Saturday, July 21, 2012

Releasing Gillian's Wolves - Book Review

Author: Tara Woolpy

Releasing Gillian’s Wolves took place four years before Tara’s book Raising Wild Ginger; which I reviewed July 3, here. I read Raising Wild Ginger first and wish I hadn't since this book took place earlier; however, reading them in upside down order wasn't too bad!

Book Description:

Thirty years ago Gillian married Jack Sach, now a United States Congressman. Through the years she’s remained faithful. He hasn’t. Ever. She cooks to soothe herself and others, takes care of her mother-in-law, gardens, sneaks off to the studio to explode with angry paintings and tries to keep Jack’s dalliances secret. As she nears fifty, her friends think she should leave but she lingers, bound by inertia and fear of the effect media coverage of a divorce would have on her family.

Gillian shares a trust fund with Edward, her gay neighbor and best friend. Their grandfathers made a fortune together and left it to the two of them. Over the years, in support of Gillian’s marriage, the trust bankrolled Jack’s many successful campaigns. Not particularly interested in politics, Gillian survives by ignoring everything outside her kitchen, garden and studio. Edward has his own ragged past filled with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol. Through the course of a summer, Gillian’s marriage continues to deteriorate while Edward’s life finally starts to improve. He’s sober, stable and has just found life-changing love with Sam, a Biology professor at the local university. Their happiness shines a stark light on Gillian’s loveless marriage. Finally, when Gillian meets Jack’s latest conquest, twenty-year-old Ashley, she’s forced to confront the rot at the core of her relationship. She travels to Amsterdam, meets Luke, an intriguing Dutch sculptor, and discovers it is never too late for happiness.

My Thoughts:

This was a can't-put-it-down book for me. It brings up the stay-with-him attitude that I, personally, have never understood. Of course, I have not been in that situation; so, I can't say for sure what I'd have done. With Gillian's situation, I kind of don't understand why, at the latest, she didn't leave him after Aurora and John grew up and were on their own. I mean she didn't need his money as she had her half of the trust; so, money had no part of it. I'm glad she found love with Luke after all she went through.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from the author, Tara Woolpy, in return for this review; however, my review was not affected by this fact. My review is mine alone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hidden in Dreams - Book Review

Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Howard Books

Book Description:

Dr. Elena Burroughs's life is spiraling out of control. Her controversial stance on dream interpretation has cost her a job, a romance, and all credibility in academic circles. Her literary agent tries to leverage the outcry into a publicity tour, which soon attracts a quirky following. Among the skeptics and mystics is a condescending scientist. But Elena finds his research holds ominous parallels with her own. A certain dream pattern has foretold every major catastrophe stretching back to the dawn of civilization. And now this dream is repeating itself in countless nightmares across the globe.

Elena is confronted with a harrowing realization: the clock is ticking down to a cataclysmic financial collapse. Her desperation mounts as the prediction infiltrate her own dreams. Will this scientist become an unlikely ally - and maybe something more? Could an ancient biblical secret about the power of dreams and visions offer them an escape?

My Thoughts:

Elena has faced being out of her comfort zone before being pushed into the press conference, seven years prior when her husband died and also when her house burned down. Each dream Elena has gets significantly worse in its prediction. The other dreamers have the exact dream the same day she does.

Most of the time, I don't remember my dreams. However, there are times when I do. The idea of finding out several other people that have had the same dream is scary. If my dream was, maybe, a foretelling of the future and finding out others have had the exact same dream is even scarier. I try not to think what my dreams mean, although some of my friends like to do so.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Howard Books for the opportunity to review Hidden in Dreams. I received a complimentary copy of this book for purposes of  facilitating this review. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Divine Alignment - Book Review

Author: Squire Rushnell
Publisher: Howard Books

Book Description:

You received a phone call out of the blue; or you bumped into someone who led you to a new job, a new relationship, or opportunity that totally changed your life. You probably even said, "Wow, what a coincidence I met so and so." But did you ever stop to ask what caused that person to be right there, at that exact moment, in your path? It was Divine Alignment: the arrangement of coincidences into a pattern of alignment so astonishing they could have come only from a higher source.

In this inspiring new work, Squire Rushnell shows readers how they can navigate life's thorniest hurdles, rediscover the deep meaning and impact of personal prayer, and develop the individual conviction and wherewithal it takes to reach their full potential and fulfill their most ambitious dreams by honoring the book's seven easy-to-follow steps.

In his charmingly avuncular and wonderfully optimistic voice, Squire shares moving stories from his own and others' lives to show the awesome strength inherent in what he calls God's Positioning System, or GPS. All of us, he assures readers, can use our own personal GPS to grow more closely aligned with God to become vastly more effective, successful, and fufilled in our relationships, careers, and everything we do.

My Thoughts:

Squire reminds us to talk to God about all things big and small. In today's rush-filled days, sometimes it's a challenge to pray about the 'little things'. It seems like we remember prayer when something major happens. Oftentimes, we have 'feelings' or 'urges' to do things, for example going a different route or make an unexpected stop. There are also times when we have choices between doing what's right and what's wrong. You have the urge to do what's right; however, at times, you choose the wrong action. This 'feeling' or 'urge' is your inner compass talking to you.

Overall, Divine Alignment  reminds us of what we were taught growing up. Say your prayers and follow your instincts.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Howard Books for the opportunity to review Divine Alignment. I received a complimentary copy of this book for purposes of  facilitating this review. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cottage by the Sea - Book Review

Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Publisher: Howard Books

Book Description:

Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients' longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin's son Jordan and his fiancee, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.

But the two friends aren't prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin's father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father's - and oh, yeah, Delores's - cottage by the sea.

What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

My Thoughts:

I liked the fact that even though Erin and Sharlene had just started their business, Erin didn't hesitate to go to her father's side when needed. This story hit close to home for me. My mother passed away almost two years ago, after being sick for several years. There were several times when I'd get a call at work and have to leave with no warning. I was very thankful that my supervisor was as family-oriented as he was. Erin, like most of us, was quick to judge Delores when she left after Erin came to the cottage. Erin was reminded that things are not always what you think. Just because someone does different than you think you would in a situation, doesn't mean you know what really the full story is. 

Disclosure: Many thanks to Howard Books for the opportunity to review Cottage by the Sea. I received a complimentary copy of this book for purposes of  facilitating this review. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Super Spud Trilogy - Book Review

Author: Michael Diack
Publisher: Pen Press

Book Description:
Genetic engineering has accomplished many things, one of which has been to create the Super Spud! The humble potato elevated to new heights, creating the most flavoursome crisps ever known to humankind! But that's not all - A magical transformation occurs to all Super Spud crisps not eaten before their use-by date. They take on a life of their own. And so long as they remain undetected by humans, they enjoy life in their own Super Spud cities, take part in major Super Spud sporting events and even start the odd Super Spud war or two. Join Colin, Cougar, Hannibal Vector, Generals Rock, Jock and Strap and all the others in their rollicking adventures. You'll never look at a packet of crisps in the same way again! Fun, quirky and totally original.

The personality of the Super Spud is determined by their flavour. Tuna flavours, enriched with omega-3 fish oils are very smart, while steak and spinach flavours are incredibly strong due to their high iron content.  The story is fast-paced and a series of non-stop adventures from one chapter to the next, encompassing locations including Egypt, Mexico, UK, Italy and the North Pole! I basically want to entertain the reader and let them read something truly original and quirky.It's a young adult, fiction book and contains many references to popular films and characters like: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Robin Hood, 24's Jack Bauer and Batman.  It's fun, quirky, strange and, hopefully, unlike anything the reader has read before ( it is walking, talking crisp packets afterall...)

My Thoughts:
This book is very different from anything I've read. Michael had a vivid imagination while writing this trilogy. I loved the different personalities and the way they differed depending on the Spud's flavor. I think this book will interest different ages from about nine or ten years all the way up. There are some serious scenes; however, for the most part it is a light-hearted and funny story. I like the human traits the Spuds have. 

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from the author, Michael Diack, in return for this review; however, my review was not affected by this fact. My review is mine alone.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Raising Wild Ginger - Book Review

Author: Tara Woolpy
Publisher: Bats in the Boathouse Press

Raising Wild Ginger is Tara's latest book in the series set in the fictional town of Lacland and occurs about four years after the end of Releasing Gillian's Wolves; however, but a reader need not have read the first to enjoy the second. Raising Wild Ginger is a meditation on what it means to be a family and is told from the point of view of Edward Rosenberg, Gillian's cousin in Releasing Gillian's Wolves.

Parenting is hard. That's what Edward Rosenberg has always assumed, although his only experience with children has been as the drunken uncle. Now the love of his life, Sam DaCosta, is yearning for fatherhood. Edward's been sober for years. He and Sam are in a good place. Why rock the boat? On the other hand, how can he deny Sam his dream of a family?

Then they meet Ginger. At twelve she's been through more than either Edward or Sam can imagine. She's seductive, secretive and dishonest. But somewhere between stealing his cash and alienating Sam, Ginger
manages to wind herself into Edward's heart. Can the three of them create a family? Or will Ginger blow them all apart?

Raising Wild Ginger can be purchased on Amazon, here, and Barnes & Noble, here.

About the author:
Tara earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature at Whitworth College and after spending a post graduate year at the Women Writers Center in Cazevona, New York, she did an about-face and went into Science, earning a PhD in Zoology and teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. For more about her and the novels, visit

My thoughts:
This story brings in the issue of a gay couple deciding to be foster-parents to a child and then adopting her. In many states, that's up for debate. However, to me, there are so many children waiting for a family in ways it doesn't make sense to turn them down just for that reason. Also, when the children are abused like Ginger, any family setting that can help them grow up in a loving home is so much better than what they came from. 

Edward and Sam gave her the love, dependability, and stability she needed. They taught her that in a family, you can make mistakes but still be loved.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from the author, Tara Woolpy, in return for this review; however, my review was not affected by this fact. My review is mine alone.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Summer Must-Have - Pambra's Bra Liner

During the spring, summer, and fall we do several camping trips. One thing I hate about summer is the perspiration in my bra. However, with Pambra's Bra Liners that changed. I'd never heard of Pambra before a friend told me about them.

Their original bra liner has been around since 1990. (How do we not here about must-haves like this?) It's a soft, cotton liner you just slip up under the edge of your bra. I received a 3-pack of Pambra's bra liners for review in white.With the temperature already at 100+ degrees in Arkansas, I've worn my liners several days now. They've definitely helped with keeping my bras from getting as sweaty as usual. I don't know how I did it in past summers. The first time I used the liners was on a weekend camping trip; however, now I wear them through the week. Pambra's Bra Liners are a must-have, especially during the summer/fall months. I haven't tried wearing one with an under-wire bra yet; however, I'm sure I will before the end of summer, as I always get at least one sunburn where I can't stand bra straps!! I'm sure the liner will help with the hated under-wire.

If you have a family member or friend that's had a single or double mastectomy, they have liners for them also. If you have a loved one that's nursing a baby, they now have nursing pads.

Disclosure:  Many thanks to Pambras for the opportunity to review this product.  No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review.  The views expressed above are mine.