Monday, 18 February 2019

Missing my best friend

I haven't been up to posting until today because, on Monday February 4th, I had an agonising decision to make and that was to say goodbye to my best friend of twelve years, Cody.
Cody - 2 years old (2008)

As you know Cody was battling Cushing's Disease and it was extremely taxing on his little body. He had developed a heart murmur and his gums were grey-white and tacky, a sign of dehydration despite the massive volumes of water he consumed — a symptom of Cushing's. He had become so lethargic and we all felt it was becoming too much for him.  The vet said that some little dogs muddle along while some go downhill very fast and, sadly, Cody was in the latter group.

There hasn't been a day gone by where I haven't shed tears for my little man and I'm even crying as I type this. I feel like I've cried an ocean already. I miss him terribly as Cody was like my little shadow. We were so very close and he was never far from my side and he would pine for me when I was not at home. It's hard coming home now and not being greeted by his excited barking and happiness to see us — lots of kisses and cuddles were always a must.
He came to us at 8 weeks old. Photo taken January 7th, 2007.
I will always be grateful to my nephew, Adam, for giving me such a precious gift.

Cody left an indelible mark on my heart as he did with his human siblings too. They took it very hard as they each have their special memories with Cody. As hard as it would have been for Aaron, it meant a lot that he was there with me and Cody until the very end. Cody was his first dog and I always joked that they were like litter-brothers.

Poor Jack is missing his 'brother' too. He seems a little lost no doubt wondering where Cody is. Breaks my heart.
Cody and Jack (2012)

I would often say that Cody looked like a little harp seal to me.

I had my precious boy cremated and his ashes returned in a small silver urn. The house had felt so empty for the 5 days he was gone but, when his ashes came home, it didn't feel so empty anymore. I like to think that he is watching over us.

Cody, thank you for being the most loyal and loving friend a girl could ever have. You made me feel so special and loved unconditionally. Know that you will always be in my heart and never forgotten. I love and miss you so much, my baby, but I'm sure we will meet again some day. 
Cody Lewis 
10/11/2006 - 4/2/2019
Forever in our hearts.

“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?” — John Grogan

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

I'm still reading daily which is something I'm really happy about. The Kindle just makes it so easy and I have already racked up over 70 books in my Kindle Library for 2019 — all waiting to be read. Love my Kindle so much!

So, a couple of months back, I signed up to Amazon First Reads. It's where members get to choose a book each month from the Editor's picks. The books are available to members before the publication date and I only pay $1.99 AUD. The reviews today are my first two First Reads.

First up is True Places by Sonja Yoerg
Suzanne's life pretty much runs like clockwork. She is the glue that holds her family together but she is feeling overwhelmed and taken for granted. Her teenage daughter is rebelling, her son is becoming more and more shut off from the family, and her OCD husband just doesn't see the underlying turmoil beneath the surface. He is work-focused and he knows Suzanne will be the perfect wife and keep everything running smoothly. And she does...until, one day, she takes a spur of the moment drive outside of town and her life changes.

On the outskirts of a forest, Suzanne finds a young teenager, barely conscious, very ill, and in desperate need of medical attention. Suzanne rushes her to the ER and feels committed to following up on the young girl's progress. It becomes clear that Iris has been living in the forest — off-grid — with her family and is terrified by the craziness of the city. Her mother is dead and, as authorities try to track down other relatives, Suzanne brings Iris into the family fold. That underlying turmoil starts to break through the surface as jealousies, expectations, and anger rear up in various ways.

Will Suzanne continue with her 'normal' life? Or will she claim back her own identity? Will Iris learn to live like a 'normal' teenager or is the wild woods calling her name? One thing is for sure, this family is falling apart...can their love for each other keep them together?

My thoughts - I loved the idea of a girl from the wild woods coming to live with a suburban family while the search is on for her relatives. Iris has an impact on them all to one degree or another, especially Suzanne. I liked the author's writing style and obvious love of nature. I enjoyed the book enough that I would most likely read another book by Sonja Yoerg. I rated this one 4 stars.

Next up - Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman
You've probably guessed already but yes, it's a British crime novel. Ziba Mackenzie is an ex-Special Forces profiler and she is on a train that crashes. She rushes about trying to help injured passengers including a dying woman who leaves Ziba with a puzzling message - "He did it. You have to tell someone". Shortly thereafter, a body is found with grotesque similarities to a murder committed 25 years ago. Ziba is pulled into the investigation and finds herself being stalked by the killer putting her own life in danger. Time is running out...

This was Victoria's first novel and also the first book in a series. I loved it and gave it five stars.

See you next Tuesday for more reviews.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Okay, fellow bookworms,

It's more a series review this week....

I started reading a Crime series (featuring DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans) by Joy Ellis and was instantly hooked. I even ordered a different crime series (featuring DI Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter) written by Joy Ellis too. I just love the way she writes! Good character development and, of course, being set in Britain is always a win for me. I LOVE watching British Crime series on TV so it makes sense I'd feel the same with books too.


Twenty years ago, a farmer and his wife are brutally murdered by a serial killer.

Twenty years on, a woman is brutally murdered in her upmarket home and Daniel Kinder fronts up at the police station and confesses to the crime. However, DI Jackman and DS Evans soon realise that it's not that cut and dry. Daniel Kinder can't seem to remember the first five years of his life and suspects his mother is the serial killer who committed the murder twenty years ago. Lacking any evidence that he committed the recent murder, they have no option but to let him go. Shortly thereafter, more murders occur.  The plot thickens and it's a race against the clock before any more lives are taken.

This was the first book in the series and I have since completed #2 - Their Lost Daughters; #3 - The Fourth Friend; #4 - The Guilty Ones; and I'm currently in the midst of #5 - The Stolen Boys. If you're into British crime, I'm sure you would enjoy her books too.  Check out the title links provided to learn a little more on each book. I gave practically all of them a 5 star rating.





And that's it for this week. Next Tuesday, I'll cover a couple of Amazon First Reads editions that I completed so stay tuned...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Scribble Picnic - Holiday Party

Hello fellow Scribblers!

Sorry I've been MIA...if you read earlier posts, you will know why.  The past couple of months have been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me so I haven't been online much at all. I didn't find any time to sketch and I didn't feel the desire to sketch either...until today.  I had planned to have January off to rejuvenate a little but I couldn't let another Scribble Picnic go by.

So the prompt for this week is HOLIDAY PARTY.

With Christmas and New Year behind us, I immediately thought of our Australia Day holiday coming up on January 28th. A day when many Aussie households celebrate with Australiana-themed parties. I've been to a few Australia Day parties organised by various family members over the years and they are a lot of fun.

So, little Charlie the Koala, is all excited and decked out for the party he is off to.  He is wearing an Aussie park ranger uniform, Aussie hat with corks dangling to keep the flies away, a boomerang for the boomerang-throwing competition being held at the party and, of course, his eucalyptus gum leaf snack. OH, almost forgot — his Aussie thongs — which Americans refer to as 'flip-flops', I think.

It's only the initial pencil sketch for now but I will finish him later. As usual, I will most likely make some changes as I go along...could be minor or major changes.

Check out what my fellow scribblers have done for this week HERE.
Feel free to come along to our fortnightly picnic — find out how to join us HERE.

See you all at the party!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms!

I hope that 2019 has started off well for you all. Mine has been busy so my usually fast reading pace slowed down a little but I am back on track now.

This week, let's start with....

Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper

A fictional story about, Melody, an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody cannot speak or walk. She has a photographic memory and is very clever although, due to her disability, she is unable to communicate with others so her brilliance goes unnoticed.  She wants desperately to communicate and feels like she is going out of her mind trying to get the attention she wants. UNTIL Melody's neighbour comes up with a simple but nifty way to give Melody a voice! Melody is beyond excited and her story escalates from there especially when she attends school and they integrate the special needs kids in with a few of the regular classes.

I believe this book is mainly aimed at young adults but I enjoyed it a lot. There are parts that made me cry for Melody but mostly I was happy for her.  I gave this one 5 stars.

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Next up, Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark

Cara is a wedding dress designer and lives with her father who has Alzheimer's Disease. Her mother died when she was young. She has a brother with a young family who lives some distance from her. Unfortunately he isn't much help as far as the father is concerned. Cara hires a nurse to help out as she is very busy with her at-home business. One day, Cara discovers a box of old postcards in the attic which causes her to suspect that her father has lied to her since childhood. Who sent the postcards and why would her father have kept them? Cara sets out to solve the mystery. Will the answers make or break her?

I loved this book so much that I ordered another by the same author. The book is told in dual timelines but I found it easy enough to follow. I gave this one 4 stars although I was torn between 4 and 5.

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Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D'Silva

This story revolves around three women - Sita, a native of India who has ambitious goals; Mary, who lives in India (then under British rule) with her English parents; and Priya whose father suggests a trip back to India after she is mortified when she finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. 

This book spans more than 70 years starting in 1928.  The first part of the book mainly focuses on Sita and Mary who become steadfast childhood friends, along with Amin, a local Indian boy who is simply content to become a boatman.  In later years, one of the women will betray the other in a heart-wrenching way.  Priya is mentioned throughout the book but in a different timeline and she is connected to Sita and Mary. Will the truth ever prevail? 

I LOVED the author's description of India — the scenery, the smells, the sounds, etc. You can almost feel like you are there. I ran a gamut of emotions with this one. A wonderful book! I liked it so much I bought the previous six books written by the same author. Each is a standalone novel and not part of a series. I gave it 4 stars, although again, I was torn between 4 and 5 stars.

That wraps up the reviews for this week.

See you next Tuesday with more reviews.
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