The past five months

by hollycombs

Fiona

It’s hard to believe five months have already passed since Fiona joined our family, hard and yet easy. Because in some ways it feels like our family couldn’t be complete without her, like she must have always been a part of us.

She turned five months old today and I’m definitely feeling all the feels. Disaster struck the highways today (a bridge stuck open) and it took me twice as long as usual to get home. I only got to see my girl for about 45 minutes before she went down. But that time was so special. She ate and we snuggled. She played on a blanket on the floor while I ate. She showed off new tricks.

Fiona rolled over onto her tummy, something we’ve seen evidence of, but never got to watch her do, then she looked at us and grinned as if to say “Did you see me? Did you really see me?”

Yes, my sweet girl, we see you.

Back and forth she rolled, trying out her new skill. Delighted with it, she squealed and grinned and laughed. Oh that we could all be delighted by such simple joys!

I was reminded by a friend today that instead of living each day like it’s your last, perhaps it should be lived like it’s your first.

My tiny Fiona epitomizes that. She greets each day with joy and exuberance. She smiles and coos, laughs and squeals in delight just at the dawning of a new day. She finds confidence and pleasure in a simple task. She is amused and delighted in a simple toy. Life is wonderful in Fiona’s eyes.

Fiona

I hope I learn something from her joie de vivre, from her whole-hearted love.

When she sees me now, she lights up. A grin spreads across her chubby cheeks and her dimple shows. She lifts her countenance to face mine and opens her chubby little baby arms wide. And when I reach for her, she leans into me, holding onto Mama with all the strength her tiny body possesses. I marvel at it. How do I create such a reaction in someone? I do not deserve her unreserved love. But she doesn’t yet know that.

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Book Review: Missing

by hollycombs

Missing by Lisa HarrisMissing by Lisa Harris is another new romantic suspense novelbeing released this July. I already admitted that romantic suspense is an escape read for me, so I picked this one up when the opportunity arose.

Special Agent Nikki Boyd is tasked with finding the missing Lucy Hudson, but as her search takes her closer to home, she doesn’t know who to trust and who is telling lies:

Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.

Missing is the second book in The Nikki Boyd Files series. Because I didn’t read the first book, I definitely felt like I was missing out on some of the character nuances, as though I should have already known these people. However, for a series book with a single heroine, the author did a much better job than others I’ve read of making book 2 accessible to new readers.

The character of Nikki Boyd, while fairly accessible isn’t always the most relatable character. She seems like a woman able to do it all. However, she is certainly likable and I was definitely rooting for the good guy throughout. The supporting characters are an interesting mix, from her apparently innocent love interest caught up in the center of this mystery to that man’s pathological liar father-in-law to the movers and shakers of pharmaceuticals. The supporting characters all play their roles well, and while they aren’t the most complex, they aren’t one-dimensional by any means.

The plot was a struggle to believe in parts. Nikki and her partner, Jack, are hunting a missing woman, but as they unravel the clues of this mystery, bodies are dropping like flies. In an effort to learn where Lucy may be hiding, they focus on solving the murders. It’s logical, however, it’s also clear that there is an entire team of homicide investigators also working that case. And they never talk. It doesn’t seem entirely possible that they would solve these murders first, and with no help from the homicide investigators. So I guess that part bugged me a bit and I would guess it will do the same for others who have even a remote understanding of real police procedure.

That said, it certainly didn’t keep me from being entertained. I read this book while on a weekend camping trip, and I was definitely taking every opportunity to pick it up and read a few more pages. So while it may not be not-put-down-able, it is definitely pick-up-able.

I’d recommend this one for a short piece of escapist police procedural with a decent whodunnit. And given the opportunity, I would certainly read more of the Nikki Boyd series.

I received a complimentary copy of Missing from Baker Publishing Group, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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Five Months!

by hollycombs

At 5 months old Fiona is becoming a pro at camping and she absolutely loves hiking! Fi is officially rolling over and now that she’s on the move, there’s no stopping her. Her favorite toys are her feet, her wubbanub, and Sophie la Girafe. She is always observant, chatty when comfortable with her surroundings, and is sparking an interest in Mama and Daddy’s food. It is a pleasure to watch her grow and learn!

Five Months

Five Months

Five Months

Five Months

Five Months

href=”http://bluelikethat.drakeink.com/tag/monthly-pics/”>See the rest of Fiona’s monthly pics!

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Book Review: Without Warning

by hollycombs

My “guilty pleasure” reading is probably romantic suspense. I love getting sucked into a story involving crime, mystery, relatable characters, intelligent law enforcement and a bad guy who will inevitably be found out — and if there’s a touch of romance in there it’s all the sweeter.
So when I saw Lynette Eason’s Without Warning, book two of the Elite Guardian series, I instantly wanted to give it a try, especially when it became apparent that the usual roles are flipped!

Daniel Matthews, retired special forces, lives a relatively sleepy life running his restaurants and raising his orphaned niece. But when he crosses paths with danger, not once, but twice in a single night with a dead body found hanging in one restaurant basement and an arson attack on another, he realizes that someone may be out for blood.

Katie Singleton, a former arson investigator, is working as a bodyguard with a handful of other exceptionally talented women know as Elite Guardians. When she gets pulled into Daniel’s life, she is forced to confront her own reasons for leaving arson investigating while also working to keep Daniel alive.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. The characters were friendly and likable, though not perfect. I especially loved watching the relationship between Daniel and his niece, Riley. It did feel as though perhaps the reader is expected to know some of the characters, specifically the other Elite Guardians, which I assume is a result of this being the second in a series. I found it odd that some characters were never really introduced, but referred to as though you knew them already, but this mostly pertains to secondary characters.

The plot is a bit unbelievable, but really, what suspense story isn’t these days? Go into the novel with a basic willing suspension of disbelief and you might just get sucked into the story. I will admit that the “whodunnit” wasn’t very difficult to guess.

Themes of overcoming fear, facing our pasts and moving forward with our futures are woven throughout the story and apparent in multiple characters in different ways.

A quick read, I would recommend this for a bit of suspenseful escapist pleasure this summer.

I received a complimentary copy of Without Warning from Baker Publishing Group, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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Book Review: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me

by hollycombs

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and MeWhen I first read about this book, I got very excited. Some of my favorite subjects are right at the forefront: classic literature (Anne!), adoption, international adoption, memoir. It was like this book was meant for me.

“A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong. “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.” (Tyndale)

It actually took me quite some time to track down a copy of it, but I was determined to read it. When my copy finally arrived, I dove in with eager anticipation.

Perhaps I had built up this book too much in my head. I don’t know. But I was disappointed. Far from impressed, I found myself reluctant to pick the book up time after time. It wasn’t that the subject matter wasn’t interesting, it was! But it just didn’t engage me.

The structure was pretty basic: An example from AoGG and how something similar happened to the author or her daughter, both of whom are adopted. But it merely scratched the surface. Perhaps it was for want of depth that I didn’t fall in love with this memoir, because it wasn’t for lack of subject matter.

Overall, I would say this was a good attempt and a wonderful idea, but fell a bit short of the mark for me.

I received a complimentary copy of Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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Book Review: The Inheritance

by hollycombs

The Inheritance by Michael PhillipsThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips promised to be an interesting tale about so many delightful things: a Scottish island, clan family history, an inheritance up for grabs, cross-cultural interpersonal relationships. It could have been a winner based on the blurb:

The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch’s heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David’s calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate’s assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island — and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips’ dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.

But it was not to be. I have rarely not finished a book, I am such a “rule follower” that I have forced myself to finish books many a time just for the sake of finishing. But I’m a working mom now, and have very little time on my hands. And there are so many wonderful books out there that I just can’t force myself to spend my precious reading time on those I am simply not enjoying. I did give this a good try though, making it about 100 pages in before calling it quits.

The start is slow, but I’m okay with that. Phillips is “setting the scene” if you will. But I expected the plot to pick up at some point, I expected to start caring about at least one character somewhere along the line. But it switches POV (and even decades) so often that I struggled to get to know any single character.

In the end, I really wanted to like this book, but I simply didn’t.

I received a complimentary copy of The Inheritance from Bethany House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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Four Months!

by hollycombs

Four Months: Fiona is still a super happy morning baby. Her feet might be her very favorite toy at the moment, and she loves her thumb. Alert and aware of everything around her, she loves being social and gives out smiles freely (except during this photo shoot, she was being very serious). And she went on her very first camping trip this month!

Fiona Rose Marie, 4 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 4 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 4 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 4 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 4 months

See the rest of Fiona’s monthly pics!

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Three Months!

by hollycombs

Three months: Fiona kicks and wiggles, coos and grins, especially first thing in the morning. She sleeps through the night most of the time at this point and bravely started child care this month. She has also discovered her hands and feet and just might be trading her pacifier for a few fingers…

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 3 months

See the rest of Fiona’s monthly pics!

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Two Months!

by hollycombs

Two months already! Fiona is definitely proving to be a morning baby. She is super smiley right now, loves her play mat and slept all the way through the night for the first time.

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

Fiona Rose Marie, 2 months

See the rest of Fiona’s monthly pics!

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Book Review: Unintended Target

by hollycombs

Unintended Target by D. L. WoodUnintended Target by D.L. Wood is an interesting tale of questions, mysteries and close encounters.

When Chloe’s brother dies suddenly, he leaves behind a mystery that follows her all the way to the Caribbean. There, she meets charming and resourceful Jack — a man who may be more than he seems. Unaware of who her enemy might be or what it is they want, Chloe ends up framed for murder and hunted down by dangerous men. She is left with no choice but to trust Jack with her very life. As she is faced with yet another tragedy, Chloe must decide if God exists and if He does, if she is willing to trust Him.

The tagline “What you don’t know CAN hurt you” sums up this novel quite well. Along with the main characters, the reader is left without all of the facts, trying to learn what is going on. As each chapter answers and asks even more questions, the reader is enticed to continue digging. Unfortunately, I found the novel a little too easy to put down, and not engaging enough to make me want to pick it up at the first opportunity.

While the plot was a bit slow, the characters were likable. Jack’s murky past intrigues the reader and Chloe’s genuine innocence makes her more than likable. That said, neither character is fully engaging and I would have loved more depth to both. They seemed like people I would like to get to know better.

Wood weaves relatable themes of hope, doubt and struggle into the story of an intriguing shadowy conspiracy.

I received a complimentary copy of Unintended Target from the author but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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