Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

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Goodbye 2016. I know a lot of people are berating and moaning about this year. I agree that there were some tough times and sad losses. We lost a beloved family member earlier this year and he will be missed always.

 I'd like to focus on the positive, though. We made new friends this year and strengthened the bonds with old friends. We had a lot of wonderful family time together. My kids asked me start reading to them again each night at bedtime. For all of 2016 we spent almost every night - with only a few missed nights through the year - reading together. That is incredibly wonderful! My children are independent readers now and have been for some time. So, for them to invite me back in and ask for our nightly ritual of reading together to recommence means the world to me!

I don;t know what is in store for 2017 but I hope it is a year filled with positivity, wonderful opportunities and good health - for everyone!

Have a very happy and safe New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My favorite books this year

I read quite a bit this year but then I do every year as I am definitely a bookworm! I was looking at my 2016 Challenge on GoodReads and decided I'd do a Best Of post. So here, in no particular order, are the stand out books for me that I read this year:

1. The Obsession by Nora Roberts: 

“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.” 

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

I loved this book! It was creepy in parts but also so riveting and had such a wonderful love story! THis book is Nora Roberts at her best, in my opinion. 

2. The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd:

Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.

But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinarycements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.
 

This is a book I read with my kids earlier in the year. It's a wonderfully imaginative story about a girl who feels like a bit of a misfit in her own town and family. She has an amazing adventure with her best friend, a new friend and finds herself along the way. My kids have brought this story up several times this year and we've discussed it. We are looking forward to reading more by this wonderful author. 

3. Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb:

Nature versus nurture... 
 
The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

This is the 43rd installment in the In Death series by Robb and it's still going strong! This story is one of a serial mass shooter. It made my skin crawl and freaked me out considering the abundance of mass shootongs we've experienced in the past several years. However, the story is so fantastic that it kept me flipping pages long into the night when I read it!

4. Medical Medium by Anthony William:

Anthony William, Medical Medium, has helped tens of thousands of people heal from ailments that have been misdiagnosed or ineffectively treated or that doctors can’t resolve. He’s done this by listening to a divine voice that literally speaks into his ear, telling him what lies at the root of people’s pain or illness, and what they need to do to restore their health. His methods achieve spectacular results, even for those who have spent years and many thousands of dollars on all forms of medicine before turning to him. Now, in this revolutionary book, he opens the door to all he has learned over his 25 years of bringing people’s lives back: a massive amount of healing information, much of which science won’t discover for decades and most of which has never appeared anywhere before.

Medical Medium reveals the root causes of diseases and conditions that medical communities either misunderstand or struggle to understand at all. It explores all-natural solutions for dozens of the illnesses that plague us, including Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, hormonal imbalances, Hashimoto’s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, neurological conditions, chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease, blood-sugar imbalances, colitis and other digestive disorders, and more. It also offers solutions for restoring the soul and spirit after illness has torn at our emotional fabric. Whether you’ve been given a diagnosis you don’t understand, or you have symptoms you don’t know how to name, or someone you love is sick, or you want to care for your own patients better, Medical Medium offers the answers you need. It’s also a guidebook for everyone seeking the secrets to living longer, healthier lives.

“The truth about the world, ourselves, life, purpose—it all comes down to healing,” Anthony William writes. “And the truth about healing is now in your hands.”

If you or anyone you love has had to deal with illness this is a must read. This book is informative and fantastically eye-opening. It is full of information on the root causes of a lot of illness. Anthony William shares his knowledge about food as a healing force. I've put a lot of this into practice with my family and have already seen results. We will definitely be moving forward with the healing information found in this amazing book!

5. Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery:

With Joy, Love and a Little Trepidation, Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You to the Most Emotional Wedding of the Year… Their Mother's

Courtney

~ The Misfit ~ 


As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom's wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family's view of her—and how she views herself—forever. 

Sienna

~ The Free Spirit ~ 


When Sienna's boyfriend proposes—in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out loud—he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say "I do" even if she's not sure she does? 

Rachel

~ The Cynic ~ 


Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. As Mom's wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance, she's forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage failed, and decide if she'll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

I LOVE the Fool's Gold series by Mallery so decided to give this book a try when I saw it on the New Release shelf at my library! I'm so glad I did because it is wonderful! This is a story about sisters and their relationships with one another, their mom and the men in their lives. It's complex and funny and filled with love - romantic and familial. 

6. The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis:

If she has her way ...

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ...

This is the book I'm reading now. I'm almost done with it and have loved every moment of it! It's set at Christmas time but has SO MUCH going for it! I think this book could be read at any time of year and enjoyed!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Star Crossed square

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This is the first large square I have made in a long time! It's called Star Crossed by Helen Shrimpton and I love it! I need four more of these large squares to cover our King size bed. Then I will attach all the squares before deciding if I need one more row of six before doing the border. That means I only need four to ten more squares before the body of this giant blanket is complete. I'm so excited and really ready to see it complete!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Trouble with Mistletoe



Teaser Tuesday is newly hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read 

- Open to a random page 

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser. 

My teaser this week is from page 116 of The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis:

"You don't believe in true love?"

To his credit, he didn't brush off the question or try to tease his way out of answering. Seeming to understand how much it meant to her, he shrugged. "For some people, yes."

Monday, December 26, 2016

Musing Monday's: Books as gifts

 Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by The Purple Booker that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Did you get any good books for the holidays?

I did get good books for the holidays! I gave my husband and our kids good books, too! We're a reading family and books as gifts are always great, in my opinion! The Outsiders is actually my husband's book but I've never read it. So, once he's done with it I'm reading it! In the meantime, I'll read The Princess Diarist as my first book of 2017 in January.

Have you seen the gorgeous illustrations in the new edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Oh my gosh - the are AMAZING! 

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve

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A salty, sweet and crunchy treat for Santa when he comes later tonight! We also have peppermint triple chocolate brownies baking in the oven. They smell delicious! My youngest daughter wants to put peppermint frosting and sprinkles on them. I told her she can frost and sprinkle some of them but not all of them. It would be a bit much for me and I definitely want one of thos brownies. 

Have a wonderful, safe and jolly Christmas Eve - for those who celebrate Christmas. For all others, enjoy your holiday season and stay safe, as well. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Island of Glass by Nora Roberts



Teaser Tuesday is newly hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read 

- Open to a random page 

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser. 

My teaser this week is from page 47 of Island of Glass by Nora Roberts:

"Sometimes knowledge is its own reward." She said it dryly, believed it absolutely. "But if I can date this, and somehow authenticate it, we'd know when the queen was born, the stars created."

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Happy Elf

The Happy Elf is a sweet Christmas book by Harry Connick, Jr. My youngest daughter picked it out at the library yesterday and we read it together this evening. Apparently there is a Christmas special and a play based on this story. My kids and I will have to see what we can learn about these because we loved the book. Anyhow, here's a little something I found on YouTube:


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas books

Do you read Christmas or holiday themed books at this time of year? I do and I read the same to my kids. Now that they are older they have started reading the holiday themed books for themselves. We normally start right them right after Thanksgiving. Not so this year, though. In fact, I've been so busy I haven't even read as much as I normal since the end of October. However, this coming week will be all about the holiday themed books around my house. In fact, my youngest daughter and I went to the library today and she picked out several holiday books for all of us to read together over this next week. I'm about to finish Island of Glass by Nora Roberts. Then I will devote the next week (possibly even two) to reading books that relate to falling in love at this magical time of year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The power of a word

Words can be power -

Put into Action -

They become LIFE CHANGING!

I believe this to be true. The last couple of years I have noticed a lot of people choosing one word to focus their year on. I like the idea of this a lot. I've been thinking about this for a couple of days and decided I want my word for 2017 to be MINDFUL. 

Here is the definition of Mindful: Conscious or aware of something.

There is a website I love that is called Mindful and it states: Taking time for what matters.

So yes, MINDFUL is the word I want to concentrate on for the year 2017.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lights

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Christmas lights are beautiful, cheerful and soothing even when they're blurry.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lemon Ginger tea

I have a new love! It is for Lemon Ginger tea. It tastes delicious and has several health benefits, too! I Googled this information and it came up in this list format so I'm not sure of its origin so I can't site it. However, I'm fairly confident that I'm okay sharing this here. So, here are some health benefits of Lemon Ginger tea:

  • Say goodbye to diabetes: ...
  • Relief from indigestion: ...
  • Soothes pain, menstrual cramps, headache and inflammation: ...
  • Prevents nausea, cold and flu: ...
  • Ovarian cyst treatment: ...
  • Smooth and flawless skin: ...
  • Strong and beautiful hair:


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery



Teaser Tuesday is newly hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read 

- Open to a random page 

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser. 

My teaser this week is from page 69 of Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery:

Madeline knew that in a few weeks her life would return to normal and she would look back and wonder if any of this had actually happened. But until then, she would simply go with it and tell herself that washing dishes with movie star Jonny Blaze was just one in a series of memories she would bore people with when she was eighty. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Goal setting

I went to a writing workshop this morning. During the session we heard about goal setting and your core story. Both sections were really good but I want to focus on the goal setting. The speaker shared tips for making smart goals. Make them attainable and make them something you can control! For example, saying I will have a book published next year isn't so smart. I'm not in control of the agents, editors or publishing world in general. However, I can (and AM) say, "By March 31, 2017 I will submit two novels." I'm actually almost ready to submit one and will most likely do so by the end of December.

Another thing that was stressed during the workshop is to WRITE DOWN your goals! We are 42% more likely to achieve our goals if we have written them down! Isn't that amazing? I thought about this fact and realized that it is the absolute truth for me! Another truth - in general but also specifically for me - is to set a deadline!

I want to share three goals I have with a deadline of March 31, 2017:

1. As I said above, I will submit two novels to publishing companies.

2. I will attend the California Dreamin' Writers Conference that is taking place at the end of March.

3. I will write the first draft of a new book.

These are attainable goals that move me forward on my career path. How about you? Do you set goals and if so do you find that you are likely to achieve them?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: Island of Glass by Nora Roberts

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read 

- Open to a random page 

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser. 

My teaser this week is from page 26 of Island of Glass by Nora Roberts:

"I won't diss positive thinking. It's a good tool - as long as you're willing to back it up." Riley gestured. "We've got some room out there to train. More in the front, the forest side, but either way. We could set up a decent target range out there."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Homemade Christmas cards



My friend came over today and showed my daughter and I how to make our own Christmas cards. It was SO MUCH fun. We can't wait to do it again!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pretzel hugs



A delicious, sweet and salty treat that my kids and I made tonight. We also baked a bunch of cookies for a cookie swap. It was so much fun!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas crochet



I love crocheting by the glow of the Christmas tree lights. It's peaceful while also being productive.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello December



This is the photo from my 2016 calendar - not one I took myself. I love this photo, though! It is peaceful and festive at the same time. Even as I wonder how it came to be December so fast I am ready to enjoy this season with my family and friends. I hope you all are able to do the same!