Life Is Good

Life Is Good

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book #18 of my challenge--book #2 of a series

Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one much better than book #1.  Condie did a really good job of having Cassia mature with her books. I especially liked the description of the Carving. Being from Utah I can see envision the slot canyons, the red rock, the hidden caves, the rural ghost towns, and Kamas.

I enjoyed the addition of new characters and new setting. This book puts Cassia in charge rather than the Society. She is forced to make adult choices and she does so realistically.

I hope book #3 does not disappoint.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book 17. Spoiler in this review--although you'd probably figure out the ending in the first chapter anyway.

Radiant Angel (John Corey, #7)Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe 2.75 starts. This is exactly what you think it will be. A John Corey police detective novel but this time he's up against Russian terrorists. This gets a wee bit too long in the middle and SPOILER ALERT it ends exactly as you'd predict--he saves the world, he gets the bad guy, AND his personal life is in shambles.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Book 16

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

YA dystopian romance. I'm intrigued enough to read the sequel but I simply did not love the main characters, Cassia and Ky. I'm like Leisy, I liked the official match for Cassia. I think Hunger Games spoiled us and we expect young female dystopian teens to be more physical and aggressive--which I prefer to Cassia although she eventually got there after 200+ pages.

I also felt like there were too many loose ends and too many main plot lines that didn't have enough background and thus felt "coincidental" and forced. Maybe more of the back story will be explained in book 2.

This story is slow paced and sweet. I would recommend this read to a younger YA audience.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Every Working Mom story

A Window OpensA Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable read. Working mom, publishing world, role swapping spouses, sandwich generation---yep, that's my world and it's a theme been done before but I liked how Alice navigated it all. Alice was real and contemporary. she had her misgivings, her inadequacies, she yelled at her kids, she yelled at her husband, and she is today's "everyman."

Yes, I recommend this to working moms trying to figure it out.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

#14 on the book challenge--only 10 more to go!

The Last SeptemberThe Last September by Nina de Gramont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Almost 4 stars. This is a beautifully written book and the main character, Brett (f), is well developed, the other characters less so. The writing is beautiful but the development of the plot took so long. I struggle with women who make tragic choices when the rest of the world can see the train wreck coming. Maybe that makes this an even better book because I wanted to shake Brett, I wanted her to make the smart choice not the romantic choice.

This is a tragic love story woven into a murder mystery which she doesn't really solve--it solves itself.

I did love all the literary references and certainly the insights into the Poet.

The book ties up the mystery but leaves the reader hanging on her future.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

“When I was your age, television was called books.” ― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride The Princess Bride by William Goldman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this even more than the movie. The movie was two dimensional whereas this book is three dimensional. This was so much fun to read. I can't believe that it took me this long. I'm going to rewatch the movie to see what I missed the first time. And so many great quotes!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Challenge---Book #12

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So totally agree with Cousin Amy. In fact, I almost quit reading this book because I was so frustrated with the main character. But the further into the book you get, the better choices Rachel makes. And then finally the book started picking up speed. In fact, the whole book felt like a train ride that starts in the city--stop and go, stop and go. And then you get into the journey and it really starts moving along.

I will admit I did figure out whodunnit before the end of the book. Part of the reason I stuck with the book was to make sure I was right.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Congrats to Cousin Ellen Adrian for raising a smart daughter!

Like It Never HappenedLike It Never Happened by Emily Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smart and contemporary. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book so much so that I read it clear through on a flight back from China.

I liked the characters, I liked the story line; the writing flows very well and is engaging. The content is relevant to teens today and to parents of teens. I liked too that it was very localized in Portland.

I kept asking myself if Emily had been (or is) a high school thespian or if she had been aware of or part of a teacher/student relationship--don't let that be a spoiler for the book--that's not really what the book is about. It's about peer relationships, school relationships, family relationships, and discovering who you are and where you're going. This book totally took me back to what it felt like to be 15-16 years old.

I'd like to read more from Ms Adrian.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Trips provide for great reading time!

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedThe 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Between 3 and 3.5 stars.

And how do you say quirky in Swedish--knäppa. This book is so knäppa! I don't know how else to describe it. Interesting. Makes you consider, makes you wonder. Also, this is one amazing centenarian. Is it true? or is he senile? Read it for yourself and tell me what you think.

I would never have read it had it not been for book club.

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The Art of Crash Landing--Great airplane read, bad airplane title.

The Art of Crash LandingThe Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very likable woman with a very real story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were laugh out loud moments in this book and moments of heartbreak. That's a great book that can capture both ends of the spectrum so well. This book makes you analyze your past and why you do what you do now because of past mistakes--your own and your parents' mistakes.

The only downside to this book is that I couldn't quite keep all the past characters straight and by the end of the book I wasn't quite figure out who was related to whom. I felt like there was one too many past stories.

But overall, I recommend this book.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 Book Challenge

BEA Book

Burn GirlBurn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm sorry to those who gave this five stars because really? Really?  The story is fine and the writing is fluid and you care about the characters but this was FAR too predictable. How many times is Arlie going to do the same thing over and over--sneak out to confront the bad guy. And I never quite really got why Lloyd was after her--it was too weak.

So, if you're on an airplane or at the beach and need something to read, then this reads well--the story just was too weak.

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Monday, June 08, 2015

Sunday-go-to-potatoes (when you need to stretch your meal)




  1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Turn ingredients into crock pot.
  4. Cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours.

The Sound of Glass--2015 Challenge

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen   White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I give this a B grade. I do like how this book has three stories entertwined--a story from the past and two current stories. This book was a good roundtrip airplane read. The writing flows well.

I don't like feeling like a story is TOO manipulated. I mean really, a suitcase falls in the garden of a family experiencing the same kind of family trauma as the person the suitcase belongs to? And the back story of Cal was just too funky.

But I liked the characters Merritt, Gibbes, Owen, and Loralee (I can't even remember her name as I write this).

Last point: by the end of the book though I felt like I didn't need to finish it because I knew the ending. And there are no surprises--it ends just as you suspect it will.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

TX Sheetcake Cookies

Do not make these if you're dieting!
For the Cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
For the Icing
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
For the Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together until light, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together baking powder, salt and flour.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low.
  7. In a microwave safe bowl heat chocolate chips on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
  8. Add melted chocolate directly to bowl of cookie dough and mix until combined
  9. Scoop out dough in Tablespoon-sized mounds, roll into ball, and place on baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 7 minutes. They will still be very soft on the inside. Do not overbake!
  11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the Icing
  1. Add butter, cocoa powder and mile to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking until melted together.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in powdered sugar.
  3. Pour icing over cookies. Allow icing to set before serving.
Recipe from Kylee’s Kitchen

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rainy-day Saturday cookies


  •  1/2 cup shortening
  •  1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  •  1 cup chopped pecans
  •  1 cup raisins
  •  1/2 cup flaked coconut

  Savings in Salt Lake City, UT 84119  Change Zip

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (2 each) equals 252 calories, 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.


  1. In a bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg; beat well. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Mix well. Stir in rhubarb, nuts, raisins and coconut.
  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen.
Editor's Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Book Club Read

I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred RogersI'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers by Tim  Madigan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this with a highlighter in hand. There are so many great quotes and thoughts throughout.  This book is very tender and sweet. And it really made me think about men and feelings and emotions. I don't know many men like these two. They openly expressed their love for each other and they weren't even family! I also questioned Tim's anger/depression. It appears that it was a mental illness rather than truly a life traumatizing childhood.

The book became most meaningful as it applied to Steve's experiences. I recommend this book for men and women and for those who are going through their own "furies."

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Monday, April 27, 2015


It's true. I have it. Wanderlust. I am driven by a desire to travel and see new places and meet new people and try new food.

Lately a few people have asked me how many countries I have been to and I didn't know.

So here's my list (and it's not in any order):

  1. Canada
  2. Mexico
  3. Belize
  4. Nicaragua
  5. Brazil
  6. Japan
  7. Thailand
  8. China
  9. Taiwan
  10. Australia
  11. England
  12. Scotland
  13. Latvia
  14. Estonia
  15. Sweden
  16. Denmark
  17. Russia
  18. Czech Republic
  19. Germany
  20. France
  21. Spain
  22. Italy
  23. Holy See
  24. Malta
  25. Cyprus
  26. Turkey
  27. Israel
  28. Greece (Crete)
  29. Switzerland
  30. Austria

Tell me your favorite place on earth.

Later I'll post all the U.S. national parks I've been to. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Town Like Alice

A Town Like AliceA Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I read this again.  Still LOVE it. I convinced my bookclub to read it too and they all loved it which totally validated how good this book is.

Like many others I saw the Masterpiece Theatre version of this and immediately went out and got the book. This is beautiful tale of the strength of women and written by a man--I always marvel when a man is able to really capture it. You must read this and then see the movie--not vice versa.

After reading this book I went out and found everything I could by Nevil Shute. I highly recommend all of his books.

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2015 Challenge--yes,I'm behind!

The Silver WitchThe Silver Witch by Paula Brackston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really 3 1/2 stars. I did like the back and forth between the two story lines I just felt like the book went on too long. This is a supernatural story that links the generations.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trip to Curitiba, Brazil

Before I forget everything I need to at least post pix.

Here are pix from the Serra Express Train from Curitiba to Morretes. Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Book 2: Fiction and fast as opposed to non-fiction and laborious. :)" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">Come Home
" />Come">">Come Home by Lisa">">Lisa Scottoline

My rating: 4">">4 of 5 stars

Quick and entertaining thriller--murder mystery with a tenacious suburban mom/stepmom/doctor as detective.I actually would give this 3 1/2 stars. Not a book I'll read again but I enjoyed this as I read it.

View">">View all my reviews

My Family

My Family
Christmas in OH

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Harvest 2015