Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: French Romance Cooking Class by Beth Mathison

Short Story Review:
French Romance Cooking Class:
A Young at Heart Story
By Beth Mathison
Untreed Reads

This short story is a quick read that is well written.  You feel like you are a part of the cooking class as an observer.
There are three couples in the story, a newlywed couple,  a couple in their twilight years and our main characters, Frannie and David, who are in the middle.  The story takes place at a French Cooking Class, where the Chef teaches how to cook a three course meal while teaching about love.  I love who the author threads insight from the newlyweds and from the older couple, teaching Frannie and David about love throughout the class. 
Throughout the class, our main couple struggles through the class: no wanting to touch or eat oysters, getting behind in the soup and duck courses and floundering through the potatoes; however, they do it together and with each other’s help.  This is a couple that does everything together and loves it all.
This is a cute and quick read, at 14 pages.  It can be read quickly in a commuter ride and leave you feeling good.  I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys chick lit, as it is a romance without all the details of a sex life.  It would be safe for preteens to read as well.
Well written, well enjoyed!  I can only wish that this was longer as I enjoyed it so much!
5 stars!

Book Review: True Medical Detective Stories by Clifton K. Meador, M.D.

I was excited to receive this book for review.  I am trained to be a RN and I love medical stories.
This well written book tells the stories of 18 different medical detective stories that Dr. Meador has either been involved in or has researched and learned about.  At the end of the book, he has the proof to back up all the stories, which I appreciate.

What I love about this book is that it doesn’t dumb anything down.  Dr. Meador uses medical terminology to label what the body part is, the bruising and other common medical words to help describe the story.  He uses the terminology so freely and unpretentiously, that it aids in his story telling.  This is a book that can easily be read by a non-medical person.

Another thing that I like is that in his story telling, the doctor gives nurses the credit that they deserve! For example, in one story, the nurse recognized the wound, treated it and was able to teach the doctor.  As a nurse, I loved that this story was included in the book.  Yes, it was a medical detective story, and the detective this time was a nurse.

Dr. Meador is a master story teller and this shows in his work.  In a few pages, he can tell you the story, the medical background and the medical findings.  I enjoyed that he wrapped up his stories with a teaching moment, what studies have shown or to describe in more detail the medical examination.  I appreciated this in his story of a school teacher and her class who collapse and it turns out to be a mass psychogenic illness.  He adds up to date information, including a recent long term study in Upper NY.

I only wish that this book was longer, as I enjoyed it so much.

This is a necessary read for anyone who likes to watch reality medical television shows, as each chapter is its own story, which is alike to what is seen in one of those shows. It can be a fast read, as I read it under three hours.  Perfect for rainy day read or an evening by the fire.
Well written, well enjoyed!
5 stars!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review: Girl in the Glass by Zoe Brooks

Book Review: Girl in the Glass By Zoe Brooks
Published by White Fox Book
Found on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Goodreads

This intellectual work of fiction is about Anya and her Shadow, Eve.  It is a tale of survival against all odds in an unforgiving, unloving desert.
The reader first meets Anya, already orphaned by her parents, living with her paternal Aunt and Uncle.  We learn that Anya is an unwelcomed part of the household, often taking blame and punishment for acts that she has not done.  It is one of these acts that boost her goal of getting out of the household, which she does, thanks to her Shadow.  Eve and Anya travel alongside of the main road, however, not on the road, in fear of being detected.  With help of “Frank”, the girls make it to the big Northern City, and change their names to make survival easier.  Life there is not easy, and taking jobs that each of them don’t like leads them to the “King” who woes Rosa (Anya) and makes her his.  Through this destructive relationship, Rosa’s strength and determination are beaten down until she escapes again.  It is not until our heroine meets Alma and through knowledge and learning, Rosa grows and gains herself back.

I am glad to learn that this is only book one of a saga, as when I was done reading it, I wanted more! This is a coming of age story that is so much more.   I fell in love with Anya and was cheering for her happiness throughout the book.  I was happy when she fell in love with a boy at her work; I was saddened by her abusive relationships, shocked at her treatment by her own family.   I loved that this story was based in the desert, something that I knew very little about and learned more about as I read the story.  I love to read fiction and learn at the same time.  This book was well thought out, well researched as evidenced by the knowledge that is shared with the reader in regards to the healing plants of the desert and customs related to the people who live there. 

This is a great book for someone who is looking to escape reality, and be taken away.  I feel that people who are looking for a strong heroine should read this book, as throughout the story, whatever our heroine is doing or is being done to her, she is enduring it.  It is a book about a relationship that is never taken for granted with Anya and Eve- how two people can connect and prosper together. 

Recommended for a good weekend read.
4 stars!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

Wow, I am so thrilled to have been nominated by my fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you Kristen of Home is where the book is!  

There are a few rules one one must follow before accepting the award and they are as follows:
  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging.
  2. Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award.
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself. 
  4. Thank the blogger who has nominated you. 
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.   
7 Random facts about me: 
1. I am the proud Mommy of the most wonderful three cats: Buddy, a domestic long hair who is Alpha Cat; Bella, a domestic short hair who steals everyone's heart, and Marmalade, the playful one.
2.I am addicted to buying books!
3. I just started  blogging and I love it!
4. I love the Food Network.
5.My favorite show of all time is Big Bang Theory.
6. I love to cook with other people, for other people.
7. I am obsessed with playing Smurf Villiage on my phone.

And the nominees for Versatile Blogger Award goes too.... 

Thanks again to Kristen for the nomination!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: Guarding the Healer by Gabriel Beyers

Guarding The Healer
Gabriel Beyers
Smashwords Edition
May 2011

This is a novel that is along the line of paranormal/ spiritual world literature.  It follows the spiritual world battles and the physical world battles of Silas, a young man who knows about suffering in the physical world and how he grows into his spiritual gift. 

The author takes the reader from Silas’ baptism into the church, to his first spiritual world fight and learning what his gift is and how he uses it.  The reader sees Silas grow into his gift and his gift’s limitations in the physical world, while being introduced to the angels that are involved in this.  Angels, Demons and their counterparts are all involved in the characters lives, and this is well written into the story.  Silas is joined in the story by his  gentle Aunt, his horrible Uncle, his friendly cousins, his loving wife Hannah, their friend Hope, a stranger turned into friend Tommy and few more colorful characters. 

This is a well written piece of fiction.  I loved how the author would describe a scene in the physical world and then in the next chapter he would describe the same scene but in the supernatural world.  The reader learns to love and cheer for Silas, the main character, in the first few chapters.  I enjoyed how the story played out for a few years in Silas’ life, not just a snapshot of him here and there.  I found this book easy to read, hard to put down and engaging. 

This is a book that causes one to think, to reflect and to carry on after reading as a new person. It would be a great read for someone who already has a basis in the supernatural world and knows what takes place in the spiritual world.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Frank Pretti.  This would be a good weekend read- read by the lake and just devour it .

 My final impression: A wonderfully written, well laid out story with great description and detail.  Would make a wonderful movie!

5 stars!

Friday, July 13, 2012

And I did it my way…Being Independent

Definition: Free from outside control; not depending on another's authority
Synonyms: free - substantive - self-contained – self-sufficient

I am an independent woman.  It’s how I was raised.  My mother was independent yet interdependent in her relationship with my father.  She was the one that had to make all the decisions as Dad was on the road, working.  She was able to become more independent once she returned to work from being a stay at home Mom.  She is my example of a independent woman.

I have seen women who had dreams, inspirations and desires that all seem to disappear when a man came into the picture.  I chose not to be one of those women.  I believe in the equality of women, that we are equals with our male counterparts.  I believe that I can pull my share, and that my spouse can as well. J is amazing at this- he will let me take him out for a meal or a date without feeling bad about it.  I like it when he does it for me, so why not?  I work; I pay my share of the bills.  If I had to ask to buy clothes, a book or even groceries, that would drive me nuts.  If I had to seek permission to even go for a quick bite with a friend on a spur of a moment- I’d go insane for sure.  This does work for some women, and I applaud them for it. This doesn’t mean that if something that I plan to do will hurt J that I would do it anyways- that’s just respect.

Have I always been this way? No… I only found my worth as being someone’s girlfriend, someone’s buddy.  It took lots of heartbreak (some that took years to get over), hard work and necessity to become who I have become.  I wasn’t going to return home to my parents unless I absolutely had to, I was going to make it in the Wild, Wild West.  There was a time that I was fired from my job and to borrow money, however, I was able to keep my apartment and made the next month’s rent without a hitch.  It’s okay for an independent woman to ask for help.  It’s not okay for an independent woman to continually ask for help, that is what makes her dependent.

We are all interdependent. We rely on each other for survival, for emotional support, and for our interconnectedness.  This is different than being dependent- it is how we are connected with the universe.

How can I become more independent?  First, start with who you are.  Learn to love that person. You can be able to defend yourself to critics when they pop up, if you know who you are. You will also be able to be there for friends who need to be given support.  Become financially independent; get working, get your own bank account, save money and pay your own bills.  Get rid of the negativity in your life: the people, the ways, and the thoughts.  Insert positive people, thoughts, and ways of living.  Start getting out on your own- doing your own activities, join clubs, go to meetups without your spouse.  Meet your own friends. Make mistakes and grow from them.  Think independent, act independent and eventually, you will make it on your own.

Remember Mary’s character in The Mary Tyler Moore Show?  I grew up knowing that I can live in my own apartment, work at my own job, and have my own friends.  Thank You Mary! (and for Grandpa who let me stay up to watch Nic At Nite with him!)

Be your own woman!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Gettin' Back to Happy

Gettin’ Back to Happy
By Valerie Albarda
Review Copy

Gettin' Back to Happy

Getting’ Back to Happy by Valerie Albarda is a 365 day signet of “Happiness is…”  These daily reminders on how to be happy and reasons to be happy, remind us that family, pets, food, friends, work, travel and life in general all have a part of our happiness.  Happiness happens to those who look for something to be happy about.

In the year we learn about the writer as well as her reasoning to be happy that day.  For example, in the dark and dreary winter months, she found happiness when her coat and her dog’s coat matched.  We learn about her husband, the Flying Dutchmen, and can celebrate with her when he comes home from business trips and share the mixed emotions of seeing him go off.  We see the struggles that the author deals with and how thinking positive at least once a day, can help you get through.

I really liked this book.  I was able to get lost in the story that seems to develop from the diary excerpts and the daily “Happiness is” statements.  I found myself laughing with the author when she describes something funny that has happened (like “Happiness is being told that you look like a million bucks when you feel like a buck fifty”), and I was sad when the author shared her story of a friendship that ended.  The author shares her faith in God along the way, sharing that spiritual side of her, in a very proper manner.

This book would make a great present for someone who is lost in a depression, is ill, in hospital or just needs to find something to make them smile.  It would be a great book to read while traveling, waiting in a waiting room, sipping a fine cup of coffee… as you can pick it up and put it down without losing the meaning of the author’s story.  There is something for everyone in this book.

4 stars  out of 5!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review: Missing by Suzanne D. Williams

Book Review: Missing
by Suzanne D Williams
Christian Fiction

Missing is a story of three wars and two families that were affected by the wars.  This story tells the tales of the Sanders and Davis families during the Civil, WW2 and Viet Nam.

It starts out with heartache just after the Viet Nam war.  Adele goes to the City to hear a solider speak on the War and meets Stephen there.  Through finding love, salvation and the truth of her husband, Adele heals from the War.  We, the reader, are reminded of Psalm 23, about goodness and mercy.

The reader is then sent back to the 1800’s and to the Civil War to meet Old Man, Hungry, Elizabeth and a few more characters.  We are shown examples of misery that wars bring, and how family loves each other regardless.   Continuing on the Psalm 31 theme, this storyline shares the woes and troubles of walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Our novel ends with the WW2 and the story of Molly, Red, and Doug.  These three characters get caught up on in a long distance love triangle as Doug is in France, working as a paratrooper- while Molly and Red are back home.   We are shown forgiveness, the true meaning of love and unfailing acceptance.

A theme that runs through all three stories in this book is prayer, and it’s healing powers.  In the Viet Nam story, we learn that prayer helps heal broken hearts and helps us find our way.  In the Civil War, prayer helps hold a family together.  In the WW2 story, prayer cleans the soul and strengthens relationships.  It is not the act of prayer that accomplishes this, it is God that hears and acts on the prayers, as he seems fit.

I enjoyed this book- it felt like three mini books in one.  The characters are ones that the reader can relate to and can see their struggles.  My favorite story was the love story in the Viet Nam War storyline.  I was able to connect with Adele on a personal level and was pulling for her throughout her story.

This is a good read! **** stars!  It would be a perfect book for someone that doesn’t have the time or attention span to sit and read a full book all at once, due to the three stories in one volume.  A reader can read a story, set down the book and pick it up to start the next story without missing a beat!  If the reader enjoys authors such as Janette Oake, you will enjoy this book by Suzanne Williams.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


My Not So Ordinary Life  By Christine Rice
Autobiography, 2012.

This is the author’s life story from age 2 to 28, growing up and coming of age.   She describes her childhood, troubled teen years and her adulthood.  She describes her ups and her downs, her regrets and her accomplishments.  I love that she shared parts of her story that other authors would not: her mental health, her relationships and her other dark secrets.
I would have loved to have read more detail in her story.  As another review said (after I had already read the book) that it feels that she is only giving a summary of what her true story is.  I agree on this.  I would have loved to learn what she felt, dreamt, tasted, and experienced in the mental hospital for example.  I would have liked to get the detail on why she fell in love with her husband and chose him to settle down with for life.
This is a real quick read, as it is under 40 pages.  I would recommend this book to someone who wants to be introduced into autobiographies/biographies.  It seems that this would be a book to take to the coffee shop to read while you indulge in a few moments of peace and quiet, due to the length and the style of the writing.
This is a good, quick read.  Pick it up and pass it around!
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