Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780804137720?width=1000&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif


Civil War-era historical fiction has always interested me and this was based on a topic I knew very little about. I had no idea that so many women dressed themselves as men to fight for both the North and the South. In I Shall Be Near to You, Rosetta follows her new husband after he leaves in the early morning hours to join the Union Army. Jeremiah assumed that leaving without saying goodbye face to face would be the easiest thing to do but instead his letter of goodbye drove Rosetta to cut her hair, sew clothes for herself that would allow her to masquerade as a man, and change her name to Ross Stone. Growing up as the eldest daughter of a man who wanted nothing more than a son Rosetta learned how to work just as a hard as a son would have. It wasn't in her nature to sit at home praying her husband would return someday. She knew should could march, fire a gun, and help watch after Jeremiah while earning her pay as a soldier. What happens once Rosetta catches up to Jeremiah and their friends and he discovers what she's done begins a cascade of events that made me keep reading and reading. If you enjoy historical fiction you'll love this book!


If you'd like to read more about the book you can do so here and if you want to get to know Erin Lindsay McCabe better you can do that here!

I received this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sasha Is Having Surgery

Sasha is having some minor surgery tomorrow to remove a lump. We noticed some lumps earlier this year and took her to the vet where they examined her and drew some fluid out to determine that they were just fatty deposits. One of the lumps has gotten larger recently so Allan took her back to the vet last Friday. When they took a sample they noticed some abnormal cells and wanted to remove the lump and have a biopsy sent off for testing. We are praying that this is nothing serious and the biopsy will bring good news. Please say a prayer for our little Sasha girl. On a happy note, she weighed 67 pounds at the vet so she's lost 20 pounds in the last year or so!


IMG_9472
Always on alert when there are snacks involved!

When I Fall In Love by Susan May Warren

When I Fall In Love is the third book in Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series. I haven't read the first one but I did review the second one earlier this year and you can read both books as stand alone novels. It did help to have the back story on some of the characters and be more familiar with the family but it's such a well-written story that you don't need the background the enjoy it. This book mostly deals with Grace Christiansen and Max Sharpe, a former hockey teammate of Jace Jacobsen and Owen Christiansen who were main characters in her second book in the series. Grace's family surprises her with a trip to Hawaii which would make most people jump up and down with excitement but not Grace. She rarely leaves home and the thought of flying all the way to Hawaii leaves her in a panic and makes for a rough flying experience. That is, until she meets the occupant of 9B who takes the time to distract her with a crossword and conversation and even takes care of her when she gets sick on the plane. What I found really funny was that they both mentioned a guy/girl they were not looking forward to meeting up with in Hawaii and as it turns out they were each talking about each other. That would definitely happen to me!

Having also had the privilege of getting sick on an airplane I can attest to the fact that it takes a special guy to take care of you when you're sick on a plane. Once they land in paradise she tries to let him off the hook but there's something about her that makes it difficult for Max, the never date a girl more than once and don't get serious guy, to leave her alone. Their three weeks in Hawaii show that they have more in common than a love for cooking and make great teammates in the kitchen. There were several points in the book where Grace's prayers seem to mimic ones that I believe most people can relate to. It's difficult to wrap your head around truly letting go and letting God and both Grace and Max struggle with this in very different ways. I'm already looking forward to the fourth book in the series and planning to read the first book as soon as I can get my hands on a copy of it!

when i fall in love


susan2


I received this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sasha and Lucky's Summer

If you're curious about what Sasha and Lucky have been up to this summer then this post is just for you! Sasha got a "big girl haircut" as we like to call it at our house and she is loving the shorter hair. Allan always cuts her hair himself so we spent a couple of hours in the garage with her using our homemade grooming table (the ramps we use for oil changes, concrete blocks, and plywood) and got the job done.


IMG_9413
I swear she makes a sad face EVERY time I try to take her picture!
Not to say that it wasn't a mess and she wasn't a complete diva. It took an entire box of treats to survive her "spa day".

IMG_9300
Go figure that she looks pretty happy in this one
Lucky doesn't get hair cuts so he felt a little left out since Sasha got her hair cut and her toenails cut. I was able to make up for that by cutting his toenails and brushing him. He looooves being brushed but he doesn't like to stand still for it so I'm sure I looked like an idiot walking beside him in the backyard brushing him and talking to him!

IMG_9392
Allan's backpack is a perfect pillow apparently
Both dogs have been a little extra clingy this summer since Allan's been going to work earlier and has had softball games in the evenings at least 1 or 2 nights a week. I've spent a couple of weeks with the 11-year old boy I nanny for occasionally so the dogs had to spend the day in their "nite nite room" AKA the laundry room. It must be tough spending the day sleeping in an air conditioned room with a big bowl of fresh water. Needless to say it made both of them want to be right next to us as soon as we would get home.

IMG_9175
On this particular day they were on the front porch with me waiting for Allan to get home from work
We've also been working with both of them off-leash. They both mind really well when they are on the leash and if we are running with them off-leash they also do great but I wanted them to be able to spend more time on the front porch and in the front yard with us. Sasha goes out with me to check the mail every day and Lucky goes to get the newspaper in the morning all by himself. He seems to know what days the paper is delivered and he's always so excited to run out and get it and then take it to Allan. Of course there are still days where he gets the paper and then tromps across the street and proceeds to pee on everyone's mailbox but we are getting there!

Hope you and your pets have had a great summer!

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

 


Book Description

Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing.
When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.
When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.
Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.
Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.
As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?

MY REVIEW

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Colleen Coble and have reviewed several of her books including the first two in this Hope Beach Series (Tidewater Inn and Rosemary Cottage). With that said it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this one as well. I will say that it was much better than I thought it was going to be. The book starts off giving away so many big things that I couldn't imagine where the story could go from there that would be just as or even more interesting. There were twists and turns I never saw coming and the author did a beautiful job of weaving everything together to create such a well-written book. While it's easy to see from the beginning that Elin and Marc will end up rekindling their past the predictability ends there. I felt that every other aspect of the story surprised me and turned out completely different than how I would have imagined. Elin's struggle to find her heart donor's killer and the suspense surrounding that swept me up and made it impossible to stop after "just one more chapter".  I'd love to see Colleen Coble continue this series and I can't wait to read what she writes next!

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saying Goodbye to My Brother


IMG_9422

Two months ago yesterday my brother passed away and as time passes the pain will lessen but he will remain in my thoughts and my heart forever . Memories of those I've lost resurface in the most unlikely places and I'm not ashamed to admit that when they do I have a good cry and thank God they were a part of my life.

I posted the above last night on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's taken me awhile to figure out if and how to talk about losing my brother and even now I'm not sure my thoughts will be very coherent. I felt like it was time to put it out there and to continue the healing process. His passing brought with it a myriad of emotions and some of those I'm still sorting through. I have a lot of regret and while my head knows there's nothing I can do to change things now, my heart still breaks for what might have been.

If I have learned anything from this it is to tell the people you love that you love them. Don't put things off to another day because that day may never come. Don't feel pressured to move on or to speed up the grieving process. Every loss is different and you know better than anyone how long it takes your heart to mend. I have also been reminded to trust the Lord to hold you up and see you through the rough days.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma



World War II is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Daisies are Forever takes us on a journey from Prussia to Berlin as Gisela escapes Prussia with her nieces, befriends an English POW, and reunites with her mother. It's what happens on the way to Berlin and once they arrive that molds a wonderful story. When Gisela hears Mitch (an English POW parading as a SS officer) speaking with a German woman questioning why he isn't off fighting in the war she detects an English accent. In order to save Mitch from being reported she pretends he is her husband and in turn takes both he and his friend under her wing. As her journey to Berlin continues her traveling party grows in size as Kurt (a wounded German solider) joins her party as well as Audra, a German woman who has her sights set on getting out of Germany and making a better life for herself. Perhaps my favorite part of the story is the two older Holtzmann sisters that unfortunately have dementia but their comments about where they think they are and what they think is going on is hilarious. They certainly provided a much needed comic relief in what is otherwise a very grim and serious situation at times.  The relationship between Gisela and Mitch is interesting and often complicated as Kurt and Audra try to interfere. I really don't want to give away the meaning behind the title of the book because I feel as though that is truly the heart of this story so I encourage you to read this one and find out for yourself why daisies are forever. This is the second in a series but I haven't read the first one and I had no problem reading this one without having read the first one.


Book Description

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook  Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.