Looking for a book to give that special someone this Christmas? Do they enjoy fantasy, magic, adventure, romance, or Lord of the Rings? Give them The Sixth Power, available in ebooks on Amazon
Looking for a book to give that special someone this Christmas? Do they enjoy fantasy, magic, adventure, romance, or Lord of the Rings? Give them The Sixth Power, available in ebooks on Amazon
acting, addiction, Alixis Murphy, art, Bo Corrigan, Christian fiction, clean romance, creativity, danger, Devin Bressard, drug addiction, Eileen, finding purpose in life, forgiveness, God's love, grace, Grace Evangeline, helping others, Jeffrey, Kristen Heitzmann, Love, mobs, modern romance, music, New York City, plays, romance, romantic suspense, the homeless, Told You So, Told You Twice, true love, weddings, women's fiction, writing
Told you Twice – Book Review – by Kristen Heitzmann: Alexis (Exie) Murphy is engaged to the ‘perfect’ man and looks forward to a Grace Evangeline wedding and a happily-ever-after life. She’s willing to give up her talents and the essence of who she is in order to have the stability she craves and to make Jeffrey happy. Then she meets Bo.
Bo Corrigan is a talented New York stage actor and model. No woman can resist him, and his playboy lifestyle and gambling are the stuff of legends. But all that is the persona he wants others to see. When he meets Exie, he is shaken to the core, for she sees the real man beneath the role, and she senses the tragedy, sorrow, and guilt that drive him in his brilliant performances. Bo convinces Exie that they need to explore the connection between them, and so Exie puts her engagement on hold and starts to get to know this complicated man. Unlike Jeffrey, Bo encourages her to pursue her many talents, and Exie’s extraordinary ability as an artist and musician begin to unfold. Then Bo’s past catches up with him, and dangerous forces threaten to destroy their fragile beginning.
I loved this book! I’ve read all of Kristen Heitzmann’s books, and it is an understatement to say she has a gift for character development. The people in this story are deep and complicated, with good qualities opposing their faults, weaknesses, and messy lives. They are searching for happiness and love, but they don’t know how to achieve it. I loved Exie’s goodness and her positive outlook on life, and I ached for her. She doesn’t see that Jeffrey will snuff out the creative flame within her, and that eventually she will be an empty shell. As an artist, I enjoyed her exploration of art and the overwhelming need to create what is within one’s soul. As Bo’s story unfolded, I mourned for his troubles and the tortured person within who needs to be loved and to find a purpose in life. I also really enjoyed the continued story of Grace Evangeline and Devin Bressard, who are now married and raising their little girl. Devin is over protective of his cousin, Exie – and who can blame him? Grace worries about everything, and their amazing verbal sparring from Told You So continues. In the background is Eileen, their wealthy friend who plays parent to them — matchmaking, protecting, and loving, even when her own health is in jeopardy.
This book also takes a compassionate look at those who are homeless and struggle with mental illness and drug addiction, and the heroes who reach out to them. Kristen Heitzmann proves that a story can be gritty, real and superbly moving without including a lot of swearing and graphic sex. She has written a beautiful, complicated book that touched me deeply. I recommend it to everyone. Five Stars!
Book Review: Told You So, by Kristen Heitzmann. Women’s fiction, Romance.
Grace Evangeline is a young, popular romance author who dreams of seeing one of her novels adapted for Broadway. So she meets with Devin Bressard, a successful playwright who writes literary, pessimistic plays. When he insults her writing, she throws her sweet tea in his face and vows to make his life miserable.
But then they are commissioned to write a play together, and the sparks begin to fly as they trade insults and slash with their verbal swords. Neither of them can deny the growing attraction between them, but the two could not be more different. Grace is optimistic, dresses in bright colors, wears high heels and perfume, and has a kind word for everyone. She sees herself as a positive role model for girls who dream of a princess wedding and a ‘happily ever after’ with their Mr. Right. She always seems to attract trouble, from elevators failing to stalkers. Devin, on the other hand, lives a quiet life, visits his ailing father and observes the failings of humanity from his New York apartment window. Abandoned as a baby by his mother, he is bitter against all women and sneers at the idea of true love. But when the two start to collaborate, they are both forced to expand their views, and something amazing begins to happen.
This is an awesome book. The dialogue is so witty and the characters are so well drawn that I could see and hear them in my head. I laughed and cried with Grace and Devin as they fought their attraction and struggled through all the challenges that came their way. The setting in New York is captured perfectly, with all the things that make New York so unique and unforgettable. The story explores the themes of growing, forgiving, and learning from your past. I loved the happy ending. I can see this book becoming a play or a movie. Kristen Heitzmann has done it again with this completely new story, Told You So. It definitely earns five stars.
abuse, book review, car accident, Christian fiction, clean romance, communication, cook, cooking, family, friends, Georgia Tate, healing, Jace Lowe, Kisses in the Rain, Krista Lynne Jensen, LDS fiction, Love, loyalty, memories, memory loss, recipes, remembering, restaurant, romance, seafood, Seattle, true love, trust, women's fiction, YA
Book Review: Kisses in the Rain, by Krista Lynne Jensen:
After a car accident claims her fiancé and her most recent memories, Georgie Tate moves in with her aunts, who live on a small island outside Seattle. She begins to reshape her life as she struggles with the knowledge that something bad happened, and she can’t trust a man ever again. When she finds work at a local seafood restaurant, she meets the grumpy cook, Jace Lowe, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. Both of them are wounded, angry, and confused. But they can’t deny the attraction between them either, and they gradually form a friendship as they work on a project together. Georgie must remember what happened with her abusive fiancé and work through her issues, and Jace must resolve his pain and family issues before they can find the courage to love again.
I loved this book! The imagery is so vivid and stunning that it made me want to visit the island and walk on the shore, and eat the foods they cooked. I love the way their lives and hearts are gradually revealed — two people who are real and down to earth, who struggle with their problems, yet find positive ways to overcome them. They are both good people of faith, but their religion is part of their background, and the book doesn’t preach. Georgie is dealing with the effects of abuse, and her healing is insightful and helpful to the reader. The romance between Jace and Georgie is sweet and clean. I closed this book with a smile, and then I went back and read the whole thing again. Thanks, Krista, for a beautiful story!
beautiful dress, Cate Blanchett, cherish, Cinderella, courage, dance, dancing, Disney, Ever After, fairy godmother, fairy tales, girls, grief, Helena Bonham Carter, inner beauty, kindness, Lily James, Love, magic, mice, movie, movie review, prince, Prince Charming, princess, pumpkins, Richard Madden, romance, sacrifice, the Ball, true love, what women want
A few nights ago, we went to see Cinderella. What a beautiful movie! The settings and costumes were stunning, rich with color and detail. The acting was good, and I absolutely loved the music. Though Ever After (1998) remains my favorite retelling, I enjoyed this version, even if the prince (Richard Madden) was a little empty-headed. The step-mother (Cate Blanchett) may not have been wicked enough, but they probably didn’t want to give young children nightmares. (I wouldn’t have wanted to live with her!) The mice (who don’t sing or talk) were a lot of fun. Best of all, in spite of her grief caused by losing everyone she loves, and the shame and aggravation of working for people who despise and mistreat her, Ella (played by the gorgeous Lily James) is true to herself. Her inner beauty shines. She lives her mother’s last admonition, to be courageous and kind, and in the end, this wins her the prince’s heart and a kingdom (with a little help from her ditzy fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter)).
What is it about this old fairy tale that causes such romantic sighing at the end? There are so many things that are irritating and improbable about the story and characters. And yet, little girls walk out of that movie spinning a pirouette and saying, “Dance with me, my prince. Oh, I’ve lost my shoe.” Older women walk out trying to disguise the fact that they have been crying. The difference between hope and lost dreams? Every girl, no matter how old she is on the outside, still holds that secret hope in her heart that there is someone out there who will recognize her intrinsic worth and inner beauty, and who will treat her with kindness and tenderness. He doesn’t have to own a kingdom or ride a white horse. He just has to have the courage to see beyond the outer trappings and treat her like a princess. In return she will give him everything — her heart, her body, a lifetime of service and slogging through every trial imaginable, just for that kind deed or word, that gentle look, or that loving touch that expresses how much he cherishes her. Ah, true love. Sigh. (And I know I’m writing from the princess’s point of view – but don’t princes also need to know they are loved? It would be interesting to write the fairy tale from the prince’s eyes.) In the end, the fairy godmother is right. Great things can happen when you combine courage and kindness, and add a little magic.
abuse, book review, Catherine Thorndale, clean romance, communication, Crispin, England, gentleman, honesty, humor, kindness, kissing, lady, Lord Cavratt, marriage, Regency Romance, romance, Sarah M Eden, true love
Crispin, Lord Cavratt doesn’t believe in true love. It seems that every young woman and her mother pursuing him is after his money and title, and he has become jaded. While he walks in the garden with one of those grasping females, she goads him, saying that he probably doesn’t even know how to kiss. Crispin turns to a woman that he assumes to be a servant (because of her shabby attire), apologizes, and then thoroughly kisses her. To his dismay she turns out to be a lady of birth, the niece of an angry gentleman who claims that Crispin has compromised her and demands that he marry her at once. So Crispin is forced to marry Catherine Thorndale. He assures her that he will get the marriage annulled as soon as possible. Meanwhile, she will live in his house and be tutored by his sister on how to be refined and survive Society. Catherine is only too glad to escape the clutches of her cruel uncle and wishes that she could stay with Crispin forever. After all, he is kind and gentle. Besides, an annulment would leave her reputation in tatters. As her beauty, courage, and sense of humor is slowly revealed, Crispin begins to fall in love with Catherine, but he doesn’t recognize what he is feeling as the real thing. He assumes Catherine doesn’t love him. Because of her uncle’s abuse, Catherine cannot trust Crispin enough to reveal her true feelings for him, and so the two of them are trapped behind their inability to talk honestly with each other. Catherine’s uncle, who is after her inheritance, keeps showing up, demanding that she leave with him. His threats become increasingly violent, and it takes Catherine being in mortal danger before the two will declare their love for each other.
I really enjoyed this Regency Romance by Sarah M. Eden. In fact, I read it twice. So if it’s raining where you live (as it is here), grab a blanket, curl up in front of the fire, and get ready for a sweet romance that leaves you sighing at the end.
1805, Adam Boyce, Beauty and the Beast, book review, Duke of Kielder, England, fairy tales, Greek myths, Hades, Harry Windover, marriage, Northumberland, Persephone, Persephone Lancaster, persistence, Regency Romance, romance, Sarah M Eden, Seeking Persephone, true love, women's fiction, YA
Seeking Persephone, by Sarah M. Eden, is a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ story, but it is also an interesting twist on the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. Set in the Regency England of 1805, the story builds within the confines of the English customs of that time. Persephone Lancaster receives a marriage proposal from Adam Boyce, Duke of Kielder, a man known for his enormous wealth, bad temper, and terrible facial scars. Though she fears what life with this stranger may be like, she knows that the large amount of money he offers for her would save her family from financial ruin and ensure that her sisters would find husbands. So she sets off to Northumberland, hoping for the best.
What she finds is a cold, forbidding castle surrounded by deep forest and savage wolf-dogs, and a husband who mirrors his surroundings. Adam has been scarred both physically and emotionally, and he expects nothing from this marriage of convenience. He is dismayed to find his wife is beautiful, kind, and cheerful. Persephone uses patience, kindness, and persistence as she strives to get through the armor Adam has built around his heart and find the real man within. As Adam begins to fall in love with her, he is terrified of these new, tender emotions, and he lashes out like a wounded lion. His repeated rejection hurts her, and Persephone spends a great deal of time crying in her garden. It will take great danger and the threat of losing her before the Duke will risk showing his true feelings. The surprising light-hearted element of the story is Harry Windover, who sees through Adam’s bluster and remains his loyal friend. Harry uses his wonderful sense of humor to ease the difficult situation, and help Adam and his bride to find each other.
I really enjoy books that are retellings of fairy tales and myths, especially those that delve into the psyche of the characters and make them real. I also really enjoyed the witty dialogue. I don’t think I could have had Persephone’s persistence, and for a while I wondered if Adam would ever open up. I hurt for them both. Seeking Persephone turned the original story of Hades and Persephone, which is brutal and sad, into a slowly growing romance where one sympathizes with Adam/Hades and hopes that the couple will be able to find true love together.
Thank you, Sarah, for a clean, well-written romance that both adults and young adults will enjoy. I look forward to reading your other books.
I recently read The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery. If you are familiar with the Anne of Green Gables novels, then you know how beautifully Lucy wrote. Her descriptions are scrumptious. Her characters are lovable, amusing, and very well-drawn. By the end of the story, the main character has become your life-long friend, and you are dying to go to the Canadian Maritimes and see the incredible beauty for yourself. This book is no exception.
Valancy Stirling is twenty-nine years old and has never been in love. Her whole life has been dominated by her overbearing mother, meddlesome aunt, and other numerous older relatives who live rigid, strict lives, but still feel the need to gossip and condemn their flighty neighbors. Poor Valancy’s life is boringly consistent and consistently boring as she tiptoes around, fearing to offend anyone, never saying anything about her true thoughts and feelings. Her only consolations are her daydreams of the wonderful Blue Castle, where someday she’ll live happily ever after with her handsome prince, and her precious books by naturalist John Foster, which she reads in secret.
Everything changes when Valancy gets a letter from her doctor telling her that she has a severe heart condition and isn’t expected to live more than a few months. Valancy spends an entire night thinking. “I’m poor — I’m a failure — and I’m near death… I’ve never had one wholly happy hour in my life — not one… I’ve just been a colourless nonentity.” (pg. 39)
She decides that no matter what, from now on she is going to say exactly what she thinks and do what she wants. She says, “I’ve been trying to please other people all my life and failed… After this I shall please myself. I shall never pretend anything again. I’ve breathed an atmosphere of fibs and pretences and evasions all my life. What a luxury it will be to tell the truth! I may not be able to do much that I want to do, but I won’t do another thing that I don’t want to do.” (pg. 46) The results are hilarious. Her family thinks she has gone mad, but Valancy steps out into the world and discovers joy, adventure, beauty, and even love as her greatest dreams come true.
This is one of the few books that Lucy wrote for adults. It is definitely going on my Favorite Book List!
Books, Bridge of Sighs, emperor claudius ii, family, Gifts, gondola, heart, Love, love story, miracle max, Movies, patrick cauvin, peace and harmony, romance, romantic, roses, satirical romantic comedy, Stephenie Meyer, story, storytelling, The Princess Bride, true love, Twilight, Valentine, Valentine's Day, Venice, william goldman
Happy Valentine’s Day! Some legends say that the original Valentine was a third century priest who lived in Rome, who was imprisoned and eventually killed when he refused to stop performing marriages (Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage for young men who were soldiers). Still others say that Valentine fell in love with a girl who visited him in prison, and he wrote her letters, signing them “from your Valentine.” Thus began the highly popular giving of valentines.
Realists claim that any two people can live together in peace and harmony if they’ll just practice enough kindness, patience, and understanding. They’re probably right, but something in the hearts of us romantic fools yearns deeply for True Love. Have you ever got to the end of a love story, and with a big grin on your face you sigh and say, “Ahh! Now that was a good story!”
One of my favorite love stories is the satirical romantic comedy, The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. It was produced as a movie in 1987 and became a classic favorite and is still highly quoted. (My kids have the entire movie memorized.) I love the part where Miracle Max asks the ‘mostly dead’ Westley, “Hey! Hello in there, what’s so important? Whatcha got here, that’s worth living for?” and Westley says, “ True…love..”
And then there’s the part where Westley tells his true love, “I told you I would always come for you. Why didn’t you wait for me?” Buttercup says, “Well… you were dead.” Westley says, “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” And Buttercup says, “I will never doubt again.”
Another one of my favorites is the 1979 movie A Little Romance, based on the novel E=mc2 Mon Amour by Patrick Cauvin. Two young teens meet in Paris and fall in love. Daniel, an intelligent but poor French boy, knows he has found his soul mate in Lauren, who is attending school in Paris, and who is from a wealthy, self-absorbed American family. The odds are definitely stacked against them. But then they befriend an old man named Julius (starring Lawrence Olivier) who tells Daniel and Lauren they should go to Venice and seal their love forever with a kiss beneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset. And so begins their adventure.
For this Valentine’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to my husband, who has been my one true love since we met in college. For 35 years he has shared my sorrows, endured the bad times, and rejoiced with me in the good times. He claims he is not romantic, but he is also the man who left a dozen red roses on my windshield the night I took my daughter and her friends to see Twilight. He is the man who changed his vacation plans and moved heaven and earth so we could be in Venice at sunset, and kiss in a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs. He’s also the man who endured a zombie romance movie just for me. Now that’s true love!
Happy Valentine’s Day! What are your favorite love stories?
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