Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: Finding Daddy Warbucks By David Hwa


By: David Hwa

Published: May 13, 2014

Publisher: Wellworth LLC


I'm participating in the book tour for FINDING DADDY WARBUCKS through PUMP UP YOUR BOOK. For other stops on the tour click HERE.

Haley, a 10-year-old, decides that nearly a year after her father died in an accident, it is time to find her family a new dad. She takes it upon herself to make this happen after seeing an ad in a newspaper for a "matchmaker". Haley lives in Washington DC and finds out that their family may have to move to Kansas. All she knows about Kansas is from TV and movies and it looks pretty scary. She must do whatever she can to stop her family from having to move. But, when Haley's mom doesn't fall for the prince Haley finds, her plan may have drastic repercussions.

This is a short, sweet story that shows a child's determination to get her family back to "normal". Sadly, her normal may not be attainable.  Haley ends up skipping out of school and traveling through the city alone on a bus, navigating streets, office buildings, and bus stops. I found this a little difficult to grasp. As the mom of a nearly 10-year-old, I don't think my daughter would be able to concoct this type of elaborate plan along with navigating the city by herself. I think if Hayley would have been twelve or thirteen, it would have been a bit more believable. Her voice and actions in the story didn't match up with her age for me.

But, this story is fiction and that means it doesn't necessarily have to meet up with reality. The princely character of Sir John and his romance with Jess, Haley's mom, will remind you of fairy tales. There are diversions, mishaps, and complications that hamper Haley's master plan. You definitely have hope for a happy outcome and I was satisfied with the ending.

Overall, if you are looking for a quick read that will put you in a good mood, FINDING DADDY WARBUCKS will accomplish that.  This book could be enjoyed by YA fans as well as those who like adult or women's fiction. Haley's story will teach us to believe in our dreams, but that our dreams may not always happen exactly the way we planned.

David Hwa
David Hwa makes his literary debut with Finding Daddy Warbucks (2014) a tale of a little girl’s journey through loss, love and redemption. 

David grew up in Kansas. He graduated with a music degree from the University of Colorado and went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration from Denver University, a law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center.

He practiced securities law for many years in Los Angeles, California with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. He later moved to Washington, DC where continued his securities practice with the Commission and later in private practice with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP. Following the financial crisis of 2008, David moved back to Colorado and opened his own securities law practice.

David is single and lives in Aurora, Colorado with his two leopard geckos Gordon and Carlos. He spends his days writing, skiing, and occasionally dispensing legal advice, sometimes while on the ski slopes.

To purchase a copy of FINDING DADDY WARBUCKS, click the photo below. It is currently just $1.00 the eBook version.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for sending me an eBook copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fulcrum Gallery Print Review

Have you ever heard of FULCRUM GALLERY?

This website has hundreds of prints in every category imaginable.
If you are looking for a print with flowers, word art, movies/entertainment, food, animals, sports, scenic, religious, and so much more, you can find exactly what you want on FULCRUM GALLERY

I had been wanting a print for a corner wall of our basement and wanted something in the book category.  I love how you can enter in search categories on their website and then narrow that down by color, shape and size.

I wanted a print that had reds or browns in it so I was able to narrow down my search using those colors.  You can also search by style category like modern, classic, contemporary, traditional as well as black and white, minimalist, realism and pop art just to name a few.

If you are looking for a print for a specific room, you can search that way as well. 

If you need new art for your office, click HERE for some great choices.  I almost changed my book idea to get the Dreaming Tree Red print:

If you have a specific artist you are looking for, like Van Gogh, Picasso, O'Keefe, Lichtenstein, or Adams, you can find their works on this site too. 

While searching for bookish prints, I found these prints in my search. 

I liked them all, but then I saw this one...

I loved it, but wasn't the look I was going for in our basement.

After spending a few hours going through various search queries and narrowing down my categories, I finally found the one that I wanted.

Life lessons on books = Perfect print for me.
I chose to have it framed in just a regular black frame, but there are lots of options I could have chosen for various prices. I felt this option with the print was very reasonable at about $75. You can choose from various frame styles and colors as well as having your print on canvas. 

I paired it with some shelves that we already had and some bookish items.
I love my new corner of the basement. 

I had a great experience with FULCRUM GALLERY
The print came quite quickly and was well-protected in the packaging.

If you are looking to change up your home decor, I highly recommend you check FULCRUM GALLERY.  There truly is art for every style, room, color, and decor that you are looking for. 

Thanks to Fulcrum Gallery for asking me to review their product. I was given a set amount and then could put that toward a print of my choosing. I wasn't compensated in any other way for this review and this review is my honest opinion. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Snippets 10.26.14

On Sundays I like to share snippets from our life here in small town Iowa.
The last few weeks have been really busy for us.
I've been subbing nearly every day and our nights are busy with activities as well.
When we have a lot going on, the blog has to take a back seat.
Amazingly, I've still be able to get some reading and reviewing done though.
Thankfully, we have had a weekend to relax and play catch up and the extra bonus was we had nice weather.

I can't believe we are heading into the last week of October already.
In two months, Christmas will be over and we will be heading into 2015.
Time is flying by so fast.
Take a some time to reflect on the snippets of your life today!

We had Homecoming a few weeks ago in our school district.
Unfortunately, it was a cold and windy day.
But, we still had our parade and then everyone moved inside for the pep rally.

The Marching Bobcats

Patrick and Bennett marching side by side in the Homecoming Parade.
The middle school band gets to march with the high school band
which is a pretty big deal!

The freshman float won 1st place with the 50's Diner as part of our Homecoming theme,
Rockin thru the Ages

Some of the senior boys tried out cheerleading for the pep rally.

We had a "Kiss the Pig" contest during homecoming week.
Usually the newest teachers are chosen as candidates.
Staff and students donate money to nominate one teacher.
The winning teacher has to kiss the pig during the pep rally.
All the money raised is given to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.

Miss Becker was chosen and she was a trooper.
She even applied lipstick before her big smooch with the pig! 

Of course the marching band kept us entertained during the pep rally.
Great job, Patrick!

Since several friends were coming over, Reagan and I made homecoming cupcakes,
Blue Velvet cupcakes and yellow frosting to match our school colors.

It was pretty cold during half-time of the football game, 
but the band toughed it out and played their Timekeepers routine. 

Bennett and Reagan all dressed up for homecoming.

Since I subbed on homecoming, I got to have class with Patrick.
I can't believe how much taller he is than me!

My parents care for a old country church, the Lima Church.
Their annual fundraising celebration is Lima Leaf Day which helps pay for the upkeep of the church and cemetery as well as the mowing each summer. 
Our family actually had a free Sunday to help out this year.

Reagan was in charge of the fish pond and the boys ran the ring toss.

I helped out in the dining room. 
We serve pork loin sandwiches, sloppy joes, hot dogs, and chili dogs
 along with sides and the most delicious homemade pies. 

Reagan rang the church bell to let everyone know it was time for the Quilt Raffle Drawing. 

We had some beautiful nights for 8th grade football during October.

Our weekends were full of marching band competitions.

Patrick LOVES playing the drums!

Can you see the clock?  

We had a gorgeous afternoon for Bennett's last middle school football game.
He's #80. 

Thanks for a great season boys!

These pictures remind me of the busy month we have had.
I am enjoying reliving all these great memories with our kids.
I hope you have had some time these last few weeks
to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, relish in some fun moments with your family, and take a few moments to relax.
Thanks for sharing in our life.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: An Unseemly Wife By E.B. Moore


By: E.B. Moore

Published: October 7, 2014

Publisher: NAL Trade Paperback

Fiction/Historical Fiction

Ruth and Aaron are living the idyllic Amish life with their four children and one on the way. Their life is far removed from the English, the name they give the non-Amish. Life on their Pennsylvania homestead is a dream full of rewards of hard work and love for God. But, one day, the English make a visit to their home because Aaron is known for having the best horses around. The English explain they need solid horses to take their families West, where there is the promise of land for everyone and their children. Aaron listens to their tales of prosperity out West and decides it is time to remove his family from the protection of their Fold. He plans to join the wagon train and head to the Great West. Ruth can't seem to find the same excitement Aaron has and feels that makes her an "unseemly" wife in God's eyes. She bites her tongue, ignores the stares from her fellow Amish and sadly, follows Aaron's orders. Their family leaves the only home they have known to join the English on their trek across 2000 miles. Ruth works hard to keep their family separate from the English, but finds there are situations that require conversations and sharing of supplies. Throughout this difficult adventure, Ruth must find a way to sacrifice what she holds most dear to her heart.

In the first pages of the story, we are introduced to Ruth and her stalwart ways of following the Ordung or the rules of the Amish. She has raised her children to be wary of the English and to learn to be hard workers around their farm. As their family heads West, she has to learn how to handle her emotions and misgivings around the way of the English. We learn Ruth's strength early in their trek. In the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, Ruth gives birth to their fifth child, alone, in the wagon. Aaron, so concerned with not missing the wagon train, presses on immediately after the delivery, without concern for Ruth's healing or needs. Sadly, this is not the only pain and suffering that Ruth will have to endure in the months ahead. Ruth is the epitome of the opening poem in the book:

There is in every true woman,
a fire, dormant
in the light of prosperity,
which blazes the dark hour. 
- Washington Irving

Just when I thought Ruth couldn't bear another setback, she proves that she can and will. Ruth and Aaron's sweet daughter Esther is wise beyond her four-year-old years and is truly the light in the story. Ruth will live in my heart for a long time. Her strength, perseverance, faith and fortitude during some of the greatest struggles in her life are lessons for us all. Moore leaves you hanging with the ending, but with a smile in your heart.  

E.B. Moore has written her first novel at the age of 72 based on family stories of her ancestors.  She has written with such eloquence, emotion, and attention to detail that I hope she has many more books left in her to write. I grew up near an Amish community and was always fascinated by their lifestyle. Now, as a wife and a mother, I am in awe of their daily routine and the amount of work that goes into their day. I am even a bit envious of their simple life at times, wishing for quiet evenings around the table and playing games with the kids. Moore's book reminds you of both of those parts of the Amish life and the harsh realities of the pioneers who traveled to find their dreams in the West. This piece of our history reminds us of our ancestors and their steadfast dreams for our futures. 

E. B. Moore was born on a farm near New Hope, PA, and is a recent graduate of the Novel Incubator program at Grub Street, Boston's independent writing center. A retired metal sculptor, she is also a graduate of the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Moore's first book of poetry, New Eden: A Legacy was published by Finishing Line Press in 2009. Her work has appeared in literary journals including The Drum and Inkwell, as well as two anthologies of writing taken from the William Joiner Workshops. She has been a resident at Yaddo, and was accepted to the Vermont Studio Center residency on full fellowship. AN UNSEEMLY WIFE is based on the life of her Old Order Amish great-grandmother, who left Pennsylvania with a wagon train.

To purchase a copy of this book, click the photo below:

Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Granola Bars Review

I have been reviewing products for BEST CHOICE Brands for the last several months.  I compare their product to a similar brand-name product and offer my opinion on which one is better. They will then be posting my reviews on their site and when they appear, I will share them with you here.  The cool thing is that you will always see my review, whether I chose the brand-name product or the Best Choice product. You are truly getting my HONEST OPINION. You can always see reviews of the Best Choice products from myself and other mom bloggers, by clicking 

I am always so excited to open up the box and see what I am reviewing next.   In our area, we can find Best Choice products at Alco stores and smaller independent grocery stores. Since I have been exposed to more Best Choice products, we have added several to our pantry, bumping out the regular brand-name products. 
Stay tuned for more product reviews from Best Choice. 
I think you may be surprised by our results.

I always keep granola bars in stock at our house. They are easy to grab and go and I feel like they are better for the kids than a candy bar or chips. I like that they come in different flavor varieties so each kid can choose their favorite. We taste-tested Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and Best Choice Chewy Granola Bars. Click HERE to see which brand won in our family's taste test. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: A Breast Cancer Alphabet By Madhulika Sikka


By: Madhulika Sikka

Published: February 25, 2014

Publisher: Crown, First Edition


I am part of the TLC Book Tour for A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET. To see other stops on this book tour including reviews from other book bloggers and giveaways, click HERE

During this month of October, I felt it was especially appropriate to share this book. A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET isn't just for the person with cancer, but for those who love and care for the person with cancer. I would even offer that even though this book focuses specifically, in certain chapters, about breast cancer, this book could be helpful to anyone with any form of cancer. 

While working as a producer with NPR, Sikka found out she had breast cancer. As she traveled through chemo and hair loss, surgeries and sickness, she found there wasn't a book to tell you exactly what you wanted and needed to hear while going through the days of cancer. Sikka wrote this book to remind those with cancer and their families and friends that you can still smile, life still goes on and most importantly, you have every right to feel the way you do.

The book is laid out exactly as you would expect. Each chapter begins with a letter of the alphabet that explains a part of living with cancer.  In the "A is for Anxiety" chapter, you will find that anxiety isn't a feeling experienced just during the waiting game after a lump is found, but a part of life that continues years after you are "cancer free". The anxiety during your treatments is just as real as the anxiety you feel in the back of your mind, always wondering if your cancer will come back.  In the "E is for Epiphany" chapter, Sikka explains that all those dreams and wishes you had in your "pre-cancer" life are nothing compared to the dreams you have in your "after-cancer" life. Realizing that your life was pretty great just as it was may be the epiphany you needed. There are also practical chapters like "P is for Pillows" in which the author shares the practicality and necessity of a three-by-six-inch pillow. 

I found A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET to be a practical, yet emotional book. Just because I am a woman makes me a large target for the wretched breast cancer beast. Reading this book made me fearful, yet encouraged. I get my annual mammograms. I perform monthly self-checks. But, I also have a family history of breast cancer. I know the risk for me is high and I found comfort in the pages of this book. Sikka was honest, thorough, and creative in her informative book. I am more aware of how cancer patients feel, physically and emotionally, because of her honesty.  This is a book that should be shared with every woman you know. We can become better patients, caregivers, and friends with the knowledge in this book. 

Madhulika Sikka
Madhulika Sikka is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. Among other media outlets, she has worked at NPR News and ABC News. For more on Madhulika Sikka, visit her website,

To watch the book trailer, click the video below:

To purchase a copy of this book, click the photo below:

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you spending a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews.