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Showing posts from 2016

The Body Under the Bridge (A Father Gilbert Mystery) by Paul McCusker (2016)

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This is one of those times when I didn't realize how much I missed something until it was given back to me.

I love Father Gilbert. And like most fans of the Focus on the Family radio series, Dead Air is my favorite episode, in all of its spine-tingling glory. So I'm thrilled to find that The Body Under the Bridge bears a strong connection to that episode, in fact, happening before it if we're going in a chronological order. Or after it if you don't care that at this point Father Gilbert has yet to solve the case of the girl who went missing in the Soho district and was the tipping point to him leaving the force and joining the church. Either way, doesn't matter, it's a great tie-in.

The regular cast of characters is ready and in place for this first in, I hope, a series of Father Gilbert Mysteries. From Mrs. Mayhew to Mr. Urquhart, this book is like visiting old friends that I haven't seen in a very long time. And of course, a small section of my heart has al…

Five Magic Spindles Book Announcement + Giveaway!!

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This is sort of a post in two parts.


One, my friend Rachel of Hamlette's Soliloquy is now a published author!

She was 1 of 5 winners to a contest for Sleeping Beauty retellings called Five Magic Spindles, and it's no wonder she won because she wrote a western! Who would ever think to do that other than her?! Which, naturally, I am uber excited to read because I love westerns and I cannot even fathom how a western Sleeping Beauty would be told. So, yay, and congratulations to Rachel. I'm so happy for her!

Support her by buying Five Magic Spindles on Amazon Kindle HERE or a physical paperback HERE!

You can also like her author's Facebook page HERE and don't forget to mark Five Magic Spindles as to-read on your Goodreads account HERE!


Two, she is hosting a giveaway for the book's release! Go HERE for the giveaway!

She's giving away 5 handmade bookmarks that she created for each of the 5 stories. I encourage you to head on over to her blog to participate, but a…

Just because Bloglovin requires this post, and if you'd like to follow me there, YAY!

Book Review: The Wood's Edge (The Path Finders #1, 2015) by Lori Benton

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Fort William Henry, Lake George, New York, 1757

When Reginald Aubrey holds the cooling body of his hour old infant son in his arms he is left with a choice. He can either tell his unconscious wife that their son has died or he can kidnap a boy from a set of newborn twins born within minutes of his own son. The twins' mother is a white woman who had been captured as a small child by a tribe of American Indians and raised Oneida. Her children are half white/half Indian, except that one boy has pale eyes, pale skin, and blonde hair, just like his mother. What Reginald Aubrey decided that day set in motion a chain of events that he could never have anticipated. A stolen son who can hardly look at without feeling shame, a rescued baby girl a few months older than that son who he grows to love more fiercely than the boy who is supposed to be of his own blood, and the desperate vengeance felt by the Oneida family who is missing one of their own, who they call He-is-Taken.

Given enough …

Jane Eyre Read-Along: Thoughts on Chapters 1-10

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I'm a little slow on the uptake with my friend's Jane Eyre read-along, but what else is new! *winks*

Anyway, prepare to be shocked, but this is the first time that I've read Jane Eyre. Not the first time that I've tried to read it, mind, but the first time that I'm actually determined to get all the way through, front to back, without yielding to irritation and tossing it back on the bookshelf.

Irritation, you ask?

Why, yes, because I've never actually liked Mr. Rochester in the novel. I love him (Timothy Dalton and Toby Stephens) in film adaptations, but for some reason he always manages to irk me when he's in print. However, I haven't gotten that far in the novel yet this time around so I'm still hopeful that I'll appreciate and/or understand him better now that I'm older. Maybe my age and the timing just wasn't right before, who knows.


It's sort of funny attempting to read it yet again because I can't tell you how many times …

Book Review: Fearless by Cornelia Funke

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Fearless by Cornelia Funke
Mirrorworld #2
2013

My Rating
✯✯✯✯✯
When Jacob Reckless first found his way through the mirror in his father's study to a different world, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. Becoming a renowned treasure hunter and literally growing up behind the mirror, no longer the little boy who first found his way but a confidant young man. But after the events of Reckless, the first novel in the Mirrorworld series, Jacob is left battered and with a curse growing on the skin over his heart. Jacob's one and only thought in Reckless was to keep his younger brother, Will, safe after Will followed him through the mirror and ends up growing a skin of stone, evolving into a promised protector of a Goyl King (a society of beings created out of stone). The involvement of the Dark Fairy, the Goyl King's mistress, and the hatred her sister the Red Fairy bore Jacob for abandoning her, all combined in a curse that will be Jacob's death senten…

Book Review: Under the Dragon's Tail (Murdoch Mystery) by Maureen Jennings

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Under the Dragon's Tail by Maureen Jennings A Detective Murdoch Mystery #2
My Rating ✯✯✯✯
❤ Official Synopsis ❤
Desperate women, rich and poor, come to her in need of help - and discretion. Dolly Merishaw is a midwife and an abortionist in Victorian Toronto, but although she keeps quiet about her clients' condition, her contempt and greed leaves them resentful and angry. So it comes as no surprise when this malicious woman is murdered. What is a shock, though, is that a week later a young boy is found dead in Dolly's squalid kitchen. Now, Detective Murdoch isn't sure if he's hunting one murderer - or two.

❤ My Thoughts ❤
My complaints of language and sexual innuendo of the first novel, Except the Dying, are still prevalent in the 2nd book in the Murdoch Mysteries.

However, I feel the plot was tighter, the characterization better, and I experienced a definite softening in my opinion of this very different Murdoch than the television version I'm accustomed to…

Book Review: Except the Dying (Murdoch Mystery) by Maureen Jennings

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Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings A Detective Murdoch Mystery #1
My Rating ✯✯✯
❤ Official Synopsis ❤
In the cold Toronto winter of 1895, the unclad body of a servant girl is found frozen in a deserted laneway. The young victim was pregnant when she died. Was her death an attempt to cover up a scandal in one of the city's influential families? Detective William Murdoch quickly finds out that more than one person connected with the girl's simple life has something to hide.

❤ My Thoughts ❤
It's a bit of a shock going into this book thinking it'll be all charming and quaint like Canada's television series starring Yannick Bisson. In reality, there is nothing charming or quaint about this book series. It's gritty, it's hard, it possesses a great deal of language and sexual innuendo, and there is not a single character who is wholly likeable or lovable, not even Detective William Murdoch although he's probably more realistic as a flawed human being. Stil…

Book Review: Lead Me Home (2016) by Amy Sorrells

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❤ Official Synopsis ❤
Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.
My feelings about this book are complicated. Lead Me Home will really only appeal to readership that wants Bible verses quoted every chapter, enjoys a passive writing style with little dialogue, and has personally experienced the death pangs of a small town church as the people leave for greener pastures. I don't fit into any of these categories and so I really had nothing to keep me reading, although I did keep reading.
To be fair, I liked all of the lead characters. G…

Book Review: The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White

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The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White Ladies of the Manor #2 Bethany House Publishers 2016
My Rating ✯✯✯✯✯
❤ Official Synopsis ❤
Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough—not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar and the men who have jeopardized her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has suddenly found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of his neighbor, Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when the moody Earl of Lochabar tries to trap Brice into marrying Rowena, Brice finds he’s not as opposed to the idea as he expected to be.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she’s reluctant to resort to ma…

Book Review: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

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The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White Ladies of the Manor #1 Bethany House Publishers 2015
My Rating ✯✯✯✯✯
❤ Official Synopsis ❤
Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close—but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, t…

Book Review: Miriam by Mesu Andrews

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Miriam by Mesu Andrews (Treasures of the Nile #2) Waterbrook Multnomah 2016
More Info on Waterbrook's Website
My Rating ✯✯✯✯✯
❤ Official Synopsis ❤
The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic la…

Jane Eyre read-along coming on May 29th!

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My friend Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice loves her read-alongs and this one promises to be lots of fun!


Having never read Jane Eyre, I've always been curious how the book is when compared to the film adaptations that I love so much, mainly the Toby Stephens and Timothy Dalton versions. So this will be an enlightening experience, I'm sure.


I may not post my thoughts on the individual chapters here, but will on her blog. And I will definitely post a final review here. I encourage you, if you love Jane Eyre or want to read it for the first time in a group setting, come and join her read-along on this page.


In my mind I just know that I'll be comparing Jane Eyre with my thoughts on Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The latter I really need to re-read one of these days and actually write a review of it since it's one of my favorite classics of all time!


So come join us! ❤

Book Review: Hard Winter at Broken Arrow Crossing by Stephen Bly

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Hard Winter at Broken Arrow Crossing by Stephen Bly Stuart Brannon Series #1 Crossway Books (1991) Reprint Greenbriar Book Company (2012)
My Rating ✯✯✯✯✯
❤ The Carissa Synopsis ❤
Stuart Brannon is in mourning and has been ever since his wife Lisa died in childbirth along with their tiny stillborn son. When a friend of his, Charley Imhoff, asks Brannon to join him at his gold claim in the Colorado Rockies, Brannon jumps at the opportunity to do something, anything. But now here he is, floundering through feet of snow and stumbling into a ripe fix of circumstances that won't thaw out until spring. Broken Arrow Crossing, a way station of sorts between civilization and the gold fields in Colorado, houses Everett Davis (also a friend of Charley's) who also happens to be back shot, a pregnant and abused Indian girl named Elizabeth, an Irish family by the name of Mulroney, an Englishman named Fletcher, and the Frenchman, Trudeaux. Brannon faces down his own fears, the evils that one ma…

Classics Club Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)

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Read for The Classics Club  ❤
Ahhhh, the foolishness of back cover synopses' writers. My personal copy of Wuthering Heights describes the story as "one of the most unforgettable romances of all time." No. I tell you . . . no. This story is not, never was intended to be, never will be, a romance. Rather, it is a warning, a bell clamoring in your head to warn you away from making the myriad poor choices made by the characters in this story.

The story is this . . . Mr. Earnshaw returns from a trip to Liverpool with a dark-headed, evil-eyed little boy in tow that he names Heathcliff. The child had been abandoned and the man couldn't leave him to fend for himself (which is possibly the only kindness ever genuinely performed in the story). Heathcliff grows up beside Earnshaw's own children, Hindley and Catherine, and, despite his wildness, develops an attachment to Catherine and she to him. Bad news. Obsession, ravenous passion, and complete disregard for the wants an…

Author Meet-and-Greet with Laurie R. King

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Thanks to a good friend of mine, I attended an author signing/Q&A/reading with Laurie R. King in Denver on Friday night!
For the uninformed, she writes the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and I think she has another series too, but I'm not sure what it's called.
Now, I've never read her books, but thought the event sounded like fun and it was . . . just a terrific way to spend an evening with my friend! If you're ever in Denver and get a chance to go to the Tattered Cover bookstore on Colfax, it is AMAZING. I highly recommend it, just to wander through in awe!
But back to Ms. King. 
Here's a few fun facts about her in regards to her work.
She does not use an outline when she writes. In fact, the closest she ever got to an outline was little 3x5 inch notecards. That didn't last. She considers the difference in authors that are for or against outlines to be simply a matter of "organization" vs. "organic." I thought that to be …

On Reading Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights is quite a story. Whereas with Lorna Doone I struggled with every sentence, I hardly want to put Wuthering Heights down, it's so dark and moody and intriguing. I'm about to chapter 11 . . . Heathcliffe has just returned after being absent for 3 years to find Catherine married to Edgar Linton. Her exuberance over Heathcliffe's return has already raised some issues with her husband (can't imagine WHY!)

Having never seen a film version in its entirety other than the 1939 version starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon, I'm sketchy on the details of the ending. The 1939 version skipped a great deal, resulting in a cleaned-up, nicer version of the story and of Heathcliffe. I know it doesn't end well in reality, that's just a given for this story, but it's interesting reading a classic where I'm not 100% sure of the plot twists.

Things that have already jumped out at me are:

1) Catherine is a spoiled brat and I dislike her intensely. …

Poetry Month Tag

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Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice is hosting this poetry month celebration so I figured I might as well start out with tag. Maybe I'll be inspired to read more poetry than I have for the last couple of years. I loved poetry in college!

What are some poems you like?

I love Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. I also enjoy Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott.

What are some poems you dislike?

I'm not partial to any of Emily Dickinson's work, at least not at this point.

Are there any poets whose work you especially enjoy?  If so, who are they?

Shakespeare . . . always.

Do you write poetry?

I haven't in the last few years, but did write some when I was in college. They received good grades and I enjoyed writing them, but I don't make a habit of it, although I am considering a return to poetic writing.

Have you ever memorized a poem?

Yes, The Quality of Mercy by Shakespeare and then The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. There were others I memorized in school, but those are long …

Book Review: The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

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The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay Thomas Nelson Publishers 2015
My Rating ✯✯✯✯
❤ Goodreads Synopsis ❤
Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy's secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James's wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy's predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen's wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters' beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endu…