Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fun and Romantic Valentine's Wedding

As January is quickly coming to an end, Valentine's day 2015 is only a few short weeks away.  This year, V-day falls on a Saturday so it makes an ideal wedding date for the romantically minded.  Now, having a Valentine's day wedding could potentially seem trite and cliched, but it can also be an extremely fun theme.  Remember decorating elaborate card-boxes and making homemade valentine's cards in elementary school? I say take all of that fun, over the top romance and give it a slightly more mature spin for the perfect wedding theme!

I imagine the bride in an intricate, ethereal ball gown style dress.  Her dress should be a soft white or just slightly off white so it doesn't clash with the red and pink colors of her bridesmaids and decor. A very pale blush dress could even work well with this theme.  I adore this floaty, lacey strapless Melissa Sweet gown from David's Bridal:

David's Bridal MS251004
A slightly more expensive option would be this gorgeous dress from the Allure Romance Collection:
Allure 2716

I love how both of these dresses float and drape around the brides.  Just a touch of lace and ribbon accents make these looks perfect for Valentine's day.

I imagine the bridesmaids in one of two colors of red or pink.  This After Six by Dessy style is fun and flirty, and its shape complements the ethereal look of the bride's dress.  Plus it comes in 80+ colors! I especially like the colors Posie, Honeysuckle, and Flame for a v-day theme. Each bridesmaid would wear matching colored shoes and simple jewelry.  

I want the flowers and decor for this wedding to be just slightly over-the-top. The flowers will be shades of red, pink, and white. I kind of like this Sweet Thoughts bouquet from Global Rose, perhaps with some added pink flowers and greenery for the bride.  For the bridal party I like the Sweet Kiss bouquet, also from Global Rose.   Note that both bouquets are available in varying amounts from the Global Rose website, so you'll need to determine how many you need before placing your order.  If you order more than you need for the bridal party bouquets, the extra flowers can always be used for reception centerpieces. 
Sweet Kiss
Sweet Thoughts
The reception would ideally be held in a gorgeous banquet hall space that can be decorated to fit the theme.  If it is in the bride and groom's budget, red or pink colored accent lighting would be fantastic.  It might be fun to replace the traditional reception meal with a variety of exotic tapas and cocktails. Of course there would be lots of chocolate featured for dessert, with some traditional heart-shaped sugar cookies for guests who may not like/be able to eat chocolate (Yes, there are people who are actually allergic to chocolate. What a sad fate!).   

For more inspiration, check out my Valentine's Day Wed Pinterest Board.  There I will be posting more pink and red Valentine's wedding decor, gorgeous romantic wedding dresses, tantalizing desserts and more.  

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: The Almond Tree

A few months ago I won a Goodreads First Reads giveaway for the book, "The Almond Tree" by Michelle Cohen Corasanti.  This book was absolutely spectacular; I'm not usually so impressed with a book, but this was was a superbly written story. It follows the life, from boyhood to old age, of an intellectually gifted Palestinian man, Ahmed Hamid.
The Almond Tree on

The plot and action of this book are absolutely intriguing and page-turning, but not in a "thriller" type of way. The characters are so real and compelling that I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next.  For me the subject matter is particularly interesting because of the current day conflict between Palestine/Israel.  The story really humanizes all of the struggles and conflicts that region has had in the past 60 years and presents it in a fairly unbiased way.  Although this is a fictional story, it is clear that the author knew and researched the subject extremely well.  Her writing style is clear and descriptive.  At times, I felt like I was sweating under the summer sun with Ahmed and his brothers as they worked dangerous construction jobs to support their family. I could easily imagine that I was in the dorms and classrooms with Ahmed when he finally was able to go away to college.   For the most part, I could easily believe that all of the events in "The Almond Tree" were possible.  There were only a few parts that seemed a bit far-fetched, making this a truly great piece of writing.

I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  It is one of the best books I have read this year.  I would rate it 4.75/5.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: Dragon's Debt by HL Burke

*I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and I never commit to a positive review prior to reading*

As much as I thought that the first book in The Dragon and the Scholar series was fantastic, this book was even better.  HL Burke continues to fine-tune and polish her craft to excellent results.
Much of this book focused on Ewan and Edmond and their relationship as brothers of different species.  It was very interesting to see Ewan grapple with the guilt he still feels about Edmond's injury. Shannon's story is almost a side-plot in this book, as she is still figuring out her relationship with Ewan and must also deal with new romantic interest from the new character Prince Ryan of Westshire (brother of Edmond's love interest, Brighid). I still enjoy how well-developed Shannon is as a character. She is loyal, steadfast, intelligent, and brave, and she also happens to be a woman. I love that the author doesn't make Shannon's character remarkable because of her gender, she is simply a good person who happens to be female.  HL Burke does a really good job of weaving the increasingly complicated relationships between all of the characters. The characters all seem very real; at times I was as frustrated with their actions as I would be when a friend does something incredibly stupid.  

The dialogue in Dragon's Debt was superb and believable; it read as much more natural and less tongue-in-cheek than the diaglogue in Dragon's Curse.  This book did a good job of fleshing out the existing characters and introducing  few interesting new people, although I would have liked the focus to have been more on Shannon.  I also would have liked more drama. I believe this series has great potential as an adventure story as much as a romance if there was just a little bit more "edge of your seat" action at the climax.  Overall, though, this was another great read and I give it 4.5/5 stars. 

Dragon's Debt on

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Georgia On Her Mind by Rachel Hauck

Rating: 2.8/5 I finished this book yesterday after having it on my Kindle for a few weeks after I downloaded it when it was free (it now costs $0.99) I honestly wasn't all that interested in it from the description, but hey, a free book is a free book. Once I got around to eventually reading it, I was pleasantly surprised yet unimpressed at the same time. Rachel Hauck has a good writing style and there are a lot of funny moments in this book. Macy Moore, the main character, is rather witty and almost a bit naive, which is fun to read. However, I just could not get past all of the old, recycled Christian romance plot cliches. Seriously, woman has awesome career but neglects her spirituality, woman's career tanks, annoyingly perfect friends gently remind woman about how much Jesus loves her, woman finally meets good man, various hijincks and "big decisions" ensue, woman ultimately makes the "right" decision and they all live happily ever after. I would have loved more drama in the story and was incredibly disappointed by the last several chapters. I was confused by the authors mix of the literal and metaphorical, especially in reference to the bible verse Isaiah 61:3, " give them beauty for ashes...", which prompts Macy to leave behind the metaphorical ashes of her corporate life and literally return to Beauty, her hometown in Georgia. If the author was going for subtlety, she failed and may have just gone all in and had Macy's house burn down with all her possessions, but I guess that would be too literal. Also, just once I would like to see a Christian romance where the protagonist's dream goal/profession is actually the "right" thing and they are moved to pursue that goal instead of settling for something else.
I can't highly recommend this book, but if you have a spare 99 cents and want to get a few laughs from an otherwise tired story line, go ahead and purchase this book.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: Dragon's Curse by HL Burke

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I never commit to a positive review prior to reading.
Dragon's Curse on

I thoroughly enjoyed Dragon's Curse (The Dragon and the Scholar vol. I)  by H.L. Burke. I kind of accidentally stumbled upon this book when I was searching for other bloggers with similar interests. As I've said before, finding a good, talented, upcoming author is a bit like mining. You get a lot of dirt and junk, but occasionally you find a real gem. H.L. Burke is one of these rare gems, and I would give Dragon's Curse a solid 3.5/5 rating. (Not that this book is bad, I just have extremely high standards to give a 4 or 5).

If you enjoy fantasy novels and tales about magic, dragons, and a bit of romance, this is a good book for you.  The main protagonist, Shannon, is an adorable and stubborn scholar whose first assignment out of the academy (which is basically college) is to treat a neighboring king's poisoned dragon wounds. Although slightly nervous, Shannon is confident in her ability as a healer and is determined to prove her worth to her mentor at the Academy, a man named Martin. Shannon quickly discovers that all is not well in the kingdom of Regone and finds herself allied with a dragon to overcome some unexpected challenges, including an over-zealous would be suitor and an evil witch.

I personally enjoyed the strong fantasy plot of this novel.  While not exactly a brand new story, Dragon's Curse is told in a fun and inventive way.  I liked that Shannon is strong willed and mostly unafraid from the very beginning. Her intelligence and natural curiosity are her main strengths and not merely personality quirks.  I found the dialogue to be overall fairly good, although some of the conversations between characters felt almost too tongue-in-cheek or trite at times and I was unsure if what I was reading was supposed to be serious or not.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who likes epic fantasy and dragons.  It is also a good book for fans of romance novels, although romance is not the main theme of the book.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Dragon's Debt, and the third book, which is set for release later this year.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Flabbergasted

Ray Blackston's Flabbergasted can best be described as enjoyable word vomit. The manic pixie cliche of contemporary romance meets the standard "character discovers faith in some near death experience" of Christian fiction. in this verbose novel. It takes a while to get used to the author's prosaic writing style, but the overall writing is not bad at all. The characters are likeable enough, and the setting is described fairly well. I like the simple, non preachy message about faith and coming to know God in a real and personal way. This book was first published in 2003 so some references feel slightly dated, but I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys lighthearted Christian romance novels. This ebook is currently free  on Amazon so you have nothing to lose except a few hours of reading time so go ahead and check it out! 


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