Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: The Queen of Hearts, Vol. 1 by Colleen Oakes

The Queen of Hearts, Volume One by Colleen Oakes
Source: purchased

Since I will be reviewing Volume Two in this series later this month, I wanted to read Volume One first. I had actually been wanting to read this book since it came out but hadn't had a chance to until now. Perfect timing and a perfect read while vacationing up north.

The Queen of Hearts is an entertaining backstory of Alice in Wonderland's Queen of Hearts. Dinah is the princess of Wonderland and soon will be coronated as the Queen, next to her father. As the day approaches, a surprise half sister arrives along with mysterious notes. Dinah is in danger and must figure out who she can trust to survive.

I really liked how the characters we all know from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are reimagined for this tale but are still recognizable. There is a perfect mix of suspense with the YA angst of being a misunderstood teenage girl. A lot of fun, and of course ends before all plots are brought to a conclusion. Good thing Volume Two is soon to be released. 

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Home Remodel Process begins

We moved into our house almost two years ago and are now beginning the long process of remodeling. We have ourselves an architect, landscape designer, contractor, engineers, and a family of helpers, as well. There is a design being worked on that will be submitted to the city sometime this summer after pricing(ack). 

It is amazing how long this process is going to take. We have had geotech engineers, civil and structural engineers come out and check the soil, the existing foundation and structure. There have been appraisers out so we can get refinanced and hopefully get enough money to fund this crazy idea of ours. 

Once plans are completed, they will be submitted to our city planning board. Then we wait. Then we wait again until the end of the "no earth work" period. 

Looking like demo will begin in April of 2015! Still fun to imagine our finished home: a master suite, open-concept floor plan (with a reading area, kitchen and family room), new outdoor living spaces. 

So exciting!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Brunette Ambition by Lea Michelle

Brunette Ambition by Lea Michelle
208 pages, Hardcover
Published May 2014, Crown Archetype
Source: sent by publisher for review
"Part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide"

You might think Lea Michelle is a bit young to be writing a memoir already, but she has already experienced quite a lot. She started on Broadway at eight years of age, was one of the leads in the original cast of Spring Awakening, a widely successful new musical, and got a dream lead on a highly successful TV show. She has had successes and failures, she has had to deal with a very painful loss. So, yeah, enough to fill a book especially when you add in a few extras.

Brunette Ambition is filled with photos, recipes and self-help like ideas on how to remain focused, centered and ready to do what you love. If you love Glee, or are a fan of Broadway, I think you will enjoy this. I especially liked reading about her early life on Broadway. Must have been such a great experience and it shows her determination and professionalism.  I am also thinking of starting the workout routine she included in here. 
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review: The Revealed by Jessica Hickam

The Revealed by Jessica Hickam
Paperback, 314 pages
Published June 17, 2014, SparkPress

Source: sent by publisher for review, BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 

Lily Atwood is the daughter of a presidential nominee in a US devastated and changed by a major war. In this new world people fear a group known as The Revealed who come and kidnap eighteen year olds. No one knows the reason for the disappearances and do all they can to keep their children from being taken. Lily is now 18 and hates not being able to leave her home, and rebels and pushes against the walls. 

Of course, being who she is, you know things are not going to be what they seem.

I enjoyed this book. It started off strong, grabbing my attention with the black notes and the constant escape attempts. And it kept my interest to the end. There is a love interest in here that I, personally, feel was unnecessary. I always like when the female protagonist doesn't need a boy. May be just me. I bet others will like Kai and feel Lily's affections for him are real. Her constant longing for him after being with him maybe a week seemed forced. She was lonely, I guess. 
I am looking forward to reading the next book. I like how this chapter ended.  Some story lines were brought to an end, some were left open. All in all, a fun entertaining summer read.
Buy the book:

·       Amazon for paperback:

About the author:

After graduating from Arizona State University in 2011, Jessica relocated to Los Angeles where she now works in the film industry. From acting to assisting on the Paramount feature Star Trek: Into Darkness, her experiences have only reinforced her love for living in other worlds – whether they be from her own imagination or someone else’s. The Revealed is her first novel.

Connect with the author:
·       Facebook:
·       Twitter:
·       Website:

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New book by Eric Litwin

The little girl and I are very excited for this new book by Eric Litwin. The Pete the Cat books written by him are some of our favorite bedtime reads. She watched this clip 5 times while I made her dinner tonight.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Veggie Frittata


This afternoon I decided to make a frittata for lunch for the little girl and I. I scrounged in the fridge for all the ingredients I would need. It turned out really good, I have to say. Paired with a salad and topped with sour cream. It was quite a yummy meal.


1 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup of greens such as spinach, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup milk
Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning

In a bowl, mix eggs and milk and seasonings. Add peppers, tomato, spinach and feta. Pour into a greased pie dish and bake for 15 minutes, or until firm, at 350 degrees. Serve hot or cold.
Enjoy. I actually didn't have any spinach so I just chopped up some of my salad greens. Still pretty yummy. You can toss in any veggies you like, change the cheese. 
Bon Appétit!

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Celebrities on Twitter (via Grammarly)

Grammarly Celebrity Twitter Mistakes

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

Before I Wake by C.L Taylor

336 pages, Paperback
Sourcebooks Landmark, June 2014

Source: From publisher in exchange for review, NetGalley

Before I Wake was first published in the UK under the name The Accident. The accident is the apparent suicide attempt of Sue Jackson's daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte is in a coma and Sue believes that finding the answers to why she did it will bring her out of it. In her attempts, Sue begins to fear that her abusive ex-boyfriend may have something to do with it. Her family and friends think she is having another breakdown and imagining it all. Is she going mad or has James found her and her family?

I enjoyed the suspense and the flashbacks to Sue's life with James. They moved the story along, and showed where Sue's mind is and why she is so determined to learn about her daughter's accident and events leading up to it. This one gave me the creeps, especially reading at night. Sue's recollections of her past were very hard to read.

Before I Wake becomes available on June 10th. 

For more information on the book and author visit her WEBSITE.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Blast: Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

About the Book

Murder By Misrule by Anna Castle
Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

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A Kirkus Indie Book of the Month Selection for June.

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

The Francis Bacon Mystery Series
This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.

Buy the Book

Praise for Murder by Misrule
“Though the plot keeps the pages turning, the characters, major and minor, and the well-wrought historical details will make readers want to linger in the 16th century. A laugh-out-loud mystery that will delight fans of the genre.” – Kirkus Starred Review
“Murder by Misrule is a delightful debut with characters that leap off the page, especially the brilliant if unwilling detective Francis Bacon and his street smart man Tom Clarady. Elizabeth Tudor rules, but Anna Castle triumphs.” – Karen Harper, author of Mistress Shakespeare
“Well-researched… Murder by Misrule is also enormously entertaining; a mystery shot through with a series of misadventures, misunderstandings,
and mendacity worthy of a Shakespearean comedy.” – M. Louisa Locke, author of Bloody Lessons
“Historical mystery readers take note: Murder by Misrule is a wonderful example of Elizabethan times brought to life.” — D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.
About the Author
Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

For more information please visit Anna Castle’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook.

Click on the tour button to find a list of all sites participating in the Virtual tour. There are reviews and guest posts to explore.
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Life Update

It has been awhile since I have just written a post about what is going on. No review, no book blast or spotlight, no meme. Just me.

So, it has been pretty busy around here. Lots of traveling, lots of weddings and all the fun activities that surround them- bachlorette parties and stag-do's (groom is British). I have been pretty active with my daughter's co-op preschool this year as well. Thursday was the Board Training that I helped put together. Need to remember to send out a follow up email those who attended. 

One of the goals I had for myself this year was to be more active-be healthy. Well, pneumonia, a diverticulitis flare-up and not being home much has had its toll on that. This summer I will be participating in a Body Back class through Fit4Mom to get myself back on track. I can't wait to hopefully see some results. 

Summer also means some annual trips happening. Weekend in Sea Ranch, week in Maine. Now that the little girl is older and has others to entertain her- I am hoping some more reading time. Sea Ranch is perfect for cold, foggy mornings with a cup of coffee, a blanket and a book. Very different than the steamy warmth of Maine by the lake. But sitting in an adirondack chair in the early evening with a margarita and book is just as nice.
And because this is a blog about books...
Here is what I am currently reading.
Palo Alto by James Franco
The Revealed by Jessica Hickam
Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.