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The Thursday Murder Club: A Book Review

photo credit: Amazon

Title: The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Publisher: Penguin Books

Copyright: 2020

Four elderly pensioners living in Cooper’s Chase, a retirement community in England, make up the membership of the secret Thursday Murder Club. Each week a retired detective, nurse, psychologist and intellectual gather around the jigsaw table in the community meeting room and discuss crimes and investigate them on their own. The group leans on the insight of an underappreciated young copper named Donna to inform them of police intel, and they help her to solve some of the cases that police have given up on.

When a murder spree strikes close to home, The Thursday Murder Club break out all of their tricks and try to get to the bottom of it before the local police.

Their investigation puts them in harms way and gives each of the club’s members an opportunity to flex their atrophied muscles. The search for who would want the community’s developer dead leads to a long list of subjects, many uncovered secrets, and a trip to Cyprus.

This English Best-Seller is well read for a reason. The four main characters are charming and unique. Even though the crimes of the community are serious there were many endearing and light moments between the elderly characters. The ending was a twist I did not expect albeit a bit convuluted. I rated this a 3-star book because although I enjoyed the characters, the ending could have been stronger.

You can follow my reading journey on Goodreads. Join me and see what I’m reading next or any of my recommendations from past reads.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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View: Five Minute Friday

I made it to the end of my first week of school! It’s been exhausting, but so rewarding. I can already tell this year’s students are going to be a lot of fun. So far, 100% of them have participated and that type of engagement is hard to come by in a high school classroom. I’m counting that as a win!

This week, I am joining the Five Minute Friday link-up and our prompt is View.

A sunset view out of a window. The colors are vibrant and beautiful.

I have a dear friend who is suffering. Watching her wrestle with ailments and health issues at such a young age is breaking my heart. My view of the impact this is having on her reveals only a fraction of what it is like to live with these symptoms. She is living with the cloud of a diagnosis weighing on every thought and decision. I cannot imagine how that kind of weight feels.

But for me…

Fear is a very tangible feeling right now. It is heavy. It is thick. It is in my mind constantly no matter how much I try to ignore it. I try to change my point of view, but the shadow of fear is still there.

This week is crucial. And as we wait for a diagnosis and we pray for the best, I have faith that whatever is ahead can be conquered. I’m choosing to have hope despite all odds. That doesn’t mean that fear is absent, but it does mean that I choose to view this journey as just a detour.

The road is still in view ahead and there is much to still be traveled.

*Please join me this week in sending thoughts and prayers to my amazing friend!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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The Closing Shift

A window sign with the title of the short story, "The Closing Shift"

Encounters with big time celebrities don’t happen in the small, British town of Belford, so when V finds herself making tea at the local cafe for an A-lister she is caught off guard. She was used to the painstaking customers from the pensioners court down the road-not gorgeous men from London.

In this short story, you can experience the essence of a quaint British bakery based on my own experiences this summer.

“The Closing Shift” is the latest installment in my short story collection. For access to exclusive content including this 8 page story, you can join my Patreon page.

Each month, members of my Patreon receive critiques, calendar pages, newsletters, and a short story. You can become a patron for only $5/month. When you join, you not only receive exclusive content, but you help me to grow and launch this brand and business into the world.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Forget: Five Minute Friday

This is the first Friday of the new school year. I am up early and adjusting to my morning schedule. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Friday without joining my writing pals from Five Minute Friday. This week our prompt is Forget.

image of a small, budding flower with the word "forget" overlaying the photo.

As a new school year begins, let us forget

The past three years, and all their regrets.

All the trouble we faced when we walked in the door,

May we forget each one so learners can soar.

There is hope in beginning

A clean slate, a new chance

To forget all the worries,

And step back in the dance.

There are things that we’ve learned from the world in these days,

Like how teachers should really update their ways.

We grew as a profession-we adapted, reset

Some of those changes we shouldn’t forget.

But it’s time to return to what’s best for our kids.

Distancing and hybrid learning is not what it is.

They need classrooms with teachers who love what they do,

To inspire them to wrestle with things that are new.

Together we can make this the best school year yet,

If we all commit to the goals that we set.

We can achieve so much more when our focus is clear.

May we forget all the struggle and have a great year!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Five Tips for Building Your Resume

Since starting The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services, I have created and worked with clients on building resumes more than any other project. The joy that I get from helping my clients sell themselves to potential employers is unlike anything I’ve experienced as a writer. Finding ways to market yourself on a single sheet of paper while also following industry standards can be overwhelming.

So, after a summer of working with countless clients on doing just that, I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve compiled from those most successful at achieving their employment goals.

Resume with customer information blurred out. Template shown. Words: She got the job!

Five Tips for Building Your Resume

1. Design Matters

When you set out to begin the process, you want to use a layout that catches the eye of the gate keepers while also highlighting your strengths. You have one page to get noticed so the design element is where you pull out all of your tricks. This document should still be easy to read and scan from the employer’s perspective, but finding 1-2 small ways of standing out can go a long way. I often ask my clients to consider headshots, color schemes, fonts, and section titles.

If you work with me on your resume, I have templates to choose from that can be customized to fit your needs. Most clients find success in subtle color use, but consider the employment you are seeking and what is most appropriate. For example, if you are applying to a local school district it may be worth adding hints of the school’s colors in your resume. Not only does it stand out against a stack of simple, black and white documents, but it also shows that you have done the research on that district.

2. Pull Language from Job Description

If there is a specific job that you have in mind, I recommend using language from the job posting to your advantage. When you read through the qualifications, what words stand out to you? How can you utilize their work in writing the description to strengthen your own presentation of skills?

When I am working with a client, I tend to ask them for 2-3 things from the job description that resonate with them or could be used to describe themselves as an employee. Those terms become the focus points of selling the client. I make sure that direct language from the description is used to prove the strength of the candidate.

3. Concise Bullet Points

The biggest mistake that I see in writing resumes is verbosity. This is when we overexplain a point or qualifier. Most clients will send me older resumes to use as a base and this is where I see this mistake most often.

Social Media has radically changed writing across all genres. People have less patience and stamina for reading. We like to see the main point quickly so we can make a judgement and move on. Even five years ago, the standard for resumes called for as much description as possible, but in 2022, employers are not reading long winded descriptions.

This is where I find myself working most with clients. We work to emphasize skills and experiences in as little words as possible. To do this, verb choice and adjectives are extremely important.

4. Master the Present/Past tense Verbs

Not to be that English teacher, but verb tense is everything. Not only do you want to use the correct tense based on current and past employments, but you also want to make sure that you remain consistent in verb usage. In your objective section, you want to use future or infinitive forms. When describing current employment, stick to present tense. Anything in the past needs to stay in the past (tense).

5. You Can’t Show It All

As I stated before, employers do not have the patience or stamina to review your entire work history on the page. Save some points of interest for the interview. Your resume should communicate why you want to work for them. It should fit on ONE page. That is nearly impossible to do if you try to include an objective, education, qualifications, previous experience, relevent skills, personal skills, professional contacts, etc.

With my clients, we look at what is most important for the employer to know up front. Maybe you lack the education of other candidates, but your current skill set is perfect for the role. We would choose to utilize your strengths on the page and incorporate the most appealing parts of yourself as an employee.

When to Rebuild Your Resume?

Don’t wait until the perfect job opens up to rebuild your resume. In a competitive market, timing is everything. You can have an edge over the competition when you have your resume ready to submit at a moment’s notice. Even if you don’t plan to change careers anytime soon, it is still a great practice to update your resume regularly.

On average, you can expect a week turnaround time if you work with The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services. Each client is an individual and I like to take time to learn about you and your goals so that I can help you design the most helpful document for achieving your aspirations.

“I was very pleased with my resume. It was completed quickly and I’m happy to say I GOT THE JOB!”

-Michelle, client

My client list is open for August and September. Please consider if it’s time to dust off that old, outdated document. Can I help you improve how you market yourself? Can we work together to create the perfect representation of you for a future employer?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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What I Read in England

Over the past two summers, I’ve been taking classes for my Master’s in English. So many of those courses required me to read works of literature selected by an instructor. While many of them were enjoyable reads like Station Eleven, there was a missing element to my reading life: Choice.

This is my first summer since 2020 where I have had the freedom to select my book choices and so I decided at the beginning of the summer that I would chase the reading fads–just because I can. I turned to TikTok and blogs that I follow for recommendations and so the three books that I read while in England came highly recommended by social media’s elite readers and all for great reasons.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Atria Books

Copyright: 2007

Being an A-List celebrity came at a great price for the glamorous Evelyn Hugo. Not only did she abandon her heritage by bleaching her ebony locks, but she also abandoned the notion that love can be genuine through her long list of failed marriages.

For most of her life, marriage had been a tool she used to gain fame, but one love came in unexpected ways and changed Evelyn’s life for the better.

In her final days, Evelyn seeks out a young journalist to share her life story with, but is the world ready to learn about the real Evelyn Hugo?

Book Lovers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: Book Lovers

Author: Emily Henry

Publisher: Berkely

Copyright: 2022

Nora Stephens is the cutthroat agent of a book-turned-Hallmark movie set in Sunshine Falls, NC. When her pregnant sister, Libby, suggests a trip to the town that served as the backdrop for the famous novel, Nora is hesitant to leave her New York life behind for a few weeks. She decides to take her work with her to enjoy some quality time with Libby.

While immersed in the quiet setting and working in the local coffee shop, Nora runs into her editor nemisis from the city: Charlie Lastra.

As an avid reader, Nora is aware of the archetype she is playing and the tension that is being created with Charlie throughout the summer. Despite all of his advances, Nora refuses to fall for Charlie and tries to distract herself by going through the bucket list that Libby created for their summer.

Before the summer ends, Nora learns of the real reason behind the trip and must decide her own path moving forward. She must decide if the corporate life in the city is worth losing those people she cares about most. What Nora saw as a summer adventure before Libby’s labor turns into a crossroads that forces Nora to make the choices she’s been avoiding with her busy life.

Verity

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Independent

Copyright: 2018

Verity Crawford was a bestselling author. WAS. As a result of a terrible accident she was left unable to communicate or control much of her own body. Her publisher and husband sought out Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, as the solution to the writing contract that was broken prematurely by the disabled author.

Lowen met Jeremy Crawford on her way to discuss the deal with her publisher. A man was struck by a car on a busy New York street spraying blood all over Lowen. Jeremy helped to clean her up and prepare for her meeting without knowing her identity. Still in shock, Lowen attends the meeting and agrees to take over Verity’s series as a ghost writer and to bring closure for Verity’s beloved readers.

In order to finish the series, Lowen must spend a few weeks in Verity’s home going through her notes and reading her earlier works. But when Lowen finds a journal written by Verity she can’t stop reading. Within those pages, Verity admits to horrific crimes and truths that chill Lowen to the core. Before long, Lowen notices some strange activity going on in Verity’s bedroom and realizes that someone is lying to her about why she is there.

The stranger that Verity gets the closer Lowen gets to Jeremy. Their relationship begins to flourish, but he is still married to the woman who can’t interact or love him back. Lowen realizes that if she would share the journal with Jeremy, that she could have him all to herself. If he can see the true Verity that Lowen had met in those pages, then he may find room in his heart for her.

All three of these books mastered the art of a good plot twist. They all caused me to think about my life and to measure it against the values that I hold dear. I’m so happy that I decided to listen to the recommendations on these books because each one was engaging and kept me invested until the end.

As my trip came to a close, I picked up The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. It’s a British bestseller. I love going to Waterstones and looking at the top fiction and non-fiction books in England. Every summer I try to read a top 5 book. The Thursday Murder Club has been a fun read and I’m nearing the end so look for a review in the next week or two. You can see what else I’m reading and my own reviews of books on Goodreads.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Together: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday! This is my first Five Minute Friday post from America in a while. I’m still a bit jet lagged from my summer in England, but I love getting up and joining in with this community on Friday mornings so here I am! This week our prompt is Together.

There’s enough division in these times. We have politics, socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc. dividing us and placing us in to categories with sloppy labels slapped right across our faces. We exclude, oppress, and ignore whole margins of society to inflate our own sense of worth.

How have we so quickly forgotten the strength of everyone working together?

During 2020, 2021, and parts of 2022, our world experienced a pandemic together. All edges of this world felt the changes that Covid forced upon us. At times, we worked together to slow the spread. We shut the doors and we stayed in our bubbles and we lived life a little more simply for a time. And we sacrificed to protect everyone because we were all facing Covid together.

Hurricane Katrina devastated America’s coastal states in 2005. For YEARS people flocked to the region from all over the world to provide aide and to serve in the area’s rebuild. Individuals and organizations worked together to restore the Gulf states and to meet the needs of those suffering the effects of storm damage, flooding, and loss.

In 2001, America was victim to an unthinkable act of terrorism. Afterwards, the country banded together to tighten security, to build our national defense, and to meet the needs of those mourning the loss of jobs, homes, and loved ones.

Worldwide pandemics, natural disasters, and national tragedies are all out of our control; however, it is in these times that we lay aside our differences and work together to survive and rebuild.

When things seem to be going well around us we find ways to inflate ourselves by excluding or shaming others. In those times, we forget about our indestructable strength together and we try to knock down any person who stands in our way. Arguments like, “Who is blame for rising gas prices?” destroy the united front that our world so desperately needs. We inflate our own egos by poking holes in others’.

The truth is we don’t get to decide who is “in” or “out”. The control over this world is not ours and it’s futile to continue living like we believe it is. In the hardest moments, we remember this truth, but it shouldn’t take tragedy to remind us that we are all in this together. It’s okay to disagree–healthy even. It’s okay to celebrate differences. It’s okay to express ourselves in our truest forms without putting others down. We are strongest when we remember that we live on this planet together. May we put down our weapons of words and violence and live together in peace and strength.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 5–the Finale)

Our final week in England was spent squeezing in as much time as possible with family. Goodbyes are never easy and a lot of emotion filled these final days of our summer adventure. We went to Marwell Zoo, braved the IKEA in Southampton, I got an amazing tattoo from Heidi at Little Scorpions Tattoo Parlour, did a girls shopping trip in Eastleigh, ate a fish ‘n’ chips farewell dinner, and spent a full 20 hours traveling home.

I have enjoyed sharing the photographs from this trip to England. It’s trips like this that keep our family going throughout the busy school year. And while we may be back in the United States, part of our hearts still lingers in the beautiful country of England.

Check out Part OnePart TwoPart Three, and Part Four here.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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August 2022 Bullet Journal Downloads

You can now purchase these summer-inspired August 2022 Bullet Journal Planner downloads for $5.00.

This set includes 16 pages:

🍽 Meal trackers

🧘‍♀️ Fitness Trackers

🍊Customizable Habit Trackers

Bullet journaling has been a hobby of mine since 2017. Over the years, the process has evolved to fit my needs and lately that includes creating my monthly spreads digitally and printing them on sticker paper. It’s so easy to fit these stickers to my A5 notebook. These pages are customizable and easy to size depending on the notebook you use. When you purchase and download pages from The Ameri Brit Mom, you receive a beautiful collection of spreads in a single PDF file.

You can purchase this download file for $5.00.

When you join my Patreon page, you will receive these downloads each month along with exclusive short stories and content.The price of these downloads are included in the monthly Patreon pledge.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 4)

Our fourth week in England was a lot more chill than the others. We still traveled a lot and made the most of each day, but the pace was a little slower. Most of the week, it was just the four of us doing our own thing, but we still had some larger family outings too. The girls went to Puxton Park with their auntie and uncle while Sam and I enjoyed an afternoon tea in Yeovil and some drinks at a local pub. This week we also went to an indoor play park in Eastleigh, shopping in WestQuay (Southampton), a steamfair in Lyndhurst, and a bootsale and a traditional roast dinner in Bishopstoke.

As we enter the final week of our trip, it’s been fun to look back on all of the adventures we’ve had so far this summer with our English family and friends.

Check out Part OnePart Two, and Part Three here.

The Ameri Brit Mom