Dec 182014


Hosted @ Joy’s Book Blog

December 15, 2014 – January 31, 2015

I really enjoyed this challenge in 2014 and am so glad Joy is doing it again for 2015.

There’s even going to be a year long challenge for those of us who have “Be Healthier” as one of our resolutions!!!

Whether you want to write a novel, start a new career, or be happier, there are books to aid you in your quest. The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge is to read one to four books that will stimulate action on your goals. It runs to the end of January.

The books can all support the same resolution — you could read four books on getting organized, for example. Or, read four books to help with four different projects — one book on moving to a foreign country, one book on health and fitness, one book on small business, and one book on knitting.

Resolved: 1 book
Determined: 2 books
Committed: 3 books
Passionate: 4 books

I want to get healthier this year and to learn something new, so…
I’m doing: Passionate: 4 books

Books I may read:
1. The Metabolism Solution by Lisa Lynn

2. Super Herbs: 25 Ultimate Ayurvedic Herbs with Magical Healing Powers and How To Use Them by Advait

3. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

4. The Joy of Signing: The Illustrated Guide for Mastering Sign Language and the Manual Alphabet by Lottie L. Riekehof

?. The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks And Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield (Hopefully this will be the Read Along choice. If not,  I’ll read it for the library challenge.)

Dec 172014

wondrous2Wondrous Words Wednesday, hosted by Kathy (BermudaOnion),   is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.

From The Deep and Snowy Wood (Christmas Picture Book) by Elwyn Tate

He digs past a vole, and a duck on a stroll.

A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars. There are approximately 155 species of voles.


Dec 162014
My Little Pocketbooks


Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio)
All genres are allowed (novellas, short story collections, poetry, graphic novels/manga, children books)
1st Shelf: Read 1-6 books
2nd Shelf: Read 7 -12 books
3rd Shelf: Read 13 – 18 books
4th Shelf: Read 19 -24 books
5th Shelf: Read 25+ books


I’m choosing: 2nd Shelf: Read 7-12 books
1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

3. The Color of Water by James McBride

4. Mama Namibia Paperback by Mari Serebrov

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

6. Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

7. Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

Dec 142014


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.

Just one book in my mailbox last week:


Dog Crazy: A Novel of Love Lost and Found by Meg Donohue

The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.

Dec 142014

life as a sixth grade super zero

My Life as a 6th Grade Super Zero by Peggy Martinez

You’d think being a superhero would be cool. And you’re right. It would be cool, especially since the entire world is filled with plain old regular people. Superheroes and supervillains are kind of hard to find, but not as hard as some people like to think. So, anything would be better than being just a normal, everyday 6th grader, right? Wrong. The only thing worse than being an average kid would be being what I am, and that is a hero with a totally useless, mega wonky, super power. I’m a dud—a zero. That’s me, Theo Perkins, a 6th grade super-freaking-zero.


My mom and dad are superheroes. Even my sister, who is in high school and has no time for her kid brother, is a superhero. Talk about a lot of pressure, right? Mom has super strength and dad has super speed. My sister, Marcy, has super hearing, which makes it really awkward if you have to go to the bathroom, if you know what I mean. And that’s where I come in. My name is Theo Perkins and I’ll be starting Juniper Springs Middle School in a few days. The trouble is, I just got my own super powers and they aren’t exactly what I had in mind. I figured, you know, with all the awesomeness floating around in my family, I was bound to get some super cool powers when the time came. Man, was I ever wrong.
I’ve heard stories about some kids getting weird, useless powers and even some kids getting powers that glitch more than they work. But I thought those were just made up to scare super kids into being good. It turns out that not only are they true, but I am one of the lucky (not!) super kids who got a mega dud for a super power. Instead of beginning my first day of middle school as a superhero, I’m beginning it as a super ZERO.


Praise for the Book
“This is definitely a book that I would have no problem sharing with my kids. Your superheroes have the most creative powers!” -Lindsay Galloway, Contagious Reads.


add to goodreads



Author Peggy MartinezAuthor Peggy Martinez

When not writing, Peggy Martinez can be found spending time at home with her husband, her teen son, and four little girls. She loves reading, writing, soap making, aromatherapy, gangster movies, prepping for the zombie apocalypse, and downing insane amounts of Twizzlers and Kazoozles.
As if being a wife and homeschooling mom of five doesn’t keep her busy enough, Peggy is a full time Author who has six published books, including The Time Warper Series, State of Decay, Sweet Contradiction, and Unnatural Occurrence. The 6th Grade Super Zero series is Peggy’s first Middle Grade book series, but she’s pretty sure it won’t be her last!

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest



Book Blast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/29/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dec 132014

alphabet-2015 (1)

Hosted @ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.

You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below. For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles the word with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.

A .

B .

C .

D .

E .

F .

G .

H .

I .

J .

K .








S .








Dec 132014


The Deep and Snowy Wood (Christmas Picture Book) by Elwyn Tate

File Size: 2807 KB
Print Length: 24 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

A deer, a squirrel and a mole know a secret.

They know that once a year a very special person plays a brief visit to the Deep and Snowy wood. Who could this special person be?

See if you can guess.

The Deep and Snowy Wood is a Christmas/Winter picture book.

Told in rhyme it tells the story of 3 animals making their way through the wood.

The other animals of the wood are curious and follow the three to see what they know.

At the end the happy secret is revealed.


This is a cute story with superb illustrations. The story is told in rhyme and flows gently while telling a story of a deer, a squirrel and a mole who run, dig and hop through the woods, until they finally meet Santa on Christmas day.

The author also illustrated the book and she did a fantastic job.

This would be a great book for little ones, and I think even children a little older would enjoy this fun book.


Linking to Kid Lit Blog Hop & Kid Konnection

Dec 112014
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Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz


Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper (December 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062377183
ISBN-13: 978-0062377180
The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.

Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty—dubbed the Napoleon of crime” by Holmes—in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty’s death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.

Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in “The Sign of Four”, must forge a path through the darkest corners of England’s capital—from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks—in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor.

A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from one of the only writers to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle’s estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’s dark and fascinating world.

I love Sherlock Holmes and Horowitz did a great job writing this book. There are lots of twists and turns, surprises and even bits of humor.

The author keeps the same dialog as the previous Holmes books and I’m so glad Horowitz picked up where Doyle left off.

This was an interesting story. It started a bit slow but quickly picked up speed which carried though to the end of the book. I would recomend this book to anyone who is a Holmes fan, and I even think that those who aren’t familiar with the books would still love this.

unnamedAbout The Author
Anthony Horowitz is one of the most prolific and successful writers working in the UK – and is unique for working across so many media. Anthony is a born polymath; juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism.

Anthony has written over 40 books including the bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which he adapted into a movie that was released worldwide in 2006. The Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide. Anthony is also an acclaimed writer for adults and was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. The House of Silk was published in November 2011 and was internationally lauded as the top title of the autumn. He is currently working on the sequel. His highly anticipated novel, Oblivion, the epic conclusion to the Power of Five series, was published in October 2012.

Anthony is responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most beloved and successful television series, producing the first seven episodes (and the title) of Midsomer Murders. He is the writer and creator of award-winning drama series Foyle’s War, which was the Winner of the Lew Grade Audience award for BAFTA. DCS Foyle was voted the nation’s favourite detective in 2011. Anthony has also written other original complex dramas for ITV, particularly thrillers. Collision, a major five part “state of the nation” piece was transmitted on ITV1 in November 2009 to seven million viewers a night. He followed this with the equally successful legal thriller Injustice, also for ITV 1 – transmitted in June 2011. Foyle’s War returned in March 2013 as a Cold War thriller and was greeted with such critical acclaim and demands for more – that he is now working on another new series

Anthony recently joined the board of the Old Vic. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines on subjects ranging from politics to education. He has been a patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices and the anti-bullying charity, Kidscape, since 2008.

Anthony was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in January 2014.

Anthony Horowitz has a website and is on Twitter.
If you want purchase links for the book, here’s a few: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound. Also, the book is on Goodreads.
Dec 092014
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The Publicist by Christina George
File Size: 1762 KB
Print Length: 227 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 4, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Behind every book, there’s always more to the story.Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t always sell (at all) and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis. Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author, now as forgotten as yesterday’s news; and his nephew Nick, who wants to sweep Kate away from New York for another coast, California.

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, the over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week”, she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

I usually don’t read/listen to books about romance but thought I’d give this a try. The storyline is interesting and the characters are well written and have great chemistry.The narration is outstanding and makes you want to keep listening to the end, which makes it hard when you have to stop before you’re finished. And, you’ll be rushing back to it as soon as possible.

It has many different elements…friendship, attraction, and even a white knuckle moment. Plus, it’s about a publicist! The only thing negative is that it ends kind of quickly and leaves things open. But that problem can be solved via book 2, Shelf Life.I’m glad I chose to join the tour for this book. I was hesitant because all I read for a few years was romance and I got burned out. I’d definitely recommend The Publicist to anyone who likes this genre.

I will definitely be looking for more from this author and narrator.


unnamed (4)Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.


Connect with Christina: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~ Goodreads

Buy the audiobook: Audible

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Dec 082014


The Metabolism Solution, Lose 1 Pound A Day and Melt Belly Fat Fast by Lisa Lynn
Category: Adult non-fiction,  207 pages
Genre: Health, Fitness, Weight Loss, Christian, Cooking, Self help
Publisher: LynFit Nutrition (2nd edition)
Published: Oct 6, 2014
Available in: Print and E-book format: mobi (for Kindle)
Spotlight Tour dates: Dec 1 to 12, 2014
Content Rating: PG + M (refer to this page for explanation of content rating)

Are you ready to lose 1 pound a day? Have you tried every weight loss plan under the sun? Don’t give up in frustration; The Metabolism Solution will make it faster and easier. What makes The Metabolism Solution different? It will teach you how to safely harness the power of your metabolism to lose weight and melt belly fat fast. You will learn the right way to work out to boost your metabolism with the best part being seeing results the first day after your first 30-minute workout. You will learn how to address your weight loss and fitness issues from the inside out, allowing you to focus on what created the weight gain in the beginning and how to correct those issues. Do you love delicious food? You’ll adore Lisa Lynn’s 100 irresistibly delicious fat blasting recipes. The Metabolism Solution is the perfect roadmap for not only transforming your body, but changing your whole life.



Lisa Lynn

Meet the author:
CELEBRITY FITNESS AND NUTRITION EXPERT LISA LYNN has devoted nearly three decades of her career to personal training, specializing in metabolic weight loss and performance nutrition. Coupled with her vast experience in the field of fitness and nutrition she has earned four educational certificates from the International Sports and Sciences Association’s Professional Division including: Certified Fitness Trainer, Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Fitness Therapy and Elite Trainer.Lynn’s years of research in metabolic boosting and performance nutrition resulted in the development of herLeaner Lifestyle DVD Series, specifically designed to promote healthy fat loss by boosting the most sluggish and stubborn metabolisms. She is best known for her 13 years as MARTHA STEWART’s personal trainer who has said, “Lisa is the only trainer that made a difference.” Lynn is also a regular go-to nutrition and fitness expert on THE DR. OZ SHOW appearing in two of his highest rated episodes. Major media outlets frequently call upon her for her expertise in fitness and nutrition. Lynn maintains a diverse portfolio of clientele including professional bodybuilders, models, actors, CEOs and real-world people throughout the country.Lisa just released her award winning book The Metabolism Solution that has helped thousands of people lose weight and reach their fitness goals. with Lisa:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~  Pinterest  ~  Youtube Channel

Spotlight Tour:

Dec 1 – Suko’s Notebook
Dec 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Dec 2 – Green and Glassie
Dec 2 – Hello, my Name is Alice
Dec 3 – Mary-andering Creatively
Dec 3 – Cassandra M’s Place
Dec 4 – Bless Their Hearts Mom
Dec 4 – A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Dec 5 – Rockin’ Book Reviews
Dec 8 – Working Mommy Journal
Dec 8 – I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Dec 9 – My Life. One Story at a Time
Dec 9 – Library of Clean Reads
Dec 10 – Life With Katie
Dec 11 – Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian
Dec 11 – Pinky’s Favorite Reads
Dec 11- Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Dec 12 – Seaside Book Nook

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Dec 072014


Hosted @ Buckling Bookshelves

January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015
Any book that has been banned or challenged counts.
Books can be any format, any length, and can overlap with other challenges.

Making Waves: 1-2 Challenged Books
Trouble-Maker: 3-5 Challenged Books
Rabble-Rouser: 6-9 Challenged Books
Rebel: 10-14 Challenged Books
Leader of a Revolution: 15+ Challenged Books

I’m going for: Trouble-Maker: 3-5 Challenged Books
1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Dec 052014



your own Beam N Read Reading Light from


Makes a great gift or stocking stuffer!
Beam n Read Hands-Free Light delivers a wide & bright light that lights up 2 book pages and doesn’t disturb others. It’s a true reading light that works with all printed books, Kindles and other eReaders (whether naked, skinned, or covered), PLUS newspapers, magazines, newsletters, loose documents, and other items that can’t support a clip-on light. Worn around the neck, there’s no need to shift it when reading paperbacks.

Included are two 2 special Relaxation Filters: BNR Orange for a softer, warmer light that blocks energizing blue light (especially useful when reading to relax in bed); BNR Red to block blue light and reduce ambient light for sensitive bed partners.

Standard alkaline AA batteries (not included) last an extra long 100 hours, far longer than flashlights and clip-on lights resulting in a lower cost to use (and fewer batteries in the trash). This light is still bright when others have gone dim. Save batteries for when you’re on the go with the optional USB/AC Power Kit with 12 ft of cable that lets you plug into the included USB/AC adapter. Or plug into a USB car adapter/charger, or a computer USB port, or a USB adapter/charger for cell phones, etc.

In addition to reading, this 3 LED hands-free light is great for crafts, travel, and walking in dim or dark places such as an attic, basement, or around the house during a power outage. Use it for writing journals, working, camping, changing diapers at night, and a lot more.

“I am not sure how I lived without this product all these years. I am a massive reader, especially at night in bed… From the first moment I started using the Beam n Read light, I could read my books so much easier and it didn’t keep my husband awake…We give this 5 paws, and if my scale went higher I would rate it higher!” – Leslie,

“I’ve tried using other book lights before, but they have always been a real fail for me… the Beam N’ Read Personal Light…met all of my expectations and more!… One of my favorite things about this product were the “Relaxation Filters”. They come with an orange one that is a softer light that is perfect to help me fall asleep faster. …. This product is highly recommended for all readers and crafters. I like the Beam n’ Read so much, that I’m buying one for my mom for Christmas.” – Sheila,

“The Beam n Read personal light is much more than just a book light… I have tried so many different types of reading lights, several of the clip types, one head lamp, and a few that slide on your page like a paperclip. This has been the best light that I have tried to far.” – Mary,

“I really love this Beam n Read! It is very bright when you use it without the filters, but I love using the filters. The orange filter is my favorite. It really soothes me when I’m reading in bed. If you’ve got someone in bed with you who is trying to sleep, use the red filter as it also blocks ambient light. This is really convenient to use because it is totally hands free. You just hang it around your neck and start reading. I feel like it is really better for my eyes to use this too… If you are a reader, I highly recommend trying this product! I think you’ll love it!” – Christy,


  • For hands free personal light anywhere; extra bright light is easy on the eyes; doesn’t disturb others
  • Wide light from 3 LEDs in a row lights up 2 book pages; works with ALL Kindles,
  • BNR Orange Relaxation Filter softens and warms the cool LED light and blocks
    energizing blue light
  • BNR Red Relaxation Filter blocks blue light, reduces ambient light, & helps
    maintains night vision
  • Alkaline AA batteries (not incl) last Extra Long 100 hours, 3-10x longer than most
    clip-on lights

Also Available
Beam N Read USB/AC Power Kit

Purchase your own Beam N Read Reading Light from

power kit

Save batteries for when you’re on the go or the next power outage by plugging in with the Beam n Read Accessory USB Power Kit. When you need portability, just unplug and go. It works with all Beam n Read LED Hands-Free lights (3 and 6 LED lights).

In addition to the adapter’s 6 foot BnR to USB cable, this kit includes an additional 6 foot USB extension cord letting you work up to 12 feet from a USB-A socket. Need a longer cable? – just add a standard USB extension cable. Use the included USB/AC adapter or a USB DC car adapter/charger, or a computer’s USB port, or the USB adapter/charger for your cell phone, e-reader, etc. You may leave batteries in the Beam n Read or take them out to make a super lightweight light. Please note this kit is for external power and will not recharge batteries.


November 10th to December 10th


$50 Blast Giveaway
Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/21/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dec 042014


Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger

File Size: 1110 KB
Print Length: 170 pages
Publisher: Alibi (November 18, 2014)

Move over, Miss Marple—Mark Reutlinger’s charming cozy debut introduces readers to the unforgettable amateur sleuth Rose Kaplan and her loyal sidekick, Ida.

Everyone knows that Rose Kaplan makes the best matzoh ball soup around—she’s a regular matzoh ball maven—so it’s no surprise at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors when, once again, Mrs. K wins the honor of preparing the beloved dish for the Home’s seder on the first night of Passover.

But when Bertha Finkelstein is discovered facedown in her bowl of soup, her death puts a bit of a pall on the rest of the seder. And things go really meshugge when it comes out that Bertha choked on a diamond earring earlier stolen from resident Daisy Goldfarb. Suddenly Mrs. K is the prime suspect in the police investigation of both theft and murder. Oy vey—it’s a recipe for disaster, unless Rose and her dear friend Ida can summon up the chutzpah to face down the police and solve the mystery themselves.

I love thriller/mysteries and I love funny, and this book had it all. Rose is my kind of lady. She’s in her 70’s but full of vim and vigor and is quite the character. When Rose is the main suspect in Bertha’s death, she sets out with her friend Ida to prove her innocence.

They do some really strange  and hilarious things to get proof that she isn’t the killer. There are a lot of Yiddish words and phrases I didn’t understand, but thankfully some included a translation.

This is cozy at it’s best. It’s an easy quick read without the gore most murder mysteries not in the cozy genre have. The story flows well and Rose and Ida will keep you entertained to the end.

This is my first book by this author but I plan on reading more from him in the future.


About The Author:
unnamed Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novel Made in China and a professor of law emeritus at Seattle University. Born in San Francisco, Mark graduated from UC Berkeley and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.



Dec 032014

A Year in the Secret Garden - cover

Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99

Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.



Great News!

You can purchase your very own copy of this gorgeous book for only $15 (a savings of $5) directly from Audrey Press between Dec. 1 and 7, 2014. PLUS, if you miss these dates, you can still purchase the book between December 8 and 31, 2014 for $15 using the code word “SECRETGARDEN”.


Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads


Blog Tour Excerpts

The Blog Tour for A Year in the Secret Garden took place Nov. 1 to 30, 2014. Below you will find review excerpts from some of the participating blogs as well as links to a guest post by the author and an interview with the illustrator. Click HERE for the full Tour Schedule and the full list of participating blogs.

A Year in the Secret Garden is a treasure trove of activities, crafts, games, recipes and information all related to the classic children’s book, The Secret Garden, bringing to life this wonderful book to a new generation of readers. I cannot recommend this beautifully illustrated and detailed, information-packed book highly enough to parents, homeschoolers, teachers, and librarians.” ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

“The authors love of the Secret Garden book comes through SO clearly and I am a student of literature so I loved it for the explanations and history of what was happening.” ~ WS Momma Readers Nook

Guest Post by Author Valarie Budayr: “A brief article on A Year in The Secret Garden” ~ Coffee, Books & Art

“A perfect book not only for the summer activities but all through the year. Truly it shows the way into the SECRET GARDEN.” ~ Eloquent Articulation

“These ladies have created a fabulous book that can stand alone or be used as companion to the classic either in a classroom setting, or homeschool setting or for anyone that loves to share great literature and activities with their children.” ~ Adalinc to Life

“While the children enjoyed the activities associated with this book, I was entranced by the beautiful water color illustrations and the scrumptious looking images of foods to make. I am certain that any person who grew up hoping to find that secret key to let them into an enchanting garden will fall in love with the magic inside this book to share with their children.” ~ Books, Babies and Bows

Interview with Illustrator, Marilyn Scott-Waters: “A Year in the Secret Garden Interview” ~ Pragmatic Mom

“This would make such a nice Christmas gift for a young one to grow up with. Why not add a copy of the reading book and maybe even the DVD and some supplies to do an activity or two. ” ~ The Blended Blog

“It is a wonderful, hands on, practical way to take kids on a journey back in time and see how children and families lived in another era.” ~ Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking


Month by Month Guide


  • Indian Style Chicken Curry
  • Rangoli
  • Magic Carpets
  • Misselthwaite Manor
  • Character Study: Mary Lennox
  • Ploughman’s Lunch



  • Cutouts of the Secret Garden Characters
  • Planting Bulbs
  • The English Garden
  • Character Study: Mrs. Medlock


  • Hot Oatcakes
  • Jump Rope
  • Plastic Bag Jump Rope
  • Jump Rope Rhymes
  • Shovel, Shovel, Spade
  • Character Study: Ben Weatherstaff

A Year in the Secret Garden - Inside Pages 26 27


  • Bringing in the Evergreen
  • Yorkshire Pudding Toad-in-a-Hole
  • The Oak King vs. The Holly King
  • The Story of Mistletoe
  • Character Study: Martha Sowerby


  • Parkin Cake
  • Wutherin’ Wind Flags
  • Ice Disks
  • Yorkshire Phrasebook
  • Character Study: Dickon Sowerby
  • Perfectly Good Porridge with Treacle


  • Oaten Pipe
  • Garden in a Jar
  • Death in Victorian England
  • Character Study: Archibald Craven

A Year in the Secret Garden - February


  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • Nest Building
  • Seed Paper & Packets
  • Grow-Me Seed Paper
  • Seed Packets
  • Class of Hunger
  • Character Study: Colin Craven


  • Robin Cake
  • Dickon’s Felt Creatures
  • The World of Mason Bees
  • Making of a Mason Bee House
  • British Money
  • Old British Money
  • Character Study: Dr. Craven



  • Freezer Strawberry Jam
  • Planting a Rose Bush
  • Wheelbarrow Race
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Spot-Sitting
  • Character Study: Lilias Craven

A Year in the Secret Garden - Inside Pages 84 85


  • A Midsummer Garden Tea Party
  • Ladybug Sandwiches
  • Rainbow Fruit Kabobs
  • Simply Divine Lemon Cookies
  • Daisy Chain Crowns
  • Midsummer Dancing Ribbon Wreaths
  • Flower Pressing
  • Character Study: Victorian/Edwardian Family Life


  • The Secret Meal
  • Tin Foil Breakfast
  • The Cooking Campfire
  • Creating a Garden Journal
  • Colin’s Exercises
  • Blindfolded Garden Walk
  • Colin’s Magic Chant and Affirmations
  • Affirmation Stones
  • Character Study: Susan Sowerby


  • Scones and Ginger Tea
  • A Taste of Summer
  • Paper Garden Model
  • Garden Games for Family and Friends
  • Blind Man’s Bluff
  • Red Rover
  • Character Study: Frances Hodgson Burnett


About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Valarie BudayrValarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website,, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.

She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.


Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads


About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-WatersMarilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website,, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.

She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Website | Facebook | Google+


* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: December 31, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Dec 022014

Swann’s Lake of Despair

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours Oct 13 – Dec 12

Book Details:

Genre: Detective

Published by: Five Star

Publication Date: October 22nd 2014

Number of Pages: 284

ISBN: 143282936X

Series: 3rd in the Henry Swann Series (Stand Alone)

Purchase Links:


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.

This is a very good book about a dectective who ends up working on three different cases.

Henry Swann is pulled into the mysteries of some missing rare photos, a missing diary, and a missing woman. All three cases are interesting and Swann can switch his personality to fit whatever the situation calls for… he can play both bad dectective and good detective. The story is fast paced and there is a bit of humor added.

Swann’s parnter Goldblatt is really more interested in the money than the cases, but he does help Swann through all the people he knows. Overall this was a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good detective story.

This is the third book in the series but it can stand-alone.

Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann’s Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

Catch Up With the Author:


Tour Participants:


Dec 022014


Hosted @ Book Journey

Check outs count for anything bookish – books, audio, even e-reader book check outs

She’s also having a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card for one of the participants who posts about what there library offers, so here I go…

I LOVE my local libraries. I not only have a library card to the libraries in the county I live in, but also in the two surrounding counties. If I can’t find a book at one, I’ll find it at another.

They loan out books for you or your book club, ebooks, movies, cd’s, dvd’s.

There a a lot of different things the libraries here offer like an Anime Club, Toddler Storytime, Senior Social and of course Book Clubs and Friends Of The Library. They also have a movie time each month and concerts, resource guide, Student resource guide for math, social studies, language, music, science, art etc., apps for homework, business, toddlers, finance and fitness.

There is also helpful info on hiking, learning something new classes, info for the unemployed/underemployed, Florida history, genealogy and auto repair, computer classes, free online tests for driving permits, Cool Science Experiments with Mr. Justin!, Writers Corner and Upcoming Events in the area.

Right now they are having a Wilderness Wonderland Celebration Of Lights where you can drive through a nearby park and watch Christmas lights dance to Holiday Music.

I’m going to go for: 17 – 22 check outs in 2015 – Seasoned
1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

3. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

5. Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 by Daniel James Brown

6. The Storm and the Tide: Tragedy, Hope and Triumph in Tuscaloosa by Lars Anderson

7. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

9. The Metabolism Solution by Lisa Lynn

10. The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks And Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

11. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

12. The Joy of Signing: The Illustrated Guide for Mastering Sign Language and the Manual Alphabet by Lottie L. Riekehof






Dec 022014


30 Movement Challenge: Finished
Each day has a new video and a new movement to build on the previous day
Day 25: A Sitting Moment
Day 26: Hurdle to good health
Day 27: Hill run
Day 28: Get Creepy
Day 29: Balancing Stretch
Day 30: Movement Snack

SparkPeople Thanksgiving Day Bi-monthly Challenge 11/16/14: Finished
11/25:  K – Do something to keep stress down. (watched stand up comedy)
11/26: A – Do something to improve health (made appt. to get blood work/check up)
11/27: G – Get in a walk today. How long did you walk?
11/28: S – Strength training is important. Do at least 10 minutes today.
11/29: N – Note something positive on the wall today.
11/30: I – Indulge in some fun! Play a game or dance. (played My Singing Monsters)



It’s time to post new goals for the new month. so I joined another Sparkpeople challenge for December:
Sparkpeople December Restart 12/1/14
Restart of our healthy eating and our exercise regimes. Let’s not wait until the 1st of the year. Let’s do it now.
1~ 80 oz. water daily
2~ 3x a week each: strength, stretch, balance
3~ meditation and deep breathing daily
4~ 30 min. cardio daily
5~ Eat healthier and practice portion control
7~ Eat more fruits and veggies, less meat
8~ Work on tracking food and exercise

My Own Personal Challenge For December
I’m doing a personal challenge to motivate me to get more steps in. I felt much better when I was walking more, so my goal for December is to work my way back up to 4 miles a day.
Dec. 1: 5024 steps



Linking to Readers’ Workout @ Joy’s Book Blog

Dec 012014


Hosted @ The Worm Hole

The challenge runs from January to December.
Read 6 books, one from each category

Books I might read are:
1. A word including ‘ing’ in it: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2. A color: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

3. A familial relation: Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

4. A body of water: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

5. A city: Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 by Daniel James Brown

6. An animal: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee