Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
A few weeks ago I finished a book I had been wanting to read for a long time.  The book is by the lady I refer to as "The Bloggess".  One of the bloggers that I have followed off and on for years.  Her sense of humor is great but she is also very honest about her struggles with mental illness which I love and appreciate.  I came across her book at a library book sale last summer and did not get around to reading it until the end of the school year.

Now I will be upfront and say that her sense of humor isn't for everyone....but I loved it.  I think she is a great character in a story (yes I know this is an autobiography).  She is funny and flawed-you know like a real person!  She jokes about her unconventional upbringing and these amazing situations that she finds herself in often.  For example she talks about how her dog died and she had to bury him...morbid yes....but the situation she finds herself in is uniquely funny.

If you are looking for a funny, quick read then this is the book for you!  


I was approached by the Mamma Chia company a few months ago and was asked if I wanted to try their Granola and other chia products and do a giveway on my blog.  I heard the word giveaway and said yes...but I was still a little nervous I love granola and sometimes things made with Chia are.....well they can taste like I am licking a chia pet!

When my granola came I was first impressed with the selection of flavors. A lot of healthier granola's don't have many options for flavors.  I recieved Wild Blueberry, Vanilla Almond, and Cinnamon Pecan.  I immediatly went for the Wild Blue berry.  I made a lactose free yogurt and granola parfiat.  It was amazing.  The chunks of granola were great either to eat as a cereal or as a tasty snack.  Over the next two weeks I also tried the other two flavors.  The blueberry still remained my favorite but the others were also really good.

Now here is the deal with the granola-It has 10 grams of protein so its stuper filling, 5 grams of fiber to keep things moving, and no soy or dairy.  Also in terms of granola the calorie and fat content were not bad.  In fact it was only 3 points per serving which is low for granola in terms of weight watchers.  The product is also organic!!!  My only critque of the product is this...if you love buttery granola the kind that is like 1000 calories per quarter cup...this is not that granola.  It is a great healthier option.  It is sweet without being over poweringly sweet.  It has amazing crunch-even in milk.  It doesn't have what I call the bark taste either.  We all know super healthy cereal sometimes tastes like we are eating friggin tree bark....none of that here.   

Mamma Chia also has two new products Chia Squeezes which are like apple sauce pouches for adults and Mamma Chia drinks.  I was give several coupons to try them but I haven't made my way to whole foods yet to try them (I will review them when I do).  But I didn't want to wait any longer to get this giveaway going.

The folks over at Mamma Chia wanted to get the word out about their amazing products so they are offering a Super Chia Package for one of my readers to try!!!

One of my readers will win the exact amazing package from Mamma Chia I did.  The Winner will receive the following:

One Variety Pack of Organic Chia Granola Clusters (one of each of the 3 flavors)
7 Chia Squeeze Vouchers
7 Vitality Beverage Vouchers

So if you want to be entered to win...comment below.  Contest will run from July 27-August 3.  Tell which product you would want to try most.   Also stop by the Mamma Chia website for all their amazing products!  

So I admittedly may have a thing about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt-and yes it is in that order.  Eleanor then Franklin.  I took a class last summer on FDR and through the book that I was assigned to read I feel more in love with the Roosevelts.  My plan for fathers day this year was actually to take a daddy daughter trip to Hyde Park with my dad as I have never been-Maybe I will still go-maybe.

Anywho-I fell in love with all things Roosevelt.  I loved the fact that for all intent and purpose they had a true partnership in a marriage. They not only dealt with FDR's horrific illness but also the fact that as they aged and grew as individuals their marriage changed.  My personal opinion is that if this was modern times perhaps they would have divorced....or maybe not as they would have been a family in the political spot light.

What I love about the story of the Roosevelts is the fact that each of them were allowed to achieve success in their own right.  I loved that in a era where women were not really allowed to be leaders, Eleanor was one in her own right.  Not in the classic sense that way I man was in this WWII era, but a leader never the less.  I loved reading especially about her struggles to define herself outside of motherhood and being a wife.  I think as a working mother who is very educated I often struggle with the question of who am I-Eleanor did too.

Now in terms of new information this book only had a few things I didn't know about the famous couple-then again I took an entire graduate class on FDR and Eleanor so that is why.  I think this is a great non-fiction read for anywho who is interested in this famous couple.  The books reads just like a normal biography would just instead of being about one person, it is about their relationship.  How they worked together as a team and also how they allowed each other to be individuals with their own desires and interests.  When looking up the link to put in for the book I saw a few more options on Amazon that lets be honest I will probably buy too!  I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get an in-depth look into he Roosevelt's relationship.   Five Stars on this book from me!


                                        *Contains affliate links*


A few months ago I read the book "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" for the Moms Reading Book Club  (on facebook not real life book club) book.  Although I was unable to participate in the book club discussion due to my father's passing it was a great read.  For all intent and purpose the Moms Reading club has yet to steer me wrong!

This was a great book about life on a small British Island during WWII.  Although I was personally fascinated by the historical aspects of this book, this is much more than a historical piece.  The book was made up entirely of letters between the main character and other characters in the book.  Not only did we get a glimpse of the hardship of life in Britain but we got to see inside the lives of several different characters.  As I have stated in several of my book reviews before I am always drawn to characters and character development in a book.  In this book it wasn't just the main character who we saw grown and change, we saw the development and growth of multiple secondary characters as well.  There were several smaller stories interwoven among the larger story line.   Yet, the book keeps coming back to the goodness and love that these island people had for one another during their German occupation and its aftermath.  

At first I was a little concerned about how would the book play out considering it was all several letters that were written back and forth.  I thought that there wouldn't be a good story line with the book written that way.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the story developed throughout the course of letters back and forth between characters.  

For anyone who is looking for a good lighter historical fiction book this is a a good read.  I would give it 4.5/5 starts.  

*This post contains affiliate links

About a week ago in the mail I got a great daily devotional bible for women.  First and foremost this book is absolutely beautiful.  I actually went and sat down to read it and didn't realize that it was for 2015 (despite the fact that it says so on the cover).  Unlike the other devotional that I bought myself it has the verses that you will be reading with the discussion right on the page.  For me who isn't that familiar with reading the bible it made it easier then locating verses in the bible itself and then reading the talking points.  
The Beautiful Leather Cover of the book

Here is a  sample page.  For every day there is the actual scripture and then some reflection points.  What I like is that they are short but also what is written is very easy to understand.  I actually had contemplated starting reading it out of order because I was looking for some guidance in these days of figuring things out with the death of my father.  Then I realized that it is geared to specific times of year so I guess I will have to wait...which is the only thing I didn't like about this devotional.
Inside of the book-Notice it is set up for a daily reading with scripture as well as talking points for everyday

So for anyone who is looking for some daily religious readings or to get more in touch with their spiritual side I would encourage them to pick this up.  For such a lovely looking book the price point is very reasonable at well under 20.00.  This might make a lovely Christmas gift for those who enjoy a more religious gift at the holiday season.  I would highly recommend this item.

*Disclaimer I recieved this item free in exchange for an honest review of the product

One of the last books I picked up over the summer was The Book Thief.  I had noticed that several of my friends were reading and suggested it as a good read.  It also made a few lists of the books you need to read before you watch them.  I am so glad I did this is one of the best books I have read in the last few years and I would recommend it to anyone.

One of the best aspects of this book was the unique points of view. The entire book was written from the point of view of death.  It was interesting to think about and see what death would be like if they were a person and their take on what it means to usher someone from this life to the next.  In addition to the unique viewpoint of the book that characters in this novel were amazing.  Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I am big on the characters in the book.  Not only in this book was a immediately attached to the main character Liesle but the secondary characters as well.  I was drawn not only to the relationships between the characters I was drawn to them individually.  I can honestly say in the sadder moments of the books I openly wept.  One of my favorite characters was that of Liesle's best friend and almost boyfriend Rudy.  He reminded me of many of the boys that have drifted through my life over the years and I wanted so much more for him.

I think it also is worth noting that the basic story of this book, which is told during the holocaust, has been told a 1000 different ways.  Being a history buff I have read countless accounts, novels, memoirs of the holocaust .  To me this novel brings a whole new feel to the story not only with the character work and storyline but again the book being told from the point of view of death was key.  There was something breathtaking about hearing death describe his work during those most tragic of events during the holocaust.

To me this was a must read I would encourage anyone to read it.  This was definitely a 5 out of 5

So I began reading this book to be part of my Mom's Reading Group over on Facebook.  I had read a great review of it in the New York Times book reviews as well as seeing it come up occasionally on Amazon.  I was able to snag it at a few bucks on Amazon's used books.  For those of you who love books like I do, being used on amazon is a good way to go.

So as I began the book I instantly loved it. Then again I am a huge historical fiction fan so what would not be to like about a book about the "Lost Generation".  I do love this time period and am endlessly fascinated by F Scott Fitzgerald.  This book takes a look into the life of both Ernest Hemingway and his wife Haddy.  It covers the store of how they met, the early good years of their marriage, and its ultimate end.  Although this book is about Hemingways' wife I found it was equal parts always about him. After reading this book, I can assume that is how it always was when they were together-all about him.  Now I loved the character development and the love story that was Ernest and Haddy.  I also really liked the look into how their marriage fell apart.  Most often stories of divorce are about the bitterness and finality of it, there was a lot of the book that was about them trying to figure out how to end their marriage.

A negative of this book was I was expecting something more from it. It got amazing reviews-I just sort of kept waiting for a big moment, something monumental.  That never happened. It doesn't mean that it takes away from the positives of the book it just means that if you are reading for this for a big shocking moment, a huge plot twist...this book doesn't have that.  Having finished this book a few weeks ago I am not more ok without that big moment then I was upon completion of it.  This was a solid read with great character insight and development.  I would give it 3 out of 5 stars....maybe 3 1/2 only because it didn't have that moment that I kept expecting.
As I have stated in previous posts I love, love to get children's books to review.  My children love to be read to and we are always looking for new books.  Recently I was asked by the people over at Candy Cane Press to take a look at two of their new religious themed children's books.  The books Rufus and Ryan go to Church and Rufus and Ryan say their prayers were two super cute books to bring up the topic of religion to children.  Master D is now in CCD and loves to go to church, but sometimes the concepts of church and prayer are hard to cover with kids so young.  Even harder is Miss J, who now also likes to go to church with us on Sundays.  What I liked about these books and why they are super fun is it is a typical little boy with his stuffed monkey Rufus.  In both books Ryan and Rufus navigate both how to say their prayers and what to do in church.  Not only do the two learn what and how to behave and church it shares what to love about a mass.  I also need to point out that it is fairly generic and as a Catholic there are only a few slight differences in terminology then what we use to describe certain things.  I also liked how the prayer book gives great examples and shows the child that there is no wrong way to pray.  The book portrays pray in a way I like for a child….as a simple conversation with God.  For anyone who is trying to introduce either prayer or going to church with a wee one these books would be a great addition.  Also, as we head into the holiday season we are firm believers in our house that other than Santa's presents and a few gifts from us we do books for the holidays  These would be a nice gift for under the Christmas tree.  Fun for the kids but with a deeper meaning to help celebrate the holiday season.  Stop by Amazon and check these two cute books out today!  I will leave you with a picture of Papa Hunt and Miss J enjoying the book

The funny part of this photo is my husband is in no way religious at all…so he asked Miss J to pick out a book and what did she pick-The religion book for Daddy to read.  

As  much as I do enjoy my girly fiction books. I have been on a kick lately of enjoying both historical fiction and non fiction history books.  What can I say, I am a history geek.  Although my main love is United States history I find other cultures exceptionally fascinating.  When I was offered the chance to review From the Dragon's Mouth I was intrigued about a book that would offer an insider look into life in a communist nation.  Ever since reading an amazing book in college on life for women in the USSR, I have been drawn to reading about life in communist nations.  I think this interest comes from the fact that published work in which people are able to speak freely in a communist nation are few and far between.

From the Dragon's Mouth is a completion of several stories that Ms. Fuentes had put together as her years as a journalist.  There were several people that she interviewed whose stories did not make the cut for the news that she was reporting but yet she was drawn to their stories.  Each of the stories gives a separate peak into a life that is ultimately high regulated by other cultural expectations as well as a well run and heavy handed communist government.  Some of the stories that I was most drawn to were the story of a mom who secretly works as a prostitute to give her son the best life possible-yet, he does not appreciate all that he has or has any idea what his mother does to support him.  Another story that pulled at my heart strings was the story of a young woman who married a gay man because of the large cultural importance placed on marriage in Chinese society.  A final story that really stuck with me was the story of a man who left his village to work in the city and actually lives in a shared space in an underground apartment (think living in a NYC subway that has been closed and made into rooms that are shared apartments).  This man left behind his family, only seeing them once a year, and working for the reason of providing his children with a better life.  What was crazy in the book revealed that there are hundreds of thousands of people who leave their children behind to be raised by relatives.  This is crazy to think about-100,000 of children who only see their parents once a year.   The other fascinating fact that I found in this book was the most if not all of the people who were interviewed (regardless of their status in life) talked about love of their country.  We in America often associate communism with evil or horrendous atrocities and it unimaginable that people would like or be proud of their country.  In the book it was clear that regardless of what their life or status in society is like almost all those interviewed had a deep love for their country.  

With the variety of stories offered in this book I think that anyone reading will form a connection or life at least one or two of these stories.  I would highly recommend it for the fact that it gives an almost unprecedented look at the average Chinese citizen and their life under Communism.  This is a must read for anyone who is interested in history or culture in general.  

Along with my recently reviewed book by Alison Sweeney  I was also asked if I wanted to review a book from Amazon Publishing called Prime Time Princess.  The author of this book Lindy DeKoven was a real life TV producer for major companies her in the United States.  Her book is a take on the industry as well as a lovely little romance and change your life book.  What I mean by change your life book is that is one of those books where the main character is headed in one direction in their life and because of a major event/s they change their life.   The book centers around the main character Alexa and her life as a TV executive.  It starts out as the classic girl works to hard has no life meets a guy story but goes so much farther than that.  It almost acts in some ways as an expose of what life is like in a business that is run main by men and how a woman fits into the world-or in this case doesn't.  There are several great characters in this book that I enjoyed including the main character Alexa's arch nemesis Jerry.  I loved that this character was so well written that you hated really do.  He is such a piece of work you love to hate him.  For me one of the qualities that I look for in a book is how well are the characters fleshed out...are there enough details that you get invested in them good or bad.  Do you find yourself wanting to know more about the characters then what is offered...for me this is the mark of a well written book.  DeKoven does this very well in Prime Time Princess.  My only critique of the book is that I felt that there were a few sections that dragged and bit and could have been trimmed but other than that  I feel that it is a great summer beach read.  I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

If you would like to win a copy of Prime Time Princess be sure to enter my giveaway here.  The winner will be notified via email.

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I have to be honest I think I was just a little too excited when the folks over at Hyperion asked me if I wanted to review a book by Alison Sweeney (you know that super cute chic from Biggest Loser and Days).  I get lots of great books to review but not always by bigger name people or authors.  I was more than willing to review the book.  Now be it my own personal bias, I honestly did not think that an "actor" would be a good writer...but I was pleasantly surprised.  This books was SO GOOD!!! I read it in less that a week which for me is huge because I only have to time to read at night which means most books regardless of how good they are often take me a month or two to read.  I couldn't put the book down.  Not only did it have really good character development the story was literally addicting.

Now this is your classic chic lit book, but I loved it.  No trashy romance parts but just enough romance and love stories to keep you fully interested in the book.  I think what I liked most is that look that it gave into the entertainment industry.  The general plot of the books follows the life of the main character Sophie who is a PR person.  She is living her very face paced LA life and the stories follows her ups and downs.  You sort instantly get connected to Sophie and her work and personal life.  As things start to go south for the main character you find yourself rooting for her and wanting her to succeed both in business and in life.  One night I stayed up to 1am reading before I had to put the book in the kitchen so I would stop reading was that good.  Now normally I am not the most moved by these kids of books, I think chic lit is fun but not my usual choice...but this was a super fun summer read.  If anyone is thinking of checking it so!  

Ok so now for my slightly geeky moment....I tweeted Alison Sweeney about how much I loved the book and she tweeted me back!!! It was a moment for me (I know I know I am geek!)

So overall I give the book 5 stars, it was really just that good!  

So what have you all been reading this summer....anything I need to add to my ever growing pile of books??
I can't believe it is already the weekend and it is weekend review time.  This week I read Budget Savvy Diva's Guide to slashing your grocery bill by 50% or more by Sara Lundberg.  For those of you who do not know who the Budget Savvy Diva is she is a blogger who has made popular the act of saving you money with all her tips.  She has an amazing blog that can be found here .   She has also written several great books with numerous money saving tips.  In this particular book she focuses on how you can save big at the grocery store.  Although I like to think of my self as a savvy shopper who doesn't go too overboard at the grocery store, there were several helpful hints in this book that I plan on using next time we hit the stores.  The first thing that I really liked about the book is Ms. Lundberg starts at the beginning with menu planning. This is something that I am not always successful at. She talks about how you go from not planning at all to taking baby sets to becoming a supreme planner.  I like that she uses easy tips and gives sort of the step by step on how to get more budget friendly.  I enjoy the if you are doing nothing, here are the baby steps, then the next steps, then the final big picture.  Without giving away all of the Diva's ideas my other favorite part of the book was the recipes.  The end of the book is just filled with numerous budget friendly recipes, many of which are also kiddo friendly or good for those with picky eaters (kids or adults) in the house.  In fact, I bookmarked a few for making this week.  I would say if you are trying to trim your budget a bit this book is worth the purchase price because I am sure you would save that much in your first few trips to the store.  Yet, even better than buying can win it.  Enter below with the rafflecopter to win a copy!

Also if you have written a review on a product or book don't forget to link it below!

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  A few months ago one of the gals over at Mamavation posted how she has written a children's book and I was of course super excited for her.  How many us have a big dream and then get to see that dream come to life.  I was so proud for her.  Then she asked for people to review and you know me...I am always going to be first in line jumping up and down saying pick me for a review of a children's book (in fact there was a great study just done that says your child's success in school is most tied to how many books are in your home not how smart mom and dad are!) 

Anywho, Lydia (who is also running to be one of the Mamavation Campaign 17 Moms) sent me a copy that was autographed for my kids which I  loved.  Let me start by saying the book was a bit too old for my 3 year old, but she still loved this pictures.  So this was more of a Dy and Mom book-hence the photo.  

Anyways, the short story focuses on a group of girls in summer who have an encounter with a ghost.  Now don't worry the story isn't scary (it did have a moment where Dy was a bit scared but he made it through).  In the end the group of young girls pay tribute to their ghost through a kind act.  It is really a cute story with a nice ending.  The book as really great pictures and easy to read.  It isn't a really young kid book, in fact I would say it was a wee old for Dy but he is also a huge reader so he could read most of it on his own, but we like to read together.  

I have gotten to "know" Lydia over the last few months through Mamavation and Twitter and this is a great venture for her into book publishing.  If you are looking for a book for your kids to read this summer with a fun theme go pick it up and support another mom who is making her dream come true.  

You can follow Lydia over on twitter by clicking here, you can check out more about the book here, or you can just stop by here or here to buy it.  Also big shout out to her illustrator who did an amazing job check them out here.  

Lydia-Job well done my dear I am so proud to know you and that I get to share in this moment of your book debut.  Congrats and get back to your Mamavation Hazing 

So have you reviewed anything this week....if so link up here.  I would love to give you some love on your reviews!

Book's Cover
Reading Time
 I was recently contacted by the people at Anne Stone publishing about reviewing a new children's book.  I never turn down children's books because well my kids love to read and what is better than a free kids book right!  When I got the book in the mail even before reading it with my kids I was struck by the amazing graphics-The cover and the first pages had amazing drawings with bright bold colors.  The story itself was also well liked by both myself and the kids.  My son (6) who goes to a science school loved the details there were given about all the animals, my daughter (3) liked the pictures of the birdies.  For myself I liked the moral of the story, that you shouldn't judge people by their looks and that you  shouldn't try to be something that you are not.  Two very valuable lessons for kiddos (and adults) to learn.  But the craziest part about this book is that the author and illustrator is a young girl.  In fact in her author photo she even has braces-so cute.  I love that a young girl has followed her dream, was picked up by a publisher, and created such an impressive and beautiful work.  Kudos to her for putting together such a fantastic piece of art and literature.  You can find out more information about the author here.   I would say that that this is a great read for kids and if you are going to spend the money on a kids book, what better thing to support than a budding author.  Click here for link to amazon.  I would give it Five stars for a children's book 

Now, what else is everyone reading or reviewing this week.  Please link up your latest reviews (feel free to link more than one if you have it)so I can go check them out as well as the rest of my readers.  Have a great week and keep up those reviews.


To start out with I am trying something new on my blog called Book Review Weekend.  My hope is every weekend-at least over the summer-post a book review for my readers.  I am also hoping to find others out there who are review books who can link up there posts underneath my main post.  
So my weekend review was a book written by a cardiologist Peter R. Kowey.  Dr. Kowey weaves a very interested story about his main character Dr. Sarkis and life after having to leave a prestigious practice due to huge scandal.  This whole scandal can be found in Dr. Kowey's first book called Lethal Rhythm.  In this novel the main character Dr. Sarkis is called in on a consult of a suspicious death of a World War II veteran.  What he is discovers is more than a possible malpractice cause, but what might be a serial killer.  The story contains lots of interesting medical facts and data as well as well written characters and plot.  In fact at one point in the story I was suspecting one of the main characters of some shady business (won't go into too much detail because I don't want to spoil anything).  For me I love when that happens because it means the author has done a good job of not making the story line too obvious.  That being said I do have one small critique of the book and it is small-There was a tie into world war II and Nazi's and I wish this had been explored a bit more than it was in the story line.  Then again the book wouldn't have been such a quick read if that was the case.  

I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars and say it is a good summer beach read for those who like thrillers/mysteries.  

If you are a book review and would like to link up please do so below.  I would love to see what others out there are reading!!

As the school year is coming to close I always have visions of grandeur about my summer vacation.  The amazing summer projects I will complete, the 100 pounds I will loose, and how I will somehow have a clean house.  Well this year as been a particularly rough one at school so my goal is to spend a lot of my vacation recharging my batteries, spending time with my kids, and getting myself grounded and ready to start what will be a crazy next school year as we go to block scheduling and new teacher evaluations.  Yet, no more talk of the negative, lets talk about what awaits me for the next 8 weeks!  So here are my summer to do lists.  I can't wait to begin! 

Reading List
-The Star Attraction-Alison Sweeney (review book)
-Prime time Princess-Lindy Dekoven (review book)
-Change your life in 7 days-Paul McKenna (review book)
-Joy Worthy-Julie McGrath (review book)
-Budget Diva's Guide to Slashing grocery bill by 50% or more-Sara Lundberg (review book)
-Love Anthony-Lisa Genova
-Cold Light-Traci Slatton
-The Queen's Fool-Philippa Gregory
-The Kingmaker's Daughter-Philippa Gregory
-Reading Lolita in Tehran-Azar Nafisi
Image taken from

Non-reading To Do
-Vacation with the Hubby
-See the BFF Twice
-Complete 5 graduate classes (if this becomes too stressful I may get rid of it)
-Complete at two official 5k's
-Get my time to under 40min on a 5k
-Work on my self help books
-Blog three times a week
-Enjoy my down time with my family
-Scan kids artwork and make books about their year
-Make a photo album online of this year
-Work on at least three months of Josie's first year scrapbook (once I am done with her first year I am moving to all digital)
-Take one nap a week
-Go outside at least once everyday day (weather permitting)
-Average at least 9000 steps a day
-Go on one "trip" each week with the kids to a museum, park, zoo, etc
Picture My latest book to review was a book about Cynthia Helms the wife of late director of intelligence Richard Helms.  Although a lot of the book was about Mrs. Helms life with her husband the head of CIA it was also about her early life as young woman in WWII Britain and her role in the war effort.  This book was an amazing looking into the "Greatest Generation" and an amazing first hand account of the Cold War.  As a history teacher I loved the look into cold war and the players within the United States government.  Not often do we hear the side of the story from such an intimate first hand account to these events.  Now I will say this, if I wasn't a history geek I think it may have been hard to follow some of this biography in the later chapters.  The story at the end was a whose, who of Cold War Washington.  If you are not well versed in who a lot of people were, the biography might have lost some of the overall appeal.  Overall, this biography was a great read about one of the lesser known figures in our nation's (and Britain's) history.  I am going to give this 3 out of 5 stars because of the last few chapters, but for history buffs it would be a 4 out of 5.
Heroines With Heart 2013 Book Tour
Earlier this month I was asked to take part in a book review group called Heroines with Heart.  I really liked the concept of a large group of new writers using bloggers like myself to promote their new books. A lot of the authors are YA authors which is a genre I haven't exactly delved into yet, so I figured this would be an amazing opportunity.  So for my first selection I chose to review Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon.  Now I a sure some of my readers are like "what, what now".  I was too but one of the subjects I teach in Psychology is all about intersexed conditions.  I am absolutely fascinated by the subject so I figured this would be a fun YA read.  It was, I finished the book in only two weeks while reading only on my computer (the only downside is a lot of books are PDF files not kindle set up).  I thought it was absolutely fascinating.  The main character Jamie/Jameson was so well written that you felt were right there experiencing the story with him/her.  The story takes through Jameson dealing with the fact that he has wanted to be a boy, yet seemingly his parents have wanted him to be a girl.  It is a great story of self discovery and a look into the emotional roller coaster that is the life of a teenager who is born intersexed.  The only aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was the time period.  It was set in the Vietnam era which added a who other dimension to the story.  The acceptance of some and the complete rejection of others of his condition (sadly I would say today's society isn't much different).  The only thing that I did not like about the book, was that I wanted more. Some of the story lines and characters were not developed as much as I would have liked.  Now the book was only 200 pages and YA so this may be why those characters and story lines were not developed in more detail.  In fact, I felt that the book ended way to quickly and I was wanting more details about the end few scenes of the book.  Now again, I don't think this is a fatal flaw of the book, just that I wished Simon had developed some of the story lines a bit more.  Then again if she had done that it might not be as appealing to a YA audience.  As I said at the beginning I am not that well versed in YA literature so maybe this is something that happens some story lines get more of a background then they would in a "regular" book.  Overall I thought this was a very interesting read and well worth the time.  I would give it 3 1/2 stars.
Indiscretion: A Novel A few weeks ago I finished up Indiscretion by Charles Dubow and have not had the time to write a review that would do it justice.  Although I initially had a bit of tough time getting into the book by page 25 I was hooked.  Although this book could simply described as a love story, it is more than that.  This is a story of love, loss, and how sometimes the strongest loves in our life are not returned in the capacity that we love someone.  The story is told by Walter Gervais who is a dear friend of the main couple in the story.  It appears from early on that he is simply and auxiliary character in the book, yet as the book evolves the book tells his love story as well.  With a book like this I find it very hard to describe too much of the plot line without giving away the story so here is my basic summary of the story.  The main characters are Harry and Madeline Winslow they are best friends with Walter.  They take into the fold a young woman named Claire.  Claire and Harry are clearly destined for a love affair that rocks the world of everyone involved in so many faceted ways.

Now why I loved this book so much
    1. You think that this book is about the love story of Harry and Maddy and the betrayal of Claire     (hello the name of the book is Indiscretion).  Yet, for me the book was not about that love story but of the love story of Walter for his best Friend Maddy.  It wasn't until I was done and reflecting on the book that I realized this book is as much about their love as everyone else in the love triangle.

    2.  The character work is amazing.  It isn't often in a book about infidelity that you find your self attached and caring for and liking all of the characters even the ones involved in the affair.  The characters are written in such a way that you connect with each of them individually.  I found that my heart was breaking for Clair when she couldn't have her married man and hating her at the same time for hurting her lover's wife.  Not often are you rooting for everyone in the story.

I don't think I can tell much more without giving away too many details, but this is a must read.  One of the best review copies I have received and I have received some really good ones lately.  I am definitely giving this 5 out of 5 stars.
So it has come to my attention that I may be a judgemental B.  I wish it wasn't true but I am starting to realize that I often judge people by just a few pieces of what I see about them.  I can't go into too many details because I am starting to realize that people in my real life actually read this blog but I will just give loose references to get my point across.

I know that I often judge people who have a lot of money.  I sneer at how they spend there money, think to myself how nice it must be for money to not matter and to be able to buy what ever it is your heart desires and not think about it.  I often judge and think that they do not live in the real world.  Yet if I am being honest, I am judging them because I am jealous.  I wish I could buy things like they do.  I wish I could live a lifestyle like that.  I am judging them for no other reason than jealousy.

Another example is political beliefs.  I am often admittedly to liberal for my own good.  I find myself casting a stink eye at those with a republican flair to them.  I often think how could a woman allow her rights to be taken away, how could someone not want to take care of those less fortunate in society.  Yet, in reality I am just unwilling to look deeply at my own beliefs and be willing to have them challenged by others

The final example is the one I will be most vague about.  I have cast a few unsightly judgements about some of the people I work with.  I often see how they interact with other people and cast judgements on them.  I know that recently I have done this a lot and I think it has to do with certain of my own insecurities.  I know that I am judging them not on my own personal knowledge of them but perhaps gossip or snap judgement by a few interactions I have seen them in. 

Well I was recently proven wrong and it has made me think that maybe I am a bit too judgemental.  I do think it is part of human nature to make judgments on people.  I just know that I am not happy with this aspect of myself.  I think that I need to stop getting wrapped up in gossip, my own insecurities/personal stuff, and snap judgements and really take a step back.  Take a moment in the case with the people I work with be sure I know the real them, in the case of the first two items to take a moment and think about why I feel the way I do.

I know this is a bit of rambling but it was something that I needed to get out and off my chest.  So what about all you judge others more than you should?