Monday, December 18, 2017

Out of the Ordinary - A Review

Published - November 2017, Bethany House
Series - Apart from the Crowd Book 2
Author - Jen Turano
Title - Out of the Ordinary
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book:
Gertrude Cadwalder works as companion to the eccentric Mrs. Davenport.When she is caught returning items that Mrs. Davenport "borrowed" Gertrude must try to explain that she's not a thief. Harrison Sinclair enjoys his friendship with Gertrude. Now, he finds himself caught between his mother and Gertrude. And he finds himself coming to the lady's defense. Yet things are never boring around Gertrude.

My Thoughts:
I've read several of Jen Turano's books before. I've found them light-hearted and highly entertaining. This one, while both light-hearted and entertaining, didn't hold my attention the way that her other books did. It was cute. I enjoyed the characters. But I just wasn't captivated by it. So while others have loved this book, it's not one for me. Still for a light-hearted read, it was pretty good.

I received a copy from the publisher for free in order to share my honest opinion of it. I was not required to like the book, only give an honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Jen Turano, Mary Connealy, chick lit.

Rating - 3.5 (3 stars)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stable Cat's Christmas - A Review

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended to fans of Christmas books

Rating - 5 stars

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How to Find Love in a Bookshop - A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating - 2 stars

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blind Spot - A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating - 4 stars

Too Far Down - A Review

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended to fans of westerns, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, November 9, 2017

To Wager Her Heart - A Review

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, November 6, 2017

Museum of the Bible Books - Four Reviews and a giveaway

Published - October/November 2017 - Worthy Publishers
Titles -

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

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

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

Rating - 4 stars

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

Rating - 4 stars

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

Rating - 4 stars

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

Rating - 4 stars

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

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

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Saturday Scribbles Vol 3.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All we need is one more win.

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

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

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Promise of Breeze Hill - A Review

Published - August 2017, Tyndale
Series - Natchez Trace Book 1
Author - Pam Hillman
Title - The Promise of Breeze Hill
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (Amazon):
Natchez, MS; 1791
Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.

The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.

Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

My Thoughts:
I honestly don't know why it took me so long to start this book. But it did. I was captivated by the first few pages. And while it took me about 2 weeks to actually read the book, I'm so glad that I finally got around to it. 

I loved Connor. I loved how he was determined to keep Isabella safe at all costs. I loved how she was just as determined to not let him. I also enjoyed learning more about the history of Natchez as most of my knowledge of that town comes from the form of the musical Showboat.

I'm looking forward to seeing these characters again in the next one of the series, about Connor's brother Quinn.

I received a Kindle copy via NetGalley from the publisher. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Julie Lessman, Pam Hillman, Jody Hedlund, Laura Frantz

Rating - 4 stars

Deadly Proof - A Review

Published - September 2017, Bethany House
Series - Atlanta Justice Book 1
Author - Rachel Dylan
Title - Deadly Proof
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book:
Attorney Kate Sullivan is the lead counsel on the biggest case of her career - a lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical in the wrongful deaths of several people who used the company's latest drug. When a whistleblower dies, all of a sudden the stakes are raised. Kate learns that the opposition will stop at nothing to win the case, even destroying evidence. In an effort to look further into the death of the whistleblower, Kate hires former Army Ranger turned PI Landon James. Landon begins to suspect that the stakes are higher than even Kate realizes. He will do everything in his power to keep her safe. Even at the risk of his own heart.

My thoughts:
Legal thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea. This one gripped me from the first page. I was fascinated with the behind the scenes working of the lawsuit.

I loved Kate's determination to get to the truth. I loved that she wanted justice for her clients. The underhandedness of the defendant was intriguing as well. Because it made wonder exactly how far the corruption went. The dynamic between Kate and Landon was interesting. I wasn't too sure I liked them as a couple, but they did grow on me.

I'm looking forward to the others in this series.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of legal thrillers, Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey, Robert Whitlow, Brandilyn Collins

Rating - 4 stars

Tea Planter's Wife - A Review

Published - June 2017, Random House
Author - Dinah Jefferies
Title - The Tea Planter's Wife
Format - ebook, paper, hardcover, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book (Goodreads):
#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he's keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences. Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected.  The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous, and there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss. Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever....

My Thoughts:
First of all let me say that the cover of this book is beautiful. It caught my eye and made me want to read it. Then the back cover copy intrigued me as well. So I requested it to review.

I wasn't prepared for how slow the book was. I wasn't prepared for how long it took to really get into the action. I'll admit that I've had this book for several months. I'd start it, then get bored with it, and put it down, only to pick it up again several weeks later. I'm not sure if the reason it wasn't holding my interest was because it was so slow moving or if I just wasn't interested in it. 

The author did a really good job in developing the characters. They had a lot of depth to them. I just wish that that process had happened sooner in the book rather than later.

I rarely will look at the reviews of a book that I'm currently reviewing. I did in this case. Most of them are very positive. I just know that this particular book wasn't for me. Someone else may love it, and according to the reviews, several do. 

I received this book for free from the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to like the book, only to give my honest opinion, which I have done.

Rating - 2 stars

Friday, September 22, 2017

Love You Always - Review & Giveaway

Published - September 2017, Worthy Publishers
Author - Eileen Spinelli
Title - Love You Always
Format - hardcover
Find on Amazon

About the book:
With sweet rhymes and simple pictures, children learn they are loved.

My thoughts:
This book was adorable! I think it's probably my favorite one I've read recently.

The illustrations are simple, yet beautiful. The rhymes are so sweet. I love the fact that it lets kids know they more than just mom and dad love them.

My best friend's daughters, ages 6 and 4, both sat down and read the book. Actually reading it. Yes, they needed help sounding out some of the words, but it was simple enough for the girls to read.

I highly recommend this book.

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

Recommended to fans of picture books, parents of young children, teachers, anyone with a child in their life

Rating - 5 stars

Giveaway Time

It's been a long time since I hosted a giveaway here. The publisher will send one lucky winner a copy of the book.

To enter, just follow the instructions in the Giveaway box. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Assault - A Review

Published - Bethany House, August 2017
Series - Harbingers Book 2
Authors - Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Alton Gansky
Title - The Assault
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (Goodreads):
Cycle 2 of the Harbingers series continues the story of four gifted strangers brought together to fight a growing darkness. 

In Bill Myers's "The Revealing," the team finds themselves in Rome trying to retrieve the mystical spear Hitler once owned--the very spear that pierced Christ's side. This task will take them from hidden chambers inside the Vatican to a mysterious seaside cave with powers they could never expect.

Frank Peretti's "Infestation" unleashes a microscopic evil on the world that deceives, blinds, kills, then spreads. The Harbingers team must confront a monster bent on seducing and destroying mankind.

In "Infiltration" by Angela Hunt, the team is wounded and barely holding together. Forced to split up, they realize their investigations have led them into dangerous waters.

Alton Gansky's "The Fog" unleashes a supernatural mist unlike any other. There are vicious things in the fog that kill whatever they find. One team member realizes that the ultimate sacrifice may have to be made.

My Thoughts:
This is book 2 in the series. It needs to be read in order!

Picking up immediately after the events in the first book, I was glad to see that the fast-paced style that was the first book returned with this one. I'll admit though, that it took me longer to read it than the first one, mainly because I wasn't in a reading mood. That said, once I got into the book, I found it hard to put down.

I love the way that each novella builds on the previous one. They are not separate stories that could stand on their own like so many novellas I've read do. The characters and the stories are so intertwined, that when switching from one story to the next, I sometimes didn't even notice that I'd switched.

I am really enjoying getting to know Brenda, the professor, Andi, and Tank. I love how they continue to grow and change.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.

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

Recommended to fans of Frank Peretti, Bill Myers, suspense

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Maverick and Me - A Review

Published - September 2017, Worthy Publishing
Author - Katherine Schwarzengger
Title - Maverick and Me
Format - hardcover
Find on Amazon

About the book:
When Maverick is found wet and shivering beside the road, all he wants is a forever home. This is his journey to find a forever home.

My thoughts:
I loved this book. I loved the way that the author encouraged fostering/adopting animals, specifically dogs.

Maverick was just adorable. I loved how he "helped" set up for the party that Scarlett was throwing for him.

The illustrations are beautiful, and really drive the story home. I read this book to my friend's daughters, the middle of whom loves dogs. It's a great story for all animal lovers or for anyone who just loves children's books.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of children's books, librarians, animal lovers

Rating - 5 stars

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Scribbles Vol. 3.2

Hello my reader friends. It's been a long time since I wrote a Scribbles post.

Hurricane Harvey. That's a storm I don't think I'll forget anytime soon. You see, I've never liked storms. But this one, I was thinking it's just rain, I'll ride it out at home.

That was my plan. Then Friday August 25, 2017, my brother called me. He pretty much convinced me that I needed to go to Mom's. Because my parking lot floods. So I packed up Kiki and we went.

So the storm hit Rockport, near Corpus Christi. And the rain. Oh the rain. It started raining on Friday morning before it made landfall. It stopped some on Saturday, but then Saturday night came. And with it the rain. It wasn't just part of Houston being hit, it was all of it. The weather forecasters were say 30 or more inches before it was supposed to stop. So days of rain. Soon places that didn't flood were flooding.

I watched with mom as the water crept up to about halfway up the driveway and came within inches of coming in through the backdoor. This was early Sunday morning.  A miracle in itself is that my place had zero damaged, and this is with a parking lot that floods. We were blessed. But others weren't.

Just across the freeway from my apartment, the neighborhood was under water. My brother and sister-in-law had water in their home and evacuated first to the high school he teaches at and then to a hotel they'd booked. Friends from church had several feet of water in their homes. It was like that all over the area.

Then I watched something beautiful happen. While the rain still came down on Sunday, people were helping each other. I saw people with boats who didn't care if the person was male or female, what political party. It didn't matter about race or religion or sexual orientation. They helped. No questions asked, really. I have a friend who worked the shelter at Dobie High School feeding those who showed up while her husband was driving around picking up people who needed it. This continued into Monday and Tuesday. Shelters opened up across the city, and volunteers showed up. Then there was a problem of having too many volunteers, too much supplies. What a problem to have.
People in line to volunteer at the George R. Brown Convention Center shelter.

Then the rain stopped. At least in Houston. Total rainfall was over 50 inches, and the weather people had to invent a new color for rainfall.

Harvey moved on towards Louisiana, and continued to dump rain. And once again, people helped each other.
I 10 east near Winnie. This is the road.

I see on social media things saying #HoustonStrong  And #TexasStrong and that's what is happening. For a few days, my city didn't care about politics or the hate that surrounds so many. My city showed the world what it means to see past all barriers and to the heart. That everyone is important. My city will rebuild and will be stronger for it.

Now that the rains have stopped and some roads are becoming passable again, I still see people helping others. I know of several churches who have crews of volunteers assisting people with the ripping up of carpets and floors. Cutting sheetrock. Washing clothes. Feeding the crews. Offering cars. I've seen it all across the area, and not just the churches. But neighbors.

One of my brother's dearest friends set up a go fund me page to help my brother and sister-in-law with expenses.  If you want to help, consider them. Here's the link.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Chasing Secrets - A Review

Published - August 2017, Revell Books
Series - Elite Guardians Book 4
Author - Lynette Eason
Title - Chasing Secrets
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (Goodreads):
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My Thoughts:
I've enjoyed each book in this series, and this one was no exception. This book was fast-paced, and I found myself not wanting to put it down. In fact, I only did when I fell asleep.

I loved how Haley's past came into play. For the last three books, she's been in the background, so seeing her front and center was great. And once again, I loved how I was kept guessing the entire book. 

I'm rather sad to see this series come to an end. It was different than anything else I'd read and I really enjoyed it.

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

Recommended to fans of Irene Hannon, Lynette Easton, Dani Pettrey, Dee Henderson

Rating - 4 stars

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wow! The Good News in Four Words

Published - July 2017, Tyndale House
Author - Dandi Daley Mackall
Title - Wow! The Good News in Four Words
Format - hardcover
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About the book (Goodreads):
For anyone looking for a fresh way to present the gospel to young children, Wow! The Good News in Four Words is a perfect resource. This whimsical and fun book outlines the gospel in a simple and memorable way (for both adults and kids!), using fun words to highlight the story. The book will present Creation/Genesis (Wow!), The Fall (Uh-oh . . .), Redemption/Jesus' Life and Sacrifice (Yes!), Restoration/The New Heaven (Aaahhhh), ending with one last Wow because we get to go out and tell the Good News!

My Thoughts:
I LOVE this book! It is beautifully illustrated. The text is a simple rhyme. I love how it is so simple to explain the Gospel to kids. The first time I read it to my best friend's daughters, her oldest (6 yrs old) kept asking why during the Uh-oh pages. It was a great opportunity for me and her parents to be able point out that sin causes everyone to be bad. 

Anyway, I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy for free from the publisher in order to review. I was not required to like the book, only share my honest opinion of it.

Recommended to parents, teachers, librarians

Rating - 5 stars

Name Unknown - A Review

Published - July 2017, Bethany House
Series - Shadows Over England Book 1
Author - Roseanna M. White
Title - A Name Unknown
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book:
Rosemary Greshman is a thief. She's one of the best in the business actually. When she's approached to go undercover in order to find proof that Peter Holstein is either loyal to England or to Germany, Rosemary agrees. After all, those she calls family could really use the money. Peter Holstein is a bit of a recluse. He's got a few close friends, but his name and his ties to Germany cause people to doubt his loyalty. That and the fact that he's hiding something - he uses a pen name to write his popular adventure series. When Rosemary shows up as a librarian, Peter sees her as an answer to prayer. Yet as he slowly starts to draw close to her, Rosemary begins realize that he really is more than his name.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. There was an element of suspense that I found refreshing. I was immediately drawn into the book. There were nights that I simply couldn't put it down.

I loved Rosemary's search. Not just for information about Peter, but also her deeper search into who she was and why bad things happen. I loved how loyal she was to her family, yet wasn't afraid to make a decision for herself.

I actually thought that Peter was rather endearing. In some ways he reminded me of Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but in others he didn't. I loved how he could express himself better in paper than verbally. I also loved his friends.

Overall, this was an excellent read.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in order to give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of WWI, Roseanna M. White, Kate Breslin, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Captain's Daughter - A Review

Published - June 2017, Bethany House
Series - London Beginnings Book 1
Author - Jennifer Delamere
Title - The Captain's Daughter
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book (Goodreads):
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind

My Thoughts:
First let me say that the cover is beautiful. It was because of the cover that I requested this title to review. And the back cover caught my attention as well. It made me want to read this book. 

That said, I struggled. I struggled more than I usually do when reading. After a prologue that drew me in and begged me to keep going, the book fell flat. I would read it for about 5 pages before deciding something else was more interesting (my cat, another book, the current crochet project, sleep, or something). This happened more than once for me. So I struggled to read more than 5 pages at a time. I don't know if it was the author's style or if I felt no connection to the characters. I think it was probably a bit of both.

I didn't connect to the main characters at all. When all is said and done, I'm like who? I also saw that there were several plot lines that had the potential to be wonderful, but sadly they fell flat or were dropped entirely. As a reader, that frustrated me. I'm ok with not everything being tied up in a pretty little bow, but I mean, come on! Don't start something and don't finish it. Or at least give me a satisfying end to the plot line.

I truly hate leaving a more negative than positive review. I looked at the reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads. There are quite a few highly positive ones. Then there are a few others who felt similar to me. Don't take my word for it. If the book sounds interesting to you, try it. You make truly enjoy it. I just know that this author and this book in general weren't for me.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. I wasn't asked to like the book, only to give my honest opinion on it, which I have done. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 2 stars

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Writing Desk - A Review

Published - July 2017, Thomas Nelson
Author - Rachel Hauck
Title - The Writing Desk
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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Tenely Roth is basking in the success of her first book. She's been awarded the prestigious Gordon Roth award. Yet now she's struggling. She's under pressure from her publisher to produce her second novel, and Tenley is struggling to even put the words on paper. When her estranged mother contacts her asking for Tenley's help as she goes through cancer treatments, Tenley reluctantly agrees to head to Florida. After all, a change of scene just may inspire her, right?Once there, Tenley discovers a writing desk that seems to have a story of its own. Birdie Shehorn is living in the Gilded Age. She's the daughter of of old money and is expected to make a good match. Yet Birdie's heart longs for other things. She longs to be recognized for her own merit and not the match she can make. She longs to have her words published for all to read. Two women. Connected by one writing desk. Both with a longing to write, but are trapped by who society expects them to be. Can one lost manuscript bring both women the healing and closure they need?

My Thoughts:
This book was amazing. I can't say enough about it. I absolutely adored it.

There is something about the way that Rachel Hauck writes that just pulls me into her books. I get lost for hours. As much as I've loved her Royal Wedding series, her stand alone novels are probably the ones that stay with me. I love the depth of the past meeting the present. I love how the main character, Tenley in this case, has to make a decision that is similar to the one Birdie is forced to make. I love how each woman makes her choice for certain reasons, but was it necessarily the right one?

I love the depth that is Tenley and Birdie's characters. Both are not shallow characters. I love how they each either learn or not from the circumstances that they are presented with.

Some authors can draw a reader in. Others can make the story linger long after the book has ended. Ms. Hauck is one who has managed to do both with this book.

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

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Karen Kingsbury, Lisa Wingate, Rachel Hauck

Rating - 5 stars

Friday, July 14, 2017

Heart on the Line - A Review

Published - June 2017, Bethany House
Series - Ladies of Harper Station Book 2
Author - Karen Witemeyer
Title - Heart on the Line
Format - ebook, paper
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About the book:
Grace Mallory left Colorado on the run. She's running from the men who murdered her father. In Harper's Station, she has finally found a place she can call home. She's working as the telegraph operator. Yet even in Harper's Station, she's not completely safe. When her location is discovered by those who killed her father, Grace logs off of the telegraph rather suddenly. Amos Bledsoe, the operator on the other end of the telegraph, has been chatting to Grace for months over the wire. When she abruptly disappears in the middle of their conversation, he becomes concerned. He is determined to meet her in person to see if she's ok. Soon both of them find themselves trying to keep themselves and the town safe.

My thoughts:
I always enjoy reading Karen Witemeyer's books. They are fun and sweet. This one had just a tough of romantic suspense in it.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Grace and Amos. I also enjoyed visiting with the other characters in Harper's Station. Sometimes, it seems that secondary characters can stand out. And in this case, all of the ladies of Harper's Station certainly stand out.

This book, overall, was a delight. I recommend it to fans of Karen Witemeyer.

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

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, historical romance

Rating - 4 stars