Barbara Barbara Brutt

I’m a 20-something hope-in-progress bent on growing despite the gritty, pot-holed road of adulthood. I believe words heal. I adore ice cream and only buy purses that provide room for a book or two.

All articles by Barbara

 

Book Round-Up: January-March 2017

Truly, I think it’s the responsibility of every (great) reader to do a round up of recent favorite books. After all, it’s my chance to relive those books while sharing them with anyone who cares to take a peek. Of course, your To-Be-Read list probably rivals mine. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. [by the way, i’ll be using affiliate links. this adds no cost to your purchases.] But come on. It’s because we love the book...
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March 2017 Inspiration

Oh, hello, lovely March! So I can’t be sure why I absolutely, most certainly do really like March. But I do. Perhaps, March serenades the coming of spring’s budding footsteps? But I also really enjoy coming up with this inspiration post. What I’m Being Inspired By The world offers such a combination of items for inspiration. Food, music, activities, traveling, books…honestly, there has to be something for everybody. Current Jam: I’m absolutely enamored with the French band NAZCA. Recently, I’ve...
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He Will Sustain You

What’s the thing that feels too heavy for you? Is it getting out of bed in the morning? Does the very monotony of life choke you? Pinchy Place In the recent months, I’ve snuggled deep into the uncomfortable stage my life is in. I’m pinched between my expectation for life and the reality I live. And, yes, it’s a pinch. No matter which way I wiggle, I’m still dissatisfied, frustrated, and uncomfortable. My prayers whine, “Goddddd, why am I here?...
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Partner in Crime: Traveling Companions

Nothing sets your ideal partner in crime a part from the crowd when you become traveling companions. Traveling tests your plans and spontaneity. And, if you’ve done any type of traveling, you quickly figure out who you like to travel with and who you’d literally run away from if they said, “So I was wondering…” *you run away* And when I say traveling, it absolutely includes road trips, train trips, walking trips, and plane trips. If your body is moving,...
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Book Recommendation: Alongside by Sarah Beckham

Helping too review books is one of the great joys and difficulties in my too-full, yet rich life. When the emails arrive with book suggestions for review. I want them all. Full disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for a review. My opinions are my own. Alongside by Sarah Beckham struck me in all the choices that I had, though, because…well, have you read the subtitle? “A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial”...
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February 2017 Inspiration

Truthfully, I get so caught up in January that I forget about poor, little February. And so, here’s my February inspirations a little bit late this year. Throw a little love into the world this year, you all! What I’m Being Inspired By I enjoy gathering up the things that are delighting me each month. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve got nothing. But other times, I’m like, “How could I ever choose?!” Current Jam: How can it be that this...
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Book Recommendation: The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Nothing pleases me more than a fantastic book recommendation (come on, this is why we use Yelp and TravelAdviser when we’re checking out new venues, right?). And today, I’m pumped to share with you The Mark of the King. Not only did I learn history (the things we people do to each other) that I had no idea about, but I also wanted to read this book every minute of every day. Full disclosure: I received The Mark of the...
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Book Tour: Surround Me by Marguerite Martin Gray

Today, I have the opportunity to share with you an author interview with Marguerite Martin Gray. I’m always so interested to learn how authors gain inspiration and what the writing process looks for them. And, at the very end of this post is an opportunity to enter a book giveaway! Series: Revolutionary FaithGenre: Christian, Fiction, HistoricalPublisher: WestBow Press (Author)Publication date: September 27, 2016Number of pages: 277Set in 1773 Charles Town, Surround Me takes the reader into the lives of colonists confronting imminent change and unpredictable...
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Book Recommendation: Move Toward The Mess

[Book received from Blog About for a review. Opinions are my own. Affiliate links included.] Move Toward The Mess jumped out at me from the e-newsletter. When I saw the title, my thoughts went like this: “Oh, I’m a mess. I should read that because I need to figure out how to lean into my own messy existence and be okay with my mess.” (Also, I love Andy Stanley, and he wrote the foreword) And so, I requested to read...
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26 Things Learned In 26 Years

26 Things I’ve Learned In The Last 26 Years Today, I’m the oldest that I’ve ever been, and well, you are too. Trying to come up with something to say about another year seems next to impossible because how can you sum up a year…but really? Life has not been what I expected. It hasn’t followed the map that I colored into being with crayons and backyard grass stews. Nope, not all. But, when I sit back, and truly take...
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People Say Really Stupid Things

Okay, let’s have a contest. What’s the stupidest thing someone has EVER said to you (sure, sure, it was well-meaning)? We’ve all been there, trekking through a really hard time when maybe it feels like you can’t get one foot in front of the other. Or maybe you’re finally having a good day, and someone says something stupid. Like, really REALLY realllly stupid. Perhaps they said it to encourage you or to give you perspective or whatever. This isn’t really a...
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Book Recommendation: Conspiracy of Silence (The Tox Files) by Ronie Kendig

[I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for a review. This review is my own opinion. Affiliate links used.] Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig is a book outside of my preferred genres, but I love reading outside those genres. No matter what type of book you gravitate to, you can ALWAYS recognize excellent storytelling. Truly, I believe this. Book Recommendation: Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig Where do I even begin with this book?...
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January 2017 Inspiration

Happy 2nd Day of January! Sometimes I think this is the hardest day of the year because it’s the first day back to everything…without a holiday in sight for months. The snow is no longer cheery (if it ever was) and the Christmas decorations come down (either by design or they fall). Personally, I love January. It breathes new beginnings. New opportunities. Fresh starts. What I’m Being Inspired By Current Jam: Yes, yes, I know. Alice in Wonderland came out...
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In Memoriam of 2016: A Poem

In Memoriam of 2016, I’ve written this poem (well, really, for every year past). May it make you chuckle and breathe relief as we move from one year past to one year new. A word from Barbara, Lady Tennysdaughter, who sends her thanks for the thoughtful year, witty friends, and silly twists.   Ring out, cell phone, to the wild sky, The flying yell, the frosty trill: The year is dying from the mill; Ring out, cell phone, and let...
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When Hope Is Not Enough

You’d think that by now, I would understand hope. Well, maybe you didn’t, but I sure as coconuts thought that I’d have some sort of grasp on hope. I know The Hope. Yes, I’m talking about Jesus here. Intellectually, I recognize that Jesus is my hope. Not only does Jesus offer purpose for my life, but by his not-giving-me-what-I-actually-deserve, Jesus has given me the promise of eternity with him. Why doesn’t that fill me with joyous exclamations and rooftop hallelujahs?...
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LIVE OUT grace

In a conversation with a friend, we were discussing how to handle frustrating groups of people. You know the kind: People who can’t see past their own noses, who say ‘how are you’ but don’t wait for the answer, and who might be physically present but not emotionally. These soul-suckers and emotional drainers drag us down with their see-through-you-but-don’t-see-you gaze. Our conversation went something like this: Me: We need to hit them over the heads with bricks and then hip-wiggle...
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Blink: Christmas In Vienna

Tugging my winter hat over my ears, I reached for my puff coat and slipped my arms in. The Florida sunshine giggled at me as it beamed through the curtains of my bedroom, and I shook my head. Christmas and December meant snow. And cold. And if I couldn’t be where it was, I’d imagine myself there. And nothing helps imagination more than reality. I zipped up my coat and tapped my booted heels together. Blink, blink, squeeeeeze tight. Cool air...
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Interview and Giveaway: The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham

Oh, friends, I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of the book blog tour announcing The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham. Seriously, this is a proud moment for this little internet space. I first found out about Pepper from my sister who transplanted to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a teaching position where she met Pepper. When my sister found out that Pepper was an author, my sister kind of sort of made internet introductions....
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11 Christmas Gifts for the Traveling Reader

Finding the perfect gift for your traveling reader can be as easy as an Amazon giftcard, but if you want to get more personal than that, allow me to offer you a Christmas gift springboard of ideas. And yes, I’m using Amazon affiliate links (this means a tiny profit for me and no extra charge for you). I’m not an affiliate of Etsy, but I love it. 1. Animal Travel Pillow If you’ve ever been in an airplane, you know...
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What Should I Read For Christmas?

Cozying up under a thick blanket with a cup of tea and wonderful book is undeniably one of my favorite things about the Christmas holidays. And the best thing is that Christmas reading has become so much easier, whether it’s a quick Amazon download or a library borrow. Unlimited Christmas reading options. Last year was my very first Christmas away from home. It was weird. But, that’s when I discovered Christmas novellas. If I couldn’t be with my family, I...
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December 2016 Inspiration

Oh, hello, December! What’s not to love about this month? We blink and it’s over, but mostly that has everything to do with the flurry of shopping, holiday events, and visiting that crowds our calendars. What do you love most about December? Really, I want to know! I adore the Christmas music, and I kind of love the excuse to spend too much money on loved ones. I’m breaking my budget right now…which is a questionable decision, I know. What...
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Author Interview: Tessa Emily Hall (& Giveaway!!)

Today, I’ve a special treat for you all! For the first time ever, Cordially Barbara has the chance to be a part of a Book Blog Tour! *waves excitedly* Hi! In May of this year, Tessa Emily Hall and I were in the same writers’ conference, but you know, I don’t think she and I ever met. But, I kept seeing her on the social media hashtags. Isn’t social media sometimes the best? After stalking Tessa and reading Purple Moon,...
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Book Recommendation: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

My list of favorite authors is a short one (although it’s beginning to grow). Katherine Reay is one of my absolute favorite authors (not to mention she’s a super nice lady, too). (p.s. I’m using affiliate links) Katherine Reay had me at Dear Mr. Knightley, and now, I mark all her book release dates on my calendar. I can depend on her to write an innovative story in the modern day with a twist into the past using authors of...
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A Thankful List For Traveling

In the spirit of gratitude that drapes across the fireplace mantle in deep green pines and brilliant garnets and flickering ambers, I’d like to sprawl the decoration further. Twine thankfulness up the banisters and scatter laughter as ornamentation to the garlands of gratitude. And if you step back far until your back touches the wall to breathe in the whimsy, you’ll see sparkles along the edges. A lightness of feeling glistening. The moments that could have been tears turned to...
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Book Giveaway: KJV Journal the Word Bible

When The Blog Spot over at The Blythe Daniel Agency offered a chance to review the KJV Journal the Word Bible, I thought, “Ooo, what fun!” KJV Journal the Word Bible Full disclosure: I received two copies of this book (one to keep, one to give away) for my honest review. My opinions are my own. I also use affiliate links in this post. My intro thoughts I’ve always been a journaler. I have quite a few journals to show for...
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Five Books For Fall 2016

Reading is my favorite occupation. If I made money for reading books, I’d be happily settled in life. As it is, the reading itself must be my highest compensation. Today I thought I’d share with you a few books that have occupied my reading pile this fall (some are still on the pile).   My Reading List: 5 Books for Fall   (I’m linking to Amazon and using affiliate links. If you buy through them, I’ll get a tiny percentage...
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welcome sadness

Sadness is an uncomfortable guest. When you see sadness coming, reach out to her, hands cradling her chin and kiss her hair. She needs to be invited in, welcomed and given space at your table and your bookshelf. To ignore sadness is like ignoring a broken bone that needs attention, to be realigned and bandaged, and bone healing takes time and it hurts. welcome sadness. I remember this one day where I woke up sad. Ridiculously and mopey sad. Blue bled...
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November 2016 Inspiration

So here’s the thing, I can hardly wait until I stop receiving phone calls from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton advertisements across every single banner. I’m just tired of this circus. But, this will not define my November because there’s more going on than the election.   Like Christmas music. Like Thanksgiving. Like watching my favorite FRIENDS Thanksgiving episodes. Like all the excitement circling Netflix releasing more Gilmore Girls.   So, Happy November, my friends! I hope that you’ve started...
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Why Small Talk Is Important

I’m not good at small talk. In fact, I think small talk is a huge hassle and a waste of time. And this reasoning solidifies that I’ve never been particularly good at small talk. I want to get to the nitty gritty. I want to know what makes you tick. Good or bad! I want to know why you think breaking up with God is a good idea. And this is my struggle with human interaction. This is my struggle when...
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Dream Destination: Where Two Oceans Meet

Did you know that sometimes when oceans meet that you can see the divide between them? It’s seamless water, and yet, something’s different. How can it be water and yet separate? This phenomenon is as mythical and magical as it sounds. But you can sometimes find it in Alaska! Eventually, the waters mix, but for that moment, you can see the separation of two bodies of water. The most common explanation is when two bodies of water carrying different earth...
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Connecting With Family While Traveling: The Stone Lion

Traveling far from family and friends can be difficult (adventurous and exciting, yes). But there are days where you just want to tackle-hug your brother or cuddle up on the couch with your sister for a cute movie. On those days, you need a way to connect with your loved ones, even when you’re far away. I don’t know what that will mean for you, but I can share what I did. It all started with a photo that my...
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Book Recommendation: Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Before we get started, I need to let you know that I received a free copy of Waves of Mercy from Bethany House to read and review honestly. I’ll also be using affiliate links. Now, keep reading! On a scale of cotton candy to Brussel sprouts, Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin is a crock pot Parmesan garlic chicken and potatoes. It’s hardy. And the flavors are deep and well-blended. I’ve been sitting on this book for a while here...
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Book Recommendation (& Giveaway!): 66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild

When The Blog Spot over at The Blythe Daniel Agency offered a chance to review 66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild, I jumped at the chance. But it’s not for the reasons that you think, I’m guessing. Full disclosure: I received two copies of this book (one to keep, one to give away) for my honest review. My opinions are my own. I also use affiliate links in this post. Back to our feature presentation: I grew up...
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Margin: Where I Ponder What It Is To Leave The Busy For A Moment

Margin, the white space around the text in a book, is the forgotten bit. We see it, but we don’t.   The people who don’t make the actual text of the history books or are the poorest of the poor are called “the marginalized.” They’re the ones that history forgets. And yet, the margin frames the text.   The margin is the structure for the activity. Maybe it’s deserves more credit.   Margin or the Negative Space I used to work...
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When I Forget Who God Is

The road directions mapped out my course on my phone even without wifi, and I jammed out to music as I sped down the roads. I knew half of the route after all. No need to worry. But first, a quick stop at a store to pick out a snack to take with me to the party. I walked through the sliding doors and bouquets of flowers bobbed at me. No, I didn’t need flowers. Two steps towards the food, and...
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October 2016 Inspiration

Who doesn’t love the relief of cooler temperatures (unless of course, you’re heading into summer)? I’ll always be a soul who enjoys all the seasons in their time. I like the rhythm that they bring, the reminder that we won’t be in a season forever. Each season offers a chance to shake off from the last and embrace what is to come. I’ve been searching the trees these last few days, watching for the glimmer of gold edges and ruby...
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Barbara’s Tiny Cheat Sheet to Austrian German

Before moving to Austria, I remember trying to learn as much German as possible. I had beginner German CDs. I used Duolingo, and I listened to songs in German. I even read books that were set in Austria. I stuffed the German vocabulary into my head. And then, when I arrived in Austria, I realized that “willkommen” was not “you’re welcome”. Sure, in English, we’d translate “willkommen” as “welcome.” But in Austria, you would not use it in response to...
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Three Authors of Romance Who Swept Me Off My Feet (again and again)

Three authors of romance who swept me off my feet (when I thought I knew it all as a heavy consumer of all romantic fiction) and deposited me on the fainting couch (or something like that) must be noted. Are you one of those readers who’s kind of sort of definitely read it all? You read books because you love it, not because the story is going to really surprise you anymore? Girl meets boy. Girl hates boy. CONFLICT. Girl and...
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Why You Should Travel To Russia (an interview)

Erin and I met through Pinterest at first, and then e-mail, and then in real life (when we lived, worked, and explored Austria together). Isn’t it funny how internet friendships begin? When Erin and her sister visited Russia (why didn’t I go!) for a sister vacation (oh, that’s why), she fulfilled one of her pipe dreams. You can’t live a dream unless you make it happen. So Erin did. Erin’s cool. Do what Erin did. You can’t live a dream...
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What’s The Best Reading Position?

What’s the best position for reading? I received an email recently from someone telling me how she struggled to find a comfortable position to read in. If she lay on her stomach, eventually her back would begin aching. If she read on her back, her arms grew weary under the weight of the book (and gravity). She flattered me then, asking what a great reader like me did. Great reader? Did you hear that? Hehe. *blushes* Have you ever wondered...
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Bold Lipstick Like a Super Star

It’s not hard to wear a bold lipstick. I think it’s one of these things that we overthink or over-complicate. The key is to straighten those shoulders and slap that bold color on your lips. Walk tall, chicadee.   How To Wear A Bold Lipstick I’m on a lipstick kick. Seriously, I want to wear it everyday right now. Maybe it’s the shift to cooler weather or maybe I’m just feeling more vibrant. Or maybe it was my first successful trip...
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Author Interview: Robin C. Farrell

I love friend recommendations, which is why I love book recommendations,…which is why I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend-recommended friend, Robin, who has a book recommendation for you (and me). I met Robin through a friend who said something along the lines of “you do literary things and so does she.” And you know, that pretty much sealed the deal. When Robin shared that she had a completed novel (my heart went out to her because I’m...
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It’s More About What God HASN’T Done

The milk frother screamed behind me as it heated liquid to foam, and the cash register drawer rolled open. Conversations wove between the soft pop music. I sat at a vintage table across from a new friend, brainstorming a piece of her writing. Clutching my chai in its tall green mug, I stared at the creamy pattern in the top of the drink. “So how’s that going anyway?” Such a simple question. Why was it so hard to answer? And how...
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Partner in Crime: The Art of Sehn

The protagonist of my first book series (not available yet) is a 20-something with a degree in art and a job that pays the bills (ya need that!). But her dream is to make a living from her artwork. Other than occasional art classes during my schooling days, I have little training in art or knowledge of the art community. And yet, I’ve been writing a book about a wannabe artist. Yeah, I hear those squealing brakes. That’s why I...
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September 2016 Inspiration

I think Autumn is a time for looking back. Is it how the fresh leaves glow hued in death? Maybe it’s the chill breeze on my flesh and the changing wardrobe? The laughing, sun-colored days of summer have settled into earlier darkness. That’s where we’ve come from, but where are we going now? Here are a few things to delight your September.   Current Jam: Electronic with siren-voiced vocals. Dance-y and yet haunting. I tend to just allow YouTube to create...
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20-Something and Grieving Process

To be 20-something and grieving is hard.   20-Something and Grieving Some don’t experience grief, sadness, or loss until later in life while others face this emptying too early. Sorrow is the part of life that doesn’t usually show up on Instagram or Facebook. After all, those platforms are for contrived and perfect photos. Good vibes only. And if someone does post their difficulties, there will always be at least one comment (and a hundred others thinking), “Is Facebook (or other...
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Eat Your Way Through Vienna: 10 Restaurants

I love eating my way through cities, and I’m thrilled to share with you my favorite restaurants in Vienna. If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know that I lived near Vienna for over a year. And I fell head over heels in love with this beautiful city. Maybe if I had stayed longer, the stars in my eyes would have faded, but I’m not so sure. Recently, I’ve been missing Vienna. Therefore, I’m inviting you to...
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Book Recommendation: Give Your Child The World

Books instilled in me the desire to travel the world, to explore it, to meet people from other countries. My fondest memories from growing up are long car rides where my mother would read to me and my siblings about far away places. When I could read for myself, a whole new world opened to me. Fast forward ten years, I’ve traveled to almost 20 countries, lived abroad for months at a time, and begun writing my own books (while...
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The Search for Identity

For the world. For my friends. For this website. For my life. For anyone who’s ever searched for their identity. I’m not going to go on and on about how I’ve chosen that my identity is Christ (because I have). That’s new news every day (to me anyway). And it’s my favorite thing to remember on every good day, but especially the very-bad-no-good days. but This is my blogging story. If you’re not interested, make sure you enjoy the photos (I’ve chosen the...
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12 Stages of Book-Lovers Grief

Readers know it. If you read an amazing book or series, when it’s finished, you feel like the richness of life has drained away…full out grief. What. Is. Life. And suddenly I’m grappling with the twelve stages of grief. What? It’s only five? Well, it sure as heck it feels like TWELVE. Book-lovers grief is no joke. denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance? HA.   12 Stages of Book-Lovers Grief 1. Reading slower because you can feel that the pages are becoming...
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