Monday, May 27, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham Book Review

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine via NetGalley. I was not required to render a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. 

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

My thoughts:

I was interested in reading Someday, Someday, Maybe because I have caught episodes of Gilmore Girls every now and then and have seen many a Lauren Graham interview and I know how witty and funny she can be. The premise was interesting, a fictionalized version (well, some of it was probably from her life and other parts entirely fiction, of course) of Graham's attempt to become an actress. I was also drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover! It's one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen!

I had a really hard time getting into the first half of the book. It just was not able to capture my attention in the way that I normally like to be captured. There were definitely funny parts in the first half, but mostly it was a mundane description of what one might go through while trying to make their way into the spotlight. Acting classes, waiting tables, choosing an agency to represent you...ect. and that is all interesting, it just didn't fit the mold of a fictitious novel for me. The second half of the book was much more exciting as things begin to happen for Franny (without her seeming to realize it, humility is a good thing) in her professional and personal life. I feel like with this novel, I
 was more attracted to the minor characters. I found myself wanting more of Dan, Franny's roommate (and maybe something more?). Some of the funniest lines in the book belonged to Franny's Dad via the messages he leaves on her answering machine (yes, answering machine. The book is set in the 90's.) One of the best parts of the books were the pages filled with Franny's planner pages! I loved the way the book concluded, I just wish it started off as strong as it finished. This was not bad for a first attempt at a novel, if she wrote another one I would still want to check it out. I would recommend Someday, Someday, Maybe to anyone that is fan of Graham's as well as anyone who is interested in acting or actors.

About the author:

Lauren Graham is best known for playing Loralaie Gilmore in The WB series Gilmore Girls. She is currently portraying Sarah Braverman on Parenthood. Someday, Someday, Maybe is her debut novel.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

At Least You're In Tuscany by Jennifer Criswell Book Review

*Disclosure- I received a free e-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.

"At Least Your're in Tuscany." That's the mantra that Jennifer Griswell repeated any time anything went wrong when she decided that she would follow her dreams, quit her job as a lawyer, uproot herself from the United States and move to Italy. Armed with her dog Cinder, very little understanding of the Italian language and no job lined up, Griswell took the plunge and moved to Montepulciano. At Least You're In Tuscany is a memoir of her first year living in Montepulciano and all of the trials, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, that she encounters along the way.

I love to travel and I love to read, so a non-fiction book about a place I have always wanted to go but have yet to make it to was definitely a fun thing for me to read. Before I got married and had kids, I always had dreams of living abroad for at least a year or two, so peaking in on someone else's journey was quite interesting to me. Tuscany sounds just about as beautiful as I would imagine it to and Jennifer's first year there definitely seems to go the way I would imagine moving to a foreign country with a language your barely know is spoken. I loved her tales about her trips to the farmer's market and her neighbor who's adult sons still live at home with her, as well as a forbidden romance. This novel would make a fun movie! I felt sympathy for her when she had a hard time getting a job because of her lack of speaking Italian and her trouble getting her Italian citizenship approved. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves to travel or loves to read interesting non-fiction.

About the author- Jennifer Criswell is a lawyer-turned-writer who chucked her legal briefs to pursue her love of writing after a life-changing trip to Italy in 2001. Jennifer lives and writes in a small hill town in Tuscany with her sidekick of a Weimaraner, Cinder.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Confession- Movie Review

*Disclosure- I received a copy of the movie to view. I was not required to render a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About The Confession:

Raised by an Amish family, Katie Lapp (Katie Leclerc, TV's "Switched at Birth") always felt the call of another life. Now, her quest to find her birth-mother, Laura Mayfield-Bennett (Sherry Stringfield, TV's "ER"), has drawn her into the world of the "Englishers." Along the way, two very different men try to help her overcome a devious scheme to steal her rightful inheritance. Business-minded but kind-hearted Justin Wirth (Michael Rupnow) reaches out to disvoer Katie's hidden secrets, while her childhood sweetheart Daniel Fisher (Cameron Deane Stewart) sacrifices his own happiness for her future. Katie's heart is divided between two worlds as love reveals the trust in the moving saga based on the hit novel from New York Times best-selling author Beverly Lewis.

Michael Landon Jr. Brings to life this second installment in author Beverly Lewis' The Heritage of Lancaster Country trilogy on the big screen. I must confess, upon beginning to movie I didn't realize that this was the second in a series, but this movie (and I am sure the novel as well) is able to stand on it's own quite well. Although I had not read any of the books from this particular series of Ms. Lewis, the movie sounded great so I definitely wanted to watch it. I thought it had a great story line. Katie is on a journey to find her birth mother, who is not Amish, so she is in the world of the "Englishers" trying to figure out how to find her. She finally finds out where she is only to discover once she gets there that someone else is posing as her! She stays anyway, mistaken as a new maid, just to be around her mother and to figure out exactly why there is someone pretending to be her! I loved following along in the movie rooting for Katie in so many different ways. I wanted so badly to see that Katie would be able to reveal herself to her mother or that her mother would somehow figure out who she was. I love some of the little plot twists that revealed themselves in the movie, but I won't ruin that here for those of you who haven't read the books. There are two men that seem to love Katie and want to see her happy and help her along the way. This makes for some fantastic scenes for those of us who enjoy romance! The ending of the movie was great and left me wanting more, so I REALLY hope that they make the third installment of The Heritage of Lancaster Series into a movie as well!

The Confession is a great family movie filled with faith and love. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a family friendly, heartwarming story. The Confession debuted on The Hallmark Channel on May 11. The DVD will be available on June 11 and can be bought at Walmart stores nationwide. You can also pre-order the movie on right now! 

As for me, after watching The Confession, I realized the first movie in the series is on Netflix...guess what holds the number one spot on my instant queue? I look forward to seeing where the story began and to reading the third book (and hopefully watching the third movie if/when it gets made!) to see what is sure to be a wonderful conclusion to this great series!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pastor's Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen Book Review & Blog Tour + Win an iPad Mini

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

About PastorsWives

What's it like when the man you married is already married to God? asks PastorsWives, an often surprising yet always emotionally true first novel set in a world most of us know only from the outside.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen's debut novel PastorsWivesfollows three women whose lives converge and intertwine at a Southern evangelical megachurch. Ruthie follows her Wall Street husband from New York to Magnolia, a fictional suburb of Atlanta, when he hears a calling to serve at a megachurch called Greenleaf. Reeling from the death of her mother, Ruthie suffers a crisis of faith---in God, in her marriage, and in herself. Candace is Greenleaf's "First Lady," a force of nature who'll stop at nothing to protect her church and her superstar husband. Ginger, married to Candace's son, struggles to play dutiful wife and mother while burying her calamitous past. All their roads collide in one chaotic event that exposes their true selves. Inspired by Cullen's reporting as a staff writer for Time magazine, Pastors'Wives is a dramatic portrayal of the private lives ofpastorswives, caught between the demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.

My thoughts:

I was interested in reading this book because I thought it had a different premise and wanted to get inside the heads and lives of pastors' wives. I should mention that this book is not written by a faith based author (although the author herself seems likely to be a Christian) or published by a Christian publishing company so there is a tiny bit of language and is not as squeaky clean as a Christian novel would be, but then I think some of that is the point. That pastors' wives aren't perfect and have many of their own struggles. I know that and it is good for us to realize that they are just normal people with husband's who have an extraordinary calling which makes their calling to be married to these men pretty extraordinary. That said, I felt that all of the main characters had too much conflict going on, I know that almost everyone questions their choices and their spouses choices and maybe even their marriage sometime, but almost all of the women in the book (one in particular to me) seem to be pretty selfish in their thoughts and some of their actions. I thought it was a good story with a good subject, but felt that maybe there was a lot of conflict for conflict's sake. I would have liked an equal amount of conflict and happiness. I was happy that the book was written from each woman's perspective  it was nice to get several different views of several different characters.

About Lisa: Lisa Takeuchi Cullen was a longtime staff writer for TIME magazine. She now develops TV pilots for production companies and recently sold her first pilot for "The Ordained" to CBS. Born in Japan, Cullen lives in New Jersey with family.

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Pastors' Wives, with an iPad Mini Giveaway and connecting with readers on Facebook on May 23rd!


One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "Pastors' Wives" Author Chat Party on May 23rd. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Lisa will also be giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Pastors' Wives and join Lisa on the evening of May 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter Book Review

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for the advanced copy of the book through Netgalley. All opinions are 100% my own. 

What's another week without reviewing an Amish cookbook? If you've been a reader of this blog for long, you know I am fascinated by the Amish and really enjoy their recipes, so I am always on the lookout for new Amish cookbooks. The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection is great because it is full of wonderful homemade recipes in all of the usual categories plus a few fun extras: Breakfast Foods, Snacks, Breads & Rolls, Jams & Jellies, Pickles & Relish, Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Desserts, Beverages and Miscellaneous. As you can tell, there is plenty to keep a home cook occupied. I love that throughout the book interwoven with the recipes are little facts about Amish life. Something that I really love about Amish recipes is that for the most part, they use ingredients that make homemade foods, I think that is really important in this time when there is so much processed food and so many people that are sick or have food allergies, I believe from the over-processing of food. With that said, every now and then there are a few convenience foods used, but I don't see a problem with using them minimally. Everyone has days when they don't want to put a huge effort into cooking because they just don't have the energy! Some of the more intriguing recipes include: Honey French Toast, Apple Pancakes, Overnight Breakfast Casserole, Granola Bars, Easy Dinner Rolls, Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread, German Style Green Beans, BBQ Sauce, Potato Soup, Chicken Dumplings, Lazy Wife's Dinner, Lemon Pudding Cake, Funny Cake and Easy Strawberry Shortcake.I can not stress how many fantastic recipes there are in this book. There are some that might take longer than others, but there are plenty of simple recipes for an inexperienced cook.

Throughout the book, you will learn little tidbits about Amish life ranging from Florida to Pennsylvania and many places in between. There are facts about Amish weddings, the hobby of quilting and how the Amish attend church. For someone who already is pretty immersed into learning about the Amish culture, these things won't come as a surprise, but for a newbie just learning about this culture, these are interesting facts about interesting people. I would still encourage people that already know a great deal about Amish culture to pick up this book for the fabulous recipes. Not only are there great food recipes, there are even some recipes in the miscellaneous section for homemade cleaners: laundry detergent, homemade air freshener and even fly spray! I think anybody who loves to cook or loves Amish culture (or both!) will be a fan of this book. I certainly am!

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The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection will be available on July 1, 2013.
You can pre-order the book on

Friday, May 3, 2013 Find The Perfect Mother's Day Gift + Win a FREE subscription

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

I have always enjoyed magazines for as long as I can remember. There is just something about getting a new copy every month that is just tons of fun. I especially enjoy cooking magazines. I like that I can thumb through the pages and get many new ideas each month and even for each season and many holidays. It's neat to get a new perspective on something that really interests you in the mail each month. The cool thing about magazines is that there is truly something for everyone. Enter the perfect place to search for just the right gift for your mom this Mother's Day. They have compiled a list of some of their selections that they think would make great Mother's Day gifts. If your mom loves to cook (like me!!!) you can buy her a gift subscription to Cooking with Paula Deen, Food Network Magazine Every Day with Rachel Ray. If she likes to craft there are several magazines she might like including Quilter's Newsletter or Creative Keepsakes. If she is a health nut you might consider Prevention or Fitness Magazine. There are also several women's interest magazines for the well rounded woman such as Redbook, Ladies Home Journal or Southern Living. The greatest thing about is that you will save a TON on these subscriptions (many are $10 or less) , yet you can send a gift that will keep on giving. In addition to the magazines mentioned above, there are even more listed on the website to choose from, all at great prices. Why not send mom something a little different this year? wants to give on lucky reader the chance to receive a magazine subscription (up to $10) on them! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Broken Wings (Angel Eyes #2) by Shannon Dittemore Book Review

About the book:

Giant angels with metal wings and visible song. A blind demon restored from the pit of darkness. And a girl who has never felt more broken.

Brielle sees the world as it really is: a place where the Celestial exists side by side with human reality. But in the aftermath of a supernatural showdown, her life begins to crumble. Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her—something important. Her overprotective father has started drinking again. He’s dating a much younger woman who makes Brielle’s skin crawl, and he’s downright hostile toward Jake. Haunting nightmares keep Brielle from sleeping, and flashes of Celestial vision keep her off kilter.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted. The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy with healing in his hands and of the girl who sees through the Terrestrial Veil. When he plucks the blind demon, Damien, from the fiery chasm and sends him back to Earth with new eyes, the stage is set for a cataclysmic battle of good versus evil.

Then Brielle unearths the truth about her mother’s death and she must question everything she ever thought was true.

Brielle has no choice. She knows evil forces are converging and will soon rain their terror down upon the town of Stratus. She must master the weapons she’s been given. She must fight.

But can she fly with broken wings?

*Disclosure- I was provided a complimentary copy of Broken Wings from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.
My thoughts:

Last year I feel in love when I was able to debut Shannon Dittemore's debut novel Angel Eyes. I was impressed by the great writing and also the new spin on paranormal fiction featuring angels and demons. I was even more excited to find out that Angel Eyes was to be a trilogy and could barely contain myself waiting for Broken Wings to come out!  That day finally arrived and here I am again impatient for August for the final book in the triology, Dark Halo. I can not wait to see how this series ends!

Broken Wings picks up where Angel Eyes had left off. Main characters Brielle and Jake have graduated from high school and survived some pretty intense stuff (I don't want to be too detailed and spoil the first book for anyone who has yet to read it) In the second novel, Brielle's dad has begun seeing someone new named Olivia, who has Brielle on it because her dad hasn't been serious with anyone for as long as she can remember and she is jealous or does she have good reason to be weary? Brielle's dad has also become a regular drinker adding more stress to Brielle's already pretty crazy life. The Halo that Jake gave her is not taming her nightmares as they once did. What does this mean? Broken Wings is full of questions and characters and interweaving of stories that I think will be concluded in the final novel of the trilogy. Sometimes the books in the middle of these series can be somewhat boring and drawn out, but not Broken Wings. Dittemere's writing style is just so inviting and addicting. She knows how to keep the reader turning those pages. The writing is so descriptive and vibrant that I constantly keep catching myself thinking I would love to watch this trilogy unfold  in a series of movies. I can only hope that it happens! I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys paranormal fiction or the young adult genre. It will not disappoint.

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