Friday, June 28, 2013

A Drink and A Book: The Dream You Make by Christine Nolfi and The Peachy Belle

Another WONDERFUL author friend of mine has a new release that is to die for! I love Christine's books, which are light and airy...just like the author. Christine hails from the wonderful state South Carolina that is famous for their peaches and Southern Belles. When I was developing her drink to celebrate her new release, THE DREAM YOU MAKE, I wanted to focus on the fruit the peach...not only because it is the fruit of her state, but because when I think of Christine the saying "She's just a peach" comes to mind. She is delightful, funny, warm and inviting! I couldn't forget Christine's bubbly side though...therefore, top off the Belle with a nice Pink Moscato because of its sweet and bubbly make-up.

So, on that note, let me introduce:

The Peachy Belle
A Naomi Blackburn Original


1 peach cut up (no need to remove the skin) or 3 oz peach nectar
3 oz Peach Schnapps
1.5 oz Southern Comfort
PINK Moscato


1) In a chilled metal shaker place cut up peach and meddle to extract juices
2) Add liquors and ice. Shake for 30 seconds
3) STRAIN into a CHILLED wine glass filled with ice.
4) Top with CHILLED PINK Moscato. Stir very don't want to break down the bubbles of the moscato!
5) If desired, garnish with fresh chopped peaches. I tend to find they just get in the way. 

**Note: if you choose to use the nectar, simply start with step 2 including the nectar with the liquors and continue on!

While you are relaxing on the veranda enjoying your drink be sure to have Christine's new book, THE DREAM YOU MAKE, with you and enjoy your escape!

From Goodreads:

Each day Annie McDaniel’s dream of a brighter future slips further away.

After her nephew’s world is destroyed in a burst of gunfire, Annie receives temporary custody of five-year-old Dillon. Now the greenhouse she managed with her late father isn’t bringing in enough money. If she doesn’t get her financial house in order, a judge will allow a couple in Baltimore to adopt Dillon—and remove him from her life forever.

Desperate, she takes on a second job at Rowe Marketing. The instant attraction she shares with Michael Rowe is a circumstance Annie can’t risk. But should she walk away from a love sure to last a lifetime?

Fresh, heartwarming and inspiring, The Dream You Make reveals that hope always carries the promise of new beginnings.

Purchasing options:

Amazon Kindle:

Barnes and Noble:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cat Dadddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy

Book: Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean
Author: Jackson Galaxy
Narrator (if applicable):Jackson Galaxy

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Jackson gives readers an invitation to look at his early years of being a Cat Daddy and led up to his current gig. 

Jackson, in the beginning, was a substance abuser who would use anything he could get his hands on. In recovery, he continued to struggle with insecurities that held him back. Meanwhile, he was a cat daddy with a cat who was going to make him learn who he was if it killed Jackson in the process.
My rating: A VERY rare 10 stars out of 5 stars. 

This is one of those books that the book description is so off from what the book is truly about that I would have to ask the person who wrote the book's description....What (dramatic pause) were you thinking? Did you even read the book?

Jackson's early life is one that many addicts can relate to and is written with such insight that I have seen it in many a client. This continued on with addressing or not addressing the underlying causes for his addictions that had not been addressed.

I felt a "YEAH BOY" with his strong opinions on issues such as cat declawing; spay/neutering; kill versus no kill shelters, etc.

He does give advice for reading your cat, but it was few and far between. One had to really read and grasp the entire story to pull those situations out. 

This book was so engrossing on so many levels and so many topics that I had to force myself to push it aside. I ended up listening to this book and am thrilled I did. It was incredibly powerful.

Source: Edelweiss for Tantor

Would I recommend? : I already have-especially to addictions counselors. I would suggest one listens to it versus reading it. There was a certain power to it in hearing Jackson's voice. I would also recommend for strong cat advocates who get the hell that cats go through with owners who think that the cat should adjust to them with no reciprocity.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

All The Light There Was by Nancy Kricorian

Book: All The Light There Was 
Author: Nancy Kricorian
Narrator (if applicable): n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: 1940's Nazi occupied France, Fourteen year old, Armenian Maral is anything but your typical teenager. She and her family are struggling through another genocide that they know well with as much normalcy as they can muster.  When the Nazis come knocking for someone close to Maral, she knows life will never be the same.
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: This book was amazing. So intelligently written, it reminded me of the works of Chris Bohjalian. There was nothing sticky sweet about this book. It was an incredible raw look at life in France and the daily impact of trying to survive a movement that doesn't want you to survive. This book was intense and powerful when one thinks about the reality of Maral's situation.

Why the 4 stars instead of 5? There was some dryness to the writing that made me get lost periodically. It wasn't horrible, but it was present.
Source:  Library
Would I recommend? : Very much so. I loved this book so much that I invited the author to become an author member of Sisterhood of the Traveling Book.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

Book: The Sassy Belles
Author: Beth Albright
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Blake O'Hara Heart is called to the scene of a crime. Or is it? When her brother in law, Lewis Heart, the town's beloved football announcer, dies after an afternoon of passion with his girlfriend, Vivi Ann McFadden, all hell breaks loose. Not because Lewis died, but because his body has upped and disappeared. Did he truly die or was he up to something a whole lot more sinister? What does his death have to do with his disappearance? Maybe there are a whole lot more secrets to be uncovered in this sleepy, southern town.
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: WHAT (dramatic pause) an adorable read this was without being overly sticky sweet! I just had fun reading this book.  I love when chicklit/romance authors can do a really nice balance between a good mystery (that left me guessing) and lighthearted writing. Ms. Albright has shown herself to be a master. It was a easy going read which was to be expected. I must admit that I didn't expect to be kept guessing. It was a really nice break for some heavier duty reading I was doing. 

Her characters are the typical overly dramatic, southern Prima Donnas expected in southern literature. Some of the scenes really made me snicker at how catty and sarcastic the women acted toward one another.
Source: Review for Publicist
Would I recommend? : fact it was selected for Sisterhood of the Traveling Book.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: To be part of a series

Copycat by Gillian White

Book: Copycat
Author: Gillian White
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Insecure Jennie was one of those friends that Martha barely tolerated. As roles reverse, Jennie becomes more secure in whom she is; Martha becomes more introverted and less secure. Resulting in huge changes to their friendship. Changes that will result in one of them ending up dead at the other's hand.
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: Loved, loved this book. I had read another Gillian White novel and wasn't all that impressed. This one was recommended and the person was dead on. It had the feeling of the movie Single, White Female to it. I loved how Ms. White masterfully wrote the personality changes to the characters individually and profound dysfunction of the relationship. Told from a two person point of view, she further demonstrated this by having each chapter start with the lines from the end of the previous chapter.
Source:  Netgalley for Publisher
Would I recommend? : Yes, already have!
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Monday, June 24, 2013

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck

Book: Hemingway's Girl
Author: Erika Robuck
Narrator (if applicable):Tavia Gilbert

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: It is post WWI, Ernest and Pauline Hemingway are living in Key West when they hire a young woman, Mariella, whose father died suddenly leaving the family impoverished.  Mariella has earned the heart of not only Hemingway, but the handsome, but disfigured Gavin Murray, a veteran of the war, who wants her heart forever.

When a hurricane bears down on the keys, what secrets will be exposed that are destructive as any level 5 hurricane and threaten everything Mariella has ever thought true?
My rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My opinion: After reading and despising a book based almost on the same characters, I went into this book with a bit of trepidation. I loved the storyline of this book. I felt it was incredibly engrossing and loved the majority of the characters. I must admit, even with this book,  I continue to have a serious dislike of Pauline and Ernest Hemingway that i was hoping to have alleviated in this book. 

So why the 3.5 star rating? I have to admit that this book probably would have been a 4 or 5 star read for me had I read it versus listening to it. I found the narration of this book to be highly melodramatic and almost had given up on it.  I found there were periods where the narration was like nails on a chalk board.
Source:  Edelweiss for Tantor
Would I recommend? : Yes
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone