Sep 212014
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

 

 

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Serena, Leslie and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

 

19105692Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind by Lindsay Gaskins
Want to get your frontal cortex breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.

Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they’ve sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they’ve learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of BrainCoaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they’ve designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.

Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):

• Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
• Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
• Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
• Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
• Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.

Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin!

 

81W9VgLawvLOften Overlooked Vol. 1 by Cary Polkovitz
Series: Often Overlooked.
Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: Neverland Publishing Company, LLC; 2 edition (July 24, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988829045
ISBN-13: 978-0988829046

Have you ever noticed something misplaced by the side of the road and wondered, “How did that get there?” Well, there might be more to it than you had initially thought.

In Often Overlooked, Cary Polkovitz, writer, painter and self-proclaimed general gadabout, lets us in on what very well may be the true story behind these things that are, well, often overlooked.

 

61a2BbKZ5aLOften Overlooked Vol. 2 by Cary Polkovitz
Series: Often Overlooked.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Neverland Publishing Company, LLC (December 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988829096
ISBN-13: 978-0988829091

Ostranenie is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar. Author Cary Polkovitz continues to fine tune his affinity for viewing everyday objects in magical and unusual ways and once again displays his remarkable talent for opening our imaginations to what could be in Often Overlooked. – Volume 2. Readers of the author’s first collection have raved that these stories “tease the imagination” and have called it “think differently fiction.” Cary Polkovitz says of Often Overlooked, “I took photos of mundane items and tried to imbue them with a little bit of wonder. Looking at the world from a slightly skewed angle makes it a more magical place. As someone who loves to tell stories, I love to share them with others.” This small project has resulted in the publication of Often Overlooked to die-hard fans wanting more of Polkovitz’s stories, as well as over 20,000 views per week on its companion Facebook page.

 

21423525Us by David Nicholls
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper (October 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062365584
ISBN-13: 978-0062365583

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular New York Times bestseller, One Day, to a compellingly human, deftly funny new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens, and what we learn about ourselves, when everything threatens to fall apart.

Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie.

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood, the regrets of abandoning youth for middle age, and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?

 

18296143The Broken by Shelley Coriell was a win from Nise’ @ Under The Boardwalk
He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim—and only survivor—of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . . .

Sep 182014
 
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 The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper (August 19, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006225930X
ISBN-13: 978-0062259301

 

From the critically beloved, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us, whom the New York Times Book Review calls a “perceptive and . . . piercing writer,” comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.

Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.

But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.

Thoughts
I love books that highlight relationships between women. and this book does it with two great characters. Each woman is very different from the other, but the bond that grows between them is wonderful gift to them both.

I loved both Maggie and Lakshmi. While I did think they were both a bit broken, I did feel that Maggie was the more broken of the two and therefore she was the one I felt more sympathy toward. Lakshmi reminded me a lot of my sister who was also a Psychologist, because she too cared so much for her patients. Both women were well developed and I enjoyed following along with their friendship as it became stronger and stronger.

The author gives so much emotion to the story…friendship, love, pain, betrayal, forgiveness and much more. I enjoyed the book a lot and want to read more from this author.

Would I recommend this book? That would be a definite yes!!
 
 

f02674f365c00ad8986cd5.L._V175125534_SX200_Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet and The Weight of Heaven. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into many languages and published in numerous countries.The Space Between Us was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award, while her memoir was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. Thrity was recently awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize for midcareer artists.Thrity was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. As a Parsi child attending a Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu country, sh had the kind of schizophrenic and cosmopolitan childhood that has served her well in her life as a writer. Accused by teachers and parents alike of being a daydreaming, absent-minded child, she grew up lost in the fictional worlds created by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Woolf and Faulkner. She would emerge long enough from these books to create her own fictional and poetic worlds. Encouraged by her practical-minded parents to get an undergraduate degree in business, Thrity survived business school by creating a drama club and writing, directing and acting in plays. Her first short stories, essays and poems were published in national magazines and newspapers in India at age fifteen.

After earning a M.A. in journalism Thrity worked for several years working as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer in America. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Thrity won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, which is given to mid-career journalists.

While at Harvard, Thrity wrote Bombay Time. The publication and success of the novel allowed her to make a career change and in 2002 she accepted a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University, where she teaches creative writing, journalism and literature. She also does occasional freelance pieces for national publications and has written for the Washington Post’s and the Boston Globe’s book pages.

Here is the link to The Story Hour on Goodreads.
Some purchase links: AmazonIndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.
Here’s the link to Umrigar’s website and Facebook page.
Here is the tour schedule
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Sep 162014
 

20306815

Ballroom by Alice Simpson

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper (September 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062323032
ISBN-13: 978-0062323033

Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall

Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.

Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.

As the rhythms of the Ballroom ebb and flow through these characters’ hearts, their fates come together in touching, unexpected ways.

 

Thoughts
The characters in this book are varied in age, from the young to the not so young. Each of them are connected because they each spend Sunday evening dancing at the ballroom. Each have their own desires and problems, and they want to find someone that will fulfill a void in their lives.

I thought the stories in this book were interesting, but some were a little to “descriptive” for my taste if you know what I mean. I was interested in the characters and wanted to see how the story ended for each of them, but I never really felt a bond with them like I wanted to feel. The writing is good so that kept me wanting to keep reading.

Each chapter is titled by one of the characters names, the first one being Harry Korn. Is that a great name or what? Also, at the beginning of each chapter is a ballroom or dance quote. Chapter 1 like I said is Harry Korn (just wanted to say his name again) and the quote is:

The dancing-master should be in the highest sense of the term a gentleman; he should be thoroughly schooled in the laws of etiquette; he should be a man of good moral character; he should be a physiologist; he should be a reformer.

Thomas E. Hill, Evils of the Ball, 1883

 

While I enjoyed this book, I wanted the book to make me “feel” more than I did. Still, I would recommend this to anyone who finds the blurb interesting, and would read more from this author.

Here is the link for Ballroom on Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.

Alice-SimpsonAlice Simpson can be reached through her website or Facebook.
 
Here’s the tour schedule
 
 
 
 
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Sep 162014
 

sparrow-Readalong

We’re at the halfway point in Trish’s The Sparrow Readalong and I can’t believe how much I like this book. Why did I want to join this readalong then, because I think all book lovers should try something out of their comfort zone once in a while.

1. How is The Sparrow matching up with your expectations going into the book? Are you surprised by anything?
I was expecting it to be a lot more Sci-Fi-y than it is.  The author did a great job of not overdoing it, which I think makes it a great choice for not only sci-fi lovers but for everyone.

2. Do you feel the switching back and forth between past and present to be effective?
Yes! I think it’s keeping me more on the edge of my seat, and more alert to what’s going on in both the past and the present.

3. Which characters do you want to hug and squeeze? Any you’d like to strangle?
I like all the characters. They each have their own personalities, and whether that’s good or bad, they make the book what it is and so I like them all. I might change my mind by the time I’m finished with the book though since I’m still in the “I can’t believe I like this book so much” phase.

4. Any other thoughts? #copoutquestion
Just that I’m so glad Trish choose to do a readalong of this book. I’ve never read anything quite like it and would have never picked it up on my own. Then I would have missed out on a terrific book. I can’t wait to read the rest of it, and hope the ending is as good as I think it will be.

Sep 142014
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

 

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Serena, Leslie and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

 

downloadWhiny Whiny Rhino by McBoop

Can Tiny Tiny Rhino have a fun day?
Or will all of his whining get in the way?

If you’ve ever been worried to try something new,
then Whiny Whiny Rhino is the book for you!

From creative team McBoop, comes the story of the whiny rhino with the big head and the even bigger imagination.

 

Sep 092014
 

20483038

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (November 19, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062105655
ISBN-13: 978-0062105653

At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.

 

Thoughts
This is a hard review for me to write since even though I mostly liked the book, there were a few parts I didn’t like.

The characters were well developed and each had their own personalities, but on the whole they seemed like an odd mix. There was a lot of humor throughout and that took a bit of the edge off of the heavy parts of the book, and I loved that.

It felt at times that there was to much going on, and it also seemed like the book was drawn out a bit too much. I would have probably liked it more if it had been shorter.

I liked the ending and thought it fit the book.

Although I didn’t love this book as much as I though I would, I’m still glad I read it because the author does have a great writing style that made me want to keep reading.

I have a few other Jackson books that I haven’t read yet, and I liked this enough to want to read them.

I  would recommend this book to other book lovers, and I would give it a 4 star since there was more I liked than didn’t like.

Find the book on Goodreads, AmazonIndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.
Links for Joshilyn Jackson: WebsiteFacebook pageTwitter.
Here’s the tour schedule
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Sep 092014
 

get-fit-tuesday-20141-300x104

How I did last week:
Endurance: I walked every day
Balance:  series of standing balance exercises 3 times
Flexibility: I stretched everday
Upper Body Strength:  3 times
Lower Body Strength: 3 times
Deep Breathing: everyday

Goals:
Endurance: I walked every day
Balance: standing balance exercises 4 times
Flexibility: everyday
Upper Body Strength:  3 times
Lower Body Strength: 3 times
Deep Breathing: everyday
Eat meatless at least twice this week: 2 times
Drink at least 80 oz. of water a day: only 4 days

SparkPeople Challenges:
September 2014 Monthly Fitness Challenge (800 workout minuets):
Fitness Minutes Goal ~ 800
Fitness Minutes left to go ~ 510
Total Minutes Achieved ~ 290

These are my new SparkPeople Challenges:
(these just started Sunday)
Without One Weekly Challenge
I’ve had a habit for years (got it from my mom) I eat popcorn every night while I watch tv.
So my challenge is: No popcorn for a week!
9/7: no popcorn
9/8: no popcorn

On Track Bi-Monthly Exercise and Food Options Challenge
9/7
Food Option: no bread
Exercise Option: strength exercise for 10 minutes

9/8
Food Option: no rice/pasta
Exercise Option: strength exercise for 10 minutes

 

I’m linking to Readers’ Workout

Sep 072014
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

 

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Serena, Leslie and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

My mailbox was a bit busier than it’s been in quite a while. Here’s what I got:

21819472Swann’s Lake Of Despair by Charles Salzberg (review)
When rare photos, a scandalous diary, and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for three challenging cases for Henry Swann. It begins with an offer to partner up with his slovenly, unreliable frenemy, Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork. A lost diary by a free-loving Jazz Age flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos of Marilyn Monroe propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic shutterbug, his wife; and he’s hired to search for a lonely writer’s runaway girlfriend. The cases converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone including Swann himself.

 

21882294Fail by Rick Skwiot (tour)
Exiled to the city’s tough North Side, disgraced St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants nothing more than to return to the headquarters hierarchy. To get his wish, all he has to do is track down the missing husband of the mayor’s press secretary. Instead he unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice, and greed that threatens to consign thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America’s erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it’s the kind of information that could get a cop killed. Fighting for his life and his honor, Gabriel ultimately must make a choice that could affect not only his own future, but also that of the city and its top leaders.

 

20306815Ballroom by Alice Simpson  (for tour)
Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall

Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.

Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.

 

18509633Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong by Susan Blumberg-Kason (sent to me by Trish @ Love, Laughter, And A Touch Of Insanity ~ Thanks so much Trish!)

A stunning memoir of an intercultural marriage gone wrong.

When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started graduate school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the Chinese man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan thought she’d stumbled into an exotic fairy tale, until she realized Cai–and his culture–where not what she thought.

In her riveting memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect traditional “Chinese” wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. With keen insight and heart-wrenching candor, she confronts the hopes and hazards of intercultural marriage, including dismissing her own values and needs to save her relationship and protect her newborn son, Jake. But when Cai threatens to take Jake back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.

Moving between rural China and the bustling cities of Hong Kong and San Francisco, Good Chinese Wife is an eye-opening look at marriage and family in contemporary China and America and an inspiring testament to the resilience of a mother’s love–across any border.

 

Sep 062014
 

7834717

The I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Braken

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 50 Anv edition (July 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446545929
ISBN-13: 978-0446545921

“There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who don’t cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK, and the other kind…The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest.”
– Peg Bracken

Philosopher’s Chowder. Skinny Meatloaf. Fat Man’s Shrimp. Immediate Fudge Cake. These are just a few of the beloved recipes from Peg Bracken’s classic I HATE TO COOK BOOK. Written in a time when women were expected to have full, delicious meals on the table for their families every night, Peg Bracken offered women who didn’t revel in this obligation an alternative: quick, simple meals that took minimal effort but would still satisfy.

50 years later, times have certainly changed – but the appeal of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK hasn’t.

This book is for everyone, men and women alike, who wants to get from cooking hour to cocktail hour in as little time as possible.

Thoughts
I used to love to cook and bake. Now I only do it to keep us from starving and going broke from eating out.

This book is full of recipes that were popular in the 60’s. The book has many recipes that are quick, easy and have just a few ingredients, which are my favorite kinds of recipes. Many of the recipes use a “cream of” soup, but it would be easy to use healthier choices like “low fat” and “low sodium”, if you’re eating healthy. To make this cookbook even better, there is humor spread throughout it.

You might have to figure out other ways to make some of them too, since the appliances we use in the kitchen have changed some. Overall though, I think these recipes could be adapted so that they are easy and tasty.

I plan on making more recipes from the book, but so far I’ve only made one:

Florida Dip (page 119)
1 large rip avocado
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of Tabasco, salt & pepper
2 oz. can of diced anchovies
Mash the avocado until it’s lumpless.
Blend in everything else.

 

100_3945100_3961100_3948

Ok, I know you don’t “cook” this recipe, but since I live in Florida. and it’s called Florida Dip, I wanted to try it since I’ve never had it.

First of all, I used more than a dash of Tabasco. I used more like 1 tablespoon. I didn’t use anchovies because they are, well, just plain nasty. And I hear from the hubs who likes them once in a while with pizza (yuck!) that they are really really salty, even though I rince them a few times. Anyway, I can’t stand to look at them much less touch them ( always use a fork), so I definitely don’t want them in my mouth.

This was quick and easy to make, and while we all liked it ok, I think I’ll make it a few more times, using different amounts of the ingredients, until I get it just right. I want to love it, not just like it, and it’s not quite there yet.

 

I’m linking to:

Cook-it-up-ChallengeHosted @ Love, Laughter, And A Touch Of Insanity. Pull those cookbooks off the shelves or check out new cookbooks from the library. You make the rules!

 

wkendcookingiconHosted @ Beth Fish Reads. Share anything book related whether it’s a Book, cookbook, movie, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs.

 

 

Sep 032014
 

wondrous2

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy (BermudaOnion), where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!

I found one word while reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Proselytize:  “The Jesuit scientists went to learn, not to proselytize,”

verb
1: to induce someone to convert to one’s faith
2: to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause

First Known Use: 1679

Sep 022014
 

get-fit-tuesday-20141

Monday (for the third week since we found the PK4 pain reliever spray) the hubs, son and I went back to the Farm/Flea Market to see if he was there again, and he was. We bought two 2 oz. bottles and a 4 oz. bottle. I’m keeping one of the 2 oz. bottles in my purse so I’ll have it if I’m in town and my leg starts to hurt. The other 2 oz. I put in my exercise room for when I want to get on the treadmill, recumbent bike or elliptical. The 4 oz. is for whoever needs it. My husband has shoulder pain and I sprayed some on him yesterday before he went to bed and he didn’t hurt all night!

How I did last week:
Endurance: I walked every day and did my recumbent bike once
Balance: I did chi-gong once and a series of standing balance exercises 4 times
Flexibility: I stretched everday
Upper Body Strength: weights 3 times
Lower Body Strength: squats 3 times
Deep Breathing: everyday

This week:
I’ve already posted my goals for the SparkPeople Monthly Fitness Challenge. I’m going for 800 minutes in September, but hope to do more, especially since I have the spray for my knee. It feels great to be able to walk without pain!!

I also want to eat meatless at least twice this week, and get at least 80 oz. of water a day.

 

I’m linking to Readers’ Workout

Sep 012014
 

sparrow readalong

Host by Trish @ Love, Laughter, And A Touch Of Insanity

The Details:
Begin: September 1st
Halfway: September 15th (through ch 19, pg 201 of my copy)
Finish: September 30th

Today starts The Sparrow Readalong and I’m so excited to read this “out of my comfort genre” book! I’ve heard so many people rave about this book, say they’ve re-read it, and even re-re-read it, so I’m eager to find out for myself just how amazing it is.

Here’s the blurb
In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being “human.” Words like “provocative” and “compelling” will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.

Aug 292014
 

 

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Travel The World In Books Readathon

Hosted by Mom’s Small VictoriesI’m Lost In BooksSavvy Working Girl

From The Hosts:
September 1-14, 2014. There is no requirement for how much to read, read as little or as much as you want during the two weeks. Just read!

Explore countries other than the one you live in. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books.

I’ll be tracking the books I read on this post.

There are also going to be mini challenges and giveaways, so that means lots of fun!

Sign-up here
Make a post with your goals and link them here
Here’s the Schedule

 My Goals:
Since I’m also doing the Travel The World In Books Reading Challenge, I’ll be starting with the same books:

1. The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. It takes place partly in Haiti, which is also where the author was born.

2. The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar~ the author was born in Bombay, India

 

Aug 292014
 

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Travel The World In Books Reading Challenge

Hosted by Mom’s Small Victories, I’m Lost In Books, Savvy Working Girl

From The Hosts:
1. Determine length of time you will participate in the challenge ~ Just one month, An entire season, a year or 5 years?

2. Determine how many countries you would like to read about during your adventure ~ What criteria are you using to determine the number of countries you read about (ex. book setting, author background or both)?

3. How will you track the countries you visited in books? ~ You could create a map in Google Maps, track on your blog or on a Goodreads shelf.

4. Determine your book list or genre if you like ~ Will you be listing specific books you would like to read? Do you aim to read fiction, nonfiction or a mixture of both?

 

My Goals:
1. Length of time: I want to read at least 25 books in the next 5 Years

2. Countries and criteria:: I’m not sure how many countries I’ll read, but plan on choosing by both book setting and author background.

3. Tracking: On this post

4. Genres and list: I want to read: fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks or anything that catches my interest

 

Books Read:

1. The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
the author was born in Bombay, India

2. The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (reading now)
takes place partly in Haiti, which is also where the author was born

Aug 292014
 

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Hosted @ Rose City Reader

Friday 56
Hosted by Freda @ Freda’s Voice

The other day I was looking through my books and this grabbed my attention. I’ve had it forever and though it was about time I read it. I don’t know why I waited so long…I’m loving it!!

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Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore
 

 Beginning
Until Miss Debbie, I’d never spoke to no white woman before. Just answered a few questions, maybe–it wasn’t really speakin. And to me, even that was mighty risky since the last time I was fool enough to open my mouth to a white woman, I wound up half-dead and nearly blind.

 

Page 56
“No sir,” I sad, shaking my head, “I’m not Poopsie. I’m Ron Hall.”
“no, you are not!” he scolded like a doting aunt insisting that a full child take a second helping of pie. “Your Poopsie! And you can call me Snookems!”

While he was saying this, I took in his glittering ensemble. Strapped around his head behind gold aviator sunglasses, Mr. Goldgerg wore a black patch over his left eye, and below that, a pearl-snap cowboy shirt and jeans, white-python- skin cockroach-killer boots with gold tips and heel ornaments, and a solid gold, buffalo-shaped belt buckle with rubies for the eyes and diamonds everywhere else.

 

 

 

Aug 272014
 

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Murder Strikes A Pose by Tracy Weber

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: Jan 8, 2014
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0738739687

Purchase Links:   

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Thoughts
I love cozies, I love yoga, and I love dogs. I knew before I opened this book that I would love it. And I did.

I hadn’t read a cozy in a while and I’m so glad I decided to read this. The story was interesting, the characters diverse, and reading it was just plain fun. Kate was full of emotions, spunky, definitely not perfect, and I really liked her. She was strong willed and very caring. Bella was a great dog, and it was sad to read about her health problems.

There were a few parts that touched on important issues like homelessness and Bella’s struggle with pancreatic disease, but the author did a great job of working them into the story with just the right amount of awareness without making it too heavy.

This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read the books that follow. If you like fun cozies with a twist, check out this book.

Author Bio
Murder-Strikes-Pose-Tracy-Weber-auth2My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.
I’m a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I’m not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

Author Links

Aug 262014
 

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Hosted by Aarti @ Booklust

I participated in the Diverse Challenge in 2012 by reading  A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot, but somehow missed it last year. Since I  enjoyed it so much, I decided to do it again this year. Aarti changed the challenge a bit this year, which I think makes it even better.

 

This year, Aarti says:

  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

It’s so hard to choose which book to read, but I finally decided on one:

31116 The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat

We meet him late in life: a quiet man, a good father and husband, a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a landlord and barber with a terrifying scar across his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him, and learn that he has also kept a vital, dangerous secret. Edwidge Danticat’ s brilliant exploration of the ” dew breaker” –or torturer–s an unforgettable story of love, remorse, and hope; of personal and political rebellions; and of the compromises we make to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. It firmly establishes her as one of America’ s most essential writers.

Aug 252014
 

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The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger

Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477822798
ISBN-13: 978-1477822791

From the award-winning author of A Watershed Year comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town’s struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly’s world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

 

Thoughts
This is a very inspirational book. I loved Vivian! So strong and courageous! Even though her life was a struggle, she never gave up and was a beacon of hope to others. Holly was also a very interesting character who was such a caring person even in her darkest times. The relationship between Vivian and Holly was everything a relationship between friends should be. I was so glad they found each other.

I liked the authors writting style, the words flowed easily and I could see in my head what I was reading. I loved the town and people of Bertram Corners. They had compassion for each other, and especially for Vivian. I’d love to live in a town like that.

Besides being a good read, you will probably learn a thing or two about polio. I never knew anyone with polio, but have read about it and know what a horrific thing it was. I knew what an iron lung was, but didn’t know someone could survive so many years with one.

The ending was a mix of emotions. I went from being sad to happy in just a few paragraphs.

This was a very good book and I would hightly recommend it. It’s not very long, only 242 pages, but leaves a big impact on you.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read, but I loved it so much that now I want to read her first novel, A Watershed Year.

 

f84fb48448010ac1d188a0.L._V174929624_ Susan Schoenberger, of West Hartford, CT, is a writer, editor and copy editor with a long history of working for news organizations, including The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant, and Patch.com. She is now Director of Communications for Hartford Seminary. “A Watershed Year,” her debut novel, won the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition in 2006 under the title “Intercession.” Susan’s short stories have been published in Inkwell, Village Rambler and on www.BartlebySnopes.com. Susan’s second novel, “The Virtues of Oxygen,” will be published by Lake Union Publishing in July 2014.

Here are some links for you to check out:
AmazonGoodreads , Author’s websiteFacebookTwitter

 

Giveaway
Thanks to Lisa @ TLC Book Tours and the author, I have one copy of this book to giveaway

Open to U.S. & Canada
To enter, leave a comment with your email
Ends September 15

 

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Aug 252014
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Serena, Leslie and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

 

I’ve only had 2 books in my mailbox the last few weeks:

18693945Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin
June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

 

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 20483038
Someone Else’s Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.