Thursday, June 30, 2016

Anne of Green Gables Read Along: Final Chapters

Check out Miranda's last post for our Read Along on her blog A Real Writer's Life. I've loved re-reading Anne of Green Gables. In fact I am not ready to leave Anne so I will be reading the next book in the series. If you have read the book feel free to chime in on any of the posts that the Read Along had. Here are the final questions. 

Do you think it was wise for Anne to stay home with Marilla rather than go to college after graduating from Queen's?
Yes I think it was the only choice that Anne could have made. There was no way at this time that Marilla could have taken care of herself and Green Gables. 

Do you think Anne and the other characters changed throughout the book? If so, in what ways?
I definitely think that Marilla has changed. Her hard edge has been softened by a little red-headed girl. Anne has matured, but still maintains her active imagination. I think even Mrs. Lynde has changed in her opinion of Anne. Matthew is the only one that really never changed in his love for his little girl. He was steady and free with his affection towards her. 

If this was your second (or third, fourth, etc...) time reading Anne of Green Gables, what do you think about the book now? Was it the same as you remembered it to be?
I think it was better than I remembered it being! I've read it several times over the years, but it has been a long time since I read it last. I loved the whole story. I laughed and I cried and I cringed and I loved every bit of it!

Favorite Quotes:

"Mrs. Lynde would say, the sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in geometry or not. That is true but not especially comforting. I think I'd rather it didn't go on if I failed!"

"But you have such dimples, said Anne, smiling affectionately into the pretty, vivacious face so near her own. Lovely dimples, like little dents in cream. I have given up all hope of dimples. My dimple-dream will never come true..."

"The real me--back here--is just the same. It won't make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I shall always be your little Anne, who will love you and Matthew and dear Green Gables more and better every day of her life."

"We are going to be the best of friends, said Gilbert jubilantly. We were born to be good friends, Anne."

"Anne's horizons had closed in since the night she had sat there after coming home from Queen's; but if the path set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers of quiet happiness would bloom along it."

"God's in his heaven, all's right with the world, whispered Anne softly."

Wrap Up:

Thanks to Miranda for hosting this Read Along. It was a pleasure to re-read this timeless story once again. If you've never read Anne of Green Gables I highly recommend it! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Anne of Green Gables Read Along Chapters 22-30

This is the 4th installment of the Read Along. Only one more week to go! Head over to our host Miranda's blog at A Real Writer's Life and check out her post for today. I'm enjoying getting to know Anne once again. She makes me smile with her antics and speeches and imagination. I'm sad that she is growing up, but I think the grown-up Anne is just as entertaining and sweet as young Anne. Here is the discussion question for this week:

1: Do you feel that one should quit using their imagination as one grows?

Definitely not! If we stopped using our imagination so many things would never be accomplished. Songs and concerts would not be composed, art would not be crafted, inventions would not be created, stories would never be written. Imagination is what makes the world interesting and entertaining. If we didn't have imagination as we grow up I imagine our existence would be rather flat. 

Favorite Quotes In This Section:

"I must do it, My honor is at stake, said Anne solemnly. I shall walk that ridgepole, Diana or perish in the attempt. If I am killed you are to have my pearl bead ring."

Anne is all about her honor! I loved this section!

"There's one thing plain to be seen, Anne, said Marilla, and that is that your fall of the Barry roof hasn't injured your tongue at all."

Count on Marilla to bring Anne back down to earth! ha!

"Then I thought of my lovely puffed sleeves and took courage, I knew that I must live up to those sleeves Diana."

Hahahaha! Oh this makes me laugh!

"I've found out what an alabaster brow is. That is one of the advantages of being thirteen. You know so much more than you did when you were only twelve."

"Don't give up all your romance, Anne, he whispered shyly, a little of it is a good thing--not too much, of course--but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it."

I love Matthew!!

"It's always wrong to do anything you can't tell the minister's wife, It's as good as an extra conscience to have a minister's wife for your friend."


I love the book so much more than the movie! I know the movie is wonderful too, but the book! Seriously, the book just adds so much more to Anne.

Next week is the last discussion. I've so enjoyed re-reading this book. It is one of my favorite all-time books!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kiss The Bride

Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

Jenna Harrison is a wedding photographer that was dumped at the altar by Ashton Vance 2 years ago. Now Ashton’s sister wants Jenna to photograph her wedding and nobody ever tells her no.

Ash’s sister Amber ruined Jenna’s chances of marrying him when Amber posted pictures that ruined Ash’s chance in running for political office and let Jenna take the blame. Jenna has spent 2 years trying to forgive Ash for not believing that she had nothing to do with posting the pictures and for leaving her to pay for all of the wedding expenses. 

Ash now realizes his mistake and has come to apologize to Jenna and to see if he can get her to photograph Amber’s wedding. Jenna has no desire to be around the Vance family again, but the prospect of paying off her debts, truly forgiving Ash, and moving on with her life has her taking the job. Can Ash and Jenna be just friends, or are their hearts destined to be joined together?

I thought Picture Perfect Love was a sweet romance. I liked the characters and the theme of forgiveness that ran through the story. I liked that Jenna had used the 2 years after Ash dumped her to move on. Joining a new church, solidifying her relationship with the Lord, making new friends all made Jenna a stronger person than she was before. I enjoyed this story very much.

I Hope You Dance by Robin Lee Hatcher

Skye Foster is a dance instructor/barrel racer that has a dream of having a big family of her own someday.

Grant Nichols, former bad boy turned good is in need of dance instructions for a friend’s wedding. Grant has no desire to have children. Coming from a large family he has made up his mind that isn’t for him.

Grant and Skye instantly hit it off; it seems that they are the perfect match for each other. What happens when they find out that their dreams are not in sync with each other?

If you are a fan of love-at-first-sight stories then this will be perfect for you. I really liked Skye and Grant. While I like attraction at first sight I think I prefer a little more story before the couple jumps right to love. Being a short story there isn’t the luxury of developing the relationship in a leisurely manner. Even though the romance was a bit rushed I did find Grant and Skye’s relationship to be believable and sweet.

Love On A Deadline by Kathryn Springer

Mackenzie Davis has returned to her hometown to take care of her father after he had a heart attack. Working for the local newspaper, Mac is hoping to cover more important stories than what she has so far been given. Unfortunately the big story she is given is Hollis Channing’s upcoming wedding to actor Connor Blake. Hollis was Mac’s next door neighbor, and cheerleader for the high school football team. Hollis never gave Mac the time of day. Mac has always had a crush on Hollis’s brother Ethan, star Quarter Back to the high school football team, and as far as Mac remembers had no idea she even existed. When Ethan shows up to help clean up the Channing grounds for the wedding, Mac is once again reminded of why she had a crush on him all those years before.

I loved this story! There is something about the hometown hero coming back to town and noticing the awkward coach’s daughter has grown up and become a beautiful and desirable young woman. And there is also something to be said about a life that is changed when they yield themselves to the Lord. This is one of those stories that I would have liked to have been longer than a short story.

Kiss The Bride was an enjoyable read with 3 sweet stories that kept me entertained and satisfied my Happily Ever After sweet tooth! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anne of Green Gables Read Along Discussion Chapters 13-21

This is week 3 of the Read Along. I'm loving re-reading Anne of Green Gables. So many wonderful memories wrapped up in reading this book. And I just love Anne! Who could not love Anne? I love how she captivates so many people in the book. I love her exuberance and love of life even though she had such a rough start to her existence. These chapters covered oh so many adventures and mishaps in Anne's life. Head on over to Miranda's blog A Real Writer's Life and check out this weeks summary and questions. In the meantime here are my answers:

Discussion Questions:

1: If you were to base your judgment of Anne and Gilbert's relationship off of their first meeting, in which he calls her Carrots and she breaks a slate over his head, what would you say their future would be?
Don't you just love how impetuous Anne can be? And normally she can be so contrite when she does something wrong, but her poor little soul was insulted beyond her endurance this time around. Her hair is going to be the end of her! I think every time I read this book that I long for Anne to forgive Gilbert and get over her pique at him, but the rivalry is part of what makes the reading fun as well. When I first read Anne I hoped that they would get together since I was all about the romance. As an adult and after several readings I still feel the same way! Anne and Gilbert belong together that is all there is to it!

2: Do you feel like Mrs. Barry's judgment after the unfortunate tea party was fair?
Mrs. Barry is just rude! Of course she is upset about what happened to her daughter, but I think it went over the top and I also think she was more put out with what people would say about Diana and the Barry family. So embarrassment added to the whole affair. I think she is a stubborn woman without any "scope for imagination" and therefore she is a bit of a shrew! 

3: Do you find it very likely that Josephine Barry would take a liking to Anne?
Honestly I think once a person talks to Anne they have no choice but to like her. She is alive and sparkly and so sincere that it would be hard for a person to stay angry at her for very long. Plus she was brave to stand up to the old lady so I think that made Josephine Barry take note and admire Anne for that.

4: Why do you think that Anne was so taken with Mrs. Allan?
I think because Mrs. Allan may be the first adult who has treated Anne with respect and dignity. No exasperation. She met Anne's expectations as to what a minister's wife should be. She was loving and kind and one of those "kindred spirits" that Anne is always on the lookout for.

Favorite Quotes:
"Oh Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," exclaimed Anne.

"I am sorry to see a pupil of mine displaying such a temper and such a vindictive spirit," he said in a solemn tone, as if the mere fact of being a pupil of his ought to root out all evil passions from the hearts of small imperfect mortals.
Wasn't Mr. Phillips a jerk? I did not like him one bit and the way he treated Anne was just scandalous! 

"Anne had evidently made up her mind to hate Gilbert Blythe to the end of life."

"Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face; but it was no use; she collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into such a hearty and unusual peal of laughter that Matthew, crossing the yard outside, halted in amazement. When had he heard Marilla laugh like that before?"
This story tickled me because Anne was sobbing because she had just imagined Diana married and moving away and having to say good-bye to her. So funny and Marilla giving the big belly laugh was the icing on the cake!

"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."

"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

Here's the rest of the schedule:

Week 4 (June 17-23): Chapters 22-30
Week 5 (June 24-30): Chapters 31-38

If you are reading along leave a comment about how you are enjoying the story so far and also check out our host Miranda's post.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Singular & Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

I had a bit of a problem trying to figure out where this one comes in the series. I couldn't decide whether it was a sequel to The Bachelor's Girl Guide To Murder or if it came after. But when I started reading it there were events that didn't fit with either. So then it finally dawned on me that this story must have occurred during The Bachelor's Girl Guide To Murder. That would fit perfectly. Ok, so now that I have that figured out it all makes sense! I know, if you have read the books you all probably figured that out, but it was kind of like an "ah ha" moment for me and so I just had to share!

I love the characters of Jem and Merinda. Their guys weren't too featured in this novella, it mainly focused on the gals.  I love the characters of Kat and Mouse. Mainly I think I enjoy their names! How clever! ha! This case focuses once again on some corrupt politicians, women being abused by the power of men because they have no rights, and a missing cat that brings the whole thing together. I enjoyed Jem and Merinda's detective skills and their signature dressing like men to ferret out clues while undercover. If you like cozy little mysteries mixed with a bit of humor then I recommend you read this series.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Chasing June by Holly Schindler

Justin and Annie are joining forces again. This time they want to write a book about the town of Finley. The only problem is that people who once talked freely about their experiences with the ghost of Amos Hargrove and his search for his love Finley, are no longer free with their stories. It appears that nobody wants the specialness of Finley to be passed on to others outside of their town.

This is the 7th installment of the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle. I've loved all of them and can't wait for each month to come for a new installment. We were introduced to Justin and Annie in another installment so it was fun catching up with them and learning another piece of the puzzle that makes the town of Finley so special.

Read my other reviews in the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle:

Come December
January Thaw
Forget February
Dearest March
April's Promise
Mayday Mayday Mayday

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Anne of Green Gables Read Along Chapters 4-12

If you are participating in the Anne of Green Gables Read-Along head on over to A Real Writer's Life and leave Miranda a comment.

Here are this week's discussion questions:

1: In these chapters, we see more of Marilla Cuthbert than in the previous three. What are your impressions of her?

I love Marilla. She seems a bit crusty at first, kind of stiff but that is understandable for an older woman who has never been around many children. I think that we can see she has a sense of humor as well in her trying to cover up smiles and laughs as Anne chatters away. I think she has a sense of duty as well. She is determined to bring Anne up to be a well behaved young lady even though she has no experience in doing so. 

2: Mrs. Rachel Lynde voices some strong opinions of Anne, and vice versa. What do you think of Mrs. Rachel's opinions? And what of Anne's reaction

Mrs. Rachel is a busybody for sure. I think a lot of people use the excuse that they are old so they have a right to say things that are hurtful to others without any repercussions. I think she was too harsh. No matter what she thought of Anne or anyone, it is just plain rude to tell them to their face that they are ugly etc. Not just rude, but hurtful and to me there is never an excuse to be hurtful. I can understand Anne's reaction even though I don't think that as a child she should be able to yell and stamp her foot at an adult. 

3: Upon hearing Mrs. Rachel's opinions, Anne lashes out with some bold statements of her own. What do you think of her reaction?

As Anne herself says later on in her apology what she said was true too, but it shouldn't have been said. I think that the job should have been Marilla's to correct Mrs. Rachel's behavior. Anne is passionate and untrained so of course her reaction is going to be over the top. 

 4: Anne of Green Gables is L.M. Montgomery's most known work, yet she's written more than 20 other novels, hundreds of poems and just as many essays. Have you ever read any of her other works?

I've read Emily of New Moon and The Blue Castle. I enjoyed both. I've read all of the Anne of Green Gables and Chronicles of Avonlea. Loved all of them! 

Quotes that I enjoyed in this section:

"There was scope for imagination here" 
I love this sentence that Anne uses a lot!

"Matthew is a most ridiculous man. I think he's lovely, said Anne reproachfully, He is so very sympathetic. He didn't mind how much I talked--he seemed to like it. I felt that he was a kindred spirit as soon as ever I saw him."
Love Anne's "kindred spirits"

"Isn't pink the most bewitching color in the world? I love it, but I can't wear it. Redheaded people can't wear pink, not even in imagination."
I know a lot of redheads who wear pink, but every time I see it I always think of Anne saying this!

"Marilla, she demanded presently, do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea? A--a what kind of a friend? A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul."
I love Anne's search and desire for her bosom friend!

Next week's discussion will be over chapters 13 through 21

Week 1 (June 1-2): Chapters 1-3
Week 2 (June 3-9): Chapters 4-12
Week 3 (June 10-16): Chapters 13-21
Week 4 (June 17-23): Chapters 22-30
Week 5 (June 24-30): Chapters 31-38

Hope you can join us. I think Anne is a lovely read and a quick read so it wouldn't be too hard to catch up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

Emma Chandler started a colony for women. It was meant to be a sanctuary for the women who took up residence there. But now that sanctuary is being threatened. Someone wants the women to abandon Harper's Station. Each threat becomes more menacing than the one before. Finally the threat becomes more violent. A man that would shoot up a church with women and children present is a violence Emma is unprepared to deal with. Emma needs help, and she knows just the person to send for.

Malachi Shaw is the best dynamite expert in the field. He loves his job. Ten years before, as an orphan, Malachi was taken in by Emma and her aunts.  Grateful for all that they did for him Malachi knows that he will do whatever it takes to save his angel Emma.

Ten years is a long time to be away from someone. Malachi is not disappointed in his remembrance of Emma. She still appears to him as an angel. He's always loved her and now even more so. But, Malachi believes that he is not worthy of his angel so he is there only to help Emma for a few days. He must guard his heart because he knows that he has a job to go back to and Emma has a town of women to run, But each day that Malachi is near Emma he knows it will be even harder to leave her than the first time ten years ago. Malachi also knows that he will let nobody threaten Emma without consequences and that requires him to keep close tabs on her. Will the threats cease now that there is a man in town to protect the women?

My Thoughts:

I loved this story! Karen Witemeyer always slips in a bit of suspense in her books that manages to keep the reader glued to the pages. I especially loved the romance though in this one. Emma and Malachi were perfect together. Sometimes I get tired of reading about all of the misunderstandings that keep couples apart before they finally get together. There wasn't any of that in No Other Will Do. While there were hurdles to be crossed, there was never misunderstanding between Malachi and Emma. I loved both Mal and Emma's personalities. Emma was a strong female character, yet knew when she needed to ask for help. She was stubborn and put herself into situations that weren't safe, but only because she would rather be hurt than allow someone she loved to be hurt. Mal was a swoon-worthy hero that even though he felt unworthy of Emma was the absolute best for her! While the conflict was what brought them together my favorite parts were just the two of them casting longing glances towards each other. I love Karen Witemeyer's books and No Other Will Do did not disappoint. If you haven't read any of her books I say they are a definite must for your library!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Merinda Herringford and Jemima Watts make up the detective team of Herringford and Watts. Two single women determined to make a difference for women's rights in a time when the suffragist movement was just getting started.

Merinda seems to be the one that gets the two into trouble. Jemima is kind of just pulled along. Not that she minds, but dressing up like a man to get information they need goes against the way Jemima was raised.

When a young woman is found murdered at the local theater Herringford and Watts are on the spot. With the Morality Squad combing the streets for women breaking the rules Merinda and Jemima employ their ability to dress like men in order to help local police investigate the poor girls murder. As they come closer to finding the killer the two also find themselves and their friends in danger. Will the two men in their lives, Jasper who is with the police and Ray who is a local newspaperman, be able to keep track of the girls in order to keep them out of trouble?

I enjoyed The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder very much! While it wasn't "on the edge of your seat" full of mystery, there was some action and tense moments for the women. I really liked the characters as well. Especially the men. I liked Ray and Jem's relationship even though at times it was a bit muddled. I'll be looking forward to reading what antics Herringford and Watts are up to next.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along Discussion Chapters 1-3

Check out the first discussion post on Miranda's blog A Real Writer's Life today! It isn't too late to join in on this read-along!

I'm reading Anne of Green Gables in this version:

This book was given to me by a family friend in 1974. We called her Auntie June and I think this is the book that may have started my series collection obsession. Once I read Anne of Green Gables I was hooked and couldn't get enough of her. I was thrilled to find out that this was a series. I gobbled them up! Now many years later I still have this book and even though I have the series on Kindle I decided I would like to crack open my "old" books and read from them. Yes, my book has been through many moves over the years, has a bit of a musty smell to it, but as I read I have so many memories of reading through it the first time.

Here are Miranda's questions for this week's discussion:

1: What was your first impression of Anne Shirley?

She made me laugh! I think one of the hard things reading this time around is comparing the book character with the movie character. Megan Follows is forever imprinted on my mind as Anne. So as the scenes play out, my imagination is conjuring up the actress! I love little girl Anne. She is so honest, so thrilled to finally get a family, so full of imagination. Yes, she can talk the hind legs off a donkey, but I think that is what endears her to the reader. 

2: Matthew Cuthbert, a shy old bachelor, quickly comes to love the talkative orphan mistakenly reserved for he and his sister. Do you find this to be a likely situation?

I find this truly believable. I think that a vulnerable child would definitely capture the heart of a shy old bachelor. Not in any perverted way, but in a fascinated/sympathetic/sensitive-hearted way.  

3: L.M. Montgomery is known for her descriptions of nature.  Do you find them to be bothersome?

Not at all. I find that this kind of adds to insight into Anne's imagination. Montgomery needed to be descriptive in order for the reader to understand Anne's dreamy thoughts and wild imaginations.

4: Is this your first time reading Anne of Green Gables?

No. I think this may be my 3rd or 4th time through. I know I read it a couple of times as a young person, and I read it to my daughters. I may have snuck in another read or two through the years :) I love it and it never gets old.

Miranda didn't ask us to share any quotes, but I'm always up for quotes so thought I would share a couple that touched me, or made me laugh:

"for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum."

"Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of those capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and those of other folks into the bargain."

"Matthew dreaded all women except for Marilla and Mrs. Rachel; he had an uncomfortable feeling that the mysterious creatures were secretly laughing at him."

I think that this paragraph of Anne's description was so perfect:

"A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-gray wincey, She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, which looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others." 

Matthew and Anne's whole drive home delighted me! I love her chatter and her excitement over the beauty all around her. You can tell that she was a child starved for affection and beauty in her life. We see her imagination kicking in with naming the "White Way of Delight" and "The Lake of Shining Waters." 

The most heart-breaking line I think I have ever read:

"You don't want me!" she cried, "You don't want me because I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"

I love the whole scene of Marilla asking her what her name is and Anne wanting to be called Cordelia. But since Marilla refused she had to make sure that Anne was spelled with an "e." 

So there are my thoughts and favorite parts of these three chapters. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you are participating in the read along hop on over to Miranda's blog and answer the questions in the comments or leave a link to your post. Looking forward to more Anne!