December 29, 2017

My Favorite 2017 Reads

Well now, here I am again. With one more list! This particular one is always a bit of a doozy to choose. Because I love stories and choosing just a few top favorites is HARD! (Also, with the way that my reading moods were so persnickety this year, I started and stopped so many books simply because I just couldn't get into them. That's not the books' fault, for the record! Totally me.) So if it made this list, you can bet that I LOVED the story enough to get swept up in the storyline and forget real life for a bit. :)

(Also, these are in the order that I read them, NOT listed as most favorite to least favorite or anything of that nature. It was easier for me to pick them as I went down my list from the beginning of the year until now...)


by Katie Ganshert

I have gushed SO many times about this story, so I won't bore you with more of the same. Suffice it to say that I LOVED this book. It hit at a moment when I needed the beautiful reminder to hope.


by Carrie Stuart Parks

When a mystery captures my attention this thoroughly, it's worth a notice! Because I'm not a big mystery fan in general. It takes a special story in that genre to keep me reading. So this one? The synopsis sounds exactly like NOT my cup of tea, but somehow Ms. Parks drew me in and my poor heart was on pins and needles until the very end. And I loved it! :)


by Becky Wade

Because it's by Becky Wade, of course! Do you need any other reason to read this one? No! But if you insist, then just know that Nora is an avid reader herself and her romance with John is just...*swoon* PLUS Nora is a huge fan of period dramas! Seriously, this girl and I are kindred spirits. I just know it! ;)


by Kara Isaac

Because Kara Isaac is now on my list of favorite authors ever! And this one is super cute and adorable. Enough said. Go read it!


by Erin Morgenstern

I was blown away by the sheer vividness of the descriptions in this story. Ms. Morgenstern clearly has a gift for detailing a world so intricately that the reader can smell the popcorn, venture inside each circus tent, and simply immerse themselves completely! And now just thinking back on my lovely reading experience makes me immediately ready to listen to the audiobook again.


by Courtney Walsh

"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?" 
(from my review)


by Sarah Monzon

This one is different than anything else I've ever read. But in the BEST way possible! It needs to be read to be experienced. So go read it!


by McKelle George

Oh readers friends, this book is SO, SO GOOD AND AMAZING. I haven't yet written an official review of it, but rest assured it's not because I didn't like it. I struggle to find the words to describe the sheer awesomeness of a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in the Roaring 20s! All I can say is this: read it, read it, read it!! Leave everything else and just go read it right now. Immediately!


by Katherine Reay

You knew this one was coming, right? Because I will always read a Katherine Reay story! She seems to only get better and better with each new book she writes and this one is almost perfection. Of course, it does help that I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, so I loved all the nods to her stories naturally! But it's not just the Austen aspect, it's the story as a whole, and especially Mary herself. "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! .... 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." :)


by Jane Austen

It's a Jane Austen, so it's guaranteed to be on my list of favorites! You shouldn't need any other reason than that one. :D

December 28, 2017

My Life According to Literature :: 2017

Four of my faves! You should really check them out... :)
Hello, my lovelies! I know I've been scarce around these parts, but here I am for all the end of the year lists. Finally! :) It's hard to believe that we're here again, isn't it? Craziness how fast time goes these days! One of the many "perks" of getting older, I suppose. Yay?

Anyhoo! I hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful Christmas and all that jazz. My long weekend was fairly quiet, yet still lots of fun with a couple family Christmases to attend, as well as one full day of being home with a few books to reread. I've been sorting my bookshelves here recently in anticipation of moving, so naturally that means lots of rereading has been going on! A reader's gotta do what a reader's gotta do, right? It requires rereading a book to decide if I want to keep it or not.......right? I knew you'd agree! :D

So then, here I am with this fun post again. Looks like this just might become one of my annual traditions! My reading moods were fairly persnickety this past year, so I haven't even come close to meeting my reading challenge over on Goodreads. But still! I did have close to 50 titles to choose from, so that's not too shabby!

Without further ado, I give you.....*drumroll please* My Life According to Literature, edition 2017!

Describe yourself: Life After (Katie Ganshert)  {This year has had a lot of upheaval in it, mainly emotionally, and it has definitely felt like I'm still working my way through the After of a lot of things...}

How do you feel today: My Unexpected Hope (Tammy L. Gray)  {There is SO much hope to cling to!}

Describe where you currently live: Switching Gears (Chantele Sedgwick)  {Because I'm currently in the middle of packing up my things to move...}

If you could go anywhere, you would go to: The Austen Escape (Katherine Reay)  {Um...duh! ;) Of course I'd want to try an Austen escape once in my life!}

Your favorite form of transportation: Wires & Nerve (Marissa Meyer)  {Because all forms require at least a couple wires in order to operate correctly, right?}

Your best friend is: With You Always (Jody Hedlund)

You and your friends are: Kindred Spirits (Rainbow Rowell)  {Need I say more?}

What's the weather like: Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones)  {It is absolutely frigid outside right now!}

You fear: Dangerous Territory (Amy Peterson)  {Not that I'm actually in such a place, but it seems wise to have a healthy fear for danger. Don't you think?}

What's the best advice you have to give: Just Look Up (Courtney Walsh)

Thought for the day: Then There Was You (Kara Isaac)

How would you like to die: For Love & Honor (Jody Hedlund)  {Seems a good reason to me...}

Your soul's present condition: Right Where We Belong (Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh)  {No better place to be, right?}

December 12, 2017

Review: The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

I am SO excited to be a part of this blog tour today! Because this story is truly something special. Very different from anything I've ever read before and I can't wait to introduce you to these lovely characters! So let's get to it, shall we? :)

Wow. What can I say about this story? I had previously read Ms. Monzon's Finders Keepers last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. But this story blew that one out of the water! The synopsis initially intrigued me, I mean a story based around the book of Esther with the main character ending up marrying a Sheikh? What a fascinating idea, right? Kudos to Ms. Monzon for thinking it up and clearly doing tons of research! Her attention to detail is very well done, I could easily feel the sand blowing and the stifling weather all due to her excellent world-building.

But it's not the world-building that truly gripped my attention. It was Hannah and Karim. And the way the tension grew whenever they were together. Or even apart, since they couldn't seem to stop thinking of each other! The chemistry between the two is solid and swoonworthy, let me just say. ;) Yet they are from two completely different worlds, so they certainly do not have an easy time of it. I rather enjoyed that Ms. Monzon touches just enough on the harshness of the environment and the culture they are living in to make clear that lives were in peril, yet every bleak moment is constantly surrounded with tinges of hope. That hope is so gently interwoven throughout each chapter and is what keeps Hannah, herself, able to continue going down this difficult path she chose. Of course, having someone like Karim around to sweep a girl off her feet helped quite a bit as well! ;)

Watching the selfless giving of Hannah and her parents in the midst of such a culture was inspiring. It takes complete giving up of self in order to serve in that sort of setting and I liked that Hannah and her parents had a few flaws and a few times they made mistakes. It made them feel less like paragons of virtue and more real. That's what captured my attention the most, I think, the fact that the story feels so very life-like. As if such a circumstance could actually happen. Each of these characters do not seem merely made up, there is life and breath inside them and we get the privilege of journeying right along beside them.

I was thoroughly captivated by this beautifully written story! I kept getting interrupted while reading and it was all I could do not to snap at the one hindering me from finding out how things would resolve! :D I sighed happily once I closed the final page, yet still sad that it had to end. I could've spent lots more time with these characters! Read it, friends. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

**I received a complementary copy from the author via Singing Librarian Books. All opinions expressed are my own.

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?

Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.


$25 Amazon Gift Card

November 30, 2017


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

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

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! :)

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. :)

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!

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. :)

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. :)

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.

Related image
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...

Image result for arwen wardrobe

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...