Wednesday, March 1, 2023

New Beginnings


I have been MIA for quite some time from here. I have been busy working full time and taking care of my three teenagers full time. I am in the process of a divorce after being married for 16 years. I never thought I would be here. If you were to go through this blog and you read some of the things I have posted in the past, you might not ever have thought I would be here either. It is a prime example of you just never know what is going on behind closed doors. I was never physically abused but I am so happy to be out of a marriage in which I (and my children) were consistently neglected except for on the rare occasion that he wanted to tell everyone what a great person he was so he would do something grand so he could show off what an "amazing" person he was. It is also a lot easier to be a single parent when you are actually a single parent and there isn't that disappointment or stress that the person you were relying on being your partner and teammate just stays checked out. I am so much happier on my own and I can't wait to get back to who I used to be before he stole all of my joy through emotional abuse and neglect. That part of my life is in the past, and this part of my life is something I really missed. So I will be back here posting reviews again. It will probably be mostly book reviews since that is my main source of entertainment, but I will probably write some other reviews as well, and post about any travels that occur. I may also write about my journey into being a single woman in my 40's with three teenagers, two cats, and a dog.
 I am so glad to back!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce

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

Richard Sayce, the man behind Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen, is renowned by his many fans for quality recipes, attention to detail and his affable style. Having sold more than 50,000 copies of his first books, and amassing over six million views of his recipes on YouTube, there is a huge appetite for this new magnus opus packed with mouth-watering, easy-to-follow recipes.

Curry Compendium includes starters, side dishes, curries, rice and bread, along with a generous portion of traditional and street food style recipes. Readers benefit from supporting YouTube tutorials for the majority of recipes, each with a QR code to scan with a smartphone/tablet to watch online instantly. 

My thoughts-

I grew up around Indian food. My step dad is from Pakistan and food from these regions was often present in our home, especially when his family came to visit. Ironically, I didn't really fall in love with the taste of Indian food until I was 19 and found myself in London with my family on vacation. It may have been because it was familiar in a very unfamiliar place, but I think a lot of it was the the food was exceptionally good. Curry Compendium is a cookbook dedicated to the art of the British version of Indian food. This type of cuisine is not an easy one to conquer in the kitchen, so I really appreciate the very detailed efforts of this cookbook. The beginning introduces you to the spices, the tools necessary to make the food, and the step by step process of how to make the spice and curry mixes. The rest of the cookbook is dedicated to mouth watering recipes. Yes, Indian food is a labor of love, but the finished product is worth the effort, and Curry Compendium gives you the tools necessary to great the best BIR (British Indian Restaurant) curries possible.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews


*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 are 100% my own. 

About the Book- 

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn't bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it's a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it's from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy's quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

My thoughts-

I love the magic of this novella. The Santa Suit Ivy finds ties together the whole story in the end which was absolutely lovely. I always like a good Christmas romance and Mary Kay Andrews delivered just that. I love the added touch of suspense surrounding the mystery of the letter to Santa from the little girl thats in the pocket of the suit, as well as Ivy's sweet relationship with her elderly neighbor. If you love small town Christmas romance, you will love The Santa Suit.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber

*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 are 100% my own. 

About the book-

 Lindy Carmichael isn’t feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was “the one” has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic-design job. Not even carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up—but Lindy’s mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that might lift her daughter's spirits.

Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she'd wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen's encouragement, she decides to write a new letter to Santa, one that will encourage her to have faith and believe just as she’d done all those years ago. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic—especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate—Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.

My thoughts-

I am in the camp of people that think Hallmark movies are absolutely wonderful, and I count down the days every year leading up until it is time to watch them. I also love books that read like Hallmark movies, and find myself reading them often between August and December. Dear Santa is the perfect sweet small town romance with a twist of Christmas magic to make you soon. The characters were well developed, and the story was a page turner. I highly recommend to my fellow hopeless romantics. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Falling in Love on Willow Creek by Debbie Mason

*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 are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Fall in love with thelatest Highland Falls romance about a single mom-to-be's surprise delivery and the undercover FBI agent who rescues her and her heart in the small town of Highland Falls.

Single mom-to-be Sadie Gray will do anything to find her younger brother before the law catches up with him. Even if it means returning home to the small town of Highland Falls with a baby due any moment. But when that moment comes sooner than expected, and Sadie finds herself stranded on the top of a mountain—in labor--she couldn’t be more grateful for the park ranger who finds her and helps deliver her daughter safely. Soon they’ve formed a tight friendship, and while he may be hinting at more, Sadie isn’t planning to stick around after she finds her brother.

FBI agent Chase Roberts wasn’t looking for love when he agreed to go undercover as a park ranger to find an on-the-run informant. But he can’t help being drawn to beautiful, warm-hearted Sadie and her sweet baby daughter. He’s always longed to put down roots and start a family. But how can he hope to keep Sadie’s trust when she finds out that his job is to arrest the brother she’s been looking for? 

My thoughts-

I have really liked all of the books in the Highland Falls series so far and Falling in Love on Willow Creek fell right into line. I don't think any of the books in the series will top Christmas on Reindeer Road for me, but I really enjoyed this one. I liked the mix of suspense with the traditional romance elements of the series. It kept me turning the pages to find out what happened. What I love most about small town romance series is that we get to know pretty much everyone in town, so it feels like you are living there and a part of the action yourself. I will be looking forward to the next book in the series!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Dating Dare By Jayci Lee

*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 are 100% my own. 

About the book-

No serious relationships. This is the one rule Tara Park made for herself and it has been working swimmingly, thank you very much. The occasional fling is fine, especially since she’s busy with Weldon Brewery. But when Seth Kim, temptation personified and her best friend’s new brother-in-law walks into her life, Tara might be willing to bend her golden rule…but only for four dates—the four dates she agreed to after a few good rounds of beer and a game of truth or dare. It’ll be fun. No biggie.

Seth Kim can’t believe Tara agreed to his dating dare. He’s leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But their secret dates, while sweet and sexy, always hit roadblocks straight out of a romantic comedy. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings are smoother, frequent, and heated. However, the more Seth sees of Tara, the less willing he is to let her go—and what was supposed to be a fun little game turns into something that neither of them are ready for.

But sometimes, the best things in life are the ones we never see coming.

My thoughts-

This was such a cute love story. Both Tara and Seth have been hurt in the past, and Seth is about to leave to move across the world for a job in a month, but when they both find themselves attracted to one another a no strings attached fling sounds perfect. As the story unfolds and they inevitably begin to fall for each other, we learn about their pasts and why they are both so reluctant to trust someone with their hearts. I loved the story from start to finish. It was a cute story of two people figuring out with the right person, the stuff from the past bad relationships is irrelevant. I listened to this as an audio book and absolutely recommend it, the narrartor was great. If you love romance, you will love The Dating Dare.

Food Saved Me by Danielle Walker

*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 are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Diagnosed with an extreme form of ulcerative colitis at 22, Danielle was terrified she’d never be able to eat all the wonderful, great-tasting foods she loved growing up or host warm, welcoming gatherings with family and friends. So when the medicine she was prescribed became almost as debilitating as the disease itself, Danielle took matters into her own hands, turned her kitchen into a laboratory, and set to work creating gut-healthy versions of the foods she thought she’d never be able to enjoy again. Three New York Times bestselling cookbooks later, Danielle has become a beacon of hope for millions around the world suffering from autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and chronic ailments.

Now for the first time, with stunning transparency about the personal toll her illness took on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Danielle reflects on everything she’s learned during her decade-long journey toward healing—including the connection between gut health and overall well-being, the development of her favorite recipes, and the keys for not simply surviving her autoimmune disease but thriving despite it. Through her resilience, Danielle tells a story that provides hope—hope that despite your ailments or hardships, you can live a full, happy, and healthy life without ever feeling excluded or deprived.

Food saved Danielle Walker. And it can save you, too.

My thoughts-

Many years ago, a friend of mine told me about Danielle Walker's first cookbook. I was trying to cut gluten out at that time to see if it would help some of my own issues, so I thought it was a good place to start. Her recipes are always delicious and always friendly to food sensitivities. I knew Danielle Walker had a history of autoimmune disorder before picking up this book about her journey, but I had no idea the extent of the struggles she went through. She is very candid in this book, and shares all of the ups and many downs shes gone through. I appreciate the honesty of sometimes needing more than dietary changes to heal because everyone's journey is different. Some people may indeed only need dietary changes, but there is no change in utilizing medicine when it is needed either. However, when doctors push medicine and tell you diet has nothing to do with it, that is where the problem lies. I do not believe most traditional medical doctors are trained in nutrition. They are trained to medicate, and that is something that really needs to change. This book is great for anyone struggling with autoimmune diseases, or even food intolerances and food allergies (like me). It's always nice to feel someone can relate and to have hope for things to get better in the future.