Saturday, June 17, 2017

Love on the Mend, by Karen Witemeyer {Book Review}

"After serving as a doctor during the War Between the States, Jacob Sadler wants nothing more than to establish a quiet country practice in rural Texas. But he knows he'll never find peace until he buries the pain of his past. To that end, he accepts a job in Cold Spring, Texas--the town he's avoided for seventeen years--and discovers his past is definitely still alive and kicking.

When a new doctor arrives in town and saves her brother's leg, Mollie Tate quickly puts him on a hero's pedestal. But then the new doc insults her "Uncle" Curtis. Years ago, Curtis Sadler rescued Mollie when no one else cared. How could he possibly be the villain the new doctor believes him to be?
Jacob doesn't know what to make of the young woman who assists him like a seasoned nurse one minute only to take a strip out of his hide the next. Yet the sparks that fly between them make him feel more alive than he has in a long time. As respect for his young nurse turns into something deeper, can he set aside the pain from his past to embrace this new love, or are some sins too big to be forgiven?"

My Thoughts: Love on the Mend is the sequel to Karen Witemeyer's Full Steam AheadThis sweet novella picks up about 20 years later and follows the story of Jacob Sadler, the young boy we were introduced to in the first book. Jacob is now in his mid-20s, having graduated from medical school, served as a doctor in the war between the states, returned to live with the Thornton's in Galveston for two years, and has now returned to his former home in rural Texas. We learned in the first book that Jacob ran away from his uncle's home after his little sister, Emma, was killed. Jacob and his sister had been orphaned the previous year and taken in by their alcoholic uncle.

Mollie Tate is also an orphan, taken in by none other that Jacob Sadler's reformed alcoholic uncle, Curtis Sadler. Jacob has not forgiven Curtis for what happened, and Mollie cannot seem to understand why or how someone could be so unforgiving to Uncle Curtis, who had shown nothing but love and kindness for her and other children he had taken in over the years.

In spite of Curtis Sadler being her guardian, Mollie takes on a position of nurse and works closely with Jacob. Affection grows between the two, as it often does in these types of stories, and forgiveness is the key obstacle that needs to be overcome before they can admit their feelings to one another.

I really liked this novella because while it was short and sweet, there was also no "bad guy". I also liked how the author reminded us of Jacob's knife throwing talent that he learned from his guardian/mother Nicole (Renard) Thornton. I had forgotten all about that part in the first book until I read the part where Jacob is throwing his knife into the side of the old church.

The story focused mainly on the characters of Jacob, Mollie, and Uncle Curtis and on the healing powers of forgiveness. I finished the story feeling satisfied and with a mild craving for blackberry cobbler.

My Rating: 4 stars

Check out the entire Full Steam Ahead series:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For the Record, by Regina Jennings {Book Review}

For the Record is the third and final book in the Ozark Mountain Romance series by Regina Jennings.

Betsy Huckabee first appeared in A Most Inconvenient Marriage as a child, with her older brother Josiah Huckabee. Through the coarse of the series, spanning 20 years, she's grown up and Betsy Huckabee is now a young lady, living with her uncle, aunt, and cousins in Pine Gap, Missouri. She helps around the household and helps her uncle, Fred Murphy, with his small-town newspaper. Betsy has dreams of becoming a journalist, is very independent, and has no desire to get married. That changes when deputy from Texas moves to Pine Gap.

Deputy Joel Puckett is escaping an unfortunate circumstance in Texas where he served as a deputy and was maliciously set up by a woman who wanted him to be her husband. Not willing to throw his life away and marry someone he did not love (and that he had done nothing with), he left when the opportunity arose for a deputy position in Missouri.

Post-war vigilantes, the Bald Knobbers
The small town of Pine Gap is nestled in the Ozarks and has its fair share of crime, including horse stealing and even murders. Sheriff Taney of Pine Gap is not able to keep the people safe, so the state of Missouri has brought in reinforcements in the form of Deputy Puckett. Upon his arrival, he is introduced to a gang of townsfolk that have taken the law into their own hands, riding on horseback with strange bags with horns over their heads, and calling themselves the Bald Knobbers. I thought the Bald Knobbers were a figment of the authors imagination until I looked it up! They are not what I had pictured. But they were real and they did what they could to keep their farms and towns safe.

Throughout the story, Betsy is keeping a secret from everyone that she is writing a romance column for a distant newspaper. The subject of her column is inspired by Deputy Puckett, who is not always so gentlemanly, so Betsy has to make things up as she goes along. Little does she realize, her column is a huge hit and has been picked up by newspapers around the country, including the town that Deputy Puckett had left behind. Eventually, her stories are discovered and becomes a source of embarrassment for Joel.          

Betsy's independence and stubbornness add so much to the story and makes her a fun character to follow. Regina Jennings has done an excellent job throughout the series in drawing the reader in to the story. Every story has a new mystery, and the characters can be rather colorful. I loved revisiting the same townsfolk with each book. Regina Jennings has a gift in creating witty characters and keeping the romance to an appropriate level. Betsy has been a favorite character from the beginning of the series and I was happy to see her happily-ever-after unfold.

Check out the entire Ozark Mountain Romance series:


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tap/Jazz 2017: "Monopoly"

This year's Act II was incredible. It was titled "Monopoly". We had no idea how it was going to work when we first heard the theme, but I can honestly say that it was the most phenomenal and entertaining tap/jazz/modern performance they've ever done. My husband and I sat through it twice, and loved it both times.

Here is Bridget before her performances. Her persona changes when she puts on her tap/jazz costume and she becomes a sassy little thing.

Monopoly began with  rolling the dice, and landing on the "Electric Company". Jazz I performed to "Electric Avenue" and Jazz II (Bridget's class) performed to "I Got Bills". My husband recorded her performance and you can view it below.


Bridget's Tap II performance was after landing on the Short Line Railroad. They danced to "Locomotion". Bridget had the most fun with this one. She's been singing the song around the house for weeks.


There were also so many great performances. I wanted to record every one of them, but only got a few. My motive for doing this was to be able to show Bridget all the neat steps she'll be learning in the next couple of years.

After the next roll, they landed on "Community Chest". Two songs were performed for this one; the first is "Help" and the second is "Thrift Shop". You'll have to excuse my video making skills. I was using my phone and hit the pause button rather than stop, so it did some weird things.

Next was landing on "Oriental Blvd." The choreography on this one was amazing. The danced to "Pop, Drop; Roll". The applause at the end proves it was definitely an audience favorite. The young man that played the part of Mr. Monopoly/Banker was incredible. He added fun and humor to the entire production but proved in this performance (and others to follow) that he's an extremely talented dancer.

Next they landed on "Park Avenue" and danced to "Bell Hop Boogie", "Puttin' on the Ritz", and "Rich Girl". Unfortunately, I didn't record that last one, but they were really good too. 

Next was Pass Go and Collected $200. The dancers performed "Money", "We're in the Money", and "Money Makes the World Go Round". I think I was enjoying the performance too much that I forgot to record anything except for "We're in the Money". 

Next, it was time to Go To Jail. They danced to "Break Out" and "Jailhouse Rock". I thought the costumes were really good, and the performances as well. Mr. Monopoly shows off his dancing skills again in "Jail House Rock". 

Next they landed on Boardwalk". I'll give you one guess as to what song they danced to (loved the costumes in this one too). 

Next they landed on Carolina Avenue. This time I remembered to take a picture of the lovely young lady holding the property cards. She played a major role in the performance by letting the audience know where we were.

There is only one song that comes to mind for North Carolina. This performance was so wonderful and choreographed by one of Bridget's favorite teachers.

Next up was Tennessee Avenue. Loved their rendition of "Cotton Eyed Joe".

I didn't record the beginning of the production, but the finale did just as well to tie it all together. I had no idea that there was a Monopoly song. As you can see, the Banker stole the show yet again.

We were so happy to see our girl again after her performance. She made a lot of faces for us and tried really hard not to smile for me. Again, we thought she did a great job. The entire production was amazing.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ballet 2017: "The Twelve Dancing Princesses"

You will have to excuse the dance posts for the next couple of days. I am trying to be diligent in documenting Bridget's dance performances in a timely manner.

Bridget completed Beginner's Ballet II this year. She has now been dancing for four years. This year, the ballet was based on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses".

Here she is in her costume before leaving the house. She needed to get in a few last minute twirls.

We've arrived! Every year, I take a picture of Bridget in front of the auditorium at about the same spot. It's so neat to see how much she's grown. 

Bridget's class was in Scene III, "Never a Dull Moment". Bridget has always been a happy and smiling child, but even after four years of dancing, she cannot bring herself to smile on stage. She said she's too scared to smile. We hope she will soon grow out of this.

During the performance, I took pictures while my husband made a video on his phone.

After the performance, they did something a little different by having even the youngest dancers come back to the stage for a final bow. The older dancers of course took their bow first, then made room for the little dancers.

We thought she did a great job this year. While she's growing up so fast, she proved that she was never too old to be carried back to the van in Daddy's arms. This may be the last year he gets to do that!

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