Battle of the Seasons

Spring and winter have been at war here in NYC the past couple of weeks. One day the high temperature might be in the 50s, and then just a few short days later it can be in the 70s or 80s. Thankfully, as winter stubbornly refuses to loosen its hold and make way for spring, there have not been innocent casualties of this war as I have seen in past years. The tree and flower buds have not sprouted only to suffer a deep freeze. Instead, as I’ve walked around the Manhattan, I see signs that spring is prevailing, something that has greatly lightened my spirits. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me feel to see such beautiful flowers in an urban landscape. I hope my shots bring you joy as well.

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Please note all of these photos were taken with my beloved Google Pixel with no filter or editing except for the squirrel photo. 🙂

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It’s an Amish Takeover.

Upon a Spring Breeze by Kelly IrvinI love Amish fiction because it generally transports you to a tranquil, calm world. However, Upon a Spring Breeze by Kelly Irvin is an obvious reminder that everyone suffers universal grief and tragedies. Before getting into my review, here is a synopsis of the book provided by the publisher.

After a devastating winter, a spring breeze promises more than new flowers.… It promises a new chance at love.

Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.

Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.

When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy and the possibility of love?

In many ways, this was a difficult book to read. If you’ve ever mourned a spouse or suffered from postpartum depression, this story may bring back emotions that hopefully the reader is prepared to handle. For me, being an animal person, I had a hard time dealing with 6,000 chickens getting killed due to the bird flu. I know that happens–but its extremely tough for me to read about after having rescued and loved a chicken.

If you’re looking for an Amish romance that is filled with quilting bees and courtship, I would look elsewhere. Bess, the widow, does find love at the end, but this is more a story about life’s seasons–going through endless rain to get to the sun.

It was well-written but definitely not a lighthearted read. Using GoodReads’ scale, I liked the book and give it 3/5 stars. This is the first book in the series Every Amish Season, and I would enjoy reading the subsequent books. This new 2017 spring title is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Beautiful cover photo by Jon Flobrant.

My signed copies of "The Trouble With Dukes" by Grace Burrowes and "A Christmas Bride" by Hope Ramsay. Note the duck in my terrarium! :D

Hello, it’s me. I’m back to blogging if you would like to see…

Hello, it’s me.
I was wondering if after all these months you’d still like to meet
and go over everything…

Ah Adele. I love her “Hello” song. My husband might go crazy while I listen to it all of the time on our Google Home, but he loves me enough to put up with my obsessive compulsion to listen to the same music for weeks straight before moving on to something else!

I can’t believe that it’s been 5 months since I last posted. I’ve wanted to, but I’ve just been swept up living in a bookish world–not that I’m complaining. 🙂 It’s pretty awesome that my job is that I get to work with books. Honestly, I don’t know how I got to be so blessed to a part of the book publishing industry. I’m the type of person who loves something for a short time, then typically moves on to a new passion. Books have always been a constant in my life, and I know I won’t ever get tired of being around them all the time.

Being in the book industry has some unexpected perks, too. For example, several months ago I got to see THE SHACK movie before it was released earlier this month to theatres everywhere. My imprint, FaithWords, publishes that book so we’ve all been working hard to promote the book and the movie.

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Fan-girling with Hope Ramsay (left) and Grace Burrowes (right)

I also had a fan-girl moment when I met Hope Ramsey and Grace Burrowes who happened to be visiting our Hachette office. You can see how happy I was in the picture. They were kind enough to sign their newest books for me, too. I’m still looking forward to read Hope’s A Christmas Bride–I’m saving that for the 2017 holiday season. Grace’s new book, The Trouble with Dukes, has a Scottish, kilt-wearing duke who is forced to become a part of English society. Of course, for me lately, any time you mention kilts I have to whip out my favorite picture of David Tennant wearing a kilt, which sparked quite a lively (albeit swooney) conversation in the room. My, my. I sure wish my husband would wear a kilt!

Besides reading a shameful amount of romance books this past 6 months, (shameful because I never read anything but romances it seems!), I also have become a self-taught quilter. I’ll post about my quilt another day, but I wanted to share with you all a quick story:

One evening after work, I had my unfinished quilt top in my work bag as I headed over to a local quilt store, Gotham Quilts, to buy some fabric. As I got off the train around the Macys/Herald Square area, I noticed a poor little pigeon who was going around hitting his head on the ground. If you follow my quilt, you guys know that I’m an animal lover. I particularly have a fondness for cats, chickens, geese…well, the list goes on. I immediately knew something was wrong with this poor pigeon and kind of sat back observing him as I tried to figure out how to help him. Rude, uncaring people just kept walking right towards the bird expecting him to move when he obviously was unwell. One person kicked him, and I gave that person a piece of my mind. At that point, I decided to sacrifice the back of my quilt fabric and tossed it over the pigeon. I immediately scooped him up in my arms and started walking towards the train to take him the 50 blocks north to Wild Bird Fund, a wildlife rescue organization that I prayed would still be open that late since no one had answered the phone. On the way to the train, I stopped into Duane Reade to get a box from a kind employee to put the bird in to make sure he stayed safe.

When I got to the subway, I realized I had a bit of a predicament. I couldn’t hold the box AND take out my metro card to get through the turnstile. I struggled for a minute trying to figure this out, but finally realized I needed help. I found a nice, relatively normal looking girl that looked approachable, and like a crazy person, asked if she liked pigeons. She looked askance at me a moment and said something like “I guess so.” I asked her if she’d do me a favor and hold mine for a moment while I swiped my card.

Guys, I wish you all could have seen her face! I bet she never expected someone to ask her that.

Pigeon and I found a nice spot on the train and our ride went fairly swiftly. Thankfully when we arrived at the Wild Bird Fund, some wonderful volunteers were still working and took the bird in to see the doctor. The doctor quickly diagnosed the bird with either 1 of 2 things: Either the bird had lead poisoning, which was treatable, or an incurable virus that could spread to other birds. I prayed it was the former but, in case it was the latter, I decided to not follow up because bad news would have left me heartbroken. Instead, I left the bird in their capable hands and prayed for it over the next few days.

By the way, I would be utterly remiss to all of my goose fans if I didn’t mention this HUGE, HUGE, HUGE gray swan that calmly set at the doctor’s feet as he performed an examination of the pigeon. This was the largest bird I might have ever seen, and he just sat there mostly asleep with his neck tucked into his wings. I truly stood there contemplating taking a photo of it for my blog, but I figured that wouldn’t be a tad unprofessional since the organization was kind enough to let me in after hours. I was having a hard time not going all coochie-coochie-coo over the swan and the assortment of ducks just waddling around the waiting room, stretching their legs now that the organization was closed for the evening.

Well, I guess that is all for today. I am determined to do something this weekend other than just sitting on my couch with my computer and/or a book. I do have some more reviews lined up for some books I requested on NetGalley, so stay tuned. Happy April everyone!