Book Corner

Book Review: Station Breaker

Podcast version – listen on the go!

station-breaker

Astronaut David Dixon’s first mission to space goes horribly wrong when shots are fired on a Russian space station. He finds himself making an emergency landing from orbit and becomes the most wanted man on Earth.

Desperate to unravel the plot he’s found himself in, he takes his pursuers on a wild chase from space to the backstreets of Rio and beyond. Dixon’s survival relies on his skills as a pilot and willingness to do whatever it takes – crashing a passenger jet into the Mexican desert to pulling off an incredible heist in Low Earth Orbit.

If space doesn’t kill David Dixon, Earth will.

fivestars

I really enjoy Andrew Mayne books. He has a way of sucking me into his stories and his humor is OFF the charts. I found myself actually laughing out loud a few times.

I felt I was holding my breath this whole story. There was something exciting happening nearly every page. In fact, it was almost too much at times and the character kept finding himself in more and more impossible situations. In fact, there were times I was like, there is no way this character is getting out of this and Mayne proved me wrong by finding a unique and fun way to release the character back into the wild.

So, David Dixon is a bit of a geek. Mayne doesn’t really describe what he looks like, or if he did, I missed it because I was too distracted trying to figure out how the character was going to escape his latest trap, but I imagined David being attractive, but not overly so, more like a charming geek. He doesn’t exactly turn women’s heads but he’s attractive enough that women are not immediately turned off by him.

David is a hard-core geek. He’s always wanted to be an astronaut and he has to jump through several hoops for that to finally happen. And when it finally happens, it’s by accident. David is an understudy, for lack of a better term, a back up plan in case something happens to the astronaut that the big dudes picked for the job. And that’s exactly what happens, the astronaut that was supposed to have gone on the mission gets food poisoning the night before the launch and David is called in to replace him. While getting ready, David spots his superior and hero stuffing a gun into his gear. David is pretty sure that’s not part of the approved items for the mission but he doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to get this guy he looks up to into trouble and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his first mission. He’s also wondering, did this mission just get dangerous?

The crazy starts after getting into outer space and they run into some trouble and are not going to be able to dock with the original space station and instead, have to dock at the Russian station or there is a good possibility they will die. After docking to the Russian station, David is asked (forced) to stay on the rocket while his two comrades step foot onto the station to try and see how they can get back to Earth. Not long after his comrades have been on the station, shots ring out and the woman comes stumbling back to the ship, gives David a microchip and tells him to leave and go back to Earth. He doesn’t want to leave without her or his hero boss but he realizes that if he doesn’t leave, he will die and he detaches from the Russian space station.

He barely makes it back to Earth and crash lands in Rio. His landing is publicized so his enemies know where he is and immediately begins chasing him. David asks some kids to help him escape from the people hunting him and he heads to the stadium based on a mysterious message he received on the rocket before he landed. Only, when he gets there, he can’t tell if the person he’s supposed to meet is friend or foe.

Turns out he’s foe.

Once David has eluded the people who’s chasing him, for the moment, he contacts a Senator that he knows backed the space program that he participated in. He finds out that the chip that the woman handed him back on the Russian space station is a “key” of sorts that will unlock nuclear weapons trained on the US. After the Senator promises to help him get the chip into the right hands, because you can’t trust anyone in the government, they are all corrupt, (sounds familiar), he feels relieved and hopeful that his nightmare journey is over.

Only, the Senator gets killed and he’s back on the run. He turns to a reporter that is a thorn in the US space program’s side and together they form an alliance to try and find a man who basically helped create the space program and who is not only an insider, but a powerful insider.

The whole story was one exciting adventure after another and it was interesting and fun to see David think quick on his feet and MacGyver his way out of situations. It was always clever and somewhat believable but then again, I’m not a bit science fiction reader so it may not have been believable to readers that actually knew what they were reading.

I love these types of stories but there is no way I could write something like this. I’m not imaginative enough to wiggle my character out of a seemingly impossible situation. I don’t have the problem-solving skills to make it not only feasible but plausible. Mayne does a good job of not only helping his character to escape but to make it plausible enough for me NOT to roll my eyes at the creative solution. I envy this type of writing as I think it’s exciting and fun and it’s entertaining to see Mayne torment his characters so much.

Though this was a plot-driven story, Mayne does a good job of hinting at a love interest with the super smart reporter and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series to see if, or how, that relationship develops. But this story is more action and adventure focused so if you’re looking for a fun, fast, exciting read, this is the book for you.

And if you’re a science fiction geek, this book is outta of this world – give it a read.

Bullet Journal

July Bullet Journal Cover

What I wouldn’t give to be on this beach right about now. I wonder if Kevin and I will ever be able to travel again? Because we’re NOT getting the vaccine and if they require a vaccine passport – well, I guess we’ll just stick to traveling the good ole USA.

(Which reminds me – we probably need another trailer update soon).

Makes me sad though. I MISS cruising. I MISS tropical places. Maybe we’ll be able to go back … someday.

July is here – which means time will speed up as soon as the 4th is over and we’ll soon be putting our Christmas trees back up.

I really wish time would slow down. Like – every day is as long as three days. Or something like that. I’m so tired of getting up, working, coming home, sleeping and doing it all over the next day.

You can read about my June here. As far as today – I spent my day completely revamping Dr. S’s clinic schedules for next week. The office is closed on Monday, so Tuesday, I’ll be in clinic with Dr. S, in clinic with Dr. M on Wednesday, Thursday is my catch up and get ready for the following week’s clinics, then another clinic with Dr. S on Friday. Dr. S is on call on Friday so she wanted to go ahead and see a few patients that day since she will likely be hanging out at the hospital anyway.

The day ended with some asshole yelling a voicemail and demanding to call him back – at 4:20 – we close at 4:30 PM.

I didn’t call him back. Screw him. I’m not starting my weekend off being yelled out by some jackass.

I’m also SUPER annoyed with the CEO of our hospital right now. Let me show you why:

Words do not even describe how incredibly annoyed I am with this dude right about now. Shut up?!? Really? Wow. Way to exhibit some stellar leadership skills there, Mr. CEO. So many thoughts … so little time. But let me summarize it for you – just listen to my rants on my podcast and you’ll know exactly how I feel about this sh*t. In fact, we’ll be covering this in this week’s podcast – stay tuned.

*takes a breath*

But I digress. Here are this month’s journal pages.

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with VW Vans. They’re just so cute. And I am DIGGING this picture, ya’ll. What a perfect little beach getaway van. I’m also digging the color combination this month – aqua and orange. Sand and sky.

Did pretty decent on my steps this month. Save for the days I threw my back out and was hobbling around like an old(er) lady. That sucked.

And just look at those cheesy stencils.

Weather, sleep, stickers and stamps. I got fancy this month. *snort* I did not do that great on my sleep this month. I think I slept 10 hours one day this month. Hence, one of the reasons I’m a walking zombie most days. Now you know.

Zero numbers on my writing tracker. Don’t tell me you’re surprised. I’m not. My day job sucks every last creative thought out of my head – I have nothing left when I get home. But I’m going to continue making these trackers because I will eventually get tired of them not being filled out and I will write something.

Just don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

Trackers – meh. They look a bit better this month but not by much. Still digging my mood tracker. I like to summarize my day. The two days of pain – yeah – I really don’t want to repeat those any time soon.

Side note: I bought a yoga mat and I plan on taking up beginning yoga. I need to stretch my muscles. I don’t want to be one of these sad arthritic old(er) people.

And here’s a pic of a VW Van just because this blog is my space and they make me happy.

I wish I was as talented as this bullet journal artist. I just love watching her draw – so impressive.

Peace out, ya’ll.

Reflections

June 2021 Reflections

So, instead of posting little blog blurbs here and there, I thought it would be fun to just blog my thoughts throughout the month and share them with you. Here are my thoughts for this month:

June 1: Covered Dr. S’s clinic today. It was a weird day though we did a pretty good job of staying ahead of the game. We had a surprise patient – someone that is related to someone at work. She started exhibiting signs of not being able to speak or put a thought together so this person got an MRI and it was discovered that she has a brain tumor. A pretty sizeable one, too. We worked that patient in to see Dr. S. and she ended up admitting the patient and will plan on doing surgery soon. It really makes me appreciate life and I’m very thankful that my pathetic problems are nothing when compared to other people’s struggles. I’m gearing up for this month – it’s going to be crazy busy but I have a few days off soon so that will help restore my mental stamina.

June 5: Beautiful Saturday, sunny and upper 70’s today. Kevin went treasure hunting, i.e., thrift stores, yard sales, etc, looking for merchandise for his booths. He says he’s been selling a lot of stuff lately and his stock is running low. I just got back from tanning, (Yes, I tan a few times a week in the summer months, not all year long – judge away), and now I’m getting ready to remotely access our charting system at work and look over Dr. M’s and Dr. S’s schedules for next week. I need to get ahead of the game because I’m taking a few days off in a few weeks and I want to make sure not only are the docs in good shape for the time I’m out but I’m automatically ahead when I go back. I don’t know what it is about short weeks, but this week felt like ten years long. I worked a lot of overtime and I was so tired Wednesday night I felt sick. I haven’t been getting that much deep sleep so I’m a walking zombie today. I’m forcing myself to write this and will be propping my eyelids open with toothpicks in order to get some work done today. Kevin and I will visit Eat, Fit, Go later tonight to buy healthy meals for the next week as we’re both so busy we don’t have the time, nor the desire, to cook anything. I canceled our Hello Fresh subscription because it’s just too expensive to keep it up. I’m getting ready to buy another pair progressive glasses – I just get bored wearing the same ones over and over again. Also, I wish my eyesight was better – I am getting to the point that I can’t see anything without wearing them now – depressing.

Went to an outlying clinic with Dr. S yesterday – it was actually a lot of fun. The town was about an hour away. It’s part of my hospital though so getting connected to the Internet and accessing our programs was a breeze. She saw seven patients which was very manageable. We got back to town about 3:00 PM – just enough time to make a few phone calls and get ready for Dr. M’s clinic on Monday. Taking care of two doctors is challenging, as long as I continue to tread water, we’ll be good.

Actually watched a series on Amazon Prime Video this past week instead of reading. Watched “Panic” – thinking I might do a review of that on my podcast. Are you listening?

June 7: Very productive day. I was working Dr. M’s clinic and calling patient’s for Dr. S’s clinic for tomorrow. I had to calm down a veteran that was scheduled to see Dr. S but we didn’t have an authorization for him to do so and he was quite upset. For those that don’t know, military personnel, whether they are active, retired, or retired/injured in the line of duty, have to have an authorization from the government to see our doctors, any doctors, actually. This is to ensure the government will pay the bill when it comes due. If we see a veteran without an authorization then our doctors don’t get paid. I get why we do this because the government wants to know what they’re paying for, but at the same time, I wish we didn’t have to jump through so many hoops in order to get our veterans taken care of. It’s very frustrating to see Medicaid patients who are approved for everything and LITERALLY pay .50 cent co-pay, (No, I’m NOT exaggerating), when we have to basically pull teeth in order to take care of our veterans – our men/women who sacrificed a chunk of their life in order to serve our county to ensure we continue to keep our lovely freedoms. It irritates the SHIT out of me, but that’s where we are.

Anyway, I stayed until 7:00 PM and got a lot of stuff done because once 4:30 rolls around and people leave and the phones flip over to the night service, it’s BLESSEDLY quiet and I get a ton of stuff done. Even though I’m pretty brain dead, (even more than usual), I THRIVE on this stuff because I have to multi-task and I love doing it and am good at it. It’s a great exercise for my brain.

June 14: Excited about my upcoming six days off. Granted, it’s only four working days, plus the weekend, but STILL! May was brutal and I’m ready to take some time to decompress, clean house, write, do a little painting, walk. Speaking of walking, I’ve been walking around the neighborhood after work. It’s so nice to breathe fresh air and get away from a computer monitor. I feel healthier and certainly more relaxed. I’ve been working late trying to get caught up so that everything is done while I’m gone. I hate for anyone having to pick up my slack when I take time off. Not to mention, I want to have worked far enough ahead that I’m already “caught” up when I return as opposed to scrambling trying to play catch up. Sometimes, taking time off is more trouble than it’s worth because you have to work twice as hard before you leave and after you return. I wish we could afford to go somewhere for my time off, but it’s fine. I’ve got more time coming up the first part of August and the last part of September – we’ll see. One of the MA’s who has been out for medical leave returned to work today. That will take some pressure off the other MA’s. However, I will continue to cover Drs. M. and S. for the foreseeable future. We haven’t been getting any applications and the interviews we’ve had so far have been duds. I would rather hire someone with potential than just get a warm body in there. Not gonna lie though, I’m slowly pulling away from this job. I’m mentally withdrawing. I will continue to give my 100% but I sense a big, black cloud just over the horizon.

June 16: Worked my ass off to “earn” my four days off. And by that I mean, I worked a few weeks ahead and got the clinics ready for whomever is assigned to work them. This does not mean that I will be caught up when I get back. My nurse is planning on taking off the days I return so I’m sure I will have a lot to keep me busy. But it’s such an amazing feeling to leave work and know that you’re starting vacation. I have six days, (four work days, two weekend days) ahead of me and I feel like I can BREATHE for the first time in a while. I asked for these days off because I knew after working a stressful May, and it was, I would need some time off and yep, I was right. I know myself so well. lol I don’t really have any plans at this point in time, but trust me, it doesn’t matter because I’m not at work. That’s all that matters.

June 19: Currently on Staycation – I will have six days off from work – four work days and the weekend. I forgot how much fun Staycations can be. It’s quiet, I’m well rested, and I have the energy to do something fun – like painting. No, I’m not an artist, but boy, I wish I were. I LOVE watching artists work on YouTube, one, because it’s relaxing to watch them, and two, I wish I could be that talented. So when I say I’m painting, I’m filling in a paint-by-number. Yes, I realize it’s kind of cheesy but I don’t care, I’m having fun and that’s all that matters. I want to hang it in my office when it’s done. It’s a street scene in Paris with outdoor cafes and flower shops. I really want to go to Paris someday, who knows if it will happen because there is no way in hell I’m getting a vaccine passport and if they require it, then I guess I’ll have to settle for looking at pictures.

I’m also watching a video about dopamine detox and I have to say, I’m really relating to it. I think more people need to be aware of this and to consciously step back from the dopamine traps, (unhealthy foods, social media, video games, etc) and just be quiet – listen to the sounds around you, take a walk, get some fresh air, allow your mind and body to decompress and recharge. I feel like I’ve been doing this during this Staycation. It’s been nice. More than nice, it’s been amazing. I have another Staycation planned for the end of July. Kevin will be taking LeRoy camping in our homemade cargo trailer that LeRoy has been helping him with, also, it’s LeRoy’s birthday, so I will truly be alone with nothing but what I want to do on the agenda. I’m looking forward to that. I don’t have a problem with being alone – at all. I enjoy my own company.

I’ve also got an inkling of a new writing project. I wrote about it in this post. I plan on working on it during the July Camp NaNoWriMo. We’ll see how far I get. Maybe not very far, but I’m excited to work on it, nevertheless.

I’m also working on trying to get more organized. I have so many projects and things I want to do but then I start the project, get bored, and when I’m ready to come back, I don’t remember where I left off and abandon it. I’m looking hard at the Kanban method and I currently have four different colored post-it notes to signify four projects I want to work on so we’ll see how successful trying that is in organizing me. I’m also going to try a smaller version for my bullet journal, stay tuned for that.

We went to one of our favorite restaurants to eat last night only to see that it was closed with a sign on the door that they were closed “for the foreseeable future.” It was for “the protection of their employees.” So I’m assuming that someone contracted COVID and the whole place freaked out and closed down. *sigh* I’m so tired of people being scared. Live your life – it’s too short to cower in the shadows from a disease that has a high recovery rate and has medications that can help. (If only the government would stop being so tyrannical and “allow” it to be sold an distributed). Plus, we have a “vaccine” so … what the hell? Anyway, seeing the restaurant closed and that sign made me more sad than anything else. Fear is too powerful.

June 22: I am so uncomfortable right now. I don’t know what I did, well, I suspect I know what I did but can’t confirm, but I “threw” my back out and I could hardly walk this morning. If I had had to go to work, I would have called in, that’s how bad it was. It’s better now, but I’m still hobbling around and Kevin pulled his cane out for me which has been SUPER helpful. I have a bad back. I’ve had problems with my back on and off for YEARS. However, I haven’t had “an attack” for YEARS. I remember my last really, really bad attack was back when I was in college and I had to walk from my car, to the English department, to take a test that consisted of nothing but writing my answers. It took a few hours and I remember walking back to my car in tears because it hurt so much to walk. I was so weak, my legs were shaking, my back SCREAMED at me and driving home … gads, it was bad. I was flat on my back for a few days after that attack. In fact, I believe I even went to the ER it was so bad. I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me. I’ve always had back aches but nothing so severe that I had trouble walking. The ER told me they didn’t see anything, that it was muscular and to take Ibuprofen and use heat/ice and give it time.

And that’s what I did. I even went so far as to have Kevin massage my back. He commented how he could feel multiple knots and he rubbed them out pretty hard. Again, it was excruciating and it made my pain 100 times worse. Heat was also not helpful. The only thing I found helpful was ice and ibuprofen.

I slept with ice packs on and off all last night. Then I used a heating pad after my shower today and, yep, it made it worse. I’ve been taking breaks, standing, walking around, with my cane, and laying down to give my back some rest. It feels better right now, but it’s still really sore and I have a muscle spasm at times.

I’m not a good patient. I get very cranky and withdrawn whenever I’m not feeling well and the last thing I want around me are people. Let me suffer in peace, please. I’ll get through it but I need time. Like I said, I don’t really know why my back attack happened but I suspect that it was me sitting on our hard kitchen chair, with no cushion, bent over my paint-by-number for hours. I don’t know what else it could be, I haven’t done anything different.

My manager text me and told me that she needed me to cover to Dr. J’s clinic tomorrow and I flat out told her I wasn’t sure I was physically up to it. I plan on going to work tomorrow but I had planned on sitting most of the day, (with breaks to walk around and stretch), and get a lot of administration work done. I then asked her if I could “clock” on for a few hours to catch up on my messages. (I had 25 messages). She allowed that and I got my messages organized so I can jump right into it tomorrow and I offered to take hospital calls and calls for not only my doctor, Dr. M., but for Dr. S, too. So, hopefully, that’s what I end up doing because I don’t think I’m ready to be on my feet all day rooming patients. Hopefully, I feel better on Thursday because I’m scheduled to cover Dr. S’s clinic that day.

I don’t know if any of you have bad backs out there but it sucks BALLS. This is a lesson to me that I need to remember to do more stretching and NOT sit on really hard surfaces without a cushion, or something. It’s a sucky way to end my staycation but whatever, I’m just thankful I had the day off so I could get a handle on it. It’s back to work tomorrow. I have another staycation scheduled for the end of July, first part of August. I’m sure I’ll need it as I think these next few weeks are going to be super busy as we’re still down two MA’s.

Continue reading “June 2021 Reflections”
TBR

July To-Be-Read Stack

July-TBR

I have a bonus book listed this month: How to Write a Novella in 24 hours by one of my favorite authors right now, Andrew Mayne. 

But let’s be honest – I don’t know if I’ll get to it this month because it’s also July Camp NaNoWriMo. I plan on participating in the writing challenge but don’t hold your breath – if I had a dollar for every time I INTENDED to participate in the camps …

However, reading this book might inspire me to write a novella for Camp. So … we’ll see. In the meantime, it’s summer and I’m loving life. Nothing like placing a cherry on top of your summer with good books. 

What are you reading?

___________________________________________________

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

I have currently read 26 books out of 55.

Moving on, here is my July TBR stack:

  1. Drift (Rachel Hatch Book 1) by L.T. Ryan
  2. The Passenger by Daniel Hurst
  3. Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata
  4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  5. American Assassin: A Thriller (Mitch Rapp Book 1) by Vince Flynn

BONUS: How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours by Andrew Mayne

Happy Reading!

Podcast

31: Will Juneteenth Replace 4th of July? Is that the Goal?

jump
The Delta (Indian) COVID variant is running loose in Missouri. Hospital admissions are on the rise – do we ride it out or hide from it – again? Whistleblowers from inside the CDC claim that 50,000 people have died from the experimental injectable – can we believe that? Who knows what to believe at this stage. Biden claims if you want to take on the federal government you need “F-15’s and Nukes” – pretty sure you just made an argument FOR the 2nd amendment, sir. Also, my back hurts.

Mentioned in podcast:

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https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

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*TALK” to you soon!

Here is our Podcast “Right From Us”

Book Corner

Book Review: Park Avenue Player

Podcast version – listen on the go!

park-avenue-player

It started out like any normal day.

Then the fender bender happened.

The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous. Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.

Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.

Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.

Whoops!

Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.

The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I needed it. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.

So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.

To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece.

At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed.

But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)

We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.

This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?

Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.

Ours was one I didn’t see coming..

fourstars

I had no intention of giving this story anything over three stars. And then the authors threw in a curve ball at the end and I ended up with tears in my eyes. Okay fine, four stars it is.

This review will contain spoilers – so if you haven’t read it and you want to read it – don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.

Elodie is an attractive woman. And she uses her looks to flirt with married men in the hopes of providing evidence that they are cheating on their wives. She’s an investigational decoy employed by a detective agency. She hates it, but it pays the bills.

Her best friend, Bree, shows her an ad for a nanny. Elodie has a degree in child development and her true passion lies with being around children and that’s what she really wants to do with her life. So, taking her life by the short and curlies, she applies for the job.

On her way to the job interview, she gets into a fender bender with a handsome man. They spar back and forth, the police arrive, they file their complaints and they go about their business. Elodie makes it to her interview and is speaking with her female interviewee when lo and behold, who walks into the interview but the guy she had a fender bender with.

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at this “coincidence,” but whatever – it’s a convenient way for the hero and the heroine to meet and start to interact.

Elodie doesn’t get the job as Hollis, the man who hit her, though he swears it’s the other way around, says no way in hell is he hiring her for the job. How can he trust her to take care of his niece if she can’t even drive to the interview without an incident?

Elodie leaves in a huff and stops by the building’s cafeteria to grab a coffee where she meets Hailey, an eleven-year old girl with a sassy mouth. They hit it off, primarily because the girl reminds Elodie of herself at that age. She soon learns that Hailey is Hollis’ niece and now she really wants the job as she wants the opportunity to help steer this girl away from the troubled path she finds herself on.

Since Elodie and Hollis exchanged personal information at the accident, she knows where he lives and not having anything to lose, she goes to his apartment to basically beg him to give her a chance.

Hailey sees her at the door, says she enjoyed talking to her in the cafeteria and talks her Uncle Hollis into giving her the job.

Elodie is a divorcee whose husband cheated on her. Hollis’s childhood friend, then girlfriend, Anna, turned down his marriage proposal and stated she was seeing someone else. Both of them have relationship/abandonment issues and are very cautious around one another though their physical attraction for each other starts to become impossible to ignore.

Hollis takes Elodie home one evening and excuses himself to use the restroom. While in there, he sees Elodie’s thongs draped over the shower rod to dry. (Why does it always have to be thongs? I LOATHE thongs. They are the most uncomfortable form of underwear known to man. I would rather go commando than wear a thong – but whatever). Elodie is mortified that he’s that close to her underwear but whatever, she wasn’t expecting to ever find her boss in her bathroom so he would have to deal with seeing her intimates.

The next morning, as she’s getting ready to catch the train into the city to be with Hailey, she realizes her black thong is missing. She looks everywhere for it and soon realizes that Hollis must have taken it. She gets to his apartment and while Hailey is busy doing something else, she goes into Hollis’ bedroom to see if he had indeed taken her underwear. She finally finds it, under his pillow, and feeling naughty, she exchanges her current thong (*rolls eyes*) with the black one under his pillow.

This back and forth goes on for some time with neither one of them of saying anything but continuing the “game.” Elodie knows Hollis is doing naughty things to her underwear because it smells like his aftershave.

I have to say, this naughty back and forth was entertaining and fun and the authors do a really good job of building the sexual tension. However, I’m starting to get a bit bored with the story as it’s not really progressing and it prompts quite a few eye rolls from me, (literally), because it’s borderline cliche.

Elodie’s friend, Bree, who pointed out the ad to her in the first place, has an incurable lung disease with an impossibly long name. She’s not doing well and Elodie has to sort of halt the attraction she’s feeling for Hollis in order to be there for her friend. Bree also happens to be the stepsister of her Elodie’s ex-husband, which was an interesting twist. Bree calls a family meeting and everyone gets together at a lake house so Bree can basically give everyone her dying wishes.

Hollis, knowing that Elodie is at the lake house with her ex-husband, goes a little crazy because he doesn’t want Elodie’s ex to talk, or trick, her into getting back together, and that prompts him to make a decision, he wants to try and have a relationship with Elodie.

Elodie agrees but both want to proceed slowly( i.e. no sex) because they’ve both been burned and they don’t know how Hailey will take the news that her uncle and her nanny are dating.

Bree takes a turn for the worse and ends up in the hospital. Bree’s family is there and when Elodie and Hollis arrive, Elodie is shocked to witness Hollis’ reaction to Bree. (They had never met before this point because Bree never physically felt up to meeting Hollis).

It’s soon revealed that Bree IS Anna. Bree’s full name is Brianna. This is a complete game changer for Hollis and Elodie and they grapple with their guilt and desire to be together.

This is where I started to get into the story. The story was a bit formulaic at this point and though I wasn’t exactly bored, I wasn’t exactly enjoying the story either – I was simply going through the motions. But when the authors threw that curveball into it, that was enough to push me into the land of caring.

I really appreciated the complicated nuances of the complicated emotions that both Hollis and Elodie went through. They wanted to be together but they felt like they were betraying Bree/Anna. I found their reactions believable and that really pulled me into their stories, I became vested in their lives from that point onward.

As I mentioned, the story was a bit ho-hum up to that hospital scene. I would have liked to have seen more of a relationship struggle between Elodie and Hailey as it was mentioned she was a “troubled” teen but I didn’t really see any evidence of that. In fact, I felt like Hailey was incredibly easy going and that relationship clicked from the very beginning. I get why the authors likely didn’t put much more effort into that aspect of the story as they wanted to focus on Elodie and Hollis, but I feel like that would have helped develop Elodie’s character a bit more.

Hollis is a player but he doesn’t really exhibit any of the player personality, in my opinion. He’s so obsessed with Elodie that he comes off as a bit if a puss and Elodie has way too much power in this dynamic.

I also think it would have been interesting to see more of Hollis and Bree/Anna’s dynamic after the initial surprise of finding her in the hospital. Instead of these interactions happening, the authors chose for Bree/Anna to write them each letters explaining her reasons for leaving Hollis and in essence, giving them both permission to be together. I can understand why the authors chose to write the story that way, but I wish the last part of the book had been expanded on a bit more and a little less “perfect” relationship scenarios highlighted. Those bored me. It was too good to be true for a little too long.

Overall, it was an interesting read. It evoked emotion for me and like I said, I teared up at the end. That hospital scene definitely elevated my rating from three stars to four stars – mainly because it was so left field and took me completely by surprise.

Responding to Goodreads comments:

It started out great. The first half was a page turner with great characters, some amazing chemistry, and a very slow, steamy buildup. It took a looong time for the h and H to finally get together, which did get a little old. But overall i really enjoyed the first half.

The second half on the other hand…..not so great. It almost felt like a completely different book. There was absolutely no heat between the lead characters. None. Nada. Zip. The h and H learn something about their relationship that shocks them (and me, to be honest. Something for which the author should get a few props, I suppose). But after this revelation the H was a bit too moody and cold. And the heat that was building between them for the first half of the book was gone. I no longer cared what happened between them. I just wanted to get it over with. The story became sad and depressing and a bit of a downer to be honest.

The ending was a happy one, but by that point I had completely checked out.

It’s funny, the negative comments on this story all begin with, “it started out great! But then the second half of the story was a downer.” I feel the complete opposite. I feel like the first half was boring as hell and the second half was where it got interesting. I appreciated the twist and the complex emotions that came along with all of that.

But, I will say, I do agree with some of the negative comments – it does seem like Hollis is settling for Elodie as “second best.’ His love for her is really more physical whereas his relationship with Anna was deeper, more fulfilling than with Elodie. It does make me wonder if Anna had lived if Hollis wouldn’t have dumped Elodie and been with her instead. And it does seem like Hollis is a bit “stuck” in the past when it came to his love for Anna. She was the love his life and yet he’s now with Elodie …??

I think it’s important to remember that there are different types of loves in life. I think that was what the authors were trying to tell us in this story. It is possible to love more than one person in life – it all depends on circumstance and timing, really. Who knows if Hollis would have picked Anna over Elodie at that point in his life. He would always have feelings for Anna, but were those feelings out of loyalty and memory, or feelings that he wanted to explore and share into his future?

I wasn’t expecting such complexity with this story and the fact that I ended it with a glimpse of the iceberg under the water was enough for me to give this four stars.

Podcast

30: *Sniff* Is that COVID I Smell On You? Technology That Can Smell Whether You Have COVID or Not

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You smell funny. Is that a new perfume or is it COVID? Group of parents sent their children’s masks in to be analyzed – guess what they found? Canada’s “top doctor” recommends wearing a mask during sexual activity, (I’m not making this up). Biden is dumping illegal-alien youth across the nature and Obama’s White House doctor is recommending Biden take a cognitive test. Thanks for listening!

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