February 20, 2017

Random Nothings

I suppose the title tidily sums up the meaning of this post, but it still felt lacking without an introduction. Well, here 'tis. I was randomly inspired to share with you all some random things in my life lately. There. I have introduced the post. 


~My new shampoo and conditioner are now a highlight in my life. I used to loathe hair washing (thick hair problems) but now I look forward to it soooo much because this stuff makes my hair so soft and clean and it smells like Hawaii and summertime and flowers and its natural-y. I say "y" because store bought hair products are never REALLY natural.

(I promise the company didn't sponsor me to say this. :P)
Tabletop Inspiration | CeremonyBlog.com | Ceremony Magazine Wedding Blog - Part 19:

~ I'd like to say a few words to the people who owned our house before us about the choice they made to paint our dining/computer room bright red. Fire engine red. I just want to tell them I'm having so much fun painting the said room light green. I mean, who doesn't like having to do so many coats that your arm fell off and you had to take it to the emergency room?*

*This story may or may not be slightly exaggerated.

Okay, it's not that bad....after all, my mom and I are working together on it. But still. Bright red??? Ugh.

~ I've recently been intrigued by the fantasy genre (previously untrod waters, excepting Narnia, Middle-earth, and a few fairytale inspired books) and if you follow me on goodreads you may have noticed this. I've been adding quite a few fantasy books to my TBR shelf.
Any suggestions? I'm all ears. :)


~Library book sales are the best. See that stack down there? Those eleven books? (INCLUDING THE NEARLY BRAND NEW COPY OF Children of Hùron?!?) Yup. Guess how much?
Two dollars.
in the background you can see some finds from the previous library book sale I went to, haha

~I should be editing Princess and the Pea, or writing more Rose and Isaac, or writing the backstory for my villain in PatP, but instead I'm scribbling a new story?? Send help please.

(Also, send extra help because I'm having trouble even with the new story. I feel very low on writing inspiration and motivation....but I want to write so much!)

And the next one, and the next one, and the next one...:

~I've been learning that some days, what you need to do is take a nap. Yeah, I never actually fall asleep, but even ten minutes of close-your-eyes-and-burrow-under-the-blankets is enough to get you through the rest of the day. :)

(Also, putting "Concerning Hobbits" on repeat is a very relaxing source of background noise.)

~Thanks to Jordan's video, I discovered "Fitness Blender". I tried this workout and oh my word I LOVED it. Due to back problems, I reaaally need to focus on strengthening my upper body and this workout. This workout!!! It required absolutely no equipment and was so super duper easy, but at the end I was sweating and felt amazing. It actually got rid of a neckache I had woken up with. So, though I've only done it once so far, I have very high hopes. Definitely can't wait to do it again.
not always, but it's what my heart would rather do haha <3

~I'm going to see Newsies (in cinemas, not on stage)  on Wednesday and eeepers I just can't waaaiiiiit to seize the day and carry the banner and....yeah. :P


~Have you seen this new clip of Beauty and the Beast? Just checking. ;)
(SO excited for this movie....)

~I've been reading The Robe lately and gooodness, it is SO good. Definitely recommend. I love the 1953 movie, but the book is immensely better. :)

Well, that's all my friends. I must leave you, for it's dinnertime. After all, food is my one weakness. *waves*

Is this not incredibly accurate? xD

February 15, 2017

Character Interview: Breaking Glass (Guest post by Jessica Prescott)

Hey, guys!  I’m so excited to be writing this guest post for my awesome friend Natalie, modelled on her “character interviews” that we all love so much.  Today, I bring you an interview between myself and two of the main characters in my World War II/Holocaust novel, tentatively titled Breaking Glass.  It’s set mainly in the Netherlands; and, if I had to describe it briefly, I’d say it’s a coming-of-age story about learning to survive in a world that seems to be your mortal enemy.   

“When life robs you, sometimes you have to . . .”  (AHEM.)

So, without further ado, here it is!  

*Note:  Interview questions borrowed/modified from the Beautiful People meme at Paper Fury.*  

My characters fidget, a bit uncomfortably, on the wooden chairs I’ve set out in my bedroom.  One of them—a tiny slip of a girl with dainty, gold earrings and burning, intense dark eyes—stares suspiciously at the shiny black laptop resting on my quilt.  The other—a big, broad-shouldered man wearing a leather jacket and a cool, guarded expression—stares intently at the girl.   

I’m amused to note that neither of them is looking at me.  
I press the Record button on my tape player and put on my most coaxing smile.  “Thank you both so much for coming.”  The man gives me a polite nod; but the girl just looks at me.  “Could you both start by telling my friends here your names?”    
He folds his arms, his jaw set.  “No.”  
“Oh, come—”
“No disrespect, Miss Jessica.”  He pauses.  “But your friends may not be our friends.”  
The girl nods.  Barely.
I bite my lip in frustration.  This isn’t starting out well, is it.  
“Now, listen to me, both of you.”  I lean forward, speaking in as soothing a tone as I can manage.  “I understand you guys are under a lot of stress, and all that; but there’s nothing to be afraid of here.  This isn’t wartime Holland anymore—get that?”  
“Where is it, then?”  Finally, I’ve at least gotten the girl to speak up.  
“It’s the future.”  
The young man’s face exhibits massive skepticism.  
“No—I promise.  This is the future, and nobody here can possibly hurt you.”  
“Is that true?”  The girl’s deep, dark eyes are scouring my inmost soul—I can feel it.  
The things I put up with from her.  
“It is one-hundred-percent genuinely accurate.”  I do my best to keep the exasperation out of my voice.  “Now, will you please do what I asked and say your names?”  
“Well.”  He studies my face, then seems to make up his mind.  “My name . . . is Dirk van Manen.”  
“My name is Tammi Herschlag.”  The girl won’t look at me.  
“Good, good.  Now we can get on with the interview.”  We’ve wasted at least five minutes, but I know pointing it out will get me exactly nowhere.  “So, first question:  How did you two meet?”  
There’s a pause.  
Dirk is looking at Tammi, and Tammi is looking at the floor.  
Finally, his low, taut voice breaks the silence.  “We met by accident.”   
“He found me.”  Tammi’s fingers are lacing themselves together.  “I was hiding.  And he found me.”  
I make my next question as gentle as I can.  “Hiding from what?”  
“The Germans.”  She jerks her chin up and shoots me a bone-chilling glare.  “Stop it.”
Dirk reaches out a hand to brush her shoulder—his eyes daring me to continue the subject.  I quickly change course.  
“Here’s another question.  How similar are you to each other?”  
Tammi’s eyes still show that tense, hunted look, and she doesn’t answer.  Dirk does, though.  
“We’re not that different.”  He watches her as he speaks, not me.  “We don’t talk much.   Either of us.”  
“So, you like to think instead of talk?”  
“Tammi thinks a lot.  I don’t.  I just . . .”  He breaks off.   
“He just does things.”  The abruptness of Tammi’s voice makes me jump in my seat; even though I should be used to it by now.  “He does things that need to be done.  That’s all.”  
I’m not entirely sure what she means, but I know better than to press for a more articulate statement.  
Instead, I take a deep breath.  “All right, next question.  Who has the strongest personality?” 
They glance at each other, and I see a small, secret grin pass between them.  
At least she’s smiling now.  
I clear my throat and look down at my list.  “The next one’s kind of similar.  Who’s the leader?”  
Tammi’s dark eyes are thoughtful.  “Dirk . . . probably.”  
“I’m not.”  He touches her hand, then grips it.  “You are.”  
She rolls her eyes, but doesn’t pull the hand away.  “Yeah?  So how come you’re always telling me what to do?”
“It’s not like you ever listen.”  His voice is rough with emotion.  
“Okay—okay, then, guys.”  I feel it best to move on before anything else is said.  “Ah, here’s a good one.  What do you do that most annoys each other?”  
“I told you.”  Tammi tosses her head back and brushes the dark, bobbed hair out of her face.  “He tries to tell me what to do.”  
“Because I have to.”  Dirk folded his arms.  
“You do not have to.”  
“You won’t take care of yourself unless somebody makes you.”  The deep, gruff tone can’t mask the tenderness in his gaze.  
I see a blush—a faint one—spreading over Tammi’s cheeks.  
I wait a few moments, then turn to Dirk with an encouraging smile.  “How about you, then?  Anything you find a little annoying?”  
He ducks his head, staring at the floor.  “She . . . won’t tell me anything.”  
Now it’s Tammi’s turn to fold her arms.  “Meaning?”  
“You know.”  His eyes search hers.  “You’ll be crying, or something . . . and I ask you what’s the matter . . . and I get nothing.”  
Another pause. 
“So?”  A dark scowl creases Tammi’s forehead.  “When do you ever tell me how you’re feeling?”   
He frowns.  “That’s different.”  
She tosses her head again.  “Is not.”  
“Next question, you two,” I interrupt gently.  “How long do you see yourselves staying together?”
Tammi hunches her shoulders forward and scowls harder.  “Nobody knows.”  
I look at her.  “What do you mean?”  
“This is war.”  Her voice is hard.  “People die in wars.”  
Dirk shifts in his seat, his eyes fixed on her face.  
“But—you—”  I pause to clear my throat again.  “You’re hoping you’ll live to see peace again?”  
Tammi shrugs.  
Dirk pulls her hand into his lap and doesn’t let it go.  
And then, as an afterthought, he glares at me.  
I cough.  “Last one, I promise.  What would the ‘perfect outing’ look like for you both?”  
“Outing?”  Tammi stares at me.  “Outing?  Are you crazy?”  
She’s a handful and a half.  There’s no getting around it.  “Now, Tammi—”
“I’m in hiding.”  Tammi’s voice is crushingly bitter.  “I don’t go out anywhere.”  
There’s a long pause after that.  
Dirk’s eyes are threatening me with slow torture if I don’t say something to make it better.  
I take in a deep breath, then put on my most diplomatic smile.  “Of course, of course.  I only meant—if you could go anywhere you wanted to, where would you go?”  
“I know where.”  Dirk tosses me a slightly mollified glance, then turns his gaze back to Tammi’s face.  “I’d take you to the beach.”  
She looks at him with big, dark eyes for a moment.  “The beach?”  
“I’ve never been to the beach.”  
“I know.”  I see Dirk swallow a little.  “That’s . . . why I’m going to take you.”  

Whew—that was so much fun to write!!!!  Thank you, dear Natalie, for giving me the opportunity  :-)  So . . . what do you all think of Dirk and Tammi?  Want to read more of them?  Think I should continue working on their story?  

Note from Natalie: Jessica, thank you SO much for guest posting today. Your characters are amazing, and this interview brought a huge smile to my face, Dirk and Tammi are simply precious. <3

February 14, 2017

True Love

This Valentine's Day, I'm as single as I ever was, but this is the first year where I can officially say "I'm single" without sounding ridiculous. (If someone isn't old enough to get married, then I don't think they have any business saying "I'm single". Of course you're single. :P)

Anyways, this is meant to be a short post, about just one thing. (And that thing is not my marital status.)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, however old you are, whatever your relationship status, guess what? You can celebrate Valentine's Day. Because Jesus, the author and creator and definer of love, loves YOU.

~Psalm 136: 1-9~
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
'Heritage' (1984) David Austin Rose. Go for garden roses and David Austin roses to www.parfumflowercompany.com:

~Pslam 136: 23-26~
He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.


See that? His love endures f o r e v e r. And ever. And ever. There is NO end to His love.
Commit that to memory, my dear friends. Jesus will always love you. He's always waiting with open arms for you to run to Him. He's ready and willing and wanting to love you, accept you, free you, cleanse you, redeem you. No one on earth loves you or ever will love you like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, does.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 

~Ezekiel 36:26~


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.

~1 John 4:18-19~

If you're feeling blue because of your singleness this Valentine's Day, stop and think a moment. 
You will never be loved any more than you are right now.
That doesn't mean you can't still desire marriage one day. But don't ever think you need some other human's love to really be loved. Because you don't.
You really, really don't.

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear friends.


Valentine's Day 2017//obscure, underrated fictional couples

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends!! I love you all so much. <3 *scatters confetti hearts*
As always, I love writing all sorts of mushy posts about fictional couples I love during the month of February, specifically on or around Valentine's Day. Well, I've done a post on some favorite couples, a post on some favorite proposals...this year, I thought I'd share with you TEN strictly literary couples who are either very obscure or underrated. Or both. :P (That means couples like Darcy and Lizzy won't be in this post. Everyone has heard of them. Plus they're in movies.)

These are in no particular order; my time is too precious to waste trying to decide who gets the #1 spot and so on. ;) Enjoy!

1) Liam and Annie
First Meeting by TheGingerMenace123.deviantart.com on @DeviantArt:

Gaahh. These two. This princess and her loyal knight and friend, Liam, are from The Wide Awake Princess by E.D Baker, one of my absolutely favorite middle grade books. It's cute, light, funny, and has a mixture of all sorts of fairytales thrown into one story. And these two are just adorable. Liam is a kind, brave hero who will do anything to protect the princess. Annie is awkward and seems to attract trouble, because of her powers to detect magic. Together, they make a perfect team. <3

2) Sheftu and Mara
"Mara: Daughter of the Nile":
Mara: Daughter of the Nile is one of the most stunning books I've ever read. The dialogue, description, plot, character, setting....absolutely everything about this book is superb. And then there's Sheftu and Mara. Their tempestuous but oh-so-sweet romance is....well, beyond my words of description. ;) If you haven't yet read this book I GREATLY encourage you to.

3) Jace and Kyrin
Reminds me of Kyrin and Jace. Maybe later on when Kyrin's hair grows out. And, Kyrin needs to be wearing a bit longer shirt/overdress.:

*Takes a deep breath because I've been recently reading these books and my emotions are running very very high because of it.*
The Ilyon Chronicles have skyrocketed lately to my favorite books list, and Jace and Kyrin have a huge part in this. Not only is Jace one of my favorite heroes EVER, the growing romance between him and Kyrin is just...
*cries because I can't handle it.*
They're perfect. Or, at least, they WILL be perfect once dear Jace gets it through his thick head that Kryin would most definitely love him despite his past and who he is.*
One thing I adore about their relationship is that for most of the series they're very, very close friends who encourage each other and help each other through their dark moments. Not a spot of romance has shown up until the third book. Though I'm a hopeless romantic, I also absolutely adore romances based on prior friendship. These two are just epic. <3

*SPOILERS, highlight to view: This post was written before I read the end of Samara's Peril, and let's just say Jace got it through his head and I'm so so so happy because of it. *end spoilers*

4) Barney and Valancy
Barney and Valancy in Tin Lizzie:
AKA the couple in one of L. M. Montgomery's finest novels, The Blue Castle. This book makes me so happy. It fits into a corner of my heart so perfectly, and Barney and Valancy are definitely one reason why. They are one of the most unorthodox, mismatched, unique couples ever and yet they are perfect for each other in every possible way. I just...agh. I love them. <3

5) Jack and Allie

These two are from Sara Mill's books, Miss Fortune and Miss Match. For the record, I loved these books when I read them and definitely recommend them, but be warned, the second book ends on a horrible cliffhanger and there is no third book published yet, and I honestly wonder if there ever will be. :P That aside, I must tell you how adamantly I am on the side of #TeamJack. Allie, the private investigator, and Jack, the FBI agent are PERFECT for each other. Unfortunately, much of the story revolves around Allie's "long-lost" romance with a certain fellow named David. For the record, I like David quite a bit too, but...not as much as Jack. He fits with Allie and complements her so well. They're both witty and daring and much too independant for their own good, but that's why they fit so well. They understand each other and help keep each other grounded because they want to keep each other safe.

PS. Oh yeah. Jack has a "long lost romance" too. But no. He belongs with Allie. Ugh, how I wish there was a third book....

6) Gene and Majesty

This one is for you, Éowyn. ;)

When I finally read The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey, the favorite book of one of my very bestest friends, I fell in love not only with the beautiful writing and story, but Gene Stewart and Majesty Hammond's romance as well. Majesty is a beautiful, genteel lady from the East and Gene a rough, stoic cowboy who immediately falls in love with her. But, he feels he can never deserve someone so beautiful and pure, and practically wastes away with love for her (lest you think him weak, I will add that the strength and willpower he exhibits in so many situations is admirable. He only thinks of her, not of himself, especially considering something he knows about them that I can't speak of because of spoilers. ;)).  The best word I can find to encompass the romance between these two is epic.

7) Romek and Kasia
Fiddler on the Roof - tender moment between Hodel and Perchik:
the clothing doesn't fit the time (WW2) but I kind of pictured Romek and Kasia like these two
Romek and Kasia are just...agh. I love them. Everything about their romance was achingly sweet and simple, but incredibly powerful and true. Romek and Kasia are a new favorite. They're from the heartbreakingly bittersweet short story, Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke, part of the Once short story collection.

8) Jehu and Jane

Another middle-grade series I love, Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm has been a favorite of mine since I was a wee lass young girl. I recently discovered that the main couple from Poldark remind me muchly of how I picture Jehu and Jane, so thus the photo. :P
Jehu is a blue-eyed sailor with a scar on his face. Jane is a fiery redhead from Boston who tried her best to be a prim and proper lady (but usually fails). Their relationship is just the cutest and the funniest, from the moment she throws up on his boots while seasick to the moment he kisses her under the stars on the fourth of July.
Jehu draws the real Jane out of her shell, encouraging her to be herself. Not the "proper" society-pages type of young lady she tries to be. 

9) Joe and Mandie
ignore the fact that they're in modern clothing and in an art gallery :P
One of my favorite childhood series (which I really ought to re-read) was the Mandie mystery books by Lois Gladys Leppard. Sweet and lovely and full of fun, these books are just adorable. And I've forever and always shipped Mandie with her best friend Joe, the wonderful boy who loved her ever since they were children.
Sadly, the author died before she could finish the series set during Mandie's years at college, so we never actually get proof that she ends up with Joe, but I choose to believe she does. They were best friends, and had a long history together. They were always there for each other, always helping and encouraging and keeping each other safe. 

10) White Hawk and Mary
This reminds me of Miriam Willard and Peirre Laroche.:
make his hair black and put him in a leather shirt. Then he'd look like White Hawk
From Gloria Whelan's Once on this Island series (another middle grade series I love :)), White Hawk, an Indian, and Mary, a settler's daughter, have been friends their entire life, but grow to love each other as they mature. Reading their stories for the first time since I was younger, I was a bit disappointed. I felt their romance was a bit underdeveloped. But, on the other hand, their friendship is beautiful. They're always there for each other, and romances based on friendship are the best kind, in my opinion. :)

Happy Valentine's Day!
Have you read any of these books?

February 13, 2017

Northanger Abbey (2007)

In participation of Hamlette's "I Love Jane Austen Week", I am reviewing Northanger Abbey, 2007.

Being that the last time I wrote a movie review was in January of 2016, I find that I'm quite out of practice at reviewing movies. Bear with me. ;)

(Not to mention, I feel almost guilty writing this review, because I haven't actually READ Northanger Abbey since I was around 14. *cringe* Trust me, it's on my "to be read again" list.)

I find Northanger Abbey bright and whimsical, despite its melodramatic and dark moments. It's so unlike any of Jane Austen's other stories. It's almost like a light, fluffy short story compared to novels like Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion. Those stories have a level of depth and maturity foreign to Northanger Abbey. But I'm not demeaning Northanger. This story still provides a solid plot, vivid characters, and plenty of wit and fun. It's different from Jane Austen's later works, that's all. But that certainly doesn't mean different is bad. ;)

Catherine is our heroine, a sheltered homeschooler young girl who loves to read Rather Horrid Gothic novels (I don't think her parents kept a very close eye on her reading material :P) and has too many siblings to count. They play games together and live a wonderful, carefree life in the country.

I don't have a very high opinion of her parents. They're not horrible, but they're not wonderful either. Her father tells his wife that their daughter is "almost pretty". Is it not the duty of parents to think their children practically perfect in every way? It seems rather hard on poor Catherine to just call her "rather pretty", even if she couldn't hear their conversation. :P

(Not to mention, there's again the fact that they don't keep a very good check on what she reads.)

One day Catherine is invited to visit Bath with some family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allan. The couple can be rather oblivious, but their heart was in the right place when they invited Catherine along with them. I am inclined to like them, although they are not much more wise than Catherine's parents. Probably less so. :P
But, whatever their faults, they are generous. Catherine receives a new wardrobe from them. What girl wouldn't appreciate that?

Throughout the movie there is a narrator (presumably supposed to be Austen herself) which adds a lovely, storybook charm to the film. Again, this sets it apart from the usual Austen movie. It brings to mind a young Jane Austen writing this story, laughing over it at her desk, and eventually reading it aloud to her family and friends.

At a dance in Bath, Catherine meets, quite by chance, the hero of our story, Henry Tilney.
one smirk and then we may be rational again

Heeennnry. Henry Tilney is in the top three tier of my favorite Austen heroes (the others being Mr. Knightley of Emma and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice).  Witty, charming, full of fun and good humor....he's just so NICE. He's confident of himself without being arrogant, and his kindness and gentle flirting towards Catherine makes me smile.

And he understands muslin. That's a necessity. ;)

haha, I love it when he asks her about what she'll write in her journal

He and Catherine are simply adorable. He teases her, as he might tease a younger sister, and she proves to be quite gullible when he tells her his ridiculous stories. But he's also kind and considerate and goooodness he's just so nice I can't handle it.  They balance each other out, he with his outgoing temperament and careful discernment, she with her shy sweetness and naiveté.

Some other characters who appear in this story are either wonderful or despicable. There's the creepy-beyond-belief  fortune hunter, John Thorpe, (whom Catherine is way too taken in by. It frustrates me to no end when she agrees to go for a drive with him. STAY AWAY FROM HIM, CATHERINE) the darling Eleanor Tilney, Henry's sister, and John Thorpe's horrid sister, Isabella.

Let's just get it out of the way that the Thorpes are devious and deceptive and manipulative. Don't trust them. That's all I shall say.

Eleanor Tilney, on the other hand, is one of my favorite characters in NA, if not in the entire JA universe. SHE IS JUST THE BESTEST, OKAY? I want to be friends with her. She's so mature and gentle and level headed, but also very kind. She's both motherly and sisterly towards Catherine, taking her under her wing for Henry's sake, endeavoring to be her friend in a helpful, companionable way. Unlike Isabella Thorpe, who only wishes to manipulate her. *spoilers--highlight to view* I like to imagine that Eleanor's common sense and maturity rubs off on Catherine once they are sisters-in-law. ;) *end spoilers*

As the story progresses, Catherine finds herself torn between two groups of friends, the Thorpes and her brother James, and the Tilneys. She is invited to stay with the Tilneys at Northanger Abbey, their castle-esque home where Catherine's imagination finally has room to run wild. (No, that's not a good thing.)

Fueled by stories and suggestions from Henry and gossip told to her by Isabella, Catherine begins to take everything odd about the Tilney's and their home that she notices and apply them toward a rapidly growing fantasy in her mind. She suspects Henry's father, the rude, cold General Tilney, of an unspeakable crime.

*spoilers, highlight to view*

The scene where Henry discovers what Catherine has been suspecting causes me pain. I just feel like shaking Catherine. What is wrong with you??? Maybe I feel so strongly the embarrassment and awkwardness in this scene because I myself have a slightly suspicious, over-imaginative nature myself. Faced with as much "evidence" as Catherine was that Henry's father murdered his wife...well, I sincerely hope I wouldn't act as foolishly as Catherine.  The moment Henry says, his voice heavy with disappointment, "Catherine? How could you? What sort of a fevered imagination must you have?".....I just feel awful for her. Frustrated with her, yes. But still. Poor thing. :(

Now, you could say Henry was to blame for filling her head with such dramatic notions. But I know he didn't mean to, and if he had been aware of how silly Catherine was, I'm sure he would have been more careful. She is young and naive, yes, but surely she could see he was teasing her! 

Catherine was foolish and should have known better than to assume such awful things about the family who has allowed her to be their guest. She should have respected the family's privacy better. Even if General Tilney HAD murdered his wife....what business of it was Catherine's? She really couldn't do anything about it.

I don't know. I have mixed feelings about Catherine. :P

*spoilers over*

I won't say much more about the story or the resolution, for I don't wish to give it away. But, since the ending for two characters is pretty obvious, I will at least say it's cute and funny and altogether happy. :)

The costumes of this film (Not including some of Isabella's dreadfully lowcut gowns. I mean, AHERM. Girl, there is a reason you have a top attached to your skirt! :P) are absolutely delightful and lovely. Catherine's wardrobe especially is so fresh and spring-like. I would love to own many of her gowns. My favorite may be the white and blue one she wears the evening she meets Henry at the dance.

As for the content, Catherine has quite a number of "dream" sequences all of which border on inappropriate or frightening. I would definitely recommend skipping those scenes (most are always easy to see coming, just watch for darkness and thunder and lighting :P) and there are a few other scenes I skip as well. One involves Catherine reading a horrid book (narrated aloud for us, how thoughtful of you, Catherine!), Catherine and Isabella talking about said horrid book, and one scene involving Isabella and Captain Tilney that isn't explicit, but it's quite obvious what they were doing.

There is some "mild" language, mostly used by the absolutely wonderful Mr. Thorpe. (sarcasm...)

I think that may be all. If you'd like more details or exact specifications of where to skip, feel free to ask in the comments. :)

Overall, I find this such a lovely adaption, faithful to the novel (from what I remember) and quite entertaining. It's relatively short and sweet, great for when you're in a Jane Austen mood, but don't have enough time on your hands for, say, the 5 hour 1995 Pride and Prejudice. ;)

Have you seen Northanger Abbey?
What are your thoughts?

February 11, 2017

I Love Austen Week//The Tag

Happy "I Love Austen Week", my friends!!! *throws confetti hearts* If you haven't hear, Hamlette is hosting this blog party over at Hamlette's Soliloquy. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. There will be lots of fun posts and reviews....and I may or may not have heard rumors of a giveaway. ;)

Hamlette has put together a lovely list of questions for the party, and here I am today to give you my exciting answers. (Actually, they're boring answers. But I trust you'll stick around anyways. :P)

1.  Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?
Pride and Prejudice 1995. :)

Totally handsome enough:

2.  What is your favorite Austen book?
Sense and Sensibility, without a doubt. Here's my review of it.

3.  Favorite heroine?  Why do you like her best?
Oooh, that's hard. It would be between Elinor Dashwood and Elizabeth Bennet. I relate the most to Elinor, but I admire Lizzy quite a bit....I guess I'll say Lizzy. I just love how outgoing and witty and fun she is. :)

4.  Favorite hero?  Why do you like him best?
Mr. Knightley. Because he's so kind, so caring, and so unselfish. <3
"I examined my own heart, and there you were... never, I fear, to be removed." -- BBC's adaptation of Emma:

5.  Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen's work?
Probably Pride and Prejudice, 1995. ;)

6.  Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?  (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better?  Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind?  Etc.)
Mmmm. I don't think so? I think I've grown in my conviction that Mr. Knightley is my favorite hero. A couple years ago, I would have still been undecided between him, Mr. Darcy, and Henry Tilney. I've also grown to love the 2009 Emma film. I used to not like it very much. Shocking, I know. :P

7.  Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)?  (Feel free to share photos if you want.)
I have a Jane Austen journal! I unfortunately have already filled it up, but it was fun using while it lasted. :)

8.  If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?
Why didn't she give Fanny and Edmund a more convincing resolution? :P

9.  Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?
Well, I would definitely say Mansfield Park needs a new adaption. As for the leads....goodness, I don't know. 

Perhaps as Allan Leech as Edmund and Eleanor Tomlinson as Fanny??

Bertie Pelham will be back in the Christmas episode as will Lady Rose and Atticus Aldridge as the Crawleys celebrate "an unforgettable New Year's Eve":
I think this is Georgianna Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberly? :) I liked her a lot. She was so sweet.:

10.  Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” 
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

(still undecided whether this would be okay to quote in polite conversation. :P)


“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” 
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

(this is, unfortunately, true) 

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

~ Amazing Llibraries:
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” 
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
(me again)

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” 
― Jane Austen
(this is also me)


(Hee. I admit I just went onto goodreads and copied five Austen quotes that I really like, but I found it funny that they revolve around books, staying at home, and being an incurable romantic :P)

Thanks for this fun tag, Hamlette! Everyone, make sure to check out the giveaway and all the other Jane Austen festivities happening. :)

February 9, 2017

Rose & Isaac

Hello lovely readers! Recently I promised a couple people that I would post some more details about my NaNoWriMo novel (still unfinished, darn it. But I DID make my word count!). It's a historical romance set during the 1940's, about love and loss and trusting that God's faithfulness IS great, no matter what.

I thought that, with Valentine's Day approaching, it might be fun to interview my hero and heroine about their relationship with some questions from the Beautiful People archive.   And maybe some snippets will be shared, too. You'll have to keep reading to see. ;)

*All writing snippets are my own work, please do not steal.*

I smile at my characters. "Well, first off, let me introduce everyone. Readers, this is Rose Aldrich."
Rose tries to hold back a laugh."Uh, hello. "
"And this is Isaac," I say.
Isaac's mouth lifts in a small smile, but he looks at me. "What about my last name?"
I put on my best "I'm-the-author-don't-argue" look. "Well, I'm still not sure about it. It hasn't come up in the story so far, so let's worry about it later."
Isaac looks unconvinced but shrugs, leaning back in his seat.
Isaac and Rose

I look at the questions."Let's begin. How long have you been a couple?"

Isaac glances at Rose.
"Well..." Rose looks back at him. "We're really not....yet. I mean, we love each other but..."
"Try to keep as far away as possible from anything spoiler-ish," I pipe up.
Isaac rubs the back of his neck. "Spoiler-ish isn't a word," he mumbles.
Rose hesitates. "Umm.."
I jump in again. "Well, you both certainly don't start out as a couple in the story. We'll just leave it up to my readers to guess whether you ever do or not."

I read the next question. "How did you first meet?"
Rose sighs. "You know how, you wrote it."
"Shh. This is for the reader's benefit. Act as if I don't know anything," I say sternly.
I catch Isaac smirking out of the corner of my eye and give him a glare.
Rose restrains from rolling her eyes. "Fine. Isaac showed up on our back porch, bleeding from a bullet wound. "
"You didn't know him, right?" I ask.
"Of course not. I'd never seen him before in all my life."
"You could hardly call it a first meeting," Isaac says.
"Well, it's certainly not something I'll ever forget," says Rose. "You scared me half to death."


"What were your first thoughts of each other? Love at first sight or “you’re freakishly annoying”?" I ask.
Rose smiles."Um. Well, I was scared stiff at first. Having a stranger bleeding on your back porch kind of sends your mind into a place incapable of thinking coherently. But..." She glances down at her hands clasped in her lap and I see her smile. "I thought Isaac quite handsome. And that he simply seemed too nice to be a criminal, so his gunshot wound couldn't possibly be the product of shady activities."

Isaac began suspiciously coughing at this point, so we paused our interview so he could have a drink of water.

"What about you, Isaac?" I ask. "What did you think of Rose?"
He sets down his glass. "Uh, I was grateful someone was saving my life."
"Nothing else?" I ask, waiting.
He catches my eye and gives me a look. "Well, I suppose I noticed how pretty she was. After I regained consciousness, that is."
I try not to laugh and turn to the next question. "What do you do that most annoys each other?"
Rose looks at Isaac.
He begins to laugh. "Oh no, here it comes."
"Isaac has a penchant for cigarettes," Rose says, her eyes narrowed. "And I'm trying my best to change that."
He frowned. "At least I don't drown my coffee with sugar."
"I don't drown it! But black coffee is so bitter."
Isaac leans forward earnestly. "Pure black coffee is heaven on earth, Rose! Sugar ruins it."
Rose frowns. "Oh really, well—"
"Not to mention, you don't always finish your coffee." Isaac folds his arms.
"If it's cold and there's only a little left then—"
"Wasting coffee is a sin, Rose."
Rose opens her mouth, but I cut her off. "Well, guys, let's draw it mild. No need to fight online."
Rose looks at me. "What's online?"
I frown as I type on my laptop. "Never mind, it's not important." 

coffee, tea, and vintage image:

"Are you personalities opposite or similar?" I ask.
Isaac snorts.
Rose gives him a glare. "We're very different."
"If we were temperatures I would be hot and she would be cold," Isaac says.
She frowns. "Why would I be cold? You know I hate winter."
"You don't hate winter," Isaac says.
I hold up a hand. "Guys. Please. Don't argue."
Isaac smiles. "Fine. Rose, you can be hot. I'll be cold."
She grudgingly nods.
I look at them. "Why don't you explain your differences a little more?" I hesitate. "Without arguing."
Rose smiles sheepishly. "Well, I live by the rules."
"She lives by her sense of obligation." Isaac supplies.
Rose nods slowly. "Yes...I feel responsible for my family and for their welfare. I guess I can be a little controlling at times."
"Not controlling," Isaac says, watching her gently. "You just....care too much."
She swats at him but he catches her hand and holds it. They smile at each other.

"Ahem." I reach out and pull their hands apart. "For real, guys. Don't get all mushy during the interview, please."
Isaac rolls his eyes and Rose blushes, but I see them sneak glances at each other, a smile on each of their faces.
"Isaac, what about you?"
He looks up. "Hmm?
"How are you different from Rose?" I raise my brows and look at him expectantly.
He spreads his hands wide and grins. "I prize my freedom. I hate rules, commitment, responsibility....I just want to roam the world the way I want, you know?" He hesitates and glances at Rose. "But...I'm starting to see that may not be wise...forever."

I was starting to understand—at least, I thought I did. He must have been an orphan, or perhaps his family died in some tragic accident, leaving him bitter and callous. “Don’t you have anything?” I asked softly.
He snorted. “The only thing I have is my freedom. And that’s how I intend to keep it. Signing up would be throwing it away.”
“But you’d be protecting it. Your freedom, I mean. The freedom of America.”
He grinned. “‘The Freedom of America.’ You sound like a piece of propaganda.”
My sympathy was sizzled away by the flare of my anger. “My brother is out there right now, defending that freedom! The freedom you claim to love.” I stood. “And yet you let others do the work.”
“Are you calling me a coward?” he asked, eyes flashing.
“I certainly aren’t astounded by your courage,” I spat. 
~Rose and Isaac

"How would your lives be different without each other?"

Isaac begins to open his mouth, but I speak quickly. "Don't answer this."
"Spoilers. You know. We can't give away secrets."
"It's not really a secret." Isaac looks frustrated.
I turn away and shuffle some pages. "We're still not going to talk about it. Next question."
"They can kind of figure it out considering what we were just talking about," Rose whispers.
"Hey!" I reach for the recording machine and snap it off before either of them can say anymore.
*At this time I had a long, private discussion with my characters about the difficulties of being an author and how hard it is to decide what to share with the public and what to keep secret so their reading experience won't be tainted by prior knowledge of events in the novel. Rose and Isaac apologize for being so insensitive and promised them wouldn't do it again. They're going to try harder to respect my wishes. No, I didn't threaten them with an unhappy ending.  I think they understood. At this time, I switched the recorder back on.*

I sigh and crack my knuckles. "Well. Where were we?" I scan my list. "Oh. Okay. Are you ever embarrassed of each other?"

Rose lifts a shoulder. "Not really."
Isaac's gaze is roaming the room as if he's thinking about the question, but I realize it's simply boredom so we move on.

"Does anyone disapprove of your relationship?" I look up and see Isaac jerk to attention.
Rose bites her lip and laughs. "My Daddy."
Isaac rubs the back of his neck and looks around the room as if Mr. Aldrich would pop out of the corner. "He scares me..."
"He's coming to like you," Rose says sympathetically. "He just wants to protect me, that's all."
Isaac frowns. "Yeah, but Natalie left off in the middle of writing out a really crucial conversation I was having with him. I'm not going to be able to sleep until I know how that turns out."
"You're nervous?" Rose asks.
"Heck yeah. I sweat thinking about it."
I try to hide my laugh. "Okay, here's another snippet."


Isaac was listening to Grandpa politely, amusedly even, but not in a ridiculing way. He glanced our way and froze. The warmth in his expression was quickly masked. Distrust and apprehension showed in his eyes. 
His reaction was, for once, something that didn’t surprise me. Most boys and young men ran for cover when they saw my father. I sometimes attributed my single-ness to my Daddy. At 6-foot-three and arms like a lumberjack, my father would scare any prospective suitors within a fifteen mile distance.

Not that there were many prospective suitors where we lived. But still. I loved my father, but he really needed to learn how to dial down the intimidating father glare. ~Rose and Isaac


"Do you see your relationship as long-term/leading to marriage?"

Rose sneaks a glance at Isaac. He's shifting uncomfortably. 
Noting their hesitance, I tell them. "Don't answer this one. I'll answer it for you later."
(Note to readers. Rose definitely dreams of marriage with Isaac. Isaac didn't at first, but he's coming around. ;))


He entwined his fingers into my hand. “I never…” He shifted in his chair, studying our clasped hands with a frown. “I never thought I’d ever meet someone I’d consider giving up everything for.”
I held my breath. What was he saying?
A smile tugged at his mouth and he glanced up. “But I think I want to.”
“Want to what?”
He leaned close, whispering into my hair, “Give up everything for you.”
I let out a shuddering breath. “Is that why you didn’t say it?”
“Yeah.” His murmur held a note of regret. “I wasn’t meaning to hurt you, Rose, I swear. You just…” He pulled back and fingered a curl of my hair. “Caught me off guard. I never expected you to put into words what I was thinking all night.”
My eyes questioned him.
He chuckled. “I didn’t sleep at all.”
“You were sleeping when I came downstairs.” My eyes narrowed.
He grinned. “Well, maybe I dozed. Just a little.” After a moment, he stood and ran a hand through his hair as he began to pace. “Look, I’ve lived my whole life on the rails. Free. Just me. I’ve been in charge of my own life, could do what I wanted, when I wanted. I answered to no one.” He glanced down. “And I liked it. I still...love it.” Shoulders slumping, he turned back and sat on the chair next to me, arms propped on the back. “But I’ve found something I love more.” 
The look in his eyes was so sincere, so gentle, so caring. He really, truly loved me...and was willing to give up his freedom for me. ~Rose and Isaac

collage copyright: me :P
"If you could plan the “perfect outing” together, where would you go?"
"Travel out west," Isaac says just as Rose says,
"Go for a walk in the woods."
They look at each other. 
Isaac shrugs. "That too."
Winter Pasture:

I put away the list. "Well, guys, that's it! Thank you so much for doing this with me. I hope I haven't taken away too much of your time."
Isaac's brows rise. "No, it's fine. It was good. It took my mind off of that conversation." 
"It's not like we have much to do right now," Rose says wryly. "It's the middle of winter."
I look at Isaac sympathetically. "I'm sorry. I'll try to finish that conversation soon."
Isaac nods. "That'd be great."
I bid my characters farewell—for now—and turn off the tape recorder. Then I sit down to start typing it all up as a blog post.
And here I am, all done. :) Thank you for reading, anyone and everyone who stuck through the whole thing! This post became much longer than I first envisioned. (I feel like I say that everytime.)
Happy early Valentine's Day! 
Do you have any romantic couples in your own stories?