Month in Review: February 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

G'morning, readers. We've reached that day on the calendar. Here we have the fourth "month in review" which is set to chronicle some of the blog's content and various other random things. Today we're getting ready to turn the page on month two in 2015 much to my amazement. But, let's get this month in review started. First up the new finds (which are really lacking this month), then we'll discuss the blog's month and some of the content yet to come.

Good Witch Pilot (2015)


Since this character was first introduced some eight years ago – cannot believe it’s been that long, I’ve been a fan of this darling series. Up until now it’s been a world that’s only unfolded in 2-hour films. 2015 had different plans. Tonight, we finally get to see the premiere of Good Witch – as a TV series! Something that is sure to delight both old and new fans of the series.

Starting over is never easy. But that’s just what Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) needs to do. Part of that involves moving back to Grey House and along with her stepchildren’s grandfather, George (Peter MacNeill) re-opening her bed and breakfast. With the help of Middleton’s small-town comforts and aid of her good friend Ryan (Anthony Lemke), Cassie has all the support she needs to make this work. Then her grown stepchildren have predicaments of their own. Brandon (Dan Jeannotte) has decided his dream isn’t to manage bands. This causes trouble in his marriage and leads him back to Middleton. Then there is Lori (Hannah Edicott-Douglas). She’s living what she thought was her dream, but she is dealing with writer’s block caused by her limited ability to write real journalism. All of this is compounded by the fact that the siblings are returning home for a ceremony honoring their dad, Jake: a respected member of Middleton society who was killed in his duties as chief of police.

Cassie not only has to work her magic to help her extended family, she also has to guide her 15-year-old daughter, Grace (Bailee Madison). Grace too is missing her dad and with the changes going on in her siblings lives, she’s not without her own – one of which is her “gift” of feeling things before they happen. When a new doctor Sam Radford (James Denton) and his teenage son move next door to Grey House, both Cassie and Grace find themselves trying to help the newest residents of Middleton.  

Those of us who have been with this titular character from the beginning might have some legitimate disappointments in the direction the storyline goes. The missing character of Jake leaves a hole in the script since he was an important part of the movie series – and a character we watched fall in love with Cassie and eventually loved what they built together. That being said, the actor wasn’t able to commit to another TV series and rather than re-cast, the character was killed off. Because of this, I’d say if you haven’t seen the films, let this pilot be your introduction to Cassie Nightingale and her family. It’s going to be more rewarding to start from here and spare yourself the adorableness.  There is also one casting change (not that I mind) though most everyone else is back in their original roles.  

Aside from the great cast and cute plots, what I have liked (up until now) about this series is that it’s steered clear of any magical omissions. It’s left it up to us to decide whether there is really magic in Cassie. Sure, there are brief magical hints that she might be a witch, but the show has also never established that she is either. Instead it’s been all about her helping someone to find their own courage to defeat a problem which can have a magic all its own. With the show, we actually do have “magic” given Grace’s special gift, though the pilot never stretches the possibilities.  

When it comes right down to it, complications and (minor) complaints aside, I loved this pilot. It was fulfilling to the characters and series. Beautiful (as always) with the sets and minor trinkets and poignant with its sense of right and wrong, and the importance it places on family. It casts a spell you won’t mind falling under.
Good Witch premieres tonight on Hallmark Channel.

Not Another Happy Ending (2014) - Quirky British Comedy Sparkles

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan) has a problem. Rejection after rejection arrives in her inbox for her debut novel. A book she wrote from an emotional, depressed point of view. But today that’s about to change. 

Not Another Happy Ending

A small – and struggling, publishing house run by Tom Duval (Stanley Weber) is buying her novel. It needs work, he says but he’s going to publish it. A two book deal is signed and Jane’s novel becomes an overnight success. A success that has been edited to suit a certain audience. You see Tom has changed the title to Happy Ending. In the ensuing conflict, Jane ends their friendship (a relationship that grew during their close working relationship), and by proxy, their professional relationship once book two is launched.  

Following the success of her debut novel, she begins dating a playwright (who also happens to be adapting the Happy Ending screenplay), and all seems right in Jane’s world. Mere pages away from completing her second novel, Jane’s binge baking habits return. That’s right she’s hit writer’s block. It would seem happiness doesn’t suit Jane.  
Not Another Happy Ending

Anything with Karen Gillian very nearly guarantees I’ll see it. Of course, there would be limits, but a unique romantic-comedy does not fall within those parameters. This particular film has a… unique set of circumstances (plus was filmed in Scotland; accents intact!), which means the comedy is “different” than we’re used to. British comedies do tend to march to their own beat. This film does the same. But, I cannot help but adore every little thing about it. My mom and I watched it, and while she didn’t have the same reaction as I did (she probably won’t care if she ever sees it again), I found this film just as entertaining as I hoped it would be.  

What I liked most about this script is that it’s not a typical romantic-comedy – certainly not a cookie-cutter format. The writer (this is based off a book of the same name) is unafraid to find some nooks that might not usually be investigated in the genre, and somehow still finds a way to be conventional in all the ways that make us love this genre. Jane’s character is an interesting one who is easy to relate too because she’s a bookish, quiet sort of girl. Nonetheless scars from her past cling to her, which transitions into her adult relationships.  

If you have an inclination towards British comedy, this film is going to be your cup of tea. It’s smart and unafraid to color outside the lines. An Indie film that ensembles a fantastic cast (fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will adore seeing Fitz in this) and though the ending works up to being a little “out of the box strange,” it does fit with the theme of the film. Another (small) flaw in the ending is the fact that it’s not 100% convincing in that Jane has learned much of anything – or anyone else for that matter. She does reach a breaking point and has that need-to-be-alone sequence, but by the time the credits roll, there is no feeling of completion for these characters. It leaves off back where it started which does lessen the impact some. Though to be fair, it's all in keeping true to the "style" of the movie, something that's more humor-laced than anything that resonates, subliminal or otherwise.

Not Another Happy Ending

Flaws and all, I do love this film. It’s the definition of a British Indie comedy and seems to relish keeping the laughs coming. Even still, this isn’t without its poignant scenes involving a father and daughter or in Jane’s struggle to reconcile her past for a chance at a healthier future (which is noble). It helps that the humor is darn awesome. If you like things that are quirky (one example being Jane's talks with her heroine) as opposed to ordinary, you might be happy to have discovered the anything-but-ordinary, unique brand of happiness in Not Another Happy Ending.

(Played for laughs, there's a scene of Jane writing naked. Someone shows up at her house, which inspires the scene to be prolonged - the camera shows side and back nudity during the scene. There is some innuendo - and Jane lives with her boyfriend [we see them making out and taking each other's clothes off before the scene cuts]. Profanity (and crudities) including some British slang are peppered throughout the film. The film rates PG13.)

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About the Book:
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Litfuse
Publication Date: 2015  
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Novel Crossing ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: Moonlighters, book 3
Genre: Fiction; Mystery/Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5

This 3-book series has been my only introduction to the award-winning Terri Blackstock though if this is all I read by her (for a while anyway), it was a great trilogy. This title is the third and far as I know final book about a quartet of siblings who’ve had their faith tested not just years ago as young adults, but again as adults trying to live their lives to the fullest for God. This story centers on youngest Holly Kramer who has had the toughest time rectifying her relationship to God and the fact that she feels abandoned by not just Him, but the father she once adored. When a one-night stand results in a pregnancy, Holly cleans up her life for her daughter, Lily. With the help of her siblings, she plans on becoming a person her family can be proud of… and then Lily’s father comes back into her life.

Of the three books, this one was my favorite. It’s the most unique story and though its pace moves ridiculously swift, I liked the themes of redemption even though I did not agree with all of the religious beliefs. Holly is the “wild child” of her family. She’s that girl who never grew up and put her bad behavior off as being the fault of her father, who – in her mind, tore their family apart. Over the series, it’s Holly who changes the most, the character who grows the most and it’s a lovely transformation kind of story. Her story does feel “rushed” as so many suspense novels suffer this fate, however if you’ve read this entire series, her change of heart doesn’t feel “convenient” because we’ve “grown” with Holly throughout the books. It’s great to catch up with the other primary characters of this series as well – including Michael and Cathy (Truth Stained Lies), Juliet (Distortion) and then we meet Creed. He's the guy we want to trust (and generally can) but have a niggling of doubt in the back of our mind.

I liked that Terri linked the books through one villain tormenting the family and that his progression helps to build up the festering suspense that insures we’ll keep flipping those pages, curious how the story will end up! The family relationships that support and encourage help keep the book on level footing (from the danger that is closing in) and while I’d have liked to see more of their brother, Jay, I was glad the family bonds remained intact. As I stated in reviews of earlier books, I really like the P.I aspect since it steps away from the rigidity of law enforcement while still being a profession that opens doors to some mystery solving.

If you’ve liked Terri Blackstock’s prior novels or are looking for a good mystery read (I read most of it in one day!), you’ll like Twisted Innocence. It’s worth reading – and might just be that perfect book to stay in with during a cold Saturday afternoon.
Enter the author hosted giveaway for your chance to win a Nook!
now - March 8th.

Twisted Innocence Terri Blackstock

Synopsis: When Holly s secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel?

Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter s father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn’t as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliation.

When Holly s and Creed s paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller who killed both her sister’s fiancé and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews and things only become more complicated.

Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims?"
- Goodreads

Coming Next from Terri Blackstock: An anthology by three bestselling romance authors

For Love of Money by Terri Blackstock
Trying to launch her own design firm while waitressing on the side, Julie Sheffield was drawn to the kind man she waited on at the restaurant last night . . . until he stiffed her on the tip by leaving her half of a sweepstakes ticket.

The Recipe by Candace Calvert
Hospital dietary assistant Aimee Curran is determined to win the Vegan Valentine Bake-Off to prove she’s finally found her calling. But while caring for one of her patients—the elderly grandmother of a handsome CSI photographer—Aimee begins to question where she belongs.

Hook, Line & Sinker by Susan May Warren
Grad student Abigail Cushman has agreed to enter the annual Deep Haven fishing contest. She’s a quick learner, even if she doesn’t know the difference between a bass and a trout. But nothing could prepare her for competing against the handsome charmer she’s tried to forget since grief tore them apart.

One chance for each woman to change her life . . . but will love be the real prize?
– Goodreads, May 2015

Sincere thanks to Litfuse (and the publisher) for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When it comes to characters, readers have an endless amount of chatter to share. If they're good characters, we gush about them. If they're villains, there is no end to our dislike of them. If they're wishy-washy, we bemoan the fact that they never do anything. In particular we girls do tend to gush about the leading men - because who doesn't love a good swoon-worthy hero!? But we don't want to forget the lovely heroines who seem to be dominating the book world - particularly the YA market. That is a genre that gives readers countless strong females. We all love a female character that isn't afraid to be kick-butt if need be, but who also knows when to ask for help or is memorable simply for her personality. Here are some of my favorites.

Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books (Or you could pick movies/tv)
We've done this topic before so you could always do heroines you love since the last time we did this topic,
heroines in a particular genre, etc.

2015 Oscars

Monday, February 23, 2015

A couple of years ago, I published a brief write-up about the Oscars and it inspired some fun conversation. Since I usually watch an hour or better of the show each year – don’t ask me why because I won’t have an answer, I thought I’d do something similar this year. Of the eight films nominated for best picture, I’ve seen exactly zero. Among those numbers, there are less than half that I’ll likely see at some point. Still, I cannot seem to squash my curiosity and every year, the glamour of the show is an allure my movie-watching self doesn’t resist. 

Last night, I stayed up late and watched nearly two hours this year (then had to watch an episode of a show to remind me of the reasons I do love entertainment) and read about the events that happened prior to that. In spite of the moments worthy of mocking – because they were that silly, there were some fun things. Here is a roundup of my favorite moments and those that I wasn’t wild about.  

What I liked: 
+ Seeing Anna Kendrick in her Into the Woods costume singing in the opening number.

+ American Sniper winning an Oscar. I’m so glad and believe it should have won more. I’ve not seen the movie however I have heard the best of things about it from people whose opinions I trust. Any time the real heroes are recognized I’m reminded of how proud I am to be an American because of these men and women who serve, protect and keep our home land safe. My gratefulness and respect for this extraordinary group of people knows no bounds.  

+ I didn’t see it win nor have I watched the movie, but I’m glad Big Hero 6 got the animated win. Anything from Disney is always cute.  

+ The 50th anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music. It was really lovely to see this movie honored. It might not be a film that has the most important message to teach, but it is an impacting film.  

+ Eddie Redmayne’s Best Actor win. Though I’ve not seen the role for which he won this, from the promos, it looks like he deserved this in spades.  

What I didn’t: 

+ The PC jabs. But then, that’s present every year.  
+ Birdman "cleaning up" the big awards. This film looks so odd. Not sure why it's impacting enough to win so many awards.

+ The fashion. I really didn’t see anything that wowed. Of course, I didn’t watch the pre-Oscar party (Red Carpet). I did see the various stars who presented awards and aside from maybe British actress Felicity Jones (Northanger Abbey), nothing seemed that memorable. How about you? Which were among your favorite looks…

+ Sean Penn’s awkward lull in announcing the Best picture winner. What was that!?
Overall, it was boring. As articles have stated, its length didn't help anything and the I thought the jokes were... ridiculous. Did you watch the Oscars? If so, what were some things you were glad to see or didn't like. I'd love to chat with you.

Cover Candy, Edition 21

Friday, February 20, 2015

Okay, I know we just recently gushed about some fun cover candy reveals, but the awesome team over at Epic Reads revealed a bunch of covers this week for their fall 2015 round-up and I thought it being Friday and all, we may as well see what favorites we had in this grouping. Plus, the review I was planning on sharing today (a romantic-comedy) just isn't getting written. Question: why don't reviews write themselves? Seems logical to me... we should just think the thoughts and somehow those thoughts should be magically be transcribed to paper. Sounds like an idea to me.

Anyway, back on topic. Below are some new YA covers that have popped up on the Internet - plus Hillary Manton Lodge and Jennifer E. Smith each have a book with a re-design. If you spot any you love, hate or are neutral about, let's talk.
Very in Pieces, by Megan Frazer Blakemore  

Very Sales-Woodruff is done being a good girl. Done being the only responsible one in a family that’s unraveling. Done being the obliging girlfriend in a relationship that’s sinking. Done saying no to what she wants—like Dominic, her rebellious classmate.

With her mom’s drinking, her dad’s extended absences from home, and her younger sister, Ramona, running wild, the path Very has always seen for herself doesn’t seem to matter anymore. At the same time, Very’s grandmother, a poet known less for her work and more for her exploits with the likes of Andy Warhol and Arthur Miller, is slipping away.

If everything else can fall to pieces, why can’t she?
- Goodreads, September 2015 
Persuasion, by Martina Boone

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation besieged by reporters and ghost-hunters. Some are hoping to see the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, while others are chasing rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. Chaos descends as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. But more is buried there than treasure.

A mysterious, magical man appears at Watson’s Landing, claiming the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts and the Colesworth curse also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, he engages Barrie and Cassie in a midnight visit, but the spell he conjurs has potentially deadly consequences.

While Barrie and dreamy Eight Beaufort struggle to make sense of the escalating danger and their growing feelings for each other, Barrie has to figure out not only whom to trust, but which gift is more reliable—Eight’s or her own. With millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families at stake, she must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep her loved ones safe.
 - Goodreads

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Imprudence, by Gail Carriger
Amazon ǀ Goodreads

One, by Sarah Crossan
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.
 - Goodreads, September 2015

 Amazon ǀ Goodreads

The White Rose, by Amy Ewing

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments. - Goodreads, October 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Mirrored, by Alex Flinn

A modern, multi-generational tale of Kendra, the witch from "Snow White," who trains Violet, an ugly, lonely, and heartbroken girl in the 1980s who transforms herself into "the fairest one of all" but still cannot win Greg's heart, and Celine, Greg's daughter with Violet's high school rival, Jennifer. - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Ten Thousand Skies Above You, by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.

When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.

Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.

Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other.
  - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Their Fractured Light, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide. - Goodreads, December 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Reservations for Two, by Hillary Manton Lodge

A culinary concoction of taking chances and finding love in the most delectable places

Food writer-turned-restaurateur Juliette D’Alisa has more than enough on her plate. While her trip to Provence might have unlocked new answers to her grandmother’s past, it’s also provided new complications in the form of Neil McLaren, the man she can’t give up.

Juliette and Neil find romance simple as they travel through Provence and Tuscany together, but life back home presents a different set of challenges. Juliette has a restaurant to open, a mother combating serious illness, and a family legacy of secrets to untangle – how does Neil, living so far away in Memphis, fit into to her life?

As she confronts an uncertain future, Juliette can’t help but wish that life could be as straightforward as her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can her French grandmother’s letters from the 1940’s provide wisdom to guide her present? Or will every new insight create a fresh batch of mysteries? - Goodreads, May 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Ash & Bramble, by Sarah Prineas

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight. - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Ice Like Fire, by Sara Raasch

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world. - Goodreads

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

You are Here, by Jennifer E. Smith

Emma Healy has grown used to being the only ordinary one in her rather extraordinary family. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she realizes why she never felt quite whole. She sets off on a trip to visit her brother's grave.

Peter Finnegan, her neighbor, comes along for the ride. Emma thinks they can't possibly have anything in common, but with each passing mile, they find themselves learning more and more about themselves and each other.
- Goodreads

Amazon ǀ Goodreads

Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers  

Westlin Beck is feeling blurry.

Maybe she’s missing Elliot, who’s working from dawn to dusk on his dad’s farm and has no time for his girlfriend. Or Trudy? West’s best friend and car-detailing partner ditched her to be a camp counselor. What’s up with that? Maybe it’s her dad who never seems to put their family first.
Pastor Beck is Green Lake’s most self-sacrificing clergyman. How does he find time to listen to everyone in town, except for his own daughter?

But then there’s Silas Hart. Silas. Silas. Silas. He comes to town with his fancy house and his sad, waifish twin sister and just like that—becomes West’s daily routine. How did that happen? West knows that with Silas, she has not only someone to share her stories with, but someone who has a thing or two to show her. And turns out, she really likes it. Silas makes West feel less blurry.

But what about Silas’s sister? What’s wrong with her? And what about Elliot—the boyfriend she’s supposed to love? West is learning that there are no easy answers. - Goodreads, September 2015

Which of these - if any, are your favorites?

Happy Friday!

An Uncertain Choice Giveaway

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recently I read a book that I am thrilled to have had a chance to help promote. It was Jody Hedlund's An Uncertain Choice. I have enjoyed and loved the trend of inspirational authors (Krista McGee, Mary Weber) taking on the YA market since it does seem to be the one genre lacking in the Christian market as a whole. Any of you who haven't read this novel yet will love to know that this book is a charming, fairytale-esque novel you will not want to miss. If you haven't preordered your copy, what gives!? Please, do so. If you like Jody's historical novels, I'm confident, you'll enjoy this saga.

Still not convinced? You can get a glimpse into this world through her 50 page novella, The Vow (Amazon). My review of An Uncertain Choice should show up sometime today on Silver Petticoat if you'd be curious to read it. Meanwhile, there is a copy of it up for grabs on the blog in what is likely to be the last giveaway here for a while. If you'd like a chance to read this novel - guys, did I mention, it's wonderful - you can enter as many or as few entries as you like into the Rafflecopter below. Before we get to that, here are the usual listing of RULES and the book's synopsis.

This giveaway(s) is open to all readers (but if you enter and DO NOT have a U.S. address, by entering you are agreeing to accept a Kindle copy,  for U.S. readers a paperback is available if they prefer). 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 nearly as 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 - believe it or not, there have been a couple people that 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... and good luck everyone! The giveaway ends on February 26th.

If you retweet or copy and paste the tweet below, it will count as an entry just so long as I can verify you did in fact tweet:
Also, if you'd like to help promote Jody's book here are some Tweets to send out via Jody Hedlund
  •  One beautiful princess. Three handsome knights. One difficult choice. #Read @jodyhedlund's #AnUncertainChoice #YA 
  • Itching for a new #read steeped in #medieval times? Discover @jodyhedlund’s #AnUncertainChoice #amreading #YA 
  • How many knights will try to win her heart? Find out in @jodyhedlund’s #AnUncertainChoice #amreading #YA

Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart. - Goodreads

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Book Nerd Problems (Top Ten Tuesday Edition)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If you ask me, anyone who is a self proclaimed Book Nerd/Book Addict/Book Obsessed - however you coin it, it's all the same - is going to have some bookish problems related to this affliction. I have more than I care to admit - flaws in my reading habits or silly quibbles if you will. Today's Top Ten Tuesday gives us the perfect opportunity to fess up. Here are six of my book related "problems." Let's do this.

Ten Book Related Problems I Have (could be serious or fun!)

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Monday, February 16, 2015

About the Book:
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: Royal Weddings, book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Christian
Rating: 5 out of 5 

On my list of most-anticipated 2015 releases, this novel ranked high. It’s the final in a series of books that to some may appear to be no more than fluffy romances. I am here to deflate that mindset – or give it a go. These are really much more than just a happily-ever-after. Corina Del Ray is grieving. Her twin brother’s death shattered her family and now they are a shell of what they used to be. She’s trying to move on after a move to Florida and pursuing her journalism career, but everything about her past comes right back to the surface when Prince Stephen finds her. Married in secret to the prince once upon a time, Corina is shocked to learn that they are still married. The marriage was never annulled. In America at the order of his brother, Stephen is not completely over events of the past either. Stumbling in his rugby career, Stephen feels lost while recovering from an injury. The weight of a secret he still carries and coupled with seeing the woman who still owns his heart isn’t helping.

I can still remember when this series first debuted and some Goodreads reviewers/readers being skeptical about its premise. Fairytale lover I am, there were likely only stars in my eyes as I consumed that first book. Disappointment is not a word associated with this series. The final book follows that same path. Beautiful covers translate to an exquisite story, waiting to be uncovered inside. The resounding theme in How to Catch a Prince is Corina’s conviction to not give up in the stoic face of defeat but instead to love well. Any of the falling-in-love after marriage stories that I’ve read have been favorites. This one is no different. Beautifully told, this book is easily one of my very favorite contemporaries. The romance is so much richer because of the past the character’s share, more “whole” because of this, while still allowing for plenty of happy sighs because of the fun events or topics that are incorporated with Stephen’s role as a royal.  

Secrets do play a pivotal part to the integrity of the story, however in spite of what the normal clichés would have us believe, this eventual reveal doesn’t end the same way most do. Naturally there is separation, yet it’s not because of an I-don’t-ever-want-to-see-you-again meltdown. How many times has this been the case before? The amount of books that play this card is exhausting. Instead of that, Hauck has a classier solution and it makes the eventual reunion all the more rewarding and emotionally healthy. If you’ve read about this book and think Stephen sounds familiar, you’d be right. He’s the brother of King Nathanial from book one. Because of this, we are able to hang out with our favorite King and wife, Susannah, which was lovely. Stephen and Corina have their own love story to tell and the way it evolves, grows and changes is defined not by the past, but how they get to know each other in the present.  

All that’s left to say is, go forth and read How to Catch a Prince. Bittersweet as it is to say goodbye to this world, these books are not ones I’ll easily give up. They’re enchanting, romantic and each couple’s love story is poignant and purposeful. Stephen had to learn how to forgive himself before he could love his wife without regrets. The challenge for Corina was moving on and healing so that she could love well. Each vignette was beautifully written and if ever there was a story that “came off the pages” for me, I do believe this would be it.  

How to Catch a Prince releases next week, February 24th.
Synopsis: Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could’ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever." - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

All of My Heart (2015)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

All of My Heart
The last in Hallmark’s 2015 “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” movies, tonight’s premiere is as cute as it is full of mishaps. It stars TV favorite Lacey Chabert as Jenny. An aspiring chef, for now Jenny works with a catering company, which all changes when she learns she has inherited an old house. Once she makes it to the small town where the home is located, her mood is dampened by unexpected news. In actuality, she’s only half owner of the house. Turns out Brian (Brennan Elliot) also has a stake on the home. Jenny wants to keep it – she has visions of a bed and breakfast, Brian wants to sell it as soon as possible. As a successful Wall Street trader, he has no need for the home. When things turn sideways for him, the house becomes a place to start over... for both of them.  

This story is cute in a traditional way and its familiar faced cast ensures that it has that “likability” quality viewers look for. For me, I have to confess in the back of my mind I had a smidgeon of reservation about the leading man because he plays a dude up to no good in a Hallmark series. Putting that aside, this is a nice story that most of us will enjoy tuning into on this Valentine’s Day. Constant in their quest to bring wholesome stories to the world of television, this script is a nice “journey” story about two people who didn’t know what they were looking for and found it in unexpected places.
All of My Heart
The setting is quaint; lots of small town mannerisms and chatty, friendly residents. As the story progresses, I have to admit this blossoming romance again felt more “natural” in comparison. There is obviously some passing of time and circumstances ensure the two spend a lot of time together. Oh and I cannot sign off without mentioning those humorous scenes showing Brian attempting carpentry, which make for some great laughs. If you’re looking for a new romantic comedy to stay in, curled up on the couch watching, this one is a good bet. It’s definitely got heart and some spunk to boot!

All of My Heart premieres tonight, February 14th on Hallmark Channel.
Don't miss it!
Happy Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day Fun

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015 is nearly here. That means there are overzealous romantic displays or bouquets of flowers showing up everywhere. But, there is still fun to be had on this day of romance. I mean, come on fellow book addicts, we can always read a book with a lovely romance or a fictional crush. *wink* Plus, I will admit to decorating my bookshelves with paper hearts. Clearly, I have way too much free time. Or can enjoy a romantic-comedy and a nice meal. On this day before Valentine's, I thought I'd share a kind of "round up" of fun Valentine things.

All Things Bookish

First, in case you missed it and want to curl up with a good read, I put together a Top List over on Silver Petticoat. The topic? Favorite contemporary romances. I had a great time putt this together and if you'd like to chime in with your favorites, have a look at the list.
A photo posted by Rissi (@rissi006) on

Top 15 Favorite Contemporary Romances

In case you missed the #ShareYourHeart campaign with Tyndale House and author Courtney Walsh, here is the darling video she put together as promotion of her novel, Paper Hearts! How cute is it, right!?

Makes me want to read this one all the more.

Romantic Comedies

Also over on Silver Petticoat, I put together a list of 15 favorite Hallmark movies. These are the ones that I enjoy re-watching, but what about you?

Top 15 Hallmark Channel Romances

Below is a list of favorite romantic comedies. Many of which I don't mind admitting, I've seen several times.
I do adore this film. All of the wacky dresses its heroine wears, the banter and of course, the fabulous (complete) ending. This is definitely one I've watched time and again.

Rated: PG13
Only recently did I finally re-watch this (I'd bought a copy but hadn't seen it since the theater) and golly, I loved it even more the second time through. The wit, the humor, the characters... it's all the makings of a special yet quirky kind of movie.

Rated: PG13
Though not my favorite ever, this film is cute in its own way. Based on the novel by Alex Flinn, as its title would suggest, it's a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.

Rated: PG13

It hardly seemed right to pull together a few romances (even if I am focusing on contemporary romantic comedies) without putting a classic on the list. Of the adaptations I've seen, this one is my favorite thus far.

Rated: PG13

2015 may not be a leap year, but this darling film is always in style. Between Amy Adams and Matthew Goode's bickering and banter and the fun Irish humor, it's a must any time.

Rated: PG

Fell in love with this movie some five years ago and still love it. It's sappy, yes, but that's part of its charm.

Rated: PG

One of my favorites. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are hilarious.

Rated: PG13
How about you: What are some of your favorite romantic comedies?
Share about comments, thoughts or fun below. Let's talk.

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