Two Books to Warm Your Heart

It’s been freezing cold here and so it was the perfect weather to bundle up with a warm sweater, a pair of woolen socks, a blanket and a couple of books from some blogger friends. One a mystery, the other a contemporary romance.  

Lauren is tired of living with her in laws, especially her dominating mother-in-law and can hardly wait to be able to move out with her husband, Ben, and have the privacy and liberty she craves.

Her desires to escape her current situation make her the perfect target for falling for a get rich quick scam. By doing so, she practically loses all her and her husband’s life savings and in the process is destroying her marriage.

There is more to this novel besides the scam which places it above the white color crime genre and into the mystery crime novel.

This was an easy read and one that anybody who is thinking of embarking in a get rich scheme ought to read this book. It’s bound to make you think twice about giving your well earned money away.

SCAM is a fast paced novel with well developed characters. It is a story about forgiveness, mistakes and the power of love.

It’s short enough to be read in one sitting which I did not because of its length but because I couldn’t put it down. All in all a fun read.

SEARCHING FOR HOME takes place in a small village in Whispering Slopes in the Shenandoah Valley. Meg is both a physical therapist and runs a B&B which her sister left her along with a set of five-year-old triplets. Life is running along smoothly enough for Meg until Luke, an old boyfriend who dumped her, walks back into her life.

Cowboy Luke, as the triplets call him, is a famous bull rider who not only wants to win back Meg’s heart but sees the triplets as an opportunity to have the family he always craved for. He is especially drawn to little Tucker who has a chip on his shoulder for having been abandoned by his parents – something Luke can well understand and identify with. He himself has had a difficult past  – an unwanted child and always seeking but never getting his father’s approval. So he understand the little boy’s anger at his father abandoning him.

Romance novels, at least for me, make me relax and forget about any problems or duties awaiting me. Jill’s novels are comfort food for the soul. As all of Jill Weatherholt’s novels, this is a feel-good book. It’s also sweet proving that not all sweets are bad for you.

Bau: My Volunteer Friends

With students back in class (hopefully) I’ll be going back to my volunteer work at the

Student Wellness Hub Animal Therapy (SWHAT)

The Student Wellness Hub Animal Therapy, (SWHAT) initiative seeks to bring stress relief, joy, and companionship with furry friends.

I can hardly wait to go back to volunteering as I’m getting pretty bored hanging out inside (it’s freezing out) and mostly sleeping all day. Here are my friends at the Hub. Don’t you think we make a great diverse team?

Two Books for The New Year

Ana Linden is a blogger I’ve been following for some time and an insightful writer. If you haven’t read any of her books I highly recommend her. In her latest post she was kind enough to review my book along with Charlie Robinson’s book – an author I was unfamiliar with until I read Ana’s review and which I now want to read. Stop by Ana’s blog. You’re in for a treat. Besides her insightful writing she is also a fabulous photographer. Thank you, Ana, for your review of my book. I am very grateful. ❤

Ana Linden

The Siege of Mr Kahn’s Curry Shop– by Charlie Robinson

“How do you live a life when you don’t have a past? I need to know – for me.”

I was already familiar with Charlie Robinson’s storytelling, thoroughly enjoying his sense of humour and witty writing style on his blog. I already knew he was working on his first novel – two decades in the making, as he put it. Then, once I saw the cover, the title and the synopsis, I instantly wanted to read The Siege of Mr Kahn’s Curry Shop as I had a feeling it wouldn’t disappoint.

“This is life – sometimes we make a success of things and sometimes we don’t. More often than not, we don’t, but we carry on and we need to carry on without bearing a grudge.”

Well, I was right. I may have mentioned this before, I don’t…

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Yaa Gyasi: Transcendent Kingdom

Gifty (and what an appropriate name for this gentle soul) appears in different stages of her life: as a young child with memories of her wonderful Ghanaian family living in Alabama; as an eleven-year-old living with her depressed and anhedonia mother and her older brother whom she adores. Then, if having her father return to Ghana wasn’t enough another type of tragedy strikes and we see Gifty doing research in a university lab in Southern California on the addictive behavior of rats while she is confronted with her brother fighting his own addiction as she documents what it is like to live with an addict and a depressed mother.

There is no mystery regarding the plot. One has simply to read the jacket cover to know the entire plot. Rather, this is a character driven novel and a mixture of fiction versus non-fiction – a cross between storytelling and neurological research on addiction. 

Gifty offers the readers the rawness of her truth that we find sometimes difficult to accept about ourselves.

For example, her thoughts about her brother’s addiction to heroin:


“Forget for a moment what he looked like on paper, and instead see him as he was in all of his glory, in all of his beauty. It’s true that for years before he died, I would look at his face and think, What a pity, what a waste. But the waste was my own, the waste was what I missed out on whenever I looked at him and saw just his addiction.”

The book is full of such insights be they about race, immigration, mother/daughter relationship, religion versus science, and grief.

It also contains some beautifully written sentences:

I, too, have spent years creating my little moat of good deeds in an attempt to protect the castle of myself.

A beautifully literary novel that made me understand a bit more what it is like to be Black in America and a sneak look into Ghanaian culture. A book that, I think, is bound to transcend you.

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022

I’m always excited to learn about the color of the year. Last year’s color contained two colors: yellow and grey with (A) message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.

This year’s color is meant to “open us up to new visions as we rewrite our lives.”

To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute™ comb the world looking for new color influences. These can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention. For 23 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

For more on Pantone’s color of the year: https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2022

Happy 2022

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Here’s a wonderful New Years’ message that I read from https://cherrylsblog.com/ I couldn’t have said it better than her.

“Wishing all my lovely readers a very healthy year ahead, filled with everything you need to achieve any goals you’ve set, and of course – may we all be showered with lots of fabulous blogging inspiration to keep the fingers typing and the blog posts flowing.” 

Why I Like Suspense Novels

I recently read Joan Hall Hovey’s novel Chill Waters and it made me think of what it is about suspense novels that I like.

Why do I enjoy this stressful, sitting on the edge of my seat, my heart pumping with fear activity?  

Ok. Chill Waters, to be fair, is not all suspense. There’s the intriguing plot, and interesting smart female protagonist. There’s romance as well. But there’s a murderer to discover which I find stimulating – like intellectual exercise for my brain. I want to figure out the ending of the novel before I read it. There’s a great satisfaction when that happens.

Also, suspense novels, in particular, deal with a sense of justice. Rationally, I know that good will prevail. That’s the way these novels work. Yet, on a visceral level the concern is not so much that good will prevail but how. And, it is in Chill Waters protagonist’s chilling situation that the thrill took over and I found my heart rate rising casting rationality aside. Joan Hall Hovey has the skill to play on the readers’ emotions with her Hitchcockian imagination.

I have to admit that I had not figured out the true identity of the murderer but that no longer mattered as I’d already taken the thrilling, satisfying ride.

Bau: Back to Work

Things are starting to move again and so last Saturday I had another volunteer gig. It took place at the McConnell Student Residence at McGill.

Lots of students took time off their studies to come and see me.

It was a lot of fun being petted by so many different hands.

Some even took out their phones and showed pictures of their dogs in different parts of the world. They all missed their dogs whether they came from Iran, Boston, Dubai, Libya, Germany or anywhere else.

Goes to show how popular dogs are!

Having so much fun!
Ah, this feels sooo good!
 
Here I am showing off one of my tricks!
So many people to visit. I’s all overwhelming!
Volunteering is exhausting!

Sara Nisha Adams: The Reading List

Reading this stunning debut novel made me think of friends in my past whom I hadn’t thought of in years. It made me think of places I had visited; trips I had taken and experiences I’d had that I’d forgotten about. The novel brought me back to many of the books on the list that I had read giving me a glimpse into my past and a dream of my future.

A mysterious person has left Just in case you need it a list of eight books to read in: library books, at the bus stop, at the yoga studio, in the supermarket, the community garden and other places. The novel centers around two main characters. Seventeen-year-old, Aleisha who has a summer job working in a library and who lives with her older brother and her mother who suffers from severe depression. The other main character is Mukesh, a man in his seventies who is grieving the death of his loving wife and trying to cope with his loss. A friendship evolves between these two characters as Aleisha recommends books (from a list left in a novel) to Mukesh. As they discuss these novels their reflections comfort them on their grief.  

This is a novel about how books have the power to heal. It is a novel about the injustices in the world, about terror, guilt and regret. It is about the magic of books to enhance lives and bring a community together.

The Reading List is a vivid and beautifully written story with unforgettable characters that will crush your heart.

 As an added bonus to this book, I would recommend it to anyone who must write a synopsis of their own novel for it succinctly illustrates how the author captures the essence of each of the novels on the list.