Sunday Bookends: Rembrandt Stone and a short update

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

What I’m Reading

This past week I ended up skimming through a couple of the books I volunteered to read for book review tours. The one just was not good, the other one was good but just not my type of book.

Two books I read in the last couple of weeks that I enjoyed included:

A Convenient Risk by Sara Turnquist and Songs of the Storm by Kathy Geary Anderson.

Both books are historical fiction, which I don’t usually read.

I am reading another historical fiction, Saving Mrs. Roosevelt, by Candace Sue Patterson, for another book tour.


I am reading the last book in the Rembrandt Stone Series, Heart of Stone, for a book tour and for fun. I’d like to breeze right through it, but I’m also enjoying savoring it and don’t want the series to end. I’m having a hard time going to bed when I get into it, though, because I really need to know what happens and that it turns out okay. I might have it finished in the next couple of days as it is a fairly short, quick read.

Rembrandt Stone is a detective who comes into possession of a watch that takes him back in time to solve cold cases, but as he works to solve his cold cases he also tries to fix some other situations, resulting in a messed up timeline and his entire world being turned upside down. Even if you aren’t a fan of science fiction, you will like these books, I promise you. If you like suspense, intrigue, and romance, then you will really love these books.

Little Miss and I finished These Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder last week and started The First Four Years. I hope to finish Blood Brothers this week, which I have been reading with The Boy. It is about a Christian Palestinian and the challenges he faces as a child, as well as how he has fought for peace and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians for more than 50 years.

What I’m Watching

This past week I have been watching Irish R.M. with Peter Bowles. I had previously watched To the Manor Born with him, so I thought I’d check this one out as well and now I’m caught up in it. I guess you would describe it as a lighthearted comedy without laugh tracks. The characters are endearing and hilarious, especially the Irish who the main character (Major Sinclair Yeates) has come to be the magistrate for. Flurry is devious, but the charming character who is always getting the main character, the Major, in trouble either locally or with visitors.

In fact, most of the people of the town are usually trying to trick the magistrate in one way or another which makes for hilarious developments during each episode.

This show was very popular in the UK when it was on and apparently ran for a number of years.

What’s Been Occurring

We literally have been doing school and that’s about it. If anything exciting or halfway interesting happens, I’ll be sure to let you know in a future blog post.

What I’ve Been Listening To

I finally set up a playlist on my phone that features some of my favorite songs.

I thought I’d share a few of those today.

So that is my small update for today. How was your week last week? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: A day out, new books, and addicted to The House of Eliott

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

What’s Been Occurring

After our scary incident with Little Miss last week, we didn’t do much this week except take it easy and schoolwork. Little Miss didn’t have to do too much schoolwork on Tuesday, but we picked up our work the next two days and then both kids had Friday off for a family day. We used our family day for something simple — a trip 45 minutes south for some lunch from Weis Markets and playing at a small playground we all like near the store.

Our view on the drive.

This week it will be more of the same with schoolwork planned and then maybe a day out for the husband and I on the weekend for my birthday.

There is a science class being held later in the week for homeschoolers at a local camp about 40 minutes from us (probably a little less) that I plan to take Little Miss too as well.

What I’m Reading

I’m finishing up Anne of Green Gables this week and have also started a book for a book tour called Sunny: Book 1 of The Weather Girls.


I am also continuing to read Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson which keeps getting pushed back because of books I’m reading for book tours. I don’t have to have future books finished for another couple of weeks, so I hope to finish that book as well this week.

But it may get put aside again because I was just sent Blood from a Stone, the latest by David James Warren – the next book in the Rembrandt Stone Series. I am going to be reading it for a blog tour and I can’t wait to get into it after the cliffhanger in book four. This is the fifth book in the series and then we have one more book after this one before it is *sniff* all over.

Little Miss and I will finish The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder this week and are also continuing a book about Quacker Artist Benjamin West for her social studies/English curriculum.

The Boy is reading Know What You Believe by Paul Little for school and will move on to a different book in the next couple of weeks.

The husband is reading The Wheel of Time.


What I’m Watching

I’m completely hooked on The House of Eliott, a British drama on Britbox about two sisters who start a fashion business in the 1920s. I think there are only three seasons of it so I will enjoy it while I can.

I talk to the computer screen when I watch it. It’s sad.

“Oh, yeah, Arthur? You think so? Because I don’t. I think you’re going to be sent packing, you arrogant oaf.” (I didn’t actually say oaf, but it sounded funnier if I claimed I did.)

“That’s right, Sebastian. You’re going to Paris on your own because you are a total jerk.”

“Sheesh, Evie. You are so blasted dramatic. You’re seriously a big baby. Grow up.”

The kids look at me confused and I just say, “Oh, it’s just mommy’s show.”

Only I don’t really say “mommy” because both of my children stopped calling me mommy around the age of 3. One called me “mama” until he was 8 or so and the other one started calling me “Mom” in a very adult tone at the age of 2 and a half. It was creepy and still is.

The husband and I have also been watching Upstart Crow, a British sitcom about the life of William Shakespeare. It’s just the level of ridiculousness we need right now.


What I’m Writing

I’m working on the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles and this week things finally started to click. I got so into writing the story Friday that I wasn’t even very interested in looking at all the crazy, scary news. I have to keep writing so I know what happens to my characters. Say what? Yeah, sounds crazy. I’m writing the book, but I seriously have no idea where this one is going.

I mean, I know somewhat where it is going. I have some of it mapped out, but not all of it so it’s fun discovering who my characters are and what their stories are. I’m excited for this one. I think it might be a little different than the first two.

There will still be some romance, but romance isn’t going to be the main focus of this one – or will it?

Maybe there will be some romance, but it won’t be the same as a traditional “romance”, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, I am having fun writing it and I hope readers will have fun reading it.

I am sharing the chapters on the blog on Fiction Friday as I did with my other books. As usual these are rough drafts, of sorts, with typos, plot holes, that will be fixed and changed before the final book is published. You can find a link to the first two chapters HERE.

On the Blog Last Week

What I’m Listening To

I’ve discovered a new artist who doesn’t seem to have an album out yet, but I love her style. Victory Boyd.

Recent Blog Posts I enjoyed from Other Bloggers

Living Water: Our Story, Chapter 8

Thoughts and Hope for the Times

16 Mind-Blowing Uses for Coffee Filters

So that’s my week in review. Let me know what you are reading, watching, listening to and doing in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Rooms, Blooming Flowers, and finishing Harvesting Hope

 Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

As I wrote last week, I have been on a streak of posting on here and I think I’m on day 17 at this point. I’m not sure how long I will push the posting streak for, but I think I might aim for 20 days in a row and then stop. That will be Wednesday. I don’t think I’ll have much left in me after that, but we will see. I may not even have anything in the tank for these last three days. My little mind is a bit empty, which is not uncommon. Ha! Maybe some more blog post ideas will pop up and I’ll keep pushing on to 30 days. I doubt it, however.

Our flowers are in full bloom around our house. They are only here for a short time so I have been trying to enjoy them as much as I can. I’ve been taking photos to remember how beautiful they are. It’s so sad that they are only in bloom for about two weeks before they are all gone again.

The roses in the backyard have been in full bloom but yesterday I noticed they are also starting to fall away. The peonies have fully opened now ,and they will hopefully last for a couple of weeks before they are gone. I should learn more about how to plant flowers so I can see flowers all year around, but I’m not really great at plants.

My neighbor is wonderful at it, so I simply sit back and enjoy her flowers and reap all her hard work. She really is a hard worker too. Her and her husband are always in their yard, making it look beautiful. I admire them and maybe someday I can do the same. I won’t hold my breath, though.

I’ve been busy trying to finish up Harvesting Hope. Scenes for the story run through my mind constantly. I often think about giving up and not writing these books, but I’m simply having too much fun, even if no one reads them. That’s been my goal all along with writing – “just have fun.”

I hope to have the first draft of the book done this week and then start going through it for the second draft in the next couple of weeks.

I really need to finish this book because Ginny The Librarian has been screeching at me to finish her story. She is stuck in limbo right now. Liam Finley, the editor, would also like some happiness beause right now he’s a raging drunk, depressed newspaper editor in my head. Then there is Randi who lost her job in her field and is now back home in a dinky town applying for a job at her small town paper with before mentioned raging drunk at the helm.

And in the background, always, is Josefa, daughter of Jairus, raised from the dead by Jesus, literally. She was what kicked this all off and she’d like to know what life held for her after Jesus told her to rise.

What I’m Reading

I finished Rooms by James L. Rubart this week and it was different than most of the books I read, but it was really interesting and thought provoking.I considered abandoning it a few times. I am not a supernatural fan when it comes to books. In life, I am, of course. But in books I was getting a little annoyed with all the weirdness. Then, as I read, I got wrapped up in the weirness and I ha to find out what happened. I could not get this book out of my head and still can’t. It truly makes you think about God’s love for us, even when bad things happen or we make bad decisions. It makes you sit and ponder what God things of things you’ve done, mistakes you’ve made and hope he has the response that he does in Rooms. I am not sure in what category to place it in, other than speculative supernatural fiction.

The description from Amazon (a little long, but worth it to undertstand the unusual plot(:

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.

This week I am continuing an advanced reader copy of Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas, as well as The Heart Knows The Way Home by Christy Distler.

Little Miss and I have finished On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and we are now on The Farmer Boy.

What I’m Watching

On Friday I watched the replay of the K-Love awards, which are Christian music awards. I enjoyed every performance on there. Some of my favorite artists performed, including Danny Gokey, Cory Asbury, Elevation Worship, Zach Williams, Matthew West, Crowder, Kari Job and Cody Carnes, and Casting Crowns.

On Saturday, my husband, daughter and I went to see Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. It was a cute, family movie with less off-color jokes than some of the so-called family movies I see these days.

The theater we went to is about 45 minutes from our house and it is really nice inside. They have these large, black and white photo of old actors or scenes from old movie up on the walls. I had to take photos of two of my favorite actors, Paul Newman and John Wayne. And then The Philadelphia Story, of course.

At home I’ve been watching some Jonathan Creek, but not much else. I’ve been reading more than watching this week.

What I’m Listening To

This week I’m listening to Zach Williams, Crowder, Elevation Worship, and CeCe Winans.

What I’m Writing

I mentioned a little about my writing and what I’ve been working on, above.

If you followed the blog the last 17 days, you know I’ve written a lot. Probably too much.

This week on the blog I wrote:

A Book review of Amanda by Sarah Monzon

My To Be Read list just grows and grows and grows

Faithfully Thinking: Why aren’t some people healed?

Randomly Thinking: The Scarewoman, mouthy first-graders, and creepy Christmas music

Fiction Friday: Harvesting Hope (formerly The Father’s Sons) Chapter 14

Special Fiction Saturday: Harvesting Hope (The Father’s Sons) Chapter 15

So that’s my week in review. What have you been up to this week?

Sunday Bookends: To Kill A Mockingbird, awful disaster movies, royals, and slow spring days

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing.

***

Happy Mother’s Day for those who are mothers, had a mother they cared about, or who are spending a mother’s day remembering their lovely mothers.

What We’re Reading

The Boy and I have been reading To Kill A Mockingbird. He’s halfway through and I finished it this weekend. To make sure he finishes it by the time we finish school in three weeks, I purchased an audible membership so he could listen to it as well as read it. It’s narrated by Sissy Spacek.

Anyone who says To Kill A Mockingbird is a racist book has obviously never read it. Using the “n” word does not make a book racist. I’m guessing too many people got to the first “n” word, but it down and never got to the parts where it is clear Atticus and many others in Maycomb, Alabama are not racist. Using the word and many other references to black people made the book painfully real, painfully raw. Without it, it wouldn’t have been clear how the people of this county in Alabama looked at black people as less than human, which is why they were so willing to put a black man on trial for a crime he didn’t commit.

Have you ever read To Kill A Mockingbird? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments. If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to do so. It is considered a classic for a reason. Reading it again as an adult had an even bigger impact on me than it did when I read it in 7th grade (on my own, I might add.) I cried as a teenager over the injustice of it all, but I practically bawled as an adult.

I may write a book review on this next week, if I can stop crying.

Besides reading that this weekend, I also started The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

and I’m still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery). I’m not reading the Longmire book slowly because it is bad. Quite the opposite. It is very, very good.

I wanted to finish To Kill A Mockingbird first, because it is a very good book and I needed to for my son’s English, and I’ve been writing Harvesting Hope (new name for The Farmers’ Sons) so Walt Longmire has been pushed aside a little.

I’m also reading Rooms by James Rubart this week because at the end of the week I am going to be “attending” a author workshop with him as the main speaker. It is all on Zoom. I’m sure I’ll update my blog readers about that next week.

I hope to get to The Number of Love by Roseanna White this week as well, but I had to move Rooms up so I would at least now wat James is talking about during his keynote speech.

What We’re Watching

This week we tried something different by watching Prince Charles Inside the Duchy of Cornwall on Acorn TV (through Amazon).  If you don’t know what a Duchy is, (because I didn’t either), it is an area of land run by a Duke or Duchess. On that land are towns, small businesses, and various small farms.

The description of the show from the AcornTV website:

Prince Charles provides exclusive access to the royal lands that have belonged to successive Prince of Wales for 700 years I this moving, candid, and humorous observational documentary. Established in 1337, the Duchy of Cornwall is today a vast, varied estate of rolling farmland, visionary housing development, and even parts of inner-city London that embody the prince’s sustainable philosophy.

The two-part documentary gave my husband and I a completely different look at Prince Charles, also known as the Duke of Cornwall. I don’t know about some of you, but when I was growing up Charles was often painted as the bad guy while Princess Diana was considered sweet, demure, and innocent. Charles cheated on Diana with his first love Camilla (now his wife), but listening to him talk during this documentary I couldn’t imagine him as evil or emotionally abusive. It gave me a more complex view of him and the entire situation, actually.

Charles’ estate in Cornwall helps pay for the royal family’s expenses, as well as various charities.

In addition to learning more about Charles and his work, we also got the impression from the show that the royals do have to work for their money. I think most Americans believe royals are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and never have to work for the lavish lifestyles they have. It’s clear from this special, and others I’ve seen, they do work and are under extreme pressure at times.

Last night we were looking for a film to watch as a family. When my husband came to the preview of The Towering Inferno and I saw that Paul Newman (my favorite actor. Swoon! ) and Steve McQueen (more swooning!) were in it together, I said, “Yes! This is the film for us!”  

My son said, “Mom. Eww. And how old are these guys now?”

“They’re dead,” I responded.

“Oh mom. That’s disturbing.”

My husband was like, “Watch all the people who are in this. You’ll be surprised by one.”

And then there was his name: O.J. Simpson and after him, Robert Wagner.

“Wow,” I said. “It’s a movie with all the wife killers.”

If you’ve never seen the movie, you haven’t missed much. I wouldn’t rush to watch it unless you need to have a good laugh and cringe more times than people at a Justin Beiber concert.

At one point The Boy said, “why do all the blond women at this party have the same hairdo? They look like a bunch of Lego women.”

A man stumbles out of an elevator on fire, into a party scene, at one point and I quipped, “Wow. This party is lit.”

A building 135 stories high with bad wiring and no safety protocols? What could go wrong? This is NOT a movie to watch if you, or anyone you know, were near the World Trade Center in 2001, however. There are a couple of very triggering scenes that brought memories of that day even to my mind. We almost turned it off, but there were too many illogical and giggling-inducing bad acting moments to make the movie too upsetting.

Apparently, there are a series of these disaster films, so I told my family I think we should watch all of them over the next few Saturday nights. We need a good laugh and to question again how these high-quality actors ended up in such horrible films.

I have also been re-watching the first three episodes of The Chosen with my son (for his Bible lessons) and my mom and then Dallas Jenkins announced that episode four is debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. I’m very excited for episode 4 because I believe it’s about the man at the pool who Jesus heals and tells to pick up his mat and go be well.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote about taking more breaks from news (and I did really well this week, by the way. I hardly looked at news at all and it was so nice.). I also challenged all of you to do the same if you don’t already.

On Tuesday I shared photos from April.

I shared a book review for Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery and In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas for the rest of the week.

On Friday, I shared another chapter from The Farmers’ Sons which I have now renamed Harvesting Hope and announced that the book version of it will be out this summer (most likely the end of July).


What I’m Listening To

I am listening to the live album by Needtobreathe and a new album by Elevation Worship. Here are a couple of samples of those. They are both available whereever music is streaming.

What’s Been Occurring

We have not been doing anything very exciting lately. We’re such boring people that going to a doctor’s appointment is the highlight of our week. I’m not even 70 yet. A couple of weeks ago we traveled 45 minutes to pick up my son’s new glasses and made it a family trip. This past week we traveled 30 minutes for an eye doctor appointment for me and for the first time in 30 years, my prescription wasn’t increased. I also avoided bifocals, but just barely, and after I got back to the house and tried to type on my computer, I thought about how I might should have asked for the bifocals after all.

Last week my kids enjoyed playing outside at my parents, rolling in the grass after I told them I didn’t want them in the grass because I was worried about deer ticks. Oh well, at least they had fun and when we did a tick search that night we didn’t find any, thankfully. It’s weird to have to worry about ticks now because when I was a kid, we were never told not to roll in the grass because of ticks. We were never told not to roll in the grass period, unless we were wearing a nice Sunday dress.

So, that’s my week in review. How about yours? What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments or link to a blog post where you shared your week.

Sunday Bookends: Reading classics, my son’s various costumes, and spring may stay around for a bit

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about What I’m Reading, watching, writing, listening to and doing.

What I’m Reading

Little Miss and I have finished quite a few Marguerite Henry books now including Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy: Misty’s Foal, Sea Star, King of the Wind, and this week we will finish Black Gold.

We abandoned the White Stallion of Lipizza because it was fairly slow. We may go back to it later, but this week I hope to start reading either Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables. I am actually reading a hard copy of Anne of Green Gables that I picked up years ago from Barnes and Noble. The old-fashioned looking cover and style of the book attracted me, but I put it on a bookshelf for probably 15 years before I ever actually opened it last week. I always loved the movie with Megan Fallows but I don’t think I ever actually finished the book, so I plan to read a few chapters a week and savor it.

The Boy and I are reading To Kill A Mockingbird during the week and unlike the other books we read this year, this one hasn’t felt like I’m being forced to read it. I’m actually enjoying this book and look forward to reading it after my daughter goes to sleep each night. I enjoyed the other books we read, but sometimes I had to force myself to sit down and get through the assigned chapters. Actually, once I got into Silas Marner, I looked forward to finding out what happened. For Lord of the Flies, I knew nothing good was going to happen, so I actually dreaded continuing on.

Lord of the Flies was not part of any of the set curriculum we had this year. I chose it on my own because I felt it was an important book for him to read and he might enjoy a book about young boys who go wild on a deserted island. Instead, we both ended up somewhat depressed after reading it and longed for something slightly less depressing. Which is why I chose To Kill A Mockingbird. Why, yes, that is sarcasm. Why do you ask? Really, though, To Kill A Mockingbird, even with its eventual tough subject is a little more cheerful at times than Lord of the Flies.

I know many people say To Kill A Mockingbird should be banned because it is “racist” since it uses the “n-word” more than once, but I am smart enough to recognize that Lee is telling this story from the point of a child who was taught to use the n-word by the culture she was in. Lee isn’t saying the word should be used, or that it is right. We are using the book as a learning opportunity and others should do the same.

This week I might delve into a couple lighter Christian fiction book as well. I just finished a Christian novella for an author. I enjoyed it but it ended much too soon. Now I know why my novella is my least popular book. Well, it could be the least popular because it isn’t good, but I also wonder if it is because it is so short. For the book I was reading, I was just getting into the characters and the book and then it ended rather abruptly. My first book did the same, however, so I can’t say much.

In between all the fiction I am also reading Beyond Order 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson.

What I’m Watching

We have been watching a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond on Peacock. We’ve had some bad news in or around our family lately, or simply in the news, so I have needed comedy.

I watched an independent film this week on Amazon called The Ultimate Life. There is another movie called The Ultimate Legacy and they both have similar themes. The Ultimate Life is about a billionaire who learns he needs to rearrange his priorities in life after he reads his grandfather’s journal. The Ultimate Legacy stars the same actor, Logan Bartholomew, but he is a rich young man who can’t get his inheritance until he completes several steps she sets up in her will. Both movies are by the same studio and are listed under faith and spirituality. They are clean. They are also both fairly well written and acted.

I also watched a Miss Marple episode from the 2005 series and did not enjoy it. I’m too much of a fan of Joan Hickson from the 1980s series. The lady in this series was way too creepy. She looked like she was zoning out or something. And some of what she said made her sound like a serial killer herself.

What I’m Listening To

When I do have time to listen to music, I have been listening to a lot of worship music lately.

I also listened to Jeannie Robertson when going to bed a couple times this past week, but I’ve been falling asleep fairly fast so I don’t catch a lot of it. If you aren’t familiar with Jeannie, she’s a hilarious older lady from North Carolina who talks about a variety of subjects. I will leave a YouTube clip here for you so you can have a sample of her style of comedy (which is light, laid back, and is drawn from her everyday life.

What I’m Writing

I did not write other blog posts this past week, mainly because I felt depressed about the state of the world and had no real ideas on how to share anything without sounding depressed. I have drafted a Randomly Thinking post for this week and I’m sure I will come up with other topics to blog on this upcoming week as the weather is set to be as warm and nice as last week.

I have been working on The Farmers’ Sons and shared a chapter from that on Friday. I am not sure I will stick with that title for the final book. If any of my readers have an idea for a book title, let me know. I will be sure to mention you in my acknowledgements. *wink*

What’s Been Occurring

My son picked up a medieval helmet last week. He was absolutely thrilled when it arrived and walked downtown with his friend to pick up a pizza. Other people enjoyed seeing at as well, including a man who slowed his car down, pointed at my son and yelled, “Awesome mask!”

My husband said he thinks people just need to be cheered up these days and see something funny and light because he witnessed similar responses from people on Saturday when he and my son went to see a movie (their first in over a year) at a small theater near us and my son wore the helmet inside. My son said a little boy watched him either in horror or awe as he shoved the straw of his drink through one of the holes in the helmet to drink while he waited for the movie to start.

One man stopped him in the Aldi’s parking lot and asked to take a photo with him.

The Boy has always loved dressing up and going out in public. I’m surprised he still enjoys it, since he’s become a bit of a recluse as a teenager. At the start of all this virus craziness, he purchased a Plague Doctor Mask and went into stores wearing it instead of a regular face mask.

As a little boy, he loved to dress up as Ninjas or superheroes and go with me to dentist appointments or the store. When he was about 3-years-old, I took him to the local supermarket dressed as Ironman. He got away from me at one point, racing down an aisle. I grabbed what I needed to off a shelf and turned the corner, expecting him to be in the next aisle. He wasn’t. I started to panic and began looking up and down the aisles. I was in the bread section when a voice came over the loudspeaker.

“We have a young Ironman at the front of the store if anyone is missing him.”

Oh boy.

I headed up to the front and was informed they had tried to get him to tell them his name, but he’d only yelled out “repulser blast!” held his hand out and pretended to blast them with the toy blasters on his hands.

The staff seemed mainly amused by the interaction. One seemed a little annoyed, but he apparently had no sense of humor.

We finally tried to curb his costume wearing when he started wearing a Deadpool mask, without really understanding who Deadpool was, other than he was “cool” (Deadpool was way too rated R for him then and still is now, both in the comics and the movies), and yelling at people who thought he was Spiderman.

“I’m not Spiderman! I’m Deadpool!” he screamed at an elderly lady one time.

Yikes.

The Boy cringes now that he was ever so rude, but he was about 6-years-old. We had a good talk about it and he never did it more than a couple of times.

Little Miss isn’t as thrilled with dressing up in public.

She and I were able to get to the playground a couple of times this past week thanks to the warmer temperatures.

I would like to take her to a larger playground, but she is quite happy with the very tiny one in our little town, so we drive down the hill and push her on the tire swing and swings for a while and come home. Works for me.

Thanks to the nice weather we were also able to have Easter at our house with my parents (steaks on the grill instead of a our traditonal Easter ham) and held an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the backyard.

So that’s my week in review. How was your week? What are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Spiritual Suspense Thrillers, All Agatha Raisened out, and ‘guy films’

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

This week was even less eventful than last week, and I’m fine with that. The weather was nice most of the week, but we are supposed to have cooler weather again next week, which we are not looking forward to.

I am planning a small spring break for the kids starting on Good Friday until the Tuesday after Easter. I could have made it longer, but it’s going to be cold next week and the fewer breaks we have, the quicker we can finish our school year. In Pennsylvania we have to teach 180 days, the same amount of days children in public schools attend.

What I’m Reading

I finished Dark of Night by Carrie Cotton this weekend and really enjoyed it. I posted a review of it last night. It is a fast-paced Christian fantasy/suspense novel with a powerful message. Check out the review for a description and my thoughts on it. It took me a while to finish it because I had reading assignments to finish with The Boy.

I am continuing to read To Kill A Mockingbird, which my son and I are reading for his English class. I am thoroughly enjoying it and breezing through it. I read it in eighth grade and have always listed it as my favorite book but, honestly, there is so much about it I forgot. Scout is awesome and reminds me so much of my daughter it’s scary.

Little Miss and I are reading White Stallion of Lipizza at night before bed.

What I’m Watching

I’m giving up on Agatha Raisin because, well, the storylines and characters have gone a bit stale for me. Plus, they kept removing characters and not explaining where they went, and I found that annoying. It didn’t help that I tried to read one of the books and was very disappointed.

For Saturday’s family movie night we watched something a little different for us, Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw. It was . . . well, fairly good, but more of a “guy film” in some ways. I was going to write that at least I got to see Dwayne Johnson with his shirt off, but honestly he’s too muscular for me. Yes, there is such a thing as “too muscular.”

I haven’t really picked anything else to watch at this point. Maybe this week when we are stuck inside in the cold weather again.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been working on The Farmers’ Sons this week. I shared Chapter 2 on Friday.

I also shared some Random Thoughts on Thursday.

I also re-edited and re-released A Story To Tell on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited this past week.

It was nice of Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs to post a review for The Farmer’s Daughter on her blog this week. I also received a couple of nice reviews on Amazon.

So that’s my (short) week in review this week. How about you? What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing this week? Let me know 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: The Moonstone, Finally reading A Classic, Bookstore Bliss, and Warmer Temperatures Come Upon Us

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s been occurring

The weather has finally started to warm up and has helped to take the foot and a half of snow we had left on the ground to about 8 inches. I can see the corners of my garden boxes now and there is grass peeking out of the snow on a hill on the other side of town. We’re hopeful to see the grass in our yard for the first time in two months.

Our cats seem to have some sort of cabin fever. They’re so bored with looking at the snow they now come into the bathroom when I’m taking a bath and just stare at me, which is creepy. Pixel is getting used to Scout, the kitten we brought home in August. She still doesn’t love her, but she tolerates her and Pixel is either enjoying chasing Scout or is hoping to kill her. I’m not sure which.

My animals have teamed up now too. Pixel and Zooma did it before, but now Scout gets in on the action when she can. Pixel is very adept at opening doors and if Zooma wants to get in a room, Pixel finds a way to open the door for her. My daughter has a door that slides open and closed and in the morning, when I get up for my third trip to the bathroom, either I or my husband close it to keep the animals from waking Little Miss up too early. Pixel knows how to open the door so she slides her paw under it, moves the door and Zooma runs in and jumps on the bed for cuddles. Scout seems to be learning how to do the same thing from Pixel because my husband found her in my daughter’s room one morning after he’d already closed the door.

On Friday we took a family trip to a book store. Yes, we are that boring. We live in a rural area and there aren’t a lot of malls or bookstores around us so we took a 45-minute trip to eat at a Cracker Barrel and walk around a Books-A-Million at a small mall down the road from the restaurant. I had been wanting to go to this store since my husband visited it and sent me photos. So many books in one place! I haven’t been to a bookstore in years but my husband and I used to go to Barnes and Noble near our old home (near in this area means a 30 minute drive), walk around, look at books and sip coffee (coffee for him, milk and sugar with a splash of coffee for me) so this brought back memories.

When we walked in to this store I seriously almost cried to see so many books. I kept going, “Oh. Oh. Oh it’s amazing.” I don’t know if I am sheltered or what but the idea of so many worlds under so many roofs was exhiliarating to me, especially since I have gotten back into reading again in the last couple of years. The Boy was embarrassed by my exuberance and wandered into the fantasy section so no one would know we were together.

I couldn’t find a section for Christian fiction and thought they might have slid them into the regular fiction section, or removed them all together, but a half an hour into our exploration of the store (it was fairly large), I found an entire corner dedicated to “religion”, which was mainly Christian-based books.

There were four or five sets of shelves of journals, Bibles, devotionals, Christian living books and an entire wall of Christian fiction. Sadly, since I found the section so late, I didn’t have as long to peruse the books as I would have liked. Print books are so expensive anymore ( trust me, I know why — when I price mine on sites, you have to set them high or you will make next to nothing as the author from their sale), but I did find a used copy by a new-to-me author, Nancy Mehl.

I also grabbed a couple of bargain classic books. I originally had a larger pile, but we have bills so I put two back. I grabbed Emma by Jane Austen and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and I was going to buy Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but for financial reasons (like I was trying to spend too much on the week before we pay our mortgage) I put that one back, hoping I’ll still be able to buy them after all the ranting and raving some in our country are doing about what is racist and what isn’t. I want to make sure I have these books in print in case some try to ban them and in case Amazon decides to remove them from my Kindle, which I learned this week they are doing with books they have deemed “unacceptable.”

What I’m Reading

It seemed like a good transition to move from the bookstore visit to what I’ve been reading. This week I finished Sweeter, a book by an indie author, Jere Steele. It was a nice, easy-going and light read. I’ll have a review for it on the blog later this week.

I enjoyed Sweeter but decided to switch to Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson for a little more grit and suspense. I shouldn’t read Longmire books before bed, though, because then I have very intense dreams about being chased or trying to solve a murder in Wyoming.

I will probably start Emma this week as well to keep me to my plan to read more classics this year.

Little Miss and I are still reading Stormy: Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry. This book is a little tougher than some since it deals with the aftermath of a winter storm that wiped out more than half the pony population of Assateague Island. I’ve been skipping the many references to “airlifting dead ponies off the island” and instead reading “lifting debris off the island.” I don’t think the 6-year old needs to go to sleep picturing dead ponies being dragged onto the backs of trucks.

The Boy and I took a break from reading The Lord of the Flies this week, but will pick it back up on Monday.

What I’m Watching

We’ve been watching The Muppets and Friday we watched episodes with John Cleese, Peter Sellers, and Steve Martin. I loved all three but enjoyed Sellers the most. He was such a versatile talent.

We also went back to Doc Martin this week. We started season 4 and I don’t know if I will enjoy these later seasons as much as the first. I’m finding Louisa annoying and sort of want to throttle her and hug her all at the same time. Continuing on the British show theme, I started Agatha Raisin this week on Acorn TV and enjoyed the first episode. I will not, however, watch this series with my kids. It is not graphic so far but there are some adult themes featured that I’d rather not discuss with them.

What I’m Writing
Last week I shared some random thoughts, but not much else. I shared some photos from February as well. I have a few posts lined up for this upcoming week, however. I am also working on a couple of fiction stories, The Farmers’ Sons (notice the name change there. I had meant to change that before. It’s a book about at least three farmers’ sons, maybe a couple of more), and Lily. I may share the prologue of Lily sometime in March, but I’m not sure I’m ready to share this one yet. It’s going to be a tough one for me, dealing with some tough topics, but I still hope to have some joy in it.

As I mentioned Friay, The Farmer’s Daughter, is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Scribd, and Smashwords.

For blog readers, I am offering the first two chapters free HERE.

I shared photos of our week yesterday in the February recap post, but here are few from the past week.

The hills are bare but still pretty impressive from this overlook. Our area isn’t called the “Endless Mountains” for no reason.
My dad decided to take us up to the overlook on this road, covered completely in snow. The higher we got the more snow was on the road and I was starting to get nervous, but Dad has a 4-wheel drive truck so he seems to think he can go wherever he wants. Luckily we made it down the road safely.

So that is my week in review, how was yours? Let me know in the comments!



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.