Currently Reading

Summer Reading List by La La Lovely

It’s been too long since I’ve shared what I’ve been reading.  It’s not that I haven’t been reading.  I have been reading a lot.  My habbit of reading in multiples (at least three at at time) would be a really hard one for me to break.  I feel it would be likened to limiting yourself to

Summer Reading List by La La Lovely

It’s been too long since I’ve shared what I’ve been reading. It’s not that I haven’t been reading. I have been reading a lot. My habbit of reading in multiples (at least three at at time) would be a really hard one for me to break. I feel it would be likened to limiting yourself to

one tv channel for an entire week or month, you know?  I read different books for different reasons and some days I need a little of this and other days a little a lot of that.  Now, if I get completely sucked into fiction, well that is another, all nighter, kind of story (I recenlty had to purchase this little booklight for such nights).

Here are the books I’m currently reading or have recently finished:

1 / The Awakening : I never read this in school.  To be honest, I’m glad I didn’t.  It wouldn’t have resonated then.  While I knew the ending before I started, I didn’t know what brough the main character, Edna, to the end of the story.  I really empathized with a lot of her inner dialogue.  When you come to the end of yourself the the thing in front of you is an awakening.  Certainly not only in the form portrayed in the book, it can take many routes or none at all.  This short piece of literature has left me with some lasting thoughts.

2 / Abba’s Child  The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging: This is a life changing book for me (much like Abiding in Christ).  One I’ll return to again and again.  It somehow made some sense of things I can’t seem to make any sense of.  It shed light on how we hide behind an impostor self.  A shell, really, of our real selves.  A protective layer that we put on as children or when we may have gone through something traumatic or even just felt rejection.  Our inner child, is our true self and God calls us out of hiding and to live openly before him.  I can’t do this book justice, so I won’t even try….but again, life changing.

3 / Wild : I am on Cheryl Strayed kick and I needed to know her story.  I’m only about a quarter of the way through the book and I’m really enjoying it.

4 / The Distant Hours :  I’m a huge Kate Morton fan.  I’ve read several of her books and have loved them all.  Many are set in England and around the theme of family.  I picked up the Distant Hours at the library (my new favorite place) and couldn’t put it down (purchased my book light during this read).  The story is about three sisters living in a a run down castle with many secrets that bound them to each other and their family home.  Kate is such a great writer that I find myself writing down many sentences that strike me and saving them in my word collection.

5 / A Room of Ones Own : I’ve only just started…as in one page, but I’m so interested in this essay that Virginia Wolf was asked to write about women writers.  She used her voice to speak up for women and writers during a time when no one else was saying much at all on the subject.

6 / Reflections on The Psalms : I’m reading this book with Team Brave and am about 3 chapters in.  I’m always reading the Psalms – almost daily – and love learning more about the meaning behind them and their authors.  It has already brought things to my attention that I would have never even thought of.  Also, I really haven’t read much C.S. Lewis and I want to read more of his works.

7 / Tiny Beautiful Things  : I mentioned I’m on a Cheryl Strayed kick and it is because of this book.  I checked it out at the library and quickly realized that wouldn’t do.  I had to have a copy I could dog ear, underline and pull off my shelf whenever I needed to re-read.  There are many times I have felt undone reading this advice column in book form.  Cheryl’s empathy and way with words is a gift.  Since its people writing in with their personal issues – you take some, you leave some.  But, in some you find yourself.  Right there in the printed pages of other peoples problems you find little broken bits of yourself.  There is also a Dear Sugar (the name of the advice column) podcast, which I like listening to, as well.

8 / Past The Wishing : I menionted this book in my Team Brave post.  One of my best friends wrote it and I love it because it’s so encouraging, relatable and inspiring.  It’s written in such a down to earth way that you are sure that you have what it takes to live a life that moves past the wishing.  To take your ordinary life and life it in a very brave way.

9 / Traveling Mercies : I’ve just started this book.  I have become a Anne Lamott fan after reading Bird by Bird.  She tells it like it is with her word weaving.

Have you read any of these?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What are you reading this summer?  I love a good recommendation.

These books are next on my list:


currently reading


let’s talk books.  it’s been awhile (last post here).  i’ve always got a book or two or four going, so i thought it would be a good time to catch up.  and after all, summer is the best for reading.  don’t you think?  while i’m sharing what i’ve read recently / am reading.  i’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and whats on your list.



The Secret Keeper  / i’m a fan of kate morton.  i read The Forgotten Garden a few years back and loved it.  The Secret Keeper has some great twists and turns all while being centered on how family and home play such a part in who we really are.  no doubt, i’ll read everything kate morton puts out.

Remodelista /i’ve been pouring over these pages for awhile now and they are so good.  even better is the design manifesto behind the book with rules to live by that state things like, “Ikea mingles well with antiques:  a mix of high and low animates a space- and allows room for all budgets.” and, “stay true: live with what you love.”  bonus, it has a really great reference in the back, which includes their top 100 everyday objects.  this is a keeper for your design library.

One Thousand Gifts / i had been hearing about this book for a quite awhile.  honestly, i picked it up a few years back, started reading it and put it down.  it wasn’t the book, it was me.  one small part in the beginning was a bit heavy and my heart was just too heavy at that time to continue on.  i think there can be times in which we are meant to find books or they are meant to find us.  books that aren’t just for getting lost in but being found in.  when i picked it up again, just a few months ago,  it found me.  Ann Voskamp certainly has a way with words, but her uncovering of the connection between thankfulness and joy is one that will divert your journey in all the right ways and will have you hungering to be fully present in every moment.  it’s one of those books i scribbled up and will surely be referencing back to over and again.

Peter Pan / i’m in the middle of this.  i want badly to read classics that i never read.  stories that are near and dear to me.  stories that i’ve been told and have watched but never have read.  peter pan is one of those.  i recently re-watched the movie Finding Neverland, which gives such great background on J.M. Barrie.    anytime i learn about the author and their process i’m even more taken with their stories.

Restless / this was another personal growth book that found me.  i received a copy after i attend a women’s conference called If Gathering.  i happened to thumb through it on the plane ride home and just kept on with it.  it’s for anyone that is working out calling and the restless feeling of, wanting to do something that matters with your life.  “what if the darkest moments of your life God intended for good?  And what if the purest moments of bliss contained your greatest contributions to this world?”  at the end of each chapter there are questions to work through and journal space to help you map out dreams and calling.

Brain on Fire / i haven’t started this one yet.  it’s on my nightstand.  i keep hearing it is amazing and fascinating.  i’m curious as its not my normal style of book.  have you read it?

A Farewell to Arms / because i just can’t get over my hemingway haunting since last summer when i read The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast.  If I should start with another of his, tell me.  either way, i’m fascinated with hemingway… he wrote, what he wrote and who he was.

have you read any of these books?  i’d love to know what you are reading and what is on your list this summer.


you can see what other books i’ve read and love here.



Currently Reading


clearly, i like books.  they might be my favorite thing to shop for.  books and beauty products, probably.  and, when it comes to books i’m a two timer.  i usually have a few books going at a time.  this can be bothersome, at times, but it works for me.  i tend to always have some sort of fiction going along with an inspirational or personal growth book (or should we just say, self help).  with that, i’m also always thumbing through cook books, magazines, and anything designing i can get my hands on.

without a doubt, i still prefer reading an actual book.  long live print – – books, magazines and newspapers.   there is just something magical, and now, seemingly, old fashioned about holding a book, and turning it’s crinkly inky pages.  i love everything about the tactile experience.  i do read on my iPad when i’m traveling, on the treadmill, or if i want to stay up way late and read a book in bed.  i have found that when it comes to personal growth / self help books i always prefer print because i love to underline, write thoughts, and just mark the heck out of it.  for quick easy reading fiction the iPad is great.


click through to see what i’m reading and have currently read:

Quiet / The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  I’ve heard this is a good book for some time, and as an introvert i’m intrigued.  It’s very text booky so i imagine i may read this over a period of several months. the author debunks the myth that introverts are hermits and poor leaders.   rather they are a people that recharge and find energy from time alone and prefer listening over talking.   what did you think of this book if you’ve read it?

Giada’s Feel Good Food / loving these new healthy recipes + giada’s tips on how she takes care of her body and stays so thin.  it goes a bit beyond eating small portions, which i appreciate.

It’s Not How Good You Are You, It’s How Good You Want To Be /  i’ve had this on my shelf for a few years and for some reason thought it was about something other than it is.  this is a quick motivational read for anyone that wants to be great or do great things.  if you are a business owner or creative or just anyone that wants to go places this is a good one to have in your pocket.  “firstly, you need to aim beyond what you are capable of.   you must develop disregard for where your abilities end.  try to do things you are incapable of….”

Bird By Bird /  this was recommended to me by my author friend as book to help you with your writing. i’ve just started, and so far so good.  i appreciate her thought that “one of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore.  Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”  writing causes us to pay attention to teach others to pay attention.  explore, pay attention, write.  gosh that makes my heart beat kind of fast.

What Alice Forgot /  a book by liane moriaty that i’m enjoying for a light little escape.  it’s a perfect vacation, on the treadmill or late at night kind of read.  the idea of what happened to alice is an eery one.  you really feel for her circumstance and i can’t wait to see what happens in the end.

Little Paris Kitchen /  i loved this show (which could be described as amélie gets a cooking show) so much when it aired on The Cooking Channel.  it was a visual paradise for me combining many of my loves; france, food, brits, and darling design and decor.  an anthro like little kitchen in the heart of paris churning out fanciful food all prepared effortlessly by a darling and stylish brit, rachel khoo, who made me want to cut my bangs, braid my hair and bake.  so of course, i only found it natural to need to add the cookbook to my collection.  it’s just as pretty, i promise.  don’t ask me about the recipes, though, i haven’t tried any yet.  i’m ashamed to admit (well, not really) that a pretty cookbook is just as good as yummy one).

The Goldfinch /  the book everyone is reading.  i wanted to love this book so very much.  all 771 pages of it.  but, i still was unsure by, like, page 683. there were times i loved and then, quite, disliked the protagonist.  the story is a hauntingly sad tale and perhaps could have been shared in less that 771 pages.  however, donna tartt certainly has a magical way with words.  she can manage to take a terribly sad thought and weave it into the most beautiful thread of words you’ve laid your eyes upon.  a thought that otherwise might be devastating is decorated in beauty.  i found myself underling.  and, whether the story ended the way i wished or did not doesn’t matter because, i think, if i find myself underlining in fiction than i’ve found a weighty writer who enriched my world.  there was a thought, on “things” and beauty, at the end of the book that was so simple and yet so profound that i can’t stop mulling on it (i think i’ll save it for another post).  i find myself thinking about the characters, still.  and any book that keeps my attention after the pages have gone blank is one for the keeping.

Hinds Feet in High Places /  this book holds a special place in my heart.  it’s a spiritual book and is an allegory about a girl named much afraid who lives in the valley and is surrounded by fear.  she is called to go on a journey with the shepherd to the high places.  although living in the valley is painful, the change and work of journeying to the mountains, to her, seems even more painful.  i first read this book in high school and it was brought to my remembrance this past summer when i was going through a difficult time and i re-read it.  it was an like an ointment to a wound and a love letter to my heart.  i’m sure it will be a book i’ll reference over and again throughout my life.  “all the fairest beauties in the human soul, it’s greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.  every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.  many a quiet, ordinary, and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which Love’s flowers and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight that the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with his friends….but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one else knows about.”  i’m currently reading the sequel Mountain of Spices.

Where’d You Go Bernadette /  a fun read on the weekend or on vacation.  i can’t say i was totally pleased with the ending but i’d still recommend it.

The Husband’s Secret / i learned about this australian author, liane moriaty, from laura (she always has good recommendations).  if you like light hearted chick lit (and i hesitate to use that description) that is also engaging than this is a great read.  i felt invested in the characters and couldn’t put it down as i had to know what was going to happen.  liane is brilliant at telling the story from all characters perspectives and going back and forth between them all without any sense of choppiness or confusion.

Carry On Warrior /  this book is by blogger glennon doyle melton.  it full of essays, some from her blog that are heart warming and sometimes a little heart breaking.  glennon has coined the term that life is “brutiful,” and her writing reflects that.  i first came to like glennon’s writing by way of this article on parenting.

The Casual Vacancy / sometimes i don’t finish a book and this is one.  i just couldn’t quiet get all the way into it.  have any of you read?  did you like? love? loathe?

A Moveable Feast / had to read this after The Paris Wife.  It only helped to fuel my current obsession with Ernest Hemingway and his words that are haunting in the best kind of way, “paris was never to be the same again although it was always paris and you changed as it changed.”  Now trying to figure which of his other books to add to my list next.

what are you reading or what you have read recently that you loved?  chime in on any of the books above if you’ve read them or have further questions.  i’d love to hear your thoughts.

more on books here.


blog reading + a few links


as you may know, google reader is going buh-bye as of july 1st.  i used google reader, kind of.  i followed a lot of blogs and then never really read the posts.  i am one of those, that a lot of times, goes directly to the blogger’s site.  and, i sign up for a few e-mail subscriptions of my absolute faves, so i don’t miss a thing.

in case your wondering, i tried feedly and bloglovin.  i really liked the aesthetic of feedly but found i preferred using it on my iPad.  what i also found was that i wasn’t really reading my subscriptions again, like google reader, and just would end up marking everything as “read.”  i did, however, start keeping up again with blogs on bloglovin.  first, i get an e-mail with all my subscriptions, which kind of works for me.  i can’t help but take a peek.  and, if i read from the site directly i really like the way it previews (a little more visual like a facebook feed).  what i also like about bloglvin is that it gives bloggers the pageviews and you can comment directly on bloglovin.  ok, even better, you can pin to pinterest directly from bloglovin!   if you’ve been following la la lovely on google reader you can switch here:

+ La La Lovely on BLOGLOVIN
+ La La Lovely on FEEDLY

*and, if you are new to Bloglovin’ than here is a really helpful tutorial.  also, it is SUPER easy to transfer over all the blogs you read (move your google reader rss feed to bloglovin) to bloglovin.  just follow these directions.  takes 2 minutes.  promise!   happy weekend, friends!  xo

(click on through for fave friday links)


01 /  if you’re going to wear flowers in your hair.
02 /  for your mag stack this weekend.
03 /  is skinny the same in different cities?
04 /  this is happening in my blender this weekend.
05 /  are you a re-thinker?  i want to be thinking about this.

i also write for Euro Style Lighting and this week i’m all about mixing patterns and great light fixtures.  check it out here.

FOR MORE  LOVELY + Inspiration : PINTEREST / Chatter :  TWITTER / Conversation : FACEBOOK / Pictures : INSTAGRAM

image : via wit and delight


Say / What Are You Reading?


Bringing Up Bebe   / The Paris Wife /  The Happiness Project  / Taming Your Family Zoo  / BagParis in Color

Say, what are you reading these days?  As, almost, always, I have about 5 books going at once.  All the while wondering if I, ever, will finish just one of them.

I like reading all kinds of books (and magazines, of course).  I suppose the two types that I read the most are fiction and self help (or personal growth type books).  I know many a people that only read “learning” books and then others that can only be found with fiction (really bad fiction-ahem) in hand.

When, I’m feeling major stressed or overwhelmed I always reach for a book which transports me from my everyday into another time or a faraway place.  And right now, I am definitely in that mode (more on that later).  I just finished this book, which was an easy escape.  It would certainly seem that I’m stuck in Paris mode as I’m torn between this and this.

Do you have books that you always return to?  All time favorites?  I hate picking favorites but for me it’s Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.  And speaking of classics, which do you recommend?  I love reading old books (when I’m not too tired, that is).

So tell me what are you currently reading?  What you have you recently read?  And what do you want to read?  Any books that have been life changing or game changers?  I’m completely fascinated by people’s choice in reading as I think you can learn a lot about a person by what they read.  And summer reading is upon us, now isn’t it.

For more books la la loves follow along here.

*I think whether you read from an actual book or an e-reader you def need a cool bag to tote your materials in and I happen to love this one.


Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.

My Story

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