Forbidden Lovers – Kimberly Troutte

From the Harlequin Romance Series… (4 stars)

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I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Again, not a typical read for me, but occasionally, I need the break from the tedium of mystery stories, and police procedurals, to sneak in a quick romance or two.

Matt Harper is an Air Force veteran, turned pilot, hoping to start up his own airline soon. Raised by a dysfunctional family and forced to leave Plunder Cove – his home – for the Air Force Academy at a young age, he is returning home for the first time in 10 years to full a demand by his father, RW Harper – but he has no intention of staying. There is nothing there for him – not after the love of his life Julia, up and married a different man a scant few months after he left town.

Julia Espinosa was a young girl who lived in the village, controlled by Matts father, RW. Orphaned at a young age, she was raised by a trio of sisters, whom she calls aunts. When Matt met Julia it was love at first sight – and a forbidden love. When RW Harper discovered the love affair, he tried to forbid it – and then sent Matt away – leading Julia to believe that he had been killed in action a short while later. But unbeknownst to any of them, Julia was expecting a child – a child raised believing his father had died.

Now Matt has returned, and he is drawn to Julia once again, each believing that the other had left them behind. As the two rejoice in one another and gradually uncover the deceptions that forced them apart, another danger lurks in the background, threatening all that Matt & Julia hold dear…

A cute romance, with lots of sensuality and just enough drama to reel you in – now I will impatiently have to wait for the next installment of the Plunder Cove series to learn of Angel’s fate…

Doterra Essential Oils

Do any of you out there dabble with essential oils??

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A couple of years ago, I attended my first essential oils ‘party’, where I was introduced to a multitude of oils, their origin, their uses and benefits, and I decided to invest a bit into the oil phenomenon. While oils seem to be the newest ‘craze’ to take over the area, if not the country, (I see them sold in stores from WalMart to Hobby Lobby – as well as multiple brands being out there), I really wanted to know if they were worth the investment.

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I started with one of the family kits that Doterra offered, and signed on the become a consultant. I also bought a textbook on oils, their origins, and their uses, which has been extremely helpful. But, I am not comfortable selling a product that I am not sure about, so I decided to do my own research – on myself, of course!! As many of our prescription medications are made from plants and their oils, including the most ‘famous’ drugs, opioids, which are derived from the poppy, and digoxin, which comes from the foxglove plant, it seemed to make sense that perhaps oils would be of benefit, right?

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Peppermint is my absolute favorite! This is my liquid xanax. And for me, it works! I am an anxious soul. My childhood was less than idyllic – my step-father was not loving towards me, and my real father was essentially non-existant in my life. As a young child, I was so fearful of my step-father, that I was perpetually nauseated (anxiety!), which blossomed into a crazy fear of vomiting, which remains to this day. As a child, I frequently relied on pepto-bismol to curb my symptoms, which contains peppermint of course, and I graduated to peppermint candies and life savers to keep the nausea at bay – to the point where I’d lodge them between my teeth and gums as a way to cope.It sure helped with the anxiety, but I destroyed my teeth in the process. So, now, as an adult, I LOVE my peppermint oil. I only wish I had discovered it about 30 years ago.

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As a career paramedic and now nurse, I have done a number on my back and hips through the years, including a significant back injury due to a motor vehicle accident in my younger years, leaving me with intermittant back discomfort. I cannot take NSAIDS (they cause wicked abdominal pain) and I refuse to get caught up in narcotics, so my relief tends to come from heat and – yep, essential oils. Doterra has a blend of oil named Deep Blue, which has been my salvation.

I also am a migraine sufferer, and I am still working on finding the best relief from those with oils…any suggestions, anyone?? I’ve yet to find the perfect oil or combination of them…

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I am also having some luck with a new oil, named Copaiba – I mix it in an unscented lotion as a carrier and apply it to my back and hip, with seemingly good, but temporary effect. But, I’m good with that – I can’t expect it to cure 20 years of lifting, but the pain relief has been rather remarkable. (I know, in my 40’s and I’m falling apart already…)

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Finally, another tried and true oil is terrashield. I bought this in a spray bottle form – it’s mixed with unfractionated coconut oil for dilution, and used it on one of my infamous evening swamp walks here in the south (I seek out and photograph wildlife – especially snakes – but that’s a story for another blog) – and it worked beautifully. Not one insect bite for the two hours I was out there. I was suitably impressed!

So, those are my essential oil success stories so far. I’m always looking for more, if you have any to share! I would someday perhaps like to be able to offer these products to others, but I still have way too much to learn. I’d love to hear our stories about oils if you have them!!

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Have you ever used essential oils? What did you think??

A Snowbound Scandal – Jessica Lemmon

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I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Not a typical read for me, but occasionally, I need the break from the tedium of mystery stories, and police procedurals, to sneak in a quick romance or two.

Chase Ferguson is the Mayor of Dallas and has a promising political career spread before him. The son of a wealthy oil family, the sky is the limit for Chase. An honest politician, he’s earned the love and support of the Texas people, and his opponents must dig deep to find anything to use against him. Then one morning a picture of ‘Mimi’ crosses his desk.

Mimi Andrix is an activist with an agricultural sciences degree and works for the Montana Conservation Society. Her work often has her protesting the very thing Chase’s family stands for – oil. Years ago, while on a break from school, she had a summer fling with Chase, and while he sent her home in the end, she’s never forgotten him or their romantic summer together in Montana.

Chase decides to take a quick vacation up to the lake house he owns in Bigfork, Montana for the Thanksgiving Holiday, and has a chance meeting with Mimi at the grocery store. The conversation is awkward, and he shares his card with Mimi, before leaving for his lake home, planning on spending the holiday alone. Mimi, with her heart of gold, cannot stand the thought of Chase not having a proper dinner, so she heads to Chase’s home with plates of food, and barely makes it because of an unexpected snowstorm.

Stranded with Chase because of the unrelenting snow, they rekindle the romance of that summer so long ago – and Mimi realizes she’s never stopped loving Chase. But when the snowstorm is over, will Chase leave her behind once again??

A sweet story, with a predictable ending, but every now and then, I need a story where the girl gets her guy! An enjoyable read, and I look forward to the next installment of the series, when Chase’s sister Stephanie meets her match!