Spooky Books (or as Close as I Get) #31BookPics

spooky booksOnce upon a time, I thought I would read anything.

And then I started thinking about it more closely, and realized that I definitely do NOT read just anything.

One of those genres that I don’t read? Horror. It’s just too much for me, and I don’t need to be unable to sleep thanks to the day’s reading choice.

Yup, I’m a wimp when it comes to my books. Even books that some might just call spooky may be more than I want to read. So when I saw today’s prompt, I thought there was no way I could take a photo of a spooky book.

And then I remembered The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old TreeThe Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree – the one spooky book I do own (or at least it’s included in an anthologyThe 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud. Hey, it’s got spooky in the title, so it has to count, right? :)

Check out more #31BookPics at The Quirky Bookworm’s linkup!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


NorthwoodNorthwoodNorthwood by Brian Falkner by Brian Falkner

The good:
  • It’s got a great beginning, with just enough craziness to let you know that anything might happen here. Plus, her house is made out of balloons.
  • Cecelia is a fun character, and her special ability promised great potential.
  • The pacing is quick and should keep readers’ interest.
  • There are lions and secret passages and an impenetrable forest.
  • The illustrations are fantastic.
The not-so-good
  • Why is her last name Undergarment? She’s not a character who is generally being written for laughs, and I don’t get the reasoning behind using that name.
  • The extreme need to suspend disbelief on a few too many things.
The bad
  • The resolution is rushed rushed rushed.
  • It was all so obvious.
And the acknowledgement:

I’m not the target audience for it, so it’s perhaps unfair to knock it too hard for some things that might not be an issue for that target audience, like that rushed resolution that left some plot points dangling. And the obviousness of several elements. [Read more...]

Captured by Love

Captured by LoveCaptured By LoveCaptured By Love (Michigan Brides Collection Book #3) by Jody Hedlund by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund is one of the few exceptions to my “don’t read romance” rule, and while her latest book isn’t my favorite from her, I’m still planning to continue to read her works. Especially since she’s recently announced that she’ll be releasing 3 young adult historical fiction works – that’s one of my favorite subgenres and I’m excited to read them!

As always with her books, Hedlund does a great job of bringing the history to life without making it feel like you’re being drowned in extraneous details. Her main characters are appealing and there is enough tension to keep you reading even if you just know it’ll all work out in the end (because it has to, right? It’s a romance novel.)

Her previous books have all been Christian historical romance, with varying degrees of faith-elements in the stories. This time those elements and how they connected to character development felt less believable overall, especially when it came to the Pierre, and that was my only complaint with the book. As always, she’s a good writer and the pacing is excellent.

This may have been my favorite setting out of all of her books – I’ve visited Mackinac Island and loved being transported back there through the text. [Read more...]

The Last Season

The Last SeasonThe Last SeasonThe Last Season by Eric Blehm by Eric Blehm

My husband isn’t much of a reader, so often there are books I’ll find that I know he’d like if only he could get them in the magazine-article form. Hit the highlights, spare him the details. This is exactly that sort of book for him – I told him a lot about it as I read it, but there is no way he’d have wanted to wade through all of the descriptions and details.

That’s not to say it’s not a good book – it was, and I enjoyed it. But if you want a quicker pace to your nonfiction, this may not be the one for you. It felt like it could have been edited down a fair amount without sacrificing much of the overall narrative. It does help really bring Randy to life, and make you feel like you know him, but there are easily 50 – 75 pages if not more that could be trimmed without much loss.

I still recommend it, if the synopsis sounds interesting to you and you’re a fan of the Jon Krakauer-type adventure stories. [Read more...]

Essential Oils Update

YLEO ER order September 2014I’d been writing about my latest essential oils order as one of my 7 quick takes, but this month I’m pulling it out into its own post. I may continue doing it that way, or I may go back to including it as just one item of 7 – it’ll probably depend on how much I’ve ordered/what I’ve been using or learning about them.

What I Ordered Last Month:

Golden Touch Kit – getting ready for winter with this one – it has Di-Gize, EndoFlex, JuvaFlex, Melrose, Raven, R.C., and Thieves.

Dragon Time Massage Oil – I did a Zyto scan, and it came up with only two items – Lemon, and this. I still have plenty of Lemon from my starter kit, so I just added the massage oil.

Lavender & Cedarwood – replacing some bottles I passed along to my mother-in-law

Elemi – because Frankincense is out of stock, and this one is suggested as a substitute.

Rose Ointment – because I’ve had my eye on this, and it was the right price to fill out my order. :)

And I got some freebies:

Raven – very happy to have more of this one. It’s a blend that is supposed to be good to try with respiratory system conditions. I hope it never gets opened!

Peppermint – I am so well stocked on Peppermint – I’ve gotten it as a freebie twice, and I still have most of the initial bottle from my starter kit. I don’t use it often obviously. I should probably try and find some ideas for ways to use it.

Sample packets of Thieves and Lavender.

What I Used Last Month / New Discoveries

Roman Chamomile – successful at stopping the baby from crying / getting her calmed down enough to nurse about half the time.

Frankincense – See, I know that I have an allergy to adhesive. Both previous c-sections I’ve had blisters wherever adhesive touched me, and significant itching and hives. This time I had only one brief exposure to adhesive, and I avoided all those blisters. And yet, I still had hives and severe itching. Turns out I have a reaction to percocet. By the time I realized what was causing it, I could handle the c-section pain better than the itching and hives, so I stopped taking the pain meds. It was a couple of days for the hives to all go away and my skin to heal, but the itching mostly stopped within 12 hours. So how does frankincense come into play? I combined it with coconut oil and lavender and just slathered it over myself, and it helped keep me from losing my mind from the itching. It also seemed to reduce the hives. I really hope it comes back in stock soon – I used a bunch of it since I kept it up until my skin completely healed, and that took over a week. It doesn’t hurt that I love the smell of frankincense so much.

Lavender – passed it along to my mother-in-law when she had a burn on her arm, and she said it helped.

Diffuser – I bought another diffuserGreenair Spa Vapor Advanced Wellness Instant Healthful Mist Therapy from Amazon to take to the hospital and it was fantastic having it there. I ran it virtually non-stop, alternating Thieves, Lavender, and Cedarwood. I got a lot of comments from the nurses about how nice my room smelled too.

And a reminder and disclaimer

I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, and I am not trying to diagnose or claim that essential oils will cure or heal you. Please find a qualified health practitioner for your medical needs, and never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor.

Disclosure: The Amazon link is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Choosing Books – Another #31BookPics

choosing booksLast weekend was our book club’s retreat. It was fun and relaxing and also very productive – we picked all of the books we’ll read next year!

We had spreadsheet with options, and there was voting and a couple of painful acknowledgments that no, we couldn’t read allthebooks, nor could we pick 500+ page works every month.

It still seems like next year has a subtheme going of “the year of long books” – we’ve got a handful that are definitely upping our average page count.

Check out more #31BookPics at The Quirky Bookworm’s linkup!

What the Kids are Reading (in October 2014)

Not a lot of new-to-us books recently; most of the books we’ve been reading have been old favorites. We did still manage a few new titles though:

Moonshot The Flight of Apollo 11Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca by Brian Floca

I thought G would be more into this than he was – he has loved some of Floca’s other books, and he loves outer space related titles, but this one wasn’t a favorite. It’s probably just a bit too old for him, so I’ll give it another try at a later date.

Tweak TweakTweak TweakTweak Tweak by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

H especially loves this one, but G doesn’t mind listening to it as well. It’s very cute, with charming illustrations. I don’t think it’ll be one that H continues to ask for again and again, but that just makes it a perfect library book.

Hana in the Time of the TulipsHana in the Time of the TulipsHana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline by Deborah Noyes, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

The illustrations are beautiful, but the storyline doesn’t keep their interest. I think it’d be a better choice for older kids, even if it is a picture book.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Fall of a Philanderer

Fall of a PhilandererFall of a Philanderer: A Daisy Dalrymple MysteryFall of a Philanderer: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn by Carola Dunn

I read Dunn’s novel immediate after finishing a Charles Todd novel, and the contrast between the two was fun. Both are set in England between the world wars. Both feature a Scotland Yard detective (Todd’s main character, and a secondary one in Dunn’s). And, both are a mystery series.

And yet they are so completely different in tone and overall feel. Todd’s books dive into the after-effects of the war much more deeply. Dunn’s books are light and breezy and fun, if that doesn’t sound too impertinent to say about a series that includes dead bodies in every book. :)

In this entry to her series (#14 in what is currently 21 titles), Daisy remains cheerful and appealing, and quite charming. I liked the setting for this one, as she’s on holiday at the seashore and that allows for an easy way to bring in some fresh characters to the series.

I am biased towards reading series in order, but have to admit that in this case it only really matters because of Daisy’s personal situation. If you pick up this one and then start over with an earlier one any suspense about some individuals will be gone. Honestly though, with the cozy feel for the series I’d be shocked if there was any suspense involved in the situation I’m dancing around. And if you read the publisher’s description below it’ll give it away as well. Critical for enjoying the other books? Not at all. :)

Recommended if you are looking for a light read. The historical accuracy and especially the realism behind the crime-solving aspects are not strengths, but it’s an entertaining read when I’m looking for something with this sort of tone.

Publisher’s Description:
For Daisy and her husband Alec, a long-awaited break by the sea becomes a busman’s holiday when a local ladies’ man turns up murdered on the beach… Yet in the coastal town of Westcombe it’s hard to find someone who wouldn’t have wanted George Enderby dead. The married Casanova’s scandalous seductions had earned him the enmity of every jilted lover and cuckolded husband in the area – not to mention the resentment of his long-suffering wife. And now, as Daisy and Alec investigate among the seaside cliffs, beautiful beach and quaint village, this holiday idyll seems nothing more than a sinister backdrop for cold blooded murder… while the murderer may be closer than Daisy thinks!

Book Details

Title: Fall of a Philanderer: A Daisy Dalrymple MysteryFall of a Philanderer: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn
Author: Carola Dunn
Category: Fiction / Historical Mystery
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Eiffel’s Tower

Eiffel's TowerEiffel’s Tower:And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a CountEiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It by Jill Jonnes by Jill Jonnes

If you’ve read Devil in the White City, Eiffel’s Tower will have a familiarity to it. They both give a detailed look at a major event – the World’s Fairs in Chicago and Paris – and especially focus on a particular aspect surrounding the event. In Devil’s case, it’s the serial killer operating nearby. In Eiffel’s Tower, it’s (no surprise) the Eiffel Tower.

My hesitation at recommending Devil in the White City has always been the true-crime element – it can be tough to read, especially if you’re really just wanting a look at the World’s Fair in Chicago. There are no such hesitations with Eiffel’s Tower, as everything is focused on the Tower, or the Fair.

It’s still not a book that will appeal to everyone – it can be a bit dry at times, and there are a ton of people to keep straight as far as who is who, and what their connection is to events. If you want nonfiction that reads like fiction or is impossible to put down, this is probably not the book for you. But for a fascinating look at Eiffel, his tower, Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show, Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, and many, many more, I really enjoyed this.
[Read more...]

Two More Christmas Ebooks

Two years ago I shared about two Christmas-focused ebooks. We’re well into Holiday Planning Season, so I’ve got two more I recently read that I recommend if you’re in the market for their specific topics.

101 Days of Christmas101 Days of Christmas101 Days of Christmas: 101+ Recipes & Crafts for a DIY Holiday by Mandi Ehman by Mandi Ehman

Why read it? If you want a ton of DIY ideas for Christmas. Crafts, gifts, food – it’s got almost anything you could want.

There are some delicious sounding recipes, and I appreciated that most of the crafts included full instructions in the text, rather than requiring you to click through to the website. It drives me crazy when ebooks do that – I disabled internet access on my Kindle, and want all the specifics included in the book itself. Extra info? Sure, include a link, but don’t force me to click through. There were only a couple where the full procedure wasn’t included, and for more crafty people, that might not be necessary at all. I’m not very crafty so I tend to need lots of details, and pictures are helpful too. :)

The ebook is a compilation of two years of Christmas-themed posts, so the content isn’t original. However, it’s all organized into a useful structure, so it may be worth buying even though you can find it all online. And if you can’t get enough of DIY Christmas, she runs the 101 Days series every year – 2014′s is going on right now.

You can get it in either a PDFor Kindle101 Days of Christmas: 101+ Recipes & Crafts for a DIY Holiday by Mandi Ehman version. While I usually love Kindle versions as they’re easier to read on my actual Kindle, in this case I like the better printing-capability of the PDF version.

A Simpler SeasonA Simpler SeasonA Simpler Season by Jessica Fisher by Jessica Fisher

Why read it? Because it includes ideas for the entire holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Planning sheets, recipe ideas, and more.

If you’re looking for a book exclusively focused on Christmas, this won’t be the one for you, but I enjoyed the coverage given to Thanksgiving and New Years as well. There are lots of budget-friendly ideas, and the book is much longer than a typical ebook – over 200 pages! I liked the planning pages and kid-focused ideas, and I especially liked the recipes and menu planning suggestions.

Surprising no one who knows me, my other favorite part of this book was the list of children’s holiday books, and suggested activities to do after reading those books.

This is also available as a PDF or KindleA Simpler Season by Jessica Fisher version, and there is the option to buy the printables only if you’ve bought the PDF (it’s priced to take that into account as well.)

(And if you’ve got young children, the Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands devotional I mentioned previously is still the best, easiest thing I’ve found to use. I was too miserably pregnant last year to do it with my kids again, but this year I’m getting the printable ornaments and will make it easy on myself. I love this devotional!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!