Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 16

It's Saturday! That means it is time for another edition of Saturday Scribbles. I'll let you in on a secret. This feature is one of my favorite things to write. About last week's lack of Scribbles post. Yeah that didn't happen. I'd meant to. I have something I want to share, and last Saturday would have been the perfect day to do so. But I came home Friday night, watched the Amazing Race and then fell asleep. And my Saturday was busy, so I didn't have a chance to get it written. So I'll share NEXT Saturday what I'd planned for the 16th. Why not today, you may ask? That's because of what I'm about to talk about.


Ever since Disney introduced this movie back in 1992, I've loved it. Yes it's a musical. Which is something I love. But it's unlike any musical I'd ever seen. Most musicals have a bit of a romance in it. Or the entire story is a romance. Not so with this one. This one follows a group of newspaper sellers, you know the paper boys who are shouting Extra Extra, in the late 1890's in New York who purchase their newspapers to sell for 50 cents per 100 papers. When the newspaper owners decide to raise the cost to 60 cents per 100 papers, the boys go on strike and a leader emerges to lead the newsboys. One reason I love this musical is that I was a girl in junior high. The cast is predominately male. I had crushes on at least 3 or 4 of the actors. :) But another reason is that  Gene Kelly was a special consultant to the film, especially with the choreography. I've probably grown up seeing just about every, if not all, Gene Kelly movie. Knowing that he consulted on the film, I was easily able to pick out specific scenes he had helped with. The movie is actually based on true events.

Well the movie was turned into a Broadway play. It is currently touring the country. When I heard it was coming to Houston, I was thrilled. I figured, I could figure out a way to get a pair of tickets. My Mom got me some for Christmas. And my one of my long time friends (we've known each other since we were babies) is coming with me to see it. And the best thing is - we are seeing it TODAY!!!

Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited?

So here are a few clips from the movie of three of my favorite songs to let you, my reader friends, share in my excitement today. Happy watching. By the way Christian Bale is very young in this film.

This clip from the the movie is one where Gene Kelly's influence is the most obvious.

This is the song "Seize the Day." Even in this clip, Gene Kelly's influence is noticable to one who has watched as many of his movies as I have.

And finally, Jack Kelly played by a young Christian Bale, in the number "Santa Fe."

So what musicals make up your favorites that you have seen live?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

As Love Blooms - A Review

Published - May 2015, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - The Gregory Sisters Book 3
Author - Lorna Seilstad
Title - As Love Blooms
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Tessa Gregory is a very determined young lady. After years of going from one adventurous career dream (the stage) to another, she has finally found the field that she truly loves - being a horticulturalist. Yet when she is denied a position at the prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Tessa isn't afraid to put her skills as a former Pinkerton and an actress to use by infiltrating the world of the highly successful and wealthy society and garner donations that would help present her cause. But before she really gets started on that, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park. Reese longs for the position that Tessa wants. He's got to design and plant a garden that will catch the eye of the park's superintendent. There's one problem with that - he's able to cultivate just fine, he just can't envision the garden's designs. As he and Tessa get to know one another, they discover that perhaps they can help each other out. That is if they manage to do that while falling for each other.

I've read each of the other books in this series. The second one is my favorite. I've got to be honest, I was a bit bored with this one. That's probably because gardening holds zero interest to me. But still, it was fun to catch up with Tessa's sisters and their families.

I loved Tessa's spark about life. She literally glowed with excitement with whatever project she was working on. And to have watched her grow up from the pages of the first book, it was fun to see her story and what career she would finally settle in. I liked Reese, but he didn't wow me like some of the other heroes I've read. He was just a nice man.

Overall, I think that the reason I didn't care for this one as much as the other two is that I didn't care for all of the gardening details. Yeah, I get that they were there for a specific reason, but because of it, I found myself putting the book down frequently.

But fans of historical romance will enjoy this book.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to like the book, just give my honest opinion.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Jody Hedlund, Julie Klassen, Julie Lessman, Deeanne Gist

Rating - 3 stars

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Visitor - A Review

Published - April 2015, HopeSprings Books
Author - W.G. Reese
Title - The Visitor
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
The divine blessings of Sior transformed the world of Ariel Leun into a paradise where people enjoy long lives in the company of mystical creatures. Winn, a transplant from the dark world of Draugh, reigns as a beloved King with his trusted advisor Caelan at his side, until the death of his Queen sends him spiraling into despair. Banishing Caelan and neglectful of his duties, King Winn is unaware that an old enemy, Garthpha, plots to take the throne.

Rebelling against their father's retreat into seclusion, the heirs of Ariel Leun travel the passages of the Red Stone to Draugh where four warring Kings scheme to capture them, exploit their inner light, and deliver them to Garthpha as tribute. Can the children be rescued before their light is extinguished and evil takes the throne of Ariel Leun, plunging it into darkness?

My thoughts:
I like science fiction. I like fantasy. I have a hard time reading allegorical novels though. And that's really what this one is. 

From the beginning of the book, I was lost. I had no idea what was going on through it, but I hung on and managed to muddle through it. Even at the end of the book, I still was lost. Maybe that was because I wasn't really in a mood to read science fiction/fantasy. I recognize the fact that when I'm not in a mood to read something, I typically will struggle with it.  And that was probably the case with this book. 

I will say that the book was well written. The characters are well developed and deep. I was just lost. So while this book probably wasn't one for me, others may still enjoy it. The books I've read from this publisher, I HAVE enjoyed.

I received the Kindle copy of this book for free from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Recommended to fans of allegory, Anne Elisabeth Stengel

Rating - 3 stars - Just because I wasn't in a mood to read this book and it didn't appeal to me, isn't enough of a reason for me to rate it 2 stars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - My Choice of topics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.

Today's topic is a freebie. I get to pick what I want to list. I thought about listing movies. But I actually decided to list the books that I think would be good read aloud books for children not yet reading. Yes they are all chapter books, but still wonderful ones. The covers are the ones I grew up with, not the more modernized versions.

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White  - This is one of my all time favorite books. I'm not sure when I first read it, but I was somewhere in elementary school. When I was student teaching in Kindergarten, we read this book aloud to the class. 

2. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar - one of my elementary school teachers read this to us. There are 30 stories, so it was one chapter a day. While not really the best for super young children, it's a fun read aloud for kids around 6 or 7 years old.

3. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - Another book that was read aloud to me in I think 3rd grade. It's still a fun read to kids.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - I'm not sure if this was ever read aloud to me or not. I do remember reading it probably in 5th grade. But it's still a good book. And besides, what child wouldn't want to visit a chocolate factory through the pages of this book?

5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - Probably not the best read one to read to very young children, but I love the underlying truth of the book. Here you have the wild bunch of Herdman kids whom everyone is surprised to see when they show up at church. Yet when they hear the Christmas Story, the kids turn what could be the biggest disaster in the church's history into the best show ever. 

6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - I grew up watching the Judy Garland movie. It wasn't until I was in college that I actually read the book. And that's because it was a read aloud in the Kindergarten class I was student teaching in. I was actually surprised at how the kids loved it. 

7. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell - This was another one that was read aloud to me while I was in elementary school. I remember the boys in the class LOVING it. 

8. Heidi by Johanna Spyri - I think Mom read this aloud to me when I was little. I've read it several times since (and seen all of the movie adaptations). It's a classic that most little girls would enjoy. 

9. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - I don't remember if this was read aloud to me or not. Or did I borrow my brother's copy and read for myself around the time I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. But it's a great story. This is the one I'd recommend starting the Narnian adventures with.

10. Wonder by R.J. Palacio - I've never read this book. My mind had drawn a blank for another read aloud, so I asked an elementary librarian friend of mine for some ideas. This was the first one she recommended. Here's the Goodreads description.
You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

And that's my Top Ten Read Alouds. What would you put on your list?

Friday, May 15, 2015

No Place to Hide - A Review

Published - May, 2015, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Hidden Identity Book 3
Author - Lynette Eason
Title - No Place to Hide
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

When Jackie Sellers sees her childhood friend, Ian Lockwood, on the national news as a person of interest in a potential terrorist attack, she knows she needs to find Ian and get to the truth. But getting to the truth is harder than Jackie can imagine even with her connections at Operation Refuge. In a short amount of time, Jackie and Ian are on the run, not knowing who they can trust. Will they be successful in proving that Ian is innocent?

This is the third book in this series. I enjoyed every minute of it. I actually liked it better than the second one.

This book literally has it all - romance, action, a fast paced storyline, and believable characters. I can honestly say that I wasn't bored with this book. I read it pretty quickly and was engrossed from the first page.

I really liked Jackie. I loved finding out more into her past. She was a minor character in one of the other books in the series. I also enjoyed the interactions between her and Ian.

I liked seeing how Ian was so determined to clear his name that he was willing to do anything to do so. And I LOVED the dog.

Overall, this was an excellent read. Fans of Irene Hannon and Dani Pettrey will enjoy this romantic suspense.

I received this book for  free from Revell for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, romantic suspense

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Love Like Ours - A Review

Published - May, 2015, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Porter Family Series, Book 3
Author - Becky Wade
Title - Love Like Ours
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

Jake Porter is a former Marine. He's seen a lot of action. And while he may have returned home mostly unscathed, he's suffering from PTSD. He lives a solitary life, remains on the outskirts of his family, and is generally left alone. But he's got a talent for getting the best out of a horse and enjoys his time spent training Thoroughbreds. When his childhood best friend, Lyndie James, moves back to Holley, Texas, Jake is pushed out of his comfort zone and cautiously hires her to exercise his horses. She's fearless and has a gentle touch. So Jake pairs her with his stallion Silver Leaf, a horse with lots of promise but little results hoping she can figure out the mystery behind the horse's reluctance to run. Though the years have passed and both Lyndie and Jake are far different adults than the children they once were, neither can deny that there is still a bond between them. As they spend more and more time together, Jake's drawn to Lyndie's gentleness against his will. He feels that he wouldn't be good for her. Will Lyndie's persistence pay off and Jake be able to let go of his fears to find love? Or will his fears keep them apart for good?

I've enjoyed each and every book in the Porter Family series. This one was no exception. Becky has done a tremendous job of creating very deep characters. I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character suffers from PTSD. The way that she addresses it is done with grace and care.

I loved the ways that Lyndie worked with both Jake and Silver Leaf to overcome their fears. She was gentle yet strong. In some ways, she treated Jake like a skittish colt. And the depth to Jake's character really did wow me. He is definitely the definition of a wounded hero. I also loved getting a glimpse into Ty and Celia now too.

There were a couple of things that bothered me, and they're rather minor. First I didn't like the way that one of the characters kept going on and on about how handsome Ty was, even though he was/is happily married. And the other thing was the way that it felt that Lyndie had to give up her dream to have Jake. Like I said, those are minor, and didn't detract at all from my enjoyment of the book.

I received the book for free from the author to help promote it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of contemporary romance, Becky Wade, Katie Ganshert, Irene Hannon

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Authors I Really Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

It's Tuesday! It's May. And life is good today. 

Today's topic is the top ten authors I really want to meet. With social media being what it is today, I'm friends with several authors on Facebook/Twitter. So I feel that I already know several of them. I've had the privilege to meet in person Karen Kingsbury. I also personally know a couple of authors, my sales director Laura Santos, and my long time friend, Laura Jackson. So here is my list of authors I'd love to meet in person.

1. Robin Jones Gunn - I would LOVE to be able to have a cup of tea with Robin and chat and pray with her. If I ever get a chance to go to Hawaii, I'll see if she has room in her schedule to meet me.

2. JK Rowling - As a HUGE Harry Potter fan, this would be a chance to find out if she is ever going to write anything from the Marauder Era.

3. Rick Riordan - I love mythology. His Percy Jackson books have only reinforced my love of mythology. 

4. Liz Curtis Higgs - I've seen some of her YouTube videos of her speaking. I'd love to hear her talk in person. Maybe she'll come to Houston one day and I can go.

5. Julie Lessman - Julie is someone I think I'd have a lot in common with. Sure we've emailed and chatted via Facebook, but I'd love to just get to know her. Besides she's got a November birthday, and since that's MY birthday month, that would make it even more fun.

6. Becky Wade - I've fallen in love with her Porter Family. I know she lives in Dallas, and while I admit I'm up there every year for my Mary Kay Seminar, one of these days I may have to schedule a way for us to meet.

7. Brandon Sanderson - I really enjoy reading his fantasy novels. I was a fan of his before I knew he was co-authoring the last few books of the Wheel of Time Series. 

8. Janice Thompson - I've loved laughing to her romantic comedies. I've seen her beautiful cakes and cookies on Facebook. I'd love to just chat and get to know her some more.

9. Jody Hedlund - Sometimes I feel like I know her pretty well from following her blog and things. But her books are rich in history and very good. So she's on my list of authors to meet.

10. Melissa Tagg - I received a post card from her the other day. It totally made my day. I'd love to chat with her as well.

There are other authors I'd love to meet like Katie Ganshert, Karen Witemeyer, Dani Pettrey, Sarah Sundin, and others I'm sure I'm missing.

So what authors do you want to meet?