Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

My class read Heidi in 5th grade. I remember nothing. Absolutely nothing. I also read Among the Hidden in 6th grade when we were still at the old school. Not that the new one we moved to was new…it was the old high school. I read The House Next Door in high school, I think. Ghosts? Time travel? Those are my best guesses today. The rest have been reads in the last 5 years that I reviewed. I know I liked them well enough, some more than others, but I don’t remember much of anything about them.

 

 

Have you ever read a book you enjoyed but can’t seem to remember much about it?

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: The Christmas Cowboy Hero

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Synopsis ~ The Christmas Cowboy Hero

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wit’s end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby―and the inescapable longing in his heart―off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

 

Prologue

South Africa

Home.

The word flashed across the screen of Clayton’s cell for the fourth time in three days. He turned the phone over as his way of ignoring it.

It had been over six months since he last spoke to his parents. They hadn’t exactly been thrilled when he didn’t return home after resigning his commission in the Navy.

 

Chapter 1 

Clearview, Texas

Three weeks before Christmas

This should couldn’t be happening. Abby Harper’s heart thumped against her ribs as she turned into the parking lot of the sheriff’s department. She parked and opened her car door, only to have her keys drop from her shaking hand. It took her three tries to pick them up because she couldn’t get her fingers to listen to what her brain was telling them.


Teasers

“Sometimes boys don’t listen to reason no matter who says the words.”

 

“Nothing illegal is good. Remember that. Abby just wants you safe, happy, and loved. She doesn’t strike me as the kind of woman who wants things.”

Brice shrugged. “Everyone wants things. Abby keeps it hidden, but I wanted her to be able to open a present this Christmas that wasn’t something from around the house we wrapped just so she’d have something to open.”


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros was created by Bibliophile By The Sea and is now hosted by Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

Review: Saturdays at Sweeney’s

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Saturdays at Sweeney’s
Author: Ashley Farley
Publisher: Kindle Press
Release Date: January 2018
Length: 250 pages
Series?: Sweeney Sisters #5
Genre: Women’s Fiction

When the seafood business Lovie Sweeney established sixty years ago is destroyed by fire, she finds herself at the center of an arson investigation. What really happened that night? Is Lovie responsible for starting the fire or is her family under attack from a sworn enemy?

The loss of their family business leaves the Sweeney clan in flux. Samantha faces the challenges of rebuilding the market while her son, Jamie, on track to graduate from college in six months, must decide whether to make his permanent home in Prospect or move to Charleston where a new special someone resides. At age forty-five, Faith, who has never fully recovered from an abusive marriage, is on a quest to find her true passion? Jackie is distraught when her son, Sean, flunks out of college and struggles to find direction in his life without his twin brother to guide him. A medical diagnosis brings the sisters closer together and threatens to change family dynamics forever.

The Sweeney women remind us that it’s never too late to begin a new endeavor and to never stop chasing your dreams until you draw your last breath.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

My Thoughts 

I thought this would be a great book to start the off the year. I was shocked to realize it’s the final book in the series and the first one I’ve read! The author brings readers up to speed, though. Reading about the Sweeney sisters and their families in Prospect made me think this is the perfect kind of small town dysfunctional heaven. There were a wide range of events happening and packaged all in this book with the cute cover: a family’s battle living with Alzheimer’s, the family business being destroyed, family secrets, alcoholism and recovery, drug abuse and therapy, younger generations starting their college pathways, a strange mystery of occurrences, and a sleazy tabloid writer. It didn’t shy away from those hard topics – it faced them head-on.

Each family member has his or her own spotlight throughout the book to continue the narration and plot.Each of the Sweeney sisters had their own secret to hide and each of those things continued to build up the tension and draw out the suspense, while their children are also struggling to move forward in their lives.

The book begins with Sweeney’s Seafood Market on fire. The preliminary report points to a lightning strike, but further investigation reveals arson. The fire department is reluctant to point fingers, but it must be noted that Lovie Sweeney was at the scene before the fire department arrived. She couldn’t answer their questions and becomes the lone suspect.

As Faith planned to step away from the business and leave it to Sam, she and her son Jamie must decide what their next move with the family business will be. Is this a total loss or a new beginning? Jaimie’s entire summer plan was to work at Sweeney’s. It is looking dismal with Lovie being the center of the fire investigation. The insurance won’t pay out in the event of arson.

Sam’s husband Eli must recuse himself from the investigation, but is right there alongside it every step of the way to ensure it is executed properly. From day one, it is not. It results in further disorientation from Lovie, who doesn’t seem to know who Eli is. She is living in the past, and Sam is still with Allen. Concerned for her well-being, the sisters remove their mother from her townhouse and install her in Faith’s home. With no job to report to every day, and stuck in limbo with the direction her life should now take, Faith readily volunteers to be caretaker extraordinaire for their mother. Lovie’s mental faculties continue to decline, and soon she is becoming combative and hard to care for.

Suddenly dead animals begin showing up on the sisters’ doorsteps, with their mother’s hand-written recipes attached. Whoever set the fire is taunting the Sweeney girls. Faith quickly discovers who the true culprit is, but she never shares that information with her sisters or even her husband. Instead, she does what she wants to and ultimately puts her mother and daughter at risk.

The oldest sister, Jackie, is busy running her interior design business and looking to expand. Spending much of the week out of town, she is disconnected with the family. After trying to convince her sisters to place their mother in an amazing care facility, she is kind of on the outs. She is struggling to keep customers happy, sell her current location, and purchase a new showroom. Meanwhile, one of her sons is arrested on drug charges. Additionally, he is kicked out of Jackie’s alma matter for straight failing grades his freshman year. He is brought back home and everything about it is kept a secret.

Jamie is tasked with babysitting Sean and they both get jobs at a local restaurant. In the time the boys aren’t working the restaurant, they are out catching crabs and selling on the site of their burned family business on Saturdays. Soon, Jamie connects with his half-sister and goes to work with her catering company.

This is the story of real life that real families face every day. It was eye-opening to family, loyalty, love, motivation, distrust, secrets, fear. It is also a wonderful example of how important it is to be understanding and supportive of your loved ones going through tough trying situations. I connected so well with this family and fell in love with them. I definitely want to go back and read the first four books in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she’s lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, part of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry where she grew up. Through the eyes of her characters, she’s able to experience the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kind-hearted folks with lazy drawls that make the area so unique.

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Sunday Post ~ The Really Short Week

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.


This was a really short week for me. Unusually short. I only worked 1/2 a day on Friday morning. Monday was a holiday and with the ice and sleet setting in Monday night and not clearing until Tuesday afternoon, my district actually cancelled school…more than 2 hours before teachers were supposed to show up. It was shocking. They cancelled Monday night. All my teacher friends poked fun at the district. They won’t ever come out and say what they’re going to do until about 5 AM the morning of. Even when other districts have cancelled school, ours refuses. The last cancellation was five years ago when we had all that ice in January and February.

Having Tuesday off was a relief. I was tired for some reason. In the afternoon I fell asleep on the couch, and when I woke up I just crawled over to The Man and curled up on him. He asked if I was getting sick. That should have been my tip off.

Wednesday morning I woke up and drove the hour and a half to work, and I could not stay awake during the drive. On the toll road at 80 mph. I got to work, my partner got to work (she’d been released from the hospital last Sunday night! she’s still weak, but I’m so grateful she’s alright) and took one look at me and told me if that’s how I felt, I should go home. We got our act together for the day, and I went in search of the principal’s secretary. I made a doctor’s appointment and drove to the Home Depot, parked, and went back to sleep for almost 3 hours before my appointment. Since they didn’t have any flu swabs left, I did bloodwork and got Tamiflu since I have been exposed. There was a big run-around at the pharmacy and I finally left at 1:00 and went home. My mom had to go back later and get it. I slept the rest of the day. I still wasn’t feeling right by the end of the night, and my doctor released me to go back Friday, so I took Thursday off too. I slept and slept. I was a little out of it in the morning, and I had my window entirely covered so it could be as dark as possible. I started feeling significantly better around noon, so I pulled out my bullet journal and worked on a couple spreads while I was glued to the TV watching Longmire.

I already had my diabetes class (2 hours) scheduled for Friday afternoon, so I only worked until lunchtime on Friday. My aunt was actually my sub in the afternoon, so I stayed and she got to see how I ran my 5th period class so she could do the rest of the day. They were working on Chromebooks writing poetry. Even only being back at school for half the day exhausted me.

It took me a while to read One True Pairing because of the format, but I whizzed through Game of Hearts lickity split last week. I started in on my first NetGalley book of the year,  A Wedding at Two Love Lane. The first book in the series was meh, so I’m hoping this one really catches me.

Because I’ve been down for the count, I haven’t done any visiting this week and I feel like crud about that. I did get all of my reviews written on Monday (or was it Tuesday??), so now I just have the new books I’ve finished. It was such a relief to get caught up. I did get some significant progress made in my bullet journal, although the longer I worked on it the less creativity I was putting into it. I’m still waiting on my big stencil order. Hopefully they arrive this week so I can start putting them to good use.

 

  • Monday
    • Review ~ Saturday at Sweeney’s
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ The Christmas Cowboy Hero
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite ~ 
  • Thursday
    • Beyond the Books ~ Foods Reminding Me of Childhood
  • Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 1.26.18

My 5 Year Blogoversary celebration and giveaway is still going on! If you didn’t get a chance to enter last week, you still can. 

@sissybearla

Book Blogger Hop ~ 1.19.18

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.


When reading a mass paperback book, many people fold the cover back, as if they were reading a magazine. Doing this will eventually create creases in the spine. How do you feel about this common bookish habit? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

 

I do it when I am reading aloud to my students. When I’m reading just for me, I don’t find myself folding the cover back. I don’t feel that people who do fold the covers back are evil or should never be allowed to touch a book again. We all know it damages the spine eventually, so I just think it’s a bad habit.

Beyond the Books ~ Interesting Posts Read Lately

beyondthebooks

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post.


This Week’s Topic:

What are some interesting posts you’ve read lately? 

I’m going to make my 3749238409th confession: I’m really bad about remembering posts. I have started having to bookmark things like crazy for posts with prompts like this.

One post I read recently was from Beth @ Fueled by Fiction. It was an old post I missed, but she recently mentioned it. The title caught my attention: Why People With Anxiety Make Hella Great Friends. With my recent diagnosis, I have embraced the fact that I have anxiety. Every single thing she listed about why people with anxiety make the greatest of friends (or people in general) is exactly right. I especially approve of the last item on her list. That has been me my entire life:

We’re hyper-vigilant and spend a lot of time pondering worst-case scenarios. Because of this, we’re often overly cautious.

I have tried until I am blue in the face sharing with my students and their parents the many benefits of reading, especially last year. This year is slightly better. When Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek posted about 8 Reasons Reading Is A Superpower! I fell in love with it. She simplified everything down and put in fun GIFs! I think I even reblogged her post.

This next one is actually a blogging tip from Karen @ Kissin Blue Karen. Back in November she shared Make Your Posts Pop With Hovertext. Of course because I am super lazy and have no time until summer, I haven’t checked it out yet and actually done it myself, but I have that post bookmarked!

Nereyda @ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite List shared her One Word for 2018. Her post is ALL about what The Man has been telling me in the last year and a half. Her word last year was STRONGER, and this year her word is ME. Everything she said is so perfect for what I also need to be doing every day for myself. Often I feel like women who are conscious and give no damns about their self-care are seen as high maintenance and even selfish at times. Honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t care if that’s how I’m perceived for going to the salon once a month or going on a mini shopping spree, taking an extra long shower or taking extra care with applying my makeup. I think we all need to practice better self-care. I know I need it.

WWW Wednesdays (1.17.18)

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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 am about to finish One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley. I was hoping to have it finished by Monday night so I could also have the next book in the series read by today, but things just didn’t work out that way.

This one also has the premise of a female character going out on a limb and helping someone else, but it is totally different than the first book in the series. I’m not sure how I feel about things now that the book is starting to wrap up and I am thinking back on certain events.


 What did you just finish reading?

Nada, enchilada.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Next I’m going to finish off the Fandom Hearts series with Game of Hearts before moving on to A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer.


 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! 🙂

My Favorite…Audiobook

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.


Audiobook

I haven’t listened to many audiobooks, but there is one that stands out above all the others I have heard. Anne of Green Gables is narrated by Colleen Winton and she does a wonderful job portraying all of Anne’s vivaciousness, as well as Marilla’s strict disciplinarian.

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: Hope at Christmas

first-chapter-first-paragraph

Synopsis ~ Hope at Christmas

A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.

But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

 

Chapter 1 

Sydney Ragsdale pulled her car along the curb in front of the elementary school and faced her daughter with a go-get-em-kiddo smile. “Have a wonderful day, RayAnne.”

“It’s just school, Mom.”


Teasers

She’d make a plan. It’s what she’d always done to make sure she and Jon met his goals. Why was she treating her life any differently?

 

“When a customer buys a book, fiction or non-fiction, it usually ties to something going on in their lives. It’s like getting a puzzle piece. Not a nice edge or corner piece, tough. One of the murky middle ones that takes a while to figure out.”


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros was created by Bibliophile By The Sea and is now hosted by Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

Review: The Master of Strathburn

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Master of Strathburn
Author: Amy Rose Bennett
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: May 2017
Length: 260 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Robert Grant has returned home to Lochrose Castle in the Highlands to reconcile with his long-estranged father, the Earl of Strathburn. But there is a price on Robert’s head, and his avaricious younger half-brother, Simon, doesn’t want him reclaiming his birthright. And it’s not only Simon and the redcoats that threaten to destroy Robert’s plans after a flame-haired complication of the feminine kind enters the scene…

Jessie Munroe is forced to flee Lochrose Castle after the dissolute Simon Grant tries to coerce her into becoming his mistress. After a fateful encounter with a mysterious and handsome hunter, Robert, in a remote Highland glen, she throws her lot in with the stranger—even though she suspects he is a fugitive. She soon realizes that this man is dangerous in an entirely different way to Simon…

Despite their searing attraction, Robert and Jessie struggle to trust each other as they both seek a place to call home. The stakes are high and only one thing is certain: Simon Grant is in pursuit of them both…

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

Jessie Munroe has had a fall from nobility. For years her uncle ruthlessly whiled away the family fortune while her father tried to save it. Despite the delays, the day came when they were homeless. Her father has accepted a position at Lochrose Castle. Jessie takes a liking to the elderly Earl of Strathburn, although his wife and half-son, Simon, are not cut from the same cloth. They are snobbish and devious. The Earl pines for his long-lost son, Robert, who took part in the Jacobite uprising. With a price on his head, a near fatal injury, and his brother hounding the Dragoons to steal him away to the gaol, Robert was secreted away to a ship and never seen again. 

After a decade during which he is presumed dead, word makes it halfway ’round the world of the troubles of his father and the estate. Robert plots to return to have a clandestine meeting with his father. He is a different man now and is pained by the lives lost following him into battle. He regrets his hot-headed ways, but fears there is no redemption for a man like him. After all, he is a wanted man. The castle is filled with caring, helpful servants who understand the bounds of their duties and follow the Earl at all cost. It is how Robert escaped with his life, and it is why hiding out in the Highlands, awaiting the right moment, Jessie flees the castle to protect herself against the wretched and lecherous Simon Grant. He is an ugly, vengeful, borderline demented young man. He will not let Jessie, his Jezebel, get away. He hunts her to the ends of the earth, which is how she winds up with a foot injury traipsing to the Earl’s abandoned hunting lodge. Her plan is to get to the nearby coach station and travel to a relative’s home for safety.

The castle is filled with caring, helpful servants who understand the bounds of their duties and follow the Earl at all cost. It is how Robert escaped with his life, and it is why hiding out in the Highlands, awaiting the right moment, Jessie flees the castle to protect herself against the wretched and lecherous Simon Grant. He is an ugly, vengeful, borderline demented, young man. He will not let Jessie, his Jezebel, get away. He hunts her to the ends of the earth, which is how she winds up with a foot injury traipsing to the Earl’s abandoned hunting lodge. She plans to get to the nearby coach station and travel to a relative’s home for safety.

Her plan is quickly foiled when she awakens to a searing pain in her arm, and soon a strange man presiding over her. While transported here and there, she quickly gathers he is not quite who he says he is. To protect her virtue, she fictionalizes an engagement to Simon. Beautiful as a siren Jessie may be, but anything attached to Simon is tainted in Robert’s eyes. As Jessie helps Robert accomplish his task of reuniting, Robert promises to help her escape.

Once inside the castle, all bets are off. A series of unfortunate events occur, leading Robert and Jessie down an entirely different path while they both struggle with the unquestionable attraction to one another and their desire to protect each other.

Despite her moments of indecision and innocence, Jessie is a strong, determined young woman. She uses her quick wit and intelligence to get out of a scrape or two, and Robert’s warrior instinct vows to shield her. He has grown since that young man he was, and is a stark contrast to his villainous brother, Simon. He and his mother play large parts in moving the plot onward,  and it is utterly despicable. The gooseflesh will rise on your arms. I wanted to wrap Jessie up in bubble wrap and hide her away somewhere.

I loved the Earl. He is wise beyond his semi-senile appearance. The servants served as a supporting cast of characters and were an asset to the family name. Heart and loyalty abound within the walls of Lochrose Castle, and it was wonderful to see all of these individuals cheering Robert on from the sidelines.

I thought the ending would lead into another book, and I was disappointed that there was an epilogue, considering the events that had just transpired. In the writing world, it was the easy way out to slither out of truly unfolding that final event. I could have done without the epilogue entirely in exchange for a well-crafted chapter that brings all the pieces to a proper ending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter