Lori V.

Jan 162014

Many of you who know me well, know I love to read.  To the point that I can devour an entire series in a weekend (ala Memorial Day weekend, when I read all 3 books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series).   One of my favorite things are the free books that amazon.com offers for kindle readers.  Sometimes it is a book that is only free for a few days.  More often than not, its the first book in a series that is free.  They get you hooked and you’ll pay for the other books (yeah, I’m guilty of that!).  

I have read so many wonderful books I might not have because they were free.   Even if I am not sure I will like it, I download it anyway.  What hard is it if the book is free and you hate it?  You aren’t out any money for it, so just download it!

I will try to share the freebies I find a few times a week as I can.  Keep in mind that at the time the list is posted, the books were free.  Amazon is always changing its prices, so by the time you read & click – it may not be free any longer. 



Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Rose Gardner Mystery #1)

I loved this book so much, I willingly bought its sequel (which is not free, but still good!).   It was a little quirky, which is just how I like a good mystery book.  The literary world calls them “Cozy Mysterys”.  I just call them GOOD!   The sequel is Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons
For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.  Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.


(Rose Gardner Mystery #2).

The Doctor’s Secret Bride – Book One (Billionaire Brides of Granite Falls)

I hadn’t read this book yet, but it is downloaded and ready for me to read when I choose.
Preview:  Michelle Carter has been down on her luck since the day she was born. So it comes as no surprise when through a series of unfortunate events, she finds herself jobless, penniless, and practically homeless. In a desperate attempt to get back on her feet, Michelle accepts a job as a nanny, and finds it absolutely impossible to resist the sexual magnetism of her handsome, sexy billionaire boss–but resist she must for as long as she could, especially since she’s keeping secrets from him.

Believing that his late wife betrayed him with another man, falling in love again is the last thing Dr. Erik LaCrosse wants to do. But fall, he does, and so hard, he secretly marries the alluring nanny from the wrong side of the tracks. However, when he unearths a disturbing secret from Michelle’s past, Erik must choose between his loyalty to a dead woman and the love burning in his heart for one who is very much alive.



Long Time Coming

This book I downloaded awhile ago, and just read this past weekend.  I could not put it down.  It has a little suspense, a little “who done it” and a little romance.  My mom read it before me and told me how good it was.
Preview:  Years and distance kept the memories at bay. But back at home, the past is ready and waiting to haunt her…
Eighteen years have passed since Joy’s childhood best friend, Jenny, met her death in a tragic car accident just a few days after their senior prom. A broken Joy left their small Kentucky hometown shortly after–determined never to come back. But when her father’s illness forces her to return, she realizes that neither time nor distance have truly healed her troubled soul.  Plagued with nightmares of the accident and crippled by a vague fear whose source she can’t identify, Joy realizes that in order to move on she must face the truth behind several disturbing gaps in her memory of that fateful spring. But the only person who can help her is a man she despises–Jenny’s erstwhile boyfriend Jeff, now a respected doctor, whose carelessness as a teenager was the cause of Jenny’s horrendous death–and Joy’s own emotional destruction. Can she ever forgive? She may have no choice but to try. Because both the danger she sensed–and the childhood friendship she treasured–now suddenly seem very much alive.



Jan 152014

Oh hello – you there reading my blog.  Been wondering where I have been? 

I typically always take a break around Christmas (as I do at the beginning of the summer) to just “be”.  This Christmas was different than Christmas in the past, as it was the first time that as a divorced couple, we had separate Santa visits.   It was the first time that I woke up and did not see my children rush down the stairs to see what Santa had brought.  

I did however get to wake up next to Patrick, and had a quiet morning catching up on my shows on the DVR.    We got my kids back around 1, and had Christmas with them then.  It was a good time and even though it was not the day I had really planned – it was good none the less. They enjoyed their gifts from Santa, their dad & his family.  We spent the afternoon putting together legos and just being bums.  That evening we had dinner with our other “family” – Sonia & Bray.  We ate dinner, opened gifts and played Apples to Apples before calling it a night and heading home to bed.

We got to go to Mama & Daddy’s after Christmas.  All 6 of us, on a road trip.  The kids did great for the most part, we did have some whining on the way home, but the kids were tired, hopped up on sugar & “grandma time”.  It was nice to see my brother again, and for Bray to meet my family.  Patrick had met them earlier in December when they were visiting at my house.   We (the 3 of us) had gone to Patrick’s moms on the 23rd for a couple days for Christmas with his family, while my kids went to NC with their dad.  I had a great time seeing his huge family again, and of course – his best friend Billy who had me crying-laughing for a few hours one afternoon too.  

Upcoming things – a couple reviews, a couple giveaways, Valentines gift guide and of course – tons of photos!  

1004921_10151794373726790_785913355_nSo I leave you with my wordy-wednesday photo of the week.  Taken when we were visiting moms house over Christmas..

The kids made us do it…I swear. 

Much love,

Dec 052013

Clearly, Matthew was not a fan of Santa.  I mean the man even gave up his seat, AND gave Matthew a lollipop and he’s still screaming like a banshee. I think we are 4 & 2 in this photo.   Notice mom rocking the corduroy jacket while she tries to hold Matthew in place. 



Nov 222013

So lately (as in over the last 3 months), I’ve been called crazy, weird, strange and a multitude of names – by people who were supposed to be friends and even some family members.  

Why you ask? – because I have a great relationship with my boyfriends ex-wife, who also happens to be the mother of his son.

Well, my give a damn just busted and while its cracked and broken – I’d like to take a minute to set the record straight and maybe explain a little.  This way, if you ever think you want to spout your ill informed opinion about someone in a similar situation – you’ll think twice.  I’m sure the below is a jumble of nonsensical ramblings, but well – again – my give a damn is busted.

 I don’t understand why people think that all relationships between the “new girl” and the “ex” have to be strained or terrible.   I understand that I am not the best example, since my relationship with Matt’s girlfriend (Cassie) is strained at best.    However, its one thing to be civil, but its another to have a great relationship and actually *gasp* talk on a regular basis.   Guess what, the kids do notice, and so do their friends!   I’ve been told “my friends think its cool that you & my mom get along and don’t hate each other”.  Again, kids notice stuff even when you think they don’t!

I read an article awhile back where Jada Pinkett-Smith (as in Mrs. Will Smith) wrote about blended families that truly, truly struck a cord with me.   The note mentions being married to, but the same thing applies to dating.


Patrick and I both bring kids to our relationship (my 3, his 1), we knew this from the first date.  It was never a problem for either of us.   We have worked hard to make the six of us into a wonderful family.   Sometimes I think its easier being with a person who has kids, because he understands the challenges that arise from shuttling kids between two houses, having to work out holiday schedules and sharing birthdays.

 I knew going into this relationship that in order to make “us” work, I not only had to love Bray (and I do), but I also needed to learn to like his mom.  She isn’t going anywhere, she will ALWAYS be his mother.  She will ALWAYS be a part of our lives, just as I will always be my childrens mother and be a part of their lives.   If I have a problem with that, I needed to walk away MONTHS ago.

 In honesty, I was terrified to meet her the first time I did meet her.  I am very protective of my kids, and I know how it felt to have to “let go” a little and let dad’s girlfriend be a part of their life.  However, I met a person who was funny, kind and accepted me.  She and I sit next to each other at ball games now, we share stories and random text messages.  My son has even spent the night over there with her and Bray.  I think I’m pretty lucky in the fact that in my relationship with Patrick, I gained not only another amazing kid – but a great friend as well.


For those of you that think its weird that I sometimes say “my 4 kids” (referring to Katie, Jonathan, Natalee and Bray) – shame on you.  How horrible is it that a child have another adult who truly cares about them and loves them?  Guess what, its not – it is a wonderful thing!  No, I didn’t give birth to him and I’m not even his stepmom, but I don’t love him any less because he isn’t “mine”.  I always tell my kids they are lucky to have not only a mom and dad that love them, but Cassie & Patrick who also love and care about them.  

As long as all the adults IN the situation are OK with the situation, the kids are ALL happy & thriving (which we all are) – then I don’t give a damn anymore what anyone thinks.

Nov 212013

 I’ve talked about him before, but its time to introduce a little more about “the boy behind the blog” – as in – Patrick!    He willingly participates in silly Q&A sessions with me for blog posts.  And doesn’t think I’m nuts when I say “I gotta blog about this”.    His first adventure into doing a blog post with me was:  He Said/She Said back in June.

pandnataleePatrick & Natalee at Folly Beach, September 2013

What’s your favorite band or musician?
The Eagles
Who was your first concert?
Kenny Rogers

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
the meat
*I should have guessed this, since once we get to Walhalla next week for Thanksgiving with his family, he will be cooking BBQ and chickens overnight*

Finish the sentence:  I am thankful for…
my family




Boys Behind The Blog

Nov 062013

So…its been awhile since I have tackled the ABC Dates topic…so thought it would be great to bring it up again!   Don’t know what ABC Dates are?  Check out this post (original ABC Dates post)…or this page (main page for ABC Dates).

Life gets crazy – since September 1, we haven’t had a weekend where we didn’t do something – I kid you not.  We either had a travel ball tournament, or we had tickets to the Gamecocks football game.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the family that Patrick and I have made together with our kids.  I love the crazy and the chaos and everything that comes along with having 4 kids.


We also haven’t had a single non-kid weekend together in about 2 months.  Again, don’t get us wrong – we love our kids.   I will say, we have moments alone together….we went shopping the other day (in between dropping off 1 kid, and picking up 3 more), and the other day we did have some alone time in the car when I took him to the airport.  

We have managed (with or without kids) to do a few more things on our ABC Dates list…. We have been to Charleston & Folly Beach back in September.  We have done Williams-Brice on gameday multiple times (love this!).  We tend to spend more time cooking at home than going out lately, so no new restaurants to report.

We are also very committed to each other and making our relationship work, no matter what crazy comes our way.  I once complained that I didn’t get to see Patrick but for 15 minutes one week (this was early on when we first started dating) and he said “I would rather have something than nothing at all”.   He’s so right (don’t tell him I said that!). 

With all that being said – what are some places you’d like to add to our ABC Dates lists?  We have a list for Richmond, VA…Atlanta, GA and Columbia, SC.  We are happy to start compliling lists for other cities as well – just ask!