Update from Josie

Whoa! Did you say I’m one year old today! No way!

It has been a busy year for me.  Being born was hard work, but here I am one year later – a big girl! My Grammie posted photos from my younger days on earlier posts, but she’s dropped the ball lately and hasn’t posted anymore pictures in a long time.  I will try to bring you up to date.

Let’s start with April. I had my baptism at a really old church where someone named George Washington used to go. Mommy and Daddy had a party for me before we went to church.  There were lots of family and friends there.

10269639_10202008148310479_1500935330284093046_n (1)


This is me with my Godparents and parents. Uncle Todd (Daddy’s brother), Daddy, Me, Mommy, Aunt Stephanie (Mommy’s sister)


Josie's Baptism 4-19-14

The next day was Easter so my cousin Mallory and I got to visit the Easter Bunny.10253776_10202008155190651_7413488021881451209_n


Sometimes in spring it was really warm so I could go out without a jacket, like on this day when I went hiking with my daddy.

All ready to go hiking with Daddy 4-13-14


Other times I had to be bundled up.

Bundled up 3-6-14


In May, we moved clear across the country to Oregon because my Daddy is a Lieutenant in the Coast Guard and that was where they sent him. On our way from Virginia to Oregon we stopped in Ohio to visit our family.

Ryan Megan Josie 4-14 edit


We also stopped at some pretty interesting places along the way to Oregon.

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial 5-16-14 - aMt. Rushmore

Ryan Megan Josie - Badlands National Park 5-16-19

Badlands National Park

Megan and Josie at Yellowstone National Park 5-18-14

Yellowstone National Park

Megan and Josie on Gondola Ride over Spokane Falls 5-19-14

A gondola ride over Spokane Falls


In June we came home to Ohio for my aunt’s wedding.  This was the first time I rode on a plane.

All ready for 1st airplane ride - Portland OR to Chicago 6-19-20

Daddy had a cheese Coney when we got to Cincinnati.  I tried to get his cheese, and as you can see I succeeded.

It's Skyline time Josie 6-19-14

I got to stay at Grammie and Grampie’s a lot because Mommy and Daddy were in the wedding and had a lot to do.  We had lots of fun!  I was so happy to see Grammie, I just had to give her a big kiss.

Loving Grammie 6-20-14 - d


Shopping with Daddy at The Home Depot is okay, but I’d rather shop for toys.

Shopping at Home Depot with my Daddy 6-5-14

I got all dressed up in my red, white, and blue for the 4th of July.

4th of July Firecracker 7-4-2014

Mommy and Daddy took me to a parade and a clown gave me a big red nose.

At the Astoria Regatta Parade - a clown gave Josie a clown nose 8-9-14 - Copy

I have a dog named Riley. She is a good dog.  I really love her, but she thinks I’m a pest.  I just want to love on her and share toys with her.  I even share my food with her. When Daddy’s ship comes in, my Riley dog and I have lots of fun with Daddy.

When Daddy puts my toys together, I get to help him! I’m a very good helper.

Helping Daddy put my wheelbarrow together 8-8-14Somebody likes her new wheelbarrow 8-9-14


I love to go to the beach and play in the sand.  Sometimes I even eat it…

I  promise, I didn't eat the sand! 7-1-14

Or fall face first in it…


Where we live now, I have a playroom.  My mom cleans it up and puts all my toys away. Silly Mommy, doesn’t she know I’m going to take them all out again?


Daddy couldn’t be here for my birthday, but my cousin Brynn, Aunt Stephanie and my MawMaw and PawPaw came to help me celebrate.

photo 3 photo 4

Birthdays are fun, but are stressful too!

photo 1


Brynn and I had fun together and even dressed alike.Josie and Brynn - Josie's 1st Birthday


I’m ready for cake! How about you?

Josie 1 yr old Josie's Cake

Josie eating cake 1 Josie eating cake 2 Josie eating cake 3

Happy Birthday Josie! Grammie Loves YOU!

NEST By Esther Ehrlich

NestNaomi Orenstein (known as Chirp because she loves watching birds and can tell you just about anything about them) and Joey Morell live across the street from each other.  Joey has two older brothers who have bad reputations, and Naomi is afraid of them and a bit afraid of Joey, even though they are in the same grade. They are as different as night and day, or so they think. But as the story unfolds, they have a lot in common.   They are very bright students, and they both live under difficult circumstances.

This is a story of tragedy, hardship, love, and friendship.  It is about a camaraderie born of trust and a need to connect with someone who understands.  The plot and characters are both well crafted. The characters are true to life. Chirp and Joey could easily be the kids down the street.

When I first started reading Nest, I wasn’t sure it was going to be a book I would enjoy. As I got to know Chirp, I found I wanted to know more about her, why she and Joey seemed to have a connection, and how Chirp, with Joey’s friendship, learned to come to terms with the way life had changed for all in the Orenstein household. It was a book I couldn’t put down.

Nest is for ages 8-12, but I would recommend it to anyone age 8 – adult. It deals with some tough subjects such as illness, death, and abuse, and the unlikely bond of friendship that was formed by two children living under different circumstances. It is a heartwarming and unforgettable story.

I was given this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more about the author visit

Web page – Esther Ehrlich Author

Facebook – Esther Ehrlich, Author page

Twitter – @EstherEhrlich

Goodreads – Esther Ehrlich page


Buy the book on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, iBookstore, Random House


What I Thought I KnewAlice Eve Cohen’s memoir is honest, deeply moving, and at times humorous.  At age 44, Alice is happy with the way her life is going. Divorced, she has found Mr. Right and is headed down the path to marriage. Her adopted daughter is thriving, and her career as a storyteller and performer is flourishing.  What more could she want? She was settled into the life she wanted when suddenly she started experiencing mysterious symptoms.  After a visit to her gynecologist, the doctor told her she was going through menopause. She had a hard belly and eventually after x-rays and months of other tests, she had a CAT scan. Her diagnosis was a shock. She was six months pregnant, was a DES daughter who would undoubtedly deliver her baby early, and she had no prenatal care up to now.  She had been on medications and there was a possibility the baby would be born with problems.

How could she be pregnant?  All these months the doctors had been telling her she was depressed, menopausal, anemic, preoccupied with the possibility of having cancer, and she was supposedly infertile.  She was high risk and no doctor wanted to take her on as a patient because of the six months she had no prenatal care.

Alice considers all of her options, openly and honestly.  She is genuine and straightforward and doesn’t hesitate to describe exactly how difficult it was for her to make the decision she did concerning her baby. It is hard to talk about her story without giving too much away so I will leave it here.  It is a book you won’t want to put down.  I recommend this as a five-star book.


To learn more about Alice Eve Cohen visit

Her webpage – Alice Eve Cohen

Facebook – Alice Eve Cohen Page

Twitter – @AliceEveCohen

Goodreads – Alice Eve Cohen



Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, BooksAMillion, or your favorite local bookstore

In Rhapsody


Here is another amazing and beautiful poem by my friend Morgan over on BooknVolume.

Originally posted on booknvolume:

in Rhapsody

In Rhapsody, like Diamonds

Glittering in the Waning Light of Day,

Time does Sparkle and Scintillate

In Your Presence,

While the Hours Shift,

And Midnight turns,

The Palest Moon and Transcending stars,

Ask only for Your Smile,

Like a Rhapsody of Diamonds.

Beautiful Photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Acknowledged to the Amazing Original Photographer.

View original

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey

No One Could Have Guessed the WeatherNO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER had its good points and bad. I loved the story of the four women and the friendships they formed while they juggled the responsibilities of work, home, children, and the difficulties those duties encompassed.  While Lucy struggles at first with the down-sizing of every aspect of her life, she is the one who is the strongest character.  Julia, who is stressed out to the point of leaving home and family, works hard at figuring out how to make her life less demanding. Christy is a trophy wife to a much older man and has everything, but yet is not really happy with her marriage. Her husband uses his money to control her. Christy was definitely the weakest character. Robyn just works at getting by day by day, and becomes stronger with time.  The link among these women is the commonality of their situations; the problems they face individually are the same.

There was a lot of time spent developing the characters, which I normally love. However, Casey didn’t get into the plot until half way through the book. I kept waiting for the four women to connect and it just didn’t happen soon enough for me.  I love reading and rarely find a book I don’t like, but I struggled to finish this one.  I give this one three stars.

Find more about the author on

Webpage Anne-Marie Casey

Facebook Anne-Marie Casey, author

Goodreads Anne-Marie Casey



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I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March

The Meryl Streep Movie ClubTHE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB, debut novel by Mia March is the story of a family who think it is all they can do to tolerate each other during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the only times they get together. When Aunt Lolly decides to call everyone home for an important announcement, sisters Isabel and June, their cousin Kat, and Aunt Lolly discover that their misconceptions about each other are just that.    You will be amazed at the artful way the author brings the characters to life, as they discover themselves and come together as a loving family discussing each Meryl Streep movie’s message on movie night.  I much prefer to read than to watch a movie, so I wasn’t sure this book was for me. I’ve only seen one Meryl Streep movie (“Out of Africa”) and couldn’t imagine how those movies could form the basis for the book. I was astounded! I had it all wrong. They didn’t form the basis for the story, they enriched it. This was truly an enjoyable read. Check it out!

Find out more about Mia March.

FaceBook author page Mia March

Twitter @March_Mia

Goodreads Mia March



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Your favorite local bookstore

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter by Sarah JioOn May 2, 1933 Seattle is blanketed with an unexpected snow, a blackberry winter.  Single mother Vera Ray rushes home from the night shift to wake three-year-old Daniel only to find him missing. She finds his teddy bear in the snow, but no clue to what happened to him or where he might be.  A desperate and grieving Vera searches in vain to find her son.

Turn the calendar forward to present day Seattle. Once again on May 2nd, Seattle awakens to an unexpected heavy snowstorm.  Reporter Claire Aldridge is given an assignment by her boss at the Seattle Herald to cover this blackberry winter as well as the earlier one.  While investigating the earlier storm, Claire learns of Daniel’s abduction and is determined to solve this mystery. What Claire never expected to find was a connection to Vera.

The story of BLACKBERRY WINTER by Sarah Jio is well-thought out with a plot that will hold your interest from beginning to end.  The present is woven intricately with the past, blending two stories into one. The characters were true-to-life.   This is definitely a book for your “must read” list.  It is a quick read, but don’t hurry through it. You’ll want to savor each and every page.

More about Sarah Jio and her books can be found at:

Webpage Sarah Jio

FaceBook author page Sarah Jio, Author

Twitter @sarahjio

Goodreads Sarah Jio

Instagram sarahjio



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Or at your favorite local bookstore

All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes By Betsy St. Amant  

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES is about what?  Love and cupcakes, of course.  The story finds twenty-six year old Kat Varland fretting over her future.  She is in love with Lucas Brannen, but Lucas has not expressed interest in her beyond eating her cupcakes and being her best friend. She works in her aunt’s bakery making the same old vanilla-chocolate-strawberry cupcakes, but yearns to show off her real talent in making novelty cupcakes.  She is at odds with her family, feeling that she is not appreciated for what she chose to be her livelihood.

Lucas Brannen coaches the local high school football team. He loves Kat but doesn’t know how to tell her. Every chance he gets, he freezes up.  When he secretly signs her up for the reality TV bakeoff on Cupcake Combat, he does so as an expression of love and to give Kat a shot at seeing her life’s dream become an actuality.

When Kat choses Lucas to be her assistant on the show, things start heating up between them; and I don’t mean romantically.  Constantly at odds, but both in love with the other, though unable to express his/her love, and trouble on the set with each other and other contestants, the stress keeps building.

Will Kat and Lucas resolve their friendship/love life?  Will Kat win the competition and realize her dream come true? What are they each willing to sacrifice for the other?

The story was cute, but I only gave ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES a three star rating, because the story dragged on without purpose for too long.  For me, it took too long to get to the conclusion with little added value.  A novella length would have been more to my liking.

The characters were well developed and could have been someone you know or someone you’d meet on the street.  They each had flaws true to real life.

Betsy St. Amant is a Christian writer but doesn’t put so much into her book to turn off someone who is not a fan of Christian novels.

To find out more about St. Amant, check out her website Betsy St. Amant, Twitter page https://twitter.com/betsystamant, and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BetsySt.Amant.

I received a copy of ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES by Betsy St. Amant from Net GALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

Writing Prompt

In following the prompt given by my good friend Morgan of Booknvolume, I have written my very first ever Haiku.  The prompt Where Fantasy is More than What it Seems is taken from one of Morgan’s poems (http://booknvolume.com/2014/08/22/where-fantasy-is-more/). Given the prompt and two fantasy images, her followers were charged with writing a poem or short story.


Winter snow princess

Grasps all that is Earthly

In protective arms



Nymph of the blue depths

Whirling about, beauteous



Beautiful Original Artwork by: Sheila Wolk