Monthly Archives: November 2007

Voice of the Angels Cookbook by Dyan Garris

Voice of the Angels Cookbook – Talk to Your Food: Intuitive Cooking
Author: Dyan Garris
Rating:
Publisher: Journeymakers, Inc.

Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

 

With the holidays upon us, everyone’s thoughts are to cooking up delectable meals and desserts to please a hungry crew. Dyan Garris’ Voice of the Angels Cookbook – Talk to Your Food: Intuitive Cooking is not only filled with delicious recipes—from New York Style Cheesecake to Cornish Hens with Honey-Fruit Glaze and more—but it is a guidebook to learning how to open up your creativity centers and help you communicate with your food so that preparing food will become fun and creative, not something you dread.

 

Dyan gives us an enlightening approach to cooking, helping you to understand how to take food preparation to a different level. By learning how not to be afraid of food and have fun with it and understanding the synchronicity between what goes into your body to nourish it and how it makes you feel afterwards, you will be able to zone in on what is nourishing for your body and what is not.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book as it taught me to take a more holistic approach to cooking instead of throwing something together for the sake of getting it done in a hurry. Using Dyan’s approach to cooking and to life, cooking will never be the same for me. Most of the recipes are surprisingly simple and easy to prepare. I fully recommend Dyan Garris’ Voice of the Angels Cookbook for its holistic approach to cooking. I truly hope there is another cookbook from Dyan coming up!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

On Strike for Christmas
Author: Sheila Roberts
Rating:
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by: Rebecca Camarena

Christmas is right around the corner, but in one small town there is the fear of not celebrating the day at all. The women of Holly want more appreciation, more help and want to be able to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Like a scene from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart, these women want their loved ones to have an epiphany and realize that it’s a lot of work for one person to do all the work involved in hosting parties, preparing for school events, buying and wrapping gifts, trimming the tree, sending out Christmas cards and doing holiday baking along with their daily jobs and regular housework. Bah humbug!

In a small little knitters group Joy and her friend Laura decide that the only way their husbands and families will appreciate them is for them to go on strike. They feel that if their husbands and families want Christmas then they will have to do it themselves. As Laura and Joy enjoy the first moment of quietness and respite from the hectic time of year they watch as their husbands handle things in a man’s world. To their astonishment they realize that the men don’t put the same emphasis on all the things they treasure and neither do they find the husbands handling things in quite the same way as the women. 

A newspaper reporter catches the story and fueled by her articles the boycott soon takes on a life of its own. As Christmas day approaches and the men of the town are up to their limit in what they can handle Joy, Laura and their husbands work to confront bigger issues in their marriages. However, when more than one disappointments will bring the season to a halt it seems everyone could use a little holiday magic.

Sheila Roberts has created a wonderful example of what the spirit of Christmas is all about. Her characters bring to life all those issues between women and men and holiday celebrations. But, she takes it one step further and proves that with a little holiday magic, the sparkle of Christmas can be seen and felt by all.

  

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Bad Girls Club

 Bad Girls Club

Author: Judy Gregerson
Rating:
Publisher: Blooming Tree Press
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is shocking, gripping, and horrific, but it’s a book you must read.

In Bad Girls Club we follow the story of Destiny and Cassidy, two girls traumatized by abusive and neglectful parents. The story opens with Destiny begging her father to get a summer job so she can buy a car, which he will not allow her to do because she must help her mother, June. That’s all Destiny’s life has really been about–helping her mother, taking care of her younger sister, Cassidy, and keeping the house running because her father can’t handle life. She would love to take Cassidy and run away from the freak show known as her family, but she is trapped and it seems like there will never be any way out.

If only Destiny could find the way to fix her mother–bring her back to the person she was before Crater Lake, then things would be better. But Destiny doesn’t even know if that way exists, as she watches her mother spiral ever downward into the depths of mental illness. Her father, long ago, stopped trying to make things work; to find a solution to the family’s problems. It’s all up to Destiny to figure out how to save Cassidy from the mother who hates her, while trying to find a way to save herself from the abuse her parents dish out.

As things go from bad to worse, Destiny even distances herself from her friends. How long can she continue to try and hold her family together? What will it take for her father to admit that her mother wants to hurt Cassidy? How will she ever find a way out? And will she find it before or after her mother has destroyed her life and Cassidy’s?

Bad Girls Club has to be one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, but I couldn’t put it down. Judy Gregerson has created a gut-wrenching story of a family torn apart by mental illness. Told from Destiny’s present day point of view, Bad Girls Club will make you want to turn the other way, while at the same time compelling you to read more. Destiny’s personal struggle between wanting to help her mother while also desiring to run away reminds you of the strong bond between mother and child. And it tears you up as you watch Destiny pull away from even her closest of friends so she can deal with her mother’s ever worsening condition.

With characters so well-developed and real, you would swear you had met them, Judy Gregerson holds nothing back in sharing Destiny’s and Cassidy’s story. I applaud Gregerson for tackling such a weighty issue and for going all the way in depicting the realities of child abuse.

Compelling and disconcerting, Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson is one book you will never forget.

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Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories

Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories

Author: Steven Roberts
Rating:
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories is a collection of uplifting, delightful tales of the season from Steven Roberts.

The story that opens this collection tells of the day that Frank Robinson brought Roger home because “everybody’s gotta have a place to go on Christmas Eve.” And word soon spread throughout the neighborhood that anyone who didn’t have a place to go on Christmas Eve would find a place at the Robinson’s house on Deery Street.

As the neighborhood changes and the children grow and move away, the gatherings on Deery Street get smaller and smaller, until a set of twins shows up at Frank’s door and it’s Christmas on Deery Street all over again.

Magic Socks finds Katie looking for the magic Christmas socks that will help her remember her lines at that night’s Christmas play. After her frantic search does not turn up her magic socks, a frightened Katie goes to the play. When Katie’s halo falls off right before the big scene, she tells the story of Baby Jesus in her own special way, and discovers that the magic was hidden inside her all along.

And in The Angel of Union Station, a snowstorm traps Army Captain Sam Kennedy at Union Station. With the help of a friendly janitor, Sam might just be able to reunite with Jessica and ask her to marry him.

In Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories, Steven Roberts has created a collection that personifies Christmas as much as roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Every story in this collection reminds you of the love and friendship that surrounds the season and warms your heart with just how wonderful life can be. Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories is destined to become a holiday classic.

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While Shepherds Watched

 
While Shepherds Watched: Stories of Christmas Miracles and Mysteries

Author: Steven Roberts
Rating:
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Heart-warming, charming, and full of nostalgia, While Shepherds Watched: Stories of Christmas Miracles and Mysteries will touch your heart. This short story collection by Steven Roberts is full of stories that remind the reader of the true meaning of Christmas.

Gabriel’s Trumpet opens this collection. It is the story of a young aspiring musician who wishes to play the trumpet, but finds himself saddled with a Model 2353 Hohnica Keyboard Accordion, which he loathes. But to please his mother–who bought him the darn thing in the first place–Georgie takes his music lessons and learns to play.

Broadway Baptist church puts on its annual Christmas program and their guest is Lonnie Latimore, a talented trumpeter who Georgie idolizes. Georgie and his friends accompany Mr. Latimore in a rendition of “Silent Night”. But when Mr. Latimore unexpectedly cannot perform the grand finale, it is up to Georgie to save the day, playing the one instrument he always wanted.

Another of my favorites from this collection is The Madam and the Paperboy. Miss Maybelle Boudreaux owns a large house at the end of Third Avenue. Sonny Suffrage delivers the newspaper to Miss Maybelle’s house, but when she suddenly stops paying for her paper, Sonny must pay her a visit, even though he is wary of approaching a woman who is talked about all over town.

Sonny gets to meet Miss Maybelle and a budding friendship blossoms between them. Miss Maybelle tells Sonny wonderful stories and he is always amazed at how much she knows about everything happening in town. When Sonny invites Miss Maybelle to Christmas dinner at his house, no one–Miss Maybelle, Sonny, or his family–is ever the same.

While Shepherds Watched will make you laugh and cry and hold your family close. Steven Roberts weaves a variety of memorable characters into unforgettable stories which you will cherish like a gift from a special friend. Every once in a while the backstory threatened to take over the present day action, but none of it was wasted. Each person and story was fully developed to provide the reader with an enjoyable conclusion.

If your family tradition includes the reading of heart-warming tales of the season, then you must buy While Shepherds Watched by Steven Roberts. It will be a book you reach for year after year.

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