Everyday Tidbits...

Fall, where are you? I get teasers of cooler weather, but you haven't arrived yet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Booking Through Thursday...Family

Do other people in your family also like to read? Or are you in this on your own?

I belong to a family of readers.  The Doctor loves to read just as much as I do.  He doesn't have as much time, but he always reads before falling asleep and he often reviews books for me.  The boys are readers too.  The Boy has loved several series by Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull. He's working on a Riordan book now.  He's a junior and in AP classes, so unfortunately he has more school reading than fun reading at the moment.

The Brother reads, but he prefers graphic novels or books that feature his latest obsession.  He's reading a Godzilla book right now.

We have family trips to the bookstore.  My kids love it.  Hastings and Barnes and Noble are two of their favorite stores.

My mom and two of my sisters are readers.  One isn't.  My dad enjoyed reading and my nieces and nephews are a mixed bunch. Some do, some don't.

What about you?  Are you the only reader in your house?

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes...Review

About the book:
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

The cupcake trend is still alive and well and Kat is frustrated working in her aunt's bakery. She loves to create and Aunt Maggie likes tradition.  When her best friend signs her up for a reality cooking show, she gets back at him by having him be her assistant.

The sparks fly, the cupcakes burn and the judges are creepy.  But, Kat is determined to win and leave Louisiana for New York.  Lucas doesn't want to lose her, but can't quite bring himself to open up and be honest about his feelings.

I don't watch television and so while I think there is a show called Cupcake Wars, I don't know how it compares to the fictional Cupcake Combat. The scenes during the filming were entertaining.  I found myself frustrated with Kat and Lucas' behavior at times, but this was a light-hearted, fun story.  I enjoy stories where best friends fall in love with each other.  The Christian elements are so light as to be practically non-existent.   I hated Kat's mom and sister.  Loved Lucas' football team.

A sweet story that is a perfect beach read or for sitting on a patio sipping something cold.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Betsy St. Amant here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 9/14

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Love's Fortune...Review

About the book:
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew.

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

Raised in rural Kentucky, Wren Ballantyne knows little of her father's family. When her father receives a letter summoning him home, Wren discovers a world that is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. As she meets cousins and begins to forge new friendships, she draws closer to James Sackett, one of her grandfather's steamship pilots.

When her sour aunt determines that Wren must have a season and procure a good marriage, she realizes the move to Pittsburgh was more than she bargained for. However, as she is forced into high society as a pawn in the family plans, Wren surprises everyone and comes into her own. But the Ballantyne heir is irresponsible, Silas falls ill and as the family is still involved in anti-slavery danger lurks on the doorstep.

I have loved the Ballantyne family. This series, while it follows the family story, jumps a generation with each book, which has worked. Everyone returns here and it's lovely to see Ellie and Jack with a large family and so happy. Silas and Eden are aging, but very much involved in family life and the Ballantyne businesses. Other family members are just as odious here as they were in previous books, but lessons are learned and love triumphs.

Laura's historical descriptions and detail are always vivid and rich. The book could stand alone, but please, do yourself a favor and read them in order. It's much better that way!

Thanks to Lanette at Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Laura Frantz here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 9/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mailbox Monday 9/15

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This week's mailbox was much more manageable!

Deceived by Irene Hannon, for review from Revell
Prescription for Life: Three Simple Strategies to Live Younger Longer by Richard Furman, MD, for the Doctor to review from Revell
The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnisch, giveaway win from Naida at The Bookworm


What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekend Reflections 9/13

Looking outside....it's blessedly cool.  Fall is on its way.

Listening...The Boy is at work.  The Brother is still asleep.

Loving...that fall is coming.  This makes me happy.

Thinking...about life, the universe.

In my kitchen...Tepanyaki with the extended family to celebrate a birthday.

Wearing...yellow pajamas.

Needing...to finish up my Friday transcription tape.  Yesterday was busy and today I'm procrastinating.

Reading...Yesterday's Tomorrow by Catherine West

Today...some family time and dinner and then a new episode of Doctor Who.  Woot!!

Hoping...to get some laundry done and my kitchen tidied up.  The Brother needs to mow the lawns.

Planning...for the week.  

Gratitude...for Hulu.  I finally got caught up on last season of Bones.

From my world...legos.  We have a house full of legos.  My big secret?  The kids put down a blanket before they dump out the legos.  Cleanup is so much easier!!

What about you?  What are you reflecting on today?