Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

The Captain's Daughter
by Jennifer Delamere
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764219207

As a fan of historical Christian fiction, I was excited to receive this book from Litfuse Publicity to review.


Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.
A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind.

My Review:

As a first introduction to Jennifer Delamere's writing, I have to say, it was a delightful experience! The Captain's Daughter starts off with the reader getting a quick introduction to three sisters: Cara, Rosalyn, and Julia Bernay. The sisters have had it rough, but they're looking towards the future hopeful.

Rosalyn's situation starts off with promise, but when we meet her, things have clearly gone south. Circumstances have her landing in London, and things get even worse, which doesn't seem possible. God is at work in the midst of it, and provides at just the right time. With the author's writing, you can sense the turmoil Rosalyn's going through, but you also want to help her out by steering her in a different direction. lol

We're introduced to Nate Moran at the start of the story as well. Poor guy, trying to help Rosalyn, ends up not being so helpful. Thankfully soon after they're able to meet properly and under better circumstances. Nate seems to feel a pull towards Rosalyn, but with being burned once before and planning to head back to India, he tries to keep an emotional distance from Rosalyn.

I was really pulled in by the storyline of the opera house. It was fun recognizing names of the people Ms. Delamere wrote about like Gilbert & Sullivan and George Müller. I think because the story covered such a short period of time the reader is easily pulled into the theater world of the story. There were characters I enjoyed like Jessie and Mrs. Hill as well as ones who rubbed me the wrong way like Tony Hayes. It was fun also getting to know Nate's whole family. Makes me hope the author writes more about her, although I'm hoping the next book in the series will either be about Julia or Cara.

As for the summary, I was a little confused as to the "talented musician and singer" part. Rosalyn sings a sweet lullaby to her sister in the prologue, but you don't really get that she's grown up to be that person. It seems like she mostly would sing to herself since she spends years as a companion to a widow. When she sings for the first time for fun, you wouldn't think she was a seasoned musician and singer, but that's not really how she's written in the story. As she continues to work at the theater, you can see her natural talent shine through and her joy being part of it all.

If you're looking for an easy summer read, this should definitely be on your reading list. I finished it in a day! I'm already looking forward to book two in the London Beginnings series!

Delamere pin 2

About the Author:

Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, "An Heiress at Heart," was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, "A Lady Most Lovely," received a starred review from "Publishers Weekly" and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
Find out more about Jennifer at 

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Week With Blue: Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD

Do you ever experience something and wonder how you are going to share everything you want about it? That's where I'm at right now. I just finished experiencing test driving the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD, and it was amazing. I've been trying to figure out how to encapsulate it in one post, so hopefully I can do it!

My only experience with Mazda has been my dad's Miata, and that was fun to ride in. When the CX-9 showed up I kind of gave it a judge eye because I have a crossover (do we call them that any more) and I wasn't sure how it would compare. Let me give you a comparison as to what this drive was like.  Right now the car I drive is an '09 and would describe as a flip phone. The Mazda CX-9 is like the newest smartphone that's just hitting the market! THAT'S how vastly different they are.

So, where do I start? Maybe by telling you I named her. I've never named my cars. She was easy to name. I named her Blue in honor of how I knew I'd feel once she left me. I referred to her as Blue during our adventures which included baseball games, birthday parties, garden centers, and just tooling around town.

My first step was to figure out all of the bells & whistles. There was so much to familiarize myself with. I started with the center console, where you control much of what goes on "smart wise" in the car. It's what they call MAZDA CONNECT™ infotainment systemIt's the size of a tablet that sits on the dashboard. It's basically your command center sitting right next to you. It didn't take nearly as long as I expected to familiarize myself with everything, but it all came together in no time.

Let's chat about the seats. The driver and passenger are able to control their own temperature and the passengers in the 2nd & 3rd row share one as well. The Signature comes with divine premium Nappa leather. Those seats were heavenly to sit in. Made me miss leather seats. Speaking of those seats, the driver and passenger have heated seat options! Gosh I love that. The driver's seat also has 2 memory buttons, something I genuinely miss in the vehicle I have now.

Between the seats is the dual armrest. I've never seen a split armrest, but each side can open a half. Not impressed with that, and it doesn't make sense to me, but each to her own, right? There are two USB ports inside the armrest. There's also a plug in towards the floor on the passenger's side, but it's really awkward to get to. None of those 3 spots works while the car is off. Definitely a negative for me, BUT (and this is the strange part) the drop down armrest in the second row also has dual ports, but one actually charges while the car is off. So there IS that. If it comes down to needing a charge, it's found in the 2nd row armrest.

Now let's talk about one of the feature that does a TON for this Mazda. It's called i-ACTIVSENSE®. This gives you some added safety features that you didn't realize you shouldn't be living without. I'm missing them A LOT now that Blue is gone! I honestly won't be able to do it all justice in my explanation, but if you watch my Facebook Live video you'll see everything I'm talking about.


If you are using cruise control, the sensors will pick up if you're getting to close the car ahead of you and will slow your car down and then speed it back up when needed. There's the Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring when a car is in your blind spot. It will show up in your side mirrors, on your monitor in your windshield, and as a chime. It. Is. Amazing! Then partnered together are the Lane Departure Assist & Lane-Keep Assist. If the car detects you're departing from your lane, it'll push you back away from the line and jiggle your steering wheel. So stinking cool! Really not sure how I'm supposed to live without these in my old car!

Ok, these next two pieces, which you will also see in my video, are just mind blowing to me. One is super simple and now that I don't have it, I want to cry while driving in the dark. lol So, you know how when you're driving at night and you have to keep switching your low beams to your high beams. Oh my gosh, it can drive a person batty, right? Well, their High Beam Control does it for you. FOR YOU! Whoever came up with that should get a raise or at least a bonus! Then...seriously you have GOT to check this out, they have something called the Adaptive Front-Lighting System. Your headlights freaking turn WITH in they move as you go around a corner then adjust back with your steering wheel! I was absolutely fascinated by this feature. You've got to experience it all to really get the full effect. Again, you can see this in my video!

Oh! Something else that really wowed me was the attention to certain lighting details. There is very subtle lighting inside the door handles. I always feel like I'm searching for the door handle to get out of whichever vehicle I'm in. There's also the LED grilled accent lighting that gives it just that extra bling. The interior lighting is bright, but not harsh on the eyes.

I've never had a moonroof in any of my cars, and with this gorgeous weather, I made sure we enjoyed every single moment of it. That meant I didn't get to try out the rain sensing windshield wipers. I actually hoped for a rainy day just to experience them. Another feature I've missed from my minivan days of old is the power lift gate. From the driver's seat you can push a button, you can push it on your key fob, or if you squeeze the lift gate handle it will open! Magical I tell ya!

Moving back to the second and third row seats, they do a lot more than any of my seats have ever done. The second row seats are rather heavy to push up and I wasn't able to do it one handed. I was actually surprised at how much they weighed. lol It's a 60/40 split and can slide forward to give more room to the back and will also recline! The third row seats 2 and is a 50/50 split. Dropping the back row definitely gives more cargo room if you're road tripping it somewhere or just going to the garden center like I did and stocking up on new plants and soils.

I never had a chance to pack Blue full like we do on occasion with our own vehicles. The Mazda CX-9 is surprising strong for a little 4 cylinder. I think it would probably haul the normal things we'd stick in the back. Maybe next time I'll put it to the test! Speaking of the engine, it has what they call SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY which helps with "driving dynamics and efficiency." Now, say you're driving this baby and getting onto the freeway, this came with something called Sport Mode. You can switch that on at any point and kapow, you've just kicked it up a notch. Let me tell you, zoom zoom definitely comes into play. Of course, your mpg drop when you use this Mode.

Going back to our own cars has been quite the transition. Before it was picked up to be shared with another driver, I had to move Blue and my crossover out of the driveway. Pulled her out easy peasy. Got in mine, and sakes alive, it felt like I was moving a tank! I hadn't driven it in almost a week, and the difference was that significant. Letting Blue go wasn't going to be easy. Since Blue has been gone I've compared her to my car every time I get behind the wheel. I realized how important a role those safety features play in your every day driving, and I appreciate them more now that I no longer have them!
Overall Blue was a fantastic automobile to drive. She was fun and zippy. There were a couple of things that I wasn't fond of (as mentioned above), but not so much in a way that I'd pick a different vehicle over her. Mazda has thought of pretty much everything, and I'd give her a place in my driveway!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Season Of Baseball

My youngest son has been playing baseball since he was just a wee little boy. He played with all of his little friends from school. Aside from one year, when we lived in Virginia, baseball has been a big love for our spring.

He's definitely improved year after year. This year has been a really good growth year for him even though his team hasn't won a single game. lol So, in this county they mix ages. My son is finishing 8th grade and he's playing with kids who are two years younger than him. There's even one boy on the team who's in 9th grade, but turned 15 after the age cutoff.

Unfortunately, he's on the B team this year. That's because of two things: there aren't any tryouts and the coach who's doing both A & B teams doesn't know my son's abilities. Thankfully he was able to see my son's skill with the game and has brought him up to the A (Gold) team several times the past few weeks. My boy seems to be the first kid he asks now. Gotta love that as a mom!

This post is basically a brag about my kid. lol I don't have crazy aspirations of him becoming a pro baseball player. I just like him keeping active outside. He's willing to play, so Fred & I are will to drive him to practices and games! Besides, I love cheering my kid on.

He's only got one game left for this season and then he's on to high school ball next year. That means things are going to get dicier. There's going to be real competition for positions and being off the bench. Up till now every player got equal time on the field and at bat. Not sure what next year will look like.

For the first time, this year he's gotten to play first base every single game. He wasn't looking to play that position, but they realized he's very reliable there. The other position he played was center outfield, which is what he's played for the last few years. He's got a strong arm and can throw far.

What he needs to work on is hitting. It's probably his biggest weakness. This weekend's game he kept connecting with the ball and it was amazing! Actually, the past couple weeks he's increased his contact with the ball.

Once he gets on base though, it's no holds bar. That boy can steal a base! It's one of the things I tried teaching him at an early age even though he wasn't able to do it until he was in middle school. HA! It's come in handy the past few years though, and he's just gotten better at it. He knows how to watch the pitcher. Now, that being said, several games ago he was getting pretty cocky, and almost ended up being called out trying to steal home.

When he got back to the bench, he looked at me and knew. lol We have this great connection when he's playing the game. If he gets a good hit, makes a good steal, has a good play out in the field, he automatically looks at me and we either pump fists, give a thumbs up, or something that says we know what just happened with the play. It's really something I cherish. Well, when he got back after this at bat, we talked about his cockiness and that it wouldn't serve him well every time. I don't ever want him getting too big for his britches and he really saw how badly that could go even though he made it home to get the run. Don't get me wrong. I love him challenging the pitcher to try and make a steal, but how he did it this one time nearly cost him an out.

I'm sad that the season is almost over since I love watching him play, but I'm looking forward to what's to come with his enjoyment of the game!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Minnesota Here We Come - The Home T

Three weeks and counting! We're heading back to Minnesota and we're excited to be home. To usher in July, I asked The Home T if I could do a review of one of their t-shirts showing my love of Minnesota. Thankfully, I must've conveyed my love of home, and they agreed! Now, I thought I was going to be getting a t-shirt showing Minnesota with the word Home across it. I was giddy, giddy I tell ya, when they surprised me with the "My Happy Place" design. Clearly they get me!

Have you switched out all of your clothing for the season? Here in Maryland all of my summer clothing is out and ready to be worn! The weather has made the full change to hot, t-shirt weather. I was looking on Facebook today and you won't believe the weather there. June is such a turbulent month at home. One second you're wearing a t-shirt because it's crazy hot out. The next, clouds are rolling in, the hail starts, and straight line winds hit!

Truly, you have to believe Minnesota is your happy place to call it home. How could you handle the weather there any time of the year if it wasn't? lol

The boys and I are excited to head home in just a few weeks, and I've already prepared the first picture I'm going to take once we get there. I'll be wearing my "My Happy Place" in front of the Welcome to Minnesota line right after we leave Wisconsin! To say I'm looking forward to getting there is quite the understatement!

Now, about The Home T specifically. It's an incredibly comfy t-shirt. I went with a Medium, but easily could've fit a Small. It's made in the USA which is so terrific! I'll probably live in it all summer. Yes, I'm one of those people. The fabric is incredibly soft. They also give back a portion of their profits to multiple sclerosis research. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

So get this. I was wearing my t-shirt right after I received it a couple of weeks ago. I wore it a week & a half ago to my son's baseball game. Well, I wore it again to my son's last baseball game on Saturday forgetting that the last time everyone there saw me I was wearing the same shirt. HA! I won't see them again until next spring for baseball season again so I should be good. =) (and yes I'm terrible at selfies)

I've already worked it out for my daughter to get my son the Home T for his 18th birthday in a couple weeks. She of course loved it. I suppose I should get my hubby the Maryland one for Father's Day. lol Poor guy is kind of outnumbered being surrounded by so many Minnesotans!

These would be perfect for birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and if you love to travel to a specific state, it could be fun for a trip...maybe even to Disney!

Friday, June 9, 2017

CARS 3 Activity Sheets

About a month ago I was able to check out the CARS 3 Tour that was going through our area. My son had the day off so he went with me. It was a great place to take the littles (not that I have any, but it was so cute to see the little kids). I think our favorite part was watching the extended trailer. The movie looks like it will be amazing!

In anticipation of the movie opening on June 16th, print out these activity sheets for the kids! They'll love them, and get them revved up for the movie.

There's also the CARS 3 Miss Fritter's Corn Fritters Recipe, Make Your Own Race Course, Memory Race, and a Race to the Finish Board Game that can be downloaded & printed as well! What a great way to get the summer started, right?

Like CARS on Facebook:

Follow CARS on Twitter:

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Subscribe to the Disney/Pixar YouTube channel here:

Visit the official CARS 3 website here:

CARS 3 races into theatres everywhere on June 16th!

Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.