Saturday, January 23, 2016

Glory Over Everything, Beyond The Kitchen House

I just had to share this with you all because I am so excited.  As you may remember, I absolutely LOVED The Kitchen House (My Review Kitchen House).  My ROC MOM bookclub read it so long ago.  However, I could never get the book out of my head.  So I reached out to the author Kathleen Grissom and started emailing with her every few months.  She would always give me an update regarding her next book and promised me an advanced copy.

Imagine my surprise when I got a package that contained Glory Over Everything inside.  I have two more books that I need to read, but have been carrying Glory Over Everything around for a week.  I want to crack open the cover SO, SO, SO badly.

Also, Kathleen sent out an email, so I thought I would share it with you all.  Kathleen is just too cool for words!  Keep a look out for my review.  I will post it as soon I am finished!

A note to all of my wonderful blogger and bookclub friends:

Along with sending my best wishes for 2016, I want to thank each of you for your incredible support of The Kitchen House. Over the past few years, I have been truly overwhelmed with gratitude with all of the notes I’ve received, book club invitations extended, and the genuine connection you have made with me and the Kitchen House characters. I truly feel blessed.

With your enthusiasm and encouragement spurring me on, I have now completed my second novel, Glory Over Everything, set to be released April 5, 2016 and I simply can’t wait for you to read it and to hear what you think!

In this second book, it is 1830 and we find Jamie, Belle’s son from The Kitchen House, assuming a secret identity, living the life of a wealthy aristocrat in Philadelphia society, passing as white. Compelled by a promise he made to the man who saved his life when he was a runaway slave, Jamie is led back to Virginia, down to North Carolina and finally into the complex twists of the underground railroad and the Great Dismal Swamp.

What made the publication of The Kitchen House so special for me were the personal conversations that I had with so many of you during our book club meetings. You shared so openly with me how the characters touched you. I often felt that we shared a family history. So now, I present to you Jamie and his extended family in Glory Over Everything. I hope you will love them as much as I do.

Always, with deepest gratitude,



Thursday, January 21, 2016


~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Andres and C lara’s lives are about to change. Will their determination be powerful enough to help them through what lies ahead? Will they discover that their hopes are only illusions or will they find that dreams really do come true....sometimes.

Children's literature is broadening its horizons with the publication of Sometimes, a story about a family immigrating to the U.S. Written by Texas elementary school teacher Hugo Ibarra and expert ELL educator John Seidlitz, Sometimes is based on first-hand stories from their students and parents as well as Ibarra’s own experience immigrating to the U.S. at 25.

Published by Canter Press, the publisher of Seidlitz Education, the leading provider of staff development and training materials for teachers of English learners, Sometimes comes straight from those who know how to teach immigration best. English and Spanish language editions help start a timely conversation about immigration, emphasizing the importance of adult encouragement for children in a time of transition.

Written for 4-8 year olds, Sometimes follows the journey of Andrés and his sister, Clara, as they immigrate from Mexico to the United States. They see many strange sights for the first time -- the border filled with cars, a strange U.S. town -- and wonder why they had to leave their mother behind. As Andrés starts at a new school, he receives encouragement from a beloved teacher, buoying his hopes until he and his sister are finally reunited with their mother.
Teaching a valuable lesson about holding on to hope, the book shows the impact of the courage, strength and hope parents and teachers provide to help children through a time of uncertainty. A story of a family’s close bond above all, Sometimes is relatable for any child. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I have to be honest...I didn't like the kids having to leave their mom.  I have no doubt this is reality when it comes to immigration, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  I did like the close bond the children had with other family members and in the end they are reunited with their mother.  

I would like to think that immigrations issues are related to states bordering other countries, however, if you look past your front door, going inside a public school, go to a local church, you will see that is just a myth.  Here are few training tips the author put together:
  • The important leadership role teachers play for children in transition (stable role model, offer encouragement, see an aspect of child’s behavior that parents may not)
  • Why all parents should discuss immigration with their kids (helps children understand America’s history, prevents bullying by making the unfamiliar familiar)
  • The respectful way to talk to your neighbors who immigrated (don’t ask for their passports, don’t assume what their native language is, offer help to navigate US culture)
  • How teachers can learn more and train to help children in transition.

John Seidlitz is founder and CEO of Seidlitz Education, a company that provides training and support to educators and leaders of English Language Learner programs across the state of Texas and beyond. John began his work with ELLs as a social studies teacher, after which he served as a program coordinator, and a regional education specialist. He has authored several books, including: 7 Steps to Developing a Language-Rich Interactive ClassroomTM and Sheltered Instruction Plus: A Guide for Texas Teachers of English Learners. Sometimes is his first children's book.

Hugo Ibarra immigrated to the United States when he was 25. After studying immigrant children for his thesis, he received a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at Tyler and began his career as a Bilingual Education Teacher in Longview, Texas. Ibarra is currently the an elementary school principal in Bryan, Texas. Sometimes is his first children’s book. 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): When a buttoned-up professor and her unbuttoned daughter fall for the same irresistible man, a delightful, subversive comedy begins. . . .
Life isn’t easy for single mother Ally Hughes. Teaching at Brown, her class load is huge and her boss is a menace. At home, she contends with a critical mother, a falling-down house, and a daughter who never misses a beat. Between taking care of the people she loves, teaching full time, and making ends meet, Ally doesn't have time for a man. She doesn’t date. She’s not into flings. But then she meets Jake, an eager student, young in years but old in soul, who challenges his favorite professor to open up her life, and her heart, to love. It doesn't work. In fact, his urging backfires.

Ten years later, Ally's still single. Jake reappears and surprises her in a brand-new role: He's dating Ally's now-grown daughter. In this hilarious, heartrending tale, Ally is finally forced to concede (not only to herself) that an independent, "liberated" woman can still make room in her life for love.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes is a fantastic story with steam, crazy twists, great characters, Absolutely loved the book from page one and it just kept getting better with each turn of the page.  The book goes back and forth about 10 years and present day.  Can there PLEASE be a sequel?

Favorite Character(s):  Ally go girl!

Fast read/slow read:  Super-duper fast.  Very easy, very funny, very hot....

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love, love, love to read another book by Jules.  This is Jules' first novel.  I sure hope she is writing her second one FAST.

Jules Moulin has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She spent her twenties writing the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning series Party of Five and The West Wing. She left Hollywood five years ago in order to work as a full-time mom and splits her time between New York City and Pasadena, California. This is her first novel.


Monday, January 11, 2016


~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): For 29-year-old Brooke Mortimer a man is a non-essential survival item—more like something forgotten at the bottom of her purse. In Brooke’s world work comes first, second, and last. She runs a successful self-help business and doesn’t have the time for much else—least of all messy, unpredictable love. 

Her pursuit of success pushes her to woo corporate America. Enter tall, tanned, and toned Logan McManus. He’s everything she’s looking for—a big brand with an even bigger checkbook—and something she didn’t see coming, something that will put her views on love to the test. But there’s more to Logan than Brooke’s bargained for. When their worlds collide her life is thrown into total disarray, forcing her to consider re-writing her own self-help survival guide. 

Is Brooke ready to risk everything and get into bed with corporate America? 

Escape to beautiful New Zealand in this sexy, feel-good romantic comedy. 

The Heartbroker is a romantic comedy / contemporary romance set in New Zealand. It's a sequel to Styling Wellywood, but can be read as a stand-alone story. 

** Warning: this book has some SSM—Seriously Sexy Moments—so suits readers over 18 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I enjoyed Heartbroker very much.  The characters really make the book.  I really liked Logan and was so shocked...can't say anymore or it will spoil it.  I liked the Brooke we get to know in Heartbroker as compared to the Brooke we met in Styling Wellywood.  I also enjoy the setting - New Zealand.  I would love to visit.  Great chic-lit with a great story and steamy chapter!

Fast read/slow read:  Extremely fast read.  I read this on my kindle.

Cover:  I liked it. It goes great in the Wellywood Series.

What Others Are Saying:  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, this is my second book by Kate O'Keeffe.  See my review on Styling Wellywood.  I can't wait for the next book to come out this spring, Falling For Grace.  Keep in mind each book can be read independently and do not need to be read in order.

I write sexy, feel-good romantic comedies. I've loved rom coms, romance, and chick lit since I first encountered Bridget Jones as a young, impressionable writer. It really was a match made in chick lit heaven.

I've been a teacher and a sales executive, but am now content as a mother and writer, madly scribbling all the ideas I've accumulated during my time on this planet we call home.

I live and love in beautiful New Zealand--where my novels are all set--with my wonderful family and my two very scruffy, naughty dogs. 


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Written On My Heart

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): The marriage of Florine Gilham and Bud Warner is a cause for celebration down on The Point, the Maine fishing village where they grew up. Yet even as the newlyweds begin their lives together, Florine is drawn back into the memory of her mother, Carlie, who vanished when Florine was twelve. As unexpected clues regarding her fate begin to surface, Florine and Bud face the challenges of trying to solve an old mystery while building a new marriage and raising a family. Morgan Callan Rogers’s Written on My Heart will delight readers who love feisty, poignant characters and the beautiful, unforgettable Maine coast.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I have never read a book set in Maine that I haven't liked and Written On My Heart is no exception.  The book focuses on Florine and Bud and their new life together.  However, they can't escape the past and what is unsolved.  I never figured the ending out so it hit my square on.  Great story and keeps you wanting more.

Favorite Character(s):  This is a tie between Ida and Florine.  Of course Florine being the main character and it is hard not to like her.  The two are so similar (and different) in so many ways.  Both are very strong, independent, tough, family first type of women.  This type of person usually rates pretty high in my book. They remind me of my mother.

Setting:  The coast of Maine - one of my favorite places.

Fast read/slow read:  Pretty fast.

Cover:  I love it! If you love the coast and/or Maine, its perfect! 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read another book by Morgan.  In fact, I would love to read her first novel, Ruby Red Heart in the Cold Blue Sea. What I didn't know was that Written On My Heart is the sequel.  You do not need to read the first book.

Morgan Callan Rogers, a generations-back native Mainer, grew up in Bath, Maine, a historic shipbuilding city located on the mighty Kennebec River. She has a BA in English from the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine's Masters in Creating Writing program. Morgan currently lives in Portland, Maine. This is her second novel.

I have to share something in common with Morgan.  My husband is family Bath Maine.  His Aunt and Uncle, Sister and one nephew still live there.  I love the quaint downtown of Bath.  I got my MBA at University of Maine (Orono) and love Portland, especially Old Port.  I so enjoyed all the references to the area/Maine.  We are hoping to head up this summer...hint, hint Morgan.  Want to meet for tea?


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ditching the Drive-Thru

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): After an exhausting day at work, hitting the drive-thru or nuking a pre-fab meal is all too often the go-to decision for feeding a family. Cooking a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients can seem beyond the average person’s time, energy, or financial means. But with mounting evidence pointing to processed food and our industrial food system as the culprits behind many of our nation’s health problems—including obesity, diabetes, and cancer—it’s now more important than ever to be fully informed about what goes on your family’s dinner plates.

If you’re ready to take control of your food choices but don’t know the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed, pastured versus free-range, or organic versus sustainable, read this book to discover:

• How to create your own thirty-month plan to convert your family from junk food to real food, without a revolt!

• Recipes and advice on planning and prepping meals so you can make homecooked a habit for your family

• Instructions for getting the most out of produce using techniques such as lacto-fermentation, dehydrating, and canning

•  introduction to the world of farm-direct sales, including tips on locating local farms, seeing through marketing buzzwords, and shopping with CSAs Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast-paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional wellbeing.

Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home-cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I am the first to admit that I love drive-thrus, I work a lot of long hours, have three very activity children with sporting events as late as 10 pm some evening.  Also, I absolutely HATE cooking and being in the kitchen.  Making dinner, let alone finding time to eat dinner is tough.  Do I make it a priority, no....should I, of course.  So, Ditching the Drive-Thru was a very interesting and eye opening book for me.  

Natalie Winch is also a very busy and active person, so I really can't use that as an excuse, can I? What I can say is this book taught me a lot about the food industry and made me more aware of what I am buying and feed my family. My favorite chapter was 10, Taking the First Step: Turning Theory Into Practice.  This chapter explained to me how to make it work. Appendix A is all about the 30 day challenge, which I plan on doing!  Appendix B is filled with recipes (that is so helpful for someone like me).

No more excuses - I an Ditching the Drive-Thru!

What Others Are Saying:  Check out what others are saying on the iReadBookTour

Nov 9 -   Reviews from the Heart - review
Nov 10 - This That and the Other Thing - review / giveaway
Nov 11 - Notes From Farrah - review / giveaway
Nov 13 - - review / giveaway
Nov 16 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Nov 16 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway
Nov 17 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Nov 18 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 19 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Nov 20 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Nov 23 - Heidi's Wanderings - review
Nov 24 - The Editing Pen - review / giveaway
Nov 25 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review
Nov 26 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Nov 27 - Maddie & Books - review / giveaway
Nov 30 - Readers' Muse - review
Dec 1 -   Genuine Jenn - review / giveaway
Dec 2 -   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - author interview
Dec 3 -   I'd Rather Be At the Beach - review / giveaway
Dec 4 -   alwaysjoart - review / giveaway
Dec 8 -   misty103 @ HubPages - review
Dec 9 -   JBronder Book Reviews - review
Dec 9 -   Sahar's Reviews - review
Dec 10 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
Dec 11 - Create With Joy - review / giveaway

J. Natalie Winch lives in southern New Jersey, not far from where she grew up, with her husband, two children, and dogs. When she isn’t mothering, teaching, grading, or making lesson plans, Natalie runs the Hebrew School at her synagogue, coaches soccer, teaches lacto-fermentation classes, writes the occasional entry for her blog Food Empowerment (, and fights the dust bunnies that threaten to take over her family room.

Connect with the author:   Website


Friday, December 4, 2015

You'll Be Thinking of Me

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):   A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind.  Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he's shared with no one. But there's one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers.  Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage. 

 YOU'LL BE THINKING OF ME is the story of Rachael's serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  WOW!  What a crazy (and I mean crazy) good book.  One celebrity + one average chick + one cray-cray = one great book. I was lucky enough to listen to this via AudioBooks. I was so happy that I had a hockey trip to Michigan, which gave me a solid 4 hours plus an hour before each hockey game (4) that weekend to listen and enjoy!  

Favorite Character(s):  My favorite person in the book was Rachel.  I really like how she and Mick met and how their relationship grew throughout the book.  She also had a very level head, which is needed when dealing with the life of celebrity and being stalked by a crazy person!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Yes, I would absolutely, no doubt read other books by Densie.  

Densie Webb has spent a long career as a freelance nonfiction writer and editor, specializing in health and nutrition, and has published several books and tons of articles on the topic over the years. She is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association and SheWrites. Soul Mate Publishing is releasing her debut novel titled, "You'll Be Thinking of Me," as an ebook. A paperback will be released later this year. She grew up in Louisiana, spent 13 years in New York, and settled in Austin, TX, where it's summer nine months out of the year. She is an avid walker (not of the dead variety, though she loves anything to do with zombies, vampires or post-apocalyptic worlds), drinks too much coffee and has a small "devil dog" that keeps her on her toes. She has arrested development in musical tastes and her two children provide her with musical recommendations on a regular basis.