The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook By American Heart Association

Publisher:  Harmony
Release Date:  12/29/2015
Pages:  384
Genre:  Cookbook
Format:  Paperback

Book Description:  The classic cookbook for achieving heart health and wellbeing through a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat--updated and revised with 200 recipes (including 50 new to this edition)

Lose the bad fats, but not the flavor.

Now in its fifth edition, American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook provides the most up-to-date information on heart health and nutrition. Good-for-you food should also be satisfying, and the American Heart Association reveals how easy it is to replace the bad fats in your diet with healthier ones. This classic cookbook offers more than 200 tempting dishes, 50 of which are new, including:

·         Fresh Basil and Kalamata Hummus
·         Triple-Pepper and White Bean Soup with Rotini
·         Taco Salad
·         Hearty Fish Chowder
·         Chicken Pot Pie with Mashed Potato Topping
·         Balsamic Braised Beef with Exotic Mushrooms
·         Grilled Pizza with Grilled Vegetables
·         Stovetop Scalloped Tomatoes
·         Puffed Pancake with Apple-Cranberry Sauce
·         Mango Brûlée with Pine Nuts

The perfect companion for today’s healthy cook, this indispensable collection of recipes proves you can eat deliciously and nutritiously.

Wanda's Thoughts:
What a fantastic collection of recipes! 200 delicious recipes, and they are healthy for you without sacrificing flavor. I’ve tried five of the recipes included – Broccoli Cheese Soup, Rustic Tomato Soup, Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Ricotta and Goat Cheese, Macaroni Salad with Ricotta, and Garlic Chicken Fillets in Balsamic Vinegar. They were all delicious, and I have many more marked to try. I love the simplicity of the recipes, and most of the ingredients can be found in my food-pantry. I also appreciated the nutritional analysis included for each recipe. If you are counting calories this is very helpful.

Also included are helpful hints for staying healthy by understanding the fundamentals of good nutrition and how to apply them to your everyday life.

This is a cookbook that has certainly earned a special place in my kitchen. I whole-“heartedly” recommend it with a 5 star rating.

I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 22, 2016

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️CRIMSON STAIN By Jim Fisher

Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date:  June 2013
Pages:  410
Genre:  Non-Fiction/True Crime
Format:  Paperback

Book Description: 
CRIMSON STAIN is the shocking true story of murder in an Old-Order Amish community. The ritualistic murder of Katie Gingerich in rural Pennsylvania set into motion a clash of Amish and modern values about mental illness, domestic violence, and criminal justice. CRIMSON STAIN is a window into the private and mysterious world of the Old-Order Amish. This revised and expanded edition of CRIMSON STAIN tells the shocking and tragic story of the Gingerich family up to the present day. REVIEWS OF THE FIRST EDITION: "A truly unique contribution to the true-crime genre." Phoenix Book Review "A fascinating, heart-wrenching, and sobering account of the consequences of an untreated mental illness and its effects on a community that co-exists with modern society but is separate from it." Sunday Patriot News (Harrisburg, PA) "Fisher writes in a clear, highly readable style." Erie Times-News

Wanda's Thoughts:  This was a disturbing story that takes place in an Amish Brownhill community in Pennsylvania. It’s a very violent and depressing story that begins in 1985 when Ed Gingerich and Katie Shetler, an Amish couple, begin their married life.

Ed was a very heartless man, with a cruel streak in him. He hated farm work, was self-possessed, and rather independent. It wasn’t long until Katie was showing the effects of a marriage that had only given her misery. In 1993 the unthinkable happens when a very mentally disturbed Ed Gingerich, destroys his wife, Katie, in front of their children. This was a horrendous and very gruesome crime!

This is also a story of how the lives of that Amish community are changed forever, and how they suffered because of this horrific crime.

This very disturbing book profoundly moved me! This is a book that will make your heart ache, and it’s one you’ll not soon forget. It is not an easy book to read because of the graphic content. The author certainly did his homework with all of the details included. 5 stars.

About the Author:  Jim Fisher is a former FBI agent and professor emeritus of criminal justice at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where he taught courses in criminal law, criminal investigation, and forensic science. He is the author of nine published works of nonfiction, including books on the Lindbergh kidnapping case, false confessions, scam artists, and forensic science. Two of his books were nominated for Edgar Allan Poe Awards by the Mystery Writers of America. He is the author of the popular Jim Fisher True Crime Blog (

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️THE MISTLETOE PROMISE By Richard Paul Evans

Publisher:  Center Point
Release Date:  December 1, 2015
Genre:  Fiction/Romance
Format:  Hardcover

Book Description: 
A love story for Christmas from the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box and The Walk.

Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful.

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
Quite magical! The Mistletoe Promise radiantly shines with the spirit of Christmas, a story of love and second chances. This is truly a heartwarming tale that will evoke many emotions. The premise was an interesting one, and it is written with simplicity and grace. My first time reading this author, but ready to read more! I highly recommend! 5 stars.

The Author: 

Richard Paul Evans

in Salt Lake City, Utah, The United States
October 11, 1962



When Richard Paul Evans wrote the #1 best-seller, The Christmas Box, he never intended on becoming an internationally known author. His quiet story of parental love and the true meaning of Christmas made history when it became simultaneously the #1 hardcover and paperback book in the nation. Since then, more than eight million copies of The Christmas Box have been printed. He has since written eleven consecutive New York Times bestsellers. He is one the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. He has won several awards for his books including the 1998 American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards, and the 2005 Romantic Times Best Women Novel of the Year Award. His books have been translated into more than 22 languages and several have been international best sellers.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

⭐️⭐️⭐️DRAWING FIRE (Cold Case Justice #1) By Janice Cantore

Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date:  May 2015
Pages: 416
Genre:  Christian Fiction
Format:  Hardcover

About the Book: 
One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart.With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby's best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she's anxious to talk to him about a cold case that's personal to her--one Luke is interested in as well.As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents' lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

Wanda's Thoughts: 
Abby Hart is a homicide detective in California and good at her job. When Abby was six years old she lost her parents in a mysterious restaurant fire, a homicide that was never solved. Abby is still haunted by this tragedy and is determined to find out who was responsible for murdering her parents.

The spiritual aspect of this book was very well written. It was so nice to read a book not filled with graphic violence and profanity.

The author’s experience as a police officer most definitely helped to shape this story line and make the characters realistic. The writing was solid and compelling action was provided to make this book a good read, and one that many will enjoy. However, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The book is readable, but not exceptional – just lukewarm. My rating is 3 stars.

About Janice Cantore:  A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She’s always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today’s Christian Woman before tackling novels. A few years ago, she retired to a house in the mountains of Southern California, where she lives with three Labrador retrievers, Jake, Maggie, and Abbie. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Accused is the first book in the Pacific Coast Justice series, featuring Carly Edwards. Janice also authored the Brinna’s Heart series, which includes The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice. Visit Janice’s website at and connect with her on Facebook.

Friday, February 5, 2016

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Playing with Fire By Tess Gerritsen

Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Pages:  250
Release Date:  27 October 2015
Genre:  Mystery/Historical Fiction
Format:  Hardcover

Book Description: 
A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
The story and two timelines evolve around a musical composition, a waltz that seems to leave a curse on everyone who hears it. The music was haunting, complex, and powerful, and it comes with a tragic history.

Julia Ansdell, a violinist and professional musician from America, is happily married with a three year-old daughter. She finds a piece of music that is handwritten in an antique shop in Rome. Julia’s life is suddenly changed because of this Incendio waltz.

Lorenzo Tedesco, an Italian Jew, showed great promise as a musician. His father had a luthier shop where the finest violins in Venice were made. Lorenzo becomes involved in a sad and tragic love story with Laura.

Much of the story-line takes place in Italy during WWII, and this was my favorite part of the story. There were rumors that unthinkable things were happening in Poland - reports of mass deportation and labor camps. Women and children were also being arrested and transported by train. Some of the rumors were too horrible to believe.

An orchestra was formed to drown out the noise of the dying. The purpose of the music was not to entertain, but to disguise and distract. It could never be too loud to hide the horrors of the Jewish people. The atrocities of WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust was a dark period in history.

And the story unfolds as the conflict and tension build. The past mingles with the present and the author very cleverly weaves this story together.

The author delved into WWII history and brought out the unbelievable ugliness of the Holocaust. Captivating throughout, this was a heartfelt tale that was elegantly told. The author certainly knows how to weave true historical facts into fiction. An amazing read! 5 Stars.

About Tess Gerritsen: 
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), and The Bone Garden (2007). Her books have been translated into 31 languages, and more than 15 million copies have been sold around the world.

As well as being a New York Times bestselling author, she has also been a #1 bestseller in both Germany and the UK. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon.) Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.