Let's Talk BBC's Ripper Street!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Photo from BBCAmerica.com
This week has sort of turned into an unofficial "TV Time" on my blog. If you're looking for the usual book banter and reviews, you probably won't find that here this week. I've been slacking a bit in the reading department just because sometimes I just can't resist the siren call of good TV! This week, it's all about the BBC. Really though, is there any other TV? I just finished watching BBC's Ripper Street series last night and I loved it way more than I thought I would. I rarely watch TV-MA rated programming but I made an exception this time because I was desperate for a new historical drama series to watch.

Photo from BBCAmerica.com
Ripper Street is a series set in Victorian London, 1889 to be exact, and is centered around the notorious H Division police precinct following the Ripper murders and stars Matthew Macfadyen as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. I have loved Macfadyen since first seeing him in Pride and Prejudice and he doesn't disappoint in his role as a detective haunted by his past, trying to find truth and justice for the citizens of Whitechapel. Not just Reid, but each of the characters has a lot (A LOT!) on their plates in their personal lives that affect their roles on the force in a myriad of ways. Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and former American Pinkerton detective, Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), Reid's somewhat reluctant comrades often add more to the mystery and action than to the peace . I have to say that although he plays the role of "bad cop", Drake is a real softie and I found my heart breaking for him a time or two. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jackson is a scoundrel -- buuuut that doesn't mean he's completely unlikable. ;-) I was unfamiliar with both actors before this series but they've both earned a new fan thanks to their roles in Ripper Street!

Photo from BBCAmerica.com
After having watched BBC's Sherlock and ITV's Endeavour I can't seem to get enough of the mystery genre. While it's way more gritty than anything I'm used to watching, I have to say Ripper Street is going on the list as one of my new favorites. It's not for viewers with queezy stomachs. There are brothels, murder, revenge, and an episode where cholera and poisoning that make for a less than pretty picture if you catch my drift. Still, I found this to be a very entertaining and unique series. There aren't enough period dramas in the world for my taste and this little series sated my appetite a bit.

I'm thinking of trying BBC America's original series, Copper. Any fans of Ripper Street out there who have seen that series? Thoughts on it? Thoughts on Ripper Street? I'd love to hear them!

Just in case you were wondering, Ripper Street, Season one is available on Netflix (this may change) and is also available to purchase on Blu-ray and DVD.

Series/DVD Overview from BBC:
Haunted by the failure to catch London’s most evil killer, Jack the Ripper, Inspector Edmund Reid now heads up the notorious H Division – the toughest police district in London’s East End. Charged with keeping order in the blood-stained streets of Whitechapel, Reid and his men find themselves fighting to uphold justice and the rule of law; but always in the background lurks the fear of the Ripper – is he back for another reign of terror? As imitators emerge and feral gangs terrorize, Reid and his teamare further drawn into the criminal underbelly of Victorian London - and their vigilance must be swift to stop those that threaten the calm of the city. Starring Matthew Macfadyen (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones), Adam Rothenberg (Alcatraz), and MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey, The Twilight Saga). The hit series premiered in January on BBC AMERICA to critical acclaim and will return with a second season in 2014. The Los Angeles Times says Ripper Street "opens with chilling promise and ends on a decidedly modern note,” and The Hollywood Reporter says it’s a “well-acted, well-written, and compelling mystery series.” Bonus features include: 3 Inside Looks from the cast and production team; Character Profiles; “London Calling: Whitechapel,” a tour of modern Whitechapel; and “Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect”- can modern forensic science finally solve the case of Jack the Ripper?

To learn more about the series, visit the BBC Amercia Ripper Street page.

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

*This review is from a series or movie I watched on my own time, at my own expense, no review copy was provided. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

A Fantastic Series: Call the Midwife, Season Two (2013) on DVD and Blu-Ray

Monday, July 29, 2013

Call the Midwife, Season Two
Release Date: June 18, 2013

Blu-ray/DVD Overview:
Based on the best-selling memoirs by Jennifer Worth, the critically acclaimed BBC series Call the Midwife, which TIME Magazine hails as, “gritty realism,”tells the fascinating story of Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine, Doctor Who, The Woman In Black), a young midwife in 1950s London's working class East End, as she provides the poorest women with the best possible care. This season continues to follow Jenny and the rest of the Poplar neighborhood’s exceptional midwives and nursing nuns as they face new challenges and traumas, including a strange woman dressed in rags, an abandoned baby, and the introduction of a new pain-killer, gas, which proves such a hit that all the women want some. A fascinating portrayal of birth, life, death and a community on the brink of huge social change, Call the Midwife offers a gripping insight into a way of life that is so drastically different from how we live now. Bonus Features include: 2012 Christmas Special, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.


Photo Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz,
Copyright Neal Street Productions
My Thoughts:
After the introduction to the series last year, I didn't think it could be topped, but with it's sometimes gritty, always touching stories Call the Midwife, Season Two has proven the series has staying power. It's easy to see why Call the Midwife is so popular in the States and abroad. Stories of sisterly bonds among friends and the miracle of childbirth never get old.

Following the life of young midwife, Jenny Lee, this series is set barely a year following her arrival at Nonnatus House in London's East End. Judging by the title you may guess that this is a series about midwifery but it is so much more. From episode to episode, there are a variety of themes from poverty, to love to faith, family, and friendship. The stories have a nostalgic feel but each episode has themes that are relevant to this day. While there IS a lot pertaining to maternity care and nursing and the hardships that come with it, there's always an unflagging sense of hope.

Photo Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz,
Copyright Neal Street Productions
Each of the characters, the nurses, the nuns, and the residents of the East End; have their own special charms which are brought to life by a fine cast including veteran actors Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, and a personal favorite, Stephen McGann. Jessica Raine is a brilliant actress. It has been a joy to see what she brings to the role of Nurse Lee in each episode. She plays the competent, confident midwife well. She's evolved from the rather innocent and naive girl in season one. Having seen her in other brilliant roles outside of Call the Midwife (Doctor Who, etc.) she's fast becoming one of my favorite young actresses.

While the series centers around Jenny Lee, my favorite character by far is Camilla Cholomondley-Browne -- also known as Chummy. She provides brilliant comic relief. Kind of uncomfortable in her own skin in the first season, it's lovely to see her come out of her shell and bloom while still keeping her ever present sense of humor. Actress Miranda Hart truly brings Chummy to life in all the best ways. For Chummy, this second series represents more than just a changes that affect her life and Constable Noakes's life but also huge changes for all at Nonnatus House. There was more than a couple romances that unfolded, one being a total shock! Since I'm such a hopeless romantic, it did my heart good to see all the love in the air.

Photo Credit:
Laurence Cendrowicz,
Copyright Neal Street Productions
There is so much more to this series than I ever expected. It's drama, it's heartache but also about laughter and finding one's true calling. All in all, this series is unbeatable and refreshing in every way. With three additional episodes, including a Christmas special, up from last years six episode tally, this series is sure to please fans of the show and hopefully bring new fans on board. If you enjoy "extras", the Blu-ray and DVDs feature fun cast interviews and stories about how the series came to be and the best part -- 10 additional minutes per episode that didn't air in the US! This series is a must own for British TV fans and anyone looking for a superb, feel-good show to add to their DVD collection.

Season Two Preview:

Watch Season 2 Preview on PBS. See more from Call the Midwife.

Call the Midwife, Season Two is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from the BBC America Shop online and other stores.

~ My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/publicist for review purposes. I received no compensation. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Clash of the Titles: Previous Laurel Champ, Karen Witemeyer, Releases Another Bestseller

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clash of the Titles' Laurel Award is in full swing with submissions just having closed and judges itching to get started. It'll be another three mail-biting months before the winner of the 2013 Laurel is announced. In the meantime, COTT continues to shine the light on its past winners, including Karen Witemeyer whose novel, "A Tailor-made Bride" won the 2011 Laurel. Today, COTT brings you her latest, "Stealing the Preacher."

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

"Stealing the Preacher":

The author shares why she wrote the book:
"After the amazing response to the Archer brothers depicted in Short-Straw Bride, I couldn't wait to craft a stand-alone story for Crockett, the charmer of the Archer clan. First, I had a gang of over-the-hill outlaws steal him from a train then tangled him up with the gang leader's daughter, a heroine with enough sense to look beneath his charm and sufficient spirit to fight for what she wants. Finally, since Crockett is no ordinary preacher, but a gun-toting rancher with a gift for doctoring . . . well, that meant a plot full of scrapes, trouble, and untold shenanigans. But amid the adventure and romance lies a heartrending tale of God's pursuit of a single lost soul." --Karen Witemeyer

About Karen:
After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she
earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.


Read my review of Stealing the Preacher HERE.

Happy Reading!

Faith-Filled Western: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stealing the Preacher
by Karen Witemeyer
Copyright 2013
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764209666
The Story:
A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.

My Thoughts:
Karen Witemeyer's fiction is always a joy to read. Stealing the Preacher, the latest in a series of books featuring the Archer brothers is nothing short of entertaining. While this book focuses a lot more on the religious side than on the romance of her previous novels, I was still able to enjoy the cracking chemistry between Crockett and Jo.

Crockett, as I've come to expect from reading his brother Travis's story, Short-Straw Bride, was nothing short of what I love in a romance hero -- tall, strong, and a take no nonsense kind of guy. Naturally it was easy to root for such a charming and charismatic guy. Joanna, wasn't quiet the fiery, fun-loving redhead that I was expecting from the cover but rather a shy girl who was lacking a bit of confidence. In spite of their crazy and unconventional first meeting, that I'll admit to thinking was going to be a bit silly but ended up being oh-so-delightful, I really liked how naturally their relationship unfolded. The secondary characters were certainly interesting too. Jackson Spivey, the Robbins' precocious neighbor was quiet possibly my favorite part of the whole book. There's a story there with that one! I would LOVE to see him all grown up in a future story. I bet he'd give some girl a run for her money.

All in all, Stealing the Preacher is an adorable story. It focuses mostly on faith and Jo's need to help her father find God so I might not recommend it for those looking strictly for a light-hearted romance but if you love Christian fiction then this book is one you'll want to watch for. Karen Witemeyer is definitely a talent in the Christian fiction market. Her books never disappoint and always earn their spots on my keeper shelf!

To learn more about the author visit her website:

~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher as an influencer for the author. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Happy Reading!

Litfuse Blog Tour: Rosemary Cottage (Hope Beach, Book 2) by Colleen Coble

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rosemary Cottage (Hope Beach, Book 2)
by Colleen Coble
Copyright 2013
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN: 9781595547828
The Story:
Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island….

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.

Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.

Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

My Thoughts:
A novel by Colleen Coble is sure to be a suspenseful and romantic read, Rosemary Cottage is no exception. While it wasn't my favorite of her novels I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Featuring the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it was impossible for me not to fall in love with the setting. I absolutely love the Outer Banks, it's my favorite vacation spot, so it was fun to be able to pick out some of my favorite places in the story.

As for the characters I was also impressed. Amy Lange, is a midwife looking to set up her practice in the small town of Hope Beach all while trying to find out the truth behind her brother's mysterious death. Curtis Ireland, is raising his dead sister's baby daughter and is determined to maintain custody of her but keeping her parentage a secret is proving difficult since baby Raine's aunt has moved to town. Watching the relationship between Amy and Curtis unfold was interesting. From barely tolerating each other to working together to solve the mysteries of the death of their siblings, it was quite a rollercoaster ride.

While the romantic aspects of the story were there, the mystery left a little to be desired. It was a bit cliched. Without spoiling anything, I knew almost from the start who was involved in both Ben's and Gina's disappearances. While there was a twist near the end I wasn't expecting, I wasn't all that surprised how the story ended. Tidewater Inn, the first book in the series is my favorite just because it was a little more unpredictable. If you have enjoyed this series or have never read a book by Ms. Coble before, the Hope Beach series is one to try!

To read what others are saying about the book GO HERE.

To purchase a copy of the book from Amazon, GO HERE.

~ My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Meet the Author:
Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Giveaway Details!

Water can be calming and healing, but it can also be dangerous, as Amy Lange and Curtis Ireland both found out. Both lost their siblings to the sea, and they hope to find healing on Hope Island. But will they find it, or will their quest to find answers set them at odds with each other and with those who have secrets that need to stay hidden?

Find out in Colleen Coble’s latest book, Rosemary Cottage, which released July 9. To celebrate, Colleen is hosting a 12-day Nautical Summer Giveaway. From July 16-27, Colleen will be giving away a new nautical prize every day. She’ll announce the winners on July 29 on her website, so mark your calendars for that date to see if you were picked as a lucky winner!

Not on Facebook? Enter here.

Happy Reading!


Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for the coupons to try the New Quarter Pounder flavors from McDonald's. The winner as selected by random.org is...

Congratulations to Juju! 

Juju has been contacted and has 48 hours to claim her prize or another winner will be selected. 

Don't forget to stop back often, you never know when I'll post another giveaway!

Happy Reading!

Happy Twinkie Day?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is it really Twinkie Day? I don't know, I probably just made that up but I declare July 15, 2013, to be Official Twinkie Day at Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot!

Here in the US we've been missing our Twinkies and other Hostess snack cakes ever since they closed down their factories late last year. Today, they are officially available again in most stores across the country. I was lucky enough to snag some Twinkies and Powdered Donettes early, this past Saturday at Wal-Mart, and I have to say BOTH taste just as good as I remember. If you are worried that they aren't going to taste as good, have no fear they are still yummy!

To celebrate the return of the classic snack and to beat the heat, I'm going to sit inside, read my book, and enjoy a cream-filled golden sponge of deliciousness!! :-)

Photo from Pinterest

To buy your own Twinkies and other favorite Hostess snacks visit their website for store locations:

Happy Snacking!

A Tasty Giveaway: Coupons to Try the New Quarter Pounders from McDonald's!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bacon Habanero Ranch QP
This is a bit of a departure from the usual giveaways that I host on this blog but thanks to the kind people at Family Arches and McDonald's, I have two coupons (each coupon is for one free new Quarter Pounder) to give away to one lucky winner to try the brand new 100% Beef Quarter Pounder burgers at McDonald's!

Deluxe QP

There are 3 new flavors -- the Bacon Habanero Ranch for those who like a little zest, the Bacon and Cheese for all the bacon lovers, and the Deluxe for those who like veggies along with their beef. I've tried the Bacon and Cheese QP and the Bacon Habanero QP and I really like both. I'm not one for pickles, tomatoes, or onions so I haven't tried the Deluxe QP yet but I'm sure it's tasty too! For good food and a great value, there's really no better place to turn than McDonald's.

Bacon and Cheese QP

**** Giveaway! ****

If you would like to enter to win two coupons to try the new Quarter Pounder, just visit the McDonald's website HERE to read all about the sandwiches and then come back to this post and leave a comment below telling me which Quarter Pounder flavor is your favorite or which one you want to try! Please include your email in your comment (ex: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com). If you leave an "Anonymous" comment, please include your name at the bottom of your comment. Giveaway open until July 19, 2013, @ 11:59PM EST. One winner will be selected on or around July 20, 2013. Winner will be notified via email and posted on this blog. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email to claim their coupons or another winner will be selected. US residents only. Void where prohibited. Coupons valid at participating McDonald's restaurants.

* I received coupons free of charge to try the new QP. I was not obligated to provide a review or giveaway post. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Intense Urban Fantasy Collection: Carniepunk by Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, and More!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

by Rachel Caine and more
Copyright 2013
Gallery Books
ISBN: 9781476714158
The Story:
Come one, come all! The Carniepunk Midway promises you every thrill and chill a traveling carnival can provide. But fear not! Urban fantasy’s biggest stars are here to guide you through this strange and dangerous world. . . .

RACHEL CAINE’s vampires aren’t child’s play, as a na├»ve teen discovers when her heart leads her far, far astray in “The Cold Girl.” With “Parlor Tricks,” JENNIFER ESTEP pits Gin Blanco, the Elemental Assassin, against the Wheel of Death and some dangerously creepy clowns. SEANAN McGUIRE narrates a poignant, ethereal tale of a mysterious carnival that returns to a dangerous town after twenty years in “Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea.” KEVIN HEARNE’s Iron Druid and his wisecracking Irish wolfhound discover in “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” that the impossibly wholesome sounding Kansas Wheat Festival is actually not a healthy place to hang out. With an eerie, unpredictable twist, ROB THURMAN reveals the fate of a psychopath stalking two young carnies in “Painted Love.”

My Thoughts:
This is a collection of 14 short stories from some of the hottest names in urban fantasy and paranormal fiction, all who were new to me, some whose stories I loved and...well some not so much. I don't review a lot of it here, but I've always been a fan of the genre and have to say that this story collection was nothing if not interesting and super creepy to say the least! I used to love going to the local carnival when I was a kid but now I feel like I'll have to leave town the next time one comes through. :-P Thanks to author Jennifer Estep for instilling in me a genuine fear of clowns that I went through the first almost three decades of my life without. Shivers. This is one collection not for the faint of heart. There's definitely something for everyone -- mermaids, werewolves, vampires, druids, and of course, messed up clowns. As with all novellas, the ones with characters whom I enjoyed were too short while some of the stories just fell flat, however I can still recommend it for urban fantasy readers looking for a good scare and some spine-tingling suspense!

Content note: Strong language, violence, and adult situations in some of the stories.

"Available July 23, 2013, from Gallery Books a division of Simon and Schuster or your favorite bookseller."

For a limited time, "Parlor Tricks" by Jennifer Estep, one of the novellas featured in this collection, is available free for your Kindle! As always, double check before ordering the book to make sure it is free.

Author's Websites:
Rachel Caine
Jennifer Estep
Kevin Hearne
Seanan McGuire
Rob Thurman
Allison Pang
Kelly Gay
Delilah S. Dawson
Kelly Meding
Mark Henry
Hillary Jacques
Jackie Kessler
Nicole Peeler
Jaye Wells

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Happy Reading!

A Sweet Story: Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart

Monday, July 8, 2013

Small Town Girl
by Ann H. Gabhart
Copyright 2013
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721848
The Story:
How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?

In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can't draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?

In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit. Fans of Gabhart's Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.

My Thoughts:
The last time I read a book by Ann Gabhart, Words Spoken True, I was extremely impressed. Although Small Town Girl is set in a completely different time period with new characters I am still impressed with this author's work. I enjoyed that while set at the very beginning of World War II for America, it had all the emotion of a book that was set right in the thick of it like say, Sarah Sundin's wonderful WWII era fiction. Ms. Gabhart certainly knows how to tug at the ol' heart strings!

The reason for the 3 star review is that the book moved so slowly at the beginning. I was wondering if anything was going to happen between Kate and Jay since they were dancing around each other from pretty much the first page. To top it off, for the first 100 or so pages I was annoyed, very annoyed, with Kate's sister, Evie and Kate's brother-in-law, Mike. Those two, who were supposed to be likeable (I think) just rubbed me the wrong way. Evie was full of herself and Mike came across as a bit intrusive in the lives of Kate and Jay. He was a preacher and friend to both Kate and Jay but I just did not care for him as a character. I'm glad to say that in spite of having a beef with those two characters, I still enjoyed the story. The latter third of the story had me welling up and near tears! There were a few moments that made me catch my breath especially where Kate's little sister, Birdie was concerned.

All in all, in spite of starting off slow, Small Town Girl is a good book for those who like their stories heavy on faith and full of emotion. There are a few characters I hope we get to see more of in the future, including Kate's sister, Tori! I'd really like to follow this family through the war and see how they grow and change during such a trying time.

“Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

To learn more about the author visit her WEBSITE.

Read my review of Words Spoken True also by Ann Gabhart HERE.

~ My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Happy Reading!

Freebie Alert: Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hi all, I hope you had a Happy 4th! I thought I'd let you know that for today only, July 5, 2013, you can get Carla Laureano's latest contemporary novel, Five Days in Skye free for most e-book platforms. I encourage you to take advantage of this special offer if you enjoy Christian romances. I'm reading the book right now and I'm really enjoying it. Look for my review soon, but in the meantime make sure you snatch up the book while it's available for free! As always, DOUBLE CHECK before you click "Buy" to make sure the book is still free to avoid and unexpected charges.

About the book:
Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she’ll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she’s sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she’d rather leave buried. For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father’s dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.

Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

To learn more about the fantastic Carla, visit her website and be sure to check out her blog too!

Happy Reading!

A Hugely Entertaining New Series: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (2012)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher
(photo from MFMM Facebook page)
Ladies and gentlemen 'tis the season when there's nothing on the tube other than re-runs or (mostly) sub-par network dramas, so if you're like me then you're just plain bored! Let's face it, there are times when (GASP!) we don't feel like flipping through a book. We just want to flop down on the couch with the remote and a bowl of chips and binge on Netflix or burn through half of our DVD collections in a week.

A few days ago, I hung out with my best friend and we started watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Needless to say, it turned into a three night event where we noshed on popcorn and cookies and watched telly for hours on end. It's probably not healthy to go through an entire season of a TV show in such a short time, but sometimes I think it's the only way to chill out and unwind. That's probably blasphemous coming from a book blogger but so be it, there's room here on this blog for more than one of my passions right? ;-)

Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher
(photo from MFMM Facebook page)
Anywho, back to Miss Fisher. Let's just say this isn't going to be a full on review of each episode of the series (this post would literally probably be a mile long) but rather the series as a whole. First and foremost -- it's fun! Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher is a riot. When reading, sassy and full-of-life heroines are my favorite so naturally my favorite TV leads tend to exhibit the same characteristics. Phryne is the first to take the bull by the horns and dive into a case no matter how dangerous it promises to be. She is most definitely a thoroughly modern woman in every sense. She's definitely not shy when it comes to the opposite sex and has a series of dalliances. Did I mention her wardrobe is TO DIE FOR? Kudos to the costume designer for the stunning furs and gorgeous cloche hats. I kind of want to get in my time machine and travel back to the 1920s just for the fashion!

Nathan Page as Det. Jack Robinson
(photo from MFMM Facebook page)
The supporting characters are equally as entertaining and complex as Phryne. Oh my gosh, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson.... Straight-laced and all about solving the case, he's definitely a by the book kind of guy. When it comes to Miss Fisher, he's not as quick to warm up to her but when he does -- watch out! Sparks fly!

Constable Hugh Collins, on the other hand is completely adorable with his boyish charm. Hugh is definitely a favorite of mine! Eager to please, he "tries" to do everything by the book but he's unable to say no to Phryne and especially not to Dot.

Speaking of Dot, Miss Fisher's maid and companion (also a former suspect in Phryne's very first case), she balances out Phryne's intensity with her demureness and shy spirit. She does come out of her shell a bit but you'll see that of pretty much everyone who's a friend of Phryne's. Dr. Mac, Cec, Burt, Jane, and even Aunt Prudence are just a few more of the other characters who add flair and humor to an already splendid main cast of characters.

If you're looking for something better than boring, old American TV I highly recommend this series. Just a word to the wise, you might not want to start watching the series late in the evening or you might just stay up well past your bedtime! Mystery, romance, and drama in spades make this a compulsively watchable show. I'm happy to say that series two is now in production and I for one can't wait to see it!

~ Meet Phryne and the entire cast of characters on the series' website:

~ Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is available for purchase on Blu-ray and DVD at Acorn Media or your favorite online retailer.

~ My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ~

*This review is from a series or movie I watched on my own time,a t my own expense. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Doctor Who and Shabby Apple Giveaway Winners!

I do apologize for not listing the winner of the Doctor Who The Silent Stars Go By book winner from a few weeks ago. The lucky winner was Katie H. and she has already claimed her prize!

Now on to the Shabby Apple "Hully Gully" skirt giveaway...
That lucky winner is LunaRaven! Luna has been contacted and has 48 hours to claim her prize.

Congrats to Luna and thank you all for stopping by to comment, enter the giveaways, and follow this blog. Don't forget to stop back often for more reviews and giveaways!

A Great Summer Read: When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad

Monday, July 1, 2013

When Love Calls
by Lorna Seilstad
Copyright 2013
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721817
The Story:
Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list does not include following rules. So when she must apply for a job as a switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won't be easy. Hello Girls must conduct themselves according to strict--and often bewildering--rules, which include absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Hannah doubts it will be difficult to keep that rule--until a handsome young lawyer starts getting under her skin.

With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of companionship that blossoms into sweet romance.

My Thoughts:
These past few years I've come to look forward to each book written by Lorna Seilstad. Light-hearted and fun romances with great settings and unique plots are pretty much guaranteed with every story. Her latest, When Love Calls, continues along these lines and is one of the sweetest romances I've read all summer.

Hannah, having suddenly lost both her parents, quits law school to become a Hello Girl for the local telephone company in Des Moines, Iowa in order to support herself and her two younger sisters. Along the way, she meets handsome lawyer, Lincoln Cole. Not knowing whether to loath him, he was the one who informed them that they were being evicted from their family home, or to love him for assisting the Gregory's in finding a new situation, Hannah is torn. To top it all off, one of her oldest friends is being convicted of a crime she knows he couldn't possibly be guilty of. With everything so uncertain in her life, she's stubborn, wanting only to depend on herself. Hannah learns to lean on God and on people who love her to make it through trying times.

Hannah is a thoroughly likeable character. She's gutsy, loyal to a fault when it comes to family and friends, and she is extremely stubborn. I was a little frustrated by her hard-headedness at times, wishing she would just let somebody help her without flying off the handle but still, I liked her. Hannah and her sisters were easy to root for. I'm anxious to read more about the youngest Gregory siblings in the upcoming books! Recently, I've read a few stories set in the early 1900s with the main characters employed as switchboard operators but When Love Calls is definitely the best. Lorna Seilstad's books ALL come highly recommended by this romance fan!

Fun Stuff: I found Hannah's doppelganger -- actress Aisling Loftus from Mr Selfridge!    ---->

To learn more about Lorna and her books, visit her website:

Available at your favorite Christian bookseller or online!

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I am however an influencer for the author, however I wouldn't have posted a positive review if I didn't genuinely enjoy the book. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Happy Reading!