Monday, March 31, 2014

Need to Read #40: No One to Trust


Title: No One to Trust

Author: Lynette Eason

Book blurb: Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she's been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?
The search for her husband--and answers--takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn't know who to believe.


Quick endorsement: Lynette’s books are never a disappointment! This one was packed with action, suspense, mystery, adventure, and romance. I couldn’t put it down!

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2014/01/revell-blog-tour-no-one-to-trust.html

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Whisper of Peace


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Life

Series: Heart of the Prairie

Number in series: 7th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 349

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Sadly, this book didn’t grab me as much as some of Kim’s have. She’s had some books (like Courting Miss Amsel) that I’ve absolutely loved. This wasn’t one of them, but I don’t regret reading it. For one thing, I absolutely loved the Alaskan setting! Right in the shadow of Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). It was awesome – cause I’ve been there! All in all, this was a good book, just didn’t grab me as much. Definitely worth my one-time read though.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie: A Beautiful Mind


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8…I think…see my review below.

Genre: Life

Primary actors: Russell Crowe (the reason I watched it) and who else matters?!

Length: Just over two hours

Based on: I think there’s a book? At any rate, the main character was a real guy. Way back when.

Time period: 1950s, I believe

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2001

My overall opinion: I didn’t really like this one and was gonna go for a lower rating, but then I remembered – I didn’t dislike it. And despite these slight misgivings, it kept me watching for the whole movie. Time flew. The plot is intricate, but not hard to understand. You will empathize with this guy! It’s an amazing story. I can’t say much, because you’ll be more interested if you don’t know what’s going on (same as me), but this movie – watch it. It’s worth a view. Seeing Russell Crowe here was a delight! Recommended for fans of his. Anyone looking for a unique drama – try this!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bethany House Blog Tour: A Match Made in Texas


Authors: Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox

Genre: Romance

Series: A Novella Collection

My rating on a 1-10 scale: I’m going to rate each novella individually

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 379

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This, as you have probably deduced by now, is a novella collection. Four short stories by four wonderful authors! I decided the simplest way to review this was to do each novella individually, so here we go.

A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer – 9: The first words that came to mind as I considered how to best describe this book were sweet, funny, creative, and romantic! I loved seeing a character from some of Karen’s previous books. This book was so enjoyable! A delight.

An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings – 8: Even the title in this one is a play on words, since the heroine is partially blind! The characters were engaging and the story was unique and enjoyable. Especially the hero was admirable.

No Match for Love by Carol Cox – 8.5: There was some great mystery in this, masterfully presented for such a short story! It was a refreshing addition to the romance. The characters were especially lovable here.

Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy – 9: I really loved the humor in this one! Definitely a unique story and unique characters. It made me laugh, and I always love that! Quite a superb book. So good!

All in all? This is a unique and delightful collection of short romances by wonderful authors. If you’re already a fan of one (or more) of these authors, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this collection!

**Bethany House sent me a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. I wasn’t required to review it positively, nor was I recompensed for my review. All opinions are my own. **

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Need to Read #39: Glittering Promises


Title: Glittering Promises

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Book blurb: America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try...

Quick endorsement: I have loved so many of Lisa’s books – this one is no exception! It was a stunning conclusion to the Grand Tour series. As I say in my review: “This book is worth buying, worth owning, and worth reading again and again.”

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/10/litfuse-blog-tour-glittering-promises.html

Monday, March 24, 2014

Movie: Casino Royale


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Action

Series or set: James Bond 007

Number in series: These are awesome – you can watch them in any order. And they still work. :)

Primary actors: Daniel Craig (falling for this guy!), Judi Dench

Length: A little over two hours

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2006

My overall opinion: Ooooo. So I started watching James Bond with Skyfall and have now watched everything my library has. I really love Daniel Craig and James Bond at large! This one had some lovely sets in Venice – absolutely beautiful. There were also AMAZING sets at an airport and a construction site – the whole chase at the construction site was one of my favorite scenes. Pretty amazing! I also really enjoyed the soundtrack for this one. It was great. I’ve never played poker (or whatever game it was they were using to gamble) so some of that lingo went over my head – but I still managed to find this a great movie. Like with all James Bond movies, be advised that there’s a little objectionable content – look on IMDB for details. All in all though? Good movie!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


My rating on a 1-10 scale: I don’t even know. I’ve never not known what to rate something.

Genre: Life

Primary actors: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton

Length: Almost three hours!

Time period: 1960s, I guess, or that’s what I’m putting…anyone have a better answer?

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: We have a problem, y’all. I don’t know what I thought. Or what to rate it. Out of something like 1000 reviews, I’ve never been flummoxed on what to rate something – some were hard, but I always managed to come to a decision. Until now. This movie was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, I guess. So here’s a random collection of thoughts…

The concept is fascinating. A man who lives his life backwards? Really neat. He starts old (though
baby size) and slowly grows up with a young boy’s inquisitive brain in an old man’s body. It was fascinating. I do need to warn you that there are some rather objectionable elements in here, so make sure that you read about it on IMDB before watching, just to make sure.

Benjamin’s whole relationship with the girl…never mind, I’m not even going to try to figure out what I thought. Cate Blanchett was awesome as the girl, though! I really liked her – she did a great job.

The ending was so moving. I cried a lot. Which means the producers did something right. Yeah. I guess the ending almost redeemed it – no, more just improved it for me. It was really amazing.

All in all, I don’t know if I’d say I “liked” it, but I certainly am glad I watched it and wouldn’t be opposed to watching it again someday. Do I recommend it? I’m not sure. Some people would love it.
Some people wouldn’t. I can’t tell for you. I don’t even know what I thought. This is really disconcerting. So yeah. I think I’ll just stop here. Have you seen it, and if so, did you like it? And do you understand why I’m confused?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: In the Shadow of Jezebel


Author: Mesu Andrews

Genre: Life, romance

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 high

Type: Historical fiction

Number of pages: 412

Time period: 800s B. C. (Bible times)

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: Contrary to what you may assume from a precursory glance at the title, this story is not focused on Jezebel (though she is certainly a player in the grand scheme of things). Rather, this book concentrates on her grand-daughter, Jehosheba. As you may have noticed, it’s got over 400 pages, and each page has a lot of words – definitely full. Despite this, it’s never boring! Mesu managed to absolutely pack this book with Biblically accurate information, events, and people. She brings to life characters and stories that may otherwise seem stuffy – but truly aren’t! The whole book has a realistic feel and a gripping story. I could definitely identify with what Jehosheba felt. It’s absolutely worth reading! I highly recommend it for those of you who love Biblical fiction, or anyone looking for a creative and unique story set in Bible times.

**Revell sent me a free copy of this book for review. I wasn’t required to post positively or paid in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. **

Litfuse Blog Tour: Where Courage Calls


Author: Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Genre: Life

Series: Canadian West

Number in series: 7th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 329

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Janette Oke was one of my favorite authors many years ago when I first started reading Christian romance, and she has remained an author whose books I enjoy. So when the opportunity to review this one came up, I jumped at it! While Goodreads categorizes this book as 7th in the Canadian West series (and I copied that), it could be read as a stand-alone and it could serve as a lovely beginning to a new series. That being said, I enjoyed seeing (or at least hearing about) characters from some of Janette’s earlier series. The end leaves it open for a sequel, most certainly! The story in this particular book is almost predictable, but a few surprises make sure that it’s not quite. A good read! Contrary to what you may think, it’s not primarily a romance, though it has some romance within. It’s easy to enjoy. Heartwarming!

Go here to learn more about Janette Oke: http://litfusegroup.com/author/joke

**Litfuse sent me a free copy of this book for review. I wasn’t required to post positively or paid in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. **

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Need to Read #38: Head in the Clouds


Title: Head in the Clouds

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Book blurb: Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.
When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.
When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?


Quick endorsement: Confession: I’ve only read this book once so far and that was almost three years ago. However, I loved it then – it made me laugh several times, and the people were delightful! I did finally obtain my own copy via PaperBackSwap, and am eagerly looking forward to re-reading this one someday. Great book!

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2011/05/head-in-clouds.html

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Need to Read #37: Trinity


Title: Trinity

Author: Ronie Kendig

Book blurb: A year ago in Afghanistan, Green Beret Heath Daniel’s career was destroyed. Along with his faith. Now he and his military war dog, Trinity, train other dogs and their handlers. Though his passion is to be back in action, the medical discharge has forced Heath—and Trinity—to the sidelines. Military intelligence officer Darci Kintz is captured while secretly tracking the Taliban. Only one dog can handle the extreme conditions to save her. Trinity. Only one man can handle Trinity. Time is running out on the greatest—and most dangerous—mission of their lives.

Quick endorsement: While this book didn’t grab me at first, by the time I was 100 pages in, I couldn’t put it down. Modern war stories and/or dog stories aren’t usually my thing – but this book caught and held me to the very end! SO worth your time.

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/05/trinity-military-war-dog.html

Friday, March 14, 2014

TV Show: Arrow: Season 1


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Adventure, superhero (he’s not technically, but he kinda is…)

Series or set: Arrow

Number in series: 1st

Primary actors: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards

Length: 972 minutes; 23 episodes

Based on: The DC Comic books

Time period: Present

Rating: TV-14

Year it came out: 2011-2012

My overall opinion: So. Y’all. I’ve got a new favorite show to watch. And it’s this one. Wow is it good! I don’t even know where to start! Oliver Queen is absolutely amazing. Most episodes include a little of his present day story (in which he’s killing bad guys in his hometown of Starling City) and a little of his back story (he was stranded on an island for five years). It ties them together in a fascinating way the whole way through. His sister Thea is a neat character. His former girlfriend, Laurel, is also an interesting girl. We meet a variety of other people through the episodes as well, good and bad. John Diggle is Oliver’s body-guard turned friend, a delightful man – he’s awesome. And then there’s Felicity Smoak. She’s my hands-down favorite character. Before I started this show, I had a couple of friends tell me that I was rather similar to her. Then I started the show and understood what they meant. We aren’t carbon copies of each other, by any means (she’s so cool…I couldn’t be quite that cool) – but we talk alike. And we’re both blonde. So she’s really super amazing and I love her. All in all? There are occasionally a few objectionable things in this show, but for the most part, I highly recommend it. I’ve already gotten into Season 2 and it’s also amazing with some unexpected twists and turns. Watch this, then watch that, then tell me what you think! :)


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Movie: Skyfall


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Action

Series or set: James Bond 007

Number in series: I have no idea…and is it really a series? No. Not really. Cause I watched this one and had never watched a James Bond film before, but caught on just fine.

Primary actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench

Length: About two hours

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: So I always knew I’d have to watch this someday, and now I finally brought it home from the library, settled myself in one evening, and watched it. What an enjoyable film – right up my alley of movies I enjoy! It was absolutely packed with adventures, non-stop action, awesome sets, a large fire, mystery, suspense, and so much more. I really enjoyed it, and definitely intend to watch more James Bond films. Also, I really want a gun that recognizes my palm-print and only shoots for me – ‘cause that’s just awesome. The scenes in that abandoned city – okay, back up. Abandoned places kind of fascinate me, whether they’re that city in Russia that was abandoned because of nuclear poisoning in the air, or something like the one in this movie. I watched avidly through that whole scene. This is a movie I’d be happy to watch again. Oh, and Adele. I’m not a huge Adele fan, just in general, but her “Skyfall” song that’s used for the (long) beginning credits is awesome and I really like it. Listen, even if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to. Be warned, there is some language and occasional other objectionable things – check IMDB for a list. But. This movie is pretty awesome!



Monday, March 10, 2014

Dangerous Passage


Author: Lisa Harris

Genre: Suspense, romance, adventure

Series: Southern Crimes

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 320

Time period: Present

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: I was just randomly browsing at the library when I came across this one. I had heard about it in the blogosphere when it came out in fall of 2013, so I decided to give it a try. Sure am glad I did! Lisa’s book is a delight to read. She is definitely moving up in the wonderful world of suspense! If you’ve enjoyed other Christian suspense books (by Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, etc), give her a shot. It was a great mystery, sweet romance, and very good book. Funny thing: this book had for main characters two girls, Tory and Avery. Now the weird thing for me is that I know two guys here at school – with those exact names. Remembering that the book ones were girls was tough! Ha, but yeah. All in all? A good book that I don’t hesitate to recommend.

Looking forward to the next one!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Need to Read #36: On Distant Shores


Title: On Distant Shores

Author: Sarah Sundin

Book blurb: Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

Quick endorsement: World War II is a fascinating time period, and reading about Georgie’s adventures as a nurse is so interesting! I love the historical accuracy that fills Sarah’s books, only adding to their draw. Historical fiction lovers! This one is for you.

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/12/on-distant-shores.html

TV Show: Downton Abbey Season 3


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Period drama, life, family

Series or set: Downton Abbey

Number in series: 3rd

Primary actors: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens

Length: Nine episodes, with the last one being the two hour Christmas special

Based on: Possibly a real family?

Time period: 1920s

Rating: TV-14, I think

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: I enjoyed this! I ended up watching it all really quick – checked it out on an impulse from the library on Friday afternoon, and watched it all before returning it on Sunday morning. So yeah…I flew. But yes, it was good and I greatly enjoyed getting to know everyone even better. Their highs were lovely, their lows were sad, and I can say no more without spoilers, so I’ll stop. All in all? Good series and I’m excited for Season 4!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Echoes of Mercy


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Romance, adventure

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 344

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: WaterBrook Press, $14.99

My overall opinion: What a delightful book! My favorite part of it? The setting. A chocolate factory is a primary factor in the story, and let me tell you – chocolate factories are awesome, and this one is no exception. Just reading about it made my mouth water more than once! This was such a sweet story (and not just because of all the chocolate) and it’s sure to touch your heart like it touched mine. Caroline was a heroine to love, and I certainly could identify with her. Ollie too was a dear, quite a lovable hero. My only problem with him was his name: Ollie is Oliver Hardy in Laurel and Hardy to me and I could never quite take this Ollie seriously. ;) The mystery was absolutely awesome and can I just say again – I really loved the setting. This one is staying on my keeper shelf!

**Blogging for Books sent me this book in return for my honest review. I wasn’t paid in any other way, nor was I required to post positively. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blog Tour: The Dancing Master


Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Romance

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 424

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Delightfully packed with mystery and romance! And one of the best things is that all of this is set in a place reminiscent of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte. And one special little touch…I checked on the back cover and there was Pemberley, from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice! That may or may not have made my day just a little bit. So cool. Anyway, the heroine was sweet yet spicy – a delightful combination. And I mentioned that it’s packed with mystery – you will have trouble putting this book down! The words that Julie chose to use are perfect for the setting – I was impressed. This book is all-around a delightful read that I recommend for Regency lovers!

**Bethany House Publishers sent me this book in return for my honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I was not recompensed for this review, or forced to post positively.**

Monday, March 3, 2014

Need to Read #35: Love at Any Cost


Title: Love at Any Cost

Author: Julie Lessman

Book blurb: Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?
With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in "Love at Any Cost."


Quick endorsement: This is a big book, but it flies by due to the delightful people within the pages! The time period and location (Gilded Age San Francisco) just make it better. This is a book I’ll read many times – give it a try!

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/05/love-at-any-cost.html

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Passion Denied


Author: Julie Lessman

Genre: Romance, life, family

Series: Daughters of Boston

Number in series: 3rd

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 high

Type: Fiction

Time period: 1920s

My overall opinion: A sweet story! I really love the leading lady, Elizabeth – she’s just a sweetheart through and through. And Brady! He is an upstanding young man, and his great qualities shine through on every page. Julie did an amazing job with that. He’s a hero to fall in love with. There was enough mystery in here to keep me puzzled (which is more of a challenge than you might think). But the conclusion was most decidedly satisfying and made me happy. As I’ve mentioned in former reviews of other books by Julie, her books are more passionate than most – though this was not her most passionate book. All in all? This is a lovely book, sure to please!