“Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying – what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.” 

I love this quote from Mrs Dalloway and day after day Woolf's melancholic heroine becomes dearer to my heart.  Mrs Dalloway's suggestion of saying what one feels simply and plain  is something I can agree with. Not an easy task, though. To reveal one's own feelings makes a person fragile but,  if you think twice, it makes a person stronger as well. 

Cleverness may help you look stronger, but it may be silly on certain occasions in life. What ones? Those Woolf calls "moments of being".  It is not your brain nor your cleverness which help you through those moments. It is not a question of sentimentality, but one of honesty and truth. 

I may have become a tiny bit sentimental in my old age, I can't deny it,  and that is something,  I hope,  understandable. However, I think this is the time to say what we feel, because ...  if not now, when? How we feel is important, crucial, vital and we have not much more time to waste in lies and not much more space for regrets. 

I started writing this post after meeting,  for the second time in less than a year, a man who dares to share what he feels, not only what he thinks: gifted writer and extraordinary man, Fabio Stassi. He is highly communicative,  grounded and self-deprecative, smiling and direct, simple and astonishingly deep. 
Second meeting and second epiphany: this man and his words can make my heart melt and my brain  work out a flow of thoughts quite like ... fireworks. So many inputs that my mind's reaction is an explosion of ideas and feelings. You see?  I'm just telling you what I felt, the only thing worth saying.  

So what did Fabio Stassi say that was so thought - provoking and emotionally strong? He discussed his book, Come un respiro interrotto, with an audience of readers in a town not distant from mine and I was there with friends. He managed to surprise me with the analysis of themes, motifs and ideas which were different from the ones we had discussed when I happened to listen to him for the first time last summer. 



If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get a little distracted while watching Downton Abbey.

It’ll be the middle of an important scene, full of subtle dramatic tension and all of a sudden, you realize that you’ve completely tuned out the dialogue because you’re studying one of the character’s outfit so closely. 

You get lost in a sea of dropped waist dresses, intricate beading and gorgeous hats.  And you’re also probably thinking, “Is there some way I can get away with dressing like I just stepped off of a sprawling Edwardian estate?” 

The answer, thankfully, is yes.  Well, sort of. 

You may not want to go whole hog period fashion, or you might risk looking costumey, but there are certainly ways you can incorporate the style into what you wear every day.

Color Me Softly

When it comes to a color palette, if you want to fit in at Downton, you should stick to soft shades.  Think colors like dusty rose, pale mint, creams, grays, lavender, and light blues.  The overall effect you’re going for is delicately feminine, so stick to muted tones as opposed to vibrant ones.  You do sometimes see the Crawley ladies in more saturated colors, but that’s only for formal occasions, and only once in a while.

Art Deco Details

The Art Deco design movement can clearly be seen in the fashion of Downton Abbey.  Everything from the jewelry to the details on dresses is inspired by the symmetrical, geometric elements seen in things like the stained glass, furniture and architecture of the time period. 



devon's choiceDevon's Choice

 Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer. Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?


Brandon looked over at her  neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk. As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.



Have you been envying Outlander fans in the US who have been able to enjoy this amazing series on TV? It's time for you to stop wishing and dreaming. 
Have you,  instead,  seen it on Starz and want to rewatch it,  because you can't have enough, because add it you your Outlander book collection, you wish to own it or think of giving it as a  present to friends to share the love? 
The big news is that you can do all that right now! Outlander season 1, volume 1 will be released on Digital HD on February 9 and on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd. Loaded with extras (see details below!) 

You can pre-order your copy HERE

The second half of season 1 will be aired from April 4th. Episode  9 will be broadcast,  which includes one of the most controversial  scenes in Gabaldon's book. It will be a shocking  and shaking moment for millions of Jamie Fraser's fans. 
While eagerly expecting for the darker part of the series, here is a great surprise gift : A 2-disc set for collectors! Read on to discover more.



Jeremy's PromiseJeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley

The trip that was meant to save Annie and Jeremy’s marriage brought it to near ruin. Now Annie has returned home, frightened and confused. Jeremy, too, is frightened—and angry. What will it take to save their marriage? It’s clear. Jeremy needs to forgive—Annie needs to forget. A promise is made. A tragedy occurs. A second honeymoon is disrupted. A chance encounter brings David Andrews back into Annie’s life. Annie is determined to remain faithful. She’s made a promise she intends to keep—Jeremy’s Promise.

Praise for Jeremy's Promise

 A.R. Talley, gives you a believable look at the struggle of one couple to reconnect and heal their marriage, with dialog which sweeps you into the moment as if you were there with them, experiencing both their pain and recovery. Kudos to the author who has once again produced a book I couldn't put down, as well as one I felt compelled to read multiple times. ~Donna Dech 

Jeremy's Promise second book in a trilogy by A.R. Talley is an awesome, emotional, romantic, highly recommended, well written story with captivating and engaging characters. ~Debbie Ballard 



Someone has named it "Droughtlander" and Outlander fans know exactly what I mean. I've found a very good remedy to cope with its symptoms: going on reading the rest of the saga. Someone told me I'm lucky because I still have so much to read and discover. Good, then! Lucky me has taken her task quite seriously and undertaken her journey through the world of Outlander books enthusiastically.

Voyager - Book Blurb

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love. 

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
First of all, I must admit Diana Gabaldon has surprised me more than once so far. Lots of unexpected twists and reversals of fortune and thousands of pages! Her creativity and craft are astonishing.

Furthermore,  my storage of visual aids, though incomplete at this point of my reading (the TV series is way back in the narration respect to Gabaldon's printed production), has been of remarkable support in this very long journey and has make it more pleasant, if possible  (see picture below). 

Not long ago I posted my review of book 2, Dragonfly in Amber, which I rated four stars out of  five. But for book 3, Voyager, I need a full score: five stars! I've loved reading it more than the previous one and so far it is my best favourite.



It was on British ITV last autumn and now, on January 18th 2015,  it will premiere in the US, thanks to PBS Masterpiece. A real feast for all our American period-drama-loving friends  who will enjoy this new 6-part drama series , Grantchester, on the same night as Downton Abbey 5. Each Sunday night they will move from Yorkshire to Cambridgeshire and will follow the adventures of their old and new English heroes and heroines comfortably sitting in their armchairs. Two hours of pure Englishness!

James Norton, we saw in Belle and Death Comes to Pemberley, plays an atypical young vicar, Sidney Chambers,  whose main hobby is crime solving. Robson Green plays  his partner and friend,  Police Inspector Geordie Keating.



Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
Seeing the future of movies for 2015 is pretty predictable!

In recent years, I have had a bit of an epiphany. As a movie lover, I am continually buying my ticket and my ridiculously expensive popcorn (but it really does taste better!), in order to see movies, the ads for which have piqued my interest. I have come to the conclusion that the types of movies that are destined to become box office hits reflect political/societal phenomena and the attempts to resurrect old standards that worked well before. 2015 will be no different.

Political/Social Phenomena

Boyhood - Official still

2014 saw film hits like Boyhood, a poignant story, to be certain, but also a treatment of divorce and children of divorce. Then there was Gone Girl, a thriller, of course, but still addressing the issue of marriage and relationships gone wrong.
2015 may not treat divorce and relationships as much as it may return to political and social phenomena from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Consider Unbroken, a story that will take us back to World War II and the theme of the indomitable human spirit. Another opener for 2015, The Sniper, will treat the horrors of contemporary warfare and its devastating impact on the human spirit.



How I fly
A two-book series by the bestselling author of Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy. How I Fall by Anne Eliot 

 *WHAT IF YOU HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE CRUSH?* Impossible because she’s Ellen Foster. The beautiful, smart, and possibly fragile photography-girl. You’re Cam Campbell. The guy who plays football 24/7 with no life. But what if during junior year, you decide to finally try for her phone number—until this glitter-crazed new girl ruins your plan. Worse, the girl is Irish, awkward, and insists you and Ellen should become best friends—with her! Only, you don’t want to be friends with a human tornado, and you think Ellen might need to stay a crush. This is because after one interaction you’ve discovered Ellen Foster really is fragile. Your problems and secrets are too big for anyone to understand. 

 *WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T RESIST?* But what if the three of you wind up assigned to a group photography project, where rumors are already circling about the new girl being ridiculous? You know she’s nice but very alone, so you convince your crush to help protect the new girl. Suddenly, working on the project makes hanging out, texting, talking—and even high school—seem fun and completely normal when it’s anything but normal. 



Mid Century Mayhem New CoverMid Century Mayhem by Bella Street

 Modern day Nashville and 1950s Detroit clash worse than an IKEA futon and a plaid Barcalounger when a free-spirited interior designer and a strait-laced automotive engineer find themselves in another time. TOMS-wearing Olivia Haugen and Madras-shirted Kyle Daniels have no idea why they've ended up in 1954 Michigan, but it's probably not because of all the swank mid-century furnishings. Discovering the reason might have something to do with a wily salvage warehouse owner and her not-so-little shop of secrets.

Praise for the book: "Wow this book just drew me right into it from the start."--Diana K. "Loved it. Details of the past were so real, you felt you were there!" --Amy B.

"This book was amazing. It was funny, harrowing, nerve-racking, and just plain awesome!!!" --Tiffany T.

  add to goodreads



Thirty Three going on girlfriendThirty-Three Going on Girlfriend

***The highly anticipated sequel to Becky Monson's bestseller - Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!*** 

Julia Dorning thought she would die a lonely spinster. That was until nine months ago, when her world was turned upside down. Now she’s got a dream career as a bakery owner, and a relationship with handsome Jared Moody—a life she never thought possible. Just as she’s starting to feel comfortable in her new life, Julia is invited to battle it out on national television making cupcakes. An amazing opportunity, if she can muster up the confidence to do it, that is. Then, out of the blue, Jared goes and throws a rather large wrench in their relationship causing Julia to have to make some big decisions. With her two trusted confidants off in wedding la la land, Julia is on her own to figure everything out. Left to her own devices, will Julia be able to work things out for herself? Or will she make a disaster of it all? Find out in Becky Monson’s sequel to Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!

"After reading the first book, I have been waiting impatiently for this one. I was not disappointed. I laughed so hard, it was a fun read that left me with a good feeling." -Amazon Reader

 "Get ready for another crazy ride with Julia Dorning. This sequel not only lives up to expectations of the first, but surpasses it!" - Author Kathryn Biel