Book Review: The Before Now and After Then

beforenowI’m not sure how to review this book without giving some things away.  However, what I am going to give away is not in the book description but it does happen VERY early on in the book so it won’t be ruining the outcome. I hate to do it, but I can’t tell how else to explain it.  So if you think you want to read this book completely unspoiled – then leave this post now.  If you’d like to get a bit more info to find out if you think you should read this book, then keep on reading!

The book begins with a “hurricane of events” for our main character, Danny Goldstein.  His twin brother Sam and their dog, Griffin, head out so that Danny, who is gay, can come out to his parents. They had a big planned hatched with Sam coming home in the middle.  When Danny goes to talk to his parents he hears them fighting about infidelity.  Not knowing what to do when the door opens and they see him standing there, he just blurts out, “I’m Gay”. Right after that happens, police are at the door to let them know that Sam has been in an accident.

So basically in a chapter, Danny’s life has been turned completely upside down and we spend the rest of the book having Danny trying to find himself – because he had always been kind of hiding behind Sam.  He starts a new school and makes a friend named Cher – named after the singer, whose Mom has always wanted her to have a gay best friend. He also sees a boy at school named Rusty that he thinks that he likes but doesn’t know how to find out if he likes him back.  His “uncle” comes to stay with him and his mom for a while (They are not really related, he was his mom’s best friend growing up and also a member of the band Danny’s parents were both a member of.)

This is a really well written YA novel and I liked all the different relationships that Danny had and how they all kind of helped him find out different sides of himself. His gay uncle Alex could give him advice on relationships and what to do and not to do (even if what he tells him not to do has already been done.)  Rusty teaches him how to be in a relationship and care for someone else more than you thought you could.  Cher helps him find himself in other ways.  His parents try to help him with coping with the loss of Sam, as this is new territory for all of them.

And then of course there is the evil bully (who I was hoping would turn out to be gay himself but that was never addressed) who picks on Danny and makes him pass out numerous times because he makes him so nervous.

This was a book that I didn’t want to put down, I had to see how it ended, and it was almost like a roller coaster ride with the ups and downs and I just really wanted Danny to come out ahead. I think he did.

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

About the Book

Danny Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of his identical, twin brother Sam. But when a hurricane of events forces him into the spotlight, he starts to realize that the only thing he’s truly afraid of is himself. With the help of his costume changing friend Cher, a famous gay uncle with a mysterious past of his own, two aging punk rocker parents and Rusty, the boy who will become his something to live for, Danny begins to realize that the music of the heart is truly the soundtrack for living.

Book Review: Tacolicious

tacoWhile the books name may be Tacolicious (a food I love and don’t eat quite as often as I would like!) this book contains festive recipes for not only tacos but also snacks, cocktails and more! So don’t let the name fool you, you will find a lot of great recipes in this book that aren’t only tacos.  The book is actually named after a restaurant – at which you will also find more than just tacos.

Chapters include: Salsa, Pickles + More, Snacks + Sides, Tacos, Tacos, Tacos, Cocktails, Aguas Frescas + More.  Of course my favorite chapter was Tacos, Tacos, Tacos, but there are also some other recipes in the book that I’d love to give a try as well.

The book also has a lot of really great photos – you might want to make sure that you’re not hungry when you read it because you may end up wanting to eat the pages or lick the screen of your e-reader. (Heck even if you’re NOT hungry you may end up wanting to do that – everything looks SO good!)

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

About the Book

A collection of recipes for fun, accessible taqueria fare–including colorful salsas, tasty snacks, irresistible cocktails, and of course tacos galore–from the wildly popular San Francisco restaurants and food stall, Tacolicious.
As their legions of fans can attest, Tacolicious is all about delicious, authentic, fresh Cal-Mexican fare–eaten in a fun, communal atmosphere. Tacolicious translates the vibrant, festive food of the restaurant into book form, with scores of recipes for fresh, easy, and downright delicious tacos and accompaniments. Whether you’re looking for a quick and family-friendly weeknight meal or inspiration for a fabulous Mexican taco fiesta,Tacolicious has something for everyone. Taco recipes range from the familiar–Pork al Pastor, Carnitas, Chile Verde–to new favorites like Three-Chili Bistec Adobado and Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib. Chapters on snacks; salsas; cocktails, mocktails, and aguas frescas; and other party essentials round out this entertaining collection.

Book Review: Johnny Cash FAQ

cashJohnny Cash FAQ is jam-packed with almost 50 chapters and everything you’d ever need to know about the man in black! The chapters chronicle Johnny’s career by year and as with all the other FAQ books I have read – they aren’t really broken down by questions but instead written more like a biography.  Mixed throughout the  text are various photos of Johnny and the records that he has released over the years.  Whether you know nothing about Johnny or are a huge fan – reading this book will leave you with no stone left unturned about Johnny’s life.  This book has “all that’s left to know” in it and is easily your one-stop shop for everything Johnny. From Sun records to his death and everything in between!

Johnny lived an amazing life and had an amazing career.  Don’t believe me? Check out this book.

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


About the Book

More than a decade after his death, Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003, and there have been posthumous releases in the years after his death. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched them all. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended genres and became a superstar around the globe.

In Johnny Cash FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Man in Black (September 2014, Backbeat Books, $24.99), C. Eric Banister explores the remarkable length and breadth of Cash’s career. Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, and how he sustained a fantastic nearly 50-year career.

Book Review: The Secret at Haney Field

haneyThe Secret at Haney Field is a Baseball Mystery by R.M. Clark and is considered Children’s Fiction. The book comes in at just under 150 pages and it is a very easy and fun read. Summer is over, but this would have been a perfect summer reading book – or a perfect book to read on the weekend once the homework is done! The book is about a twelve year old girl named April O’Day. She won a contest to be the bat retriever for the Harpoon’s – a minor league baseball team in her hometown. I liked April because not only is she a girl who is knowledgeable about baseball, she is like, super super knowledgeable and knows all sorts of stats and can even figure out the pitcher’s tells so she knows what pitch is coming before anyone else and what bats that the players should be using to get more hits!

Next thing she knows, she’s been asked to stay on for the next homestand as well as a bat retriever because the players all like her so much! When she goes to see the owner of the team, he asks her if she can see the mysterious things that are going on at the field. She can – but it seems like it is only her and the team owner who can – and everyone thinks that he is crazy! April is then determined to figure out what is going on at the field and get to the bottom of it. There’s no one better to be on the case than April – her love of baseball and research makes her the perfect person to solve the mystery.

I don’t want to give too much away to what is going on at the field – but if you like the movie Field of Dreams than you should have no problem getting into The Secret at Haney Field. It has a bit of a similar idea to it, but that’s all I’m saying!

As I said this was an easy read and a lot of fun. I totally felt like I was on the field and involved in uncovering the mystery with April and her friend Darren. Definitely recommended!

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

About the Book
Twelve-year-old April O’Day’s summer has gotten off to a flying start. As the new bat retriever for the Harpoons, her hometown’s minor-league team, she’s fetching bats and doling out great advice to players and coaches alike. In a word, she’s becoming indispensable. But mysterious things are happening at Haney Field, which April and her best friend—and fellow baseball enthusiast—Darren Plummer are determined to uncover. As they quickly learn, this is no ordinary season. In fact, it’s a whole new ballgame!

From the Back Cover:

October 2014:

Last summer was going to be a quiet one. Unlike most of my friends from school, I wasn’t packing up for camp, and I had no plans to travel to an exotic location, like Paris or Rome—or even Cape Cod. Life was going to be simple: eat, ride my bike, read (history, for school; mysteries, for fun), sleep, grow (hopefully), and watch baseball. But then, something extraordinary happened. I won first place in a contest sponsored by our local minor-league baseball team. And suddenly, things were looking up! While I didn’t know it then, my vacation was going to be an incredible adventure—full of mystery, history, and friendship. Believe me, I never imagined I would ever be involved in something so improbable and wonderful. But I was. And lucky me, I got to share it all with my best friend, Darren. It was a summer full of people and events that will stay with me forever. And I’ll never be the same.

~April O’Day

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