Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Before the Season Ends

I SO enjoyed this first book in the Forsythe trilogy, and am SO looking forward to book 2! 
It's rare to find Christian regency novels, and sometimes -when you do- the spiritual aspects of the story seem shallow or nonexistent. Linore Burkard had a great way of bringing Christ into her story without being shallow, but also without seeming "preachy". I really appreciated that the Gospel was given clearly, and leaving no doubts that Burkard believes what she is writing. 

I really enjoyed the style of writing- especially when it came to the points of view in narration. I get frustrated when two (or more) characters are having a conversation but you only know whats going on in the thoughts of one, and so the other characters aren't easy to read or understand; Linore writes in a way that she can- in the narration- jump from one persons thoughts/perspective to anothers without the reader getting confused, and it's nice to have all the facts and know what each character is thinking and then, if the other characters are confused, you can rest assured and know a bit beforehand what to expect from each. ;) This, written by some people, could be annoying or predictable, and Burkard is the first author I've read where this ability really stood out to me. Well done. :)

The plot was great! It moved along quickly yet coherently, and it never lagged. There wasn't too much "extra" narration around conversations and scenes, and everything ran along smoothly. 

The added mystery towards the end (hinted at throughout, but addressed later on), though rather short-lived, added to the story well, and I liked it not being drawn out. :) 
Ariana's Philip's aunts' were both really great characters! And I also loved Lavinia- Ariana's best friend. Mr Pellham was pretty awesome and threw in some great laughs.

The book was super clean- once Ariana is betrothed there's quite a few mentions of kissing upon greeting/farewell, but these were never dwelt on or narrated ;)- and I highly recommend to all regency/Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer fans! There was intrigue, mystery, romance, comedy, misunderstandings, faith, parties, tree climbing dilemmas, and a sweet ending due to two loving and protecting fathers- earthly, and Heavenly! :)


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Foundling (spoilers)

The Foundling was nothing like I thought it would be. First of all- the synopsis talks about Gideon being in trouble, when really it's Mathew. It also leads you to believe that Gilly will fall in love with the "beautiful country girl", when- for the first time in forever- he actually sticks with the girl he's already betrothed to! I was really glad about this, cause I didn't like Belinda above half! It was like chapter upon chapter of Harriet Smith. Blonde and a bit ridiculous. I was happy for Harriet, for prevailing through to the end and getting better and better. ^_^ 
The story focused mainly on Gilly, and also quite a bit on Gideon. They were my favorite characters so I didn't mind. ;) I loved the scenes with Gideon and Liversedge! :D
Tom added a fun and mischievous element (that children usually do) to the story. :) 
A bit slow getting into, but a romping, fast-paced adventure once in! 
A bored Duke, an overprotective entourage, a slimy & wimpy villain, a beautiful yet silly foundling, a runaway schoolboy, burning buildings, and purple dresses keep the story lively and the reader laughing.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alice Theme & A Spot Of Tea

Hello, All!! I found this Alice in Wonderland inspired collage on Pinterest and thought I would share it, as it matches my theme. And, well, I just really 
like it. ^_^

Sending wishes of endless pots of tea 
and mountainous piles of books,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Where Courage Calls

Where Courage Calls was a sweet story of faith and love, and I enjoyed the nice, quick, easy read. However, to me it lacked depth. I felt like you never really got beyond an acquaintance with any of the characters besides Beth, and I kept wondering if there was really much of plot, because it didn't really start til after halfway through. But when it did it moved quickly and was enjoyable! It was strange to read during the turn of the era; Coal Valley felt like a western/prairie town, and Beths hometown in Toronto was all up to date with the roaring 20's! A huge contrast. But it wasn't anything against the book, because like I said, times were changing- it was just strange to read it! :)
My favorite character was Molly- the mother-hen figure in the story. (I usually end up loving those!)
I was really pleased with how everything turned out with "Beth's torn heart between two young men". ;) And also, that the romantic theme didn't overpower or get annoying.
It was clear that this book was written for the Hallmark TV series. With that in mind, I was able to enjoy it and look past the little things that seemed missing. 
A nice weekend read. :)


Happy Valentine's Day!


With love,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Emma...or, rather: Knightley :-}

"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
I know, I know- I can't believe I hadn't read it before now either. :P (Especially seeing as it is my favorite Jane Austen BBC and Emma and I are so much alike!)
I completely enjoyed this! (Actually- I'll admit, I'm actually writing this with a few chapters still to go- but I know I'll finish it today and I know what my opinion is. ;)) Emma has joined Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion as my favorite Jane Austen novels.
What a great cast of characters! So much reality and depth here, it's really amazing. You really get to know them. 
I was surprised how little Knightley was actually in the book until the end. ("Knightley?! Never met him in her life, and she calls him Knightley! Insufferable woman!") And yet he was such a big part of the story... in fact, I would say he is the director and inspiration of the entire plot, (I love that the BBC version of the movie makes him the narrator.) I'll explain why...
I found it interesting to read - in chapter 47, after talking with Harriet - Emma thinking through how she had gone wrong from square one; in being rather vain (albeit in a quiet sort of way), making quick assumptions- and trying to set up everybody's destinies to please herself, by running with them. 
In the movies we are (at the end) always made aware of her regret at having behaved ridiculously at times with Frank Churchill, and for not taking Mr Knightley's advice in letting Harriet alone in the first place and his cautions against her getting involved in her friends love life, by giving Harriet an idea of superiority that she didn't have. In the BOOK- she truly repents for ALL her past foolishness throughout the entire book. You can really see her character change and grow and she doesn't seem as selfish in regard to her "right" to Mr Knightley- she honestly sees that Harriets' defects were her own invention, and how Knightley may prefer someone like her to someone as stubborn and, well, meddling as herself. 
It really makes you all the more glad that Emma "wins" him in the end- for, by that time, she was worthy of him, in that she had a complete turn-around and heart change, and is completely humbled. She is worthy of him now not only in rank, but in character- which she wasn't before. 
Knightley knew all along that with time and just the right amount of prodding to get her to examine herself, "she would come to her senses", and try to better herself. 
Knightley was the prompter, the man in the wings that you don't really notice but is working the whole time to move the story along and help everything go smoothly- and it all worked out in the end just as he predicted it would. Think about it- he was right about Elton, right about Harriet, right about Emma's matchmaking disasters, right about Frank, and then Frank and Jane, and right about himself being the right match and 'antidote' for Emma in the end- and yet all along he also knew in the back of his mind that Emma may not return his affections after all, and it made him nervous and fidgety (like all the times they talked about Churchill)- he was still a realistic human being.
AND- let's face it- his proposal was kind of the sweetest thing ever. :)
Well done, Knightley. Well done.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Interview: Beth White

Today I'm excited to welcome Beth White to my blog! I'm really looking forward to reading "The Pelican Bride" when it comes out in April! :)

Tell us a little about yourself:
I like the font “Book Antiqua” because it’s curly and romantic. My favorite TV show is The Mentalist. I have two grown married children, one little grandson (he’s three, and his name is Judah—is that not the greatest name ever?), and another one coming this summer. My husband is a pastor, and we’ve been married for 34 years. Yikes! How did that happen? I teach choral music and class piano at an inner city high school in Mobile, Alabama. I play the flute and the pennywhistle, and I like to paint and draw. I teach kids’ Bible study at my church. I’m the eldest of four sisters, no brothers, which means I’m bossy. I’m afraid of chickens. I live near the beach and I don’t like to swim.

Aw, congratulations on the new member of the family!! :D You sound like you have a very fun personality! 

What is your favorite book/author (and why)?
Is this a trick question? One?? Really? Okay, I’ll play. One of my favorites is Zane Grey’s The Mysterious Rider. It is a romance by one of the greatest Western authors who ever lived. A handsome, cocky cowboy becomes the broken hero, and the tender, innocent heroine becomes worthy of him by helping a mysterious drifter foil the selfish, dastardly villain. This, in a beautiful mountain setting. What’s not to like?
Haha I know, that is the worst question, but I had to ask! ;D Sounds like a great story! :)

What/Who inspired you to start writing?
I read Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom each about a hundred times before I got out of grade school. Okay, I’m exaggerating. A little. But seriously, Louisa May Alcott has been my hero forever. I had such a vivid mental image of Jo March “scribbling” in the family garret—what is a garret? Attic? Loft?—that I began scribbling myself when I was in about the 6th grade. I started keeping a diary/journal that year and never stopped. It’s a sickness.
Louisa May Alcott has always been one of my favorites too! Little Women is my favorite, but I'm also partial to Old Fashioned Girl and Eight Cousins. Jack and Jill was a lot better than I was expecting! Hmmm.... 
Gar·ret (garit)
noun: garret; plural noun: garrets
1.a top-floor or attic room, esp. a small dismal one (traditionally inhabited by an artist).
synonyms: loft, attic, mansard
(thank you Google ^_^)

Tell us a little about your current project- "The Pelican Bride":
The Pelican Bride is about two sisters, Genevieve and Aimee Gaillain, who are sent by the king of France in 1704 to Louisiana, New France (now the Gulf Coast of Alabama). With 23 other young women, they are expected to marry one of the young explorers who have come from Canada to establish a new French colony. Genevieve, who hides a dangerous secret, falls in love with mapmaker Tristan Lanier, whose past is equally traumatic. There are Indians…a dastardly villain…a broken hero…a mysterious drifter…
Wow- I really can't wait to read this!!! =D I absolutely love your cover, too. :)

What is one of your favorite quotes from The Pelican Bride?
“There’s no place like home.” Wait, that’s The Wizard of Oz. 
Okay, how about this one: “Neither of us particularly wants to get married at all, so we might as well marry each other and save trouble for everyone concerned.”
Haha! :D

What is the main theme/message you are hoping to convey to your readers through this book?
Wait, is this a Senior English essay? I’m not a big fan of themes and messages, because that sometimes gets in the way of the story—especially when the story comes from a Christian worldview like mine do. There are, however, a couple of things that kept running through my mind as I developed this one. First, there are essentials for living a Christian life, and then there are nonessentials. Folks who focus on nonessentials are going to make life miserable for everybody else, and are likely to not be very happy themselves. The other word that seemed to keep reappearing was the word freedom. Freedom means different things to different people. We have come to take our American freedoms for granted, and it was really interesting to show life in America during the period when the concept as we now know it was just beginning to form.
That sounds really interesting! I look forward to finding it throughout your book!

What made you pick this era for the setting of your book?
Years ago, when I went with my son’s second-grade class to visit the Mobile Museum of History, I saw some things that ignited my interest and set my story-telling wheels turning. One was a replica of the Hunley submarine, which became the nucleus for my Civil War-set novel, Redeeming Gabriel. I also saw portraits of the LeMoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, who were responsible for claiming the Gulf Coast for France in the 18th century. Anyway, later, as I was researching Mobile history for the submarine story, I ran across mention of some young Frenchwomen who came to America on a ship called the Pelican to marry the soldiers and settlers under the LeMoynes. I made a note to myself to write a novel based on their experiences if I ever got the chance. So there you go. 

Do you like to have any particular things/surroundings when you write?
M&M’s. My dog, ZoĆ«. A soy chai tea latte or cup of coffee. Sometimes I write in my living room recliner. Sometimes I go to Starbucks. When I’m really in a deadline crunch, I go to my office.
Sounds relaxing! =D She's adorable! ;)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Paris, probably. Or Oxford. Maybe Venice. Oh! But first I’d go to Williamsburg to see the setting of Elswyth Thane’s historical series. Love those books!
I think it would be interesting to go to Williamsburg! And Paris is always a good idea. 

What is your favorite Period Drama?
I really really liked the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice (I’m not a purist—so shoot me). I don’t know if it’s exactly a period drama, but I loved the Leonardo Dicaprio/Claire Danes Romeo and Juliet. I loved The Patriot—that may be my favorite ever—oh, and The Gladiator.
I love that version of Pride and Prejudice!! It's my favorite too- shhh! :p

Tea or Coffee?
Yes. My name is Beth White, and I am a caffeine addict. You forgot Cherry Coke Zero.
Haha! Very nice! =)

How does your faith influence your writing?
I don’t really know how to answer that, because I’m a Christian who writes. I don’t know how to be anything else. I’m not blaming my mistakes and failures, which are legion, on God, but I’m fully aware that every breath I take comes from Him. I’m also a Christian teacher, and the way I teach is shaped by the Christ-life. I’ve really gotten away from preaching any particular message as I write, but I try to listen to the Holy Spirit, who infuses my thoughts and imagination. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!!!
You’re welcome! Any opportunity to ramble about writing…Thanks for noticing me.

Check out Beth's website! Like her page on Facebook! Be sure to keep your eyes open for "The Pelican Bride", coming out in April!