Flower Friday: Butterfly Weed and the Monarch Butterfly

I learned about Flower Friday last year from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pics. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!

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For today’s Flower Friday, I decided to discuss Butterfly weed. This is a perennial plant that I grew from seed a few years ago without much thought. I wanted to plant a center garden for our butterflies and just grabbed a bunch of flower seed I knew would attract them.  Continue reading “Flower Friday: Butterfly Weed and the Monarch Butterfly”

Music Monday: “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA and “Pray For Me” by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar — Black Panther Movie

-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 love this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every week! Hope you enjoy. 🖤

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I finally went to the movie theater to watch Black Panther with my family. In the winter we only have one traditional theater close and it’s super old, like from 1936, but it always turns out to be a fun experience even without the stadium seating or huge screen. Right off the rip, I was greeted by this super cool slushy machine with the flavor titled ‘Panther Power’.

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I have to say that for the first 30 minutes or so I was thinking I might not like the movie, then it picked up with a ton of action and it kept my interest all the way the end. I really enjoyed the little bits of comedy and I thought the acting was spot on. There were a few quibbles for me, but for the most part I was pleased. Honestly, I was worried that the movie might’ve been over-hyped, but most of my family loved it too. It’s noticeable now that some people are leaving it negative reviews, but I would just suggest that you see it for yourselves and make your own judgement. 🙂

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The soundtrack is quite awesome and it was hard to choose just one song, so here are my two most favorite songs on the movie soundtrack for today’s Music Monday.

Continue reading “Music Monday: “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA and “Pray For Me” by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar — Black Panther Movie”

AWARD: Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award – Most read author? Why do you keep blogging?

Last November, I was nominated for the Brotherhood of the World Award by Noriko @ Diaryofabookfiend. I’m sure all of you have already discovered Noriko’s beautiful book blog. If you haven’t, be sure to head over there for some amazing book reviews! Thanks for nominating me for this award, Noriko. I appreciate it so much. ❤

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Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the questions sent to you.
  • Nominate around ten bloggers.
  • Create your set of questions for your nominees.
  • List the rules and display the Brotherhood Of The World logo in your post.

Continue reading “AWARD: Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award – Most read author? Why do you keep blogging?”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Coconut Date Rolls – Pukka Womankind Tea – Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal

Hello, lovely friends! How is everyone doing this week? I’m feeling pretty good myself and trying to stay caught up here. I may be cutting down to one or two breakfast posts a month as spring is coming in and I have much to do outside. My reading has slowed, but I hope to keep up to at least a book a week for now.

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This week I have a new recipe, new tea, and a new book to share!


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Coconut Date Rolls – Pukka Womankind Tea – Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal”

TAG: Reader Confession Tag

I was tagged by Priyasha @ Books and Co. for the Reader Confession Tag. I’m sure most of you have already checked out Priyasha’s amazing blog, but if you haven’t, be sure to!

I haven’t done a tag in a very long time, so I’m looking forward to this one. Thank you, Priyasha, for tagging me and sorry it took so long!

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Rules:

I don’t see any rules. Yes!

Continue reading “TAG: Reader Confession Tag”

Music Monday: Bruce Hornsby and The Range “The Way It Is” – Tupac Featuring Talent “Changes”

-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 love this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every week! Hope you enjoy. 🖤

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This Week’s Pick:

Bruce Hornsby and the Range

“The Way It Is”

I chose this song today because it’s special to me. It’s an important song concerning the Civil Rights Movement, racial injustice in America, and one that I’ve loved since the first time I heard it.

I’ve been playing piano since I was a little child and this is a song that even as a teen I always wanted to perfect on the piano. When I came of age, my mom took me to a casino (even though I had no interest in gambling) and on the way out, there was a band playing along with a piano player. The song they were performing was “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and I was instantly captivated. This guy was whaling out the song just like I always dreamed of playing it. We stood there waiting until the song was over and actually interacted with the band a little bit. It was amazing! It inspired me to go out and purchase more sheet music and to push myself harder. All in all, I found the atmosphere to be pretty amazing and it ended up being an awesome experience–one that I won’t ever forget.

 

 

Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. –

-Stevie Wonder


Continue reading “Music Monday: Bruce Hornsby and The Range “The Way It Is” – Tupac Featuring Talent “Changes””

The Art of Avoiding Books I’m Going to Love ― I’m Insecure

I love this post…”Stumbling over my love for books is better than doing nothing at all.”

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Time and time again I find myself in the same situation. Anytime I get a book that I’m anticipating, I end up avoiding it like the plague. And I’m talking about the type of books I cried about not being released yet on Twitter, books I added on ‘Most Anticipated Books of the year’ lists, and books I even stood in line 2 hours for to get ARCs of.

Why do I do this? It bubbles down to a strange insecurity.

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Flower Friday: Veronica longifolia and Sullivan the Kitten – March 2nd

I learned about Flower Friday last year from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pics. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!

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As spring approaches and there’s much work to be done outside, I’m thinking about some of our landscape flowers. This is one of my favorites. It’s a type of Veronica longifolia if I’m correct. I almost thought it was a type of Meadow Sage or Woodland Sage, but I’m pretty sure I’ve identified it correctly. What do you think?

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Continue reading “Flower Friday: Veronica longifolia and Sullivan the Kitten – March 2nd”

Throwback Thursday: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens – March 1st

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:

Never Let You Go

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Summary: Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

My Thoughts:

Mild Spoilers:

At first, I thought for sure this was going to be another domestic abuse story like the movie Enough with Jennifer Lopez. It reminded me so much of it, but there’s much more going on as the story progresses and it was impossible for me to predict where it was going.

We start out with a newlywed couple that in the beginning of the relationship was your typical love story. Soon the wife, Lindsey, begins to see that something is not quite right with her husband, Andrew. He starts drinking and the relationship quickly turns abusive. What complicates it even more is that there’s a child involved, little Sophie.

What can she do? She needs to leave and she can’t figure out how she’s going to do it. So, she drugs him, runs, and the result, something completely bizarre- an accident that will send her husband to prison.

The story from here on out is a guessing game that will leave you bewildered. I just couldn’t figure it out. Just who is the perpetrator here? We have over a handful of characters and everyone is suspicious! I was so positive that this was going to turn into another Gone Girl with the way the story was so unpredictable. By the time I got to the end, I felt the same shock. I had no idea!

I loved this book!

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250034566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250034564

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens – March 1st”

10 Inspirational Songs – Inspired by author Renée Paule

Renée Paule is one of my favorite authors and I’ve been following her new site @ http://www.reneepaule.com for some time now. I was inspired by a post she recently wrote titled 10 Brilliant Inspirational Songs. I couldn’t help but branch off her idea and post my own favorite inspirational songs as well. What better way to start the month of March! You can check out Renée’s original post above by clicking the link and don’t forget to follow!

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Continue reading “10 Inspirational Songs – Inspired by author Renée Paule”

A Dramatic Family Reunion

For about two years, I was the caretaker of a little girl that belonged to a family friend. We would take care of her roughly three to four days a week and had to regularly deal with her parents who were split up. It was difficult dealing with them because they didn’t get along at all and stress seemed to always be heightened. If she would get a scraped knee, or a bruise, I always felt like I had to have this explanation to prove everything because her parents were hyper-vigilant. Living in the country, you just expect that your kids are going to have injuries sometimes from running around in the woods or getting into things. In general, kids get injuries no matter where they live. I finally decided that after two years of babysitting, I needed to stop. I told her parents that they would have to find someone else for a caretaker because I couldn’t handle the stress anymore and felt that I needed to concentrate on my own life and children. I decided at that point that I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s child anymore.

Then, last September, our dog Cynder had puppies. Those who follow my posts know that we kept one puppy (Bowie), and the other two have homes not far from ours. When Fig was purchased, his owner mentioned letting us see him again and I finally got the text last week asking if we wanted to dog sit for the weekend. The kids were elated and after discussing it with my husband, we decided it would be okay. We were going to see Fig again! How lucky could we be?

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Baby Fig with Rambo the cat.

Continue reading “A Dramatic Family Reunion”

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters – Book Review

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom

by Eric Walters (Compiler)
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Summary: A collection of African wisdom gorgeously illustrated by artists from Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United States and more.

Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist.

In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread.

This book is a celebration of art, of community and of our common history.

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My Thoughts:

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom is a compilation of fifteen different aphorisms/proverbs compiled by Eric Walters. Each proverb includes its origin, meaning, and a vivid gorgeous artwork.

I was pleased that some of the proverbs were familiar to me while others were new. One of my favorites is “Many hands make light work” because it’s one that I discuss with my children often about teamwork and how important it is. The artwork is amazing and we enjoyed reading about the different artists in the back of the book. The note from Eric Walters along with the Foreword introduces why aphorisms are so important and why we use them. Readers will also learn about Creation of Hope, an organization founded by Eric Walters that helps orphans in Kenya. A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of this book is donated to the orphans of Creation of Hope which helps pay for their education.

This is a wonderful book to have on the shelf and It’s ideal for classrooms and libraries. Both educational and thought-provoking, this is truly a perfect book for children and adults of all ages. I was fortunate to win this on a giveaway and feel so lucky to have this delightful book full of knowledge to share with my children.

5*****

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“With great pleasure, I offer my endorsement of this book which shares the eternal wisdom of the peoples of Africa. Read, enjoy, share and remember: we are all one people.” – Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County, Kenya

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Continue reading “From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters – Book Review”

Music Monday: Ugly Kid Joe “Cats in the Cradle”

-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 love this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every week! Hope you enjoy. 🖤

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This week’s pick:

Ugly Kid Joe

“Cats in the Cradle”

I started thinking about this song recently when I was chatting with my friend Nel about time and how it’s worth more than gold. Now that I’m older, and a parent, every extra thing I do in my life is time away from my kids. It’s often on my mind because I want to savor every moment I have with them. I know that one day our life roles will switch, as kids are only kids for so long. I hope, when that time comes, I will have been the best mom I could’ve been.

This song was originally by Harry Chapin and was inspired by a poem his wife wrote. There were a few lyrical changes by Ugly Kid Joe including “man on the moon” and also the lack of an apostrophe in the title.

Continue reading “Music Monday: Ugly Kid Joe “Cats in the Cradle””

Shabby Sunday: Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham – 1977

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Shabby Sunday

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:

Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2)

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Summary: Ross Poldark had returned from the war in the American colonies filled with a bold vision which made him a stranger to the elegant and delicately-bred society which had nurtured him. His marriage to Demelza, the fiery young vixen from the basest ranks of the poor, had inflamed the antagonism of those who had once been his friends.

But for Demelza it meant a crueler and more bitter struggle than any she had ever known. Side by side with the man she loved, she fought for the passion that united them and for the future of the child she was to bear…-Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is one of my favorites out of all the Poldark books. In this installment, Ross Poldark and Demelza are now happily married and giving birth to their first child, Julia. She struggles with the marriage because there are great challenges including Elizabeth’s shadow over Ross. Even though Elizabeth is married to Francis, she will never forget that Ross once loved her and she’s determined to create the best marriage and life possible with him, to win his true love. Demelza’s character matures and grows as she becomes more confident in society and she proves herself to Ross and everyone else equally.

Much happens in this installment with the birth of Julia and also Demelza’s persistence with getting Verity coupled with Captain Blamey. She knows that Verity deserves to have a life of love–like everyone else–even if it’s against the family’s wishes. Ross spends much time away from home and deals with his business ventures. The drama between the Warleggans’ and the Poldarks’ ensues…

“George stared across the street. ‘There is only one trouble with the Poldarks,’ he said after a moment. ‘They cannot take a beating.’
‘And only one trouble with the Warleggans,’ said Ross. ‘They never know when they are not wanted.’
George’s color deepened. ‘But they can appreciate and remember an insult.’
‘Well, I trust you will remember this one.’ Ross turned his back and went down the steps into the tavern.” 

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I love all the primary and secondary characters in this series! They’re well developed and all the books are full of scenes that keep you reading until the last page. I love the world Winston Graham created and all the drama to go with it including the love, jealously, murder, crime, death, grief, and hate. There’s so much going on here and in just one novel.

I admire my edition of Demelza because it was published during my year of birth and I think the cover is very interesting. Even though I don’t like small paperbacks that much, I made an exception with this one because it matches my set. The pages are faded a bit, but it’s in fairly decent shape for its age at forty years.

 

5*****
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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham – 1977”

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review

The Magic Finger

by Roald DahlQuentin Blake (Illustrator)
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Summary from Goodreads:

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

To the Gregg family, hunting is just plain fun. To the girl who lives next door, it’s just plain horrible. She tries to be polite. She tries to talk them out of it, but the Greggs only laugh at her. Then one day the Greggs go too far, and the little girl turns her Magic Finger on them. When she’s very, very angry, the little girl’s Magic Finger takes over. She really can’t control it, and now it’s turned the Greggs into birds! Before they know it, the Greggs are living in a nest, and that’s just the beginning of their problems…

My Thoughts:

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl is a story about a girl with a magic finger. She lives next door to the Gregg family who like to hunt for fun and this makes her very angry. She doesn’t think it’s right for people to hunt animals for fun and when she gets angry, her finger takes control. Her magic finger has a special lesson in store, but the big problem is not knowing exactly what will happen when she uses it.

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The story teaches a huge lesson to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I read this with two of my younger children and we all enjoyed it. It’s certainly thought-provoking and inspired an entire conversation with my family about eating meat and how we should be responsible and care for the animals we have. It will also get you thinking about why it’s important to control your disposition because actions always have consequences.

5*****

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon
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  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Puffin (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141346515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141346519

Continue reading “The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review”

Thyroid Healing by Anthony Williams – My Story – Update and Results #1

On January 12th, I shared my book review for Thyroid Healing by Anthony Williams and I also shared my story about how I’ve struggled with anxiety and autoimmune disease. If you haven’t seen the original post and would like to read it, you can find it HERE. Today is February 23rd, and I’ve now been on the protocol since roughly January 7th. I promised to leave updates on my progress and this will be #1.

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What have I been doing?

Here is what I’ve done so far.

  • I’ve removed the foods that are banned including gluten, soy, canola, and a few others. I’ve been trying to avoid gluten for a few years, but I’d always slip up. Not anymore! I’m 100% gluten free and I’m not complaining about it. I appreciate the fact that I have a ton of nutritional foods to eat and I’m thankful. I’ve gotten in the habit of saying ‘thank you’ for my juice, smoothie, or whatever meal I’m having. As of now, I’m mainly eating fruits and vegetables in raw form. I do also have nuts occasionally and dark chocolate. I continue to use my own almond milk and juices.
  • I’ve also stopped eating eggs. I’ve never completely removed eggs before which is definitely something new for me. This hasn’t been very hard.
  • I’ve also been drinking the sixteen ounces of celery juice every morning before I eat and drink anything else. I’ve followed specific directions on this. I also drink lemon water at least once a day and I incorporate the ‘Thyroid Healing Smoothie’ I shared in my previous post when I can.
  • Since roughly January 15th, I’ve been taking supplements which include liquid zinc, Ashwagandha, selenium, L-Lysine and a few others. I was already taking my own group of prescribed supplements from my holistic doc, but I added these recommended by Anthony William as well. I went with the supplements he has on his website and purchased them all from Amazon.
  • I’ve been taking regular ‘detox’ baths which aren’t something new. This is just basically adding in two cups of Epsom salt to a hot bath and soaking for about 30 minutes or more. I learned about this from my holistic doctor, but when I feel bad, it’s almost an instant fix.
  • I continue to use essential oils externally and also in my diffuser. I can’t say enough about essential oils. I think everyone can benefit from using them. These are just one of the things that saved my life in my opinion and helped me beat lupus, so I’ll continue using them.
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Sixteen ounces celery juice every morning upon waking.
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I added these supplements (in addition to my regulars) including Hawaiian Spirulina (not pictured) daily.

Continue reading “Thyroid Healing by Anthony Williams – My Story – Update and Results #1”

Happy Birthday Steve Irwin (1962-2006)

Steve Irwin was a Australian zookeeper and conservationist who’s life was sadly cut short when he passed in 2006 after an encounter with a Stingray. Today would be Steve Irwin’s 56th birthday.

I can still remember the first time I saw Steve Irwin on Animal Planet and how my family fell in love with his enthusiasm for wildlife. He quickly became a favorite.

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To honor Steve Irwin today, I thought I’d post a clip of one of our favorite episodes with Steve exploring Komodo dragons. I’ll never forget my oldest son’s excitement as Steve ran next to the Komodo as he followed him. This isn’t the whole episode, but you can watch it for free on YouTube if you’d like.

Steve and the Dragon

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Steve Irwin (1962-2006)”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Coconut Almond Yogurt – Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats – The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Greetings, friends! Happy Wednesday to everyone. 🙂  I hope you’re all enjoying the week so far. Today I have an awesome healthy breakfast recipe for you and also a new ARC that I’m reading for this week.

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This recipe came to me last night after talking with my friend Nel. We talk about food pretty much on a daily basis and she mentioned making this recipe for breakfast this morning. I was intrigued as soon as I opened the link! It includes five different ways to make overnight oats and I spotted one titled “Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats” which screamed my name. I mean, any recipe containing chocolate for breakfast is pretty much going down in my book. Check out Nel’s blog this morning to see the one she chose to make–Berries and Cream!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Coconut Almond Yogurt – Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats – The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain”

Blacklisted On Amazon – Update #1

For anyone who wants to read the original post regarding me being blacklisted from writing reviews and rating items on Amazon, you can find it HERE.

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Last Friday I was finally able to sit down and contact Amazon via chat, because it was recommend by a great friend and also a few other bloggers. Before I attempted to chat with them, I took Donna’s advice (previous post) to remove my social media accounts from Amazon and to also remove my Amazon connection on Goodreads.

Continue reading “Blacklisted On Amazon – Update #1”

Music Monday: INXS “New Sensation”

-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 love this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every week! Hope you enjoy. 🖤

musicmonday

This week’s pick:

INXS

“New Sensation”

I never get tired of listening to INXS. This one reminds me of spring and a fresh change. I picked this song today after hearing it on one of my favorite documentaries that I watched for the umpteenth time this weekend during my Netflix marathon. Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” yet. The second documentary is also enjoyable and shares Joe’s progress and includes other updates from the first film.

 

Song Lyrics:

Live baby live
Now that the day is over
I gotta new sensation
In perfect moments
Well so impossible to refuse

Sleep baby sleep
Now that the night is over
And the sun comes
Like a god into our room
All perfect light and promises

Gotta hold on you
A new sensation, a new sensation
Right now gonna take you over
A new sensation, a new sensation

Dream baby dream
Of all that’s come and going
And you will find out in the end
There really is,
There really is no difference

Cry baby cry
When you got to get it out
I’ll be your shoulder
You can tell me all
Don’t keep it in ya

Well that’s the reason why I’m here
Hey hey
Are you ready for a new sensation, new sensation
Right now
Gonna take you on a new sensation, new sensation
A new sensation, a new sensation
A new sensation

Hate baby hate
When there’s nothing left for you
You’re only human what can you do
It’ll soon be over
Don’t let your pain take over you

Love baby love
It’s written all over your face
There’s nothing better we could do
Than live forever
Well that’s all we’ve got to do
Hey now I’m gonna take a new sensation, a new sensation
Right now
Gotta hold on you
A new sensation, a new sensation
A new sensation, a new sensation
A new sensation


Continue reading “Music Monday: INXS “New Sensation””

Blacklisted by Amazon…

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Last year my mom and I had some issues leaving book reviews. Because she had temporarily moved in to my home and was using the same address, Amazon would not allow her to post a review for a book that I had already reviewed. They felt that her reviews would be biased because she was living at the same address. She called them on the phone and they gave her the runaround. Eventually we gave up and accepted it.

I also noticed that I was never able to use the word NetGalley or say that I received the book for free, or my review would be removed. It had to be worded that you received a “complimentary copy” or it would be removed.

Fast forward to January 30th 2018. I logged into Amazon to leave a book review and I received this message…

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This makes no sense. What previous review? I called Amazon and a woman gave me the runaround, telling me that someone would call me regarding the issue. Needless to say, nobody ever called.

A few days ago I received a specific request from an author to record my book review on Amazon. This is a book that’s a verified purchase through Amazon, by the way. I logged on and received the same message, “Sorry, we are unable to accept your review.” I became a little perturbed because this just seemed so unfair. I decided to call Amazon again. This time, the person I spoke with gave me the same information–that someone would call me back. I never received a call, but this morning I received an email from Amazon…

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Final? Obviously they’re sending this email out for all inquiries. It gets worse…

Due to my geographical location, I’m  a heavy user on Amazon. We pay for a Prime membership which (most of you probably already know) includes free two-day shipping. It’s not uncommon to purchase forty or more items a month and 98% of our Christmas and birthday gifts come from Amazon. I also purchase scads of books on Amazon as well.

When scrolling through some of my purchases from last year, I noticed that the star rating wasn’t completed on ANY of my previous purchases. Every single one of my ratings and reviews has been removed. Every single one from the beginning of time.

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Continue reading “Blacklisted by Amazon…”

The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview

A few weeks ago I read The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell. I was lucky to also  get an interview with the author to share with everyone. You can see my review of the book and the author interview below. I do hope you enjoy!

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The Last Panther

by Todd Mitchell

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The Last Panther

Blurb: For fans of “The One and Only Ivan” and “Hoot, ” this is the uplifting story of a girl who discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct, and her journey to save the species.

Eleven-year-old Kiri has a secret: wild things call to her. More than anyone else, she’s always had a special connection to animals.

But when Kiri has an encounter with the last known Florida panther, her life is quickly turned on end. Caught between her conservationist father, who wants to send the panther to a zoo, and the village poachers, who want to sell it to feed their families, Kiri must embark on a journey that will take her deep into the wilderness.

There has to be some way to save the panther, and for her da and the villagers to understand each other. If Kiri can’t figure out what it is, she’ll lose far more than the panthers she’ll lose the only home she s ever known, and the only family she has left.

My Review:

Kiri lives with her father, who is a conservationist, in the ghost forest near a dangerous swamp. He’s considered a waller (city dweller) and not far from their home are the fugees, the original habitants of the forest. Wallers are considered the wealthy ones and have what they need to survive while tending to preserve the environment and the species that are still living, while fugees consistently need to search for food so they won’t die of starvation or sickness. Fugees will do whatever it takes to feed their community and that includes killing whatever they can catch, including animals that are endangered, if need be. They don’t have much of a choice as the damaged ecosystem they live in has left them with little resources.

Kiri’s mother, who has previously passed away, was once a fugee and Kiri is now caught between two worlds having a waller for a father. The fugees detest the wallers and they simply don’t agree on anything. For this reason, Kiri doesn’t want to be considered a waller and would rather keep the peace between both groups. She doesn’t necessarily agree that the fugees should be hunting these ‘once-were’ creatures, but she understands them concurrently. When Kiri surprisingly discovers a panther she’s never seen before–a beautiful creature she connects with and knows she must protect–not only does she need to protect the panther, but she has to find a way to keep her cubs safe too. From this point, Kiri goes into survivor mode and does all that she can to stop the hunters and trappers from killing the panther, even it means she must go against her father’s wishes. What will Kiri do? She’s a courageous and spirited young girl, always standing up for what she believes in, but will she alone be enough to protect the last panther and its cubs?

After seeing the beautiful cover and reading the blurb, I took a chance and bought a copy for our home library. I’m always in search of stories that I can read with my children, especially those I can enjoy myself. I particularly relished the sweet parts in the story from Kiri’s companionship with Snowflake, her pet rat, to her friendship with Paulo. I found it compelling and full of action and adventure. The mystical world and rich plot that Todd Mitchell has created draws you in and makes you feel like you’re part of Kiri’s journey. It’s un-predictable and written well. I also appreciated that the story provokes questions about climate change and brings attention to the importance of caring for our environment now, as animals are experiencing high levels of endangerment as our world is ever-changing.

This is one I’m pleased to have for my family and I’m overjoyed that it turned out to be such an awesome read. This is a perfect middle-grade read for classrooms and libraries, but essentially, it’s great for all ages. I honestly can’t wait to see what other books Todd Mitchell writes in the future.

My rating: 5*****

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 22, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399555587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399555589

Continue reading “The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview”

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson – Book Review – #UltimateReadingChallenge – February

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Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

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Summary:

Beautifully captures the joys of a new family as it builds to an overwhelmingly moving climax. This is an unforgettable love story, at once heartbreaking and full of hope.

James Patterson has written a love story!–a powerfully moving and suspenseful novel about families, loss, new love, and hope.

Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He’s a writer, a house painter, an original thinker–everything she’s imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read.

This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby son, Nicholas. In it she pours out her heart about how she and the boy’s father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life. As Katie reads this touching document, it becomes clear that the lover who has just left her is the husband and father in this young family. She reads on, filled with terror and hope, as she struggles to understand what has happened–and whether her new love has a prayer of surviving.

Written with James Patterson’s perfect pitch for emotion and suspense, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas captures beautifully the joys of a new family as it builds to an overwhelmingly moving climax. This is an unforgettable love story, at once heartbreaking and full of hope.

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My Thoughts:

Katie and Matt had the perfect relationship. They had much in common and a completeness, but when Matt suddenly leaves the relationship, Katie is left with many questions and wonders what went wrong. Matt is someone Katie could’ve shared the rest of her life with. How could she have been so wrong about their relationship?Not long after Matt’s departure, she receives a package in the mail. She recognizes Matt’s handwriting on the package instantly, and when she opens it, she finds a book titled Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. As Katie reads the diary, she’s shocked. All at once she learns about a woman named Suzanne and her son Nicholas. In the diary, Suzanne writes about her life before Nicholas, her journey through relationships, and the joyous times she had with Nicholas from his birth up through the first year of his life. She writes directly to Nicholas and shares memories with him about his father. She wants him to understand how much she loves him and his father, and just how special their life was together.

I first read this book in 2006 when I was pregnant with my second child. In hindsight, there’s no doubt that hormones played a part in my reaction because I bawled and bawled over the book which is why I decided to read this one for my February #UltimateReadingChallenge–tear jerker. I can still remember gushing over it to everyone and influenced all my friends to read it. I honestly couldn’t say enough about it. I think the majority of my emotions stem from the fact that it’s a mother writing to her  baby son about old memories and how her life was complete once he came into the world. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do (write to my children about our time together so they can read about it later in life). Another reason I was moved was because I personally went through similar health experiences, just like Suzanne, and her story felt real to me. I know some might say the writing isn’t spectacular, but I thought the narrative was, particularly Suzanne’s writings. Just when you think you know what’s happening, a surprising twist is thrown in–even at the end.

I was thoroughly involved in this story for the second time and flew through it, however, I don’t think I was as emotional when reading it this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I teared up for a bit, but I didn’t feel as affected by it this time. There were parts that I forgot and the story felt quite fresh to me, but I prepared myself ahead of time for the end because I remembered how emotional I was after the first reading. There was one part in the book that felt a little confusing and maybe a little unrealistic to me, but it was easily overlooked. Regardless, it still gets five stars from me.

5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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Continue reading “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson – Book Review – #UltimateReadingChallenge – February”

Music Monday: Bruce Springsteen “Streets of Philadelphia”

-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 love this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every week! Hope you enjoy. 🖤

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This week’s pick:

Bruce Springsteen

“Streets of Philadelphia”

I picked this song today because it’s always been a favorite and came to mind after having a conversation with my wonderful friend Nel. We were talking about emotions and got into the topic of emotional movies. She did an awesome post recently titled Emotional Torture on her blog Reactionary Tales. Be sure to check it out.

One of my favorite movies, Philadelphia, stars Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, and Mary Steenburgen, to name a few. Tom Hanks acts as Andrew Beckett, a homosexual male hiding his HIV condition from his employers at a huge Philadelphia law firm. A few of the partners at the firm discover the signs that he has AIDS and he’s then fired. He searches for help, eventually calling upon Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), a homophobic lawyer. He and his lawyer sue the law firm for discrimination. This movie was inspired by a true story and it’s one if the most emotional movies I’ve seen. It’s also one of the first Hollywood films to shed light on AIDS and homophobia.

 “If you ever want to have a great moment in a motion picture, walk out a door and make sure they just put up a Bruce Springsteen song.” – Tom Hanks


Lyrics:

I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt
I was unrecognizable to myself
Saw my reflection in a window and didn’t know my own face
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin’ away
On the streets of Philadelphia

I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone,
I heard the voices of friends, vanished and gone,
At night I could hear the blood in my veins,
It was just as black and whispering as the rain,
On the streets of Philadelphia

Ain’t no angel gonna greet me
It’s just you and I my friend
And my clothes don’t fit me no more,
A thousand miles
Just to slip this skin

Night has fallen, I’m lyin’ awake,
I can feel myself fading away,
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss,
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of Philadelphia Continue reading “Music Monday: Bruce Springsteen “Streets of Philadelphia””

Shabby Sunday: Cinderella (Matthew Hope #6) by Ed McBain – 1986

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Shabby Sunday

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:

Cinderella (Matthew Hope #6)

 

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Summary: 

Private detective Otto Samalson sees the tail—a black Toronado he can’t shake. One dark window rolls down, exposing the barrel of a gun, and the detective is dead.

Otto had already known his days were numbered and said as much to his friend, attorney Matthew Hope. Having hired Otto to watch a cheating husband for a client, Matthew is now left with only Otto’s tape recorder, filled with proof of an affair. But could the evidence lead to something larger, something that would drive a man to kill?

Meanwhile, a mysterious woman is on the run, her face and name unknown to all except two stepsisters who couldn’t care less if a violent pair of Cubans got their hands on her. If Matthew can decipher the clues in Otto’s evidence, there’s a chance he could reach the girl first and save her life.

A chilling addition to the Matthew Hope series from Ed McBain, Cinderella is the tale of a woman known by many names and the men who will do anything to find her. – Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I went to this amazing book sale last year and picked up a beautiful large stack of vintage hardcover books for right around .50 cents a piece–all of them mysteries that I’d never read. This one is the 6th novel in the Matthew Hope series.

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I went on Goodreads to add them all to my reading list and a few of my friends left some positive comments on the series. I haven’t read any of them yet, and the list is long, but I’m hoping to get into some of these this year. I’m not sure if these need to be read in order or not, but I don’t have all of them anyway. I’m missing three in the series. I figure I can find them at my library if I need to fit a few in.

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Cinderella (Matthew Hope #6) by Ed McBain – 1986”

Flower Friday: Blanket Flower and a Rainbow – February 9th

I learned about Flower Friday last year from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pics. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!

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Today’s picture is Blanket Flower. I have this growing in multiple spots around our house and greenhouse. It’s a perennial and so easy to grow!

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This is a flowering perennial belonging to the sunflower family. It’s native to North and South America.

Scientific nameGaillardia
Higher classificationDaisy family
Rank: Genus

Continue reading “Flower Friday: Blanket Flower and a Rainbow – February 9th”

Throwback Thursday: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – February 8th

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:

The Best We Could Do

 

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An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui.

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.

In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past. –Goodreads

My Thoughts: 

I picked this up from Netgalley as soon as I learned about it. I love reading graphic novels and this one piqued my interest after reading the blurb. I had already read A Different Pond with my kids and loved that one, so I had a good feeling about The Best We Could Do. 

This is an extremely moving graphic novel about a family’s immigration from Vietnam and how they do the best they can to make a living in a new country. Thi Bui is learning to understand her parents past as she has now become a mother herself in America.

“Má leaves me but I’m not alone, and a terrifying thought creeps into my head. Family is now something I have created and not just something I was born into.”

She wants to understand her families history and she eventually discovers her parents past along with her own childhood. I found it so powerful, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and couldn’t help getting emotional during the reading. I enjoyed it immensely and the artwork is amazing. I would recommend it to anyone.

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Illustrated edition edition (March 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419718770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419718779

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – February 8th”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Chocolate Avocado Shake – Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas – Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the week. Today I have a special shake/smoothie recipe for you that is unbelievably good and also two books that I’m reading this week.

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The smoothie I have to share with you today came as a complete surprise to me. I learned about it from Mimi Kirk (one of my favorite raw foodists) and I’ve made it at least twenty times since! I’ve never been a fan of avocados and I have to admit, I was leery about making this. The results were amazing.

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Chocolate Avocado Shake – Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas – Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words”