★★★★★★ - Heaven help me, you taste like Christmas! (More Info)
About the Movie
The story and characters you love come to life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, a cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told.
Starring:Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans
Runtime:2 hours, 9 minutes
Top Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline
"With a dreamy far off look and her nose stuck in a book"Two days after seeing Beauty & the Beast, I am curled up on the couch, listening to the Original Movie Soundtrack on repeat (which you can stream for free through Amazon Prime) and trying to make sense of this emotional hangover that I can't seem to shake.
The emotions this movie brings forth is beautiful beyond words. I am not going to lie, this is probably going to be one of the hardest reviews that I will ever write. Because there is no way that words can adequately express my thoughts and emotions regarding this story.
"Tale as Old as Time"I have always loved this fairy tale. Growing up I watched and rewatched the animated version more times than I can count (and the new song they added "Human Again" is a travesty of unmeasurable proportions in my opinion...but that is neither here nor there). However, after seeing Emma Watson and Dan Stevens portray this incredible story in their own unique way, I can say with confidence that THIS is now and "forevermore" my favorite Disney movie. There is no competition...at all. Emma Watson's voice is beautiful, sweet, and innocent. Dan Stevens is swoony beyond all reason. Even Gaston is a fine specimen to gaze upon (don't worry...he is still a brute! But Luke Evans *SWOON*). They also elaborate on the bookish side of Belle a little bit more, and I adore it!
"There may be something there that wasn't there before"The romance in this adaption is sweet and innocent...Yet filled with a passion that touches your heart in a drastic way. The Beast is SO adorable. Thoughtful, kind, and gentle as he falls in love with Belle. The way he is portrayed makes it so much easier for the audience to fall in love with him as well. Watching their relationship grow is so beautiful with plenty of humour.
"Tune as Old as Song"You might consider me odd, but I don't like to watch trailers, read reviews, or learn ANYTHING about a movie that I have been LONGING to see. So I went into this movie fairly blind (there were some details that were impossible to avoid). Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they included the original songs from the 1991 animated version. It was so much fun singing along with all the songs that have been ingrained into my heart. There were a few new songs added and they were GORGEOUS! The Beast's song makes me cry every time I hear it. Be Our Guest is the only song that I found a bit odd. But it works. Emma Watson's voice is gentle and sweet while Dan's voice is strong and powerful.
"I said she's gorgeous and I fell"The costumes, set designs, and cinematography were all GORGEOUS!!! Each outfit was appropriate for the character and unique. The design added yet another level of beauty and made it just that much easier to fall in love...With Belle...with the Beast...with the castle...the story...
There are some scenes (specifically with the wolves and between Gaston and the Beast at the end of the movie) that may be frightening for younger children. Please use your own discretion as a parent to judge whether it is appropriate for your child. I won't be taking my 3 and 4 year old children to it in theatre, but they will be allowed to watch it at home when it comes out on DVD.
In Picture Perfect, a photographer and a martial artist partnered for swing dance lessons also become unknowingly pitted against each other in a real estate tug-of-war. As romance heats up, secrets from the past close in. Agendas collide, and when the truth comes out, one wrong move could trip them up for good.
Here’s a sneak peek into the story setup of Picture Perfect:
Extending the right hand of fellowship to church visitors probably doesn’t include sucker-punching the cute guy from pew seventeen. But when Lily recovers from being startled by him late at night, she realizes who he is. And wishes she’d hit harder. It’s clear Micah doesn’t remember her—or breaking her heart ten years ago.
Avoiding him becomes her best option. Besides, she has more important things to worry about—namely renovating her newly leased storefront so she can quit her job and take her photography full-time.
Micah is back in his hometown with plans to open a martial arts school and make a fresh start. But he can’t dodge the guilt he feels over causing his best friend’s death. The past haunts him, and the present isn’t looking much better. The one girl he’s interested in hates his guts and he has no idea why.
When they get thrown together for swing dance lessons, romance heats up on—and off—the dance floor. As Lily gets to know Micah, she wants to believe he’s changed. But forgiveness isn’t easy, especially when she discovers they’ve both set their sights on the same piece of real estate. And a dark secret from Micah’s past is quickly catching up . . .
So many people
give writers the advice “write what you know,” and I think it’s
natural for our passions to flow into our stories in some form or
another. Tidbits of my own life and interests are woven into the
storyline of Picture Perfect.
A perfect example
is the scenes relating to martial arts. Micah, the hero in the story,
practices jujitsu. Lily, the heroine, studies boxing. One of the
underlying currents of the story is the concept of self-defense and
Having grown up
in a Christian “bubble,” I was anxious about heading off to
college. It didn’t help that the first college I attended was on
the outskirts of New York City. The summer before my freshman year, I
asked a family friend (a police detective) if he would teach me
self-defense. We got together and he showed me a few tactics, but I
remember at the end of the evening feeling more
worried, because as he showed me scenarios, my mind started to run. I
began to realize just how little I knew, and how many different ways
a person could attack another person. (To be clear, it wasn’t his
fault at all. He taught me some simple techniques to use in an
emergency. In retrospect what I wanted was training
and that’s not something that happens in one night!)
In college, I
took an 8-week course that was an intro to martial arts. Again,
nothing wrong with the instructor or the class. But it was about
precision of strikes, blocks, and kicks, and step-by-step
attack/defense sequences. It was not “down and dirty”
self-defense. (Of course it wasn’t designed to be! But in my
ignorance, I equated “martial arts” with “women’s
self-defense” and walked away feeling more vulnerable than when I
Fast forward a
few years. Not long after meeting my husband, I learned he studied
jujitsu. He asked if I wanted to learn. I said no. I wasn’t
interested in jujitsu. I wanted to learn self-defense. So he invited
me to meet his instructor, who was excited to teach me techniques
geared for women. I started coming early, before jujitsu class, to
learn. I learned about women’s areas of strength, about awareness
and alertness, and the physics of the human body. I practiced palm
strikes and knees to the groin until I developed muscle memory and
instinct and earned the nickname “Lethal Knees.”
Then my session
would end, and jujitsu class would begin. It didn’t take long
before I was joining them on the mat.
Over the years,
I’ve loved teaching women’s
self-defense because I've seen wonderful things happen when
a woman learns she really can protect herself physically. I think
every woman should realize she has a vested interest in her physical
and sexual safety and not leave it up to chance or assume it's
someone else's responsibility.
many women see themselves as "weak." I was once one of
them. Learning self-defense helps develop confidence, and that's
something that has far-reaching effects--many women discover inner
strengths they never knew they had and become "stronger" on
different playing fields of life, whether it be work, relationships,
communication, setting boundaries, the list goes on.
yourself with people who support you. I am blessed to have a fantastic critique group that helps me hone my
stories, and a few brainstorming buddies who encourage me and help
strengthen my plots.
writing groups. One of the best things I did for my professional development was
joining American Christian Fiction Writers. I got connected to other
writers, critique groups, and a storehouse of publishing information
that I soaked up, realizing how little I really knew. I also attended
ACFW conferences, which allowed me to network with other
professionals and learn more about the writing craft.
kind to yourself!Remember that everyone’s first draft is downright awful, so don’t
let the ugly stop you. Keep going. Put the words down anyway, even if
they make you cringe. As people say, you can’t edit what’s not
who you are as a writer.I’m not a particularly fast writer. The story doesn’t unfold in a
straightforward manner for me. I’m much more “seat of the pants”
than plotter. So I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay
that the course is not charted; that’s part of the fun for me (I
get to be surprised when a character says or does something). Only
it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s downright stressful. It means
the story doesn’t journey in a straight line from start to finish.
There will be detours and dead ends and “wasted” time. But that’s
just how it works for me. I can choose to get frustrated and think
I’m less of a “real writer” because of it, or I can choose to
accept that it’s just one of the weird ways I work.
for letting me share a little about my writing journey! I hope you
enjoy a few giggles and sigh moments reading Picture
About the Author
I grew up in Maine as a Double PK (pastor’s kid and principal’s kid). My dad has been a pastor at the same church for more than 35 years, and my parents started a Christian school where my dad served as administrator for 30 years, and my mom regularly substituted.
I had a childhood that was wonderful in all the ways that matter. Since my parents were in full-time Christian ministry, we didn’t have a lot of “extras” growing up, but we saw firsthand what it means to invest in things of eternal significance. I’m so grateful that God gave me humble, loving, self-sacrificing parents who taught us to love God and put Him first, above all else.
I graduated from Gordon College in Massachusetts with degrees in English Language & Literature as well as Biblical Studies. I’ve earned my living as a professional wedding photographer, high school English teacher, newspaper copy editor, piano teacher, and women’s self-defense instructor. And now I can officially add author to that list! My first book, Picture Perfect, released March 2 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. A dream come true!
The best thing that ever happened to me was walking into a coffee shop one morning and walking out, leaving my heart with the fine-looking barista working behind the counter. My husband Jason is the inspiration for my storybook heroes and my biggest cheerleader on this journey toward publication. We are blessed with a teenage son, two cats, and a dog named Boomer.
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)
From the Back of the Book
Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye. Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is. But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?
Every book in this series has been spectacular! Full of intrigue and drama, faith and freedom, handsome officers and daring heroines, and not to mention bursting with history! I have learned so much about the war of the Atlantic during World War II through these books. Not only does Sarah include REAL events and REAL people in these books, it inspires me to do research of my own. To delve into the facts and history that inspired these stories. As the Waves of Freedom series comes to a close, Tess and Dan completely steal the show with their strained relationship and beautiful, er, practical? romance. Tess is full of life, color, and longs to be seen for who she is beneath the pretty face. Dan, has a one track mind focused on his career...That is, until his heart cries out for something more. Both Tess and Dan must learn to trust God to guide their paths, to find who they are in Him, individually. Once they surrender to God's plan, it is amazing to watch the events unfold. While the books in this series can stand alone, you will want to begin with book one to enjoy and appreciate the full effect of the storyline. Plus, they are simply amazing books. All three have made it on my top reads list! Get ready for one last amazing ride in the Waves of Freedom Series. And do not despair...For Sarah has a new WWII series she is working on titled, Sunrise at Normandy. The first book, The Sea Before us will be released Spring 2018.
I received a complimentary copy of When Tides Turn from the publishers (Revell) through Radiant Lit and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in
the Storm, as well as the Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of
Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital
pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and
her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California.
While the story I am going to share with you today, isn't Irish...I do have Irish heritage that I am so very proud of! (Did you remember to wear green today?) Anyhoo...On to today's First Line. And make sure you enter the GIVEAWAY mentioned below too!
"One step into the massive, glass-walled waiting area was all it took. In a cataclysmic chain of events, someone bumped into Eisley Barrett, sending her purse and all its contents skittering across the glossy floor of Heathrow International Airport. Just as she regained her balance, her heel caught on her purse strap, forcing her off-kilter."
OK, OK! I know...That is way more than just the first line, but trust me when I say I could just keep reading...and reading...In fact, I may just do that after I post this.
You REALLY don't want to miss out on this fantabulous book! (*PSST* I have rated it 6 stars..."Heaven help me you taste like Christmas" status right there.) Pepper has graciously donated an eBook for me to give away to ONE of my amazing readers! Jump over to her interview HERE to enter to win! Just make sure you comment with your First Line before you leave.
ALSO, Pepper is starting a new series tomorrow. Here is your VERY FIRST sneak peek! I will warn you...You will want to bring your fan...and fainting couch along...Because swooning will be inevitable!
Pepper also recently released an incredibly charming novella! You can find Second Impressions in the Love at First Laugh novella collection for only $0.99 on Amazon!
My Rating ★★★★ - You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. (More Info)
From the Back of the Book
The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.
With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?
Fast paced and filled with all the adventure, suspense, comedy, and romance that I have come to expect from Mary Connealy. The Boden clan is a family that I am sad to say, I only JUST met in Long Time Gone. Even though I was able to pick up the gist of the story pretty quickly, I would suggest that you begin with book 1, No Way Up before diving into this one. Angie and Justin are two peas in a pod. They really were made for each other and I just loved watching them bicker, tease, and fall in love. And they are both stubborn as mules. Justin, inexperienced when it comes to females, is adorable as he tries to sort out his feelings for Angie. Wanting to protect her, but trying not to come across as a dictator. Angie, still healing from the wounds of the past, is learning how to be her own woman, standing up for herself, defending herself. But we weren't made to do everything alone. That is why God sends us a partner to stand beside us, to fight with us. And above all we must never forget to lean on God for protection and strength. To trust that He is leading us down the right road. That no matter where life leads us, He will be by our side. Mary's books have the great ability to make you laugh out loud, hold your breath in anticipation, shake your head in frustration, and curl your toes with the sweet romance. Set in New Mexico Territory in 1880, we get to meet both outlaws and cowboys. Full of adventure and some hair raising escapades, Long Time Gone is sure to capture your attention, and the characters, your heart.
I received a complimentary copy of Long Time Gone from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedies about cowboys. She's the author of The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, and Wild at Heart series, as well as several other acclaimed series. Mary has been nominated for a Christy Award, was a finalist for a RITA Award, and is a two-time winner of the Carol Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. They have four grown daughters--Joslyn, married to Matt; Wendy; Shelly, married to Aaron; and Katy, married to Max--and four precious grandchildren.
to Bookworm Mama, Pepper! I am so honored to have you here today!
You. ARE. A. Blessing!! I’m so glad God brought you into my life
through books!! Thank you for being such an encouragement to me!
Aww shucks Pepper! I can't wait to hug you at CFRR 2017 in August! Readers, make sure you stay tuned for a special announcement AND Giveaway at the end of the interview!
did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc. come from?
the ‘trite’ answer might be that it came from God – because, if
you ask my mom, I’ve always written/told stories. I LOVE story, and
I would say that the love for it was cultivated by my Appalachian
culture. Oral storytelling is a big deal in the mountains, so I used
to love to hear my grandparents, particularly my Granny Spencer,
share family history stories back five and six generations. It was
I LOVE this so much! I am a huge fan of tradition and passions being passed down.
literary character is most like you?
that’s a tough question. I’m not sure. My initial answer would be
Anne of Green Gables or Lucy from Chronicles of Narnia. I’d love to
say I’m more like Lizzie Bennett or Eowyn from Lord of the Rings,
but I’m not sure I have a fiery disposition. Quirky? Yes. Oh you definitely have a fire in you! I adore Anne and Lucy!
did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
book is like going home. The story came to life quite of its own
design, but once it started I added all the things I love best in
books! It’s a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains,
Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking,
Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a
bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots
of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor
houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into
one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance? When I say it’s
like coming home, it truly is 1/3 my heritage/family loves, 1/3 my
love of Britain/swoony heroes and 1/3 imagination. The need for
second chances and love is universal. The healing of forgiveness is
less known, but just as needed. The love of family is something that
is as ingrained in my mountain-girl heart as the arteries. I think those things are all subjects/themes of this story, because
they’re a part of life. It really is a perfect blend of all of this! And those KISSES??? *SWOON*
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Well, as I usually say, Laura Frantz is one of my favorite authors, but I’m not sure my love for her writing could equate to being influential of Just the Way You Are. It’s a very different genre than hers. I’d say some authors who helped inspire my love for contemporary romance novels are Siri Mitchell, Janice Thompson, Denise Hunter, and Laura Jensen Walker. I’d add Mary Connealy for inspiration for humor writing Ooooooh, some good names right there!
What secret talents do you have?
HAHA? Secret talents? Um…I write songs and music to go with my books? I can also talk like one of the Chipmunks ;-)
Ok, I NEED to hear this Chipmunk voice! And your songs are simply gorgeous!
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Kristen Heiztmann’s novel, Told You So, and it was SUPERB!!!! I’m really looking forward to reading my crit partner, Amy Leigh Simpson’s, work-in-progress soon. She’s a fantastic writer. That may be on my list next…besides my research books. I have heard really good things about Told You So!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure. I write out
of sequence. I write two genres at a time, usually. I like to make
‘mock’ covers to go along with my stories as I write them –
just because they’re pretty and inspirational for me
I don't know how you can write in two genres. My brain hurts just reading different genres back to back haha! What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
the only way you’re going to have something to send to publishers
and agents. But second to that is this: Rejection is going to come in
one form or the other – so remember, deep down, the heart-reason
why you write in the first place. This is SO good!!! Thank you!
Before we go, can you tell us what is up next for you?
Um…that’s a great question. There are
lots of ‘what ifs’ in that one. What I do
is that I have the second book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series
coming out in November 2017! Charming
the Troublemaker – Rainey
and Alex’s story. I’m working on several projects right now –
both historical romance and contemporary romance…and thanks to the
gentle prodding of Rachel McMillian, I’m going to start working a
really fun ‘classics’ NA Britallachian series. Only God knows
where I’m going next, but I’d appreciate the prayers
Eeeeep I am SO stinking excited for these books!!!
you so much for joining us today Pepper! I simply ADORE your books...and YOU! It is always a joy chatting with you!
Y'all...Can I just take a moment to COMPLETELY #FOAFA (#freakingoutandflailingabout) over here? If you haven't been able to tell from all of my posts and reviews about Pepper and her books, that Pepper is one of my VERY favorite authors...She is! 100%, totally and completely a FOREVER favorite. God is SO good! And He works in the most mysterious of ways. A few nights ago (AFTER this interview and post was completed), I was debating whether or not to apply for a virtual administrative position with a women's ministry. Volunteer basis, lots of social media stuff, paperwork, etc. I decided to go for it, because it would be great experience and widen my sphere of influence. I needed a couple of references, so I asked a couple of my friends in the bookish world. Among those I asked was Pepper. She replied with "Of course. And if you ever want to volunteer to be my virtual assistant I would be happy to have you." I replied with, "I would be your assistant in a heartbeat!" From that simple exchange developed a plan, a blessing, and an opportunity that I have been praying and dreaming about for almost 2 years. I, Rachel Dixon, of Bookworm Mama am now officially the Virtual Assistant to THE Pepper Basham. If you don't believe me (it is OK, I am having a hard time believing it myself), you can read it for yourself HERE. I am so thrilled to partner with not only an amazing author, but an amazing woman. One who has become so very dear to my heart over the last year since we met. Pepper encourages, uplifts, speaks the TRUTH...and I love her so much! I say all of that to tell you that sometimes, when we think there is an incredible opportunity in front of us, that nothing can top, we are blinded by an even better offer that God has placed before us. Keep your eyes and your heart open my friends. Open to His blessings and His love. Because what He has in store for you is greater than you could possibly imagine! Thank you Pepper for this opportunity to serve you! And my thanks to God for orchestrating the whole thing!
About Pepper Basham
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and most recently a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.
Giveaway!!! Pepper has graciously provided an eBook copy of Just the Way You Are for ONE lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below!
Ok, so last year I had a HUGE list of points that I had to hit with my reading challenge. I am afraid that I only made it about 66% of t...
I often receive free books (whether egalleys, ARCs, or paperbacks) from publishers, authors, and publicity groups in exchange for only my honest review. I am not required to write a positive review, nor any review for that matter. The opinions I express are always my own. Reviews of books which I received free in anticipation of a review will be indicated as such at the end of that particular post. Otherwise, the book was part of my personal collection or borrowed from a library.