Book Reviews

  • Fooling Around with Cinderella

    Fooling Around With Cinderella

    After all the holiday craziness (and family drama), are you needing something fun, fluffy and enjoyable to read? Then Fooling Around with Cinderella is the perfect story for you. It is sweet, simple and a great read.

    It has everything that is needed for a perfect after holiday break that you need before jumping into the rest of the winter holidays. The characters are well developed. Everyone from the main characters, to her sister, to the rest of the staff, even her niece has a full personality. It was so refreshing to have such a great set of characters. The story moves along at a great pace. It certainly doesn’t dawdle, but let you stick around in each scene long enough to get a great feel of it and be ready to move on. While it has a pretty easy to see coming story line, it is still a nice read.

  • V-Girl- A Dystopian Love Story

    VGirl- dystopian love story

    Where to start with this story? It is a dystopian love story. As with most dystopian books, it is a hard read. The author’s writing style is a fast paced and straight to the point. She certainly does not waste any words on fluff. The subject matter is what I found hard to read. In a land where rape is legal (as long as it is done within the rules that have been set up for sanctioned rape) and virginity is a commodity to be traded or taken away, there were certainly scenes that made me cringe a bit.

  • Book Review- “The Riddle”

    When was the last time that you read a book that you not only could not put down, but stayed up way past bedtime to finish? When was the last time that you were so tuned into a book, that you forgot to get dinner started and everyone had to eat super late? When was the last time that you were bummed when a book ended cause you needed more?

    the riddle book review

    Well if it has been a while, then I have the perfect book for you. The Riddle. It was that book for me. Simply put, I could not put this book down. It was funny, the hubby went to bed, and I was up well past midnight reading this in the dark on my iPad. I just had to finish it. While the book itself was a romance (in my opinion), there was certainly a dark cloud that hung over it. I mean it is about a boy who went to prison for a murder that he did not commit, kinda hard to make that a happy story.

    From the Back of Book-

    “Seven years ago Kort Eriksen went to prison for killing his girlfriend Desiree. Now he’s back in Riddle and some people think he got off easy. Others, including long time friend Norma, think he was railroaded because he’s the only Native American in town. Grace Donahue is running away from her past. Trapped in Riddle until her car is repaired she develops a friendship with Kort. Suddenly accidents are happening and people are dying. Is Kort adding to his list of victim’s or has someone else taken the reins? As mysteries from the past rise to the surface, more questions will be raised. The suspect file grows as victim’s fall. Is Desiree’s killer back for more or is someone trying to avenge her death? The riddle of Riddle will be solved, but how many bodies will it take to find the answers?”

    A few side words (and potential spoilers)- first, there was no hugely bloody, violent scenes. While the story is based on the murder, it is not gruesome (which some in the genre feel they need to be overly gruesome). There is a big fight scene but it was not to bad, violence wise. Second, while there is sex; it is not very detailed. It more leads you down the start of this road, then it picks back up after the fact with them in bed.

    While I was able to figure out the murderer about two thirds of the way in, I was not able to see the final plot twist at the end. It completely creeped my out, to be honest. Without giving to much away, be sure to read the entire book. You don’t want to miss the last few pages. The book is only $3.99, there is no reason not to download it today. Click here for all the details.

    What is your favorite type of book? Do you read murder mystery and/or thriller subjects? Let me know what your thoughts are.

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  • The Nest

    the nest

    From the Back of Book: 

    “A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

    Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

    Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

    This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.”

    My Thoughts

    I feel so much better about my family after reading this. The Plumb family has dysfunction down to a science and that is exactly what makes you want to root for them.

    The characters are unbelievably real. The sibling rivalry is what everyone with a sibling feels. Yet just like in real families, they love each other more than anything. And would do anything for each other. The family drama is what most families feel at some point. These are the points that make you fall in love with each of the siblings. Their faults you adore, their tone talking to each other you can relate to, and the love between them all you can feel.

    This book will have you cheering, will have you laughing out loud and at times a bit sad. A must read for anyone who has thought that their family was the most hysterically dysfunctional family on the planet.

    What do you think about family drama, do you like books written about it or do you have enough in your family?

  • Tacos Tacos and More Tacos

    I love tacos. And not in that once in a while a taco sounds yummy kinda of way. But in a I could live on tacos and be completely happy about it. There has been more then a time or two where I started my day with egg tacos for breakfast, then had chicken tacos for lunch and ended the day with shrimp tacos. I simply cannot get enough.

    When I was asked to review Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman’s book “Tacos Recipes and Provocation” I was beyond excited. There may have been jumping and squealing. I could not wait to get my hands on this book, and let me tell you that it did not disappoint.

    Once it arrived, I opened the box and stood in awe of this beautiful book. After taking it out, even the book smelled of spices. (And yes I made everyone in my family smell it to make sure that I was nor just imagining it) It is a thick, heavy, hard back with all the writing almost engraved into the cover. It makes a beautiful addition to any kitchen.

    I was surprised at the detail that went into this book. It goes over so much more then just tacos. It covers tortillas, salsas, chiles and more. The inspiration here was overwhelming. After reading it, all in one sitting and driving my family nuts talking about tacos, I made a grocery list of everything that I was going to need to make tacos; complete from scratch, and off to the store I went.

    tortilla fail

    Well to say it was a disaster would be a bit dramatic. But, there were no fresh from scratch tortillas for my tacos. We will have to try and attempt that again at another time. Quite possibly with margaritas. The rest of the meal was simply amazing. We did the grilled shrimp tacos from the book, substituting avocados with pineapple (we are not a green eating family over here). The simplicity in the taco did not take away from the flavor. Living here in the southwest, we are no stranger to spicy mexican food, and these were just as good as any restaurant tacos I have ever had. That is saying a lot, since cooking is not one of my strongest suits.

    If you are looking for a great book on a singular topic to add to your collection, this would hands down be the best one that I have read.

    Do any of you guys share my taco love here? Would you buy a book only on tacos? Are you willing to try variations of the classic ground beef taco (which we learn in the book are not something that you would actually ever find in Mexico)?

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  • Peach Of A Pair

    A Peach of a Pair 2

    A Peach of a Pair

    About the Author

    Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

    Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

    As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

    Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley/NAL/Penguin; Flirting with Forever, She’s the One, Just in Time for Christmas, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

    About the Book:

    “Palmetto Moon” inspired “The Huffington Post” to rave, It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find. Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

    April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

    Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

    Book Excerpt:

    “Dear Nettie,

    It might seem cruel to send this letter along with a proper invitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to call you, and I wasn’t given much notice regarding this matter. I also know you well enough to know you would have to see the invitation to truly believe it. Although I do regret not having enough time to have them engraved.

    I’m sorry to be the one to give you the news about Brooks and Sissy. I love you, Nettie, and I love your sister. I’m not condoning her behavior or the fact that she is in the family way, but you are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond, not even Brooks.

    There’s money and a bus ticket paper-clipped to the invitation. I’ve checked the schedules. You should be able to leave Columbia on Thursday the week of the wedding after your morning classes and get back by Sunday night. I know how you hate to miss class, and if you are also missing some wonderful end-of-the-year party, I’m sorry. So very sorry.

    But the milk has been spilled, Nettie. Come home and stand up with your sister. She needs you. She’s a wreck, and it makes me worry about the baby.

    Just come home.

    Love, Mother”

    My Thoughts

    Where to start on this amazing book. I loved all the relationships. Nettie and her classmates, the sisters, Nettie and each sister (both relationships were so very different), Nettie and her family, the sisters and the young doctor. They were all so very real. They were complex like all relationships.

    The book at times had me laughing out loud. The commentary between the sisters was perfect. It is exactly what and how sisters would say things to each other.

    There was love, romance, humor, heartbreak. Everything that is needed for a deep book was here. Not one to be missed.

  • Stop The Diet.. I Want To Get Off

    Stop the Diet 2

    If you are looking for a book to help you eat healthier, then this is the book for you! This book is straight forward, easy to read, and best of all, contains a lot of common sense. It is written in a way that you can follow, and you can understand the reason behind her ideas. It debunks “fad-diets”, cause lets be honest, we all have tried at least one at one point in time. She explains why they don’t work.

    From the Back of the Book-

    “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 industry. But do these diets 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.”

    My Thoughts

    Once the book debunks all the fad diets, it goes into what is healthy. The only tips that I personally didn’t like is that it says to choose low fat/no fat options. While I get those have less fat and calories, they are not really a healthier option. Even with that, I loved how this book broke apart food labels. It finally explained it in a way where the lightbulb turned on, and I actually understood it. I love how she broke down calories, and really explained them in detail. It has tips for eating out, which is helpful for a busy family.

    It has a great section on exercise. I loved (and hated) how it showed examples of food, and that it would take to burn them off. My two slices of pepperoni pizza would cost me 2.5 hours of yoga. So not cool.

    The only item that I wish that it had; recipes. While I know that this is not a cook book, it would have been nice to have an example or two putting all these ideas together. But other then that, it really was a great reference point.

    Which fad-diets have you tried? Were you able to get any success from them? Did the success continue once you stopped? Do you read health books?

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  • Time Conquers All


    I honestly don’t even know where to start with this review. There is simply nothing not to love about this book, about the author, about her personal story, or the fact that she is another Arizonian. Everything is spot on, it is running on all cylinders, and all signs point to yes. Lets start with the book itself.

    From the Back of the Book

    “Time-travel romance based in the late 1500’s in the India region of the world. Epic romance with a warrior princess meeting the love of her life. Unfortunately, he’s an American soldier from the 1960’s and the king from a neighboring country. This is book one in the “time series.””

    Okay so the back of the book doesn’t give away much. You have Tamea, the princess; who also is the youngest warrior in her country. Then we have King Parker who shows up, but he may not be who he says he is. There is magic, there is romance, there is plot twists that you won’t see coming, there is time travel. There is nothing not to like.

    It is exceptionally well written. The characters unfold to perfection. You get to know each of them, know their strengths and weakness, each one of them you will get to know inside out. And just when you think that you know everything there is to know about them, you get a little zinger with new information. The setting is well laid out, she really does a great job of showing you where it all takes place. Yes there are a few historical inaccuracies, but come on, do you really know what life was like in the 1500’s? Nope, I didn’t think so.

    Let me put this out there, I am in no way a fan of sci-fi, I am not really into time travel; and this book was so amazing that I couldn’t get enough. And at the Kindle price of only $0.99 it is one that you should certainly read. Like now! Be prepared to curl up with a blanket, a cup of tea, and dive into this story.

    About the Author

    P.J. Hultstrand is a genuinely nice person. She is helpful, encouraging, and a wealth of information. That she is willing to pass on to newbie authors/bloggers like myself. After getting her book, and reading the preface, she is also an open book. I love how she explains how this book was started, what triggered it to be finished, and how her characters changed based on the changes that she was encountering in her personal life. Not only do we get to know the characters in her books; she opens up and lets us see who she is.

    Do you read sci-fi or time traveling books? So you like knowing about the author’s personal life or are you a dive into the story alone, type of reader? What are your thoughts about books that have modern day characters traveling back in time? Let me know.

  • Capture The Moment

    Capture the Moment

    What a beautiful book. Every page is beautifully laid out. There is a great mix of black and white, as well as, colored photos. There are pictures of children, of details, of shadows, of non-living things, basically there are pictures of everything. It really inspires you to grab your camera and get snapping.

    From Back of Book

    “This modern guide to photography pairs big, bold images with short, focused tips for translating everyday life into stunning works of art. Featuring contributions by the members of Clickin Moms, the photography industry’s largest social network of female photographers, this guide captures the beauty of family life—whether it’s a child’s unfinished bowl of cereal or a sunlit trip to the lake. With tips progressing from elementary to advanced, this book is perfect for amateurs and professionals alike, covering equipment, composition, posing, low light, natural light, black and white, still life, and lifestyle photography. Assignments for experimenting with lighting and shooting locations round out the chapters, providing photographers with both the inspiration and skills they need to document those unforgettable, frame-worthy moments in time.”

    Overall Thoughts

    While this book is beautiful, and perfectly priced at only $21.99, I felt like it was missing the boat a bit. If you are already an amateur photographer then this is perfect for you. It will give you a fantastic platform to jump off of and grow your ability. However, if you are like me, then this book is slightly out of your grasp. While it has an amazing tips and ideas, it doesn’t tell you how to actually achieve these photos. It does a great job of getting the inspiration flowing, without the knowledge of how to configure the shot, your photos still are a bit flat. Even with that said, I would recommend this book for your coffee table. It is a lovely art book, beautifully bound, with a heavy hardback cover.

    Do you buy books for your coffee table? Do you like photography books that assume you know something about composition and cameras? Or do you prefer one that starts at the beginning?

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  • Yell and Shout and Cry and Pout

    Yell and Shout 2

    From the Back of the Book:

    “Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in helping children identify and understand their emotions. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.”

    My Thoughts:

    Did everyone see the movie Inside Out? It was probably one of the best kid movies that deal with emotion. My kids loved the way that each of the emotions were shown as a person; how they work together to make you, well, you. After watching it, all three of my girls wanted (and demanded to know more about their emotions. In particular what other emotions that they have.)

    It was the perfect timing for the book Yell and Shout and Cry and Pout by Peggy Krugertietz Ph.D. to show up on in my mailbox. Immediately the girls opened it up and started to explore their emotions.

    They loved learning more about their emotions that they learned about in Inside Out: Anger, Sadness and Disgust. Then they were thrilled to learn about the emotions that they know well: Happiness and Love. Last, there were new emotions: Fear, Shame, Surprise. After the initial reading they have gone back and looked through it. Even asking each other when they have felt certain emotions.

    They really did enjoy this book. Not in a “story at bedtime” type of way. But in a “lets look through it together” type of way. With the book sitting at $13 for a paperback, I think that it is a good book to have in your kids bookshelf. At the very least, it would be a reference book for them when they are feeling something without quite knowing what it is.

    What about you guys. Do you keep reference books for your kids, or just story books? Is this something that you would have in their bookcase? What do you think of the price point ($13 for a 40 page book)?


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