MY FAVORITE SUMMER READS

hello & welcome to or welcome back to christina raquel!! i hope you’re all having an amazing day <33

recently I’ve been doing a TON of reading (like 10 books a week) and i’ve been loving it. without having school i’ve had so much more time and it’s been so nice to just relax with a book. even if you don’t like to read, these books are so good and you will for sure fall in love with at least one. today i’m sharing some of my favorite books that have lots of summery vibes and are perfect to read in the summertime!

Continue reading “MY FAVORITE SUMMER READS”

june 2020 recent reads

hey frens! today I’m sharing some of the books I’ve read this month and doing some mini reviews. I love reading but it’s so hard to find good books sometimes! if you have any recs share them below 👇👇


After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry. John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past? 

true to you – going into this book, I assumed it would be a pretty typical fluffy, cheesy romance with zero depth. I was wrong. True to You surprised me with a couple plot twists and some depth to the story that I wasn’t expecting, but it still tied itself all up with a bow and had plenty of fluff. this book also had a lot of christian themes to it and was pretty clean (no explicit language, but some mature themes including rape/assault… these are a part of the story but aren’t described in detail at all.)

Willow Bradford is content taking a break from modeling to run her family’s inn until she comes face-to-face with NFL quarterback Corbin Stewart, the man who broke her heart–and wants to win her back. When a decades-old missing-persons case brings them together, they’re forced to decide whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

falling for you – this is the sequel to true to you (there’s actually four books in the series but I’m not sure if I’ll read all of them) and I ended up reading it all in one afternoon! i wasn’t sure what to think going into it but I actually loved it way more than true to you?? I could relate a ton more to willow than nora so I think that was part of it lol. again plenty of christian themes, a little bit of talk about premarital sex (not in detail at all) + a pregnancy scare and also this story centered around a mystery just like true to you. the mystery for this one did involve an affair but nothing was described in detail so I’d consider this book super clean and a great read!

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say. Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home. There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

allegedly – I saw this on another blogger’s book haul and thought it looked interesting so I decided to read it. oh my gosh, you guys, I was not prepared at all for this book. it’s SO SO GOOD but also so messed up!! if you read this just know that you WILL cry haha. it’s so painful and I felt punched in the stomach after reading it. the writing is so good and I could not believe this is a debut novel?? like what?? in the middle I did feel like everything slowed down a bit but push through because the ending will shock you so much omg. this book literally stabbed me in the heart and I have no clue what to say. also this book is not a cotton candy rainbow unicorn book. it’s terribly unfair and it’s so hard to read. AND OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS THE ENDING. i was not expecting what happened ahhhh. to summarize: I feel so manipulated by this book but I would definitely recommend it! there is a lot of language/violence/abuse/some sexual content but the message is so good. and bring tissues you will definitely need them. if you want to talk more about this book after you read it dm me because I have so much more to say but I don’t want to spoil omg!!

What if America had a royal family? When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

american royals – haha this book is totally opposite of the previous one. full of soap opera style drama without a ton of depth to it. BUT I live for this type of story so I loved this book! I also love the royals so if you do too you might enjoy this read. there’s a sequel coming out in september and I CANNOT WAIT! there are a ton of plot twists in this story but honestly that just feeds into the soap opera style. content warning: there is some language (not peppering the pages but it’s definitely there) and some sexual content not described in detail. overall this was a good read and I’m pumped for the sequel.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. 

the summer I turned pretty – ahh I really, really wanted to like this book. but… I didn’t?? i think it could have been way better but here are the things I didn’t like

  1. there’s a love square. i don’t even know what it’s called. belly likes THREE people the whole summer just make up your mind girl!!
  2. also there were a ton of flashbacks which could have been good but they were super confusing? it was kinda hard to tell what was going on.
  3. also i loved belly but she could be really bratty and annoying sometimes.
  4. it was just… weird sometimes. i don’t know.
  5. drugs/smoking/sexual things mentioned/alcohol (not too much but it was there)

but there were some redeeming qualities

  1. susannah. i loved her so much!! I feel like her character personified summer and she was pretty much perfect.
  2. cam. he was weird but just the right amount of weird so i liked him.
  3. jeremiah and conrad. they annoyed me a ton but i still liked them. I kinda sympathize with belly tbh because how can you choose between all of them??? they’re all so different but they all fit belly’s personality.
  4. belly’s mom. she wasn’t perfect and there were definitely times where she wasn’t a great role model. BUT i feel like throughout the story belly really learned how much her mom loved her and I started to see that even though she wasn’t perfect she definitely loved her daughter a lot.

so, to summarize this rather long review – I really wanted to love this book and while it didn’t quite meet my expectations I’m still going to read the other books in the series and see if they’re good! I would recommend this book though, just be prepared for it not to be amazing i guess?


I’ve definitely read more books recently, but these are some of the main ones! currently I’m reading present over perfect, the third book in the bradford sisters series, christy miller (for the millionth time), and the outsiders (for school).

what are you reading? do you have any good book recommendations?

my top 10 books to read this year (ft. tbr)

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this year, I really want to read more, and better books. I haven’t gone to the library much recently because my library doesn’t have the greatest selection, but I need to put more books on hold instead of making that an excuse. Do not get me wrong, I love to read (and I do it A LOT) but I want to make purposeful choices this year with the books I read.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 books (and series!) to read this year!

Continue reading “my top 10 books to read this year (ft. tbr)”

MARTIN LEGACY REVEAL

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OH MY WORD THE COVER LIKE SO MUCH CUTENESS

ahh I’m so excited to share this with you!! I got to be on Abigayle’s street team (the best part was getting to beta read martin legacy… y’all are going to LOVE it) and today is the official reveal of the book.

release date: november 12, 2019

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the covers look so perfect together oh my word I’m actually dying

about the book:

Gemma Ebworthy is a struggling single mother—but not for much longer. Engaged to a kind-hearted farmer boy, her turbulent life is looking more stable at last, but troubles are still on the horizon. It seems their efforts to build a legacy for their unique family are constantly under siege.


Farris cherishes the only life he’s ever known, even though he feels more called to the mission field than his adoptive father’s fields. Growing up among extended family and in the Christian faith, he’s always had a firm foundation.

Yet when the past Gemma is so ashamed of—the one Farris can’t even remember—comes calling again, the life they’ve built is put to the test. For it to remain standing, Gemma is going to have to silence her demons once and for all. But this time, she’s not alone.

extra links:


okay guys TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!! share the cover on your blog or social media (use hashtag #MartinLegacybook on instagram) and share it with all your friends!

who else CAN’T WAIT until nov. 12?

so excited,

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some of my summer favorites

Copy of camp nano (july 2019)

I feel like summer is going by so fast – even though it’s only almost halfway over (at least for me). When do y’all go back to school? I go back the last week of August but my crazy schedule doesn’t start until a couple weeks into September.

Today I’m going to be sharing some of my summer favorites so far – mostly books and blogs I’ve been loving recently but also some other random things 😛 

books 

Image result for roadside assistance bookEmily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily’s world seems shaken beyond repair. Driven from home by hospital bills they can’t pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine—in other words, just like Whitney, Emily’s perfect cousin. But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up.
But even working alongside Zander can’t completely fix the hole in Emily’s life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn’t been able to pray, and no one—not even Zander—seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.

Sooo I FINALLY read Roadside Assistance and GUYS. WHY did I not read this sooner? It’s soo good and way better than I expected. I cried… which is something I rarely do when I read a book but this one was an exception. At the beginning I lowkey hated Emily (I KNOW, sorry, but imo she was acting really annoying or even prejudiced maybe?) I also felt like some of her claims that Zander was selfish/stuck up just had no proof behind them. Otherwise this book was amazing and I would highly recommend it!! 

It all starts the summer Christy vacations on a California beach and meets two friends who change her life forever. But after moving across the country with her family, Christy must begin her sophomore year of high school uncertain where she’ll fit in. A red-headed new best friend, a try at cheerleading, a job at a pet store, and expectations for the prom fill Christy’s high school years with a string of laughter-and-tears moments. Fireball Katie keeps everyone guessing what she’ll do next, and surfer Todd keeps showing up while popular Rick has determined to get her full attention! As these memorable years unfold, Christy and her God-loving friends find out what it means to be a “peculiar treasure.” Follow Christy Miller as she stays true to her identity in Christ, drawing closer to God for help in realizing her dreams and dealing with her disappointments.

I only read volumes one and two of Christy Miller, but I also read her diary (BAD IDEA: that thing has MAJOR spoilers lol). I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! In this type of book, most aspects of the book are “too perfect”, and while this series (so far) has plenty of that, it also has a more “real” storyline than most books like this I’ve read. I LOVE the characters and… just everything. GUYS READ THiESE BOOKS PLEASE!!! 😍

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low ExpectationsA generation stands on the brink of a “rebelution.” A growing movement of young people is rebelling against the low expectations of today’s culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God. And Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge. Do Hard Things is the Harris twins’ revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential. Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life. Then they map out five powerful ways teens can respond for personal and social change. Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of an already-happening teen revolution challenges a generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today. “Most people don’t expect you to understand what we’re going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don’t expect you to care. And even if you care, they don’t expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don’t expect it to last. We do.” – Alex and Brett

I finally read Do Hard Things and guys it is AMAZING. If you haven’t read it yet you 100% should. I loved loved LOVED it and it is soo inspiring! It will definitely challenge you to “do hard things” and to be honest I would recommend it to everyone – not just teens!

blogs

The Rebelution | rebelling against low expectations

This is the sight that the authors of “Do Hard Things” run. Their articles, which are authored by a wide variety of Christian writers and bloggers, are super encouraging. They have a huge variety of topics and I highly recommend just heading over there and reading a couple! 

The Art of Being Isa

Recently, this blog has been a favorite! I love Isa’s posts – one of my recent favorites was her 15th birthday post – she is GORGEOUS! I also loved her “I got saved” post – it was really great and I *might* have cried? Just a little bit? Okay fine a lot 😂❤

Pananaw

If you don’t follow this blog SHAME ON YOU. Okay… sorry… but seriously Jo is pretty much the best person ever and her posts are AMAZING! ❤

 

That’s all my favorites for now – have you read any of those books/blogs? If not you should!! See you guys in a couple days 🙂 

❤ bye, 

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My Summer Reading List//Free Printable

My Summer Reading List

Today I’m going to share (some of) the books on my summer reading list! It’s VERY long, so I decided to only share some of the books.

Also, I have some great news for y’all: Martin Legacy is out for beta readers!! I LOVED Martin Hospitality SOOO much and Martin Legacy is not a disappointment. It’s too late now to sign up to be a beta reader but I finished the book earlier this week and it’s amazing. Most of my comments (that were supposed to be critiques) were pretty much me squealing. I can’t wait for Abigayle Claire to release it 🙂 

I LOVE classic fiction books now (I blame Omnibus) but I also like good fiction (most of the YA books are soo bad – both writing and content) and pretty much anything. 😂 Several of the books on this list are rereads (xD) and they’re mostly classics that my teacher(s) recommended.

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  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Christy – Catherine Marshall
  • Northanger Abby – Jane Austen
  • The Christy Miller Series – Robin Jones Gunn
  • Julie – Catherine Marshall
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  • Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry – Mildred Taylor
  • Let the Circle Be Unbroken – Mildred Taylor
  • The Road to Memphis – Mildred Taylor
  • The Pushcart War – Jean Merrill
  • Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  • Sketchy Behavior – Erynn Mangum
  • Roadside Assistance – Amy Clipston
  • The Story People – Heather Kaufman
  • Where you Lead – Leslea Wahl
  • Very Good, Jeeves! – P. G. Woodhouse
  • Rose in Bloom – Louisa May Alcott
  • Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
  • Eight Cousins – Louisa May Alcott
  • Interrupted: Life Beyond Words – Rachel Coker
  • Chasing Jupiter – Rachel Coker

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I made a free printable in case you want to track the books you read this summer (or anytime!!) There are two versions (they are both in the SAME PDF though). The first one has columns for title, author, and minutes, but the second one only has columns for title and author. 

Printable Summer Reading Chart

Hope you enjoy!! ❤

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My Favorite Book Covers

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In this post, I’m going to do the complete opposite of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and judge books by their covers. #sorrynotsorry because these book covers are literally the cutest!!

Do you always judge books by their covers like me? 😂
Also you guys should know that I judge books by their covers already… remember my tbr?

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The entire Puffin in Bloom Collection

The Puffin in Bloom collection is made up of Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, A little Princess, and Heidi, and the covers are literally the cutest.

In Bloom Book Collection Set of 4 Books Published By Puffin in Bloom with Matching Bookmarks

Guys look at the spines!! 😍

Roadside Assistance

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#sorrynotsorry

I seriously love this cover too much. It’s so cute!!! I haven’t even read the book yet though so.

Melanie Dickerson Books

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Sorry for the weird picture, but it was the only one I could find where it showed part of most covers 😂

Anyway, I just love the dresses! They’re so cute 😍 If I ever show up in one of these dresses, don’t blame me! I love how all the covers are similar to each other as well.

This Changes Everything

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Eep the cover is just so cute! I love how it tells a story, and the color scheme is really good too! I love this cover 😍 (also sorry most of these books are on my tbr)

Where you Lead

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I love this cover. I haven’t read the book yet but the color and the cover in general make me want to read it right now! I love the sunset in the background 😍

Within these lines

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I love the cover!!! 😍😍😍 (I say this about every book tho so) I love how it goes with the story (even though I haven’t read it yet).

Martin Hospitality

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The cover is so pretty! I love the painting aspect 😍 (also if you haven’t read this book yet HOW DARE YOU okay sorry but still it’s SO good and I 110% recommend it)

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What’s your favorite book cover? More importantly: have you read Martin Hospitality?😂 Did you like it?

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BOOK REVIEW: Andora’s Folly by Abigayle Claire

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NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Stellae Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.

I have really high hopes for this book… guys the author wrote Martin Hospitality (aka probably my favorite book in the universe!!) Josiah is the cutest and Gemma 😍 Plus FARRIS. Please. Before this turns into me fangirling over Martin Hospitality (wait it already has), let’s get started with the review.

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A n d o r a ‘ s   F o l l y

by Abigayle Claire

The synopsis of the book is from Goodreads.

A Pandora’s Box retelling

Andora is a beautiful young woman with insatiable curiosity. Raised in splendor, she is spoiled by her privileged life. When a love letter is slid under her door, her life takes a drastically unromantic turn. Nothing makes sense—her arranged marriage, the gifts her parents bestow on her wedding day, or her new husband’s temperament.

As Andora begins to unravel the mysteries around her, she ignites a chain of events that have the power to sabotage her entire village forever. Only her new-found wisdom as a desperate peasant’s wife can save her from her folly.

I’ve really never read/heard a lot about Pandora’s Box (only a tiny bit) but I was still really excited to read the book! Plus the author had set my hopes very high 😂 (I love Martin Hospitality okay?)

As I read the book, I began to enjoy it more and more. Andora annoyed me so much at the beginning, but when she got married, I actually began to like her 🙂 By the time the novella was over, I was SO sad. I mean please can we have a sequel? SO GOOD.

C O N T E N T

Knowing Abigayle Claire, I excepted little to no content issues, and I was right. SPOILER At the end, there are a couple kisses between Theus and Andora (who are married), but they’re not detailed. SPOILER Quite honestly, I can’t think of anything questionable in this book aside from a few very non-detailed kisses. There was violence SPOILER And in the end, death SPOILER, but it was not detailed in a gory way.

R E C O M M E N D A T I O N

I would recommend this book to girls and guys over age 11. While I think the story would appeal more to girls, I can see guys enjoying it as well. It took me 30-45 minutes to read the whole novella (while taking some notes for the review), but I do read pretty fast so this may take around 1 hour. Still, it’s definitely worth it! I don’t think anyone 10 or under would enjoy the story very much, but some kids might!

F I N A L   T H O U G H T S

I loved this book. ❤

I already knew that Abigayle Claire was a great author from reading Martin Hospitality (!!!!), but Andora’s Folly confirmed that! I can’t wait for Abigayle’s next book, and like I said I’m hoping for a sequel to Andora’s Folly! It will probably never happen but a girl can wish right??

Anyway. Go buy this book! (you will not be unhappy with it!) Let me know what you think 🙂 It ends really quickly but you will enjoy it!

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My TBR

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Welcome back to C & C (Christina and Camera)! Today I’m going to be sharing my TBR list.

also if you didn’t know tbr is to be read. because i didn’t know that until recently so i thought apparently you guys needed to know that? ANYWAY.
also it’s official: i’m horrible at intros.

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tbr sketchy behaviortbr suit and suitabilitytbr sense and sensibilitytbr roadside assistancetbr becoming mrs. lewistbr the story peopletbr this changes everythingtbr where you leadtbr within these lines

tbr riddle of agestbr summerhill secrets

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Wow. This was so much longer than I expected… whoops!

Have you read any of these books? Let me know if they’re good! What’s on your TBR?

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Recently: Books, Podcasts, Blogs, and Music

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Today I decided to do a compilation post about what I’m reading and listening to! I don’t know why but I really like this type of post so I wanted to do it today. On Monday, I’m going to post my reactions to your assumptions about me (you guys… they were the BEST) and that’s going to be really fun so definitely stay tuned. Anyway, enough with the intro… let’s get started!

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B O O K S

*Soo little disclaimer here… I read a ton more books but I wanted to pick two favorites. And these won!*

Cover image for The war I finally wonThe War I Finally Won// Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I read the previous book in this series to my siblings and honestly I really just wanted to know what happened to Ada… also now I want another book in the series. TBH I got so annoyed at Ada halfway through but now… i’m so sorry Ada! The ending 😰

 

Hardcover Anne of Green Gables Book

Anne of Green Gables (the whole series)//L. M. Montgomery

I don’t have this cover… BUT HOW PRETTY! OFC I’ve already read this series but I just had to read it again. My favorite book in the series is Rilla (the last one) just because. Even though it’s SO sad. null

P O D C A S T S

Ariana’s Flying Life//Ari’s podcast is the best just like her blog! It’s been so fun to listen to her talk about diverse topics… guys I have a feeling that she’s AMAZING at debating. 😉

Blogging 101//If anyone should make this podcast, it’s Hannah. Because she’s a (very) successful blogger and entrepreneur, I’ve been hanging on to every single word of her podcast 😂 It’s amazing and you should definitely check it out!

Do you guys have a favorite podcast? If so, let me know- I’d love to check it out!

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B L O G S

Soo I limited myself to five blogs… WHAT. Bad idea. 😲 There are so many blogs I wanted to include but didn’t because I wanted to do the first five that came to mind… no hard feelings if I didn’t include you! 😁

Ari//Ariana’s Flying Life//I know Ari’s blog is pretty much nominated in all my tags and I talk about her all the time but her blog is amazing! She’s a really sweet girl and her posts are always really uplifting and encouraging. She posts often so definitely go over and follow her! 

Maggie//Dreaming of Guatemala//Recently, Maggie’s blog has been one of my favorites. Her posts are very uplifting and are great reminders about God’s love for us. She also has been doing weekly challenges and positive change a lot recently, which is one of my favorite topics and a great reminder for me! Maggie’s blog is wonderful and you will not be disappointed if you go over and follow her.

Audrey Kate//The Junebug Blog//Audrey is so creative and her posts are so fun! I always love seeing a new one in my reader 😊 I found her blog pretty recently, and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you like creative posts, then check her blog out!

Covah//Dancing in the rain//I love Covah’s blog title and her design has me like… 😍 I really like her style of posts and they are always really fun. I would recommend her blog for sure!

Allison//A Farm Girls’ Life//Allison’s photography is really good, and I’m always really inspired after reading her posts. I don’t really know what to say about her site, but it’s really great and her photography is impressive. 😂

 

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M U S I C

Soo I pretty much make a new playlist on Spotify every. single. day. But these are the songs that I include pretty much every time! Most (actually all) of them are worship songs…. 😂😂

  • in christ alone//the solid rock
  • washed away//nothing but the blood
  • oceans (where feet may fall)
  • our god
  • this is amazing grace
  • how great is our god
  • you say
  • blessed be the name of the lord

What did I tell you? 😂

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This post was so fun! I hope you all enjoyed as well. Let me know your favorite podcast!

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