The Magnolia Story

Title: The Magnolia Story
Authors: Chip and Joanna Gaines
Genre: Autobiography, Biography, Lifestyle, Nonfiction 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: October 18th, 2016

Chip and Joanna Gaines – household names, all thanks to their hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper. Then you have Magnolia Market (their store, both online and in Waco, TX), Magnolia Table (an old diner recently renovated), and did you hear that their very own Magnolia Network is underway on the Discovery channel?

It seems that everything the Gaines touch turns to gold. (You only need to watch one episode of Fixer Upper to know what I mean.)

But it wasn’t always like this for them. Chip and Joanna have had their struggles just like the rest of us (well, maybe not just like… but struggles nonetheless). They know how it feels to be broke, to have overwhelming debt, to wonder how it’s all going to work out. (Spoiler: it sure seems like it all worked out.)

One of the things that stood out to me in this autobiography is their unwavering faith in God. They don’t shy away from this part of their lives, and they definitely don’t forget to give him the credit for making Magnolia what it is today. Of course, they had to do their fair share of hard work, but they remained faithful to the callings of God for their family.

Even though their story inspires me as a budding entrepreneur, their trust in God and their priority to their beautiful family is actually what inspired me most. This is an easy, must-read if you are at all interested in Fixer Upper and the Gaines’ family!

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Spark Joy


Title: Spark Joy
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Note: Spark Joy is a companion to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is “an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.” I recommend reading her first book before reading this. 

If you have read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and are wanting more tips and techniques for your home, Spark Joy is for you. Marie begins by sharing her master tips, such as “Honing your sensitivity to joy,” “How to fill your home with joy,” and “Everything you need to know about storing joyfully.” The premise of this book, like her first book, is surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy, and discarding the rest with gratitude.

The second part of the book is titled “The tidying encyclopedia,” which consists of chapters dedicated to tidying clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items. I really enjoyed all of the illustrations she used for these categories. They were cute and helpful visuals to help inspire the organizational process.

The last part of this book, “Life-changing magic,” is all about putting into practice the things you have just read. She walks you through “A home that sparks joy,” spending time on every area of the home, and closes with “The changes that come when you’re done,” which include all the amazing benefits that follow putting your home in order.

I read this book in one day, as I did with her first book. It is the kind of book I love to read that gives me inspiration and motivation to make my home as enjoyable to live in as I possibly can.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book, and others like it:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, 7/7
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: July 21st, 2007

For seven weeks, I will be reviewing the Harry Potter series! I am so excited to review these classics of our time. If you have not yet read them, I highly encourage you to jump into this beloved series of friendship, adventure, and (of course) magic.

Now considered “of age” in the wizarding world, Harry must take extra precautions as he leaves his home on Privet Drive for the last time. The protective spells that kept him safe during his childhood are no longer effective. Many of his friends help him get to a secure place, knowing full well that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are lying in wait – but the journey is not without loss.

It is up to Harry, with the help of his best friends Ron and Hermione, to track down the rest of the Horcruxes if there is any hope of defeating Voldemort. Along the way, they learn the truth to the children’s story of the Deathly Hallows – the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility. It is said that the one who possesses all three artifacts becomes the Master of Death.

Voldemort and his Death Eaters attack Hogwarts, and a great wizarding battle commences. Harry races against time to track down the final Horcruxes before it’s too late. In the end, he does whatever it takes to defeat Voldemort and save Hogwarts – even if it means not saving himself.

This is my favorite book of the entire series! I loved seeing how Rowling tied everything together so masterfully.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, 6/7
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: July 16th, 2005

For the next seven weeks, I will be reviewing the Harry Potter series! I am so excited to review these classics of our time. If you have not yet read them, I highly encourage you to jump into this beloved series of friendship, adventure, and (of course) magic.

After the events in the previous book, the wizarding world is torn in two: those who support Voldemort’s return, and those who will do whatever it takes to see him destroyed. In the midst of another year at Hogwarts, Harry stumbles across a potions book that belonged to the mysterious half-blood prince. This book helps Harry pass his class, and also beckons him to learn more… Who is the half-blood prince?

Dumbledore brings an odd choice of a teacher back to Hogwarts. Harry later learns why Professor Slughorn has returned – to provide insight on the boy Tom Riddle, before he became Lord Voldemort. Dumbledore and Harry uncover the truth together, and begin the hunt for the Horcruxes, objects that contain part of wizard’s soul after being split through murder. As they are forced to face the evil of Voldemort firsthand, sacrifices must be made – but once again, not everything is as it seems.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, 5/7
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: June 21st, 2003

For the next seven weeks, I will be reviewing the Harry Potter series! I am so excited to review these classics of our time. If you have not yet read them, I highly encourage you to jump into this beloved series of friendship, adventure, and (of course) magic.

This fifth book of the series feels darker, graver than the previous ones. After the tragic events and the end of the fourth book, we are forced to accept that He Who Must Not be Named really has come back, though most in the wizarding world blindly refuse to acknowledge his return.

Since their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher does nothing whatsoever to help them learn spells to protect themselves, Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermione, decide to take matters into their own hands. Together, they form a secret training group known as Dumbledore’s Army.

He Who Must Not be Named has returned, with the help and full support of his Death Eaters. The Order of the Phoenix – a group of good wizards who are aware of the enemy – does everything they can to fight Voldemort. But will it be enough to stop him, even with some help from Dumbledore’s Army?

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, 4/7
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: July 8th, 2000

For the next seven weeks, I will be reviewing the Harry Potter series! I am so excited to review these classics of our time. If you have not yet read them, I highly encourage you to jump into this beloved series of friendship, adventure, and (of course) magic.

Note: mild spoilers. 

During Harry’s fourth year, Hogwarts is hosting a mysterious and exciting event – the Triwizard Tournament. The schools competing in this prestigious competition are Durmstrang Institute, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, and (of course) Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each school is represented by one student, whose name is chosen from the Goblet of Fire.

But instead of three champions, four are selected. And the strange thing is, Harry never submitted his name to the Goblet of Fire, not that it would have been a legitimate entry if he had, since he was underage. Nevertheless, Harry participates in the Triwizard Tournament as a fourth champion.

The Triwizard Tournament commences, and the four champions face many dangers. As the tournament progresses, Harry begins to suspect that there is more going on than just fun and games. There is a darkness present, a darkness that waits to reveal itself until the grand finalé. It is Harry who must face this evil, as he is the only one who truly can.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, 3/7
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: July 8th, 1999

For the next seven weeks, I will be reviewing the Harry Potter series! I am so excited to review these classics of our time. If you have not yet read them, I highly encourage you to jump into this beloved series of friendship, adventure, and (of course) magic.

Like his first two years, Harry’s third year at Hogwarts promises to be full of danger and excitement. Sirius Black, a dangerous murderer, has escaped from Azkaban, the most secure prison of the wizarding world. And it seems that he is after Harry!

Dementors – the Azkaban guards with the power to fill people with despair – appear at the school in search of Sirius. Harry is deeply affected by their presence and works with Professor Lupin, a close friend of his parents, to master the difficult Patronus charm to ward off the Dementors.

Harry learns that not everything is as it seems, both within Hogwarts and without. With the help of a time-turner, he has the chance to go back in time and save more than one life from being unjustly executed, discovering things about himself and his parents along the way.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: