Finding strength in my One Word, HOPE, is a journey.  Just like everything about this blog.  A journey through my interior life as I explore my feelings, my attitudes…and take actions.

Am I looking at life through the lens of hope as I explore?

I am finding that little things, seemingly, look different to me when I apply a hopeful attitude as I approach them.  Something minor, like deciding what books to read through new processes, like my TBR Jar (something I am trying this year).  My TBR Jar, created with a quirky little container, now holds all the “dusty TBR books” from 2014 and 2015, and the first half of 2016.




My Read the Books You Buy Challenge – 2017 takes me on my hopeful journey through newer books, spotlighting those I acquired from July 2016-December 31, 2017.

So far, I’ve added 4 of those newer books in that category to my “read” list.


There are many things in life we have no control over…like the things that other people do.  Our reactions, attitudes, etc., over which we do have control….can shine a ray of hope into our lives as we let go of the anxiety, fear, and resentment we might feel towards the “things we cannot change.”

Yes, a little bit of that old “serenity prayer” can help us in such situations.


However, I am practical, and I like to focus on what I can change…and my reading and blogging are a good example of what I can change.  How I decide what to read, what to blog about, and even something as miniscule as my blog headers, layout, and background.

Which brings us to Bloggiesta.  This weekend, we are having a little mini-event, and I’ve already started working on my Serendipity blog, my focus for this blog party.

In my pictures folders, I have several sample headers and blog buttons ready to go.  Which to choose?  I am feeling hopeful that I will find one that makes me want to go to the blog and post reviews, events, etc.  One that might appeal to visitors as well.

Like I said…HOPE.


What is your One Word, and how are you using it in your daily life?  Do you find it helpful?




Good morning!  It is Sunday, and time for another Coffee Morning…in which we chat about life’s treasures, our goals, and what is happening in the week ahead.

Since next weekend is a mini-bloggiesta, I am busily creating new blog headers for the site I plan to focus on…Serendipity.

I have created eight possible headers, with five favorites.  I will be nailing one of them down…soon.

While I was busily creating them, I had another look at my pictures folders, and how untidy the whole thing has been.  Images all over the place, not organized at all.

So I spent some time rearranging everything yesterday.  I deleted the ones I’m not using anymore, and named each cover by the book title…so now they are arranged alphabetically.  Why didn’t I think of it sooner?  LOL.

I also sent some older files to my Dropbox…so they are no longer taking up space here.

A New Year is definitely the time to be organizing things.


Meanwhile, my reading for this week is off to a good start.  I’m loving The Woman in Cabin 10, and beginning to see where this mysterious story will take us.





After I had already posted my Weekly Updates...I got these two books in my mailbox.





Becoming Queen Victoria, by Kate Williams

The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher



Enjoy your coffee, and let’s have a Sunday Chat.  What does your day look like?





Our protagonist, Merrilee Hennessey, in Chasing Stardust is caught up in stardust dreams and fairytale endings, so what happens when her teenage son falls hard for the “wrong girl”?

In this excerpt, Merrilee’s son Colin is walking on the wild side with “bad girl” Carly.


In this excerpt from Chasing Stardust, Colin (the bad boy) meets Carly (the bad girl).

At sixteen, Colin looked much older than he was.  His muscles were hardened by his compulsive workouts at the gym; he went there to escape the control of those in authority, especially his mother.  Everyday, he checked himself out in the mirrors, flexing his muscles, taking his measure, so he knew that he looked every inch the Bad Boy.  And he could tell that she wanted him, just by looking at her tight little walk as she tried to pass him by.

“Hey!”  He reached out, lightly touching her arm.

“I’ve been watching you,” he continued, grinning charmingly, and running his other hand through the rakish curl that hung over his forehead.

“Are you some kind of creep?”  She stared back at him boldly, but she didn’t seem offended at all.

“Yeah, right,” he laughed, matching her steps with a shorter stride.

He headed in the opposite direction, just so the two of them could walk side by side.  “I’m Colin…Colin Winslow,” he offered suddenly, grinning again, and then blatantly stubbing out the cigarette on the wall.

Her eyes widened at his open gesture of defiance.  And then she laughed.  “Oh, I’m supposed to be impressed by how bad you are,” she laughed, and then stared straight at him as if wondering just how cool he really was.  And then, as if satisfied, she grabbed his arm and leaned in toward him.  “I’m Carly Santos,” she purred.

He didn’t need any more information than that.  He’d heard the guys talking about this new girl, this Carly Santos; she was supposedly as wild as he was.  She’d even been in the juvenile detention center a couple of times already.  He also knew that she was only fourteen and a freshman.  But despite that obstacle, there was no way that he would let this one get away.

They walked silently for awhile until they reached the chain-link fence surrounding the campus.    “Got another cigarette?”  She reached out, slipping her hand into his pocket.  As she retrieved the pack, she let her hand linger there over his chest, slightly stroking him while gazing into his eyes.  Her eyes seemed backlit, burning with a flame that could not be extinguished.

He grabbed her hand, and then held it while he flicked the lighter, leaning in to connect with the tip of the cigarette.

The gesture reminded her of a scene from a movie.  She inhaled, and then blew the smoke into little rings, showing off, hoping he would be impressed.
He lit his own cigarette, and they silently smoked, leaning against the fence, barely touching.











Katherine Carter (Casey) has just spent fifteen years in prison for killing her fiancé, Hunter Raleigh, III, and even though she was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder, there is nothing that will take away the sting of being found guilty. For Casey has maintained her innocence all along.

Now that she is out of prison, Casey’s first goal is to find a way to be on Laurie Moran’s show, Under Suspicion. With the help of her cousin Angela, who has always felt like a sister, she arranges for an interview.

Laurie listens, looks at the files, and then pitches the story to her boss, Brett. But both he and the new host of the show, Ryan Nichols, don’t think much of the idea, since Casey was convicted. Their show is usually about cold cases…unsolved cases.

But Laurie finally persuades them both, and the search begins for people to interview, including alternative individuals who might have killed Hunter.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer was a fast-paced book with short chapters; the moniker of “sleeping beauty killer” was one the press had hung on Casey. She had claimed to be sleeping deeply that night, having been drugged, and could not have killed him. Rohypnol was found in her blood, but a bottle of the pills was found in her handbag. Therefore, she could have drugged herself. But why would she hang onto the bottle?

More questions arise throughout Laurie’s investigation, as she considers other possible killers, such as Hunter’s brother, Andrew; the CFO, Mark Templeton; James Raleigh’s assistant, Mary Jane Finder; an ex-boyfriend of Casey’s who had written a book after her conviction, calling her “crazy”; and any number of other possible individuals, as yet unknown. The media frenzy continues. Who is the informant that seems to be providing insider information to one malicious blogger determined to “try Casey” all over again? Could the same individual have been feeding the media frenzy during the trial as well? What is the meaning of that individual’s screen name, RIP_Hunter?

All through the book I began to feel a niggling doubt about one individual, possibly the least likely suspect, whom I will not name due to spoilers. I never trusted that person. So I was pleased when finally the pieces of the puzzle fell into place…and I was right! I love when that happens.

I couldn’t stop reading this book, and even though I figured out who killed Hunter, I still wanted to keep going to discover how the answers would come to the characters who needed to know. 4 stars.













Welcome to First Book of 2017!




I have participated in this event since it began.  I have a page on this site where I showcase my previous Books of the Year, and as you can tell, there is a theme going in my recent features:  Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke, and the Under Suspicion novels, have been spotlighted for the past two years.


In The Sleeping Beauty Killer, Book 3, we continue the story.


The third thrilling installment in the bestselling Under Suspicion series from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke—television producer Laurie Moran puts everything on the line to help a woman she thinks was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her fiancé—famed philanthropist Hunter Raleigh III—fifteen years ago. And Casey claims—has always claimed—she’s innocent. Although she was charged and served out her sentence in prison, she is still living “under suspicion.” She hears whispers at the grocery store. She can’t get a job. Even her own mother treats her like she’s guilty. Her story attracts the attention of Laurie Moran and the Under Suspicion news team—it’s Casey’s last chance to finally clear her name, and Laurie pledges to exonerate her.

With Alex Buckley taking a break from the show—cooling his potential romance with Laurie—Under Suspicion introduces a new on-air host named Ryan Nichols, a young legal whiz with a Harvard Law degree, Supreme Court clerkship, experience as a federal prosecutor, and regular stints on the cable news circuit. He’s got a big reputation and the attitude to match it. Ryan has no problems with steering—and stealing—the show, and even tries to stop Laurie from taking on Casey’s case because he’s so certain she’s guilty.

An egomaniacal new co-host, a relentless gossip columnist who seems to have all the dirt (and a surprising informant), and Casey’s longstanding bad reputation: Laurie must face this and more to do what she believes is right, to once and for all prove Casey’s innocence—that is, if she’s innocent… The Sleeping Beauty Killer will keep you guessing until the very end.


What is your feature/First Book of 2017?




2016 has been a year of disappointments, struggles, and family moments that helped keep my eye on the future.

Check out some recent images from the year.  Before Fiona left town to attend college, she and her mom enjoyed a cup of brew in the mornings.




A snow day in North Dakota…step-great-grandchildren Maddix, Bella, and Lilly…and their mom.



Christmas morning in LA, with Aaron, Aubrey, and Alec…home from their various universities.




Those same three with their dad at a Laker’s game.




My niece Amy and her husband Rick, left two in both versions.  A Then and Now moment captured with friends.  Amy and Rick were married in 1997!




Amy and Rick’s three tots:  Front row, center, Gavin; right, America; top row, right, Luc.  The other three are cousins.




Just for fun, I’m sharing something new in my bedroom:  the curtain that separates my room into sleep area and ensuite bathroom.




Fiona’s cozy clutter looks almost like an artful arrangement.




A cozy reading day…with a drink.





That’s it for today…this post will be linked to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshot.




Good morning!  It’s time for another Coffee Morning, now that we approach the New Year.  Wrapping up the Old Year is what we do in the waning days. 

Today I wrapped up part of the year in reading with my Top Ten Favorites of 2016.

It wasn’t easy, as each month I add a favorite to my page, Favorites of 2016, and then I must whittle the list down to ten.  There were sixteen contenders this year, so chopping the list down felt like choosing favorite children.  Sigh.

On January 1, 2017, you’ll find me here posting about my First Book of the Year, hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey.  So tune in!




Since the New Year is about change, I am pondering a hairstyle makeover, at the suggestion of my daughter, the stylist…who often has to prod me to get any kind of change.  Here is what she is proposing for me in 2017…at least in the beginning of the year.





But since my One Word, also hosted by Sheila, is about HOPE….maybe it’s all good.





Are you pondering changes in the year ahead?  Are you finding the good things you loved in 2016?  Sometimes it is hard to overlook the negatives….but let’s do that!