Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Dream Unfolding

A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1)Author: Karen Baney
ISBN: 978-1456512316
Publisher: Self Published
Source:Author for Review
Purchase Link: A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1)

About the Book
The promise of a new life and a chance to start over…

Hannah Anderson had the life she always wanted, married to the man of her dreams. When her husband’s brother gets in trouble with the law, the town turns against them, shattering her perfect life. Now they are left with only one choice—to head west to the Arizona Territory in the hopes of creating a new life. Will the journey be worth the cost?

Will Colter, after burying his father, is forced to leave the ranch he has called home for nearly thirty years. The journey is dangerous, challenging him and his men. Will he find the new life he was hoping for?

Or, is there a new dream quietly unfolding before their eyes?

A Dream Unfolding is a delightful debut novel! I enjoyed this book immensely though I am not a fan of westerns, which this book reminded me of. This historical fiction takes place in 1800’s America, during the Civil War and Arizona’s statehood. While I was clearly aware of the plot set up from the very beginning, there were a few surprises, in terms of its execution, along the way. Here is the skinny on this title.

Setting – Perfect! The author does a wonderful job of being as historically accurate as possible when it comes to writing a historical fiction title. She even includes an author’s note at the end that clearly defines what details is fact, what's derived from fact or what's completely made up in the story. I appreciated this touch.

Characters – All the characters are well developed and throughout. It was easy to make them come alive in my imagination. I had a clear picture of them and their surroundings throughout the entire story. It was as if I was watching a movie in my mind. Just as with a family member or friend, these characters were lovable yet aggravating at times. I was happy they had friends in the novel that helped “enlighten” them when they needed it.

Pace - The novel has a steady pace that guides the reader. There is just enough action, story and plot to make it wonderful. I never felt the pace slack. It was very consistent.

Story – Though somewhat predictable in regards to its set up and direction, the story was very interesting and kept me captivated. I was aware of the “storyboard” with this title. It is very clear who the hero and heroine are once you are introduced to both sides of the story. From here it is obvious that certain events will take place in order to remove obstacles and bring the two together. There of course is a love triangle and all the other wonderful elements that go into a well written story. This was the only part of the book that I felt could use improvement. The author is very creative, well written, expressive and interesting. The only thing this book lacked was the ability for me to “forget” I am reading a book.

Audience – Though lovers of historical fiction, Christian fiction, romance and western related fiction will enjoy this title most, it is a book for any reader. The romance is extremely light and never goes beyond an Inspy heat level. The book has romantic elements but in my opinion barley qualifies as a romance, so don’t let that stop you from reading it!

Overall, I recommend this book! It really was a wonderful debut. It has a little of everything to offer the reader. I enjoyed the authors writing style immensely. She did a wonderful job switching between the two sides of the story and bringing them together as one. I’m thankful for the chance to read it and look forward to reading the second title in its series!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Congratulations to all the winners of my Cozy Reader's Giveaway Extravaganza!  While hectic, due to my move, this has been so much fun!  Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the giveaways and who follows my blog! All the winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond or new winners will be picked.   Now for the announcements.....
  • Anita Yancy - A Hellion in Her Bed
  • Lisa M831 - An Engagement in Seattle
  • Linda B - Harvest Moon
  • Vidisha Singh - Midnights with the Mystic
  • Carol Wong - Rock Bottom
  • Ambur - Rebel in Petticoats
  • Nacye Davis - The World of Ivy
  • Patricia L - Too Tall Alice
  • Debbie - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • Samantha the Cozy Queen - The Promises She Keeps
  • Alissa A - Zero Day
  • Angela L - Tales From the Yoga Studio
  • Darla - Saturday
  • Lacyinthesky - High Tide
  • Laura H - Turned
  • Angie D - Turned
  • Bethie - Almost Human Trilogy
  • Judy Ward - The Solution
  • Kristin D - Wear This, Toss That
  • Meredith Miller - The Bird House
  • Pamalot - The Dark Side of Innocence
  • Ali - Along Came Ziro
  • Ms. Dawn -Along Came Ziro
  • ltnchc88 - Along Came Ziro
  • SweetShenagnigans - A Dream Unfolding
  • Shel - $45 to CSN Stores
  • Jane Cook - The Mountains Bow Down
Thanks again!!!



ElijahAuthor: Matt Schorr
ISBN: 978-0615424347
Publisher: Lone Coyote Productions
Purchase Link: Elijah
Source: Author for A Cozy Reader's Corner
Reviewer: Angela Holtz

About the Book
One Lord. One faith. One Baptism. These are the dictates that rule Antioch, a small rural community tucked away in the hills of Kentucky. There is no dissension. No discord or strife. All of Antioch's citizens gather each week without fail at one church. One church and no other: ChristPoint. The Rev. John Joshua Hutchinson serves as pastor for the church and indeed the entire community. As Antioch's sole spiritual leader, he holds near-absolute power over all who live there. But that's about to change. A mysterious stranger is about to enter Antioch, an unassuming man with incredible power all his own. His name is Elijah, and he wields a power like no one in history--save one. But who is he? What is he? Can he be trusted? Elijah's presence will challenge not only the power Rev. Hutchinson holds over Antioch, but also the mindsets of the entire community.

Elijah is a mysterious character with a fantastic healing ability. He doesn’t know how he got it; he doesn’t even attribute it to God. It just is, with its own rules. He can’t heal himself and he can’t heal dead. He has been wandering searching for God or something when he walks into a Pizzeria in the town of Antioch. This is a very strange town. The waitress, Lori is an outcast in town, along with her friend Marcus. The characters are actually really deep, considering how fast the story moves. I fell in love with Lori and Marcus, and just wanted to give Elijah a hug. There are other less likable characters, such as Josh the minister of ChristPoint church, the ONLY church in Antioch. And Josh truly rules all of Antioch, well beyond the Sunday service.

Years ago, Lori was dating and even engaged to Josh. Something big happened between them that forever changed them. Elijah comes and makes a connection with her and offers to help. Even with all that is going on around Lori, Elijah has his own past too. It probably feeds into his reasons for helping Lori and honestly helping the entire town.

That a man could have so much charisma as to slowly take over a town is totally believable, look at what Hitler managed. It also highlights that while faith can give people hope and strength, it also has the danger of taking over in a much more sinister fashion through fear and anger.

My favorite thing about the story was the flow of the story. It is a really fast read, written simple and steady. Anything the characters dealt with never slowed down, he just wrote through adding thoughts and feelings and color where needed. The story is written from third-person point of view, but with the spotlight on Lori, Josh or Elijah.

The title of this story caught my attention, as it was nearly my 2nd son’s name. Plus Elijah is a pretty big character in the Bible as well. A well chosen name for this story. On the cover there is a young man hidden in shadow, the cover is very dark. It does intrigue you, when I received it in the mail, I dropped everything I was trying to read and read this cover to cover.

I am comfortable giving this book a 5. I came home late Friday night and spent another 2 hours to finish this book, even though I knew I’d pay for it the next day when my 2 small children were ready to start their day. It was that good!
Angela is a contributing "Guest" reviewer for my blog.  You can also find her at


Bloated Goat

Bloated GoatAuthor: Manley Peterson
Publisher: Self Published
Source: Author for Review
Purchase Link: Bloated Goat

About the Book:
When Granny Hammy finds Bloated Goat face down in her front yard's drainage ditch, her grandson Cocky Doodle thinks nothing of it. In fact, he says that’s just another normal day for his best friend. But when they discover that Bloated Goat has little black Xs for eyes and is even more bloated than normal, they realize it is much more serious.

Join the fun in a wacky adventure filled with jewel thieves, a despondent wolf, an alligator gangster, a kingdom of hungry mushrooms, a shocking skunk wedding, and a mysteriously powerful chameleon known as Crazy Ned.

The Bloated Goat is an imaginative and humor filled story that keeps you guessing at the outcome throughout the entire book. It was interesting and fun to read about the different types of people, creatures and environments the characters encounter along the way during their quest. The title is full of boyish humor that makes this novel great for boys age’s nine to twelve. I specifically thought the title would be perfect for younger boys who may have a hard time reading or concentrating on a book. The writing style of the author is extremely easy to read and follow. It is sure to be a hit for readers of the nine to twelve age groups.

The story shows positive qualities, such as having friends who help each other, working together, and being considerate of others feelings. In the novel the reader encounters a character who takes something he finds without looking for the owner. The reader is left with the lesson that “finders’ keepers, losers’ weepers” is not the right attitude to have. This section of the book shows the reader what it feels like to have something you lost taken from you. It helps promote, in a way, the idea that you should attempt to find the owner before keeping something you find. The story was filled with values that are lightly instilled throughout the book if the reader is open to seeing them. This would be a good book for parents to enjoy with their children. I found plenty of opportunities to bring up discussion questions in regards to things that happen along the journey.

My least favorite part of this novel took place periodically throughout the story. The author pauses the story to remind the reader that they are reading a book. Phrases like “If this wasn’t a book…” or “because this is a story…” are disruptive. It takes the reader out of the story they have attached to interrupts the process of imagination. It was difficult to get back into the story after each section of text like this.

Overall this story had plenty of character, humor and charm that make it great for boys ages 9-12. If you know someone in this age group, I would recommend this title.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interview with Cathy West

Yesterday's Tomorrow

What are 3 unique aspects about Yesterday's Tomorrow?

I think Yesterday's Tomorrow has many unique aspects, but here are three. The book takes place in the '60's. The backdrop is The Vietnam War. The central character, Kristin Taylor, is a female journalist who strikes out on her own to cover the war.

Name 5 things you wished you knew about publishing?
Wow. There are probably more than five things!
I wish I had known how long it would all take.
When I first started out, I wish I had known how to write a query letter.
Wish I had known I needed and agent and how to get one.
Wish I had known what head-hopping was! (btw... Head-hopping is switching pov's in the same chapter or paragraph without warning. The rule is you should only be in one character's point of view at a time.)
And I really wish I had known how HARD this gig actually is!!

Name 3 things on your bucket list.
They're all travel related!
I would love to go to Italy. I would love to take a cruise around the Greek Isles. I would love to see more of Europe.

What are your top 5 favorite books?
Gone With The Wind. The Winds of War. The Shell Seekers. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Eyre.

If you could invite 5 authors on a cruise who would you invite?
Ooo! LOL, great question. Maeve Binchy for sure, I think she'd be a blast! John Grisham, incase we need any legal advice. Francine Rivers, because I really want to know how she does what she does! Jenny B. Jones because she'd keep us all laughing. And I would invite Deb Raney, because she's so great and I'd love to spend more time with her.

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.
I try to spend time alone, just thinking. I watch people, make up stories about them. (Does that sound creepy?) And I read a lot and watch the news.

If you were stranded on an island and could magically name 2 people, 3 things and 1 book you could have to have with you who/what would they be?
Ugh, so hard! Ok. My hubby for sure. The second person, I don't know, maybe someone who knows how to build a boat? Three things? Water, food, a plane. And I'd want my bible.

Do you have another title in the works?
Yes, we're shopping a women's fiction story and I'm also working on another romance and a family saga type story as well.

What is your favorite season?
Spring. I love watching the flowers come up.

Your dream vacation would be?
Probably a lengthily stay in Europe, being able to visit as many countries as I could and not be rushed.

Best childhood memory?
I'm blessed to have many. I guess I just really enjoyed the summers and hanging out at the beach with my friends.

If you were given the chance to do any one thing over again, what would you do over?
Probably nothing. Everything happens for a reason and the mistakes we make serve to smarten us up, hopefully! But I'd probably have to say I'd like to do my last few years of high school and first year university over - I was pretty stupid back then!!

If you were given the chance to re-live any one moment, what would it be?
Hmm. My wedding day. Some parts of it are a blur! Could be because it was so long ago...!!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Relaxing. Hopefully!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write the book on your heart, don't worry about all the rules at first, just write. Then go back and make that baby shine. Do your homework, study the craft and network, and don't ever give up!!

About Cathy:
Cathy was educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine's debut novel Yesterday's Tomorrow, released March 15th, through

OakTara Publishers.

Connect with Cathy:
OakTara Website:

Monday, March 28, 2011


Teen CuisineBy Matthew Locricchio,
Author of Teen Cuisine
Fresh picked corn cut off the cob gets royal treatment in this classic chowder. The sweet corn that grows in and around Stuyvesant, a small agricultural community nestled along the Hudson River in upstate New York, is some of the best on the planet. A good friend who worked at one of the local farm markets asked me to come up with a recipe for chowder using local corn and potatoes. Just in case you can’t get fresh picked corn, this recipe works perfectly with frozen.

8 ears fresh corn, or 4 cups frozen kernels
1 small yellow onion
5 small Yukon gold potatoes
4 slices thick-cut bacon, or 2 tablespoons salted butter
5 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers
3 to 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

On your mark . . .
Husk the corn and remove the silk strands.

Slice the kernels off the cob, reserving as much of the corn liquid as possible. To do this, stand the ear of corn on the stem end in a wide flat bowl or pan. Using a sharp knife, slice down in even rows to remove the kernels. Set the corn aside.

Peel and chop the onion into small chunks, and set aside.

Wash and peel the potatoes, chop into small chunks, and place in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with cold water and set aside.

Get set . . .
If you are using the bacon, place the strips in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until just crispy.

Remove the bacon from the pan, lay on paper towels to drain, and let cool.

Cut the strips into small pieces and set aside.

If you are not using the bacon, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the onions to the bacon fat or melted butter and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat until soft and translucent. Using a metal slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Drain the potatoes in a colander.

Combine the onions and the potatoes in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add enough cold water to just cover the potatoes.

Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat; do not cover the pan.

Reduce to low and simmer the potatoes and onions for 15 minutes or until just tender, but not falling apart, when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Drain the potato and onion mixture and set aside.

In a 6- to -8 quart saucepan, combine the milk, corn, butter, potatoes and onions, chopped bacon, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through and simmering, stirring occasionally.

While the soup cooks, slip on a pair of latex kitchen gloves. Remove the stems and cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold water. Scrape out the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon and discard. Chop into small dice and place in a small serving dish.

Rinse the gloves and remove.

Wash the parsley, shake off the excess water, and dry the sprigs by rolling them in paper towels. Coarsely chop and put in a small bowl.

Serve the chowder hot, and pass the jalapeños and parsley at the table to sprinkle on top.

The above is an excerpt from the book Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.  This has been re-posted by permission.
Copyright © 2011 Matthew Locricchio, author of Teen Cuisine

Author Bio
Matthew Locricchio, author of Teen Cuisine, was born into a restaurant and catering family and has worked in the food industry most of his life. Included in his resume as a professional cook are stints at the well-known Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the West Coast Stock Exchange's private club in San Francisco, and the legendary Barbary Coast restaurant.

Matthew has taught culinary classes and given cooking demonstrations at culinary schools throughout the country as well as the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

James Peterson, photographer for Teen Cuisine, is a renowned cookbook author and photographer, and a James Beard and International Association of Culinary Professionals award winner.

For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Storms & Secrets

Storms & SecretsAnn Summerville ISBN: 9781453657744
Publisher: Create Space
Purchase: Storms & Secrets
Source: Author Review Request

In search of her husband, Heather reluctantly travels from London to his Texas home town where she is vocal about her dislike of snakes, spiders, and cowboys. She vows to spend no more than two weeks away from her city apartment but finds a slew of secrets swirling like a Texas tornado. While her husband keeps his emotional distance, and she tries to maintain her British reserve, Heather is nevertheless intrigued by the friendliness of Fort Worth locals. Despite developing friendships, Heather struggles to find out what illness her mother-in-law is suffering from, how a neighbor fits into her husband's past and why a vagrant sits across the street each day staring at the house. One by one, Heather uncovers the mysteries surrounding her husband's family. Can her marriage be saved, and will her new Texas friends entice Heather to share their love for the Lone Star State?

I was pleasantly surprised with Storms & Secrets. It is one of the titles that has allured me to the Indie world of publishing. Ms. Summerville captured me from the moment I started reading her novel. Who knew one neighborhood could have so many secrets?

Writing Style – Ms. Summerville has an easy to follow, enchanting style. I was immediately drawn to the story and able to follow it effortlessly. Her writing kept me hooked even though the story was fairly predictable.

Characters – This novel is full of colorful & quite unique characters. They perfectly fit within their setting and are believable as well as likable, at least most of them are.

Storyline – The storyline is interesting to say the least. There are many secrets and mysterious events taking place throughout the novel. No one seems to be in a hurry to help Heather, the main character, uncover the truth surround her husband and his family. I must admit I figured it all out far before the main character did. It was a fairly predictable read. I spent most of my time confirming my suspicions and waiting for Heather to figure them out for herself.  No one offered any information to Heather about the secrets being kept from her. Though they did watch out for her, mum was definitely the word, since they knew far more than they let her know. It reminded me of the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” though for this story its Fort Worth and in particular the small neighborhood where Heather’s husband Travis grew up.

Interest Level – though predictable this title was interesting and caught my attention. It was worth my time spent reading it.

Pace – The pace of this novel was steady. I didn’t set it down often. The author guides the reader easily. It had a good pace and a good length.

Overall, I would suggest this book, especially if you like cozy mysteries. It was an enjoyable read and unique in its own way. Ms. Summerville is a gifted writer.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Hellion in Her Bed

A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Halstead Hall)Author: Sabrina Jeffries
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6754-0
Publisher: Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster)
Purchase Link: A Hellion in Her Bed
Source: Nancy Berland PR

Furious at his grandmother’s ultimatum to marry or lose his inheritance, Lord Jarret Sharpe wagers his luck—and his heart—at the card table against a most unlikely opponent.

Mired in scandal after his parents’ mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his Machiavellian grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can’t resist when beguiling Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family’s foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one—and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.

If you have not read A Hellion in Her Bed, I suggest you run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy. This romance was highly enjoyable, original, sexy and funny.

Although the book didn’t fully capture me at first, it was not long before I was hooked! I read the majority of this title in one sitting and stayed up late to finish it. I found the storyline highly original and unlike most historical romances I have read. I actually found myself laughing, yes laughing, out loud at different points during this novel. I loved Annabel’s secret. I also loved that the reader is introduced to the secret long before it is exposed to others.

Both Jarret and Annabel are lovable and colorful characters. The heat between them is evident both in and out of the bed. The characters are witty, charming and seductive. I enjoyed every bit of them.

In addition to all of this, the novel is full of scandal and mystery that kept me intrigued and hooked to every last word. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Jeffries writing style. The romance was believable and enjoyable to read. Though the book is the second in its series, it completely stands on its own. I have not read the first title and do not feel I need to in order to understand and enjoy book two, though now having read it, I must read book one!  The only thing I wasn't crazy about with this title was the cover, but that can be overlooked.

My overall recommendation? Run, not walk, and pick up this title. You’ll be glad you did.

4.5 out of 5 Photobucket

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Last Unicorn: Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo

The Last Unicorn (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Format: AC-3, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, WidescreenLanguage: English Subtitles: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Lions Gate
Run Time: 93 minutes

About the MovieIn this whimsical, animated film, a lone unicorn seeks out others like herself through a mystical land of talking cats and spellbinding magicians. Based on the book by Peter S. Beagle, this story has enamored the hearts of fans – young and old – from around the globe. In her search for other unicorns, the last unicorn encounters a cast of delightful characters as well as dangers she never imagined. Throughout the fantastic adventure, she learns of friendship, love, and most importantly, her true self. Discover the magic that has kept this tale a treasured classic. Featuring the voices of Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow and Angela Lansbury, the story brings forth the power of friendship, the beauty of love and the pain of regret. Interlaced with songs and ethereal imagery, The Last Unicornwill reignite the hearts of its fans and entrance all who enter.

I decided to try this movie because my daughter currently loves unicorns. Her overall opinion was that the movie is “To long but great!” She had this to say as well, “I liked it because it was nice and had a unicorn and I love unicorns. My favorite part was the red bull. The worst part was when the witch died because she was old and mean.” My husband really enjoyed the music to this movie. We agreed with my daughter, the movie is too long and is easy to lose interest in. I was shocked when I looked at the running time to see it is only 93 minutes. The movie felt much longer. Our least favorite part was in the beginning of the movie. About the time you first meet the unicorn you are also introduced to a rambling butterfly that you would really prefer to stop talking.

On the technical side, the difference between the DVD and Blu-ray edition is so minor that to the untrained eye, or for most consumers, one would not recognize the Blu-ray disc from the DVD version. The quality of both disc are the same due to the movie being drawn rather than shot with high definition cameras. Quite frankly, it can only be so good. Both DVD’s feature Schmendricks Magical Gallery and a mini documentary in the special features section. The DVD holds a game “Escape the Red Bull” for users to enjoy. The Blu-ray disc holds a commentary.

The original movie was made in 1982 and is based off the well loved novel, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. If you are a fan of this book or movie you’ll love this upgraded version which holds the best quality the movie can boast with current technology. If you’ve never seen the movie, the story is unique and worth the watch. I would suggest renting it before you purchase this film as the story is one that will, most likely, interest current fans of The Last Unicorn rather than shake up a new fan base.