Friday, July 1, 2016

Forever Beach by Shelley Noble - TLC Book Tours

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• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 7, 2016)

One woman struggling to hold on to what she has. . . .
One woman learning to forgive. . . .
Their lives entwined by one little girl.

Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter, Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug- addicted mother who abandoned her.

Having grown up in foster care, Ilona Cartwright is a lawyer who fights for the rights of children who have no one to fight for them. But to Sarah she is Nonie Blanchard, who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, but then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward the past.

Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love.

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About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.
Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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My Thoughts:

 When I first received the book, the cover made me smile.  I was thinking that it was going to be a sweet, summery read, set somewhere on a  nice beach and filled with fun and love and adventure and all cutesy things.

I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster I was about to embark on.

This story focus on a very important, serious and heart touching matter.  Adoption and Foster Care.

I couldn't hold back the tears at times, I felt like I was in the moment living through all these emotions and wanting so much for the main character to be able to keep the little girl she had grown to love.  Just when she thought the road was clear for her to adopt her foster child, the biological mother springs into action and proceeds to impede all her attempts.

I will be honest and tell you that this wasn't an easy read for me, not only for the fact that I was expecting something else, but mostly because of the contents of the story.  As a mother, I could never imagine the thought of someone trying to take custody from me or separating me from them.

Wonderful book!!!

TLC

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Follow the River Home by Corran Harrington - TLC Book Tour

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Paperback: 220 pages

Publisher: Arbor Farm Press (April 14, 2016)

Daniel Arroyo has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old. He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago. When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth, where old houses hold tired secrets. What really happened on that steamy August afternoon? The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home. Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.

“Deeply, bravely imagined, Corran Harrington’s radiant fiction records the ways in which our deepest loyalties and grief’s spring from our first soil, brilliantly revealing the secret ways our lives touch each other without our knowing. Compassionate, luminous, wise, this is a book to savor and give to friends.” Kathleen Hill, author of Who Occupies This House

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About Corran Harrington

Corran Harrington is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Santa Fe Writers Project finalist, a Hidden River Arts Eludia Award finalist, a Bosque Fiction Contest finalist, and a New Millennium Writings Award semi-finalist whose short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals. A former lawyer, Harrington also has a background in cultural and linguistic anthropology. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Connect with Corran

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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 My Thoughts:

The book follows the story of Daniel and the obstacles he has had to live through, from the guilt he has over his baby sister's death, serving in Vietnam and the subsequent PTSD.  He has decided that he needs to search for answers and try to make sense of it all.

One incident along his journey pricks his mind and takes him back to the town where he grew up. A place where memories and lies and even the truth live in the most unexpected places.

The author broke the book down into two stories, which I'm usually not used to but I found that it really helped paint a picture of who Daniel was. 

The first being his story, his life, and everything that has gone on, and then turning it into almost like a compilation of short stories where we get to really know all about Daniel through his childhood home, furniture, his old neighborhood and so on.  She really does a wonderful job and I found myself quite enjoying the book.

TLC

Monday, June 27, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday - 06/27/2016

Good morning everyone, hope you've had a great weekend.

Mine was pretty good, we had an impromptu barbecue, watched the soccer on TV, then watched a couple of movies.  Yesterday I decided to do just a "eat whatever you find" kind of day.  I have so many leftovers sitting in the fridge and to be honest, I like to have at least one day a week where I don't have to worry about cooking.

Today my brother starts his first day of work, I'm so excited for him.  He's been waiting since February to find a job and nothing was coming through, but this one that showed up is exactly what he likes doing and I honestly feel that God had it waiting for him.  Thank you to all who have kept him in your prayers, it's very much appreciated :)

Alright let's get started with our Happy Homemaker Monday.




The Weather:::
72 at the moment and partly cloudy.  We are supposed to get rain later this afternoon and I have to tell you, I'm actually looking forward to it, but I do need to get my laundry all done and line dried before that happens.  Some more rain tomorrow and then a clear hot week ahead. 


On my reading pile:::
My summer reading list is HUGE, and I'm quite enjoying all the different genres.  I usually stick to a particular genre but this time I decided to get a little of everything and try some new ones.  If you're interested in what I've been reading, you can check out my book reviews from the past week.  I also have quite a few others coming up, so be sure to check back for that. 



On my tv:::
Portuguese Soaps
General Hospital
Finished the new season of Orange is the New Black.  (I hate when I binge watch and then get left with nothing for another year, so frustrating)
Thinking I need to catch up on Game of Thrones, I only watched the first season hahaha


On the menu for this week:::
I'm only cooking until Thursday, Jasmine has her therapy on Thursday at 5pm, and we need to run some errands after that, so we'll grab something to eat while out.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday we will be away at some cabins at a lake in Oklahoma, with family, so I won't be cooking anything, it will just be my brother and sister in law at home and they'll figure something out for themselves.

Monday -  Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce, Rice, Homemade Naan
Tuesday -  Ham and Cheese Ring, Veggies
Wednesday - Old Fashioned Goulash, Garlic Bread
Thursday - (Jasmine's therapy so will be out at dinner time, will grab something quick)
Friday
Saturday -


On my to do list:::
Laundry - 2 loads of laundry to do, hoping to get it all done and dried before the rain comes in.  If I have time I may be able to throw in the bed linens too, if not I'll wait until Wednesday because we are expecting rain tomorrow. 
Usual housecleaning


What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I'm determined to pull out my sewing machine today.  I am going to make myself some summer rompers, I bought one at Rue 21 and am in love with it, but what bugs me is that they make these rompers so short.  Luckily I'm fit and tanned and it looks great, but I would rather have something a little longer. 
Also, need to make some crochet little owls for a friend who has requested some for her daughter. 


Looking around the house:::
It's super quiet, hubby, brother and sister in law are all off to work.  Kids are enjoying summer break and have been staying up until all hours of the morning, so my 2 and my nephew will surely be sleeping until around noon, at least. 


From the camera:::
Pickled Fish....usually eat it for Easter but it's such a favorite around here that we've been enjoying it at all times of the year.  I'll be sharing the recipe today.  



On my prayer list:::
**My grandmother.  Nothing has changed, my father is now looking into placing her in a nursing home with frail care.  It's so frustrating with all the red tape and just......I don't know.  I'm frustrated and sad. 


Something that inspires or brings a smile to your face:::


Friday, June 24, 2016

Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay - TLC Book Tour


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• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (June 21, 2016)

A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.

“A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare,” raved Stephen King about Paul Tremblay’s previous novel, which received widespread critical acclaim. Now Tremblay returns with another disturbing tale just as powerful and unsettling.

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a nearby state park.

The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her eleven-year-old daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. Neither the state nor local police have uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out at a landmark they have renamed Devil’s Rock.

Living in an all-too-real nightmare, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a wraithlike apparition of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadowy figure peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journals begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; the coming zombie “pocketclips”; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all.

As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more ominous and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night at Devil’s Rock.

Tremblay deftly blends literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror into an absorbing tale that illuminates a parent’s darkest fears . . . and an adolescent’s darkest secrets. Eerie, thought-provoking, and soul-shattering, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock will haunt you long after Tommy’s final journal entry is read.

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 Paul Tremblay AP

About Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay is a multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist and the author of the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. He has served as the president of the board of directors of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year’s-best anthologies.

Find out more about Paul at his website, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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My Thoughts:

 Oh my goodness, I loved this book.  Again, I've never been a fan of this genre, choosing to stick to Historical or romance novels, but this one was so good I couldn't put it down.

This book may have just converted me to a suspense, paranormal, thriller fan.

The book touches on a parent's worst nightmare, the disappearance of one of your children.  The way that Paul Tremblay was able to convey those feelings through the words on the pages, is phenomenal.  You're left with such a sense of loss, as if this was your own child.

The story starts with Tommy going to a sleep over at one of his friend's house.  They decide to grab some beers and go out exploring the Borderland woods.  13 year old boys just being boys, curious, having fun right?  Until two of them return, but not Tommy.

From that moment on we are faced with a story filled with raw emotion, questions and moments of pure fear, anger and frustration.  What exactly happened to Tommy?  Why does it seem that his two friends who were with him at his time of disappearance, may not be telling the full story?  Were they involved, are they too scared to say what really went on?

We follow his mother and sister as they try to make sense of it all.  Throw in some supernatural happenings around them and this book had me turning the pages as fast as I could.

If you love suspense, psychological novels, you HAVE to read this one.  And I mean you HAVE to.  I'm actually passing it on to my sister in law who loves this genre as I'm sure she will enjoy it just as much as I did.

TLC

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Defender by Diana Palmer - TLC Book Tour



  • Series: Her Long Tall Texan
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (June 28, 2016)

The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.

When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling’s life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father’s lowly employee. Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel’s case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.

Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can’t forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won’t hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can’t trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?

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About Diana Palmer

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

Connect with Diana

Website | Facebook

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 My Thoughts:

I've been a long time Diana Palmer fan and have had read so many of her books.  I just love the way she writes and her stories, which are some of the best romance out there.  One of my favorite genres aside from the typical romance is western romance and she is an expert at these.

I knew I would enjoy this book and I wasn't wrong, though I will say that it was a little different than what I'm used to reading by Diana.  Nevertheless, she didn't disappoint in giving me a story that I felt like I read in a day, that's how quick it went for me.

Paul and Isabel are the typical romance novel characters, in love, separated when one leaves and then meeting up again years later only to realize that the feelings they thought were gone, are very much alive.

When Paul decided to walk away, 3 years prior, it wasn't because he didn't love her, far from it, it was because the love he felt for her and she for him, scared him to death.  Paul is now an FBI agent assigned to protect Isabel from a stalker.  Isabel is now an assistant district attorney and not as easily swayed by his good looks and charm.  He broke her trust, and it will take a lot to gain it back.

I enjoyed watching the two tiptoe around each other while at the same time being forced to be in each other's orbit all the time.

The fact that it takes place in Texas, is a bonus for me :)

TLC

All summer long by Dorothea Benton Frank - TLC Book Tour



  • Hardcover: 384 pages 
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 31, 2016)


Dorothea Benton Frank novels are smart and witty fiction that readers want on their bookshelf: soulful, edgy stories about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart.

All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple–prominent interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband, Nicholas Seymour, an English professor and true southern gentleman. They are seemingly polar opposites, yet magnetically drawn together and have been in love for more than fourteen years.

As they prepare to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina, Olivia, the ultimate New Yorker, has reservations about the promise she made to retire in the Lowcountry, where Nick wants to return home and lead a more peaceful life. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, and downsizing. Nick is ecstatic. Olivia is not. She can’t let Nick know that their finances are not what he thought. Her client list is evaporating, their monetary reserves are dwindling, and maybe that house she picked out on Sullivans Island needs too much work.  Thank God for her assistant, Roni Larini, her right (and sometimes left) hand.

As they find themselves pondering the next step of their lives, Olivia and Nick travel with her billionaire clients and their friends and are swept up in the world of the ultra-rich, exploring the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer. All as Olivia grapples with what lies ahead for her and Nick.

This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are still looking for something more. Even the most successful people can often struggle to keep things together. All Summer Long asks the ultimate question: Can money buy happiness? From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to Nantucket to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the many faces of true love; love that deepens and endures, but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes everything.

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 My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the story of Nick and Olivia.  A married couple who have vowed to love each other, through anything that life may throw their way.  

As they travel through the summer, they are involved in numerous adventures, make new friends, meet interesting people and most importantly, show us what true love is all about.

It really is a the perfect summer beach read, a fun story, interesting characters and a good ol' love story to boot.
TLC

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A good cleaning!!!



It's now 8:42am and I'm sitting here waiting for the color to process on my hair before having to wash it out.  My greys are out of control, truly and I wish I was as brave as some women who just let them be and go all colorless.  I can't, it drives me insane.

I just had my go to breakfast, yogurt, frozen blueberries and granola.  Love it, never get sick of it and it fills me up.

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So two days ago I decided to try a lighter color on my hair, I should have known it wouldn't work, it never does.

Nonetheless I went for it, and what I ended up with was really light brown on my roots, my greys NOT covered and the rest of my hair black.  It looked a total mess, so I had to run out yesterday and grab another normal black which is what my natural hair is anyway.

Here I sit now, on my bed, with a bag over my head and counting down the minutes until I can get my natural black hair back.  I've given up on lighter colors, my hair just won't take them unless I bleach, and that is something I definitely don't want to do.

Goodness, we never seem happy with what we have do we?

Anyway.....

I spent the day yesterday, giving this house a good cleaning, or starting to at least, it's such a big house that there is no way on earth I will get every room done in one day.

The two living rooms and kitchen did get a good cleaning.  I reorganized, put things where they belong, brought in some flowers for decoration, and then the usual vacuum and dust and sweep and mop etc.  Also gave the windows a good cleaning.

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Laundry and laundry and never ending laundry.  I had two big baskets of clothes to iron, so I popped in a show and got to work.

It took me a little over an hour but I have it all done, although it's sitting in the baskets right now because I need to get them put away this morning some time.

I've also been remembering to take pictures of what I'm cooking so I can update the food blog.  It's been a while and I find that I miss having the recipes online for me to look back on and remake.

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Texas Hash, it's a quick and simple meal to put together, it's filling and it goes far, which is what I need when feeding 8 people.

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The Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake was a hit.  I made it for my sister in law's birthday last week.  So good.

I'll try to have both recipes up sometime today.

I also managed to go around and visit all the Happy Homemaker Monday participants which felt great to do, I just wish I had more time to visit you all.

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I've been working on meal planning.  I'm actually needing to get a new notebook to work in because this one is quickly filling up.

Oh and I have to show you my new phone case.  I don't like spending a lot of money on things like that but it needs a protective case, even though I'll tell you I am super careful with my phone.

I found this case on Amazon for super cheap, I want to say it was like $8 or something.  I fell in love with it.

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It has this super adorable little flower that plugs right into your headphones connection.

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And I am so in love with the vintage looking pictures.  The elephant and the little flowers and butterflies.  It's this beautiful soft yellow and mint green.

But yeah, just wanted to share.

My grandmother is still in hospital, her organs are slowly shutting down and we've been told to prepare ourselves.  My father was called in on Sunday night to sign a DNR form. 

I'm broken, I know what is coming and I'm actually at the point where I want her to go because I don't think this is a life for her, I don't want to think of her being in pain, not sound of mind etc.

This in between while we wait for the inevitable is so hard.  I would love nothing more than for my grandmother to live and be healthy, but when she's so sick, I part of me wants it all to end the sooner the better.

I hope I am making sense and I hope no one is thinking I'm wanting her to die. 

It's just really, really hard!!!!

Well friends, I have to go and wash this off my hair, then I need to style it, get dressed for the day and get busy with my housework.  I also have to get all the kid's school books in a box and mailed off.

Oh and later today we are going to check out a local Zumba class.  I am SO SO looking forward to that.

Have a wonderful Tuesday :)