Posted in books

Murder…

I’ve said before, I thoroughly enjoyed Murder Comes By Mail, the second of the Hidden Springs Mysteries. A.H. Gabhart kept me guessing and guessing with that one, and I think I was even more wrapped up in the mystery this time around, with Murder Is No Accident.

The publisher’s blurb:

Young Maggie Greene may be trespassing in the old, empty Victorian mansion on a quiet street in Hidden Springs, but all she wants is some private time in the magnificent tower room to write her stories. Certain she’ll be in trouble if caught, she hides when a realtor shows up. But someone else is in the house too, someone even more worried about getting caught. When Maggie finds the realtor’s body at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the other person gone, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is called in. He assumes the realtor’s death is a tragic accident–until a second person is found dead in the house. When Maggie is threatened, Michael must catch the murderer before anyone else dies.

Cozy mystery fans will love this third installment in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series from an author who knows how to make small-town America sweet, sentimental–and a little sinister.

What I thought of it:

Maggie Greene is fifteen, a girl with a penchant for writing stories up in the tower room of the old Chandler mansion. She does have permission to be in the empty place – Miss Foda, the owner who now lives in a care facility, has told her she may go up there any time she wishes. She keeps silent about it, however, because she is certain her mother (who cleans the house once a month) would not approve. It’s become her own little spot – until the day the local realtor, Geraldine Harper, shows up while Maggie is there, and comes across an intruder who’s not Maggie! Is her lethal fall down the stairs an accident, or could it be murder? Signs point to a simple accident, until another person is found dead – this time a definite murder – in the same house.

It would seem Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane’s mind would be primarily occupied with the woman he loves, and it would be if these deaths didn’t usurp Alexandria Sheridan’s place in his thoughts. (Well, for the most part…) Will Michael keep Maggie and her little brother safe, find the killer, and find a way to be with Alex forever?

I just loved this book. It’s a page-turner, and makes me wish I lived in Hidden Springs… except for the body count. It’s fun how I will have ideas on “who dun it” that change as I read the story, sometimes returning more than once to a suspect. This series reminds me a bit of Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who mysteries int the way they welcome you into the world of the author, and they let you keep guessing all the way through. Definitely hoping the fourth in this series is published soon!

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

Posted in books

Packing Hacks!

I love to travel, but oh, I am lousy at packing most of the time.

Bless Hitha Palepu! Her new book, How To Pack, is going to be a HUGE help to me from now on.

Already, the book is just too cute. Look at the cover! Inside there are all sorts of tips and tricks to packing, how to pack certain things, and even what to wear while traveling. (Hint: It’s not sweats and house slippers.)

Different types of luggage are explained. What to do to get ready the week before. Creating a packing station. How to keep your clothes fresh. And in the back are eight tear-out cards for your packing lists. This is definitely a great book for someone who travels a lot, especially on business. If no one has a birthday coming up, you might want to grab one as a surprise “Just Because”, or an early Christmas present! Hey – it’s never too early to be prepared, right?

While you’re at it, you should nab one for yourself. Who doesn’t need a little help packing, after all? And from the woman who has made a bit of a name for herself as being a packing guru? Come on!

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Blogging For Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

Posted in fitness, Weight Watchers

Where I Am Pt. 2

Another thing that has been weighing on me a lot (no pun intended) has been just that – my weight. By this time last year, I’d lost 29.8 pounds since around the beginning of December 2015. Anyone in Weight Watchers might remember that Thanksgiving as the day Oprah took over the site and apps. (It was a complete goat rope, you guys.) Then my friend Dee came to visit in late March, and I took a week off from dieting. And then a month. And then would try to restart only to fall off again.

As of right now… *goes to weigh on the bathroom scale* … my total weight loss from back then is a miserable 0.6 pounds. I gained back 29.2 pounds and am nearly right back where I began.

I can feel it, too. I don’t have the energy I had. I can feel myself Continue reading “Where I Am Pt. 2”

Posted in Uncategorized

Where I Am, Pt. 1

After a pause of much longer than I anticipated – sorry, everyone! – here I am again. I initially took a break because I’d been considering upgrading my site and using a different theme. That will probably still happen, but not right away.

Then the US Presidential election happened, and no matter my feelings on that itself, I was, and continue to be, amazed and disgusted by the way people have thought it acceptable to speak to and treat one another. Especially amongst those who were friends or family. My mother and grandmother would have lined people up for spankings and to wash mouths out with soap!

Am I being a prude? Good lord, no. The cesspool places like Facebook have become (or how much larger that’s grown, since there was always a bit of cesspool to it before) is ridiculous.

It made me really want to sound off, and the only place I had to do that was my blog. I didn’t want to turn this into a huge political blog, so I just stepped farther away.

I’m back. 🙂

The rest, coming up!

Not wearing it properly, but this is a sailor’s hat like in “Horatio Hornblower”.

 

Posted in books

Book Review: Redeeming Grace

Again, something for the history lover.

redeeming-grace

The publisher’s blurb:

When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.

Combining meticulous research with her endless imagination, Jill Eileen Smith gorgeously renders one of the most beautiful stories in Scripture. Readers will adore this third installment of the inspiring Daughters of the Promised Land series.

What I thought of the book:

A wonderfully researched story set in Biblical times. The details the author provides really bring this story to life, pulling the reader in and creating the ancient world for the reader’s imagination. Again I am finding myself reading a few books into a series, but this is one that carries its own weight, as it should in this case.

It took me a few chapters to get my interest into this book. I wasn’t that familiar with the story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz in the first place, so it was a little hard for the book to keep my attention in spots. Maybe it’s because I personally didn’t connect that easily with the characters?

Aside from my personal reading experience – which is just my opinion! – this is a very well-written book. I have put it aside with the intention of rereading it again in a few months, because I would love to really connect with it and enjoy what the author worked so hard to bring about.

Should you purchase this? I say yes – do it. But first read the two previous books in this series!

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

Posted in books

Book Review: One Pan & Done

Another cookbook! This one for down-n-dirty, quick-n-easy stuff!

onepananddone

 

From a primer on pans, to what you need in your pantry, through breakfasts, snacks, and dinners and desserts – this book is an amazing repository for all things single-panned.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala helped curb a craving the house has had for Indian for the past week or so. And yes, it really was easy to make in a dutch oven! Tonight or tomorrow night I think we’re trying the Quick Chicken Pot Pie. He has a cast iron skillet that has been languishing on the shelf for way too long, and yes – we did come across a wonderful sale on chicken lately. Broiled Watermelon with Balsamic & Feta is going to be a definite try come this summer.

The directions are easy to follow. There are lovely, full-color photos throughout the book. This would be a great gift for just about anyone: college student or first-time-living-aloner, married two-some, young family (or one with kids in high school and there’s not enough time to cook!), or something new for the grandparents. Seriously, this book is as versatile in the giving as it is in its recipes.

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Blogging For Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

Posted in books

Book Review: Rescue Me

I’m usually not one for contemporary romances. I guess I just find historical settings more conducive to my romantic imaginings. Happily, I can say that Rescue Me grabbed my attention and held it.

rescue-me-book-cover-final-sml

The publisher’s blurb:

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him—not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff’s department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one who—perhaps the only one—who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember.  But she wants her sister, Sierra, to have her happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on—namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the accident that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

What I thought of the book:

It can be a little confusing at first trying to figure out who each character is and what their relationship (or former relationship) is to another, but Mrs. Warren explains just enough to clue in new readers while not overburdening return readers with things they already know. Each character has his or her own personality and quirks. They are well thought out and mostly believable.

I suppose I say “mostly” because there were a few times I pulled my head out of the story, wondering where that (whatever it happened to be) came from.

The first was how everyone in town seems to attend the same church. Granted, it’s a small town, but I’ve lived in a very small town (a population less than 1000 at the time) and there were at least three churches in that town. So this is a small town where everyone seems to attend the same church, but it’s large enough to have its own hospital. And a state Senator lives there. I’m sure it’s possible, but it just doesn’t seem probable to me.

Another was how “good” everyone is, and without even thinking about it. Like, practically everyone in the entire town. But then the pastor and his wife are so quick to believe the worst about the boy who took their daughter to the homecoming dance and then to a teen party afterward. And then the boy’s father, the Senator, didn’t seem to believe his son, either. If everyone is so well-behaved and with such high morals in this town, why in the world would the parents then jump to believe the very worst about kids who hadn’t really been any trouble (as far as the book goes) with the first incident?

Now I have to say I absolutely loved the way the conflicts and the attractions were written. It seemed so natural, so much like what almost everyone in the world has experienced at one time or another. No annoying people I wanted to strangle, either; just characters I would gladly revisit… and characters (hello, Sam!) that I developed a bit of a crush on, too! What more could I ask for?

Oh, I know – more books in this series!

 

 

 

**I was sent this copy from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**