The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm

The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, #1)

A story of four friends bound by grief and loss. All putting their own lives on hold to care for a parent with cancer.

All four of them dealt with their grief differently and they agreed to allow each other that experience. Some throw themselves into mindless work giving them little time to deal with their grief. And of course, there are the ones who think they know how you should handle it.

This is the point in the story where I felt a connection. Having just lost my own mother a few weeks ago. I learned everyone does grieve not only for the lost parent but also for the life they had that can never be again.

And then it turned into the standard boy meets girl in a fender bender and lo and behold he has recently lost his wife. One falls in love with the oncology nurse. And they all live happily ever after.

I was hoping for more of the healing process and I just don’t think a man is an answer.

Happy Holidays To You All

‘Twas the night before Christmas and we were all happy about that because it brings us one day closer to 2020 being in the past. I for one don’t even want to count it as a year. Like Trump, it deserves an asterisk next to it. *2020 (Shite Year).

These past couple of weeks have been hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to ask my mother a question about a Christmas recipe and then I sob. I am processing the loss of Momma and it’s hard. A tip: Clean your stuff out before your children have to go through it. Good Lord!

This week in the mail I received a lot of photos of my parents and all of the photos I had sent them over the years. Plus my first attempt at cross-stitch when I stitched their wedding announcement and had it framed. I cried and put them all on the dresser. At which point OU Boy said, ” Well I guess we aren’t having sex in here ever again.” Which was funny but in the night the largest one fell over!

I have baked so much bread and bars and cookies and cupcakes and cake cakes this week in an effort to distract myself. The company Christmas Party was the grateful recipient of all that sugar. In a few hours we will be on our way to a secret getaway. I have no idea. It’s my surprise. Please don’t let it be camping.

OU Boy’s grandmother who has Alzheimer’s now has Covid. She is in a facility for Alzheimer patients. Numbers keep climbing and yet our Governor doesn’t believe in vaccines or wearing a mask and just made a new commercial inviting people to come visit. Don’t. Not worth dying for. We have had several people die at the hotel after being discharged from hospital.

Stay safe. Don’t put yourself in danger of catching anything. I wish you a peaceful and healthy holiday.

xx P

A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany

A Curious Incident (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #6)

It’s up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany’s sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies.

There is always something exciting going on at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, as well as at the tearoom next door.

Gemma is always busy. She is also well known for poking about in things that don’t concern her. And putting herself in danger. When she finds little Lauren Tierney perched on the stool in the shop, she has no idea that things are about to get even more hectic.

As Gemma tries to explain to Lauren that she is not an actual detective, Lauren begs her to please help her find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma may not know much about sniffing out cats, but her dog Violet does! When Violet drags Gemma into the back of a garden, they find the cat shut into the shed. By accident?

With Snowball back in Lauren’s arms, Gemma is able to give herself a quick pat on the back for that quick find. But when a few days later Lauren is back looking to hire her again, Gemma doesn’t know what to say. Since Lauren would like to hire her to clear her own mother of murder charges.

This is one of my favorite series. A bookshop and a teashop right next to each other? Yes, please! While Gemma tries hard to stay out of trouble, she seems to be a magnet for it. Do people seriously murder their competition in a garden club? I’m sure they do. Remember the cheerleader mom? These are some seriously good characters. I was even suspicious of the old people.

Another excellent addition to the series!

NetGalley/ January 12th, 2021 Crooked Lane Books


The Wife Upstairs

Jane is new to Alabama, running from a past she won’t discuss.

Sharing an apartment with a creepy guy and walking dogs in the ritzy neighborhood of Thornfield Estates. Your typical Macmansion homes with bored, gossipy, nosy housewives with way too much time on their hands to notice if a shiny thing or two goes missing.

Jane both looks down on them and wants to be them. The curse of the have nots.

There is a sadness in the little cul de sac, however. Two of the women have recently disappeared and are presumed drowned. Having been best friends for life they go out for a night boat ride and never return.

When Jane meets Eddie Rochester, whose wife Bea was one of the women who presumably drowned, she is in love. Here is a man who could give her everything she wants. And when he asks her to move in, odd things start happening. Thumps from upstairs. Feeling as if she is not alone and is being spied on she digs into Bea’s past and her friendship with her bestie.

What she finds will shock her and may just kill her!

A story with a wife in the attic?? You may think you know what and why, but I can assure you it is much worse!

Delightfully evil!

NetGalley/ January 5th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

And Just Like That..You’re an Orphan

I’m assuming that is what we are now. Four sisters with no parents.

My mother passed away Saturday morning. She was not alone which I am grateful for, but it also says a lot about North Dakota’s lax Covid response.

This was nothing like when my father died. That left me gutted on the floor for a solid year. I thought I was logically prepared for Momma to leave. We had said our good-byes over the phone. In the end she did what she always does. Exactly what she wanted. To be left alone to die.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around that fact. Today we wrote her obituary. There is a fine line between an obituary and a 5 page pamphlet. We decided to stick to the facts. She died. She left family. We debated on adding more, we used our mother’s sisters obituary and it said things like “She loved gardens and her grandchildren.” V: “Are we supposed to say she loved her wine?” In the end it was just the facts.

I am still conflicted. Trying to forgive someone who never asked for forgiveness. But the logical part of me says, let it go. Then you walk into the market and they are playing Christmas music and on comes The Christmas Shoes song and suddenly you’re a puddle in the coffee aisle. I expect more of that. Last night we roasted chestnuts and without thinking I sent her a picture.

Some advice to anyone living. Go through your stuff sooner rather than later and make sure your children know what to do. We found out so much stuff I just didn’t want to hear anymore. Who was this woman? She didn’t even have a birth certificate. They were all born at home and she was listed as stillborn. If I don’t know who my mother was do I even know who I am?

She was cremated and wants to go home to be buried. I asked my sister how is she getting there with the Covid and all? S: “Pony Express?” She’ll get there when she gets there.

So we are pretty much finished now. There is a lot that goes into closing out a person’s life. Questions are asked. Mine was ” What about her Christmas package? What do I do with that stuff?” I personally am keeping everything except the Lily Pulitzer sweater and if you are an XXS, it could be yours.

I appreciate y’all letting me ramble on. I don’t know what comes next, but I’m ready.

xx P

December is getting off on the wrong foot!

It’s been a bit. Things are crazy here. It’s been summer until Monday and then we had rain and cold and now it’s settled on an even temperature with sunshine.

Oklahoma is no where near following CDC guidelines. Our governor called for a day of prayer and fasting in groups in churches instead of a mask mandate so now our numbers are through the roof.

My mother is in hospital in North Dakota and I am strongly questioning their abilities. Pretty much anyone can come in and they didn’t even test her for Covid. Now she weighs 60 pounds, has multiple blood clots in her legs, lungs, and a shaky brain bleed. Yesterday the doctor said she is in multiple organ failure and has fluid in her lungs and pneumonia. So this morning they took her to have a procedure to put something in her body to keep the clots from entering her heart.

Makes no sense to me to do this to an 85 year old woman who just wants to die with out all of this mess. The palliative care nurse came in and said she was clear in the head, which she is most definitely not as she has been taking Oxycontin, Fentanyl patches and more. Who in their right mind prescribes those to an woman of her age living alone??? And why? There was absolutely nothing wrong with her but a bruised rib from 5 years ago.

It’s a frustrating situation made worse by the fact that I can not go there. So that is where I am. Even talking on the phone to the nurse was frustrating. But hopefully today we will know something.

I am very conflicted about the entire thing. How is one supposed to feel when the person who has physically abused her daughters until we left home and then just used emotional and verbal abuse? As for me, when they told me she was dying, I couldn’t even cry. I just felt hope. That soon I’ll be free. Heck, my sister MJ, just got on a plane and went to Curacao. She is not conflicted. She is fed up.

I hope no one is thinking I want her dead. I don’t. I just want her to go away and let us be calm for a few years.

Anyone else have this conflict?

Let me know, I’m stuck at home still so give me your best advice.

xx P


Absence of Alice (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #9)

A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #9

Set in Ellington, Massachusetts, this ninth book in the series is in my opinion the best one yet.

Who would have thought that a cozy mystery based on garage sales would have so much intrigue and danger?

Sarah Winston is our MC and she is a garage sale organizer. She is really good at her job and her business is going well. But now a new competitor is in town and seems to be sabotaging Sarah’s work and reputation.

Busy pricing and organizing a sale for Alice Krandle, a crotchety old lady who has a soft center while at the same time planning her own anniversary sale in the town common.

But all of that has to take a backseat when her friend, Stella, is kidnapped from her apartment. Sarah begins receiving phone calls from a creepy man/woman telling her she can’t go to the police or her boyfriend, Seth, or even Mike, upstairs whose family is in a mob type business, but he is also her friend.

This was like a scavenger hunt, with the crazy person having her run all over town doing things and putting herself in danger. She does secretly call in reinforcements, including Harriet, her friend and former FBI agent.

I think I was suspicious of everyone in her circle except for the old mean man. He was just an old mean man to me. But at one time I was sure it was Seth. Was it? You will have to find out!

Sarah is such a good character. I can’t wait to see what trouble she gets up to next.

NetGalley/December 29th, 2020 Kensington Books