February Happenings

Ah, February. The shortest month. The month for all things chocolate and heart-y. And for my family, a big month of birthdays. On the blog today, I’m looking back at some fun that happened this month!


on the bookshelf

Only a few new books on the shelf this month….. which is probably a good thing. I need to catch up! The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin, As Easy As Riding a Bike by Bell Renshaw, Embers by Ronie Kendig, Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Best On-Screen Rom-Com Couples
  2. First Line Fridays ❤ Valentine’s Day Edition: The Breath of Dawn
  3. Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” by Jane AustenLove in Three Quarter Time

Most popular reviews:

  1. Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan
  2. The Cupcake Dilemma by Jennifer Rodewald (+ Author Interview)
  3. Music Review: “Whole Heart” by Passion Music

on the screen


Gifted (2017) I finally watched this family drama starring Chris Evans. It was as delightful as a movie concerning a custody battle could be — and I mean that in the best way. Tiny moments of humor added levity to an otherwise thought-provoking story line dealing with questions of purpose, normalcy, and the importance of childhood.

I’m also working my way through the 2008 biographical miniseries John Adams. By next month’s recap, I’m sure I’ll have several thoughts on it!

What have YOU been watching?

around the web

With Valentine’s came some super fun romance-related posts! Like Carrie’s themed KissingBooks 101 “lesson” and Andi’s “guess that author” list!

The INSPYs are in full swing, as the advisory board members have been saying on social media. (FYI, INSPYs are the “bloggers’ award for excellence in faith-driven literature”). On March 1, potential judges can apply to participate in choosing the 2018 winners!

YOUR TURN! What exciting things happened for you in February?


Music Review + GIVEAWAY: “Whole Heart” Album by Passion Music

This is release day for the latest installment in the “Passion” event live praise & worship albums: WHOLE HEART. Today I’m sharing a review + ways to learn more about Passion and an opportunity to win your own copy of the music.

Before you go, be sure to enter the CD GIVEAWAY (US only) via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.


Whole Heart is a collection of truth-filled praise anthems. Upon my first listen, a line or two gave me chills. These songs display the styles and tones I expect from the veteran artists, while the newer voices offer refreshing artistic variance to the set.

I was happy to discover a couple familiar and already favorite songs like Crowder’s “All My Hope” and “Great Are You Lord” sung by Matt Redman on this album. And, I think I’ve found some new ones to set on ‘repeat’, particularly “Ghost” and “Reckless Love”.

Like the title song alludes, this album carries a theme of hope and grace shared through praise. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of commitment on both sides: God freely offering His whole heart to us to accept through salvation, and our returned praise and faith lived out daily.


Passion Whole Heart

WHOLE HEART is the new live album from Passion—captured at Passion Conference 2018 in Atlanta, GA. Passion Conference 2018 was a beautiful worship experience, and the live album captures each powerful moment, allowing those who were not in attendance to experience it.

Featuring songs by these artists:

Kristian Stanfill, Melodie Malone, Sean Curran, Matt Redman, Brett Younker, Crowder, and Tauren Wells.

Buy Whole Heart by Passion Music:



Rooted out of the Passion movement, we are committed to leading people towards renewed intimacy with God and fresh encounters of worship. Passion is more than music. More than events. Passion is a generation living for His name.”

Learn more about Passion at: http://passionmusic.com/story/

You can listen to Passion music at http://capcmg.me/PassionSpotify


Giveaway is for (1) copy of Whole Heart, US mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends 3/1/18 12am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

January Happenings

Today marks the last day of January and 1 month passed in 2018. How is that possible?! Join me in looking at some new books added to the shelf, popular posts, and favorites from this month.

on the bookshelf

New books on the shelves (virtual and real): The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz, Blue Columbine by Jennifer Rodewald, The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, “The Rock Harbor Collection” by Colleen Coble, and Nightshade by Ronie Kendig. ARCs: Amongst the Roses by Meghan M. Gorecki, A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green, Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan, Unbreakable by Sara Ella, The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron, The Heart Between Us by Lindsey Harrel, No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert, and The Cupcake Dilemma by Jennifer Rodewald.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Best of 2017
  2. Top Ten Tuesday: Top 13 New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2017
  3. First Line Fridays #9: The Saturday Night Supper Club

1-The UncloakedMost popular book reviews:

  1. Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood
  2. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  3. “The Uncloaked” Trilogy by J. Rodes

on the screen

Oh, so many movies, so little time! Instead of waxing poetic about a movie or two, I’m just going to list some I’ve really enjoyed lately. What have YOU been watching?

  • One Winter Weekend (Hallmark) |While not without its little moments of cheesiness, this one was 99% believable and one of the best of the winter themes. Plus, the leading actress, Taylor Cole, is a fav.
  • VictoriaVictoria, S2season 2 (on Masterpiece Classic, PBS) | My history and romance loving heart LOVES this series! It’s one of the best developed series I’ve ever seen, everything from the historical accuracy, gorgeous sets/costumes, the ❤ great cast, and the nuances of the supporting cast just works.
  • 12 Strong (Warner Bros.) | Riveting and eye-opening, this depiction of true life events just after 9/11 makes me honored and proud to be an American.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney) | Yes, I’m a nerd. And a fan of the direction this movie took. #REYLO
  • The Case for Christ (Pure Flix) | This biopic based on Lee Strobel’s life and journey from atheism to faith is interesting and faith-affirming. Go watch it.

around the web

If you’re still on the lookout for a reading challenge to complete this year, go check out Bethany House’s unique and quirky list.

Author Carla Laureano wrote an AWESOME guest post on the Seekerville blog all about The Care and Feeding of Authors. FYI, this list applies to bloggers, too. Just throw chocolate at us when we look like we need it.


YOUR TURN! Tell me all about your January in the comments. 



The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

Thanks to Rissi for sharing this fun Christmas Book Tag! Head over to her blog post or BookTube channel for her tag.

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

The Lacemaker by Laura FrantzI could refer you to my recent Top Ten Tuesday post all about this, but I’ll just mention ONE. The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing its praises?

Pepper Basham. Every. Single. Time.

3) Gingerbread Houses | What book or series has wonderful world building?

Ooh! Anything by Lori Benton. Most recently, Many Sparrows. Her attention to historical details simply transport the reader to the wilds of the frontier.

4) A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read.

north and south endingThat’s easy. Persuasion by Jane Austen and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell are two favorites.

5) Christmas Sweets | What book would you love to receive for Christmas?

Hmm. My Christmas list consists of the “Discarded Heroes” series by Ronie Kendig, specifically the recent re-releases: Nightshade and Digitalis.

6) Candles in the Window | What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling?

How about a Christmas title for this one? Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg.

7) Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers?

I’m a bit obsessed with book covers. A few recent and upcoming favorites would have to be:

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof (2018), Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh (2018), Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac, Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg, Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey, Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge.

8) Christmas Joy | What are some of your favorite things about Christmas and/or some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Combined good food and family time! My Christmas Eve tradition of going to my grandma’s house for dinner is a favorite. As my family has grown with new cousins and second cousins, it’s even more fun. Watching the youngest kids all open their gifts is the most fun! And, there’s something cozy about eating a traditional Christmas meal (ham, turkey, potatoes of all kinds, pie, etc.).


This tag was created by Samantha at Novels and Nonsense. The original video was posted on her YouTube channel on November 23rd, 2015.

Your turn!!!! What would your answers be to these prompts? Join in the tag fun!


“Passport to Pinterest” Tag

Social media has been blessed with a fun platform for images, bookmarks, and inspiration for planning everything from your cat’s sweaters to a dream log cabin. I’m talking about Pinterest! I’ve been tagged to share random images from my favorite Pinterest boards in the “Passport to Pinterest” tag by Rayleigh Gray over at Accelerate the Jesus Movement blog. The tag originally appears on the Livy Lynn blog. (Thanks for the tag, Rayleigh!)


The Rules:

  1. Open your Boards.
  2. Open http://www.random.org (Or any random number generator website or app of your choosing.)
  3. Enter the number of pins on your first board.
  4. Click “Generate.”
  5. Find that number pin on your board.
  6. Share the image of that Pin in your new Blog Post, and a little blurb about why it’s important to you!
  7. Continue the process with ALL or as many of your boards as you like!
  8. Tag another blogger (or two, or three…or ten! The more, the merrier!) and link back to thank the blogger who tagged you.


Without further ado, here are some random favorites from my Pinterest boards!

The board: The Green Mockingbird [my blog]

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection

The board: Books, books, and more books!

Curl up with a good book

Curl up with a good book….

The board: “Price of Privilege” Series by Jessica Dotta | Dream Cast + Aesthetic

keys - price of privilege aesthetic

How fitting a ring of keys is the photo for this board….oh, the significance of a certain set of keys in this book series!

The board: Is it tea time yet?


Tea is always a good idea. I wholeheartedly agree.

The board: Classics

leap year

LEAP YEAR. This movie is adorable.

The borad: All Things Austen and English

far from

“Romantic moment of the week” from the Silver Petticoat featuring “Far From the Madding Crowd”….. I ❤ the cinematography of this movie and the hero. The heroine, not so much.

The board: North & South – Elizabeth Gaskell & BBC

north and south ending

North and South ending scene ❤

The board: poetic


Nevertheless, she persisted. Encouragement for you today. 🙂

The board: Random Amusing & Funny Things

random funny

Have a laugh!

The board: Music


More Heart, Less Attack by NEEDTOBREATHE

The board: Cabins, Mountains, Camping, & Woods


Isn’t this peaceful?!


YOUR TURN! If you’d like to join in this fun photo-sharing idea, consider yourself tagged! Or, if you waste time on Pinterest like me, share your Pinterest profile link in the comments!


Music Review + GIVEAWAY: “Glory Song” Album by Matt Redman

While I mostly talk books around here, music is one of my very favorite things. I’ve long been a fan of Matt Redman’s music and songwriting, so sharing a review of his latest album today is a treat! *And*, before you go, be sure to enter the CD GIVEAWAY via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.


Glory Song captures the familiar praise and worship style Matt has authored for years now, with a fresh sound and approach due to the vocal guests and arrangements. A few of the songs feature a backing choir that lends a gospel feel. Most of all, I appreciate the Scripture-based truths incorporated into the songs, clearly pointing to God with declarations of praise.

My favorites include the mid-tempo song “It Is Finished” and the slower, worshipful “One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)” (yay for refreshed classic hymns!) and “Simple Pursuit/Glory Song”, a new take on a song familiar to me because of the Passion version.


Glory Song

Matt Redman teamed up with several of his worship-artist friends for this album, first releasing the track “Gracefully Broken (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard).” Tasha Cobbs Leonard also released her own version of this song on the same day! The album also features Kierra Sheard, Guvna B, Madison Cunningham, and Kim Walker-Smith.




Gracefully Broken Top Of The Tower Live Video

Gracefully Broken (Lyric Video)

Gracefully Broken (Song Story):


Buy the Album (iTunes)


Giveaway is for (1) copy of Glory Song, US mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends 10/5/2017 12am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Winner guidelines:  Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


June Happenings

It’s that time of month AGAIN……(head’s up: this post has A LOT of Jane Austen/Jane of Austin gushing)

2017-06-27 18.56.58

on the bookshelf

I added more than a few books to the bookshelf in June. It’s going to be a busy summer! One fabulous just-because read being True to You by Becky Wade, others being Then There Was You by Kara Isaac, Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and a neat Jane Austen Memoir compilation by some of her relatives. Other for-review copies include Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge, The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo, High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin, and On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Memorable Dads in Literature + #BookDadQuotes
  2. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid)
  3. Book Spotlight, Author Interview, & GIVEAWAY: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray

Screenshot_2017-06-15-22-48-28-1Most popular book reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge
  3. The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

in the kitchen

I really, really want-to-make these olive oil chocolate chunk cookies I found on The Little Epicurean site. Soon.

20170626_150604 (800x450)did bake scones just this week from Hillary Manton Lodge’s recipe in Jane of Austin. Her recipe is for cranberries, but I happened to have fresh blueberries on hand and they worked just as well!

on the screen

Sense and SensibilityYet again, because of Jane of Austin, I re-watched the 1995 Sense and Sensibility movie. It had been way too long since I had watched it, and I appreciated it all the more this viewing. It is brilliantly cast!!! And the acting performances are wonderful, particularly that of Emma Thompson (I ❤ her).

Recently, I discovered the weekly travel show Born to Explore with Richard Wiese on a local TV station. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the episodes on Morocco, India, Uganda, and Cyprus.

around the web

Continuing with all the Jane Austen love this month, here are 3 wonderful articles by Hillary Manton Lodge:

Thanks to a Tyndale House Facebook post, I found these adorable little Lender’s Library Bookmarks — a free printable library-ish bookmark to keep tabs on your lent books.\

If you like “armchair adventures”, or traveling through reading, this is a “reading list road trip” from Bethany House Publishers of 2017 releases and their locations across the U.S. and globe.