Mar 222015


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.

As usual, I had one book in my mailbox last week:

I love books by Joanne Demaio. She never leaves me disappointed.
Can’t wait to read this, and look at that gorgeous cover!!!


The Denim Blue Sea by Joanne Demaio

During two August weeks, denim designer Maris Carrington and coastal architect Jason Barlow prepare for their much-anticipated wedding. Guests arrive early, turning keys in charming cottage doors to begin their New England summer escape. The wedding is a reason for old friends to gather again; to meet in their shabby beach hangout and get the jukebox cranking; to walk that weathered boardwalk beneath a starry sky; to breathe the sweet salt air. “Cures what ails you,” one of the friends, Neil, always said long before his life was sadly claimed. But his legacy was not.

When Maris discovers Neil’s long-lost journal, its passages reveal a heartbreaking secret. Can truths be found within its timeworn pages? Can this leather-bound journal unite the friends as their lives begin to fray? A bittersweet family reunion, a surprising encounter from a devastating accident, a shocking confession leaving one marriage shattered–all will test the once close-knit circle. Suddenly this safe haven on the tranquil Connecticut shoreline churns with emotional turmoil, threatening even the beach wedding just days before it is to happen.

Yet like a silver cap on a breaking wave, love and friendship wash ashore with hope, ever shimmering, in The Denim Blue Sea.


I love books by Joanne Demaio. She never leaves me disappointed. Can’t wait to read this, and look at that gorgeous cover!!!

Mar 202015


Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: National Geographic (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426213743
ISBN-13: 978-1426213748

It was a culinary journey like no other: Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother to a string of foster homes to the house from which she launches her own cooking adventure, Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal—and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

I love memoirs, and I love cookbooks, so this book grabbed my attention right away. I loved reading about Sasha’s childhood. Her mother wasn’t your ordinary mother.  She was quite the character.  I loved reading about her, through the good and the bad.

Subsequently, Sasha and her brother had a very different  childhood from anyone I know. At times it was very good, but a lot of her young years were very bad, and had a lasting effect on her. She ultimately finds peace and forgiveness through her love of cooking.

This is such a good book! Not only does it have the fascinating story of Sasha’s life, it also had recipes from around the world. One that I’d like to try is Muamba de Galinha, which is a spicy Angolan Chicken Stew:

Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
Generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4-5 whole chicken legs
1/4 to 1/3 cup red palm oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 habanero pepper, as desired
1 cup water
salt and pepper
1 small pumpkin (about 1 1/2 pounds) to make 1 pounds cubed
1/2 pound okra (fresh or frozen) sliced in rounds

Mix lemon juice, zest, crushed garlic, salt and chili powder and rub into the chicken.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight
Add the oil to a large pot and heat on medium-high heat
Brown the chicken (avoid crowding) 5-10 minutes a side
Cook the onions until soft and beginning to brown
Add in the remaining marinade and tomatoes.
Slit the habanero in half and deseed (for more fire, just chop it) and add to mix
Add the water and season with salt and pepper
Cover and cook at a gently bubble for 30 to 45 minuets, or until the chicken is tender
Meanwhile, peel, seed and cut the pumpkin into 1.5 inch cubes
Stir the pumpkin and sliced okra into the broth
Cover and cook until all the ingredients are cooked through (about 30 minuets)
Adjust seasoning and serve hot
*can be served on its own, with boiled yucca, or served over rice

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs or recipes.

About The Author
smSasha Martin is an award-winning writer and blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world. She graduated from Wesleyan University and was an MFK Fisher Scholar at the Culinary Institute of America. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Keith and their daughter Ava.

Sasha’s work has been featured on NPR, as well as in Whole Living, Bon Appetit, The Smithsonian, The Huffington Post, and CNNgo. Her website, Global Table Adventure, is a go-to hub for foodies around the world.

Her first book, Life From Scratch chronicles her lifelong struggle to find inner-peace, including the years she spent cooking the world as a new mother.


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Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble
Author Links: Website, Global Table AdventureTwitter, and Facebook


Mar 192015


It Girl 4 Life by Tamara Branch

Paperback: 98 pages
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing; 1 edition (June 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985964804
ISBN-13: 978-0985964801

“YOU have IT. IT is the GREATNESS you were born with.” – from the book
Writer, artist, and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights, and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools, and principles, that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

The cover of the book says “how to bring out your special something & so much more.” And there are many steps inside the book to help you do that. The chapters are only 1-2 pages, but each can have a huge impact on how you value yourself.

The chapters cover topics like Love Yourself, Smile, Laugh Play & Have Fun, Celebrate Your Unique Beauty, Express Yourself As Only You Can, and Meditate. It’s full of motivational quotes and will help the reader begin to build self-worth and stop worrying what others think.

I loved this book, because it will help girls (and women) be the confident, happy, strong person you were meant to be. I plan on passing this book on to my granddaughter Alecia who is at the age where she’s very confident in some aspects of her life, and not very confident in others. She’ll be a teen next year and I think this book will help her a lot.

Would definitely recommend this for girls of any age.

Mar 152015


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.


Again, I only received one book in my mailbox last week. This time it was from Blogging For Books. This book sounds really good, and I can’t wait to read it.

20484545It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

A heartbreakingly honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.

All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.

It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.

Mar 142015

I love kitchen gadgets. I don’t even know how many gadgets I’ve bought over the years. I’ve also always loved yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets… You never know what you’ll find. The other day I had to pick up a few things from the store and decided to stop first at the thrift store a few doors down. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there so I was really glad I decided to go in, because I saw this.






So adorable! If you look closely at the bottom photo, you can see they are measuring cups!! I love them!!

Do you like yard sales, thrift stores, etc.?


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


Mar 112015
Paperback: 30 pages
Publisher: Thought Bubble Publishing; 3 edition (November 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692335404
ISBN-13: 978-0692335406


A young boy, who is about to be grounded for going through so many socks, discovers that a monster has been eating them.Max is a young boy who is constantly getting in trouble for his socks disappearing. He doesn’t know where they go, but he does know that if he doesn’t do something quickly his mom will ground him for summer. Max soon discovers that a little green monster is sneaking into his room at night and eating his sweaty socks. His mother, of course, doesn’t believe him, so Max calls on his best friend to come for a sleepover to catch the monster.
They devise a trap and capture the monster only to learn that the creature can speak. It hasn’t meant to cause any harm, it’s just trying to feed its family. The monster shows them his home and his three little children and begs the boys not to turn them over to the adults. Adults, he says, want to destroy monsters.The boys are left in a pickle. Allow the monsters to be and get grounded, or turn the monsters in knowing what will happen to them? Neither idea seems good, so they come up with a new plan!

My Thoughts
This is a cute book that will finally explain where all your missing socks have gone. The story and illustrations are adorable. The monster is friendly and hungry, and just wants to find food and take some back to his three little monsters because they are hungry too.

I can’t wait to read this book to my grandson. I think he will love it!

Buy the Book

Meet The Author:

A.J. Cosmo’s stories are crafted to help parents teach their children
simple everyday lessons in an easy to understand manner. By artfully
marrying beautiful illustrations and language, children are challenged to
explore his magical worlds. Written for the transitional reader, A.J.’s
stories allow your child to develop and master a new level of reading.

Connect with A.J.:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

Mar 082015


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 of which books caught your eye.

I only received one book in my mailbox last week:
Saving Grace by Janet Green was a win from Mary @ Bookfan

21853667Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

Mar 032015


No updates to report since I’ve not been exercising the last few months

Goals for 2015:
Lose 30 lbs.
Increase endurance and strength

Weekly Goals
1. Drink 80 oz. water daily
2. Exercise between 15 and 30 minutes a day
3. Strength train 3 times a week
4. Get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night
5. Eat 5 or more Fruits and Veggies a day
6. At least 1 fish, 2 meatless, and 2 meat meals
7. Deep breathing, stretching, meditation/prayer daily
8. Daily skin care regimen

I’m also doing the 30 Day Walkabout Challenge @ Sparkpeople this month.

Feb 282015

Family News…
As most of you know, my husband passed away January 22. I knew losing a spouse was hard, but never imagined it would be this hard. I was his sole caregiver for almost 30 years. We spent so many years being together 24/7, and it’s hard adjusting to him not being here. My husband had a few health problems for a month or so, but none of us ever imagined that it would cause him to be taken from us. If there’s one thing I would want to tell anyone, it would be to love each other every minute of every day. Be kind, generous, attentive, loving and considerate of each other. Don’t take the people you love for granted. You never know when they will be taken from you.

Reviews Coming Up On The Blog…
I read a lot when my husband was first in the hospital, before things took a turn for the worse. So I have seven reviews to catch up on. All were read or listened to on my Kindle. They are (links are to Goodreads):
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim, The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown, Number The Stars by Lois Lowry, Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman, Drowned By Corn by Erika Hayasaki, Super Herbs: 25 Ultimate Ayurvedic Herbs with Magical Healing Powers and How To Use Them by Advait.

I’m Reading…
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman

Listening To…
Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Odd CoupleThe Mysteries of Laura (both are really funny, even though Laura is about a homicide detective, Amazing Race, Survivor.

I haven’t been exercising much, but need to start. My son and daughter in law invited me to go to NYC with them in November. My granddaughter is going back for the second year to be a part of the The Macy’s Great American Marching Band. So proud of her! Last year my son, daughter in law and grandson walked an average of 10 miles a day just sight seeing while GD practiced.

I’m Looking Forward To:
Going to the beach with family in a few weeks.

I’m Thankful For…
My children. Jeremy & Susie, Anthony, and Kilah & Harley have been what’s keeping me going. They have been such a blessing to me, especially over the last 2 months.

In the kitchen…
Not really sure. I’m going in a little bit to buy groceries etc. But I plan on fish for one night, a few meatless, a few nights meat and veggies, and a night or two of eating out.

A favorite quote…
“Family is the most important thing in the world.”
– Princess Diana

Feb 282015


In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World 
by Gabriele Galimberti

Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (November 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0804185557
ISBN-13: 978-0804185554

On the eve of a photography trip around the world, Gabriele Galimberti sat down to dinner with his grandmother Marisa. As she had done so many times before, she prepared his favorite ravioli—a gesture of love and an expression of the traditions by which he had come to know her as a child. The care with which she prepared this meal, and the evident pride she took in her dish, led Gabriele to seek out grandmothers and their signature dishes in the sixty countries he visited. The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman’s table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories. These vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her Roasted Spiced Chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. Taken together or bite by bite, In Her Kitchen taps into our collective affection for these cherished family members and the ways they return that affection.

In Her Kitchen is an evocative, loving portrait of the power of food and family, no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner..

I absolutely love this book. The first thing that I noticed was how beautiful the cover is. It shows what a great photographer the author is. I love all the things he added to the book that makes it so special. At the beginning of the book there is a world map that shows where each grandma lives. There is also a photo of the author and his grandmother when he was a toddler. The first recipe is from the authors own grandma. Each grandma has a small bio with their age and where they live, a photo of them with the ingredients they use for the recipe, and a photo of the finished recipe.

I can’t imagine how much fun it must have been for the author to not only travel the world, but to meet such a diverse group of grandma’s and recipes. It is something that I would definitely love to do.

There are so many recipes that look and sound so good that I had a hard time picking a few favorites. Then, there are a few that I can’t imagine making, much less eating, like goat and caterpillars. I haven’t had time to make any of the recipes yet, but plan on posting them when I do.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review


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


Feb 262015


Danza’s Message by Karen Kilpatrick

Series: Pumpkinheads
Paperback: 22 pages
Publisher: Nina Charles LLC (September 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938447026
ISBN-13: 978-1938447020

Playing and dancing, you’re a star! Listen to Danza: Beautiful is what you are!
Danza and her friends are silly and sweet. Playing before the mirror, they are reminded of just how special they are. Parents and children alike can relate to this valuable book about self-esteem and love of self.

This is the second book I’ve read from this series and I loved it as much as the first one. In this story, Danza and her friends look in the mirror and each one find something that they love about themselves. The book teaches self esteem and that you are beautiful. It may be you have beautiful eyes, or nose, or smile, but you special and beautiful.

The girls are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and I loved that aspect. The illustrations are colorful and bold and the story flows easily. I think this is a great book for children.

Pumpkinheat Youtube site (animated stories and videos)
For more info go to the Pumpkinghead site

Feb 262015


Ella’s Toys by Karen Kilpatrick

Series: Pumpkinheads
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Nina Charles (May 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193844700X
ISBN-13: 978-1938447006

Ella’s toys are beyond compare, but playtime’s more fun when she learns to share! Flaunting her toys but keeping them to herself is not much fun after the other kids lose interest. Left alone, Ella decides to make it up to her friends. Children will learn an important lesson in this endearing book about sharing, friendship, and generosity.

This is a cute book that helps children learn that sharing is not only the right thing to do but that it will also help you meet new friends. The cover is adoarable as are all the illustrations. The story is told in rhyme and is fun to read.

Pumpkinheat Youtube site (animated stories and videos)
For more info go to the Pumpkinghead site

Feb 262015

Love Monster Lulu by Karen Kilpatrick

Series: Pumpkinheads
Paperback: 22 pages
Publisher: Pumpkinheads (December 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938447034
ISBN-13: 978-1938447037

Love Monster Lulu is scaring up snuggles! But with no one around, who’s left to cuddle? Lulu is sad when she can’t find anyone to share her love with, but her mother and sister give the comfort she needs in this sweet story showcasing the importance of family.

“Bright and sunny characters, expressive faces, and attractive art catches the young child’s eye. Awareness building about themselves and others is really key in these toddler and preschool aged books. Common themes of sharing, self-esteem, reverence for the natural world, feeling alone or loved, and making the world a better place are great topics for young children and beyond. Reading, reviewing, and reflecting with preschoolers about these topics is a great start for these themes to be introduced to them. Using these rhyming books for discussion and pointing out real world examples will further deepen the understanding of these lessons in life. Great books!” – Academics’ Choice

Winner of Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and Academics’ Choice Smart Book Award

This was a cute book about a little girl named Lulu who loves to hug and kiss her family and pets. When she can’t find any of her family, she gets upset and starts crying. But soon she’s surprised when “something special” shows up and for a minute or two she’s happy again. Sadly, the surprise soon leaves and she’s sad again. When a few of her family members hear her crying, they rush to her and give her lots of love.

This is a cute story that like the others is told in rhyme and has great illustrations. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two I’ve read.

Pumpkinheat Youtube site (animated stories and videos)
For more info go to the Pumpkinghead site

Feb 042015

I’ve had some people email me to see if I was doing ok, so thought I needed to let everyone know why I haven’t been posting.

My husband was sick (the last week of last year and it continued through the new year) with a cough and a bit of congestion. The dr. told him to buy an over the counter med and it seemed to be getting better, and then would get worse again. I took him to the hospital on January 8th and he was admitted. The next morning they sent him to the ICU and put him on a ventilator, but he just kept getting worse. Then on January 22nd he passed away.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. Since I quit working many years ago, we’ve been together 24/7 and  it’s so hard not having him with me. I loved him very much and miss him every second of every day. My kids have been amazing and without them I don’t know what I’d do.

Because of this, I haven’t been on the computer for about a month, and I don’t know when I’ll feel like posting again.

I’d like to thank everyone who has known about this and have been praying for him and my family. I appreciate it very much.

Jan 032015



“The perfect book for parents who want — NEED — to laugh, but don’t have time to sit down and read a daunting book. Grab it, head to the bathroom and lock the door until they find you!”
— Jill Smokler, author ofConfessions of a Scary Mommy”The Big Book of Parenting Tweets dishes up bite-size nuggets of funny. Impossible to read just one.” — Jen Mann, author ofPeople I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban ScourgesThis book is HILARIOUS. Being a parent is a frustrating, hilarious, weird, wild experience. This book captures some of the best of our snark. You need it. You do. — Nikki Knepper, author ofMoms Who Drink and Swear

A terrific read, featuring some of the funniest (and most honest) parents in the Twitterverse… my go-to gift for new parents! — Johanna Stein, author of How Not To Calm A Child On A Plane and Other Parenting Advice from a Questionable Source

Twitter isn’t just for breaking news and celebrity stalking—it’s also a goldmine of the funniest comedy online. Jokes? People tell jokes on Twitter? YES, they do. And they are hilarious … but who wants to sift through the hashtags, RTs and FFs to get to the good stuff?

WE GET IT! Parents don’t have time for all that. That’s why the duo behind the illustrated humor blog Science of Parenthood teamed up with Twitter maven Kate Hall of Hall of Tweets to create The Big Book of Parenting Tweets —a laugh-riot collection of more three-hundred tweetable moments straight from the parenting trenches from the most hysterical comedians on Twitter, who just happen to be parents.

Here is just a peek at some of what you’ll find inside:

My 4yo is trying to sell my own M&M’s back to me. This guy’s going places.
— @FatherWithTwins

With my wife away, my children keep asking me for things like meals and bandaids and sympathy, but I don’t know where we keep any of that.
— @KalvinMacleod

She took 4 y/o to the park & texted “Can I get her ice-cream?”
Get her a Heineken for all I care. Free babysitters get to call the shots.
— @BunmiLaditan

I wish bottles of ibuprofen came with a little prize inside, like maybe a babysitter.
— @SuburbanSnaps

To anyone out there thinking about having kids, today my 2yo threw a temper tantrum because she couldn’t get rid of her shadow.
— @XplodingUnicorn

Peppered with cartoons by Science of Parenthood, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets is the perfect gift for every over-worked, under-showered, sleep-deprived parent who could use a quick laugh, because who has time for more?

This book is seriously funny! I can’t remember ever laughing out loud so much while reading a book! You don’t have to know what Twitter or a Tweet is to enjoy this book. All you need is a teeny tiny sense of humor and this book will have you laughing your head off while everyone near you looks at you like you’ve lost your mind. I kept repeating what I read to my husband and probably told him more than half of what’s in the book.

If you have kids or grandkids or neices or nephews or any small child in your life, more than likely you’ll be able to relate to this book.

Whether you like Twitter or not, if you like funny or just need a laugh, go grab a copy of this book!! As fast as you can!

I received an advanced copy for review

Jan 012015


Hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog  and That’s What I’m Talking About

How it will work:
Jan, Feb, March hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
April, May, June hosted by That’s What I’m Talking About
July, August, September hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
October, November, December hosted by That’s What I’m Talking About

There will be weekly check-in posts and monthly “are you in” posts!


My Goals For January 2015:
Drink 10 glasses of water or more per day
Walk 1-3 miles a day
Strength train 3 times per week
Eat meatless 2-3 times a week


Goals for 2015:
Lose 30 lbs.
Increase endurance and strength
Daily deep breathing, stretching & meditation/prayer

Dec 312014


Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Big Driver is the first of four short stories in this book

Tess Thorne, a famous mystery writer, faces a long drive home following a book signing engagement. Advised to take a shortcut at the suggestion of the event’s planner, Tess sets out for home, well after dark. On a lonely stretch of New England road, her tire blows out, and when a man in a pick up stops, it is not to help her, but to repeatedly assault her and leave her for dead. Tess survives, and she plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself, capable of gruesome violence.

LOVED IT! The book took me on a trip that was not only full of raw emotions and horrific, but also made me grateful that I very rarely ever drive alone at night.

The story starts a bit slow for the first few pages. Or maybe that was just my take on the book since I love how scary King’s books are and I was excited for it to begin. But when it starts, it starts big and doesn’t slow until the end.

The story was every woman’s nighmare. And every woman who has gone through something like that has wanted the revenge that Tess sought and got.

There was a bit of potty mouth in this book, but King writes amazing books, so I’ve learned to deal with it. The way Tess got her revenge was so great to read! I would never be able to do that.

Each character was superbly written. They were all so believable and I loved each one for the part their character played in the book.

This was my last read of 2014 and I’m so glad I ended on such a great book!

If you like King, get this book. If you don’t like King, get this book.

Big Driver was made into a Lifetime movie and while I enjoyed watching it, the book was so much better. I know they have to cut stuff out for the sake of time, but as far as King’s books are concerend, less is more, most of the time. The rape scene was definitely a part they should have toned down some. It was far too explicit. I know that stuff doesn’t bother some people, but it does me. My thoughts are that if a child shouldn’t see it, it shouldn’t be on tv.

The biggest difference I saw in the book and movie was the way the revenge played out. I loved that part way better in the book. The movie felt like a cheap immitation while getting the facts wrong. The smallest change that bothered me was that they changed what the sign said on the abandoned store. I couldn’t, and still can’t, figure out why that would have been changed! Something as small as what a sign says is not something I would think the writers of the movie would have felt the need to change. Did they really think they could make it better or catchier than King? Nope, they couldn’t and didn’t. I liked it the way King wrote it. Well of course I did! Like I said, everything he writes is amazing. Just the way it is.

To be fair, I’ve yet to watch a movie based on a book where I thought the movie was better. It goes back to having to cut stuff. But I wish they wouldn’t change things so much. Still, the movie was good and I’m glad I watched it.

Dec 302014


Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

1922 is the first of four short stories in this book

This is a first-person account by Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator. He writes a lengthy confession for the murder of his wife, Arlette, in Hemingford Home, Nebraska, in 1922.

Wilfred owns eighty acres of farmland that have been in his family for generations. His wife owns an adjoining one-hundred acres willed to her by her father. Wilfred scorns the thought of living in a city, but Arlette is discontented with farm life and wants to move to Omaha. She seeks to sell her land to a livestock company for use as a pig farm and slaughterhouse. Wilfred, who strongly opposes Arlette’s plans, resorts to manipulating his teenaged son, Henry, into helping him murder his own mother.

Wow! This was a great story! I loved it.

It was scary, creepy, gross and full of horror. There’s Wilfred wanting to kill his wife over some land, of asking his son Henry to help him kill his mom, of Henry saying he’d help, and of the rats eating away at her. There’s the visions of Arlette’s ghost that wouldn’t leave him alone. Plus so many other things that I can’t write about without lots of spoilers.

It was sad too. There’s the sad fact that Wilfred would kill his wife, whom he loved, over her wanting to sell the land and move to town. It was sad that Henry agreed to help. It was sad that there was so much lost because of that act. Dreams were shattered, hearts were broken, marriages, friendships and minds were lost. And more than just the life of Arlette was cut short…so sad!

In the end, it wasn’t the murder of his wife that did Wilfred in. It was seeing her in the well with the rats, and her ghost visiting him that did it. That would do it to anyone, don’t you think?

You know when you start a King book you will “see” the story in your head for a while. You can’t get rid of the images. At least I can’t. For a while. But the story never leaves you. I’ll be remembering this book for years and years.

If you like scary, read this book!