Friday, May 18, 2018

Sense & Sensibility: Discussion II

Today is part II of our discussion of Sense and Sensibility. To see all of the details head over to our host Amber's blog Seasons of Humility. If you have read S&S or are reading it feel free to join in on our discussion.

Thoughts for this week:

First off, Elinor is much more patient and kind than I would ever be! Each time she gets together with Lucy I want to roll my eyes and make a face! Is Lucy clueless to what Edward meant to Elinor or is she fully aware and rubbing her nose in it that she and Edward are engaged? I just want to slap her! And what the heck is up with Edward? He obviously had feelings for Elinor, but is engaged to Lucy? Good grief! I guess it could be admirable that he wants to honor his original engagement to Lucy, but it is obvious he has no feelings for her. Moving on to Marianne...does nobody see that she is pining away? Grrr to Willoughby! What an awful man! I do love how Marianne and Elinor are so close. Each one wanting to protect the other and stand up for the other. Marianne is still a bit impulsive in her outbursts, but she does feel things so deeply that her passion cannot be suppressed. Colonel Brandon is still in love with her for sure and will play a bigger part in the last section of the book...I hope! Mr. Dashwood and his wife Fanny are odious human beings! I guess I can't blame John Dashwood too much, but he does allow his wife to have too much influence over him. Ugh! They sure get the tables turned on them! Looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up...

Quotes I liked:

"When Sir John called at the cottage one morning, to beg, in the name of charity, that they would all dine with Lady Middleton that day, as he was obliged to attend the club at Exeter, and she would otherwise be quite alone, except her mother and the two Miss Steeles." Then a few paragraphs later,

"The young ladies went, and Lady Middleton was happily preserved from the frightful solitude which had threatened her." Oh my goodness! This made me laugh because it shows once again Jane Austen's humor.

"Even Lady Middleton took the trouble of being delighted, which was putting herself rather out of her way." Oh Lady Middleton...

"Elinor, who knew that such grief, shocking as it was to witness it, must have its course." I love that Elinor had this understanding of human nature. It is better to "let it all out" sometimes in order to be able to move on.

"so far from the common decorum of a gentleman, as to send a letter so impudently cruel"

Willoughby's letter to Marianne was awful! No remorse for how he treated her, and to handle it so callously...Ugh! 

"She then went away, walking on tiptoe out of the room, as if she supposed her young friend's affliction could be increased by noise." Oh Mrs. Jennings! She is well-meaning, but truly clueless

"At last the affair was decided. The ivory, the gold, and the pearls, all received their appointment, and the gentleman having named the last day on which his existence could be continued without the possession of the toothpick-case, drew on his gloves with leisurely care, and bestowing another glance on the Miss Dashwoods, but such a one as seemed rather to demand than express admiration, walked off with a happy air of real conceit and affected indifference." Oh my goodness...the oldest Ferrar's brother takes after his sister! 

"But that was not enough; for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of any thing better from them." TRUTH!

Questions from Amber's Blog:

1. Which hero holds the most appeal for you so far, Edward or Colonel Brandon? What draws you to his character?

At this point in time I'm going to say Colonel Brandon. He is the only constant so far it seems. Edward seems to be in a situation he doesn't know how to get out of and so I just have no patience for him, he is seeming weak to me. 

2. Which scene in Volume II tugged on your emotions the most, either positively or negatively? (Was it Willoughby's letter? Colonel Brandon's revelation? Edward's arrival? Or some other moment?)

I'm honestly not connecting with these characters. But Willoughby's letter irritated me, Colonel Brandon's revelation was nice, but nothing that brought any emotions. And Edward's arrival was just frustrating with all of the Lucy mess...

3. Imagine yourself in Elinor's shoes for this trip to London. Do you think you would have responded the same or differently to Marianne's situation and Lucy's company?I definitely would have put on a good front so yes, I would probably behave just like Elinor, but add a few snide remarks under my breath! ha! 

Join us next week for our final discussion!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Sense & Sensibility Read-Along Discussion I

This is the first Discussion of Sense & Sensibility. Amber at Seasons of Humility is hosting us so head over to her blog and check out her thoughts of this week's section.

My Thoughts:

I don't know if it is because I am on vacation or what, but I am having a hard time getting into the story this time. I can't stand the brother and wife that kicked the Dashwoods out! That woman is a real piece of work! See, I can't even remember their names! That's terrible! I have read Sense & Sensibility before, and seen the movie countless times and still can't remember. The Middleton's seem nice enough. Although the husband kind of talks too much. The wife and children are annoying! ha! As for the Miss Steele's...UGH! Talk about fly in the ointment! Elinor and Marianne are totally opposite of each other, but they do love each other. Marianne wears her heart and emotions on her sleeve and Elinor is much more reserved. I like them both. I honestly didn't remember how much older Colonel Brandon is than Marianne. But I really like him. As for Willoughby I think he is a playboy and plays on Marianne's emotions. I'm on chapter 23 now and it is just now starting to get interesting with Lucy's revelation to Elinor.

Quotes I Like:

"Certainly not; but if you observe, people always live for ever when there is an annuity to be paid them; and she is very stout and healthy, and hardly forty" Good grief! barely 40 so yeah, she does have a bit more life to live! 

"Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!" Oh Marianne!

"Brandon is just the kind of man, said Willoughby one day, when they were talking of him together, whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to." Poor Colonel Brandon, but he gets his time.

" It was rather a wish of distinction, she believed, which produced his contemptuous treatment of every body, and his general abuse of every thing before him. It was the desire of appearing superior to other people." Ugh, the Palmer's! 

"Lady Middleton resigned herself to the idea of it, with all the philosophy of a well-bred woman, contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subject five or six times every day." I laughed out loud at this! 

Questions from Amber's Blog:

1. So far, do you relate more to Elinor or Marianne? Do you find it more important to act properly and rationally, or do you prefer to speak your mind and express your true emotions? I am definitely more of an Elinor. I might act as Marianne sometimes with family, but with the "public" I am very reserved.

2. Imagine you're invited to tea at Barton Park and have to make conversation with Sir and Lady Middleton and Mrs. Jennings. What would you talk about? How would you survive the afternoon? :) (Feel free to round out the imaginary occasion with other guests of your choosing, like Colonel Brandon, Willoughby, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, or the Miss Steeles.)I'll be interested in reading what people do with this one, I'm not much of a "pretend" kind of gal nor a role play gal so I've got nothing on this. I guess if I were with this group I would be a more "smile and nod" kind of person and move along as soon as possible. 

3. How would you respond to Lucy's revelations at the end of Volume I if you were Elinor? Would you keep Lucy's secret from everyone? Would you continue to remain "friends" with Lucy? Not really knowing Lucy I would hope I would check into her allegations instead of taking her word for things and I hope that I would give Edward a chance to explain himself. I feel bad for Elinor because she is so stoic and it is difficult for her to show her feelings. She was counting on Edward's attachment and to have those hopes dashed has got to be devastating for her. 

Have you read Sense and Sensibility? Are you reading along with us? If so feel free to leave a comment and jump into the discussion. Join us next Friday for Discussion II. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower

Fiona's fiance leaves her for another woman making it much easier for her to go to Scotland and claim the inheritance her godfather has just left her. When Fiona arrives at Duncreigan she is greeted by her godfathers longtime friend and caretaker of the grounds Hamish. Hamish is very insistent that Fiona go and visit her godfather's garden behind the house. Remembering how the garden was on former visits Fiona is disappointed with how the garden has died away. What really startles her though is the dead body of her godfather's lawyer! Chief Inspector Craig comes to investigate the body. It seems that right before Fiona's eyes the garden starts coming to life. Could it be possible that the rumors are true? That the garden is magical? Why was her godfather's lawyer killed? Will Fiona make Duncreigan her home as her godfather wished? And what is this attraction that the Chief Inspector and Fiona seem to have going between them?

All of those questions are answered in this delightful cozy mystery! As always it wouldn't be a mystery by Amanda Flower without some fun animal characters. In Flowers and Foul Play we meet Hamish's pet squirrel and Fiona's new pet cat Ivanhoe. Even though they are animals they steal some of the scenes with their cute/funny personalities.

The characters in the book are also interesting. Fiona is determined to find out the who-done-it. Asking questions that put her in jeopardy, she and the Chief Inspector butt heads about her involvement in the case. Neil Craig is rather a handsome Chief Inspector and I'm looking forward to seeing how he and Fiona develop their relationship in future books. We get a peak into the mystery of the garden and what it is capable of and what it means for Fiona, and we get to meet some of the townsfolk that Fiona will be getting to know in future books. I enjoyed this beginning to a new series by Amanda Flower and look forward to more books in the future!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Maddie and Logan were the best of friends. With Logan's dad being the President of the United States, and Maddie's dad being part of the security team they were together a lot, practically inseparable. Until the night that someone tried to kidnap Logan's mom. Then Maddie's dad whisked her off to the middle of Nowhere, Alaska and she never heard from Logan again. Until 6 years later and he shows up on their doorstep. Now Maddie is faced with a dilemma. Will she help Logan get away from the same deadly kidnappers, or will she kill him herself for abandoning her?

NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST was an exciting read! It reminded me a bit of The Gallagher Girls series by this same author. A strong female lead and one exciting peril after another. I loved Maddie's ability to take care of herself and Logan, but also her "girl side" which had her bedazzling her hatchet before practicing throwing it! The setting of Alaska was also very thrilling with the dangers of the climate and the bears along with the people bent on putting an end to the President's son and his former best friend. NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST was entertaining, exciting and touching. I enjoyed every minute of it!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Adventures Of Super Susan by Holly Schindler

Super Susan's superpower is kindness. But can it help her win over someone who is super-jealous? Find out in this super-cute story by Holly Schindler who came up with the character Super Susan when she was 8 years old.

I think we can all agree that kindness is in short supply these days. So I love stories that have characters who show kindness to one another. I also love that the characters in the story all had a super power and that by using those super powers together they can do great things. A super-fast read with a great moral message!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rodeo Standoff by Susan Sleeman

As we have come to expect with Susan Sleeman's books, this one opened off right away with excitement! Seriously, who wants to be in an arena with a bull that is intent on killing you? Tessa sure didn't count on that! Thankfully Braden knows about bulls and is able to distract the bull so Tessa can escape. Now the question is how did the bull get in the arena and who wants Tessa dead?

Tessa McKade has followed in the footsteps of the McKade family and is in law-enforcement. She's also one of the contestants in the town's rodeo. Tessa holds the championship title for barrel racing. Braden used to be a professional bull rider. Now he is in law-enforcement as well. He is in town to help promote the rodeo and he arrives just in time to become Tessa's own personal body guard.

Neither Tessa or Braden have an interest in a serious relationship. Tessa has sworn off men after a bad break-up and Braden watched his parents bicker all of his life and has no desire to be in a relationship like that. What Braden doesn't count on is the longing he has when he meets the McKade family. The love and respect they show for each other is something he has always dreamed of but never thought existed. And red-headed Tessa's feistiness  sure is cute! Can the two of them put aside their aversion to relationships and admit they are attracted to each other?

Rodeo Standoff was exciting from beginning to end! I'm definitely a fan of the McKade family and look forward to the next siblings story! I loved the characters in Rodeo Standoff. Even though Tessa was a law-officer she was still mature enough to know when she needed protection and when to exert her independence. I thought the development of Braden and Tessa's relationship worked well and even though it had to be quick it seemed to run its natural course. There were elements of faith and mentions of faith, but it wasn't central to the story, just a part of who Tessa and Braden were. I definitely love the Love Inspired Suspense line of books. Just enough suspense and romance to keep the reader turning the pages.

Check out my review of the first book in the McKade Law series:

Holiday Secrets

**I received my copy of Rodeo Standoff from the author for review purposes. All opinions are my own**

**Rodeo Standoff is available for pre-order and will be published on May 1, 2018**

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

An Interview With Author Holly Schindler

Author Holly Schindler has written a collection of love poems titled TANGLES. I reviewed the book on the post below this one.

To contact Holly Schindler:

Twitter: @holly_schindler



    You write different genres of books, what made you interested in writing a poetry book?

I’ve actually been writing poetry for years. I even published a few poems in some lit mags when I was in college. In high school, I also kept a bunch of journals—instead of writing prose entries describing what had happened to me that day, I wrote poems. Most have dates rather than titles. They turned out to be incredibly valuable when I started writing YA. Those poems really helped me reconnect with my teen voice and with the way it felt to be a teen. A few of the poems even found their way into my first published book, A BLUE SO DARK!

I’ve also written songs, ever since a member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils taught me the basics of guitar playing and songwriting. I’ve always loved the storytelling capabilities and the emotional punch of song lyrics.

I was also always a big poetry reader. In high school, I discovered some of Rod McKuen’s old books—I was totally fascinated by him—the straightforward poetry writing style and the utterly amazing popularity of his stuff (McKuen was a songwriter, too). In the ‘60s and ‘70s, he was a real rock star. But when he stepped away from the spotlight, he almost immediately fell into total obscurity. His work was often regarded by critics as “simplistic,” but so have some of the Instagram poets who have recently become popular as well. Honestly, I never understood the “simplistic” dismissal. Really, what could be simpler than “It takes a heap of living in a house to make a home”? And yet, it’s a line that sticks—you remember it. It makes that emotional punch I mentioned earlier. Frankly, you could dismiss most of the poems in novels in verse as “simplistic,” too, but so many people go crazy for novels in verse, I believe, because the poems read fluidly, easily, and they focus primarily on the emotional portion of a story—the internal portion, rather than external stuff. Poetry (especially simpler, straightforward poetry) allows the reader to get straight to the heart of a story without having to sift through paragraphs and pages of description.

Anyway, I was thinking about the Instagram poets, the popularity of novels in verse, and it made me believe that it was time for me to release my own collection. It sent me sifting through the journals and notebooks of poems and lyrics I’d been writing for so long. I aimed to put together a collection that was truly easy to read and enjoy, full of heart and emotionality. No head-scratchers allowed!

That's what I appreciated the most! No "head-scratchers allowed!" 

2.      In my review I said, "I felt like the author was bearing her soul in some of the poems." Was this set of poems cathartic for you in some way?

In a way, it really was. Those poems covered quite a long span of time—different periods of life, different situations. One of my favorite parts of the collection is the way it ages. “From Strawberries to Gin,” which is included toward the beginning of the collection, is about a young girl who’s out with a slightly older man, a girl who feels incredibly childlike and aches to become more womanly. Toward the end, “Approaching Autumn” is about a woman who hopes that love stories that take place in the autumn of life are actually hotter than the youthful summer romances. In a way, this collection grows up in a short span of pages.

3.      As I read your poems I found several that were favorites. Do you have a favorite in this set?

I like “Blushing Crimson” quite a lot. It has a feel that’s a bit like some of the steamier scenes in my YA romance PLAYING HURT.

4.      TANGLES is a collection of love poems, do you have plans for future poetry books, and if so what would you like them to consist of?

I’d really love to do some additional collections. I’m always writing new snatches of poetry. I’m not sure what the connecting thread would be yet—I’ve got a ton of ideas, and am still working on narrowing them down!

For those who’d like to follow along with my poetry writing, I’m devoting my Tumblr account to all things poetry: Also, readers can subscribe to my poetry newsletter:

I enjoyed interviewing Holly, and I definitely enjoyed TANGLES. It is currently available on Amazon for Kindle for .99: or you can purchase it in paperback for $7.50. Both great deals!