Saturday, October 31, 2015

Books read Oct 31

Children's Books: THE WITCH'S BIG NIGHT (Very Funny, Rhyming Bedtime Story/Picture Book for Beginner Readers About Halloween and Kindness, Ages 2-8)
Colorful children's book about Halloween. Along the same lines as the night before Christmas, this one is also a rhyming book about the Halloween celebrations.
The witch is the one expected tonight, with treats for all. Everybody is frightened of the witch passing out tricks or treats. One is able to trick the witch into doing good things...
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Animal Family Portraits
Colorful children's book showing groups of animals and what the pair creates.
Silly combinations.  A pitbull and a Opposum - chihuahua puppy

Webster's Bedtime (Webster Technology Books)
Children's colorful book about Webster. He doesn't like to go to bed, but stays up all hours of the night to play with technology toys.
The toys do want him to go to sleep because they are very tried. The toys explain that they must be powered down and Webster can help them with that.
Problem is other noises are soon heard, SO silly and I laughed so hard at this.  Other works along the line of Webster are highlighted at the end.

Grandparents' Day
Colorful children's book about a girl who has her grandmother at her house. They don't get to see each other often so the girl treasures every minute she gets to spend with her.
Starting out with breakfast the girl is late waking up as the grandmother has the meal made. The girl realizes she is not being called by her name but her mothers. She also goes to
help the grandfather with his socks and shoes. She recalls the grip her grandfather had on her arm as they walked to get the mail, now he grips onto her arm for support to get the mail.
Other books by the author are highlighted at the end.

Pumpkin Recipes the ultimate guide
This book is broken up by categories: bread and breakfast, desserts, pasta and salads, savory and soup dishes.
Each recipe comes with prep time, cook time, servings and ingredients and how to put the dish together and bake.
There are no pictures and no nutritional information. Some of the recipes appear to be healthy as far as ingredients go, and you should be able to substitute by using liquid eggs also.

 The last hurrah    by Edwin O'Connor
 Newspaper worker watching the polls and attending meetings that the politicians are speaking at as they run for mayor.
Others around town show up when the candidates are speaking about the town issues.  After the heart attack the mans son comes to find out what happened and how others saw things occuring.

101 Puzzle Quizzes (Interactive Puzzlebook for E-readers)
Interesting puzzles you can view through your pc or tablet. Lots of math and shapes and they give you the item and when you guess the answer it will take you to the page and tell you if you are correct or not.
Some are very difficult.

Daddy by Danielle Steel
This book is about George, Oliver and Benjamin, 3 generations of one family, are all learning to cope with their struggles in life.
Their spouses: one is dying, another is heading off to college and one is expecting a baby.
Moments of joy and some tragedies as the twists and turns in this book leave you wondering what will happen next to each of them.
Lots of travel and much more loving.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry
Story starts out with Elle and she's very busy even with her daughter now in college, her husband busy at work and golfing with her dad.
Her mother keeps her busy with committees, etc til the day she just dies. Story goes back in time where we learn of her mother's younger years.
Another story that comes to light is that of the artists in the family and names given to each of the only girl child of each generation.
She finds it hard once she discovers her mother's journals and she strives to  find out the truth. She had left her true love to marry another and Elle is at a loss as to who it is.
She travels with her friend Sadie back to the summer house to find more clues and answers. Like where all the artistry talk is about, gardens and flowers also.
I received this book from a contest I won.

No Greater Love by Danielle Steel
Edwina Winfield has survived the Titanic sinking, taking her parents and fiance and leaving her with brothers and sisters to raise.
Story follows her as they land in NYC and make their way to San Francisco, take over her father's newspaper business. Problem is brother in law has told those in SF to sell the house, they'd be moving to London to live with them.
At 20 she put her life on hold to raise all the kids....story tells of each of the other 5 that she raises and their problems along the way...
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Basic Book Binding
Wanted to read this as I like everything about printing. Worked in the field in my younger days but just the printed word.
Would have loved to see how the book binding is done, maybe at the village they will run a series.
Starts out with the tools of the trade and explains step by step instructions on how to bind a book by hand.
Lots of suggestions and tips along the way. VERY detailed.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

The best Christmas by Lee  Kingman
Erky is not sure why he's so happy with Christmas coming.
Cold winds and cold air with sky dark with one star. Reminds him of the star on his tree, he hopes for the best one ever.
Baking, decorations throughout the house but he knows something is wrong when he enters the house. Stone barge is late and Matty is not there.
Love the idea of mittens on Christmas morning with dime in each and candy cane. Mother says it's too much trouble to get a tree, especially with Matty not home.
She tells them what Christmas is all about and starts up her knitting, she's got the spirit again.
Matty always brought bigger gifts home...maybe he can make the bigger gifts for the kids this year....
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Robert B. Parker's The Devil Wins  by Cameron
Love this series that is set in Paradise, MA near the coast. Jesse Stone has just started a new investigation when they find a recent dead man.
Problem is the clearing the debris around the first murder leads to two girls who were killed over 20 years ago. The ring one wears tells them who they are.
Female relationships are interrupted with calls from ex wife...other cases are investigated that also lead to the current one...
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Murder in merino, a Seaside Knitters mystery by Sally Goldenbaum 
Have read the others in this series and have enjoyed them. Sea Harbor, MA and it's autumn.
Julia Aimsley has come to town, a writer and she meets Ben, who hosts the weekly Friday feast with townsfolk along with his wife Cass.
Others in town are trying to plan their 40th wedding anniversary party but they just want quick drink and appetizer one night.
Lots of things going on with the others in town.  One gets murdered and those at the yarn store start questioning others and bringing clues to those investigating to try to figure out who killed the man.
Love how this one takes us back 20 years and there are some around that can answer those hard questions.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Fine Things by Danielle Steel
Bernie starts out as a jock in high school, goes to college, avoids the draft and ends up in a clothing store-the owner loves his ideas.
Years later and relationships later we find him living on the west coast running another store. He first sees the little girl and falls in love with her, then meets the mother and they start a relationship, get married months later
and move to NY where she finds out she is pregnant. As the story goes on we find out Liz back story and her ex husband.
He still travels to Milan and other countries for the fashion designs for the store.  The ex reurfaces and Liz ends up with cancer...
Life spirals out of control when the twists and turns stop. So much heart break.  They move on and things take a turn, like how book got its name.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

The forgotten helper, a Christmas story by Lorrie Moore
One elf is left behind at a bad girls house. He must make her be good or Santa won't stop by to pick him up next year.
The elf is grouchy and didn't help watch the reindeer. For the year he comes up with a plan where others help him make her happy again.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

 The trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason
Real estate agent Madison is sent to Christmas,  CO  to get rid of the negotiations for the remake of the town, thus making the bosses son lose the deal.
Sheriff McBride wants to get the town back on track as he also doesn't want the town turned into a million people visiting each year, making local places close to make way for big box stores.
Lots of drama as the townsfolk want the big picture to come to life...Gage rubs Madison and wrong way and vice versa as they are thrown together often.
They want her to stay for a week to understand their town and her boss agrees.    Lots of twists and turns....
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

 Bringing home the bad boy by Jessica Lemmon
Tattoo artist Evan and his son return to their hometown. He's lost his wife, been 4 years and he hopes to heal.
His wifes BFF welcomes them home...Aunt Charlie. Story goes back in time to when Ray had died and how hard things were for Evan to hold it together.
Story follows him as he's thinking of her and her body when he's hanging out with the bad boys. Also follows her and her girlfriends as they talk about him and other bad boys of town.
Lots of hot steamy sexual scenes. Few characters, easy to keep track of. Love their choice of careers and learning about how they do their jobs.
Circumstances draw them apart and bring them together til a health emergency... Recipes included.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
Love this authors other works and know this will be a great one also.
Interior designer Keeley Murdock finds her groom to be with her maid of honor and she throws a hissy fit and calls off the wedding.
Will Mahoney needs a decorator for his new mansion. He also owns the mill where they manufacturer woman's bras.
The ex's family runs the bank and they are making the clients stop dealing with the Murdocks.
Keeley and her aunt take the job of redoing the mansion, bring it back to what it once was, The owner is putting it all together for a woman he saw on TV, that he wants to make his wife and have her move to his town.
She confronts the wife to be to find out her colors, interests, etc.  Interesting facts about bra making.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Fixer Upper by mary Kay Andrews
Have read many of the authors works and have enjoyed the books.
This book starts out with her losing her job and her boss being investigated by the FBI. Dempsey relies on her father and he's agreed to fund her at a recent relatives passing and he's learned he owns the house, south of Atlanta.
She travels there and assumes she  will be fixing up the place and flipping it til her next job comes through. The house has a relative who's a squatter but it's is very disrepair shape.
The townsfolk know all about her and her life, and family. Reporters track her down at her new location about her troubles with the law. The local lawyer will be handling her case. She's only a lobbyist, not a lawyer.
Her lawyer has her come up with a timeline to help figure things out-this is when we learn all about the trip she had scheduled for a client, using her credit card. The feds want her to wear a wire, meet her old boss and have him speak as to what happened, to clear her name.
Book also follows Keeley and others trying to find out what happened to her mother...
Lots of action as she finally agrees to wear the wire and meet him... Book comes with recipes of food they make during the book.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review Julia's Daughters

Julia's Daughters by Colleen Faulkner
Wanted to read this book because I liked the story line.
Starts out with Julia, the mother and she's remembering things that happened 47 days prior. her middle daughter had died in a car crash, caused by her eldest daughter.
Her bff Laney has talked to her, try to get her out of bed, all Julia still does is cry over her daughter's death.
Alternating chapters and Next we hear from is Haley, the eldest daughter and she's just been expelled from HS. Julia has to pick her up and find out why she's been expelled and figure out what to do.
She is married to Ben but he's been drifting away from her since the death. Julia needs to get back to work and get her life going in a forward motion, not dwell on the past.
Like the idea of the alternating chapters with the people involved so you can hear different angles to the same scene. Things start to get back to normal for Julia but things for Haley escalate out of control that the parents have to make a choice about her life.
What really appealed to me was the drive from CA to ME-where Laney is. I love hearing of new places that I may never get to visit but can read about through the author's eyes as if I'm right there.
It's a time for mother and daughter to bond, Julia and Haley.  Chapters from Izzy the youngest daughter also as she deals with the loss of her sister.
Difficult book to get through when you've had family loss yourself but it's a healing process that takes others more time to deal with.
Julia has such hard decisions to make after she wakes up and you hope she makes the right ones along the way. Really like the ending because their story could be easily continued in the next book, in  a series.
I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Spotlight: Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio

Book Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio delivers a delightful novel about following your heart on the snow-dusted journey home.

Jane March's greeting cards have lost their jingle. While worried about her job at New England's Cobblestone Cards, she stumbles upon a forgotten box of her mother's nostalgic paintings. They depict small-town Addison's covered bridge and red barns and picket-fenced colonials. If only Jane's designs could capture the same heart. When her mother shows her how with a Christmas to-do list of memories in the making, Jane gets checking.

Wes Davis has come home again, jilted and a little bitter. His autumn wedding's off, and so is his holiday spirit. Even seeing the rustic wooden deer his father whittles by lantern light doesn't help as he settles back into the shabby Victorian home of his childhood. It is only when Wes encounters the sparkling Jane March on his winding mail route that his cold winter heart begins to thaw.

As the fall months turn wintry, and the season merry, a funny thing happens in this charming Connecticut town: Jane and Wes check off items on that Christmas itinerary, together. But falling in love wasn't included on the list. Or was it?

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer is a treasured keepsake, reminding us that like winter's first snow, life brings a beautiful flurry of its own unexpected moments


Author Bio:

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Her sixth novel, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, was recently published. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut. To learn more about the author, visit She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

My Review:

 Snow deer and cocoa cheer by Joanne DeMaio
Wanted to read this book because I've read all the other works by the author and they just keep getting better and better.
Book starts out with Jane March and she's making her special Christmas greeting cards with added New England magic.
She's at her mother's farmhouse with a broken left arm while she's still able to design her Christmas cards with her right arm. She needs to get in the holiday spirit to continue to work.
Story also follows Wes Davis, he's the mailman and he runs into Jane when hand delivering her mail. He had no idea her arm was in a sling. He just wants to get his mailrun done, his schedule.
He's to be married in several weeks...his brother is Jane's orthopedic doctor.  He soon learns she has called it off and he plans to go to CA during the holiday season, to avoid all the questions about the break up.
Jane's mother may have the solution to her design block and gives her a list of things to do to get her in the holiday mood. Wes can help drive her.
Love hearing of the event on The Green and new words-that I actually look up online. Love learning new things and about others careers.
Whittling sounds like one would need a lot of patience, as in designing greeting cards. Precious scene with Wes's hands and Jane's on top showing and feeling how to whittle. Seems both parents are gearing their kids up to follow in their footsteps, in their own way.  Love the time Wes shares daily with his dad, priceless!
Love how they help out one another for each of their businesses.  So many scenes are revisited from past books by the author. If you've never read them you can still catch up with the events that take place: boat parade is one of my favorites.
A keeper! This story puts me in the mood to want to decorate this year, thanks!
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Books read Oct 21

Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies by Nancy Naigle
This book starts out following Kasey and her son at a parade before Jake heads off to kindergarten in the next few days.
Her sister Riley is visiting and will return to celebrate Kasey's birthday. Kasey's husband Nick died in the war. She has started to see the sheriff Scott but there's no sparks, they remain friends and she hopes he sees it as such. Jake was kidnapped once and Kasey's not gotten over it yet.
Story also follows Cody, a country western singer on the road and he plans to catch up with Kasey as they've remained friends.
He sometimes tires of being on the road... the band buses land at Kasey's due to the hurricane coming up the coast so they have time to spend with her. She's a photographer and heading up to Arty's party.
Lots of twists and turns in this book but easy to follow.
The buses head back home as the commercial in TX has been cancelled. Kasey works on a spreadsheet timeline of events that happened and Cody is to fill in his section for the lawyer, her bffs husband, Von.
Kasey spends a few days at his house near Nashville and the thing I like most is Cody is down to earth with his possessions. A lap pool in his house, zipline from the top of the hill to the outside pool. His expansive ranch. Always wanted to go zip lining and it's on my to do list, someday.
He doesn't flaunt his things in front of others.  Love how her photography and that of friends help solve the case.
Understand the meaning of the title now, you won't find out til the end...
I received this book from a contest I won.

Superfoods Desserts: 40 Quick & Easy Cooking, Gluten-Free Cooking, Wheat Free Diet, Whole Foods Diet, Dessert & Sweets Cooking, Weight Loss Maintenance, ... Cooking (Superfoods Today Book 18)
Colorful pictures with each recipe, no nutritional information but healthy otherwise. Easy instructions to follow and cook time.
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end. Lots of really good recipes from basic fruits that we have on hand.

52 Date Ideas Under $20: (Date Ideas, Cheap Date Ideas, Inexpensive Date Ideas)
Great idea book, starts out with categories of the types of dates you want. inside, food, outside, etc
We will often have a mystery date night where one or the other plans the meal, place, etc.
We have done many of these already, got a few new ones to try out. Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Healthy Weight Loss - Here's the Deal (Here's the Deal - Healthy Weight Loss and Fat Burning Over 40 Book 1
Author opens up with a correlation between stuff and your weight. Organize your space and it will help with your weight as well.
DEAL is described in detail for the plan of action to work.  Many components make this plan work.
Recipes included and other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Life Without the BS: Rants, Raves and Other Crazy Stuff
Comical stories of different subjects: dating, marijuana usage, guns, tv watching.
 fast food and big gulp ban, marriage rituals in other countries, religion and an honest politician.
Snips about upcoming elections and the candidates, money and having kids, retirement and death.
Each chapter comes with a quote from usually someone famous.
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Kids Halloween Stories + Halloween Jokes: Spooky Halloween Ghost Stories and Short Stories for Kids (Halloween Short Stories for Kids)
Three free ebooks at the start of this book. 5 different short stories about Halloween and also pages of fun silly jokes.
Also coloring pages are available along with list of other works by the author.
Stories aren't terribly scary.

Zoo Day
Brilliantly colorful children's book about their day at the zoo. They see some common animals and some not so common. My favorite was the flamingo as it took up many pages of information.
All the animals had their own pages where it states what they do and sometimes with a strange part of their body. Very good learning tool.
Other books by the author are highlighted at the end.

Freezer: Freezer Cooking Cookbook. Healthy Freezer Meals For Every Kitchen!: (freezer cookbook, freezer meals cookbook, freezer recipes, freezer meals ... freezer meals quick and easy Book 1
Great ideas of making food in abundance then freezing and labeling and taking out what you need for a meal at a later point in time.
No pictures, no nutritional information and all ingredients are listed in grams. Some English items I don't think my store even carries.

 Seafood Recipes: Top 50 Most Delicious & Highly Popular Seafood Recipes
Offer of other books available from the author. Great pictures accompany each recipe, along with list of ingredients, how long it will take and serving size. No nutritional information and some of the
recipes contain quite a bit of fat, more than in our new lifestyle.  Most recipes you should be able to substitute for a healthier choice.
Seafood dinner would be our selection.

Essential Home Remedies: Staying Healthy With Simple, Natural Home Remedies From The Pantry And The Garden
Found this book interesting to read but leery of trying any of the recipes myself. Lots of information about different herbs and spices and other plants and what they will help with what ails you.
Right combination in some can lead to more problems.

Rocks and Minerals for Kids - Fun Facts & Pictures About Crystals and Gemstones, Geology & Much More (geology book)
Very interesting facts about rocks and minerals around the world. Fun facts about them along with photos of places that have them.
Especially liked seeing US monuments.

Incredibly Delicious Casserole Recipes from the Mediterranean Region (Healthy Cookbook Series 2)
Cookbook using lean cuts of meat with Mediterranean style recipes. No pictures and no nutritional information.
Does state how many the dish will serve. Chicken and rice casserole would be our choice to make.

Crockpot Recipes: 50 Quick & Easy Crock Pot Recipes (Crock-Pot Meals, Crock Pot Cookbook, Slow Cooker, Slow Cooker Recipes, Slow Cooking, Slow Cooker Meals, Crock-Pot Meal)
Free clickable other works by the author.  Each recipe comes with a photo and prep time, servings. Has list of ingredients and detailed instructions and variations you can use.
No nutritional information. Favorite would be salsa chicken.

Baking Recipes for Kids: Quick and easy Cakes, Desserts, Slices and Snacks that Kids love to eat and help to make
Cookbook that would appeal to kids, it has recipes for them to make. No photos, no nutritional information.
Has list of ingredients, detailed instructions how to make and bake, no serving amounts.
Appears to be an English cookbook so some ingredients might be hard to locate in the US.
Carrot cake would be our favorite to try.

Dump Dinners: 101 Easy, Delicious And Healthy Meals Put Together In 30 Minutes or Less! (dump dinners, dump dinner recipes, crockpot recipes, dump dinners ... recipes, healthy recipes, healthy cooking)
Good ideas for meals, no photos, no nutritional information, no servings per recipe.
Has detailed list of ingredients and how to make and bake. Most of the meals are made with condensed soup which has lots of sodium in them, which is not healthy for our lifestyle.
Other books by the author are highlighted at the end.

 Living Off The Grid And Loving It: 40 Creative Ways To Living A Stress Free And Self-Sustaining Lifestyle (Simple Living Book 14)
  Plan ahead and decide how much off the grid you want to live. Many methods and plans are discussed.
Like compost ones and other recycling ideas as you can do them now. Wind and solar power you might have to save up to do.
Not sure I'd be ever able to live off the grid as I rely on my pc for reading and contacting publishers for more books.
We already grow some of our own vegetables and preserve them for the winter months.
Other books by the author are highlighted at the end.

DIY Gifts In Jars: 30 Simple, Delicious, Inexpensive Gifts in Jars Recipes
Very detailed instructions on how to make up the jars and with the ingredients so the recipient can make a treat.
The cookie section tells you how to layer the ingredients in the jar so it's appealing and attaching a note of what they need to add to it.
No nutritional information and no photos.  Pumpkin bread and carrot cake sounds the most healthiest.
Lots of good ideas for the holiday. Other works by the author are highlighted.

Let's Go Find The White Squirrel! (Squirrels - Rare Animal Series Book 2)
Children's colorful book about a rare animal, the white squirrel. Each section has a different suggestion once you see one.
Lots of ideas on how to find the squirrel, gives you hints of where to look.
Silliest of all is giving them a bubble bath, in your tub! Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: Saga of Santa Claus by M. D. Couturier

 Saga of Santa Claus by M. D. Couturier

 Book Synopsis:

Valdor is a selfish king who cares nothing for his fellow human beings. One night, the god Odin turns him into a goat-man and offers a trial. If he succeeds, Valdor will regain his body and kingdom. But if he fails, he will be condemned to wandering the world as an outcast. In desperation, Valdor agrees. But little does he know that he is about to embark upon an extraordinary journey that will change his life forever

Author Bio:

Born in South Korea, M.D. Couturier was raised in Michigan. Couturier, who is legally blind, once spent a month as an aid worker in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he unloaded supplies for an American dentist who was setting up a clinic there. When he’s not writing, Couturier enjoys listening to history books and watching movies.  

My Review:

Saga of Santa Claus by M. D. Couturier
How Santa came about. It all started in a kingdom...
Valdor is born to the king and queen and he's a horrid child growing up treating others terrible.
His parents soon die and he's now the king and thwarts his superiority around. One day he is removed from the throne and he pleads for another chance to be good to others.
Odin has turned him into a yule goat and will be given the job of going to the North Pole, living in a cave and delivering coins to all the children at Yule time for 12 years. A snow fairy pairs up with him and helps.
He travels to the snow fairy kingdom to learn how the coins are made.  In their travels he meets a little girl but the following year he doesn't visit her. He finds out what happened years later but she died because the king didn't give them food.
He reflects on his life to make things better for the world...other things that happen around the holiday are also discussed that we take for granted in our time.
Liked this book because it was easy to follow along and would make a good addition to the regular the night before Christmas when reading with a child.
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.