April 5, 2016

If you are "Looking For Lovely", Annie will help you find it - a BookReview


Ahh... For the love of Annie Downs, am I right?



I mean, come on! If you know her, or just 'know' her like me... --if you have had the privilege of reading her words either in book form or blog form or in articles... --if you have had the pleasure of hearing her speak in person or live streaming... --if you have encountered Annie in any way, chances are good, if you are a friend of mine, well then --you are a fan of hers!

She is kindred.  She is one of those blessings who make you feel like you are BFFs even if you haven't (yet) met in real life!  It's because she is real... brave (even if not all the time)... she is the kind of friend who makes you want to be better more you... --the kind of friend who makes you want to be more alive, more full of joy, more full of adventure, and more full of --well, Him! 


I wrote last month about how I have some seriously amazing friends who just so happen to write books, but Annie and I --well, we haven't met face to face (yet.) 

But heart to heart, we are sisters.  

She is may be louder to my quiet... I am may be introverted to her extrovert ways... but spirit to spirit... well - what you will find in her new book, Looking For Lovely, is that she and I? We are former quitters... and we are determined to be more than just finishers, but to also finish well!



Looking For Lovely by Annie F. Downs showed up at a time when I was feeling a pull to give in to and to give up on a few things... to revert back to my old Quitter ways... not with big huge things. Just a few little things that would hold me back and knock me off course in the smallest, seemingly insignificant ways... but off course, just the same! 



Reading Looking For Lovely is a rare glimpse into a life willingly laid open... it's not polished and reflecting from the other side of the brokenness, but it's a real look right in to the lovely mending... not stuck in the middle but not completely yet on the wholly healed side either.

It gives hope and light... it reminds us of what we know and points us back to Who we love.

Annie, like a good friend does, will make you laugh and she'll make you cry. She will introduce you to good music and great books, to new food and must see places. But more importantly, she brings you to the mirror and helps you to see the lovely sowed and formed right in to the core of who you are... she makes you want to be you - only braver, kinder, and maybe a little more adventurous, too!

One of my favorite parts of Looking For Lovely is that it includes a little Challenge at the end of several chapters to help you actually go out and look for (and find!) lovely in your every day, real life! Little things... doable things... important ways that we can put action to this book and begin our own collecting of moments that matter!

"Change" is my OneWord365 this year, but oh my how I had lost the hunger for it but hadn't even noticed. However from the first line of the Forward, there it is: a reminder and a call to embrace change. To quit quitting. To press on. 

There is really no one like Annie who can bring the raw and the real... she is vulnerably brave when she writes lines like these: 
"I loved God. I just hated me." 
"What if I had found cocaine instead of candy? What if I had drunk beer instead of milkshakes? I think about it a lot.  I have the same propensity as any other addict; it's just my drug of choice is food."
"Maybe being brave about my brokenness was going to bring healing."
"I thought I needed to be repaired. But my need was significantly deeper than that, and that's pretty much the first thing she told me. I actually needed to be rebuilt." 
~Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely 

I don't know about you, but when she offers such honesty, it undoes me - not just because of her boldness, but also because of my brokenness... because of my own, 'me, too!'

Below are just a few of my favorite quotes, but if I'm honest (and I am that!) - the whole book is highlighted, underlined, and dog-eared, with glitter and confetti sprinkled through out (because, of course!)


"When my heart is broken or when the night seems long or when the darkness feels consuming, please God promise me tomorrow comes in hues of soothing orange and fiery red and a pink that speaks of kindness." ~Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely
 "Trust the path." ~Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely

"When I found lovely, both in me and in the world, it changed everything." ~Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely 

Then, there was this post on Instagram:



This was the sad and lovely day that I actually finished reading #LookingforLovely and this is what I wrote then:
"Gah @anniefdowns?!!?! Just when I think I can't love you any more... You go and wrap this up the way you do and I have all the feels! I hated knowing I was almost done because reading your books is like sitting across the table over a slow southern meal, or like sitting side by side on a bench looking over Radnor Lake (#squadgoals) and oh my goodness how reading the last page is like dropping a friend off at the airport and knowing you don't know when you will get to see them again --bittersweet but so full of Lovely! You make me want to fly to Nashville! And go for a hike... And be me and look for lovely wherever I go! Thank You doesn't seem like enough, my friend --but it is a start! #lookingforlovely #theconfettistaysinthebook because, of course!"

I think that still wraps it up perfectly because this truly is the kind of book you will not want to put down but you won't want to be done with it either! 

We all need the reminder to look for lovely... in our right here, right now life! For the Word is clear, if we seek... we will find! And I can guarantee you that whatever ugly or dark or sad thing that may be trying to corner you and weigh you down, you really are surrounded by all kinds of lovely and light and joy that is trying to set you free! --That is willing to set you free!  --That set you free already!

This book is one you should just go ahead and order in multiples because, honestly, I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from Annie's brave honesty and loving encouragement to Seek and to Find! 

From Sushi to Nail Polish, to therapy and broken crazy, to Healthy Living and Pressing In to God --even if in the midst of not (yet!) living out Dreams Come True, she reminds us that when we look for lovely, we will find it!






* I was honored to be a part of Annie's Book Launch Team for Looking For Lovely. I received an Advance Readers copy (B&H Publishing) and the above review is my honest opinion. No Affiliate links were used.




If for some reason, you still need a little convincing... here's Annie talking about this new book and what it's about and why she wrote it:

P.S.  I'm linking up with these lovely writers:

Kelly Chripczuk  for #SmallWonders 


Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday


Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory










30 comments :

  1. Well, just so ya know...as soon as I finish typing this, I'm going to be writing this book on my "Books to read" list. Great review, Karrilee, thanks for sharing. Great to be linkup buddies with you at Jennifer's place today. :) ((blessings))

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    1. Oh Brenda... you won't be sorry! Thanks so much for stopping by! (And how much do you love hanging out with Jennifer?) xoxo

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  2. My birthday is coming up, and I know what I am going to tell my sister when she asks me what I want for my birthday next month! She knows that I am a total book nerd. I need this reminder to Look for Lovely in the ordinary everyday moments of life. Jolene

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    1. Oh Jolene... you will LOVE it! xoxo

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  3. I love, love, love Annie Downs and her book "Let's All Be Brave" changed me in so many ways. Now she has this new book. It is on my list of must read books and I cannot wait until I have it in my hands. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. Yes - I remember how much of an impact Let's All Be Brave has on you, friend! Annie's books tend to do that! This one is no different! You're going to love it!

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  4. Love love love!!! So much THIS: "But more importantly, she brings you to the mirror and helps you to see the lovely sowed and formed right in to the core of who you are... she makes you want to be you - only braver, kinder, and maybe a little more adventurous, too!" Finding lovely in my people has shown me again and again the gift of who God has created me to be. xoxo

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  5. I can't wait for my order to come in... *taps foot impatiently* but I'm so glad to know it'll be worth the wait! Thanks for cementing the excitement for me :)

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    1. I know!? LOL! I have the early copy - but I ordered several myself and have been tapping my foot all day! ;) I just know you will love it - but you'll have to let me know!

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  6. You've almost convinced me to buy it, Karrilee! This was a great review. I just need to finish some of the books I've already started before I move to anything else. :) Blessings to you!

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    1. Oh I hear ya with the stacks of books, my friend! The Good News is I ordered an extra copy or two... so there is a good chance that we will have a Looking For Lovely Giveaway soon! Check back in a week or two! ;)

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  7. Yes, yes. One more book to add to 'the list.'

    Getting to the breakthrough from the breakdown. Sooner or later, most of us will have to make that choice.

    Thanks for the review, Karrilee ...

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    1. Isn't that just the glorious, brutiful truth? Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda!

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  8. Yes, I feel like I "know" Annie too. :) Looking for Lovely sounds like a great book, and a fantastic challenge for all of us to do!

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    1. Isn't it amazing that Annie seems to have this appeal to all of us? I hope I live my life like that as well --so real and honest and out loud that everyone just already feels like friends! LFL IS a great book... you will love it!

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  9. Love this review--and I love that your reaction to Annie mirrors my own! (I mean, who wouldn't feel like Annie was a kindred spirit?)

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    1. I've already decided two things: 1. I WILL meet her (I say in my most casual non-stalkerish voice!) and 2. I will just act like we are already besties... because, of course!

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  10. I love this...my favorite line: she makes you want to be you - only braver, kinder, and maybe a little more adventurous, too! THAT'S IT EXACTLY! Thanks for articulating that for me:)

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    1. I mean, right??? That is what a good friend does! Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah! So glad we found Lovely together! What an amazing launch team!

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  11. What an awesome book review! Sold! Amazon here I come!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Aw, I love it Lori! You won't be disappointed!

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  12. Thanks for sharing, Karrilee, I love the concept.

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    1. It's a great book, Kelly! You would love it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  13. Lovely review Karrilee! Fellow Lovely from the launch team! I love so much of what you shared here! XO

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    1. Thanks, Ginger! Thanks for stopping by! You are welcome here any time!

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  14. Great review - you are so thorough! But you know what speaks to me even more than your post? I have loved following along behind you through all of the launch team's blog posts, reading the comments you leave other launch team members. YOU are a living version of Lovely! You are so encouraging and kind in your words (including the ones you left on my blog post). Thank you for that!

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    1. Well now that is just the sweetest thing! {insert blushing emoji here} Thanks so much for popping on over, Elizabeth!

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  15. I love all the quotes you shared-so many good ones! I haven't heard Annie in person yet, but hoping an opportunity to do that will work out! Glad to be on the launch team with you, and thanks for visiting my post! :)

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    1. I haven't had the chance to hear Annie in person yet either... otherwise, clearly, we would be BFFs and I would probably live in Nashville? Because, really - how could you break up such a duo? It would feel wrong! ;) If/when I do get to meet her, she may be just a little afraid - but it's gonna be fine! LOL! (That is what I will keep telling her anyway!) Thanks for stopping by Nancy!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!
~Karrilee~

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