Wednesday, October 18, 2017

31 Proverbs To Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs (Book Review)

*Dislcosure 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-

Take Heart, Beloved.
His Light Is Shining,
And Your Path Is Clear.


Wherever you are on your journey, here is the wisdom you need for the road ahead. Maybe you’re stuck and want to move forward. Or you feel anxious and long to know what’s next. Or you’re ready for an uplifting reminder that God holds your future in His loving hands.

Chosen by hundreds of women as their favorite verses in Proverbs, these thirty-one nuggets of truth reveal how faithfully God honors His promise, “I will instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11).

Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs examines each word with care and adds a sprinkling of humor through her honest stories and personal examples. For each verse you’ll find a unique “One Minute, One Step” challenge—a do-it-now task that requires one minute or less. You’ll soon discover how practical and meaningful the book of Proverbs is as you apply its ancient wisdom to your thoroughly modern life.

With a study guide included, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a daily devotional and a small-group Bible study, wrapped in a beautiful gift book brimming with encouragement!

My thoughts-

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a gorgeous book, worthy of gift giving. The cover is a beautiful start to a fantastic book full of great insight and encouragement. There 31 chapters for 31 proverbs, a little personal anecdote at the beginning of each chapter, and a great devotional that follows close behind. At the end of each chapter is a page entitled "One Minute, One Step which gives a quick tip for drawing nearer to God through your actions. I also liked that there was a study guide at the end of the book to even further help you get a whole pictures of Proverbs by challenging you to answer questions. I recommend this book to any Christian looking for encouragement or as a gift to someone you would like to encourage to grow in their relationship with God.

The Proving by Beverly Lewis (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Bethany House 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-

Amish Fiction's #1 Author Presents a Touching Story of Perseverance and Second Chances
Amanda Dienner hasn't seen her Old Order family in five years when she receives word that her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. Now an Englisher, Mandy is shocked: Her twin sister should have been the obvious choice! What's more, the inheritance comes with a catch: The farmhouse inn will only truly be hers if she is able to successfully run it for twelve consecutive months.
Mandy accepts the challenge even though it means returning to Gordonville and the painful memories she left behind at eighteen. Still, she's determined to prove she is more than capable of running the bed-and-breakfast, no matter that its loyal clientele are expecting an Amish hostess!
The inn isn't Mandy's sole test, however. Rubbing shoulders with her married twin sister reopens wounds that Mandy isn't ready to forgive. And an Englisher guest with a difficult past of her own just complicates matters.
Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this year in Amish country prove a dreadful mistake?

My thoughts-

I have read so many Amish fiction novels that I always think that there is no way an author can think of a spin on this type of story that I haven't already read. Beverly Lewis always manages to prove me long. This was an interesting story overall with Amanda Dienner coming back to take over her mother's bed-and-breakfast, coming back to the family she has been estranged from,including her twin sister. I enjoyed watching Mandy's story unravel but I also equally, if not more, enjoyed Trina's story in the novel. I would love to get away to this Inn. I wish it existed in reality! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction. 







Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet Tea & Sympathy by Molly Harper

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

About the book-

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town's most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?


My thoughts-

I LOVED this book. Absolutely loved it! I love stories set in small towns like these and the southern humor is just spot on! This reminded me of many of may favorite stories set in small town, particularly Steel Magnolias (without the outrageously sad undertone) and especially the television show Hart of Dixie. I enjoy Margot's fish out of water story, and how she comes to be comfortable, and even love where she is. and of course I love the fabulous romantic interest we find for Margot in Kyle Archer. I am so glad this will be a book series. I already can not wait to see what happens in the next one! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women's fiction.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Visit the World Famous Madame Tussaud's in Las Vegas + $5 up (for up to 10)

Prepare yourself to take pictures with all of your favorite celebrities at Madame Tussaud's in Las Vegas. Located on the famous Las Vegas strip, Madame Tussaud's has wax figures of all of your favorite, a list actors, musicians, sports superstars, and super heroes!
Don't forget to check out the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience while you are there, which includes high impact special effects!



$5 off coupon below! (Good for up to TEN people)!!

Get $5 off your admission to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas when you present the box office with this coupon.

*Present this coupon at the box office and receive $5.00 off each admission. Coupon valid up to 10 people. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. No cash value. Not for resale. Management reserves all rights. The images show depict wax figures created and owned by Madame Tussauds. 2017 Madame Tussauds. TM & Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.

Promotional Code: USFAMILY

http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php… .@usfg


*I will be provided the opportunity for free admission in via U.S. Family Guide exchange for this promotional post + my honest review of the museum

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Texas Slow Cooker by Cheryl Jamison

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher 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-

Even great cooks, such as Cheryl Jamison, one of the preeminent authorities on American regional cuisine and the author of many award-winning cookbooks, occasionally prefer the make-ahead convenience, easy cleanup, and depth of slow-cooked flavor that you get when you use a slow cooker.

Co-author of the pioneering book Texas Home Cooking, Cheryl reveals in these pages that a stunning range of Lone Star gems, from chilis and stews to enchiladas and roasts, from bean or rice dishes to beef, bison, poultry, and shrimp, come out of the slow cooker brimming with flavor--and with a minimum of fuss for the cook.

These 125 recipes are full of delectable, down-home goodness, each one at least as good as its version from outside the slow cooker. 

My thoughts-

If you throw Texas in the title of a cookbook, I am likely going to check it out to see if it's a. really Texan, and b. full of deliciousness. I think Cheryl Jamison has succeeded in meeting my criteria. The Texas Slow Cooker is full of fantastically Texan food. I would literally try any recipe in this book. I especially liked the section on chilis (although some would argue any chili with beans is quite in-Texan, I am willing to try any variation on one of my favorite meal time staples).  The sides are also worth mentioning, especially the Mac 'n cheese with a Texas Twist. And of course, the book is full of  fabulous desserts. Particularly notable are the peach cobbler, and Margarita cheesecake. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys utilizing their slow cooker, or who loves good downhome southern food.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Santa's Countdown to Christmas by Kim Thompson (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-

Help little ones be patient until Christmas with this storytelling twist on the timeless Advent tradition. Each day, starting December 1st and counting down to Christmas Eve, children can read a story that recounts how Santa and Ms. Claus, the elves and the reindeer get ready for the big night ahead, from Santa’s initial fitness test (will he make it through the chimney this year?) to a behind-the-scenes look at Santa’s toy factory. A book that captures all the excitement and the magic of the holiday season.

My thoughts-

I love reading books with my kids in December all the way through until Christmas night. This is the perfect book to read to lead ones, to help build excitement, and to spend precious quality time together. The book has adorable illustrations and the daily stories are short enough that they will hold the attention of nearly any kid.  Santa's Countdown to Christmas would be great combined with an advent calendar to make the overall countdown to Christmas super exciting!

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbooks by Kate Macdonald

*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-

Avonlea beckons in this cookbook inspired by the most famous Canadian children's book, L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. "Kindred spirits" both young and old will enjoy experiencing late-nineteenth-century Prince Edward Island firsthand through the delicious recipes culled from the eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series.

From Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches, to Anne's Liniment Cake and Diana Barry's Favorite Raspberry Cordial, these recipes are easy to prepare and delicious to serve up any day, on a weekend, or for special occasions! With full-color photography, whimsical illustrations, and quotes and anecdotes from the books, get ready to be immersed in Anne Shirley's world.

My thoughts-

The cover art on this cookbook is so beautiful, and so very Anne, I couldn't resist. The cookbook is filled with treats mentioned in the Anne of Green Gables series, which are like a step back in time, but still will hold up today. For fans of Anne Shirley, this is a must have. The cookbook is short but filled with beautiful pictures and illustrations and will help you relive some of the food moments from such a wonderful book series.

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson

*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 started are 100% my own.

About the book-

With The Keto Reset Diet, you can eat to total satisfaction by enjoying rich, high-satiety foods, and even weather occasional slip-ups. You’ll use keto as a lifelong tool to stay trim, healthy, energetic, and free from the disastrous health conditions caused by the typical American diet. With step-by-step guidance, daily meal plans and a recipe section with over 100 delicious keto-friendly recipes, this is the definitive guide to help the keto-beginner or the experienced health enthusiast understand the what, why, and how to succeed with ketogenic eating.

My thoughts-

I have actually already been following a Ketogenic diet since August, but I think you can never learn too much about a subject, especially if it is one you adhere to, and I can never have enough recipes, so that was a big draw for me too. I read this book all in one setting the second it arrived on my doorstep. I thought that it got wordy in some places, probably because a lot of this was reiteration for me of things I already knew, but this will be a fantastic resource for Keto newbies! The only thing I don't like is that there are no pictures to go along with each recipe, but there is a great variety of recipes to choose from, as well as meal plans to help you reset your body. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to take control of their health.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber (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-

Christmas is the season of the heart, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is here to warm yours with a delightful holiday novel of first impressions and second chances.
Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

My thoughts-

Every year by the beginning of October I am itching to read a good Christmas romance. Yesterday, on the 1st day of October, I started reading Merry & Bright and it was exactly the type of Christmas novel I love. It was so good I read it all in one sitting! I love the play on words title for the Christmas season with the two main character's names! It just makes this book even more cute. I found myself rooting for Merry and Jayson from the second he created his online dating profile. I loved the humor and romance, and that this could be read in a few short hours since I didn't want to put it down. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lighthearted romance.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Queso! by Lisa Fain (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 are 100% my own.

About the book-

A fun, full-color look at everyone's favorite cheese dip, with history, tips, facts, and 50 recipes from beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, "the Homesick Texan."
Queso (aka chile con queso) is a spicy, cheesy, comforting cult favorite that has long been a delicious addition to any party, barbecue, or family gathering. This appealing and accessible book features a mix of down-home standards and contemporary updates, from historical, regional, and Mexican quesos to vegan and dessert quesos, including Chile Verde Con Queso, Squash Blossom Queso Fundido, Fajita Queso, Cactus and Corn Queso Poblano, Frito Salad with Queso Dressing, Pulled Pork Queso Blanco, and Sausage Queso Biscuits. Whether you're relaxing with friends, having a few people over to watch the football game, or entertaining a hungry crowd, queso is the perfect party food for good times.

My thoughts-


I loved the first cookbook that Lisa Fain put out called The Homesick Texan. There were tons of great recipes to be found in that one so when I saw this book, completely devoted to Queso, I couldn't wait to see what was in it!  We Texans love our queso! I learned in this book that many other regions of the country, particularly in the south, also love their queso, and have their own twist on it. I loved reading the history of queso in different places, and there are a couple I would probably even try, but being a Texan and a foodie, of course I think we make it here is *the* way to go. Still, it never hurts to have a new way or two to try out. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys appetizer recipes, party food recipes, or food blogs.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Box of Awesome Things Matching Game Review

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

My kids absolutely love playing games. They are older elementary aged so this game is a little younger than what they would normally go for, but because of the beautiful and bright patterns on the match cards, they were all interested in playing, even my ten year old. This game is awesome for younger kids, but I think a fun throw back for kids that are slightly past the intended age because they can also play this as a solitary game and the patterns are super cute! A Box of Awesome Things Matching Game would make a great gift for younger kids.

Friday, September 22, 2017

50 Cities of the U.S.A. by Gabrielle Balkan (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.

My thoughts-

From the team that brought you The 50 States comes 50 Cities of the USA. Explore skycraper streets, museum miles, local food trucks and city parks from Anchorage to Washington D.C., and discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, culture, and diversity that have helped make America what it is today.

Cities include Anchorage • Atlanta • Austin • Baltimore • Birmingham • Boise • Boston • Burlington • Charleston     Charlotte • Cheyenne • Chicago • Cleveland • Columbus • Denver • Detroit • Hartford • Honolulu • Houston   Indianapolis • Jacksonville • Kansas City • Las Vegas • Little Rock • Los Angeles • Louisville • Memphis   Miami • Milwaukee • Minneapolis-St. Paul   Nashville • New Orleans • New York • Newark • Newport • Oklahoma City • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Pittsburgh • Portland, ME • Portland, OR • Rapid City • Salt Lake City • San Francisco • Santa Fe • Seattle • St. Louis • Tucson • Virginia Beach • Washington, D.C.

My thoughts-

50 Cities of the U.S.A. is a great book for introducing your kids to other places in the United States. It is a really cool book that kids ages 7-11 would likely enjoy. My little geography buff absolutely loved seeing all of the facts about these different cities, and seeing just how different cities within the same country, and some even within the same state, can be vastly different. We talked about the places we have already been, and the places we would love to go visit. I recommend this book for older elementary aged kids.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (by Melissa De La Cruz (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-

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

My thoughts-

I will read pretty much read anything that is an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and I have never come across one with a gender reversal on the main characters, so I was excited to come across this one. This adaptation was a modern version of the novel, with Darcy Fitzwilliam being a successful businesswoman. Somehow this Darcy was not as endearing as Austen's Darcy, who was downright swoonworthy by the end of the novel, but this Dary also was more likeable by the end. It definitely read like chick lit and I enjoyed the lighthearted feel of it, and thought it was a great read to get amped up for the upcoming holiday season. I would recommend this to any Jane Austen fan, or anyone who enjoys a light women's fiction novel.















Thursday, September 21, 2017

Birthdays Around the World by Margriet Ruurs (Book Review)

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

I love children's books like this because it gives me the opportunity to expose my kids to other cultures and traditions. We get books like this often at the library but I have never seen one specifically about birthday celebrations. I have one child in particular that is super interested in geography and other cultures so he and I looked at this book together. His verdict: this book is awesome! We enjoyed learning about some of  the birthday traditions in some other far away lands, and even some closer to home. This is a fun book for any kid to read. It also might be a fun way to incorporate new Birthday traditions!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Keto For Cancer by Miriam Kalamian (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-

Although evidence supporting the benefits of ketogenic diet therapies continues to mount, there is little to guide those who wish to adopt this diet as a metabolic therapy for cancer. Keto for Cancer fills this need.
Inspired by the work of Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried, keto nutrition specialist Miriam Kalamian has drawn on a decade of experience to write the first book to lay out comprehensive guidelines that specifically address the many diet and lifestyle challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Kalamian, a leading voice in the keto movement, is driven by passion from her own experience in using the ketogenic diet for her young son whose com­pelling story is woven throughout the narrative. Her book addresses the nuts and bolts of adopting the diet, from deciding whether keto is the right choice to developing a personal plan for smoothly navigating the keto lifestyle. It is invaluable for both beginners and seasoned users of the ketogenic diet, as well as for health-care professionals who need a toolkit to implement this targeted metabolic therapy
The book guides readers to a deeper understanding of the therapeutic potential of the ketogenic diet-which extends well beyond simply starving cancer-emphasizing the powerful impact the diet has on the metabolism of cancer cells. Nutritional nuances are explored in sections such as "Which Fast­ing Plan Is Best for You" and "Redefine Your Relationship with Sugar," while simple meal templates and tracking tools are provided in "Plan for Success."
Kalamian also discusses the importance of self-advocacy and empowers readers to get off the bench and "get in the game." Keto for Cancer is a playbook of tips and strategies for cancer management that can be incorporated into a truly personalized treatment plan.

My thoughts-

I don't have cancer but I have an enormous family history of it. I currently have 3 great aunts and uncles all battling different types of cancer, and have seen many more family members fight battles the last five years or so. I started following a ketogenic diet myself back in late July and I have noticed how much better I feel so I wanted to gather information to share with my family. Keto For Cancer is a comprehensive overview. It explains the science behind the ketogenic diet, the difference between it vs. Atkins, and the author's personal journey with her own son. The beginning of the book is about the science and reads a little bit like a medical journal so it might be difficult for some to follow,  but after that the tone becomes more conversational. I really liked that the author included all of the things an oncologist might say to discourage a ketogenic diet, mostly due to lack of information on their part about the diet, so that you will be armed with the information of why this way of eating can help people dealing with cancer. Since Keto is a sugar free diet this makes total since to me since cancer feeds off of sugar. I recommend this book to not only anyone going through cancer, but to anyone with a family history of cancer.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

*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-

Shortlisted for the Giller Prize • A local schoolteacher is arrested for a heinous crime, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct—with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence—is it possible?—Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.

My thoughts-

I thought the premise behind this book sounded interesting, a hero or a villain? Can one be both? That said, the book did not at all flow at all the way I imagined it would. I thought it would be more about the charges against George, and his impending trial. I did think it was an interesting look into the behind the scenes of what a family goes through when their loved one is accused of a heinous crime that becomes high profile. I didn't at all mind the insight into the family's struggle, I was just disappointed to not get the trial or thoughts of George, it seemed almost like an afterthought. If you go into reading the book realizing it is more about the family than about the crime and procedure, then you will probably enjoy the book.




















Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Holiday Cookies by Elizabeth der Nederlanden (Cookbook 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-

From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies. 
This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate–Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

My thoughts-

It has been a long time since I have been giddy over a good cookbook. I absolutely love the holidays. I love everything about the holiday season, and since I love to be in the kitchen, baking is a big part of that. I thought I had seen every Christmas cookie imaginable, and there are definitely some more traditional cookies like gingerbread men, thumb print cookies, and Mexican wedding cookies, but there are also plenty of gourmet -would have never thought of- recipes within as well such as the saffron biscotti and glazed eggnog madeleines. I also really loved that there is a section for holiday cookies from around the world. I am so excited to use this book to create beautiful boxes of gourmet Christmas cookies for my friends and family this holiday season!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition by DeeDee Stovel (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-

The 139 recipes in The Pumpkin Cookbook celebrate the varied ways that pumpkin can be used in everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts. Some of DeeDee Stovel's creative spins on incorporating this highly nutritious, low-fat vegetable into delicious dishes include: Caribbean Black Bean Pumpkin Soup; Pumpkin Sage Risotto; Spring Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pepitas; White Bean, Chicken, and Pumpkin Chili; Pumpkin Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese; Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Pumpkin Sauce; Lemon-Pumpkin Strudel; Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies with Apricot Surprise — and seven different kinds of pumpkin pie!

My thoughts-

Who says pumpkin is just for pies? While you will find seven different varieties of pie alone, The Pumpkin Cookbook offers pumpkin dishes in every category you can possibly think of to add to your fall menus. I do usually prefer my pumpkin to be in desert, but I am not opposed to putting it in chili or soup, or a myriad of other dishes. Pumpkin is not only tasty it is good for you! The Pumpkin Cookbook will help you add in more of this delicious food to all aspects of your meal! I recommend this book to pumpkin lovers who love to cook!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante (Cookbook 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-

Authorized by Instant Pot and filled with beautiful photographs and more than 75 simple, well-tested comfort food recipes, this indispensable book is the ultimate collection of delicious weekday meals.
The best-selling Instant Pot has been a runaway hit, with an almost cultlike following and users who swear by it. But finding delicious, well-tested, weekday-friendly recipes that are both inspiring and trustworthy has proven difficult, until now. The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook covers each meal of the day, offering plenty of tried-and-true classic recipes, such as spicy beef and bean chili, a whole roasted chicken with mushroom sauce, and decadent New York cheesecake, alongside a hearty array of contemporary meals, such as Greek-style Gigantes beans with fresh feta, braised pork loin with balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions, buttery cauliflower mashed potatoes, pork adobo, and more! Whether you're looking to expand your pressure cooker recipe repertoire or seeking the ultimate gift for the Instant Pot aficionado, this is the book to have.

My thoughts-

I can not get enough of my Instant Pot. Besides my Kitchen Aid stand mixer it is my absolute favorite kitchen gadget that saves me so much time and allows me to make more delicious food for my family. I am constantly on the outlook for Instant Pot cookbooks to see what else I can make in there and The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook was a fantastic find. If you are unfamiliar with Instant Pot or have been too afraid to use yours there is a great guide in the beginning that explains how it works. Once you are all set reading that there are plenty of family friendly recipes to be found here. I know my family will particularly love the ropa vieja, the turkey chile verde with chili beans, and the arroz con pollo. There is also a section in the back that tells you how to make your own yogurt and chicken stock, two things that people love making in their Instant Pots! I recommend this book to anyone who has an electric pressure cooker, and if you don't I still recommend it. Go out and get one! You will love it!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking (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-

Paleo goes slow in this cookbook inspired by global cuisine.
In The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking, well-respected and widely read paleo blogger Natalie Perry focuses mostly on main courses for dinner, but there are breakfast, lunch, snack, and sweets/desserts ideas as well. The more than 200 recipes in the book include appetizers and snacks, soups and chilis, poultry, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, vegetable sides, desserts, and pantry basics. The recipes are creative and new incorporating global flavors with roots in Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Most of these recipes have never before appeared in print.

My thoughts-

I haven't been using my slow cooker much since I got my Instant Pot, but with fall approaching there is something so comforting about having food cook all day and the wonderful aroma that builds up. We are always trying to eat more healthy, and Paleo recipes fit into that very well. There are a good range of recipes in The Book of Paleo Slow Cooking. My favorite section was the dessert section. There are so many wonderful desserts to choose from and they are not as unhealthy as traditional desserts which I like. My absolute favorite thing about the cookbook though are the diverse recipes. My husband and I like to eat a variety of foods from a variety of cultures, and it is nice that I have several different cuisine types to choose from in one book. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys using a slow cooker.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Border by Steve Schafer (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:

One moment changed their lives forever.
A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.

Crack. Crack. Crack.
Not fireworks—gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.
Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families' murders have put out a reward for the teens' capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape...

My thoughts:

I have never read a book that was anything like The Border. This is a story I think needed to be told because I don't think people realize how difficult life in other countries can be and why someone might chose to cross the border into America illegally. You feel sympathetic for these characters from the beginning and I was rooting for them the whole time. The story did feel a little slow in places, but where it didn't it was intense and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore (Book Review)

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

About the book-

A collection of cures for writer's block, plotting and characterization issues, and other ailments writers face when completing a novel or memoir, prescribed by the director of creative writing at Ohio University.
People want to write the book they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawing on his years of teaching at both the university level and at writing workshops across the country, Professor Dinty W. Moore dons his book-doctor hat to present an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at
all levels. His hard-hitting handbook provides inspiring solutions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice, and is peppered with flashes of Moore's signature wit and unique take on the writing life.

My thoughts-

I have been trying to write a novel for the past couple of years and getting a full length novel out of your head and on to paper is not at all as easy as it may sound. The Story Cure is a comprehensive overview of problems you can run into while getting your work onto paper and a solution for each problem presented. I like the breakdown of the book so if I am having a particular struggle, I can flip right to the page that discusses it, and easily apply the solution to my work. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in writing a book.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook

*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 started are 100% my own. 

About the book-

The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook -- an authorized Instant Pot® cookbook -- will help you feel comfortable using all the convenient features of your Instant Pot®, from cooking fluffy rice and pressure cooking root vegetables, to making homemade yogurt and slow cooking meats, and features more than 75 delicious, family-friendly recipes, including:

-Spinach and Herb Lasagna
-Balsamic Beef Short Ribs
-Pulled Pork Sandwiches
-Vegetable Green Thai Curry
-Spice-Rubbed Cauliflower Steaks
-Bone Broth with Fresh Ginger
-Crème Brûlée
-Double Chocolate Cheesecake

From healthy breakfasts and sides, to scrumptious mains and decadent desserts, these low-maintenance recipes will help you get a meal on the table in a fraction of the time of conventional cooking methods.
With easy-to-follow instructions and full-color photos throughout, discover all that your Instant Pot® can achieve with this go-to pressure cooking cookbook.

My thoughts-

My husband got me an Instant Pot back in January for my birthday and I absolutely love it. There is something so magical about this particular pressure cooker. I always love coming across pressure cooker cookbooks and it is particularly exciting when they are brand specific to Instant Pot so you know the exact buttons to push. There was a great introduction for newbies about how to use the Instant Pot and then there are tons of great recipes following that. You could essential use your IP for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert if you really wanted to! There are a great variety of recipes, new ones I haven't seen elsewhere, and I look forward to trying out many of them!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes (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-

Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!

Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?

My thoughts-

When I read the description to this book (after it caught my eye with that beyond adorable cover!) it reminded me so much of my 10 year old daughter. She feels so out of place within our family, at school, everywhere. She feels like she is the only one like her. I try to tell her that is a positive thing and books like Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker help echo that sentiment. This is a good book for older elementary age kids, particularly those who feel like they don't belong or are different than everyone else. 

Actually. Best. Jokes. Ever. By Chantelle Grace (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-

What do librarians take with them when they go fishing?
Bookworms.
What did the Dalmatian say after eating dinner?
Yum, that hit the spot.
The next time your young comedian is looking to serve up priceless entertainment, share Actually. Best. Jokes. Ever. Get ready for sidesplitting hilarity and ridiculous giggle attacks, because these jokes don’t quit!
If you think you have heard every joke in the book, think again. Actually. Best. Jokes. Ever. is sure to have you throwing your head back and laughing out loud... no, actually!

My thoughts- 

I gave this book to my 7 year old son who is obsessed with jokes right now. He couldn't get enough. He was interrupting me every 2 minutes (if even that long) to tell me a joke he thought was funny in the book, and I agree there were some good ones to be found here! He read Actually. Best. Jokes. Ever in one sitting and as he finished up I asked him if he enjoyed the book and he replied with a very loud yes! I would recommend this book to any younger elementary aged kid!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity Group 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-

A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?


My thoughts- 

I love reading books set in the WWII era. I don't know what it is about that time that draws me in, but I especially loves the stories of brave women who risked their lives to make sure others were safe. I haven't ever read any WWII fiction set in Ireland so this was a new piece of the war for me. I found it fascinating to imagine myself in Nan's shoes and how I would have responded if I were the one with a pilot on my doorstep. I enjoyed seeing the relationship grow between Nan and Dutch as the story progressed and Nan processing her feelings about her husband's death and what happened to him.  I think anyone who likes WWII fiction would enjoy Grounded Hearts

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooker by Natalie Perry (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-

In The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking, well-respected and widely read paleo blogger Natalie Perry focuses mostly on main courses for dinner, but there are breakfast, lunch, snack, and sweets/desserts ideas as well. The more than 200 recipes in the book include appetizers and snacks, soups and chilis, poultry, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, vegetable sides, desserts, and pantry basics. The recipes are creative and new incorporating global flavors with roots in Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Most of these recipes have never before appeared in print.

My thoughts-

I love cookbooks and having lots of options to reach for to keep a wide variety of healthy foods rotating through my kitchen on our daily menus. Slow cooker cookbooks are always nice because I love throwing something together in the morning and not having to worry about it as my day gets busy. I also love smelling the great aroma that only slow cooked food can produce. The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking is great because it offers a variety of different foods from different places. I love  Middle Eastern food, and food with Asian and Latin influences, and they are all present here. There are also some fantastic appetizer recipes to be found. This is a cookbook you could reach for over and over and still have a wide variety of food represented in your meals. I highly recommend The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking to anyone looking to make more home cooked meals, but who prefer the convenience of slow cooking.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Finally Focused by James Greenblatt M.D. (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-

DISCOVER THE ADHD SOLUTION FOR YOUR CHILD

Dr. James Greenblatt has seen thousands of children and adults struggling with the symptoms of ADHD – hyperactivity, inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and often irritability and combativeness. Rather than simply prescribing medication for their ADHD symptoms, he tailors remedies to his patients’ individual needs, detecting and treating the underlying causes of the disorder.

Finally Focused provides proven natural and medical methods to easily treat problems such as nutritional deficiencies or excesses, dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance inside the body), sleeping difficulties, and food allergies, all of which surprisingly can cause or worsen the symptoms of ADHD. Using Dr. Greenblatt’s effective Plus-Minus Healing Plan, parents will first understand the reasons behind their child's symptoms, and then be able to eliminate them by addressing the child’s unique pattern of biological weakness. Adults with ADHD can do the same for themselves. And if conventional medication is still necessary, this integrative approach will minimize or even eliminate troublesome side effects. Using Dr. Greenblatt’s expert advice, millions of children and adults with ADHD finally will get the help they need to achieve true wellness.

My thoughts-

My daughter has always had issues with her behavior. We are really working on getting her situated and helped before the new school year, but my husband and I really want to address every possible issue before going the medicine route and this book was just the perfect book for me to pick up. Each chapter addresses common causes (or at least common exasperations of) ADHD. It also gives you exactly what to do if your kid (or even you as an adult with ADHD) happen to have these symptoms as well. This book isn't anti-medicine, it is integrative and I always appreciate an integrative approach over going completely to the medicinal end or completely to the natural end regarding the health of my family in any capacity. I have marked several pages to discuss with my children's pediatrician who, as you might have guessed, is an integrative practice as well. The chapters in this book are well organized and divided by symptoms, making it easier to use as a reference for your child's unique situation. I would recommend this book not only to parents of children with ADHD, but to anyone who works with children at all, specifically teachers and pediatric doctors. 














The Mourning Parade by Dawn Reno Langley (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-

Single mom and veterinarian Natalie DeAngelo lost everything the day her two sons were killed in a school shooting. Following her psychiatrist's advice, she decides to sell her once-happy home to  escape the immense pain and grief of living there alone.  

Desperate to find relief from her unspeakable loss, Natalie impetuously commits to honoring her boys’ memory and volunteers to assist philanthropist Andrew Graham at his elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand.  All she wants once she gets there is relief.

But she soon realizes she may be in over her head when she faces three major challenges: her debilitating PTSD is creating night terrors; Peter Hatcher, the sanctuary’s irascible in-house vet, has a longtime grudge against her and wants desperately for her to fail; and Sophie, a female elephant with a raging leg infection and PTSD caused by human abuse, is demanding that Natalie use every trick in her veterinarian’s black bag to heal her.

Dr. Hatcher wants to euthanize Sophie, as he claims she's a lost cause, and Natalie knows she must find a way to convince the others to let her keep trying. Can she and Sophie find a way to heal together and learn to love life again? Or will another tragedy shatter Natalie's progress?

This deeply emotional novel explores the capacity of a mother's love, the challenge of overcoming a devastating loss, and the long, tiresome journey to healing


My thoughts-

I have never read a book even remotely similar to The Mourning Parade. It tugged on my sensitive heartstrings which to me is always a great sign of a fantastic story. One of the things I really loved about the story were the parts written in the point of view of Sophie the elephant. That sounds contrived, but it added so much to the overall story. The bond between Sophie and Natalie is a true love story, and there are many other sub plots to keep you turning the pages. There was a little bit of a twist at the end that I didn't expect and that is another good sign for me as a reader that I have found something special. The Mourning Parade is the type of book I would recommend to my book club, so I recommend you do the same! This type of book begs to be discussed. If you don't have a book club, start one! Or read it with a friend and discuss!












Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (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-

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


My thoughts-

I absolutely couldn't put this book down! I bought In A Dark, Dark Wood in La Guardia airport last winter win I got stuck in New York for a few extra days. I had the same problem not being able to put that book down, but in the end it was just an okay book to me. The Lying Game is a different story. It was interesting from beginning to end. I needed to know what was going to happen next and what exactly it was that actually happened in the past. I didn't think that the plot twist was ground breaking, but it was just good enough to throw me off the scent a little bit  and if a suspense novel manages to make me wrong in my guesses at all, it's a winner in my book. I like the thrill of the chase of figuring out the right answer.  If you enjoy suspense, The Lying Game will be your summer must read book!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Dr. Colbert's Keto Zone Diet by Don Colbert, MD (Book Review)

About the book-

Wanting or needing to lose weight? The answer is not a pill, medication, or surgery. The answer is a nutritional one that might surprise you.
Dr Colbert, who has been practicing medicine for 30 years, has taken his nutrition, cancer treatment, and weight loss training to a whole new level. Colbert not only helps you lose weight, he helps you plan out a healthy life that you can enjoy! 

My thoughts-

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley.com before it's September release. I devoured it in one setting. Dr. Colbert really breaks down why getting in the "Keto Zone" helps you to lose weight effortlessly. The idea is to have a diet consisting of mostly good fats that your body will in turn burn off. I plan to give this a try and see if I can finally get these stubborn pounds I gained from pregnancies off once and for all. Dr. Colbert's Keto Zone Diet is worth a read for anyone interested in the science behind a high fat/low carb diet or anyone wanting something effective to do for weight loss or other health benefits.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Anything but Simple by Lucinda J. Miller (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-

Like her grandmother, Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering. But she uses a cellphone and posts status updates on Facebook, too. Anything but Simple is the riveting memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longings for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith. With a roving curiosity and a sometimes saucy tongue, Miller ushers us into her busy life as a young schoolteacher.

My thoughts-

This is the second book I have read from the Plainspoken series. The other book was about an Amish woman's life, which I am more familiar with than the Mennonite faith, so I was excited to read this book. I do know that Mennonites are also Plain people like the Amish, but that they have a more relaxed approach as far as modern day conveniences. Beyond that I do not know a lot about the Mennonites, so I was excited to read this book. There is something really cool and also quite educational about reading someone's memoir about their day to day life. It's just a book about Lucinda Miller's life, but to me it's a peek into another world. I appreciated Ms. Miller's candor about her faith and her honesty in her struggles. I enjoyed reading about her relationship with a feisty elderly lady and then with another spitfire atheist. Most enjoyable for me, a ferocious reader and wanna be author of a *someday I will write it* novel, I loved reading about Lucinda's adventures in writing. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in stories of every day people or who would like to learn more about the Mennonite faith.

To The New Owners by Madeleine Blais (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-

In the 1970s, Madeleine Blais’ in-laws purchased a vacation house on Martha’s Vineyard for the exorbitant sum of $80,000. 2.2 miles down a poorly marked, one lane dirt road, the house was better termed a shack—it had no electricity, no modern plumbing, the roof leaked, and mice had invaded the walls. It was perfect.

Sitting on Tisbury Great Pond—well-stocked with oysters and crab for foraged dinners—the house faced the ocean and the sky, and though it was eventually replaced by a sturdier structure, the ethos remained the same: no heat, no TV, and no telephone. Instead, there were countless hours at the beach, meals cooked and savored with friends, nights talking under the stars, until at last, the house was sold in 2014.

To the New Owners is Madeleine Blais’ charming, evocative memoir of this house, and of the Vineyard itself—from the history of the island and its famous visitors to the ferry, the pie shops, the quirky charms and customs, and the abundant natural beauty. But more than that, this is an elegy for a special place. Many of us have one place that anchors our most powerful memories. For Blais, it was the Vineyard house—a retreat and a dependable pleasure that also measured changes in her family. As children were born and grew up, as loved ones aged and passed away, the house was a constant. And now, the house lives on in the hearts of those who cherished it.

My thoughts-

My family and I were lucky enough to get to vacation on Cape Cod a few summers ago. We immediately fell in love and are all itching to go back as soon as humanly possible! We took the ferry over to Martha's Vineyard while we were there. We only had a small span of time on the island and only spent half a day there and only walked around the part of Oak Bluffs nearest to the ferry stop, but within those few hours we knew that the island was a special place. When we think of going back to Massachusetts Martha's Vineyard is always at the top of all 5 of our lists. It's such a peaceful place. I really enjoyed reading Madeleine Blais's book about her family's little cottage there. My favorite part of the book are the logs that they kept and she shared throughout this beautiful written book. I also learned a lot more about the MV (such as people abbreviating it MV) that make me want to go back even more than I did before. I know the author's family will continue to go back to the island whether they have a house or not and that makes my heart happy. Martha's Vineyard is a place for the soul to rest and reset and I will make it a goal to spend more time there some day, hopefully soon.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Eat Fat Get Fit by Kusha Karvandi (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-

The health and fitness industry makes people think they are weak and that the best way to achieve the body they want is to suck it up and push harder.
 But if more is better, why do the majority of us rebound and gain all of the weight back after dieting?
The truth is you’re stronger than you think. It isn’t that you somehow lack willpower or discipline; it’s that you just don’t have the right decision-making system to optimize your diet for your body.
If you’ve tried diets before that didn’t work, don’t worry because Eat Fat Get Fit isn’t about a diet—it’s a way of thinking. With the right perspective, you’ll be able to look at nutrition and fat loss differently, so you can get great results for life.
While your naysayers are counting calories, feeling deprived, and still struggling to lose weight, you’ll be vibrant, full of energy and supercharging your metabolism for sustained fat loss.

My thoughts-

This book is short and sweet and to the point. You could easily read it in one sitting. It gives info on several different types of dieting and why those methods don't work. It then goes into the philosophy that has recently surfaced- eating good fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil is actually a fantastic way to lose fat. I found most of the recipes at the end of the book to sound absolutely delicious, which doesn't always happen in these health books. I would eat any of the recipes and plan on adding several into my rotation on my weight loss journey. I recommend this book to anyone looking to eat better for their health and who may want to shed some unwanted weight.

ADHD and Me by Chelsea Radojcic (Children's 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-

Meet eight-year-old Malory. Malory has a learning disability, but she doesn't let that stop her from enjoying her life. Whenever she is feeling blue, her mother and father remind her of the list of those who love her. Ms. Julie, her art teacher, understands what it is like to be different. She was born Autistic. Ms.Julie encourages Malory to express herself through art.

My thoughts-

This was such a beautiful book. The illustrations are gorgeous, but the truly beautiful thing was the simple explanation of ADHD. I teared up reading this book because it 100% described what my daughter goes through at school. She is at an age now where the other kids are starting to alienate her because they do find her weird or different or whatever word they use for "not the same as us". Having a book like this in classrooms would help other kids to understand children who have differences from them and maybe encourage a little more understanding and harmony. I think this is a must have for every young elementary classroom!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand (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-

Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha's Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. Just because twins look exactly the same doesn't mean they're anything alike--and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point. When a family crisis forces them to band together--or at least appear to--the twins come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the resentments that have driven them apart. A story of new loves, old battles, and a threat that gives a whole new meaning to the term sibling rivalry, THE IDENTICALS is Elin Hilderbrand at her page-turning best.

My thoughts-

I have read a couple of Elin Hilderbrand's other novels and this one is by far the best. I loved the whole concept of this one! I don't know if it is because I have identical twins myself or because I love Martha's Vineyard so much, or a little bit of both. but I couldn't put this one down. Both women have major flaws so at first it was difficult to feel empathy for either, but as their story unravels, both the one of them as a twin set and of them each individually, it all began to make more sense and I could see why they each were the way they were. As I was reading I couldn't help but think that they each belonged on the island they had switched to live on with their sister, but maybe they just both needed to get out of their current situation to really get to a place of understanding of each other and of growing as individual women. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary women's fiction.











Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The China Study Family Cookbook

*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-

Bring the Whole Family to the Plant-Based Table with Fun and Delicious Recipes

You know the benefits of a plant-based diet—it’s the best choice for your own health and well-being, not to mention the planet’s. But now you need to successfully navigate the transition and convince your family to do the same . . . or at least eat a few more veggies.
The China Study Family Cookbook is the family-friendly cookbook and guide you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to make plant-based eating easier and even more rewarding for your family—no matter your lifestyle. 
The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook and Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook author Chef Del Sroufe’s 100 easy, flavorful recipes—with family classics reinvented for today’s health-conscious cooks—include:
Sloppy Joes White Bean and Squash Chili Tater Tots Sausage Gravy and Biscuit Casserole Mac and Cheese Breakfast Tacos Apple Butter Pizza, Whoopie Pies, and more


My thoughts-

My family does not follow a plant based diet, but I do think it is important to eat a predominately plant based diet. Finding recipes my whole family will like without meat is always a struggle so I wa excited to see this book specifically for families. I found a lot of recipes in the book that I know my family would love, particularly in the soup section. The only complaint I have is that there is a heavy reliance on whole grains which we do not eat in our house since we are gluten free. I can come up with gluten free versions of the recipes but I would have love to have had a gluten free suggestion along with the original recipe for families like mine. I recommend this book to anyone looking to eat more plant based foods.