Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Malice by Keigo Higashino ~ Book Review

 This review is so behind.  It was my last read of 2017 wrapping up a reading year of  40 books, again short of my ever illusive goal of 50 books.  But I did read some great books, lots (for me) of non-fiction included,  found some great new authors and knocked out a whole pile of books out of my closet.

So on to the review.

The body of a bestselling Japanese author is found in his locked office at his home.  The wife and his best friend both discover him but their alibis seem pretty tight.  Detective Kyochiro Kaga immediately recognizes the best friend as Osamu Nonoguchi whom he used to teach with at a public school.  Osamu left the school to become a full time writer but unlike his friend he writes children's books and is not a best selling author.  As Kaga begins to investigate he finds threads that lead to him believing that the two authors were not friends at all but now he must unravel why Osamu would have killed the author. 

This book is a Japanese translation from a bestselling and popular Japanese whodunit author.  It's a cat and mouse type of mystery story.  I liked the unique approach the author took with the mystery, you know fairly early just who did it but then comes the unraveling of the why.  With layer upon layer, you are drawn into the story because you never really know what is truth and what is made up on the part of the character.  The revealing of the truth is done well as just enough is given to you through the detective's figuring it out that before you know it you are at the end of the story.    It's written in a simple easy going type of style, maybe because of the translation.  Once I got used to the Japanese names and which character was who, the story really picked up it's pace.  And I have to say this was a major cover buy.  Love the cover. 

Rated this a 7.5/10




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #464



Welcome to Friday's Fave Five!  Looking back over the past week are you able to recognize and find some blessings whether you had a great week or a tough one?  That's what fave five is for.  To help make us more aware, to help us to intentionally pay attention and recognize the good things in our ordinary days.  Please join in with us and share five of your top blessings.  If you are new and not sure what the guidelines are for Friday's Fave Five, simply link from the button in the sidebar, there is a short post on the guidelines and then join right on in!


~snowman building~  On Monday this week, the weather was gorgeous enough to take the kids out and play in the snow.  Because it was so nice the snow was perfect for making a snowman.  This was our creation for an wonderful hour of being outside enjoying the fresh air.  Good thing we got outside because by Tuesday afternoon the snow and the deep freeze returned.



~sleep~  I'll be honest, this has been one rough week with the dayhome.  New kids starting and having a bit of a hard time adjusting.  Lots and lots of hysterical crying on the part of the baby had my nerves absolutely frayed and left me exhausted by the end of the day.  I am so thankful for sleep to rejuvenate and am thankful I, for the most part, fall asleep quite easily and sleep through the night.  And since I had the flu last month, I am tiring out earlier in the evening and therefore able to get to bed earlier than before.  I am determined to keep this new habit going and not let myself go to bed so late during the work week.


~great service~  for my birthday last month my youngest had got me a really cute pair of velvet ankle boots.  I usually wear an 8 1/2 which is what she bought but they were very snug.  When we went to try and exchange them they didn't have any.  But the store ordered a pair from their computer and I had a choice of pick up at the store or home delivery for free.  Of course I took the home delivery.  And within the week the shoes arrived and fit perfect.  No trip to the mall yet again.  Very thankful for that!


~new slippers~  what is it about new socks or slippers that just feels so darn good?  My old slippers were starting to see better days.  But I'm quite particular about what I like in a slipper and I wasn't finding what I wanted.  Then one day I just happened upon a pair when I wasn't even really looking for that particular item.  Now my feet are happy again being surround by soft and cushy slippers.  Something so seemingly small really can be a blessing.


~It's Friday!~  I'm oh so glad it's Friday!  Because of the week, this gift of a weekend is especially appreciated.  Looking forward to rejuvenating.  I've got plans to relax with coffee and books, spend time with my Honey, enjoy good company for lunch on Sunday.  



What were your blessings from the last week?






Friday, January 05, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #463



Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the first Friday's Fave Five of 2018.  Are you all ready for a year purposefully taking notice of and being grateful for the good in our lives?  I hope so 'cause it's so much fun to have to you all along on this journey!  If you are new the link to the guidelines in in the sidebar.  Please read them and then just jump right in!

Here are 5 blessings my last week in no particular order:

~Mother/Son blood donation on my birthday~  This was a blessing because it is something important to my son and it made it him happy that I was doing it with him.  Being a paramedic he knows the importance of donating blood.  We've tried to do it together before but it just never worked.  This year, in spite of the snowstorm and cold, we made it, along with his friend, and donated on my birthday.  Yup, nobody can't say I don't know how to live it up on my birthday.  :)



~Birthday Dinner~  Even though we'd already technically celebrated both my daughter's and my birthday on Christmas Eve with the family because that is when we were all together, hubby made a spur of the moment suggestion to go to one of our fave casual restaurants on the day of my birthday too.  Then my boy secretly picked up the tab.  It was an unexpected wonderful time and a real nice treat for him to do that.

~A Quiet New Years Eve~ an evening spent at home was what I really wanted this year.  I'm not a big New Year party kind of gal in the first place, usually just spending it at my sister's playing games or watching a movie.  But this year I was really just lacking the energy for another late night out, especially one that turned out to be about -49*C with the wind chill  at midnight (-56.2*F).   So I stayed home and had a lovely evening all to myself.  Hubby conked out early and I spent the time reading and drinking peppermint hot chocolate all tucked under a cozy, fuzzy blanket thoroughly enjoying myself until midnight.

~Christmas packed away for another year~  I love the decor of Christmas and always enjoy having it out the month of December, but come January 1 I am always just as glad to get it all packed away.   I'm always surprised at much breathing room there seems to be once it all comes down.

~easing back into the work week~  Tuesday was rough and tough to get back into the getting up early for work mode but for the first 3 days this week I only had once child come and they don't come quite as early so I was able to get about 20 minutes extra sleep and ease into the morning slower which is a huge blessing for me.

What were your favorite blessings for this first week of the year?








Monday, January 01, 2018

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent ~ book tour and review

Publisher's Description:

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture
 A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

 It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, inside the heart of God. It unfolds at a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch. Gritty with betrayal, pain, and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

 Bonus material in this special movie edition includes: A new epilogue with updates on the authors since the release of the original book; The amazing story behind the movie, how it got made, and the incredible experiences while filming in Jackson, MS; 16 page color photo insert from the movie set.


My Thoughts:
I've been wanting to read this book for years and when the movie came out this year I made a point of getting to it. What an incredible true story it is. It challenged my faith, challenged me in how I am obedient to what I think God is trying to say, challenged me in how I view the homeless and even in my attitudes to volunteering. Deborah Hall had a heart for the homeless of Fort Worth, Texas and when she talked her husband into going with her to volunteer at the Mission serving lunch, he never imagined how it would change their lives. Deborah had a dream of a very poor homeless man changing the city and the day he walked into the shelter she knew God had big plans. But the only trouble was the man, Denver, wanted nothing to do with anybody. He was big and he was mean and everybody gave him a wide berth. But God had a plan and Deborah was courageous, persistent and determined. This is their story.

The story reads easy and draws you right in causing to take a look at where your own heart is and asks the question "whom is God trying to tell you to show love too and what are you doing about it?".  What I really loved about their story was it tore down the preconceived notion that this is a story of how a rich white man changed the life of a poor down and out black man, it is also the story of how that poor black man changed the life of the rich white man.  This is also the movie edition so there is an interesting section on the making of the movie.

 Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free copy for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.







Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #462


Hello everyone...welcome to the very last FFF of the year 2017.  Thanks for sticking with me for another 52 posts of purposefully being grateful for good things in our everyday.   Hopefully it made a difference for you as it did for me.  So onto last week.  There was so much to be grateful for this week of Christmas but I will stick to five.


~all the kids safely home for Christmas~  Oh my word... if nothing else this is the one that made my heart burst and for which I was most thankful for.  As my kids have grown into adults with lives of their own, one married and two living 5 - 7 hours away, and jobs that come into play, some Christmases we've missed one or the other.  But this year, despite the winter roads and bitter cold weather, we were all together.  Four wonderful days!  The best gift!





~celebrating the birth of Christ and 2 family birthdays~   Christmas celebrated this year with both old family traditions and making new ones as the family grows and changes.  I love celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus and keeping the focus on the real reason for this magical season. This year I really liked that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday.  We don't always get to make an evening candlelight service so it was really nice to be able to go to church in the morning.

And then my daughter has a Christmas day birthday and mine is this week also so on Christmas Eve day after church we went as a family and celebrated with all you can eat sushi.  We usually always go out on the date of my birthday but this year we won't all be together that day so Christmas Eve it was.  It was so much fun and so delicious.  And it totally kicked off a 3 day feasting fest.






~feasting~   next to family being together, I love the feasting that comes with the holidays.  Yes I unashamedly love food, especially food that goes with holidays.  Christmas Eve was the finger food deliciousness of the yearly open house at our niece's home.  I usually cook a turkey Christmas Day but this year we had my Dad at our holiday dinner and he's allergic to turkey so I made pork loin and at my birthday girl's request...perogies and stuffing.  LOL.  It was delicious and turned out pretty awesome except for the perogies sticking together but I tried not to worry about it too much.  Seeing as there would be no dripping to make gravy from and we needed it for the stuffing, I tried Jamie Oliver's make ahead gravy and oh boy what a stress reliever and so good!  Then Boxing Day for my mom, my brother in law made the turkey.  It was sooo good.  I'm so very thankful for the blessing of being able to celebrate with good food.

~the gift of beautiful Christmas Eve sunset~  On our way to our niece's for the Christmas Eve open house we were gifted to see this gorgeous, frosty cold coulee sunset.  God really is the best artist!




~sleeping in~    after all the feasting, visiting, extra activity and staying up late I have so appreciated being able to sleep in this week.  No dayhome, it's my holiday week from work and it's been so nice just to relax, sleep past that 6:10 a.m. usual alarm and just let the day go where it will.

Such a busy, wonderful, celebratory, family and food filled week!  What were your favorites from the last week?






Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year!  Looking forward to a whole new year of celebrating the blessings in our lives at the end of each week .


Friday, December 22, 2017

One Week in December by Holly Chamberlin ~ Book Review

Becca Rowan is a career minded 32 year old from Boston.  She is driven and doesn't have much time for friends or family.  This Christmas, however, she will be joining her family at her childhood home in Maine. But it's not because she wants the togetherness that the holidays bring.  She has a mission in mind and that is to confront her family on what she considers a huge injustice perpetrated on her when she was a 16 year old in shaky circumstances and to reclaim what was hers.  The news will be shocking and will upset the whole family dynamic but she could care less. She is determined to get what she wants. But when she arrives home and meets the neighbor who befriends her she finds herself opening up to someone for the first time in many, many years and her perspective about love and family begin to change.  And now she must make a decision that will affect not just her life but her family's.

I saved this book specifically for a December wintery read.  The story was good and delves into many layers of family dynamics, family decisions, the affect of secrets and the revealing of them, and how perspectives can be skewed over years of hurt.  I have to say that I did have a hard time connecting with any of the characters, however.  I just didn't like them.  Could I too have been skewed in my perspective towards them because I was sick and not feeling well when I read the book?  Were the complicated family dynamics just too deep for my fever muddled brain?  Hmmm, who knows.  But at any rate it was a decent winter read but just not one that really grabbed me and I gave it a 7/10.


Friday's Fave Five #461


Hi everyone.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Time to look back at this super busy week, pause and reflect on the blessings that was in amongst the busy.  And to be grateful.  Please join us.

~Ladies Christmas Party~  The original date for my ladies bible study Christmas party was cancelled because I was sick so this past Monday was the new date.  At first I wasn't looking forward to it.  I always host it at my house and after working all day it is a bit of organizing and work and I was still battling fatigue.  But it came and once that first lady arrived it sparked some energy and it turned out to be a lot of fun, as usual.  I so appreciate all the ladies who come to this group and our little party is always a highlight and I'm so glad it wasn't cancelled entirely this year.

~wrapping paper with a grid~  I cannot be more thankful for wrapping paper that has a grid on the back to help straight line cutting challenged people like myself!  It made the job so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable.

~those last few gifts bought~  I've been about 2 weeks behind from being sick and tonight I do believe I finished off the last little bit of gifts.  I am so thankful that is done and most of it is wrapped.  And right on time too, as my out of town kids all arrive today!

~haircut and foils~  I squeaked in an appointment this week and it feels great to have a nice cut and color for Christmas.  And bonus, it was paid for by my hubby as one of my Christmas gifts as per my request.

~visit from a former dayhome family~  One of my family's who was with me for over 5 years popped by with some homemade treats and stayed for a visit the other day.  What a blessing that was.  I really, really miss them and it was such a nice thing for them to do.

What were your blessings this week?

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!  Thank you for being a part of FFF and joining with me each week.  I count you all as part of my blessings.   Enjoy your family and friends this holiday season and may you joyfully celebrate God's greatest gift to all mankind, Jesus!







Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #460



Hi everyone.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Our little gathering place where we pause in our busy week and take time to notice the blessings in our lives from the past week.  First off, I would like to thank all those who sent get well wishes in last week's post.  I had  a verified flu and it was brutal.  I cannot remember when I have slept for practically 3 days and nights straight.  Yikes.  But it's a new week and moving on from being sick!

5 Blessings I took note of in the last week:

~turkey noodle soup~  why is it when we are sick a bowl of chicken or turkey noodle soup goes down so good.  Though I ate next to nothing due to lack of appetite a nice hot bowl of turkey noodle tasted so good.

~sick days with only 1 refund~ I had 2 personal days left for the year and for the third I only had to refund one parent because she had to pay someone else to watch her little one.  This was a huge blessing as refunding 3 families for numerous days would not have been a good thing for me right now, as I'm sure most families can relate to at Christmas time.  It was a relief not to be worrying about this when one is sick.

~a little Christmas downsizing~  because of not feeling well, the Christmas decorating really took a back seat this year.  I barely got my tree up before I was down for the count.  (And even the tree took a downsize.  We had a huge tree and this year Hubby said he'd just had enough of what he called the "monster tree".  We went and got a smaller one and it was so much easier to decorate.)  As I've gotten feeling better, I've slowly bought a few other decorating things out here and there.  This allowed me to take stock of what I've got and really get tough with the amount of stuff I keep.  I culled out some tree stuff and some decor stuff I decided I no longer want and it feels so good to make that decision to rid myself of the overflow of  Christmas items.  I don't know why I figure I have to keep every little thing.  Not feeling well helped me to get on with the deciding of what it was that I really liked and what was just ok and needed to find another home.


So much nicer not taking up the whole window



nice and simple, love it!

~pared down Christmas shopping~ this year we had already decided to pare down quite a bit in the number of gifts we give to the "kids".   Usually we used to give a book, a clothing, and a fun item.  But they are all adults now and there really is no need for that kind of expense and extravagance anymore.  We decided one gift each this year and a small stocking stuffer.  This turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise because now I was about a week and a half behind in everything from being sick.  But because we aren't buying as many gifts there is less shopping to do, so I really only have a couple more things to get.

~good weather~ here in southern Alberta we have had unusually warm weather this December, though they say that will change soon.  But I am grateful for this time of warmth because it makes all the running around easier.  No snow and ice to shovel, brush off cars and scrape from windows before going out shopping.  And hopefully good travelling weather for my family that is arriving next week.

What have been the blessings that you have noticed in your week?