Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Book Description:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me [A Proper Romance] by Julie Wright

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.

My Review:

Isn't that cover fun? I liked the concept from the start, but even more so by the time I finished the book. Great choice on the design.

And then...what an absolute joy to read! In fact, if I could give it six stars, I probably would. Not that it was life-changing or anything, but everything about it was so fun. First, the voice of the main character, Emma. She's an intelligent, caring person who tries so hard to see the best in everyone, but beyond that, I loved her spunky, snarky thoughts, yet at the same time, her insecure side she needs to work through. She's relatable.

All the characters are well crafted and interesting--not just carbon copies of Jane Austen characters. Which leads me to another aspect of the book I really liked. I appreciated that it wasn't a strict retelling of just one Jane Austen novel, but that it has bits and pieces of each. And I loved Caroline Hampton's speech about the impact Jane Austen has had on writing and women--love it so much that I dog-eared the page, and I'm not that kind of reader!!

So glad there are authors out there who write clean, fun stories like this!

Lies Jane Austen Told Me

A Proper Romance by Julie Wright

Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook

(click the images below to jump to each store).

And don't forget to add it to your Goodreads!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Inviting the Christmas Spirit with "Forgotten Carols"

I thought it would be fun to let you know about something new to me...

This year I will be attending a live performance of The Forgotten Carols written by Michael McLean. I'm so excited that this will be offered near me in Midland, Texas! Yay!!

So what is the performance, you ask. The Forgotten Carols is a stage performance tells the story of Connie Lou, a nurse whose empty life is changed when Uncle John, a new patient she is attending, recounts the story of Christ’s birth as told by little-known characters in the nativity story. The accounts from the Innkeeper, the Shepherd, and others help the nurse discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas. This ultimately encourages her to open her heart to the joy of this special season.

I'm a huge fan of musicals and Michael McLean and, well, Christmas (duh, who isn't, right?) so this should be perfect!

For tour stops and ticket information, please follow this link: Shows are scheduled in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Texas, and New Mexico. Come meet me in Midland for a show! Or choose the one closest to you...

Quote from Michael McLean about The Forgotten Carols

The Forgotten Carols has been a gift I first received back in 1991 when the book and accompanying music was written and released to the public.  As with all good gifts, particularly one like The Forgotten Carols, comes a desire to share it with others…with the hope that they will “receive” the gift as I did;  Feeling the message and the love of the season in the context of the story and songs.

When I first started “performing” the story I thought it was my gift to the audience, but then I discovered that the more I tried to give it away the more it came back to me…a hundred fold.  Being able to bring the story to life with a team of talented people that truly have become “family” is another part of the gift that has profoundly blessed my life.  But what most surprises me is how the presentation of this story with songs has grown, evolved and taught me things in the language that resonates so deeply with me.  Story & Song.   A couple of days ago, quite out of the blue, a new song, maybe we could call it a New Carol, just arrived.  I sat at the piano and it just poured out of me.  It really touched me because it captures what I think Uncle John would want most for Connie Lou (and the entire world, for that matter).  Just this morning I envisioned how this new carol could be presented during this year’s tour and I got goosebumps.  I can’t wait to share this gift I just received.  So, if you ask what The Forgotten Carols means to me, it means receiving then sharing then discovering the meaning of the gift, and then receiving more, then sharing more and then discovering more.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: All that Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe [A Historical Proper Romance]

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed—being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after “I do”? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

My Review:

This is the third book I've read written by Josi S. Kilpack that brings readers real romances of historical, well-known authors. After reading each one, I've looked forward to the next. The constraints of writing about real people with well-documented histories make it so these books don't read like a typical historical romance, but they aren't meant to. Instead, they are a glimpse into the past and the struggles and experiences that molded creative minds--a peek behind the curtain of greatness. I admit that it took me a little longer to read All that Makes Life Bright than most of the stories I read, but books that make me think and re-evaluate my priorities, cultures, and beliefs generally do. Well-written and thought-provoking, this book is well worth the time.

So many thoughts occurred to me while I read. How grateful I am to have modern conveniences that give me time to pursue writing and reading while I take care of my family and home--appliances and grocery stores that allow me to even read and review. I am blessed to live at a time where I have a voice as a married woman--and that I've never had to know any differently. And to live at a time when we've come so far in overcoming slavery in our nation made me proud to read about the author behind a book that helped affect that change.

It was interesting to me not to read about the why Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote what she did (though I loved that as well), but the how it came to pass. Just as applicable today was the discussion between Hattie and her father about what is important work and what is frivolous, as well as the difference between pride and gifts and how to use them.  In addition, I appreciated the wisdom Katherine shared with Hattie about finding balance, and there being a time and season. In all, another great book by Josi S. Kilpack.

All That Makes Life Bright

is a Historical Proper Romance

by Josi S. Kilpack

Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook

(click the images below to jump to each store).

And don't forget to add it to your Goodreads!