Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Southern Living Party Cookbook by Elizabeth Heiskell Book Review


I have been a long time Southern Living fan.  This cookbook is one that any Southern Living fan or cookbook fan would like and need in their collection.  The recipes are very easy to understand so this book would make a great first cookbook and gift.  A lot of the recipes were new to me and I loved the different menus for different occasions. I would rate this cookbook a 5!  Thank you to Netgalley for my free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Here is the description from

This new essential guide to entertaining is divided by occasion, offering a fresh lineup of menus and ideas from Oxford, Mississippi’s go-to caterer for every celebratory scenario life serves up. In this update to the best-selling book of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ era, Elizabeth’s tell-it-like-it-is voice provides a twist to the classic Southern advice that is a refresher for entertainers of any age or experience. Packed with delicious recipes from the original book like Smoked Salmon Canapes, Hot Cheese Squares, and Brandy Alexanders, the book also includes popular picks from the current pages of Southern Living as well as Elizabeth’s treasured recipe box.
The Southern Living Party Cookbook is an entertaining handbook loaded with lifestyle tips and hilarious Heiskell stories, along with lush photography to help you get the look from table setting to plated dish.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult Book Review


I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan.  I have read all of her books and some of them multiple times.  Although I could not wait to see how Jodi Picoult would tackle and write about an Abortion Clinic shooting and the battle for legalized abortion. I was a little disappointed in this book. The book is written to go back in time by the hour.  At the beginning some characters were introduced but never heard about after that.  The ending left me wanting more answers.  I would give this book a 3.5 stars.
I will definitely continue reading Jodi Picoults books and highly recommend her previous books.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers of this book for my free copy of the book for my honest opinion.

Here is how describes the book:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: The Children's Train by Jana Zinser

My review:

I recently read the book "The Children's Train" written by Jana Zinser.  It is a book that I have not been able to stop thinking about.  The fact that there was a children's train and the circumstances behind it are terrible enough.  But the children's and families stories that are described in the book were so heartbreaking and so realistic.  The story of Eddie and his family, I will think about forever. there were many families featured in the book and how their lives were changed by the Kindertransport.  

I'm soo glad I read this book and will definitely be praising it to friends of mine.  The book was so well written that after I finished the book I wanted to delve into any information I could find about the children of the Kindertransport to see if I could find any other information about them. I highly recommend this book.  Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.  5 out of 5 stars!!!

Here is description of the book on

In November 1938 on The Night of the Broken Glass, the Jewish people of Germany are terrified as Hitler's men shatter their store windows, steal and destroy their belongings, and arrest many Jewish fathers and brothers. Parents fear for their own lives but their focus is on protecting their children. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized and parents scramble to get places on the trains for their young family members, worried about what the future will hold. Soon, trains filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chug over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom. But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping. When the Coventry farm is bombed and Nazis have reached England, Peter feels he has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: Smokin Hot in the South by Melissa Cookston

Here is the description of the book from
Melissa Cookston, the "winningest woman in barbecue," the only female barbecue world champion, and author of Smokin' in the Boys' Room, is bringing the heat with her second cookbook. Smokin' Hot in the South explores how to use fire in all its forms to craft more than 85 Southern-influenced recipes enhanced with the cultural flavors of Mexico, France, and Asia.

With the grill and smoker as her go-to tools, chef Melissa Cookston—named "One of the most influential pitmasters in America" by Fox News, and one of the "25 Super Women in Business" by the Memphis Business Journal in 2015—shares her all-new, modern interpretations of traditional Southern ingredients and recipes. Melissa explains how the culinary traditions of the South—long a bastion of slow-simmered vegetables and deep-fried everything—have expanded in the last decade to embrace Southwestern flavors, Asian spices, and the French palate.The nine chapters venture beyond the competition and barbecue principles of her first book and focus on instilling flavor with fire, using fresh herbs, and diversifying seasoning components in recipes that reflect the New South. She fire-roasts homegrown green tomatoes for a spicy take on a traditional pizza sauce and uses a barbecue smoker to add Southern nuance to porchetta. Also includes recipes for Butterbean Pate, Asian Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Pickles and Minted Watermelon Salad, Deep South Burgers with Pimento Cheese and Fried Green Tomatoes, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Blood Orange-Jalapeno Glaze, Mini Sage Biscuits with Homemade Sage Butter, and Caramelized Fig Clafoutis. She also covers the tools, techniques, and ingredients needed to be successful grillling or smoking at home. This book will not leave you hungry.

My Review:

This cookbook had some really good looking recipes from rubs to desserts.  Reading the book teaches a lot about techniques and the proper tools to use. Because of this cookbook we are going to have a very tasty summer of grilling  and smoking outside.

I received this cookbook from Netgalley for my honest review.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book Review: Believe Me by JP Delaney's description of the book:
In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

My Review:

I really liked this book and highly recommend it,  Just when I thought I knew how the book was going to end and who the murderer was JP Delaney throws a twist into the story and I was wrong.  I like the actress Claire, she was such a good actress it was hard to tell if she was acting or not and if she was capable of being the murderer.

This is the second book I have read of JP Delaney's and even though The Girl Before was a very good book I think this one is even better. A new favorite author!!!

This book will be released on July 24, 2018.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher ofr the advanced copy for my review.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book Review: A Literary Tea Party by Alison Walsh

Here is's description of the book-

Tea and books: the perfect pairing. There's nothing quite like sitting down to a good book on a lovely afternoon with a steaming cup of tea beside you, as you fall down the rabbit hole into the imaginative worlds of Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and Sherlock Holmes . . . 

Fire up your literary fancies and nibble your way through delicate sweets and savories with A Literary Tea Party, which brings food from classic books to life with a teatime twist. Featuring fifty-five perfectly portioned recipes for an afternoon getaway, including custom homemade tea blends and beverages, you will have everything you need to plan an elaborate tea party. Cook up and enjoy:

  • Turkish Delight while sipping on the White Witch’s Hot Chocolate from The Chronicles of Narnia

  • Drink Me Tea with the Queen of Hearts’s Painted Rose Cupcakes from Alice in Wonderland

  • Eeyore’s “Hipy Bthuthday” Cake with Hundred Acre Hot Chocolate from Winnie the Pooh

  • Hannah’s Sweet Potato Bacon Pastries and Jo’s Gingerbread from Little Women

  • Tom Sawyer’s Whitewashed Jelly Doughnuts from Tom Sawyer

  • And more!

  • Accompanied with photographs and book quotes, these recipes, inspired by the great works of literature, will complement any good book for teatime reading and eating.

    My Review-

    This is a cookbook that has the name of a classic book then a quote from the book with a recipe for a food that was mentioned in the book. 

    I liked the concept of the book and was excited to get  copy from Netgalley for my honest review.  There is a few recipes I would like to prepare.  I really want to try the Turkish Delight, it looked delicious!

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers of this book for my free copy for my honest review.


    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh description of the book:

    The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
    My review:

    This book is about a girl named Victoria who is shuffled through the foster care system and proves to herself that she is stronger than she thought. Through learning the Victorian language of flowers she is able to turn her life around.

    I enjoyed the story and also how the author included a dictionary of the language of flowers in the back of the book.  This is the first novel written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I can see why it became a New York Times best selling book.  I look forward to reading more of her books.