Monday, September 30, 2013

i’m still recovering from pet cemetery.

Stephen King came out with quite the sequel with his latest novel Doctor Sleep, which continues on from 1978’s The Shining. It is C-R-E-E-P-Y, and perfect for this spooky time of year.  It is a sequel, but it is still a standalone horror novel, honestly.

The now middle-aged Dan (Danny) Torrance (son of Jack Torrance) has a gift from childhood called, coincidently “the shining” where he can help elderly patients die without fear.  Dan establishes a connection with a young girl from a neighboring town who has powers just as he was given as a child. Quite the battle between good and evil begins when a paranormal tribe tries to harness the young girl’s powers, and Dan finds himself unwillingly to stay out of the fight. Don’t worry King fans, this one is sure to disturb your dreams and give you the appropriate amount of chills. Or terrify you so that you never sleep again. Same difference.

Friday, September 27, 2013

ages 8-10 chapter book.

Ten-year-old Anna Nickel’s worst nightmare has come to pass. Her father is moving the family from Colorado to Kansas so that her father can take over a church in his hometown. She likes her life, her house, her Sunday school teacher, and would prefer if her life didn’t rapidly change all of the sudden. But alas, Anna’s life in Colorado does get picked up and dropped right on top of Oakwood, Kansas, and there’s nothing she can do but adapt.

Anna Was Here by Jane Kurtz opens with our main character at her final Safety Club meeting where she has spent the year learning how to prepare and handle disasters of all kinds. Through Anna, Kurtz has created a coming of age tale filled with kid friendly pieces of advice, and lessons on family and forgiveness. As Anna struggles to understand the unfairness and unpredictability of disasters in her new town, lessons are geared toward trusting in God, and you can’t really go wrong there.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

kick ass giveaway!

Win a FREE copy of The China Study Cookbook!
Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 10/1!

magical and imaginative.

I have always believed in magic, especially when I watch The Santa Clause and read Harry Potter. Emily Croy Barker has created a real grown up novel that revolves around magic, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic really begins when protagonist Nora Fischer wanders away from a rather depressing wedding to find herself the darling of an A-list crowd garden party that never seems to end. Nora is transformed into a gorgeous woman and finds herself married to an even more gorgeous man, living a life enviable by most people. But all is not as it seems when Nora finds herself plunging into an ever darker world, inhabited by ordinary people, fairies, and warlocks. The use of magic in this novel is very creative, and the plot is extremely satisfying with its unpredictability and excellent character development. Honestly, Barker left me wanting more, which she apparently intends to give in a sequel. Thanks lady friend.

Win a FREE copy of The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 10/3!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

a funny novelist for your enjoyment.

Popular cheeky author Wilton Barnhardt has created a hilarious novel about a tradition southern family with his latest Lookaway Lookaway, featuring the successful and well-connected Johnston-Jarvis family of North Carolina.

The novel is set primarily in Charlotte, NC during the first decade of the 21st century. Conversations and flashbacks take us back in the lives of the Jarvis-Johnston family as far as the Civil War. Jerene and Duke Johnston are a society family steeped in a struggle to maintain their social standing, and have more than their share of shocking secrets. The four Johnston children are super complicated and each chapter is told by a different member of this dysfunctional (to say the least) family of liars, cheaters, drunks, skanks, and hypocrites. It’s a fantastic American novel, filled with enough historical content to make the readers who don’t care much for skanks and drunks happy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ahoy! arrrrggghhh, and all that jazz.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson is pretty close to perfect. It has humor, populated by lively characters, and promotes the idea that both boys and girls are capable of doing the same things, just as well as the other. The star of the series is thirteen-year-old Hilary Westfield who has dreams of becoming a treasure hunting pirate. It's pretty much swords over dresses for this chick, which I can relate to. In this adventure Hilary tries to prove herself worthy of joining The (boys only) Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. While Hilary is quite the vibrant character on her own, her gargoyle side-kick provided the necessary comic relief within the chapters of this story that is sure to make you (and your nuggets) smile.

Monday, September 23, 2013

plant-based eating at it's finest.

T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study and Whole (which I reviewed last week)'s daughter LeAnne Campbell came out with a cookbook based on the popular study titled The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes. How convenient.

Baby Campbell has delivered a cookbook filled with fabulous plant-based recipes based on the findings and conclusions of her father's actual study. As a peanut butter lover, I about died over the no-bake Peanut Butter Bar recipe in this collection, and don't even get me started on the Sweet Potato Enchiladas. For reals. The average person will be super impressed by how many tasty treats you can make in such a healthy cookbook, most having limited prep times. Divided into sections like: Breads & Muffins, Breakfast Dishes, Appetizers & Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Entrees, Side Dishes, and Desserts, you really can't go wrong picking up a copy of The China Study Cookbook.

Friday, September 20, 2013

the whole enchilada? i love enchiladas!

Ms. Diane Mott Davidson has finally come out with her 17th Goldy Shultz novel titled The Whole Enchilada. For those of you that aren't familiar with the series, Goldy is a caterer in Colorado who is married to a policeman named Tom.  Each novel is based on a crime that has taken place in their town with a connection to Goldy is some way. Goldy's favorite pastime is helping her hubby solve the crimes.

In The Whole Enchilada, Goldy is shocked to discover that her longtime friend Holly is found dead after leaving her son's birthday party, and even more surprised to discover that there was a lot going on in Holly's life that Goldy knew nothing about. When Holly's death is officially considered a murder, Goldy is determined to help Tom solve the case with her usual style. This novel is like meeting up with old friends, one that no Davidson fan should leave unread.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

comes out september 23rd.

Indigo children are born with a high degree of sensitivity, intelligence and defiant energy. They tend to have a deeper sensitivity to what people say, yearn to be treated fairly, and when they become upset, they can make everyone feel miserable with their upset. If a child in your life possesses any of these traits, author and healer, Maureen Dawn Healey has a guide for you.

The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids: Your Guide to Raising and Resonating With the New Children includes chapters dedicated to assist adults in handling unique and challenging kids that meet this specific criteria. If you have one of these oversensitive, super smart kids who defy you like they were raised by a gang, the introduction will speak to you immediately, and the chapters that follow may save your relationship with that child. Remember, this book is designed for 21st century kids and all the technology that goes with them. Healey lays out ways to help these kids manage their energy and control their defiant natures. It applies to the here and now, those indigo kids who are walking around, completely misunderstood today. Read it for them.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

colin firth is dapper and all, but i'd prefer to find leo.

Mia March, author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club is at it again with her latest novel that came out in July titled Finding Colin Firth. In this novel three very different women are drawn to Boothbay Harbor, Maine all tied to each other unexpected ways, some having to do with Colin Firth, as he does pop in and out of the novel, which is a treat for Firth fans.

Twenty-two year old Bea Crane is still mourning a year after the death of her beloved mother when she receives a mysterious letter. Inside is her mother's deathbed confession admitting that Bea is actually adopted and enclosed is a copy of the agreement with the adoption agency. Which leads her to Boothbay Harbor...

Thirty-eight year old diner waitress Veronica gave birth to a baby girl when she was a teenager, who she gave up for adoption and then began traveling, working at diners along the southern United States. She has decided to go back to her hometown and face her past. Which leads her to Boothbay Harbor...

Twenty-nine year old Gemma Hendricks is a journalist who recently lost her job and hopes to get an interview with Colin Firth on the set of his new movie to save her career. Which leads her to Boothbay Harbor...

YOU read this review and picked up a copy of Finding Colin Firth which led you to Boothbay Harbor....enjoy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

i want to be the honey trap!

Ya'll know how much I adore Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Series, I've read all nineteen books, and while waiting around for number twenty, I decided that I needed a quick fix, so I read The Heist by Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. My opinion? Kate O'Hare is no Stephanie Plum Jersey girl with allllll that attitude, but she's not supposed to be. She's supposed to be an FBI Special Agent tomboy who's a daddy's girl, and I liked that, too.

Kate has been chasing down mega con artist Nicolas Fox for years. The man dupes the rich out of millions and gets away every single time, while also stealing her Toblerone's (you'll have to read it to get it). When Kate finally makes the catch of her career she is taken aback a bit when the FBI decides to team the two of them up for a special project where the government does the duping. It's a quick and easy read with a cast of merry men (plus Willie), that will make you laugh out loud.

Monday, September 16, 2013

stand-alone thriller.

Author Gregg Hurwitz gets right down to it in his latest novel Tell No Lies. No boring introduction before the story begins, he just takes right off and I love that in an author.

Main character Daniel Brasher decided to make a lifestyle change years ago. He left his lucrative job as a money manager to begin a career in counseling, which he loves, and is now moving to a private practice of his own. Sounds good, right? Wrong. Just weeks before he is scheduled to open his new practice, Daniel finds an envelope addressed to someone else in his work mailbox. It contains an unsigned warning on a single sheet of paper, giving the person a deadly warning to make an admission of guilt. But by time Daniel finds and opens the envelope, the deadline has passed and it is too late, a vicious murder takes place. This misdirected envelopes don't end there, Daniel spends the rest of the novel working with the police and trying to save the potential victims before their fate's are sealed. And as time passes, Daniel realizes that the murderer is much close to him than he ever imagined. Dum, dum, dummmmm.

Friday, September 13, 2013

fab middle grade reading series.

I LOVE Amelia Bedelia, always have, so you can understand my excitement when Hermann Perish came out with Amelia Bedelia: Road Trip, because you know how much I love road trips as well. Basically, Amelia's dad gets a bonus at work and the family decides to drive around their state on a road trip. Their idea is to "roam" around, not having a destination, just enjoying the ride. Miss Amelia and her parents have some pretty funny misunderstandings between them, giving your middle readers some comic relief and a super cute tale with the appropriate amount of vocabulary to make them smarter. And Lynne Avril kicks ass with the illustrations. Win, win, win, win.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

if you enjoyed the china study...

Since manfriend and I are getting hitched in less than ten months, we have seriously discussed changing our eating habits in preparation for the big day. He already eats very healthy, I am the one who is a terrible influence and bring hot fries and pepper jack cheese into the house. Anyways, all of this health talk got me thinking about a book I recently read...

Health researcher T. Colin Campbell's Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is all about optimizing our nutrition and our health. The book is based around two different ideas: "First, nutrition is the master key to human health. Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition--isn't." So what you're saying is that I can't put hot fries on my salad and still be considered healthy? Moving on...Campbell has developed a diet that is whole-food and plant-based. And if you follow the lifestyle he recommends, this is what will happen:

"The remarkable health effects of this delicious eating lifestyle prevents 95% of all cancers, including those "caused" by environmental toxins, prevents nearly all heart attacks and strokes, reverses even severe heart disease, prevents and reverses type 2 diabetes so quickly and profoundly that, after three days eating whole plant foods, it's dangerous for users to continue to use insulin."


Yeah, not showing this to manfriend, he'll take away my hot fries for life.

Win a FREE copy of Whole
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 9/16!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

disregard the strange premise and just read the damn novel.

In Karen Joy Fowler's We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, the Cooke's seem like an ordinary family. Mother, father, three children. Well, two children and a chimpanzee. That's normal, right? It was to main character and narrator Rosemary, who grew up with her chimpanzee sister Fern like any other siblings, until Fern was taken away when Rosemary was five and the family's lives changed forever. The story begins when Rosemary is 22 and in her fifth year of college far way from her hometown and the awful memories that live there. Throughout the novel we learn what has happened to each family member since Fern's removal from the household, and watch as Rosemary uncovers the reasons why her sister was taken away from her.

It is unlike any novel you will ever read, and it will touch your heart more than any review can tell you. Go on now, read up.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

murder mystery, coming of age story, potato, patato.

Joyce Maynard has created quite the suspense tale in her latest novel After Her which came out at the end of August.

Set in the late 1970's, young women keep turning up dead in Marin County, California, presumably the work of a serial killer. Young sisters Rachel and Patty's father, who is the chief homicide detective in the area, is in charge of finding the killer, and unable to do so. Fast forward thirty years and Rachel is still searching for the "Sunset Strangler" never giving up hope to save her father's career which was tarnished all those years ago. This novel is based on the events that took place in Northern California in the 1970's when a man known as the "Trailside Killer" killed more than half a dozen young women. Pretty much, I dare you to NOT read this in 48 hours.

Monday, September 9, 2013

a book to relax with.

Okay, just because Mary Simses' debut novel The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café is a tad girly and mildly predictable, doesn't mean it isn't fun. It's an easy read with a plot that isn't overly complicated, I'm sorry, what's not to like? I have my moments when I want to read something a bit more rigorous, but most of the time, I adore the light and fluffy, and that is exactly what Simses has in store for you in this novel.

Main character Ellen, travels from Manhattan to small-town Maine to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish, which is to find and give her last letter to a hometown man she fell in love with when she was young. What was meant to be a quick trip turns into much more when Ellen almost drowns and is saved by a local carpenter. This is only the first thing that derails Ellen's journey to find her grandmother's long lost love, and it is certainly not the last. Her experiences with the characters of this small town make her rethink her big city dreams with the man she left behind. Simses has created a light, funny, and sweet novel with imagery that will make your mouth water. Bon appetite!

Friday, September 6, 2013

a singaporean mystery.

A little while back I reviewed a book titled Crazy Rich Asians, which was set mostly in Singapore. I absolutely loved the culture portrayed in that novel, which made me pretty ecstatic when I got my hands on Ovidia Yu's debut mystery titled Aunty Lee's Delights which is set against the dramatic backdrop of the beaches of Sentosa, Singapore and is not released until September 17th of this year. Look at me, ahead of the game for once.

Rosie "Aunty" Lee is a wealthy Singaporean widow who instead of becoming one of Singapore's "tai tai" has decided to go big and turn her restaurant, Aunty Lee Delights into a culinary empire. My kind of gal. Aunty Lee really begins to make a name for herself as a tourist and local hot spot, and THEN the body of a young woman washed up on the beach, and she just cannot help herself, she must investigate. Aunty Lee is super connected in the community, her detective methods that are a tad quirky, as you can imagine, adds some major charm to the mystery.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

kick ass giveaway.

Win a FREE copy of Marketing to Millennials!

Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 9/9!

transform your marriage

I am a major advocate for any tool that helps better people's lives. Whether it be a self-help book, seminar, soap opera, a really strong cocktail...if it works for you, by all means. On a more serious note, The 50 Fridays Marriage Challenge written by kick ass married couple Jeff and Lora Helton is one of those tools that I know for certain will better your marriage. How do I know this seeing as I'm not married? I asked around, duh.

Surprisingly, I know a ton of couples who have made it through better and worse, and worst of all. When asked if they have ever used a tool like the Helton's book in their own marriages, all of them said yes. When I explained the concept of The 50 Fridays Marriage Challenge, they all jumped on board immediately. Here's why: The 50 Fridays is a practical, once-a-week guide to get you and your spouse communicating on the most intimate level. One a week? One question to drum up a conversation one day a week? That's easy! And makes it less likely that you'll skip a sesh. The Helton's main idea is to encourage husbands and wives to start a discussion about their relationship. To communicate on this level once a week is not a lot to ask, especially when the end result is an incredible marriage.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

to be a successful entrepreneur, this is the book you need.

At twenty-seven, I am considered a "Millennial" along with the rest of you twenty-something and early thirties folks. Apparently we are impressing America with our buying power (and our early bankruptcy?) And Big Business wants to keep us in their lives so that as we grow up, and earn even more money, we spend it with them. That is what Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton's book Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever is all about.

As someone who literally has no money to her name, I can't really give you as much insight on the twenty-something consumer as these two business-oriented authors can. And they do so well by giving actual profiles of real-life Millennials so that you can understand what they buy and why they buy it. While reading, this quote really stood out to me, "Thanks to their large networks and strong social ties, Millennials are empowered to participate and engage in the process of building brands as well as tearing them down." SO true. I get a lot of information from the blogs I read and have purchased certain brands of sports bras, jewelry, and beauty products just because a girl I "follow" had a post about the brand being fantastic. Badabing! This book is filled with interesting shit like that, so if your goal is to sell to our generation, I suggest you grab a copy.

Win a FREE copy of Marketing to Millennials!
Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name, address and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 9/9!

kick ass giveaway.

WIN a copy of Matt Kadey's The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook!

Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 9/8!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

beatles fun facts.

100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is a gem of a fact book written by music historian and journalist, Gillian G. Gaar. This book features everything you would ever want or need to know about the Fab Four and includes not only stories that are LEGEN (wait for it) DARY, but also lots of photographs and facts that even the most hardcore fans may not be aware of.

(my friends and I on Abbey Road).

For example. Gaar gives details on how to find coveted unreleased Beatles recordings, notes all the films the members made, AND were in (movie night, anyone?), and clears up the rumors about any rivalries with The Rolling Stones,  seeing as their fans are on the outs. Guess what guys, these rock stars were FRIENDS. And you should be, too.

Monday, September 2, 2013

what a fantastic novel.

Happy Labor Day! Here is your last summer must read!

Georgia Waltz has the perfect life. A husband she loves after decades of marriage, two twenty-something daughters who are bright and accomplished (with the help of mom and dad), a beautiful apartment in Manhattan...some might say she has it all, until she doesn't anymore. After her husband dies suddenly, Georgia realizes that her enchanted life was built on lies upon lies. Ben, a successful lawyer, has left her completely penniless, and she now must find a way to teach her daughters and herself how to support themselves for the first time, ever.

Sally Koslow's fourth and latest novel, The Widow Waltz is the perfect piece of chick-lit. Written in multiple perspectives, Koslow allows the reader to see the series of events in such a way as to allow them to relate not only to Georgia, but to the other characters as well. And lie after lie keeps popping out like a fricken Jack-in-the-Box, we the women of the world remember why we take care of the bill paying in our households. I especially enjoyed the mother-daughter relationships as well Georgia getting herself back out into the world, romantically. Such a great read.

GIVEAWAY!!! Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name, address and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 9/9!