Sunday Book Review – Lily by Stevie Turner #Shortstory

Welcome back to my Sunday Book Reviews. Today’s review is for Stevie Turner’s latest novella – Lily, a family saga and women’s coming of age story. Turner knows how to touch our hearts in this one where I was addictively drawn into to Lily’s life.





Lily is 92 and failing in health. Her family told her she was going on a little holiday, and although she finds herself still on her beloved Isle of Wight, to her horror she is now living permanently in a residential home at the mercy of Bridie, the ‘horrible’ one.

To make what is left of her life happier she thinks about years gone by, and once again wonders about the strange disappearance of her 14 year old sister Violet in 1897. Her depression lifts when another new resident manages to shed some light on the 76 year old mystery……


My 5 Star Review:

A heartfelt family saga focusing on Lily – now a 93 year old resident in a nursing home, recanting her earlier life starting back in the late 1800s, growing up with her 2 sisters -one who was mysteriously taken away from home as a young teen with a ‘dreaded sickness’ – never to return.

Lily shares her history in thought and her memories of growing up and marrying her beloved Artie and the children they raised together. Now, in 1973, Lily has suffered a stroke and is now living in assisted living, unable to speak from the stroke, in a wheelchair, but her memory is sharp as a tack.

Lily gets a new roommate and the secrets of the past come to make sense as the mystery of what happened to her missing sister is revealed. The characters in this story are so beautifully fleshed out, and Lily stole my heart as I eagerly turned each page. A thoroughly engaging story all the way through a most satisfying ending, I read it straight through in one sitting, #Recommended reading!


Book Reviews: Life’s Rich Tapestry – Sally Cronin, Conflicted Hearts – D.G. Kaye | The Showers of Blessings

While I’m busy catching up on my writing and life in general (while still under self-imposed quarantine after my return last week from Mexico), I’m thrilled to share this lovely post that Miriam Hurdle put up on a double-header book review post for both my book, Conflicted Hearts and Sally Cronin’s, Life’s Rich Tapestry. Thank you Miriam for this lovely review and for featuring Sally and myself together once again!



Welcome to my book reviews.

Sally Tapestry

My Review

I have followed Sally Cronin’s blog for some time and always enjoy reading her writing of short stories, articles on health and well-being and various subjects.

I read this book, Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words, with great expectation. By the subtitle, I knew it includes poetry, fiction and short stories.  The book includes the four seasons, all things human, fairy tales, the nature, the pets and short stories.

In the Seasons of the Year – The scenes of the seasons passed in front of my eyes. I could see the colors of the seasons and smell the fragrance, feel the breeze of warm and cold air, hearing the joyful sounds in the family gatherings.

In All Things Human, rich words flowed from Cronin’s true experience or imagination, ranged from youth to old age, joy and sadness, human interactions and self-reflections.

From Cronin’s blog, I know that the author is a pet lover. There are stories covering the puppy’s unconditional love of the owner, the owner’s lessons learned from the pets, and stories about playful dogs and cats.

Among the short stories, I felt in love with the story You Are Never Too Old to Be Loved, which is about a beautiful old dog, Jack, whose owner, Mrs. Jones, died. The day before Christmas, a man greeted him. This man recognized Jack from his teen years and took him home and gave him a love and care.

The 99-word micro fiction and the Speculative fiction are enchanting. I especially love The ‘1812 Overture’ which was the music the author enjoyed and embedded this piece of music into the fictional story.

I write poetry, fiction and short stories and feel at home reading Cronin’s book and understand the rhymes and lines and syllable count of her poetry. The enthusiastic nature of the author brings positive resolutions to her stories. This book includes a wide variety of genres that all readers will find something interesting to read. I highly recommend this book to any reader.

Amazon and Goodread Rating 



Conflicted Heart

The Second Review is Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt by D.G. Kaye


My Review

In her book Conflicted Hearts, Kaye recounted her vivid memories of her painful experience growing up with a narcissist mother whose interest was partying, smoking, gambling and getting male’s attention to herself. Her mother threw out her father frequently and had male companions in the house with the children’s presence. Kaye’s father returned home long enough to make babies but had no guarantee to stay. She felt sad for her father. She couldn’t concentrate at school. Instead, she expected the disappearance of her father or anger from her mother. She did not receive the nurturing needed for a happy childhood. Instead of being a child, she felt responsible and be the parent to her father. Later, she found out that the paternal grandparents didn’t like her because her mother was pregnant with her and caused her parents’ marriage. She felt it was her fault, and that she was the reason for her father to marry her mother. She considered herself as the black sheep, the accident. If her father married someone else, he would have been happier. Her mother was never home and had babysitter watching the four children until Kaye was twelve and became a babysitter.

Aunty Sherry was the only adult to show her guidance, concern and attention. Sherry got married in her forties and didn’t have children.

Kaye moved to an apartment at age eighteen. She went to university part-time studying classical music and singing, but never made it. She then supported herself by working in the Casinos dealing cards. During those years, Kaye had relationships with married men. Eventually she married a loving, thoughtful husband. Eventually she got married to a love and caring husband.

As a mother and a grandmother, I couldn’t imagine such a person as Kaye’s self-centered mother. I felt horrified when Kaye’s baby brother wandered off a mile away while the mother was asleep late in the morning recovering from the late-night party. Children are the ones who suffer the most in a dysfunctional home. Kaye’s parents had problems with their marriage, yet four babies were brought into the world. I feel that Kaye’s mother had sex for pleasure and didn’t understand the consequence. Kaye should never feel responsible for causing the parents to get married. Regardless, Kaye became a sensitive person and led a happy life.

Amazon and Goodread Rating


Please visit Miriam’s blog for the original post. ♥



Source: Book Reviews: Life’s Rich Tapestry – Sally Cronin, Conflicted Hearts – D.G. Kaye | The Showers of Blessings

Author Chat Q and A with D.G. Kaye Featuring Jacquie Bigger Romance Writer

Welcome back to my first Author Chat interview for 2020. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring Romance Author, Jacquie Biggar here today with her latest book –  NEW RELEASE – Sunset Beach, Book 2 in the Blue Haven series. Jacquie has quite a collection of hot sellers on her shelves so I’m excited to have her over today and introduce you to her and her work.


Author Jacquie Biggar


About the Author:

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!


In her own words:

“My name is Jacquie Biggar. When I’m not acting like a total klutz, I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a butler to my calico cat.
My guilty pleasures are reality TV shows like Amazing Race and The Voice. I can be found every Monday night in my armchair plastered to the television laughing at Blake and Adam’s shenanigans.
I love to hang at the beach with DH (darling hubby) taking pictures or reading romance
novels (what else?).
I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession, enjoy gardening, everything pink and talking to my friends.”


Sunset Beach New Release

Available Now on Amazon!



An explosive secret threatens the peace and tranquility of Sweetheart Cove.

Single father Trace Michaels has his hands full coping with a rebellious teenage daughter, troublesome ex-wife, and campaigning for the mayor’s election. He doesn’t have time to get distracted by an old flame from his past– one he’s never forgotten.

When an unknown source leaks surprising news that could damage his career, Trace turns to the one person he trusts for the truth.

Single mother Mona Samuels knows how difficult it can be to raise a daughter. She
empathizes with Trace, but when he comes to her for advice, she’s conflicted. They say the truth will set you free but unburying the past could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build.



Debby, thank you for inviting me to your lovely blog! Your questions were interesting and made me think, lol.

Thrilled to have you over Jacquie. Happy to share a bit about you and your writing here today, and of course your newest release! So let’s get down to it!


Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?

I use my husband’s traits more than my own. He has a wicked sense of humor and can always pull me out of a bad mood with just a few words or one of his songs (he likes to make up lyrics from famous songs- it’s a hoot!).
As for personal experiences, I’ve written about type 1 Diabetes (my grandson was diagnosed with at age seven), Dementia (my grandma had this for five years before she passed away), and cooking (I owned a restaurant for many years).
I think personal experiences enrich our writing because we know what the characters are going through and can build empathy with our audiences.

D.G. – I have to believe that all writers take from their own experiences and work them into stories. It’s always fun learning about the conception of our stories.


What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?

DH and I both love gardening. We are full-time RVers, so our yard is postage stamp sized, but that doesn’t stop us from filling it with a range of plants from apples to cherry, apricot, Asian pear, plum, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, fig and nectarine, along with my roses, hydrangeas, wisteria, trumpet vines, herbs and more! And they’re all grown in planter pots as we’re not allowed to dig into the soil in the park where we stay.

D.G. – Okay, that is just amazing!


What are your writing goals for this year?

I’m trying to publish a book every month or other month to see if it helps build up my
readership. I have several series going and I would like to see them done, or in the case of Wounded Hearts (7 books so far) added to before I lose the fans who love that series.
It’s a tough balance to keep up with one series when you have so many other ideas and commitments to fulfill. My ultimate goal for the year is to create at least two more box sets of my own books and get them listed in Kindle Unlimited. It’s surprising how many readers prefer to read box sets.

D.G. – Wow you are such a powerhouse Jacquie. I commend you on the way you discipline yourself and the way you can churn out your books!


What’s the worst part of publishing for you and why?

The hardest part of publishing is definitely getting reviews. I don’t mind marketing; I usually sign up for a book tour, do some newsletter crossovers, use paid ads, and of course, post regularly on Facebook groups. But asking for reviews feels a lot like begging and I hate that.
I’ve slowly built up a review crew through my newsletter of almost four hundred people, but even then, as you can see by my reviews, a lot of them either read the book and don’t post their review, or they don’t ask for the book in the first place.
I’m much happier gaining organic reviews, though it’s a sloooow process!

D.G. – I hear you girl! Reviews are truly an author’s gold, sadly, many readers don’t get that.


Do you have a difficult time choosing titles for your books? How do you choose your titles?

Interesting question. My titles come to me in different ways. Sometimes, like Tidal Falls, it’s the setting of the book, and other times, like The Sheriff Meets His Match, it’s the theme of the story. If none of those work, I turn to song titles. You can’t use lyrics as they are copyrighted, but titles fall under public domain and can be inspirational to your story.

My upcoming release, Sunset Beach, falls under the first category. It takes place on the small island of Blue Haven in the Pacific Northwest and uses my personal experience as a restaurant owner as one of the main settings in the story.

D.G. – Sounds fabulous! Funny how a certain place or time can spur a whole book. Thanks so much for sharing some of your creativity with us today.


Jacquie is tempting us now with an excerpt from her hot new release!




His eyes, those gorgeous blue orbs she’d dreamed of, stared at her with such a deep intensity butterflies took flight in her tummy. She hadn’t been this close to Trace in years. Her vision blurred, caught in a time warp between past and present. He smelled the same, an intoxicating mix of pine and sun and ocean breezes. She remembered the night she’d given him her virginity, the night she fell in love.

“Do you ever go back to Sunset Beach,” she asked, half afraid of what his answer might be. If he’d ever taken…

“No,” he answered, his voice rumbling over her emotions the way his feet had done to her heart. “Do you?”

Her laugh lacked humor. “Back to my biggest mistake? Not likely.” She was being
deliberately cruel but couldn’t help it. He’d ruined her for anyone else that summer—it wasn’t fair.

He tipped her chin up, his thumb close to her bottom lip, causing those butterflies to beat themselves against the walls of her chest. “I still remember everything about that night. You wore a pretty white dress and your hair was done up in a ponytail. I wanted to wrap my hand in it and kiss you senseless.”

“I think you did.” She smiled, caught up in the memories he wove like a master tailor. “I
knew what you were up to with that blanket and picnic hamper, but I didn’t care. The great Trace Michaels wanted me—I could barely believe it was happening.”

He brushed his thumb over her lip, igniting the embers of a long-ago fire. “We were good together, Mona. I’m sorrier than you can ever know that I screwed it up.”

She yanked free, angry and embarrassed at her weakness. “Screwed Sally, you mean? You were a free agent, it didn’t matter.” Or so she’d spent the next ten years trying to convince herself. “It’s all water under the bridge now anyway. I’d sooner stick to the subject at hand. What are you going to do about the spa?”

His dark brows drew together, and he opened his mouth as though he had something to say, before letting it snap shut. Instead, he leaned back, crossed his leg over his knee, and took a sip of his coffee before eyeing her over the rim of the cup. “I think I’ll leave the politics for the debate table. After all, you’ve known for some time who your opponent would be, I need time to study mine.” He tipped his cup at her and winked.


Follow Jacquie on Social Media: 

Amazon | Website | Facebook | Newsletter
 Twitter | Pinterest | GoodReads | Bookbub

#BookReview- Twenty Years After “I Do” by D.G. Kaye #Memoir @pokercubster – Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

A new review came in for my book Twenty Years: After “I Do“, from author Jacquie Biggar. I was elated to come across this review while on vacation, and I enjoyed the style Jacquie has written the review in – written just like a romance writer would! My thanks to Jacquie for reading and reviewing. And stay tuned, as tomorrow, Jacquie will be my first Q and A guest for 2020!






Honest. Heartfelt. Compelling. D.G. Kaye’s memorable memoir is a must-read!


Falling in love wasn’t in her plans. Falling in love with an older man changed her life.

What happens when you meet your other half in the twilight of his life? The author walks us through the thrill of falling in love, the reality of living with health issues, and the responsibility of becoming your husband’s caregiver.

Love is the bond that transcends and it’s proven with this couple as they travel life’s joys and obstacles with grace and laughter.

Over the last few years, I’ve become my mom’s caregiver and could relate to many of the issues broached in this book. Doctor and specialist appointments, nagging over proper nutrition requirements, cleaning and laundry for two homes, wheelchair operations, and over it all, the fear that you aren’t doing enough to keep them with you for a few more years.

I won’t lie- it scares me every day.

Thank you to the author for her honesty. It helps to know we aren’t alone, whatever our individual situations.

I give Twenty Years After “I Do” 5 lovely kisses- An Inspirational Read!


For full post, please visit Jacquie’s blog.


Source: #BookReview- Twenty Years After “I Do” by D.G. Kaye #Memoir @pokercubster – Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

From the Land of ‘Corona’ to the #Coronavirus

As many of you know from my earlier post, I’m back from my winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It seems we got home (last Thursday) just in time before all the craziness came down at Toronto airport. As I kept a close eye on international news while I was away, I found it almost incredible that while the world was going through growing numbers of the Corona virus, cruise ships were still coming into port. The condo we rented was right on the beach only minutes away from where the ships docked so we could see ships coming in and leaving. I also checked virus statistics in Mexico, and while there were only 4 cases reported far away in distant Mexican states, I felt there was no reason to panic.


In recent visits, we usually saw about 2 ships a day, sometimes 3 and 4 on average approximately 4-5 days a week, coming into port. This recent trip we didn’t see a ship come in all week for about 2 weeks, then we saw 1 or 2 a day come in 2-3 times a week. Yes, the Grand Princess did make a stop in our port, but after that it seemed that most international cruise liners had diminished and mostly US sailings from the coast off California were still coming in. We’d also watched a couple of ships turn around and leave before docking.

As the last few days of our trip drew near to the end of our trip, I began to feel the urgency to get home, especially as my husband wasn’t well with other underlying issues. I’d kept track of what was happening in my own city, Toronto, daily, and was disturbed by my gut feelings that this was fast going to become a global pandemic.

There seemed to be no warnings or closures in Puerto Vallarta while there, and anyone I spoke with about the ongoing concern didn’t seem overly concerned, but I was getting a bit suspicious how this virus was spreading globally and Mexico had such low numbers – a false sense of relief.

We flew home without a hitch, landed in Toronto airport, saw only a few airport employees wearing masks, zipped through customs without even a question asking if we weren’t feeling well. We wore masks home and took it upon ourselves to self-quarantine for 14 days as precaution – as what should have already been mandated at the airport. And as it turns out, Day 5 of our quarantine (yesterday) I became ill. I developed a fever, chills and aching bones. Then last night in bed my fever broke and my bedsheets were soaked in sweat. I think that was good news, but still, I’m not feeling up to par. Did I contract the Corona virus or was this a seasonal flu? The question remains.

Getting tested is not simple here, just as it’s not simple anywhere. There are not enough facilities globally to test for the virus, or the equipment and manpower to facilitate everyone getting tested. We are told to NOT just come to the hospital if we are sick. We must first call Health Canada’s, Telehealth to talk to a nurse first before venturing to the hospital, and that involves potentially an 8 hour wait on hold. Many hospitals in Toronto have opened up makeshift areas within hospitals with separate entrances specifically for suspect Corona virus testing and patients, and warned to DO NOT enter the emergency department.

It’s quite evident the world was not prepared for this pandemic with limited test kits, respirators, protective gear, and hospital beds. And I believe that ‘selective’ testing isn’t enough to help with containing the spread of this virus, just as the numbers of those contracting it around the world are quite lowball with the numbers reported against the millions more who haven’t been tested. Thus, it seems self-quarantine and social distancing is the best measure at this time globally for anyone traveling home from anywhere, anyone who has knowingly been somewhere where someone who has tested positive, and regardless of either, seniors especially, need to heed this advice to stay home. And as it’s looking now, almost globally, many have taken it upon themselves to stay home.


stay home



The scariest part of this virus are the elements we don’t know yet:

How long is someone contagious for?

If someone caught it, does that make them immune, or can they catch it again?

If some are asymptomatic or carriers, does this make them contagious indefinitely?

Do we have to worry about food and necessity shortages in days or weeks to come as businesses close down in lockdown?

Those are just some of the questions that people are concerned about. This is not a seasonal flu. This is a virus that will live among us until a vaccine is found and made available to the public. And until the medical world gets a good grasp on handling this pandemic with proper government aid, many sick people are going to be affected by this pandemic, many with no relation to the Corona symptoms will also suffer.

Here in Toronto, all elective surgeries, appointments for CT, MRI, Ultrasounds scans have been cancelled. I have this on good authority since my husband’s Gastro-enterologist just called to cancel the procedure my husband has been awaiting to have and had already been rescheduled for after a 2 week wait period till after our return home for the 14 day quarantine for those returning from abroad before coming to a hospital. Now I’m more fearful for my husband, and I was told there is no date yet for rescheduling, which will no doubt create a heavy backlog for wait times. I argued that his procedure is not ‘elective’ it is necessary as my husband has an ongoing condition that when it acts up (as it is now), he could literally bleed to death.

My husband’s condition along with so many people around the world waiting for dire tests, have all been put on hold as this deadly virus takes precedence. This virus is a certainty that many more will die because of denied medical services in these trying times. Our only options are to wait for the worst to happen so we can go to emergency and then be booked in from there. This seems to be the new world order for now.

In the meantime, I think that Mexico has been downplaying the spread of the virus because that country is so dependent on tourism to thrive. Since our return, more reported cases are popping up in Mexico, yet their government gives the impression they may want to keep it under ‘hush hush’ for now. This will prove to become very dangerous as time goes by, no doubts.

The world is certainly in a tailspin and a halt, all at the same time. For now, the only way to try and dodge contracting the Corona virus is to keep distance from others, stay home, and wash hands frequently. In the meantime, this is a good time to remind people to be kind to one another, help somebody out when we can, pick up groceries for some you know who shouldn’t be going out because of vulnerability, keep check on loved ones, and stay informed.

If you aren’t sure about the difference of symptoms between the seasonal flu and the Corona virus, check out this list of symptoms, as a common guide to go by.

Stay safe!




I’m back! Stormy Travel Day to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


Well, I’m back after a fun-filled sunshine getaway. What a fabulous trip – despite the dreaded ‘travel day (s)’. Travel day is always a ‘thing’ with me – a victim of circumstance it seems.


Climate change has been wreaking havoc on so many parts of the world, and here in Toronto, Canada, where the brunt of winter usually hits in January and the even worse in February, we’d had a relatively  mild winter with temps hanging around at 35-40 degrees Farenheit, and save for the odd blizzard that lasted a day then melted, winter wasn’t as brutal. But winter did finally decide to hit approximately 10 minutes before the limo picked us up for the airport at 3am.

All week the news had warnings that freezing rain and blizzard would hit by midnight – the wee hours of the morning I was to leave. I laughed it off, knowing, the weather people are the only ones who could be wrong, yet still have a job. After all, predicting all this messy precipitation one week ahead hitting at a particular time, I waved it off, I did a little praying that it wouldn’t start till later in the day, but as I zipped up the suitcases and got ready to go to the lobby, I peeked out the window and watched the whiteness swirl around in a frenzy. Within 10 short minutes, the ground had accumulated a lot of the white stuff and the winds howled.

I’ve gotten in the habit of wearing a long-sleeved shirt over a tank top and a hoodie for warmth – somewhat – when traveling. Just a quick few minutes till I’d be in the limo and then the airport, where I’d dash for a cart and the limo driver would help me load the luggage on before scooting to check-in. Well, those few moments it took to load luggage on cart and dash for the doors was some kind of cold! I thought I’d freeze to death in those short few moments. I was also glad we left at such an ungodly time of day (without sleeping) because the roads and highways were a skating rink at 3am. Thankfully, the salt/sand trucks were prepared and were already dropping the grains on the highway ahead of us to prepare for the onslaught of morning traffic, which no doubt, would have been a chaotic one.

We flew with a different Canadian airline this time after last year’s fiasco of being dropped off on the tarmac in Puerto Vallarta. But, that didn’t seem to matter. I quickly learned that flights that were delayed leaving Toronto LOST THEIR PARKING SPOTS.

It was the first time in a long time I’d flown on a plane that resembled the old jumbo jets I remembered from yesteryear. The plane was full with almost 360 passengers. We’d taken our precautions before boarding the plane, spraying our Colloidal Silver down our throats, and sniffing up our nostrils to prepare for germ attack, besides having our masks. Our plane was over an hour delayed as the runway was a nightmare and we had to wait our turn to get de-iced before taking off. I kept watching the blizzard out the small plane windows, saying under my breath, let’s go, let’s go before it gets so bad we can’t. Alas, we took off, we were on our way to sunny Mexico, despite the mostly turbulent rocky ride almost all the way there. The storm had come from the US midwest, so much of the ride was through turbulent weather until exiting American skies into sunny Mexico territory.


Plane de icing
De-icing process in view






Yay, we landed hard, but safely. We were the first row in first class. My husband always has wheelchair assistance to and from the plane due to the very long walks to and from the gates. Usual protocol, first class gets off first, wheelchair and assistance waits at the exit doors for those in need. But not this time. This plane had two exits, and the back end started unloading at same time as first class door – only the bitchy stewardess wouldn’t let us off right away. She told us that wheelchair passengers had to wait for the plane to unload because they would hold up the people traffic. WTF? Not only that, we were on the bloody tarmac. Again!

As we are usually one of the first off, the minutes were getting long. Fifteen minutes had gone by and half the plane were taking their sweet time as the plane was getting mighty warm. I’d had enough by that point, filled with claustrophobic anxiety, I pushed past the stewardess to have a look-see at the progress of de-planing, standing at the exit doors. I decided I wasn’t waiting anymore and went back for my hub and all our carry-on crap and told him we’re going.

I barged through with all the bags while hub was on a cane and began the scary attempt at exiting down the steep, long stairway to the tarmac. I called down to one of the assistants with the wheelchair to come up the stairs and walk my husband down while I carried the load of bags, and we got on to the mini transfer bus that took us into the gates. This de-planing business is the worst part of the flight for me. I never slept on the plane and was now on no sleep for a day and a half.

We finally got in a cab and less than 10 minutes later, arrived at our rented condo on the beach. I unpacked and by then it was nearing 3pm Mexican time, an hour earlier there than our EST. Most people would have been ready to flop into bed by this point, but no, we had missions to accomplish. I let hub nap for a while I unpacked and got sorted out. Then we were off on the half mile walk (just what we felt like doing, NOT) to the bank machine to get some Pesos. From the bank we’d hop in a cab and head off for grocery shopping. By the time we got back with groceries and a bbq chicken for dinner, ate and showered, we flopped into bed at 730pm.

Mexican sunset
First Mexican Sunset



The trip back was more chaotic, but stay tuned for part 2 before we get there!