Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Socks and Boots Story

Path to Bus Stop Curb Made by Me

Thursday, the day after our first big snow storm, I missed my bus.  I got off to a bit of a late start and then didn't realize how long it took me to decide what coat to wear, plus I had to wear my boots and forgot that they slow me down.  My wonderful husband who was off that day walked with me to the bus stop and then waited with me for the next one--he's sweet like that.

While waiting to pass the time, I was stamping out a path from the sidewalk to the bus stop.  The snow was already about 4-5 inches deep and sure enough, it did make the time seem to go a bit faster, plus keep me warmer than if I just stood still.  My feet were wet though.

When I got to work, I took off my wet socks, dried my feet with a small towel I had in one of my drawers and changed into the spare socks that I keep in a locker at work in case my socks get wet.  I looked at my boots more closely and saw they were all broken around the sole--no wonder my socks got wet!

Reading Short Straw Bride

Reading while drying socks

At lunch time, my socks were still wet, so I brought them along with me to my favorite reading spot in the winter which is right in front of the heater by one of the doors into our building and let them dry out while I read. It's a door that is rarely used in the hallway that leads to the bank so not too many people saw me. The main thing is it worked and I wore them home.

Can you guess what I bought Saturday?  New boots from Penney's with some of my Christmas money:

Totes, guaranteed not to leak for six months.
I like my new boots and so far so good, no leaking and dry feet!

Have a silly post?  Link up to Silly Sundays over at Comedy Plus like I did this week.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

4 Friday Fragments (Malawi, Google, snow, boots)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. Here we go:


We were notified that our Operation Christmas Child box was sent to Malawi.  I never heard of this place but it's in Africa.  Forty-five percent of Malawi’s 16.3 million people are 14-years-old or younger.

Now the urgent need is to provide the volunteers and follow-up material to teach the children to become faithful followers of Jesus.

We Got Snow!

We were blasted with snow on Wednesday. Gerard is off all week but I had to go to work. I was surprised when the office closed at 2:00 p.m. and we were told we could go home! Usually, downtown is like a parking lot when a snow storm hits, but today the traffic was light and we moved along pretty good. It was great getting home before dark! Gerard wore his new boots today and was amazed that his socks were dry after walking Abby in 3-4" of snow and shoveling the drive.

Cats and Google

Cats are the most popular animal on Google! According to the Freekibble site, When you google "cat", you'll get more than 2.4 billion "results"... almost double any other animal!

Old Boots

When I got to work yesterday, my socks were all wet. Then I looked at my boots and no wonder! The sole was all cracked. Guess it's time for new boots. Fortunately, I had an extra pair of socks at work for just a time as this. I have more to tell about this, but will make a whole post about it.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: One Happy Dog

I got a big doggie Christmas cookie later too!  Woo Hoo!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Who Did It? (Monday Mischief)


With the cats, I just don't put up greenery or a lot of decorations. I did think this fake pointsetta would be okay but I found it at the bottom of the stairs twice!


I'm not sure which cat did it, but I'm guessing it was Manny Boy since he likes going on the hallway ledge more than Spunky Doodle.  On the other hand though, Spunky Doodle is the one who likes knocking stuff off.  Oh well, no harm done.
We're not telling

We all wish everyone a very joyous Christmas!

Joining in Monday Mischief.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

8 Friday Fragments Pretty Late

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. Here we go:

Comforting Newtown, CT

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, CT like everyone else was. I couldn't even watch the news about it because it is just too upsetting to me. I was in a funk for several days as it was. A friend from church shared the following:

The USPS has set up a dedicated P.O. box at if you want to send them a note of comfort or encouragement:

Messages of Condolence for Newtown
PO Box 3700
Newtown CT 06470


Newtown School District
4 Fairfield Circle South
Newtown CT 06470

Cutest Christmas Story Video

Check out Lin's post at Duck and Wheel with String called "It's Almost Better Than Charlie Brown."

World Vision

I just discovered this week that World Vision meets many different needs worldwide. I always just thought they were all about providing food to the hungry but they do way more than just that. I experienced so much joy in helping others through donating while making gifts in honor of some of my friends and co-workers. See my Advent Conspiracy post if you missed it.

Mary Connealy

I discovered a new author this month that I like a lot! She writes clean western romance novels with humor. I loved The Kincaid Brides series of three books set in the 1800s.  My review of the last one of the series, Over the Edge, will be up on Grab A Book From Our Stack tomorrow or Sunday.

Survivor Philippines

I enjoyed "Survivor" this season and liked all the final three. I didn't know who would win, but glad glad Denise won. I thought she really did play the best game. She was definitely an underdog with her tribe losing all their challenges at the beginning. I was also happy that Lisa won the fan vote for a nice amount of money too. I didn't like her character on "Facts of Life", Blair, but I did like her in real life. Did you watch?

Nature's Miracle

I tried getting out an old stain on our upstairs carpet with Nature's Miracle on a co-worker's recommendation, but the stain is still there. I think it's a little lighter but it may be hopeless since I tried other stuff on it first.


Well, the snow came here to Parma. Downtown after work, the wind almost blew me into the street! I had to hang on to a pole at one point to keep from being blown away. My bus came late this morning and coming home it took me an hour and a half to get to my bus stop, but then about 10 more minutes to brush the snow off my van (normal is 45-50 minutes). I hope everyone who wanted snow for Christmas is happy now.

Amazon Gift Card

Image from Amazon

My pets are very happy I got an Amazon Gift card for my birthday because now I will order Snoopy's Mischief Master Class book written by dogs, two cats and a turtle (all who blog)!

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Advent Conspiracy: Something To Think About

Our Pastor has been speaking about phases of Advent Conspiracy (worship fully, spend less, give more and love all. This video below really spoke to my heart. Every Christmas for years now I've always given an extra offering to my church as unto Jesus as a gift to Him since it is His birthday I celebrate at Christmas. I generally make it equal to or more than what I spend on the person I gave the most to. This year, after viewing this video, I'm doing it a bit differently.

I decided to give through World Vision this year to help make a difference in the world the way Jesus did when He lived on Earth. There are plenty options to help the poor, feed the hungry, provide care and help to people in crisis, provide medicine, clean water, help for orphans and widows and even animals to help people support themselves, plus more! To view all the "gifts" check out  Is Jesus the most important person on your list?  Does your checkbook/credit card statement reflect it?

You can make a donation in honor of anyone you want and they will get a card and/or email card notifying them that you made a donation in their honor and what gift you gave. I wasn't too sure how this would be received, so I started with a couple of our pastors (before I realized I could send them an email notification but they'll hopefully get a card in the mail.)

Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy before? This is the first year I've heard of it. What do you think?

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Downtown Cleveland At Christmas is Amazing!

Public Square in Cleveland 2012
I actually did something spontaneous on my way to work yesterday--I got off the bus early and took some pictures of the lights on Public Square while it was still dark enough to see them.  I generally have my nose in a book, but when the bus stopped to let people off, I took a peek and wow!  The lights are very pretty!  So I decided to get off and take some pictures to share with my readers.

I stood in the middle of the Northwest quadrant and looked around.  It was just beautiful! Then I looked at the lights on the other side of Superior Ave. and lo and behold, I actually saw a Nativity scene among the lights!

Lights on Public Square in Cleveland-2012

A Nativity Scene on Public Square-2012

The children's heads all moved!

Then at lunch I went to Tower City to see the Toy Soldier that I heard about at our Women of Wonder meeting at church. I never new he came to visit at Christmas time. It took me awhile to find him because he was on the lower level and the big staircase that I usually use to get down there was blocked off for his display area. Along the way to find a down escalator to that level, I saw this cute display:

The Toy Soldier
Then I spotted him pushing a little girl in a cart and hurried over to the escalator so I could get down there and get a video. He was lifting her up and swinging her around so cute. He was a mime so did not talk, but had an assistant who talked to help him if needed. Unfortunately, I was too late to get much of him with her but I did take him with a couple other kids. That key in his back actually turned too! I was impressed with him and his costume!

Watch the video below to see him in action!

This was a fun lunch hour that I enjoyed very much.  There was also a train that went around and passed by the talking Spruce tree and a children's holiday store just for kids to shop in.

Twigbee Shop for Kids Only

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Note Card Party: Christmas

A Haven for Vee

Here are four pictures I think would make nice note cards:

Reindeer Cookies

Cat on the tree skirt



See for the December Note Card Party or link up yours.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Fighting At the Manger Scene (Monday Mischief)

I put up my nativity set over the weekend with Spunky Doodle's help. Then this happened:

I"m helping unwrap the figurines.

Here they are.

Then joined in--All I need is a halo so I could be the angel!

Then here came Manny--I gave him a big whop and he left.   
(sorry, mom deleted the big whop picture because it was all blury.)
Not only that, but then when my mom came to pet me, I stood up on my
hind legs, made my fiercest hiss and punched her.  Yup, I was afraid she
would try getting me to move.

Spunky can be so selfish sometimes, but I came back later, he he.  Merry Christmas everyone!
Do you have a Nativity set?  This one is "home-made" by members of the youth group of 1982 when I was director.  For the post about it:  The Nativity Project of 1982 With Harry's Help.  I didn't set up the stable this year, just because it's so big.  This was originally made for the church to use, but after some pieces turned up M.I.A. and some got broken, I salvaged what was left.  (I had to replace Mary (made by Christi) and the cow (Made by Jeff). 

Linked up to Monday Mischief and Camera Critters and Cats on Tuesday

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Friday, December 14, 2012

6 Friday Fragments (fun facts, GoodReads, blogging, pine cones, exchanges, Question)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. Here we go:

Pine Cones

Our Giant Eagle is selling scented pine cones by the doors. We used some for our puppet show. I'm still considering if I should buy some for our home.

December 13

Not only is December 13 my birthday (see yesterday's post for details), but thanks to Flowers of Quiet Happiness, I discovered that it is also National Cocoa day! I love all the fun things I learn through blogging!

Cookie Exchanges

At our Women of Wonder meeting at church, there was a workshop on "Tips for a Successful Cooke Exchange." Rule no. 2 knocked me out of participating right away, even if I did bake: "No plain chocolate chip cookies, cookie mixes, no-bakes, meringues or bars." I'll be posting the rest of "the rules" this week (hopefully).


Clearly, I am addicted to blogging. I really had planned to take a break from it for this month of December, telling myself few people will bother reading it anyway because of the holidays coming but it's half over and I'm still at it. Guess I just can't help myself! I am cutting back on all the link-ups just because they take extra time. I feel obligated to visit others who link up too. Still even doing a few still though as you can see. Old habits die hard.

GoodReads Scared Me

When I went on Goodreads this week, I was shocked to find ALL our books gone as well as our little profile picture and the welcome only for Gerard! I didn't know what to make of that but immediately clicked on "help." This situation was not mentioned in any of the FAQ so I hit "contact us" and described my problem. I check our blog to see if the widget was still showing our books, and to my relief, it was. Then when I got out of the contact box, everything showed up again like normal. Did this ever happen to you?

CD Player Problem

I used my new tunewriter to copy a couple records onto a Fuji CD-R and a Memorex CD-RW and had limited success. They will play on my computer and on the tunewriter but not our CD player and not in the car CD player. Anyone have any suggestions as to what CDs would work?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm 59 Today and Showered With Gifts!

Happy Birthday to Mrs. Wonderful, Love Gerard

Today is my birthday but my wonderful husband started giving me gifts on Monday. Here is the very cute flower arrangement he sent to surprise me at work. It got a lot of comments but my bosses thought they missed my birthday. My husband has learned if he sends me flowers at work, to send them early in the week so I can enjoy them. They are hard to carry home on the bus so I just leave them there.

front view
back view

On Tuesday, my honey bunny gave me this unique full-length hooded sweater.  He likes finding me clothes that I wouldn't normally buy for myself.  I'm thinking, "when will I wear this" and "where am I going to put it?"  It's heavy like a light-weight coat so it's not exactly a sweater.  I think I'd roast in it wearing it inside all day so I think it will be used as a jacket on cool days.  Gerard says I could wear it when I walk Abby.  I never had one of these before, have you?  I could wear it in the around the house because we keep out thermostat at 68 degrees, but since it's soft yarn, if I sat down it would be covered with fur in no time!

Pound for Pound ORANGE AND BROWN
After Tuesday, Mr. Wonderful wanted to give me something he knew for sure I'd really like so the Cleveland Browns hoodie was my Wednesday gift.  Although I have two Browns hoodies already, they are heavier and the one is printed funny so I hardly wear it.  This new one is light weight and it even has printing on both sleeves.  The right sleeve says "CLEVELAND" and the left says "BROWNS."  It's very comfortable and I love it!

Birthday Card (college by
What a great card Gerard got for me!  I also got a few from friends and even one from AWANA.

drum roll, for my big birthday gift I opened this morning . . ..

bum, bum, bum, bum . . . you'll never guess!

It's a Victoria Tunewriter from Brookstone

YES!  This is something I had my eye on for about 10 years but it was like $300 so I never mentioned it to Gerard until just recently.  I really didn't think he would find one, but he did.  This is a big toy gadget that copies music from a record or cassette tape onto a CD.  Our record player is busted and we have a few records that we really like but never listen to and quite a few cassette tapes too.  Mostly I wanted this to make CDs of our records.  You can also use it as a radio, record player or tape player.  Gerard told Abby there are a lot of buttons, too complicated for her daddy but I will figure it out.  Good thing I am off work today!  I'm off to read the directions and try out my new toy.  The first record I am going to copy to a CD is FAME--one of my hubby's favorites.

Thanks for making my birthday week special my Super Duper Honey Bear!  Isn't he wonderful?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tips on How To Make Your Buffet Table Beautiful

A Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet (Image from Side-by-Side Facebook Page with permission)

First of all, these are all tips I got from Julie, the hospitality workshop speaker at this month's Women of Wonder (W.O.W.) meeting at Parma Heights Baptist Church.

1)  Cover table with 3-5 different pieces of material (big napkins draped, basic white base).

2)  Add boxes to create tiers for bringing food dishes and center piece up higher.

3)  Use pretty platters and bowls.

4)  Keep cold food cold by using one bowl with crushed ice and set a smaller bowl with the food on top of it.  

5)  Use warming trays to keep the hot food hot, hide cords under material.

6)  Add protected candles and put a layer of little colorful Styrofoam balls around the base.

7)  Fill in the lower parts of the table with greenery, pine cones and ornaments.

8)  Add a string of small lights among the greenery.

9)  Label all the food dishes and add a warning if nuts are in it.

10)  Set up the drinks/punch bowl at a separate table.

11)  Set up a special buffet table for the kids with foods they like.

12)  Martini glasses work well for holding candy and/or nuts.

13)  Wait until the guests all leave before cleaning up--enjoy spending time with your company!  (I really like this one!)

14)  Have some music playing softly.

 I asked Julie what she included on the menu for a Christmas buffet and here is what she said:
My menu I had planned for that buffet is:  Turkey and Ham croissants, Holiday Potatoes, sweet potato crunch, Waldorf Salad, Sweet and sour cabbage salad, asst. olives, vegetable tray shaped as a wreath.  For Dessert I planned a heath bar triffle, mini choc mouse cups and mini cherry cheesecakes.  I also had tall martini glasses filled with chocolate mints and kisses.   For the beverage I will have a lime punch, which is a combo of 7-up, limeade and lime sherbert. 
I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of the sample buffet table she had set up but I left my camera in my jacket in the other room.  The greens, ornaments, pine cones and lights really made the table look wonderful!  Hope you can use some of these suggestions for your holiday entertaining.  Thank you, Julie, for doing this fantastic workshop!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

"Monday Quiz Meme"

Four Questions For Monday from Acting Balanced.

1. What is your favorite charity to donate to?
2. When was the last time you danced?
3. How do you show someone you care about them?
4. Do you send holiday cards?

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

My Answers:

1. What is your favorite charity to donate to?
This is a very hard one because there are so many. If I had to pick just one, I think it would be The Jesus Film Project, or Samaritan's Purse, or Covenant House, or AWANA or Best Friends, or Joni and Friends or ASPCA or The City Mission or Boys Town or Children International or The Wounded Warrior Project or Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue, and of course our church--Parma Heights Baptist Church.

2. When was the last time you danced?
Friday, I always do a little Friday happy dance.

3. How do you show someone you care about them?
Send them an encouraging or funny email, give gifts and let them know I'm praying for them.

4. Do you send holiday cards?
Yes. If I don't, I feel guilty. I tried not to one year and ended up giving in and doing it anyhow.

My 5th question this week is ... What is the best part about growing old?
I think having more wisdom and more patience.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mischief or Pet Pride--What Think You?

Donna, Abby, Gerard
When we visited Pleasant Lake Villa skilled care facility Saturday with Abby, she was really doing a good job of letting the residents pet her nice and making them smile.  Then just before we left, we went to show them her Canine Good Citizen tag and to our surprise, it was gone!  In fact, her dog license tag and her I.D. tag were gone too . . . yup, ALL her tags were gone!

We can't figure how those things fell off because those tiny rings sure are hard to pull apart to put on.  We looked around the house and in the car but couldn't find them.  I figured they were lying somewhere in the grass, possibly where she did a roly poly.  We immediately went to PetSmart to get her a new I.D. tag at least for $8.  

Today I got a call from my hubby while I was still at church getting ready to do a puppet show for the children about the Christmas story.  He said he had good news and I guessed that he found Abby's lost tags.  Sure enough, walking along on one of our neighborhood streets, Abby crossed the street and led my hubby right to her tags as if she knew right where they were!  Sat down right next to them as if saying, "Here they are, no big deal."  What a relief!

I found them all, but like my new heart tag best.  Woof!  Woof!

I have to wonder, did she just want a new red heart shaped one instead of the worn blue bone one she had?  I know she sensed Gerard and I were upset that the tags were gone.  She is such a smart dog!  This time, after I got them on, I wrapped a thin piece of duct tape around the slits.  I really hope they don't fall off again.  This is the second time this happened!

See the duct tape?

Does anyone else have this problem of losing the tags? 

I'm not sure if this was mischief (her way of getting a pretty new tag) or Pet Pride for finding the lost tags so we are joining both hops.  Visit more blog hop posts about Monday Mischief and Pet Pride.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

6 Friday Fragments (Gifts, Christmas, Cookies, Animals)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. Here we go:

Cool Christmas Video of Flash Mob

I discovered Barbara this week over at Mighty Inspiration and loved this post she did sharing a video of people joining in singing some Christmas carols at a mall.  I loved it!  She visited my blog to ask that I post her link to the list of blogs who donate to charity for comments.  This month her charity is which is a new one for me!  Be sure to stop by and let her know I sent you!

More Presents For Gerard

Gerard celebrated his 60th Birthday Monday and he even got a free pizza last Sunday from Casamel's (our regular pizza place that we go to every Sunday). Then when he went back to work on Tuesday, his co-workers surprised him with a cute birthday card and a $50 gift card for Outback Steakhouse. That's a new restaurant for us so it should be fun to go somewhere new! Thanks!

Gift For Grandpa

Over at 4 the LOVE of BOOKS, I came across a very cool book called "Grandpa, Were You Ever Young? by William C. Cloud. It's written in a way for Grandpa to share memories with his grand kids and provide interaction between the generations. It sounds like it would be a great Christmas gift!


At church last week, our pastor mentioned that $450 billion is spent on gifts each year in the USA. The world's water problem could be solved with $20 billion. Hmm.

Like Cookies?

At my Women of Wonder (W.O.W.) meeting last night, I was introduced to the idea of a cookie exchange. Have you ever participated in one of these or hosted one? You invite several people way ahead to bake like 6 dozen cookies and then everyone brings them all and they have a party. Each person loads up a big tupperware container with lots of different cookies. See by Robin Olson for specific rules for the exchange and recipes to try.

Animal Facts

I am reading All God's Creatures by Gary Richmond and picking up lots of interesting facts. Here are a few I didn't know before:

► Ostriches basically ignore their young, whereas wolves are very family oriented and both the male and female are actively involved in raising their young.

► Snakes never close their eyes because they do not even have eyelids and are consider the cleanest animal.

► Pigs eat anything, even poisonous snakes!

► The bear is considered to be the most ferocious and dangerous animal by zoo keepers because they are strong and so unpredictable.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I Learned In College (Writer's Workshop)

image:  allfree-clip art

I attended college six years. The first four I received my B.S. degree in Secretarial Administration from what was then Dyke College in downtown Cleveland. About ten years later, I decided to go back to get my teaching certificate for grades 7-12 to teach business and physical education. After the first year at Malone, I gave up on the physical education part and transferred to Baldwin Wallace to pursue my business teaching certificate which I did get.

Of course I learned a lot of things but I must say my favorite courses were: Racquetball, Creative Movement (square dancing and folk dancing), and Psychology classes which I found very interesting, especially psychology of personality and psychology of coaching.

I liked racquetball because not only was it good exercise, but it also allowed me to give my brain a rest. The only thing on my mind when I played was paying attention to that ball whizzing past me and bouncing off the walls. It is just a very fast-paced fun game. Unfortunately, I think I only played once since.

Not being a dancer at all, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how much fun the square dancing and folk dancing was. Again, it was good exercise and was a nice break from studying.

I enjoyed my time living on campus at Malone best out of the colleges I attended. From Dyke, I did learn how to play Pinochle, among other things. Most of the courses were boring to me.

So, what's something you learned in college?

This was inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt: Something You Learned In College.  Another prompt this week was to answer the question, "What was the last thing you bought?"  See my previous post this week about my husband's birthday--"60 Cheers for 60 Years" to see--the last thing was the big cookie.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Favorite Reads For November

Karen's favorite for November was Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins.  Gerard like this one very much too so here are both our reviews on it:

What if someone could plant thoughts in your brain?
Gerard says:
I loved Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins! Lisa Newberry was going through a very rough patch of life so when a new procedure came out that could give her a new outlook on life, she took it. Is she okay now, or are the problems really going to start?

WOW, it doesn't get much better than this major "wow" factor in this book! It is hard to put it down so I finished it in just two days. Read and enjoy! I highly recommend it. You can't go wrong with Brandilyn Collins.
(5++ stars)

Karen says:
Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins is an interesting read with suspense and science fiction. Lisa is so depressed that she enters a trial to have brain surgery that will insert a chip into her brain that will get rid of her depression and help her be more self-confident. She was happy to have qualified and eager to get rid of her depression, but didn't realize that her real nightmare was about to begin. This will keep you turning pages to see what will happen next as she mends her relationship with her mother who helps her figure things out and God who she realizes did not abandon her. Risking her life, she tries to save someone she believes is going to be killed. This definitely is a thought-provoking book!

Gerard's Favorite for November:

WOW! The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly is about a woman on trial for murder. She is charged with killing a man who is the head of the company that was suing to foreclose on her home. This is a fantastic story! I listened to the audio book and LOVED IT! The trial was very interesting and got my attention and held it. The ending blew me away. You have got to read (or listen) to this--it's a must read!

Karen liked what she heard of this one too when I played it at home or in the car when she was with me.
(5+++ stars)

See all our book reviews at Grab A Book From Our Stack.  What are you reading?

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