Friday, November 10, 2017

The King by Steven James


Lien Hua is abducted by serial killer Basque. Can Patrick find her in time to save her? Patrick is asked to investigate His boss's brother's death. And Tessa has been asked to make a speech at her high school graduation. On top of all of that Pat and Lien Hua are getting ready to get married.

Whew, a lot goes on in this book! Basque is obviously back and going after Pat and his loved ones. He is evil for sure! There are a lot of suspenseful encounters with him and a lot of gross-out scenes. Another evil person is lurking in the wings, just in case Basque isn't enough evil! There's a lot of self-evaluation in the characters and maybe I'm forgetting the other books(because it has been awhile since I read The Queen), but there was more of a spiritual questioning going on in this one than I remember. I liked it! When death knocks at the door it should cause people to contemplate God's existence. I see some maturing in Tessa, but she still is a bit too impulsive and impetuous which ends up getting her into trouble. I do like that she is resourceful and stands apart from the crowd, and she's smarter than the average bear! Lien Hua is quite capable of handling herself, and serves as a perfect balance between Tessa and Pat. I took my time reading most of the book, but found myself gorging at the end because I couldn't put it down! I highly recommend the whole series, but don't read it at night unless you plan to keep the light on!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay


Mary is having issues at work. Her creativity is being stifled and things are not going well with a new gadget she has created. Isabel has been her best friend for years but their relationship has been filled with strain. When Isabel asks Mary to go on a vacation to Bath and dress in period clothing to help Isabel nail down her thesis Mary is tempted to say no. But with things going downhill at work Mary decides to take Isabel up on her offer. When Mary and Isabel arrive in Bath they embark on a voyage of self-discovery. Both women work through their own hurts and disappointments as well as misconceived ideas about situations and relationships.

Just when I would think, "okay things are going to get better, Mary's figured it out" things would go downhill again. It kind of annoyed me! I did like the romance between Nathan and Mary, but I also got frustrated with that. Isabel was a wounded soul, her father had pretty much ignored and rejected her all of her life. Her behavior made her a rather unlikable character for a while. I enjoyed the setting and the fun of reading about the characters dressing up in their favorite characters from Austen's novels. Even though I did get frustrated with Mary and Isabel's issues I enjoyed the book and was happy when everything turned out in the end.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pride and Prejudice Read-Along: Conclusion

We have come to the end of the Read-Along and the end of the story. And yes, P&P remains my most favorite Austen read of all! Every time I read it I just smile with satisfaction and all the good feels that it brings! Thanks so much to Amber at Seasons of Humility for hosting the Read-Along and I hope that we will have another one soon! Hint Hint Amber!

So many good things in the last chapters that we read!

Again with the letters! Oh for some ability to communicate quicker, but it does seem that the mail system was much quicker than it is today! So Mr. Gardiner has found Lydia and it is as the family has feared, she is living with Wickham without getting married to him! Oh the scandal! Oh the embarrassment to Lizzy and her sisters! It appears that Mr. Gardiner has fixed everything so that Lydia and Wickham will be married. I love this quote from Lizzy,

"And they are really to be married!" cried Elizabeth, as soon as they were by themselves, "How strange this is! And for THIS we are to be thankful. That they should marry, small as is their chance of happiness, and wretched as is his character, we are forced to rejoice, Oh, Lydia!"

I imagine that "Oh, Lydia" spoken in such a voice of despair! "Oh Lydia" indeed! That girl is trouble!

And poor Jane, still trying to make everyone out to have some good in them,

"His consenting to marry her is a proof, I will believe, that he is coe to a right way of thinking. Teir mutual affection will steady them; and I flatter myself they will settle so quietly, and live in so rational a manner, as may in time make their past imprudence forgotten."

Dream on Jane!!!

I found this a bit interesting considering that I always thought of Mr. Bennet as a jovial and loving kind of guy, this is the first time I have seen him impatient,

"He(Mr. Bennet) was writing and, without raising his head, coolly replied: "Just as you please." "May we(Lizzy and Jane) take my uncle's letter to read to her?" "Take whatever you like, and get away."

I understand he was trying to respond to the letter from Mr. Gardiner and it required much haste, but this is the first time we see him more than just exasperated with the whole group...especially Lizzy.

Isn't it a miracle how quickly Mrs. Bennet bounces back from her vapors over Lydia's disappearing with Wickham once she hears that she is married?

"To know that her daughter would be married was enough. She was disturbed by no fear for her felicity, nor humbled by any remembrance of her misconduct."

Any wonder where Lydia gets her behavior? Ack!

Wickham is just abhorrent! The man has no scruples and totally makes me mad! I was in agreement with Mr. Bennet in saying that Wickham and Lydia shouldn't be welcome at Longbourn but one cannot cut off ones own flesh and blood no matter how stupid they are.The two have no shame for their behavior and what they put Lydia's family through. Two selfish individuals that take take take throughout life.

"She blushed, and Jane blushed; but the cheeks of the two who caused their confusion suffered no variation of colour."

Don't you just love when Lydia is going on and on about being a married woman and how she will get all of her sisters husbands, how Lizzy responds?

"I thank you for my share of the favour," said Elizabeth; "but I do not particularly like your way of getting husbands."

And then through another letter and Lydia's slip of tongue we find that Mr. Darcy is actually the one who orchestrated the marriage of Wickham and Lydia to save the Bennet family from ruin. Wow! What a change in this man! I love how Lizzy's whole opinion of him changed when she found out what he truly did for her family.

"Oh! how heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honour, he had been able to get the better of himself."

I love how even in politeness someone can pointedly make known how they feel about someone. When Wickham tries to bring up to Lizzy how horribly he was treated by Darcy I love her response,

"I DID hear, too, that there was a time, when sermon-making was not so palatable to you as it seems to be at present; that you actually declared your resolution of never taking orders, and that the business had been compromised accordingly."

She let him know that she was onto him and he no longer fooled her! Love it!

Mr. Bennet quite nicely reverted back to his old self in being sarcastic and humorous to his family members. I love what he said when Bingley moved back to Netherfield and Mrs. Bennet wanted him to go call on Bingley.

"No, no. You force me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again."

hahahaha! Poor Mr. Bennet, so abused by his wife AND his daughters!

And once Jane and Bingley agree to marry Mr. Bennet's response cracks me up:

"You are a good girl; "he replied, "and I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income."

I always have to snicker when Jane being so happy tells Lizzy that she wishes she could be just as happy. This shows that Lizzy and her father have the same sense of humor:

"If you were to give me forty such men, I never could be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness. No, no, let me shift for myself; and, perhaps, if I have very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time."

OH MY! That always has me snort-laughing!

What do you think of Lady Catherine's visit to Elizabeth? That woman is something else! I love how even though Lizzy feels like her chances with Darcy have been totally ruined she still will not back down to Lady Catherine and promise not to enter into a marriage with him. That lady had me ready to go through the book at her! I might not have been as nice as Lizzy was and there is another instance of putting someone in their place but yet being so polite while doing it!

"I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer."

GO LIZZY!

Of course Mr. Collins has to rear his ugly head once more before the book ends in yet another infamous letter! Again, he is such an odious man! And a rector! Gah! He exasperates me just as much as Lady Catherine does!

I love love love when Darcy and Lizzy start talking about their love for each other and when they first realized they may have hope for a future.

"It taught me to hope," said he, "as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly."

He definitely knew that Lizzy wouldn't be afraid to speak her mind to Lady Catherine if she still hated him. Can you imagine how light his spirit would have been when he heard? Just the opposite of what Lady Catherine would expect! ha!

When Lizzy and Jane are talking and Jane can't believe that Lizzy is engaged to Darcy, Lizzy's whole outlook is so light and happy. I love this between them:

"Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley, I am afraid you will be angry."
"My dearest sister, now BE serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have love him?"

"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley."

Snort-laugh once more!!!

Once again we get whiplash from Mrs. Bennet's behavior! She goes from hating the sight of Darcy but putting up with it for the sake of Bingley, to being over-the-moon thrilled when she finds out that Lizzy is going to marry him.

"God gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane's is nothing to it--nothing at all. I am so pleased--so happy. Such a charming man!--so handsome! so tall!--Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. I shall go distracted."

Ack! She drives me crazy!

To show how content and happy Lizzy is:

"I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh."

I love that line!

One final word from Mr. Bennet to show his humor...in another letter to Mr. Collins:

"I must trouble you once more for congratulations. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give."

LOVE IT!!

I loved all the summing up at the end of how everyone was getting on. Georgiana has her eyes opened by Lizzy taking liberties in teasing Mr. Darcy! I'm sure she has never seen anyone treat him with anything less than dignity and respect so I'm sure she was shocked. I love this:

"By Elizabeth's instructions, she began to comprehend that a woman may take liberties with her husband which a brother will not always allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself."

I know that's a lot of quotes, but there is so much in these chapters to love! I love that both Darcy and Elizabeth were humbled and found a rich love for each other.

On Amber's blog she has some questions to discuss. I will leave my answers in the comments on her blog.

If you have read along with us feel free to comment your thoughts on the ending. If you have read P&P before feel free to comment your thoughts. If you haven't read it before, please do so! It is soooo good!

I've loved the read-along and look forward to the next one!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Holiday Secrets by Susan Sleeman



This is the first of the McKade Law books and I have to say that I believe I am a fan! Gavin McKade left his hometown to become an FBI agent. His whole family is in law enforcement but he and his father have never seen eye to eye and after Gavin accidentally shot someone he knew he could no longer work under his father. But now Gavin's first lead case has led him back home to the doorstep of the woman he left and will always love!

Lexie is not happy about Gavin's return. It was hard enough to have her father abandon she and her brother, but when Gavin left it tore her heart out and damaged her faith. Unfortunately seeing her father killed in front of her has put Lexie in danger and Gavin feels he is the only one that can protect her.

I have to admit that the dedication page touched me the most. It said,

"For all the families waiting for their prodigal son or daughter to return home."

As one of those parents who has watched their daughter walk away from her faith it always helps to read stories, real or fictionalized, that speak of God's returning one of those prodigal's.

I always love the element of faith that this author puts into her books. It is not preachy, yet it shows that our Father does not abandon His own and will return them with a much stronger faith than they had before.

Gavin and Lexie's relationship is pretty rocky and they both build walls to protect their hearts, but those walls slowly crumble as they both learn to forgive those that have hurt them.

The suspense was great in this book as has come to be expected from this author. I like all of the McKade's and look forward to reading their stories!



Thursday, October 26, 2017

Christmas At Ruby's by Holly Schindler


Angela has fond memories of Ruby's Place. Going with her Aunt Elizabeth every year for Christmas all dressed up in new clothes and singing around the piano. It was a happy time, one full of dreams and hope for a bright future. But it has been many years, and Ruby's Place has been closed and has started to decay along with many of the other businesses in the area. It seems that once the light went out at Ruby's Place it took away the closeness that Ruby's brought to families all around.There was something magical about Ruby's Place and when Angela accidentally ends up inside Ruby's Place the magic comes alive once more.

I truly enjoyed this short story! Christmas is all about hope, renewal, memories, family, and love. All of the things that Ruby's Place embodied for Angela. Reading Christmas At Ruby's reminded me of watching an old black and white movie intermingled with the bright colors of the present. The past and future colliding to create one very special and magical story that will send the reader down memory lane to their own special memories of the season.




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pride and Prejudice Read-Along: Discussion Week 4


So much has happened in this weeks reading of P&P! Head over to our host Amber's blog Seasons of Humility to read her summary of the characters so far.

I'm a little lost in the e-book that I am reading as it isn't broken into volumes like the other versions seem to be. I am going by chapters so hopefully I am caught up.

I can't remember if Mr. Darcy's letter to Elizabeth was in last week's reading or in this week's, but I find it interesting that in several of the Jane Austen books that I have read that a letter is written to explain a characters behavior or such. I love it! My husband and I wrote letters back and forth before we were married, even though we saw each other almost every day! But this is not a love letter that Mr. Darcy writes. It is a response to all that Elizabeth accused him of when he proposed to her. I loved his letter so much! It was written with dignity and class. Maybe a bit of pride too, but he is setting the record straight for her and I like it! I liked it so much that I highlighted the whole thing! Even though Lizzie doesn't want to she soon sees her folly in believing in everything that Wickham claimed about Darcy.

"She was NOW struck with the impropriety of such communications to a stranger, and wondered it had escaped her before. She saw the indelicacy of putting himself forward as he had done, and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct."

"She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think without feeling she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd."

"I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself."

I love that last quote. Such an awakening for her!

Mary and her speeches kill me! Oh my goodness she is so boring! Poor girl! Boring and homely, wonder if she will ever find a match? But I can relate with her on this quote:

"To this Mary very gravely replied, Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures! They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. But I confess they would have no charms for ME--I should infinitely prefer a book." AMEN SISTER!

Oh Mrs. Bennet! That poor clueless woman. She makes me so exasperated and disgusted and yet she also makes me laugh as with this quote,

"Thought I shall always say he used my daughter extremely ill; and if I was her, I would not have put up with it. Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart; and then he will be sorry for what he has done."

I love the Gardners and how they take Jane and Lizzie away from all of the foolishness at home whenever possible. First taking Jane to London with them and then taking Lizzie on a tour of the countryside with the infamous trip to Pemberley. I love how astonished Lizzie is to hear how well Darcy is thought of by his servants and the people of his hometown. So different than what he appears outside of his hometown. He is obviously a good and generous employer and this baffles Lizzie extremely. And on an aside...how funny to be traveling around and knocking on private homes doors and requesting a tour! ha! I absolutely love this quote from Darcy's housekeeper,

"He is the best landlord, and the best master," said she, "that ever lived; not like the wild young men nowadays, who think of nothing but themselves. There is not one of his tenants or servants but will give him a good name. Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw anything of it. To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young men."

I also loved how it didn't take Lizzie long to realize that Miss Darcy wasn't proud, but she was shy! And she therefore treated her kindly. Oh Bingley's sisters are just rude! To even come close to mentioning Wickham's name in front of Miss Darcy was pushing the bounds of propriety. They think themselves above everyone, but yet the stoop lower than anyone!

Oh the poor Bennet family and Lydia's indiscretion! That girl was trouble from the get-go!The result of a mother that is too foolish and indulgent and a father who is absent and who subjects his family to mockery. They were asking for trouble with Lydia.

And then that letter from Mr. Collins! Oh my goodness! If I didn't like that man before, I certainly can't stand him now! What do you think about this quote in his letter?

"The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this."

HOW HORRIBLE to say something like that to grieving parents! And he's a minister!!!! Awful awful man!

Even though I think Mr. Bennet is lacking in his fatherly skills he still makes me laugh!

"This is a parade," he cried, "which does one good; it gives such an elegance to misfortune! Another day I will do the same; I will sit in my library, in my nightcap and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I can; or, perhaps, I may defer it till Kitty runs away."

Then his whole speech about Kitty not being able to do anything or go to dances etc. cracked me up. He's really all bluff, but maybe he learned his lesson?

This last quote had me laughing:

"Well, well, said he, "do not make yourself unhappy. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them."

Poor Kitty is now going to suffer the consequences of Lydia's poor behavior!

That closes out this week's reading. We will be discussing the end of the book next week. Lots of good stuff still to come!!!

One question Amber asked in her post is:

"Who do you think has changed the most since the beginning of the story? What are some examples of how he or she has changed for the better or for the worse."

I'd say both Lizzie and Darcy have changed. Mainly in each others eyes. They have both discovered more about themselves and more about each other. Both have had their pride pricked and their prejudices challenged and changed.

See you next week!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Of Things To Come by Miranda Atchley-BLOG TOUR




Hello, and welcome to the Of Things To Come blog tour! We’re celebrating the release of the third book in The Abi Hensley Series, which releases on October 27, 2017. Read further to find out more about the book and the giveaway.


About The Book

After enduring the First World War, most of the world is hoping to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and move forward in the year 1919. Yet for Abi Hensley the happiness she felt upon the end of the war has been short lived. Grief stricken from the passing of a dear friend, she cannot seem to overcome the loss. Amidst her grief, she is also struggling with her writing, something that has always been a comfort to her. In light of these circumstances, she finds herself questioning many things in her life for the first time.

Can Abi get back to all that she loves and look forward to things to come?




About The Author


Miranda Atchley loves books of all sorts, but has always had a special place in her heart for historical A Castle in the Sky was a finalist for Read Free.ly’s The 50 Best Indie Books of 2016. She also writes the blog A Real Writer’s Life. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find Miranda with her head in a book, taking a walk, or watching Downton Abbey at her home in Arkansas.
fiction. Writing is her favorite thing to do and she has published three historical novels and three contemporary young adult novels.
Find Miranda at:




The Abi Hensley Series
           
Want to read the first two books in The Abi Hensley Series? Just click here!



Blog Tour Dates

10/20 Amber at Seasons of Humility
10/21 Julie at My Favorite Pastime
10/22 Grace at She Hearts Fiction
10/23 Amada at ASC Book Reviews

GIVEAWAY




Thank you for stopping by and showing your support for Of Things To Come!