Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Naughty Neighbor Book Review

I was totally out of library books and I went to the next book in my shelf that I had gotten for free.  Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich was the next book that I had to read.  I was excited to get back to this series and see if this book had any of the same characters that the other ones did.  I had the original release of this book so it has a much different cover and I don't know if there were any updates to the book but there were some things that we are little dated like talking about the fancy car with the car phone... obviously a big feature a little while ago that is very common now because of cell phones.  Still a great read!!

Dear Reader:
In a previous life, before the time of Plum, I wrote twelve short romance novels. Red-hot screwball comedies, each and every one of them. Nine of these stories were originally published by the Loveswept line between the years 1988 and 1992. All immediately went out of print and could be found only at used bookstores and yard sales.
I'm excited to tell you that those nine stories are now being re-released by HarperCollins. Naughty Neighbor is the eighth in the lineup, and it's presented here in almost original form. Usually when I edit these books I do some modernizing. For instance, I change VHS to DVD, and roller skates to Rollerblades, and sticks of gum are now pieces of gum. I do this because the books were meant to be contemporary (as opposed to historical), and I don't want the reader to have a time disconnect. In the beginning of the original Naughty Neighbor, my heroine throws a handheld phone into the toilet, and the next morning she goes into the bathroom and sees the "slim silver antenna caught between the toilet lid and seat." Okay, so most phones don't have extended antennas anymore, but I just loved the image . . . so I left it in. And I don't know how many women wear front-closure bras anymore, but that got left in, too.
Naughty Neighbor is probably the most romancey of all the Loveswepts I wrote, but there's still a small mystery to unravel. Louisa Brannigan is a no-nonsense, hardworking press secretary, fighting her way to the top of Capitol Hill, with no help from her annoying neighbor, Pete Streeter. He receives phone calls all night long, he steals her morning paper, he thinks jeans are formal wear, and worst of all he's involved Louisa in the disappearance of a pig. So this is the story of a pig in Witness Protection and love being found by a workaholic woman and a fun-loving man who makes terrible pots of coffee.
Janet Evanovich

The thing that I really liked about this book was it was set in DC with Louisa working on Capitol Hill in the Senate.  It is fun to read about places that I used to go to and different local areas.  Louisa was working all the time and had no time to have a life.  She met her upstairs neighbor after she reached her limit of his rude behavior when he stole her newspaper.  Pete ends up getting her car destroyed and many other things over their time together and see ends up loosing her job.  It is a funny trip that these two take but you have to pick up the book and find out what happens for yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I did.  I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series.  Do I have any left??  I don't even know?!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 3/27

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Chicken tacos with Mexican Rice
Thursday- Roast Chicken
Friday- Leftover Night
Saturday- Meatball Sliders
Sunday- ?

I had it totally together and planned my meals ahead of time and then I realized that it was the end of the month again and I needed to go back and take an inventory to see what I need to make, buy and what I already have to cook.  We are all set as soon as I figure out April's Menu :)  I hope that you have a tasty week and figure out the coming month (or at least week) of meals.

I took a quick freezer inventory.  I have one bag of chicken cubes, 4 bags of chicken tenders, 6 whole chickens, 1 bag of ground beef, 6 bags of meatballs, one package of hot dogs and one container of turkey, one lasagna and 6 hamburgers.  I haven't gotten a lot of things through the past two months so we are running low on a lot of things including stick butter, hot sauce, granola bars, cheese, cranberry juice and more so I am starting my grocery list.  I am trying to make a list of the things that I need to get and make in order to be ready for the coming weeks until spring break.  Here is hoping that I get a lot of things done and enjoy an easy menu planning process.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Husband List Book Review

I finished all the books from the library and all the books that I had to review so I went to the shelf to find something else to read from the books that I own that I haven't read.  The Husband List: A Novel by Dorien Kelly was at the top of the pile so I was excited to read this book that was next in one of the series that I had previously read from the library.  I was really surprised when I started the beginning and it was a historic fiction book because I totally wasn't expecting that because I didn't remember any other book being historical but I went forward and I wasn't let down.

Based on the family from the bestselling Love in a Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all... From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman's search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married.
Set in New York City in 1894, The Husband List is an American gilded age romantic mystery. It evokes memories of the lavish lifestyles and social expectations of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers―a time when new money from the Americas married Old World social prestige and privilege. Dresses by Worth, transcontinental ocean voyages, lavish parties, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance await in, The Husband List.

I thought that this book was super funny and obviously needed to be set back in 1894 because of the different behaviors and thoughts. There was a list of all of the men that were acceptable for Caroline to marry to improve her social status of her family.  Her mother is working to marry her off to a Duke or other royalty but she is not interested.  She is interested in leading her own life and getting to travel to new places.  Lord Bremerton decides that he is going to marry her to get her money so that he could live like he is used to living even though he has lost all his money.  Lord Bremerton tricks her mother into thinking that this is a good match but he is a very mean man.  Caroline isn't interested in this marriage and at the same time starts to fall in love with someone who is totally not suited to her mother's list.  Make sure you pick up the book and check it out for yourself.  I enjoyed the book and really thought that the interesting setting and change of countries was interesting.  I think that you will enjoy this historical fiction book even if it isn't your normal reading.  I enjoyed it a lot and can't wait to read more by this author!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Boy Called Christmas Book Review

I was excited to unpack A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig from the delivery envelope when it finally got delivered.  Although I wanted to listen to it first before listing with my son...especially since I figured that it would be better at Christmas time.  I think that I was wrong because I think that this story is good all year round but it might be a family favorite to pull out every year as part of the holiday season to get the whole family in the spirit of giving.

Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.

Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .

I was hoping to get this book on CD before the holidays but I didn't.  I didn't realize how long the book was going to be.  It was 4 discs and they ran for 4 1/2 hours.  I listened to the first one pretty quickly and then I realized that we mostly do the listening as a family so doing this listening for myself before my son heard it to make sure that it was appropriate, limited the time that I had to listen to the book on CD.  My son is huge into the CDs and frequently took out my CD to replace with his without looking at what track I was on so I am sure that I listened to many parts of the book over and over just to try to get finished but it was all worth it in the end!  It was a great story and nice fantasy for the kids to enjoy.  I think that people old and young would enjoy this Christmas story about Father Christmas and how things came to be in the magical world.  I hope that it will also give children an idea of how lucky they are when they hear about the life of young Nikolas growing up.  I know that we will be listening to this next Christmas and I will put it in the Christmas book box for sure!  I hope that you and your family check out this great story and enjoy it together.

**I got a copy of the Book on CD for my review but all opinions here are my own.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Her Secret Book Review

I was excited that there was a new book out by Shelley Shepard Gray because I love her writing.  Her Secret: The Amish of Hart County by Shelley Shepard Gray was the next book that I got to read.  I didn't even know if It was a series or a stand alone novel when I started.  I was excited to find out what it was about.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

I thought that this was an interesting story whether you are interested in the Amish faith or not.  Hannah had lived through a stalker and it changed her life because she feared everyone and everything.  After years of this horrible life, her family moves to another state to avoid the stalker and hope to rebuild their life but the fear doesn't go away.  This applies to anyone that has gone through trauma because people can't just change their mind but have to try to work through the trauma.  Issac helped her  repair the fear because he made her feel safe.  Hannah is finally starting to settle in to her new environment and there is a huge family secret that is revealed.  If that isn't enough, her younger sister starts seeing someone secretly and Hannah is very fearful.  This book keeps you on your toes and reading to find out what happens next.  I think that you will find these twists and turns excited and not want to put the book down as well.  It is one of those books that if it was a movie, you would be yelling at the television screen because you want to make sure everyone makes it out okay.  I hope that you pick up the book and check it out for yourself!!  I know you will enjoy it as much as I did!

**I received a copy of this book for my review but all opinions here are my own. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers Book Review

I put a book on reserve a long time ago at the library because I saw it in the new releases.  I didn't even know if it was part of another series that I read but I knew that I liked the author.  I was excited to find out that this was the first in the series of the cooking books that were running parallel to the quilting books that I had enjoyed. Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers by Wanda E. Brunstetter was the next book in my pile to read and I was excited to get started.

Will Heidi's cooking lessons turn into life lessons for five unlikely students?

Heidi Troyer cooks up the idea of teaching classes in the art of Amish cuisine in her Holmes County, Ohio, home. But is it a recipe for drama when five very different men and women answer the advertisement?

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students.

Class members share details of their disappointing lives, work to solve a mystery, and stir some romance into the pot. Soon Heidi’s cooking lessons turn into life lessons as they each share their challenges. . .and their souls are healed one meal at a time. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

This seems like the perfect book for me because I love cooking and I love Amish fiction so this mixed both together.  If you are looking for some recipes, there are a bunch in the back for all the items that they make in their class.  Most of the recipes weren't something that interested me but I can't say the same about the book.  It was a page turner and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next.  Heidi is going through a hard time because she is unable to have a baby and she wants to make a family and home for her husband so she feels like she isn't living up to her potential as an Amish wife.  There is a lot of mixed emotion but she decided that she is going to start a cooking class since she is a great cook and she can teach others Amish cooking styles and recipes so that they can improve their lives and she will be able to do something to contribute to her family.  She meets lots of different people after getting a few people to sign up to take cooking lessons. She is eager to help everyone and make sure that everyone leaves happier then they came into her class.  It was a great story but you have to pick it up to find out what happens for yourself. I hope that you check out this book and others by this author because I think that you will enjoy it as much as I have!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Everyday Blessings Book Review

I was excited that there were a few books in the McKaslin Clan series to get to read because I enjoyed the first one so much.   Everyday Blessings (The McKaslin Clan: Series 3, Book 4) (Larger Print Love Inspired #400) by Jillian Hart was the next in the series that I got to read.  They seem to be harder to find now but my library had this one and it is available on the kindle if you are interested and can't find it at your local library.  There is a two book combo on the kindle as well which is always a good deal when you get to get two books together for a lower price.

When Aubrey McKaslin visited reclusive photographer William Corey, she found a man who had given up on life and faith. He said he was happy at his mountain retreat, but Aubrey didn't believe it for a minute. His eyes signaled a kindred soul, a man who shared her love of art and the outdoors. Spending time together awakened deeper feelings in them both, but could William trust in his faith and rise above his past?

Aubrey is the quieter of the two twins and has lead a quiet life up until this point with mostly just her family.  She meets William Corey who is a famous photographer.  He confides in her and she is immediately interested in him because she feels that they have a lot in common.  The more time she spend with him, the more they find out that they have in common.  The decide that they are going to be friends and share some of the things that they love like horse back riding, canoeing and more.  She knows that her family is going to push them together even though William is not interested in that kind of romantic relationship.  She changes over the story but you are going to have to pick it up to find out what happens.  I was really enjoying this book even though it was a sad book to get through.  I know that I used a few tissues but I enjoyed it regardless.  I hope that you check out this book at your local library or bookstore and see for yourself.