Review of, Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth (5 book series), by Cassidy Salem

Happy Sunday morning! We’re covered in the white stuff again after a major snow fall that kept the kiddos home on Friday. Oh, by the way, if you’re planning on sending any Christmas cards this way, you might want to hold off until I replace our mailbox.

Looks like we forgot to tip the snowplow driver. 😊 He got three of our neighbor’s mailboxes as well.

Thank goodness for the internet, because I can still post reviews, like this one today.

I know that some of you have taken some time off for the Holidays, so for you and everyone here, I wish you all the best for the Holiday Season!

Here’s the story:

Discovering the body of a friend and colleague was not what Adina Donati had in mind when she moved to Washington D.C. in search of excitement. An administrative assistant at a prestigious think tank, Adina is drawn into the middle of the murder investigation. The police don’t seem to be making much progress until Adina stumbles onto important clues and discovers just how dangerous life in the nation’s capitol can be.

I’m Thinking:

This is the first of a series of five murder/mystery books that feature Adina Donati as the main protagonist. It wasn’t fast paced, more of a gentle story flow with the occasional burst of action. I’d categorize it as a semi-cozy fiction. Not really a thing, I know.

But I’m not always about the action and I really enjoyed the plot and the whodunnit style. There was a fun quality about it; the enticement of two possible romance partners and some office drama. Perhaps many who’ve worked in this type of environment might relate. There’s a good chance I’ll read more of this series.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, spearheaded by a workaday protagonist.  

Meet Cassidy and grab a copy:

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals. Over the years, her favorite mystery authors have included Agatha Christie, Kathy Reichs, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham. When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

A member of Sisters-in-Crime, Cassidy is the author of the Adina Donati Mystery Series, which includes Think Murder, Dying for Data, and Killer Reputation. Cassidy co-authors, together with Christa Nardi, a YA mystery series, which includes The Mysterious Package, Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook, The Misplaced Dog, and Malicious Mischief.

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Review of, They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher, by Pete Springer

It’s Monday morning, and as night slowly emerges into day, I’m thinking back to a great weekend. Great because I was able to have an in person visit with some family members for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

As no doubt you’ve “guessed” from the title, I’m starting off the week with a book review. I hope you have a great day!

What’s it about?

Here’s the first paragraph from the book that sums it up nicely:

How did I get here? It seems like an odd question. I’m not just learning about the birds and the bees as I approach age sixty. It is more of a question of reflection as I look back at an incredible thirty-one-year career in education. The staff I worked with are some of the best people I know in the world. The students I taught motivated me to want to be a better teacher and person. I have a lifetime of happy memories to draw on that have inspired me.

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest, when I first picked up this book, I was expecting the pages to be filled with anecdotes. Please don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of these within the pages that complement the overall theme of the book. I’m not sure why I had originally come to this conclusion, when the very title suggests otherwise.

I want to stress that I was NOT disappointed by this realization. Not by a long shot. Pete does an excellent job of sharing wisdom, insight, and common-sense approaches to the struggles and rewards of this noble profession. It was an eye opener for me, and I’ve come to possess a new appreciation for those who work in the education field. It is very apparent that Pete was and remains, very dedicated and passionate about his calling as a teacher.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works, or is thinking about a career, in the education field. As a parent, it was certainly a behind the curtain peek at an often misunderstood and underappreciated profession.  

Meet Pete Springer and grab your copy:

I’m a retired elementary teacher (31 years) who will always be a strong advocate for children, education, and teachers. My favorite thing to do as a teacher was to read to my students, and now I’m following my heart and writing children’s books for middle grades.

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Photos With Captions To Make You Smile And Think

I’m back with another round of photos from daily life. My, things have changed both inside and outside since my last post. Outside, we’ve acquired some white groundcover, love or hate it, winter’s here. Personally, I’ve got mixed feelings about winter; I hate the shorter days, but love skiing and the fact that the cold kills off a lot of nasty bugs. Meanwhile, indoors, it’s looking a lot like Christmas, and much earlier than usual this year.

Let’s get this picture show in the air! Onwards Rudolph, Dasher, Blitzen, Prancer, Crasher, Comet, Vixen, Cupid, Dancer, and Donner! Did you spot the extra reindeer?

“Can’t say for sure, Jeb, but I’m sensing a pattern.”

When you answer, “Sure.” to, “Can I borrow your camera, Dad?”

Not even the pouring rain could snuff their evil glow!

My prayer for you, today.

Ramblings of a pale-fingered, “Green Thumb.”

These days, I’m expanding my horizons and have been working with a local company that designs and maintains some lavish gardens. Being a greenhorn means that my green thumb is a very light shade of whitish. Needless to say, my question to answer ratio is drastically unbalanced, but hey, I’m loving the journey.  

One of my biggest concerns is mistakenly yanking out a prized flower. A challenge made even harder as most plants haven’t flowered yet.

So, to avoid trouble, I’ve done my level-headed best at recognizing and retaining the appearance of different leaves and seedlings. I’m slowly learning the proper names, but for those that I don’t, I have a “highly specialized” classification system.

Here goes:

A Something: No idea what it is. Yes, there’s something sticking out of the dirt, but I am unable to determine whether it is a weed or a flower. I need to go and ask.

A Thing: Hands off! Still have no idea what the heck it is, but this is a no go for a pull. Yes, I was told what it was, but can’t remember the name.  

Not a thing: Grip and pull! It’s either a weed, a nasty intruder, or the owner just wants it gone. I’ve already been given the green light by the experts, but I forget the name.

Yes, okay, now you’ve been given the code, no red pills required if you are captured by the enemy, though I’m not sure who that could be.

Anyways, I thought it might be fun to create a fictional account of how things might go if I was gardening at home and left to my own destruction.

“Doh! What did I just pull out?”

“Dad? Dad! What did you just shove into your pocket?”

“Oh, um, just a few somethings.”

“Oh no! No! No! Those were Mom’s favorites! I can’t believe you did that! Mom! Mo—”

“Shush! Alright it was just a few things, look, they’re not a thing, really.”

“Not a thing? They’re everything! Those were five orchid seedlings!”

“Really? These grassy things? They looked like weeds.”

“Nope! Definitely somethings and more that, they were a thing! Even in your garden speak.”  

“But how was I supposed to know? None of them even had petals yet. Please tell me these weren’t those reddish, yellowish, and black, weird shaped—”

“Lady’s Slipper Orchids. Yes, the seeds she pointed out at the garden store, and said that she couldn’t wait to see bloom.”

“Look, can we make a deal or something?”

“I’m listening.”

“Well, what if we say that this was the work of a vole.”

“A vole? Is that a thing?”

“Sheesh, kid! You want to hear my proposal or not? Yes, a vole is a thing. It tunnels underground, and sucks down plants from their root. Just like spaghetti. A pack of them are called Doozers. Oh, and they love radishes, too, so we need to watch out for that.”

“Google . . . what is a vole?”

“Ah sheesh! Should have known you would’ve brought that thing out here.”

“A vole is a small rodent about the size of a mouse that dwells primarily above ground. Voles sometimes use tunnels created by moles to feed on plant structures underground. Voles—”

“Oh, shut that silly thing off, would you? See? Even Google agrees with me.”

“Okay, I’ll go with it. But you do the talking, and maybe you should leave out the ridiculous reference to Fraggle Rock.”

“Huh? How’d you know about that show?”

“YouTube. You’re aware that there are more things on there, than just tutorials on how to repair car thingies.”

“Touché.”

“What’s going on you two? You look like you’re up to something.”

“Busted.”

“Sucks to be you too. I was gonna’ buy you a thing, but now you’ll get nothing.”