Saturday, February 27, 2016

Join the Northanger Abbey Read-Along!

Dear Book-Loving Friend, 

The honor of your presence is requested at the read-along of Northanger Abbey by the illustrious Jane Austen. This event will begin Tuesday, the 1st of March, and conclude Thursday, the 31st of March. Gifts to be awarded and inspiration to be had by all.

But do be forewarned. There are secrets hidden within the halls of the abbey...

* * *

I apologize that I'm issuing this invitation a mere few days before the start of the read-along! I've had it in my mind to host this, but I just haven't taken the steps to put together all the details until now. But you're welcome to jump in at any time! And since we're only reading a chapter a day, it shouldn't be too hard to catch up should you start late. :)

Here are the details:
  • The read-along will last through the month of March.
  • We'll plan on reading one chapter a day, with discussions happening each Thursday of the month (the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st), for a total of five discussions.
  • There will also be a Twitter watch-along at the end of the read-along (perhaps the evening of the 31st?). We'll be watching the Masterpiece version with JJ Feild as Henry Tilney, naturally. ;)
  • There will be two giveaways (US only due to shipping costs): one for a DVD copy of Northanger Abbey, and the other for the 200th-anniversary annotated edition of Emma by Jane Austen. The first drawing will be held March 3-16, with a winner announced on the 17th. (Hopefully, the winner would receive their prize in time for the watch-along!) The second drawing will be held March 17-30, with a winner announced on the 31st. (I'm hoping Emma will be the subject of our next read-along, so this would help prepare the winner for that event!)

I hope you'll join me here on Thursday for the first discussion!

P.S. Feel free to take the button above and share it on your blog or social media page to announce your participation in the read-along! You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NAReadAlong.

P.P.S. If you'd like to see how our previous Jane Austen read-along went (for Persuasion), check out this link!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Of Mayhem and Misunderstandings | Review of Finders Reapers

About the Book

Marcus is a Cupid. Lena is a Reaper. Opposites attract in book 2 of the adorkable Switched At First Kiss series by the acclaimed author of The Dirt Diary.

Lena's not ready for any more supernatural surprises. Her new boyfriend, Marcus, is a cupid. She's a soul collector ("reaper" just sounds so harsh). And they just got their powers un-swapped. But things aren't as back to "normal" as they seem...

On his next assignment, Marcus's "love boost" is a little too powerful. (Baby talk is so annoying.) And Lena's soul sort of...escapes. The cause? Lena and Marcus's powers are still intertwined! Their emotions are affecting each other's power. So, basically the fate of the world depends on them getting along in their brand new romance. (Okay, just love and death, but still.)

No pressure, right?

Releases March 1, 2016!

My Rating


My Review

Finders Reapers is a cute addition to the Switched at First Kiss series! Lena has grown on me since her introduction in I'm with Cupid, and Marcus is as sweet as ever. (I just love the way he relies on the book his grandfather gave him on being a gentleman. How wonderful is that?)

Mayhem and misunderstandings abound in this story, but it's all fun! There's a prankster ghost who can't stop messing with Lena...the loyal ghost cat of Book 1 makes a few appearances...and the bonds of friends and family are tested as love crops up in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Not to mention the drama that ensues with the school play and the arrival of new and familiar faces.

Potential Spoiler/Warning: There's a very quick (and, in my opinion, rather gratuitous) reference to homosexuality at the very end of the story involving a couple of minor characters. I wish it wasn't included, and I'm hoping it's not an indicator of the direction of this series. End of Spoiler.

All in all, Finders Reapers was another sweet read. I love the lesson about finding your "perfect" match with imperfect people. For some middle-grade fun, this is an enjoyable series!

*With thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Curious about Book 1? 
You can read my review of I'm with Cupid HERE!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fictional Crushes's nearly 11:00 on a Tuesday night as I'm beginning this post, but when I saw this week's theme for The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday feature, I couldn't resist jumping in! I have some pretty awesome fictional crushes, if I do say so myself. 

But seriously, it's kind of fun to pick favorites, isn't it? It feels like you're learning something new about yourself while getting some training in being decisive. 

All that to say, below are some of my fave fictional crushes. I'll try to avoid too many spoilers, but be warned that it's hard to gush without providing a bit of context. ;)

From the Screen:

This crush goes back about ten years or so. Oh my goodness, how I fell in love with Harry as a teenager! Funny thing is, he's really not in that many scenes of the movie (at least, not as many scenes as I'd wish him to be!), but he doesn't need much time to charm a girl. 

Harry is a drifter - a hobo - during the Great Depression. A guy who rides the rails and looks out for himself. Until Natty shows up in his life. He puts on a great show of being burdened by Natty's presence, but it's very obviously an act by a lonely guy who can't help but take Natty under his wing and watch out for her. 

(Harry is played by a young John Cusack. I really don't need to say more, do I?)

2. Gus Pike from the Road to Avonlea series

This crush goes back even farther than my crush on Harry. I grew up watching the Road to Avonlea series with my grandparents and uncle, and Gus Pike's character intrigued and enchanted me. You will find echoes of his fiddle-playing, adventure-loving, gentlemanly ways in one of my own historical characters (Myghal). :)

3. Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey

I suppose this character could go under the book section, as well...I'll have to see how I feel after a re-read of the book. I confess that the version of Henry Tilney I truly fell in love with is the one played by JJ Feild. It's the smile! And the teasing! And the amazing way he balances maturity and a completely endearing sense of humor. 

4. Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog

While the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) will always hold a special place in my heart, more and more I feel like Naveen might just be my favorite Disney prince. I just watched the movie again tonight (Mardi Gras and all that jazz!), and goodness, for an animated frog, he gets the sweetest, most tender expressions! I LOVE the way he grows in the movie and demonstrates his love for Tiana. Their relationship is funny, adorable, and allows them both to gain new perspective and remember what's really important in life. And that last scene of the movie?? It's just perfect.

5. Guy from The Croods

Guy is quirky. And hilarious. He's a "smart guy" with huge dreams and hope for the future. While he doesn't always have a choice about hanging out with Eep's family (*wink*), he has a big, loyal heart. I love the way he fits in with the Croods. I love his tenacity and his admiration for Eep. (Their relationship is so precious!) And Guy can tell a simple story in a way that will leave you spellbound.

From the Page:

6. Jervis from Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

To say too much about Jervis would ruin the story for those of you who haven't read it. (Why haven't you read it yet??) But sometimes it's what someone doesn't say...or what they do in secret...that make their character and feelings so darling and obvious. 

(I should add that this one could also fit under the first half of the list, because the live musical production that aired a while back was totally wonderful!)

7. Dexter from Recalled by Cambria Hebert

This might seem like an odd choice if you only know the premise of the book, or even the majority of the plot leading up to the end. Despite Dexter's assassination assignment, he completely stole my heart. I think it's the way he wrestles with he fights so hard and can't seem to shake the deeper desire to do the right thing. As often as he finds himself trying to take the easy way, he realizes his error. I don't know - his story probably isn't for everyone, but he won me over with his protective ways and ultimate decisions.

8. Jacin from Winter by Marissa Meyer

OK, this is such a tough one, guys!! It's between Jacin and Wolf for me...and I feel like I need to re-read the whole series before I make a final, final decision. ;) They both are terribly, wonderfully swoon-worthy! I guess, right now, I'm just thinking about the sweet relationship between Jacin and Winter, the guard and the princess. His love for her is so tender. *heart melts* But Wolf and Scarlet...oh, I do so love them, too!

9. Pono from Songstone by Lena Goldfinch

Lena's fictional heroes totally deserve a spot on this list - and it's hard to pick just the right one, since they're all so dear! I will freely admit to some bias, given my friendship with Lena and my work in editing for her. But in that case, I should also note that it was because of how much I loved her novella The Language of Souls that I started beta reading for her and discovered the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. :) So, I was totally a fan before anything else!

Anyway, back to Pono... He's brave. He's total hero-quality in the ways he sacrifices and stands up for Kita. Pono left an impression on my reader heart, and I think I'm due for a re-read soon so I can remember all the details of why I love him so much. Mostly, I just know that I do. ♥ 


A romantic fictional moment that caused me to burst into tears. 

Since the overall theme of this week's Top Ten Tuesday is Valentine's Day, I feel like this is a good place/time to mention a scene from a favorite show that affected me in an unexpected way. Curious yet? ;)

The show is Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The particular episode (movie, really) is From Paris with Love

(If you haven't seen it yet, this is definitely a spoiler. So please do skip over this, in that case!)

* * * 

This show inspires me, encourages me, and reminds me to have a broader, hopeful perspective on life. It makes me laugh and cry.

And with this scene, it literally made me burst into tears.

Norman and Rita are the sweetest characters. They're also extremely shy, and throughout all the episodes I'd seen up to this point, they danced around their obvious affection for each other in a still-satisfying but open-ended way. 

Until I got to the end of From Paris with Love. I was home for the holidays (a little over a month ago), and my family ended up joining me on the couch for at least part of the movie, which I had very happily caught on Hallmark channel. (Squealing might have been involved when I realized I could finally see this movie!) In the scene, their friend and coworker Shane just said goodbye, and Rita is trying to explain to Norman why Shane can't stay. (It's a matter of the heart involving another coworker.)

Suddenly, the truth finally comes out. I guess I just didn't think it would actually happen, but they did it. Norman and Rita admitted their feelings for each other. They even kissed! And I think I missed a good deal of that kiss because as soon as it happened, I literally burst into tears. It wasn't like the happy little tear rolling down the cheek. It was like an outpouring of relief and unanticipated joy. :'-) (My poor family probably didn't know what to do with me, haha.)

I'm not sure if I was just extra emotional that day or what, but I think I'm just really invested in these characters. I surprised myself when I realized just how much I cared about them and how much I wanted to see them be open with each other.

* * *

So that's my random romance-related anecdote. ;)

I'd love to hear if you've ever burst into tears because you were so happy for fictional characters! And/or I'd love to know about some of your favorite fictional crushes.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prism Book Tour: The Express Rider's Lady

About the Book

Westward Wedding Journey

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister's wedding—even with only eighteen days to get there. And she's found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can't believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she'll quit before they reach their destination—he's known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie's toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other.

Happy release day to a fab Love Inspired read!
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository - Harlequin - Walmart

My Rating


My Review

This has to be one of the best Love Inspired books I've read to date. The Express Rider's Lady is just my type of story: a Western journey with a delightful mixture of humor, peril, and tender romance. I truly enjoyed the adventure!

I quite adored the hero, Myles. So, he's a bit brooding, let's be honest (is that a bad thing?)—but he's the kind of guy who's completely devoted to his friends and those in his care. There's this scene where it's been raining like crazy, and Delsie's health is at stake, and...well, I won't spoil the preciousness of the scene, but I'm utterly and completely a sucker for heroes with protective instincts as wide and fierce as the Wild West. *happy sigh*

I also really liked Delsie and their companion for the ride, Amos (a sweet older man who makes a great chaperone). The one main issue I had with the book was the ending. Not that the outcome isn't pleasing, but just that the effort to get there felt a little more dragged out than I'd prefer.

For a somewhat quick but very satisfying trip along the rugged routes of the Pony Express riders, complete with a romance that's as stirring as it is fun, let me introduce you to The Express Rider's Lady.

*With thanks to the author and Prism Book Tours for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

About the Author

Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

Website - Goodreads - Facebook - Twitter 


- $50 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
- Print Copy of The Express Rider's Lady (US only)
- eBook of The Express Rider's Lady (open internationally)

Ends February 19th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour organized by Prism Book Tours