Tag Archives: fall

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

                                  My Thoughts & Review A personal and/or virtual assistant can help you check items off your to-do list. Delegate some tasks to us today.

I have read several of Carolyn Arnold’s books, mostly in the Brandon Fisher series, but this is my first in the McKinley Mysteries series. Since I have thoroughly enjoyed her other books, I had no doubt I would like this one … I was correct ?

While this series is very different from the BF series, I enjoyed that is was a fun, cozy who-done-it without intense descriptions of gruesome crime scenes.  Halloween is Murder involves a TV reporter that is found dead shortly after taping a segment about a Haunted House. The interview was with the owners of the haunted house, who just happen to be private investigators. I love to try to solve the mystery along the way as clues are interspersed through the chapters. This one took an unexpected turn right near the end, but totally made sense. I also liked the playful chemistry between Sean and Sara, and how well they worked together as a team in their professional as well as in their personal lives.

This is a fun, easy read to help get you in the Halloween spirit !

NEW RELEASE…

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.

Available to buy from…
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What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

Read an excerpt

About the author
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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

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

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY!

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Beautiful Fall Foliage

Fall Favorites

What is your favorite season? Mine is the Fall !

While I actually like all the seasons, Fall is my favorite. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves. I love all the hues of the autumn color palette, from the golden yellows to the burnt oranges to the deepest maroons. Some trees are like a magnificent work of art 🙂  I also love the weather – warm sunny days; crisp cool evenings; low humidity … what’s not to love ? Unfortunately, my sinuses aren’t a huge fan of the barometric pressures the change of seasons brings, but the rest of me loves the Fall weather.

Another thing I love about Fall is comfort food. The cooler temps have me yearning for big pots of soup with warm crusty bread. I love serving hearty dishes like beef stew and chili. This time of year also gets me craving baked goods, warm from the oven. I’d say it’s a tie between Apple Cinnamon and Pumpkin as my favorite flavor of Fall. I like pumpkin everything … pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkins seeds … btw, did I mention that I love pumpkin ?? However, I also love apple cinnamon everything too! Pretty much anything apple flavored from the bakery – apple pie, apple crisp, apple strudel, apple slice … Yum! And let’s not forget hot apple cider 🙂

I also enjoy the great outdoors during the Fall. I love going on long walks in the forest preserves, going to a pumpkin farm, getting turned around & lost in corn mazes, going apple picking, taking a hayride, and going camping. I love sitting around a fire enjoying a warm (or warming) beverage and having long talks while gazing into the mesmerizing flames. I love when the wood pops and sends up sparks; I just love the scent of the burning logs 🙂

Just so the other seasons don’t feel left out, here’s what I like about them:

  • Winter ~ Freshly fallen snow and Christmas (just wish that it wasn’t so bitterly cold and last so long)
  • Spring ~ Nature coming back to life, trees / plants turning green again and the weather starting to warm up
  • Summer ~ Longer hours of daylight and being outdoors more (if only there wasn’t so much humidity)

So, you see, I do actually like all the seasons, but Fall is still my favorite! Please share what your favorite season is and why …

Fall Fun Ideas

Bucket List Ideas for Fall Fun

Fall is my favorite season. In my opinion, the weather is perfect … warm, sunny afternoons and cool, crisp evenings. I think it’s the best season for outdoor activities. There are some activities that are occasional for me, but others, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte I’m sipping as I write, are seasonal musts 🙂

Here is a list of some of my favorite (both past & present) Fall activities:

  • Take a long walk in the woods admiring all the beautiful foliage
  • Go apple picking; make sure to enjoy an apple cider donut with a cup of hot apple cider 🙂
  • Have a bonfire with all your friends
  • Navigate a tricky corn maze
  • Go to your local high school homecoming football game … amazing ambience
  • Go to a pumpkin farm and choose the absolute best pumpkin … don’t settle for less 🙂
  • Go on a hayride
  • Visit some of the many outdoor fall craft fairs
  • Go to a haunted house
  • Have your friends over for a leaf raking party … have fun jumping in the huge piles before bagging them
  • Bake an apple and/or pumpkin pie … yumm, plus your whole house smells wonderful

I hope some of these ideas inspire you to get working on whatever is on our Fall Fun Bucket List. Do you have a favorite activity that I missed? Please share the fun 🙂

Autumn camping

I Love Autumn Camping

Autumn is my favorite time of year to go camping. I’ve always enjoyed camping, but I enjoy it even more now that the kids are grown. Now that it’s just me and my hubby, aka – couple camping, we plan one long weekend each month, May – October. Each month has its own charm, but I really love going in September & October.

One of my favorite things about autumn camping is the weather … not too hot, not too cold. As long as it is sunny, it doesn’t matter to me how chilly the temperature gets. I always dress in layers of clothes, so it’s easy to take one off or put another one on. Another plus to autumn camping is hardly any bugs … sometimes the bees are bad, but they only seem to bother you when there is food out. Continue reading

Back to School at COD

Tracy Helps You is Going Back to School

It is mid August, summer is winding down … and that means it’s Back to School time 🙂

The stores are full of school supplies and backpacks/book bags. BTW, Tracy Helps You would be happy to do your Back-to-School shopping for you 🙂

Going back to school is not just for the young … more and more, adults are taking classes too. Some are finishing a degree they starting working on … some are changing careers … some are updating their skills with continuing education.

I will soon be joining the ranks of mature (part-time) students 🙂 I have an appointment scheduled with an adviser at a local college to discuss classes I should take to offer services as a Virtual Assistant. I’m also looking into training programs offered as online courses, tutorials, and webinars.

In the future, I plan to offer some Virtual Assistant services such as, Social Media Management, Online Research, Customer Service, and Email Management. These will be in addition to the Clerical / Business services that I currently offer.

Of course, this is all in the planning stages right now, but it is my hope that I will soon be able to offer some VA services 🙂

What type of services would be helpful to you ?

Thankful for pumpkin season

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/16/14

November 16, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful for pumpkin … everything 🙂 Autumn is my favorite season for lots of reasons … the warm sunny days followed by crisp cool evenings, the spectacular colors of the changing leaves, and of course, pumpkin flavored treats. From Labor Day til Thanksgiving, its pumpkin season … and I’m very thankful!

Pumpkin Spice Latte may be my favorite. This year I found a recipe on Pinterest and made it at home ~ I actually liked it better than you know where. Saving money was nice too! I love pumpkin bread warm from the oven and pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream. Last night, I had pumpkin ice cream drizzled with warm caramel and pecans … yum … and I’m looking forward to a big slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving 🙂

♥ Today I am thankful for pumpkin … everything ♥

Thankful to be a part of the Fall Shopping Jamboree

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/6/14

November 6, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful my local small business community. I’ve only been a small business owner for about 1 ½ years now, but I have come to appreciate the relationships I’ve gained through learning and working with other local businesses.

By joining the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been able to take part in many networking events as well as attend educational seminars geared toward running & marketing my business.

At one of these networking / seminars, I sat next to a woman and we started chatting about our businesses (networking). This woman then hired me as her personal assistant to help her with an event. We became friends and now help promote each other’s businesses whenever we can.

Her organization, The Carol Stream Woman’s Club, is hosting a vendor fair ~ FALL SHOPPING JAMBOREE ~ this evening at Joe Cotton Ford in Carol Stream (on North Ave., just west of Gary). Tracy Helps You, as well as nearly 30 other local vendors, will be there. There will be shopping, food, music & raffles! Come on out tonight to support your local small businesses while you get an early start your Holiday shopping 

♥ Today I am thankful for my local small business community ♥

Giant Chair at Fall Festival

10 of My Favorite Fall Activities

It’s Fall … or do you call it Autumn ? Either way, it’s my favorite season !

While I do like summer, heat and humidity are not my friends. I think what I like the most about summer is the longer hours of daylight and the relaxed, more laid back schedule.

I really enjoy Fall weather … warm, sunny afternoons with crisp, cool mornings and evenings. To me, Fall weather is perfect for outdoor festivals and activities.

Here are some of my favorite things to do:

1) Walking or driving through a wooded area (like a state park or forest preserve) to see the magnificent colors of the changing leaves.

2) Going apple picking at a local orchard. I love picking an assortment of varieties ~ they all taste so good. Speaking of tasting good, many orchards have bakery goods for sale … apple cider donuts … Yum 🙂

3) Going to a football game ~ NFL or a local college (more budget friendly and, I think more fun). The atmosphere is fun and exciting … and tailgating is so much fun.

4) Visit a pumpkin farm … most of them have fun activities like hayrides and corn mazes, besides picking out the very best pumpkin for Halloween.

5) Spending an evening sitting around a fire toasting marshmallows and sipping hot apple cider.

6) The weather is usually great for going to an outdoor Arts & Crafts show … I’ve been known to start picking up some Christmas gifts at these shows.

7) The cooler weather calls for comfort foods and freshly baked goodies … I just love anything made from pumpkin or apple cinnamon 🙂

8) Spending the afternoon raking all the leaves into piles with your family and friends and then jumping into them … then doing it again and again.

9) Fall Festivals are fun because it gives you one last opportunity for taste all the “fried everything” festival type food and ride some carnival rides before the snow blows and we have the long wait til next summer.

10) Handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween … especially to the little ones … they’re just soo cute 🙂

What is your favorite thing about Fall ?

Autumn Colors

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-18-13

November 18 ~ Today I am thankful for changing seasons. I’m blessed to live in an area of the country where the seasons actually change. The weather in the Chicagoland area often gets a bad rap. It seems we have every extreme known to mankind (slight exaggeration … maybe). From hot & humid to frostbite below zero wind-chill temps … from drought, Smokey the Bear warnings dry to flash flooding … and throw tornadoes and blizzards into the mix and well, you get a pretty good picture 🙂

Along with the multitude of weather scenarios, we get all four seasons. Fall is my favorite … I just love the gorgeous color of the leaves, and pretty much anything pumpkin flavored 🙂 I count it a blessing to live in an area where we get to experience the change with each season.

♥ Today I am thankful for changing seasons  ♥

Thankful for no alarm clock days

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-3-13

November 3 ~ Spring forward … Fall behind … Did you remember to turn your clocks back an hour??

Today I am thankful for an extra hour of sleep 🙂

Sadly, I’ve entered an age of life where I can trick my mind into believing I get an extra hour of sleep, but unfortunately, my bladder didn’t get the memo. I am however thankful that the sun was shining when I woke up this morning. I was tiring of the overcast, rainy weather Chicago has had for the last several days. Since I gained an extra hour, I will spend it enjoying some free time. Today, I’d like to take a nice long walk in a forest preserve with my aunt. We both love the colors of autumn and hope to get lots of pictures capturing the wonderful spectrum of colors of the changing leaves. So many of the tree varieties are simply glorious in the sunshine.

♥ Today I will focus on enjoying some free time ♥ 

photo by: Alan Cleaver