Book Review: Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire By Jen Hatmaker

Hello my friends! It’s me. Fresh out of my reading cocoon that I have been rolled up in all night while finishing Jen Hatmaker’s newest book: Fierce, Free and Full of Fire.

I was recently honored with the opportunity to help launch Jen Hatmaker’s newest book baby. This mean that I received an advance copy of the book so I can tell the world what I think of it. Well, hello, I knew I would love it because, Jen Hatmaker.

I started following Jen on social media and reading her books (generally in one sitting) probably five years ago. I was immediately drawn to her humor.. I honestly had no idea that Christians were even allowed to be funny. I guess I thought they were supposed to only talk about Bible Verses and eat communion wafers. Little did I know that they could write hilarious words that speak to my soul and make me feel a little less alone in this giant, weird world.

I’ve always been one of the first in time to read Jen’s newest work. I’m also a member of her book club. I promise I’m not a weird stalker but it kinda sounds like that’s where this is headed. Anyway, when the chance arose to be on her launch team, it was a no brainer.

I received my digital copy of her book and dove right in. After reading the first two chapters, I read them over again because they were that good. And it was a good thing because this quote hit me harder and deeper the second time around.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the life I want to lead. I want to love and have open arms. I am sick of the judgy crap that turns me away from the church so fast it makes my neck hurt. I love my current church and I am so grateful for them, but damn, some of my previous church experiences make my heart hurt. What if I had give up? What if I had believed that God didn’t love me because I’m not perfect? This isn’t ok.

Jen covers so many topics and I’m sure it was all written with me in mind since we are obviously the best of friends. She talks about owning who you are, body imagine, deserving to be treated right, parenting and marriage and so many things. There is help in this book for all of us.

I am ready to put these things into practice. Some, I have already started. Some I need to sit down and chew on for a minute.

I highly, super mega encourage you to add this one to your list. Order the pre-order. You won’t regret it!

*This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase anything through my link I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Weekly Reading

Hi! I need to tell you all about something weird that happened to me the other day. I was on Facebook and there was a friend suggestion for a random person I had never seen before. Since I’m nosy, I clicked on her picture to see if I could figure out why she was being suggested to me.

I still have no clue, but what caught my eye was the fact that her occupation was listed as “Book Reviewer” and I was like “Holy crap that is literally my dream job. Why can’t I do that?” Well, ya’ll. I can do that. She is a blogger and shares book reviews on her blog. There is no one stopping me from doing the same, except for me. I have a blog and I love to read and review books so why couldn’t I just tell myself I too am a blogger and book reviewer? Duh.

Anyway, with that being said here are the three books I finished this week!

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

Rating: 1/5

Daring Greatly is a self help book and it focuses on how we need to have the courage to be vulnerable so that it can change the way we live. Just reading the back cover made the book jump out at me because I am so focused on being authentic (it’s my word of the year, in fact). I want to be the real me and to show the real me, and a part of that will include being vulnerable because I know that what I have lived through will help others.

I wanted to love this book so much. I have a ton of Brene’s quotes pinned on Pinterest. I follow her on Instagram. I’m in a few Facebook groups where people do nothing but sing her praises. I think she is incredibly smart and has so much to offer, but you guys I could not enjoy this book. I felt like it jumped around all over the place. I didn’t feel like there was enough of a story line for me to be able to follow along. Honestly, I finished and then sat and tried to remember what I even read. I don’t remember much at all.

I will probably try another one of her books, but next time I will try it as an audio book and see if that helps at all!

Holly’s Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham

Rating: 5/5

My mom showed up at my house with this book and told me she thought I would like it. She said it made her think of the time that I worked in an office and the emails we sent back and forth. I can tell you that our emails were way less interesting and dramatic, but I appreciate the thought. Anyway, I was super surprised with how much I loved this book. Especially considering that my mom randomly picked it up at the Dollar Store.

This entire book is written in emails. Which sounds like a horrible idea but omg it was actually really good! The story follows a receptionist named Holly and the emailed that she sends and receives between her friends, family, co-workers, bosses and her boyfriend. It’s funny, twisty, interesting, and dramatic. All of it. Definitely check this one out for a quick fun read!

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

Rating: 5/5

Recently, I joined the Jen Hatmaker Book Club because, well, Jen Hatmaker. This first book that we covered in the club was Tell Me More and we are just finishing it up right now. I finished reading today, and oh my gosh it was one of those books that I did not want to end!

Kelly is an amazing story teller and she is the exact type of author that I aspire to be. She’s funny and real and also is incredible good at making me cry. This book made me laugh, cry, and nod my head in agreeance, while also making me shake my head because I pray I never know the pain that she felt. I loved reading this book so much that I plan to check out her other work very soon. If it wasn’t for the book club I would not have even known who Kelly was! Definitely add this one to your must read pile.

Check out Jenhatmakerbookclub.com for more info on the book club!

That’s it for this week! I will be getting started on a new stack of books soon and will let you know what I end up with!

Sunset Beach Book Review- Mary Kay Andrews

Recently, I was contacted by a representative of Tandem Literary to ask if I would be interested in reading Mary Kay Andrews newest book, Sunset Beach. MKA is an amazing author and story teller so I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

I received my Early Readers Edition of Sunset Beach this week and I may have squealed a little when I opened my mailbox. I was so excited to open the package, although the packaging was almost too beautiful to take apart.

Sunset Beach is about Drue Campbell, a 36 year old woman with a life that is falling apart. Her mother passed away, she was homeless and working at a disgusting job. She was injured in a kite boarding accident, something she had once lived for. Nothing was going her way. Her entire world was rocked when her absent father appeared at her mothers funeral, out of nowhere, with the keys to her inherited beach cottage in Sunset Beach. He also came with a job offer in his busy law office. Drue had few other options, and while she did not have a great relationship with her father, she took the job offer and left Florida to start a new life.

It wasn’t long after she started her new job as a cubicle rat that Drue turned her energy towards solving a mysterious death at a local beach resort, as well as a decades-old cold case. This was in combination with dealing with her new stepmom- her eight grade ex-best friend, rehabing her cottage, and starting an office romance. Drue’s life has gotten pretty busy, to say the least.

This story was exciting with so many twists and turns. MKA does an incredible job of painting a scene so that you can really picture the characters and what they are going through. I could truly see Drue investigating her mysteries and following up on leads. And I caught myself holding my breath a few times because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next! This entire book kept me hooked from start to finish. After I finished reading last night, I laid in bed and wondered why none of her books have been turned into movies yet! They are that good!

I’m looking forward to reading through the rest of Mary Kay Andrews books very soon! And I recently noticed she has a Beach House Cookbook full of fun summer recipes! I hope to hunt that one down, quickly.

Sunset Beach will be available for sale 5/7/19 in stores! Make sure you grab a copy as soon as it hits the shelves and take it along with you on summer vacation, or make your own vacation with a fruity drink and a comfy chair. You will not be disappointed!

Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews

Hi, my name is Michelle and I have a problem. I just read an entire novel in 24 hours. That’s nerdy isn’t it? Nerdy isn’t a title I’ve ever given myself but if having my nose stuck in a book 24/7 means that I’m nerdy then I will proudly wear that title. Hell, I’ll parade it out on the front porch too, but not until Spring because it’s currently 21 degrees in Southeast Kansas.

This book was amazing. I didn’t realize that it’s actually part two of the Weezie and BeBe Mysteries until after I started reading it, but I will definitely be reading it soon. Actually I have full intentions of reading every Mary Kay Andrews book that I can get my hands on. That woman knows how to write! And not just how to write but how to write a story that gets a hold of you and keeps you hooked until the end. She is amazing at writing mystery novels and makes you wish there was more right as you finish the book. If you haven’t read this book yet, be warned that my review does have some spoilers.

This book is about BeBe Loudermilk. A fierce, independent woman who has worked hard all of her life to fulfill her dreams. She owns a restaurant in downtown Savannah, Georgia and has an adorable little home in the Savannah Historic District, as well as some rental properties. Well, until she met a man named “Reddy” who swooped in, saved her in the middle of a horrible day and then quickly swindled her out of everything she owned. All she was left with was a run down hotel on Tybee Island. BeBe went from having it all to be forced to quickly putting her blood, sweat and tears into the Breeze Inn so she could support herself and have a place to live. All, with the help of the not so charming, Harry, a fisherman and the current manager at the Inn. Over the course of the story she and her best friend Weezie were able to fix up the Inn, and get her money back from the conman. And in the end she found love in the arms of Harry, an unlikely source. This was such a good read and I can’t wait to read more about Weezie and BeBe.

Being the research nerd that I am (that’s that word again!) I immediately googled the Breeze Inn on Tybee. I went to Tybee in December of last year, so I was instantly curious to find out if it was a real Inn. While there isn’t a run down hotel on Tybee named Breeze Inn, Mary Kay Andrews has an adorable rental house under the same name. Check out the adorable property here! 

If I had endless amounts of cash and my husband had more vacation time I could spent months staying in various beach properties. In fact, I’d happily move to Tybee Island permanently, get a waitressing job at Fannie’s and live my best life. That isn’t really an option for me at the moment so I’m glad I found Mary Kay Andrews so I can live on the beach vicariously through her books!

Girl, Stop Apologizing Book Review

Last week I had a mini heart attack when my copy of “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis arrived in my Post Office box from Barnes and Noble. It’s no secret that I am a major Rachel Hollis fan.

I know that I have a few friends that are anti-Rachel but honestly I don’t plan on every one I know liking the same thing. There was talk and some blog posts about her being a Christian Author, but her book not being theological. Guys, really she’s a Christian AND an author. This will be the same for me. When I finally write a book I will be a Christian AND an author, but not both. I am not the person you should turn to looking for a theology lesson but I do love me some Jesus. This is how I look at Rachel, so when I read her books I am looking for help with self-improvement, and Rachel motivates me to get there.

Girl, Stop Apologizing is “a shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals”. That’s exactly what this is. Rachel talks about how we should stop sitting on our dreams and put them into practice. She gives her tips about how she starts her day, how she tackles a big project and how she gets up and gets things done instead of wallowing in self-pity and excuses about why she shouldn’t. Women are amazing but we tend to get stuck in the “Oh I can’t that because…..” mind frame. Either we are worried what people will think or we are worried about letting others down or we think we don’t have enough time. So, instead of chasing our dreams we apologize for having them and them do what everyone else expects of us instead. I absolutely loved this book and read it in less than 24 hours. Here are a few things I highlighted.

Girl, Stop Apologizing is available in stores starting March 5th! Please go get a copy. You won’t be disappointed and I really believe that this self-help book can help us all in some way or another. Here’s how it helped me!

I want to be an author. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was old enough to read. I used to spend hours with my nose in a book. It was my happy place. I fantasized about being the next Ann M. Martin (the author of the Baby Sitters Club series.) But over time I had pushed that thought far away. I’ve spent my entire life doing what I have to do instead of what makes me happy. Rachel’s book has encouraged me to just write the damn book (books?!) already. It may take a while, and no one may ever read it but at least I can say I followed my dream.

Friends, we were someone before we were wives or mothers or employees or whatever we are now. We need to remember who that person is. What did they love? What did they dream about? And how can we get back there? Do you have a dream that you’ve been putting off?

Every Breath Book Review

Nicholas Sparks is the one person that is singlehandedly responsible for making me fall head over heels in love with the East Coast. This was years and years before I ever visited there. When my husband and I started dating he was just getting ready to go his new Army base in Germany. This was about the time that Sparks book, “Dear John” was made into a movie. This was a story about a soldier meeting a girl and starting out a new relationship, while they were separated due to the Army. (Hello, is this my life?! More on that another day) Instantly I knew I would have to read the book and then of course that ended with a spiral of me reading every single Nicholas Sparks book ever made. I would go to the library and check out two at a time and return them both within 5 days before checking out two more. It’s been a while since I read much of anything for the pure joy of it, so when I went to the library to pick up some new reading material it was no shocker that this was the first one I grabbed.

As always, this book was hard for me to put down and I read most of it in a day. ( I have a bit of an addictive personality.) A major part of this story is based around an old mailbox situated in Bird Island, North Carolina. People will go to this mailbox and read letters that were left inside, that were never intended to be mailed to their recipient. After reading what is inside, visitors are encouraged to write a letter of their own using paper that is located in the box. So now naturally I feel like I need to get to Bird Island ASAP and check out Kindred Spirit for myself. I’m not lying when I saw that I’ve already researched nearby VRBO’s.

Anyway, this book is based on a true story that Sparks started to write after finding a story inside of the box. He hunted down the writer and from there used his magical romance skills to beautifully retell their story. I don’t want to give away too much of the story because it really is an amazing read and a story worth checking out for yourself. But, what I will tell you is that I fell in love with the characters, this was a beautiful story.

I really do hope to go visit Kindred Spirit one day. We have our vacations planned for the next couple of years but I keep thinking that I may be able to squeeze a quick trip in anyway. Are you a Nicholas Sparks fan?