Sunday, December 31, 2023

Countdown to 2024...Favorite Books of 2023

It's hard to believe 2023 is coming to a close. There were so many fantastic books I read. Narrowing it down to just my top 5 favorites proved impossible, so I absolutely had to add a 6th book last minute. 

These books made my list because of the unique characters, compelling plots with endings that stay with you long after you've closed the book. You'll want to re-read these books to catch things you may have missed the first time reading. 

In no particular order here are my top 6 books of 2023. Did any of these books make it on your favorites list? Any books I'm leaving out? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

                                                               You can read my review here.

                                                            You can read my review here

                                                         You can read my review here

                                                     You can read my review here

                                                    You can read my review here

Time always flies when I am reading, but this year especially, it felt like time flew in general. I am looking forward to all the new books and authors I will discover in 2024 and I cannot wait to continue this reading adventure with you. Thank you for being here with me and celebrating books. 

Happy New Year! 


Monday, December 11, 2023

Five in Five: Author Edition

As an aivd reader, I frequently get asked about my favorite authors and books. So, for those of you who might have limited free time due to life's demands, I've put together a list of my current top five favorite Christian fiction authors. But let's take it a step further—I'll also share my absolute top five favorite books by each of these authors. So, you'll have some fantastic recommendations to dive into, even if you're short on time!

If you're new to my blog, this will give you a bird's eye view if you will of the tone and style of books I gravitate towards as a reader.

The author landing at the top of my list is Karen Witemeyer. She is known for her heart-melting Historical Westerns with feisty heroines and swoon-worthy cowboys.  Her books check all my boxes, are always on my "to keep" shelf and continually re-read.  

Short-Straw Bride

More Than Words Can Say  

More Than Meets the Eye 

 Heart on the Line 

 Full Steam Ahead 

Author Sarah Sundin is next on the list.  She is known for her phenomenal WWII historical romances. She's a consistently rock-solid author and one of the few authors I will pre-order her books.

 A Distant Melody

Through the Deep Waters

With Every Letter

When Twilight Breaks 

Until Leaves Fall in Paris 

Author Denise Hunter lands at #3 on the list. She is known for her small-town sweet romances with depth. If you want relatable characters and to be transported to a new place, these stories are for you!

 Sweetbriar Cottage

Married till Monday

 The Goodbye Bride

Harvest Moon

On Magnolia Lane


Jody Hedlund nabs the 4th spot on my list. She is a multi-genre author and almost any genre she writes in she has the ability to captivate her reader and take you on whatever adventure she chooses. 

Stay with Me 

 A Loyal Heart 

An Uncertain Choice

 Never Forget

Forever Safe 

Contemporary author Becky Wade rounds out my list with the last spot. She is known for swoon-worthy romances mixed with mystery. So if you love a book that's just not all about the romance and keeps you thinking than I highly recommned picking-up one of her books. 

 True to You

Falling for You 

Sweet on You 

Let it Be Me

Turn to Me 

This wraps up my 5 in 5. What do you think? Any of your favorites make the list?  Any books I should  have include, but didn't?  Let me know your thoughts and happy reading! 

Reading is adventure,


Monday, December 4, 2023

All's Fair in Love and Christmas is a Sweet Romance


Sarah Monzon is a new-to-me author and her newest release All's Fair in Love and Christmas has been infiltrating my social media newsfeeds that I had to read it and I'm so glad I did.

Mackenzie Graham is a talented graphic designer whose socially awkward tendencies keep her in the background and not front and center. Her boss informs her that she'll be competing against co-worker Jeremy Fletcher for a promotion to be announced at the Christmas office party. This pushed Mackenzie way outside of her comfort zone.  One character trait of Mackenzie's I appreciated was how she genuinely listened to her co-workers memories of childhood Christmases and tried to re-create these memories. This quality endeared Mackenzie to me. 

Single guardian to his twin nephew and niece, Jeremy Fletcher has ambitions for his family and wants to win the promotion. What he doesn't expect is to be intrigued and distracted by his rival co-worker Mackenzie. 

All's Fair in Love and Christmas had a depth to characters and storyline I wasn't expecting, but pleasantly surprised to find. Both Mackenzie and Jeremy had legitimate reasons for wanting the promotion. 

The author's use of pop culture references was so funny and engaging. Very well done and inspired me in my own writing. Being an avid movie and TV buff her references were right up my lane of humor. It made me want to read more books by this author.

Cozy up with All's Fair in Love and Christmas. It's the perfect holiday read that'll melt your heart and get you excited about the holiday season. 

Happy reading, and may your holidays be filled with the magic of great books!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Claiming the Cowgirl is a sweet Christmastime Novella


Author Jody Hedlund wraps up her Colorado Cowgirl series with her novella Claiming the Cowgirl part of the Christmas Bells and Wedding Vows: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology

Readers meet Serena Taylor towards in the end of Captivated by the Cowgirl when she’s hired to help Felicity run the Courtney Boardinghouse. She is a widow with a young son and she’s on the run from her former father-in-law who is determined to prove she’s an unfit parent. Her solution: to marry again and give her son a father.

Eligible bachelor Weston Oakley is in no hurry to give his heart away having been burned by love before. Suggesting a marriage of convenience will benefit them both. Serena will gain a father for her son, and he gets his meddlesome family off his back who were convinced he’d never find someone to marry. It’s a win-win. However, both Serena and Weston get more than they bargained for.

Ms. Hedlund crafted such a sweet and heart-melting romance in Claiming the Cowgirl. You find yourself rooting for both Weston and Serena. I admired Serena's selfless attitude when Weston told her she could buy whatever she wanted she thought of others before herself. In turn, I like that Weston sees and appreciates this quality in Serena. 

Both Weston and Serena model generosity and putting others needs about theirs. These qualities had you rooting for them as a couple. I liked that Serena doesn't see Weston's wealth as she can have anything she wants. Instead she's thinking about how to bless the people in his employ. This quality made her someone to admire.  

At the risk of sounding cliché the romance is what kept me in the story. Neither Weston or Serena had truly experienced love and you find yourself rooting for this kind-hearted couple to realize they are in love with each other. 

Claiming the Cowgirl delights readers with this tender romance and perfectly wraps up Ms. Hedlund's Colorado Cowgirls series with a bow. 

~~Christmas Bells and Wedding Vows was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Monday, November 13, 2023

To Spark a Match is a Fiery and Fun Read

Once again historical author Jen Turano brings her hallmark humor and sarcasm to the Gilded Age in her gorgeous new book To Spark a Match. (This might be my favorite book cover by this author only because of Adelaide's exquisite emerald green dress.)  

Miss Adelaide Duveen has spent five unsuccessful seasons on the marriage market and has resigned herself to the belief that she’s destined to remain a spinster…forever. Not one to remain down at this dismal eventuality, she consoles herself at least she’ll be able to devote more time to her hobbies: books and her menagerie of cats. 

When Adelaide unintentionally interrupts former undercover agent Gidden Abbott involved in covert activity at a dinner party, she is drawn into Gideon’s world of danger and intrigue closely resembling the spy novels she reads.

Her well-timed diversion to save Gideon’s investigation causes society to threaten to banish her. Guilt-ridden Gideon enlists the help of a friend to re-frame how the elite view Adelaide. It was a sort of My Fair Lady meets the Gilded Age. Refining her and not changing her so much that she was unrecognizable, but polishing her manners, clothing, and the way she presents herself. Capitalizing on her hobbies (reading and collecting cats) to make her appear to be fascinating to the upper class.

Through this process of change, Adelaide has many wardrobe mishaps that had me laughing out loud and in my opinion were some of the funniest parts of the book. Her wardrobe blunders made her a more relatable heroine and it makes you fall in love with her character even more! 

From the moment Adelaide and Gideon meet their chemistry and teasing exchange leap off the page leaving you wanting more and wondering when the next Gideon/Adelaide verbal sparring match will be. I like that their relationship started off as friendship and naturally progressed to romance. 

Will the spark of love ignite between Gideon and Adelaide before it’s too late or be quenched by danger?

At the risk of sounding cliché or like a broken record, what draws me into Ms. Turano’s books is her sharp banter not only between the hero and heroine, but all the characters.  The world she creates with her clever use of quick-witted, engaging dialogue makes you want to dive in headfirst and inhabit her world hoping some of their wit will rub off on you.

To Spark a Match is like A Match in the Making with the humor that readers have come to expect from Ms. Turano, but what sets it apart is the mystery element. This aspect to the story added seriousness and substance which I think it needed.

Grab a cozy blanket, your favorite drink and treat yourself to the perfect riotous fall read with To Spark a Match

~~To Spark a Match was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Thursday, October 12, 2023

My True Love Gave to Me: A Delightful Christmastime Short Story


It's always a joy and a treat to help promote one of my all-time favorite authors! If you've read my blog for some time, you are likely familiar with my unbiased admiration for this wonderful writer. Christy award winning author Karen Witemeyer gifts her readers with a delightful short story set in Bethlehem, Texas. 

My True Love Gave to Me is released just in time for the holiday season is a slice of bliss. The story begins as the air turns crisp and the holiday lights glitter. Once again demonstrating her mastery of her craft, Karen Witemeyer has given us a festive treat that will overflow with love and optimism.

The well-known "12 Days of Christmas" carol is given a unique spin by Karen Witemeyer in  My True Love Gave to Me, as only she can. The story centers around Simeon Shephard and Anna King who are genuinely in love and have been courting for two years. Anna's father David refuses to grant his blessing of marriage to the couple. When a wealthy rival suitor enters the picture seeming to garner David King's respect and approval Simeon realizes time is running out. He only has 12 days to prove to her father he can provide for Anna and ultimately be the best man for his daughter.

In an attempt to win Anna's heart, Simeon enlists the help of his family and the people of Bethlehem through warmth, comedy, and a hint of festive enchantment. The outcome is a tale that is both delightful and unforgettable, making it the ideal treat to enjoy during this happy holiday season.  

Will he succeed in this race against the clock? You'll find yourself fervently rooting for Simeon's triumph in this heartwarming tale of love and determination.

Allow My True Love Gave to Me to take you to the heart of Bethlehem, Texas, where love, faith, and perseverance come together to produce a story that will stick with you long after the Christmas season has passed. Cheers to the holidays and good reading!

~~My True Love Gave to Me was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

He Should Have Told the Bees: One of my favorite stories of 2023...So Far

After reading author Amanda Cox's stellar debut novel The Edge of Reason last summer, I was ecstatic and excited to have the opportunity to read and review her latest book, He Should Have Told the Bees.

The beautiful cover combined with the unique title instantly pulled me in and did not disappoint.

Beckett "Beck" Walsh's world is shattered with with the untimely passing of her father beekeeper, George Walsh, and owner of Walsh Farms. Through the reading of his will, she discovers her father made her a co-owner with Callie Peterson. Who is this person? How is she connected to her father?  With this news, her solace and safety net of Walsh Farms changes. 

Callie Peterson has no idea who George Walsh is or why she was named in his will. She dreams of opening a storefront for her soap, candle and bath business. She initially sees being co-owner of Walsh Farms as the answer to all her financial problems until she meets Beckett. 

For Beckett, living and working on the farm is an oasis and as natural as breathing. When it comes to chores and bee keeping she is skilled and competent. However, there might be more reasons than meet the eye for why this is. 

Having an acholic mother has taught Callie Peterson not to dependent on others. As an adult she has tried to maintain a boundary with her mother. Callie soon realizes her mother holds the key to unlocking part of the mystery of her connection to George Walsh. Will she discover what this is before it's too late?  

Together Beckett and Callie find themselves uncovering the maze of family secrets. I think the author dealt with this in a realistic way. It's not easy having the only live you've ever know be ripped out from you and adding the extra layer of uncertainty and mystery made He Should Have Told the Bees one of the most compelling reads of far. 

I'd classify this author's books as women's fiction and the way Ms. Cox writes...she hooks you with complex believable characters, a compelling plot and raw emotion. Every books I've read by this author I've cried. If you're ok with breaking out the Kleenex when you read this book you need to add it to your TBR pile. 

Slight spoiler alert!! Stop reading if you don't like to know spoilers before reading: 

I liked that  Ms. Cox hints at romances for both Beckett and Callie proving that even broken people can find love. Found myself rooting equally for both romances. I realize the main story is between Beck and Callie, but I would have liked a little more romance.

If you love beautifully crafted stories of courage, compassion, and connection then He Should Have Told the Bees is not to be missed. 

~~He Should Have Told the Bees was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Friday, September 15, 2023

A Royal Christmas is a Sweet Christmastime Romance



Now that September is here and we are experiencing some cooler temps in the Midwest, I'm looking forward to holiday reads. Bookworm confession...I fell in love with Melody Carlson's A Royal Christmas before I even read the synopsis. 

Adelaide Smith is working hard putting herself through law school with the end in sight and has little time for fanciful daydreams.

Having lost her mother in a car accident a few years earlier, she's shocked to get a letter in the mail through the DNA registry and informs her that she's the daughter of King Maxamillian V of Montovia, a small Eastern European principality. Skeptical that the letter is even real she researches it and discovers it's authentic. 

It begs the question....what would you do if you found out you were the daughter of a King and heir to the throne?

Curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to travel to Montovia at the invitation of the King for the Christmas festivities. 

The way Ms. Carlson describes the country of Montovia, its people, quaint villages, and dreamy fairytale-inspired castle made me want to dive headfirst into this story. Seemed like it was a country from another era combining beloved traditions with technology.  

Some readers aren't fans of novellas because the feel like they don't get an in-depth story. I found with A Royal Christmas the plot was a little more rushed, but I didn't feel like the story wasn't complete. 

I liked how the whole experience didn't change Adelaide. She stayed true to her character. Just one example, when it came to her wardrobe, she was conscientious to still dress modestly. Adelaide dressed like a royal to be respectful to her father the King, but was careful to maintain her classic timeless style.

The theme of God's plan and God's timing resonated with me and just reminded me that God's plan and His Timing are always perfect. The author did a good job of weaving the gospel into this story and not making it just an after thought.

If you're looking for a sweet romantic Hallmark-inspired Christmas novella with a dash of mystery and intrigue, you need to add A Royal Christmas to your TBR pile.

 ~~A Royal Christmas was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Monday, September 11, 2023

Letters from My Sister...Not My Cup of Tea


Valerie Fraser Luesse is a new-to-me author. Her stories are set in the deep South and this genre of books isn’t what I typically gravitate towards as a reader. However, I was pulled in by the gorgeous cover. 

This tale is set at the turn of the century and centers around sisters Emmy and Callie Bullock whose father is a wealthy Alabama cotton farmer.

Callie was an interesting heroine. She preferred riding horses and climbing trees barefoot to attending social functions such as balls or garden parties. I really enjoyed her genuine love for her older sister Emmy and how she always praised her sister to others, but not in a way that seems disingenuous, but truthful. A key takeaway from this story for me was that our relationships with our family or siblings could greatly improve if we emphasize and appreciate their positive qualities and character traits rather than dwelling on their shortcomings or negatives.

Interestingly, my favorite part of the book was not the romance (which was sweet) in the book, but the tight-knit bond between Callie and Emmy, and that family really is for forever.  I also liked the connection between the whole Bullock family (Parents and Children). It was a family you wanted to be a part of.  The dynamics of the Bullock family reminded me of the Smith family in Meet Me in St. Louis although I don’t think this is what the author intended. It’s just where my reader brain took me.

I enjoyed the sense of community Ms. Luesse created in Letters from My Sister. How they looked out for one another. Which I personaly think is sorely lacking in our day, but maybe that's just my current experince. 

For me, I found the slower pace of the book made it harder to get into the story and relate to the characters. Along with this, despite it being promoted as a Christan fiction read,  I didn’t feel there was an overly spiritual/gospel thread throughout. Maybe I missed the point, but all that would be considered "Christian" to me was the family going to church and occasionally mentioning God. If you followed me for a while, I do not like when books are promoted as Christian fiction, but God is just a mention, not a part of the story. 

Usually, I know exactly what thoughts and emotions I’m feeling when finishing a book, but with Letters from My Sister I didn’t know what I was supposed to be feeling. Dramitic statment, I know.  However, to say more, would ruin the ending if you did read this book. So with that said, as you can tell from this blog, the book was mixed bag for me. I enjoyed some of it, and really didn't like the other half of it. So between it all, I am not sure I would technially recommend that you run out and get this book to read as it doesn't leave you feeling glad you spent the time reading it. At least for me, anyway. 

~~Letters from My Sister was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Convincing the Cowgirl & Captivating the Cowgirl Are Sweet Historical Romances

Jody Hedlund is one of those rare, multilayered authors who can captivatingly and convincingly (pun totally intended) write any genre: YA, Medieval, Historical, and Contemporary. 

Today, we're diving into the heartwarming and humorous world of Jody Hedlund's Colorado Cowgirls series, specifically Book 3, Convincing the CowgirlIf you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know marriage of convenience tropes are my favorite romance genre. 

Our story begins with Patience Courtney, the middle sister in the Courtney family, facing a dire predicament. She's penniless and homeless, and just when things seem their bleakest, unexpected visitors lay claim to the Courtney Boardinghouse, the only place she's called home. But fear not, because Patience is aptly named. She's determined to weather this storm and find her way out of this hardship.

Enter Spencer Wolcott, a wealthy rancher and a widowed father. He offers a solution that could solve all of Patience's problems: a marriage of convenience. It's a win-win situation – she gets a roof over her head, and his daughter gains a loving mother. However, as with any great romance, miscommunication and assumptions lead to some humorous situations between Patience and Spencer. Hedlund expertly crafts these moments of tension, making them both endearing and entertaining.

Unlike her sisters, Patience Courtney has always preferred art projects to domestic ones. I liked how Patience was patient like her name and how she bonded with Spencer's daughter through her love of art, her imagination and patience. 

Convincing the Cowgirl picks up where Captivating the Cowgirl leaves off.  The Courtney Boardinghouse has been rightfully restored to the family and Felicity Courtney; the youngest sister has been single-handedly running it. While caring for sick tenants, she passes out from sheer exhaustion and reluctantly agrees she needs to find a hired hand to help.  

Newcomer Philip Berg both intrigues and irritates her. Little does she know he's hiding a secret. 
Felicity sees Philip as somewhat entitled and arrogant and above menial labor; he proves her wrong.

I love quick-witted and lively banter between the heroine and hero and Ms. Hedlund does not disappoint in Capturing the Cowgirl. The verbal sparring between Felicity and Philip for me is the best part of the story.  You couldn't wait to see what words of wit were going to be exchanged between them. The author seemed like she was having a lot of fun writing Captivating the Cowgirl

Ms. Hedlund's Colorado Cowgirls series is a delightful blend of sweet romance with light inspirational themes, where love takes center stage. If you're a fan of this style of writing and haven't already dived into these books, it's high time you did. The Cowgirl series is a heartwarming journey that will leave you with a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart. So, what are you waiting for? Grab these books and get ready for a dose of romance, humor, and a whole lot of heart. 

Reading is an adventure,


~~Convincing the Cowgirl and Captivating the Cowgirl  were provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Lost Manuscript is Page-Turning Adventure


Mollie Rushmeyer's author tagline is "Contemporary Fiction" with a Heart for History." If this tagline speaks to you, then you need to add The Lost Manuscript to your TBR pile.  After loving Ms. Rushmeyer's debut The Bookshop of Secrets I was eager to read her latest. 

I loved the heroine Ellora Lockwood.  She is a unique, smart, and charming heroine. I liked that she had an affinity for all things vintage in both dress and décor. The love of history is in her blood passed down by her grandmother June. She was an old soul living in modern times. A heroine I felt a definite kinship with. 

Ellora's world is turned upside down when she finds her beloved Grandma June has gone missing on a search for a lost manuscript  Her estranged husband, Alex Lockwood asks her to come to England to teach a summer class at Alwick Castle. 

I was rooting for Ellora and Alex to have a second chance in their marriage, to find their way back to each other and realize they still love each other. I appreciated that the author paints a realistic view of marriage. They had to work through so many past issues and heal. In Alex and Ellora's relationship, I thought it was interesting the way their professions complemented one another. They both liked aspects of history and throughout the story they are continually playing off one another. 

The bond she shared with her grandmother was truly extraordinary and unique. I was fascinated by Ellora's knack for uncovering various clues, akin to embarking on an Indiana Jones-style treasure hunt. As she collaborates with Alex, will they manage to unearth the manuscript before time runs out?

 At first, Ellora's reunion with Alex is strained, but as time goes on he proves himself through his words backed up by clear actions that he wanted a second chance with Ellora. Some of the reasons that Ellora's relationship with Alex was strained because of miscommunication and misunderstandings that were left undiscussed. I feel like this is a major issue in many relationships and the author does a good job and showing why having difficult conversations are imporatnant, needed, and healthy for a relationshp to last, but also why you root for Alex in the story. 

The Lost Manuscript's central message—that we should put our trust in God and make Him the cornerstone of our lives—struck a cord with me. It artfully expressed the idea that by doing so, we can find comfort in His protection and vigilance, illuminating a road of fortitude and direction in our lives.

The Lost Manuscript was the perfect mixture of intrigue, danger, mystery and a second chance romance set against the backdrop of historic England and the lush countryside. I wanted to dive into the book cover and visit all the places Ellora and Alex visited. 

I am so excited for more books by this author. What about you, have you read any of Mollie Rushmeyer's books? Do you love the mix of contemporary fiction and history? 

Reading is an Adventure,


~~The Lost Manuscript was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Monday, August 21, 2023

Voice of the Ancient: A Beautiful Coming of Age Story

Since her debut novel Counted with the Stars Christy-award winning historical fiction author Connilyn Cossette has cemented herself as one of my favorite Biblical Historical writers. I was so ecstatic to read Voice of the Ancient the first book her new The King's Men series. 

Avidan is the oldest son of a Levite and a Philistine. The responsibly of his family's legacy is important to him, but he also feels the pull of something more and that is fighting for their newly crowned King Saul alongside his cousins. He and his cousins set off intent on proving they are ready for war.  One aspect of this story that I appreciated was the close-knit bond Avidan shares with his cousins almost like they are brothers. The one battle that he does fight in makes him realize he's not ready mentally or emotionally to be a solider. When his younger cousin goes missing, and Avidan abandons the battlefield intent on finding his cousin. 

Keziah is the daughter of one of the most powers clan chiefs in Manasseh. She's on the run from a forced marriage to a man who is physically abusive and older than her father. Escaping with her horse Sarru she seeks to find protection and solace with her mother's people. 

Meeting Avidan she's surprised at how he continuously shows her kindness, respect and protects her during their journey. She's not accustomed to men that treat her as anything more than the highest bride price. 

Avidan and Keziah had a natural chemistry of friendship that formed into a sweet romance. Their connection exemplified how genuine companionship can evolve into something even more profound, adding an extra layer of depth and emotion to their journey.

I read Voice of the Ancient in three days. Ms. Coseette keeps you turning pages with a plot that keeps gradually developing. A trend I'm seeing in some fiction is how authors alternate chapters from the hero and heroine's viewpoints. This method of writing is interesting to me because it allows the reader to get more in-depth insight into the character or scene. Sometimes the male perspective comes a cross as very similar to the females, and honestly is not good, lol. However, I do feel like Ms. Coseette did a wonderful job of creating two distinct voices. 

If Biblical Historical fiction is your genre you NEED to add Connilyn Coseette's books to your TBR pile. Your reading experience will be both entertaining and insightful because to her expert storytelling and thorough attention to historical accuracy. Dive into her compelling stories to set out on a voyage that keeps you captivated from the first page.

Reading is an adventure,


~~Voice of the Ancient was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A Cross-Country Wedding is Cross-Country Fun


Multi-talented author Courtney Walsh follows up her delightful A Cross- Country Christmas (Part of her Road Trip Romance series) with... drum roll please A Cross-Country Wedding!

Maid-of-Honor Maddie Rogers is determined to attend her best friend Lauren's wedding. When her current boyfriend dumps her, she turns to best friend Simon Collier to be her date for the wedding. Will their forced proximity cause them to realize they have feelings beyond friendship for one another?

Maddie has a heart of gold and is fiercely loyal to her friends, she's feisty, a total free spirit, and at times a little bit of a hot mess. She makes for a fun, likeable and engaging heroine to read. Although honestly I found her a bit challenging to relate to. (Probably because I'm a type A personality who likes to be prepared, so I struggled with the "fly by the seat of pants" attitude she had.) 

Despite not being completely onboard with #TeamMadddie train, I still found myself rooting for her and Simon's opposites attract, best friends to more relationship. 

And Simon...let me tell you about Simon. I found his whole, brainy, buttoned up, alphabetizes his fridge personality absolutely endearing and charming. It was amusing how literally everyone in the story except Maddie realizes Simon is in love with her.

One aspect of Maddie and Simon's relationship I appreciated was neither of them tried to change the other. They accepted each other as who they were. Isn't this what we all want? Someone to love us unconditionally despite all our quirks and idiosyncrasies? 

Ms. Walsh absolutely amps up the banter between Simon, Maddie and all the characters in A Cross-Country Wedding. Her witty dialogue and humorous scenes kept the plot moving. Along with that, the dual points of view narrative (Maddie and Simon) that the author writes in makes this story more interesting because you feel like you get to know the characters better and, in my opinion, make the story that much mote engaging.

A Cross-Country Wedding can be read as a standalone, but I feel like you'll get more enjoyment from it if  you've read A Cross-Country Christmas

Honestly, I saw A Cross-Country Wedding like a rom com movie in my head while I was reading it and it reminded me a bit of When Harry Met Sally vibe with the long-term best friends. Because of this, in my opinion, you do not want to miss this laugh-out-loud, feel good, heart-melting story. Without giving anything away, I would highly recommend reading this with a delicious chocolate croissant and creamy cup of coffee. Trust me, it will make it even better :  )

Reading is an adventure,


~~A Cross-Country Wedding was provided to me by the author herself and the publisher in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Top 10 Favorite Childhood Movies

As an enthusiastic film buff I'm excited to share my top 10 favorite films (in no specific order) from childhood!

These top 10 made my list because I've been watching and re-watching them countless times since I was a kid and these films still continue to inspire me today. They've become my go-to when I need a trip down memory lane or a movie that's both comforting and familiar. You know exactly what's going to happen and can quote the movie forwards and backwards.

Favorite childhood books and films are similar in the fact that the plot never changes, but your perspective changes. Not only does your view shift, but I've noticed re-watching some of these films of late, some scenes have made me more emotional because I understood them differently as an adult versus a child because of life experiences. Have you experienced this too? 

1.)  Anne of Green Gables (1985)

This 1985 mini-series is in my opinion hands down one of the best adaptations of L.M. Montgomery's beloved Anne of Green Gables. Canadian actress Megan Follows captured the spirit of the spunky red-headed orphan. The casting, production, beautiful cinematography and the melodic music capture a different era. Also, if you like your film adaptions as close to the book as possible you need to add this film to your list. 

2.) Anne of Avonlea (1987) 

In the event you needed more Anne, director Kevin Sullivan followed up his popular 1985 mini series with the sequel Anne of Avonlea. Fair warning: the director doesn't really take the remaining Anne books into consideration. I'd say it's more of a mush-up of books 2-4. It's fun to see a grown up Anne and the second fill has all the charm of the first film. * Spoiler alert* the romantic in me just finds the ending of both these films with hero Gilbert Blythe sigh worthy. 

3.) Hoosiers (1986)

If you've read my newsletters you might be scratching your head in confusion how a sports movie made it's way onto my list when I'm not athletically inclined?  I think part of why Hoosiers' made it on my list is because I love that it's inspired by true events of an underdog small town school in Indiana making it  to the state championships and winning coupled with memorable characters and an inspiring musical score. Also, my family and I can quote this movie from beginning to end. 

4.) Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Anytime I watch Singin' in the Rain I feel happiness and joy. I remember when I was 8 years old being mesmerized by Gene Kelly in the title number singing and dancing his heart out with such exuberance. If you can't get enough of musicals you need to add this one to your won't be sorry. Singin in the Rain was 19 year old actress Debbie Reynolds film debut.  A little fun film trivia...Debbie Reynolds was Princess Leia aka Carrie Fisher's mother. 

5.) The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride has everything! Action, adventure, ROUS's, romance, quotable lines, and fair warning there's kissing in it.

6.) The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)

Post- Andy Griffith Show the hilarious Don Knotts teamed up with an even funnier Tim Conway and gave us The Apple Dumpling Gang. If you like comical Westerns you need to add this film to your list. The characters Knotts and Conway play are the best part of the movie. In case you needed more there's a sequel called The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again

7.) The Sound of Music (1965)

I had to include this treasure of a musical Sound of Music inspired by the real life Von Trapp family. Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, 7 precocious children take you on an adventure with songs you can't help but sing set against the backdrop of the majestic Alps. 5 years ago I have the opportunity to see this film in theaters. Check out my blog here.  

8.) The Man from Snowy River (1982)

Who can forget about this classic Western The Man from Snowy River? The epic romance between Jim Craig and Jessica Harrison set against the glorious Australian landscape? The soundtrack to this movie is fantastic. 

9.) Return to Snowy River (1988)

Return to Snowy River is a great sequel. It's a natural extension of the first film with all the elements you love. If you can't get enough of  Jim and Jessica you need to check out this film. 

10.)  It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Christmas in July anyone? It's a Wonderful Life was a tradition in the Hill house around Christmas and even though we didn't watch it on the summertime it's one of those films I equate with my childhood. To this day, it's one of the few Christmas films I watch Every.Single.Year. Check out my blog here.

I hope you enjoyed reading my list of top 10 favorites. Did any of them make your list? Happy movie watching.