15 June 2016

2016 Reading Challenge Update

This Challenge was put up through Goodreads and I originally posted back in January on the 21st. Today is just an update. Halfway through the year, I thought it might be a good idea to review my progress!

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)
1. North America - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
2. South America
3. Africa
4. Antarctica
5. Europe
6. Asia - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
7. Australia

8.   A book on Pennsylvania history
9.   An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)
10. Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
11. A dead author's last book
12. An Irish genealogy related book
13. A book your favorite author loves
14. A retold fairytale
15. A Young Adult book
16. A history book (fiction or non-fiction)
17. A book where you have seen the movie, but not read the book
18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list
19. A book with the point of view of an immigrant
20. A controversial book
21. The first book you see when you walk into a library or bookstore
22. A classic
23. A debut novel
24. Published this year (2016) - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
25. Based entirely on the cover
26. Own but never read
27. A book by an author you never read before - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
28. A book recommended to you by a friendly librarian
29. A book by a Nobel Prize winner
30. Mythology (not just Greek)
31. A book written by someone born the same year as you
32. A business book - Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
33. Reread of a favorite book
34. A book about books
35. Book published the year you graduated high school
36. A book a child/teen/someone younger than you loves
37. A book about/set by the sea Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
38. A book with two authors
39. Author from your own state, province, or country
40. A book about a trip (road, cruise, around the world)
41. A book with the name of a person in the title
42. Science Fiction
43. Fantasy
44. Wild card - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
45. Wild card - Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
46. Wild card - Mourning Glory by Susan Wittig Albert
47. Wild card - Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
48. Wild card - Death Comes Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert
49. Wild card
50. Wild card
51. Wild card
52. Wild card    


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

30 May 2016

Review: Death Come Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert

Death Come Quickly (China Bayles, #22)Death Come Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great little China Bayles mystery by Susan Wittig Albert. She kept juggling this time round with two murders years apart yet related, some government bribes and blackmail, and art fraud. Several plots all mixed together nicely.

View all my reviews

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

19 May 2016

My New Venture: Therapeutic Thymes

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Do something every day that scares you." Well, yesterday I did something that both scares and excites me ... I officially, legally began Therapeutic Thymes. 


Therapeutic Thymes will be a zine that will be dedicated to a more natural and therapeutic way of life. Subjects will cover essential oils, herbs and gardening, crystals, healthy recipes, and healthy living in general. 

The Facebook page is set up at https://www.facebook.com/TherapeuticThymes/. Other social media will be set up once I decide on an email that I like. I am still laying out the website as well so stay tuned! This is only the beginning of our healthy, natural, therapeutic time together!

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

16 May 2016

Lancaster East Side Market Opened for Season

The Lancaster East Side Market opened for its 2016 season yesterday. The Market, located in Musser Park in Lancaster City, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through 16 October.

It took some effort getting there yesterday. There was some Streets festival going on which literally had the city cut in half. Traffic was even more horrible than usual. I would have given up and gone elsewhere after the cops waved me past the park. Parking was also difficult since Chestnut Street was closed but we found a spot in the alley, though to be honest I am not sure our spot was actually legal. Fortunately my husband was driving because it was a nice time.

Vendors were: The Baker's Lover, BeeBee's All Naturals/Stoudt's, Renewal Kombucha, The Raw Spa, GMO Free Lancaster, Fresh Starts Nursery, Whistlestop Café, Horseshoe Ranch, Fudge-o-lutely, Calicutt's Spice Co, Lancaster East Side Market stand, Neighbor Made, Isabelle Cuisine, and The Global Kitchen.

Renewal Kombucha, based in Lititz, offered probiotic natural iced tea. They had a couple different types there to sample. My husband enjoyed the White Tea with Lemongrass while my daughter preferred the Hibiscus Mint Green Tea. Their website is www.DrinkRenewal.com.

GMO Free Lancaster had an information stand at the market. This coming Saturday, the 21st, GMO Lancaster will hold its annual March Against Monsanto. The March will begin at noon at Penn Square in the city.

Fresh Start Nursery
Fresh Starts Nursery had a limited supply of plants for sale. The vegetable plants were just $3 each. My husband selected a couple Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Beauty Bell Peppers. While we were there, Brendan also mentioned an initiative in the city for roof gardens! Their website is still under construction but you can read more about them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freshstartsnursery/.

Horseshoe Ranch is a small organic farm in Willow Street. They offer vegetables and eggs for CSA as well as local markets, like the one yesterday. We spoke with Brittany and Bryan (only Bryan was there Sunday) last weekend at the Herb & Garden Faire at Landis Valley and she explained CSA to us. CSA is Communtiy Supported Agriculture. In a CSA people buy a membership into the program and that gives them a share of the farm’s products each week during the season. They do a great job explaining how a CSA works and how to take part in it on their website,  http://www.horseshoeranchpa.com.

Who can go to Market and not eat, right? Well, we certainly could not especially with all the delicious temptations that The Whistlestop Café had to offer! The Café itself is located at 16 E. McGovern Avenue. After sampling some of their goods yesterday, the Café has definitely made it on my “to visit” list. Check out their website at http://www.whistlestopcafe-pa.com/ for a list of their goodies!

You can follow the Market at https://lancastereastsidemarket.com/ or on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LancasterEastSideMarket/.



© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

08 May 2016

Book Review: Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert

Widow's Tears (China Bayles, #21)Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert


Widow's Tears connects a historical event (the Galveston Hurricane of 1900) with her current day characters. A great read. A page turner. Not Susan Wittig Albert's normal China Bayles murder mystery novel. The main story was not set in China's herb shop, as normal. It did not involve China stumbling across a murder or a mystery herself. It was however a fresh change of scenery and of time.

The mystery of poor Rachel Blackwood, who was left a childless widow after her husband and their children died in the hurricane along with Ruby Wilcox's (China's best friend and business partner) great grandmother Colleen, was the main plot of this novel. The mystery was determining what happened to Rachel and her family and why was Rachel's spirit trapped.

There was a murder in the novel - Bonnie Roth, a bank teller shot by a modern day Bonnie and Clyde duo. However it was solved immediately and was more of a tidying up tool for Kitty and Sam Rawlings, the caretakers of the Blackwood Mansion.

China did not solve the mystery. Ruby did this time. Again that was refreshing.

As usual there are recipes in the back. They are generally of no interest to me since I do not enjoy cooking or baking. The bibliography was great, as was the list of the symbolic meanings of various plants and herbs mentioned throughout the novel.

All in all - another great novel!

View all my reviews

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

07 May 2016

Excited for today's Herb & Garden Faire

Today (as soon as I drop the girls at work) I am heading to the 2016 Herb & Garden Faire and I am SO excited. I have wanted to go for awhile now but every year I forget until the last minute or have other plans. Not only has my scheduled allowed me to go today but my husband actually wants to join me there!

There are various relevant lectures throughout the day, plant vendors, garden related craft vendors and more. Over 80 vendors are scheduled to be in attendance. There will also be someone there to speak about the Heirloom Seed Project.

The Herb & Garden Faire is held at Landis Valley Museum, off Oregon Pike in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, PA. It was yesterday and today and runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $10 admission fee.

“This is a popular event—rain or shine—that appeals to both the novice and experienced gardener,” said Cindy Kirby-Reedy, the museum’s special events coordinator, in a press release from the Museum.

Vendors will sprawl out over the historic village area with a wide range of herbs, annuals, perennials, native plants, vegetables and shrubs along with herbal and all-natural products, garden art, tools and locally made handcrafts.  The Heirloom Seed Project Marketplace will offer thousands of plants, including roses and many varieties of tomatoes.  There will also be a food court, with vendors serving healthy menu options throughout the day.  

The Herb and Garden Faire is the main fundraiser for the Heirloom Seed Project, which started in 1985 with the purpose of preserving historically significant vegetable, herb and ornamental seeds.  Some of the plants featured at the faire date back to the early nineteenth century.  Seed varieties not offered as potted plants, such as beans, corn, and flax, can be purchased at the Landis Valley Museum Store, along with a wide selection of gardening books and other items.

Situated on 100 acres in Lancaster, PA, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum is a living history village that collects, preserves and interprets the history and material culture of the Pennsylvania German community from 1740 to 1940.  The museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is administered by the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission with the active support of the Landis Valley Associates (a registered charitable organization).  

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

05 May 2016

Majoram essential oil soothes sore muscles

Yesterday I wiped out at the nursery. The floor was wet from watering flowers and plants under the roof. We were rearranging and I was so glad to be moving around and changing out things again. I love displaying all the colorful blooms, especially the sale items.

Anyway, I turned direction too quickly and slid on a puddle. Have you ever hydroplaned in a car? Well that is exactly what I did. I was more embarrassed than hurt at the time. Two co-workers were there and one customer and the sound of me hitting the cement floor …

When I got in from work last night, I was finally starting to feel the muscle pain. My husband – God love him – rubbed majoram oil on my back and my legs and my right arm and my neck. Then I slept. I’m not going to lie – I hurt this morning, but I was able to get some sleep and relief.

Why majoram? Majoram essential oil is an antispasmodic, antiseptic, sedative substance. It also, according to several sources, is an “analgesic, antispasmodic, anaphrodisiac, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, carminative, cephalic, cordial, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emenagogue, expectorant, fungicidal, hypotensive, laxative, nervine, sedative, stomachic, vasodilator and vulnerary substance.”

Its scientific name is Origanum majorana. The essential oil is extracted from this popular herb by steam distillation of its leaves.

Other essential oils that are good for fighting inflammation and relieving muscle pain are: chamomile, clary sage, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sandalwood, thyme, and yarrow. Perhaps a cup of chamomile tea would be good as I head out to work this morning!

If you are interested in essential oils, click HERE and you will be redirected to Young Living. You can either choose to be a distributor or a customer. You can also contact me directly via email if you are interested in learning more. You can also comment here with your questions or comments!

Disclaimer: Please consult a medical professional before changing your diet, exercise program, or before trying any natural remedies.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

02 May 2016

Meet Young Living Essential Oils newest distributor

Meet Young Living Essential Oils newest distributor ... ME! That's right. I signed up tonight through a friend. Our girls used to swim together and we just stayed in touch over the years even after they all stopped swimming and I am SO glad we did!

I am bursting to tell you all about it but I want to go through some of the training and try even more of the YL products firsthand.

If you are interested though, and just cannot wait a moment more to improve YOUR quality of life, click HERE and you will be redirected to YL. You can either choose to be a distributor or a customer. You can also contact me directly via email or phone (717-419-8796) if you are interested in learning more.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Looking forward to May

I'm looking forward to May. It has been a rough start to the year. Yesterday was my Pascha (Easter). A time for renewal and rebirth. A great time for letting go and moving forward.



I have many things in the plans and have decided to settle on two specifically. I have been toying with essential oils for a few months now and have decided to sign up as a Young Living Distributor. All the pieces have fallen in where they need to be so I am moving ahead on this. I am sure you will read more about this decision soon! 

I was also considering taking a Master Garden certification class through Penn State's extension office. It would have only costs $200 and may have been helpful at work at the nursery. However, recent revelations have put this on hold. I will revisit this decision next year when the course is offered again. 

I would love to get my certification in genealogy. The schools are so expensive though. I looked into both Brigham Young University and Boston University. Both offer online course load so I can work from home but the cost is not something I am willing to commit to at this time in my life. I will take a slower less expensive avenue but I will be taking relevant classes at some point.

During May I also hope to get back on track health wise (like I plan on using that gym membership that is just wasting away at the moment) and spiritually (I have just felt so empty lately). A lot of self examination will take place, not all of which will make it here to this public avenue!

Several books sit unread yet on my desk. I had set a goal on Goodreads to read a certain number of books. I am not worried about the number so much as I am the quality. First and foremost though I would like to finish reading Shindler's List. One of my daughter's got it for me for my birthday in February but then several things happened that have pushed it off to the side. It is a great read and I do intend on finishing it this month.

A final goal is to of course post here more regularly and to perhaps pick up my writing again.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

28 April 2016

Review: Mourning Glory by Susan Wittig Albert

Mourning Gloria (China Bayles, #19)Mourning Gloria by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

China Bayles once again has happened upon a murder and has once again handed the local police and sheriff's office the necessary clues to solve this murder mystery. While it was exactly what I needed - something light, not to be taken serious - this was not as gripping as Susan Wittig Albert's other books in the series.

If you are new to the China Bayles series, it is akin to Murder She Wrote. Instead of a New England widow writer, China is a former lawyer turned herbalist who married an ex cop turned PI and finds mystery and mayhem in her little Texas town of Pecan Springs.

View all my reviews

09 April 2016

Review: Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu

Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge (Singaporean Mystery, #3)Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chilled Revenge is the third in the Aunty Lee series by Ovidia Yu. I had not read the first two but this little murder mystery is easily a stand alone novel. To be honest, I was not familiar with the Aunty Lee character or even Ovidia Yu until I won this novel in a Goodreads giveaway. I will now keep an eye out for both!

Aunty Lee of Singapore can easily be compared to our "Jessica" from the Murder She Wrote series here in the US. Murder and mystery seem to follow her but she deciphers all the clues, understands human nature and puts it all together to help the local police solve the crime.

While I had the answer figured out about halfway through, Yu did an excellent job shuffling characters and background information so that the end was in fact a nice twist.

A great read. If you like murder mystery novels, you will enjoy this one.

The only issue (for lack of a better word) I had is that sometimes there seemed to be translation issues or perhaps colloquialisms did not translate adequately.

View all my reviews

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

22 March 2016

Prayers for Brussels


12 March 2016

It's begining to look like Spring

My Fairy Garden
It is beginning to look like Spring here and my little fairies could not be happier!

Today I removed the Christmas tree and the melting snowman from my little fairy garden out front. I removed the dead annuals and cleaned up the garden. To my delight my Silver Mound was green!

I picked up a new little house, two flowers, a cat on a stool, and a little white bench. I bought the items at Stauffers of Kissel Hill, the local home and garden shop where I work.

All the items are new items this year. The cat is called "Merriment Collection Mini Cat On Stool," it costs $8.99. The two flowers are also from the Merriment Collection. The mini potted geranium was $8.99, while the mini potted trellis is $7.99. The mini fairy garden dragonfly chair with table is $9.99.

SKH Photo
The house - that adorable house -  is actually called a mini garden fairy workshop with hinged door. The sunflowers are what drew my attention to it. I love that the door opens too, though I have to admit I am not sure how to fully utilize that feature. It measures 5.5" tall, 4" wide and 3.25" deep.

The house was a splurge for me, as it costs $24.99. Why do fairy garden accessories costs so much money?

We - Stauffers that is - have so many new and adorable fairy garden items this season. There is so many ideas I want to try with my fairy garden this year!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

08 March 2016

Flower of the Month: Daffodils


Daffodils are the flower most associated with March and it really it is a perfect choice. It is generally in March that daffodils first peek out through the winter soil. Their bright yellow coloring simply adds to their appeal. It is no wonder why daffodils symbolize rebirth and rejuvenation.

This perennial is a great addition between shrubs or in a border. The flowers are also excellent for cutting.

As the flowers fade, you can deadhead the plants to maintain a neater appearance. Once these fragrant plants are done blooming, let the plant grow until they die off naturally. This allows the plant time to store energy in the bulbs to bloom again the following year. Once dead, snip them at the base of the stem and apply bonemeal to the soil.

Being of the Narcissus family, daffodils are more resistant to deer, squirrels, and rabbits.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

06 March 2016

Gardening Tip: When should you mulch?

For every thing, there is a season … a time to plant and a time to sow. Spring is just around the corner. We can almost feel it. It is almost time to plant and mulch. Almost.

Today’s Tip:
When should you mulch?

Mulch is a great method to control weeds and retain moisture. It is also very aesthetically pleasing when done correctly. When though is the right time to mulch?

The soil needs a chance to warm before you layer on the mulch. Generally speaking, mid to late spring is the preferred time to mulch. Also, do not layer the mulch too thick if you want seedlings to grow there. Extra mulching can always be applied later in the season.

So, what do you do if your flowerbed – like mine – still has last year’s mulch around them? Pull the mulch away gradually. This protects any new growth underneath from being shocked by a late cold snap.

Remember, as a general rule of thumb, Mother’s Day is the easiest way to remember when to start planting.  

A final related tip: most nurseries and garden centers will let you pre-order and schedule deliveries in advance. This is especially important to note during the busy seasons, as only so many deliveries can be scheduled each day. If you need a specific day, call ahead.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

04 March 2016

Gardening Tip: Frost Free Date Explained


Spring is almost here! Garden centers are getting new plants and trees and products in every day.

Today’s Tip:
Know you Frost Free Date

A Frost Free Date is the average date in spring when your area no longer experiences frost. This date is important for knowing when to plant in spring. It is also the average date in fall for when your area experiences the first frost.  Knowing both spring and fall frost dates will help you determine the length of your growing season. 

What is your date? Well, Dave’s Garden offers a great webpage where you can look it up by zipcode. So, for example, I live in Lancaster and my zipcode is 17601. The site informs me that my average “risk of frost” is between 11 October and 28 April.

The site also notes that I am “almost guaranteed” not to have frost between 10 May and 26 September. Hence this time period – 10 May through 26 September – is my Frost Free Dates.

That said, as a general rule of thumb, Mother’s Day is the easiest way to remember when to start planting. However, now is the time to plan your garden. Lay it out like you would any other project.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

29 February 2016

An Old Irish Blessing

“May you never steal, lie, or cheat, but if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows, and if you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life, and if you must cheat, then please cheat death because I couldn't live a day without you.” –Old Irish Blessing

24 February 2016

A Time for Everything

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
A time to give birth
And a time to die;
A time to plant
And a time to pluck what is planted.
A time to kill
And a time to heal;
A time to pull down
And a time to build up
A time to weep
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn
And a time to dance.
A time to throw stones
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace
And a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to seek
And a time to lose;
A time to keep
And a time to throw away.
A time to tear
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silent
And a time to speak.
A time to love
And a time to hate;
A time of war
And a time of peace.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

22 February 2016

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

21 February 2016

“I think the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

19 February 2016

18 February 2016

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

17 February 2016

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

16 February 2016

“My wish for you... is that your skeptic-eclectic brain be flooded with the light of truth.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

15 February 2016

“In all the universe nothing remains permanent and unchanged but the spirit.”
― Anton Chekhov, The Seagull

14 February 2016

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde

13 February 2016

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

12 February 2016

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story

11 February 2016

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost

10 February 2016

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

09 February 2016

Today's doctor visit

Last Thursday I went to my chiropractor and he asked how I was feeling. My back felt better. I was walking without much pain and I had not had to take an Aleve that day. However, I told him, my chest hurt the day before. It was just a heaviness. So he took my blood pressure. It was 143/118. Then he strongly suggested I schedule a visit with my family doctor.

On the way home, I literally had to pass the doctor so I just stopped in. The nurse took it again and now it was 130/90. Better but my doctor wanted to see me today.

Today, I went to the doctor again. My blood pressure this morning was 110/80. Much better but since I am T2 diabetic, he wants to play it safe and schedule me a stress test. Just the name of it is stressing!

The "normal" figures for blood pressure - I should note - is 120/80. High blood pressure is a major global health risk. In 2005, according to precisionnutrition.com, 395,000 Americans died due to high blood pressure. Only smoking causes more deaths.

There are a lot of risk factors as well as life choices that contribute to your risk of high blood pressure, which in turn leads to an elevated risk of heart disease.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

27 January 2016

Think Spring with a Fairy Garden Sale

SKH Photo
As we continue to dig out from the Blizzard of 2016, the thought of fairy gardens excites me. I have a fairy garden out front and they have kind of found their way inside several places as well. I try to change it up a bit outside each season. So right now there is a Christmas tree near one of their little houses and a candy cane lane and a melting snowman!

Time to think of Spring - one good storm and I'm ready for Spring now! - and Stauffer's of Kissel Hill (SKH) can help today! Today (Wednesday, 27 January), the Deal of the Day at Stauffer's is 33% off all fairies and fairy garden accessories.

Are you looking for a new garden path, cute little kittens, a new house perhaps, or even flying pigs? Yes, I was up at Stauffer's yesterday and I really did see some flying pigs in the fairy garden section.

The Deal of the Day is for today only. There are no rain checks and it is while supplies last. Pop in early (it opened at 7 a.m.).

There are eight locations in Central Pennsylvania. The three in Lancaster County are Lititz, Oregon Pike, Rohrerstown. In York, you can visit SKH in East York and Dover. There are three near Harrisburg. They are: Hummelstown, Linglestown, and Mechanicsburg. You could also check out Stauffer's online at www.skh.com.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Review: Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert

Cat's Claw (China Bayles, #20)Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was trying to read this series in order. I makes it so much easier even though Susan Wittig Albert is very good normally at having China Bayles explain who is who and bringing the reader up to date. Normally.

I must have missed a book. The last one I read was Spanish Dagger, in which her half-brother Miles was insistent upon searching for answers concerning their father's fatal car "accident." Now all of a sudden, China and McQuaid have two kids: Brian (from McQuaid's first marriage) and now a daughter Caitlin who just kind of showed up in the storyline. Then in a Bayles recap she notes that Caitlin is actually Miles' daughter who came to live with them after her mother drowned and her father was ... wait for it ... murdered!

It seems I have obviously missed a book or two. Actually, I have missed four: Nightshade, Wormwood, Holly Blues, and Mourning Gloria!

Having it told from two different point of views (and voices even - which is a credit to the author) did keep it just disjointed enough that, unlike the other China Bayles books, I did not have the entire plot line figured out until close to the end. While I was correct too in surmising all the crimes and how they tied in with each other, the final chapter was a nice summation.

All in all another great little mystery!

View all my reviews

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

21 January 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

Goodreads reader Anne put forth a challenge for this year and I love it so I thought I would pass it along as well as set it her as a reminder/checklist to myself. I did change a few items.

For example, her #8 was "a banned or challenged book." Maybe when I was in grade school, I would read a book because it was on the "no-no" list. Specifically I remember in sixth grade, the nuns told me I was not allowed to read The Diary of Anne Frank. They told my mom it was on a banned list (which of course no one but the nuns ever actually saw). I told her - and them - I was reading it anyway. Now I should say, I was also reading anything and everything regarding WWII at the time. Anyway, changing this one to "a Pennsylvania history" book.

Also, her #12 was "a book with LGBT matter or character(s)." Not my cup of tea, I'll be honest. So I know that if a book were overly LGBT or tried to push that life on me, not only would I not read the book, I would probably simply throw it away. So why bother? For that one, I will add "An Irish genealogy related book."

Her #32 was "dystopia," which just sounds depressing. Instead I will select a business book. By business book, I specifically mean a book from the library at work.

I am also going to double up on a few where possible since my goal is to read 36 books this year. So, for example, I just finished Susan Wittig Albert's Spanish Dagger. It is a book of fiction, that takes place in North America (#1) and is a murder-mystery (#44 wild card).

Tier one: 2/36
Tier two: 2/52

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)

1. North America - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
2. South America
3. Africa
4. Antarctica
5. Europe
6. Asia
7. Australia

8.   A book on Pennsylvania history
9.   An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)
10. Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
11. A dead author's last book
12. An Irish genealogy related book
13. A book your favorite author loves
14. A retold fairytale
15. A Young Adult book
16. A history book (fiction or non-fiction)
17. A book where you have seen the movie, but not read the book
18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list
19. A book with the point of view of an immigrant
20. A controversial book
21. The first book you see when you walk into a library or bookstore
22. A classic
23. A debut novel
24. Published this year (2016)
25. Based entirely on the cover
26. Own but never read
27. A book by an author you never read before
28. A book recommended to you by a friendly librarian
29. A book by a Nobel Prize winner
30. Mythology (not just Greek)
31. A book written by someone born the same year as you
32. A business book - Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
33. Reread of a favorite book
34. A book about books
35. Book published the year you graduated high school
36. A book a child/teen/someone younger than you loves
37. A book about/set by the sea
38. A book with two authors
39. Author from your own state, province, or country
40. A book about a trip (road, cruise, around the world)
41. A book with the name of a person in the title
42. Science Fiction
43. Fantasy
44. Wild card - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
45. Wild card
46. Wild card
47. Wild card
48. Wild card
49. Wild card
50. Wild card
51. Wild card
52. Wild card    


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Proud Mama Moment

Proud Mama Moment !!! My daughter,  Zorina, talks about her upcoming exhibit at Annex 24 Gallery in Lancaster on her blog: http://wp.me/p72rqy-H.

Patience
by Zorina Eckman
If you enjoy art - specifically, if you enjoy Zorina's artwork, please follow her blog or follow her on Twitter for updates!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

17 January 2016

Review: Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert

Spanish Dagger (China Bayles, #15)Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Susan Wittig Albert again drew me into the life of China Bayles and her friends. It has been awhile and it felt like I was catching up with old friends! I love how she mixes herbal and botanical gems of wisdom with a littler murder mystery. Her books, when read in order at least like I'm trying to, are like a mini soap opera with a little murder and mayhem thrown in to spruce up life in a small town! Agatha Christie would be proud.

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10 January 2016

Review: Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable

Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Easy to read book with helpful practical techniques to improve your performance at work and with co-workers. The techniques are simple enough they can be applied in any line of work or even life in general. A must read for anyone who interacts with others!

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