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Upstairs, Downstairs: Series Two (2012)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Upstairs, Downstairs

Wartime dramas can signify beauty and disaster. They allow for snapshots of charm as they catch us up in the dizzying lives of their characters but should compel us into realizing how frightening the idea of war is. It was not a pleasant time and as a result should not mislead otherwise. In advance, let me apologize for this lengthy, spoiler revealing and somewhat frank review as I attempt to share honest thoughts on this controversial second – and reported last, series of a once beloved BBC classic.

Cover Candy: Edition Two

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yes, you read that title correctly. I am again (already!) posting some upcoming books that have me giddy plus some Christian fiction cover concepts that are to die for. Thanks to Rel for tempting me with sharing these with my  readers. *grin* So... at the risk of boring you all (I promise, there will be some reviews next week... what, I'm not sure but I may or may not have some "new" British material), below the cut is some "cover candy" that left me grinning like a goofball as I was glued to the computer screen tonight. 

That being said, if you aren't all "tired out" from booktalk from my post of earlier, sound off in the comments here or the one immediately prior, friends. 

Cover Candy: First Edition


I am just going to say it: I am a book-a-holic. 

There are SO many novels that I have stacked by my bookshelf (which means it is full) that I am excited to read! (And that is saying nothing about those that are "pre-orders.") Right now, I've even overwhelmed myself with the books I have to read and write reviews for but I am also enjoying the opportunity to discover new authors and new styles of writing. Taking a journey in most of the books has been memorable. I am randomly putting together this quick look at some of the books I am looking forward to in the upcoming months. Take a peek: 

Cowgirls 'n' Angels (2012)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Movies that are clean as snow with a premise that is equally sweet are rare. When one does come along once in a blue moon, it only makes sense that viewers with conservative sensibilities would want to support it. Not a Christian movie in the traditional sense of those that, say Sherwood Pictures presents, Cowgirls ‘n’ Angels has some sweet virtues that usually don’t fit the “bigger plan” or “end game” in cinema.

Book Giveaway: No Safe Harbor

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello, readers! Much to my delight, I am again hosting a giveaway. Unexpectedly, I have received two copies of Elizabeth Ludwig's No Safe Harbor and am thrilled to be able to offer one copy to  you, one of my fabulous readers! Though I have not yet read this book, it sounds fantastic and am looking forward to sharing my review with all of you sometime in the next month (whenever my tour date rolls around). Here is the synopsis as written via the publisher:

Taylor Swift: Red

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Taylor Swift Red
About the Album:
Released: 2012
Writing Credits: Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback
Label: Big Machine Records
Genre: Pop
Number of Tracks: 16
Rating: 4 out of 5
Debut:

Album Review: 22-year-old Swift has had what could only be entitled a “fairy-tale” career. She was nearly an overnight success, bursting onto the scene as a sweet, innocent blonde-haired country darling who took the world by storm with her songs of romances gone bad – each one more relatable to American teens than the last. Now some eight years, six Grammys and four records in, Swift has finally hit a stride that shockingly, this listener was impressed with. Many may know that Swift is considered a part of the country music scene but what began steadily building in Speak Now is full-fledged and embraced on Red as Taylor solely enchants pop and light rock audiences with these sixteen tracks – songs that almost at times take on a pretty folk ballad genre.

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson

Saturday, October 20, 2012


About the Book:
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

My Thoughts: Stories that recount the tragedy of the RMS Titanic are usually not my cup of tea. In fact until the ABC/ITV film adaptation of earlier this year, I’d not see a movie depicting the events. It surprised me that I actually signed up to review this romantic tale on the high seas but given my propensity to “connect” with Thompson’s writing, a love of this era and curiosity to know how this scenario would play out, I hit the “submit” button. Here is how the story goes. Jacquie Abington has a dilemma. Wealthy and able to have whatever her heart desires, her future suddenly becomes a glaring picture of conformity. Her father has just shook hands with a wealthy business man whom her father plans to merge their name with through marriage and business. Unhappy with the way her future is shaping up, Jacquie becomes desperate to find a way to be with her true love, Peter, the family’s gardener. Knowing her husband would never approve the match prompts Jacquie’s mother to book passage for her daughter on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, hoping it will cure her daughter of any more romantic notions of Peter. Afraid of being forever separated from Peter, the two of them concoct a plan for Jacque to swap lives with Peter’s sister, Tessa. A poor farm girl who needs to be out of a bad situation, Peter sees this as his way of protecting his little sister, never realizing the consequences these choices could yield.

Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan


About the Book:
Author: Maggie Brendan
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Blue Willow Brides Book 2  
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Two women hoping for a change of pace are startled into a new reality when, after answering mail-order bride ads, they are met at the station by the brother of the man both thought they were corresponding with. Two such different women were never seen than Greta and Cora. Both feel used by Zach Gifford and are taken aback when they meet face-to-face with Jess Gifford. The man both thought they could love is, in fact a brusque, disarrayed, easily angered man who cannot seem to remember things. Zach knows his brother needs a wife to keep his dream going, running his own small ranch not the mercantile store his brother is the proprietor of. Having written to the ladies as Jess, Zach’s strategy is to allow Jess to choose his own wife and he agrees under one condition: That Zach court one of the women also. Jess’ world is about to change drastically as he finds himself captivated by one pair of very pretty blue eyes.

Little Letters: Edition Three

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear Blog, I just wanted you to know that I sorta like how you are looking these days. Yes, you are in the same general “pattern” but it suits us. Now, for an idea once the Christmas/winter season rolls around (yes, I am a long-range thinker) – what should I deck you out with!? I cannot help that I am a bit compulsive when it comes to which photo shoot images I could use and changing things around here – what can I say you make it too much fun! Now… if only designing had nothing to do with HTML coding. I detest that part.

PS: Allow me to put a question to you, readers and friends – do you have any idea websites that offer simplistic layouts or designs? Sound off below in the comments if you do!

Nashville: Pilot, 1.01 (2012)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In a media obsessed world, networks rival each other in hopes to come up with the “best” new drama when the new television season rolls around and this year, one of ABC’s most promoted dramas was this soapy tale of two rival country music stars. It has a unique voice – surprisingly, that will capture any music lover but ratings (ones that were dubbed, “solid”) will tell if that alone is enough.

Beauty and the Beast, Pilot, 1.01 (2012) - A Contemporary, Romantic Fairytale

Monday, October 15, 2012


Fairytales are no longer child’s play. Now, they are evolving into compelling stories that seem to put adults under their own kind of unique spell. Coming off the enormous success of the fantasy lover’s paradise in Once Upon a Time, the “teen network,” CW created a new spin on the Beauty and the Beast storybook that may or may not be worth a look.

A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman

Saturday, October 13, 2012


About the book:
Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2012
Find the Review Elsewhere:
Amazon | Goodreads | Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads
Series: Winds of Change, book 3
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Annie Kennedy may have gotten herself in over her head now she has moved to Boston from the small-town Iowa lifestyle she knows. Hoping to lose herself in adventure and become a woman world wise – like her elder sister Maggie once did, Annie is looking for her first love. Living with the aunt who never married, disallows her from showing affection and the recent loss of her father has left Annie longing for something to fill the void. Things become complicated when Annie falls under the spell of Steven O’ Connor. Ever since he nearly lost his father, Steven has cleaned up his act. He’s an FBI agent and he no longer dates “good girls” because he can no longer stop himself from falling hard for anyone who appears innocent after his tumultuous relationship with Maggie. Then he meets the sweet Annie – another girl who reminds him of his first love. What he doesn’t know is that loving Annie is only setting him up for more heartbreak – or is it?

Taken 2 (2012)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taken 2

When news broke that filmmakers were working on a script for a sequel to the 2008 hit, Taken, I was beyond thrilled. I can remember not being interested in the movie until my dad expressed curiosity in seeing it so I figured I’d watch it with him. Little did I realize how wrong I was about the thriller that not only gave its audience a noble hero and fabulous action sequences, but also nuances of truth (in the sphere of just how right our fathers can be).

When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason

Thursday, October 11, 2012

About the Book:
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Deadly Reunions - Book 2
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Working with dead bodies is all in a day’s work for Serena Hopkins. She is an ME and isn’t afraid of anything – except maybe her childhood crush, Dominic Allen, or more specifically, the feelings he stirs in her heart. Dom is working on stopping a serial killer who is looking like a copycat murder who was sentenced some twenty years ago, a person who is picking off former classmates of he and his sister’s but how does it all connect to his sister… and Serena?

Make it or Break It: Season One, Volume Two (2010)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

After finishing the first volume of ABC Family’s inside – or dramatized, look at the life of an elite athlete, I can say that I was sort of “addicted” to it. This was partially because I do like the sport of full twists and stick landings and on the other end of the spectrum, I was intrigued by some of the topics the scripts explored.

Make it or Break It: Season One, Volume One (2009)

No matter how far we may think we come in figuring out the mysteries of human behavior, it would seem, in the world of television, back-stabbing teens still win the most ratings. Or that is what this scenario of elite athletes who are also pretty faces wants us to believe.

People Like Us (2012)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

People Like Us

No matter how badly we want life to conform to our idea of "perfect," life has a way of upending our entire, comfortable world, and challenging us. That is the idea behind this charmer – albeit a quirky one – that could have done so much better at the box office had it trimmed out a scene or two.

Considering it’s an interesting look at human behavior and the reactions we have when things don’t go our way, writers threw away too much potential.

...and the Winner Is

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The giveaway of Lynette Eason's latest novel, When a Heart Stops just ended and I am happy to announce that the winner is:
  • Gabrielle G. 
CONGRATS, friend - I'll have that book sent out to you on Monday. In just a little over 70+ days (around Christmas), there will be another giveaway here so be sure to check back, everyone! Thanks to everyone who entered this - as usual, you made it fun. Happy weekend!

Taylor Swift | Begin Again


Taylor Swift Begin Again
About the Song:
Released: 2012
Writing Credits: Taylor Swift
Label: Big Machine Records
Genre: Country, Pop
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
Debut: #1

The Story: Following the end of a relationship, a girl finally decides, eight months later to go on that first date, again starting over taking a first step to begin a new relationship and renew her faith in love.

My Thoughts: After her chart-topping first single from the upcoming album, Red, Taylor Swift has again enchanted us with the second track from said album in this song that seems to retreat to her country roots. When I first listened to it, I was unimpressed by, what seemed, a copy-cat plot. On the surface, it comes across no different than Swift’s usual writing and in many platforms it is. Multiple plays since has changed my mind – this song is so much better than ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.’ For the first time in a long time, a Swift song tells a compelling story of new love that paints the hero as a gentleman (the sort of guy the fairer sex often thinks makes them look weak! What-ever!). In novels, songwriting or film, no matter the media, it is hard to find a guy who fits that description – when we do, it’s usually after a “search,” so I do applaud Taylor for giving us a guy who stands when she enters the room or pulls out his date’s chair as Taylor replies, and you don't know how nice that is. But I do. May I also add: How rare is that (sadly) today!?

Taylor Swift: Red


Taylor Swift Red
About the Song:
Released: 2012
Writing Credits: Taylor Swift
Label: Big Machine Records
Genre: Country, Pop
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
Debut: #1 (on iTunes)

The Story: Recounting all the emotions that come with a whirlwind romance – missing, losing, loving are likened to the colors, grey, blue and red.All with another spin on swirling emotions that come with the end of a relationship. 

The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter

Thursday, October 4, 2012


About the Book:
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Big Sky Romance - Book 3 
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Review: Annie Wilkerson has never been in love. She knows that and it has made her desperate. Desperate enough to ask ladies man, Dylan Taylor to help her write her lovelorn column for a western magazine that recently pulled her prior column. Annie’s small business training horses is successful but in the small town of Moose Creek supporting her job-challenged sister and Sierra’s young son, Ryder, means Annie needs all the work she can get – and she desperately needs the money this column could bring into the household. The trouble with Annie is, she doesn’t like cowboys – they always leave in the end, which is why she is so reluctant to give in to the feelings she has developed for the roguish Dylan. What’s a girl to do?

You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren


About the Book:
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2012
Series: “Deep Haven” (book 6)
Genre: Christian Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts: Lies are what Annalise Decker has built her life from – she depends on them. They are what keep her safe and now, some twenty years later, they are as natural as breathing. Or that is what she tells herself. That was before her past reared its ugly head in the form of one of the only three people who could destroy her future. Over twenty years ago, Annalise was Deidre O’ Reilly, a young woman who helped put a dangerous criminal behind bars following the death of her best friend. Now, she is a model citizen in the sleepy town of Deep Haven having re-invented herself in the WitSec program but now her inspector, Frank has shown up with news that she – and her entire family, husband and children – could be in danger from the man she helped put behind bars. Suddenly her world crumbles when she is faced with choosing between leaving behind the person she has become or shattering the family she loves.

Elementary: Pilot, 1.01 (2012)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cementing himself into our 21st century is the great detective Sherlock Holmes – now it isn’t just book enthusiasts who “get” Sherlock’s methods, he appears in grand fashion on the big screen (explosions and all!) and even on the small screen transplanted into the 21st century. Following in the footsteps of BBC’s, Sherlock, CBS has created a modern day Holmes for audiences to delight in. Those who are Sherlock purists will hate this version but anyone willing to overlook Sherlock’s written character will be sure to find this a grand escape.

Femnista: True Stories

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good morning, friends! Today, the latest issue of Femnista went live and this go-round it centers on "True Stories." A wonderful group of writers put together articles on everything from pivotal historical events such as the fall of King Edward and his speech-challenged brother, Berite's ascent to the throne to a 21st century love story in the epic, The Vow.

Take a look at this issue by clicking on the link below to download it at your leisure (button in the top right-hand corner) or read it in an online book form - with a hot cup of cocoa, of course.  Then let us know how we did! I hope you enjoy pursuing this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. I'd like to also say welcome to the newest writer, Camille - I hope you enjoyed this experience!

Femnista: October / November 2012 - True Stories
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