Sunday Bookends: Fun romantic comedies, all our leaves are gone, and finishing up Shores of Mercy

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

Last night I finished The Do Over by Sharon Peterson. This is the second book by the same title that I’ve read this year and I liked this one a lot more. Sharon is a new to me author who was nice enough to read and review The Farmer’s Daughter for me about a month ago.

The book is not Christian but is a clean romantic comedy with some mild language. I absolutely loved the mouthy grandma and I am pretty sure Sharon has been in my house and met Little Miss because the little girl in the book acts and talks like her – right down to knowing a bunch of facts about animals.

The only downside to the book was that it was fairly predictable and I already knew what was going to happen during part of it. Luckily it was presented in a very creative and fun way, even though I knew where it was going. In other words, I had fun reading it anyhow.

I also wish all the romances today would stop putting out covers with faceless animated people. It’s not trendy anymore. Everyone is over it. Thank you. *just a little bit of joking. I’ll still read the books, even with those covers.*

Now I will continue to read Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’arbo. It’s a very light read about a country singer who goes home for a visit and learns someone left a bomb at her niece’s dog rescue. I am reading it for a book tour and so far I am enjoying it.

I have a couple other books I hope to get to after these two, including, the second book in the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

The Husband is reading The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz.

Little Miss and I are finishing Paddington At Work and then will probably return to Anne of Avonlea. During the school week I am reading a book about George Washington Carver to her for history.

The Boy (I know this is a ridiculous blog nickname for him, but he and I couldn’t come up with a better one this weekend) and I are going to start The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn this week for school. Meanwhile, he breezed through The Lightning Thief by Rick Riorden, which is the first book in the Percy Jackson: The Olympians series. He was up until 3 a.m. reading it one night after which he made a snarky remark that people always suggest reading if you can’t go to sleep but instead it kept him awake until 3 a.m. He is now on book two.

What’s Been Occurring

Yesterday Little Miss and I were supposed to go to gymnastics and then a trunk-or-treat near there, but Little Miss woke up with a congested nose (most likely from the weather change) and threw up. She was a coughing, gagging, miserable mess all day and refused almost all suggestions to help her feel better. Hopefully today will be better.

Almost all the leaves fell off our trees and I found this very depressing because I am not a fan of winter. I do like curling up inside on snowy days with hot cocoa and a good book so I am sure I will survive.

Scout, the big footed kitten (she is a polydactyly cat), decided she wouldn’t come in until 10:30 at night Friday which left me convinced she had been run over and I should have carried her in earlier in the evening. I even drove around the block, looking for a squished kitten on the roads in the neighborhood. After I pulled back into the driveway, I headed to the garage to look again to see if we had shut her in (we rarely actually park our cars in the garage. Don’t ask.). While in I heard The Husband say, “oh there you are Scout.”

We have no idea where that little jerk had gone or where she came from but suddenly she was strolling up to the back porch and I simultaneously wanted to scream at her and kiss her.

She has been snuggling with me at nights, reminiscent of when we first got her when she was a kitten, sprawled on my chest. When I couldn’t find her, I worried we might have had our last snuggle session.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week we watched Brokenwood and a couple episodes of a 80s British sitcom, Yes, Minister.

Yesterday the kids watched Despicable Me 1 and 2 while Little Miss dealt with her illness.

We didn’t watch much else during the week because I mainly read and wrote .

Oh, but I did watch the Season 3 trailer for The Chosen. Oh my. I can’t wait for this season.

What I’m Writing

I am almost done with the first draft of Shores of Mercy so I have been working on that.

What I’m Listening to

This week I plan to listen to the new Steven Curtis Chapman album that just came out. I’ve been listening to him since I was in elementary school so I’m happy he has a new album out.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Winter’s last blast? Remembering family. Jane Seymour with a potty mouth?

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Friday and Saturday we remembered a couple of people in our family. Friday was the tenth anniversary of the day my husband’s grandfather passed away. He was a good man and we miss him and my husband’s grandmother very much.

Yesterday was my Aunt Dianne’s birthday so Mom and I plan to make sausage balls in her memory today because she loved to make them every year for Christmas. I tried to make them for Christmas this year, but I didn’t do such a great job. I think the key might be to not make them with gluten-free Bisquick, even though that means I can’t eat them, since I can not eat the corn in the Bisquick.

I don’t actually like remembering people on the day they died. I like to remember them the way they lived and when I picture Grandpa, I picture him smiling like he was on the day of our wedding. I picture my aunt with smiles as well and I hope they are in heaven together now smiling as they wait for us to meet them someday.

I mentioned in a post last week that we had unexpected snow in the beginning of the week. Our town received about nine inches of very heavy snow which left trees broken, wires down from the weight of the trees and snow, and more than 13,000 people out of power.

Our local power company posted these photos of what they had to deal with to get to the lines they needed to fix:

I took a few photographs, but, honestly, I’m so over winter weather, I wasn’t interested in photographs of snow. I did take a few of the kids when The Boy decided to run out and build a snow Batman.

Luckily the snow melted a day or so later. Little Miss enjoyed sitting in the grass with the snow surrounding her. The grass was left from The Boy shoveling a path for the dog the first day after the storm.

Today the temperature is supposed to be almost 80 with a drop into the 40s later in the week. Yes, my sinuses are suffering.

What I’m Reading

Last week I finished Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle, a cozy Southern mystery written by Ann B. Ross.

I also finished a book by indie Christian Historical Fiction author Jenny Knipfer, which she plans to release this summer. She had asked members of her group if they would help her proof it, in addition to her editor. I will be starting an ARC of a novella by her, Violet’s Vow, this week or next as well.

I started Open Season by C.J. Box so I would have something a little different up on the reading block. The book is the first book in the Joe Picket series. This is my first crack at one of his books. We will see how it goes since it isn’t something I usually read.

Depending on my mood I may move to The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot. I am also still reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain here and there before bed.

Little Miss and I will be finishing Plum Creek this weekend and hopefully moving on to a book other than one by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The husband is reading Slow Horse by Mick Herron.

The Boy may finish Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometime before the end of the century at this point, but I’m not holding out much hope.

What I’m/We’re Watching

We tried out Harry Wild, a new mystery show with Jane Seymour this week. Dr. Quinn has a wee bit of a potty mouth in this one, but we still enjoyed the premise and her acting. I told my parents she was in a new show we are watching. I said, “She’s looking pretty good for 71.” My dad said, “Oh, really, what’s that show on?”

My mom said I didn’t need to tell him.

I started rewatching As Time Goes By, one of my favorite British sitcom to try to get me through some of the down moments of the week.

I also spent way too much time watching the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial. Don’t ask why. I have no idea, other than it was a distraction from the rest of the craziness of the world. What I learned from all of that mess is that hurt people hurt people and Hollywood actors are some seriously messed up people. I also think Amber Heard is vindictive and nuts and Johnny Depp medicates his emotional pain way too much.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to comedians like Chonda Pierce lately and then some worship music.

What I’m Writing

During the week I worked on Mercy’s Shore, the next book in my series.

Now It is Your Turn

What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

My To Be Read list just grows and grows and grows

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I started reading books more (again) in the last couple of years. Before that I was always too busy with raising my son, blogging and photography. And before that time period, I was too busy working at smalltown newspapers. When you’re busy writing words, you don’t always enjoy reading them in your down time.

In high school I read a lot, almost all fiction.

When I started reading again I started hearing the acronym TBR. I had no idea what that meant and then someone finally let me know it meant “To be read.”


I’m a bit embarrassed by how large my TBR list is.

There are simply too many books out there and I’m not a super fast reader.

I thought I’d list some of my current TBR list, but let’s be honest, our list will always grow because there are simply so many good books out in the world to read. There is a mix of Christian fiction, non-fiction, and general fiction (mysteries, thrillers, etc.) here:

My (partial) list so far:

The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler

Lavender Tears Sandra Cunningham

The Love Coward by Naomi Musch

More Than Honor by Carol Ashby

Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas

Fortitude: American Resilience in the Age of Outrage by Dan Crenshaw

So This Is Goodbye by Jodi Allen Brice

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney

The Number of Love Roseanna M. White

Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliff

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene

The World Ending Fire by Wendell Berry

What Is True? by Charles Martin

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

I also have a stack of Coleen Coble books that are currently at my mom’s house that I want to dig into at some point this summer. So, fellow readers, how large is your TBR list? No need to list them all for me, but give me a round about number in the comments.

Book Review: Dark of Night, a work of suspenseful fiction with spiritual truths needed today

Dark of Night by Carrie Cotton

Genre: Supernatural Christian Fantasy

Publisher: Self Published or Indepedently Published

Available: Currently Amazon.

Description: A new life, a new love, and even a new name. For former secret agent Andromeda Stone – now Joanna Carter – a normal, boring life with her handsome husband was the happy ending. But an old enemy resurfaces, determined to leave nothing unfinished, and Andy must step back into the nightmares once again. Andy and Will each face their own worst fears in their search for answers. Will this new mission cost Andy more than she’s willing to pay?
When the journey takes her to deeper and darker places than she’s ever been before, Andy discovers it’s more than just answers she’s looking for.

Review: Dark of Night, Carrie Cotton’s second book in her Dreamwalker series, isn’t simply a work of fiction, it is a call to action, a reminder that there are forces unseen working against us in a realm beyond our comprehension.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 KJV

This book is the visceral reminder that as people, Christians or not, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle for our soul every day. No, most of us don’t wield physical weapons in our everyday lives, (unless we are in the military or law enforcement) but there are spiritual weapons at our disposal and we can draw on them, reign them into our control with our trust that God is bigger than any evil pressing down upon us and around us.

I would compare this book to those of Frank Peretti who first opened the eyes of many Christians to the reality of spiritual warfare in books such as This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. There are some who believed his stories, like Carrie’s, are simply that — stories, but when a person faces the actual dark tentacles sliding out of the darkest recesses of their mind, blocking out goodness with thoughts of revenge and ruin, like I have a few times in my life, they will realize what they thought was a story is actually true.

It’s scary to have to admit there is truth in Carrie’s book.

Are there people who can walk in dreams and hurt other people? Not that we know of. Are there evil forces that can influence us to the point that evil no longer seems evil and good no longer seems good? I think anyone who is living through what our nation and our world are facing these days knows that there are evil forces; there is a real father of lies whispering in the ears of many, telling them not to trust what God has implanted in them, but to instead trust what the media, society, and politicians tell them is true.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

This isn’t a political book. Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t picking apart issues we now consider political and telling you what to believe. Not in the least. It does not mention our modern issues. There are bigger stakes at play here – the fight for individual souls and the fight to not be overtaken by hatred and evil. This book takes issues that the main character Joanna battles within herself and brings it right down to the personal deep level, reminding the reader that Joanna isn’t the only one who has to resist evil — we all do.

Quote from book, Esther to Joanna (Andy): “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” she said passionately. “It doesn’t take brute force or physical weapons to fight these battles, it takes spiritual strength that comes from faith in a very, very powerful God. He is greater, His Word is greater than anything . . . anything . . . in this world, even the hidden things.”

If you are not ready to be spiritually challenged while mentally entertained with fast-paced action, well-written prose, and characters you will fall quickly and solidly in love with (to the point you will cry if harm comes to them), then don’t read this book. But, if you are ready to challenge your faith, your perception of reality, increase your knowledge of a spiritual realm that is in play all around us, and be entertained at the same time, then you need to pick up a copy of Dark of Night NOW. This is a must read for every Christian, but it is also a read that even someone who doesn’t consider themselves a Christian will enjoy.

Quote from book(Jacob to Andy): “You say you believe in God, that you love Him. If that’s true, then you have to trust Him to keep His promises. If we trust Him, truly trust Him, then we can remain in Him and all things will work together for our good – either now or eventually, even the terrible choices of other people.”

Sunday Bookends: Unrealistic books, lots of Andy Griffith, banning books and boring days

This is my weekly post where I share what I am reading, watching, writing and occasionally what I am listening to.

What I’m Reading

I’m jumping around to different books right now. I feel like a Christian looking for a new church at this point.

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, which I am enjoying; a Christian fiction romance called Rescue Me by Susan May Warren, which is so-so; and a Christian suspense book, Northwest Counter-Terrorism Taskforce Book 1 by Lisa Phillips.

Rescue Me is unrealistic in many ways, like most romances (and my books. *wink*).

First of all two of the main characters are stuck on a ledge at one point in a van after an accident, with teenagers and having a heart to heart, flirting session in the front seat. Everyone can hear them. This isn’t the time to be all gushy. The kids have just gone through a a car accident and this is after one of their friends was mauled by a bear a week earlier (but somehow lived) and a few weeks before that stranded in a flood. All of this, mind you, happened under the watch of the same girl who is pouting in this book because the church had decided she shouldn’t be the youth leader anymore. I can’t imagine how they let her take the kids anywhere after the bear mauling and what in the world kind of youth group is this that the go on all day and all night hikes every weekend? It is extremely far fetched to me.

I think the reader is supposed to feel sorry for the main character and hope she gets together with the love interest but I don’t feel sorry for her. Every comment made to her about how stupid she was is justified. Every thought she has that she is awful for being in love with her sister’s boyfriend is spot on. It is rare I dislike the main character from a book I am reading as much as I do this one. I want to throttle her despite her awful upbringing by a crazy woman who took her to live in a commune as a child. In real life some of the supporting characters of this book (her sister, her sister’s boyfriend, the pastor and his wife, and the youth pastor) would have already throttled her.

Despite all the “complaints” here, (I am teasing about most of it) I can’t seem to put the book down and I do want to know what happens. It is still well written and at least my complaints aren’t as rude as one of the negative reviews of it that I read on Amazon.

I couldn’t read the following review without picturing a woman with clenched teeth pounding on her keyboard, seething with absolute jealousy. You have to read it in a really snotty, “Karen” type voice. I also left in all the typos: “Susan apparently lives in a city, and doesn’t use search engines to research her writing. In this book, I had to skim several pages to avoid the absolute ignorance displayed in this book about, well, anything related to mountains, rescue, or climbing. It’s too back the background for the book is RESCUE. It simply ruins the book. The highlights are a group of kids and adults crossing a mountain river WITHOUT A ROPE, which they were carrying, or how about the grizzly 15 feet above a ledge taking a swipe at the rescue folks below (where do I start on that?) who then SPIDER REPEL (for those not in the know. which is everyone but Susan and her editor, it’s repelling head first) . *Clue clenching teeth, pounding keyboard* Clearly Susan should get out, you, know, get a clue, or actually research what she’s poorly attempting to write about. *Cue jealousy and inability to spell…even worse than me* Oh, and Susan, not everyone is beautiful, hansom, capable, and oh so desirable….like ALL of your characters. Oh, wait. Maybe you were writing about Olympus? I hear all the gods and goddesses there are hansom, beautiful, and quite desirable!

Two books I am looking forward to coming out in February are ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson:

And a non-fiction book (which I rarely read), Andy Ngo’s Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, which Antifa is currently trying to get banned from all major bookstores because ya’ know – “freedom of speech ain’t real, ya’ll”.

Their efforts to censor the book was why my husband and I preordered a copy to help it climb up the bestseller list on Amazon. I don’t know, when someone wants to ban something, or squealch free speech, it makes me want to know why. I figure there must be a wee bit of truth in there if certain people are afraid for it to go public. An aside, Andy was beat by Antifa last year while peacefully filming their terroristic activities and left in the hospital with a brain bleed. He’s been covering Antifa as an independent journalist for several years now.

When I heard that thin-skinned people wanted to ban Jordan Peterson’s new book, 12 More Rules for Life, I decided to pre-order that one as well.

I find Jordan Peterson fascinating and I don’t know if I agree with all his observations, but I haven’t heard anything he’s said that should be banned. So I’m looking forward to his book in March and hope to get his first book before it arrives. I like to have hard copies of non-fiction books, that way I can make notes in them if I want to.

I plant to talk about this renewed trend of banning books and other things we don’t like in a post later this week. Should be fun. Will probably step on some toes, but everyone is offended these days so what’s new?

What I’ve Been Watching

I’ve been watching a lot of The Andy Griffith Show, which I watch when the world feels off kilter and I am watching Murdoch Mysteries with the hubs most nights. We are taking a break from Doc Martin. We are still traumatized from “the scene” I mentioned last week (which will from now on be just referred to simply as The Scene) but I am also dreading future episodes becaues I worry that the romance that has been blossoming between Martin and Louisa is just going to implode and make me weepy.

What’s Been Occurring

Nothing has been occurring. Not really anyhow. We’ve been iced or snowed in for a couple of weeks now. We had to escape one day this week because Little Miss was exhibiting symptons of a bladder infection but it turned out she didn’t have one. After some research, we have decided her frequent urination may be caused by stress she is feeling from only friends moving away, from all the world stuff I haven’t done a good enough job sheltering her from, and simply growing pains. It may have also been caused by her drinking more juice than she should have and causing some irritation of her bladder.

The doctor we took her to had no idea and wasn’t very helpful other than saying if it doesn’t clear up we can take her to a specialist. The doctor (who is actually a physician assistant, technically) was very nice, however. The nurse and PA were both nice, even when my daughter looked them straight in the eye and announced, in a very firm, non-emotional tone: “I don’t want to be here.” She was extremely indignant I made her pee in a cup as well, but the nurse was very nice and had me come to the office and pick up the cup so Little Miss could pee into the cup in the comfort of her own home. By Saturday, the issue had started to improve immensely.

What I’m Writing

I started writing The Farmer’s Son this week and I am working on edits/proofreading of The Farmer’s Daughter. On the blog, I rambled out some random thoughts and shared a prologue to The Farmer’s Son for Fiction Friday.

What I’m Listening To

Brandon Lake has a new life album on Apple so I’ve been checking that out and also a new band called CAIN.

So that’s my week in review. How was yours? Let me know in the comments.