Monday, June 4, 2018

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffin

*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-

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

My thoughts-

Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit and Emily Griffin is an author I really like, so I knew I would like this book before I even read it. Bonus points for mentioning one of my favorite hotels in Dallas (not too far from where I live), The Mansion on Turtle Creek! This was a quick moving story line and it didn't take me long to get through reading this one, just two days. I find Nina to be so easy to like and feel empathy for and Tom and Lyla really drew me in as well. The story is told from 3 different view points and I love books that are written in this format because I think it always goes a long way in really setting the scene and getting the full impact of the story having several different view points. The only complaint I have is I wanted more in the epilogue. I liked the taste of their futures but I wanted to know even more. All We Ever Wanted tackles some tough subject matter, but it is done in a way that I think isn't too overbearing. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

*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-

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they're drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide nor Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they'll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be--and uncover the specter of a killer who's been real all along...


My thoughts-

The Other Lady Vanishes seemed liked a great book to reach for during my flight to Vegas for our family vacation and it was absolutely the right pick. It was full of interesting characters, great plot points, and a love story. It was just light enough to read on a flight, but intense enough to keep my interest. It did get repetitive in places and that was kind of a bummer, but not so much that it made me not like the book. I really enjoyed getting to know the small town of Burning Cove and it's newest residents, Adelaide and Jake. I liked the main premise of the story of Adelaide escaping from the sanitarium and the murder mystery with the psychic. If this continued on as a series, I would definitely want to read the next book to find out what happens to Adelaide after her past is behind her. 

Low Carb on the Go by Sandra Stupning, Mirco Stupning

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book form 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-

More than 80 fast, healthy low-carbohydrate recipes for meals and snacks you can eat anywhere, anytime.

Low-carb eating is a sustainable lifestyle choice for people who want to lose weight, stabilize blood sugar, or simply avoid the afternoon carb coma. Fitting a low-carbohydrate diet into your busy day is easy with more than 80 meal and snack recipes bursting with modern, vegetable- and protein-packed ideas such as Chia Seed and Turmeric Pudding, Coconut and Vanilla Energy Balls, and Chicken Teriyaki with Cauliflower Rice. Discover tips and tricks for healthy meal prep, and the best way to store and transport your low-carb lunch to keep it looking and tasting fresh. Each recipe contains nutritional information, including the all-important carb count, as well as a handy guide to prep time and equipment you'll need. With Low Carb on the Go, you can plan your low-carb diet and stick to it with more than 80 delicious, healthy meals and snacks for anytime, anywhere.


My thoughts-

I am a stay at home mom but during the school year I stay very busy with volunteering and during the summer I stay busy with keeping the kids busy so it is good to have some portable food that works well on the go. There are definitely some good recipes here, I plan to try the kimchi, and the oops bread recipes first, and I like that the nutrition facts are listed for each recipe at the bottom of the page. I didn't like that fiber count wasn't included because I find that to be an important part of each meal as well, but of course for any person doing a low carb diet fat and protein counts are the most important and I like that it is listed right on each recipe page to make counting macros that much easier. I think anyone looking to have healthy meals on the go would get great use out of this cookbook, but would especially recommend it to people who follow a low carb lifestyle. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Vegan Pressure Cooking, Revise & Expanded by JL 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-

Conquer your pressure cooking fears and make meals in minutes!
 
Say goodbye to long cooking and preparation times. With an Instant Pot® or other pressure cooker, you can cook filling, nutritious meals in under an hour and with little mess or cleanup. It's the dinner (and breakfast, and lunch) solution you've always dreamed of. 
 
In this revised edition of the classic Vegan Pressure Cooking, you'll find:
--More than 30 pages of new content, including new recipes (over 120 recipes total) and new photos
--Information about using any type of pressure cooker or multicooker, including an Instant Pot, and how to choose which is best for you
--Cooking charts for beans, grains, vegetables, and more, so there’s no guesswork—or mushy vegetables—involved
--Recipes that span all meals and tastes, from easy breakfasts like Savory Oatmeal and Stewed Apricots to healthy dinners like Kale, Lentil, and Squash Chili and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Perfect for novice cooks and experts alike, there's something for everyone with Vegan Pressure Cooking



My thoughts-

I think this is an excellent book for someone who is vegan or wanting to explore veganism. I am not vegan, but I love my Instant Pot and was hoping for some good veggie heavy recipes. What I found were carb heavy recipes, which makes sense because vegans need to get their protein from grains. I think there were some excellent recipes in the book, just not many that would work for my grain free lifestyle. There were a few though that I will definitely be giving a try. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who follows a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or who just want more varied recipes for their Instant Pot.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

*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. 

My thoughts-


The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all." --Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark - and the child they may have had.
Based on a real story - in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.
Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other. 

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.



About the book-

There are so many things I love about this book. It is set (at least partially) in one of my favorite places- Cape Cod, it is based on historical people that actually existed, and it has an intriguing protagonist in Alicia Darr. I had never heard of Alicia Darr before reading The Summer I Met Jack, but the book has set off an interest that needs to be explored. I will definitely be looking for more books about her and her fascinating life. I appreciate the extensive research that the author conducting to be able to write this book and I also plan to read several of the books she cited at the end. I would love to see another book from Michelle Gable from Jack Kennedy's point of view of this time in his life. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or who has an interest in the Kennedy family. 

People of Peace by Sandrine Mirza

*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-

Dreamers, leaders, fighters for our rights... meet 40 amazing activists for peace! From Martin Luther King’s dream to Gandhi’s protest to Nelson Mandela’s struggle, discover how each of these people dedicated their lives to making the world a better place in their own unique, and peaceful, way. Learn how these heroes from history changed the world in this inspiring book packed with hundreds of incredible facts. Who will you choose as your hero?

My thoughts-

I really like the premise of this book. Kids definitely need people to look up to and to aspire to be like and there are 40 tremendous choices within these pages. People of Peace is an inspiring book about 40 different people, from different walks of life, who each made it their mission to contribute to a world of peace. I love that there are both men and women from old times and current times for kids to learn about. They will learn not only about these people's missions, but a little about world history as well which I think is super cool. I even learned about a few world changers myself! I think this book should be something all older elementary school aged children should read!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Super Fun Travel Activities to Baffle Your Brain

*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.

My kids are pretty well traveled and are used to travelling in cars and planes and love seeing new place- but like any young kids- I have two 8 year old boys and a 10 year old girl- the get bored after sitting still for too long. I absolutely LOVE Super Fun Travel Activities to Baffle Your Brain. I am going to buy each kid a copy for our flight to Las Vegas this summer. This book is full of all of the standard busy book favorites- crosswords, word searches, Sudoku, and travel related games galore. I am pretty sure that my kids would love working in this activity book at home when they need something to do as well. I absolutely recommend this book for elementary aged kids for those long road trips or flights!