November 30, 2014


Listening To: Christmas music of course! Now that it's officially the Christmas season, I love turning on the radio and hearing Christmas songs. :) My current fave is Pentatonix (I know. I mentioned this group as a favorite a couple months ago. But I'm still loving them! So I'm sharing it again.)

Reading: I actually just finished reading and listening simultaneously to The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. And wow! What an adventure! I have lots of thoughts and once I can get them coherently into an actual review, I'll be posting about it. But I can tell you that I really enjoyed it. It made my drives to and from work ever so much more exciting! (Plus now I'm excited to watch the movies, as if I wasn't already.)

Enjoying: Quiet holiday's that let me have a day off in the middle of the week. Unfortunately I still had to work on Friday, but it was so nice to have Thanksgiving day to relax and refresh myself.

Watching: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and I'm loving this series!! Seriously, if you haven't watched it, you need to remedy that soon. The set design, the costumes, the characters, the writing, it's all fabulous! Once I'm finished, I think I'll have many feelings to expound on, so be on the lookout! ;)

Feeling: Festive. All this Christmas music and lights and decorations that I'm seeing has been instrumental in getting me excited for Christmas. Not to mention all the fun Christmas movies I'm watching! Last year I was feeling quite discombobulated at this time, what with my big move and all, so I'm very happy to feel more excited this year.

Craving: Pumpkin pie. I had a couple slices on Thanksgiving and now I'm craving more! Must needs to visit mom and dad's soon, see if I can talk them into sharing it again. ;)

Loving: Christmas movies! I love all the cheesy and sweet Christmas movies that show this time of year. I haven't had the chance to watch too many new ones, but it's been great fun digging out my favorites I have in my stash. Makes for a perfect evening, I must say. Been thinking I should do a post about some of my very favorites. What say you?

Anticipating: Seeing some of my out-of-state family that will be visiting for Christmas. Several of my cousins I haven't seen since last year, so it'll be fun to catch up again. Plus it's been a few months since I've seen my brother's family, I'm counting on lots of splendid niece/nephew-spoiling going on! :D

Celebrating: This season that we're entering. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, just like that old song says. Full of family, delicious food, parties, delightful movies, festive lights, fun music, and a wonderful Reason to celebrate. (Why yes. I'm quite looking forward to it! Can you tell?)

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

"The man that I named The Giver passed along to the boy, knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things."
~ Lois Lowry


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all my American readers are having a lovely day full of family, food, and fun. And that everyone else is having a wonderful day as well! :)

November 24, 2014

Falling For Jane

Jane Austen, English novelist whose works include Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one delights in something, to be able to share that happiness with someone who understands is a wondrous occasion. And a particular story you enjoy quite a lot is probably not to be shared in lengthy detail with someone of your acquaintance who does not read at all, as they will most likely become bored with the subject long before you. Hence, you can imagine my astonished joy when a dearest friend commenced to reading Jane Austen and has, quite simply, fallen in love! :)

This delightful happenstance has led to many an attempt at "Austen-ese" via text message. Which leads to much grinning on my part. It has also led my brain to begin thinking. (As if I'm ever not thinking. My brain never shuts off!)

For instance, I contemplate when I first fell for Jane. I have to remember back several years. I confess it didn't happen until my twenties. I do remember watching Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson at a friend's house when I was still in school, but my true appreciation for Jane didn't begin then. It began in my early twenties when I watched Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I found the '96 version as well as the '80 version at a small library and proceeded to watch both and fall in love. I can't even tell you exactly what it was that struck me. The whole experience of the time period, the dresses, the characters, the accents, the words they used (felicity! thither! "...a pair of fine eyes..."!), it all combined to draw me in and made me search out every detail on Austen herself, her books, and all the adaptations of her stories. I began to collect just about every adaptation that I could get my hands on! And obsessively watch them many, many times.

Sadly for me, no one of my immediate circle of friends understood my obsession, so I was left to squeal and fangirl all by myself. Then I discovered the online community of awesome people who love Jane too! And that made me very happy indeed. :D

And all that thinking about Jane has lead me to wonder what exactly it is that makes her still so popular. (Note: Many, many others have contemplated this exact thing and have written lots of wonderful articles and posts about it much more eloquently than I. All I'm going to venture into is a small portion of my thoughts and opinions on this subject.)

Emma & Mr. Knightley
In speaking with said friend, who is currently making her way through Emma, one thing did come out. She didn't precisely say this, but I think she had had this idea of Jane's writing to be much more romantic than it actually is. Not to say that Jane's stories don't have romance in them because they do! And quite swoonworthy it is too. ;) But I think the adaptations tend to focus quite a lot more on that aspect than the actual books do. Which, when I think about it, how can we expect real people to be able to accurately act out all the minute details and observations that Jane employs in her books? We can't. That's the difference between books and movies. It's the quandary that will always be there, in my opinion. Writing can convey ever so much more than a person can act out. Because we simply can't read minds like we can via a book. (Which is okay. I can appreciate both things. I like Jane's books a great deal, but I'm also more than a bit fond of all the adaptations out there. :)

In fact, in going back and reading a few portions of her stories that I have on my shelves, I was reminded that Jane excelled in giving detail but not really giving detail. That doesn't seem to make much sense, except I don't know how else to explain it. In Persuasion (which happens to be my favorite btw), she doesn't give every single detail about what exactly was said word for word between Anne and Captain Wentworth in the final few chapters, yet she gives enough detail that we understand completely what they said and how they said it and what they were feeling. So there's plenty of detail, but it's not the he-said-then-she-said-then-he-responded-and-then-she-responded kind. She alludes to it more or less. Does that make sense? It's something that's pretty unique to her writing. And it's a part of her writing that I really like actually.

If you're an Austen fan, I think it's safe to say that whatever our reasons for liking her stories, she most certainly was an excellent writer! And when you're privileged to find another fan of hers (especially in real life!), it makes for wonderful and fun conversations. :) What about you? When did you first fall for Jane? What was it that made you a fan? I'm curious to know how it happened for everyone else!

November 23, 2014

Blog Tour Review: How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes (Plus Giveaway!)

How a Star FallsI had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this wonderful story and can I just say how sweet it is? For a novella, it packs quite a bit of heart and sweetness into just a few pages! Ms. Stokes branches out beyond her usual historical genre and tries her hand (beautifully I might add! :) at contemporary romance.

Derrick is a young man who is still trying to figure out what he wants in life. Which is extremely easy to relate to, for haven't we all struggled with that very question? And when Brielle suddenly falls into his life, she emphasizes how lost he feels. Which he doesn't appreciate at first! But it doesn't take long before these two lost souls begin to discover things about themselves through the influence of the other. And the mystery of who Brielle really is keeps you turning pages and wanting to know what will come next!

Mystery, romance, family bonding, and just all around fun makes this little story a delightful read. When you're in need of a sweet story and with only a small amount of time to escape real life for a while, this is the perfect book to pick up! Most definitely recommend. :)

"Are you familiar with Orion?"
Her question sent a jolt through him-a needle prick of memories from a childhood that felt light-years away. He simply jerked his head in a semi-nod.
She glanced up at the stars. "I'm from Orion's Belt." At his groan, she only grinned and added, "You could say the great hunter sent me."
"Is this some kind of joke? What on earth are you on?"
About the Author

Amber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest-a part of the world she's always considered home. Learn more about Amber's books at Seasons of a Story.

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November 19, 2014

Things of Note...

  1. I saw this cover the other day and let me just say that it's awesome in real life!
  2. I am sooooo terribly behind in responding to comments on here for which I apologize. I totally meant to respond last night and got distracted with other blogs. Before I knew it, my allotted blogging time was gone! I shall respond soon though. I promise! (And thank you for your patience with me.)
  3. A shout out to all my awesome blogging friends. I've met so many of you amazing ladies and love your writing. I only wish I could find more time to visit your blogs and chat with you more often! Your friendships are a bright spot in my life. So thank you.
  4. And to anyone else who visits here but may not say much (if there are any of you), a hello your way as well! Thank you for stopping by. Your visits are much appreciated. :)
  5. I hope y'all are having a lovely week!
  6. Also, I hope to have an actual real post coming soon. If not before, then definitely this weekend! I've a review coming on Sunday of a most delightful story, so be on the lookout.
  7. Til next time, my lovelies.

November 12, 2014

Isn't It Odd.....

"Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times? As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells....and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower...both strange and familiar." ~Cornelia Funke

November 11, 2014

The Paradise {series one}

I am a huge fan of period dramas. (Talk about stating the obvious, right? ;)

Give me an Austen adaptation and I am a very happy lady! I'm not just fond of Jane Austen though. There are lots of wonderful period dramas out there, and I am slowly getting my chances to watch some of them. The Paradise has been out on dvd for quite a while and why it's taken me so long to get around to watching it I'll never know. But watch it I did, so on with the post, shall we?

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent in this vast and ahead-of-its-time store. Firstly, the set designers did an absolutely fantastic job! The sets are simply amazing. I watched the behind the scenes footage and they talked about how it's actually all one big set where you can walk in the front door and wind your way through almost all of the rooms used for filming. Which is cool! The way the show is filmed, the store feels like a real place and I suspect the ability to be one big set helps a lot with that feeling. But also the hats! And the dresses! And the gloves! (Ladieswear in general.) And every other part of the store! It all combines, along with the characters themselves, to create a lush and scenic show to watch. We see the elegance of the front surroundings, yet also behind the curtain, to where the real (and less elegant) lives of the shopgirls exists. It's quite amazingly well done, in my opinion.

And I also loved all the clothes the actors got to wear. Not so sure it was comfortable for them, but they looked fabulous! The ladies dresses especially. The particular time period this is set in (1870s) certainly made the fashions quite stunning. So many colors and designs. And the hairstyles! I loved the hairstyles and all the hats the ladies wore.

But of course, one of the most important aspects is the characters. Any period drama would be utterly lost without unique characters! And this one most definitely has those. Mr. Moray and Denise are the most intriguing for me. Mostly because they get the most airtime and much of the story revolves around one or the other. Or both! They certainly have palpable chemistry together. But there's also Pauline (who I loved) and Clara (who had to grow on me), as well as Sam (who had to grow on me as well) and Dudley (who is such a great friend and manager) and Jonas (who is extremely creepy) and Arthur (who is cute and just made me want to sweep him into a hug, he could use a little more love in his life). Also Miss Audrey (who had such a great storyline, I wasn't sure about her at first, but I grew to really like her) and Denise's Uncle Peter (who was awesome), and then there's Katherine (who I didn't like) and her father, Mr. Glendenning (who I didn't really like either). Not to mention several side characters of note! Plus it's just so fun to see several familiar faces as well as some new ones. I especially loved seeing Olivia Hallinan (of Lark Rise to Candleford) again. Even if her character wasn't especially lovable. :)

All in all, it's quite a fun series and now I'm anxious to see series two and find out what happens. I do have to admit, however, that while I enjoyed it, I wasn't blown away with happiness. I don't think it'll be one that I'll add to my collection anytime soon. The storylines just simply didn't grip me like I thought they might. I ended up skimming through several of the episodes and not feeling like I had missed much. But overall, I'm still very happy I watched it. And I would recommend it to any other period drama lover as well. For the fashions alone if nothing else! :)

November 10, 2014

Movie Quote Monday :: Edition Five

Andrew Larkin: [of his sister's children] One of them's named for me.
Veronica Fisher: Which one?
Andrew Larkin: [slightly confused] Andrew.

I had an epic twitter-quoting rewatch of You've Got Mail with Amber recently and Courtney jumped in and asked if either of us had seen In The Good Old Summertime (since both movies are based on The Shop Around the Corner from 1940). I'd forgotten about the movie, but I had seen it several years ago. Thinking about it made me want to watch it again, so when I happened to stumble across a copy this past weekend, I was quite thrilled and snatched it up! Needless to say, I spent a very enjoyable couple hours. I do admit that I don't think it's quite as cute as You've Got Mail, but it has Judy Garland, so that makes it worth watching. The above quote made me giggle. All the conversations between these two are loads of fun! If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend. :)

November 5, 2014

Thoughts On 'Death Comes to Pemberley'

As I am positive most of you are aware, I am a huge Jane Austen fan. And having read many a sequel based on her stories, to say that I was excited when I heard they were adapting one of them would be an understatement! Now that I've watched it, I knew I needed to post about it. Because as I so eloquently said on twitter, I have FEELINGS. ;)

Okay. To be perfectly honest? If the words "Jane Austen" are attached to a project, you can bet that I'll watch it! Whether it turns out that I love it or hate it, I will absolutely be watching it regardless. Because I just love watching any of Austen's characters come to life via a real person. Whether an actual adaptation or a reimagining, I never get tired of them. At least I haven't yet. I am one of those people who is always glad for another adaptation. In fact, I wish there'd be as many adaptations of her stories as there are of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre! (I mean seriously. There are so many of those!) Ms. Austen could use a few more to catch up. Tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that?

I could not wait to see Darcy and Lizzy's married life on my screen. Though I do admit to having some concern about what this would turn out like. Whether this Darcy and Lizzy would live up to my expectations or whether I would enjoy watching a mystery with Lydia and Wickham having prominent roles. And I can quite happily tell you that I was far from disappointed! I loved it. Pure and simple. :)

First of all, it's beyond wonderful to see Darcy and Lizzy after they're married. The first scene they're in together is so cute! Their playfulness and flirtiness is adorable. Yet they haven't lost their individual personalities. Darcy has softened and warmed up due to Lizzy's influence, but he's still got a little stern edge to him. Still a little stiff and awkward, which is completely to be expected. People do change, but their inherent personalities don't do a complete 180 and disappear. So it was nice to see Darcy come onscreen and I could recognize him immediately, even without knowing Matthew Rhys was going to play him.

And Lizzy! Anna Maxwell Martin is a wonderful actress. I've loved her in so many other period dramas, so I figured she'd do a fine job. Which she did. I do admit, however, that at the beginning of the series I was wondering about her. Lizzy is spunky (Thanks, Courtney, for the word! :) and I wasn't sure I could sense that at first. But with a little more time spent with her, and also the realization that of course she'd change some too after getting married, I grew to really like Ms. Maxwell's version of her. Her warmth and teasing of Darcy (And his teasing her back! Absolutely loved that.) is so much fun. Where would these Darcy siblings be without Lizzy in their lives? Let's not even contemplate such a thing!

(via) I think this may be my favorite scene. :)
Darcy and Lizzy together? And happy? With an adorable and precocious son? (Who totally takes after his mother's energy and fun! ;) Is absolutely wonderful. I actually wish that the mystery would take less prominence and we could just spent the rest of the series hanging out with Darcy and Lizzy in their happiness. (What? I'd totally watch three hours of just them interacting together. They're adorable I tell you! ;) Of course, this wouldn't be a period drama without a little drama, right? So the sweetness of Darcy and Lizzy gets shook up a little when a murder happens on their property and Wickham is involved.

Which brings in many of the other original characters, Lydia and Wickham, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Georgiana, Jane, and even Lady Catherine herself! Lizzy and Lady Catherine's scene is quite amusing. It was great to see that Lizzy hasn't lost any of her quick wit when it comes to parrying Lady Catherine's biting remarks. Wickham is, of course, his usual awful self. Lydia, while irritating, does have her cute moments and shows she's grown up a little. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet haven't changed any and neither has Jane. She comes to give Lizzy some comfort and it was oh so good to see the sisters' relationship is still as lovely as ever. Georgiana has grown up and now has a potential suitor of her own, though she's pretty loathe to admit to it at first. The two of them are quite delightful together though. Eleanor Tomlinson does such a fantastic job of bringing Georgiana to life! She was definitely one of my favorite characters.

While the mystery aspect isn't my favorite, I'd rather focus on the characters, it's certainly very well written. (P. D. James clearly knows her stuff. I'm thinking I should read the book sometime.) I'm one of those people who never figures out whodunit until the characters themselves do, so the twist near the end snuck in and surprised me! For those of you who may have read the book, and anyone else really, you probably saw the twist coming a mile away. But alas, I'm a little dense when it comes to clues. I'd never make a good detective!

Filming wise, it was so fun to see Chatsworth House again. This location was used in the 2005 P&P and was a nice little callback to that. It's quite stately and pretentious looking, but I liked that Lizzy seemed comfortable there. In P&P, it felt very stiff and here it felt more like a home. Whether that was intentional or not, I'd like to think that it was due to Lizzy making it feel that way. :)

I could continue on, but clearly this post is an explosion of words already and I'd hate to bore you. But suffice it to say that the series is excellent! Have you watched it? Or read the book? What did you think? Tell me, tell me! I'd love to chat about it with you.

November 4, 2014

Random {Yet Current} Lists Are Fun!

  • Isn't that cover awesome? I found it at the library and let me just say, that while I had seen it online and thought it very cool, it is way better in person! I haven't been able to actually finish this book (though I have tried), but I'd totally buy it simply to have that cover on my bookshelf. :)
  • So! In case you're wondering, yes, I am still here (obviously). Life has just been busy in the last week or so and before that, I was (still am kind of) going through a strange phase (by which I mean I cannot describe it in words) where I just couldn't get very enthused for any posts. But I hope I'm on the other side of that now because I've got several ideas running through my head currently! Yay! :) Although I should warn you that my posting will still likely be sporadic because the next couple weeks of work are looking crazy. However! Posts will be forthcoming. So thank you for your patience and for sticking with me. :)
  • I really wanted to post last week about this because that's when the book was officially released but alas. Regardless of that frustrating fact, I shall endeavor to mention it now! Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay is out and about in your neighborhood stores! (Or it should be anyway. If they haven't sold out of them. Which could totally be possible since the story is amazing and awesome and fabulous and every other synonym for wonderful.) So if you haven't gotten your copy yet.....what on EARTH are you waiting for?! Don't wait! Waiting is bad! Go go go and get your copy now! (Have I mentioned that you should really go and read it? You should. It's wonderful.)
  • Also for point of fact, I thought it was pretty great that Ms. Reay's book released on my mother's birthday. My copy of the book is currently on loan to a friend, but I hope to get my mom to read it sometime. It's just the sort of story she'd like. And on a personal note (in case anyone is wondering), my mom is doing pretty well right now. So yay for that!
  • I have been thoroughly enjoying all the lovely colors of Autumn for the past month! As I missed most of it last year due to moving, it's seemed extra colorful to me this year. A couple friends and I went biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail a couple weeks ago and let me just say that biking through the quiet and still with all that color around you is simple amazing. I was in awe all day long. (Well. Until my tail bone started protesting. It very clearly spoke to me and said that I am severely out of shape. Which means that the last few miles I may not have concentrated on the color as much as thinking "I think I can. *wheeze* I think I can. *gasp* I think.....*whew*.....maybe.....I can?" ;)
  • Also for the record, did you know that mules can live for a very long time? I met a mule named Moses recently who was 47 years old. Yes, in human years. And he could still jump! I think the highest he went that day was 30 or 40 inches? Which is kind of high when you're old! He's pretty amazing.
  • I hope y'all have been doing well. Read any good books lately? Somehow my reading has gotten pushed back and I haven't read anything much. :( I know. Crazy, right? I have several books just waiting for me to find the right time and the right mood, so I hope I can get to more reviews soon!
  • Til next time.


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