ain't we got fun | a story

I'd like to apologize for my absence. It's been a busy season. A very good season, but a very busy season.

Hello, 2015! Farewell, 2014!

A new year and a new month are coming along. With that comes new ideas and new stories.

My friend, Emily Ann Putzke, and I have considered writing fictional letters back and forth for a very long time now. We even started it once but then life got in the way. However, the other day my mind was whirling as I came up with an idea. Suppose we do write fictional letters. And suppose we post them as a continuing story on our blogs.

Throughout the month of January 2015, Emily and I will be alternating fictional letters on our blogs. On January 1st, I will be posting the first letter on this blog. On January 2nd, Emily will post the next on her blog. And so on.

The letters follow the lives of two sisters, Georgiana and Bess Rowland, as they struggle through the Great Depression.

Needless to say, we're VERY excited about it! If you'd like to get a visual hint on what this story will involve, go check out our Pinterest board!

Follow Emily's board ain't we got fun on Pinterest.

And check back here tomorrow to read the first installment of Ain't We Got Fun! 

it took a war | review

Author :: Emily Ann Putzke

Summary :: 1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.

First line :: It was one of those crisp April mornings when the world smelled sweet and fresh, as if it had just been thoroughly cleansed.

Last word :: Heart.

My thoughts :: I haven't yet read the edited version of this darling book; but I was the one who edited it, in a way, so I certainly have an idea of what it is like now. And considering it was really, really good then, it must only be better now, right?

I think the thing that stood out to me the most in Putzke's writing was the simple serenity. Many authors writing are not forced, quite, but they don't sweetly describe the things of everyday life. Putzke pulled that off. IT TOOK A WAR excels in genuine humanity and the description of life as it simply is. The characters are well-rounded -- as a reader, you can feel that the author knows the characters he has created. I personally believe that is something hard to come by and is a hurdle not often met in debut novels.

Suffice it to say that IT TOOK A WAR is good. It's a tear-jerker. If you liked Thor and Loki's relationship, you might like IT TOOK A WAR. If you love a vivid peek into history, you'll probably like IT TOOK A WAR. If you crave something other than the average young adult literary drama, you'll like IT TOOK A WAR. If you are prepared to walk away from a book with an ache in your heart and a smile on your face... you'll love IT TOOK A WAR.

I know I loved it.

Pros :: Genuine characters; vivid historical setting; heartfelt message; superb ending.

Cons :: None, really. It's a very clean book. Other than a bit of bloodshed (it's a war, after all), I'd say it's great for all ages.

Recommended age :: 10+ (Although I think the best age group for this book is between 12 and 20.)

Rating :: Four stars. I love this book as if it were my own.

Releases :: TODAY! Go purchase your copy here!

In fact, you can enter the giveaway below to win a copy of this beautiful book as well as a Gettysburg mug, a small leather journal, three peppermint sticks, and a peppermint hot chocolate packet. Talk about a delicious wintertime giveaway! A cozy book, a journal for thoughts, and peppermint and hot chocolate. I'm totally entering.

(Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, by the way. Overseas shipping costs a lot. ;))

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And if (for some reason) you aren't quite interested yet...