Book Review: Deep Extraction

Book Review: Deep Extraction

Deep Extraction by Diann MillsThe second novel in the FBI Task Force Series by DiAnn Mills, Deep Extraction, is a great follow-up to Deadly Encounter.

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

While I struggled with the believability of certain aspects of Deadly Encounter, Deep Extraction didn’t leave me with nearly as many questions. In this installment, instead of a civilian working with the FBI to solve a murder, a FBI special agent and a U.S. Marshall deputy work together on a special task force to solve the murder of a mutual friend. While some suspension of disbelief is still required, this is a much more likely scenario. Read more

Book Review: Rescue Me

Book Review: Rescue Me

Rescue Me by Susan May WarrenI’m a fan of contemporary Christian author Susan May Warren and her suspense fiction. Her latest series, Montana Rescue, is set in my beautiful state of Montana (I say “my” state because I love it so…and I did live there for four years in college) and my most favorite of all national parks, Glacier.

Book one, Wild Montana Skies, was definitely worth picking up for a bit of fun and suspense, so I eagerly awaited book two in the series, Rescue Me, which released this past January.

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding-heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job of her dreams. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

As always, Warren is an accomplished writer with a knack for creating suspense and likable characters. And while her Montana Rescue Series isn’t my favorite series of hers, I am enjoying the novels. Read more

Book Review: Your Magnificent Chooser

Book Review: Your Magnificent Chooser

Your Magnificent Chooser by John OrtbergI’m always looking for ways to bring big concepts of faith into our home on Fiona’s level. She so young, figuring out how to explain something like a conscience is really hard. In Your Magnificent Chooser, pastor and author John Ortberg brings the concept of will to a concrete level.

With wonderful illustrations by Robert Dunn, Your Magnificent Chooser shows children how their personal will determines the choices that they make, and — most importantly — the they have control of their chooser! In a world where children are taught that the world revolves around their whims, that they can’t (or don’t have to) control their reactions, Your Magnificent Chooser puts the control of choice back into the child’s hands. Read more

Book Review: Over Maya Dead Body

Book Review: Over Maya Dead Body

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra OrchardAfter being surprised by Another Day, Another Dali, I was keen to pick up Over Maya Dead Body, the third book in the Serena Jones Mysteries Series by Sandra Orchard.

FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a bit of R & R and a lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But when a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring interrupts her picture-perfect trip, she’s soon entangled in the investigation.

Propelled into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them a boatload of romantic complications–and even a secret or two?

Similarly to the previous book in the series, it was the characters that stood out to me in Over Maya Dead Body. Read more

Morning Chores

Morning Chores

Fiona does chores, feeds chickens and collects eggs

It was 10 minutes before I had to be out the door for work. The baby had been up several times throughout the night (teething) and I was tired. Husband had made me a cup of tea and a breakfast sandwich to go. Since I was ready early (solely because I didn’t have enough time to shower), I thought I might indulge in eating at home instead of on the run.

“Why don’t you take Fiona out to feed this morning?” Husband prodded.

(I used to do all the feedings of our animals. But when I was pregnant, I had severe nausea and fatigue and struggled to make it into work each day, so Husband took over. His work day is more flexible than mine anyway. When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I was the one juggling Fiona’s drop-off each morning, so while I hurried out the door with more bags than I could count (laptop bag, purse, lunch, bottle bag with empty bottles for me, bottle bag with full bottles for her, diaper bag, etc.), Husband continued to feed.)

When he suggested I feed this morning, my first thought was “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Read more

Adventure: Northwest River Park

Adventure: Northwest River Park

Northwest-River-Park

For our first camping trip with a toddler, we stayed local. We’ve been to Northwest River Park numerous times to enjoy the walking trails (though there aren’t a plethora) and to camp once. It’s a relatively small park, with only a few trails, but it’s so nice to have something this close to home!

Northwest River also has canoe and paddle boat rentals for those wanting to traverse the waterways, fishing opportunities, miniature golf for the kiddos (the course is a little lacking though), a camp store (with ice cream!), some really lovely pavilions for picnicking, and a very nice playground inside the camping area. Read more

The Night Stand

The Night Stand

What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):


I Am Malala

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzaiby Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai

This has been on my TBR list since it first came out, but I never seem to make time for non-fiction. I have found my rhythm though, and as I commute an hour into work every morning, I listen to a podcast or non-fic selection. This is the latest on my Audible player. Malala became a household name when she was shot in the head at just 16 years old for standing up for the right of girls to access education in Pakistan. Today, she is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an advocate for girls education around the world. Both her passion and her personal story piqued my interest. I’m enjoying hearing more about her culture, her home in the Swat Valley, her close relationship with her father, and her passion for education. Definitely recommend this one, and the audio version is great!


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A Select Few

Fiona's first Easter egg hunt.

“Did you dye eggs with Fiona?” I was asked today. My heart lurched.

We’re approaching Fiona’s second Easter, and I’m once again facing the question of what traditions to partake in. I love traditions. Really love them. So it’s hard for me to step back and acknowledge that I can’t do everything with Fiona.

But I can’t. I’m a working mom. I commute for over 2 hours every day. I just can’t do it all. I need to be okay with that.

“No,” I replied hesitantly. Was I letting my daughter down by not giving her this special activity? “I have limited time. I had to choose what to do.” Read more

Creating sensory memories

Creating sensory memories

Walking the baby down our country road
As we’ve come around to one year since my maternity leave, I’m realizing how acute my sensory memories of that time are.

Sound: Anne Bogel’s voice while listening to the podcast “What Should I Read Next” (newly discovered during my maternity leave) and narrator Hillary Huber from listening to the audio version of Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, the first audio book I attempted on my leave (which is when I rediscovered audio books).

Taste: Spinach salad with craisins, walnuts, avocado, blueberries and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing that I ate almost every day for lunch. Also, the Adventure Trail Mix from Aldi that got me through all the late night feedings.

Smell: New baby, of course. Also, spit up. And the dirty diaper of an exclusively breastfed baby, which I’ve heard likened to buttered popcorn.

Feel: The feel of my CityMini Jogger handlebar bouncing along the gravel road during my daily walk. Read more