Book Review: Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life


Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life, by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Published 2016 by The Henry Nouwen Legacy Trust


Seven million copies of his books in print! This collection of over 100 unpublished letters from the bestselling author of such spiritual classics as The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer offers deep spiritual insight into human experience, intimacy, brokenness, and mercy.

Over the course of his life, Henri Nouwen wrote thousands of letters to friends, acquaintances, parishioners, students, and readers of his work all around the world. He corresponded in English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish, and took great care to store and archive the letters decade after decade. He believed that a thoughtful letter written in love could truly change someone’s life. Many people looked to Nouwen as a long distance spiritual advisor.

Love, Henri consists of over a hundred letters that stretch from the earliest years of Henri’s career up through his last 10 years at L’Arche Daybreak. Rich in spiritual insights the letters highlight a number themes that emerged in both Henri’s work over the years, including vocation, solitude, prayer, suffering, and perseverance in difficult times. These deeply spiritual letters, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, ultimately demonstrate the rich value of communicating with God through others.

My Review:

When I was earning my Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from an Ohio seminary, Henri Nouwen was an author regularly recommended to students by professors, other students, and clinical and academic advisors.

The Wounded Healer was by far the most recommended book and I do believe my entire cohort read it before we began our internships. Henri Nouwen had such a gift. He was intelligent, well read, well known, gifted, wonderful with people, and a model of selfless love, but he taught us that we did not have to be perfect people in order to help others and to help them begin the healing process. In fact, our wounds could serve to make us better helpers.

In his books, Henri was always so transparent and shared without hesitation that which made him a flawed and wounded healer. I remember this book bringing tears to my eyes, for certainly I was the most flawed student in the bunch and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. Henri helped me through my self doubt, helped me to see that my wounds would make me a better healer. I found great peace in that.

Love, Henri was such a beautiful glimpse into his personal life and the way he loved others in an authentic way that was not full of posturing or self-adulation. Reading his letters made me realize that Henri was human. I admit I put him on a bit of a pedestal while in school, but he was so…real in his responses to those who wrote  him. They were not cookie cutter responses and he did not hesitate to admit when he did not have the answers. I admired that very much and again the importance of transparency became all the more apparent to me during those moments.

I highly recommend this books to fans of Henri Nouwen, seminary students, pastors…anyone whose faith is important to them. I would also highly recommend Love, Henri to anyone who would like to read letters filled with love, kindness, acceptance, and authenticity.

Happy reading to you. I do hope you enjoy reading Henri’s letters and I hope they touch your heart.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Mental Health Matters: Upcoming Book Review

I will be posting a book review of one of my favorite books, Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind. This review will be a little bit different in that I will be providing some of my favorite quotes from the book, quotes and short passages that helped me, at the age of 24, to realize that it was very possible that I had a serious mental illness.

I can’t wait to share this book with you. Have you already read it? I would love to know what you think!


Beauty & Skin Care Haul!

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 9.30.20 AM.png

I am so excited to share my reviews on these products! I have been trying them out for a little less than a week, but I want to try them long enough so I can give you quality reviews. So far, I have to say that I am loving everything!

The Maybelline BB Cream, Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, Cover Girl oh sugar!, and the sleeping cream were all purchases inspired by Samantha March. She produces amazing beauty videos on YouTube – please check her out! She is so genuine and lovely and she features high end and drugstore items which is helpful and so much fun 🙂

Look for a review next Monday. Here are all of the products I am trying out… (I shared the links, so if you’re interested just click away!)

Garnier Miracle Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Cream

Garnier Miracle Anti-Fatigue Wake-Up Hydra-Gel

Milani Make It Last Prime + Correct + Set

Milani Prime Light

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil

Neutrogena Hydro Boost cleanser

Maybelline BB cream

Batiste dry shampoo

Cover Girl oh sugar! in #1, Cupcake

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a beautiful day.

Book Review: I Am Death

I Am Death, by Chris Carter
Publication Date: July 30, 2015
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Book 7 of the Robert Hunter Thriller Series

About the Book:

In Top 10 Sunday Times (UK) bestselling author Chris Carter’s electrifying follow-up to his “chilling” (Daily Mail) thriller An Evil Mind, the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit lead detective, Robert Hunter, races to stop a serial killer whose past secrets rival those of Hunter’s himself.

Seven days after being abducted, the body of a twenty-year-old woman is found on a grassy area by the Los Angeles International Airport. She has been left with her limbs stretched out and spread apart, placing her in a five-point human star.

The autopsy reveals that she has been tortured and murdered in a bizarre way but the surprises don’t end there. The killer likes to play, and he left something behind for the cops to find. Detective Robert Hunter is assigned to the case but almost immediately a second body turns up. Detective Hunter quickly realizes that he is chasing a monster—a predator whose past hides a terrible secret, whose desire to hurt people and thirst for murder can never be quenched—for he is DEATH.

Fast-paced, action-packed, and filled with suspense, I Am Death is perfect for fans of Jeffery Deaver, Thomas Harris, and Chelsea Cain.

My Review:

I think I may have found a new favorite author.

While this is book seven in a series I will definitely be reading, I was able to read it without feeling like I was missing out, or completely lost on character background and personalities. This is a mark of a highly skilled author – the ability to pull in a reader well past the middle of a series, to keep them hooked and wanting more.

I love thrillers, and crime novels and I Am Death did not disappoint. Detectives Garcia and Hunter are returning to the job after a traumatic workplace situation. Upon their arrival, they are faced with a psychopath who is surprising them at every turn and does not follow a specific M.O. like most serial killers do. This perpetrator, whose only consistencies are horrifying brutal murders and leaving his signature at almost every crime scene: I Am Death.

The chapters fly by and are so full of meaningful, interesting, and captivating information that I hated to see each one end. Carter does something neat with his chapters as he sticks with the detectives for a few chapters and after revealing a huge piece of information, he sometimes flips to the point of view of the killer and his victims, or he might stick with the detectives. You never know what is coming next while you are reading and I love that. I love being on the edge of my seat, loving all story lines and not wishing that one would end so I can go back to the one that I like.

I thought I had this book figured out, I really did. I could not have been more wrong. I love being wrong! The plot twist that happens at the very end of the book blew my mind. I was so shocked and at first confused, I had to read the last few chapters a few times to make sure I was processing what I was reading. It was an amazing ending that I could never have predicted in a million years.

I found detectives Garcia and Hunter to be very likable. I especially liked that Robert Hunter has a Ph. D. in psychology and is constantly being courted by the FBI. He is vastly intelligent, but he never makes his partner or others around him feel as though they are less than. He comes across as a very humble man.

If you like books you can’t put down, difficult or unsolvable crimes, characters who will lead you to want to get to know them better and make you want to read every book written by Chris Carter, then I highly recommend this book to you. Go on a journey with Robert Hunter and try to solve this crime with him. I feel comfortable promising you that you will not be bored or counting the pages until you reach the end. You may need to read a few scenes more than once, but it’s worth it. So worth it.

This was a thriller I read mainly when I was alone and I did not get too scared to the point where I was unable to be comfortable in my own home. It’s terrifying, please don’t get me wrong, but if you read this during the day time, you might be okay. 🙂 At night…maybe cuddle up with your dog(s) or cat(s) and try not to accidentally push your significant other out of the bed because with each turn of the page you inch closer and closer. Not that this happened to me at all…

Chris Carter is a very gifted author. I highly recommend his Robert Hunter Thriller series, but if you can get your hands on I Am Death, I think this can serve as a stand alone novel that will be a good introduction to Robert Hunter and give you a glimpse into who he is as a man and as an elite detective.

I cannot wait to read my next Robert Hunter book. Thank you, Chris Carter.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Makeup I’m Looking Forward to Wearing this Week

Mondays are always hard days for me. I have a hard time getting back into the swing of things, getting back to my work routine, and sometimes I just don’t want to leave the house. I’ve decided that every Sunday, I am going to choose a makeup item that makes me happy and gives me confidence. This makeup will help me prepare to leave the house and it nothing else, I will feel good about this aspect of my day.

It may sound silly, but I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my anxiety at a minimum. This week I will be wearing my new BECCA highlight that was a gift from my mom. It is in Opal and it is beautiful, shimmery, and it can be layered for a POW! effect, or applied with a light hand for a subtle and soft glow.

I’m excited to get ready tomorrow and put my shimmer to the test. Happy Monday Eve, everyone!

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal 


Book Review: Parker

Parker, by Jillian Quinn
Book #1 in the Face-Off Series

Publication date: February 15, 2017

A Blurb from Alex Parker Himself:

I’m Alex Parker, the best defenseman in the NHL, heartbreaker, and troublemaker. My team had the best penalty kill record in the league, thanks to me. I was on a winning team and so close to the Stanley Cup before I hooked up with the wrong puck bunny–the team owner’s granddaughter. Oops! So, they shipped me off to Philadelphia to play for the Flyers, one of the worst teams in the league.

My agent thinks I need to clean up my act. I drink too much. I sleep around too much. He assigns Charlotte Coachman, aka Coach, to whip me into shape. Coach is a sexy as hell sports agent that challenges me, and every time we’re around each other it’s as if we’re having our own face-off. I want her but she has strict rules about dating clients. And I like breaking them.

My Review:

I love sports and I love romance. Up until now, I haven’t been able to find a book that combines the two as perfectly as Parker. Jillian Quinn obviously knows a lot about sports and is a legitimate fan of them – this is evident in her writing and the passion found in each page.

I must mention that this book is steamy, steamy, steamy! So it’s best for mature eyes  only. The love scenes are  intense and the stuff of dreams. Jillian Quinn knows how to write a love scene! 🙂 While steamy, they are not dirty or unnecessary. They actually allow the reader to learn more about Parker and Coach/Charlotte/Charlie.

The characters in this book. One word – fantastic! I liked Coach and Parker very much and the weaving of their  love story was so sweet and tender. I love the way that Parker is so devoted to Coach that he will do anything to prove to her how much she means to him. This relationship will touch your heart and the steamy scenes might lead you to take a break and feed the birds or water your cats. 🙂

There are other characters who will steal your heart, like Rico, one of the kids Charlotte coaches in youth basketball. So many substantive, rich relationships.

The ending of the book literally made my heart leap. I could feel it flutter with joy and surprise.

If you like books with fabulous, well-thought out characters and a love story that will keep you guessing at each turn and rooting for Parker and Coach, you will love Parker. I highly recommend this book.I read this book for about 4 hours while at my desk at work today. All of my work was complete and I kept thinking about Parker and needed to know the whole story and pronto! Luckily, I am a Librarian, so read at my desk is quite the norm. When you start reading Parker, you will not be able to put it down!

One last thing. Read the Acknowledgments. They moved me to tears and allowed me to get to know Jillian a little bit more.

Thank you to the author, for my advanced reader copy. I am delighted to review Parker.

Jillian also has another book out! It is called Corrupt Me and is available now!

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 11.34.05 PM.png

Book Review: A Questionable Friendship

A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March
Publication Date: February 26, 2014

About the Book:

Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

My Review:

A Questionable Friendship is a touching and heart-wrenching story of two best friends. Brynne is happily married to Aaron, her devoted and loving husband who is there for her through thick and thin, and all of life’s ups and downs. They have an adorable, sweetheart of a daughter named Emmy Jo who is the light of their lives. Emmy Jo brought a genuine smile to my face many times throughout the book. Brynne loves books and owns her own book store and cafe named EJ Reads. It made me think of You’ve Got Mail a little bit. 🙂 Very cozy and lovely to imagine.

Portland followed her bestie, Brynne, to a new city and soon after met her husband, Trent. Portland often works at EJ Reads. She and Trent lead what seems to be an idyllic life, with a large, upscale home and enough money to keep them comfortable for ages thanks to Trent’s demanding job.

I read this on my kindle. I was about 4% through the book when I knew I was in it for the long haul. It has been a long time since I have read a book that was so…soothing. Soothing in that I was actually able to lose myself in a story and relax. Sometimes I find it hard to focus my mind and relax, even when reading, and lately I’ve been having a bit of a rough go of things. I write all of this to explain what A Questionable Friendship meant to me. It brought me an incredible reading experience that I would characterize as rich, surprising, touching, satisfying, and sometimes frustrating. Frustrating because I wanted Brynne and Portland to communicate better, communicate in an authentic and transparent way. But their struggles to communicate are extremely important to the story. The characters became so real to me, I found myself becoming emotionally invested. I was moved to tears at least twice.

Samantha March has a gift for writing, especially when it comes to character development. If this is something important to you in a book, you will love A Questionable Friendship. If atmosphere/setting is important to you, the descriptions of the town will transport you so that you will feel like you are right there with Brynne, Portland, Emmy Jo and everyone else.

This book has it all. Interesting characters-there is not one character that did not fit in or make sense. A friendship between the two main characters that is complicated and real and it leads Brynne and Portland to often question their connection, ergo the title of the book, A Questionable Friendship. The story is so engaging  – you will have a tough time putting this one down! I read it in less than 2 days. And the plot twists! They were believable and made me gasp out loud.

I struggled to review this book because I loved it so  much. Did I say enough? Did I say the right things? I highly recommend this book if you love a good story, characters that come to life on the pages, stories about friendship and real life, books that make you feel real feelings, and unexpected suspense. I can’t recommend it highly enough and it makes me excited to read Samantha’s other books.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5 doughnuts

Thank you for reading,

How to find Samantha March:

Her blog, Chick Lit Plus
YouTube (she has a beauty channel! It is so much fun!)