Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bright New Murder, book #35

Another book, another boring escapade.  Ho hum.  This is what I have learned is classified as Chick Lit, where it is written in first person from a young 20-something girl with typical adventures of that age.  

In this one I had serious trouble trying to figure it out.  There is Jake, who at first I thought lived with Jane (main character) and Gemma (roommate who I thought was Jane's sister but really she is her cousin).  But alas Jake does not, there is a love triangle, a murder she is trying to solve after taking one criminal detective class, and she has a cleaning service on the side? and God is just thrown in there as an afterthought.  Yeah, see how I got lost.  Although I did just realize that this is book #3 in the Plain Jane series, so perhaps if I had read the other ones before it this one might make more sense.
Whatever.  I'm moving on....

Homeless preschoolers, angry protesters, frozen yogurt, and murder. Jane Adler is keen to try on her detective hat, and the dead lady at the Christmas fundraiser is her perfect shot.Timing is everything and this murder was timed perfectly to destroy her best friend Jake's growing Fro-Yo business. He's a great friend--just a friend, honest-- and she owes him a favor or two.But discovering who would want to kill the town’s favorite preschool teacher is messy business, and Jane doesn't have a moment to waste! (picture and description from amazon)

I'm ready to keep reading to find something good again!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Carson Newman, how I love thee, Alma Mater hail...

Hello, my name is Melissa and I am a Carson Newman history freak.  Let's just be honest and call it what it is.  But can you blame me?  My family has a VERY long attachment there, with graduates spanning the decades from the 1950s to the 2000s.  I tried to make a list in my head of every one of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.... but I am sure I missed a few.  The most notable and influential ones being, of course, my mommy and daddy!  

They graduated in 1964, and when I started in 1985 the college was still very similar in many ways to how it was then.  I mean, since that time, the gym was new, Stokely was new, Henderson was on its 3rd round, and Swann had another renovation.  And I'm sure there were other changes also, but they were all physical changes. Many of the professors who were there during the 1960s were still teaching and I loved having that bond with them, like Dr. Turner, Dr. Burts, Dr. Vanaman and others. I was just so excited to be a part of CN history and carry on that tradition.  

One memory I will remember to this day is during freshman orientation.  We were all gathered in Gentry hearing welcoming speeches, etc from the president and others, when dear old Dr. Harley Fite hobbled up the podium.  Now, for those of you who don't know, Dr. Fite was the president while my parents were there and was such an amazing man they named the admin building after him.  Anyhow, I don't remember too much of what he said, but I do remember this.  He was talking about how he claimed as his children the students he had during his tenure as president and how several of us in the audience were the children of those students, thus making us his CN grandchildren.  Me! A CN grandchild of Dr. Harley Fite!! Well, that right there just put me over the edge!!  

Last weekend was my 25th reunion.  I still can't believe it has been 25 years!!  I had the amazing opportunity to bring my children and, bless their hearts, they put up with me and all my stories.  (No eyeballs were permanently damaged, I'm happy to report!) We arrived Friday afternoon in time for a college visit for Rebecca, who could care less about going to CN (breaks my momma heart, but Leah and Katie want to go so there is hope!!) but it was really great to have a guide walk us through campus to see all the changes, all the new stuff and a glimpse of the old.  (And it was good for Rebecca, so we at least have a base to compare other colleges to!)  

Friday night we went to the show, Children of Eden, which was just so amazingly awesome I don't even have words for it. 

Saturday when we got to campus I had all three girls and we walked our little legs off!!  (It really is amazing that despite how "small" CN is, the fact that it is somewhat hilly and the fact that I am now 47 years old, well, let's just say I was pooped!!)  But we took Katie around to the places we went before and went in several buildings and up and down stairs and had a fabulous day! While it was a little bit sad to see all the changes made, making it not as much what it was when I was there, or when my parents were there, it was exciting to see how they blend the old with the new.  While we were there we saw tons of things that were new, but then we would go in a building that had been around, and some things still looked the same.  

So the good news is, despite the fact that it is now a "high and mighty university" it still has the feel of the college I went to.  

OLD: This sign is still in the Baker Building.  It took some hunting but I found it!  When my parents went there, the cafeteria was in this building and as the story goes, the line for food would go down the stairs by this plaque.  (I believe it is downstairs on the North West side)  So, while they were waiting, everyone would rub on the 1 of the 13 in the date, thus wearing out just that letter.  I made my girls do it too!!


NEW:  This right here, my friends, is where the massive card catalog used to be.  As you can see, it has been entirely replaced by computers.  Interesting note: students these days have free printing at the library, 1500 pages a year (or semester, I can't remember!)

OLD: Sweet Sarah Swann is still there, many many many years later.  Interesting and sad note: No one is allowed to go out on the balcony anymore.  I thought someone got in trouble, but apparently the structure and foundation is just too old to support all the craziness that might or might not have happened there.

NEW: Alas, sweet Swann sisters, remember those awesome big rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors by the top of the stairs?  In the latest renovation, they reconfigured and instead made these huge study areas that stretch across the whole area.  (See how hard those two girls are studying?)  Snazzy leather and soft sofas, table around to study around or write papers, gas fireplaces, aahhh.... Interesting note: I did not find the old typewriter room!  

OLD: Girls still love to have their pictures made in the window on the landing and on the stairs!!

NEW:  See this cool chick in this cool place?  She is hanging out in the new Maples Cafe.  Think Panera and Starbucks combined in the perfect library setting!!  Interesting note:  While the cafeteria is still the popular choice for students to eat, since it is all you can eat with your ID card; your card also entitles you to $100 Eagle Bucks to spend here and at the NEW CHICKFILA on campus!!

OLD and NEW: Carson Newman will ALWAYS have a near and dear place in my heart!!!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Reservations for Two, book #34

Ho hum ... read this one because it was another short one and trying to mark short ones off my list.  I guess it was a pretty good book, but honestly I have never read any books about older people falling in love so it was a bit of a stretch.  And the fact that the lady was very active so it was hard to imagine her being a grandma.  

Oh well, another one down.

Widowers' Maggie O’Brien and Carson Jennings are both on a journey to rediscover who they are. Maggie, an adventurous former pastor’s wife of thirty-nine years, hopes to find closure in the place she and her husband spent their honeymoon. Carson, a retired judge, is living his lifelong dream of traveling across the U.S. in his RV. When their paths cross in the tranquil setting of Mason Springs, New Mexico, love is the last thing that either of them expects to find.
When this mismatched pair comes together they find themselves in some hilarious and even precarious situations. As the romance begins to blossom they face many obstacles that threaten to tear them apart, and what Maggie discovers about herself in New Mexico will redefine her future and alienate one of her children.

Will Carson and Maggie’s love for one another be strong enough to weather the storms or will their love for their children keep them apart?  (picture and description from amazon.)

Keep reading!!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bittersweet Bride, book #33

Again, no judging about the cover.  I'm still in a pioneer mood!!!  This was another quick read with less than 200 pages.  I wasn't really sure at first if I was going to like it, but all in all it ended up great!!  Sometimes I got a little confused the way the author was going, or like she missed a chunk of time, or like there wasn't enough emotion in it, but I would still recommend it to those of you who like this setting.

The one suitor Mara Lawton cannot add to her collection is the one she wants most--Clay Stedman. Clay has just arrived in Cedar Springs to work the Stedman ranch. His widowed aunt is leaving to visit family back East, and Clay must find someone to care for his little sister and perform the household chores--like cooking for fourteen cowboys, doing the laundry, and feeding the hogs. Mara offers Clay her services, despite having never cooked a meal, washed a garment, or gone near a hog in her life. Clay is taken with Mara's looks, but a recent heartbreak makes him wary--that and the fact she doesn't share his faith in God. For Mara, whose self-worth is based on her family's wealth and royal lineage, obstacles and reverses create a terrible inner turmoil. Will she cling to her own ways or allow God to move in her life?(picture and descriptions from amazon.)

Happy Reading!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Bounty Hunter and the Bride, book #32

I am a sucker for judging a book by its cover but for some reason I don't even recall ever seeing this cover.  Not that it would have necessarily dissuaded me, but it  might have.  This was a cheap-y thanks to Amazon (.99) and I feel certain I got my money's worth out of it.  

I decided with all the adventure I had been on lately in my books it was time to go back to my pioneer loves and decided to read this one.  It felt good to be back!  And it was a quick read, with less than 200 pages.  Yes, it was predictable, but I always love the story!!

Katie Hoffman lost her husband after only four months of marriage. Pregnant and close to losing the farm, she advertises to sell it. When a handsome buyer offers to marry her and let her keep the farm, she hastily agrees, wanting to give her child a father. But rushing into another marriage proves to be a mistake when a rugged bounty hunter crashes the wedding to capture the groom. Will Katie slow down enough to hear God's voice? Dusty McIntyre lost his wife to a heinous outlaw. After tracking the criminal for over a year, catching him doesn't bring Dusty the satisfaction that he'd hoped for. Dusty feels compelled to help Katie. Will he stay and find the peace and love he is looking for?  (picture and description from amazon)

Book Club is this week so it will be interesting to see what we choose!
Keep reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something that lasts, book #31

Ok, let me just start out by saying, "WHAT ON EARTH WAS THIS BOOK DOING AT GOODWILL FOR $1.99?!?!?"  This was some good, heavy, deep stuff that does not belong at Goodwill for $1.99.  Had I known it was going to be this good I would have grabbed the whole tableful of books!

I mean, let's read the back cover...

When Ted Balik rises from the pew to speak, no one in the crowded sanctuary of the O'Fallon Bible Church can imagine that within minutes, their lives will be shattered and their community scandalized.  Sitting behind the altar, the Reverend David Parst goes pale and glances toward Balik's wife, Erica.  Near the front of the church, the pastor's 12-year-old son turn to his mother, who is rocking gently in a self-comforting hug, as if she senses that what Balik is about to say will tear her family apart.  

What happens in this one moment will plunge them all into a struggle with God and each other that will span three generations -- a struggle to find something that lasts beyond life's disappointment, anger and fear.

You can probably imagine what happened from there and I figured it was going to be a classic, hubs gets caught, wife leaves with kid, time goes by, they get back together...but nope, not this one.  It takes on a ride that follows David, Sarah (the wife) and Jack (the son) through many trials and tribulations, some in ways I never saw coming.  

It is divided into three parts, the first one around the 60s, then into the early 80s, then probably early 2000s or modern day.  Although no specific dates are mentioned, I love how he ties in details of the surroundings and conversations to give you an idea of what decade the current part is in.

Yep, it comes highly recommended!  It looks like since apparently Goodwill in Franklin had all the paper copies it is now only available on Kindle for $8.99 on Amazon.  (I didn't check other places)  Or you can come by our church library and check it out for free!

(picture from amazon)

Keep reading!


A side of faith, book #30

Wowzers but Krista Phillips did it again!  We read the first book she wrote last year and now she has written a new one, a novella this time that was a fun and quick read! 

When I first started I thought it was going to be like a Hallmark movie--you know how it ends, but want to see how they get there--and I was pretty certain I was right on track, until about the last 25 pages.  The funny thing is, I started reading this on our trip to the beach, thinking if I stuck with it I could actually finish in on the way down.  But other things distracted me and when we arrived I had about 30 minutes of it left to read.  (I was reading on my Paperwhite and sometimes its easier to measure it that way!) Now, in the mean time I started another book -- a paperback for the actual beach -- so I didn't pick this one back up that much, only at night when I was falling into bed SOOOO TIRED!!  I would read about a page or two, then zonk!  I was out.  It was really frustrating, but I just could not stay awake!  I finally finished it the day we left, while everyone else was working on getting the car packed .... (Don't judge, it was a crazy place we stayed and not as simple as it sounds to load the car!)  

We are reading this for book club next week and the best treat is that the author will be there!!  She lives here in Spring Hill and is coming to hang out with us!

Rachel Carter is on top of the world. A new job in a new town, friends, and a house to call her own. Men? Eh, someday. And when the time comes, she’ll go for a nice safe geek or something. She will NOT be repeating the mistakes of her youth. But then Cameron Foster comes knocking on her door, reminding her of the man she vows never to think of again.  God wouldn’t send her a man who reminds her of everything she is trying to put behind her...would He?  (book and description at amazon

Keep reading!!