My Favorite…Christmas Tradition

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Christmas Tradition

When I was growing up, we had a Christmas tradition to go out the day after Thanksgiving into our pasture and find our Christmas tree. We would traipse all around with the saw until we found the right one, cut it down, and bring it back to the house. Usually, we would have a train of cows following us around because they thought they would get something, like a cube.

Now that I’m older and don’t live at home anymore, it’s just a tradition from my childhood. Now as an adult, I don’t really have any Christmas traditions.

 

What is your favorite Christmas tradition? 

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Review: On Lone Star Trail

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: On Lone Star Trail
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: February 2016
Length: 363 pages
Series?: Texas Crossroads #3
Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance

If there’s one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it’s a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. But as she heads to Rainbow’s End Resort, a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash in front of her.

When TJ Benjamin’s wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He’s spent the past year wandering the country on a motorcycle, trying not to think about his future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor.

Can this woman without a future and this man running from his past find romance in the present? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

Gillian Hodges is left reeling and lost after a motorcycle accident that ended her career as an award-winning concert pianist. After months of therapy, there is no recovering what she once had. Struggling at this crossroads in her life with her fire-breathing father on her case, she travels to take refuge with her friend, Kate, at Rainbow’s End Resort in the Texas Hill Country town of Dupree.

On the windy country backroads to the small town of Dupree, Gillian’s worst fears are again realized as TJ Benjamin’s red motorcycle collides with her vehicle and runs off the roadway. She takes TJ to Rainbow’s End where Kate and her husband offer generous hospitality to TJ as he waits for repairs to his bike. In exchange, TJ is tasked with entertaining the kids living in Firefly Valley, victims of fire now living in an RV park. For TJ, the irony is obvious. A former teacher and “RV Reverand”, he has spent the year traveling and fulfilling his late wife’s bucket list after abandoning his faith. While forging bonds with the Firefly teens with Gillian’s help, they slowly develop their own friendship. Gillian teaches the girls about makeup and fashion, and TJ works with the boys. They become adult confidants and role models for this group of teens.

Gillian and TJ aren’t the only newcomers to town. Pete Darlington came to town with the construction crew helping build new apartments for the Firefly Valley residents. Mike Tarkett is a very influential man with strong family support and political aspirations from a nearby town. Both men have set their sights on two women in Dupree, creating two parallel love triangles. Firefly teens Todd and Brianna have a good thing going until Briana and Pete catch sight of one another. It’s infatuation for one. Mike takes to Gillian from the moment he steps foot onto Rainbow End and whisks her into the socialite life she led before. For TJ, both of these budding relationships proves troublesome. He’s grown to enjoy the companionship and discussions with Gillian, and he’s looking out for Brianna.

While she grapples with where to go from here, Gillian finds she is good at helping others: Brianna and the girls from Firefly Valley, the local bookstore owner needing additional help, and listening to the senior citizens of the town. Gillian decides to do something more permanent in Dupree by starting a senior center. TJ accepts the temporary teaching position at the high school. Mike sets his sights on becoming the mayor of his city. Things become more complicated as Gillian and Mike’s relationship progresses, and Gillian and TJ’s friendship hits the rocks.

Gillian and TJ are both in the same place, staggering to find their next step in life while staying around in Dupree. They’re taking the struggle together, neither knowing what they want, and both finding their faith. The characters are all relatable and I was on the edge needing to know who Gillian would pick. All of them have their own struggle, and they were realistic situations that made the characters more endearing and heartfelt. This is a great read for those who enjoy Christian faith novels. It is the third and final book in the series but can be read as a standalone, which I did.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With both parents avid readers, it’s no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she’s sold more than thirty novels under a variety of pseudonyms. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and – of course – reading.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter 

Sunday Post ~ Pass the Xanax

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


Monday morning the first bell rang and my partner wasn’t anywhere around. Her car wasn’t in the parking lot. She never turned her alarms on after our day off for Veterans Day the Friday before! I had her entire first period class sitting in all available desks in my class and then I had about 15 students on the floor. I literally could not walk around my room and I’m sure the fire marshall would have had an aneurysm. Thank God we are true partners and plan and do the exact same thing. I utilized a strategy I learned at the conference in October and EVERY single kid was engaged and there were ZERO behavior issues. Since it seems sixth grade (with the exception of one) is the collective group of the stepchild, we don’t ever receive the praise or recognition, unlike the same ring of favorites. So I took photos and video and I sent it out to my entire staff and gave myself a big ass pat on the back. Almost immediately my principal replied back asking for us to model this. I kept using this technique throughout the week and I feel like an idiot for not realizing its power sooner. It has made my life SO much easier in the classroom!

       

Tuesday night was my late night with my partner, and as we were coming back to my room my phone fell off the rolly cart stacked miles high with copies. It didn’t crack the screen or anything, but when I got home the screen functionality was not working. Granted, I have been having issues with the screen I’ve mentioned several times to The Man lately because we both have made comments about getting new phones. There was a little purple speck in the top left corner and it just kept spreading. At one point I was able to send some messages to The Man (with many fights and tears and commas and not producing the letters I typed) and then absolutely nothing. It was totally unresponsive. My partner took me Wednesday night to the Verizon store. Pressure crack. No problem, file a claim online and get the replacement overnighted.

Except when I got home at 10 whatever that night, I got an email after finishing the claim that I had to complete an affidavit and all this other paperwork bullshit before my claim really finalized. Owing only $140 on the phone and having to pay $150 deductible and be days without a phone until that process was complete, what was the point? I took an emergency half day Thursday to bitch at Verizon and get something figured out. I couldn’t even call my boss to tell him I needed to take a day!! If anything happened, I couldn’t do anything. I had no way to communicate with anyone! My parents couldn’t reach me if they needed to. I couldn’t call anyone or 911 in the event of an emergency. It was impactful and elevated my stress and anxiety levels to unprecedented levels. I walked out with a Samsung Galaxy S8+ and $350 poorer, but I had a phone in my hand, able to send messages to all the people that matter to me. Sadly, my notes I’ve been accumulating in the little note app did not transfer over. 😦 When I finally got to school at lunchtime, a co-worker (whom I don’t associate with much) said something to the effect of “I can just feel you need a Xanax.” And she was absolutely right. I sure as hell did! Which prompted a conversation about medication, and those in our lunch who are medicated, and I think I’m going to go back to my PCP and get something. I am operating on a slow simmer almost daily now.

        

Despite being out in the AM on Thursday, my kids all afternoon were super engaged with this game we found to help them build story ideas. They all walked away with 5 different storylines to choose from or modify however they wanted and started brainstorming for their big project. I feel the district will be breathing down my neck on this one because I had both instructional specialists in my classroom that afternoon inspecting to see how well things were going. I know the PBL Coordinator on our campus is going to tout this as a highly effective project to other campuses and wants all the good she can get out of it. I took plenty of video and uploaded to my Google Drive to share for later and give myself some more pats on the back. I also sneakily sent all my project documents to my principal to see some good shit happening in sixth grade. Why? Tuesday morning I had to waste 45 minutes of my life watching videos and hearing about how 8th grade teachers were so amazing and their kids were talking purposefully in their classes. I looked at my partner across the table and said, “So? We’ve been doing that for years.” Apparently, I need to take videos of it and show it off as proof that we are doing what we say we are doing and to be trusted in doing my job that the State Board of Education said I am highly qualified to do. That day I briefed my sixth graders, too, to prepare for admin coming in to video them. They’ve been practicing all week to “Stand and deliver.”

I so wanted to participate in the #HoHoHoRAT Twitter party on Wednesday night, but the whole phone situation precluded that. I didn’t get home until after it was over, so I couldn’t even participate from my computer. I did finish two books this week! I only have 10 more books to go to meet my Goodreads Challenge, and I am currently sitting at 26 books read for my NetGalley Challenge. I just might make it over 30 before the year is out! Hopefully closer to 35, which is a good dent for the year. I did minimal visiting and commenting this week due to the stress and late nights working. Next week, though, I am going to be a commenting wizard!

   

  • Monday
    • Review ~ On Lone Star Trail
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ TBD
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ Snowed
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite ~ Romance Story
  • Thursday
    • Famous Last Words #33
  •  Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 11.24.17
    • Black Friday Book Bonanza Blog Giveaway Hop

Keep your eyes peeled for my Black Friday giveaway! 

@sissybearla

 

 

Book Blogger Hop ~ 11.17.17

book-blogger-hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


 If you had an author-only Thanksgiving party, who would you invite? (submitted by Kristin @Lukten av Trykksverte)

Oooooohhh. I would invite two of my top and probably most long-read authors, Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon. I’d also invite a new favorite, Jason Reynolds. Another newbie I’d invite would be Julie Murphy, who is an absolute hoot. Ellie Alexander would be there and make us all the most delicious desserts. To add to the contemporary flare, I couldn’t turn John Green down.

Famous Last Words #32

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words is a new monthly feature here in Land of 1000 Wonders. I wanted to find a new way to share some fabulous quotations from reads old and new. The inspiration for this feature came from the character Pudge in John Green’s Looking for Alaska.


Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with The Scandalous Flirt all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

 

My Favorite…Fairytale

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Fairytale

I like so many of the fairytales, and I know someone is going to say something today that I didn’t even think about.

I always loved the story of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The concept of a beautiful half-girl, half-fish being fascinated me. Perhaps because I’m a Pisces and naturally drawn to water. Perhaps because I pretended I was a mermaid.

I remember watching the 1975 film as a child, as well as the Disney animated version. I watched it so many times I broke the VHS. 😦 While I don’t like Hans Christian Andersen’s ending, now that I’m older I can understand his reasoning for telling the tale better. It can be an awful thing to want for something and disobey your parents so defiantly. That element of parental protection can be so powerful.

Which version do I like better? Of course the Disney version.

What is your favorite fairytale? 

WWW Wednesdays (Nov 15)

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This is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. To join in answer the following three questions and hop over to Sam’s and leave your link.


What are you currently reading?

I picked up Donna Alward’s Deck the Halls holiday novel. It is part of her Darling, VT series which I loved when I read one of her books in this series a while back. I expect good things to come! This is my last book for #HoHoHoRAT hosted by Kimba. I was proud of myself for participating in all the challenges, and I hope to join in the Twitter party tonight. Like I said, this is my last book and I will be finishing it tonight! 🙂


 What did you just finish reading?

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I finished reading my second holiday read of the year, Christmas at Two Love Lane. It started off with such potential and tension. I was only able to read a page or two here or there unit this past weekend. I thought things were about to take off…and they just fell flat. It just seemed like the two characters were going in circles. A couple of times I felt like there was some conversation and “understanding” they came to that I didn’t know about.


What do you think you’ll read next?

These are as many Christmas reads as I could spend the time to dig up. About a dozen are new publications, and the remainder are NetGalley downloads from last year except for a couple Amazon freebies. I think I am going to read A Season of You and No Place Like You next.


 How about you? What are you reading this week?

Leave a comment with your answers! Share the link to your WWW Wednesday post OR leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. Happy Reading! 🙂