Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: Find Your Balance Point By Brian Tracy

Clarify Your Priorities, Simplify Your Life, and Achieve More

By: Brian Tracy and Christina Stein

Published: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers


My life was spiraling out of balance and I needed to make some changes or my health was going to be affected. Over the last year, I have reexamined my priorities and started making some changes in how I spend my time. I was overcommitted and doing too much for others which meant my family got my leftovers rather than the best of me. Even though my life isn't perfectly balanced, it is certainly better than it was a year ago. This book has given me even more insight and tips in maintaining that delicate balance between my home life and professional life.

Brian Tracy is a well-known author and motivational speaker. Business experts often hire Tracy or use his books and recordings to motivate their employees and help them with their personal and professional development. His most popular book, often referred by top managers, is KISS THAT FROG! and talks about tackling the biggest project or task on your list first.

In FIND YOUR BALANCE POINT, Tracy has teamed up with therapist Christina Stein, who also happens to be his daughter. In my opinion, this collaboration with Stein helps him reach out to a female audience. Stein focuses on the work-life balance that many of us struggle to perfect and empowers us to make the best choices for ourselves and our family.

Throughout the book, there are many opportunities to complete exercises to reflect on your priorities and values. By focusing on your list of values, a theme will appear that your job, the people in your life, and your priorities will reflect. Having the right people in your circle will result in increased happiness. When your job is reflected in your values and priorities, your emotional and spiritual needs will be met as well. You may find that it isn't that you are doing too many things, but instead you are doing the "wrong" things.

By teaching ways to manage tasks through the action exercises at the end of each chapter, readers can have a real plan in place. Tracy's book is the ideal manual for reaching a goal, achieving balance, finding a new job, finishing a project, or whatever unmet task you've been wanting to tackle. Its short chapters and laid out plan-of-attack will help readers "eat" whatever frog is looming in their life. You may find yourself on a new career path or realize what truly brings you joy.

Brian Tracy - source
Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. As a keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year. He is the bestselling author of more than fifty books that have been translated into dozens of languages. For more on Brian Tracy, check out his website, HERE. You can also find him on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE

Christina Stein - source
Christina Stein is a speaker, author, and psychotherapist who focuses on work-life balance and female empowerment. She works with individuals and couples and conducts workshops to help attendees align their priorities and goals with their skills and passions. She combines her training as a marriage and family therapist with her experience as a life coach to work empathically and dynamically with her clients. For more on Christina Stein, check out her website, HERE.

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

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. 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

A post from today 3 years ago - Book Review: Beside Two Rivers
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Life is Not a Race...

Many of you know that I'm a mom with three active kids. I'm also a devoted wife who likes to take spontaneous lunch dates with her husband. I am also a substitute teacher that recently has been more full-time than part-time. I'm a community volunteer who just finished a huge campaign to purchase new band uniforms for our school. Finally, I'm supposed to be reading books and writing book reviews to share with my audience.

Well, lately, it has been a bit hard to keep up with all of these items as well as the many other hats I've been wearing lately. I'm exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed over my never-ending list of tasks that don't seem to get done.

This weekend I'm making a 7-hour drive to meet my new great-niece and celebrate her sister's 2nd birthday. Then I'll be traveling again for Thanksgiving. The next week, I will again be traveling to visit my dear friend and another niece in Colorado. Amongst all this, I'll be shopping and preparing our family for the Christmas season. Then we will be taking a quick family trip after Christmas. So, needless to say, I have a lot of my plate.

But, I am so thankful to be able to have a full plate. I'm blessed to have family to visit and the time to do so. I'm blessed to have a husband that picks up the slack when I'm overwhelmed. I'm thrilled to be able to get away and spend time with those I care about.

So, I'll be slowing down my posts from now through the end of 2015. I'll be finishing up my commitments and posting a few extras, but for the most part, my family will be my focus during this precious holiday season.

Thank you for supporting me and hanging around, both when I am active and when I am not.

Dr.Wayne Dyer couldn't have said it better when he said,

Life is not a race; it is a journey, 
something to be enjoyed each day. 

I'm enjoying the journey each and every day and I hope that you relish in the moments this holiday season, absorbing the joy of a child, the laughter of a friend, and the hug of a loved one. 

A post from today 2 years ago - Braces in Our House
A post from today 3 years ago - So Thankful Days 17 and 18
A post from today 5 years ago - Blessing #18
A post from today 6 years ago - A Thought for the Day

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Put A Ring On It By Beth Kendrick

Black Dog Bay #3

By: Beth Kendrick

Published: November 3, 2015

Publisher: NAL


Black Dog Bay, Delaware is the place women run to after horrible break-ups. It's filled with businesses such as the Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, Whinery, Rebound Salon, Eat Your Heart Out Bakery and the Naked Finger jewelry store. All these businesses are run by women who came to Black Dog Bay to recover from broken hearts. Brighton decides to visit her college roommate, Kira, who just started her psychiatry practice in Black Dog Bay. Brighton's engagement to Colin has just ended and she is throwing her structured and planned life out the window and taking off a few days to catch up with Kira.

As Brighton arrives in Black Dog Bay, she finds herself being introduced to the resident bachelor, Jake Sorenson. When she receives a call from Colin that he has married a woman he just met, she one-ups him by flying to Vegas in Jake Sorenson's private jet and marrying him while sending texts to Colin of the whole event. None of this is part of Brighton's life plan and as an actuary, she is constantly weighing all the risks after they return. When the risks start to feel too overwhelming, she decides to have fun with it and take a few weeks off a work. She even takes some time to dabble in her favorite hobby, jewelry design. Brighton finds she can easily picture herself living this life of wealth and creating jewelry, but it is too full of risks. Brighton can't believe that a marriage built on revenge can really be about love and stand the test of time.

Of the three books in the Black Dog Bay series, this was the most unrealistic for me. All three of the novels in the series have been fun, light-hearted, and witty. But, this storyline felt a bit more forced and contrite for me. I didn't connect with the characters as much because the true romance piece to the story wasn't until the very end. Even though it is a quick and satisfying read, and the setting of Black Dog Bay makes for a creative story, the romance in this one was a bit dull.

Kendrick has created a unique setting for these Black Dog Bay novels and each of them stands on their own as well as reignites some of the much-loved characters from the other novels. A romantic interlude, spontaneous decisions, and a close-knit community make for an entertaining read.

If you would like to see my reviews of her other novels, click the titles:

Side notes:
It took over half-way through the novel for the dog in the story to be introduced. I think the cover is cute and eye-catching, but not sure it if is the right cover for this book. The dog on the cover isn't even the type of dog described in the story.

Favorite Quote:

"This was the real problem with marrying someone she didn't know. 
It made her question whether she really knew herself."  Page 71

Beth Kendrick - source
Beth Kendrick is the author of THE WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING, THE LUCKY DOG MATCHMAKING SERVICE, AND NEARLYWEDS, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. Although she lives in Arizona, she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she brakes for turtles, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed. For more on Beth Kendrick, check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE.

To purchase PUT A RING ON IT, click the photo below:

To purchase CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAKUP, click the photo below:

To purchase NEW USES FOR OLD BOYFRIENDS, click the photo below:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel for the purpose of this 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 

A post from today 4 years ago - Counting My Blessings in November
A post from today 4 years ago - Counting My Blessings in November
A post from today 5 years ago - Blessing #17
A post from today 6 years ago - Review and Giveaway: Build-A-Bear Workshop

Friday, November 13, 2015

Planner Review: Every Day Matters By Dani DiPiro


By: Dani DiPiro

Published: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Watkins Publishing


Last year I started following Dani DiPiro's blog POSITIVELY PRESENT. I loved her happy attitude and fun spirit that she shared with others. When I realized she had published a planner/diary, I knew I wanted to check it out and I am so glad I did. You can see my review from last year, HERE. I am a fan of DiPiro all on my own. I'm am telling you about this planner because I like it and thought some of you might enjoy it too. Today, I'm featuring her Desk Diary, but she also offers the same in a pocket diary size.

DiPiro's EVERY DAY MATTERS DIARY was so successful last year, she has printed an updated version for 2016 and I have already purchased mine!

First of all, I love that it is spiral-bound! That is a must for me when using a planner. It lays flat if I need it to, or I can open and fold it over and focus on just one page. 

The week is spread out over two pages with plenty of space to list each day's appointments or to-do items.  You could really set up each day which ever way best works for you. You can list times, or make it more of a list feature. The main part that was hard for me to get used to is the week in these calendars starts on Monday rather than Sunday. But there is ample space for each day as well as room in the lower left corner of each week for special notes. Each week also has a quote that corresponds to the monthly theme.

Each month has a theme that will help you focus on being positive and reflect on your goals. Then throughout the month, there are quotes and tidbits to help you focus on that theme. 

At the end of each month, there is a monthly view to plan out your whole month as well as space for reflecting on the specific theme of that month. There is also a place to journal the items you are grateful for. Even in the monthly view, the weeks start with Monday. But after nearly a year of using this planner I am pretty used to it now.

Because this layout isn't as rigidly designed, you are able to make it work for you. This photo is from my 2015 EVERY DAY MATTERS DIARY. I like using washi tape and other stickers to divide out the days' tasks and appointments. I use the weekly pages for my personal items and the monthly pages for my blog items. That helps me keep everything separate and also all in one place. 

There is plenty of space for planning and you could use the notes section for reminders or meal planning as well. The colors are vibrant and flow from month to month. I love the weekly quotes and themes to focus on, and I hope to spend more of my time reflecting on those pieces next year. It is so easy to just focus on your daily tasks, but this will also help you stop and reflect on your journey to enriching your life with positivity. 

If I could describe this planner in one word, it would be "CHEERY"! It just makes me happy to open it and use it every single day. If you like to decorate your planners with stickers and tape, there is still room for you to do that on the pages. 

I'm anxious to start filling in my planner for 2016 as it will be here before we know it! Keep in mind, this is the Desk Diary size, but if you like one to fit in your purse, there is also a pocket diary size.

If you would like to purchase EVERY DAY MATTERS 2016 DESK DIARY, click the photo below:

To purchase the EVERY DAY MATTERS 2016 POCKET DIARY, click the photo below:

This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the 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 

A post from today 2 years ago - Book Review: Orphan Train
A post from today 3 years ago - So Thankful - Days 10-13
A post from today 4 years ago - Counting My Blessings in November 
A post from today 5 years ago - November Blessing #13
A post from today 7 years ago- Blessings and a Recipe

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: We Never Asked for Wings By Vanessa Diffenbaugh


By: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Published: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Ballantine Books


Diffenbaugh came into the book world with a highly successful debut novel, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, leaving readers anxiously waiting for her second novel. See my review, HERE.  In WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS, Diffenbaugh tackles the issue of illegal immigrants and their American-born children as well as single-parenthood. The novel begins with fifteen-year-old Alex realizing that their mother has left him and his six-year-old sister alone in their house to fend for themselves. Their mother, Letty, has left in the middle of the night, leaving behind a note stating she has gone to Mexico to try to convince her parents to come back to California. She is hoping her parents will come to their senses and return to the US to continue taking care of her and her two children like they have done for the last fifteen years. While Letty is in Mexico, Alex and Luna are struggling to feed and care for themselves. After an unfortunate accident that causes severe burns on Alex's arm, he isn't sure they are going to survive until their mom returns...if she returns. But, Letty does eventually return and she is left to figure out how to raise her children on her own, without her parents doing everything for her.

Of course, there are a lot of struggles, financial difficulties, and parenting mishaps, but Letty eventually starts to get the hang of living her life without the control and direction of her parents. I became extremely frustrated with Letty's ignorance related to parenting, wondering where she had been for fifteen years. I had a difficult time grasping the idea that Letty didn't know how to cook or care for her children at all. While Letty is adjusting to single parenthood, she becomes involved in a romantic triangle. Alex also has a romantic interest and even though their relationship is very sweet, it is a bit unrealistic.

Alex becomes curious about who his father is and begins to search for him. After stalking him for a few months, they officially meet. Their relationship picks up a bit too quickly and easily, even though this is where the storyline picks up. But, unfortunately, it is short-lived and I became bored with the characters again. This story was off-and-on for me. I would enjoy it and then something would happen and my frustration with the characters would make me disinterested. Then I would become interested several chapters later, only to revert back to frustration again. For the most part, it was a bit too superficial for the serious issues it raises related to children of illegal immigrants. There were a bit too many neat-and-tidy endings that left me rolling my eyes instead of rooting for the characters. The author does have a beautiful way of painting images with her words and igniting the senses with her descriptions of places, food and people.  Maybe I was expecting too much after such a compelling debut novel, but this one just didn't quite meet my expectations.

Side Note: Although the cover is beautiful, I don't really feel like it shows a true image of the story inside.

Favorite Quote: "'I love it,' Letty said, kissing Luna's cherry lips and wondering how a half-eaten lollipop could somehow taste like a reason to stay."

Vanessa Diffenbaugh - source, photo by Randy Tunnell
Vanessa Diffenbaugh was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in the non-profit sector, teaching art and technology to youth in low-income communities. Following the success of her debut novel, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS she co-founded Camellia Network, a non-profit whose mission is to connect every youth aging out of foster care to the critical resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive in adulthood. She currently lives in Monterey, CA, with her husband and four children. For more on Diffenbaugh, check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE

To purchase WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS, click the photo below:

To purchase a copy of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, click the photo below:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel to me for the purpose of this 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. 

A post from today, 1 year ago - Books That Came My Way in October
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A post from today, 5 years ago - November Blessings #10
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Books That Came My Way in October

Each day we are met with choices. What to eat, what to wear, what time to have lunch, which task to do next, what to make for supper, and for some of us...which book to read next. I have SO MANY great books waiting to be read, that I am feeling guilty each time I accept another book from a publisher. I feel like every "yes" to one book is a "no" to another. But it isn't really, because eventually, I do get to them. So, this month, my pile is a little smaller because I am trying to say "no" to some new ones so I can say "yes" to the ones in my ever-growing pile.

As always, if I am choosing to read a book, then you can be sure that I truly think it is worthy of my time. Of course, some books just find their way to my mailbox without my previous knowledge. I am only going to spend time reading and reviewing books that I enjoy. If I'm not feeling it, I'm going to put it aside. I can't get to all these great books that come my way, but at least I can tell you about them here and I hope to review them just as soon as I can!

Enjoy these books that came my way in October!

If you would like to purchase any of these books, 
clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.  
If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission 
without you having to pay any more for your purchase.  
I appreciate your support of reviews. 

The Deliberate Reader

I'm linking up with The Deliberate Reader to share our stacks of books for October.
To see her Stack of Books as well as other bloggers' Book Stacks, click HERE. 


By: Angela Correll
To Be Published: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Koehler Books
Format: Paperback

I read Angela Correll's first book and reviewed it, HERE. I love the way she incorporates sustainable living into her story. That passion for living off the land is very important to Correll and her shop in Kentucky shows that passion. Definitely check out her books and shop, HERE

Former New York City flight attendant Annie Taylor is adjusting to farm life when her grandmother threatens to tear down the old stone house, unable to finance a restoration after the summer fire. Annie s boyfriend Jake has severed his corporate life in Cincinnati and is jumping headlong into sustainable farming on the land next door. Their new relationship is wonderful--but can it last? As they take steps forward, a paralyzing fear of abandonment threatens to destroy her trust in Jake. As Annie works to save the old stone house she finds letters written during World War II that reveal a family mystery and an Italian connection. Her grandmother is hesitant to uncover the secret, afraid of what it might mean to her family s name if the truth is laid bare. Comments from a nosy neighbor solidify Annie's fears about herself and when Beulah agrees for Annie to travel to Italy to search out the family mystery, Annie is happy for the time away to sort out all her feelings. In the meantime, Beulah is left with an unexpected Italian-Catholic houseguest who wreaks havoc with Beulah s Baptist ways and country routine. As the family mystery in Italy unfolds, Annie is forced to face her own past. She is ultimately faced with a choice: will she let history sabotage the future?

By: Michael Phillip Cash
Published: October 3, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format: Paperback

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and lifelong movie buff, is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends, are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves, and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Praying the Wisdom of Proverbs for Your Life
By: John Mason
Published: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback

I just finished a 31 Day Bible Study on the Books of Proverbs. It was convicting and eye-opening for me. Just days later, I received the offer to review this book and knew it was something I must read. I am planning to start it in January. What a great way to kick off the new year!

One of the most popular books of the Bible, Proverbs offers practical guidance for life and the tools to make good choices, withstand pressure, prioritize relationships, and avoid unnecessary trouble. In these pages, John Mason helps readers make God's wisdom a part of their inner lives, offering each chapter from Proverbs followed by a heartfelt prayer that covers the insights from that chapter. In thirty-one days, readers can pray all of the wisdom of Proverbs for their lives, experiencing God's wisdom as never before and finding encouragement, peace, answers, and a better life.

A Robin Bricker Novel
By: Laurel Osterkamp
To Be Published: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Kindle Press
Format: eBook

I read Osterkamp's first book THE HOLDOUT because it was about a woman who had just finished being on a show like "Survivor". You can see my review, HERE. I also have another of her books, THE NEXT BREATH, in my pile waiting to be read. I was able to participate in voting for this book to be published by Kindle Press and she won! My "thank you" for voting was a copy of her book. 

First Robin gets the email with its simple demand: dump your fiancĂ© or else. Then someone puts up the slanderous Rotten Robin Website that threatens to crush her chances to win The Standout, a ballet-themed, fashion reality show. Surrounded by backstabbing co-contestants and haunted by mysterious ghosts from her past, Robin can't trust anyone, including herself. Her only allies are Zelda, a ballerina and model, and her older brother Ted, both of whom have ghosts and secrets of their own.
THE STANDOUT is a psychological thriller about love and betrayal, life and death, tall buildings, and finding the courage to jump.

By: Paul Magrs
To Be Published: December 5, 2015
Publisher: Obverse Books
Format: eBook

Magrs' first book Fester the Cat made me laugh and cry. As a cat owner, I could relate to so many situations and feelings. You can see my review, HERE. Magrs is back with his second story about Bernard Sock that I am sure will be a joy to read.

Fester Cat returns us to his favourite place in the world, and casts a wry but compassionate eye over events in the house on Chestnut Avenue. In the months following his death, Fester watches his hapless housemates Paul and Jeremy cope with living in a quiet, catless house, and gradually come to the decision that they must adopt a new friend. It is at the eccentric cat rescue / charity shop THARG where they first meet the robust and sproingy young Bernard Socks – the black and white cat who is destined to inherit Fester’s place in their home and garden down beside the railway tracks.

But things are never simple and straightforward in this family, and there follow months of excitement, adventure,s and downright palavers. Bernard Socks escapes and discovers a ghostly cat parade that happens every Midsummer Night’s Eve in Levenshulme. He helps the boys through the sudden death of a close friend. He gradually settles into his new life on Chestnut Avenue and everything seems fine, as Autumn draws near.

But then the men from the roofing company arrive and set up scaffolding all over the terrace and pretty soon all the ceilings are falling in and it seems that the three boys’ precious home is never going to be the same again. By the end of the year, everything feels as if it’s in jeopardy – even the health of Bernard Socks himself. But what can Fester Cat do to help, watching all of these disastrous events unfold? How can that tough little, much-missed companion still make his voice heard by the humans that he loves?

By: Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig
To Be Published: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Berkley NAL
Format: eBook

When you see these three authors listed, there is no question but to read it.

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel's portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate?  And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother?  In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known.  But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant storytellers.

By: Susan Meissner
To Be Published: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Berkley NAL
Format: eBook

Meissner's book A FALL OF MARIGOLDS was one of my favorite books of 2014. You can see my review, HERE. So, I had no questions about reviewing her next book! Can't wait to dive in!

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie… 

Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.  What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future. 

By: Vanessa Greene
To Be Published: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Format: eBook

I loved Greene's first book THE VINTAGE TEACUP CLUB. You can see my review, HERE. English culture and friendships are hard to pass up!

The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and  journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair SĂ©raphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless. 

In Queensland
By: Gwyneth Jane Page
Published: June 27, 2015
Publisher: Gwyneth Jane Page
Format: Paperback

I love books for kids that also teach something. These two books by Page sound like such a great way to share a love of travel to other countries.

Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest - until he ha to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

In Canada
By: Gwyneth Jane Page
Published: May 23, 2014
Publisher: Gwyneth Jane Page
Format: Paperback

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way! Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia. 

By: Richard J Gausselin
Published: August 16, 2012
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Format: Paperback

I love children's Christmas books and have a whole tub devoted to them. I can't wait to see how this one turns out!

What happens when the Elves come down with colds a week before Christmas? Santa Claus call on special helpers to work his magic! Can the grandpas and grandmas from around the world save Christmas? Join Santa and his friends on this incredible journey to find out.

By: Constance Corcoran Wilson
Published: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Quad City Press
Format: Paperback

This is the 4th in the Christmas Cats series. You can see my other reviews, HERE and HERE. I have already reviewed this book and you can see that review, HERE.

The intrepid Christmas Cats (in Silly Hats) are back, this time helping the deer in Scott County Park escape hunters at the holiday season. A colorful and delightful book that teaches children aged 3 to 10 good values and entertains with back-of-the-book interactive pages, as well.


An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
By: Shaun Usher
Published: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: eBook

I LOVE letters. I couldn't pass up this collection of letters when it ran as a Kindle deal. 

This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher's eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making LETTERS OF NOTE an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic.

WORKING STIFF: TWO YEARS, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
By: Judy Melinek MD and T. J. Mitchell
Published: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Scribner
Format: eBook

I have a weird interest in medical memoirs and medical non-fiction. I remember when this book came out and when it ran as a Kindle deal, I snagged it.

The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist's rookie season as an NYC medical examiner, and the cases, hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex, that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation, performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. WORKING STIFF chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.

Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies, and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law and Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are
By: Shauna Niequist
Published: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Zondervan
Format: eBook

This also was a Kindle deal and has been receiving rave reviews from bloggers I follow regularly. I am anxious to check it out.

Shauna's honest, beautiful storytelling style makes this devotional as comforting and inspiring as an hour around the table with the people we love.

Combining content from Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, and Bittersweet, as well as new writing and recipes, this devotional from Shauna Niequist speaks spiritual truths to women in short passages that invite us to connect with God and the goodness He created all around us.

Shauna loves gathering people around the table, and loves words that connect us to one another and to an awareness of God's presence. She writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life--friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.

As always, be sure to let me know if you decide to read any of these great books! Happy reading!