Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Places In Books I’d Love to Live

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Welcome to Tuesday! Hope you are having a great day so far. This week's Top Ten Tuesday is going to be so much fun. Have you ever wished you could live in some of the places you read about? Now, you can share what those places are. Will my places remind you of your favorite books? Will our lists look the same? Let's find out.

Top Ten Places In Books I’d Love to Live

After reading Lucy Maud Montgomery's beautiful descriptions in the Anne of Green Gables series and other books set on Prince Edward Island, I would love to visit. Sounds like a lovely place to live.

Don't you think Hogwarts would be an interesting place to live? You never know what might happen there. You live in a castle. You can even cast spells on your friends when they make you angry and turn them into toads. 

Thinking about all the amazing things Laura Ingalls Wilder saw in her lifetime makes early America a neat place to visit. I wonder which of the towns on Laura's travels I would like to live best. Maybe Walnut Grove, Minnesota or De Smet, South Dakota. I visited both in 2014. I'm not sure, however, I could live without indoor plumbing, so this would need to be a modern day move. 

As a lover of history, I would love to live in Charleston, South Carolina. All the evil spirts that follow Melanie around, however, would need to be gone first.

Though I am not sure I could handle the Australian heat, if they could outfit a place like Drogheda with air conditioning, I would give it a chance.

The small town of Sweet River, Oregon sounds like a charming place to live... especially for the holidays. Think of any Hallmark Movie Channel Christmas story and you will get the picture.

Another fictional small town I would love to live in is Cedar Cove. On the Pacific coast, this friendly little town would be full of fun adventures. I think I would enjoy working at the library.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is like a second home to us. We are so looking forward to this year's trip down the Atlantic coast to our favorite spot on earth. My hope is to retire down to the OBX one day. 

If I had to live on the west coast, a fictional town like Bear Creek, a small mountain community in the Southern Sierra, sounds like a fascinating place. Hiking would be a great pastime. Not sure I would want to run into the Hairy Man, though.

Considering that I am not Amish, this last one might be tough. Amish communities like Morning Star have always fascinated me. Hard work isn't an issue for me, but I think I would be happier in a more progressive community like Morning Star than some others.

So, what do you think of my list? Hope you will share your thoughts. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review: How to Overcome Insomnia All By Yourself by Antoinetta Vogels

Insomniacs searching for a way to help themselves will find How to Overcome Insomnia All By Yourself by Antoinetta Vogels a helpful resource.

Chapter by chapter the reader learns about the Sense of Self method that Vogels created based upon her own experiences and desire to cure herself of the inability to get a good night's rest. How self-image affects your sleep cycle, the importance of changing your behavior, how fear and anger impact our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, and more are found within the pages of this book. 

For someone like me who has struggled to get a good night's sleep for decades, I was eager to read about this outside of the box approach. Not that doctors aren't helpful, but sometimes more needs to be considered than take melatonin, set up a sleep schedule, and turn off the screen one hour before bedtime. The last year suffering with tinnitus has only made my insomnia worse. I look forward to putting the advice in this book into practice. 

This thought-provoking self-help book makes you consider the psychological aspects of your life that can impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Each chapter ends with a summary of the highlights, and the reader finds exercises and activities along the way. The various appendices explain different types of insomnia, psycho-emotional stress insomnia, and sabotaging your sense of self. 

Definitely a worthy read for insomnia sufferers looking for a different approach to tackle this issue. 

  • ASIN : B08T5Y299B
  • Publisher : Balboa Press (May 18, 2020)
  • Publication date : May 18, 2020
  • Language : English
  • File size : 503 KB

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Mar 29

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

We have come to the end of March. Most of it was mild, though we had some cold spots and a bit of snow. I finally took the driveway reflectors down. I have probably doomed us to a blizzard as a result, since it never fails that if I take them down or switch over my fall/winter wardrobe to spring/summer, the weather changes. 

My week was filled with appointments, a new listing, cleaning, and baking. The three-tier garden bed is now together. It rained this weekend, so hubby put it together inside the house. Theo (sitting in the chair in the background) supervised. 

This week I hope to get it placed in the garden and filled with dirt so that the potato tubers, carrot seeds, and bean seeds can go in.

I spotted the crocus in the mailbox garden on my walk with Theo today. Always nice to see first signs of spring.

I wanted to use up some fruit on Saturday, so I made banana bread and blueberry cake. I also opened the grill for the season and made steaks that night. 

As far as reading goes, look for my review of How to Overcome Insomnia All By Yourself later today. 

My review of Dog Band appeared at my children's book blog last week. 

I am reading these two. 

These are next. 

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

My physical mailbox has been a busy little place this week. All these are books for review. As you can see, I am not doing very well with my goal of not requesting virtual book tour titles. :) 

That is it from my neck of the woods. How are you doing? Are you ready for Easter? Are you celebrating with family? What's on your reading list this week?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Funny Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Happy Tuesday! I couldn't pass up this week's Top Ten Tuesday because given the last year we have endured, we all need a good laugh. Though I haven't read most of these, they qualify--in  my mind--in the funny book titles category. So, I give you...

Top Ten Funny Book Titles

Leave it to Judge Judy to come up with a title as clever as she is.

I really don't want to think much about the Zen of farting, but I can tell you that I once convinced my son he farted the color out of his boxers. Does that give you any indication of what motherhood has been like around here?

Growing old isn't for sissies. When I turned 50 and had to have my first colonoscopy, I figured I had suffered enough indignity for a decade.

I am not sure if this title is funny or just disturbing. 

I love cats. We have four, so what does that say? When we brought home Giggles, she decided it would be fun to pee on me in the middle of the night in my bed. Thankfully, she finally figured out the litter box. I couldn't resist sharing this one. 

Do we see a theme starting? Maybe the tennis elbow is making me feel older. 

I don't even care what this book is really about. The title is just funny.

There are so many things in my life I wish I could pretend never happened.

I used to read a lot of Erma Bombeck. One of the funniest authors I've ever read, she gave women someone who understood the often lackluster life of being a wife and mother and approached it with wit and humor. 

I have never before wondered how to run with a naked werewolf, but now I am a bit curious.

What did you think of my list? Do we share any of the same titles?

Monday, March 22, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Mar 22

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday and happy spring! I hope you had a nice weekend. Mine was filled with real estate appointments; it's that time of year. 

We had some nice weather this weekend, which looks like it will continue through the week. Good thing, because my potato tubers are on the way and I need to set up my three-tier garden beds. I need to swing by Home Depot for some dirt as well. 

Not much to report in terms of reading. I've been so busy with appointments that I didn't have a lot of reading time. 

On Friday, I posted my review of this book. It is so neat to see Jon Land take over this series. There is a giveaway running. 

I am currently reading these three.

Then I need to read these two.

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Nothing new in my physical mailbox, but I did grab this cute romantic comedy anthology that I have been wanting to read.

Meet the sassy ladies and their hunky heroes in this free romantic comedy anthology.

Whether you’re in the mood for enemies to lovers, second chances, small town romance, billionaires, strong females or opposites attract, we’ve got you covered.

All novels are full-length standalones and first in a series. This anthology will be available for a limited time only. 

Go on ten first dates with these laugh-out-loud romantic comedies:
Loved You Once by Claudia Burgoa
What I’m Looking For by Karen Grey
Love Under Construction by M.C. Cerny
Mixed Signals by Mia Heintzelman
On The Rox by Kat Addams
Moonshine and Magnolias by Abigail Sharpe
Too Tempting by Bethany Lopez
Love, Lacey Donovan by Jill Brashear
Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
Some Call It Love by Sarah Peis

Doesn't this one sound like fun? What is one of your favorite romantic comedies? 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Book Review & Giveaway: Margaret Truman's Murder on the Metro by Jon Land


A fast-paced, action-packed political thriller comes to you with Jon Land continuing Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes novels. 

On a beach in Caesarea, Israel Lia Ganz enjoys playtime with her granddaughter. Moments later, dozens of dead lay strewn across the sand as a result of a drone-based terrorist attack. Lia, also known as The Lioness of Judah, is officially back in action, launching a crusade against the perpetrators of the attack. 

That same morning, international private investigator Robert Brixton thwarts an attempted terrorist bombing on the Washington Metro. Little does he know, The Lioness of Judah's trail will bring her all the way to Washington, where she will join forces with him to uncover the link between the beach attack and thwarted bombing on the Metro, as well as the murder of the vice president. 

What Lia and Brixton uncover is a deadly plot with unimaginable consequences that puts them in a race against time to save millions of American lives. 

In the 1980s, I discovered books by Margaret Truman such as Murder on Capitol Hill, Murder at the FBI, and Murder in the CIA. Fascinating stories set in our nation's capital, they captivated me with their action and intrigue. Monument to Murder (the 25th book in the series) was published in 2011, three years after her death. The series continued with five additional books written by Donald Bain until his death in 2017.  

Masterful storyteller Jon Land brings new life to an already fabulous series with Murder on the Metro. I was first introduced to Land's work in 2013 with Pandora's Temple and Strong Rain Falling--the fifth of his novels featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. Never once has Land disappointed, so I had high hopes going into Murder on the Metro.

This novel drops you right into the action with the drone-attack in Israel followed by the thwarted bombing on the Washington Metro. What unfolds is an enthralling, spellbinding tale of a deadly plot with the potential to change the United States forever. From first page to last, the reader follows Land's characters to a thrilling conclusion. 

If you like fast-paced stories, tons of tension, plenty of intrigue, and the powerful struggles inside the capital, you must read Murder on the Metro. I can't wait to see what else Land comes up with for the Capital Crimes series. 

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: February 16th 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1250238870 (ISBN13: 9781250238870) 
Series: A Capital Crimes Novel, #32 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Washington, DC; the next morning


Not again . . .


That was Robert Brixton’s first thought when his gaze locked on the woman seated across from him in the Washington Metro car. He was riding into the city amid the clutter of morning commuters from the apartment in Arlington, Virginia where he now lived alone, his girlfriend Flo Combes having returned to New York.


Former girlfriend, Brixton corrected in his mind. And Flo’s return to New York, where she’d opened her first clothing boutique, looked very much like it was for good this time.


Which brought his attention back to the woman wearing a hijab and bearing a strong resemblance to another Muslim woman who’d been haunting his sleep for five years now, since she’d detonated a suicide bomb inside a crowded DC restaurant, killing Brixton’s daughter Janet and eleven other victims that day. He’d seen it coming, felt it anyway, as if someone had dragged the head of a pin up his spine. He hadn’t been a cop for years at that point, having taken his skills into the private sector, but his instincts remained unchanged, always serving him well and almost always being proven right.


But today he wanted to be wrong, wanted badly to be wrong. Because if his instincts were correct, tragedy was about to repeat itself with him bearing witness yet again, relocated from a bustling café to a crowded Metro car.


The woman wearing the hijab turned enough to meet his gaze, Brixton unable to jerk his eyes away in time and forcing the kind of smile strangers cast each other. The woman didn’t return it, just turned her focus back forward, her expression empty as if bled of emotion. In Brixton’s experience, she resembled a criminal who found strange solace in the notion of being caught after tiring of the chase. That was the suspicious side of his nature. If not for a long career covering various aspects of law enforcement, including a private investigator with strong international ties, Brixton would likely have seen her as the other passengers in the Metro car did: A quiet woman with big soft eyes just hoping to blend in with the scenery and not attract any attention to herself.


Without reading material of any kind, a cell phone in her grasp, or ear buds dangling. Brixton gazed about; as far as he could tell, she was the only passenger in sight, besides him, not otherwise occupied to pass the time. So in striving not to stand out, the young woman had achieved the opposite.


He studied her closer, determining that the woman didn’t look tired, so much as content. And, beneath her blank features, Brixton sensed something taut and resigned, a spring slowly uncoiling. Something, though, had changed in her expression since the moment their eyes had met. She was fidgeting in her seat now, seeking comfort that clearly eluded her.


Just as another suicide bomber had five years ago


If he didn’t know better, he would’ve fully believed he was back in that DC restaurant again, granted a second chance to save his daughter after he’d failed so horribly the first time.




Five years ago


What world are you in? Janet had asked a clearly distracted Brixton, then consumed by the nagging feeling dragged up his spine.


Let’s go.


Daddy, I haven’t finished!


Janet always called him “Daddy.” Much had been lost to memory from that day, forcibly put aside, but not that or the moments that followed. It had been the last time she’d ever called him that and Brixton had fought to preserve the recording that existed only in his mind resolvedly ever since. Whenever it faded, he fought to get it back, treating Janet’s final address of him like a voicemail machine message from a lost loved one forever saved on his phone.


Come on.


Is something wrong?


We’re leaving.


Brixton had headed to the door, believing his daughter was right behind him. He realized she wasn’t only when he was through it, turning back toward the table to see Janet facing the Muslim woman wearing the hijab who was chanting in Arabic.




He’d started to storm back inside to get her when the explosion shattered the placid stillness of the day, an ear-splitting blast that hit him like a Category Five wind gust to the chest and sent him sprawling to the sidewalk. His head ping-ponged off the concrete, threatening his grip on consciousness. Parts of a splintered table came flying in his direction and he threw his arms over his face to shield it from wooden shards and other debris that caked the air, cataloguing them as they soared over him in absurd counterpoint. Plates, glasses, skin, limbs, eyeglasses, knives, forks, beer mugs, chair legs and arms, calamari, boneless ribs, pizza slices, a toy gorilla that had been held by a child a table two removed from where he’d been sitting with Janet, and empty carafes of wine with their contents seeming to trail behind them like vapor trails.


The surreal nature of that moment made Brixton think he might be sleeping, all this no more than the product of an airy dream to be lost to memory by the time woke. He remembered lying on the sidewalk, willing himself to wake up, to rouse from this nightmare-fueled stupor. The worst moment of his life followed the realization that he wasn’t asleep and an imponderable wave of grief washed over him, stealing his next breath and making him wonder if he even wanted to bother trying for another.


Brixton had stumbled to his feet before what moments earlier had been a bustling café filled with happy people. Now, bodies were everywhere, some piled on top of others, blood covering everything and everyone. He touched the side of his face and pulled bloody fingers away from the wound. He looked back into the café in search of his daughter but saw only a tangle of limbs and clothing where they’d been sitting.


“Oh, my God,” he whispered, his senses sharpening. “Janet!”


Washington’s Twenty-third Street had been crammed with pedestrians at the time of the blast, joined now by people pouring out of office buildings and other restaurants nearby, within eye or earshot of the dual blasts. Brixton’s attempts to get closer to the carnage, holding out hope Janet might still be alive, were thwarted at every turn by throngs fleeing in panic in an endless wave.


“My daughter! My daughter!” he kept crying out, as if that might make the crowd yield and the chaos recede.




It wasn’t until Brixton reached the hospital that he learned Janet hadn’t made it out, had been declared one of the missing. Having served as an agent for a private security agency out-sourced to the State Department at the time, he knew all too well that missing meant dead. He had another daughter, Janet’s older sister, who’d given him a beautiful grandson he loved dearly, but that was hardly enough to make up for the loss of Janet. And the guilt over not having dragged her out with him when she’d resisted leaving had haunted him to this very moment, when instinct told him many on this crowded subway car might well be about to join her.


Thanks to another woman wearing a hijab, but it wasn’t just that. Brixton had crossed paths with an untold number of Arab women in the five years since Janet’s death, and not one before today had ever elicited in him the feeling he had now. She might’ve been a twin of the bomber who’d taken his daughter from him, about whom Brixton could recall only one thing:


Her eyes.


This woman had the very same shifting look, trying so hard to appear casual that it seemed she was wearing a costume, sticking out to him as much as a kid on Halloween. Brixton spun his gaze back in her direction, prepared to measure off the distance between them and how he might cover it before she could trigger her explosives.


But the young woman was gone.


Brixton looked down the center aisle cluttered with commuters clutching poles or dangling hand-hold straps. He spotted the young woman in the hijab an instant before she cocked her gaze briefly back in his direction, a spark of clear recognition flashing when their eyes met this time.


She knows I made her, Brixton thought, heavy with fear as he climbed to his feet.


He started after her, heart hammering in his chest, the sensation he was feeling in that dreadful moment all too familiar. He couldn’t help but catalogue the people he passed in the woman’s wake, many of whom were either his late daughter’s age or younger. Smiling, gabbing away on their phones, reading a book, or lost between their earbuds without any knowledge of how horribly their lives might very well be about to change. If he needed any further motivation to keep moving and stop the potential suicide bomber though any means necessary, that was it. Doubt vanished, Brixton trusting his instincts in a way he hadn’t that tragic day five years ago when he was still a de facto agent for the US government.


Janet . . .


In Brixton’s mind, this was no longer a Metro car, but the same restaurant where a suicide bomber had taken a dozen lives and wounded dozens more. And he found himself faced with the chance to do today what he hadn’t done five years ago.




Had Brixton barked that command out loud, or merely formed the thought in his head. Other passengers were staring at him now, his surge up the aisle disturbing the meager comfort of their morning routine.


Ahead of him, the woman wearing the hijab had picked up her pace, Brixton spotting her dip a hand beneath a jacket that seemed much too heavy for the unseasonably mild Washington, DC spring. His experience with the State Department working for the shadowy SITQUAL group, along with that as a cop, told him she was likely reaching for the pull cord that would detonate the suicide vest concealed under bulky sweatshirt and jacket.


If you could relive the day of your daughter’s death, what would you do?


I’d shoot the bitch before she had the chance to yank that cord, Brixton thought, drawing his Sig Sauer P-226 nine-millimeter pistol. It had survived his tenure with SITQUAL as his weapon of choice, well balanced and deadly accurate.


He could feel the crowd around him recoiling, pulling back, when they saw the pistol steadied in his hand. Several gasped. A woman cried out. A kid dropped his cell phone into Brixton’s path and he accidentally kicked it aside.




Shouted out loud for sure this time, the dim echo bouncing off the Metro car’s walls as it wound in thunderous fashion through the tube. The young woman in the hijab was almost to the rear door separating this car from the next. Brixton was close enough to hear the whoooooshhh as she engaged the door, breaking the rule that prohibited passengers from such car-hopping.




She turned her gaze back toward him as he raised his pistol, ready to take the shot he hadn’t taken five years ago. Passengers cried out and shrank from his path. The door hissed closed, the young woman regarding him vacantly through the safety glass as she stretched hand out blindly to activate the door accessing the next car back.


And that’s when she stumbled. Brixton was well aware of the problems encountered by this new 7000 series of Metro railcars after federal safety officials raised repeated concerns about a potential safety risk involving the barriers between cars that were designed to prevent blind and visually impaired people from inadvertently walking off the platform and falling through the gap. The issue initially was raised by disability rights advocates, who argued the rubber barriers were spaced too far apart, leaving enough room for a small person to slip through.


The young woman wearing the hijab was small. And she started to slip through.


Brixton watched her drop from sight an instant before an all-too familiar flash created a star burst before him. He felt light, floating as if there was nothing beneath his feet, because for a moment there wasn’t. The piercing blast that buckled the Metro car door blew him backward, the percussion lifting him up and then dropping him back down, still in motion sliding across the floor amid a demolition derby of commuters crashing into each other, as the train barreled along. Separated now from its rear-most cars, what remained of the train whipsawed through the tube with enough force to lift this car from the rails and send it alternately slamming up against one side and then the other.


Brixton maintained the presence of mind to realize his back and shoulders had come to rest awkwardly against a seat, even as the squeal of the brakes engaging grew into a deafening wail and his eyes locked on the car door that to him looked as if someone had used a can opener to carve a jagged fissure along the center of its buckled seam. The car itself seemed to be swaying—left, right, and back again—but he couldn’t be sure if that was real or the product of the concussion he may have suffered from the blast wave or upon slamming up against the seat.


Unlike five years ago, Brixton had come to rest sitting up, staring straight ahead at the back door of the Metro car currently held at an awkwardly angled perch nearly sideways across the tracks. He realized that through it all he’d somehow maintained grasp of his pistol, now steadied at the twisted remnants of the Metro car door as if he expected the young woman to reappear at any moment.


Janet . . .


A wave of euphoria washed over Brixton as, this time, he thought he’d saved her, making the best of the do-over fate had somehow granted him. The Metro car floor felt soft and cushiony, leaving him with the dream-like sense he was drifting away toward the bright lights shining down from the ceiling.


And then there was only darkness.


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