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The Matchmaking Game

I have been such a fan of several of the books from the Timeless Romance series that when the opportunity to read another in the collection I jumped at the chance!

The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch is a historical romance novella about two childhood friends, Rowena and Evan, that, after years apart, realize they are falling in love with each other.  With neither of them wanting to ruin their friendship, they keep their feelings for each other to themselves, though their attraction is obvious to everyone else.

Rowena puts all of her focus on her matchmaking game: trying to unite her father and Evan's mother, two widowers who would greatly benefit from the union, but she cannot shake the feelings that she is feeling for Evan.

Evan is struggling with his own internal struggle.  While at war, he witnesses his best friend die.  His friends dying wish is for Evan to take care of his sister Cynthia when Evan returns home and he vows to live up to his promise.   What does Evan do?  Does he follow his heart or follow his head?

The Matchmaking Game is a cute little love story.  Each character is well developed and the story line is wonderful.   There is plenty of sparks but this is a clean romance which is my favorite kind.  The whole time I was reading I was rooting for love!  If you're looking for a quick read with a good story, great writing, and a lot of love than look no further!  Highly recommend!  

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 

The Bravest You

So many of us live our lives in fear.  Fear can be so powerful that it can be debilitating and oftentimes keeps us from pursuing our dreams and passions.  

In The Bravest You, Adam Smith gives you five steps to help you overcome your fears and put you on the path to pursuing your passions and living the life you've always dreamed of.  This book is meant to be interactive and is not something that you can speed through.  It was very hard for me to read straight through but I was constantly highlighting and making notes about steps I can take in my own walk to overcome fears in my life and points to go back and revisit.

I highly recommend this to anyone who has been playing it safe in life.  It's time we all faced our fears and pursued our passions and this book will give you the steps you need to walk that path.  If you follow the steps outlined in this book it can be life changing.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Where Dead Men Meet

I am a sucker for a good suspense novel.  I love the feeling of being on the edge of my seat and speculating the direction the author is going to take me.  I have also been on a historical fiction kick this year so I was very excited when I picked up Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills.

Set in 1937, you see the framework for World War II being set in Europe and all the horrors that went along with that time period.  Luke Hamilton was an orphan who was taken care of for years by a kind-hearted nun before being adopted.  Years later, the nun is brutally murdered and Luke finds himself being in the assassins crosshairs.  With Luke's journey of dodging assassination attempts and traveling all over Europe trying to find the truth, you find yourself getting lost in the details, and never feeling like you can keep up.

This is the first book I've read by Mark Mills and I hate to say I was extremely disappointed.  It took me months to get through this book and I finally gave up.  The beginning grabbed my attention but as I read on the pace felt forced and the story line became muddled to me.  I finally gave up and put it down.  Sometimes you're just not in a right frame of mind to read a certain type of story.  

I didn't want to give up on Where Dead Men Meet since the synapsis was intriguing and I've heard good things about Mark Mills' work.  I picked the book back up a few weeks later and the same thing happened.  I struggled to get lost in the story.  I felt no connection to the characters whatsoever and even though I was curious to find out who it was that was hunting Luke and killed the nun, I couldn't finish it.  

I really wanted to love this book, but I really didn't.  It was chaotic, convoluted, and forced and this is the first fiction in a long time I couldn't finish.  

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumors

My parents were in a rock band when I was growing up.  Not only was it amazing to see them evolve into wonderful musicians themselves, but I was also introduced to a lot of music that kids my age weren't a custom to.  Fleetwood Mac was one of those bands that I did not really appreciate growing up but now that I am an adult they are one of my all-time favorite classic rock bands.  Though I know their music quite well I knew little about the bandmates themselves and their rocky history until I read the latest Stevie Nicks biography Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumors by Zoe Howe.

I personally fell in love with Stevie Nicks when she did her solo album Rock a Little which was released in 1985.  Stevie's unique voice and her beauty and fashion sense are something I've always admired.  Reading about who she was as a person, where she came from, and the tumultuous journey that she has been on in her music career was something I was very excited about.

I've always heard about her love/hate relationship with Lindsey Buckingham but I never realized the depth!  I loved hearing about her start with Fleetwood Mac and the stories behind many of their songs.  I wish there would've been more focus on Stevie and her solo career but the author seemed to stick with Stevie and her association with Fleetwood Mac more than anything.  Fleetwood Mac is touring this year so I'm sure this biography was a push to get more interest in the band reuniting and the tour itself.  

There were many quotes that I did not find cited which I thought was strange and, to be honest, the book was hard to get through for me.  It is extremely long and after awhile you feel like the story becomes redundant.  I still think the story of Stevie Nicks is fascinating and I plan on picking up Gold Dust Woman by Stephen Davis, which is coming out in November of this year.  I hope Davis delves deeper into his subject more than Ms. Howe has.

For someone who has never read anything on Stevie Nicks, or Fleetwood Mac for that matter, I would say this is a decent book to start out with, since the majority of the book is bits and pieces of other articles and interviews.  But I do believe this book could've been better.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review   

The Long Run

I do not seem to possess the endurance that it takes to become a runner.  I admire those that can lace up their sneakers and run for miles at a time.  I'm lucky to do jogging intervals when I attempt to run.  Maybe I do not have the mental stamina it takes.  Maybe I need a shove in the right direction and a little inspiration from those who have ran before me.  This reason is why I picked up The Long Run by Australian writer and runner Catriona Menzies-Pike.

Catrina Menzies-Pike started running after mourning the deaths of both of her parents in a plane crash.  After dealing with depression and addiction for years, Ms. Menzies-Pike started running first as a hobby and later adopted the running lifestyle.  It is during this time that the author begins to research the history of women in running and the road that has led to her own participation in a half-marathon.

Any avid runner will be able to relate to her stories and why she runs and this is the part that I really enjoyed reading, despite it being a small part of the book as a whole.  The majority of the book is a history lesson on women's rights and women in sports.  I was hoping this story would be more about the author's overcoming a personal tragedy and working through grief through running but I felt like Ms. Menzies-Pike keeps her readers at arms length throughout the book.  The focus feels more on history and not on the author's story.

The Long Run is very well researched but lacks the author's personal story which is why I chose this book in the first place.  I started this book hoping for inspiration to run and I did not find that at all.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Scars of Independence

I have always been squeamish about war.  Growing up in a classroom, you tend to be desensitized to the effects of war.  It's just words on a page when you're a child, but I remember, even at a young age, never really liking to learn about wars past.  The loss of life, the anger and hatred that fuels each battle, and the utter destruction of everything that is connected with each encounter is hard to swallow.  Don't get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind many of the battles, but it's still a tough subject for me to grasp.

When I sat down to start reading Scars of Independence by Holger Hoock I had little bit of a pit in my stomach.  What was this book about the Revolutionary War going to teach me that the history books haven't already?

I have read books about the Revolutionary War before but so many of them are hardened, strictly sticking to the facts, and not giving any indication to the thoughts or feelings of those that participated, or were witness, to these battles.  Scars of Independence is different and you realize that from the first few pages that you read.  You see viewpoints from different people and their reasons for fighting for what they believed in.  You see the stages being set and the battle lines being drawn.  You can hear the cries of the wounded and the screams for victory.  Yes, it is hard to read the bloody details of the Revolution but it is a story that we should all hear and not one that should be romanticized.  This is where we came from!  This is the birth of our nation!

Mr. Hoock must have done hours of research with all of the details that are within these pages.  He has a wonderful writing style that captures the imagination and is easy to understand, though I will say it is hard to sit down and read it cover to cover.  It has a dry, textbook feel to it which makes it hard to not feel like you're studying.  In saying that, Scars of Independence is a wonderful resource that could easily be used in a classroom setting and taken apart piece by piece to be studied.

If you love studying about the Revolutionary War, or American wars, I would highly recommend this book.  The research that was done and details about the war are well worth the effort!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Good Clean Food

I'm SO excited about the review I am posting today!  Not only because it's my birthday (woot! woot!) but because I have been following Lily Kunin on her blog Clean Food Dirty City for awhile and was SO excited when I heard that she was coming out with a cookbook!! 

Let me start by saying that cooking is not a passion of mine.  I appreciate good food, and the work that goes into it, but I do not like to be the one doing that work.  

Reading Good Clean Food makes me want do that work!  This book is not a certain "diet" but a beautiful cookbook with each recipe highlighting clean eating in its simplicity.  Each recipe will help you make healthier food choices and there are some delicious recipes to help get you started if you are new to clean eating. 

The recipes in Good Clean Food are are not what you will find in a normal plant-based cookbook.  There are unique recipes for things like hair and face masks, and what's even better is they are easy!  

The recipes call for ingredients that are easy to find which is a major plus for me.  I don't know how many times I've been excited about a cookbook only to go from recipe to recipe and have no idea what some of the ingredients even are!  That is usually the first and last time I pick up that book!

I have to say my favorite part of Good Clean Food has to be the pictures.  The pictures are absolutely stunning and so motivating!  I want to make these recipes! 

Needless to say, this is my new go-to cookbook!  Highly recommend!

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