Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Review of "It Was Me All Along" by Andie Mitchell - I give this book 4 Stars -

9780770433246 (125×188)

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

I very much was able to understand the character Andie Mitchell and her relationship with food and the things that happened during her life that would set off her eating/binging.  I have had smaller weight issues but have found that I will eat to stay awake to watch a program will eat when I’m angry, will take two of anything when one was sufficient.  I went on weight watchers twice so far in my life, which is not so much like that which Andie went through but I was able to look at her life and see some similarities.  The story gave me some tips on how to stop some of my eating issues and I plan to put them in place. 
Andie ballooned up to 268 pounds by the time she was twenty. When Andie went to Rome she found a way of eating that changed her life.  Setting aside time and enjoying every bite in modest sized bowls of pasta etc.  She lost weight during the time she in Rome without even trying it just went away.  She found that the man she had loved for so many years who wanted to marry her, who also had weight issues which never bothered her before, now she knew she couldn’t marry him and she knew she no longer loved him.  She set out into a lifetime of changes and in the end the best change was in how she felt about herself.  She found that she loved her self all parts of herself and that was the best change of all!
“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

More About The Book:
A heartbreakingly honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.

All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.. 

It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.

More About The Author: 
ANDIE MITCHELL is a writer, recipe developer, and lover of cake. Her popular blog,, shares the inspiring story of her successful weight loss and continued passion for good food. She lives in New York City, where she is the social media director for 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Hope Crossing: The Complete Ada's House Trilogy, includes The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace, and The Harvest of Grace / My Review / Five Stars on this one!!

Hope Crossing by Cindy Woodsmall

Hope Crossing: The Complete Ada's House Trilogy, includes The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace, and The Harvest of Grace

 My review: I've probably read Cynthia Woodsmall's stories at one time or another although I don't remnember doing so.  From the time I opened the first book in this trilogy of three books in ome, I couldn't seem to put the book down.  I love to read about the Amish I find their way of life fascinating.  There are many Amish who live in the same town as my Grandmother and when there I see them with their horse and buggies coming and going quite often.

Cynthia Woodsmalls' books gave me another glimpse into their lives.  The book wasn't something I could put down easily.  I found myself picking it up for a few pages to read before bedtime and then putting off going to bed or doing whatever else I should have been doing and instead reading.  

She takes you into her books and involves you right into the stories.  You feel as if you know the characters, or at least want to know as much as you can about them, their lives and you want to keep reading to find out how she is going to end each story, and in this case, you don't have to end it, as their are three books and you can get started right where the last one ended.

 Only from the beginning of each book, other characters in the same towns paths crossing each other so you feel as though you are reading on about old friends as each book unfolds to the next.  The books are rich in the characters faiths, as well as their doubts with their faith in some cases and the problems their lives cross over, problems that happen to the non-Amish  as well so that makes these characters seem even more believeable.  I do wish I had as much faith and could remain as steadfast in my faith of what is to come as they are.  I think at times by reading books such as these, their doubts and challenges and the solutions that come their way help me in some small way as I enjoy their stories.

Warning, if you are a person who has problems holding on to books of great weight, this book is pretty heavy.  I found that I would be sitting at my table reading there or in bed anywhere that I could prop the book open to keep reading.  I should have chosen to read the kindle version as this is pretty hard on the hands and wrists for someone with arthritis problems.

I received a copy of this book from “Blogging For Books” in exchange for a fair review.

More About The Book

Hope Crossing: The Complete Ada's House Trilogy, includes The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace, and The Harvest of Grace
by Cindy Woodsmall (Goodreads Author)
Hope Crossing…where Ada’s House stands as a haven for weary souls looking for kindness, faith, and second chances.

The Hope of Refuge:

Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancé, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them?

The Bridge of Peace:

Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

The Harvest of Grace:

Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?
This three-in-one collection includes the entirety of the best-selling Ada’s House trilogy, now at a new low price

More About The Author:

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Michael Phillip Cash's "The After House" A Fabulous Read!! Paranormal, Suspense, Mystery, Romance and even Humor!

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="The After House" border="0" src="" /></a><a href="">The After House</a> by <a href="">Michael Phillip Cash</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
As soon as I saw that this book was available through shelf awareness I believe, I had to enter to get a copy, of course the premise is you give an honest review in exchange for the gook.<br><br>I've read a lot of Michael Phillip Cash's books and this latest one did not disappoint  me.  The After House is a book that covers many genrs, paranormal, suspense, mystery, romance and even has some humor included. The author doesn't mess about with a lot of frivolous extra to the story, he gets right at it. I get pulled in right from the beginning and I didn't want to put this book down.<br><br>It was intersting to me because it was based on the ghost of a captian of a whaling shiip and I knew nothing of that.  There was a story in the beginning that was pretty exciting telling so much about a whaling ship going down from a sperm whale that they hit and it didn't do what it usually would do it turned on the ship and tore it apart.  <br><br>Next we are going to a woman who is newly divorced moving into a home with her little girl, only to find that from the beginning the little girl could see the ghost in the house.  The ghost had been there in the home he had bought for his family, where he had come back looking for them and they were gone.....<br><br>He had a painter in the house for years a male whome he spent time with whispering in his ear as he slept and the painter turned out fabulous artwork of whales, whaling boats in action, and he painted a mural in the house which the woman is told must be left intact during her rental time.<br><br>The story is fabulous and a real must read and I don't want to tell the entire story for you here....<br><br>Here is the description as found on Good Reads: Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?
<a href="">View all my reviews</a>

Friday, January 2, 2015

"A Love Undone" An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace. Written by Cindy Woodsmall - My Review

9780307730008 (134×202) A Love Undone

An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace 
Written by Cindy Woodsmall

I do so love to read about the Amish, my Grandmother lives in a small town up north where we see Amish buggies in town all of the time. They do like to purchase/sell things and see the homeopathic practitioner there.
On to the book....Joline Keim lost her parents both at the same time in a buggy accident. she was supposed to marry the love of her life Van, and he just couldn't take on her entire family of brothers and sisters younger than she, she wouldn't leave them to be split up, so she takes on the raising if her sister and brothers.  and Van goes off and within a year is married to someone else. She meets horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year old.  The book is really all about Andy being a "grass widower".  Joline didn't hear him when he said he was a grass widower and she helps out with training horses that have been abused to get them to be ride able again.  Joline thinks Andy is a free man being a widower to marry again and she falls for Andy almost from the first day.
A Grass Widower is someone who marries and their spouse leaves, they can't divorce it isn't allowed and in Andy's case he doesn’t even know where his spouse is she had a mental problem wouldn't be treated for it and just left one day and never contacted him again.  Didn't try to see her son.  So Andy is not someone who can be marriage material.  Joline one day tells him how she feels about him, she also lets him into her secret, she paints paintings and she is good. Since their Bishop believes that pictures are not something that would be allowed by God she has to hide away in her Uncles Attic to paint.
So we have a husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone and a young woman who sacrificed her dreams, how will the God of grace and hope help them find their way, the book asks?
The book is rather complex in its story. There is quite a bit of information on how the Amish live, not quite as much as I've seen in other stories.  The book held my interest and I found myself reading when I should have been doing something else...a true sign that it is a interesting Amish story about a romance that can't happen and how they get around it or do they?
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

About This Book

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?

At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

About This Author:

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The 13th Gift - A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith - What a fabulous read!

9780553418552 (134×202)

The 13th Gift

A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

Wow I loved this book from the first chapter.  By the end of the book I was wishing I had money and the means to start something similar for families of loss myself.  This book is true, and it rings so true to me. Families do have a very real and very dysfunctional way of dealing with loss of a loved one and going on during the holidays is often something they just can’t pull off.  Some can’t face the holidays going forward due to the loss, it only seems to remind them.  For anyone who has lost a loved one, or anyone trying to recapture that feeling of Christmas this book is for you!  How could you continue with the feeling of Bah Humbug when you read of someone who lost their husband, brother, father, during the holidays and managed to pull themselves together with the help of their “True Friends”.  This book just brings joy and happiness to your heart upon reading it and makes you want to be a better self and go out and help someone who has less!  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

More About The Book:

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.

About The Author: Joanne Huist Smith is a native of Dayton, OH. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Wright State University and worked as a reporter for the Dayton Daily News. She is the mother of three and grandmother of two.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

9780804140096 (155×202)
Bend Your Brain - Written By The Minds Behind Marbles: The Brain Store
I saw this book on the list of books I could choose from and I had to have it.  I don’t know what happens but it seems when we reach a certain age, we break into “Some Timers” and worry about having Alzheimer’s.  They say that you need to do puzzles, word search, soduku, any kind of things such as those, to help keep your brain growing and stretching to stave off such things.  I always tell everyone my brain is a sieve….words just seem to fall through the cracks.  I’ve started this book, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do every page,  I hate cheating and looking at the back for the answer.  I also hate sitting or walking around trying to remember a word or a thought, eventually though they do come to me, I’m not so sure with this book.  It does have a range from easy to blow your mind!  I’ll keep working on it but I have to say with growing certainty if you want to keep your brain nimble and working, or are looking for a fabulously different Christmas Gift this book is the right one! 
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

More About The Book:
Want to get your frontal cortex breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.
        Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they've sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they've learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of Brain Coaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they've designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.
        Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):
·  Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
·  Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
·  Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
·  Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
·  Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.
Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin!

About The Author: Marbles: The Brain Store
MARBLES: THE BRAIN STORE is in malls across the country. They and their branded products have been featured in Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, USA Today, and Wired, as well as on the Today show and Martha Stewart Living.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas - My Review - 4.5 Stars

 9780385347259 (134×202)  Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas –

 This is the story of the Hurst family, and the family is not your normal famly, each of them is sick in their own way.  One of the main characters Violet who does something she can’t remember to her brother Will and ends up in a psych hospital.  The story starts to get really good by then.  This wasn’t the easiest read for me or the fastest but the bones of this story are good the characters well developed in their sick ways, one alcoholic, one who ran away, one controlling “mommy dearest” type of a Mother who Is also very good at covering up her ways of controlling her family and the way she makes them pay with her devious mental and sometimes physical games.  The book is an interesting read and once you get really into the story of each character you see the book slowly building to a finale that is so surprising you don’t see it coming, at least I didn’t.  You lead by the nose in one direction only to find you were mean to draw those conclusions which in the end are not even close to the way the book is going to end.  I found a lot of surprises were in store for the characters that made up this family and for myself.  It is an engrossing read, one that will keep you guessing and if you have problems getting into the story at first, I say keep going there is a point to all of it and it will get very interesting before the ending.  I would give this book a 4.5, since I can’t do that on places like Good Reads and Amazon where I am also going to park the books review, I will give it a 5.  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

More About The Book:

From Koren Zailckas, author of the iconic memoir SMASHED: an electrifying debut novel about a family being torn apart by the woman who claims to love them most
Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband, and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison. 

Resentful of her sister’s newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in a psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother, Will, recently diagnosed with Asperger's, shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of a bottle—an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family’s impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed. Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

More about the Author:

Koren Zailckas - Mother, Mother
Photo © Eamon Hamilton

KOREN ZAILCKAS is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to The Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane, and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Illusionist as written by Rosie Thomas - My review and where you can go to sign up to win books through the same place!

I'm going to let the descripton of the book tell you about it. I want to point out that Rosie Thomas the author had to have done an enormous amount of research to do this book and researched it and wrote about it well.  From the magicians tricks and illusions to what was invented during that period in the 1900's England, to the invention of recording voices and the process of which it was done, the first robotic type figures called automata, to the beginning of electricity and the first automobiles.  The book is rich in history each chapter about another figure in the book and they all interact with each other in a rather complete and rich way of writing. She builds on the characters well. It is a very large book almost five hundredd pages if you are looking for something entertaining, a story that you can sink your teeth into, rich in history and magic and the theater of the time than this book won't fail to disapoint.  The female who is the one of the main characters is not one fo those simpering beauties who only wish to do needlepoint and stay home pushing out babies and entertaing their husbands, this femail is very modern for her time, and you have to like her!  She was refreshing in her part of the story.  I would definately recommend this book to anyone who has interest in magic and illusions as the history of those goes back a long way and this was realy getting it's start during this time period.  
I'm not sure I loved the ending, but I'm not sure what I would have done different so I can't pick on that too much, I guess I wanted to see the characters, where they went beyond that time period I wasn't ready to give them up.  Read it you shouldn't be disappointed im this book, just remember this is not one that will grab you and keep you up all night reading and you can pull it off in one is a longer novel!  I did win this book through through their "One to Watch" contest.  If you would like to enter their contests they have a ton of them and you only need visit their site.... and sig up for the newsletters.
Here is the description as found on Good Reads:
From the bestselling author of the phenomenally successful The Kashmir Shawl

London 1870.

A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil – a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.

Devil’s right-hand man is the improbably-named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them. And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.

Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life…

Friday, August 22, 2014

Miss Brenda and her Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell - My Review - A Mst Read!

9780307732170 (132×202)  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies!  By Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell
I absolutely loved this book and that it was a true story made it much more interesting.  I couldn’t put the book down. The main character Brenda Spahn had been very successful in her work, monetarily…..but she had a brush with the law, almost lost everything and just missed going to prison.  She made a deal with the Lord to start doing work for him, to live for him, if he kept her out of prison.  She didn’t go to prison as an inmate but she started going to the Julia Tutweiler Prison For Women in Wetumpka, speak to the inmates, she started a small church service there for them.  She decided that wasn’t enough she wanted to do more.  She learned that most of the women who were in the prison for much time at all, usually returned as they couldn’t make it when they got out on their own.  She arranged to take one of the homes she owned that was vacant, to make it a “whole way” center for women.  She wanted to teach them to live in the outside world to navigate the alien, and she also wanted to bring the Lord to them. 
She got permission to turn the home into a “whole way house” but the expected ex-cons that they sent to her, were not the ones with the light sentence.  She got the women who had rap sheets that were very long and they were not going to be easy for her, and the road was going to be long.  She did things with these women that people who ran “half way houses” never could. She was expected to fail.  She didn’t fail.  She held classes in Christianity, also how to make beds, how to clean, how to manage money, things that we all take for granted but things these women never had the opportunity and so much more.

There were a lot of stories, true stories, of each of the lives of the seven women who originally were the first to come to Brenda’s home.  The stories of each of these women were fascinating in that their lives included things most of us would never be able to even imagine.  Brenda even got these women to laugh at some of the awful things that happened to these women, the past didn’t seem to have as much a hold on them when they could laugh at it. 
Brenda called them Loveladies as that was her maiden name.   She and her first seven women and her first unlikely year is what is included in this book.  Brenda went from one small home to a very large facility for which four states now send women for the program.   She has now been Miss Brenda to over 450 women to date.
Of course this is a faith based story and it’s inspirational in that Brenda turned her family and life as she knew it upside down in order to serve her community and her Lord.  I found Brenda’s explanations to the women on different parts of the bible, how to pray, a different way to think of their Lord…..she let them know he was always with them.  Her breaking down of the “Lord’s Prayer” to them in teaching them how to pray was a very interesting way to think about it.  I had never heard it explained that way.
I so recommend this story to anyone.  There is humor, biography, Christianity non-denominational, and a great feel good and the end of the book.  It made me think that I have not done enough for the community I live with.  I’m not sure how much I could do, but perhaps I should find some ways to serve… should everyone else.  The community’s and the people who live in them could only be better for it.  It’s too bad we all don’t go about things the way Miss Brenda did and continues to do! "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
About This Book
One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…
Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day
About The Author
Brenda Spahn

Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home.

The Authors Web Site is located at http:/

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe - My Review - Absolutely Five Stars!!

9780804137720 (132×202)   I Shall Be Near To You
by Erin Lindsay McCabe –

I absolutely loved this book.   I couldn’t put it down from the first page.  This was about a woman who was someone you couldn’t push around.  She was a women in a man’s world and she didn’t like it one bit. She wasn’t about to be told what she could and couldn’t do.  She had a boyfriend who wanted to marry her when he returned from the war, with enough money in his pocket to buy the farm in Nebraska that they had both been talking about buying and farming.  She insisted he marry her before he leave.  She didn’t want to wait. Of course she got her way.  She moved with him into a small cabin on his parent’s property for two days after they married and he left without even telling her goodbye. He took off and left a note for her.  She tried to do things the way his family wanted her to.  She had been replaced already as a farm hand helping her Father. She just couldn’t sit and wait for her husband and wonder all that time if he were going to return. She cut her hair, hemmed his pants and shirts, went and joined the Army and appeared at the same grounds where he was to his shock and surprise. He keeps trying to send her back home before they get into real battle and she won’t go. Before long he stops even trying, he likes having his wife by his side, until they start facing the enemy with bullets coming at them and others in their company dying.  You cannot put this book down if you are into women’s fiction, love stories or Civil War story’s I believe you will love this book!  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
 The author did a lot of research on women who dressed as men and entered the Civil War; there were hundreds who did this on both sides of the War.   She read some 250 letters that these women had written, read many books, studied the areas and even went to some of the areas where the famous skirmishes’ happened.  I like to read how the authors research and come up with ideas for their books and see how much they had to do in order to write a book   This book is entirely fiction although it has mention of people and places that were real, she wrote about them fictitiously.

About The Book: An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.
   Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
   With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About The Author:
ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and two goats.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Review - The Firelight Girls by Kaya McLaren - I gave this one four stars!

I really liked this book.  It brought me back to the time I spent at camp with my group of Camp Fire Girls.....earning beads for our jackets, learning how to make campfire stew, swimming, etc.  Friends made!
This book is really about a Camp Director who has lost her partner of many years and she is now going to lose the camp which she lives down river from.  She contacts her old friends who she thinks may like to come and help pack up the camp and get it ready for new owners as it is being sold as the well is dry and there is no money to dig another.  This camp story includes three generations of women, one of which is a young girl who runs away from a bad situation that her Mother created and she brokke into one of the cabins and is trying live there and still get to school. The women discover her and take her under her wing.  One of the omen hasn't spoken to another since the year they were togther in camp and they have to come to terms with that.  ONe has raised her kids and now feels as if her marriage is over there is nothing more to bring her and her husband together.... a really good story, one I enjoyed.  Not one of those that you have to read in one day and can't put down. This is one for every lady who every went to camp as a girl and wants to relive the past through the stoies of these ladies! I won this book through Good Reads as a First exchange for an honest review.
The description found here on Good Reads:
The summers you spend at summer camp are indelibly etched on your heart. But what happens when the camp you love is about to close? Can you ever really say goodbye to the place that made you who you are?  This is the question that plagues Ethel, the seventy-year-old former camp director who is nursing a broken heart after losing the love of her life. It's also a question that inspires change in forty-year-old Shannon, who is directionless after watching her career implode. Then there is Ruby, who betrayed Ethel years ago and hasn't spoken to her since. Is this her chance to make amends? When the three women learn that a homeless teen has been hiding at camp—the only place she can escape her terrifying home life—they realize camp is something much more immediate for all: survival. Three generations of women are about to find so much more as they search for a way to save the place that saved them all in The Firelig

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The CHOPPED Cookbook From The Food Network! My Review

9780770435004 (164×202)The CHOPPED Cookbook from the Food Network!
Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great

 Wow, The Food Network did an extremely fabulous job on this cookbook!  I got it in the mail, when I opened it and turned a few pages, I told my husband, “Look at this! The pictures seem almost 3D!  Don’t they make you hungry or excited to cook just by looking at them?”  The pictures are fabulous.  Being an avid fan of The Food Networks show “Chopped” I had no idea how they would put together a cookbook but when I had the opportunity to review the book I of course said, “Yes send it to me please!” 
The cookbook is based on what a homemaker should have in their pantry on a regular basis and they give you a list.  They work off that list, and they also tell you options for say, the acid ingredient in a recipe can be cider vinegar, lemon, balsamic  vinegar, …..I’m going off my memory, but they do give you options of what you can swap out.  They give several types of sauces that you can make for vegetables or pasta, etc., and how to easily make them. You have choices and you can follow recipes for quick dinners for your family with what you have in your pantry or refrigerator. 
This cookbook also has commentary from the judges I’ve come to feel as If I know and love them.  They tell what their off the beaten path secret ingredient is that they like to keep in their pantry.  What their favorite ingredient is to use in recipes.  What their go to recipes or meals are that they like to put together on the fly.  It’s very interesting to see their input in the book.  The book makes everything simple, exciting and even propels you to get out, stock up your shelves, and start cooking!
"I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review"

About the Book:
Never again let the question, “What's for dinner?” stump you. The Chopped Cookbook features secrets for combining pantry staples to make exciting meals.

If you’ve ever looked into your fridge, hoping for inspiration to strike, let The Chopped Cookbook help you shake up weeknight dinners. Just as each basket on Chopped has many tasty possibilities, so, too, do the contents of your refrigerator. By showing you how to spin your favorite ingredients into 188 fun, doable, and delicious recipes—including go-to guides for making salad dressings and pan sauces, four-ingredient market baskets that can go in many tasty directions, and ideas for ways to reinvent pasta dinners—the culinary masterminds at Food Network set you up for mealtime victory every night.

About the Authors:
Food Network Kitchen
FOOD NETWORK KITCHEN is the culinary engine behind the television shows, website, Food Network Magazine, entwines airport and stadium restaurants, a line of Kohl’s products, and more. Comprised of chefs, stylists, recipe developers, researchers, and all-around food nerds, the Food Network Kitchens team carefully selects every ingredient in the baskets for the hit show Chopped, ensuring that each combination, no matter how wacky, has many delicious potential outcomes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reckless Disregard: A Parker Stern Novel by Robert Rotstein - A Reveiw - I gave this one five stars!!

I received this book through a drawing with "Shelf Awareness" in hopes that I would give it an honest review which I am.  The book was the first I have read by this author. I haven't read a good suspense novel in a very long time and this one is a real page turner.  It stars an attorney Parker Stern, who was a child actor, and now as an author has a very intense case of stage fright! He's hired to defend a person known as "Poniard" who has written a very intense game called Abduction!  He is being sued by William Bishop aka "William the Conquerer", for millions as the game accuses him of killing a starlet from years past who disappeared without anyone ever being charged for her death.  The book had me until the very end, when I found out well I can't tell you as that would be revealing the best part!  I loved the ending and was very pleased with how the book ended it was quite the surprise!  If you like mystery's this one is for you and if you aren't sure you want to read a mystery this one is for you, I fall into that camp and I really loved the book, by the cover not so much drawn to it, but after a few pages I was hooked.  Pick up a copy and read it yourself!
From Good Reads here is the description of the book: Former topnotch attorney Parker Stern, still crippled by courtroom stage fright, takes on a dicey case for an elusive video game designer known to the world only by the name of "Poniard."  In Poniard's blockbuster online video game, Abduction!, a real-life movie mogul is charged with kidnapping and murdering a beautiful actress who disappeared in the 1980s. Predictably, the mogul--William "the Conqueror" Bishop--has responded with a libel lawsuit. Now it's up to Parker to defend the game designer in the suit.

In defending Poniard, Parker discovers that people aren't who they claim to be and that nothing is as it seems. At one point, his client resorts to blackmail, threatening to expose a dark secret about Parker. Then, many of the potential witnesses who could have helped the case die prematurely, and the survivors are too frightened to talk. Parker begins to feel as if he's merely a character in a video game, fighting malevolent Level Bosses who appear out of nowhere and threaten to destroy him.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Spare Change a Novel by Bette Lee Crosby - I gave this book five stars! A great read that you can't put down!

I won this book through "Shelf Awareness" in exchange for an honest review which I am doing now.
I loved the book.  It involved a young boy, Ethan Allen Doyle, who has a Mom who cheats on her husband. She'll do anything to get someone to give her raises, more money, help her to get to New York.  Her husband hasn't come through with his promises over the years to take her there so she can make it as a singer which is her lifes dream. She is kind of rough around the edges which the entire family suffers from.  The wish to get to New York is going to be her undoing.  Ethan Allan sets out with his Dog and about seven dollars to go a long ways to find his Grandpa Charlie who he hopes will keep him safe. He finds instead that Grandpa Charlie isn't living anymore and his new Grandmother is a very superstitious woman who never wanted children and has no idea what to do with Ethan Allen and Dog.  She has even less clue what to do about the situation  with Scooter Cobb!  You won't be able to put this book down!  It was a USA Today Top Seller!

As found here on Good Reads their description:
A Woman who is Superstitious to the Core…

A Boy who claims his Parents are Dead…

A Murderer who wants to Silence the Truth of What Happened.

Olivia Westerly knows what she knows — opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why she’s avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.

Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about the important things in life, the madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that makes all the difference in an unusually independent woman.

With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa’s dead too. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.

The Furies a novel by Natalie Haynes - A First Read Book Through Good Reads - I gave this book 4 Stars I liked it!

This novel was sent to me through the First Read program with Good Reads, it is sent in hopes that I'll do a fair and honest review which I did post on Good Reads....

This is an engrossing tale.  I was kind of fascinated with the idea of "drama therapy" therapy through discuussing plays with troubled kids. I truly enjoyed reading about the kids take on these plays and the information they were giving the teacher about their own lives without realizing it! The kids in the class that this teacher has probems with that she has no idea are occuring, are troubled kids who have gotten next to her and found out what has happened in her life before she moved to Edinburgh and why she seems so sad.  The tale is one you have to finish you want topoi find out exactly which student took things too far, and exactly what they did.  I can't tell more it would spoil the ending!
The description of hte book as found here on Good Reads:
When you open up, who will you let in?

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Poor Man's Guide To Suicide - A Review of the Book - I give it four stars!

I won this book through a drawing at Shelf Awareness....I agreed to give it an honest review:

My first thoughts when reading this book was this poor man, his entire life has gone to crap!  His way of describing his apartment, his work, his life, his thoughts on how things got that bad were dark but at times funny!  I’ve been around men who were that depressed, and the thoughts they come up with are not always something I can relate to because even at my worst, I’ve always been something of an optimist.  I enjoyed the book for the most part and felt the need to finish it, I had to find out if this poor guy was going to off himself or have someone do it for him, and/or if he was going to follow through with it! 
This book was about Wesley Weimer a prison guard, divorced twice, father of two children whom he can’t really relate to, with no money left over after child support and rent. He has gotten to the bottom and can’t seem to find his way up. He had dreams at one time, he wanted to go to college he had things he wanted to do with his life and working as a prison guard was not really more than a blip on his radar in starting off with his life’s work.  He now believes that his life is at the bottom and he has no way to go up….he can only go along with all of the life sucked out of him.
Its Christmas time, the time of year that takes anyone who is already deeply depressed further down.  The expectation of family, the expectation of the person going through the holidays, of which expectations of self can’t come close to meeting.  A bad time of year for someone who is already at the bottom.
 Wesley actually goes through finding a criminal in the prison, who he can pay to off him.  The big problem is he only can come up with a down payment, he doesn’t have the money!  He goes through buying an insurance policy that he believes will be enough to take care of his children and his Mother….he can’t commit suicide as the policy wouldn’t pay.  He has to come up with a way to find the rest of the money in order to get him killed. Will he do it?  Will he go through with it?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!  I did and I liked the book. 

The books description:
THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO SUICIDE is a powerful, slashing, terrifying, hilarious, explosive, sarcastic, misanthropic and lyrical black comedy about losing your will to live—and possibly getting it back.


Wesley Weimer, a twice-divorced prison guard and failed father of two, realizes that his life has grown lifeless. Child support payments suck him dry and so he’ll never finish that degree. Most of his free time is spent tending to his crippled mother or else writhing through painful visits with his children.

So with Christmas right around the corner, Wesley persuades a prisoner to strangle him for ten thousand dollars—this way, at least his kids can cash in on the life insurance. The only problem is, he doesn’t have ten thousand dollars…

THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO SUICIDE is a noir why-done-it that shoves a microscope into the guts of a bleak yet fascinating subculture while managing to throw a spiritual life-ring to a drowning demographic: non-custodial fathers

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Opposite Of Maybe A Novel by Maddie Dawson and My Review of it -

The Opposite of Maybe A Novel by Maddie Dawson
cover (125×192)
I absolutely loved this book! The story was messy and unpredictable as in real life.  The characters were very human in that they were each in there way very interesting, likeable, and changeable.  I loved the story and couldn’t wait to see how the story would end.
The book started out with Rosie and Jonathon a couple that had been together without marriage for fifteen years.  They had made the decision that they didn’t want to have children and they both felt that was the decision they wanted to stick with for the rest of their lives.  Rosie is 44 and she and Jonathon have a real change coming to their relationship as Jonathon who collects teacups, to the point of obsession, receives an offer to move across the country to California to open a teacup museum.  Rosie really doesn’t want to leave, her Grandmother who raised her as her Mother was killed when she was three years old, is now having problems living alone and Rosie needs to find a caretaker to move in with her Grandmother before she feels she can leave. 
She finds a caretaker but her Grandmother Sopie as she calls her, has other ideas. She has moved in Tony a younger man who is a gardener to live there and be her caretaker.  He is not what Rosie considers a professional who is capable and has experience in taking care of an older person with memory problems who falls and shouldn’t be driving, and to Rosie’s horror she really should not be drinking and dancing and having an affair with an old friend whose wife is in a senior care facility due Alzheimer’s.  Tony seems to encourage her Grandmother in such behavior he is completely unsuitable!  Rosie agrees to move to California and also agrees to marry Jonathon before they leave, so they put together a wedding ceremony and invite friends and at the last minute Jonathon has to go tearing off to rescue a bunch of teacups before something happens to them, leaving Rosie in the lurch. 
Rosie decides she doesn’t want to go with Jonathon at the last minute, and moves in with her Grandmother and Tony.  She finds much to her horror after Jonathon has gone on, that she isn’t going through menopause as she thought, her one time mistake of having intercourse without a condom has resulted in her becoming pregnant.  She really does not want to have a child and she knows how Jonathon feels about it and what type of Father she feels he would be. 
She is spending time around Tony who seems to be a pregnancy whisperer, he tells her she is pregnant before she even knows it and he is right!  He is obsessed with pregnant women he loves being around them.  He tells her everything about carrying a child and childbirth and raising a child.
 Tony has a young son named Milo who lives with his Mother and her girlfriend.  Tony and Milo’s Mother were married for a very long time and she decided she would rather be with their best friend’s wife, rather than Tony.  She and Tony and her new partner live together for a while, until they tell Tony it isn’t working and he should leave and they are going to keep Milo.  He really isn’t happy about that but goes along with it, then they tell Tony that he can’t see his son because his son should get used to their arrangement.  Tony isn’t very good at changing arrangements with those two. 
Rosie decides she is going to keep her child at the last minute and Jonathon of course wants nothing to do with a baby, but then comes round…..Tony seems to really like Rosie… does Milo and Rosie thinks her baby should be with the Father….will  she change her mind, how will things work out with her Grandmother and George, how will things work out with Tony and his son, and Rosie….will she marry Jonathon and move to California with her child…..the book just has so many twists and turns and just when you think you have everything figured out it changes again.  The book is rich in the depth of story and characters.   I can tell you I’m being very honest when I say this book was a breath of fresh air, one of the best I’ve read in a long while, and I very much would like to read anything else written by this author!
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

About The Book from the back cover:
A heartfelt and exceptionally human novel about the best mistakes a person can make
   Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.
   But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.
   It’s meant to be a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers. When Soapie reveals a long-hidden secret, Rosie wonders if she has to let go of her fears, and trust that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits her just may be the one she was meant to live.

 Maddie Dawson - The Opposite of Maybe
 MADDIE DAWSON is the author of The Stuff That Never Happened. She lives in Connecticut.