Friday, October 31, 2014

Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we pick the top ten things that we choose for the topic of the week.
Topic: Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween/Costumes I would totally want to wear

Sorry guys, I'm aware it's not Tuesday! But it is Halloween! Sorry, I was stressed over the ACT last week, then I took the ACT and it exhausted me so I didn't have the post ready (or even started), but I really wanted to do it so I thought "hey, why not post it on Halloween!"

Specific Characters
Waterfall (River of Time, #1) The One (The Selection, #3) Heart Song (Heart Song Trilogy, #1) The Strength of Ballerinas Conception (Future Savior, #1) Where Courage Calls (When Calls the Heart) The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #2) Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)
Gabriella Betarrini
America from The Selection series
Alanna from Heart Song
A ballerina
Christina from the Future Savior series
Elizabeth Thatcher from Where Courage Calls (also When Calls the Heart Hallmark series)
Kate from Daughter of Highland Hall
Character from The Lunar Chronicles
A Gallagher Girl (complete with spy gadgets and everything)
Elizabeth Bennet

Love these dresses (these are just the first few I saw on my Goodreads shelf, there are so many more!)
Star of Deliverance The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles, #1) The Captive Maiden Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess, #1) Fairchild's Lady (The Culper Ring, #1.5)

Happy Halloween everyone!

What characters do you want to dress up as?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary
Fans of Downton Abbey, Jane Eyre, and Pride & Prejudice will enjoy this pure and inspiring romance taking place in Edwardian England amid a clash of cultures and changing times.

Eighteen-year-old Katherine Ramsey travels to London with her family to make her debut into society and hopefully find her future husband. Her overbearing aunt insists she must secure a proposal from a wealthy young man who is in line to inherit his father’s title and estate. But Katherine questions her aunt’s plans when she gets to know Jonathan Foster, a handsome medical student and strong Christian who is determined to protect the poor and vulnerable in London’s East End. When a family scandal puts a damper on Katherine’s hopes for the season, she has time to volunteer with Jonathan, caring for children in one of London’s poorest areas, and romance blossoms. Katherine’s faith grows and she begins to envision a different future with Jonathan. But when Katherine’s work in the East End puts her in danger, Jonathan distances himself from Katherine to protect her. A wealthy suitor reappears, and Katherine must choose which path to follow.

My Review
The Daughter of Highland Hall truly struck a chord within me. It was beautifully written, but most of all I loved and connected to the message and faith, the character growth, and the story. 

This is Kate's debut season, but instead of being a stereotypical debutante at the beginning like people would expect of her, you could see her inner personality and grace shine through. She is not a spoiled child in any way. I loved seeing her grow spiritually as she watched Julia and Jon live their faith out loud. Her spirit, strength, honesty, determination, selfless kindness, and caring manner were present at all times and I enjoyed seeing it played out and growing stronger as the book progressed. She grew in leaps and bounds throughout the book especially spiritually, going from a girl who wasn't to sure about God, to one who trusted in him for every move.

I really loved the way that missionary work was presented and played out throughout this book, I really connected to Jon and Kate through their feelings toward that, and their response toward God's calling. I know exactly what that feels like, and it was written perfectly. It's the best feeling ever to know that God is calling you to do something. I wish more books were like this in that light, and I found it truly moving (it made me long to be in Romania again, and I really hope I get to do more missionary work someday). 
I also enjoyed reading about Jon's constant faith and his relationship with God since his childhood. It was interesting to read about the medical aspect and his time in India. He was such a great guy and so perfect for Kate, but then there was Edward! Their conversations were very enjoyable and I looked forward to their time together and what would be drawn from it! 

Would she be willing to sacrifice a life of privilege? Would he be willing to ask her to?

There was a lot depth to this book, and the other characters were great to read about as well. I was transported into the Edwardian time period, visualizing and living through events with these characters. There's also exciting action and danger. I hope to read more books by Carrie Turansky soon -The Governess of Highland Hall is going to be moved up on my TBR list, and I'm going to add her other books to my TBR immediately! This is definitely worth a read, and a re-read too!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend

Release: May 5, 2015

Goodreads Summary
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Why I'm Waiting
I've heard so many good things about Kasie West's writing, and I've meant to read some of her other books, but haven't gotten to yet. Hopefully I'll read those then this one!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

Playing by HeartPlaying by Heart by Anne Mateer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But when she receives a shocking telephone call from her sister, Jewel, everything she's worked for begins to crumble.

After the sudden death of Jewel's husband, Jewel needs Lula's help. With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister. But the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Neither subject belongs anywhere near the halls of academia, according to Lula!

Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year, determined to do well and prove herself to the town. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends in Dunn, the more Lula realizes God is working on her heart--and her future is beginning to look a lot different than she'd expected.

My Review
I really enjoyed the setting and characters in this book. I haven't read many books set during the time period of this war, and this time of change.

The different perspectives of Lula (I like that name) and Chet were well done and I was glad it switched perspectives because it added more layers to the book.

Lula was determined to prove her nickname of Fruity Lu wrong. It drove her nuts, and she would get to frustrated and determined to finish what she set out to do - and that would be to get her doctorate to make her father proud. Then life happened and her plans had to take a detour. While she wasn't happy at first, she did the right thing, and I admire her for that. She was determined to help her family! Can both math and music be her thing, or is there only room in her life for one? It was kind of funny to see her trying to teach girls basketball though, especially at first!

Chett was a good guy. He wanted adventure, he wanted to fight like his brother, but instead he stayed behind to take care of his mother. The dynamics of their relationship were great to read about and learn from.

Both Lula and Chett had more in common than they thought they did. For one, their love for their families. Also, not only their attraction to each other, but also their hope and helpfulness towards their students. Those students taught them something too! I hope to be a teacher someday, and I hope that I'll be as dedicated to my students as they are, and make a difference in their lives. Then there's the matter of basketball! Can it really draw them together though?

The matters of faith in this book were also great, as they tried to trust God to control and plan their lives for them through thick and thin. Life doesn't have to be logical all the time Lula, there room for "frivolities" such as music too!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week of Wonder

Week of Wonder is what I call my Weekly Wrap-up. I will link up everything that I did on my blog this week - books I read, books I reviewed, what challenges I've added to, what I'm currently reading, all my other posts, etc. I will also let you know about any upcoming events that are coming up on my blog.

So, this week has been full of stress, I didn't even get one review up this week, sorry. I took the ACT yesterday and it was horrid, but now maybe I'll actually have some time to read and blog. 

Other Posts
Top Ten New Series I Want to Start
Waiting on Wednesday - After A Fashion
Life Update

I hope to do better this week!
What was your week like?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life Update

I feel like doing a life update today just because I want to (I'm writing this on Monday even though it won't go out until Thursday). 

The ACT and College
Oh, the life of being a senior.
 Being a senior sounded great until....

I've been feeling stressed recently because I have to take the ACT Saturday. Super scared, but Sunday the sermon I heard at my Church really reminded that I need to trust God and his plan for me! And I teach the 2-year old class at our Church and the theme is "God helps us do big things." The last three stories have been on David and if God can help David fight a lion, bear, and Goliath he can help me do well enough on the ACT to get the Promise Scholarship and I need to trust in him to help me because I can't do anything on my own! It really took a huge burden off of my shoulders, and now I feel a little better about taking it - if God wants me to do well on my first try then I will, if not I'll keep taking it until I get it right - it's all up to Him and there's nothing I can do about it! 

I absolutely have to get the Promise Scholarship and possibly other scholarships as well in order to afford College, and if I don't I'm in trouble. So stressful. But I'm trusting God and handing everything over to him. I know He can handle it all, in fact he already knows what will happen!

I tried to have posts ready in advance for this week so I could focus on studying.

I've discovered some newer (to me) great Contemporary Christian artists that I really need to get the cd's of soon so I don't have to keep listening to them over and over again on YouTube!
Royal Tailor
Love and the Outcome
Moriah Peters
Jessa Andrews

So, I've mentioned this before, but I really love Hallmark movies. Hallmark movie channel recently changed to Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and they along with Hallmark channel have been playing a new original movie every week and I always record them and watch them throughout the week. It's so great! So many awesome new movies!

I still think I need to get a Netflix soon though.

Amazon Prime
I really, really want to get Amazon Prime (maybe my dad will pay for it)! I could get so much great music and books for free!

How is life right now for you? Be honest, I really want to know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - After A Fashion

After a Fashion

Release: March 3, 2015

After years of working in a millinery shop, Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day when she'll open up her own shop and sell re-fashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. When a delivery errand goes sadly awry, her job--and her chance at saving enough for her shop--is at stake all due to a rather unfortunate misunderstanding with a customer.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw enjoys a certain position in society, but his real aim is to follow in the footsteps of men like Cornelius Vanderbilt. On the verge of his biggest business deal yet, he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and respectably married. As matters stand, Oliver's ex not-quite-fiance recently became unhinged and lost a poor shop girl her job. Oliver feels bad for the hapless Harriet and, hoping to kill two birds with one stone, asks for her help in making a good impression in his business deal.

Harriet dives into the circles of high society head first, only to find that her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake engagement, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

Why I'm Waiting
I've read Jen Turano's previous books and I was thrilled to see that this one is coming out next year. It can't come soon enough!

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten New Series I Want To Start

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we pick the top ten things that we choose for the topic of the week.
Topic: Top Ten New Series I Want To Start
Courting Cate (The Courtships of Lancaster County, #1) To Whisper Her Name (Belle ... Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1) Doon (Doon, #1) Tempest (Tempest, #1)
The Courtships of Lancaster County Series by Leslie Gould
Belle Meade Plantation Series by Tamera Alexander
Weddings By Bella Series by Janice Thompson
Doon Series by Cary Corp
Tempest Series by Julie Cross

Love at Any Cost (The Heart... The Girl of Fire and Thorns... Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like ... Fool Me Twice (If Only . . . #1) All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)
The Heart of Francisco Series by Julie Lessman
Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson
Snow Like Ashes Series by Sara Raasch
If Only Series by Mandy Hubbard
Embassy Row Series by Ally Carter
This is just of a few many!

What series do you want to start?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week of Wonder

Week of Wonder is what I call my Weekly Wrap-up. I will link up everything that I did on my blog this week - books I read, books I reviewed, what challenges I've added to, what I'm currently reading, all my other posts, etc. I will also let you know about any upcoming events that are coming up on my blog.

Sophia Undeniably Yours (Porter Fa...
Sophie by Paula Kremser (Blog Tour)
Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Other Posts
Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit
Waiting on Wednesday - The Captive Impostor by Dawn Crandall
Wonderland Weekend (Me and Scary Books)

Currently Reading
Playing by Heart The Daughter of Highland Ha...
Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer
Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Coming Up
Top Ten New Series I Want to Start
Waiting on Wednesday
Life Update
Wonderland Weekend (Mysteries)

What was your week like?

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews. It's great for showing off the fantastic reads we added to our shelves in the last week!

Bought For Free
Standing (Book 1, The Water... In Between (Katie Parker Pr...
Standing (#1 of the Waterblaze Trilogy) by China Dennington
In Between by Jenny B. Jones

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wonderland Weekend (Me and Scary Books)

Wonderland Weekend is a feature on my blog where I pick a topic about how stories take us to "another world." Each month I have a new topic and will write about it every weekend of that month or just one or two weekends (whatever I feel like/have time for/can come up with). I would love for you to join me, so feel free to write about this topic at any time throughout the month and link it back to me - just have fun with it!

I've also decided to do slightly broader topics. sooo...

October Topic: How do books take us to another world by creating emotions in us? What are some emotions you do and don't like books to cause? Since Halloween is in October do you like scary books? Anything you want to write about scary books, books (or movies) that have to do with Halloween, or weird creatures. (However you want to take it). 

Me and Scary Books

I'm going to be completely honest with you guys - I don't really read scary books, or watch many scary movies for that matter! I'll go to the occasional haunted house, and I went trick or treating when I was little, but Halloween has never been a top holiday of mine. 

While scary books may get some people's adrenaline pumping and their heart rates racing, they totally freak me out and give me nightmares. Some people enjoy those feelings, but I don't!
Candy - Yummy
Scary - No Thanks
Vampires - Sorry, I think I'll hold onto my blood, but thanks anyway.
Werewolves - I prefer a real human or a real wolf.
Mummy - Cool if you're in Egypt.
Zombie - Weird mummy robot. I prefer to keep my brain in working order!

Witches - I do like to read the occasional magic or witchy book! I mean who doesn't like a little magic in life!
Genie - Granting wishes is awesome!
Fairy-tales - A favorite to read!
Ghosts - I can handle the occasional ghost book or movie (especially if their nice like Casper).
(forgive me, I'm probably missing some)

So, as you can obviously see - I'm not like most people! I think that it just makes me more unique, you might think me weird, though, and that's okay.

Scary books do take us to a whole nother world though; one filled with fright, racing hearts, adrenaline, nightmares, and the occasional scream! Sometimes one in which we encounter creatures that we would never encounter in real life. One of chances and spookiness.

How do you feel about scary books and movies?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Undeniably Yours (Porter Family #1)Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary
When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.
The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.
But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?

My Review
Be prepared for an emotional and swoon-worthy novel. Becky Wade's Undeniably Yours is undeniably incredible!

The characters were realistic and believable. They felt emotions that transferred into my heart while I read. They struggled and worked hard, dealing with the hand they had been dealt.

Meg was strong, much stronger than she gave herself credit for. She tried her hardest to live up to her fathers expectations through all of the obstacles that came up. From the moment they met, and through it all, strong, reliable, honest Bo was by her side! He was the calming force that helped her when the panic started to rise.

I loved how Ms. Wade took a very wealthy girl and your typical (but more amazing) Texas cowboy and paired them together with such finesse.
The relationship between Bo and Meg was beautiful, wonderful, and believable. I loved the moments when they were together, from their witty banter to their more serious conversations. And the horse farm? Oh my goodness, it truly came alive!

Both Meg and Bo had compassionate hearts. Bo's determination to protect Meg and Meg's actions throughout the book and her belief that God had something bigger planned for her than Cole Oil, spoke volumes of their characters.

But, not only were the two main characters believable, the side characters were as well. Meg's employees, family, and friends all came alive.

There were various themes throughout the book that I loved! They were woven together fantastically and worked well together. I loved how they went through life trusting God, and the underlying theme of trusting God's plan for our lives, and how God puts certain people in our lives for a reason.

On top of all of that is the action and suspense that is created at certain points. Don't worry I'm not going to spoil it for you!

So. Now you see that you really need to read this book. Undeniably Yours, along with Becky Wade's other books, are perfect for anyone that loves a good clean romance, helping others, faith, witty banter, action/suspense, great romance - oh, wait, did I already say that? Oh well, if you read it, I'm sure you'll understand!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - The Captive Imposter

The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles, #3)

Release: February 2015

Goodreads Summary
Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion at Everston, one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she'd always loved best and always hoped to own one day. Within the week, Estella discovers that her ex-fiancĂ© is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella forms a friendship with the manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley.

She soon discovers that he is not simply the manager, but the new owner. Resentment takes hold in her heart, and she decides to sever the friendship.

When she finds herself fired from her position due to a misunderstanding, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer to hire her as companion to his sister. Though she doesn’t want to be indebted to him, Estella sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family. Through the rebuilding of their friendship, and despite her earlier hard feelings, Estella realizes that although she’s been lying to him about her identity, she’s never been freer to be herself in her life. However, when he proposes, she has to tell him the truth—a truth he isn’t happy to find out.

Why I'm Waiting
I've read the two previous books in this series, and they were both amazing. Estella was introduced in them, and I'm very curious to find out more about her and hear her story!

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we pick the top ten things that we choose for the topic of the week.
Topic: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (real or fictional)

Various Books Have Made Me Want To Visit These Real Places

1. Various 14-19 century European countries - I love Europe, and if I could go back in time I would definitely want to go to every century England (and other countries) - balls, gowns, dashing guys, dancing, carriages, they all seem to have horses, uncanny ability to get caught up in mysteries/intriguing situations, etc. - Ahhhh!

2. Biblical times - I just think it would be truly amazing!

3. Europe! - Your probably getting the point now, that I'm slightly obsessed with Europe. I would love to visit every country (except Ukraine and such places at the moment), and books always make me even more eager to see them. Plus - my experiences in Romania were amazing!

4. Various Islands and Tropical Places - Who wouldn't! Warmth, ocean, etc.

5. Castles and hidden passages - Castles are always described in such descriptive ways, and I've always wanted to see one! Hidden passages = awesome!

6. Wild west - I want to visit a horse farm!

7. Prince Edward Island - Anne of Green Gables made me fall in love with Avonlea and therefore Prince Edward Island is somewhere I would love to visit!

Heart Song (Heart Song Trilogy, #1) Conception (Future Savior, #1) Edenbrooke Blackmoore
Aldonnia from Heart Song
Meric from The Future Savior series
Edenbrook and Blackmoore

These places sound beautiful, amazing, and unique and I would love to visit them! Let me know if you find a way to get to any of them!

Of course there are so many more, but that's that for now!

Where have books made you long to go?