Book Review: Mending Fences by Sherryl Woods

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From Goodreads:

For ten years Emily Dobbs and Marcie Carter have been the closest of friends. They’ve raised their kids together, shared joy and heartache, exchanged neighborhood gossip over tea. But when Marcie’s son, now a college freshman sports star, is arrested for date rape, the bond between the families could be shattered forever.

As the Carters try to deal with the unthinkable, Emily discovers her daughter has been hiding a terrible secret…a secret that threatens the futures of both families. Recently divorced, Emily struggles to keep it all together—to support her terrified daughter, to maintain her friendship with Evan’s mother and to have faith in the detective who could change all of their lives.

When things seem darkest, both she and Marcie discover that sometimes the first step toward a better future is mending fences with the past.

Mending Fences by Sherryl Woods is a raw, emotional book about friendship, family, and date rape. It is as real as any fiction book can possibly get. I was hooked on this story as soon as I started to read it. I have never read a book as honest as this one. The friendship between Emily and Marcie, Josh and Evan, and Dani and Caityln, is like a fairy tale. Who doesn’t want to be best friends with their neighbors and their kids? Sometimes, though, fairy tales don’t always have happy endings. Sometimes, dreams turn into nightmares, and family trumps friendship, always.

I could not put Mending Fences down. The women in this book could be anyone out there dealing with rape, silently and alone.  Mending Fences is an inspirational story about brave women who decide to stand up to their attacker and do something about date rape, even if they are scared to do it. No woman deserves to feel like they did something wrong. Mending Fences proves that there is justice for date rape victims. This novel is also about the hardships of friendship, divorce, and the struggles of being a stay-at-home mom vs. a working mom.

It broke my heart to see how Marcie was treated by her husband, how Emily was forced to divorce her husband, and how Dani had to keep such a large secret from almost everyone she loved and trusted. It is hard to believe that two families, who lived side by side for almost their entire lives, could end up in such a tangled up mess. Mending Fences is heavy and hard to swallow. Like I said, I had trouble putting it down. Even though it is sad, it is also heartfelt and written with tact and understanding.

Mending Fences is a reissue from Sherryl Woods and will be available to purchase on September 27, 2016.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Fit Organic Mosquito Repellent Review

It has been a summer FULL of bugs, especiallymosquitoes. I have always been prone to being eaten alive by mosquitoes, but up until this year, Jimmie never had any problems with them. At beginning of the summer,  I bought a generic brand bug spray that smelled awful and made me feel bad about using it every time I sprayed it on him. I would put it on him, go outside, then immediately come in and give him a bath. Then I discover Fit Organic Mosquito Repellent.

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Let me start off by saying Fit Organic smells AMAZING. I’m not even kidding, the lemons are so sweet smelling that I don’t even mind using it on myself. Fit Organic is made with lemongrass oil and is deet free. The repellent works for up to three hours and is safe for children and women who are pregnant. I, for one, didn’t even know bug spray could be harmful to pregnant women. Not only does Fit Organic make mosquito repellent, they also make other organic household products. If they all smell as good as the bug spray, then I want them all.

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We live in a very woody area: there is reservoir nearby and many of our neighbors have pools. There was rarely a time this summer where the mosquitoes were not out and about looking to munch on someone. Jimmie and I both started to use Fit Organic Mosquito Repellent and have has very minimal bites since we started to use it. I don’t mind putting it on Jimmie and then letting him nap in his crib, without a bath, because it is made with natural, organic ingredients. This mosquito repellent is USDA certified, unlike many of the other organic bug sprays on the market.

Try out this Fit Organic Mosquito Repellent to see how great it is. It doesn’t expire, which is fantastic because we will be able to use this same bottle next summer, too.

I was sent a product sample in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: One Big Turkey written and illustrated by Anne Vittur Kennedy

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Fall has arrived. Even though we still have quite a few hot days ahead, the mornings, and evenings, have cooled down. What a perfect time to start thinking about fall books and Thanksgiving! Fall always comes and goes so fast. Before you know it, it will be winter time. Don’t delay checking out this super cute fall book, One Big Turkey written and Illustrated by Anne Vittur Kennedy.

One Big Turkey is a Thanksgiving book, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start reading it to your children now. This book is perfect for any child birth-3 (even 4) years old. The book focuses on counting. Throughout the book you and your child will count: turkeys, squirrels. deer, mice, nuts, corn, apples, pumpkins, and other fall related items. A turkey is on every page, so this book could also be a seek and find for little ones.

One Big Turkey is one of the few children’s Christian books that I have read that doesn’t have any forced (awkward) rhymes. Each rhyming page actually makes sense and flows with the story. The illustrations are realistic and beautiful.  At the end of the book, you will remind your child to give thanks to God, which is certainly the most important part of the story.

Happy fall and happy counting!

Order you copy of One Big Turkey and enjoy it all fall long.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Review: It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman

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Confession: Let me start off by saying that for some reason, I thought Andi Dorfman was Kaytlyn Bristowe. I have no idea why. I have watched all of the Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons since 2011 (I’m not proud…), including both of Andi’s and both of Kaitlyn’s. So when I realized Andi wasn’t Kaitlyn, I was bummed. If that makes any sense to anyone. I guess the reason is because both Andi and Kaitlyn both dated Nick Viall, the newest Bachelor for 2017. He was the runner up on both seasons with Andi and Kaitlyn. He also did not propose to Jen on Bachelor in Paradise, this past summer. Nick inspired me to read Andi’s book It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After, because of all of the negative comments he alluded to on Bachelor in Paradise about Josh Murray.  Josh refuses to admit he read the book (I call bull) and says it is a work of fiction. Even though Nick made me want to read the book to hear all the dirt on Josh, the book was already on my radar because I love getting the inside scoop on the ABC hit shows The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

With all that out in the open, I’d have to continue this review by stating that this book was horrible. It is very rare that I give terrible ratings on books; If I think a book is crap, I just stop reading it. But Andi Dorfman’s book is so bad that I literally couldn’t stop reading it. And I feel horrible by being so brutally honest. Although I thought the book was beyond awful, I do believe that Andi is being honest in her book and Josh really didn’t treat her like scum by emotionally abusing here. If I were Amanda Stanton (the woman who Josh proposed to on Bachelor in Paradise) I would be running far, far away from Josh.

I’ll just make a list on why this book was not as good as it should have been:

  1. It is written like a diary (which I usually love) but it just seems so fake. I don’t believe this book was written in “real” time the way Andi wants to make you believe.
  2. The whole book is just a run on bitch/whine fest.
  3. Andi drinks and curses A LOT. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, let alone a person, you can’t be dropping the f bomb every page and talk about drinking entire bottles of wine, each night, for almost 60 days straight.
  4. I’m sure Josh treated Andi horribly, but she also seems a bit vindictive. No one deserves to be emotionally abused, but I feel like she may have emotionally abused Josh once or twice, too. It takes two to tango, people.
  5. I just don’t understand how she has so much money to blow. I’m sure the show paid her, but she didn’t work for the entire 60 days she “wrote” this book. I also don’t understand why she didn’t just move back in with her parents, not her friend, Kelly.
  6. There wasn’t any top secret Bachelor or Bachelorette scoop in this book minus all of the dirt on Nick and Josh.
  7. Speaking of Nick, I am totally team Nick these days. I remember HATING him on Andi’s season, but now I kind of like him. So every time she said something mean about Nick, I was offended. Nick is awesome. Josh, on the other hand, still sucks.
  8. Andi, you are not Carrie Bradshaw, she wasn’t this whiny about being single. That girt got her heart broke TONS of times and she still got herself out of bed each day.

What I did like about the book:

  1. Finding out what Nick said in the fantasy suite. HILARIOUS.
  2. The Ultimate Breakup Playlist on page 35. PERFECT!
  3. Post breakup bucket list on page 242-243.
  4. When it ended.

I’m sorry, Andi. I’m sorry if you are reading this (which I am sure you’re not) and I am sorry that you had to endure all of the pain and anxiety Josh caused you. I hope all of the attention your book received on Bachelor in Paradise brought up sales. I also really hope you are a contestant on Nick’s season because that would really boost ratings. I  think you should send an autographed copy of your book to Amanda because she needs to know what she is getting herself (and her children) into. Lastly, I think you need to go to AA. No one should be drinking that much wine. I hope you find your happily ever after, and if you do and decide to write a book about it, I hope your writing style improves.

Book Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

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From Goodreads:

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc.

Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.

Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece.

When I first read about Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer in Entertainment Weekly, I was skeptical. Kids blowing up? Sounded lame to me. I decided I wouldn’t bother reading it. Then I saw it at the library on the 7 day reading shelf. I figured I would check it out since I didn’t have to put in a request. I dove into the book right away and started laughing out loud as soon as the protagonist, Mara, started speaking. Mara has quite the voice. The f-bomb (pun intended) is thrown around more than a few times; not something you see in most YA books.

When you think about it, kids blowing up their senior year, for no reason at all, IS kind of funny. If that happened to me, I probably wouldn’t be laughing, but since I was reading about it, I chucked more times than I can count. As the book went on, we met new characters, some blew up, and some didn’t. There was a lot of craziness going on and the book became redundant. Suddenly, it wasn’t funny anymore, it was just boring. As much as I enjoyed the first half of the book, I didn’t like the second half as much. What kept me reading was the fact that I wanted to know why kids were blowing up and also because the book is based in New Jersey. I love reading books that mention Wawa, as if everyone in the world even knows that it is the best convenience store ever.

All the relationships in Spontaneous are weird. At first, the relationship between Mara and her best friend, Tess, was really sweet, endearing, and interesting. Then it just started to get strange. Mara started to ignore Tess, Tess started trying to figure out what was going on scientifically with the senior class, and then the story ended. There were stretches of pages that Tess wasn’t even mentioned. Her character could have been developed a lot more, instead of focusing on Mara’s “rebel” boyfriend, Dylan. I guess attaching yourself to any character, in a story where a lot of people are blowing up, is difficult. The ending blew, pun intended, once again. It was horrible. Not enough information given. Let just say, if it does turn into a movie, for once, I hope they change the ending so it doesn’t suck as much.

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer is an interesting book about a topic that isn’t normally present in young adult novels: spontaneous combustion.  It’s not your typical high school novel with tons of love and friendship. It is worth checking out if you want a good laugh.

Book Review: I Love You Just Because by Donna Keith Illustrated by Alison Edgson

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Three different baby bears, one family. I Love You Just Because by Donna Keith is all about loving someone for what is on the inside, not the outside. This sweet little rhyming book is great for older preschool children and up. The lesson to be learned is: Even if you look different from one another, that doesn’t mean that you are not special in your own way.

I Love You Just Because is inspired by the author’s daughter’s interracial family. I personally think it would also be a great book for a family who is adopting or for a child that has already been adopted. I really liked the bible verses on each page, as a child grows, each verse can be discussed in different ways.

The illustrations by Alison Edgson are cute and fun. They engaged my son, who is 2. He enjoyed pointing to the different animals and learning about different types of bears.

Overall, I would say this is a decent children’s book. I would definitely recommend it, as I said above, to a family who plans on adopting, or to a family that has already adopted. The rhymes seem forced on many of the pages, which seems to be a trend with christian children’s books. I wish authors would just write stories that didn’t rhyme, sometimes.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Fit Snack Subscription August 2016 Review

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I missed last month’s Fit Snack review and for that I am very sorry. The box was great, as always, and filled with tons of delicious snacks. Things have been more hectic and exhausting around here and blogging has, unfortunately, been pushed towards the side, for now. With that being said, here is my August Fit Snack review:

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Elmhurst Harvest Pistachio Milk: Non-daily milk alternative. Since this drink is made with pistachios and walnuts, I can’t drink it. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and GMO free. It is in our fridge for my husband to try out. We got a huge sample, which is great.

Dandies Marshmallows: I am so excited to try these, come fall, in my hot chocolate. Dandies are made with natural ingredients. They are gelatin free, vegan, contain no GMOs, and are kosher. Get in my belly, marshmallows.

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Vintage Italia’s Pasta Chips: These Tuscan- inspired chips can’t be missed. I ate them with my lunch one day (don’t judge my waffle lunch!) and really enjoyed them. My box also came with a coupon for a free bag (I have seen them at Walmart!) and a coupon for $1 off another bag. We will be redeeming both coupons, for sure.

Detour Bar: Jim ate this protein after a 16 mile run. He said it was really good. it is made with whey protein and healthy fiber. It does not have any artificial ingredients and is gluten free!

Barney Almond Butter: I can’t used these samples, since they’re almond, but Jim will take them to work and use it on crackers.

Bite Fuel Protein Cookie: Jim said these protein cookies were not very good. He said they tasted like protein powder. They are made with 18 grams of whey protein, do not contain GMOs, and are gluten free.

Hotze Vitamins: This was a bonus item and I probably will not use them.

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Now is a great time to sign up for a Fit Snack subscription. All of the snacks would great additions to anyone’s lunch box. Why not start your child’s year off on the right foot by giving them healthy, nutritious snacks, every single day.

If you have never heard about Fit Snack, please check out another one of my posts about the amazing subscription box company based out of Colorado. I love how each box comes with new exercises, workout tips (this month was a four week outdoors fitness challenge, perfect for fall), and coupon codes for some of the snacks in the box.

I was given a Fit Snack box in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Fit Snack!