Book Review: At The Water’s Edge

At the Water's EdgeAt the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh how I loved this book! I wanted to read it because I’d read Water For Elephants and loved it.

This story is about Maddie, Ellis and Hank. Maddie and Ellis are married to each other and Hank is their best friend. They are wealthy and living the high life during World War II. Ellis gets himself declared color blind and Hugh gets himself declared flat footed so neither is able to serve in the military. Ellis’s father, a former Colonel, is disgusted with this fact and eventually cuts Ellis’s allowance off.

The men decide to go to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster, something Ellis’s dad did back in the day. They plan to get the monster on film thereby becoming famous in their own right and also redeeming the Colonel whom everyone thought manufactured photos of the monster.

They cross the sea on a supply transport. Right before they arrive, another ship is bombed and they go back to pull the sailors out of the burning sea. This spectacle changed the way Maddie looked at life in general.

While they are in Scotland, they stay at a guest house run by Angus, Meg and Anna and this is where the story actually begins.

I loved seeing Maddie’s character grow throughout the story. I loved that Ellis eventually got his and that Maddie got hers.

What a great book! I highly recommend it. :-)



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Book Review: Swan Dive

Swan Dive (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery #3)Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderful book by Kendel Lynn. I read the book that came before Swan Dive and fell in love with the character of Elliott Lisbon. She’s smart and, while she works running the Ballantine Foundation, she’s also working towards her private investigator’s license.

When one of the dancers in the foundation’s production of the Nutcracker turns up dead, Elliot is right in the middle of the scene of the crime. She works to find out what happens because she feels the police are going in the wrong direction.

The relationships between Maddy and Ransom are sorted out in this book and I’m happy with how that turned out. Maddy seems like a really great guy but Ransom seems the one she should be with.

This book was fun to read and kept me guessing until the very end. I’m looking forward to the next book! :-)



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Book Review: My Best Everything

My Best EverythingMy Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book! Lulu is headed to college in San Diego and all she wants is to get out of her small Virginia town where she feels she’s never fit.

Then her dad told her that, because of a bad business decision, there wasn’t any money for her to go to college so far away. Lulu figures she will find a way. She works at a junk yard with her best friend. They catalog items that come into the yard as part of their job. One day she realizes they haven’t logged in a still and she gets the idea that they can make moonshine to raise the money for her to go to college.

She makes plans to make the moonshine with her best friend, her boyfriend and his friend, Mason. Mason comes from a family of moonshiners and, if not for him, they might have gone wrong in so many different ways. Lulu falls in love with Mason, learns that he is a recovering alcoholic and in the end that she is bad for him.

The story of a summer of love, moonshine and dreams. This was a great book. :-)



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Adult Presidential Physical Fitness Test

Do you remember having to do the Presidential Physical Fitness test in gym class in school? I went to school in Illinois which used to be (and may still be) the only state that required gym class all 12 years of school. So every year we had to do this test. (Except I did graduate after only 11 years so I didn’t have to do 12 of them. ;-) )

I didn’t like it. There were parts of it that I just wasn’t good at. Like all of them. :-) I guess I’ve always been very competitive and I could never run as fast as my smaller friends, nor could I climb a rope (was that part of it?) or hang on a bar like those little monkeys could. My scores were probably fine but they weren’t the top of the class. i.e. I never got one of these:

And I want one. Badly. ;-)

While I was in the Marine Corps, my goal was to run a First Class Physical Fitness Test and it didn’t take me too long to get to that level. I always maxed out the sit-ups, doing 80 in the minute (2 minutes?) and I ran fast enough that my run score combined with my sit-ups score wiped out the fact that I completely stunk at the flexed arm hang.

No, that’s not me.

The other day I stumbled across the Adult Presidential Physical Fitness Test and I knew I would have to take it. Make a baseline, retake it, get better, retake it. :-) I’m competitive, did I mention that?

I did my baseline this morning and I was pretty happy with the results. 

apft

Interestingly, it was the half sit-ups that pulled my overall score down. I didn’t do them right I realized after I was finished. I had my legs straight and not bent. I’m not sure if it would’ve mattered but it’s to be noted. I also didn’t take my heart rate after my walk. I took it after my push-ups so that could also change things a bit. 

This is just a baseline, which I wanted, and I’m happy with it. So, who’s going to join me? How fit are you?

Mike Singletary is Going to California

I’ve been going through everything in the house trying to decide what to take to California. We haven’t even really unpacked in this house so it’s been fun going through the boxes, finding things I didn’t remember. 

mike

One thing I decided is that Mike Singletary is going to California with us. There were only 1000 of these made after he retired from the Bears and I was so happy to get one.  I love him a lot and since we’ve been here, he’s been in a spare bedroom, leaning against the wall, with the other artwork. I told David that we would have to decorate the guest room in orange and blue so Mike would fit in. 

Then the other day, I was shopping at Hobby Lobby and I saw these:

lamps

And I fell in love. By the time I got home, I was obsessed. I must have them. I must now bring fuchsia into the guest room so that I can have a place for these amazingly fantabluous lamps that I cannot, will not, live without. 

So they will hang out in the guest room with Mike. :-)

Going through another box I came across a folder of things I want to have framed. In it I found this:

elton

Is he not PERFECT?!?! I will have him framed and Elton, too, will hang out in the guest room with Mike. I love the way this room is coming together in my mind. I’ll be sure to do an update blog when I’ve got it together in real life. :-)

Book Review: Beside Manners

Bedside Manners (Breakup Doctor #2)Bedside Manners by Phoebe Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book just like I loved the first book in the Breakup Doctor series.

This book is a continuation of Brook Ogden’s life and growing her new Breakup Doctor practice. Brook really grew in this book along with her practice and it was fun to watch. I loved her new group idea and the characters that were in the group, seeing them solve their problems. Watching the relationship between her best friend, Sasha and her brother, Stu was good, too.

Brook has some of her own breakup issues in this book and I hope the third book will bring her back to Ben who seemed to be the perfect guy for her.

Great book. Great series. Two thumbs up! :-)




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Book Review: With Vics You Get Eggroll

With Vics You Get Eggroll (Mad for Mod #3)With Vics You Get Eggroll by Diane Vallere

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in this series that I’ve read and I loved it.

I love design and the fact that Madison Night is an interior designer that specializes in mid century modern design just makes this series one I really enjoy. I think it’s so cute that she dresses like Doris Day and I love the descriptions of her outfits.

This time, there is a killer on the loose in Lakewood and Madison wants to help Tex, someone she has somewhat of a relationship with as he is the police lieutenant who is implicated in the case. There is also another love interest for Madison, Hudson, who is her handy man and helps her with construction jobs that take more that she can handle alone. She seems very undecided between the two in this book and I hope she will choose the right one.

This story twists and turns and I was kept guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book, this series. :-)



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Book Review: Walking on Trampolines

Walking on TrampolinesWalking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh how I loved this book! Easily the best book I’ve read this year. I was sucked in by the story immediately and I didn’t want it to end.

The book begins with Tallulah (Lulu) waking up after sleeping with her high school boy friend on his wedding night to her high school best friend.

The couple gets over it but Lulu cannot. The story weaves its way through high school where she finds them together to her working for her dad at his plumbing service. She is unable to get past the fact that Josh and Annabelle did that to her. Eventually, her dad sees that she should do more with her life and basically kicks her out.

Through one of her good friends she lands a job with a radio personality as his personal assistant. He has four ex-wives, a bunch of kids, a dog named Barney and a larger than life personality. They become very close over the years and when he dies, he leaves Barney in her care. He buys them a house on Willow Island where she goes to try and get herself together, eventually turning it into a B&B, her boss friend’s post humus suggestion.

The story is wonderful, the characters are colorful. I sincerely loved this book so much and highly recommend it!



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Book Review: Face to Face with Jesus

Face to Face with Jesus: A Former Muslim's Extraordinary Journey to Heaven and Encounter with the God of LoveFace to Face with Jesus: A Former Muslim’s Extraordinary Journey to Heaven and Encounter with the God of Love by Samaa Habib

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a wonderful testimony of the love of Jesus. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

As a small child and through her whole life,, Samaa wanted a relationship with God. But even though she practiced Islam with her family, she never found a connection. War tore through her country and in an effort to be able to protect herself from gangsters on the street, she started taking Taekwondo classes. The classes were taught by a Christian and along with martial arts training,Samaa learned about Jesus and Christianity.

Samaa began attending church and eventually was baptized as a Christian. One day, unknown to the church, four bombs were set to go off inside the building and Samaa was standing right in front of the second bomb that exploded. She died and went to heaven where she came face to face with Jesus. As someone who had evengelized several of her family members and friends already, Samaa was conflicted when Jesus asked her if she wanted to stay with Him or go back. She though of all the good she could do for Him if she went back and that was her choice.

The book isloaded with testimonies of all kinds from God’s love and faithfulness to His healing and provision. This would be an amazing book written by anyone but the fact that it is written by a former Muslim gives it even more impact.

I hightly recommend this book if you are looking for a true story of the love of God. I believe it will strenthen your own faith to read it.



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Wheels on His Feet

Another new year and in a month or two, we’ll be in another new location. “But didn’t you just move to Tulsa?” My friends ask. “Yes, but David has wheels on his feet,” I reply. 

And it’s true. We move more than anyone I know. Mostly I’m okay with it. Each new spot is someplace to explore. New restaurants, new things to do. Sometimes I’m lucky enough and there’s a Kroger to shop in. 

sanjose

This time we’re moving to San Jose, CA. California is a state I’ve visited but never in a million years thought I’d live in. 

We went to San Francisco for our 20th wedding anniversary to watch Metallica in concert with the San Francisco Symphony. We took the boys out of school and it was an awesome trip. I’ve always wanted to go back to San Francisco with David alone and stay at the Fairmont Hotel and do adult things. Like shop and eat at good restaurants. 

Shortly after that trip, I took Geoff out to Malibu to attend a baseball camp at Pepperdine University. We stayed in a surfer motel and I really loved it there. I noticed that the Pacific Ocean looks very different from the Atlantic Ocean and we ate breakfast every morning outside on a deck over the water. I could have been happy living there.

As it turns out, David’s new project is in the San Jose area and I’m pretty sure I will like it there, too. When he told me we were going to be going there, I started looking at the different areas to see where I thought I’d feel more comfortable living. I told him I’d move if he let me live in a high rise and got me a bike. He was okay with that.

So after looking  around on Google, I decided that the downtown area of San Jose is where I want to be. They have, what looks like, a thriving downtown organization. There are places to eat, shop and be entertained. On Google Earth I have walked to the library from each of the places we’re considering living. The library is super important to me and it looks like they have a nice one.

My friends who are aware of my raw veganism have suggested that it will probably be easier to live as a raw vegan in California than in Oklahoma. I think I’d agree with that even though I have no direct knowledge yet. I’m really looking forward to checking out my new home and seeing what all it has to offer. The fact that it’s neither as cold or hot as Oklahoma is appealing, too. 

When David took this job, he was to be based out of our home here in Tulsa. And I haven’t seen him since. He’s always gone so the main attraction of the move is to finally be able to live, like really live, with my husband. I miss him terribly.

The hard part will be having to give up my frequent visits with the Glambaby. I’ve been hanging out with her for twice a week for a while now. I know it helps Nikki out but my time with her is the high point of my weeks. She’s so much fun, so inquisitive, so smart. I love having a running conversation with her. And run it does. She doesn’t slow down too much. I love hearing her pick up new vocabulary and ideas. I love sharing songs and toys with her that I loved when I was a kid. Facetime just isn’t going to come close to what we have now. But, at least we’ll have facetime. I keep thinking how awesome it would have been for my mom to have facetime, or even email, when the boys were small and we were living all over the world. 

glambaby

Since we don’t plan to sell our house straight away, I figured i’ll be back frequently to have my hair done and get my glambaby fix. I also hope they’ll come visit us so we can show her California. 

I think living in the Pacific time zone is going to be difficult. I’ve never done that before and I watch David when he’s there and it seems like he puts in more hours at work just so he can be awake when the East and Central time zone people are awake. We are early to bed kind of folks. I wonder if we’ll want to go to sleep at 7 p.m. every night since it will be 9 p.m. central time?

Thanks to twitter and facebook I have friends that live in the Bay Area so I will already know people when I get there. Also, my aunt Nani lives north of Sacramento. I’m looking forward to hanging out with her at least once a month. We haven’t seen her since we went to the Metallica concert. Her daughter, my cousin, Maile, lives in NV but not too far away so I’m looking forward to seeing her again, too.

It will be different and I’m not looking forward to all aspects of the move but over the years, because he has wheels on his feet, I’ve definitely learned to bloom where I’m planted. I think my blog will become more exciting as I explore and learn about my new location, too, so you have that to look forward to. :-)