Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Mourning / Review

Author: Margaret Maron
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
(November 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446555800

Book Description...
It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost unless he and Deborah can discover why she died.

About the Author...
Margaret Maron grew up on a farm near Raleigh and lived in Brooklyn for many years. Returning to her North Carolina roots prompted Margaret to write a series based on her own background, the first of which, BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER, was a Washington Post bestseller and swept the major mystery awards for 1993. CHRISTMAS MOURNING is the sixteenth book in the acclaimed Deborah Knott series. Visit her website at http://www.margaretmaron.com/.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Old Border Road / Review

Author: Susan Froderberg
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(December 9, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316098779

Book Description:
Katherine is 17, living alone in the beautiful, desolate landscape of southern Arizona. Her mother is feckless, her father busy with his new family. Meeting Son, the scion of a local rancher, seems like deliverance. They marry and live as a family in his parents' venerable adobe house, but it soon becomes clear that Son is a man who, as his father says, has a "young heart near withered beneath the breastbone."

Katherine must find her own way during a dangerous months-long drought, when everything seems to be disintegrating around her. Susan Froderberg's incantatory language--and her deep knowledge of both the complexities of a small, deeply-rooted place and the human heart--make OLD BORDER ROAD soar.

My Review:
Ms. Froderberg's poetic writing style makes this a worthwhile read.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow / Review

Author: Stephanie O'Dea
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Hyperion
(December 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1401310389

Book Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of slow-cooker cookbook Make It Fast, Cook It Slow returns with budget (and gluten-free!) meals that will satisfy the entire family.

Stephanie O'Dea's 200 delicious recipes include:
* Baked Herbed Feta * Smoky Bean and Corn Soup * Maple-Glazed Pork Chops * Moroccan Chicken with Lentils * Apple-Pecan Bread Pudding * Orange and Honey Tilapia * Chocolate Pot de Crème with Ganache
--and many more. More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the perfect cookbook for easy-to-prepare meals that don't take a toll on the family budget.

My Review:

I loved Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and find More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow to be even better than the last. My daughter looked through it last night and now wants a copy of her own! The recipes seem simple to make, with a down-home quality. I look forward to many good dishes from the recipes in this great cookbook. Certainly 5 stars*****

(Thank you to the author for my review copy!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Power to Reinvent Yourself / Review

Author: Jason Frenn
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
(October 13, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446546224

Book Description:
Evangelist and author Jason Frenn details five steps accessing Christ's power to break the chains of destructive patterns that afflict generation after generation. Many families suffer from dysfunction and conflict handed down from one generation to the next, and the cycle repeats itself with greater and greater severity. Parents struggle to keep their families from eroding as they helplessly watch their kids, teenagers, and adult children fall into overwhelming patterns of self-destruction. But there is a power that can set these families free and change their future.

In this book, readers experience the story of the author and his family, and how he was rescued from destruction. Each reader can find the POWER TO REINVENT YOURSELF and obtain a life of significance, success, and victory!

My Review:
Power to Reinvent Yourself is a book that helps the reader understand the power of Christ in their everyday life and shows us how to break the habit of self-destruction.

Chapters include: Discover You Why; Change Your Perceptions; Break the Cycle of Destructive Behavior; Form Godly Habits; Choose to Forgive; Overcome with the Help of Others; Unleash Real Power in Your Life; and questions for reflection and group discussion.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweetie / Review

Author: Kathryn Magendie
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
(November 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1935661914

Book Description:
For shy, stuttering Melissa, the wild mountain girl named Sweetie is a symbol of pride and strength. But to many in their Appalachian town Sweetie is an outcast, a sinister influence, or worse. This poignant and haunting story takes readers deep inside the bittersweet heart of childhood loyalties.

My Review:
First let me say, author Kathryn Magendie is one of the best new writers around today. She makes the characters come alive on the written page! Now about her newest book, Sweetie: it is the best in southern fiction; emotionally charged; lyrical; charming; unforgettable. I love everything Magendie writes! 5 stars*****

(Thank you to Bellebooks for my review copy!!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Growing More Beautiful (An Artful Approach To Personal Style) / Review

Author: Jennifer Robin
Perfect Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Arteful Press
(February 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0981732208

Book Description:

Growing More Beautiful is a lively, buoyant resource for projecting your essence with creativity and flair. Jennifer Robin's paint box of practical tips, inspiring illustrations, helpful worksheets, and fresh personal insights will open your senses to the beauty of both your inner life and outward appearance, and help make getting dressed a daily act of creation. Image consultant, artist, and author, Jennifer Robin ties it all together in this stunning new book that will help you look and feel more beautiful as you grow into the person you were always meant to be. And, the elements of making art touched on in the book, including principles of design, will help with any creative endeavor, whether it's painting or creating an outfit.

With her new book, Growing More Beautiful, artist and image consultant Jennifer Robin has given women a generous, much-needed gift. This is not your basic how-to beauty book. This is a celebration of you. And if you haven't felt much like celebrating when it comes to your own unique beauty, you're in for a wonderful surprise, to say the least. By the time you finish reading, you are likely to feel nothing less than transformed.
Women everywhere can now breathe a sigh of relief: Growing More Beautiful doesn't focus on How to Look Younger. It encourages women to explore and illuminate their unique beauty and style at any age. Artist and Image Consultant Jennifer Robin takes a refreshing approach with expert advice that's both reassuring and generous; her enthusiasm for playing with color, clothing, make-up, and jewelry is downright contagious. Readers will find shopping more accessible, less confusing, and a lot more fun. She has filled her book with gorgeous images, including her own paintings, so that each page is as inspiring to look at as it is to read.

My Review:

The cover of this book compels one to open and enjoy! Filled with gorgeous artwork and photos, Growing More Beautiful inspires even the most plain among us. Every woman who reads it will want to start immediately to become more attractive and captivating, not only on the outside but the inside as well.

Growing More Beautiful is an amazing book that is pure joy to read. It is truly inspirational with lots of ideas on how to dress...
being true to your own personality.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Blessed Beyond Measure Devotional Journal / Review

Author: Gloria Copeland
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
(October 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446539074

Book Description:

In this BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE Devotional Journal, Gloria Copeland shows readers how to embrace God's goodness and learn to trust Him with every area of their lives. She confirms, "Only by placing our lives in His hands can we open the way for Him to save us, and bless us, and work through us," generating lives of faith, hope, and confidence. Reflective and personal application questions will guide the user of the devotional journal in their personal growth. Space to record thoughts and insights are also provided. This lively journal offers all of that and more, with the expectation that God will use it to help the reader experience all the blessings of the Lord.

My Review:

I found Gloria Copeland's Blessed Beyond Measure Devotional Journal to be an excellent place to record my daily thoughts and Christian walk.

It gives thoughts to ponder, lined blank spaces for writing one's thoughts; suggestions for application; and appropriate scripture verses. As you write your thoughts and prayers in the journal you can look back and review how far you have come on your Christian journey.

Blessed Beyond Measure Devotional Journal is a lovely book which would make a perfect gift.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Brave / Review

Author: Nicholas Evans
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(October 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316033782

Book Description:

There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever. What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. Only when his estranged son, a US Marine, is charged with murder do the events resurface, forcing him to confront his demons. As he struggles to save his son's life, he will learn the true meaning of bravery.

Powerfully written and intensely moving, The Brave traces the legacy of violence behind the myth of the American West and explores our quest for love and identity, the fallibility of heroes and the devastating effects of family secrets.

My Review:

Many will remember the author's best-selling book "The Horse Whisperer," with fondness. Nicholas Evans fans will find "The Brave" fascinating, as well.

The book starts with young Tom visiting his mother before she is to go to the gas chamber, then moves back and forth with ease, giving us bits of his life and the relationships he struggles with. In the end, Tom, fighting to save the life of his son, Danny, finds courage and reconciliation.

The story is told with skill by a master novelist--bold, complex, engrossing, larger-than-life. I highly recommend "The Brave."

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

City of Tranquil Light / Review

Author: Bo Caldwell
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
(September 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0805092285

Book Description:

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P'ing Ch'eng— City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love—and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?
Told through Will and Katherine's alternating viewpoints—and inspired by the lives of the author's maternal grandparents—City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation.

A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn.

My Review:

This historical novel, inspired by the author's grandparents, takes us on a spiritual journey-- into the lives of two lovers and their experiences within China. Great hardships threaten to destroy a faith that seems unshakable. The story in electric, beautiful, passionate, and tender. Will faith and love survive? 5 stars*****

(Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for my review copy.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

At Witt's End / Review

Author: Beth Solheim
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Echelon Press
(March 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 159080662X

Book Description:

Things are really bustling at the Witt's End resort in Northern Minnesota. Clients are vying for one of the few remaining rentals, except Cabin 14 thing is no--one gets out of Cabin 14 alive. Sadie isn't your typical sixty-four year old senior citizen. She has things she wants to do and shouldn't be expected to solve a murder while trying to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff's deputy from shutting down the lakeside resort she owns with her straight arrow sister. But that's exactly what Sadie Witt must do. When five guests with hidden agendas arrive at Cabin 14, they're stunned to learn that the flamboyant Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in the latest fashion trends--fads typically reserved for those without sagging body parts--and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can't, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and must work against the clock to untangle the web and prevent further mayhem.

My Review:

At Witt's End by Beth Solheim is one of those easy reading, fasting moving, enjoyable books you can't put down. The characters are well-developed, a little quirky, and completely memorable. Definitely a page-turner. 4 stars.

(thank you to the author for my review copy.)

The Confident Woman Devotional / Review

Author: Joyce Meyer
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
(November 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446568880

Book Description:
THE CONFIDENT WOMAN has sold over 400,000 copies since its publication in 2006 and remains Joyce Meyer's only #1 New York Times bestselling book. It continues to sell an average of over 100,000 copies a year; clearly, she tapped into the concerns and issues that trouble women most. In this devotional, Meyer provides encouragement and tools to help address and resolve problems in an area of life that women struggle with.It is easy to get caught up in what the coming weeks, months or years might hold and forget to slow down and live in the present. This powerful daily devotional will help women on their journey towards a confident life filled with love, laughter and God's acceptance, one day at time.

My Review:
This 365 day devotional for women is another example of Joyce Meyers outstanding ministry. It is scripturally sound, easy to read, and uplifting. Each page includes a scripture, message, and prayer. Devotions are short and to the point--a quick way to start the day in a positive way.

Topics address areas of interest to women: self-confidence and building strong relationships.

This is a beautiful volume that would fit into a tote/purse and would also make a lovely gift.

(thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Clinton St. Baking Company / Review

Author: DeDe Lahman & Neil Kleinberg
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(November 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316083372

The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of the hottest brunch spots in a city obsessed with brunch. A tiny thirty-two-seat eatery on Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side, the restaurant draws long lines of customers who come from far and wide to sample fresh-baked goods, hearty omelets, sugar-cured bacon, and light-as-air pancakes with maple butter.

In the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, owners DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg share more than 100 treasured recipes that have made their restaurant a sensation. Learn the secret to their house-made buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, irresistible muffins and scones, delicious soups and sandwiches, and their decadent, eye-catching desserts. Helpful techniques, like Neil's patented omelet "flip and tuck," and gorgeous color photographs throughout will have readers cooking like pros in no time, and sharing the delicious results.

My Review:
This cookbook is fabulous! It has all the foods you would expect from your local bakery/coffee shop. The recipes are not complicated and look delicious in the colorful full-page photos.I can't wait to try Smoked Salmon Scramble and the Scones!

This is one of those cookbooks we take off the shelf and use often for a simple and delicious breakfast or lunch. It will also make a great gift for the baker/cook. Definitely 5 stars *****

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Winner Is....

The winner of the new book It Writes Itself is Anita! Congratulations!! **Please send your address by email so I can put your book in the mail

Monday, November 8, 2010

The American Patriot's Almanac

Authors: William J. Bennett
John T.E. Cribb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
(September 28, 2010)

My Review:

The American Patriot’s Almanac (Daily readings on America), a national bestseller which has now been revised, updated, and expanded, offers the reader 365 days of historic facts and inspiration. The book is packed with Americana which includes: Twelve Great Reasons to Love a Great Country; Flags of the Revolutionary War; The History of the Stars and Stripes; Fifty All-American Movies; Fifty American Quotes; Flag Etiquette; How the Declaration of Independence Was Written and Signed; The Declaration of Independence; The Gettysburg Address; The American’s Creed; Poems of American Patriotism; Prayers for the American People; and much more.

I found inspiration on every page of this beautiful volume. I also found answers to questions I have had in the past. For instance, why are our national elections held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; who was the oldest person to become president; who was the youngest person to become president; which presidents were impeached; how are ships in the Navy named, etc.

This would be a perfect tool for the home-school library or a gift for anyone who enjoys American history. All the vitality of the this wonderful country comes alive page after page, giving the reader a sense of pride in our country and the freedoms we all enjoy. I definitely give this book 5 stars*****

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for my review copy!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

He Blew Her A Kiss / Review

Authors: A. P. Printup and K. S. Dollar
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press
(July 23, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1432760920

Book Description:

It comes as a brush of the shoulder, a breath, a familiar scent, or perhaps a gentle breeze when everything else is still. These remarkable sensations are all examples of our loved ones communicating to us after they are gone from this life-letting us know they are in a better place, and yet still with us.

He Blew Her a Kiss collects dozens of such stories of after-death communication, in which husbands, wives, children, grandparents, and others, gently let us know that their spirit lives on.

This series of short, delightfully written vignettes-based on real-life stories from all over the country-describes:
-How a simple note tied to a balloon proves the incredible power of love to transcend all, following the death of a beloved wife
-The voicemail message a sister receives after her brother has passed-and its incredible tidings of hope
-The uncanny revelation contained in a TV game show that supplies comfort to a family after the death of their patriarch
-The nightlight that flickers only when a granddaughter speaks of her late grandmother-and how it refuses to go out...and much more.

Filled with touching accounts that will make you smile and cry at the same time, He Blew Her a Kiss is required reading for anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one and needs a little help to carry on.

My Review:

I love personal accounts like these! They are tender, reassuring, compassionate, and sometimes even funny. I've collected dozens of books on life after death over the years and will proudly add this one to my library.

The stories are all short and to the point; well-edited and easy to read, while giving hope for an extension of life hereafter. The reader does not feel like they must read the entire book in one sitting, but can read each personal story as time permits.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next book. 5 stars*****

(Thank you to the authors for my review copy.)

The Family Dinner / Review

Author: Laurie David
w/recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
(November 3, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446565466

Book Description:
Laurie David's new mission is to help America's overwhelmed families sit down to a Family Dinner, and she provides all the reasons, recipes and fun tools to do so.

Laurie David speaks from her own experience confronting the challenges of raising two teenage girls. Today's parents have lots to deal with and technology is making their job harder than ever. Research has proven that everything we worry about as parents--from drugs to alcohol, promiscuity, to obesity, academic achievement and just good old nutrition--can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table.

Laurie has written a practical, inspirational, fun (and, of course, green) guide to the most important hour in any parent's day. Chock-full chapters include: Over seventy-five kid approved fantastic recipes; tips on teaching green values; conversation starters; games to play to help even the shyest family member become engaged; ways to express gratitude; the family dinner after divorce (hint: keep eating together) and much more. Filled with moving memories and advice from the country's experts and teachers, this book will get everyone away from electronic screens and back to the dinner table.

My Review:
This is NOT only a book of recipes, but a book about the importance of family togetherness that includes recipes. It is about bringing back the family table and the healing benefits of the evening meal.

The Family Dinner is a book to be read from cover to cover; to be used daily--unlike cookbooks that are taken off the shelf on special occasions. The reader will not only enjoy perusing this beautiful volume, but also reading it as a serious, reflective tool in stabilizing family bonds.

The Family dinner offers foods that kids will like to eat; conversation starters; games to play at the table; ways to express gratitude; words of wisdom; cook's tips; color photos; and much more. It is a treasure chest of ideas! I highly recommend it. Definitely 5 stars*****!!
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my beautiful review copy!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Giveaway / It Writes Itself

I'm giving away a new copy of It Writes Itself by Susannah Raulino. The winner will be announced on November 10th.

Rules are simple:
*Leave a comment telling why you would like to receive this book.
*You must be a follower of my blog.

Book Description:
An innovative How-To book on creative writing that helps writers enter their fictional worlds so vividly that writing becomes the act of listening, watching, and writing down what happens.

Please enter. Wishing everyone good luck!!

(Thank you to the author for this copy.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

2012 Maya End Date--A New Beginning

Author: Edward Curry
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Merln & Associates
(September 15, 2009)
ISBN-10: 098146842X

Book Description:
Fascinating and Mystical history of the future of the amazing Maya, regarding the so-called Maya End Date of December 21, 2012. Many believe this date heralds the end of humanity. Maybe, maybe not. Ideas, suspense and love abound in this exotic Maya setting. Discover how Precession and 2012 may affect you in ways you would never expect and increase your zest for life.

My Review:
The year 2012 isn't that far away, so many people are getting a bit nervous with all the rumors going around about the end of the world. Although, no one can be sure what events will take place on December 21, 2012, this book brings a fascinating perspective to the mix of past theories. For anyone who is interested in this type of book, it will certainly give the reader some information which has not been written in past volumes.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Journey Into Tomorrow / Poetry

Author: Veronica Camille Tinto
Hardcover: 132 pages
Publisher: AuthorHouse
(May 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1449062814

Author's Book Description:
Writing these poems began as a therapeutic process which turned into words that supported me during a very tumultuous period in my life. The poetry that unfolded manifested itself as an inspirational source that further comforted me during this difficult season. Ironically, the poems were able to transcend my own personal experiences and can be applied to anyone's life as an inspirational thought that can be carried through out your day. Then it becomes my hope for you my reader, that the poems found within these pages bring you the same amount of solace, inspiration, and contentment, that it provided me as I created them just for you.

My Review:
This exceptional book of loving, compassionate poetry brings an element of intensity and beauty to one's reading experience. It covers various areas of life that we all can relate to. Challenges; Hope; If Tomorrow Never Comes; Friendships; Turbulent Times; Change; Who Am I?; and Loss are just a few of the titles found here.

This collection of poems is very well-written by an author who shows great promise to the genre. I enjoyed A Journey Into Tomorrow and congratulate Ms. Tinto!

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Lift Up My Soul

Author: Charles F. Stanley
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
(October 19, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1400202892

Book Description:
365 devotions that lead straight to the throne of God.

The sun rises, the day begins, and everything the world needs from you stands waiting at the door. In the midst of it all, the whisper of God invites you to do the most important thing of any day-be with Him.

In this 365-day devotional, I Lift Up My Soul, best-selling author and pastor Dr. Charles Stanley leads you straight to the Father with words of encouragement and insight drawn from the Word of God. Each day, you will be inspired to lift up your soul and gain a Bible-centered perspective.

My Review:
Beloved pastor Charles Stanley has been preaching the Word for over forty years, many of which my family and I have watched on television. He is one of the most well known and respected ministers of our time.

In this new devotional, Dr. Stanley, leads us through 365 days of devotional praise and fellowship with Jesus Christ. His goal is to help the reader come to a closer relationship with the Creator God. The reader will find suggested scripture reading, a key verse for the day, a daily prayer, and inspirational messages like: In Awe of His Grace; Waiting On God; A Candle of Hope; An Act of God’s Will; The Victory Is Near; and Coming Out of Hiding.

This book is truly a gift of love by the author. Each entry is filled with hope, inspiration, and encouragement. I have found a sense of peace in each of the entries that I have read so far. I also like the colorful artwork on the cover and feel it would make an excellent gift for a loved one.

I believe this is one of the most well-written devotionals to come along in a while-- right up there with those of Joyce Meyers.

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for my review copy.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Body Parts (A Collection of Poems About Aging

Author: Janet Cameron Hoult
Paperback: 60 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (April 23, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1432755986

Book Description:

....find a comfortable chair and laugh along with the author and her poetry about our changing body parts - loss of hair, sight and hearing as well as knees, legs and some internal organs! These poems will tickle your funny bone and help you to remember that although we may be growing old there's life in us yet!

My Review:
This book really hit a note with me! It left me laughing about all the changes that are happening to my body as I age. The author helps us realize that we are all in the same boat and that boat can be a fun ride!

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

The King And Dr. Nick / Review

Author: George Nichopoulos, M.D.
w/Rose Clayton Phillips
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1595551719

Book Description:
The truth about Elvis's death from the doctor who spent eleven years as "the King's" personal physician, father-figure, and confidant - "Dr. Nick."

Dr. Nichopoulos spent a decade with Elvis on the road and at Graceland, trying to maintain the precarious health of one of the world's greatest entertainers. But on August 16, 1977, he found himself in the ambulance with Elvis on that fateful last trip to the ER. He signed the death certificate.
From that day forward, Dr. Nick became the focus of a media witch hunt that threatened his life and all but destroyed his professional reputation.

Now, for the first time, Dr. Nick reveals the true story behind Elvis's drug use and final days; not the version formed by years of tabloid journalism and gross speculation. Put aside what you've learned about Elvis's final days and get ready to understand for the first time the inner workings of "the king of rock n' roll."

My Review:

I’m not going to write a long, in-depth overview of this book, since this has been done by other readers and there is also a book description at the top of the page. I will say that this account of Dr. Nick and Elvis seems to be very believable. It starts with recounting the death of Elvis and takes us through a life and friendship that is interesting and at the same time revealing in a way that only a close friend can retell.

We find here the true personality and personal trials of The King, who was also a man. We get an up-close look at his health issues, his grueling concert schedules, the demons he faced, and the kind person that he was and will remembered for.

We have all been told through the news media that the death of Elvis was blamed on heart disease, but was it something more than that? This book reveals details that may lead to other causes. The story is well-written and of interest to those who are die-hard Elvis fans. It is an eye-opener, told by a friend who evidently loved and respected him. I think Elvis would approve of this account.

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for my review copy.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

ROOM / Review

Author: Emma Donoghue
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company;
First Edition edition (September 13, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316098337

Book Description:

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

My Review:

Jack, a five year old boy, loves the only home he has ever known, a backyard shed which has been turned into a prison. He calls it Room. He was born there, plays and sleeps there, but NEVER leaves. He has only heard about the outside world from his mother and seen it on TV.

Ma was kidnapped when she was a nineteen year old college student; raped, and eventually gave birth to the only joy in her life, Jack.

This tender, but somewhat disturbing story, reveals the experience and varied emotions of victims of kidnapping, torture, imprisonment, and the eventual entrance to the outside world. But best of all, we read the story of a mother's love. 4 stars****

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hearing From God Each Morning

Author: Joyce Meyer
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: FaithWords;
1 edition (January 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446557854

Book Description:
In the hustle and bustle of today's busy world, sometimes it's hard enough to hear yourself think, much less take a minute to stop and listen for the voice of God. But learning to recognize God's voice and the many ways in which He speaks is vital for following His plan. This devotional; drawing from How to Hear From God, Knowing God Intimately, and The Power Of Simple Prayer shows the reader through a daily reminder, how God speaks through their own thoughts and feelings, their dreams, and the words of other people. Joyce Meyer reveals the ways in which God delivers His word and the benefits of asking God for the sensitivity to hear His voice. Joyce asks the question, "Are you listening?" and shares how to do just that...on a daily basis.

My Review:

In this book as in many others, Joyce Meyer guides her readers to a more fulfilling relationship with God. Her 365 daily devotions are written with peace, patience, and love in mind...elements that empower us to lead more productive and joyful lives.

Each devotional reading is short and includes a scripture and a thought for the day. This book is pocketbook size, easy to carry with you all day, and housed in a beautiful teal blue cover. Inside we find reminders such as: Attitude Determines Destiny; God Speaks Suddenly; Lean On Him; Somebody's Praying For You; Get Excited; Open The Door; The Spirit of Love; Don’t Quench The Spirit; The Gift of Prophecy; The Gift of Faith; and The Baptism of Fire.

I have read this book for a couple of months and found it to be full of wisdom and comfort in a world that seems to be more and more uncertain. I have read many Joyce Meyer books over the years and have found her always insightful and inspiring. So it is no surprise that this books is of that high quality. I recommend it to anyone looking for a sense of discipline and peace in their everyday lives

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Dog's Purpose

Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Forge Books
First Edition edition (July 6, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0765326264

My Review:

A Dog's Purpose is a simple, but well-written story conveying the feelings and observations of a dog, from one lifetime to another. We see life from a dog's perception and point-of-view. We experience its feelings: love, happiness, disappointment, fear, confusion, and ultimately death. The reader begins to understand the dog's strong desire to please its master, and the emotions that abuse evoke. The main character (dog) meets many people and other animals in its several lives--some it loves and others it doesn't.

The reader will gain an enhanced appreciation for the dog/dogs who share their homes and lives, and the dogs they have loved in the past. As a dog searches for his true purpose in life, prepare yourself to have your heart touched and melted forever.

I loved the ending! 5 stars*****

Book Description:

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan.

During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend.

This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

10,000 Viewers In The Past Year.

I'm pleased to announce The Serenity Gate has had almost 10,000 visitors over the past year! Thanks everyone for coming by!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Emily Dickinson Quote

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough - Emily Dickinson

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stressed In Scottsdale / Review

Author: Marcia Fine
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: L'Image Press, LLC (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615315135

Book Description:

With the absurdities of desert living set in her literary cross hairs, Fine once again skewers some of Scottsdale's finest while her protagonist, Jean, tries to find sanity in a world where it rains dirt and blind sheep fall off mountains. Modern living isn't for sissies and Fine addresses the deeper issues of the environment and political corruption as she couches them in laugh-out-loud lines. It is wickedly funny.

My Review:

A laugh-out-loud read by Marcia Fine. Her hilarious observations will resonate with all women.
(Thanks to the author for my review copy.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Becoming Friends On Facebook

How many of you are keeping up with friends on Facebook? I've been there for several months and I'm really enjoying the experience. Find me by searching Barbara Kirby Davis.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Live Long, Finish Strong (The Divine Secret to Living Healthy, Happy, and Healed / Review

Author: Gloria Copeland
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (May 10, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446559288

Book Description:

In LIVE LONG, FINISH STRONG, Gloria Copeland presents a scripturally sound program to help readers claim the Bible promise of a long and blessed life . . . and a glorious death by "divine appointment." Gloria believes the Bible teaches that God desires for every Christian to live healthily beyond 100. In this book, Gloria reveals that the secret to finding this "Bible-based fountain of youth" is in daily receiving by faith and obedience the life-giving Word of God and allowing it to energize and renew our bodies. Each chapter helps readers discover and implement the principles of this amazing process. Here is an insightful new look at God's divine health plan for His children and a personal invitation by the author to join her in living a long and strong life until God calls us home in victory and triumph.

My Review:
Gloria Copeland is an internationally known Bible teacher and bestselling author. In this book, you will find chapters: How Old is Old?; Set Your sights on 129 (or more!); Putting Gold Back in the Golden Years; Protecting Your Fountain of Youth; One Sure Way to Shorten Your Life; and much more. Live Long, Finish Strong is insightful, very well written.. a joy to read. 5 stars*****

(A very big thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What to Wear For The Rest of Your Life (Ageless Secrets of Style / Review

Author: Kim Johnson Gross
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Springboard Press; 1 edition (May 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446534943

Book Description:
Every woman's closet-no matter the size-is a room of her own. In that space hang side by side the special occasions and the everyday, the triumphs and the disasters, the memories we want to keep and those we should jettison. Gross helps us to reconsider our closet identity and discover who we want to be. She shares her personal journey and the intimate, poignant and often humorous stories of the dozens of women she interviewed across the country. Along with calming fashion advice about how to choose flattering clothes that will fit any woman's shape and style, Gross's engaging stories will help every woman evolve gracefully from wife to mother, from empty-nester to globe-trotting adventurer--whatever role she chooses--while letting her style express her inner beauty.

My Review:
As I age, I find it more difficult to know what to wear. What is age appropriate? I found many good suggestions and encouragement in What to Wear For The Rest of Your Life. I love this book!

(Many thanks to Hachette Book Group for my review copy!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't)/ Review

Author: Barbara Bottner
Illustrated by: Michael Emberley
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 9, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0375846824

Book Description:
With the help of Miss Brooks, Missy’s classmates all find books they love in the library—books about fairies and dogs and trains and cowboys. But Missy dismisses them all—“Too flowery, too furry, too clickety, too yippity.”Still, Miss Brooks remains undaunted. Book Week is here and Missy will find a book to love if they have to empty the entire library. What story will finally win over this beastly, er, discriminating child? William Steig’s Shrek!—the tale of a repulsive green ogre in search of a revolting bride—of course! Barbara Bottner and Michael Emberley pay playful homage to the diverse tastes of child readers and the valiant librarians who are determined to put just the right book in each child’s hands.

My Review:
This delightful children's book is wonderfully written and illustrated. It is the perfect book for teacher or parent and child to share. Happy reading!

About the Author and the Illustrator:
Barbara Bottner is the author of more than 36 books. She lives in Los Angeles.

Michael Emberley has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1979. He lives in Ireland.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Secret Ingredient / Review

Author: Sally Bee
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Collins (January 21, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007344066

Cookbook Description:

Sally Bee's story of survival and recovery from three heart attacks in a week at the age of 36 is nothing short of a miracle. Sally attributes much of her remarkable survival to her delicious and achievable healthy eating plan, which she and her whole family enjoy. Now, in this beautifully illustrated cookbook, she shares her secret with you, and it might just save your life. Sally believes in living a full life, and that includes eating delicious food with all the family. She shares not only clean, vibrant recipes, but also her versions of comforting classics we all love. Even desserts! We all know the principles of eating a healthy diet, but actually translating that knowledge into an easy and affordable meal can be a challenge in a busy world. The Secret Ingredient meets that challenge head-on with gorgeous, tasty recipes that will feed the whole family, and tempt even the most novice cook. Sally tells her inspirational story throughout, and gives encouragement and support for changing your eating habits, and those of your children, without feeling deprived and in a way that works for life. She's living proof.
About the Author:

At the age of 36, Sally was in the prime of her life successfully juggling being a writer, TV presenter, wife and mum of three. Then, in 2004, she suffered three major heart attacks in the space of only one week. Sally defied all the odds and, 5 years on, is glowing with health. Sally is a spokeswoman for the British Heart Foundation, is a trained therapist giving regular talks to heart rehabilitation groups, and an NHS 'Expert Patient'.

My Review:

This cookbook was a delight to open. It has large, sharp color photos; easy, delicious recipes; and the author's story in her own words. I think that you will love it and it may just save your life.
5 stars.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom

Author: Queen Latifah
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (May 6, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446555894

Book Description:

Modeled after Maria Shriver's Just Who Will You Be, Queen Latifah's goal with Put On Your Crown is to help young women build a strong sense of self-esteem. A US Dept. of Justice survey found that females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to partner violence than any other group, almost triple the national average. Cases like Chris Brown's assault on pop star Rihanna showed an ugly side of adolescent life. However, Queen Latifah has always been a shining example of a woman happy with herself and unwilling to compromise to fit into the "hollywood ideal" of what a confident beautiful woman should look like. The result: She's one of the biggest A-list celebrities in Hollywood.

(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Be The Noodle: Fifty Ways To Be a Compassionate, Courageous, Crazy-Good Caregiver

Author: Lois Kelly
Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: World Audience, Inc. (March 14, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1935444697

Book Description:

Based on the author's three month odyssey helping her mother live at home while dying, Be The Noodle chronicles the crazy things that happen during this unpredictable journey, things that no medical, hospice, or traditional how-to-deal-with-dying books explain.From the gut wrenching, like not being able to call 911 during a crisis once you sign up with hospice and struggling to be kind and helpful when you feel like a sleepless shrew, to the mundane, like dealing with too many banana breads from well wishers and advocating for patient martinis with the oncologist.

Part love story, part how-to manual, part memoir, Be The Noodle shows readers how to find superpowers they never knew that had, stay sane, take comfort in sick humor, find compassion and become crazy-good caregivers, one of the most courageous jobs most of us never wanted or have ever been trained to do.

(Thanks to the author for my review copy.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How To Never Look Fat Again / Review

Author: Charla Krupp
Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Springboard Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446547476

Book Description:

The new groundbreaking style-guide from bestseller author Charla Krupp on how to look 10 pounds lighter, 10 years younger and 10 times sexier every day, all year--in summer, winter, at the gym, even in a swimsuit!
You'll never get dressed the same way again once you discover:
*smart, easy ways to hide arm flap, a big bust, a muffin top, back fat, Buddha belly, a big booty, wide hips, thunder thighs, and heavy calves-and that's only half the book.
*which fabrics, colors, and styles make women look fat
*absolutely the best shades, shapes, and brilliant buys to make the pounds invisible
*clever solutions for special fashion situations--workout gear, evening wear, and even swimsuits!
*which products, fashions, and services you shouldn't waste your money on
*the top ten tips that will make you look thinner by tonight! So, if you've ever put on a piece of clothing and asked "Does this make me look fat?"
Finally, here is the book that will answer your questions.
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Giveaway / The Pearls of the Stone Man

Hello Friends and Avid Readers!

Sourcebooks has given me the opportunity to give away 3 copies of The Pearls of the Stone Man by Edward Mooney Jr. Be sure to enter here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pantry-Friendly Mexican Cooking

Author: LeAnn Bird
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432740164

Book Description:
Mouthwatering Mexican Right from Your Pantry!Even if you don’t think you know how to boil water, you can create mouthwatering, authentic Mexican dishes — in less time than it takes to order out! Pantry-Friendly Mexican Cooking collects nearly 100 delicious recipes, each with its own unique story. And it shows you how to save money by buying exactly the ingredients you need and storing them correctly to easily make dozens of dishes. There are no exotic ingredients to buy, no special stores to visit. Just authentic, delicious and quick meals perfect anytime! You’ll discover:- Delectable starters: Throw together LeAnn’s Shrimp Shooters with Gazpacho or Black Bean Cakes for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.- Unforgettable basics: From Cheese Enchiladas to Chicken Chimichangas and Spanish Rice, these are the recipes that you will make again and again.- Authentic cuisine: Impress your friends with Carnitas, Meat-Stuffed Chile Relenos, and White Chile Bean Soup, like they’re straight from a Mexican cocina.- Do the salsa: Make your own fresh-peach salsa, mango salsa, pico de gallo and more!

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Medicine (A Return to Common Sense)

Author: Carol Roberts, M.D.
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Mercurius Press (December 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0977931625

Book Description:

Attain a Healthier You-Naturally-With this Breakthrough and Doctor-Proven Guide Filled with the latest thinking on traditional, holistic and alternative care. Good Medicine: A Return to Common Sense represents a sea change in approaching illness and attaining optimal health. This authoritative and easy-to-understand book from renowned Dr. Carol L. Roberts offers a new perspective on how human beings are put together, integrating the physical body and the spirit within. Comprehensive chapters on nutrition, digestion, toxins, heart health and even sex make it easy to customize your own wellness plan. You'll learn:-How to break the habit of foods that can literally kill you, and replace them with nutrient-rich superfoods (it's easier than you think)-Why your digestive system is the gateway to optimal health, and how to give it a preventive tune-up-The man-made toxins that are causing millions to suffer from diseases like asthma and liver damage, and how to get them out of your life-Secrets to boosting energy and sexual performance that don't require an expensive prescription-Straight talk on vitamins-what works, why, and how much you should (or shouldn't) be taking-Why spirituality is as important as traditional medicine, and how to implement the right balance in your own wellness goalsIf you're tired of being sick, tired of taking expensive drugs-or just plain tired-this book will show you how to shape your well being with proven, practical techniques.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Happy Hour

Author: Michele Scott
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449505570
Book Description:
Four friends working in Napa Valley, Sundays are for fellowship, good food and wine. Jamie is editor-in-chief at "Wine Lover's Magazine," and a single mother. Before her husband died, she lived a fairy tale life. Guilt from his death keeps her from moving forward. Kat is a sommelier, and co-owner of a restaurant with her chef husband Christian. Although deeply in love they deal with a myriad of issues, including ex-spouses, Kat's teenage sons and her new age mother Venus. Danielle is a vintner who finds herself entrenched in both an identity and family crises when her eldest daughter returns home from college with a bombshell of a secret. Alyssa is an artist and gallery owner. When a tragic past event catches up with her, she must face the skeleton in her closet and rely on her friends to see her through her darkest hours. These women discover that friendship is the right prescription to get through the hard times as well as for enjoying the wonderful moments together.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Skinny Italian

Hello friends and good cooks!

Please see my review of the new cookbook, Skinny Italian, here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Big Buy Cooking

Author: Editors of Fine Cooking
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Taunton Press (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600851541

Book Description:

Buy a delicious ingredient in bulk, save money, and cook delicious meals. It’s not as easy as it sounds--if you want to make creative dishes and use all the food you buy. With the expertise of Fine Cooking you can do both.

This cookbook is not about cooking to stock your freezer, spending hours on the weekend cooking for the week, eating the same leftovers all week, or developing a new way to think about shopping for food. Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking is about cooking great-tasting food for every night of the week and features 75 inventive recipes from 25 bulk food items readily available in warehouse clubs and supermarkets. While Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking focuses on how to cook exciting, reliable recipes and make the most of the featured ingredient, the added benefit is keeping costs down thanks to purchasing in bulk and then using it all.

Accompanied by step-by-step instructions, helpful hints and tips, and full-color photographs, these original recipes will take your cooking to new levels.
My Review:
You will not be able to resist the delicious recipes that are found in this cookbook! There will not be a bite left over at the family table.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Secrets of a Skinny Chef

Author: Jennifer Iserloh
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Rodale Books; Original edition (March 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605295884

Book Description:
With recipes that deliver great taste without adding inches to the hips, Secrets of a Skinny Chef shows you how to indulge your comfort-food cravings without the guilt. In this collection of 100 recipes, America’s favorites get the "Skinny" treatment with scrumptious offerings such as Maple Apple Waffles for breakfast and 7-Minute Salmon and Scalloped Sweet Potatoes for dinner. Even for those who are dieting, desserts such as Tiramisu Parfait and Crustless Apple Pie stay on the menu.

Iserloh understands that life’s demands mean one can’t always cook dinner, so to help readers fend for themselves in the real world, she provides simple swap-outs and cheat sheets.

My Review:
Now we can eat our comfort foods without quilt and Jennifer Iserloh shows us how. This cookbook offers practical, yet yummy foods from snacks to desserts and gives ways to enjoy life again without diets. Great cookbook!

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Not A Diet, It's Creative Eating / Review

Author: June Lay M.S.
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 19, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432743597

Book Description:
THIS is CREATIVE Eating, a new concept of eating, thinking and behaving leading to permanent weight loss. Follow June through her personal journey of transformation with her inspirational story. Follow her through her professional experience as a fitness trainer, weight loss specialist and behavior specialist, with all the tools of her program, her best weight loss & fitness tips, recipes, menus and more. Featuring her philosophy of a "Salad a Day", start today to become leaner and healthier, no matter what your age or weight.Read this book cover to cover, and then use it as a tool, one tip, one chapter, and one day at a time. "Support is Key, Surround Yourself", is a Junefit tool, and when you become part of the Junefit program, June's voice will continue to give you support through her e-mail weekly tips. It will change your life.

My Review:
This book combines dietary education with personal experience. It is a great tool for getting fit and having the body you want. Not only does June give wise behavioral advice, but she also shares many yummy recipes and
weekly tips. 5 stars!
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Happiness Project

Author: Gretchen Rubin
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (December 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061583251

Book Description:
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK. Rubin began her career in law, and she was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Case For Books / Review

Author: Robert Darnton
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs (October 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1586488260
Book Description:
In The Case for Books, Robert Darnton, an intellectual pioneer in the field of the history of the book and director of Harvard University's Library, offers an in-depth examination of the book from its earliest beginnings to its shifting role today in popular culture, commerce, and the academy. As an author, editorial advisor, and publishing entrepreneur, Darnton is a unique authority on the life and role of the book in society. This book is a wise work of scholarship—one that requires readers to carefully consider how the digital revolution will broadly affect the marketplace of ideas.
A former professor of European History at Princeton University, Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the Harvard University Library. The founder of the Gutenberg-e program, he is the author of many books. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
My Review:
I found this to be an interesting look at the printed page vs the digital age.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bloodroot / Review

Author: Amy Greene
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307269868

My Review:

What a wonderful new book! Having grown up in East Tennessee, I totally identified with the people and culture found in Bloodroot. How rare to find an author who can represent, on the printed page, the language and beauty of such a beautiful region of the country, where family roots run deep and neighbors are trusted friends.

This story is told through the eyes and voices of a mountain family. It tells the story of the ties that bind them together, and the land they cannot forsake--at times magical, and at other times violent, mysterious, and unforgiving. I was caught up in the lives of its characters immediately. I loved it, and in many ways it took me back home to the Tennessee mountains.

This is one of the most enchanting books I have read in a long time. I highly recommend it. 5+ stars

(Thank you to Amy Greene for my review copy.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

My resolutions for 2010. What are yours?

1. Lose 5 lbs. (already lost 2 lbs./ideal weight is 128 lbs.)

2. Have the downstairs family room and guest bedroom finished by Feb. 15 (family room gets finished today! everyone is saying yea!!)

3. Put in a new kitchen sink (this is a must do!)

4. Put in new kitchen flooring (badly needed)

5. Practice patience (this is going to be a big challenge)

6. Save money wherever I can (this is an even bigger challenge!)

7. Read 100 books this year (remember, I do book reviews)

8. Exercise every other day (every day is asking too much of myself)

9. Cut back on sugar (I'll try to cut back, but I can't give it up completely)

10. Visit my out-of-town children at least once each month (they live 2 hours away)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Swan Thieves / Review

Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316065781

My Review:

Robert Oliver, a troubled, yet distinguished painter, has attacked a painting at the National Gallery of Art--an action which has landed him in a mental institution under the care of psychiatrist, Andrew Marlowe. Marlowe, who is an art enthusiast and painter himself, becomes deeply fascinated with his patient and the history behind Robert Oliver's strange behavior. As he attempts to heal his patient, the doctor is met with obstinence and silence; Oliver will tell him nothing. Determined to find answers, Marlowe not only becomes involved in his patient's past life and relationships, but also with the life of forbidden lovers, Beatrice de Cleval, and her mentor, artist Olivier Vignot, from the 19th century. Who is Robert Oliver and what is his connection to the painting? This book kept me guessing.

Kostova brings, once again, something wonderful to the written page--something that will enthrall readers from start to finish. It is superbly written, multi-layered, containing all the elements of a great story: desire, passion, obsession, forbidden love, mystery, historical romance, and the determination of the human spirit. It is an extraordinary book that I believe, not only mystery lovers will like, but artists or lovers of art will enjoy, as well. I found it to be an elegant, tender, highly psychological read, with lots of talk about the world of art.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow Ice Cream

When I was a child, my folks made snow ice cream every winter. Just at the right time, when the snow had freshly fallen, and the ground ascended in fluffy white mounds, my grandmother, dressed in black rubber boots, and a long coat over a fresh apron, would take her shiny metal dishpan out to the backyard to gather the fresh delight. That was many years ago and as you might imagine the recipe has long been forgotten. I believe she added white sugar, vanilla extract, and cream. Does that sound right? However it was made, we thought it was absolutely delicious.

Do you remember eating snow ice cream when you were a child and/or do you make it today? Does anyone have a delicious recipe for it? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lunch In Paris / Review

Author: Elizabeth Bard
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031604279X

Book Description:

In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak'spink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce?

LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home. In the delicious tradition of memoirs like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is the perfect treat for anyone who has dreamed that lunch in Paris could change their life.

My Review:
I love anything that involves a life or vacation in Paris, so I couldn't wait to read this one. Although, Lunch in Paris wasn't as richly written as I would have liked, it was entertaining with great recipes. I'm giving it 4 stars.