Monday, January 31, 2011

Going the Distance- Review

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in this romantic comedy about a long-distance romance that may be worth fighting for. Garrett (Long) is still nursing the wounds from a recent breakup when he meets Erin (Barrymore), an unflinchingly honest girl with a big talent for bar trivia. Hitting it off immediately, the pair spend a romantic summer together in New York City. It was supposed to be a summer fling, but as fall approaches and Erin returns to San Francisco, the spark is still there. Subsequently dividing his days between working and hitting the bars with best friends Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day), Garrett drops everything whenever Erin calls. The more Garrett's phone rings, the more his pals begin to suspect that their drinking buddy is taking the relationship a little too seriously. And they're not the only ones; Erin's sister, Corrine (Christina Applegate), is keen to ensure that her smitten sibling doesn't repeat the mistakes of her past, and she makes no attempts to sugarcoat the fact that she disapproves of the coast-to-coast romance. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and as the texting becomes more intense, both Garrett and Erin start to suspect that their summer fling may just be the real thing.

My thoughts:
I think this is my current favorite movie. The first time I watched it was on a night my husband had to work so I watched it alone. After returning it to the store I couldn't stop telling people that I had enjoyed it so much that I rented it again to watch with my husband. I was really worried that he wouldn't like it and would wonder why I had talked about it so much, but I was relieved when he enjoyed it too. Not that it is necessarily his current favorite movie, but he laughed as much as I did.

I love Drew Barrymore and the way she portrayed this character had such vulnerability and openness really brought Erin to life. There were a lot of lines that make me laugh when we repeat them. Plus the music was fun (see below for more on the music)!

I have a thing about soundtracks. I love them! It is the mix of different bands and songs on the same CD. And yes, I still buy and listen to Cd's. The first time I listened to it I felt a little let down, but then after we watched the movie the second time and I could place the songs in the movie that made them more meaningful. I tend to listen to Cd's in the car and I have now caught my kids humming and singing some of the songs to themselves. I actually bought a CD from Boxer Rebellion, one of the bands in the movie and on the soundtrack.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Synopsis from

With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself. The woman who brought us When Harry Met Sally..., Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and Bewitched, and the author of best sellers Heartburn, Scribble Scribble, and Crazy Salad, discusses everything -- from how much she hates her purse to how much time she spends attempting to stop the clock: the hair dye, the treadmill, the lotions and creams that promise to slow the aging process but never do. Oh, and she can't stand the way her neck looks. But her dermatologist tells her there's no quick fix for that.

Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. She recounts her anything-but-glamorous days as a White House intern during the JFK years ("I am probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House that the President did not make a pass at.") and shares how she fell in and out of love with Bill Clinton -- from a distance, of course. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Utterly courageous, wickedly funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a book of wisdom, advice, and laugh-out-loud moments, a scrumptious, irresistible treat.

My thoughts:

I loved this book! It was amusing, to laugh out loud funny at times! It feels like Ephron is a friend you haven't seen in awhile sharing her views. It made me think about my own thoughts on each subject (if I had them, living in New York is something I've never done or had any real desire to do so I don't have strong opinions on that). This book has been sitting on my shelf for awhile. Over the weekend I read a bloggers review of her latest book and thought that I should read this one since I already own it. I'm afraid I am now going to be staring in the mirror trying to figure out if she is right about woman's necks, will it really be all downhill after 43? Luckily I have awhile before that deadline. I recall my dad telling me one time that is is all downhill after 35 and thinking that it couldn't possibly that early but as I've seen my age go up it has started to become harder to keep extra weight off and stay in shape. Will I have a wattle to look forward to at 43?

One item I could totally relate to was Ephron's relationship with her purse. I want to like carrying one, but I am never organized enough and end up searching for everything for so long that I often wonder why I even bothered to bring one along. The bottom seems to accumulate loose change and crayons, along with cheerios and crumbs. I buy extra zippered bags to make it easier to find important items but still I loose a lot in my purse.

Her chapter on cookbooks reminded me of reading Julia and Julia last year, with her imaginary conversations with the authors and how rigidly she stuck to the recipes. I am the opposite, if I want to make something but don't have quite the right ingredients at home and don't want to deal with the buckling car seats and going to the grocery store I will improvise. Sometimes it is fine and others, I realize too late I should have just waited to go to the store for the right items. I do delete things a lot too, I hate how so many recipes call for cheese and nuts, those ruin so many otherwise appealing foods! I take them out when I can.

I do not look forward to the time that I will need to pay someone to dye my hair. The idea of never having to wash it at home again has some appeal, but really it doesn't take that long. Also I can't understand why it would take 90 minutes to have hair dyed at a salon when at home application, setting time and washing out takes less than an hour. I've never been someone to take a lot of time on my hair. I now pretty much just wash it, comb it out and let it dry. I'll use barrettes or hairbands and elastic bands but never do anything complicated. About every three years I cut off 10 or more inches to donate (I've done Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths), love it for about a week and then hate it and wait for it to grow back. I'm about due for the cutting it and hating it stage again.

Ephron's relationship with her reading glasses reminds me of mine with sunglasses, I buy multiple pairs a year and can never find more than one pair at any one time. I designate spots to put them in and still when I need them they are gone, but miraculously when I come back sometimes they are there again (so maybe I need stronger contacts as well since I am overlooking something that is already there to begin with).

This book was a comfortable, fun read. It felt like a conversation. I guess instead of having imaginary conversations with cookbook authors I was having them with Ephron's essays about being a woman. "Oh I know exactly what you mean..", "You should see my purse and then things I find in old purses like..", "So you really think when my children grow up I should repurpose their bedrooms right away so they don't try to move back? What if they really need to?" I enjoyed this weekend reading this book and loved that each essay was short so provided a natural break for putting it down if I needed to.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Product Details
Pub. Date: January 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 594pp
Series: Fever Series , #5
ISBN-13: 9780385341677
ISBN: 0385341679

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

My thoughts:

I waffled about whether or not to buy this book or wait to find it at the library or on paperbackswap and I made the right decision. This book was so hard to put down! I stayed up too late multiple times because I just had to find out what was going to happen next! I read the fourth book so long ago that I could have used a little more review, not that there wasn't some review, but I feel like I may have forgotten some important parts.

There were times during the series that I wasn't sure if I really liked the books or not. The cliff hanger endings were not my favorite, they felt like a ploy to make sure you would buy or read the next book which I can understand. The thing was, I was always planning to read the next book because I was such a fan of Moning from her Highlander series that the endings bothered me. I am happy to say that, while this ending is open to there being more books about the characters it feels like this chapter is closed. I wasn't left with unresolved issues that bothered me and felt unfinished. Maybe that is what I had a problem with in the first four books, they felt unfinished. Someones fate was left uncertain until the next book was published and that takes time. At some point it would be interesting to go back to the beginning and read all the books in order.

I want to be very careful in my review not to reveal anything, I hate to read spoilers about books I plan to read, but it is making it really hard to write much of anything. I was really glad to see how strong a character Mac has become from the beginning and how much more sure of herself she has become. Even when doubts about her past and even her birth emerge ans she starts to question who she really is, she does not totally lose her sense of self. She observes that family is both the people you are born to but also the people who become so close to you that to lose them would be to lose a part of yourself.

The world within the Silvers with its dangers and odd use of time was very well constructed. It is interesting that for Mac just a few hours or days the Silvers or in Fairy will be months in our reality while Christian's time in the Silvers was years longer than the amount of time he was actually missing from our reality. Enough about the past is revealed to make the readers feel like he or she is starting to understand, but the curve balls continue to come right up until the end.

It would be interesting to visit this world again in another book and see how things have changed and improved. One of the things that is mentioned in the last few pages are the debates on how the world should be when it is rebuilt. Technology has failed and some people are pushing for a less plugged in world. Sometimes it seems like people are too connected through technology to actually have a real experience. Always being distracted to answer a text or respond to an email. Every year when we go on vacation we take a bit of a break from technology. It's nice to relax away from email and facebook and other distractions.

I would definitely recommend this book!

BiographyKaren Marie Moning is the New York Times bestselling author of the Fever series, featuring MacKayla Lane, and the award-winning Highlander series. She has a bachelor’s degree in society and law from Purdue University and is currently working on a new series set in the Fever world and a graphic novel featuring MacKayla Lane.

Product Details
Pub. Date: January 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 594pp
Sales Rank: 34
Series: Fever Series , #5
ISBN-13: 9780385341677
ISBN: 0385341679

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub illustrated Kristin Sorra

The must-have book for Groundhog Day—and the rest of the year!

With pop-art illustrations, a tongue-in-cheek tone, and a riot of detail, kids learn all the important aspects of Groundhog Day. And where better to learn it than Groundhog Weather School!

Professor Groundhog opens a school so groundhogs can learn to accurately forecast the weather each February. Following along with the amusing cast of students, kids are drawn in by the thoroughly engaging tale while they learn fun facts about different animals (groundhogs in particular), seasons, weather, and predicting the weather. With funny asides and a comic-style approach to the illustrations, this informational story presents a fresh look at Groundhog Day through the eyes of the animals who live it each year.

My thoughts:
We read this book for the first time last night and my children really enjoyed it. It was funny and entertaining, but at the same time there were a lot of facts about groundhogs and seasons mixed throughout. It even gave them a chance to use some math reasoning. In explaining how much a groundhog had to dig to make his or her burrow. It stated that a groundhog could dig five feet a day. An average burrow is fifteen feet deep but a spectacular one is 40 feet deep. Using counting by five's they were able to tell me how many days the groundhog would have to dig and no one balked at the idea of doing math because they wanted to know how long it would take to dig. I don't think I will be using this one in my preschool classroom but for slightly older elementary school age children it is perfect.

Product DetailsPub. Date: December 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover , 32pp
Age Range: 5 to 8
ISBN-13: 9780399246593
ISBN: 0399246592

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup illustrated by Matt Tavares

Product Description
What if a brave Captain Cookie stood up to Santa? A fresh, funny story that sparkles with all the excitement of a pirate adventure — and all the magic of Christmas morning.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Jim and his mother are making pirate gingerbread men to leave for Santa. Jim’s favorite is Captain Cookie, who carries a gingerbread cutlass and has a toothpick peg leg. The captain is much too good to be eaten, so Jim keeps him close by his bed. But late that night, when Jim is fast asleep, Captain Cookie steptaps away on a daring adventure to find his pirate crew — and rescue them from that mysterious character he’s heard about: a cannibal named Santa Claus. At once contemporary and timeless, suspenseful and joyous, this masterfully illustrated tale is destined to be a new holiday classic.

My thoughts:
My son received this book for Christmas and it has become a favorite in our house. Each of the pirate cookies is a little different and Captain Cookie's brave journey down the many cliffs (which are stairs) and across the floor to his crew really reaches into their imagination. When Santa comes, instead of eating the cookies, he turns them into real wooden pirates on a ship for Jim to see on Christmas morning. It was like a touch of The Velveteen Rabbit in a Christmas story. I can see this being a favorite. We usually put our Christmas books away after the holiday but this one is still on our living room bookshelf. I hate to take it away while my children are still enjoying it!

Product details:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (September 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763632236
ISBN-13: 978-0763632236
Scholastic Paperback

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wish List Book: Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea

Product Description from It Fast, Cook It Slow is the first cookbook from Stephanie O'Dea, the extremely popular slow cooking blogger: affordable, delicious, nutritious, and gluten-free recipes to delight the entire family.

In December 2007, Stephanie O'Dea made a New Year's resolution: she'd use her slow cooker every single day for an entire year, and write about it on her very popular blog. The result: more than three million visitors, and more than 300 fabulous, easy-to-make, family-pleasing recipes, including:

Breakfast Risotto
Vietnamese Roast Chicken
Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Balsamic Cranberry Syrup
Philly Cheesesteaks
Crème Brulee
--and much more. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the perfect cookbook for easy, quick prep, inexpensive ingredients, and meals that taste like you spent hours at the stove.

About the AuthorStephanie O'Dea is the mastermind behind a popular slow cooking website,, which receives 15,000 visitors daily. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Product DetailsPaperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Hyperion; Original edition (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401310044
ISBN-13: 978-1401310042
My thoughts:
I do not own this book yet but I am thinking seriously about buying it. A friend recommended Stephanie's blog on Facebook. I've made three of her recipes so far and I love that I can put things together and walk away until later. I feel like I am always making the same thing in our crock pot so to have some different ideas is wonderful. The drawback for me is that there are a lot of things I don't like and my kids are somewhat picky. I wish I had some idea of what recipes are in the book so I could see if they are ones that would appeal to my family. I guess next time I am out at a bookstore I will have to look for it and flip through to get an idea of whether it is worth it to me or not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Train Wreck: The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith by Donna Hogan as told to Henrietta Tiefenthaler

Synopsis from
The sensational life story of one of America's most notorious celebrites - Anna Nicole Smith - told by the woman who knows her best - her sister. The childhood, the secrets and the details of her childhood, rise to fame, marriage to one of the richest men in America, court battles, the death of her son and her new baby.
My thoughts:
I found this book last year and it looked like a fun read, but it wasn't what I thought it would be. The book is written by Anna Nicole's half sister Donna who seems to have her own agenda. While it says it is a story about Anna Nicole at least a third of it is about Donna and her life. Donna tries to tie her life into Anna Nicole's but as a reader I really didn't care about how much harder Donna had it than Anna. Donna says over and over again that she doesn't want to have to speak to the press and described how she was hounded by the press for comments. She laments how when she did speak to the press it was twisted so that her words weren't what she had really said.
I realize that I don't have any experience with celebrities so maybe their family members truely are hounded and bothered, but it seems like she protests too much. Even the pictures in the book are only half of Anna Nicole with the rest being Donna and her other siblings. Do we really need a photo of Donna's children? How is that about her sister?
For some reason I felt the need to keep reading so the author succeeded in that. Every chapter I would consider putting the book down, but for some reason I kept going. I have to admit to never being much of a fan, which makes me wonder why I bought the book to begin with something about the catchy title maybe. I never saw the reality show Anna Nicole starred in but I did see her in magazines and on news segments. To have accomplished so many of her dreams shows that she couldn't have been as ditzy as the image she showed to the world. Her death is also a wake-up call to all of us that perscription drugs aren't safe and should be used with caution. I wonder how many non-celebrities have died because of drug interactions.
For someone actually interested in learning about Anna Nicole's life this may not be the right book, I think Donna is telling her version and there seems to be a lot of jealously and hurt with the truth. Perhaps she is dead on with her version, but I think someone else might be a more objective writer on the subject matter.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Product Details
Pub. Date: January 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback , 354pp
ISBN-13: 9780547259406
ISBN: 0547259409

The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn't fit into Jessica Packwood s senior year get-a-life plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth and he s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war and save Lucius s soul from eternal destruction.

My thoughts:

This was a really fun book to read. I had a really hard time putting it down and it was nice to find out that there is going to be a sequel coming out sometime this year. That said I do agree with some reviews I've seen that there really wasn't a lot of actual dating going on between Jessica and Lucius. Tension and moments, but not actual dates, but title aside it was a very compelling book.

Imagine waking up during your senior year and finding out that you aren't who you thought you were. Jessica knows she was adopted and knows her birth name, but as she discovers her birth families background in Romania she is confronted by surprise after surprise. How could her parents think they were vampires? Does she really need to honor an almost two decade old pact that she must marry a Vladescu prince? Where is her choice in the matter?

High school life seemed believable. The class bully, the football player, the cheerleader no one ever said no to. They may be partial stereotypes, but they were brought to life and seemed like much more than caricatures. The only thing that threw me was Jessica's best friends name. Sometimes she is Mindy, then Min and also Melinda. I can see the names going together but how many people have two nicknames? At first I thought it was a mistake in editing, but since it kept going throughout I think the author just choose to have two nicknames for her.

Jessica's growing confidence in herself and transformation from being self-conscious of her curves to ready to have a presence in the world was a good lesson for young adult readers. Not everyone needs to be a size zero to be attractive. Also good was the way Fantaskey addressed Jessica straightening her hair and then coming to embrace her natural curls. So many times women especially try to change to fit the current fashion instead of becoming comfortable and happy with themselves and working on a style that works with their body type or hair type.

Seeing Jessica change over time from the beginning of the novel to the end made her journey along the way believable and compelling. I will be looking for the sequel to see what happens for Lucius and Jessica.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Yellow Hummer by Ivet Graham-Morgan

From the publisher:
Love Overcomes Loss in The Yellow Hummer

A broken Christmas, a saddened child and a heartbroken grandmother are the elements
of this touching story for beginning readers which shows that people are always more
important than things.

Ivet Graham-Morgan's children's story, The Yellow Hummer, counteracts the trend toward self-absorption in today's society by showing how a four year old boy overcomes his own loss from a broken Christmas present and selflessly comforts his grandmother, who accidentally had damaged the yellow Hummer toy.

Set in a non-traditional home of a son, a working mother, a grandmother and no father, The Yellow Hummer tells the story of four-year-old Jordan, whose grandmother
accidentally ruins his bright new Christmas toy. After crying himself to sleep that night, cuddling the damaged toy, he awakes to go and find his grandmother and to show her the empathy, respect, buoyancy and love that he knows will help lift the remorse she feels.

Young Jordan is able to look past himself as he realizes his grandmother's feelings are more important than his yellow Hummer, a realization too rare, author Graham-Morgan notes, in today's society of self-absorbed, materialistic Bernie Madoffs.

This charmingly illustrated, full color book is not just a Christmas story by circumstance; it also transcends the materiality of that season and conveys to its young readers and listeners the truly selfless spirit at the heart of that holiday.

"In a society dominated by self-centeredness, we need to help our children develop
positive character traits," says author Ivet Graham-Morgan.

The Yellow Hummer does that.

About the book:

The Yellow Hummer by Ivet Graham-Morgan
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4784-8
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Date of publish: Feb 25, 2010
Pages: 34
S.R.P.: $19.95

About the author:
Ivet Graham-Morgan has had fulfilling careers in education, banking and law
enforcement; but she has always been a writer at heart. A single parent, she had to wait until her sunset years to find the luxury of free time to follow that path. Now, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, she has returned to her first love, writing. She especially enjoys writing stories for her grandchildren.

My thoughts:
I received this book for review purposes from Bostick Communications. I thought this was a sweet story showing a little boy who comes to see that people are more important than possessions. Some of the passages were a bit wordy for my children, the the it was a good story to share especially at this time of year when so many children seem to get a case of the give-me's. I liked that it showed a non-traditional family as we often get used to seeing a family in just one way and so many children's families do not fit into that mold.

This book is available on Amazon.com and other sites.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Product Details

Pub. Date: January 2010
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Format: Paperback , 128pp
Series: Magic Tree House Research Guide Series
ISBN-13: 9780375860096
ISBN: 0375860096

Do the folk stories about leprechauns match our ideas about them today? Are there other fairies in Irish tradition? What are the origins of these stories? Why do people believe in leprechauns and fairies? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Magic Tree House Research Guide #21: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore, Jack and Annie’s guide to the wee folk of Ireland.

My thoughts:

I bought this book from a book order for my children who love the Magic Tree House Series. We haven't actually read the book this is a companion for, Leprechauns in Late Winter, but it was interesting nonetheless. It called to mind the Spiderwick Chronicles, just a guide to myths about Leprechauns and Fairies in Ireland. With St. Patrick's Day coming up this seemed like an interesting book. I especially liked some of the illustrations and photographs that went with the text. As a rule though my children are less interested in the companion guides than they are in the fiction stories but the fiction stories have helped up by acting as spring boards to learning more though other books, movies or Internet research.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the book:

Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many.

Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

"Beautifully written, 'The Search' is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past."

My review:
I was curious about this series of books so when I read that Lit fuse was offering this one as a blog tour I put my name in and was lucky enough to be selected. I had submitted my name for one of the prior books but was not selected that time around to participate. It is interesting to get a peek into the lives of the Amish people. The only other fiction book I can recall reading recently about an Amish community was Jodi Picolt’s Plain Truth. I enjoyed this book more than Plain Truth.

Fifteen year old Bess and her father Jonah live in Ohio in an Amish community. Jonah moved away from his father and mother after an accident between his buggy and a truck caused the death of his wife and a trial that put him in the spotlight which he was uncomfortable with. Bertha, his mother and Bess’s grandmother, writes to ask that Bess come stay with her for the summer because she needs her help. It turns out there is more behind her request than might have been expected. Lainey has returned to Stoney Valley (??) after a fifteen year absence. Her mother and baby sister died fifteen years ago at the same time as the accident and her step-father disappeared so she was taken into foster care and has been working to save money to go to culinary school. Her car dies in town and she winds up with a job in a bakery and a room to rent so she stays, becoming friends with Bess and getting reacquainted with Bertha.
I really enjoyed seeing how these lives fit together and where they went from the beginning of the story to the end. It was also heartening how much the characters trusted in God for the paths that opened or closed in front of them. Lainey has some tough decisions to make based on things from the past that she trusted to God. Once I started reading I had a difficult time putting the book down. Even Bess at fifteen seemed to have more trust in her direction than many adults I’ve met.

One of the things Lainey notices about her Amish friends is that they accept each task for what it is and don’t rush on to finish it, but value each for the worth it has. Bess shows Lainey how to wash sheets using a hand wringer. It is much harder than going to the Laundromat or using a washing machine at home, but instead of trying to hurry through this chore Bess accepts it and does it until she is done. So often I find myself rushing through something because I have more to do. Laundry for my family of 6 can be overwhelming and it seems I am always rushing to get all the chores done. I never really stop to appreciate each task for what it is. Maybe we as a non-Amish society would find more joy in things if we saw the value in them, doing laundry supplies your family with clean clothes and grocery shopping keeps your family from going hungry. That there really is a value to all the little things one does in a day.

The other thing I really noted in the book and thought was of value was how willing neighbors were to help each other out and to put their resources together for the good of the whole. Two characters get married in the story and the whole community pools there glasses and chairs and plates so there is enough for the celebration. So often people are unwilling or afraid to share with others, but these people valued each other more than their possessions and really connected with one another.

About Suzanne:
In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple awards). With help from an agent, she now has numerous books under contract with Revell. Also look for Suzanne's Amish non-fiction, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, as well as Amish Proverbs, and coming in Spring of 2011, look for Amish Values for Your Family. The Choice and The Waiting are the previous books in the Lancaster County Secrets Collection.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at:

Link to buy the book:

The Search is available now in stores everywhere and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

* A brand new iPad (16KB with Wi-Fi)

* Signed copies of all three Lancaster Country Secrets books (The Choice, The Waiting, & The Search)

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

About the Facebook Party:

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Charlene at Quintessentially Quilly

Mocha with Linda

Christina at Will Blog 4 Books

Melanie at The Ramblings of Two Readers

Wendi's Book Corner - Rainy Day Reads in Seattle

Wendy at wall-to-wall books

Tina’s Book Reviews

Jennifer at Reflections in the Window

Debra at Footprints in the Butter

Sarah at Mommy's Minute

Jill at Book, Books Everywhere

Apple Blossom at 4 the LOVE of BOOKS

Beckie at RBC Library

Melissa at Cafe Lily Book Reviews

Maggie at Tethered Mommy

Brenda at WV Stitcher

Anne at Mommy Has to Work

Amy at The 160 Acrewoods

Ruth at This That and the Other Thing

tasra mar transform

Mindy at A Room without Books is Empty

Chelle at Chasing the Divine

Julia at Thou Art Jules

Lena at A Christian Writer's World

Lynn Dove's Journey Thoughts

Amber at Snidbits

Debra at Footprints in the Butter

Annette at Annie's Eyes

Michele at My Blessings From Above

Heather's Heartfelt Stitches

Tammy's Book Parlor

Caroline at Happy Four

Karla at Quiet Quilter

Jennifer at Rundpinne

Wendy at Minding Spot

Janet at Along the Way

Julie at One Rainy Afternoon

Kaylea at My Scrappy Life

Stephanie at Coupon Clippin Mommy

Elana at The Twinners Reviews & Giveaways

Shonda at The Knowlton Nest

Annette at A Well-Watered Garden

Sharon at I Dream Of Writing for God

Sherry at My Journey Back

Melissa at Real Heart Prints

Isabelle at Canadian Ladybug Reviews!

Prerna at Prerna at The Mom Writes

Musings By Lynn

Renee at A Path of Joy

Lauri at Knits and Reads

Rel at Relz Reviewz

Jodie at Jodie at Mom's Pace

Hillary at Our Homeschool Studio

Pamela at Daysong Reflections

Lizzie at A Dusty Frame

Marissa at The Review Stew

Jill at Frugal Plus

Jenifer at Parris Ponderings

Nicole at Simple Little Home

Janet at Janet at Home Is Where God Sends You

Jennifer at Mrs. Q: Book Addict

Paula at Thrifty mommas brain food

Ponderings by Andrea

Tammy atBluerose's Heart

Carrie at Farming On Faith

Hey, It's Lorri Jeanne

Renee at Doorkeeper

Kathleen at Reviews From The Heart

Jacque at Good Family Reads

Amber at Seasons of Humility

Heidi at Reviews & Reflections

Brittanie at A Book Lover

Stefany @ ToBeThode

Amy atGirlfriends Get Real

Robin at Scribbles of the Heart

Tracy's Book Nook

Stacie at Simply Stacie

Lori at Two Southern Girls

Dawn atGuiding Light Homeschool

Ashley at Ashley's Bookshelf

Jodie at Digging For Pearls

Kristie at Family, scrapbooks and coffee

Brooks at Victorious Cafe

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search, is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Facebook Party:

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher Win a Free IPad

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search, is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Facebook Party:

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trust Me On This by Jennifer Crusie

Product Details
Pub. Date: October 2010
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Mass Market Paperback , 320pp
ISBN-13: 9780553593389
ISBN: 0553593382


Reporter Dennie Banks will do anything to get her story, even pull out all the stops to convince Alec Prentice to help her, in a fast-paced romantic comedy that proves everyone is guilty of something—especially love.

My thoughts:

I like reading Jennifer Crusie’s books because it seems like if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. The misunderstandings and mistaken identities add to the charm of her book. It was a really fast read. I almost think the size of the print was a bit too big and the margins too large because it felt like there wasn’t enough on every page. This is a rereleased novel from the 1990’s and some of it felt a little dated. The references to independent 90’s women and no one having cell phones. I almost wondered why she didn’t reedit it to make it seem more contemporary. I have seen other authors do that to books as they are rereleased.

Dennie and Alec were fun characters and Victoria and Harry were a pleasant surprise. And who wouldn’t love Walter? I did wonder a bit about the timing for Patience’s wedding. It seemed like they had the engagement party and then Dennie left and said her friend was on her honeymoon, but wouldn’t a best friend have attended her friend’s wedding? When was the wedding? If it had already happened why was Patience showing up at work the next day? These weren’t integral to the story but it felt like an inconsistency in the storyline.

Even with whatever slight flaws there were this was a fun, easy read to relax with which is what I look forward to with Crusie. I think I prefer her later books since they usually contain a mystery and often times a dead body or two!