Top Ten Tuesday: Landscape #CoverLove

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Officially, Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10! Congratulations to the beginning ladies at The Broke and the Bookish for starting this Tuesday tradition and to Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl for continuing it!

The assignment this week is to pick a past topic and redo it or to pick one you haven’t done and participate! I have decided to do a twist on book cover design, particularly my favorite landscape-style covers. Some of these are favorite stories, some are still on my TBR. I recommend checking out these authors’ other books, too, for more great landscape covers.

Top Ten Tuesday: Landscape #CoverLove

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter | review

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton | review

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

Promise Me Tomorrow by Lori Wick

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright | review

Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge | review

Top Ten Tuesday: 11 Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Official topic: Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

This week’s topic combines two of my favorite things: books and music! With all kinds of band names out there in many genres of music, ranging from quirky to straightforward and clever, it’s reasonable to think that some book titles would also make great band names.

My list includes descriptors and names I think could make it in the music world and be memorable. I’d like to think a group called The Thorn Healers would be folksy, Lizzy and Jane would be a sister duo, and Bear No Malice would be an indie rock band! 😉

11 Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

Two Blue Doors (series) by Hillary Manton Lodge

The Thorn Healer(s) by Pepper Basham

Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

Bear No Malice by Clarissa Harwood

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

Emerald Illusion by J. Rodes

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Your turn! Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week? Have you read any of these books?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Signs You’re a Book Lover

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Official topic: 10 Signs You’re a Book Lover

This week’s topic was SO FUN to play with! I’m guilty of most of these on my list…

10 signs you're a book lover

10 Signs You’re a Book Lover

  1. A peek inside your purse (or bag) reveals a book (or two!) in progress… I’ve been known to carry around a paperback or an ebook device all the time, especially on road trips or vacations.
  2. Your TBR (to be read) pile has turned into a bookshelf all its own… or maybe it’s haphazardly scattered through the house. Or tracked on Goodreads. But at least YOU know which books you haven’t read and which ones you must-read-next!
  3. Your Amazon order history is 90% book related… Books. Notebooks in which to write about books. Ebooks. Books to gift all of your family and loved ones. Shelves and bags to house books.
  4. Random conversations or historical tidbits make you think about fictional characters... Someone mentions WWI spies? You think of Kate Breslin’s stories. Or a mention of the name Callum instantly causes all the feels and a need to visit TX (Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge).
  5. You have a pet named after a fictional character… OK, so I don’t have one named Darcy or Thornton or Oliver YET, but those names are on the future pet list!
  6. You have a dangerously high stack of books on your nightstand… and, like me, your mom has warned you about the stack falling on you while you sleep.
  7. You keep a spreadsheet on your computer with a list of books you’ve read, and a separate list sorted by historical eras… or maybe that’s just me. 😉
  8. Your friends and family gift you bookish things… like bookmarks, cookbooks, gift cards to your favorite bookstores, or that one novel you’ve been dying to get your hands on!
  9. Your favorite movies or series are adaptations of your favorite stories… like North & South, Emma, or maybe The Count of Monte Cristo and Jason Bourne are more your thing.
  10. You spend time making lists like this… ABOUT books!

Your turn! Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week? Do you share any of these book-loving-signs with me? Drop a link in the comments!

Recommended Reading: Series to Binge

In light of all the craziness happening in the world right now, you might find yourself with extra time to read that book or series you’ve had on your shelf for forever. If you’ve read all the books in your house (Go you! I commend you!), and you’re looking to discover more great stories, I have compiled a list of 11 series you can binge-read NOW!

In my reading opinion, nothing is better than getting to breeze through a series back to back with NO WAITING until the next book is released!

I’ve listed these in order of historical era and genre, with Goodreads links to the series and some links to my reviews. And, confession time, all of these have some element of romance 😉

Parish Orphans of Devon series by Mimi Matthews | Victorian Era England + abroad

Delightful and deep Victorian romances, each of these couples have unique appeal (brooding, bookish, assertive, sweet, and redeemed rogue in the mix). I will reread these forever. The audio versions are wonderful, too!

The Matrimonial Advertisement | A Modest Independence | A Convenient Fiction | The Winter Companion

Timber Ridge Reflections series by Tamera Alexander | Post-Civil War American West

I remember loving each of these historical romances for different reasons, the first one being the subject of photography in book From a Distance.

Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta | Mystery and Intrigue in Victorian England

My favorite EVER historical series — and I don’t say this lightly! All three books encompass one of the most transformative arcs of the heroine. The allegorical symbolism of redemption deeply embedded in this series blows me away every time I think about it.

Born of Persuasion | Series feature: Price of Privilege

The Everstone Chronicles series by Dawn Crandall | Gilded Age New England

Four novels + 1 novella all with unique 1st person point-of-view heroines. Plus the Adirondack and coastal settings are detailed and idyllic!

The Hesitant Heiress | The Bound Heart | The Captive Imposter | The Cautious Maiden

Herringford & Watts Mysteries by Rachel McMillan | Pre-WWI Toronto

Trouser-wearing lady detectives solve crime in Toronto on the cusp of world war with a colorful cast of secondary characters, and two (or three!) valiant love interests. Three full length novels, two novellas, and a short story offer pages of fun with these friends!

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder | A Lesson in Love and Murder | The White Feather Murders

Penned in Time series by Pepper Basham | WWI England & America

From the front lines to English hospitals and the US treatment of German residents, this romance series explores many facets of the era. Most outstanding, though, it its stories of love and redemption. Book 2 is my favorite!

The Thorn Bearer | The Thorn Keeper | The Thorn Healer

Sunrise at Normandy series by Sarah Sundin | WWII & Battle of Normandy

This series shows how the Allied forces approached and carried out the Battle of Normandy, each by the sea, air, and land. Three estranged brothers find reconciliation and romance while serving in each branch during this pivotal battle. Oh, and each one references and reflects a Biblical story!

The Sea Before Us

Tox Files series by Ronie Kendig | Paramilitary Thrillers

This series needs a seatbelt warning! The prequel novella and three novels follow a covert team around the globe as they work to eliminate a threat and save the day. Besides the kick-butt heroines, the team camaraderie is fun! Oh, and the slight supernatural elements are super cool!

Conspiracy of Silence | Crown of Souls | Thirst of Steel

Two Blue Doors series by Hillary Manton Lodge | Family, Food, & Romance in the PNW

Basically love letters to food and romance, this series courts identity and family as well as a perfect romance between imperfect people. The included recipes will make your mouth water, as will the heritage threads and few “trips” abroad.

A Table by the Window | Reservations for Two | Together at the Table

Chesapeake Valor series by Dani Pettrey | Romantic Suspense

Investigator and law enforcement friends find love amidst the chaos of solving crimes and puzzles in the Chesapeake Bay area and beyond. Fast-paced and memorable, a thread of a story ties all four books together to culminate in a final gripping tale.

Cold Shot | Still Life | Blind Spot | Dead Drift

A Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade | Contemporary Romance

This series has it all: romance, sisters, family, romance, books, mystery, romance, humor, chocolate, and a hint of suspense. Reading it will make you fall in love with the characters! The epistolary prequel novella and the midpoint Christmas novella are fully-developed and sweet, too!

Falling for You | True to You | Falling for You | Sweet On You

Do you have any recommendations for series I should read ASAP?

Seriously, ya’ll. Stay safe and wash your hands.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 One Word Titles (Recommendations + TBR)

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Official topic: Books with Single Word Titles

I had to look back through my Goodreads shelves for this list! I found that books with 3-5 word titles are most common. Two, plentiful enough. One? Rare considering the hundreds of titles I browsed through!

I’m sharing a few of what I consider “classic” Christian fiction titles today in recommendations (ahem, ones that I read years ago), along with some recent gems. And, I’m featuring 5 titles on my TBR.

10 One Word Titles

Recommendations

Rekindled by Tamera Alexander | I remember loving the setting as much as the unique plot

Facade by Pepper Basham | Espionage, a secret mission, and sweet romance

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann | The first I read by Ms. Heitzmann that made me an instant fan!

Reclaimed by Jennifer Rodewald | Humor AND a serious redemption arc that will make you cry

Duchess by Susan May Warren | I remember enjoying at inside look at classic Hollywood glamour contrasted with the wartime events of the era.

TBR

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson | A sweet romance everyone says I need to read!

Bethlehem by Ka ren Kelly | I LOVE this cover.

Nightshade by Ronie Kendig | For when I’m in the mood for action and an ensemble cast, I look to Ronie.

Sway by Amy Matayo | Music + a YA feel

Submerged by Dani Pettrey | I need to catch up on Dani’s debut romantic suspense series!

Your turn! Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week? Have you read any of these books? Which one from by TBR do I *need* to read soon?

Favorite Quotes from “The Blue Castle” by L. M. Montgomery

Last year, in April, I had the privilege of reading The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery for the first time. (Shoutout to my friend Rachel McMillan for hosting the readalong!) While this novel is much less well-known than Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables series, it deserves ALL the love for its brilliance and wit. Barney and Valancy are the ultimate couple, making The Blue Castle one of my all-time favorite books now.

Today I want to share some of my favorite quotes from The Blue Castle. I have highlighted my Kindle book and seriously underlined and written notes in the margin of my paperback copy (which I rarely do!), so I have a ton of beautiful lines to choose from. A few of these are more significant in context, but I couldn’t resist including them here. I’ll let Barney and Valancy and John Foster speak for themselves…

Favorite Quotes

‘”The woods are so human,” wrote John Foster, “that to know them one must live with them. An occasional saunter through them, keeping to the well-trodden paths, will never admit us to their intimacy. If we wish to be friends we must seek them out and win them by frequent, reverent visits at all hours; by morning, by noon, and by night; and at all seasons, in spring, in summer, in autumn, in winter.’

‘”Do you want to catch your death of cold again?” Her voice implied that Valancy had died of a cold several times already.’

‘”The greatest happiness,” said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, “is to sneeze when you want to.”‘

‘”Good-evening, Miss Stirling.” Nothing could be more commonplace and conventional. Any one might have said it. But Barney Snaith had a way of saying things that gave them poignancy. When he said good-evening you felt that it was a good evening and that it was partly his doing that it was. Also, you felt that some of the credit was yours.’

‘”John Foster says,” quoted Valancy, “If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you’ll never be and you need not waste time in trying.'”

‘Once in a thousand years, you know, one cat is allowed to speak. My cats are philosophers—neither of them ever cries over spilt milk.’

‘”Isn’t it better to have your heart broken than to have it wither up?” queried Valancy. “Before it could be broken it must have felt something splendid. That would be worth the pain.”‘

‘After the meal was over they would sit there and talk for hours—or sit and say nothing, in all the languages of the world…’

‘Barney knew the woods as a book and he taught their lore and craft to Valancy. He could always find trail and haunt of the shy wood people. Valancy learned the different fairy-likenesses of the mosses—the charm and exquisiteness of woodland blossoms. She learned to know every bird at sight and mimic its call—though never so perfectly as Barney. She made friends with every kind of tree.’

‘Or they just prowled and explored through woods that always seemed to be expecting something wonderful to happen. At least, that was the way Valancy felt about them. Down the next hollow—over the next hill—you would find it. “We don’t know where we’re going, but isn’t it fun to go?” Barney used to say.’

‘Once they stood in a hesitation of ecstasy at the entrance of a narrow path between ranks of birches. Every twig and spray was outlined in snow. The undergrowth along its sides was a little fairy forest cut out of marble. The shadows cast by the pale sunshine were fine and spiritual. “Come away,” said Barney, turning. “We must not commit the desecration of tramping through there.”‘

‘There are so many kinds of loveliness. Valancy, before this year you’ve spent all your life in ugliness. You know nothing of the beauty of the world. We’ll climb mountains—hunt for treasures in the bazaars of Samarcand—search out the magic of east and west—run hand in hand to the rim of the world. I want to show you it all—see it again through your eyes. Girl, there are a million things I want to show you—do with you—say to you. It will take a lifetime.’

All quotes attributed to Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Blue Castle, Feedbooks. Kindle Edition.

Have you read The Blue Castle? Are you

Top Ten Tuesday: 11 Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Official topic: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

This seemed like an easy topic, but the more I think about it, the more complicated it becomes! I could talk all about my #TBR mountain and how it grows weekly, but instead I’ll share a list of the most recent books I have acquired copies of (both purchased and through review services). Some of these I will be reading VERY soon!

(titles linked to Goodreads)

11 Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Contemporary Books… I love the bright colors on these covers!

The Last Shot by Amy Matayo

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Historical Books… I LOVE these 5 covers!

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah E. Ladd

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

Follow the Dawn by Rachelle Rea Cobb

Bonus 11th BOOK: The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

cover The London Restoration

I recently read a really early ARC of The London Restoration, so it’s technically on my “shelf”! This is one I will be rereading in paperback form! (It also made it on to my Goodreads favorites shelf — only a few titles a year make the cut.)

It’s a wonderfully-told historical romance set in post-WWII London.

See my Goodreads review here!

Your turn! What books have you added to your shelves recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Best of 2019: Film & TV + Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! Like last year, I’m separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. It’s going to take me a few days to talk about all the stories I loved in 2019!

I’m also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday today, the topic being Favorites of 2019 ~~ my twist being fav movies & shows!

  1. Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks
  2. Best of 2019: Contemporary Fiction
  3. Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction
  4. Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction
  5. Best of 2019: Film & TV + Top Ten Tuesday!
  6. Best of 2019: Happy New Year #OnTheBlog

So far, I have talked all about the books I loved. Today I shift focus slightly and talk about story in a different form: TV & movies! From this list it’s obvious how my taste is eclectic 😉

Best of 2019: Film & TV

FILM FAVORITES

Avengers: Endgame (Disney) | Yes, I admit it. I’m a big fan of the MCU, moreso in recent years, as I’ve seen Disney take these characters on unforgettable story arcs all wonderfully (if not always perfectly) intertwined. I’m excited to see what 2020 brings with new additions to the next “phase” of films!

The Boys are Back (Miramax) | I discovered this 2009 film re-airing on television. It is a humorous and poignant look at family and grief, and one father’s journey to learning how to do “life” in a different way.

Harriet (Focus Features) | This real-life story of a BRAVE woman was both encouraging and tragic. I wonder if the real Harriet ever considered how her story could still be impacting the world 150 years later?

Overcomer (Affirm Films) | A film for anyone in the family to enjoy, this story touched my heart with its surprises and depth.

Ad Astra (Fox) | Stunning visuals combine in this “to the stars” movie, but it’s not all about exploration and the cosmos. Its message about life, family, and people needing PEOPLE is subtle and beautifully expressed.

Midway (Lionsgate) | If it’s a WWII story, count me in! This well-told story incorporates a cast based on real-life heroes.

Little Women (Sony) | In theaters now, this re-imagining of Alcott’s classic shows the March sisters in a fresh way. I really liked the way the non-linear timeline of the film was presented! Saoirse plays Jo SO WELL.

Downton Abbey (Focus Features) | Avid fans of the series rejoiced when the movie-length story released! It is a continuation with beloved characters! Though I didn’t love *every* aspect of this presentation, I did love the way they hint at a happily-ever-after for Tom. And I loved ALL the scenes and one-liners of Lady Violet’s.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) | Yes, I’m a fan. Every scene was fascinating! I did not expect THAT ENDING. I love it when a story surprises me.

TV FAVORITES

I have loved my PBS channel this year! The final season of Poldark left me happy because it ended hopefully. Also, George Warleggan was a surprise this round!

New seasons of Victoria and Grantchester were great, too! I’m still working my way through the PBS Country Music documentary series.

My recommended Hallmark channel Christmas movie list this year includes A Godwink Christmas: Meant For Love, Picture a Perfect Christmas, and A Christmas Love Story, the latter being my favorite! Also, I enjoyed Christmas On My Mind, adapted from a Denise Hunter novel (woohoo)!

What did you watch this year? Do you have favorite movies to recommend? Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday with a favorites list?

Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! Like last year, I’m separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. It’s going to take me a few days to talk about all the stories I loved in 2019!

best of 2019 graphic

I have exceeded my reading goals for 2019 according to my Goodreads reading challenge! If you’d like to see all of my 5-star reads and extensive reviews, just check out my completed Goodreads challenge or browse my blog archives. Each day leading up to New Year’s Day you’ll get a new post about my 2019 favorites:

  1. Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks
  2. Best of 2019: Contemporary Fiction
  3. Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction
  4. Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction
  5. Best of 2019: Film & TV
  6. Best of 2019: Happy New Year #OnTheBlog (reading challenge?)

The rules: because sometimes I need to keep things brief, I’m choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review.

I read a lot more historical novels this year than I typically do! Narrowing down this list was a challenge — these are the best of the best!

Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz | Review

Fortitude. Faith. Fireflies.

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof | Review

Restored trust. Extending grace. Family.

Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin | Review

Adventure. Honor. Intrigue.

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan | Review

Friendship. Loyalty. Reggie’s “journal of independence”.

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander | Review

True-life romance. Freedom. Integrity.

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano | Review

Identity. Classic literature. Worth.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patty Callahan | Review

Journey to faith. Intelligent friendship. Grief.

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden | Review

Dreams. Smart romance. Truth.

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green | Review

Belonging. Courage. Forgiveness.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd | Review

Subtle mystery. Romance. Value.

Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! Like last year, I’m separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. It’s going to take me a few days to talk about all the stories I loved in 2019!

I have exceeded my reading goals for 2019 according to my Goodreads reading challenge! If you’d like to see all of my 5-star reads and extensive reviews, just check out my completed Goodreads challenge or browse my blog archives. Each day leading up to New Year’s Day you’ll get a new post about my 2019 favorites:

  1. Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks
  2. Best of 2019: Contemporary Fiction
  3. Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction
  4. Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction
  5. Best of 2019: Film & TV
  6. Best of 2019: Happy New Year #OnTheBlog

The rules: because sometimes I need to keep things brief, I’m choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review.

Today I’m featuring some general market historical fiction I read and LOVED, including a classic! Funny thing: I just realized all but the classic on this list are mostly or partly set in the UK! Must be my inner Anglophile showing up. Annnd, I see that I can call this the list author Rachel McMillan recommended to me 😉

Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction

Bear No Malice by Clarissa Harwood | Review

Grace. Unconditional love. Romance.

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber | Review

Cleverly complex. Atmospheric. Courage.

A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews | Review

Adventure. Resilience. Friendship.

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews | Review

The dogs! Security. Marriage of convenience ❤ .

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

The cabin. Barney Snaith. Sneezing.

Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind by Carla Kelly | Review

Family secrets. Wisdom. Forgiveness.