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.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s topic sounded like a fun thing to talk about, especially for this native southerner. While I have traveled a bit within the US, I’ve never been out of the country. What better way to learn about another culture or experience another location (without actually going) than books? For today, let’s “pack” our suitcases and talk about books set outside the U.S. For fun, I’m splitting this list up into 2 types: books I’ve read and books on my TBR.

TTT 10 Books Set Outside the US

10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

Books I’ve Read

The Thorn Keeper by Pepper D. Basham

Derbyshire, England during WWII

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea

Holland and England during the Protestant Reformation

Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry

Carthage, Tunisia during the 3rd century

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England and France during WWII

Soon-ish TBR

London Tides by Carla Laureano

London, England and probably a little Scotland because the hero is Scottish ❤

A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan

1910s Toronto, Canada (and Chicago). What could be next for these daring girls?

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

England (Bath and the countryside) during the Regency Era

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (!!!!)

Italy (and Atlanta). It’s by Katherine, so I KNOW it will be good.

Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Oxford, England. This was first added to my TBR solely because of the cover. Since then, reviews of Kara’s work have completely convinced me I need to read it!

 

What places do YOU like to visit through the pages of a book? What are some of your favorite books set outside the US? 

Review: “The Covered Deep” by Brandy Vallance

Today’s review is of The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance, a debut historical romance/adventure set in the mid 1800s. After first hearing about this book from Cassie back in July, I was intrigued. I began my search for a review copy, and thanks to the folks at Worthy Publishing and Netgalley, I got my wish!

Here’s the synopsis: Bianca Marshal is holding out for the perfect The Covered Deephusband. Finding a man that meets the requirements of her must-have list in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction. On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic: her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. Unwilling to accept spinsterhood, Bianca enters an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for her soulmate. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a heavy price.

My thoughts: I have to be perfectly honest, this one narrowly escaped a 3-star rating on Goodreads because I thought the plot improved in the last half of the book. With that said, it was definitely worth reading, and I ended up liking it much better than I first thought I would.

Bianca was sweet, naive, dramatic, and a little hard to identify with at first. Her lovestruck-teenager attitude amd thoughts upon meeting Paul were immature and somewhat out of place. Thankfully, her character matures and becomes more likable.

The plot was intriguing at first but fell slightly short with Sir Adrian’s twisted schemes that come to light. Maybe a little more suspense or mystery where he’s concerned could have improved it. Paul was my favorite and the best-developed character. His story, emotions, and gentlemanly demeanor were well executed within the plot.

The setting and writing style were fabulous! Travel abroad shortly after the Civil War is an uncommon thing among books I’ve read. The way Brandy writes Bianca’s experience from London and to the Holy Lands takes you along wither her, seeing great places for the first time. Brandy’s writing style used prose-like descriptions of scenes. (By the way, I loved the way the title “the covered deep” fits in with symbolism and word imagery in the book).

It had great themes of forgiveness, faith, and perseverance. Bianca begins with seeking a man who fits her “list”, but finds her expectations and God’s plan are two different things.

Thank you to Netgalley and Worthy Publishing for an ebook copy in exchange for my honest review.