Aug 032015


The Fall Of Icarus by N. R. Bates

Paperback: 66 pages
Publisher: NR Bates Publishing; 1 edition (March 31, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0993190588
ISBN-13: 978-0993190582

Three interconnected short-stories set in Paris explore the issue of choice, survival and transformation. In the first story, a young man on his first business trip is waylaid by an aberrant elevator. In the pivotal tale, a young scientist re-imagines the Greek myth of Icarus and his fall to earth. In the final story, a young woman who cannot recall her own name relates the fantastical tale of a girl who can fly.


This book has three short stories, The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl.

My favorite was The Elevator because the main character is claustrophobic and so am I. I could feel his fear as the elevator lurched and suddenly stopped. This elevator was quite old and when the doors opened he is always in different places, encountering people and situations that were not what he expected. It’s up to him as to what happens from there.

The other two stories are interesting too. The book is really short and can be read quickly. I love short stories and this book did not disappoint me. I also liked the writing style of the author. There were no lulls in the story and that made the book flow well.

If you like short stories, I think you’ll enjoy this book.


A1bh3vQHywL._UX250_ NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences.

Follow him on Twitter | on Facebook

Buy the book | on |


Global giveaway open internationally:
5 participants will each win a digital copy


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Friday, July 31
Spotlight + Giveaway at Words And Peace

Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Saturday, August 1
Review + Giveaway at Book Nerd

Monday, August 3
Review + Giveaway at I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Tuesday, August 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, August 5
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Fuonlyknew

Friday, August 7
Review + Giveaway at The Discerning Reader

Aug 022015


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.

First, I want to show you what I received from The Cozy Chicks Thanks Cozy Chicks!


Look at those bookmarks and the bookplate! I love them!

Next, I received these from Duffy Brown for joining her Street Team. Thanks Duffy!


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More bookstuffs, a pen and even a notepad with a note from Duffy herself!! And she even sent me an insulated bag.

Most women have a bunch of shoes. Not me. I collect 4 things. Lighthouse figurines and pictures,  beachy stuff, pens, and bags of all shapes and sizes. I’ll have to take some photos of them sometime and post them. I thought it was neat that she sent 2 of the 4 things I collect.

Now on the the books I received last week:

I won two books from Gina @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Thanks Gina!

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig
22571624 A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.


Bake Happy by Judith Fertig by Judith Fertig
22928863 Colorful, flavorful home-baked treats just say “happy,” and Bake Happyis all about adding a bit of joy back into your kitchen. A sweet baking book that will bring a smile to the dessert table, Bake Happy includes 100 recipes for cheerful cupcakes and cookies, bars and brownies, tarts and turnovers, and delicious cakes that are speckled, marbled, and striped.

This cookbook can be used year-round and will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul. Whether you’re in the mood for creamy chocolate, colorful cake layers, tasty cake batter, or special occasion desserts, you’ll find recipes for Citrus Glazed Sunset Cake, Rustic Cherry Pudding, Secret Filling Devil’s Food Cupcakes, and more. There are also various options for color and flavor combinations, and 30+ full-color photos throughout.


I won Pleasant Day by Vera Jane Cook from Ella @ Writer In Progress Thanks Ella!
25060793 With murder in common, friendship is inevitable.

In the town of Hollow Creek, South Carolina, two separate murders, fifteen years apart, unite fifteen-year-old Pleasant Day and sixty-year-old Clarissa Blackwell. As Pleasant Day struggles with her mother’s distance, her father’s infidelity and the death of her best friend, she draws closer to Clarissa, an older woman with the secrets to heal her. But Clarissa has struggles of her own as she faces betrayal and seeks to come to terms with old wounds. With her unpredictable psychic ability to ‘read people’ Clarissa uncovers the answers to a deadly crime and to Pleasant’s true identity. In the end, both Pleasant and Clarissa’s worlds are transformed by the truths they’re forced to accept, and both find solace and strength in the histories that have shaped them.


A Remarkable Kindness by Diana Bletter from TLC Book Tours
23460998 Through a largely hidden ceremony . . . four friends discover the true meaning of life

It’s 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva

and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles to make a home for herself in a foreign land thousands of miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after a divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women’s friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.


A Modern Way to Eat  by Anna Jones from Blogging For Books
41qIHa8w74L._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_ Packed full of delicious, healthy recipes that are quick and easy to make, A Modern Way To Eat is a totally modern take on vegetarian cooking.

How we want to eat is changing. We want to eat food that is a little lighter, healthier and easier on our pockets, without having to chop mountains of veg or slave over the stove for hours.

More and more people are looking to include vegetarian recipes in their life beyond a mushroom risotto or yet another red onion and goat’s cheese tart.

A Modern Way To Eat has over 200 recipes that are as simple to make as they are nourishing, satisfying and truly tasty. Based on how Anna likes to cook and eat every day, it covers everything from quick breakfasts to celebratory dinners, using different grains, nuts, seeds and seasonal vegetables whilst avoiding the usual vegetarian reliance on dairy, heavy carbs and stodge.


Laguna Nights (Laguna Beach #1) by Kaira Rouda  from Pump Up Your Books
laguna nights Madison Alcott left her Laguna Beach childhood in the past as soon as she could, never imagining she’d be forced to return. Caring for her ill mother and holding down a high-pressure position at the best resort in town, Madison’s life is as good as it could ever be in Laguna Beach. And blissfully, nobody knows her as Holly anymore, the name she used on television. Everything changes when her high school boyfriend appears in the lobby. He was the reason she’d left Laguna in the first place when he humiliated her on national television.

Josh Welsh’s star has been dimming ever since he shot to fame as the high school heartthrob on the reality TV series Laguna Nights. Hoping to reignite his career, he agreed to host a travel show, with the first episode shooting in his old hometown of Laguna Beach. Of all the negative scenarios associated with filming in Laguna, Josh hadn’t calculated a run-in with Madison, or that the same deep connection he felt for her in high school would still be there.

Madison and Josh’s reality TV relationship exploded years ago but when the new series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present.



The Rockstar Remedy by Gabrielle Francis, Stacy Baker from Pump Up Your Books
rockstar When we think of rock stars, we tend to think of extreme living: the infamous trinity of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. But the truth is, those myths are sexier than the facts. The best-kept secret of the music industry is that the majority of our rock & roll idols are committed to health—even when they party like, well, rock stars.

As a holistic physician and massage therapist to many of the music world’s elite, Dr. Gabrielle Francis knows this truth firsthand. Over the course of her career, she has helped some of the biggest names in the music industry look and feel great, despite an exhausting lifestyle that both demands discipline and welcomes overindulgence. In The Rockstar Remedy, she shares the program that has helped these stars repair, recover, and refuel so that they can perform at their best.

In many ways, the health obstacles facing Dr. Francis’s most famous clients are the same as those facing her everyday patients. Being overscheduled, sleep deprived, on the road, or occasionally eating or drinking to excess aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry—they are the same challenges we encounter all the time.

Aug 012015

Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor

This is the first recipe I tried from this book. I used cumin seeds as my aromatic (I was in a hurry when I took the picture and didn’t notice the bottle was turned backwards). I’d never tried pickling vegetables or any kind of canning, so this was fun. The veggies turned out good, but I think the next time I do this I’ll try garlic.

Sweet And Sour Pickle Brine
page 151

1 quart sugar
1/3 quart vineger (rice wine, Chardonnay, red wine etc)
1/teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoon aromatics (cumin seeds, garlic, rosemary) optional. I used cumin seeds (didn’t notice it was turned backwards when I took the picture)
Suggested vegetables: Cucumbers, radishes, trimmed green beans, thin slices of red onion

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Add the sugar, vinegar, and 2/3 quart water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Cook until the sugar has fully dissolved.
Remove from heat.

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Taste your pickling liquid. The vinegar should be strong enough to make the back of your throat tickle but not enough so that you cough.

Add the salt and pepper and taste for seasoning-you want just enough to round out the acidity of the pickling liquid and bring out it’s sweetness. Then add the aromatics.

Situate your produce in either four small (1 cup) or one large (4 cup) mason jar or another glass container with a tightly fitting lid. Make sure there is about 1 inch clearance between the produce and the top of the container.

Either pour the hot brine over your produce now or wait until it’s cooled, entirely submerging the produce and keeping 1/2 inch of clearance.

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Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

If your produce starts to have an almost carbonated taste, that means it’s beginning to ferment and should be thrown away. If your vegetables have turned black or brown, the pickles are ready to be tossed.


wkendcooking Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Jul 312015


Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

Hardcover: 258 pages
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing (May 5, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608091457
ISBN-13: 978-1608091454

2015 National Indie Excellence Award Winner for Best Suspense Novel

Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped…Alone…Terrified.

Now forget her…

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical―calculating― scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits―for the perfect moment to strike. Method 15/33 is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.

The agents trying to find a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?


Wow! This was quite a twist on a kidnapping scheme. The kidnapper was used to girls who were the epitome of victim, but when he kidnapped Lisa he grabbed the wrong girl. She could turn her emotions off and on at will. She had a keen eye and mind for the smallest detail, things almost everyone else wouldn’t take notice of. She was cold and calculating. And she was going to escape with her baby no matter what it took.

When she was thrown in the van he blindfolded her but she could still see since he didn’t tie it tight enough. She made sure to pay attention where they went so she’d know where she was taken and how to get back when she escaped. Once they got to where he was going to keep her, she decided to be the perfect victim. She said please and thank you and made him think she was going to be no problem at all. And that’s exactly what he thought. Boy was he wrong!

I’m really struggling on what to add, I don’t want to give anything away. There are so many twists and more characters come into the story. I guess I’ll finish with this was one of those books that I’ll remember for a very long time. It is probably going to be re-read a few times.

I’ve read a lot of books with a kidnapping theme, but this was so different that my mind is still trying to process it. Yes, other books have had the person kidnapped escape and get revenge but this book this character was even more manipulative than the kidnapper. This book reminds me of Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. Both are first novels for the authors. Both are about kidnappings. Both women get revenge. I loved Still Missing, but this book takes the main character to another level.

If you love books like this then get a copy now. It was amazing!



Meet The Author
shannon-kirk Shannon Kirk is a practicing attorney and a law professor. She attended West Virginia Wesleyan and St. John’s Universities, is a graduate of Suffolk Law School, and was a trial lawyer in Chicago prior to moving to Massachusetts. She has been honored three times by the Faulkner Society in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a physicist, and their son. Method 15/33 is her first novel.


Connect with the author: Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Purchase links: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Giveaway for a print autographed copy to a US or Canadian resident
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jul 302015

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Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom (Book 1: Kingdom Fantasy Series) by Nirit Littaney

Publisher: Nirit Littaney
Pages: 26
Genre: Children
Format: Kindle

Meet Candy, the cute girl who loves chocolate so much she dreams about it at night. Grab some sweets and follow Candy though a Magical Chocolate Kingdom that fills her belly and teaches her an important lesson about limits, after something very unexpected happens in the delicious empire.

Though the vivid illustrations are sure to make your mouth water, Candy’s new understanding is the real treat even you can munch on!

Excellent for beginner’s readers and children ages 3-6. Book 1 in the Kingdom Fantasy series.

Candy is an adorable little girl who loves chocolate as much as I do. But unlike me, she gets to live in a chocolate house, and everything inside including the water, is chocolate! How neat would that be? Well, it’s great for a little bit, but as Candy finds out, it’s not so great to overdo anything. Even chocolate. She soon ends up with a belly ache.

I think all children will love this book, it’s a fun story with a great message of too much of anything is bad for you.


Meet The Author
unnamed (2) Nirit Littaney is a fresh, imaginative author who weaves vivid images and important life lessons into endearing stories for children. After being confined to her bed for years by an incurable illness, Nirit experienced the same triumph of spirit that many of her characters undergo in their journeys through lands near and far.
Nirit’s commitment to personal and physical healing, along with her story-like travels around the world, have inspired her to pen inventive tales for families in search of humorous, insightful bedtime stories. She writes for children in hopes of making them giggle while they also learn a lesson or two.
Today, Nirit lives in Israel with her angel of a husband, who champions each of her new books as if he were the wide-eyed child she wrote them for. When Nirit isn’t dreaming up new characters, she works as a nutritionist, medical coach, and spiritual leader. She is eager to inspire and help others with the lessons her own challenges have taught her—and what better way is there than through books?

Connect with Nirit on Facebook and Twitter

Find out more about Nirit’s books at Goodreads





Hosted @ Booking Mama

Jul 282015


Dark Wine Waters by Fran Simone
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Central Recovery Press (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937612643
ISBN-13: 978-1937612641
One woman’s heartbreaking story of a marriage destroyed by her husband’s addiction to alcohol.

The dynamics of codependency are illuminated in this gripping tale. Author Fran Simone describes her husband’s attempts at treatment and subsequent relapse, his suicide, and her own recovery through a twelve-step program for families.


Alcoholism is a terrible disease and is very hard to overcome, and the author is painfully honest in telling her story. From the good times to the bad, and the horrible. She recounts the years with an alcoholic husband and tells us all the things both she and her husband did that helped or hurt their relationship, and the painful memories of her husband’s suicide.

I’ve only known one alcoholic, a friend (more like a sister) who married a man who later became addicted to alcohol. He could be the most friendly person ever and then once he started drinking was a total jerk. To her, no one else. It was painful to watch her go through that but thankfully she finally had enough and divorced him. Now she’s married to a wonderful man who loves her like she should be loved. This book brought back a lot of memories, most of them painful.

While the book is hard emotionally to read, the way the author tells her story is very gripping and you won’t want to put it down.

This would be a great book for anyone going through this ordeal, or knows someone who is going through it, to read.



Meet The Author
fran_simone_smaller-225x300 Fran Simone, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus from Marshall University in West Virginia. She is the former director of the WV Writing Project, a statewide affiliate of the National Writing Project, University of California at Berkeley. Her doctorate is from Duke University.

Her essays have appeared in The Voice and The Quarterly of the National Writing Project, the Charleston Gazette, Story Circle Network journal and anthology. Her blog posts have appeared online in Hazelden/Betty Ford. She is a regular contributor to The Addiction Blog and to the Psychology Today blog. She is a member of Story Circle Network, the National Association of Memoir Writers and West Virginia Writers, Inc. She conducts workshops on writing and speaks on addiction and recovery.

Honors: Featured author of the month, National Memoir Association, January, 2015.

Website ~ Facebook


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Jul 242015


Geared for the Grave (The Cycle Path Mysteries #1) by Duffy Brown

Series: A Cycle Path Mystery-First in Series (Book 1)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629532789
ISBN-13: 978-1629532783

Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it’s up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again…

Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss’s father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg and operating his bike shop, Rudy’s Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie’s good turn only leads to more trouble…

After Evie’s arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, Bunny’s brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny’s number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss’s good side, she’ll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer’s plan…

This was my first Duffy Brown book and I loved it! The setting was on an island and there are no cars…only bikes! Sounds like a perfect place to live! The author does an awesome job of making you “see” the town and it’s people. After reading this, I told my kids I want to take a vacation to Mackinac Island. Seriously!

I was caught up in the book from the first paragraph and never lost interest. I loved the town, the people, the way they interacted and the “Fudgies” were a hoot.

The book is full of mystery and twists as Evie searches for the real Bunny killer. I really enjoyed reading about the escapades Evie got into. She was of course my favorite character, but I also loved Rudy, Irma, Irish Donna, and Sutter. Even Evie’s mom,  Ann Louise Bloomfield, the sophisticated, prim and proper lawyer turned out to be quite the character…enter Carmen. And who would have thought that I’d have a soft spot for a member of the mob?

I absolutely loved this book and can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. Wait, I just thought of something. It ended.

I can’t wait for book #2 in this series, and I recommend Geared For The Grave to all book lovers. It had everything I love in a book.


Meet The Author
10929149_788088594561636_8759981557993096947_nDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

Blog ~ Facebook

Jul 182015


Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (April 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385345283
ISBN-13: 978-0385345286

A photographer (who happens to be an ex-restaurant cook) and an indie rock star (who happens to be an avid home cook) show you how to slow down your life by cooking beautiful, straightforward, but sophisticated, food for–and with–friends.

When he’s on tour with his band, Grizzly Bear, what Chris Taylor misses most about home is the kitchen and the company. With his friend Ithai Schori, he cooks dinner parties for four to forty, using skills Chris learned from his mom and Ithai picked up working at high-end restaurants.

Their food is full of smart techniques that make everything taste just a little better than you thought possible–like toasting nuts in browned butter or charring apples for a complex applesauce–but their style is laid-back and unhurried.

This is about cooking not just for, but with, your friends, and so the authors enlisted their favorite pastry chef, mixologist, sommelier, and baristas to write detailed material on wine, desserts, stocking a home bar, mixing drinks, and buying and brewing fantastic coffee.

Through more than 100 seasonally arranged recipes and gorgeous, evocative photographs of their gatherings you fall into their world, where you and your friends have all day to put food on the table, and where there’s always time for another cocktail in a mason jar before dinner.


Don’t you love the cover? I know I do. That’s what first drew me to the book. Then I read the blurb and was sold!

The contents are…  Introduction, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Then there are sections that cover Techniques & Terms & Handy Advice, Tools & Pantry & Shopping For Ingredients, the acknowledgments and the index. The Introduction tells us how the authors started cooking together etc.

Right after the Introduction there is there Chris’s Story, which starts with “I swear, my mom could smell when I was cutting an onion wrong. I first learned about cooking by hanging out in the kitchen with her, an amazing cook who learned from her mom. No matter how high the tree I had climbed at the park or how much I might have wanted to stay out with friends, I always came home in time for dinner. I was always there to help my mom cook- preparing vegetables and meat by her specific requests. When I did it wrong she’d always notice and would patiently ask me to do it again, telling me why were cutting things up a certain way and how different cuts cooked at different rates, which is why you wanted everything to be the same size”.

Ithai’s Story starts with “Oh man, I used to make some of the worst food when I was a kid. My parents would go out for the night and I would try to cook something for my brother and me. An ambitious kid in a kitchen is not a pretty sight, and there were definitely nights when my brother went to sleep hungry. I think he still has nightmares from that time. I tried to make a stir-fry. I thought all there was to it was grabbing everything in the fridge, stirring it together, and throwing some soy sauce on it. I was wrong. Really really wrong. But over time, I got better”.

Some of the recipes were ones I’d never heard of before like Whiskey’d Burrata Toast and Duck Confit & Tagliatelle. I learned a few things from reading this book, one of them was that pasta water is an underrated ingredient. It’s a classic Italian grandmother’s secret to reserve some of the pasta cooking water to give sauce a little more body. And you can also add it to any pasta dish that’s a bit dry. I think I’ll try that next time I cook pasta.

This book was a joy to read. I loved the recipes and the photos were beautiful. There are so many recipes in this book that I want to try, but I decided to start with a simple and quick one, and since I’ve never tried pickling anything I thought I’d start with Sweet And Sour Pickle Brine. I was going to make it last night but our a/c went out and I’m not standing at a hot stove. The a/c guy will be here this afternoon thankfully. Anyway, I’ll make the recipe and post the review next week.

I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Italian food or just loves cookbooks.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review


Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Jul 162015


Exile: Book 3 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

Category: YA Fiction, 164 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Dickson House
Release date: June 14, 2015
Content Rating: PG

3-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?

13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.

They escaped through dark tunnels and back alleys but they also discovered a hidden terror that now threatens their entire planet.

Two boys as different as two boys might be. Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other?

Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets?

This is book three in the Guy Erma and the Son of Empire series, and starts off where book 2 left off. I think these books could maybe work as stand alones, but I think it works better when you read them in order.

The book is packed with action and all kinds of obstacles, and you will not want to stop reading. There many good messages in the book like the importance of family, integrity, loyalty, friendship and being able to make quick decisions.

Like I said in my reviews of the first two books, I am not and have never been a fan of sci-fi, but this series is once of the few exceptions. Since the 3rd book left me with unanswered question, I’m hoping there is a book #4.

There is a glossary in the back which is very helpful since there are a lot of words I was unfamiliar with. Plus there are a few photos that I really thought added a better “picture” of the world I was reading about.

I think this book, and the other two in the series, would be great for anyone who loves YA and/or sci fi.

Meet the Author:
7907957 The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

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kidkonnection.jpgEvery Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children’s books. If you’d like to share a post related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please visit Booking Mama.

Jul 142015
Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert

Hosted by Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea
Share the first paragraph of the book you are currently reading
or thinking about reading soon.

Sloane gripped the steering wheel with clenched firsts as her mind darted furiously from one direction to the next. Had she remembered to pack absolutely everything Maddie would need at sleepaway camp? She’d included enough clean underwear for four weeks without laundry and had reminded her to reapply sunscreen every two hours and always after swimming. Naturally, her daughter had rolled her eyes in response to what Sloane perceived as responsible parenting. Still, aside from time spent at Grandma’s house, it was Maddie’s first time away from home for more than a few days. Sloane couldn’t help but feel anxious.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted @ A Daily Rhythm
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

page 58:
Copper was Luke’s oldest and closest friend, as well as one of nineteen grandchildren of the lat Marjorie Markman, the wealthiest woman in the Lake George area. Luke was the best man at Cooper’s over the top weeing to the woman he was, by the looks of his bare ring finer, no longer married to.

Jul 142015


Reader’s Workout is a weekly event where book lovers share their workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges. It is hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog 

I haven’t done very good at all this month. I’ve been on/off on my workouts and haven’t posted a Readers’ Workout once. And I feel…guilty? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I do miss posting about how I’m doing. I tried walking on the treadmill but my knee hurts afterward so I’m going to be doing Leslie Sansone’s Ultimate Walk. It has a 1, 2, 3, and 4 mile walk. I used to do it once in a while and really liked it. It was also easy on my knees and gives you a better aerobic workout since you use your whole body. I hope to keep consistent for the rest of the month and meet my goals.

So, here are my goals for the rest of the month:
240 minutes of aerobic workouts
8 strength/flexibility workouts
7 chi-gong/tai chi workouts
deep breathing daily
pray/meditate daily

I’m also going to focus on my eating and drinking:
meatless 5 days
cut back on carbs & sodium
80 oz. of water a day

Jul 122015


I’ve been tagged by Tina of Novel Meals.
If you aren’t familiar with her blog, check it out. It’s one of my favorites!

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
I read at my computer desk, in the living room sofa recliner. Oh, and sometimes at the dining room table.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Mostly bookmarks, but once in a while, while I’m in the middle of reading I’ll take a book to another room and forget the bookmark. Then I have to find a piece of paper, tissue or something to use. I’ve even been known to use my phone or iPad.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?
I can stop after a paragraph if I have to, but would rather stop at the end of a chapter.

Do you eat or drink while reading?
If I’m reading/listening on my phone, Kindle or iPad I might eat something. If it’s a physical book I won’t eat because I don’t want to mess the pages up. I drink water. Lots of water.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
I can handle the tv or music if the sound is low, but I usually don’t have either on.

One book at a time or several at once?
One at a time usually, but sometimes a mix of book, cookbook and/or audio book.

Reading at home or everywhere?
I read anywhere and usually do. My favorite place to read is at the beach with the sound of the seagulls and waves.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?
I read silently, but do love sharing quotes or sentences of a book I like a lot.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
I used to read the last paragraph of every single book I read. I stopped that though. It seems that can sometimes ruin the book.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I try not to break the spine but it’s impossible to never have it happen.

Do you write in your books?
No No No! Never have, never will!

I tag the following book lovers to answer the questions above:
Bookfan Mary
Stacy’s Books
Irene’s Desk
Under The Boardwalk

Jul 122015


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.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan ~ won from Drey @ Drey’s Library
22573879 In the bestselling tradition of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner, Jenny Colgan’s moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall

A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.

To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey–courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected–a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.
The Bali Mystery by Linda Weaver Clarke ~  review for the author
611F48hDlXL._SL300_Amelia Moore, founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves them. With the help of Rick Bonito, her sometime partner, her business is flourishing. When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified about why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.
I’m Not Her by Cara Sue Achterberg ~ review for the author
25246557 It was a Tuesday like any other. And then it wasn’t. A simple encounter at a supermarket changed Carin Fletcher’s and Leann Cane’s lives – literally. Suddenly Carin, a pretty, self-absorbed, underemployed college graduate, finds herself living as Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese checkout clerk, and vice versa.

Carin is at first horrified: she’s enormous, she can barely make ends meet, her husband is an abusive loser, and she’s saddled with the kid Leann had when she was a teenager. Meanwhile, Leann is initially thrilled: she’s escaped destitution, she looks like a model, and people treat her completely differently.

But as the days pass, it becomes clear that life isn’t clear-cut for either woman. Carin finds herself attaching to Trevor, Leann’s precocious son, and developing feelings for Jimmy, a fellow employee who treats her with the respect few others bother to give her because of her appearance. At the same time, Leann is living a life she’s always wanted in a body she’s always dreamed about, but that doesn’t mean that all of her problems have gone away…and a new one is emerging with Carin’s sometimes-boyfriend.

Both women are facing unknowable futures that neither could have imagined. Are they destined to live this way forever? And if so, where will it all lead?

A brilliant, nuanced, and surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the courses we are on, I’M NOT HER is a remarkably assured first novel that introduces a profound new storyteller.
Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! by Lisa Johansen ~ review for Pump Up Your Book
25843008 The Paleo. The Zone. The gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion dollar industry. But do these dies really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.
Where Christ Is Present by John Montgomery ~ review for iRead Book Tours
25739952 Five hundred years ago, the church of Jesus Christ underwent a Reformation. A lot happened after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. But the fallout was not simply the start of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church also recast itself in response to Luther’s call for reforms. And contrary to common belief, Martin Luther did not set out to start a new church. Rather, he was trying to reform the church that already existed by reemphasizing its essence—namely, the “good news” (the gospel) that Jesus forgives and saves sinners. The unity of the church was broken when the pope rejected this call for reform and excommunicated Luther, starting a chain of events that did lead to the institutional fracturing of Christendom and to a plethora of alternative Christian theologies. But, as many – including conservative Catholics – now admit, the church did in fact need reforming. Today, the church – including its Protestant branches – also needs reforming. Some of the issues in contemporary Christianity are very similar to those in the late Middle Ages, though others are new. But if Luther’s theology can be blamed – however unfairly – for fragmenting Christianity, perhaps today it can help us recover the wholeness of Christianity. The religious climate in the early 21st-century is simultaneously highly religious and highly secularized. It is a time of extraordinary spiritual and theological diversity. In the spirit of the anniversary we are observing, this book will propose the kind of Christianity that is best suited for our day. The remedies offered here are available by way of the same theology that was the catalyst for reforming the church five hundred years ago.
Riding by Cassia Cassitas ~ review for iRead Book Tours
25555151 Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational novel. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.

When he is born, André propels his mother’s life in a new direction, shifting her focus away from her professional aspirations. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn’t know when to come back home, strives to make him a worldly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete.

Together with his friends, he experiences disappointments and new beginnings. A doctor that builds robots, the daughter of a lonely teenager, and a retired athlete teach André how to overcome his limits and live his dream.

Set in Curitiba with breaks in Los Angeles, Seoul, Johannesburg and Soweto, Barcelona, ??Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, the narrative ends in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.

As a tribute to all those who choose to sign the next episodes of their lives, this book is about overcoming one’s self amid achievements, obstacles, love and heroism, written behind the scenes of life.
Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori ~review for Blogging For Books
25172798 A photographer (who happens to be an ex-restaurant cook) and an indie rock star (who happens to be an avid home cook) show you how to slow down your life by cooking beautiful, straightforward, but sophisticated, food for–and with–friends.
When he’s on tour with his band, Grizzly Bear, what Chris Taylor misses most about home is the kitchen and the company. With his friend Ithai Schori, he cooks dinner parties for four to forty, using skills Chris learned from his mom and Ithai picked up working at high-end restaurants. Their food is full of smart techniques that make everything taste just a little better than you thought possible–like toasting nuts in browned butter or charring apples for a complex applesauce–but their style is laid-back and unhurried. This is about cooking not just for, but with, your friends, and so the authors enlisted their favorite pastry chef, mixologist, sommelier, and baristas to write detailed material on wine, desserts, stocking a home bar, mixing drinks, and buying and brewing fantastic coffee. Through more than 100 seasonally arranged recipes and gorgeous, evocative photographs of their gatherings you fall into their world, where you and your friends have all day to put food on the table, and where there’s always time for another cocktail in a mason jar before dinner.

Jul 112015


The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine by Bennett Jacobstein Photographer:  Deborah L Jacobstein

Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: Ballpark Food Publications (January 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692336540
ISBN-13: 978-0692336540

Baseball is a game that is identified with food. We even sing about it at every ballpark during the seventh inning stretch: “….buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…” The famous song was written by Jack Norworth in 1908. From the early part of the twentieth century until the 1980s, classic baseball fare consisted mostly of hot dogs, ice cream, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. Then ballparks slowly began to sell new items. A proliferation of new food offerings during the 1990s was fueled by the opening of twelve new major league ballparks. Now, teams around the country sell a variety of exotic food as well as wide variety of hot dogs. The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine begins with the history of the first hot dog at a ball game and concludes with a culinary tour of all 30 major league ballparks. 100% of royalties from the sales of this book are donated directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties of California.

I have so many good memories of going to see the Cinncinnati Reds play when I was a kid and living in Columbus, Ohio. My brother in law would take all of to see the games and we loved it. This book brought back a lot of memories. The only ballpark I’ve ever been to is Riverfront Stadium, which was finished in 1970. The name was changed to Cinergy Field in 1996 and was sadly demolished in 2002.

Anyway, baseball is a sport that is loved by so many, and food, well, who doesn’t love food? This book brings these two loves together with a bit of history thrown in.

I was surprised by some of the new exotic food that ballparks are offering now. In a way, it made me kind of sad. What I think of when it comes to eating at the ballpark is hotdogs. Maybe I’ll go to another game sometime and try one of the gourmet foods they now sell.

The chapter that most interested me was Culinary Tour of the Major League Ballparks. In 2014 the author and his wife, who happens to be a food photographer, took a trip to each of the 30 major league stadiums to check out the food for the general ticket fans. I found that part of the book very fascinating.

There are photos throughout the book that are a great addition to the book.

This would be a great book for anyone who loves baseball or anyone who loves learning new info or trivia.

This is a short book at only 154 pages, but it’s packed with interesting facts and beautiful photos.

100% of royalties from the sales of this book are donated directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties of California.


Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Jul 102015


Geared For The Grave by Duffy Brown

Book Blogger Hop:
This Weeks question: If you are in a book club, where do you meet? A restaurant, someone’s home, the library? If you aren’t in a book club, why not?

I’m in a few online book clubs, but I live in the country so there are no book clubs around me other than at two different libraries. They meet at the libraries. I plan on moving to town soon and would love to join one where the meeting take turns at member’s houses.
Book Beginning:
While cowering in the back of a ferryboat, head over railing and losing my lunch in Lake Huron, it occurred to me that no matter how old I am, I want to impress my parents. Deep inside I’m just a kid yelling, Mom, look at me! No hands! Granted, this wasn’t exactly a look at me moment, but it’s what got me into this mess.

Who wouldn’t love a book that starts out on a ferryboat?
Friday 56:
“I’ve got plans,” Speed growled. “And you’re not screwing them up just ’cause you’re from the big city and think you know it all.  Bunny tried to mess with me and look where she ended up. Get me this shop, and no one gets hurt.”

Book Blogger Hop

Book Beginnings

The Friday 56

book blogger hopBB.Button Friday 56

Jul 092015


Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps by Carole Staveley

Are you frustrated with your current health condition? Have you been unable to get satisfactory answers? Do you wonder if there are solutions to your health problems that you might not be aware of? After conquering a chronic pain condition that stymied the medical establishment and left her struggling to remain active for 13 years, Carole Staveley regained her life and achieve something beyond her wildest dreams: an Ironman triathlon. Recognizing the years of unnecessary suffering in her own life, Carole’s mission today is to maximize your chances of overcoming perceived health barriers in the shortest possible time. This book will help you achieve new levels of wellness by helping you: Develop the mindset that empowers you to search for solutions and persevere through the ups and downs of your health improvement journey. Effectively build a health “team” of problem solvers eager to help you achieve your health goals. Identify, implement and evaluate various approaches that can contribute to improving your condition. Keep your healthy vision alive, no matter the challenges you face.

Carole Staveley takes her hard earned knowledge and puts it in this book so that you too can conquer your pain. She suffered for years and with this book gives you information so that you can begin to improve your health.

There are four sections in this book, and at the end is a “Conclusion”.
Section 1: Establish a Health Champion Mindset
Section 2: Build and Leverage Your Health Champion Team
Section 3: Persevere
Section 4: On Chronic Pain and Triathlons

Through these sections you’ll read how to set appropriate goals, select the right health professionals, fully implement potential solutions and more. It guides you step by step so that you can get your thoughts straight about your symptoms and how to go about setting up a plan that will help you the most. One of the things that I liked about the book was the information on selecting a doctor and surrounding yourself with positive people. I also liked the information in Section 4, chapter ten on what to or not to eat, supplements, hydration, strength training, yoga, massage, quality sleep and more. One of the things the author talks about is practicing gratitude. I always try to be grateful for everything in my life, I was glad to see this in her book. I think a positive attitude is very important to your health.

There are quotes throughout the book, one of my favorites was:



Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.
Denis Waitley



This book is packed with information that is easy to understand. It was much more in depth than I was expecting.

It you or anyone you know has chronic pain, I would highly recommend this book.

Meet The Author
unnamed (1) After suffering 13 years of debilitation caused by a chronic myofascial pain condition, Carole Staveley realized there was no “magic bullet” coming to her rescue. She took charge of solving her health challenges and went on to complete an IRONMAN triathlon in 2013. Carole’s book, Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps, takes you through her proven 9-step Health Champion approach to suffering less and achieving more. Carole Staveley is President of Inner Victory Coaching, an organization she founded to empower others to become their own Health Champions and reach their full potential.

Connect with the author:   Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Buy the book: Amazon ~ Chapters-Indigo ~ Barnes & Noble

For more info and other tour participants, go here



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