The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

“Finis.”

I read the last line, sighed happily and mentally hugged the digital book to my heart (It’s a true downfall of e-readers, they just don’t snuggle like paper does).

This novel flipped between excerpts from Mrs. Darcy’s diary (yes, that Pride and Prejudice Mrs. Darcy) and the 2014 hunt for the lost diary. On the surface that sounds like it could be, well, boring.

It wasn’t.

The chapters switched between time frames in a way that I was never lost in one time yearning for another. I loved the romance, (of the happy sighing kind) and the hard to put down suspense of it all (I know, lost document suspense, believe it!). My only regret is that e-readers just don’t accept hugs like paperbacks do.

Would I recommend it? I have already told everyone who’s been willing to sit and listen that they should read this and you should too! If you’ve ever shown even a passing interest in Pride and Prejudice, historical fiction, sweet romance, contemporary drama or detective stories, try this book! I absolutely loved it and have moved the authors other book to the top of my “to be read” list!

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Wishes

Today Jane said that the two of us should each make a wish.

She wished to be a fairy-princess-mermaid.

I wished for a nap.

She was quite disappointed in me.

I understood. I was too.

Unfortunately, I’ve found one of the great truths of motherhood to be that more sleep is actually your dearest wish.zinnias

And, sadly, neither one of our wishes came true today.

It’s okay though, Jane says we can wish again tomorrow.

 

The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean

Perhaps you’ve read The Bloodless Assassin or The Black Orchid (I know I told you should!). If you have, you’ll already know the main character Rory. But if you haven’t, this truly is (and believe me I’m picky about such things) a stand alone novella about Rory’s life as a young street urchin.

If you’ve read the others in this series you’ll get treated to flashes of insight into what makes Rory tick and fun glimpses of supporting characters as they were years before we really “meet” them.

If you are a new reader you’ll be presented with a page turning story (I read it in one sitting) of a hungry street urchin turned pickpocket. Complete with loss, hard times, friendships and the character depth and growth I’m beginning to happily expect from Celine Jeanjean’s writing. And, you’ll be introduced to the city of Damsport. A city that comes with such depth and detail it gives all of the books an unbelievably firm sense of place and seems to be a character in it’s own right.

Would I recommend it? Was it not yet obvious? Yes! If you haven’t been sure The Viper and Urchin is the right series for you, try this one first! It’s short, it’s minimally steampunk-y (in case that scares you off) and it’s an all around great read. Just don’t yell at me when you are downloading the rest of the series onto your e-reader in the middle of the night!

September’s Book at the Door giveaway is still open! Don’t forget to put your name in the hat for the chance to win a paperback book and first line artwork! Book at the Door: September Giveaway

The Fear of “What If?”

It’s possible that the longer that John and I go on being parents, the worse we get. Now, I can hear you all protesting already, but hear me out.  In the beginning, when you bring a new baby home and are suddenly faced with, you know, keeping it alive you try really hard to make sure you don’t mess it up. And as the kids grow and hit new milestones you continue to try really hard not to mess it up because, “WHAT IF?” Those are the two scariest words ever when you are a new parent.

But life happened and John and I went back to doing what John and I do (mainly activities that involve an avoidance of early mornings executed with spontaneous but poor planning) and we discovered that most of the “WHAT IF?”s are actually not so bad. I’m pretty sure my kid ate part of a dead shrew once… she was fine. Another of my girls wore the same dress for a week, child protective services did not take her away from me. I have experienced forgotten water bottles, snacks, diapers, wipes, wallet, shoes and underwear not to mention winter jackets on a Northern Wisconsin trip in December.

And you know what? It was all fine.

Inconvenient? Yes.

Fine? Absolutely.

Does this make us look like stellar parents? Probably not. Are our kids learning to take extra responsibilities for themselves because their mom is never going to actually remember to pack anyone a snack? I sure hope so.

This brings us to John’s company sponsored trip to the zoo this last weekend. Parents still in the “WHAT IF?” stage would have done a fabulous job of planning the day. Free zoo pass, multiple free animal shows to watch, free food over the lunch hours, free face painting… JaneIt was going to be awesome!

But…zebra

-John and I let all our kids have sleepovers the night before.

-Which of course had us leaving much later than we should have in the morning (and yes all the kids were tired and grumpy).

-Which meant that we had to feed them on the way to the zoo.

-Which of course we didn’t plan for because of the free food at the zoo.

-Which meant that when we got to the zoo they weren’t hungry and because patience has never been my strong suit, I encouraged us to go see animals and come back later.

-Of course we lost track of time and missed the food.

-Of course we lost track of time and missed the animal shows.

-Of course we ended up having to feed the kids on the way home because they were starving.

-And, of course, at one point we looked wistfully at a family with coolers and snacks and water bottles and a child being pulled in a wagon and wondered why we didn’t do that.taiper

But I know why we didn’t, we’ve lost our fear of the “WHAT IF?”

And now I can tell you, What if you go to the zoo completely unprepared over tired and miss almost all the “good” stuff.

Well…Jane Clara and a lion

You’ll still get to be eyeball to eyeball with the big cats. Watching the giraffe run will still amaze everyone. There will still be contests to see who can find the animal in each exhibit first and the kids will still have to pull the two of us away from the octopus.  You will spend too much on a snack, or two, it’s true. And there will be whining kids. (But isn’t there always?) You will discover that everyone would actually rather see the velvet peeling off the caribou’s antlers than watch the sea lion show anyway and you’ll teach your child that tapirs are not the same as armadillos. Your lack of handy wheeled device to carry all your nonexistent snacks will have you zipping in and out of all the exhibits and when a tired little girl says she can’t walk anymore, you can sympathize with her tired legs and skip to the next animal house together.Me and Jane (Clara too)

Yes, we’ve lost most of our fear of those two words, for certain we would be better prepared parents if we carried a bit of that fear with us still but I think we are doing just fine without it.

Just Because

Just because sometimes, even when – especially when, things don’t go quite as planned I need to remember that it’s always worth it to take a moment, stop – and smell the roses.hydranga

Even when the roses are hydrangeas.

60 Random Questions

Every so often I see a list of questions making the blogger rounds, sometimes it even gets sent to me but, and I know I’m a blogger so this sounds weird, I don’t actually want to sit down and list answers to a bunch of questions all about me. However, one night last November, John and I answered a giant list of questions together.  That was a whole different story, we laughed and talked and teased and discussed and had a lovely evening and then the list and answers were forgotten. Today, I was prowling through my drafts looking for inspiration and pulled it up. The answers are still all true so if you want to know what John and I think of a whole lot of random things read on…

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Both. It doesn’t matter until winter when it’s really cold and then we have to close them because our closet is quite possibly the coldest room in the house.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel? No, John just shaved his head again and they never put anything worth taking in them.

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Nothing may be tucked in because that would make your feet trapped and claustrophobic and who could sleep in a situation like that?  (To let the record show, John thinks its ridiculous!)

Have you ever stolen a street sign before? John has, and other random acts of vandalism, I have not.

Do you like to use post-it notes? “Dear God, it’s one the best inventions ever!” – John  And yes, I like them too.

Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Bees. Bees don’t actually attack when they are swarming-  big bears do.

Do you always smile for pictures? Mostly.

What is your biggest pet peeve? “People who don’t throw away the sandwich box at work. What a stupid question. Why isn’t it everybody’s?”- John  We are both surprised that I can’t think of one, must have been a good day.

Have you ever peed in the woods? The question should be, “Have you peed in the woods today?” John-yes, Jessie- not since yesterday

What about pooped in the woods? Yes.

Do you ever dance even if there’s no music playing? You don’t need music to spontaneously dance in the kitchen together.

Do you chew your pens and pencils? “Pens? Pencils? I never chew my keyboard” – Jessie “I’m a chemist, lord knows what’s on the pens and pencils.” -John

What is your song of the week? Shut up and dance with me is stuck in both of our heads, possibly the kids’ fault.

What’s your least favorite movie? Jessie refuses to answer because that’s by nature a ridiculous question. John, apparently, hates the LEGO movie.

Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? If we told you it wouldn’t be very well hidden now would it. But it would for sure be in a tin, because I love tins.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in? We are a BBQ or Ranch house.

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?  John can re-watch movies an alarming amount of times, I don’t.

Were you ever a boy/girl scout? No Boy Scouts and one short stint as a Brownie.

Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? No, we are too old for that shit.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? When our friend’s husband died.

Can you change the oil in a car? John is a super fantastic oil changer – so I don’t have to be.

Ever gotten a speeding ticket? “The more interesting story is when I talked myself out of a speeding ticket by telling the officer I was going to study organic chemistry at 7 on a Friday night, sadly it was the truth.” – John “Nope, I drive nice and slow, that way everyone else wants to drive so we get there faster, then I don’t have to drive and we get there faster – win win.” – Jessie

Ever ran out of gas? Yup.

What is your usual bedtime?  12 – 1 Am

Are you lazy? John isn’t lazy, he says he could be, but he isn’t. I’m not lazy it’s just that after a day of super productiveness I sometimes need to reward myself by reading an entire book.

What is your Chinese astrological sign? Apparently we are a Monkey and a Snake – and we are not impressed.

How many languages can you speak? We are pretty good at English and if pressed John thinks he could still navigate a French speaking country. I however panic in the face of foreign language and could not.  (Update: In the last year we have now learned to sing in Portuguese, though we don’t always know what we are singing about and John can count to ten in Korean.)

Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Only nerdy ones. National Geographic and Discover.

Which are better, legos or Lincoln logs? That’s… That’s… such a ridiculous question. You can build houses, barns, other square buildings, and fences with Lincoln logs. You can build ANYTHING with Legos. Also I might have a MiniFig obsession…

Are you stubborn? “I’m gonna let you take this one…” – John.  “Yes. I think yes is the correct response here.” -Jessie

Who is better, Leno or Letterman? John says Letterman, I dislike them all.

Ever watch soap operas? John hasn’t but in college I was a regular Days watcher.

Are you afraid of heights? John climbs high things for fun while I try not to watch.

Do you sing in the car? Totally.

Do you sing in the shower? Never. That would mean you would be wasting time in the shower and then you’d be in there longer and that would be ridiculous.

Do you dance in the car? Only when there isn’t oncoming traffic watching.

Ever used a gun? Not today, and that’s a serious issue when it’s November.

Do you think musicals are cheesy? Of course they are it’s part of their charm.

Is Christmas stressful? No. Having a kid’s birthday on December 23 might be though.

Ever eat a pirogi? “What’s that?” – Jessie  “Yup, made by a polish woman.” -John

Favorite type of fruit pie? Apple… or blueberry.

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Paleontologist, Astronaut, Doctor, Veterinarian, Elementary School Teacher. You can guess who’s who on those.

Do you believe in ghosts? “Nope.” -John  “Except when its a dark and stormy night and I hear funny noises then my imagination tries to convince me otherwise.” -Jessie

First concert? I don’t remember. John saw Air Supply with his mom.

Nike or Adidas? Ummm dude, shoes are foot coffins, they are both evil!

Cheetos or Fritos? Doritios is the -itos we should be talking about here!

Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? John loves sunflower seeds, but they aren’t really food so I’m choosing peanuts for both of us.

Ever take dance lessons? They don’t give those out in cars so no. John took a swing dance course in college though.

Regularly burn incense? Does burning oak in the wood stove count?

Who would you like to see in concert? The Piano Guys, Little Big Town (but I couldn’t remember their name so I’m probably not going to make that happen) John’s adding Rush, I don’t even know who that is.

What was the last concert you saw? Great Big Sea

Are you patient? Do elephants fly?  

Which are better, black or green olives? Ick. I give all my olives to John and he says their isn’t’ enough data in the question to make an informed decision. Fancy green, canned crap, black.

Can you knit or crochet? I could knit, not sure I remember how anymore though.

Best room for a fireplace? The middle one.

Who was your HS crush? Somethings should die with High School.

Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No, that’s what the three year old tries and it doesn’t work for her either.

Do you have kids? Three

Do you want kids? Three is good, no more please.

What’s your favorite color? Blue

Do you miss anyone right now? Not more than usual.

 

How about you?

Have you ever answered questions with someone before?