Friday, January 29, 2021

Bookshop by the Sea


Denise Hunter writes charming contemporary romance novels. Bookshop by the Sea is one to enjoy.

Aiden moved away after high school for an exciting job opportunity, and Sophie stays to care for her ailing mother and her two siblings. Sophie and her mother plan out the bookshop, and it's Sophie's plan to fulfil that dream. Enter Aiden, back for Sophie's sisters wedding after leaving Piper's Cove seven years prior. 

A second chance at love despite wrestling with conflicts and abandonment issues. The characters are well developed and interesting. Although Sophie's siblings are always expecting her to drop everything and fulfil their need. It's a co-dependency that Sophie eventually needs to establish confines as a sister not as a mother. I loved how the community came together to help Sophie in her hour of need, with Aiden missing a very important event to be by her side.

It was a very enjoyable believable story.  A heartwarming book by one of my favorite authors. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


When Covid hit a lot of us were looking for ways to fill our time as we sheltered at home.  I know many started embroidery, cross stitch, trying new recipes, sending cards, and so forth. For me it was reading. I reviewed 57 books in 2020, and that is not including books I checked out from the library. 

Although reading has been a wonderful way to fill my time at home, I also found one more way to amuse myself. Puzzles. At the beginning of the lock down, puzzles became scarce, like other items. But I found a couple at the Dollar Tree, and started working them. It's been years since I worked puzzles, but I found that it was pleasant to do, and before I realized it, time slipped by.

I started with smaller ones. 300 - 350 pieces.

I thought this one was so pretty. My daughter had to help me to finish it, mostly because of a couple of mistakes that just wouldn't play out. She was a good detective.

When I bought this one, I did not realize it was a round puzzle. It was challenging at first, as I usually work the outer edges first. Which was hard to do with a round puzzle.

Between Christmas and New Years I worked this one.

I fell in love with this picture. Isn't it sweet? There was only one problem.

It had a piece missing. This was an expensive puzzle and I was pretty disappointed that it was not complete. Being a seasonal one, the manufacturer would not be able to replace it. So I probably won't be buying this brand again. This pretty Christmas one was 500 pieces. I thought I would labor to finish, but it went together beautifully.

I found another 500, and finished this one lickty split.

So I am challenging myself to tackle 1000 pieces!

I found this puzzle at a thrift store, so I'm hoping all the pieces will be there.

My daughter gave me another 1000 piece puzzle for Christmas.  And it's so pretty. 

I can't wait to start it. But let's see how I manage the lighthouse first!!

Have you found a new hobby since Covid?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sweet as pie

 I've shared this recipe before, but with Strawberries in season now, I thought I'd post again.

Plant City Florida has THE most delicious strawberries, and right now they are plump and sweet. It's a perfect time to make a Strawberry Pie! The original recipe called for "Wild" Strawberry jello, but it's no longer available. So here is my version.

Cast of characters includes -

1 quart Fresh Strawberries
Strawberry Jello (large package)
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Combine cornstarch, sugar and water. Cook over medium high heat - stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Stir in 3/4 package Strawberry Jello and remove from heat. Let cool.

In a deep precooked pie shell, layer washed and hulled strawberries. Pour Jello mixture over strawberries making sure all the strawberries are covered. Refrigerate. (I find leaving the berries whole keeps the pie from getting soggy)

Serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream


Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Prince of Spies


Wow! I was so excited to read this much awaited conclusion to the Hope and Glory series by Elizabeth Camden. And it was well worth the wait.

Luke Delacroix, charming, kind, intense, somewhat fearless. He meets Marianne Magruder in a most unusual circumstance. She is on the ice, trying to recuse her nephews little dog who has fallen through the ice. Luke glides over the ice, to meet up with Marianne, and ends up falling into the frozen water. But the dog is rescued, and Luke is smitten. Until he finds out that she is Clyde Magruder's daughter, the man he is intent on getting out of Congress.  

This story intrigued me. Elizabeth Camden has a way of weaving little known history facts in every novel she writes. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and "the Poison Squad" were at the heart of this story. Before the Food & Drug Administration, companies added toxic food additives to preserve food, which led to people dying. Marianne's family produces canned goods, which added these poisons and Luke is bound to bring it to light. But as his affections grow for Marianne, things become entangled. As their relationship blooms, two people falling in love from feuding families, the Romeo and Juliet aspect explodes. 

I thought it was beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Deserving of a 5+. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Seasons picking

 Do you know what grows abundantly in Florida this time of year?

The most delicious strawberries are grown in Plant City, Florida!

Plant City is known as the winter strawberry capital of the world and hosts the annual Florida Strawberry Festival in the late winter (usually in February or early March), which is attended by people from all over the United States as well as many people from around the world. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Tidewater Bride


Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz is a historical fiction based on the Tobacco Brides of the 1600's.

Set in James Towne Virginia, the Bride ship arrives from England with prospective brides for the tobacco farmers. Selah Hopewell is the daughter of the cape merchant and unmarried. She assists her father in his store and is the overseer of the brides. 

Alexander Renick is a wealthy widower who, as mediator for the Powhattan people, helps with communication between the Naturals and the English.

The story is loosely based on Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Selah and Xander's love story is beautifully written. Laura Frantz is a wonderful story teller and her research is impeccable. The vocabulary was a bit difficult for me but her characters are very believable. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Revell. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Twelfth Way

 The Twelfth Way of Christmas


Ok, we have made it to the last of the Twelve ways of Christmas. I hope as you look back over the list, there are things you can do through out the year. 


After weeks of planning and holiday activities we can feel a bit frazzled and exhausted. It's hard to find motivation, looking at the boxes that need to be put away. Or at the to-do list of things that were neglected during the busy holidays. It's likely the kids have had way too much sugar, and we are running on less sleep after late nights. Getting back into weekly school and work routines can zap more of our energy. Difficult family relationships can take it's toll. 

Try giving yourself a little time every once in a while. Stop what you are doing - and just breathe in the Lord's peace. Find time to close your eyes and envision a real connection with the Lord. 

Psalm 46:10

Romans 12:18

Matthew 11:28

Psalm 118:24

May God bless you with a renewed spirit as you begin your New Year. Ezekiel 11:19

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Eleveth Way

 The Eleventh Way of Christmas


How can you bless the people living near you?  Maybe you can run an errand for someone who is shut in. Shovel their driveway. Take them a meal or grocery shop for them. Invite them to your home for coffee or dinner. Find a way to let them know you care. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Tenth Way

 The Tenth Way of Christmas -


Recently I shared "What To Do This Christmas". One of the things on the list to do was to mend a quarrel and forgive. Sometimes it's hard to let go of a hurt. But in the end, holding on to a grudge only hurts the person holding it. Anger built up only hardens your heart. 

Forgiveness is a choice. There is no one I cannot forgive. There is no one I cannot love. I can give thanks in all things. 

And above all things have fervent love for one another,

for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

1Peter 4:8

Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Ninth Way

 The Ninth Way of Christmas -


Many of us give to our family and friends during the holidays. But consider giving to someone who is not the usual recipient of your generosity. Maybe give a token of your appreciation to your local delivery person, pharmacist, your child's teacher, your Pastor or a favorite grocery store clerk. Your gift needn't be expensive, but as a little surprise it just lets them know they are appreciated and valued.

"The only true gift is a portion of yourself - a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, a little smile, a word of thanks."  - Miss Madeline 

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Eighth Way

 The Eighth Way of Christmas -


Who is on your heart today? Prayer is a powerful thing. It connects us to God, one on one. You can pray for big things but God also hears us when we pray for little things. Nothing is too small for God. You can pray for our nation and our leaders. For protection for our children, and those you love. If someone is on your heart, spend time praying for that person, and then send them a note letting them know. You may be surprised how appreciated it will be.

Words of Wisdom

 "Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him
a spring of water welling up to
eternal life.

John 4:13-14