Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books for the Beach

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

Today's topic, with summer about to start, is about reading at the beach. Since I seldom go to the beach, I decided to change it slightly. So my top ten will be books that take place in vacation destinations. I'm going to try to keep them with beach settings.

1. Love Finds You in Sunset Beach Hawaii by Robin Jones Gunn - This one fits  because it is set in Hawaii. For fans of Sierra Jensen, this is her love story.

2. Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson - This one fits because it is set in Prince Edward Island, though it doesn't actually happen on the beach.

3. When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren - This one is set partially in Hawaii and partially in Minnesota. It's book 3 in the Christiansen Family Series, and my favorite of the series.

4. Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon - This one's set in the coastal town of Hope Harbor. The cover shows the beach on it, and it's on my reading list to read soon. Like really soon.

5. The Siren by Kiera Cass - This one has intrigued me ever since I first saw it one someone's list. I'm guessing that I need to check it out of the library soon as I keep hearing good things about it. I picked it for this list because of the cover.

6. Forever Safe by Jody Hedlund - This one takes place in part in New York, part in Newport, and part at a remote lighthouse. There is one scene that actually takes place on the beach at the lighthouse. I picked this one because of the one scene that happens on the beach.

7. Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins - This is a time travel romance. The interesting thing about this one though is that the spot where the two time periods collide is on the private beach of the property. I really enjoyed this one.

8. Playing the Part by Jen Turano - This one was hilarious. I picked this one because the majority of the book occurs on a private estate that has its own dock on the Hudson River. So not a beach, but still it kinda fits.

9. Promise of a Family by JoAnn Brown - I don't normally feature the Love Inspired Historical line on my blog, but this one fits my beach theme today. The cover shows two little girls on the beach, and the book itself is set in a small coastal town in England. And the hero's a sea captain.

10. Donovan's Daughter by Lori Wick - This is probably one of my all time favorite books. I'm not sure why. This one fits my beach category because when Marcail and Alex go visit his family in Fort Bragg, there is a scene with the family on the beach.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Murder Comes By Mail - A Review

Published - May 2016, Revell Books
Series - Hidden Springs Mysteries Book 2
Author - A. H. Gabhart
Title - Murder Comes By Mail
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane didn't mean to become a hero. He was driving the church bus full of elderly ladies to a play when he sees a man about to jump off the bridge. Of course he stops and ends up saving the man's life. But was it worth it? Because now Michael is known as the Hero of Hidden Springs. But that's not all, girls are being killed, and their pictures are being sent by mail to Michael. Then it gets personal. The killer is going after people Michael cares about. Can he get to the bottom of it before someone he loves is killed?

It was so much fun to return to Hidden Springs. I loved how Michael interacts with the townsfolk. I also loved how Michael followed his instincts to find the killer.

I'll admit, I had my suspicions early on in the book, and I wasn't wrong. But following the trail of evidence was the real joy of this book. This isn't a romantic suspense novel, but it is truly a cozy mystery. It was still a quick read, and made for some fun reading at lunch.

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

Recommended to fans of mysteries, small towns

Rating -  4 stars

Every Bride Has Her Day - A Review

Published - May 2016, Revell Books
Series - Brides With Style Book 3
Author - Janice Thompson
Title - Every Bride Has Her Day
Format - ebook, paper
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Katie Fisher and Brady James are finally engaged and eager to start planning their big day. But their friends at the bridal shop all want to plan something else for them. As does their families. Will Katie's own ideas get lost in the mix? Will she stand firm with her ideas and have the day she's always dreamed about, or will her family, Brady's family, and their friends spoil it for them?

I always know that when I see Janice Thompson's name on a book that I'm in for a sweet funny story. I was proved right once again. This is the third book in the Brides With Style series and they do need to be read in order.

Having followed Katie and Brady's love story of the past two books, I was thrilled to get to the book with their wedding. Of course knowing the cast of characters, their happily ever after wasn't going to be simple.

I loved the secondary characters, from Queenie and the WOPers to the girls at Cosmopolitan Bridal. They make for some delightful bits of conversation. Of course there are misunderstandings, but I love how they get worked out.

I'd love to see a story done on Jane, as she was the only one who hasn't yet had a happily ever after.

I look forward to Janice's next book.

I received this book for free from Revell via NetGalley in order to review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of romantic comedy, Janice Thompson, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, weddings

Rating - 4 stars

Silence in the Dark - A Review

Published - April 2016, Revell Books
Series - Logan Point Book 4
Author - Patricia Bradley
Title - Silence in the Dark
Format - ebook, paper
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Two years ago Bailey Adams broke off her engagement and fled to Mexico to be a missionary. Now, she's returning home as an escort for one of her students. But when she meets the child's uncle, nothing prepares her for being shot at. She soon realizes that a drug cartel is after both her and the little girl. Not knowing who she can trust, Bailey turns in desperation to Danny Maxwell, her former fiance. Danny's never stopped loving her, and will do anything to win her back. Even if it means putting his own life in danger to see to the safety of both Bailey and the little girl. But the danger follows them back to Logan Point. Can Danny keep Bailey safe when someone wants to kill her? And can Bailey admit why she broke the engagement and take another chance on Danny?

This was a very fast paced book, like the others in the series. It helps to have read the others first, but it isn't necessary.

My favorite character was the little girl. She was a doll. And I loved how everyone wanted to protect her.

The romance between Bailey and Danny felt a bit stiff, but I was ok with that. As the fast pace of the story kept me turning pages. I did come to like Bailey as I didn't really like her much at first.

I enjoyed Danny. I loved how he wasn't willing to let Bailey go.

Overall, this was good book, and a good conclusion to the series.

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

Recommended to fans of Lisa Harris, Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, romantic suspense.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Scribbles Vol 2.13

Happy Saturday reader friends!

Truthfully, I really don't have anything on my mind today. So this will probably be a rather rambling post. Either that, or really short.

School is winding down for most people. That means that summer is about to be in full swing. People take vacations. I'll be heading to Dallas towards the end of the summer for my Mary Kay Seminar.

But the vacation I'm the most excited about is the one I'm going on in November. I'm going to go on my first ever cruise! I'm so excited. I have to stop myself from browsing on Carnival's website until I've officially "earned" it. Because this is a cruise that my Mary Kay Sales Director is having the consultants in our unit work towards. We have to earn a total of 30 stamps in our Mary Kay passport between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. I'm currently sitting at 28 stamps. We earn the stamps for doing different activities (put the product on people's faces, attend special events, etc). I've been VERY focused on it all year, and I'm so excited about it.

I've browsed the website for the excursions in Cozumel and Progesso Yucatan. There are a couple I'm interested in. One of them is the tour of the Mayan (I think that's right) ruins. Could be fun.

But the ship itself has been fascinating me with all there is to do on it. I've been peppering a friend of mine with questions, and she's graciously been answering them. But I'm excited about it. Especially since it is becoming more and more real to me.

My best friend and I sat down in March to figure out a strategy for me to earn the last few stamps I needed, and it's been working. I've got a friend who I'm really hoping and praying will be able to come with me, but I've got to wait til school starts in the fall to find out as she has to check with her principal.

What are some vacations that you are most excited about?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books/Authors I feel differently about

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

Today's topic is the top ten books that I feel differently about now than when I first read them. I decided to expand it to include authors as well.

1. The Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins - When I was in high school and college, this series of end times novels were very popular. They are still popular now, but when I reread them a few years ago, I realized that my tastes have changed. The original 12 books are still good, but my recommendation - don't waste your time on the prequel series or the sequel novel.

2. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer - Yes, I was on the Twilight bandwagon for a bit. But, I've come to realize that there are much better YA books out there like the Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series.

3. Janette Oke - She was one of my favorite authors growing up. Her Love Comes Softly Series, Canadian West Series, Roses for Mama, and Woman Named Damaris, are still among my favorites. But when I read her latest release last year, I realized that I have out grown her books.

4. Karen Kingsbury - For years, her books pulled me in and made me cry. With each and every novel. But somewhere along the line, she lost her ability to craft life-changing stories. Plus I didn't like the direction she took one particular series. But her last several books (I'll admit I've not read anything of hers since Fifteen Minutes) all seemed to have the same plot just with different names and settings. So I've decided it's time to move on.

5. Eden Hall by Veronica Heley - This book had a Cinderella-ish feel to it. If the only the author had stopped with the first book. But overall, I don't remember this book much at all.

6. Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R. R. Martin - I read the first three books pretty quickly several years ago. And then finally book 4 came out. Then 5. Now I really could care less how he wraps up the series.

7. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal - I loved these books in junior high and high school. But I've outgrown them. I was very disappointed in the book that shows the twins as adults.

8. Ted Dekker - I still enjoy his books. But I'm not anxious to buy or request from the library his latest thriller. Most of them don't even make my reading list anymore.

9. Lori Copeland - I've loved a lot of her books over the past few years, but I've not been impressed with her more recent books.

10. Robin Lee Hatcher - She's another author that I think I've outgrown. I still love her Coming to America series, but most of her others no longer hold my attention.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I picked up on a whim

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

Today's topic is about impulses. And I mean impulsively picking up books. I'm a HUGE impulse buyer, so I've had to think back over the years as to what books I just impulsively bought. I have to admit it was rather difficult. I'm keeping it to the actual physical copies of the books, and not just the ebooks. Because if I added ebooks into the mix, then almost everything on my Kindle would be an impulse buy.

1. Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman - This one was by far an impulse just from the cover. The girl reminded me of a younger Megan Follows (Anne) and the guy reminded me of Antonio Banderas from Zorro. I'd not known anything about this author until I saw this book. Since then, Julie has become one of my favorite authors.

Original Cover when I was in High school
Most recent cover
2. Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn - I was in high school when this one came out. The cover of it looked WAY more of a romance novel than I normally read, and my mom only let me get it because it was written by Robin. It's not my favorite of the series, but like anything of Robin's, I do love it.

3. Juliet by Anne Fortier - I was browsing at Barnes and Noble one day when I saw this book. At the time, I was broke, so I wrote the name down and checked my library. I later bought it.

4. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marmiller - This one is a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, Wild Swans. And since so few authors have retold this one, I impulsively picked it up.

5. Forgotten Daughter by Caroline Dale Snedecker - I discovered this book in the school library of my junior high school. Ever since, I've been looking for it to own. I finally managed to find an old library copy, and bought it.

6. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - This one was required reading in my Children's literature class in college. But I gave away or misplaced my copy. The impulsiveness on this one comes from when I found a HARDCOVER library book copy on sale at the library for $1.00 and I happened to have a dollar with me. So I bought it.

7. China Garden by Liz Berry - I was in college when I discovered this one. There was a small mall in my college town with a Waldenbooks in it. I was browsing and saw this one. Read the back cover copy and decided it was worth my time. It's become one I frequently reread.

8. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer - I'm really reluctant to admit this. In the months/years following the end of Harry Potter, I was looking for something else to read that was similar in style. The waiting list at the library was a mile long, and I wanted it NOW. So I bought them. 

9. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - I was in a fantasy mood and the cover looked pretty, so I bought it. Thankfully, the story was good enough to warrant my keeping it.

10. Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund - I'd seen her second book, the Doctor's Lady, advertised in a magazine, but hadn't heard anything about her or her books. I spied her first book in the bargain section of either Lifeway or Mardel, and decided to try it. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Websites I Visit that aren't Book Related

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

Today's Top Ten is about different places we waste time on the Internet. For me, I'm leaving out the obvious of Facebook and Goodreads.

1. Mary Kay InTouch  - This is the consultant portal for Mary Kay. It's where we place orders, track progress, make changes to our personal websites, update customer information, and more. Note - the link goes to my personal website and not the portal for consultants.

2. Mugglenet Fan Fiction - Harry Potter may be over, but the stories are still alive and well in the world of fan fiction. This is one pf my favorite sites because I get to read more Harry Potter.

3. CBS - I don't have a DVR. So if I am not home when one of my shows comes on (or if I'm exhausted and fall asleep before it finishes), I head over to CBS and watch it sometime after the date it aired.

4. Harris County Public Library - I've recently rediscovered the library for about the 10th time. And I've discovered the ebook portion of it.

5. Amazon - Seriously, is there any question about this one? I did 99% of my Christmas shopping off of it last year.

6. Disney Movie Club - This is a more recent frequent site. Because I have to remember to decline the featured titles. But I was on it the other day to help come up with a list of non-animated children's movies for my best friend.

7. Charm It - Recently, I've spent a lot of time on this site. It is perfect for little girl charm bracelets. Some of the charms are even made by kids.

8. Kroger - I load coupons to my Kroger card. Then I get to take advantage of said coupons when I shop.

9. doTerra - I've become a believer in essential oils. The doTerra Breathe drops/oil has been the best allergy treatment I've ever had. Seriously.

10. Pinterest - I typically use this one from my phone. But it's still fun.

11. Perfect Potluck - This site is amazing for planning a potlucks. It is so easy to use!

12. Take Them a Meal - A sister site to the potluck one, this one makes scheduling a meal for say a new mom, a breeze.

Note - Since I accidentally published this early, comments will not be allowed until Tuesday May 10. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday Scribbles Vol 2.12

Happy Saturday my friends. I am back today. I've not been out of town or anything over the past couple of weeks, just busy. And I didn't exactly have anything planned. But I do today.

I was thinking the other day about my relationships with my cousins. I have several on both sides of the family. My oldest cousin is 7 years (to the day) older than me and my youngest cousin is 20 years younger. I was in college when my youngest cousin was born.

A recreation of a photo when we were little. My mom's side.
My oldest cousin is on the far right. 
It's funny how generational ideas go. If you look at the fact that my father and my youngest cousin's father are brothers, then we are in the same generation. But as far as the social generation, you know the Baby Boomers, the Gen X, etc, goes we are in different ones. There is a big difference in the experiences I had growing up and her experiences.

Then I started thinking even more. I was 11 years old when my oldest cousin graduated from high school. There's a pretty big difference between a high school graduate and a 6th grader. Somewhere along the way though, that age line blurred. And now, my oldest cousin and I are more than cousins, we're friends. Probably pretty good friends.

But at what age does that line blur? I think it blurred between my oldest cousin and I sometime between the time I started college and the time I graduated college. But then again, 7 years is a lot less time than 20.

My youngest cousin is a sweetheart. I have a hard time realizing that she's now 18 (or will be by the end of the month). It'll be fun to see what this young lady will do with her life. I'm sure that at some point, maybe, the age line will blur and I may not even notice the age difference between us.

But in all seriousness, have you ever thought about how that age line is huge when we're little, but as we move into adulthood, it doesn't seem to matter much?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top Ten Childhood Characters I'd Like to Revisit

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

Today's topic is about those characters from the books we read as children, that we'd like to see what is happening to them now.

Here is my list.

1. Christy & Todd from the Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn - Yes, I know she's had a series about their college years, and a series about their married life. But these characters are so much a part of my life that I don't want to say goodbye to them. And Robin's newsletter from yesterday has some more Christy news that really made me squeal.

2. Trixie Beldon, Honey Wheeler, Jim Frayne, Brian & Mart Beldon, and Diana from the Trixie Beldon Mysteries - I LOVED the Trixie Beldon books growing up. I would love to peek in on their lives now and hope that Trixie and Jim ended up together.

3. Wilbur from Charlotte's Web - I'd love to check in on Wilbur and see him grow to a nice old age.

4. Collin from the Secret Garden - It's been so long since I read this classic, that I'd love to know what happens to him as he grows up.

5. Ramona Quimby from the Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary - Does she ever outgrow her silliness?

6. Meg Murray from the Wrinkle in Time Books by Madeline L'Engle - I know she marries Calvin
O'Keefe, but I want to know more about their lives beyond the other books about them.

7. Kit from Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - I loved this book. I'd love to know what happens next in Kit's life.

8. Chloe from the Forgotten Daughter - I love this book. I've loved it for years. But I'd love to peek in on Chloe and see how she's doing now.

9. James from James and the Giant Peach - I'd like to know what he's up to now as an adult.

10. Susan from the Chronicles of Narnia - She's the only character that didn't go to Aslan's Country in Last Battle. So what is she doing now?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Magnolia Duchess - A Review

Published -April 2016, Revell Books.
Series - Gulf Coast Chronicles Book 3
Author - Beth White
Title - Magnolia Duchess
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Fiona Lanier is out on the beach when she receives word that her twin brother has been imprisoned by the British. Her family builds ships for the Americans during the War of 1812. Shortly after receiving the news of her brother, she stumbles across a man washed up on the beach. She recognizes him as Charlie Kincaid. Charlie has been undercover for the past six months. When he awakens on a beach with no memory, he can only trust what his beautiful rescuer says about him. But as his memories begin to return, Charlie and Fiona learn that falling in love is wrought with danger especially in light of varying political loyalties.

The cover caught my eye first on this book. I love it. It's so elegant and pretty. But the cover alone wasn't, unfortunately, to hold my attention.

Like the others in this series, it is very rich in history. I'll admit that I've not read a lot of books set during the period of the War of 1812, at least set in America that is. So the history of the period intrigued me. But, this book really didn't hold my attention. I found myself very easily distracted by my library books, or others to read and review.

The characters themselves didn't make much of an impression on me either, so I can't really say much about them. I did enjoy the action and the adventure part of the story.

While others may love this book, this is probably one I'll not really read again. I really felt rather blah about the whole books

I received a free copy of the book from Revell for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion, which I've done. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of American history, Lori Benton, Beth White

Rating - 3 stars