WWW Wednesdays (November 30)


This is a weekly meme hosted 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? 

Before my disappearance and then my official hiatus, I mentioned I wanted to become more of a mood reader. Since this is a new thing for me, I’m finding it hard. Like, how do you guys do this? For this reason – and the fact that I actually have my TBR Jar with me  for once – I drew from my TBR Jar!

What would you do, if you had the chance to revisit all your decisions, to fix all your mistakes?

cover83968-mediumCelebrity chef, Jessie McCormick is incredibly late. Driving his Hummer to the opening of his latest restaurant seemed like a much better idea than flying, but incomprehensible directions and a dodgy shortcut throws him instead into the driveway of a rickety old house. Hopeful of finding the house occupied – and its inhabitants capable of directing him to Brisbane – he heads inside.

Voices lead him into the attic, and there he finds no direction – and every direction. The attic is an endless line of doors and ladders, each taking Jessie down a different path of his life. In one, he is a celebrity chef, fêted by the world. In another, his mother is still alive. In a third, his beloved sister is dead.

But in all of them is a small, dusty town and a small, dusty restaurant, run by a woman named Tara. As Jessie races to find his way back to his own life, he must make the biggest decision of his life: rescue his sister or take his chance at true love.

 What did you just finish reading?

Notice how there are dogs on all the covers? LOL! It was not intentional. My classes finished reading Trouble River and Where the Red Fern Grows. My students this year impressed me: they collectively scored higher on their novel unit tests than any of the classes years prior.  Ironically, TR and WTRFG are the exact same reading level, which mystifies me given the syntax of WTRFG in terms of vocabulary, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch was a cute and light read. The perspective is interesting because we get Rosco’s internal thoughts and workings. He really is a good dog, but mischief just seems to follow him around.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, ’tis the season! 🙂



 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! 🙂

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland

First Chapter First Paragraph

Today I’m participating in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, in which bloggers share a bit about a book they’re reading or planning to read soon.

30057557Chapter 1

Mom and Dad, 

They told me I had to write this. Camp is fine. I’ll see you soon.


PS – I’m fine, too…no mater what you think.

The doorknob locks with a single key from the inside of the cabin. My bag hangs over my shoulder as I starte at the silver knob like it might start talking. This can’t be legal.

“We only lock the doors at night for precautionary reasons. And I sleep in the cabin with you,” Madison says, tugging on the key dangling from her neck. She touches my arm. I glance down at her finely painted fingernails pressing into my skin. The magenta polish has a glossy layer of perfection.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Gift Guide

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Holiday Gift Guide – Books to Buy for a Teenage Boy

These recommendations are heavily based on the reading choices of my own students. Typically it is the boys I have to help find books they like more than the girls.


What books would you buy for the loved ones in your life? 

Review: Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch

Title: Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch
Author: Shana Gorian
Publisher: KDP
Release Date: September 2014
Length: 130 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Children’s


31752229On a sunny autumn day brother and sister James and Mandy head to the pumpkin patch with their friendly dog, Rosco, to choose a pumpkin for Halloween. While riding a hay wagon, visiting a petting zoo, and joining the kids on a scavenger hunt, Rosco sometimes makes mischief. But when the kids find trouble deep inside the corn maze, will Rosco shape up and help out? Join the kids and their rascally dog for fun and adventure in Rosco The Rascal Visits The Pumpkin Patch.  Recommended for grades K-3 (ages 6-9). Includes 15+ black and white interior illustrations.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon


my review

The Skinny

James and Mandy McKendrick visit the pumpkin patch with their parents and their fairly new-to-the-family dog. Rosco is a German Shepard and is a good dog in general, but he can get distracted easily. The McKendricks are known for their awesome Halloween pumpkin carvings. Mr. McKendrick always selects an overly large pumpkin at the patch, and the kids enjoy the petting zoo and corn maze.

This year the duo have convinced their parents they can manage the maze on their own. There are just two stipulations: they must stay together using the same punch-card, and Rosco must go with them. The deal is sealed and the kids set out only to find trouble deep inside the corn maze.

The Players

Rosco – an 85 lb. German Shepard, recently adopted, enjoys being off the leash, always gets up to some mischief

Mandy – 7 year old sister to James, likes the chickens,

James – 10 year old brother to Mandy, likes the piglets, doesn’t enjoy arguing with Mandy

Luke – 4 year old cutie in the corn maze

The Quote

Their giant jack-o-lantern would be the jewel of the neighborhood, every year. Trick-or-treaters would marvel at the size of it. Dad always loved the compliments.

So this day was about more than just petting zoos and hay rides for the McKendrick family. It was about finding another outrageously large pumpkin in that patch. It was about art and tradition.

As the holiday approached, the whole block at home would be anxiously waiting to see what new creation Mr. McKendrick would come up with this year. And trick-or-treaters would come from far and wide to delight in the spectacle on Halloween night!

The Highs and Lows

  • + Family. I love that this children’s story focuses on the positive values of family. I don’t think there are enough examples of this in reading as children outgrow picture books. This is the kind of family you want to live on your street, be your neighbor, help you out if you’re in a bind and list them as an emergency contact for your child’s school.
  • + Values. When James and Mandy stumble upon Rosco and what he’s found in the maze, the siblings step up. They extend a hand, are kind and compassionate, and stand up for someone who has been wronged in the right way. Rosco also helped with that a bit. 🙂 This is a great teaching tool!
  • + Funny. While there wasn’t rip-roaring laughter, I giggled in outbursts over the antics of Rosco and some of the dialogue among the family. It is cute and clean and light-hearted.
  • Plot. The plot spanned the course of one day and all the adventures throughout it. For the most part, the activities of each character are reflected in each chapter. The POV is 3rd person omniscient, so it might throw off younger readers who have never seen this before.

The Take-Away

This was a cute and light read for fall. What I liked most was the family doing things together and nobody throwing a fit or not participating. This is a great book to read as a family and can even bridge some of those conversations about what you like to do and can do as a family.

Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip? 




8567620Shana Gorian is the author of the chapter series for kids, Rosco the Rascal. Titles include Rosco the Rascal In the Land of Snow, Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp, and Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch.

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Shana has lived in Southern California for 20 years. She lives with her husband and two children, and the real Rosco, their German shepherd, Rugger.

Shana attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing in 1994. She then attended San Diego City College, where she trained as a graphic designer. She went on to work as a website designer in San Diego for nearly a decade. But she always wanted to venture back to her love of the written word, and try her hand at fiction. Ten years into motherhood, she published her first children’s book. Shana is an avid lover of the great outdoors, and is always searching for more stories!

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


I am thankful for a lot of things. The typical: I have a job and a car, I have medical benefits, I have a home, and I can eat. Except for my weight, I am in general good health.

There are more things to be thankful for in life. True, these are the most necessary, but there are so many more.

First, I am thankful for my mother. Always. There was a 12 year period where I was so angry with my mother that I couldn’t see anything else but that. We finally worked out our issues and she is my closest friend today. I never want to live a day without her because even at our worst, I know that she still loved me as terrible as I was and as bad as we were for one another. She didn’t let that stop her from loving me and trying to teach me to be a good person, a strong and independent person.

I am thankful for the strong bond I experienced growing up in a large family. While my brothers and I grew up in poverty, we never knew it. Everyone else in our family made sure we never saw that. The sentiment of a village rings very true for how I grew up. Everyone pitched in to help.

I am thankful I was an eavesdropper. I would sit around at family gatherings and listen to the old folks’ stories. I learned so many things about my relatives and got to relive those moments. I don’t think I will ever be as good a storyteller as they were. This also helped me appreciate people – something I don’t see in the students I teach.

I am thankful for being the oldest. I had to learn how to be independent and successful. For all intents and purposes, I raised my three younger brothers while being an excelling, A-honor roll student. It made me be responsible and accountable. It made me grow up well beyond my years and took away some of my childhood, it made be a better person. I am still more mature than people my age.

I am thankful for the incredible people I met at university. I worked in a handful of university offices, and I was blessed to have the wisdom of several strong and caring women handed down to me. I don’t think I would have survived the ups and downs of friendships, relationships, workships, and all the rest that goes along with being a young person out in the world without them.

I am thankful for my failed engagement. It taught me just how strong I was and it taught me how to be by myself. I found out how to be happy with myself.

I am thankful for Baby. She is the light of my life and I am forever thankful that I made D go back and look at her at the shelter. Because of the way things ended, she came with me and I will never regret that for a minute. She has made me immensely happy and she loves unconditionally. She’s the best dog.

I am thankful for the amazing friends I have. While I have one that lives just down the street, and others that live too far away, I love them all and they never cease to surprise me.

I am thankful for the man. He has shown me the kind of partner I want, that I have been looking for. He treats me with respect, he lets me make decisions, he values my input, he thinks of me, he adores Baby. This is something I have never fully had in my relationships before, it is something I was looking for, and I found it. I appreciate him for all of the things he is and all that he does for me.


What are you thankful for?  

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Movies

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Favorite Movies

These are some of my favorite movies that I can watch again and again and they never lose their magic.


What are some of your all-time favorite movies? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

What is on your fall TBR? Do you choose to focus on specific genres for fall? 

Where In The World? … A Hiatus


Where in the world have I been? 

What’s going on? 

Some of you may have noticed I have not truly been around in the past month. I’ve had content go up, and as the weeks wore on it became a little less and fewer posts than the week before.

I apologize for not getting around to see you all in October. Life is just too much right now with all of this mess with the house, my evaluation at work, and running the yearbook and UIL programs for my campus.

Honestly, November is not going to be better. In fact, it’s going to be worse. I have run out of scheduled posts and reviews and I am not going to force myself to write them in the hours on the weekend before the man wakes up. I am exhausted and a little down-trodden right now and I don’t want to keep pretending at this and being miserable because I’m failing at it.

When school started the man and I had a serious conversation about the end of this school year. He asked again and again about making the move to him real at the end of this year, not just saying it was going to happen and not planning and preparing for it. We agreed that at the end of the big move to him, and he has been making some preparations for that at his home. It will be happening, and with all the nonsense with the house and my landlord, I have made some decisions.

The good news is I am moving. Now. I found a nice residence in my dad’s hometown, next to my hometown. I will be close to my family and on a one-stop route from the man’s to my work without having to go 30 minutes out of my way. The homeowner is a single dad who is nice and considerate and easy-going, and he is also a photographer, so I can lean on him for some tips with my yearbook kids. It is in a great neighborhood and a quiet street and is just what I need right now.

hand-truck-564242_1920I am in the process of moving. Sunday we will pack up the big furniture and move it to my parents’ storage unit and I will take the items that will end up at the man’s to his house to his house (like my bookcase) and the first round of things to Photographer Dad’s. That will get most of the living room taken care of. I almost have the bathroom entirely packed up. Then it is a matter of the kitchen and my bedroom.

My job for the rest of the week is to start weeding through clothes to get rid of and separating things that I need to donate, trash, take to the man’s, or take with me for the short-term stay at Photographer Dad’s.

Then there is the issue of my dad getting everything from my late grandfather’s house out of my garage and somewhere. He is griping and moaning and complaining about doing it and keeps giving me excuses about not having time. He doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. I don’t have time! My grandfather died the week before school started last year. His funeral was the second day of school. I know it is hard on him to have to go through his father’s things and I know he carries a lot of regret for never taking the imitative to go see his parents and take us kids on his own. If my mother couldn’t go because of work, it didn’t happen. I know it’s hard for him and I don’t want to put him through that pain before he is ready to deal with it, but we are out of time.

With all of this being said, I am taking a hiatus for November. My goal is that I am completely moved out of The Bungalow the weekend before Thanksgiving. I don’t want to have to deal with any of this during that week. I want it done and over. When everything is right again, I will return. I have missed keeping up with you all and running my blog right.

WWW Wednesdays (November 2)


This is a weekly meme hosted 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? 

441267916713My students are right in the middle of their novel units. My Pre-AP students are reading Where the Red Fern Grows and my on-level students are reading Trouble River. Last year the kids voiced a strong dislike for Trouble River, and this year the kids love it and groan when I tell them to close their books at the end of class. Ironically, the boys in both these books are eerily alike despite the different time periods.

As for what I am reading on my own, I haven’t yet picked a new book. I have plenty I am looking at that I want to read, but with this sudden move and wanting to be moved before Thanksgiving week, I am not going to be having a lot of time to read this month.

 What did you just finish reading?

26241885I finished up reading O’er the River Liffey (Power of the Matchmaker#6). I was surprised at the setting and time period as most of the series so far has been contemporary, but I enjoyed the book. Both the central characters pointed out how quickly they had fallen for each other and that it was extremely unordinary, and I kind of agreed. While that bothered me and made me think of instalove, I did like the sentiment and the respect with which the male character had for Caroline and her reputation.

I also started in on the next book that I have in the Power of the Matchmaker series, Between Heaven and Earth. I have enjoyed this book thoroughly. The internal conflict of the MC was a hard thing to handle and really pulled at the heart. It didn’t seem to matter how much the Matchmaker or others tried to encourage her, she held steadfast in the other direction to the degree that she wasn’t a good wife. That was far from the truth, and it was irritating to see


Cassandra Webb’s every waking minute is devoted to being a great mother and wife. She takes five-year-old Noah to the library each week, volunteers in his kindergarten class, and even coaches his soccer team. She makes sure her husband’s uniforms are always laundered—even though he hasn’t worn them the last six years—always has his game day snacks on hand, and meets him for date night every Friday—which consists of one sided conversations at his bedside and watching his favorite take out remain untouched.

Pearl, a mysterious visitor at the care center, suggests that it is only Cassie’s love still tying Devon to Earth when he has been ready to move onto Heaven for quite some time. If Cassie will but open her eyes and heart, she will discover the path she should travel, one that will bring relief to Devon and much joy to her own life. But Cassie vowed never to give up on him. She never has and she can’t now, even after meeting hapless, single soccer-dad Matt.

What do you think you’ll read next?

TBD. Life and all that.

 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! 🙂

Blitz + Giveaway: Tru Blue

Tru Blue
Melissa Foster
Publication date: November 9th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance

TRU BLUE is a sexy, dark stand-alone novel written in the same loving, raw, and emotional voice romance readers have come to love, and the deeply emotional literary prose women’s fiction readers have come to expect, from New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.

“With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!” New York Times Bestseller Julie Kenner

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” New York Times Bestseller Lauren Blakely

He wore the skin of a killer, and bore the heart of a lover…

There’s nothing Truman Gritt won’t do to protect his family–Including spending years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. When he’s finally released, the life he knew is turned upside down by his mother’s overdose, and Truman steps in to raise the children she’s left behind. Truman’s hard, he’s secretive, and he’s trying to save a brother who’s even more broken than he is. He’s never needed help in his life, and when beautiful Gemma Wright tries to step in, he’s less than accepting. But Gemma has a way of slithering into people’s lives and eventually she pierces through his ironclad heart. When Truman’s dark past collides with his future, his loyalties will be tested, and he’ll be faced with his toughest decision yet.

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” NYT Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


TRUMAN GRITT LOCKED the door to Whiskey Automotive and stepped into the stormy September night. Sheets of rain blurred his vision, instantly drenching his jeans and T-shirt. A slow smile crept across his face as he tipped his chin up, soaking in the shower of freedom. He made his way around the dark building and climbed the wooden stairs to the deck outside his apartment. He could have used the interior door, but after being behind bars for six long years, Truman took advantage of the small pleasures he’d missed out on, like determining his own schedule, deciding when to eat and drink, and standing in the f**king rain if he wanted to. He leaned on the rough wooden railing, ignoring the splinters of wood piercing his tattooed forearms, squinted against the wetness, and scanned the cars in the junkyard they used for parts—and he used to rid himself of frustrations. He rested his leather boot on the metal box where he kept his painting supplies. Truman didn’t have much—his old extended-cab truck, which his friend Bear Whiskey had held on to for him while he was in prison, this apartment, and a solid job, both of which were compliments of the Whiskey family. The only family he had anymore.

Emotions he didn’t want to deal with burned in his gut, causing his chest to constrict. He turned to go inside, hoping to outrun thoughts of his own f**ked-up family, whom he’d tried—and failed—to save. His cell phone rang with his brother’s ringtone, “A Beautiful Lie” by 30 Seconds to Mars.

“F**k,” he muttered, debating letting the call go to voicemail, but six months of silence from his brother was a long time. Rain pelleted his back as he pressed his palm to the door to steady himself. The ringing stopped, and he blew out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d trapped inside. The phone rang again, and he froze.

He’d just freed himself from the dredges of hell that he’d been thrown into in an effort to save his brother. He didn’t need to get wrapped up in whatever mess the drug-addicted fool had gotten himself into. The call went to voicemail, and Truman eyed the metal box containing his painting supplies. Breathing like he’d been in a fight, he wished he could paint the frustration out of his head. When the phone rang for the third time in as many minutes, the third time since he was released from prison six months ago, he reluctantly answered.

“Quincy.” He hated the way his brother’s name came out sounding like the enemy. Quincy had been just a kid when Truman went to prison. Heavy breathing filled the airwaves. The hairs on Truman’s forearms and neck stood on end. He knew fear when he heard it. He could practically taste it as he ground his teeth together.

“I need you,” his brother’s tortured voice implored.

Need me? Truman had hunted down his brother after he was released from prison, and when he’d finally found him, Quincy was so high on crack he was nearly incoherent—but it didn’t take much for f**k off to come through loud and clear. What Quincy needed was rehab, but Truman knew from his tone that wasn’t the point of the call.

Before he could respond, his brother croaked out, “It’s Mom. She’s really bad.”


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