Barbara O’Neal (Samuels) is one of my favorite mainstream women’s fiction authors. So, when I spotted A Piece of Heaven on a BookBub Special, I snapped it up. Okay . . . big sigh. I’ve never read a book of hers that disappointed me. This one was no exception.
This was just a wonderful book about the complexity of relationships, both the good and the toxic. I loved this one, and Barbara is one of my favorite mainstream women’s fiction authors.
I highly recommend it.
This month let’s talk about guilty viewing pleasures.
I admit, I have a lot of these – some I’m really afraid to admit own, but if you go first, I might. But, here are two of my favorites.
First, I love the Hallmark Channel. (Okay, this should surprise no one.) I record all the movies, and some are delightful, some are just okay; pretty much like books. However, I
love their original series. I haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like. Currently, I’m watching the second season of Chesapeake Shores. This is a heart-warming, multi-generational story, with two main characters who were high school sweethearts who went their separate ways, and now, years later, find each other again.
Second chance romances are my favorites. You can see that in my books. Of my eight romances, four are second chance stories. (Once A Wife, Where the Heart Is, Loving Lindsey, and Running for Cover). And even in my suspense novels, Blind Run, the main characters were once married. For me, there’s just something compelling about exploring why relationships fall apart—or explode—despite a couple’s love for each other. And then, when they come back together at a later time, how they reconcile and deal with their past. (Hmmm. Maybe I should start a second chance series. What do you think?)
Anyway, Chesapeake Shores really appeals to me – oh, and did I mention the eye-candy?
Two other Hallmark series that I enjoyed this year are The Good Witch – just delightful – and When Calls the Heart – basically, a historical romance that is just a pure pleasure to watch. If you haven’t seen them, check them out on Netflix.
My second guilty pleasure is dance reality shows. In particular, I love, love, love “So You Think You Can Dance.” The contestants are all young, very talented dancers, and some of them are just amazing. I’m blown away by the amount of work and dedication these young people have put into becoming such outstanding dancers.
This year, the format is a bit different and it’s proving really good. Each of the top ten competitors is teamed with an all-star dancer for the show. It is so good. My favorite so far: Robert and Taylor. Take a look at this video from Week #1. They are the couple to beat.
Okay, so what are your guilty watching pleasures? Are they the same or different from mine. Can you get me hooked on something else?
As I said in my newsletter, post here and be entered in a raffle to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Amazon, iBooks, Nook, or Kobo. (Your choice.) Good luck!
Enjoy the rest of your summer. Pat
Summers in Texas are brutal. The heat index last week was 107. Yikes! It’s a bit cooler this week, but anyone who’s lived here for more than a year knows it will be back in the 100s soon. I figure it’s the price we pay for our gloriously long and beautiful falls and springs, and our short, usually-mild, winters. That’s not much comfort in July and August, however, and every summer since I’ve been here (10 now), I swear that “next” summer I’m going somewhere north.
Well, this year, I’m finally doing it. I’m heading to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. I’m going with another writer and we’re going to spend two weeks writing, researching, and brainstorming.
I’m so excited about this, and I’m hoping someone here either lives or has been there to give us some tips: where to go, what to see, what definitely not to miss. So chime in below and let me know. Also, I’d love to hear what everyone else is doing to stay cool.
P.S. Take a look at this place. Is it gorgeous or not? And can you imagine a better place to finish and polish a book? BTW — my first suspense novel, Blind Run, written under the name Patricia Lewin, spent a lot of time in the San Juan Islands.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about my mom.
She passed away over ten years ago, but recently she’s been on my mind a lot. (Maybe it’s my age.) I tell my grandchildren about her and show them pictures. They love the one here, but the five-year-old just can’t wrap his mind around this beautiful young woman being his grandmother’s mom. Would they like her? Charm her like my own daughter did in a way I never could? Probably.
I also wonder what she would think of them. How would she respond to Bella’s obsession with Goosebumps? Mom loved horror novels (especially Stephen King), and I expect Bella would cajole my mom into reading a little R.L. Stine. Then, there is five-year-old Connor’s non-stop-chattering. He’d set his sights on her, and I have no doubt he’d succeed in winning her over to his side of anything and everything. (I really do worry about the girls in his future. He’s cute, he knows it, and he knows how to flirt.)
Even more than wishing she’d met her youngest great grandchildren, however, I wonder about her stories. I look at the young woman in this picture and realize I didn’t know her. She’s probably not yet twenty in this picture, and I was born when she was thirty. I know very little about her life before she had a husband and six children, except that she had a younger brother who died in infancy and so was an only child. (As a mature adult, she would still cry about missing her baby brother.) I also know she adored her own mother and was devastated when she passed away—again, as a mature adult. Other than that, I know nothing about her life before us—and it saddens me that I didn’t ask these questions while she was still here to answer them. Who was she as a child or teenager? Who were her friends, what did she enjoy doing, what were her life dreams? I never asked, and as a story-teller–as her daughter–I should have. And now it’s too late.
So, this year, Mother’s Day feels a little melancholy to me. For those of you whose mothers still live, spend a little time and ask about her life, what she wanted and did before you came into her world. I don’t think you’ll regret it. And if you want to share your stories or pictures here, feel free. I loved your Valentine Day stories and I’d like to hear about your moms.
Meanwhile, for all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day.
When my husband and I were dating, we lived in South Florida where the weather in mid-February is often lovely.
For our first Valentine Day together, he surprised me with a lovely evening. I got to his house after work, and he had fired up the hot tub in the backyard. On a small tray next to the tub sat a bottle of Dom Perignon and two crystal champagne glasses. I was immediately charmed.
However, he’d also ordered a catered finger-food meal from a nearby restaurant.
We spent the evening relaxing in the hot, bubbly water, sipping champagne while nibbling on shrimp cocktail, lobster chunks, crackers and cheese. It might not have been the healthiest of menus, but it was good.
That night might have been why I fell in love with him. Well, maybe not completely, but it certainly helped.
So, tell me about your favorite – romantic, fun, disastrous (?) — Valentine Day date and I’ll enter you in my $10 Amazon Gift Card drawing. Also, I’ll pick one scenario to include in my next book – with your permission, of course.
Sometimes the smallest things can remind us of someone we love and lost.
Every morning, I take the littles to school. For anyone who hasn’t dropped off a kid at elementary school lately, let me tell you, the efficiency would make Disney World proud. Ten cars at a time pull up to one of three drop-off points where you’re met by someone (usually a teacher, volunteer, or older kid) who opens your car door and helps the children out. Then you drive away and the next ten cars pull up. It’s really great.
Well . . .
For the last week, since it’s been so cold (don’t all my northeastern and Canadian friends laugh, 40 is cold in Texas), we’ve been met by dads. Yep. Dads. Some wearing “great dad” t-shirts over their coats or sporting “great dad” buttons. They are friendly and helpful, and I drive away with tears in my eyes every morning. Heck, I’m crying now just writing this.
You see, this is something my dad would have done – either for us kids or his grandkids. He was a great dad, and he’s been gone a while and usually . . . well, we all get on with our lives. But for some reason, this makes me think of him every single morning. We miss you dad.
So, now that I’m all bleary-eyed, what brings back memories of someone you’ve lost?
Tell me what’s on your eReader for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card.
Just post what you’re reading below during the month of December, and if I pick your recommendation, I’ll send you the gift certificate. IOW, convince me that what you’re reading is great. That easy. So give yourself something for the holidays.
P.S. If I get 25 comments, I’ll up the gift certificate to $25.
As for what I’m reading . . .
If you’ve been following me for, well like, five minutes, you know that one of my all-time favorite romance authors is Judith Arnold. Her books are consistently charming, well written, and populated with great characters.
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m currently in the middle of yet another delightful Judith Arnold book: Father Christmas. This is the second in the Daddy School books, and once again, I’m loving it. It’s the perfect book for the holidays.
Oh, and did I mention it’s on sale for .99. Just click on the cover.
Enjoy the season and don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading.
I just finished The Raven Boys, book one in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. Wow!
My good friend, Kathleen, recommended it, and I don’t think I’ve ever read one of her recommendations that I didn’t love. (She also introduced me to The Hunger Games, way before the movies came out.)
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
So, what did I love about it? It has both a great story and great writing, but the best part is the characters. They are multi-dimensional and so different. Loved, loved, loved it!