When you can’t put it down.

Usually, when you read a story that you just cannot put down, you want to share it with people.  
I have always been a book reader – but I will definitely admit I haven’t read as many as I would like to have in the last few years.  It takes a little more effort for me to pick up a book and just sit down and read now, instead of doing one of my other hobbies like blogging or making something.
Anyway, a month or so ago, my dear friend Amanda (whom I’ve told you all about a few times), released her first book called “Kentucky A to Z”.
It’s a travel memoir where she was sent to different cities by her editor at Kentucky Monthly magazine, going from Amandaville to Zachariah and every letter in between.  At each city, she had one day to travel there and find a story.  
A couple of years ago, shortly after I started following Amanda’s blog (A Lovely Place to Land), and had “met” Amanda, I learned about her fun journey she was on with writing this fun series for the magazine. When she got to letter H, she was sent to the town of Hope.  In Hope was the “Hope Hill Children’s Home“, a place for young women who had unfortunately experienced sexual abuse, neglect and runaway’s in their past.  As Amanda was interviewing the people at Hope Hill, she saw some area’s of need – one being a large closet filled with clothes, mounded up and thrown all over, which the girls were able to look through and pick from if they needed some clothing items.  Amanda, who has a heart of gold, made this more than just an assignment to get a story, and took it upon herself to organize help to get this closet turned into a beautiful little “boutique”, which would be fun and exciting for the girls to look through – as if they were shopping, not just rummaging through somebody’s donations.  
She wrote about it on her blog (which her blog address has since changed and I cannot dig up the old posts, or else I’d share them with you!), and it totally touched my heart.  Amanda, as a person, had a grasp on me from the get-go because I could see what a genuine, loving, sweet lady she was.  When she told all of us readers about this project she was embarking on, I SO wanted to fly out to Kentucky and help her create a beautiful space for the girls!  Unfortunately, tickets were expensive.  I knew that it would waste more money for me to fly out there to help, than to just give the money and let them use their local resources.  
I had been following this Amanda girl on her blog for only a couple of months at this point.  I think I had briefly mentioned her once or twice to Skyler, and I was a little nervous about asking him if we could send this stranger some money. 
I showed him the blog post she had written up and showed him the Hope Hill website and told him that I really felt that I wanted to send Amanda some money to use for these girls.  I asked him if we could send $100.  He looked up from the computer screen at me and said, “We have $500 in our tithing account.  Let’s send her all of it.”
So we did, and I got to live vicariously through her blog of the new projects and things she was working on.  Amanda was totally grateful for the gift and sent me the sweetest thank you note.  And thus began our friendship!
Shortly after all this, we both learned we were pregnant with our firsts and we were able to go through the pregnancy journey together!  Anyway, all this to say, Amanda is an incredible lady and not only that – she is an extremely talented writer.  I always look forward to when her blog posts come out because I love reading them so much!  She is SO funny and comical in her writing.
So when her book was announced to release a couple months ago, after all the 26 cities had been visited, I knew I HAD to buy her book.  1.) To support my friend.  2.) She is an awesome writer.
The book has sat on my coffee table for the last month or so now, and everytime I look at it, I smile.  I see “By Amanda Hervey” printed on the cover, and I’m proud.  MY friend published a book.  MY friend is going after her dreams of being a writer.  
And finally, last night after Ezekiel was in bed and Skyler was working on paintball stuff, I sat down at my favorite spot on the couch and picked up the book to read.
And I couldn’t put it down.  I read straight through, all the way through H, before my pregnancy-bedtime of 10:30.  I didn’t want to stop at H because it was SO GOOD…but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
And look at this little surprise I found as I read through “H”:
She talked about me!  Not only is my friend a published author, but I’m in a published book!
That totally made my night. πŸ™‚ 
I had to brag a little to Skyler.  After all, he’s never been mentioned in a book! πŸ˜‰
This book is seriously awesome – she is such a talented writer.  Even though I have never lived in Kentucky, know nothing about Kentucky, have not ever been to Kentucky (except maybe we drove through it on our roadtrip to Pennsylvania when I was 5 years old…), this book is captivating.  You don’t have to care a thing about the state of Kentucky to care about the people she writes about; the people who’s stories she tells.
Anyway, I had to share.  This is one of the few books that I’ve read in the last couple years that I had a hard time putting down.
If you want to learn more about this book, you can read up on it here.
Posted on the Hope Hill website, are a couple stories she wrote on Hope Hill, called “The Road to Hope – Kentucky Monthly” and “Building Hope – Kentucky Monthly“.
So proud of you, Amanda! Keep up the awesome work!  Can’t wait to read your novel Mother Muse!

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