Friday, March 24, 2017

Books read Mar 24

The Drifter by Christine Lennon
Book starts out in 1980's where the girls are attending college in FL.
Much detailed encounters as they go through the years, the parties they attend and where they work and how to come to meet one another at the sorority.
Time the three lived together and melded and then at times grew apart but still friends. Story follows them further as they age... quite tragic.
Many secrets and mysteries from their college years that come to light near the end. Also includes discussion questions, author's reason for writing this book, playlist and her favorite books to read.
I received this book via LibraryThing: Early Reviewers  from the February 2017 batch.

Smoky mountain sunrise by Lehman_ Yvonne
Romana Martin has agreed to be the boyfriend for the summer. She's Christian and her heart is more interested in another family member, not Andre DuDay.
She's an athlete and involved in teaching. Love the scenery as described and how secrets come out meant for really another person...
Like hearing of the camp and all the procedures and crafts being taught.  Like twists and turns in this one.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

 Grandma Drives a Motor Bed by Diane
Audio book but available in paperback.
Describes a child, Josh visiting his grandmother and she stays on a motor bed and helps by bringing her food and drinks.
Very detailed story of daily life in tending to the ailing grandmother.
They wish they lived closer so they could visit.  Love that the boy gets to try out the bed...
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

 Nature's living lights, fireflies and other biolumenescent creatures by Silverstein_ Alvin - Silverstein_ Virginia B
Audio book but available in paperback.
Always fascinated with fireflies as I often do not see them myself, same with stars due to my poor vision.
Cool that the fireflies are NOT hot to touch.  Talks of the 4 chemicals needed for these special lighted creatures in order to work.
Interesting facts about the fireflies in the world and how different they really are.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

A blue moon in Poorwater by Hankla_ Cathryn
I enjoy the Appalachian mountain tales and I'm not sure why. I find mining interesting and love hearing stories from the production.
Church and current affairs for them at the time, JFK dying, those who were charged and the snake as it was crawling along the church tent the day her brother was jailed.
Dorie tries to help around the house, and wants to go with her father to tell of the death in the mine but she has to tell her dad of her brother being jailed...
In the 5th grade and a girl convulses and she is able to calm them and others have noticed ....
So similar to the things we did here in northeast, playing ball with neighbor kids, going on adventures to see frogs, vaccinated sugar cubes, Dark Shadows....
Really enjoyed what was involved in getting things changed to make it safer, in the mines.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Book Reviews: Spoken From the Heart

Spoken from the Heart: Digging Deeper by Cheri Swalwell
Love the actual events that take place that she talks about as I can relate to the same ones in my life and how they effected us as a family.
Quiet times shared with spouses is priceless! Love understanding the hugs from God.
Found this book more dedicated to going deeper into solutions using the Bible as a guide in everyday life experiences.
I was given the book from the author and this is my honest review

Spoken from the Heart: Taking it to the Next Level by Cheri Swalwell
Love hearing of the compromises each makes in a family.
Love the ironing, doing laundry and especially the lawn. I even go to the extreme and make our salads an hours before he's due home so we will get to spend more time together and talk, if he wants to.
Was able to take so much from this book that relates to my life. Love the paying it forward, in a way. I not  only do a lot of charity knitting for others but just finishing up a set of afghans for a father-who is a friend of my husband, and his 4 children who had lost their mom/wife. An afghan will symbolize a hug from their mom or from God but I don't know them well enough but will suggest it to them upon giving them the items.
I was given the book from the author and this is my honest review

Book Review: The Whispering of the Willows

The Whispering of the Willows by Tonya Blessing
Met the author and her book on the book fun chat and knew I wanted to read this book. It starts out with a large family that live in the holler in the Appalachian Mountains.
Girls are named after gems which I loved right from the start. Boys run the hog farm as their dad came back from the war wounded and in a wheelchair. The girls make sure he is bathed every day and they do the shaving along with planting seeds in the garden, tending to the outhouse and tending to the pigs and piglets.
Only the oldest who are going to leave after the 8th grade to be married do the cooking. The girls all sleep in the same bed cordoned off with an old curtain.
We have visited the Mountains and have been able to see the cabins of the old days in TN and in WVA areas for ourselves.
Love that the aunts work comes through as her love by using her hands to create.
Story is mainly about Emerald who is also in 8th grade and is growing up but her mother doesn't want her to leave as the twin girls will be married in the summer, Emerald to be married later.
They don't get to pick their spouses they only know they are to wed and to produce children and work on farms the rest of their lives.
Husbands grandfather ran a hog farm and I find it interesting to learn how the boys tend to them as we see hogs in their natural habitat and the historic villages we visit throughout the years.
Ernest singing hymns as he does his chores, at the top of his lungs, Lester mixed up with pastor's son making moonshine-what a busy family.
Emie goes through a personal tragedy and her parents want her to be gone, her brother Ernest helps her and she is able to live at her aunts. Others help her and she learns the truth later when one of the people invoked has to leave the area.
Love hearing the folk belief-like a wives tale or farmers almanac entry.  Store follows each of the children but more on Emerald.
Twists and turns and God has his own plans for them. Love the hymns singing and how everybody practices. Such a strong and courageous bunch to endure all the hardships.
I was given the book from the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Books read Mar 21

If Not For You by Debbie Macomber
Glad as one of her fan ambassadors I was given this ARC prior to the release of the book.
Have read all the authors other works and love knitting inspired ones.
Beth has finally broken away from her mothers grip and moved from Chicago to Portland, OR where her aunt Sunshine lives.
She was able to get an apartment and job as a music teacher and loves her new life. Her friend Nicole has invited her to dinner with her husband Rocco and son Owen.
Sam is Rocco's friend and feels comfortable with the family. Beth and Sam are set up and can't wait to leave the dinner when they feel things didn't go well. As they each drive home Beth's car is hit and she's in really bad shape.
Sam does all he can to just be with her and even afterwards when she's in the hospital and rehab he's there for her and despite their outside appearances they find they do like one another-the inside persons they are.
Some tender moments and some bringing up events of the past to bring the whole puzzle together.
Found book was rather boring and a bit longer than it needed to be to get the story told but liked the read.
Liked new things I learned and location of OR as we are familiar with areas of it in our travels. 
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Chapel Springs Survival by Ane Mulligan
Have read other works by this author and enjoyed the book.
This is about a town where many new things are happening. They are happening so fast that the tourists are staying past the summer and there are no places to stay.
Townsfolk are overworked but love the income and they try to create a balance for the growth changes.
What I really like about this book is that it concentrates on many different age groups and their problems.
Claire is newly married and trying to get her son involved with someone who will bring him much happiness also.
Love all the career choices available and the layout of the town and all it offers. Love the indepth chatter about the careers and how they do their jobs.
So many mysteries with the land deal and struggles among families as older children have their own dreams at all costs.
Praying and going to church help some with the solutions.

ANTI INFLAMMATORY - Recipes, Weight Loss, And Healthy Living  by Joanne Howard
Book starts out with an introduction about what diet is the best for inflammatory disease.
Starts out with what foods to eat to avoid become inflamed: vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, nuts and other important foods.
Each recipe includes servings, list of ingredients and how to make the dish. Nutritional value includes why certain ingredients are best and what they will do for your body.
Because the ingredients are fresh and healthy nobody should have a problem with any of these recipes.
We eat so many of these foods that it's nice to have a different way of using the ingredients. Love the directions for how to make beef sotck.
Smoothie recipes are even included. Gluten free recipes included also.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet by Katherine Wright
Starts out with understanding what makes inflammation in the body.
There are several diet rules to live by to help get rid of inflammation: eat more vegetables and fruits, reduce sat. fats,  increase fish consumption, change snacking habits, eliminate transfat and up your fiber intake
Other tips are also provided for the other rules.
Tells you what foods to eat also and why.  Tricks also when given options of the kinds of foods to eat.
5 daily meal plans and how to make them. No pictures and no nutritional information but most of the ingredients are fresh and some are healthy.
Also bonus about a sugar detox is included.

 Chicken Recipes To Die For by Heather Richardson
Each recipe has a color photo, servings and list of ingredients
Directions on how to make the dish are included.
There is no nutritional information and you may be able to substitute for healthier options on some of the ingredients.
Some of the ingredients I am unfamiliar with as they are from England and I'm not sure what the equivalent is for the USA.
Dishes as prepared are too rich, salty and too much fat content for our diets so the title fits perfectly.

 THE INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOK BOOK: Quick And Healthy Meals For All Occasions by Ray Harper
Book starts out with introducing the instant pot and how to use it and its functions. Also has a lot of useful tips and ultra simple recipes to start you off with.
Boiled eggs recipe is very similar to the one I use and nutritional information is a bit different than recipes further into the book. These include calories, daily value % of total fat and sat. fat, cholesterol, sodium and potassium, total carbs, dietary fiber and protein.
Recipes do not have pictures but they do list nutritional information.
One that I find confusing is the yogurt as we make this a lot. Recipes have servings, prep and cook time and ingredients also with how to make the dish.
Nutritional facts are servings size, kilojocules-no idea what this is, calories, protein, carbs, sugar, fat-not broken up into good and bad fats, fiber, sodium.
The recipe does not state how much milk would be needed in the ingredient listing-be sure to read the full recipe all the way through before you even start. You will be able to figure out what you will need.
For the beef stew the numbers don't add up for total fat where total fat is 2.5 g, sat fat is 5.2 g, poly fat is .5 and mono is 5.5g
Chocolate cake one looks good bt again the total fat is 14 and sat fat is 5, where is the other 9g?
Free gift of an ebook is linked.
 Children's book: Clio – The Cat That Loved to Eat (Fun Rhyming Bedtime Story for kids 4-8, animals adventures story: cats) by Rivka Bar-Giora
Colorful children's book about a cat Clio and he's known as trouble around town. The problem with food is that they are always hungry.
There are rhyming words also that help tell this story.  The children in one house ask to let the cat come in during the rain and the parents say no way.
He gets along with the other cats and they like him also.

 Take The Cake: Discover 139 Best cake recipes, cheesecakes, tiramisu, from all around the world  by Jeff Robinson
This cookbook has recipes which include the title, some have a color photo and summary of the dish.
Ingredient list and how to make the dish is included. There is no nutritional information.
Some of the recipes take a bit of time to actually prepare.
You might not be able to substitute for a healthy option as chemical reactions might need to take place. I consider the deserts here once a year type as they are rich.
Not sure what some of the ingredients are: kefir or how different it is from USA milk

 Baking Soda Magic! Frugal And Effective by Kristina Marchant
Really enjoyed this book because it taught me so many new ways to do things with baking soda. Can't wait to try it on weeds in patio and on my hairbrush.
What I had not expected was to find other chapters about tiny house living, frugality, beekeeping, knitting, anti inflammatory diet, quilting, bodybuilding for women, sewing, bushcraft mini farming, top minecraft seeds, how to dry herbs, minecraft combat book and so much more that does not relate to baking soda at all.
I will keep the book handy for the tips but not for the other chapters it offers.

Excellent homemade bread. Cookbook: 25 simple recipes for baking in your oven by David Hill
We usually use our bread machine but like to do it fresh also. This book includes many recipes that start out with a summary of the bread, prep time, servings, and list of ingredients.Directions follow along with a nice color photo of the finished product.
Can't wait to try the carrot sweet bread and probably substitute for eggs using liquid ones or just egg whites and cooking oil I'll probably use canola oil to keep the bread healthy for us to eat.
There is NO nutritional information but you should be able to substitute for your dietary needs.

The Best Tagine Recipes: 25 Original Moroccan Tagine Recipes for You and Your Family  by Amina Elbaz
This cookbook has a nice color photo of the finished product, servings and list of ingredients. You should be able to substitute for healthier options with chicken broth and butter and oils. Directions are included and there are NO nutritional information available.
The dishes sound and look interesting enough to try them.

50 Recipes For Apple Crumble, Apple Trifle, Apple Cupcakes and Apple Cheesecake by Pamela Kazmierczak
Each recipe has a  title and short summary of the dish, list of ingredients and how to put it together. There is no nutritional information.
Some of the ingredients you might be able to substitute for a healthy option due to your dietary needs.
No pictures and most as written we'd not be able to have due to high bad fat content and sodium levels.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review: A Dozen Truths by assorted authors


The greatest truths are often revealed in fiction, as exemplified by this stunning anthology of stories that reveal the human condition in bracingly truthful ways. The eternal complexities of sibling relationships are revealed in four-time #1 bestselling author Steven Manchester’s “Lost.” The hope and betrayal that so often underlies love declare themselves in Marcia Gloster’s “Losing Will.” The reality behind a con man’s illusions emerge in Craig Ham’s contest-winning “Tonic and Spirits.” These are three of the dozen truths that will rise from these pages.

Side by side with the work of national bestselling novelists like Mary Marcus and Earl Javorsky, A DOZEN TRUTHS features the three winners of the 2016 AuthorsFirst Short Story Contest, providing a bold mix of experienced storytelling and fresh new voices.

As entertaining as it is engaging, A DOZEN TRUTHS promises twelve dramatic revelations – and as many powerful reading experiences.

Eric Andersson
Steven Manchester
Carmen Siegers
Marcia Gloster
Craig Ham
Lynn Voedisch
Mary Marcus
Christopher Slater
KJ Steele
Earl Javorsky
Roger Bagg
Robert Herzog

My Review:

A Dozen Truths by assorted authors
When I realized who was involved in this compilation of writings I knew it would be a great read.
What I had not expected was to find so many different genres that I don't normally read and was a good change.
Each chapter has a different author where a short summary of their works and their bio are included.  At the very end there are more indepth excerpts and more about the authors writings.
Enjoyed a large majority of the stories and lessons learned, some leaving a smile on my face at the end. Some genres I just can't seem to get into-sci fic and horror/thriller.
Had never heard of  site so had to go check it out to understand about it.
Enjoyed many of the stories because I was able to relate to them in my lifetime of things that have happened to me or a family member, brought back a lot of happy memories..
Found a lot of new authors I'll be on the lookout for their works.
Received this book via one of the authors in the anthology via The Story Plant and this is my honest review.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Review: Spoken From the Heart: Choosing Grace by Cheri Swalwell


Spoken From the Heart: Choosing Grace

Do you know what it means to “choose grace?” Do you ever stop to think about all the times God showers us with His grace? Yes, through unexpected blessings, but more importantly through undeserved salvation.
I’m still trying to grasp the full meaning of the word grace in my everyday life. However, I do know this: It comes in many forms, is seen through a variety of people, and God gives us countless opportunities to pass it on to others throughout our lives.

Join me on my adventure as I learn to embrace the grace He has given to me and then allow it to overflow to others. I pray that this book will start or continue a dialogue between you and the God of the Universe regarding how much He loves you and wants to bless you with His grace. God doesn’t change. He won’t force His grace on people, just as He doesn’t force humankind to love Him.

So how do we experience God’s grace for ourselves? The answer is quite simple: We ask and then receive. I would love to have you travel with me as we discover the grace God has waiting for us! 

Author Bio:

Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She has the privilege to write regularly for Book Fun Magazine and LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Cheri is also a contributing author for the book, 31 Devotions for Writers. Her book series, Spoken from the Heart, is available through eBook and paperback at Amazon.

To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at: She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at You can “like” her on Facebook below:

My Review:

Choosing Grace by Cheri Swalwell
Enjoy the revelations that come to light with the authors word of the year.
Really enjoy the stories that depict other life events about the word concentrated on.
Author seems like a people person as she meets and talks to others but mostly listens to their problems and how they go about solving them together, usually by prayer.
Like how the word of the year is broken up into a 32 devotional chapters but I  was seeing it as a daily devotional or month long for one chapter til I questioned the author on the number 32...Which I got an immediate answer to her question.
Blessings journal-we do this daily at meals and I will converse with the author as to how large her journal is over the years as I find it interesting to understand about.
Love the everyday stories of shopping with coupons and bottle return windfall and the yard sales. Also love the insistence in the Bible that also relate to the story the author is telling and how it solves the problem she's facing.
Growing up in Catholic schools I remember so many of the stories still. What I really love is that the author is not shoving the Bible down your throat-it's worked into daily life that everybody goes through. Great seeing the public and that there are still so many good people out there to meet.
Just the other night we held the door to the ATM at the bank for another and he thanked my husband, thank you Sir, and Miss-to me-not knowing if we were a couple or implying too much. He really appreciated we saved him a longer time there than necessary by holding the door open rather then him having to insert his card to gain admittance.
Leaves you with a smile on your face that you did good for another and that's probably one reason why I knit so much for charity. Can't wait to read the next books in the series.
Received this book from the author and this is my honest review.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Books read Mar 14

Destined by Gail Cleaire
Wasn't sure I was going to like this book but loved the writing style of another of the author's books.
A bit out of my comfort zone as I know nothing about Tarot cards and the fortune tellers but enjoy reading and learning.
What I loved about this book was Emily who is trying to be strong and powerful walks away from a job where they want her to do things she really wasn't hired for. Bravo for just walking out the door.
Which leads her to more job interviews where she comes across a curio shop and is hired on sight. Henry and her seem to have a bond through visions and other events although they've never met.
She's now the manager and in charge of getting the rooms in shape so they can open the shop or rare and antique things to be sold. She goes above and beyond while meeting his other clients and associates.
Love that she is able to help others in need and works with others she doesn't get along with to benefit the shop. Love the festival of sorts as the whole community work together in that feat and many other things to help one another make a success of their businesses.
Like clash of some as they do come together. Especially love the discussions of different kinds of power and are able to implement them and that the discussions are so today concerns of climate changes.
There are so many the book follows, male love interests, shop owners and their families and the spirit world. Didn't care for sex scenes, seemed to be a bit rushed and not that deep of a relationship.
Love how each chapter starts out with a step or symbol and it's described in words that you can use in today's world although they may not have been in the original 1700's tarot card decks (the way I understand it).
Received this book from the author and this is my honest review.

When the Bough Breaks by Ane Mulligan
Book starts out in NY where the state capitol building is a maze of corridors and offices and Sienna O'Shea is starting her first day at work.
A man directs her to go down a floor to the basement where from there you can reach anywhere. She's to testify and she is prepared. Her assistant Christine will be leaving shortly to deliver her new baby so she's trying to introduce her to many around the area that can help her.
She's to do extensive research so bills can be brought up and debated about and then passed on the congressional floor.
Story also follows Matt-who's a an old friend in GA and he's an investigative reporter who gives her advice and leads to stories to help her career along. They grew up next door neighbors and his sister is Sienna's best friend and he is in love with Sienna.
Story also follows Reese who is the governor's right hand man and the party has plans for him and his future which has been premade for him to just step into. Sienna will play a part in all this also as time goes on and he's in love with Sienna.
Love hearing of all the background hallways and hideaways of the building and find it confusing at times with all the alpha codenames that are sometimes not told what they are. Also some of the names, at times there are a lot of time but it's better understood later on as the story goes along.
Loved hearing of all the finer details that can put me physically in the same location as the scene that is taking place-the smells, condition of furniture, atmosphere, etc.
Know absolutely nothing about getting bills sponsored and passed so this is a huge learning experience for me and I'm hungry for the knowledge.
Prayer and asking God for help when she attempts to find her real biological mother. It's a trying time as the bill her bosses want to pass would seal everything completely in adoptions so she has to do everything by herself and not tell many.
The answer she needs first to find out is if God even wants her to find her mother and others remind her to this when they are asked to help. Her family problems get her to go home often and at times is sad to hear about.
Really like that this book can be read by a man or a woman as it has a bit of romance, lots of action and mystery and everyday events and how prayer can help.
Love the part God plays in all his when things get out of hand. Very believable story of how it all comes together. Never read on a weekend but I could not put this book down this weekend. Can't wait to read more from this author.
I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review

The Ultimate Guide: Recipes of Maine by Encore Books
Love seafood of Maine and we visit at least once a year. Book starts right in with the recipes which included prep and cook time, ready in and servings. List of ingredients, and directions on how to make the dish.
There are NO pictures and NO nutritional information but you might be able to substitute for a healthier option it just won't taste like it really should.
Blueberry cake would be the healthiest due to the ingredients-one I will be making soon.
Pumpkin pancakes sound so good!  Lots of lobster dishes but I don't understand why you need to use things from a can and not freshly cooked as you can get Maine Lobsters year round at your local store.
Same with salmon-why use the stuff in the can, use fresh. Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Delicious 200-Calorie Dessert Recipes: Perfect for Your Sweet Tooth and Waistline! Diabetes diet dessert cookbook by Sarah Spencer
I am not one to count calories as I stick to a meal plan but thought I'd see what the book offers.
Like the idea of the introduction telling you how to use fat free items and what to use rather than sugar and fats.  Also tips on not to overbake or overmix. Love the list of ingredient substitutions!
Each dish has a title, servings, prep and cooking time along with a color photo.
List of ingredients and how to make the dish and also nutritional information that includes calories, total fat-not broken up into good or bad, carbs, dietary fiber, sugars and protein.
Like the ideas in this book because you can make the portions small and you can make one dish for all the guests that are due to show up. Pumpkin nut bread would be one I'd try.
Special section for chocolate desserts. Hmmm healthy chocolate chip cookies-worth a try as the ingredients are a bit on the healthy side.
Great carrot cake, my favorite and the ingredients are on the healthy side also.  Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

The Avocado Cookbook: Fun and Easy Recipes  by Michael Holtby
This book is broken up into chapters for appetizers, salads, salsa,  soups, main dishes  desserts and drinks. Each recipe has a list of ingredients and directions. There are NO pictures and NO nutritional information but remember avocados contain healthy fat. It's the other items combined that might not make the dish so healthy, especially if you have to deep fry the dish.
Chocolate avocado muffins look to be the healthiest due to the ingredients=-i'd use olive oil or canola, NOT coconut.
Not much else struck my taste buds as I don't want to go out and buy special flours or oils to make one dish.