Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


About the book:
Marc Mondragon is your average teenager: always getting into trouble, crushing on the pretty girl in school. But when strange things begin happening to his body, Marc is thrust into a new world where dragons are no longer just fairy tales. Now knowing he’s part dragon, Marc joins a group of Dragonkyn who call themselves Sorceron. As Marc discovers new powers within himself, he starts to wonder how much he can really trust his fellow Dragonkyn. After the leader of Sorceron orders the rest of the group to kill Marc, he flees. But when he discovers that people are going to attack the Sorceron, Marc is faced with a dilemma. Will he try to help the Dragonkyn who tried to kill him?


About the author:
Nathan Smith Jones graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English Literature. The fourth of eight children, he is the author of the children's book, The Boy Who Ate America, and several other novels and screenplays. He lives with his wife and five children in Utah.


Thanks to the author and Cedar Fort for the opportunity to spotlight this book. You can connect with Nathan on his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can purchase your own copy here. You can see reviews and tour stops here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Skeleton Garden...Review

About the book:
USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed series continues as expert gardener Pru Parke digs up a Nazi warplane—and a fresh murder.

Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.

Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.

I guess I've just been in the mood for cozy mysteries. Or a really funny heroine. Maybe both. At any rate, Marty Wingate doesn't disappoint. The Skeleton Garden picks up after Pru and Christopher's marriage. They have been offered the chance to stay at Greenoak for a year, while friends are out of the country. Pru jumps at the chance to do so, because the gardens are gorgeous, but also because her brother Simon is the gardener.

While working on the grounds, Pru and Simon discover a buried German fighter plane with human remains nearby. The old locals remember the plane crashing, but no one knows the identity of the bones, and soon, a real dead body turns up in the gardens as well. Pru, being curious, can't keep herself from doing her own investigating into both situations.

The story begins with a flashback and incorporates so much more than just a murder mystery. The quirky townspeople are very much a part of Pru's life and the story of what happened during the war. Christopher's nephew comes to stay and he's a load of fun. Pru's housekeeper is prickly and her sister-in-law's former beau shows up. All in all, it's a delightful, engaging story with endearing characters you'd love to be friends with.

Fourth in the Potting Shed Mystery series, just like the others, the book stands alone well. But, as with any good series, I always recommend reading the books in order for depth and character development.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Marty Wingate on her website as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Read 2/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Reflections 2/18

Looking outside...it's cloudy and rainy. But, it's not snowing. And we had sunshine this week. One day the sun was shining and it was 37°. I actually had my back door open. It was lovely.

Listening...to peace and quiet. The fireplace is going. 

Loving...that The Artist has a fantastic youth group at church. He's on a campout this weekend. 

Thinking...has the writing of thank you notes and acknowledging wedding or shower gifts gone the way of manners and kindness? I have a list of wedding and shower gifts that I have given over the last two years. I am not even at 50% for having those gifts acknowledged.

The Doctor says that you give a gift from your heart, not to be praised for it and I agree. But, I would like to know that my wedding or shower gift was received. Sometimes I have taken the gift to the reception or shower. Sometimes I have mailed it and have delivery confirmation to tell me that it arrived somewhere, but I'd like to know that the recipients received it as well.

I will concede that gifts or cards can be lost in the mail, because, if it wasn't for the fact that my list includes 6 specific instances, I'd assume that every one of those gifts was lost and not received by the bride and groom. However, the odds of 6 separate gifts going astray is not likely.

So, do I just sit and stew? Or do I ask? And who do I ask? The bride and groom directly or one of their parents? The parents I have asked (and it has been several) just tell me how frustrated they are about it as well and then make excuses that they can't control their children once they're adults, which is true. But by asking, at least I know the gift was received or if it was misdelivered.

And for the record? The gifts that cause the most problems? Amazon registries. Even if you include a personal note, the recipient doesn't always know who the gift was from. I won't give gifts that way any more.

Bridal and baby showers are given for the sole purpose of receiving gifts. Sure, you can say they're given to celebrate the wedding or birth, but we all know it's so the bride or mother-to-be can get gifts.

Wedding invitations are sent to announce a marriage and/or invite people to celebrate with the bride and groom. It is anticipated that invitees will bring/send a gift.

Since you've all pretty much asked for gifts (when the registry or gift preferences are on the invitation/announcement, that's exactly what you've done), the least you can do is send thank you notes.

The Boy wrote out thank you notes for every graduation gift he received. I had the thank you notes from my bridal showers and wedding written within two weeks after our wedding. I had the baby shower thank you notes written within a week, while caring for a newborn, since I was given a baby shower after The Boy was born. I did not get thank you notes sent to everyone who brought us a meal while he was in the hospital after his open-heart surgery and I do regret that. I did send notes on my family's behalf to everyone who brought a meal, sent flowers or made a donation after my dad died. I didn't want my mom to have to worry about doing it.

I'd even accept an email or text. I don't need formal, although hand written notes are lovely to receive.

I'm turning into a grumpy old woman.

In my kitchen...Dinner with friends. Hot chocolate at the moment.

Wearing...black skirt, black tights, black pumps, dark purple turtleneck and black sweater.

Hoping...that the sun comes out.

Reading...Finished The Skeleton Garden by Marty Wingate. Review goes up next week.

Today...went to the temple this morning with The Doctor. The Boy is at work. The Artist is on a scout campout. Dinner with good friends tonight.

Quoting..."No matter what you have, where you're at, you can accomplish any damn thing you want. Use what you have, and take those steps each and every day to get where you want to be. What ever happens along the way, failures, set-backs, injuries, seemingly wasted time, it is what it is! It's all in how we react." -- Steven Conner, Forge Your Potential

Feeling...So energized from this week. I'm not doing the ketogenic weight loss like The Doctor is, but I'm finding what works for me and I'm seeing success. He's had a good week professionally and it's so wonderful to feel hope. Life has its ups and downs, but it really is good.

Planning...the week, looking at appointments and obligations.

Gratitude...for opportunities. The Doctor had the opportunity to do a podcast with a couple of awesome guys from Forge Your Potential. He was able to talk about his weight loss, his experiences, his goals. I loved watching him and even participating a bit. I am grateful that he desires to use his experience and his talents to help other people. He wants to encourage and inspire people to become more than they are, to reach their potential and discover that life is worth living. 

I am grateful for people like Conner and Dustyn who have created an organization to do just that and who provide people opportunities to share their experiences and teach others.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can do so at Forge Your Potential. I'm a bit biased, but I believe it's worth a listen and I promise that you'll come away inspired and thoughtful.

From my world... 

My Valentine's Day flowers from The Doctor. Still looking pretty.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Childhood Favorites...Summer Pony

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

I loved the Scholastic Book Orders that we used to bring home from school. I would mark them up and choose which book I absolutely needed to have. My mother was fairly indulgent when it came to books and I was always able to get one or two.

Summer Pony was one I got from the book order. Ginny always wanted her own horse and one summer, her parents took her to this run down horse ranch to choose a horse that she would be able to keep for the summer. The pony she chose was neglected, shaggy and unkempt with two different color eyes. But Ginny fell in love and named the pony Mokey.

That summer, she learned to care for Mokey and even eventually showed her. But, when the summer ended, Ginny didn't want to return Mokey to that old rundown ranch.

I loved Ginny. My grandfather raised quarter horses and every summer we would visit his ranch and I would get to ride horses. It is one of my fondest memories and to read a book about a girl who was my age, who had a horse, was pretty neat.

I still have Summer Pony. It stands up to time.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cover Crush...Life is Sweet

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

Cupcakes. Who doesn't love cupcakes? Seriously. Little morsels of cake goodness. How do cupcakes fit into the story? Do they or is it baking in general? The polka-dotted dress is sweet and innocent, the cupcake looks delicious. This cover is happy. It makes me smile. I have no idea what it's actually about. 

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.