Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blogging Break

Yes, you read right, my followers. I am taking a six week blogging vacation. Some unexpected events occurred, prompting this.

It is a complete blogging break -- meaning I won't be reading your blogs, or blogging on any of my own. It's already begun, which explains the lack of posts this week. Sorry for not telling y'all sooner!

I'm going to miss posting reviews, and have a list going of the books and movies I need to review when I return. I will review the best books I've read and best movies I've seen during this break.  Hopefully, we can also do the Week of Musicals then.

I will miss reading your blogs! I will not be publishing comments, but if you comment, I'll still receive it, and you can know I've read it. :)

I'll return in late October...or maybe early November, since our family vacation is in late October. Until then...well, I'll miss you tons! To each follower who stays faithful...thanks! And I'll see you then!

P.S. Need something to read? The archives are packed with almost 500 posts...I think this is the 495th or so. :) So, go find a review of something you haven't read! Or, check out the Favorite Books or Favorite Movies pages! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview with Stephanie Grace Whitson!

Please join me in welcoming one of my favorite authors, Stephanie Grace Whitson! She's written a variety of books that I greatly enjoy. Find all my reviews here (and, at the bottom of this interview, I'm linking to each of my reviews of her books separately). Her books are ones that I can (and have) read over and over.

Welcome, Stephanie! Before we really begin on the interview, I'm going to copy and paste some of the stuff from your website about you! :)

Stephanie was born in 1952. She remembers things like the Vietnam War and St. Louis Missouri before the Arch. :) Now, she's lived in Nebraska since 1975. Her very first book, Walks the Fire, was published in 1995; however, she started writing before that. She had five children, four biological, and and one step-child. She does her best not to be an evil step-mom. ;) In her free time, Stephanie loves to ride her motorcycle (named Kitty), listen to music (including Josh Groban!), volunteer at church, read, and quilt.

Now that you know a bit about her, let's start.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

Hearing from readers who have enjoyed a book or who offer constructive criticism.

What kind of research did you do for your most recent book?

For A Most Unsuitable Match, I read nearly 2 dozen books and as many academic articles about steamboating history, the Missouri River, the history of St. Charles, Missouri, and the history of Fort Benton, Montana. I visited the University of Nebraska Library to find specific books and spent a lot of time on historical society web sites reading primary documents. While I planned to do some on site research in Fort Benton, I wasn't able to make that trip happen, so I had to rely on even more in-depth research I could do at home. I had fun studying the history of fashion and "shopping" for Fannie's clothes. I hadn't set a book in 1869 before, so I had to learn how women dressed.

Oh, I'll bet that was fun! So what gave you the idea or inspired you to write A Most Unsuitable Match?

As part of a class I'm taking (I'm working on my masters degree in history), we visited DeSoto Bend wildlife refuge in Nebraska. The cargo of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri in 1869 and was resurrected in the late 20th century is on display there. Learning that a few women were on board the ship when it sank raised the question "what would that have been like," and that sparked my story idea.

Please tell us a little about the plot of A Most Unsuitable Match.

An unlikely attraction occurs between two passengers on a steamboat journey up the Missouri River to Montana...
She is a self-centered young woman from a privileged family who fears the outdoors and avoids anything rustic. But she's forced to encounter both in a search for her last living relative. He is a roustabout living under a sense of duty and obligation to redeem a past mistake. She isn't letting anything deter her from solving a family mystery that surfaced after her mother's death. He is on a mission to find and rescue his sister. Miss Fannie Rousseau and Mr. Samuel Beck are opposites in every way... except in how they both keep wondering if their paths will ever cross again.

What is your favorite time period to read about?

Historically speaking, the American West in the 19th Century. When I read for pleasure I don't usually read in the genre in which I write, though. I tend towards suspense when I read for my own enjoyment. Joel Rosenberg always provides a great read. When I want something beautifully crafted that will challenge me as a writer, I can always count on Athol Dickson and Dale Cramer, who write in a more literary style than I ever could. They are true artists with words.

Always fun to know what others are reading. :) And what time period do you most enjoy writing about?

The American West in the 19th century.

If you could be any literary character, who would you be, and why?

Studying history has relieved me of the desire to go back in time. I'm very grateful for modern conveniences and I wouldn't be able to enjoy the past without my glasses :-). I would enjoy observing some events as they happened, but only from the outside looking in ... not as a participant. And since I read suspense and thrillers for fun ... no thank you. I'd be terrified :-).

Hmmm, good point. They weren't real big on glasses back then. :P What are you currently reading?

Nearly a dozen academic history books that are required reading for the two history classes I'm taking, one on American women's history and one in Native American history prior to 1860. At the moment, I'm mid-way through One Vast Winter Count by Calloway and a book about colonial women by historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. I'm also proof-reading the ebook edition of my own novel, Nora's Ribbon of Memories, which will be available as part of the Keepsake Legacies series on ebooks very soon.

What three people, living or dead, would you love to have lunch with? They can be at the same meal, or separate, according to whether you think they'd get along.

Three lunches ...

Reverend and Mrs. Tim Keller ... to thank him for how his ministry has blessed me and to thank her for enabling him as a helpmeet.

Film director Jin Ishimoto, who loves Paris as much as I do.

Dean and Gerda Koontz and their new dog, Anna. Actually ... it might be just as much about Anna as about the Koontz's :-). I'd thank Koontz for writing about Trixie and also for his gentler stories and his honesty about his writing life and how he approaches the craft. He's been a great encouragement to me as a writer because of his work ethic.

Is there a random fact about you that most people don't know?

I'm an introvert.

I have to ask...why did you include your middle name as part of your author name?

I didn't. My first publisher, Thomas Nelson, insisted. I told them it seemed pretentious to me, but they liked the idea that "Grace" is a very meaningful word to believers. Which of course it is. But the funny thing is, my name is "Grace" because I am named for my father, Grayson. 

Haha, who would have guessed? Thanks so much for coming by, Stephanie! It's been a true joy to have you. :) How can my readers learn more about you or contact you?

There you go, everyone! Make sure you check out her website and blog. Oh, and if you've read any of her books, you might want to email and let her know what you thought of them!

Okay, just me now. I'm going to include the titles of hers that I've read and reviewed on this blog  below. Each should be linked to its review.
Ta-da! Make sure you check them out, and get something new to read! She's sure to be an author you'll enjoy. :) And her book covers are beautiful...especially Sixteen Brides, Unbridled Dreams, and A Most Unsuitable Match.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


10 years ago.

May America never forget.

Our enemies have made the mistake that America's enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness. And now, they see defeat. ~George W. Bush
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. ~George W. Bush

God bless America.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Please Rank My Review!

I didn't have the box in before, but now I do! Please click here to go and rank my review of The Harvest of Grace! I greatly appreciate it.


Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Series: The Inheritance Cycle
Number in series: 3rd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 759
Time period: Fantasy
Main characters: Eragon, Roran
Exciting events: It had a lot of battles.
My overall opinion: It was good! I enjoy Paolini's writing style. It was a bit gory for me, but otherwise, awesome!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Movie: Singin' in the Rain

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Main characters: Don, Cosmo, Kathy
Genre: Musical, comedy (somewhat), life, romance
Primary actors: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds
Length: Not quite 2 hours
Based on: I believe it was inspired by the song "Singin' in the Rain" but other than that...
Time period: 1920's
Year it came out: 1952
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it a lot! Some of the costumes on the women were way too much leg, and I seem to remember reading that some of the dancing was a bit sensual (though I didn't notice that it was terrible), but other than that, this was a really fun movie! The songs, like Singin' in the Rain, Good Morning, Make 'em Laugh, All I Do Is Dream of You, they've been running through my head constantly ever since. :) Definitely catchy! I recommend this movie.

Oh, fast fact. Cyd Cherisse, who stars as the sweet and pretty heroine in Brigadoon, (one of my favorite films) was also in this one. However, she was a much different character. One of my least favorites in the movie.


Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: Adventure, fantasy
Series: The Inheritance Cycle
Number in series: 2nd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 704 (this is a huge book series!)
Time period: Fantasy
Main characters: Roran, Eragon, Saphira
Exciting events: Packed with them!
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it. Very fun to follow Eragon and Saphira's adventures further, and learn more about Roran!

Elizabeth and Mary

Author: Jane Dunn
Genre: Biography
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7
Type: Non-fiction
Number of pages: 453
Time period: 1500's
Main characters: Elizabeth, Mary
My overall opinion: It was an interesting read. While I didn't find it riveting, I am glad I read it. Definitely learned more about Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Song: Home

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Singer: Michael Buble (today's his birthday, check out The Birthday Blog post here)
Length: Around 3 minutes
Lyrics: Another summer day // Has come and gone away // In Paris and Rome // But I wanna go home. // May be surrounded by // A million people I // Still feel all alone // Just wanna go home // Oh I miss you, you know.
My overall opinion: It's almost a bit sad...lonesome. But I still enjoy it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Background!

It had been months (literally...aren't you shocked?) since I'd changed my blog background. Then, just the other day, I was reading Julia's blog, Julia's Journal, and hearing about her new blog background design blog. When she mentioned Jane Austen backgrounds, I had to go and check it out. :) Believe me, you should Austenites will love them! My favorite? The one with Captain Wentworth's whole letter to Anne behind the blog text! It's called "A Word, A Look." There are also ones inspired by Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and even Northanger Abbey! Check them out!

But then, she came out with (drumroll, please) chocolate backgrounds. If there's one thing I can't resist, it's chocolate. So I looked through them, looking for one that would go with my header...and there was a Creamy Latte background. *swoon* Since it was the first one there that went with my header and I loved it, it was the first one to go up. Having looked through the rest...well, there are more I want to use. :) But for now, I'm supremely happy with this one! Don't you love it too?

So make sure you check out her design blog and choose a new background! Just click here. :)

Cover Focus: To Die For

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

Book blurb from : To Die For is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods in neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of King Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne's favor rises and falls, so does Meg's. And though she's pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love -- and her own life -- because of it.
Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.
Though much of Meg's story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg's brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them a jeweled prayer book -- Meg.

What I like about the cover: Well, seeing it online, it's nothing compared to actually holding the book. :) It's beautiful! Anne's dress, on the left, is that blue/gold one. If you look closely, you can see that the sleeve facing you has strands of pearls all looped up over it. But it's Meg's dress that I really like. Not that I'd wear it, but. :) The top is lined with pearls, all sewn on. The sleeves are also studded with pearls. I love the red velvety material used to accent the goldish one. It goes perfectly with her hair! Also note Anne's pearl necklace, with the big "B." Even though all your can see is the lower half of their faces, you can tell they're both beautiful girls.

FYI, I'm currently reading and loving this story! Review coming soon.

Period Drama Week Tag Post 3

Welcome to this third part of my tag for Period Drama Week! Make sure you check out all the fun stuff going on at Elegance of Fashion, as Miss Elizabeth hosts this awesome week! As I write this, I'm not sure whether I'll fit the remaining 10 questions into one post or it'll be a surprise until you reach the end. :) If you're just joining me, you can find the first part here and the second part here! Also, the Period Drama Advice Column, another wonderful aspect of this week, can be read here.

11. Which period drama which you haven't seen yet do you most want to watch? Ooo, there are quite a few I haven't seen, so this is fact, it's a three-way tie. They are:


Larkrise to Candleford

and Little Dorrit.

12. Which period drama has the prettiest soundtrack or background music? Oh, that's hard! I have a number of favorites. The first is Emma (2009). I am putting in the beautiful dance scene below...I love the music and the dance.

Then I enjoy the music for both the 1995 and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. Then the music in Little Women is sweet, and I do enjoy the Sense and Sensibility 1995 music as well.
13. Which period drama has your favorite screenplay/script? Why? Probably either Emma 2009 or Pride and Prejudice 1995. :) Both of them follow the original book quite closely, always a plus in my book.

14. Do you like having multiple version of some period dramas? Do some period dramas need a newer version? Or are the older version better? It goes both ways. I like the older version of Pride and Prejudice much better than the newest one. However, the new version of Emma is by far the best yet. Mansfield Park, in my opinon, does not have a good version and could use a new one.

15. What is the longest period drama you've seen? Pride and Prejudice. :) It's also the one I've seen most.

16. What are your favorite actors/actresses from period dramas? Oooo, fun question. I like Colin Firth, who was in both Pride and Prejudice and The Importance of Being Earnest. The latter I hadn't mentioned yet, but it's a fun one. He was also in The King's Speech.

Then I enjoy Romola Garai. I admit, I've only seen her in Emma, but I love the way she looks in the yet-unseen-by-me movie, Amazing Grace. 

Michael Gambon is a fun older actor. He was in Emma, The King's Speech for a bit, and Wives and Daughters.


17. Do you prefer watching a regular-length movie or a more indepth mini series? Why? Generally, the longer, the better. ;) I love all the detail in the long ones, but then, it's easier to convince Mom to watch a short one. lol!

18. What period dramas has one of your favorite actors/actresses in it? Singular? Only one? I hate to mention it again...but Pride and Prejudice. :)

19. Which heroine from which movie was your least favorite? Why? I've never liked Fanny from Mansfield Park. She's not nearly as fun as Emma or Elizabeth, and she exasperates me. Why? I'm afraid I don't know!

20. Which three period dramas are your least favorite? Goodness, I don't know that I have three! I'm going to pick on Mansfield Park again. It had the misfortune to cast Mr. Elton (who wasn't Mr. Elton yet, but was still disgusting [IMHO]) as Edmund, the main character.

Then, well, I'm going to confess...I don't really like North and South. Now, I have only seen it once, but it was too gray and sad for me. I don't like gray movies.

Finally...hmmm. Oh, the 1981 Sense and Sensibility. It was gray, but only because of terrible lighting. The sound... *winces.* It wasn't worth the three or so hours I spent on it.

Well, I got all my questions into one final post! Hope you enjoyed them. :) Miss Elizabeth, thanks SO much for hosting this tons-of-fun event! I had an awesome time. :)

LitFuse Blog Tour for "Blue Skies Tomorrow"

Author: Sarah Sundin
Genre: Romance, war, life
Series: Wings of Glory
Number in series: 3rd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 448
Time period: 1940's, World War II
Main characters: Ray, Helen, and others
Exciting events: I'd tell you some, but I don't want to give the book away....I'll just say, hey, it's a war story! It's exciting, all right!
Passage from book: Nope, not this time, but you can learn more about it farther down!
My overall opinion: I loved this book! The cover is delightful. :) World War II stories are really interesting. And this book lived up to every hope I could have had for it. I had never read anything by Sarah Sundin before, and now I'm definitely hoping to read the first two books in this series! While this book can certainly be read on its own, I think it would be better still if I'd read the first ones first. Totally an awesome story! But wait...don't leave yet! I have a book blurb, an author blurb, and a giveaway still in store! Keep reading. :)
About the book: Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Read some more right here!

About the author:

Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel A Memory Between Us is a finalist for an Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. Her stories are inspired by her great-uncle who flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England during World War II. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Visit with Sarah online at

Want to buy it? Click here! Then, keep going, and see if you can win a Kindle, aprons, and a Kindle copy of the book!
To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! 

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One winner will receive:</ span="">

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Handmade vintage aprons for you and a friend</ a="">

* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

But, hurry, hurry, hurry! The giveaway ends on September 10, 2011! Winner will be announced on September 12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

*** Please note that I was provided with a free copy of Blue Skies Tomorrow in return for an honest review. The opinons expressed here are my own. ***

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giveaway on Legacy of a Writer!

Another giveaway by Katy for a book I desperately want to win! Actually, she's giving away two copies of the same book today! The book is Torrent by Lisa Bergren, and is the third book in her River of Time series. The first one, Waterfall, I posted a giveaway for the other day. Then comes Cascade, and finally, Torrent. And for your information, the reason I know so much about them is because of how much Katy loves them. :)

So, want to win Torrent?

(incidentally, I do. :) Click here to read an interview with Bergren, and then enter! Giveaway closes on September 18.

Period Drama Week Tag Post 2


Well, I was originally planning only two posts. But on finishing the first one, I decided it needed to be split into at least three posts total. So, here we go, from question #6!

6. Which author do you like the adaptions of their work best? I can't stay away from Jane Austen anymore. It's her. Totally.

7. Which period drama characters are the funniest to you (keep it under three)? Ha, good question. Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice. He always makes me laugh.

Ummm...Mrs. Jennings from Sense and Sensiblity. Her bumbling ways can be hilarious!

And then...I'm struggling...I'm at a total loss. Maybe I will think of another when I see other people's answers!

8. Which period drama characters are the most annoying (keep it under three)? Chauvelin from Scarlet Pimpernel is not only annoying, but also wicked.

Then Willoughby from Sense and Sensiblity is annoying. And self-centered.

Finally, Estella from Great Expectations. I have never seen a movie adaption of this (though I know there's at least one I want to watch), but in the book (sorry, I know this was supposed to be all movies!) she's really annoying.

9. Which period drama characters are in your top three? I wish it specified male or female. AH! I guess I have to do both!!!! We'll start with the girls. Naturally, Elizabeth Bennet. I admire her humor and wit, and she's also very pretty.

Then I admire Jo March, from Little Women. She's another one of those strong and independent women, yet kind and friendly and loving too.

Finally, Emma from Emma. She's also funny, witty, and a fully lovable character!

As to males, this may be harder than it looks! Naturally, Mr. Darcy. He's handsome, and proud, but learns to change.

Then Gilbert Blythe. You didn't expect that, did you? He becomes better as the books go on. Though I still abhor that name. Oh, and I'm doing my best not to do Jane Austen characters.

And since I'm avoiding Jane Austen, Percy Blakeney from Scarlet Pimpernel. Yes, he appears a hopeless fop. But underneath... *smile*

10. When you watch period dramas, what is it that you pay closest attention to? Hmmm. Everything? I don't concentrate on the dresses...or the music...or the scenery...or the story, well, maybe the story. It all kinda blends together for me, as it were.

Part three coming soon!