Book Talk Tuesday: THE UNSEDUCIBLE EARL

I love love love this book! The attention to historical accuracy and detail makes it a cut above most historical romance. The Victorian mores and attitudes are captured perfectly. But instead of being dry or superficial, The Unseducible Earl is full of emotion, poignancy, and heart.

UnseducibleEarlVictoria Thorne is a Nightingale nurse recently returned from the Crimea and hired by the Earl of Cheriton to nurse his brother, also a Crimea vet, back to health. As Victoria cares for Jamie, she is also able to deal with her own issues that linger from living and working in a war zone. At Cheriton Court, she expected to work hard, to help patients with her skills, and to face some opposition. She never expected the intense attraction she feels for the earl–the betrothed earl.

Robben Merrick is betrothed to a woman who is perfect for him. On paper. He doesn’t love her, but he expects affection will come. It is time for him to marry and produce an heir. He’s grateful his fiancee is willing to postpone their announcement while his brother is still battling for his life, even though he’s out of battlefield danger and safe at home at Cheriton Court. His growing feelings for his brother’s nurse are not part of his plans. And he cannot act on them, even if it feels like he is sentencing himself to a loveless marriage and a broken heart.

Humphreys is a wonderful writer. I felt every bit of Victoria and Robb’s attraction and brokenness.

There are a couple of sub-plots that added to the depth of the story and made the ending even more satisfactory.

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Monday Musings: Good-bye to an Era

My favorite local quilting store is closing. (Cue the violins.)

Quilters Paradise in Old Town Clovis is where I took my quilting classes. I bought lots of fabric there. Which reminds me, I have some reward cards I better redeem quickly!

QPIt’s rare to find a shop so focused on customer service, quality products, and value.

The owners are always helpful. The dog hanging around the back classroom was calm and never demanding, but always grateful for an ear rub or tummy scratch.

 

Employees are knowledgeable. My first quilt top that I made in the Quilting 101 class turned out great, but I knew I would need help with the backing choice. So I toted in the Quilt toptop, laid it out and pleaded for advice. I walked out a few minutes later with the perfect fabric. (Don’t ask me if I’ve actually finished that quilt yet. Please.) I love the blue and gold with the cream, but I wasn’t sure if the backing should be dark or light. We ended up going with one of the medium golds for the backing fabric. I think it will look stunning when it is finished. Which I hope will be next year. I’m committed to not beginning a new project until I finish the three or four I have in progress.

There are a couple other quilt shops near me that I’ve never shopped at. And of course we have a Jo-Ann’s. So it looks like my quilting fabric loyalty is up for bids.

Do you have a local favorite shop? Or a favorite you make sure to visit on your travels?

 

Book Talk Tuesday: MRS. OSWALD CHAMBERS

I finished this book two weeks ago but I needed some time to absorb it all before I talked about it.

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I’ve read My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers many times. Sometimes it’s my daily devotional for the year. Sometimes I just pick it up and read random days. But there’s always a copy nearby that I can easily get my hands on.

I had no idea the work, the calling, the sacrifice that went into making copies of this book so readily available to readers.

Michelle Ule has crafted a story that is part biography, part history, and part devotional in its own right.

Mrs. Oswald Chambers is, on the surface, a biography of Gertrude ‘Biddy’ Chambers, Oswald Chambers’ wife and widow. It starts with her early life, moves to meeting Chambers, falling in love, and their decision to marry and minster together. They married in 1910, had a daughter in 1913, and he died in 1917. A short marriage, but one with lasting and far-reaching impact.

Biddy trained as a secretary and took shorthand at 250 words per minute. She wrote 301838_MrsOswaldChambersUle_Posts11down all of his sermons, homilies, lessons, and talks, then transcribed them. After her husband’s death, she began to compile various selections and released them as books under his name.

I loved Mrs. Oswald Chambers! Michelle Ule crafted a story that is compelling, humbling, and thought-provoking. If I’d been widowed with a small child, while living in a foreign country near a war zone, I don’t think my inclination would be to continue to serve God while living in poverty. Biddy did that, not only willingly, but with a faith and a calling that never faltered.

I highly recommend this book and I suggest you run and grab your own copy. It will change you.

 

Monday Musings

About a year ago, I decided to shift this blog in a slightly different direction. Mondays went from talking about media (movies, television, podcasts, etc.) to mostly about quilting. But I quickly found out that being a quilter with limited projects done, I ran out of things that I felt were interesting enough to talk about. I kept book reviews on Book Talk Tuesdays. Wednesday’s became about travel. And Food Talk Friday went bye-bye. Sigh.

Wooden bowl with spa stones and candles on wooden  table, on flowers backgroundAfter some thought and talk, I’ve decided to do a course correction with the blog. Again.

Mondays will be Monday Musings. This may be about quilting or about art or crafting or media. Basically whatever I’m currently fascinated with. Tuesdays will continue to be book reviews (and I’ve got a great book up for tomorrow). Wednesday will be Wonderings or Wanderings. My thoughts and feelings about an issue or a travelogue of sorts. And since I’m still enjoying memories and pictures of our Ireland/UK trip in September, I have some material to keep posting weekly for quite a while.

Thursdays will stay either a day off or I may use it to spotlight an author, do a cover reveal, or post a second review if it just can’t wait until the following Tuesday.

Food Talk Friday will be back. Restaurant reviews, recipes, or food memories.

Please come back tomorrow for a review of the amazing new book, MRS. OSWALD CHAMBERS by Michelle Ule. You’ll be glad you did!

Book Talk Tuesday: The Engagement Plot

I’m working on a trilogy of novellas set on reality dating shows, so when The Engagement Plot appeared on my radar, I decided to request a review copy.

I’m glad I did.

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Hanna is a charming heroine and Will is an appealing hero. The story begins after they meet and get engaged on a show call The Price of Love. Hanna is a Christian and she kept her virtue and values front and center during the show which ended with Will on one knee and offering her a ring. During the airing of the finale Will said something that caused Hanna to break off the engagement.

We catch up with them about eight months after the show’s finale when Will arrives at Hanna’s Minnesota home to apologize. Her first inclination is to throw him back into the blizzard, but as they spend a few days together, they see a way to save both her reputation and his job, so the engagement plot is on.

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot and it kept me turning the page. It is definitely a Christian romance, but the faith elements rise organically from the characters.

Hanna and Will each had their own reasons for going on the show, for ending the engagement, and for concocting the new engagement plot. I have a few quibbles with some plot points, but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

The Engagement Plot is a fun and charming story of romance, second chances, and true love persevering against all odds. I recommend it!


I received an advance copy of The Engagement Plot in return for an honest review.

Book Talk on a Thursday

It’s no surprise to any regular readers here that I adore Susan Mallery and her books. I just finished SECOND CHANCE GIRL, the second novel in Mallery’s new Happily Inc series.

book-cover-second-chanceCarol is the animal preserve keeper. Yes, Happily Inc, set in the desert of Southern California, has a wild animal preserve. And Carol takes care of the animals. She’s particularly concerned with Millie, the giraffe. Giraffes are herd animals and Millie is lonely. Carol starts a fund-raising program in town to purchase more giraffes.

Matthias Mitchell is the fourth of the five Mitchell guys to get his story. He’s a ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ type of guy. Who’s incredibly good looking and Carol is crushing on. He’s also a talented glass artist who creates plates and vases instead of the sculptures he’s capable of and that his father and brother are known for.

Carol believes she’s nothing special, so she’s reluctant to put her heart on the line for Matthias. Matthias knows he’s avoiding the hurt and obsession he’s observed in his parents’ marriage.

There’s also a subplot involving Carol’s sister, Violet, and a dashing English duke.

Because this is a Mallery romance and because the name of the town is literally Happily, you know how things turn out. But what I love about Mallery is that her characters are real people and they respond to their situations like real people.

I’m not a desert person, so I don’t love the location of Happily Inc as much as I loved Fool’s Gold, but I understand it was time to move on.

As usual in many of Mallery’s books, there’s an adorable pet. Matthias ends up taking care of his mom’s beagle, Sophie, for most of the book. She gets into trouble and generally ends up leaving a trail of mayhem behind.

SECOND CHANCE GIRL is a charming and fun romance and I’m eager for more from Susan Mallery.


I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. Done and done!