Thursday, September 26, 2013


Pirates! by Celia Rees was handed to me by my sister-in-law to read. She knows I have a love of pirate things that started long before the movies came along. I mean, what girl, doesn't love the idea of sailing off into adventure and not having to follow rules, living a care free life of danger?

Plus, it always gets better with romance thrown in, right?

So, I sailed off on an adventure with Nancy and Minerva.

It's well written, majorly well researched, (in fact, I would like to read the book she drew her research from) and a good look at how life may have been for a female pirate at this time. A good choice in historical romantic fiction (light on the romance).

What historical fiction tops your list?

Here's the blurb:

Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates. For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

North by Northwest

This was my first Hitchcock film by Hitchcock. I saw the film titled Hitchcock earlier this year.

This film is touted as the predecessor of all the James Bond films and action films as we know them. This would be the original 'spy' film so to speak.

And for a film done in the 1950's I'd say it's not bad, especially considering the time period it was set and filmed in. I imagine it had people on the edge of their seats back then, but for a modern day audience member, it's just an average film.

I guess, I also expected more suspense from a Hitchcock film and this one just didn't have it for me. I suppose I should try Psycho or The Birds if I want those elements.

Worth a view?: No. Unless you're a big film history fanatic.

Do you have a Hitchcock film you recommend?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rocky Road Contest Winner!

Thanks to all participated. It's been a sweet couple of weeks at our house taste testing.

It was a tough choice, but the winner is Renae with a recipe for Fudge.


Here's what I thought of Rocky Road. Josi Kilpack does it again. Another winner winner chicken dinner.

We follow Sadie to St. George for a girls trip to walk for breast cancer, Except, I don't think Sadie actually ever makes it to the event. There's a mysterious disappearance of a doctor in the way.

For me, this story focused more on Sadie's internal journey and was less dramatic in the mystery solving department. There was less of guns and being locked in small spaces and running for her life. I'm not complaining about this. It was nice to have a story where Sadie isn't being swirled in the raging storm, but more like in the center of a storm where it's calm. I also liked how she couldn't run to Pete for opinions or insider police info. This one was pure Sadie. Yes, she calls in a small favor from her son near the end, but for the most part, she's using her own instincts and research. My favorite surprise character was the police officer. You'll know who I mean when you meet him. He's awesome!

If you've been following Sadie for a while now, you'll want to read this one too. If you haven't, these books can also be read as stand alones so you're good to read too.

As always, you'll find some delicious recipes inside.

In the next one, I hope we get to see the wedding and she gets through her honeymoon without a dead body. But you never know what Josi will write. That's the fun of reading her books!

Enjoy the winning recipe from my blog contest below.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters the movie

I finally finished listening to this series on audio. It's taken a few long drives over the past couple of years to get it done, but it was fun to drive to.

I really like the books. They're fun, cool, imaginative and always go in an unexpected direction. Plus, I love that it gets kids/teens interested in Greek mythology while taking them on an awesome magical adventure.

The films are fun on their own, but for die hard book fans they aren't very similar. The names and a really general loose story arc taken from the book are the only resemblances. Not so mention the kids were too old to start the film series to begin with. That's why they had to up the prophecy age to 20 in the film. In the book it's 16, but as the kids in the films look like they started at 16, instead of the 12ish age at the start of the books, everything has to move up.

There are lots of cool effects, fun, adventure in the film and of course my 9 year old could barely keep her seat when we finally got to see it. She's a die hard Percy Jackson fan and has read the books at least 3 times now. She sees the differences between the books and the films but doesn't get hung up on it. She enjoys them each for what they both are. Smart girl.

You'll see most of the same cast members reprised their roles in this film. Pierce Brosnan was obviously absent and a British actor took over the role of Chiron. Only a few actors look like what I pictured the characters to be, but that's typical.

I'm curious to see if they decide to make all the films. If they do, they better hurry. These kids are growing fast.

Worth a view? Yes.

Worth a buy? Yes, for my 9 year old. She'll watch it until the disc breaks. For an adult, once is probably enough.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Spy for a Spy Cover Reveal & Sneak Preview

Spy for a Spy, the sequel to I, Spy, will be released November 12, 2013 (11-12-13!)

Already know you want to read it? Add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads.

Today, we’re especially excited to reveal the cover! But first, a little more about the book.

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend. Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart.

After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode.

But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost.

And now for the cover!

More about Spy for a Spy | Add Spy for a Spy to Goodreads!
Join Jordan’s mailing list for sneak peeks & a chance to get an advance review copy!

Advance praise

Spy for a Spy is the perfect followup to McCollum’s exciting debut, I, Spy. With more tension, more romance and higher stakes than ever, Talia’s story won’t let you go until you’ve come to the heart-stopping, surprising conclusion. Such a fun read!

Emily Gray Clawson, author of A Way Back to You

Jordan McCollum’s talent for first person present tense narrative puts the reader in the driver’s seat for heart-pounding action in Spy for a Spy. . . . Talia is back along with her fiancĂ© Danny, and many of the same great characters from I, Spy. We also meet a man from Talia’s past, a high ranking CIA operative with secrets that threaten the U.S. . . . This novel is a perfect blend of danger, intrigue, 
romance and even a little of the LDS religon. It is a great read the whole way through.

— Becki Clayson

Spy for a Spy is a story threaded with an unforgettable main character, high stakes espionage, and a case of wedding jitters that would try the patience of any groom.
McCollum deftly keeps us on a tightrope of page-turning suspense balanced with witty
romance that will not let you down. A great follow-up to I, Spy, and one you don't
want to miss!


About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good
defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Follow Jordan on Twitter,

like Jordan on Facebook and add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads today!

Check out Jordan’s blog tomorrow for your first chance to

get a sneak preview!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Artichoke's Heart

This book by Suzanne Supplee shows what it's like being an extra curvy (I use that word instead of fat or obese, it sounds much kinder and more positive about being womanly) teenager from the teenager's point of view.

It made me sad & angry. Sad about the way Rosemary feels about herself, the way she's treated by family and strangers alike at the beginning of the book. How many times do we judge a person by their 'cover'? But the out right verbal abuse she takes is incendiary, thus the angry. How could people say those things out loud? How could her mother let it happen (both the words and her daughter getting to a morbidly obese weight?). This story is a journey about transformation.

There are a lot of sins of omission in this book. And a big gap between mother and daughter that needs to be bridged. How they learn to close that gap and talk to one another is a big part of healing Rosemary from the inside so she works to change the outside. That, and a cute guy that thinks she's hot regardless of her size. That'll turn any girls head! Not to mention how she overcomes the mean girls!

This book reminded me not to judge others until I've walked a mile in their shoes, which translates to never. Also, curvy or skinny, every woman has body issues she needs to work out. I know, every curvy woman just rolled her eyes at me, but it's true.

Lastly, a person won't work to change the way they look (or behave for that matter) until they are motivated internally, not by being forced into it, even or rather, especially by those who love them.

This is a good coming of age YA story that reminded me it's all about the eyes and the smile, not about the size of the thighs that matters.

Instead of  a question this week, I challenge you instead to spend the day not judging everyone you see but rather looking into their eyes and noticing their smile. It's the heart that matters.

Here are the link and blurb.

It's not so easy being Rosemary Goode and tipping the scales at almost two hundred pounds, especially when your mother runs the most successful (and gossipiest!) beauty shop in town. After a spectacularly disastrous Christmas break when the scale reaches an all-time high, Rosemary realizes that things need to change. (A certain basketball player, Kyle Cox, might have something to do with it.) So begins a powerful year of transformation and a journey toward self-discovery that surprisingly has little to do with the physical, and more to do with an honest look at how Rosemary feels about herself.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


It's a story about a radioactive snail who races the Indy 500 to save a taco stand in Van Nuys, CA.

That's about it.

The voices are okay. The storyline is predictable. The animation is up to snuff.

Nothing outstanding though. Nothing offensive either.

Worth a view?: As a Redbox on a rainy day, yes.

Worth a buy?: Not at this house.

What was your favorite animated film this summer?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The List

You know when a book grabs you on the first page and sucks you in so you never want to put it down and find random moments to read it all through the day (like when you brush your teeth) because you are just dying to know what happens next with the characters you are totally in love with and when you finally finish it are part happy (because the book was awesome) and sad (because now it's over)?

That's totally how I felt about The List by Melanie Jacobson!

I became an instant fan!

It took me a year to finally wrestle this book away from my teenage niece so I could have a chance to read it. She promised me when she bought it at LDStorymakers that I could take a crack at it when she was done. She made a brilliant purchase! Wish I was smart like her.

I'm gushing. I know. But, maybe it's just because I'm such a sucker for well written clean romance and there's so much that isn't either much less both out there that I get jump-up-and-down-on-the-bed excited when I find a new book and author to champion and of course buy.

Verdict: Read this! There's a few smooches but nothing to make you blush.

I may even encourage my own kids to make a list of their own on their 18th birthdays with the reminder that they can find that eternal companion and complete the list even after their married. Probably before kids though, especially the skydiving. I wanted to do that before getting married. Now with kids, I'm right there with Ryder.

What's on your 'list'?

Here's the back cover and link to Amazon below.

Ashley Barrett doesn’t want to get married. At least, not anytime soon. She doesn’t care how many of her friends and family members and fellow churchgoers had weddings before they finished college—the last thing she needs in her fun-loving twenties is the dead-weight of some guy. And that’s why she created The List. By the time she completes all twenty-five goals—from learning a language to skydiving to perfecting the art of making sushi—she’ll be more ready to settle down. Maybe.
This summer in California is a prime time for Ashley to cross two items off the list: learn to surf (#13) and have a summer romance (#17). And Matt Gibson, the best surf instructor in Huntington Beach and the most wanted guy in the singles ward, is the perfect man for the job. Ashley hatches a plan to love him and leave him before heading off to grad school in the fall (#4, get a master’s degree). But when Matt decides he doesn’t like the "leaving" part, Ashley’s carefully laid plans are turned sideways. Now Ashley faces an unexpected dilemma: should she stick to the safety of The List, or risk everything for a love that may tie her down—or might set her free?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Wolverine

If you go to see this movie you're likely to have seen the other X-men and Origin movies, so I don't see the need to explain who the Wolverine is or how he got to be that way.

So, Origins was the prequel to the X-men trilogy. The Wolverine is what happens after the 3rd X-men but only involving Logan and none of the other X-men characters except one but I don't want to spoil that part so . . . . Most of the movie takes place in Japan. Also, Logan's more clean cut in this film than any of the others.

It has a good storyline and for the most part, the dialogue is up to comic book film standards. There were several missed opportunities for Logan to have really good one liners that fell flat. You'll get all the usual action you expect along with special effects. We meet some new mutant characters and tech, like the bed, which I thought was really cool. There are some parts to the story where they hint at an idea but never follow through. Not sure what to think about that.

Also, they left the film wide open, hugely wide open, for the next one. This part at the end is a major twist in my opinion. It's at the beginning section of the credits. You don't need to stay to the end screen of the credits. There's nothing there. I watched.

However, if, like me, you've never watched X-men 3 all the way to the ending screen after the credits, I recommend you should. I actually went back and watched X-men 3 the same night I saw this film. I suggest doing that. It brings to light interesting things you might miss otherwise.

It's PG13 for violence and language. I noticed more language in this one than in any of the others in the franchise. Not sure why. It kind of jarred me each time, but then I'm sensitive to swear words. We do have a few scantily clad women and shirtless men. Keep kids under 13 out of this one.

Worth a view?: Yes!

Worth a buy?: Yes!

Do you have a fave X-men film?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rocky Road Contest

I have a copy of Josi Kilpack's new book Rocky Road to give away.

It officially launches on Sept. 10th, I think, but some overly excited stores are already stocking and selling this latest book in the Sadie Hofmiller series. The title recipe is for fudge. Here's how to enter and win!

Send me your fudge recipe.


Send me your brownie recipe.

(I got nervous there aren't enough fudge recipes in the world so I'm giving you another option.)

Send by midnight Sept. 6th via the comment section, email or FB.

I'll announce the winner on Sept 19th along with my review!

Here is the blurb. Enjoy!

THE ST. GEORGE SPECTRUM Dr. Trenton Hendricks was last seen Friday, April 8, when he set out alone on a backpacking trip. Hendricks's Jeep Grand Cherokee was located Tuesday at the Chuckwalla Trailhead, but after six days and thousands of man-hours, the official search has been called off. He is presumed to be deceased. It was supposed to be a girls' weekend in scenic St. George, Utah, that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fund-raiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fund-raising event, a local doctor, had disappeared two months before was not supposed to be Sadie's problem. When Sadie learns that her friend Caro and Caro's cousin, Tess, have started a grassroots investigation into Dr. Hendricks's disappearance, Sadie graciously refused to be a part of it. With her wedding to plan and her most recent case still fresh in her mind, Sadie is determined to leave this case to the police--until she meets the ex-wife of the missing man. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to more questions . . . that lead to a small town and even more questions! When the local police ask her to be their eyes and ears, Sadie can't help but jump in with both feet. Before she knows it, she is on the rocky road of another investigation, following a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.