Thursday, July 28, 2022

Book Review: Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen

Book: Hearts of Briarwall by Krista Jensen

Genre: Edwardian romance (A Proper Romance from ShadowMountain.com)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


It's been awhile but here I am again to promote another Proper Romance book! Thank you to Shadow Mountain for this opportunity!

First how about a summary (provided by the publisher):

Lydia Wooding is fascinated by the latest inventions the new century brings, including motorcars. She longs for the independence they represent and believes that women should have a say in the future of the industry—just as they should have a say in suffrage, adventure, and, of course, love.

Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dream a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is invited to Briarwall Manor to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew's once shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motorcars.

Andrew, however, is wary of cars, having lost his parents in a tragic auto accident when he and Lydia were young. And he's not sure a relationship between his sister and Spencer is the best idea—not when Sir Lawrence is available and could match both Lydia's social status and her fortune.

Torn between risking their hearts and being loyal to their dreams in an era of whirlwind change, Spencer and Lydia anchor themselves with the determination they both share: to live life to its fullest.

********

I went into this truly not knowing anything. I choose to read this out of a line up books and it just sounded so fun! I don't think I've read anything set in the Edwardian era, not that I can remember at the moment anyway. And it's a pretty cool era! Lots of changes happening in the world! It's a fun time. (I had to look it up, we are talking early 1900's here.

There's four friends featured in this book, and this particular story is about one of them, Lydia, and her brother, and her brother's friend who comes to visit. (After finishing this I wondered if the other friends will have their story? I don't know.. I'm just guessing, but it sure seems like that would be a cool idea!) And this Lydia is fantastic awesome female character! So full of feistiness! And she truly doesn't care what people think. Wearing trousers. Wanting to learn how to drive. Fighting for the vote. Wanting to invest her money. Etc. I love it. She is so funny and witty too. 

And our cute boy Spencer kinda loves it too. He's not so sure he should, but he does. He has been hurt before, so he is trying SOOO hard to remain nonchalant. But that doesn't last long at all.

I really loved the banter and the romance in this one. All around so fun. It totally had me engaged and invested. I really do hope there's more with this world and these characters! 

So yeah, if you enjoy Victorian era stories, but want something a little different, a little more Downton Abby (as I saw it compared to somewhere) then you'll probably truly enjoy this one! This comes out next week on August 2!

*******

More about the author: 

Award-winning author KRISTA JENSEN works and plays in the Pacific Northwest with her spunky little dog and anyone else who wants to tag along. When she’s not exploring the outdoors, she can likely be found with her laptop, a pretty spiral notebook, and a Pilot Precise V7, writing about love, triumph, and really great kisses.

Either that or she’s switching laundry wondering who keeps wearing all these clothes. (It’s her.)

For book info and other good things, follow Krista on Instagram @kristajensenbooks.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Kdrama Review: Light on Me

Drama: Light on Me

Genre: BL

Starring: Kang Yooseok, Lee Saeon, Choi Chanyi

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


I figured since it was Pride Month I'd watch another BL drama and see what I thought. And if the drama I enjoyed from awhile back was just a fluke thing or if I might truly like them. You know? Anyway, I asked for recommendations from trusted friends who know my tastes which for this genre is "sweet and soft."  Many people suggested this one, Light on Me, and so I decided to give it a try.

And yes, sweet and soft this is! Cute and adorable all the way around. 

It's about a dude who is a bit of an outcast, totally keeps to himself. He's a little bit weird and people just don't get him. Mostly his "problem" is he is too blunt and honest. Anyway, he decides to try to actually put himself out there make some friends. So a teacher suggests he join the student council.

It's an all boys high school and so there's three other guys already on the council. The president is very VERY friendly and happy go lucky and cute and popular with everyone. The vice president is shy and quiet and he and our dude get off to a bad start because of an awkward moment that happened out in the hall. And then there's the third guy who is just the funny comic relief! Gah I loved him!

And so turns out, our guy kinda falls for the president. And then things get awkward when the president doesn't really want to be outed. Because he does kind of like our guy, but he just wants to be close friends. Lol... it's a formula trope, yes? 


But the dude who is quiet and stand offish, he starts to get jealous when he realizes HE likes our dude. And it's fun to see him finally open up and come out of his angriness and admit to his feelings. And start smiling. I love that. 

It's still strange and unfamiliar territory for me, but I have to admit that these cute BL's are quite enjoyable. There are a bunch looming on the horizon, since I have a several more favorite kpop idols that are going to be staring in them. And I will want to support and cheer them on. (LOL, as if they knew I was doing that. Geez, but sometimes it feels like that!) So... we'll see how it goes!

Here's a trailer:



And this awesome song, sung by one of my very favorite kpop groups, A.C.E:

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Kdrama Review: The Sound of Magic

 Drama: The Sound of Magic

Genre: Fantasy

Staring: Ji Changwook, Choi Sungeun, Hwang Inyoup

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


This is the first drama I've watched that's an actual musical.  I mean we always get great soundtracks, and songs happen all the time, but the characters don't break out into song and dance. But they do in this one! And it's awesome to see our Changwook singing in such a thing!

It's a story about a dude who claims to be a magician and is living in an abandoned amusement park. Our girl is really struggling in life, having been basically abandoned by her parents and having to now take care of her little sister while still going to high school. She happens upon the magician and he changes how she feels about life with his magic. 

Our boy is also struggling, more with the demands of his parents. He ends up getting to know the magician too, but is much more skeptical. He is worried about the involvement our girl has with the magician and wonders what's really going on.

And what IS really going on indeed? That begins to be the question as the story goes on. Something is up. 

Even though the story has many beautiful magical moments, there is also some disturbing bits too. An interesting juxtaposition. 


Some people I know were bothered by the singing (which I find funny because pretty sure everyone knew it's a musical going in) but I thought it was great fun and everyone was really awesome. There's really not a ton of songs either. And of course Ji Changwook is FANTASTIC as he is in everything he does. So so good!

I ended up enjoying it a lot. It's a really short drama (only six episodes I think) and worth watching!

Here's the trailer. 




And an example of one of the musical numbers. 



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Book Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

 Book: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Genre: YA science fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


This was last month's book club book. And now it's almost time for this month's! I am so behind!

Anyway, I went into it knowing nothing. And was pleasantly surprised with how fast I was sucked in and invested.

This one takes place on a planet where a couple of groups of people are in conflict with each other. Different customs and styles and goals. The story opens when the boy and his brother from one group get kidnapped by some people from the other group, after they murder his father. Now it's a few years later and he is older and ready to try to escape and take his brother with him before it's too late. Because the brother is being changed by the power of the dude who is the leader of these people.

And the sister of this dude has a special power that makes it so if she touches people, they feel intense pain. To the point where she can kill them. And the brother uses her like crazy for his power, and she is sick of it. And ready to escape.

And the story gets great when the two of them meet. 

"Carve the mark" refers to the tradition these people have of tattooing a line on their arm for all the people they've killed. It's a badge of honor. And our boy is collecting them whether he wants to or not, even though he is from the more peaceful people. 

Oh, did I mention that the boy CAN touch the girl? Because HIS power is that powers don't work on him! Yes. Very interesting indeed!

So they get help and concoct a plan and it's a crazy plan and wow. 

And then the book ends and it's really not over! AH, where's the next book?



Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes

 


For the prompt today (Favorite Quotes) I did not go on a theme, but instead just copied and pasted my favorite quotes on my Goodreads profile. LOL! I put these up YEARS ago, but most of them still apply to my feelings today. Go figure! Some of them are bookish, some of them not.  



  • “Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it.”
    ― Markus Zusak



  • William W. Purkey
    “You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
    Love like you'll never be hurt,
    Sing like there's nobody listening,
    And live like it's heaven on earth.”
    ― William W. Purkey




  • Groucho Marx
    “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
    ― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Masrx


  • Mark Twain
    “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
    ― Mark Twain



  • Josh Groban
    “Music is what I always turn to when I'm feeling a certain way. It's my reason for everything.”
    ― Josh Groban


  • Allen Saunders
    “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
    ― Allen Saunders



  • Josh Groban
    “There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva”
    ― Josh Groban





  • John Green
    “Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
    ― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines


  • John Green
    “Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself.”
    ― John Green







  • “He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world.

    She was the book thief without the words.

    Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Book Review: Lemon Drop Falls by Heather Clark

Book: Lemon Drop Falls by Heather Clark

Genre: MG contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 


We (me and a couple friends) were lucky enough to go the launch of this book awhile back. And I actually picked it up and read (most) of it during the readathon. Proud of myself for not waiting years to actually get to it (See last week's Top Teen Tuesday! LOL!)

This is the story of a girl who's mom died when she was about 11 years old. We go back and forth seeing how things were before, and how things are now.

Before, her mom was very organized, having plans A, B and maybe even C, for everything going on. Our girl had friends and everyone was happy (mostly. There was a little friend struggle beginning.)

After, our girl is stressed out trying to make things run as smoothly as her mom did so her dad won't feel the need to move and change everything about their lives. Her friends have seemed to abandoned her and she is very worried about everything. Her dad decides they need to go on a camping trip, though she feels like how can they do that without her mom.

While on the trip, she decides to do something a little bit crazy and during that moment, she realizes so many things about how she can continue to deal with life without her mom.

The lemon drops refer to a tradition they have in their family to encourage talking out your feelings. Deal with the sour and then you'll get to the sweet. 

So, it's the story of the struggle of our girl dealing with her mom's death and the stress and anxiety that it causes with her and their family. It's sad. But also very beautiful. And so perfectly done. I really loved it.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read

 




Today' prompt for Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read was a painful one just because it made me realize YET AGAIN how many books I have sitting around unread! Ah I had such intentions! Why haven't they been ready yet?? Here's just a sampling of ten I quickly found that I truly remember being so excited about. Maybe I should get to them soon? Which one do you suggest I read first? (And I don't know how long these books have been waiting but let me just say YEARS... lots and lots of YEARS!)










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