Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review of The Enemy's Son by Kristen James

Cora’s dad, Jerry, is the only person she has left of her family.  When she goes to meet him for dinner and is met by Nick, she knows something is wrong.  Although Nick was very attractive, it is not like her dad to miss time with her.
Jerry’s work has always been a mystery to Cora but when she goes to Keith’s house, Jerry’s boss, she is met with the unexpected.  Not only was Nick there, but so is Keith’s entourage of other family and other staff and they are holding Jerry hostage! 
Cora tries to put the mystery together and tries to figure out who she can trust.  Could Nick, Keith’s son, be after her too or is he trying to help her?  Can she save her father?
What I thought
The Enemy’s Son was FULL of excitement and action the entire way though!  It was a definite edge-of-your-seat page turner.  I think this book could easily be adapted into a movie and would appeal to both men and women with a perfect combination of action and romance.

Kristen can be contacted at

Find her on Facebook at

Monday, March 26, 2012

Reviews of 3 short stories by Betsy Miller

I met Betsy Miller on another blog.  She is mainly known for her non-fiction books including The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot and The Parents' Guide to Hip Dysplasia.  I was thankful for her trusting me enough to review 3 of her short stories.  They are:


As her husband lies in bed Michelle draws his body, or lack thereof, leaving negative spaces where his body lie.  These same spaces are an example of how she feels as she goes to the doctor after miscarrying her first baby.  Emptiness seems to surround her and she deals with the loss of her child, THAT child, as the doctor tells her that she is ok and can try again.
A beautiful story of loss told in sad metaphors.


Emily wants to feel happiness again.  As she takes a break from the refuge of her small apartment, she walks into a new diner, Jim’s House of Soups.  Being the only customer, she receives personal service from Jim himself.  Heexplains the unique menu items, particularly the Made to Order soup.  The two of them together build the perfect soup, which he prepares for her personally. Throughout the entire process, there is a pleasant tension between them.

As he brings out her soup, other customers eye the special soup and request the exact same thing. 

Do Emily’s choices have any power or weight?  Will she get what she wants?


Should Danielle run from Roy or join in his evening plans? 

Roy sloppily eats his meal and downs his beer while explaining his evening plans to Danielle, going to a cock fight.  He chauvinistically educates her in the definitionof a half and half, feeling that he is winning her over.  Danielle might have other ideas.

All of Betsy's short stories can be found at, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Sunshine Award

I am overwhelmed! 
I got a nice award from Tina at  Life is Good last week and I am a little slow on the uptake.  Tina is one of the A-Z Blog Challenge co-hosts and has been a great mentor for me not only with the challenge but with blogging in general.  Thank you Tina!  Since I am so incredibly self-conscious about my writing, I am truly honored when I receive such positive recongnition.  If you haven't signed up for the challenge yet, it's not too late.

The other good thing about receiving this award is that I get to pick further recipients, so I see it as a community building event with shout-outs to blogger buddies. I don't know about you, but I love getting new visitors.
I'm answering the following questions, then I get to link to some other bloggers to receive this award, too. 

Favorite color: Green, for several reasons.  I have green eyes so I tend to wear green a lot, plus I am Irish so I have to celebrate!  I am also environmentally conscious and green seems to be "The Color" for these issues

Favorite animal: Orca (Killer) Whales.  They are beauty and power in one HUGE package!  I am a collector of works by Wyland, an amazing underwater artist.  Part of my collection is a tattoo on my back of one of his paintings called "Orca Trio"

Favorite number: 7 Yes I know it's clique but I have always been facinated with the number 7 for some reason.  If I had to pick another number it would be 4.  No particular reason.  I just feel drawn to 7 and 4

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Cheerwine.  It's a cherry soft drink that used to only be available in NC.  I would try to drink my fill every time I visited and I had a friend who would bring me a case when he would visit.  Recently they have been bought out by Pepsi so they are found in local grocery stores :)  That makes me happy :)

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.  I have never used Twitter but I have found a lot of friends from various times in my life through Facebook and it has allowed us to reconnect both online and in person in some cases

My passions are: I have too many to name.  World Peace?  Seriously, I am passionate about the individuals with disabilities that I would with and trying to help them achieve their goals and dreams but I am also passionate about many other "causes".  Some include cancer research and various animal and environmental causes.

Getting or giving presents: I love to give gifts that I know is the "perfect" gift but I hate giving gifts out of obligation.  Same with receiving.

Favorite patterns: Patterns of what???  I like cross stitch patterns and musical scales (Ex. whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half for a major scale)

Favorite day of the week: Saturday!  I get to sleep in and have a full day for a fun activity

Favorite flower: I'm not really a "flower"Y person but I like anything native to Florida.  Blanket flowers are probably my favorite

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review and Tagged

Book review for ...

More Than Memories by Kristen James

Molly Anderson returned to Ridge City to try to put the pieces of her life back together.  She had been living in Northern California for the past few years without remembering anything from her past.  When her parents were killed in an accident, she wanted to figure out what was missing in her life.

Upon arriving at Ridge City, she went to the police department where she met Trent Williams.  She instantly felt connected and relieved that he agreed to help her.  She spent the next few weeks visiting popular places trying to trigger memories. With Trent by her side, she started putting the pieces together.  As she spent more time with Trent, she couldn't help but feel that he was strangely familiar.

Had there been a past connection between them?  How deep was the connection?  What happened when she moved away with no warning and no recollection?

What I thought
I loved every aspect of this book!  I thought the pace was perfect in how the story was unveiled.  The timing was fast enough to keep you enthralled and to want to continue reading more and more to find out what would happen to Molly and Trent. 

For More Information you can find the link on Amazon:
or visit Kristen's website at

Stay tuned for more reviews of Kristen's books!

And Now...I have been

 LindaK at Excuse Me While I Note That Down tagged me and after much deliberation I have accepted that I am "IT" .  Thank you Linda!  For those of you who are not familiar with her blog, you should go check it out.

So... I have to tell you ten things about myself and then tag ten more people.  Here's the tough part...
I have already "tagged" several people in one way or another over the past couple weeks for various activities so I don't want to wear out my humble following, but if anyone feels that they would like to play, please join the fun. 

Here goes, then!

1.  I am very self-conscious about my writing so I am incredibly thankful for the warm welcome I have gotten from the blogging community in just a few short months.  Thank you :)
2.  I'm a sucker for romantic comedy movies.  The Notebook and Titanic rank up towards the top of my list
3.  Reality TV is my escape from reality.  Hmmmm..... My favorites are American Idol, Amazing Race and So You Think You Can Dance
4.  My favorite food is blue crabs.  Have you ever had them?  Delicious!
5.  I don't have any children but I have a 13 year old chihuahua and 4 nephews.  That's enough for me!
6.  I am a childhood cancer survivor
7.  In high school, I was a deputy black belt in Tae Kwon Do
8.  I listen to all kinds of music from classical and Broadway to Rock and R&B
9.  I try to always fight for what is right, no matter what the venue.  It's my job :)
10.  I love to learn new things.  It's the thing that gets me the most excited

Your turn!  Anyone else who wants to play can consider themself tagged!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

I have always been an animal lover. 
Last year when I bought my house, one of the main attractors was that the backyard backs up to a farm.  There is a huge pasture with a cow, goats, pigs, and a rooster around the corner.  I have set up my office with a beautiful view.  I love watching them throughout the day.

Last week I went to let my dog out first things in the morning.  It was still dark and I saw flashlights and heard activity in the farm.  One of the goats had babies.  They were moving the mother and babies to another pasture on the other side of their house.  Every once in a while we can hear them but we can't see them.

Tonight when I came home, one of them was REALLY LOUD!  I went outside and saw this...

Later, letting the dog out again (It's a great excuse), the neighbors were moving the mother and baby.  Apparently this one was born TODAY!!!  How cute!  They had to move mom and baby to keep them safe from eagles until he grows a little.  I'm thrilled to have seen a day old baby! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Won The Versatile Blogger Award!

The Versatile Blogger Award

A big thank you to Armchair Squid for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award.  I am truly honored.  He has a great blog at Armchair Squid.  Go check it out!

Here are the instructions for the lucky recipients:

1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.

3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.

4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.

5. In the same post, include this set of rules.

6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

7 Random Things About Me:

1.   In the early 90s I traveled around the States, Russia, Belarus, The Netherlands, Germany, Prague and Denmark with The Continentals, a Christian music group, for 4 months.

2.   My family moved once in my lifetime, one street down.  My house is less than half mile from the second house where my dad still lives.

3.  I know this is going to sound strange but I do not like Ketsup and I am not a big fan of chocolate.  Weird, I realize!

4.  I am a Florida State football fanatic although I didn't go to school there.  I went to a music conference there in high school and fell in love with the school.

5.  I love to kayak and I try to go to the Nantahala River every summer where I have whitewater kayaked.  My boyfriend just finished building his third boat, which we took out today!

6.   Every year for Christmas, I cross-stitch ornaments for gifts to all my family.  I have been doing this for the past 14 years.  I have to start a few months early in order to get them finished and shipped in time.

7.   I am fascinated with Orca whales and would love to get more involved in anti-whaling campaigns such as Sea Shephard but I can't seem to find the time.  I think Orcas, also known as Killer Whales, have the perfect combination of beauty and power.

Now it's your turn.  And the nominees are:
Striving To Be Bold
Unloading my Brain to Fill it Again
Helping You Connect To Yourself
Stories in the Ordinary
Since You Asked...
Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice
Just Add Water, Silly
Susan Fields
Theresa's Trials of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
From Steph's Kitchen
Down the rabbit hole
Realm of Fiction
What Else Is Possible?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Too many choices...cell phone shopping

Today was my lucky day.  It was that special day that comes every couple years that makes me eligible for a cell phone upgrade.  I have been waiting in anticipation for the past week and decided last night to do a little research.  After looking online I thought I was all set.

Tonight I managed to get out of work early, drive 20 miles to the nearest store (yes, I live in a small town) and proceed to tell the salesman exactly what I wanted.
Well, I should have known these things never happen the way they are supposed to.  They didn't have the phone that I had decided on in stock.  (Of course not.  There was a free promotion).  They agreed to sell me a similar phone at a discounted price but why do that when I could order the free one online???

I drove back home disappointed with my old phone but ready to order the phone online.  I signed on as soon as I got home and started "chatting" with an online salesman who said that the phone I wanted was only free for new accounts.  So they will GIVE it away to someone who is a new customer but an established customer has to pay???  That makes NO sense!

At this point, I am completely lost.  There are so many choices and they all seem to do the same thing to me.  How do you choose?

He managed to talk me into the Droid Bionic which is 4G where the other one was 3G.  I don't know how much difference it actually makes but why not?

Now, I just have to wait for it...

Has anyone else had a "cell phone experience"?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


After spending 6 hrs with the animals in Animal Kingdom, we went to Epcot (another Disney park in Orlando)  Disney issues "Park Hopper" passes that allow you to go to multiple parks in one day.

I think Epcot is my favorite of the Disney parks.  The entrance is Spaceship Earth.

One section is Future World with innovative attractions and rides.  The other section is World Showcase with building constructed as famous buildings in several different countries with shops, restaurants, and attractions from various countries.

The day we were there was the beginning of the annual Flower and Garden show.  Here are a couple of the topiaries spread out around the park...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Day 2 of our tourism vacation was spent visiting two Disney Parks:  Animal Kingdom and Epcot

We were at the gates when Animal Kingdom opened and headed straight to the African jungle safari.  Unlike the famous Disney Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, the jungle safari has REAL animals.  Some of the highlights were Lions, Elephants and Giraffes.

Next we made our way to the rides before heading to the Asian part of the park.  In Asia, we saw my favorite, the komoto dragon, along with Tigers and Gorillas.

I have grown to not like animals being kept in captivity.  It is againts their nature to be trapped, although Disney does have nice habitats for the animals.  The part that bothers me is that in the wild, these animals travel miles, sometimes hundreds or thousands. 

This leaves me torn between enjoying the opportunity to see these animals up close and personal and being sad that they are not able to live their lives as they were intended.  They are all such magnificent creatures!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Time off for Tourism

I guess I have fallen off the wagon for the past week so now I am trying to catch up.
I have taken some much needed time off of work this past week to spend time with family visiting from out of town and to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday.  I thought I would be able to post during the craziness but it obviously hasn't happened.  It has been a whirlwind of a week!

I am lucky enough to live in one of the world's greatest tourism spots, Orlando.  Most of the time it drives me crazy.  Tourists clog our roads and have caused our area to grow far beyond what is comfortable for a nature girl like me, but at the same time it is fun to join in the adventure at times.

Wednesday we celebrated my boyfriend's birthday at Gatorland.  I had never been to Gatorland before and to be honest, never had a desire to go.  I grew up on a lake and had Gators on the banks of my neighborhood, so why would I pay to see a bunch of gators???  I was pleasantly surprised by the park.  Now only were there tons of gators, but there were also crocodiles and white gators that you just don't see every day.  That was fun!

Gatorland survived a fire at the entrance a few years ago so it is all the more special place to visit now.  The crocodile below survived the fire when he was found in the rubble.  Pretty special croc! 

The signature gator head at the entrance was also destroyed and this one was built to replace it.  It's not quite as big or realistic as the original, but still a signature part of the park.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Person Centered Planning

Today I finished another training of Person Centered Planning for my peers at work.  It has been a very good two day with many fresh ideas.  Such a refreshing change from the daily grind!

I started this training two years ago when I was asked by our state agency to co-train with the state trainer.  Although flattered, I am by NO MEANS a trainer but the material speaks for itself so I am more a facilitator.

The premise is to write a PERSON CENTERED plan for the individuals that we serve.  The different sections include:
What I want in the next few years
What I want this year
What I want now

What I want in the next few years would include your dreams for the future.  Ponder this thought for a minute...  When we hit a certain stage, so many of us become stagnant and comfortable.  How boring!
When I first started training this class, my goal was to write a book.

Insert plug here:  Check out my post on the A - Z Blogging challenge page for more info
AND SIGN UP while you're at it if you haven't already

What I want this year would be the "baby steps" towards achieving that goal.  The current baby step for me would be to complete the A - Z challenge.  That would give me practical writing experience to improve my writing skills.

What I want now could be something that has been needed for a long time and never seems to be happening.  For me, that would be quiet time.  Am I the only one that stuggles for this?

Non-negotiables could be anything in our life that we cannot live without.  For me, one thing would be COFFEE.  You aren't going to get much out of me without coffee.

So here you have it.  A two day training in a single blog.  If someone were to write a plan about you, what would it include?