A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Ambushed in Paradise #bookreview #giveaway

I've read the whole series of Paradise books, and shared 11 of them here on the blog.  Usually, I really enjoy them.  I had a hard time getting into this one.  I couldn't believe that author Deborah Brown had killed off one of the main characters.  It was hard to watch a grieving Madison struggle to go on with her life.  And I was angry on her behalf when her meddling mother staged an intervention. 

The Paradise books are an action packed series with lively characters and wild plots.  Even though they can be read as stand alone books, I'd recommend starting at the beginning.  Once you get into them, you'll want to devour them all. 

The Keys is a great place to hide a seashell bucket full of secrets.

Creole…shot…dead. Three words Madison Westin never thought she’d hear in the same sentence. Creole promised. He pinky swore on it.

But even through a blur of tears fed by prescription-strength margaritas, Madison can tell when things are shady. Sure, Creole was undercover, but she deserves more than sketchy non-answers, an urn of ashes, and a secret life crawling out of the woodwork.

Nothing’s adding up, nothing that remotely sounds like the Creole she knew and loved. Calling in every one of her IOU’s—only to find some of her most reliable information sources drying up—Madison sets out to dig up what really happened to Creole. She never thought the truth would wrap its arms around her and make her wonder if she’s chasing a ghost… or taking a vacation from sanity.

Ambushed in Paradise is book #12 in the action-packed Paradise series. Come along with Madison and Fab as they dig up the truth and share more than one hair raising adventure. 

Available to buy from.....

"I love the characters, Brown does an amazing job of creating complex and interesting characters!" 

"This was one of the author's strongest books yet"

"I have enjoyed this entire series, but this book is a standout."

Above reviews from Amazon


Book Excerpt

Also available in the Paradise Series

About the Author
I've been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; poetry, sappy short stories (my best friend made me swear that I’d never show anyone until I changed the names), and a romance novel shoved under my bed.

I wanted to create books with a wide-range of unforgettable characters, with heat and romance, and lots of guns. It wouldn’t be complete without a slice of humor and charm.

I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Find the author on the following sites...

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Thanksgiving and December

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I keep meaning to share pictures from Thanksgiving, and here it is Christmas.  I think maybe my time as a blogger is fading away. 

The kids are doing well.  Katie likes school, and is thriving there.  She recently asked me if mommies were real, and I thought we were getting ready to have a conversation about adoption, until I realized she meant mummies, like cartoon creatures chasing people. 

This one has less than 6 months until boot camp!  I know I need to be mindful of the "lasts" or they will sneak up on me.  She's getting good grades, and surviving senior year. 

Boy's family took them on an adventure in the Bay Area recently, where she got to check "see the ocean again" off her Before I Leave bucket list. 

They're very cute together. 

Jack and I have been watching The Crown (although I've been warned it gets inappropriate in the second season) and stopping it often to check historical facts for context.  I love that my kids will have so much better an understanding of world history than what I grew up with.  We've had good conversations about responsibility and family and government and leadership and such. 

We recently celebrated 7 years with Miss Hannah in her family, and more good conversations have taken place with her.  She wants to visit China.  I'm hoping we can make that happen in the next couple of years. 

The younger kids' school had a Thanksgiving program. 

Which started with a potluck.

Paul has managed to really luck out and have to work for the last 3 programs they've had. 

There was singing involved.  This is Katie's class. 

And this is Hannah's class. 

Proof that you're never to old to learn new things.  I made cranberry sauce for the first time this year. 

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving is turkey enchilada casserole day. 

Speaking of making.  I thought it would be fun to make the girls an advent calendar.  Somehow, it sounded like a good idea in Hobby Lobby, but the execution turned out to be not so much fun. 

Next year, I'm totally filling it with candy.  I tried to be all cutesy creative this year and do experiences and crafts and trinkets.  I got about 10 days in and ran out of steam. 

Jack got the Lego advent calendar.

I did manage to make Katie some leggings.  The two pairs on the left are day wear, but the two pairs on the right are a super soft knit I got ages and ages ago at a fabric store in Reno, and those are PJ pants. 

Doing a bit of cleaning at decluttering (especially since we tend to bring in a lot of new stuff at this time of year).  It's hard to see the baby and toddler stuff go.  The books are a lot easier to part with, since I seem to have an endless stream trickling in with volunteering at the Book Den.  Paul and I recently attended a Foster Care orientation with our county, where we were told they do not need families who are only open to babies and toddlers.  I'm disappointed, because that's the age group that Paul felt we could handle right now.  So we're moving on. 

Speaking of volunteering, I got a chance to start on my parent participation hours at the younger kids' school.  I was asked to trace and cut from posterboard letters for the Christmas float.  For a parade which we did not attend, and I feel absolutely no guilt over.  For me, The Greatest Gift was being able to say YES! to a project I can do at home, and NO! to going to an extracurricular thing on the weekend. 

So, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a New Year full of love. 

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Sam's Visit

Sam came home for Thanksgiving.  Blogging fell by the wayside, of course, as we spent time enjoying having him here for almost 2 weeks. 

He surprised us by coming home 2 days before we were expecting him! 

His former football coach picked him up at the airport, and then Sam changed into his uniform at their house before showing up on our doorstep.  Doesn't he look great?  I'm so proud of him. 

Sam and Eli are pretty much tied in height right now, although Eli's hair is fluffier. 

Paul's trying to prove that he's taller than them.  I'm pretty sure only Zach is taller now. 

Jack is going to pass me up in the next year. 

It was fun to see my boys hanging out together. 

Sam's coach gave him a giant Snickers bar, and he polished it off in just a couple of days. 

Whenever I sat my phone down, I would find random selfies on it later. 

Not even all taken by Sam, actually.  I think I must have been making school lunches or something here. 

One day, Zach and Brayden came to hang out with us. 

We went out to lunch, and the boys told bidet stories.  :blink,blink:  Who knew?

Shockingly, we ended up with leftover pizza, which the school kids were happy to polish off when they got home. 

On Thanksgiving, we went out front for a quick family picture.  We're missing Annaliese, who is still in New Zealand, and Heather, who had to work.

Brayden was being silly during pictures, but I got one that was okay for a Christmas card. 

After the big meal, we played games. 

A fellow Marine friend that Sam met in tech school drove up from Camp Pendleton to spend Thanksgiving here. 

That seemed kinda grown up ish to me...  until I found them eating crayons. 

Not. Even. Kidding.

"Who me?" 

But it was a really good visit.  Sam got to go out with his local friends.  We went grocery shopping together (which is one of our favorite things to do together), and Christmas shopping.  We had some good conversations, and just hung out. 

The tree went up the day after Thanksgiving.  I wanted to do it before Sam left, since he wouldn't be home for Christmas. 

My boy.  My Sammers.  My Marine. 

My fourth child.  The one who taught me that no two kids were ever going to be the same.  My athletic, class clown, fearless (except for glitter) son. 


The days passed quickly, and soon it was time to say goodbye. 

We said our goodbyes at bedtime because Paul and Sam would be leaving for the airport super early.  I secretly thought I'd wake up and get one more hug in before he left, but I missed it. 

Vaya con Dios, my son.  Your mama is super proud of you. 

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