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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dynamo A Novel by Eleanor Gustafson - Review - Five Star Rating! What a gripping read!

I won this book from shelfawareness a drawing was held by the author.  It was sent in hopes of a review which I always do when someone is nice enough to mail me a copy of a book to read that I've entered a contest for.

What a gripping read! I knew nothing of horses of showing them, training them, etc.  The entire horse world was unknown to me, I see what I was missing when reading this story.  It takes you to the behind what the public would see and takes you to the farms where the horses are grown, trained, and then shown.  Bought and sold.  This is the story of Jeth Cavanaugh who is searching for a new life and takes a wrong turn and ends up at the home of Rob and Katie Chilton who train and show horses, they teach children to ride jumpers, etc.  Rob and Katiie are devout christians and even though Jeth has been in prison, they see that he is a horse whisperer they have a horse Dynamo who really can't be managed or rideen by anyone until Jeth comes along.  They hire him for room and board and the little money they can scrape up and on Sundays they don't allow Jeth to work, he can go to church with them if he likes.  Since he can't work and has not much money he decides to try it out.  It's not so bad, he returns.  Slowly the word of God makes it's way into Jeth and changes his life.  He has a day where he is really tested and that is the day that changes everything for him.  Dynamo is a leading character in Jeths life throughout this book as well is the word of God as brought front and center by the author.  This book takes hold of you and you can't put it down.  It's hard to go about your daily chores when all you can think about is getting back to the story to see how it ends.
This is a telling story, one that stays with you when you aren't reading and has you compelled to finish it and see the story to the end.  I loved this book!

Here is the review as found on Good Reads:
Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion. Everything changes when God enters his life--in the uuch like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption. This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us?nconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend--and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something." He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, m