Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sherlock Meets Sherlock- Episode 3

Listings: Episode 1, Episode 2

Announcer: So you've decided to return? Well, we are certainly glad to have you here for our final installment of this season's Sherlock Meets Sherlock. Remember that if you have not seen the first two episodes, you can find them in the listings above. And if you would like to see this broadcast continue, please leave a comment for our producer.

As with the past two weeks, BBC's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have found themselves in the flat of their Warner Brothers counterparts. The following is an experiment to see how they would react to each other.

(Summary: As the characters from each all have the same names, Warner Brothers' Sherlock Holmes and John Watson will be denoted by their last names, while the BBC characters will go by their first names. Watson and John have since completed their fistcuff from the last episode and now the characters discuss how this situation could have come to be and how to undo it.)

The Scene: They all sit in chairs, Sherlock and John on one side of the room while Holmes and Watson are on the other. Watson has his head tilted back and is pinching his nose while John rubs his neck.

Holmes: (Claps his hands to break the silence) Well, isn't this fun?

(Watson glares at him)

John: You call this fun?

Sherlock: Of course he does. He obviously gets off on this sort of thing.

Holmes: And you don't?

Sherlock: (With an air of superiority) Of course not.

(Watson snorts and then cringes)

Holmes: (Looks at Watson) I do say, you should try not to laugh.

Watson: Shut up.

Sherlock: This exchange is all together fascinating, but there are more pressing matters.

Holmes: Charges of breaking and entering for instance?

Sherlock: You know very well that's not what happened here.

Holmes: I know nothing of the sort. (Nudges Watson) Would you mind handing me my pipe?

Watson: Get it yourself.

Holmes: Rude.

Sherlock: (Groans) Would you please?

John: (Crosses his arms) Just ignore them, Sherlock. We don't need them to solve this.

Holmes: (To Watson) Why can't you be that supportive?

Watson: Because you're an idiot.

Sherlock: I need absolute silence. (Leans forward with his fingers at his temples)

Watson: (Leans forward as well) (To John) What is he doing?

John: (Whispers) It's his mind palace.

Holmes: Does it work?

Watson: (Yells) Are you kidding me?

Holmes: Perhaps I should try it.

Sherlock: Does no one understand the meaning of silence?  (Stands abruptly)

John: I have not said a thing.

Sherlock: You're still contributing to the problem. (Begins to pace)

Watson: Now what is he doing?

John: He's trying to find a solution to this mess.

Holmes: Why does he not simply reenact the actions which brought you here?

John: We don't know what actions brought us here. This isn't exactly normal.

Holmes: Really? I had assumed you did this everyday.

Watson: Oh, knock it off. No else finds this as giddily fascinating as you do.

Holmes: Perhaps that is the problem. (Stands as well, then turns dramatically to John) Why don't you tell me, in exact detail, how it is that you came to find yourself here?

John: Are you serious? (Points behind him to Sherlock) If he can't figure this out, what makes you think you can?

Watson: Because he's Sherlock Holmes. He believes he can do anything.

Holmes: That is incorrect.

Watson: Is it? (Watson and Holmes glare at each other)

Holmes: (Looks away first) It hardly matters. One can not discover the full extent of a puzzle without having encountered all the pieces. (To John) Now, please--

Sherlock: (Yells) Of course!

(Watson and John both stand. All look to Sherlock)

Holmes: What is it?

Sherlock: (Ignores Holmes) Come. (Grabs John's hand and tugs him across the room)

John: (Furious) Would you let go of me!

Sherlock: It is completely obvious.

(Watson and Holmes follow close behind)

Watson: What is?

Sherlock: (Spins about, now clutching John by the shoulder) It was right in front of us all along.

Holmes: Do not keep with this suspense. Tell me!

Sherlock: (Grins snarkily) Why, it's elementary.

(There is a thunderous boom and blinding flash. Watson and Holmes shield their eyes. Papers float around them as though recently thrown in the air. Watson opens his eyes first. John and Sherlock are gone)

Watson: Well, that's over with.

Holmes: (Looks as well) I can't believe they did that.

Watson: Did what?

Holmes: The man could have at least told us how he managed to do it.

Watson: (Angry) Are you actually serious?

Fades to black. THE END

Announcer: We hope you enjoyed this special. Remember that if you did not catch the last two episodes, you can find those above in the listings.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Shattered Vigil- Patrick Carr

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they've been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. Jorgen, the member of the Vigil assigned to Frayel, has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms' ability to defend themselves.
Just when the Vigil thought they had quenched the menace from their enemy in Collum, a new threat emerges: assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it's too late. The orders of the church and the rulers of the kingdoms, fearing the loss of the Vigil's members altogether, have decided to take them into protective custody to safeguard their gift. On Pellin's orders, the Vigil scatters, leaving Willet to be taken prisoner by the church in Bunard. 

In the midst of this, Willet learns of the murder of an obscure nobleman's daughter by one of the unseen assassins. Now he must escape his imprisonment and brave the wrath of the church to find the killer in order to turn back this latest threat to the northern continent.

My Thoughts: Described as a Fantasy Mystery, The Shattered Vigil is a very complex novel with many threads that need to be followed in order to reach the end. The tone is dark and suspenseful, with few moments of mirth to lighten the impact of the plot. Those who pick up this series (and especially this second book) should be ready for an intense struggle against the darkness that lurks in the Darkwater.

Strangely enough, I enjoyed this book more than I did the first. While both are just as dark, The Shattered Vigil played out on a grander scale and offered more answers to how the Vigil functions (or barely functions). The urchins also have a more prominent role, offering some childlike hope to the otherwise bleak worldviews of the adults.

I'm not sure what to expect in the final book of the trilogy. So far it seems difficult to imagine a truly happy ending, though I do hope that Willet and the others find one. And that lack of faith in a happy ending is what ultimately leaves this book with less than a perfect rating. Because while Carr has woven an epic story and world, I would have preferred it if there had been a least one character whose worldview wasn't completely shattered.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book from the publisher.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sherlock Meets Sherlock- Episode 2

Listings: Episode 1

Announcer: We so do hope that you enjoyed last weeks episode of Sherlock Meets Sherlock and are here now for episode two rather than having come upon this by accident. However, if you are joining us for the first time, you can find a link to the first episode in the listings above.

As with last week, BBC's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have found themselves in the flat of Warner Brothers' Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Let's watch and see how they react to each other.

(Summary: In this episode, the BBC Sherlock has begun to recognize the Warner Brothers' Sherlock as his doppelganger. As the characters from each all have the same names, Warner Brothers' Sherlock Holmes and John Watson will be denoted by their last names, while the BBC characters will go by their first names.)

The Scene: Holmes and Watson stand in the doorway to the back room while John and Sherlock stand in the middle of it.

John: (Angrily points at Holmes) You are not us.

Holmes: Well, of course not. Not exactly. 

Watson: They are not use at all. Have you lost your mind?

Holmes: Quiet possibly.

John: (To Sherlock) Sherlock, will you not say something?

Sherlock: I do believe he already covered it. (Finds a chair and brushes its contents onto the floor before sitting with a flourish of his coat) There's really not much more for me to say.

John: You mean to say that you are just going to sit there and let them impostor us?

Watson: (Points cane at John) Now see here.

(Holmes moves to stand beside Sherlock while Watson and John advance toward each other. Holmes and Sherlock watch on)

Holmes: I must say that I find this rather entertaining. 

Sherlock: Whatever do you mean?

(Both Sherlock and Holmes watch in silence for a moment)

Holmes: I believe this is the perfect opportunity for an experiment. What do you think we could do to them?

Sherlock: Do to them? (Sherlock turns to Holmes with a look of disgust) We are not going to do anything.

Holmes: Don't tell me that you're not even the tiniest bit curious as to what we can get them to fight over. (Holmes lifts a fire poker of the table next to him and stares at it as though he can not fathom what it is) You are me, after all.

Sherlock: I'm not that much like you.

Holmes: (Twirls the poker in the air like a baton) Do tell.

Sherlock: (Shakes down his sleeves and tilts his head) I see by the red of your eyes and the paler of your cheeks that you have been engaging in illegal substances for sometime now.

Holmes: Utterly fascinating. (Uses the fire poker as a staff) But you forget, I too can read you and I have already noticed the needle marks on your arms, though you have now covered them up. Meaning that you too have been... partaking.

Sherlock: That was for a case.

Holmes: Was it?

Sherlock: Yes.

(Sherlock and Holmes stare at each other for a moment. Watson and John are in the background, yelling at each other)

Sherlock: (Notices a picture of Irene Adler on the coffee table across from him, though he does not instantly recognize her. He smirks) Sentiment.

Holmes: Excuse me?

Sherlock: Who is she? The woman that you love? I must say that I am shock--

Holmes: (Interrupts) Who said anything about love?

Sherlock: (Motions to the room) You did. In every way other than words.

Holmes: (Sniffs rather loudly) (To Watson) Watson, are you rather done yet?

(In the time that Sherlock and Holmes interrogated each other, John has given Watson a bloody nose and Watson has gotten John in a headlock)

Watson: (Grabs a nearby plate, covered in Holmes' last forgotten meal which now spills across the floor, and bashes it against John's head) Just a moment more.

Holmes: Take your time.

Scene Break: Fades to black. 

Announcer: Come back next week for this season's final installment of Sherlock Meets Sherlock.

Episode 3

Monday, January 23, 2017

Of Moose and Men: Lost and Found in Alaska- Torry Martin and Doug Peterson

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: Torry Martin—a comedian, actor, and hippie—fled from California to the wilderness of Alaska, searching for answers to life's big questions. He found what he was looking for...and a lot more!

A moose got its head stuck in Torry's window. A reindeer was trapped in his kitchen. A bear almost prevented him from reaching his airplane. He once woke up frozen to his cabin floor.

Like the Israelites of old, Torry experienced plenty of miracles and mishaps in the wilderness. And like them, he came face-to-face with God and was changed forever.

Each of these true stories of Torry's hilarious blunders and misfortunes contains a nugget of truth, but one theme prevails: If God can reclaim and repurpose Torry Martin's life, He can do the same for you and those you love.


My Thoughts: A couple years ago, I was able to hear Torry Martin speak at a conference and I remember his lesson being one of my favorites that year. He was funny and his advice was practical. So when I saw this book up for review, I knew instantly that I wanted to read it. And am I ever glad that I did.

Of Moose and Men is a hilarious read. Torry's sense of humor shines through in every story that he tells, and I flipped through the pages faster than I would have imagined. Yet each chapter ends with a serious moment, where Torry explains just why he told that story and the lesson that he learned from it. The scriptures and insights he gives are powerful, and the simplicity of the moments God used in his life truly spoke to me.

There is a lot to think about with this book: what things we deem important or else take for granted, and how we interact with God in our everyday lives. I appreciate Torry's honesty as well as his wit when telling of his past, even though there were some moments that made me cringe. I highly recommend this, even for those who don't normally read non-fiction, as Torry Martin's (and Doug Peterson's) way of writing is easy to follow and very relatable.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through the Book Fun Network.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sherlock Meets Sherlock- Episode 1

Announcer: Today, for your viewing pleasure, we have a new series entitled, Sherlock Meets Sherlock, in which the characters of your favorite Sherlock Holmes retellings get to meet. Let's watch and see how they react to each other.

(Summary: In this episode, the BBC Sherlock meets the Warner Brothers' Sherlock. As the characters from each all have the same names, Warner Brothers' Sherlock Holmes and John Watson will be denoted by their last names, while the BBC characters will go by their first names.)

The Scene: Back in Holmes' flat, Watson reads the paper in the chair by the window while Holmes lays on the floor, softly playing his violin.

Watson: Could you please stop doing that?

Holmes: (Runs the bow over the strings, creating a screeching noise). Whatever for? I find it quite relaxing.

Watson: You're giving me a headache.

Holmes: Perhaps you need your ears checked.

(Watson opens his mouth to speak, but at that moment, there is a bright flash in the back room and a crash accompanying.)

Sherlock: (Muffled yell from the back room)

John: (Muffled chiding from the back room)

Holmes: (Sitting up on his elbows) I say. (Looks at Watson) I believe we have visitors.

Watson: (Stares at Holmes and then drops the paper as he shoves to his feet) You would take an intruder lightly.

Holmes: Yes, I should like to study their behavior. Can you give them a moment so I can see what they try to take first?

Watson: (Limps across the room on his cane) Not today Sherlock.

Scene break: The lights dim and the set is changed to the back room. There are papers, as well as other odds and ends, scattered about from where Holmes left them last, yet some bits are now smoldering. Sherlock and John stand in the middle of the room.

John: Sherlock, what have you done?

Sherlock: Me?

John: Yes, you. (Angrily favors his war wound) I told you-- I told you not to touch it.

Sherlock: No you didn't.

John: Yes, I did!

Sherlock: (Begins to look around) Oh, don't be dramatic.

John: I am not-- (The door opens, cutting him off)

(Both John and Sherlock turn to the door. Watson stands there, his expression slightly miffed)

Watson: And what do you think you're doing?

Sherlock: (Squints, noticing the bum leg and military bearing) Who are you?

Watson: That's hardly the question to ask when invading someone's home, now is it?

John: We did not invade--

Sherlock: Don't bother to explain, John. It's not like he'll believe you.

Holmes: (Peeks head into room) Did you hear that, Watson? Our burglar has the same name as you.

John: Is this some kind of joke? (Looks at Sherlock) Tell me you're not playing another prank.

Sherlock: I do not play pranks. (Tilts his head to study the room. There is calculation in his expression) And certainly none so clever as this.

Watson: (To Holmes) Do you know what they're talking about?

Holmes: I have no idea. (Moves past Watson to study Sherlock) (To Sherlock) Have we met?

Sherlock: We certainly have not. However, I would like to know just how you were able to pull this off. (Steps forward) It is very clever.

Holmes: (Starts to circle Sherlock) It is, isn't it?

Watson: What is?

John: (To Watson) Oh, please. John? Watson? Don't pretend you don't know.

Watson: I don't know. (Shuffles to the side, looking out of the room) This is ridiculous. I'm going to have Mrs. Hudson call for the Yard.

John: Mrs. Hudson!

Sherlock: (Still studying Holmes) Do be quiet, John.

John: (Getting really angry) I will not. They have brought Mrs. Hudson into this and I will have answers.

Watson: Holmes!

Holmes: (Has stopped circling and now stands beside Watson) This is astonishing.

Watson: Would you just spit it out?

Holmes: (Turns to Watson and then to John) It would appear that they are us.

Watson: (Rolls eyes) You have got to be kidding me.

Scene Break: Fades to Black

Announcer: We do hope you enjoyed this installment of Sherlock meets Sherlock. Return next week for the newest episode, where the characters try to understand how there can be two of them.

Episode 2, Episode 3

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Things We Knew- Catherine West

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

My Thoughts: Lynette and Nick are pretty interesting characters dealing with the scars and pain of their pasts, along with the struggles of their present. I wanted them to find happiness and for their lives to be whole, even though there was a lot going against them.

However, I felt that the story could have started about fifty or so pages later. Most of the initial scenes felt unnecessary and the important information could have been condensed into one or two scenes or else added later on. The story really didn't pick up until Lynette's family started returning to the island, and even then I didn't really like most of her family.

Once the siblings showed up, there was a lot of conflict. Each of them had their own baggage and issues to deal with, along with different memories of the past. These memories often conflicted and West did a good job of showing how their ages affected their perspective of the same events. Yet the number of siblings was a lot of keep track of. While the story was enjoyable, it would have done better to have been spread out over multiple novels, with the ending further developed.  As it is, The Things We Knew is a decent read if you have the chance but not one that I will rave about.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through the Fiction Guild.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Just a Kiss- Denise Hunter

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

My Thoughts: Each book in this series has had such a satisfying romance and Paige and Riley's is no different. I don't know that I can put my finger on just why I enjoyed this book. It's well written, with tons of emotional tension, and an occasional laugh. Maybe it is Denise' ability to write such good romance without it being sappy or ridiculous. All I know is that I had such a silly grin on my face while reading it that my sister just kind of stared at me for a few minutes and then walked away, shaking her head.

The ending was not perfect. It mirrored the final conflict of The Goodbye Bride in a way that made it easy to see exactly how this one would end, which was disappointing after all the twists and turns that the rest of the book had. It was also a little rushed and I wished that Riley could have come around without such a drastic backslide.

Still, the very last chapter made up for a lot. It was so adorable, with not only a happy ending for Paige and Riley but also for Sheriff Colton and Aunt Trudy. It was a happy last few pages that makes me sad to see these characters go. I may just have to read the books again.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy through the Fiction Guild.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Comfy Cozy Reading Weather HOP

Thanks to Stuck in Books for hosting this giveaway HOP!

Christmas may be over, but that doesn't mean that you can't still receive some books. A number of bloggers have gotten together to give away books that are great for snuggling up with and I hope you find something to enter for. Here on Backing Books, I'm giving away a chose of one of two books.

Both stories are set during rather famous wars, the ARC of Karolina's Twins taking place during WWII and Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray tells the stories of two women who lived during the Civil War. Historical fiction is perfect for a cold day, with plenty of conflict and depth to keep you occupied.

The giveaway is open to US entrants only and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email sent to them before a new winner will be chosen. In accordance with the rules, there is one free entry so if you don't want to follow or tweet, you can still enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My 2016 Favorites

According to my Goodreads challenge, I read 100 books this last year. And this doesn't include the ones I forgot to record on the site. But out of all those books, there were a few that shined the brightest, and I would like to share my favorites with you.


Jill Williamson is one of my favorite authors and she consistently puts out great novels. I look forward to everything she writes and can't wait for this book's sequel, which comes out here in a month or so.

Biblical Fiction:

Tessa Afshar is another favorite, though there have been one or two of her books I didn't care for. However, this one is my absolute favorite novel of hers. It is incredible.

Historical Fiction:

Irma Joubert is a fairly new author to me, and this is only the second book I have read of hers. Yet Child of the River has ensured I will be reading all of her books in the foreseeable future.

Contemporary Romance:

I don't recommend everything that Sheralyn Pratt writes, as a lot of it is secular and does not hold to the same values as I do. But King of the Friend Zone is a really sweet and fun read, with only a couple questionable references. Definitely not for everyone, but perfect for some.


Though Jessica Khoury has written other books in the past, this is the first of hers I have read... and it is fantastic! A retelling of Aladdin, it is something I highly recommend for any fans of the genre and I really hope that she writes more like it.

Share below, what are some of your favorite 2016 reads? And what are you looking forward to?