Book Reviews, Fiction

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen | Book Review

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel’s friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls’ school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or who–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return–but where is he? As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

As with the first book of this series, I could not wait to dive into Julie Klassen’s latest and go back to Ivy Hill! As she always does, Klassen once again captured my attention fully, with each and every character.

While the first book isn’t completely necessary to read this one, I admit, it makes it so much more enjoyable. It would be easy to think that a book with some many people, especially three women, could get lost or overwhelming, but nope. It only gives you more characters to love. Much like Jane Austen’s characters draw you in, so does each one in these.

There’s romance, there’s scandal (what Austen-inspired novel doesn’t have that right? :), the unexpected and the resolutions you so thoroughly enjoy. I’m purposely not going into each character, as I want the readers to go in without too much from me. But trust me when I say that each character has their own journey you root for and not all is as it seems. The only bad thing about this novel, is that I have to wait for the final in the series releasing late 2018. So rude…

What series do you wish BBC would pick up and make into a mini series? I really need this one to be brought to life.

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

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Book Reviews, Fiction

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay | Book Review

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues—particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings arise, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

I’ve been a fan of Reay’s novels since her debut! I always look forward to what’s coming next and this did not disappoint.

Like Austen’s heroines, Reay takes Mary and Isabel on their own journeys of self discovery. Full of mistakes, misunderstandings, romance and touching moments that remind you it’s never too late to find yourself.

As a fan of Austen’s novels, I thoroughly enjoyed all the references and characters brought up throughout the novel. Reay did an excellent job of paying homage to Austen’s stories, characters and Austen’s incredible talent, but also made the story her own (sidenote: I loved that Mary was an engineer and how that played into the novel). It’s a story that grabs you, charms you and makes for an excellent read.

And of course I loved the all the references of Austin. How could I not?

If you enjoy contemporary women’s fiction, add this one to your list!

Have you read Katherine Reay’s novels? If so, which one is your favorite?

(Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Bookish Radness, Movie Musings

8 of the Best and Worst Movie Adaptations

There’s something that happens to all book nerds when they hear the rumors are true and their favorite book is coming to the big screen. First there’s absolute excitement.

Then, utter terror. Because WHAT IF THEY RUIN THE BOOK FOR ALL ETERNITY?? Like when you hear about terrible casting or who was chosen to direct it and all you can say is this:

These types of details can ruin a book nerd’s life folks. Dramatic? Yep. But no less true. So today is a list of movies gone right and movies gone…well..those I don’t speak of.

(Some of) The Best

The Client (or any Grisham novel really): The casting on this was phenomenal, it’s an excellent read and action packed. Oh and Mark Sway (be sure to say that in a very Southern accent). Seriously Tommy Lee Jones is so fantastic in this one, as is Susan Sarandon. I think I might need to stop writing and go watch it. I also loved The Pelican Brief, but that could be more based on the fact that it stars Denzel Washington and well, need I say more?

Harry Potter: Besides capturing my beloved characters so well, I thought the movies did an excellent job of being light-hearted in the beginning and then moving to the deeper and darker storyline as it went on. Of course there were a couple artistic additions to the movie, but nothing that drastically shifted it from the storyline. Although I’m still angry they had Dumbledore hollerin at Harry in the Goblet of Fire. Did not happen in the book people!

Lord of the Rings: The trilogy did not disappoint. I mean where do I even start? Where details left out? Of course. But have you read LOTR? We’d still be watching them if they included everything. But as with Potter, they did a good job with artistic license.

Pride and Prejudice: I know, there was a lot of details left out, but I added it because I love the movie a bunch and they did a fabulous job capturing the characters and their personalities with the casting. Who doesn’t love Darcy? Or want to punch Lydia? Anyone else annoyed beyond measure by Mrs. Bennett?

I also have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the BBC version. Mr. Collins in that version CREEPS ME OUT. Like I could barely handle any scene he was in. I really should be putting Emma on this list, because that one was pretty much word for word.

Catching Fire: Man oh man, did the second movie vastly improve from the first. I mean BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Not in the acting or special effects (I thought those were great in the first movie), but following the storyline. Can we chat about how much I cried my eyes out when they were in Rue’s district???? My oh my. Many friends who haven’t read the books understood a lot more after watching the second movie. So yes!! I can’t wait for the final book to be made into a movie!!

C- Category

The Hunger Games: Did I just write that? Especially after just gushing over the second film? I did. But hear this first – I like the movies and I’m counting down the days until the next one. But if we’re all being honest, they left out some major details. If you didn’t read the book, I’m pretty sure the mine explosion (shown as an elevator going down and then white smoke) was totally random. Plus, I’m still angry about the scene after it was announced two winners from the same district could win if they both survive. In the book, this is the moment you really feel and see that Katniss cares for Peeta. She literally YELLS OUT HIS NAME. The movie? A whisper. I shouldn’t be so angry, but y’all I AM. They also play up Team Gale/Team Peeta. LAME. As you can see from the previous category, they do much better with Catching Fire (although QUIT IT WITH GALE PEOPLE).

(Some of) The Worst

The Bourne Identity: My first thought after finishing the first movie (I loved the books) was “Did we read the same story?” While the movie series itself is entertaining and I enjoy each one they release, they get an F- for following the book. At least they got his name right.

Eragon: I hope they redo this one. So then we can all act like the first release didn’t happen. Such a great series, yet the movie…just no. No no. No. It didn’t work. Which is a bummer because a lot of the casting was fabulous. John Malkovich (sidenote: If you haven’t seen Red, you need to rent it/download it/amazon it immediately. He is reason alone to watch that movie), Jeremy Irons…you can’t go wrong with names like that. But, as much as it hurts to say, they did.

Alright, it’s your turn friends. Add your two cents with favorites and not so much favorites! Did I get mine right?

Bookish Radness

Okay, so I’m a Book Cover Snob…

I’ve been working on a fun confessions-type blog and in writing it, I’ve come to realize I’m kind of a book cover snob. Of all the things right? Sometimes I think I’m 12. But no world, I am not. You need to add a couple decades and that’s a bit closer.

But what do I love? The classics. Something about them – I want to frame each of the covers. So today I claim as book cover love day. I wish such a holiday would allow me a day off, but apparently my company doesn’t go for made up holidays on a whim. Whatevs.

Without further ado, these are the type of covers I want blown up on canvas and all over my library.

After reading this novel (and absolutely loving it), this mysterious and dark cover fits it perfectly. Have you read Rebecca? You need to if you haven’t!!
Maybe I love this because it reminds me of the awesome Disney vintage ride posters at the park and I love Disneyland. And y’all know my love of The Hobbit, so if you toss them together…Win. Plus it’s easy to almost miss Bilbo at the bottom, but when you find him – love!
I haven’t read much Cummings, but I still love the vintage vibe.
Can we first talk about the price? $1.95. Let’s bring these prices back. But this was also the first of the Narnia series I read and while it’s one of the lesser known ones, I loved it!
I’m so glad schools have to read this book because it really is one of the greatest pieces of literature. I think I need to read it again soon.
So creative!
Only because I love this book.
This fits the book so well.
The pipe people! The pipe!
Minus the fact that fahrenheit is probably the hardest word in the English language to spell, I love the book that uses it in the title.
This one gets a shout out based on the simplistic genius of this poster.
I hated everything about this book, but I can respect a very fitting cover.
Please tell me you get this. Please!!
I’m not really sorry for all the Lord of the Rings covers because, I mean, they’re all awesome.
I can’t help but smile every time I see this cover (or cry – stupid spider). But nostalgia at its finest.
I’ve seen this beautiful watercolor around Pinterest and other blogs and I think they are so beautiful. I recently found out they are by the artist Sara Singh (http://www.sarasingh.com/). I want one.
And one more for your viewing pleasure!

So how about y’all? What do you prefer in a book cover?