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First I want to apologize for not visiting your blogs this past month. I have been quiet on Facebook and Twitter too.
Today I will tell you why.
On March 29, Good Friday, I had a sheriff come to my door and hand me a paper that told us we had to get out of our home “with all convenient speed”. The deputy told me that meant within 30 days from when the paper was signed, which was actually a typed name of a judge, not signed, the previous Friday, March 22. So we lost a whole week because when it was delivered.
Add to that, we were working with a Federal Program on a loan modification that was supposed to be ready around April 15. My husband tried to work directly with our lender which was not the original or even the 2nd or the 3rd lender, but all he was told every week was that our modification was in process along with a different excuse as to why it was taking so long. In fact if we call there today they still tell us the modification is in process.
There have been a lot of things that have come to light in the past month, like the courts failure to record documents that would have stopped any foreclosure that was in process, along with several notices and documents we never received. The court nor the lenders attorney use certified mail so they have no proof they sent anything and neither do we.
Is has been a huge mess that my husband has been working on for what seems like forever. The representatives of the Federal Program were going to appeal for us or try to intercede in some way but the papers have been stuck in their legal department for the past 2 weeks. It amazes me that no one can put their hands on actual copies of anything with signatures that even say the company foreclosing actually holds the note on our house. This is happening to homeowner’s all over this country. The “too big to fail” banks are getting their cake and eating it too. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the mortgage/foreclosure system so that the same rules apply to everyone. If the bank/lender writes mortgages nationwide and sells and resells and bundles and sells again homeowners need to be protected so that one day you don’t find out your mortgage payment has doubled or tripled without any notification or reason.
But that is the war. Right now we have just lost this battle. Our house that my husband, kids, friends and family built for us 10 years ago. Handicap accessible, all on one floor just to make things easier for me is a huge lost but I am still here to fight another day.
Places to rent that are accessible for me and large enough are hard to come by. Our oldest son has moved home as he deals with a divorce and messy custody battle. He has almost 50% custody of his 1 year old daughter, plus our youngest children, adults taking time off from college and underemployed still live with us and are a huge help around the house. Plus we have the 2 dogs, our cats and our oldest son’s cats that were family cats before he moved out. Sherlock is a new one and he replaced Wiley who now spends hours each day back on my desk again now that he has come home.
Time was running out, we were granted a one-week extension by the sheriff when we begged, and we finally have found a place that will shorten my husband’s commute but add to the kids. The dogs get to go with us but not the cats and my heart is breaking. A couple will go to a family farm and hopefully the rest will be temporarily adopted by family. Our son plans to move out on his own again soon and hopes to take his cats with him, at least the 2 that were with us the longest. I definitely want to reunite with Sherlock as soon as possible. This house is just wood and brick, these felines have my heart. Sherlock has fought back so hard from his illness last summer and he still is not the guy that used to sit here with me every day. He rarely leaves my bedroom/bathroom area. When I am sitting on the bed reading his place is right on my lap. I feel like I am leaving one of my kids behind and have not been handling it well or really any of this well which has been why I been absent around the blogs.
This is a big change for all of us and very stressful. Hubby and I both feel as if we have failed. We should have probably never been approved for the original loan, but the joy we have felt here in this house cannot be taken away. Now we will start gathering new memories in new places. We are not the only ones going through something like this, some of you may have gone through this as well, and my prayers go out to you. We are lucky the kids are grown, we will still be close enough for visits to happen often and we will survive this. For a while I didn’t think we would.
We are taught to believe God doesn’t give us more than we can handle and I thought he had. But as we pack our things in a trailer and start life over again He will be by my side. He saved me after that crash in 2001 when I had no right living. My life is His hands and I will go where he leads although I am not always happy about it. I just must have faith. I lost it for awhile.
Thank you all for your prayers. I believe I regained strength because of them. We are moving today as you read this. I hope you will keep us in your prayers as the next few days are going to be rough.
I may disappear for a couple of days as we move and transfer internet providers. I have pre-scheduled a couple of blog posts. I will be back as soon as possible.
We are celebrating my granddaughter Natalie’s 1st Birthday Today!!
Mel is an awesome photographer if you live in this area.
Check out her Facebook page here.
Macmillian Audio offers a vast collection of books for your listening pleasure. I was thrilled to be contacted after I posted my review of Political Suicide by Michael Palmer and asked if I would be interested in adding an audio clip to my post. After I found out how easy it was to do that I was very happy to add the clip. But then I was thinking people may not go back to the original post to see it so I decided to add this special post and Macmillian added icing to the cake by sponsoring a giveaway of 2 Audio Copies of Michael’s book!!!
Listen to the snippet below. Then you will definitely want to hear more!!! Fill out the entry form and Good Luck! Remember to enter to win a print copy here as well.
Audio books are not new to me but I confess I do not listen to books that often. They were a Godsend after my accident when I was confined to a hospital bed until I recovered some function in my hand to be able to hold a book again. Use the entry form to tell me about your audio book experiences – How often do you listen to books? – Where do you listen? etc.
There will be 2 winners chosen using Random.org
Prizes will be sent to the winners directly from Macmillian Audio.
Winners will be notified via email and posted in the sidebar of this blog.
Contest Will End February 1, 2013 AT 11:59 P.M. CST
I read over 200 books in 2012 and choosing the best has been extremely difficult.
There were so many excellent choices.
Hearse and Buggy (An Amish Mystery)
By Laura Bradford
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Written in Stone (A Books by the Bay Mystery)
by Ellery Adams
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Find my review here.
Narrowing over 200 down top just 16 was so tough. 2012 was a fantastic year to Escape Into A Good Book and 2013 looks promising as well. I hope you have enjoyed my reviews, recommendations, random thoughts and giveaways. It has been a pleasure being your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent this year. I am excited for the new year as I start my 4th year blogging! I hope to book many escapes for you all to enjoy!
Me Before You: A Novel
Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Hardcover: 384 pages
I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. I had only read a small synopsis sent by the publicist before I started reading. I knew the man in the story was paralyzed but didn’t really give it more than a passing thought until I read about his injury. His damage to his spine was in the C5-6 area, the exact same place as my injury. He is confined to a wheelchair with very little movement. This could have been me. I was lucky to have paralysis only claim one side of my body. This did give me pause but I continued reading. Will Traynor went through the same feelings and doubt and uncertainty that I did and still sometimes have. But he did do something I could never do. He decided to have 6 months with his family and then he would end his life at a assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. Lou will do anything to get him to change his mind. To say this book affected me deeply in an understatement.
Jojo Moyes has written a brilliant story that was well researched. She incorporates spinal injury online support groups to help Lou understand what Will is going through. From experience I know the snippets in the book are credible. She has included a caregiver that takes care of the more personal and medical needs for Will so that Lou is more of a friend or companion at least at first.
She has also created a wonderful cast of supporting characters. Lou’s lower class family, working hard every day to try to keep up. Her sister, the family favorite, with her own personal battles. Lou’s boyfriend who has suddenly become a fitness guru. Then there is Will’s family. Upper middle class with a huge house and plenty of money. But even with their son’s disability aside, were they ever happy? I truly enjoyed the chapters when other characters took over and gave their perspective. We were able to get a deeper vision of their thoughts and impressions of their lives as well as their feelings about Lou and Will.
This was not a book that I could rush through but I feel that is because of my personal issues with the story. I found myself setting the book aside because some parts were so powerful or when I found myself actually crying so much the words were blurred. It is not your run of the mill love story. Feelings grew in ways that I didn’t even imagine. I don’t want to ruin the end for anyone but I was truly hoping for a different outcome. I understood, but as a person who has actually looked death in the eye and came back, life is just too precious to me.
An intense story, I highly recommend you have a box of tissues handy.
Q & A with JOJO MOYES,
Tell us a little about where your ideas for your characters and their stories come from.
They come from all over the place. It’s often a snippet of conversation or a news story that just lodges in my head and won’t go away. Sometimes I get an idea for a character too, and then unconsciously start knitting them together. Me Before You is the most “high concept” book I’ve ever written—in that I could describe it in two sentences. But most of them are a lot more organic and just contain lots of ideas and things that I’ve pulled together. With this book I think the issue of quality of life was probably to the front of my mind as I had two relatives who were facing life in care homes, and I know that in one case she would probably have chosen any alternative to that existence.
Which of the characters in Me Before You do you identify with the most?
Well, there’s definitely a bit of Lou in there. I did have a pair of stripy tights that I loved as a child! I think you have to identify with all your characters to some extent, or they just don’t come off the page properly. But I also identify with Camilla a bit. As a mother I can’t imagine the choice she has to make, and I could imagine in those circumstances you would just shut down a bit emotionally.
What made you choose to set Me Before You in a small historical town with a castle at its center?
I tried all sorts of settings for this book. I drove all over Scotland, trying to find a castle and a small town that would “fit.” It was essential that Lou came from a small town, rather than a city, because I live in one myself and I’m fascinated by the way that growing up in one can be the greatest comfort—and also incredibly stifling. I wanted a castle because it was the purest example of old money rubbing up against ordinary people. Britain is still incredibly hide-bound by class, and we only really notice it when we go to a place where it doesn’t exist in the same way, like the U.S. or Australia. I needed the class difference between Will and Lou to be clear.
We love the way you draw the social distinction between Lou’s working-class upbringing and Will’s upper-class background. Did you do that deliberately to introduce humor into what could otherwise have been a deeply tragic situation?
Yes I did. I thought that the subject was so bleak potentially that it was important to have a lot of humor in the book. But it adds a useful tension to the narrative too: offsetting the warmth and chaos of Lou’s home life with the more formal and reserved nature of Will’s relationship with his parents. And it gives Lou an added reason to feel totally out of her depth once she arrives there. From the point of the reader, it also gives Will a subtle advantage that is vital if we are to see him as Lou’s equal and not just an object of pity.
Your books always have an incredibly moving love story at the heart of them. What is it about the emotional subject of love that makes you want to write about it?
I have no idea! I’m not very romantic in real life. I guess love is the thing that makes us do the most extraordinary things—the emotion that can bring us highest or lowest, or be the most transformative—and extremes of emotion are always interesting to write about. Plus I’m too wimpy to write horror.
Have you ever cried while writing a scene in any of your books?
Always. If I don’t cry while writing a key emotional scene, my gut feeling is it’s failed. I want the reader to feel something while reading—and making myself cry has become my litmus test as to whether that’s working. It’s an odd way to earn a living.
Where do you write? Do you set hours or just put pen to paper when inspiration strikes?
I work in roughly set hours, but with three children and a lot of animals I’ve found you have to be flexible. If there are no disruptions I roll out of bed and straight to my desk and work from 6am to 7:30am, and then again after I’ve done the animals from roughly 10am to 2:30pm. My ideal time to work would be from 3pm to 10pm—but unfortunately that only happens if I go away and hide in a hotel.
When you form characters do you ever incorporate aspects from people you know?
Yes—but often without realizing. Luckily if you write a negative character trait people are rarely likely to recognize themselves. More often though the characters have elements of myself which I then stretch and exaggerate until they become their own. Lou, for example, contains something of the character I could well have been if I had married the man I got engaged to at 17. I would have led a very different life.
Who would be in your dream book club? Where would you meet and what would you talk about?
Oh, wow. If I can have dead and living writers, I’d have Anaïs Nin, Hemingway, Xenophon, Haruki Murakami, Jessica Mitford, and Nora Ephron. We’d meet in a smoky bar in Paris and I’d probably not say very much at all. I’d be awestruck and just sit there and listen.
Do any other writers inspire you?
Yes. I love Kate Atkinson for her inventiveness, and because as a reader you can give yourself over to a plot that seems to go everywhere, trusting that she will bring the ends together in the most satisfactory and unexpected ways. I love Barbara Kingsolver for her use of language and Nora Ephron for her wit and the way she writes about the business of love and being human. It’s always tricky reading too much of the writers who inspire you though; sometimes they’re so good you just want to give up and go and work in a chicken factory instead.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I ride my ex-racehorse, Brian, and try to just hang out with my children without muttering: “I’ll be with you in a minute… I’ve just got to finish this…” A dream weekend, however, would be spent alone with my husband in Le Marais, Paris.
The Book Publicity Kit Even Includes This Recipe.
Lemon Cream Tart
*1 large egg white
*2 tablespoons stick margarine
*3 tablespoons sugar
*3 cups reduced-fat
vanilla wafer crumbs (about 36 cookies)
*3 large eggs
*1 (14-ounce) can low-fat sweetened
condensed milk (not evaporated skim milk)
*1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
*1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
*1 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed and divided
*10 lemon rind strips (optional)
*Mint leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. Combine first 3 ingredients and beat at high speed of a mixer until blended. Add crumbs and toss with a fork until moist. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round tart pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 325° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Combine eggs, milk, lemon rind, and juice in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool completely. Top with whipped topping. Garnish with lemon rind strips and mint, if desired.
About This Author
Jojo Moyes (b. 1969 in London, England) is a British novelist. She is one of only a few authors to have twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has been translated into eleven different languages. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children. Find out more about Jojo Moyes here.
I am giving away my gently read review copy!
Open to U.S. and Canada
Contest Will End January 10, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. CST
Winner will be notified via email and name will be posted in the sidebar of this blog.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Remington Rodger was born this morning at 6:58 this morning.
9 lbs. 4.6 oz. 22 inches long
The doctor had predicted a small baby. No wonder mommy was so uncomfortable the last couple of weeks. Mommy and Daddy are doing fine. Kaden is excited to meet his little brother. Nana (me) and Papa can’t wait to hold him in our arms but with the blizzard today our visit may have to wait until tomorrow!