Book Review: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and MeWhen I first read about this book, I got very excited. Some of my favorite subjects are right at the forefront: classic literature (Anne!), adoption, international adoption, memoir. It was like this book was meant for me.

“A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong. “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.” (Tyndale)

It actually took me quite some time to track down a copy of it, but I was determined to read it. When my copy finally arrived, I dove in with eager anticipation.

Perhaps I had built up this book too much in my head. I don’t know. But I was disappointed. Far from impressed, I found myself reluctant to pick the book up time after time. It wasn’t that the subject matter wasn’t interesting, it was! But it just didn’t engage me. Read more

Book Review: Owls

Book Review: Owls

Owls: Our Most Charming BirdI was so excited to receive Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell at this moment in my life because I am in the process of decorating the nursery for our little one in a woodland animal theme with owls and foxes. I thought this book would be a perfect addition — beautiful hand painted illustrations, an educational component with all the different types of owls, and an earthy look and feel to the volume.

In a lot of ways, I was right. I LOVE the drawings, they are beautiful. And I did learn about the different types of owls in our world. However, I will caution parents that this book is not intended for children (it’s not marketed that way, but it was my first thought). I may end up having to remove this book from my child’s room when he or she learns how to read.

For instance, the Short-Eared Owl is described as a woman who has been up all night, saying “flying over open ground looking for her purse, mascara smeared, with a beast of a hangover.”

In every other way, though, this book is absolutely superb and I can’t wait to show the lovely images to my child!

I received a complimentary copy of Owls from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home

Book Review: Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home

Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy HomeI thoroughly enjoyed Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan & Janel Laban. I was actually surprised at how quickly I devoured such a thick book!

The photographs by Melanie Acevedo are stunning and the topics really applied to me, engaging me and pushing me to read just one more page before setting the book down. Once I could tear myself away, it was an easy book to come back to again and again. As I read through the ideas and tips and browsed the photographs, I was able to think about what I liked and what drew me in, what might work in my own home and how I could apply the suggestions with my own twist.

I loved pages sprinkled throughout that offered very practical advice on things like organizing as well as the more whimsical treasure trove of decorating ideas. I would recommend this book to anyone with a space to make a home — whether it’s an apartment, a small home like mine or a grand house. There’s something for everyone and it’s really all about making your house your home.

Read more about Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home here. Or take a sneak peak at the inside of this beautiful book!

I received a complimentary copy of Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Rooted in Design

Book Review: Rooted in Design

Rooted in DesignI thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages of this high quality plant design book. Rooted in Design by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give is great for perusing for ideas, reading closely for instructions, and displaying for guests.

The book covers all kinds of indoor planting ideas and tips and well as inspirational photos. Even if you don’t own a home, there are wonderful suggestions that can be utilized in rental spaces as well.

Want to take a peek inside? Click here!

My favorite design suggestion was the moss wall, and it even came with instructions on how to pull it off in a reasonable and practical way (hint: don’t use live moss!).

Fuax living wall

Moss wall directions

I’m sure I will be displaying this book on my coffee table for years to come, and I’m definitely planning on taking on the moss wall project to add a little “life” to my dining room!

I received a complimentary copy of Rooted in Design from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Novel Interiors

Book Review: Novel Interiors

Novel Interiors The first time I heard about this book, I was instantly intrigued. Interior design and literature all wrapped up in one high quality book? It had my name written all over it!

When I received the book in the mail, I immediately settled down in the living room with a cup of hot tea and perused the pages. I was enchanted.

I had been concerned that the book would be too theme-y. I didn’t want something instructing me on how to create a Little Women-themed room or even a Jane Austen-themed room. I’m not much into themes. I wanted something more subtle, more mature, more nuanced. This book did not disappoint.

Novel Interiors

My favorite section was easily “Shall I Put the Kettle On?”, which features elements inspired by Sense and Sensibility, Little Women and other favorite novels of mine. The book pointed out small ways to create the cottage feel that Jane Austen describes or the very homey feeling of Plumfield House. Books scattered about, worn rugs and well-loved furniture. It inspired me to remember that beauty is not necessarily in the new, perfectly pristine furniture and decor that comes from the store, but from the way a room makes you feel — at ease, comfortable, snug. This is my dream for my house.

My next favorite was probably “Living au Natural”, which focused more on American literature, like Willa Cather and Henry David Thoreau. The chapter details the use of wood furniture and natural fibers, bringing the outdoors in with plants and florals. Truly though, any literature lover could glean wisdom and inspiration from each and every chapter presented in Novel Interiors.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent curled up in front of the fire, sipping tea, and being inspired by the thoughtful nuances of this book. The photographs are superb and the quality of the book truly stunning. I will keep this on my coffee table for years to come.

Take a look inside the book!

I received a complimentary copy of Novel Interiors from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Petit Collage

Book Review: Petit Collage

Petit CollageThe folks over at Petit Collage, a nursery decor boutique, recently released their first craft book: Petit Collage.

The hardcover book is very high quality, with plenty of full color illustrations, step-by-step instructions and special tips. The projects in this craft book aren’t for children to do themselves (most would be much too difficult), but they are perfect for crafty parents wanting to make something special for their littles.

There are plenty of options for nursery decor (not surprising, considering the source), but there are also creative projects for making toys, like a homemade drum or adorable animal masks. To get a good feel for their instructions, I decided to make the owl mask.

The instructions were super easy to follow, though I will admit the project was a little tedious. There were lots of little pieces to cut out, but the patterns and steps were easy to follow and the mask really wasn’t difficult to put together. All in all, I think it took me about 45 minutes to make the mask, and that included gathering supplies and selecting paper etc.

I like how mine turned out:

Petit Collage Owl Mask

Though not a book for children, I would definitely recommend this one to any parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent with a desire to make something fun for a little one in their life. Their subtitle really says it all: 25 Easy Craft + Decor Projects For A Playful Home

Learn more about the book here!

I received a complimentary copy of Petit Collage from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: My Year with Eleanor

Book Review: My Year with Eleanor

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle HancockMy Year with Eleanor was a recent book club pick. I like memoirs, so I was excited to read this one, and I mostly enjoyed it. There were ways in which I identified with the author, and other ways I didn’t. I enjoyed some of her witticisms, but tired of some of her sarcasm. I liked her reflections, but was at times bored with her first-person narrative of events.

Recently laid off, Noelle Hancock takes a year to face her fears, inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” She tackles tiny fears and big ones, diving with sharks, silence, skydiving, flying, hiking Kilimanjaro, and more. Through the process she learns a lot about herself, her life, and the people around her.

As I read this book, I enjoyed learning some things I never knew about FDR and Eleanor, although there perhaps wasn’t quite as much historical context as I would have liked. I was inspired by Eleanor, and by Noelle’s own interpretation of her sayings. I wasn’t quite as inspired by Noelle’s life, although some of what she had to say certainly struck a chord and enticed me to examine my own life.

I think the scariest part of this book (no pun intended) was reading the following while sitting in front of a phone at telethon hoping against hope that my line wouldn’t ring…

I winced. I never liked calling strangers — a ridiculous admission for a former reporter, I know. Even as a kid, it had taken years before I could comfortably order a pizza. It got much better as I got older; then e-mail and testing arrived like manna from heaven for the telephone-challenged. In the last few years, especially, as my life shifted even more toward writing and the Internet, I’d regressed to being the child who wished I could ask a parent to call on my behalf.

I will admit that I skipped over two parts of this book and cannot comment on them: the portion on her stand-up comedy routine that I had been warned is raunchy and the section in which she shadows workers at a funeral home (a little too soon after losing Michael to read that).

Overall, while I mostly enjoyed the book, I don’t see myself re-reading it.