Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook

The Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook
5 Stars
Linda Larsen
293 pages

This book was another great find I picked up one week at our local library. It had helpful ideas and 300 great recipes

I enjoyed this book and look forward to finding one to make my own copy. Like I've said about other budget cookbooks, if you are looking for ways to lower your families grocery budget you can't go wrong with these few books that I've found. Excellent!

Family Feasts for $75 a Week

Family Feasts for $75 a week
Mary Ostyn
5 Stars
304 pages

I always try cook books first from the library before adding them permanently to my own personal collection. This book is one that I would love to add to my own home library.

Mary Ostyn, a mother of 10 children and blogger has great ideas of how to save money. This book was full of ideas that I have started to use with my own family and I have loved each recipe we have tried!

I recommend this book if you are interested in finding out ways to save on your grocery budget, are looking for some new homemade recipes, or just for some great ideas!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Reading

School is finally out for the summer. It seems so late for me from the region that I grew up in, but considering the temperatures here are still only mid 60's I still find myself wearing jackets and convincing myself that it truly is summer.

I do have some great summer reading lists and are excited to get started. First on my list is to finally update my very neglected book blog.

I posted a review of a book from one of my all time favorite series, A Woman of Influence, today, you can find it below, but I have many more reviews on the way.

Hopefully I can get through the list of books to review, the books I have to read and enjoy some nice summer weather soon!

A Woman of Influence

A Woman of Influence

Rebecca Ann Collins

5 Stars

336 pages

Book nine in the The Pemberly Chronicles series.

As I finished the 8th book in this series, Recollections of Rosings, I was curious to see how Becky Tate’s character would hold up in the next installment of the story. I had mixed feelings of if I really enjoyed her character or not, but promised myself I would place those feelings aside try hard to give her a fair chance in A Woman of Influence.

In A Woman of Influence Becky’s story continues as she finds herself living at Edgwater, a widow and alone wondering what will become of her life. When Becky comes in contact with a girl, Alice, who is traveling and homeless with a son, hiding on her property, she becomes absorbed in her story and helping this woman find and free her husband who has been wrongly accused. While this might be a minor plot in the story it ultimately leads Becky to being reunited with an old acquaintance Mr. Aldo Contini.

Mr. Contini and Becky’s relationship was first established shortly after Becky’s daughter’s death when Mr. Contini was there to offer condolences and relief. I was presently surprised with this reunion of characters and the slow romance that developed and followed. It was a perfect pace for me and my feelings towards Becky’s character.

It’s not s surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed A Woman of Influence. The new “mystery” of Alice and her husband added some substance and some suspense and thrill to a typical storyline. I was pleased with Becky and Mr. Contini’s relationship and how it developed, in a world where lines are crossed daily and in appropriate relationships are many times considered “norm” I was even more delighted that this relationship developed at the right time and place in their lives.

Ms. Rebecca Collins is a wonderful writer and storyteller. She has a knack for writing in Jane Austen’s own voice and developing clean, romantic well developed stories that can be enjoyed time and time again.

I cannot wait for Book 10!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Garlic and Sapphires

Garlic and Sapphires

Ruth Reichl

4 Stars

352 pages

Each year our library system selects a book to features as a book of the year that our whole county will “read.” This year Garlic and Sapphires is that book. I didn’t have any expectations for this book, but once I brought it home and started reading I couldn’t put it down.

Garlic and Sapphires is the true story of Ruth Reichl during her years as the food critic for The New York Times. Trying her best to get honest reviews she finds herself going undercover, literally, and becoming other “characters” to review different restaurants. I really loved some of these characters and my only wish is I could have seen pictures! The book was witty and clever and her reviews were refreshing and fun to read. I found myself hungry just reading many of her food descriptions, but there are recipes also included in the book!

I’m very happy this book has been selected to be featured this year and I am looking forward to attending some of the events later this year. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys nonfiction or food industry and cooking books.

Matters at Mansfield

Matters at Mansfield

Carrie Bebris

5 Stars

288 pages

I was thrilled when I walked in the library the other day and found this book on the shelf! I have read all of Carrie Bebris’s other Jane Austen mystery novels and always enjoyed the fun storylines and turning plots.

Of course, Mr and Mrs. Darcy find themselves in the middle of a thrilling mystery. Lady Catherine, her daughter Anne and Colonel Fitzwilliam are also key players in the series events that lead up to this crime. I think Carrie Bebris did such a superb job at staying true to Lady Catherine’s character. I also enjoyed the romance between Anne and Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Carrie Bebris’s mystery novels are fun easy reads. Some reviews say that they might not be exactly true to Jane Austen’s tone, which could be true, but I do think they are pleasant and hope to read more from Carrie Bebris in the future!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone
Jill Marie Landis
4 Stars
312 pages

This is the first novel that I've read by Jill Marie Landis and I was not disappointed. Heart of Stone tells the story of Laura Foster, the owner of an elegant boarding house in Glory Texas. When she finds that the widowed preacher in town, Brand McCormick, want to court and even marry her she finds herself torn in her decision. She wants to love but doesn't want her true past to ruin Brand's reputation or future. Landis does a great job describing the time period and characters. Even though they had such a short role, I smiled each time the elderly Mary Margret and Timothy graced the pages.

I was drawn in to this story from page one. It was a quick read and very entertaining. I would classified this book as Christian historical fiction, which is a genre that I typically enjoy because I don't have to worry about any language or graphic scenes.

I am looking forward to finding more novels by Landis and also looking forward to reading the second book in this series which is about Laura's long lost sister, Megan. I recommend this book if you like historical fiction and quick reads.

Life Your Life for Half the Price, Lyle and Tracy Shamo

Live Your Life for Half the Price
Lyle and Tracy Shamo
5 Stars
196 Pages

I read this book in January, which was my month for reevaluating and planning the new year. I found this book at a local bookstore and knew it was a must for my reading list and a resource that I would read and reread throughout the years.

I was so right! This book is full of useful information and tips. I found myself underlining and marking in this book, something I hardly ever do! I've let neighbors and friends borrow it and recommend it to everyone.

The book is divided up into four main sections; the pursuit of happiness, spend less and be happy, surviving tough times and summing it up.

I was surprised at many of the facts and figures that were quoted in this book - such as how Americans debt and spending has gone up, and our happiness ratings have gone down. Something so true!

I think if you interested thinking about and finding out where your money goes, how you can live on less without feeling like it or just money ideas, this is the book for you. It's a great resource to have in any library.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Centsible Meals

Centsible Meals
Lorae Bowden
5 Stars

If you read my family blog then you know that recently I've been trying to find new ways to cut down on our grocery budget. I think there is always room for improvement when I found this book and read it I was really inspired to do better.

Lorae is amazing, coming from a larger family herself, she learned well from her mother and now feeds her family of 9 for under $200 a month, and trust me, it's not junk - the trick is that she makes everything homemade! This BYU graduate is amazing, she does doesn't use coupons, but instead her meal plan by fillers - potato, pasta, bread, beans, etc. She does use meat, but might cut the meat in half, for example I noticed in her book that on her lasagna night she still put hamburger meat in the meal, but only half and used the pasta to fill everyone up. They eat fresh fruit for every meal, sliced on a plate. They make their own breakfast instead of using box cereal. They don't eat snacks (I don't think I could get away with this, but I do think I can make wiser choices (I have tried to cut out fruit snacks in the past 3 moths and it really makes a difference, they are so expensive and never fill the kids up!)

The only negative thing about this book is that I would have loved to have more recipes!

The book was short, easy to read, it only took maybe an hour, but was such a powerful resource. I've been recommending it to almost everyone I meet!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Recollections of Rosings

Recollections of Rosings
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars
308 pages

The eighth book the the Pemberly Chronicles.

Recollections of Rosings is the story of Catherine Harrison and Becky Tate, sisters and daughters of Charlotte Lucus Collins. After a tragic fire at Rosings Park the story follows the sisters and the twists and turns their lives lead.

If I were a betting girl I would bet that Catherine is a favorite of the author, Ms. Rebecca Ann Collins, due to the fact that she is so eloquently spotlighted and portrayed in this book. It was so easy to fall in love with her character!

As Catherine returns to Rosings after the fire to find her husband injured, her daughter, Lilian finds love - but her Aunt Becky is unsure if it is the right love for her and tries to intervene. I was so impressed with Collins ability to write about the incidents in London at Lady Ashton's parties in a clean and modest fashion. Too many books I've read - even Jane Austen sequels include such incidents, as I'm sure they did happen during the time, but without leaving anything to the imagination or decency for the characters.

I absolutely loved the journal entries that we were able to read from Catherine's past - they were so fascinating I felt like Catherine herself, wanting to stay up all night reading more and more.

I still hold mixed feelings towards Becky Tate. Throughout half the book I had such a dislike for her and her character, she was just so shallow and petty! Then at the end when I read about her separation I did feel sad for her and was happy with the ending that was given her. I just received my advanced copy from the publisher of the next book in this series, A Woman of Influence, in which Becky is a main character. I cannot wait to dive into and read the rest of her story.

Recollections of Rosings does not disappoint. Rebecca Ann Collins is able to create a world of characters that can be loved and cherished. These books are my "feel good" books that I go to anytime I need a good book for a pick-me-up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 Recap

I knew that 2009 would be a doosie for me. We moved 4 times, I had baby #3, my husband graduated school and started residency (whoever out there things medical school is hard, is so wrong, residency is crazy we are lucky if we see him at all now!)

That being said - I didn't have really high goals to read a lot of books this year, I just wanted to keep reading - at least one book a month. I also wanted to keep up on my posts.


My book total, that I blogged about, for 2009 was 29. So at least I read 2 books a month. I'm pretty sure when I reread the Twilight series this fall it really boost my average!

As far as posting I was not so successful. I did a lot of catch up this year. It's hard, but I really don't want to combine my family blog and my book blog, so if my book blog gets behind, it will have to fall behind. That is the great thing about books, I can always make a stack of books I've read waiting to post and do it later! I tried, unsuccessfully to add a Story Time Monday to my reading blog. I like the idea of posting kid books and what we do with them but honestly I just don't see being consistent enough with it to bring it back full time.

Since I've started My Reading Spot, these are my numbers.

2007 - 34
2008 - 34
2009 - 29

My goals for this year are similar to last years. At least one book a month, perhaps two. I would love to keep track of the number of pages that I've read as well. I also would love to branch out and read a few more non-fiction or religious books this year. On a personal note I typically make it a goal each year to read The Book of Mormon "x" amount of times. (click for link) This year I am doing it differently, I am not setting an "x" amount, but just reading and studying - whatever the pace. Some days it might be a verse, some days a chapter or more, but something meaningful each day.

Here is to 2010 reading!