Cowherd and the Weaver Girl

Tens of thousands of couples chose sacred seven as their wedding date. Going back a decade, wedding website The Knot usually had around 12,000 couples registered and preparing to unite on any given Saturday in July, but leading up to 7/7/07, there was triple the amount: 38,000, even more than the millennium. (Time.com) Seven is…

via Cowherd and The Weaver Girl – Chinese Valentine’s Day — Bamboo Sketches

The Watchmaker’s Daughter

I love it when I find a book that rises above all the rest and is a magical read.

Glass and Steele Series -The Watchmaker’s Daughter book 1 –  by C.J. Archer is one of those books. The story has elements of the Count of Monte Cristo, one of my favorite books. It’s hard to put the euphoria of the reading experience into words but I’ll try. I think the thing that tickles me most is the mystery and intrigue surrounding the characters, and the subtle humour in actions and dialogue. Like in the Count of Monte Cristo, the characters seem out of place in the opulent surroundings, and yet they seem to have the right and the means to be there. There are secrets lurking beneath the surface but there is nothing to grab hold of to expose them or even prove the secrets are real. There are great characters who frighten and charm all at the same time, there is also risk, romance, and unexplained magical moments.  Nothing is given away as details  come out in layers. with the whole truth being saved to the very end.  I am still basking in the glow of an enjoyed book newly finished. 🙂

A Sydney Brennan Mysteries – Back to Lazarus book 1 – Judy K Walker …… Another of my favorite books this time. A private eye is hired by a woman to solve a cold case involving the decades old murder of her mother and the more recent suicide of her convicted father. I liked how this story was unpredictable and believable, I liked the characters and how they played off one another…. and the trouble the PI could get into with her won’t-quit attitude. There was a humorous side to all of this that helped make it an enjoyable read.

The Brides of San Francisco – Nellie book 1 – Cynthia Woolf …. post civil war era, Nellie, to escape the cruel influence of her late husband’s wealthy family, decides to take her two young children and become a mail order bride in San Francisco. Bachelor Blake is a successful saloon owner wanting to branch out to become a legitimate businessman, but council rules say he must be a family man. This scenario made for an intriguing story.

Hot Chocolate in June: A True Story of Loss, Love and Restoration – Holly Mthethwa

Thomas Kincaid Cape Light Series – Songs of Christmas – Katherine Spencer ….. Two protagonists, one a young musician trying to advance her career, the other an elderly  woman resisting changes with a less than charitable attitude.   I am now the proud possessor of a public library card (the first one in 5 years) and this was the first book signed out. I had not read any books by this author so it was a pleasant change.

The Women of Valley View – Pam book 3 – Sharon Srock ……  a story of love, abuse, bitter divorce, and pain that won’t go away. Then the unthinkable… he moves back to town and all of the hurt resurfaces. She doesn’t know, he is dying. Some weeks most of the books fall into the “OK” category. This week had more than a few rising above the OK assessment. This was another well written and gripping story.

Arcadia Valley Romance – Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley book 1 – Mary Jane Hathaway and five other authors….. 6 books in this collection all set in Arcadia with stories that intertwine with the other authors. These books are the first in a three book series  for each author. They were all good and I look forward to reading more of them. This collection is still currently free tonight.

There are still a few more books on my list but one of them is an author I have been wanting to showcase so I think it needs a separate post.

I hope you have been inspired to check out some of these authors and will discover some books you love too.

See you soon.

Happy reading.

 

 

 

Post from – God is in your typewriter – Melissa Presser – inspiring

This morning while waking up at an ungodly time after making the trip to see my sister in Las Vegas, I finally opened up my electronic devices only to find of one million messages. Out of the million or so messages that were awaiting me, I saw the flash to accept a new comment on […]

via On coincidences, God’s punishments as gifts and loving the thing you’re supposed to hate — God is in your typewriter

A favorite book this week

This week is about books, some I loved and some…I didn’t.

Generally, I don’t like to talk about books I dislike in a blog post (I save my rants over pet peeves for in person conversations not caught on camera) Putting dislike into words in a blog post just feels too much like a written rejection letter.  I would rather stick to the positive and  tell you about the books I liked and let the negative be shown subtly by the book’s absence from my list.

But, there’s a downside to positive only comments, it gives the impression I am an  indiscriminate reader.

So, I will give you a reason to believe I have opinions about what’s good and what’s not. There were a half dozen books this week that didn’t survive past the first few pages. There were two in particular, though, that caused a high level of disappointment. I had great expectations for them because they were written by popular public figures with something to say. I kept reading longer than usual, wanting them to get better. They didn’t

The first one is an allegory, I’ve read other books in a similar style and loved them, I expected to love this one too. The first off putting thing was, the hype overkill at the beginning of the book. How many endorsements do you really need! The second off-putting thing was, the story didn’t live up to the hype. It was disjointed, hard to follow, and the symbolism didn’t marry well with descriptions and actions, which was frustrating.

The second book was also similar in style to several other books I’ve read and enjoyed  recently. My expectations were high because I’ve not seen another book address this particular topic, at least not from this angle. The introduction gave me hope because it talks about how the book came to be, and how it was originally longer but they pared it down significantly. It could have been pared down even more, in my opinion. How many ways should you say the same thing?

The major downfall I see with both of these books; they had something worth saying, but the process of writing is not a strong skill for either of them. An experienced editorial team would have been a great asset.

I give them kudos for trying though because writing a successful book is not as easy as it looks.

 

So, having mentioned books I didn’t like, it’s time to mention some books I did like, enough to stay up reading half the night in some cases.


Kiya Trilogy – Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh book 1, Kiya: Mother of a King book 2 – Katie Hamstead …… this is a fictionalized story of King Tut, an excellent read and my favorite this week. I’m looking forward to reading book 3

Detective Madison Knight Series – Deadly Impulse book 6 – Carolyn Arnold …… I enjoy Carolyn Arnold and this was another good one from her, lots of believable twists and turns while  looking for the killer.

Bridge to Haven – Francine Rivers ….. this story starts when an abandoned newborn is mercifully found by a tender hearted man, under the bridge at the edge of town. Sometimes the sad places of our lives cause us to make devastating decisions. This is a book of second chances. Francine Rivers has been one of my favorite authors for many years and still is.

A Riley Paige Mystery – Once Gone book 1, Once Taken book 2 – Blake Pierce ….  a brilliant female police detective with a broken past that makes her more than a little prickly. Blake Pierce is a new favorite author of mine.

The Kate Lange Thriller Series – Damaged book 1 – Pamela Callow …..  Suspense…. recovering from the death of her sister and a messy break-up, Kate finds herself with a new law firm, embroiled in a dangerous mystery.

Skye Cree Thriller – The Box of Bones book 3 – Vickie McKeehan …. a serial killer, dismembered bodies, and not much to go on. This was  believable too, a mystery that keeps you guessing to the end, the best kind.

The Retired Gardener – Gideon Williams ….. this is definitely not your usual thriller, a retired gardener who always seems to side step away from harm directed at him.  A new slant on thrillers.

As always, I hope you will be on the lookout for good books, there are so many out there waiting to be found.

Happy reading!

slow week

There’s not much writing happening at my house this week.

I have a job doing administrative work for a company 2000 km away from where I currently live. I used to live there and worked everyday in the office, for 5 years actually. Now, I’ve been here 5 years, working remotely, and loving it. I moved to be closer to family, and a good move it’s turned out to be. It’s nice getting to spend time with some of my grandchildren, watching them grow up, much to quickly.

I have 7 grandkids, 6 boys and 1 girl…….. she can hold her own with those boys. 🙂

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And they aren’t wimps, although they do love their sister so I’m guessing they don’t treat her as roughly as they could – although they might like to now and again.

Getting back to the subject of work. Three weeks of covering for my young colleague while she is even farther away, (5500 km from the office, I am about in the middle, between west and east, big country this) for her wedding, that means there hasn’t been much time for things I usually spend time on, like reading and writing. The work load  has been busier than we guessed it would be. Busier is good.

It has been nice doing her job because it gives me more contact with others in the office, more than I normally get with my job description, and I like that. I miss the connection. That’s the downside to this style of working. On the plus side though, in this age of computers and internet you can work almost anywhere.

It’s kind of fun, the contact I have with some of the agencies I deal with, when they have to call me and find out how far away I am from them. It makes me smile to myself when I’m talking to them and think about the fact that at one time I used to live in the city they are in, and shopped just a few blocks from their offices.

This time next week Danielle will be back and life will get back to normal. Although I guess it won’t be quite back to normal as I will have to do some grandma duty while mom and dad are working through the month of August. I love having the boys around. Hopefully they will come to my house a couple of times for overnights and we can have some movie marathons.

I love movie marathons, they bring back memories of when I was a mom. I can remember watching Brave Heart once with my teenagers (2 boys and a girl, who wanted to do whatever the boys did) and some of their friends. I was pretty proud of myself for sticking it out, although I do admit to crocheting at the time, it helped me get through the gory parts. And Princess Bride, I think we about wore that one out, it was a favorite. ” my name is Inigo Montoya…..” there are so many great lines in that movie.

And then there were the all night Rock-A-Thon fund raisers. The teenagers would have to rock, in a rocking chair, all night, no sleeping, and their sponsors would give them money for a group trip they were planning, if they managed to last the night. They would watch movies to help  stay awake, and eat pizza and lots of other yummy junk food. Luckily I was there without  responsibility so I didn’t have to fight sleep. I could usually make it half way through the night before closing my eyes and abandoning them.

I am looking forward to movies the next few weeks, the boys have their favorites too, although last time we watched some Disney movies since they have been assigned Disney movies as school homework, We watched Beauty and the Beast, their first time. It wasn’t as much of a chick flick as they expected, these fairy tales do have a bit of a violent side to them, which wasn’t a bad thing since they are still in the “ewwww, girls” stage, mostly.

So, that’s how my week is going, nose to the grind stone! 🙂

I downloaded some good books today so I am sure I will be stealing some moments for reading.

Wishing you some good books too and happy reading moments.

 

my daughter-in-law’s sweet tribute to her grandmother, she will be missed

“Grandma had a minor stroke, but she’s recovering,” read the first message. She’ll get better, I thought. I know my grandma. “Grandma is having a hard time eating and speaking,” the next message read, “but she’s out of the critical period. Baby steps in forward motion.” She’ll get better, I thought. I know my grandma.…

via Just Like My Grandma — Bamboo Sketches

A tell-all chapter

If I were writing a memoir (which I’m not, at least not yet anyway) most readers would be looking for tell-all chapters. This might qualify.

In the last post love my flowers…. and books I mentioned that I am an introvert and if the neighbours were to see me trying to take pictures of the flowers in my yard, it would be a tragedy of epic proportions. At the time, I said this somewhat tongue in cheek, but, as I thought about it later, it felt honest rather than dramatic, and honest felt really good.

One thing always leads to another, in my mind anyway, and this line of thought lead me to consider the possible impact the early years would have had on my introverted self. I wouldn’t say those years were the cause but I can see how they would have  contributed.

Both families moved many times over the years and eventually ended up in the same town, that’s how they met. Dad was a friend of one of mom’s brothers. It’s ironic that they were both born in Alberta, Vegreville and Youngstown, if I remember right. It seems like the they unintentionally followed each other around a bit.

Secrets have been the trademark of both families so I am short on details and have to speculate about some things.

I suspect mom was still living at home when they started going out together but don’t know for sure, I assume dad wasn’t living at home but don’t know that for sure either, I think his parents moved back to the States somewhere in that time frame. Also, I have no idea what the length of their relationship would have been, but it must not have been too short for mom’s brother to have been part of the scene. I’ve always assumed, from the information we were given through the years, that they were married the year before I was born, recently we discovered this was incorrect, they were married 13 months after I was born.

Both grandparents were strong in their faith, at least the grandmothers were, dad’s family was Catholic….church attendance was very important, Mom’s family was Protestant…… her step father was the pastor. Religious differences were a big deal.

Back in the 40s conceiving a child out of wedlock was a major scandal, both inside and outside the church. This would have been a huge  blow to mom’s dad,  personally as a minister, and could have been the reason for his retirement, given church rules at the time. It could even have been a forced resignation made to look like a retirement.

The second scandal would have been living arrangements, for the duration of the pregnancy and the 13 months of my life before the wedding, putting 2 and 2 together with little bits of information given out over the years, I suspect they had no alternative but to live together.

One of the reasons I think this was the case,  with them trying to fly under the radar, was again, bits and pieces from mom’s stories about my birth. Wearing dad’s shirts as smocks. Taking herself to the hospital only to be told, come back in six months and maybe she would have something, (staying small would have been to go unnoticed). Then a few hours later giving birth to a 6 pound baby girl. Upset because the father of her child was out partying with her brother, when he should have been there with her.

I don’t know much about the wedding plans either except that one of dad’s sisters stood up with mom, and mom had a beautiful dress. They were married in the Catholic church after she promised the priest their children would be raised Catholic. In my experience dad was not a church goer so I’m guessing this was an empty promise. We weren’t brought up in either church.

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For religious reasons, this marriage was  unacceptable to both sides of the family, but with children involved what choice did they have.

During pregnancy and beyond, our home would have been filled with angst. Dad wasn’t ready for marriage or kids, his actions showed that, and it would be pretty safe to say  mom wasn’t ready either. My birth was not the happy occasion it would have been under normal circumstances. If babies hear while in the womb, and pick up on emotions, there would have been lots for me to hear and feel.

Apparently, the introvert in me surfaced early. There were stories. About how, as a baby, I didn’t warm up to dad and he wasn’t happy. About how I would cry if anyone looked at me when we were out in public. About how I wouldn’t go to  anyone.

Not such a great beginning, for any of us.

There were other things, besides the events of my birth, adding to my desire for invisibility, but we will save them for another tell-all chapter.

I’m sure other family members have heard stories over the years and could shed light on some things. I would love to hear your stories sometime.


Well, we need a few books now…to lighten things up a bit

The Amish Bishop Mysteries – What the Bishop Saw book 1 – Vannetta Chapman….. this was one of my favorite books this week…. the Bishop has a gift that is more of a burden than a blessing, tragic happenings prompt him to overcome his reluctance to use it, to help find answers.

The Sisters of Sugarcreek – Cathy Liggett ….. an elderly aunt dies leaving a knitting shop to her untalented niece, a fire destroys a church and a way of life for one charitable woman, the same fire kills a fireman leaving a widow without the skills to deal with her everyday life. Three ladies drawn together to form an unbreakable bond, each one having something the others need. I really liked this book of healing and restoration.

The Teacup Novellas – At Legends End book 4 – Diane Moody….. This was another favorite this week, I always enjoy Diane Moody’s books and this series was a favorite. A beautiful B&B, in an old house with tragedy in it’s past, the question on everyone’s mind…does the legend still hold true? I was happy that in spite of the Novella tag it seemed to be a regular length book.

An Offering: The Tale of Therese – Allison Pittman ….  this was a short, but good, story about a little girl and how life changed for her.

I have a string of unfinished books this time too, so they haven’t all been great, which only makes me appreciate the good ones even more 🙂

There are a lot of good books out there and I hope you are discovering them.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

love my flowers…. and books

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I have to share a couple of pictures of my yard. I am blessed with beautiful flower beds, thanks to the previous owners who were avid gardeners. Lucky for me there are many perennials and flowering bushes, saving me from having to figure out what to fill the beds with each spring, and a bonus, their flower choices still grace the yard each summer.

I would share more pictures, more often, but photography is not my strong point. There is a good reason for that, aside from the fact I have a smart phone and no camera. I’m an introvert, someone might see me, standing about, looking for the perfect angle. That would be a tragedy of epic proportions. I check to see if anyone is out and about, or has their curtains open, then take my flower pictures as quickly and discreetly as possible. Once in a while it works out. This next picture isn’t one of those times. 🙂

I had a visitor last night. Don’t know who he belongs to but he decided this was a good place to groom and settle in for a nap. I could have taken my time setting this up, it was a long nap.20170715_191327.jpg


I haven’t mentioned books read in the last few posts, so this is catch up time.

A Story of Second Chances – The Heart Mender – Andy Andrews…. This is one of my favorites this week, from one of my new favorite authors. It’s a story of life, loss, and reconciliation. Unlike any other story I’ve read, I like that.

Out of Egypt Series – Counted With the Stars book 1 – Connilyn Cossette … Another favorite this week, the story of Moses and the Red Sea from a different perspective. The protagonist is a beautiful young Egyptian girl, used to a privileged life style, suddenly sold into slavery to satisfy her father’s debts.

Life Unexpected Series – Safe in His Arms book 1- Melanie D Snitker…..  a beautiful girl running for her life, I expected it to be a rerun of a familiar theme, I took a chance and it wasn’t. I liked this book a lot too.

Sunriver Dreams Series – A Love to Treasure book 1 – Kimberly Rose Johnson …  another familiar theme, the protagonist’s grandmother passes leaving a last request. This book also didn’t meet my low expectations of a rerun. It turned out to be an adventure, with twists and turns to keep things interesting until the end.

Southern Hearts Series – Blown Together book 4 – Janet W Ferguson …. two main characters, each with issues, blown together when a tropical storm rages through. This was a good read, a book I would read again and enjoy.

Ray Elkins Thriller Series – Shelf Ice book 4 – Aaron Stander ….. this book has excellent reviews and I agree with them, it definitely held my attention. I’ve never read anything  with shelf ice before, an interesting touch.

Courage to Dream Series – Irish Meadows book 1 – Susan Anne Mason …. this was my least favorite book this time but it was still worth reading. It didn’t flow well at times and was frustrating in spots, I did make it to the end though and was glad I did.

Windswept Bay Series – With This Ring book 6 – Debra Clopton …. this was a fun book. A little boy is determined to have the father he asked Santa for. Makes for some interesting twists and delightfully embarrassing moments.

Elite Guardians Series – Always Watching book 1 – Lynette Eason …. a psychiatrist and radio show host has a stalker, his concerned father hires an agency to supply a body guard, an agency made up of strong, well trained, women.  A thriller.

Cowboy Fairytales Series – Once Upon a Cowboy – Lacy Williams …. I’m not a big fan of contemporary retelling of fairy tales but this one worked for me. It was well done and interesting. I wish it had been longer, with a chance to more fully develop the last part of the story, the ending felt hurried and cut short. It was a good read though.

I am currently reading Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota, it was a book reviewed by the RedheaderBooklover   her glowing review enticed me to check it out to see if I would agree. So far, I am agreeing but will wait for the end to say for sure. 🙂

Hopefully you will find treasures too, in some of these suggestions.

Happy reading! Until next time.

Those of us who don’t believe in divorce…..should.

I think, those of us who don’t believe in divorce should believe…. there is no accountability or consequence without the possibility of divorce.

It seems to me, in this world of no divorce, we live in a bubble outside of reality.  Our lives have to look perfect to prove we are real. We have to live behind masks to prove we are not phonies. Appearances matter and we become experts at keeping them up.

The truth of the matter is; not one of us is as perfect as our image leads others to believe.

We need to allow ourselves, and each other, to come out from behind our masks and let truth be known. It is possible to love God desperately but stumble and fall, get sick, go bankrupt, or have unruly kids. It is also possible to give the appearance of loving God, with a put together life, while not loving Him at all.

I think, we end up behind a mask because we are afraid of what people will think, we are afraid of being judged and ostracized, we put unfair pressure on ourselves and each other.

Sometimes our masks cover destructive behaviours;  some that affect our families, some that happen to our families. While all of us are good at keeping secrets, some of us keep secrets that would have us sent to jail in the real world. The wearing, and the acceptance, of masks makes it possible for this behaviour to continue unchecked.

Consequences may or may not cause the offender to change their behaviour but it would be worth a try.

I think God is sad when He sees divorce for frivolous reasons, but His heart is broken when He see abuse.