Bargain books January 19, 2022

1531 Entertainment has several interesting suggestions for us.

The first author is a favorite and this book is already part of my collection.

Justice Mission (True Blue K-9 Unit Book 2)

Police officers fight for justice with the help of their brave K-9 partners in the True Blue K-9 Unit series.

After K-9 unit administrative assistant Sophie Walters spots a suspicious stranger lurking at the K-9 graduation, the man kidnaps her—and she barely escapes.

With Sophie’s boss missing and someone determined to silence her, NYPD officer Luke Hathaway vows he and his K-9 partner will guard her. But he must keep an emotional distance to ensure this mission ends in justice…not cold-blooded murder.

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This next one is an author I’ve not read. It does look interesting though.

The Brontë Plot 

When a bookseller’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.

Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life and the love that have been waiting for her all along.

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My current read is an author I’ve not experienced and it’s too early on to have an opinion. So far so good, though.

The Tin Whistle (‘Tis the Season Book 2)

Inspired by a true story…
1854
Jacob Gusky wakes up hoping Santa has arrived. And he has… but not for Jacob, one of two Jewish boys living at the Boys’ Home of Manhattan. When a friend gifts him a tin whistle, Jacob learns the power of giving, the joy in receiving, and hears what he considers to be the sound of happiness.
1881

Recently widowed and completely out of options, Frannie takes her daughter Molly to the Home for the Friendless. “You’ll be back before Christmas?” Molly asks. Frannie gives Molly half a quilt square and keeps the other, choking on her reply.
Now a happily married father of three, Jacob Gusky owns Gusky’s Grand Emporium, Pittsburgh’s first premier department store. After unearthing the tin whistle from the orphanage, he is reminded of what it felt like to have nothing, and decides to make a difference in the lives of others no matter their faith. But with so little time before Christmas morning, can he even begin to give the orphaned children of Pittsburgh what he knows they need?
When giving is more important than receiving…

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Happy Reading!

Helpful interview re: social media January 17, 2022

So helpful. Wanting something interesting to watch tonight I went through Carey Nieuwhof’s list of videos. His podcasts are consistently informative, engaging, and challenging. I may think, at first, that I would find this subject irrelevant. 99% of the time I’m wrong. There is always something significant in there somewhere, speaking directly to me.

This interview was of even more interest, given where I am in my thinking at the moment. So many excellent tips on how to make our ideas work.

If you have a blog, which most of you reading this do have, I’m positive you will find this discussion relatable.

Phil Cooke has been in television for decades, He’s written books, speaks at conferences, and does consulting in smaller settings. He has a wealth of experience to share.

Check this out, I’m sure you will find it helpful.

Dreams and all that December 18, 2021

Photo by Elu012bna Aru0101ja on Pexels.com

I’m writing this in an effort to work my way out of this morning’s brain fog. There are many things on my mind these days but nothing coherent. Not clear enough to write a decent post anyway and I’m in a fix.

Some of this extra brain activity was showing up in crazy dreams this morning. But what do they mean? That’s the mystery. I was sitting here at the dinning room table looking out the narrow window by the front door when a delivery man from the country of residence for my son walked up, turned the knob and entered. I had no idea who he was, why he was here, or if I should be afraid. I screamed anyway and woke up.

Two nights ago I decided it was time to change sides of the bed. I have been sleeping on the same side for decades and was rather attached. I’ve entertained the thought of moving many times over the years but it was never an attractive idea. This time I made the decision and suddenly it has become a life changing moment. I have no idea why. I feel like I’m taking off on a new adventure.

The reason for the change was nothing earth shattering, it was simply to make use of the unused quarters of the mattress that were still like new.

I’m enjoying this sense of a new chapter in my life. I have no idea what it means or what it will look like but that doesn’t dampen the sense of anticipation.

So back to the dreams.

When overnight visitors come to my house and are shown to their room they automatically turn left to mine, which is kind of funny because they can’t see in the room yet. So, my door is closed, I open it to go in and someone has taken over my room, sleeping in my spot. What am I supposed to do now? Rather than try to boot them out I closed the door and left. I need to work on that.

Then, a recurring dream popped up.

I’m living in a big house. The main floor is large but the downstairs is larger. It has six or eight bedrooms, the floor plan is divided up into three main areas, each distinct from the other. All of them interesting and unique. I’ve dreamed about this house many times. No idea why.

Maybe all this dream activity is related to my son, his wife and daughter. They are planning a trip home for an extended visit after a number of years away. Their boys arrived in September and are living with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Usually the family settles on the west coast using it as home base. Maybe this time they will settle here in the middle of the country. Maybe it will be my turn to host them.

We will likely find out tonight on our regular zoom call.

Instead of falling back to sleep I should have stayed up this morning after turning up the heat.

But then I would have missed out on all the fun dreams.

There were more but I’m sparing you the details.

OK, I’m awake now, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. I should get ready to see what else the day can hold.

We will talk books in the next post.

This and that August 26, 2021

A little this, a little that, and a whole lot of not-much.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes recharging a device seems to take forever? I have and I was inclined to blame it on the device?
It was frustrating, especially since it was a new purchase and my expectations were high. It turns out I was experiencing misplaced blame. This afternoon my Kindle was taking forever and I couldn’t wait long enough for it to finish. Tonight, having to plug it in already, it charged in record time. I guess the fault lies with the power grid not the device or the power cords.

It could even be the fault of neighboring power hogs. I wonder who that could be? Hmmmm. I know it’s not me, a couple of lights and a laptop is all I’ve got going on.

I’m sad, as I sit here blogging and looking out the window at the darkness of night. A couple of months ago it would be getting dark just about now, not this full on night thing. Summer is on it’s way out. That’s why I’m sad. To think it has gone by so quickly.

It’s a good thing, I didn’t put my Christmas tree away. In another two or three months it will be time to put it up again, this way I don’t have to bother. Besides I like using it as a shield to hide behind. Privacy screen.

I’m excited, in a couple of weeks two of my young relatives will be moving back to Canada, specifically to the area where I live. I can hardly wait to see them. I’m sad that I didn’t meet the criteria for them to spend their two week self-isolation at my house.

This will be a great adventure for them. And an even bigger adjustment as they have never lived here, they left as babies. I think they have been dreaming of it for a long while though. Coupled with early onset adulthood I think they are ready for what comes next in their lives. Living with their same-age cousins won’t hurt either.

Overall, I’m happy with life.

Now I just have to figure out what book I wish to read next.

Maybe I will give this one a try. It looks to be filled with spies and intrigue.

The Captain’s Quest (The Leeward Islands Series Book 4) 

Innocent mistakes can have dire consequences. 

Pricilla Middleton only attended the Lemoore house party to keep her friend out of trouble. Now, her only chance to keep from becoming a gossip column headline is to sneak aboard her brother’s ship and pretend she’d been visiting him instead of taking part in the debacle. Before she can speak to her brother, the ship sets sail, and the man in charge is not at all who she expects.

Captain Tobias Prescott, son of an infamous war hero, has been assigned on a critical mission to deploy warships in St. Kitts for battle in New Orleans. Unfortunately, his orders require him to assume command of a friend’s ship, and he must weigh anchor the instant the former captain is escorted down the gangplank. When they reach open waters, the last thing he expects is to find a woman hiding in the captain’s cabin, yet his mission is too urgent to return her to England.

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I’ll let you now how it goes.

Bargain books July 19, 2021 Part two

I’m not sure how it happened. Despite seeing a number of tempting books we only ended up with two. I just had to go back for another look. I found two MORE.

I’m a little unsure about one of them but not enough to cut it from the lineup.

Since we started the day with Christmas, we will continue and start this post that way as well. I know and like some of the authors in this collection and it made the selection choice easy. This book is on pre-order and will be released in October.

Christmas in Mistletoe Square: Christmas Romance Novella

Amazon quote:

Christmas is in the air in Kedgewick Creek, North Carolina, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Will romance find four couples in the month of December or will the pressure to keep the festivities Mistletoe Square is known for keep these couples apart?

Find out in this collection of four novellas from inspirational authors Pepper Basham, Cara Putman, Janine Rosche, and Teresa Tysinger.

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This next book is a complete change of subject and will be a deep dive by the looks of it. I’m excited to see what this one is about.

Things Left Unsaid 

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

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This next book is in a similar vein but I’m not sure if the dive is as deep.

When It’s All Said and Done

Amazon quote:

As sisters, they couldn’t be more different, but can they count on each other when it’s all said and done?

Ruth Webber’s only focus in life is saving the business her late father left behind and, since her capricious younger sister doesn’t care about family legacy, she must do it alone. When a long weekend trip presents an opportunity to advance the family interests, Ruth won’t let anything stand in her way, not even her sister’s drama or the smile of a handsome new friend.

Despite what Ruth thinks, family means a great deal to Angela, but the unexpected loss of her husband ended her dreams of having one of her own. Now, her only chance of building a new dream lies in her writing career, if she has the strength to act on it. All she needs is a weekend away to clear her thoughts.

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This one is a different flavor all together. Except, is it really? Maybe not.

Defending My Heart – Clean, Christian Football Romance: (A Texas Tornados Single Author Sports Romance Book 1)

Amazon quote:

The man who broke her heart. The second chance she’s not sure if she wants.

Emmitt Brown’s demons are even bigger than he is, and as a defensive lineman for a pro-football team, that’s something. When the team captain tasks his defensive line to go home for Christmas and get rid of their biggest past regret, Emmitt finds himself returning to the small town he grew up in to find the woman he never should have left. Too bad she hates him and tells him to go away.

Mia Carter can’t believe Emmitt Brown is back in town. She does not need this right now. Especially since he’s been the ghost who won’t leave her conscience alone for the past five years and especially since she recently lost her husband. But when the pro football player steps up and offers to help her son fight cancer, she finds herself reluctantly agreeing.

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OK. This is definitely It for today. Anything else will have to wait for tomorrow.

I will stay far far away, there will be no more looking and books.

Happy Reading!

Perfect timing

It’s amazing how it happens. Perfect timing.

Yesterday’s post shared the idea of counselling in a book. Check it out here if you missed it… Love is a Choice

This morning, waiting in my inbox, was the regular email notification for the weekly podcast I follow faithfully. The content is always interesting and helpful, on a variety of topics. Today’s topic was especially meaningful on the heels of yesterday’s book. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, the two books fit so well together.

The subject line of the email was an attention grabber.

A specific type of writing that will combat anxiety, depression, and symptoms from past trauma.

There was no way I could walk away from this podcast and leave it for another day. It had to be today. I watched it twice, it was packed that full. .

Today’s interviewee has written a book called The Power of Writing it Down.

Part of author/writing coach Allison Fallon’s target audience is the same crowd flocking to read Love is a Choice... Count me in.

The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life

Partial Amazon synopsis:

For anyone who’s trying to make sense of their life, who wants to get unstuck from the patterns that hold them back, hear this incredible news: everything you need for the freedom you want is entirely within reach. This practice and pathway is free, it’s readily available every day of your life, it takes just minutes of your time, and anyone can do it. 

Author, writing coach, and speaker Allison Fallon’s life transformed when she discovered the power of a daily writing practice. As it turns out, using your words is one of the most powerful means you have for unlocking your life. The Power of Writing It Down is your guide to this transformative tool available to us all. In as little as five to twenty minutes a day, scientific research shows this daily practice can help you: 

  • Identify your ruts and create new neurological grooves toward better habits
  • Find fresh motivation and take ownership of your life
  • Heal from past pain and trauma
  • Relieve anxiety and depression
  • Contextualize life’s setbacks and minor frustrations
  • Live a more confident, balanced, and healthy life
  • …and so much more

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In the podcast interview she explains Expressive Writing well and mentioned that the writing talked about in her book is not regular writing and it’s not journaling. It makes a lot of sense.

The idea is to write down your deepest thought and feelings. I have experienced what she means when she says this type of writing accesses the subconscious part of the brain where the conscious is often not allowed.

This is basically what I do when I write my this and that posts. What comes out is often a surprise. With some of the posts, like I mentioned at the time of writing them, I was in the midst of angst and felt so much better when I was talked out. To really get into it, though, I expect most of it would not be something we’d want to share publicly.

I recommend listening to the interview before reading the book. I’m glad I did because hearing and seeing her will make the words on the page that much more real.

Practicing this form of writing will be helpful to everyone, not just the most broken among us.

Here is the link. Enjoy, and buy the book if it makes sense to you. I think you will be glad you did.

I haven’t been as intentional with this type of writing as is encouraged in her book. From ignorance, really. I want to try it her way, to see what the difference will be in my life.

I’m hoping you will discover this along with me.

Happy listening, reading, and writing.

Bargain books Part Two June 18, 2021

As promised, three more interesting looking books, all from the author featured in the previous post. I’m more excited about these three as I’ve not yet been exposed to the two series they are part of.

I’ll start with the one that attracted me the most. The story line seemed to promise a depth I find attractive.

A Family for Easter: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 6)

Amazon quote:

Too different to fall in love?In Rescue River, anything can happen…

When wealthy single mom Fiona Farmingham rents her carriage house to widowed Eduardo Delgado, it’s purely in friendship. Insecure over her late husband’s betrayal, Fiona hides her attraction to the humble landscaper.

Between them they have six children, two dogs—and a world of differences. But with half a dozen little matchmakers involved, can they find the courage to reach for happiness once more?

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The Soldier and the Single Mom: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 4)

Amazon quote:

When Buck Armstrong rescues Gina Patterson and her baby from a dark country road outside town, he intends to keep his distance. Gina and little Bobby remind the handsome veteran too much of all he’s lost. The vulnerable single mom seems equally wary of getting involved. But things change once Gina and her son settle into his sister’s boardinghouse.

Being with Gina and Bobby makes Buck question his plans to leave town for a fresh start. Suddenly he has dreams of forging a new family, even though it will mean risking his heart. But can he escape his past for a chance at a happy future?

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The Soldier’s Redemption: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Redemption Ranch Book 2)

Amazon quote:

Blaming himself for the accident that claimed his wife and son, ranch manager Finn Gallagher vows he’ll never remarry. Yet he’s drawn to his new rescue-dog caretaker, Kayla White, and her little boy.

The single mother’s running from something in her past. And as he begins wishing the little family could be his, Finn must convince her to trust him with her secret.

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I haven’t decided how many of these I will go for but they are all under consideration.

If anything more wonderful shows up today I’ll let you know, for sure.

Happy Reading part two!

Read and enjoyed May 08, 2021

My favorite book so far this week is a parallel, modern and historical. The common denominator is a poignant painting with a checkered past and a complicated present.

I’m not always a fan of blending timelines but in this case it works. Probably the biggest reason, it allows for showing rather than telling. We need both time frames because they are intertwined and the present story only makes sense if we can understand the past.

There is an unforgettable painting with unknown origins. It appeared in the most terrible of circumstances and combining past and present stories adds the right amount of lightness to make the story relatable. The love stories play out in both time frames as the book moves along. The events are unpredictable and the resolution to the story is unexpected.

I would describe the unexpected but that would give away the ending which would never do.

I agree with the reviews quoted below. Unforgettable.

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel Book 1)

Fresh. Fascinating. Unforgettable. The Butterfly and the Violin is a masterpiece of a debut.” –Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning

“. . .impossible to put down.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!

A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

I will admit, I lost sleep over this difficult to put down book.

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So much wisdom, so much empathy

This is a deeply touching interview filled with wisdom, understanding and empathy. And hope. So much hope. I have to share.

I hope you find it as comforting as I did. In these difficult days we need to hear voices filled with wisdom and hope.

Rick Warren has experienced unbelievable pain. Toward the end of the video he shares what it was like to live through it. He puts heavy emphasis on living through it.

This interview is posted by a gifted podcaster Carey Nieuwhof. He knows how to ask questions that will mine the depths and bring out the best in his guests. Always a blessing to the listener.

May you feel as blessed as I do right now.