My rambling thoughts on Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Who can even resist a book with three adorable lab puppies looking out at you? Well, my daughter certainly couldn’t (she is only 2 after all) so I picked up this book at the last minute at the library and I am very glad that I did. A really sweet, wonderful read!!! (click on the book to go to Amazon to buy it today!)

Dog Crazy Continue reading

Long Paw of the Law by Laurie Anne Marie, an outstanding new author!

“Long Paw of the Law” is a really great first book in a series and I look forward to the rest. Laurie Anne Marie did a great job of creating this twisting and turning story with a quirky plot line and out of the mold characters.
Amazon The Long arm of the Law Continue reading

My “Safe” Genre

 

I wanted to address my current reading trends for all the people that read this and don’t know me. I really like to read and have a wide variety of genres that I typically enjoy. I have been known to read non-fiction, historical novels, mysteries, chick lit, fantasy, as well as classical. I feel the need to defend my current pattern of reading, as even I know it is a bit “light hearted”.

I am a mom of a toddler. That is all.

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Its your lucky day!! Three for the price of…….

Did I trick ya with my title?! Did you think you were going to be getting three Rolexes for the price of one? Or three trips for the price of one? Or three rolls of toilet paper for the price of one? Well then……

It’s your lucky day! You get three book reviews for the price of nothing!! I have been a reading machine lately and have been trying to keep up on my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads since I read the reviews of others so much, I decided that I should share my opinions as well. I read three books in three days and I combined my reviews into one post for you! Two are in a series written by G.K. Parks; The Warhol Incident and Mimicry of Banshees. The third was a Meg Cabot book called The Boy Next Door. Below is a picture of the cover of all three! Let me know what you think of the books as well as of my review of them. I was not thorough because although these books were good, they were fun easy reads and I didn’t want to delve too deep 🙂

PS All the pictures are links to Amazon so you can buy these wonderful books too! Make sure you let me know if you are going to get them!

The Warhol Incident by G.K. Parksparks, GK Warhol

This book was great. I got it free from Amazon and it turned into a really great read! The characters were engaging and the plot line was enticing. The book is about an ex-federal agent Alexis Parker and her life now that she isn’t an agent. She gets mixed up in a sadistic murderers plan when she is enlisted to escort a painting from France. Her love interest, who also happens to be the CEO of the company she is consulting on securities with is also ever present. The book is long; I will say that but every page has a new twist with an engaging plotline. There are awesome scenes filled with terror and suspense and I was literally trembling at the thought of Alex’s fate. It helps that there is this forbidden romance that courses through the book and adds to the suspense of the book. G.K. Parks does a great job of making the characters likeable and not going over the top with the plot lines. There is a lot going on in the book but I find when a book has too many lines running all at the same time that I lose interest quickly. That was not the case with this book. Parks writes the suspense scenes wonderfully, with just the right amount of detail that you can picture the horrific scenes perfectly. For a free book on Amazon, I have to say this one rates on my top twenty! I would definitely recommend and of course, since it’s a series I have already bought the second book and can’t wait to crack it open!!

Mimicry of Banshees by G.K. Parkerparks, GK Mimicry

I was less intrigued with this book than with the other book I read by this author. It was along the same lines as The Warhol Incident which was #2 in the series; this book still painted a good picture and had me caught up in all of Alex’s drama. It was just lacking that umph that I needed.

Martin, Alex’s boss/complicated romance, is found on his yacht with a murdered model. Alex works to help find the killer while keeping Martin out of trouble. She fights going back to work in the public sector law enforcement but somehow keeps getting dragged in. Will she find the killer before they turn back to Martin as the lead suspect? Will they somehow make this makeshift relationship work?

The last question was all that I ended up caring about. I found that the girl that was murdered was not a real character in the book, which made it hard for me to want revenge on her killer. I found the middle parts of the book to be boring and in fact skipped over them. There was little need for most of the conversations, nothing important to the story line happened during those pages which made me lose a bit of interest. The author did a good job of keeping the same characters in the novels, which helped the storyline because you didn’t really have to get to know them again. He also continued the battle that Alex was having with herself over staying a cop or not which was a nice line to think about, however got dull during this book. There was some potential in the undercover stint that Alex has to do but it ended up kind of falling flat.

I still was pulling for the romance between Martin and Alex and liked the suspense that G.K. Parks built in regards to their relationship, it gave me that nice fluttery feeling when they saw each other and that frustrated feeling when they were off again. However when the book got boring in the middle so did Alex and Martin’s relationship.

Perhaps I was too pumped up for this book, or had read 4 books in 48 hours (IK, I don’t know what got into me) but I wished more for this book after the last one hooked me so well. I read the other comments that people wrote and perhaps it was just my personal preference after so much love for the Warhol Incident. I hope that my comments do not dissuade any of you from trying this book because the author did a great job on the other ones; this one just wasn’t so much for me!

The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot cabot, meg

This book was good. It wasn’t really great but it kept me up until almost 11 o’clock last night finishing it so it had to be pretty good right! The book is about a girl, Mel whose next door neighbor gets attacked and how she meets this boy, Max/John who ends up being perfect for her but he has a secret that he is hiding from Mel. Meg Cabot does a great job of building up the story without any real dialogue while the events are happening. Sorry, let me explain- As you can read from the previous comments, it’s entirely written in email format. Everything that happens is told to another person via an email which is hilarious and irksome at the same time. while nice to read differently for a change, and it’s cute and funny that you get the picture from all these different eyes, it also made me less vested in the characters. I found that the ranting and raving from the other points of view were not really what I wanted to read and just skipped them. I was interested in the romance and what was going to happen and found that it was hard to really “care” what the other characters thought or did. There were other plot lines that cursed through the book, new love, a new marriage, a pesky boss, and nosy co-workers but I didn’t really care too much about them. Maybe it was because there was no explaining them, so there was no real way for me to picture them? I am not sure. But I don’t want to bash the book, because as I said, it still kept me up reading until the very end! It was fun to try a new book with a different writing style and while I am not sad that I read it, I am not thrilled that I read it either.

Thanks for reading!!

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Premiere, A Love Story Book Review

That moment when a book pulls you in is….pure bliss. It’s that feeling of anticipation that feeling that you want it to be over RIGHT NOW and yet at the same time it can’t possibly end because then it will, well, be over!  “Premiere: A Love Story” was recently that book for me. It may be considered “Chick Lit” and may not be the deepest, most thought provoking novel I have read it still was a captivating story with great, likable characters that had me rooting for them until the very end.

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I recently started getting ARC ebooks from Netgalley and just read “Premiere: A Love Story” By Tracy Ewens. It is a brilliantly written love story that somehow manages to set itself apart from the millions of other love stories.

The main character is a girl, Samantha, who grew up and now lives in the same small town in California. She works in a little theater and is happy with her just “fine” life. Then her past, in the form of Peter, comes back to her and she is forced to relive all the good and bad memories that come with it. The way that the author explains the passion and connection between Samantha, her complicated best friend Peter, is outstanding. There is hate and anger and love and friendship coursing throughout the whole book and it keeps you entertained until the very end. The characters develop easily and as the plot unfolds it is enjoyable to root for the couple to make it. There is some great comic relief by the third musketeer in Grady which helps to balance all the love and hate that is getting thrown around. There is a nice diversity to the book in that Sam and Peter already have a history. It lends nicely to a great time-filler while we all wait not so patiently for the climax. Ewens did a wonderful job of building up all this tension and passion and just as much as Peter and Sam couldn’t contain it any longer, neither could the reader. She also does a great job of creating a deeper book than just another romance novel. She deals with deep seeded issues of coming to age and finding one’s self amid loss and hormones.

Perhaps I took a particular liking to it because the main character is a home-grown tomboy like I was, but I think that even if you weren’t raised in a small town, the likability of the characters and the passion of the story will hook you instantly.  I like when you don’t have to wait for a book to develop. In this book there is tension and passion straight from the beginning. In every page, even when the two main characters aren’t the focus you can still feel them there and every page keeps you reading.  I also like this book because although the love scenes are passionate, they are not raunchy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Fifty Shades but it’s nice to get that warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach and to use your own imagination to picture how the whole “event” plays out. And then there is that ending where, just when you thought you had it figured out, the author catches ya with a curveball that has you even more captivated then before. I love the climax after the climax and that is just what this book had!

I have recently rekindled a lost love for reading and love to share my thoughts with others. I would love to start conversations about books you have read and would also love to give feedback if you have a book you would like me to read! Nothing like curling up with a good book, some tea or wine, a comfy blanket and just getting lost in someone’s make believe reality! I would love to hear what everyone else has to say about this book Premiere! Anyone who has read it and agrees? Anyone dislike it? I didn’t hear much about this book and didn’t see it on a lot of lists and am curious as to why. It is a really great read and recommend it to all!

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Be Happy, for this moment, this moment is your life- Omar Khayyam

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I have been struggling with something to write these past couple of weeks. My life has been pretty normal. Work, home, clean, cook, sleep. But I have realized a very important thing in these last couple of days that I decided were good enough to share. Continue reading

All in one little book; My book review of Big Little Lies- By Liane Moriarty.

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I rescind my previous comment. I had previously posted on goodreads.com that I was stuck on this book, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I let it sit for a couple of days and read another book or two and then decided to pick this one back up. It was wonderful. I mean, at first I was tortured by the pace, the whiny character voices, the skipping back and forth. I almost wanted to make a spreadsheet just to keep track of all the characters and their children. But by the end of the book I was bawling. I was satisfied and appalled by the ending. I loved the way Liane Moriarty created all these characters with their own separate lives and problems and dealt with so many public issues that families struggle with every day. She tricked you at first by making the book and the characters just seem petty and whiny. By the end however she had shown an ugly face of suburban life that you never saw coming; All in one little book.

I will say the second this book ended, I wanted to pick it back up and re-read it because I knew there were so many bits of foreshadowing at the beginning that I was too busy being bored to pick up on. She lead me the wrong way, made me think I knew just what had happened at the end only to turnaround at the last minute and BAM, never saw that coming; All in one little book.

The dynamic of the characters, adding these harrowing issues right into the lives of perfect, suburban life was so enticing. I loved how each story line wasn’t dominating in the overall plot, yet each individual story was so powerful and important that they could have each had a book and I would have eaten all of them up. It was amazing how she made you hate, then love, hate and then cry for these characters; All in one little book.

Ok, I will digress back to actually talking about the book, not just raving about it. Moriarty wrote in different character perspectives in each almost chapter, hence why it started out so confusing. You start out not knowing anything about any of these characters, all you know is that one of them is dead. Then the author adds this layer of foreshadowing where she ends each chapter with a bit of the police report questions, which only adds more characters for you to keep track of, while flaming your curiosity for “who done it”. I liked that from the beginning the author was very upfront that something nasty had happened. It made you speculate through the entire book. The author throws all these characters right on you at the beginning, creating this quick web of intertwined people who all care way too much about each other’s lives. This was part of the reason I had a hard time with this book at first. I found it hard to get vested in these characters lives when I couldn’t even keep track of who Renata was from who Madeline was, and frankly, who cares when both of them were just whiney, conceded, rich housewives. Oh, how the tides turned when you got to know their stories; All in one little book.

I am still baffled, a day later, that Moriarty could make me, the reader, so tied up in all these characters lives so quickly. I find it similar to the movie “Crash” but way more engaging, dealing with almost every social convention possible while not making that point blatantly obvious. She sneaks these issues in just like they are snuck into real life. She makes them there, but almost makes you doubt they are happening as much at the character does. She shows you almost every point of view of each issue and how each problem effects each character differently; All in one little book.

Well done Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is engaging, enthralling, captivating, sickening, heartfelt, disturbing, funny, lovable, powerful, and heart wrenching; All in one little book.

Thank you for reading my post! Now if you haven’t read the book- GO READ IT NOW! If you have, what did you think? I know I raved about the book and based on comments I have read there are still mixed feelings so I would love to hear what others thought of the book!

Meal Prep: A first try success story!

So as part of my organization February link up, I decided to try my hand at “prepping”. I don’t mean doomsday prepping if that’s what you’re thinking   PS. I mean meal prepping. So I set out on Sunday afternoon to get my butt ready for dinners this week.

FullSizeRenderThis is a picture of my Erin Condren meal plan insert. These were the meals I wanted to make for dinner this week.

I started out by making the white chicken chili. I found the recipe on Pinterest here:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119063983871934379/

I figured as a soup option without noodles I could make the entire soup and all we would have to do is heat it up for dinner! I added avocado to the top, which was a nice fresh touch.

My first week went fantastic. I loved getting home each night and just popping something into a pan, warming it up and going! I picked a lot of easy things to prep for my first week- things that I could just literally put in a pan and the meal was done. This week I am going to do mostly meals that don’t need prep. (We decided to play in the snow on Sunday instead of cook (:)

While I was making the white chicken chili, I also made my spaghetti sauce as well as the stuffing for my stuffed peppers. I changed up my normal sauce to add meat this week. The recipe for my sauce is just out of my own head but I have typed it up below. I apologize for the shoddy measuring- I don’t do well with exact.

The stuffed pepper recipe is just my spaghetti sauce with cooked rice! I added a few more peppers and then just put it inside the pepper, cooked in the oven on 375 for around 25 mins. 

Emma’s Spaghetti Sauce
1 onion
1 pepper
A couple cloves of garlic
2 16oz cans of Tomato Sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
Mushrooms- fresh or canned (as many or as little as you like)
I used ½ pd ground beef and ½ pd sausage (get creative, if you like pork- add pork)
Salt, pepper, basil

I browned the meat, set aside. Then I chopped my onion and pepper and sautéed them with a few turns of olive oil. I added some salt and pepper here. Right before you add the tomato sauce, I pressed a few garlic cloves in and let them cook for about a minute. Not too long or you can burn it. Add the cans of sauce. (I usually rinse out my cans with water and throw that in the pot as well) Add a few spoonful’s of the tomato paste here. Sometimes I use the whole can, depends on how long I am simmering. The longer you simmer, the thicker it becomes, letting me use less paste. I throw the mushrooms in now as well. If you used fresh, you can cook them up before but again-if you’re simmering for a while, they are going to cook! Throw back in the meat, add some more salt and pepper and let it cook away! It’s a pretty standard sauce; feel free to customize it as you wish!!

Does anyone else out there prep? Do you have any advice for a new meal “prepper” or maybe some awesome recipes! Feel free to share them with me!

My February 12×30 Challenge!

So I decided to join into a Link party called “February 12X30 Challenge: Get Organized”. I have been trying all year (a whole month) to whip my life, finances and house into tip top shape.

<a href=”http://www.mysocalledchaos.com/2015/02/february-12×30-challenge-get-organized.html” target=”blank”><img src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lDMeJLrj1Ok/VM_JKpTLhyI/AAAAAAAAKJc/z_RoDzKXrqs/s1600/Organize%2BChallenge.jpg” alt=”12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge”></a> Continue reading

Book Review: “All Joy and No Fun”

“There are two ways to lead a life: one in which we act as if nothing is a miracle, and the other in which we act as if everything is.”

Well, I finished “All Joy and No Fun” by Jennifer Senior. I will say that I had high hopes for this book and it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. The book was based primarily in the workings of a psychologist that visited different family dynamics who all attended a group session. The author shared stories about how the coped with live with children. Although she had some nice comforting thoughts, the overall premise of the book I felt was more how to overcome the bad parts and less about how wonderful it can be.

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