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!

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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

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?

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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.
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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. 

 

December (& 2017) Happenings

Wow. It’s time to say goodbye to December and goodbye to another year. This makes me all kinds of nostalgic! There’s just something bright about a year beginning in all its possibility and newness. But first, I’m taking one last look at 2017 and the month of December with the usual rundown and some fun yearly favorites.

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on the bookshelf

New on the bookshelf this December: One Christmas in Winter by Bell Renshaw, Desert Duet by Debra E. Marvin, A Log Cabin Christmas Collection by various authors, The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano, A Sweethaven Christmas by Courtney Walsh, A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White, Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale by Amanda Dykes, and both A Season to Love and A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese.

on the blog

Ordinary SnowflakesDecember popular posts:

  1. Best of 2017
  2. First Line Fridays # 7: Ordinary Snowflakes
  3. First Line Fridays #8 Special Christmas Edition: The Story of the Other Wise Man
  4. The Joy of Christmas Book Tag
  5. Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

The Esther ParadigmjpgDecember popular reviews:

  1. The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon (plus author interview)
  2. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  3. A Cliché Christmas by Nicole Deese

textgram_1488839984.png2017’s most popular posts & reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid!)
  3. 4 Reasons to Read Inspirational Fiction
  4. Best of 2017
  5. Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” by Jane Austen
  6. Top Ten Tuesday:  Top 10 Books on my Winter TBR
  7. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favorite Jane Austen-Esque Romances
  8. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books with Bookish Heroines (and Heroes!)
  9. Book Spotlight & Author Interview: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray
  10. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

in the kitchen

December was a month for baking, both on the job (cupcakes galore!) and for family. My favorite new recipe I tried was, yet again, from a “Bake From Scratch” magazine. It was the Spiced Coconut Oil Cake with Bourbon Glaze. I’m always on the lookout for easily-adaptable dairy free recipes, and this one was simple! (I substituted coconut almond milk with a tad of vinegar for the buttermilk.)

on the screen

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express was a cinematic masterpiece. The costumes, cinematography, script, and even the little moments I found humorous all work to portray the era and gripping story line perfectly.

The Lady EveThe Lady Eve — sometimes a little silly, this is still the classic era of film at its best. Barbara Stanwycke is as glamorous as ever, and Henry Fonda plays the rare comedic relief piece as his world is turned upside down by “Eve” and her schemes. My favorite scene involves HIS father looking for his breakfast!

around the web

My year in books on Goodreads 

So many best-of book lists! Kara, Rissi, Becky, and Beth‘s to name a few.

THE INSPYs ARE OPEN! Check out Rel’s post with all the details. The INSPYs are annual blogger/reader nominated-and-judged inspirational fiction awards, given in several categories. Go vote for your favorite books now!

2018 plans

So far, my 2018 to-do list is short. Besides a few work-related plans, I’m going to be participating in the Mansfield Park Read-Along Amber is hosting starting January 3rd! (PS you’re invited to join!)

And, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next SSD installment in February, as just announced here. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled. The steady story and character development of these movies is always my fav!

Thank you for being my blog readers and friends in 2017. Now, time to ask for your feedback!!! What would you like to see from me on the blog? More reviews? More guest authors? More bookish (or non-bookish) discussions? Movie reviews? I’ve been toying with that last idea for a while… 

November Happenings

Whew! It’s already December, the very last month of 2017. You know what that means?!!! It’s time for another monthly wrap-up!

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on the bookshelf

Books added to the shelves this past November include: paperbacks of Charming the Troublemaker AND A Twist Faith by Pepper Basham, Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg, Sell Out by Tammy L. Gray, The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall, and The Uncloaked trilogy by J. Rodes.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books on my Winter TBR
  2. ‘Inspired by Classics’ Guest Post by Pepper Basham (+ Review)
  3. First Line Fridays #5 Special Military Edition: Conspiracy of Silence

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Most popular book reviews:

  1. Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham
  2. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  3. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin + Movie Thoughts

in the kitchen

IMG_20171126_201637_551.jpgSo I made a bundt cake. Actually, half of one. But ya’ll, it was SO GOOD! It was this Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Bundt Cake from Bake from Scratch. I WILL be making it again!

on the screen

Same Kind of Different as MeIn November, one movie on the big screen that I really, really loved was Same Kind of Different as MeIt’s a movie I can recommend to anyone with a deeply touching story. And, the fact that its a true story, depicted in such a way that it broadcasts a message of forgiveness, made it all the more a blessing.

On the small screen, I enjoyed watching new shows and old classics alike, like a Thanksgiving rewatch of Yours, Mine and Ours (the Lucille Ball version, of course!) and a few new Hallmark movies. My favorite Halllmarks so far include A Bramble House Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas.

around the web

This Gift Guide for the Jane Austen fan is absolutely perfect inspiration for gifting an Austen lover you know! (Ahem, family: hint hint. I already have #5 & #7!)

Since we’re still talking Hallmark movies, here’s the “part 2” list of new movies coming this season on Silver Petticoat.

 

YOUR TURN! How was your November? Did you celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of turkey? What are your favorites “things” (recipes, books, movies, etc.) from this month?

October Happenings

I cannot believe it is the end of October. Where did the month go?!

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on the bookshelf

New books on the shelf this month include a paperback of Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig, a paperback of The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay (eeek!), Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey, With No Reservations by Laurie Tomlinson, Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano, The Recipe by Candace Calvert, The Redeeming by Tamara Leigh, and The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. First Line Fridays #2: Christmas at Gate 18
  2. Top Ten Tuesday: Meal Planning 101 (AKA Yummy Foods in Books)
  3. First Line Fridays #3: Charming the Troublemaker20171009_124022.jpg

Most popular book reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. All This Time by Melissa Tagg (with Author Interview!)
  3. Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo

on the screen

PoldarkOctober ushered in Season 3 of ITV’s Poldark here in the US on Masterpiece PBS. I confess I’m a big fan, continually impressed with the character development and atmospheric setting of every episode. (I want to go to Cornwall!) While I’m still very upset with Ross for some season 2 shenanigans, I do hope he will still prove me wrong because everyone is redeemable. Demelza, Verity, and Caroline are still my favorites. One thing I’m enjoying in this season is how George tries SO HARD to advance his political career/social standing and works at it by manipulating and bringing others down, while Ross doesn’t even want to try to gain that sort of ground yet does so out of some natural good decisions (i.e. friendship and loyalty), especially in ep 5.

around the web

Carrie over at Reading is my Superpower had a wonderful guest post this month from author Sondra Kraak about Reading Fiction in Him. It’s such a cool way to approach story!

I stumbled across Book Riot’s article about how “Chrome’s Library Extension Will Change Your Life”. Choose your local library system and you can see whether or not they have a copy of books you’re browsing on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s awesome.

With November nearly upon us, Hallmark has begun the most wonderful yearly tradition of Christmas movies 24/7 on its networks AKA WATCH HALLMARK ALLLLL THE TIME season. Here’s a great preview of new movies to come for the first part of the season over on Silver Petticoat.

 

YOUR TURN! Are you loving the change of season October brought? What books did you add to your TBR this month?

September Happenings

September was a busy blogging month! I honestly don’t know how that worked out — most of the month was a blur. BUT, we did get to welcome fall (my favorite season) and barely start to feel the cooler days in my neck of the woods.

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on the bookshelf

Oh my, I’m turning into a book hoarder. My mother would agree. New titles on the shelves, both virtual and paperback, include the “Targeted for Danger” ebook novella collection, The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce, Chasing Haven by Rachel Fallin… and for upcoming review Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig, All This Time by Melissa Tagg, Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh, Too Far Down by Mary Connealy, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner, The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, Returning Home by Toni Shiloh, and Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. 20170918_145336Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books with Bookish Heroines (and Heroes!)
  2. 4 Reasons to Read Inspirational Fiction
  3. Author Interview & Giveaway: A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese
  4. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid!)
  5. Let’s Talk Rereads!

My copy of Many Sparrows

Most popular book reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. The Long Shadows of Summer by Robin E. Mason
  3. Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

in the kitchen

I tried this fresh raspberry pie recipe from PBS Food (yes, them again. They just post some good recipes!). It was light and fun and soooo good.

I’m also having fun with a new Christmas cookie cookbook…. more on that, and a review, soon.

on the screen

I admit it, I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book OR seen any adaptations (that I know of). So, I watched the “classic” Murder on the Orient Express from 1974 because the new one looks just so darn good. I admit, I didn’t see some of the twists coming! It has a 1970s drama flair to it that I will be anxious to compare with the new one.

Home AgainOf course, I watched the new Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again Hallmark production (shoutout to the #POstables fans!!!). I’ve been following this saga for most of its duration, happily rooting for the characters, friendships, and (finally) romance of the series. This latest made me happy, once again! I really, really appreciate how the ongoing relationships have steadily grown in complexity and depth over several installments — and not just with the 4 main characters, but with the extended family dynamic and other characters. Also, I LOVE how the series refocuses on a fresh storyline yet frequently retains a thread of patriotism and honors historical events.

around the web

Merriam Webster added new words to the dictionary. You might learn a thing or two from their announcement, or be glad your slang terms are now “official” (I’m talking about froyo here.)

And this is SUPER nerdy, but I was amused by this TED video on alphabetizing and types of sorting algorithms:

Exciting covers were revealed this month for two 2018 releases: Rachel McMillan’s upcoming Murder at the Flamingo AND Joanne Bischof’s Sons of Blackbird MountainBoth are gorgeous and creative and exquisite.

Bethany House’s blog post featuring Five Bookish Mysteries to Solve is witty and fun!

YOUR TURN! How was September for you? Did you accomplish that “to-do” list or do anything exciting?

June Happenings

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

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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.