Friday, December 29, 2017

The Jane Austen Fun Begins Anew | Get Ready for the Mansfield Park Read-Along!

Just a few more days until 2018 begins...and what better way to start the New Year than by reading a Jane Austen novel with friends? :) The featured book this time around is Mansfield Park.

Here are the read-along details...

  • We'll read 12 chapters per week over 4 weeks (for a total of 48 chapters).
  • Discussions will take place here on Wednesdays (the 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st).
  • You can start reading on the 3rd, or feel free to begin right away!
  • Use the hashtag #MansfieldReadAlong on Twitter to share in-the-moment thoughts and favorite quotes. 

Together we've read Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Emma, and Pride & Prejudice. It's been such a blast to discuss these books with you! Now I'm looking forward to diving into Mansfield Park with a lovely copy gifted to me by a sweet friend. Will you be reading a hard copy or an ebook?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Will You Celebrate Advent Next Year? | Review of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

About the Book

Most Christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet most of us spend little time preparing our hearts to celebrate Him. Why is this? Partly because we don't know how.

In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah Ciuciu leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week:

  • Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together
  • Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week's name of Jesus
  • Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects

This devotional can be used by readers in their own personal worship times or as a tool to engage in family worship during the busy holiday season. Either way, participants will gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is.

By focusing on the person and character of Jesus throughout the Advent season, readers will prepare their hearts so that when they admire the live nativity, sit in the candlelight service, or wake up on Christian morning, they can join the faithful who sing from the bottom of their hearts, "O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"

Be Prepared for Next Christmas!

My Rating


My Review

I enjoyed having a new Advent devotional to go through with my husband this year! The size, feel, and look of this book are lovely, perfect for keeping out in plain view throughout the holiday season. And I think it's a great concept, to daily go through the names of Jesus in preparation for celebrating His birth and who He is as our King and Savior.

As for the content, there are some good thoughts to ponder and creative (and fun!) ideas for families to act on what they've been learning together. I don't recall a whole lot of moments where something struck me in a powerful way...although the reading on "Jesus Is the Truth" has some really neat perspective to offer.

It's possible that reading the book aloud to someone else kept me from focusing and thinking as deeply as I ought to have done. Perhaps I would feel more impacted by the devotions if I read them on my own, or if I took more time to dwell amid the pages, look up all the suggested verses, and respond to the challenges. Still, there are important reminders in here, and this book does encourage daily thoughts of who God is.

The structure isn't my favorite... You have to be thinking and counting ahead to make sure you start the book on time to finish by Christmas. And while there are readings for each weekday, there aren't any for the weekends. However, if you choose to do the interactive candle lighting sections with your family, those can take place on Sundays, and the weekly activities can be done on Saturdays (or anytime during the week), as the author suggests in the introduction.

I have another Advent devotional that has daily readings for the whole month of December, and I believe I prefer that layout, especially if you're using the devotional on your own. But I think the layout for Unwrapping the Names of Jesus could be really fun for a family who's interacting with all the different components of the book.

All in all, this is a unique and meaningful take on Advent, and I appreciate that it points to the greatness and love of Jesus. The devotional is especially geared toward families and encourages participation. It's a book that will be nice to have on hand and perhaps read through again some future Christmas season!

*With thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

'Tis the Season of Stories: A Christmas Gift for Returning Clients and the Blogger Team

Hello, friends! I hope this Christmas season has been full of stories for you: ones you're reading, ones you're writing, and the one you're living. :)

If you've been writing a story, I'd love to assist you on the journey! I'm currently freelancing under my married name, offering both editing/critiquing and marketing services.

And here's my gift to you: If you're a returning client (someone I worked with under Editing Through the Seasons in 2012-2014) OR if you signed up as part of the team of bloggers who are willing to participate in future blog events (you can still sign up HERE!), I'm offering discounts...

Take 20% off your first marketing project (blog tour, cover reveal, or book description) and/or 10% off your first editing project (critique or copyedit).

I'm so grateful for such supportive friends, and I'd love to work with you again or in new ways! And as the New Year approaches, this is the perfect time to move another step forward with your publishing goal. Let's take that step together!

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends!

Just for fun: I've been taking lots of pics of myself using my camera's timer feature as I've been updating my website. Here are some bloopers... ;)

Sleeping? Meditating?

Eek! Too eager to check the photo, I suppose. ;) 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Snack-Size Reviews to Savor

Only one week to go until Christmas! I've been savoring some sweet Christmas short stories and novellas, and I wanted to share about them so you can enjoy a last-minute treat too. :)

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Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale by Amanda Dykes
Rating: Summer

All the rumors you might have heard are true...this is a lovely little tale! Only a few characters are featured, and yet the author weaves their lives into a braid of tender emotion, loss, and hope. The setting is unique and described beautifully, definitely perfect for Christmas Eve dreams. And I love the inspiration behind it all: the desire to spread the deepest love through bicycles. It has my own wheels spinning, making me want to touch lives in unique ways with what I have right now.

Wrapped in Red by Meghan M. Gorecki
Rating: Spring

Wrapped in Red is all about family, hope, and healing. It's a fun contemporary novella, but not without its difficult parts, including a prickly heroine with a wounded heart that longs to love again. I enjoyed the sweet side of Christmas in the city, and the ending is thought-provoking and inspiring. 

Rating: Spring/Summer

This modern-day reimagining of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is clever, funny, and entertaining. How Carol ends up being whisked away to face her past, understand her present, and see the direction of her future is quite clever. The "Ghost Hosts" have such funny and unique personalities! (The scenes they bring to life keep the reader eager to turn pages.) And yes, this story all about Christmas parties is as entertaining as one would hope it to be—while conveying a heartfelt message and culminating in a charming ending.

*With thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book.*

What Dreams May Come by Alana Terry
Rating: Spring

Knowing this has its main basis in reality makes the romance extra sweet! The story unfolds slowly, taking its time to share how the two main characters ended up in such a tragic situation, far apart and unable to see how anything could change. I like how the tension feels authentic and the heroine's love and loyalty are so strong. This is a bittersweet but inspiring tale about trusting God with the dreams He gives and opening your heart to hope again.

How Gretchen Stole Christmas by Tracy Joy Jones
Rating: Spring/Summer

Fun and full of heart! How Gretchen Stole Christmas starts out with a young woman eager to surprise her family for Christmas...but quickly takes a surprising turn that brings an old flame into the picture. I really enjoyed reading about Gretchen's big family and seeing how she reacts to a crazy situation. The ending is perfect for a Christmas romance, and I love the way the heroine's eyes are opened.

*You can get this e-novella for FREE this month (December 2017) when you subscribe to the author's newsletter!*


Seaglass by Kara Swanson
Rating: Spring/Summer

This isn't a Christmas read, but it is another freebie that is oh-so-lovely! A bit of fantasy churns through the pages of this simple little story, but the message shimmers bright for real-world readers. I love the imagery and what the two main characters come to see about living life.

Thanks to Juju of Tales of Whimsy for the inspiration regarding mini reviews!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

More Blog Tours, Anyone?

For all my fellow book bloggers out there, I'm gathering a list of people who might be interested in participating in future blog tours and cover reveals. :)

I recently shared about my return to freelance editing in this post, and it's my hope to return to more marketing as well. But I need your help!

No commitment is required; I simply need to know if you'd be interested in receiving emails from me when blog-event opportunities arise. :)

Here's a sampling of the type of books I've hosted blog tours for in the past:
If you like to review and/or feature books with heart on your blog, I would love to have you join the team by filling out the form below! And if you're an author looking for someone to help share your book with the blogging community, I'd be delighted to work with you.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gorgeous Historical Fiction Cover Reveal | Amongst the Roses by Meghan M. Gorecki

Happy Tuesday, friends! Lots of exciting bookish things going on today. :) Earlier I shared my top 10 books of the year in this post. And now I get to tell you about a dear blogging friend's upcoming release—and share the pretty-as-a-peach cover that goes with it!

* * *

Book 1 in The Keystone Legacy Series by Meghan M. Gorecki 

Releases April 12, 2018 

The War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?

Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?

The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together.

My Cover Thoughts

Isn't this cover absolutely lovely?? I adore the color scheme and the whole layout. The writing across the backdrop, the font of the title, and the beautiful dress speak to the historical nature of the story. And the scenery is just gorgeous, with the trees and roses golden in the light. There's a sense of expectation and hope in the bright colors, although the woman's expression suggests sorrow and hardship along the way. It's a perfect cover for the genre, and definitely one that draws me in! :)

About the Author 

Meghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction about what God can make beautiful from the ashes of history, and hearts. A lover and avid studier of people, times gone by, and fiction, she has been writing since childhood and now houses her books under Northern Belle Publishing. Coffee and red lipstick color her days as a redhead from a box, alongside her treasured tribe of family and friends in her beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Connect with her on social media and at her blog/website at:

Northern Belle Publishing 

P.S. Too impatient to wait till April? Snag Meghan's Christmas novella, Wrapped in Red, today for just 99 cents!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2017

There are still a few weeks left in 2017, and there's a good chance I could discover another favorite between now and then... But given today's topic from The Broke and the Bookish, and assuming many other bloggers will be sharing their favorites today too, I'm making a list that's worth checking twice. ;)

I confess I didn't read a ton of books this year; I believe it was only a little over 20 or so. But I experienced a lot of favorites in my own life, like getting married and moving to a beautiful new place. So, no regrets! But of the books I read, here are some I quite enjoyed...

Top Five Fiction

#5 Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

It was hard to narrow down the fiction list. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay and Yes, Carol...It's Christmas! by Cindy Vincent were worthy contenders (and ones I recommend!). But given my love for the historical romance genre (especially fun Westerns by Karen Witemeyer), I'm including this one. :) Whether it was my life at the time or the fact I was reading this on my Kindle, it was slow going at the beginning, but the ending sure had me hooked, and there were lots of things to love about this story. You can read my full review HERE.

#4 The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

I liked the style and structure of this story, with characters from past and present. It was a fun read, especially a few months before my own wedding. :) 

#3 Illusionary by Desiree Williams

This was an engaging contemporary/fantasy read, and I especially loved the ending! A strong finish has a big bearing on how you feel about a book, don't you think? You can read my full review HERE.

#2 Ten Thousand Thorns by Suzannah Rowntree

This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is SO good. The setting and style make it unique, and the characters and dialogue make it meaningful. You can read my full review HERE.

#1 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I suppose this an obvious choice. :) Pride and Prejudice just might be my favorite Jane Austen tale so far! It was great to read this book for the first time with a few friends for our read-along this October. The characters, their growth, and the plot all made this a delightful read. It's lighthearted, but also has a lovely depth. 

Top Five Nonfiction 

#5 Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Littell Greco

I read several marriage books this year, and this one has some great points. I think a lot of what I've read tends to blend together...but from my review (which you can read HERE), I know I found some helpful thoughts in this book. :) 

#4 Wait and See by Wendy Pope

More than anything, I appreciated how this book provided a way to record my waiting journey. I liked the prompts and the journaling space, and the writing itself was simple but engaging. 

#3 Cherish by Gary Thomas

When I don't review a book (and sometimes even when I do!), it's a little tricky to remember months later what you specifically liked about it. I believe I found a lot of great food for thought in this one (I tend to use that phrase a lot... *self-conscious grin*), and I liked the theme of it. As with Making Marriage Beautiful, I gave this book 5 stars. :) 

#2 Letters to My Daughters by Barbara Rainey

Another marriage book! ;) What makes this one extra special (besides the fact that it was a sweet gift from a dear friend on my wedding day ♥) is the artistic angle. I like the letter format, and I love the creativity in comparing different aspects of marriage to different artistic pursuits. 

#1 Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson

Is it funny or fitting to give a book on humility the #1 spot? ;) I just finished this one, and I'm glad I read it in time to include it on this list! Humble Roots is a beautiful exploration of humility and how it can affect every area of your life. I highly recommend it! You can read my full review HERE.

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While I didn't read a lot this year, I did read some really great books. Of course, I have many more on my TBR, and who knows how many of those could have ended up on this year's favorites list? It's my hope to read a lot more of the books I already own next year! I have no doubt there are some true gems on my real and virtual shelves waiting to be discovered. :)

What have been your favorites of 2017? 
What books are you hoping to get to in the New Year? 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Poignant Perspective Drawn from the Land | Review of Humble Roots

About the Book

Feeling worn thin? Come find rest.

Nestled in the simple rhythms of rural life, taking cues from forsythia, milkweed, and wild blackberries, Hannah Anderson meditates on the pursuit of peace and its natural companion, humility.

Part theology of incarnation, part stroll through fields and forest, Humble Roots reveals how cultivating humility—not scheduling or increased productivity—leads to true peace. By remembering who you are and Who you aren't, you can discover afresh your need for God and the rest that comes from belonging to Him.

So come. Consider the lilies of the field, and learn humility from Christ Himself.

Available Now

My Rating


My Review

Humility is a theme that intrigues me, challenges me, and surprises me. Given that the word "humility" is even in my blog title, it's probably little wonder that I requested this book for review. And friends, I wasn't disappointed in the least.

Humble Roots covers a wide landscape of human experiences, everything from taking care of our bodies to tending our talents and facing the reality of death. I loved the imagery of this book and how it reminds the reader in a gentle but honest-to-goodness way that we were formed from dust, and it's only the gracious breath of God within us that gives us this amazing, beautiful gift called life.

Some chapters impacted me more than others, but throughout this book there is a whole garden full of food for thought. I loved that some of the topics and discussions fed into real-life conversations with my husband. I also loved that the writing style felt down to earth, broad and meaningful in scope but still authentic and personal. I think my favorite chapters are "Returning to Our Roots" and the four chapters in Part Three.

This book is one of my favorites of the year, and one I could see myself rereading or at least referring to again. It's poignant, and it offers perspective that can touch your soul and help you understand how Jesus embodied humility—and how He wants to lead you along the humble dirt path. As Hannah Anderson reminds us, there is rest and truth and hope to be found in seeing ourselves as we really are and trusting God for all He is.

*With thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: The Winter TBR

I love that some of my blogging friends participate in the weekly "Top Ten Tuesday" meme, which encourages me to participate. Once in a while I see others posting about a topic that catches my eye, and I have to share my own list. :) 

This week's theme is "Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR." (You can read the original post or link up your own post HERE.)

On My Shelf (or Desk, or Nightstand):

#1 The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

I requested this one for review from Bethany House Publishers. The premise, the cover, and the mood of this story spoke to me, and I'm looking forward to reading it! It promises to be sweet and thoughtful. 

#2 Yes, Carol...It's Christmas! by Cindy Vincent

I greatly enjoy novellas and Cindy's work! I've had the pleasure of editing a few of her stories, but this one is brand new to me. It sounds like a really fun story to get me in the Christmas mood...even more so than I already am. ;)

#3 East by Edith Pattou

I'm quite ashamed I haven't read this one yet. I was given a copy by a dear friend, and I should have read it many months ago! So this is definitely high on my list to finally finish this winter, and judging by the premise and setting of the story, it's the perfect season to savor it. :) 

#4 What Light by Jay Asher

I believe I bought this one with a gift card last winter, and it's definitely the time of year to actually read it! The description, the cover, the recommendations from friends...yep, this promises to be a sweet treat for the holidays. :)

#5 The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter

It's these wintery covers that beg me to read them now, haha. ;) Plus, in this case, I do love me an engaging Denise Hunter story! This one sounds like cheery chaos, and I'm hoping I'll get to it in the next couple of months.

On My Kindle:

#6 The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Everyone seems really excited about this series, so of course I jumped on the bandwagon and requested a review copy from NetGalley. So, the plan is to read it before its February release. There are a lot of great authors contributing to the series, and I'm happy for the chance to read the first book. :) 

#7 Wrapped in Red by Meghan M. Gorecki

I recently joined dear friend Meghan's Belles & Roses Street Team, and I'm excited for all she has planned for 2018! In the meantime, this sweet little book has been sitting on my Kindle too long, and I ought to read it ASAP. Again, perfect time of year to do so!

#8 Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale by Amanda Dykes

Yet another Christmas novella that's sitting on my Kindle, deserving to be read! Based on ratings and reviews, I have no doubt this will be a lovely tale, indeed.

#9 What Dreams May Come by Alana Terry

All these gorgeous wintery covers!! Seriously, so pretty. :) And this book, while fiction, is based off the author's own love story. It sounds meaningful and intriguing, and I hope I won't let it sit forever on my Kindle!

#10 A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

I recently won the second book in this series in a giveaway (woohoo!), and I know it is beyond time that I experience a Pepper Basham story. So I figure I should probably start with the first book before diving into the second. :) Bet it will be awesome!

* * *

There are lots of other books on my shelves (physical and virtual), and I hope these aren't the only books I read during the winter season. But these are certainly ones I'd like to read sooner rather than later! So tell me, friends, what books are on your TBR list? Have you read any of the above?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Beautiful Fairy Tale with Unique Style | Review of Ten Thousand Thorns

About the Book

Princess Morning Light meditates in a hidden temple surrounded by ten thousand thorns. Guardian of a long-lost sword skill, the princess is destined to wake after a hundred years to return justice to All-Under-Heaven.

Or so legend says.

As the Vastly Martial Emperor extends his brutal domination across the world, rebel leader Clouded Sky flees the capital for the safety of his martial sect at Wudang Mountain. Meanwhile, the renegade martial artist Iron Maiden seeks a hero to awaken Morning Light. As bounty hunters and imperial guards close in, Clouded Sky must determine who he can trust - and who may be planning to betray him.

An action-packed retelling of Sleeping Beauty in the style of a Chinese martial arts epic! Novella, approximately 39,000 words.

Releasing November 30th!

My Rating


My Review

This story is beautiful... Epic, yet sweet. Profound, yet fun. Challenging, yet comforting. Ten Thousand Thorns is a version of Sleeping Beauty that has a life, message, and style all its own. I loved it!

I will say that the unique style of this book could possibly make it slightly difficult to follow at times. A lot of words are capitalized, and the names of techniques/stances/titles are often long and different (but also clever!). Please don't let that deter you, though, because this story has so much to offer—and once you get used to the wording and dialogue, it's engaging.

The main characters are so fascinating. Clouded Sky is relatable in his recognition of how little he knows and how incapable he feels in fighting evil and standing up for what is truly right. And Iron Maiden is the mysterious martial artist with a different approach to combat and thoughts that make both Clouded Sky and the reader ponder their own motivation, drive, and heart.

Ten Thousand Thorns is populated with other intriguing characters, littered with twists and challenges, and permeated with an underlying sense of honor and warmth. I love fairy tales, especially new retellings that leave me with something more. This story reminded me that we must make important choices in our life, and we need to make them with courage and a reliance on a strength beyond our own—the strength God offers us. As Iron Maiden says,

The martial skill is important, but so is the ocean-embracing vision and the reliance on Heaven.

I've read a couple other novellas by Suzannah Rowntree, but this is my favorite so far. I look forward to reading more of her work, and I definitely recommend this novella that packs a powerful punch!

*With thanks to the author for providing me with an e-ARC of the book.*

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Fun and Reflective Journey | Review of The Austen Escape

About the Book

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

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

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

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

Available Now!

My Rating


My Review

This was one of those reads where I succumbed to "peer pressure" a good way. :) Online friends were planning a read-along, fellow bloggers seemed so excited about this release, and I wanted to join in the fun. Plus, I knew from reading more by this author that she is talented in creating characters with flaws, heart, and a need to dig deep within life's struggles.

The Austen Escape has such a great cast of characters. It's not that I always approved of their choices or behavior, but that I felt drawn into their world. I think Mary, the heroine, is quite fascinating with her career in a tech-heavy sphere but having buried passions for music and Jane Austen's books. And her relationships are quite complicated, as, like many of us, she doesn't always say what should be said or see what ought to be seen. Still, she cares and has the capacity to change, which makes her relatable all the same.

I loved the older couple who are part of the English "escape." Helene and her husband are dears, and I adore how their love for each other is so palpable. They each want the other to be happy and understood, and their interactions with the rest of the group are really sweet.

As for the main "escape," it's fun to get some Austenland vibes, but with a very different sort of tone. Things are a little more somber, a little more reflective, in Mary's experience at Braithwaite, although there are lighthearted moments. I enjoyed the descriptions of the place—inside the house and on the grounds—and I liked how things take a turn when more characters are added to the mix.

As for the Jane Austen references, I confess they're both familiar and yet have a different Reay-flair. There are some moments that made me happy with what they meant, and others where it felt like an inside joke I wouldn't understand. Perhaps that's more my problem, as I still have a lot of Austen lingo and depth to learn. :) But I think it does make the story a bit less accessible, feeling a little more like it's intended for others who know every line and every character of Austen's stories.

I also feel a bit torn about the ending...wanting more, and yet not. It's both neatly wrapped up, and yet a bit rushed, perhaps? Questions are answered, and yet I'd love just a bit more time and space for resolution regarding the relational side of things. (Not saying the book should be longer, necessarily, as the length is great!) Still, it's a satisfying and challenging ending, and I like that it brings the story full circle.

The Austen Escape provides what it's title offers, but like all escapes, there's a time when you should go home and face the choices that affect everyday life. This novel allows both the characters and the reader to enjoy the journey...and the return.

*With thanks to TNZ Fiction and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of the book.*

Other Katherine Reay Books I've Reviewed...
Lizzy & Jane

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Vintage Jane Austen Blog Tour | Review + Giveaway!

Welcome to the Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event! I'm excited to share about this neat series with a clever premise and inspiration from an author we all know and love. ♥ (Especially following after our most recent Jane Austen read-along!)

In this post you'll learn all about the series, including the descriptions for each book. You'll also find an event schedule, a fun Amazon giveaway, and my review of Bellevere House. Let's open the door and stroll right in...

* * *

What would it be like to see Elizabeth Bennet in 1930s clothes? What if Emma Woodhouse was the daughter of a car dealership owner? What if Marianne Dashwood was seeking to become a movie star in the golden age of film?

The Vintage Jane Austen series explores the world of Jane Austen, set in 1930s America. Five authors took on Jane Austen’s five most popular novels and retold them set in the Depression era, remaining faithful to the original plots. As an extra bonus to the series, there is a collection of short stories that were inspired by Jane Austen. Which of these books do you most want to read?

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma): The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility): Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (Mansfield Park): It's March 1937, and Faye Powell couldn't be happier. After moving to live with her uncle, a wealthy banker, she's fallen into the swing of life with his exuberant children—including Ed. The one she'll never admit she's in love with. But she hadn't reckoned on the swanky Carters getting mixed up in that vow. Ed seems to be falling for charming, sweet Helene Carter. And when Faye's cousin BeBe trusts her with a secret about Horace Carter, Faye is in over her head. Will she betray the confidence BeBe's given her? Will she lose Ed to Helene? The days at Bellevere House are crowded with surprises and only time will tell how God plans to unravel Faye and Ed's hearts.

Perception by Emily Benedict (Persuasion): Upstate New York, 1930. Thirteen years ago, Abbey Evans was persuaded to break off her engagement to a penniless soldier headed to the front lines of the Great War. A daughter of one of America’s wealthiest families could never be allowed to marry so far beneath herself. But Black Tuesday changed everything. With her family's prominence now little more than a facade, Abbey faces the loss of her childhood home. As if that weren’t enough, the only man she ever loved has returned after making his fortune—and he wants nothing to do with the young woman he courted before the war. With the past forever out of reach, the time has come for Abbey to decide her own fate, before it is too late…

Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones (Pride and Prejudice): Coming soon… A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in 1930s Arizona.

Second Impressions: Jane Austen's stories have inspired writers for generations. In this collection, they inspire fiction across the genres! From the English Regency to the American 1950s, in Houston or a space freighter, fairy-tale land or a retirement center...Austen's timeless characters come to life again.

* * *

Event Schedule
Visit these blogs to find interviews, book reviews, and much more

November 5
Review of Emmeline - Once Upon the Ordinary
Review of Bellevere House - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Series Spotlight - A Real Writer’s Life
Interview with Kelsey Bryant - Resting Life
Series Spotlight - Kelsey’s Notebook

November 6
Interview with Sarah Holman - J. Grace Pennington
Review of Emmeline - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Mini Reviews and Interview with Sarah Scheele - Deborah O’Carroll
Interview with Rebekah Jones - Livy Lynn Blog
Review of Suit and Suitability - Resting Life

November 7
Interview with Kelsey Bryant - J. Grace Pennington
Review of Perception - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Review and Interview of Perception - Purely by Faith Reviews
Review of Second Impressions - The Page Dreamer
Series Spotlight - Finding the True Fairy Tale

November 8
Interview and Review of Suit and Suitability - Once Upon the Ordinary
Review of Suit and Suitability - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Review of Perception - A Brighter Destiny

November 9
Series Spotlight - God’s Peculiar Treasure
Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability - Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father
Interview with Rebekah Jones - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews

November 10
Review of Suit and Suitability - With a Joyful Noise
Series Spotlight - Liv K. Fisher
Review of Second Impressions - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Review of Perception - She Hearts Fiction
Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh

November 11
Series Spotlight - Reveries Reviews
Review of Suit and Suitability - Faith Blum
Interview with Sarah Holman - Kaylee's Kind of Writes
Interview with Hannah Scheele - Peculiar on Purpose
Review of Bellevere House - Seasons of Humility You are here!

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As part of this special blogging event, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter to win below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Review of Bellevere House

I confess this is a somewhat difficult review for me to write. There were some aspects of the story and characters I didn't like...but let me start with some positive points.

Bellevere House is interesting! There is a lot going on, and while the titled house serves as the main stage for the book's happenings, there's also a bit of travel woven through the plot. With such a large cast of characters, there are activities and shenanigans going on all over the place. You're not likely to get bored as you follow Faye and her cousins and acquaintances.

And while I don't entirely care for how faith is portrayed overall, I do feel a good intent is there. There are some lovely thoughts like this in these pages...
The silver light twinkled on the blue waves like thousands of diamonds set adrift by God's generous hand. Diamonds must be nothing to One who held all the riches of heaven. He could spread a few million on the seas.
The struggle to share one's faith, to make it feel "relevant" in an age when many see it as a fairy tale, is a real one, and it's a brave topic to address against this backdrop of a world between wars. I also admire that the story brings up the importance of love and grace.

I think where the book really faltered for me was in its transitions (or lack thereof). Perhaps if I was more familiar with Mansfield Park (it's a book I haven't read yet, but hope to soon!), I would have had an easier time following the plot. Even still, nothing felt fluid—from the conversations to the events, and even to the characters' growth and transformations. Between the large cast and the constant happenings, everything felt chaotic. And how things came together in the end didn't seem authentic to how the characters had been portrayed.

There isn't much to admire in the book's hero, at least from what we're told of him. The heroine speaks now and then of her faith, but it feels like something added on rather than something that influences her to be strong in all areas of her life. (But perhaps that is truly authentic, and a sober reminder of how easily we lose sight of what we claim is most important to us.) I do like Uncle Warren, though, and the way his presence provides order amid the chaos.

I was shocked by some of the things the other secondary characters did without any apparent reaction from anyone else. (That might have been for humor's sake in some instances, although I didn't find it humorous when one character slapped another, and no one seemed to care.) I also don't see how two characters' "happily ever after" is a path to be applauded or admired in how it's approached.

So...perhaps this book wasn't quite for me. But on the flip side, this story could provide a lot of discussion topics! And it makes me want to read Mansfield Park to understand the original plot and characters better.

This is certainly an interesting retelling, and I think the series is a really fun idea, especially with multiple authors coming together to tell these tales in their own unique ways. :)

*With thanks to the Vintage Jane Austen group for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.*