Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Pelican Bride

The Pelican Bride was interesting. I enjoyed the historical information and detail; however it simply wasn't my style or era. :/ It was well-written and the plot was intricate! I just couldn't really get as involved in the story as I like to. There were a few religious views that I questioned, as well. 
I do absolutely adore the cover! :)
Beth White is a sweet lady and I so enjoyed my interview/chat with her! She is a talented author, and anyone who enjoys this era/style will be thrilled with this vivid new novel!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wings of a Dream

Reading "Wings of a Dream" I felt like I stepped back into 1918 each time I opened the pages! The story was so vivid and the characters were so real- I really lost myself in this story, as the saying goes! I felt that I experienced all the emotions that Rebekah did as she tried to discern the Lords will for her life and discovered her need to surrender her dreams and plans completely to Him. "Sometimes you have to give up everything in order to gain what the Lord wants you to have." Rebekah was a heroine so many of us can relate to. I really enjoyed going through the whole journey with her and watching her grow.
**spoiler**One of my favorite quotes from this book was when Rebekah's brother passes on and the narration says "He'd died as he'd wanted- in the midst of living." That really made me stop and think! How important the little things are that we so often take for granted! Live life in the moment, and to it's fullest. Praise the Lord and admire the beauty of his creation while He allows you to.
Irene was such a lovable and kindhearted character- I so enjoyed getting to know her! 
The end of this story was definitely a tear-jerker! xP Read it, and when you get to the part with Janie at the'll think to yourself "Oh THAT'S what she was referencing to!" as you blow your nose and try to see the next paragraph through your blurry vision. So good. :')
"Wings of a Dream" had so many great characters, one or two frustrating ones, emotion, humor, inspiring spiritual application, and a nice sweet- *clean*- romance. What a nice story. ^_^ 
Anne Mateer has a style of writing that is lighthearted and simple, yet profound and emotional at the same time. (And she just so happens to have a super sweet and friendly personality! <3) I always leave her adventures encouraged and satisfied- and ready for the next! :D


Monday, March 24, 2014

Bath Tangle

And what a complicated tangle it was! I was literally grinning when I read the last pages of this book. Serena and Rotherham has me laughing from start to finish! 
(*May contain some spoilers*)
In most of Heyer's books we read the comedy and we laugh and we listen to the banter of two characters that we know will fall in love by the end but until then are simply at odds with each other to keep the reader amused. Bath Tangle was the first Heyer I've read that I could really sense a depth of character behind the feisty front put up by both heroine and hero. It's apparent (to the reader) that they are in love with each other the whole time, and yet the story still focuses mainly on the comedy and the leads appear to hate each other until the end. (However, we know better. ^_^) We find in the end that ALL the misunderstandings and the whole tangled mess were all made up in hopes of getting the other to realize their feelings. Which, of course, never works. And then towards the end, there is thrown in to the story a new knot to the tangle that even the instigators hadn't expected, which adds an even more comical twist to things. 
Fanny was a wonderful character- I loved her friendship with Serena! It was so unique and was really adorable. ;)
Mrs Floore was such a riot! She had me laughing every time she made a scene! Loved her hand in untangling the mess at the end. So fun. ;)
Lady Laleham was a nasty woman. She was so heartless and selfish! There's always that character. >_<
Lybster- the butler- was, as always, awesome. ^_^ I've decided that I probably don't even NEED to mention in my reviews that the butler is always among my favorite characters. It's a guaranteed fact by now. 
My one negative from this book was that there were a few unnecessary curse words throughout the story, and towards the end Rotherham threw in a few which were really annoying and why I didn't give this a 5 star rating. It would be so nice to just have them all removed somehow. (Or not written in in the first place. :P )
Bath Tangle had a brilliant plot and was just as completely "Heyer" as all the others! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was satisfied and relieved with the unraveled outcome. Looking forward to reading another Heyer as soon as I can. :)


Sunday, March 23, 2014

"What a shame, for I dearly love to laugh."

I'm having a bit of a Lizzie fandom this weekend- just may have to watch Pride & Prejudice (2005) this evening. :) Love her smile. 

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Have a lovely Sunday!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Engaging the Earl

A friend recommended Engaging the Earl to me quite some time ago, but as I didn't own it and it wasn't at my library, I kept putting it off for books I had on hand or that I had been looking forward to longer. So this past week I was in a Christian bookstore and I saw this on the shelf... so I bought it... I decided to read it this weekend. Last night I read to page 54- loved it, but had to put it down. Today was a gray day, and after I got home from church I settled down to read. I kept telling myself I needed to take "reality breaks" but once I would finally pull myself away all I could think of was "what's going to happen?" "What is he THINKING?!" "Is his sister EVER going to make her move?" "OK! I better just go read- I don't want the characters doing anything interesting without me, after all!" Needless to say I didn't do much but read today.
Engaging the Earl had a consistent stream of comedy like a Georgette Heyer, a sweet romance like a Jane Austen, and a long-time-coming climax that is frustrating in the extreme, but makes the ending all the more satisfying. (Which reminded me of Louisa May Alcotts "The Inheritance", to a point. All those misunderstandings and me wishing I could slap a few of the characters with their own book! :P) About halfway through I connected that Mandy Goff's first book "Blackmail Bride" precedes this in a series and is about Olivia and Nick... the rest of the time spent reading this book I kept thinking "I MUST get my hands on book 1 with all speed!" Can't wait to read it. Olivia was a GREAT character- I loved her loyal friendship with Emma, and the sister/brother relationship between her and Marcus was adorable. ^_^

Marcus was a George Knightley type hero (and I envisioned him as such- most of the time). He had a level head on his shoulders, a good sense of humor, a desire to keep those closest to him happy, and a sincere love for the less fortunate- and concern for their welfare. I enjoyed the banter between him and Emma, and his habit of scaring off all her potential suitors (particularly Baron Chivers) was highly amusing. ;)

Emma was a heroine with Elinor Dashwoods loyal-to-her-family, sensible outlook, and Elizabeth Bennet's independent, feisty temper. I really enjoyed getting to know her.

There were moments in this story where I laughed out loud, moments I teared up, and moments I squeezed the poor paperback to the point of bending the cover (*sigh* stay calm- it can be flattened out again! o_O) in frustrating and irritation with non-communicative characters! 
Mandy Goff threaded the message of trusting the Lord into her story very well, and I was encouraged! Everything happens for a reason. God has it all under control. (See, I had no need to get all worked up and abuse my poor book.) All will be well and according to His plan in the end.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Country House Courtship

I must The Country House Courtship was probably my favorite book in the Forsythe series! The entire series was wonderful and I LOVED Before the Season Ends, as well, but this one seemed to have the most interesting plot (the main plot, and the subplots), in my opinion.
I loved the wide variety of characters. The first two installments in the series had lots of fun and endearing characters, but most of them were members of the ton, and upper class. Country House Courtship had all sorts of interesting characters, from the Prince Regent to the poor tenant family- with butlers, curates, and the Paragon between! 
Peter O'Brien has undergone a marvelous growth in maturity since the last time we saw him! I was nervous when I read the synopsis- that he was the hero of this story- thinking he would continue to annoy me and that he would seem fickle. I was pleasantly surprised! Linore Burkard acquaints us with his activities between books (a space of 5 years) and leaves no doubt that this is truly a changed man. ^_^
In fact- I found myself liking him a lot, and instead becoming annoyed with Beatrice! She starts out quite immature and flighty, but her character was fun to watch as she grew and became more aware of what is important in life, rather than just what seems right or fun at the time.
The Bartons added a lot to this story and I really enjoyed reading both their parts in the story!
One of my favorites from book 1- Lord Horatio- has returned in this story, but I actually didn't connect it was the same guy until near the end! (No worries, this is not a spoiler, just my not thinking back far enough, and also forgetting his name. :P) 
It's common for previous heroines and heroes to appear different in a series once the limelight has been removed from them; either becoming bland and having no depth, or to forget their "demoted" place as secondary characters and try to steal back the limelight from the new leading couple. Burkard did a great job at keeping the Mornays in the story - even a big part in the story - without neglecting the leads of book 3, or making them uninteresting. They had the same characteristics as ever- good thing, too, cause I love them! ^_^ However they have grown up a bit more and now have a family, so they have naturally changed somewhat.  
Overall, The Country House Courtship was a delightful read with a charming cast of characters and a highly satisfactory ending. 


Putting Faces to Names: Part 2

I was asked if I had faces for Aunt Bentley, and Mr Randolph Pellham. I knew I did but couldn't think of the actors I was picturing, so I did a little investigating- and here they are! :D
Aunt Bentley
Penelope Wilton (Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey)

Randolph Pellham
Tom Georgeson (Under the Greenwood Tree, Bleak House)

Again, I hope you have 
wonderful weekend! ;)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Putting Faces To Names

I am currently reading "The Country House Courtship" (#3 in the Forsythe series, by Linore Burakrd) and this is the first book I've read in a long time that has characters I've been able to easily imagine faces for- most (if not all) actors/actresses from the BBC Period Dramas. :D So I thought I would share my cast with you all and see what you think! :)

First we have the heroine of our story, Beatrice Forsythe. Beatrice (on one hand), though not a hopeless romantic like Catherine Morland, is a bit immature. She is quick to state her hasty assumptions and cast judgment before gathering all the ins and outs of a person or situation- usually ending up wrong. She is (on the other hand) young, pretty, and enthusiastic about life. (Also putting me in mind of Marianne Dashwood.)

Next up is Mr. O'Brien, the young curate we've met before. Mr. O'Brien has gone through a lot of change since "The House on Grosvner Square" and is not half so annoying, but indeed, has matured quite nicely. :) I'm having some trouble with him, because he is quite a bit older than Beatrice, and it makes me think of Mr Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller), however one of his strongest outward characteristics is his towering height...and I cannot picture JLM as anything but short. ;P Which THEN makes me imagine him more as JJ Feild, though a more serious role than Henry Tilney. 

Mr and Mrs Mornay (now the happy father and mother of two adorable children) again play a big part in our story. 
(Funny combination, I know! However, his brooding demeanor and her happy spirit and blonde hair make them rather ideal. ;))

Brother & sister Mr and Miss Barton are this other sibling duo to a tee!
When interacting with Beatrice, Tristan Barton reminds me somewhat of a Frank Churchill --however, overall he's too villainous and weird, so I still prefer the disgusting Mr Bell as my image of him. :P

Mother to Beatrice and Ariana, Mrs Julia Forsythe has a loyal and strong, yet at times concerned, quite and ponderous personality. Thus- I present Mrs Dashwood.

Philips Aunt Royleforst is your proverbial feisty old regency lady, who likes to sit back and watch everything going on- after letting everyone know she is in charge. ;) 
(Aunt Josephine will do just fine. ^_^)

A poor tenant couple on the Mornay estate remind me of Harry's parents from Cranford. 

And last, and definitely least! The former curate, who is a very minor yet unforgettable character, Mr Hargrove. Trying too hard to please everybody and coming across more as a nuisance- we're very glad Mr O'Brien was on hand to take his place when Hargrove relocated. ^_^

I hope you enjoyed as much as I did, getting to know my cast for "The Country House Courtship"! (If it's ever made into a movie, I look forward to comparing the actual actors/actresses chosen. ;P) I'm off to finish the book and see how many of these faces change in my mind by the end, as they are likely to. ;)

Have a lovely weekend! =D

Friday, March 7, 2014

Interview: Linore Burkard

I wasn't sure I'd be able to get a hold of Mrs Burkard to ask for an interview, but I started searching for some contact information anyway- and lo and behold! A Facebook page- with the info I needed! :D I was super excited, after having just finished "Before the Season Ends" to get in touch with this sweet lady, and I'm so happy to welcome Linore Burkard to my blog today! :)

What inspired you to start writing?
Good books. As a child, I read voraciously. After reading My Side of the Mountain, I was so
enthralled with the protagonist's experiences that I wrote my own version of that story, replete with chapters. I was nine years old. It was a therapeutic escape from reality, I think!
That's so interesting! You should get it published sometime! haha :)

What is it that most draws you to the regency era?
Like most fans of the regency, I enjoy the genteel quality (at least, outwardly) of society at that time; I love the costume, the language and the moral setting. Most people, unless one was thoroughly disrespectable, were expected to behave within moral boundaries that our society has largely abandoned.
I love reading about the society, manners, and costumes! I really enjoyed the clothing descriptions and social etiquette in your books.

What is your greatest goal for your writing?
For the Regency series, the goal was to present the gospel in an unobtrusive manner; to sneak it into a good story so that nonChristians could be challenged to see the simplicity of the message in a nonthreatening way. In a larger sense, my goal is to fulfill the calling I feel God has placed on my life; which is to write whatever he leads me to! My current work in progress is a YA book with a contemporary setting—quite different from my regencies, but something I am compelled to do.
Well you certainly attained your goal- after reading the gospel presentation in your story I told my sister all about how I loved how simply and clearly it was expressed and that it left the reader with no doubts as to the characters (and ultimately YOUR) beliefs. Can't wait to learn more about your new book!  

What theme/message do you hope to convey to readers through Before the Season Ends?
That anyone, no matter their past, their sins, their standing in life, can turn to God and find mercy and forgiveness.

Who did you have the most fun writing about in the Forsythe series?
Ariana and Mr. Mornay were both fun to write; as were Aunt Bentley and Mr. Pellham. If I had to choose one character, though, I'd go with Mr. Mornay. It's great fun to bring a true curmudgeon to the page!
(Haha ok so I know Mornay wasn't a Scrooge, but it works! ;P) I enjoyed reading about those four the best! Mr Pellham was really great. :)

What is one of your favorite quotes from Before the Season Ends?
This turned out to be a tough question for me—I enjoy so much of the banter between Ariana and Mr. Mornay. (I'd love to hear what some of YOUR favorite quotes are.) But I managed to pick this retort from Ariana, which she fires at Mr. Mornay after he has caught her unwittingly listening to his conversation with Lord Horatio, and been exceedingly rude to her:
(Ariana): "I have heard a great deal about your character of late. And nothing would
have convinced me of any redeeming qualities within in. I am too persuaded already of
your overwhelming depravity, so an explanation is hardly necessary!" (Mr. Mornay)
eyed her with surprise. Her outburst seemed to have restored his good humour.

I also love the scene on the boat where she tries to come clean to him about her background:
"Ariana was silent a moment. She looked around at the water and the darkening sky,
felt a breeze, and shivered. "I hardly know how to begin. You see, I am not what I
appear to be."
The raised brow. The little bemused expression.
"Do go on, Ariana; I am living to hear this explanation."
"You mock me, but you will see I am in earnest!" Her face looked adorably so.
"I have no doubt whatsoever you are in earnest. Pray, continue."
Oh, haha that IS a hard question! x) I think I would have to say my favorites were the banter between Mornay and Ariana as well. I also got a bit of a laugh from the line right towards the beginning where Mr. Forsythe states: "I have just exchanged fisticuffs with the rector!"  Not a line you hear everyday. :P

What is your favorite book/author, and why?
Oh, dear; another difficult question; there are so many books I've loved. I'll give you my favorite regency author, which is Georgette Heyer, the undisputed 'queen' of the regency romance. As for other authors I love, Pearl S. Buck, C.S.Lewis, Eleanor Estes (children's author), Rumer Godden, Dickens and of course: Jane Austen!
Georgette Heyer is my favorite as well!! :)

Do you have any plans for future writing projects?
I always have plans for future writing projects. I have far more plans and book ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime, I'm sure. If I manage to complete the stack of unfinished manuscripts I've already begun, I'd be ecstatic.
(Haha couldn't resist! ;))
I hope you get to finish them all! I look forward to reading them. :)

Are there any specific things or surroundings you like to have when you write?
I prefer quiet and a lovely view, but when I'm deep into writing, my surroundings fall away completely. Time does too, by the way. If I'm deeply into a story I barely feel time at all.

What is your favorite Period Drama film?
I love many of them, but the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice should probably get top billing.
I love all the Jane Austens! :)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
England. Ireland. Israel.

What is your favorite season?
I have two: Spring and Fall. I don't care for extremes of weather, but I adore the "in between" times. Having said that, nothing beats the Christmas season. I don't dread Christmas busyness, or shopping, or crowds at the mall. (Not that I do a lot of mall shopping.) I love that time of year, and I love that even the secular world often gives at least a little lip service to the Lord.
Spring, Fall, and Christmas are my favorite seasons as well!!! =)

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the morning, and never soon enough! Afternoon, too. Tea at night.

Thank you so much for stopping by!!!
Thanks for having me, Caity Alice! Stay on my mailing list for news of my next books. (Sign up at )
Also, if you like children's stories, check out the justoffthepress release of Grandmother, Mother and Me, a book I adapted from an essay by my dear sisterinlaw (now in heaven). It's currently on sale at $1 off.
Thank you!! :)

Have a fantastic rest of your weekend!