Thursday, February 17, 2022

Hopping Along with Oneeka Williams - The Year of Positivity! A Short Message About Love -- And Share Not Today Negativity!


I first met Oneeka through her persona, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo! Dr. Williams is a role model and mentor for children, supporting her desire to encourage a career in science! Her series, features Dr. Dee Dee, who travels to planets across the universe! I loved all of them and quickly realized just how much Dr. Williams was both concerned and involved with children, especially Black children, reaching for all that they can be! Check out my reviews here at Book Readers Heaven...


So, I hope you had a  valentine day with those you love and are loved by! When I saw the Facebook post on Valentine's Day, I responded and immediately asked if I could share her words through Book Readers Heaven and she graciously  agreed...  Check out Oneeka on Facebook

Through Dr. Williams, I learned more about an issue that has always bothered me: Women should submit to their husbands...   1 Corinthians 13. I have seen how many men treat their wives! And it is not as Jesus would do! I remember a woman who went to a church many years ago, praying, publicly for her husband, who never attended church, nor even seemed to be aware of his wife's strong faith...  Then I met women who could not do anything without their husband's permission...even going to a movie with a female friend... Even now, in the chaos of today, there is a battle being wrought, isn't there? Banning books, white fragility, (but that's on another page...), and just how badly respect for women has been lost or ignored! 

I knew early in my life that I would be one who strongly supported the rights of women, joining professional organizations to learn more, then turning to organizational groups that worked to enhance the rights of women--Council for Women's Concerns, The Staff Council, and more... 

Even when a pastor asked me to lead a weight-losing group at church, I challenged him, asking whether or not he really wanted a single professional woman leading a group that was mostly married women... He handed me a book. I read it since he asked me to... When I went back to church, I asked him solemnly, "When can I move in?" He looked at me and asked what I meant. "Well, this book tells me that the church was to take care of single women who could not financially support themselves, without a husband--yes, it was that old a volume, or was it?! So I went on to ask..."So when are you and the church going to start taking care of me, financially? Well, I admit, I couldn't finish, without laughing...and he laughed too... But then, it really wasn't a laughing matter was it? The church has not really been kind to women in many ways, I have found... So I was thrilled when Dr. Williams did a little literary research on the meaning of the word submission...


22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 Whenever I had heard speakers about "submission of wives..." they never went beyond that basic statement... So I had gone on to read the "entire" scripture! My argument then became, to instantly move on to what the role of the husband was... He was to love his wife as Christ loved the Church...Specifically, he died for us! All of us! Of course, not ever proceeding into marriage had left me, maybe speaking, my own interpretation... Not so, for check out the following reference by Oneeka Williams!

 2022 - The Year of POSITIVITY! !

Sparking Optimism 

🧡 Cultivating Abundance!
Celebrating  the 30-year wedding anniversary count down
Do submission and love go together? 
Is submission important in a relationship?
Am I submitted to my husband? Is my husband submitted to me?

A few years ago, the leader of the women’s ministry at my church asked me to lead a workshop on submission at the women’s retreat.
Many of my friends had difficulty reconciling the request, as submissive would not have been an adjective that they applied to me! Truthfully, I was also scratching my head as to how I would pull this off!
“Submission” has had a negative connotation in relationships and when I asked my husband if he thought I submitted to him, his answer was a resounding NO! The traditional expectation of submission was not important to him. But what of the many other women who had a different experience in their marriage?I went DIGGING! I had to understand where the word came from. What I found gave me and every woman in my workshop LIFE!
The Greek word for “submission” is hupotasso which means to “get under and lift”.
It does not mean obedience!I could redefine the traditional understanding of “submission” to spotlight the Power and Partnership that was baked into its original intent.
POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP…When my husband is weak, I am strong, and I get under and lift!(AND)
When I am weak, he is strong, and he gets under and lifts!
I am empowered in our relationship! WE ARE THE WIND UNDER EACH OTHER’S WINGS!

So YES!!! SUBMISSION and LOVE do GO TOGETHER!!!#positivitycatalyst #Mindset #IslandofPositivity

Sunday, February 13, 2022

INSURRECTION! A Drake Cody Suspense Thriller!

Check out a short song about the January 6th Insurrection

Hearing the word Insurrection these days brings forth the memory of what happened in the United States on January 6th, 2021! It is a date that most of us will never forget--nor should we! Day by day we find out more about who was involved, exactly who planned the action, and what penalty will be placed on those who were involved.

The Big Lie... Continues...

Would you like to know more about what an insurrection really means to we as citizens who see such events happening? 

We know there are many groups, known as domestic terrorists who were involved that day: QAnon, Proud Boys, White Supremacists, and others such as the Oath Keepers who came dressed in militia garb and guns, with backup armory found in a nearby motel... They normally evolve when something happens that is not agreeable to specific individuals. Or, they could be just people who want to believe in "The Big Lie" that many republicans continue to support, even though it is not true... The Big Lie? The 2020 election was not a legitimate activity that resulted in the legitimate change of the president of the country.

Just how far does personal freedom go within a democracy? I can't think of anybody within my sphere of relationships that has not faced some type of problem that could have been handled better, either by a corporation or the government. When that happens, do we have the right, the duty to ourselves, to fight? Well, certainly. Yes, until at least we have tried every possible way to seek justice, or, at least peace within ourselves that we had tried.

Take, for instance, when, after over 37 years, I was suddenly without a position. I had taken out measures available to me and understood from my lawyer that to fight would cost more money than I could afford. I then proceeded to act on my own to apply for retirement... It should be noted that none within the institution, except in adversarial meetings had talked to me about options. Finally, I received a letter that my position had been other words, I had been fired. I just looked at the man who had hand delivered it to me and asked, why didn't you even talk to me--I've already filed for retirement. Still, I was glad, in a sad way, that I could say, I was fired without cause... Because of course, there was no reason upon which I was legally able to be dismissed... It was done purely by the bureaucratic crap that protected the institution. 

So, it was, when I retired that I immediately began another job that I came to love more than my many years where I had labored. Publishing and Book Reviewing.

But some, as many of us have come to know, are unwilling to move on--their narcissistic mindset that their self-importance is more important than anything else... including the lives of others. Thus, an insurrection occurred at the Capitol on January 6th...incited by and encouraged by our former president... and his willing supporters. This, folks, results in what has become the largest cause of deaths in America--domestic terrorism... 

Drake and the two paramedics with him were present to provide medical dignitary protection for the event’s main speaker, rocketing-up-the-polls presidential candidate, Minnesota senator Hayden Duren. The unusual addition of Drake as a hospital ER-based physician to the on-site medical team testified more to the anxiety of those up the ladder than need of his expertise. The paramedics with Drake were ninjas in pre-hospital emergency care. Russell had covered three US presidents’ appearances in the past, and Deb had seen everything in her twenty-year career. “I thought we’d be positioned closer to the senator so we could get to him quicker if needed,” Drake said. “I thought the same at my first one of these, but we need to maintain a buffer zone on these dignitary protection assignments,” Russell said. “If an explosion, weapons fire, or anything ugly happens, we can’t help the senator or anyone else if we’ve been blown to shit.” “Makes sense.” Drake leaned back, soaking up the blue sky and warm sunshine. If all went well, he could be home with Rachelle and the kids by late afternoon. “It’s definitely too nice a day to get blown to shit.” 
“America the Beautiful” began playing from the public address. A man in a suit walked on stage and approached the podium framed by the huge balloons tethered over and around it. “Welcome, everyone, to the celebration of the completion of our tremendous new pipeline!” Applause, boos, and shouts arose from the crowd. “This pipeline is not only delivering essential energy to power our country but also an inflow of jobs and money to the citizens of the state of Minnesota!” More applause and cheers with a few boos. The smiling man on the stage raised his hands. “As CEO of Fenbridge, I want to thank you and reassure everyone that we always have the environment and your safety in mind.” More boos and shouts sounded. “Without further delay, let me introduce Senator Hayden Duren. The senator was initially not a supporter of this project, but we appreciated and readily accepted the proposals he suggested. His plan reinforces our commitment to environmental safety and guarantees that the state of Minnesota’s conservation fund will receive millions of dollars every year the pipeline is in operation.” Applause came from both sides of the crowd. “Thank you.” Senator Duren smiled. “We live in contentious times, but the future is bright if we work together. Wisdom and kindness are required to—” 
BOOM! Balloons exploded outward from above the podium. Drake flinched. The senator dropped to the stage floor as people screamed. A white cloud descended from the center of the blast, enveloping the senator and stage in a dense fog. 
A second report sounded from the far side of the crowd and a larger white cloud spewed into the air. People ran screaming toward the parking area. 
“Let’s go. Our guy is in the middle of it,” Drake said...
This could be a ticket to hell. 

Author Tom Combs was one of the Americans who saw the Big Lie in action and the subsequent reactions by those who place personal freedom and lives of family beyond all else. Indeed, if you hear the story of what happened to Tolman Freid and his life, you will initially stand with Tolman, in understanding just how much he had lost--through the government process of
Eminent Domain.

In his fourth Drake Cody Suspense Thriller series (watch for more about the first three books soon), Combs creates an extremist viewpoint of the rights of Americans in relation to "the public good..." In fact, you may remember many news items about the Eminent Domain process taking private land from owners to be used to build a border wall, as demanded by the former president. Tolman Freid represents those individuals who lost land by the arbitrary acts of government officials, with no or little concern about the individuals who would be affected.

It is now 20 years later when Freid has initiated and acted to create an Insurrection against the government, citing demands related to Eminent Domain...and...more. In the state of Minnesota, Drake Cody is a physician of the ER and Cody takes the lead as domestic terrorist Freid and his crew take over the Emergency Room, after having bombed a nearby new petrochemical refinery which was being dedicated. Two different chemical bombs had been used, one of which was extremely toxic and was placed where the guest speaker would talk, a Senator who was being considered for nomination for president. He had been rushed to Memorial, as were others who had been brought in for possible exposure...

Staff members later felt guilt when they allowed Tolman Freid to walk into the ER as he posed as a federal hazardous materials oversight supervisor for the Midwest. Indeed the hospital had no equipment or procedures to prevent anybody who wanted to enter the area. So until they merged as a group within the ER, there was no way that an Insurrection was about to take place within the Memorial Hospital! 

Combs carefully presents local safety officers and support staff to show their effectiveness and expertise. The only limitations were that they had no control over what the Domestic Terrorists had planned! More importantly, I believe, was the author's effort in revealing that, while the leader of the group, might have had a justifiable complaint, once he and his crew were revealed, it was clear that (1) they had far too much experience in using instruments of destruction, including guns, bombs and chemicals, and (2) the majority of those involved really had no moral imperative and indeed, were clearly criminals even before this action was being planned. Even Freid realized that he would have to keep a close watch on his own people knowing that they would kill if anybody crossed them. Only Freid's brother, who was also an ex-con but a cult leader, would keep them under control... And as time went by, that proved to be a very difficult job. 

Cody was quick to realize that they couldn't wait for outside help. But those that remained within the ER had been stripped of any outside communication and any items that could possibly be used in defense not if...but...when...they would need to act to try to save themselves!

Only one thing might help. For whatever reason, Tolman viewed Cody as the leader of the medical team and wanted him to understand why he was right to act aggressively, killing with little hesitation or remorse for what he was doing... Tolman allowed Cody to call his wife--Freid's wife had been mentally affected by the loss that had taken place at their home years ago. Now Drake wondered how he could develop a message coded within that call to potentially coordinate inside and outside actions. But would Rachel be able to solve that message? At least he had been able to share for her to seek help...and enumerated those to whom she should go for that help...

But before that could happen, Freid had demonstrated his wrath at not getting action from the government, by blowing up an area with a dangerous acid sent out into a surrounding community! How many more had the terrorist planted before they started the events of that day?! And could they be found in time?

Cut from the headlines and placed within a site that has maximum threat to the sick and infirmed as well as the community, Tom Combs has presented readers with an excellent look into the minds of those who feel they have a right to strike back in murderous revenge for acts done against their personal freedom... For this alone, it is a must-read! 

But for a suspenseful medical thriller, this latest may be the most outstanding in helping millions of readers understand the minds and personalities of those who choose to act with extreme violence and become domestic terrorists, who are now considered the most dangerous threat to the United States...

I ask again, just how far does personal freedom go within a democracy? Many of us have seen the deep divide of those who cry Me, First! or My Opinion Above All Else! or, worse, believe the disinformation that is disseminated routinely by those who seek power with greed as opposed to seeking a way to provide support and help to those within our democracy. Consider how harshly those who've opposed wearing a lousy mask to prevent the spread of Covid have acted and we must realize! Sometimes the good of all MUST take priority over our individual concerns for personal freedom!

Democracy Cannot Stand Alone Against Domestic Terrorists!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Cozies by Lauren Elliott! Beyond The Page Mystery Series! - First Four!

Most of the time when I turn to cozy book reading, I'm feeling a need to just take a break and enjoy reading...just for that joy of reading!

With cozies, I normally look for my two favorite things: cats or books! So, of course, popular cozy author, Lauren Elliott, caught my eye! Literally... The Beyond the Page Series always centers around something that has happened in relation to books--stolen, hidden, or maybe even a counterfeit before the series ends... What we do know is that the main character, Addie Greybourne, is the amateur detective, who is constantly involved, no matter that the police don't want her assistance...but, normally, winds up using much of what Addie has discovered to solve the case. Traditional cozy format, no tough mystery to solve when Addie is out there! 

For me, it is always the characters that drive cozies... The fact that most of those lead characters happen to be women--well, that's just fine with me... Some men even write under a female name because he knows that women are the primary consumer of all things cozy or amateur investigator, as the book publishers are trying to use... Seriously, cozy is just right, isn't it? What you need to accompany your reading is nothing more than, maybe, coffee or tea based upon your preference... and even a snack... The key issue is that we can sit back and relax... with a little frivolity in most instances! 

“Yes, and it helped having a friend who is related to the investigating officer.” Addie winked. “And he’s taunted me my whole life, as you saw. Brothers.” Serena shuddered. “Well, I’d best be off.” “You know, before you go, think about this and tell me if I’m crazy or not—but I’m thinking now . . . and wondering . . . if there were perhaps, um . . . two people involved, not just the fellow Martha chased off.” “What makes you say that?” Serena’s hand paused on the door latch. “’Cause she said he ran off, not drove toward Birch Road, and we weren’t outside long enough for him to run around the two blocks and come back in the front door.”  “What are you saying? That it was planned?” “Yes, and the guy in the lane was just a diversion to get us outside. That there was someone else on the street waiting till we were distracted.” “Hum, but why? It was only the books that were messed up, and the only one that you said appears to be missing is a copy of Alice in Wonderland, and none of your collectibles were stolen, so I don’t get it.”

Beyond the Page series begins when the main character, not surprisingly, inherits from her aunt... And, of course, she was wealthy beyond all expectation, so that the relative is in awe... Trite? Not really! You'd be surprised what can be discovered in a surprise inheritance... Many times, the one who inherited was perhaps chosen because of their own love for, say, books, as was Addie... But one important angle was added... Greyborne is an important historical name in the area. Some welcomed her; some already hated her...

But Addie is one of those who can strive to find her place in a new community and prove her worth and value. After all, she had a professional background and experience in research and appraisal... just waiting to be tapped for solving a murder mystery, at least one per book, please... and Thank You... Preferably, however, not to have the potential investigator be charged for that murder... As occurred in Murder By The Book. But that has a bright spot, when she meets Marc, the local chief of police!

The Greyborne Harbor Daily News . . . Page 6 Continued from Page 5—Around Town Finally, Miss Newsy asks the question on everyone’s mind today: was it an alien abduction, which is the theory of some, or is the mysterious disappearance of local librarian June Winslow something far more sinister? 
Many Greyborne Harbor residents are asking that very question today; I know I am. What is really behind her disappearance, and who would have the most to gain by her sudden departure from the Harbor? Reports were made by Mrs. Winslow’s daughter of shaking ground and strange, flashing lights when she began searching for her mother, who failed to return home from a book club meeting. The report of unusual seismic activity in the area at the time in question was confirmed by Dr. Peterson, a seismology expert at Boston University. 
He is quoted as saying, “These disturbances did not warrant strong enough seismic activity to have opened up the ground and swallow anyone.” 
The local utility department also confirmed that a minor power surge did occur at the time in question. However, there was no lightning bolt activity, and the fleeting surge caused no reported damage to infrastructure and posed no threat to citizens. So, what really is behind this sudden departure of a much-loved and respected member of our community? Who would have the most to gain? Perhaps Addison Greyborne can tell us. It’s rumored that Miss Greyborne, owner of Beyond the Page—Books & Curios, may have more answers than she’s letting on. Being a librarian herself and the operator of an allegedly failing local business, she is most likely the one who could shed some light on the reason why there is currently an opening for head librarian at our beloved Harbor Library.

Soon Addie has opened a book and curio store, using many of the books found in her new Victorian home. She immediately realized that she needed somebody to help her with customers while she attended to other issues--often investigating! Two other business owners quickly become important characters... Serena, who owns a tea shop...and Martha who owns a bakers. Readers will quickly discover that Martha is not happy with Addie being next door. Even worse, when her daughter, Paige, is hired by Addie to work in her store, tensions mounts...

Then in Prologue to Murder, Addie continues to discover those in town who are upset she has come... When a column runs in the local news hinting that Addie knows more about the disappearance of the local librarian, she is once more...on the defense! Nothing can be done, however, since the innuendo is located in a gossip column, so there can't be any liability on the part of the writer. Addie seethes as she is once more pulled into finding out "who, what, when, and where..."

Marc is caught on the defense, while trying to work on his latest case, which now has him having to look at Addie... Marc, by the way, is the brother of Serena! Now that Addie and Serena are close friends, Marc is getting caught in the middle way too often. Still, he finds Addie more than...just...a...suspect! But Addie who lost both her father and fiancĂ©e is not ready to get serious...but... a little dating?

Addie settled onto a chair behind the desk in the back room, slid an antique letter opener along the edge of the manila envelope, and envisioned it was Jonathan’s black heart. A low growl escaped her throat. Hoping for happy news to distract her, she blew a wayward strand of honey-brown hair from her eyes, slid the enclosed papers out, and grinned. At last, it was the final report from her old coworker Kate at the Boston Library. The appraisal for Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and the last thing Addie needed for the auction. Apparently, a certificate of authentication trumped her skilled knowledge of antique books. The book itself had since been returned, but for the auction, Addie needed this current market report and Kate’s certificate so the foundation could make as much money as possible from its sale. The report contained one surprise, but otherwise it was exactly as she thought it would be. Addie was pleased to see that she really hadn’t lost her touch. It was only too bad that she’d allowed her appraisers’ association membership to lapse. It wasn’t a requirement for appraisers to belong, but a member’s number on the documents added considerable credibility to an appraisal. 
Nonetheless, it was done now, and Teresa Lang would be more than pleased with the results. When Addie discovered the 1843 first edition book tucked in a box of Christmas decorations in her aunt’s attic, she knew then it was special. She was a little confused at the time as to why her aunt stored it in there, but knowing she was eccentric and did love hiding things, Addie shrugged it off. When she heard about the desperate need for donations this year to the annual Christmas Charity Auction fund-raiser, she decided, why not? It was perfect for the season and might bring in more money for the auction just because of that. 
Well, if truth were known, it took a little bit of persuading by her good friend the coroner, Dr. Simon Emerson, but once she’d offered it up as a donation, she had no regrets. As Simon had pointed out, Dickens himself was actively involved in social issues his entire life, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

Addie was enjoying her success with new friends, even a book club had been formed. And now, the annual charity auction was coming and, after thinking about it, Addie had decided to donate one of her rare book finds which had been hidden and just recently discovered as she continued to go through the attic and other spaces in her new home. A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens was sure to bring an amount that would greatly help. Her past experience as an appraiser resulted in a good estimate of what it would sell for. But when Addie contacted a former coworker, she was able to get the book's value certified... It was worth even more than Addie anticipated!

Addie was shocked when the father of her fiancĂ©e came to visit. The loss of his son was still a fresh memory for both of them and Addie was not sure she wanted to deal with Jonathan Hemingway, who she remembered as a ladies' man. So when a good friend came by, she watched helplessly as Jonathan turned on his charm and had Catherine blushing and sighing at his attention!

At least he had a luncheon scheduled with another friend. But that didn't stop his interactions with Catherine. When Jonathan revealed that his luncheon was with Teresa Lang--who was heading up the Christmas auction, Addie's alert system went on high as she immediately wondered about the safety of her donation... It wasn't long before Addie went out to visit the auction site... Went looking for Teresa, discovered her body...and realized that the book was gone!

Simon Emerson, the coroner in town, is a new character that adds a potential love triangle for Addie. With both Marc and Simon vying for time and attention, Addie was even more concerned about Jonathan, who was now staying at Catherine's home! Men!

This novel grew in complexity, given the value of the stolen or lost book and given that Addie had made the donation, she was right in the middle of the investigation, whether Marc wanted her to be...or not...  Mainly because, first on her suspect list was Jonathan Hemingway, the father of her former fiancĂ©e.. But when the appraised value papers were also gone, it was clear that somebody was surely going to try to sell that book, rather than have it sold for charity... The list quickly grew for who might have done it... For she was sure of one thing, even if Marc was not... That the missing book was connected to the death of Teresa Lang. She just had to prove it!

Brian shoved the flat end of the crowbar into the crevice flanked by the door and frame and pried at it to the tune of cracking wood. “Got it!” He handed the bar back to Addie, who dropped it back in his tool bag as he swung the door open. The crowd of staff that had gathered in the hallway breathed a collective sigh of relief. 
“Back to work, everyone.” Blake clapped his hands together. “We’re live in less than an hour.” The group scurried off, leaving the three of them alone. 
“Thank you, Brian. You can add this little mishap to my bill.” Addie stepped past him, stuck her head inside and took a hasty glance around. “There’s no one in here.” 
“There has to be.” Blake came to her side. “The door was bolted from the inside.” 
“Take a look.” She waved her hand. “Do you see anyone? Oh, wait. What’s that?” She pointed to the desk chair turned away from them. “Is that Charlotte’s hand on the arm?” 
“See? I told you she was probably in here sleeping.” 
“Charlotte?” Addie called hesitantly as she moved toward the desk. With no reaction from the woman, Addie’s gut tightened. She reached for the chair and swiveled it toward her. The ghastly look on Charlotte’s face shook her to the core, and she clasped a hand over her mouth to stifle a scream...

Fourth in the Series, Proof of Murder, became my favorite. It's the classic dead body in a locked room... We all know that there is probably a hidden entrance to the room, but that doesn't ever stop the reader from working along to discover exactly what happened...and by whom! And enjoy discovering the hidden mysteries of a house reputed to be the home of...dead...earlier occupants. 

Once again, Addie is in the thick of things... An old coworker, Blake was in town to conduct an estate sale. Given that the inventory was running short at her store, Addie planned on going to see if she could find "stock" replacements. 

But, really, Addie was just interested enough to check out the old home that was reportedly haunted by ghosts, and to see Blake again. She was not thrilled to see another appraiser with whom she'd had some earlier conflicts. But, Addie, was willing to forget that and even volunteered to help do an inventory and appraisal  of a bookcase of books that had been just found and brought down to the library. Charlotte was the usual aggressive, unfriendly woman that she'd always been, but when Addie volunteered to help, she took her at her word...and quickly do other things... 

And speaking of ghosts, Paige, Addie's assistant in her store, was not only concerned about the gossip of ghosts where Addie was, but when she started seeing things at the store, she feared it was indeed a ghost upset with what was happening in its home... When Paige was the target of an attack, reporting she knew she had not seen anybody there, rumors increased! Addie was upset that she had depended too much on Paige and left her alone too often... Changes would have to be made! But, in the meantime, just how were things in the house were books about ghosts and the paranormal, seeming to jump off the shelves at the store... and how did Charlotte die--a natural death or murder?

One twist was that a cousin that Addie had not seen for ten years was in town and got caught up in helping Addie and she worked the entire day into evening... and then her cousin disappeared... Something like the disappearance of the contents of the house over the entire time that the auction was being planned--a music box, for instance, had been catalogued, but was now gone...

When Addie and her cousin had begun to get ready to leave, Charlotte came back and moved into the library to continue to oversee the final details... She had apparently locked the door and prepared to work until she was finished...

Or until she died...

And, of course, it was Addie that was there first thing the next morning and was able to walk into the library with Blake after the door had been forced open... First, Addie saw a hand... Then she turned the chair around and saw her face... Charlotte was clearly dead... Tea had been dropped on a book which Addie quickly picked up to try to save...and she took the time to look around, while Blake called the police... And quickly discovered that the original books by the author of Sherlock Holmes that were in the book case had been replaced with cheaper versions of that set of books! 
Her fingerprints were all over the room, including the new things near the body... So, of course, Marc had to consider her a suspect, especially since he was working with an FBI Agent who made it clear that she was in control of the case, while Marc, who had apparently met her at Quantico during his leave of absence, let her speak as lead investigator. Was Addie mad that Marc appeared to have moved on from their relationship...and was a little jealous...or did she really know that there was a strong case against her this time? Especially if it was left up to the FBI Agent!

Either way, Addie was hot on the trail of many... most of all her cousin, more concerned to see if something had happened to her since they were supposed to have hooked up again! 

Do you like book series? Enjoy cozy/amateur detective main characters, then I will quickly share that I enjoyed all four of the books read so far and recommend for both character development and traditional plots that somehow always wind up being different from any other cozy that you've read... 

But, be prepared, not all series are light and enjoyable... Interested in medical suspense thrillers?! Coming next!

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Dreaming Along with EC Stilson in the Prequel to The Golden Sky - Homeless in Hawaii - and Two More Books!!

When Elisa had had enough from what was happening at home...she knew she had no choice... She was leaving... And when Cade knew that she was serious, he agreed to go with her. They had a little money, but money wasn't the issue. She knew that they could make money singing on the streets...and if they reached Hawaii, like they planned, the weather would be warm enough that they wouldn't need to pay for a place to stay... they would sleep under the stars! Surely, they could make enough to pay for food. But, no matter what, she was leaving. 

Hopefully, God would still love her enough to be with them on their journey... Elisa was lost, confused, and just a little scared. After all, she had practically been kicked out by her family as well as the church. One time...just once...she'd had sex. They claimed a demon must have entered her...and they performed an exorcism...

All she knew was that she had lost her sense of well being. She felt unloved, except by Cade, but, really, she just wasn't sure about the most important being in her life! Did God still love her? That's what caught in her mind, her heart, and her very being... Who was she? Was she still a Child of God, albeit a sinful one? And, if they really had to perform that exorcism, did they get that demon out of her? Even while plans were made, and the trip started, Elisa was bothered...

I stood in the middle of a tunnel where a light shone from miles away at the far end. I chuckled to myself. "Of course, I'm in a tunnel. Why does everyone have to see a light at the end?" 
A voice spoke near me, "Because it's easy to process. But you won't be going there just yet. You're here because you seek answers." 
A light clicked on above my head, and I looked over to see a short, old man standing next to me. 
"Wait," I murmured. "This is all wrong. You can't just turn on a light in the middle of the tunnel. That's what amazes everyone on Earth—the light at the end of the tunnel." 
He chuckled. "Is it so hard to think that the light can be wherever you invite it?" 
I just gawked at him. 
"Back to the point. We don't have much time. Your body is currently on a flight to Hawaii. I need to ask you a few things before you wake up." 
"Okay?" I paused. The man was crazy. 
"Why are you running away, Elisa?" 
"I'm not running away. I prefer the term 'seeking answers.'" "Fine, why are you running away to seek answers?" 
My hands went into my pockets as I kicked a stupid rock resting on the tunnel's floor. "People said such terrible things. They think I'm someone I'm not. Or even worse...they want me to be someone I'm not. I guess I'm tired of everyone else telling me who I am." 
"Especially when you don't even know who you are?" I thought for a minute and nodded. "So, I don't get to go to the end of the tunnel?" 
"Not now. You still have so much to learn." And with that he stood on tiptoe, put his thumb on my forehead, and blew into my face. His breath smelled just like my grandpa's—like peppermint and Sen-Sen. Memories swirled around me as he touched my face. I heard Poodle-face—a girl from high school—telling me what a loser I was. I heard all of the kids at church saying how I'd lost my virginity and been possessed by demons. And as each memory swirled, those people appeared like ghosts in front of me. They piled wood at my feet. 
"Carry this trash with you," a girl from church said. "It's a symbol of who you are." 
Soon a mound of wood rested at my feet. The short man took his thumb from my forehead, and although the ghostly visions vanished, the wood remained. "Pick it up," the old man said. "This wood is God's sign of who you are. You want to find yourself, then pick it up." 
I fumbled, grabbing all the pieces. "If you insist on remembering these things and seeing yourself how everyone else sees you, pick it up." 
"But that's not how I want to see things! I swear!" I tried letting go of the wood, but it instantly stuck to wherever I'd touched it. "You can't change who you are," the man said. "And you might be able to run away from everyone else, but you can't run from God. You can't run away from yourself." 
"I don't want to carry all this." 
"Then get rid of it yourself." He studied my awkward burden-laden movements. "You really did leave to discover who you are. You just might be surprised. How silly that some of your relatives thought you left just because of a boy." 
"Really?" I asked, straining from the weight I bore. 
"Yes, for a fling." 
"Cade's not why I left. I would have gone anyway." "You left to find yourself. I wonder why Cade left." 
The man's words faded as he disappeared. Then the light turned off, even the one at the end of the tunnel...

As we walked to the shore, I thought about the dream I hadn't had in a while—about the strange burden of wood. What was God trying to show me? The answers remained right in front of me just as the sand had waited to anchor Cade. What could I possibly learn from my burden and all those mean things people had said about me back home?
Elisa, at just 17, and Cade finally arrived in Hawaii--a place where many dream of visiting, at least on a short vacation. But, this was to be an adventure like no other for the couple. They had no money for shelter, and soon learned that they weren't allowed to sleep on the beaches. Instead the homeless were assigned one place and that was a place with many people who, actually, could be dangerous or thieves... It was not someplace where Elisa could feel safe...

But somehow, Elisa always seemed to bring the good out of anybody she met. They were soon singing and playing on the streets where, if they were lucky, they could receive enough in donations and eat that day!

Dreams had always been a vivid part of Elisa's life and one in particular kept coming back to haunt her--to challenge exactly why she had left home and moved so far away. Maybe Elisa didn't really know. All she knew was that she had lost a part of herself and wondered just exactly who she was--and what should her future hold for her. Would Cade be a part of it? Would she have to give up and go back home to face, again, the gossip, the cruel actions of everybody there? 

But this was not a sad story. It truly was an adventure for the two musicians who merged together to make beautiful music that pulled in all that heard them play. Even when others took advantage of their concern for others, they responded to try to help whenever possible. In turn, there were those who would help and offered jobs to play, for instance, at a wedding... 

But could it last? Did it need to? If you're like me, I read The Golden Sky first. If you haven't, I recommend you read Homeless in Hawaii is a perfect introduction of what was to come... 

A Stranger's Smile  "Tell me again. Why are you working as a security guard?" Katie asked on the other end of the cell phone. My dilapidated van creaked as I sped to work. It was nearly midnight and I didn't want to be late for my grave shift. "I've told you, something symbolic happened." "Symbolic?" When my sister is frustrated, she repeats everything I say. "Yeah. Remember how I've been studying bonsai trees? They only stay strong if they're fully grown when planted together—and," I quickly went on, "if two seedlings of different breeds are planted in the same container, as they grow one will choke-out the other." "And you're a bonsai tree," she said—in a monotone. "And you think you never grew on your own because you got married too young." "And I got choked out by the other bonsai!" As the van hugged one of the many tight corners leading to work, my headlights skimmed across the rain-covered blacktop. "And the bonsai tree has to do with your being a low-paid security guard because…?" "Because when the manager offered me the job, she had a bonsai tree on her desk." I could almost feel my sister's aggravation through the phone. "It was a sign." Silence, then, "Gina, you were offered a job paying twice as much downtown." "That manager didn't have a bonsai tree on her desk." "You've got to stop following these signs. Look at your life. Look what's happened to you. Sometimes you have to go where the pay is." She can be so feisty—I think she gets it from our Italian mother! I could have responded in turn—I'm a spitfire too—but instead let the words bounce off, just like the plinking rain on the pavement. "Well, I'm at the plant, and I'm working here for a reason. Who knows why, but maybe it's so I can grow into a bonsai tree that's strong all by myself. Thanks for staying up to talk with me."

A Stranger's Kindness is a light, enjoyable romance. I liked Gina, and couldn't help but think that she was a lot like Elisa--an optimist, a woman who was not afraid to reach for what she wanted...and to deal with the schmucks who came into her life that really weren't meant to be there! 

Gina had been married and with a failed marriage, she had been looking for signs of how to find a life that would be wonderful... finding somebody who would be the dream of a man she always longed for...

I shoved the velvety couch with all my might. Then, after little reward I kept on pushing. After all, this was no ordinary house. This was no ordinary dream. What the couch had always concealed was far more than one would expect. There had always been, inches above the floor a gaping hole, spiraling down—not unlike Alice's rabbit hole just with jagged roots and mud—hiding all the terrible secrets of my life.  The couch finally slid and I prepared to see the hole, but it wasn't there…not anymore.  It had been patched up completely, and I fell into a sitting position in front of it, stunned. I wanted to go in there— there—feel the pain of remorse and the consequence of poor choices. Reliving my nightmares was the only thing that made me remember why I'd changed…. Why I'd become a single mom…. Why I'd gotten divorced…. And how The Schmuck had been a mere shadow of my previous husband….  I banged on the wall—hit as hard as I could, but the sheetrock wouldn't bust. My secret place—albeit disturbing—had simply been barricaded away forever.  I sat, thinking that I could never go back to that terrible place. For some strange reason, I wondered how I would stay strong now that I must let go of the pain.

Gina had done it again...she had become involved, albeit not by choice, with a married man, who had lied to her... Now, as she was trying to break free from another fiasco of love gone wrong, he was stalking her... she had to get away from him...

Really, taking a job because the supervisor had a bonsai tree on her desk was not logical...but it was symbolic and Gina took the job as a security guard... And soon saw from the distance, the smile of a man, a handsome, kind man, who spoke to everybody and seemed to be liked by all those with whom he worked... was she going to meet him??? Was he that star in the seemingly impossible dream that she was living in?

Take a chance...dream along with Gina...dreams really do come true some time...

And then there were children... LOL 

Seriously, EC Stilson was soon writing a gem of an adventure for kids of all ages! 

I always knew I was different. Every kid on Syron thinks that at some point or another, but I did more than wonder. It wasn’t just my exotic appearance, eyes larger than a normal human’s and lips that gave me the appearance of a fish. It wasn’t even the fact that my family lives in a castle—a haunted one. Or at least that’s what I heard people tell my father when we first moved in. It looks hundreds of years old, but no one knows how the castle got here on Senack’s coast. No one except the natives who lived in this area at the time it was built. The Land Registrar refused to demolish the place. He said that was "maliassuertius," or bad luck in the natives’ tongue. When my father offered to take it off his hands, the Registrar said my parents were mindstruck for wanting to live in a decrepit castle with haunted murals and halls. Groups of natives live here and there, but the whole planet is curious, just like my family. Something bad happened here, I can feel it in the barren land, and the natives won’t speak out. Once I tried asking one of them about Senack’s castle, but she screamed even before I could finish my question. Anyway, that was the day my father forbade me and my four siblings from talking to anyone without his permission. He said we’d teach ourselves, which bothered me since I wanted real answers to my questions. Our castle sits on the beach in a rocky section that’s jagged and bumpy. A huge, slimy tree stands forlornly by the front side of the house. My dad calls it the Diem tree and swears it’s something special—even for Syron. Its droopy branches give it the look of a hunchbacked old man, but I don’t see what’s special other than its shade.  Knowing we’d never get visitors here might be why my parents liked it. We’d moved every few months before—always staying close to the ocean—but when my father pressed the issue and the Registrar agreed to give us this place, we finally settled down. The government would give us land in a better area farther inland, but my dad refused. He took the historic "artifact," and that was that.

"Syron’s a strange planet," my father and mother said. "You don’t know what types of things live in those waters. Stay away from the ocean. It isn’t safe." But the land didn’t seem especially safe either. All I wanted was to jump in the waves, to learn to swim in the water. I dreamed about it day and night. I fantasized that I was like one of the fish I’d seen in some of the castle’s murals. The fish looked both mystical and monstrous. If I were like them at least I’d fit in somewhere.  I never wondered about the ocean until the day Indy went missing. She’s my youngest sister. I hate talking about the last day I saw her. The whole thing was my fault...

Aliya (such a lovely name, isn't it?) narrates the most extraordinary fantasy novel I've read... Its main characters are children and for many years, although they lived by the ocean, they were forbidden to go near it. Aliya was the one who was most affected when her younger sister was lost in the ocean. But, she had never told her parents the truth of what happened.. Her sister was stolen by a witch and she had gone willingly... While Aliya, left behind, was frozen in place, unable to do anything to stop the witch's actions. Aliya had always blamed herself, even though her father denied what she was saying...

Now, her older brother was packing... He was leaving... He had met somebody, a beautiful girl...and he was in love, ready to run off with her...

Only Aliya glimpsed the girl as she waited for him on a ship. Even though many years had passed since her sister had gone away, Aliya knew. The girl her brother was running away with was the same woman who had taken her sister years ago! How could she look the same after so many years? Aliya was to discover her name was Constance and she was indeed a witch. One who could become anybody or anything she wanted to be as she threatened the underwater world with her power.

With an imagination like no other, I visualized that Stilson had started this story as a bedtime tale, which, her children loved so much, that, it just kept going and going, a never-ending tale of three children who set out to find those who had left her family--the father, the brother and a small sister... While their mother sat at home rocking in the chair where she had once rocked her lost daughter... The children called her mindstruck... and, surely, unable to do anything to help...

In fact, I can recommend it for those who are old enough to understand fictional monsters and all things magical, yet scary... Even as the book ended, I wondered, will the journey continue? A fascinating tale of magical wonder where children can walk into water and immediately breathe there, ready to ride the ship that was created by a drawing by Aliya who now had the magical ability to draw something into life! But be careful, there are both those who will help and those who will try to harm those children... Will they find and be joined once again with their family?