Sunday Bookends: Christmas displays, somewhat unrealsitic books, Maggie Cole

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments

What I’m Reading

I started one of those books that annoy me because part of the premise was stupid but the more I got into it, the more I was accepting of the dumb premise, probably because the characters were somewhat interesting and the writing well done. I don’t know that the premise itself was really stupid, but aspects of it were. I don’t want to say what I didn’t like about the story because it would be a spoiler for those who might read it in the future. Of course, now that I said I didn’t like part of the book, others will say they won’t want to read it, but I wouldn’t discourage you from reading it because even though aspects of it irritated me, I had a hard time putting it down. 

The storylines in Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren were actually very engaging. There are four main characters. Two major main characters and two minor main characters. Their stories intersect at times, but the main story is of Kasey and Ben, young lovers who grew apart when Ben left to become a Country Music star. The book sets up future storylines or at least future characters, including the story of billionaire Ian Shaw who spends this book look for his niece who has gone missing. I do enjoy how Susan May Warren writes, but I don’t know if I will buy the other books in this series or not. I am reading this first book in the series because it is on Kindle Unlimited and I usually only pay $9 for an ebook if it is from an author I really enjoy, which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy this author’s work. I’m just not sure I’m going to keep buying the ebooks for that price when I can get the paperbacks for about the same price. I’ll probably purchase paperbacks of hers in the future. 

I’ll probably finish that book in the next couple of days and then I plan to read a book by Ted Dekker, who I’ve heard a lot about recently, and one by James L. Rubart, who I’ve only just heard about. 

Dekker’s is called Water Walker, which is a book that combines four serial “episodes”. The description on Amazon is: “My name is Alice Ringwald, but the man who kidnapped me says that’s a lie.”

 Thirteen-year-old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she’s creating one day at a time with the loving couple that recently adopted her and gave her new hope. That hope, however, is shattered one night when she is abducted by a strange man. In a frantic FBI manhunt, the kidnapper vanished with Alice.”

Rubart’s book is Rooms. The Amazon description: What if you inherited a brand-new mansion on the Oregon coast—from a great uncle you never knew? Would you blow it off? Or head down there to check it out?

 Micah Taylor isn’t stupid. He’s made a fortune building a Seattle software empire. But he can’t figure out why he’s been given a 9,000 square foot home right on the beach.

 And not just any beach.  The one beach he loves more than any other.  The one beach he hates more than any other.  Both at the same time.  Micah drives down to check out the house. On the surface, everything seems legit. He instantly feels at home and then he meets a beautiful young woman at the local ice cream shop.  Now there’s two reasons to keep coming back to Cannon Beach. But the house still feels off. Things start happening that Micah can’t explain.  That Micah doesn’t want explained.  Because he’s slowly realizing the house isn’t just a house.  It’s a physical manifestation of his soul.

 He begins a journey into the most glorious rooms of his life, but also the darkest.  Rooms where terrible things happened.  Things that must not be remembered, but scream out to be heard.  Micah can’t run. Can’t hide.  Because the memories aren’t just memories.  They’re real.  Memories that can heal and set him free.  But that can also destroy him.  And there’s no way to know which side will win in the end.

What I’m Watching

My husband and I finished The Trouble with Maggie Cole this week, which we found on the PBS Masterpiece channel on Amazon. I mentioned this show in my post last week. It was six episodes and we really enjoyed it. We don’t see how they could have a season two but Dawn French, who stars in the show, says a second season is planned. I was so nervous that the show, which was fairly clean, was going to delve into this super dark place in the last couple of episodes, but it didn’t. Instead, it was a nice, but suspenseful story with redeeming characters. 

The show starts with Maggie Cole (French) being interviewed by a radio show host who gets her drunk so she will gossip about the people in town. She doesn’t remember or know the gossip part will be on the show when she sets up a party at her house for everyone in town to listen with her. She thinks the man is going to be doing a story on the 500-year celebration party she is organizing for the town, which is what they agreed on when they first met.

The show follows her efforts to make it up to the people she “outed” but also the stories of each person who she shared gossip about. Throughout the series, we learn what is true and what isn’t about the six victims of her drunken ramble.

As I said last week, I completely relate to Maggie, except that I don’t feel I am a pushy person who forces people to do what I want. Sadly, when I asked my husband if that part of her was like me, he paused much too long. He’s still taking care of that lump on his head from the book I threw at him. That last part, of course, is a joke. The part about him pausing too long is not. 

Christmas season is starting so I’m sure I’ll watch my share of stupid Hallmarkesque Christmas movies this week. 

What’s Been Occurring / What I’m Writing

I finished the first draft of The Farmer’s Daughter yesterday. The final version will be a bit different than what I shared here on the blog since I have removed both Franny and Jason’s storyline from this book. Their stories will be separate novels or novellas. It felt pretty good to finish the book since I’ve been working on Molly’s story for the last couple of years when I first wrote the kiss scene on a whim. I started her story before I started A New Beginning and in the middle of writing A Story to Tell. I’m so glad I won’t be saying goodbye to Alex and Molly, though. Their story will continue some in The Farmer’s Son, which will be Jason’s story, and in The Business Man’s Son, which will be Alex’s story.

I will be working on rewrites and edits this week if I can keep my brain from jumping to the other stories I am planning for the series. 

Last week’s posts included:

Last week we spent my husband’s birthday visiting a light display at a golf course about a half an hour away. The Christmas lights lined trees and displays across the course and it was a beautiful sight. The way they made lights look like a running river was amazing. I’m sure my photographs don’t do it justice. I’m sharing a few here and will share more in my Photos of the Week post tomorrow. The only issue we had during the tour were the odd comments from my kids, including when my daughter asked if that was Santa in an airplane in one of the displays and when my husband said “yes,” she said “That is so cringe.”

After the tour, they offered hot chocolate, cookies, and other snacks in a space near the main club room location. One of those snacks were smores kits., which were simply one marshmallow, a mini Hershey chocolate bar, and two graham crackers. The marshmallows were roasted over fire pits they had set up in the open courtyard.

We spent Thanksgiving with my parents, enjoying three different types of pies they made, a turkey my husband made, and a variety of other food we all made together. 

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week. How about you? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Sunday Bookends: Christmas displays, somewhat unrealsitic books, Maggie Cole

  1. The lights are beautiful! There’s a farm about 25 minutes away from us that does something similar. Last year they had to close because it flooded and this year it’s drive-thru only because of everything going on. The park about 10 minutes away put up lights this year for the first time so we’re looking forward to seeing those, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is all drive through other than the snacks they offered. There is an amusement park near us that is doing one this year too so we may check that one out. This, for being in a small area, was surprisingly large and well put together. Very impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to check that show out too. I watched a classic on YouTube called Send her to Heaven. I have it on VHS up north so I was very happy to see it pop up on my YouTube recommendations. It comes with a whole lot of commercials though. I am also watching a family of homesteaders that came up as well. They lost a calf and had to get a new calf for the momma. I love watching YouTube reality stories about other families out there in the world.

    The virus numbers are going up like crazy in our state, at least this is what my husband told me from the radio show he listens to in the mornings. I don’t really watch the news unless we are headed up north and I need to check on weather and traffic conditions. We are staying put now to see how this goes.

    We went out this week to a little farmers market that we love shopping at and they had a bunch of sales going on. One was 5lb. bags of potatoes for .25 cents each, limit 4 bags. The other was two heads of lettuce for .50 cents. I was on the hunt for fruit to make into jam for Christmas gifts.

    Blackberries were on sale for two small boxes for $1, so we loaded up on that since there was no limit. I like giving out home made treats for Christmas with a fresh loaf of homemade baked bread.

    Rumor going around that Arizona will be going into a second lock down this Friday. People are shopping like it is a regular Christmas without a pandemic here. If something is too crowded we drive away. I am trying to live my life but still be extra careful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Important to remember that cases are going up because people are running to be tested. Bugs were always out there but we didn’t run to get tested – we just treated it at home. Also, cases don’t equal deaths in most cases (thank God!). Everyone I know who has had it has felt crappy but recovered well and doing well. Someone said recently that there are side effects from this but I really don’t think they get that there is side effects for months on end from the flu and other illnesses too. I had a cold one year that kicked my butt and I coughed and felt like crap for an entire month or more afterward. I also had swine flu and the same thing happened. And I wonder if part of my autoimmune issues come from illnesses I had as a kid.

      I still don’t want to get sick so I am being careful, but to me lockdowns are absolutely unneccessary and are a huge issue that will only lead to more deaths from poverty and other issues in the long run.


  3. Every year we visit a nearby fairgrounds where there is a huge, drive through Christmas display synchronized to a music station you tune into on your car radio. Our granddaughter loves it and we enjoy seeing her so excited. I love it when the Hallelujah Chorus comes on just as we see a light display nativity with the word Messiah over it. Our Thanksgiving was small this year – hubby, our nearby daughter and granddaughter and me, so just the 4 of us. Travel restrictions kept the rest of our kids in their own states. Bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

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