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

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fabric Pots Reviewed

Gardening In Fabric Pots

garden vegetables
Could these grow in a cloth container?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Do you have a garden? Have you considered growing in fabric pots? Let's review the possibilities. 

I am familiar with the concept of container gardening and have tried it a few times over the years. Until recently, I was not aware that another option is to grow my vegetables, herbs or flowers in a fabric pot. Now, that sounds interesting!

The advantage to using a cloth container is that it allows for better aeration for the roots and better drainage, too. From what I glean from the description of the brand that I am interested in using; transplanting from them allows for a better chance of the plant not going into shock. I am thinking it might work well for starting a small tree to be planted elsewhere when it gets some height to it. 

I love that there are so many options for sizes to grow in, too. A fabric pot can be as small as one gallon or as large as 100 gallons. (Now that is a huge bag!) Personally, I am drawn to the 7 gallon size because I think it offers some real versatility. It also seems to be a very popular size with other gardeners, too. The pots made from cloth would also fit in places that a standard pot or container might not. They won't be as heavy to move, either. 

The possibility of using these little fabric pots over and over again appeals to me. When the growing season is over they can be laundered and saved for the next batch of gardening. Granted, we can do the same thing with clay, resin and plastic pots but the bags would take up much less storage space when not being used. Storage can be a problem for most of us especially the urban gardeners who need to grow their items on a small patio or balcony. 

How about you? Did you know that fabric pots were even an option? Would you be willing to try them out? I am going to give them a try.




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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Kitty Confidential Book Review

What If You Could Talk To The Kitty?

kitty eyes
Confidential conversations with a pampered cat
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I will be reviewing the book Kitty Confidential with you this morning. It is book one in the Pet Whisperer P.I. series by Molly Fitz. The series falls into the Cozy Mystery sub-genre of Mystery fiction and is a delightful addition to the other "cozies" in the world of books.

Angie Russo finds herself working as a paralegal in a local law firm after earning seven different associate degrees in college. She would just as soon go for another degree but her grandmother has insisted that it is past time for her to find her true calling in life. Little did either of them know what that "calling" would turn out to be.

Accidental Sleuth Meets A Spoiled Cat

Angie awakes from a near death experience in the law office of Fulton, Thompson and Associates. She was supposed to be making coffee for the people who have come to hear the reading of a will. Instead she finds herself flat on the floor with a large cat sitting on her chest. Octavius Maxwell Ricardo Edmund Frederick Fulton, said cat, is telling her that his late owner did not die of natural causes. The thing is, Angie understands what the cat is saying to her. None of the others gathered around her seem to be able to communicate with this pushy kitty. So, why can Angie suddenly understand everything he speaks?

Octo-cat, as Angie nicknames him, has led a pampered life in a huge home. He isn't too excited to stay in Angie's humble abode but he needs her help in solving the murder of his beloved Mrs. Fulton. He insists on only drinking expensive bottled water and his meals must be of a certain canned variety. He is moody, sarcastic and suddenly a very wealthy cat. 

Molly Fitz is the pen name for the author Melissa Storm. Writing under the different moniker, Ms. Storm has created a fun little series involving an interesting cast of characters. Any human who is owned by a cat can most likely relate to Angie being pushed around by a cat with an attitude. Well, except for the part of actually understanding what those mews mean. We are pretty sure what our kitty cat is trying to tell us but Angie can speak "cat". 

This was an entertaining little read that I think most of you will enjoy, especially if you share your life with a feline companion. The mystery has some nice little twists and turns while the characters are enjoyable to follow throughout the plot. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series; I think you will, too.





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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Birthday Mystery Reviewed

Cooking For A Birthday Can Be Deadly

birthday mystery
Mystery at a birthday party
Last night, I finished reading The Birthday Mystery by Faith Martin. I would like to offer my review to you this morning.

This book is the first in a newer series by the author known for her DI Hillary Greene series that spans back some thirty years or so. Ms. Martin does not disappoint with her new concept for a good old fashioned whodunit. 

Our sleuth in The Birthday Mystery is Jenny Starling. Jenny travels around the British countryside cooking for different clients. She has been hired to cook the dinner and birthday cakes for a party being given for Justin and Alicia, an upper-class set of twins who will turn 21 in a few days. As she arrives at the home of the twin's parents, something is already amiss. A body has been found in the pond on the residence. Jenny really does not want to get involved and plans to start preparing the plans for the meal and cakes. 

As reluctant as she is, Jenny can't help but overhear conversations that make her curious as to what is really going on in this home. The resident staff do not take well to her being there and give her a hard time whenever they can. She feels there is something off with the family dynamics but can't quite put her finger on it. Justin the birthday boy is a bit pompous and yet she can't help but like him in an odd sort of way. Alicia is beautiful but spoiled and demanding. 

I found this to be a fun reading experience with plenty of twists to the plot. The concept of a traveling cook was interesting and Jenny's sleuthing skills were impressive. The characters were well thought out and the mystery flowed along nicely. It reminded me a bit of the style of Agatha Christie and her Miss Marple which was enjoyable. 

I highly recommend The Birthday Mystery to those of you who enjoy a good old fashioned murder mystery that is not predictable at to "whodunit". To find out who dies at the birthday celebration and more importantly who caused the death, you will have to read the book. I do not think you will be disappointed. 




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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Secrets In a Bottle Cozy Mystery Review

Delightfully Quirky Cozy Mystery

great dane
Great Dane A Cozy Pet In Secrets In A Bottle
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I had the pleasure of reading Secrets In A Bottle the other day and wanted to give it a review today. Written by independent author, Shelly West this Cozy Mystery is her debut novel and the first book in the Whodunit Antiques series. 

Abigail Lane lives in Boston with her Great Dane, Thor. She despises her job but can't afford to quit. One morning her mother calls with a cryptic message telling her that her Grandmother is in the hospital and Abigail needs to go deal with it. 

Cramming her large dog into her VW, Abigail drives to the seaside town of Wallace Point to meet the grandmother she has never known. Her mother has refused to tell her anything about her family over the years. Abigail hopes her grandmother will live long enough for her to finally meet her and hopefully find out why they have been kept apart for so many years. 

Arriving at the hospital, Abigail finds her grandmother in a coma. Many of the townspeople are surprised to learn that Mrs. Lane has a grandchild. Abigail is taken to her grandmother's antique shop Whodunit Antiques to stay and help run the business while her grandmother recovers. Apparently her grandmother had tripped over a dead body that seems to be missing now. As the story progresses Abigail also hears of the history of the quaint little town and a long feud between a whaling family and a family of pirates. 

Do you want to find out more? Well, then run on over and grab your copy of this engagingly fun cozy mystery! Ms. West has created a wonderful little town filled with interesting residents for you to get to know. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and look forward to reading the second book in the series, soon. I think you will enjoy this book especially if you are a fan of cozy mysteries like I am.



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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Dawning Voyager Chronicles Book Review

Book One In Fantasy Fiction Series

elaria of the dawning
Maybe Elaria of The Dawning might look like this
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I would like to share another book review with you today. The Dawning is book one in the Voyager Chronicles, Prophecy Series. Written by Julie Embleton, a fellow Indie author, this story falls into the Fantasy Fiction genre and in the sub-genre of Sword and Sorcery. 

As a fan of many of the Fantasy Fiction authors, I was thrilled to find the work of Ms. Embleton to begin reading. She has done a marvelous job of creating a unique world for her story to take place in. I admire the people who can build a different world to tell a story in! Julie Embleton did not disappoint.

The world where Elaria lives is divided into nine realms. Well, actually there are ten but no one wants to talk about that tenth one; it's a bad 'un! It is possible to travel between these realms but not in a way that we are accustomed to. One would have to be Adorned in order to travel and he or she would also need to know where a gate was and have the Gatekeeper let them through the portal. The Adorned are people who either have some sort of magical gift or practice magic in some way. These people with the magic running through them would rather the Unadorned not be aware of their abilities. It isn't looked upon favorably. You will have to read the book to find out why.

A little about Elaria in The Dawning

Over a century ago, a prophecy was made. The Marked One was to be born. This child would be a ruler and would have unique and special Adorned gifts. Solomon, a sorcerer, is to teach this child, guide it, protect it and prepare it. He waits one hundred years or so for the signs that the Marked One has arrived.

Solomon is summoned to the realm where Lynan Castle sits to check on the newborn daughter of the King and Queen. Hidden away, the little Princess has the sovereign couple concerned. Entering the nursery, Solomon witnesses the beautiful baby spinning an object in mid-air and giggling as she does. Little Elaria is showing signs of magical power as an infant of only a few months old. Checking her for the mark, Solomon realizes he will be with this special child for a long time.

As Elaria grows and gets close to her 18th birthday, more of her gifts are revealed. Most of the story takes place around the approaching birthday and her becoming a co-ruler with her father, the King. You know me, I am not a fan of spoilers so I won't go much further in my synopsis. Suffice it to say, Elaria is a very interesting character who I think you will enjoy following as the story unfolds.

The Realms Are Different

Before Solomon goes to Lynan Castle he is in a realm that feels like modern day. Elaria lives in a realm that has more of a medieval feel to it. Modern conveniences do not exist in her realm. Travel is by horse and carriage, guards protect with swords, heat comes from a fireplace. You get the picture.

An Awesome Fantasy Read

I highly recommend The Dawning by Julie Embleton to all of you fantasy fiction fans out there! It was a wonderful book with engaging characters and the plot flows well. I am looking forward to reading book two in the series. I think that I heard that book three will be released later this year. Give this Indie Author a chance, I am certain that you will not be disappointed! 




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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My Real Name Is Hanna Book Review

Historical Fiction Aimed At A Young Adult Audience


pysanky eggs
Pysanky Eggs play a roll in My Real Name Is Hanna
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
Let me share a book review with you today for My Real Name Is Hanna. I have always loved to read historical fiction. There is something intriguing about an author taking a specific time in history and envisioning a story of what it might have been like for characters in that era. 

When I sat down to begin reading this book, I thought that I would read a chapter or two and then set it aside to continue later or even the next day. That is typically how I read books. So, I read the first couple of chapters and thought, "Well, maybe a few more and then I'll quit for the day." I did take a short break to get some household chores completed but the book was nagging at me to come back. Long story short, I ended up reading the entire book by day's end. 

Captivating Story Not easy to put down

The story is about a young girl named Hanna. Her family is Jewish and had fled from Russia after the pogroms and what was referred to as the Hunger War. Her mother and father have settled in an area of Ukraine that was sometimes under Polish rule and sometimes under Russian rule. At the beginning of Hanna's story we learn about a time when the Russians have taken over. Stalin has required that all Polish allegiances be stopped. Flags are changed from the red and white of Poland to the red flag with the crescent moon and star of Russia. School subjects are now taught in the Russian language. News is controlled by Stalin along with the ability to worship or practice local customs. Life is changing and not for the better.

Rumors begin to circulate around the small town where Hanna lives. People begin to disappear. Quiet conversations are heard about a man named Hitler sending his armies to fight with the Russians for control of Poland. Some think this German might be better than Stalin, others aren't so sure. Neighbors begin to turn against neighbors, especially when the German soldiers come. 

A Story of Survival: My Real Name is Hanna

The author, Tara Lynn Masih, gives us a story of one family's survival during this horrible time in world history. Her fictional account is based on a real family who found the courage and strength to keep clear of the worst of the Holocaust. Hanna and her family were able to escape being taken to the ghettos and the work camps. They were able to keep from falling into a trench after being shot. What they endured to stay alive is a remarkable story! You need to read the book to find out how and for how long their lives were hanging in an unstable imbalance.

One of the things that I loved about this book is that it is written with the teen and young adult reader in mind. Although, some atrocities are mentioned the very worst are only hinted at. A young person can get the feeling of the awful inhumanity that can be inflicted in a way that is less repulsive than what really occurred in Europe. It might help them to understand history a little better and make them curious to delve into it more. 

I want to stress how this is not a depressing book. Certainly, you can't help but feel disgusted and appalled at what happened in WWII. It is a story of hope. A story of love and family; it is a story of people helping people even when it means their own lives are at risk. Read the book to find out what role the Pysanky eggs play in Hanna's life. I thought it was a fascinating addition to the overall story and I learned more about those lovely decorated eggs.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this book to you. I sincerely believe you will be glad you read it.




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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Summer Between Reviewed

Sometimes A Book Touches Your Soul

summer scene
Summer scene image courtesy of pixabay.com
A few days ago I finished reading The Summer Between by Amanda Linton. I wanted to share my review of it with you today. Amanda is pretty new to the YA genre of books. In fact, I believe this book may be her first. It doesn't read like a first book, though. 

I had put her book on my TBR (to be read) list after getting to know her in a group that I belong to on Instagram. Her book cover and the line on the cover grabbed my attention. The line reads "I'll see you at the line where the waves meet the clouds." That made me want to find out more about the story.

I think that many will relate with Cleo Porter the 17 year old main character in the book. As she enters into her senior year of high school, she hides behind her camera. She snaps glimpses of the world that she doesn't feel like she belongs in. Her relationship with her mother, touched me greatly because it was more than the usual teenage girl/mother strained existence so many experience. This went deeper and I knew it because I had a similar relationship with my mother. Always hoping for acceptance and never quite getting it. A very believable and touching part of Cleo's story.

Bebe Blattner comes bursting into Cleo's life as a new student at school. Bebe is loud, she is too tall and she lives each day as an adventure. Cleo has known Bebe since they were small because they went to the same church but never attended the same school until now. Bebe makes friends with everyone, the popular kids, the less popular and the ones in between. Cleo struggles with keeping the few friends that she has. They are just about as opposite as two girls can be.

This is a story of coming of age, of finding who you are and the bond of friendship. It is a story about family; the one that shares our DNA and the family we choose as our friends. The future may look bright but often fate walks into your life in a way that might break you. This is a story of one girl working through the pain of loss to try to become whole again. Will she be able to?

I absolutely loved this book! It touched me in so many ways and I look forward to Amanda's future works. She is an incredible writer weaving a believable story on each page. Even though this is considered a Young Adult book, I think that most woman will fall in love with the characters and the story. In many ways, we have all lived at least parts of it. Take a chance and give this new author the recognition that she deserves. You won't regret it!




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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Angels of the Arch Book One Reviewed

When Angels Are Among Us 

Archangel Gabriel image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of the book Angels of the Arch: The Unwanted Gift is what I will be sharing with you today. It is a relatively new book published about one year ago and is written by Lion Key who is probably a new name to you as an author. 

Gabrielle Crowe is a 15 year old girl living in Alaska surrounded by the Unnoticed who inhabit the planet Earth. Her life seems pretty typical of a teenager; she feels the angst of her age like any other young person. She loves her friends even though they annoy her often. Her grumpy Grandmother has raised her since she was an infant. Gabrielle is a normal teenager or is she?

Strange things begin to happen to Gabrielle that she finds difficult to explain or even talk about with her best friend Amy. Leo, a new boy in her school, befriends her before he eventually takes her to a different world or dimension. It is revealed to her that she has been given a gift; she is to be the new Archangel of Water. There is a price to pay if she accepts the new responsibility, though. Gabrielle feels the price is too high for her; she doesn't want the gift, not at that cost. What happens if she doesn't take it?

The regular readers of Review This know that I do not like to give away too many spoilers in any of the books that I review. I will tell you this; if you read this wonderful book you will find out who the unnoticed are, who inhabits the dimension or world where she is taken and what the cost to Gabrielle is if she accepts her new position. Does she or doesn't she accept the responsibility?

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book by Lion Key. He has done a really good job of portraying a contemporary teenage girl; making her believable throughout the story. I loved the tiny bit of mystery along with the action scenes that occur in Alaska and the place where Leo takes her. The paranormal abilities of some of the characters were pretty neat, too. Overall it was a very good book and I look forward to the next one...I want to find out what happens next with Gabrielle!

If I were to find any fault at all in the book it would be that I couldn't figure out what season of the year the story takes place. I found it confusing during a few of the descriptive scenes of Gabrielle's surroundings. For me, it was a minor distraction and did not take away from the story that unfolded. It really is a very good story that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

Lion Key also works to support Independent Authors (like myself) with a team of others at Indie Author Central. It is a growing network of authors, artists, editors who support and promote each others work in a fun and exciting way to remind the world that #indiesareworthit. 

So, bottom line, I recommend this book as one to read if you like YA (young adult) type stories with paranormal fantasy mixed in. I sincerely do not think that you will be disappointed; I was not.



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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre-Dame de Paris Reflections

Mourning The Loss Of History

notre-dame de paris
Notre-Dame de Paris image courtesy of pixabay.com
Today I will be reviewing some history of Notre-Dame de Paris with you. The world watched in horror and shock yesterday, 04/15/2019, as this beautiful historical landmark of Paris burned. Whether you are a member of the Catholic Church or not, the loss of this beautiful cathedral that had survived wars and rebellions for over 800 years was devastating to see. This icon of the city of Paris and the country of France will never be the same. 

Our Lady Of Paris, the English translation of Notre-Dame de Paris, was commissioned to be built in 1160 by Bishop Maurice de Sully. He would never see his dream fulfilled of the French Gothic structure because it took almost 200 years for the church to be completed. It does not appear that the Bishop randomly chose a site for the cathedral to be constructed. He must have felt that there was something sacred about the land, at least I feel that way. A religious structure of one kind or another had been on that piece of ground since the days of the Roman Empire. A Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter was the first known structure. Four churches would eventually replace the temple before Notre-Dame began to be built. A 4th Century basilica dedicated to Saint Stephen was the first. In the 7th Century the basilica was replaced with a cathedral for Childebert I who I happen to be a descendant of. Two renovations of the Romanesque style churches followed. The Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, opted to demolish the existing building but did recycle many of the materials for what would become the most popular tourist attraction of France and the city of Paris.

As I watched the soaring red flames lighting the sky of Paris yesterday, one of the factoids by a reporter caught my attention. Something like 52 acres of wood had been used to construct the portion of Notre Dame that burned. It was often referred to as The Forest. No wonder it seemed to be consumed by fire so quickly! The timber had been drying for over 800 years. 

You might have assumed as I had that this historical cathedral belongs to the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The statement of President Macron that Notre-Dame de Paris would be re-built baffled me at first. Why would he be so committed to re-building when the French Government feels so strongly about the separation of church and state? Wouldn't it be up to the Pope to decide on what to do? Well, a little searching on my part revealed the answer. A law in 1905 made the famous cathedral the property of the French state. The Catholic Church is the designated beneficiary with the exclusive right to use the building for religious purposes. The paying of employees, the maintenance of the building, the utilities, security and other expenses are the responsibility of the Archdiocese. The Catholic Church does not receive any subsidies from the French Government. I found that fascinating to say the least.

If you would like to find out more about the history and architecture of the cathedral, there is a wonderful book that you can purchase. 

 They may be able to build a new structure but it can never be what stood before. There are not artisans today like the ones who built the original. The amazing craftsmanship of the past would be very difficult to replicate. 



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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Best Ever Backyard Birding Tips Reviewed

Want more birds in your backyard?

backyard jay
Backyard Blue-jay image courtesy of pixabay.com
When I first retired one of my first goals was to attract more birds to my backyard. I purchased the book Best-Ever Backyard Birding Tips to help me in that process. I would like to review it for you today.

The book is written by Deborah L. Martin who specializes in gardening and nature topics. I particularly like her easy to understand writing style. She filled 339 pages with tips and illustrations of tips to attract more birds. An additional 17 pages are dedicated to resource pages, an index and a hardiness map. 

One of the tips that I found interesting pertained to water for birds. Now, I knew that birds like a birdbath to drink from and wash their little bodies in but I didn't know about mud puddles. Have you ever noticed after a significant rainfall that leaves puddles and mud in the yard that there are more birds? I always thought they were foraging for worms in the softer ground. Well, that might be but they are also eating the mud. Birds need certain minerals in their diet which they find in the mud. 

Have you ever been tempted to try to knock a wasp nest out of a tree? I am not that brave because I don't want to get stung! I found in the book that it is better to leave it alone and not just because of the stinging factor. If you look closely around that wasp nest, you might just see a bird's nest too. Those stinging insects are actually help to defend against predators that might try to get into a nest with baby birds in it. Now, isn't that cool? 

Did you know that you can place pieces of fruit in your backyard to attract birds? Many varieties of our winged friends love fruit. Try it with a piece of melon or a ripe peach and sit back and observe which birds swoop in for a treat. Butterflies will flutter in, too.

There are 11 chapters covering all sorts of tips on backyard birding. The last chapter even covers some of those lesser appreciated guests that will come to your feeders and yards. Some bird species are more pests than they are welcomed guests and this chapter gives tips about how to deal with them. It also talks about squirrels that although some may think are cute will rob more than their fair share of the food you want the birds to enjoy. Raccoons and other wildlife might also visit, the author gives suggestions on how to let them know that they aren't really on your guest list.

I have learned a lot from the book and still refer to it once in a while. If you love birding in your backyard, I think that you will find it helpful, too.



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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Writing Roni Rainer Mysteries

Reflections From The Author

writing mysteries
It starts with a blank page (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I thought that a review of my journey writing the Roni Rainer Mysteries might be a little interesting to those of you thinking about writing your own novel. Those of you who do not have that desire but enjoy reading the works of other authors might like some insight into what it takes to provide those books for you.

Before we start with a blank page like the one on the left, there has to be an idea in our mind. From the time I was a little girl, I have wanted to write novels. Several times over the years, I started different stories but it took me decades before I finally reached the point where everything began to fit. I would get so far with the early ones and then give up. I just couldn't make it all flow. It wasn't until Veronica (Roni to her friends) popped into my head one day as clear as if she were standing in front of me that I was able to write that first book. I introduced her in Death Takes A Spin. Oddly, many of those early book ideas have worked their way into each of the three completed novels and also in book four of the series that I am writing now.

Okay, so I had my protagonist but there were other things to consider before the first book could be written. What genre would her story belong in? Where does she live? Who are her friends? Since mysteries have always been my favorite, the genre was a no brainer for me. Thinking that I might struggle with detailed murder scenes, I opted for the lighter Cozy Mystery sub-genre of Mysteries. Roni could be a sleuth but she wouldn't have to be professional to solve the mystery. I decided early on that I wanted her to be very amateur in her methods. An accidental sleuth, if you will. It isn't so much that she is driven to solve the crime or that she thinks that she can do a better job than the police. Her desire comes more from her empathy and compassion for those affected by the crime. She doesn't want to be a Miss Marple, Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher. Roni sort of stumbles upon information that she can then share with the real investigators. 

The next question in my mind was where does she live. I have always heard that a writer should write what they know. Having grown up in a small town and lived in other small towns, I know that life the best. I also, knew that if I put her in a town that really exists I would have to make sure to be accurate with every location in the story. Using a fictional town allowed more leeway. I can create the locations, businesses and people in any way that I want. So, Roni lives in the fictional town of Beaver Falls in the fictional county of Butler in the very real state of Indiana. 

Who populates the town of Beaver Falls with Roni? A very diverse group of people because that is what we find no matter whether we live in a small town or a large city. I've tried really hard to create a cast of characters that come from all walks of life. In book one, readers meet a few of her friends, family and neighbors. Most of them continue in book two, Illegal Harvest with a few new additions. Some play a larger role than others while some just sort of pop in and out from time to time. I've grown to love these characters as I hope my readers have. One person said to me after reading book one, "Please don't kill off any of them!" I promise that I don't intend to at least not any of the favorites. 

Each book in the series continues to reveal more of each character, not just Roni. Book three, The Puzzle of Talking Rock brings back the favorites with a little more about them along with a couple of new people that have joined the growing cast of characters. These new people are just too much fun to include and keep weaving their way into the books. As I write book four, I have some people who may or may not come back. Perhaps they will have intermittent interactions with Roni but not be an integral part of future plots. 

What I am trying to convey is that authors don't just sit down and write a book without giving a lot of thought about who will be in it and where it all happens. We have to get to know our characters and we have to be able to see where they are in our minds before we can come up with the words to tell you the story. A lot happens in the author's mind before that first sentence in the first chapter ever gets put onto the first page of the book. We love it or we wouldn't do it. 

One last thought, when you read a book, any book by any author, consider taking a few minutes to leave some feedback for that author if you can. We need your honest viewpoint. It lets us know if we have written something worthwhile, enjoyable, or enlightening for you. We also need to know if a reader did not enjoy the book and why. It isn't much fun to get a bad review but I think they are extremely helpful. I want to grow as an author; I want each book to be better than the last one. I think that every author hopes for that growth in themselves but they won't know unless their readers tell them.



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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Black Butterfly Movie Reviewed

Movie Full of Suspense

Black Butterfly Tattoo courtesy of pixabay.com
A few weeks ago, I watched the movie Black Butterfly after it was recommended to me by my daughter. Let me just say that I was not disappointed.

One of the first reasons that my interest was piqued was that Antonio Banderas was one of the leads in the movie. I can't remember ever not enjoying any character that he has played. Good guy or bad guy, I like his portrayals. Besides, he isn't hard to look at either!

My daughter didn't give me many clues as to why she thought that I would enjoy the movie. Her comment was just that she was pretty sure that I wold enjoy it. Since we often like the same films and books, I took her advice and streamed it one Saturday night.

Banderas plays a writer who is struggling with writer's block while he tries to create a career saving screenplay. He has had some success in the past but not recently. In the beginning of the movie we see him at a typewriter typing the words I'm stuck several times. Being a writer, myself, I could relate to that frustration. He lives alone in Colorado in a pretty secluded area. His money is running out so he is trying to sell his property as quickly as possible while working on the story that just won't come to him. 

After a chance encounter with a drifter one day, he invites the stranger to his cabin for a meal and a night's stay. Knowing that the man needs some money to continue his travels, Paul (Banderas) offers Jack (the drifter) a few odd jobs to do before he goes on his way. The relationship gets quirky pretty quickly. 

There have been a series of abductions and murders near where Paul lives and it doesn't take him long to suspect that Jack may have something to do with it. Jack is a pretty edgy guy confronting Paul about his writing and his drinking.

I won't go much further than this little narrative because I don't want to give anything away. I can't tell you how many times that I thought that I had the plot figured out. I love when a story either in movie or book form keeps me guessing. Black Butterfly has several twists and turns to keep the viewer interested. The ending blew me away! It looked as if it was ending one way only to twist one more time. I loved it!

If you are looking for a movie that will grab your attention and keep it until the end, I highly recommend this one. I don't think that you will be disappointed.



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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Widow Series Reviewed

Interesting Drama Series

jungle scene
The Widow searches in the Jungle
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
My husband and I just finished watching The Widow, a drama series that we streamed from Amazon. I thought you might be interested in a review of the series.

We thought that this eight episode series was fascinating to watch. The episodes are each around 45 minutes so it didn't take too awfully long to watch. 

The story begins with Georgia Mason (played by Kate Beckinsale) suspecting that her husband Will might actually be alive after a plane crash three years before in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The reports of the crash stated that there were no survivors of that crash and Georgia has spent three years in mourning her loss. A broadcast of a riot in the DRC shows a man that looks very much like her husband that begins her search to find him. She can't see the man's face but he is wearing an orange baseball cap just like the one her Will wore. 

As you can imagine, Georgia decides to go to the DRC hoping to find her husband. She had been there before just after the crash and had befriended a man who had lost his wife in the same crash. Georgia meets Emmanuel again on this second trip; asking for his help to find out if her husband somehow survived that crash. 

The series is filled with suspense and action as Georgia encounters people who knew Will. As viewers we see corrupt people taking advantage of the poverty stricken people of the region. We find out about smugglers and the recruitment of children for rebel militias. While watching each episode we are given a hint of what it might be like to live in the Congo as a person with some means and as a person who is barely surviving. 

My husband and I liked the several twists in the plot as the story unfolds. There were some flashbacks offered to explain some of what drove the different characters in their choices and those were interesting, also. Overall, each episode kept us interested and wanting to see more. We have found that we very much enjoy the original series that Amazon has produced.

If you like suspense and action that occurs in a place you might never be ever to see, I think you will enjoy this series, too.




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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Cat Dust Plugs Reviewed

Prevent Dust From Getting Into Your Earphone

earphone plugs
Earphone plugs can get dusty (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
Did you know that there are some very clever little dust plugs for our devices? Whether it is our cell phone, tablet or laptop; we all have a place to plug-in a jack for earphones. 

Over the passage of time, quite a bit of dust and small debris can enter into the inside of our devices. That isn't such a good thing for the hidden working parts, I wouldn't think.

So, there are some really clever little charm like figures that we can use to plug-up that little hole when a set of earphones or earbuds aren't being used. Let's face it, most of the time that earphone jack isn't used 24/7. 

We happen to adore cats in our house, as I'm sure that many of you do too. Don't worry, if you aren't a cat person these little dust plugs can be found for the dog lovers, too. In fact, there are several types of animals made into a plug for that tiny little jack on our devices. If animals aren't to your liking there are other styles, too. Some look like little gems in a variety of colors and I even saw some that look like a little coffee cup. 

Some of the dust plugs have some real bling to their appearance while others are just a cute little charm that looks adorable while preventing dust and debris from getting into the inside of our phones or tablets.

I found a set of cat dust plugs that I think are really adorable! Depending on my mood, I can switch them around on my phone or my tablet. A set like this can also be used for party favors at a Tween's birthday party. They are so inexpensive that you can purchase more than one set to divide up amoung the guests.

What do you think? Would you choose a dust plug with cat figures or a different style?



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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wicker Basket For Easter Reviewed

Useful After Easter

wicker basket
Wicker basket image courtesy of pixabay.com
Have you ever considered using a wicker basket that is not necessarily promoted to be used as an Easter Basket? Walking down any aisle of a store, we can see several options of baskets to be used on Easter morning. We can find them made in a variety of materials and most are extremely cute but will they last beyond a day or two?

I will admit that I have a penchant for baskets as a whole. I can't honestly say when my love for them began or even why. It might be from memories of my Grandmother using different baskets to complete chores with. She had a basket for gathering eggs, one for picking items from the garden, one for the apples and pears and a few others for specific duties around her home. All of those magnificent baskets were worn from use but sturdy and helpful to her.

It occurred to me the other day as I was looking at an option for baskets this year for my grandchildren that I really didn't want to give them one that was commercially produced for the occasion. I just realized that they looked as inexpensive as their price tags indicated. I would rather give them something that could be used again for another purpose. Perhaps something they could smile at one day when they remembered that Grandma gave them that basket.

I think I found a nice solution for this year. I like the idea that the basket I have chosen can be used to store items in if they want. I can picture my youngest using it to keep her crayons, markers and colored pencils in. My oldest could store her music CDs or other items in. I like this idea much better than a basket that will end up broken and in a landfill somewhere in the near future.

How about you? Would you rather place your Easter goodies in a wicker basket that can find multiple uses for after the holiday?




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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gratitude Journal Reviewed

Embrace An Attitude of Gratitude

prayer of gratitude
Praying Hands image courtesy of pixabay.com
Twenty-five years ago my soul was suffering from the lack of gratitude. My doctor said that I was depressed. He said that there was a chemical imbalance which suppressed my ability to feel happiness. Technically, I suppose that his diagnosis was correct. In the months following that visit to the doctor, I came to realize that it went much deeper than a "happiness hormone" not being produced in my body.

My physician followed the proper procedure from the annuls of medicine by prescribing an anti-depressant. He explained that the medication would help my body to remember how to produce the chemical that would take away the depression and help me to feel happy again. Oh, how I despised that medication! I remember thinking that it seemed impossible that it would work because while I was on it I didn't "feel" anything. While medicated the feelings of despair were gone; I'll admit that. The trouble was there didn't seem to be any feelings at all; none. I didn't want to live a life devoid of feeling!

I began a time of inner reflection to see if I could figure out why the blue bird of happiness had abandoned his nest in my heart. I knew for certain that he used to live there. So, why had he left? I eventually realized that I had been neglecting to feed him his favorite food. He hadn't received not even a little morsel of gratitude in a very long time. 

I tell you this today because I recently received a message from a dear friend who has passed on to a better place. She wanted me to know how much that I meant to her before and during her long illness. Her message explained that my example of finding gratefulness all around me had taught her so very much and made those last months easier to bare. 

After receiving that touching and loving message from my sweet dear friend, I remembered  how it is so very easy for any of us to forget to be thankful for the big and small blessings that surround us every single day. We don't have to let it be that easy. We can make a habit of looking for more gratitude in our lives.

I found a wonderful tool to help anyone begin to focus on what they have to be thankful for on a daily basis. This journal is a 52 week guide to help you cultivate a garden of gratitude in your heart. There are inspirational quotes along with an area to jot down three things you are thankful for each day. It can be something big like a warm home or it can be something simple like the laugh of a child. If you or someone you know needs some help in this direction, a gratitude journal might be just the tool to plant your seeds.



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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lego Easter Egg Hunt Set Reviewed

Fun Idea For Easter Basket Stuffer

easter eggs
Add some Lego Fun to the Basket
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
It is a good two months before those Easter Egg Hunts take place but I am already looking for some fun ideas to add to the baskets. Of course there will be eggs to be found. I always look for some different sorts of sweets to add but I like to hold that sugary stuff to a minimum. So, I start searching for non-edible ideas rather early. I have found something fun for this year. 

Those that know me might remember that I love to play with Legos. My brothers and I built things with those plastic bricks when we were little. Hours of fun were spent with my daughters with them. This grandma still plays with the colorful plastic pieces with her grandchildren. I even have a display of the Big Bang Theory done in Legos in our family room. 

Imagine my thrill when I found a set of Legos that creates a scene for an Easter Egg Hunt! It is a small little set with only 145 pieces so the box will fit nicely in the kid's baskets. The set allows you to build three separate locations (to hide the 3 eggs). There is a carrot garden, a flower garden and a hen house. Two figures come with the set; an adult and a child. There is a wheelbarrow, a cute little basket and a magnifying glass. Well, it is just down right adorable! 

As with most of the Lego sets once this one is assembled the different locations can be easily added to any other display you might already have on display. We rarely tear our finished sets down in this house. They are fun to pull out and play with when the kids come or Grandma goes to their house. 

If you are looking for something to add to an Easter Basket that won't throw your child or grandchild into a raging sugar high, consider a set of Lego fun with the Easter Egg Hunt.
  



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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Floor Liners For Jeep Reviewed

Dressing up A New Ride

jeep liberty
Hubby's Jeep Liberty
Last week my hubby traded in his old jeep for a newer model. You can see it pictured at the left. It is a pretty little thing, isn't it? It rides much better than the older one, too. 

So, he has a birthday approaching and I thought that it might be fun to get him something for his Jeep. The old floor liners are pretty sad looking even though they will fit this year and model. I went on a quest to see if I could find some new floor mats for him.

Sure enough, they were not difficult to find. I searched for floor liners for a Jeep Liberty and found the color that I thought would go well with his interior. To my surprise a pop-up appeared asking me to verify that the liners would fit the vehicle. It turned out that the ones that I had first picked would not fit the floor configuration of his year of Jeep. What a convenience! It would have certainly been a disappointment to me as the gifter and to him as the recipient if those new mats wouldn't work!

What I like about this particular brand of floor liners is that they are digitally measured and molded to fit the interior of specific models of vehicles. This line of mats is more than just a flat little piece of protection for the carpet of the car. They are molded to the contours of the floor board giving more protection. These will not slip around and allow mud and dirt to get under them. I like that because I really don't like having to vacuum those floors and my sweet hubby is a bit of a "Messy Marvin" when it comes to tracking in mud and dirt (in his vehicle and our home). The floor liners that I have decided to get for him are much nicer and sturdier than his previous ones. I think that he will be extremely happy with them.

Obviously, you may not have a Jeep but it doesn't matter what make or model of vehicle that you drive. You can find these well designed floor liners for any make and model feeling certain that they will fit your ride. These will be a birthday present but they would also work for Father's Day.



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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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