Monthly Archives: May 2014

Book Review: Jasmine and Maddie

Jasmine and MaddieJasmine and Maddie by Christine Pakkala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a cute book about two eighth grade girls who come from very different backgrounds but find they really have a lot in common after all.

Jasmine moves to Clover with her mom after her dad dies. Although they could stay with her uncle in the next town over, Jasmine’s mom wants to be independent. In order to do that, they have to live in the trailer park and mom has to work two jobs. Jasmine puts up a wall around herself so that no one sees the real her.

Maddie comes from the picture perfect family but as the middle child, she feels like she doesn’t have any special place in the world. When she doesn’t make the soccer team along with her best friend, Kate, she feels like she has no friends at all.

Because they share some classes, Maddie and Jasmine who would be unlikely friends, find out that they are more alike than they are different.

This was a book I really enjoyed reading and I highly recommend it. šŸ™‚

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Please Don’t Waste My Time

Keep Calm and Don't Waste My TimeEarlier this week, I received a message via Linkedin from a recruiter. All in caps:



Okay, so it seemed urgent and I called her back. She had no idea who I was. I read the message she sent me back to her and then she wondered if I was looking for work. I told her I could be if the right opportunity came up. She wanted to meet with me immediately but I told her we were heading to Dallas. She wanted to know when we’d be back and I told her Thursday night. Could I meet then? No, we have a prior engagement and Friday I spend with the glambaby. So we arranged to meet at 10:00 a.m. this morning.

I got ready, did my hair (which takes a considerable amount of time), put on make up, got dressed in something more than the shorts I’d otherwise be wearing today and went to meet her at Starbucks, a place she chose.

I waited and waited and waited some more. David told me that after 15 minutes, I could leave, that it was long enough and I did. I gave her 20 minutes since I arrived 5 minutes early.

So I wonder. Why on earth did she waste my time like that after she was in such a hurry to meet with me? 

I will no longer consider doing business with her. I’m not working for a reason. It’s so funny because she told me that they package candidates so they can get the best opportunity. “Because you just don’t know what companies are doing these days.” Um, yes I do and it looks like you have just done it to me!

I started being concerned, even before I left this a.m., that what she wanted to offer me was a multi level marketing situation. There are a lot of jobs I would entertain but two I absolutely will not is anything in multi level marketing or insurance sales.

I was prepared to turn her down if that were her plan. I do think I’d like a job but I’ve turned down everything that’s been offered to me in the past couple of years because I want what I want and not something else. I don’t need to work, I want to. 

Here’s something I know. I am going to be a good “get” for the company I let hire me. I am well spoken, well read, and well traveled. I’ve worked for myself and I’ve worked for others and I am very, very good at what I do. No matter what it is. I have the added benefit of being efficient and quick and I don’t make mistakes by going faster than others. I just get more work done. 

Before I throw my considerable influence behind an employer, I’m going to make sure that the employer is worthy of it. 

I’m annoyed that this woman wasted my time on the Memorial Day weekend but it’s just given me a heads up that I really need to get more info before I take my Saturday morning and waste it on something I wouldn’t want to do anyway.

Respect goes two ways. I promise not to waste your time but please don’t waste mine.

Book Review: The Breakup Doctor

The Breakup DoctorThe Breakup Doctor by Phoebe Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! Brook is a therapist and when she loses her practice because the building is being torn down and her partner’s bail, she tries to figure out what to do next.

Her best friend, Sasha tells her she should help people with their broken relationships because she gives the best advice. Sasha also helps to get her a column at the newspaper she works with writing advice for the lovelorn. She tags herself as the Breakup Doctor.

When her own relationship fails and she comes unglued, she feels like she has no business giving anyone else advice.

I loved Brook and it was awesome to watch her character grow and learn. I give this book two thumbs up and I can’t wait to read the next book from Phoebe Fox! šŸ™‚

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Interview with the Author: Venita Ellick

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Last month I read and reviewed a fabu book, The Reluctant First Lady. Today, I have an interview with the books author, Venita Ellick. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better like I did.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I began writing stories as soon as I could write.  Before that, I told stories to all of my relatives.  My uncle still tells me about a story I told when I was three.  I said I had gone to Texas on a train and rode in the caboose.  I drew pictures to go with the story.  My uncle said I was very serious about my story and no laughing was allowed.

Is this your first book?

The Reluctant First Lady is the first full length novel I wrote (back in 2001). I’ve since written three others.  But, as my children were growing up, I wrote picture books and did the illustrations.  They thought for years they were books from the library.

I love to write my blog. What did you write before this novel, if anything? Do you have another favorite way to write?

In addition to the children’s books I wrote, which I mentioned in question #2, I also wrote poetry.  Also, as a elementary principal, I wrote the bi-monthly parent newsletter.

Iā€™m writing my first novel and it scares the heck out of me. Did you find any fear in writing yours?

No, I was never afraid, but I can certainly understand why anyone would be.  Writing is hard work.  Besides having a good idea, it’s day in and day out creating the story, developing the story and the characters and then editing, editing, editing.  Some people find it beneficial to write an outline and/or to create a story board.

I thought the idea of a wife not wanting to serve as First Lady intriguing. How did you come up with that?

My family was eating dinner and I commented to my children (they were teenagers at the time) that their dad would be a great president, that he was very diplomatic, trustworthy and ethical, but that his problem would be me.  I wouldn’t want the job of the First Lady and would refuse to do it.  One of my sons said if I were to take that stand, I would automatically become one of the most famous First Ladies of all time.  That was an ‘aha’ moment.

If my husband were president, I think I would enjoy serving as First Lady. Would you or would you be like Ashley and maintain your previous life? Of course, Iā€™d rather be the President. šŸ˜‰

I wouldn’t want to be the First Lady.  I admire our First Ladies and think they have done very admiral jobs as the First Ladies.  But, that’s not for me.  I think the spouse of the president should have the opportunity to choose for themselves whether or not they want to step into that role.  One day there will be a female president, what will her spouse do?

I think Reluctant First Lady would make a good movie. Who would you pick to play the roles of Mike and Ashley?

Thanks, I’ve heard that from many readers.  I think Naomi Watts would make a good Ashley, and someone like Ben Affleck would make a good president.

What are your future writing plans? Will there be a sequel to Reluctant First Lady?

I’m currently working on an outline for a sequel to The Reluctant First Lady and editing my next book I hope to publish.

What do you like to read?

I love all kinds of books and tend to have several going at the same time. I just finished the Divergent Triology, and am working my way through ‘When Things Fall Apart,’ ‘Ishmael,’ and James Rollins, ‘Bloodlines.’

I write about my family on my blog a lot. We had two sons and now we have a granddaughter. I see from your bio that you are also a boy mom with granddaughters. What is the most fun part about granddaughters compared to sons to you?

 I have three sons and adore them, their wives and our two granddaughters, ages 7 and 3.  It’s so wonderful to see how little girls mind’s work and the way they like to play.  It’s so much fun to play kitchen, and with princesses. One of my favorite things is watching my child be a parent.  I find it hysterical knowing all he has to go through.  It’s such a joy to see your child be such an amazing parent.  Makes me misty eyed.

This was awesome! Thank you, Venita, for this wonderful interview and my best wishes for your success. šŸ™‚

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog to get to know Venita Ellick a little better. I know you will enjoy her book Reluctant First Lady.

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Book Review: Aspen

AspenAspen by Rebekah Crane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book! Aspen is a high school girl who is not a popular girl. She considers herself odd and is a reflection of her hippie mom whom she calls Ninny.

Before her senior year of high school, she has a car accident. The girl in the other car was the most popular girl in school, Katelyn, and she died while Aspen lived.

When school starts things are weird for Aspen, as she receives acceptance from the other kids that she never had before. After being paired up with Katelyn’s boyfriend, Ben, as a lab partner in physics, she finds herself drawn to him.

There’s a lot of guilt in this story and Aspen is finally ready to deal with the trauma she went through with the support of her mom, her best friends, and Ben.

I really liked this book and highly recommend it! šŸ™‚

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Book Review: The Truth About Alice

The Truth About AliceThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really good book. So very well written, I read it in a day.

The story is told from the viewpoints of four different high school students and what they know about Alice. Alice was labeled a slut. Brandon, star football player and most popular guy in school said he slept with her an so did another guy at the same party on the same night in the same hour. After he told everyone that, he died in a car accident and it just became easy to blame Alice for every other thing that happened at school that year.

Although the really popular girl, Elaine, knew she had it in her power to stop it, she didn’t try and do that until the end of the book. Kelcie, who had been a friendless nerd in her previous school, wasn’t about to lose her status at this school and, in fact, increased her status by telling everyone that Alice had had an abortion. Josh, the one who was in the car with Brandon when he crashed, is the only one who knows exactly what happened that night and he’s not telling. And, finally, Kurt the ridiculously intelligent nerd who no one is friends with but lived next door to Brandon and knows the truth about Alice.

This is a wonderfully well written book that describes the character’s true feelings without being shy about it. I highly recommend The Truth About Alice. šŸ™‚

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Book Review: Big Fat Surprise

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy DietThe Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book! Nina Teicholz digs deep to uncover the truth about nutrition as we’ve known it for 60 years revealing how fats aren’t the bad guy.

What I liked the most about this book was that it was confirmation of what I have learned on my own experiment, party of one, me. I’ve always been a student of healthy eating. When the low fat/high carb recommendations came out, I was right there. No fat? Even better. What did that get me? A big butt.

Several years ago, I stumbled up on the Paleo lifestyle and after having removed the grains and carbs from my diet and added back meat and fats, I am the healthiest I’ve ever been.

I have worked with the American Heart Association over the past several years and, although I admire what they are trying to achieve especially regarding women’s heart health, I was never in agreement with their nutritional suggestions.

Thank you for this book, Ms. Teicholz! I hope more people will understand, after reading it, how to be healthier. šŸ™‚

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Book Review: We Are The Goldens

We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. Told from the point of view of the younger sister, Nell is speaking to her older sister, Layla, through the book.

The girls are 17 months apart and it’s clear that Nell idolizes her older sister and wants to be just like her. When she finally arrives at City Day for high school, she starts to see her sister a little differently. But, then, her sister is having an affair with their art teacher.

The book explores the depth of their bond and how far Nell will go to cover up for Layla. Nell’s best friend, Felix, is a good sounding board for her but she even keeps Layla’s secret from him until the very end.

A story of the bond between sisters and growing up. I highly recommend. šŸ™‚

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Book Review: Revenge of the Flowergirls

Revenge of the Flower GirlsRevenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An incredibly cute story! Triplets, Darby, Dawn and Delaney, are 11 and 11 years younger than their older sister, Lily.

Lily tells them that’s she decided to marry Burton, a guy the call a nincompoop, rapscallion, scalawag who is allergic to everything and looks like an armadillo. She tells them they are going to get married in a month so she can leave with him when he goes to IL to attend law school.

Thus begins the plotting and planning to stop the wedding. The triplets believe that Burton doesn’t make their sister happy because she doesn’t sparkle like she did when she was dating her previous boyfriend, Alex. Their plots involve getting Alex and Lily together so they can see that they are meant to be together.

The story is fun and crazy and they eventually achieve their goal. I loved that the triplets are so politically aware, it added another fun dimension to the story. I read through this without stopping. Highly recommend! šŸ™‚

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Book Review: Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts & Revenge, #1)Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a cute book with a moral of why honesty is the best policy.

Gemma makes a bad mistake when she’s 11 trying to stop her parents divorce. It spirals way out of proportion, further than she even knew it could, eventually wrecking a bunch of lives. Now she has a chance to make it right.

When she’s on the train to stay with her dad for the summer, with coffee her friend had bought her for the trip, she meets someone from her past. When she realizes who is is and he assumes her name is “Sophie” because that was the name on her coffee cup, she lets it ride. She thinks this will be a good way for her to prove that she is really a good person and is sorry for what happened in the past. When Josh’s sister, Hallie, picks him up at the train and nearly identifies her, she is happy she decided to be Sophie.

The summer is filled with bad happenstance but Gemma feels like she’s making headway in becoming friends with Hallie again. Still, her lies and avoidance maneuvers end up catching her in the end and she ends up hurting Josh and not really being friends with Hallie after all.

This was a good, quick book. I enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel. šŸ™‚

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