Showing posts with label Books Reviewed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books Reviewed. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Dietland Book Review (2015)

Dietland Book Review (2015)Dietland by Sarai Walker is not a diet book. It is not a
non-fiction book. It is a fictional story about a woman who is waiting to lose weight before she begins living her life. She is not really living yet. She won't start until she is thin and can enjoy all that she thinks comes with being thin including beautiful and confident. She is saving for weight loss surgery. She is hoarding clothes that she buys online for her future self.

Plum Kettle winds up sidetracked by a group of women who have decided to make their own way and ignore the rules of society. In meeting these women, she learns about the costs of being beautiful. This book is easy to read but not lighthearted though it is definitely funny at times. It is an interesting read that takes a look at the weight loss industry, the beauty industry and even gender inequality.

Be forewarned that it has entire sections that are pornographic. The consensus of my book club was that the book could have covered that area of our society without actually being pornographic. Because of this content, many in my book club would not recommend this book to friends and family, which is a shame because I think that it is a good story.

Watch this video review of the book. I love it. It is very short but gives you a much better idea than I can in writing of what this book is about and of the spirit found within the pages of Dietland.

 

As cosproduction says in the video, this book is a work of fiction. Despite the title, it is not a self-help book, not a memoir and not a weight-loss guide. It is a book about “a group of kick ass women taking on society’s view of beauty.”

In 2015, this book was on Amazon's Top 100 Editors' Pick of the Year list, was one of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2015, was a New York Post Best Novel to Read This Summer book and an, O, The Oprah Magazine 10 Titles to Pick Up Now book. Is it RECOMMENDED by me? Yes, with the caution mentioned above. If you can get beyond that content, I recommend you give Dietland a try. Or not. Your choice but if you do read it be sure to come back and let us all know what you thought. Guaranteed, this book will give you something to think about. You can find Dietland here on Amazon in book, audiobook and Kindle formats.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Dietland on Amazon.
Read about Dietland, Season 1, on Amazon.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls Book Review

I don't ordinarily open a book review with a negative thought but that is how I felt when I began reading Lauren Graham's 2016 autobiography, Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between.) I was disappointed. The book was not what I expected.

I should have known by ALL THOSE WORDS on the cover.

What did I expect? Well, an ordinary autobiographical book about Lauren Graham's life to date.

What did I get? A book that almost seemed to move as quickly as the dialogue on the Gilmore Girls.

According to Graham, The Gilmore Girls series featured some of the longest scripts in television history. While another television show script might have 50 pages, the Gilmore Girls were known to pack 80 pages of dialogue into their one hour less commercial breaks time slot. Yes, that means they talked almost non-stop. Verbal diarrhea comes to mind. Graham has actually been asked if she can talk normally.

It turned out that I also had a book in my hands that was not overly serious with paragraphs that were frequently disrupted by a witty comment from the author, which I could have done with out. Lauren Graham is a brilliant comedic actor but, at least at first, I would have preferred a more serious approach. I agree with Entertainment Weekly when they said that as an author Graham is "much better in the honest, earnest passages where she’s not trying to entertain us. We like her already!

As Katherine on Women's Post said, it takes a while to get used to Graham's style, which is "conversational and as scattered as a Gilmore Girl." If you are a fan, you will know what that means. If not, well...carry on. Graham befriends you as she jumps from a thought to some song lyrics to a discussion on the telephone. "It’s through this writing style the readers are truly able to get to know Graham." Perhaps that is true.

Of course, it is helpful and the book makes more sense once you know that the book is meant to be a series of essays.

So...did I like the book?


I did.

Is it recommended?


Yes, it is particularly if you are a fan of the Gilmore Girls and/or Lauren Graham and you approach the book in a less than serious manner. The book deals with Graham's childhood and adulthood through to the remake of the Gilmore Girls and it is interesting.  It is just not particularly serious. The back cover says that this book contains details about Graham's, "awkward growing up years, confusing dating years, fulfilling working years; and what it was like to be asked to play one of my characters again." I think that gives you a sense that this book treats Graham's life in a light manner.

I do like Lauren Graham and I will be checking out her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, which is about a young actress trying to make it in New York, a subject about which she definitely has firsthand knowledge. I would also like to revisit the Gilmore Girls series and watch the new movies though with seven seasons and four movies that is a whole lot of viewing! Meanwhile, you can find Talking As Fast as I can and Lauren Graham's other works on Amazon by clicking right here.

If you have read Talking as Fast as Fast as I Can, be sure to let us know what you thought.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of Talking As Fast As I Can here on Amazon. It's available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats.

Read about Graham's co-star Alexis Bledel in my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie review.

If you are a big Gilmore Girls fan, you might like to follow the Gilmore Girls News.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Skeletons in the Closet, Life is Unfair

My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas and Helen Edwards' Family StoryMy Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas and Helen Edwards' Family Story
It seems to me that many people use the quote "Life is Unfair" in a very flippant way! Usually when they don't get their own way about things. In the True Life story titled My Secret Sister, this quote really means what it says. I'd like to share this book with you and some thoughts of mine along the way, come along on my Review of My Secret Sister.


Jenny and Helen

Let's be clear, this is an autobiography of two women, who only recently became aware of each other. Their stories are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Jenny Lee Smith and Helen Edwards only found out about each other recently. Through lots of lies, half-truths, and wanton disregard for their feelings, these two sisters are finally putting all of the questions about themselves and each other to rest. They are busy making up for 44 years of searching that finally brought them together.


Background

Jenny:
Jenny Lucas had a charmed life. Oh she wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but her parents doted on her and she was the center of their universe.  The only child in a family where mom and dad were on the "older" side, she was the apple of their eye.  When her father took up golfing, he brought his daughter along and taught her how to golf too.  He even made her the very first golf clubs she used because she was only a little more than a toddler. Golf became her driving ambition. She was such a natural with the clubs and it gave her precious time with her father, whom she adored. When her father died, she really felt lost.  Cleaning up after his death, Jenny comes across a birth certificate.  It's the first inkling that she has about the possibility that she is not who she thought she was.  Not wanting to hurt her mother, she files this information away.  

Helen: 
Helen on the other hand was abused physically, mentally and emotionally most of her life. Her mother and father were either hateful, selfish and self centered at any given time. If any of those two characteristics came together at once, Helen paid the ultimate price for their mental state. Always told she was at fault for any and every turn of bad luck, she quickly learned to steer clear of her parents or do their bidding, whatever that may have entailed. Beatings at the hand of her father were not uncommon and her mother would just watch in a state of indifference, lest she also become a target of his rage.  Helen has an older half-brother who doesn't live at home anymore, but comes around trying his best to save Helen from his step father's wrath.  He is her "knight in shining armor." 

For years these two girls each wanted a sister, a confidant, to share their stories, troubles and tribulations with. Each in their own way was longing for some sense of belonging that wasn't being fulfilled in their own lives.  It would be years though before they would find each other.
I don't want to give away too much of the story, but want to encourage you to read it. 
my secret sister, siblings, sisters and friends,  family secrets
There is nothing like having a sister in your life.


Insights from my perspective:

If you know of anyone who is adopted, or if you are part of a circle of "Family Secrets", I want you to understand that those secrets can be very destructive and divisive.  They hurt people who are looking for answers.  If someone in your family comes to you with questions and they are old enough to know the answers, I would encourage you to talk to the parents, but if they are no longer alive, then tell them the truth.  Don't sugar coat the truth, don't make excuses, don't embellish the story, just tell them what you know to be truth.  

I am so grateful for the opening up of adoption records, so that children who want to know about their birth parents have that opportunity.   It doesn't mean that everything will be rosy and perfect, there is no such state in life, but it gives the person seeking answers, a hope that could fill in a lot of blanks.

From my own experience, I have an adopted grandson and I'm so thrilled that he is in our lives. He came to us at 2 days old.  He knows he's adopted and he also knows that we love him dearly. When and if he wants to know more he will be told the truth by his parents (my daughter and son-in-law).

 I also have a niece that was given up for adoption 40 plus years ago.  We (our whole extended family) became reunited 3 years ago.  It was a most joyous celebration of lost family, found. She was able to express to her birth mother that she was happy, and the birth mother had a hole in her heart filled. We have her in our lives again and it's wonderful. 

Unwanted pregnancies are as old as time itself.  It is high time that we take the stigma off of being born "out of wedlock" or "not wanted" and realize that when children are given up for adoption, the mother and/or father are trying to make the best decisions for their child.  They should be applauded for understanding that they may not be equipped to be the best parents, but they should also be ready to possibly meet that child again when they are all grown up.

My Secret Sister was not an easy book to read, maybe because of our family dynamic.  In the end, there is still longing and heartbreak, but there is also hope and joy.  It was a very interesting and enlightening book!

Picture from Pixabay.com





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book Review

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book ReviewIt’s been literally decades since I read a Stephen King novel. I believe that the last one that I read was Misery in 1987, before my grown up children were born. That book was simply too horrible for me. Later, for whatever reason, I watched or tried to watch the movie version of that story and that cinched the deal for me. I have not read a Stephen King book since then and not seen many of his movies either.

That is, until the 2014 book Mr. Mercedes was chosen this year as one of the reads for our book club. Now I am wondering what I have missed in all of the books since 1987 as I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Mercedes. It was not too horror-ible at all though horrible things do happen in the book. However, it is a fast paced crime or detective story rather than a horror story. It is riveting; another book that I could not put down. A race-against-time thriller.

It is very well written with well-developed characters that include a retired police detective and a psychopath.

The police detective is not enjoying his retirement and is pulled back into one of his last, unsolved cases, that of the Mercedes killer.

The psychopath is, as The Globe and Mail says, “one of King’s great creations, twisted and deranged, but cringingly human.” On the outside, he is ordinary and could be one of your neighbours. However, on the inside he has many issues.

What results when the detective and the psychopath collide is a riveting story with two men ‘fighting’ to the end.

Mr. Mercedes is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me and by the Globe and Mail, too, LOL.

It is exciting that I just discovered that Mr. Mercedes is a trilogy so I (we) have two more books to read in the series, including Finders Keepers and End of Watch. I only hope that they live up to Mr. Mercedes.

There is also an AT&T Original mini series that has just started as I write this in August, 2017. I watched the trailer just now on Youtube and cannot decide if I will be watching the program or not. I have prematurely made up my mind that it cannot live up to the excellent book but I will be waiting to see what people think of the mini-series. As always, I recommend reading the book first.

You can learn more about Mr. Mercedes or order your copy of the book from Amazon by clicking here.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Mercedes is King’s 62nd novel, though only 44 feature his name. He says that this book is based on a real incident in which a woman drove her car into a McDonald’s restaurant.

Will you be reading Mr. Mercedes?

See you at
the book store!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes from Amazon.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review of Book Shots by James Patterson


Chase: A BookShot: A Michael Bennett Story (BookShots) 

 

Short Books-Long on Reading Pleasure

Do you love to read, but don't always have the time to finish a full size book?  Do you enjoy mysteries, thrillers and crime stories?  Are you a James Patterson fan?  If you fit into any or all of these categories the series of "Bookshots" by James Patterson may be just what you need.  Bookshots are a bit more than a short story but shorter than a full length novel.  At about 100 pages they give you a thrilling story that you can read in just a few hours.  I find the books the perfect size to stick in my purse and take out to read when I am waiting in line or in a waiting room.

These books are available in paperbacks and also in a Kindle format.  You can purchase them at the link below on Amazon or check them out at your local library.

James Patterson Book Shots

Meet Your  Favorite Characters

Bookshots have books with all your favorite Patterson characters.  If you enjoy reading the Michael Bennett books,  you will like reading Chase.  In this book your favorite detective takes on a case that is not what it at first appears.  This story will keep you turning pages as you follow the fast paced story. The book is just over 100  pages and does not have a lot of character development but the story kept me interested from beginning to end.

Another favorite Patterson character is Mitchum.  Mitchum was rejected by the Navy Seals (he failed the swimming part) and is now happy to live in his small town and do a variety of small jobs and serve as the towns unofficial investigator.  This bookshot is a great read.  I finished it in just a few hours and enjoyed it.  Sometimes when I'm in between bigger books I am just looking for a fast paced easy read and this book fit the bill.


The two books above are the first two Bookshots that I have read, but I'm looking forward to finding some of my other favorites such as Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club in these great little books.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Shelter of Hope Book Review

 A Shelter of Hope Book Review
There are times in everyone's life when we need a shelter and our home is most often our shelter.  However, in the book A Shelter of Hope, Simone needs a shelter from her home.  She endures regular beatings at her father's hands.  Since she had never known any other environment other than her horrendous home, she doesn't know where or how to find a shelter from the evil. When her mother tried to escape to get help, she was tracked down and murdered.  This knowledge completely trapped Simone.  She knew if she tried to run, she would also be murdered.

The book, A Shelter of Hope, was written by one of my favorite authors.  I doubt I would have stuck with the book beyond the first chapter if I didn't trust the author, Tracie Peterson, to deliver her child character.  A Shelter of Hope is a historical fiction set in the late 1800's in the backwoods, mountain country of Wyoming.  Because of the time period and seclusion of the family, it is easy to believe the horrific details of the book could actually take place.


Synopsis of "A Shelter of Hope"


 A Shelter of Hope (Westward Chronicles, Book 1)Simone Dumas had no hope of ever being rescued from her father's abuse.  Her mother was murdered when Simone was only ten and Simone felt abandoned by her mother, by love itself.  There were few women around and those women were just as powerless as Simone.  The men in the town only leered with lust at the now seventeen year old Simone.  She knew there was no one who was willing to help her escape the monster.  However, even Simone didn't know how very low that man, her father, was capable of going until he sold her, along with their home and property, to a stranger in town.  

Louis Dumas had decided it was time for him to unburden himself.  There were no longer many animals to trap in the area.  Supporting himself, his daughter, Simone, and their home was simply too hard for him now.  He wanted to go where he could take a new wife and earn an easier living.  He certainly wasn't beyond stealing that living either.  When Garvey Davis showed up in town with a lot of money, Louis saw his opportunity to rid himself of everything all at once.  He sold Davis his home, his property and his daughter.  Dumas assured Davis that Simone was a hard worker and would make a wonderful wife for him.  Louis took Davis out to his home, introduced Simone to Garvey and announced that he was leaving.  He told Simone that she had been sold to Garvey along with the rest of his property and would not be going with him.  Simone knew she had once again been abandoned by a parent.

When Davis tried to force his husband rights, Simone grabbed a nearby water pitcher and hit him in the head.  While Davis was unconscious, perhaps dead, Simone quickly gathered her few things, stole his horse and started riding away from the only home she had ever known.

She rode for weeks until she arrived in Laramie where she saw a train for the first time in her life.  When she discovered it could take her a lot further away, a lot faster, she sold Davis' horse and bought a ticket to Chicago.  Once in Chicago, she realized she needed a paying job.  After all, she needed a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear.  She came across an employment ad to become a Harvey girl in the Harvey chain of restaurants along the railroad line.  She took a bath, bought a new outfit and went for an interview where she realized a name change would be necessary.  Jeffrey O'Donnell hired Simone "Irving" immediately without doing the normal background investigation.  She looked nice and he needed servers for the Harvey House immediately.  She left with him the next morning on a train bound for Topeka, Kansas and training to become a Harvey girl.

Back in Wyoming, Louis Dumas realized he had sold Simone way too cheap.  After all, he could have sold her many times over if he had only kept her.  He decided she could be his goldmine.  All he needed to do was take Simone back from Davis.

When Davis' body is found in the old Dumas home, Deputy Sheriff, Zack Matthews, embarks on a mission to hunt down Simone Dumas who he believed either murdered, or played a part in murdering, Garvey Davis.

Simone knows she is running for her life, but she doesn't realize that she is being chased by her own father and the law.


Conclusion

Please do not think I have given away the entire story in this review.  Because there are so many developed characters, and so much happens in the first part, it was necessary to give more of the plot background in this review then I would normally write.  I assure you, there is a lot more to this book, including a love story.  A Shelter of Hope is quite detailed as it walks us through Simone's troubled life as she, herself, finds a shelter of hope in the Harvey House.

The book also gives us a inside look at the struggle of the young woman to ever trust anyone, including God.  






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A Shelter of Hope Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

“The Good Dinosaur” Book and Movie Review

The story is set on a fictional Earth where dinosaurs never became extinct.

 

Available on Amazon

We are familiar with many movies made from books, but this book was created FROM the movie.  


I read the Junior Novelization version of "The Good Dinosaur", written for 9-12 year olds, which retells the whole exciting story and features eight pages of full-color scenes from the movie.  The book can also be found in other forms such as the Big Golden Book for 3-7 year olds and in Little Golden Book form and board book form for preschoolers 2-5 years old.

My sister-in-law saw this book at my house and became fascinated with it.  She had to borrow it to read, and loved it.  Her thoughts on the book were:  “It was a great story for kids and adults showing the importance of family, loyalty and bravery. The characters were sweet and funny.”



Arlo the Apatosaurus Dinosaur


Arlo, Action Figure

The movie, and the book from the movie, are about a good-natured little Apatosaurus dinosaur named 'Arlo' who tries to overcome being afraid of almost everything while he works to find his place in the world his parents and bigger brother and sister have no problem with. Arlo's father tells him that “sometimes you gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.”


After the rest of the family have 'made their mark' (a dinosaur mudprint on rocks used to protect the opening to the family corn silo on their farm), Arlo attempts to earn his right to his own mark.  His Poppa tries to teach him the importance of bravery, as well as proper goal setting and follow-through: “You gotta earn your mark by doing something big.” 


Spot the Human Caveboy


Spot on a beach towel


When tragedy strikes, Arlo ventures out into the wilderness where he makes an unusual friendship with a human caveboy who answers to the name 'Spot'.  After being swept away by a raging river during a storm, Arlo and Spot have a variety of adventures while trying to find Arlo's home again.  Their journey is complete with pterodactyl chases, T. rex run-ins and terrible storms.  Spot saves Arlo from the river by teaching him how to swim and Arlo later saves Spot from the mean pterodactyls. A special friendship develops through these shared adventures.

As their journey nears an end and they approach Arlo's home, the two come across a caveman family. Reluctantly and sadly, Arlo pushes Spot to join his own kind, and the two of them share a tearful goodbye. Arlo finally arrives back home to his mother and siblings, and makes his own mark he has bravely earned on the silo between those of his mother and father. 



The Good Dinosaur is a Disney Pixar Movie


Official Movie Trailer










 

Quick Links:









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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Choose a Way Auckland Travel Book Review

Traveling to New Zealand? Then grab a copy of Choose A Way Auckland, a travel guide whose interactive style gives new meaning to the term "choose your own adventure."
Auckland, New Zealand, is a popular tourist destination these days so if you're headed that way, here's a book that I'd recommend you take with you. This somewhat unconventional travel guide is called Choose A Way Auckland. It's an ebook whose interactive style gives new meaning to the term "choose your own adventure."

This travel guide won't tell you where to stay or which airline to choose to get there. Instead, an insider, author and travel blogger/photographer Rhonda Albom who lives in Auckland and loves the city, comes on the trip with you, traveling on your Kindle (or tablet, phone, or reading app), offering you choices that direct you to all the best places in Auckland to visit while you're there. Plan ahead or choose your itinerary on the go. Here's how it works.

Remember those mystery books you read back in elementary school? At the end of each chapter you were given choices, to go one way or another, to one page or another, and who knew where you'd end up? In Choose A Way Auckland, the author offers you choices, too, depending on the time of day, whether you're in the mood for an active or relaxing activity, whether or not you're exploring Auckland with children, among other criteria that fit your particular situation. In this case, you'll not only know in advance where you'll end up, you'll be given background on the place, specific directions to get there, hours of operation, price of admission, and friendly advice on how best to enjoy the destination.

I really enjoyed this book!

I'll admit, I'm not much of a world traveler at this point in my life, but I do enjoy armchair travel and this book captivated me (because of its fun layout) as well as entertained and educated me about a part of the world that I really didn't know much about.

One of the things I like best about the book is the very specific driving, riding, or walking directions with not only distances but landmarks to look for along the way. With that information along with the map links, the guide makes it very easy to navigate in and around the biggest city in New Zealand. You'll definitely want to keep your Kindle or iPhone with you during your trip so that if you do get turned around, you'll be able to pull it out and find your way quickly and easily with Rhonda's excellent directions.

Another feature of the book that I really like are the specifics in terms of family versus adult entertainment. While there's plenty to do that includes the kids, there are also lots of adult activities, some of which are more adult-oriented than others, very helpful to know about in advance.

Also, the information in the book will help you budget your trip. Time-wise, you'll know how many hours to plan for each activity ("three hours from ferry to ferry" for the vineyard zip line trip). Money-wise, Rhonda makes it easy to decide where you want to splurge and what activities are still fun, just more frugal. Same goes for food and restaurants; Rhonda's personal favorites sound awesome to me!

To get the most out of the book, follow the instructions and the links to "choose" your way through the 39 stops and adventures included in the guide so you don't miss out on the fun. After your first day you'll be given a shortcut to a list of destinations to help you enjoy the book even more.

Choose A Way Aukland was released April 11, 2016, and is being offered at a discounted price of $1.99 for several days, so you might want to grab a copy now before the cost goes up to its regular price of $6.99. Even at full price, this is a must-have if you're planning a trip to New Zealand (or if you live there). You'll enjoy the book, too, if you're an armchair traveler like me. Choose the link below that suits your needs.

Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble
Kobo Books
iTunes (for your iPad or iPhone)

Visit author, photographer, and award-winning travel blogger Rhonda Albom's blog.

Find more travel-related reviews on Review This!


~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, April 1, 2016

FREE KINDLE BOOK: April Fools Pranks 31 Pranks for the Office Book Review

Free Kindle Book:  April Fools Pranks - 31 Pranks for the Office
Let me start by saying, this is NOT an April Fool's prank or joke.  The book really is free to download on Amazon.com.

I've never been a very good prankster and I am the world's worst at making "April Fool's" of anyone.  Maybe people can tell by the look on my face when I am lying.  Or perhaps, it is simply because I can't seem to keep a straight face when I am trying to trick someone.  If I am telling a tale, I tend to burst out laughing before I can get to the punchline or end.  

I can't even seem to fool someone with a text message.  I have tried, but I always get a text reply of April Fools!  It's just so wrong.  Even my children won't pretend they are fooled.  


The Book, April Fools Pranks:  31 Pranks for the Office


 April Fools Pranks: 31 Pranks for the OfficeCheck Availability When I found this book, April Fools Pranks:  31 Pranks for the Office,  I was pretty excited.  It only took a few minutes to read and I love some of the suggestions.  Mainly, because I don't have to speak to pull these pranks.  

My favorite suggestion included a cat food treat box.  That is one I could definitely do!  I think it would be hilarious to see the look on Buckhawk's face  when I offered to share my treats with her.

I can so easily imagine making screenshots to mess with all of my fellow contributors here on Review This too!   I can totally envision poor Dawn Rae or Elf freaking out over not being able to log-in to their sites and begging for tech support immediately.   

I could also imagine bringing a jar of Vaseline into the office.  Yes, this one I would have to use on our ever efficient and meticulous cleaning guru, Susan Deppner.   

I would have to turn Mary Beth's photos upside down, or maybe flip them sideways and I would mess with Olivia's mouse.   I always wanted to see these two lose their patience.  Until I read this book, I didn't think that would be possible.

For Barbara aka Brite-Ideas, who loves music, I would borrow the musical birthday card prank suggestion and for BarbRad, I would totally pull the paper clip trick on her.  Not being able to remove the paper clip would drive her nuts.  I think I would be forced to rename Brenda's book files or better yet, her eBay files!  Oh, yeah!  (Treasure's by Brenda eBay store, be ye forewarned!  lol)

I have a very "special" coffee mug set aside just for Heather and for Bev, I have something really, really bad planned, but I can't tell you all about that one, YET!

I was laughing so hard when I was reading and thought of how much fun it would be to mess with them, that I woke the dogs from their sound sleep and was forced to get out of bed to let them outside.


Read the Book


Well, I couldn't very well describe each of the pranks here. You will have to download and read the book yourself to find out exactly what each of these pranks entail.  It was fun dreaming and I think you will enjoy it too!

Click Here to Download the FREE Book on your Kindle, or use the Amazon Free App to read it on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required!




Yes, I do know about payback which is why it is probably a really good thing that we don't report to a brick & mortar office everyday!




"FREE KINDLE BOOK: April Fools Pranks 31 Pranks for the Office Book Review" Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. A story of a woman whose cells lived on long after she passed away.

As the cover says, "Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multimillion-dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same."

The same could be said about us. Our lives will never be the same because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has benefited from Henrietta Lacks' cells.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a science book and one that I almost did not read because of that fact. However, I am glad that I did.

It is a science book but it is also a book with a fascinating story to tell. Part science, history book and biography. An easy read. It is a book that you will not be able to put down though to be honest I did find the ending a bit slow.

You will learn a lot about science, about cells and about Henrietta Lacks.

Author Rebecca Skloot sums up the book best in this short video:



WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?

Yes, I would. It is an easy read and the subject matter is fascinating. However, don't take my word for it. Consider the fact that it was named one of the best books of 2010 by Entertainment Weekly, Booklist, The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, O Oprah Magazine, USA Today and many more institutions.

Do you read science books? Are you interested in learning more about Henrietta Lacks' life story? You can learn more on Amazon by clicking right here.

Happy Reading!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks from Amazon.





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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Reviewing Second Chance Mysteries by Sofie Ryan

Looking for a good mystery?

Our regular readers know by now that I love to read, mysteries are one of my favorite genres and I am a cat person. Imagine my joy when I found another mystery series to read that has a cat involved in the plots! The series is called Second Chance Mysteries and they are really fun to read. 

Sofie Ryan, the author, has written three books so far in the series that I am reviewing for you today. One of my favorite characters is Elvis, a black rescue cat that has been adopted by Sarah the owner of a shop called Second Chance. Actually, I should correct myself, Elvis clearly picked Sarah to come live with! The picture at the left could be Elvis but probably isn't, I found it at pixabay.com

The shop, Second Chance, is a combination thrift shop and antique store. Sarah finds castaway items and figures out a way to repurpose or give new life to the pieces and then sells them in her store. She is helped by Rose, Liz, and Charlotte who happen to be friends of her grandmother and have known Sarah since she was a little girl. Avery also helps in the shop and is the grand-daughter of Liz. I absolutely love the interaction between these three generations of women! Ryan, the author, has given each of them some pretty humorous lines throughout the books but she also shows how close women can be no matter their ages. 

The first book in the series is called The Whole Cat and Caboodle. You would not have to read it first but I recommend doing so because this first book gives a good background of each of the characters as the plot begins to form. You are reminded a little in the other books about a little of the history of the characters but the first one gives the best description of how these ladies know each other.

Each book finds someone in the small Maine town dead as one would expect with a mystery book. What is clever is the way that the characters of Sarah, Rose, Liz and Charlotte work together to solve the case. They are not part of the police force in the community but take it upon themselves to find out "who done it". In the case of the first book, they become involved because another friend, Maddie, has been arrested for the dirty deed. Now, the ladies know in their hearts that she could not have possibly harmed the deceased man and they do not feel that the local law enforcement is doing a good enough job in finding the real killer. Maddie, an avid gardener, will not even kill the insects that invade her garden so the women know that if she won't harm a bug, she certainly won't harm a human. The way the women look for clues and find out information is funny at times and really cleverly written. I do not want to spoil the story so I will just tell you that the ending surprised me. The killer was not someone that I suspected at all. It was refreshing to read a mystery that was not predictable.

I mentioned Elvis the cat earlier. Now, one can not really say that he helps the ladies solve the crime but his interactions with the humans are just a wonderful addition to each of the books. Elvis is one smart kitty cat and I love that Sarah talks to him and it seems that he not only understands her but tries to answer her back with specific meows. Ms. Ryan has definitely shared her life with at least one cat because she describes the antics of Elvis so very well. I love my cat but I have to admit that I would really love to have a cat like Elvis. Wait until you find out what his favorite television show is! Oh yes, this cat watches tv and when riding in the car with Sarah appears to be watching the traffic and gives Sarah a stern meow when she runs a yellow light. The stories in all three books could be told without Elvis the cat but the addition of him just makes the stories more endearing and enjoyable to read.

The other two books that have been published as of the date that I am writing this review are:


I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the three books by Sofie Ryan and look forward to her releasing new books in the future. If you love to read mystery novels and have a special love for cats, I just know that you will enjoy these books, too.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reviewing The Ides Of March

Beware The Ides Of March

Julius Caesar
The famous line spoken to Julius Caesar by the seer, warning him to beware of the 15th day in March as harm was to come to him. It is said that as that infamous day was approaching its end, Julius saw the seer in the market and remarked that the day was almost over and nothing had happened. "Ahh, but the day is not gone," retorted the seer. Julius Caesar went on to the Senate of Rome and met with his death on that day, the Ides of March. 

During that time in our history, March in the Roman calendar was actually the first month of the year. The ides occurred in every month around the middle, usually the 13th except for the months of March, May, July and October. The Romans used the ides, whether in March or any month, as a reference point of determining days of the month. They did not count the days consecutively like we do now, but instead counted back from three points of interest. The Nones occurred around the 5th or 7th day depending on the length of the month in question, the Ides (13th or 15th) and the Kalends which was the first of the following month. Golly, it sure would have been difficult to quickly know what day it was! 

If you are a history buff, you know that on the 15th of March in the year of 44 B.C Julius Caesar was assassinated by of group of some 60 people led by Brutus and Cassius. This event led to a civil war, the end of the Roman Republic and the rise to power of Octavian who would later be known as Augustus Caesar. You can read the facts in a history book, you can see the play by William Shakespeare or read a book by a multitude of authors to find out more. 

One of my favorites about the man, Julius Caesar and the events that led up to that fateful day in March is The Ides of March: A Novel by Thornton Wilder. The book was first published in 1948 but is still fascinating to read today. It is a novel so much of the story is based on Wilder's interpretation of letters and historical facts about the ruler of the Roman Republic. What I like about it is that it gives us a possible insight of the man and the ruler. The book allows us to see this historical figure as a human being with strengths and weaknesses that we all have in our souls.

If you like to read historical fiction and are interested in the era of time that the Romans ruled much of the world, I think you will like this book. I believe it is a good read for the month of March.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Grilling Vegan Style, Cookbook Review

With outdoor grilling season soon to be upon those of us in the colder climates, it's time to tell you about a new cookbook I found. Grilling Vegan Style, by John Schlimm, is way more than just another vegan cookbook. It turned out to be an eye-opener for me.

It's true I have had to turn to vegan eating for my own health, but I also discovered how exciting and delicious the foods can be. One thing I wanted to do was to grill vegetables. Haha - you think a vegan lifestyle is stuck with grilling veggies only? Then you are in for a treat with Grilling Vegan Style.

For the Novice Griller and Expert Alike


Now, I will have to admit that I was a complete novice when it comes to using an outdoor grill. I had just gotten my first grill. But how much charcoal do I put into it? How will I know when the coals are ready? My list of questions was long. And author John Schlimm came to my rescue. He starts off with a simple explanation of how to handle a charcoal grill. After reading his explanation, I made my first grilled dinner easily.

So maybe you have lots more experience than I do. Maybe you have a gas or electric grill. Don't worry. Schlimm has you covered there, too. He details what temperatures look like on your settings, how to prepare your grill for cooking, even how to work with direct and indirect heat.

Covering Recipes for All


Granted, my initial grilling attempts were simple things like veggie kabobs and veggie burgers, but I knew I would expand into all numbers of delicious dishes after looking through Grilling Vegan Style. Schlimm shows you how to grill any number of foods including fruit. Grilled pear halves is now a great favorite at my house.

Those of us who enjoy tailgating have a friend in Schlimm. He has a whole chapter full of great recipes just for tailgate parties. Take a look as his Halftime Pizza recipe for example.

More than just tailgating, he covers picnic options, summer salads topped with grilled goodies, even PB & J sandwiches for the kids in all of us. Personally, I can't wait for watermelon season. Yep, you heard that right. Grilling Vegan Style includes a recipe for a grilled watermelon salad.

Helpful Tips Make a World of Difference
Grilling Vegan Style


John Schlimm is not just your average cookbook author. He adds many helpful tips to make grilling easier, better and more flavorful. My favorite trick, learned from Schlimm, is to soak potato fries in hot water before grilling them. That gives the fries that crispy outside.

He includes a whole chapter on marinade recipes. Not only are they delicious, but he offers timelines to help you. How long to marinate different veggies, fruits and other yummy treats, like tempeh and tofu.

As my world starts to gain warmer days, I'm grilling more and more outside. And my go to cookbook, not only for new recipes, but new ideas as well has become Grilling Vegan Style. Frankly, I'm not sure I would have been so successful from the beginning without it. May you have as much fun grilling as I do.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Review of "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-review-of-inn-at-oceans-edge-by.html
Every once in a while I find a book that is so rare, the plot so unique, that I want to shout to the world, "you must read this book!"  That is the case with the book I literally just finished reading.  

I don't normally read mysteries, but this book appeared in my romantic fiction genre.  I didn't even realize I had selected a mystery until I was hooked.  As it turns out, this may well be the best book I have read in years.

Obviously, I could highly recommend "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble to anyone who enjoys a romance, a lot of mystery, and a plot that is not at all obvious to the reader.  I literally set on the edge of my seat, stayed up as long as my eyes would stay open, to read this book and find out what really happened to this family, these people, the little girl who was lost in the woods.



The Inn At Ocean's Edge


The plot of the book is so detailed, there is no way I can truly do it justice in a few short paragraphs, but I will try. 

 The Inn at Ocean's Edge (A Sunset Cove Novel)On her 4th birthday, Claire Dellamare was lost in the woods.  A year later, she was found, but she had no recollection of anything that had happened to her.  It was as if the whole year was completely lost to her.  As she was growing up, she was cherished by her parents who previously thought their daughter was gone to them forever.  Her life was cushioned by great wealth and she was respected for her business acumen within her father's company.  It seemed her life was perfect until she returned to "The Inn at Ocean's Edge".  


She didn't think she had ever been there, but she seemed to know things about the place she couldn't possibly know otherwise.  Not very deep into the pages of the book, we find out that this hotel was the setting for her 4th birthday party.  This was the place from which she disappeared.  She didn't even remember that she had disappeared.  She had no idea that her life was so shrouded in mystery, until the residents started talking.

Murders, illness, abduction, lies, and scary nightmares of an unknown man who she witnessed commit murder, all play a part of this most unusual plot.  Once the killer realizes she could actually identify him, he doesn't hesitate to stalk her.  Even with a murderer close on her heels, she is having occasional flashbacks, revelations about her father and his infidelity, as it all culminates to put her, and others, into even greater danger.  So many lies have been told.  So much of the past has been covered up.  She has no idea who she can actually trust.

As Claire searches for the truth, her life, past and present, becomes intertwined with Luke Rocco, whose mother disappeared the same day the little 4 year old went missing.  Unlike Claire, Luke's mother did not return to Folly Shoals, Maine.  He fears she actually never left, especially once bones are found on nearby property.  



A Sunset Cove Novel

Apparently "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" is the first of 3 books in the "Sunset Cove Series".  I don't think there is any way Colleen Coble can ever match this book again, but I will definitely be starting the second book in the series tonight.  I can hardly wait to see what she has in store for us in "Mermaid Moon", but most likely by the time you are reading this review, I will have finished that book as well.  

It is so very exciting to find a book series that I can barely finish one book before I am downloading the next in the series as fast as my little fingers can sail across the keyboard and push that little purchase button.

Now, I am off!  I only stopped long enough to tell you about this most excellent book.  I know you will want to read it too.






"The Inn at Ocean's Edge" Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.