education pathways

Home » Posts tagged 'competition'

Tag Archives: competition

Enchanted by the Rodeo Queen–in search of the right cowboy

Enchanted by the Rodeo Queen

by Melinda Curtis

Enchanted by the Rodeo QueenEmma Clark was a rodeo queen, but now she is thirty and no closer to fulfilling her dream of being married to a cowboy, working her own ranch, and wrangling some little cowpokes. Along come citified Jonah Monroe, a screen writing struggling with his own career moves, and Bo Monroe, a hunky Texan. Those two Monroe cousins have competed for a girl’s affections before and seem destined to try the same again with Emma.

Emma is a likable character as are the other characters in the story, including Emma’s three nephews, especially Adam, a five year old full of spunk and charm. Granny Gertie provides quiet wisdom, and sister-in-law Franny is supportive and understanding. Bo and Jonah are caught up in personal and family struggles, but are interesting characters. They are trying to help save the little dying town of Second Chance that the large set of Monroe cousins inherited from their beloved, but hard-nosed, grandfather. I enjoyed Jonah’s efforts to recreate the story of outlaw Merciless Mike Moody, Emma’s tutoring of contestant Tina in rodeo drills, and Emma’s struggle with her checklist of husband qualifications.

Whether this summer finds you relaxing on the beach, enjoying the view from a mountaintop, curling up in a comfy chair under an air conditioner, or riding horses on a rugged trail, take along a copy of Enchanted by the Rodeo Queen by Melinda Curtis. Better yet, indulge in the whole series; they are fun, clean and heartwarming from beginning to end.

I would like to extend my thanks to Melinda Curtis for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance

Notes: #5 in The Mountain Monroes, but can be read as a standalone. All deal with various Monroe cousins and their efforts to decide the future of the little town of Second Chance, but each book focuses on a different cousin.

Publication:   April 1, 2020—Harlequin Heartwarming

Memorable Lines:

“The Greek yogurt selection has much more variety and is healthier.” Half turning but still walking, Emily gave him the stink-eye. “When a woman wants ice cream, it has nothing to do with being healthy.”

Emily thought Arabians were a beautiful, smart breed. Didn’t mean she had to have one. She could appreciate Jonah’s wit and pretty eyes without trying to make him into her dream man.

The owl took flight, sweeping across the yard on a breeze laden with shared confidences.

There was nothing like the bustle of a rodeo to distract a woman from her broken heart. Emily relied on her decades-old rodeo queen training. She kept a smile on her face and had a kind word for all her old friends. 

Sauvigone for Good–chocolate creations

Sauvigone for Good

by J.C. Eaton

Sauvigone for GoodNorrie, part owner of Two Witches Winery in Penn Yan, New York, is doing her part to facilitate the wintery Chocolate and Wine Festival that is sure to draw a crowd to the benefit of the wineries on Seneca Lake. Three world class chocolatiers will be competing for a large cash prize plus lots of media attention. First, there will be three days of demonstrations and wine pairings at the wineries. Norrie has a great crew who can manage normal issues that might arise. No one is prepared, however, for murder, scheming, and sabotage.

To counter bad publicity that is sure to arise, Norrie sets out to investigate a puzzle that involves the chocolatiers and other mysterious guests from Europe. Her friends Don and Theo at a neighboring winery offer support, and Gladys, who works for the county sheriff, can be counted on for the occasional leak of information. Norrie has had run-ins with Deputy Hickman before. He associates her with disasters and repeatedly warns her off her attempts at investigating.

Although the plot centers on murder and intrigue with lots of red herrings, there are side threads as well. Norrie, while “babysitting” the winery in her sister’s absence, has a job and deadlines as a screenwriter. In addition, she is sorting through her feelings for Godfrey, a young entomologist friend who is very helpful whenever called upon, and for Bradley, a lawyer she is dating. 

I recommend Sauvigone for Good by J.C. Eaton as a fun cozy mystery, clean and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next whodunit by this husband and wife writing team.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in The Wine Trail Mysteries but could be read as a standalone.

Publication:   December 10, 2019—Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)

Memorable Lines:

“Do you want any of us to go with you?” Stephanie asked. “It’s not a problem for me. My husband can put the boys to bed instead of having a love affair with the remote.”

It was another frigid morning and the snow in our vineyards glistened from the crust of ice that had formed on top of it. Another picture-perfect postcard for the Finger Lakes, unless you actually had to be outdoors.

“…And she’s got a smirk on her face that makes the Cheshire Cat look like an amateur.”

An Ale of Two Cities–bookish at its best

An Ale of Two Cities

by Sarah Fox

An Ale of Two CitiesI found some relief from the pandemic news in An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox. It is a fun, serious, puzzling cozy mystery with some action and excitement included. Although setting and atmosphere usually take a backseat to plot and characters in this kind of mystery, all of the elements are important here. The bookish setting is the Inkwell, Sadie’s pub decked out with bookshelves, literary decor, and special cozy rooms such as the one dedicated to Agatha Christie. Special literary-themed drinks are offered and, with two chefs, food has been added to the menu. Sadie has organized genre book clubs that meet monthly as well. All of this takes place in Vermont where our Tennessean main character has to adapt to the snow and cold weather.

The deadly mischief begins at the Winter Carnival’s Ice Sculpting Competition. Mel, one of Sadie’s employees, is competing and discovers a minor crime in the theft of her tools; but the plot turns deadly when Freddy, an unpleasant former denizen of the tourist town, is found dead in the snow. The evidence initially points to Mel, but there are lots of people with motivations to cut Freddy’s life short. Sadie investigates hoping to find the murderer thus clearing Mel’s name. In addition to the trauma of discovering dead bodies, Sadie has to deal with her growing attraction to Grayson who owns a local brewery. Winter Carnival appeals to her competitive nature as she organizes a hockey team representing her pub in ugly, mustard-yellow sweaters and learns how to snowshoe in preparation for the big race.

I highly recommend An Ale of Two Cities for its humor, plot, and all-around good reading fun. If you love books, then you’ll probably give this mystery  bonus points for its bookish nature.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes:

 1. #2 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.

  2. Recipes are included for some cocktails as well as Paradise Lox.

Publication:   November 26, 2019—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

When my cat wanted his breakfast, he wasn’t about to let anything get in his way, especially not five more minutes of heavenly slumber for his human servant.

I had to take a long, hot shower and drink another cup of steaming coffee before I could declare myself completely thawed out. Once I no longer felt like a close cousin of one of the ice sculptures out on the village green, I headed downstairs to the Inkwell to get ready for the workday.

Spreading rumors was her superpower. It didn’t matter if they were true or not. As soon as Gretchen got hold of some tasty tidbit of fact or fiction, there was no stopping its spread through town.

State of the Stacks: Too Soon Edition

I’m reblogging this essay to share with my readers because it contains a great discussion on developmental reading and book choices. I hope you find it as interesting as I do.

Plucked from the Stacks

As a child, reading is a constant period of transitions. A kid usually starts with someone reading picture or board books to them. From there, they might try to tackle wordier texts like easy readers and chapter books. Before long, there’s a pull for longer stories with more complex plots, and that’s when middle grade novels kick in. And as they grow and develop as readers, young adult works wait for them before they drift into the wild and untamed world of adult books.

Of course, every reader is different and, just because a kid moves toward a different style of book, it doesn’t mean they can’t return to an old, trusted format. So while each type of book represents a door for readers, it’s an open one— one they can pass back and forth to suit their moods. It’s how adults can still find joy in picture books.

However…

View original post 646 more words

Wine and Punishment–great literary themed cozy mystery

Wine and Punishment

by Sarah Fox

Wine and PunishmentI stayed up obscenely late to finish Wine and Punishment, the first book in Sarah Fox’s new series, and I don’t regret it at all. Engaged in the plot all the way through, I could not have predicted the ending. It has an action packed conclusion, and the murderer reveal is quite astonishing.

Sadie buys a picturesque old mill located in Shady Creek, Vermont, that had been turned into a pub by its previous owner. Anxious to be successful in her first business venture, she participates in the town’s annual Autumn Festival. All but two of the town residents are welcoming until Sadie’s ex-boyfriend from Boston turns up in town—dead. Then rumors start to fly. Various threads, including a gambling problem and industrial espionage, lead to potential suspects. Sadie does some investigating on her own with a backdrop of personal attacks against her.

There are lots of interesting characters including Sadie’s two employees, a handsome, but mysteriously disgruntled craft brewery owner, her supportive Aunt Gilda, her new friend Shontelle, and lots of local regulars at  the pub. Cat lovers will enjoy the frequent appearance of Sadie’s cat Wimsey.

What makes this cozy mystery extra fun is the literary theme of the pub which Sadie renames the Inkwell. In addition to all the bookshelves in the main room, there are more in the two overflow rooms. Sadie names one of them the Christie room for Agatha Christie, one of her favorite mystery authors, and she decorates it with appropriate memorabilia. These two rooms will also be reserved as needed for the book clubs she is forming. Going beyond the physical facility, Sadie creates literary themed cocktails and in the future, when she can find a chef, the pub will have cuisine with a literary motif. Book lovers will find all these details icing on the cozy mystery cake.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #1 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but this author has two more successful series.

  2. Recipes are added at the end of the book for cocktails and carrot muffins.

Publication:   December 18, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

…my business—and only—dealings with him hadn’t been pleasant experiences. I found him brusque and as prickly as a porcupine. If not for the fact that his beers were so popular with both the tourists and locals, I wouldn’t have bothered to sell them at the Inkwell.

I’d never managed to leave the store without at least one or two purchases. Not that I minded. I didn’t think there was such a thing as owning too many books. 

I pushed open the coffee shop’s door, ill at ease and eager to get away, but even as I left the woman behind, I could still feel the icy touch of her glare on my back.

Murder with All the Trimmings–catering mystery with a focus on dancers

Murder with All the Trimmings

by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Murder with All the TrimmingsOne of the appealing things about the Red Carpet Catering Mystery Series is that as a caterer associated with a movie star, Penelope Sutherland works in a variety of settings, each with its own catering problems. This setup allows the author, Shawn Reilly Simmons, opportunities for exploring  various kinds of offenses without the main character seeming to follow or be followed by crime. In Murder with All the Trimmings, the setting is the old Vitrine Theater where the Big Apple Dancers perform a show that is a holiday tradition for many locals and a big attraction for tourists. Trouble plagues the show with murder and accidents. Penelope herself is endangered as she tries to get to the bottom of this mystery which involves a missing girl, a neighboring homeless shelter, fraud, and a dine and dash artist.

Murder with All the Trimmings has a complicated plot with lots of interesting threads. In spite of my having lots of interruptions due to travel, I enjoyed this book and had no problem picking up where I left off each time. Although the action occurs at Christmas time, it doesn’t have any warm and fuzzy Christmas connections, but it is a good mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: # 6 in the Red Carpet Catering Mystery Series, but acceptable as a standalone.

Publication:  November 13, 2018—Henery Press

The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America

The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America

by Heather Won Tesoriero

The ClassHeather Won Tesoriero spent a year in Andy Bramante’s science research classroom. Andy, a former analytic chemist, left the corporate world to become a teacher, to make a difference. He and his students are award-winning, and The Class gives an in-depth look, not at what he does in his classroom as a model for cookie cutter programs across the nation, but at the teacher Andy and how he cares about his students and helps them be independent, creative thinkers in science and in their personal lives.

Andy’s students have to apply to be in his class which is centered around independent research and participation in multiple science fairs. Success in  the science fairs can result in prize monies and affect college admissions. Along the way, the students learn advanced science (often in multiple fields), self-discipline, how to use professional scientific instrumentation, research methodology, and presentation skills.

The students in The Class live in tony and highly competitive Greenwich, Connecticut. Most would be considered nerds and most, but certainly not all, are from upper-class families. Many are children of immigrants and those parents are highly motivated to see their children succeed. Many of these very intelligent teenagers are also talented in other areas such as athletics and music. They will all go to good colleges.

The Class is formatted according to the school year with chapters about various students and Andy as they move through the seasons. We read of the students’ personal struggles as teenagers as well as their attempts to find a topic for research and bring their project to fruition. It doesn’t take long to become engaged in their struggles and begin to root for a good outcome.

This book has widespread appeal partly because the author seems to be invested in the subjects of her writing and makes them come to life. I learned a lot about the current world of college admissions. I must admit that the science involved in many of the projects was beyond the scope of my science background, but was explained well. I recommend The Class and wish Andy and his students well in their future endeavors.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Ballantine) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Nonfiction (Adult), Science

Notes: 1. Some casual swearing throughout the book by both teacher and students.

2. The author made several snide slurs about the current presidency. Those remarks seem unnecessary and politically motivated. They are supposed to reflect conversations she heard, but they certainly seemed couched in her language, especially a disparaging comment about the First Lady. A writer selects what to share from the many words and events that pass before her. I think in this case she should have asked herself two questions as she put pen to paper: Is it necessary to tell my story? Is it kind?

Publication:   September 4, 2018—Random House (Ballantine)

Memorable Lines:

Andy would have it no other way. To him, the whole reason he got into the teaching business was to work side by side with kids, to develop the relationships and let the science unfurl in all of its glorious unpredictability.

“All day, we’re telling the kids, do this, read this, use this—and if you don’t, you fail. They need a space where it’s okay to fail.” —Nancy Shwartz, Cos Cob school librarian and creator of Maker Space, a place at her school where creativity is prized

“We’ve moved from education, teaching people how to think, to training, teaching people how to bark on time. And highly structured curriculum and even scripted curriculum in some places—the teacher reads the lesson. Those are not places where someone is being educated. It can’t be… Which is more valuable to the person and to the society? I can memorize something and give it back to you in an orderly fashion, even in a comprehensively well-expressed fashion. Or I can think. To me, it’s not even a call.” —Thomas Forget, Ph.D., professor and Andy’s mentor

%d bloggers like this: