Showing posts with label Bev. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bev. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Popsocket Review

Handy Tool For Cell Phones And Tablets

Let's review a popsocket today. Chances are you have at least seen a popsocket but you might not have known what it was. Basically, they are a type of grip to attach to your cell phone or even your tablet. Of course not all grips are Popsockets but a whole lot of them are.

popsocket
This woman must not have a popsocket on her phone
image courtesy of pixabay.com

These funky looking discs attach to a phone for a variety of uses. Probably the most popular use is for having a better grip on your cell phone making it less likely to drop it. This comes in real handy if you are the type who likes to carry your phone in your hand instead of your pocket or purse.

People who like to take selfies say the popsocket allows them to hold the phone better for snapping that shot. I'm not one that takes a lot of those so I don't know whether it makes it easier or not.

Popsocket and other brands


Not all of the brands of grips perform like the little popsockets. The uniqueness of this brand is that it is collapsible. It can go flat and then pop out once and then once again in an almost accordion like fashion. I like that you can collapse it when you want to place it flat on a surface and when you want to put it in your back pocket. If it is sticking out an inch or two in your pocket it might look rather alarming to someone behind you. 

You can completely remove the popsocket when you want to. The adhesive is reusable. This comes in handy if you want to re-charge your phone with one of those wireless chargers. There might even be a reason to remove it in order to place it in a different place on your phone. 

Why move it around? Well, another use for the popsocket is that you can use it like a stand. Yep, you can prop your phone up for hands-free time. I don't watch many videos on my phone but a lot of people do and with a popsocket they can prop their phone up on a desk or tabletop and watch without holding on to the phone. I would imagine this would be really nice if you are watching a movie on your phone; I would think you hand would get stiff having to grip for so long.

I even saw an example where someone used two of these handy little discs on the back of their phone to wrap the cord neatly from their earbuds. I thought that was pretty clever! 

Lots of choices

Another really fun thing about these little grippers is that you have a multitude of choices in how they look. You can keep it simple or you can find one that is suited to your tastes and personality. There are colorful ones, elegant looking ones and of course whimsical ones. Some can even be personalized to have a saying of your choice on yours. They aren't very expensive so you could pick one or two and switch them out as your mood changes. 

Personally, I think they would make a great little stocking stuffer for people on your gift list. How about you? Have you got a popsocket?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Kathi Daley Books Reviewed

Prolific Cozy Mystery Author

I'll be reviewing one of my newly found Cozy Mystery authors today, Kathi Daley. From the list of books she has published, she may be one of the most prolific Cozy authors I have come across. I've read many of them by the way but none who have published as many as Kathi Daley.

kathi daley
Living with views like this seem to inspire Kathi Daley
image courtesy of pixabay.com
According to her bio, Ms. Daley lives near Lake Tahoe. I wasn't too surprised when I read where she lives with her family because as I read Answers In The Attic which is book four in her Inn at Holiday Bay series she describes a few scenes at the shoreline. Her words formed a description in my head that made me think, she has seen that scene. She had lived it. It really isn't even an integral part of the plot but it is descriptions like hers that polish a story. I read that she uses her picturesque surroundings as inspirations for many of her books and the series she has created.


A Little Something For Everyone


After reading one of her books, I decided to check out what else she had written. Currently, I'm reading Romeow and Juliet (book one) in the series Whales and Tales. I'm enjoying it even more than the Answers In The Attic. So, out of curiosity I looked to see what else she has written. Mainly to start a list of other books to possibly read. Let me tell you, there is a series by Kathi Daley for just about anyone's taste. I read that in 2014 she published twelve books in that one year. That is a book a month, people! Being an author myself, that is impressive, very impressive. I thought I was cranking mine out in a fairly rapid pace but it takes me longer than a month to finish a book. I digress.

To date, she has twelve or thirteen cozy mystery series to choose from:
  • Zoe Donovan Mysteries
  • TJ Jensen Mysteries
  • Whales and Tails
  • Sand and Sea
  • Writers Retreat Southern Seashore
  • Tess and Tilly
  • Seacliff High
  • The Inn at Holiday Bay
  • A Hathaway Sister
  • Haunting By The Sea
  • Rescue Alaska
  • A Cat In The Attic
I'm probably going to have to sample at least one in each of her series. She has even written a cookbook featuring recipes from one of her main characters Zoe Donovan. I haven't read any in that series yet but I probably need to. There are something like thirty-two books in that series alone. 

I mentioned that the first book of Kathi Daley that I read was one of the books in the Inn at Holiday Bay. I'm not certain but I think her premise in that series is to be able to feature the holidays celebrated throughout the year. The book I read was number four in the series and featured July 4th with mentions of fun things they planned for Halloween. Personally, as an author, I think that is brilliant! I have be honest, it actually has inspired me. There is a new character in my head who is screaming for me to write her story but I hadn't come up with a solid idea for what the series would revolve around. She seems to want to have a bookstore or at least I think she does but nothing solid has come to the left hemisphere of my brain just yet. It just might be fun to have a sub-theme of holidays in whatever shop my new character decides to do business in. I'll let you know when she and I come up with a plan.

Anyway, I thought I would introduce you to this Cozy Mystery author today. I think you will find at least one of her series to be to your liking. Caitlin Hart, the main character in the Whales and Tails series is pretty funny, I'm really enjoying her a lot. If you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend taking a look at her books. I seriously don't think you will be disappointed in any that you might choose.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shetland Series Reviewed

Shetland Islands Featured In Mystery Series

I recently began watching the Shetland Series through my Britbox subscription. If you aren't familiar with it; the television series is drama/mystery series of episodes taking place in the picturesque Shetland Islands in Scotland. 

shetland series
Mysteries taking place in the Shetland Islands of Scotland
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I'm coming in sort of late for watching this popular television series which first began filming in 2014. I'm not sure it was available to me until recently; if it was somehow I missed it. I'm enjoying it so much that I don't think it will take me long to catch up to Season 5.


What can you expect in the series?

The episodes revolve around a small police force with DI Jimmy Perez leading his fellow officers in their duties on the islands in Northern Scotland. Detective Inspector Perez is a single dad of a teenage step-daughter. Cassie's mother died several years ago and her step-dad has brought her back to the small village in the Scottish archipelago to expose her to her roots. Another interesting little twist to the overall plot is that Cassie's birth father also lives in the village; the two men have different views on how best to raise a teenage girl. Their attempt at co-parenting adds some depth to each episode in the crime drama.

Being able to solve the mystery of each story line while experiencing what life is like up in the sub-arctic environment of the Shetland Islands is extremely enjoyable. Each mystery spans two episodes. So far, the ones that I have watched are full of twists. About the time that I think I know who is responsible something comes up to dismiss that person as the culprit. 

Living in a land-locked area, I am fascinated with DI Perez having to take the ferry over to an area to investigate. The scenery is beautiful and the local people are interesting. I find myself daydreaming wishing that I could go there someday. Some of my ancestors lived in Scotland, although I don't think any lived quite that far north.


You will have to stream it


If you are in the US, your only option to watch Shetland is to stream it. I signed up for Britbox through my Amazon Prime membership. I used to be able to see a lot of the British television shows through another streaming service but they no longer carry them because the licensing changed. I finally justified signing up for another service because I truly enjoy the programs that are produced. 

Anyway, if you are looking for a good series to watch I highly recommend Shetland. You can get a trial period for the streaming service to try it out. If you don't care for it, you can always cancel.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Ken Burns Country Music Film Reviewed

A Ken Burns Film You Shouldn't Miss

Country Music the Ken Burns documentary film now being aired on your local PBS station is one, in my humble opinion, that you shouldn't miss. My husband and I have sat spellbound as each two hour segment has been presented.

ken burns country music
Some of the legends in this Country Music Mural are featured in Ken Burns film
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Mr. Burns has a way of telling us about pieces of our history and our diverse cultures that not only inform us but entertain us as well. His latest creation about Country Music doesn't fall short on those notes, in fact I think it might be the best one he has done to date. That is saying a lot when you consider his work on the Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, WWII and the Viet Nam War.

It is more than just the music


One of the quotes that is repeated often is from Harlan Howard. He once said, "Country Music is three cords and the truth." I think that is probably why I have always loved Country Music; so many of the lyrics in the songs are about my truth, your truth or our truths. Some songs make us want to move our feet, others remind us of the happiness of loving someone while others break our hearts. There is literally something to listen to no matter what your mood might be. 

The segments that will total 16 hours by the time all are shown cover the history of the music that is uniquely American. We hear portions of songs but it is the backstories that I find the most fascinating. Ken Burns and his incredible crew of people tell us about the artists who made the songs popular and the people who wrote the songs. We find out about how they grew up (some of 'em will just break your heart!); how they got started and portions of their careers that might surprise us. 

I have always been a "words" kind of gal. Yes, I love to dance but it has always been more about what the story in the song says to me. I think that is why I am drawn to the people who write the songs. Those poets who don't always get a lot of recognition but can sit down and put words together that touch us in some way. In the documentary we find out quite a bit about those songwriters. Some performed their own music while others wrote for others. It has been fascinating!

Honestly, even if Country isn't the genre of music that you prefer to listen to; this Ken Burns film is one that I think you will enjoy. After hearing the history of the it; you might even be converted to a fan. There are segments that will make you smile, move your feet and touch your soul. I don't know if they will repeat this series soon or not. Don't despair if you have missed the first episodes. It is available in DVD and Blu-ray.





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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cabin 9 Mysteries New Book Launch Review

Book Two Coming Soon


I'll be launching the second book in the Cabin 9 Mysteries series in the near future. Book two is titled Untimely Checkout. I thought it might be fun to talk a little about the series and the newest book today. 
cabin-nine-mysteries
Cabin 9 at Whispering Oaks Campground
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Back in August of this year, I released the first book in this new series, Campground Corpse. Readers met my main character Taylor Reigler who had inherited a campground in Indiana. She arrives at the old campground site in April to find the cabins filled with inches of dust and the ground waist high in grass and weeds. Her dream of spending about a month to get things up and running seemed destined to failure with all of the work that needed to be done. She meets Gavin Bishop and his sister Gwen on her first day at the grounds which begins a new friendship. That is where the mystery begins to unfold.


Cabin 9 Mysteries Book Two


In Untimely Checkout, the second book in the series, the story continues with a new mystery to solve. The story moves forward to early June with progress being made on the restoration work Taylor had hired done. Taylor and Gwen are testing out recipes in the main lodge on the crew of Webb Nailed It. Taylor hopes to get the campgrounds opened to overnight guests in the very near future and wants to decide what foods will be served as a part of the breakfasts. The crew is more than happy to come in every morning to eat for free and give their opinions as to what they liked or didn't like about the breakfast fare. 

As with most Cozy Mysteries, before the first chapter ends a body is found and a murder needs to be solved. I won't spoil the plot here and tell you who was found or who done it or why, obviously I hope you will want to read the book when it comes out. I hope that I have woven a story that you will enjoy as you visit the activity at Whispering Oaks Campgrounds.

If you read Campground Corpse, you will remember Gwen and Gavin and the contractor Glenn Webb. They join us in the second book along with Aunt Flossie, the great-great-aunt of Taylor who happens to reside in spirit form on the grounds. You will meet some new characters in book two that I hope you enjoy. I know that I certainly enjoyed bringing them into the story as I wrote it. 

As you read this new book, I hope there are times that you giggle, times that you say awww, and times that you think about something shared. As the plot unfolded in my head, I certainly had those moments.


Uncertain release date


I wish that I could tell you a specific day that the new book will be released. The story is finished with all of the i's dotted and t's crossed. It has gone through all of the edits and is waiting for a cover. That is the hold-up this time around. I waited a little late to ask my cover designer to make the new one. He is away on a holiday and when he returns he promises to get right on it. In the meantime, if you haven't read the first book in the series, you might want to read it before Untimely comes out. You don't have to, I feel that both can stand alone but reading the first one will help you know a little history of the returning characters. 




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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Flower Art For Kids Reviewed

Kids Making Flower Art

I found some flower art for kids to give to my youngest granddaughter for her birthday this year. She enjoys doing all sorts of crafty things so after reviewing some options, the kit that I purchased just seemed like a perfect match for her age and her personality.

flower-art
Flower art by mother nature
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The kit is called Random Acts of Flowers and fits my little sweet pea (pun intended) to a "t". I can see her making a small bunch of flowers to give to someone in a random act of kindness. She is so in tune with the emotions people are experiencing around her and would delight in making someone smile with a little gift.


Teaching Kindness With Crafts


The kit includes 75 sheets of tissue paper, 12 floral stems, 12 gift tags, a hanging vase and a bandit mask. Why the mask? This is supposed to be random and anonymous...besides kids love it. What is not included is a pair of scissors and you will also have to supply the kind soul of a child or adult. It is the most important ingredient in the mix!

So, making these flowers and then finding a place to hang them so that people can smile as they take one from the hanging bouquet is only part of the fun. Those gift tags that can be attached to a flower are supposed to have a message on them. The encouraged message is that whoever takes the flower is supposed to go do something nice for someone else. Don't you just love that?

Added to the benefit of spreading kindness one little action at a time is the fact that every purchase of one of these kits pays it forward a little more. A donation is made to a charity that takes re-cycled flowers along with words of encouragement to health care facilities to promote the emotional well-being to residents. I love that!


A Gift that Keeps Giving


Another thing I loved about this flower art for kids kit is that it plants that seed of kindness but it doesn't have to stop once the original supplies are used up. It is so very easy to buy more tissue paper. The children can make their own little gift tags and flower stems can be replenished. The hanging vase might be taken away but they can use their imagination to make another one. 

What do you think? Would you give a child a gift like this?





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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Halloween Advent Calendar Reviewed

Countdown to Halloween

House Ready for Halloween
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Until recently, I didn't realize there was such a thing as a Halloween Advent Calendar. Did you? I mean, I know about Advent Calendars for Christmas but counting down for All Hallow's Eve is a new one for me.

The one that I stumbled upon is different than the ones we use for Christmas in that there are no little gifts to be found during the countdown. This one just displays how many days until the ghouls, ghosts, goblins and zombies run around asking for treats. You turn the wheel each day to display the number. Now, the nice thing about that is you are not limited to starting the countdown on October 1st. It is possible to begin the counting as early as 99 days before Halloween. That is, if you want to.

Movable wheels

As the wheel to change the numbers is turned scenes on the haunted house change, too. Windows open to show different monsters lurking inside. The moon can be changed to show a variety of flying scenes. There are three movable wheels to play with and a pull strip in the center to move around. It is made on sturdy cardstock so it should last for many years. 

Where to display the Halloween Advent Calendar

It comes with two tombstone feet to allow displaying on a desk, table or shelf. You can get as creative as you want, though. Use some magnets and put it on the refrigerator. Hang it on a wall in any room. If you have a small easel, place it on that and display anywhere you like. It is quite versatile. Measuring only 8 inches by 10 inches, it isn't going to take up a whole lot of space no matter where you decide to display it. 

How about it? Does a decoration that also helps you count down the days to Halloween sound like fun to you?





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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Death of Amelia Marsh Book Review

Death of an Elderly Neighbor

appointment book
Amelia Marsh's appointment book was taken
image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Last week I read The Death of Amelia Marsh by MaryJo Dawson. My review follows in the paragraphs below. I first connected with the author in a group that I belong to for authors and readers on GoodReads. I'm finding some very interesting books to read by belonging to that group. It is a source you might try if you are looking for books that you might not otherwise discover.

Anyway, I should get back to the purpose of this post. MaryJo Dawson has written a series of Cozy Mysteries with The Death of Amelia Marsh being the first one. The series is called the Sally Nimitz Mysteries. Sally, if you haven't guessed already, is the main character and I found her to be a very likable amateur female sleuth. She is a widow with grown children living in a condominium located in a small town in Indiana. Being a Hoosier, myself, you might see why I was first drawn to read about Sally. 

Short Synopsis of The Death of Amelia Marsh  

As the story begins, we find Sally preparing to go to visit one of her neighbors, Amelia Marsh. The elderly woman had invited Sally over that afternoon and seemed anxious about something. Sally admires the charming woman with the white hair and English accent. When she arrives at the appointed time, Mrs. Marsh doesn't answer the door. Sally thinks at first that perhaps the woman had forgotten or maybe she was napping. She waits for a short period of time and goes back. There is still no answer and Sally becomes concerned. Sally goes to the manager of the condominiums and asks if he could let her in; she's worried about Amelia. From the title of the book, I assume you have figured out they find Mrs. Marsh on her kitchen floor, dead from a blow to the head.

Sally starts putting the pieces to the puzzle together of who killed Amelia with the help of her friend George and Amelia's friend Anne Carey. It isn't easy for the three because Amelia Marsh was a bit of a mystery, herself. She avoided talking of her past, didn't mention relatives and had very few items in her home that might help them with clues of where to look. What was Amelia Marsh hiding? Who would take the life of a sweet little old woman? Robbery didn't seem to be a motive because nothing seemed to be missing until Anne realizes that the appointment book that Amelia always kept handy was no where to be found. Whoever the killer was, must have been penciled in that book.

Did I like this Cozy Mystery?


Oh you bet I did! The story is very well written, moving along at a nice pace with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep you turning the page. The style of MaryJo Dawson's writing reminded my of the mysteries I read when I was younger. I enjoyed that! 

The characters are absolutely delightful and believable. Sally is someone I would love to spend more time with. Anne Carey, another elderly neighbor in the Condos is witty and interesting. I would love to sit and sip some tea with her. I could spend hours on George's porch talking with him and Sally. The characters are well thought out that is for certain.

I also loved that there was the mystery of who "done it" but also the mystery of Amelia Marsh and her past life. Sally and her friends have to figure out why their friend was so closed mouthed about her past. Why did she not have any memorabilia in her home of her life that was filled with travels? There weren't many photos of her past to be found which they felt was odd because people keep those things for the memories. As they work together to find clues, it seems every time they think they have found an answer they only come up with more questions. 

I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Sally's sleuthing. I think you will enjoy it, also. Give it a try, I don't think you will be disappointed in the least.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Raspberry Danish Murder Reviewed

A Culinary Cozy Mystery

Raspberry Danish Anyone?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I recently read Raspberry Danish Murder and wanted to review it for you today. This book happens to be number 22 in the Hannah Swenson Mystery series. Written by Joanne Fluke and published by Kensington Books this is a mystery that could almost pass as a cookbook.

I am a little confused by the title. Certainly, raspberry danish is mentioned early in the book and there is a recipe for the danish but beyond that it wasn't mentioned again and I don't see the relevance to the mystery or the murder. Just an observation on my part. Although, I guess after 21 other books in the series it might have gotten tough to come up with new titles.



A Short Synopsis of Raspberry Danish Murder

Hannah Swenson lives in the small Minnesota town of Lake Eden. She co-owns a cookie and coffee shop called The Cookie Jar. The story opens in November when people are getting ready for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. We find out early in the book that Hannah is a newlywed but the problem is her new husband Ross has disappeared. Ross works or worked for a local television station and just left one day without his belongings or even his car. Hannah and her family keep hoping that he will return with a logical explanation any day now. In the meantime, Hannah has a cookie business to run and a whole lot of cookies to bake for the upcoming holiday season.

Hannah has some help in searching for her missing husband from the local law enforcement and her husband's assistant P.K. There is something about P.K. He is covering for his missing boss and trying to find clues as to where he can be but he has also taken over Ross's office and ends up driving his car when his has to go into the shop for repairs. No one seems to be able to discover where Ross has gone and then P.K. ends up dead after eating some candy that was sent to the office for Ross. Was the candy meant for the missing Ross or did someone plan to kill P.K?


My Review of this Cozy Mystery


I enjoyed the book, the mystery part. I mentioned earlier that it could almost pass as a cookbook. At first I enjoyed having recipes for cookies, pastries and savory dishes after the chapters they were mentioned in. After a while, I almost found it annoying. Don't get me wrong, the recipes sounded pretty good and the formatting of the pages was clever but goodness gracious they started to get in the way of finding out what was happening in the actual story. Personally, I feel that the recipes could have been included but perhaps a little note that states the recipe can be found at the back of the book instead of after every chapter. They would be easy to reference in a paperback but in an ebook they would be difficult to go back to after reading the book.

The mystery, itself, was well written and intriguing. I loved the characters and the different events that transpired, the solution to the murder and the explanation about Ross. Although, the Ross situation needs a whole lot more words. My guess is it will be addressed in the next book. This book stands alone quite well but I think I might enjoy reading the earlier books for the backstories on many of the characters. 

All in all it is a very good mystery and I think you will enjoy it. You might not have a problem with all of those recipes. Frankly, I like to put a recipe or two in my own books but they are always at the back and hopefully non-intrusive. I also enjoy seeing recipes in books but I prefer them at the back and as a little bonus but I don't need tons of them. If I want a cookie cookbook, I'll buy one. When I buy a Cozy Mystery...well, I want a mystery. I got one and it was a good one, I just didn't appreciate all those extra pages of cooking tips. 



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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

PTO Murder Club Mystery Series Reviewed

Not Your Normal PTO

pto murder club
A Murder Club with humor?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I stumbled upon another Cozy Mystery series this week. Let me review the PTO Murder Club Mystery series for you today. Having been very active in the Parent Teacher Organizations when my girls were in school, I can assure you none of the meetings I attended were anything like the Bee Creek Elementary School ones. I once served as the President and I was never as funny as Mustang Ridges nor did I have officers quite like hers.

Katie Graykowski has written a three book series that will entertain you as you look for the clues to solve the mysteries and make you laugh hysterically while you do. In Rest In Pieces, the first book in the series, we meet Mustang Ridges the President of the PTO and her two best friends and officers in the organization, Monica and Haley. The three women live in a sleepy little town known as Lakeside. It is a town of "the haves" and the "have nots". Mustang and Monica belong to the "have not" portion of the population while Haley is one of the "haves". The town is mostly very rich Senior Citizens with trophy wives and more money than they know what to do with. Mustang and Monica are single moms with more attitude than money who want to find out what happened to their friend the kindergarten teacher, Molly Miars. They don't believe for one second she died from a heroin overdose.

Feisty Sleuths

I found the banter between the three women hysterically funny and the situations they got themselves into were comical most of the times, too. As the women look into the death of their friend they begin to see a darker side to their community than they ever knew existed. There are so many quirky characters in each book, you won't believe it. Ms. Graykowski has nailed quirky and she comes up with some one-liners that will have you in stitches. I liked that Haley was sort of the 'nice one' of the three but every once in a while was able to get her 'snark' on to impress the other two. I think I enjoyed the camaraderie of the women even more than the figuring out the mystery part of the books. 

So, if you love a mystery and appreciate eccentric characters who might be more than a little off-center; I think you will enjoy this short little series. The setting is unique and the plot a little bizarre but I found the books a nice escape from the standard Cozy Mystery. You might enjoy them, too.

camphor-tree-pto-club
What is this tree? They found one in Molly's yard.
image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The women find a tree that looks much like the one above in Molly's backyard. You will have to read the books to find out what it is and why she was growing it. It will surprise you, at least it did me.




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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Numerology Bible Reviewed

The Meaning of Numbers (Numerology)

numbers in numerology
Do you know your numbers?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I've been reviewing the meaning of numbers quite a bit lately. Numerology plays a minor role in my newest book Campground Corpse. Aunt Flossie has been known to tell her niece Taylor more than once that 'it's in the numbers, dear'. Even the name of the series (Cabin 9 Mysteries) that my book belongs to was chosen consulting the numbers. I didn't just pull the number 9 out of a hat. Nope, there is a reason Aunt Flossie can be found most of the time in or around that cabin in particular.


Lucky Numbers or more?


We often hear people say they picked a number because it was their lucky one. Maybe it was for a lottery or to open a door on a game show but their reasons can often be that they feel that number or numbers were lucky ones for them. Thirteen is often considered an unlucky number. Tall buildings can be found around the world without a 13th floor because the builder felt it might bring bad luck. Do numbers bring luck, good or bad? Do the letters that make up your name (when changed to their numerical value) tell something about your personality? Since the time of Pythagoras in the B.C. 500's many people believe that they do. In mathematics numbers never lie, could it be so in the study of numerology? Just as in astrology when we look up the traits of our "sign" we see similarities in the descriptions; our Life Path Number, Soul Number, Dream Number often show an uncanny resemblance to ourselves. 

In a scene in the book Campground Corpse, I have Taylor question whether numerology was something she should avoid due to her faith. Aunt Flossie reminds her that God has often been called The Great Mathematician and that numbers were important to Him and can be found repeatedly holding significance in the Bible.  The number 3 stands for the Trinity and is suggested for different practices. The number 7 is looked at as a most sacred number in the Jewish Faith. The seventh day, the seventh year and seven cycles all hold importance. Revelations mentions seven a lot; seven seals, seven bowls, seven trumpets, etc. 

It was with this idea of the role numbers play in the Bible that I decided to intertwine numerology into the books that will be in the Cabin 9 Mysteries. It won't play a major role in the solving of mysteries but every once in a while...a number will come up. (See what I did there?)


To Find Out More About Numbers


You can dabble a little about numerology by reading my newest book, if you like. I would love that! I think you might enjoy meeting Taylor and Aunt Flossie and the rest of the characters. Did I mention that Aunt Flossie is also the resident spirit at the campgrounds? I didn't? Well, she is and she is pretty funny for a person who isn't on our side of the veil anymore. 

If you would like to delve more into the actual meaning of numbers and how they add up in your life, I recommend this book.



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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Seven Sisters Book Review

Historical Fiction of the Roman Empire

roman legion
Could this Roman legion be marching to the Seven Sisters?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I would like to share a review of the book Seven Sisters by David Bowman with you today. Most of the time when I pick a book to share with you, it is one that is typically written with the female reader in mind. Oh, a few would be appealing to both genders but generally my reading tastes lean toward my own gender. Today's review will be about a book that I think will appeal to most men.

Mr. Bowman has written a fine piece of historical fiction that takes place in the Roman Empire during the Ninth Century. The story falls into what is often termed as alternative history where actual history takes on a speculative nature allowing for people, places, and events to be in the plot that either didn't exist or didn't happen.



Short Synopsis of Seven Sisters

Crastus is the Commander of the Fifth Legion for the Emperor of Rome. He is a veteran of the Roman military and has earned a great deal of respect from the men he leads and fellow commanders of other legions in the vast military of the empire. He is affectionately referred to as "The Silver Fox" and is known for his superb strategies in battle and for his element of surprise when fighting the enemy. As the story begins, Crastus has been commanded by the Emperor to oversee a campaign involving his own legion along with the Seventh and the Seventeenth. Their mission? To take back the fortified city called Seven Sisters from The Pretender who has kept the empire in a civil war for the last 5 years. This city is the best fortified area in the entire empire, even better than Rome. It has seven fortresses and an ingenuous water defense system. It will be up to Crastus to direct all three legions as they besiege the fortified city and defeat what is left of the rebel army. The task before him will not be easy and if he fails, the Emperor will surely have his head. Will he be able to use the new weapons and his cunning to win the city back? At what cost?

My recommendation:


As I mentioned above this is a book that will appeal to many male readers. I'm not saying woman can't enjoy it; I actually did find it fascinating. There is no romance involved in the plot. It is strictly preparing for battles, strategy planning  and the battles themselves. Political schemes and corruption in the government are also revealed. The battle scenes aren't too horribly graphic but it doesn't take much to see in your mind's eye what is going on during the attacks. I thought the use of their "new weapons" was a fun piece to the story. A kind of using the latest technology of war only it is taking place in the Ninth Century. 

I can see where this wouldn't necessarily be a book that female readers would enjoy but I do think that it would be a very nice gift for your spouse or son to have to read. They are going to enjoy the regimen of the soldiers, the preparing for attacks and the way the men interact with each other. Actually, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was refreshing to read something that I normally wouldn't choose to read. 

So, why did I pick this book in the first place you might ask? Well, you know me; I am always looking for authors who haven't received much recognition from the reading public. David Bowman actually came to my attention in an unexpected way. I was looking for a designer to do book covers for me and found his website, Brightling Spur. David worked with me to come up with new covers for my Roni Rainer Mysteries and he has also helped me with the covers for my newest (soon to be released) series Cabin 9 Mysteries. When I discovered that he was not only a clever designer of book covers but also an author, I wanted to read his work. I wasn't disappointed in his covers or his writing.

In fact, Seven Sisters is the first book in a trilogy. He has also written Two Brothers which continues the story of Crastus and Rome and the final book is Imperator that concludes the story. I have read the first two completely and am about to finish the third book. If you are looking for a good gift to a male reader on your list, these books will not disappoint.




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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Selective Spells Book Review

Witches, Spells, Dogs & A Mystery

french-bulldog
Is this Beezley the man turned into a dog?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I'll be reviewing another Cozy Mystery for you today: Selective Spells by Willow Mason. It is Book 1 in the series Beezley and the Witch. It is also the debut novel of this fellow Indie Author.

The story is told in the first person by the main character. She is a witch living in a small town who has been excommunicated from her coven. Up until she got into trouble with the white witches in the area she was a librarian of sorts guarding boxes of spells that shouldn't be tampered with. Now, she has lost her job and her powers are diminished to a certain degree but not completely gone.

Losing her job and the support of the coven is bad enough but then the leader informs her that she is being evicted from her home, too. A witch has to eat and work in order to pay rent no matter where she lives. Searching for employment, she finds a notice for a job that requires the employee be a witch. She decides to look into the opportunity because she is still a witch she just isn't a part of the coven.

This is when she meets Beezley for the first time. He is in the form of a French Bulldog and will be her boss if he gives her the job. Humans wouldn't be able to understand Beezley's canine ramblings; it would just sound like barking, yipping and yapping. But since our narrator is a witch she understands everything he says. It turns out that he was once a Detective on the police force but has been turned into a dog. He is working on the same case that he had when he was in his human form but has trouble with little things like communicating with non-witches, texting on his phone, and using the computer. 

The two don't exactly hit it off in the first interview and our Witch is not interested in the job until she finds out about her eviction. She goes back to take the job and ask to live with the dog detective. They begin to work on the mystery of deaths that are marked as accidents but Beezley's instincts think there is something more to the whole sorted mess. We travel through the pages of spells, deception, betrayal and surprises as the readers.


Recommendation of Selective Spells

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to anyone who loves the genre. It was unique in the concept of the plot. The characters were both humorous and believable. Well, as believable as one can be if they are a witch and a man turned into a dog. That is the wonderful thing about fiction! The characters can be anything and anywhere. 

I enjoyed the story being told in the first person instead of the more standard third person. Being an author, myself, I know that is a little more difficult to write. Our little witch is allowed to have her snarky thoughts and we see her vulnerability better from her perspective. 

This book was extremely fun to read and to work through the clues of the mystery. Well, done Ms. Mason! I look forward to your future books. I think many of you will enjoy Selective Spells, also. The plot flows nicely, the premise is original and the reading is light and cozy just like it is supposed to be.



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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Murder in Helvetica Bold Book Review

Thistlewood Star Cozy Mystery Series

newspaper printing machine

Helvetica Bold might be found in these print blocks
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Late last week, I finished A Murder in Helvetica Bold. Today, I'll be offering you a review of the first book in this Cozy Mystery Series written by Jessa Archer another Indie Author.

The series is called Thistlewood Star Mysteries and currently has three books published. Each title includes a different typeface from the old fashioned way of printing a newspaper. Of course with the advent of computers those old machines aren't used any longer and we don't refer to them as typeface but fonts. Still, the typeface or font titles intrigued my curiosity. 

They mystery in book one takes place in a small town in Tennessee. Ruth Townsend has moved back to her hometown after her marriage ended abruptly. As a young girl she worked for the local newspaper and learned the art of producing a newspaper with an old printing press. Her former boss and the owner of the Thistlewood Star passed away several years ago and the newspaper office sat neglected. Ruth buys the building and the paper in hopes of reviving the little paper. Currently it has about 12 subscribers but Ruth wants to change that.

While visiting her best friend, Wren, for lunch one day they hear a scream from outside. A elderly neighbor has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home. Ruth and Wren can tell by the position of the body and the look of surprise on Edith Morton's face that it most likely was not an accidental fall. 

Ruth had been a reporter for a newspaper in Nashville before returning home to Thistlewood and Wren is the town's only mortician. Both women have experience with dead bodies and this one doesn't look right to either of them. How will they be able to convince the local sheriff that it wasn't an accident? He does seem inclined to just brush it aside and close the case.


My Recommendation for A Murder in Helvetica Bold


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the other books in the series. The characters were interesting and diverse. The plot flowed nicely and there were a few twists along the way. I'll give a little spoiler that won't tell you anything about the solving of the mystery. The use of the typeface names is really kind of clever on the author's part. The tradition of the newspaper's former owner was to do each obituary in a different lettering. He kept records of each one used in the past. Ruth uses Helvetica Bold for Edith Morton's to keep up the tradition. 

There were some funny scenes in the book and a little suspense. Overall, I loved the book and think you will, too. I did see a review that I found interesting. The reviewer had taken offense in the author's descriptions of some of the older characters. The reviewer called it a case of ageism. Being a not so very young chicken myself, I wasn't insulted. I thought her observations of senior citizens was sometimes amusing and also realistic but not insulting. Anyway, I loved the premise and the book. It is well written and kept my interest until the end. The author also surprised me as to who "did it". If you love Cozy Mysteries, I think you will enjoy this book.




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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dorm Storage Bins Reviewed

Maximize Storage In The Dorm

dorm clutter
Dorm Space Is Limited
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of dorm storage bins might come in handy for many as the time for young adults to go off to college approaches. The students who are required to live in a dorm room or opt to continue dorm life will quickly find that storage space is at a minimum.

Small spaces shared with at least one more inhabitant can become crowded and cramped very quickly. The old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" applies particularly well in a college dorm room. For freshmen students, this will be the first time living away from home. Mom or Dad won't be around to pick up after them. If there is a mess, it will be up to them to clear the clutter they created. 

A great solution is to provide your college student with the option of storing much of their necessaries in storage bins. Of course, we need to understand that they may promise to use them but may not for a while. It might take some time for them to tire of tripping over things left on the floor to see the beauty of those bins you so lovingly provided. A few or maybe many times of not being able to find something they need might be the catalyst for them to use those bins. Well, at least, we can hope! Another adage comes to mind, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Some will embrace the concept while others will forever wait for someone else to clean up the mess. At least they will have the option if the storage bins are there waiting for them.

A collection of different sized containers in a dorm room can be so very handy. They can be placed under beds, stacked on the floor, placed on shelving units, or just about anywhere to conserve space and add to the storage dilemma. We as parents and grandparents know the value of having containers to help prevent clutter so we can gently remind out young adults of the value as they leave on the adventure of living away from home.

One option that I found appealing was a collection providing medium, large and jumbo sizes. The fabric is a durable bamboo blend and comes in either a gray and brown color or a dark taupe. Nothing flashy just colors that will blend-in nicely. There is also a sturdy rope handle that will allow for easy moving if heavy items are placed inside. 

What do you think? Would the college student in your life benefit from a storage solution like this for their dorm room?




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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Embers Book One Ascension Saga Reviewed

Ascension Saga Epic Fantasy

embers review


Enter a fantasy world in Embers Book 1 of a Saga
image courtesy of pixabay.com
If you are a fan of High and Epic Fantasies, I think you will be interested in my review of Embers the first book in the Ascension Saga by Brock Mays. Once you have read his book, I think you will be surprised that it is his debut novel. He writes like a master! Brock is also an Indie author like myself.

Labeled as an Epic Fantasy as far as genre goes it fits the definition quite nicely. The world that Mr. Mays has created is fantastic and the story he unravels is really one you can get lost in. I had a difficult time putting it down once I began to read it. 

His characters are well thought out and quite interesting. There are good people and bad people and some that you aren't always so sure about. Mr. Mays keeps you on your toes as you discover their abilities, their secrets and their agendas.

Summary of Embers:

Aleksander finds himself waking up in a world that is on fire and filled with chaotic fighting. His comprehension of the reason for the raging battle is not his problem. What he is confused about is Who he is. His past and where he is from is a blank. He assumes that his name must be Aleksander for one simple reason; the name has been freshly carved into his arm. He is also surprised to find out that he seems to have the ability to create fire from his hands. Is he the one who caused the world to be on fire? Which side of the war between Talohira and Thanatanos is he on?

He and a warrior named Shanthah are captured along with others by a race known as the Sangorans. These creatures appear to be human except that they are winged and are particularly adept at flying at night. Aleksander and the captives are quickly taken to a Talohiran slave camp to build a wall. The camp is full of different people from different parts of the region with many trying to figure out the best way to escape their captivity. 

The intricate plot takes the reader on a journey in a fight between good and evil. Sometimes you wonder which side is which on the good and evil scale. It is filled with action, a little romance, suspense, and a few interesting twists! Toward the end, I actually had an "I'll be darned" moment. Clever, Mr. Mays; very clever!

Gave it 5 stars

I rated this epic fantasy with 5 stars because I truly enjoyed reading Brock May's first novel Embers. I think you will, too if you enjoy Epic Fantasy that is well written. I know one thing, I can hardly wait for book two in the Ascension Saga!




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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spiral Notebooks Reviewed

Keyboard or Spiral Notebook?

writing notebook
Spiral notebooks come in handy for an author
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Spiral notebooks are not just for students attending school. Let me review how this author uses them on a daily basis. 

When writing a manuscript, I use my laptop keyboard for the bulk of the work. I guess that is probably a no brainer. Although, I do know authors who write it all out in long-hand before they type it up for submission or publication. Honestly, for me that would never work. When the story is flowing, my hand wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain if I were writing it down with a pen or pencil. I might be able to scribble it out but it would just that...scribbles that I would not be able to read later.

What I use my spiral notebooks for

While working on a book, I write down a copious amount of notes. I'll be honest, sometimes those are done on scrap pieces of paper, especially if I am researching something that won't be a recurring piece of a series of books. For instance, in the 4th book of my Roni Rainer mystery series I needed to be sure I understood how an APB (all points bulletin) worked. My notes about that were on scrap paper because the information would be disposable after I finished that particular book. Funny thing happened on the way to writing the story, I found out that not many law agencies use that term any longer. The acronym BOLO (be on the look-out) is more commonly used today. (Good to know.) Obviously, being a stickler to details I used BOLO in the book, but I digress.

My spiral notebooks are used for things that will show up many times in a series. You know, like characters, buildings, towns, and things like that. So, I have a notebook dedicated to those little tidbits. Each character has a section reminding me of their full name and nickname. Their date of birth, physical attributes, personality traits, and any relationships they might be in. Trust me that comes in real handy for characters that just pop-in and out of the books! 

Places have a special section, too. What State does the story take place in? What county? The town and neighboring towns need to be recorded. What are the street names? Which streets intersect with each other?  I wouldn't want to say that Roni's shop is on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Street in one place and then later say it was 3rd Street or even something entirely different. I guess that I could but as a reader those sorts of things drive me up a wall. 

I even have a section for buildings in my spiral notebooks. Yep, I need to be able to look back and see how I described a building once in a while. If I have described Roni's business building as two-story and then have someone go to the third floor, people are going to pick-up on that. At least, I would as a reader.


The devil is in the details


Nothing bugs me more as a reader than the author not being consistent. If an author has told me that a character has blonde hair and blue eyes and then later someone looks into her green eyes; that really gets my blood boiling. So, I pay attention to details as I write and the most efficient way for me to accomplish that is with notebooks. If it might come up again, it gets recorded for me to refer back to. Sure, I could create a file but it is actually faster to look in the notebook. At least for me it is. 

Now, that I have begun a new series of cozy mysteries I need more notebooks! The series will be called Cabin 9 Mysteries. The same pieces of information will be kept in a notebook for those stories, too. It is the only way I can keep it all straight. I'll need to remember that these characters are not in the fictional county of Butler, Indiana where Roni lives. No, they will be in the fictional county of Fairburn, Indiana. The spiral notebooks will help me keep it all consistent. Want a little hint about this new series? Taylor, the main character, can see and talk to dead people! Her great-aunt Magdalene is a hoot and also a spirit who doesn't want to leave Cabin 9. Stay tuned for more details!

As a side note, there is a reason that my fictional towns are in Indiana. I grew up here. I know the terrain, the climate, the flora and fauna, the local phrases, laws, and foods. I can portray it more realistically for my readers. Have you ever read a book that you could tell the author had never ever been in the place they have as their setting?  I've recently read two of them! Why would you write a story that takes place in a country you have never been to? If you are going to attempt that feat, at least do a whole lot of research about the area. Please! It annoys your readers if you get it wrong!

Anyway, I think you get my point on the need for spiral notebooks as an author. Do you use them for something different? I have found them a great thing to have extras of when the grandchildren visit. We can draw together, we can practice our math, we can practice our letters and sometimes we write a story together. We NEVER do those things in Grandma's "special" notebooks. Not ever!




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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pet Memorial Stone Reviewed

A Pet Memorial

pet memory
Memorial to a beloved pet
image courtesy of pixabay.com
With a heart that is broken, I have been reviewing my options for a pet memorial stone. This past Sunday on Father's Day at 5:15 pm I watched my sweet little Chessie take her last breath on this side of the Rainbow Bridge. As difficult as it was, I am thankful to have been by her side in those last moments.

Chessie chose us, literally, about 16 years ago. She was part of a litter belonging to a neighborhood cat who had a habit of bringing her babies around to meet the neighbors. The very first time that Mama Cat brought this litter to meet us, the only little gray tabby came right up to me. The other kittens seemed leery of these creatures who only had two legs but not the little gray one. She ran to my feet, stretched her little paws up on my leg and mewed the sweetest little mew her little body could muster. Scooping her up, I petted while she purred softly. 

We gave Mama some fresh water and some cat food because she seemed pretty hungry. Mama kept a watchful eye on her babies as they played except for the little gray one who was in my arms. After filling her belly Mama began to walk down the drive calling to her babies to follow. I sat the little one down and told her to go with her mother. She ran to catch up and then stopped turned, looked at me, mewed and then followed her siblings.

The second visit (a few days later) was much the same except that when Mama Cat signaled it was time to leave, the little gray tabby did not follow. Mama had to carry her down the drive by the scruff of her neck. The kittens were still small enough that I believe they were still nursing. None of them tried to drink the water or eat the food we put out. I think that is why Mama insisted all of her babies come with her, including the reluctant one.

Third Visit: Pet Humans

The third visit was probably at least a week or more later. It was amazing how much the kittens had grown in that short span of time. On this visit the kittens knew how to gobble the food and drink the water. Mama had been teaching them well, it seemed. Mama was sated and gave the signal for her babies to gather. Three kittens ran to their mother while the gray one ran to our porch. She wasn't leaving. Mama Cat came closer and her reluctant baby ran underneath our car. When Mama went under the car, the kitten ran to the porch again. Mama finally gave up, walking away with her other three babies. My husband and I had been chosen to be the adorable little gray kitten's pet humans. It was abundantly clear, we did not have a choice in the matter. We belonged to her.

We named her Chessie because she looked so much like the sweet little mascot of the Chesapeake Railroad advertisements from days gone by. She spent the next 16 years training us to give her what she wanted when she wanted it. Terry learned her signal that she expected a treat and I learned what foods she preferred and which ones did not agree with her taste buds. She also trained me to keep my lap empty in the evenings because that was cuddle time. If I didn't give the required amount of strokes to her fur or enough scratches behind the ears, she let me know. 

Chessie was a two human cat. She didn't much care for other humans coming to visit. There were specific places to hide until the coast was clear and then she would snub me for a little while to let me know that she was not pleased. She had a particular meow at those times to let me know of her displeasure. Of course at cuddle time, extra strokes and scratches were required to make up for the injustice she had endured.

When the last day comes

On Sunday, she wasn't herself in the morning. She might have had a small stroke but I didn't suspect that at first. A few hours later, I was certain that she had suffered a massive stroke. She wasn't moving her legs, it was obvious she couldn't see anymore. She was breathing and her heart was beating but I knew she was leaving us. So, I held her. For a while she could still purr at my touch. At 5:15 the last air left her lungs and my precious girl crossed over the rainbow bridge. 

I don't believe that she suffered any pain; there was no indication that she was suffering. If she was a human she would have been 84 years old. She led a happy and long life with the two humans she adopted. She was loved and she knew it. My lap feels so empty!

So, I found a pet memorial stone to place in the spot where she liked to lay in the sun. I can see her curled up in the center of the heart.

You might have left my life, sweet Chessie, but you will forever be in my heart.





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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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