Sunday Bookends: Finished books (finally), news detox, and what really matters

I finally finished Sweet on You by Becky Wade and I thought I should explain that it didn’t take me so long to finish it because it wasn’t good, or didn’t hold my attention, but because I was finding it hard to concentrate with everything going on in the world these days. After clicking off the news and social media for an extended time, my focus came back and I was able to read again.

Which is why I finished Sweet on You and also progressed on Light in the Window by Jan Karon and The Knife Slipped by Earl Stanley Gardner (who also wrote the novels the Perry Mason show was based on).

Here is a short description of Sweet on You for anyone who might be interested:

Britt and Zander have been best friends since they met thirteen years ago, but unbeknownst to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Washington to investigate. As they work together to uncover his uncles tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also come to light?

This is the third in the Bradford Sisters’ series.

This is also the third book I have read by Becky Wade and I’ve discovered that she is very interested in describing the fashion of her characters, while I am not. That doesn’t mean she is a bad writer or I don’t enjoy her books. In fact, based on her Instagram account, I think Becky and I would get along nicely and we would laugh about how much she enjoys describing the fashion of her characters and how much I hate doing that with my characters. I skim her descriptions of the fashion simply because – well, I don’t care. It doesn’t add anything to the story for me to know in a very detailed way the main character is wearing. Thankfully she’s not overly detailed, just gives enough to describe the person’s outfit really.

A description of a character’s fashion can add something to the story, because what a character is wearing helps to paint a picture of who they are, so please know I’m only teasing a little about not caring about a detailed description of what the character is wearing. But I really do just skim those descriptions myself if they get too detailed.

I follow Becky Wade on Instagram (when I’m on Instagram, which I haven’t been for more than a week now, maybe two. I don’t know. I don’t really like Instagram.) and she recently mentioned the books from her Bradford Sisters series is being optioned for a movie. I would gather a Hallmark movie. I’d be interested to see those movies as there is a lot of intrigue in each of the books. These are light, somewhat schmaltzy romances (yeah, sort of like what I write) just to let you know.

I wanted to offer a description of The Knife Slipped too (not so sure about that cover but I think it is made in the style of the old Noir crime novels. So far this book is not full of s-e-x (said like Miranda Hart in her show Miranda). Just intrigue and slightly off color language.):

At the time of his death, Erle Stanley Gardner was the best-selling American author of the 20th century, and world famous as the creator of crusading attorney Perry Mason. Gardner also created the hardboiled detective team of Cool and Lam, stars of 29 novels published between 1939 and 1970—and one that’s never been published until now.

Lost for more than 75 years, THE KNIFE SLIPPED was meant to be the second book in the series but got shelved when Gardner’s publisher objected to (among other things) Bertha Cool’s tendency to “talk tough, swear, smoke cigarettes, and try to gyp people.” But this tale of adultery and corruption, of double-crosses and triple identities —however shocking for 1939—shines today as a glorious present from the past, a return to the heyday of private eyes and shady dames, of powerful criminals, crooked cops, blazing dialogue, and delicious plot twists.

Donald Lam has never been cooler—not even when played by Frank Sinatra on the U.S. Steel Hour of Mystery in 1946. Bertha Cool has never been tougher. And Erle Stanley Gardner has never been better.

This is a new genre for me so we will see if I stick with it or not.

So how am I doing on my news/social media detox I invited others to join me on this past week? Fairly well. I won’t say I’ve quit cold turkey. I still have the urge to check news sites and social media but last week something happened that really made me not care about the turmoil of fire the national media keeps flaming to line their pockets. My mom ended up in the ER. She’s fine. It was gastritis and not a heart attack but, you know what? That day I could have cared less about who was calling who racist. I could have cared less what one politician said about another politician. I just wanted my mom to be okay.

Clicking on a news site wasn’t even on my radar that day and it hasn’t been there since. Like I said, I do feel a sense of “I’m out of the loop” and think about “getting in the loop” but I just don’t go there. My brain had gone all the way to planning my mom’s funeral last week. Yes, I know. That’s nuts but the initial report I got was hazy and I thought “this is it. I finally move closer to my parents and this is it…” Even though it wasn’t “it” I was left feeling off for the rest of the day and I knew logging on to a news site would push me even further into unsettled darkness.

I decided it might do the same in the days that followed so I’m here, in semi-darkness about what is happening in the world (my husband works for a small town paper so I do know some things and I did log on Facebook once on Friday) and guess what! It feels great! I’ve never felt happier to be a clueless (or semi-clueless) schmuck with my head in the sand.

Join me.

Come to the light side.

Ignore the urge to watch the world burn around us (quite literally) and shut the computer off or click off the phone and go work in your garden, for a walk, paint, write, take a photo. I don’t know. I don’t care how you do it but just give your poor brain a break; it wasn’t meant to take in all that information at once. Of course, I sound like those people who are always telling everyone what to do here, so I’ll modify a bit and say: Do it if you want to, but I can guarantee you will feel less stressed if you take that break.

Seriously, how many more articles do we need to read with headlines like this: “[Celebrity] says he doesn’t think [politician] is/will/can/ever doing/do/do/did a good job.” I can’t find a care left for what a celebrity or politician thinks and I bet many of you are in the same boat.

Since I’m not watching news, or trying not to, I’m watching only what requires the least amount of brain cells. Things like Corner Gas (a Canadian sitcom), old shows like The Dick VanDyke Show, and British sitcoms like As Time Goes By. I also watched Murder Mystery on Netflix with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston. It wasn’t award winning, but it was entertaining and a nice distraction. (My son said to add it was a little stupid as a warning.)

I don’t have much of an update on the garden because it’s growing very slowly. It rained a couple of times last week but other than that I probably didn’t water it enough throughout the week. Some additional flowers bloomed outside the house but I’m still waiting on the peonies.

I hope to have photos of them next week.

So how about you? What have you been you reading, watching, or doing lately? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Bookends: Light romances (in book and movie forms) welcomed this week

I won’t be rambling too much about what the rest of the world is rambling about this week because first, we all need a break and two, I’ve discovered situations like this really bring out the crazies and I’m crazy enough for myself.

So, on to books I’m reading and watching this week. I’m sticking with light romances both in books and movies, even if they are a little bit stupid. I don’t mind if they are stupid because then I can make fun of them while I read them or watch them. Luckily, I read a book this week and watched a movie I didn’t have to make fun of.

I share a Kindle account with my mom, mainly because I’m more technical and set it up for her. Most of the time this is fine because my mom utilizes Kindle Unlimited more than me. The main issue is that Mom is retired and reads more and faster than me so, sometimes, while I am in the middle of a book Mom will return my book to “take out” another one, which is what happened this week.

Luckily, I was able to get the book, True to You by Becky Wade, back and finish it. It was really worth finishing and I’m glad I did. The book had me hooked from the beginning, even if the main character did grate on my nerves part of the time (a very little part of the time). I fell in love with the love interest as much as the main character did. If I wasn’t married and John Lawson was real I would. well —  I’d still only stare at him from afar because I’m totally not his type.

Anyhow, this was the first of a three-book series about The Bradford Sisters. There are also two novellas in the series.


I shared the plot of the book last week, but thought I’d share it again this week, in case you are interested.

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match.  But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

I am planning to start the second book this weekend.

I also watched a light romance movie this week: Road Less Traveled with Lauren Alaina (A country singer), Donny Boaz, and Jason Burkey.  Without giving too much away, I will say this movie was not your typical small-town girl who goes home, runs into an old boyfriend and falls back in love with her old boyfriend movie. Not exactly anyhow. It threw me for a bit of a loop. The acting was pretty good and realistic, but I will say that it made light of getting drunk a little more than I thought it should.

As I have mentioned before, I am a prude, in many ways, but not in others. Still, it doesn’t offend me if someone is drunk in a movie. What bothered me was how often the characters were holding a beer, wine, or in a bar and how many times they were roaring drunk – like to the point they couldn’t remember what they did while drunk. And I guess we were all supposed to laugh about that? I don’t know. That bothered me, but I still enjoyed the movie.

The weather warmed up this week, a little anyhow. On Monday it was 70 and the temperature steadily declined over the week, but it was still warmer than it has been. The kids and I walked to our local health store for snacks, unaware of the craziness that would settle over our country in the next couple of days and that shelves would empty of food.


DSC_8717DSC_8730Sadly, there are many in our community, like us, who can not afford to stockpile and instead live week to week so we are hoping those who have the money or are running up credit cards will leave us some food for our next paycheck. Even if we had the money we wouldn’t be stockpiling the way others are because fear is a liar. We will make it one way or another. My parents are the stockpiling kind and have assured us we can have some cans of beans if it gets too bad.

In many ways, I wish we could go back to Monday when we were sitting on our front lawn with our biggest worry being that people driving by as the busses let out for school would think that my children were actually drinking beer, instead of the natural soda they were drinking.


In house news, we are busy packing and are supposed to be moved out, per our contract, by April 3.

To keep the escapism alive, I blogged more of A New Beginning this week and am keeping the rest of my blog posts for this week as light as possible.

So what are you reading or watching this week? Is the weather getting any warmer where you are? Feel free to let me know in the comments.