Throwback Thursday: Christmas In Cornwall by Marcia Willett – November 30th

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This Week’s Pick:

Christmas in Cornwall

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Blurb:

“We’re all pilgrims,’ he said thoughtfully. “One way or another, aren’t we? Always searching for something.”

Twelfth night – time to put away the Christmas angel. A new year dawns, and everything seems to be falling into place for Dossie. Her son Clem and his adorable five-year-old son Jakey have moved to Cornwall to be closer to her. She runs her own successful catering business. All she needs now is some better luck in her romantic life.

Complementing Dossie’s rather unconventional family set-up is the wonderfully eccentric Janna: a warm-hearted, generous woman who looks after the quirky nuns of the local convent – and little Jakey. With humour, kindness and the support of friendship, they form a tight bond.

But the Sisters’ life as they know it is thrown into doubt when an avaricious property developer starts prowling around their beautiful, historic home. Will this close-knit unit who so depend on each other still be together next Christmas? And what will they have learnt about the true meaning of family, and about having somewhere you really belong? Find out in Marcia Willett’s touching and timeless holiday tale, Christmas in Cornwall.

My Thoughts:

I’m so excited to read Christmas books this season because there are so many I didn’t get to read last year. It seems like Christmas comes so fast and it’s gone before you know it, so I’m starting now to get as many reads as possible. This is one of them that I’ve had my eye on for some time and I plan to read it over the holidays this year. I was instantly attracted to the blurb and cover and went ahead and ordered it. I hope to finally get to it soon!

You can find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003706

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Christmas In Cornwall by Marcia Willett – November 30th”

Music Monday: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Intro

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday

This Week’s Pick

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Intro

Christmas pretty much starts for my family on Thanksgiving day and because this is my favorite time of year, from now until Christmas, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Christmas songs.

This song comes from the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Movie. It’s the intro song “Christmas Vacation”. I love this movie so much and we usually watch it a handful of times throughout the Christmas season.


This song is sung by Mavis Staples

“Christmas Vacation”

It’s that time, Christmas time is here
Everybody knows, there’s not a better time of year
Hear that sleigh, Santa’s on his way
Hip, hip hooray, for Christmas vacationGotta a ton of stuff to celebrate
(Jing-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-ling)
Now it’s getting closer, I can’t wait
(Jang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-lang)
Gonna make this holiday as perfect as can be
Just wait and see this Christmas vacation

This old house, sure is looking good
Got ourselves the finest snowman in the neighborhood
Ain’t it fun, always on the run
That’s how it’s done on Christmas vacation

Let’s all deck the halls and light the lights
(Jing-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-ling)
Get a toasty fire burning bright
(Jang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-lang)
Give St. Nick the warmest welcome that he’s ever had
We’re so glad it Christmas vacation

And when the nights are peaceful and serene
We can cuddle up and do our Christmas dreaming

Jing-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-ling
Jang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-lang

Christmas vacation
Christmas vacation

We’re so glad it’s Christmas vacation

Peace and joy and love are everywhere
(Jing-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-ling)
You can feel the magic in the air
(Jang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-lang)
Let the spirit of the season carry us away
Hip, hip, hooray for Christmas Vacation

Fa, la, la, la, la and ho, ho, ho
Jingle, jangle, jingle as we go
Let the spirit of the season

Continue reading “Music Monday: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Intro”

Shabby Sunday: Return to Oz by Joan D. Vinge 1985

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Return to Oz

by Joan D. Vinge

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Blurb: Dorothy returns to Oz during a storm only to find that the magical kingdom has been conquered by the evil Nome King and Mombi the Witch, and she sets out with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and other new friends to find the rightful ruler.

I chose this book for today’s Shabby Sunday because I enjoyed this movie as a child and I love the novelization. My copy is the original from 1985 and is in very rough shape with a worn cover and heavy wear to the pages. 

My Thoughts:

After Dorothy’s original return from Oz, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry tell her that Oz was never real, but Dorothy finds a key from Oz and realizes that it simply isn’t true. A wicked storm returns her to Oz, but she finds that it’s nothing like it was when she left.

I read this many years ago after watching the movie featuring Fairuza Balk. The book is way better than the movie, in my opinion, because it really gets into the characters and their feelings. It covers the entire story of the movie, but also has added extras from the original screenplay that weren’t in the movie.

The writing is simple and this is a quick, easy read that’s even suitable for upper elementary readers. Although I remember the movie being a little scary, the book isn’t as bad and I wouldn’t hesitate to read it out loud to my younger kids. There are also photographs from the movie which make it even more enjoyable. Even though I would prefer Baum’s original Oz books over this one, it’s still one that I’ll keep on my shelf for the nostalgia. This gets a 3.5-star rating from me.

 


 

Get this on Amazon or add it to Goodreads

  • Mass Market Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Media Tie-In edition (May 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034532207X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345322074

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Return to Oz by Joan D. Vinge 1985”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes – The Wife Between Us

Good day everyone! I have this awesome recipe to share with you today that is new and I just cooked it for the first time this morning. There’s also a new book to share. I hope you enjoy!

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A few months ago I had to revert to a gluten-free diet once again which is not easy in my opinion. Once you get used to using wheat in everything, it becomes hard to not have those food items anymore. Well, I found this flour at Costco a few days ago and thought I’d give it a shot!

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I used the recipe that’s right on the back of the bag which is also on their website with tons of other recipes. Here’s the original recipe.

Perfect Blueberry Pancakes

Note: This recipe must be made with blueberries to turn out right. For regular pancakes we recommend our Waffle & Pancake Mix.

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 cups milk, any kind
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk together the liquid ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Add dry to liquid, combine well. Preheat griddle or pan to medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto sprayed griddle. As with all pancake batter, batter may thicken as it sits. Add more liquid as necessary. Sprinkle with blueberries.
  3. Cook until bubbles appear and bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook a minute or two longer.

-I ended up doubling the recipe. Here’s what I did.- 

I added all the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisked it together. Then, I added all the wet ingredients and spices into my Vitamix and mixed it on low until incorporated. I used almond milk. I then added in the wet with the dry and whisked it up.

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Cook on low heat a few minutes each side. We ended up with some weird shapes because the batter was so thick, even with added almond milk!

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Once I flipped them, I realized it wasn’t going to be a big deal. They were cooking beautifully.

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These were surprisingly good! My kids even loved them! We also had some all natural sausage links from Costco with the pancakes. It was a delicious breakfast.

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes – The Wife Between Us”

Meet The Reader Series with Mrs. N (N.N. Light)

Hello everyone!

I have a new reader to share with you today. Mrs. N is a friend from Goodreads and a blogging friend that I’ve gotten to know this year.

I’m sorry that I’ve been a little behind on posting this series lately, but my schedule hasn’t been going as planned. I hope you enjoy!

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I’m always looking for friends on Goodreads that have similar tastes. I like learning about new books and discussing them with others, so I decided to experiment with a new idea and thought it would be neat to find readers that I’m friends with on Goodreads and share them with you. Maybe they might be someone you’d like to add too. As I find readers with an interest, I’ll introduce them.


 

Meet the Reader Series

Today’s Featured Reader:

Mrs. N

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Q: Did you enjoy reading as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

A: I loved reading as a child. It started when my parents read to me. Their own love of reading got me excited to read. Every Saturday, I’d go with my mum to the library and we’d spend most of the day reading, discovering new books and checking out as many books as we could carry out to the car. As I grew older, books taught me about life, love, kindness and great adventures.

I have so many books I loved as a child, it’s hard for me to choose. I’ll do a random variety: Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries by Donald Sobol, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, The Shoe series (Ballet Shoes, Theatre Shoes, Dancing Shoes) by Noel Streatfeild, Anything by Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss.

 

Q: What are some of your favorite books this year or last?

A: I have the extreme pleasure to read books for a living and as such, get to read some incredible books. To garner the status of favorite book of the year, the story, characters and setting have to be so incredible that I cry when it’s over. Three books this year (so far) have that coveted status. They are:

Only a Hero Will Do (The Heart of a Hero Book 1) by Alanna Lucas

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The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles E. Yallowitz

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Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 by Daniel Milstein

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All captured my heart in their own way and I highly recommend them.

Q: What are your favorite book genres?

A: Ugh! I really hate this question. I’m a voracious reader and my tastes vary from children’s books to mystery to romance to nonfiction to even erotic romance. My library consists of a lot of romance (all sub-genres), fantasy, mystery, suspense, biographies, sports and motivational books. If I could only choose one genre to read for the rest of my life, I guess I’d choose paranormal romance. I’m a huge romantic at heart and love a happy ending, especially with a little magic thrown in.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Mary Higgins Clark, Jude Deveraux, Jacquie Biggar, Erin R Bedford, Ruth A. Casie, Kelley Armstrong… the list could go on and on.

Q: How many books are on your TBR shelf?

A: Currently? According to Goodreads, it’s 257 but there are so many I need to add that it’s more like 300. I told you I like to read.

Q: What’s an emotional book, or one you won’t forget that you’ve read this year or last?

A: I’d have to say the one book I’ve read this year that’s had the most impact on me personally is Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 by Daniel Milstein (above). It inspired me to continue going after my lofty dreams, no matter what others may think. It gave me the emotional kick in the arse I needed.

Q: Is there a book you really didn’t enjoy this year or last?

A: There have been many and honestly, they’ve all been recommended to me by fellow readers and bestseller lists. I won’t name the one book I read that was so horrible I threw it out the window this Summer. Lol!

Q: What are you reading now?

A: I have sixteen books I’m reading right now, according to Goodreads. Some are for pleasure, like Tangled Up in Tinsel by Candis Terry, and others are for business, like Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce.

Q: They say to never judge a book by its cover, but just how important is the book cover to you?

A: Covers are just as important as the story itself, in my opinion. I’ve been known to pick up quite a few books I normally wouldn’t read because I loved the cover. The cover has to grab the reader, entice them to take a second look and capture the whole story in one frame. It’s hard to get it right but when it does, it’s pure magic.

Q: Do you have a blog? If so, what is the name? 

A: Yes, I have a blog. It’s called POTL Blog: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing and has been around since 2012. I started out with one follower and have grown to a social media reach over forty-five million.

Q: Have you written anything? If not, have you ever thought about writing your own book?

A: Yes, I’m one-half (MR N is the other half) of the award-winning N. N. Light. We’re a husband-wife writing team and we’re about to publish our fifth book. It’s a daily inspirational book called, N.N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration and it will be released November 21, 2017. Our other books are romance, paranormal romance, young adult and love poetry.

Q: Which do you enjoy more, ebooks or physical books? How about audiobooks?

A: I used to be a physical book snob but I see the value in e-books and audiobooks. I need e-books for reviewing but for personal use, I much prefer physical books. It’s all in the touch and smell, especially old books. You can’t get that from an e-reader. I don’t listen to audiobooks but I did when I was a manager at a bookstore because my commute was over an hour each way.

Q: Where do the majority of your books come from? (Library, bookstore)

A: My local library is too far away so most of the books I read I get from Amazon or used bookstores. I’m also on Netgalley so I get a lot of ARCs to read from publishers before publication. I swear, I’m a kid in a candy store while perusing Amazon or Netgalley.

 

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Continue reading “Meet The Reader Series with Mrs. N (N.N. Light)”

The Bloggers Bookshelf – Mischenko from Read Rant Rock & Roll @J_Mischenko

I was lucky enough to participate in Claire’s Bloggers Bookshelf! It was such an enjoyable experience. You can read about it below and also check out her blog Brizzlelassbooks. Thanks, Claire! 💜💕

BrizzleLass Books

Hi Guys, welcome back to The Bookshelf. Each week I feature an author or book blogger and talk about their bookshelf with them. It’s a light-hearted, book focused, Q&A.

This week I have another of my favourite bloggers stopping by, Mischenko from Read Rant Rock & Roll. Mischenko runs a lovely blog with some regular posts such as her Wednesday Breakfast and a Book and Shabby Sunday, both of which are favourites of mine.  She’s sent some fab photo’s for inclusion with this post so I hope you all enjoy (and that I’ve put them in the right places!)

Here is her bookshelf…

What was the first book you remember having on your bookshelf?
I had this record player that would play small records and someone in my family purchased a Hansel & Gretel book and record for me. It was always my favorite and I listened to it…

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Music Monday: Seether “Driven Under”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday

This Week’s Pick

Seether

“Driven Under”

 

LYRICS
Do you think I’m faking
When I’m lying next to you?
Do you think that I am blind
Nothing left for me to lose?
Must be something on your mind
Something lost and left behind
Do you know I’m faking now?
Do you know I’m faking
When I’m lying next to you?
Do you know that I am blind to everything you ever do?
Must be something on your mind
Something lost for me to find
Do you know I’m faking
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before on him
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before, oh man
I guess you know I’m faking
When I tell you I love you
I guess you know that I am blind
To everything you say and do
Must be something on my mind
There’s nothing left for me to hide
Do you know I’m faking
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before on him
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before, oh man
We have to succumb to the feelings we can never face
I need you, I breathe you,
I can’t go through this all again
We have to succumb to
The feelings we can never face I need you
I breathe you, I can’t go through this
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before on him
Then she told me she had a gun
It sounded like she’d used It once before, oh man
Then she told me she had a gun
She says she wants to use It on me now
Songwriters: Shaun Welgemoed / Dale Stewart

 This is from the album:

Fragile

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Thanks for checking out Music Monday!

 

Blog Tour: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Book Review & Author Interview

I had the pleasure of reading James J. Cudney’s debut novel Watching Glass Shatter last week and what a treat it was! You can read my review of the book below and also check out my interview with this incredible author. You’ll learn more about James J. Cudney as a reader and writer as we discuss the book and also his plans for the future.

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I’ve come to know James through our blog communications and he quickly became an inspiration to me. I follow his blog @ thisismytruthnow and enjoy every post I read from his book reviews to the 365-day challenges. He’s a wonderful writer and I was so excited to learn that he was publishing his first novel. It seems to have happened so quickly and I’m ecstatic to be part of the blog tour! I hope you’ll enjoy reading this post about his new book.

Watching Glass Shatter

by James J. Cudney

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Blurb: The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.

My Review:

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney is one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. It’s a debut novel about a family with secrets. These secrets have the potential to tear the family apart.

The matriarch of the family is Olivia. Her husband Ben, the patriarch, has just died unexpectedly and she is left with their five grown sons, their families, and her sister Diane. She’s also left with a secret from Ben regarding one of their sons. Olivia decides to take some time to spend which each of the boys and in doing so, she discovers that each and every one of them has their own little secrets they’ve been hiding.

I was sucked into this story as soon as I started reading it. A worry that I had was that with all the characters in the book, I would get confused and lost because each of the sons have their own family members as well, but not once did I have an issue with it. The characters are so well detailed and described. After reading about each one, I felt that I knew this family and they all felt so realistic to me. I think overall my favorite character was Diane, but as the story moved on, it became Olivia. In the beginning, I almost couldn’t stand Olivia, but she begins to change. As she discovers so many new things about her sons and their spouses, she starts to realize that she’s too much of a control freak and needs to let people make their own decisions. I loved this transformation, although it may not have been complete, she becomes more understanding, more kind, and less judgmental which I admired. The boys…where can I start? Each one is unique in their own way. I loved all of them, but my favorite son was Ethan. I had issues with Zach and a certain situation between him, Teddy and his wife, but it came together in the end which was unexpected. I couldn’t wait to find out whether the Glass family would heal or simply fall apart. I was literally astonished by this book because it has many twists and turns. You just won’t know unless you read it from beginning to end.

I enjoyed the writing and the plot was unique to me. I thought the book was put together perfectly. Readers know that it takes more than just a good writer to offer a great book and everyone has their own opinions on this. Some say they need to be captivated and that the characters need good development. Others say they really want to ‘think’ or be taken on an adventure, but a good book to me is one that makes you feel, and this book did that for me. I had a myriad of emotions. I laughed, cried, jumped for joy, and got angry at times throughout the book. It’s truly heart-wrenching at times! I can’t remember the last time I was this emotionally involved with characters. It’s definitely been a while!

As far as the end, I liked it, but I expected something different. I wasn’t sure if I was happy with Olivia’s choices, or Rowena’s choice for that matter, but it turned out that I was pleased with it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’d recommend this book to anyone. What a ride. I can’t wait for the next book! Every star for Watching Glass Shatter!

5 Sterne

 


You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 24, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1978233434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1978233430

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Continue reading “Blog Tour: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Book Review & Author Interview”

Flower Friday: November 16th – Maple

I learned about Flower Friday from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks last month and have been having a lot of fun sharing some flower pics every Friday.

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I’m going to totally cheat today and share a picture of one of our maple trees. It’s not a flower, but maples have to be my favorite trees in the fall and they actually remind me of flowers as they first begin to turn.

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Continue reading “Flower Friday: November 16th – Maple”

Throwback Thursday: November 16th – Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This Week’s Pick:

Something Borrowed

by Emily Giffin

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Blurb: Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan.

Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness.

Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.

My Thoughts:

I chose this book today because I read it at a very difficult time in my life and it quickly became a favorite. In 2006, my daughter, who was born three months prior, had to undergo an open heart surgery at a university hospital. After a very long 9-hour surgery, she was put into ICU and then into recovery for about a week. It was a very difficult time and all I could really do was sit in the hospital room, take care of her, and read. A staff member came around with a reading cart and let me pick out a few books. This was one of them. I remember picking it up and devouring it. At that time, I was younger and still into chick lit, just out of college, and this book really got me into reading again. It really brought me back to my love for reading.

The story follows two best friends who have been friends through thick and thin. Darcy pretty much has it all, a great job, a soon to be husband, and she pretty much gets what she wants every time. Rachel, the lawyer, is a bit different and begins to question why things are the way they are. Why isn’t her life more like Darcy’s? In a nutshell, she falls in love with Darcy’s fiance, Dex, and winds up sleeping with him. The drama ensues.

This is one of those books where I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to be rooting for. Cheating is something I have very strong feelings about and I think it’s totally wrong no matter what. I mean, certainly what Rachel and Dex did was wrong, but somehow I felt sympathy for all the characters and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen with these relationships and how it would end. I loved the way it was written and it’s such a simple read and a page-turner. I was fairly satisfied with the ending and I hope to read more from this author in the future.

My rating on this one is 4****


Find this on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; 1st edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031232118X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312321185

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: November 16th – Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Dr. G’s Favorite Green Smoothie – Think Forward to Thrive

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a good week. I’m doing pretty good but fighting a bad infection and took this as an opportunity to share a favorite healing smoothie with you that helps people who are taking antibiotics or those that just need to heal.

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I found this smoothie from a doctor who actually battled autoimmune disease herself at one point. She was able to heal herself and became healthy again. This is one of her favorite smoothies, but I change it up just a bit and add in some probiotics for added health. I chose to have this one this morning because I’m currently taking antibiotics and want to help replenish my good bacteria. Even if you aren’t taking antibiotics, many people are deficient when it comes to good bacteria. Eating yogurt and fermented foods can help.

Here’s what I used…

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas

1 cup other frozen fruits

3/4 cup – 1 cup kefir

1 huge container of spinach or kale or close to a pound

1 handful of flax seeds

Water to add

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Here’s what I did…

Add everything to the blender starting with the frozen banana, kefir, greens, more frozen fruit and then the flax seed. Add water to just below the greens. Blend on low and then up to high for about a minute until everything is smooth.

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Sprinkle with chia seeds if preferred.

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This is one of my favorite smoothies for healing, although it’s not one that I love to drink. It’s not super sweet and sweet is what I prefer, but this is great for health and not everything that’s healthy is going to taste awesome all the time. I’m not a ‘greens’ lover, but spinach is mild and I can handle it because it doesn’t have a huge grassy flavor.

Think Health! 🙂


If you’d like to learn more about Dr. G, you can find her on YouTube. Here’s her video where she makes this green smoothie.

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Dr. G’s Favorite Green Smoothie – Think Forward to Thrive”

Music Monday: Staind “So Far Away”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

 

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This Week’s Pick:

Staind

“So Far Away”

Drew’ s song choice last week got me thinking about Staind, another favorite. Here’s one of their songs I enjoy.

Lyrics:

This is my life
Its not what it was before
All these feelings I’ve shared
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before
Somebody shake me
‘Cause I
I must be sleeping

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
And all the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here it’s so far away
And I feel like I can face the day, and I can forgive
And I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today

These are my words
That I’ve never said before
I think I’m doing okay
And this is the smile
That I’ve never shown before

Somebody shake me ’cause I
I must be sleeping

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
And all the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here it’s so far away
And I feel like I can face the day, and I can forgive
And I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today

I’m so afraid of waking
Please don’t shake me
Afraid of waking
Please don’t shake me

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
And all the mistakes,
One life contained

They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here it’s so far away
And I feel like I can face the day, and I can forgive
And I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today

Continue reading “Music Monday: Staind “So Far Away””

Shabby Sunday: Roald Dahl – Switch Bitch – 1974

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Switch Bitch

by Roald Dahl

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Blurb: Switch Bitch is a 1974 short story collection for adults by Roald Dahl. The book is made up of four stories: “The Visitor,” “The Great Switcheroo,” “The Last Act,” and “Bitch”. The stories had been written by Dahl for Playboy magazine and published separately in 1965.

My Thoughts:

Roald Dahl wrote dirty stories for adults? Yes, he did! I ended up getting this in a lot of Roald Dahl books that I purchased online. I was intrigued because I always considered him solely a children’s book author, but it isn’t so.

This book contains four stories that were originally published in Playboy magazine. I won’t formally review this one quite yet because so far I’ve only read one, The Visitor, and it was pretty good but incredibly weird to me. This really isn’t my kind of reading, but I enjoy branching out and reading books like these sometimes. It’s all writing without any illustrations and all the stories do involve sex which makes it inappropriate for young readers.

If you like Roald Dahl and you’re looking for some adult reading, this one is worth taking a look. It’s definitely different!


 

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc; 1 edition (September 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394494733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394494739

 

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Roald Dahl – Switch Bitch – 1974”

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa Book Review – Plus How to Make Dorayaki!

Earlier this year I came across a book on Goodreads titled Sweet Bean Paste which was recently translated into English. I added it right away and then received a tip from a Goodread’s friend and fellow book blogger Evelina@ Avalinahsbooks that it was available on Edelweiss. Luckily, I was approved for it, because it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year.

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Sweet Bean Paste

by Durian SukegawaAlison Watts

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The story begins with Sentaro, a man who was previously in jail and is now working in a little confectionary shop to pay off some debt. He makes a Japanese sweet called ‘dorayaki’ every day but puts no heart into it at all. He works in a depressed part of town and feels quite depressed himself. He doesn’t have much appreciation for life while spending most evenings drowning his sorrows with alcohol. He’s always wanted to be a writer, but just doesn’t know what his purpose in life is at this point.

One day, he puts an ad out for a helper. A little old lady named Tokue comes to visit Sentaro and begins to chat about his red bean paste. She wants the job, but Sentaro is hesitant to hire her because there are differences in Tokue’s appearance which set hjer apart from other people. Her fingers are disfigured, but after Sentaro tastes some of her sweet bean paste, he begins to question in his mind how he can hire her without offending customers because her sweet, rich bean paste is like nothing he’s ever tasted, and he has to learn how to make it. As time moves on, Tokue becomes part of the shop and enjoys meeting with some of the customers until a rumor starts and people become afraid of something they don’t truly understand.

I loved the characters and cherished Tokue’s wisdom. Besides teaching Sentaro how to make the best bean paste, she helps him on his journey of self-discovery and teaches him how to truly listen and to be patient.

“We were born in order to see and listen to the world.”

Reading about Tokue’s harrowing past was difficult, yet the unlikely friendships formed between this small group of people is heartwarming. Each of them has something to give one another and as they connect, Sentaro finally begins to see the light from Tokue’s teachings.

After reading the book, I sat for awhile and reflected on Tokue’s suggestions to Sentaro and found the book very educational because of it–from her messages about listening and seeing to also learning about Hansen’s disease in Japanese history. I absolutely adored reading this wonderful book and appreciated the author’s note at the end which explains the author’s experience with Hansen’s disease and the inspiration for this story. This is a book anyone can enjoy and I highly recommend it. My rating is 5*****

I’d like to thank Edelweiss, the publisher, and the author for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

5 Sterne

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (November 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1786071959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1786071958

I was so excited to learn that this book has been adapted to film and it’s available on Netflix. I haven’t watched it yet, but plan to this weekend and I’ll share my thoughts after. Here’s the trailer…


All this reading about Dorayaki and sweet bean paste really sparked my interest. I’d never had dorayaki or even heard of it. I went straight to Amazon and ordered some adzuki beans so that I could experience this Japanese treat with my family.

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What is dorayaki?

Dorayaki (どら焼き, どらやき, 銅鑼焼き, ドラ焼き) is a type of Japanese confection, а red-bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste.


Making Dorayaki

The first thing I did was soak the beans. I put about a cup of adzuki beans in a jar with water and let them soak overnight. I rinsed them once before and then again in the morning.

 

I decided to make the paste first. I started by putting the beans in the pan with water to cover and brought them to a boil and boiled them for a few minutes. Then I rinsed them completely. I put them back in the pan again with plenty of water to cover and brought them to a boil again. This time, I let them simmer for about an hour until they were soft.

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Once they were soft, I drained the water and blended them up in my Vitamix.

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I blended them until fairly smooth.

Next, I added the paste back to the pan with a heaping half cup of sugar. I stirred it and cooked this down for about five minutes on low heat.

 

I ended up with a nice smooth paste that was thick and not runny.

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Continue reading “Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa Book Review – Plus How to Make Dorayaki!”

Throwback Thursday: November 9th – Love Lucky by Van Quattro

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This Week’s Pick:

Love Lucky

by Van Quattro

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Blurb: I had a restless heart, a nasty desire to be loved, a wandering spirit and had barely been out of Glendale. London called in the form of a pretty girl and I followed. I stumbled around one of the greatest cities in the world for a year and a half. Stoned and full of wonder I found people and places that would be far beyond anything I could dream or conjure. It’s an experience that shaped who I am today. It’s about a strong sense of wanting more for my life with a bunch of LUCK thrown in.

My Thoughts:

I’ll start by saying that I love the way the book was written and the writing style. Throughout the author’s memoir I had many emotions. Sure, I found it comical at times, but mainly I felt anger and sadness. It seemed like everything was going his way one minute, and crashing down the next. I wanted to stop his reactions, but somehow understood his anger-maybe from previous experiences with my own family, etc.

I loved the music and film references. I especially enjoyed the relationships he built. In the end, I wished some things could’ve been different for him, but we don’t live in a perfect world and we all make mistakes.

I enjoyed reading about his accomplishments online after the book was finished. Now, I’d like to watch a few of the films so I can see him acting. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs.


 

You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

Read for free on Kindle Unlimited!

  • Series: Life
  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 31, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1537482009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1537482002

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: November 9th – Love Lucky by Van Quattro”

Puppy Update – Time for new homes…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight weeks since my family was blessed with three tiny border collie puppies. It’s been an interesting journey for us and we’ve learned so much. We decided right away that we would keep one of these puppies and let the other two go to homes. The kids understood this and we’ve enjoyed every minute with them, but when it came time to let the other two go, it was very hard. You really can’t help falling in love with puppies that you’re with from the time they’re born. I knew it would be hard for them because we have bonded with all three of them, but we decided that we would stick to the original plan to keep Bowie and let Fig and Lotus go to a new home.

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Fig (Red Collar) – Bowie (Blue) – Lotus (Purple)

A few weeks ago, I took all three in for their vet checkup where they were examined, received vaccinations, wormer, and their flea and tick treatment. Their weights were perfect and there was only one problem–Lotus was found to have an inguinal hernia. At first, I was shocked. I’m not a professional breeder and this is the first litter we’ve ever experienced. I didn’t even think about the fact that there could be some things that might go wrong. The vet assured us that it really isn’t that big of a deal, but that she might require surgery later on in life, or she could also outgrow it. When I got home I started doing tons of research. I called all the vets in my area to find out how much the surgery would cost and what age she could have it. I knew there would be no way we could sell her with the chance that she might require surgery in the future. The responsible thing to do is to have it fixed beforehand, but the problem is that three out of four vets that I called recommended waiting until six months. Only one vet said they would do the surgery and she couldn’t even tell me on the phone the last time they did one of these types of surgeries. That just wasn’t going to work. With us just losing Toby last month, I’m not willing to risk the surgery when we don’t even know for sure that it will remain. There’s a good chance it will heal with time.

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Lotus

 

I decided that we would do one of two things–we would either keep her or rehome her to someone we know very well. I want to be sure that she will receive the care that she needs and I’m very leery about listing animals for free. In the past, we had a litter of kittens we raised and needed to find homes for them. When they were old enough, I listed them on Craigslist for free. Within an hour of listing them, I received two or three emails from different people telling me to remove the listing because I was putting the kittens at risk. As I read on, the person explained that there are people who look for animals on ads for free because they can take them to animal testing centers and make money off them. ?? I was shocked and never even heard of this! As I continued reading, I was warned of another risk of someone coming to get free animals to take home and torture. That really shocked me even more. It was also explained that these people often bring children with them to make it look like they are giving them a good home to trick you into giving them your animals. Seriously? I immediately removed the kittens and I’ve never listed animals for free on Craigslist ever again. Are these things true? Are there really people out there that do these things? I’m not willing to take that risk. I don’t think any level of interviewing can really make it safe and I’ve never forgotten the experience. I realize that there isn’t much control in how the animal will be cared for once it’s out of your hands, but I guess it makes sense that offering an animal for free might put it at more of a risk.

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Lotus – She loves leaves

Lotus went to her new home and it’s right down the road from our house. We know the family very well and my oldest child works on the farm there. It couldn’t have worked out more perfect because my kids hang out there with the horses often. They can see her whenever they want to. I was really hoping to just keep Lotus with us, but I feel like she’s better off where she is. They showed so much interest in her and we knew this would be her forever home. There are other border collies there, another puppy she plays with, and she can herd the horses and experience many other farm activities. She’s just like Cynder and we knew right away that she was going to be a busybody and that she’d need work with mental stimulation to stay happy.

 

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Lotus – She can get away with anything!

 


 

Last week we listed Fig on a reputable site and sold him to a family that lives about an hour away from our home. The nice thing is that we hit it off with the man right away and it turned out to be a positive experience.

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They all love cats, but Fig especially. 

 

We’ve been keeping in touch via text and he’s willing to send us pictures every once in a while so that we can see him as he grows.  I miss him so much and think about him a lot. I’m glad that this worked out for Fig though. It was incredibly hard for us and I was up half the night thinking about him the first night. Keeping in touch with them is helping a lot, especially with the kids.

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Fig the day before he went to his new home.

 

I still remember when we were searching for a border collie and in the process, I would find all of these rescues and breeders who would request your address and would want to come check out your house–they would even ask for references. I used to think it was crazy until these guys came along. I feel very protective of them and this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

 


 

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Bowie

 

So now, we just have Bowie. We have decided to keep her for sure. I’ve questioned myself because they are a lot of work, but we’re really excited and it’s nice to have a pup from Cynder and Winston. She started jumping out of her pen so we began crate training and it’s amazing how well she’s doing. She’s already showing strong signs of intelligence. She’s learned her name plus sits and downs. It appears that she’ll be more laid back like Winston.

Here’s something interesting though. We named her Bowie when she was born before her eyes were opened and it turned out that she has two different colored eyes which reminds me of David Bowie!

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David Bowie had anisocoria which made his eyes appear different due to the pupil size. Our Bowie also has a right blue eye and a brownish left eye which looks similar to David Bowie’s. Isn’t that cool?

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Originally I was worried that having another dog might be too hard, especially since it’s a puppy, but overall, this has been a good experience for us. Having another dog may be more work, more hair to clean up, more food, but most importantly…

More Love!

Continue reading “Puppy Update – Time for new homes…”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Hippocrates Soup – Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I have a special healthy recipe for you and a new book!

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I had a hearty soup planned for last Wednesday, but we’ve been so busy with the puppies and I haven’t had much time to post like I’d like to. I’m hoping to share some amazing recipes throughout November and December!

In the fall and winter, I eat soup nearly every day. I love it first thing in the morning. This just happens to be a staple from Dr. Gerson that I hope you will try.

This soup (Hippocrates soup) comes from The Gerson diet. Some of you may have heard of Dr. Gerson–he treated cancer with many unconventional treatments until his death in 1959. When I went through my healing process of trying to stop my body from attacking itself, I started on the Gerson diet while supplementing with smoothies and juices. This is just one of the things I did to help myself.

What I do is make the soup on the weekend. The yield I aim for is about six quarts and I refrigerate them, using one per day, throughout the week. Some of you might be thinking that soup isn’t a good breakfast food, but the truth is, breakfast is whatever you want it to be and this recipe is a very healthy way to start the day. It’s a delicious hot drink for any time of year! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it. You don’t have to be sick to have this soup either. It’s an overall healthy start to the day or any time of the day for that matter.

Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases

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Here’s how I make it…

Hippocrates Soup

Ingredients:

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I like to get about six quarts, so I usually double the recipe. Also be sure to use organic whenever possible.

I bunch of celery

1 bunch of parsley

1-2 pounds of potatoes. I’m using Japanese sweet potatoes. They are so delicious!

1-2 pounds of tomatoes

2 large onion

2 leeks

About 6-8 cloves of garlic

Directions:

Chop it all up into a pan. I like to peel the potatoes and garlic.

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For the leeks, you really need to chop up any green that you use and then rinse. There’s always dirt in the layers. This is personal preference, but you never know what’s in the layers if you don’t chop them first. You can see all the dirt in these organic leeks below.

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Just give the chopped up leek a good spray. I like to use most of the leek, but I do cut off about 1/3 of the green ends.

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Fill up your pan until everything is chopped.

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Then add water just to cover the vegetables. I ended up adding a garnet yam that needed to be used.

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As soon as it boils, turn it down and simmer it for about 1 1/2 hours.

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Let it cool a bit. Then you can transfer it to your blender and blend it in batches.

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Blend it up until smooth. What’s nice about the Vitamix is that you can put it in hot if you want to. It can handle super hot liquids!

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Hippocrates Soup – Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney”

Music Monday: Chris Cornell With His Daughter Toni Singing “Redemption Song”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

 

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This week’s song pick is:

Chris Cornell and daughter Toni Cornell

“Redemption Song”

 

-Lyrics-

Artist: Bob Marley

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs

 Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
‘Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look? Ooh
Some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the Book
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Redemption songs

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the book
Won’t you have to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever had
Redemption songs
All I ever had
Redemption songs
These songs of freedom
Songs of freedom

 


Thanks for checking out Music Monday!

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison – Book Review

The Roses of May (The Collector #2)

by Dot Hutchison

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Blurb: Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.

Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?


My Review:

I read The Butterfly Garden in 2016 and it was truly a captivating thriller. When I saw that the second book was out, I requested it from NetGalley right away. The problem was that I was too late getting to it and ended up having to purchase the book. I didn’t mind because I expected that I would love this one as much as the first.

The story follows Priya, a girl who lost her sister Chavi four years ago after she was murdered. Priya and her mother are still very upset about the loss of Chavi and relocate frequently as they are working hard to move on with their lives and to keep low. Chavi’s killer has murdered multiple girls and he’s still out there. Maybe closer than anyone thinks and possibly right under Priya’s nose.

Meanwhile, the detectives are still working to help the surviving butterflies (previous book) now that they’re back in the world and trying to adjust to real life again. Many are struggling to adapt and it’s possible that Priya might be able to help them. Eventually, the detectives work together alongside Priya to try to locate Chavi’s killer and lock him up once and for all.

I’m not an expert, but If I were to rate this book on the writing alone, I’d give it five stars. The truth is that the story didn’t captivate or thrill me like I expected it to and the pacing is fairly slow for my taste. I think what threw me off the most is that this book is nothing like the first and takes place about four months after the end of The Butterfly Garden with not much focus on the first book at all. I had issues connecting with the characters, but I did enjoy the relationship between them and I did still enjoy the book, especially the ending. I’m looking forward to the final book in the trilogy. I’ll rate this one 3.5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for allowing me to preview this book for an honest review.

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You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Series: The Collector Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 23, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503939502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503939509

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Continue reading “The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison – Book Review”

Saturday’s Kitchen – October 21st – Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing

On the weekends, I barely make it out of the kitchen. I love spending some free time cooking for my family while watching my favorite cooking shows. I thought it would be fun to do a post once in awhile to chat about some of the recipes I made over the weekend and share some of these recipes with you!

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My original plan was to start this on October 21st, and because we ended up hosting an unexpected birthday party for a little girl that we care for that day, the recipe I have to share is my all-time FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe with homemade buttercream icing. Because this was not planned, I used what we had on hand for decorating. It’s also the only recipe I’ll have to share from this particular weekend because we were so busy.

I’ve been talking about sharing this recipe for some time now and here it is! The original recipe is by Robyn Stone from addapinch.com, but I did a little modification on it. Robyn’s original recipe uses expresso power and water. I like to use straight coffee in place of these two ingredients.

Chocolate Cake:

This can be used for cake or cupcakes, whichever you prefer.

Ingredients for 24 cupcakes or a two-layer cake

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. If making a cake, lightly grease and flour the pan.
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add hot coffee to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about ½ full, or divide among pans.
  6. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. If making in cake pans, it takes a little longer. Check it with a toothpick to be sure it’s cooked through before removing.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes or cake to cool completely. A nice trick for cake pans is to use a circle of parchment paper at the bottom. Grease the bottom and top. The cake comes out perfect every time.

Buttercream Icing:

Ingredients: Icing for 24 cupcakes or a large cake

  • 2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 4-8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted  *tip below – You can use less sugar to your preferred taste and consistency.
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons whole milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.

* If you don’t have confectioners sugar, you can make your own in a high-speed blender. I like to use my Vitamix for this. Insert a few cups of regular sugar and blend on high. It will get really hot, so give it a break after 10-15 seconds. Just keep going until you reach the desired consistency. It doesn’t take long at all! If the sugar gets hot, let it sit out on a plate to cool before using. Otherwise, it will melt the butter and ruin the icing. *


 

The birthday girl was turning three years old and she LOVES dresses. I thought it would be cool to make a dress out of cupcakes and adorn it with a crown and wand. I’ve seen them before and it looks fairly easy with just some rosettes on the cupcakes and decorations. Here’s what I did.

First, I lined a board with some purple easter wrapping. It’s all I had and doesn’t really match, but I think it worked out okay. Then, I placed the cupcakes in a dress shape like in the photo below. I did end up removing the cupcake on the bottom left side to leave only five cupcakes on the bottom. My board just wasn’t big enough.

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I wanted the dress to have an ombre look to it. I started with a very dark pink color for the top of the dress. As I moved down, I would remix a little white icing in and pipe some more. Each time, you just add a little bit of white to the dark that you had left and the result is quite amazing! You get a light color every time you mix. Continue until you’ve used all the white icing. This is so much fun.

Make your darkest color and use it. Whatever’s left, squirt it back into the bowl and add some white. Use the new color and repeat the steps above until you’re done. I had just enough icing for the cupcakes, I was literally scraping for more to do the belt and necklace.

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Watch this video to learn how to do a rosette. Lindsay Ann shows how it’s so simple, yet impressive! I ended up using an open star tip, but I’m going with Linsay Ann’s idea of using the closed star tip next time because it’s true that it looks more like an authentic rose.

 

I do wish that I would’ve had pink easter paper instead of purple, but she really didn’t care! She just wanted the tiara and the wand. I went with pinkish icing because it’s her favorite color.

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I didn’t have a necklace to add, so I ended up just some decorations and icing to make a heart necklace. I also didn’t have any chrome decorations, so I used a few silver beads. We just removed those before people started eating them. 🙂 Everything else on the cake was edible.

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The tiara and wand can be purchased at most dollar stores for very cheap. This worked out well for being a last minute cake. We used some happy b-day candles that we had and she was extremely happy with it.

Continue reading “Saturday’s Kitchen – October 21st – Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing”

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Children’s Book Review

The Little Red Wolf

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Blurb: Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

My Review:

I found this book on Edelweiss and became instantly intrigued. I love fairy tale retellings and the beautiful cover and title were all I needed. I was lucky to get approved for it, then after reading the ebook I went straight to Amazon and bought a copy.

This is similar to Little Red Riding Hood, but the roles are switched. The story follows a little wolf pup in a red coat who’s heading to Grandma’s to deliver a rabbit. Grandma’s lost her teeth and can no longer hunt. Before Little Red Wolf sets out on his journey, his mother warns him.

“Be careful to avoid the forest of dead wood where the hunter and his daughter live. They are vile and cruel and hate wolves! I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, so make sure to stay away from there!”

Little Red Wolf is carefree and sings along his journey. As he walks he finds interesting things like a little beetle, a little mouse, and a cloud of pollen. He strays from the trail and becomes lost. At first, he isn’t scared and tells himself,

“I am a wolf, the forest is my home, I’m sure I can find my way on my own, even without the dumb trail!”

What will Little Red Wolf do? Will he find his way to grandmother’s house and what other encounters will he experience?

I absolutely loved this book. It reminds me of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with beautiful atmospheric artwork. The messages conveyed here are strong ones–never judge without knowing the truth, and never trust someone based on how they look. I think this is a stunningly beautiful book that will help children learn both of these lessons. People of any age will enjoy this twisted tale, especially those who love fairy tales and retellings.

Thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher, and the author for allowing me to preview this book in exchange for a review.

5 Sterne


You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon as well as other retailers.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Forge (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941302459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941302453

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Continue reading “The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Children’s Book Review”

Throwback Thursday – November 2nd – Before I Say Goodbye

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This Week’s Pick:

Before I Say Goodbye

by Ruth PicardieMatt Seaton (Foreword by)

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Blurb: By turns humorous and heart-rending, an unforgettable account of a young woman’s spiritual triumphs over breast cancer in the last year of her life

Ruth Picardie was only thirty-three when she died, a month after her twins’ second birthday and just under a year after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. For Ruth, a journalist, it seemed natural to write about her illness. She published only five columns for Observer Life magazine before she became too sick to continue, but her moving, funny, and very human account drew a huge response from readers all over England.

Before I Say Goodbye juxtaposes these columns with correspondence from readers, e-mails to her friends, letters to her children, and reflections by her husband and her sister. The result is a courageous and moving book, entirely devoid of self-pity, that celebrates the triumph of a brave and wonderful woman’s spirit. An international bestseller in England, Picardie’s sobering yet ultimately life-affirming book is destined to become a classic.

My Thoughts:

I picked this up from a library book sale years ago and read it in just a few hours. It’s a book about a woman named Ruth Picardie who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 30’s just after giving birth to her twins. She was an amazing journalist and her sister influenced her to write about her condition.

I was surprised by the format as pretty much the entire book contains personal email correspondence to and from friends and colleagues. It’s also interlaced with thoughts from family and the five columns Ruth wrote about her condition.

Letter from Jenny Dee, 18 September 1997
Dearest Ruthie,

You are my best friend and I am so reluctant to let you go. I’ve been putting off thinking about you dying because I just don’t know how my life will be without you. We have done so many hugely important and amazingly trivial things together – you are the diary that I never kept. The language of love and loss seems so inept at the moment. All I can say is that I will miss you forever, you are my best friend forever and I love you forever.

Even though Ruth was a very brave soul, the book still made me bawl my eyes out. By the time I got halfway through the book, I realized that Ruth was somebody I wish I would’ve known in my life. She was so courageous, positive, and kind. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes and she handled everything which such strength all the way up until the end. This is a book I’ll always keep and my rating on it is 5*****.


 

You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; First Edition edition (September 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805066128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805066128

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – November 2nd – Before I Say Goodbye”