Book Look(s) | A Book Review of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

I am so excited to share with you today about a brand new release from Bethany House Publishers!  This sweet novel shares a beautiful story of two young people who begin to seek God's will for their lives and futures, while falling in love and learning the value of family, friendships and faith. 

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Book Look(s) | A Book Review of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

"In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,  In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through. Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle."   -  Synopsis from the Sound of Rain


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ Book Number 47/50  |  This lovely book is near and dear to my heart for many reasons.  First, I live in the Appalachian mountains and have vacationed in Myrtle Beach so I easily identified with the characters and the locations set in this story.  In addition, I have experienced several hurricanes and their aftermath firsthand during my years growing up.  The Sound of Rain beautifully ties tragedy, young love and personal growth together in a sweetly woven story that takes place between the mountains, the ocean and the hearts of two yearning people. 

I loved the easy flow of this story... It was soft and touching with many author-induced smiles along the way, especially when referencing the humidity of South Carolina versus the cooler air of the mountains.  I appreciated how Judd wanted to carry on his deceased younger brother's memory while courageously embarking on a new path and welcoming change.  The author created a character whom we can all fall in love with as a man of integrity, grit and perhaps even a quiet passion.  As for Larkin, I enjoyed seeing her pursue the repairing of a relationship between her family members. In her pursuit, she becomes the main tie in connecting her family and helping them grow back together.  The author beautifully portrayed Larkin as a delightful caring, willing spirit who should be an inspiration to us all.

Amidst all the glory of this tender story, a massive hurricane and quite possibly one of the largest of it's decade, makes landfall in the heart of this book.  While I do believe the author accurately described the historic details of the storm, I wondered where the fear of such an intense storm was. Oftentimes, witnessing howling winds shake the very walls of your home while weathering a category 4 storm is quite unbelievable. The aftermath of such is a state of disarray; so much so that life doesn't easily resume, especially without power, aid from neighbors and the accessibility to roads, food and stores.  I am certain, however, that the author merely included this historic storm as a way to draw her characters together and give them a deeper connection while using the event as a bridge for the rest of the book's plot, rather than as a show stopping experience like this hurricane most likely was for life at that time. 

As the story continues to unfold after the storm, readers begin to soul search along with the characters and learn that God has a way of honoring our dreams and changing our hearts to see His dream for our lives.  That was, perhaps, my favorite part of this book and a beautiful thought to absorb. 

For readers who enjoy historic fiction and the 1950's era particularly, I know you'll love this book! You'll not only fall in love the characters, but you'll find yourself enjoying a look back in time at coal mining, beach trips to the oceanfront and a well-researched peek into timbering the land and the U.S. Forestry division. 

I gave this story four stars because I eagerly looked forward to every moment I could spend in this book and it truly was a heartwarming story with a beautiful, underlying message. The book was so well written and it flowed naturally, and easily. In addition, I just have to add that the cover with it's gold foiled raindrops, is simply stunning! 

...as much as he wished he could go back and take Joe’s place, he couldn’t. But there was a sweet girl with laughter in her eyes who just might give him a good reason to go on living for as long as he could.
— Sarah Loudin Thomas, The Sound of Rain

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

If you would like to learn more about author, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and her wonderful books, visit her website at www.sarahloudinthomas.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Sound of Rain on Amazon or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


Introducing Fall Magic by Paislee Press | 9x12 Digital Pocket Scrapbook Page

Hello my friends and Happy-Almost-Thanksgiving! I can't believe we are just a few days away from one of the biggest holidays of the year! I have desserts to bake for an evening at family's house and all the craziness of a short work week.  In the meantime, I'm here to share a beautiful new layout I've created using the incredible Fall Magic collection from Paislee Press.  This lovely collections features papers, elements and journal cards

Like the Autumn Vibes collection, this set has rich colors, more autumn themed elements and magnificent patterns.  

Introducing Fall Magic by Paislee Press | 9x12 Digital Pocket Scrapbook Page
 

Book Look(s) | Book Review of Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

* Note: All thoughts below are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.  However, this blog post does include affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Image via Goodreads.com

Image via Goodreads.com

★★★ Book Number 44/50  |  In keeping with my WWII themed books, I chose Love Finds You in Victory Heights via my online library. This story opens a look into the life of the women and men who made a difference here in the United States while many fought the war abroad.  The main character, Rosalie, a riveter at the Boeing plant in Seattle, WA struggles after the death of her fiancé and a family member as a result of the war.   In the midst of her struggles, she finds God's salvation, freedom from her the weight of guilt, and love, all while touted as Seattle's own "Rosie the Riveter". 

I gave this book three stars because it was cute and an easy read.  I loved that Rosalie found salvation early in the story.  I enjoyed the characters and learning about each one more as the story unwound.  At times, I felt much of the book was written after a major event had already happened in the characters' lives.  I would rather have read the story as they walked through those major events, but it was still a great book and yet another accurate look at life during World War II. 

My favorite part was perhaps the peek into the women who worked so hard to build the incredible machines that helped end the war and make America one of the leading Allied forces.  These women paved the way for women's rights, women's independence and equal rights in the workforce. 

Mama taught me that a girl’s good looks soon fade, while what’s in her heart just keeps getting more beautiful.
— Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss, Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington

Pick up your own copy of Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington here or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

Learn more about Tricia Goyer here and about Ocieanna Fleiss here.


 

 

Sharing Holiday Traditions, a FREE Holiday Bucket List Printable and 5 Sundays of FREE Christmas Movies via Pureflix.com!

Just 38 Days Until Christmas!

This time of year is my absolute favorite time of the year.  The holidays bring so much joy and so many opportunities to spend valuable time focusing on the things that really matter in life, like faith, family and gratitude.  

Note: Some of the following links are affiliate links, which means I receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Since November snuck up on me, I didn't get an opportunity to create a Gratitude Project again this year.  You can see the traveler's notebook style album I put together last year here.  Instead, I decided to focus my spare time on preparing to create a holiday album that encompasses our gratitude for the year, all three major holidays and all of our favorite holiday traditions, which I'm sharing more about below!  

I'll be using a 6x8 size binder with supplies I already have on hand and using some digital designs in hybrid format, so stay tuned because I'll be sharing more about that in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, you can click here to see my 2015 album and here to see my 2016 album

Holiday Traditions, FREE Holiday Bucket List Printables by Turquoise Avenue and 5 Sunday of FREE Christmas Movies from Pureflix.com
Holiday Traditions, FREE Holiday Bucket List Printables and 5 Sundays of FREE Christmas Movies via Pureflix.com!

Since this decision, I've put thought into the things I want to focus on.  Since this could very well be our last Christmas together as a couple without children (did you know we're adopting?!), I really want to document our favorite holiday traditions. While I know none of our traditions are unique, they are all traditions that bring the spirit of the holidays to our lives and our family time together. Here are a few I'm looking forward to:

PACKING OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD SHOEBOXES: This is my favorite tradition.  My husband and I usually pack 4 shoeboxes each year. We typically buy for the boxes all year long, but this year things were a little too busy so we instead spent one late evening after work collecting items and packing our shoeboxes to be delivered to church.  I slipped a little note for each child inside the boxes and they'll be collected this week to be shipped out all around the world.  What a wonderful way to spread holiday joy and Jesus's love around the world.  You can learn more about Operation Christmas Child via Samaritan's Purse.

DRIVING AROUND LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: One evening before Christmas, usually on a nice chilly evening, we jump in the car and take off for burgers and ice cream at Freddy's.  After our little stop for food, we drive around town and visit some different light shows while listening to Christmas music.  This was a tradition for each of us as children and we've continued it together as a married couple. We are so excited for the day when we will have a little one with us to enjoy the lights also! 

PROGRESSIVE DINNER ON CHRISTMAS EVE: This is a very new tradition for my husband's side of the family, one we started last year. However, after a HUGE success, we unanimously agreed to keep it.  With life being so busy throughout the year, family time with his side of the family is few and far between.  However, setting aside the entire day for a progressive dinner was really sweet. We spent a little time at each home and spent the entire day together.  Plus, it really broke up the amount of work and cooking each home had to do so it didn't fall all on one person or couple.  We are really looking forward to this tradition again. 

BAKING COOKIES: Each year this tradition looks a little different for me.  Throughout the year, I don't do much baking so I always eagerly anticipate putting on some Christmas music and baking for an entire day. Some years it has been with my mom, other years with my mother-in-law, and even still other years are with my sister. We never keep all the goodies to ourselves... We always share with our friends, family and neighbors.  Yet another way to spread holiday cheer! 

WATCHING CHRISTMAS MOVIES: This last tradition is probably one you all look forward to as well. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is nice to stay home, cuddle up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy a quiet evening together, as a family, near the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.  Ahhh, I can almost taste the hot chocolate already!  This year, I am SUPER EXCITED because beginning on Nov. 26th through Christmas Eve, Pure Flix is going to be sharing a FREE holiday movie every SundayEven better, because PureFlix.com is a faith and family based company, I know these movies are sure to be heartwarming and great for all ages.  

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Share them with me in a comment below!

 


DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN FREE HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST PRINTABLE!

Holiday Traditions, FREE Holiday Bucket List Printables by Turquoise Avenue and 5 Sunday of FREE Christmas Movies from Pureflix.com

To help YOU prepare for the holiday season, I've created a FREE Holiday Bucket List for all of my sweet friends who want to document the season.

There is both a 6x8 version in white and color as well as traveler's notebook 4x8 version.

When you click to download the file below, you'll receive the white and colored .jpg lists to use it digitally, plus a .pdf version for easy printing on your home printer.  

I hope you enjoy these and be sure to tag me (@TurquoiseAvenue) in your posts if you share your projects online! I can't wait to see what you create!

 

PIN THIS IMAGE! Sharing Holiday Tradition Ideas, download a FREE Holiday Bucket List Printable and get 5 Sundays of FREE Christmas Movies via Pureflix.com!  

PIN THIS IMAGE! Sharing Holiday Tradition Ideas, download a FREE Holiday Bucket List Printable and get 5 Sundays of FREE Christmas Movies via Pureflix.com!  


 

 

 

Introducing 2018 Calendar Templates from Paislee Press | A DIY Calendar Project

Happy Thursday, friends!  Can you believe that it is now November?  You guys, we are so close to twenty-eighteen! It's hard to believe...  So while I'm over here all flabbergasted and wondering where the year went, my sweet friend Liz over at Paislee Press has been designing and releasing 2018 calendar templates!  

I was excited to put together a digital calendar template to keep on my computer desktop and then I printed a copy to hang on the wall of my office. I used a clipboard as a simple base and set it on one of the shelves over my work desk.  Easy, peasy!

If you love the template I used below, then you'll really enjoy some of the projects from my fellow creative team members. Pop over to Liz's blog to finds all sorts of great ideas for using these templates and turning them into Christmas gifts, wall art and more! 

Introducing 2018 Calendar Templates from Paislee Press | A DIY Calendar Project
Create your own 2018 calendar using these new templates from Paislee Press!
 

More Easy, Digital Scrapbook Pages | Gallery of Recent Layouts featuring Paislee Press

Last week I shared a gallery of recent digital pages I created and I'm back with a few more today, this time using Paislee Press designs.  While working on these pages, I couldn't help but think how relaxing it is to sit down, design a digital page and piece it all together.  I'm able to slow down, breathe and listen to music.  I'm curious, what do you do when working on pages? Do you watch television or listen to music?  Are you someone who works on these pages during the day or in the quiet of an evening?  Share with me in the comments below! 

Products Used: Scenic Route and Travelogue

Products Used: Scenic Route and Travelogue

Also using paper from Bits and Pieces

Also using paper from Bits and Pieces


Products Used:  Press Plate No. 42

Products Used:  Press Plate No. 42


Products Used:  Press Plate No. 35., We Were Here papers and elements, Cozy elements.

Products Used:  Press Plate No. 35., We Were Here papers and elements, Cozy elements.


Book Look(s) | Book Review of When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom Book #3) by Sarah Sundin

* Note: All thoughts below are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.  However, this blog post does include affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ Book Number 43/50  |  With America in the throes of World War II, this story allows us a personal glimpse of the brave men and women who stepped up, doing whatever it took, to aid the war effort.  This book opened an exciting look into the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), the U.S. Navy's reserve program for women. 

Like Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm (see my review here), this book was a love story/mystery.  After having read the Wings of Glory series by same author, I found myself wishing these books were simply love stories with more complex characters.  In When Tides Turn, as well in Through Water Deep (Book #1), I didn't feel like the mystery added anything to the story. I found myself wanting to rush through those parts of the books so I could get back to the beautiful dynamic between these two characters and their innermost thoughts.  Sarah Sundin did a great job of creating characters that we could easily identify with in their personal struggles.  While the characters' backgrounds weren't complex, they did discover more about themselves and about each other throughout the story.  In addition, I enjoyed the fact that "gang" from the first two books continued their stories in this one and we are able to read more about where they left off. 

I gave this book four stars because it is a delightful, easy read with likable characters and fantastic history, thoroughly researched by the author.  However, I wanted, and even expected, a little more from this author for the characters in this book and the Waves of Freedom stories.  Again, I wish the mystery had just been left out all together, but overall, I still found myself laughing or feeling distraught as Sarah Sundin brought the characters to life. And any author who has Pinterest boards available for her readers to coordinate with each book is a winner in my opinion! It was so fun to browse those boards while reading these stories!

Even if you take side trips or spin around or veer off the path, the compass stays true. You can always find your way.
— Sarah Sundin, When Tides Turn

Pick up your own copy of When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3) here or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

P.S.  I also highly recommend the Wings of Glory series also by Sarah Sundin!

Learn more about Sarah Sundin here


 

 

Easy, Digital Scrapbook Pages | Gallery of Recent Layouts featuring One Little Bird

This year, creating digital pages has been a really great way for me to catalogue special photos, document particular memories and stay on top of my memory keeping without taking too much time out of my busy schedule.  I'm always excited to use new designs and build a page from scratch.  It has proven to me almost as fulfilling as working with paper! Today, I'm here to share a gallery of recent pages I've created using designs from the One Little Bird store.  Each page boasts of lovely florals so I think it's safe to say I've really been drawn to those lately!  What have you been working with recently?  Is there a trendy item you hope is here to stay?

Products Used:  Life in Pieces collection by One Little Bird  

Products Used:  Life in Pieces collection by One Little Bird

 


Products Used:  Elysian collection by One Little Bird  

Products Used:  Elysian collection by One Little Bird

 


Products Used:  Equinox collection by One Little Bird  

Products Used:  Equinox collection by One Little Bird

 


Introducing Book Look(s), A New Blog Series and Book Review of Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom Book #2) by Sarah Sundin

Hi everyone!  

I have something new, and a little different, to share here today.  When I started Turquoise Avenue back in July of 2015, my desire was for this space to be a lifestyle blog where I could share the various things I'm passionate about and help others discover their own purpose and joy. If I could name only ONE THING that has cultivated joy in my heart, it would be my love of books. That's probably not surprising coming from someone who makes memory books on a routing basis, and, I'm betting many of you feel the same way. I have so enjoyed the books I've read this year that I thought I might begin sharing little reviews here periodically.  

I have always been a booklover at heart.  It's the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of ink on the pages and a story so good that you find yourself laughing or crying with the characters. I adore seeing books on a shelf, touching their soft fabric covers and memorizing their illustrated covers and titles. Going back to my childhood, I have fond memories of reading books my great-grandmother gifted me, like Little Women or Alice in Wonderland, each with little notes inscribed inside the covers in her petite, adoring penmanship. I have so many wonderful memories surrounding books including weekly trips to the library with my mom or Grandfather, exchanging and discussing books with my best friend, even a couple of summers spent reading too many books to count or volunteering at the local library.  I read just about anything - enjoying biographies and autobiographies, historical fiction, horse books, classics, mysteries, and even thrillers. 

As life went on though, my love for books didn't diminish but rather was somewhat stifled by life's responsibilities and work. This year, I set a goal to read 50 books in my GoodReads account (yes, I'm well aware that's minimal compared to some of you) and I'm happily on my way to reaching that goal and possibly exceeding it!  For me, reading has been a way of slowing down, enjoying life, and finding fulfillment in the mundane everyday.  It allows my heart and mind time to relax, to breath and refresh.  

The books I plan to review won't always be new releases, but rather, good finds that I've come across and enjoyed.  You'll probably notice many of them will be historical fiction, and most will be of a religious background.  At any point in time, you will be able to find all my latest review posts via the Lifestyle > Booklovers tab at the top navigation bar of this site. So without further ado, I share my first book review with you...

 


BOOK LOOK(s) :  Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom Book #2) by Sarah Sundin

 

* Note: All thoughts below are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.  However, this blog post does include affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ Book Number 41/50  |  World War II stories capture my heart. My grandfather joined the US Navy during peacetime after the war ended and my mom has a handful of images of him in his sailor's suit, traveling the world with his buddies at the tender young age of 18.  The Waves of Freedom series has taken me back to that period of time, describing the world as it was then and giving me a glimpse of life in New England then. 

Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite authors, bar none.  Her books are beautifully written, her characters are so well developed and often face interpersonal struggles and her stories leave you wanting to crack open a history book just to read more. In this book, Anchor in the Storm, I found myself falling in love with characters Lillian and Arch as they worked on overcoming their own personal insecurities and finding a beautiful relationship with each other and growing in their relationship with Christ.  Set in Boston in the early 1940's, readers will find themselves captivated by the evils of war that lurked in the offshore waters, a mystery that plagues sailors and a lovely group of characters that show perseverance, faith and bravery can overcome it all. 

After reading the first book in this series, Through Waters Deep, I had higher expectations for this book which were met and exceeded.  While the first book in the series was a bit too Nancy Drew-ish for me, this story had more heart and depth.  It was an easy read, one I found that I didn't want to put down, and one that compelled me to laugh along with the characters or feel the nail biting suspense of war at sea.  I give it FIVE STARS. 

My favorite quote from the book is so soul touching.  As a Christian, this is a beautiful picture of God's unconditional love for us. 

All he wanted was to show her she was worthy of a long journey, worthy of an apology, worthy of love. She didn’t have to accept any of it, but she needed to know.
— - Sarah Sundin, Author of Anchor in the Storm

Pick up your own copy of Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom) here or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

P.S.  I also highly recommend the Wings of Glory series also by Sarah Sundin!

Learn more about Sarah Sundin here


Introducing Autumn Vibes by Paislee Press | 9x12 Digital Pocket Scrapbook Page

Glorious fall has arrived!

Hi friends, if you're like me and fortunate enough to live somewhere where the leaves change each fall, then you're going to love this new collection from Paislee Press, called Autumn Vibes.  This collection features templates, elements and journal cards

The rich colors, autumn themed elements (including football!) and crisp clean design has me totally in love. It was perfect for some snapshots my husband and I took over the weekend. 

TQ_AutumnVibes_PaisleePress.jpg