Sunday, July 24, 2016

Judy Moody and the Bucket List by Megan McDonald (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Judy is visiting Grandma Lou one day when she accidentally finds an uber-mysterious list of activities — a Bucket List! Which gives Judy an idea: How rare would it be if she made her own way-official bucket list of all the things she wants to do—before she starts fourth grade? Pretty soon Judy is off and running trying to cross off all her items: learn to do a cartwheel, invent something rad, go to Antarctica (the real one), ride a horse—the list goes on. But what happens if Grandma Lou achieves everything on her list? Does that mean she’ll be ready to . . . kick the bucket?

My thoughts-

This was such a cute book! I have heard a lot about Judy Moody, but have never read any of her books. "Bucket List" caught my eye because I love things like bucket lists and have one of my own. It sounded like it might be a fun book about adventure and it definitely was. Judy Moody has some high hopes for her own bucket list, but ends up learning you can have adventures and accomplish things, even if they are not huge in the grand scheme of things. There are many lessons to be learned in the book and several laughs along the way. Judy Moody and the Bucket List is the perfect book for kids ages 8-12. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Move over Junie B. Jones! Get to know Piper Green as she discovers the ordinary magic right outside her front door.

Piper Green is in for another adventure when she finds an unusual whistle hidden inside the Fairy Tree in her front yard. But Piper doesn't want a whistle... she wants a pony! On a trip with her dad to check the family's lobster traps, the whistle attracts the attention of an unexpected friend. Could the fairy whistle working its magic after all?

My thoughts-

It took my 8 year old a while to get into reading. When she finally did it was all Junie B. Jones all of the time. She has read every book in that series about 10 ten times by now and I thought Piper Green sounded like another series she could get into. She read this book in about half an hour. She said she liked the part at the beginning when Piper was making her brother cinnamon snakes when he didn't feel well, when she gets to ride a pony and she also loves that Piper rides a boat to school. Her verdict was that Piper Green is not quite Junie B. but she did enjoy this book and I think she would be open to trying more in the series. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan (Cookbook Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Armed with little more than a notebook and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, and fueled by memories of her family's farm in the lush seaside province of Gilan, British-Iranian cook Yasmin Khan traversed Iran in search of the most delicious recipes. 

Her quest took her from the snowy mountains of Tabriz to the cosmopolitan caf├ęs of Tehran and the pomegranate orchards of Isfahan, where she was welcomed into the homes of artists, farmers, electricians, and teachers. Through her travels, she gained a unique insight into the culinary secrets of the Persian kitchen, and the lives of ordinary Iranians today. 

In The Saffron Tales, Yasmin weaves together a tapestry of stories from Iranian home kitchens with exclusive photography and fragrant, modern recipes that are rooted in the rich tradition of Persian cooking. All fully accessible for the home cook, Yasmin's recipes range from the inimitable fesenjoon (chicken with walnuts and pomegranates) to kofte berenji (lamb meatballs stuffed with prunes and barberries) and ghalyieh maygoo (shrimp, coriander, and tamarind stew). She also offers a wealth of vegetarian dishes, including tahcheen (baked saffron and eggplant rice) and domaj (mixed herb, flatbread, and feta salad), as well as sumptuous desserts such as rose and almond cake, and sour cherry and dark chocolate cookies. 

With stunning photography from all corners of Iran and gorgeous recipe images, this lavish cookbook rejoices in the land, life, flavors, and food of an enigmatic and beautiful country.


My thoughts-

I am always on the look out for new Iranian recipes. My husband's parents are from Iran and he loves Persian food (as do I, and as do our children) so it's always nice to find new books with good recipes. Something I have never thought about is Iranian breakfast foods, so it was interesting to learn some new recipes. I can't wait to try a few out, particularly the baked eggs with spinach and sumac. There are many recipes throughout the book that I do recognize, but each a little different from the other times I have seen them elsewhere, something common in Persian cooking, each family will have their own little spin on things. I have my eye on several things to try to see how they compare to the recipes I have learned previously. The Saffron Tales is a great introduction to Persian cooking. I love the way it is set up by region. It includes so many beautiful pictures, both of colorful food and of the gorgeous land and people of Iran. 


Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Spend a lazy crafternoon with your friends. From pretty school supplies to colorful tech accessoriest to perfect party decor, Lazy Crafternoon guides tween crafters through simple stesp to create amazing projects.
For ages 9-13.
*Step-by-step instructions and images of complex steps makes crafting easy *Over 50 fast, fun crafts to create & share



My thoughts-

My daughter has recently become more interested in crafting and the description saying this book is for ages 9-13 and the beautiful cover caught my eye. There are over 50 projects in this book! There are lots of cute things to do and instructions on how to throw a craft party. I think this book has beautiful, inviting pages and clear instructions on how to get the project done. I think Lazy Crafternoon is a great book for getting pre-teen and young teen girls doing something productive and fun with their friends, but I also think these projects would be fun for mothers and daughters to do together! Younger girls might need a little adult help on the projects, but for the most part I think they can be managed by a group of girls without too much supervision. I would recommend this book to any moms of crafters or girls looking for something fun to do! Lazy Crafternoon will keep them busy for some time! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Not Fair by Melanie Dale (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchance for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-


Hey, you. Are you debating whether to destroy something with your bare hands or curl up on the couch for a decade or two?
This book will solve all of your problems. (Sheesh, that's aiming a bit high.)
This book is a cup of hot coffee, a ginormous bar of chocolate, or the magical fairy that comes over and does your dishes while you lie in the fetal position clutching a fluffy pillow.
Sometimes when life falls apart the only acceptable response is hysterical laughter. When things get so far gone, so spectacularly a world away from any plans you made or dreams you dreamed, you feel it bubbling up inside of you and you scream, “It's not fair!” And it isn't. Fair is an illusion, and life is weird.
This book will help you laugh at life's absurd backhands. This book is an empathetic groan of our collective unfairnesses. You might want to throw it across the room, and you might want to hug it like your new best friend. This book is about us sitting down together in our shared mess, taking a deep breath, gripping hands, looking the hard stuff in its beady little eyeballs, and bahahahaaing at it.
Life's not fair, but we can learn to love this life we didn't choose.

My thoughts-

A while back I saw a book on Amazon that caught my attention and was on sale called Women Are Scary:The Totally Awkard Adventure of Finding Mom Friends. My best friend and I both bought it, read it together, laughed our hineys off and commiserated as we related to many of the scenarios in the book. When I saw Melanie Dale wrote another book that I figured I could relate to called It's Not Fair, I knew it would be a book I needed to read. This is a book about things happening in adulthood that we didn't expect. Maybe you have a kid with a diagnosis (adhd, autism, ect.) or maybe you got sick. We all have something, I am sure of it. This book was once again easy to relate to for me. It was easy to understand where the author was coming from when she shared personal experiences of her own life's journey and yes, this book was also funny. I may not have laughed out loud as much as I did during the first book, but this was a more serious matter. I still appreciate the use of humor to get through life's hardships. Sometimes it's just nice to feel like someone else gets how you feel, and I think that most people, at least most of the people I know, would get that feeling from this book.

It's Not Fair by Melanie Dale will be available for purchase on August 16. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon.com.


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.  

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My thoughts-

I didn't have a clue that there was a series of books that are modern stories adapted from Shakespeare plays. The Taming of the Shrew is one of my favorite Shakespeare comedies and I have been known to like other modern adaptations of the same story so I really couldn't wait to get my hands on Vinegar Girl. It was a short read that I chose to take with me on a getaway with my best friend. I read most of it on the plane, but read the leftover remnants here and there during our trip. I couldn't even tell you how many times I laughed out loud. I loved the nerdy science vibe of Kate's dad and the interactions between Pyotr and Kate are super funny to me. I love the language barrier and the funny things it makes Pyotr word things sometimes. I also loved seeing the two of them grow because of each other without even meaning to. It was a cute book, and a well done modernization of a classic. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Shakespeare or just enjoys contemporary fiction. You could read this book and not think about original at all as well. Vinegar Girl will likely be my next recommendation for my book club, it was that enjoyable!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

When Calls the Heart: Heart of a Hero Review

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the dvd from Edify Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the show-

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wild frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing, (Eye Candy), Jack Wagner (Melrose Place) and Lori Loughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment,and the enduring power of love" (Common Sense Media). New arrivals bring excitement, love and danger to Hope Valley. Pastor Frank has been reinstated following the revelation of his criminal past, but the arrival of his old cohorts, the Garrison Gang, are making life- and his relationship with Abigail- very tense. Bill Avery has his own debt to settle with Jake Garrison, and Jack intends to stay Bill's  hand from killing the man. Meanwhile, Lee's foot injury brings a pretty nurse, Faith Carter from Hamilton...and soon after, her possessive fiance. And Jack rises to the defense of new settlers on Gowen's land when Gowen abruptly raises their rent.

My thoughts-

Something I really love about When Calls the Heart is that there is a big ensemble cast and while the show centers on Elizabeth and Jack, there are always several other story lines going to keep things interesting. In this episode, a familiar face from Hamilton shows up in Hope Valley. I thought it was interesting to see Faith again and in a different setting. Poor Abigail's love life is always so stressful, but I love seeing her navigate her life. One of my favorite stories in this episode was about a little girl in Elizabeth's class that has just moved in from elsewhere and is not having an easy time adjusting. There isn't too much going on with Jack and Elizabeth's relationship in this episode, which is a good thing, it just means that things are going well which I am always happy about. I hope those two get it together and get married at some point! I have said this before but I love watching this show and I love that I can watch it without worry in front of my children. It is a great show for them to watch that shows drama, comedy, romance and how life was different during this time period. It is a great show for the whole family.

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