Nov 272015


Kelly’s Koffee Shop (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery #1) by Dianne Harman

Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.

The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?

Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town.

Kelly’s Coffee Shop is a mouth-watering cozy mystery with recipes!

If you’re in the mood for mystery and murder, but want a lighter story, this is a great choice. Plus it takes place in a seasie town and that’s always a bonus.

Kelly is trying to find out who murdered Amber, one of her employees and a scholl cheerleader. Her boyfriend Mike is the sheriff and he keeps telling her to stop interfering with the investigation. Does she listen? Of course not.

She is a little braver than I would be, meeting seedy characters in the seedy part of town, in the dark no less. There a quite a few interesting (to say the least) characters and I was really engrossed in the story.

I love the cover! But…that dog seems a bit big compared to the canoes.

A good quick read that was entertaining and had a few recipes at the end.

Nov 252015


Number The Stars by Lois Lowry

 Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

This is another emotional read. What Jews went though during this time is horrific.

This book shows not only the bad things that happened to this family, but also the compasion the Johansen family had for others. Every character was well written and added to the story. The book is short at 136 pags, but it’s packed full and takes you on a journey you won’t soon forget.

Nov 232015


The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown

 Secrets told in the church ladies’ room are supposed to stay in the ladies’ room. But that doesn’t mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude’s funeral won’t change the rest of her life.

Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion; a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life; and a mother with Alzheimer’s residing in the local nursing home. She doesn’t really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That’s fine with Billy Lee, because he’s been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he’d never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies’ room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

The first couple of paragraphs had me thinking that maybe this book wasn’t for me, but that has never stopped me from reading on. And the more I read the more I liked it.

This book runs the gamut on emotions. First of all, Trudy’s husband was a jerk, and I wasn’t a fan of her daughter either. But I loved Trudy and Billy Lee Tucker. I loved that Trudy had the gumption to do what she wanted, wear what she wanted, and change what she wanted. This book was good. I loved it.

Nov 212015


Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

 Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds.

Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie.

This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.

The relationship between Mattie and Lisbeth was such a touching story. They had a bond that is mostly reserved for a mother and daughter, and I suppose in actuality that’s what they were.

The book is a very emotional read, and is hard to get through without pausing from time to time to take it all in. At least for me it was.

All the characters are well written. It’s hard to comprehend that this is the authors first book, it’s that good. Anyway, the book left me thinking about it for days after I was finished. There are some good times in the book too and that gave me a teeny reprieve from the heavy stuff going on.

Nov 192015


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

 On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

I absolutely loved this book! It will definitely be on of my favorites from 2015.

I loved following Filkry as he slowly became less grumpy and more open to being happy, and to loving and being loved. His relationship with Maya was, in my opinion, the best part of the book. I would have never imagined that he would accept her the way he did and it gave me the warm fuzzies.

A. J.’s relationship with Amelia surprised me too, and I got caught up in the unlikey romance of these two. All the other characters were ineresting also, and I wanted the story to go on and on. I was a bit sad with the way it ended, but it still was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time.

Nov 182015

Bone Box

by Jay Amberg

on Tour November 1-30, 2015


Bone Box by Jay Amberg cover

On a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea in Turkey, an international team of archeologists discovers a stone box that first-century Jews used to rebury their dead. The box’s Aramaic inscription: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Sophia Altay, the beautiful French-Turkish archeologist who heads the team, tries to keep the discovery secret until she can authenticate the ossuary. She knows that people will kill to obtain the relics—and to suppress the box’s other contents, documents that could alter Western history.

Joseph Travers, an American sent to Turkey to evaluate the archeological dig, soon finds himself pulled into the web of betrayal, reprisal, and violence. In his journey through Istanbul’s mosques and palaces, the archeological sites around ancient Ephesus, and, ultimately, the strange and mystical terrain of Cappadocia, he comes to understand the epochal meaning of the bone box.

Book Details:

Genre: Archaeological Thriller/Mystery

Published by: Amika Press

Publication Date: March 14, 2015

Number of Pages: 256

ISBN: 978-1937484279

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Uncovering the Ossuary (from Chapter 2)

The sky is cobalt, but the sun is already low—and little light reaches the trench in which the two men work. The evening air is hot and still as though it has hung there for centuries. Sweat soaks the stout man’s sleeveless T-shirt and mats the gray and white hair on his arms and shoulders. His nose is bulbous above his mustache, the top of his head bald except for long strands of hair hanging limply over his left ear. He grunts as he pushes dirt aside with his trowel. The taller, younger man is more careful, but he, too, breathes hard as he whisks dirt with his brush. The discovery, far more than the exertion, is taking his breath. He is clean-shaven; his features are fine, his black hair thick. Neither man speaks until they have completely uncovered the ancient ossuary, the bone box.

When the stout man stands, his head is still well below the trench line. He stabs the trowel into a pile of dirt, wipes his grimy hands on his pants, pulls up the front of his shirt, and smears the sweat from his face. He picks up an empty plastic water bottle, glares at it, and tosses it next to the trowel. The younger man sets his hands on his hips, catches his breath, and stares at the ossuary. The bone box, a meter long and seventy centimeters wide, seems to glow even in the trench’s shadows. Although he can’t read the words etched into the stone, he recognizes them as Aramaic. The symbols—the equal-armed cross within the circle within the six-pointed star—are familiar, but their juxtaposition is not.

As the call to prayer begins, a cirrus horsetail swirls through the rectangle of sky. The voice barely carries into the trench, but the two men turn and stand still. The heavy man murmurs prayers, and the thin one bows his head in silence, his prayer of a different sort. A prayer of both gratitude and supplication. A prayer that this ossuary is what he yearns for it to be. The cloud’s wispy tail snaps clear.

When the echo of prayer ceases, the stout man squats and digs his fingers under the corners of the bone box.

“Wait!” the young man says in Turkish. “She should be here. We must wait for her.”

Glowering across the box, the stout man grabs the hand-pick he used earlier.

“No!” The young man stoops and presses his palms on the ossuary’s lid. “She must open it.” His face reddens, and his fingers burn as though the ossuary is too sacred, too hallowed, too inviolable, to be touched by humans.

The stout man swings the pick across the young man’s knuckles.

The young man leaps back, his eyes wide. His mouth opens, but words don’t form. Blood beads on the index and middle fingers of his right hand.

The stout man leans over and jams the pick’s tip under the rim of the ossuary’s lid. As he pushes the handle with both hands, getting his weight into it, the lid creaks open. Keeping the pick in place as a wedge, he kneels and runs his stubby fingers under the lid. Stale air rises as he lifts the lid, holds it to his sweating chest, and stares into the box.

Despite himself, despite his stinging fingers and welling tears, the young man steps forward and peers into the box. Making the sign of the cross repeatedly, he takes a series of deep breaths in an unsuccessful attempt to calm himself. Blood trickles down his hand and drops, bright splotches darkening into sandy soil. Blinding sacrosanct light rises from the ossuary, weaving around them and spiraling from the trench. He glances at the stout man who is unable to see the light, runs his hand through his hair, and gazes back into the box. He cannot draw his eyes from the contents, though his pupils might at any second be seared and his skin peel away. The moment is every bit as frightening as it is exhilarating. His blood boils—the Janissary blood, the blood of his lost ancestors, the wanderers and cave dwellers alike. There is much more to this even than he imagined, much more to it than she will at first believe.

Author Bio:

Jay Amberg

Jay Amberg is the author of eleven books. He received a BA from Georgetown University and a PhD from Northwestern University. He has taught high school and college students since 1972.

His latest book, Bone Box, is now available from Amika Press. Amberg has also published Cycle, America’s Fool, Whale Song, and compiled 52 Poems for Men.

Prior to Amika Press, Amberg published thriller novels Doubloon (Forge), Blackbird Singing (Forge) and Deep Gold (Warner Books).

Among his books on teaching are School Smarts and The Study Skills Handbook, published by Good Year. Amberg wrote The Creative Writing Handbook (Good Year) with Mark Henry Larson and Verbal Review and Workbook for the SAT (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) with Robert S Boone.

Catch Up:
author's website author's twitter author's facebook

Tour Participants:


Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller, 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Contest

Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller, 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards

Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller/Adventure, 2015 International Book Awards

“A…well-written, fast-paced thriller that follows in the footsteps of The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This story takes you on an incredible and dusty journey from Istanbul to ancient Ephesus, Izmir, and Cappadocia, blended with Christianity, archaeology and Islam, described with accurate detail to bring the story alive.…Jay Amberg is a master of description and intrigue…the plot and characters are believable and interesting.…keeps you guessing through each and every chapter. A cross between The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) and The Sign of the Cross (Chris Kuzneski) this is an “un-put-downable” book of the highest quality.” —Julie Hodgson, Readers’ Favorite

“A mystery of biblical proportions right down to the very last page. As the story unfolds, the characters’ histories, weaknesses, and ambitions are brought to light through their interactions with one another: the lies they tell, the crimes they are willing to commit, and the truths they are willing to confide only to the right person at the right time. And yet, as Joseph and Abrahim put themselves in harm’s way to protect what has become so precious to them, we wonder: What truths are some people willing to die for?” —Ruth Duran-Chea, San Francisco Book Review

“A reflective thriller that will leave you catching your breath while illuminating your own sense of connection with our shared past.” —Michele Fitzpatrick, Author, The Women’s Center

“The lingering questions of what’s real and what isn’t keeps the reader invested in the story. It’s not just the mystery about what’s inside the ossuary and if the artifacts are authentic.…Politics, religion, sexuality, culture, deceit, greed, and prejudices turn this thriller into a page-turner. There’s a need to find out what will happen with the bones and letters, but there’s also a desire to know what will happen to the characters.…The stories within the story demand attention and remind us that one event can be perceived rightly or wrongly from several perspectives.” —T.B. Markinson, Self-Publishing Review

“Will mystify, entrance, enthrall and captivate readers.” —Fran Lewis, Just Reviews

Praise for Jay Amberg’s novels

“Jay Amberg takes his place among the elite of this country’s suspense-adventure authors.”
—Clive Cussler, for Deep Gold

“A taut thriller that will…elate readers. Brilliant.”
—Midwest Book Review, for Blackbird Singing

“The final recovery scenes in the face of a raging hurricane deliver true high seas drama.”
—Publishers Weekly, for Doubloon

“An inspiring call to action…” —Kirkus Reviews, for Cycle


Don’t Miss this Fab Giveaway from Amika Press!

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jay Amberg & Amika Press. There will be 5 winners for this tour. Each winner will receive one 1 paperback copy of Bone Box by Jay Amberg, this prize is for US winners only. The giveaway begins on November 1st, 2015 and runs through December 2nd, 2015.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours




Nov 162015


Hosted @ Whatever I Thing Of 

Runs from January 1 to December 31, 2016

Click here or on the challenge button for more

Books may cross over to other challenges in which you are participating.
Fiction (all genres and subgenres), nonfiction, poetry collections and plays that fit the challenge description may be read.
All book formats are allowed

No levels and no check ins.
Just read as many books as you want

I think I want to read at least 5, maybe more.

Nov 162015


Hosted @ Based On A True Story

Runs January 1 – December 31

Click here or on the challenge button for more

Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19

There’s also an a la carte option for anyone who doesn’t like to plan.

I’m going to do: Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19





















Nov 162015


Hosted by Lori @ Escape With DollyCas Into A New Book

The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 and ends December 31, 2016

Click here or on the challenge button for more

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:
Famished – 1 – 10 Cozy Mysteries
Starving – 11 – 20 Cozy Mysteries
Satisfied – 21 – 40 Cozy Mysteries
Almost Full – 41 – 60 Cozy Mysteries
Completely Stuffed – 61 or more

2. You can Feed Your Need To Read with print, digital or audio books

I keep wanting to read more cozies. Since I’m not accepting as many review/tour books in 2016, I’ll have time to do it.

I plan on doing: Famished ~ 1-10 Cozy Mysteries






Nov 162015

2016 Women's Fiction Reading Challenge

Hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date

This challenge is for those who enjoy reading women’s fiction
The challenge goes from 1st January 2016 to December 31st 2016
Books may overlap with other challenges. Any format of book is fine

Click here or on the challenge button to learn more

Motivated 1- 5
Savvy 6 – 10
Classy 11- 20
Go-getter 20 -30
Fearless 30+

I’m choosing: Savvy 6-10






Nov 162015


Hosted @ The Herd Presents

Click here or on the challenge button to learn more

Dates: Jan 1, 2016 and ends Dec 31, 2016

Once you’ve read it…review it then link it up in the review linky

What Counts
Any book over 80ish pages counts (please no short stories)
Books MUST be read in 2016
This one is ALL about trying something new. A new author, a new genre, a new series, a debut book, etc. If it’s a new to you it counts!

Level 1 (Sunbathing): 6 books
Level 2 (Dipping the Toes): 12 books
Level 3 (Wading In): 25 books
Level 4 (Going for a Swim): 50 books
Level 5 (Diving In): 75 books
Level 6 (Cannon ball! ALL in!): 75+ books

There are so many new to me authors, books etc. that I really want to take the time to read. So…

I plan on doing Level 1: Sunbathing, 6 books






Nov 152015

mmb-300x282 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, Leslie, Serena, 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.

Only one book last week:


My Mother’s Kitchen by Meera Ekkanath Klein

Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Homebound Publications (October 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193884629X
ISBN-13: 978-1938846298

My Mother’s Kitchen is an enchanting place filled with promise, change and good food. If the weathered walls of this magical room could talk they would tell the story of Meena and her childhood life. Each chapter is a slice in her young life and depicts her spunk and youthful spirit. A visit to the local Fruit and Flower Show becomes an adventure as told by Meena. Her distress at finding out about her aunt’s dark secret or her joy of making a new friend are all told in her naive, yet pure voice. Her mother is a central character in her life and it is no wonder that the kitchen is a special place of healing and rejuvenation, not only for Meena but for other characters like Kashi and Ayah.”

Nov 152015


Family News…
Leaving for NYC Saturday morning!!! So excited!!!

Save My Place by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Listening To…
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I’ve never been a fan of Christmasy movies, but I’m sure watching a lot of them lately.

My knee isn’t hurting except when I overdo it. It’s so nice to be able to walk without pain every step.

Looking Forward To:
One week!!! In one week I’ll be in NYC ( 21st to the 28th) with my son Anthony, son Jeremy, and Jeremy’s wife Susie and their kids Arianna and Jordan. Daughter Kilah isn’t going :(

The reason for the trip is that my granddaughter Arianna will be in the Macy Day Parade’s Great American Marching Band. This is the 2nd year for her but I couldn’t go last year. I’m SO proud of her!

I’m not taking any physical books with me. I may not have much time to read, but if I do I’ll have my Kindle.

We’ll be there for my birthday which is on the 24th, and I’ve picked a few things to do. Of course I want to go to The Strand Bookstore.

I’ll post about the trip when we get back.

Thankful For…
Finally finding a SUV. I hated not having a car of my own. But thankful I could drive Anthony’s car whenever he wasn’t at work.

In the kitchen…
I’m not cooking today. Anthony and I are going to Jeremy & Susie’s to talk about the trip. Susie is making veggie burgers & sides. I don’t know what the sides are going to be but everything she makes is yummy even though it’s vegan. She’s trying to make vegans out of us I tell ya :)

A favorite quote…
You can’t have a positive life if you have a negative mind.

Nov 142015
The Things You See At Walmart
Six Word Saturday


Looky what I saw at WM the other day:

As you can see, that is one parking spot



This one shows how far the were out in the driving lane. They would have been farther out if the car in the front hadn’t parked past the line.


They’re front tires barely made it into the parking spot. I’m not sure the people parked in the row behind them were able to back out

Saturday Snapshot

Nov 132015


An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home by Ellen Stimson

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1581573286
ISBN-13: 978-1581573282

With its trademark snow, piney forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling out of village chimneys, New England was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. It’s got your Christmas goose and the maple syrup with which to glaze it. It’s most of the reason author Ellen Stimson made Vermont her home. Here she shares recipes that have been in her family for generations, mixes up a cocktail or two, and invites readers to make their own traditions.

I love this book! I love the cover, the stories, the recipes and the photos.

This is one of the few Christmas-y books I absolutely love. It has a lot of great stories, some touching, some funny, and lots of yummy sounding recipes.

I grew up in Ohio where there was usually a lot of snow during the winter, and this book made me more homesick than I already was. I loved reading the stories and didn’t want the book to end.

One of my favorite stories was when one of the family members had been misbehaving and they all were feeling bad with colds and a little bit of fever. John got the book SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris and they all took turns reading while eating cold fried chicken. What could have been a very bad day turned into a day filled with laughs and good memories.

This is the first book by Stimson that I’ve read, but I’d like to read her other two books. I like her writing style and her wit, and think I’ll probably enjoy them too.

This is a book filled with good memories, good food, and gives you a good feeling. Even if you aren’t a fan of Christmas books, I think you’d enjoy this book for it’s great sounding recipes.

I’ve never liked the taste of beets, but I’m willing to give them another try. Here is a recipe from the book:
Electric Beets
1 large bunch of beets
1 bunch of green onions
olive oil
1 tablespoon sour cream
sea salt

Fill a pot with enough water to cover the beets at a high boil
Rinse beets, cut off the top and roots
Place beets in boiling water and boil until fork tender
Drain beets and peel them with your hands under running cold water
Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices
Dice bulbs & tops of green onions, gently saute’ in olive oil for 3-4 min.
Add beets to the pan, toss, and saute’ until they are heated through
Add sour cream and mix until the entire dish is bright pink
Plate and finish with sea salt


6988633Ellen Stimson is a bread and butter homecook … possibly more butter than bread. Her house and table are usually full to overflowing with friends, family, and a whole bunch of folks who have come to Vermont just to eat at her table and listen to her stories. During one particularly misguided period, she churned out her justifiably famous mac and cheese from the kitchen of what was possibly the oldest country store in America. That tale was told in the hilarious bestselling Mud Season. She cooks and writes about the whole divine and delicious catastrophe from a farmhouse in Vermont.

For More Info:
Amazon | Goodreads | Author’s Webi | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway: I have one copy of the book to giveaway (US/Canada)
To Enter:
Leave a comment with your favorite family Christmas tradition.
US/Canada Only
Don’t forget to leave your email info
Ends November 19


Tour Stops:

Monday, November 9th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 10th: (Never) Homemaker
Wednesday, November 11th: Bibliotica
Thursday, November 12th: Under My Apple Tree
Friday, November 13thI’d Rather Be at the Beach
Monday, November 16thI Wish I Lived in a Library
Wednesday, November 18thMajorly Delicious
Wednesday, November 18thOpen Book Society
Thursday, November 19thThe Things We Read
Monday, November 23rdSharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 24thTime 2 Read
Wednesday, November 25thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, November 27thJoyfully Retired
Monday, November 30thBroken Teepee
Wednesday, December 2ndgirlichef
Friday, December 4thA Chick Who Reads


tlc tour host (5)
wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Nov 102015

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The Rockstar Remedy by Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand

Title: The Rockstar Remedy
Author: Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand
Publisher: HarperCollins Wave
Pages: 330
Genre: Health and Wellness/Rock n Roll
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.


I read a lot of health/fitness books, but this is different. The book has a Foreward and an Introduction, followed by four parts:
Part One~ The RxStar Remedy Philosophy
Part Two~ Stage One: The RxStar Detox- Start With A Clean Slate
Part Three~ Nourish And Revive
Part Four~ Heal, Restore, Recover

My favorite parts of the book were the sections on detoxing which were scattered throughout the book, not just in Part Two about Detox. I also loved a section in Part Three~
Chapter Seven: Stage Two which is “Health Food Rocks” and the Harm Reduction Technique: Marinate Your Steak. The author says when you marinate read meat for about 30 minutes you’re breaking down the fats and proteins, making the meat more easier to digest. Her suggestions for a marinade are apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or tomato juice.

There are a lot of thoughts by rock stars on fitness throughout the book. An example is:

” I find that meditaion coupled with a fair amount of physical exercise does wonders for many condition, including depression and the lonliness of the road.”
Jeff Pilson, Bassist, Foreigner.

I know that is true because I started having bouths of depression after losing my husband in January, and then when I lost my dog in September. It was hard being in the house by myself most of the time. Patches was a big comfort to me, and then she was gone too. Exercising did help once I started caring enough to do it.

This book is in the top 3 of all the health/fitness books I’ve ever read, and my favorite one of 2015. But to tell you the truth, I went through it too fast. I’m keeping it within easy reach so that I can read it again and go through it more slowly. I’ll probably read it a few more times actually. I want to let everything really sink in.

I’m very glad I read this book. I think anyone inerested in their health would like it too.

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Book Excerpt:

The year is 1984. I was fresh out of massage school… a ripe 19 years old. My cousin worked for Belkin productions, the company that promoted Rock Concerts in Cleveland. One day she called me and said, “ Cuz, such and such, the biggest name in rock n roll at the time, is coming to Cleveland and they want massages. I volunteered you.” I was in a state of shock, but gladly accepted the offer. Weirdly enough, I was not nervous or overly excited. I felt I would be great for the job.I arrived at the coliseum with my massage table in check, but I was secretly looking forward to the massive parties back stage. To my dismay, the backstage seemed quite quiet. All the artists were in their private dressing rooms and keeping to themselves. I was taken to the catering hall and noticed that there was a completely organic and vegetarian spread. In those days this was very rare and unheard of. Whole Foods was not a household name. I also noticed there was not an ounce of alcohol backstage. The most intoxicating beverage I could find was Coca-Cola. Wives had taken the place of the groupies. The Myth was shattered!

The first artist I worked on was the Saxophone player. He had the spiritual name, given to him by his Guru, on the dressing room door instead of his real name. When I entered his dressing room, I felt I had entered a Temple. It was lit with candles, incense permeated the air, and a picture of his Guru stared at me throughout the entire massage. I worked with most of the band that night just doing massage to get them ready for the marathon show. There was a medical doctor backstage giving them B12 shots to boost their energy for the big performance. Each artist was so thoughtful and down to earth. I was taken by their humility and realness. It was an ego-free zone.

They put on a super 4-hour show that night. I watched from backstage and I could see what an amazing dynamic a rock concert was. The band gives energy to the audience. The audience gives love and more energy to the band. The band gets high on the energy from the crowd. And it seems like it can go of forever. The only thing that made the band come off the stage was the venue saying that they had to go.

I will never forget that night as I saw the power of music to elevate the energy of a theater to a higher vibration. It is no wonder that some people feel that going to a concert can be like a religious experience. I decided Rock’n’Roll would be one of my religions too! It would blend very well with my Catholic upbringing. Catholics revere saints. So, why not add a few like Jimi Hendrix, Patron Saint of the Wa Wa Pedal; Santana, the Archangel of Long Instrumental Grooves; Keith Richards, Holy Father of the Rhythm Guitar: and of course Our Lady Madonna.

After the show, that band asked me to tour with them as a massage therapist. I had to say no because I was very committed to the idea of finishing medical school.
I regretted that decision for a very long time. Luckily, I had the chance again almost 17 years later…



About the Author
unnamed (4) Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.
She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In Style, Marie Claire, Self, Shape, Fitness, DuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen. Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.

Visit Dr. Gabrielle Francis’ website

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Visit Gabrielle’s blog

Contact Gabrielle

The Rockstar Remedy is available at Amazon

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Nov 092015

Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN

on tour October 27-November 15

Backstabbing in Beaujolais

Backstabbing in Beaujolais

(cozy mystery)

Release date: November 19, 2015
at Le French Book

140 pages

ISBN: 9781939474537

Website | Goodreads


A business magnate calls on wine expert Benjamin Cooker to kickstart his new wine business in Beaujolais, sparking bitter rivalries. Can the Winemaker Detective and his assistant keep calculating real estate agents, taciturn winegrowers, dubious wine merchants and suspicious deaths from delaying delivery of the world-famous Beaujolais Nouveau?


This is the 4th book I’ve read in this series and I loved it as much as the others. It’s a quick read that transports you to the wine country in France. As usual, the characters are well developed and I thought it had a nice even flow.

There are roadblocks in the journey to get the wine business going, some of the townspeople don’t want them to succeed. There is a lot of drama and a murder, and it all makes this book worth the time spent reading it.

This is the 9th book in the series but it can be read as a stand alone. If you like books that take place in France, about wine or murder, this is a book for you.



Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen,
wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series
while sharing a meal with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.


Translator: Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.

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Nov 092015


Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle
by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing; First Edition edition (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600377483
ISBN-13: 978-1600377488

While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said,“Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any. On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing.

With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Oliviade Belle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms. The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt LottieMae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama. Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church,where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.


This is a collection of short stories and every one of them made me laugh out loud, chuckle or say “yep”. I’ve heard many of the southern phrases and the book had a familiar, comfy feel to it.

This is the second time I’ve read this book and it was just as funny as the first time. The author has a way with words and knows the south very well. I wouldn’t even know how to pick a favorite story, the are all my favorites. I plan on keeping this book nearby so that I can pick it up and read a random chapter whenever I need to lighten my mood.

Anyone who is looking for a light, feel good read would like this, and I recommend you get a copy.

Nov 082015

mmb-300x282 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, Leslie, Serena, 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.


The Thread That Binds by Alice Hayes
27037210 Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her. Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer… Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past. Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined. Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee? Five women, once strangers, form bonds. Set in modern day Georgia, this is the story of friendship that blossoms in the land of country music, sweet tea, and secrets kept locked tight behind closed doors. Moving, funny, and at times heartbreaking, The Thread That Binds is a lesson in empathy, strength, and the beauty of love.

An Old Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions For Hearth And Home by Ellen Stimson
24867319 With its trademark snow, piney forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling out of village chimneys, New England was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. It’s got your Christmas goose and the maple syrup with which to glaze it. It’s most of the reason author Ellen Stimson made Vermont her home. Here she shares recipes that have been in her family for generations, mixes up a cocktail or two, and invites readers to make their own traditions.

What If: Serious Scientific Answers To Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
21413662 Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It’s had over a billion page hits to date. A year ago Munroe set up a new section – What If – where he tackles a series of impossible questions: If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, in a pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? From what height would you need to drop a steak to ensure it was cooked by the time it reached the ground? What would happen if the moon went away? This book gathers together the best entries along with lots of new gems. From The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek and the songs of Tim Minchin, through chemistry, geography and physics, Munroe leaves no stone unturned in his quest for knowledge. And his answers are witty and memorable and studded with hilarious cartoons and infographics. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel the smarter for having read.

Nov 072015



I love lentils and don’t know why I don’t make them more often. When I saw this recipe @ South Your Mouth, I pinned it right away and added the ingredients to my cozi app under Shopping (if you haven’t tried this app, you should. It’s awesome!)

 Italian Lentil Soup with Sausage
15.5-oz bag Hurst’s Garlic & Herb Lentils
1.25 – 1.5 lbs. Italian sausage (I bought two packages of  this sausage and used 6 links)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced celery
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water

Remove casings from sausage (if applicable). Brown and crumble sausage over medium to medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot until cooked through (take care not to let the pot scorch or burn). Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot and set aside.

Add olive oil, carrots, onion and celery to pot and sauté until onions become translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Take a picture so you can show your friends you just cooked a classic French mirepoix. Boom.

Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water, lentils (with seasoning packet) and sausage to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Turn off heat and let soup rest, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.

So did we like it?
You know when you take the first bite of something you pretty much know whether you’re going to like it, love it, or not like it at all? Well, when I took my first bite of this soup, I thought I wasn’t going to like it. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten soup with sausage in it and it threw me off. It didn’t taste like chicken :). That’s what I usually have in soup. But a few spoonfuls in and I was really loving it and am glad I made it. There was plenty left for dinner the next night and for my son to take to work. Like I said, I love lentils and this soup is a great way to make sure I eat them more often. My son thought it was good too, so it’s going on my dinner rotation list.

Just an FYI, if you decide to try this keep an eye on the liquid. After cooking it for the 40 min. it was a bit low so I added more chicken broth/water. My son likes his soup not so soupy and always uses a slotted spoon to get his soup out of the pot, so I didn’t have to add much.


wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads