Book Talk Tuesday: The Wonder of You

Finally! I’ve been waiting for Amelia’s story from Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m happy and sad.

Happy because it’s a great book. Sad because there’s only one Christiansen sibling’s story left. Although it promises to be a whopper.

THE WONDER OF YOU by Susan May Warren
THE WONDER OF YOU by Susan May Warren

Amelia Christiansen left in a previous book to go to Europe for a year-long photography course. Her parents visited her a few months later and she returned home with them. With a broken heart. At the end of the last book, ALWAYS ON MY MIND, the heart-breaker arrived in Deep Haven with flowers and an apology.

THE WONDER OF YOU opens a few weeks later. Roark was chased off by Amelia’s protective family and she has slipped back into her role at home as the youngest Christiansen and also slipped back into her role as half of Amelia-and-Seth, her high school relationship. She’s determined to forget about Europe and her dreams and ambitions and to settle in Deep Haven.

Except then Roark St. John returns, this time vowing to stay until he convinces her that what they shared in Prague and Paris wasn’t a fling, but the real thing.

THE WONDER OF YOU is a love triangle. I’ve been skeptical of love triangles ever since an agent told me they are hard to sell because some publishers are afraid readers will feel slighted if the heroine doesn’t choose who they think she should. So ever since then, I examine love triangle stories very closely to see what works and what doesn’t. How does the author influence the reader to root for the “winner.”

Warren did a great job. The premise is “will Amelia stay with the man she’s loved since high school or will she leave the safety of home for the man who broke her heart?” I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’ll say that at first both men seemed evenly matched and I was afraid I wouldn’t know who to root for. But Warren skillfully wove in some details and circumstances that showed who was the right man for Amelia’s heart.

I loved this one! And now I’m stuck, once again waiting for the next book in this series.

—–I received a free copy of THE WONDER OF YOU in exchange for an honest review. ——-

Media Monday: Cribbage

Stud Muffin’s family has a long and storied history of playing cribbage. He and his brothers learned it as kids and played regularly with their adored grandfather and father.

His father used it to help one of my nieces with her math. The counting and recognizing combinations of 15 would help her, he was sure. It did.

Stud Muffin once built a small cribbage table for his grandfather as a gift. Which reminds me, I should find out where that table is now and try to retrieve it. It’s basically a small table with a cribbage board drilled into the top.

cribbage board
Cribbage board from wikipedia

The premise (from Wikipedia): Cribbage, or crib, is a card game traditionally for two players, but commonly played with three, four, or more, that involves playing and grouping cards in combinations which gain points. Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for scorekeeping, the eponymous crib or box (a separate hand counting for the dealer), two distinct scoring stages (the play and the show) and a unique scoring system including points for groups of cards that total fifteen … Points are scored for card combinations that add up to fifteen, and for pairs, triples, quadruples, runs, and flushes.

Since I didn’t grow up playing the game, it doesn’t come naturally to me. I still have to think about the counting a lot (this may have something to do with my lack of math skills).

Cribbage is a combination of skill and luck. The luck comes into the draw of the cards, the skill in the playing of the cards. The best player in the world can’t win with a lousy hand.

I’ve been playing on the iPad and I force myself to count the points in every hand, both mine and the computer’s. It’s helping. I see the combinations of 15 much easier than I used to. I still have to count every point in a run. Stud Muffin knows that a run is three points (I think) and a double run is eight (again, I think).

Hmmm … I best go play a few rounds on the iPad to brush up on the rules before the next family gathering and tournament.

Food Talk Friday: Oysters Rockefeller

Stud Muffin is very adventurous in his culinary journeys. He has few lines he won’t cross and is willing to give most anything a taste. He enjoys lingua tacos (tongue) and tripas (pork intestines).

I am not so adventurous. I like my tacos with chicken or carne asada. And intestines will never be on my plate. Just sayin’.

Oysters RockefellerWe’d tried oysters a couple of times and were both underwhelmed. They seemed slimy and not much taste for a lot of work.

So we were both a bit unsure when Stud Muffin was assigned Oysters Rockefeller for his appetizer offering for his recent Men’s Cooking Club dinner. But he trusted his brother’s recipe and dove in.

The ingredients were good:

  • Butter
  • Spinach
  • Cream cheese
  • Crumbs

So I took a tentative bite.

And was completely surprised. The oyster wasn’t slimy. It was tender and delicious. The topping of cheese and spinach and butter complemented the oyster but didn’t overpower it. The oyster still added its own flavor. The crumbs gave it a nice crunch, but not so much that it overpowered the oyster, which is supposed to be the star of the dish.

I learned a lesson: I can take some culinary tasting risks and just may find a new dish to enjoy.

Do you have a dish that you thought you didn’t like? Until you tried it again?

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Vacations

We just spent five days in our favorite vacation destination: Yosemite.

I remember visiting the park as a child, camping in the Valley, and hiking the trails. I rode my first horse in Yosemite. I remember the legendary firefall from Glacier Point.

FireFall

In 1989 we were invited to a cabin owned by dear friends and we’ve been blessed to return two or three times a year ever since. Our girls grew up looking forward to our next visit to “the cabin.” They’ve now hiked the trails. They’ve seen the effects of drought on the falls and the consequences of flooding in the Valley.

It’s now a family tradition: looking forward to our next cabin trip. One grand-daughter has now ridden her first horse around the park’s perimeter. The other loves playing in the dirt, splashing in the river, and hunting for feathers and bones (she found a deer leg on this trip!).

We have several must-dos on each visit:

  • We must visit the river. 
    Merced river
  • We must take a nap on the deck overlooking the river.

    Yosemite
    Yosemite
  • We must walk to the store and have an ice-cream and perhaps visit the Pioneer Village, walk over the covered bridge and visit the jail and watch the horses pull the stage coach. HorsePioneer Village

We love Hawaii. We love traveling to new places. But Yosemite is where we return every year. Like swallows who can’t imagine a better place to nest than San Juan Capistrano.

We get to go back in August and we can’t wait! Where is your favorite summer destination?