"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

25 May 2018

2018 Book Review #18: The Bad Daughter

This author is one of my very faves and I have read many of her novels. This was another fast-paced thriller and I really did enjoy the plot although it became a bit "dark".

STORY SUMMARY

Robin is a mental health therapist living and working in San Francisco.  Her brother Alec lives and works in L.A.  Their older sister, Melanie, is a single mom who still lives in their hometown of Red Bluff, northern California.  Melanie has a teenage boy on the autism spectrum named Landon.

Robin hasn't seen nor talked to her sister in over 5 years.  Melanie has always been a very jealous and angry sister. She actually hurt Robin when Robin was just a toddler! Melanie has constantly engaged in "put downs' when it comes to Robin and Greg (their father) has been verbally abusive to their brother.  They were raised in a very dysfunctional family. Their mother died several years ago of brain cancer.

One day, Robin gets a voice mail message from Melanie, telling her that their father, Greg Davis and his 2nd wife Tara have been shot!  Tara's daughter Cassidy, age 12, was also shot.  Greg is lying in a coma with breathing tubes and Tara has passed away.  Cassidy is also in a coma but expected to live.  Greg's injuries are very severe and it doesn't look like he will make it.  Robin is shocked.  She hasn't talked nor seen her father since he married her best childhood friend Tara.  Tara's daughter is from Tara's first marriage (to Dylan Campbell) but that marriage ended in divorce due to Dylan being an abusive husband.  In fact, he has spent most of Cassidy's young life in prison and doesn't know his own daughter.

It has been more than 5 years since Robin has spoken to her father.  Even after all this time, there is much bitterness.

Robin must return to the family she fled.  She informs her fiance, Blake, that she has to leave San Francisco and head north.

Robin tries to help the local detectives figure out just what happened to Tara and Greg.  She begins to "mend the fences"  with Melanie while their father clings to life.  Robin begins to wonder just exactly what happened...was it really a "home invasion" gone wrong or did someone close to the family shoot and kill?  Who could kill a 12 year old little girl??

Greg and Tara have secrets and Cassidy is not all that she pretends to be.

What really happened to this family?

MY THOUGHTS

Wow...this was very fast-paced and intriguing.

The character development was pretty good and the plot is  brilliant.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, the author pulls a new idea and wham......the plot thickens and you begin to wonder...which daughter is bad??

This book touches on the concept of nature vs. nurture.

It also touches on forgiveness, family relationships, blended families,  and mercy.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to mature content and language).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.







FIVE FAVES for MAY

It was a pretty good week....a lot less hectic than the last two, and so I'm taking time to reflect back and share FIVE of my FAVE blessings. You can join in by going to Susanne's site to learn about this writing exercise.

Getting ready to use Dad's kayak!

Ah...one of my happy places!  My kayak

Exploring the Cove area

Moreau Lake
Foothills of the Adirondack Mountains




  • LATE AFTERNOON KAYAKING!  I get out of work at 2 pm on Fridays, and since last Friday was such a gorgeous day, I took Claire kayaking.  We had a lovely time on the lake and came home to a yummy pizza dinner cooked by Dave.  It was a wonderful  way to begin the weekend!



  • ERRANDS COMPLETE:  Last Saturday was rainy and I had several errands to run all over town.  Dave offered to drive and go with me to help me with a couple of them.  We stopped at our town library first which was fun....we had some time to browse and I discovered a book that I had been waiting for was finally available!  I'm thankful for the extra help on the weekends and for a library with good books!


image courtesy of Targ*t
  • SALE!  One of our local drugstores had a special going on regarding this brand of dark chocolate.  I snagged 2 bags and saved even more money with my extrabucks!  I love having a square in the evening after dinner with a hot cup of tea while relaxing with a book.  Dave and Courtney like this flavor as well.  We don't eat it every day but when we crave a little sweet, this is the perfect size!


  • CATCHING UP!  On Wednesday evening I was out doing my power walking/running interval training and I happened to see one of Courtney's teachers from high school out doing yard work.  She lives in the next development over from ours and I hadn't seen her to talk to her since about the time Courtney entered college in the fall of 2011!  This woman teaches some higher level writing classes at our high school and Courtney had her for Creative Writing.  Come to find out, the woman is now a Christian and goes to our church!  I had her son, now 17, when he was a 4 year old in a preK where I was teaching for a year.  It was so much fun to catch up and I'm thankful to know there is yet another Christian teacher in our local public school.



  • ANSWERED PRAYER!  I had a huge answer to pray happen this past week.  I'm not going to go into the details here but I'll be writing a post about it later this weekend.  It involves an upcoming vacation, my youngest daughter,  and my marriage.  I'm so thankful that God hears our cries and the deepest desires of our heart and sometimes He answers "yes"!
That wraps up my week.

I am looking forward to this long weekend and I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend enjoying the perk of having Monday off from work!

Do you have any fun plans??

Blessings,


18 May 2018

Another Busy Week Faves

It was another crazy, busy week and I must confess that I am SO thankful it's over and that the weekend is upon us.  After I get out of work today at 2 pm, I have a quick errand to run and then I am plopping my body in a chair with a good book and a nice chilled glass of wine.  I'm not doing a thing for a couple hours!

It's been busy but it's always good to stop and reflect back on any blessings the Lord brought into the week.  Here are my FIVE FAVES and I'm linking up with other people who share theirs, via Susanne's site.

Bye Bye Hubbard

our late lunch/early dinner on the road
totally vegan!
  • HOME! Claire, our ballerina, is home until mid-August!  UNH is on summer break and we moved her out of the honors dorm last Saturday morning. It didn't take long to move her stuff out and although I'm going to miss the quietness of the hall and it's surroundings as well as that wonderful walkway, I'm happy she chose a different dorm for next year that is closer to the main center of campus and that has an elevator because once again, she will live on the 4th floor!  She practiced driving home via going across NH and down Vermont with me as passenger for most of the 5 hour drive.  We stopped at this cafe to eat and of course we loved every bite.  It isn't cheap but everything is organic, raw or cooked to your specifications and vegan.  They do have a few vegetarian options.  I had the Jasmine Green Iced Tea with the Roasted Veggie Wrap and we shared Avocado on Raw bread.  YUMMY!  Dave took the shorter route down 495 to the Mass Pike so he beat us home by about 45 minutes.  I'm thankful she's home, has a summer job and that the trip was uneventful!

  • MOTHERS DAY!  My oldest girl bought me a beautiful card with a wonderful handwritten message inside.  My youngest gal bought me a new UNH decal for my new car and my husband treated us to this place for a late lunch.  I didn't want anything fancy.  In fact, the restaurant I requested has been closed down and we didn't know it until we got there!!  So we discovered this place by accident when Claire started using the Happy Cow app.  (I LOVE that app!!).  This was a great find and I'm already planning when we can go back.  You pay by how much your plate weighs.  It's great.  Most of the items are vegan and all of the veggies are locally grown and are organic.  That cookie you see is a flourless cookie that is totally vegan.  The chocolate chips were amazing. I had roasted root veggies and a cold rice veggie dish with some potato salad on the side.  It was wonderful and I'm thankful we had outside seats too!  It was a gorgeous day!

My "new" 2015 Honda Civic with only 9200 miles!
  • ALL DONE!  My Honda, which was hit by a very young driver on the way to work on 8 May, is all repaired!  The auto body shop we chose to deal with was just amazing.  So attentive and helpful and took care of all the insurance headaches.  In fact, all I had to do was fill out the required report that NYS demands.  Which didn't match what the state police report had so I'm hoping it's all ok!  NYS makes everything so difficult.  It's just awful.  But it's done and now the insurance agencies can settle everything and hopefully, before spring is over, I will be reimbursed for the deductible!  My new car's name is Jonah and now Claire is the proud owner of my 2007 Nissan Sentra (the silver one you see in the background) which is named Bullet. We're thankful this repair which was quite extensive according to the auto body workers, only took 8 days!  Glory to God!

  • JOB OFFER!  Claire was only home for about 4 days when she received word that job she interviewed for last week was being offered to her!  She will be working Mon-Thurs during the school year in the Language Center.  She speaks French and Russian so I believe that was a huge help in getting the job! It will only be for about 80 minutes a day so is perfect for someone with a double major and a minor. We're thankful the Lord opened this door for her.

  • EVENINGS ON THE DECK! I've had the chance to sit out on the deck or swing a few evenings this past week. It's been wonderful.  My lilacs have bloomed and the scent is lovely although if I bring them in the house, we all end up with itchy eyes. I'm so thankful we are having a nice spring finally!! 
that wraps up the week.

Nothing exciting really but just some little blessings that God brings into our days.

I hope you all have a restful weekend doing the things you love.



16 May 2018

2017 Book Review #17: 16th Seduction

Finally had a chance to read the latest novel in the Women's Murder Club series. Love this series!

STORY SUMMARY

Lindsay Boxer has to learn to love...and trust...again. Her husband, Joe Molinari, left their home 6 months ago per her request after discovering he had some secrets concerning his spy job with Homeland Security.  Their daughter Julie is now 2 years old and learning to talk. Lindsay is determined to put her life back together again.

Joe asks her to go with him on a dinner date and she does accept....but their date is interrupted by a huge bomb blast at San Francisco's SciTron museum.  25 people are dead and Joe is injured in the blast!  He is on a breathing tube and Lindsay is unsure if he will survive his injuries.

Meanwhile, because she is one of SFPD's finest homicide detectives, she begins to try to unravel the mystery of Connor Grant, the man who first admitted to blowing up the museum.  Of course, now that he is in prison, he is changing his story.  Connor Grant goes on trial and ends up being his own lawyer.  And...the jury finds him NOT GUILTY! Yet his home is found with explosives, a book about how to make bombs, his own research regarding bombs and witnesses (current high school students he teaches) who testify that he has an obsession with bombs! That doesn't seem to matter.

 He then serves Lindsay with papers claiming she is going to get fired for defamation of his character.  Lindsay is fearful for her marriage, her husband, and her career.  But, along with trying to find out the truth regarding Connor Grant, she is also investigating a string of serial murders involving a toxic drug and a needle.  This leads her to a psychiatric center where she discovers a very strange man. 

Will Lindsay and her friends solve the mystery of who planted the SciTron bomb and why??  And just who is this strange man at the Center??  Will Joe pull through this injury and will her marriage be saved??

MY THOUGHTS

This is another fast moving, gripping mystery with plenty of drama, romance, and character development.  In fact, I think it's one of the best in the series.

The setting is fun to read about if you've been to San Francisco before and the details of the bomber's background are quite fascinating.

I loved how the authors wrapped up this story and I can't wait to see what happens to Lindsay and her family in the next novel.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older due to some content.

On a scale of 1-10, I rate this a 9.






11 May 2018

Mid-May Faves

Friday.  This week was not great. 

So I'm trying to find five blessings anyways and give glory to God.

Actually there were a couple of good things about the past week....but much of it was challenging on an emotional level. Please join us with your own FIVE FAVES by linking up at Susanne's.


kayaking on Moreau Lake
foothills of the Adirondacks



  • KAYAKS IN!  Saturday we woke up to a perfectly gorgeous day.  Dave put the kayaks on the car and off we went to register them at the state park about 35 min north of us so we can keep them locked there until Columbus Day weekend.  My friend Cheryl met us there, bought our oldest daughter's bike, and then stayed to kayak with me.  She used Dave's kayak while I used mine.  She took a nice photo of me on the lake.  It was such a great time.  Not many people were out on the lake yet either. I'm thankful I can dash up there a couple times a week and paddle. It's so relaxing and the time in nature, plus the upper body workout is win!


One of our cherry trees in the front yard

Pear tree in my backyard...a Mother's Day gift
from 2013ish

My front flower bed

one of my yellow tulips


  • FLOWERS IN! It seems that overnight our flowers opened up with all this amazing color!  I have had tulips for years and I just love them.  Maybe it's the Dutch influence from my mom's side of the family or that we live where the Dutch settled (Albany County).  Either way, I love them.  My cherry blossoms have bloomed in the last 3 days and are almost at peak and the pear tree as well.  I just love my flowers.  Because they are perennials, I don't have to do a thing to them!  I planted yellow tiger lilies that my husband bought me and they look nice too.  The petunias I planted in deck containers aren't doing too well and Dave thinks a rabbit is getting to them.  I may have to get more.  I'm thankful the weather has been wonderful and that our corner of the world has this cheerful color!

My "new" Honda Civic!


  • CALM WITH CAR ACCIDENT: no the car accident isn't a fave.  But the calm that pemeated my entire being really helped.(unusual...had to be God...because I normally have wicked road rage!) I was driving to work around 7:45 a.m. my normal time. Traffic was heavy as usual on the interstate I have to take south to then go east and all was like normal.  Then an accident far ahead of me happened so traffic slowed down. I usually stay in middle lane until a certain point so just before that point, I signaled and pulled into the right lane as usual. Traffic was only going about 35 mph due to the accident up ahead. BUT a young lady (first thought that went through my mind was ..."is she like 12?") tried to merge into my lane and came in too early, crashing into my drivers side rear. I motioned for her to pull in front of me and get off in the little strip of land that was there.  We put our hazards on, I went to her window, she admitted it was her fault and she was very sorry.  I was like omgosh she is YOUNG.  Found out she's my oldest daughter's age. This helped me to remain calm because I wouldn't want someone berating my own daughter so I tried to be helpful. Told her to call her insurance agent while I called 911.  We got the state police to write up the report and about 45 minutes later we were on our way to work.  I'm thankful neither one of us was hurt and I'm thankful for car insurance!!  Now my car which I JUST got the title for the day of the accident, is in the body shop. Hopefully it will be ready in a week. 



  • EMPLOYED AGAIN!  Our oldest gal, Courtney, was offered a job she had 2 interviews for with in the last week. They hired her the afternoon of the 2nd interview and she didn't think she was getting it! She is now Administrative Assistant for the Regional Office of this place in a town just a little north of us.  She's thrilled because the salary is more than what she was first told!  In fact, she is making more than I am and I have a Masters degree!  Now she and her friend can get serious about apartment hunting.  This is a huge relief to her as the apartments in our area are quite pricey and she's still paying back her college loan.  She has about 7 years of payments left. The thing I am most thankful for though is that it was only 3 weeks of unemployment that she had to deal with.


off the road where I bike
  • BIKING!  I really needed to do some kind of physical exercise on Wednesday evening.  I had dropped off my Honda to the body shop and ate dinner early with Dave before he left to go work with the youth group kids.  So I hopped on my bike and did a 5 mile ride heading northeast.  I loved it.  Traffic was late as everyone was home and rush hour was past.  I rode for about 35 minutes and it felt great! I'm thankful I have my bike for the evenings when the weather is nice.  It was a nice 72 degrees and it felt perfect!
That wraps up my week....it was a tiring one.  Later today, Dave and I will be heading to the south of Boston to spend the night with his folks and then driving up to UNH on Saturday morning to move our youngest gal home for the summer.  It's going to be a busy day tomorrow!

Enjoy the weekend everyone and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY To all the moms out there!!


07 May 2018

2018 Book Review #16: Looking For Me

What a wonderful story.

I first discovered this author because my sister Hope recommended her first novel to me.  You can read the review here.

I actually liked this 2nd novel better!

STORY SUMMARY

Theodora Grace Overman was born and raised on a farm in rural Kentucky.  She lived with her Mama, Daddy, and younger brother Josh, who is a huge nature lover.  Theodora is known as simply Teddi.  She loves working with old furniture and ever since she discovered and dragged home an old broken-down chair when she was just a little girl in elementary school, she knew this was what she wanted to do when she grew up. She has a real passion for old furniture as much as her brother Josh has a passion for wild-life and nature.

Mama's best friend is Stella and Stella has always looked out for Teddi.

When Teddi graduates from high school, Daddy gives her an old car and tells her it is her pass to freedom.  She sets off for Charleston, hoping to land a job in an antique store.  She does! Mr Palmer hires her to help out Albert a man who does beautiful restoration work.  He teaches Teddi some of what he knows and she seems to have a natural gift for restoring furniture as well.

Teddi begins to build a life for herself in Charleston and has a best friend named Olivia who is also single.  Soon she is able, through a series of events, some of which are sad and leave her with a sense of loss, to purchase her own furniture shop. She hires Inez to be her office manager and Albert stays on to help restore the antiques she finds. 

Teddi finds love in a very surprising way....Sam Poteet is a wonderful man who happens to be a lawyer and whose mother has often stolen items from various shops in Charleston, Teddi's included!!  One day, she actually meets Sam in person and they begin to build a relationship.

Even though things are going well in Teddi's life, she still has the haunting mystery of her brother Josh's disappearance.  Her Daddy has since died, and soon her Mama dies of a stroke.  Ranger Jim, the forest ranger who has always promised Teddi that if he ever gets any news or clues about Josh, he will let her know, has some news now for her, all these years later.  Teddi is now 36 years old and is still convinced her brother is living in the wilderness of the Red River Gorge.  Some signs do begin to emerge that Josh is still alive......will Teddi and Josh be reunited??


Teddi must take a personal, almost spiritual journey to find her self among her shattered family...and in so doing, she must learn to let some things go and decide what things to keep.


MY THOUGHTS

At first I had trouble with the whole back and forth from the present (1990-1993) to the past when she was a young girl in the 1960s/1970s.  There are also many characters.  But the plot is wonderful and the themes of mother-daughter relationships, loss, grief, depression, fortitude and inner strength really move this story along.

There are funny moments as well as very sad ones.

It is a heart warming story, full of southern charm. 

I love that Sam comes along and brings some romantic love to Teddi's life...she really deserved that.

I had a love-hate relationship with her Mama and in many ways, the emotional relationship that was portrayed between them, reminded me of my own relationship with my mother when I was younger.

There were several quotes I really loved from this book.  Here are a couple of my very faves:

"Sometimes it's not what we hold on to that shapes our lives---it's what we're willing to let go of" (pg 197 Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, c.2013

"My mother used to say that each day was a gift and how we chose to unwrap it would determine our happiness." (Grammy speaking) (pg 322, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, c. 2013)
"Maybe that's what love does---smooths the hard edges of life, giving us a gentle place to land when we fall and lessening our bruises when we do" (pg 335, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, c. 2013)
This story is very well done but there were many editing mistakes!!  

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.  It would have received a 10 if not for all the mistakes!