Review: A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M White

A Lady Unrivaled is the third and final installment in the Ladies of the Manor series, written by Roseanna M. White. I have enjoyed this series, and had intended to link my reviews of the previous books here for you, but I was surprised to find I never wrote reviews of them! So, first I will share a tidbit of my thoughts on the first books in the series.

In The Lost Heiress, we meet Brook and her best friend, Justin. She goes through a rough journey, from thinking she was one person, and discovering she had a family she was unaware of. I adored her fiery spirit and the passion she had for her family and friends. [5 stars]

The Reluctant Duchess has the prettiest cover in the bunch. This one follows Rowena and Brice, who are trapped into a shotgun wedding thanks to a scheming father. Brice was a great leading man, but the middle portion of this novel had me frustrated when these two just wouldn’t communicate! But, again, Brice was perfect. [3.5 stars]

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White
Ladies of the Manor, Book 3
Bethany House, 2016

I really enjoyed this book. Ella and Cayton take us on the final leg of this journey of the Fire Eyes and the trouble they have caused in the lives of everyone involved with them.

About the Fire Eyes and the curse surrounding them: This series follows the lives of the people who are in possession of the Fire Eyes and those who want to be in possession of them, no matter the cost. And I don’t think it was a curse per se. To me, it was more a look at greed and power, and how those things can overtake your life and cause pain and grief. Greed will never be satisfied, and destruction is left in its path. This plays out in the series, and I appreciated how this aspect of the series was resolved.

Back to this book in particular, Ella’s bright and happy personality were in juxtaposition to the gloomy and guarded exterior Cayton projected when he was around her. But I always enjoyed their interactions and how Ella brought a light into Cayton’s life. And I liked how Cayton loved his daughter and how much his life was about being a good father to her. And how he painted. LOVED THAT. I like when characters have a creative outlet, it just makes them more interesting.

In closing, I really appreciated the Author’s Note at the end of the book and wanted to share a few of her words here. To quote Roseanna, “I hope and pray that you, too, will see that whatever path you’re on in life, God means it to enrich your heart and soul. And that no matter how many mistakes we make, in our actions or our judgment, we can always trust His voice to lead us…so long as we know how to hear Him.”

Monthly Favorites: September

mll blog

Welcome to my monthly wrap up! I used to do a wrap up of things happening on the blog, but this time I want to share my favorite things from around the web, including author news and favorite blog posts from my friends! This may vary between a few items some months and several things that deserve highlighting other months, depending on what’s caught my eye. Enjoy!

# of books read this month: 4
favorite book of the month: To Have and to Hold by Betsy St. Amant, Katie Ganshert, and Becky Wade
my favorite post of the month: 7 Unforgettable Marriage Proposals
# books acquired: 6
# books added to my TBR: 6

I don’t have much to highlight this month, but here are a couple things that stood out to me!

Rachael @ Rachel’s Reads is a blogger I recently discovered. She has the most hilarious post that combines Jen Turano and Phantom of the Opera. It got a pretty good laugh out of me, and we all know how much I love POTO, right?!?!

Becky Wade is busy working on her next novel, True to You. Yay!

My Most Anticipated Releases in October:

What were your highlights in September?

7 Unforgettable Marriage Proposals


I must begin today’s post with a nod to Rissi from Finding Wonderland and her recent post on 14 Memorable and Swoon Worthy Proposals in Period Drama [check it out!].

Her post about period drama proposals inspired me with this idea to share some of my personal favorites. Proposals are some of my favorite scenes in a good novel. The progression of a couple’s relationship culminates in what should be a beautiful proposal scene. After which, their lives continue in eventual wedded bliss and their happily ever afters (obviously and hopefully).

Just so you know, research for this post consisted of rereading my favorite scenes from some of my favorite books. That’s my kind of research.

Without further ado, here are the most memorable proposals I’ve read during my blogging years.

*Spoilers are ahead, so consider yourself warned!!*

Top 7 Book Proposal Superlatives

1. Most Thoughtful Proposal: Once Upon A Prince By Rachel Hauck

“I wanted to get engaged under this tree. Soft white lights swinging from the branches. Maybe a string quartet playing over there. Something special, romantic.”

At the beginning of Once Upon A Prince, Susanna tells a stranger her dreams of a perfect proposal under the Lover’s Oak after the future she has imagined has disappeared. Little did she know that the stranger would change her life forever. And he would propose exactly the way she always imagined it.

2. Most Heart-Wrenching Proposal: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

“”Don’t offer you what? Love, marriage, a home? I am. I’m offering you all of that.”

After so much back and forth with Roger and Kay, Roger finally comes to his senses and realizes he loves Kay. And Kay doesn’t believe it and tries to run. What ensues is SO GOOD and it HURTS MY HEART but I painfully read all the way through because I needed to know if they would finally make it. They are one of my favorite couples and I was so happy at the end of this scene.

3. Most Premature Proposal: Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge

“Thank you, everyone, for coming and helping me celebrate this amazing woman.”

So there are two love interests in Together at the Table (although we all know who Juliette was meant to be with), and because of this I will stay somewhat vague about which guy this proposal involves.

He proposes in front of a gathering of friends and family, and that alone would make me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to be on display like that, and imagine the pressure to say yes when you’re surrounded by all those people. Don’t want to do anything disappointing or embarrassing, right? As much as I like this character, he just wasn’t right for Juliette, and I felt so bad for him. (Maybe he’ll get his own story someday? Fingers crossed.)

4. Most Spontaneous Proposal: Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge

“I’ve always wanted to get married on a weekday.”

Might as well put both proposals from this book back to back! This one is adorable and I just love everything about is. Juliette finally reunites with the love of her life and they are just the best. They decide they don’t want to part ways again, and then he proposes. Just like that. And she says yes. When you know, you know, right?

5. Most Persistent Proposal: A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

“I told myself the next time I saw you, whenever, wherever that was, I was going to tell you.”

The word persistent almost feels like it has a negative connotation to it, but I definitely mean this in a positive way. Marcus has this unwavering love for Eleanor and understands her fears. The first time he asked, I personally would have said yes, but Eleanor refused. He proposed a total of four times before getting his bride, and that my friends, is a steadfast man who knew what he wanted and was willing to go the distance.

6. Most Cringe-Worthy Proposal: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

“I thought up a million reasons to stay away, but I love you.”

This proposal scene is probably the most painful to read. These characters are ones I really, really love, and I would even say this is my favorite book. And this scene is so sad because of all the misunderstandings and secrets that have yet to be revealed. This scene crushes their relationship and it is burned into my brain as one of the most memorable proposals I’ve read to date. Add in the infamous words of Elizabeth Bennet, and this is a scene that will be seared into your memory forever.

7. Most Unprepared Proposal: A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

“I’ve never come close to asking a woman to marry me before. I don’t know how to do it.”

I know how Liam bumbles over his proposal. He doesn’t know what to say but you can tell he has so many emotions bubbling up. This moment happens right before Liam and Kaja part ways, the unknown stretching before them. It is a desperate moment, but they have loved each other for a long time, which makes this scene beautiful and poignant.

And that’s a wrap! I’d love to hear about some of your favorites below!

What are your favorite proposals?

Review: To Have and To Hold | A Novella Collection

To Have and to Hold: Three Autumn Love Stories 
By Betsy St. Amant, Becky Wade, and Katie Ganshert
Zondervan, 2016

Overall Thoughts on the Collection:

This novella collection was fabulous. I enjoyed each story and am so glad I decided to pick this one up. I have grown to love Becky Wade’s writing, and I was also interested in Betsy St. Amant and Katie Ganshert’s work, so this was a no-brainer.

Love Take the Cake by Betsy St. Amant

This was a super cute novella. I loved that Charlotte owned a bakery, and that it was called The Dough Knot. I mean, how cute is that? And I’ve recently developed a interest in foodie novels (I blame Hillary Lodge Manton, who wrote the Two Blue Doors series), so I was definitely loving all the descriptions of cookies, pastries, and lots of wedding cake.

The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert

Amelia and Nate’s meet-cute was the best. It was, quite literally, an accident. Amelia is adorable and I really felt for her. They end up emailing back and forth for a good portion of the novella, and I absolutely loved it. They made me smile. I happen to adore novels that largely involve letters (epistolary novels). And these emails were perfect. I can easily say this novella is so good, I would put it in my top 3.

Love in the Details by Becky Wade

This one was about Josh and Holly, who broke up years ago and only re-enter each others lives because of a friend’s wedding. So the tension is very strong when they first run into each other. And Holly is a writer, which I really liked reading about. One aspect I really liked was how, even though they broke up years ago, they both had been following each others careers. This novella is also in my top 3 now. And if you’re wondering what the third is now that I’ve named two of these favorites, the third is Melissa Tagg’s Three Little Words.

What are some of your favorite novellas?

13 Bookish Quirks About Me

All readers have certain quirks of their own, don’t they? I like to think I’m not alone in all of these, but even if I am, these are some fun facts about my reading habits.

1. I resist reading my favorite authors’ books when they are newly released because I know I will have to wait another year before the next one. I’d rather wait a few months and then read the new book, because then I feel like I have less time to wait for the next book. But I obviously buy it right away.

2. I love the moment while reading when you find the book title in the story. It always makes me secretly smile to myself for having found it. I also always double check the cover to make sure it matches the title exactly.

3. I will use just about anything as a bookmark: scrap of paper, receipt, clothing tag, napkin. And all my actual bookmarks are in a box that I occasionally pull out to admire.

4. I can spend over an hour in a bookstore and leave empty-handed.

5. My bookshelves are organized first according to publisher, then alphabetically by author last name, and then in the order of publication date. Apparently, I like to be complicatedimg_18436. I like to clean out my shelves pretty regularly. I don’t like to keep the books I don’t like. I’d rather have a few shelves loaded with books I love than a room full of mediocre ones. The ones I don’t like get passed along to friends, in the hopes that they will enjoy what I did not.

7. I don’t like hardback books. Just no.

8. I love when books make me respond outwardly. I’m typically a quiet, keep-to-myself reader, so when a book can pull a laugh, a goofy smile, or tears out of me, that is a special book.

9. Sometimes, if I’m unsure if I’ll like a book, I will check it out of the library to avoid the commitment of buying it. If I end up loving it, I’ll buy my own copy.

10. Personal interactions with authors (via email) always make me love their books even more. Seeing their passion and inspiration makes me more excited about their work.

11. The Help and The Hunger Games are the only book-to-movie adaptations that are as good as their source material.

12. I’ve never listened to an audiobook. I just don’t know if they’re for me. What if the pace throws me off? What if I want to reread a passage I especially liked? Or what if my mind wanders and I miss scenes and need to go back?

13. I totally judge books by their covers, and most of the time, I get it right.

So tell me, what are your bookish quirks? Do you relate to any of mine?


Monthly Favorites: August

mll blog

I’m trying out a new kind of monthly wrap up! I used to do a wrap up of things happening on the blog, but this time I want to share my favorite things from around the web, including author news and favorite blog posts from my friends! This may vary between a few items some months and several things that deserve highlighting other months, depending on what’s caught my eye. I’ve been wanting to start this for a while, so I thought I should finally just jump on in. Let me know how you like it and what you want to see in these monthly posts!


The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron is already available for preorder! It releases in March 2017, but you can already secure your copy. Can. Not. Wait.



You guys! Basically everyone on the planet know Gilmore Girls is coming back via Netflix for 4 movie-length episodes, which I can not wait for. In addition to that happy news, Lauren Graham, who flawlessly embodies Lorelai Gilmore, is coming out with a non-fiction book about her life [including GG, obviously]! You’d better believe I’ll be reading it when it comes out this November!

Michael Bublé is coming out with a new album on October 21. I love his music!!!

I’ve also been loving all the pictures of my favorite authors at the ACFW conference this month. It just makes me want to be friends with all of them!

The third book in Melissa Tagg’s Walker Family series comes out next month! I am dying to read it, especially since, as a newsletter subscriber, I got a sneak peek at the first chapter. Let me tell you, it was fantastic, and I think it has a good chance of being my favorite story in the series so far. And the cover, as always, in so pretty!

What are your August highlights?

The Many Reasons I Loved Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin
Waves of Freedom, Book 2
Revell, 2016

Remember how I always tell you Sarah Sundin is my favorite author? Well, that is still a true statement! She always writes the best characters who have the best back-stories and growth and I love them. And my heart always gets tangled up in her stories and I am so attached. Anchor in the Storm is no different. It’s my new favorite!

In lieu of a normal review, allow me to list the reasons I loved this book:

  • Lillian Avery. She has this tenacious spirit I loved. And her strength hides her heart from hurt.
  • Arch Vandenberg. Well isn’t he a keeper? He caught my attention from the beginning, and I just adored the way he wooed Lillian.
  • Arch’s gentle approach to courting Lillian. He understood how easily he could scare her away otherwise.
  • Lillian’s emerald green dress and Arch’s dress whites. I could always picture how they looked because, again THE COVER.
  • Arch and her brother, Jim, are best friends. (Which means we also get to see Jim and Mary from book one, YAY!)
  • The ice skating scene.
  • Opening Day at Fenway Park! (I just visited Boston, and I absolutely loved Fenway and watching a Red Sox game. Highlight of the trip!!!)
  • The scene at the piano.
  • Basically every scene Arch and Lillian share.
  • When Lillian counts the days she and Arch have been apart.
  • How the girls Lillian lives with take turns cooking dinner for their roommates.
  • The bracelet and how Lillian chose to see it.

Arch and Lillian were a strong couple, and their relationship was built on friendship and their ability to be vulnerable with one another about their deepest fears and pains from the past. I hope we see them marry before the end of the series. I could even see them getting married before Jim and Mary!

All that to say, I really loved this book and this couple. I enjoyed it more than the first book of the series, too, so I can’t wait to see what book three will bring!

Review: The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

This novel is beautiful beyond words. I not sure if I can really write anything to describe what my reading experience was like with The Lady and The Lionheart. But you should definitely read it.

The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
Mason Jar Books, 2016

Experiencing the circus is a myriad of sights and sounds and smells bombarding your senses. The atmosphere is alive with excitement and color. Joanne captured this perfectly on the page, and I really felt like I was standing amidst the chaotic magnificence of the circus. This is one of the few reading experiences I can think of that the scenes were written so vividly, I felt I was there.

Within the circus is where the majority of the story takes place. And where the setting comes alive, the characters do more so. Charlie Lionheart and Ella Beckley are two characters made up of so much depth and heart. They have entirely different backgrounds and upbringings, yet they find each other. A lion tamer and a nurse. They both carry hurts from their pasts and pain that is hard to grapple with. Both of them find it difficult to hope for a future with anything but what they already have. They hesitate to want more, to reach for something different for their lives.

My heart ached while reading this novel. I was so invested in these characters and their lives. I wanted to see a happy ending, but I had no idea how it would be found for them. During the work week, I couldn’t wait for my lunch break so I could read a few more chapters.

It is lovely and breathtaking and a story that I have not been able to stop thinking about since I finished reading it days ago. It is a powerful story about love and sacrifice.

Heartrending and beautiful, please don’t pass this one up. I never felt like I could figure out where this story was going, so every time the plot was given a new layer to grapple with, my heart would hurt a little more. Wanting to find resolution and not knowing how or if it would come for these beloved characters. Wanting happiness to be a reality for them after the darkness they had both experienced in the past.

And I definitely cried. Chapter 32 broke my heart so completely. And a book that makes me cry is a rare gem.

*I received an e-copy of this book from the author and was under no obligation to write a review. This is my honest opinion and all thoughts are my own.*

Review: From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

I started reading this book on a plane to Boston (vacation!), which also happens to be where this book is set. Boston 1897 to be exact.

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House, 2016

So to say this book came alive to me would be accurate. This book takes place during the building of the subway system in Boston, which was a fascinating backdrop to this story. What I found most exciting was being in the city this book revolved around. I had been to the places and seen the streets and ridden in the subway this book talked about. How fascinating to really see the city in two different ways at once!

Romulus has this flamboyant and bigger than life personality. Hidden under that is an insecure man who doesn’t have a lot of meaningful relationships. I enjoyed his character, but I doubt we would get along in real life. Stella is a confident, take charge of your situation woman. She is strong and loves her family deeply, and with those convictions, she continues to push forward. I really liked her drive and how she fought for the answers she was looking for.

I always enjoy Elizabeth Camden’s writing style and the stories she creates, so I’m glad I picked this one up. The characters still couldn’t top Bane and Lydia from Against The Tide, but really, they are one of my favorite fictional couples!

And because I was visiting recently, I’ll leave you with this gorgeous picture of the Boston Public Library. (Don’t you wish this was your local library? I would be there all. The. TIME.)


2 Binge-Worthy Series You Should Add to Your TBR Immediately

Sometimes I will look over at my bookshelves for inspiration when I’m brainstorming new topics to write about and this time, I was focusing on series. Which ones are the most addictive? That I wished I had the next book when I finished the first one? That hooked me from the moment I decided to give it a chance?

pop 1

First we have the Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta. Can I just say she is the most phenomenal writer I have ever had the luxury of reading? Her sentences create the most vivid images in my mind and the layers in this story are endless. This one is intriguing, as it leaves you somewhat in the dark as to what’s really going on. You find out pieces of the puzzle along with Julia and it is the most amazing, complex, engrossing story I’ve read in a long time. [Now I sit here desperately waiting for Jessica Dotta to publish her next story. I’ll wait as long as it takes. I am ready!]

tbd 2

The second series is the Two Blue Doors series from Hillary Manton Lodge. Whereas the first series is a historical, this is on the other end of the spectrum: contemporary. Juliette is our heroine and watching her start a new restaurant with her brother, fall in love with a heart-throb guy, and attend weekly family dinners, you really get to know her heart. You want to see her be successful and get her happy ending. And it is wonderful and heart-warming and delicious. [Hillary is writing a book that has something to do with Jane Austen next and I can’t wait!!]

What I find really interesting about these is they are both told from a first-person perspective. First person narratives can be really difficult to get into, but they can also be engaging and perfect and wonderful. These two will make you forget about your real-life responsibilities and tempt you to stay up late to find out what will happen.

What is your favorite binge-worthy series?