Month in Review: July 2015



Hello, readers. Feels as if it was just yesterday that found me working up a "month in review." We've reached that day on the calendar. Here we have month seven's "review," "rewind" or whatever term you wish to use. It's all the same, a compiling of... stuff. Basically it's a monthly post I throw together that recaps some of the blog's content and various other random things - for example, things I've found on the interwebs or me babbling about my latest TV obsession and the books I've read. The good news is, welcoming a new month today means a GIVEAWAY is coming. Yay! I should have  the giveaway information posted tomorrow morning or will be very shortly thereafter (read before the Friday is over). Either way, be on the lookout. (Edit: Giveaway is delayed 'til Monday. Sorry, guys! Have to get the review published to pair with said giveaway first. But it's still coming.)

Without further ado, let's get this month in review started.
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Winter's Tale (2014)



You know those films you really want to see and never do? The kind, while at the video store (yep, I’m still old-fashioned and walk into a video store), you pick up, and then as your arms fill with random DVD’s, you eventually put one or two back. That has been my experience with this costume drama. From the moment I read about it I wanted to see it. From the moment I saw the trailer I knew I’d be enchanted. Then things served as a distraction and I never got around to seeing it. Until now.  

The story centers on Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a rogue with a past. Known for his thieving tricks, Peter isn’t about to give up… or maybe he is. One last score is in order after he’s rescued by a mystical creature – a white horse, from the clutches of his former boss (Russell Crowe). While roaming the streets as an orphan, this was the man who taught him everything he knows. Then he meets Beverley Penn (Jessica Findlay Brown). Beverley is a wealthy heiress dying of “the fever.” When she and Peter meet – as he’s about to rob her home, no less, he is immediately struck by her. Because of her, Peter slowly begins to change, but fate has something else entirely in mind for this star-crossed pair of lovers.  


To be honest, I liked this more than I anticipated (after some reading in the interim space between learning about the film’s existence and seeing it) but the movie wasn’t as good as I expected it to be either. That probably doesn’t make an ounce of sense which is why we’re here – to talk about said movie, so let’s keep going. My mom and I finally sat down to watch this about a month (or longer) ago and we both had to adjust to the reality of what this film was. Instead of being a simple albeit beautiful costume drama, it transitions between being magical realism and involving fantasy elements. Not perhaps in the traditional ways, however there are prevalent elements of fantasy engrained in the script and really, in order for the story to work (and circle back to completeness), fantasy in some form was a given.  
I suppose at one time, I did know all of these vitally important tidbits, but time passed and as I am prone to do, I forgot. Once we adjusted to what this film was, I think we both walked away with very different opinions on the story. First, the bad. I honestly didn’t like the small scale picture of this film. There were some things that almost “cheapened” the script. A script that, in my opinion, could have dazzled much brighter than it did because of this. (Things I don’t want to get into, because spoilers!) There are a lot of allegorical themes in the film and it does have a distinct line drawn between good and evil because of this – the representatives between light and darkness imagery isn’t hard to pick up on. This is all fine, and I take no issue with anything the script had in mind. Where I do complain is the character of Lucifer. Something about his scenes and characterization just doesn’t “fit” with the rest of this story. I couldn’t wind up feeling anything beyond annoyance during his scenes.

The romance also didn’t feel 100% “right.” This is probably just me being picky, but that’s the truth. The progression was fine, but how it wound up breaking seemed heartbreaking, maybe, but also awkward. Beyond those quibbles, I did enjoy this film. It’s something I definitely see myself renting again. My mother probably would not. She, like me, wanted to like this and neither one of us walked away feeling as if we’d just found that new fantasy-esque romance that would stick with us. That being said, I also see this movie as being something I would like better a second time through. I now know what to expect and will likely pick up on more symbolism when I’m not so focused on wondering why the heck something “supernatural” is happening when this was meant to be a pretty costume drama piece. Not to be slighted in this write-up, there certainly is plenty of that. There’s some exquisite staging and naturally, I adored seeing Jessica in something outside of her Downton Abbey role. What the cast, producers and company put together is phenomenal. That much cannot be argued.  


If you enjoy fantasy romances, you are very likely going to like this film. In its own way, it’s really a kind of winter fairytale that has layers upon layers of magic on a deeper emotional sphere. Its ending might not be traditional – some might even say, it’s a little bit of heartbreak, but for this script and story, it IS beautiful. Folklore probably isn’t even the proper description, but certainly this is a tale that will probably enchant many of its viewers.

(Content: there is one scene involving a couple sleeping together. She invites him into her room after undressing - she wants to be "loved." There is some kissing as they fall onto the bed. Next we see them lying side by side. There’s some minor violence and profanity. The film is rated PG13.)
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Top (Nine) Book Nerd Characters



It's Tuesday (or very nearly), which can mean only one thing: another edition of Top Ten Tuesday is going live on Dreaming Under the Same Moon. I've realized the past several weeks, I'm "bended" the "rule of ten." My number has been coming in at just over or under "ten." This week is much the same. Coming up with ten bookish characters shouldn't have been as difficult as it seemed to be. Sure, the obvious came to me without hesitation, but the others, I did have to think about.
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Real Murders, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery (2015)


Hallmark Movies and Mysteries series’ continue with another addition to their book-to-movie adaptations of Aurora Teagarden’s sleuthing. Murder hits close to home for Aurora (Candace Cameron Bure) when one of her murder club member’s wives is found murdered in her own home. The police begin an investigation, but somehow, Ro just cannot leave them be to do their job. No, she has to put her own amateur skills to use. The odd thing is the murder mirrors the cold case the group was going to be discussing that night. This can mean only one thing: the murderer has to be one of the people in her club. But who?

Could it be their newest arrival, the best-selling author – who also happens to be Aurora’s favorite novelist, Robin Daniels (Robin Dunne)? After all, he walked through their doors the same night as the murder. With the help of her best friend (Lexa Doig) and mother (Marilu Henner), Aurora begins to put the pieces together... just in time to unmask a murderer.  

Though the first movie in this series wasn’t my absolute favorite in Hallmark’s line of mystery originals, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The minor tweaks the production team placed into the script made a difference, and everything seemed melded just as it should. I’ve never read the books, and as such, am unaware what they are like. The “cozy mystery” feel in cinematic format, and fun elements Aurora employs in solving her cases make for a fun 90-minute telefilm. Ensuring potential viewers a fun way to end their weekend. Especially to those of us who’ve seen the premiere film.


Speaking of that first film, if you liked the entire cast, one face is absent. The minister, Ro began dating is not back for round two. Instead there is a new leading man she sparks with and we see a bit of a “tease” in their potential relationship. Whether or not, he’ll stick around for any potential future installments is another matter entirely, but I will confess, I’m rooting for it. The interplay that plays out naturally between him and Candace is really terrific – plus they get a few “flirty” bits of banter. Rare though it is. The relationship between Ro and her mother is as typical (and occasionally complicated) as ever, as is the relationship she has with her bestie – and I cannot close without mentioning the love-hate relationship she has with her ex’s wife. It's one of the most hilarious elements this series possesses. Well done to the writer’s and actresses for perfecting that; it adds the perfect indulges of humor.

The mystery itself has some unique markers, keeping us guessing and wondering along with Ro, which among her group is the culprit. All in all, these mysteries are like a nostalgic game of Clue. We wonder, ponder and puzzle, taking Ro’s lead and hoping right along with her the culprit will be caught by days end.

Have you seen these recent Hallmark mysteries? Are you fans of the novels by Charlaine Harris? Sound off below.

Catch the premiere of Real Murders Sunday, July 26th on Hallmark Movie Channel. Until then, have a peek at the movie!

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Sisterhood of the World Blogger Awards


 

In the past few weeks, I've been tagged twice with a couple of fun blogging awards. One was the "Real Neat" blogging award, the second is, "The Sisterhood of the World" award. If I'm not mistaken I believe I've been tagged with the former award, so I decided to accept the second award with gratitude. The ladies who tagged me in this award were Amber (clarification: it was Amber, who also gave her nominees the shout-out/tag of the "Real Neat" award) and Carissa. Thank you ladies so very much!

The fun part of these tags is answering their questions. Why? Because, they are usually such fun. As usual, I probably won't be making a list of nominees down below. I've been over this a lot here, but just a quick recap would go like this. When I first started blogging and accepted awards, I went through the entire process. I tried to abide by the "rules" as best I could, including passing the awards along. But these days, either everyone who I'd tag has been tagged by all of the ladies (further proof that I participate in these awards way late) or the bloggers who haven't aren't interested in participating in tags, which is totally fine. But blog posts can be a lot of work, and putting in extra time to tag/link to friend's blogs is something I'll skip if I sincerely believe what I have just laid out. And I do.

With that said, let's get started.

Amber's Questions

1. Dream vacation this summer, if you could go anywhere? I'd love to see Europe. England, Scotland or Ireland. Blame this on all of the costume dramas I'm glued to. Of course, there are plenty of places in the states to visit and enjoy, too.

2. Classic (book) you're most interested in revisiting sometime? Gosh, anyone who has read my ramblings about classic lit knows this isn't really a question I can legit answer. I'd like to finish Northanger Abbey, which is one classic I've been reading for years. Yep, I said years. *awkward*


3. Latest fictional crush? Étienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss). Why? Because, that's my current read. Or Oliver Queen since I just finished season two of Arrow.

4. Favorite period drama? Oh, the pain of picking just one! I couldn't possibly accomplish such a task. This is why I'll give you one I recently watched and loved - which we're all gushing about, Poldark.

5. One summer book release you're super excited about? Probably Sarah Sundin's novel, Through Waters Deep and Joanne Bischof's, To Get to You.


6. Music you can't get enough of at this moment in time? I'm lovin' Hilary Duff's latest, Breathe In, Breathe Out.

7. Most exciting discovery this year (book, movie, or music)? Too many to name, but I will say, reading Rachelle Rea's debut novel was an amazing find.

8. Best freebie you've found online (ebook, download, subscription)? Does the Libib app count? I love this app. It's sort of like Goodreads, but I don't really use it the same. Instead I use it solely to catalog my library (which is made super easy thanks to its barcode scanner). The reason this is so unique is because you can be browsing at the bookstore, scan a book and your app will tell you if you own it. If you're like me, you've double-bought books one to many times.


9. Favorite Jane Austen hero? That's a tough one. I've always liked Knightley because he doesn't let Emma get away with a single thing. He IS tough on her, because he knows she is capable of so much more than her foolish scheming. He sees in her something no one else does.

10. Most beloved Disney sidekick? This might be a cop-out or a popular answer, but can I help which Disney character I love? Um, no. Not when it comes to Olaf. I adore this little sidekick. He's got an epic sense of humor and no matter what, never seems to be "down."

Carissa's Questions

1. Favorite Disney movie? Assuming this is meant more for the animated films, this is another "easy" choice, either Tangled or Frozen. Why? Probably because they're the two films I'm most familiar with, but of course, there is always the classic, Beauty and the Beast...

 
2. Favorite chick flick? How am I to pick just one? There are so many. I tend to like the chick flicks everyone else tends to think are so-so (27 DressesSweet Home Alabama, Mamma Mia!, In Her Shoes) whereas those that are in the popular crowds (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail) aren't among my most favorites, even though I like them alright. In the spirit of this award, I'll be all cliché: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

3. All time favorite movie? I couldn't possibly choose. I've got so many favorites, for so many different reasons. Ask me today, and you might hear me say 2005's Pride and Prejudice. Ask me tomorrow and I might gush about Amazing Grace.

4.  Favorite childhood novel? Probably the American Girl novels.
 
 
5. If you could work at either a library or bookstore what would you chose? Never been a library person. Bookstore, hands down.

6.  Favorite Disney Villain that you love or love to hate? I've never really thought about Disney villains before, though do think Disney's recent live-action remakes of Cinderella and Maleficent do a superb job fleshing out their villains. It feels like the Stepmother is on the verge of breaking in that final scene of Cinderella and of course, Maleficent is redeemed in beautiful ways in the latter.

7. If you could visit any country in the world what would it be? England, probably. I mean, I do watch an insane amount of British TV.

8. What Literary site would you most want to visit? You know, I have no idea. What site would be awesome to visit, fellow book nerds?

 
 
9. Favorite superhero? How to choose!? My immediate answer is always Captain America. Sure, I love all of the others, but I guess as an "overall," good human being, I keep returning to him.

10. Favorite Disney Character? Belle is, of course, every book nerds favorite. She loves books and of course, gets to hang out in one of the most epic libraries ever.
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Thank you so very much, ladies. I had fun answering your questions.
 
If YOU'D like to participate, please snag one of these question sets and join in. You're all more than welcome to do so, and if you do, let me know. I'd love to visit. Happy almost-Friday.
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Aloha (2015)


 
It’d been far too long since I’d seen something on that big-screen that can only be experienced at the theater. This is why, on a whim, my mom and I decided to go see Aloha. (Well that, plus the fact that we both like Bradley Cooper.) What happened from that spur-of-the-moment decision was a fun little trip over the Pacific Ocean. 
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Cover Candy, Edition 28


Putting together another bookish post full of pretty, new(ish) book cover art! Lots of these you've seen over on Rel's fabulous, informative site, but some I ran across that are among the YA market, and were "new" to me. With that said, I thought I'd put together this random mish-mash of covers and check in with you. You know the usual questions will be at the bottom of this post... wait for it. Until then, have a look-see at the pretties.


Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander


Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn't possible when he can't get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.- Goodreads, January 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.

Mare Barrow's blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: She is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they've always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul. - Amazon, February 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira


In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing? - Goodreads, January 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson


Kim Culbertson is back with another fantastic new novel about what happens when you've been planning for the future, but everything falls apart now.

Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn't plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-walk-out kind of meltdown. And she didn't plan on a video of it going viral. And she definitely didn't plan on never wanting to show her face again.

Mara knows she should go back, but suddenly she doesn't know why she's been overachieving all these years. Impulsively, she tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and wiht a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding the real world, Mara can figure things out.

Only Tahoe is nothing like she thought. There are awesome new friends and hot boys and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there are also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara stopping planning long enough to see the life that's happening right now? - Goodreads, January 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Inferno by Catherine Doyle


Sophie's life has been turned upside-down, and she's determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she's trying to forget, won't give up on their love - and it's Luca's knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace - and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie's in deeper than ever. - Goodreads, January 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Always Watching by Lynette Eason


The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common--they're also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she's next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

Bestselling author and fan favorite Lynette Eason drops readers right into the action in this fast-paced new series with a unique twist. Readers will love these strong female characters who put it all on the line to save lives. - Amazon, February 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista


Caleb desperately needs a new fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties with a pretty girl on his arm to schmooze for his father’s law firm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, the waitress at the Country Club — who just lost her job due to Caleb’s too-public breakup — is open to new experiences (and art supplies are expensive!). It’s the perfect setup for them both. Caleb has only one rule for the arrangement: Didi mustn’t fall in love with him. - Goodreads, April 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood


The novel follows 17-year-old physics prodigy Gottie Oppenheimer as she navigates a summer of grief and rips in the space-time continuum, all while trying to reconcile heartbreak. - Goodreads, May 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison


Gone Girl meets the TV show Nashville in this sultry summer read about a girl who runs away from her high-profile past to live the normal life she’s always wanted.

Cecilia Montgomery has been America’s sweetheart since the day she was born. A member of the prestigious Montgomery family—the US equivalent of royalty—her childhood was cut short after she was nearly kidnapped. Since then, Cecilia has been hidden away, her adolescence spent at an exclusive boarding school.

Her dreams of becoming a professional violinist—dashed.

Her desire to be a normal teenager—not possible.

Her relationship with her once-loving parents—bitter and strained.

Nothing about Cecilia’s life is what she would have planned for herself. So when an opportune moment presents itself, Cecilia seizes the chance to become someone else. To escape. To disappear. To have the life she always dreamed about, far away from her mother’s biting remarks and her sheltered upbringing.

Cecilia says goodbye to the Montgomery name and legacy to become Lia Washington: relaxed, wild, in love, free, and living on her own terms for the very first time. But being on your own isn’t always as easy as it seems… - Amazon, March 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Land of 10,000 Mononnas by Kate Hattemer


Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend in this heartwarming novel from the author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy.

Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death.

With vivid writing, poignant themes, and abundant doses of humor throughout, Kate Hattemer’s second novel is a satisfying journey about looking for someone else’s answers only to find yourself.
  - Goodreads, April 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Toss the Bouquet  (Spring Year of Weddings Novella Collection)


They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

All Dressed Up in Love by Ruth Logan Herne

Tara walks into Elena’s Bridal and finds her dream job—and a handsome man to match.

Greg Elizondo is working at the shop, trying to keep it afloat after his mother’s passing. But can their growing attraction take root amidst of juggling Bridezillas, wedding dress orders, and an upcoming gala for the shop? Can God orchestrate their desires and goals into one happy ending?

In Tune with Love by Amy Matayo

April knows her job as maid of honor is to fulfill her sister’s every wish—whatever the bride wants, she will have. Unless it involves Jack Vaughn.

April Quinn loves her sister and wants to make sure the week of her wedding is the happiest of her life, even if it means putting up with Kristin’s every crazy whim. But when Kristin hires Jack Vaughn as the wedding singer, all sisterly devotion flies out the window.

As April and Jack keep appearances for the sake of Kristen’s happiness, they rediscover a chemistry that never quite fizzled out. But will they be able to rewrite two solos into a timeless duet?

Never a Bridesmaid by Janice Thompson

Mari wants her sister Crystal’s wedding to be perfect. But a poorly-chosen maid of honor may turn it into a disaster.

Mari Hays’s older sister Crystal is getting married, and Mari is ecstatic to be part of the wedding. But she soon finds her expected role of maid of honor has been delegated to the worst possible choice: Sienna Jameson.

With the wedding day looming, an emotional and sensitive sister, and a selfish maid of honor, can Mari keep the waters calm until the bride and groom jet off for their honeymoon? And will she allow herself to be caught by Houston’s most eligible bachelor? - Amazon, March 2016

Amazon ǀ

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter


She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.

Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.- Amazon, March 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little


She thought she’d lost everything . . .

After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.

But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.

This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless. - Goodreads, February 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

In Real Life by Jessica Love


Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then. - Goodreads, March 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Kiss the Bride (Summer Year of Weddings Novella Collection)


Meet the people who make it all happen—the planners, the photographers, the musicians who have helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples—as they find their own happy endings in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Picture Perfect Love: A June Wedding Story by Melissa McClone

When image becomes everything, it’s up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren’t always as perfect as they look through her camera lens.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away, but he wrongly blamed Jenna for ruining his political aspirations. Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

I Hope You Dance: A July Wedding Story by Robin Lee Hatcher

Can two left feet lead to one perfect romance?

Grant Nichols is a genius in the kitchen and a klutz on the dance floor. But his friend’s wedding is shaping up to be a shindig the likes of which Kings Meadow has never seen—including dancing. Lots of dancing.

Former rodeo queen Skye Foster is offering dance lessons for the wedding party. Grant and Skye are no match on paper. But when they step onto the dance floor, they create a melody all their own.

Love on a Deadline: An August Wedding Story by Kathryn Springer

MacKenzie “Mac” Davis returns to her hometown of Red Leaf, Wisconsin, and takes a job at the weekly newspaper writing about social events.

When Hollis Channing, Mac’s high school nemesis, returns to Red Leaf to marry her celebrity fiancé, the editor asks Mac to cover all the festivities for the newspaper. The last thing Mac wants to do is reconnect with the person who made her life miserable when she was a teenager . . . unless it’s spending time with Ethan Channing, the bride’s older brother—and Mac’s first crush. - Amazon, May 2016

Amazon ǀ

Sunkissed by Jenny McLachlan


Following on from Flirty Dancing and Love Bomb, Jenny McLachlan's next book is perfect summer holiday reading for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison.

Kat can’t believe her family are sending her to Sweden for the summer. But without her friends, or even a phone signal, can Kat make it on her own?

In a land of saunas, nudity and summer sun, Kat soon realises she has nowhere to hide. It’s time to embrace who she really is, underneath what she’s been thinking people want her to be. Especially if she’s going to win the heart of mega fit Swede Leo! Can Kat find her inner strength and prove she’s got what it takes?

Kat soon finds that when you're surrounded by phosphorescence and wonder it’s easy to sparkle. Or maybe that’s what happens when you fall in love … Or maybe you only shine when you’re true to yourself. - Goodreads, August 2015


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

(No cover for this one yet, but it sounds awesome, plus it's Rachel's debut. Seeing it on GR and Amazon is such fun.)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so. - Goodreads, March 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker


Candace “Candy” Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for . . . forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine.

That doesn’t mean Candy’s a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy’s the only one who can’t see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She’s also the only one who can’t see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town.

But ghosts aren’t the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can’t ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she’s still suspicious of the King family.

As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn’t know. It’s a tale that’s more truth than myth, and may have all the answers . . . and its roots are in Candy’s own family tree.
- Goodreads, February 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks


Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances. - Goodreads, March 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Etiquette with the Devil by Rebecca Paula


Clara Dawson always followed the rules, until one terrifying night when her inheritance is stolen and the man responsible is left for dead. Desperate to outrun her troubles, she accepts a governess position at the crumbling gothic manor of the mysterious Ravensdale family. Caring for three orphaned children gives her a purpose, but her vulgar employer, Bly Ravensdale, holds dangerous secrets that may shatter Clara's newfound safe haven. Yet this stubborn brute compels Clara to abandon her etiquette at every turn, and she can't stay away.

Disowned by his family, Bly Ravensdale travels the globe as an explorer and agent of the British Crown until his brother’s passing leaves him saddled with three young wards. Charged with returning them to the family's vacant ancestral seat in the English countryside—the one place he wishes to avoid at all costs—Bly quits the role of spy to play family man. But a man nicknamed Devil rarely gets a clean start in life, even with the aid of the prudish yet lovely governess, Clara. Despite her cold exterior, Bly finds himself drawn to her, even as an enemy from his deadly past resurfaces seeking vengeance. Can he protect all that he has suddenly come to hold dear? - Goodreads, August 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter


Ali Bell and Cole Holland's crew of zombie slayers thought they'd won the war against Anima Industries, the evil company responsible for capturing and experimenting on zombies in an effort to discover the secret to immortality. In the last epic clash, the slayers lost many of their crew and closest friends. But Frosty, the ice man himself, has not recovered from one casualty in particular—the love of his life, Kat Parker.

On the path to self-annihilation, Frosty receives a message from beyond—Kat's spirit returns, insisting he partner with rogue slayer Camilla Marks. Frosty will do anything for Kat. Except that. Camilla is the one who betrayed them all, leading to Kat's death.

But when Anima rises from the grave to become a force the slayers may not have the strength to overcome, Frosty, Camilla and all the slayers will have to work together to survive. And one broken slayer will learn that sometimes, the line between hate and attraction is blurred…and the road to redemption isn't through revenge, but in letting go of the past and grabbing hold of the future. - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Hearts we Mend by Kathryn Springer



For young widow Evie Bennett, moving forward will mean deciding what to leave behind . . . and what to keep.

Widowed at the age of twenty-five when her firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, Evie Bennett has spent the last thirteen years raising their son, Cody, in the close-knit community of Banister Falls. As the women’s ministry director of her church, Evie encourages women to boldly pursue God’s plan for their future . . . while she is content with her memories of the past. But Evie’s well-ordered life begins to change when she meets Jack Vale.

As Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe and predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems in the community . . . but will Evie open her heart to love again?

Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs. - Amazon, March 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash


Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...

Archie and Veronica...

Althena and Noth...

...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Althena Chronicles, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.- Goodreads, June 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller


Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.

Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family--and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.

But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer? - Goodreads, February 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh


March 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren


February 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Love and Geleto by Jenna Evans Welch


A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more. - Goodreads, April 2016


Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Promises I Made by Michelle Zink


In the thrilling sequel to Lies I Told, Grace learns that the most difficult thing about pulling off the perfect crime is living with the consequences.

Grace Fontaine was trained to carry out perfect crimes. But when a mistake was made the night her family tried to execute their biggest heist yet, her world fell apart. Now her brother is in jail, her mother has disappeared with the entire stolen fortune, and her father is determined to find a new mark, no matter the cost.

Haunted by the way she betrayed her friends—and Logan, the only boy she’s ever loved—as well as the role she played in her brother’s arrest, Grace decides she must return to the place every thief knows you should avoid: the scene of the crime.

Returning to Playa Hermosa as a wanted criminal is dangerous. But Grace has only one chance to make things right. To do it, she has to use everything she’s been taught about the art of the con to hunt down the very people who trained her: the only family she’s ever known.
Perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Gail Carriger, this thrilling, high-stakes novel deftly explores the roles of identity and loyalty while offering a window into the world of the rich and fabulous.
 - Goodreads, November 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

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That's it for today's "cover candy" post.
The standard question applies: which do you like best or which are you most interested in?
 
Sound off below with any and all bookish thoughts!
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Cedar Cove, Season Three - Episode 1, "Hello Again" (2015)



Apparently, the end of season two left the residents of Cedar Cove in something of a quandary. I wouldn’t know about that considering the DVD set hasn’t released yet. (Or rather, it hadn’t at the time I “needed” to be watching the premiere of season three.) But no bother. I caught up enough to understand the gist of the circumstances. With that, let’s jump into what goes down. Jack (Dylan Neal) is facing disappointment from Olivia (Andie MacDowell) in the wake of his lying, and worse yet, he’s let himself down. The aftermath of this, what Olivia sees as a kind of betrayal, is anything save for good. To top it all off daughter, Justine (Sarah Smyth) has decided she wants to move out of the house and Olivia’s best friend, Grace (Teryl Rothery) is contemplating some possible changes to her own life. Justine is finally in a good place with her personal life and beginning a promising new relationship with a veteran (Jesse Hutch) while Grace is facing the possibility of losing Cliff (Sebastian Spence)... only he might have something to say about that. Meanwhile, Olivia distracts herself with work cases including the arrival of the new DA, who just so happens to be handsome and seems interested in Olivia.

This is just a sampling of the “catching up” we are invited to do with the lives of these characters. There’s a lot of drama going on in these first two hours - everything from Moon and Peggy's riff (in a humorous way) to Jack's steps to start again, which I can only hope continues to taper out as the show progresses. The end of episode one calms down and gives us some “breathing room” as it were, which, is a nice thing considering all of the ping-pongs the show threw at us up until that point. The only disappointment I had with this was all of the shifting emotions. But, I digress. This isn’t enough to make me no longer enjoy the show. Quite the contrary. I still really enjoyed this premiere and am looking forward to wherever else the show goes in future episodes. 

 
What was really pleasant to see in this episode (and yes, the premiere will run for two hours) is that amidst some of the potentially not-going-back  relationships, it seems like some characters have really “grown up.” For example, Justine seems to finally be finding her wings and is ready to discover what it is she wants to do. Good for her, I say. Commenting on whether or not I like her new boyfriend is territory I shouldn’t yet wander into considering I know little about him (season two, here I come). But, he seems like a really nice, cool guy. I’m also exercising my right to reserve judgment on the rest of the newbie gang. I have a feeling the new Mr.-What's-His-Name DA and I are going to have a problem (*wink*), and I know annoying Will and I won’t get along. That dude doesn’t know when to take a hint. Plus, he’s trouble. *grin*

The filming location (in Canada) for this small-town Washington set series is beautiful. I love all of the natural lighting and lovely seascapes each frame represents. It sets off the perfect tone for this setting and the sense of nostalgia the town is trying to express. Whatever your favorite thing about Cedar Cove may be, what it comes down to is its themes of fighting for something or someone you love. At its heart, these book-to-TV-show adaptations are in no short supply of poignant truths and flawed characters, who slowly but surely learn every day from their mistakes. Good storytelling evolves its characters and the one character I was most impressed with, was Jack. He seemed somehow “stronger” in this episode and I can only hope that momentum carries him through the rest of the trials that are bound to be rocky, steep inclines that crop up in his climb back to where he was.

 
Fans of Cedar Cove will delight in returning to its charms. The characters are all intact, some new faces are breezing in and we are gifted with nuggets of wisdom throughout the quiet moments between favorite characters. 

What has been your favorite moment or favorite pairing so far on Cedar Cove? Comment below with any thoughts you have about the show as it enters its third season.  

Catch the 2-hour season premiere of Cedar Cove Saturday (July 18th) on Hallmark Channel. Until then, have a look at the promo video.
 

*Content: There are some minor inferences of couple's having spent the night together.
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The DUFF (2015)


 
The “it” thing at the box office seems to be adapting young adult literature. Between that and the domination of superheroes, I’m not sure much of anything else nets a fighting chance. One of the most recently adapted features is based off a popular book that teaches a surprisingly valuable lesson, but in the process has to wade through some clutter that strips away important pieces of the good. 
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The Sound of Silver Cover Reveal


Good morning, fellow book nerdigans. We're are thrilled to be bringing you a very special cover reveal. Today, I get the chance to help one of the most talented blogger-turned-author reveal the cover of her second novel. Her debut novel only recently released and let me tell you, it's not one to be missed. It's called The Sound of Diamonds and is now available in paperback and e-book formats.

Before we get to the reveal (yep, let's make ya' wait just a smidgeon longer), let's meet Rachelle and talk about her debut novel first.


Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote the Sound of Silver the summer after her junior year of college.

The Sound of Diamonds: In Reformation-era England, a converted rogue wants to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk Godfrey knows he has only one chance at redemption.

An independent Catholic maiden seeking refuge in the Low Countries finds herself at the center of the Iconoclastic Fury. Jaded by tragedy, Gwyneth's only hope of getting home is to trust the man she hates, and she soon discovers her poor vision is not the only thing that has been blinding her.

But the home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, will the saint and the sinner hold to hope...or be overcome? - Goodreads 

Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads ǀ Review
 
The Sound of Silver: The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One is fighting for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God?  Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?
 
The Author: Rachelle Rea 

Amazon Preorder: Coming Soon ǀ Kindle: Coming September 15
Barnes & Noble: Coming October 15 ǀ Books a Million: Coming October 15

- The Cover Reveal -

....drumroll, please....


Pretty gorgeous, right? I love the "warmth" of the design. There's a delicate beauty (the flourishes, Gwyneth's stunning ensemble) that befits the era, yet there's a "teasing" or mysterious quality to it - what's to come? - that I really like. I think it's just in the heroines look or the angle of the shot - what aren't we seeing? I like the continued theme of jewelry on the covers and the pose/editing of this photo is absolutely perfect.
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Leave your comments about The Sound of Silver's cover debut! Are you anticipating reading Rachelle's second novel? I sure am.
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