Book Review – The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

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I liked this book much more than I expected to. Normally when something is labeled romantic suspense, it tends to focus more on the romance and the mystery often isn’t really a mystery. With this book, the suspense built slowly, sometimes almost too slowly. I think this was intentional, though, to make you care about the characters and what happened to them, then add a clue to the mystery. The thoughts of the main character, Maisey, are scattered – but rightly so. She has had a complete upheaval in her life and she’s reeling. Returning home should have been a comfort to her, but instead, she keeps getting hit with one thing after another.
The wrap up was a little clean, but since this is the first book in a series, I hope that leads to more exploration of that and hopefully it isn’t as “tied up with a neat little bow” as it seems!

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Book Review – Love Me To Death

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The first thing you need to know is that while this is the first book in the series, it’s not the first book that introduced Lucy Kincaid. There is a lot of history that if you haven’t read the “Evil” series by this author you will not understand. It will take you a while to get caught up, it’s better to read those first.

This book shows us Lucy trying to move beyond what happened to and was done to her. She works as a volunteer at an agency that sets up sexual predators and gets them sent back to jail. Mysteriously, one of these men actually goes somewhere other than where he was to meet the undercover officer and is murdered. This sets a whole chain of other things into motion and soon Lucy is fearing for safety and moreover for her life.

This book moves quickly and I couldn’t put it down at the end – I had to finish it. A great read!

Book Review – Play Dead by Anne Frasier

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I loved this book!! It kept me guessing from beginning to end. At any given time, I had included or eliminated everyone as a suspect.

This is the first book in the Elise Sandburg series by Anne Frasier. In this book, we are introduced to Elise, a homicide detective in Savannah, Georgia. Because of her strange background, Elise is sensitive to all different kinds of spirituality, especially those things that come from black magic and the darker arts. And someone is murdering people who seem to have an association with the rumored queen of black magic (and prostitutes) in Savannah, Strata Luna. But before they are murdered, they are held in suspended animation by the use of TTX – kept like zombies, paralyzed but aware. Will Elise and her not-quite-all-there partner, David Gould, be able to find out what’s going on and who wants them all dead before it’s too late?

I got both the print and audio version of this book through Kindle Unlimited and both were great. The narration on the audio is spot on, even with a change in voices for different characters. I did stop listening toward the end because I wanted to read faster than the narration went, but that’s just me! I wanted to know what was going to happen next!

I am definitely reading the next 2 books in this series!

Review – CUEPIDO “Oomph-liner” HEALTHY WATERPROOF LIQUID EYELINER with Precise Eye Liner Brush (BROWN)

I was provided with this product at a discount in exchange for an unbiased review. Any opinions expressed here are my own and I was not paid for them.

This little eyeliner leaves a dark, distinct line and for that it is great. I will say that first off I am not used to really using eyeliner at all, let alone a liquid liner. It will take me some getting used to but it is totally easy to use and goes on smoothly. It was supposed to be brown, but it tends more toward the brown/black. Most definitely is waterproof since I wore it to an emotional church service and it stayed the whole service and the rest of the day!  If you are looking for a good liquid eyeliner, I would recommend you try this product.

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Hot Chocolate Muffins

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Made these for breakfast this morning – they are realllly sweet with the hot cocoa and chocolate chips, but they were really good! I think next time I make them I will sub coffee for some of the milk and back off a bit on the hot cocoa mix or use cocoa and up the sugar. I also didn’t have vanilla extract and I used amaretto instead. It gave them an interesting flavor that also makes me want to play with that a little bit.

from mrfood.com

Hot Chocolate Muffins

3/4 cup hot cocoa mix

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup mini marshmallows, cut in half

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine hot cocoa mix, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. Fold egg mixture into flour mixture just until mixed. Stir chocolate chips into batter. Evenly divide batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and top with marshmallow halves, cut side down. Return to oven 1 to 2 minutes, just to soften marshmallows. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Hand Written letters and cotton candy

Young Asian woman eating cotton candy in outdoor.

According to daysoftheyear.com, today is Hand-Written letter day and Cotton Candy day. Both of those things make me feel nostalgic. Hardly anyone ever sends a written letter anymore to say Thank You or just say Hi. I love the Christmas season because most all of the cards are signed personally and most people pen a little note as well. Because of this reminder, I’m going to resolve to write more letters, simply just to say Hi. Oh, and cotton candy is wonderful, but I don’t think I could handle that sugar hit so well anymore. It’s cute watching a little girl spin out a sugar high; not so much a middle-aged woman 🙂 But again, I would love to recapture that feeling, to act more like a kid sometimes. Life is too short to be so serious all the time!

The Three D’s of Organization

3 Ds of Organization

The 3 “Ds” of Organization

Feel like you have too little time to get anything done? Do you feel like you are being pulled in 100 different directions at once? Maybe being more organized and considering your priorities can help! It all boils down to these three “D’s” – De-clutter, Delegate and Do!

De-clutter – When everything around you is a mess and there is no organization, it makes it hard to stay motivated to get things done. Get rid of things you don’t need and make a place for the things that you do need. For example, if you pay a bill online, why would you need to keep the envelope for returning a payment? File the invoice in a dated file so that you know what day to pay that bill, make a note on your calendar for the date and amount or consider signing up for online billing where the provider sends you an invoice via email. Better yet, if you have the ability to do so, sign up for automated payment services.

Delegate – There is no way that you can do everything yourself. Give someone the tools to help you get things done and use that time to complete something more important to you. Of course you have to make sure that the task will be done effectively when you delegate, but once you have let it go, LET IT GO! So what if it doesn’t get done exactly the way that you would have done it, if it’s done, it’s done! This is important to keep in mind when you are delegating to friends and family. Remember the adage that housework done imperfectly is still housework done!

DO when you are Stronger – Almost everyone has a part of the day when they feel like they have more energy. Use that time when you are more energetic to get the most done. Don’t waste that time doing tasks that don’t help the overall goals. Think about your schedule and use that time to knock out several tasks that might take you much longer to do whenever you are fatigued. As an example, if you always find yourself folding laundry in the evening and it seems like you are never going to get done, consider doing it in the morning. If you find that you have more energy in the morning, switch that task to something that you do first thing in the morning and you won’t spend the whole day dreading it that evening. Plus it gives you a real sense of accomplishment to have items checked off your to-do list immediately!

A little thought to the time spent on tasks, which ones you can organized better, or which ones you can give away will really help you get yourself organized. Most of all, consider what is most important to you and make sure that always gets done first. Ultimately, even things done to 80% are still better than things never started because you ran out of time and energy!

Book Review – Chosen Prey by John Sandford

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Being this is the 12th book in this series, I knew what to expect from the characters. That said, I was still surprised by many of the things that happened in this book. It’s moving on toward winter and Lucas Davenport is uneasy. Not from the weather, but Weather does figure into it. From nearly the beginning of the book, you know who did it, but how they catch him and prove it makes for intriguing reading. If you like reading about how the police solve crimes and how sometimes the law actually impedes that you will love this series and especially this book.

I read this book as part of a reading through the series challenge on one of my groups on Goodreads. I’m likely going to be working on this series next year again since there are 10 more books!

Book Review – The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

I finished reading The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain today.

19286669This book was a Book of the Month on one of my groups on Goodreads. I have never read a book written by Diane Chamberlain before but I will likely go look for more. This book was really good.

Riley MacPherson has grown up believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide. She doesn’t know any of the circumstances surrounding the how or why, only the fallout that occurred in her remaining family following the incident. Now grown and facing cleaning out her father’s house following his death, she discovers that everything that she has believed to be true is not and that everyone is not who or what they seem. This book kept my interest throughout even though I had figured out some of the “secrets” before they were revealed to Riley.

I highly recommend if you like a good thriller that you read this book!