Book Review: Stripped Bare


Since this book was a “must read” I figured I… must read it.  I wouldn’t consider it a must read by any stretch, but it was a decent book. It did take me a while to get through it and I’m not sure if that was because of how it’s written or just because I’ve been so busy lately.

The book is about a woman named Kate.  She is married to the Sheriff.  She is currently taking care of her teenage niece Carly whose mother and father have both passed away.  The book begins with Kate getting a call from another local woman named Roxy that Eldon (Carly’s granddad) and Ted (Kate’s husband) have been shot.  Eldon is killed and Ted is in the hospital.  She finds out that Ted got to the scene of the crime quickly because he’s been having an affair with Roxy.  It seems like everyone in town knew what was going on but Kate.  Carly is also nowhere to be found.

When the police come in to investigate, Ted ends up confessing that he killed Eldon.  Kate knows better and knows that he is protecting someone and she vows to find out herself who it is.  When mysterious accidents keep happening to her, she knows she is on the right track but she isn’t sure if she will solve it before something terrible happens to her.

There are a lot of characters in town that we meet throughout the story since Kate and Roxy (!) end up teaming up to try and solve the crime and see whodunit.

I had no idea who the suspect was until all was revealed. If you’re into murder mysteries you’ll have to check this one out and see if you can fair any better than I did.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Stripped Bare by Shannon Baker is “A must read” (Alex Kava, New York Times bestselling author) that stars a female Longmire in the atmospheric Nebraska Sandhills.

Kate Fox is living the dream. She’s married to Grand County Sheriff Ted Conner, the heir to her beloved Nebraska Sandhills cattle ranch, where they live with Kate’s orphaned teenage niece, Carly. With the support of the well-connected Fox Clan, which includes Kate’s eight boisterous and interfering siblings, Ted’s reelection as Grand County Sheriff is virtually assured. That leaves Kate to the solitude and satisfaction of Frog Creek, her own slice of heaven.

One night Kate answers a shattering phone call from Roxy at the Bar J. Carly’s granddad Eldon, owner of the ranch, is dead and Ted has been shot and may never walk again. Kate vows to find the killer. She soon discovers Ted responded so quickly to the scene because he was already at the Bar J . . . in Roxy’s bed. And to add to her woes, Carly has gone missing.

Kate finds out that Eldon was considering selling his ranch to an obscenely rich environmentalist. Some in town hate the idea of an outsider buying up land, others are desperate to sell . . . and some might kill to get their way. As she becomes the victim of several “accidents,” Kate knows she must find the killer before it’s too late. . . .

Love with Food September



We never stop learning, no matter how old we are – whether it’s learning a new language, learning more about another culture, or just learning a new skill. But let’s face it, learning can be a hungry business! This month’s box is packed full of snacks that are perfect for enjoying while broadening your horizons. So go ahead – share your knowledge and share your snacks!

Organic Fruit Candies by GoOrganic
So good it’s hard to imagine they’re completely organic. Get ready to believe in miracles.

These were really good hard candies!

Sandwich Crackers by Lance
These are not your mama’s crackers. Real ingredients, real energy, and really delish.

Not a fan of cheese crackers, I prefer peanut butter, but these weren’t terrible.

Coco & Milk Classic Wafers by Loacker
A classic sweet combination wrapped in lighter-than-air wafers. So basically, heaven.

These were pretty good.

Bunches of Crunches Dark Chocolate Sea Salt with Chia by Bakery on Main
Granola meets dessert in these poppable, crunchable, irresitible snack.

Really liked this granola. A great mid day pick me up snack.

Caramel Apple Crisp Premium Puffed Corn by Cosmos Creations
Don’t think puffed corn could be so reminiscent of a classic comfort food dessert? Wrong.

These were probably the best in the box.

Organic Gummy Cherries by Black Forest Organic
The classic taste of cherries, made 1000% better as a gummy. Whoever said candy is just for kids never tried these.

These were really good but the suggested servings in the bag was 2.5.  That… didn’t happen.

Strawberry Raspberry & Walnut Bites by Orchard Bar
What could be easier than a snack bar? A snack bar that’s bite-sized! Not to mention gluten-free, 60% organic and non-GMO with NO artificial anything.

This was very very heavy on the raspberry so a bit on the sour side and I have little to no tolerance for that, but I enjoyed it.

*Also included was beef jerky which I can’t seem to find on the Love With Food site for details and I ate it first thing. It was a little bland compared to the slim jims I am used to, but wasn’t a bad snack.

Book Review: How To Catch a (Falling) Star

fallingstarHow to Catch a (Falling) Star is the sequel to How to Catch a (Rock) Star which I read and reviewed last summer. That book was about Lillie and Jed, who are featured characters in this book as well, but his book followed Jed’s band mate Johnny and TV actress Darcy Swanson.    Both are on a TV show in the UK, along with another famous actor.  Johnny ends up catching Darcy and the actor after the show – and things seem to be going downhill from there.  Johnny is in jail and charged with assault even though he didn’t do anything, and Darcy wants to keep what happened a secret so it’s possible that Johnny will get in trouble for something he didn’t even do.

About half of the book is before the two even realize that they are into each other – or at least before they decide to act on it.  Like the other book, the love scenes are minimal even though it is considered a “rock star romance”, but like the prequel story, I didn’t really have a problem with that since there was so much action and drama going on with the rest of the story and what was going on.

This book had a lot of female empowerment in it and women standing up for themselves and taking a stand, which I really liked and it is a really great message.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The much anticipated sequel to the new adult bestseller “How to Catch a (Rock) Star”

Johnny Moretti, bassist of American rock band The Dead Hour, is hot, single and in demand with women, but he’s becoming disillusioned with the rock star lifestyle. Not that he wants to settle down like his band mate, Jed. Hell, no. He just wants something more out of life than meaningless hook-ups.

While filming for a popular UK chat show, he meets American TV actress Darcy Swanson for the second time. As with the first time they met, there’s no love lost between them so when their lives are thrown together unexpectedly when a traumatic incident involving movie superstar Jack Ford occurs, neither knows quite how to handle it.

With Johnny facing prison and Darcy’s hard-earned career in serious jeopardy, they both need to confront their pasts and face up to the truth, but are they be brave enough to do it?

A web of Hollywood cover-ups begins to surface, but will Johnny and Darcy be the first spark to light the fire and run the risk of getting seriously burnt or will they stay silent and suffer the consequences?

Music Monday: Tyrone Wells Covers One


You Make My Dreams Come True
She Drives Me Crazy
Lean On
Can’t Get You out of My Head

Covers One is the first in a 2 part EP release from Tyrone Wells released earlier this month. The EP includes covers of Imagine Dragons Radioactive, Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams Come True, Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy, Major Lazer Lean On, and Kylie Mingue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head like you’ve never heard them before! I love Tyrone’s soothing voice and I could probably use a couple of these songs as lullabies to just sooth me to sleep. (And I don’t mean that as a dis at all!)  Some of these songs may be almost unrecognizable, until you hit the chorus at least, but why be boring and do a complete copy of the original? Tyrone melds these songs to his style and if you love him you will love these.  I can’t wait for Covers Two to be released!

Scrapbook Saturday: BTTI Show 1

Hanson Show #1… (and soundcheck for good measure)

more »

Book Review: Post This Book

postPost This Book is a book that is meant to spark your creativity. There are various prompts throughout the book that can be posted on social media.  Prompts like – me in 3 words, create and customize a personal mug, rehome a penguin, photograph a souvenir.  This book is probably best as an actual book than a non ebook, but there are definitely a lot of fun ideas in here if you are bored and want to spice up the content on your social media accounts.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book
Explore your inner artist with creative prompts to doodle, color, collage—then #PostThisBook on social media!

Post This Book is the first interactive journal that empowers you to rediscover creativity and fun—and post the results to your social network!

Respond to the journal’s innovative prompts to create a fabulous online feed. Share coloring pages, videos, patterning, doodling, and inspirations on and off the page. Express yourself without need for perfection, and share your images on social media with #PostThisBook to become part of an imaginative online community and view creations from around the world.

Book Review: A Life In Parts


I first was “introduced” to Bryan Cranston as Hal on Malcolm in the Middle.  Of course,this was later in his career so any talk of Malcolm doesn’t come until about 50% through this book.  I was instantly drawn into this book, the writing style is great and really makes you feel like you are there with Bryan as he relives his early life – starting out as an actor, having that no longer seem to be his passion after his father left and then rediscovering it again later on.  I loved reading about all the sneaky things he did as a young adult – especially when he was selling sun screen as a lifeguard at the pool.

Just a note – I have not seen Breaking Bad in its entirety and I’m not sure I ever will – but if you are someone who has not yet seen the show and may eventually want to watch it, you may want to get that out of the way before reading this book because it does contain some spoilers pretty much right from the beginning of the book.

Each chapter name is the “part” that Bryan played in that story – whether it be as an actor or as a family member – son, nephew, etc.  A very interesting read about a very versatile actor.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father, a struggling actor and director, cast him in a United Way commercial. Soon, Bryan was haunting the local movie theater, memorizing and reenacting favorite scenes with his older brother. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny—until one day his father disappeared. Suddenly, destiny took a back seat to survival.

Seeking something more stable, perhaps subconsciously trying to distance himself from his absent father, Cranston decided on a career in law enforcement. But then, a young man on a classic cross-country motorcycle trip, Cranston one day found himself stranded at a rest area in the Blue Ridge Mountains. To pass the time he read a tattered copy of Hedda Gabler, and in a flash he found himself face-to-face once again with his original calling. Suddenly he thought: This was what he wanted to do, what he would do, with the rest of his life. Act.

In his riveting memoir, A Life in Parts, Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany, and beyond, to mega-stardom and a cult-like following, by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played, on camera (astronaut, dentist, detective, candy bar spokesperson, President of the United States, etc.) and off (paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, son, brother, lover, husband, father). With great humor, and much humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular, trying to learn the ropes and the politics of show business on the fly, to a recurring spot as Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, finding himself an indelible part of popular culture. He recalls his run as the well-meaning goofball, Hal, on Malcolm in the Middle, proving to writers and fans that he was willing to do anything, anything, for a laugh, and he gives a bracing account of his challenging run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson, pushing himself to the limit as he prepared, physically and mentally, for a tour de force that would win him a Tony, to go along with his four Emmys.

Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest, most fascinating details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most riveting performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.

Discussing his failures as few men do, describing his work as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about innate talent, its benefits, challenges, and proper maintenance, but ultimately A Life in Parts is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.

Book Review: Crafting with Feminism

Crafting with Feminism contains 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy. I’m not sure I’ll actually ever make any of these projects, but I was interested in seeing what all was included in the projects. Some of them included badges of honors, hero puppets of great feminist heroes and even tampon buddies. (Cmon, you had to know something including tampons was going to end up in this book!) A lot of the projects really made me laugh and they would be a lot of fun to make with your other feminist buddies on a boring weekend.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This is what a feminist crafter looks like! Wear your ideology on your sleeve by creating feminist merit badges (like “started an all-girl band” or “rocked roller derby”). Prove that the political is personal with DIY power panties (“No means no”). Craft great feminist hero finger puppets (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo) or googly-eyed tampon buddies. Fun sidebars provide background on (s)heroes of the feminist movement.

Throwback Thursday: David Cook 11/12/08

Headliner: David Cook
Opener(s): N/A
Venue: Hard Rock Cafe
Cost: $158


Concert Review: Dalton Rapattoni

Friday night Dalton brought his Inspired Attempt tour to the Acoustic in Bridgeport.  I had purchased a pre-show “Eat and Greet” and a post-show “Meet and Greet” because I couldn’t decide what to get.  This ended up being a VERY early show and I had to get to the venue for the eat and greet at 3:15! I was back in my car after the post show meet and greet by 8pm and the venue had another show with doors opening at 9pm after.

For the Eat and Greet, when we got inside Dalton was on stage doing soundcheck and we got to hear a couple of songs.  Then he came off stage and came and sat right by me and then everyone crowded around and we asked him questions and he told us some stories about touring and Idol and stuff.  One of the fans brought him a Star Wars Play Doh set so he played with that a bit too.  Once the Fairfield School of Rock took the stage to soundcheck things got a bit loud so he had us do photos and then it was pretty much time for doors to open.

Opening the show was Sarah Barrios who is from CT and I have seen open at several other shows.  She’s always and treat and I actually took the time to talk to her a bit after the show.  Next up was the Fairfield School of Rock and they were awesome! I was not expecting that since they were all so young but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Then it was time for Dalton to take the stage! He did a mix of original songs and a few covers mixed in as well and while I’m not that familiar with any of his originals I really enjoyed all of them.  He puts on a really great show and really has a lot of energy. Like, a lot.   He had mentioned during the eat and greet that they had to cut a song from the set due to the venue forcing them out so early!

After the show I got to talk to him a bit about how I enjoyed the set and he said that they had a lot of technical difficulties and I said it was fine, he still did a great job.  Technical difficulties are always going to happen and its how you overcome them that matters and he cracked a joke about how he couldn’t play guitar and continued on.  When people seemed bummed he wasn’t going to play guitar he said “I have a great band, they can handle it” and they did!

One of the reasons that I went all out was that I wasn’t sure he would be coming back to CT but I really hope he does – and if not, well I may just have to travel.

Dalton Rapattoni Setlist The Acoustic, Bridgeport, CT, USA 2016

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