This blog contains my thoughts and feelings only. It IS titled, "The Daily Life of Carol: My Thoughts, Rants & Raves." They do not represent those of anyone else. While I still can't imagine how my little blog is making the rounds locally, it is mine and mine only. If you are going to be offended or feel it necessary to whine or complain to those completely unassociated to me and my blog, stop reading and find something else to do with your time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: Love is Murder by Sandra Brown

This is a fantastic book! Love is Murder is a compilation of 29 stories selected by Sandra Brown in the "romance suspense" genre, romantic stories with a terror twist or vice versa. Some of these authors were very familiar - like Lee Child - while others were new. Of the 29, 20 were my favorites. I know, I know!

The most brilliant story of them all is Diamond Drop by Roxanne St. Claire. It is a short story about her series Bullet Catchers, an elite protection organization. The main character in Diamond Drop is Donovan Rush. He is a courier for diamonds from Antwerp, Belgium to Paris, France. He must deliver diamonds for a new client, Boisvert Jewelers. The story is smart and fast-paced with a twist at the end.

Oh, there is the Hot Note by Patricia Rosemoor. In Love is Murder, Patricia writes a short story regarding her series about Shelley Caldwell, a homicide detective in Chicago, Illinois. Caldwell must solve supernatural mysteries, along with her half-vampire/half-human boyfriend.

And, definitely do not miss the Black Ops, Inc. series by Cindy Gerard!  Black Ops, Inc. is a private security and espionage firm. Her short story is Dying to Score about a reconnaissance mission in Central Guatemala by Crystal Debrowski Reed a/k/a "Tinkerbelle" and her husband Johnny Duane Reed, along with Luke Colter a/k/a "Doc Holliday" and Gabe Jones a/k/a "The Archangel." Johnny is seriously wounded in the shoulder, and Tink and her companions must extract Johnny before they are overrun by mercenaries of a Mexican drug cartel.

I am usually not a fan of compilation books. This one, however, is the exception. I really hope you read Love is Murder. Two thumbs' up!

P.S. I cannot wait to give my list of "new" authors to my sister Julie. She feeds my library addiction. (Thank goodness!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Troops to Teachers

Placing veterans in the nation's classrooms to serve again is the goal for the Troops to Teachers program. The purpose of the Department of Defense program is to help eligible current and former military personnel begin new careers as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed.

In addition to counseling and referral, state Troops to Teachers representatives help applicants identify teacher certification requirements for the state they wish to teach, programs leading to certification and employment opportunities in their state. Other state representatives will reach out to servicemembers earlier while they are still on active-duty and identify education requirements so that interested servicemembers may begin working toward their teaching certifications before leaving the service, enabling a smoother transition into teaching.

Servicemembers can learn more about Troops to Teachers and locate a state representative at

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon ”GO RUCK” 2013

National Guardsmen "Ruckers" among
first marathoners to cross finish line.
At zero dark hundred on the morning of Patriot's Day, at the starting line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts - four hours before the runners took off - 15 active-duty soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard began the 26.2 miles, 8-hour walk of the Boston Marathon known as the "Tough Ruck." Instead of shorts, t-shirts and running shoes, soldiers dressed in full fatigues, boots and carry their rucksacks filled with clothes and supplies, that can weigh as much as 45 lbs. 

Participants, who are referred to as Ruckers, honor a lost soldier by affixing a yellow ribbon that bears the name of a veteran who lost their life in service to their country in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn in Iraq. It is a fundraising effort for active military personnel and raises money for "Military Friends Foundation in support of Families of the Fallen." 

The Military Friends Foundation was established in 2003 with the financial support of generous private donors who wished to recognize the unique service of citizen soldiers and airmen.  Unlike any other time in history, these men and women are being called upon to serve this Nation overseas.  Created as an independent non-profit organization, the Military Friends Foundation is designed to assist eligible Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve families facing financial hardships related to a deployment or extended activation.

People saw the soldiers throughout the race and thought they were part of the security for the Boston Marathon. They were not. The picture of two soldiers tearing apart the fence to help those injured had just finished their Tough Ruck. And, while many ran away from the noise and chaos following the bombings, the soldiers ran toward it.  

All Tough Ruckers are all accounted for and safely home with their families. As always, they supported the American people. Now, it is our turn to support them. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Military Friends Foundation, 14 Beacon Street #706, Boston, MA 02108 or made online via PayPal at

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: The Man in the White Suit by Ben Collins

To enjoy this book you need to be a fan of Top Gear U.K.  You need to understand the epic global phenomenon of "The Stig."  And, that most importantly, the Stig's identity is never revealed. No one knew his name, saw his face or heard his voice. After Season 2, the black-suited Stig chatted about who he was, so he was fired. Ben Collins remained in secrecy as the white-suited Stig for eight seasons. By then, the press started questioning that Ben Collins was the mysterious Stig, although Collins repeatedly denied it. Collins was not officially fired from Top Gear U.K. until his autobiography - The Man in the White Suit: The Stig, Le Mans, the Fast Lane, and Me - was published. So that brings us to the book review.

This was a long read for me - I do not know British expressions or internationally acclaimed racing car drivers. Nevertheless, the book was enjoyable. Collins has lead a very interesting life. At the age of four his sole ambition was to be a fighter pilot...His father instilled in him the love of speed. Ben took the eye examination for a fighter pilot and failed. He was crushed, but he never lost his passion to excel. For his 18th birthday, his father's gift was a trial in a single-seat racing car at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. The racing car driver was born.

The book basically has three components - Ben Collins the racing car driver (including movie stunt driver), the Stig, and a member of the British Army. His recollections of his army training were quite amusing. As the Stig, Ben coached hundreds of celebrities from Tom Cruise to Lionel Ritchie around Top Gear's Dunsfold racetrack, each person vying to be the fastest celebrity in "a reasonably priced" car. The competition is fierce. Ben has also tested hundreds of exotic supercars and family cars around that track too. Manufacturers (owners, designers, engineers) even listed to the Stig's comments and suggestions for improving or tweaking their cars. Amazing.

With rumors of Top Gear U.K. considering another Stig, a terrible racing accident in Romania, and the birth of his baby girl, Collins decided to give up the Stig and just be Ben Collins. Certainly he needed a less-franatic, less-traveled life. Even though the producers were looking for another racing car driver(s), the parting was not amicable when Collins published his book. That's silly. "You told everybody that you were the Stig before we could fire you." Ridiculous.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ben Collins's autobiography. Of course, I am a rabid Top Gear U.K. lunatic. It was good to finally know the man behind the mask. Two thumbs' up!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson

 I finally got my hands on the latest Alex Cross installment (thanks, Julie) - Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson. This one was creepy!

Alex Cross has to investigate the murders of three serial killers. The first murderer is killing tall, pretty blondes, the second is killing young gay men, and the third is killing young pregnant women. As awful as that sounds, James Patterson does a good job of making these murders palatable.

While trying to solve these crimes, Alex lands on a website's hate list and the blogger is stalking him. At one point, the blogger sets Alex up for an assault arrest. Yes, Alex is arrested and must spend a night in jail. The police's top profiler/detective in jail! Alex is then assigned as noncontact status, and he can only answer the phones and filing. Thankfully, Alex manages to continue to work the cases from the desk and eventually is relieved from suspension and back to finding the killers.

Disappointment in a couple of incomplete side items. (1) One of the serial killers installs cameras and microphones in Alex's house. This issue is never addressed again in the book. Alex should have found that killer's laptop and the equipment, but it is never brought back up again. Throughout the book, the serial killer listens to Alex's family life and conversations, but it is not resolved at the end. Just a little something that should have been tweaked. (2) One the serial killers injects Alex with drugs. Alex is taken to the hospital when he collapses. No one believes Alex that the unsub stuck him with a needle, and no one bothers to check his hip for the puncture mark. Instead, they just believe their brilliant psychologist is actually a drug addict. What?! This made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

As usual, two thumbs' up for James Patterson. His books flow easily and are a quick read. I even went back and reread parts of the book, something I rarely do.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review: Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs writes other novels besides the Mercy Thompson series I enjoy. I've started reading the companion series called Alpha & Omega (Charles and Anna).

We're introduced to Charles, a werewolf, in the first Mercy Thompson novel Moon Called. Charles is one of the sons of Bran, the Marrok, the "king" of the werewolves. Charles is the only natural-born werewolf. Female werewolves cannot have children because changing into a werewolf during a full moon is too violent for the baby to live. However, Charles's mother was a Native American Salish woman, the daughter of a medicine man. She used the knowledge of her father to keep from changing while pregnant. She carried Charles to full term, but was so weak she died after his birth. She did, however, pass her magic to Charles, who can change easier and faster than other werewolves.

Charles's role in the pack is assassin. His father sends Charles to eliminate rogue or dangerous werewolves. When they discover an out-of-control Alpha in Chicago, Bran sends Charles to eliminate that werewolf. If possible, definitely start this series with a short story called Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf. The first actual novel involving Charles and Anna together is Cry Wolf when Anna goes to Montana with Charles. The novella is the story of Charles and Anna's meeting and falling in love, as well as the story of the bad werewolf and his pack. It is the best start to this series.

This is a must-read series for those interested in werewolf folklore. To keep this blog short, I'll discuss Cry Wolf in another post. Most definitely two thumbs' up!

About Me

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Winter Springs, Florida, United States
I am a stay-at-home mom to three boys (18, 16, 14), three Mini-Dachsunds, and a wife to an incredible husband {think MacGyver}. I am Catholic. I am passionate about making a difference in my world while still making a great life for my children and family. Besides being a mom, I am also a blogger for and I hope to make my voice heard and make a difference in my own way.