What Was Your First Book Love?

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I’ve always been an avid reader, but when on my eighth birthday my grandmother gave me a Trixie Belden Mystery book, I was hooked. I stayed up long past my bedtime, with the proverbial flashlight under the covers, and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Something about Trixie and her friends drew me in and held me mesmerized.

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Beatrix ‘Trixie’ Belden is a fascinating character. She’s a thirteen-year-old, spunky, freckle-faced tomboy who loves horses, struggles with Math, and hates doing her chores. More to the point, she isn’t a goody two shoes like the too-perfect Nancy Drew. Along with Trixie’s two brothers and her best friend, Honey Wheeler, her rich neighbor, and other friends, she forms a secret club to perform public services and solve mysteries in the small community of Sleepyside-on-the-Hudson. The Bob-Whites of Glen went on many exciting adventures. I wanted to be a Bob-White.

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The thirty-nine novels, authored first by Julie Campbell Tatham (first six books), and then by a series of other authors, were written between 1948 and 1986. I couldn’t get enough of Trixie Belden and her friends. I bought all the books and even convinced my mother to buy me a paper doll set.

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Though the books are a bit dated, young readers can learn a lot from Trixie. She was a good judge of character and relied on her gut instincts as she fought to be taken seriously in an adult world. The stories are exciting and engaging, with a mystery around every corner.

 

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The Dark Side Of Travel

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Biking through Vietnam.

As anyone who reads my Blog knows, I love to travel…the more exotic and remote the locale, the better. I have terrific photos of unbelievable wilderness, awe-inspiring cities, unique wildlife, heart-stopping adventures, and warm memories of friends I’ve met along my travels.

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Hiking with good friends in Patagonia.

Travelling isn’t risk free though. Most tourists have suffered through bouts of traveller’s diarrhea, and there are many more frightening diseases out there—sleeping sickness, malaria, cholera, dengue fever, Zika, Chikungunya, tuberculosis, to name a few.

Most times, tourists return home disease free with only photographs and fond memories to remind them of their trip. Not always. Two months after returning home from a trip to Argentina, two months of suffering increasing pain and a slew of mysterious symptoms, many visits to my family doctor, the emergency room, and a hospital stay, I was informed some sort of bacteria or bug bite I’d contracted while on my trip to Argentina caused an inflammation that’s spread throughout my body to my joints and ligaments making it extremely challenging to walk.

I’m on a series of antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-inflammatories, and even though there are ups and downs, I’m beginning to feel better. The prognosis is positive. My symptoms should hopefully go away in four to six months. Not great, but not terrible. At least, there’s an end in sight.

Friends have asked if I’d travel again. Are you kidding? I could get sick or injured stepping out my front door. I can’t wait to head out on my next adventure. Africa, anyone?

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A Hike Through The Land of Rainbows

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Torres Del Paine

Torres Del Paine is a National Park in the southernmost end of Chile. Because of the rugged mountainous terrain, massive glaciers, waterfalls, and crystalline lakes, this park has been designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It was also the start of our four-day hike on the world-renowned W Trek.

On the first day, we hiked four strenuous hours up a steep, narrow, rocky trail to the base of Las Torres (The Towers), three granite pillars that soar 9,350 feet above a blue-green lake. The view of the Towers was breath taking. After another fours hours descending the mountain, we stumbled into camp, ate a delicious meal, and settled into our tents.

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Las Torres

The next day we trekked for five hours through grasslands, alongside luminescent tuquiose lakes, and crossed over raging rivers on narrow, wooden bridges. The view of the mountains and the deep blue glaciers in the distance was stunning. This was the famous Patagonia Flats—not flat at all, but rolling hills with some steep climbs and descents. Fortunately, we only had to pack a light daypack as gauchos on horses transferred our tents and sleeping bags. We ended the day at a small refugio (a type of hostel) where we celebrated the day’s hike with local wine and beer…for a hefty price, but worth every peso.

On Day 3, we hiked through the French Valley and up into the mountains to a view of Los Cuernos (The Horns), an outcropping of granite peaks that actually look like giant horns. The beauty of these black and gray-streaked rocks, and the roar of calving glaciers made the hike worth the struggle. We spent the night at another refugio and nursed our blistered feet with more wine and beer.

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Los Cuernos

Our final day of hiking was a short trek into Grey Lake with its incredible view of Grey Glacier, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. At more than 187 miles long, the Ice Cap is the third source of fresh water on the planet. The weather is temperamental here with winds gusting in excess of 62 miles per hour. The first skill you learn is to hunker down when a gust blasts, so you don’t get blown over.

The glacier was stunning, but the winds were so fierce, it was almost impossible to hold still long enough to take photos. Tired and footsore, but energized by the sheer beauty of what we’d seen, we ended the trek with a catamaran ride across Lake Pehoe with its vibrant glacial-milk water.

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Intrepid hiker

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View of the Patagonia Flats

 

 

Journey to the Bottom of the Earth!

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The next leg of our trip to Argentina was to Patagonia. After the 90°F heat and humidity of Buenos Aries, we flew three-and-a-half hours to El Calafate in Patagonia, and stepped off the plane into fierce, westerly winds and a chilly 50°F. The shorts disappeared and fleece took over.

Patagonia is located at the southern tip of South America. This 400,000 square mile region is the closest landmass to Antarctica. Chile and Argentina share Patagonia. It’s a vast, stark wilderness of seemingly barren landscapes, jagged mountain peaks, glistening glaciers, and turquoise-colored lakes. Ranching and tourism are the main industries.

Our first few days were spent exploring El Chalten, a small, backpackers’ town in Los Glaciares National Park surrounded by the Andean Mountains. We trekked through verdant forests into the rocky alpine to the summit of towering Mount Fitz Roy (11,171 feet). The view from the top was breathtaking, but the wind was howling, so we didn’t linger.

Dozens of glaciers exist within the boundaries of this park. Perito Moreno, the most famous, is the only glacier in the world that isn’t receding. Nothing is more exhilarating than the thundering roar of a calving glacier as massive chunks of ice break off and splash into the lake creating tsunami-like waves. Icebergs, the size of small ships, float in the clear waters of Lago Argentino.

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Perito Mereno Glacier

Another day we rafted down a pristine, glacial-melt river. Dressed in dry suits, we paddled through grade 4 rapids between canyons formed by ancient volcanoes and glaciers. What a rush!

Herds of wild gunacos (related to lamas) and rheas (large, flightless birds that resemble small ostriches) graze on the prickly shrubs on the hillsides, and Andean condors soar on the wind. With a wingspan of more than ten feet, the condor is the largest flying bird in the world.

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Laguna Torre

Protecting this fragile ecosystem is a priority for both Chile and Argentina. If you’re looking for a place where nature is at its most rugged and pristine, I recommend a trip to the bottom of the Earth. This unspoiled wilderness gives me hope for this planet.IMG_2070

 

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Lago Argentino with giant icebergs.

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Condor soaring the wind currents.

Another Five Star Review!

Reviews By Crystal

April 6, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition
Are you looking for a romantic suspense story that is going to have you clinging to the edge of your seat wondering what could possibly happen next? Well, I have the perfect book for you, Broken Trust by C.B. Clark is one of those incredible suspense-filled books. I love all of C.B. Clark’s books and I swear each one is my favorite.

Natasha Hartford has lived a life of fear, dread, and abuse. I felt an instant connection to Natasha and really just wanted to reach out and give her a hug. She sure didn’t expect to walk in on a crime scene when she arrived for her job interview.

Detective Chase Brandon is surprised to find a lady in the office of his homicide victim. Needless to say, he is full of questions and he wants answers. Natasha is nervous and doesn’t understand why this guy is being so tough on her. She just wants to go home where it’s safe.

This poor lady has been through too much and is now smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation that may or may not involve her jerk of an ex-husband. Never the less he has something up his sleeve and doesn’t mind dragging her into whatever it is he is up to.

Chase is determined he is going to protect Natasha and keep her safe. Natasha is still at times unsure of Chase. She doesn’t trust easily after everything she has been through. There is an attraction that has been there from the beginning and they do their best to ignore. All the friction only adds to that spark of attraction between them though. When they finally give in to that attraction things warm up quickly. There is a lot these two will have to overcome if they are going to stay safe and also find their way to a happily ever after.

Ms. Clark has done a fantastic job with yet another spellbinding story. She has added twists around corners that I never saw coming. She had me on the edge of my seat and flipping pages like a mad woman to see what could possibly happen next. The characters are fabulous and easy to connect with. Overall this is just one incredible story that I could not put down. I highly recommend Broken Trust to all romantic suspense fans. If you enjoy a suspenseful romance you are going to enjoy this book. If you are not already a fan of Ms. Clark’s you will be after you read this one.

I was given the opportunity to read this fantabulous story and it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you.

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Five Stars From Night Owl Reviews!

Wow! What an awesome review of Broken Trust!

C. B. Clark takes readers on a fabulous adventure with this romantic suspense story.

Detective Chase Brandon is a man who sees the world in black and white. Life is right or wrong and he believes every action has a consequence. Natasha Hartford is a woman who has seen a world of black and blue and she just wants to live her life in peace. Watching these two people come to terms with not only the scenario they find themselves in but their emotional baggage and their budding feelings was a pleasure. I loved how gritty and realistic things between them sometimes got. I enjoyed the ups and downs of their relationship and how intense things became as they delved deeper into the mystery and into their feelings. I loved the roller coaster ride I felt I was on while reading this book. I laughed, I cried, I gasped out loud and I couldn’t wait to see how the adventure would end.

If you’re looking for romantic suspense that traumatized it’s lead couple a little before giving in “Broken Trust” is definitely the read for you.

The Story: Natasha Hartford believes she is finally free from danger now that she’s left her abusive husband. But she finds herself involved in a murder and the detective in charge is making her feel things she never thought she would again.

Thank you Night Owl Reviews and Pauline Michael!

Check out more details at: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Reviews/Paulinemichael-reviews-Broken-Trust-by-C-B-Clark

The Paris of South America

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After twenty hours of flying, stuffed like a sausage between an over-sized, sleeping man and my husband (Gotta love Economy!), I stepped off the plane and into the 90-degree heat and humidity of Buenos Aries, Argentina, and the start of another adventure.

Buenos Aries (also called BA) is the largest city in South America. With its wide, tree-lined avenues and Spanish, Italian, and French architecture, the city has the feel of Europe.

We rented bicycles and explored the city and all its chaos. Construction and heavy traffic is everywhere. The shaded trails of Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve along the silt-filled Rio de la Plata was a welcome oasis in the middle of the bustling city. One of the highlights of BA was the historic Recoleta Cemetery. With its towering marble mausoleums and elaborately carved tombs, it’s a true City of the Dead. Evita Peron, the first lady of Argentina, is entombed here, as well as many other famous BA residents.

The La Boca barrio with its brightly painted houses, tango dancers, restaurants, and shops is well worth seeing. Like most big cities, BA has a dark side. People live on the streets, and Flores, a slum with 40,000 residents, is only a few kilometers from the city center, but we never felt unsafe. The residents of BA were friendly and welcoming.

The food in BA is incredible…if you like meat…lots of meat. Argentinians love their beef. A favorite meal includes asado (barbeque), empanadas (meat-stuffed pastries), and dulce de leche (a caramel-flavored sauce) for dessert. Add in a bottle (or two) of local Malbec wine and you have a delicious feast. Pizza, covered with a thick layer of gooey cheese and four, large green olives on top is also popular.

Colonia, Uruquay, a Unesco World Heritage Site, founded in 1680, is only an hour ferry ride from BA. The picturesque old town with its narrow, shaded, cobbled streets and Spanish and Portuguese-style buildings was a nice respite from the hectic pace of BA.

Buenos Aries was incredible, but the city was only the start of our trip. The glaciers and mountains of Patagonia and Chile were next on the agenda

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Recoleta Cemertery

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La Boca Barrio

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Colonia, Uruquay

 

 

 

More Five Star Reviews!

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March 8, 2018

Natasha Hartford creates illustrations for greeting cards and finally thinks she has her big break when she is given an opportunity to present her work to Jonas Waverley, a publisher. When Natasha shows up for her interview she discovers that Jonas has been murdered and now she has put herself on the suspect list. Then her ex-husband Darien McCabe shows up and asks her to hide his briefcase, although Natasha has a restraining order against him for him physically abusing her.

Detective Chase Brandon has his work cut out for him investigating the death of Jonas Waverley. When he meets Natasha he is initially suspicious of her but when he learns who her ex-husband is things start to fall into place and he realizes that she herself is in danger.How far will Chase go to keep Natasha safe and when Natasha puts herself at risk will he be able to protect her? Can Chase figure everything out before it’s too late?This was such a great book full of so many twists and turns from the beginning to the end!

Natasha was a great character as she was strong enough to leave here abusive relationship yet at the same time she was still weak when it came to Darien and the power he had over her. Every time I thought Natasha would listen to reason she proved me wrong and got herself in so many bad situations.

Chase was great and did he ever have his work cut out for him trying to protect Natasha. She definitely kept him busy and I was so mad at how secretive she was when it was obvious how much Chase cared.
I loved all the twists and turns and so many things surprised the heck out of me!! The ending blew me away as I was not expecting what happened at all!
Such a great book and I look forward to more from the author!
Rebecca A
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March 7, 2018

Fabulous from start to ending.
I was captivated from the very first. Couldn’t put the book down.
Natasha is trying to regroup her life after an abusive marriage. Unfortunately, her Ex doesn’t believe in divorces nor in restraining orders. He stops by her house and demands she hides a briefcase which he’ll retrieve when the heat dies down. Worse yet, the cop in charge of a murder has already snagged her as a person of interest.
There is a very tangled web of secrets and secret relationships in this story. And while it took a long while to reach and unravel the complete truth, I found every event along the way most intriguing. And I even guessed one of the main surprises, so I am very proud of myself.
Liza O’Connor

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Release Day!

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My latest baby, Broken Trust, is officially out in the world! Better yet, Broken Trust has already received some great reviews.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Really good romantic-suspense story

Natasha Hartford shows up for a job interview at a successful publisher’s office, hoping to be hired as an illustrator for a children’s book series, but finds herself face-to-face with a hard-broiled cop. Even though he grills her repeatedly, thinking she’s a suspect, Natasha manages to stand up to him despite her fear of authoritative men.

Detective Chase Brandon knows the woman is hiding something—his gut is telling him she’s somehow involved—but he doesn’t think she killed the publisher. As the body count rises, clues in his investigation lead to Natasha and her abusive ex-husband. He thinks she could be the killer’s next target, so he sticks close to her, determined to not let the fragile, secretive woman under his skin.

Natasha and Chase had great chemistry. They’re both attracted to one another, but lies and distrust are constantly pulling them apart. Despite being horribly abused, both mentally and psychically, by her ex, Darien, she helped him and kept his secrets from the police, which definitely made her look guilty. I completely understand why Chase had a hard time trusting her. Luckily for Natasha, however, he had dealt with own share of abuse, and he understood the way victims sometimes acted and thought.

I really enjoyed the who-dun-it mystery. There were a few twists, multiple bad guys, police investigations gone awry, art theft, and romance. All that makes for a great romantic-suspense.

This is a really fun read.

5 Stars!

* I have received this book as an ARC for a fair and impartial review. I have no personal connection to the author. *
C.B. Clark delivers again with chilling suspense and characters you’ll never forget.
Chase Brandon is a hard-as-nails Homicide Detective on a puzzling case. He runs headlong into Natasha Hartford at his crime scene. She claims to be there for a job interview, he’s not buying it.
The first thing the two have in common is a physical attraction – the second is a history that causes both to be distrustful of everyone. However, to protect themselves and each other they have to work together to find a killer. It’s hard to build trust when lies have to be told and promises have to be broken.
These characters will touch every emotion you have. At the same time, the suspense keeps your adrenaline pumping.
When you think you have things figured out – brace yourself for the next plot twist.
Sandra D
Broken Trust: WOW! was fantastic and amazing. Characters were very strong throughout the book. Loved the whole concept of the story! C.B. Clark did another fantastic job of writing. Loved everything about the book.
Katyjane

What Are You Doing For Valentine’s Day?

UnknownWhat are you doing on Valentine’s Day? Sharing a romantic, candle-lit dinner with your love? Receiving a dozen red roses, chocolate truffles, or jewelry? I won’t be doing any of those things, but I will be spending quality time with the love of my life.

On Valentine’s Day, my husband and I are flying to Buenos Aries, Argentina. Crammed into an economy seat with our knees jammed against the back of the seat in front of us for twenty long hours doesn’t sound very romantic, but I’ll be sitting beside my best friend as we begin another adventure.

We’re joining up with friends from Scotland and Australia we met three years ago while on a trip to Peru. We’ll explore the city of almost three million, and then hop on a plane and fly three and a half hours south to Patagonia. That’s where the adventure begins. We’ll be hiking, rafting and cycling through this incredible part of the world.

I’m excited about this journey to the bottom of the world. Adventure awaits…the people we’ll meet, the sights we’ll see, the experiences we’ll treasure forever.

My Valentine’s Day may not include a romantic, candle-lit dinner, or dancing, but we’ll be experiencing all life has to offer. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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