Introducing Virginia!

Hi everyone. I would like you to meet Virginia at http://www.ablogfromtheheart.wordpress.com

She is my first blogger interview and I am thrilled! Virginia found me approximately one year ago when I started blogging. She has been with me from the start. She writes nice book reviews and she usually shares a scripture on Sunday, which is always a blessing to me. So without further ado, here’s Virginia!

1.) How long have you blogged and why did you start blogging?
Answer: I started blogging in November 2013 and I decided to start blogging after I met some of my good friends at goodreads. They all have wonderful blogs and along with that blogging would be a very good way to share my love for books and my passion for Christ. So, here I am today and I’m excited to see what the future would hold.

2.) What is your favorite genre? Why?
Answer: Definitely historical fiction. It’s so hard to move away from historical fiction because I really love reading history mixed with a good plot. I’ve read so many other books that range from classic to contemporary Christian fiction as well, but I LOVE reading historical fiction.

3.) Who is your favorite author? If you want to name more than one – go ahead.
Answer: Elizabeth Camden, Jane Austen, Janette Oke, Anne Mateer, and Jen Turano, Louisa May Alcott, Tessa Afshar, and Julie Klassen.

4.) Has a book ever inspired you? If yes, what book? How did it inspire you?
Answer: Yes, the Bible is the greatest inspiration in my life and it inspires me everyday. Stories in the Bible like Esther and Ruth inspire my faith and courage. It helps a lot to know that they went through a certain situation, I am confident that I am more than able to overcome.

5.) If you could live in a fictional story, which book would you live in and why?
Answer: Chronicles of Narnia! In Narnia they had so many adventures and I’m such an adventurous person. If I could live in a world where adventure is no stranger, then I’m definitely there!

6.) What is something you enjoy, outside of reading?
Answer: I enjoy a variety of things. blogging, writing, surfing the internet. (You’ll probably find me a lot on GR and Pinterest). I love trying out new recipes so I do enjoy cooking and baking as well. 🙂

7.) If you could travel anywhere in the world – no cost to you – one location, where would you go and why?
Answer: Paris, France. I want to learn French so bad! Paris sounds so glamorous, warm and inviting. I wish to go there one day and taste real French cuisine and I hope to visit the Eiffel Tower one day! Yes, I definitely want to go to Paris!

Thanks so much for the interview! The questions were such fun!
THANKS VIRGINIA!!!

In Honor Bound (The Chastelayne Trilogy #1) by DeAnna Julie Dodson

In Honor Bound by DeAnna Julie Dodson

King Robert is obsessed with keeping the royal, Chastelayne bloodline pure. Prince Phillip has grievously suffered as a result of his father’s choices in this matter. When Phillip marries his second wife, he vows never to love her, however, Rosalynde loves her new husband, Phillip, deeply and unconditionally. Phillip hurts Rosalynde again and again with his stinging words, but she continues to love him. Rosalynde is an amazing woman. She has so much strength, courage and the ability to persevere, never doubting her God and what God is capable of accomplishing in her husband’s life.

Phillip’s cousin is a horrible man. I am actually speechless about this evil antagonist – he is worse than an antagonist! Ruthless might begin to describe this cousin. Anyway, Phillip’s cousin does considerable damage to the kingdom, and eventually Phillip faces his cousin in battle. However, the battle he faces against his cousin is mild in comparison to the war raging inside Phillip’s wounded heart. I think Phillip was his own antagonist.

I thought this book was historically accurate, well-researched and well-written. It’s the first book in a series of three. If you enjoy Medieval, historical literature, this book is well worth the read. Enjoy! Happy Reading!

Good morning! I’m sitting by the fire, enjoying a steamy cup of loose leaf, English Breakfast tea and I thought I should catch up on my book reviews before I have another log jam.

Two women are missing – a series of thefts – people skulking around at night, makes for an interesting mystery that can be read in a day. And, “Death Comes to the Village,” by Catherine Lloyd has some interesting characters!

The Major, bless his cantankerous heart, is recuperating from some serious injuries sustained during the battle at Waterloo. Lucy Harrington, the widowed rector’s oldest daughter, at her father’s request, visits the cranky Major – while he is recovering – to cheer him up. Well, the two unlikely sleuths join together to solve the mysteries of the missing women and the odd thefts.

I really really loved the Major! Did I mention I really loved the Major? Sour – crotchety – ill-humored – all this and more! He was so grouchy, he was lovable and funny. He is smart and his mind is alert!

Lucy is proper, respectful, and certainly knows how to handle the outspoken Major with his knickers in a twist.

I did not like Lucy’s dad, the rector, at all. He was horrible to his oldest daughter. Antagonist! This and so much more are the makings for a fun mystery.

“My Brother Michael,” by Mary Stewart is so well written! The author takes us on a journey where we meet Camilla. She’s sitting outside at a Greek cafĂ© writing a letter to a friend. She pens, “Nothing ever happens to me.” Moments later, a scruffy man approaches her, hands her keys to a car and tells her, the vehicle is for Mr. Simon and she is to take the car to Delphi. Of course, she insists, she is not the correct person, but he leaves her with the vehicle and keys. This moment in time, changes her life forever, as she decides to drive the car to Delphi, find the mysterious Mr. Simon and then be on her way. If you’ve never been to Greece, this book will take you there!

Saturday Nights

My husband is amazing. He is a history/social studies/government/geography teacher. He loves archeology, or as I say, crusty old things. That might be part of the reason he enjoys old classic “B” movies. That’s right, crusty old movies! We call them “B” movies. Or, it could be a quirky park of his personality, eccentric? Maybe? Ahem. Anyway, he really gets into these old movies. I usually chuckle and shake my head. I personally am not a fan of these relics. But, I have seen many of them because, every Saturday night he watches one of these legendary, ahem, films!

Who doesn’t love “Creature From the Black Lagoon?” I mean really!” Beautiful, shrieking, fainting woman, ugly monster, dashing hero, you have a hit movie!

Then, of course, we have, “This Island Earth.” This one has aliens, from outer space, with big foreheads. Once again, we have beautiful, terrified, fainting woman, swoon worthy male hero and these characters are smart!!! In this classic film, we travel through outer space, to another planet, trying to save their world here, and we meet a very ugly creature! Eeeuuu!

Then, who can forget this amazing take-off in the iconic movie, “When Worlds Collide!” Oh yea. Oh my! In this movie, Earth is on a collision course with another planet. The characters in this riveting story, build a spaceship in hopes of finding a new planet to live on sooo, not everyone on planet Earth is killed in the inevitable collision.

So, yes, this is where I spend many Saturday nights. If you’ve never seen one of these amazing classic movies from the past, please, try one. There are so many of these gems. It is an experience of the big screen you won’t soon forget! Enjoy!!!

“The Monogram Murders,” by Sophie Hannah.

The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) by Sophie Hannah

I ordered this book from the library several weeks ago. There was a waiting list, so I waited. I was really looking forward to reading this book and I started reading it with an open mind, however, I am sorry to say, I am disappointed. I wanted to enjoy this story and there were a couple of things about the book I did like, but overall . . . In my opinion, the author missed the mark.

Poirot is sitting in a coffee shop in London when a woman enters clearly distressed about something. Poirot wants to help, so he approaches her. She tells him, she is a dead or soon will be and leaves. Later, Poirot learns that two women and one man have been murdered at a London Hotel. Is there a connection?

The man in this story who calls himself Poirot, was not Poirot. I don’t know who he was, but he wasn’t Poirot. I thought he was such a poor likeness to Agatha Christie’s Poirot, if I had not been reading his name throughout the story, I would not have known it was the famous detective.
The story rambled on and on. Towards the end of the book, it blathered on so much, I lost interest in the story, but I do know the identity of the killer.

On a more positive note, I did like Catchpool and Fee Spring, the waitress with the flyaway hair. I thought both of these characters were comical at times and a nice addition to the story.

It begs the question, should we even attempt to do another person’s work?

“Her Cowboy Hero,” by Carolyne Aarsen

Tanner and Keira were engaged a few years ago. Keira broke their engagement. In spite of the separation, they never stopped loving one another. Tanner arrives at her parents ranch, wanting Keira’s dad to repair his late brother’s saddle so he can use it in an upcoming rodeo. Much to Tanner’s surprise, Keira has taken over her Dad’s leather and saddle repair business. Keira never told Tanner the real reason for the break-up. Now, that Tanner has returned and is staying at the ranch, she is having some difficulty keeping the truth from him. She knows, if they have a future together, she needs to tell him the truth, but to tell the truth could be a problem.

I liked this story – very much. It had a good message and a good use of scripture. Tanner is a good man, dearly in love with Keira and wanting to do the right thing. Keira suffered in ways she keeps to herself. I found myself wanting to know what the mystery was that caused her such pain and encourage her to tell him. I thought it was a tender, sweet romance.

“The Wolfe Widow,” by Victoria Abbott

“The Wolfe Widow,” by Victoria Abbott really doesn’t have anything – at all – to do with baseball or Abbott & Costello. So you ask, why did you include this baseball skit in your review? I’m so glad you asked. This is the third book in the series, “A Book Collector Mystery.” I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and comical mystery. Our favorite amateur sleuth, Jordan has been working for Vera Van Alst for awhile now and enjoys her job, her living area and the food at the Van Alst home. Well, one evening, during the dinner hour Jordan’s life changes when Muriel Delgado arrives in a whirl of black, has a private discussion with Vera – Jordan is fired the following morning. While reading this enjoyable mystery there were many conversations, especially with Uncle Kev, where I felt like I was participating in this famous Abbott & Costello skit, “Who’s On First?” This is such a fun mystery. I found myself chuckling throughout the book.

Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway for DRAVEN’S LIGHT by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Ashlee Willis, Author of Fantasy

I’m thrilled today to have the privilege of being a part of the cover reveal for authoress Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s book, Draven’s Light. If you’re a fan of The Tales of Goldstone Wood, I’m sure you’re already pretty hyped about this brand new addition! If you haven’t discovered this great series yet … well, just make sure you do!

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First, here’s a bit about the book itself:

In the Darkness of the Pit The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their…

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“The Crystal Cave,” by Mary Stewart.

The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1):  One of the first fantasy genre books I ever read when I was about 11, leading me headlong into to my obsession with the Middle Ages.

When I started reading this book, I knew next to nothing about Merlin. The story of King Arthur, his Knights, and Lady Guinevere always interested me, but I pretty much ignored Merlin. Well, this author has really done her research. This is wonderful story-telling. This reader was right there in the midst of events as they unfolded. The author certainly communicated the thoughts, beliefs, superstitions etc., of this period of time. I can’t say I really liked Merlin. I can’t say I disliked him either. Merlin is a flawed human being – the rumors of the man are larger than the man. I did have some difficulty reading the pagan aspects of the story. Ambrosius, is my favorite character. He did not disappoint me. Have any of you read the story of Merlin? I would enjoy reading your thoughts. Happy Reading!

“Airs Above the Ground,” by Mary Stewart

Oh my goodness! This book is so good. Six – Seven – Eight amazing, incredibly, extraordinary stars!!! Where do I begin? Vanessa believes her husband is in Sweden. However, she discovers he is in Austria when she sees him in a newsreel. There was a fire at a circus – there is her husband – at the fire! So, she is on a plane to Austria to find her husband. Timothy flies with her, or maybe, I should say, Vanessa flies with Timothy – anyway, you might ask, who is Timothy? Well, he is an amazing young man presumably going to visit his father. Timothy turned out to be my favorite character. He had a rough start, however, he turned out to be a great young man. Timothy and Vanessa have a great adventure together! This adventure takes the intrepid travelers to a circus, where the scene is described so well, I could hear the circus music and I could almost catch the scent of the big top and the preforming animals. I could see the glittering costumes as the performers worked their magic in the ring. Then Vanessa and Timothy traveled on to a castle – that’s right a castle – rich with fairytale excitement- towers – turrets – a count and a countess. Richly described. I hung on every word and drank in every experience. I loved this book from the very first word until the very last word. What a journey! What an adventure, with suspense on every page! In the midst of the travel, excitement, suspense, mystery, scenery, chase and every thing that is in this wonderful story – are the Lipizzan Stallions! Read and Enjoy!!!