Wednesday, October 1, 2014

W...W...W...Wednesdays - October 1


This meme was created by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I'm still reading on this one because I've been working a lot lately and I keep falling asleep early because I'm beat.





Up and coming circus performer, Jeri Deane, finds a young clown strangled inside a beloved lion's cage. The town sheriff's threat to close down the Big Top won't stop her from finding his killer. Beneath the spangles and sawdust of the canvas sky, Jeri uncovers deceit, treachery, and secrets more dangerous than any death-defying trick in the circus. Even she has much to hide. If the Big top survives the season, will she be able to face her own hidden past?

Heather Haven is the daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.



In Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series. Using Wilder’s stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical-literary biography of the famous and much-loved author. Following the course of Wilder’s life, and her real family’s journey west, Hill provides a context, both familial and literary, for Wilder’s writing career.

Laura Ingalls Wilder examines Wilder’s inspirations as a writer, particularly her tumultuous, but ultimately successful, professional and personal relationship with her daughter—the hidden editor—Rose Wilder Lane. Wilder produced her timeless classics with the help of, but not reliance upon, her daughter’s editorial insights. Over the course of more than thirty years, Lane and Wilder engaged in a dynamic working relationship, shifting between trust, distrust, and respect. Hill argues that they differed in their visions of the path Wilder’s career should follow, but eventually Lane’s editing brought out the best of her mother’s writing, and allowed her creativity, expression, and experiences to shine through.

We're now in the second week of this course for which I am reading this book. I'm enjoying it.

What did you recently finish reading?

This is a list of books I recently finished, though I haven't had time to write reviews for most of them:


  • Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less by Diana Schneidman
  • The Hybrid Author by Dianne G. Sagan
  • Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • The Truth: Diary of a Gutsy Teen by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
  • Seated Above, Looking Below by Bobby Brown
  • The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick.
What do you think you’ll read next?

Hopefully this one:



Every parent wants the golden key to raising well-behaved, academically gifted, successful, happy children. Embedded in our collective psyche is the notion that discipline is the cornerstone to achieving these goals. This book lambasts this notion, offering a never-before-published perspective on why the entire premise of discipline is flawed. Dr Shefali Tsabary shows that the very idea of discipline is a major cause of generations of dysfunction.

Out of Control goes to the heart of the problems we have with our children, challenging society’s dependence of discipline, daring us to let go of our fear-based ideologies and replace them with an approach that draws parent and child together instead of alienating them. The key is ongoing meaningful connection between parent and child, free of head games such as threats, deprivation, punishment, timeouts—indeed, all forms of manipulation. Parents learn how to enter into deep communion with their children, understanding the reasons for a behavior and how to bring out the best in the child. Far from a laissez-faire anything goes approach, this is how a child learns responsibility and takes ownership of their life, equipped with character and resilience that flow naturally from within.

I'm also scheduled to review this one in October:


Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke. When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read (For One Reason or Another)


My Son, John: This is about a family torn apart when the son brutally murders his grandmother. This is a powerful book, but it's not an easy read. Told mostly from the perspective of the mother, Liz, this story takes you through the heartache of realizing children can change and become people you barely know. Ultimately, it is an uplifting story of forgiveness and unconditional love, but it's an emotional journey.


Defending Jacob: Along the same vein is this story about an assistant district attorney's son accused of murdering a classmate. Andy Barber places everything on the line to defend his son, and a past he has tried hard to bury hits him in the face. This is another one of those books that is as frightening as it is powerful.


Shades of Gray: I've read a lot of novels about the Civil War, but I can honestly say that this book made me cry more than any other. James created such realistic characters that I simply couldn't help but bawl my eyes out when anything terrible happened to them. I swear I must have gone through an entire box of tissues reading this one.


The Eleventh Plague: Stephen Quinn is only fifteen years old and living the life of a salvager after a war that has left most Americans dead. By the time the book opens, he has already lost his mother. Then his grandfather dies and his father slips into a coma after an accident. He ends up in Settler's Landing, where he finds some sense of normalcy, but when a prank goes wrong everything in Settler's Landing is changed forever. Dystopian fiction is tough. There's always lots of death and suffering. I really prefer happier stories.


Beyond the Valley:  Sarah Carr's husband drowns when he goes to help after a shipwreck. Pregnant and widowed, she reaches out to her husband's family for help, but they devise a plan to kidnap her and sell her into a life of servitude. This is a frightening prospect. Sarah's was a tough, emotional story to read.


Deliver Me From Evil: This book deals with the topic of human trafficking. It is the first book in a series: all emotional draining reads. Mara is an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for almost ten years. This book deals not only with a heartrending topic, it delves deep into Mara's state of mind and her lack of self-worth at the hands of someone close to her.


The Innocent: Just as Stephen King did in The Green Mile, Zandri depicts prison life with graphic realism. While a superb story, this one is disturbing. 


The Paris Wife: In my review, I actually admitted this was an emotionally draining novel. A novel about Hemingway could be nothing less. There were days I had to put it aside and not read any of it. I simply had to read something happier and lighter. 


Johnny One-Eye: This is the story of the bastard son of a whorehouse madam and possibly George Washington. The only reason I struggled with this one is because I found so few characters to like.



Virginia's War (French Letters #1): In this book, the author captures the delicate and sometimes sinister intricacies of little town USA. There was not a single character I cared for in this novel set during WWII. I have the second book in this trilogy, but haven't taken the time to read it yet.

What books were hard for you to read and why?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Musing Mondays - September 29



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme from MizB at Should Be Reading. It asks you to muse about one of the following each week…


• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

It looks like it is going to be a Laura Ingalls Wilder year. I'm currently taking two online courses through Canvas Network: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring Her Work and Writing Life" and "Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture, Ozark Studies." I have to admit the latter has been slow going, but only because it requires me to perform so much reading on my PC instead of being able to read in the tub at night. 

The instructor for my Laura Ingalls Wilder course is Pamela Smith Hill, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life and the editor of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. I find the lecture portion of the course rather boring, but I think that is because it's hard for an instructor to give a videotaped talk without an audience. Hill's book is one of the reading requirements for the course, as are some of the Little House books. We're starting week two today, and I've already completed 3/4 of my reading for the week.

Have you ever taken a course about a famous author you were interested in? I've also taken a college course on the American Civil War. Have you studied a subject in school simply because it interested you?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Now Available: Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.

When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos, too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

Join bestselling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Revell (September 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800721934
ISBN-13: 978-0800721930

Purchase here!

Enter to win a “Christmas Rose” iPad bundle and sign up to host a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Instructions on how to enter the giveaway or host a brunch can be found below.

TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • A Rose-patterned iPad case
  • A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A set of Christmas hand-towels
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Five second place winners will receive:
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by visiting the author's website at http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contest/. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 28th. All winners will be announced September 29th at the author's blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

W...W...W...Wednesdays


This meme was created by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?





Up and coming circus performer, Jeri Deane, finds a young clown strangled inside a beloved lion's cage. The town sheriff's threat to close down the Big Top won't stop her from finding his killer. Beneath the spangles and sawdust of the canvas sky, Jeri uncovers deceit, treachery, and secrets more dangerous than any death-defying trick in the circus. Even she has much to hide. If the Big top survives the season, will she be able to face her own hidden past?

Heather Haven is the daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.

I read the first chapter of this book when it first came out. Though I didn't have the time to continue reading it then, I knew I would always go back to it because it was so well written. I'm already several chapters in and am struggling to tear myself away at bedtime.


In Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series. Using Wilder’s stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical-literary biography of the famous and much-loved author. Following the course of Wilder’s life, and her real family’s journey west, Hill provides a context, both familial and literary, for Wilder’s writing career.

Laura Ingalls Wilder examines Wilder’s inspirations as a writer, particularly her tumultuous, but ultimately successful, professional and personal relationship with her daughter—the hidden editor—Rose Wilder Lane. Wilder produced her timeless classics with the help of, but not reliance upon, her daughter’s editorial insights. Over the course of more than thirty years, Lane and Wilder engaged in a dynamic working relationship, shifting between trust, distrust, and respect. Hill argues that they differed in their visions of the path Wilder’s career should follow, but eventually Lane’s editing brought out the best of her mother’s writing, and allowed her creativity, expression, and experiences to shine through.

I am reading this book for an online course on Laura Ingalls Wilder that I am participating in right now. The author is the instructor. We are reading this book and several of the Little House books. Not tough homework for me.

What did you recently finish reading?





Is this you?

You are unemployed and fed up with the dysfunctional job market.
You are underemployed and eager to use your skills to make more money in work of your choice.
You have been freelancing or consulting but you don’t have enough paying work.
You are working your buns off for bad clients and you’re underpaid to boot.

Diana Schneidman wrote Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less to help the unemployed, the underemployed, and current solopros who underearn to land more clients quickly. The book explains exactly what to do and say to start building your clientele in less than a month.

Put your real skills to work earning a real income from business clients (because businesses have the money to pay for services and they want your help).

Great book. If you're considering freelancing, this would be a fabulous resource.



Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.

Love it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not definite, but should be this one.





Every parent wants the golden key to raising well-behaved, academically gifted, successful, happy children. Embedded in our collective psyche is the notion that discipline is the cornerstone to achieving these goals. This book lambasts this notion, offering a never-before-published perspective on why the entire premise of discipline is flawed. Dr Shefali Tsabary shows that the very idea of discipline is a major cause of generations of dysfunction.

Out of Control goes to the heart of the problems we have with our children, challenging society’s dependence of discipline, daring us to let go of our fear-based ideologies and replace them with an approach that draws parent and child together instead of alienating them. The key is ongoing meaningful connection between parent and child, free of head games such as threats, deprivation, punishment, timeouts—indeed, all forms of manipulation. Parents learn how to enter into deep communion with their children, understanding the reasons for a behavior and how to bring out the best in the child. Far from a laissez-faire anything goes approach, this is how a child learns responsibility and takes ownership of their life, equipped with character and resilience that flow naturally from within.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List

I'm pressed for time this week, so pardon the fact that I'm not posting pictures for every book on my list. 


Just learned about this one this week while exploring Charlotte Hubbard's website. Can't wait to read this one. Amish fiction and Christmas---what could be better? Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 2: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin. This one has been on my radar for a while. Not only does the plot sound intriguing, the woman on the front cover reminds me of Lady Mary from Downton Abbey. That makes it a must read for me. Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 3: A Quilt for Christmas by Sandra Dallas. Historical fiction set during the Civil War and Christmas. Need I say more? Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 4: The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy. A wartime love story. Perfect. Add to your Goodreads list.


This is a book I started a long time ago. Because I was so heavy into review books at the time, I couldn't read this one that I had gotten for myself from Amazon. I would like to go back to it. Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 6: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil. A high school revenge story billed as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Must read it. Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 7: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot. Another private school story. Love them, even if I don't get to read a lot of them. Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 8: Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes. Touted as Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this one is about a popular girl trying to maintain her social position. I find the topic fascinating since I was probably one of the least popular kids in school. Add to your Goodreads list.

Number 9: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang. This is about a girl who unsuccessfully tries to kill herself and then has to deal with aftermath. The sad reality of being a mother of a teenager and a pre-teen is that suicide among friends is an issue that must be dealt with. My daughter came to me one day in tears because one of her online pals planned to drink bleach. I had no idea how to help except to talk her through it and see what kind of information we could find out about the girl to try and alert authorities. Thankfully, the girl changed her mind; but it made me realize I can't pretend this type of stuff doesn't happen. Add to your Goodreads list. (Sorry for the downer.)



This one has been on my radar since it released in August. Set in 1941, this is the story of an Irish immigrant named Eileen Tumulty who marries Edmund Leary. Ed is a scientist, and Eileen sees him as the vehicle toward the better life she craves. She soon discovers, however, that she and Ed don't want the same things. In a cruel twist of fate, Ed is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 51, and Eileen's struggles become something different. Sounds fascinating, even if it's a bit dark. Add to your Goodreads list.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Musing Mondays - September 22



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme from MizB at Should Be Reading. It asks you to muse about one of the following each week…


• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

I've enjoyed having the freedom to read what I want these days because I'm not participating in so many virtual book tours. My job, however, isn't allowing me to sit down and write reviews for what I read quickly enough. Sigh!

Here is what I've read lately:

  • Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less by Diana Schneidman
  • The Hybrid Author by Dianne G. Sagan
  • Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • The Truth: Diary of a Gutsy Teen by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
  • Seated Above, Looking Below by Bobby Brown
  • The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick. This one is reviewed today at TC&TBC

Do you have trouble keeping up with writing reviews? Any tips you can share? What have you read lately?