Book Review: Class of ’59, John A. Heldt

class-of-59-cover

Summary from Author:

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him. 

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window. 
 
Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.
Review:
I was very much looking forward to reading John’s newest addition to his American Journey series and while I wasn’t blown away by the treatment of the book – I have to say I wasn’t overly disappointed either.  This time, the series brings the main characters back and forth through time ultimately ending with them making a time-breaking decision.  I had a hard time this go round relating to the characters as I have in the past.  Seemed the story was not quite as developed as the others have been,be it in his Northwest Passages series or American Journey series – these characters seemed a little two dimensional.  While the story was good, I just couldn’t get attached to them as I had in past books.
This time the 1950’s meets the present-day world with Mary Beth and Mark sharing the journey with their younger siblings – while both relationships are up and down, ultimately it was difficult to decide where they were going.  I could not connect with present-day or 1950’s California and these young people’s experiences of both time periods.  All-in-all I felt like the story was rushed and forced.
This time Three out of Five stars for Class of ’59.
John Heldt

About the Author, John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past.

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Book Review: Indiana Belle, American Journey Part 2, by John A. Heldt

COVER-Indiana-Belle

Summary from Author:

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

Review:

The Roaring 20’s are a time that live in our imaginations, fueled by books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and movies surrounding the same era – the glitz, the glam, and the hidden speak-easy’s.  Women trying their hands at working outside the home and building their own businesses, albeit hiding behind pseudonyms and nicknames.

When Cameron is given the option of studying the very family surrounding Dr. Bell’s family he immediately jumps on the opportunity and turns Dr. Bell’s policies and procedures upside down in an attempt to save one Indiana Belle, Candice Bell, from an untimely death at the hands of someone who wanted her dead for their own selfish reasons.  Immediately the story draws you in, initially telling Cameron’s story, giving the reader his short back story and delving into his character.  Then telling the entire Bell family story.  John always does an amazing job of developing characters, the environment, and pulling readers into his stories very quickly, Indiana Belle, once again does not disappoint.

I cannot say enough about John’s writing style and his ability to develop characters and draw the reader into the time period in which he’s written, be it the roaring 1920s, the 1930s and the impending doom of WWII or even post WWII America.  How he does it is astounding, and how he gets such detail is amazing.  I cannot say other than a lot of research!  I am looking forward very much to his next writing endeavor!

Again Five out of Five Stars for Indiana Belle

John Heldt

About the Author, John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past.

Connect with John

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Book Review: The Return of the Witch, Paula Brackston

The Return of the Witch

Summary from NetGalley

After five years in the Summerlands, Gideon has gained his freedom. Elizabeth knows he will go straight for Tegan, and that she must protect the girl she had come to regard as her own daughter. In the time since she the dramatic night in Batchcombe woods, Tegan has traveled the world learning from all manner of witches, and she is no longer the awkward teenager and novice spellcaster she once was. However, her skills are no match for Gideon’s dark, vengeful power, and he succeeds in capturing her. Will Elizabeth be able to find her? Will they be able to defeat their nemesis once and for all?

In a breathless journey that takes them through history to the 17th and 19th centuries, witch pursues warlock. Three people steeped in magic weave a new story, but not all will survive until the end.

Review:

I picked up the first of this series, The Witch’s Daughter by happenstance when I was cruising through my Amazon recommendations.  I read it and was hooked to the story, completely intrigued by Elizabeth’s Mother’s story and how the Witch trials of the 1600’s in England played out post plague.  So when I came across this book in my recommendations I knew I just HAD to read it.  Seriously why wouldn’t I?  So I added it to my wish list and it lingered.

So now I’ve read this amazing book I am pleased to say that Paula did not let me down – she kept the intrigue rolling as Elizabeth and Tegan once again come to odds with Gideon – only this time Tegan’s kidnapped by Gideon and pulled through time not once but twice and it’s up to Elizabeth to both track her through time and find a way to defeat Gideon.  This tale takes us back to the 1600’s Bathcombe and then up into the 19th Century London.  A tale beautifully written delving into the spiritual, the paranormal slightly, and the romantic will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to discover the next turn before the character’s do.

I will have to say though 4 out of 5 stars though as I think the story was dragged on a little more than was necessary in order to further develop the characters and tell Tegan’s story in depth.

About the Author, Paula Brackston

Paula Brackston

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly.
When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.
In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book ‘Nutters’ (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme

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Book Review: Some (Amazing) People I know, Keith Maginn

Some Amazing People

Summary from Author:

Addicted to crack cocaine, Martin ate food from garbage cans until turning his life around and mentoring young men. Beth was living the American dream, loving husband and five kids, before tragedy struck, forcing her to sink or swim. Curt was content with his life until a plane crash changed everything and he was forced to reorganize his priorities.

These are just a few of the engaging, true accounts in Some (Amazing) People I Know. This soul-stirring book tells seven diverse stories, ordinary people until significant challenges proved them extraordinary. Some (Amazing) People I Know, both heartbreaking and heartwarming, is transformative and will renew readers’ hope for humanity.

Review:

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of reading two of Keith’s previous novels, Turning this Thing Around and Goodwill Tour in 2013 & early 2014 respectively, so when he approached me to read and review his newest book there was no way I could say no.Keith has a way of spinning everyday stories into relatable ones that just bring you in.  This book is no exception – he introduces the reader to people in his close circle, those he has built a confidence in and tells their story as a reporter would write a biography.  From the man living in the darkest of dark spots in his life turning things around (see what I did there?) and to the successful chiropractor who seemingly has it all but holds in the pain of her personal life.  It’s possible to continue moving on, no matter what happens in life and what twists and turns your life takes.

I think that’s the lesson to be pulled from this book, that no matter how hopeless life may seem at the present moment – if you just continue to look forward and press through you too can turn a new leaf and begin again.  Ironic that I picked the book up at a time when my life was seemingly falling apart financially, it helped pull me through at least.  Got me to remember that I can face the mountain of issues I have and climb over if I take just one step at a time.

Five out of Five Stars for Some (Amazing) People I know.

**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

About the Author, Keith Maginn

Keith M

Keith Maginn was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the youngest of four children. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as an Evans Scholar. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology he relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work for AmeriCorps and for Habitat for Humanity.

Keith returned to Cincinnati after living nearly 10 years in east Tennessee. He enjoys being surrounded by family and friends. While writing is his passion, he also enjoys sports, meditation, yoga, reading and live music.

Keith released Turning This Thing Around, an inspiring self-help memoir of overcoming personal struggles, in December 2010. In January 2013, he self-published Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward, detailing a 3,000-mile philanthropic pay-it-forward road trip through the southeastern United States. Some (Amazing) People I Know, released in January 2016, tells seven inspirational stories of everyday people. All three books are available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com or at keithmaginn.com. Keith feels writing to help and inspire others is his life’s purpose.

Five things about the author:

  1. Favorite books include Tao Te Ching, On the Road, Into the Wild, The Alchemist and The Motorcycle Diaries. Favorite authors are Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck.
  2. Driving around the country in a small RV or Airstream trailer for a few months tops his bucket list.
  3. Biggest pet peeves are arrogance and lack of consideration for others.
  4. He’d most like to meet the Dalai Lama.
  5. Keith enjoys a wide range of music, especially Pearl Jam, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Band of Horses, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews Band, Hank Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Jack Johnson, The Script, Mumford & Sons and Tim McGraw. The two best written songs ever? “Imagine” by John Lennon and “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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Book Review: Lilac Girls, Martha Hall

Lilac Girls

 

Summary from NetGalley

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.
 
On the eve of a fateful war, New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she sinks deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspect neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. But, once hired, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious female-only Nazi concentration camp. The tragedy and triumph of their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, and Germany to Poland—capturing the indomitable pull of compassion to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, happiness, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

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Book Review: Sisters of the Craft Series, Lori Handeland

In the Air Tonight

In the Air Tonight

Summary

Four centuries ago, in a small Scottish village, three baby girls escaped the wrath of a witch hunter. Today, one young woman will learn about her secret history,?her heart’s destiny,?and the sisters she never knew she had…

With her blue-black hair and dark eyes, Raye Larsen has never fit in with the Scandinavian community of New Bergin, Wisconsin. Being adopted is part of the reason she feels like an outsider, but what really sets Raye apart is her ability to see dead people. Everywhere. She’s learned to keep her visions to herself…until she stumbles onto the ghost of a murder victim who needs Raye’s help. Enter Bobby Doucet, a distractingly handsome homicide detective who has been tracking a killer all the way from New Orleans. Could this be the break in his case he’s been looking for all along? Meanwhile, the deeper Raye gets involved with the case–and with Bobby–the closer she comes to unlocking the mystery of her own origins. What she discovers about herself could destroy everything she knows…and everyone she loves. Is finding the truth worth the risk??

Heat of the Moment

Heat of the Moment

Summary

A spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift–and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth–that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense…until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center. Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life…and the man she will always love.

Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water

Summary

Reunited after four hundred years, three sisters join together to vanquish the power that tore them apart…and embrace the sorcery that is their birthright.

Abandoned as an infant, Willow Black spent her childhood in foster care, the object of whispers and pity…and rumors about being certifiably crazy. Telling your young friends that you can foresee the future–and summon the rain–is a surefire way to end up in the psychiatric ward. But when Dr. Sebastian Frasier arrives at the facility, Willow’s whole life takes a turn. Sebastian is the handsomest man she’s ever actually laid eyes on–even though he has been in Willow’s visions for years. But not even she could have predicted the storm of passion that engulfs them both. With Sebastian by her side, Willow is emboldened to embrace her history, and the sisters she never knew. Soon, the true power in her blood awakes–and the battle she was born to fight begins. While the temp est rages, Willow must depend on the friends and family she’s found–and the man she has loved forever…

Review:

Witchcraft has always been written in books in such a way that those who practice are either older crones or families of strong women where the talent and ability to cast spells is passed from generation to generation.  Either way, there’s always another element set on destroying the magic within those who possess it or intent on capturing the magic for themselves.  In the case of these three sisters the one set to destroy them in the modern world is the same one who was set on destroying their parents in the 15th century.

Magical books like these have always captured my imagination, and they hit very close to home for me – from the time I read The Crucible in high school until today, books surrounding the stories of witches and their families just grab my attention! These three books were no exception and why I feel the need to put their reviews into one post – for you cannot discuss one without interlacing the other two – the books and their stories are woven together in such a way that the reader can’t help but need to know them together vs. separately.  The relationships between the women and their respective mates and then their sisters are perfectly written with each character fleshed out amazingly well.

Five out of Five Starts for the Sisters of the Craft Series!

I am anxious to see what else Ms. Handeland has written!

**I received a copy of these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

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About the Author, Lori Handelbrand

L Handeland

Lori Handeland is a New York Times, USA Today, Waldenbooks and Bookscan Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal (BLUE MOON) and Best Long Contemporary Romance (THE MOMMY QUEST), a Romantic Times Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A SOLDIER’S QUEST), the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, the Write Touch Readers Award, the National Readers Choice Award and the Prism Award.

Lori is published world wide in several genres–historical, contemporary, series and paranormal romance, as well as urban fantasy and historical fantasy–by such publishers as: Dorchester, Kensington, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Harper-Collins, Simon and Schuster and Penguin/Putnam.

She also publishes gritty, sexy western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.

Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons.

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Book Review: Everything and More, Jacqueline Briskin

Everything and More

Summary from Amazon.com

Two sisters—the beautiful and alluring Marilyn, and her smart and savvy sister, Roy—move to Beverly Hills with their mother after the death of their father, so that they can attend the posh public school Beverly Hills High. Though they live in relative poverty, Marilyn acts in all of the school plays at her mother’s insistence, and she is quickly noticed by Linc, the oldest son of the iconic movie producer Joshua Fernauld. Marilyn and Linc find themselves overtaken by a passionate romance that neither of them had expected, and they are devastated when Linc, who is in the air force, is called back to duty overseas. Marilyn’s acute loss continues to haunt her for years afterward when she and Linc suffer a tragedy worse than she had ever imagined.

Meanwhile, Roy graduates from high school and goes on to pursue her interest in fashion, becoming a successful businesswoman at an upscale boutique. Her closest friend from Beverly Hills High, Althea, is a wealthy and mysterious beauty, whose sharp remarks and unfailing composure hide dark and terrible secrets about her family life. Throughout their childhood, Althea is generous to Roy but deeply possessive of her. As the pair grows older, Althea’s antics worsen until the two find themselves embroiled in a love triangle with an artist named Gerry Horak, which threatens to tear them apart once and for all.

An epic tale that spans continents and nearly half a century, Everything and More is a suspenseful tour de force by a master at family drama. Readers will be hooked from the first page and surprised throughout by the passion, trickery, and emotion culminating in a shocking twist that no one ever saw coming.

Review

Epic Hollywood drama’s and romances have been a thing of the ages, they cling to our pop culture like pollen to a bee, they just will not let go.  Sometimes, though as readers of gossips rags we dream of what’s actually happening, but always asking the question of what is the truth?  How do we know what’s the truth and what is being made up by the so called reporters.  In Everything and More the author takes us through that roller coaster of one family, she gives us that inside scoop of how a star is born and the drama that surrounds her life as she grows into her career and the ups and downs of her life.  Sometimes though its the downs that will fuel her career.

Meanwhile, her sister Roy feels like she’s on the back burner of her mother’s affections because she’s not center-stage, she’s not the “belle” of Hollywood.  But she has her own drama’s playing with her friend Althea, something that causes tension between the girls resulting in a lifelong of an on again – off again friendship.

The underlying story of these women and the lives they lead will intrigue the reader, always asking what’s going to happen next and the author does a good job of developing the story, leaving enough unanswered questions to keep the story moving.  All the while she’s successfully able to delve further into the characters, their motives and their underlying personalities.  An intriguing mix that results in an amazing series of books all surrounding the same family.

Five out of Five Stars for Everything and More.

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Book Review: Girl Underwater, Claire Kells

Girl Underwater

Summary from Amazon.com

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Review

Swimming and Swim teams are one thing that do not always go hand in hand.

Then again planes and plane crashes are also two things don’t always go hand in hand.

Survival in the Wilderness as a teenager with three young children in your care are also items that do not mix generally.

However, for Avery and Colin these three things comes crashing together one cold November day as they are heading home from California to Boston for Thanksgiving break.  I’ve read numerous plane crashing in the middle of nowhere type fanfiction stories with Bella and Edward (Twilight) at the helm, and this time I could almost see those two as Avery and Colin.  Opposite ends of the spectrum but closer than they can imagine.  They find a way – and it’s this shared trauma that brings them together in the end.

So how does one begin to overcome this kind of tragedy? How do they begin to move-on and re-start their lives? Avery and Colin have to find that way – this is their story of post-traumatic survival and the new life they forge for themselves.

A story beautifully written always keeping the plan crash at the edge of your consciousness – we walk with both Avery and Colin as they deal with their respective demons and come out better people.  Four out of Five Stars for Girl Underwater as I felt some of the characters were a little flat and predictable.

About the Author, Claire Kells

Claire Kells

Claire Kells was born outside Philadelphia and has lived in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco since graduating from Princeton University in 2005. An English major, she didn’t start writing fiction until her first year of medical school. Now a second-year resident in the Bay Area, she spends her free time writing stories about love, loss, and adventure.

GIRL UNDERWATER is her first novel.

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Book Review: Clonmac’s Bridge, Jeffrey Perren

Clonmac's Bridge

Summary from Amazon.com

A maritime archaeologist raises a medieval monastery span from the mud of the River Shannon, sunken for 1,200 years… and finds it perfectly preserved.

What could account for this astounding longevity? Why are his colleagues and the Church so desperate to prevent him learning the secret? And why is his consummate lover his greatest enemy?

Griffin Clonmac will go through hell to find out.

He won’t go alone. Inspired by a real discovery, Clonmac’s Bridge shifts between contemporary times and 9th century Ireland. It tells the story of two men who struggle against envy and mediocrity — a millennium apart — aided only by a loyal helpmate and an unconquerable will.

Review

Archeology has always been a love of mine – there’s something inherently interesting to me to learn the hows, whys and whats of the past – though I never did go into the field as a career, I have always managed to find ways to dip my toes into it via reading, watching documentaries, or visiting museums.  I never really took the time to delve into the past as much as Griffin Clonmac.  An Archeologist and college professor known for his TV appearances and discoveries takes his love of the past to a whole new level – battling unseen political and personal forces to dig up and raise the Bridge and the Clonmacnoise Monestary.  There’s a mystery even bigger than he is lurking in the waters of the River Shannon…at every turn he takes one step forward and seemingly hundreds backwards.

This book is one of back and forth – push and pull – and constant battling between the main characters.  There’s someone in the book, a Modern – Day Priest who will stop at nothing to keep the bridge from being raised – his whys behind the desire to stop it do not come to be known until late in the book – and while they seem petty and drawn out, they do make sense.

I am going to give this book a 3 out of 5 Stars – the constant back and forth and stop and go that Griffin deals with almost seems forced at an attempt to make the book seem like there’s more to it than there actually is.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Perren

Jeffrey Perren wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand.

Educated in philosophy and physics at UCLA and UC Irvine, he lives in Sandpoint, Idaho.

He is also the author of “Cossacks In Paris,” an historical war novel set in the Napoleonic era, as well as the romantic travel mystery “Death Is Overrated.”

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Girlder 2015 Holiday Newsletter

Christmas Tree

WOW Another year gone…how quickly the year passes the older we get, no? Seems the years just fly by and end up weaving one right into the other without so much as a note.  As a child we wait anxiously for our Birthdays and Christmas, but as an adult we wish the days and weeks would just slow down some so we can relish in those hours and minutes.  Just taking time to absorb everything we’re experiencing in that moment.

Let’s see, this year brought with it another Camporee with the Girl Scout Troop, a Visit to Maryland to meet and Greet the newest addition to our family, my sister’s adorable baby boy Lucas, and a nice visit from Mom & Dad during one awesome weekend!

GS Troop at Camporee

So let’s see Camporee this year was held in April this year – the theme was Disney and our troop decided on the movie Sleeping Beauty! It was a wonderous weekend full of crafts, activities, a scavenger hunt, and yummy Smore’s!  The girls had a chance to dress up as a Disney Character prior to the Scavenger hunt! They loved it!

Then after Camporee, the following weekend, we went to Maryland to meet Mr. Lucas!

Visit with Baby Lucas

He was just two weeks old here, and now we’re getting ready to head north again to spend Christmas with the family, his 1st! We are excited about that and celebrating Ashley’s birthday while there.  However, before heading back to NC, we spent some time on the farm with my brother and his Girlfriend, Dana, visiting with her horses!

Ashes with Mika & Maddick

Meet Mika & Maddick

Mandy & Mason

And Mandy & Mason *the Clydes*

The kids always love seeing the M&M’s as they are called!

After our trip to Maryland, Mom & Dad did make a trip down to visit with us over the summer, we spent an afternoon touring Screen Gems studios, which was exciting in itself!  We spent time touring the sets of Under the Dome and seeing some left over props from Journey 3! Was a very coold afternoon!

The Fam at Screen Gems

Then last but not certainly least over the summer our Girl Scout troop took a weekend camping trip in Tabor City to Scooby’s! The girls spent a full day swimming in the pool, playing at the water park, and having a great time! Was an all too short weekend, but it was super fun!

Ashley on Water Slide

So that wraps up the events of our year!

Updates time!

Jimm left his job in June after an injury in the salon in April.  He’s ok now, but still looking for work.  He’s happy though in the meantime being a Stay-At-Home Dad! The house and kids are well looked after, so I can’t fuss…though I am sure he’d prefer to be working – I believe right now we need him at home more…in time though that may change.

Lara left her position in October with her company – she wasn’t unemployed long though – a staffing agency got her in with a State Government agency temporarily and then within a few days of leaving that position she obtained a new job working for another company similar to her last as a field administrator working on site for their contractor.  In July after Jimm left his job she also opened her Etsy Shop, YarntoAfghanCreations, in an effort to drive income into the household.  Thus far sales have been slow but steady!

Austin wrapped up 6th Grade as steadily as they come, we hit some speed bumps along the way but he was no worst for the wear.  And has kicked off 7th Grade with a BAM!  He’s blossoming in Band and just loving playing the trumpet, he’s got a real knack for it and it just a natural musician.

Ashley wrapped up 4th grade with honors and spent a week at Girl Scout camp before starting 5th Grade at the end of June when her elementary school went to a year-round schedule.  She’s doing wonderfully and is gearing up for her next intercession!

Otherwise, all is doing wonderfully in the Girdler household, we’ve hit a few snares along the way, but nothing we can’t handle!

Hope Everyone has an Amazing Holiday Season, a Safe and Prosperous New Year and we’ll See Everyone later!

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