Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 32

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted a Saturday Scribbles. I'm actually rather surprised at how consistent I've been with it this year. This is vol 32. That means I've managed to have one up for 32 Saturdays so far.

My drivers license expires on Monday. So I took Wednesday off to take care of renewing it. Why couldn't I renew it online? Well because I did the last time that I renewed it. So I had to go in to the DPS office to renew it this time. So I get there. I'm armed with my license, passport, social security card, insurance, and of course the form I filled out online. I actually got there really early in the day. Not when it opened, but about an hour later. And it still took about 3 hours. But I enjoyed talking with the strangers who were in line with me. I was trying to figure out the order to their calling out numbers, but that wasn't working for me. See my number was 52. So they'd call numbers in 30's and 40's then jump to the 300's, 500's or higher. My only conclusion was that the higher numbers were for different things. Like those who needed the drivers test. Or those getting a Texas license from out of state. And that the low numbers were the renewals. I'd had a book with me as well. Two actually. I'm rereading both the Percy Jackson series  & Heroes of the Olympus series. I breezed through Percy most of October and this month has been the Heroes. I was almost finished with the House of Hades (book 4) and brought along the Blood of Olympus (book 5) to be safe. But I actually spent more time chatting than reading.

Days like Thanksgiving are days when I wish I had the Hallmark channel. Why? Because of all the cute holiday movies! Maybe one day. But seriously, if I ever got cable it would be for the sole purpose of the Hallmark channel. I'm silly I know.

So tell me, what are some tales you have from the DPS office? Or your favorite Hallmark movie?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Thanksgiving Freebie - Top Ten Books with "Thank" or "Thanks" in the Title

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

This week is a Thanksgiving Freebie. I've done a Fall/Halloween themed book list before. I've done a Christmas book list. This year though, I've decided to focus on the Top Ten Books that have the words "Thanks," "Thank you", or "Thank" in the title.

1. Thank You, Mr. Falker  by Patricia Polacco - This is a book that celebrates how great teachers can be.

2. Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson - This is a cute book where Bear wants to make a big meal for all of his friends, but his cupboards are bare.

3. Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland - This is one I've not yet read. But it looks super cute. It's about recognizing what you are thankful for.

4. Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Michael Berenstain & Jan Berenstain - I grew up on the Berenstain Bears. This one wasn't around when I was a child, but it's a sweet story.

5. Sarah Gives Thanks by Michael Allegra - This is another one I've not read. It's about how Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

6. I Thank God for This Day: A Veggie Tales Book by Phil Vischer - I remember watching Madame Blueberry when I was in college. This is the Veggie Tales video that this book is from. Junior Asparagus learns to thank God for each and every day whether he has a lot or a little.

7. Thank You, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish - I grew up on the Amelia Bedelia books. I loved how everything turns out perfect even though she takes things so literally.

8. Thanksgiving Day Thanks by Laura Malone Elliott - I've not read this one either. But it looks really cute. It's about Sam trying to figure out what he is thankful for.

9. Rufus & Ryan Give Thanks by Kathleen Long Bostrom - When 4 year old  Ryan is stuck inside on a rainy day, his mom suggests that he and his stuffed monkey go on a treasure hunt around the house looking for things they are thankful for.

10. Thanksgiving Gail Gibbons - This one tells what Thanksgiving is about, and no, I've not read it either.

As a bonus today, I found the Veggie Tales song "The Thankfulness Song" from the Madame Blueberry video. It's fitting for this Thanksgiving week. Enjoy it. It's less than a minute in length.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Isle of Hope - A Review

Published - November 2015, Julie Lessman
Series - Isle of Hope Book 1
Author - Julie Lessman
Title - Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love
Format - ebook
Find on Amazon

At 18, Lacey Carmichael was a wild child, totally and completely in love with her neighbor, preacher's kid, Jack O'Bryen. When her father kicks her out of the house, she flees the Isle of Hope and turns her back on all that she loves. Now eight years later, she has returned. She's turned her life around and is home to stay. Of course that means making amends with those she hurt - her father, her former boyfriend, and her best friend. She knows it won't be easy, especially since she and Jack are partners in their cousins' wedding. After his pastor father crushed Jack's hopes and dreams by having an affair, he has turned his back on all things related to God. He's a successful ER pediatrician. When Lacey and Jack meet again after all of these years, neither can deny the sparks that fly between them. But can Lacey show Jack that she's changed without risking her heart again? Because she can't afford to fall for the bad boy that he is now. And can Jack learn to forgive not only Lacey, but also his father?

This is Julie's first contemporary novel. I've been a longtime fan of her historicals and was super excited to hear she was going to write a contemporary romance. This book has been one of the ones I was most excited about this year. So needless to say, I had very high expectations for this book.

I wasn't disappointed in the least. Julie has a way of making her readers connect with her characters, scoundrels and all. I loved all of the layers in this story. I loved to how much both forgiveness and unconditional love come to play in the book. Lacey needs forgiveness for more than what first appears. When the scene came up where Lacey finally tells the truth to Jack, I was literally crying. Because my heart hurt for both of these two.

Like her other books, this one has a fun family dynamic. I'm looking forward to the next ones in this series and I hope that we get Jack's sisters' stories. I've pretty much fallen in love with the O'Bryen family and I didn't want to say goodbye.

I'm thrilled to know that one of my favorite authors didn't crash and burn when she switched genres. Isle of Hope is a wonderful addition to any romance lover's library.

I read this book for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Julie Lessman, contemporary romance, Debbie Macomber, Denise Hunter, Rachel Hauck, Susan May Warren

Rating - 5 stars

By the way, the author has named a very, very minor character after me as one of her contest placers. So that was so much fun to see.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Every Girls Gets Confused - A Review

Published - October 2015, Revell Books
Series - Brides with Style Book 2
Author - Janice Thompson
Title - Every Girl Gets Confused
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Katie Fisher is loving her job working at Dallas's elite bridal store. And she's loving every minute she spends with her hunky boyfriend, Mavericks player, Brady James. She's got her man and she should have a happily ever after right? Yet Katie's life never goes the way she plans. For starters, the bridal shop has become almost a war zone with hard-to-please brides and their opposing basketball loving families. Plus her parents want her to move back to the tiny town of Fairfield where her former boyfriend wants to rekindle their romance. And then there's Brady. Katie knows that there's something going on with him that he's not sharing with her. As he seems to pull away, Katie tries hard to let him have his space. After all, she's sure he loves her, right?

Janice Thompson's books always make me laugh. I was so delighted to read this one. This is the second in the series, and they do need to be read in order. One of the things that I love about Janice's books is that each chapter has a title or a quote from a singer or actress. In this book, they are either Doris Day song titles or phrases.

First there's Katie. She's a fun narrator. I'm enjoying watching her grow more into her character in this book. Brady is a sweetheart.

But for me, it's the supporting cast of characters that really make this book shine. From the workers in the bridal shop to Katie's crazy relatives, these are the characters that had me laughing and giggling my way through the book.

I'm looking forward the the conclusion to this series when it comes out next year.

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

Recommended to fans of chick lit, romantic comedies, Janice Thompson, weddings, Denise Hunter, Melissa Tagg, Becky Wade, Sandra Bricker

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Reason to Stay - A Review

Published - October 2015, Revell Books
Series - Texas Gold Book 3
Author - Kellie Coates Gilbert
Title - A Reason to Stay
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Faith Marin is going places. She's the morning anchor for one of Houston's news stations, has her own program, and a husband she loves. Yet though she shows her viewers the truth of their products, she doesn't let anyone find out the truth about her. Her family's past is painful. When she is shot while covering a story out at NASA, Faith's foundation is shaken. As her journey to survive and overcome what happened to her, she learns that the one person she has been shutting out may very well be the one person she can't afford to lose.

I've read the others in this series and they were just ok. This one though, is the best in the series so far. It still deals with very heavy topics like the other two, but this one felt much more personal. Not personal to me. But personal in that the characters felt more real.

On the outside, Faith has it all put together. But on the inside, she's falling apart. I loved the way that her husband Geary refused to give up on her. Even when she wanted him to. Sure their marriage was in trouble. But she had to come to the point where she could even listen to him. She literally hits rock bottom in the book. And Faith's struggle to overcome what happened to her, felt so real.

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 women's fiction, contemporary fiction, Karen Kingsbury, Deborah Raney, Denise Hunter

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptions I'm Looking Forward to/Still Have to Watch

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

This week's feature is all about movie adaptions of books. And these are the ones I'm either looking forward to OR still need to see. Some of these are already out. Some are coming out soon. Others maybe someday they'll be made into films.

1. Mockingjay Part 2 - I cannot wait for this film! I'm super excited about it.
2. The Book Thief - Not only do I still need to read the book, I need to watch the movie too.
3. Divergent - Still haven't seen this one.
4. Insurgent - Same as with Divergent.
5. In the Heart of the Sea - It's an adaption of Moby Dick, maybe. Don't really know. But it's starring Chris Hemsworth so I want to see it.
6. Maze Runner - Another one I need to read the book first.
7. The Longest Ride - I have a tendency of enjoying Nicholas Sparks movies. I'll probably enjoy this one.
8. Kite Runner - Still need to watch this one.
9. Chronicles of Narnia - The Silver Chair - No, not the BBC version that came out ages ago. I'd like to see this one done like Wardrobe, Caspian, and Dawn Treader.
10. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them - It's a return to Harry Potter's world. Different characters. Different time period. Plus I happen to like Eddie Redmayne.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 31

Happy Saturday my friends. It's finally starting to FEEL a little like fall. At least mostly. And until it rains. The past couple of weeks have been rainy, rainy, rainy. I didn't mind too much though as it meant lots of kitty cuddles and a good book. But when do I need any excuse to read?

Speaking of reading, I stopped by the library last week for one book. Did I leave with just one book? No! While browsing, several others caught my eye. And before I knew it, I had a small stack in my arms of about five books. Books I know I'd never purchase. Which is why I love the library. Because I can rent the books and then if I really love it, buy them. Sometimes I think that libraries are slowly dying out. That's probably true. Especially as more and more people take advantage of ebooks and digital downloads.

But did you know that the library has more to offer than just books? There are movies, audio books, ebooks, and more. Plus you can find some really awesome books really cheap. I bought a hardcover copy of Ella Enchanted for a dollar a few years ago. I've checked out movies (most recent being Agents of SHIELD season 1), audio books, and of course books. I've recently downloaded the app for my tablet called Overdrive. That will allow me to read ebooks on my Kindle that are not Kindle compatible. Like a lot of library ebooks.

As a child, I remember going to the library all of the time. I'd leave with stacks of books. And read them pretty regularly. I still love the library. I'll admit though, that I don't use it nearly as often as I should.

Do you have a favorite library or memory of the library?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Wedding Chapel - A Review

Published - November 2015, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Author - Rachel Hauck
Title - The Wedding Chapel
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

A wedding chapel that has never seen a wedding. The football coach who built the chapel stone by stone as a tribute to his lost, but never forgotten, love. The elderly actress with past regrets. A newlywed couple with communication problems. "Coach" Jimmy Westbrook poured his heart and soul into building a chapel for the wedding he hoped to have with his high school sweetheart, Collette Greer. For over sixty years, the chapel has stood vacant. It's a place where Jimmy's memories live. Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart's Bend, Tennessee to make a name for herself in New York. She doesn't believe in love based on the track record of her family's failed marriages. When she's swept off of her feet by Jack Forester, also from Heart's Bend, Taylor opens her heart a bit to love. Jack's got his own demons that are hurting his relationship with Taylor. Despite his very real and deep love for Taylor, he struggles to share his heart. When Taylor is asked to photograph a wedding chapel in the hills of Tennessee, she reluctantly returns home. The beauty of the chapel, and Coach's obvious love for the woman he built it for, touch something deep inside Taylor. The longer she's in town, the more she discovers that she doesn't want to give up on her marriage. She's captivated by the beauty of the chapel and Coach's story. Yet Taylor also discovers that her own family is connected to both Jimmy and the chapel in a way that she never imagined. Will Jimmy live in the past or be willing to move on? And can Jack and Taylor build a strong marriage despite their rocky beginnings? And for Taylor's elderly aunt, Collette Greer, will she be able to finally gain the peace she longs for from the past that haunts her?

Wow. That's really all I can say about this book. Having read several others of Rachel's books including The Wedding Dress, I had a good idea as to what to expect with this one.

She has seamlessly woven the past with the present and four differing viewpoints to make this a novel I really couldn't put down. Even though the book is told from Taylor, Jack, Jimmy, and Collette's perspectives, I wasn't lost at all. Each piece just peeled back another layer of this remarkable story.

Why did it capture me so much? First of all, the story telling. My heart hurt for Jimmy and for Collette. I wanted Jack and Taylor to talk to each other. Needless to say, I was enthralled by the characters and their lives.

While this one is very different than the Royal Wedding Series, I still loved it. It was similar in style to the Wedding Dress.

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

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Rachel Hauck, Julie Lessman, Karen Kingsbury, Jody Hedlund, Denise Hunter, Irene Hannon, Susan May Warren, contemporary fiction.

Rating - 5 stars

Note - The review will be posted on Amazon on or around November 17, 2015. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Debuts Have Me Looking Forward to the next Book

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

The official topic for this week's top ten is "Top Ten Debut Authors who have me looking forward to their next book" or "Top  Ten Sophomore Novels I Loved Just as Much as The Debut". Well, this one's rather hard for me. Because I don't pay attention to if they are debut authors or not. So I decided to a little bit different. There's at least one on here that is a sophomore novel of an author. The others are all authors who are new to me that I'm excited about reading their next book.

1. Worth the Time by Laura Jackson - Laura's debut, Worth the Wait, delighted me. And made me excited for her second book. This one came out in February of 2015, and I really wanted to know how she'd manage to take the character that everyone hated and redeem her. She did an excellent job of that by the way. So Laura, when's the next book coming out?

2. The Concealed by Sarah Kleck - I got this one as a freebie from Amazon because I'm a prime member. It was one of their Fiction First picks a few months ago. Sarah's a new to me author, and I was captivated by this book. I've already pre-ordered the next one.

3. Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson - She's a new to me author. But she captured my attention, so I'll be looking at some more books she's written.

4. Accept This Dandelion by Brooke Williams - I was positively delighted to read this one. She's a new to me author, though I've since read most of hers.

5. In Good Company by Jen Turano - This is one of those authors that I kept hearing about and finally got around to reading. I am certainly going to be reading more of her books.

6. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron - This may very well be my favorite book this year. I'm pretty sure that this was her debut. But I ate it up. I promptly read the second and am now eagerly awaiting her next book.

7. Not By Sight by Kate Breslin - I loved her debut book, For Such a Time, and was THRILLED to read her sophomore novel, Not By Sight. I have to wonder what she's got in store for her readers next.

8. The Gifting Series by K. E. Ganshert - Yes, I know that this author's been out a few years. But since this summer marked her debut in the YA genre, I have to list her. I devoured these three books over the course of a weekend. I can't wait to see what Katie has next in store in the YA world.

9. Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman - I loved this book, and the sequel was sweet too. I'm not sure if Dauntless is her debut or not, but it was awesome. I can't wait for her third one to come out next year.

And I can't think of any more.