Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When I Met The BYU Coaches

photo credit: arbyreed Cosmo via photopin (license)

Most of you know I am a big BYU fan and my BYU Cougars basketball team beat #1 ranked Gonzaga on their home court last Saturday. It was an amazing game!

Earlier in the day, though, I was attending my son's championship basketball game, and as I approached the gym, a man was coming out and held the door open for me. It was Kalani Sitake, the BYU football coach! I love BYU football as well, and have enjoyed watching Sitake bring a fresh energy to the team. As I passed him, I admit, I really wanted to ask for a picture, but felt super awkward, so I just thanked him instead.

That very same thing happened with Dave Rose, the BYU basketball coach, last year when he held a door open for me on campus. He had a kind smile and while I wanted a picture, I was too shy to ask, so I just thanked him, too.

So, while I watch these coaches do great things with the BYU athletic program, I'm a little sad that I was too chicken to ask for a picture. My kids would have thought it was so cool! But the one thing I do think is worth noting to my kids---with or without a picture---is that in both instances these men were being gentlemen and holding a door for a lady. That's an example they can look up to.

Have you ever wanted a picture with someone and been too afraid to ask?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Review: Frindle

Our family has been reading a really cute book called Frindle, by Andrew Clements. It reminds me a lot of The Great Brain. So cute!

We first meet Nick Allen. He has charisma and knows how to play the school system. If the bell is about to ring and the teacher is handing out a homework assignment, well, ask a lengthy question (one that's good) and distract the teacher so there's no homework! Find a way to make sounds travel in class so the teacher never knows where it's coming from. The funny lists of Nick antics are endless. But then Nick gets to fifth grade and Mrs. Granger's class. She loves words and dictionaries and when Nick tries to pull his trusty stunts on her, she beats him at his own game. But soon, Nick has invented his own word, Frindle, and it catches on like wildfire. And then more hilariousness ensues.

My family loved reading this book together. It was cute and had a fresh and unique perspective on school that made us laugh. I loved the play on words and making up a new word. That was fun to try ourselves! A great before-bedtime read with a sweet ending.

Here's the back copy:

Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school -- and he's always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he's got the inspiration for his best plan ever...the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn't belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there's nothing Nick can do to stop it.

You can download your copy here

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap and Review: Steve's Got Some 'Splaining To Do!

Last week ended on a tense cliffhanger, but we don't get any resolution to that this week. Instead we find the missing uranium with Darius Rucker!

We start out with the team breaching a warehouse. It looks all clear, but surprise! there's an explosion. The team's reaction goes in slo-mo, but, wow, another surprise! It's just a training video for the Tactical Teamwork seminar for the Police Academy on what to do during a raid. Steve is doing a great job telling them about communication and trust, but Danny's motto today is To Undermine and Embarrass. He didn't tell Steve his new motto, though, and blindsides him by telling the cadets he's upset that Steve looked at a paper on his desk. Steve uses crayons! Steve isn't trustworthy! Yeah, it was uncomfortable and embarrassing for everyone. Duke finally steps in and pats them on the shoulders like a dad and sends them to their rooms on their way. (I liked last week better when Chin and Steve looked mighty fine doing their jobs and not having juvenile and ridiculous conversations in front of people who look up to them.)

In the car Steve tells Danny he's over-reacting (#truth) and Danny says his privacy was invaded. (Over a list on a desk? Did it say check the box if you like Suzie? Are we in junior high again?) Steve thankfully heads home, but calls Chin to update him on the Danny List situation (poor Chin in the middle). (Please let this end soon. It's so far beneath an elite task force who has been together seven years.) Finally, we get something interesting. McG sees blood on his door. He pulls his gun and finds Sang Min shot and bleeding in the kitchen.

The new M.E. Noelani comes over to treat Sang Min's wounds. He's chatting her up (she's with Five-O now and they make their own rules! It's allll good) and making her feel uncomfortable (you single, sweet cheeks?) She tapes his bandage to his necklace (oops) but otherwise patches him up. He spills that he was supposed to be helping a refugee mom and two kids get on the island with his friend Zander, but they really smuggled in a dude with a gun who killed poor Zander. Sang Min didn't wait around to rub tiger balm on the guy, he got shot and got out of there before coming to McG's. McG tells Sang Min to go home and stay there.

The team goes down to the docks and Kono finds prints on the container the shooter came in on. It's Abati, a bomb-maker and part-time ISIS/Boko Haram trainer! Yeah, that sounds bad. They all go back to the Chatting Table and find out that there were emails with someone named Tahan, the guy who hired Zander to bring Abati onto the island, and a map of the Waimea jungle. Does the map lead to a training camp? Or a safe house? Danny and Steve will go check it out!

There are no roads in and out of the jungle (supposedly), so they skydive in doing a tandem jump. Danny's not thrilled and doesn't want to die strapped to Steve like an infant. (Is he calling himself an infant?) Steve enjoys the view from the air and tells Danny to open his eyes, live a little! He refuses and tells Steve he hates him. On solid ground again Steve is trying to get Danny to admit he liked the skydive and they discuss that SuperSecretSuperSilly list again. (*head slap* Why? It's like some sort of viewer torture.) The SuperSecretPrivateList McG looked at was "Things Danny Likes." (Was Steve's name on there? Is that why he's mad Steve saw it?) It does have "traveling" listed. Steve points out Danny moans and groans when they fly and he says that's because he's worried he'll die when they land. They blather on about the SuperSecretPrivateList and Danny finally tells him it's his list of things to do when he retires. Steve is shocked. Retire? Danny reveals he's close to twenty years on the force and hey, maybe he'll open an Italian restaurant with his grandma's recipes after he retires. Steve doesn't seem impressed and tells him eighty percent of restaurants fail in the first six months.

The rest of the team has been busy while McDanno is tramping through the jungle. They went to check out Tahan's house, but it was clear. When Chin checks in to tell Steve, though, Abati's men get the drop on him and McDanno is taken prisoner. (Never talk on the phone when you're on a secret jungle mission!) (But maybe Danny will tell the terrorists about the SuperSecretPrivateList and bore them to death!) The baddies frogmarch our boys through the camp and we see the bomb on the back of the truck, the people cooking TATP, and Abati! Their guards are getting pushy, and we all know McG hates it when terrorists get pushy, so he smacks his guard around and takes his gun away. Danny does the same and we have a gunfight! They kill everyone except Abati who gets away on a motorbike. One guy isn't quite dead, though, and triggers the bomb. Oops. He was fast on the trigger finger. (See what I did there?) And now there's just fifty-nine minutes to defuse it.

Danny reports that they don't have any cell service and the SAT phone has a bullet hole in it. What's Steve got? He's standing by the bomb and there's a lot of failsafes, decoy wires, and countermeasures. That sounds bad. He doesn't want to try to defuse it, because if he makes a mistake, he kills half the people on the island. They need the bomb squad. Danny mocks him, but Steve calmly says they'll drive the truck to the drop zone clearing and call the bomb squad for instructions to defuse it. Danny doesn't care they are on a timetable and wants Steve to explain the plan further. Let's just all pull up a log while Steve tells us again how we're going to do this with uneven terrain and everything!

Danny is worried about doors slamming and Steve is worried about the vibrations from starting the car. He tells Danny "Love you, bro," before he starts it, but all is well. Abati gets to a road (hey, I thought there weren't any roads in or out? Why did McDanno have to parachute in?) Anyway, Abati kills a cop and takes his car.

McDanno drive slowly through the jungle chatting about what it will say on Danny's tombstone (Steve says, Beloved Curmudgeon. Um. No. Danny says Danny Williams, We Think. We didn't find all the pieces. That would be expensive to put all that on the tombstone, just sayin') They decide they need a distraction so they go back to discussing the SuperSecretPrivateList. Noooo! The full story is that Grace had a school assignment about writing down things she wanted to do so Danny did it, too. He wants to spare Charlie from worrying about the job Danny does for a living. They leave that there when Steve realizes the fuel gauge is going down too fast and checks it out. Bullet hole! Steve will fix it with a flare and a rubber mat. (MacGyver move?) Once again, Danny doesn't care about the timetable and requires Steve to explain it to him. (Let's get comfy. Bomb ticking in the back? Who cares?) Danny is worried about a flare being next to the bomb so Steve tells him to go get wet bark then. (Or, you know, anything to get Danny away from him.) Danny does admit that nitpicking is his life. (He needs a new hobby.) And Steve says to trust him a little bit. (Yes, please.)

Lou is at the Chatting Table telling Chin how Abati jacked a police car and they haven't heard from Steve and Danny. Back at the newly fixed truck, McDanno are worried that there's no cell service still, and they are at 30% battery life. Which is a secondary problem when they come to a deep stream. Steve says they'll build a bridge out of the wood on the back of the truck and Danny is feeling left out because Steve didn't consult him on the plan. (Why would he? Danny wouldn't have anything positive to say.) He stands there and watches Steve do all the work gathering the wood, while he talks about his hurt feelings. Well, Steve has some hurt feelings, too, since he wasn't included in retirement plans. (Maybe he wants to count down the days?)

Chin and Kono check out the stolen police car and Abati ran one name--Sang Min. (Don't cop computers have a password or something? Sheesh!) Over at Casa Sang Min, he's watching a nature show when Abati arrives. After being knocked around a bit, Sang Min agrees to help him get off the island. He takes him to the docks and somehow, Five-O is already there, hiding among the containers. They face-off and Abati threatens to kill Sang Min. Lou shrugs and says go ahead, but Sang Min is offended. He thought they were ohana! (You'd think he'd realize it was a ploy with as many police situations as he's been in. Whatever, I guess.)

The bridge is finally done and Danny has to drive it across while Steve guides him. (Seventeen minutes left before the bomb explodes, give or take!) Oddly, Danny stops 3/4 of the way over the makeshift bridge and won't keep going. (He needs a minute. Because again, who cares the bomb is ticking!) Steve talks him through the plan (again) and he makes it over before the boards break, but barely.

They drive into the clearing, but bad news, Chin tells them Abati can't help them defuse the bomb, he's dead. (We hardly knew ya, Darius!) The Navy bomb squad lady they get on the line says she wouldn't even try to defuse that bomb in the field. (But they would in the office? Bomb squad school? I don't know where they would try it.) She does have a thought, though. Maybe they can remove the uranium canister and then get out of the blast zone. The problem is, you have to take out the uranium rods and expose yourself to radiation before you can get the canister off the main bomb and put the rods back in. Of course Steve volunteers for the dangerous part, and takes out the car battery (it's lead-lined) to protect himself from the radiation. Danny goes to retreat, but acts like he's going to say something nice to Steve. In the end, though, he just wastes precious time (again) and says nothing. Steve gets down to business and takes the uranium rods out. They quickly put the battery back in the car and drive away.

Danny finally says he's sorry he didn't tell Steve, and Steve says he's sorry for what he's about to do and surprise! rolls the truck. Danny is upset at the turn of events, (turn, get it?), but Steve says if he wants to live, they'll get behind the engine block. They do and wait for the explosion. (I might have tried to drive a little further, but that's just me.) Before the blast, Steve asks Danny to name his restaurant Steve's, so that if they're not together, they'll still be together. (Because nothing says BFF like naming a restaurant after them.) After the blast, their ears are ringing so they can't hear, and Steve misunderstands that Danny will indeed name his Italian restaurant Steve's. And then he falls over laughing, like I'm sure we all did.

Back at Steve's house, Danny is serving everyone different Italian family recipes. Sang Min is still mad at Lou and in order to express his anger smashes his dinner roll. Danny takes the high road and tells Sang Min he can't come to his future restaurant because there will be a no mullet rule. There's some more comments from Flippa, Kamekona, Charlie, etc., but most of the audience (my) attention is on Steve looking fine in a red plaid shirt. (Maybe wardrobe could consider putting him in red more often. Blue is best, but red is a close second.) Lou takes a phone call from HPD and the truck Steve was in had a KeNo construction logo. That company was scheduled for a renovation project across from the palace where the governor was scheduled to be. They were the target! Dun, dun, dun. (Do you want to bet Steve will be required to explain this to Danny? More than once? I mean, in keeping with the theme of Steve 'splaining the entire ep, right? All I can say is the man has more patience than a saint!)

No preview for next week. Again.

What did you think? Did you watch?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Six Romance Novellas for .99 Cents!

Today's Friday bargain is six Christian romance novellas for only .99 cents. I read the first one by Heather Gray and thought it was a cute read, so I'm hoping the other five are good, too!

You can download your bargain copy here

Here's the back copy:

Six brand-new, never released before contemporary Christian romance novellas by beloved inspirational romance authors! Get your copy today to fall in love with these fall romances.

AN INFORMAL DATE by Heather Gray
Kimi sells coffee at a hospital kiosk and has a smile for everyone who comes her way. Owen is a research scientist with limited people skills and a fondness for caffeine. How can two such different people go from a shared interest in beverages to a shared future?

With both her girls in school Shannon Cross is looking forward to being back in the office. But how can Shannon fall for her daughter’s teacher without feeling that she’s betraying her deceased husband’s memory?

They sing two very different tunes. Can they work together to make a joyful melody?

An old man and his will change everything for Lexi Ross. Can she survive the memories and learn from someone else’s experience or will she choose to make her own path?

THE OTHER BROTHER by Carole Towriss
Marc has contentedly spent his life in his brother’s shadow—until he meets Kendall. Can she convince him he’s special, when no one else thinks so? And can he convince her she’s already found what she’s searching for?

A HERO FOR HEATHER by Marion Ueckermann
Paxton Rathbone is desperate to make his way home. He has grown too accustomed to the disdain of mankind, which perhaps is why Heather Blume’s kindness penetrates his reserves. But there’s more to Heather’s actions than merely being the Good Samaritan—she has no doubt he’s a gentleman fallen far from grace.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tiny Miracles

photo credit: Anne Worner Everyday Things I via photopin (license) 

This has been a difficult week for me. Our van broke down, I've had a lot on my plate with deadlines and family obligations and my insomnia has kicked back in so I'm tired. I admit, I was feeling a little grumpy this morning getting everyone off to work and school.

My older daughter was running late for work and since it snowed again overnight, she was rushing to get her car scraped off. She left, but came back a moment later to ask her brother to help her because the locks on her car were frozen.

Her brother went out and tried the key in all the locks, the passenger side, even the back. Nothing was going in and it was really starting to look like we'd have to break out the blow dryer or something. Which, of course, would make her very late for work.

She told her brother they should say a prayer, which they did, and afterward, when they tried the lock again, the key slid right in and unlocked the car.

I know some people don't believe in miracles, but for me, that simple thing was a little message to me that God is aware of our family, our concerns, and he will help us with all our "little things" if we remember to ask.

That tiny miracle this morning changed my attitude and lifted me at a time when I needed it. I'm so grateful for a daughter who thought to pray and for a reminder that we are loved by a Father in Heaven. Have you ever had a tiny miracle?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I just got the new Sarah Eden novel today called, A Fine Gentleman, and I dove right in! Sarah is one of my absolute favorite authors and this is a long-awaited renewal of the Jonquil brothers' acquaintance. So far, the story is amazing, as any Sarah Eden story is. It's so hard to put down!

Here's the back copy:

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character. The woman is infuriating, pushing him to the limit of his legendary patience. However, her case seems simple enough—a small matter of inheritance. Or so he believes.

Once a well-born lady, Mariposa fought to survive the brutalities of Napoleon’s war on Spain. She braved horrific perils and undertook dangerous missions on behalf of those fighting against the invading French army. But her greatest battle still lies ahead: after being separated from her family, Mariposa sets in motion a plan to reunite with her loved ones in England. To avoid drawing the attention of the French, Mariposa dons a carefully crafted persona to conceal her true purpose. As Jason and Mariposa are drawn together by the case, they come to know the people beneath the masks they both wear. When the truth of Mariposa’s quest is revealed, the couple is pulled into a mystery that will test the limits of their courage—and expose the true desire of their hearts.

You can download your Kindle copy here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Example We Set For Good And Bad

photo credit: jacksonlavarnway 3R1A2959.jpg via photopin (license)

All of my kids play basketball, which means I go to a lot of games. I've seen a lot of awesome games and a few bad ones here and there, but last weekend was the kind of game I hope to never witness again.

My fourteen year old son's team started the game and everything seemed normal, but two minutes in the coach of the other team was on the floor yelling at the ref. The ref calmly told him to sit down. He continued to yell that he was defending his players, but backed off the court so the game could continue. I can't even tell you how uncomfortable it was to watch this man try to defend his actions with that excuse. But it didn't end there.

Four minutes into the game one of the other team's players was called for a technical (the kid slammed down the ball in frustration and that's a no-no) and the coach lost all self-control, storming onto the floor, screaming at the ref. He kept on with his tirade and finally ended up ejected from the game. (Four minutes in!) I could not believe it.

The coach did leave the game, but sadly, even without him there, things did not calm down. The parents of the other team kept on with the coach's example and dogged the refs' every call and even went so far as to yell at our team players and make some petty remarks to them. (They are kids!) Some of the remarks were so hurtful and I was appalled that adults would say such things to children. At a recreational league game!

It was an extremely tense situation and it shouldn't have been! At the end of the game, parents were still complaining to the man in charge of city ball, (who had been called down after the coach was ejected), while one of their boys refused to even shake hands with my son. It made me so sad to see that.

These are fourteen year old boys playing. By setting such a poor example and tone, that coach did a disservice to everyone there. I just think those boys deserved better! Unfortunately, it seems like there is always a rationale for negativity and poor sportsmanship these days, but I wish we could somehow uniformly teach the standards of sportsmanship and competition for game situations to these boys who will someday have children of their own to teach and mentor. They are closely watching the behaviors their parents and coaches model for them and we can do better! 

Thankfully, this is an anomaly in my experience and I hope it stays that way. Have you ever had a bad experience at one of your kids' sporting events?

Monday, February 20, 2017

New Release Book Blast and $50 Giveaway!

I just started reading, The Rise of Miss Notley, by Rachael Anderson, and it is so good! I'll do a full review soon, but wanted to let you know about the giveaway. Be sure to scroll all the way down and enter to win! 

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?



Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/15/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hawaii Five-0 Recap and Review: Where Things Get Good!

Last week we had the staycation and the case of the missing sunglasses. This week we get an episode which showcases all the reasons why I love Hawaii Five-O. Action, drama, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat tension!

We start out with Dr. Madison Gray (who as you might recall kidnapped and stabbed Steve and Alicia Brown and had her henchmen try to finish them off by throwing a Navy SEAL in the ocean. Haha! Points for creativity I guess) but she's walked into HPD with bloody hands, asking for help. The officers hopefully recognize who she is because they all immediately pull their weapons and say to call Five-O. (If they didn't recognize her, that would be a super awkward scene. Like, hey, we can't help crying women with bloody hands. Somebody get McG over here!)

We head to Flippa's grand opening of his new shrimp truck where they have Max Weinberg as the big draw (a drummer from the E street band? Sorry, I had no clue who he was.) McG gets to hug Nahele, (yay!) and sees that he's doing well. Danny cuts in line and fangurls all over Weinberg and mentions that he snuck into a show of his. He rambles on and on about his ex-wife before Steve steps in to save poor Weinberg from any more embarrassing stories from Danny and takes their pic. Finally, Flippa unveils his new "Shrimp Wagon" truck with his own face on it. (I liked his logo better than Kamekona's.) Of course, Kamekona does not like that one bit. Steve thankfully gets a call so we can move on to all the good stuff!

Steve ditches Danny and meets Chin at HPD where he's given the rundown that Dr. Gray now says she is Lauren Parker from Eagle, Wisconsin. (Uh huh. Suuuure she is.) Steve goes in to question her, dressed in a blue shirt with scruff on his jaw (I love you wardrobe people). Gray is crying and upset and really doing a good job of making the case that she isn't Gray and her name is Lauren Parker. Steve isn't buying it, though, and tells her he's going to figure out what she's really up to. He tries to call Alicia, but no dice and leaves her a message. (Uh oh. Bloody serial killer and no Alicia? That's not good.) Steve isn't too concerned yet and they bring in a shrink who looks like he's bored out of his mind. BoredShrink tells Chin and McG that Gray has DID (multiple personalities). They look at him like he's just said to bring him a pizza with extra pineapple and tell the guy, yeah, there's no way, she's totally faking. So, even though they pretty much discount everything he says, BoredShrink doesn't take offense and just sort of ambles off. Maybe he can find someone else to shrink while he's at HPD.  Gray continues to slowly build her case that she really does have multiple personalities when she passes a polygraph that she is Parker, which throws the team a bit.

Grover, McG, Chin, and Danny walk into the office spitballing why Dr. Gray would be doing this. (It was actually a really nice scene and they were asking all the questions we were.) Danny comes up with maybe Gray missed McG. She likes to play games and respects a challenge and since he survived last time, maybe she wants a rematch. (That was my thought, too.) Kono comes in with the news that the prelim DNA results from the blood on Gray's hands came in and they have a partial match. It's Alicia Brown. See? She wasn't answering for a reason!

Steve hotfoots it over to Alicia's with Grover and they go in when she doesn't answer. They're going through the house calling for her and Steve finally finds her on the balcony with earbuds in, puttering around with some plants. Big relief! They sit her down and bring her up to speed with Gray being back in town and having Alicia's blood on her hands. Alicia wants to go see her. (Not a good idea.) Steve agrees to it, though, but seems worried. She reassures him she'll be fine. Even with that, as they're walking toward the interrogation room, he says he's going in with her (awww, I love protective Steve) and they confront Gray together.

Gray freaks out the minute they walk in and she sees Alicia, claiming that Alicia tried to kill her. It's all coming back to her! To prove it, she says that Alicia has a cut on her forearm, which she does. (This woman is good!) Alicia tells Steve that Gray is lying, she was out hiking and fell, cutting herself on a rock, there was no confrontation. Pua wants to detain Alicia, but Steve puts the kibosh on that and personally vouches for her cooperation. Pua is no match for Steve and lets them leave. (I think my fave part of that whole scene, is when they are talking and just before they leave, Steve is touching Alicia's arm in reassurance and putting his hand at the small of her back to guide her out of the room. I love it when guys are touchy and gentlemanly like that *le sigh*) Alicia looks back, though, and Dr. Gray gives her a little telling, evil smile. Alicia flips. She's ranting to Steve in the hall about why she hasn't just killed her yet, and he says Gray is messing with her head and he needs her on her game. He says he's coming over tonight so they can discuss their next move and she tells him, no, she's fine. But Steve says he'll worry (and he has his worried crease on his forehead) so, you know, he's just going to come over anyway.

Steve cooks her dinner and she's telling him that if she'd known he could cook, she would have invited him over sooner. (Who doesn't love a man who cooks? Seriously.) They're having a cozy, quiet dinner, talking about how time doesn't heal all ills, and they both like their alone time. She says she shouldn't be social or out with people since she brings the mood down, but Steve reassures her that his standards of companionship are low. (Ooh, ouch!) He goes on to tell her how he's had to listen to Danny complain about a Reuben sandwich for eight hours on a stakeout before, so she's more tolerable than that and they drink to "tolerable." Steve is still feeling protective, however, and offers to stay on her couch. (So sweet!) And he does. He sleeping in her nice front room when he hears at noise at 4 a.m. When he checks her bed, Alicia is gone!

She snuck out and went to the police station to question Gray, dressed all in black. (I guess she wanted a rematch, too. Games with serial killers are hard to say no to!) Alicia smuggled a razor blade in her boot and threatens Gray with it, but in the end, she can't kill her. Gray says okay fine, uncuff me because I have a secret and it's going to change your life. (Yeah, those kinds of serial killer secrets are never good!)

Back at the Chatting Table, the team is watching the video of Alicia taking down the officer and helping Gray to escape. (She's stronger than she looks!) McG is vigorously defending her actions to the team, that Gray must have done or said something or manipulated Alicia in some way. Danny asks to talk to him privately in an office and says that he knows McG has history with Alicia since they almost died together, but maybe she snapped. McG reassures him he can be objective, that he had dinner with Alicia last night and they talked a lot and she hasn't snapped. Danny continues on that maybe Gray's story happened like she said it did and Alicia attacked her and has now taken her somewhere to kill her. Before they can argue further, Grover says they got a hit on the BOLO and Gray and Alicia got on a plane to Wisconsin. That sets off some alarm bells for McG and they quickly figure out that Ed Sears, the guy connected to Sienna's murder (Alicia's daughter) is in prison there. Now the spec is that maybe Gray promised Alicia she could confront her daughter's murderer and that would turn her into a killer. If it is, well, McG isn't going to let that happen.

McG and Chin head to Wisconsin to confront Sears in his prison cell. (And looking mighty fine in jackets, I might add.) Sears is behind plexiglass, telling them how persuasive Dr. Gray is (she visited him every week for months) and that he'll tell them the name of Sienna's killer if they give him pen and paper. (His proof that he cooperated) Don't do it! It's a bad idea! But no one listens to me and they do it. Sears scribbles something on the paper and sends it through the slot, but keeps the pen. McG opens the paper and reads "that was a big mistake" before they watch the guy stab himself in the carotid artery with the pen. Ew. He dies before they can do anything, but McG does try to save him. (For being so close to a carotid artery injury, McG isn't very bloody, though. Thank goodness, I guess, since that was a nice jacket!)  McG doesn't give up and searches Sears' cell where he finds a bunch of letters from Benton Jones dating back to the time when Sienna disappeared. The missing link! (And he looks like it, too, when we see him later on. *shudder*)

Alicia and Gray are in a car traveling up an isolated road. They pull up to a cabin and Gray gives Alicia a gun. She's still dressed like a ninja, all in black, but she certainly has no ninja skills. Crunch, crunch, crunch in the snow leading to the front door. (Who goes in the front door?) Gray drives off and Alicia heads into the cabin, trying to be quiet, but not succeeding as she checks room to room. (The tension is so high here!) She doesn't find any sign of life until she gets to the room in the back. There's a light on and she puts her ear against it.

Steve and Chin are racing to the cabin, but are still fifteen minutes out. They don't have fifteen minutes! Kono calls and says the blood isn't Alicia's. You'll never believe whose it is . . .

Alicia goes into the locked room and her daughter is inside. Alive! They hug and try to leave, but the creepy Jack-Nicholson-Shining-looking guy Benton attacks them. They run back to barricade themselves in a room, but this guy's coming in face-first. Thankfully, Steve arrives in time and kills him. Whew! Then we get a sweet exit scene of Steve escorting Alicia and Sienna out, keeping them close as they go down the steps. Awww. (And if that weren't reward enough, we get a nice close up of Steve looking heroic, dressed in blue with tac gear on.)

Three days later Steve is checking on Alicia and Sienna. Poor Sienna is sleeping, so she can't thank him properly, but Alicia suggests the three of them go out to dinner. Steve teases her that going out sounds social, and she laughs. It's a really cute scene. He hugs her and she breathes him in for a moment before she says thank you. They're going to keep in touch. (I hope they do. They both can relate to having a family member come back from the dead and I like their easy dynamic. Friends, with shared history, you know?)

Alicia is feeling good and goes into her kitchen to putter around with the kettle, when Gray appears behind her with a gun. She says getting other people to kill for her wasn't a challenge, but turning Alicia into a killer was the game. She's there to finish it. She gives the gun to Alicia, who immediately turns it on her and calls 911, instructing them to call Steve and send officers over. Gray is taunting her about keeping her daughter safe, that even prison wouldn't totally be safe, and Alicia needs to finish it. Alicia tells the 911 officer that she needs to report a murder and we fade to black just as the audience hears a gunshot.


I really hope Alicia didn't kill Gray and let her win the sick game she was playing. Shoot her in the knee or something. Have Steve come back. I don't know. But that ending was definitely one that got people talking! So tense. A great ep all around with protective Steve (in blue), danger, action, and a case that made you think! Loved it.

No preview again for next week.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Freebie Friday

Well, today's Freebie Friday, Ties that Bind, by Carolyn Arnold claims to be the perfect book for fans of Hawaii Five-O. That's a pretty tall order! I'm going to take a chance on this one, though. Isn't it my duty as a Hawaii Five-O fan?

Here's the back copy:

The hunt for a serial killer begins...

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman's body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they're dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, February 16, 2017

My New Readers Group!

photo credit: kennysarmy Day 304/365 : 21.10.13 via photopin (license)

I'm super excited to announce that I'm going to be starting an online reader's group! I love to read and share good books that I find (which I do on my author page) but I'd like to have a special guest author join us each month for questions and prizes, and some reading challenges to stretch us a bit.

I'll be announcing our special guests, challenges, dates, and the prizes over on my author Facebook page. If you haven't liked it yet, you really should so you don't miss out! You can see (and like) it here.

I can't wait to get to know more of you and the amazing authors who bring us stories we can get lost in! I'll be announcing our first guest next week. This is going to be fun.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Well, I finished my taxes, so I treated myself to the new Timeless Romance Anthology Valentine's Day Collection. I just started reading it and so far, it's everything I want in a short and sweet, but full of butterflies and smiles novella collection. (I think I might be up late tonight to finish!) But you really can't go wrong with any of these anthologies!

Here's the back copy:

Six brand new contemporary romance novellas by Janette Rallison, Heather B. Moore, Jenny Proctor, Annette Lyon, Heather Tullis, and Sarah M. Eden.

A BRUSH WITH THE LAW by Janette Rallison

Bethany has endured a streak of depressing Valentine’s Days. And this one is turning out no different. Her friend set her up on a blind date—and Bethany can only hope that James will be a decent guy. But it seems the fated day has other plans, and Bethany finds herself in the middle of a comedy of errors that make a blind date with a stranger the least of her problems.

EVERY OCCASION by Heather B. Moore

When Maurie moves back to her hometown to open up her dream shop, she calls a local construction crew for help. Former teenage crush Grant shows up on her front porch, answering the call for the construction job, and Maurie’s memories of her troubled childhood return with full force. When she discovers Grant has a troubled past of his own, Maurie realizes that she might have misjudged him all along.

HOLD YOUR BREATH by Jenny Proctor

As Kayla trains for the Olympic swimming trials, she vows to never let another boyfriend get in her way. When she finds out her younger sister’s new high school swim coach is Nate—the guy Kayla had a huge crush on when they were in school together—Kayla realizes that her resolve is weakening. But Kayla isn’t willing to risk giving up her Olympic dream for anyone, not even charming Nate.


When Sam’s long-time boyfriend, Steve, texts that he has something important to ask her on Valentine’s Day, she’s sure that he’s going to propose. Determined to look great for the big day, she hits the all-night laundromat to wash her favorite outfit. When her clothes are chugging away in a machine, Steve calls and pops a question—not one she ever would have expected. Reeling with shock, she’s left facing the holiday alone, unless you count the other person at laundromat, a guy leaning against his own washer, intent on his phone.

DEAL BREAKERS by Heather Tullis

The last place Colette wants to be stranded is the snowed-in Denver airport, especially when her sister is enduring chemo treatments and needs Colette’s help back home. When Colette runs into another stranded passenger—none other than former college boyfriend Drew—she can’t believe how much he’s changed . . . and hasn’t changed. Drew is still the same amazing guy that Colette was foolish enough to blow off for someone else. By the time she’d realized her mistake all those years ago, Drew’s heart had been too broken to give her a second chance. Now Colette can only hope that she can work her way back into his heart.

HEY, HELEN! by Sarah M. Eden

On the surface, Helen seems to have her life figured out. Her advice column, Hey, Helen!, is gaining more readers every week. She regularly hangs out with the guy next door, laughing and chatting over pizza and work. But when her feelings for her handsome neighbor begin tiptoeing toward something more than friendship, Helen can’t help hoping Neil might feel the same way. Between her own uncertainties, his friend-zone treatment of her, and a pair of loudly interfering parents, Hey, Helen! could use a little advice in love.
You can download your Kindle copy here

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

I saw this on Facebook today and it made me laugh!

Haha! I hope today is full of all the things you love and the people who love you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway!

I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Kathi Oram Peterson's new novel, Breach of Trust.

Since I also write military suspense, I was glad to see another novel highlighting the heroes who serve our country and make such huge sacrifices for freedom. Ms. Peterson does a great job in providing a plot that has just enough twists and turns to keep you turning pages long into the night.

Cooper Lane is a pilot running black ops. On her last mission, she is shot down and everyone thinks she is dead. In reality, she spends four years hiding in Afghanistan. Coming back home, everything has changed. Her husband married her best friend and her baby girl isn't a baby anymore. Cooper is also dealing with a severe case of PTSD which doesn't help her case when her sort-of husband is murdered and Cooper is the prime suspect. Will Axe, the SEAL who rescued her in Afghanistan, be able to help her one more time?

I liked the characters in the story and thought the author did a great job with making them relatable and believable. Cooper is a strong woman with a lot to deal with, and she does her best. Axe is more than just a SEAL and the skills he's learned there. He's a hero with a heart, for sure! The supporting cast, especially Cooper's father, is also well-drawn and adds depth to the story. The first few chapters of the book were choppy for me, since there were a lot of events going on that sacrificed the emotional investment. As you go on, however, the author will pull you into their lives and won't let go! I thought the story was a testament to the strength of the human spirit and how one event can change everything in the lives of the people you love. Fans of military suspense will really enjoy this one.

Click here to download your Kindle copy here

Be sure to scroll all the way down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Lieutenant Commander Cooper Lane has so much to live for. With a loving husband and beautiful baby girl waiting for her back home, she is anxious to finish her mission in Afghanistan and return to her family. But in a split second, her world shatters. Her helicopter is going down in that hostile country, and there will be no survivors.

Four Years Later . . . On a covert mission in an Afghan village, Navy SEAL Axe Talbot finds something no one ever expected: Lieutenant Cooper Lane—alive. Cooper survived the crash that killed her team and has been hiding behind enemy lines for four years. It’s the woman he’s been looking for and dreaming about for so long. After her rescue, Cooper is not sure she can survive the reality waiting for her back home—when she disappeared and was pronounced dead, her husband married her best friend. Cooper is lost, but her troubles are just beginning. In one horror-filled moment, her former husband is murdered before her eyes, and Cooper becomes the prime suspect. Now she must embark on one last mission to clear her name. And there are only two people she trusts to help her: her father and Axe, the SEAL who rescued her. Cooper and Axe take off, and together the makeshift team uncovers a trail of mysterious deaths that leads to unimaginable danger.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Review: Where Dinner Makes Everything Better!

Last week, the team split to solve two cases and, this week, the team is split again, but the show has added in a lot of scantily clad women and a couple of lady friends for McDanno, so we can all celebrate Valentine's Day! Woohoo!

We start out in a dance club where an awkward man has approached a beautiful woman at the bar and asked her if both of his hands look the same size (and that's not even the worst pick up line I've ever heard). The woman gets on board quick when she sees him flash a wad of cash, then they're drinking together, dancing, and kissing, and before you know it, they're in an alley up against a wall. Cut to a garbage truck coming down that alley the next morning and finding his bloody and obviously dead body and we're off to a fun Happy Valentine's Day start!

Lynn has surprised McG with a staycation in the presidential suite at the Hilton and there's a fruit basket and everything! He's happy to be away from work to spend some quality time with his lady friend. (Lady friend? Like a nice way to say friend with benefits? One step below a girlfriend? Huh.) Lynn says Happy Valentine's and they awkwardly hug while he's turning his face to look out the window. She avoids his kiss (what's the matter with you, girl?) and tells him to get a beer and go look at the view while she unpacks.  McG does as told and while he's on the balcony with his beer, he sees Danny on the next balcony over. (And we get our first of many annoyed McG face.) Danny calls for Melissa and she comes out with Lynn. They have adjoining rooms! On a romantic Valentine's getaway. (No. Just no. Why would anyone do that?) They're all grinning at McG oddly, and the girls go get ready for the beach. (I really like the actress who plays Melissa, but she just looks too young for Danny. Like she's Grace's former babysitter or something.) McG and Danny talk about his anti-social weirdo tendencies and how he can't be romantic with McG's judgey face and eyes watching him. (Is Danny admitting some performance issues?) They come up with the code word of "chicken salad" so McG will know when to leave Danny alone to get his groove on with Melissa.

Chin calls and tells them they caught a homicide. The team all knew about the surprise couples staycation and are betting who will check out of the hotel first. (So, everyone knew it was a bad idea?) McG offers to come help with the case and Danny chimes in that they could be there in ten minutes. (Wow, they were going to ditch their lady friends who obviously spent a boatload of money on those rooms? Nice.) Chin tells them to stay.

Back at the chatting table, Kono, Lou, and Chin talk about poor dead guy in the dumpster Jeremy who had his watch and wallet stolen and he had lipstick on his face. The thieves did leave his lanyard from a seminar called The Method so Kono and Chin go check it out. Blake Stone is up on stage teaching men how to run a game on a woman and be a lion prowling the savannah. Be sure to lie that you know people, and laugh at jokes that aren't told, and act like the life of the party. (Be still my heart! How did he know exactly what a woman looks for in a man!). Kono questions Blake about Jeremy and his not useful info is that he was at the bar with Jeremy last night and directed him over to the red dress woman and he looked happy when she led him out of the bar.

Back to the take-it-or-leave-it staycation. The couples are playing volleyball together complete with the iconic music from Top Gun's volleyball scene. (Does that make McG and Lynn, Maverik and Goose? Or are they Iceman? Hmm...) Since they're losing, I don't think we can compare, actually. We get some more annoyed McG face as Lynn isn't very good at all, and then he actually suggests to Danny that they switch teams. (One of the things I love about Steve is how sweet and sensitive he is when it comes to the people in his life, I was very surprised he was so insulting to his LadyFriendLynn.) Danny and Melissa are enjoying being the winning team, when a kid throws a Frisbee that hits Melissa in the butt. Danny demands an apology and when the 11 or 12 year old boy won't give one, Danny throws the Frisbee in the ocean. (I guess since McG was being rude and obnoxious, Danny thought he needed to go there as well.)

Good news for Lou, the bartender saw Jeremy and the red dress woman and thinks she was a pro! Lou shows him pics of women picked up for solicitation and he recognizes Vanessa. She works for a high end escort service that Lou knows about from his SWAT days, so he heads over there to talk to the owner Cordelia Martin. Cordelia asks him if he needs a date for Valentines, but Lou declines, and she tells him Vanessa left her employ for more money elsewhere.

McDanno has gone for a little swim to cool off in the ocean and Danny is rubbing it in that he won the volleyball game. They're toweling off when Danny can't find his sunglasses. He sees a pair on the same Frisbee kid and goes over to demand he give them back. The kid says they aren't Danny's glasses and refuses to hand them over. Danny reaches out, but the kid backs up and starts yelling that he's being touched inappropriately. People start rubbernecking so Steve quickly hauls Danny away and says he'll buy Danny more sunglasses.

Back at poolside, Blake is helping a guy named Richard pick up a beautiful woman in a swimsuit. Kono comes in to handcuff and arrest him on solicitation mixed with fraud since he hires the girls to be interested in the men from his seminars. They take him to the Blue Room of Doom and call him names. He's a glorified pimp! He's engaged in "douchebaggery" and he's a scam artist! He disagrees and says he's only helping poor men who have no confidence. Eventually they get it out of him that he knows where Vanessa lives, so they're going to take a car ride.

The NotSoRomanticStaycationCouples are getting spa treatments, with the boys getting a facial and the girls a manicure. (Why aren't they getting couples massages in the room or something romantic? This is so awkward). McG says this is pretty relaxing (He doesn't sound relaxed at all. Is he trying to convince himself?) and asks the spa lady if there's jasmine in the product. Annoyed Lynn says his talking is ruining her zen and Melissa adds that the commentary has to stop. With this romantic atmosphere (Not!) Danny also seems tense and eats his eye cucumbers. McG continues to talk and Lynn finally tells him to zip it. (Whoa. Somebody's cranky without her zen.) Danny finally just leaves and goes to track down the source of his tension---the FrisbeeKid. He's with some FrisbeeFriends now and Danny detains them all to say they should start fresh. The kid is not impressed and gives Danny his towel to wipe the facial stuff off as he walks away. Danny petulantly knocks a ball out of one of the kid's hands and just looks like a total jerk at this point. Why is he harassing a little kid over some cheap glasses? Oy.

By now, I'm wondering at this point if we'll get any romantic scenes at all. We don't. Melissa, McG, and Lynn get to do some yoga together and Steve is looking intense and off-balance, wearing a hideous headband. (Also, it's very strange that a man who has gone through the most rigorous military training in the country, who can go without food, drink, and sleep, and still do a clandestine op, can't do basic yoga poses? Is there a point when you ring the proverbial bell and have to turn in your SEAL card? Joe White would be shaking his head.) Lynn brings up how he wanted to change teams during volleyball and he says he didn't mean to offend anyone (even though that's the second time he's wanted to ditch her on their romantic getaway) and, then, to prove that he's not into the staycation fun at all, he leaves her again to run and check on Danny. (McG used to be so romantic and swoony. What in the heck happened?)

Kono deals with Blake coming on to her in the car and she shuts him down. He claims he's still turned on. (Ew. This case is a little too close to going over the squick factor line.) They find Vanessa's house and question the roommate, who says that Vanessa was afraid of a client and then we cut to Vanessa on the floor of a house, watching a guy named Neal with a gun look out the window. Uh oh.

McG finds Danny and he's doing "recon" by spying on the Frisbeekid. He knows where the glasses are, he says, and McG tells him he's separated from reality. (Which I heartily agree with. Who harasses a kid like that? How would Danny feel if someone was doing this to Grace? Seriously.) He figures out the kid's hotel room number and tells McG he's going in. This is personal. (But not very funny.)

Blake tells them that Neal used to be one of his clients and his fiancee dumped him, but Blake gave him a Total Confidence Rebuild. The team finds out Neal's ex-fiancee had a restraining order against him. Thankfully, Poor Dumped Neal used a credit card for a vacation rental so the team heads over there. And good thing because Neal is losing it. Vanessa is a terrible hostage and makes everything worse by confessing that she was paid to like him. She's sorry though. Neal understandably gets even more riled up that she used him. He freaks out yelling at her, so she stabs him and barricades herself in a room, screaming out a window for help. Neal's gone psycho now and is using a hammer to break through the door. (And what says Be My Valentine more than smashing through a door with a hammer?) Chin, Kono and Lou break in and save Vanessa, but Neal gave up on Vanessa and has gone to confront Blake. All the seminar people patiently waited for Blake to get back from the Blue Room of Doom and they're listening to more drivel when Neal confronts him. Kono shoots Neal in the shoulder before he can kill Blake and to thank her, Blake makes one more disgusting move on Kono, telling her he could go the distance with her. She says she's married and he says that's not a deal-breaker. (I had no idea what the point of that was. To drive it home that the guy is the opposite of what a woman wants?)

Anyway, McG follows Danny into the hotel telling him he's off the reservation on the way to crazy town. They get a maid to open the kid's hotel room door for them and Danny says it's all good because they have immunity and means. (Really? The governor will back them harassing a kid for some not great-looking sunglasses?) Danny finds the sunglasses finally and realizes they are indeed, not his. The family walks in and seem stunned, but are easily placated by Danny buying them dinner. I'm not kidding. Uncalled for harassment on a child and breaking into a hotel room? A dinner ain't going to make up for that mess. But I guess it works for this family! Dinner makes everything better.

And then we get the one romantic moment of the entire episode. Danny comes in and apologizes to Melissa for being "goofy." (That's not what I'd call it, but whatever.) She says she knew what she was getting into (Suuuure, she did) and we get a small kiss. She tells him they still have tonight and they should go get ready. In order to get ready, Danny turns on the game and sits on his own sunglasses. (This is sort of a metaphor for the episode I think. Getting all worked up for something and then realizing it's just broken and not going to happen.)

Since it worked so well with the family he harassed, Danny puts together a dinner on the beach for the lady friends to make up for being jerks on the staycation, complete with a serenade and champagne. McG says he appreciates what the girls did, they should do it again, but let the guys plan it. Danny starts saying chicken salad and McG ignores him. Because, hey, what's more romantic than that?

Wardrobe showed me some love again this week and put McG in blue on a sunset beach this time. Thank you, Wardrobe People!

No promo for next week.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is a cute book for all ages--Felicity A Sparrow's Tale by Loralee Evans. A perfect book to snuggle up with your family and read!

Here's the back copy:

Tales of adventure and danger have thrilled Felicity since Augustus, her ivory-billed woodpecker friend, taught her to read as a little nestling. She adores the tales of heroes and heroines who forge ahead in spite of all odds, and who always seem to succeed no matter what. More than anything, Felicity wants to be brave and selfless like them.

But adventures are in short supply, especially for someone who’s just an ordinary sparrow.
Until the day an unexpected visitor shows up at her tree with an unusual request…

Download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Don't Miss This Sale On A Cute Romantic Comedy

I really enjoyed Jenny Proctor's sweet romantic comedy, Love At First Note. Her characters are well-drawn and easy to relate to, and you'll definitely close this book with a smile on your face. But the best part is, it's on sale right now for only $2.99! You'll want to pick this one up quick before it goes back up.

Here's the back copy:

Emma Hill was practically born with a violin in her hands. She lives for the life of the piece, for each song’s story, for the perfect stillness after the endnotes when the vibrations of sound are still humming through her body. If only her love life were that harmonic. But she knew her chances at love would take a hit when she decided to leave her prestigious concertmaster position in the Cleveland Orchestra and move back home to Asheville, North Carolina. She justifies her actions with the fact that being concertmaster for the Asheville Symphony is better than no dates and no job.

But when Emma’s world collides with piano-playing YouTube sensation Elliott Hart, she finds herself falling for the way he plucks at her heartstrings. Despite a—ahem—not-so-good first impression, the two soon develop the beginnings of a rhythmic relationship. But when Elliott insists they can’t be together, it’s up to Emma to strike up a little romance. Will she be able to bring their two worlds into harmony, or will she only manage to get herself in trouble?

You can download your Kindle copy here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review And Giveaway: An Inconvenient Romance

I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for debut author, Chalon Linton's new novel, An Inconvenient Romance. 

Leah and Charles have been lifelong friends. In the prologue we see them racing together and just enjoying being with each other, and I thought they were much younger than the 15 and 13 years old that they are. It all makes sense, though, when soon after their perfect afternoon together, Charles is sent away to school and nothing is ever the same again.

Six years later Charles returns and Leah has not waited for him. A young Captain has come calling and she is ready to see if he might suit as her husband. Charles has always thought of her as "his" Leah and can't believe that she would truly marry another. Has he waited too long to tell her his feelings?

I thought the author did a wonderful job in the time period and used the restrictions of the day to expertly prolong the misunderstandings between the hero and heroine and yet, still made the romantic element shine. Charles and Leah both have believable insecurities about their feelings and each other that add more angst to their relationship, but the author also includes a bit of blackmail to ratchet up the stakes. There were times where it seemed like the core of their misunderstanding was missing, and the author alludes to a previous confrontation that is never fully revealed, which made it so some feelings, explanations, and actions didn't quite fit. However, beyond that, I enjoyed seeing the romance from both Leah and Charles's perspectives, the secondary cast was well-developed and fun, and the romance ended just the way I like. I will definitely watch for this author in the future.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

The countryside of England provided an idyllic backdrop for Charles Brumley's and Leah Hasting's childhood. Neighbors and best friends, the pair passed many happy days racing through the rolling hills of Derbyshire. Everything was perfect—until Charles ruined it all and abandoned Leah for university.

Six years later, the former friends are thrust into each other's paths once more. Leah had been looking forward to the ball, an opportunity to further her acquaintance with the handsome Mr. Wilkins—but when she sees Charles's familiar face through the crowd, her traitorous heart leaps.

Charles faces his own struggle: he has loved Leah since he was fifteen years old, yet it seems he is too late—it appears that her affections are otherwise engaged. As the pair tentatively renews their friendship, the spark between them in undeniable.

After so many years apart, leah endeavors to reconcile her feelings toward her once cherished companion. But when a conniving revival for Charles's attention approaches Leah, the threat is clear: give up her association with Charles or a devastating secret about her family will be revealed. Faced with an impossible decision, Leah must make a choice—the ruin of her family or the ruin of her heart?

Book Tour Schedule

*Feb. 8th: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com/, http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/, http://thethingsilovemost.com/, http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/

 *Feb. 9th: http://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/, http://justcommonly.blogspot.com/, http://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/

*Feb. 10th: http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://fireandicereads.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

24 Legacy: What Did You Think?

Did any of you watch the 24 Legacy premiere? Since I was a big Jack Bauer fan on the original 24 I wasn't sure if I would like this series. But, oh, it was good to hear that clock ticking again.

The show started off with a bang with a team of Army Rangers (a team that had killed a terrorist named bin Khalid) being picked off one by one---until they get to team leader Eric Carter. He manages to escape with his wife and calls the old head of CTU, Rebecca Ingram. Only three people knew the new identities of the Army Ranger team, and one of them was the new head of CTU, Keith Mullins.

Rebecca agrees to help Carter find the last surviving member of the team, Ben Grimes, and keep the op from the new CTU head. (That never goes well, if past 24's are anything to go by.) Ben is a drifter and not thinking straight, so it takes some maneuvering to find him. (The new tech is no Chloe, but he'll do in a pinch I guess.) When Carter mentions the assassins were looking for a strongbox that was taken from bin Khalid that night, Ben goes to his hiding place and retrieves it. Carter finally catches up with Ben, and they empty the box to find a flash drive with bin Khalid's network of sleeper cells, with their activation codes. Before Carter can take it in, he's faced with another terrorist team trying to kill him, and when he dispatches them all, Ben is gone with the flash drive. He's not going to give it back, either, unless he's paid two million dollars by the U.S. or bin Khalid's people, he doesn't care. Poor Carter is stuck trying to figure out how to get the money without getting himself killed.

Of course there are several side stories going on with Eric's wife and his drug-dealing brother, a girl in a high school who is planning to do something terrible (and a teacher is in on it) and the husband of Rebecca Ingram who is running for president.

I thought the pacing was really well done and my attention was riveted the entire time. Even without Jack, I think this series has a real chance of finding its own audience because of the sheer intensity of the subject matter. The characters have drawn me in and I can't wait for next week.

If you watched it, what did you think?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review: Dating Never Works . . . Until It Does

As the mother of eight children, I have several that are trying to navigate the dating world. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up, Dating Never Works . . . Until It Does, by Zack Oates, but I found myself reading parts aloud to my older kids. It was funny and sincere and packed with usable advice.

Zack Oates went on a thousand dates before he finally met the woman who would be his wife. In the book, he discusses things that he learned by dating so often. He gives advice for getting out of the friend-zone and some of his experiences with that, or what he learned was the most important quality in another person, not to mention all the creative dating ideas. There were a lot of funny stories like when his friends did an intervention and what a popcorn dater is and so many more! I especially liked his easy writing style. Reading it is like talking to a friend who knows all about what the dating world is really like and really wants to help you navigate both the smooth waters and rough seas. It's a really timely book for anyone looking for love.

Here's the back copy:

Dating expert Zack Oates has experienced it all in this comical guide that will keep you happy and laughing.

Navigate through the complexities of friend zones, first dates, relationships, and breaking up all to reach the goal of love. Oates delivers practice yet lighthearted advice to assist with this lifetime adventure.

Perfect for audiences in dating situations of all kinds, these encouraging steps will help you find your final one and only.

You can download your Kindle copy here

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap and Review: Sharks, Strikes, and the SS, Oh My!

We didn't have a Hawaii Five-O last week, so the show felt bad and crammed in two cases, scenery, and pancake filler for our viewing enjoyment this week!

We start out with Lou's strange obsession with food and the team. (Remember a couple of weeks ago he was instructing McG on how to dunk malasadas? Yeah, weird.) This week, he's in some sort of perceived pancake challenge with Chin and is forcing his son, Will, to sit there while he cooks a papaya/pineapple pancake. (Can you see Chin caring about pancakes? Me, neither.) Will is texting while Grover rambles on about the dangers of too much screen time, before Grace comes over. Apparently they have a late schedule at school or something because Will and Grace have forty minutes before school starts! (Most teens I know are lucky to grab a bowl of cereal and a granola bar before they run out the door so they're not late!) Grace sits down and her and Will are texting while Grover continues to go on and on about nothing. (I think Grace must be used to a dad rambling, since her dad does it often.) Why is this important to the case, you ask? (I know I was asking.) Well, both of the kids see a gruesome pic of a dead guy trussed up and hanging upside down on the docks. Grover and Kono go down to investigate and decide that someone just didn't want to kill the guy, they wanted to make a statement. Ya think?

And now for our comic relief. Flippa is on strike with three other workers and Kamekona calls McG and Danny down to fix it. They explain it's not an emergency, they can't cross picket lines to buy shrimp from him, and McG leaves to a second murder. Flippa has a sign that says "KamekoNO" and honestly, I wish the show had said that to themselves before they did this storyline. As much as I love Kamekona, it was just odd and felt forced.

Back to the second murder case. The new ME describes how the dead woman (who really looked dead! Great job on the makeup) was found in the water and had been there a few days. She died of blunt force trauma and no ID, but has an unusual tattoo on her arm that makes Chin think of the Shoah foundation since it's similar to what a Holocaust tattoo looks like. The new ME seems surprised that Chin wants to reach out to them since the victim is only thirty and she points out the victim definitely couldn't have been in the Holocaust. Everyone looked very serious at this pronouncement.

Back to the chatting table where Lou off-handedly says their "prize catch" Sam Harrison hunted exotic animals. (I cringed a bit at "prize catch." It sounded a bit disrespectful to the victim, but whatevs I guess.) They spec that he made enemies with animal rights groups and Danny says those people can be pretty nuts. (Another cringe from me). They talk about how Harrison wanted to bag a great white shark and struck out all over the world so he tried Oahu. Kono mentions that sharks are a family god and if locals found out what Sam wanted to do they would "do the same to him." (Cringe again) They pull up Lily O'Neal, who is big in the conservation world. I guess she shamed Harrison online and then threatened him. (Uh oh. You should never do that in case that person turns up dead. Another life lesson from Hawaii Five-O.)

We get to see Lily swimming with a shark for a while, (some beautiful underwater shots and scenery filler) then getting back in her boat and going to shore. Danny and Kono question her, but she more or less gives them what sounds like a conservationist's mission statement. She smiles after, though, and they believe her. So, if the online conservation shamer didn't kill Sam, who did?

Welp, we're on to the next case, so we'll have to put those pesky suspect questions on hold. Jerry matches the tattoo to a Holocaust survivor named Itzhak Rozen. He died last year and his only living relative is a granddaughter, Leia Rozen. Who happens to be the Jane Doe they pulled from the water. They track her purchases to an old leprosy colony Kalaupapa, which hasn't been under quarantine since the 60s, but it's still hard to get in unless you're a volunteer. Chin and McG head down there by helo, no hiking or riding a mule for them.

And so far, all I can think is there's been a lot of talking this episode and no action. I hope it picks up. Soon.

My wishes were not granted and we get more scenery filler. Since the actual cases were a bit bland and I was feeling sleepy, I was glad to see some beautiful Hawaiian scenery. (I really want to go there. Someday. Sigh.) So I ooh and ahh over the scenery until Sheriff Alana meets McG and Chin and tells them she's there to help. She seems so nice! We're still listening to her talk and she tells them the victim came there two weeks ago as a volunteer and she wants to introduce them to Bill Walker, the volunteer coordinator. She talks some more about the history of Kalaupapa, how it's restricted and about a hundred former patients and workers live there. They finally get to Bill who is shocked Leia is dead and he informs McG and Chin she was quiet and hardworking. He takes them to her bungalow and they search her stuff. She looks like she was a fairly neat person overall, no big messes anywhere, but they find a gun in her backpack. Dun, dun, dun.

Eric the annoying tech rides down on a mule and is bouncing around pretty hard and gets laughed at for his complaints. He recoils from Bill's deformed hand when Bill tries to help him with his bag and McG gives him the "really?" look. Eric follows Bill to process the bungalow.

People are still talking. It's like they're just spoonfeeding the viewers this week and putting me to sleep with absolutely no action at all. The M.E. calls down Grover and Kono to show them that Sam had a shark bite, so they go talk to Kamekona about who could have helped Sam look for Great Whites since it's obvious now that he found one. Kamekona tells them they won't help him with the ridiculous strike, so he's not helping them. Apparently Grover gave Flippa the unionizing idea at Chin's birthday party and ruined his business. Kono appeals to him to help the sharks and he caves and gives them names of shark finners who provide restaurants with shark fins for shark fin soup. Ew.

Eric and Bill talk some more and have a bonding moment when Eric shows him how he gets a fingerprint. Bill mentions he's been there since he was eight years old. That's sad, actually. They get a hit on the fingerprint and it's Tony the bar guy! Who sometimes goes by Mikey.

Finally we get some action!! Tony the bar guy runs and we get the best (and only) action scene of the night when McG gives chase. Chin stands there against a fence sort of posing (like he knows he's awesome, but doesn't want to get in the way of a good McG chase scene) until McG has the guy on the ground, but then they both question him. He says he didn't kill Leia, but sold her a gun. She told him she wanted to make things right. McG and Chin walk a few feet away and discuss the case like Tony can't hear them. They spec that maybe Leia was going to settle a score! Jerry gives them her travel schedule and it was a Nazi rat line! Nazi sympathizers in a lot of countries gave them ID and helped them escape after the war and it looks like Leia was tracking one. They show a vid of her grandfather and it's a horrific account of what happened to him when a Nazi guard forced him to choose who would get shot, his sister or his brother. Heartbreaking and sobering. McG figures out the Nazi guard is who Leia was tracking, but points out the guy would be 91 years old now and probably not the murderer.

Back to the shark fin case. Kono and Danny have a guy in the blue room of doom and he's got some attitude. He runs dolphin excursions, but really kills sharks for their fins. He says if people would stop eating shark fin soup, he would stop killing them. Let's all do that shall we? Shark fin soup sounds terrible anyway. The guy doesn't seem to care about anything they say until Danny mentions they found Sam's blood on his boat. He caves pretty fast after that and says Sam paid him $10,000 to find a shark. They found one and NotSmart Sam got in the water and the shark bit him. He wasn't doing too good, even though they tried to patch up the shark bite with a first aid kit (really?) and wanted to go to the hospital, but apparently the shark finning guy thought it was better to let him die, and gut him to make it look like an activist did it. But he says, no one's crying for Sam and Kono says in an odd voice that no one will cry for him, either. (Did they not have family that would cry for them? What did that comment even mean?)

Well, in the interest of time, our crack team has already found the exact guard that Itzhak was talking about in his video and they age his picture to see what he'd look like now. They send it to the Sheriff Alana who doesn't recognize it, but Bill does and he says that's Alan Smith, a missionary that used to work there after the war, but moved topside. His daughter, Sheriff Alana can take you to him. (It's always the nice ones. Oh and Alan Smith named his daughter Alana! After himself, obviously) But alas, when they get to his house, it's cleaned out. Sheriff Alana bolted with her Nazi dad. Eric finds a bleached spot on the floor of the house, though, and blood spatter appears with a black light. The crime scene is found! And McG assures Chin no one can hide anymore with social media and 24 hr. news.

Eric says a fond goodbye to Bill and apologizes for being weird around him. They shake hands and part as friends.

Kamekona and Flippa sit down and negotiate. Kamekona offers Flippa his own truck on the North Shore as he's expanding his business.

We get more scenery, but it's not beautiful Hawaii, it's Arizona, where they go to arrest the Sheriff and her Nazi dad. They're playing It's A Wonderful World and going slo-mo with a lot of close-ups of Chin, McG, and Nazi Dad looking serious and sad.  I actually enjoyed Chin and McG working the case together and Kono and Danny working together. It's nice to switch it up once in a while, you know?

So, to sum up, there was a lot of talking in this episode, a lot of history, a lot of sadness and some silliness. But, the wardrobe department did show me some love this week and put McG in blue, there was a one-footed breach pose by Chin briefly shown, and we got to see McG in tac gear. Not to mention a lot of great scenery.

No promo for next week.

What did you think? Did you watch?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is a contemporary romance called, The Trouble With Flying, by Rochelle Morgan.  It looks cute and fun, exactly what I need for this weekend.

Here's the back copy:

Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers. It’s awkward, stressful, and there’s the uncontrollable blushing to worry about. When she boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, she plans to stick her nose in a book and ignore everyone around her.

Aiden’s terrified of flying, and it’s his first time on a plane. If he can distract himself by talking non-stop for the entire flight, he will. Too bad for Sarah he’s sitting right next to her.

Against all Sarah’s expectations, she ends up enjoying Aiden’s company. They laugh, argue, concoct stories about other passengers, and accidentally hold hands during the turbulence. When the time comes to say goodbye, Sarah can’t help the crazy thought that she shouldn’t let Aiden go.

Then he kisses her.

And then he’s gone.

With her world turning upside down in more ways than one, Sarah has to make a decision: stick with the safe, predictable life that’s been mapped out for her, or find the courage to go after what she truly wants.

You can download your Kindle copy here