Saturday, December 06, 2014

Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets To Sizzle At Any Age Review

This fun cookbook features 200 easy and exciting recipes designed for today’s busy woman with 100 color photographs and illustrations. You' love Holly's healthy trim and terrific twist on everyday recipes .  From homemade facials to effortless entertaining, get ready to learn the secrets to sizzle in your own kitchen! 

Chapters include
Lovin’ No Oven (No cook recipes)
Quickies (Fast, easy recipes)
Table for Two (Cooking for two)
Food for the Mood (Recipes for romance)
Effortless Entertaining (Crowd pleasing recipes)
Brunch and Munch (Breakfast and snack ideas)
Fill Up with Fiber (High fiber recipes)
Sweet Temptations (Decadent desserts)
Passport Pleasures (Cultural specialties)
Diva Dermatology (At-home skin care recipes)
Also includes:
Nutritional and diabetic exchange information
Highlights Freezer-friendly and Vegetarian recipes
Spicy Advice with serving suggestions and cooking tidbits
Creative coffee pairing ideas
You’ll find recipes such as One Dish Oven Baked French Toast, Guacamole Goes Mediterranean, Home-Style Chicken, White Chocolate Blueberry Bundt Cake, and Margarita Salt Body Buffer (Diva Dermatology recipe).

Featured in as "What's Hot"
2011 Silver Winner Nautilus Book Award in Food/Cooking/Nutrition

Cassandra's Review-  I am a fan of a cookbook. I stop to read quite a few.  However this one is enjoyable as well as easy to use.  You will not have to run to ten different stores at least three times to find the ingredients for the recipes.  You can make a decent meal and save money.  As a three time cancer survivor I am always on the lookout for recipes that will keep me healthy and feeling in good shape.  I would recommend this one!

Holly Clegg
With over 1 million cookbooks sold, Holly Clegg has become a healthy culinary expert on practical easy, healthy recipes through her best-selling trim&TERRIFIC® cookbook series, including the more health focused cookbooks, Diabetic Cooking with the ADA, Eating Well Through Cancer and Eating Well to Fight Arthritis. 

Clegg has appeared on Fox & Friends, NBC Weekend Today, The 700 Club, QVC, USA Today, Web MD, The Huffington Post. She has partnered with Wal-Mart and is currently working with Albertsons, Inc, Baylor Hospital in Dallas and is a menu consultant for Our Lady of Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. She has a phone app, Mobile Rush Hour Recipes. Visit or

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Jack Templar Monster Hunter Review

The author also wrote an  Amazon article that contains his 10 Tips For Parents To Get Their Kids Reading 

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack's fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it's great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend "T-Rex" from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he's the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he's destined to be in the family business. Second, that there's a truce between man and monster that children are off-limits...until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren't enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the "One?" Why do the monsters want him dead so badly?  Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

For Middle Grade readers and higher
Fans of: Percy Jackson Series, Harry Potter and The Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine

Cassandra's Review-  Jeff is great author that can write about anything and still keep making wonderful stories!  It is great to see this side of his work.  The story is perfect for younger kids and my older children were delighted with it.  This is a great book that I hope every library will be able to carry.

Jeff Gunhus
Jeff Gunhus is the author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA fantasy series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Killer Within Review

Killer Within is a thriller with a strong female protagonist set in my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. It has a James Patterson pace to it and has received great reviews so far. I originally self-published the title but it was recently purchased by publisher Thomas & Mercer and will be republished in a new form in February 2015. Killer Within will also be featured on Brilliance audio narrated by Joyce Bean and translated into German.

If serial killers, psychological suspense and a strong female protagonist is your cup of tea, then Killer Within might be a great fit!

Here's a quick synopsis:

Arnie Milhouse is a murderer. A millionaire with dozens of kills in his past and no one the wiser. But when his name surfaces in connection with the death of a D.C. call girl, Arnie knows it’s only a matter of time before the FBI puts the pieces together. As he makes plans to disappear and leave his life in Annapolis behind forever, he meets a beautiful, mysterious woman who takes an interest in him. The perfect final victim. He can’t believe his luck.

Only luck has nothing to do with it.

Allison McNeil has returned to Annapolis, a city that she promised herself she would never come back to, not while the cruel memories of her time at the United States Naval Academy still haunt her. But she’s willing to do just about anything to get close to Arnie, even if it means having to face down the demons of her past. Her plans work and soon she and Arnie find themselves locked in a dangerous dance of seduction and betrayal. But Arnie isn’t the only one who carries a secret and the dark truth about Allison McNeil makes a final confrontation between them inevitable. Neither of them know it, but they're on a collision course that only one of them will survive.

Cassandra's review-  I was thrilled with this book. It has everything needed to make a good mystery a great one!  The author did an amazing job of putting my mind into the story and keeping the plots rolling so that I could enjoy it from start to finish with no complaints.  While I do not recommend this for children, It is an awesome read for adults!

From the Author

Dear Reader,

Thank you three times.

First, thank you for supporting a fellow human being's passion. I think it makes you a good person and makes up for that one thing you did in high school (you know what I'm talking about.)

Second, thank you for being part of the community of readers. Each time you write a review, recommend a book to friend or share a new novel through social media, you help keep the fire for books alive. Those of us who scribble stories late into the night are completely in your debt.

Lastly, thank you for your time. As a father of five and an avid reader (labels that can seem mutually exclusive at times), I recognize every book you open represents a hard choice among thousands of options. I'm awed and humbled that you chose to spend your valuable time within these pages. I hope that I proved to be worthy of your trust.

With appreciation,

Jeff Gunhus

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Hallmark Personalized Book Review and Giveaway

I received a complimentary copy of this book  from Hallmark.
Night Before Christmas Personalized Book
Night Before Christmas Personalized Book

Create a character that looks just like your little one, then add your child's name for a unique gift.

Take storytime to whole new level with our personalized books. Learn more about personalized books.

About the book: Is there ever a more magical evening than the night before Christmas? In this customized version, your child is the star of the traditional story. From those last few minutes before midnight to the magical twinkling of reindeer hooves, each moment is filled with magic, anticipation, and maybe even a special visit to Santa's sleigh.
Select the gender, eye color, skin tone, hair color and hairstyle—then add a name to create a story that's all about your favorite child.
Add your name to the dedication page and book cover, so the lucky child will always know who created this special gift.
Includes customized dust jacket.
Hardcover; 20 pages.
8.75" W x 11.25" H

Cassandra's Review-   The book is sweet. My children loved the illustrations.  The Santa was also a huge hit.  The book does an ok job with the personalization, in true Hallmark form.  The cover is a bit thin almost like wrapping paper. I was afraid the kids would rip it, but it does come right off so you can do so before reading.  The words were easy to read and the binding is really well done.   This would make a great holiday gift.

Lost My Name personalized book Review

Lost My Name Book

An amazing, magical, personalized book 

It's a magical journey like no other

Along the way the child meets lots of weird and wonderful characters, who each give the first letter of their name.Thebook is a celebration of that

It tells the story of a child who has lost his or her name, and bravely sets off to track down the missing letters.Story 3 small

Words by David Cadji-Newby
Illustrations by Pedro Serapicos

I received a complimentary book.

Cassandra's Review-  I was so thrilled with the quality and personalization of this book.  You can tell that this was created especially for your child and the story is perfect!  My children were so excited,  It did not matter to the other's that their name was not in it, because the story was so good.  The child I had this personalized for fit the character image and was super impressed.  I would highly recommend this for a holiday gift!

You can check them out here

My Magical Snowman Personalized Book Review

I received a complimentary book.

My Magical Snowman Personalized Book
My Magical Snowman is a heart-warming new personalized storybook that will make your child feel extra special this holiday! The magic all starts when forest creatures come together to build a special snowman friend just for your child. When your child reaches out for a hug, Snowman comes alive! Your child and Snowman sled, skate, make snow angels, laugh and play together in utter delight. Snowman tells your child that he or she is as "unique as a snowflake" and that your child’s love is the magic that fills up his heart. Written by award-winning author Jennifer Dewing, illustrated by artist Amy Schimler-Safford.

Gender and ages: Boys and girls ages 0-8
Size: 8.5" x 8.5"
Number of pages: 24

My Magical Snowman Personalized Book

Cassandra's Review- The book is short and easy to read with nice size font.  The story is cute and my children loved listening to it. Of course I had to go back and add everyone's else's name to it so they could all take part.  The only thing I did not like was the child in the book had its face covered.  Now I know why, obviously you can make this book easier without having to individualize the child's face into the storybook.  However if I was paying for a personalized book I would want it to atleast have a character face that is similar to the child in question.  

Some great books to read and my reviews.

I received all these books complimentary from Strategies. (Thank you Hunter)

The Broken Circle: Yarns of the Knitting Witches (Potluck Yarn Trilogy, Book 1) 
by Cheryl Potter 

The Broken Circle is the first book in the Potluck Yarn trilogy by Cheryl Potter. Combining Fantasy with fiber, and including patterns to guide young readers in making the magical garments worn by the characters, Potter spins a tale redolent with magic and layered with themes of friendship, loyalty, good vs. evil, the value of natural resources, the meaning and texture of courage, and even mortality. Follow the twelve knitting witches through adventures fraught with mayhem and mischief and knit your way through 21 patters as the Potluck witches seek to save their world. Twenty Years have passed since the fire beneath the great dyepot was lit and the circle was complete. Now, the folk of the Midlands face a danger worse than any can remember. Darkness and chaos threaten to destroy the delicate balance of the natural world, and the magic of the dye crystals that have always been a way of life and a great source of power for the people has been outlawed. Readers age 11 and up will find themselves engrossed by this fanciful cross-over tale of magic and mayhem.
Cheryl Potter
Cheryl Potter's love for knitting began at age eight when she created a lime green-and-yellow striped T-shirt with a sparkle yarn called Dazzle Working part time for various yarn shops, she knit her way through Middlebury Collage in Vermont. In graduate school she was heavily influenced by Kaffe Fassett, who inspired her first set of hand-dyed colorways.
After earning her master of fine arts degree at the University of Arizona, Cheryl returned to Vermont and founded a hand-painted yarn company called Cherry Tree Hill, the name of her mountaintop farm. In an old milk house, she dyed and designed wearable art garments until she was discovered by Interweave Knits magazine in 1997. Cherry Tree Hill yarns are now sold in hundreds of stores all over the world, and Cheryl's work regularly appears in magazines and catalogs, as well as on television. Today she is best known for her innovative colorways, painted on a variety of natural and synthetic fibers.
During her years as a fiber artist Cheryl has been a prolific writer and teacher of workshops that focus on fiber, color and texture. Her first published book in the field is called Handpaint Country, and was done with the photography skills of Alexis Xenakis. The most recent, Skein for Skein is her sixth book. 

Cassandra's Review- I enjoyed how this author chose to write the characters in this book.  To be able to explore the magic and have fun while reading about the yarn loving witches is a real treat. 

Tomorrow Comes 
by Donna Mebane 

It's never easy being a teenager but, when popular and precocious 19-year old Emma awakens to find that everything she knows is somehow different, a whole new set of challenges arises. Finding herself disconnected from the ones she loves, Emma must quickly learn to bridge the gap or lose touch with them forever.

Based on a true story of love and family, grief and joy, Tomorrow Comes is inspired by the sudden and unexpected death of author Donna Mebane's own daughter. Donna breathes vitality and warmth into Emma's character, and you'll find yourself rooting for Emma as she learns to navigate her new world with courage, humor, and an indomitable spirit.

Tomorrow Comes is a daring coming-of-age book -- the first in a new series -- in which an ordinary teenager must come to terms with her own mortality, the loss of all she once knew, and an other-worldly set of rules. The results are dark and uplifting, heart-breaking and humorous.

Donna Mebane
Donna Mebane grew up wanting to be two things: a mother and a writer. She became a mom after the birth of her first child, Jason. She became a writer after the death of her youngest child, Emma. While Donna has had numerous writing experiences over the years, she became a published author after she wrote Tomorrow Comes: An Emma Story, as a way of envisioning a future for her 19-year-old daughter who went to sleep one night and never woke up. She calls Tomorrow Comes a work of "reality fiction" because it captures the reality of grief that family and friends endured after Emma died at the same time that it creates an enchanting fictional world of AFTER where Emma can continue to be herself.

Born in Pennsylvania as the daughter of a US Navy Commander, Donna moved frequently in her childhood years and so developed an easy, approachable style and a warm sense of humor that helped her make new friends easily. She applies these same attributes to her writing, mixing gentle good humor with heart-breaking authenticity and simple, accessible language with profound truths about loss and hope. Donna lives with her husband, Rod, and daughter, Sarah, in Geneva, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Her son, Ben, also lives in Geneva and son, Jason, lives in Seattle. Emma is always close in spirit. Donna is currently working on a Tomorrow Comes sequel, with the working title, Tomorrow Matters.

Cassandra's Review-  A brave and inspiring journey that had me thinking long after I put the book down.  It created a sadness that just held my heart for a while.  This would be a better read for adults.

Stuff You Already Know: And Everybody Should
by Gina DeLapa 

Part pep talk, part reflection, part friendly kick in the butt, Stuff You Already Know . . . And Everybody Should gives you 437 ways to make your life count from doing the right thing (#256) to setting boundaries (#333) to relating to people half your age (#369). No matter what your season of life whether newly graduated, climbing the career ladder, or living out your legacy years these 437 nuggets and their accompanying stories are sure to provoke laughter, conversation, contemplation, and bold new action.
Gina DeLapa
Gina DeLapa's book, Stuff You Already Know ... And Everybody Should, started as a collection of friendly advice for her nephew Adam as he was entering high school. Soon the book took on a life of its own, and grew into a collection of life lessons that could be enjoyed by all ages - from smart students to savvy parents to those living out their legacy years.

Many of Gina's own life lessons spring from her Midwestern entrepreneurial roots - specifically, working in her parents' frozen foods company, starting at age 10. (Gina's parents had started a takeout pizza business in the family garage in 1963. Soon that, too, took on a life of its own, eventually employing 250 people, including Gina and her three brothers.)

Gina has served as a career columnist for, a corporate etiquette instructor on Wall Street, and an adjunct faculty member at her alma mater, the University of San Diego, in the graduate counseling program. It took her years to figure out that her true calling was simply inspiring, encouraging and affirming other people, with humor whenever possible. 

Cassandra's Review-  The book adds some good points to a world that many forget.  I like the creative yet simple way this author goes about spilling them into these pages.

Dust Tea, Dingoes and Dragons: Adventures in Culture, Cuisine and Commerce from a globe-trekking executive 
by R.F. Hemphill 

Jet lag, boardrooms, and high-pressure deals.

That’s what international business brings to mind.

But R.F. Hemphill makes us think again.

Sharing a series of letters sent to his father during his decade of traveling the world building a billion-dollar company, Hemphill illuminates the always practical, sometimes poignant, and often funny ways we must connect if business is to be done.

“If they served you camel hooves for dinner, and you didn’t know it until you asked, what part of the camel did you have for breakfast?”

“In Islamabad hotels, you must sign a form certifying that you are an infidel and will assuredly go to hell, in order to get room service to bring you a drink. Is this form binding if you die outside of Pakistan?”

“Can you really claim to be in the movie industry if you don’t dress all in black, have a small pony tail, wear an earring, have an idea for a screen play, and harbor a desire to meet Meryl Streep?”

“Cinemas in the Czech Republic serve bacon-flavored popcorn. Why can’t we get that in the US? It’s even better than cheese-flavored popcorn. The whole movie theater smells like breakfast.”

Millions of people around the world travel for business. But how many of us take the time to truly appreciate what we observe and experience? dust tea, dingoes, & dragons is a lesson in the meshing of cultures, the diplomacy of building business relationships, and, ultimately, of living life to the fullest.

About the Author
Mr. Hemphill for much of his career was employed at AES, a global electric power generating and distribution company, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff to the CEO. Hemphill was one of the three executives who began the company in 1981, growing it from a million dollar six person start up. AES owns and operates 38,000 MW of power plants in 21 countries around the globe, is publicly listed on the NYSE, and had approximately $18 billion of revenues in 2013. Recently, Hemphill was the founder and CEO of AES Solar Power Ltd from its inception until his retirement in December 2013. The company, formed in March 2008, is a joint venture of the AES Corporation and Riverstone LLC, an energy focused private equity fund. AES Solar is a leading developer, owner and operator of utility-scale photovoltaic solar plants connected to the electric power grid. These installations, ranging in size from less than 2 MW to more than 250 MW, consist of large arrays of land-based solar photovoltaic panels that directly convert sunlight to electricity. Under his leadership, the company designed, permitted and constructed fifty-one solar plants (526 MW) in seven countries: Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, India and the US. He has also been a senior policy official at the Department of Energy and Deputy Manager of Power at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Mr. Hemphill graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale University and earned an MA from UCLA and an MBA from George Washington University. He served as an airborne infantry officer in the US Army in Vietnam, and in the Special Forces. His interests include geraniums, unsuccessful participation in Final Four pools, sporadic exercise, competitive duck cooking and tribal art.

Cassandra's Review-  With this book you're getting an adventure that will keep you laughing most of the way. The author has a unique style that can create a good belly laugh in the middle of a quiet room!

Code Blood 
by Kurt Kamm

Colt Lewis, a rookie fire paramedic, is obsessed with finding the severed foot of his first victim after she dies in his arms. His search takes him into the connected lives of a graduate research student, with the rarest blood in the world and the vampire fetishist who is stalking her. Within the corridors of high-stakes medical research laboratories, the shadow world of body parts dealers, and the underground Goth clubs of Los Angeles, Lewis uncovers a tangled maze of needles, drugs and maniacal ritual, all of which lead to death. But whose death? An unusual and fast-paced LA Noir thriller.
An image posted by the author.
Kurt Kamm

I live in Malibu CA. I have used my contact with CalFire, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and the ATF, as well as my experience in several devastating local wildfires to write fact-based firefighter mystery novels. I have attended classes at El Camino Fire Academy and trained in wildland firefighting, arson investigation and hazardous materials response. I am also a graduate of the ATF Citizen's Academy

Each of my novels features a firefighter with a special skill: Wildland / Arson Investigation / Fire Paramedic / HazMat/ Urban Search and Rescue. Each story is told from the viewpoint of the firefighter and involves both his fire specialty and a a personal problem he is battling. 

Cassandra's Review-  The book has a spattering of eerie mystery involved.  It is not written for the faint of heart and should be read by adults as children are just too young for it.  You get the creep factor and realism of research that the author shows in each chapter and an ending that is sure to please!

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas: Book 1 - A Very Strange Trip To The Park

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas is a series about an average 6 year old girl and 3 year old boy, who, together with their very special friend, Sylvester the Dragon, go from one adventure to another, battling their arch-enemies, meaner-than-mean Queen Blunderpuss and her big-bully nephew, Bobby. Book 1 of the series is entitled: “A Very Strange Trip To The Park”. 

Aside from their kind of unusual names, Mophie and Picholas are pretty much your average 6 year old girl and 3 year old boy, who live in a pretty average house, in a pretty average town. But outside of their town, well nothing is pretty average at all. For example, just a hop, skip and a jump away is a wonderful place called the Kingdom of the Magic Horses. And way down the river is the Kingdom of Bongo Bongo, ruled over by the meaner than mean, crueler than cruel, rottner than rotten Queen Blunderpuss
. She has super magic powers, a lot of hang-ups, and a big bully of a nephew, Bobby, who is very happy helping her try to make everyone else very unhappy! 
With the aid of their special friend, Sylvester (an excellent and devoted dragon if ever there was one), Mophie and Picholas go from one adventure to another, battling the Blunderpusses, as well as assorted other not-very-nice characters. 

In Book 1, can evil Queen Blunderpuss and Bobby take a happy event like a day at the park, and turn it into a gigantic, yucky disaster? Will Mophie and Picholas find a way to outwit the despicable duo? Will Dad ever resume breathing normally after discovering that his children are friends with a dragon? Come along, and let's find out!
(The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series is intended primarily for children ages 3 to 8.)

Joseph Pandolfi
Joe attended Fordham University, and graduated with a B.A. degree in political science. He then attended Fordham University School of Law, and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree. Joe was a practicing attorney for 35 years, and also served as a municipal court judge for 10 years. 

In 2010, Joe and his son formed Pandolfi Communications, and he presently serves as president of that company. Pandolfi Communications owns the website: This site sells original poem print gifts. All writing and graphic design is done in-house. In 2014, the company published the first in a series of children's books, entitled “The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas”, written by Joe and his son.

Joe’s writing endeavors include:
promotional pieces and humorous blog posts for his company;
Speech writing; 
Lyric writing; and,
A personal blog, which has an emphasis on political satire. 

Joe is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Project Literacy of Greater Bergen County (a non-profit organization), a position he has held since 2000. He recently was accorded the honor of receiving a Special Recognition in Literacy Award from that organization. Joe was also the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award presented by the Consul General of Italy on behalf of the Italian Government.  Website:

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  The book is feel good and great for children.  The characters will come to life in your mind and create a level of greatness for your family.  My children enjoyed it and was able to gift it to a library so others could as well!

Too Clever VII: Cleo's Tomato Sandwich (Volume 7) by Dr. Julia E. Antoine

Eleven year old Cleo loves tomato sandwiches more than anything else in the whole entire world. She loves tomato sandwich so much that she had been trying, ever since she was six, to grow her own tomato garden. Now, finally, at age eleven, Cleo is making one more effort to grow a tomato garden. Will she succeed? And if she does, will it be everything she’d hoped? Read Cleo’s journey, as she sets about fulfilling one of her long held dreams.

I received complimentary copies.
Julia E. Antoine
Dr. Julia E. Antoine began writing professionally at the age of 19. At that time, she wrote short stories for the local radio station in her home town. She gave up writing when she moved to the United States to attend college. She has since earned several degrees, including two Masters and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. During the course of her schooling, she wrote and published a working curriculum for a career school, a business manual and its answer key, as well as other literary work. In 2010, she revisited her first love, writing for fun and enjoyment. Dr. Antoine writes children's books under her given name and romance novels under her pen name, Ju Ephraime.

Cassandra's Review -  Not just a child's book, this author has a way of making a clear statement within her story.  The main character learns good life lessons along her journey.  Any age child would enjoy this, but the really younger ones might need to have a discussion after just to clarify. 

Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship and Fashion Disasters (Desperate Diva Diaries Series) Review

Meet, Catie Conrad - a typical, tween, Christian girl with, oh, the weight of the world on her shoulders. And if it isn’t bad enough that no one seems to understand the social pressures of being the greatest at everything, donning the latest fashions, and carrying the trendiest technology, Catie’s dad is about to uproot her and her family to an Indian reservation during spring break for his job. Throw in a school dance, a major art contest, and an arch nemesis known only as Miranda Maroni and there’s bound to be an epic meltdown of biblical proportions. Or, maybe not…

Finally a voice in the tween genre that is relatable and no less humorous for girls aged 9 to 12 by author Angie Spady. The first book in a new series titled Desperate Diva Diaries, Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters chronicles both the small triumphs and general mishaps of sixth-grade Christian want-to-be diva, Catie Conrad. While her Christian journalist father is often a co-conspirator to making Catie’s life interesting with mission trips and church projects, Catie never ceases to realize God’s hand in all situations.

In the first installment of “The Desperate Diva Diaries,” Spady demonstrates important lessons such as:

-        Why you should love your enemies, even bullies
-        How to keep a prayer journal and why it’s important
-        Lessons from Esther: How to be brave
-        Parenting with your tween’s interests in mind
-        The importance of art and self expression

Spady’s daughter, 19-year-old Channing Everidge, illustrates “The Desperate Diva Diaries.” The second book in the series, "Catie Conrad: How to Become the More (un)Popular Girl in Middle School" will release May 2015.

Angie Spady is a former high school arts and social studies teacher. She is the author of “The Channing O’Banning” series (Santa Cruz Press), which received the Ben Franklin Award as well as the Gold IMMY – a literary award given to books that inspire, mentor and motivate young children. A current youth Sunday school teacher, she has also published curriculum units for the Kentucky Council on Economic Education

I received a complimentary copy. 

Cassandra's review-  The author has a way of creating a certain sense that you are closer to the main character and can really connect, especially if you're a younger girl in middle school or even high school.  The book is great and would make an excellent holiday gift!

THE PRACTICE: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness Review

The mind has a way of interfering with personal happiness, often causing stress and doubt. Getting in touch with one's inner source of peace and following its guidance over the mind's often-unfounded concerns requires training and discipline. Knowing this truth intimately, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life Founder Barb Schmidt developed a three-part spiritual discipline called The Practice. The Practice is a toolkit to be used throughout the day to guide people who are looking for confidence, less stress, and deeper meaning along life's path. These tools are a compilation of the great Truths taught by authentic teachers and masters throughout the centuries from various religious and spiritual traditions.

In the first three chapters of The Practice, readers are guided through the daily routine: Waking Up, Living Present, and Letting Go. Beginning with a morning meditation, a thread of peace is followed over the course of the day through the repetition of a sacred mantra, practicing focused attention, reading for inspiration, and reflecting on the day. In the concluding chapter, readers are provided with an opportunity to deepen their experience of The Practice with engaging exercises.

Barbara Schmidt
Barb Schmidt radiates enthusiasm and passion. She is one of those rare individuals who shows that she truly cares in every aspect of her life. She is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. She has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, Scott Peck, and Marianne Williamson, among many other notable teachers. As founder of Spirit of Giving Network and cofounder and past president of Ronald McDonald Children Charities of South Florida, Barb raised millions of dollars for children and families in need.

In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University's Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering quarterly workshops and weekly classes on spiritual practices and has facilitated lectures by many notable speakers, including the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Caroline Myss, James Finely, Dan Millman, and Dr. Mona Lisa Schultz. A sought-after speaker herself, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

In 2011, Barb founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life through which she teaches The Practice--a three-part guide to practical spirituality in today's modern world. A well-respected not-for-profit, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has quickly expanded to include an online community via Facebook and through the daily blog at

Barb lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with her husband, Dick, and is the mother to Michelle and David. She remains a dedicated student of meditation, spirituality, and peaceful living.

Cassandra's Review-  The book is going to be a great part of someone's daily life.  The way it is geared to guide and enlighten, makes this not only a wonderful read, but also an excellent holiday gift. 

I received a complimentary copy.

The Mommy MD Guides: Tips that doctors who are also mothers use for their own families Book Reviews

I received complimentary product.

More than 900 tips that 70 doctors who are also mothers use during their babies’ first years
The second book in our popular Mommy MD Guides book series!

To create this book, we talked with doctors who are also mothers about how they made it through their own babies’ first years. We talked with ob-gyns, pediatricians, family physicians, cardiologists, dermatologist, psychiatrists, and more. And they’re all moms; some are even grand moms! These women have both their medical expertise and parenting experiences to draw from; they’re experts squared. If they used a tip, you can bet it’ll work for you too.

This book offers moms advice on all of the challenges–and also the celebrations–of a baby’s first year. We talk about sleep, travel, feeding, crying and also first smiles, first steps, first foods–and first birthdays!

Our Mommy MD Guides made it through those tough first years with their babies–and you will too!

Buy it here, on or or for your Kindle, Nook, and iPhone/iPad.
It’s new! More than 700 tips that doctors who are also mothers  use to slim down, shape up, boost energy, and live better!
We’re delighted to bring you our fourth Mommy MD Guide, The Mommy MD Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great! To create this book, we asked 50 doctors who are also mothers, how do you:

Lose weight
Maintain weight
Boost energy
Boost esteem
Boost mood
Look great!

Cassandra's Review- I am a super huge fan of the Mommy MD Guides!  You get such great tips and they are wonderful for reference, so they make a perfect gift.  The website has so many great books for just about everyone.  

Nature Girl: A Guide to Caring for God's Creation by Karen H. Whiting Review


Being a “green girl” for God means more than just caring for our planet. It also means appreciating God’s creations and understanding our responsibility in caring for the earth.

Each chapter covers different topics like water, air, energy, recycling, and renewing the earth, and includes crafts, Scripture verses, games, quizzes, interviews with real people and quotes from real girls. The book also contains science-based activities, career ideas, plus resources for more information.

Part of the bestselling Faithgirlz brand, Nature Girl: A Guide to Going Green is a fun read for any girl who enjoys science or the outdoors and a great resource for parents, homeschoolers, and educators.

I received a complimentary copy of Nature Girl from Blogging for books. 

Cassandra's review- I enjoyed my copy of Nature Girl.  The author does a great job of adding facts and tips with her information and in a way that is easy to understand. The book inspired me to do a little more than I usually do for nature.  Just a few simple steps a day can make a huge impact on the world that our children will be stuck with. I would recommend this book for school age kids and adults.  

Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible-NIV by Zondervan Publishing Review

A new read-through-the-Bible Bible divided in manageable portions and featuring deep and relevant devotionals that bring readers close to the heart of God.

As they journey through the Bible from cover to cover, readers will appreciate how the NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible will help them through tough spots such as Numbers and Leviticus while giving them deeper understanding of the Scriptures and connecting them with the heart of its Author. Readers will experience rich insights into the original contexts of Scripture, and God's heart will be unveiled in new ways.

This Bible includes 365 engaging devotions to serve as your tour guide, walking you through Genesis to Revelation in manageable portions. Each devotion includes a summary section of the Scripture passage, an application section that reveals God's good heart, and an insight section that ties each passage into the rest of God's great story.

As you experience God's Word through this devotional Bible, you'll see his divine fingerprints from beginning to end, even in the most unexpected places. And you'll encounter a deeper, fuller picture of the Jesus you thought you knew.

Whether you are starting out on your first steps or a seasoned traveler, let the NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible open your eyes to God's good heart. Join him in his story. And experience a more intimate walk with him.

Cassandra's review- The book will help to heal and give you more of an understanding of your faith. It is a good guide that is very easy to understand.

I received a complimentary copy from book look bloggers.

Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels Review

A step-by-step guide to all aspects of comic book creation--from conceptualization to early drafts to marketing and promotion--written by two of the industry's most seasoned and successful pros. 

Discover the Secrets of Your Favorite Comic Book Creators

Do you want to break into the comics industry? There are many creative roles available—writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, and more. Each creator serves a vital function in the production of sequential art at companies such as DC, Marvel, Image, and Valiant. In Make Comics Like the Pros, veteran comics creators Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente team up with a who’s who of the modern comic book scene to lead you step-by-step through the development of a comic. With these two fan-favorite writers as your guides, you’ll learn everything from script formatting to the importance of artistic collaboration to the best strategies for promoting and selling your own sequential art masterpiece. Pak and Van Lente even put their lessons into practice inside the pages of the book—pairing with Eisner Award–winning cartoonist Colleen Coover (Bandette) to produce the swashbuckling, adventure comic Swordmaids, and giving you front row seats to their creative process. Make Comics Like the Pros provides all the answers you’ve been seeking to take your comic book–making dreams all the way to professional-level reality.
Fred Van Lente
FRED VAN LENTE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Zombies, Incredible Hercules (with Greg Pak), Odd Is On Our Side (with Dean R. Koontz), as well as the American Library Association award-winning Action Philosophers.

His original graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens (co-written with Andrew Foley) is the basis for the major motion picture starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

Van Lente's other comics include The Comic Book History of Comics, Taskmaster, Archer & Armstrong, Amazing Spider-Man and Hulk: Season One.

Cassandra's Review-   My oldest child loves this book. He is just captivated by how great and informative it is.  You go from drawing to selling comics and it is really easy to understand. 

I received a complimentary copy from blogging for books.

Colon Cleanse 1800 Review

Holistic Solutions Colon Cleanse 1800 is full of all natural ingredients to make you look and feel great ! This product is a purifying and rigorous cleanse that removes waste matter from the digestive tract that may have accumulated over a period of several years. The detoxifying process leaves you feeling healthy and fresh. When you rid the body of waste matter, it is very common to experience an immediate drop in both weight and waist size! This particular cleanse is extremely effective and should therefore not be taken on a daily basis for more than a week. As always, we do recommend that you consult your health practitioner before taking any nutritional supplement.

Cassandra's Review- This is easy to swallow and if taken as directed is can really work well.  I had frequent trips to the bathroom. Not really unpleasant, but it does flush your body good.  It did not have a nasty aftertaste, but I would drink it with alot of water to prevent dehydration.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Santamedical 8 4" X 2" Re-Usable Tan Carbon Electrode Pads with Premium Gel Review

Santamedical 8 4" X 2" Re-Usable Tan Carbon Electrode Pads with Premium Gel In Stock :
2 Packs of 4 Electrode pads, Total of 8
Non Irritating to Skin
Use for TENS, IF, Muscle Stimulator and more
Flexible solid-carbon electrode pad for maximum charge delivery and comfort
Reusable Gel, Tan Cloth backing for comfort and flexibility

Cassandra's Review- The pads are sticky and easy to use.  They fit my tens machine and conduct really well.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.