Monthly Archives: April 2016

Book Review & Giveaway ~ AT Once by John W. Mefford

~~~ My Thoughts & Review ~~~

AT Once is the third book in the Alex Troutt series. It can definitely be a standalone book, but I have read the first two, AT Bay & AT Large, because that is just my personal preference when I read series – it’s your call 🙂

FBI Special Agent Alex Troutt and her partner Nick, are assigned to investigate a bombing at a local catholic church – the second in as many weeks. Then there is a car bomb followed by another at the local post office garage. Are they related ? If so, how ? What do the victims have in common ?

Through routine questioning of the post office witnesses, it is discovered that the bomb missed it’s true target. It was meant for another  postal employee. He happened to take a different vehicle that day, because someone else took number 32 – the truck he always takes. Through a thorough interrogation, they learn of his past ties to Northern Ireland and the IRA.

On top of all that, Alex is also ordered to secretly investigate the possibility that her boss, her Irish boss, is somehow involved in the whole mess. Or is he being set up ? If so, by whom ?

John W. Mefford is talented at introducing new characters, while expanding the background of the current characters in the series. This thriller keeps you guessing – intrigue and attempts at revenge for long held grudges – the twists and turns keeps your adrenalin pumping.

2 thumbs up for AT Once … I can’t wait to read the 4th in this series !

New Release….
Alex Troutt Thriller, Book #3
AT Once

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

FBI Agent Alex Troutt has no intentions of falling for anything. Apparently, neither do the bad guys, as the Boston area is once again targeted by extremists. Boston Strong of just a few years ago is now Boston on Edge. And this time, the targets are men of the cloth—priests.

At least that’s how it looks at first.

As investigators struggle to make sense of the bombings, Alex is thrown for a loop when the FBI assistant director asks her to investigate one of their own—a colleague and friend who is suspected of having ties to a known terrorist. Torn between her values of friendship and the oath she gave when she accepted her FBI credentials, Alex must now lead two investigations simultaneously.

The bombings don’t stop, and panic sets in as the carnage spreads beyond the realm of the original targets.

Bloody Sunday. The IRA. The movement toward peace. Wounds of decades ago have reopened, bleeding all over Boston. As she pieces together the puzzle, Alex begins to wonder just how innocent her colleague really is. It’s almost too much for her to fathom.

Just how far will someone go to make a stand?

Available to buy from…..
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   

Also available
AT Bay (An Alex Troutt Thriller, Book #1)
Alexandra Giordano never knew she had it so good. Until it was all gone in an instant.

As she begins her daunting quest to uncover the black spots on her memory, what she finds isn’t sweet or charming or even pleasant. And that’s when she begins to question everything, including herself.

Her work as a Special Agent for the FBI is only a distraction, serving as a mental metronome…anything to crank the gears of her feeble mind.

And then it happens—a bizarre, ritualistic murder. She loses herself in her work, fully immersed in the investigation. Unable to recall even her own kids, she’s somehow able to formulatecoherent theories on what type of person could pull off such a sickening act.

As her mind slowly plugs a few memory gaps, her emotions are scrambled by the reality of herworlds colliding. And the resulting explosion tears her in two.

Can she pick up all the incendiary fragments to solve the twisted crime while she clings to somesemblance of sanity?

One woman can only keep so much…AT Bay.

Available to buy from…..
Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   

AT Large (An Alex Troutt Thriller, Book #2)
The pursuit of the truth. The hunt for a life.

For the first time in months, FBI Special Agent Alex Troutt feels almost normal, hanging out at a local bar with friends after work. Not long into the evening she stumbles over one of the most disturbing images she has ever seen.

And that’s only the beginning.

A body is found in Lowell, the human damage, once again, inconceivable. Hours later, another strike. Pushing heartache aside, Alex immerses herself in the investigation. But with every new clue comes a new twist.

With the killing spree drawing the attention of every intelligence and law enforcement agency in a five-state radius, Alex is forced to partner with an egomaniac from the CIA. Yet, even with limitless resources, every step forward proves to be a step too late, the kill list seemingly endless.

Once the killer makes it personal, Alex is left with no other option—she must confront the person who destroyed her life to try to cease the vicious murders. And when she finally learns the killer’s end game, every second counts if she has any hope of stopping the brutal killings.

The hunt will end. Will Alex?

Available to buy from…..
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   

About the Author
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+  Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

OTHER BOOKS FROM JOHN W MEFFORD

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Follow the book tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY

Win THREE Alex Troutt Thrillers by John W Mefford 
ebooks AT Bay, AT Large and AT Once
2 Winners!!
Ending on Friday 3rd June at 11.59pm CST

Open Worldwide 

Enter HERE

Good Luck !!

Dandelions

Dandelions

It’s Springtime here in Chicagoland … and although it is often referred to as “construction season”, it is also “dandelion season” … again. Both dandelions (and other weeds) and construction seem to be hardy perennials that do extremely well in the Midwest climate.

I say “dandelion season” again, because every year I think I have them under control, only to have them come back with a vengenence each spring.

My husband and I are not what you could call “lawn snobs” by any stretch of the imagination, but having a nice green lawn would be so nice. We don’t hire a landscaping company for lawn care, we cut our own grass. I’m trying to not you chemicals to kill them. My methods thus far have been trying “natural” remedies.

I have tried a homemade recipe using apple cider vinegar, salt and Dawn dishwashing detergent. It does kill the dandelion plant that is visible above ground, but apparently does nothing to get rid of the root. It also kills any grass that is surrounding your dandelion. Guess what? They grew back!

I have tried digging them out by hand. It is backbreaking labor, and is very hard to get the whole root out without it breaking off (to grow back again). I even bought an attachment for a power drill that is supposed to get the whole root out … surprise, surprise … it didn’t. Plus, I have so many in my front lawn; they will have gone to seed before I could possibly dig them all out 🙁

I have tried an organic weed control product that you apply using a spreader, only to find burnt patches in my lawn while the dandelions looked healthy and strong.

This year, I’ve read several articles online about letting the dandelions grow so the bees can get nectar after the long winter. I’ve read about how the bees are dwindling off because their habitat has changed so much over the last couple decades.

My plan for this year is to dig them out of my garden area and flower beds. My husband will mow them down each week before they go to seed. The bees will collect nectar and make wonderful local honey. Our lawn will be mostly green, but with some yellow dots 🙂

How do you handle dandelions and other weeds in your yard?  

 

Getting Organized ~ Jewelry

Getting Organized ~ Jewelry

This weekend, my church is having their annual garage sale. It is a huge event every year, and all the profits get donated to local area charities, like PADS and Neighborhood Food Pantry. Each spring, I try to get an area of my home more organized. Finding things to donate for this good cause helps to get me motivated 🙂

During the week, I’ve been sorting through our things to decide what I’d like to donate. In years past, I’ve concentrated on clothing, shoes & purses, holiday decorations, kitchenware, books, etc.

This year, I gathered those type items, but I also decided to sort through my costume jewelry. I love shopping at places like Charming Charlie’s, especially their clearance section. Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite a collection. I usually stored my necklaces and bracelets in various cloth draw-string bags, vinyl zippered pouches. I stored my earrings in a beautiful decorative brass bowl that my friends brought back for me from her trip to India.

It was getting hard to remember what & where I stored these pieces. I would know I had a certain pair of earring that would go perfectly with my outfit, but not be able to find them in a moment or two.

So I decided while I was sorting through all of it, that I wanted to store it in a more organized manner. I found a cute little rack that hangs on the wall. I also like that you can see everything … all your choices in plain sight 🙂

Here’s my AFTER pic …                                         

Getting Organized ~ Jewelry

After Organizing Jewelry

 

 

Office Help - Onsite or Virtual Assistant

Office Help ~ Virtual Assistant or Onsite ~ Your Choice

As a personal assistant, I offer many different types of services. In the last 6 months or so, I’ve had quite a few requests for administrative / office kind of help.

Around Thanksgiving time, I sent out Christmas cards for 2 individual clients and 3 business owners. Each client had their own instructions, but basically, I copied and folded family letters to be included, printed labels, addressed envelopes and applied stamps – but mostly, I saved my client valuable time. I also helped one of those same business owners plan their company Christmas party. That was fun for me, and was another item checked off his to-do list 🙂

Another client had me fill in for his Office Assistant while she was out sick for a few days. He said it was more cost efficient hiring me than using a temp agency.

Yesterday, I did a mass mailing for that same client. I did the mundane, but necessary work of printing the letters, folding them, labeling the envelopes, stuffing them and running them through the postage machine. It took 3 hours, but his Office Assistant wasn’t taken away from her normal duties for this occasional type project.

I have an ongoing client that I send out hand written thank you cards to all the leads he meets / talks to. He sends me an email with their info and I mail them a card. After our initial meeting, this is all handled virtually. He has the stationary and stamps delivered directly to me. I invoice him monthly and he sends my payment. Easy Peasy ! I also created and maintain a database / spreadsheet with all these leads for him.

Another client has also hired me “virtually”, to manage her Facebook business page. She gives me images and facts pertaining to her business and I use them to create Facebook posts for her business page. I also create her weekly events.

Are you a business owner who could use some administrative / office “help” ?? Tracy Helps You is just a phone call away 🙂

 

 

April Fools' Day Jester

April Fools’ Day Fun “Facts”, Legends & Myths

Happy April Fools’ Day !!

Its hard to believe that its April 1st already. Do you celebrate this day or is it just another day? Personally, I enjoy the fun, good hearted jokes, but I can live without the more mean spirited type of pranks some people pull. IMHO, I don’t think you have to hurt someone else’s feelings to make your prank be fun. I tend to like the puns that make you think, more than the physical practical jokes, again, just my thoughts on the topic 🙂

I was curious about the origins for April Fools’ Day, so, like any red blooded American, I GOOGLED it (duh). Here are some things I learned from my research:

  • There is no actual historical proof of how the celebrations of April 1st started only myths and legends.
  • According to legend, some believe it has to do with Pope Gregory XIII changing the calendar to show January 1st as New Years Day instead of the current date of April 1st. Apparently, not everyone heard the news of the change, so they continued to celebrate New Years on April 1st, making them appear “foolish” to those who knew about the change.
  • Another theory has to do with people having a fun, mischievous mood because it was finally spring, marking the end of a long cold winter.
  • Another myth states that it originates in a 1500’s Flemish poem about a nobleman sending his servant on several absurd errands. One stanza of the poem states “Refrain on fool’s errand-day/which is the first of April”.

As noted earlier, no one can say for certain why, but there are many stories revolving around celebrating April Fools’ Day with fun and mischief. My research came from The Washington Post, the International Business Times and the Museum of Hoaxes.

Happy April Fools’ Day !! Have fun and be kind 🙂