Archive | June 2016

Spotless Murder… a Book Review

Sometimes all you have time for is a quick novella. And that was what I had this past afternoon… an hour of free time between kids and the YMCA trip. So I picked up a freebie and started reading. Spotless Murder is the third book in the Sophia O’Malley Cozy Mysteru series by Natalie Woodley and Angela Arganoff. I have not read the previous two books but the beginning of the story cleared up enough that I really felt like I was not missing out on a huge plot twist or something. (This was a one day freebie on Amazon)

This book is definitely a shorter read. Your prospective is not limited to a main character as the story scoots along showing all of them equally. You do learn a bit about the three main ones – Sophia who runs a business called the Travelling Organizer where she does just that, her new employee Mattie (though you don’t learn too much about her) and a character new to the series – Paul who works for the chain that employed the ladies and sent them to Hawaii for their newest murder mystery. 

The end of the book includes some Hawaiian recipes and some travel and organization tips. The murder itself is interesting, the solution rather intriguing and the pace a nice quick trot on through. I don’t try to solve these myself so cannot speak to that, but I really enjoyed following along as the characters work with law officials to solve the case. 

Add to the mystery, the organization, the exotic setting just a touch of romance, a little nostalgia and a sweet goodbye to a love now gone and you have a novella to pick up and enjoy in a single sitting. I would totally rec commend this contemporary cozy for a quiet hour. And once my book budget goes up from, well, zero… I may just read and review the previous books! 28481637

The Importance of the Reason for the Journey…

Now I can hear some people saying… why is there even a question as to what the reason is for someone getting help for depression/anxiety/bipolar etc? Isn’t it simple? To not feel bad, to not risk suicide or cutting or whatever? To be “normal”?

Well… and this is from OUR circumstances… I am telling you right now, there are OK reasons to get onto the path to healthy… ones that are used and are a starting point but are not a good enough foundation to create a lifelong path to better days… They are a starting point, a trigger to begin but they have to lead to more… and then there is the key foundation reason to go on this epic journey, the one you may find through therapy and discussion or maybe even as an epiphany one day when you are simply trying to make it through the day.

This is not my first rodeo… in fact, in the span of time I have known/dated/been married to Ken I have experienced the lows of depression twice in person and once at the beginning of our friendship via the internet/phone. The first time (in person) he hit bottom it was the realization that he couldn’t leave US… that his thoughts and the behaviour that was becoming more and more acceptable added up to a situation where myself and the children would be without him. THAT reason pulled Ken from his funk enough to seek out help, to stop the cycle and to start anew.

Sadly there wasn’t enough. It was OK that he could sit there in group therapy and say, I need to be better for my family. He could look me in the face and say you and the kids are keeping me here. I know you need me and I need you. This was a start… an opening. But at the time the resources were not there to delve deeper. We got him healthy “enough”. And the help seemed to fade away. This led to years of stability… nothing epic either way, no horrible scary lows but the highs weren’t there either.

This status quo lasted us through Echo’s birth all the way to moving south and changing our lives in a substantial way. This last part triggered this current slide south. The reason, the foundation for his changes was there but it was external. His reasoning was all based on the situation outside his own brain. The kids, myself, the house, our future… all substantial reasons… but it wasn’t the BEST reason.

The BEST reason came with a new therapist and a determination to not repeat our nasty little cycle. What we have found is that to make changes that stick, to really embrace the process of creating a sustainable life plan and avoiding the greater chances of a relapse into depression. The main reason for becoming healthy HAS TO come from within. This time around Ken is getting better for himself. HE needs to be well, not because of us but because in becoming well we all become well. Therapy (and you know I love the idea of therapy) is a look inside at the history of your depression, at YOUR history, your issues, your feelings and insights. That internal appeal is the strongest foundation you can create. Just as the bad thoughts and feelings are inside of you so too must be the drive to change.

Your family and friends are also an important foundation but the most we can do is cheer and support, we cannot change the dialogue, we cannot know that those suggestions are surging or that you feel a certain way. That has to come from inside of you.

Those “OK” reasons are amazing… the knowledge that you have someone or something dependent on you that you don’t want to let down, that you have responsibilities and a burning desire to fulfill them. All these are powerful, but don’t let the external be the sole reason. Children grow up and move away, jobs end, animals pass away… look within. Find the reason within to be strong and stand tall and find joy in life again and that is an even BIGGER gift to those you feel a connection to.

Basically, it is important to find the foundation for your health the same way you find the foundation for faith, for love, for your future: from within. There is something to be said about the saying “you can’t truly love someone until you love yourself”… you cannot be healthy for others until you realize that you must first be healthy for yourself.

As always – for those who suffer and strive to be healthier WOW are you ever amazing! And those who help out along the way – what an amazing gift you are giving. If you need a shoulder on either side of this experience I am here as is my family. And as always comments, suggestion, etc are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read this!IMAG2427

Vanilla Bean Murder… a Book Review

From a Mother’s Day mystery and random dinosaurs to a contemporary cozy mystery based around the owner of a bakery whose best friend and soon to be employ is embroiled in the murder of her previous boss at the local bank. Vanilla Bean Murder by Deany Ray is the second in her Ouna Bay Cozy Mysteries series. This lucky free find was a lovely novella length mystery with a touch of romance and a dash of humour.

Now keep in mind this is a second book in the series (I really lucked out with a freebie), so there are some moments where you feel you are missing a bit of information. The relationships are more defined and there is a hint of that being something that came out of the previous book so I won’t give names and details.

What I really enjoyed about this one is that I didn’t see the murderer coming… I mean, towards the end I was getting the feeling that something wasn’t quite right but I was just as surprised as the main characters (Becky) as to who did it and why.

I am definitely interested in taking a look at the first novel in the series as well as continuing on (once the book budget allows of course…). Deany Ray does a terrific job creating interesting characters. The story  felt well thought through and had a great pace. The mystery, as I mentioned, was intriguing and unexpected. Definitely a fun read out in the hammock on a warm afternoon, especially since that is exactly what I did! And who doesn’t love a title like Vanilla Bean Murder. It sounds so… scrumptious.29240009._UY500_SS500_