Everyday Tidbits...

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies...Review

About the book:
The Juice Lady, Cherie Calbom, provides all of her most popular recipes for juicing, smoothies, shakes, soups, and sauces, in one complete volume.Juice and smoothies are sweeping the nation! Why? They’re fruity, delicious, easy to make, and packed with powerful nutrition. It’s no wonder everyone is enjoying the convenience and great taste of these healthy meal and snack alternatives. Bring your blender or juicing machine into the twenty-first century with the most updated versions of Cherie’s recipes to be found anywhere—more than just refreshment, these recipes enhance your energy and boost your mental and physical health.Enjoy simple, tasty recipes for:
· Healing juices and smoothies that will help fight the flu, infections, and aging skin
· Low-carb juices and smoothies that will help you lose weight
· Green smoothies that pack a powerful punch of phytonutrients and antioxidants
· Recipes that are perfect for kids and moms on the go
· Workout and body-building drinks
· And more!

Being one who juices on a regular basis, I was curious about this book.  And, as a recipe book it's great.  There are tons of juice and smoothie recipes.  There were many fruit and vegetable combinations that were new to me and I appreciated that.  The author also includes a chapter with juice recipes that are focused on specific health issues.

One thing I would have appreciated was an index.  It would be nice to look up a recipe by specific fruit or vegetable.  Still, it's a book that is loaded with recipes and information on juicing.  Perfect for a seasoned juicer or someone new to the game.

Thanks to First Wildcard for the opportunity to review this book.  You can read the first chapter here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/13

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mailbox Monday 1/28

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Lori's Reading Corner.

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 is what showed up at my house this week.

Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson (for review, from Baker Publishing)
When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey (for review, from Baker Publishing)


What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out Lori's Reading Corner.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekend Reflections 1/26

Looking outside...it's still cold, but the sun is shining!  We had a snow day on Thursday and the ice was so bad that 88 miles of freeway was shut down as well as the airport runways.  Today's high should hit 34°F and it feels warm!  The rain last night washed away some ice, but it's still pretty slippery outside.

Listening...silence. I love early morning silence.  Although the toaster just popped so The Boy is up.

Loving...that I'm caught up with Downton Abbey, but I hate that I have to wait for more.  Sigh.

Thinking...it's early.  I'm not really thinking yet and this cold, combined with lack of decent sleep has me rather muddled and foggy.

In my kitchen...homemade bread and cinnamon honey butter.

Wearing...purple pajamas

Needing...to do some tidying up.

Reading...still reading The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen.  It's been a long week and this one is taking me awhile.

Today...I'm not sure.  It's open and we have no fixed engagements, which is nice.

Hoping...that this cold will go away.  I'm tired of being sick.

Planning...for the next week.  Menus, calendar, appointments, activities.

Gratitude...for decongestant and humidifiers and to see the sun shining after a cloudy, snowy week.

From my world...the birds love the berries on this tree each year.  We like watching them enjoy it.  At one point, I think there were near 100 birds in the tree.  It is now stripped bare.

What about you?  What are you reflecting on today?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Heat Wave...Review

About the book:
Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

I watch very little television.  Seriously.  Especially in comparison to people who watch tons of shows.  But, I adore, absolutely adore the show Castle.  I love what ABC has done with the Richard Castle character and that the Nikki Heat books are real.  I just wish I'd loved this as much as I love the show.  The book is entertaining and it's easy to see the character comparisons between book fiction and the fictional 12th precinct.  But, it just shows me again that murder mystery isn't my favorite genre.  Sometimes I get lucky with it and this one wasn't bad, it just won't ever be my favorite.  I prefer watching Rick and Kate go at each other rather than reading about Rook and Heat.

Best part of the book?  The acknowledgements and author interview at the end.  Hysterical and so true to the Castle character.

I read my personal copy.  You can learn more about Richard Castle here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/13

* * *
3/5 Stars

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Booking Through Thursday...Soundtrack

Do you ever try to pair music with the book you’re reading? Play the movie soundtrack while reading the original book? Find mood music that fits with your story?

In a word: No.  Some songs might bring to mind a book that I'm reading or have read, but I don't consciously try and find music to go with my reading.  I don't necessarily love listening to music while I read anyway.  I can tune out background noise so music doesn't bother me unless it's loud, but I don't put music on while I read either.  I've seen where authors will list the music that inspired them while writing or that goes along with their book, but rarely does that same music inspire me.

What about you?

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow...Review

About the book:
The whole world is coming to Chicago. Charlotte's whole world is coming down around her.

While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow's attentions are entirely on one small boy--her boy--whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.

When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's struggles determine her path?

This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.

I really liked Charlotte when I met her in The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and I was excited to see that she had her own story.  Charlotte wants nothing more than to be a good mother to her son, but life in service doesn't lend itself to motherhood.  When the woman who has been caring for Henry leaves him at the Banning home, Charlotte can't admit that he's hers and must let the household believe he's an abandoned baby.  A woman staying with the Banning family wants Henry for her own and when Charlotte's past interferes with her present, she believes that giving up Henry is the best thing.

Charlotte is strong, brave and spunky.  Her story isn't quite plausible, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I like Charlotte and I loved Archie. I hated Sarah and I really hope that hers isn't the next story in the series because she has no redeeming qualities and I can't imagine ever liking her.

The historical setting is again terrific:  the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Chicago's affluent Prairie Avenue and the disparity between the privileged and the working class.  Second in the Avenue of Dreams series, the book stands alone well but, as always, is richer if you've read the first one, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning.

Thanks to Donna Hausler from Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Olivia Newport here.You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/13

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day...Review

About the book:
What if there was one book that could help you do nearly everything in life cheaper, better, or faster?

Make gourmet coffee without the gourmet price. Remove hairspray baked onto a curling iron. Clean just about any stain off of just about any surface. Keep your cat out of your houseplants. Get the best deal on your next car. And thousands of other helpful tips and tricks.

Cheaper, Better, Faster is all the best advice you've ever heard (and plenty you've never heard) collected into one handy volume.

Every tip is short, to the point, and helps you make the most of your money and your time, making everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable. Collected over the years by financial expert and Debt-Proof Living founder Mary Hunt, these little nuggets of advice are sure to make your life easier, one tip at a time.

I've always liked Mary Hunt and I'm always looking for ways to do things cheaper, better and faster, so I was curious about her new book.  It's an updated version of Tiptionary that was first published in 1997.  The book is literally just tips, nothing else. Generalized chapter headings house page after page of tips, tricks and hints.

For the most part I liked the book and I'd liken it to a print version of Pinterest.  Unfortunately for me, the chapters are fairly generalized and while there is a Table of Contents, there is no Index.  So, you can't go to the Index if you're looking for a possible answer to a specific problem.  Like Pinterest, this is a book where you read it and little light bulbs go off and you think, "I can do that" or "That would work" and then you mark that page with a post-it note and hope you can remember it.  Much like Pinterest boards.

Easily recommended for fans of Mary Hunt and those who are always looking for ways to be more efficient.

Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Mary Hunt here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mailbox Monday 1/21

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Lori's Reading Corner.

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 is what showed up at my house this week.  My TBR stack is in serious danger of toppling.

5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims (for review, from Baker Publishing)
The Emperor's Conspiracy byMichelle Diener (giveaway win from Passages to the Past)
Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate (for review, from Litfuse Publicity)


What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out Lori's Reading Corner.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekend Reflections 1/19

Looking outside...it's cold.  Last night it was -1°F.  Today our high will probably be around 12°F and tonight it's going to be 0°F.  I don't mind the cold.  I prefer the cold over the heat. I love turtlenecks and sweaters and fireplaces.

Listening...to blessed silence.  The boys are sleeping in after a late night waiting for their Grandma's flight to get in.

Loving...that my mom is here for a quick weekend visit.

Thinking...that I need to get more jeans for The Artist. Suddenly his are a size too small.  They grow so quickly!

In my kitchen...since Grandma is here, we will probably eat out.  I'm thinking we haven't had Tepanyaki for awhile.

Wearing...black slacks and a pink turtleneck.

Needing...to fold some clothes.  I got most of the laundry done yesterday and won't have to do it again until Monday.

Reading...The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Today...some errands and adventure with my mom.

Hoping...that it would rain so the ice would melt or at least snow again so we'd have some traction while driving.

Planning...to watch more Downton Abbey.  The Doctor discovered it and got me hooked.  It's seriously a soap opera, but one I can't seem to get enough of.  Hugh Bonneville is just adorable.

Gratitude...that my mother is able and willing to travel and come and see us so often.

From my world...Jack Frost does beautiful work.

What about you?  What are you reflecting on today?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Booking Through Thursday...Winter

It’s the depth of winter here where I live right now … what books do you like to read when it’s snowy and white? What books do you read to evoke a real feeling of winter (good or bad)?

It's definitely the depth of winter where I live too.  I think that the highest temp we've hit in the last two weeks hasn't been above 25.  It's been in the single digits many days and every night.  The snow won't melt and our street is really iced over.

I don't think the seasons really matter in regards to my reading.  Obviously I read Christmas books at Christmas time but, other than that, I really don't read particular books in specific seasons.  Now where or how I read is definitely affected by the weather.  In the winter, I curl up under a blanket and often have a cup of cocoa with me.

What about you?

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker...Review

About the book:
In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, novelist Jennifer Chiaverini presents a stunning account of the friendship that blossomed between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley, a former slave who gained her professional reputation in Washington, D.C. by outfitting the city’s elite. Keckley made history by sewing for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln within the White House, a trusted witness to many private moments between the President and his wife, two of the most compelling figures in American history.

In March 1861, Mrs. Lincoln chose Keckley from among a number of applicants to be her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire Keckley had fashioned. The relationship between the two women quickly evolved, as Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family, supporting Mary Todd Lincoln in the loss of first her son, and then her husband to the assassination that stunned the nation and the world.

Keckley saved scraps from the dozens of gowns she made for Mrs. Lincoln, eventually piecing together a tribute known as the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt. She also saved memories, which she fashioned into a book, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Upon its publication, Keckley’s memoir created a scandal that compelled Mary Todd Lincoln to sever all ties with her, but in the decades since, Keckley’s story has languished in the archives. In this impeccably researched, engrossing novel, Chiaverini brings history to life in rich, moving style.

I was so excited to see that Jennifer Chiaverini has finally branched out from her Elm Creek series.  I've enjoyed most of that series, but I don't think every single character in a series needs her own story.  When I learned about this book, I was fascinated by the Lincoln subject matter and anxious to read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

The story of the relationship between Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln is impeccably researched and very historical.  Unfortunately, it fell short for me.  It was a book that took me an inordinately long time to get through and there was much historical telling about the time period.  Honestly, I finally just skimmed over the historical narrative and moved to the portions that were about Elizabeth and Mrs. Lincoln.

I loved the portrayal of President Lincoln.  He seemed like such a good, kind man in these pages.  Mrs. Lincoln, unfortunately, was a truly unlikeable character.  I didn't like her and I had no compassion for her and I wish I had because I think her time in the White House was difficult.  Elizabeth was good, almost too good and I wanted to be able to see more of her life before she became a free woman.

Well researched, fans of historical fiction and Jennifer Chiaverini in particular will likely enjoy it more than I did.

Thanks to Dutton, Penguin Group for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Jennifer Chiaverini here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/13

* * *
3/5 Stars


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waiting for Spring...Review

About the book:
After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But when a notorious robber believes she knows the location of a long-lost treasure, she flees to Cheyenne and opens a dressmaker's shop to lie low and make a living. When wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry enters the shop to visit her best customer, Charlotte feels drawn to him.

If Barrett is to be a senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming, he must make a sensible match, and Miriam has all the right connections. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Soon the past comes to call, and Barrett's plans crumble around him. Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

After her husband's death and learning that he was involved in less than scrupulous activities, Charlotte leaves Fort Laramie with her infant son and finds herself a new identity and new life.  She wants nothing more than the ability to provide for her son.  When she meets Barrett Landry, she is attracted to him even as she believes he will marry her good friend.  When a man from her husband's past discovers her whereabouts, Charlotte's secrets collapse and she fears that Barrett won't accept her once he knows those secrets.

Amanda Cabot has such a wonderful way with descriptions and strong, compelling characters.  I loved Charlotte and Barrett. I loved how Charlotte learned that she needed to trust her family and friends and that she didn't need to accomplish everything on her own.  This was a story I didn't want to put down.

Second in the Westward Winds series, the story stands alone just fine, but I prefer to read series' in order.  I look forward to the next two books and I was thrilled to learn at the end, that Gwen will get her own book as well.

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Amanda Cabot here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mailbox Monday 1/14

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Lori's Reading Corner.

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

It was a slow book week here at 2 Kids and Tired.  Slow in reading and slow at the mailbox.  Slow isn't a negative thing, however.  My TBR pile has been assaulted the past few weeks and it needed this well deserved break.

A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig (for review, from First Wildcard)


What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out Lori's Reading Corner.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekend Reflections 1/12

Looking outside...it's freaking cold, but clear. I think it's 1°F at the moment. We had a lot of snow this week and one snow day on Thursday.  It's nice to see the sun today.  Driving home from Boise last night was like driving on an ice rink at times.

Listening...blessed silence.  My boys are sleeping in.

Loving...warm fuzzy socks, blankets and cocoa, my books, my boys, The Doctor, good friends,

Thinking...that I'm glad I got Christmas put away.  The house always seems so open and clean after I do that.

In my kitchen...I have no idea on what to fix for dinner tonight.  There are some dishes I need to wash and a couple of piles of paper that need going through.

Wearing...jammies.  Mine are dark red with little black and white penguins and a black turtleneck.

Needing...to work on my big, annual editing project that happens every time this year.

Reading...still reading Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I can't remember when it took me this long to read a book.   But, it's been a busy week and this one is not a quick read, I'm finding.

Today...I need to sit down with The Doctor and make a plan for my exercise and eating better.  I need to get some weight off.

Hoping...that we can go to church tomorrow as normal.  An indoor sprinkler pipe froze and burst last Sunday morning causing some flooding and canceling all meetings and services.  It happened early morning while people were in the building which was a blessing because if it had happened overnight, the damage would have been much, much worse.

Planning...some menus for next week.

Gratitude...for the opportunity I've had to work with the youth at church over the years and watching these young men and women grow into such terrific adults. Grateful that I am still close to some of these young women and that they invite me to witness significant events in their lives.

From my world...we have t-rex footprints in our backyard!

What about you?  What are you reflecting on today?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Booking Through Thursday...Gifts

Do you like to give books as gifts?

As much as I love books and I love giving books as gifts, I don't do it very often.  Unless you know someone's personal reading preferences or specific wants, it can be hard to buy books for people.  My kids get books because I know what series or author they're currently reading or want.  We do a lot of Barnes and Noble gift cards as well.  I will do book gift cards for other people instead of actual books, so they can get what they want, especially in this day of ebooks.

I like giving books as part of a baby shower gift because I think babies should know books from the beginning.

What about you?  Do you like giving books as gifts?

Go here for more interesting BTT posts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Lesson...Review

About the book:
In her wildest dreams, spunky and impulsive nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp never imagined herself behind a schoolteacher’s desk. A run-in (literally) with the schoolteacher compels her to act as a substitute teacher, just as her restless desire to see the world compels her to apply for a passport . . . just in case. The only thing of interest to M.K. in the sleepy Amish community of Stoney Ridge is the unexplained death of a sheep farmer that coincided with the arrival of a mysterious young man into the community. Frustrated that no one takes the crime seriously, she takes matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, as tends to be the case for M.K., she jumps headlong into trouble.

M.K. has to be one of my favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher characters.  She is spunky, bright and a tad impulsive.  Longing to see the world, she is frustrated when the school board and her step-mother Fern push her into becoming a substitute teacher.  When new student Jenny Yoder comes to class, M.K. is curious about her and her older brother Chris, new arrivals in Stoney Ridge.  Chris begins working for M.K's father and she finds herself drawn to him even as she is curious about his past and life.  But, as answers start to come, her father steps in before M.K. and Chris can make their own decisions.

With the arrival of Chris and Jenny Yoder to Stoney Ridge, Amos Lapp has to finally come to terms with a tragic accident that happened in the past.  Whether he can or not will have a drastic effect on both M.K. and Chris.  Suzanne has such a way with her characters and gets right into their souls.  I love the Lapp family and Chris and Jenny were terrific.  They are all simply fantastic characters.  You feel for them, you care about them and you really want Jimmy Fisher to have some sense knocked into him!   Seriously.

The story can stand alone, but you really do learn a lot about M.K. in the previous books. This was a fitting conclusion to the Stoney Ridge series, although I would have loved an epilogue.  I really don't want to say good-bye to the Lapp family!

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

Read 1/13

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


About the book:
Reporter Moira Harrison is lost. In the dark. In a thunderstorm. When a confusing detour places her on a rural, wooded road, she's startled by the sudden appearance of a lone figure caught in the beam of her headlights. Though Moira jams on her brakes, the car careens across the wet pavement--and the solid thump against the side of the vehicle tells her she hit the person before she crashes into a tree on the far side of the road.

A dazed Moira is relieved when a man opens her door, tells her he saw everything, and promises to call 911. Then everything fades to black. When she comes to an hour later, she is alone. No man. No 911. No injured person lying on the side of the road. But she can't forget the look of terror she saw on the person's face in the instant before her headlights swung away. The person she hit had been in trouble. She's sure of it. But she can't get anyone to believe her story--except a handsome former police detective, now a private eye, who agrees to take on the case.

From the very first page, readers will be hooked into this fast-paced story full of shocking secrets from fan-favorite Irene Hannon. Vanished is the exciting first book in the Private Justice series: Three justice seekers who got burned playing by the rules now have a second chance to make things right.

Moira knows that she hit a woman that dark, rainy night.  She knows that a man talked to her.  The problem is, when she wakes up, there is no body, no man and no indication that there ever was either one.  After the police dismiss her claims, she turns to a private detective who agrees to take her case.  And as that case unfolds, Moira and Cal Burke discover more than just a mysterious man.  They discover murder and intrigue and someone willing to kill Moira to keep her from discovering his secrets.

Irene Hannon is one of those authors whose books I jump at the chance to review.  They're suspenseful and clean with fantastic characters and no preaching, charming heroes and capable heroines.  Her research is fantastic and realistic and her stories believable.  I have loved every Irene Hannon book I've read.  I'm so glad that this is part of a series and that we'll learn more about Cal's partners, Dev and Connor, in later books.

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler and Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Irene Hannon here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/13

* * * *
4/5 Stars