Monday, January 22, 2018

Blubber was the worst. THE WORST

BlubberBlubber by Judy Blume
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I remembered loving this book when I was in 4th grade. This week, reading it as an adult, as a mom, with my 12 yr old... I have no idea why I loved it so much before. I've never wanted to punch a 5th grader in the face like I did while reading this book. Wendy, and her little minions, needed their butts whooped. I wanted Linda to start beating Wendy with her lunch pail, like Mary Ingalls and all the girls did to the bully on Little House on the Prairie.
When we finished reading the book tonight my daughter took it and threw it across the room. It was that bad. I seriously wonder where Wendy is now. Probably in a women's high security prison. Freakin' psycho...

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Top Reads of 2017

It's that time of year where I make one of my very fews posts... I really need to blog better, but I digress. This is my list of my top reads for 2017. I based it on my personal Goodreads rating and how much the book affected me or made me feel. If you would like to see my Goodreads "My Year in Books" for 2017 click here. If you would like to read my reviews for my 2017 favorites just click on the title of the book.

 Enjoy!

Favorite Historical Non-Fiction:
Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

Favorite Book I Read with my 11 year old:
 Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Favorite Memoir (I read a bunch of memoirs this year...):
*What is interesting is my 2 favorites were written 1- by the mom of Dylan Klebold, one of the murderers in the Columbine school shooting and 2- by the mom of Emilie Parker, a victim in the Sandy Hook shooting. 2 very different perspectives of 2 mothers who lost.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold 
A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

 An Unseen Angel by Alissa Parker
An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook

Favorite Book Released in 2017:
 Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden
Romancing Daphne

 Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Heart on the Line

 Love Remains by Sarah M. Eden
Love Remains 

Favorite Novella:
 The Hidden Prince by Nadine Millard
The Hidden Prince

Favorite from the Teen Section:
 Under a Painted Sky by Stacey  Lee
Under a Painted Sky

Favorite Contemporary:
 One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
One True Loves

Favorite Books Based During World War 2 (I have a Goodreads shelf dedicated to these):
 From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
From Sand and Ash

Favorite Surprise (A book I didn't start out loving, but loved by the end):
 A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove

Favorite Re-read (A book I had read before and decided to read again this year... I do this a lot.):
I've read all 3 of these at least twice...

 Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
Short Straw Bride

 Highway Revenge (Revenge #1)
Highway Revenge

 A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist
A Bride in the Bargain 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Pursuit of Lady Harriet Book Review and GIVEAWAY

   

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson  
When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.

   

EXCERPT 
Harriett looked at what remained of the cake. Appar-ently, he didn’t intend to finish it off after all, so she collected their forks and stood. “Forgive me for saying so, but you look quite done in, Chris. If you do not go up to bed now, you will probably fall asleep here. Only imagine what Mrs. Caddy might say if she discovers you here with the mostly-eaten cake. For your own sake, you ought to retire. I will do my best to tidy things up.” Before she could move away from him, he grabbed her hand and guided her to sit back down, keeping hold of her fingers. “Not so fast, my lady. I meant it when I said that I’m in desperate need of the distraction that only you can provide. Thus far, all I have done is burden you with my troubles.” “I do not feel at all burdened, sir.” Indeed, Harriett suddenly felt breathless and somewhat giddy. The effect this man had on her was something of a wonder. “Sir?” he asked. “I thought we were beyond that.” “I thought so as well, but you only just called me ‘my lady.’” He frowned and blinked as though he hadn’t realized he had. “Forgive me, Harry. I fear my exhaustion has muddled my thinking.” This time, she did not let the name slide. She snatched her hand free and frowned at him. “Obviously it has.” He laughed—not a tired attempt at a laugh, but a real one filled with the richness that warmed her straight through. Only this time, it did not bother her at all. In fact, it felt wonderful, almost like a compliment. “I knew you’d come through for me,” he said, leaning close enough to touch shoulders with her. “You have no idea how much I needed to laugh or how good that felt. I could honestly kiss you right now.” Harriett tried her best not to blush or appear astonished by the suggestion—he had obviously made the comment in jest—but when his smile widened into a devilish grin, she knew she’d failed. He leaned in closer, and his gaze wandered briefly to her mouth before returning to her eyes. She could smell vanilla and lemon and a hint of something else—leather perhaps? A delightful pulse whipped down her arm, and she was hard-pressed not to shiver. Admit it,” he said. “You have missed me.” 

    Rachael 

Author Rachael Anderson 
 A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


 My Review
As the third book in the Tanglewood series, The Pursuit of Lady Harriett definitely lived up to my expectations. Tanglewood has become quite the matchmaking estate.

In the beginning, Lieutenant Jamison's character kind of irritated me and I felt badly for Lady Harriett. But as time passed, my feelings flip flopped. The lieutenant became hopelessly charming, in my eyes, and really SO MALE. He was falling all over himself trying to express his feelings to Harriett. I just kept thinking, "Bless his heart!"

This was a fun novel and a fabulous edition to the series!! I'm so glad Rachael branched out into recency romance. :)

 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 10/1/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander BOOK REVIEW

Happy BOOK RELEASE DAY!!!!





Anyone who knows me, knows that TAMERA ALEXANDER is one of my top "go to" authors.  I've met her in person and have loved everything I've read by her.  Every time she writes you can see the love and research and devotion put into the work on each page, in each line.
To Wager Her Heart is no different.

Synopsis

 With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn't tear them apart first.  
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 fiancee—and what has broken her heart.
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.
Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.

 

My Thoughts

Once again, Tamera Alexander has woven a beautiful story inside real history. Set in post-Civil War Nashville, and including parts of our nation's past, such as Fisk University (a freedmen's school), The Jubilee Singers, Philip Bliss, and of course the beautiful Belle Meade Plantation, I didn't want to put the book down.  
Tamera did a wonderful job showing us the hard truths of that time, the prejudice, and the shifting in society as freedmen and Southerns attempted to reconstruct their lives. I enjoyed all the characters- the main and minor. The building up of Sylas and Alexandra's relationship was believable and not overdone. It was great to see Uncle Bob and the Hardings again. I also enjoyed the theme of trusting God in everything and of continuing education. Both important during that time period, and today!

To Wager Her Heart is available TODAY!!! It is book #3 in the Belle Meade Plantation series, but can definitely stand alone. 5 stars- Highly Recommend!!


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Heart on the Line (Ladies of Harper’s Station, #2)Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a reason I pre-order all books, unread, written by Karen Witemeyer. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn't thoroughly enjoy!! I've read No Other Will Do and the novella, Worth the Wait, both featured in the female-run town, Harper Station. This was the 2nd full length novel set in the same town. The ladies of Harper Station each have their own story of why they have searched out an all-gal town. Grace is no different. She has been in hiding since her father was murdered right in front of her. She works as the telegraph operator in Harper Station, where she has made some amazing friends. She has one chat friend, Amos, who she has never met in person, but has grown to know and admire via telegraph. (Picture "online dating" 1800's style...)
When those who have been tracking Grace find where she's been hiding, Amos drops everything to come to her rescue. Y'all, Amos is the cutest. He's not the tough, burly, hot ranchhand or lawman. He's not a big guy, not real athletic, but what he lacks in brawn, he makes up for in heart. Grace, she was brave and feisty. I admired her fight!
This book has it all: romance, mystery, wit... We also get to see Emma and Malachi, Tori and Ben, and all the ladies of Harper Station we've grown to love!! Even Helen- the biggest anti-man woman in town, does her best to help the opposite sex. So, my advice to you is to pre-order this book as well. Your personal library needs it. :)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook

An Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy HookAn Unseen Angel: A Mother's Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing after Sandy Hook by Alissa Parker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember where I was when I heard about the Sandy Hook tragedy, December 14, 2012. I was driving to lunch with my husband when the radio show we were listening to said it had been confirmed that most of the victims were possibly first graders. My heart hurt for the families of the victims and for the community of Newtown, Ct. I remember cheering at my son's basketball game that night, and feeling guilty that I was cheering, as I knew these families were in a nightmare they could not wake up from. My heart still hurts when I think about it.
This book was written by Alissa Parker, the mother of sweet little Emilie Parker, one of the victims of Sandy Hook. I wasn't sure how I would feel reading this and I wasn't sure what to expect. Alissa did a beautiful job sharing her family's grief and their path to healing. I loved reading about how they can see Emilie in small, every day miracles. I love that they can feel her presence at times when it is least expected, but very needed. I believe Heaven is real and is closer than we think, so to me it just seems natural, and right, that we would feel our loved ones who have passed on.
The emotions I felt while reading this book varied, but overall I was inspired. Alissa was very open about her feelings towards all the unwanted attention, the nation's touching, overwhelming response, anger towards Adam Lanza, guilt as a parent, and so much more. I appreciated her honesty and her willingness to share her testimony. I feel this book could help other's suffering from grief find a path towards healing as well.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A Note Yet Unsung is the 3rd book in the Belmont Mansion series by Tamera Alexander. It can, however, stand alone.  In this book we read the story of a young gifted musician who happens to be a woman in post civil war settled in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon the death of her beloved grandmother, Rebekah returns from being abroad in Vienna where she has been studying music from a composer. Her dream is to play with a symphony. At this time, women were not admitted at all, but she is determined to try. Meeting with the Nashville Conductor, Tate, she auditions by playing the oboe. She is also proficient in the violin and the piano. Things do not go well and she is still determined to find employment due to her cruel stepfather. She meets Mrs. Adelicia Cheatham, the mistress of Belmont, who in turns offers her the position of violin tutor to her daughter. Mr. Whitcomb, who turned her down for the symphony, wants to help her so he hires her as a transcriber for the music. From here, Rebekah and Tate build a friendship that soon turns into attraction.
I love the banter between them. They love to argue! I love how Tamera Alexander weaves the beauty of music into something amazing. I had the hardest time stepping away from Rebekah and Tate’s story. I felt drawn to find out what would happen next. There are so many situations that I had no idea would happen. Like Tate’s background for example and so much more.   
Whenever Tamera Alexander has a new book, I get excited because I know it will be great. A Note Yet Unsung was no exception. There was music, mystery, and romance. I loved Tate and Rebekah. You couldn't help but cheer for them and mourn with them because of their individual challenges. I was happy to catch up a little with characters from the the other Belmont Mansion novels, A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare, although this one can totally stand alone. I am always impressed with Ms. Alexander's historical research. I always learn from her books, without feeling like I've taken a history lesson. It always flows so beautifully. 4.5 stars

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Secret of the India Orchid (Proper Romance)The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anthony Blake is in love with Sophia Elliot. But he's also a spy for the Crown and duty calls. In order to protect the ones he loves, he must lie and cut off all ties. 2 years later, he is once again in contact with heartbroken Sophia, when they meet in India. This just made my heart hurt. He can't tell her he is a spy, but he also does not want her to believe, any longer, the letter he had to write when he left her behind. It is all very complicated. To make matters worse, there is a mystery to solve and Sophia is being threatened.
This book had twists and turns, lost love, engaging characters, culture, and romance all wrapped into one.

Thank you to the publishers for the opportunity to read an advanced copy via Netgalley. :)This book will be released for all in August, 2017.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Hidden Prince by Nadine Millard

The Hidden PrinceThe Hidden Prince by Nadine Millard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Nadine Millard! Your writing makes me happy. I know when I sit down with one of Nadine's books, I'm going to love it. This novella was no different.
Lydia- so full of spunk and really a spaz. I can't think of another word. lol She reminded me of Lady Rebecca in An Unlikely Duchess. She knows the expectations of society. She just has a hard time following them!
Alex- he is just yummy. I love how he looks at his life and actually cares whether he's made a difference or if he's been a good person. I also love his seductive flirting. Oh.my.
Once again, Nadine has made a story that sucked me in and allowed me to get lost for a while. When you can get lost in a book, you know it's a good one. :) It was only 9 chapters and I loved each one.
  A few favorite quotes:
"Lord, he was handsome. It was terribly distracting."

"Mr. Farago's laughter was delectable; raspy and deep. Dear heavens! She simply must get a hold of her wanton thoughts."

"It wasn't mere lust. It was more. It felt very much like his heart were being affected, along with more intimate parts of him."

"I lied about the holly..."
(SQUEEEE!! Y'all, this part... I can't even.)

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

My Favorite Reads of 2016




As I looked through the 150+ books I read in 2016, I realized I had read oodles of books I positively enjoyed! I love it when that happens!! :) Needless to say, limiting them down to a few of my favorites for the year was hard. Extremely hard. But I did my best! Some were by my "go-to" authors, and others were complete surprises for me. :) I decided to limit it to books that were published between Nov. 2015 - the end of 2016. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my reads weren't all the same genre, as sometimes they tend to be. I've linked my Goodread's review for each one if you click on the title. 

So, here we go, in no particular order, I give you my top 12 books of 2016:




My Fair Gentleman
By Nancy Campbell Allen
Historical Regency Era
Anchor in the Storm
By Sarah Sundin
Historical Fiction World War 2

Highway Revenge
By Nadine Millard
Historical Regency Era

Painting Rain
By Annette K. Larsen
Historical Fiction/Fairytale

Change of Heart
By Jennifer Moore
Contemporary Romance

Chasing Fireflies
By Taylor Dean
Contemporary Romance

They're Your Kids
By Mrs. Sam Sorbo
Informational/Educational

Ranch Hand for Auction
By Kimberly Krey
Contemporary Romance

The Captain's Revenge
By Nadine Millard
Historical Regency Era

The Only Pirate at the Party
By Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey
Autobiography

The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd
By Bette Lee Crosby
Historical Fiction
The Husband Maneuver
By Karen Witemeyer
Historical Western