Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: Surprised by Love


Author: Julie Lessman

Genre: Romance

Series: The Heart of San Francisco

Number in series: 3rd

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 408

Time period: early 1900s

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: Julie Lessman continues to delight and enchant me with each new book she debuts! This book had the perfect mix of romance, adventure, and humor – all twined together into one neat story that made me smile and laugh and worry right along with the characters. I found Meg to be a sweet and endearing person who made me love her from the moment she stepped onto the page. And Bram! What a hero. Mature and sensible, yet he still managed to be a heart-throb and such a GOOD man. While Devin had his positive and likable moments, all in all he was a great scoundrel. And reading the continuation of Cait’s story from the previous books in this series also kept me glued to this book. All in all, it was a wonderful read and one that will be proudly displayed along with my other books by Julie.

**Many thanks to Revell for providing me with a review copy of this book. I was not compensated for this review, or forced to post positively.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: Deceived

Author: Irene Hannon

Genre: Suspense, romance, adventure

Series: Private Justice

Number in series: 3rd

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 408

Time period: Present

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: Wow! Irene Hannon has hit another one out of the park with this splendid novel! It’s the 10th book of hers that I’ve read, and she hasn’t ceased to delight me. This book was certainly not an exception! Again, she managed to pack each page with suspense and constant action, pulled together with a sweet dose of romance and plenty of love – and not just the romantic kind, but that of a mother for her child. I savored every page. I was never sure where the story would end up next, except that I knew it had to end happily – because Irene’s books do. Trust me, I would be heart-broken if they didn’t. The ending did not disappoint! I’m sorry to see this series end. Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of romantic suspense. I can’t wait for “Buried Secrets,” her next book!

**Revell sent me a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. I was not recompensed for this review, nor was I required to write positively. All opinions are my own honest ones.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: Nowhere to Hide

Author: Lynette Eason

Genre: Suspense, romance

Series: Hidden Identity

Number in series: 2nd

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 314

Time period: Present

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: Wow. Another keeper book from Lynette Eason! It was this author who wrote
the first romantic suspense that I read, and she has remained the first author that I mention when friends ask for recommendations. I’ve read a number of her books and thoroughly enjoyed each one – Nowhere to Turn was no exception! This is a book that will definitely be remaining on my keeper shelf. Her heroine is awesome; the bad guys are through-and-through villains; the hero is everything a hero should be. From the first page to the last, this book had me hooked and I read it in just one sitting! I wish I had time to share the entire first page here with you – it starts with action, and that doesn’t stop. I was there with the characters in each scene. I highly recommend this book (and others by Lynette) to any reader who hasn’t given her a try yet!

**I was in no way compensated for this review. These are my personal and honest opinions.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bite-Size Movie Reviews

Nowadays, many of the movies I see don’t make it onto the blog because I don’t love them enough or consider them of enough account. Besides, movie reviews usually take longer to write. But here and there throughout the past few months, I’ve encountered a movie or TV show that needs to be mentioned. So here they are, in the same bite-size manner.

TV Series: Sherlock (season 1) – 9
Everyone always said I’d enjoy it – everyone was right. I did indeed quite love Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern and witty Sherlock, and Martin Freeman as his delightful side-kick! The mysteries were engaging, there were funny quirks and lines in each episode, and I was entirely obsessed – the three episodes flew by way too fast. I can’t wait to watch the other seasons of this wonderful show. The only drawback I would mention is that each episode contained some reference to homosexuality, which I really didn’t appreciate. Other than that, it was most delightful!

Movie: Avatar – 7
The only reason I decided to review this one was because of the graphics. As far as the story goes, it wasn’t amazing. I didn’t fall in love with the giant blue creatures, nor did I form a huge connection with any of them. I’m glad I watched it, if primarily for the reason that now I can say I did. The graphics were absolutely amazing and that’s what scored this movie a 7 from me.

Movie: Jack Reacher – 8.5
I think I originally stumbled across this movie because it starred Rosamund Pike (who was Jane in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice). Somewhat to my surprise, I greatly enjoyed it! The action sequences were fast, the mystery compelling, and Rosamund (as Helen) was delightful to watch. Such a different role from Jane, but wonderful none-the-less. Finally seeing the famed Tom Cruise was also delightful. Good movie!

Movie: Captain America: the Winter Soldier – 9.5
Yay! Captain America is back on the big screen! I really enjoyed this movie. Pulled me in from the start and I was glued to the screen. Captain America is a delight to watch once again…ah, I do love that guy. Scarlett Johansson was a great heroine – full of impressive crazy stunts and the like. Captain America is such a wonderful soldier and superhero. Love. I can’t wait to watch this one again on DVD!

TV Show: Castle (season 1) – 8.5
After getting hooked on this show in season 5, I knew I wanted to go back and see the original meeting of Beckett and Castle. So as soon as the library got season 1 on reserve for me, I settled in to watch – and was not disappointed. Watching the beginning of Kate & Richard’s relationship after seeing it in maturity in the later seasons was delightful! This is one series I’m eager to watch through. Castle is incorrigible, Beckett is adorable (and a great cop), and the whole show is a favorite of mine.

Movie: The Host – 7.5
I was disappointed. After reading and enjoying the book, I hoped the movie would be something I would enjoy just as much and was thrilled to discover it checked-in at my local library. But sadly, I didn’t. My main problem with it was character development – I know, converting an 800 page book packed with detail in a two hour movie is a gigantic challenge. But after how I fell in love with the book characters, I felt like they were all woefully misrepresented in the movie. I’m not sorry I watched it, but I don’t think I would watch it again.

Movie: White House Down – 9
This movie has been on my to-see list for over a year, and finally getting to see it – well, it did not disappoint! Primarily because really – who could protest watching Channing Tatum for two hours? But better than that, the plot was riveting and full of surprise twists. The chases and suspense were fascinating and I couldn’t stop watching. A great movie!

TV Show: The Bible (season 1) – 8
This was so interesting. What to say? All in all, it wasn’t entirely Biblically accurate, and that bugged me. I think where the Bible says one thing, that’s how it should be portrayed, whether in movie or book. But for people who are grounded in the Bible and know the stories well, I would recommend this as an interesting visualization of the places and people. It also gives interesting perspective on some of the stories.

Movie: Much Ado About Nothing – 8.5
I went into this one not sure what I was going to think. Here’s the gist of it: (1) It’s set in present day; (2) It’s filmed in black and white; and (3) They use all their lines directly from Shakespeare (though I believe a few of them may have been slightly changed). To my surprise, I quite enjoyed it and was amazed by the dexterity with which the actors pulled the clunky lines into present day smoothness. I loved seeing Castle (from the show of the same name) and Agent Coulson (from Agents of SHIELD) in this too! So cool. While some parts were a little confusing and it took me a little bit to get my bearings, overall I enjoyed it! If you’ve enjoyed this story by Shakespeare or if you’re a sucker for interesting films – this is a must-see.

Movie: Alex Cross – 7
Disappointed. I had hoped for an action movie that I would fully enjoy, as this has recently become a favorite genre of mine. While this one wasn’t bad, I didn’t enjoy it fully. It was a little more disgusting than some films, and that definitely docked my rating. There were some great fight scenes and some brilliance, both from the criminal and the others. But all in all, not one I’ll watch again.

Movie: Oz the Great and Powerful – 7.5
Admittedly, I did like this one more than Alex Cross and I wouldn’t mind allowing my siblings to see it. However, it wasn’t my new favorite. That being said, it was creative and had an interesting story and colorful characters. I neither loved nor hated it.

Movie: Maleficent – 8.5
As I headed into the theater to see this one, I didn’t know what to expect. But I enjoyed it! It was easy to empathize with Maleficent herself. The animation was stunning, where it was used. The whole story was almost predictable (due to being a classic fairy tale) – but then not quite. It was always take some turn or other that was liable to surprise. The dragon was a nice touch, and most impressive. All in all? A good movie that I’ll watch again on DVD.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bite-Size Book Reviews

As the spring ended and I am preparing to head to Montana for the summer, I discovered that, while I had time to read several books, full size reviews weren’t coming to me. So I decided to steal an idea I’ve seen used on other blogs and write one post with bite-size reviews instead – and here it is. Enjoy!

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer – 9
I had anticipated reading this one ever since loving My Heart Remembers several years ago. And now that I finally obtained the book and had the time to sit down and dive in, I was naturally delighted. While it didn’t reach my “favorite books” list, it was a delightful story from Kim and one that will stay on my shelves. Colorful characters and a unique setting (college in the late 1800s or early 1900s) made it a great book.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – 8.5 high
This book got the “high” added onto the rating for one simple reason – it’s 829 pages long and I was hooked for every single one of them. Now, first of all – I can tell you’re looking at me with horror because of the fact that I read a book by Stephenie Meyer. I was reluctant to pick it up, and prepared to put it down – but I couldn’t. It’s well-written, an engaging story, main characters who I really connected to, and great creativity. I recommend it, despite the first person tone. (Take heart, I am still violently opposed to Twilight, books AND movies.)

Petra: City in Stone by T. L. Higley – 8.5
I am rapidly reading every book by Higley that I can put my hands on! She has become one of my favorite authors. Her Biblical and historical fiction is excellent. This last semester in college, I took a New Testament Archaeology class, which included a brief overview of Petra. So reading about it here jolted details in my mind, so to speak – Higley was historically and geographically accurate through-out in a most impressive manner. I really appreciated that. A delightful read!

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer – 9
Yet another delightful book from Kim! This isn’t your stereotypical Christian romance in one major way – the characters aren’t 20. A few years adds good maturity to both Lydia and Micah. Besides that, Lydia has a son who unwittingly bring them together. A surprising but heart-warming redemption story rounds this book out. The characters (and I’m thinking especially of Lydia’s father and Micah) were so vivid to me – my mental images of them are still clear, weeks after finishing this read. Again, I can do nothing short of highly recommending this book!

The Irish Healer by Nancy Herriman – 8
 A sweet book and worth a one time read, but I’m not sure that it made my (over-flowing) keeper shelf. While I liked the people of the story and the setting, it didn’t grab as much as some others that I read recently. However, I still think it was a good book, if not worth buying.

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – 8.5
I’m not sure either (a) why I picked this book up at the library or (b) why I haven’t read anything by Dee before. I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be reading the O’Malley series as soon as I have time! Kate and Paul drew me into their world from the first page, and I read this one almost obsessively. The story is so complex (yet clearly explained) that I am amazed by Dee’s skill here. I really loved the first 2/3 or 3/4 of the book. After that, it wasn’t as much of a favorite of mine as it had been previously. I’m not sure why – just didn’t grab me as much. That’s what pulled the rating to an 8.5 instead of a 9. But all in all? I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Queen’s Handmaid

Author: Tracy L. Higley

Genre: Life, adventure

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Historical fiction

Number of pages: 386

Time period: Bible times (technically, about 37 b.c.)

Publisher and price: Thomas Nelson, $15.99

My overall opinion: When I stumbled across this book at the library, I recognized it as Tracy’s newest and was super happy – how often are new publications actually IN at the library? I was thrilled. So I checked it out and made time to read it over Easter. It was enthralling. It concentrates on Lydia, a fictional character who was first a servant to Cleopatra and then to the wife who Herod the Great actually loved, Mariamme. This book was a fascinating take on those historical characters (especially Cleopatra and Herod!). Lydia is absolutely delightful and I would love to meet her. I was amazed by the all the research that Tracy put into this book – the result is stunningly historically accurate book. I’m so excited for Tracy’s upcoming book (don’t know a title yet, but I hear it’ll be about the wise-men??!?!!?) and I’m definitely really enjoying each of her books.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Author: Dani Pettrey

Genre: Suspense, romance, adventure

Series: Alaskan Courage

Number in series: 4th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 327

Time period: Present

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Once again, Dani delivers breath-taking suspense woven perfectly with mesmerizing action and a delightful romance, all wrapping up in a satisfying conclusion. (I feel really professional after that sentence – and this sentence just took all professionalism.) But seriously. It’s all true. I love the McKenna family and all their stories, and meeting up with my favorite characters from previous books is delightful. Love especially Bailey and Darcy! :) Anyway. Back to my review. I could NOT put this book down – almost literally. I read it all in one day and was tied to it the whole time. Dani is an amazing author and one of my favorite authors hands-down. I can’t wait for book 5!

**Dani actually sent me a copy of this book, but I wasn’t required to review it, much less positively. I wasn’t paid for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.**

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bethany House Blog Tour: For Such a Time

Author: Kate Breslin

Genre: Life, historical fiction, adventure

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Historical fiction

Number of pages: 430

Time period: 1940s, World War II

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Wow. This book blew me away. It is set perfectly in World War II, excellently accurate and very realistic. I should know, I’ve read a lot of World War II books, both fiction and non-fiction. But this book isn’t just a World War II story. It’s also the Biblical story of Esther, brought forward and retold in a Biblically accurate way in the newer time period. The amount of work that Kate clearly put into this is stunning. She pays an amazing amount of attention to the little details. I also love how she uses a lot of adjectives, and even a few words that made me pull up my dictionary app – hey, gotta love learning new words to throw at people! ;) I was so wow-ed by how the author brought the Biblical story to life (realistically) in World War II. She has great skill. And I really loved the main characters, Aric and Hadassah/Stella. This is a book that I will keep and re-read! I’m really excited to see more books by this author.

**Bethany House sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I wasn’t required to review it positively, and all opinions etc are my own. I wasn’t paid for this review.**

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bethany House Blog Tour: Love Comes Calling

Author: Siri Mitchell

Genre: Romance, life

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 364

Time period: 1920s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This is the first book that I’ve read by Siri Mitchell, and to be entirely honest (as my reviews always are), I was a little disappointed. Overall, I’d say this wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t the perfect book for me. I didn’t connect at all with the heroine, Ellis…though that sounds strange in light of the fact that I completely followed how her brain worked. The author’s note revealed that Ellis was ADHD, which made sense. I also wasn’t really a fan of the way that the first person voice worked for this particular story. Finally, I always had trouble with picturing Ellis at the correct age. I found myself seeing her as being about 14 instead of her actual age of 19 or so (at least, marriageable age). Picturing the heroine as being younger than she is was kind of a serious problem here. All in all, I didn’t hate the book, it just didn’t catch me as much as I’d hoped. I won’t keep it. However, I am open to reading other books by Siri Mitchell, as it may have just been this one that wasn’t quite for me.

**Bethany House sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I wasn’t required to review it positively, and all opinions etc are my own. I wasn’t paid for this review.**

Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Post by Lisa Bergren: My Most Darcy-ist Characters in Remnants

When Lisa offered to come by Austenitis and post a Jane Austen-themed post related to her newest book, I instantly agreed. So my dear readers, join me in welcoming Lisa to Austenitis! (but first, read my review of Remnants and you could win a copy! Click HERE.)


By Lisa T. Bergren

For this guest post for Austenitis, I had to think about it for a while, but when I considered Mr. Darcy, and my cast of characters, I decided the closest to him was Raniero (or “Niero”), leader of the Remnants and Knights of the Last Order.

Why do we love Mr. Darcy? By trolling goodreads it looks like it’s because readers think of him as respectful; he honors Lizzie as an equal; he’s unapologetically manly and powerful in a genteel way, in control of his life and those dependent on him; he allows Lizzie to speak her own mind and challenge him with thoughts of her own; he’s loyal to the point of self-sacrifice, trustworthy, dependable; he recognizes faults within himself and sets out to correct them; he’s a no-nonsense guy with some serious self confidence.

All of these things apply to my character, Raniero, too. Now unlike Pride & Prejudice, my Niero isn’t in love with Andriana…we think.  He is guarded about his emotions—so guarded that even Andriana, an empath, can’t read him. But she knows she can count on him, and admires him in many ways. She’s intrigued with him and wants to unravel his secrets. So for those reasons, as well as Darcy-ish character traits, he’s my most Darcy-ist character in my book.

Oh, but he doesn’t own half of the Valley like Darcy owns half of Derbyshire. Or wear fancy clothes. Or have meticulous manners. I didn’t say they’re twins. And Remnants is hardly Pride & Prejudice…they’re like polar opposites on the fiction scale. But some things remain consistent among heroes, regardless of genre.

Be sure to write down this STOP #17 LAUNCH TOUR CLUE: fuel my

Collect all the clues and fill out Lisa’s Rafflecopter form on her launch tour post at LisaBergren.com at the end of April and you could win either a Kindle Fire HDX ($229) or iPod Touch ($229)!
What was the last hero in a novel that captured you? Why did you love him?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giveaway & Blog Tour: Remnants: Season of Wonder

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Remnants series

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 304

Time period: Future

Publisher and price: Blink, $15.99 (hardcover!)

My overall opinion: Lisa’s newest book did not disappoint in the least! I am again amazed by the genres that Lisa has covered with such accuracy (the 1800s west in The Homeward Trilogy, and time travel to 1500s Italy in The River ofTime series and early 1900s Europe in the Grand Tour series). Now she forges on a new time – the future! One thing I especially loved was the creative names. They’re unique, but still easy to pronounce. My favorites included Ronan, Andriana, Kapriel, and Tressa. Cool or what? This book is a page-turner. Andriana, the heroine, is fierce yet gentle and she has a special gift for feeling the emotions of others. I could identify with her remarkably well. And then Ronan…excuse me while I attempt to collect my thoughts on this amazing guy. Lisa created yet another swoon-worthy hero – I swear she has a gift for that! The whole story is mesmerizing, and I guarantee you that you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon! The locations were great, and the action was splendid. The whole book is quite unpredictable. I’m absolutely keeping this one, and I can’t wait for book 2!

Want to buy a copy? Here are the links!

But wait! I have a copy to give away to one lucky winner! This is a giveaway you want to enter and a book you want to read! Here, a little blurb about it:

Andriana is a Remnant, one of the gifted teens born on the seventh day during the seventy-seventh Harvest after the Great War, and destined to act as humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley home is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, other enemies close in. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri's feelings for Ronan--the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings, or risk compromising everything.

I don't have time to do my normal, more elaborate, Rafflecopter giveaway. So if you're interested in winning... all you have to do this time is leave a comment and tell me: have you read any of Lisa's books before? If so, which one(s)?

If you are a follower of this blog, you get an extra entry. You can get one more extra entry for liking the blog's Facebook page HERE. Ready? Go!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Movie: Great Gatsby

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Genre: Life…?

Primary actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan

Length: Almost 2 ½ hours

Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time period: 1920s

Quote: “Old sport” – catchy!

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2013

My overall opinion: Well! I went back and forth about whether or not to review this one – and decided I would, as I think my readers will find it interesting. But reviewing it means I have to at least attempt to organize my thoughts on it, and that is a challenge.

So why did I go for an 8? Because I enjoyed it…I think. At any rate, I found it fascinating and impossible not to finish watching. But I also don’t whole-heartedly recommend it, nor do I agree with the basic concept/morals that were conveyed in it.

Be advised: I’m not trying to avoid spoilers, not really, so look out – there probably are some.

What did I like? It was impossible not to like, or at least feel empathy for, Jay Gatsby himself. I don’t approve of what he did or how he lived. Sure, he might have loved Daisy, but pursuing a married woman like he did is wrong. But at the same time, I felt like DiCaprio did a good job with the role and you couldn’t help but empathize with him a little.

And then the fashion of the time! I once wrote a paper about fashion in the 1920s, and it was really interesting to research. That whole time-period is just fascinating to me, so I really enjoyed that aspect of this movie – seeing their fashion, vehicles, houses, and way of life was amazing. I was also a little horrified by how utterly pointless their lives were…nothing but endless parties. It was disturbing.

And then what I didn’t like. I wasn’t overly fond of Daisy at all. Actually, I loved her looks (wow, that sounds awkward…). Like, her bobbed blond hair and brown eyes were adorable. But I didn’t like her as a person. Besides which, her behavior as a married woman was wrong. Just plain wrong. Be advised, there are a few somewhat objectionable scenes – keep that in mind before you watch it.

So all in all, what did I think? I’m not quite sure. Will I watch it again? I don’t know. I think the only movie I’ve been more confused about was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I think I’m glad I watched this, or at least, I don’t entirely regret it. Good movie? Not sure. Bad movie? Not all. But yeah – there’s my thoughts in brief.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TV Show: Psych Season 3

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Mystery, crime

Series or set: Psych

Number in series: 3rd

Primary actors: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson

Length: 16 episodes (each 45 or so minutes)

Time period: Present

Rating: TV-14, I assume

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: Delightful and hilarious as ever! Who could help but love Shawn and Gus? They are their normal selves in this season. I laughed the whole way through it, was thoroughly flummoxed as usual by the mysteries, and enjoyed it a great deal. This is easily one of my favorite shows and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Governess of Highland Hall

Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Romance

Series: Edwardian Brides

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 324

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Multnomah, $14.99

My overall opinion: A good read. It really did remind me of Downton Abbey, as it focuses (obviously) on a governess. Some of the scenes with the maids and other servants were very much like in Downton Abbey. The governess side of things had some definite similarities to Jane Eyre as well. All in all, good for a one time read, but not a book I’d buy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie: Eragon

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Fantasy

Series or set: It should technically be the first in a four-part series, like the books…but this is the only one they’ve made.

Primary actor: Ed Speleers

Length: A little under two hours

Based on: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Time period: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Year it came out: 2006

My overall opinion: I didn’t put this on my priority to-watch list, due to having heard so many negative reviews of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Having read the books by Paolini several years ago, I don’t know how accurate to the books this movie actually was. However, as a movie, it wasn’t bad! The graphics weren’t always amazing, but all in all, I enjoyed it and am not against watching it again. Seeing characters from Once Upon a Time and Downton Abbey was neat too – anyone else catch that? :)