Thursday, May 21, 2015

Iron Lake

From Goodreads:
 Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his "former" status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago's South Side, there's not much that can shock him. But when the town's judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.
From Me:
I'll just say it straight out--I really loved this book.
I have a soft spot for series mysteries with  good characters, complex characters, interesting characters.
A cozy mystery is good sometimes, but I much prefer some grittier suspense and this one fit the bill!
Cork was a very complex main character.
I want to know more about him, so of course, I'll continue on with the series.  
I must know and understand his life!
Do you want to know what I also love?
The setting.
Sounds weird, I know--most people love a good plot, but no,  give me some great, multi-layered characters and a setting which the author LOVES, that comes thru in their writing and in turn makes me love their place of choice, and I'm a happy camper!
I love falling in love with the region of a series mystery!  In this case it's Minnesota.
When an author can make me love a place AND a character--they kind of have me hooked.

4 stars out of 5!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This and That -- Camping -- Outdoor Wednesday

A few weeks ago -- it must have been  a few weeks ago now -- the days, they pass so fast for us old people--
Trish, from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity, wrote about camping.

(It was May 5th-- 2 weeks ago!
At the end of her post she asked:
Do you camp? What do you love about camping?

I don't think I even commented on her blog post.  (sorry Trish).
I just got to thinking...
we have camped a lot over the years.
What do I love about it?
The smell of the campfire!
The feel of playing cards/games knowing that you have no electricity.  (we are tent campers)
The laughter of friends.
The hikes.
The trees.
The smell of the outdoor cooking.
(and the fact that for the past 37 years the Handyman does most of the camping cooking and clean up!)
Weird science experiments done on campfires?

I do love all that stuff, and yes, we have camped some over the years, but truth be told....
we also have a family cabin in the woods, on a lake, so, tent camping for us is kind of a one weekend a year or every other year type of thing.
Sometimes even 3 years pass before we go camping.
But never that long from being in the woods, in a cabin, on the lake.

I found these pictures of a camping trip of ours from about  10 years ago.
My computer is down, so I'm using an old one of my mom's, and this is all I can come up with as far as pictures.

and I thought I'd share them with you.
Because, let's face it---you love to look at my family photos!
(don't argue with me and tell me otherwise missy!)

Our boys were all out on their own (in their 20's then, a couple married and all living far from their parents!), and didn't come with us this time.
So...We camped with friends!

And we took a short hike.

Me, Mitzi and April.

It's always good to take a group photo on a hike!

Okay, yes, the answer is--- YES! I do love camping!
And I love all the things I mentioned above.
Camping is  a lot of work,
and it doesn't come cheap either, but there is just something about it!
It's so much fun!

 I just read this quote that sums it up:

'nough said!

Sometimes you just gotta sit and feed your baby tho!
or read a trashy magazine.  (that is a camping MUST DO.  Must buy trashy magazines such as the Enquirer or The Star! )

And one can't forget the wine.
I mean...what would a weird science experiment in the fire be without a wine bottle?
Who knows where the pirate cup came from?  I've never seen it since this trip.

A man with a cup and a man with a knife!
Two more essentials for a good camping trip!

Everyone else's husband is working hard --- making breakfast.
The Handyman is--looking at the sky?
Checking for falling spiders?
Making sure we're all safe from flying monkeys?

(I shared this on my Facebook page and my friends chimed in --
the wives of the other hard workers
Shelly: He was protecting us from wild animals?
April: He is supervising? 
Mitzi:  He is bird-watching?

and then there were the comments from the peanut gallery:
(those being some of my other great friends!!)
or there is a naked woman on the roof?

naked woman.

I like to think he is going to do all the dishes when they are done.

Morning photo!!
of me and the Handyman.
(we are not at our best)
(while we might be early risers, I AM NOT an early talker.  Or picture taker)

Lovely photo of our campsite
and friends, just milling around.

On the table sits, a diet coke can, some syrup, a baby bottle, BBQ sauce, Clorox wipes, and sunscreen, and yes,  a few bottles of wine.
The Handyman knows which bottles are important!  He's not letting that go!

More milling about!
We had some Dutch Oven cooking going on.
(and a cleaner table thank goodness)

More milling!
In some cool pajama pants!

A frog!!

Hmmmmm.... let's see what they find so interesting in these trashy magazines!

A Happy camping baby!
More wine in the picture.

Please play with me!

The Handyman is always in everyone's photos!
(he kinda photo bombs)

Camping with friends is always fun!

I'll be sharing this with
Outdoor Wednesdays

** our camping science experiment?
It's silly, but save a small bit of wine in the bottom of the wine bottle and put the cork back on.
Stick the bottle in the fire and in a few minutes, when the steam is hot enough, it will blow the cork sky high!

The kids love this and encourage our wine drinking, during camping.

Really.... we put the wine bottle back in the fire and then we forget about it and when it shots off the cork, like a rocket in the sky, we all jump.


From Goodreads:
 The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

From Me:
Wasn't my favorite.
It was just okay.
It was confusing for me... I couldn't keep track of who was alive, who was dead/ghosts  and who was just dead/dead.
And I didn't like any of the characters.  I couldn't connect with one of them.
They were all depressing.
This could be just me, as I know the author has a huge YA following.
2 stars from me.

We read this for our Library Book Club.
The consensus was this...
6 people present
1 would recommend it
4 would recommend with reservations
1 would not recommend it 

I fell into the middle---
I wouldn't tell anyone not to read it, but just that it wasn't that good. 
For me.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This and That--sad songs

Today, NPR on All Songs Considered asks the question:
What songs make you cry?

In the article they have a small sampling of the 7000 answers they received.
They did mention
the music that gets us weeping can have as much, or more, to do with association than with composition.

So it can be any song that touches  us in some way.
I've asked my friends and am waiting for their answers.
Now I'm asking you....
what songs make you cry?

Lots probably, but this one especially--- makes me think of my mom and dad.
I get teary eyed-- in a sad, but good way.

So, what songs make you cry?

One Step Too Far

From Goodreads:
 An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again? Has she had a breakdown? Was it to escape her dysfunctional family - especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?
From Me:
I did not guess the secret...and...WOW!
Lots of twists and turns to keep you wanting more.
Dare I say it?
Another ..... page turner!
4 stars.
I listed to this on audio.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sweet French Toast -- Friday Friend Cookbook Recipe #51

Friday Friend Recipe #51:  Sweet French Toast

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #51

Sweet French Toast

Sometimes when I make French Toast, I just like butter and sugar on it.
(it's because my friend Traci told me that's how she likes it. I tried it, I liked it)
Or maple syrup of course.
Sometimes peanut butter, but I usually reserve that for waffles.
But Theda turned in this little gem for the Friday Friend Cookbook and it is YUMMY!!
It's company yummy.
I will definitely be making this for my next overnight guests.
It's just a sweet cream cheese, but once it melted down over the hot french toast-- it was  mouth watering.

Sweet French Toast
Theda Pansevicius
Tualatin, OR

3 T. Flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
6 slices French bread or Texas toast (I used Texas Toast)
3 t. butter

Mix the top 5 ingredients. Dip bread in egg mixture.  
Melt butter in fry pan and fry bread on each side.

Sweet Mixture:
1 8oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Mixture of berries

Place sweet mixture on top of French Toast, either spread or spoon drop.
Top with any mixture of fresh berries.

Now to introduce you to Theda!
Oh well, this is her 7th recipe in the Friday Friend Countdown.. so you might have met her before.

What can I tell you about her, that I haven't already?
One little fact?
That is new to the blog.
Let me see.
I'm thinking....can you tell?
Theda has lived in Alaska AND Arizona!
2 weather extreme states.

Come on---give me a break.  I probably have 30 more recipes from her, in which I have to think of 30 more things to say about her.
30 times--where I can't get tooooo personal, you know.
How 'bout this today:
She loves being a grandma.
oh..and she loves Happy Hour!
(I mean, you get appetizers for cheap then! That's what I mean.  And it's a nice time to have a cocktail and try some new food at fun places without spending a fortune. Geez.)

Here she is with her daughter and granddaughter.
Beautiful pictures.
Beautiful friends.

This and That

True Story! (above)

Good morning!
I feel as if I've been gone for a long time,
and yet, it's just been 4 days.
4 long, glorious days of reading.
It rained up at the lake, so there was little to do except read.
So I did.

In fact, this was my view for most of the long weekend:

I had a GREAT time!

On Saturday afternoon, there was a break in the rain, so we took a walk.
Everything looked so beautiful and green, that even tho I had forgotten to grab my camera, I had my phone, so wanted to snap a few photos.


The Handyman walks in front of me all the time when I stop to take a photo.
He knows that I am taking pictures.  
He sees me stop.
But he keeps on walking.
He's like that.

This is the Handyman's FAVORITE Hardware store in the whole world.
We can never, ever, make a trip to the Lake without a trip to the little town nearby and the Hardware store.
Did I take a little side trip to the bookstore?
What's wrong with this picture?
(not this actual picture, but the BIG PICTURE of me not visiting the book store and him, getting to go to the hardware store)
(sigh) to be fair, he was working on a small plumbing problem at the cabin.
I worked on... finishing 3 books.

While in town, to get some plumbing supplies -- I took  a few pictures of 
Chief Joseph.
He was just hanging around the street corner.

Check out the library in the background!
It's a sign!
?? to read!

Missing You

From Goodreads:
It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable. 

As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

From Me:
4 stars.
(3.8 stars)
Well, no...4 stars.
I really enjoyed it.
It was a fun romp. A race thru a mystery with a great  female main character, who was smart and tuff and yet, vulnerable.
Although I've only read 2 Coben books, I would not hesitate to pick up another one.
They are ( I hesitate to sound corny, but...) PAGE TURNERS!!