Thursday, November 27, 2014

See you in January.  I'm going on a little hiatus for the holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Instant Karma by Donna Marie Oldfield


Sienna Robinson is in real estate.  She is ambitious and hard-hearted. She sells homes she knows she shouldn’t and does have a twinge of guilt but that she can ignore.  She wants money and happiness and success and she doesn’t care how she gets it. 
Her bosses are sleazy real estate tycoons who are forging a deal that will benefit them and Sienna greatly but it will ruin a beautiful old neighborhood where Sienna is renovating a home for herself.  She is totally aware of the goings on and does nothing to stop it.
She meets her former boyfriend once again and finds out he is leading the fight to stop the changes in the neighborhood.  She and Aiden rekindle their romance but is it enough to stop Sienna from her plan?


I had a hard time liking Sienna.  She was self absorbed and could brush aside her doubts just like that when something went wrong.  When she starts to get what she asks for, there are some dire consequences that she just ignores or justifies.  She loved Aiden but had a very difficult time showing him that love or giving him the trust he deserved.  There was an explanation of why she was like that but I found it a little weak.
Aiden was a good guy on a mission.  He helped people and had a good heart.  He still loved Sienna in spite of her flaws and he tried to see the good in her even when she couldn’t herself.
Her two bosses made good villians.  They had their own agendas and took advantage of Sienna.  They pretended to be many things but in the end they were just two horrible people.

This was a typical romance with a twist I didn’t see coming so I don’t want to spoil it for you.  In the end, Sienna may have redeemed herself and the bad guys get theirs so it was a happy ending.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday II

I was a teacher for many years.  I loved my students with my whole heart and I loved sharing books with them.  I read to my kindergarteners of course and I read to my third graders with just as much enthusiasm.  Hopefully some of them remember those stories.
I polled a few of them and they sent me their favorites.

Sheri was one of my kindergarten students.  She was the youngest of a family whose kids were all in my class at one time or another.  She had the cutest smile in the world and she has grown into a lovely young woman and mother.  She told me her favorite book was The Giving Tree.  Here she is:

Her sister, Stacey was in my third grade class.  She was an incredible little girl.  I just loved her so much.   Little did I know she was just the first treasure her family gave me!  Her favorite was The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  She is all grown up now with kids of her own but here she is as a little one.
And yes, it's Stacey not Sheri!!

Rhonda was always one of my favorites.  She was in my first grade class and my third grade class.  She was smart and intensely sincere.  I can still see her at the front of the class seriously belting out a song to her classmates.  She was indeed a cutie.  She told me her favorite was Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret. Here she is with a bunch of our old friends  First row, third from the right. See, I told you she was a cutie!

Jenny was another student who I will always remember and love.  She was just a darling girl and recently told me they thought I was cool back in the day!  I guess I just had them fooled that well!  Jennifer raises goats now and must have been inspired by her favorite, Little House on the Prairie.. Here she is:

Books have influenced by students as you can see.  I hope I had a small part in teaching them the joy of reading.  Until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Merry Christmas, Henry by Aubrey Wynne


Henry is a quiet guard who works the night shift at an art museum.  He is fascinated by a particular painting because of the woman in it.  At  home he is a brilliant artist but is content to just enjoy his work in private and only sells when he needs the money.
As the holiday approaches, Henry gets more and more interested in the painting which seems to be changing so he gets a brilliant idea.
The outcome of his idea may not be what the reader would expect but it was an interesting twist which I will not reveal in this review.

I don’t usually review a novella or short story but I made an exception for this one since it had a holiday theme and it caught my interest.
Henry was a loveable character and I liked his friend who cared about him enough to have him for the holidays.
His dual life as a quiet guard and a great artist made me think about how some quiet people may be more than we think.

So if you are looking for a good little story to read for the holidays, I suggest you try Merry Christmas, Henry.
You can find it here: Amazon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I told you how much I loved Out of the Mouths of Babes that I decided to do some more of them.  This is actually one of them even though it has a different title.  I called it Throwback Thursday because today is Thursday and these "babes" are all grown up now.  They still know what they liked as kids though.

Megan is my daughter.  She has been a voracious reader since Kindergarten.  I remember the first time she discovered she could read.  It was at the school library and she brought home the book and read it to me. How proud she was.....and so was I!  Her favorite book was Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard.  She doesn't remember but she loved Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt.
Here she is when she was little:

Brian is my son.  His absolute favorite of all time was The Monster at the End of This Book.  I am here to tell you I read it to him a million times.  I can't wait to buy it for his kids some day. I'll probably get multiple copies since ours got ripped to shreds!  For a long time, he wasn't too interested in reading for pleasure but then along came the Star Wars series of books that continued the story of his favorite movies and BAM! he was hooked again!
Here he is as a little guy:

Brittany is my future daughter in law.  She is a life long reader.  She told me that her favortie book was The Berenstein Bears' No Girls Allowed.  She probably heard that a lot from her big brother who she admitted she followed around shamelessly!  Here she is when she was just a little girl:

Matthew is my nephew.  I always bought him a book for Christmas and nothing else...haha just kidding!  I did always buy him books and I have wonderful memories of reading  The Jolly Postman's Christmas together on Christmas Eve after all the other gifts were open.  His favorite book was (you won't believe this but it is true) was The Monster at the End of This Book!  No kidding, just like his cuz.  I guess I better buy a few more copies for his future kids too.  Here he is when he was little:
A good book never leaves your memory so until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 10, 2014

December Road by Brenda Ashworth Barry


Beth Ann and Kaylob’s story continues in December Road.  Kaylob is in the hospital due to the injuries he endured in the Vietnamese prison camp.  He is suffering from physical and emotional scars that will take a long time to heal.  He has nightmares that become violent and he thrashes out at whoever is near, including his beloved Beth Ann.
Beth Ann never gives up on Kaylob though.  She is determined to stay and love him through thick and thin even though she is still officially engaged to Blake.  She wants to break it off with him but there never seems to be an opportunity as he dodges her calls and refuses to hear what she says when she gets the chance. 
Finally, as Kaylob heals, they begin to plan for their long awaited wedding with the blessings of both their families and their friends.  As their plans progress, a trip to visit Beth Ann’s grandmother reveals a long held secret that the couple decides to reveal and a nagging suspicion on Beth Ann’s part that someone may be following her.
The day finally arrives for the wedding and Beth Ann and Kaylob can now live happily ever after, right?


Beth Ann and Kaylob are a perfect match and the relationship was much more realistic in this story.  Not everything went  perfectly for them.  They have loved each other since childhood so I really wanted them to work things out through the whole story.  Each one of them had some issues that they had to work through to get to their wedding day and they solved them in a believable manner.  I had to keep reminding myself that this story was not based in the present as some of Kaylob’s attitudes are really from the sixties and seventies and some of the time I felt he really expected Beth Ann to do his bidding in spite of what she may have felt.
Beth Ann was a lot more womanly in this story than the first one and she sure had her ups and downs but I liked that she was feisty and a little pushy.  It made me like her so much more.  I loved the relationship she had with her Grandma especially.  Her idea to play matchmaker was really cute and fun.
Blake is becoming obsessive about Beth Ann and that made for some tension that I appreciated.  It’s always good to have some conflict in a story and Barry handled it  well.  I was impressed by her grasp of his pain and how believable he was in his obsession.
Even though this is part two of a series, you could read this as a stand alone.  It was an enjoyable story with a cliffhanger ending.  Can’t wait for the next book!!
You can find December Road here:Amazon

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes II

I loved the kids’ recommendations last week so much I decided to do another one and possibly even more.  This week I’ve been talking to some little girls and here’s what they said.

Marissa is my daughter’s good friend’s little girl.  Her mom was the first of the group of highschool friend’s to have a daughter.  She is funny and cute and has a lot of favorites. She is a Magic Treehouse fan and just finished How to Train Your Dragon.  She is really into series like Judy Moody and Amber Brown.  This kid is a born reader and also cute as a button as you can see here.

Olivia is my future daughter in law’s niece.  She is a little sweetheart and is in kindergarten.  She is also going to be one of the flower girls in my son’s wedding next year.  She loves Fancy Nancy but her absolute favorite is Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.  She would be the cutest ballerina ever as you can see here:

Addie is Olivia’s sister and also a future flower girl.  Her favorite is Baby’s Birthday Cake.  No wonder I love this kid, I love birthday cake too!  You can see she is quite a cutie right here:
These little beauties know what they like and I'm happy to know so many children love books and love reading!  Until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hope From the Ocean by P.S. Bartlett

Rated 5 STARS

Patrick and Dillon are two orphaned boys who are saved from a life of poverty by their Uncle Dan, the patriarch of a large, loving family.  The boys are accepted as part of the family and Dillon thrives as he learns about horses and studies lessons and  becomes an integral part of the family.
Patrick does not make the adjustment well.  Since he is older his memories of his own mother and the memories of the terrible life they were forced to live made it difficult to adjust to this new family.  He was cooperative but didn’t feel part of things.  He did his chores and came to the table but bonded with no one except  the youngest, who reminded him of a younger Dillon who had depended on him so much and shown his love for Patrick so blatantly.
Patrick finally has to leave the family and runs off to Dublin to catch a ship and go on an adventure.
We then meet Owen Whelan who has come from Ireland with his mother.  They love and adore one another and they go to live with Rachel’s sister, Kathryn.  Owen meets and falls in love for the first time and goes to school to study with a vengeance and gets a place at University at only 16.
As time passes, Owen becomes a doctor, his mother passes away and his Aunt Kathryn invites and old friend and her family to come and visit them and Owen’ life is changed forever.

I usually don’t like to read a prequel after I’ve read the actual original book.  This however was an exception to the rule.  Once again, I was intrigued by the story of Owen and his life before I met him in Fireflies.  He is a good and kind gentleman, a doctor that everyone dreams of having.  He is dedicated to his work and his family in equal measures.
His mother is so supportive and kind.  She is intriguing too because she is keeping a secret with Owen and one that is hers exclusively.
Aunt Kathryn started out as kind of a harridan but as her family stays with her she mellows in spite of her drunken husband who was a bit of a villain.  Dell tried to throw his weight around but once Owen and his mother arrived, they were able to thwart him.
Owen’s first love, Raina, was a German immigrant who was their housekeeper but she was more than she appeared and the author made her innocent and na├»ve yet not ridiculous.  She was just a young girl who had a sad story.
Owen meets his match when he meets Sarah, the daughter of the family who Kathryn invites to visit from Ireland.  I don’t want to tell to much about her as it was so much fun to read about their courtship.

Once again, Bartlett caught my fancy with an enthralling family story and a whimsy that she seems to be particularly adept at writing.  I highly recommend this book to one and all.