Earthbound – Book Review

Yay! Thank you for the lovely 4-star review Rosie Wylor-Owen!

The Secret Library Book Blog

Title: Earthbound

Author: Melora Johnson

Genre: Urban fantasy/Christian fantasy

Rating: Four stars

** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

** Also, spoilers! **

earthbound“Ally Reynolds is a veterinarian specializing in raptor rehabilitation in New Hampshire. Other than one horrific incident in her childhood and a little extra “spark” for healing in her hands, both of which she has kept secret from even her best friend, her life has been singularly boring. It has also been extremely lonely. Ally longs for someone to share her life with, but how can she trust someone with her secret?

Matthew Blake, an ornithologist at Cornell University, calls Ally, asking for her help with an injured raptor. Matthew grew up in New Zealand and has lived around the world. He has read about Ally’s high success rates in raptor rehabilitation and suspects there is more to…

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The Sunday Recipe: Easter Hot Cross Buns


Mom’s Easter Buns a.k.a. Hot Cross Buns

These are traditional in our family for Easter so I wanted to make sure we had some ready. I made two tins so we could have one now and freeze one for Easter. The mashed potatoes and potato water make them incredibly soft and delicious. I used half whole wheat flour because that is what we had on hand, without changing the recipe, and they were delicious. I imagine plain water and instant mashed potatoes could work too. I’ve also seen raisins instead of currants used.


Measure into a mixing bowl:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup dried currants

Stir thoroughly with a whisk.

Beat in:

  • ½ cup warm potato water
  • ½ cup scalded and cooled whole milk
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm mashed potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

*To scald milk, heat gently until a skin forms on top. In my microwave, that’s 50 seconds on high for ½ cup milk.

  • Beat in 3 eggs.
  • Add about 3 2/3 cups flour.
  • Mix and turn out onto a floured surface.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place in an oiled bowl and cover loosely.
  • Allow to rise in a draft free place for 1 ½ hours, until doubled.
  • Punch down.
  • Divide into 2 portions.
  • Shape each portion into 16 buns and place in two greased square tins.
  • Let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
  • Brush with an egg yolk glaze. (Blend 1 yolk with 2 tablespoons water.
  • Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Cool thoroughly.
  • If desired, cross or glaze the top with powdered sugar mixed with a little lemon juice.


I’m late to camp but . . .


I’m late to camp but here I go!

I’ve signed up for this April edition of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m hoping it will help me get writing again. This pandemic thing has been mentally stressful on everyone. For me, it has been a little bit easier because we’d already been through a tornado and a flooding that cut us off ten years ago. That meant we prepped a long time ago. I’m also lucky to have a job where I can work from home. Most of my stress comes from worrying about others, figuring out exactly HOW to work from home, and figuring out how to keep the learning going at home for my daughter. I haven’t really been writing.

BUT, I have kept my writer’s group going weekly through Zoom meetings. This week I presented chapter 5 of my current work-in-progress Firebound. Reviews were favorable with lots of good suggestions for improvement that I plan to implement today. I really want to get working on this book again. To that end, I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo 2020 and committed to a 1,000 words a day. (I’m hoping to do more than that but I find setting my goal lower and keeping pressure low helps me start and then I can keep going if I feel up to it. Momentum is a wonderful thing.)

Is anyone else working on a project right now? Have you joined Camp NaNoWriMo or are you going it alone? If nothing else, I highly recommend journaling during this difficult time.

The Friday Poem: Quiet on the Hill


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