Friday, December 19, 2014

The Skinnytaste Cookbook

I have been a follower of the Skinnytaste blog for as long as I have been trying to lose weight. Which is something like years.  When I saw that author Gina had come out with a cookbook, I rejoiced.  I love her blog, but it would take me considerable time to hunt up a recipe I wanted on there and the cookbook just saved me all the hassle.  It's a gorgeous book, the photos alone will leave you drooling.  I have tried many of her recipes over the years, and can say I enjoyed 95% of them (only because I'm hard to please).   The cookbook does a great job of introducing some healthier eating habits, and then reinforcing them with tasty recipes using common ingredients found in your grocery store.  I look forward to experimenting a little over the holidays, Christmas breakfast is about to become a little healthier and a lot more satisfying!  
This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my unbiased review. 

Take a peek inside the book and order one of your own at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

I have to admit, when I ordered "The New American Herbal" to review, I had no idea it was this comprehensive.  I have a lot of respect for people who take the time to do their research prior to publishing, and this author gets a standing ovation.   This is not simply a reference for wanna-be gourmet chefs, but a great cornerstone for someone wishing to plant herbs for medicinal and culinary value.  It took me days to wade through all the information, yet the reading was pleasant, and left me feeling like I'd gone through a story book and not an herbal encyclopedia.  Highly recommended!
This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. 

Take a peek inside, or order the book here:

Friday, October 31, 2014

God Gave Us Angels (a children's book)

I'm always a little hesitant when it comes to books about angels.  Sometimes they are portrayed in a way that makes them seem fictional, and other times they are given an almost God-like status.  Neither is the case with "God Gave Us Angels".   In this beautifully illustrated book the angels are presented in a manner consistent with their Biblical descriptions.  The writer did a wonderful job of explaining the unseen in a way that a child will truly understand. I loved it!  

Read an excerpt, or purchase this book at

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review by Blogging for Books.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Underground Girls of Kabul

I'm not usually a "heavy reading" kind of girl.  "Heavy reading" meaning something that actually has some depth to it.  Reading time for me is at the end of the work day, and it is my escape from reality for a little while.  Unfortunately, reality for we women here in the USA is different from the reality known to women in other parts of the world.  "The Underground Girls of Kabul" takes you on an in-depth journey to Afghanistan, behind the shaded windows and under the veils.  It is the very well researched account of girls whose families disguise them as boys for a time. This allows these young ladies freedoms they would otherwise never experience, like going to school, or having a job.  It also explores what happens to these women when their simulated manhood extends longer than anyone could have ever imagined.

For more information visit

This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my unbiased review. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

I was introduced to Jim Gaffigan's humor during a very intense Wilderness Medicine training.  Prior to our exam, we watched his skit on "camping".  I promptly went home and watched it again on YouTube.  I ordered Jim Gaffigan's book "Dad Is Fat" because I so enjoy his comedy.  As a maternal child health nurse, I also appreciate his support of home birth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting.  His humor is fun, and clean enough for the kids.  I am sorry to say that I did not feel the quite as enthusiastic about his book.  I think it would be enjoyable to someone who has not seen his acts, but I found a couple of the chapters verbatim from his videos, which kind of took the "funny" out of it for me.  So, I don't want to discourage anyone else who needs a good laugh, because I know you will find one there, but I couldn't bring myself to finish this one.  
This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased review.  

It is available for purchase through Amazon at

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting

I'm a suburbanite trying to be a country girl.  I moved to the "great outdoors", bought a dozen chicks, and determined that I was going to live off the land. Eleven years later, I've progressed from "living off the land" to "well, if it grows, we'll eat it, and if not there's always the supermarket".  I've had a garden every Spring and Summer. The first year it was a few tomatoes, and this year I have a 400 square foot garden and three raised beds.  I've read everything there was, or so I thought, about gardening. I've researched online, and perused books and homesteading magazines, and hired myself out as a field hand just to learn the tricks of the trade  When "The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting" became available through Blogging for Books, I ordered it. I was sure it couldn't possibly offer me any information that I didn't already have, but I was curious. I am so glad that I did!  This book is amazing for both the new or seasoned gardener.  The introductory pages offer insight into different gardening methods, like permaculture and planting according to lunar phases/ There's a section on beneficial weeds, most of which I had just pulled and thrown in a heap in the field.  The best part is the companion planting flip section.  Simply choose your main crop as the center card, and line up the dots to find suitable companions for the garden.  I just bought some late season seed potatoes, flipped to the potato card, and found that string beans and nasturtium would help my potatoes to grow, and would deter pests.  The main crop cards are fairly limited, but seem to address the most common vegetables one might plant.  I am hoping that in the future they offer a second edition, and add even more vegetables and fruits!  Thank you to Blogging for Books who provided me with this book free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.

Author Josie Jeffery also has a website where you can learn some more great gardening ideas at  Her book, The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting is available from Amazon at

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini

Some people wait anxiously at the window for special guests or a loved one. I wait at my window for the mail. Nothing brings me greater pleasure than seeing that "book-sized" package being carried to my front door.  The anticipation of reading something new, the feel of the shredded envelope underneath my fingernails, those first glimpses of the front cover.  A book junkie's quick fix.  Pulling "Modern Pioneering" by Georgia Pellegrini out of the packaging was more than satisfying.  The book proved to be pleasant to see, and to feel. The photos on the cover immediately caught my eye, and the thick pages made me feel that it would hold up well under intense scrutiny.  I pulled out my glasses, sat down in my favorite chair, and started walking through the chapters.

"Modern Pioneering" offers a mix of gardening tips, recipes, upcycling ideas, and more.  It's not a homesteading book, more of an attempt at moving urbanites into more rural thinking.  It has lots of good ideas for the beginner looking to rely a little bit less on "the grid".  The photos and the variety of fonts, the silly pencil drawings, and the easy step-by-step instructions make this a very fun book to read!  Or, not to read. Simply looking at the pages while sipping a cup of tea would also be highly satisfying.  Tuck it in your beach bag, the coated pages will hold up well in the ocean breeze!  Here, take a peek at the pages yourself. You'll be hooked!

Thank you, Georgia Pellegrini, for breaking up the monotony of an early Spring afternoon with your insights in "Modern Pioneering". And thank you to Blogging for Books who provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.  Learn more about the author and her other works at

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

When Katie Ganshert's newest book arrived several weeks ago for me to review, I read the back cover and set it aside.  I couldn't imagine that my plus-sized self could in any way relate to a story about a super model and her fashion photographer.  Not for me, I thought.  Then, through the wonder of social media, I had a chance to spend an hour with Katie as she promoted "A Broken Kind of Beautiful" via webcast.  I heard Katie's desire for her story to reach the hearts of all women, young and old, that they might be able to see that beauty is more than just their outer vessel.  OK, that was a message I could embrace.  The next day, I pulled the novel back out from under my clean clothes pile and set to reading it.  Could I really connect wtih Ivy, the beautiful young model, and Davis, the man behind the lens?  If I had met them briefly in real life, that probably would be all that I saw.  Their professions.  The glamour.  Their beautiful bodies.  That's not at all what the story is about.  "A Broken Kind of Beautiful" is infused with lessons on forgiveness.  Forgiving oneself, forgiving others, and allowing God to take the broken pieces of your life and make them into something beautiful.  It's a peek into the hearts and minds hidden under forced smiles and designer clothes.  It's real people living messy lives, just like you and I.  I highly recommend that you skip the back cover, and start reading chapter one.  You won't be disappointed.  **Read Chapter One for free here:

For more details, or to purchase "A Broken Kind of Beautiful" by Katie Ganshert visit

This novel was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

I fell in love with Lori Benton's writing style while reading her debut novel "Burning Sky".  Always skeptical about a writer's second novel, I picked up "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" expecting to be disappointed.  Ten pages in, I was so drawn into the story and it's characters that I spent the next six hours reading every last page.  I must admit to having several favorite authors, but I do believe Lori Benton has just advanced to the level of "favorite" favorite.  I adore historical fiction, and "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" is incredibly well-researched.  The characters grab you by the hand and yell for you to hide from the Indians. They wrap you in a warm wool cloak as you flee your pursuers in the snow and ice.  They squeeze tears from your eyes as romance unfolds.  I couldn't ask for more when looking for historical romance worth reading. I was sorry to see the last page, and hope for many, many more novels from Lori Benton!  Well done, and wishing I had an extra hand so I could give her three thumbs up.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. It is currently available for pre-order with a release date of April 15, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

I don't tire of Joanne Bischof's writing style.  She gives you a pair of sturdy shoes and sends you out into the hills with her characters.  For those who have been looking forward to book three in the series, this will not disappoint.