April 13, 2017

It just all depends on the reader...


We readers are a unique bunch and we all have books we love and books we don't. And sometimes those "books we don't" happen to be ones that everyone (and I do mean just about everyone out there who's read it) loved. The first time or two this happened, I remember feeling slightly embarrassed. What was wrong with me that I didn't love it? Everyone else did and especially some favorite bloggers whose recommendations are usually spot on? But see, I was totally wrong. It is perfectly normal not to like what everyone else does! Especially when it comes to books. Thank goodness.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was my first time experiencing this. I even went out and bought a hardback copy because I just assumed I would love it! It had all the things that normally worked for me. The romance sounded cute and the issues that the teen protagonists were going through were heartfelt and appealed to me.

But....

I didn't like it. At all. Wait, wait! Before you throw things at me, let me just state that there were some nice moments, it's not a terrible book. I just.....didn't like it.

And because of that experience, I am now really leery about any overly hyped book or series. If everyone loves it, then I'm a lot more likely to approach with lots of caution. I might actually end up loving it too! Take The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, for example. I was a bit leery of Cinder when it first came out. Everyone raved and I wasn't so sure. But I ended up trying it from the library and then I had to go purchase my own copy because everyone was right! (And that whole series is epic and awesome and amazing and yeah. So I totally bought into all the hype for those. ;)

So what I'm saying is, hype isn't always what it's cracked up to be. And sometimes it is. It just all depends on the reader. It also means that there are books out there for everyone. I love this book, but you don't, yet you love this book and I don't. And yet again, we both love this other book!

At the end of the day? There's no right or wrong, it's just books. And if we all love books, then we all win anyway, right? :)




April 12, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 22


See? I told you I was trying to get back into posting! And here I am three days in with three whole posts. Amazing! ;D

Alright, alright. Enough with the sarcasm, yes? On to the books!

{many thanks to Jenni for the idea}

Day 22: Favorite book you own


Oh groan. Another hard one! But if I have to choose, I'd say it was a toss up between My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay (I own two copies) and Persuasion by Jane Austen (I own four copies). Not to mention The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery! (Sadly I only own one copy of this one, but plan to get at least one more for it's beautiful cover! :)




I can't choose a favorite between those three, I pick them all up very, very often to reread yet again. Sometimes I read the entire story all in one sitting, sometimes I skim only my favorite parts, sometimes I just read the final few chapters (where all the good stuff happens ;). But of all the books I own, of which there are many, I'd say it's those three books that I pick up the most often.



And you? Do you have a favorite that you own?











April 11, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 21


Hello, my lovelies! It's me again. Trying to get back in the fun of posting again. I've just been kind of out of sorts for a bit here, so my posting has gotten even more sporadic. But here I am! I love writing too much to give this up. :) I hope you all are doing well?

On with my final ten days!

{Many thanks, again, to Jenni for the idea.}

Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood

This is truly a tough one. I'm not sure I can name one favorite actually. I know I say this every time I post one of these, but this time it's actually true. I'm honestly not sure what book was my favorite from back then. I remember enjoying Dr. Seuss stories, The Berenstain Bears, and the little golden books when I was really young. When mom couldn't read them to me, I'd spend hours looking at the pictures and imagining what was happening in them (in short, creating my own stories around them :). As I grew older and able to read on my own, I liked The Boxcar Children, the Encyclopedia Brown stories, Ramona Quimby and other books by Beverly Cleary, The Babysitters Club series, The Hundred Dresses, Miss Nelson is Missing, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, Richard Scarry's books, all manner of fairytales, and basically I loved just about everything. 

Clearly, I have always loved to read! I spent hours and hours reading and rereading all the books at our house, all the books at my grandma's house, and any others I could get my hands on! :)

What about you? Did you have a favorite book when you were young?




April 10, 2017

Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

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Where does one find words for emotions that have none? That would be my exact tangle of feelings after finishing this story a mere thirty minutes ago. It is a rare moment that I close the final pages of a book and immediately feel pressed to get my thoughts down on paper (or, in this instance, in type on a computer). This is one of those exceptions (obviously). The moments (and emotions) I could suppress no longer, they must be written! So here I am, struggling to find adjectives for you. What I am finding? Is this: for those grieving, for those broken, for those who don’t understand, for those questioning “why”, this story is for you!

There may seem a simplicity to the plot, yet vast amounts of emotion and chaos rest in these pages. It is not an easy story, but it is certainly a powerful one. I could recount the details (I won’t), I could wax glorious on the characters (I might), I could try and put words to the meaningful things that only my heart understands at this moment (yep, pretty sure that’ll happen #sorrynotsorry).

In our limited, human understanding of grief and death, the questions that come, the thoughts that circle, these are common things I’ve decided. It’s natural to wonder and wish and regret even a tiny bit. There is always much to be experienced in the After. Whether that After follows a temporary or a final goodbye, it doesn’t matter. The thoughts must be thought, the feelings must be felt. And so it goes with the lone survivor of a train explosion, our main character, Autumn. She is searching for...something. And in these words describing her journey to finding it, the reader discovers a few answers themselves! Or at least, that was my experience. :)

The beautiful thing about this story, for me, wasn’t entirely the quirky characters, each with their own stories inside them (although they were certainly pretty awesome! :). While they are a wonderful part of this adventure, even when they have a small part to play in the overall big story, they each use even their limited page time to create a huge, final impact, and it was those very moments that struck me the most. This story isn’t just Autumn’s journey, or Paul’s journey, it’s also Reese’s, and Tate’s, and Claire’s, and Ina’s, and many others. It’s all these individual characters and their individual moments that mesh together into one giant, glorious journey!

I admit it, I sat down with book in hand, prepared to only skim through the prologue and save the rest for later. Only it didn’t work out that way. At all. (And so it goes, fellow readers, am I right?? ;) The first few paragraphs gripped my heart and before I knew it, I was tearing through the chapters, so anxious to find out how things were going to go for all these beloved characters! And then…

And then!

I reached pretty near the end and a certain few truths hit my heart like an explosion. As one grieving, they were words of truth I needed to hear. They reached into a crack in my heart that I didn’t really even realize was there and burst it open, blowing everything to smithereens in a mere second! A gentle and beautiful reminder that I had forgotten. I literally wept, my friends. And it’s been a great while since a fictional story has affected my emotions to that degree. It was a moment of softening and love. So as I sit here struggling for words (and writing so very many anyway, huh? ;), all I am ultimately left with is this glorious feeling of happy. Of a heart so filled with relief, comfort, grace, and HOPE. This is a hopeful story, friends.

So often I strive to be practical when writing a review, but I know I am sadly missing that mark with this one. All I can tell you is it hit my emotions in a way that I was unprepared for! It was an emotional journey from beginning to end and if I could tell Ms. Ganshert anything, in this very, single moment right now the truest words I have for her are these: Thank you. Your story resonated with me and I am incredibly grateful I had the privilege to read it.

**I received a complimentary copy via Waterbrook & Multnoma. All opinions expressed are my own.

"I guess that’s what life is, though, isn’t it? A whole bunch of little moments that don’t seem significant or life-altering at the time but when you look back..." She shook her head. "I don’t know. They become the most profoundly beautiful things."

Why...why those people...why that train...why her. But maybe she'd been asking the wrong question. Maybe comfort wasn't to be found in the why. Maybe comfort was to be found in the who. A God who wept.

Sometimes, people didn’t set out to hide anything. Sometimes, the walls came up so slowly that they weren’t noticed until it was too late. Until the ugly was so wretched and foul that the walls had to stay in place.

"You know what I think? I think the second we find ourselves asking "Who am I? is the second we become the perfect person for the job."



March 21, 2017

Tag - I'm it


So I found this tag via Karen at For What It's Worth, and thought it looked like fun. Join in if you like! :)

RULES:
You must be honest
You must answer all the questions
You must tag at least 4 people {I’ll be breaking this one and tagging the whole internet. Go big or go home!}


1. What book has been on your shelf the longest? 

I'm not sure? But probably something by Lurlene McDaniel. I loved her books when I was younger and haven't been able to make myself get rid of them yet.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I'm in the midst of INSPY reading currently, so the last official book I read front to back was The Secret Ingredient of Wishes. I paused the "have to" reading in order to start For Love and Honor, so am currently almost finished with it. Then it's back to INSPYs with The Progeny...I think?

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated? 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t? 

Anything by Charles Dickens. I keep thinking that I want to read one of his books some day, but who knows if I ever actually will...

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Um....all of them? I'm fairly certain that I'll still have an endless TBR at that point in time, plus all my favorites that I'll want to reread, so... :)

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Oh, definitely read it! I know that is incomprehensible to most of you, but there it is. I pretty much always read the end first. There are occasions where I haven't, but those are few and far between.

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

Jenny B Jones acknowledgement page
Interesting aside, for sure! I don't always read them, but I do sometimes.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

I wouldn't mind living as Anne Elliot from Persuasion by Jane Austen, but only if you could guarantee that I would jump in the story with absolutely nothing changing. (Well, except for the Mr. Elliot stuff. I could do without him.) I wouldn't have a clue how to actually act as Anne, so if left to my own devices, I'd probably mess up the story horribly. But if I could just become Anne? I could definitely go for spending a little time with Captain Wentworth! ;)

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)

My copy of The Singing Boones by Dale White always makes me think of my grandma. I first read the book at her house and fell in love with it. I then proceeded to reread it numerous times whenever I visited her. Which, naturally, required that I find my own copy once I was older! :)

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way. 

Real life friends and family rarely ever gift me a book, I guess they're conscious that they may not give me one I'll enjoy. But one year for Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me a hardcover copy of Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. I don't remember talking about the book with her, maybe I did, but regardless I don't think she knew how much I love that story. I did already have a personal copy of it, but one can never have too many copies of a favorite book, right?? (I eventually gave my original copy to another niece, who loved it. :) That remains one of my favorite memories!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

The only kind of special reason that I've given a book away for is a wedding, birthday, Christmas, etc. Does that count?

12. Which book has been with you most places?

That would be any book on my kindle! I keep it in my purse, which means it's always with me. :)

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

So far, I've not been brave enough nor curious enough to see if I'd like The Great Gatsby any better now.

14. Used or brand new? 

Both! Having a lovely, brand new book is delightful, but used is cheaper, so...

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope

Image result for austenland movie16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Yes!! Austenland by Shannon Hale. I thought the book was cute and fun.....until I saw the movie. Now I LOVE the movie and have no desire to read the book again.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included? 

YES. Lots of books have done that:

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes made me hungry for pie
A Portrait of Emily Price made me want Italian food
Return to Chocolate made me crave chocolate
Cool Beans made me wish for cinnamon rolls and coffee (and I don't even really like coffee!)
The Pioneer Woman Cooks made me long for southern food dripping with butter and all manner of things bad for you

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I could name all of my blogging friends for this! But it does come with a condition. I take their advice on books that sound intriguing to me, yet I don't always read every single thing they recommend. Still, we have so very many in common that I love to read their reviews to help add to my TBR. Those bloggers are: Rissi, Amber, Courtney, Jamie, Rel, Hamlette, Birdie, Suey, Kami, Jenny...

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

A few years ago, I'd never imagined that I would love The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. It seemed way too complicated to read. But! Blogging friends convinced me otherwise and I finally read the books and fell in love! :)




March 15, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 20


When I'm getting several days of these posts ready to go all at once, I'm finding that I have no idea what to say in this introductory paragraph that won't be repetitive. So!

Hi. :)

{many thanks to Jenni for the idea}

Day 20: Favorite romance book

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This one was actually easy for once! :) I love a good romance in a story, y'all should know this by now, and I even talk a lot about how fantastic the chemistry is between the main couple in a good deal of my reviews. But when it comes to chemistry, let me just say that nobody holds a candle to Grace and Devin from Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann! It is seriously palpable between them, every single time they are on the page together. And sometimes even when they're not on the same page, but just thinking about or mentioning the other in conversation!

I admit that I was not prepared for the awesomeness of these two characters and how they make mistake after mistake, yet love each other for who they are, flaws and all. It's a beautifully written story that has a romance as the main plot point, but believe me when I say that it is SO much more than just a romance. It is high on my list of favorite stories ever and I don't think it'll be going anywhere for a good long time! :)




March 14, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 19


Here I am again! And here you are, reading my posts still. Thank you, dearest reader! :)

{many thanks to Jenni for the idea}

Day 19: Favorite book turned into a movie.

Since it says "favorite book...", I think I'll have to go with The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien! I admit that the first book that came to mind was Austenland by Shannon Hale, but as I LOVE the movie so much more than the actual book, I decided it, sadly, wouldn't fit this criteria. So Tolkien it is! :)

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I haven't watched the movies in ages, but they remain some of my very favorites. And I absolutely loved the books when I read them a couple years ago! While I haven't made the time to watch them since I read the series, I'm sure there are definitely differences between the two (there always are). In fact, I seem to recall thinking "I don't remember this scene being in the movie!" while I was reading. Even so, I do think that the movies are exceptionally well cast and wonderful to watch. I think a rewatch needs to be in my near future, don't you?




March 13, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 18


Hello, my lovelies! Here I am again, determined to get through this 30 Days before an actual year goes by. *fingers crossed* I hope you're all doing well? My posting is sporadic as usual, but I'm doing fairly well, all things considered. A lot of my days seem to get busy with things to do or I end the day tired and just want to go home instead of to the library to blog. I haven't gotten tired of blogging yet though! I think it's just a little phase I'm in currently.

So! Without further ado, let's get to the point of this post, shall we? :)

{many thanks to Jenni for the idea}

Day 18: A book that disappointed you

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I think I used this book on another of the 30 Days, but I decided not to let that stop me from using it again. Because it truly did disappoint me! Everyone sings the praises of John Green and especially of this book, The Fault In Our Stars. But me? I had such high hopes when I first bought my copy at Target! Sadly, I ended up skimming through most of the chapters, unable to truly like the characters all that much. (And returning my book so I could get my money back and spend it on something I liked instead.)

So to all the Augustus Waters fangirls out there, y'all can keep him. I'm good with Captain Wentworth! ;)

What's a book that's disappointed you recently??




March 12, 2017

Lately...


  • While at the library yesterday, I watched a lady bring out a kitchen knife and veggies (carrots and bell peppers), begin cutting them, then crunching on them loudly while eating. (To be fair, those are not quiet veggies to eat...)
  • I've decided people-watching at the library can be quite entertaining sometimes.
  • Friends of mine are thinking to put on a play this coming Christmas, based on The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I read that book when I was a kid and remember loving it and now I'm feeling this intense desire to read it again!
  • I rewatched all three seasons of When Calls the Heart last weekend and have been obsessed with Jack and Elizabeth all week since.
  • I also rewatched Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and remembered all the reasons why I love that movie!
  • Per a recent convo, I've decided almost all "classics" high school students are required to read are weird and boring. Now if I'd had the chance to read Jane Austen in my high school days, I might feel a little differently... ;)
  • Also in that same convo, I learned that a dead person can't narrate a story, but a dead character can! Hence why google was no help on my first search. Humph
  • I caught up on Heather Dixon's blog posts recently and laughed and shuddered simultaneously at this one.
  • Finally put a new cd in my car this week! I'd had the same ones playing over and over for the last year. (I am not even kidding, it's really been that long.)
  • The other day I stumbled over a fanfiction about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and it gave me all the Lizzie/Darcy feels again! I need a rewatch of that series soon.
  • I am severely behind on my blog reading! And when I say severely, I mean months-and-months-behind-severely. *hangs head in shame* I am hoping to catch up soon, fellow bloggers! Please don't think I've forgotten you completely. I really haven't!
  • I have a Christmas get together with friends coming up (yes, we purposely wait until long after Christmas to plan it, Dec and Jan just get too busy for everybody) and still need to pick out my present. Help! I have no ideas at this point in time! *cue mad scrambling at the last minute*
  • I hope you're having a delightful weekend, my lovelies! :)



March 11, 2017

Comfort

"We revisit
old feelings for
the same reason
we re-read books --
comfort in words familiar
even though we
know the endings."




March 7, 2017

30 Days of Books :: Day 17


And I'm back with another 30 Days post! This time I'm going to be listing my favorite quotes. Talk about having trouble narrowing it down so that I don't overwhelm you guys......!!! I love quotes, in general, but when an author pens a particular phrase or paragraph that speaks to me, I get all squishy inside. Squishy with happiness, of course!

{Again, many thanks to Jenni for idea.}

Day 17: Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)
But Hadley understood. It wasn't that she was meant to read them all. Maybe someday she would, but for now, it was more the gesture itself. He was giving her the most important thing he could, the only way he knew how. He was a professor, a lover of stories, and he was building her a library in the same way other men might build their daughters houses.
~ Jennifer E. Smith - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
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It's all in the view. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count.
~ Sarah Dessen - The Truth About Forever
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
F. W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
~ Jane Austen - Persuasion
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"Sophos, you sleep with a knife under your pillow? I'm hurt."
"I'm sorry," said Sounis, afraid that he had made contact with his wild swing.
"I was joking. Wake up the rest of the way, would you?"
"Gen, it's the middle of the night."
"I know," said the king of Attolia.
Sounis tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes. He was sitting up in his bed. The sky was still entirely dark, and he couldn't have been asleep for long. He suspected that he had just dropped off. The bare knife was still in his hand, he realized, and he rooted under his pillow for the sheath.
"Don't you trust my palace security?"
"Yes, of course," Sounis said, trying to think of some other reason besides mistrust to sleep with a knife. He heard Eugenides laugh.
"My queen and I sleep with a matched set under our pillows, as well as handguns in pockets on the bedposts. Don't be embarrassed."
~ Megan Whalen Turner - A Conspiracy of Kings
I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character.
~ David Levithan & Rachel Cohn - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
The song reminded her of grief, of emotions that were simpler as a child, more straightforward, that were now taken and turned into something she was hesitant to touch but could not forget.
~ Beth Brower - The Q
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Home isn't just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you're brave enough to love people.
~ Natalie Lloyd - A Snicker of Magic
"You are inclined to get muddled, if I may judge from last night. Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them."
~ E.M. Forster - A Room With A View
"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."
~L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables
In the middle of all this, as Sean slips out of his jacket, he looks over his shoulder at me and he smiles at me, just a glancing, faint thing before he turns back to Tommy. I'm quite happy for that smile, because Dad told me once you should be grateful for the gifts that are the rarest.
~ Maggie Stiefvater - The Scorpio Races
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I used to think mercy meant showing kindness to someone who didn't deserve it, as if only the recipient defined the act. The girl in between has learned that mercy is defined by its giver. Our flaws are obvious, yet we are loved and able to love, if we choose, because there is that bit of the divine still smoldering in us.
~ Susan Meissner - The Shape of Mercy
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairytales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.
~C.S. Lewis - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


March 6, 2017

INSPYs 2017 Judging Applications Open

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Hello my lovelies! Just dropping by real quick to highlight the big news about the INSPY Awards for this month.

Judging Applications are now open!!!

If you're a blogger and reader who loves Christian Fiction, please feel free to apply. I promise, as a judge myself a couple years ago, it's quite fun and painless! :) There are, of course, some criteria you must meet, but nothing too difficult, and all the info you need is right here. The INSPYs wouldn't be possible without all of us together, so join in, friends! We'd love to have you. :)




Movie Quote Monday :: When Calls the Heart


Elizabeth: Don’t panic.  You can do this.  You crossed a prairie, for heaven’s sake. How difficult could it be to produce a play?
*Jack walks up*
Jack:  Talking to yourself. Not a good sign.
Elizabeth:  You were eavesdropping.
Jack:  It’s not eavesdropping when one's talking to oneself out loud in public.
Elizabeth: I have to put on a Founders Day play in a week! A play that has been performed every year. A play that apparently has costumes and music and...
Jack: Come here.
*he leads her over to a place to sit*
Jack: Sit down.
*she refuses*
Jack: Sit!
*she sits grudgingly*
Jack: Now. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
*he gives her a look and Elizabeth lets out a huge breath*
Jack: There! Now don't you feel better?
Elizabeth: I do.
It's been a while since I posted one of these! And since I was in the notion to rewatch the series over the weekend, I figured this was the perfect choice. :)

Obviously, I'm featuring When Calls the Heart, a TV series from Hallmark Channel. It's based off a book series by Janette Oke, only it's nothing like the books, it's telling a story all of its own. Which isn't a bad thing! Because of Jack and Elizabeth. :D These two are too cute for words! And the particular conversation I highlighted up there is one which never fails to make me giggle at their adorableness. But it also shows how well they know each other. Or, I suppose, how well Jack knows Elizabeth by this point. The two characters start out with an obvious attraction at the beginning of season one, but continue to frustrate each other to no end. As each season progresses (season four is currently airing), their attachment only grows deeper.

When life (and the Founders Day play) gets u all flustered 'n stuff, remember what Jack says...@erinkrakow @WCTH_TV:
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So yes, I will totally admit that Jack and Elizabeth are the biggest reason I love this show. Y'all know I love a good romance! ;) Yet that's not to say that the other characters and plotlines aren't entertaining, mysterious, and romantic, because they are. There is loads of fun to be had here!

I should mention that, if you haven't seen the series and are interested in watching, please be aware that historical accuracy is not its strong point. But if you can overlook that, like me, and simply enjoy the sweetness of the little town of Coal Valley (or Hope Valley, as it comes to be known later) and its myriad of very memorable characters, I don't think you'll be disappointed. :)




March 2, 2017

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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When I first heard about this book, I immediately zeroed in on the fact that it shared similarities with Labyrinth (the movie starring David Bowie). Which thrilled me and caused great heights of anticipation for Feb 2017 to get here quick! (That movie continues to remain a favorite of mine and the relationship between the Goblin King and Sarah is a big reason why.) I was so pleased that I thoroughly enjoyed this story! It was different than I had imagined, but that's no bad thing at all. :) From the fairytale-like way it begins, through the fantastical setting, to the bittersweet, yet hopeful, ending, this book was a delight from start to finish!

To gather my thoughts, let's begin with the characters. In order to sell the central relationship and the push-and-pull between them, Liesl and the Goblin King needed to be fleshed out and believable. At least up to a certain point, because, as I stated before, this does have a fairytale quality to it and therefore the reader will have to simply accept a few plot points as they rise, regardless of believability. So I was happy to be sucked into Liesl's world and into her head as soon as I began reading. I sympathized with her, yet had moments of frustration, and simultaneously loved her while wanting to shake her silly! I understood her fears though, especially in regards to her natural musical ability (which is clearly phenomenal!). When she finally begins to realize how incredibly gifted she is and learns to accept it as a beautiful part of herself, I inwardly danced and cheered because I'd been anticipating that moment for pages and pages and pages. Her love for her family is another beautiful part of her, yet I did wish they had been slightly more worthy of her sacrifice for them. But that's just a minor quibble.

Then there's the Goblin King himself. Oh what to say about him? I really liked how Ms. Jae-Jones truly captured his otherness. Every time he came onto the page, there was always a sense of other about him. He remains a bit of a mystery throughout much of the story, which surprised me yet didn't. Simply put, it worked. (Perhaps it was just my pure enjoyment of picturing him as David Bowie? :)

And then the writing....! Oh friends, I must commend the author for writing so vividly as to sweep me away into the Underground for several hours! The setting, the descriptions, the world-building is certainly well done. So much detail in just a few words, I could picture the scenes so clearly in my mind. I wasn't expecting the historical setting, I have to admit, but it worked really well, especially with the traditions and folklore that surrounded Liesl's human world. And the music! It swirls in and out of paragraphs and chapters and fills this story, even when not actually mentioned. Like Liesl herself, music is the very heart of the storytelling.

Yet it's not a perfect story either. As I mentioned above, there were several times that Liesl actively frustrated me to no end (some of her choices didn't make any sense). And there are questions that I never really got answers to. Which isn't inherently a bad thing, I just wish I could have understood a few of the characters actions a bit more, especially Liesl's. Also, at times, the religious references combined with the not-quite-graphic details mixed sort of weirdly to me. The switch between the two would throw me out of the story for a bit. Luckily it didn't take long for me to get sucked back in! :) The other part that bugged me was the ending. It felt very abrupt, leaving me with so many more questions on what happened after! But I hear that a companion novel is in the works, so perhaps that'll give me the satisfying conclusion I was hoping for? *crosses fingers*

So! Quibbles or no, this was a satisfying read for me. I was thoroughly immersed and so sad when it ended. It gave me just the bit of romance I wanted from Labyrinth and made me grin with each of the little nuggets from the movie that I recognized! In short, it is darkly romantic, with a vivid and fantastical setting and characters. So much of Labyrinth, yet so much of its own storyline too, it's the perfect combo of both! :)

"There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort
of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free."

"That one," the merchant said, pointing to K├Ąthe, "burns like kindling. All flash, and no real heat. But you," he said. "You smolder, mistress. There is a fire burning within you, but it is a slow burn. It shimmers with heat, waiting only for a breath to fan it to life."

This was the immortality humans were meant to have: to be remembered by those who loved us long after our bodies have crumbled into dust.



February 20, 2017

Sunshine Blogger Award


The lovely Hamlette tagged me with this award a few weeks ago and I'm finally getting around to joining in! Considering it's winter right now, it's fun to imagine sunshine and springtime! Although I do suppose that as it's been rather warm for Feb the past week or two, we've had plenty of sunshine for me to enjoy. Still! Winter isn't over and I am SO ready for spring to come and stay.

Anyhoo! I have some fun questions to answer, so let's get to it, shall we?

1.  What's the oldest TV show you've ever watched? 

Probably...I Love Lucy. I think?

2.  What's the newest TV show you've watched?

I don't watch much TV, so I think the last one I was actively keeping track of was Parks and Recreation. I love Leslie and Ben! Plus Ron and Ann and everyone else. :)

Ask me about kdramas or period dramas and I've got a much more recent list I could choose from!

3.  What's the oldest fiction book you've ever read?

Love and Freindship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen, because she wrote these short stories when she was still a teenager.

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4.  What's the newest fiction book you've read?

I received an advanced copy of Life After by Katie Ganshert and read it a couple weeks ago. It's not out until April, but keep your eyes peeled for it, friends! Because it is EXCELLENT.

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5.  What's the oldest movie you've ever watched?

Pride and Prejudice - 1940 (And yes, I had to go look up all the older movies I've watched and see when they came out.)

6.  What's the newest movie you've watched?

Does Hallmark Channel movies count? Because that would be Love at First Glance. It was cute, but sort of forgettable.

7.  What was the first blog you remember following?

That would be Ruth's! Booktalk & More Too (I started following her original blog, this one is a newer one.) I love her book reviews and so often what she loves, I will too! :)

8.  What's the blog you've started following the most recently?

I discovered Based on the Book through Hamlette's I Love Austen Week. :)

9.  What song did you really love when you were 10 years old?

I don't remember? But it must have something in country music because I loved country music back then!!

10.  What song do you really love right now?

Currently I've been listening to Ellie Holcomb's Red Sea Road album. I love several of the songs on it and have been listening on repeat! :) Here's the first song, Find You Here (I couldn't find any of the others from the album on YouTube, sorry.)



I have no idea who to tag for this, so I'm tagging everybody! Please join in if you care to. :)




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