Abandoned – Allison Brennan

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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.

Maxine Revere is a successful investigative reporter, with her own series on cable news. However, this journey is personal. Twenty two years ago, when Max was 9 , her mother, Martha and her boyfriend Jimmy, left her at her grandparent’s home, never to return, only sending the occasional postcard. Now, aided by her assistant, and law enforcement connections, Max is determined to find out what became of her mother.

The recent discovery of an alias used by Martha to purchase a car several years ago in Miami sends Max to Northampton County, Virginia, where the car was later discovered abandoned, and where Max suspects that her mother had died. Coincidentally, Jimmy’s family is from the same area of Virginia, and Max is hoping that Jimmy’s younger brother Gabriel can provide some information.
But Gabriel Truman has secrets of his own, and he’ll do whatever he can to protect them and his teen-aged daughter Eve…

I LOVED this character! Max is smart, savvy and in control, making this book a delight to read. It’s fast-paced, alternating between past and present as Max slowly pieces together her mothers past, and outcome. This was a quick read as I could not put it down!! Love, LOVE Max Revere, and look forward to many more adventures with her!

The Weight Of Silence – Gregg Olsen

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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.

Nicole Foster is a Detective with the Aberdeen, California PD, who, partnered with Carter Hanson, is called upon to investigate the death of a toddler left in a hot car. In a scene reminiscent of the Harris incident in 2014, a distraught driver has pulled over in a mall parking lot and is screaming. His baby girl, left in the hot car for the entire workday, is deceased.

Nicole has her own problems. As a mother figure to her niece Emma, and sister to a sociopath named Stacy, and provider for her Alzheimer’s afflicted father, she also has overcome a large career mis-step that resulted in a firing from a former law enforcement position, along with a gambling addiction that had left her homeless. Aberdeen PD is her chance at redemption.

As the investigation into the death of little Ally Tomlinson intensifies, it becomes quickly apparent that there is more to the story than a toddler forgotten in a hot car. Timelines don’t all match and cameras and computers hold hidden clues for the detectives.

Meanwhile, Nicole learns the hard way that her sister has returned, and has set her sights on Emma…

Another fabulous read from Gregg Olsen! I couldn’t put it down! A gritty police procedural about human relationships, the dynamics of sisterhood, and the dark recesses of the pathological mind.

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??