Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 17

Happy Saturday my friends! I eluded to this post last week. Well today, I finally get to share wit you what has been on my heart for a little bit.

There are times when I so amazing at God's faithfulness. You see, my friends and family have been praying for a new job for me. Especially after my boss retired back in January. And they have been praying consistently for a long time for me to get this new job.

Well here's my journey to the new job that I started this past week.

The old job was very stressful. A new system was in the process of being developed and my biggest prayer was that I'd be able to have a new position before the new system was moved out of testing mode into production.

I'd heard about a couple of trainer positions at a specific location. I talked to a friend who gave me the contact information for one of the trainers at this location. So I communicated with her for several weeks. This was back in February. At her advice, I applied for a different position at this location. And then emailed her to let her know I'd done so. I'll admit I was very persistent. When a couple of weeks went by and I'd not heard anything, I politely emailed her again to see if she knew anything about my application status.

Well a friend of mine happened to be taking a course over at that location one day, and she sent me a text asking me to call her. So I did. Unknown to me until that moment, my friend had been talking me up to the instructor of the class she was attending. She told me to send him my resume. So I did. About two hours later, he called me for an interview. This was late March by this time. We were able to schedule the interview on a Friday that happened to be on a day I was already off of work.

I knew I had to prepare for the interview. Of course, I let those who loved me and were praying know of it and ask for prayers. I'd gone on an interview for a different position back in February and the panel met with the candidates to offer advice. One piece of advice that stuck with me was this "find someone you know who is in the position you want and ask them what they typical day looks like." So I did. I emailed my contact I'd been communicating with and asked her some questions. She asked me to call her so we could chat on the phone as opposed to email. So I did. She helped me to prepare for the interview.

I walked into the interview, exuding all of the  confidence my Mary Kay training had taught me. And I was pretty calm. I knew God had this. I'd come prepared with samples of things I could do in Microsoft Office, a sample of a research paper with a corresponding PowerPoint presentation, a sample of customer correspondence, a sample of Excel, and a very detailed sample of a Word document that is a training manual.

So while I was at the interview, my biggest prayer was to be called back for a second interview. That didn't happen. You see, he told me that he wanted me. He was going to make a recommendation to HR and that I should expect a phone call within a week. I was excited, and a bit stunned. Because during the interview, I met his entire staff. And they put their stamp of approval on me. So I'm leaving the interview and of course I had to make a couple of calls. To Mom. To Lynnette. I loved how God was moving - He had given me the job. Now we just had to wait for HR.

So a week later, I'd already received one phone call from HR asking for things like my transcripts and an employment verification form that I needed to sign. I headed off to my Mary Kay Career Conference excited about the possibility of the new job soon.

April hits. And with it, I started to feel a little discouraged. Because I KNEW I'd gotten the job, but I hadn't yet received my offer phone call or a start date. And the date the new system was supposed to be moved into production was looming closer and closer. I'd already been informed that my area would need to work a mandatory Sunday overtime on Sunday April 19 beginning at 8am and lasting until at least 5pm. I really didn't want that. You see, I wanted to go to church. And not just because it's something I do on Sundays or because I get to get hugs from three sweet little girls, but because I truly wanted to be there. I reached out to the woman who had asked for my transcripts to see if she knew anything. In her reply, she told me that my file was now with the person who would make the offer and the final review of it, but it could take up to six weeks. Well at that point, I resigned myself to working a Sunday. I wasn't going to have any choice. So I let go of what I wanted.

And then God was God. Thursday before the 19th, I was informed that I could pass this information along to the staff that there was not going to be any overtime on Sunday. We didn't have to come in at all. God showed me in a big way that He had heard my heart's desire of being with Him in His house of worship on Sunday. I knew at that moment that my prayer of being gone before the new system would be moved into production would be answered. I knew I'd be gone before then.

So I get a phone call from HR on Tuesday April 21. I was excited. I thought that this was it. But it wasn't. I had a meeting with the HR director on Friday May 1. So I called the man who would be my new boss to ask what I should expect. He gave me some pointers, a book to read (which I'm still reading), and told me that I'd be fine. What I didn't know was that this was very unusual. So I continued to go about my days.

When the May 1 appointment arrived, I met with the HR director. It was a nice conversation. And he told me "I'm going to let you in on a secret, you've got the job. Now act surprised when they call with the offer." I asked him when I could expect that phone call. He told me that I didn't receive it that day, I'd have it no later than Monday the 4th.

The rest of the day went by. No phone call. Monday arrives, and I'm ask to train this other rep on all of the duties of a lead. I said, ok. Around 3pm that day, I get my long awaited phone call from HR. My new manager had told me to ask for a salary that  I would feel comfortable with. I had a number in my mind to ask for. My mom had been praying for a different number. The offer actually was way more than either of us had even thought about. So God again blessed me with more than what I'd planned on asking for. I of course accepted the job and asked about my start date. She told me she needed to get with my current manager and she would call me back the next day. She did tell me that the maximum amount of time that I could be kept was two pay periods from the date that I accepted the position. That meant, the latest I would be starting would be June 8. So I thought, "Ok God's still got this."

Tuesday morning, I knew I needed to approach my manager and inform her. I mean the rumor had been running around since March, though I would neither confirm nor deny it. After she arrived, I approached her and asked if she had a minute. I explained that I'd accepted a position as a trainer, and had received my offer the day before. I did tell her I wasn't sure yet of my start date, and she told me it would be May 26. She told me that she thought I might be leaving but wasn't sure since I'd not said anything. I explained that I couldn't say anything until it was official and that I'd not had a chance to speak with her before I left the day before. She said she appreciated that.

So I had a start date now. May 26. Which also happened to be a day I had a dentist appointment scheduled at 4pm. So I called my new manager and he told not to reschedule the dentist appointment but to take the whole day. I explained it was at 4, and I could still come in. He just said, that's ok, I'll see you Wednesday at 9.

Well over Memorial Day weekend, Houston was hit with way more rain than we'd seen in a long time. This resulted in a lot of flooding. The mayor delayed the City's start time by 2 hours on Tuesday. My dentist had to close the office on Tuesday because he was flooded in and couldn't get out. We tentatively rescheduled my appointment for June. I arrived at the new job on Wednesday and was informed that all of the networks were down and no work could be done. I asked about my badge and explained that I'd had to turn it in on Friday. He was going to look into that. He sent me home.  I called the dentist on the way and explained my situation. They promised to call me if they had any last minute openings. Well they did. I was able to get in around noon.

Which meant that I started my new job on Thursday being very well rested. And I can already tell it's going to be a good place for me.

God is sooooooo good!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit - A Review

Published - June 2015, Bethany House Publishers
Author - Karen Witemeyer
Title - A Worthy Pursuit
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Stone Hammond is the best in the business. The business of retrieving people that is. When he is asked to track down and return a little girl to her grandfather, Stone is determined to locate the child and her teacher. Charlotte Atherton is the former headmistress at Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths. When the school closed suddenly, Charlotte left with Lily and two boys, one an orphan and the other's parents were traveling in Europe and unable to come get him. She will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially Lily. Charlotte made a promise to Lily's mother to not let the child return to her grandfather. When Stone appears on her doorstep, Charlotte is even more determined that he not return Lily to her grandfather. When he discovers that Charlotte has documentation that legally lists her as Lily's guardian, Stone is determined to get to the bottom of the situation. What he learns casts a whole new light on his employer. Soon, he has one goal left - claim Charlotte's heart for his own.

I've always loved each book I've read by Karen Witemeyer. This one is no exception. While it doesn't stand in the same regard as either Short Straw Bride or Stealing the Preacher, it was a delightful read.

First, I loved Stone. I loved how he was good at what he did and that he was more concerned with the truth as opposed to the just collecting the reward. Once he met the children, I loved how he treated each one as someone special. And the way that he was with Charlotte made him a very noble gentleman.

I thought that Charlotte was a bit stiff. Sure it was the walls that she had built around herself that made her seem stiff, but I didn't really relate to her. I did find her determination to protect the children very admirable.

As with any of Karen's books, the characters are delightful, for the most part, and the story is very engaging. It's definitely one that her fans would enjoy reading. And for any historical fiction fan, this would be a delightful read.

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

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Jody Hedlund, historical fiction, Tamera Alexander

Rating  - 4 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In Firefly Valley - A Review

Published - May 2015, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Texas Crossroads Book 2
Author - Amanda Cabot
Title - In Firefly Valley
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

When Marisa St. George left the small Texas town she grew up in, she never dreamed that she'd return. Yet she is forced to when the company she works for cuts her job and she is left with no option but to return and to accept the position as business manager at the Rainbow's End resort. The only thing she sees as good in coming out of this move is a new guest, Blake Kendall. He helps Marissa believe in love at first sight. Blake is stuck. He's got a serious case of writer's block and nothing will help break through it. When he shows up at Rainbow's End, he's hoping the quiet lakeside resort will help him overcome the writer's block. But when he meets Marissa, all thoughts of his newest story vanish as he spends time with the lovely young lady. He wants to help her. She's struggling with the way her drunken father abandoned them years ago. But when Marissa finds out who Blake really is, will she let fears get in the way of happiness and love?

I enjoy stories that are pure fluff. You know stories where I don't have to think while I read. Just ones that I can sit down with and enjoy. For me, I found that in this book. Yes it's book 2, but it stands alone and while characters from the first book are mentioned, it is not necessary to read it prior to reading this one.

Blake and Marissa. Both are strong characters. Both have issues that they are dealing with. Marissa's go back to her father and Blake's to his grandfather. And they each have to learn how to trust in God and to not only let go, but to forgive.

Like the first book, there was a secondary romance in this one too. This was between Lauren, Marissa's best friend, and Drew, Greg's old partner. I enjoyed their story as much as the one between Blake & Marissa.

If you're looking for something deep and thought provoking, then this is not the book for you. However, if you want an enjoyable summer read, this is a book for you. The journeys the characters go on made it a fun read for me. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

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

Recommended to fans of contemporary romance, Becky Wade, Katie Ganshert, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I'll have in my Beach Bag this summer

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

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday! With summer upon us, people start planning vacations. For me, I always make sure that I have at least one book with me on vacation. This week's topic is the top ten books to stick in your beach bag and read at the beach. Well I don't really go to the beach, but these are my top ten, well five really, summer reads.

1. The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren - Its book 5 in the Christiansen Family series and I am so excited to read it!

2. Now & Forever by Mary Connealy - Her books always make me laugh. This one shouldn't be any different.

3. Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon - I've gotten to where I really enjoy her contemporary romances. 

4. Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin - another WWII novel! It's the first in a new series.

5. Married 'til Monday by Denise Hunter - I've only recently found this series. It's light, fun and really good.

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?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Horse in the Wilderness - A Review

Published - January 2013, Westbow Press
Author - Debbie Eckles
Title - Horse in the Wilderness
Format - paper, ebook, hardcover
Find on Amazon

Autumn Parker wants to move out of her parents' home into their rent house. But before she is able to mention it to them, they inform her that they just rented the house to the new elementary music teacher. Brent Travis is a man trying to start over. He has left behind the faith he once claimed as his own and is desperately trying to have nothing to do with God. When he takes on the elementary music teacher role, he doesn't know what to think of the people in this small town. Surely they can't be real? Because the so-called Christians in his experience didn't actually show Christ's love. But as he gets to know the people, his students, and his landlord's family, Brent can't help but see the walls he built around his heart begin to crumble. Especially in light of unexplained vandalism, a young boy who likes to wander off, a horse that went missing, and Autumn who appears too good to be true.

I'm pretty sure that this is the first book I've ever read by this author. The only reason I picked it up was because Booklook Bloggers was offering an additional title published by Westbow Press in addition to any Thomas Nelson/Zondervan titles already requested. I figured, it's free, might as well give it a chance.

Overall, the story moved really slowly. I frequently had no inclination of picking it up to read. There was a good plot to the story, it's just that the author took forever to tell it. There is an overall theme of forgiveness in the story.

As much as the story line itself was rather interesting I did have several issues with the book. First, there seemed to be big gaps in the story. Like the reader was already supposed to know what was going on. Second, the author had relationships develop pretty much out of nowhere. And Brent's past, she treated it like it was some big secret, when it did explain why he was so cynical and hurting. Third, I don't think the target audience of the book would be mature adults. I felt that the book read more along the lines of a reading level of 7th or 8th grade.

Without a doubt, the author's views on several subjects are made glaring obvious such as divorce and the "traditional" church (services twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday, and EVERYONE must participate in some form at church).

Overall, I'd have to say that this book probably wasn't for me. I did receive a copy of the Kindle version from Booklook Bloggers for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to like the book, only to give my honest opinion of it.

Recommended to fans of Love Inspired.

Rating - 3 stars

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Picture Perfect Love - A Review

Published - May, 26, 2015, Zondervan Books
Series - A Year of Weddings Novellas Series 2, Book 7
Author - Melissa McClone
Title - Picture Perfect Love
Format - ebook
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Jenna Harrison is a wedding photographer. She has the unique talent of making even the most un-photogenic people look stunning in their wedding photographs. While she goes out of her way to ensure that couples have a happily ever after, Jenna's own heart is still broken. There is an unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet. Yet Jenna trusts that someday God in His timing will bring a groom to her and she'll have her chance at true love. Ashton Vance is the man who broke Jenna's heart. He had political aspirations and when a photo-shopped picture of him found its way onto the Internet, he blamed Jenna and broke up with her the day before their wedding. Though it's been two years, his heart still hasn't recovered. When his younger sister admits the role she played in breaking up Jenna and Ashton, he is willing to make amends. But is it too little too late? Or can Jenna and Ashton find a way past hurt and betrayal into a possible future together?

Like all of these novellas, some are better than others. This is one I happened to enjoy quite a lot. This was the first thing I'd read by Melissa McClone, and I was impressed with her writing. Her characters have a depth to them that is often hard to see in a novella.

I really liked the way that Jenna worked her business. I liked how she would go out of her way to make her clients' feel special. I also liked the way that she was real with her emotions. I think my favorite part of the story was when she takes part in a Trust Fall on a ropes course with the teens in the youth group as well as Ashton, his sister, and her fiancee. I also liked how Ashton was willing (finally) to make amends for the part that he played in breaking Jenna's heart. His growth was a little slower because he kept making the same mistakes. But overall, I really came to like him.

I'll have to keep this author on my radar and look for more by her.

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

Recommended to fans of weddings, novellas, Love Inspired, romance

Rating - 4 stars

This review will be posted on Amazon after the book is released, so the week of May 26, 2015.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 15

Happy Saturday my friends! Today, I get to enjoy the birthday party for a little girl who turned a year old on Tuesday. But that's not what I really want to talk about today.

It's Mother's Day weekend. Tomorrow, I plan on taking my mom to see the Avengers. My brother and I also sent her flowers and had them delivered to her school.

So today, it's a flood of pictures of my mom. At least whatever ones I've got on my computer/Facebook page.

This was taken about 8 years ago at my college roommate's wedding.

Christmas in Waco several years ago.

Another Christmas in Waco! My mom (on the right) and her sister. It was COLD that day!

Mom's School took Christmas pictures. Also several years ago.

Mom at a family reunion in 2011.

So Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sword of Forgiveness - A Review

Published - February 2015, Wakefield Press
Series - Winds of Change Book 1
Author - Debbie Lynne Costello
Title - Sword of Forgiveness
Format - ebook, paper
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Summary (from Amazon):
When her father died, she had promised herself no man would own her again, yet who could defy an edict of the king?

After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father's estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn't enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.

Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin's wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.

My Thoughts:
This book intrigued me more than I expected. I typically enjoy things set in a medieval time period and this one was one I didn't really know much about.

But when I (finally) started it, I was surprised at how quickly the story moved. Both Royce and Brithwin had a communication problem. But the way that they worked through their issues, I did find rather amusing. But I also found Royce to be a gentleman. And I liked him.

Overall, I think this was a good book. The cover is gorgeous and the story captured my attention.

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from the author to review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of medieval fiction, knights, Tamara Leigh

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I will Probably NEVER Read

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

Welcome back to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. Today's topic is the top ten books I will probably NEVER read. For those of you who know me, I don't read non fiction all that often. So I could easily have made this list all non-fiction. But I didn't.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James - I enjoy secular romance. But there is a HUGE difference between a romance and whatever you feel like calling this book. I have absolutely no intention of EVER reading this book, its sequels, or seeing the movie. I can spend my time doing other things.

2. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen - I'm sure that there are some of my readers who are seeing this title and going "What?!" I've seen the movies. I've read some of Austen's books, but this one just never really captured my attention. I like Emma better. 

3. Heartless (and the rest of the series) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl - You'd think that with the way that I love fantasy books, I'd enjoy this series. Well I tried the second one, and it kept putting me to sleep. So this is a no go for me.

4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - I read the first one and I liked it. But I already know how this one ends. I'm not sure if I'm ready for all of those feelings.

5. Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta - I didn't care for the first book, so I have no interest in reading this one. 

6. The Left Behind Prequels of the Rising, The Regime, and the Rapture by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins - Yeah, I won't be reading these. I had no interest when they came out, and still don't care to. Especially after my rant on Kingdom Come last summer. 

7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Yes I've read Twilight. No I didn't love it. The result is that I have no interest in reading this book. 

8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - I keep having this one recommended to me. It's not something I'm interested in at this time. Maybe someday, but I doubt it.

9. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I might see the movie, but I doubt that too. 

10. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - I saw the movie. It was beautifully done. But I have no inclination to read the book.