Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

The New “Blessed Is She” Catholic Planner

To many people, the start of the new year is on January 1st but for moms with kids in school the new year is more likely from Aug/Sept to the end of summer vacation. That means that in August and September we are looking for new planners or updating our old ones. Well, if you are looking for a beautiful, functional and Catholic planner, look no further! The new Blessed Is She planner is now ready for pre-order and let me tell you, it is gorgeous!! Take a look.

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The Blessed is She Liturgical Planner runs through September 1, 2016 – September 3, 2017.

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The inside cover.

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Artwork and handlettering by the lovely artist Erica of Be a Heart. (I interviewed her for Saturday Spotlight here.)

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Weekly layout with sections for: To Do, Groceries, Meal Planning, Prayer Intentions, Notes, Goals and more.

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Daily hourly layout.

Other features:

  • reminder to start specific novenas
  • liturgical colors for the entire year
  • handlettered bible verses for inspiration / memorization
  • Saints of the day and month
  • helpful prayer reminders

There is also a prayer section with favorite Catholic prayers of the Blessed Is She writers.

The planner is normally $60 but there is a pre-sale price of $54.99. (The price may seem high but it comparable to other name brand planners and unlike some less expensive ones, this was Made in the USA!) Planner will be shipped out the week of August 8th.

I love my bullet journal and don’t plan on changing but I am purchasing this one to use as a blogging planner. (Although, to be perfectly honest with you, this planner is so beautiful and inspirational, I am seriously considering keeping my bullet journal for all my lists and goal tracking and using this for my day to day planning. I’ll keep you posted!) In the meantime, place your order before they run out!

Lastly, if you use the links on this post, they are affiliate links, meaning I get a small percentage of the sales. Any proceeds made from this blog post will be donated to the St. Bryce Missions. 🙂

Happy planning!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

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Online Daybook/ 7QT (7/19/16): Growing Boys, Fave Shows, and Counting Calories & Pennies

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od_logo_quiet2Grateful for…

  • The fog rolling out and the sun shining.
  • The sounds of the kids’ laughter as they play outside.
  • A few moments to myself to write.
  • Our little home that is a haven from the turmoils of the world.

Praying for..

  • My mom and her fight against cancer.
  • For Brian’s CT results and his upcoming appointment to see if he is still cancer free.
  • All those suffering from illness, especially those with terminal a disease.
  • For peace in the hearts of men and an end the senseless violence.
  • All those who have asked for my prayers.
  • All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
  • The souls in purgatory, especially family, friend and those most forgotten.

Pondering…

The other day I was balancing my checkbook and when I was done I went out for my walk to keep on top of my #rol100milesin100days challenge. As I was walking I was thinking, why is it that I am walking every day but not losing any weight? And why is it that we’ve made a little extra money lately but I barely have enough to pay the bills? I had a sneaky suspicion that my guesstimating about how much I was spending and how much I was eating may be a little off from reality.

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So this week I updated my monthly spending log. Then I started writing down everything that I put into my mouth. Suddenly it became apparent why mama was losing money and gaining weight. All those “insignificant” purchases here and there were adding up just as all those little nibbles here and there were. Sooo, that meant I had to get back to keeping track of what I eat and what I spend since both seem to be trigger marks that I love to indulge in. Ugh.

I was reading a blog post about a woman who was trying to curb her spending habit by making a wish list in her bullet journal. When she had the impulse to buy something she wrote it down and let a few days pass and a few dollars save up. Then when she had some extra money, she looked at her list to see if she really wanted an item on there or if the urge to buy had passed. I like that idea and may do the same. As for food, I am noticing that I always seem to screw up around 4 pm when I get the munchies. I started making sure I have baby carrots, red pepper slices or grapes on a plate in the kitchen counter to munch on. It’s not as tasty as chips and guacamole but such is life. 😉 Do you have any tips on eating and spending less??

 

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Around the House…

Summer life is still busy but I have pockets of time to work on projects. I have been taking one small cleaning project a week. Last week I put up a new book shelf and filled it with books that were overflowing our current shelves. The week before I tackled the corner of my bedroom that still held a baby table and random junk. I cleared that out and made a large pile to donate to charity. This week I will tackle the kids’ bathroom.

 

Family Chit Chat…

For those who were asking, my mom’s surgery went well and she is recovering nicely. She has an appointment later this week with her oncologist to figure out the next step in her cancer fight.

Meanwhile, Brian had a CT scan on Friday to make sure his cancer has not returned. We haven’t gotten the results yet but he has an appointment with his oncologist on Thursday so we’ll know by then. I appreciate the prayers! I always dread these appointments and worry a little about “what if.” I’m trying not to think about it!

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The other day I was looking at a photo of the boys from four years ago. They look so young! Especially, since I feel like they have gotten so much older this summer!

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See what I mean? Big boys! I don’t know how I will feel when they are teens. (I’m still in shocked that Bella starts high school in a couple weeks!) Anyway, this month the boys have been busy with swimming and next week they’ll attend Vacation Bible School.

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In between there is a lot of playing outside, visiting the library and of course playing Pokemon Go! We went to Target to get school supplies but we were delayed in the parking lot as we tried to get two critters in our car. The bottom two pictures were taken in Monterey where the boys were excited to find their first Pikachu. At least it has gotten us outdoors more. I’m sure the excitement will last for another week or so then the novelty will wear off. 😉

 

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In the Kitchen…

Monday: Roasted Chicken, artichoke pasta salad and green beans.

Tuesday: Kale ravioli, chicken sausage and asparagus.

Wednesday: Fajitas, pinto beans, 5 minute salsa and salad.

Thursday: Leftovers.

Friday: Minestrone soup and grilled cheese.

Saturday: Meatball sandwiches and salad.

Sunday: Eat out.

 

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Reading…

The Summer Before the War

I’ve read Chapters 1-9 of The Summer Before the War. I stopped and waited for the book discussion over at Planned But Not Scripted. Are you it reading too? If so, add your comments on their blog post. I just did!

This week I will read the next section (and maybe just finish it ahead of schedule.) 😉

East of Eden

In the meantime, I started (and finished all 600 pages, woohoo!) East of Eden. I’ll share more about it at the end of the month when I review my July reads.

Next I am reading…

The Bronte Plot

What are you reading?

 

Watching…

(ON TV)

One of our favorite British detective shows in Endeavor. I think we have one more episode left in our DVR.

Brian and I have been watching the BBC mystery/thriller Thirteen about a young girl who escaped after 13 years of captivity. The last episode is next week and we can’t wait to see how everything is wrapped up. (Parental note: This is rated MA. Language and adult situations.)

I am also two episodes into the BBC show The Crimson Field. I’m really enjoying it so far and there are so many familiar faces. It is available for free on Amazon Prime Video. (Parental note: I think this is rated TV-14. Adult situations and some battle field gore.)

 

Listening to …

I never get tired of this one – All We Ever Knew by The Head and the Heart.

 

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Recent Posts:

I haven’t posted much except for a week of book posts!

 

From the Archives:

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 July 2015 –Homemade Coconut Granola (One of my favorite things to make!!)

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July 2014 – The Top Ten Theme Songs of My Life

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July 2013 – When He Wants to Fix It and You Just Want A Hug

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July 2012 – Making It Count (Vol 2): Mama & Me Journal

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July 2011 – Catholic Baby Shower Ideas

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Pinned…

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Photo Credit: Productive & Pretty

 

Around the blogosphere…

-> Dear Lonely Mom; You Are Not Alone by Real Catholic Mom mom.com

-> Read this, not that: Books about marriage by Like Mother, Like Daughter

-> Your Rights During a Miscarriage by Elizabeth Ministry/ Better than Eden

-> MOVIES: “THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS” by Hell Burns

-> Pray for Peace with me by Positively Imperfect

-> Bullet Journal for Busy Families with Candace Madera by Boho Berry

 

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We get a lot of fog in July but the walks are still pretty.

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The summer fruit is amazing!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Any book or movie recommendations? Do share.

I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes.

Have a great week!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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Making A Reading Bullet Journal (& A Chance to Win A MMD Journal)

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This week I have been celebrating the love of summer reading!

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On Wednesday, I posted my Summer Reading List. On Thursday, I posted reviews of the books I read in June.

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On Friday, I joined Cristina and Tiffany over at Planned Not Scripted for the Late Summer Reading Club where we are reading The Summer Before the War.

Today I am sharing with you by new reading journal!

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am in love with my bullet journal. I like having all my To Do’s and various lists all in one place. However, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy (who recently started using a bullet journal) talked about having a journal just for reading. In previous years, that would have been off my radar since I wasn’t reading much. However, this year one of my goals was to read more. As a result, my love of reading has been reignited and I am reading whenever I get the chance. Sooo, a book journal is making a lot more sense to me now.

I’ll admit that I’m a fangirl of MMD and when she came out with her own lined reading journal I picked one up. It is lovely! (Although, I have to be honest and say that it did have a chemical smell when it came out of the package. I aired it out before using it.) Here is how I set it up.

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My opening page.

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I numbered the pages and made an index of the content. I left space for future lists.

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Next I added my challenges such as my Goodreads Reading Challenge and Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge.

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Next I have my book log where I keep track of the books I read. Here is January to March.

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April to June.

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I left a few pages for the upcoming months and then started a Lists section. I lined the edges with washi tape for easier reference. I left ample room for various lists – books I want to read. Authors I want to check out. Books friends recommended to me, etc.

On page 31, I started a Quotes and Notes section, which are pretty self-explanatory.

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A sample page of books to read.

Having all this in one place makes it easier when I am at the library or browsing the Overdrive app or looking for something on Amazon. There are plenty of ideas in one place. Because I had so much fun setting this up and using it, I want to share the fun with you. I bought an extra copy of the MMD journal and would love to give it to one of my online friends. 🙂

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To enter the contest, just use the rafflecopter below. Have fun and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: Congrats to the winner of the contest – Mary Ann of NY. 🙂

Oh, and I always get emails asking where I bought my supplies, so here is the info in advance.

Staedtler Color Pen Set, Set of 36 Assorted Colors

Pilot FriXion Pencil, 0.7mm Ballpoint Pen, 12 Colors Set (Erasable)

Weapons of Mass Creation Pouch

Luke’s Diner Mug

Have a great weekend!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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Book Reviews for 2016 – Part 3: June

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I shared with you my Summer Reading List and now that June is almost over, here are reviews of the four books I read this month.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

  • Author: Paul Kalanithi
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 12, 2016)

For the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, I chose this for the “book that intimidates you” category. My husband has already battled cancer and I just found out my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally strong enough to read a book about a man that dies of cancer but I added it to the list despite my reservations.

The intro on Amazon said, “At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.” I remembered Paul’s story in the news last year and it hit close to home. I wanted to hear what Paul had to say about his journey.

Reading Paul’s words helped me to understand about him as a man and doctor. He was more than a man of science but had a heart for literature and writing. He thought it was important to to develop “human relationality” with his patients, to see them as a whole person and not just their medical ailments.

In the middle of the book Paul shared a lot about his medical practice and the patients he treated and it helped to give insight to his mind and work ethic. It was heartbreaking to “watch” as the cancer spread and his life plans were drastically altered, particularly when his daughter was born as he approached his last year of life. Yet, Paul was able to find a balance in his attitude, never being overly optimistic nor morosely depressed about about his imminent death. Instead, there was a quiet strength that drove him to face his death and live his days as best as he could.  He said,

“I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own morality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”

The novel was moving and had me shedding a few tears but by the last chapter, which was written by his wife, I was full on sobbing. Knowing that Paul could no longer write and hearing about his last days on earth were both heart rending and uplifting. Here was a man that did not try to escape his death. He did not see the need to hasten it nor prolong it. He faced the natural end of his life with dignity and courage. In doing so he dispelled a small bit of fear we all have at the prospect of our own death.

His courage in death inspired me to be a little more brave in life. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: The book contains brief language and the topic of cancer and death.)

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The Nightingale

  • Author: Kristin Hannah
  • Length: 440 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; 1st edition (February 3, 2015)

I read a number of great reviews about this book and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did! The book was amazing and so far it is my favorite book that I’ve read this year.

The story takes place in France, 1939 and revolves around the lives of two estranged sisters. The sensible Vianne was married with a young daughter. The younger Isabelle was spirited and sometimes reckless. The story goes back and forth between both their point of views as they dealt with the outbreak of the war. Vianne’s husband went off to war and in his place A Nazi soldier was billeted in her home. Isabelle could not remain idle and joined the Resistance in hopes to make a difference in the war.

The historical aspect of the story was fascinating, particularly from a woman’s point of view, but just as strong was the complicated emotional relationship between the sisters as they dealt with childhood tragedies as well as the growing tragedies of the war. I thoroughly enjoyed this page-turner and by the last chapters I was sitting up into the wee hours of the night to finish the book. I rate it a hearty 5 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: The book contains adult situations, themes of war and some language.)

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The One-in-a-Million Boy

  • Author: Monica Wood
  • Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 5, 2016)

This book definitely didn’t seem like a book I would be interested in but Modern Mrs. Darcy chose it as one of her 5 books in her Summer Reading Club and recommend it in her 2016 Reading Guide under the “Engrossing Books” category so I thought I’d give it a try and I am glad I did.

The story revolved around a young (and I suspect autistic) boy who was obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records. The boy was charged with helping a 104-year old woman named Ona on Saturdays. Together they developed a special relationship. However, when the boy unexpectedly dies (early in the story) his estranged father fills in for him and helps out Ona. Although the boy was gone, his life continued to touch the lives of those around him and they came to peace with their own demons and hurts of the past.

The story was interesting and unlike any other book I’ve read. It lagged a little in the middle but picked up again and by the last chapter I was captivated to find out how it would end. I was listening to the book on Audible on our drive up to Lake Tahoe and Brian looked over to me and asked, “Are you crying??” I dabbed my eyes and confessed that I was because the ending was so beautiful. (Why does this surprise him? I tear up at Hallmark commercials.) 😉 It was an enjoyable read and I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Some language.)

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Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined

 

  • Author: Rachel Anderson
  • Length: 244 pages
  • Publisher: HEA Publishing (December 15, 2014)

After these heavier books, I needed something lighthearted to breeze through and have fun. Since Rachel Anderson is one of my favorite (clean) romance authors, I wanted to read one of her books. I had already read When Prejudice Meets Pride, which I enjoyed, so I decided to read the second in the series –  Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined.

The main characters are Noah, a handsome widower with two daughters and Cassie, a young widower. Cassie’s deceased husband was abusive and she slowly lost her true self as she lived her life to please her demanding husband. Now that he was gone, the last thing she wanted to do was get involved with another man. She had finally tasted freedom to be her own person. Noah, thought Cassie was attractive but a little stuck up and our of his league. However, a mutual friend believed they would be good for each other and able to help each other grow and heal so she does all she can to bring them together. When they do, they learn about themselves as well as each other.

This was a pleasing book. If you enjoy Hallmark love stories (which I do) then you’d probably enjoy this. The content is clean and sweet. If I were to rate this book comparing it to all the books I’ve read, it would be a 3 out of 4 stars but comparing it to the romance books I’ve read, it would be 4 out of 5 stars. 🙂

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That’s it for now. What have you been reading?

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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NOTE: The cute clip art came from GraphicDesignByMia over at etsy.


Summer 2016 Reading List

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One of my goals for 2016 is to watch less TV and read more. I pledged on Goodreads to read 12 books in 2016 but my reading has been going so well I hope to double that number by the end of summer. It is an ambitious list for me but I added two extra books because I know I will be able to listen to a book on Audible during the drive up to Lake Tahoe and another book on the trip back.

Here is the list of my summer reads. I added Amazon descriptions and links to give you more info. Enjoy!

(Note: I was supposed to post this before my trip to Lake Tahoe but…life happened. I already have three of these books finished for June. I’ll post the reviews later this week.)

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I am a fan of the author Katherine Reay. I enjoyed her book Dear Mr. Knightly and loved her book Lizzy and Jane so I was eager to add her third book to my summer reading list.

The Bronte Plot

  • Author: Katherine Reay
  • Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 3, 2015)

Amazon Summary:

When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.

Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

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I have seen movies of John Steinbeck’s works but I have never actually read one of his books. The fact that I live on the Central Coast of CA, where his stories take place, it is even more fitting that I correct this error. So for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, I chose this for the “a book that was banned as some point” category.

East of Eden

  • Author: John Steinbeck
  • Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (October 1, 1992); Original Publication (1952)

Amazon Summary:

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.

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I have been on a kick of reading books set in wartime and this is the first of three such books on my summer list. Also, for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, I chose this for the “a book published this year” category.

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

  • Author: Chris Cleave
  • Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 3, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

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I’ve never read a Kate Morton book so I chose this since it seems like the proverbial beach read.

The Lake House

  • Author: Kate Morton
  • Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

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Another WWII book, I read a lot of great reviews of this book so added it to my list.

The Nightingale

  • Author: Kristin Hannah
  • Length: 440 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; 1st edition (February 3, 2015)

Amazon Summary:

In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

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This book definitely didn’t seem like a book I would be interested in but Modern Mrs. Darcy chose it as one of her 5 books in her Summer Reading Club and recommend it in her 2016 Reading Guide under the “Engrossing Books” category so I thought I’d give it a try.

The One-in-a-Million Boy

  • Author: Monica Wood
  • Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 5, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house — a friendship that touches each member of the boy’s unmoored family

For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records–obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge.

For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning.

The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

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I already had two war time books on my list and was reluctant to add a third but then I found out that Tiffany and Cristina were hosting the Late Summer Book Club and this was the book that was voted as the fave and it was said to have a Downton Abbey feel. Well, I had to be a part of that so it was happily added. 🙂

The Summer Before the War

  • Author: Helen Simonson
  • Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (March 22, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.
 
When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
 
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

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For the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, I chose this for the “book that intimidates you” category. My husband has already battled cancer and I just found out my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally strong enough to read a book about a man that dies of cancer but I added it to the list despite my reservations.

When Breath Becomes Air

  • Author: Paul Kalanithi
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 12, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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Have you read any of these already? Did you like them? What are you reading this summer?

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