November 30, 2017

Currently...



Listening To:  Christmas music, of course! But I also just finished listening to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (is that not the BEST title?!). I wasn't sure what it would be like, but I'd heard good things. Very unique and fun! Also, right before that, I listened to Sense and Sensibility. Yes! That S&S. First time ever reading the story and I LOVED it! After I finished, I was in the mood for more Jane Austen stories.

Reading:  I'm not currently in the middle of anything actually. But a few weeks ago I devoured Speak Easy, Speak Love and LET ME JUST SAY HOW AMAZING THIS BOOK IS. I need to get my review written, but it's taking a bit of time because currently this is my thought process when I sit down to write it: aldkjf;oadijfalkdjf;lakjdf . :D

Enjoying:  The atmosphere of the Christmas season. Now granted, I haven't been out in the stores braving all the crowds and craziness, but there's just something about the after-Thanksgiving-just-before-December few days of happy anticipation of Christmas! I get this indescribable feeling of wishing for awesome things to happen during the next month. Most of which probably won't! But this bit of dreaming and enjoying is simply happy-inducing to my heart. Anyone else ever get that feeling? No? Just me?

Watching:  Hallmark Christmas movies! This should come as no surprise at all for anyone who knows me. I love them! Every single cheesy, predictable, teeth-achingly-sweet, guaranteed-happy-ending bit of them! So far, I think my favorite might be The Christmas Train. But I'll have to get back to you on that? Haven't seen them all yet! ;)

Feeling:  Excitement for new things on the horizon! Making plans and seeing people's reactions to them and just plain happy to have something so scary-awesome to look forward to! Life is meant to be lived, right? Onward!

Craving:  The chocolate roll that I left in the freezer at work. Which means I can't eat any right this second! *sniff sniff*

Loving:  That book tree you see in the picture up there! It took the encouragement of some crafting-loving friends to convince me to finally try it and I am SO pleased with how it turned out. I grin every single time I walk by it! :)

Anticipating:  Christmas!




November 15, 2017

Review: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

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Usually I devour stories that I love this much, but there’s just something about Katherine Reay’s writing that makes me want to pause and deliciously savor every. single. word. This story was so good I think I might have changed my mind about which of her books is my favorite! But I suppose it’s to be expected considering how big a fan of Jane Austen I am, huh? ;) This story is DELIGHTFUL. And glorious! Well worth your time, my friends.

At its heart is a friendship. I am always blown away by how Ms. Reay seems to have such a clear understanding of how to write relationships between characters which depict the real, messy, and complicated emotions that we human beings deal with. Our relationships with the people around us aren't always easy, and so, likewise, Mary and Isabel's friendship is struggling mightily when we first meet them. The problems between them are barely understood by either, yet as they are forced into constant proximity, Mary begins to realize there is so much more to the story than just what she's seeing and experiencing. Thus by getting a change in perspective, it allows her eyes to truly be opened to her own abilities and flaws. And the growth that begins to transpire as the story builds to the climax is so beautifully written!

From the very first page, I instantly liked Mary. I understood so many of her emotions and inability to fully express them properly. I related to the fact that she feels so very much! But Isabel, on the other hand? She isn't nearly so likeable. Yet that did not deter me from wishing to see these two friends restored, somehow, because, of the many things Ms. Reay excels at, taking seemingly unlikeable characters and infusing them with humanity and heart (even if hidden deep) is certainly one such! Isabel seems to have the setup of a villain in the story, yet we understand that she isn't one. Don't get me wrong, she really does make some awful choices and acts pretty terrible several times, yet there was just something intriguing about her that made me want to change my mind. Consequently, I spent so much of her time on the page simultaneously wishing she'd go away, yet wanting to understand her better! :D

Then there's Nathan. Ah, my heart! I was so pleased whenever he'd show up. Watching he and Mary tiptoe around each other is super adorable! Especially when they stop tiptoeing and finally begin being honest. Let's just say there was many a swoonworthy moment! ;) Yet for all the cute he brings, he is also a catalyst for change. He brings abrupt change to Mary and Isabel's relationship, as well as causing Mary to begin to understand herself better. In fact, they both challenge each other in all the best (and sometimes uncomfortable) ways! I can truly root for a couple who inspire each other to growth within themselves. Their relationship balances so well between the adorable and the complicated and messy.

One of the most fascinating things about Ms. Reay's writing is her innate understanding of people. I always seem to relate to her characters, even when we have completely different tastes and opinions! Somehow I always see bits of myself in them, or even of real people I know. She interprets real life so well that we instantly connect and relate! Plus I had several instances where I had to reread certain passages numerous times, just to allow the beautiful words time to really sink into my heart. Whenever that starts happening, I know the book is truly something special!

I read and reread so many paragraphs, I was thoroughly swept up into Mary's life and dearly wishing such an Austen-themed experience actually existed! I fell in love with the sweetness of the romance, and not to mention the side characters...! Oh, how could I forget how much I adored Benson and Moira and Gertrude! Especially Gertrude. I loved how one true conversation with her created this instant connection that was a refuge for Mary during some distressing moments. So true of real life, how some people we just feel a kinship with immediately.

All this to say that I clearly have FEELINGS for this wonderful story! I can say nothing else but that you should read it immediately! Don't wait, don't hesitate, just read it. I can't imagine you being disappointed. :)

**I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"When I called Dad to report, we spent fifteen minutes pondering what we could measure in skittles and how many each project might take."

"...I love books. The weight. The smell. The bigger the better. It’s a shame Encyclopedia Britannica doesn’t print all those encyclopedias anymore. Weren’t those the best?"

"...I knew I was probably still missing nuances and subtleties and most of her [Jane Austen] brilliance, but what I caught was captivating."

"This deep quiet felt as if it had been growing and solidifying for years rather than moments or hours....I felt myself expand, breathe deep. I felt myself listening."

"And I was diminishing--as one should before the size and unending grandeur of the universe. It wasn't that I was smaller or less significant; it simply felt like I didn't need to fight for a place within it or for my own protection. I simply was, and that was enough."

"Music is math, and once you understand that...How can anyone not be in awe? It's the audible expression behind the laws of the universe. It feels like the only thing, apart from God, that lives outside time. Once released, it lives on and it can make you laugh and cry, rip you apart and heal you, all within a few discrete notes strung together. And while it follows rules, express is limitless."

"It was about music, fear, voice, running away and tucking close. It was about family and swirling emotions I couldn’t name, but I felt in my heart as it pounded with each step."



November 7, 2017

Happy Release Day, The Austen Escape! {Also, you're invited...}



Happy release day to The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay! 

34460584Did y'all know that I LOVE Katherine's stories? I have been known to gush in my reviews, I believe, so you probably do, right? ;) Anyhoo! Today is publishing day for her latest release The Austen Escape, and you can imagine that combining two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and Ms. Reay herself, means that I am definitely reading this one! :D

I've actually had my copy for a couple weeks, but life prevented me from starting. Which is not all bad! Because I'm going to be reading it simultaneously with my #bookbesties starting today. Yay! (Which also means I'm planning to go straight home after writing this post and immediately beginning chapter one. Double yay!)

Which leads me to the main reason for this post. If you care to join, we're doing a little read-along. Mainly we'll be discussing on Twitter, using the hashtag #TAERAL. Even if you don't join in, but want to check out our convos, I guarantee there'll be LOTS of gushing and pure awesome going on. (Just sayin')

Also! Courtney says she's collecting questions to ask Ms. Reay, which she'll then post about once we're finished reading. So head over to her post for the details!

Meanwhile, please promise me that you'll check out her books? Believe me when I say that she's a fabulous writer!! :)




October 24, 2017

Review: Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

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Oh friends, where on earth am I supposed to begin talking about this delightful little story?! There is so much to love about it and I'm afraid all I'm going to be able to do is gush. Which, I know, isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm sure you'd like to hear more than just "It's amazing, go read it!". But for the official record, it is amazing and you should go read it. :)

Can I just start with how much I loved the quietness of the story? There's no huge emotional bursts that lend themselves to full on angst and drama, which is my favorite way for a story to go. Oh there's certainly emotion, with a little drama/mystery mixed in, but it's not all that one experiences. The biggest emotional bursts that occur feel like precisely what needs to come after certain plot shenanigans. The build up of tension leading to those moments make the emotions of the character natural and perhaps even necessary. Because we human beings, when dealing with hard things that have caused us immense grief and pain, don't usually just simply let go, it's more of a process for us.

Hence what captivated me most about Beth and Drew; the quiet, introverted nature of both of them, yet the real emotion that hovered beneath their surfaces, causing them to draw into themselves. And the way they could each sense that about the other, see it in the little things that most other people overlooked, and, while it took stepping out of their comfort zones in order to do so, sought to find ways to help. They simply couldn't ignore each other, no matter how hard they tried! I think this may be the first story I've read where there is very little actual conversation between the two main characters initially, but goodness the build up of chemistry is high-powered and electric! I was on pins and needles every time one of them approached the other, even if no words were spoken between them!

I especially loved that Drew was this quiet, taciturn type of hero. His inability to express his thoughts would make him seem like not a very romantic sort, but oh let me tell you!! He knows how to make a girl swoon! And poor Beth never even stood a chance. ;) Yet more than just the swooniness of their romance charmed me, it was the way they innately understood each other and how they became such safe places for the other. I absolutely LOVED that all the parts of themselves that they struggled to accept and love were so very easily accepted, loved, and make perfectly imperfect in the other. They complement each other so beautifully! So how could I do anything but love the two of them like crazy in response?

I loved the Whitaker family as a whole as well. Watching the siblings circle each other, yet love each other so fiercely was wonderful! They felt like a real family with all the different quirks and ways they understood each other like no one else could. And those townspeople? So many awesome characters who I could stand to know more about! Seriously, Ms. Walsh. Can you pretty please write more stories based on these characters? I loved them all and want more time with them! :) Overall, this was a glorious immersion into life with Beth and Drew. I closed the final chapter unable to stop thinking about them and all the ways I truly wish they were real. Highly, highly recommend this one, friends!

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Birdie raised an eyebrow. "This farm was built slowly and with a whole lot of love. Do you even take time to enjoy any of it?"
"Sure I do."
"I don't think so. You try to force those plants and flowers to grow, and it's never going to happen. Just water them. Give them light. Eventually they'll shoot up out of that soil like the gladiators they are. They do it because it's what they were made to do."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying if you do what you were made to do, then you'll find the peace you've been looking for. You can't work for it, you know. You just have to rest in it."


October 23, 2017

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty


Hello, my lovelies! Guess what I finally clued in to? That I've posted very few reviews around these parts for the last several months! Of course, part of that is simply because I haven't done much reading. Which is perfectly terrible! But I've just had some minor health issues over the summer and early fall, notably especially the last few weeks. So take that and add to it a major reading funk I've been in and there you have it. I surely wish these things didn't happen, but what can you do? However, I did read several books in early summer I never reviewed, so here I am finally!

I recently reread First & Then and it was just as cute the second time around. So maybe instead of trying to read all new books, I should try rereading a few old favorites! We shall see. Hope all is well on your end of the internet! :)


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First & Then by Emma Mills
This is not a perfect story, but it was overall cute and sweet enough that I could overlook the imperfect parts. Mainly due to Foster! Because I absolutely fell in love with his character. :) He's a quiet and smaller part of Devon's story, but there was just something about him that I loved. His way of looking at the world is much simpler than most people's, but that only makes him more endearing. And the way that Devon revolves around him is sweet.

She, herself, is a huge mixture of emotions and teenage angst and trying to find herself. At times, she truly frustrated me, but then she'd do something incredibly sweet for Foster and I'd totally forgive her, much like Foster does. She has such a loving heart, for all her occasional surliness and sarcasm tries to hide it. Her romance with Ezra is quiet and slow-building, which is perfect! It basically sneaks up her until her heart is committed without her realizing. But the truly shining moments in this story is every single interaction between Devon and Foster. Foster is well worth getting to know, friends. I highly recommend "meeting" him. :)


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Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick
I picked this one up based on a blogging friend's high recommendation and was so happy I did! Even though I hadn't read the first book, Love, Lucas, this one is more of a companion novel than an outright sequel, so it stands very well all on its own. Emmy is the reason I loved this story. Still coping with the grief of losing the boy she loved, I connected with her struggles to handle those complicated emotions. Add to that the fact that her mother has a huge health crisis and I completely understood the way that Emmy was barely hanging on most days. That's a lot for anyone to handle! Having experienced very similar emotions, I was with her every step, wanting so badly to hug her!

It's a slow journey, but with good friends around who refuse to give up on her, she ends her story in a much better place. Speaking of, I loved her relationship with Cole! It's not an easy one, mainly because she has no idea how to manage all the emotions he causes and therefore doesn't always treat him the nicest. But he stays the course and watching as she slowly warms up to him is fun. :) Overall, it's not just a simple story. Emmy's journey is quite difficult at times, but so worth discovering!


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Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
Kara Isaac never fails to deliver a swoony romance and this one is just as excellent as her first two! This is so much more than just an entertaining romance though, both Paige and Josh have a journey to go on before they're completely ready to give in to their attraction. They each have a lot of learning to do about who they are and what they truly want in life. Meeting each other and being forced to confront these issues isn't easy for them, but what fun it makes for the reader!

I laughed so many times, mentally cringed when either made a mistake (especially the one at the end! Oh my stars...) due to secondhand embarrassment, and just overall absolutely LOVED this story. I was easily swept up into the magic of life in Australia, which just made me want to actually visit the country some day even more. :) This story has definitely solidified Ms. Isaac as a favorite author and I shall now go and reread all my favorite parts again. And again and again! It's worth the reread, trust me. :)


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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Wow. I've heard lots of great things about this book and they are certainly deserving! The slower plot and evocative descriptions were right up my alley. While I can see where some may not enjoy those very bits overmuch, I was thoroughly swept up in this world and anxiously waiting to find out what would happen. Plus Jim Dale was an excellent narrator! (I listened to the audiobook.)

I loved each of the details described so lovingly and found myself completely immersed in this world. And what a world it is! It's a feast for the imagination! The reader can see all the sights, hear all the noise of the circus, and smell the wondrous foods to be found there. I've never envisioned everything so incredibly clear before. Ms. Morgenstern certainly has a gift for descriptive writing!

I will say that the myriad of POVs was slightly confusing at first. I couldn't figure out how they were all going to intersect, though I had no doubt that they would eventually. Also the jumps around in time didn't always make a lot of sense, but they did up my anticipation for when everything came together. I had no idea where on earth Ms. Morgenstern was going to take me, but I did love the journey! I think that's the beauty to be found in this story. It's not the ending that's so enticing (although it is at the same time?), but the journey to get to that ending. So enjoy the adventure, friends! It's quite a wonderful ride. :)


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Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh
So I sat down with this book one Saturday morning planning only on skimming through the beginning a little and...well....a few hours later I looked up having finished it! Totally forgot to eat lunch and everything! I related to so much of Lane's insecurities, fears, and doubts. Although I don't react to them by becoming quite as uptight as she or with as many walls built, yet even so I empathized with her constant mix of emotions. It was like Ms. Walsh had gotten inside my head and written my very thoughts. Thus I was anxious to see how Lane would overcome them and find herself anew. It was a beautiful, and hard, journey for her! When your instinct is to protect yourself, it's difficult to open up and let others in.

That's where Ryan Brooks comes in. I loved how he refused to give up on Lane! He is certainly not without flaws, but the way he could reach inside her walls and connect to her heart, even while she tried to deny it, was wonderful to watch. He is so good for her and watching the two of them slowly come together is swoony and delightful! But it's not just Lane learning from him, he has much to learn from her as well. They help each other grow in so many ways.

Reading this story was like finding dear old friends who filled me with warm fuzzies! Just trying to describe all the happy it gave me makes me really want to immediately go and reread it again. :)




October 16, 2017

Hear ye, Hear ye! {to anyone who lives in or near VA}

As you may know, I live in Virginia. Several of my blogging friends do too, and we're going to meet up at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton this fall. Sounds fun, right? I've met a few blogging friends before and let's just say that they were even more awesome in person! So I'm definitely excited.

To avoid creepy stalker types, I'm not posting the names of the other people who are meeting up with me, or which date and time we'll be there. Not that I know I have any creepy stalkers in my life or anything like that, but better safe than sorry, you know? So! If you're not a creepy stalker type, and live near VA of course, please think about joining us! I promise we're nice. And it'll be awesome! Guaranteed. :)

If you'd be interested in joining us, please email me at flowersofquiethappiness at gmail dot com and I'll fill you in on details.



September 29, 2017

A Tolkien Blog Party :: 2017


So the lovely Hamlette hosted her fifth annual A Tolkien Blog Party last week and I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT. Go figure. That describes this entire year blogging-wise for me. I've forgotten everything! *big sigh* Still, I had planned to participate, so...better late than never, yes? I hope so because here goes nothing! :)

{Thanks, Hamlette! For not minding a late party-goer!}

1. How long have you been a Tolkien fan?

Only a couple years! I read The Hobbit for the first time in 2014 and the trilogy in 2015. So I'm a newbie! :)

2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?

Not really? Other than I gush about these stories to people in real life if they're willing to listen to me. :D

3. If you had to take the One Ring to Mordor, which character would you choose for your sole companion?

Samwise Gamgee, of course! Sam is just awesome. And wise.

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4. Which is scarier, Shelob or the Balrog?

Shelob because I don't DO spiders! *shudder* But to be fair, I'm certain that I'd be a quivering mess of fear were I facing either one...

5. Which two towers do you think Tolkien was referring to in the title The Two Towers?  (i.e. Orthanc, Barad-dûr, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, or Minas Tirith)

I don't really know. I've read all kinds of speculations and everyone has great reasons to support their theories, so I always end up nodding along with them. *shrugs*

6. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?

Arwen's. Mainly because I really like this particular cloak...

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7. What do you think an Ent Draught would taste like?

Something very earthy, I would imagine.

8. Where in Middle-earth would you like to live?

The Shire! But only if I could visit the other places, like Rivendell and Rohan, occasionally. I have enough "Tookish"-ness in me to want to travel a bit. ;)

9. Do you have any Tolkien-related opinions that surprise other people?

I don't think so? It might surprise some people that I've even read his books and loved them though...

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the books or movies.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
"His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom."
"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass."
"Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick."



September 28, 2017

Fun with Flowers | The Heart's Spring Book Tag


Hello, my lovelies! I went searching for post ideas yesterday and wouldn't you know it, the always delightful Amber has a book tag going! So of course, I was happy to join in. (Also, she's currently got a couple great deals for the series, so check them out if you haven't read them yet. :)

{The prompts are based on book titles/flower names and themes in The Heart's Spring series.}

Bellflower: Name a book with beautiful writing or a profound plot that made you immediately fall in love.

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Beautiful writing? Always and forever The Q! I cannot gush enough about the delightfulness that is this story. I have reread my favorite scenes countless times and still find little phrases and whole paragraphs that simply speak to my heart. :)


Forget Me Not: Name a book you adored in your childhood and can't forget even now.

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I scoured the used bookstore shelves for these books back when! And read and reread them again and again. I loved each of the club members and dreamed of starting my own club some day. Ah, the sweet memories!


Bleeding Heart: Name a book that made you cry with deep compassion for a character.

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When people ask me about my favorite books, My Hands Came Away Red is always in my top five! The events feel so true to life, especially nowadays, and the characters, while flawed, are exceptionally written. My heart gets drawn in every single time I reread this story. Yes, it's really THAT good!


Fairy Slippers: Name a fantasy book or fairy tale that utterly charmed you.


The Eyes of E'veria series by Serena Chase!! I was blown away by how very much I loved book one, The Ryn, and then....I met Cazien de Pollis and oh, my heart! ;) He's a charmer, for sure. But trust me, there are SO many reasons I love this series that it would take entirely too long to tell you. Just read them!


Morning Glory: Name a book that has not yet released but you just know you'll love.

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Now this one is a no-brainer! I have LOVED every single one of Katherine Reay's stories and most definitely anticipate loving this one as well. Cannot wait!!! :)




September 13, 2017

Review: A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese

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I don't know what it is about Ms. Deese's writing, but it sucks me in every single time. I am a mess of emotions after reading this one, friends! If you get nothing else out of this review, please just remember this one thing...READ IT. Don't wait, but read it now! I really don't think you'll regret it.

(But y'all know I like lots of words, so no way am I planning to just leave you there! ;)

To be truthful though, it had been a while since I read book two, A Season to Love, so I'd kind of forgotten who was who in the awesome town of Lenox. Not to worry though, because Ms. Deese gave just enough hints and background (without actually giving background, just sliding the info in around the goings on, kudos to her) for my recall to get kicked into gear! And I remembered how badly I felt for Davis in that book, yet how I just knew he wasn't the right guy for Willa. So I became all anxious to make sure Callie would be a good fit for him! And for Brandon. (I can't tell you how badly I wanted to make he and Brandon's father-son relationship all better. SO many times did I want to jump in the story and give both of them a hug. Thank goodness for Callie!)

Oh friends, can I just tell you how much I loved Callie? I seem to say that with each new character I meet in this series, but it's really true this time! ;) She really does shine bright in every way, not just in her hair color. Her ability to make others immediately feel comfortable in her presence is amazing (except for maybe Vivian, but she seems a hard nut to crack in general anyway). So please believe me when I say that Davis and Callie fit perfect! One bad first impression could not keep their friendship from blossoming, and once again, I was reminded how much I love reading about a really great friendship that turns into something more. Their rapport was fair immediate, bad first impression notwithstanding, and they truly brought out the best in each other. The way they both brought new color into each other's lives? In more ways than one? Ah, my heart! They truly love each other so, so well. And the way that Callie was able to connect to Brandon right from the getgo? That was cause for plenty of heartwarming moments for me. I loved how she innately understood him and what he needed without him having to say a single word. And she thought she wasn't cut out to be a mother! Silly girl.

Also I loved, loved, LOVED getting the perspectives of both Callie and Davis during pivotal moments. I've read plenty of stories that involved more than one point of view, but this seems like the first one where each chapter led to a different POV but not always a different scene. So seamless was the transition that it felt natural and real. (Plus I just really liked getting in both of their heads during certain moments especially! ;) I had the thought early during my reading that I really liked this way of handling dual viewpoints, because it simply felt less discombobulating than changing POV mid-chapter. This isn't to say that one is better than the other, but it just worked really well for this story in my opinion!

Last but not least, can I just mention this? Ms. Deese has often swept me up onto her fictional town of Lenox and the myriad of wonderful people who live there, but I am simply in amazement once again at her ability to make me feel the incredible chemistry between two people. I felt those zings and crackles right along with Callie! How does a writer do that anyway? Oh! And one more thing, can Lenox actually exist in real life? I'd really like to visit there and see Callie's murals in person! That would be amazing. :)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Grief is carried on a moving current. Sometimes it's swift and sometimes slow, but it's never stagnant. Because stagnant water doesn't process. It festers."

"Our connection to art has less to do with talent and more to do with the emotion it stirs inside us. And perhaps our willingness to feel that emotion."

"The only way to heal from our hurt was to journey through it, not be offered an escape from it."

"I don't know how to pull him out of the world he lives in."
Slowly, I raised our joined hands and flattened Davis's palm to the wall. "Then go into his world."



September 6, 2017

Cover Reveal :: Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny

Hello, my lovelies! I am so, so privileged to get to share the cover of a new book coming out very, very soon! Did you know the awesome Hamlette from Hamlette's Soliloquy and The Edge of the Precipice is a writer? Of course you did, right? :) She already has one novella published in Five Magic Spindles, it's a western retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and now she's publishing a new story!! I'm definitely excited to read it, if you can't tell. :D It's basically Little Red Riding Hood reimagined as a western. Intriguing, right?

:: About the book :: 

On the way to Wyoming Territory to visit her grandmother for the first time, sixteen-year-old Mary Rose meets a charming accountant with a sinister interest in her grandmother's ranch.



And now, let's take a look at the pretty...





Isn't it a beauty?! It definitely gives you a hint of mystery, as well as the color scheme being so very striking. I love the mix of colors and how the red cloak stands out. And the silhouette look? Ah, I just love this cover as a whole! It's certainly beautiful enough to grab my attention and would make me pick it up off the shelf. In fact, it would look delightful on my own bookshelf! ;)

This will be available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon in a few weeks, so be on the lookout! :)



September 3, 2017

Currently...



Listening To:  Lindsey Stirling on youtube! This song is one of my current favorites...


Reading:  I've not been doing much reading here recently. (I know!) But I've got a few books for review, so I'm hoping to dive into A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese next! :)


Enjoying:  All the memories from CFRR a few weeks ago, as well as the lovely bookish birthday party a friend hosted in my honor last weekend. See that glorious cake she made for me?! *all the heart eyes*


Watching:  Amber and I had a twitter-watch-along the other week. We watched P&P 05 and tweeted all our favorite quotes and moments. It was a blast! Plus it had been way too long since I'd watched that movie. Definitely one of my favorites!

Feeling:  Excitement! There's some new things that seem to maybe be happening in my near future, we shall see. Not certain what it's going to look like precisely, but it's exciting to contemplate! :D


Craving:  The last yummy delicious carmelita that I know is waiting for me at home. Mmmmm....


Loving:  Spending a few hours in the library this Saturday afternoon. I haven't been able to come here as often as I wished to recently, and I've missed it! My happy place...


Anticipating:  A couple trips that I have planned for this fall. Nothing huge, but one is just a quick little getaway with friends and the other is a trip with my family. I love road trips! :)


I hope your weekend has been delightful, friends!




September 1, 2017

Jane Austen Ponderings


So yeah. Anyone who's hung around this blog very much has surely figured out by now that I'm a Jane Austen fan. Yet crazy as it seems, I had completely forgotten that Misty at The Book Rat always hosts an Austen in August celebration! *cringes*

So! First things first, go and check out all the fun stuff she's been sharing! Lots of Austen love going on over there. :)

Second of all, through her delightful posts, I discovered that there's a new P&P in production!!! Y'all probably already heard about it, but I hadn't. And I'm quite intrigued with how the article describes it. (Read it here) But for the official record, can someone please tell me what on earth "less bonnet-y" actually means? (The official quote I'm referring to is as follows: “Pride and Prejudice is actually a very adult book, much less bonnet-y than people assume...”.) I have no idea what they're talking about? Nevertheless, I am, of course, quite interested in seeing how they adapt it! :D Unfortunately it doesn't say when it's coming out, so now the wait is on...

And third! I'm a fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (in case you need to personally see my excitement levels, see this post) and Misty mentioned that Mary Kate Wiles, who played Lydia, posted a video on her youtube earlier this year. It showcases the four main characters playing the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game. It's a fun video, especially so seeing the cast back together again! So check it out here. :)

Enjoy the Austen goodness, lovelies! Now I'm off to sample a couple new Austen-retellings that sound intriguing... :D



August 28, 2017

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat :: 2017

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat
Hello, my lovelies! Guess what I did a couple weeks ago? (As if the picture doesn't give it away, huh? ;) Yes! I did indeed drive up to Cincinnati to CFRR. Oh, friends, it was an AMAZING day. It truly was! I'm still pinching myself to try and convince me that I was actually there! :D

(It's been a somewhat difficult year for me so far. It seems that for as hard as 2016 was in dealing with my initial grief, this year has been harder. I've just struggled to keep on top of my emotions on a daily basis. So to have this weekend in August to look forward to and then experience? Ah, I cannot describe what happy it gave my heart! :)

There were so many awesome authors and readers there this year! I admit to dealing with some anxiety all the way up until the moment I was standing in line (as all of us introvert types do, am I right?), but then I saw a couple ladies I'd met last year and I *happy sighed* when they were just as thrilled to see me. :)

{The only downside to the whole day was the fact that I knew I wouldn't get to see Rel and Jamie again. But someday we'll meet again, I just know it!}

The whole day was so amazing and awesome and I've been wanting to share it with y'all...life just kind of got a bit crazy once I got home again. But here I am now, better late than never, right? :) So how about a little recap?


I began the day with my bag of books for signing and a stop at Starbucks for a chai tea. A perfect beginning! :)


Then I saw Carrie (from Reading is my Superpower) and got my hug. She is a wonderful reader/blogger/FRIEND that helped head this whole deal up. I was thrilled to see her! :D

Follow that initial sign in and greeting with entering a huge room full of readers, bloggers, and authors and I didn't know where to start! Once the party officially got started, I can't describe to you what it feels like to look up front and see this whole row of authors in person. (I was at the very back of the room, I apologize for all the heads in the pictures. Just what it had to be.)

There were games, author panels, and my favorite: hearing a few specific authors share their hearts.
  • Cynthia Ruchti - She talked about how important readers are. We have to have authors writing books, yes, but without a reader to read it, it doesn't complete it's purpose. Plus she shared a wonderful poem she had written herself!
  • Becky Wade and Dani Pettrey - Dani was unable to actually be there in person, but we got to see her via technology for a little. She and Becky had put together a way for those of us readers to get the chance to see the actual process of writing a book. (Click here for Becky's blog post about the workshop.) It involved M&Ms, which means it was a delicious experience! ;)
  • Shelley Shepherd Gray - She spoke about how much she loves reading herself and how that flowed over into her attempting to write her own story. She's so incredibly disciplined that she writes at least 10 pages a day and she says she won't let herself get up from her computer until all 10 pages are written. (!!!!)
We had lunch, in which I ate at a table full of readers, bloggers, one gal from...Bethany House I believe?, and Rachel Hauck! Rachel is very sweet, I enjoyed getting the chance to chat with her. I think that's probably my very favorite part of CFRR as a whole. That we can socialize and interact with authors and get the chance to see beyond their "writer persona" into who they truly are. They become friends instead of this "high and lofty celebrity type" (if you know what I mean?). 

Before the afternoon author panel, I had the chance to chat with Ann Gabhart. I haven't actually read any of her books yet and had to admit that to her (*gasp* I know!), but I definitely knew who she was! She helped me figure out which of her books I'd been highly recommended but couldn't remember the title. (It's Angel Sister, for those interested.) She's just this lovely, southern woman who has this comfortable feeling about her. I would love to spend a whole day just listening to her, she has a lot of wisdom to share. :)

L to R: Karen Barnett, Rachel McMillan, Laura Frantz, Serena Chase
Ronie Kendig, Rachel Hauck, Melissa Tagg, Meghan Gorecki
Ann Gabhart, Courtney Walsh, Susan May Warren, Gabrielle Meyer
Katie Ganshert, Ruth Logan Herne, Dawn Crandall, Pepper Basham

Then came the author signing at the end of the day! It was a delight to meet several and get their signatures. But two particular meetings stand out to me the most!

My reviews of The Ryn, The Remedy,
The Seahorse Legacy,
& The Sunken Realm 
First, I went up to Serena Chase (who, by the by, is the author of that incredible series in the picture and if you haven't read them, you must!) and started talking about how much I loved her books and how happy I was that she was there so I could meet her and all of a sudden.... She said something like, "Are you Kara from Flowers of Quiet Happiness?". Talk about getting my attention! I hadn't even mentioned my blog name at all yet! She then proceeded to get so excited to meet me. To meet ME. How crazy is that? I've been a fan of her stories since...2013 when The Remedy (from her Eyes of E'veria series) first came out, but to have ever imagined she'd remember me and my little blog? I couldn't seem to wrap my brain around that idea! I don't think either of us stopped grinning during the subsequent conversation. :D So yeah, that bit was awesome, friends! 

The second one was getting the chance to meet Rachel McMillan. I did mention my blog name to her first, but she knew who I was once I did! Which is still crazy to me. This little spot feels so small and cozy to me. I love it, but I don't think of myself as being all that well known on the blogosphere. Which is fine! But makes for funny moments when an author tells me they remember my blog name! :D Rachel is just awesome, for the record. I was so excited for the chance to meet her that I had to sneak a picture earlier during the day when she was on an author panel. ;)

But talking with all of them was just pure awesome! When I went up to Ronie Kendig and mentioned that I knew she and Rel were good friends, she said she'd been texting with her just a few minutes before. So it kind of felt like Rel was there for a second! :) I admit that it took me a while to recognize Dawn Crandall because her hair color was different than in her Official Author Pic. But she was so sweet once I did finally go up to her. I was thrilled to bits to get to share why I loved Life After so much to Katie Ganshert! And as I totally expected because of last year, Laura Frantz and Pepper Basham were both as lovely as ever.

Seriously, friends, this was an incredible day! If you get the chance to go next year, I highly recommend it! And it's a day I definitely won't soon be forgetting. :D




August 1, 2017

Little Moments :: Happy Heart :: Sixth Edition

Being on the lookout for little happy moments is fun! So much of life is full of these tiny happenings, if only I can look around to notice it. As I was going through the pics on my phone, transferring them to my laptop, I was reminded of all the happy I'd seen! And thus decided it was high time I shared them with y'all. Hope you're having a delightful week so far! :)



This plant seemed aptly named! :D
(If you've read The Lord of the Rings, anyway.)




I don't remember if I mentioned that there's now a
Little Free Library right around the corner from
my house? (!!!!)




Back at the end of June (over a month ago now, 
yikes!), the INSPY Award winners were 
officially announced! 




Recently finished this one and wow!!
It's an excellent read, friends. :)




Friends were headed out on a roadtrip this past week and 
wanted some books to take along. This mix of stories
are what I gave them. I'd forgotten how fun it is 
to recommend books to real life friends! :)




Before said friends left on their trip, they gifted me with
fresh tomatoes from their garden! Yummo.
(Plus they're yellow! ;)




Amen and amen!


What's been making you happy lately?




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