I know these last few months have been rough for all of us and we have all been turning to certain comforts to get us through. I thought I would share some of mine.
📚 Reading: I’ve been trying to read more but I can only handle so much before I need a little break.
🍫🍿🍲 Food: (I think that is the same for pretty much everyone) a few of my comforts have been: chicken noodle soup, pepperoni, bbq chicken or pork chops, Hershey Kisses with Almonds, Apple PopTars or Strudels, Sausage Biscuits, and strawberry mango fruit stripes.
📺 TV/Movies: GSN: America Says and Master Minds; Disney +: Be Our Chef & Secrets of the Zoo; Netflix: Virgin River & Sweet Magnolias; Other: Insane Pools, old Super Market Sweep episodes, & trying to catch up on Gray’s Anatomy. I haven’t had the heart to catch up on Criminal Minds because I don’t want to admit it is over.
😷 Mask Shopping: I have formed an obsession with purchasing mask. But I’m trying to break that.
Another series to enjoy. While this is book four in the Colorado Grooms series, it is the first one I have read. I am looking forward to reading the first three and hopefully anymore that come.
Single mom Addie has a rocky past and is just trying to make a fresh start for her and her son. Little does she know that her fresh start is going to have her crossing paths with the past she is trying to get away from. And having to come to terms with the past in order to truly start over fresh.
This story was such an easy read and I’m finding stories/series like these to be just what I need to help deal with the new normal we are finding ourselves in. This was my first Jill Lynn book and I can’t wait to read more. My series just keep adding up.
Book Description, Purchase Links & Author Bio
HER HIDDEN HOPE (on-sale April 21, 2020): Asking for forgiveness is the hardest part. She once trusted him with her heart…but will she ever trust him with the truth?
With only two weeks to renovate her family’s Colorado B and B, struggling single mom Addie Ricci can’t turn away help. Especially not when it’s her handsome high school sweetheart, Evan Hawke, who’s offering to pitch in. As they repair the B and B, Addie and Evan also begin rebuilding their relationship…until a secret from their past threatens to bring it all crashing down.
About Jill Lynn: Jill Lynn pens stories filled with humor, faith and happily-ever-after. She’s an ACFW Carol Award-winning author and has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. An avid fan of thrift stores, summer and coffee, she lives in Colorado with her husband and two children, who make her laugh on a daily basis. Connect with her at Jill-Lynn.com.
Use coupon code LINSP20 at checkout to save 20% off any Love Inspired or Love Inspired Suspense title.*
Excerpt, HER HIDDEN HOPE by Jill Lynn
Addie was straddling a fence between the
fields of gratefulness and guilt, and she planned to hop down.
Yesterday afternoon, she and Evan had knocked out painting the cabinet bases and doors. It had gone so much faster and better with his help. Then this morning the coun-tertops had been delivered, and Evan had recruited his brother to help with the heavy lifting.
They’d needed him.
After Jace took off, they’d spent the day attaching the countertop to the cabinets, cut- ing it, filing, gluing. Through it all, Addie had been looking for the perfect opening to talk to Evan, to bring up the past.
She felt guilty as all get-out accepting his help without him knowing the truth. And if finding out made Evan take off and decide not to lend any more assistance, she could live with that.
She just couldn’t live with the lie anymore. Even if telling Evan about Eli was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, she had to do it.
“I all done, Mommy. I all done.” Sawyer dropped to the kitchen floor, proficient in dramatics. He’d spent the day playing with Belay and cycling through various activi-ties Addie had suggested for him—dunk-ing in a toddler basketball hoop out on the porch, Play-Doh, stickers, coloring. He had also succumbed to a nap at one point though he’d fought that option valiantly.
Addie had used a baby gate to block off the porch steps, confining Sawyer to either that space or the house throughout the day, and amazingly, that’s where he’d stayed. Likely the props for that should go to Belay, Best Dog Ever and Toddler Whisperer Ex-traordinaire.
“Can you at least move yourself over to the booth by the breakfast nook?” Addie asked Sawyer. Not that that option was much better. It needed work too. But the kitchen floor was a mess. A definite con-struction zone.
He kicked his legs. “I don’t wanna. Don’t wanna, wanna, wanna.” Belay nosed around the lump of crabby boy, licking Sawyer’s knees that poked out of his shorts. Sawyer giggled but still didn’t perk back up. Was he sick? Tired?
Addie knelt and checked his forehead. It was clammy, but in a running-around-all-day-need-a-bath kind of way. Not in a sick way.
Her phone dinged from its perch on the breakfast-nook table, and Addie stepped over Sawyer to check it.
“I got another reservation for Old West- bend weekend!” She yelped, and Evan popped out from under the kitchen sink, which he was reinstalling.
“And they’re staying all week.” She did a happy dance, and Belay joined her, tail wagging, mouth grinning.
Evan laughed that low chuckle that did too many things to her insides before returning to his dark cave.
The reservation was a huge relief. A stress, too, because of what still needed to be done to the B & B, but like Evan had said, it would all work out. Somehow.
This Disney Trip was the most exausting both physicaly and mentaly. I love the kids but, wow! We had so many meltdowns this year. Overall the kids had a great time (I think) and the now five year old did so much better with the characters this year. She also lead the way in meltdowns. It was hot for most of the week so I am sure that is part of it. Again this year my boy was probalby the best (he had his moments too) but he is pretty much a go with the flow kind of kid. He by far is our roller coaster rider and he loved all the ones he rode. One of the things I am glad we got to do was the Pirate League at the Magic Kingdom. All three of the kids enjoyed their pirate makeover and I am so sad it is closing. The people were great and were wonderful with our three “priates to be”. Especially the little one. She is very shy and did not talk much but she so enjoyed getting her nails painted and her hair braided. She thought she was a princess and not a pirate in the making.
It’s funny how sometimes you don’t notice something till you are one of them. For our Disney Trip in March we rented a twelve passanger van so we could all ride in one vechile. I have determined Orlando is the twleve passenger van capital of the world. Driving around a WalMart parking lot almost every third vechile is a tweleve passenger van. I loved that van, I sat in the backseat and it was like my own little world back there. I think we should rent one anytime we take a trip.
We have probably all heard about the “love locks” in Paris and maybe even seen the Hallmark movie. While not based in France but England instead, “love locks” are at the heart of this story. The “love locks” and the bridge(s) they have been placed on, sets the tone for this story of dealing with losses of different kinds.
This is a book I probably would not have chosen on my own but I am so glad I read it. The characters had their quarks but overall I found them quite entertaining. And the story kept me wanting to see what would happened next.
This was a nice book to escape some of the realities of what is going on in the world around us. I know many, including myself, are turning to books to help us get through the day to day.
Phaedra Patrick is the author of The Library of Lost and Found, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which has been published in over twenty countries around the world. She studied art and marketing, and has worked as a stained-glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full-time. She lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.
Fredrik Backman meets The Cactus in THE SECRETS OF LOVE STORY BRIDGE (Park Row Books; April 28, 2020; $25.99 US/$32.50 CAN), in which a cynical single father has a surprise encounter on the famous love lock bridge, sparking a journey of self-discovery that may lead him to a second chance at love.
Single father Mitchell Fisher hates all things romance. He enjoys his job removing padlocks fastened to the famous “love lock” bridges of Upchester city. Only his young daughter, Poppy, knows that behind his disciplined veneer, Mitchell grieves the loss of her mother, Anita.
One fateful day, working on the bridge, Mitchell courageously rescues a woman who falls into the river. He’s surprised to feel a connection to her, but the woman disappears before he learns her name. To Mitchell’s shock, a video of the rescue goes viral, hailing him as “The Hero on the Bridge.” He’s soon notified by the mysterious woman’s sister, Liza, that she has been missing for over a year. However, the only clue to where the woman could have gone is the engraved padlock she left on the bridge.
Mitchell finds himself swept up in Liza’s quest to find her lost sister. Along the way, with help from a sparkling cast of characters, Mitchell’s heart gradually unlocks, and he discovers new beginnings can be found in the unlikeliest places…
The Lilac Envelope
The night before
As he did often, over the past three years, Mitchell Fisher wrote a letter he would never send.
He sat up in bed at midnight and kicked off his sheets. Even though all the internal doors in his apartment were open, the sticky July heat still felt like a shroud clinging to his body. His nine-year-old daughter Poppy thrashed restlessly in her sleep, in the bedroom opposite.
Mitchell turned on his bedside lamp, squintingagainst the yellow light, and took out a pad of Basildon Bond notepaper from underneath his bed. He always used a fountain pen to write—old-fashioned he supposed, but he was a man who valued things that were well-constructed and long-lasting.
Mitchell tapped the pen against his bottom lip. Heknew what he wanted to say, but by the time his words of sorrow and regret travelled from his brain to his fingertips, they were only fragments of what he longed to express.
As he started to write, the sound of the metal nib scratching against paper helped him block out the city street noise that hummed below his apartment.
Another letter from me. Everything here is fine, ticking along. Poppy is doing well. The school holidays start soon and I thought she’d be more excited. It’s probably because you’re not here to enjoy them with us.
I’ve taken two weeks off work to spend with her, and have a full itinerary planned for us—badminton, tennis, library visits, cooking, walking, the park, swimming, museums, cooking, a tour of the city bridges, and more. It will keep us busy. Keep our minds off you.
You’ll be amazed how much she’s grown, must be almost your height by now. I tell her how proud I am of her, but it always means more coming from you.
Mitchell paused, resting his hand against the pad of paper. He had to tell her how he felt.
Every time I look at our daughter, I think of you. I wish I could hold you again, and tell you I’m truly sorry.
He read his words, always dissatisfied with them, never able to convey the magnitude of grief and guilt he felt. After folding the piece of paper once, he sealed it into a crisp, cream envelope, then squeezed it into the almost-full drawer of his nightstand, amongst all the other letters he’d written. His eyes fell upon the slim lilac envelope he kept on top, the one addressed to him from Anita, that he’d not yet been able to bring himself to open.
Taking that envelope out, he held it under his nose and inhaled. There was still a slight scent of her on the paper, he thought, of violet soap. His finger followed the angle of the gummed flap and then stopped. He closed his eyes and willed himself to open the letter, but his fingernails dented crescents into the paper.
Once more, he placed it back into his drawer.
Mitchell lay down and hugged himself, imaginingAnita’s arms were wrapped around him. But, when he closed his eyes, the words from all the letters weigheddown upon him like a bulldozer. As he turned and tried to sleep, he pulled the pillow over his head to force them away.1. A Locked Heart
The lovers who attached their padlocks to the bridges of Upchester might see it as a fun or romantic gesture but, to Mitchell, it was an act of vandalism.
It was the hottest year on record in the city and the morning sun was already beating down on the back of hisneck. His biceps flexed as he methodically opened and squeezed his bolt cutters shut, cutting the padlocks off the cast-iron filigree panels of the old Victorian bridge, one by one.
Since local boyband Word Up filmed the video for their international smash hit “Lock Me Up with Your Love” on this bridge, thousands of people were flocking to the small city in the North West of England. Theybrought and attached locks marked with initials, names, messages, to demonstrate their love for the band and each other, on the city’s five bridges.
Large red and white signs that read no padlocksstudded the pavement. But as far as Mitchell could see, the locks still hung on the railings like bees swarming across frames of honeycomb. The constant reminder of love surrounding him, other people’s, made him feel like he was fighting for breath.
As he cut off the locks, he wanted to yell, ‘Why can’t you just keep your feelings to yourselves?’
After several hours of hard work, Mitchell’s trail of broken locks glinted on the pavement like a metal snake. He stopped for a moment and narrowed his eyes as a young couple strolled toward him. The woman glided in a white floaty dress and tan cowboy boots. The man wore shorts and had the physique of an American football player. With his experience of carrying out maintenance across the city’s public areas, Mitchell instinctively knew they were up to something.
After breaking away from his girlfriend, the manwalked to the side of the bridge while nonchalantly pulling out a large silver padlock from his pocket.
Mitchell tightened his grip on his cutters. He was once so easy and in love with Anita, but rules were rules. ‘Excuse me,’ he called out. ‘You can’t hang that lock.’
The man frowned and crossed his bulging arms. ‘Oh yeah? And who’s going to stop me?’
Mitchell had the sinewy physique of a sprinter. He was angular all over with dark hair and eyes, and a handsome dorsal hump on his nose. ‘I am,’ he said and put his cutters down on the pavement. He held out his hand for the lock. ‘It’s my job to clear the bridges. You could get a fine.’
Anger flashed across the blond man’s face and he batted Mitchell’s hand away, swiping off his work glove. Mitchell watched as it tumbled down into the river below. Sometimes the water flowed prettily, but today it gushed and gurgled, a bruise-grey hue. A young man had drowned here in a strong current last summer.
The man’s girlfriend wrapped her arms around her boyfriend’s waist and tugged him away. ‘Come on. Leave him alone.’ She cast Mitchell an apologetic smile. ‘Sorry, but we’re so in love. It took us two hours and three buses to get here. We’ll be working miles away from each other soon. Please let us do this.’
The man looked into her eyes and softened. ‘Yeah, um, sorry, mate,’ he said sheepishly. ‘The heat got the better of me. All we want to do is fasten our lock.’
Mitchell gestured at the sign again. ‘Just think about what you’re doing, guys,’ he said with a weary sigh. ‘Padlocks are just cheap chunks of metal and they’re weighing down the bridges. Can’t you get a nice ring or tattoo instead? Or write letters to each other? There are better ways to say I lov– Well, you know. . .’
The man and the woman shared an incredulous look.
‘Whatever,’ the man glowered, and he shoved his padlock back into the pocket of his shorts. ‘We’ll go to another bridge instead.’
‘I work on those too . . .’
The couple laughed at him and sauntered away.
Mitchell rubbed his nose. He knew his job wasn’t a glamorous one. It wasn’t the one in architecture he’d studied hard and trained for. However, it meant he could pay the rent on his apartment and buy Poppy hot lunch at school each day. Whatever daily hassle he put up with, he needed the work.
His workmate Barry had watched the incident from the other side of the road. Sweat circled under his arms and his forehead shone like a mirror as he crossed over. ‘The padlocks keep multiplying,’ he groaned.
‘We need to keep on going.’
‘But it’s too damn hot.’ Barry undid a button on his polo shirt, showing off unruly chest curls that matched the ones on his head. ‘It’s a violation of our human rights, and no one can tell if we cut off twenty or two hundred.’
Mitchell held his hand up against the glare of the sun. ‘We can tell, and Russ wants the bridges cleared in time for the city centenary celebrations.’
Barry rolled his eyes. ‘There’s only three weeks to go until then. Our boss should come down here and get his hands dirty, too. At least join me for a pint after work.’
Mitchell’s mouth felt parched, and he suddenly longed for an ice-cold beer. A vision of peeling off his polo-shirt and socks and relaxing in a beer garden appeared like a dreamy mirage in his head.
However, he had to pick Poppy up from the after-school club to take her for a guitar lesson, an additional one to her music class in school. Her headteacher, Miss Heathcliff, was a stickler for the school closing promptly at 5.30pm, and it was a rush to get there on time. He lowered his eyes and said, ‘I’d love to, but I have to dash.’
This Statler Brothers tape/cd was a staple of my childhood. I loved/love listening to it with my dad. My favorite song was The Class of 57. I was sad to learn of the passing of the great Harold Reid. Yet another loss for country music and its fans.
For a few years now anybody that really knows me, knows I’ve been talking about wanting a She Shed. Well that reality might be one step closer. I would love to have a little place of my own where I can read and write and escape reality for a while. If I already had one I would have been out there a lot during these last two months.
My dream She Shed would have a place to read, a little desk to do some writing, maybe a mini Keurig so I can make coffee while I’m in there, and of course a fan. I’m thinking beach colors so it can be my little piece of the OBX in KY.
So I have officially started researching She Sheds. I was actually surprised how many books there are out there. I purchased a few to start and will purchase a few more if I need to.