Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stable Cat's Christmas - A Review

Published - October 2017, Worthy
Author - Christina Vrba
Title - Stable Cat's Christmas
Format - hardcover
Find on Amazon

When all of the other animals have a gift for a new baby, the stable cat wonders what gift she can give the baby.

My thoughts:
This was super cute. I love the illustrations. I love how the cat talks with each of the animals before discovering exactly what gift she can give the baby Jesus.

I love how this book shows that you're enough as you are.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher to review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Christmas books

Rating - 5 stars

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How to Find Love in a Bookshop - A Review

Published - August 2017, Random House
Author - Veronica Henry
Title - How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Format - ebook, hardcover, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book:
Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers—a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive. 

There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage—she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings. 

My Thoughts:
So the premise of this book was interesting. A town of people find love in their local bookshop. I really wanted to like this book. I really did. 

Yet the cast of characters was too vast for me to keep their storylines straight. I also found that the story dragged on. I would happily put it down because I kept loosing interest. Or falling asleep.

Sadly, this book isn't for me. Others may enjoy it, but it's not for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 2 stars

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blind Spot - A Review

Published - October 2017, Bethany House
Series - Chesapeake Valor Book 3
Author - Dani Pettrey
Title - Blind Spot
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book:
FBI agent Declan Grey is chasing after something. Something that may prevent a terrorist attack. When his investigation leads to an immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw for help. Declan's worked with Tanner before, only this time he has to protect her. Tanner's work has her now working with the FBI as a crisis counselor, giving her more opportunities to butt heads with Declan. But neither can deny the spark between them. They soon find themselves in a race against time for not only their lives but to stop something even bigger.

My thoughts:
This book was page turning. I loved how the characters from the other books are in this one as well. I found myself frequently staying up late to read this.

There are a couple of major revelations in this book, and it makes me even more eager for the fourth in the series.

Declan and Tanner have been sparring since the first book in the series, but seeing their story come about was a delight. Of all the couples in the series so far, I think this pair may be my favorite.

I received a copy from the author and the publisher to help with promotion. I was not required to like the book only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of romantic suspense, Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Irene Hannon

Rating - 4 stars

Too Far Down - A Review

Published - October 2017, Bethany House
Series - Cimarron Legacy Book 3
Author - Mary Connealy
Title - Too Far Down
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book:
When an explosion at the CR Mine kills six men, Cole Boden finds himself in the midst of the troubles that have been plaguing the family. Up until now, the focus has only been on the ranch. But evidently, someone wants to take everything the Bodens have worked for and will stop at nothing to see it done. Cole joins forces with neighbor Melanie Blake. Mel is more comfortable on a horse than in a mine. She's also more comfortable in trousers than dresses. But Cole's drawn to her. Can he keep this spirited young lady safe without risking both their hearts?

My Thoughts:
This series has been fun to read. I knew after the first book that the final one would be Cole and Melanie's story. It's been fun to watch these characters develop over the three books.

I loved both Cole and Melanie. I loved how they were both strong willed yet clueless when it came to each other. I also loved their interactions with the others in the book.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of westerns, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, November 9, 2017

To Wager Her Heart - A Review

Published - August 2017, Zondervan
Series - Belle Meade Plantation Book 3
Author - Tamera Alexander
Title - To Wager Her Heart
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks.   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancĂ©--and has shattered her world.    
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.   
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?    
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 

My Thoughts:

This was really good. I haven't ever read anything in this series before. I admit that I felt it started off slow, and it took me a LONG time to actually pick it up to read. 

But as I got into the book, I was impressed with the history and the characters. I loved Ella. I would love to know more about her. 

I also loved how Sy was determined to find out what truly happened in the accident that claimed his father's life. 

What was interesting, historically, was that even though the Civil War was over and reconstruction was well on its way, there were so many people who still treated the former slaves as slaves and resented when any white person actually wanted to attempt to assist in making life better for the former slaves.

I received a kindle copy of the book from the publisher's BookLook Blogging program. I was not required to like the book, only to give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of post Civil War history, Jody Hedlund, Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, November 6, 2017

Museum of the Bible Books - Four Reviews and a giveaway

Published - October/November 2017 - Worthy Publishers
Titles -

  • Wild and Wacky Things in the Bible
  • That's So Weird!
  • What's the Bible All About?
  • Children of the World Storybook Bible
Find on Amazon -

About the books:
This collection of Bible stories is part of the Museum of the Bible. This is an actual museum in Washington DC that has only just opened. These books are a part of a series that will help children discover all about the Bible.

My Thoughts:
Wild and Wacky Things in the Bible - This book was so much fun to read and enjoy. It has very bright pages and there was a lot that I didn't know. I also liked that it paired the obscure fact with the actual story.

Rating - 4 stars

That's So Weird - This book had an almost comic book feel to it. But I enjoyed it. It also pairs the fact with the story so I could go and look it up and read the actual story.

Rating - 4 stars

What's the Bible All About - This board book answers the basic question of what is the Bible all about. It tells you what is the Bible's main purpose. It's really cute.

Rating - 4 stars

Children of the World Storybook Bible - What makes this book different than any other Bible storybook I've read is that the illustrations are drawn by children all over the world. The illustrations all have the child's name, age, and country.

Rating - 4 stars

Overall Thoughts -
This is a collection of books that I was glad to be able to review. I really enjoyed them.

I received these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Giveaway -
One lucky reader will get to pick from one of these four books!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Saturday Scribbles Vol 3.3

It's been a while since I wrote. Today, I'm going to talk baseball.

You see the Astros have just won the World Series bringing a championship to Houston for the first time in franchise history.

I've grown up watching the Astros. When I was in school, the district gave us 2 free tickets to 2 games for straight A's. I'd earn them. And my brother would too. So that was 4 games a year that we'd get to go to. By the time I was in 2nd grade,  I was told I couldn't bring the book with me to read at the game. I actually had to watch the baseball game. So I did. And I learned.

This was the era of the Astros' Rainbow jerseys. The era of the stars of Nolan Ryan, Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Bill Doran. I learned what it meant for players to be at double-play depth. I learned what the scoreboard abbreviations meant. I learned that a play that was marked as a GIDP 6-4-3 was that the batter grounded into a double play shortstop (6) to second (4) to first (3). I learned about the infield fly rule, ground rule doubles, and so much more.

Then in the 1990's the stars changed. The 90's saw the team bring on Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Billy Wagner. The Killer B's came to bat. A few times, the team would make it into the playoffs only lose in the first round. Sometimes it seemed like they couldn't win. But I still adored the Astros.

Then came 2005. I remember watching the game against the Braves that determined if we would move on in the playoffs. We weren't doing well, so I turn back to the computer and my homework. Three hours later, my roommate came home and was shocked to see that my homework was abandoned and that the game was still on. I think it lasted something like 18 innings. We'd just clinched the playoff spot as the National League Wild Card. We went on to win the division series and the league championship series. Here we were, for the first time, in the World Series facing the White Sox. That series was a bitter disappointment as we were swept in 4 games. One interesting fact was that the longest world series game in history was played in that series.

Over the next several years, I'd go to games when I could. More often than not though, I would just watch at home. The team was sold and moved from the National League into the American League.  In 2014, Sports Illustrated predicted that the Astros would be the winners this year.

This year though I've followed them all season, though I wasn't able to get to the games. We ran away with the American League West by June. After the All-Star break, several of the stars went down with injuries. But we were still hot. Just not the hottest team in the league anymore. But the Astros were being mentioned in company of the Indians, the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Nationals - the hottest teams in baseball this summer. I watched as Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Then something happened with our guys. At the end of August, Justin Verlander joined us from the Tigers. Due to a hurricane, the Astros had to play a home series at the spring training facility in Florida. But they came home to Minute Maid Park in September and were on fire. They clinched the American League West title mid September. Our first opponent in the post season in October were the Boston Red Sox. That series was a best of 5.

We won that series 3-1, winning the last game in Boston. Next we faced the Yankees in the American League Championship series. This was a best of 7. Oh my goodness. This series took all 7 games. We had the home field advantage, meaning games 1,2,6, and 7 were going to be played in Houston. We took games 1 and 2. We went to New York with a 2-0 lead on the series. Can we just forget about our performance in New York? We lost all 3 games in New York. But we rallied in game 6 at home. We went on to win the ALCS 4-3.

Now, we're in the World Series for the first time in 12 years. And we were facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game one - Dodgers beat us 3-1. We rallied in Game 2 with a 7-6 win in extra innings. So we were coming home tied at 1. Game 3, we won 5-3 at home. Game 4, was a hard loss at home loosing 6-2.

Then came Sunday's game 5. This game ended up being the second longest in World Series history. Dodgers took the lead early. So it was 3-0 Dodgers at the end of the 1st inning. They scored again in the 4th. We got on the board with a run off a double by Correa. We tied it with a 3-run homer in the 4th. After that it was like a home run derby. Dodgers came back with a 3 run shot in the 5th. Score now 7-4. We countered with another 3-run homer in the 5th. Score now 7-7. Dodgers came up with a run in the 7th. Score 8-7 Dodgers. Bottom of the 7th inning, Springer homers. Score 8-8. Next batters gets on base. Second baseman Jose Altuve hits a double that scores the runner. First lead of the game. Score 8-9 Astros on top. Then Correa homers extending the lead. Astros 11, Dodgers 8. Deep breath. We've got a little bit of a lead. But our bullpen isn't very dependable. 8th inning, Dodgers score again. Dodgers 9, Astros 11. We follow in the 8th with another run. Score - Dodgers 9, Astros 12. By this time, it's like 10-10:30 pm. 9th inning, Dodgers score on a 2 run shot. Score Dodgers 11, Astros 12. They score again to tie the game at 12. We stay scoreless in the bottom of the 9th. By this point, it's almost midnight. Game's going into extra innings. 10th inning. Dodgers manage to not score in the top of the inning. I'm spellbound by this game. It's late. I have to be at work the next morning. I told myself, I'll go to bed after this inning. We're batting. 2 out. Our catcher gets on. Springer walks. 2 on, 2 out. The manager makes a change by pulling the catcher standing on 2nd for a player with more speed. Bregman, comes up. He singles and the runner scores from 2nd base. Astros win 13-12 in 10 innings. This game was a total length of 5 hours 17 minutes. 2nd longest world series game in history.  So we're taking a 3-2 lead back to LA.

All we need is one more win.

Tuesday's game went in the Dodgers favor. Series tied 3-3.

Wednesday's game. The entire city was on pins and needles. We got on the board early. By the end of the second inning it was Astros 5, Dodgers 0. The Dodgers starter didn't last 2 innings. Our starter didn't last through 3 innings. 6th inning, the Dodgers managed to score what would be their only run. Astros win 5-1.

Social media was INSANE on Wednesday night. It was like a dream. We were watching history be made. For a lifelong Astros fan, it was pretty surreal. I was watching history happen. I felt like I was dreaming. The Astros just won the World Series!