re really searching for. When you follow someone, it’s typically because you want to be like them or live like they do­–but who have you placed as your role models?

In Who Are You Following? bestselling author and social media personality Sadie Robertson Huff dives deep into exploring who we are allowing to influence our daily thoughts and actions. With an excellent grasp of scriptural truths, using current research, surveys, and personal and biblical stories, Sadie draws on her own experience as a social media influencer and addresses topics such as

  • how to go from being liked to being truly loved
  • our true motives for fame
  • being seen from the outside versus being known
  • comparing ourselves to others
  • questioning why did I post that?!
  • how to respond to cancel culture
  • wondering does God still love me?

This book is perfect for young Christians wondering how they can live a vibrant, bold, and uncompromising life of faith in God by following the Messiah–the ultimate influencer. Discover the love, purpose, and fulfillment that is found only in Jesus.


*I received a free copy of this book and journal. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

I always enjoy Sadie Robertson Huff’s books, so when I was asked to read and review her latest, I was thrilled. This might be my favorite book of hers yet!

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Title: Say All the Unspoken Things by John Sowers.

Pages: 237

Genres: nonfiction, Christian

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Feb. 1st., 2022)

Summary

From the author: “Many of us go through life with words and feelings stranded in our hearts. Words we deeply feel but never say. Sometimes we never have the chance. We don’t always get to say goodbye. We don’t always know when will be our last hug, high five, smile, laugh or ‘I love you.’ All we have is today, now, and what we do in this one, shining moment.”

Say All the Unspoken Things is about living, speaking and loving from our deep hearts. Written as personal letters from a father to his daughters, it covers topics such as: bravery, wonder, beauty, kindness, romance, and God’s patient love. This book will help us find our stranded words, speak more freely and move away from a distracted and shallow life.


*I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

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Title: Practically Divine by Becca Stevens

Pages: 224

Genres: Nonfiction, Spirituality, Christian

Publisher: Harper Horizon (Sept. 14, 2021)

Summary:

There is no secret formula to experiencing the sacred in our lives–it just takes practice and practicality.

No matter where we are—on a walk in the woods, in a sacred building, or in a dusty refugee camp—signs of love abound. When we allow ourselves to embrace both ordinary and extraordinary experiences, we can feel the divine anywhere.

You’re invited to search this path with Becca Stevens, as she explores what it means to be practically divine. Woven throughout the narrative strands are poetry and rants, as well as ruminations on her mother’s wit and wisdom—and the passion she instilled in Becca for creating something from nothing.

Embracing the practically divine compels us to do something, anything, to share in the feast of love together. When we start from wherever we are, we can recognize the potential for humor, wonder, and freedom.

Experience is nine-tenths of love.

Standing in a geranium field, smelling dark soil fertilized by rabbit poop is different from reading about the healing properties of geraniums. Walking beside a woman in a refugee camp as she covers her baby’s face from the dry, red dust is different than imagining how hard it is for moms in camps.

Our senses transform information into holy compassion. When we open our hearts to it, we can experience the divine anywhere – like sacred breadcrumbs marking our path. This path is filled with humor, humility, and honesty.


*I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

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Yesterday was Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! With this readathon, I never know if I’m going to do well or end up hardly reading anything, lol. This time around, however, I’m happy to say that I actually got a ton of reading done! 🎉

First, I finally finished There’s Someone in Your House! This was such a fast-paced and spooky read.

After that, I listened to (and finished) Slasher Girls and Monster Boys while I crocheted for a bit and ran some errands.

Then in the evening, I read the entirety of Pumpkin Heads. This was a reread and I ended up enjoying it just as much as I did the first time!

Finally, I started reading The Cottage of Pumpkin and Vine. I started this one after midnight, so I didn’t get very far before I got too tired, lol but so far I’m enjoying it!

So, overall, I had a great reading day! I enjoyed everything I read and finally kicked myself out of the reading slump that has been haunting me all October! 👻

If you participated, tell me how you did in the comments!

Hi! So last night I decided to take part in Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon, which is today! I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with this readathon, but just in case you don’t know, basically the goal is to read as much as you can from 8 AM est, today, to 8 AM est, tomorrow.

I’ve participated in this readathon a couple of times before and have always had so much fun. So, even though I have some errands to run today, I decided to jump in at the last minute and participate!

Click here to learn even more about this readathon!

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It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through October! October is always one of my favorite months. From the changing leaves to the cozy clothing to the spooky books, there’s so much to love! The fall months also always remind me of change and new beginnings.

This also had me thinking about my blog. I’ve been kind of quiet on here this summer but I thought I’d update you all on how I’ve been and what to look forward to! ☺️

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