Review: Class Mom

Class Mom Book Review
Title: Class Mom
Author: Laurie Gelman
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Fiction | Chick-Lit | Contemporary Women

About Class Mom: Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom—or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max—this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the “wisest” candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of “special” brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive “allergy mom,” a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

Review: Meet Jen Dixon. She’s one part snarky, one part plain-spoken, and she’s the kindergarten class mom who has been around this block before. I devoured this audiobook, read by the author, which is the best audio delivery, in two days!  I was so thoroughly entertained and humoured – this book was just what I needed after reading so many serious and heavier reads lately.

Jen’s take no prisoners approach to being class mom had me rolling from the get-go. I absorbed her emails to the parents and teacher. And I’m fairly certain all of us school mother’s have known a Jen at some point, which is why this story is so relatable.

The book is in no way deep but as the story unfolds Jen becomes more than the snarky class mom. She has a heart of gold and is a little misunderstood, a lot more experienced, and probably a tad bit fed up.

This was a really great read (or listen!) and I highly recommend it if you need a dose of laugh out loud hilarity.


Review: Tanya Bakes

Tanya Bakes Book ReviewTitle: Tanya Bakes
Author: Tanya Burr
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Publication Date: June 30, 2016
Genre: Cookbook

About Tanya Bakes: Following the phenomenally successful Love, Tanya, Tanya Burr is back with her very first cookbook. In Tanya Bakes, she shares her passion for baking along with all her favourite recipes. As well as cakes and bakes, readers will love Tanya’s delicious and simple puddings, loaves and pastries.

From everyday staple bakes to sweet treats for special occasions, Tanya’s got the perfect recipe, every time:
– Tanya’s Ultimate Celebration Cake
– Banoffee Pie
– Salted Caramel Cheesecake
– Rhubarb and Custard Muffins
– Earl Grey Tea Loaf
– Tanya’s Nanny’s Apple Pie
– Smarties Flapjacks

So make yourself at home in the kitchen with Tanya and treat yourself, your friends and family to something delicious!

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: I have a slight addiction to reading cookbooks and eating good food so when PRHC asked me if I wanted to review Tanya Bakes I was more than happy to oblige. First, I want to talk about this book cover.  It might be the most beautiful cookbook I’ve laid my eyes on.  From the bright and festive background to the gorgeous birthday cake and the text flanked by tiny gold stars. The goodness doesn’t stop with the cover.  The recipes inside are divine.

I’m a mom of three girls so there’s a lot of food talk in my house. One of my daughter’s has an affinity for baking so when Tanya Bakes cookbook showed up at our house she squealed with delight. A few recipes she and I earmarked for weekend baking include Salted Nutella Cookies – six ingredients to what sounds like the best cookie ever. Peaches & Cream Muffins – we are saving this one up for August when fresh, local peaches are abundant and sure to take these muffins over the top. Lemon Drizzle Loaf – I cannot pass up a slice of lemon loaf and will always choose it over chocolate.  Pineapple Upside Down Cake – this is the quintessential dessert of the 1970’s and still going strong in 2018. And finally, Birthday Cake (pictured on the cover) – my little baker requested this one for her birthday next week, surely because it’s decorated with ten million candy sprinkles and a fistful of birthday candles!

If you love cakes, loaves, puddings, and breads, which I think just about everyone does, then you need this cookbook!


Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold


kitty hawk by Iain reading review
Title: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold | Book 1 Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency
Author: Iain Reading
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Genre: Fiction | Adventure | Middle Grade | Young Adult | Mystery

About Kitty Hawk: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Thank you to Book Publicity Services for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: KITTY HAWK AND THE CURSE OF THE YUKON GOLD is the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, and history – from Kitty being kidnapped chasing down gold thieves, immersed in the rich history of the Yukon (Klondike) Gold Rush, to climbing the summit of Chilkoot Pass – I was hooked from the get-go! The storyline resonated with me because I live in British Columbia and have a keen interest in the Alaskan wilderness and a longtime love of whales dating back to my childhood dreams of becoming a marine biologist.

The story begins with a double prologue, one of which has nothing to do with the story but may tie in to other books in the series… Kitty is a passionate seaplane pilot who wants to spend her summer in Alaska studying the migration route of humpback whales between her hometown of Tofino, British Columbia and Juneau, Alaska. She reaches out to a local travel clothing company for sponsorship. Dreams do come true and Kitty packs up her De Havilland Beaver and flies to Juneau to stay with her best friend’s relatives. Kitty spends her days soaring above the water photographing the whales and gathering data to share in a joint venture with a couple of universities. Her curiosity gets the better of her when she deliberately stumbles upon a group of gold thieves who take her hostage. There is a crescendo of amazing plot twists that lead to an unexpected alliance and friendship that makes this story so likeable.

Kitty brings a fresh and contemporary verve to the middle grade and young adult genres where girls are often portrayed as anxiety ridden products from broken families and overbearing parents. Kitty is unabashed, ambitious, and sharp – she’s the whole delightful, charming package!

Every young girl should have a fictional character she aspires to be one day and Kitty Hawk is it! This book is appropriate for all ages and I cannot wait to read Book 2, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost!

Review: The Brutal Telling

The Brutal Telling
The Brutal Telling | Book 5 Inspector Gamache Series
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur
Publication Date: September 22, 2009
Genre: Fiction | Mystery

About The Brutal Telling: Chaos is coming, old son.

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.

No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?

As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.

Review: Welcome back to the remote village of Three Pines. A place you stumble upon accidentally. A quaint and charming village brimming with eccentric folks with a penchant for attracting murder.

The Brutal Telling is the pivotal book in the Inspector Gamache series. Penny sets aside her gentler and drawn out mystery that I grew accustomed to in the previous four books. She severs the coziness of Three Pines and instills a hard edge leaving me pondering its future when Gamache arrests one of Three Pines beloved. And I loved it! Up to this point the series was inching towards blandness but Penny quickly thwarted the hum-drums.

The murder trail leads Gamache to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) to meet with indigenous people’s and investigate totem poles. The plot is infused in rich detail and cultural inspiration and I was drawn to the references of Emily Carr’s paintings about vanishing indigenous cultures in British Columbia.

Review: Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
Sweet Little Lies | Book 1 Heartbreaker Bay Series
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Contemporary

About Sweet Little Lies: Choose the one guy you can’t have . . .
As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .

Review: Whoa, reader be warned, Sweet Little Lies is S-T-E-A-M-Y in every good way possible! I needed time to catch my breath and fan my hot, flushed face before writing this review.

The first book in Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay Series, gorgeous Pru is making wishes at the historic fountain in her courtyard for sexy Finn to find true love with anyone but herself. Pru is no good for Finn – she’s holding onto a secret that is sure to drive him the opposite direction. The two are perfect for each other and everyone knows it but Finn is a work-a-holic tending to O’Riley’s, the pub he runs with his brother and Pru can’t bear the thought of hurting Finn and keeps him at arms distance.  Or at least she tries to but when an ultra sexy couple are meant to be together there’s no denying sparks are going to fly.

Sweet Little Lies is every bit charming, romantic and oh so sizzling hot! Shalvis’ books have fast become the palette cleansers I need in between heavier reads. Add this one to your reading list!

The Heartbreaker Bay Series – Each book is a standalone
Sweet Little Lies
The Trouble with Mistletoe
One Snowy Night
Accidentally on Purpose
Chasing Christmas Eve
Holiday Wishes
About that Kiss
Slow Winter Nights

Book Review: Savages

IMG_2582Title: Savages
Author: Don Winslow
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 1, 2010

From Simon & Schuster: Ben, Chon, and O are twentysomething best friends living the dream in Southern California. Together they have made a small fortune producing premium grade marijuana, a product so potent that the Mexican Baja Cartel demands a cut. When Ben and Chon refuse to back down, the cartel kidnaps O, igniting a dizzying array of high-octane negotiations and stunning plot twists as they risk everything to free her. The result is a provocative, sexy, and darkly engrossing thrill ride, an ultracontemporary love story that will leave you breathless.

My Review: Having read Winslow’s recent book, The Force and previously The Power of the Dog, and The Cartel, I wanted to keep the momentum alive so I picked up one of his earlier books. SAVAGES is a hybrid of Winslow’s astute analysis of the Mexican Cartel and ultra-modern love story of a super hot trio residing in the surfing community of Laguna Beach.

Ben, Chon, and O are thick as thieves and an unbreakable bond. Ben is smooth and laid back. He studied botany and marketing at UC Berkeley. He is an intelligent philanthropist with a penchant for Third World countries. Chon is ex-Navy SEALs and served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s a badass with ‘baditude’. O, short for Ophelia is a beauty with mesmerizing blue eyes. She takes each day as it comes fending off boredom with shopping trips and frequenting beauty salons. Ben and Chon are her boys and her lovers. She’s the thread that draws the three together.

Chon brings home potent marijuana seeds from Afghanistan and Ben develops a new breed aptly named Ultra White Widow. One toke of the high-class UWW is all that’s needed to get a serious high. The stuff has yielded millions of dollars and the boys want to close up shop and cash out.  But the Baja Cartel wants in and they aren’t taking no for an answer.  Up to this point the vibe has been Orange County-esque but when the BC abducts O the story shifts into a highly charged, plot driven drama between savages and the less savage. I’m adding The Kings of Cool, the prequel to Savages to my reading list.

Book Review: The School Year Survival Cookbook

IMG_2554Title: The School Year Survival Cookbook
Author: Laura Keogh & Ceri Marsh
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Publication Date: July 14, 2017

From Appetite: The School Year Survival Cookbook is a fail-proof guide to the calendar-packed time that can break a parent’s spirit: the school year. For families, cooking from September to June is about way more than just packing lunch boxes. It’s trying to shoehorn a healthy dinner into already tight schedules that go in multiple directions; it’s getting everyone fed before the school bus arrives; it’s fuelling kids up for soccer practice and figuring out dinner when you get home after the dance recital. This book addresses every major food dilemma parents face during the 300-plus days of the school year, with 110 recipes and road-tested, guaranteed-to-work, effective strategies that will keep families on track even during the most hectic weeks. Learn how to become a lunch ninja that packs school lunches even the pickiest kid will love; master the art of the meal prep to save your sanity; celebrate the humble leftover and transform it into lunches and dinners that no one at the dinner table will ever complain about; fuel your active kids so that their brains and bodies are fed.

My Review: The School Year Survival Cookbook is crazy popular because I was on the holds list at my library a looong time. It’s popularity comes as no surprise because its curated by two highly organized moms (my soul mates!).

If working in the kitchen has you feeling all thumbs then you need this cookbook in your life. From the get-go Keogh & Marsh help you organize your pantry and put the right staples in your fridge and freezer. The recipes are for real moms and the ingredients lists are ‘real’. Each recipe includes get ahead prep to help you save precious minutes when its time to make dinner. I especially like the section on turning leftovers into meals you want to eat.

I will be purchasing a copy for myself! Let me know in the comments if you have this cookbook and your thoughts.