Blog Archives

Book Review: Shape of My Heart

Shape Of My Heart is the 3rd book in the Heartthrob series. Unfortunately I missed out on Book #2, but did read All I Ever Wanted earlier this year. I didn’t really miss out on too much by skipping book #2, as each book focuses on a different one of the Heart brothers and his love life.  This one focused on Jimmy.  The book starts with Jimmy outside on his balcony trying to write a song while his neighbor Maggie’s dog will not stop barking interrupting his train of thought.  He ends up throwing a pretzel at the dog in an effort to shut it up, which set Maggie off as the dog was not to ever have people food!  Jimmy asks for a few treats in an effort to win the dog over – and as you can probably guess – he starts to win Maggie over as well.

Maggie is well aware of who Jimmy is – she had quite a crush on him during Heartbeat’s hey day but is trying to play it cool like she has no idea he is a famous pop star.  The chapters alternate between Jimmy and Maggie telling the story from their point of view, which I really like because you can kind of get into each of their heads and see where they are at in the relationship.  It took a while, but Jimmy finally gets Maggie to cave and have dinner with him… and things progress from there.

I really enjoy this series and am kind of bummed I missed out on Book #2 and #4 on NetGalley 🙁  I’ll have to see about finding It’s Gotta Be You and As Long As You Love Me on Amazon!

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

About the Book

The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Cricket Creek series returns with this third title in her fun and flirty Heartthrob series, following the quiet songwriter of the Heart brothers as he meets a feisty young adult author who may just be his match.

Meet the Heart Brothers: formerly the members of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat, now they’re all grown up and back together for one last reunion tour. Trends may come and go, but a group of sexy brothers with a penchant for song and dance never goes out of style…

Jimmy Heart, affectionately known as the quiet one of the group, was never completely comfortable on stage. He prefers writing songs on his balcony in his high-rise condo overlooking the sea. But when a noisy neighbor moves in next door, Jimmy’s muse goes on strike, leaving him no other choice but to confront Maggie Murphy and her little dog, too.

But the sassy author of empowering novels for teen girls refuses to pipe down, creating an ongoing battle along with an underlying sizzling attraction they both can’t deny. And when Jimmy learns that feisty Maggie has gone through emotional turmoil as a teen, he’s touched by her bravery and he vows to show her the depth of his unconditional love.

With her “rich and unique voice” (Romance Junkies), LuAnn McLane crafts another sweet and spirited novel that is perfect for fans of Anna Todd and Katy Evans.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: A Whale’s World

A Whale’s World is about a pod of orcas who are looking around the Great Bear Sea for something to hunt and eat.  It is a lot of photos and a lot of interesting information about the ecosystem and Orcas and other sea life as well.  Beautiful imagery.

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

About the Book

A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests, they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises, slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web. The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: My Doll, My Style

My Doll, My Style has a lot of sewing patterns for 18 inch dolls.  If this was out when I was about 10 years old, I probably would have tried my hand at sewing and making some of these designs for my doll! I was obsessed with picking out outfits for my American Girl 18″ doll – that is until I decided she was possessed and moved at night when I was asleep and locked her in a locker never to be seen again.

The book has some really cute summer/beach attire and accessories and a bunch of other designs too. A lot of great ideas for you or your daughter to sew!

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

About the Book

Style trends trickle down to girls’ clothes, infusing their day-to-day wardrobes with edgy, fashion-forward pieces combined with age-appropriate styling. It’s that line of thinking that inspires this new doll clothes collection, resulting in a must-have project book with up-to-date silhouettes and fabrics that kids gravitate towards (and infused with thumbs-up sensibility from mom.)
12+ designs with accessories ranging from fancy to out-and-about cool following today’s fashion-savvy girl through a busy week!Great for all skill levels with information on sewing basics and tips on using contemporary fabrics including metallic transfers, sewing with knits, and more.My Doll, My Style is authored Anna Allen is the owner and designer of Doll It Up, a popular website dedicated to 18-doll clothes patterns and accessories. Doll It Up has established its brand, focusing on well-fitting doll clothes, simple designs for beginner/intermediate sewing, styles inspired by current fashion, and beautiful photography.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Rad Girls Can

I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse when it comes to Rad Girls, but whenever I read these books I am always surprised to find out there are only a handful that I have heard of before reading the book and with this edition of Rad Girls Can, I found the same thing to be true.  Why are there so many Rad Girls out there that I otherwise have not heard about? Where is all the media and social media coverage for them?  At least I keep reading these books to educate myself and I hope that if you have a daughter you give her these books to read as well so she can find out about the Rad Girls out there and hopefully follow in their footsteps!

This book contains 50 girls – all of who have done amazing things before they even turned 20 years old. It also includes some who are transgender. The book notes that it believes in celebrating the greatness of all young people, but this book only focuses on females. This book is full of great and inspiring stories of all these girls that have done amazing things. It kind of makes me feel like quite a slacker! But I always enjoy reading about girls who kick ass, and these in this book certainly do.

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

About the Book

From the New York Times best-selling authors of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z, a bold and brave collection of stories and art about inspiring and accomplished girls who have made positive impacts on the world before the age of 20.

You might know the stories of Malala Yousafzai, Anne Frank, Jazz Jennings, and Joan of Arc. But have you heard about Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee who swam a sinking boat to shore, saved twenty lives, then went on to compete as an Olympic swimmer? Or Trisha Prabhu, who invented an anti-cyberbullying app at age 13? Or Barbara Rose Johns, whose high school protest helped spark the civil rights movement?

In Rad Girls Can, you’ll learn about a diverse group of young women who are living rad lives, whether excelling in male-dominated sports like boxing, rock climbing, or skateboarding; speaking out against injustice and discrimination; expressing themselves through dance, writing, and music; or advocating for girls around the world. Each profile is paired with the dynamic paper-cut art that made the authors’ first two books New York Times best sellers. Featuring both contemporary and historical figures, Rad Girls Can offers hope, inspiration, and motivation to readers of all ages and genders.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Rock and Roll Explorer Guide To New York City

The Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is a really cool book.  It breaks down different neighborhoods in NYC and how they relate to stories in Rock And Roll History.  There is the address to the location, details about it and photos in some cases.  It is also noted if the location no longer exists, and instead just shares the stories locations.  Certain more iconic bands have their own sections in the book – for instance The Beatles have their own chapter and John and Yoko have a chapter as well.  It was fun to go through and see which locations I have been to (not many) and which I have heard of (some, but nowhere near all).

Definitely an interesting and fun read and a great guide for the next trip to New York City when we aren’t sure what to do or check out!

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

About the Book

From the churches and street corners of Harlem and The Bronx to the underground clubs of the East Village, New York City has been a musical mecca for generations, and Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is the definitive story of its development throughout the five boroughs.

Plug in and walk the same streets a young Bob Dylan walked. See where Patti Smith, the Ramones, Beastie Boys, and Jeff Buckley played. Visit on foot the places Lou Reed mentions in his songs or where Paul Simon grew up; where the Strokes drowned their sorrows, Grizzly Bear cut their teeth and Jimi Hendrix found his vision. Rock and Roll Explorer Guide gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at how bands came together, scenes developed, and classic songs were written. Artists come and go, neighborhoods change, venues open and close, but the music lives on.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is a book full of photos and details on America’s Legendary Mach 3 Spy Plane.  It is really cool to see all the photos of this plane and all about the history of it.

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

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: 200 Embroidered Flowers

200 Embroidered Flowers has instructions on how to make some really cool looking embroidered flower designs.  This isn’t something I have tried to do before, but the way the book explains all the knots and stitchings in the beginning of the book makes it seem like this is something I might be able to try out! Of course, I had to check to see if there was a pansy design included and was happy to see that there was – and a hop plant as well! Maybe I’ll soon be on my way to a Hanson themed embroidered flower display…

In addition to Hops and Pansy’s just about any other flower or plant you could imagine was included – aloe, african voilets, cactus, etc! and they even have some done on tote bags instead of embroidery hooks. Lots of great and wonderful designs if you are looking for flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors.

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

About the Book

Learn how to stitch all your favourite flowers, leaves and foliage, with this is collection of tutorials for 200 embroidered flowers and foliage. Discover how to stitch beautiful blooms including roses, daisies, daffodils, pansies and buttercups as well as more exotic blooms.

Modern hand embroidery expert, Kristen Gula, shows you how to create all the floral motifs from a stitch library of less than 10 embroidery stitches.

As well as the step tutorials for the flowers and leaves, there are 10 projects for home decor items and accessories that showcase the embroidery so you can show off your makes and create beautiful gifts for family and friends. Choose from a collar motif, pillow cover, table decoration, shoe embellishments and many more!

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Lies We Tell Our Kids

Lies We Tell Our Kids is a book of lies that parents have told their kids – and some cute and creepy illustrations of them.  Like George Washington was the first president in space and fish don’t sleep so we can. I am not sure how many of these are actually told by parents – but there were a handful that I had heard at one point or another! Really cute book that gave me a few good laughs.

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

About the Book

From acclaimed artist Brett Wagner comes a book about tall tales that parents tell their kids in the hopes of getting them to do something… eat, sleep, apologize to their sibling or siblings or learn to do something the right way. Fun, heartfelt and a little bit weird “Lies We Tell Our Kids” exposes the not-so-great generational parent tactic… lying to your child for the greater good!

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: One To Watch Me / One To See Me

One To Watch Me and One To See Me are a series of 2 books in “The ONE Series”.  Emmeline needs to get away from her family, former fiance and job for a bit.  She ends up booking a trip from Chicago to Miami to stay in a beach house for a bit to regroup and find herself.  Someone there is watching her, and she knows it.  She ends up meeting a handsome stranger and spending almost all of her free time with him.  Their relationship turns hot and heavy almost immediately and she seems to throw out all of her fears and inhibitions even though she normally seems to have such a good head on her shoulders.  These books are two short pieces of the story, but I could not stop reading either and wanting to know more about what was going on with her former fiance and if he was playing her and her father and his business.  I also really wanted to know who the heck was watching her, even though I had my ideas from the beginning of the series as to who it might be. (I doubted myself a couple of times, but in the end, I was right)  I really enjoy these quick read romance stories because there is a lot of action and not a lot of backstory.

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


About the Book(s)

When there’s no one left to trust, should you try trusting a stranger?
Someone is watching Emmeline, and for the first time, she feels seen.

Emmeline Weiss is living a dream life—or so it appears. She comes from a wealthy, influential family, has a blossoming career, and a sophisticated fiancé. Lost in the fray, and on the brink of forgetting who she really is, Emmeline needs a few weeks of sand and saltwater: a break for once. But her search for clarity—and her true self—turns up a smart, sexy stranger instead, ONE who sees her soul and awakens her body, giving her everything she never knew she wanted. When Emmeline learns her charmed life in Chicago has been a setup, her soul-searching trip to the shores takes a dark turn. Someone is watching her. Caught between fear, and an exciting new desire to push away her inhibitions, whom can she trust?

Can you trust someone who can’t afford to trust you back?
Emmeline is ready to be seen. And someone is watching.

Emmeline Weiss is facing the most important day of her life. The stakes are high: her high-powered, high-society life in Chicago could come crumbling down around her. But if it did, would she be in a free fall, or would she be free? In a time like this, Emmeline knows she needs to sort enemies from friends—and quickly—but who can she trust? And what if trust has more than ONE definition?
As her life dismantles into dark questions and darker answers, the last thing Emmeline expects is for passion and chemistry, physical need and wild sex, to take over. For the first time, with this sexy stranger, Emmeline feels seen.
But maybe it’s because someone is watching…

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Hanson Day Tulsa 2018

2018 Hanson Day was my 10th trip to Tulsa, OK to see Hanson.  When I first started planning my trip back in 2009 I am pretty sure I billed it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to experience their home town.  In 2009 they recorded the Stand Up, Stand Up EP and there really weren’t any other events.  10 years later (and not really ‘consecutive hanson day’ events either – since 2010 was a Halloween event!) and it is fascinating to see not only how the Hanson event and activities have grown, but how Tulsa has continued to grow and flourish.

My trip started with some excitement. I had only 40 minutes to get off my plane from Hartford and onto my flight to Tulsa in Dallas.  When my shoes set off the metal detector upon arrival in Hartford, my gate was the furthest away and every flight around me was getting delayed due to weather, I was hoping I’d still make it and all the drama was working itself out early.  When the pilot came on and said we would be delayed 10 minutes because of weather and he hoped to make up the time during the flight but before landing told us we would be 5-8 minutes late, I started mentally preparing myself to drive from Dallas to Tulsa.  And when the jet bridge wouldn’t move to connect to the plane, I thought that any chance I had of making it was over. When we landed I was at the mercy of the wheelchair pusher. I informed him my flight was taking off VERY soon and let’s see if we could make it.  He was being thoroughly pessimistic about the whole thing – and then informed me that gate A8 was THE. LAST. GATE. In A.  Yet somehow, despite hearing “Flight 299 to Tulsa, you need to be on the plane NOW” we made it – and I wasn’t even the last one to board the plane.  Thanks American Airlines for holding that flight because if not it would have been Strike 3 for you.  (When I booked the flight it was an hour or so layover and they changed it on me)

Thursday morning our day kicked off waiting outside Ida Red to pick up an Albertane Tour 20th anniversary pint glass and try the special drink they had come up with.  After that we got our wristbands and hopped in line for the store.  I spent a new record amount of money, but in my defense I was picking up merch for 3 others in addition to myself.  Once you take out their totals,  I was pretty much on pace for my usual amount, despite being a bit underwhelmed with the merch this year. (But I’ll confess, that $100 blanket is beautiful and I can’t wait to put it on my bed.) Then there was some eating, some volunteering, some more eating and then it was time for some karaoke – where facebook and snapchat filters set me into a fit of hysterics.  Maybe I needed some sleep…

Friday we got I line for the gallery pretty early, and while there were some original paintings left by the time I entered, I opted to get a couple of prints instead. We also participated in the String Theory ball of yarn.  After the gallery it was time for group photos, so we headed down to Cain’s Ballroom for that.  We stopped at Prairie Brewpub for my first visit before getting ready for the Storytellers concert.  I was pretty nervous that they were going to play With You In Your Dreams and my fears came true when Taylor started mentioning that they wanted us to sing in a chorus.  The setlist was Albertane Tour throwback (and Money was a song I had never heard them perform live before) and I liked that they “themed” it to a 20th anniversary – but… I can really do without WYIYD for the foreseeable future.  Then it was time for the ST Leaders dinner where my cane almost took someone out… and I realized that IPA Cheddar Burger meant that the cheese had the beer in it… and was gross.  I ended up falling asleep instead of going to Taylor’s Dance Party that night. Oops.

Saturday we had a later day, starting off with the Listening Party of Zac’s special music project “The Machine”, it was definitely interesting… then we headed off to Pinot’s Pallette where we painted our own version of Zac’s pansy painting from the gallery.  I went roque – from the moment the instructor said “paint your canvas light blue” and mine was light orange.   I did a mixture of oranges, yellows and reds for my pansy.  It probably could have used more yellow, but overall it came out pretty good.  That night was the full Members Only Concert and I was really digging the 100% members only song setlist – until it got to the solos and then it kind of lost me… and then they played Where’s the Love which I love but am a bit sick of. (Honestly though I know I complain about the setlists but I’d rather be at a Hanson show with a (imo) lame setlist than pretty much anywhere else in the world. So.) After the concert we rushed off to Firkin Feast – and after the gross burger the night before I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I actually enjoyed 2 of the 4 beers that they offered after thinking I would never find a beer I would actually like, so that was a plus, and despite the menu not being at ALL what I would ever choose to eat, I ate each of my courses in its entirety and enjoyed it!

Sunday was The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.  Hanson wasn’t performing, which made things a bit less hectic and crowded.  I volunteered handing out fliers at the entrance with a great group of security guys (way better than the group I was with last year) and still had a chance to check out Paul McDonald’s set from my hotel room and some of Manchester Orchestra’s as well.  I was also pretty close to Guthrie Green which had the local bands playing and was pretty impressed with what I heard from there as well.

Monday it was time to go and my flight home was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the best flight I could get home for points on Southwest was to take a detour to Denver with a 4 hour layover.  I can’t complain, it was only $6 and I got to have a delicious Einstein Mac & Cheese bagel!

Category: Concert, Hanson, Travel  Comments off