The second installment in Juliet Blackwell’s Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. I loved her first and found her second equally as entertaining. You return to Mel (Melanie) Turner, a general contractor who specializes in restoring historical homes. The home she is working on in this book is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco. Add in a young couple with their infant son (the wife of which is a Russian bride) and a cranky neighbour across the street (who sidelines as a taxidermist) and an old flame not yet rekindled and the ghosts are simply icing on the cake.
I absolutely love Mel’s family (including a step son who she is step mother to in heart but not name) and friends… the cast of characters around her are varied and entertaining. And the struggle she has with her new found “talent” of seeing ghosts and interacting with spirits allows you to learn more about the varied methods and people who are believers.
I certainly did not see the end coming and am totally looking forward to book #3!!! If you enjoy ghosts, interesting characters and a mystery to solve or two… seriously PICK UP THIS BOOK!!! Juliet Blackwell does NOT disappoint!
July 23 NOTE I totally screwed up and posted these out of order, but after weeks of this… not bad, one mess up!!!
The Novaks are not the only kids we are familiar with… so Monday was our chance to meet up with Bree and her son Quinn (I have mentioned him in the past… he is basically Trinity’s birthday buddy who was born the day before Trinity). I am so happy to share that Bree is expecting her second child!!! This is huge for us as when she was pregnant with Quinn and I with Trinity we were a country apart… funny enough, as we were leaving Canada our friends Kristen and Fydo ALSO announced that they are expecting their FIRST child!! Baby time!!!
Anyway… Monday afternoon we had Quinn and Bree over for a visit. Emanuel and Quinn bonded very quickly over Thomas.
Such a cutie
In fact, they brought special gifts for all of the kids except Echo who has to wait the few weeks until her birthday. Emanuel was over the moon with his Angry Birds blanket, and Trinity with her Hello Kitty themed stickers and nail polish. The twins have an iTunes card to use to buy apps once I get the iPad moved over to the US stores. Such thoughtful gifts!
Note the blanket
After fun in the sun room and watching cartoons together it was time to debate supper… since Bree had never been and Ken hadn’t in 3 years we decided on White Castle. It did not go over too well BUT it was fun and it was something we definitely wanted to try once with the kids.
NOT huge fans
Echo with her American Godmommy
After sliders Bree took us all out for ice cream at a place a wee bit more familiar – Dairy Queen.
Our 4 year olds
By this point it was sprinkling so we nixed the park idea and decided to head home for bed. It was a wonderful visit, with the promise of many more!
Sadly through all this Nana had to go out to emergency to be checked out. It turns out she (and we later find out Zachary) was diagnosed with strep throat. Thankfully it seems only those two were caught with it. But not fun for Nana with 48 hours in quarantine. Thank goodness she had a bathroom of her own and a tv at her disposal.
What else is there to do on a summer afternoon – well celebrate a birthday of course! Alex Novak turned 9 this month after all! Definitely a party worthy occasion. And we were privileged enough to be allowed to come early and help out with the decorating and party prep work! There is, after all, a lot to do before a party, and only Darcy there to accomplish it.
The kids (well the boys) were just over the moon to be able to join the kids for another day of fun and play. Alex was to be kept away from the party set up as much as possible as we tried to keep some things a surprise. For example the cake – something Darcy created from scratch based on something called Adventure Time. I personally have not seen the cartoon but the boys told me (the Novak ones) that it is worth watching… I think Darcy’s cakes were inspired.
One of 3
There were balloons to fill with helium and tablecloths to put on the tables outside. Don’t forget food to prepare. Darcy decided on something called walking tacos. You basically take a small bag of nachos and crush up the chips, add in your toppings and grab a fork. The kids seemed to love it!
Lining up for supper (Samantha and Andrew)
Anthony and friend
A full table
Add to that a bunch of kids, presents, adults and sunny weather right up until the end when it started to sprinkle and you had an amazing party. There were party games, a very short treasure hunt and even fishing for treats.
Echo and Mommy
Water balloon toss
Dancing during foursquare
The winners of the treasure “hunt” (note that is the birthday boy)
There were other little girls there as well (2) and Echo of course made sure to latch onto her Anthony.
Anthony as a chauffeur
The birthday boy seemed happy with his presents…
And the cake (with ice cream) was a huge success.
Blowing out the candles
By the time it started sprinkling our crew was about partied out. So we helped with the clean up and then said our good byes. It is a great feeling that this was not one visit in a two week or even a month span but another visit of many over years! I am sort of getting the mindset that this is a long term thing… when I will be able to come to complete grips with all of this change and newness I cannot say. I am finally getting the feeling that I CAN do this though and that in and of itself feels like a success!