Month in Review: May 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hello, readers. We've reached that day on the calendar. Here we have month five's "review," "rewind" or what have you, 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 wanting to find a cute, versatile, smart-looking summer dress (the dilemma continues). Today we're marking the sixth-month date of this new year. Like, what!? Is it just me or has 2015 flown by. Please, slow down. There are things to do. Places to be. Experiences to be had. Tasks to be complete. Speaking of which, let's get this month in review started.

Armchair BEA Giveaway: The Heir

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Given today is the last day for the fabulously fun event Armchair BEA (an event created for those of us who never get to said event), one of today's agenda options was hosting a giveaway. A giveaway that we could set the rules for. I'm taking that opportunity because I happen to have an extra copy of Kiera Cass' The Heir in my possession, and it seemed like someone else might enjoy having it on their shelf.

 But, as usual, before we get to the awesome details of the book, let's talk about those boring rules.

The giveaway(s) is open to all readers (but if you do not have a U.S. address, by entering you are agreeing to accept a Kindle copy). I do ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - there have been a few people I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification before another winner is randomly chosen.

To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget.

The Heir Synopsis: Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.  - Goodreads

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Good luck, everyone! The giveaway runs from now - June 6th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Armchair BEA, Day Four: Book to Movie Adaptations

Day four of Armchair BEA is here. This also means that this fun adventure is coming to an end. Bummer. This was my first year participating and while I didn’t have all my ducks in a row, it was still fun. At least the Armchair BEA gang knows how to go out in style.

Today’s final topic is really perfect for this blog since it combines the primary writings here. Books and movies. What an entertaining talk. With that said, let’s get right into today’s final subject.  

Armchair BEA, Day Three: Character Chatter and Blogging Q&A

Friday, May 29, 2015

Morning, readers! Today’s BEA topics present some fun challenges. For me, this day wasn't so bad since I’ve discussed both of these topics before and yes, if you guessed I would use that, you are right. I am so going to cheat.  
Pull up a chair and your favorite cup of tea or whatever beverage you enjoy and let's get started with day three of Armchair BEA.

Armchair Bea Day Two: Visual Expressions and Social Media

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Every year, I follow the picture adventures of BEA events. Or at least I have since I became more active in the book blogging community. If you don’t know what BEA is, it’s the massive Book Expo America. It looks like an insanely fun time because, well, lots of authors appear and hello, you can meet them not to mention get your books signed. Last year one of my blogging friends joined in the annual Armchair BEA event and on a whim, I decided to join this year. Why I do not know since I have made no advance preparations – like seriously, I randomly signed up yesterday. I know, what was I thinking? Anyway, I didn’t get to my introductions post because I didn't realize the questions were posted to the site until way too late. So. Let’s get a mini, obligatory introduction out of the way. 

Hello. My name is Rissi and I’ve been blogging for nearly four years this summer. I’m an artistic person who would recommend everyone attempt reading C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and the top book on my TBR pile is either Jody Hedlund's new novel or Mary Weber's Siren's Fury. I’m one of five board me members for the INSPY awards which recognizes the best in inspirational fiction and am also a recent contributor to Silver Petticoat. I love to read and am interested in branching out to writing more discussion posts on this blog, which is presently more about reviews than anything else. If you’d like to read more, you can visit my annoying bio page. And by coining it annoying I mean, writing about oneself is never easy. But let’s not quibble over missing day one of Armchair BEA. Instead I’m starting things off fresh with the day two topics. Let’s get started, shall we?  

The first part of today’s topics is visual expressions. This is meant to highlight alternate topics of storytelling. To be honest, I really have no idea what this means. One example the guide gave was comic books, which was null and void since I don’t read them (although I actually did order a Jane Austen comic book. Does that not sound fabulous!?). After that, my mind immediately drifted to the fabulousness that is the Jane Austen web series adaptations. What can I say I’m still obsessed with them. This is a pop culture that has caught like wildfire. The original was an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which then paved the way for multiple other remakes of classics.   

I’ve watched two in full, caught a few episodes of other series (that were of other classics unrelated to Austen) and recently read about a “twist” in another currently airing series that I’m, shall we say, less than pleased with. The two series I did see in full were Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (which for the purpose of this article I will now refer to as LBD – got to shorten things where I can). Coming off the high that was LBD, Emma Approved was not my favorite. I gave it a chance, didn’t much care for it (or not in an obsessed kind of way), walked away, and then came back. Once I got past the character of Emma (who is loveable for all her flaws) and realized the actress played her just as she needed to be played, only for a modern audience, I fell in love. The series became addictive to the point of me being disappointed when it came to a close and wishful we could have a few more episodes.  

Then there is LBD. This is my favorite web series to date. In these 100 episodes, the story of Lizzie Bennett and her mischievous sisters (cut to three) is terrific. The writers and creators perfectly capture Lizzie as a modern woman and interesting character, while still telling the classic story. The only downfall is that we don’t see Darcy nearly enough. That to me is just tragic.

Without doing any research on the subject, I’m impressed with this modern way of reinventing a story. Sure I’m not pleased at some of the directions other creators are taking with some of our believed literature, but Pemberley Digital (the creator of Emma Approved and LBD) did it up right. They paid homage to the source and kept things modern and relevant for a new generation of fans. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the video diary format which is how the story is told, but it’s really clever and especially for Lizzie, is a good way to tell the stories.

I actually started an article about the modern interpretations of stories being re-tooled like this (no joke!) and was planning on sharing it at some point. That may be why I’m not sharing too much about this. Or more likely, the logical explanation is because I’m speed-writing this. 

What about you: what are some of the alternate ways you like to see stories told? Is it through comic books? Video diaries? Let me know down below!  


Topic number two is all about social media. I’ll confess, I pretty much love the social media community. Twitter and blogging are the two I pour the most time into. The former because it’s a fun, relevant way to keep in touch with blogging friends and the latter because right now, I’m taking my love of writing very seriously and blogging allows me the freedom to explore that while trying to improve with every article.

When I first began blogging, I was very timid which meant there was no tweeting or additional social media of any kind. Eventually I began using Tumblr and had some fun with it, but then found a review of mine involved in some drama. That's so not my scene. With that, the Tumblr was promptly deleted. I have no problem with disagreements or anyone sharing their opinion, but where I draw the line is when people are mean just for the sake of being mean. They aren’t interested in calmly and concisely sharing why they disagree. Instead they want to call you out with profanity-laced rants. In the interim, I did join Twitter and a long-lasting social media love affair began. I can admit, I’m a tiny bit obsessed with Twitter. But the real question for this topic is meant to address whether or not as a blogger, social media has helped.  

I would say, yes. Not only does using social media help boast the visibility of your site (if that’s what you are looking for – this is probably something I’ll address in Friday’s BEA post), it opens doors to the community you are looking to be a part of. For example, I’ve “met” a lot of people and like-minded bloggers through Twitter as well as authors I enjoy reading. Twitter means easy access to authors where perhaps you want to ask a quick question of them about their new book or ask them something about the inspiration of the book. I’ve found most authors are very willing to chat with you, provided your Twitter trails don’t turn into a 450 page novel. (Trust me, sometimes I feel like my friends and I can do that… and it's fun.)  

As for using social media for serious networking, I probably don’t use Twitter to its fullest. Right now I am in a “serious” mode regarding blogging, so I should look into using it to its maximum, but I also want this part of my life to be fun. Why? Because that’s what it should be. Self-promotion beyond tweeting my review/article links or sharing the articles on my social media pages are about as far as I go. What I mean by this is that while I love meeting new bloggers who share similar views, I don’t visit blogs for tweet to people for the purpose of introducing my blog. With blogging seeming to fade more into the woodwork (even in the few years I’ve been doing it), I am a bit nervous about its future, but at the same time, I do feel like there might be great things ahead. Booktube (a book blogging community on Youtube) seems to have precedence over written blogging, but as fun as it looks, I'm not quite inspired to try one.  

Goodreads is also another popular choice. I really like it for chatting with friends about our current reads, but for a library app, my go-to is Libib (it can be downloaded in most any app store). It's easy to use (you can create libraries by genre / author, whatever you like) and all you do is scan your book barcode into the system. The reason this is so awesome is that it makes book shopping (at a store) super simple. If you're not 100% sure if you own a book, all you do is scan the barcode. If you're like me, sometimes you double buy. This app helps eliminate that.


What about you? Share your favorite ways to network. Do you use Youtube? Are you a fan of Twitter? Share your social media advice and strategies down below. I’m all for jumping on the learning curve, which is actually another blog post I started. That’s becoming a theme.
That's it for today. I hope I put this together in some semblance of proper-ness for this program. My apologies if I did not, and thanks to everyone who read this (rather long) blog post. Happy Thursday, happy readers!

The Musketeers, Season Two (2015)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In 2014, BBC invited us to again journey on another classic adventure with their take on the legend of the noble Musketeers. Season two snuck up on me and then instead of opting for seeing the series sooner, I went with the U.S DVD release. Let me just say, it was worth every single delay.  

A Summer 2015 Box Office Preview

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hello, readers. I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend. It's kind of a bummer that it's over, but on the upside, we get to start off the week on a Tuesday, which isn't bad. Is it just me or would it be nice if our week started on Tuesday every time? Anyway, today was Top Ten Tuesday and I was going to put that together, and then (insert awkward pause here) I realized what I was putting together was for next week's topic. Needless to say, that idea was crushed. On the upside, at least next week's topic is nearly done and ready to go.

Anyway, after that I didn't feel like putting the right topic together today, so instead I'm sharing the recent reviews or articles I've post on Silver Petticoat. The first is an article I helped put together for today. It's a summer box office preview and on it are films that might be lesser-known than the usual blockbusters. Secondly, last week, I reviewed I Capture the Castle. Have you seen this one? It's kind of a quirky film that won't appeal to everyone (especially since it doesn't have a text book fairytale ending), but this second time through I really liked it - maybe better than my first viewing.

Anyway, below are the articles if anything described sounds interesting.

What's Playing on my iPod

Friday, May 22, 2015

Every once in a while a random, let’s-talk-abut-music post crops up around here. Today is one of those days. I’m not sure how many new songs I’ve discovered, loved and couldn’t live without since last time we talked music, but I thought perhaps there were enough to make a reasonably decent blog post. Traditionally, I tend to like the popular, “it” songs of the moment, which to some, isn’t good music. Nothing wrong with that either. That being said, another reason I love watching Dancing with the Stars is discovering new music and I discovered at least one new favorite this season.

Otherwise, I’ll admit a lot of the stuff on my iPod is on repeat and has been for a while. What can I say, when I like a song, I really like a song. Let’s take a like at some of those songs.

Luke Bryan, ‘Crash my Party’ 

Love it. That's it.

Kelly Clarkson, ‘Dance with Me’ and ‘Good Goes the Bye’ 

These two songs on Kelly's latest album are way fun and have a nice "vibe." (Is that a legit term?) 

Clean Bandit (featuring Jess Glynne), ‘Rather Be’ 

Discovered this one through Noah Gallaway and Sharna Burgess' tango on DWTS. The opening alone is gorgeous.

Florida Georgia Line, 'How We Roll' and 'Stay'

Pretty much anything I hear by this country duo I love. But these are my current two favorites.

Frozen Official Soundtrack, ‘Let it Go’ 

What can I say? I still love this movie, characters and this song. I actually like both the Demi Lovato version and the original sung by the talented Idina Menzel.

Into the Woods Official Soundtrack, ‘Agony’ 

This song is epic. There's no "ands," "ifs" or "buts." Chris Pine rocks the vocals.  
Nichole Nordeman, 'The Unmaking'

It's been a long time since Nichole released a new song. Growing up, I was pretty obsessed with her music. It was fun to hear she's back with some new tunes. Have you heard her latest?

Paramore featuring Joy Williams, 'Hate to See Your Heart Break'

Randomly discovered this one while putting this post together and... I really like it.

Taylor Swift, ‘Blank Space’; ‘Clean’; ‘Wildest Dreams’ and ‘Wonderland’ 

(Apologies in advance.) Nope, I'm still not done loving Taylor's latest album. I can admit it, I'm still fond of (mostly) the entire album and am busily repeating the songs.

Joy Williams, 'Until the Levee'

...and finally, I just heard this song last night. I'm curious for your thoughts. Joy is one-half of the now disbanded duo, Civil Wars. But before that she was in that Grammy-winning duo, she was a Christian solo artist whose music I also loved as teen. I confess, I sometimes miss her "happy" sound in comparison to her darker undertones now. What do you think of her new sound? 

What's currently on your favorites music playlist? I'd love to hear.
Happy Friday, readers. Thank you - as always - for the support here on
Dreaming Under the Same Moon.

Wild Hearts by Jessica Burkhart

Thursday, May 21, 2015

About the Book:
Author: Jessica Burkhart
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher ARC
Publication Date: May 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: If Only, 4
Genre: Fiction; Teen Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

After reading an earlier book in this companion novel series, I was really excited to jump into reading this latest novel. First I’ll start by saying that the YA market is my “happy reads” place. I read them to enjoy a lighthearted, easy read and if I discover a story that looks beyond just a sweet love story, then I’m all for it. I certainly did enjoy this novel, but it also didn’t capture my fancy in the same way its peer did. The story follows two teens on the cusp of breaking the feud between their fathers. Brie Carter has moved constantly (thanks to her dad’s work as a developer) ever since she can remember. For this reason she keeps her distance from making friends – or having a boyfriend. But that all changes with her latest move to Wyoming. There she meets Logan, a cowboy who’s not just good-looking he’s always dedicated to his family and working hard to make their life work. Needless to say, Brie takes an interest in having the one thing she never allowed herself before. 

With a kind of Romeo and Juliet vibe for the modern age, from the start, I might not have been quite as curious about this novel. But I was interested in continuing this “If Only” line. I cannot say that it was the characters that I didn’t care for, more some of their actions and the way they behaved. Mainly my points of contention was the latter half of the novel (some of the ideas didn't feel genuine) and then some of the teens actions were a bit too “young” even for the genre especially considering other points suggested these two teens were more mature than the average characters. Logan’s sense of responsibility (his work ethic is to be admired) and commitment to the importance of family. He could have just as easily been a punk kid who was a cop out (which I realize wouldn’t have endeared him nearly as well). I respected his character for the most part. Likewise, Brie is a relatively responsible girl with a healthy work ethic… but then there is her lying. It’s essential to the story, yes, but also could have been handled differently. Or the events could have maybe happened on a different timeline. ...all that being said, this is a cute read. It’s full of sweetheart moments and typical teenage shenanigans, but to be honest, this was just was just what I needed when I needed it. I could have read this a lot faster than I ultimately did because it was just that easy, entertaining of a read. That in itself takes some great skill.

If you like that sort of story, this might be one you want to pick up – and for anyone who likes western culture and the cowboys that inevitably follow that kind of hero, you’re sure to enjoy.

Content: there is some profanity sprinkled about here and there (nothing graphic). Two teens “make out.” (A lot.) There’s minor conversation about taking a relationship to the next step.  

Synopsis: Brie Carter's father's land development business has taken her family all over the world, but as soon as they arrive at their new home in Lost Spring, Wyoming, the town turns out to protest. They don't want a new hotel if the resident mustang population will be displaced or hurt as part of the deal. Then Brie meets Logan, a gorgeous local who has a special connection to the mustangs, and she is immediately drawn to him . . . and the horses. However, with Logan's father leading the protests and Brie's father refusing to budge, it's clear that their parents are heading towards an all-out war. Can Brie and Logan find a way to save the mustangs and be together? Or is their love doomed from the start?

This new title in the If Only line is the perfect summer read and proves that love flourishes in the wildest places! - Goodreads
Sincere thanks to Bloomsbury for the complimentary ARC of this novel - and my apologies to the publisher and author for the delay in posting a review of this novel.
Have you read these novels? If so, which is your favorite thus far? Any thoughts are as always, welcome. 

Top Ten Tuesday + Friend's Recomendations

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Today's Top Ten Tuesday was a "freebie." This turned out to be a really nice thing this week, because we got to play with any topic we wanted. It's always fun to do our own thing with Top Ten Tuesday though, of course, the topics the ladies come up with are always brilliant book epicness. This week, I didn't go with anything inventive and instead decided to showcase books that blogging friends have been insisting (in the nicest possible way) I read for a long time. Partially because that way there are books on this list not normally featured here (more so than some week's that tend to "repeat" authors or books) and secondly because I really am curious about them. Also thrown in are a couple I've been telling myself to read time and again. But as we all know, those TBR's get the best of us.

Broke and Bookish topic for May 19th 2015
 Top Ten Tuesday Freebie -- YOUR CHOICE OF TOPIC.

Grantchester (2015), Series One - A Smart 50s Period Drama with Complex Character Writing

Monday, May 18, 2015

No secret has been made of my love for British costume drama. Pretty much, it's a fact documented tirelessly on this URL. In fact if there was one consistent stream of reviews on this site, it'd be period dramas. (Well, it could be a tie between that and superhero blockbusters.) I just finished a PBS favorite, am watching another ITV drama that airs in June and recently got through with ITV Masterpiece's recent smash hit.

Of course, we're talking about Grantchester. If you do not know what it's about, it chronicles the life of vicar Sidney Grantchester (played by James Norton). He's a former soldier who is haunted by his past, struggling with being an example to his parish, and torn by his love for his childhood friend, Amanda. Into this walks police inspector Goerdie Keating. All of this leads into a series of mysteries that Sidney is in a unique place to solve.

TV SERIES REVIEW | Grantchester, Series Two (2016) – Cozy British Mystery (and Romance!) at its Best

Yesterday I had a chance to review Grantchester on Silver Petticoat, so naturally I snatched it. The series might be one of THE best I've seen in 2015 (for its genre). If you like Marple or really any "cozy mystery" period series, this one is worth watching. It has a brilliant cast, heartbreaking writing (sometimes) and fabulous settings. Basically, it's your next TV obsession. If you'd like to read the review and chat the series up, find the link down below.

Grantchester - ITV's Newest '50's Era Program Worth Watching

It’s no secret that my obsession with British dramas might be a tiny bit unruly. Everything from the costuming to the men who bring the characters alive (those accents are never out of style) is a popular commodity on my movie shelf. Grantchester is the recent adaptation (inspired by a series of books by James Runchie) to make a splash on ITV, and once it was in my hands, the six-hour series went by all too quickly. The story is a familiar one, but it has lots of unique markers that shouldn’t be ignored. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat →

Gourmet Detective (2015)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Following in the footsteps of the Hallmark Movie and Mysteries lines  – Mystery Woman, Garage Sale Mystery, of recurring mystery movies, this new original is the latest in a planned series of films. It stars a familiar Cedar Cove face and is co-written by said star and his wife. The script centers on Henry (co-writer and star, Dylan Neal), a world renowned chef who has advised as a cuisine consultant, and is now a kind of "consulting" connoisseur who dabbles in the sleuthing business. While attending a dinner with some of the best in the business, a murder happens – a murder that seems connected to a string of recent thefts and break-ins. When he meets the pretty detective – Maggie (Brooke Burns), assigned to the case, Henry’s keen observations and investigative curiosity makes for an instant partnership with Maggie; a partnership that has a reluctant Maggie playing along.  

Right up front I have to say, this is easily my favorite “launch” film in the newest of Hallmark’s always entertaining mystery series. Somehow the mix of hobbies (Henry) just works effortlessly in this script. Originally based on a series of books, the story has enough pizazz to be plausible while being insanely entraining. In fact, if you like ABC’s Castle (or really, select any will-they-or-won’t-they bantering detective duo – Booth and Brennan, Jane and Lisbon), the chances are good you’ll enjoy this premiere. It has that distinct storyline in place (a detective being “forced” to partner with a civilian) only in this case, the eager partner is a world-class chef instead of a best-selling author. 

Seeing Dylan and Brooke (Undercover Bridesmaid, The Most Wonderful Time of Year) pair together was such fun – especially considering the banter they worked with. Both are familiar to the network however this was their first time working together far as I know. There are plenty of cute scenes between them and additionally a sweet family dynamic that progresses Maggie’s character with her mother and teenage daughter. If you’ve like the book-to-screen adaptations from this network's mystery series in the past (or any production on this network, really), be sure to tune into this premiere. It’s as fabulously entertaining as its Chef’s tasty meals look.  

If you’ve seen this one, let me know what you think down below. Are you planning on watching it tonight? Share any comments you have down below and until then, have a look at the promo video. Gourmet Detective airs tonight (May 16th) on Hallmark Movie Channel.

First Look at CBS and DC Comics Supergirl

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Since I shared about this CBS series order news a while back, I figured it'd be fun to share this fun "first look" video of their upcoming DC Comics TV series Supergirl. To me, this looks so good (do we have another lovely Felicity character on our hands?). But I'd love to know what you all think.

If you have any thoughts, please do share. Happy week, readers.

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

About the Book:
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Novel Crossing ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: Porter Family, book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend? - Goodreads

Becky is one of the best contemporary authors whose books consistently delight. Consider this novel another affirmative mark towards another reason why I can say that without reservation. With each of her novels, Becky has stretched the emotional boundaries and though I do have a favorite of her four-book career, I love each of them for their own attributes and quality of the stories (the balance of humor against the heart tugging moments, which I’ll take about later is always in perfect sync with her characters) is unparalleled. This novel is about youngest brother, Jake Porter and the first love he (let’s be honest) never forgot. Of the three Porter brothers, I do believe Jake’s story was universally the most anticipated. He was the most repressed of the three, the least willing to open up and share his thoughts, fears or the horrible experiences he encountered. In this story, under a skillful hand, Becky prods those wounds, opening them up to be realistic, genuine and still the book manages to bring us back to the beauty that is the hero’s scars – a reminder of what he’s been through, yes, but also a sign of the plans God has for him.  

Jake’s greatest “disability” isn’t the lingering scars of his physical pain, rather they are the memories, the horrors that he cannot shake. His story does a good job making sure that isn’t lost in the shuffle. His conversion also feels very organic and normal to the surroundings the book set up. Jake might be closed off in comparison to the witty, romantic, swoon-y Porter men his brothers are, but I’m telling you… he’s not at all hard to fall for. Likewise, Lyndie is a delight. Her ray of sunshine persona next to Jake’s is the perfect fold. She’s not afraid of him and is willing to take chances. I loved that she takes a chance on him knowing he’s not in the same place that she is (spiritually) and she never gives up on him. There are a lot of moving parts to this love story (first love, scarred mind, overprotectiveness) and I loved it. Between the fierce loyalty Lydia has to Jake and his gentlemanly protective nature, they’re two people – both as a couple and as individuals – who are worth meeting.  

Also playing a role in this novel is the return of Amber (the single mother from Undeniably Yours). Usually I’m not a fan of the two-love story format, but Amber's sections are just enough of a “tease” that I didn’t mind. It never felt as if her story was taking away from the main romance or as if anyone was being cheated. Instead we watch Amber grow up in some sense and meet a nice, responsible (not to mention, a fireman) man who she is (mentally) healthy enough to pursue a relationship with. A Love Like Ours is chocked-full of indescribable charms, laughs, tears and good old-fashioned Texas family values. The humor is fantastic, including a cute moment when Jake might actually be flirting. It will tug at your heartstrings. It’s a compelling novel not just because of its characters, but because it’s bound to make you all the more grateful to those who serve our country. The book also doesn’t wrap everything with a pretty bow. The characters may have been humbled and experienced an emotional breakthrough, and through that, they realize they still aren’t “whole.” Rather, they have more work to do. Jake might fear for what his future looks like. I do not. The story ends in a very hopeful, bright place. Sometimes that’s the most rewarding story an author can gift her readers. A Love Like Ours is that and so much more. 

Coming Next from Becky Wade: “I have so much fun writing feisty heroines and the youngest Porter sibling is the feistiest heroine I’ve written yet. Dru carries a gun, drives a motorcycle, and can take men down with her jujitsu moves. She’s an executive protection agent who’s been hired to guard a famous NFL player named Gray Fowler from the stalker who’s been sending him death threats. I’ve had a great time taking the bodyguard romance premise and flipping it so that the heroine’s the bodyguard.

Gray’s indignant when he meets Dru. He’s twice her size, older than she is, and a ten year veteran of professional football. He figures he can guard himself far better than a slim, twenty-something woman can. Little does he know . . .” – Becky Wade on her (untitled) fourth and final Porter Family novel, Christian Manifesto Interview   

Sincere thanks to the author, Becky Wade (and Bethany House) for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

A Love Like Ours Book Giveaway

Since today I reviewed the always fabulous Becky Wade's latest novel (A Love Like Ours) - by the way, who else agrees, we *need* Dru's story like yesterday? - I decided to offer a copy to give away. This is for two reasons. One I like to help support the authors and their stories if I can. Second to fit in with the novel's theme, Becky is offering a portion of her sales to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. I think this is awesome. Any and all support we can offer the men and women of our armed forces is an inspiring, welcome and wonderful thing.

But, as usual, before we get to the awesome details of the book, let's talk about those boring rules.

The giveaway(s) is open to all readers (but if you do not have a U.S. address, by entering you are agreeing to accept a Kindle copy). I do ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - there have been a few people I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification before another winner is randomly chosen.

To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget.

A Love Like Ours Synopsis: Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

 When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

 Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend? - Goodreads

Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Review

Good luck, everyone! The giveaway runs from now - May 20th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Morning, awesome peeps! Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is an interesting one since for my reading perspectives, this "same" topic was just dealt with a couple of weeks ago. That topic asked us to pick our all-time favorite authors. Well, for me, that pretty much also encompasses the authors I'd love to someday meet. I've had the pleasure of working with some of these authors through the INSPYs and if not there, then they've been patient, gracious and willing to chat with their readers on social media. It's been a learning, exciting experience. The chances of me being calm, cool and collected aren't high, but hey, the idea of it is fun.

Cover Candy, Edition 24

Monday, May 11, 2015

Good afternoon friends. I hope your Monday has started off well bringing with it a brand-new week of laughter, new memories to be made and the simple joys that come with it. Mine started off wet, dreary and generally overcast. But despite a weekend that was more dreary than it was sunshine, I have DWTS to look forward to tonight. (Yes, that is my one reality show guilty pleasure.) Today as I was busily getting ready to catch up on social media (why do all the awesome things happen over the weekend!?), I discovered a new cover reveal and thought I'd put together a few for you. If you've seen them all, that's okay, you can still gush with us if you're not tired of chatting about the covers. If not, well, let us know which are your favorites, those you might be anticipating and all that jazz. You all know the "cover candy" drill. *smile*

Let's get started, shall we?

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken
Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies--the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light -- threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home... forever. - Goodreads, January 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads
See How They Run, by Ally Carter
The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row. - Amazon, January 2016
Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Conjurer's Riddle, by Andrea Cremer
In this sequel to The Inventor's Secret, Charlotte and her companions escape the British Empire, but they haven't left danger behind. In fact, if they go against the revolutionaries, they face even greater peril.

Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she's on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city–the den of criminals, assassins and pirates–Charlotte must decide if the revolution's goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.

This alternate-history adventure series asks the questions: What would have happened if America had lost the Revolutionary War? And what would people be willing to do to finally taste freedom? - Amazon, November 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble--as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It's a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her--but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi's hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship's captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. - Amazon, January 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Golden Braid, by Melanie Dickerson
The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige. - Goodreads, November 2015

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after

Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Dark Tide, by Jennifer Donnelly  

Once a lost and confused princess, Serafina is now a confident leader of the Black Fin Resistance (BFR). While she works on sabotaging her enemy and enlisting allies for battle, her friends face challenges of their own. Ling is in the hold of Rafe Mfeme's giant trawler, on her way to a prison camp. Becca meets up with Astrid and learns why the Ondalinian mermaid is always so angry: she is hiding a shameful secret. Ava can't return home, because death riders await her arrival. And it is getting more and more difficult for Mahdi, Serafina's betrothed, to keep up the ruse that he is in love with Lucia Volerno. If Lucia's parents become suspicious, his life--and all of Sera's hopes--will be extinguished. Political intrigue, dangerous liaisons, and spine-tingling suspense swirl like a maelstrom in this penultimate book in the WaterFire saga. - Amazon, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads
These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly
From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. For fans of Elizabeth George and Libba Bray, These Shallow Graves is the story of how much a young woman is willing to risk and lose in order to find the truth.
Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort shot himself while cleaning his pistol. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was a partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. Suicide is the only logical explanation, and of course people have started talking, but Jo’s father would never have resorted to that. And then she meets Eddie—a young, smart, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. But now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and this time the truth is the dirtiest part of all. - Amazon, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Dangerous Lies, by Becca Fitzpatrick
A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks… - Goodreads, November 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Gifting, by K.E. Ganshert
(author Katie Ganshert)

Tess Eckhart has always felt things nobody else can feel. Then the Ouija board incident happens at a high school party. Her complete freakout sends her family across the country--next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. Worried that Tess suffers from the same illness that tormented her grandmother, her parents insist she see a psychiatrist.

Tess is more concerned about fitting in at her new school, and hiding the fact that she's seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks Facility. She's used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she's unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something--that he might somehow be responsible. - Amazon, June 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Wedding Chapel, by Rachel Hauck
An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.
 - Goodreads, November 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Falling Like Snowflakes, by Denise Hunter
New vs. Old
Speeding north through rural Maine, Eden Martelli wonders how it ever came to this—on the run, with her mute five-year-old son dozing fitfully in the passenger seat. But when a breakdown leaves them stranded in Summer Harbor, Eden has no choice but to stay put through Christmas . . . even though they have no place to lay their heads.

Beau Callahan is a habitual problem-solver—for other people anyway. He left the sheriff’s department to take over the family Christmas tree farm, but he’s still haunted by the loss of his parents and struggling to handle his first Christmas season alone.

When Eden shows up looking for work just as Beau’s feisty aunt gets out of the hospital, Beau thinks he’s finally caught a break. Eden is competent and dedicated—if a little guarded—and a knockout to boot. But, as he soon finds out, she also comes with a boatload of secrets.

Eden’s been through too much to trust her heart to another man, but Beau is impossible to resist, and the feeling seems to be mutual. As Christmas Eve approaches Eden’s past catches up to her.
Beau will go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again? - Amazon, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Sweetest Rain, by Myra Johnson
As the drought of 1930 burns crops to a crisp, Bryony Linwood dreams of cooling winter snows and the life she would have had if Daddy hadn’t been killed in the Great War and Mama hadn’t moved Bryony and her sisters to their grandfather’s struggling tenant farm in tiny Eden, Arkansas. Now Mama’s gone, too, and as times grow tougher, Bryony will do whatever it takes to ensure her family’s survival.

Michael Heath barely survived the war, and twelve years later all he wants to do is forget. A virtual recluse, his one passion is botanical illustration. Lost in the diversity of nature’s beauty, he finds escape from a troubled past and from his wealthy father’s continual pressure to take an interest in the family plantation.

 When Bryony accepts employment at the Heath mansion, it’s just a job at first, a means to ward off destitution until the drought ends and Grandpa’s farm is prosperous again. But Bryony’s forced optimism and dogged determination disguise a heart as dry and despairing as the scorched earth . . . until she discovers Michael Heath and his beautiful botanical illustrations. As their relationship deepens, friendship soon blossoms into healing for wounded souls and a love that can’t be denied. - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Starflight, by Melissa Landers


Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world--and each other--the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe... - Goodreads, February 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Key to Extraoridinary, by Natalie Lloyd
Middle Grade novel arriving in stores in 2016.
Amazon ǀ Goodreads
A Respectable Actress, by Dorothy Love
India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone in the world after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her. - Amazon, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Diamonds are Forever, Michelle Madow 
It's cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah's flirt-mance with international pop star Perry Myles continues as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is it "meant to be" with Perry, or has the right guy been in front of her eyes this entire time? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—Brett…and with Adrian and Rebecca's wedding approaching, they feel more pressure than ever to reveal their relationship. Peyton might be figuring out a direction for her future, but she feels responsible for her bodyguard Jackson being fired, and wonders if the best way to find solace for her guilt is in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison's ready to tell the Diamond sisters the truth about the huge secret she's uncovered. And with Oliver, the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life, in the hospital fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamonds more than ever. - Goodreads, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Wandering Star, by Romina Russell
Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.

But news has spread that the Marad--an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy--could strike any House at any moment.

Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.    

Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there's much more to her Galaxy--and to herself--than she could have ever imagined. - Amazon, December 2015

The Winner's Kiss, by Marie Rutkoski

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win? - Goodreads, March 2016

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The Comeback Season (Re-Issue)
by Jennifer E. Smith
Baseball brings them together—but will his secret keep them apart? Find out in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

The last place Ryan Walsh should be this afternoon is on a train heading to Wrigley Field. She should be in class, enduring yet another miserable day of her first year of high school. But for once, Ryan isn’t thinking about what she should be doing. She’s not worried about her lack of friends, or her suffering math grade, or how it’s been five whole years since the last time she was really and truly happy. Because she’s finally returning to the place that her father loved, where the two of them spent so many afternoons cheering on their team. And on this—the fifth anniversary of his death—it feels like there’s nowhere else in the world she should be.

Ryan is once again filled with hope as she makes her way to the game. Good luck is often hard to come by at a place like Wrigley Field, but it’s on this day that she meets Nick, the new kid from her school, who seems to love the Cubs nearly as much as she does. But Nick carries with him a secret that makes Ryan wonder if anyone can ever really escape their past, or believe in the promise of those reassuring words: “Wait till next year.” Is it too much for Ryan to hope that this year, this season, might be her comeback season? - Amazon, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads
...and that's it. Which are your favorites? Covers? Stories? 

Any and all of your thoughts are most welcome.
Thanks for visiting happy readers.

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