Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you come back again.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Monthly Celebrations *August Edition*

Hello friends and welcome to another monthly share of my year long collaboration with ColieBing on YouTube. This year we are sharing a page every month and the theme is monthly celebrations. I try to share a double page layout every month, along with a sketch. This month's sketch is this one....

And here's my take on the sketch....

I wanted to go out of my comfort zone a bit so I did some triangles and angles in this page. Here's my process video for the page...

And here are some more close ups...

As with anything in this blog, if you have any questions about this particular post or layout, please don't hesitate to leave in the comment section below.

Make sure you check out Nicole's page here.

Till next time,

Friday, August 11, 2017

Contemporary Romance Book Recommendations

Hi there friends. If you have not read my previous blog post about book recommendations, please check out this link.

Today I would like to share my favorite contemporary or modern day reads. I love the Regency era. The gowns, the propriety and adherence to traditional and modest ways of acting. But I also adore the romance of today, especially if the characters are relatable.

As I think about my criteria of what would be a good book to recommend, I always look at the language. The book needs to be clean, in that there are no foul language and no graphic sexual scenes. I don't care for those books. The second criteria would be the chemistry between the main characters. I almost always look at the banter between the couple to see this chemistry. There also needs to be some "swoony" scenes. And finally, the characters should have some flaws and weaknesses that are evident in the beginning but becomes part of what makes the individual strong. I have always been a fan of redemption stories and that can be found in romance novels as well.

So without further ado, here are my five contemporary romance favorites...

1. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones
Oh boy I loved this book! One of my favorite things about books is that you can never truly judge it by it's cover. This one was one of those instances. 
This is my first read from the author and after a few chapters, I became a fan. I loved her writing skill and the way she developed the characters. I'm a sucker for good banter between hero and heroine and this one did not disappoint. I was cracking up half the time and almost teary eyed in some moments. I also love, love, love that the supporting characters all had some fantastic layers to them. Not one of the characters were boring, even the ones that only appeared once or twice within the story line. 
I think this story would be a great movie or mini series. There are tons of characters to love (and some to hate but eventually you will love) and the writing is just beautiful. 
I don't normally have a favorite quote when I read fiction but this one hit me to the core..."They had traveled in the wrong direction, two wandering souls, not knowing where they fit in the world. But God had drawn them together, despite it all."

2. Meant to be Mine (Porter Family #2) by Becky Wade
Oh my goodness! This one was a total hoot! I loved the humour from both hero and heroine. They were definitely well matched as they can "spar" with their words with ease. The writing was fantastic and I also love the supporting characters. Overall this book was way better than the first one from this series (in my opinion). 
Celia has had a crush on hunky Ty ever since high school and when she met him again in Las Vegas they had a whirlwind romance than ended in a Las Vegas chapel. However the day after their spur of the moment wedding, Ty announces that he is inlove with someone else and plans to marry that girl instead. Celia storms off and tried to put back her life in pieces even until after she found out that she was pregnant. 5 1/2 years later their paths cross again and this time they had to deal with forgiveness, building trust again and rediscovering their true feelings for each other.
I think what drew me in with this book is the way the two characters tried to hide their true feelings for each other to everyone, even themselves. They really had a love/hate relationship that was so palpable but also I, as someone looking in, knew that they were meant for each other. Even if they didn't know it quite yet. I was rooting for both of them all the way through the end. 

3. How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding #3) by Rachel Hauck
I was so invested in King Nathaniel and Susanna's love story that all I really wanted to see in this book was a glimpse of a wedding and married life from them. However, learning more about Corina and Prince Stephen's story moved me more than the king's story. I loved how raw their personalities were portrayed by the author. I also thought the supernatural theme of the Manor gave an interesting twist to the romance part of the story line. 
After reading this, I would have to say that Prince's Stephen and Corina's love story is my favorite out of all the three. It had some really good lessons about the love of our Savior but at the same time the rawness of the characters makes it so easy to relate to them. 
Rachel Hauck is definitely one of my favorite authors!

4. Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match #1) by Rachael Anderson 
I'm not sure if it's because I haven't read a contemporary novel in a while or is it because this story was so relatable but I ADORED this novel. I couldn't stop reading it. I loved the two main characters and how totally opposite they are and yet they found each other to be just the person they needed to be truly happy and content in life. I also loved the reoccurring theme of lemonade within the story line. It reminded me that everyone has a choice and although there are circumstances beyond our control, how we live our lives still greatly depended on how we tackle the challenges and how we face the "lemons" in our lives. I also love that this is a modern version of my favorite Jane Austen novel. Oh and the backdrop of this story is my own town. How cool is that?! 

5. The Goodbye Bride (Summer Harbor #2) by Denise Hunter
I actually liked this story better than the first one. I'm not sure if it's because I kinda have a background of the story line and the place that it took place. I might have also just really enjoyed learning about Zac and Lucy's love story more than Eden and Beau's. Not sure but I really got into this one. The one thing sort of negative that I can say about the story is what Lucy had to do at the end to "learn her lesson". I was so worried we won't have a happy ending. But again, the author always make it a happy ending.

So that is it. If you like these kinds of reviews and book posts, please leave me a comment below and I might just make it a recurring post in this blog. 

And remember you can always follow me on Goodreads and see what I am reading right now. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Till next time,

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Regency Romance Novel Must Reads

Hello friends. Today I'm going to do something that I've never done before in this blog. And that is to share some book title recommendations. 

About a years ago, I got back into reading. When I say reading, I mean the kind where I did not have to highlight every other word or mark the pages for future reference. The kind of reading I am talking about is one that is only for leisure. It seemed like when I got back into school, I have forgotten how to read just for fun. 

So anyways, a year ago, I got back into it again and have read a few titles that I talk about over and over again to anyone that would be willing to listen. So with that I figured that I would compile my favorite books in my blog so that a. they are all in one place and b. it would be easy to point my friends to a source. 

Also, if you are looking for more of my latest reads, you can always check my "Goodreads" account and the link is located on the right hand side of this blog. I signed up for a reading challenge there this year and my goal was to read 68 books. I have been a voracious (is that even an appropriate term for reading?) reader lately and as of August, have read 72 books and counting. 

Now I don't want you thinking that I have some kind of superpower that I am able to that. Know that I don't watch TV much, and I am a fast reader. Sometimes when the book is not really engaging me, I would skip some paragraphs and just read the dialogue parts. I also read before I go to bed every night and, like I said before, I do this for fun. My mind might wander a bit from time to time but then again I am not going to be quizzed after reading it so I don't put too much stress on myself with what I'm reading. 

Ok so enough of that. Let's go on with the recommendations.

I love both regency/proper romance as well as Contemporary lit so I will divide my post and in this one I will concentrate on the proper romance suggestions. Here are my five favorites...

1. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

If I were to tell you a book that you NEED to read, this one is it. This was actually the book that got me reading again last year. I seriously could not put it down. I have probably read this about 8 times already and I own the ebook and the printed version of this book. 
Love, love, love this book. The story line wasn't just a romance story. It included selfish love for family and there was even some "action" scenes. I couldn't put it down. So happy for the ending and for Marianne. She deserved Phillip. I just have to add that this book was some major swoony factor. Every interaction between the two main characters are perfectly crafted and their banter is just too cute for words. Seriously the perfect read if you want to put a smile on your face. 

2. Friends and Foes (The Jonquil Brothers #1) by Sarah M. Eden

This was a really great read. I love the story line and the banter between Philip and Sorrel. I also liked the "action scenes". This book had it all and with a great balance. I have to say that the chemistry between the two characters alone makes me want to read this book over and over again. I love female leads that are smart and witty. Gone are the days when we have leads that are "damsels in distress". Sorrel was one of those strong characters but have some weaknesses and in those weaknesses where we see the value of a hero like Philip. Philip on the other hand is such a dandy and focuses more on his outside appearance that he becomes a joke. But then this is all a front for a secret that he keeps, even from his family. I'm telling you this one is such a great read. Warning though, this is part of a series so you might have to prepare yourself for reading a few books in this series. But they are all so well written :)

3. Seeking Persephone (The Lancaster Family #1) by Sarah M. Eden

I am a big fan of Ms. Eden. My advise if you are going to start reading her books, you need to start with this one. This book is the first one from the Lancaster family plus some of the characters here will also show up in the Jonquil brothers series as well. I love starting series from the beginning,even if they say that books can stand alone. There are little details that will have more meaning to you, as readers, if you know the backstory of certain characters and you cannot really get that with the little snippets in the consequent titles. 

This story was super cute. It reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. I love how the love story between Adam and Persephone evolved. But I have to admit, my favorite character was Harry (Adam's best friend). He is so funny and yet very intuitive. He is a great friend to both Adam and Persephone. Adam is also a fun character to get to  know. Just like "beast", he is so misunderstood but there is a soft side to him. He is also very hilarious. 

4. Heir to Edenbrooke (Edenbrooke 0.5) by Julianne Donaldson

This novella is a perfect way to accompany your Edenbrooke reading. I even have read this one plus Edenbrooke simultaneously. Yes! I am that obsessed. I love how reading them side by side, especially during the character's first encounter helps me better understand each person and their thoughts during their first meeting. 
Being that one of my favorite books of all time is Edenbrooke, I could not pass the chance to read this too. I loved the back story of Philip and what came about before the fateful night that he met Marianne at the inn. It helps me see why he was acting unlike a true gentleman on their first encounter. I had more sympathy and respect for his character because of that. 

I have to say that my favorite part of this book is his viewpoint of the banter between him and Marianne at the inn. And the sweetness of his realization that Marianne is different from all the ladies of the ton that he has met before. I love the ending but wished it was longer. I would have loved his viewpoint and feelings throughout their time in Edenbrooke. 

5. Mr. Darcy's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #1) by Amanda Grange

I cannot talk about regency romance novels without paying homage to Jane Austen and her wonderful books. I have always loved Pride and Prejudice. It's one of my favorites from Jane Austen and I felt like I was living under a rock because I just recently found out about these series of books from Amanda Grange. I didn't know what to expect from this read. I have never viewed Pride and Prejudice's story line in Darcy's point of view and this version got me really believing that his initial snobbish demeanor was not a conscious effort to be so above everyone else. It was a combination of many factors like his upbringing, his resolve to be the best gentleman that he can be and other things. I especially loved the little peek at life after him and Elizabeth got married. That was so sweet to see him and Lizzy entertain family and friends at Pemberley. Even Lady de Bourgh seemed to have softened her stance on the Bennetts. So sweet. I will definitely read this again. 
It seems that many versions of the classic Pride and Prejudice have either gone dark (ie zombies) or really sexually graphic but this one was still pretty clean and I love that.

So that's my top five regency/proper romance favorites. I hope this helped you weed through the many books out there and that if you have not ready any of these titles, that you will give it a try. Let me know what your favorites are too as I like to always add great reads to my "to be read" pile.

Till next time,