The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

When Kate looses her husband unexpectedly even years later as she prepares to remarry her life feels as if something is missing and then as if her heart is trying to tell her something she begins to dream of her late husband and the life they may have had if he had lived. Kate must figure out if the dreams are as real as they seem and then follow her heart not only to decide if her future fiancee is really a good husband for her, but to find the spark that left her life when he first husband Patrick left her so that she can live her life to the fullest once again. A touching story about hopes and dreams and how the life you have is always what you make it even if it is not the life you once dream of or thought you would have.

 

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Kids books for the holidays

My almost nine year old has finally discovered the magic of books as you can imagine for me it has been a very long wait, and I tired everything to get him into reading from Calvin and Hobbes to graphic novels, I tried poetry I pestered my librarian friends for suggestions. Finally last year I let him try an e book and like magic the door to books began to open. So in honor of my now book loving son who even Gasp! tells me about the books he is reading here is a list of what he has enjoyed in the last year or so as he has become a reader. Perhaps there is a child in your life that could use a new book for the holidays.

Big Nate was the first choice for reading material. He loves the blend of book and comic strip and he reads the comic strip only Big Nate books just as avidly. Big Nate’s Greatest Hits will be released on January 6th. It is a paperback edition of three comic books that were previously only available as ebooks. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy thanks to the publisher and Leo read it in less than a weekend. I know this one won’t be out for the holiday season but if you have any January birthdays or if you have a child that is willing to wait for it and keep the holiday magic going a couple extra days it is well worth it.

Second on his list would be the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This year when we watched the Macy’s parade on tv he actually recognized the balloon and thought it was cool. The latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book The Long Haul came out in November.

City of Ember was the first complete series that he read. He watched the movie and is now reading the graphic novel of City of Ember because the movie is based on it. We also had a great conversation about how a book is usually different that a movie. It was neat to see him noticing the differences between the two.

And currently he is working his way through the Percy Jackson books, the first series, by Rick Riordan. A year ago these would have been scary for him but so far so good he is about half way though the first book.

 

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The Dress Shop of Dreams by Meena Van Praag December 30th

I loved this book it mixes in just the right touch of magic to give it just a hint of a fairy tale. Etta has spent her life raising her grand daughter Cora after her parents tragic death and working in her dress shop where the gowns choose the person that will wear them. Cora has grown up to be a scientist and has chosen to carry on the work her parents didn’t have a chance to finish and while her work is rewarding it is her life and despite her grandmothers urging she has no desire to change it her life is routine and she has no desire for the magic and excitement her grandmother has always tried to share with her, but then sends Cora a cure ball and she begins to make peace with her past and decide on the future she wants.

Holiday reads and gifts

I know this post is last minute, and later than I intended but a bug of some sort has taken over my house and turned me into a sluggish creature who takes medicine so she can breathe which makes her want to sleep. I’m doing my best to fight through it but it does get in the way a bit. I recently finished the latest Meg Langslow holiday mystery and it is as wonderful as one would expect, all our favorite characters and that warm small town feeling come through with a dose of holiday sparkle and a holiday project gone awry. If you are a fan of mysteries or Meg check it out. The Nightingale Before Christmas is the title and I believe it is available on a variety of platforms as well as the traditional and much loved hard cover. Sherryl Woods has a holiday Chesapeake Shores novel available. This one deals with one of Abby’s daughters as the main character, I have not read it yet but I am looking forward to it. It is called a A Christmas Bouquet. And surprise surprise when I was checking the title on that one on Amazon I discovered there is another Chesapeake Shores book due out in January. Be surer to check that one out as well. Not that these are the only two authors out there with holiday books. Susan May Warren has Evergreen which is I believe more of a short story but is holiday themed, Denise Hunter is running a holiday special on some of her books as well. If someone on your list has a favorite author check out their site or your favorite book site or store, you may just find the perfect gift. I will be back in January with lots of new books and hopefully be back at 100 percent. Until then may your holidays be merry and your New Year be bright. See everyone in 2015 till then good night.

Passionate Nutrition by Jennifer Adler

If you have been reading weight loss and or nutrition books lately you will notice a theme beginning to emerge which is a belief that we need to cut out the processed food and get back to healthier basics. Passionate Nutrition follows this logic but it is packed with useful info, a plan to start small and ease into the changes, recipes and many other useful tips if you plan to improve your eating habits. It also might be the perfect gift for someone on your holiday gift list.

 

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Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes Out Now

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I loved this book for a few important reasons. It deals with a small town in the aftermath of a school shooting, I realize that topic is not for everyone, but for those who are curious I thought this was beautifully done. The story is told from a mix of viewpoints, the mother of a victim, the mother of the shooter and the Mayor of the town who is married to the school principal. We see not only their grief at what has happened, but we watch each of them work toward moving on and starting over. For the mother of a victim there is a need to close the school and remove the reminders, yet the principal just wants to get the school back open and restore some sense of normal. I found myself caught up in the characters and the towns will to move on but remember.

 

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The LIfe changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo Out Now

I am always on the look out for a book to give me new insights into keeping my life in order. That said my house is always a bit messy and it is always a bit cluttered no matter how much stuff I pass on there always seems to be a bit extra around my house, so this book caught my attention. I don’t know that her plan would work for me although it might work much better if I was still single, life and the stuff we accumulate has fewer complications when it is just yours. That being said I found useful information in her book so if organizing is one of your hobbies or your weak spots you might find it worth the read, it is a sparse volume no extras like check lists in this book, but that fits with her ideas. One of the ideas she points out is that we keep stuff in different places and while we organize each spot we don’t get the big picture because we don’t see everything together in the same place. A good example of this might be your medicine cabinet or your bathroom. We all have products in our shower that we are currently using, now I am going to guess that most of us have another bottle of shampoo somewhere else waiting for that current bottle to run out, it is probably the same with toothpaste and razor blades and all those other daily items no one wants to be without. I am sure if I emptied these kinds of items from my linen closet as well as my bathroom when I went through them I would have a much different idea of what I had than if I tried to pare down the two spaces on their own. So I saw value in her idea of put it all together before you reduce, however she recommends putting it all on the floor and I don’t know about you but I have a kid and a cat, the floor is not my first choice of space, I think I would elect the bed, the table or the sofa depending on what room I was working in. There is good advice in this book and I am glad I have new ideas about how to manage my clutter. If these kinds of books are ones you read check this one out.