Book Review

Summer Book Roundup

Hi all!  I hope you had a great weekend!  My daughter is in town this week, and we’ve been having fun!

I’m back with a book roundup.  I haven’t done one in a while.  I’m featuring a few books I have received to review.  They are all fun summer reads!

Little Lovely Things

Little Lovely Things — An unremarkable morning commute mutates into an unthinkable tragedy for one family, when Claire Rawlings makes an ordinary decision that results in disaster for her and everyone she loves.

A wife, mother, and soon-to-be-doctor in her final year of residency at University of Chicago hospital, in a race to drop her beloved daughters off at daycare and make it in time for rounds, Claire ignores the troubling signs of an allergic reaction. Finding herself speeding down the highway, on the brink of losing consciousness, she’s forced to pull over.

Moments later, she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom.

Her car – and her girls – have vanished.

A deftly crafted page turner that is as heart-wrenching as it is bursting with life and love, the story of LITTLE LOVELY THINGS unfolds in four distinct voices: devastated yet strong-willed Claire; Moira, the Irish Traveler turned transient abductor who is thrust into instant motherhood; soulful Jay, a recovering alcoholic whose grisly discovery brings him to the center of the tragedy; and finally Andrea, the scrappy take-no-prisoners, wildly talented tomboy who knows only enough to know she doesn’t know the truth of her past.

With an action-packed plot, a deep well compassion for its characters, and thematic chords concerning the wisdom and power of nature, strength of the human spirit, and connectedness of us all, LITTLE LOVELY THINGS marks the arrival of a powerful new voice in the current contemporary fiction landscape in Maureen Joyce Connolly.

Radiant - Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin

Radiant – Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin — For more than 20 years, Hanna Sillitoe suffered from severe psoriasis, eczema and acne. They dominated her life and shattered her confidence. At times she even resorted to wrapping her skin in clingfilm to stop her clothes rubbing against her raw skin. When her doctor told her the only remaining treatment was chemotherapy, she started researching diet and skin, and ultimately changed her life, cutting out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and wheat, with dramatic results.

Now free from all skin complaints, Hanna is sharing her methods. Beginning with a juice cleanse, Hanna’s plan then moves on to a range of delicious, skin-loving meals including Turmeric and Ginger Chia Pudding, Immunity Ramen, Beet Burgers and even Clean Tiramisu. There is also a selection of homemade beauty products such as Avocado and Honey Facemask and Rosemary and Lemon Salt Scrub. Uplifting and inspiring for those who have been searching for an answer to their skin woes, Hanna’s programme is also suitable for people without specific complaints who just want to improve their overall health and complexion. A recipe for good health and clear skin, from the inside out.

The Big Book of Missouri Ghost Stories

The Big Book of Missouri Ghost Stories — Reader, beware! Turn these pages and enter the world of the paranormal, where ghosts and ghouls alike creep just out of sight. Author Troy Taylor shines a light in the dark corners of Missouri and scares those spirits out of hiding in this thrilling collection. From a headless ghost who stalks the aptly named “Murder Rocks”, to a large hairy monster that roams the banks of the Missouri River, there’s no shortage of bone-chilling tales to keep you up at night. It’s even rumored that the devil himself came to St. Louis in 1949, but nobody knows for sure if he ever left. Around the campfire or tucked away on a dark and stormy night, this big book of ghost stories is a hauntingly good read.

I live in Missouri, so this was a fun book to get!


What books are you enjoying this summer?  I’d love to know!

Advertisements
Book Review, Gifts, Holiday Gift Sets

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 — Books Gifts Part 2

Hi All!  Still going strong with my gift guides! I know I’m still shopping, and being an Amazon Prime member means I can get almost anything in two days!  All of these books are on Amazon and most can be purchased on Kindle.

The books in this guide are all about health and fitness.  I did lose a few pounds in 2018 and are hoping to do even better in 2019!

Active by Holly Davidson
Totally Buf by Libby Babet

Active by Holly Davidson — We all want to feel fit, healthy and strong, but with today’s fast paced lifestyles it can be hard to find the time or motivation to exercise. What if there was a way to find the fitness that’s right for you — workouts that will fit into the time and space you have available? Holly Davidson is a top personal trainer who works according to the fundamental belief that fitness is within each one of us, and we can find it wherever we are. She has used her years of experience to devise an exercise program that is varied, flexible, and fun in her new fitness book

ACTIVE: Workouts that Work for You (Kyle Books; January 2019; Paperback; $16.99)
Totally Buf by Libby Babet
Totally Buf by Libby Babet

Totally Buf by Libby Babet ($19.99 USD) — The BUF Girls are Australia’s revolutionary new team of fitness and nutrition gurus for a new generation of healthy-minded, empowered women. Being a BUF Girl isn’t about competition, body image or comparison, it’s about friendship and community, healthy bodies and healthy minds, and inspiring, supporting and celebrating all women.

THE BUF GIRLS ARE:
LIBBY BABET #ATHLETEMAKER
CASSEY MAYNARD #CURVECREATOR
ALICIA BEVERIDGE #BUTTKICKER
SIAN JOHNSON #BOOTYSHAKER

Together, the BUF (BEAUTIFUL, UNSTOPPABLE, FEARLESS) Girls are on a mission to show women everywhere how to get healthy and fit – and stay healthy and fit – through easy and simple steps.

This 6-week plan (one focus habit each week) will completely transform your health and wellbeing, with core fitness, nutrition and mindset tips that every woman can implement in their day-to-day lives.

With over 100 recipes (including vegan and vegetarian options), easy exercise and nutrition tips, TOTALLY BUF will give you all you need to be a BUF Girl.

 

Low Carb Express by Annie Bell
Low Carb Express by Annie Bell

Low Carb Express by Annie Bell — Adopting a low carb diet doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of delicious food. Author of Low-Carb Revolution, award – winning food writer Annie Bell offers a speedy update to this diet, revolving around fresh, seasonal ingredients with her latest cookbook

LOW CARB EXPRESS: Cut the Carbs with 130 Deliciously Healthy Recipes (Kyle Books; January 2018; Trade Paperback; $19.99) . Every recipe lists the carbohydrate and
protein values and can be made in 30 minutes or less. Chapters include: Bread, including a low-carb Rosemary Focaccia and Sesame Parmesan Crackers; Eggs and Frittatas, which features three Omelet Pizza recipes; Protein Pots such as a Chicken, and Chile Pot with Miso Dressing; Very Veggie, including a zucchini noodle salad; the Sweet Satisfaction of Papaya Creams and Chocolate, Date, and Orange Mousse; and more.
Beat Your Bloat by Maeve Madden
Beat Your Bloat by Maeve Madden

Beat Your Bloat by Maeve Madden — Being honest about bloating is something Irish-born blogger, model, and fitness guru Maeve Madden has never shied away from. In fact, her social media channels depict her real-life battle with IBS and PCOS, as well as adult acne. Her transparent, “no filter” approach is a proven hit and she has gained her more than 140k Instagram followers as a result. Our increasingly stressful lifestyles and poor diet choices means people are crying out for relatable, informative, and inspirational advice.

BEAT YOUR BLOAT: Recipes and Exercise to Promote Digestive Health (Kyle Books; January 2019; Trade Paperback; $16.99) covers Maeve’s personal journey to achieving a healthy lifestyle and shows how you too can transform your digestive health and fitness. Chapters cover Getting Started, Beating the Binge, Cut the Cravings, Rescue Remedies, and Consistency Not Perfection, and provides guidance not only on how to beat bloating but also on achieving body positivity.
.
What do you still need to get this year?
Book Review, Gifts, Holiday Gift Sets

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 — Books Gifts Part 1

Hi all! Happy Friday!  I’m so glad it’s the weekend!  I’ll be decorating and Christmas shopping this weekend (and working on more gift guides).

If you’re not done shopping yet, think about giving a fun book as a gift! I’m going to be featuring a bunch of books this season. All of the books below will make thoughtful gifts and they are available on Amazon and most on Kindle for quick and easy giving!

An Old-Fashioned Christmas
An Old-Fashioned Christmas

An Old-Fashioned Christmas ($12.95 USD) — An Old-Fashioned Christmas presents a carefully curated collection of inspirational, meaningful and fun quotes celebrating the spirit of the holidays.

Deck the halls with boughs of jolly and the An Old-Fashioned Christmas. Chock full of holiday sentiments and joyous words, this Christmas quote book is the perfect stocking stuffer book for the season.

 

 

The Enchanted Sonata
The Enchanted Sonata

The Enchanted Sonata is a fresh, whimsical retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, which will captivate readers of all ages. The Enchanted Sonata was written by Heather Dixon Wallwork, who has worked as a storyboard lead for Disney and is the author of two novels published by HarperCollins.

In The Enchanted Sonata, 15-year-old Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!), and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker. Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as magic…and the future she thought she wanted.

Dixon Wallwork is a musician, animator and author. Working under Disney Interactive, she has illustrated for many popular franchises including Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar, and was the story lead for the Moana playset. She is the author of two novels published by Greenwillow Books – HarperCollins: Entwined and Illusionarium.

Ciao Italia Lifelong Adventures

Ciao Italia Lifelong Adventures ($25.12 Legions of loyal fans of Mary Ann Esposito’s groundbreaking PBS cooking show CIAO ITALIA have enjoyed cooking with and learning from this beloved television personality, a trailblazer who helped spark a billion dollar food media industry and paved the way for countless other television chefs. Fans have three words to describe her cooking style: traditional, authentic and passionate. From creating and launching CIAO ITALIA in 1989 to authoring 12 cookbooks, Esposito has inspired a worldwide audience who want to know more about Italian food and culture.

Musing Mediterranean
Musing Mediterranean

Musing Mediterranean — ($15.56 USD) When Beth Daigle’s husband, Tony, announced that he was planning a two-week Mediterranean cruise, she wasn’t exactly excited. Plagued by anxieties about leaving home and air travel, as well as the fact that this was to be a multi-generational family vacation including her parents, daughters, sister and her family, there was some definite potential for disaster. Despite that phobia and reluctance, though, the Mediterranean called her in a way that she couldn’t deny—she’s half Greek and half Italian, and seeing her ancestral countries had always been a dream. Musing Mediterranean is the full account of that dream coming true—from the planning phase to the return home, Daigle takes us along on her family’s journey through Rome, Sicily, Athens, Ephesus, the Greek Islands, and Naples.

In her warm and approachable prose, Daigle communicates the beauty, history, architecture and culture of each location that her family visits, and a sense of awe that the trip has given her for what is truly a life altering experience. Whether or not you’ve experienced the beauty of the places Daigle visits in this book firsthand, you’ll feel like you have after going on this journey with her. Most importantly though, in a time when we could all use a bit of an escape now and then, Musing Mediterraneanis an unequivocally happy book that injects humor wherever possible. One that will make readers glad they’ve read it.

Do you like to give books for gifts?  What kinds do you like to give (or get)?

anti-aging, Beauty, Book Review, cosmetics

I Won a Giveaway!

IMG_2385

Hi all!  Sorry for the dark photo above, but I wanted to share the amazing giveaway I won from YouTuber Allie Glines.  She has a really fun e-magazine called the Afterparty.  It’s $3.99 a month and you can check it out here.

Allie has a giveaway each month and all subscribers are entered.  And I won for September.  I just receive  my prize and thought I would share.

I received:

Influencer by Brittany Hennessy                                                                                           Capture Your Style by Aimee Song                                                                               Dermablend Original Loose Powder                                                                                     Thrive Causemetics Lashed in Kristy                                                                                         Olay Whip Active Moisturizer                                                                                                       Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipstick in Drop Dead Red                                         Lancome L’absolu Lacquer Lipstick in Smile and Shine                                                 Morphe X Jaclyn Hill The Vault Collection

I’m excited about all of these prizes, but especally the books and the Vault.  I have been wanting to read more books on social media and I have been thinking about picking up one of the palettes to test the formula, but couldn’t decide which one. Here’s a photo of all four palettes:

 

IMG_2398.JPG

The palettes are (clockwise) Armed and Gorgeous, Dark Magic, Ring the Alarm and Bling Boss.  I have tried all of them once except for Dark Magic.  I like them okay, but they take some blending to get a nice look.  I am going to keep playing with them and then do a review.

Have you tried any of these palettes?  What do you think?

I am so excited about my prizes and want to thank Allie Glines for the fun giveaway!

 

 

Beauty, Book Review, Health, Nail Care

My Current Summer Faves!

Summer is flying by this year!  It has been a long, hot one.  My youngest daughter starts high school in a couple of weeks and my middle daughter goes off to college.  It’s crazy!

This summer I have been loving the items below.  They include a cute quotation book on friendship, Biotin chews to help my skin, a fresh new summer perfume and fun holographic nail polish:

IMG-1669

The Joy of Friendship: A Thoughtful and Inspiring Collection of 200 Quotations ($12.50 USD) — The greatest gift in life is friendship. The Joy of Friendship celebrates these all-important relationships by exploring the nature of friendship, how it forms, and how it endures. From childhood friendships to lifelong best buddies, it is the friendships we build along the way that defines who we are and what our lives are about. As Aristotle said, a friend is “a soul living in two bodies.” The Joy of Friendship collects this and other wisdoms to help you better appreciate those who make your world a better place.

NeoCell Biotin Burst Brazilian Acai Berry 30 Chews ($11.96 USD) — All natural formula bursting with delicious flavor. Acai Berry for protection from free radical damage. Having beautiful and radiant skin has never been so easy- or so delicious. NeoCell Biotin Bursts deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in delectable, gourmet soft chews.

I’ve been taking these for about a week.  I like the berry taste and the fact that they are chews instead of pills.  They are fun and easy to take.  My skin has been looking pretty clear lately.  I don’t know if it’s too early to see results, but I will continue to take them!

Philosophy Pure Grace Endless Summer ($49 for 2 fl. oz EDT) — summer is a state of mind—and a new limited-edition fragrance. This fragrance celebrates the sultriest of seasons with delicate layers of iced lychee, exotic pomelo and warm musk, conjuring calm and a carefree sensibility with a single spritz.

I have been loving this during the summer.  It’s citrusy and fresh at first, then the musk gives a sultry finish.  I received this in a set that includes a body lotion, but the set doesn’t seem to be on sale any more.  You can get the perfume still.  And I definitely recommend it!

image001 (3)

The gorgeous nail polishes shown above are The Morgan Taylor Lacquer Platinum Collection. 

The claim for this is that it embraces pure excess with rich textures, effects, and an extended-wear formula.

“With Platinum, we wanted to give the wearer an indulgent experience by creating shades, effects, and textures straight from their wildest dreams,” explain brand namesakesMorgan Haile and Taylor Daniel.

These are so gorgeous!  I love all of the shades, but especially Disco Days, a mint green and Glow all Out, a rosey coral shade.   They wear best with a top coat.

What new summer products have you been loving?

 

 

Beauty, Book Review, Fragrance, Subscription Boxes

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is next Sunday.  Time to get shopping!

I have some great picks for Dad.  Below is a fun fishing subscription box, fragrance, skincare and a book:

Fathers Day Bass XL
Fathers Day Bass XL

 

Lucky Tackle Box is the #1 fishing subscription box in America, where you can sign up and receive a monthly package full of the hottest lures, tackle and products in the sport fishing industry.  I received a sample of the Father’s Day Bass XL.

Lucky Tackle Box ships once a month, with each box packed full of some of the top fishing lures, tackle and accessories in the industry. LTB has 10 different boxes for species ranging from Bass to Walleye, Trout to Fly Fishing.

Subscription plans are set up for 1-month, 3-month, 6-month or 12-month durations. The Regular box is from $15.99 per month and is approximately a $25 value.  The XL box is from 25.99 a month and is approximately a $40 value.

 

The KORRES assortment of Greek grooming essentials are formulated with clinically-proven ingredients that reflect the brand’s deep knowledge of authentic herbal remedies. KORRES identifies powerful natural ingredients and maximizes the effectiveness to address the skincare needs of men, from dads to grads. The ABSINTHE Men’s Shave Cream and MARIGOLD & GINSENG Aftershave Balm are must-have grooming items that are perfect for Father’s Day (and even the soon-to-be graduate).
  • ABSINTHE Men’s Shave Cream ($32.50 USD) : This richly textured shave cream helps your razor glide smoothly over skin to ensure a deep and comfortable shave. Absinthe Shave Cream is a brushless, non-foaming preparation and, as it is formulated at a milder pH than lathering creams—preventing skin roughness.
  • MARIGOLD & GINSENG Aftershave Balm: The light textured and nutrient-rich balm is made for after-shave care. Enriched with energizing ginseng and anti-inflammatory marigold, it reduces irritation commonly caused by shaving. Ginseng extract enables the delivery of nutrients—ensuring the healthy appearance of skin.
Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur Eau de Toilette Spray
Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur Eau de Toilette Spray

Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur Eau de Toilette Spray ($162 3.4 oz) — An ode to masculine elegance. A perfume that combines the freshness of bergamot and Italian citrus with the warm and enveloping notes of sandalwood.

Blvgari Man Black Orient Cologne
Bvlgari Man Black Orient Cologne

Bvlgari Man Black Orient Cologne (3.4oz – $89, 2oz – $68, 1oz – $50) — Combines the strength of leather and oud with the sophistication of Tair rose, expressing a scent that is suave, heady and wild. Also combines the collection’s signature rum and tuberose with added thread of woods in each base with a new smokiness that evokes the scent’s Oriental muse.

Available at Bulgari stores nationwide; for additional information and retail visit Bulgari.com

Three Gorges Dam Front Cover
Three Gorges Dam Front Cover

Three Gorges Dam by Thomas V. Harris — New Yorker Michael Brannigan and the People’s Republic of China are concluding a triumphant week. The PRC’s top energy consultant has fallen in love with Australian geophysicist Kylie Ryan while traveling in Xinjiang Province. President Lao Ming is in Beijing hosting a game-changing summit with the United States. CNN is broadcasting the new reality: the Communist juggernaut has surpassed the United States as the world’s top superpower.

Brannigan’s train is retracing Marco Polo’s historic journey—when the Silk Road Express reaches the Far East’s Far West, his team of engineers will assist the Chinese in developing the world’s richest oil fields. As Brannigan heads deeper into the Taklamakan Desert, President Lao’s motorcade is approaching the end of its parade route. In a few hours, the president will arrive at the Hall of Purple Light to celebrate his victory.

All that changes in two blinks of an eye. Television cameras capture the crumbling of the Communist regime while China’s Young Turks and Fighting Monks rock the country. Caught up in the violence, Brannigan’s love affair meets a tragic end. Hostiles are raging and the Chinese miracle is self-destructing. In the midst of the turmoil, Brannigan returns to China for a hush-hush assignment at Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric facility. There, he overcomes his demons and finds lasting happiness. Everything is coming up aces.

 

 

Book Review

New Fiction Books Released Spring 2018

 

I have been so busy the last couple of years, that I am ashamed to say I haven’t read as much as I used to.  So, I made a Goodreads goal of reading 20 books this year…I’ve read two.  I need to pick up the pace!

Below are new fiction books that have either just been released or will be released soon:

The Darkling Bride

The Darkling Bride: A Novel –by Laura Anderson — The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?

The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova — Released on March 13, 2018 — Twenty-seven years ago—and a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall—found herself traveling to Bulgaria.  Like the protagonist of this novel, she was young and eager to learn about a place she’d never been before. She stayed on for six months, traveling to remote areas and interviewing its inhabitants about their lives. During her journey, she fell in love with this foreign, seemingly enchanted land and also with her future husband.

It’s not hard to imagine Kostova in the shoes of Alexandra Boyd, a young American woman who arrives in Sofia, Bulgaria hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. But within an hour of landing in this elegant Eastern European city, Alexandra helps an elderly couple into a taxi and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression—and risk her own life to solve the mystery behind his.

 

A Nantucket Wedding

A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer  Ballantine Hardcover, on-sale April 3, 2018 —  A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?

Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.

 

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir — Release date May 17, 2018 — Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking.  For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a haunting incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.

But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures Anne as his new queen—forever altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son, or will she be cast aside like the women who came before her?

I’m so excited to read these books this spring (and summer, maybe fall let’s be honest)!  What are you reading now?