Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: The Rancher Next Door

I chose The Rancher Next Door by Susan Mallery, who is my favorite author!!  This is the first book in the Lone Star Canyon Series.  I fell in love with the town, the characters, and the storyline as I did for Fool's Gold.  I absolutely love the book cover.  It is so colorful and the colors just pop!  

But to young Katie Fitzgerald, the sun rose and set on rugged Jack Darby. Jack was her childhood hero, her secret teen beau. But he hadn't loved her enough to leave their feuding families behind, and blinding heartbreak had led her into another man's arms—and 11 years of loneliness.
When Katie returned to the ranch next door, emotions tore through Jack like a Texas twister. Anguish over her youthful betrayal, tenderness for her shy son—and a hunger so deep it hollowed him out. But hadn't 11 lonely years taught him he was a fool to love a Fitzgerald?

What would you do if you moved back to your hometown and would be around your high school sweatheart?  Plus there is a rule that being around the Fitzgerald's is not allowed.  Your father can not stand that family, but you think this family is fine.  Let's see:  You are an adult, who can make your own decisions.  Right?  If this was me, I would not allow my father to tell me, who I can be friends with especially if that friendship was important to me. 
Love how the book begins by telling us how Katie met Jack.  I do not like how Katie's father treats her.  Just because she was small and got sick a lot, does not mean she should not do everything that her siblings do like Ride a Bike!!  As a mother to a special needs child, if my daughter wanted to try to do something, I would encourage her to do so.  I would not say you can not do that.
Why is it that when one gets divorced or breaks up, they are gun-shy?  Both Katie and Jack are attracted to each other, but they don't want to take a chance.  Would you risk what could be for what could not be?
I feel so badly for Shane, who does not like his grandfather, Aaron.  
Shane wrinkled his nose.  "He's too loud and he never listens.  I'm not like him.  I'm not like anyone else." (Kindle 18%)  Shane opens up and does a few things out of his comfort zone.  I love how Shane interacts with Jack.  
I think one of my favorite scenes in the book was when Katie stood up to her father.
"Stop it," Katie demanded as she stepped between the two of them.  She took Shane in her arms and glared at her father.  "Just stop it right now.  Look at what you're doing to him.  What's wrong with you?" (Kindle 39%)  This is not good for Shane to be in this kind of environment.  I felt bad for him, but also his grandfather will not change.  He has done it to his own children.  Katie did the right thing.  Read the book to find out.  I can not stand that her father kept saying "Don't tell me what to do in my house." (Kindle 40%)  Katie is the mother.  Her father is not Shane's dad.  Thank God for that.  Katie's dad, Aaron, made me realize how lucky I am to have my dad.  Who has Aaron treated with respect?
I highly recommend this book.  I could not put it down.  There are a few quotes at the end of the book that I love, but I do not want to give away anything about what happens!!  So, what are you waiting for?  Go grab this book!!
Keep on Reading
P.S. Discussion Questions for you
1. How did Katie and Jack meet? 
2. How do you feel about Aaron?
3. How old is Shane and where is his dad?
4. Have you gone back to your hometown?
5.  What did Jack bring for Shane?
6. What does Katie do for a living?
7. Who is Katie helping? Why?
8.  Where did Katie and Jack meet when they were teenagers?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reading, Cooking, oh my!!

I posted the other day what that I won an Amazon gift card and asking for some help.  I posted some books I was thinking of getting with it.  

I took me a few days to decide what I wanted to get.  I knew I wanted a few romance books, but I needed to get some Gluten-Free cookbooks and books.  I was told to start cooking/baking like I did before my Celiac Disease.

I brought these books so far: 
1. Third Time Lucky (#1 in Coxwell Series- I have #2 &#3). 
2. All of Nothing (#4 in Coxwell Series) by Claire Cross.  
4. The G-Free Diet: A G-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselback 
5. Against All Grains by Danielle Walker  
6. Some Kind of Wonderful by Maureen Child 
7. Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins
8. The Next Rancher by Susan Mallery
9. Wife in Disguise by Susan Mallery
10. Unexpectedly Expecting! by Susan Mallery 

I already read The G-Free Diet: A G-Free Survival Diet by Elisabeth Hasselback.  I checked it out from my local library as an e-book.  I loved it a lot and decided I had to get it.  I also already read Elisabeth Hasselback's cookbook, too, as a library e-book.  Again I knew I wanted to get it.

I also brought this one, Gluten-Free Diet - A Comprehensive Resource Guide Revised and Expanded Edition (Celiac Disease Books), but I could not get it on Amazon because it was 2 times the price there.  So, I got it from the Gluten Free Mall, but it is not listed on the site right nowMy account says it was delivered today, but it is not here yet.  

I will get cooking once I have read my new cookbooks!  What will be my first meal I make?  I can not wait.  Maybe we will all go Gluten-Free.  I want to make a dessert or 2 for Thanksgiving.  My turkey recipe is from another cookbook I want to try as long as I do it the G-Free way.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If you have....

If you have $50 Gift card for Amazon, what ebooks/books would you buy?

I have a gift card for Amazon that I need to spend.  I want it to be for books!  I have a couple on my list, but wanting some ideas.  

1. Perfect Match by Kristan Higgin
3. The G-Free Diet: A G-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselback
4. Some Kind of Wonderful by Maureen Child
5. Home Front by Kristin Hannah
6. Confessions of a PTA Mafia Mom by Elsie Love

Maybe these:
1. Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
2. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Update 11/14/2013 6:48p:
I brought these books so far:
1. Third Time Lucky by Claire Cross (#1 in the Coxwell Series- I have 2 & 3).
2. All or Nothing by Claire Cross (#4 in Coxwell series)
4. The G-Free Diet: A G-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselback
5. Against All Grains by Danielle Walker
6. Some Kind of Wonderful by Maureen Child

Any ideas?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What are you reading?

What are you reading?  What does reading do for you?  
Those are the 2 questions I would love for you to comment.  

I am reading several books right now:
1. The Newcomer by Robyn Carr
I love this series, Thunder Point.  It is a great community with characters I have fallen in love with.

2. Four Little Blessings by Merrillee Whren
Cassie is raising her 4 nieces and nephew.  Great storyline.

3. Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins
I am only a little into this book.  No opinions yet.

4. Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery
I am a huge Susan Mallery fan.  I am reading this book slowly so I can find the hidden phrases that was put into this book!

5. Sanctuary Cove by Rochelle Alers
I have not started to read this book yet, but it is on my next to be read as long as I can get there before it expires from my library.

I will be reviewing The Newcomer and The Wanderer both by Robyn Carr.  I just finished The Wanderer a little bit ago.  Liked it!! I love series.

Reading takes me away from the stress of my life.  It transports me into the town of the story.  I can see the ocean like in The Newcomer or the town in Christmas on 4th Street. 

Sorry that I have been away.  I was pretty sick this summer and needed to get myself better.  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  

Happy Reading!

Reading Challenge: The Wife's Tale

For this review, I chose The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens.  

On the eve of their Silver Anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband Jimmy--still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school--to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary's life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband's disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and she begins a desperate search. 

For the first time in her life, she boards a plane and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary finds that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she finds fills her with inner strength she's never felt before. Through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.

I did not like this book at all.  I am so disappointed.  It started out as the main character complaining about her life.  I really did not want to hear or read that.  My life is full of issues like my daughter's neurological disease, HSP.  When I read, I want to escape.  

I was wondering why her husband left?  Was he not happy with his life with Mary?  Was there someone else?  These were what I wanted to read about.  

I will not re-read this book.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What are you reading? Part 3

I wanted to share this, too, from my old blog. 
See What Are You Reading Part 1 & Part 2

by Susan Mallery 

I just started this book on Sunday & I love it.  It is about a mother with a child that has a disease that is terminal.  She will do anything to save her child.  I finished it last night.

2. Only His (Fool's Gold #6)
I love love this series.  There are 8 books in this series, but more coming soon.  I love reading a book series. You get to know more about the characters in the books. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series.  I am not sure if I said it before or not. I want to move to Fool's Gold.Where is there a town like this?  Anyone?  Not sure if they get earthquakes or not. That would be a big thing for me. I would love to have help from the town's people. Being disabled, having a disabled daughter, a son with asthma, I could use some help at times. Not sure if I like the idea of everyone knowing everything.  

Here they are:
Chasing Perfect (#1)
Almost Perfect (#2)
Sister of the Bride (#2.5)
Finding Perfect (#3)
Only Mine (#4)
Only Yours (#5)
Only His (#6)
Only Us: A Fool's Gold Holiday (#6.5)
Summer Days (#7)- Comes out  June 2012
Summer Nights (#8)- Comes out July 2012 
All Summer Long (#9)- Comes out August 2012
A Fool's Gold Christmas (#10)- Comes out October 2012

                                                                               by Susan Mallery

I love this book.  I felt like the characters would believable.  What they were going through could happen in real life.  Penny was divorced for 3 years from her husband, Cal, but when he walked back into her life with this great opportunity to be his chef in the restaurant owned by his family, she knew she had to take the job.  I could picture having to deal with Gloria, the grandmother of Cal.  She treats her family so mean.  I hope she realizes that she should be nicer.

I love series.  I love how you learn more about the characters.  Each book is about an character.  Delicious is book #1 in the Buchanan series with Irresistible (#2), Sizzling (#3), & Tempting (#4).  I can not wait to read the rest in this series!!

3. Fools Rush In
Love this book. I think that Millie should had started running for herself not to impress Joe. I can not believe that Millie's older sister thought she could get Sam to take her back after leaving him for another man, going to New Jersey with him, then divorcing him. I think Sam made the right choice

4. There's Always Plan B (Harlequin Next #1)

5. The Creed Legacy (The Creed Cowboys #3)

Book #1 is "Creed's Honor"

What are you reading? 

What are you reading? Part 2

 This is from my old Blog, too, & I wanted to re-post here.
See What Are You Reading Part 1

I love to read.  It is the time I get to be by myself.  Well, sometimes that is not true.  Sometimes Noah & I read together.  We try to do that every Wednesday nights, we have reading nights instead of watching tv.  

Here is what I am reading:

                    1. Positive Discipline for Children with Special Needs: Raising and Teaching All    

            Children to Become Resilient, Responsible, and Respectful

Only His (Fool's Gold #6)



for Families                        

with Allergies and Asthma


Safe Haven

3. Penguins! (National Geographic Readers Series)

by Anne Schreiber

4. If You Were a Penguin

by Florence Minor , Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

Happy Reading!!

What are you reading? Part 1

This is from my old blog & I wanted to repost.

I have been reading several books, but the other day when I went into our library to return some books & renew some, my eyes caught a glare onto this particular book & I had to check it out.  It was "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board." We have all seen the commercials for the movie about Bethany Hamilton, the surfer, who lost her one arm, but was determined to get back to surfing and not let anything stop her.  I love her determination.  She had this dream & wanted to be a pro surfer.  She worked hard to get there.  So far, in her book, it is wonderful.  For her age, she is such a positive young lady.  I think this book is a must read for anyone going through a rough time.  I am in Chapter 10 already.  There is only 15 chapters.  A favorite quote from the book is "It helps to know that even when you don't have a clue why something has happened in your life, someone up there has a master plan and is watching over you."    Bethany took the time to call a  child that lost his arm.  All because she received an email to help him.  She had to change that child's life.  I can not wait to read the book written by Bethany's mom, Cheri, but it does not come out until June or July.  It is called " Raising a Soul Surfer."  I can not imagine what it would be like to be the mother & watching your daughter go through this.  We know that kids can overcome all kinds of things.  

A must read for those with children with asthma is: "Asthma Allergies Children: A Parent's Guide" by Paul Ehrlich, Larry Chiaramonte, with Henry Ehrlich.  This book is very helpful. I learned not to use the vacuum with the boys in the room.  I love how this book is written.  The 2 authors are doctors that actually have a practice.  They use humor, actual cases they have in their practice.  The one example that was used in the book was one of the authors was being quoted in the New York Times Magazine by saying "I tell my pateients, if people point at you when you walk down the street and say "Look at that neurotic patent," then and only then are you being careful enough."  If I had a child with food allergies, damn right I would be neurotic.  I would do everything I could to help my child.  


Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Help Discussion Questions

This is from my old blog, but I loved the book, The Help.   I wanted to repost this.  This was in my Drafts.

Before I go into the Discussion questions, I wanted to say what I thought of The Help.  I love this book.  It is so good.  It is more than just good. I love how this book is set up.  It is not told to you by 1 person, but 3 (Skeeter, Aibileen, & Minny).  I was not born during this time, but it is important to learn how it was during 1960s.  I love how Aibileen, Minny, & the follow maids loved the kids they took care of.  I love how Aibileen talked to Mae Mobley about how wonderful she is.  If you are looking for a book that you can not put down, then this is the book.  If you have or do read it, I want to read your answers to these Discussion Questions.  I want to find more Discussion Questions on other books I will or have read.  Stay tune to see if I can find out. 
Happy Reading!!
If you decide to answer them, put your link in the comments so I can read your answers.  Thanks.

Read on to the rest:

I got this on Goodreads for the book, The Help, which I love. I hope you join me in answering these questions. These is within The Help Challenge.  This is step 3.  You also get some recipes.

To read about the author, Kathy Stockett, go here.  This author inspires me.  She had 60 rejections & the 61st one was the one!  She never gave up.

The first 2 questions are from Step 3 & the last page.  The questions 2, 3, & 4 are also in the other Discussion questions so I removed them.  The other Discussion questions are from here.

The Guide:
Here are a few examples:
1. What do you think is the main underlying theme of
The Help – friendship, courage, finding your voice,
something else altogether?  I think the main underlying theme of The Help is finding your voice.  Finding out who you are.  Learning what friend is truly a friend.  Going after your dreams.  These ladies who raised white babies gave them courage to fight for what you want.  Maybe their mothers did not do that, but at least they had someone fighting for them in their corner.

5. Which scene from the novel are you most excited
to see brought to life in the movie? Why is that
scene so important?  The scene from the novel I am most excited to see brought to life in the movie is the one that Skeeter visits Aibileen the night before she leaves for New York because I think this scene is important.  They both realize that they are good friends & it does not matter what color they are.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Who was your favorite character? Why? Skeeter is my favorite character because she grew up so much during this book.  She took a huge risk writing the book.  Realized that Miss Hilly is not a friend to have.   That she is about about her & no one wants a friend like that.  You need a friend that does not talk all about HER all the time.  Skeeter also learned that Stuart was not the man for her if he could not stand by her for writing this book.  A man like that is not worth it.  I love what her mother says to her about Stuart. 

  2. What do you think motivated Hilly? On one hand she's so unpleasant to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes she can't control her. But she's a wonderful mother. Do you think you can be a good mother but at the same time a deeply flawed person? I think Hilly's wanting to be the center of attention is her motivation.  She has to have everything her way.  I don't think you can be a good mother when she is making our people's lives hell.  She is not being a good role model for her kids.  Again everything has to be about her.  I like to know why Miss Hilly thinks she can boss everyone around.  What just because is she president of that ladies society?  Telling someone to fire their maid.  It is not up to her.  

  3. Like Hilly, Skeeter's mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter — and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable. And most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter's mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why? I think Skeeter'a mother is nonsympathetic because she feels real to me.  I live in chronic pain.  She is not using her health problems as to get some attention.  I am sure Hilly would.  She does not let her daughter know when she got sick or how she is truly feeling.  I love when Skeeter's mother says "Don't you let him cheapen you."  I think this is one of the nicest thing she has said to her daughter.

  4. How much of a person's character do you think is shaped by the times in which they live?    I think a person's character is greatly shaped by the times they live in.  During the 1960's, people was dealing with things like separation, racism, but today we don't deal with it (some people could deal with racism, but I really hope they don't.)

  5. Did it bother you that Skeeter is willing to overlook so many of Stuart's faults so that she can get married, and it's not until he literally gets up and walks away that the engagement falls apart? It did not bother be that Skeeter overlooked so many of Stuart's faults.  I don't think she wanted to get married just to be married, but she was truly in love with Stuart.  Stuart had his faults, too.

  6. Do you think Minny was justified in her distrust of white people? I think Minny's distrust in white people is justified.  In her eyes, every white person let her down in some way.  For example, Miss Hilly due to her beliefs made it impossible for Minny to get another job due to Miss Hilly's lies.  I also think it has a lot to do with the time she grew up in, & what her mother and father told her.

  7. Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught? No, I don't think Mae Mobley would grow up to be a racist like her mother.  Mae Mobley has Aibileen speaking kind words to her especially after her mother is mean to her.  Mae Mobley will remember how she felt when her mother was mean to her & now Aibileen treated her.  

  8. From the perspective of a 21st century reader, the hair shellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of "beauty" changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what's the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent? Back before I had kids, my hair had to be perfect.  Maybe it was years before my oldest was born.  Now if it looks good, then I don't fuss over it.  I am not near high society woman.  I would not put up with Miss Hilly being so mean to me. 

  9. The author manages to paint Aibileen with a quiet grace and an aura of wisdom about her. How do you think she does this? I think the author did this by writing Aibileen after someone she knew who had grace & an aura of wisdom.  I know if I wrote this, this is what I would had done.

  10. Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white? Have you heard stories of someone who put away their valuable jewelry before their nanny comes — so they trust this person to look after their child, but not their diamond rings?  I am not sure if there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white.  I have not seen or heard any stories.  I think there is situations like this if someone was born during this time.    I think you need to trust the person taking care of your child(ren).  If you can not trust them with your diamond rings, then how can you trust them with your child(ren).  Children to me are a lot more important then diamond rings. If you have insurance on the diamond rings, then can be replaced.  Children can not.

  11. What did you think about Minny's pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge? I hate to say this, but I think Miss Hilly deserved what she got.  She spoke lies to everyone to get Minny not hired by anyone.  Miss Hilly was threatening the well fair of Minny's family.  I can not stand people like her.  I would not gone this far for revenge.  I think I would had took her off like Miss Celia did or tried to.