Monday, May 31, 2010


No heart healthy Monday today. Just a post in memory of those who gave their all for our freedom. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Big Buy Cooking by the Editors of Fine Cooking magazine link for Big Buy Cooking 
This cookbook is for the cook who buys in bulk. Cases, lbs, and those big cans! Stock your pantry with the listed ingredients and then cook the recipes in the book to use them up. The recipes feature ingredients from every group, with fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy, and every recipe category. The pictures in the book are beautiful, colorful and clear.

Some of the recipes I would like to try include:
Spicy Penne Tossed with Chicken, Broccoli & Chopped Olives
Warm Maple and Cinnamon Bread Pudding
Mint & Pine Nut Pesto with Gemelli & Asparagus
This book not only gives great recipes, it also teaches the cook to use ingredients wisely without waste. That is very important to those who buy food in bulk to save money and time.

Donatella Cooks - Simple Foods Made Glamorous by Donatella Arpaia

Link to for Donatella Cooks 
Donatella Arpaia states: “You don’t have to be an accomplished chef to put a fantastic meal on the table.” Donatella Cooks - Simple Foods Made Glamorous contains elegant Italian recipes for family meals or entertaining. The author introduces the reader to her own kitchen and her very organized pantry.

The book contains many tips and hints with links in the “Donaltella Clicks” sections for finding the tools and ingredients she uses. I confess that many of the ingredients sent me running to Google just to find out what they are, but her recipes do not have long lists of ingredients or lengthy instructions. With the correct ingredients the dishes should be simple to prepare. She recommends and for ingredients not found locally.
Although there are not pictures of every dish, there are some photos of the prepared food and several of her family. This cookbook is not your ordinary cookbook, and I look forward to trying a few of her recipes.

Breathless by Dean Koontz

Breathless by Dean Koontz is the first library book I downloaded to my e-reader. The story is what I expected from Dean Koontz’s recent writings. His recent work is not as dark as his mid-years work, but that may appeal to those who think some of his books are too disturbing. I love Dean Koontz books, and I think he can do no wrong when he puts words to paper. As in most of his books, there are multiple stories that work together, good vs. evil, a dog, great characters, and a storyline that is a little weird.

My favorite quote was about the character Grady’s dog Merlin. “The yard was Merlin’s newspaper.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Last Christian by David Gregory

Random House link for The Last Christian
In the future, it’s possible to live forever—but at what cost?
The year is A.D. 2088, and Christianity has died in America. The Last Christian is an interesting look at a futuristic world where Christianity has almost died out. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, Abigail Caldwell has lost her family and her entire village from a mysterious brain disease. She receives a unexpected 16 year-old recorded message from her grandfather asking her to go to America and spread the gospel. Is Abby ready for the danger and does she really understand the gospel message she has known her whole life?

In this future time where there are self-driving cars, common virtual reality, and brain transplants, Christianity is considered hate speech. Abby has a choice to make – flee the country or face arrest. The story is rather profound when you think of the way things are already going in America, and it will make you reflect on the message. I get a little nervous when an author wants to add to the gospel message, but I think the author just wanted to convey the message of grace and not works.

The story has action, adventure and a great message. I really was not expecting the twist at the end!
A copy of The Last Christian was provided for review.

Monday, May 24, 2010

God's Promises for Boys by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker link for God's Promises for Boys
This is a nice topical book to read to small children about God’s promises in our lives. Each double page contains a short poem, cartoon style picture, and several Bible verses. Because most small children don’t understand many of the adult words in the Bible, verses in God’s Promises for Boys are from the International Children’s Bible. The ICB is a translation for children of the whole Bible, not a paraphrase.

Whether the child is happy, angry, lonely, or afraid, there are pages with God’s promises for feelings. The book tells children who Jesus is as Savior, Lord, Friend, Hope, Example, Protector, Peace and Joy. The book also teaches telling others the good news by sharing your faith and learning more about God.

The pictures are cute with children, dogs and activities depicting the theme for each entry. It is a small book at about 7” X 5”, just right for small hands, but has 128 pages. This is a book that will encourage children to learn to rely on God and seek to do what is right. I would recommend this book for parents, grandparents, church nurseries, or a gift for that special child.

Heart Healthy Monday

After a scary morning - I received a webpage stating my blog had been deleted - I'm back.  Here is Hearth Healthy Monday:

 Heart Healthy Web link - Teeth and Heart Disease (same subject different link)

TIP- Make the vegetables and grains the focus of your meal, and use meat as the side dish.

Heart Healthy Recipe:
Cheese Toast

8 slices turkey bacon cooked until almost done, drain, and cut in half
1 small onion chopped fine (I use dehydrated onion, rehydrated - easier and I actually like the taste of them)
3/4 C (3oz) finely shredded reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 T prepared horseradish
1 T plain nonfat yogurt
8 slices french bread lightly toasted (3/4" thick)
2 small fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
fresh oregano (Opt)
Mix onion, cheese, horseradish, and yogurt.  Place toasted bread slices on a baking sheet; spread cheese mixture evenly and all the way to the edges of the bread.  Cut each tomato into 4 slices and place one tomato slice and two pieces of bacon on each slice of bread.  Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 2 - 2 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts and bacon is crispy. Watch carefully. Sprinkle with green onions and fresh oregano.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel by Lisa Gardner link for Live to Tell   
Book Description: On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.

Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again.

My Review: I was not familiar with Lisa Gardner’s Detective D.D. Warren books, but I enjoyed Live to Tell very much. It has an interesting and heartbreaking storyline of mentally ill children. I read in Lisa’s biography on Amazon that she is a self-described research junkie, and that level of research shows in this novel with the details involved with the psychiatric care of children.

Ms. Gardner’s characters are compelling. The story involves Victoria, the devoted and protective mother, D.D. the workaholic detective watching her live go by too quickly, and Danielle, a Psych nurse with her own horrifying past. The story has tense action and held my attention.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith

Book Description:  The year is 1987. The varied background and viewpoints of the adult children coming Back to the Homeplace ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims on land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance. Subplots involve AIDS Awareness in 1987 issues and a support group for domestic violence incidents.
My Review: Back to the Homeplace is an engaging story of four families brought together because of the unusual stipulations of a will. The cover of the book is beautiful and sets the Midwestern tone.

The characters are nicely developed so that each is unique. You understand who they are and why they returned to the homestead. The families are realistic with normal family dynamics, and it is easy to care about what happens to them. The reader understands how each character’s personality – the temperamental one, the team players, the loner – influences their role on the property. Mr. Smith’s descriptions of the different areas of property are well done and it was easy to visualize the White Oak trees, trails, and buildings.

As soon as you are settled in and comfortable with the story, there are several twists. Secrets are revealed and lives are torn apart. This has quite an emotional impact on the story. I appreciated the way the Mr. Smith handled sensitive subjects tactfully.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nature's Wrapture - Contemporary Knitted Shawls by Sheryl Thies link for Nature's Wrapture

Nature’s Wrapture is the first shawl book I have seen that has patterns that are of the skill level that I need. I love the fact that there are patterns from the beginner level to intermediate so that even the most timid knitter has an opportunity to make something beautiful. The instructions for the patterns are written out so that you do not have to rely on charts.

The patterns are easy to follow. Each pattern has complete information for the skill level, finished measurements, materials, gauge, stitch patterns, general instructions and finishing.

Many of the patterns have unique styling with shaping, slits, or ties for the way they hang over the arms. These are not your grandmother’s shawls, but contemporary styled wearable wraps without being over the top. My favorites and are Sandy Beach and Fall Colors, both beginner/easy projects, and one of which will be my next OTN (on the needles).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Heart Healthy Monday

Web link for Her Heart A Woman’s Guide to Her Heart Health

Heart Healthy Tip:  Take time for a Mindful Monday – eat slowly to enjoy the flavors of your meal. You’ll also be more aware of when you’re full.

Heart Healthy Recipe:
Pasta Beef Soup

½ lb ground round
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups cooked Ruote, fusilli or Farfalle pasta (bowtie, corkscrew or wagon wheel)
3 cups spaghetti sauce
½ tsp ground oregano
14 oz cans beef broth (low salt if possible)
1 can (15 oz) can red kidney beans
Using oil spray, coat a large pan and place over medium high heat until hot. Add the meat and onion and cook until browned, crumbling meat while it cooks. Drain grease and pat dry with paper towels. Put the meat back into the pan and add cooked pasta and remaining ingredients. Cook until heated through.

Easy as Pi, The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day by Jamie Buchan link for Easy As Pi
We are a people of numbers. We have phone numbers, house numbers, Social Security numbers, medical records numbers, lot numbers, and serial numbers. Even our computers and electronic devices function with numbers – you get the idea. Easy as Pi gives the read a glimpse into the world of numbers and how society uses them.
A brief summary of the divisions in Easy as Pi:
Numbers in our language – phrases using numbers explained
Numbers in Fiction – Movies, books and TV shows with numbers in the title
Numbers in Culture – gambling, Social Security, scams, etc.
Numbers in Mythology and Religion – numerology and significance of numbers in the Bible
Numbers in Math and Science – types of numbers, statistics, and oddities

This is not a mathematics instruction book. In Easy as Pi, I learned of the Piraha tribe, a small tribe in Brazil with a numbering system consisting of one, two and many – that’s all. I also learned about life without “0”, and all about Pi. Why did Ray Bradbury name his book Fahrenheit 451? Little snippets of information that help you gain insight into how important numbers are in our lives.  Books like these are a fun interaction for families.  Parents can quiz children or children can quiz their parents. 

This is another wonderful book in the Reader's Digest Series.  I have also reviewed:
I used to Know That by Caroline Taggart
A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi by Chloe Rhodes

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber link for Hannah's List

Hannah, the wife of Dr. Michael Everett, died of ovarian cancer. Before she died she gave a letter to her brother, Michael’s best friend, to be given to her husband on the first anniversary of her death. The letter contained heartwarming instructions to carry on with his life and to marry again. In the letter she also gave him a list of three women she wanted him to consider. One was her cousin, one her oncology nurse and the last was an artist friend.

Hannah’s List is a light romance and an easy read. The set-up to the story with the heartwarming letter and Michael’s reaction endears the character to the reader. Each of the women in the story has their own reasons for considering a relationship with Michael and as a typical reader I picked my own favorite. Their back stories added to the easy flow of the story and created a satisfying story conclusion.

This was the first time I have read a book by Debbie Macomber, although I have several more of her books in my to-be- read shelf. I am now eagerly looking forward to reading the others.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mokele-Mbembe Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin by William J. Gibbons Link to purchase Mokele-Mbembe
Book Description: Explorer, cryptozoologist, and creationist Bill Gibbons has traveled to remote corners of the world in search of strange and unknown creatures. But Bill's heart is in Africa, where monstrous dinosaur-like creatures are still rumored to inhabit the vast swamps of the Congo Basin. In Mokele-Mbembe: Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin, Gibbons provides a fascinating insight into several expeditions that have ventured forth in search of suspected living dinosaurs, include several of his own.

My Review: William J. Gibbons’ story of Mokele-Mbembe absolutely held my attention with his expeditions to Africa in search of strange creatures. Mr. Gibbons takes the reader alongside the explorers with his descriptive interpretation of his journeys.

Mokele-Mbembe: Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin begins with a history of recorded accounts from ancient texts to books throughout modern history with descriptions of huge water creatures.

The author’s own expeditions occurred from 1979-1992. His thorough descriptions of the locals, (especially the Pygmy people), the surroundings, and the dangers were especially interesting as they explored the areas in the jungles, swamps and hidden areas of Africa. He explains the many trials they experienced with travel problems, wild animals, illnesses, and corrupt politicians demanding bribes just to explore the area.

This is not a scientific study, but an exploration of the area with eye witness accounts. He freely points out which sightings he believed were not credible, but many, if not most, are quite credible. There is one interesting method they used with the eye witnesses. They presented a book with animals from the area and the locals identified them. He then gave them pictures of animals not known to be in Africa and the witnesses could not identify any of them. He then gave them a book of dinosaurs. Mokele-Mbembe gives a fascinating account of the responses they received from the third book.

As if the exciting tale of exploration was not interesting enough, it was an added treat to read about William Gibbons’ conversion in Africa from occult practice to Christianity. He gives his beautiful testimony in the book and talks about other missionaries in the area.

No matter what you believe, Mokele-Mbembe: Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin is a fascinating story.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

Link to purchase Indivisible

Indivisible is a psychological drama with interesting characters and edgy plot. Each of the main characters has a past from which they are trying to break free. Kristen Heitzmann’s superb writing handles several different plot lines without confusing or cluttering the story.

This is not a light Christian read, but if you like thrillers, crime or psychological dramas you will be pleased with Indivisible. Reading the short parts of the book about the animal cruelty is difficult, but the book is balanced with a wonderful side plot about a timid semi-wild animal and its bonding with a human.

I highly recommend Indivisible for readers not afraid of the thriller/crime genre. You won’t find the coarse language or steamy scenes that usually go along with that genre, but you will find an exciting plot with flawed people, redemption, and forgiveness. The main characters are either people of faith or those just learning what that means.

Here is a link to hear an interview with the author:  Kristen Heitzmann

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brushing Up on Math is Easy as Pi By Jamie Buchan

I will post my review for Easy as Pi by this weekend, but I thought I would give you a little taste of the book with this article by the author.

Jamie Buchan, Author of Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day

"World War II? I don't know much about it. You've lost me. I'm sorry, I was always terrible at history. I just don't have the brain for it!"

Few people would willingly admit to this level of ignorance about key events that shaped the world. But when it comes to math -- which shapes not only the world but the entire universe -- many otherwise highly intelligent and educated people will happily proclaim ignorance. In many cases, there's the implication that math is boring and difficult -- the exclusive domain of the severely geeky.

This may seem merely frustrating for mathematicians and scientists in social settings, but it has serious and wide-ranging consequences. On an everyday level, a lack of confidence about math makes it hard to split a bill, work on a spreadsheet, or help a child with homework (and this can easily become a vicious circle, since anxiety about math can be passed on to the next generation).

If you feel like you're math averse, be not afraid: the book Easy as Pi can help. Math itself is based on a limited number of very logical rules and, whether we like it or not, it surrounds us in everything we do. As Pythagoras (the guy behind the famous Theorem) remarked: "Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, and the cause of gods and demons." The head of a sunflower has evolved with mathematical precision into a double-spiral pattern that packs the most seeds into the smallest available space. The computer on which you're reading this, and every electronic device -- from cheap digital watches counting seconds and minutes to NASA's Columbia supercomputer, which simulates the collisions of entire galaxies -- is powered by a vastly complex system of ones and zeros, which only works at all because they can be interpreted mathematically.
Just like our explorations of science, humanity's understanding of math has advanced amazingly since we were counting how many mammoth hides it takes to wallpaper a cave. The concept of zero -- a number representing nothing -- is taken for granted today (apart from anything else, how could all that electronics work otherwise?). However, for centuries it was a thorny philosophical and mathematical question. Roman numerals stopped being used in Europe when medieval Italians learned the zero from the Arabs, who in turn had picked it up from India. The ancient Greeks gave us much of our understanding of geometry, and the Romans put it into practice with structural engineering. We've come a long way. The Pirahã tribe, a few hundred people living in a remote area of Brazil, reminds us just how far -- with almost no contact with outside cultures, their math is limited to counting "one, two, many."

Numbers have also slipped into our language and culture in various ways -- the third degree, the fourth estate, and fifth columnists spring to mind. And have you ever been asked to "deep six" something? Intelligence agencies use "numbers stations" -- radio stations broadcasting strings of numbers -- to communicate in code with spies in other countries. And they've gained a cult following of fascinated civilian listeners. The controversial conviction of the Cuban Five came after FBI agents found a decryption program for a Cuban numbers station on their computers.

The influence of numbers in our everyday life also seeps into our superstitions. The number 666 -- still feared by many people as the "number of the beast" -- is believed to be based on gematria, a form of numerically encoding Hebrew words, which is also at the root of claims about a "Bible code." Math anxiety and ignorance allows people who practice numerology and astrology to make a lot of money by claiming to imbue numbers with a spiritual and cosmic significance. Not only is this completely unproven, it masks the far greater beauty of a mathematically ordered universe.

To sum it all up, math and numbers are everywhere, and they are embedded in our lives in every respect. Anxiety about them is really worth trying to overcome. The benefits they bring us are countless.

© 2010 Jamie Buchan, author of Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day
(Used with permission)
Author Bio
Jamie Buchan was educated at Westminster School and is completing a Master of Arts degree in Architectural Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Many of his family members are involved in books: his great-grandfather John Buchan is the prolific novelist famous for The Thirty-Nine Steps; his grandfather D.J. Enright is a well-known Movement poet; and his uncle James Buchan is an award-winning novelist and historical writer. Both of his parents work in publishing.

What About Me? by William G. Bentrim

What About Me? by William G. Bentrim 
Book Description:  A sick or injured child can disrupt the best of families. Parents are frequently so focused on the sick child that well siblings may feel abandoned. In spite of the love they feel for their sibling, a well child may be annoyed with all the attention their sick sibling receives. The well child may feel guilty about their anger or annoyance. Conflicting emotions can overwhelm the healthiest child. This book hopes to demonstrate to the healthy child that their feelings are normal, acceptable and guilt is not necessary. The book also hopes to alleviate any of the well child's feelings of alienation and loneliness by reassuring them of their parents love.

My Review:  William G. Bentrim creates special books for children. He uses kindness and sensitivity to create stories for children going through difficult times. Using the same type of bear characters from some of his previous books, Mr. Bentrim shows much wisdom in his approach to difficult subjects that cause stress in children.

What About Me? is for children with a sibling with a sickness or injury and explores the feelings of guilt, neglect, or jealously they may experience when the parents are busy caring for the sibling. As he did in his previous books, the author has resources and coping tools for the parent to use. What I appreciate most about Mr. Bentrims books and parental helps is that he always encourages the help of grandparents and other relatives. Family – that is what is important in his books.

I have also reviewed these books by William G. Bentrim:

I Like to Whine
Mommy’s Black Eye
Daddy Goes on a Trip
The Adventures of Hardy Belch

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Giveaways

My first blogaversary has just passed and I thought I would have a couple of giveaways. The first will be for four of my reader copies. They have been read once by me and are in good condition. I will choose four winners and the books given will be:

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

The Truth in a Lie by R. Chase Raiford

Fill out the form below. Tell me which book you would like to win. If you would like to enter for all of the books, Just write "All Four".

US only. No PO Boxes. The contest will end May 26, 2010 at midnight. I will email the winner and you will have 48 hours to reply with your mailing address.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cooking from the Garden: Best Recipes from Kitchen Gardener by Ruth Lively link for Cooking from the Garden
Cooking from the Garden takes the best recipes from a publication called The Kitchen Gardener, published from 1996 to 2001. Recipe categories include:

Starters, Snacks & Drinks,
Breakfast, Brunch & Egg Dishes
Sauces, Salsas & Vinaigrettes
Breads and Sandwiches
Side Dishes
Pasta, Grains & Beans
Main Dishes
Desserts and Sweets

This is definitely a make-it-from-scratch cookbook that includes recipes for homemade ketchup, Thyme Mayonnaise, dressings and sauces. The recipes have easy to follow instructions and a short list of a few basic ingredients. There are no photographs of finished dishes, but there are tips and menu ideas. Most of the recipes contain ingredients that can be grown most anywhere or can be found at a local farmers market. These are good, wholesome family recipes.

Heart Healthy Monday

I guess I should just admit that I forgot Hearth Healthy Monday last week.  I didn't remember until Wednesday so I just posted a couple of extra book reviews. 

HH Web Link - Here is some information from the BCBS website: Facts About Coronary Artery Disease

 HH Tip is from the (w/permission):  Beverages today are loaded with calories and sugar.  Start this week by reading nutrition labels and choosing low-fat milk or water instead of soda or
energy drinks.
A healthy way to start to the day or a cool afternoon snack for those in warm weather:
Mango Shake

2 C lowfat milk
4 Tbsp frozen mango juice (or 1 fresh mango, pitted)
1 small banana
2 ice cubes
Put all ingredients into blender. Blend until foamy. Serve immediately.

Instead of mango juice, try orange, papaya, or strawberry juice.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pantry Friendly Mexican Cooking by LeAnn Bird link for Pantry Friendly Mexican Cooking

About the Book: Even if you don’t think you know how to boil water, you can create mouthwatering, authentic Mexican dishes — in less time than it takes to order out! Pantry-Friendly Mexican Cooking collects nearly 100 delicious recipes, each with its own unique story. And it shows you how to save money by buying exactly the ingredients you need and storing them correctly to easily make dozens of dishes. There are no exotic ingredients to buy, no special stores to visit. Just authentic, delicious and quick meals perfect anytime!

My Review: With a list of basic ingredients to keep in your pantry and the addition of a little meat and some fresh ingredients, you are set to become a pantry friendly cook. There are recipes for making your own flour or corn tortillas or keep some store-bought around.  All of the ingredients are easy to find in the stores.

There are recipes for sauces, salsas, main dishes, sides, soups and desserts. Just a few of the recipes are:

Mango Salsa
Breakfast Burritos
Chicken Enchiladas
Deep Fried Green Chili Burrito
Caramel Corn Puffs
Kickin’ Fruit Platter
Jalapeno Syrup
And much more…

The book is big at 8 ½” by 11” and the print is easy to read. There are pictures on each page of the finished dish. Yum! We will be having Breakfast Burritos in the morning.

Felting for Kids: Fun Toys, Cool Accessories by Gry Hojgaard Jacobsen and Sif Hojgaard Hoverby link for Felting for Kids

About the Book: Discover the delights of wet felting with more than 40 quick and easy projects for both boys and girls. Discover the wonderful world of wet felting with this exciting collection of fabulous toys and accessories for kids. Choose from more than 44 projects in four fun collections - Baby, Princess, Love, and Cool - that make the techniques of wet felting easy and fun to learn.
About the Author: Sisters Gry Hojgaard Jacobsen and Sif Hojgaard Hoverby are co-owners of Gry & Sif, a company that specializes in beautiful Scandinavian style designs.

My Review: What a fun way to create toys and useful items for children! This book starts by showing you how to create your own felted wool fabric. With some raw wool, a few tools (one of which is bubble wrap), and eighteen photographs to show the process, the book clearly explains how to make felted fabric. At the end of the book there is a page of resources for the raw wool if it is not readily available. Of course, you can also purchase the felt to make the designs in the book.

For babies, there are patterns for items like balls, blocks, pillows, cars, a mobile and much more. For older children there are bags, boxes, a floor runner, and toys. There are big beautiful and colorful pictures for each of the projects. The projects would not only be fun to make, but also fun to work on with your children or grandchildren.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

After the Hangover, The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. link for After the Hangover

Book Description:  An insider’s investigation of the state of the post-Bush Conservative movement in the United States today.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.—intimately familiar with the ideology and personalities of the conservative movement in the United States from the inside—analyzes who was right and what went wrong. And, in the process, he outlines the conservative agenda for the “next ascendancy.”

My Review: I hoped that After the Hangover would provide a look inside American political history and those involved in shaping it, but I found little insight into American conservatism. The book is more about Mr. Tyrrell and individuals he knows.

In an effort to sound l intellectual, the author leaves the average book lover scrambling for a dictionary. My eyes glazed over in several sections and I was tempted to start skimming. I thought the writing was so dry that it was difficult to finish, but I did.

One section of the book has a long entry about his friend William F. Buckley. Unfortunately, he used his book to express a strong dislike for Mr. Buckley’s son where he details the son’s bad behavior at his father’s funeral. Mr. Tyrrell’s tirade was rude, unpleasant, and the entry served no purpose except to air Mr. Buckley’s family “dirty laundry”. He did a disservice to his friend.

The end of the book is the author’s proposed agenda for the future of conservatives. He agrees with Steve Forbes’ flat tax, an altered Social Security program, and health care reforms. Quite honestly, his agenda is simplistic and rather mainstream.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bad to the Bone, Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger by Bo Hoefinger Link for Bad to the Bone  
Book Description: Let's get this clear right away: I'm a dog. I'm 1'10" and weigh 63 lbs, and although I'm a mutt on the outside, I'm a purebred on the inside. My good nature comes from the Golden Retriever side of the family, while my stubbornness is clearly from my Chowchow bloodlines. I've got Rastafarian ears, a black tongue for licking, and paws that should be on a dog twice my size.

I type 60 words a minute.

My name is Bo, and this is my story.

My Review:  Meet Bo, a golden retriever/chow mix breed shelter dog. Bo has written his life story, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Bad to the Bone is written from Bo’s point of view. We meet his “parents”, his feline friend (who almost didn’t make it into the family), and read about all of his adventures.

Bo’s humor will turn around the story of his injured paw and will make you laugh, as will his dream about being on a compilation of game shows. Also in Bo’s memoir is the inclusion of special pages with articles such as Why I Love My Mother (“She feeds me.” is listed three times),  Canine Bingo, Ask the Magic Bo Ball, States I’ve Peed In, and many more. There are also photos of Bo and a Q & A with him.

Bad to the Bone is laugh-out-loud funny (and I don’t laugh out loud while reading very often) and a heartwarming story of why more people should go to their local shelter when they want a dog. Obviously Bo’s parent love and enjoy him, and he has brought as much joy as any pedigree pup could.

Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy link for Wildflower Bride
Book Description: Welcome to the wilds of Montana, where humor, romance, and suspenseride the range. Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has vague memories of her former life, including a name—Abby Lind. When she’s forced to sever all links with her adopted family, Abby wonders if she’ll ever find a home again. Tenderhearted Wade Sawyer, responsible for Abby’s survival during the village massacre, convinces the knife-wielding woman to return with him to the Sawyer Ranch, never realizing danger lurks behind every corner. Can they survive long enough to fall in love?

My Review: Wade Sawyer is a good and heroic character in this western story. He is a man of faith who has a favorite verse, Psalm 27:1, and he keeps it in his heart. Often he would run just the words in his mind “Who shall I fear?” as a reminder to be brave.

This wasn’t my favorite book of the Montana Marriages series. While I liked the character of Wade, he was about the only person that I cared about. There were just too many unpleasant people in this book. Of course I expected the “bad guys” to be – well – bad, but even some of the main characters were disagreeable as if that demonstrated a show of strength. Abby Lind was a very rude person considering she was a woman of faith. Wade’s father was a cantankerous old man, although his attitude was a good part of the storyline and was logical. I found one of the scenes with Belle and Silas uncomfortable when they were having a borderline violent physical confrontation one minute and kissing the next.

This is still a book I would recommend if you enjoy Christian romance set in the old west. Her descriptions of the area and events are good, and the story flows very well.
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