Sunday, May 15, 2016

{Review} The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb. Released by Pegasus books just today, this book is the first in a brand new series.

The book is set in medieval Europe during the 15th century. It follows Kate Clifford, a woman raised in the Scottish Highlands, who finds herself a widow in York, England. She is trying to keep her family, household servants, and herself safe during a time of political upheaval.

Her late husband has left her in debt and she has been working to dig out from under it while trying to keep her independence as well. She owns a number of properties and has turned one into a guesthouse that the wealthy can use to discreetly meet with their mistresses.

However, on the eve of an important visit, a murder is discovered which leads to Kate trying to figure out who is behind it and why it has occurred in her house.

Candace Robb is the author of thirteen crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. She also writes under the pen name of Emma Campion.

My Thoughts
I really love historical fiction. However, the background to this story was a bit confusing and hard to get into. Once I figured out who was who and what was going on during this time frame, I did enjoy the book. The author does include a glossary of terms which I appreciated. It saved me from having to look things up and, yes, I actually do that while reading if I don't understand something. She also includes a very good note that helps to explain what was going on in at the time in history and how this fictional story fits into it.

Overall this was an interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone who really loves historical mysteries.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar? I'm going to go visit my aunt and uncle in a couple of weeks alone! No kids. No hubby. Just me. I've been looking forward to it for months.

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother? 

Our last family photo before my Mom passed away.

My mom was full of life and the glue that held our family together. It was seven years this past March since she left us for her forever home in heaven. Still miss her like crazy. 

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass? I love stained glass.

4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual? Relatively typical. Although, I've had a friend's kiddos during the day this week while she's at a week long workshop. That's made life more interesting.

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of? Patience. This is not related to #4 in any way though.

6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May? We just purchased a new living room set (first time ever in our marriage that we have bought new furniture). I think it will be a bit before we do any large purchase. Although, I do still need to get the rest of the curriculum for our upcoming school year.

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult? Cleaning. I used to help my mom clean houses and camps. I also didn't particularly like the summer I worked in housekeeping and laundry at a nursing home.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I'm thrilled spring has finally sprung in my neck of the woods. I rarely have to wear more than an extra sweater or sweatshirt and all the buds are popping on the trees. Ahhhh......

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


So much for keeping up with a daily blog post in 2016. January? Gosh. I've been slacking. I've also been itching to get back to writing so here we are....

A few years ago my husband and I began sponsoring a child via Compassion International. We chose a little girl from Indonesia named Putri. I was slack in writing at first, but then I began sending letters as often as I could along with small gifts to simply remind her that we were praying for her, we believed in her, and we loved her. And I truly did do all of those things.

The photo on the left was on Putri's packet we picked up at the concert - our initial view of her. The one on the right was the last updated photo I had received. 

Sadly, after more than four years of sponsoring Putri, we were notified last fall that she was no longer attending the project and thus was dropped. We were asked if we wanted to sponsor another child. We agreed to sponsor a new little girl from Indonesia. Her name is Hesti. 

 I thought that was the end of it and I began writing to Hesti to begin to know her better. However, out of the blue today I received a final letter from Putri and it about broke my heart.

Dear Sister Lisa Berry,
Greetings. Hello, Sister Lisa Berry. how are you? I am fine. Sister Lisa, this is my final letter because starting this month I'm no longer at the project because the project activity is at the same time with my school activity. Thank you for all your financial support and prayers all this time. I pray that God will protect and bless you. I hope you could sponsor other children who need support. Because in Indonesia there are many children who need help. Please pray for my schooling and my family. I send my love to all your family, Sister Lisa.
God bless. 

I so wish I could tell her how much she is loved and that we have already begun to sponsor another little one in Indonesia.

So for anyone who thinks their support doesn't really matter or that writing to your child doesn't really matter, please know that it does!

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are
blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom
prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, 
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry
and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one
of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, 
you did for me.'"

Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

{Review} I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran

I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran is one of those books that you pick up to read and find yourself unable to put down. It follows the story of Ruth who just wanted to marry the boy-next-door but life got in the way.  Ruth leaves her hometown with a broken heart only to return fifteen years later at rock bottom - and a broken life. 

After the death of her partner, she returns home with her fourteen year old daughter to face the fact that she is living with her parents. She is depressed and doesn't want to face life anymore until her over-bearing mother makes her. Ruth must also deal with the relationship, or lack thereof, she has with her father, try to help her daughter work through her grief over the loss of her father, and face all the people she knew when she was growing up. Needless to say, things are rough.

Moran does a fantastic job adding in wonderful plot twists and creating characters a reader cares about. I have to say, I literally gasped aloud at one point near the end when Ruth...well, no spoilers, but trust me, it was a thrilling moment in the book!

I also found it very interesting to read a book by a British author set in the UK. Culturally things are different and it made it fun to read. I only had to look up a couple things since I just didn't understand the references. For me, that made the book that much more enjoyable.

Overall, I highly really enjoyed I Hope You Dance and would recommend reading it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Old Mother Hubbard

I do not have the same problem as Old Mother Hubbard. In fact, I have the opposite problem! Today I went to buy groceries. I hadn't been for a couple of weeks - at least nothing more than a quick trip to the local grocery store. Today I headed in to town and planned to stock up and stock up I did!

However, once I brought it all home, I realized that I had no room to put it away! Do you remember the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? My version today might look like this:

If you give a mom a grocery list,
She's going to add to it.
If she adds to it, 
She's not going to have any room to put it away.

Or something like that.

When I arrived home I had my boys haul everything inside and then I set to work. I can't remember the last time my fridge had been cleaned out but I tackled that today - while my groceries waited patiently to be put away.

Let's just say I not only did I tackle the fridge but some cupboards as well. And let's just say that quite a bit of what was in my cupboards and fridge was chucked due to vastly overdue expiration labels.

However, my little pantry cupboard will be taken on tomorrow. Why? I simply ran out of time. I spent the afternoon shopping and then cleaning and purging expired food. By the time I was ready to tackle the pantry so I could put all of what you see above away - because it certainly isn't going to fit in that pantry right now! - I had to leave to take my son to karate. And then teach kickboxing. And the come home to make dinner and spend time with my family. See, just like the story said...if you give a mom a grocery list...