Mrs. Saint and the Defectives: A Novel – By Julie Lawson Timmer

~ GENERAL TAKE [MILD SPOILERS] ~

I read Mrs. Saint and the Defectives in July when it was available as one of the selections for Amazon Prime’s Kindle First program. Every month, Amazon Prime members can pick out one title from the handful offered and download it for free thirty days before it debuts publicly. It is one of my particular favorite perks of the Prime program.

I chose this title, as it seemed one right up my alley. It sounded fun, light, and quirky enough to de-stress me and set me up for a positive month. I was not wrong.

The titular character, Mrs. Saint, is a powerhouse of a woman with firm opinions on things like being neighborly, families eating together, and teenage boys and dogs. You know– controversial stuff. I could not help but love her immediately. But then, I loved every one of the characters in this book. The author, Julie Lawson Timmer, does a fantastic job of breathing life into them all. Besides mere life, she bestows each with a charm, grace, and personality. I know people such as these.

Markie, a recent divorcée, and her teenage son Jesse become next door neighbors to the irascible elderly woman and a rag-tag bunch she calls “defectives.” The dance that ensues between the overstepping neighbor and the reticent, retreating Markie is something to behold.

The so-called “defectives” are an awkward bunch of lovely people like ourselves and probably everyone we know. No one escapes pain and woundedness in this life. Some merely hide it better than others, if you ask me. Brokenness does not mean one is “defective”– just human in an imperfect world.

The author has an impressive command of language and narrative. I read the book through nearly in one sitting. Ms. Timmer obviously knows people. With a few deft sentences, she made me feel I understood even the lesser characters well. I had a stake in them and their growth and struggles.

If she were to write a sequel, I would buy it and read it with anticipation. The ending was a mixed bag to me. Ultimately, I like what occurred for most of the characters. There was a development, a revelation, that I felt was not necessary to the story, but others may well disagree.

 

~ MORE PERSONAL TAKE – [MEDIUM SPOILERS] ~

 

Mainly, I enjoyed at least the first 90% of the book very much. I smiled often and even laughed aloud. Other times, I found myself “coaching” the characters as though they would hear me and fall into line. [Why do I do that– ever?]

Knowing her neighbor had lots of wisdom, why did Markie not keep her stubborn attitude in check? Why did Mrs. Saint deliver her “advice” in the same matter-of-fact way? Did she not realize that “people do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” Had she not heard that you “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” sometime in her life?

So, I would have preferred if a few certain characters might have been less reactive and stubborn. It became a bit frustrating– though true-to-life to some degree– as we can “miss” each other even with the best of intentions.

I have read many lighthearted books lately in which the last chapters took on a vastly more profound and somber subject or tone. There was some warning [of a sort] when I looked back over the stories in detail. However, they felt disjointed and out of step with the rest of the narrative.

Much to my chagrin, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives wound up this way. My thought on the semi-surprise “Cause” ending is that the book, though seemingly lighthearted in tone, is quite serious in its way. The plight of these people is enough– more than enough to my way of thinking– to give it importance, relevance and whatever other weighty “ance” word you can imagine. This tale is about the human condition.

There is no end of books written about the subject that is broached in the last pages about a certain character’s back story. I would not discourage significant themes. I find them when others may not, in fact. This tale of a pushy but well-meaning neighbor with a houseful of eccentrics under her roof and their dealings with the near agoraphobic single mom and her angsty son is ENOUGH.

The ending seems a reach in a few ways. The explanation feels like a betrayal of the personality and traits of the title character. It does not go with what came before. Also, it seems like a reach — like that of an overachiever holding a pen, who always pushes for more and is rarely satisfied– and never believes that others without that ultra-critical eye, simply marvel at the beauty that was inherent in their words already.

I wish I could have assured the author that just as these quirky, beautiful people she lovingly detailed in these pages have intrinsic worth and are not “defective,” so too would this book be worthy enough without the ultra-serious turn. If it is not broken, it does not need fixing.

What Julie Lawson Timmer has done with her work has touched me greatly, without a doubt, and I am grateful for it. I just would have liked to have maintained the same particular sentiment and tone from the start through to the story’s conclusion. As this is art, though, it is the beholder’s eye that matters. Your perspective may differ.

Here is the link to download the Kindle version of Mrs. Saint and the Defectives on Amazon.

 

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Ledgle Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml Wood Grain Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser

 

 

This Ledgle Essential Oil Diffuser can diffuse the air. It releases healthful negative ions in the air to prevent germs and odors. I use mine with essential oils that help with health concerns. However, you can also use it with just water like a humidifier.

The operation of this air purifier is simple. With one button, you can set it to mist for one, three, six hours, or in fact, continually. It can work for about seven hours on the continuous setting. 

This diffuser has ambient colored lights (red, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, and white). With the other button, you can set any of the singular lights or cycle them, or turn off the light completely. I program one of the steady lights in the evening for mood lighting and to reduce glare from electronic devices.

The Ledgle Essential Oil Diffuser is perfect for your spaces, whether in your home or office or a spa. I have mine prominently in my living room, as it is a large room, and this is the diffuser that has the greatest capacity. I do not have to refill it all the time, which is excellent.

The unit has an auto shut-off that powers it down when the water level is low. That way, there is no worry about using it at night or when you are not in the room. This diffuser is the easiest one I own to keep up. I use it the most of them all. I highly recommend this Ledgle Essential Oil Diffuser, especially in large rooms.

Here is the link to the Amazon product page to get one for you or a loved one.

Here is my original Amazon review. I hope you find it helpful.  🙂

 

 

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ULAKY “Wine A Bit, You’ll Feel Better” – Vinyl Wall Decal

This “Wine A Bit, You’ll Feel Better” Vinyl Wall Decal by ULAKY was perfectly packaged (wrapped in plastic and rolled over a styrofoam tube) so that it arrived unwrinkled and in pristine condition. It came with a helpful instruction sheet, so there are no worries that you will mess it up.

The decal has individual pre-cut elements that you can peel and apply to your wall or another predetermined area. The surface needs only be clean and smooth for successful application. Importantly, this sticker is removable and repositionable. It should not leave behind any sticky residue, either. That means when it outlasts its charm, you can just peel it off. It should not harm paint. The decal is environmentally friendly and non-toxic.

I would not hesitate to buy again from this company.

If you would like to have this ULAKY humorous wall decoration for yourself or as a gag gift for a loved one, here is the Amazon product page link.

If you would like to see my original review on Amazon, here is the link.

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I’m A Nut – California Raw Almonds 1 Lb -Whole,Unsalted, Shelled, Nonpareil Supreme Variety Resealable Bag

Eat these nuts right from the handy resealable one pound bag. Alternatively, maybe you are a more delicate flower (like myself) and select an elegant bowl. If you are the baking type, then these nuts will shine in home creations such as cookies or nut bread. 

Of course, nuts are a healthy snack in moderation, and these I’m A Nut whole, unsalted, shelled California raw almonds are no exception. The nuts have properties that lower both blood pressure and sugar, and cholesterol levels. Nuts are healthy fats, which are the best kinds to eat. Our bodies need high-quality fats, despite having been maligned. I’m A Nut is a snack that is high in lean protein, as well. I find a small handful will keep me from eating something unhealthy and tide me over until my next meal.

These nuts would be perfect for road trips and those on the go, as well as those who work at home and want to keep away from the kitchen. A dish on my desk keeps me from trouble. These would make an ideal addition to a Care package sent to a service person or a beloved student away at college.

I’m A Nut has some great nut products. My family has tried several of their varieties, and we have not been disappointed once; not when it comes to one of their packages or even on down to a single nut. They are particularly delicious and fresh tasting. Outstanding!

If you are interested in stocking this treat in your pantry, here is the Amazon product page link.

If you want to read my original review, then here is that link.

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Fidget Force – LED Cosmic Hand Spinner

This Cosmic model is my first light-up spinner. I was not sure how I would like it. Would it just be too gimmicky? Would the lights increase my enjoyment of the focus spinner? Since my primary goal is better concentration when I am writing, would it improve that for me?

Surprisingly, the lights enhanced my experience. Especially in subdued lighting, the light show in your hands is cool. The lights going on when the spinner is idle are only so-so, but when it is spinning, the pattern is intriguing.

The spinner is black with white circles that let the LEDs show through when slight impact to them turns them on. Each end has three lights (blue, green, and red).

This Fidget Force Cosmic Hand Spinner is one of the lightest ones I own. The spins are among the smoothest, as well. The lights flicker for roughly twenty seconds after you tap them on with a finger or hand. The turns last longer than that, but this is not a spinner for the person who craves long spins. Especially in this instance, I do not mind because the added dimension the LEDs bring to the table.

The other side of the spinner has three peace sign stickers. There are also nine space-related stickers included in the package should you wish to change them out or the current ones wear out.

Although this is a pretty consistent spinner and the spins are smooth as butter, I do believe this is nevertheless one of the least durable should there be a fall from a height or heavy impacts. The most that will happen to this one is that it might fall on the rug, so that is a non-issue. If your child rough houses a lot, then you might want to look for a more durable specimen.

If you would like to buy a Fidget Force Cosmic Spinner, then here is the Amazon product page.

Here is my original Amazon product review. I hope you enjoy it.  🙂

 

Pruning Shears by JEOutdoors

The package from JEOutdoors Pruning Shears includes a replacement spring. Eventually, the shears will need a new one, but thus far ours is doing well.

The look of the shears is artistic and fresh. The handles feature a wood pattern. They are spring-loaded. The blades and the hardware are sturdy high carbon alloy steel. The safety lock works efficiently with a simple slider that toggles between locked and unlocked.

The feel is comfortable in my hand. It does open wide, but even my daughter who has small hands can easily close it by inching up on the hand grip or by using two hands.

We have branches, stems, and vines around our house that my family is trying to take care to spruce things up on the property. This tool has done a good deal to help us in this project. It is a surprisingly durable instrument. The photos below include one that has a branch that is ¾” in diameter so that you can see that the device lives up to the promise in the description.

The JEOutdoors Garden Shears comes with a free lifetime warranty, so there is no risk.

 

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Interested in getting your own JEOutdoors Pruning Shears? Here is the Amazon product page.

This is my original Amazon review with original photos & video [by Barb Newman]. I hope you find it helpful.  🙂

#AD #Disc #JEOutdoorsPruningShears #ReviewingLife

 

Senlleo Precision Optical Wired Mouse

This Senlleo Precision Optical Wired Mouse has a strong braided nylon cord, reinforced on the ends for extra strength. It is the sort that will not get hung up or tangled. It has a simple USB plug, and it is in fact, plug and play. That said, there are options you can configure in your general mouse settings, but there are still more if you go to http://www.senlleo.com and download the driver.

Now I am not a gamer, but my daughter is, so she loves this mouse. After all, there are six programmable buttons, four-color options, and many LED light patterns she can choose. As I said, the mouse is entirely customizable so that it can help her gameplay. Fortunately, programming it is straightforward. We can change it to our desired setting when we get to use the laptop. We both use Windows systems.

As for me, I set the mouse to control my music. I adore music, and this mouse now lets me work through, yet quickly and easily pause/ stop, play the previous or next track of my music in Spotify. This shortcut is saving me time and effort. When I am working, I do not “miss a beat.” Pun intended.

If you are interested in getting the Senlleo Gaming Mouse, here is the link to the Amazon product page.

Here is my original Amazon review of this product. I hope you find it helpful.  🙂

Folding Hand Saw For Camping/Pruning

 

I am straightening up the yard. My father-in-law calls that action “a police call,” which was a new one on me. In either case, I bought this All Purpose Folding Hand Saw for “back-up.” There are dead branches to cut away from trees and some thick vines attempting a coup d’état on the property. Their reckoning is upon them now.

So far small and medium branches are no problem to prune from trees. Vines on the ground and running up the trees are no sweat for this saw, either. Whether the high limbs or the low vines, they are getting clipped and carted away, as the as the saw is about 14″ long to reach in either direction.

The tool has a gear style lock for safety. Therefore, it will not open up in someone’s camping gear, or the like. It takes a bit of strength to open it up, so small children are safe from harm.

The ergonomic handle has an anti-slip and comfortable grip. Whereas I need to wear gloves to protect my hands, this is not the case when pruning now. My daughter and I with our small/ medium hands can use this tool perfectly well. It is easily stored in a camping bag, a toolbox, or hung in a shed or on a workbench.

I can foresee my daughter will be borrowing this saw for upcoming camping trips, as it would be ideal for making a campfire.

This pruner seems pretty durable with triple-cut teeth. It is also 100% corrosion and rust-resistant. There is a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on this Folding Hand Saw, so there is no risk.

Does anyone else use the phrase “Police Call” for outdoor clean-up? Is this descriptive term reserved just for outdoor work or does household work qualify when more than one person participates?

If you are interested in this camping and trimming saw, here is the Amazon product page.

Here are my photos and review. I hope you find them helpful.  🙂

Funny Glass Coffee Mug – By Creative Lifestyles

This Creative Lifestyles Funny Glass Coffee Mug’s listed capacity is 13 oz. However, 10 oz fills the receptacle nearly to the brim. The cup reasonably holds about 9 oz of liquid without much fear of spilling. About 8-10 oz is the perfect size for me, so the smaller size does not bother me.

The glass is quite thick. You will not burn your fingers handling your hot beverage. The handle holds all of my fingers if I want, but is most comfortable for me with three fingers inside the handle, while the thumb is on top and the pinky on the bottom for full support.

This mug is excellent for cocoa, coffee or tea. The imprint is repeated on both sides so that everyone can see the words. It shows off your funny side and just might strike a bit of trepidation in others so you can down a good bit of caffeine before they will start to bother you.

If the sentiment behind the words does not fit your personality, we all know someone like this in our lives, don’t we? 😊

I like glass mugs, as they conduct heat well. The drink keeps fairly hot alone, but I often use a beverage warmer to keep mine warm for an extended time.

The cup I received has a lettering placement that is slightly off from the vertical arrangement on the other side. It is just a few millimeters different, but it is noticeable at certain times.

The cup is food grade and has no BPA, as it is glass. Cleaning is easy whether you hand wash or put it in a dishwasher. I have done both without any problem. Microwaves are no problem for your glass, either. Personally, I have not done this, however.

This Creative Lifestyles Funny Glass Coffee Mug has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there is no risk.

Should you wish to get one for yourself or a loved one or coworker, here is the Amazon product page.

Here is my original Amazon review for your perusal. I hope you like it! 🙂

 

CRONA iPhone Cables

My daughter and I have used this set of Crona iPhone Cables for a few weeks now. We each have an iPhone 5S and have used these cords exclusively to charge them. In this time, we have gotten no error/ incompatibility messages, nor had any trouble with them.

There four cords are coming in handy around the house and in the car. The 6’ cord is being used on the living room sofa so we can charge at either end with no problem. We use the 3’ cables at both a chair and a love seat. The one’ cord I have at our desk. I have synced my phone there, and I charge my phone there overnight. Then it is powered for the next day.

One thing I particularly enjoy about these chargers is that they do not fray or tangle due to the durable nylon and the aluminum shell.

These cables are durable and should last even up to six times longer than others. Especially indicating a long life ahead is the reinforcement at the stress points. The texture of the cables was a bit off-putting at first, but I am getting used to it.

These Crona iPhone Cables have an 18-month warranty that offers either a full refund or replacement.

If you want a set of these four cables for yourself, here is the link.

Here is my original review. I hope you like it  :-).