July 24, 2018

3 Reasons British Accents Make the BEST Audiobook Narrators

Recently I was on a roadtrip and listened to all of Jane Austen's books as radio dramas. (If you're an Austen fan like me, I highly recommend listening to them! They're all excellently done. :) So you can imagine that I had British accents in my head for several days! And it got me thinking. Surely I'm not the only one who loves a good British accent, right? (I know some of you agree with me!) Thus the idea for this list was born. I'm sure y'all can appreciate these with me! :D

So without further ado, I give you...

3 Reasons British Accents Make the BEST Audiobook Narrators

1. You can learn how to pronounce "viscount" and "viscountess". (At least when listening to Richard Armitage !!!! read bits of The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer. He has quite a nice voice to listen to. Just sayin' ;)

2. Your inner voice will suddenly have a British accent, which is just lovely! (Unfortunately, this does not always mean you can suddenly speak with the accent no matter how much you wish you could! *sadface*)

3. Um, because British accents are the best. Duh. What else do you need? ;)

And there you have it! So have I convinced you?

Photo by Rocio Ramirez on Unsplash

July 23, 2018

Review: The Truth Between Us by Tammy L. Gray

I don't know how Ms. Gray does it, but somehow she always manages to make me fall in love with her characters! Even as I wonder if I'll get as drawn into their lives this time around, I get sucked in anyway, so, of course, this story is no exception to that. I was so sure I would struggle to like April. Meeting her in book one she was extremely hard to relate to and I wondered if I'd be able to warm up to her or not. I shouldn't have doubted! And I should've been more patient. Because that's exactly what April needs, people who won't give up on her. :)

Characters who are tough on the outside, but gooey on the inside have a way of finding the path to my heart. That ultra thick shell that April has going on needed cracking and what better guy to do it than Sean. And goodness what a swoony hero he is! The two of them simply "click". But it's a wild ride to get to their happily ever after. Both of them have a journey that cannot be avoided, yet, for all the gritty and raw emotions they have to deal with, the beauty they're reaching for is so completely worth it!

I think one of my favorite things about Ms. Gray's stories is her ability to write realistic characters. The conflicts and confusions feel genuine and natural. Whether it's the romantic partners or friendships, real, true relationships require a lot of effort. They have ups and downs and the people involved always make good and bad choices both. It's not easy, these connections we form with our fellow humans, and these characters reflects all the work that must go into the maintaining and growing. I loved the slow build of tension as hope gradually worked its way into their lives!

Another of my favorite bits are the friendships between the "Bentwood Brats". I liked them in book one, but I appreciated them even more this time around. Mainly because they've already been through so much together and now continue to grow closer. I love how much they refuse to give up on each other! And how they all come through for one another, no matter how much they may be hurting inside themselves.

The hope and redemption that weaves through every chapter is a beautiful part of this series. It started in book one, but this one only builds and builds on it. It's quiet and gentle, but oh so fiercely there. I cannot wait for book three because I am utterly confident it will only escalate in gloriousness! :) Plus I'm just excited to see where Caroline's journey takes her. This series is completely worth giving a try, my friends! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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

Love and grace didn't make you weak. It made you strong.

July 21, 2018

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

I've had Ms. Goo's books on my radar since the first one came out and was thrilled with the opportunity to try this one. And I am pleased to report that it was a fun, summertime sort of story! It has a breezy quality about it that makes for an easy read. Perfect for the beach or a relaxing afternoon, right? :)

I do confess to that it took a bit for me to get into the story, Clara is quite the unique sort of character at first and not entirely likable. But once I got involved in her food truck adventures she began to grow on me. And can I just say that those adventures made me hungry?! Oh my stars, do not read this book if you're starving, it'll just make it worse! ;)

Yet I definitely loved the family dynamics that began to grow between the characters. Clara and her father started the book in a good relationship and I really liked how that never really changed. It just grew and adjusted to Clara's developing maturity. Her friendship with Rose, on the other hand, was such a push and pull, back and forth type of thing. They both had a great deal of learning to do, but I liked the slow development because it felt true to life.

Of course, the romance bits were pretty cute. Hamlet is just adorable! A true and genuine nice guy, which is just what Clara needs. His dorkiness made me grin several times. Overall, this is simply a quick, easy story filled with a few laughs, a few head-shakes, a few sigh-worthy moments, and just all around sweetness. It has enough charm to make it worth your while, reader friends!

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

As I stood there surrounded by three people who had the ability to do just that-crack my chest open to all the disappointment and difficulty and grief-I knew I still wanted it. The risk of the bad stuff was so worth the good stuff. People who would be there for you when you messed up and behaved like a little jerk? They were the good stuff.

July 18, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-Eight

Hello again, my lovelies! I know, it seems all I do is post about reviews these days, right? I just have so many to catch up on! And I've been reading a great deal, so it's kind of never ending... But! I will reach a point (and very soon) when they'll slow down, so at least there's that...? :)

On to the good stuff!

Timeless Love by Andrea Boeshaar, Stephenia H. McGee, Kari Trumbo, Dawn Crandall, Pepper D. Basham, Misty M. Beller, Sarah Monzon
When I heard Pepper Basham would have a story in this collection, you can bet that I couldn't wait to read it! Thus, you won't be surprised that it was the first story I dove into. And what an adventure! Actually, I could say that about all the stories here, full of surprises and adventures and genuine, lovable characters. They were all equally loads of fun! It's a great mix of time periods and romances. With a few authors I recognized and a few I didn't, I have to say that I was far from disappointed with any of their offerings. (Also, I may have gone back and reread all my favorite scenes in each story right after finishing the book, but that's a secret between you and me, okay? ;) Well worth your time to pick this book up, reader friends! You just might find a favorite new-to-you writer (like me) or rediscover why you love a particular writer so well (also like me)!

Second Impressions by Pepper Basham
Why on earth it took me so long to read this one, I have no idea. I mean, it's a Pepper Basham book! AND it mentions Jane Austen, a LOT. Perfect combo for this Austen (and Basham) loving girl! :D To say that I loved all the Austen references would be putting it very mildly. Yet, it's not just Jane, it's actually Nora and Ethan who grabbed my heart. I wasn't sure what to make of the two of them when they first meet, but (as the title suggests) second impressions are worth discovering! These two are super adorable together, once they get beyond their initial acquaintance. Full of heart and Jane Austen and lots of laughter, this one is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf (be it physical or digital!).

Mowed Over by Christina Coryell
The two main characters in this book are so very different that, at first glance, one would wonder how they would ever work as romantic partners. But they do! Willow and Clint are pretty sweet together, actually. And watching as they navigate the interesting, fairy-filled waters around them makes for a lot of grins. Nothing about their relationship goes anything like either one expects, but what fun I had reading about it! (Also, who knew a beard could make a guy swoony?!) Oh! And I can't forget the cute little Jane Austen-y references. Very slight, but they're definitely there. Which, of course, just made me love this story ever so much more.

A Heart Restored by Elizabeth Maddrey
I admit, I think my favorite part of this book was all the hilarious mistakes poor Deidre made while texting! A couple of them made me giggle out loud. Which just endeared her to me. And to Jeremiah! :D I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about restoring a house, but the descriptions of what Peacock Hill looked like, before and after, made me wish it were an actual place to visit. Plus, I just really loved that the story takes place in my home state, which meant I recognized places mentioned. This is fun little romance between two people who were not prepared to find each other. For all the shortness of the story, I could totally buy into their chemistry and simply enjoyed the journey of them coming together. Very cute!

Unleashing Love by Jessica R. Patch
This was simply a very sweet story. While a quick read, Ms. Patch managed to make the romantic bits believable. I rather enjoyed all the little southern moments mentioned. And so many times I had to grin at the complete opposites that Emma Kate and Griffin proved they were. It caused more than one misunderstanding between them, much to my delight! Because seeing Emma Kate mad is simply the cutest. It's no wonder Griffin fell for her against his better judgement! :D She really has a way of charming her way into your heart. The two of them were adorably all in denial of their attraction, but that just made it more fun for me. And although the resolution came together a bit quicker than I anticipated, it was still pretty swoony! I might just have to go back and reread it now myself. :)

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz
All the rave reviews from blogging friends were spot on for this book! Which shouldn't surprise me since it is by Laura Frantz. (She being practically the queen of historical (and southern) romances set in colonial time periods. :) Ms. Frantz always excels in writing characters that I immediately root for and Liberty is no exception. Neither is Noble! (Goodness, that man could make a girl swoon!) As usual, it took only the first page to pull me inside her story-world and there I was anxiously waiting to see how things would play out. Ms. Frantz's thorough research always shines and, really, I can't find enough gushing words to describe the beauty of descriptions to be found in this story. As another blogging friend (and author herself) described it, I always think the current Laura Frantz book I'm reading is her BEST one and then I read her next one and am blown away again! So really, all you need to know is Laura Frantz wrote this. (Which means, what on earth are you waiting for?! Go read it right now! ;)

July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday :: Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

I haven't participated in this in ages, I know. But as I realized that I actually had a bit of time to get a post written before this particular Tuesday arrived, I decided to go for it! So here I am. Plus! Considering I've recently read several novellas/short stories, this was perfect. :)

{P.S. It's now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl}

To be precise, these are novellas that I consistently come back to again and again when in need of something short and unforgettable. They make me grin, swoon, or just plain enjoy myself!

1. The Cupcake Dilemma by Jennifer Rodewald
(because it's one of the sweetest friendship turned romances...)


2. A Sweethaven Romance by Courtney Walsh
(because the "boy from the wrong side of town" and the 
"good girl" never fails to get me every time...)


3. A Brush With the Law by Janette Rallison
(because Janette Rallison knows how to create
chemistry between her couples...)


4. Second Impressions by Pepper Basham
(because it's a combo of Jane Austen 
and swoony romance...)


5. Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan
(because of Klaus...and Vienna!)


6. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
(because kindred spirits are adorably 
awkward sometimes...)


7. Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
(because it's Edenbrooke from Philip's point of view...)


8. Return to Chocolate by Erynn Mangum
(because nobody does chocolate and 
laughter like Erynn Mangum...)


9. The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert
(because Amelia's cute awkwardness makes
her a girl after my own heart...)


10. While You're Awake by Amber Stokes
(because it's simply adorable fun...)


What are some of your favorite novellas??

July 13, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-Seven

Hello, my lovelies! Yep, I'm still rolling out the mini review posts. I had a lot of reviews to catch up on! Sorry for the influx, but please don't let that keep you from checking a few of these books out. There's some awfully cute stories you might miss out on otherwise! ;)

The Men of KWESTT series by Clari Dees
Some Enchanted Evening
Heart and Soul 
You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You
Catch a Falling Star
I was in need of sweet romance and good chemistry between characters when I stumbled upon this series. Happily, Ms. Dees delivered precisely what I wanted! The guys are suitably handsome and charismatic and their ladies are perfect for them. I grinned a great deal while reading each of their stories and, of course, swooned at the romantic bits. I appreciated that Ms. Dees gave depth to the hurt and fears the characters had to work through. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the musical aspects of the stories! Since all the guys are a part of a musical group together, each of them plays a different instrument and it was great to see the fun they have together. I think my very favorite character was Enoch though and I loved his kindness and true gentlemanly ways. Since he doesn't have his own book, I was pleased that he showed up so often in the others. Super cute and fun series overall!

The Rider of Lost Creek by Louis L'Amour
I'm not normally a big fan of westerns, hence why my family (who have all read pretty much every book by this guy) hadn't convinced me to pick up one of Mr. L'Amour's stories. Until now. (When you're on a roadtrip with friends, sometimes you get outvoted.) And I will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I can clearly see why he's such a well-loved author, he quite impressed me with his ability to keep me invested in the story. I was anxious to find out how things were going to go and hoping that it wouldn't end with my favorite characters dead! :) Full of vivid descriptions and enough tension to keep me on the edge of my seat, it surprised me into laughter several times as well. Perhaps I shall read another L'Amour book someday!

Taking a Chance by Becky Monson
Short and sweet, this little novella relies heavily on the chemistry between its two main characters. And it surely delivers! From their initial meeting and throughout their one day together each of them slowly opens up to the other and begins to find an understanding heart. Finding Liza's bravery makes for a cute and adventurous day for the two and the slow buildup to the final pages felt very natural. We leave them at a place of beginning and leave me with a smile on my face! Super cute. :)

Miss Wilton's Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack
Ms. Kilpack had me immediately upon introducing Lenora. There was just something about her sweetness of character and the awkwardness she strove so hard to overcome. It was delightful to see her press forward despite any and all circumstances that wanted to knock her back down! And her very slow growing friendship with Catherine was wonderful to watch unfold. For all of Catherine's precocious and awful ways, I couldn't help but like her. As for Aiden? Oh my! The genuine nice guy that he is certainly made me like him a great deal! Even if he did make a choice or two that made me want to shake him. Lenora and Aiden's romance is quite adorable though! Even with all the fears and hurt they both have to work through, the way they encourage each other is sweet. A fun, easy read that made me grin. And swoon! :)

July 11, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-Six

More mini reviews for your reading pleasure! :) So I'll just skip all the introduction and get to it, how about it?

All for Love by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, & Jen Turano
Super, super fun! In fact, after reading Ms. Turano’s novella in this one, I promptly bought and read her newest, Behind the Scenes, because I loved Permilia so much!! But all three authors gave me lots of laughs and swoons during their respective stories. Ms. Connealy never fails to make me enjoy a good western (and a really adorable romance!) and this one was no exception. Ms. Hunter's was a reread, but oh how much I love Amelia's journey! And Ms. Turano? Made me want more time with all the wallflower ladies! I confess to rereading these stories several times (it helps that they're short and sweet!) and most certainly love seeing them on my bookshelf. This is a collection well worth checking out, friends! Believe me.

**I received a complimentary copy via Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own.

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
After getting a small introduction to Permilia and Asher in Ms Turano’s novella At Your Request, I knew I wanted more of those two! So how happy was I that I could download it immediately and begin reading. They are hilariously perfect for each other! And now I’m a new fan of Ms Turano’s. Happy day! :) Permilia is quite the extraordinary young woman and her chemistry with Asher is, shall we say...electric! Watching these two cause consternation and confusion and all manner of emotions in the other was hilarious at times and awfully swoony at others. They are entirely perfect for each other. Add the adorable romance, a mystery or two, and a lot of laughs, and you end up with a load of happy in story form! Now where's book two?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wow! Just wow. I am very impressed! I'd seen several great reviews for this one and then a good friend basically demanded that I let her know immediately upon reading it. So of course, I had no other choice, right? And what a story! Very unlike anything I've ever read before, the narrator of this audiobook is excellent! The distinctive voice for Auggie is unforgettable and I can still hear it in my mind, weeks later. One of my favorite bits is the (unexpected!) different points of view. By spending time in different characters' heads, we realize precisely how biased we humans tend to be when we only see one side of a situation. No one else can truly see into my heart, like I can't see into theirs. It requires communication and openness, and this story shines a brilliant light on the intricacies of human beings and how none of us is black or white. And just how beautiful differences can be among us, how they should be celebrated and approachable! How we all need to strive to understand and be open to learning new. That accessibility just might bring the best sorts of friendships into our lives. Well worth reading (or listening to), friends!

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
I've had this one on my TBR after watching that old five or six hour movie years ago and I was not disappointed! I was actually thoroughly intrigued by how Mr. Shute wrote this story. The usage of a narrator who is not exactly a main character (although he kind of is?) is quite different. We are told the story through his second hand retelling, since he only hears it from Jean (and most of the second half he is recounting her letters) and doesn't actually experience it himself. It sounds a bit strange, but it totally works! And what an adventure he has to narrate. The epic scale of this entire story is incredible. Yet I can't deny that there are parts of the book that dragged for me and I skimmed through several paragraphs at different points. But my overall enjoyment never faltered! I wanted so badly for Jean to have her happy ending after enduring so much, so I confess the romance bits (small though they were) made me delighted! :) I truly enjoyed this one and anticipate rereading it again someday.

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Color me impressed, I rather enjoyed this! (See what I did there? ;) It’s definitely slower paced, but I didn’t mind that. I knew that all these pieces surely had to come together somehow, yet was happily surprised at how they did! I did like Madeleine a great deal, even if she did make some choices sometimes that frustrated me. And Elliot's mystery to solve had me hooked! I had no idea how things were going to progress at all and it was so fun to journey through this adventure with both characters. A wonderful beginning to this series and now I can't wait to dive into book two!

A (nearly) Normal Nanny by Krista Phillips
Ms. Phillips knows how to make me laugh! And swoon. This is such an adorable little romance and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Mari wasn't prepared for Brandon and neither was he prepared for her. But once they meet? Sparks fly, as they say. :D The sweet little girls just add a cute bit of flavor (and chaperoning) to the romance happening around them. Loads of fun and a quick, easy read! What's not to like? :)

Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs
It's been so many years since the last time I'd read this one that I'd forgotten how much Ms. Higgs makes me laugh! She is so good at putting her characters in hilarious situations and then sitting back and letting them find their way out. Plus she knows how to write a hero to make you swoon! Jonas and Emily fight hard to deny their attraction, for all of two minutes. And then the rest of the time they fight hard about bringing their two very different lives together! It makes for a really fun ride, I must say. :D Their chemistry is, obviously, wonderful, but it's the growth they both need to work through that really struck me. This isn't just a cute little romance, there is much depth here. Both characters have to work hard to figure out exactly what they really want out of life and that sometimes it requires sacrifice. Yet in the end, sacrifice is usually worth it, right? Adorable romance, lessons to learn, unique characters, what more could a reader ask for?

July 10, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-Five

Hello, my lovelies! This post is LONG overdue, so that means I have bunches and bunches of reviews to get posted. Hence my plan to do a couple bite-sized review posts! I've been reading a great deal (at least in spurts) this year and, with some plans coming up which will cause me to post even more sporadically than I already do, I feel the need to get these written sooner rather than later. (I'm already late enough! *wails*)

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
The beautiful thing about fiction is it can really surprise by finding you in an unexpected moment and breathing hope into the bits of life you were struggling within. Thank you, Ms. Laureano! This story was perfectly timed for me. :) I have learned that I love foodie stories, whether they be movies or books, so I half-expected to enjoy this one. But oh my! I was completely entranced with Rachel's predicament and slightly uncertain, at first, if I'd like her. Yet she proved herself unforgettable! And Alex...oh my heart that man made me swoon! These two characters have such distinct personalities and were such opposites (while simultaneously being alike, if that makes any sense) and the familiarity and warmth that (slowly) grew between them was wonderful. I loved every minute of watching them find commonalities, especially when it came to food, and their chemistry....!!! Oh my indeed. ;) An excellent read that I have gone back to several times since my first read-through! You should definitely check it out.

The Cupcake Dilemma by Jennifer Rodewald
This story is super adorable!! Like the sweetest cupcake with sprinkles of laughter on top. :) I wasn't expecting to giggle so much, but Ms. Rodewald's humor was just a lot of fun. The whole story simply feels like a jolly good time, with several swoony moments to make us romantics happy! I love a romance that begins with friendship, and watching these two come together with laughter, a little embarrassment, and loads of chemistry (that they try and deny for all of two seconds...or was it three? ;) feels natural. I LOVE that Ian is the cook/baker and Kristen the disaster in the kitchen. It made for lots of cute and adorable moments between the two! Have I mentioned that I really loved this one? Multiple rereads should totally prove that, right? Trust me, if you're looking for sweet, swoony, and a quick, easy read, look no further!

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz
Ms. Frantz consistently keeps herself on my favorite authors list! The details of the time period that she clearly spends a lot of time researching, the depth of the characters' journeys and how she makes me love them every time, the way she never fails to completely immerse me inside her story and hold me captive until the very last page. Definitely a go-to author for historical fiction! Tempe and Sion's respective journeys and the slow way they come together, all while dealing with the very real dangers of the land around them, is beautifully written. So many times I wanted to shake them or hug them or just bash their heads together and make them realize that all their denials were silly! Reading a Laura Frantz novel is an experience. One that will sweep you away to rough, raw, beautiful Kentucke, pull at your heartstrings, and make sure you never forget the adventure.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This was a reread, but I'd totally forgotten several details because it's been years since I last read it! One thing I was certain of and that had not changed, though? How much I love Anne Shirley! She is one of the most unforgettable characters ever written, in my humble opinion. How anyone can not love her is beyond me. :) Yet I was also impressed, reading this as adult now, with the lush imagery that Ms. Montgomery uses. That may put some readers off, I can imagine, but not me! I loved the vivid descriptions and how clearly I could picture every scene. But my favorite? Is the characters! Not only Anne, herself, but Marilla, and Matthew, and Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and Diana, and Gilbert, and oh, just everyone! I fell in love with all the characters! Just as I figured would. They are enduring and remarkable, and oh so utterly wonderful. Now I can't wait to reread the rest of the series!

With No Reservations by Laurie Tomlinson
I was in need of a sweet romance to read and this was perfect! The only downside is it made me hungry. ;) I love foodie stories though and this one only added to the appeal of them. These two characters require some patience as the slow build up of their friendship, which in turn forces them to be honest about their attraction, feels natural with just the right amount of progression. Both have some pain to work through and the beautiful way they inspired each other to press forward was lovely to watch. I loved that their relationship caused each unexpected growth and by the end, both had learned a great deal and become a better version of their self. Also their chemistry was pretty swoony too! Always a plus. ;) I look forward to reading more by Ms. Tomlinson and sooner rather than later, I hope!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
First of all, Emma Thompson was perfect at the narrator of this audiobook! Second of all, I can't believe it's taken me this long to finally finish this. I started reading a paperback copy a couple years ago, but somehow got stopped and hadn't picked it back up again. Silly me! This is certainly Jane Austen at her best! (But then, I could say that about all her books, I think. :) I loved Catherine and her naivete. She's simply a really sweet and personable girl and I could easily see why Mr. Tilney became smitten with her. As for Mr. Tilney himself? ALL the heart-eyes! Definitely one of Ms. Austen's swooniest heroes and I am officially a big fan of his. I laughed, I swooned, and just thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Austen's crackling wit. Once I finished, I promptly wanted to turn right around and listen to it again! Have I mentioned how much I love Jane Austen?


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