Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: Lift



Lift
Author: Rebecca K. O'Connor
Publisher: Red Hen Press
ISBN: 978159709460
Audience: Older teen through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from publisher):

Captivated by a chance meeting with a falconer’s peregrine as a child, the indelible memory leads the author to flying a peregrine falcon of her own and discovering that the journey is not as much about training the falcon as what it is the falcon has to teach her. Exploring themes of predator and prey, finding tribe, forgiveness and femininity, "Lift" asks universal questions through the unique perspective of a woman chasing her heart in the wake of a wayward falcon.

My Comment:

From the time I read Jean Craighead George's "My Side of the Mountain" series, I fell in love with Frightful and wanted so badly to have a falcon of my own. As I got older, I had the pleasure of watching my brother's godmother nurse an injured Redtailed Hawk back to health. He was amazing but also a bit frightening. I never loss that awe for raptors and can still watch them for hours.

Imagine my excitement when I had the chance to review Rebecca K. O'Connor's "Lift". All centered around falconry, Rebecca's memoirs cover her first year of training her first falcon, Anakin. Anakin teaches Rebecca about relationships, patience, respect, forgiveness, trust, teamwork, faith, love, and wonderment. While she learns these things through her relationship with her bird, Rebecca also comes to terms with her past and the childhood she survived.

Rebecca's love for her bird and the sport pours from every page. Her descriptions take you into the field and you can feel the bird leave your presence as he flies so high up in the air, he looks like a speck. Then your heart plunges with the falcon as he drops to take his mark, making nature a true wonder. Her weaving of the lessons learned and the past events of her life and how she comes to terms with them, is brilliant!

I rated this book older teen through adult because of the subject matter of child abuse/molestation and sexual predators.

Please make sure to visit Rebecca's website at: http://www.rebeccakoconnor.com. There you will find some absolutely stunning photographs of Anakin as well as her other birds and dogs. You will also be able to find out about the talks she gives and other books and articles she has written, plus you will find the link her blog.

I received a copy of Lift from the Early Reviewer's program through Library Thing. This in no way has influenced my review of this book.

Review: Lowboy



Lowboy
Author: John Wray
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 9780312429331
Audience: Older Teen through Adult
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from publisher)

Early one morning in New York City, Will Heller, a sixteen-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, gets on an uptown B train alone. Will is on a mission to save the world from global warming—to do it, though, he'll need to cool down his own body first. And for that he'll need one willing girl.

Lowboy tells the story of Will’s odyssey through the city’s tunnels, back alleys, and streets in search of Emily Wallace, his one great hope. It also follows his mother, Violet Heller, as she tries desperately to find her son before psychosis claims him completely.


My Comments

Lowboy was an interesting read, taken from both the viewpoint of the schizophrenic teen and from the detective that is trying to find him. The point of view of the boy was at times very hard to follow and seemed quite realistic, since he has been off his meds for a while.

The characters weren't as believable as I would have liked. The detective was smitten by the mother, and the mother was not someone I'd have imagined him to be taken with. Lowboy's girlfriend wasn't believable as she seemed oblivious to the danger, even knowing what he was capable of. Not what I'd expect of a normal girl of that age.

The whole story reminded me of "Catcher in the Rye" and I didn't care for that story at all. Although, this story had a better ending, I still felt let down that there wasn't more of a point.

I rated this book older teen through adult because throughout the story was a theme of wanting sex and the abandonment of both shame and morals. There was just a raw need that needed fulfilled and an unusual reasoning behind it.

This book was provided by the Early Reviewers program through Library Thing. The winning of this book had no reflection on my review.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The "Glorious" Book Blogger Contest!

Ten years ago, Bernice McFadden presented the literary world with her first novel "Sugar". Now, six critically acclaimed, award winning novels later, Bernice is back with her new novel, "Glorious" which looks like an amazing read. (You can check out the first few pages on Amazon). She is offering book bloggers a chance to to not only review her book, but the chance to win a VERY nice prize.

The Give-A-Way:

3 Lucky Bloggers will receive a $50 American Express Gift Card + 3 Autographed Books from Authors published with Akashic Books.


Visit I Love Bernice L. McFadden for contest rules.

Make sure to hurry, as there are only 75 available slots for this contest!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

Trying something new.....


MckLinky Blog Hop

Review: Eternal On the Water


Eternal on the Water
Author: Joseph Monninger
Publisher: Gallery Books - a division of Simon & Schulster, Inc.
ISBN: 9781439168332
Audience: Older teens to Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble)

From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms and asks Cobb to promise, when the time comes, to help her return to their beloved river for one final journey.

Set against the rugged wilderness of Maine, the exotic islands of Indonesia, the sweeping panoramas of Yellowstone National Park, and the tranquil villages of rural New England, Eternal on the Water is at once heartbreaking and uplifting — a timeless, beautifully rendered story of true love's power.




My Comments:

I really enjoyed this story. It was well written, the characters were very interesting, and the scenery was so well described that you could almost smell the air and hear the water. It held my interest and was a nice, powerful love story.

My next comment may be a bit of a spoiler, but at the same time, it really won't be, because it's how the book starts. So, if you are afraid I may reveal something, please stop here.....

I'm a person who will NOT watch a movie or read the book if I know how it's going to end. If I know the ending, my reasoning is why spend all that time when I know what's going to happen. Unfortunately, the first pages are the ending, and then the story starts years before. That really killed the book for me because I knew what and figured out why things happened. Sure there were details that I didn't know, but it just ruined the mystery element that I need. Sigh....

There is a bit of sexual content between unmarried people and it happens very early in the "relationship". Suicide and death are also discussed as well as chronic illnesses. Because of this, I would recommend this book for older teens to adult.

I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble.  Get Your Copy Now


This book was provided by the Barnes & Noble First Look Program.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Free Books!



Not long before my father died, I had signed up for L. Ron Hubbard's "Stories from the Golden Age" newsletter. I had all intentions of purchasing some of his books for my father, since Dad loved those type of books.

In today's newsletter, there is an offer of a free audio book download. I went to the site, and not only found a free audio book, but a free e-book download as well. I have never read anything by this author, so I cannot endorse or critique his writings. Instead, I'm just passing this along to all my friends :)

To download either or both books, visit the L. Ron Hubbard website at: http://www.goldenagestories.com/



If you review either or both, please come back and post a link. I'd love to know what you think of them!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Tour: Coming of the Storm



Coming of the Storm: Book One of Contact: The Battle for America
Authors: Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear
Publisher: Gallery Books/A division of Simon & Schulster, Inc.
ISBN: 9781439153888
Audience: Older teens to adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from the publisher:

The first book in an exciting new series about Native American and European first contact by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear.

From New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O'Neal Gear comes a landmark new series portraying the devastating clash of cultures that followed the European invasion of the early America. Dramatic, authentic, and deeply moving, this first book in the Contact series tells the story of the blood-drenched years that followed Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's landing in "La Florida" in 1539- as seen entirely through the eyes of two courageous Native American.

Black Shell, an exiled Chicksaw trader, is fascinated by the pale, bearded newcomers who call themselves "Kristianos," and not even the wise counsel of Pearl Hand, the extraordinary and beautiful women who has consented to be his mate, can dissuade him. It will unfortunately take a first-hand lesson in the Kristianos' unfathomable brutality for Black Shell to fully comprehend the dangers that these invaders pose to his people's way of life.

While his first instinct is to run away with Pearl Hand, somewhere the Kristianos cannot find them, Black Shell has been called to a greater destiny by the Spirit Being known as Horned Serpent. With Pearl Hand by his side, Black Shell must find a way to unite the disparate tribes and settlements of his native land and overcome the merciless armies of de Soto, Which will stop at nothing attain wealth and power.

For years readers have urged the Gears to bring the class of Native American and European cultures to life as only they can. Now, with Coming of the Storm, the Gears unleash their expansive breadth of knowledge and stunning writing talents to dispel the myths and falsehoods surrounding Hernando de Soto, as they paint a vivid portrait of the heroic men and women who fought a terrifying, military super power for their survival - and in so doing defined the character of a nation.

A nice video clip about "Coming of the Storm" with authors Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear



If you would like to learn more about the authors, please visit their web page at: http://www.gear-gear.com/

My Comments about this book:

"Coming of the Storm" was amazing! There's really no other way to put it. When it arrived, I decided I would just read a page or two (a chapter at the most) and then catch up on some work around the house. That didn't happen. I just couldn't put the book down! Page after page, I was lost in another place and time, and had no idea that hours had passed by. It was difficult placing the bookmark between the pages, and sitting the book aside.

I confess... I love historical fiction, and have read quite a bit over the past few year. I honestly have to say, this has probably been the best piece of historical fiction that I have read so far. The Gears brought Native America to life, and made Black Shell and Pearl Hand so vivid and lifelike. I felt like I had been transported back to their time, sitting around the fire with them, feeling the heat, tasting the food, and feeling the fear and anger; all as if I was really there witnessing everything.

I recommend this book for older teens and adults, because of the graphic nature of what happened to the Native Americans during the time of de Soto's conquest. It was terrible and the horror will stay with you long after the book is finished. There is also a bit of sex involved, but most is lightly described. One particular incident is descriptive, however, it is in a dream, and can easily be skipped over since the dream is italicized, if that is a problem.

I am very excited about this series, and cannot wait until book two comes out. I'm also excited about finding a new author (actually co-authors) and will be hunting down more of their books. With more than 40 books between the Gears, I shouldn't have a problem!!

I received a review copy of "Coming of the Storm" from Pocket Books. My review is strictly my own opinion and has not been impacted by the receipt of this book.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Awards!! Thank You!!!

My first award comes from Vicki @ Reading at the Beach. Thank you so very much for thinking of me, Vicki!

I now have the privilege of passing on this award to others in accordance with the following rules:

Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you enjoy. (Okay, so 15 can be a lot to come up with! Pass it on to as many bloggers as you can, up to 15.) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

The following are my choices for truly deserving blogs:

1. Broken Teepee
2. Frugal Plus
3. Great Reads
4. Peeking Between the Pages
5. My Friend Amy
6. The Friendly Book Nook
7. Cindy's Love of Books
8. Creative Madness
9. Freda's Voice
10. I Swim for Oceans
11. Escape Between the Pages
12. Socrates' Book Reviews
13. Redlady's Reading Room
14. Reading on a Rainy Day
15. Heather Webber

The second award I received is called Honest Scrap and is a fun award. It was given to me by Ann Elle Altman of All write with coffee. Thank you so very much, Ann Elle!

The award recipient has to list ten things about themselves that few or no people know about them. Then they choose 7 blogs to pass on the award to.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me:

1. I live in a lazy town nestled between the mountains. I never get to see a sunrise or a sunset here.

2. As much as I want to, I've never seen the ocean.

3. I used to be a model stitcher for some well-known cross stitch designers. You may have purchased or looked at a leaflet or magazine in the past that had photos of my work on the cover or in the magazine.

4. I obsessively knit socks, although since my son has gone to college, I haven't finished a pair in more than 6 months.

5. I love to sniff books and yarn. (who said eeeeewwww?)

6. My father was a WWII Veteran that served under General Patton.

7. I dream of buying an old Victorian home and restoring it. Then, when it gets too much to take care of, sell it and retire to a little cabin in the woods.

8. I love cooking with cast iron. Nothing can compare to a good seasoned piece of cast cookware!

9. I love to bake but hate making pie crusts.

10. I think snakes are cool to watch - but I still won't pick one up.

Wow - that was harder than I thought! :)

Now for the 7 blogs this award goes to:

1. Daydreams and Wanderings
2. Wandeca Reads
3. 4 the LOVE of BOOKS
4. Kaye's Book Review Page
5. Westie Therapy
6. minds alive on the shelves
7. Rantings of a Bookworm Couch Potato

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: Revolve 2010



Revolve 2010: NCV Revolve New Testament Biblezine 2010
Editor: Amy Weiner
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Audience: Teens
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

I was excited when this book arrived. I was positive that my teen would love it, so I gave it to her to open and look over. She disappeared with it and that evening she came to me and said she read over the articles and was hugely disappointed. She brought the Biblezine out and we went over it together and she explained what she felt was wrong with it - and I was shocked with what she showed me.

The description on the website boasts "...this New Testament continues showing teen girls that the Bible is relevant to their lives." I had expected a flashy type magazine to catch a teen's eye, but with articles that would compliment the New Testament text that was on the page and maybe bring that text to something relevant to life today. What I discovered was a bunch of articles thrown in throughout the NT with no rhyme or reason. There were make-up tips, hair dyeing tips, fashion advice, guy tips... and nothing that would really enhance the Bible scripture on that page. I couldn't find any connection at all. The NT text is there as well as a few Bible notes, but I really doubt that it would be read. Featured on most pages are verses of
the Psalms in text lingo that my daughter felt was "horrible" and had no place or purpose at all.

My teen described "Revolve 2010" as "cheapening the Bible". She said if she wants a teen magazine, she'll buy one. If she wants something that helps her apply the Bible to everyday life, this isn't it. She stated matter-of-factly she won't be recommending this to anyone.

I, too, read over the articles and understand what she's talking about. I was so excited as a parent to find something I thought would appeal and be useful to my teen. Instead, I found something my teen found distasteful. Teens don't need something flashy or worldly - they want substance! Sadly, this just doesn't meet that bill.

I received this Biblezine through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Deliver Us From Evil



Deliver Us From Evil
Author: Robin Caroll
Publisher: B&H Fiction/B&H Publishing Group
Audience: Older Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Roark Holland is a U.S. Marshall that has been assigned to travel with and guard a donor heart from North Carolina to Tennessee. Everything hinges on delivering the heart in time for federally protected comatose witness. On the way to the hospital, the helicopter flies into a blizzard and goes down. Just before crashing, Brannon Callahan, a search and rescue pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, makes contact with them, and goes out with her partner to find them. She knows everything hinges on getting this heart to the witness as quickly as possible. He holds the key to a huge child trafficking, and if he dies, so does the hope of breaking up the ring.

My comments:

Although Robin Caroll has authored eight books before "Deliver Us From Evil", this is the first I have read by her, and I promise you, it certainly won't be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed the story line. It was filled with suspense that kept me up way into the night reading, making it nearly impossible to put down.

I enjoyed the characters. Roark was every bit what I would have expected from a Marshall, and I adored Brannon and her partner, Lincoln. They are a fantastic team and their way of keeping themselves grounded in bad situations was brilliant. Their messages of faith, love and courage, woven throughout the story were well done and meaningful.

I was very pleased with way the child trafficking was handled. You were made to realized the horror of of the situation, and the description was just enough, without too much information - giving it realism without being too graphic. Because of this, I did rate the book for older teens.

"Deliver Us From Evil" should be on everyone's reading list. This powerful story of the horrors of human trafficking packs a punch that will leave you looking at your comfortable and quite world in a whole new light.

If you would like to learn more about the author, you can visit Robin Caroll at: http://www.robincaroll.com/

This book was sent to me by B&H Fiction for my honest review. A huge thank you to Julie for supplying me with such awesome reading material!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"He wondered how far underground he was. The heat he was feeling was the heat of the earth's molten core: what else could it have been. He kept his eyes wide open, expecting the blackness to yield, but it only pushed itself farther into his ears and his nose and his mouth."

~page 65 Lowboy by John Wray

What's your teaser? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in the comment section here. Thanks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Anyone can play along. Just leave a link to your Mailbox Monday post at Marcia's blog and follow the links to other blogs to see what books are finding their way to mailboxes around the world. WARNING!! Participation in Mailbox Monday can cause your "to be read" list to grow exponentially!!


I received 3 review copies this week:

I just finished reading this one this morning. OH!!!! I so want to tell all, but must be a good girl and wait for the blog tour (see sidebar). You don't want to miss this one!



Coming of the Storm by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear

Lowboy was an ER win from LibraryThing. Looks interesting!



Lowboy by John Wray

A GORGEOUS book! I'll be posting my review soon along with a fantastic drawing. Keep on the lookout - you won't want to miss this drawing!



At Home With Laurie Ann by Laurie Ann McMillin Ray


From PBS, I received a book that has been on my wish list for quite a while:



Eight Kingdoms by Michael Pearl

What did you find in your mailbox? Make sure to leave a comment and a link so that I can read all about it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: A Shore Thing



A Shore Thing: An Otter Bay Novel
Author: Julie Carobini
Publisher: B&H Fiction
Audience: Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Callie Duflay is an energetic young woman who enjoys working as assistant camp director, and much to her family's horror, enjoys being involved in local causes. While walking the beach one day, Callie discovers that the Kitteridges are selling Otter Bay and it's being earmarked for development. She can't believe they would sell it, as they promised the property to the town. Since then, the otters have returned and were rebuilding their lives. Callie decides she should do something about it, and starts a group to try to stop the development.

Gage Mitchell is an eco-friendly architect who was hired to draw up plans to develop the Bay. He has the good, or maybe not so good, fortune of running into Callie and learns about her mission. For Gage, everything is riding on this job and Callie could ruin it all for him. Callie believes she is doing the right thing, and so is Gage. But as time goes on, will they discover what the right thing really is?

My comments:

I normally don't read romances, and gave up on Christian type romances quite a few years ago. They all seemed so... eh. Nothing thrilling nor exciting nor new. I wasn't really sure what I'd find between the pages of this book, and had put it off for a bit, because it was a romance. So, one really yucky day, I sat down and started reading. I was so surprised. What a delightful and heartwarming read! I became so wrapped up in the book, I found that a couple hours had gone by and I really didn't want to stop and put it down. The characters were fun, it had some humor, and held quite a bit of suspense throughout. It was truly an enjoyable read and one that I won't have a problem giving to my teenage daughter.

"A Shore Thing" is a beautiful book about family, friendship, love, commitment, keeping promises, faith, and hope. It has some very good messages behind it, making it not only entertaining, but a book with values that gives you something you can take away with you long after you've finished.

If you would like to learn more about the author, you can visit Julie Carobini at:
http://juliecarobini.com/

This book was sent to me by B&H in exchange for an honest review. A huge thank you goes to Julie for giving me the chance to read such a lovely story!

Booking Through Thursday

(BTT is hosted by http://btt2.wordpress.com)

This week's question:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

As a home schooling mom, I ran into this problem with my oldest child. We always had books around the house, and we read to all the children from when they were tiny babies until they no longer wanted to be read to (about middle school age). I thought by giving the children access to books, taking them to the library, and reading to them, it would instill the same type of love for reading that I had. I know, I was young and foolish :)

When we started teaching my son how to read, and had him reading the beginner books, he was frustrated because he thought the stories were dumb and pointless. We searched, changed readers, changed everything we could think of and by third grade, he didn't want to read any longer and was getting to the point of hating to read. It became a struggle every day, so I made a rash decision. I was no longer going to make him read.

My husband thought I was crazy, especially with him in third grade with mandatory testing looming over our heads. He was sure I was really screwing up and that we would be required to send our son to school because he wouldn't test well. We had tons of discussions, but I stuck to my guns.

I told my son he no longer had to read "stupid" books. In fact, he didn't have to read at all. You should have seen that boy's face. It lit up like a beacon! I went on to tell him that since he wasn't reading, he would be required to sit next to me while I read to him. That was fine with him, "as long as the books weren't stupid".

All through third grade, our son (and daughter) sat next to me while I read from books that were beyond his reading and age level. He enjoyed good literature and stories that had meaning, adventure, and good values. He, of course, read along with me, and I would see his lips moving while I was reading. Every once in a while I'd miss a word or phrase, and he'd jump right on it, telling me that I got the word wrong or skipped something. He was anxious for our reading time, and as time went on, he started wandering off with books again. When the mandatory test results came back, his scores were very high and my husband couldn't believe that we were successful.

I believe that each of us has our own needs and learning style, and those have to be nurtured. If a teen hates to read, my question is "WHY?". Once we get to the bottom of the problem, the solution is plain. It's just discovering the problem. Making a teen boy read a romance that he despises just because it's a classic is absurd. There are so many classics out there that I'm sure one can be found to fit his personality.

My son is now off in college as a history major. He loves to read and has an overflowing bookcase of books he can't part with. We can't go past a bookstore without having to stop and browse and we never leaving empty-handed. He took his favorites with him to college, although I'm sure he doesn't have much time to look at them. He said they are if he wants them.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this fantastic question. Make sure to LEAVE YOUR COMMENT or link to your answer below!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

She called out again, this time her voice weaker and shakier to her own ears. Her voice echoed in the dark coffin around her.

~page 91 Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Caroll

What's your teaser? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in the comment section here. Thanks!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Anyone can play along. Just leave a link to your Mailbox Monday post at Marcia's blog and follow the links to other blogs to see what books are finding their way to mailboxes around the world. WARNING!! Participation in Mailbox Monday can cause your "to be read" list to grow exponentially!!


It was a quiet week this past week, with only 3 books showing up and all from Paperback Swap. However, I found a Goldmine of books on Freecycle....



The Tomato Festival Cookbook : 150 Recipes that Make the Most of Your Crop of Lush, Vine-Ripened, Sun-Warmed, Fat, Juicy, Ready-to-Burst Heirloom Tomatoes
Author: Lawrence Davis-Hollander
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 9781580174985

With 150 tempting recipes for those lush, vine-ripened, sun-warmed, fat, juicy, and ready-to-burst heirloom tomatoes, The Tomato Festival Cookbook is the landmark cookbook for America's favorite garden vegetable. Author Lawrence Davis-Hollander presents an exhaustive collection of everything about the tomato--from tomato lore, gardening how-to, expert advice on seed saving and preservation to selecting the right heirlooms for your gardenand your kitchen. With definitive recipes for such classics as Tomato Basil Quiche and marinara sauce to show-stoppers from chefs Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, Daniel Boulud, Rick Bayless, and Melissa Kelly, to name a few.

Whether you grow your own rainbow selection of heirlooms or are thinking of adding them to your garden, Davis-Hollander has the best advice on heirloom growing. As the founder and director of the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, an organization dedicated to promoting our knowledge of useful plants, especially heirloom food plants, Davis-Hollanderhas handpicked the recipes and the chefs to contribute to this preeminent tomato bible. Along with an impressive background in botany and farming, Lawrence is committed to food preservation, sustainable farming, and the rebirth of the American Farmer's Market. For the tomato lover who does not have a garden full of plump, red heirlooms, this book offers a guide to the local Farmer's Market with a knowledgeable eye and an appetite for Green Zebras, Cherokee Chocolates, Box Car Willies, Omar's Lebanese, and Earl of Edgecombs. With recipes for everything from salsas, risottos, and Chicken Nicoise to tomato tarts and sorbet, The Tomato Festival Cookbook takes the tomato to new culinary heights. For anyone who loves eating, growing, preserving or just admiring tomatoes, The Tomato Festival Cookbook is as essential to the kitchen as the tomato itself.




Gooseberry Patch Comfort & Joy Cookbook
Publisher: Gooseberry Patch
ISBN: 9781931890434

Cinnamon, pine, cranberry and sage…and plenty of gingerbread! Comfort & Joy is filled with a sampling of cozy recipes that are sure to warm your family this winter. Try savory chicken with mushrooms, 3-cheese potatoes and parmesan herb bread. Top off the meal with rich and creamy snow cocoa and farmhouse cut-out cookies. Tips include decorating touches that evoke memories of home and Gooseberry Patch also included an entire chapter of crafts and comforting holiday memories you’ll enjoy all season long.



Daughters of Lancaster County Trilogy
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
PublisherL Barbour Publishing, Inc.
3 Novels in One: The Storekeeper's Daughter/The Quilter's Daughter/The Bishop's Daughter
ISBN: 9780739476635

The riveting story of a kidnapped Amish child is told through three bestselling novels set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Amish country. From the beginning, Naomi Fisher blames herself for the family's tragedy and journeys away from home to find a purpose for living. Abby Miller leaves her successful Ohio quilt shop to help the Fisher family, but how long can she continue to put her dreams on hold? Leona Weaver is dedicated to her family and community, but when she falls in love with an outsider, could this friendship bring the haunting tale of a kidnapped boy full circle?

On Friday, I saw a posting come through my local FreeCycle.com group for some Mary Higgins Clark books. I'm a cozy mystery nut, so I emailed and was fortunate enough to get them. Since the lady offering them was right near where my husband works, he stopped and picked them up. To my great surprise, the box held 31 books!!!!!

Mary Higgins Clark:
1. Where Are the Children
2. A Stranger is Watching
3. The Cradle Will Fall
4. Stillwatch
5. A Cry in the Night
6. Weep No More, My Lady
7. All Around the Town
8. I'll Be Seeing You
9. Remember Me
10. Let Me Call You Sweetheart
11. Silent Night
12. Moonlight Becomes You
13. Before I say Goodbye
14. Deck the Halls
15. Daddy's Little Girl
16. The Second Time Around
17. The Christmas Thief
18. Santa Cruise

Others in the box:

Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
The Crush by Sandra Brown
After the Night by Linda Howard
Hide by Lisa Gardner
The Wrong Side of Dead by Jordan Dane
Cut to the Quick: A Novel by Dianne Emley
Hand of Evil (Ali Reynolds, #3) by J.A. Jance
The Death Dealer by Heather Graham
Ransom by Danielle Steel
Critical by Robin Cook
Don't Cry Now: A Novel by Joy Fielding
Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards
The Slasher: A Novel of Suspense by Michael Collins

It felt like Christmas opening the box and finding so many books and new to me authors!! There were a couple of duplicates that have already found a good home with a fellow cozy mystery lover :) Yes, I had to post, because I know you all understand the excitement that comes with a bunch of great books!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: The Cool Woman



The Cool Woman
Author: John Aubrey Anderson
Publisher: Fidelis Books - B&H Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780805464801
Audience: Older teen through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Synopsis: (from B&H website)

In 1970, Bill Mann, a pilot who sought to make aerial combat his guiding star, is already lost whether he knows it or not. Although he’s at the top of his Air Force class and marries a beautiful girl, his life is centered on drinking and partying—perhaps a way to escape the haunting memory of having to kill two white men who beat his black mother to death when he was ten years old.

Upon leaving to spend a year in Vietnam flying combat missions aboard his aircraft, The Cool Woman, Bill remains confident and considers himself “the envied of the envied.” But soon enough his wife is leaving him, and a downward spiral of Mann’s heart, soul, and survival odds has begun.


This military thriller will keep you captive and hold you in its grip until the very last page. "The Cool Woman" transports you back to the early '70's Vietnam War, where the main character, Bill Mann, is a Douglas A-1 Skyraider pilot who's main mission is to rescue downed pilots and other military troops that are in trouble. Bill is such a believable and engaging multi-layered character who entrances you with his story and sears himself to your memory long after the story is finished.

John Aubrey Anderson brings his experiences of being a pilot in Southeast Asia to make this an extremely realistic book. I found myself feeling like I was sitting in the cockpit of the plane on the missions, at the base intermingling with the other pilots, and even had times I was hungry for a bologna, cheese and pickle sandwich.

"The Cool Woman" is a fantastic read. It will keep you spell bound, make your heart race, and even make you squirm with anticipation at the suspense. The storyline is well written with an exciting plot. It holds a theme of honesty, integrity, trust and brotherhood that is important when everyone's life is on the line, but also intermingles some humor that is sure to make you smile. Throughout the book runs the question and the importance of God and when all the chips are down, where does one turn. The book holds and excellent message without being overbearing on the subject, and in my opinion, a very realistic view and message.

I really look forward to reading other books by Mr. Anderson. I find his style both enjoyable and easy for both sexes to relate to.

To learn more about the author, you can visit his website at: http://www.johnaubreyanderson.com/

A huge thank you to B&H for providing this book for me to review.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

(BTT is hosted by http://btt2.wordpress.com)

This week's question:

The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?


When it's stormy out, I like nothing better than to grab a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate and snuggle under a nice warm afghan with a cozy mystery or a good Christian fiction. There's just something about those books that can warm me up inside and make me smile when I'm finished reading them.

The funny thing is, I got hooked on Patricia Wentworth's "Miss Silver Mysteries" after I found a whole stack of them at a yard sale. I bought them along with a beautiful peach colored knitting afghan that has since been my favorite afghan to curl under when I read. (you can see it under my stack of books I received on my Mailbox Monday post)

Review: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
Authors: Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François
Published by: Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN: 9780312545529
Audience: Everyone
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From the authors of the groundbreaking Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day comes a new cookbook filled with quick and easy recipes for healthy bread

Their first book was called "stupendous," "genius," and "the holy grail of bread making." Now, in their much-anticipated second book, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François have taken their super-fast method and adapted it for the health-conscious baker, focusing on whole grains and other healthier ingredients.

The method is still quick and simple, producing professional-quality results with each warm, fragrant, hearty loaf. In just five minutes a day of active preparation time, you can create delectable, healthy treats such as 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Grain Garlic Knots with Parsley and Olive Oil, Black-and-White Braided Pumpernickel and Rye Loaf, Cherry Black Pepper Focaccia, Pumpkin Pie Brioche, Chocolate Tangerine Bars, and a variety of gluten-free breads. And many of the recipes are 100% whole grain.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day will show you that there is time enough for home-baked bread, and that it can be part of a healthy diet. Calling all bread lovers: Whether you are looking for more whole grains, watching your weight, trying to reduce your cholesterol, or just care about what goes into your body, this book is a must-have.


My Comments:

I was very excited to be able to have the chance to review this book. I've heard so much about it, but have been skeptical with the idea of no kneading and no work. I mean, everyone knows bread is a time suck and it requires work - at least good bread does, right? Well, that is until now. This book is everything that one could want. It's fast, easy and just plain fun!

I took my time with getting a review done, as I wanted to test the recipes, as well as read the book. The writing style and explanation of the methods used are well written and easy to understand. The sections on ingredients and equipment are well covered, and the tips and techniques section is a big help. There are so many photos in the master recipe section demonstrating how to mix the dough, shape it, and bake it, as well as other techniques that show you how to make other types of breads, bagels, pitas, etc.

I put the book to the test and started out with the master recipe. I used King Arthur for the whole wheat flour and Hodgson Mill vital wheat gluten. According to the book, the vital wheat gluten would be easy to find at the grocery store or places like Walmart, however, in my area (we are quite remote and rural), I didn't find any, so I ordered it online. I also didn't have a pizza/baking stone, so I used a cookie sheet with good results. I will be investing in the baking stone, though.

The dough mixed easily in my bucket (I used a 5-qt ice cream pail), however, I had to make sure to get the flour to mix in on the bottom. Then the dough sat and rested and boy, did it rise! It came out of the bucket, and I needed to lightly pat it down a little. It did the same in the fridge, but settled and didn't raise any more. After 48 hours, the dough was ready to use. I followed the step-by-step instructions and photos, and ended up with a nice loaf of bread that I was certainly proud of. Yes, this bread looked about like the one on the cover of the book!!

The recipes are easy and delicious, and certainly will make you excited with the results. I did find that I liked more salt in some of the recipes, so I did make a note and added more the next time around. I've made quite a few of the recipes, and haven't been disappointed yet. My family is enjoying the artisan-type bread, and we aren't paying a fortune for it. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a MUST for everyone's kitchen library!!!

Make sure you stop by the authors' website and have a look around. They have a lot of great recipes and ideas that will definitely make you want to get in the kitchen and bake! You can find their website here: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

This book was supplied by Anna from FSB Associates for review. Thank you, Anna, for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this book!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

"His remorse intensified when he saw her red-rimmed eyes. Callie dropped to her knees and threw her body over the pup with the wagging tail and happy jowls and hugged him close."

~page 115 A Shore Thing: An Otter Bay Novel by Julie Carobini

What's your teaser? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in the comment section here. Thanks!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Anyone can play along. Just leave a link to your Mailbox Monday post at Marcia's blog and follow the links to other blogs to see what books are finding their way to mailboxes around the world. WARNING!! Participation in Mailbox Monday can cause your "to be read" list to grow exponentially!!


I had a great mail week this past week - 6 books in all :)



1. Angel's Den by Jamie Carie - B&H Books
2. Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman - Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program
3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - ARC from B&N First Look program
4. Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Carol - ARC from B&H Books
5. The Puzzle Palace by James Bamford - Paperback Swap
6. Scarf Style by Pam Allen - Paperback Swap
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