Book Review: Bridges of Paris

Posted by Katrina Roets at 10:00 AM

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bridges of Paris is a large-format photography book with over 350 original color images which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you've experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again. Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

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Normally, I veer away from large, cumbersome books. They don't fit nicely on the shelf and quite often, they're not something that I want sitting on my coffee table long term. This book completely defied all of my normal "rules" and before I knew it, I was lost in Paris. I've never been there, but I'm a lover of architecture and of history and this book combines both of them into one marvelous volume. With over 350 beautiful photos, I found that I couldn't put the book down. I couldn't wait to see which bridge he had spent so much time at next and all of the information about it. Honestly, if the tourism industry in Paris doesn't take this book and run with it, they're crazy. I mean, if this girl from the midwest suddenly has dreams of exploring bridges in Paris, then there have to be a lot of others who would enjoy that experience.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Crockpot Monday: Mexican Chili with Cornbread

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, April 20, 2015

I can't believe how fast the time flies by! Before we know it, the kids will be home for summer break and the temperature will start climbing! The summer is one of my favorite times to pull these meals out of the freezer and toss them into the crockpot. It helps keep my house far cooler than if we had to use the stove top or heaven forbid, the oven! Plus, we can toss dinner in first thing in the morning and I can haul the boys off to their various sport and band practices, knowing that after a long day, dinner will be waiting!

This week, I want to introduce you to another of our long time favorites. The boys have loved this recipe from the time they started eating! Cripes, I won't tell you how long ago that was!

Mexican Chili with Cornbread

Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped (more if you like the flavor)
1 cup frozen corn
1 package taco seasoning (I use low sodium)
10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup
1/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 box jiffy corn muffin mix

Place all ingredients -except- cheese and corn muffin mix into a gallon sized freezer bag. Place cheese into smaller freezer bag and place in larger bag. Squeeze out excess air and place in the freezer.

Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Follow directions on corn muffin mix. Shred chicken and then top with cheese and cornbread batter. Cook on high for an additional hour.

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Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl-Part 4: Illegal Aliens

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:00 AM

Friday, April 17, 2015

Aoléon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.

After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoléon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoléon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

Read part 4 to find out!

Join Aoleon and Gilbert in this exciting middle school sci-fi adventure!

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I cannot believe that this series is almost over! With his amazing graphics and action packed storytelling, Brent has kept me captivated for this entire series. His imagination pulls you in and before you know it, another segment of the story is done and you're eagerly awaiting the next one. Sadly, for this series, the next one will be the final one. Fingers crossed that he doesn't stop writing though! I want to learn about new worlds, new creatures and chuckle some more at the funny acronyms that he comes up with. Honestly, with his amazing grasp on how to write dialogue and ways to share his technical knowledge without boring the reader, I think children and adults could and will enjoy his stories for years to come.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Book Review: Guy Erma & the Son of Empire

Posted by Katrina Roets at 2:09 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a swash-buckling, roller-coaster, action adventure thriller for boys and girls. 

The story should appeal to those of you who enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Harry Potter books by J K Rowling. 

The story begins when 13-year-old Prince Teodor and heir to two thrones lifts his voice to lead a children's choir and instead of music, a violent explosion marks the start of a vicious kidnapping... The immediate fall-out will be dead infants and murdered teachers... 

Teodor has fallen into the hands of the ruthless yet charismatic Chart Segat, a populist politician, he is also head of the military crack space troops: the Dome Elite. 

Teodor’s mother, Regent Sayginn of Freyne 2 will use every resource at her disposal to find and free Teodor … The only question is can they get to Teodor in time? 

Meanwhile in the shadow of the Dome, living a life of desperate poverty is another boy: 13-year-old Guy Erma. His only dream is to join the Dome Elite, and the only way he can do that is by ‘doing whatever Chart Segat says.’ Whatever he says!

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Just when I'm ready to say that science-fiction isn't really my thing, along comes a book that proves me wrong yet again. Guy Erma & the Son of Empire, while geared towards teens, certainly didn't let this grown up down. Filled with a brand new world and all sorts of new characters, I had a hard time putting this book down. Honestly, if you enjoy sci-fi, then this could be the perfect rainy day afternoon read for you. That, or plan on staying up late because you're not going to want to put it down until the very end.
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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Book Review: Resisting Redemption

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:00 AM

This is the third book in a series where the plot points carry over. All plot points will be resolved by book FIVE - the end of the series.
This is a sweet style romance.

With her heart at war with her mind, Lisa’s need to chase dangerous fun over boring responsibilities tugs at her emotions. Love is the last thing she expects to find, especially with her past revolting against her future.

The only love Ryan’s heart has room for is for his motherless son. But, when he finds himself yearning for Lisa, Ryan has to convince himself and her that he’s all the thrill she’ll ever need.

Will Lisa’s past destroy their future before either of them can accept the true meaning of love?

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Let me start out by reminding everyone that this is the 3rd book in a 5 part series. Before you read this one, make sure you've read Romancing Redemption and Riding for Redemption. These are the first two books in the series and since this one picks up pretty much where they leave off, I think you'll thank me for it. Personally, I'm glad that we got to find out Lisa's story. It was good to see her softer side and not just the aloof personality that we had seen up until this point. Honestly, y'all know by now that I'm a big fan of Bonnie's. It can be quite a stretch to find something in one of her books that I don't care for and for this book, it's only me being unsure that Jesse (who was born with spina bifida) could walk unaided the way he does in this part of the tale. Since that's not even close to a deal breaker, I suggest you pick up Bonnie's latest because who doesn't need some good romance in their life?

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Crockpot Monday: Beef Roast and Carrots

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcome back! It's week two here in my kitchen and today's recipe is one that even my teenagers never turn their noses up at! In fact, when I say I'm going to make it, they give me the standard ewwws and grosses. Then, when I hand them their plates, they devour it and always ask for seconds. Plus, since beef roasts have been on my favorite food listing since I was a child, the entire family is happy. You can't beat that!


Beef Roast and Carrots

Ingredients
2 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1-2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (or baby carrots)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 seasoning packet of your choice - I used the brown sugar bourbon the last time I made this and it was so good!

Add all of the ingredients to your bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.

Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Simply delicious!


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Book Review: The Creole Princess

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:00 AM

Friday, April 10, 2015

All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter--though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie--and somehow keep Lyse's family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

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The Creole Princess is the second book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series, but it works beautifully as a stand alone novel. Taking place during the American Revolution, the author managed to pull me into another historical novel full of the worlds of politics and people. The characters are well developed and the ways that their threads intertwine kept me turning page after page. If I had any complaint it was that the ending felt slightly rushed..or maybe that was just me not wanting it to be over quite yet.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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