Blog Challenge Day 8: Books I am Reading

For today’s blog challenge post, I am going to share with you the books that I am currently reading, whether for a review or just for personal enjoyment. So here we go!


Courageous by Dina Sleiman

Valiant Hearts: Where Adventure and Romance Meet

Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she’s haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.


A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon by Greg Prato

One of the most tragic stories of the 1990’s rock world was that of singer Shannon Hoon, and his band, Blind Melon. Despite scoring one of the decade’s most enduring singles and videos, “No Rain,”and a quadruple platinum hit with their 1992 self-titled debut album (in addition to touring alongside rock’s biggest names), Hoon could not overcome a dangerous drug addiction. Only two records into a promising career, Hoon was dead from an overdose at the age of 28. ‘A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other’ is the first book to tell the group’s story—culled from over 50 exclusive interviews (including the surviving band members and those closest to the band) and featuring many never-before-seen photos. “I am honored that Greg has painstakingly accounted for what the hell happened during those crazy times. He has summed up all the chaos, jubilation, and paranoia that is Blind Melon.” -Brad Smith, Blind Melon bassist


Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Austin Returns with a Multi-Generational Historical Novel

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.


Maze Runner by James Dashner

Blog Challenge Day 7- This Day in Music

Today, I am just going to share with you some of the things in the world of music that happened on October 7th.

Not an exhaustive list. Just a few things. So let’s see-

1967- Cass Elliot of The Mamas and The Papas got to spend a night in jail in London. She was accused of stealing from a hotel.


1976- John Lennon was awarded his Green Card.


1989- Paula Abdul hit No. 1 with Forever Your Girl.


And Happy Birthday to:

John “Cougar” Mellencamp, born in 1951


Tico Torres, drummer from Bon Jovi, born in 1953


Blog Challenge Day 6- My Hidden Talent

Well, my hidden talent… it might not be THAT hidden, but it really hasn’t been that useful to me in recent years.

I can tap dance. Yes, sir I can.

I started tap and ballet when I was 3. Here are a couple of old school pics:




I actually got some new tap shoes recently, because I have a project I am going to work on that will utilize this “hidden talent.” Hopefully I will get going on it soon. Here is a picture of one of my first tap shoes, next to my new ones:


Blog Challenge Day 5- Favorite Childhood Books

Blog Challenge Day 5 is all about my favorite childhood books.

The first one I can remember is Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? by Shel Silverstein. And guess what? I still have this book. I liked it so much that I scribbled in it. Maybe I thought I was adding to the story.



And then a favorite of many children my age- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Poor Alexander. Rough day.



As I grew older, I got into the Baby-sitters Club Series. And Sweet Valley High as well.


And then in my time working in a preschool, my favorite books to read with the kids were the Pete the Cat books. Here is my favorite:

Blog Challenge Day 4- Songs That Make Me Happy

Blog Challenge! Today’s post are songs that make me happy. Just personal opinions of course, but these are the ones that I turn up instantly when I hear them. Some of them might seem like strange choices, but oh well. It’s my list, not yours! And yes, I did listen to each of these all the way through when I was writing this post.

Guns N’ Roses- Sweet Child O’ Mine

ABBA- Take a Chance On Me

Motley Crue- Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

The Darkness- I believe In A Thing Called Love

Simon and Garfunkel- Cecilia

The Beatles- In My Life

Civil Wars- Forget Me Not

Mika- Grace Kelly

Michael Franti- Say Hey ( I Love You)

Queen- You’re My Best Friend

Journey- Don’t Stop Believin’

Did you actually check them all out?? Huh? Did ya?



Blog Challenge Day 3- Pet Peeves

So, here are some things that really annoy me. Of course, now that you all know, I run the risk that you will do one of these just to annoy me. Just hope that I don’t know something that annoys you!



People that say they “seen” something, when they actually “saw” it. GRRR!



People that spell my name wrong, when replying to an email that clearly has my name spelled correctly. Do you think that perhaps I made a mistake in spelling my own name?



Walking without a purpose. You know, like, when you are in the grocery store and people just stop walking in the middle of an aisle, or just walk really slowly, as if they have no clue why thy are there. And block the aisle so people like you, who recall the reason they came to the store, can’t get through. Move, just move.



I hate the sound of other people clipping their nails. I know it is a necessary thing, and it doesn’t annoy me to hear myself doing it. I don’t know why, but it irks me. Especially when you are in a quiet classroom.



The phrase, “I know, right?” I have no logical explanation, but I can’t stand it. Do you know? If you know, why do you need someone else to agree with you?

Blog Challenge Day 2: Top 5 Favorite Movies

Alright, folks! Day 2 of the blog challenge and I am going to share with you my Top 5 Favorite Movies! Obviously, this is just personal opinion. And when I think of favorite movies, I usually thinking of ones that I grew up with and could watch over and over again. So, in no particular order….



“You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the babe!”

Oh, how I love this movie. And I just wanted to wear that dress that Sarah wears in the masquerade ball scene. Here is that scene and song:



“Carryin’ the banner!” I think that when I was in 6th grade, I watched this movie every single day when I got home from school. And if you ever watch it with me, I will be annoyingly singing along and quoting lines. Sorry. I mean, come on, young Christian Bale trying to do a New York accent, plus several of the dancers are from a show I used to love on Nickelodeon called Roundhouse. And Michael Goorjian, who I still have a crush on.  I also danced to Seize The Day in one of my dance recitals:




Of course.  You know, now I am a music journalist. I liked this movie before that, but recently I watched it with my boyfriend and he said, “That’s you. That’s why you like this so much, isn’t it? Because that’s you.” There are so many great quotes in this one, but of course my favorite scene is the Tiny Dancer scene. You’re welcome.


stand-by-me-coverOh such a young pup I was. Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, Corey Feldman and River Phoenix. And Kiefer Sutherland of course. I don’t know if I even knew what this was really about when I first watched it. ” I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.” This is pretty true. I eventually stopped being close to my best friend when I was twelve, but we did everything together. We were completely uncool and we didn’t care, because…. we didn’t.




Last but not least, this was probably my first favorite movie. And I was three years old when it came out. What three or four year old can even sit through Amadeus? It’s not a short movie. But I loved it. What can I say, I was a weird kid. I used to conduct in front of the bathroom mirror and run around yelling for “Wolfy!” Mozart is still my fave. Don’t hate.


Blog Challenge Day 1: October Goals

Well, last month I did a Photo-A-Day Challenge on my Instagram/Facebook. This month I am going to try to post at least one blog post a day for the entire month!


So for Day 1, the topic is my goals for October. Hmm…. Let’s see.


  1. First off, I want to complete this challenge of posting once a day for the month!
  2. I would like to participate in more craft shows, so if I don’t DO one in the month of October, I would like to at least have one scheduled for the future.
  3. I have other side businesses that I do. I would like to grow those and get them up and going.
  4. I have an idea for a nonprofit that I would like to start. I would like to be in the beginning stages of that.
  5. I have some personal organizational things that I would like to get under control.


Well, that’s probably not it, but that’s enough. Hopefully I will remember to check back in at the end of the month to see how I did!



Book Review: Hutchins Creek Cache by Deborah Garner


Paige MacKenzie heads to the town of Hutchins Creek, Colorado, to research Old West railroad history for The Manhattan Post, with plans to meet up with her favorite cowboy, Jake Norris.

When a mysterious coin from the 1920’s is discovered behind the Hutchins Creek Railroad Museum, Paige starts digging into four generations of Hutchins family history.

As legends of steam engines and coin mintage mingle, will Paige discover the true origin of the coin or will she find herself dangerously close to more than one long-hidden town secret?

Available to buy from….
Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback

Barnes and Noble


“Can’t say enough about this book! Wonderful! Deborah Garner is a wonderful writer! She makes you feel like you are right there with Paige and Jake. I loved the setting of Hutchins Creek and the characters were all great. I was on pins and needles and even shed a tear or two. I can’t wait for more of this series!”  – review from Goodreads


More Paige MacKenzie Mysteries




“This book held my interest from start to finish. It was beautifully written with such great descriptions that I could picture the town and landscapes.” – review of Above the Bridge


“Delightful . Loved the explorations into the old mines and the side love stories. Mist was a special person with exceptional insight.” – review of The Moonglow Cafe


 “The author does a great job in vividly describing the resort, town and surrounding landscape, she makes you feel like you are actually there. She also has a gift for making her characters come to life.” – review of Three Silver Doves


Above reviews from

My Thoughts:
I have actually read another of this author’s books, another of the Paige Mackenzie Mysteries- Three Silver Doves. I was glad to get a chance to read another. I will state again that even if you haven’t read any others in the series, you should be able to jump in and read this one without any confusion.

The author does a great job at character development, as well as creating likeable characters whose stories you want to follow. Of course there is a mystery and I wouldn’t tell you what happens! There were times I thought that I knew whodunnit, but turns out I was wrong!

Any of the books in this series or by this author are worth a read!

About the author

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Goodreads  Amazon Author Page

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.




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Review: Valentia Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Hey everyone! I have a new product for you all to check out! Its Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer! I did receive a bottle for free, in exchange for my honest review. This is a great feeling moisturizer that can be used both morning and night, and can be used under makeup. It is not greasy and feels great!

Let me tell you a little more about it!
The company recommends that you use this as a final step after cleansing, toning, and serum, but before makeup of course. Directions are simply to apply all over face, neck and decollete. What to expect: Using this moisturizer you’ll start noticing results immediately, more hydrated comfortable feeling skin and a more luminous complexion. With continued use, dark spots start to disappear, fine lines fade, and skin tone looks more even.
When you order from this company, they send you follow-up emails, including the directions mentioned above. They also have sent a couple with fun DIY beauty recipes, which I will include for you below:

Strawberry Milkshake Mask
1 mashed strawberry
1 spoon of yogurt
Mix the yogurt and mashed strawberry together. Smooth the mixture over clean skin and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water.
Why this mask works:
Strawberries and the lactic acid provide natural exfoliation that help to dissolve away dead skin cells, smooth bumps, and unclog pores. Follow up with our Fresh Mist Calming Toner to detoxify pores and balance facial pH.

Tropical Skin Glow Smoothie
¾ cup coconut water
1 banana
1 cup chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
1 cup spinach, tightly packed
½ crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a high power blender and turn it on! This recipe will make enough 1 large smoothie to have as a light meal, or two smaller smoothies for sharing. Feel free to adjust the coconut water to get the consistency of smoothie that you prefer.
They also sent me a coupon code for my next purchase! It seems like this is a very involved company, wanting to make sure their customers are satisfied. The product comes in a great glass bottle with a pump delivery system. And the moisturizer is very quick-absorbing.
They say that this product will lighten dark spots, restore skin radiance, even skin tone, diminish fine lines, and provide all-day hydration. I’m thinking of also trying it on my hands. I have some spots that aren’t very noticeable, but are annoying to me.
If you are wondering, the key ingredients are: Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Kojic Acid, Ginseng, Safflower Oil, and Shea Butter.
This company has many other amazing products as well. Be sure to check them out at the following links:

This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker. #sponsored

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I just realized that my plug-in that shares my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter wasn’t working recently, so I’m seeing if it is now working again!


That’s all!

Book Review: To Follow Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

To Follow Her Heart is the final installment of the Southold Chronicles series by Rebecca DeMarino. I was given the opportunity to review this historical romance. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

First off, let’s read the description:

Duty and love are powerful forces. Only one has the power to make her life complete.

It is 1664 and Patience Terry is devastated to learn that Captain Jeremy Horton’s ship has been shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados. There were no survivors. She had hoped that Jeremy would someday give up the sea and settle down with her in Southold, Long Island.

Unaware his memorial service is being planned, Jeremy sails aboard a British warship with secret orders to attack New Amsterdam and claim it for the British Crown. When he makes his surprise return to Southold–and to an overjoyed Patience–it’s not quite the happily-ever-after his beloved had hoped for.

With a finely tuned sense for authentic historical characters and settings, Rebecca DeMarino plunges you into a world of tall ships, daring journeys, and yearning hearts.


My Thoughts:

I have not read any other books in this series and did not know any of the characters backstories. I would say that you can read this as a standalone book, but I do believe that reading the others in order would be the preferred way to go.

I do have to be a little critical with this book, but make sure to keep reading because I have good things to say as well. Patience is a great name for the main character, because my goodness, does she have to be patient. Jeremy keeps putting the wedding off, for things that don’t seem to be like good reasons to me. “Oh, I have to go build a boat.” As if people that build boats can’t be married. If he isn’t careful that weasel Hobart is gonna horn in on him. I also feel like the part about him being on a British warship should have been drawn out longer. Since it is in the description of the book, you think that it is a big part of the story, but it really only is a couple of chapters. At least if he was stuck on a ship, longing for Patience, for a longer period of time, we could probably understand that more than him being in town but STILL not marrying her.
However, I do have to say, that despite my frustrations, I fell in love with the characters, and despite Jeremy being wishy-washy, I wanted them to get together. And I actually have downloaded the first book in the series, because I want to learn more about the characters. So there’s that! All in all, a frustrating book, but it made me want to read more of this series, which was surprising to me.

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Book Review- A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan

I recently had the opportunity to review another book. This time it was A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan. This book is also a part of a series, entitled Virtues and Vices of the Old West. I haven’t read any other books in the series, but that wasn’t a problem. I’m not sure if there are any repeating characters, but if so, I didn’t feel like I was missing any information while reading.


Here is the book’s description:


Rachel Matthews isn’t one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money–even if she’s forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel’s brother sends a friend–the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre–to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother’s return, Rachel isn’t sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre’s home–especially once she discovers that he’s the one who holds the deed to her family’s ranch.

Sparks fly between this spunky, independent heroine and the ruggedly handsome hero as they navigate the snarled terrain of pride, greed, faith, and love in Maggie Brendan’s delightful series set in the Old West.


My Thoughts:
I definitely enjoyed this book. One of my favorite characters was Estelle, John’s grandmother. I also loved that she owned her own shop!  Rachel is definitely a spunky character that you grow to love. Even though you know she will most likely end up with John, it is also fun to read about the other men who are vying for her attention. From the beginning, you begin to see hints of John and Rachel’s affection for each other, but the author draws out the suspense before they actually get together. I don’t think it’s giving away anything to say that they end up together. Saloons, dance hall girls, “soiled doves”,the cattle ranches of Montana. What a great setting. I do need to find out if the other books in the series include the same characters. If so, I might have to check them out to follow the stories. There are also helpful author’s notes at the back of the book, describing some of the things she talks about that we in our current time frame may not quite understand. Definitely check this book out and Maggie Brendan’s other books!


I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

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Japan FunBox Review

Subscription boxes are super popular these days. Who doesn’t like getting a box in the mail, especially one filled with snacks? Japan FunBox offered me one of their mini-boxes to review.

This company offers three sizes of boxes:

Mini- 5-7 items, $14.99 a month

Original- 15-20 items, 1 DIY kit, 1 Special item, $32.99 a month

Family- 25-30 items,  2 DIY kits, 2 Special items, $49.99 a month


All of the options offer free shipping worldwide!


As I said, I received a mini-box, and below is what I received. The descriptions are straight from the paper that came in the box.




Bite-size biscuit, ALFORT that is a combination of rich milk chocolate and fragrant whole grain biscuits. Please enjoy its flavorful taste.


Definitely tasty! Chocolate with that crunchy biscuit center.


Whistle Candy:Grape Flavor


This is a very popular and regular snack in Japan. Because this candy can make sounds like a whistle when you put it in your mouth and blow, it makes kids happy but their parents angry. A cute secret toy box comes with this.


These look like Life Savers, but when you pull them out they are a little thicker. They dissolve fairly quickly, so make sure you get your whistling in first! The idea remind of me of Toot Sweets from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


Here is the toy that came with mine:


Pizza Potato


People around the world would say the Pizza Potato taste is good and finally this Pizza Potato add to line up in Funbox. Who think up the potato chips go well with cheese? Rich cheese on the zig-zag cut thick potato. This potato chips is only Japan.


Now these are definitely good. I may have to find a way to get a hold of some more. The texture of the chips are like Ruffles, with the ridges. Super tasty. Probably my favorite thing in the box.


Pretz Tomato Taste


The great Japanese long-established company’s technology. It was baked crunchy outside and crispy inside with special manufacture methods. We can taste the sweet tomato and green vegetables and crisp and fragrant PRETZ.


I’ve had other similar type Japanese snacks in many different flavors, but had never had tomato flavor. These sticks are a quick, easy snack and the tomato was more like a sun-dried tomato taste. They probably would be good with some dip as well!




A combination of a crackling burst Ume (plum) candy and sour Ume taste (plum) granules and it is new texture candy.


These are like Pop Rocks, but of course I’d never had plum flavored pop rocks before! Not bad, but not my favorite flavor.




A long, soft-candy with bubbly powder on the inside. The orange flavor and the lemon flavored soft candy combined inside your mouth mysteriously creates a coke flavor.


How in the world does orange and lemon flavor taste like cola?? Weird! Definitely a new experience.


Check them out and order a box!
Japanese Candy Box - Japan Funbox

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Book Review: A Powerful Secret

A Powerful Secret is the the story of a family, first and foremost, with some political and corporate intrigue as well. I received a copy of the book in order to facilitate this review. I found the characters likable, and while I normally wouldn’t really enjoy a political story, I would say that the majority of the book is focused on Sean and the family relationships. Of course I won’t tell you what the “powerful secret” is, but reading along as Sean comes to terms with that secret draws you closer to his character. I was unaware at first that this was the second book in a series, but I didn’t have any problem following the story without having ready the first one. I now want to read the first one, as well as the third story, which follows Sean’s younger sister Sarah. The authors include a glossary at the front of the book with common abbreviations that are found in the story, which I found helpful. Also, at the end of the book is a bonus feature, “Birth Order Secrets”. You will discover why when you read the author bio’s below. Also below I am including descriptions of each of the books in the series!


A Powerful Secret


Sean Worthington is shocked when he hears his older brother Will announce that he will not run for New York’s Senate seat. In fact, he’s angry. All of his efforts as Will’s campaign manager are now for nothing– and Sean is left to handle questions from the press while Will walks away without a backward glance. Throughout his life, Sean has felt like an outsider in his own family. And not being told about his brother’s plans is just one more piece of evidence that he’s right.

Tired of being the odd one out, Sean is determined to forge his own path. Little does he know that it’s not easy to escape your family–especially when a powerful secret from the past threatens to explode everything Sean ever believed.


Dr. Kevin Leman, the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 books, including The Birth Order Book and Born to Win, has made thousands of house calls for Fox and Friends, The View, Today, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, CBS’s The Early Show, The 700 Club, CNN, and Good Morning America.

Jeff Nesbit, a former senior communications official at the White House and former director of public affairs for two prominent federal science agencies, is a strategic communications advisor and the author of 20 novels. He writes At the Edge, a weekly column for U.S. News & World Report.


This book is the second in a series called the Worthington Destiny. The first book focused on older brother Will and is entitled A Perfect Ambition. Here is the description of that book:


It’s time for Will to forge his own path. But the force that drives him to greatness could also destroy him– and his family.

As the firstborn son of an old and powerful family, William Jennings Worthington VI knows what it’s like to be under pressure. Groomed from birth the relentless message that he was destined for greatness, Will has always pushed himself to succeed–nearly as much as his never-satisfied financial tycoon father pushes him. Becoming CEO of the world’s largest and most adventuresome oil company seems the next logical step on the success ladder. But when circumstances turn, Will finds himself staring down a road that leads to Capitol Hill. Can he trade the board room for the Senate floor? Or will family secrets keep him from his destiny?

And the next book in the series will focus on Sarah, the youngest Worthington sibling. Here is a description of A Primary Decision:


The road to power and position is fraught with perils, even for a Worthington. But Sarah does not intend to lose.

Sarah Worthington never expected to become the US attorney general–at least not this early in her career. Plunged into the vicious vetting process, with all sides digging for secrets in her family closet, she steels herself for the path forward. Nothing will deter her from making her mark on the world in the biggest way possible–even if that means prosecuting the current president of the United States.

Yet powerful forces conspire behind the scenes to take the Worthington family down, and the president orders her to close the investigation. Will she comply? Or turn the tables to pursue her ultimate dream–the US presidency?

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Book Review: Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography

I have had two periods in my life where the music of Billy Joel was front and center. First, as a small child, maybe three or four, every night when I went to bed I made my mom put a certain record on, and that record was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. And then, as a senior in high school, our marching band show for the year was The Music of Billy Joel. So when I saw this book, I jumped at the chance to read it. First, let me give you some information on the book. Keep scrolling to the end to see my thoughts.


Book Description

The long-awaited, all-access biography of a music legend.

In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than one hundred hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon.

Exhibiting unparallelled intimate knowledge, Schruers chronicles Joel’s rise to the top of the charts, from his working-class origins in Levittown and early days spent in boxing rings and sweaty clubs to his monumental success in the seventies and eighties. He also explores Joel’s creative transformation in the nineties, his dream performance with Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium in 2008, and beyond.

Along the way, Schruers reveals the stories behind all the key events and relationships- including Joel’s high-profile marriages and legal battles- that defined his path to stardom and inspired his signature songs, such as “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “New York State of Mind,” and “She’s Always a Woman.” Throughout, he captures the spirit of a restless artist determined to break through by sharing, in his deeply personal lyrics, the dreams and heartbreaks of suburban American life.

Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel’s memories and reflections- as well as those of the family, friends, and band members who have formed his inner circle, including Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, Jon Small, and Steve Cohen- this is the definitive account of a beloved rock star’s epic American journey.

About The Author

Fred Schruers enjoyed a successful high-profile career as a writer at Rolling Stone, chronicling an impressive body of musicians and actors, including Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Nicholson, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Chris Rock. His writing has also appeared in Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, Men’s Journal, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia Journalism Review.

My Thoughts

This book is everything you want in a musician biography, covering everything from Joel’s childhood until the present. Personally, although I enjoyed his music, I didn’t know much about his personal life. I remembered him being married to Christie Brinkley, but knew nothing about his previous marriage and all the problems that occurred during that time frame. And thought Joel has achieved tremendous success, you really feel like he is a regular guy that you could hang out with when you read these interviews.

The author also includes information about certain songs, little tidbits that will make you listen to the song in a different way. Schruers also made sure to get interviews with many of the most important people in Joel’s life. This is a book that any Billy Joel fan should pick up, and would even be an interesting read to fans of music in general.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

For more information, including a book excerpt: HERE

Author’s Page: HERE

Find it on Amazon:


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Book Review and Giveaway: Spring Fling Kitty by Rachelle Ayala

Heartbreaker Connor Hart, one of the youngest fire chiefs in the country, is planning on marrying Dr. Elaine Woo, a woman who pretended to cheat on him with his best friend many years ago. She bought him a Dalmatian puppy, he gave her a ring—and the women of San Francisco are about to lose their most eligible bachelor.

Artist and poet Nadine Woo is down on her luck. The cast-off half-sister of Dr. Elaine Woo, she doesn’t measure up, according to her strict and distant father. When Nadine and her mother are about to be evicted from their apartment, she gets an interesting offer from her sister. Seems she’s in need of a little help concerning her relationship with Fire Chief Connor Hart.

As soon as Nadine meets Connor, she knows she’s in for a rough ride. Connor is the fireman who rescued her and her little gray kitten, and she’s never forgotten how safe she felt in his arms.

When Nadine takes her sister’s place at a spring fling weekend with Connor, love ignites, and there’s no going back.

Can a spunky little kitty show Connor and Nadine that doing the wrong thing is sometimes right, especially when it comes to love?

Spring Fling Kitty is Book #3 of the Have A Hart Romance Series. It can be read standalone, although characters from the previous books appear here in supporting roles.


I definitely thought this was a cute story. I didn’t even realize until later on that this was book 3 in a series, so I can speak to the fact that it can definitely be read standalone. The addition of the animals in the storyline was a fun touch that I found quite endearing.

I will say that there were a few bits of romantic conversation that, to me, seemed slightly unrealistic, perhaps something that something just wouldn’t say, especially after knowing someone for just a couple of days. But I am not romance hater, so I overlooked those bits and paid attention to the story underneath it.

And let me tell you, the ending was definitely not anything I was expecting! Of course I won’t tell you what happens, but let me say that I think that unexpected twist in the story was my favorite part of the book. All in all, this was a sweet story and I would not hesitate to check out more of this author’s books.

Have a Hart Romance Series 
Christmas Lovebirds, Book #1
Valentine Hound Dog, Book #2
Spring Fling Kitty, Book #3

Available to buy from…
Amazon   Barnes and Noble   Google Play   iBooks


“Beautiful romance with a touch of suspense, great combination!” – Amazon review


“A beautiful, heartfelt story. Love saw. Love came. Love conquered. I truly recommended everyone to read this book.”  – Amazon review


About heroine Nadine Woo – “A free spirit is a gift in my eyes. It’s what makes her beautiful. It’s what makes Connor love her. It’s what brings life to this story.” – Corissa Palfrey

About the author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book. Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, and A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award.

Sign up for her NEWSLETTER to get a FREE surprise book and her latest book news HERE!

Visit her Reader’s Guide HERE

Find the author on the following sites…
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads 
Amazon Author Page

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Book Review- The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I recently had the opportunity to review The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I received the book for free in exchange for my honest review.


I discovered that this is Book 2 in a three book series, The Bishop’s Family, and the first book is entitled The Impostor. I have not read that book, but did not have any trouble understanding what was going on in this one, so the author did a great job of explaining any info that was necessary from the previous story.


I have said before that I love Amish fiction, so you won’t be surprised that I enjoyed this book. I found humor in the description of David’s meddling mother and Abigail’s literal, matter-of-fact nature. Dane is smitten with abigail from the beginning and it is sweet to watch as he works to overcome her reluctance. The author also is adept in weaving together the multiple story lines seamlessly.


The book also deals with a topic in the Amish community that I have not read much on, which is known as a Quieting. The Author defines a quieting as revoking “the ordination of a bishop, minister or deacon so that he returns to being a church member, but not a leader.” I also enjoyed reading of Abigail’s genealogical interests.

Now I want to read the first book, and look forward to the third in the series, The Devoted when it is released in October. I have already booked up another book by this author, but in a different series.

Read the book description below and scroll down to a link to find it on Amazon:

It’s all her grandmother’s fault. For the last few months, Abigail Stoltzfus has helped her father with his genealogical research, hoping that breaking through a client’s brick wall would also break his melancholy. But now her intrusive grandmother has set her sights on marrying off Abigail and insists she come to Stoney Ridge, where there is a plethora of eligible bachelors.  

Except that Mammi is mistaken. There are no eligible bachelors in Stoney Ridge, barring one, and he’s all wrong. Dane Glick has the wrong last name and the wrong relatives–including the bishop who is at odds over a church matter with Abigail’s uncle, minister David Stoltzfus.  

As the conflict grows, setting family against family, it’s becoming clear that the path to a solution may lead to a Quieting–a removal of a church leader. But for which one? And when Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem–but will it create another?



Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels includeThe Imposter, Anna’s Crossing, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

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Book Review: Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Book Description:

Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.
When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.
Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.



My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the description of the small town in New York and how the characters are all interconnected due to that small town “thing.” I was a little surprised that the main character, Maggie, was actually an older woman. Surprised, but not bothered by it. I definitely didn’t guess ahead of time who the bad guy actually was. And I also enjoyed that the character of Maggie Dove is also a mystery writer. I was able to read this book very quickly and would definitely recommend it to others. I look forward to more books by this author and especially those featuring Ms. Dove.

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Book Review: Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

Well, let’s start off with the required info, which is that I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Flirtation Walk is actually not the first book that I’ve read by Siri Mitchell. I previously reviewed Like a Flower in Bloom. Click on the link to read my review of that book.

Here is a description of the book. Keep reading at the bottom to read my thoughts!

West Point History Comes Alive in this Warmhearted Romance

Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He’s kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth’s mother’s money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn’t fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It’s too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won’t she?

flirtation walk

My thoughts:

I love historical fiction, so I jumped at the chance to read another of Mitchell’s books. She definitely does her research and makes you believe that you have jumped back in time. The con artist storyline was interesting. Also, just a note that wasn’t in the description- at the very beginning of the book Lucinda believes her father is dead, which is what leads her to Buttermilk Falls, the home of her mother that she never knew.

Even though Campbell Conklin is mentioned in the description, we pretty quickly realize that nothing is going to materialize with him and that Seth Westcott is definitely the real love interest. I found the description of West Point at that time believable, though of course, I wasn’t there. And we even get a cameo from General Lee!

The story alternates between Lucinda and Seth’s first-person points of view, which I enjoyed. Reading that Seth’s family has been taken advantage of by a con-man….. Well, I don’t want to give anything away but since there was another con-man mentioned in this story… hmm…..

Overall a very enjoyable book. I will continue to read any of Mitchell’s books I can get my hands on.

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