Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Suspense Magazine Tour - PICT

Suspense Magazine

by John Raab

on Tour June 2015

coverSuspense Magazine is an all digital magazine that was founded in 2007. We publish short stories, interviews, exclusive excerpts, articles and more. We have also in the past published alternate endings to very popular books, IE: Sara Paretsky's book "Critical Mass".
"Suspense Magazine is chock full of stunning artwork, intriguing fiction, and interviews It's a winner!"
—Tess Gerritsen, International Bestselling Author

Get Your Subscription:

Buy Now!

My Thoughts:

Suspense Magazine has so many features - short stories, articles by authors, amazing artwork, book reviews, etc. - everything you would want in a good magazine. I received the June 2014 issue to read for this tour, and it is truly everything I would want and look for in a suspense type magazine.

The articles as well as the short stories were well written and did captivate me from beginning to end. I loved the Featured Artist and the international Reader's Corner features. They were among my favorites of this issue.

If you love suspense and enjoy a full featured magazine, then Suspense Magazine is the perfect magazine to add to your must reads. I'm sure you'll not only enjoy the subscription, but want to pick up back issues as well.

More About John:

John Raab founded Suspense Magazine in 2007. Also the host of three radio shows on Suspense Radio Network (Inside Edition, One on One and Beyond The Cover) also the producer for two more shows, Crime and Science Radio and The Story Blender.

The CEO / Publisher of Suspense Publishing a book publisher that publishes #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Paul Kemprecos, along with several other authors.

Catch Up: 

author's website author's twitter author's facebook

Still on the Fence? Enter to Win:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for John Raab & Suspense Magazine. There will be 1 ebook winner of Cornerstone by JM Leduc, 1 ebook winner of The Lone Wolf by Joseph Badal, and 1 winner of the next e-release of Suspense Magazine. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through July 3rd, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants:


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

I received a copy of this book from PICT courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Suspense Magazine Tour - Guest Post - PICT

The number one question I’m asked is “How do I sell more books?” If I had a nickel for every time we are emailed that, I wouldn’t have to know the answer because I would be retired. Well I’m about to answer the most important question any author can ask, are you ready?

First let’s start by saying this. If you are an author and are looking to retire from your writing, or sell a million copies, get out now. It will only cause you heartbreak. While there are a handful of authors that actually do accomplish this goal, it’s the same as a young kid right now putting all his eggs in a basket hoping to play professional sports, have a backup plan.

I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it is very, very difficult. However I have the answer that will get you on your way. “How do I sell more books?” Yep, that’s what you want to know. Ok, so the answer is….

Ok, hold on. I know you really want to know this, but I’m going to tell you a quick story first, because if I tell you now you probably won’t read the rest of this post, and I’ll just be typing to nobody. When we got into the magazine business, our goal had zero to do with money. We wanted to help out authors. We wanted all authors, regardless of their sales or listing on any bestseller list to have voice. I will let you in on a little secret, every time you walk into a Barnes and Noble and you see all those books up in the front on the table or on the shelf, the publisher paid for those spots. That is not Barnes and Noble being nice, it’s pay to play for them. Most authors end up in the stacks, where less than 5% of all people actually go and look around. By starting the magazine we wanted to change the game and put the authors in control, and so far we have done a good job.

But now I think it’s time to reveal the magical answer once and for all. After all I’m a professional, an expert in the field you might say (except my wife since she knows what I wear to bed, but we will leave that for another post), I’ve done several years of research; I see what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve sat in conferences, given speeches, taught classes and talked with some very intelligent person. The answer to the question “How do I sell more books?” Write the absolute best book you can and work your butt off marketing it.

Oh come on, you didn’t really think I had fairy dust and could solve the problem that has been asked by authors for hundreds of years did you? The basic answer is there is no answer. There is no formula; there is only hard work before you write the book, during the writing process and after it’s finished. If you are not willing to put in the work, that’s fine, but don’t complain when your royalty check is under $10.00.

Writing is like everything else, a job. Either you are willing to put in the hours to make yourself better at your job, or you are just punching a time clock. The choice is yours to make.

John Raab founded Suspense Magazine in 2007. Also the host of three radio shows on Suspense Radio Network (Inside Edition, One on One and Beyond The Cover) also the producer for two more shows, Crime and Science Radio and The Story Blender.

The CEO / Publisher of Suspense Publishing a book publisher that publishes #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Paul Kemprecos, along with several other authors.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Dairy Good Cookbook by Lisa Kingsley

The Dairy Good Cookbook
Everyday Comfort Food from America's Dairy Farm Families
Author: Lisa Kingsley
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN: 9781449465032
Hardcover: 256 pages
Release Date: June 2, 2015

About the Book:
The Dairy Good Cookbook is a celebration of the world of the 47,000 dairy farm families and their contributions to American life. The 115 recipes showcase the taste of dairy in many forms, from cheese to yogurt, milk, and butter. The book gives a unique perspective through recipes and photographs of a day in the life of dairy farms, cows, and the farmers who bring us our dairy.

Dairy farming is one of the hardest types of farming there is, and these farmers take a tremendous sense of pride in their work. Ninety-five percent of the 49,000 dairy farms in America are family owned, and many families have continued to own their farms for generations. Milk is in their blood. The Dairy Good Cookbook showcases the lives of these hard-working farmers across the country. This book celebrates not only the love that people have for dairy foods, but it also pays tribute to the dairy farmers—and even the cows that make all this great cuisine possible.

The book is divided into six sections organized by a day in the life of a dairy farmer, beginning with Sunrise and ending at Sundown, along with other special days in the year (including holidays and family get-togethers). Each chapter highlights one of six different types of dairy cows and includes profiles of both large and small dairy producers. Nothing soothes the soul quite like a warm bit of Macaroni & Cheese, Apple Cheddar Pizza, Apricot Dijon Pork Chops, or a taste of Dairyman's Chocolate Cake. The 115 recipes include dishes from the archives of Dairy Management, Inc. as well as family favorites from farmers themselves. Tips on cooking with dairy are included along with family-friendly recipes and myriad photographs of the food and farms.

Unlike other foods that we consume, where our milk originates is probably less than 100 miles from our homes. Dairy is still a small, community-based business, and dairy farmers are the original environmentalists since their livelihood depends on the health and well-being of their animals and where they live. This cookbook has the endorsement and support of Dairy Management, Inc., the umbrella organization to which all of America's dairy farmers belong. Carla Hall from The Chew has contributed the foreword, and it will be released in early June for National Dairy Month.

My Thoughts:

I grew up in dairy country and spent many hours milking, feeding and taking care of cows. This delightful book brought back so many memories: from the life of dairy farming to the wonderful taste taste of fresh milk and dairy and the amazing recipes made from them!

The above description of the book really does a fine job, so I won't rehash what is already there. The recipes I tried were delicious. The Apple-Pecan Coffee Cake, Pepper and Egg Brunch Bake, Creamy Pea Soup, and Cajun Mac and Cheese are ones I will certainly make again. One thing I found difficult was to sit and find just recipe I wanted to try. They all sound soooo good, but even worse for me was the beautiful photography that is throughout. Not only is the food photography superb, but the many farm photos that are sprinkled throughout the book were a tremendous distraction! This book is so beautiful, you could easily put it out as a coffee table book.

Full of stunning photographs, delicious recipes and information about farm life and cows, this book will delight anyone that loves good down home cooking, dreams about being on a farm or someone that just loves a beautiful cookbook to add to their collection. Celebrate National Dairy Month by purchasing your copy in June.

The Dairy Good Cookbook book comes VERY HIGHLY recommended!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude

The Sussex Downs Murder
A British Library Crime Classic
Author: John Bude
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publishing Date:   May 5 2015
Paperback ISBN: 9781464203718
eBook ISBN: 9781464203725
Print Length: 210 pages

About the Book:
'Already it looked as if the police were up against a carefully planned and cleverly executed murder, and, what was more, a murder without a corpse!’

Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped? Or is his disappearance more sinister – connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother’s wife?

Superintendent Meredith is called to investigate – and begins to suspect the worst when human bones are discovered on Chalklands farmland. His patient, careful detective method begins slowly to untangle the clues as suspicion shifts from one character to the next.

This classic detective novel from the 1930s is now republished for the first time, with an introduction by the award-winning crime writer Martin Edwards.
My Thoughts:

There is something about a good British mystery that can't be topped. From the way the mystery is presented to the inquisitive detective, the Brits just know how to draw the reader in and keep them captive from beginning to end and believe me, "The Sussex Downs Murder" is no exception.

From the opening pages, we meet John and William Rother. Both run a business making and selling lime. When John leaves on a trip, he says goodbye to his brother and his wife, reminding the brother to take good care of the business. John's car is found abandoned with other clues that scream foul play.

Enter Superintendent Meredith... He has been called to lead the investigation and he leaves no stones upturned as he searches for answers - following lead after lead and suspecting first one then another. Full of great red herrings, this book will leave the reader guessing through to then end.

This captivating mystery was written in 1936 by Ernest Carpenter Elmore, an English theatre producer and director who penned his mystery novels under the pseudonym John Bude. He published more than 30 crime novels, this being the 3rd. Elmore died at the young age of 56 in 1957.

Recommended to those that love British mysteries, Agatha Christie, or any well written mystery that has some good red herrings!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Eight Hundred Grapes
A Novel
Author: Laura Dave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: June 2, 2015
ISBN: 9781476789255
Hardcover: 272 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

About the Book:
A breakout novel from an author who “positively shines with wisdom and intelligence” (Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I leave You). “Laura Dave writes with humor and insight about relationships in all their complexity, whether she's describing siblings or fiancés or a couple long-married. Eight Hundred Grapes is a captivating story about the power of family, the limitations of love, and what becomes of a life’s work” (J. Courtney Sullivan, Maine).

There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…

Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
My Thoughts:

"Eight Hundred Grapes" delivered something far from what I was expecting. I expected to find an average romance taking place at a winery. What I got was a story that was rich and full and complex but at the same time, so very simple and can be summed up in one sentence. It's a story about what one wants out of life and what will have to be sacrificed for it.

Within the beautiful setting of a vineyard, the story is rich with information of what it takes to masterful at making a great wine and also the lessons of life that come with it. The main character, Georgia Ford discovers herself and her true desires and needs when she returns home a few days before her wedding.

This mesmerizing look at Georgia and her return to find a not perfect family made this a wonderful and hard-to-put down story. Easy to read, yet complex to a point, I found a ring of truth to the situation: when we lose our rose colored glasses and see life for what it is.

I enjoyed Georgia and her struggles and found myself adoring Jacob and Dan. The shifting from present to past was not difficult because the past was in 3rd person and the present was in 1st person. The ending was a bit predictable but was truly satisfying.

If you are looking for a decent Women's fiction book to read this summer, look no further. "Eight Hundred Grapes" is a wonderful book that will entertain you with humor, drama and self-realization.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Recipes for Japanese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Tsukemono
Author: Karen Solomon
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 9781607744788
Pages: 54 Genre: Asian Cooking, Pickling

About the Book:
A DIY guide to making the salty, sweet, tangy, and sometimes spicy pickles of Japan, featuring 16 recipes for traditional tsukemono as well as new favorites with innovative ingredients and techniques.

For Asian food aficionados and preservers and picklers looking for new frontiers, the natural standout is Japan's diverse array of pickled products and innovative flavor pairings that wow the palate. In Asian Pickles: Japan, respected cookbook author and culinary project maven Karen Solomon introduces readers to the unique ingredients used in Japanese pickle-making, such as koji rice, fermented rice bran, shiso leaf, miso, soy sauce, and numerous other techniques beyond the basic vinegar brine. And for the novice pickler, Solomon also includes a vast array of quick pickles with easily-accessible ingredients. Featuring the most sought-after Japanese pickle recipes--including Pickled Ginger, Umeboshi, and more--plus beautiful photography, Asian Pickles: Japan will help you explore a new preserving horizon with fail-proof instructions and additional resources.
My Thoughts:

A delightful book filled with a nice conversational prose as well as some interesting Asian pickling recipes. There is one thing to be said about the recipes - they may not taste exactly like you might think. Japanese cooking and pickling is quite a bit different than American cooking, and the recipes show that. I tried a couple of the recipes and questioned how they turned out. We have a Chinese friend that said they were perfect and that they are supposed to taste just like I made them!

With that said, the recipes appear to be quite authentic. It also appears that some of these may be an acquired taste. If you like Asian cooking (real Asian - not the Americanized type) or you are an adventurous cook, then you may really enjoy this book!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Hello From the Gillespies
Author: Monica McInerney
ISBN: 9780451466723
Paperback: 624 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

About the Book:
For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways….
My Thoughts:

It is said that everyone has two different lives: a public life and a private life - one we share and one is where we keep all our family secrets hidden from everyone. What would everyone think if they KNEW about all the things that go on behind closed doors?

"Hello From the Gillespies" is a story about what happens when secrets are revealed. Enter Angela - a wife and mother who shows the world how wonderful her life is. Every year she sends out the Christmas newsletter telling about the family and all the great things going on. It is again time to write the newsletter, but she is having a hard time with it because things aren't bright and shiny - so instead she writes a long email newsletter telling exactly what is happening and exactly how she feels. This email was never to be sent, but something she needed to do to get things off her chest. Great idea, except the email IS sent.

A humorous account of what happens when one accidentally airs their dirty laundry and how a family deals with the hidden truths, feelings and situations. Although light-hearted, this story rings with truth and I'm sure everyone can identify with it at some level.

Although a fun read, this 624 page tome was just a bit too long and detailed for my taste - personally, I think it could have had the same effect being it a bit shorter. It was definitely worth reading - the humor kept it light enough to enjoy, but there was a bit too much drama at times and I found myself skimming those parts.

Overall, this is still a book worth reading and I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who likes women's fiction with a touch of humor.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The New Lean for Life by Cynthia Stamper Graff, Reginald Allouche, M.D.

The New Lean for Life
Outsmart Your Body to Shrink Fat Cells and Lose Weight for Good
Authors: Cynthia Stamper Graff, Reginald Allouche, M.D.
Publisher: Harlequin Nonfiction
ISBN: 9780373893034
Hardcover, 320 pages

About the Book:
Lose up to 20 pounds in 4 weeks!
750,000 success stories.
Over 15 million pounds lost.
It's your turn to get lean for life!

Stop fighting your body with traditional diets that slow your metabolism, and discover the program that has helped hundreds of thousands of people get lean—for life. The New Lean for Life is proven to shrink fat cells twice as much as conventional diets through four powerful phases.

Phase 1—Prepare your body for fast weight loss.
Phase 2—Shrink your fat cells without feeling hungry or deprived.
Phase 3—Recalibrate your metabolism so that you can eat more food without gaining weight.
Phase 4—Stay lean for life by committing to one high-protein day a week.

The Lean for Life program has been used for over 40 years in Lindora Clinics to help over 750,000 people lose millions of pounds—with an incredible 79 percent keeping weight off!

Now this classic bestseller has been completely revised and updated based on groundbreaking new research about the brain's role in weight loss. The New Lean for Life uses a revolutionary "smart carb" program coupled with powerful behavioral modification to shrink fat cells while stabilizing blood sugar, healing inflammation and establishing new habits that will sustain a leaner, healthier you. The easy-to-follow daily plans anticipate your thoughts, needs and cravings before they hit so that you are sure to stay on track and succeed. Results are quick—you'll experience rapid weight loss in just 4 weeks—and lasting. And best of all, you won't feel hungry or deprived!

Now it's your turn. Join the Lean for Life movement and lose weight—for good.
My Thoughts:

While going through my list of books, I am embarrassed to have discovered that I never reviewed this one. At the time I received it, I decided to test "The New Lean for Life" and see if it would hold up to its claim. Yes it did work. I lost weight - 24 pounds to be exact and I was excited! Then I slipped and went off the diet and never went back on. Sadly, I gained almost all the weight back.

This seems to be the problem for me with all the structured type diets. They restrict where I feel deprived and after a while I get bored and boom - back to the dark side (they have cookies!). My problem is I need to learn how to eat things I love along with a good diet. A healthy approach and I didn't find it with this method.

I know that this method works for others - I've read the success stories, but if you don't make the diet into a lifestyle that you are happy with. If you have that type of an outlook, you will probably have success, but if you don't look at it as a lifestyle, you may end up in the same boat I did (and do).

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Cultured Food for Life by Donna Schwenk

Cultured Food for Life
How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness
Author: Donna Schwenk
Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
ISBN: 9781401942823
Paperback: 256 pages

About the Book:
Cultured Food for Life is a part of a new genre of cookbooks gaining popularity among a growing demographic of health and wellness aficionados. In this work, fermentation guru Donna Schwenk introduces readers to the healing properties of kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, sprouted flour, and sourdough. Fermentation has been used in food preparation for thousands of years, but in the past few decades it has moved from being a commonplace kitchen ritual to being something done only by a few health-conscious proponents. Most fermentation now is done at factories, whose processes strip away some of the abundant vitamins, minerals, and healthy bacteria that make this way of preparing foods so beneficial. But Donna Schwenk is working to bring this staple of food preparation back to readers by showing that these now-unfamiliar processes are actually easy and fun. And by doing this, she opens the door to a world of foods that can help rid readers of health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies, acne, hypertension, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome. After telling the astonishing story of how she healed herself and her family with these probiotic foods, Schwenk walks readers, step by step, through the basic preparation techniques for kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, sprouted flour, and sourdough plus more than 120 recipes that use these foods to create dishes to please any palate. With recipes like Herbed Omelet with Kefir Hollandaise Sauce, Sprouted Ginger Scones with Peaches and Kefir Cream, Kefir Veggie Sprouted Pizza, Apple Sauerkraut, and Sprouted Brownies Kefir Cupcakes, along with inspirational stories from Donna’s family and friends, readers will enjoy a diet that’s as delicious as it is healthy.

Visit Donna's website at: http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/

My Thoughts:

Donna's story is not unusual. Cultured foods have been around for centuries, but somewhere along the way, we have forgotten how important these foods are to us. As we continue down the road of prepared foods and fast foods, we are losing the most valuable asset we have - just good plain food. This is the key to both health and wellness and Donna shows the reader this.

Filled with some delicious recipes, the reader (no matter what type of diet one is on) will benefit by following Donna's suggestions, recipes, and simple eating habits. This way of eating certainly won't harm anyone and all it can do is help. If you have problems with any of the ailments that she describes or just want to eat better before you are affected, grab a copy of this book NOW. This book will lead you on a more healthy lifestyle without being drastic. Kefir and other foods are easy to make and not expensive at all. There's really nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain by reading this book!

Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

A Winter Discovery by Michael Baron

A Winter Discovery
Author: Michael Baron
Publisher: The Story Plant
Paperback: 60 pages

About the Book:
Reviewers have rejoiced in Michael Baron's "emotionally charged relationships" (RT Book Reviews), "deep sensitivity" (#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs), and "talent and depth" (Romance Writers Reviews), while calling his work "a masterpiece" (Book Reviews R Us), "unforgettable" (Fresh Fiction), and "beautiful" (My Book Retreat). Now Baron presents us with his first novelette and his first holiday story, a touching, luminous, and openhearted tale of love, wonder, and revelation.

Returning to the characters of his first novel, When You Went Away, Baron takes us again into the world of Gerry Rubato, a man who has been marked by loss and revived by love, and his son Reese, now five, who celebrates life at a remarkable level but is only now starting to understand that he was robbed of the chance of ever knowing his mother. Reese is old enough now to get caught up in the excitement of the Christmas season and he throws himself into it with abandon. His sense of celebration takes on entirely new levels of meaning, though, when it leads him to an unexpected and most remarkable discovery.

At once buoyant and poignant, and filled with irrepressible spirit, A Winter Discovery is a story of that will take you to new places in your heart.

Michael Baron is the fiction pseudonym for a successful author of nonfiction books. He is the author of five novels, When You Went Away, Crossing the Bridge, The Journey Home, Spinning and Anything.
My Thoughts:

This holiday story will warm your heart and is perfect for holiday reading as well as any time you want a nice sweet story. Centered around a 5 (almost 6!) year old boy named Reese, who lives with his step-mother and father and has an older sister that is in college. Reese wants nothing more than to spend some time with his mother. She died not long after he was born, so he doesn't know her, but he feels the need to want to get to know her.

Reese is a delightful child who has a very vivid imagination. This imagination will charm you and make you smile. He's adorable and funny and he makes the reader want to grant him his wish.

Put this on you must reads for your holiday reading or just any time you may want a good short story that warms your heart. This could be considered the second story in the "series". It follows "When You Went Away" but can also be read as a stand alone. The reader won't feel like they have missed anything.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making

Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making
From Color to Quilting: 10 Design Workshops by Your Favorite Teachers
Editors at Lucky Spool
Publisher: Lucky Spool Media
ISBN: 9781940655000
Paperback: 192 pages

About the Book:
Ten of the best known and most respected teachers in modern quilt making, many bestselling authors in their own right, share one of their most popular workshops with you. Each class is designed to help you improve your own composition and design choices whether you create your own patterns or want to follow one of the 16 patterns included. The final workshop is an inspirational gallery of 50 modern quilts that exemplify the tone, color work, and techniques found in modern quilt making today. This is the must-have collection of modern quilt making.
My Thoughts:

First, I must comment on the cover. I buy books when their covers impress me. Yes, I know I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I can't help it - I love covers. This cover is bland and boring to me, and if I saw it on the shelf I wouldn't have purchased it. That would have been my loss, as there is so much great information to be had here.

Let's look at the table of contents:

1. The Principles of Color
2. Working with Solids
3. Working with Prints
4. Improvisational Patchwork
5. The Alternate Grid
6. Circles and Curves
7. Paper Piecing
8. Large-Scale Piecing
9. Modern Quilting
10. A Study of Modern Quilts
Plus templates to make 16 quilts.

My largest downfall with quilting or really any project is color. I know what I like when I see it on covers, quilts, afghans, etc. but I have no talent when it comes to putting the colors together on my own. This book goes into detail about color and color theory and has a LOT of good information in it that helped me.

I also like the sections on Circles and Curves as well as Paper-Piecing. They are well done and helped me with some of my problems that I've had in the past when it comes to these techniques.

This is a book I will be purchasing the hard copy of to keep in my quilting library to reference over and over again. It's a great book and will help beginners as well as experienced quilters alike. Make sure to add this to your quilting library - you won't regret it.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie

Make Ahead Bread
100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day
Donna Currie
The Taunton Press, Inc.
ISBN: 9781627103954
Paperback: 208 pages

About the Book:
Two Steps to Breaking Bread. Make Ahead Bread de-mystifies the bread-baking process with simple recipes and easy-to-follow steps for fresh-from-the-oven bread. Plus there's an entire chapter devoted to baking ingredients and equipment. Follow home baker Donna Currie's simple two-step process to baking delicious, fresh, yeast breads:

Step One – mix and knead the dough, then let it rest for 1-2 days while you enjoy life Step Two – bake.

Yes, it's that simple.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Breads. Your home will smell amazing while you bake any of the 100 recipes in Make Ahead Bread, including all of these:

Loaf Breads – Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Loaf; Maple Sugar and Walnut Loaf Buns, Rolls, Breadsticks – Slider Buns; Cheesy Breadstick Twists Flatbreads – Chicago-style Pan Pizza; Semolina Focaccia Pastries – Breakfast Sausage Danish; Traditional Croissants, and more. Now, you're never too busy to bake bread! Yeast bread isn't complicated to make, but because it needs time to rise, it’s not always easy to fit it into time available - that’s until now. Make Ahead Bread gives inexperienced bakers and busy home cooks the information you need to make flavorful, freshly baked bread on a schedule that works for you.

Leftovers? Just in case you have any leftovers, this book also features many recipes for your extra bread like Almond Butter Bread Pudding; Artichoke, Olive and Tomato Strata; and Overnight French Toast. Plus recipes for scrumptious butters and spreads are included, such as: Chunky Apple and Cinnamon Spread and Chocolate Butter to name a few.
My Thoughts:

Refrigerating bread dough to allow for a slow rise is nothing new. It has been done for years - my mother did it and so did my grandmother.

I was excited to get a copy of this to review. I have tried this technique when I've been in a time crunch or when I want a nice delicate loaf. When I tried some of the recipes from this book, I was surprised to find they didn't always turn out the way I wanted. I had problems with the second rise, so sometimes I would just skip the first rise, knead the dough, form it and then put it in the fridge to have a slow rise. I did have success that way.

The recipes are yummy - but you may need to experiment on how to get these to raise the way you want them to.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus

Jack Templar Monster Hunter
The Templar Chronicles - Book One
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
ISBN: 9780988425903
Paperback: 204 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

About the Book:
Orphan Jack Smith has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. But the day before his fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it's great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend "T-Rex" from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he's the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he's destined to be in the family business. Second, that there's a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits...until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day to prepare before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren't enough, Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the "One?" Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.
My Thoughts:

Jack is a character that I totally adore! Told from his point of view, I had no choice except fall in love with his character. Jack is to the point, quirky, hilarious and just a teen that wants to be a teen, however that's not in his future. When Jack finds out that his life is not what it appeared to be, he embraces what faces him and does what he needs to do.

I love the voice that Jeff Gunhus gave Jack - perfect for a  14 year old boy. I also love how when he is telling the story, Jack stops and interjects something for the audience and that pulls one into the story even more! But lets not stop with Jack - Eva is great, too, and she's a strong female character that "works" well with Jack.

Perfect for the male young adult audience, but not exclusive. This great beginning to the series will bridge both sex and age groups. Jack Templar Monster Hunter has been likened to Percy Jones, but I think it's better. I love the storyline and more importantly, I love Jack. Add this to your TBR list. It's a fun read and a must for a day when you need to unwind and just be entertained!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Return to Grace by Karen Harper

Return to Grace
A Home Valley Amish Novel #2
Author: Karen Harper
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 9780778313236
Paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Amish fiction, mystery

About the Book:
In the shadows of a graveyard, a SHOT rings out…

Hannah Esh fled the Home Valley Amish community with a broken heart, throwing herself into her worldly dreams of a singing career instead. But as much as she tries to run from her past, something keeps pulling her back. On a whim, she brings four worldly friends to the Amish graveyard near her family’s home for a midnight party on Halloween. But when shots are fired and one of her friends is killed, Hannah is pulled back into the world of her past.

The investigation into the shooting uncovers deep-buried secrets that shock the peaceful Amish village to its core. Determined to prove her value to the community she left behind, Hannah attempts to bridge two cultures,working closely with both handsome, arrogant FBI agent Linc Armstrong and her former betrothed, Seth Lantz,now widowed with a young daughter.

Caught between Seth and Linc, between old and new, Amish and worldly, Hannah must choose her future. Unless a killer, bent on secrecy, chooses it for her.
About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper is a former high school and college English teacher. Winner of the 2005 Mary Higgins Clark Award for her outstanding novel Dark Angel, Karen is the author of seventeen romantic suspense novels and six historical novels, as well as a series of historical mysteries. Karen and her husband, who divide their time between Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, love to travel both in the U.S. and abroad. For additional information about Karen and her novels, please visit www.KarenHarperAuthor.com.

My Thoughts:

The story line for "Return to Grace" was an exciting and page-turning experience, but I did have issues with it, and those issues detracted from the enjoyment of the story for me. First let me clarify why. I live in an area of Old Order Amish and have an Amish friend. This story's Amish customs are  far from the Amish customs and community that I know here. I'm not saying they are incorrect as each order has their own ways, but they don't match with what I know.

With that said, the story and the characters didn't ring true to me. The sheriff felt contrived and quite forced and I really couldn't "get into it" the way I would have liked. Yes - my problem and not fair to the story.

Another issue I had was coming into the series with this as my first book. I don't think that helped at all and I honestly think I should have started with book one. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this series should start at the beginning.

Lastly - I don't like any type of sex in my Amish fiction. It has to be clean for me.

If you like Amish fiction and don't get hung up on the different ways of each order and don't mind your story being a little risque, you shouldn't have any issues with this. Really, the basic story is good. I just got hung up on the details.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fatal Puzzle by Catherine Shepherd

Fatal Puzzle
Zons Crime Book One
Author: Catherine Shepherd
Translator: Julia Knobloch
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
ISBN: 9781477826508
Paperback: 154 pages

About the Book:
1495: In the peaceful medieval city of Zons, on the banks of the Rhine, a young woman is found hanging from a parapet, raped and mutilated. A month later, another maiden falls prey. Bastian Mühlenberg, head of the City Guard, is determined to decipher the murderer’s gruesome code, unaware that he and the woman he loves are in the killer’s sights. With the help of an old psychic, a priest, and the stars above, Mühlenberg must solve the “fatal puzzle” before it’s too late.

Present day: Journalist Emily Richter is thrilled when she’s assigned a series of articles about the historic Zons killings. However, right before her stories are to be published, a young woman’s body is found hanging from a city tower—grossly maimed and wearing a linen gown, like her medieval predecessors. Detective Oliver Bergmann leads the investigation, tapping the knowledge of the attractive young journalist. Working together—and using Mühlenberg’s old notes—they race to stay one step ahead of the copycat killer.

About the Author:

Thriller author Catherine Shepherd lives with her family in the medieval town of Zons, Germany, the setting of Fatal Puzzle. Since leaving her successful career as a project manager at a major German bank, Shepherd has devoted herself to writing full-time. Fatal Puzzle, the first book in the Zons series, hit number one on Amazon's bestseller list in Germany.

My Thoughts:

This mystery thriller is definitely worth taking notice of. From the beginning, I was really taken in by the shifting of time frames and how the story unfolded. In the late 1400's we are introduced to a serial killer and the detective that "hunts" him. In the present day, we are introduced to a journalist who is researching that killer. As she researches why the killer did what he did, and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, there is a real life serial murder going on that mimics the 500 year old murder mystery.

As I read more and more translated novels, I'm finding that I love the fresh take on story telling they provide. This story was no exception! Full of suspense and a some red herrings, I really didn't figure out who did it until close to the end when it was revealed. I love stories that keep me guessing and I love the fact that there was a puzzle involved where you learned along with the main character.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of Catherine Shepherd's work translated into English. The translator (Julia Knobloch) for "Fatal Puzzle" did a superb job and there was no awkward feel to sentence structure or any misunderstanding in what was being said.

This is a great mystery/thriller to settle in with. It's not very long and the characters are fleshed out enough to really enjoy them. If you enjoy translated works, a good thriller or mystery or just like a well told story, then this is a must to add to your reading list!!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Coffee Gives Me Superpowers - Review

Coffee Gives Me Superpowers
An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth
Author: Ryoko Iwata
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN: 9781449460839
Hardcover: 96 pages

About the Book:
For coffee lovers and those who love them, Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is a fun, graphic design-centered book focused on one of the world's most addictive and beloved substances--coffee.

If coffee is the foundation of your food pyramid, then this is your book. Inspired by Ryoko Iwata's popular Web site, I Love Coffee (en.ilovecoffee.jp), Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is overflowing with infographics and fun, interesting facts about the most awesome beverage on earth written by Ryoko, a Japanese coffee-lover living in Seattle. The book includes the most popular pieces on the site, such as "Your Brain on Beer vs. Coffee," "10 Coffee Myths," "The 15 Most Caffeinated Cities in the U.S.," "The Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee (According to Science)," and "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Caffeine," plus 25 percent new, original material that is available only in this book.
My Thoughts:

Brightly colored and wonderfully illustrated, you'll find this book both engrossing because of the information and as addictive as coffee itself! I found myself going back to the book again and again. I told myself it was because I wanted to re-read the the fun and informative facts, but honestly I enjoy the bright colors and the presentation and the overall entertaining way everything is presented.

Perfect for gift-giving or just a great book to present yourself with, Coffee Gives Me Superpowers will have you coming back again and again to make you smile, shake your head, and just overall enjoy!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Handbag Workshop by Anna M. Mazur

Handbag Workshop
Design and Sew the Perfect Bag
Author: Anna M. Mazur
Publisher: Taunton Press, Inc.
ISBN: 9781621137771
Paperback: 208 pages
Genre: Sewing, Crafts

About the Book:
From chic wristlets to functional carryalls (and everything in between), each project includes easy-to-follow instructions, pattern template, and detailed photos. All the sewing basics readers need are here, but the range of patterns, stylishness of the bags, and design instruction (so readers can build their perfect bag) are what sets this book above the rest.

A THREADS contributor and THREADS-reader favorite, Anna’s bags have been gracing the pages of the magazine since 2001. She is known for her clever designs and for her simple, clear instructions that yield amazingly sophisticated results.
My Thoughts:

Tauton Press usually does a nice job on printing and photographing books covering crafts, sewing, cooking, etc., however, I won't be able to really comment on the completeness or the quality of photographs for the "Handbag Workshop" since I received a digital copy from Netgalley. For me, that could make or break a great book, but sadly, my hands are tied on this aspect.

Those photos that I do see look quite good and the instructions seem complete enough, however, I did notice that the level for these bags is a bit more advanced than some I've seen in other books. This could be a good thing, but could also be a drawback for an over adventurous beginner. It wouldn't stop me though from recommending this book to anyone who wants to learn how a bag is constructed and sewn and the instructions are good enough to definitely try. Beginners should expect mistakes - it's a given when sewing and since these are more advanced patterns and explanations, it would be normal to have a few issues.  Don't let that stop you though. This is truly a great book and it's good enough that I want to add a finished paperback to my sewing library.

Recommended to those that want to learn handbag construction, sewers and those that are just curious about the process.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

ARCHETYPE by M.D. Waters

Author: M.D. Waters
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: 9780525954231
Hardcover: 384 pages
Genre: fiction, sci-fi, futuristic, suspense

About the Book:
Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.
My Thoughts:

Emma is a woman who has powerful and pulling dreams. They, at times, seem more real than the life she leads with her husband, Declan. These dreams are disturbing and bother Emma, yet she is reluctant to divulge these dreams with anyone. Until she meets Noah. He could be the key to what is really going on in Emma's life. Or is he?

ARCHETYPE is a novel that kept me quite intrigued to the end. The reader only finds out information when Emma does, so this keeps one wondering and trying to figure out what is really going on. I love this style of writing. As each piece of the puzzle is revealed, the story picks up to a heart-pounding bittersweet ending. Well, ending for book one of the series anyhow. The ending is satisfying enough that you could walk away from the series with closure, but you still have the type of ending where you want to go on to see where things go from here.

I enjoyed Emma's character. She's strong and smart and she's a ... oh well, you'll have to read the book to find out exactly what she is - that's part of the intrigue of the story line.

Make sure you add this to your must read list today. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi, dystopian, or futuristic type novels. While you're at it, you may just want to pick up the second one, "Prototype" as well!!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Plain Admirer by Patricia Davids

Plain Admirer
Love Inspired Series
Author: Patricia Davids
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 9780373878178
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages

About the Book:
Love Is Only A Letter Away

So what if Joann Yoder's Amish community deems her a spinster? She's content to stay single. In the meantime, she's working hard to finally buy her dream house. So it's problematic when she's fired from her job to make room for the nephew's owner, Roman Weaver. His blue eyes aside, she simply can't stand him! Good thing she has the secret letters she's been exchanging with a mystery man to keep her going. But who is writing her letters? And could she possibly fall for him in real life, too?
My Thoughts:

Since her parents died, Joann Yoder no longer has a real home to call her own. She is passed from brother to brother since she is now their responsibility. She dreams of having her own home and works hard at her job - saving for that dream. Then, she finds she will be losing her job and has to train Roman, her new replacement.

The only way Joann copes with things when they get tough, it to go fishing. On one trip, she loses her pole and a later trip back, she finds it along with a letter. This starts an unusual and very understanding relationship with someone she has never met.

A well executed story, "Plain Admirer" kept me quite engrossed throughout. It was a hard book to put down because I had to see what the next letter would bring and wondered if and when the big reveal would be. This was a quick read with a spirited female and a broken male that could capture the reader's heart. Although the story was predictable, it was still a very satisfying read.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys Amish or clean romance or anyone who enjoys a quick read with a satisfying outcome.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Stonefly by Scott J. Holliday

Book one of the Jacob Duke series
Scott J. Holliday
Haley Road Publishing
ISBN: 9780988555433
Paperback: 326 pages
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

About the Book:
Jacob Duke has come back to Braketon­—a sleepy, backwoods town bordering Dover, the mental institution where he spent his formative years. Jacob's intention is to enjoy Braketon's woods and water for the first time as a free man, but he soon discovers that Dover isn't through with him yet. Driven by a curse that compels him to grant any wish he hears, Jacob is drawn back into his disturbing former life by a young boy's desire to see his own father dead.

Complicating things is the irresistible and erratic Lori Nelson, who continues to put new boyfriends in Jacob's path, along with Motown, Jacob's friend from his years at Dover, who carries a secret that rocks Jacob's foundation and makes him question his own morality.

Stonefly is a suspense thriller that rockets to a surprising, but satisfying end. Stay tuned for the second book in the series, Broken Horizon.

My Thoughts:

I am totally ashamed to say that I thought I had published my review of this book and found that it sat in my drafts with only notes and didn't get reviewed. This is a true travesty as this book was so worth the recognition that I should have given it, but didn't. So, here's the recognition that it should have gotten.

"Stonefly" is one of those books that you might just pass up because of the title or maybe the cover. It was on a whim that I chose it and I really didn't expect a whole lot from it. Instead, it pretty much knocked my socks off! It was brilliantly written, better yet, memorable. It's been a long time since I've read it, and Jacob Duke still stands out in my mind. He is pretty much an unforgettable character for me - especially with how he tried to deal with ridding himself of his gift.

Written in Jacob's point of view, one can really come to feeling things and experiencing things through Jacob's eyes. Things make sense this way, where as a by-stander, things may not at all be understandable and more importantly,why would they since Jacob has come out of a long stay in a mental hospital. This really gave me a great connection to the story - and that's what made it so unforgettable.

If you enjoy suspense, a great main character, a bit of supernatural, a gift that is really a curse and some great storytelling, then this is truly a novel you will enjoy. Make sure to add it to your must reads today!!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Book 1 of the Legion Series
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316210171
Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult

About the Book:
I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn't know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy's room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon -- a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother's place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon -- battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

My Thoughts:

Do you love great books that include ghosts and demons and those that hunt them? Then grab yourself a copy of Kami Garcia's "Unbreakable" and prepare yourself to curl up with a true spine-tingling page turner!

Did I love this book? YES! It held everything I adore about haunting fiction. We have the unsuspecting main character that hears whispers, a cat, a death of someone close, a couple of weird twins that appear out of nowhere... And then the fun begins!

Written for the young adult audience, this book easily will entertain and please the adult audience. It is fast paced, full of action, creepy and suspenseful - everything that any reader would appreciate. Make sure to pick up a copy soon. Best part is the second of the series, "Unmarked" is already available, so you won't have to wait to see what happens next!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Boy in the Cemetery by Sebastian Gregory

The Boy in the Cemetery
Sebastian Gregory
Publisher: Carina
Kindle Edition, 122 pages

About the Book:
This is the story of a girl who didn’t want to live…

Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone…

…and a boy who cannot die.

The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he’s been waiting for…
My Thoughts:

There is a boy that goes by the name Boy because he cannot remember his name, was an abused child from the 1800's that ended up alone and then went to a graveyard to find the dead's secrets.

In present day, there is a girl, Carrie Anne, who is an abused child that wants to sleep in death. Her family moves to a new town with a graveyard behind their home. As she tries to hide her family secrets, her macrabe fascination shines through and makes her stand out and she becomes a target.

This story is creepy, macrabe and downright gross at times and should please any reader that enjoys that kind of a story. This story is not full of fun and games but takes on some serious issues like child abuse, attempted suicide and sexual abuse. With those issues, I'm not sure how to approach where to categorize the genre. It has a child main character so I would lean that way, but at the same time the abuse and suicide issue is touchy. I would suggest an adult read this book before handing it to their child to make sure they are mature enough for the subjects.

With that said, I was entranced by the whole story and enjoyed it throughout. The ending was one that I didn't totally see coming but looking back it made sense and seems there would be nothing that would be more appropriate. I love the characters and wanted to rescue both and became quite involved with the story because of this.

This is one story that I won't be forgetting for quite a while. I recommend it to all that love horror and enjoy children as main characters. This is truly perfect for those that like Tim Burton's and possibly even Neil Gaiman's style. Not sure I'd recommend it for young adults because of the subject matter and feel that it needs to be a parental decision.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Ireland

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Ireland
Book #5
Authors: Patti Wheeler, Keith Hemstreet
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
ISBN: 9781626341951
Hardcover: 192 pages
Genre: Young adult, adventure, travel

About the Book:
While on vacation in Ireland, Gannon and Wyatt visit medieval castles, climb the Cliffs of Moher, and explore the ancient Newgrange monument. But after Gannon kisses the Blarney Stone their adventure takes a dramatic turn. While volunteering on a farm to connect with their Irish roots, they learn that a deadly blight is wreaking havoc on the Irish farmland. Determined to uncover the true cause, the courageous explorers embark on a secret mission to gather evidence against a ruthless suspect, but soon find themselves running for their lives. Ultimately, they must rely on their wilderness survival skills and Gannon’s “gift of gab” if they hope to bring justice to their ancestral home.

In the tradition of the historic journals kept by explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Dr. David Livingstone, and Captain James Cook comes the adventure series Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. From Africa to the South Pacific, these twin brothers have traveled the world. You never know what they will encounter as they venture into the wild, but one thing is certain wherever Gannon and Wyatt go, adventure is their constant companion.

You can find Gannon and Wyatt’s blog, photographs, and video footage from their real-life expeditions at travelswithgannonandwyatt.com.
My Thoughts:

Get ready to go on adventure with Gannon and Wyatt in Ireland! Book number 5 of the Travels With Gannon and Wyatt series, this book will take you on an adventure to the Emerald Isle! Visit some exciting landmarks including the Blarney Stone (complete with pictures). I had no idea how "fun" it would be to kiss that stone until Gannon gives it a try!

Full of adventure with two home schooled boys, this novel is sure to keep the reader engrossed to the end! Throughout the boys travels, one will see and experience Ireland and the locals as well as become entwined in a great mystery adventure.

Gannon and Wyatt are both great characters. Like most brothers, they are both interested in life but from different points of view - one from the scientific side and the other from the humanities side. This leads to some disagreements but also shows how things are viewed from all sides and creates an interesting story from both points of view.

Great for middle school boys and girls, this series can be started anywhere. Match them to your studies to bring a sort of living history to them. This series is fun, so don't be surprised if your young reader wants to read them all!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis

A C.H.A.O.S. Novel - Book #1
Author: Jon S. Lewis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595547538
Hardcover: 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi

About the Book:
He didn't ask to be a hero, but now all that stands between us and chaos . . . is Colt.

Colt McAlister was having the summer of his life. He spent his days surfing and his nights playing guitar on the beach with friends. He even met a girl and got his first car. But everything changes when his parents are killed in a freak accident.

He's forced to leave his old life behind and move to Arizona with his grandfather. The only person he knows at the new high school is a childhood friend named Dani. And Oz, a guy he's sure he's never met but who is strangely familiar.

But what if his parents' death wasn't an accident? His mother, an investigative reporter, was going to expose a secret mind-control program run by one of the world's largest companies. Before she could release the story, what if agents from Trident Biotech made sure she couldn't go public?

Vowing to uncover truth, Colt is drawn into a secret world of aliens, shapeshifters, flying motorcycles, and invisible getaways.

The invasion has begun.
My Thoughts:

A great start to a fun trilogy, Invasion keeps readers interested both emotionally and with lots of action. The main character, Colt, has a hardship that takes him to live with his grandfather. This hardship may end up being much more tragic that first expected and Colt intends to find out exactly what happened.

This young adult sci-fi novel starts out a bit slow but picks up with lots of action and secrets. Of course with sci-fi, there has to be fighting and aliens, so get ready to snuggle up with a book that takes the reader "out of this world"!

This book is recommended for young adults as well as older readers that enjoy a young male protagonist. Great to give to pre-teen/early teen readers, especially boys.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Holiday Hats for Babies by Debby Ware

Holiday Hats for Babies
Caps, Berets & Beanies to Knit for Every Occasion
Author: Debby Ware
Publisher: Taunton Press, Inc.
ISBN: 9781627101028
Paperback: 128 pages
Genre: Crafts, Knitting

About the Book:
These sweet and sassy baby hats will bring a smile to your face! 25 adorable patterns for every celebration of the year: Birthday Cupcake Cap, Halloween Hat, Holly Holiday Hat, Baby Chick Cap, Crystal Party Hat, Firecracker Topper, Leaf Peeper Cap, and more.
My Thoughts:

If I had to describe the hats in "Holiday Hats for Babies" in just one word, it would be ADORABLE! There are hats for every occasion including birthday, Halloween, Easter, Spring, Mother's Day, etc. The instructions are easy to read and follow.

Each hat is made to fit babies with a 14" or 18" head by using the recommended DK yarn and needles. However, if you use a worsted weight/Aran type yarn, larger needles or both, you will end up with a larger hat that can fit a child's larger head. This would make this book even more useful and fun - especially for children who love to dress up or for those that want to look like their baby brother/sister.

I had a lot of fun trying out some of these patterns and had no issues with any of the instructions. They were clear and easy to understand.

This is perfect for anyone who loves to knit for the wee ones, enjoys making hats, or just enjoys to knit something different that will put a smile on someone's face!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

The Amish Baking Cookbook by Georgia Varozza and Kathleen Kerr

The Amish Baking Cookbook
Plainly Delicious Recipes from Oven to Table
Authors: Georgia Varozza and Kathleen Kerr
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Spiral-bound: 272 pages
ISBN: 9780736955386

About the Book:
Building on the success of The Homestyle Amish Kitchen (more than 58,000 copies sold), Georgia Varozza partners with experienced baker Kathleen Kerr to give you a cookbook filled with the foods most associated with the Plain and simple life: baked goods. This delicious collection of more than three hundred classic baking recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, bars, and breads inspires you who love Amish fiction and are drawn to the Plain lifestyle to roll up your sleeves and start baking!

Whether you consider yourself a novice or a veteran in the kitchen, Georgia and Kathleen make it easy to make delicious baking recipes such as Amish Nut Balls and Brown Sugar Pie. Find the perfect recipe to prepare for that large weekend potluck, tonight’s intimate family dinner, or a fun activity with the kids.
My Thoughts:

Being blessed with living in Amish Country, the one thing I know to be a fact is that the Amish really know how to cook, and they do it well! "The Amish Baking Cookbook" is worth its weight in gold as it contains many of the delicious recipes I have found in my area. I was excited to find recipes for Blueberry Bagels, Brown Sugar Pie, Rhubarb Coffee Cake as well as many other delightful baked goodies.

Each recipe is easy to follow and everything I've tried has come out wonderfully delicious. Besides the recipes, there is a guide to ingredients and a section about the Amish and their beliefs.

No matter how many cookbooks you have, if you really enjoy delicious home cooking, you really have to add this to your collection. You won't be sorry you did!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Forced Alliance by Lenora Worth

Forced Alliance
Love Inspired Suspense
Author: Lenora Worth
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 9780373446018
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance

About the Book:

By-the-book FBI agent Josie Gilbert has no business falling for her confidential informant, but she can't walk away. She needs this case—her career needs this case. And suave thief turned FBI asset Connor Randall is too deep in the mob syndicate to pull out now. But when the crime boss they are trying to take down becomes a target himself, Josie is forced to take Connor into hiding without blowing his cover. Now, dodging hit men and fighting a perilous attraction, she has to make a life-and-death decision. Can she trust the man who has stolen her heart…or is he working one last con?
My Thoughts:

This quick paced, action packed thriller kept me turning pages to see what happened. Every time I think I figured it out, some twist would make me second guess myself. Although quite formulaic and predictable, I still enjoyed the story line and the characters. Josie is a strong woman and Conner is a great con-man that you can't help but like but not sure you trust. These characters both worked for me and worked well in the story. Nothing seemed out of character and all seemed quite realistic.

Forced Alliance is a good quick read that will keep you flipping the pages to see what happens next. I enjoyed it enough to want to read more by this author and also from Harlequin's Love Inspired Series!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

On Her Father's Grave by Kendra Elliot

On Her Father's Grave
Rogue River Novella Book 1
Author: Kendra Elliot
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Print Length: 100 pages
Kindle Edition - no ISBN

About the Book:
The first of four thrilling Rogue River novellas, On Her Father’s Grave launches a new romantic suspense series from Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh, with each author alternating writing books in the series.

In a small town like Solitude, Oregon, keeping a secret can be murder.

Stevie Taylor had left her sleepy Oregon hometown for a more exciting life. But after her police chief father passes away, the LAPD cop returns to Solitude and signs on as a patrol officer, hoping to heal from her loss…and from the horrific things she’s seen in the city.

In Solitude, everyone knows everyone else’s business—and, to Stevie’s dismay, local gossip soon ties her to the new police chief and a man from her past. Tragedy then shakes up the small town when a teenager dies after taking a strange new drug. Now, the seasoned LA cop must hunt down the dealer while investigating the most important case of her life, one that could divide her tranquil town.
About the Author

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Kendra Elliot has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female sleuths and heroines like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden before proceeding to devour the works of Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, and Nora Roberts. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. A Golden Heart, Daphne du Maurier, and Linda Howard Award of Excellence finalist, Elliot shares her love of suspense in Hidden, Chilled, Buried, Alone, and Vanished. She lives and writes in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and a Pomeranian, but dreams of living at the beach on Kauai.

My Thoughts:

Stevie Taylor left Oregon to work for the LAPD. After her father dies and she has tired of seeing everything going on in the big city, she decides to return to her hometown - not only to relax but to heal after the passing of her father. Things don't remain quiet though and Stevie is thrown into something that reminds her of her past dealings in LA.

I enjoyed the first book to the series and must read the others. The characters are interesting, Stevie is layered and is slowly revealed throughout the story. She is quite a complex person and she has guilt issues among other things. She is not only interesting but is pretty enough to catch the attention of her boss, but will there be love? Business and pleasure don't mix or do they?

A great story line and good characters make this beginning of the series one to add to your TBR list. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in Stevie's not-so-quiet town, the mystery behind her father and finding out if there will there be a love interest after all.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.