Posted in Book Reviews

The Exhausted Amanuensis: Richard Behrens

‘A Lizzie Borden Girl Detective Mini Mystery #6’

Installment #6 of our series has Lizzie joining forces with her older sister, Emma. Lizzie is visited by the wife of famed mathematician, Professor Welles. According to his missus, begun exhibiting signs of dementia. In fact, he spouts erratically about mathematical theorems & time travel. Most recently, he’s begun insisting that he has traveled through time personally & is about to commit murder. Unfortunately, the victim of said murder is himself.
Unsure exactly how she can help, Lizzie agrees to try anyway. She & Emma go undercover as an amanuensis & a maid, respectively. While poor Emma is worked half to death, Lizzie listens intently to the babbling Professor. It isn’t long before she is sure that something sinister is going on.

As much as I love this series, I disliked this book. I fully supported ‘era-appropriate’ wording & dialogue. However, when it is utilized to the point where the reader has difficulty following along, one must rethink its usage. Almost the entire interaction between Lizzie & the Professor is filled with scientific and/or mathematical dialogue. Theorems, word problems, etc. were enough to make one’s head spin.

Being that this series is noted to be a ‘mini’, there is limited time in which to start & end with a good mystery in the middle. Muddling the plot with dialogue fit for a Johns-Hopkins’ Lab is a bit over the top. I am still a huge fan of the series. I simply didn’t care for this one. As a side note, even if this book is skipped, readers won’t miss any pertinent info about Lizzie’s life. It hurts to give it 3 stars, but I have to do so.

Posted in Uncategorized

My Rut

This February has been beyond challenging. Point blank: I am stuck in a rut. I think that’s the best way to state it.
Recently, I launched into a 3 day long crying episode. I couldn’t stop. Nothing consoled me. I even scared the dog. I’ve tried in vain to pin point exactly what started it & why it abruptly ended. I can say, I don’t remember praying as much or as fervently as I did those 3 days.
We have been through some pretty extraordinary circumstances in our lives. Almost 18 years of marriage has not been easy economically, mentally, or physically for either one of us. But, honestly, things are pretty good.
I suppose that’s why this whole thing floored me. I have nothing to fret over currently. Both are older sons, no longer at home, are struggling as most newly independent kids do. However, they are safe & sound, employed, & alive. Our youngest is maintain good grades, is healthy, & a joy. But, I couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding.
Everywhere I went, I felt something awful was going to happen every minute. I thought my mom was going to die. I though I was failing at everything. I had zero ability to cope with life. The crying got so out of control that our youngest begged me to stop, promised to help anyway he could, if I’d just stop crying. I had enough.
So, 2 Fridays ago, I called my doctor. This in and of itself wasn’t easy. Despite the fact that she wasn’t seeing patients that day, she told the staff to bring me in ASAP. I’ve been her patient for 13 years. She knows me better than my family does. Her first words to me were simply, ‘I don’t have a magic pill for this’. I appreciated her honesty. I told her the absolute truth about how I felt. We agree that more pills weren’t the answer. I am already on anti-anxiety meds & have a prescription for tranquilizers that I’ve never used.
What made the difference wasn’t available in a pill anyway. The fact that she didn’t say anything to make me feel responsible was beyond helpful. I talked to her for over an hour. I went home determined to conquer.
My youngest & I took Communion before we started the next school day. I picked individual sermons from Joseph Prince to listen to & forced myself to continue my exercise program. I made myself go outside with the dog. I refused to give up. My favorite past times of reading & entering sweeps were reintegrated into my life. I prayed even more. I listened to my mom’s well-meaning advice (she believes it to be menopause). I let myself lean on my husband. But, the biggest difference of all was that I came to some conclusions, mentally.
I re-evaluated many things. First, I realized that I wasn’t fully relying on My Savior. I repented of this & am taking mega steps to fix it. Second, we decided that we were NOT making our marriage any type of priority. We are re-instituting date night, watching shows together, & talking more. Family time in general has been made a bigger priority. Family Game Night is back. In fact, we’ve playing games together every night since the doctor visit. We took our son to his first semi-formal & despite my social anxieties, engaged in a fun time with another couple we’d never met.
I would not have pulled out of this rut had it not been for Jesus. He is my Rock. His word comforts & guides me. I know he guided me to speak to my doctor. If you are in a rut or whatever it should be called, don’t wait. Call your medical provider. They may surprise you. But, above all else, pray without ceasing.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: Summons: A.L. Brown

By A.L. Brown
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Take care what you wish for. You just might get it.
Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get any more unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and—oh, the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother has been kidnapped.
Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. But she’s not the hero they want. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren’t meant to swoop in and save the day.
Now all Casey wants is to go home, but the veil between worlds is on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail has placed on her head. But if Casey fails, the Arabian Nights will disappear forever—and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.
Author bio

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, A.L. Brown now calls Central Texas home. She’s a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy, and paranormal to contemporary — mostly young adult — fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, her life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

She is the author of the upper young adult paranormal Neverlove and its new adult follow up They All Fall Down of the Shadow Jumpers series, Frailties of the Bond and Atone of the NEO Chronicles: Characters Revealed series, andBeacon, the first action-packed title in the young adult urban fantasy series, Ripped Ties. Her debut MG (middle grade) title is coming soon from Dingbat Publishing: FABLE RANGER: SUMMONS.




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Angela B 2012 Ferrell Photography (1)

Posted in Book Reviews

Menace in Christmas River: Meg Muldoon

‘Book #8 in the Christmas River’ Series

Cinnamon & her Christmas River friends are finally back in Book #8. While still enjoying her success as a pie shop owner, Cinnamon has decided to exit her comfort zone by entering a competition based on chocolate. Although she’s done other baking contests, the Chocolate Championship Showdown is unchartered territory for her. As she tries to craft hearts & cherubs out of chocolate, she’s approached by show organizers. Apparently, another local baker has had to bow out of judging. Now, the Showdown committee wants Cinnamon to skip entering & agree to judge.

Normally, she may have been a bit more excited, but considering Celebrity Chef, Cliff Copperstone is the star of the Chocolate Competition. Upon meeting him, it’s clear that his television persona is much different from his true personality. Abrasive & rude, Cliff won’t be easy to deal with. However, the town is behind her & she agrees.

Cliff isn’t making many friends in the small town of Christmas River and his diva attitude has made many enemies for him throughout his life. Still, the whole town is shocked when he’s brutally assaulted during the competition. To make matters worse, all the contestants & attendees are snowed in with the unknown assailant when an unexpected blizzard slams the community. Her sheriff husband needs to tend to the injured judge so it’s up to Cinnamon & her best friend, Kara, to maintain order & find the culprit.

I was thrilled to see Meg Muldoon continue her series. This installment is a definite new spin to the ongoing saga of Christmas River. As we meet more members of the town & get to know our heroine better, readers will fall more in love with Cinnamon & her town. Kara takes on a much bigger role & it’s pretty evident that she’s a great Watson-type helper. From the storyline to the new characters, Meg Muldoon continues to impress with her Cozy Mystery series. I will definitely be anticipating Book 9. Book 8 is a 5 stars from me.

Posted in Beauty, Product Reviews

Happy Birthday, Beauty Box 5!

20160213_114609February is more than Cupid shooting arrows & rodent shadows. Beauty Box 5 celebrates its birthday in February & this year, they’re 4! For humans, it’s a great age filled with discovery so it’s ony fitting that we discover some new-to-us products in this month’s beauty box. Being that you may very well be snowed or iced in due to the recent storms, the box’s arrival is right on time!
Unlike traditional birthdays, the gifts are all for us! Awesome- plus we’re not adding a year onto our own ages. Extra icing on our cake: 4 full-sized products are included this month!
First up, we have Manna Kadar Beauty’s 3 in 1- Shadow, Highlight, Blush in Fantasy. It comes to us in its full-size form. As a shadow, on fair skin, it looks like a shade of pink. BB5 agrees, referring to it as a rose shade. Paired with a darker shadow on the lid & using it to highlight, it plays well. As a blush, it will probably have to be layered. I could barely see it. True, I am fairer than fair as far as skin tone. Still, it was barely visible. Use it sparingly as a highlight though or it looks to blunt even with its shimmery, glittery pigment. With an MSRP of $19, I enjoyed trying it, but wouldn’t make the leap of adding it to a permanent make-up bag addition.
Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eye Shadow Primer is the only one of the five that isn’t full size. Just recently, I made primer a full-time use product for myself so I was excited to see this one. Yes, it did go on smooth & made the shadow pop a bit more. I didn’t see a huge difference in the prevention of creasing. But, it did its job. The only drawback is that it’s MSR is $20 & I get the same result with a product for a fraction of the price. Still, it works.
20160213_115802From eyes, we move to lip care. Premium Lip Balm from Epic Blend is next. Now, this one may be iffy to some. It does contain hemp. Regardless of your feelings towards that, we have used this product before & my husband swears it beats any lip balm he’s ever used. Because he’s outside for a good portion of his day, I trust this judgement. It makes him happy & for $3.49, it’s worth it. BB5 includes it in its full-size form as well.
Starlooks Custom Lip Liner in Sultry Sangria is collaborative effort between Starlooks & BB5 in honor of their birthday. For full lip filling or lining alone, the color is a pleasant pink that matches most daytime shades. On me, it lasted from morning til lumch than needed reapplied. The color was fine. It goes on smooth and doesn’t tug at your lips (I problem I’ve encountered numerous times). However, it’s MSRP of $16 makes it a pass for me. If it’s in your busget, go for it.
Finally, we have Hemp Nation’s Kiwi-Mango Body Wash. Yes, it is the second product in the box that is hemp-related. The best way to describe the scent is that it reminds me of a pineapple Life Saver Candy. It’ll make you yearn for warmer temps. It’s cleaning power is comparable to most body washes with its scent being its biggest assest. Also a full-sized product, it has an MSRP of $7.99.

All combined, the full-sized products alone total: $46.48. Beauty Box 5 is a subscription service that delivers 5 new or new-to-you products for $12 a month. If you went to the store yourself, you’d spend $34.48 more than that to purchase these items individually. Not to mention the hours it takes to bundle up for this weather & such. Stay warm inside & allow the USPS to deliver the products directly to your mailbox.
This month we celebrate our favorite subscription service & thank them for the 4 years of great products, great value, & great service. Happy Birthday!!!

I received the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. For full product & ordering information, visit


Posted in Uncategorized

Little Miss Somebody: Christy Lynn Abram

Little Miss Somebody
By Christy Lynn Abram
Genre: Coming of Age Fiction

Book Description

Fourteen-year-old Nikki’s world is turned upside down when her mother makes an impulsive move to Missouri. Having left everything she knew behind, Nikki is left to fend for herself from her mother’s vicious cycle of abuse and abandonment while living at her grandmother’s house amidst her mother’s drug addicted siblings. Feeling unloved and more than ever like a burden, Nikki seeks to find a missing piece to the puzzle of her life- her father. Along the way, she unravels more layers of family abuse and pain causing her to feel helpless. But she won’t give up. Not yet, Not Nikki. Not until she finds what she is looking for. Will Nikki find the love she so desperately needs?

Blurb One Liner: Feeling unloved and more than ever like a burden, Nikki seeks to find a missing piece to the puzzle of her life- her father. Along the way, she unravels more layers of family abuse and pain causing her to feel helpless. 

Author Bio: 

After enduring years of childhood abuse and struggling with depression and PTSD, Christy Lynn Abram embarked on a journey to self-healing using holistic wellness as her guide. Now, as a Wholistic Muse (guide to one’s self), author and creative entrepreneur, she teaches others how to live by design. Christy is trained in eight healing modalities, including: a Reiki, EFT, reflexology, massage therapy, and a crystal healer, all of which aided in her discovery of how to heal herself naturally. These life-changing skills also served as the foundation to helping others love themselves healthy. In her book Chakra Wellness: 7 Ways to Renew the Total she dives into the seven chakra centers from a mind-body-soul perspective. She has been recognized for her knowledge of the chakra system (by best-selling author of the Chakra Bible, Patricia Mercier), gemstone healing, and energy medicine. She contributes to several online publications on the subject of holistic healing and offers talks and insightful guidance to encourage others on their journey toward a better, fuller life. Although Christy has faced adversity in her life, she continues to see the world in a myriad of color and squiggly lines. In 2014, Christy decided to pursue her lifelong dream of being an interior designer. She is now the founder and principal designer at Happy Buddha Interiors, a full service design boutique, which applies a holistic approach to interior design. In her latest release, Little Miss Somebody, Christy wears her heart on her sleeve and delivers a poignant tale of love and sacrifice. Christy’s other activities include partnering with Pongo for Teen Writing, a Seattle based non-profit organization that offers expressive writing to teens who are in jail, homeless, or leading difficult lives. To learn more about Christy and her mission visit 

Purchase Links:




Posted in Uncategorized

I Am Not On Your Payroll (Time for An Ajooba Rant)

I second this opinion!

Ajoobacats Blog

I am ‘out here’ in the virtual world because I enjoy reading and don’t mind donating my time to type a line or two about books I have read and liked. I am thankful for the review requests I receive, overwhelmed by their frequency and I have discovered great authors and people, who share my passion for a well told story. My ire is in no way aimed at these lovely authors, who have given me joy and virtual friendship on occasion.

However, I feel from time to time the need to remind myself, and others apparently, that I am not contracted, employed or obligated to provide a favourable opinion about any book, on demand. When I read a book I am not looking to find fault. I really want to enjoy a book I choose to read. It would be an awful waste of precious time otherwise. However, if…

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Posted in Food, Giveaways, Product Reviews

GrubMarket Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 2/15 at 11pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US residents ages 18+

1 winner will receive a regular-size box from GrubMarket

Grubmarket Giveaway Sponsored by GrubMarket

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

GrubMarket Giveaway

About GrubMarket:
GrubMarket is all about providing accessibility, by delivering the following key benefits to their stakeholders:

  • Unbeatable prices: While many food delivery services and premium grocers cater to high-income earners, GrubMarket is committed to making fresh and delicious food accessible to all people by keeping their prices consistently lower than all comparable grocers.
  • Convenience: Through their reliable operations, GrubMarket is committed to providing people in food deserts (ie. areas without farmers’ markets and fresh grocery stores) with access to high-quality, freshly-harvested items that they would typically find at a farmers’ market or Whole Foods store. Additionally, they offer free delivery across the U.S. for all orders above $59.
  • Food Discovery: GrubMarket provides a platform for their partnering small farms and vendors to sell their items directly to customers. Many of these food producers have challenges getting shelf space at grocery stores, and/or may not want to pay the upfront costs of hosting farmers’ market tables. GrubMarket gives these food producers access to tens of thousands of customers through a robust online marketplace, regardless of the food producers’ production scale.

GrubMarket firmly believes that you, your family, and your friends should always have the opportunity to eat well, and that price should never be a barrier between you and healthy, delicious, and freshly-harvested food. They are committed to providing you with the best grocery experience possible, by regularly offering you wholesome foods at wholesale prices. They work with a variety of farms and artisan producers to bring you high-quality foods and other items at prices that are up to 50% OFF what you’d typically find at Whole Foods and other grocers.

See what Emilee at Pea of Sweetness thought in her GrubMarket review.

Would you like to win a regular-size box from GrubMarket? This giveaway will run through 2/15/16 at 11pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email).

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

Disclosure: Emilee at Pea of Sweetness received complimentary products to facilitate her review. No additional compensation was received. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.



Posted in Book Reviews

The Sculling Boat: Richard Behrens

A Lizzie Borden Girl Detective Mini Mystery #5

While Book #4 gave a glimpse at Lizzie-future, this installment takes us to Lizzie-past. Little Lizzie is playing with her toy when he Grandfather makes an unexpected appearance. A brief chat leads her to tell him all about solving ‘The Mystery of the Sculling Boat’ for her sister, Emma.

As is customary for the series, this installment is very brief. Unlike the others, though, it felt a bit out-of-place. Due to her notoriety, it’s understandable to see what Lizzie’s future was like. I’m not quite sure what the motivation was to visit, what would be, a kindergarten aged Lizzie. I will say that it does show her aptitude for solving quirky mysteries from a very young age.

This series has grown on me & I’ve enjoyed them all- some more than others. I’m curious to see if Richard Behrens will broach the topic of her parents’ deaths. Regardless, as long as he continues to pen them, I will continue to read them. There’s just something about Lizzie as a heroine that I enjoy. This installment earns 3 stars & I’m hopeful the 6th book will be better.