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Holly "Book addict" RSS Feed (Indiana, USA)

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Once Upon a Grind (A Coffeehouse Mystery Book 14)
Once Upon a Grind (A Coffeehouse Mystery Book 14)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cozy mystery to savor, December 15, 2014
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As a long-time fan of this series, I always eagerly look forward to the next installment. I started with the first one On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 1) (A Coffeehouse Mystery) many years ago and just kept reading. While some I enjoyed more than others, often based on the over-arching theme, there is not a bad one in the bunch. Every book has been somewhere between good and great.

I picked this one up blindly since I felt no need to investigate the story-line ahead of time as I was going to read it regardless of what it was. When I began reading and discovered the fairy tale theme, I was a bit apprehensive as I have never been a big fan of fairy tales. As always, I shouldn't have worried since the author does a wonderful job of weaving in the theme without it taking over the book. This installment was every bit as good as the others I have enjoyed previously and ranks toward the top of my list of favorites.

The primary character is Clare Cosi, the manager of The Village Blend Coffeehouse located in Greenwich Village. Her ex-husband sources the coffee beans for the coffeehouse and he brings "magic beans" from Ethiopia for her to try. They give Clare some wild and crazy visions, which involve friends and family in peril. As these visions are tied in with actual events and people, she wonders if any of the things she sees will help to discover the culprit stalking New York's first Storybook Kingdom festival taking place at Central Park. I will leave it at that to let you experience the rest of the story yourself without spoiling it for you.

The mystery is fresh and interesting with some twists and turns that surprise the reader. When I finished the book last night, my final thought was "I didn't see that one coming!". Over time, most cozy mystery series seem to lose something. The books either become a re-tread of previous ones or the author seems to take the books in a crazy direction just to keep them new. Cleo Coyle has managed to avoid this trap entirely as she keeps it fresh while staying true to the characters and their relationships. The books are as much about the characters populating them as the mystery itself. NYC gives her room to move around the city exploring different themes and she takes full advantage of that. Well written, entertaining, and interesting are all words I would use to describe the series as a whole as well as this particular installment. (A quick aside: it is refreshing to have to use a dictionary occasionally when reading a cozy).

While it would be optimal to read the books starting from the beginning, this is one series where they do stand alone.

I love the series and I loved this book. Waiting for a new one next year!

Burt's Bees Foot Creme, Coconut, 4.34 oz
Burt's Bees Foot Creme, Coconut, 4.34 oz
Offered by Etailz
Price: $10.09
20 used & new from $4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works!, December 15, 2014
I tried a sample size of this foot creme and liked it so much, I am getting more. Here are some general observations to help you make a decision about trying this product:

- it has a strong odor (coconut) which I really liked
- it works well and keeps my feet soft and smooth
- I wouldn't classify it as a creme. It has a more oily, greasy texture and seems more like a gel to me.
- a little bit goes a long way
- best to use when you have time to let it soak into the skin as it isn't instantly absorbed

I use another foot creme (really a true creme) when I am in a hurry and need to be able to put something on my feet and then dress quickly. I use this creme when bathing in the evening and I am going to relax a while before going to bed.

It is a great product that I highly recommend as it works extremely well, but may not be for everyone due the time it needs to soak into the foot.

That's Christmas To Me
That's Christmas To Me
Price: $7.99
53 used & new from $6.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars aren't enough, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: That's Christmas To Me (Audio CD)
This is hands-down the best Christmas album of the season and may very well be in my top five of all time. When I try to describe this music, the words are all superlatives -- fabulous, unbelievable, incredible, awe inspiring. This is an incredibly talented group who has recorded a collection of songs which are excellently arranged and tailored to the musicians. Any fan of great music should at least give a listen to the samples, particularly "Mary, Did You Know?" and "White Winter Hymnal". I am sure there are some folks who will find this isn't their cup of tea, but I have been raving about this CD with friends and sharing some of the music -- everyone has loved what they heard. Even friends who rarely, if ever, purchase music are buying this.

It's been a while since music sent chills up my spine and this sure did.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't get it out of my mind, December 11, 2014
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Whimsical stories are not my usual fare; I tend to gravitate toward novels firmly grounded in reality. That being said, I found myself picking this up based on strong recommendations and discovered this is a novel that captured my imagination. Having a 90-year-old father in a memory care unit and spending time with him in his surroundings gave me a huge appreciation for the opening pages. Humor and a bit of dry wit managed to make the situation funny rather than depressing. As the 100-year-old man climbs out the window of his retirement home, the novel continued to grow on me as I began to appreciate the situations in which he found himself.

The writing is sharp and descriptive, drawing the reader into the narrative. Certain twists and turns caught me off guard as I went along and at one point, a huge grin broke out on my face as all the pieces started falling together and I knew I was in for a treat. While this might not be a book for absolutely everyone, I have found myself recommending it to friends as a delightful read along the lines of Forrest Gump.

Since I read quite a bit, one of the tests of a wonderful novel is its "staying power" with me. Even thought I finished this about three weeks ago, I find myself remembering bits and pieces as various activities bring to mind aspects of the book. Just today as I was asked for a recommendation of good read, this was the first title that popped into my head. Others may have faded over time, but this one has not.

Truly loved the book!

Winter Street
Winter Street
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two stars is being generous, December 6, 2014
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This review is from: Winter Street (Kindle Edition)
Love Elin Hilderbrand, didn't love this book.

When I saw Elin Hilderbrand was offering a Christmas novel this year, I immediately pre-ordered it since she is one of my favorite authors for beach-type reads. A Christmas story set on Nantucket seemed like a sure-fire winner but unfortunately it turned out not to be the case. I did finish it so it which allows me to give the overall rating of 2-stars since I didn't quit midstream.

The setting of Nantucket, which usually plays such a big part in her writing, was completely underutilized. It could have been set anywhere. The characters are not fleshed-out and I found myself unable to care for any of them. Some of them were hugely annoying (actually many of them were). My biggest complaint is the story itself. I can't really share too much here or I will be giving spoilers, but let me suffice it to say that the characters that populate this story seem to bounce back from major trauma in a matter of a few hours. What would normally knock someone down for the long haul get responded to like it was nothing at all. Totally unbelievable. Also, the story was not very uplifting since everyone is such a mess and the family is so dysfunctional.

If you are looking for a warm holiday read, you had best look elsewhere. So disappointed as this was one book I was really looking forward to reading this Christmas season.

MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton  N/S Tote,Black,one size
MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton N/S Tote,Black,one size

5.0 out of 5 stars Basic black bag but with style, December 4, 2014
I have been looking for a basic black bag to carry with me as my "go to" bag in the fall/winter months. I had purchased one about a year ago from another manufacturer with a similar price and had nothing but trouble with it. When it developed a problem, they replaced it but when the replacement started unraveling at the seam, I just asked for my money back. After looking at many bags that didn't really strike me, I walked into a shop and saw this one and it was love at first sight. It is pretty basic with clean lines but still is incredibly fashionable. I particularly like the silver hardware with the black as most of the jewelry I wear at this time of year is silver.

I have been carrying it for several weeks now and it is holding up well. The leather is soft and the bag is well made. It is large, so it enables me to carry everything I need, including my Kindle as well as small packages, inside. Even though it is a big bag, it still looks sleek and tailored versus bulky. While I bought the bag because it appealed to me when so many others looked blah, I have been amazed at the number of complements I have received. Almost every time I carry it, someone comments on how beautiful it is.

I feel fortunate to have finally found the bag I was hoping for and look forward to many years with this being my primary winter bag.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.42

4.0 out of 5 stars The word "memoir" is misleading, November 29, 2014
Having lived within a couple of hours of an Amish community, I have read a fair amount regarding that religion/culture. I have run across very little written about the Mennonite community and was quite interested in this book to understand their lives a bit better. The author, Rhoda Jenzen, has a condensed period in her life where everything pretty much falls apart. She is in a bad accident, her husband leaves her for a man he met on the internet, and she is strapped with house she cannot really afford on her income alone. After many years of being gone from the Mennonite community in which she is raised, she returns to her family and roots to heal and try to get a grasp of what the future holds.

As I said in the title, this book wasn't a memoir is my opinion but more of a slice of life spanning a relatively short period where she assesses her life and reflects on all that has happened before. As she reveals more of her life, it is apparent that the marriage wasn't without major issues from the beginning and as she looks back, she begins to come to terms with her co-dependent role in it. She also shares about her family and their beliefs/culture which she has largely rejected as she reached adulthood.

I found myself eager to read the book and wanting to finish it so for that reason, I give it a four-star rating. However, there is one huge caveat that I should share --- and many other reviewers also noted. While parts of the book were very interesting and I felt the love of her parents came through, the writer often comes across as judgmental and sarcastic. She portrays herself as leaving the life of the ignorant and uninformed to pursue knowledge and sophistication. Many of her comments are belittling about her family and the Mennonite culture. This didn't really affect my enjoyment of the book as I actually felt sorry for her at times. She doesn't seem to have much peace or serenity in her life -- anger is continuously just below the surface. There is little acceptance of those who don't share her beliefs and world views. As long as you can set aside her negative tone at times, there are some funny parts to it and I did view it as the opportunity to walk in another's shoes for a while. If the belittling of the Mennonite community will really bother you, I would suggest you skip this one.

Minimalism Applied to Your Home
Minimalism Applied to Your Home
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unorganized, rambling, poorly written, November 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read a lot of minimalism/simplification books and this one caught my attention a couple of days ago since it was free and the cover was very attractive (and professional looking). I sat down to read this last night and found myself almost not completing it but, with a length of only 45 pages, did stick with it. I should have been suspicious when the title on the book cover "Minimalism Applied To Your House" isn't the same title as on the title page of the book which is "Minimalism Applied to Your Home".

The content is all over the place -- there is no organization to the book even though the chapter titles look like there would be. Concepts are repeated at random and in chapters that have nothing to do with the topic. There are terms thrown around which aren't defined nor discussed -- good stress is good and bad stress is bad but no explanation beyond that. In addition to poor content, the writing is terrible. Improper use of words, "too" instead of "to" is used early on but I assumed anyone can make a mistake so shrugged it off. Then the punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure are so awful as to make many of the sentences undecipherable. Here are three direct quotes, including punctuation errors, which are representative (not anomalies):

"Spending money on things we don't really need causes us to go in debt and cause us to borrow from pail to pay peter."

"Each of us has a skill and take on a position that may be less than what we are looking for, we should do everything and take every opportunity to do the best we can out of the opportunity we are given."

"After all earlier didn't we see our time was money, so money so thus it was precious? If that is the case shouldn't we want to work and placing things in our live that will add value and pleasure?"

Before you purchase, I would encourage you do read the sample provided in the "look inside" feature. There is an inkling in the opening pages of what is to come.

I realize that many of the reviewers of this 45-page "book" found it to be wonderful, but I am not one of them. I will be deleting it from my Kindle and would be very unhappy if I had paid the current price of $2.99.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel
Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read, November 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have owned this for a while, but it wasn't until I suggested it to my book group for our November read that I picked it up. After finishing it, all I can say is that I have no idea why I waited.

Anna Quindlen is an extremely talented writer who can write just about anything -- news articles, novels, and a fabulous memoir which I have read twice already: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Every time I pick up one of her works, I am reminded about how she manages to capture details of everyday life that ring so true, but that most folks seem to gloss over without thought or contemplation.

There is no need to go into plot or story line as the product description is quite complete, so I will not bore you with a regurgitation of what can be easily found elsewhere. I would like to share that this book captured my attention in its opening pages and I found myself reading the entire book in a matter of a couple of days. I was on an airplane (which usually means I have a hard time focusing since I am too busy paying attention to everything else) and found myself totally blocking out the noises and activities of the other passengers. While there is some predictability to one aspect of the story, I still found myself delighted with the book and sorry to see it end.

For fans of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg's early works, and Julia Glass --- if you haven't read Anna Quindlen I would recommend you give her a try.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $8.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it even more on this second read, November 17, 2014
My book group selected this years ago when it was first published and it was a book that I truly enjoyed and it really stuck with me. Recently, I decided to go back and give it a re-read and enjoyed it the second time through even more.

A glimpse of the charming city of Savannah, Georgia and the characters/citizens who live there, this a book that I found to be exceedingly interesting and difficult to put down. To say some of the folks profiled in this book are a bit eccentric would be an understatement but they sure capture the imagination. There is also a dose of the city's history mixed in, not overwhelming but just enough to put some framework around the narrative.

I will warn the potential reader that one of the characters is a bit "raw" which caused my elderly mother to put the book down years ago without finishing. While I found all the people to be interesting, just be aware that not everyone will as one of the lifestyles portrayed is definitely out of the mainstream.

In my opinion, it's definitely worth a read, and a re-read!

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