Bargain books December 11, 2021

A need to know. It would be nice to add the authors in today’s earlier read and enjoyed post to my favorite authors list but… I need to read more than one book from each of them to know they are solid favorites. Sometimes it’s a once only happening, a well written story, and that hardly qualifies.

I decided the first author to check out would be Laura Haley-McNeil.

A gold strike. Five more bargain books, that should be enough to tell me if there is product consistency. $0.99 each is excellent incentive to explore this bundle.

Wherever Love Finds You: Clean and Wholesome New Adult Romance (Beaumont Brides Book 1)

It’s his game. He makes the rules. Rule number one – only he can break the rules.

Zach Lowe lives his life without relationships in business and personally. Getting involved doesn’t work well when you’re the Black Knight of Wall Street.

Ellora Duvall, the sweet kid who crushed on him in high school, waltzes into the world of corporate finance with the same wide eyed innocence she had in chemistry class. He hadn’t expected her to affect him the way she did, but he’s in control. A few weeks with Ellora will be pure pleasure, then he’ll move on. She’ll understand. He should, too.

Who broke his rules?

Wherever Love Finds You is the 1st book in the Beaumont Brides Series.

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Guarding Her Heart: A Clean and Wholesome Second Chance Western Romantic Suspense (Crystal Creek Series Book 1)

Threatened by a stalker, she turns to the only man who can help her – the man who walked out of her life ten years ago. Artist Victoria Whitloch escapes the clutches of a stalker only to stumble into the arms of the man she never wants to see again, bad boy prosecutor Garrett Reynolds. To protect Victoria, Garrett whisks her away to an isolated lodge. Major problem for Victoria—how does she help Garrett capture the stalker while guarding her heart against the man who broke it once before?

Garrett thought his heart had healed when Victoria left him ten years ago. Garrett’s bigger problem—capture the stalker determined to imprison Victoria. Keeping Victoria safe is no easy task for Garrett, but getting her to trust him is an entirely different challenge. He puts his life on the line to guard the woman who is more deserving of love than any woman he’s known. But love takes a back seat to the Whitloch-Reynolds feud. At the center is the Crystal Creek Ranch. The Whitlochs own the ranch. The Reynolds are the rightful heirs.

This is a clean, romantic suspense novel.

Guarding Her Heart is the 1st book in the Crystal Creek Series

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Fragments of a Melody: A Clean and Wholesome Woman’s Fiction New Adult Romance

Prelude and Fugue: A Clean and Wholesome Women’s Fiction

Olivia St. Claire’s story doesn’t begin with Prelude and Fugue. It begins in Aberdeen, Colorado.
Once upon a time Olivia made a choice.

The Prelude-Olivia St. Claire wanted to be good at something. What better way than to start studying piano again? And what better teacher than former concert pianist Liam Wallace? She found him attractive, beyond attractive, but her heart was safe. He was married and he showed no interest in her. If he wouldn’t love her, she would make sure he loved the way she played.

The Fugue-But her heart couldn’t be controlled. She now had the opportunity to perform with him. And that’s when everything fell apart. When she heard the music, she couldn’t control what she might say or do. She wanted to be good at something. And when that happened, she lost more than her heart. She lost a chance to capture something that meant more to her than anything she’d ever dreamed.

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Calling Me Back, Again: A Clean and Wholesome Women’s Fiction Musician Romance

No one knows that concert pianist Cayden Kincaide’s musical career began in an impoverished shack in the Indiana woods. To have a career in music is beyond his wildest dream. Still there is a hole in his heart that he longs to fill.

With Deneen, the teenaged beauty queen? With Rachel, the brilliant composer? With Linda, dedicated mother and teacher?

A struggle churns within Cayden. He can no longer ignore the voice in his soul that keeps calling him back to Indiana. But the person who made Indiana whole is gone. Without her, Indiana is nothing.

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Sometimes when I binge like this on a new-to-me author it doesn’t turn out well. It would be very sad if this was one of those times. Hopefully all will be well.

There does seem to be a wide variety of stories and that in itself is promising.

Join me in checking out these books.

Happy Reading!

This and that November 29, 2021

At this moment, I have to share the encouragement I’m needing and enjoying tonight.

This last week has been busy with house guests. I’ve loved having them. Now I’m going through withdrawal being alone again, although in spite of it I’m feeling upbeat. At the same time I’m experiencing annoying physical evidence of the stress of it all. It feels weird because I have been happy having people around. To have itching skin rashes and aches and pains that only appear when I’m stressed just seems so wrong when I’m feeling good about life.

To help me get through this season I discovered a new music video in my feed, it has favorite lyrics that settle me. It’s actually a compilation of several videos I’ve owned for some time. This is very cool because I know all of the songs so well. It adds an extra dimension to my emotional settling when I can close my eyes and sing along. The words slide deep down into my heart and bring healing.

The theme of the video is Thanksgiving, what could be more uplifting than that? I’ll share it at the end of this post.

The other cool thing that happened today was the experience of tackling a task I’ve been dreading. In the end it turned out to be a positive part of my day.

The challenge was to write a piece for reading and critique at our writer’s group this coming Saturday. The theme was to be Christmas memories. The trouble is, there are not many good memories coming out of my childhood. I couldn’t imagine how I could find enough material to write something with any sort of a positive vibe.

It turned out so much better than I could have imagined and I felt upbeat and grateful having such a good writing experience. After it has been critiqued I will share it with you all.

Here is the video I’m listening to as I write this. It features a wide variety of favorite and talented award winning artists.

Life is looking up and I’m grateful.

Now I’m going to grab supper while this video finishes.

A good evening to you all. I hope you are experiencing some bright spots as well.

This and That November 05, 2021

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This is another one of those days when my mind is filled with nothing and yet it is consumed with everything. It’s funny how that goes.

It looks like I will just have to start writing and see what comes out.

One thing I know for sure, it takes quiet thinking time to have usable thoughts already arranging themselves in your head. This week has been without any of those times. But I’m not complaining.

It turns out this has been a week for long conversations and I have to say it’s been very nice. A blessing really. Probably even an answer to prayer.

The isolation we have all been faced with in this covid situation, means times for enjoying friendly faces have been few and far between. For months on end. It takes a heavy toll on both our emotional and our mental health.

I’ve found there is an upside to forced loneliness though. There is a heightened sense of joy in unanticipated visits. Even if they are only on the phone.

There were three such visits this week that stand out for me. The one thing making each of these visits special was the topic of conversation. In all three cases the subjects were specialized. How often does it happen that you find someone not bored to tears when some of these conversations come up. Not very often, trust me. That’s why I enjoyed these instances so much. Two of them I rarely get to talk about.

There was distance involved but it didn’t matter. That’s the beauty of a phone call, hundreds of miles mean nothing. Unless the reception is terrible. Technology is one of the appreciated blessings of our modern age.

One of the three visits though, was local and in person. How nice was that, to see a face I’ve not seen in months.

There is one lasting resolution for me, coming out of this pandemic season. I plan to put more effort into treasuring the important people in my life.

Keeping in touch and connecting with friends and loved ones has taken on a new urgency.

The personal benefit coming out of all this?

There is something about spending time with people that puts a lightness on inside and a smile on the outside.

What can be better than that after the gloom of covid?

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A little of this, a little of that, October 20, 2021

I’m jealous. Some of my friends can produce well thought out pages and pages in a short time and it takes me for – ever.

Now that I said all that, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.

It couldn’t have been all that important. Truth be know it probably wasn’t, either.

One very important thing happened this morning. The lawn care guys were here to do year end yard cleanup. Leaves and lawn. There were so many leaves this year I was entirely glad to let them do it.

The upside to doing it myself is the workout and resulting muscle tone. The downside to not doing it… well you can guess that. Maybe next year.

I had a good day at work today, it was productive. It’s amazing what can get done when there are few interruptions.

The other thing that was great about the day, I figured out some things. Working cold-call with an unfamiliar file can be daunting, and it was, in spades. Once their system became clear it wasn’t all that difficult, but for a while there…

Tomorrow will be better and I’m almost done. How sad is that? Hopefully I will remember what I learned when they are back again.

Anyway. There was no real point to this post, I just felt like writing a little.

I started another book tonight after finishing the 12 book Save the Date collection. This new one is fun. It’s full of feisty women at a time in history when they were not allowed to be that bold. Especially not where anyone could notice. The two ladies I’ve just met have hobbies that could get some poor underestimating guy killed. Hopefully the ladies will meet one or two of them. Not that I would want to see them killed or anything. Although, the way some guys behaved way back then, I’m sure they would have deserved it. lol

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I’m only on chapter two and I’m loving it.

Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer: Christian Regency Romantic Suspense serial novel

She met him again by shooting him.

After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

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This story is off to an excellent start, I hope it can last through the whole book. I need a good dose of irony and dry humor for a little change of pace.

OK, I’m gone.

Til next time.

This and that September 19, 2021

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I’m taking a break from a strenuous task and figured I may as well write a little while I’m sitting. I’m tied to the computer anyway as I’m chatting with an old college friend living in Norway.

The weather here has been much cooler this last week or so but today is lovely and warm and I’m trying to get some things off my to-do list before winter sets in. We just never know how it will go. The change over to winter can happen any time within a six week window it seems. We will be at the early edge of that window in a few weeks.

On to another thought very much alive in my mind:

I’m still shaking my head over our bizarre experience yesterday. I wanted to order-in pizza to make my visiting grandsons happy (the local kids, not the ones moving home from overseas) and I wanted to arrange payment so the parents could pick it up on their way in to town.

I never order-in food , at least it’s been many, many years since the last time I did, so this was a totally new experience. Let’s just say it did not go well. This is a well known and popular franchise with a thriving business and a fancy website that I did not find to be user friendly. In the end the method they wanted me to use to arrange payment did not make me happy. So I called the store. That didn’t work a whole lot better as they don’t take credit cards over the phone. I guess I can see why but…

Normally I could have gone to pick up and pay for the order myself but my daughter currently has my car.

In the end I still wanted pizza so I figured out a convoluted way to pay the bill and phoned the order in again.

When I was on the website I noticed they had a three star review and it seemed very strange for this particular business.

I guess now I know why. When my son-in-law went in to pick up the order they couldn’t find it. Chaos seemed to be reigning in the pick-up area. Between my daughter coming to her husband’s aid and her phone calls to me to confirm order details it was finally located (actually, I think it was another staff member joining the hunt who was better at looking.) The food was delicious but I think I would still have to give the whole experience a three star review. Not something I wish to repeat anytime soon. On top of all that one of the pizza’s was incorrect. Rather than all different two were the same. Not exactly happy about that.

Oh well, It was fun having my family here to visit. We had a good time despite the glitch.

While the electrical stuff was under scrutiny by several interested parties (dad and son,) the two youngest grandsons and their mother were going around the house with long sticks clearing spiders and their webs off the siding. They found a really big spider (not as big as some pictures I’ve seen but big enough) this spider had to have been pregnant or something given the big belly(?) on it. Anyway, after everyone finally had a look at this fine specimen one of the boys smacked it. It blew up. They were in awe looking at the sight of the blown up spider. We aren’t sure what the fluid was all about but it was impressive.

It was definitely a day for making fun memories.

While we weren’t impressed with the mix-ups in the pizza it wasn’t enough to spoil our day. We had a good time together.

Tomorrow is voting day, I’ll have to find a ride, I keep forgetting I’m without a car.

I can hardly wait to vote and I hope it counts. We need a change.

Later.

I’m on my way out to finish my power washing chore. What an improvement!

This and that at the end of the day.

This is a time when I just start talking and see where it goes. Usually it starts with a thought, an undeveloped thought. That’s how this one went. A thought and need to stop the endless round and round. It helped. Not sure it makes sense. 🙂 Also, I’m trying hard to be careful, which is constricting, for a few reasons. I hope this gives you hope.

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There is so much going on these days, Scary stuff, if we look at it closely. It’s easy to automatically expect the worst because we don’t have the ability to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

I spent a lot of time tonight watching news clips from contributors who seem more interested in honest journalism than biased manipulation. It’s good to keep up with what’s going on in the world but there is a downside to it. It’s draining and discouraging.

In response to tonight’s viewing session I’m writing to let out some of the angst and negativity. Maybe it will help me gain a new perspective.

All of my life there have been regularly occurring dire predictions about what was going to happen to the world one day. Time lines were built and we lived in fear, differing degrees of it depending on the whether. Whether or not someone, or something, seemed like more or less of a threat at that particular moment.

It was easy to believe that there would be a moment in time when destruction would take over and we would be forced to live in apocalyptic desolation and torment. I think many of us still live with that dreadful expectation. We believe that one day evil will take over the world and we will be living in slavery and punishment. Life as we know it will be over.

Decades-long thinking have been acting as a foundation to the thought pattern that resulted in my discouragement tonight. Intentionally or not, we are programmed to think the way others decided that we should.

What if we are wrong about the predictions of how things are going to go? What if we have been looking at things from the wrong perspective?

You might call me a little crazy, thinking like this but I know these worries are real. Especially with the newest generation growing into adulthood. Their view of the world is serious and worried. They are regularly being presented with possible catastrophic events and for some of them the future of life looks hopeless. I can relate to what they are feeling. I remember as a middle teen lying in bed worrying about aircraft overhead, wondering if it was a Russian bomber coming to get us. After all, how many times had we been told the Russians are coming to take over the world, be ready.

Ok, we won’t keep going on with that thought pattern but worries are real, in our minds at least.

By the way; the Russians did not come, aggressive threats went away, and after awhile life went on and we forgot we were ever worried. Until now. When things seem to be heating up again.

In the normal scheme of life, never mind what’s gong on right now, we seem to grow the most when we experience hard and difficult places. I’ve heard more than one person say I would never want to go through cancer again but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I’m different because of it.

What if – instead of punishment and destruction coming in our future, it’s something entirely different? What if – the purpose of these earth shaking events is not to defeat us, but to cause us to rise up and grow?

Globally, as a culture we have become weak, lethargic, and apathetic. Most of us have never had the chance or the need to stand up and fight for something.

What if the reason for the hard place we’re currently living in is to cause us to get up out of our soft chairs and become Olympic champions. What if we are being called to rise to a challenge, to become more than we ever thought possible.

Most of us will never be Olympic champions or Navy Seals but what if there is some need close to home that we could become passionate about filling?

I think that’s the secret right there. Passion.

Most of us think … but what could I do?

Paying attention to our surroundings will help us see needs we would normally miss.

So, I got a little off track with that train of thought.

What if – the purpose of these earth shaking events is not inevitable defeat but to strengthen us so that we are useful and evil doesn’t have to win?

I like this view for the future much better than the inevitable one of defeat.

This took much longer than expected, and my brain is fried.

I hope this makes sense to you the way it did in my head.

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I think – We are not meant to be overcome but to be over-comers.

Be encouraged.

No thoughts on milkshakes

The Sunday Scribblings story prompt today was milkshakes. I think it was chocolate milkshake day but I could be wrong about that. I don’t dislike milkshakes but rarely order one. My drink of choice usually is coffee, second choice would be iced tea. But not sweet tea. I tried it once when travelling in the south, couldn’t do it. I would pick salty over sweet any day of the week.

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On the other hand, I do enjoy some desserts, especially if they lean toward the semi sweet side. Cheese cakes, tiramisu, tuxedo cake. I’m drooling already just thinking about them. Best change the subject.

I still don’t have a big appetite after the reaction to my second shot. My energy levels have not recovered either. I’m a little discouraged over that. Winter will soon be here and I need to get outside to do winter clean-up before the snow flies. One good thing about the snow – at least I don’t have to feel guilty about neglecting the yard.

Staying inside today produced a good chance to pay bills and respond to messages. That brightened my day considerably. The sad side of it, though, is knowing what my son and his wife and daughter are going through today. They will be putting their two oldest on a plane in a few hours to fly home to Canada. This isn’t a visit, they are moving home to see what comes next for them now that high school is nearly finished. I remember what it was like the first time my son flew off to a foreign country for who-knows how long. It was tough.

At the same time, I can relate to both sides. I have been the leaver and the left. It is much easier to be the one striking out on a new adventure. So many new things to experience. The left get to look at an emptier house every day and keenly feel the loss.

The adventurer doesn’t miss out on sadness though. Unfamiliar culture and languages can magnify homesickness. Even just a new and unfamiliar city brings it’s share of homesickness. No one gets away pain free.

On the other hand, sadness and homesickness means we loved. We can’t miss what we have never loved. What a blessing to have loved and been loved.

The three boys living here are excited to welcome their cousins. My daughter is left wondering how she is going to survive as the only woman with six guys. It will be an adventure, for sure. I tell her be glad it’s not girls, they would have to install another bathroom or two. Although if the girls were anything like the two of us, hogging shower and bathroom time would not be a big issue.

All that said, I enjoyed my kids when they were teens and I think she will enjoy these boys too. They are all loving kids.

Well, word is just in, the first leg of the flight was cancelled which means they will miss the connecting flight. At least they have a travel agent to take off some of the pressure. Arrival time will be affected, although this is not a total surprise.

Turns out the problem is a typhoon. 😦

I guess this is to be continued…

A sister about to miss her brothers.

They will be missing her too.

This and that August 24, 2021

This is another one of those days when I’ve got nothing. Nothing to write that is. Most of the stuff on my mind isn’t appropriate for this post.

I’ve been closely following the debacle that has stunned the world. It seems we have been content to close our eyes to things and just coast along hoping someone else would take care of us. It will take some major courage to get the world out of the tough spot we find ourselves in. Our guys had the courage in WWII, I’m not sure how it could happen exactly but I’m sure our guys and gals could successfully rise to the challenge this time too.

The other news type thing on my mind is the whole covid situation. A fourth wave seems to be showing up in the last few days. Just when restrictions loosen up the infection rate starts rising again.

Along with that concern, we have a family situation where we need to find a isolation spot for teenage boys coming home after a lifetime overseas. I want to have them with me but there is one difficult hurdle to overcome. Other options may work out but if they don’t I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it work out well for them. We will have to wait and see how it all turns out.

In regard to books, I can’t find it again but I was reading a book collection that was a retelling of fairy tales. Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were the first two. From my point of view they were really bad. I couldn’t bring myself to even read them. I removed the book from my device without taking note of the title. I wanted to share it with you and thought I could easily find it again but … no such luck. Maybe it’s better that I couldn’t find it. Kinder.

The sky is a heavy grey all of a sudden, I think another storm is supposed to roll through tonight, dropping some more rain. It’s funny, we had been having drought conditions and they were predicting a long hot summer. The prediction has changed, we are supposed to have more rain with cooler temps for the rest of the season. Winter shows up here the end of October/early November usually.

It will be interesting for our newly home teenagers, they have not experienced real winter before. It will be all new. They are excited and looking forward to it, I do know that. I don’t think they have seen snow and if they have it would have been a brief thing. Both of their parents have experienced full on Canadian winters and the kids have grown up with the stories wishing they could visit us in the winter. Their time has come!

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How could they not love it?