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Worth It!: Shatter Your Excuses and Free Yourself to Shine
Worth It!: Shatter Your Excuses and Free Yourself to Shine
Price: $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop putting yourself last, April 30, 2015
As with most people, I found it tough to get to a point where I am exercising regularly and eating healthy (for the most part). Many of the excuses I used over the years are highlighted in Worth It!: Shatter Your Excuses and Free Yourself to Shine. As full disclosure, Heidi is my neighbor and friend. She's one of the founding members of our neighborhood book club, which I've been attending for many years. Living in such a close community, I was witness to Heidi's amazing transformation a few years ago, and am thrilled that she has written this new book to help others find their way to a similar path.

Worth It! is an easy-to-read but highly emotional book. Heidi is honest about the struggles she has faced with her weight for her entire life, and how difficult it was for her to finally take on that challenge and overcome it. Each chapter presents an excuse that Heidi used to avoid making a change in her life. Through personal stories, Heidi shows how it is possible to move past those excuses.

At the end of each chapter, there are three to four Action Steps that help guide the reader on their journey. Heidi offers a free companion workbook on her website that readers can use to answer these questions, reflect on the things that are impeding their progress and realize ways to overcome them.

I don't read a lot of "self-help" types of books but I was glad that Heidi asked me to read Worth It! Her story is truly inspiring and she gave me a lot to think about as far as putting myself first and not always trying to prove myself to others. If you're the type who tends to put others first and always comes up with excuses about why you can't take care of yourself, I highly recommend you read this book. It may change your life!


Gooseberry Island
Gooseberry Island
Price: $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A serious topic wrapped up in a sweet romance, February 13, 2015
This review is from: Gooseberry Island (Kindle Edition)
David McClain is an Army Ranger who's about to ship out to Afghanistan. He's a nice guy who would love to find a woman to keep in touch with while he's overseas. Then he meets Lindsey and the chemistry between them is instantaneous. They spend an entire night together, sitting on a bench at the beach, talking. But then David heads to Afghanistan, and although they communicate often while he's away, David returns a changed man.

Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester is a contemporary romance novel that explores the effects of war on relationships, and the trauma that many soldiers face with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We get to see the war from David's perspective, from wanting to get into the action, to experiencing the horrors of war up close and personal. As the war changes David, his interactions with Lindsey change as well.

The characters seem realistic throughout the entire novel, although the romance itself is a bit sappy at times. Those who love romance novels will enjoy that! I liked the fact that David was a cross between a macho man who volunteered for the toughest military duty and an emotional, gentle man around the woman he loves. Lindsey is also a complex character who has a great responsibility dealing with her father, who suffers from PTSD as well.

Overall, Gooseberry Island is a realistic story about war and PTSD, wrapped up in a sweet, honest romance. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I highly recommend this one.

This review was written based on a copy of Gooseberry Island that I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.


The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter
The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter
by Amy Flory
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.79
33 used & new from $4.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little laughter for stressed-out parents, December 23, 2014
The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter is a fun, quick read ~ mostly because it's a bunch of 140-character jokes, which don't take long to read. But it's definitely worth it! My husband and I went through most of the book together, and we were both cracking up over these tweets from some very funny parents.

The best part is that I could relate to just about all of them! Actually, maybe that's not a good thing. Now that my kids are older, it was nostalgic to read through the tweets about babies and toddlers. When I got to this one, I said to my husband, "Yes! That's us now!"

"One minute your kids are babies, and the next you're sleeping in till 9:30 a.m. because they have the iPad and can reach the cereal. - Amy Flory (@FunnyIsFamily)"

There are plenty of tweets included about older kids and teens as well. And several silly cartoon-like pictures throughout the book that highlight some of the funny situations we parents find ourselves in. The glossary at the end of the book is particularly helpful to anyone who isn't a Twitter expert.

I really enjoyed The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. I highly recommend it to all parents if you need a little laughter in your stressful day! It would make a fun gift for new parents as well.


The Killer Next Door: A Novel
The Killer Next Door: A Novel
by Alex Marwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.97
80 used & new from $2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery with lots of gore, October 30, 2014
When Collette moves into 23 Beulah Grove in South London, she is on the run and just wants to blend in. The other renters have their own stories of why they're living in this dilapidated home, dealing with a repulsive landlord, and mostly trying to stay under the radar. Unbeknownst to all but one, a killer lives among them. We know this because the novel begins with one of the others talking with the authorities about the murderer. We just don't know who he is.

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood was described by Steven King as "scary as hell," but I'm not sure I agree. Disturbing, gross and suspenseful, yes. You definitely can't have a weak stomach reading this one; the gore factor is through the roof in several places. But while it is unnerving, it isn't edge-of-your-seat scary for the most part. There are several gripping scenes, but I found the focus of the novel to be more on the characters than the scare factor. And being someone who loves character-driven novels, this was great.

Collette is the most developed, at least at first, but Marwood gives each character a clear persona. Cher is the young runaway who steals to make the rent each month. Vesta is the pensioner who has lived in the house her whole life. Thomas is the quiet, boring one. Gerard is the divorced music teacher. Houssein is the political refugee from Iran. And Roy Preese is the disgusting landlord who loves to wield his power over his renters. It's an eclectic set of characters who eventually come together, reluctantly, to try to save themselves.

The Killer Next Door is an engaging read that I had a hard time putting down. There was plenty of suspense, not only with regard to the killer, but also with the many parallel storylines going on. If you can get past all the body parts, the bodily fluids and the stench that Marwood infuses into the home, it's an excellent mystery straight through to the end.


To The Breaking Pointe (First Force) (Volume 2)
To The Breaking Pointe (First Force) (Volume 2)
by Cindy McDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.23
19 used & new from $12.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Thrills and romance, October 30, 2014
Silya Ramsay is living her dream as the principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company in Russia. But the company is not doing well. Natalia Novikov has resorted to auctioning her dancers off on Saturday nights to financial contributors to help pay the bills. Silya has been exempt from the parties so far, but one contributor is determined to have her for his own, offering to bail out the company in exchange for Silya.

To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald is an entertaining story of love and obsession. Before she's taken to the contributor's home to be his constant companion, Silya manages to get a text message off to her former lover, Grant Ketchum. Grant is an American operative in First Force, an organization introduced in the first book of the series, Into the Crossfire. Grant is still in love with Silya and immediately flies to Russia to save her.

The rest of the novel is a thrill ride as Grant tries to find and save Silya from the obsessive contributor. There's gunfire and explosions and chases. And there's romance as well, as Grant and Silya have never really fallen out of love in the five years they've been apart. There are a couple scenes of sexual violence, but they aren't too disturbing and they definitely make sense in the storyline.

Overall, To the Breaking Point is a fast-paced combination of thrills and romance that makes for a quick, satisfying read. While it is the second book in the First Force series, it does stand alone fine. Although, I personally liked the Into the Crossfire a little better, so I'd suggest starting with that one first!


Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2)
Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good continuation of the story, July 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth is the second book in the Divergent series. I will start by saying that I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first in the series. It was a nice continuation of the story, and I liked getting to know some of the characters more. But I found the focus of the story in Divergent much more interesting. And now, if you haven't read Divergent, you should stop reading my review!

Insurgent starts with Tris, Tobias and other characters on the train heading away from the conflict that took place in Divergent. The Dauntless are now split between loyal Dauntless and Traitors. War is brewing, and each faction, including Amity and Candor must choose sides. Even the factionless are involved.

Tris is dealing with more than war in this book, though. She is also dealing with her extreme regret over having to shoot Will. She can't even hold a gun now, which isn't a very good situation to be in during a war! Her relationship with Tobias hits some major snags too, especially since Tris keeps putting herself in harm's way.

If you've read Divergent, you should definitely read Insurgent too. I'm planning on reading the final book in the series too, even though I've heard some negative reviews of it. This one was good, but didn't pull me in as much as the first in the series. But I'm glad to have continued the story, and look forward to seeing how it all ends.

3 1/2 stars


The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1)
The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1)
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet story about a quirky guy, July 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Don Tillman is a socially inept genetics professor who is on a quest to find a wife after one of his few friends suggests that he would make a wonderful husband. He creates a questionnaire with all of the most important questions he'd need to ask a potential wife, including whether she is generally on time, smokes, drinks, etc. But then he meets Rosie, who does not meet most of his requirements.

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion is really the story of Don's transformation. Told in the first person from Don's point of view, the reader is drawn into his unique mind, the mind of a man with Asperger's ~ although he doesn't realize this. He does, however, know he is wired differently than others. He has a difficult time feeling emotions and being appropriate in social situations. But with the help of friends, and Rosie, he is working on that.

Don connects with Rosie through her desire to find her father. She doesn't have a good relationship with her stepfather and she wants to find her real father. Don, a genetics professor, is quickly pulled into the project of collecting DNA samples and testing them to find the answer. And the more time they spend together, the more Don learns to deal with social interactions and his emotions.

The Rosie Project isn't overly exciting or incredibly suspenseful, but it is a sweet story about characters that I grew to care about. Don is quirky, to put it mildly, and I enjoyed being in his mind for the duration of the story. There's been a lot of hype about this book, but if you put that aside, you will likely find that you enjoy the story and are hoping for the best for Don Tillman in the end.


Harry and the Hot Lava
Harry and the Hot Lava
Price: $0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative new picture book, July 15, 2014
As a mother, I am familiar with the game that has my children setting up obstacle courses in the family room, and then jumping from couch to pillow to cushion to chair and back to the couch without touching the shark-invested water, or perhaps lava, that is the floor. It's a fun game ~ until they try to play it at the grocery store!

Harry and the Hot Lava is a sizzling new picture book by Chris Robertson about a little boy with a big imagination who loves to play this Hot Lava game too. But with Harry, we get to see the lava of his imagination in shocking color throughout the book. In addition to Harry's wonderful face and gestures, Robertson uses text in various shapes and sizes to add a whimsical and fun feel to the book. He really takes the reader into Harry's imaginative world.

This is a wonderfully simple picture book with vivid illustrations that will definitely appeal to young kids, especially those with an imagination like Harry's.


Pressed Pennies
Pressed Pennies
by Steven Manchester
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.96
35 used & new from $3.19

4.0 out of 5 stars A story of love and sacrifices, June 5, 2014
This review is from: Pressed Pennies (Paperback)
Rick and Abby grew up together and started a relationship in their teens, but Rick and his family moved away and they lost touch. Through the years, each married and built their lives and families. But neither found happiness. Abby got divorced and moved with her daughter to a new home. Rick became disillusioned with his materialistic life and marriage, and decided to break away on his own. And then, a chance meeting brought them together again.

Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester is a love story that isn't so simple. While Rick and Abby consider getting to know each other again, Abby's 10-year-old daughter Paige has other ideas. She's still trying to deal with her parents' divorce and is comforted by her mother's promise that it will be just the two of them. When Rick shows up, Paige wants nothing to do with him ~ and she wants her mom to herself.

Manchester delivers a beautifully written, emotionally full story of love and sacrifices. He digs into the decisions people make about their own happiness, and how they sometimes put their relationships ahead of that happiness, whether it's a marriage, friendship or parent-child relationship. The characters all seem very honest and easy to relate to, and their relationships and actions seem very real.

If you enjoy contemporary novels that tug at the heartstrings, I highly recommend Pressed Pennies.


The Do's and Don'ts
The Do's and Don'ts
by Hayley Rose
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.25
22 used & new from $4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Adorable book about manners, April 20, 2014
This review is from: The Do's and Don'ts (Hardcover)
Teaching kids about good manners is tough, especially young kids who have very little interest in learning what they should and should not do. But The Do's and Don'ts by Hayley Rose is an adorable book of lessons on how to practice good manners that will surely capture their attention.

The colorful, fun illustrations by Mark Sean Wilson make a dull topic much more engaging. And the choice of lessons is great, speaking from the perspective of a mother! The book covers everything from saying "Thank you" and "Excuse Me" to lessons on hygiene, sportsmanship and letting people get off the elevator before boarding. Rose even addresses some important safety lessons.

The Do's and Don'ts is a great book to share with young kids ~ and perhaps older kids as well since most could use a reminder of some of these rules!


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