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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review: Breathing Space by Katrina Repka and Alan Finger

Title: Breathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman
Author: Katrina Repka and Alan Finger
Pages: 256
Publisher: Voice (December 30, 2008) (Division of Hyperion)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Self-Help / Fitness-Memoir
Edition: Paperback - many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review as part of the two-week Health and Beauty focus

Perfect for : Personal Use,Professional Use, Would be an interesting book club read

In a nutshell: We take our breath for granted. It happens automatically - in, out, in out - . . . without thought. If we really experience our breath's full potential, it brings us awareness, power and release. Throughout the course of this book, Katrina gives the reader a glimpse into her life, and her conversations with Alan Finger, which ultimately lead to her learning breathing exercises that provide great benefits. At the end of each chapter she shares the exercises that she learns in an easy-to-follow format so that we can learn them too. I was amazed to find that I could follow the instructions, and that I have become more relaxed and am sleeping better. I have not done the exercises long, so have not reached the full benefit, but I do believe that they can bring the reader/practitioner many benefits.

Extended Review: Each chapter begins with a brief glimpse into Katrina's life, which soon flows into dialogue between her and Alan, ultimately resulting in a new breathing lesson. Each of the breathing exercises help the participant to focus or improve something such as their focus or redirecting "self-destructive tendencies."

Content: Each of the twelve chapters focuses on a different yoga breathing technique. Each technique is meant to provide a benefit to the person performing them. The topics from the Contents include:

1. Discovery: Learning about the power of the breath
2. Focus: The power of the breath to help you see yourself clearly
3. Emptiness: The power of the breath to fill you with radiance and strength
4. Time: The power of the breath to transform conventional thinking
5. Criticism: The power of the breath to erase self-destructive tendencies
6. Family: The power of the breath to restore equilibrium and equality
7. Balance: The power of the breath to balance the inner and outer worlds
8. Creativity: The power of the breath to release the creative self
9. Communication: The power of the breath to link the head and the heart
10. Addiction: The power of the breath to remove the hidden obstacles that prevent progress
11. Faith: The power of the breath to overcome hesitation and connect you with your truth
12. Release: The power of the breath to release you

Format: Each chapter starts with a memoir-type story, which leads to a conversation with Alan, ending with a new breathing technique. The end of the chapter includes the step-by-step instructions so the reader can do the techniques, and a personal note by Katrina to provide extra explanations or tips.

Readability: Easy to read - I was so engrossed in reading and trying to mimic the exercises in which-ever awkward position I happened to be reading in (no - I don't advise you to try it my way! It wasn't very successful until I actually followed the instructions) that the pages literally flew by! Before I knew it, I was at the end of another chapter.

Overall: Regardless of your views of yoga (novice vs. expert), I do believe the breathing exercises provide some real benefits, even if I haven't been as successful as Katrina . . . yet! If I understand correctly, the practitioner really needs to dedicate some time to get the techniques down correctly in order to be able to reap the full benefits. After the first day of reading, I was able to fall asleep in a very peaceful state (I normally struggle to get my thoughts to quiet down) by using the first two techniques. I can't wait to see what I can do after doing these for a longer time period.

From the Back Cover:
"This is the story of a year I spent in New York, studying with Yoga Master Alan Finger."

When Katrina Repka moved to New York, she was eager to shed her past and begin a new life, but she soon discovered that her old problems had followed her to the big city, and that instead of finding herself, she was more lost than ever. It was when she was almost ready to give up on everything that she read a magazine article on Master Yogi Alan Finger and knew that she had to meet him. It was a meeting that would change her life.

Over the next twelve months, with Alan's help, Katrina tackled and overcame many of the obstacles holding her back. Dealing with issues that every woman will relate to--criticism, emptiness, balance, family, and creativity (among others)--the twelve chapters in Breathing Space follow Katrina's ups and downs in New York. At the end of each chapter there is a simple but effective breathing exercise that will help readers eliminate harmful behavior patterns and speed their own process of personal transformation. Breathing Space is an inspiring and instructive book that offers every woman the chance to follow the author's path and become the person she truly wants and deserves to be.

First Paragraph:
What am I doing with my life?

The old, familiar question. The one I thought I'd left behind.
I slouched in the hard plastic chair and stared at the sudsy laundry tumbling in the washer across from me. Around and around it went one way. Then around and around the other. None o'clock on a Thursday night in New York City. I should have been out on the town. Instead, I was sitting in my apartment building's basement laundry room. Getting ready to use the dryer. Fold the laundry. And find my boyfriend's missing sock. Although I had no objection to the title Domestic Goddess, it wasn't at the top of my list. Nor was it the role I'd had in mind when I arrived in New York four months ago, intent on a voyage of self-discovery. (pages 1-2)
About the Author: (From the book)
Katrina Repka has been a yoga student for fifteen years and a teacher for eight. She is currently living and teaching in London.

Alan Finger has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than forty years. With his father he created ISHTA yoga, a style that is now taught in studios around the world. Although he has been a personal teacher and guide to numerous celebrities, he continues to teach regular public classes, most recently at the new ISHTA studio in downtown New York. He has been called the Supreme Yogi.

Visit Katrina's site here.

Visit Alan's site here.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tuesday Thinger: A Huge Thank You to Marie and How Familiar Are You With LT?

A quick note before we get to today's question. I would like to personally thank Marie (Boston Bibliophile) for starting this wonderful meme and allowing me to continue it as she has stepped down from hosting it. She has been very helpful to new bloggers, and has helped us all to learn new things about Library Thing. In an effort to say a proper thank you, I decided that I wanted to know a little more abour Marie. I asked her how Tuesday Thingers started and what her favorite part of LT is, and she explained that it all started on the message boards of Library Thing as a way for book bloggers to connect . . . and to learn a little about Library Thing!! She also shared with me that the cataloging is her favorite part of LT (which I must admit is one of mine - it is so nice and easy to keep track of books there!) because of the way it allows the user to organize (tagging).

Marie - I'd like to extend a huge thank you for your hard work and willingness to share your interest with us, and to start this wonderful group! You've done a great job of getting this group going (and growing it!)and coming up with topics for the past 31 weeks! You have helped to create a very nice network of bloggers that I hope will continue to grow!

As Tuesday Thingers now has a new home, I'd like to welcome you, and I'm going to ask you for a little forgiveness. I have not participated in all of the Thingers in the past, so may repost a question that some of you have already seen/answered. Just look at a few of the questions as refreshers and especially helpful to newer members of Library Thing. If you would like to help me come up with some questions, please send me an email at wbarker at hotmail.com.

Today's question: Here is a list of the main areas of Library Thing:
1. Home (http://www.librarything.com/, before you log in)
2. Home (once you log in, contains Your Home, Your Profile, Connections, Recommendations, Reviews, Statistics, Clouds, Gallery, Memes)
3. Profile (Recent activity, tags, comments, members with your books)
4. Your Library
5. Your Tags
6. Add Books
7. Talk
8. Groups
9. Local
10. Search
11. Zeitgeist (Stats, Top Lists)
12. Tools (Widgets, Store)
13. Blog

What area are you most familiar with? What area is your favorite? What area are you curious about? Are there any that you have not really looked at?

I'm going to use the answers to help generate some topics for future posts.

My Answer: As for what I'm most familiar with, I'd have to go with the Groups page (there are some great forums) and the Add Books page. I use both pages to get information and update my books/reviews.

What is my favorite? I'd say the same two, more so in the groups as you can interact with people a little more there and see what is going on at other's blogs.

I'm curious about the Profile page. I haven't really explored it much, so know I'm probably missing a bunch of great things like . . . . friends! I found a few of you the other day when I realized I had two friends - feel free to let me know your name so I can friend you, or you can leave me a comment and I'll add you to my friends!

As for the areas I haven't really looked at: Can I start a list here - just kidding, but I've never looked at the blog until today!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Teaser Tuesday: Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs


My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today: This is a non-fiction book.

Some of the greatest success stories of all time have come from people who regularly have failed but remained determined. Thomas Edison endured many failures for every experiment that succeeded, and Lance Armstrong very nearly hung up his biking career after years of disappointing results. Eventually they used their previous failures as motivation for future success.

~ p.78, “Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs"

From Amazon:

Chantel Hobbs lost two hundred pounds without the help of surgery, pills, point systems, or a trendy diet. And just as important, she kept the weight off.

Her dramatic turnaround began with five decisions–personal, no-excuses commitments that kept her from losing sight of her goals. It worked for Chantel and it will work for you. Once you unconditionally change your mind your body will follow, and your life will never be the same.

In this book you will discover:

·How to move beyond past failures and get over your old excuses
·How changing your eating patterns can break food’s hold over you
·Why winning the weight-loss battle must come from the inside out
·The simple workouts that deliver lasting results and are fun to do
·How to overcome the naysayers, the diet police, and your own nagging doubts
·How to prioritize your health, juggle family and career, and stay motivated when life takes unexpected turns
·Why the diet industry wants you to keep coming back
·And much more!

You will find straight talk on developing the determination, commitment, and personal responsibility it takes to achieve weight loss that lasts. It’s time to stop getting ready for the event and start getting ready for life!

~ Wendi

Review: Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual by Bobbi Brown

Title: Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro
Author: Bobbi Brown
Contributors: Debra Bergsma Otte and Sally Wadyka
Photography: Henry Leutwyler
Pages: 232
Publisher: Springboard Press (December 1, 2008)(Part of Hachette Book Group)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Beauty
Edition: Hardback - many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Great gift for a girl getting into makeup (promotes positive self image), Professionals in beauty/makeup field

In a nutshell: I was amazed at the amount of information and detail contained in this book! I was never really taught about makeup, so this has provided me with a lot of practical and technical information that I wasn't previously aware of. From basic beauty equipment and the basics of skin care to the business of makeup and professional artistry, this book has it all! The photographs are beautiful and help to show what the author is talking about, and the explanations are easy to understand. This is a beautiful book that would be great for someone wanting to learn more about makeup for themselves, or as a profession. It would also be a great book to have on-hand at a salon or spa.

From the Publisher:
This is the book that Bobbi Brown's fans have been waiting for: her 25-plus years of makeup styling experience distilled into one complete, gorgeous book. Bobbi looks at everything from skincare basics to every aspect of facial makeup--from how to find the right color and type of foundation for any skin tone to how to apply every detail of eye makeup (Brows, Eye Liner, Eye Shadow, and Eye Lashes) no matter your eye color and shape. Of course there are never-before-seen tips on blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick, etc. And Bobbi looks beyond the face with informative chapters on "Hands and Feet" and "Body Skin Care." Each chapter has thorough step-by-step basic directions for makeup application and easy-to-follow photographs and line drawings, along with Bobbi's expert, yet assuring, advice. Plus, there's a groundbreaking section of the book that will be of special interest to women who've wanted to know how makeup stylists do what they do: the top beauty secrets only these artists know, essential equipment to keep on hand, how to break into the business, and how to work with photographers and celebrities.

Breathtaking photos of the finished faces-from everyday looks to exotic runway style-along with advice on putting it all together for every woman, make this a book like no other.

BOBBI BROWN'S MAKEUP MANUAL will be the only book any woman will need to look absolutely fabulous.

First Paragraph:
When I first started working as a freelance makeup artist, it was almost impossible to find books dedicated to makeup artistry. This situation has improved over the years, but there is still a noticeable lack of good and accessible resources on makeup artistry. After scouring countless bookstores in search of the perfect makeup reference, I finally decided to write my own guide. My vision for this book is simple. I wanted it to be filled with complete step-by-step lessons, industry tips, and beautiful pictures. I wanted this book to serve as a complete reference guide for everyone who wants to know about beauty and makeup.

My Review:
The information contained in the book covers just about everything I could ever think of pertaining to skin-care and makeup and then some. The colorful photographs serve to enhance the book by providing brilliant examples of what the author is talking about as well as how-to's with people actually showing how to apply what the author is explaining.

Content: The book progresses nicely through the following chapters: Makeup Artistry, Equipment, Skin, Face, Lips, Eyes, Ten-Step Guide to Perfect Makeup, Special Makeup Applications, Artistry, Essential Equipment for the Professional, Advanced Makeup Applications, Memorable Makeup Moments and Legends. It also contains a very helpful resource guide that provides Theatrical Makeup Stores, Makeup Artist Agencies, Creative Directories and Suggested Reading. As you can see, there is plenty of information designed both for the end-user (like me) as well as professionals!

Format: The chapters progress through the makeup application very nicely, with plenty of wonderful full-color photographs depicting both finished looks, and the steps to accomplish those finished looks (as well as products and colors).

Readability: Amazingly enough, with so much technical information throughout the book, it was written in a manner that was easy to read - even the harder artistry pages were easy to understand, if not easy to create for the novice!

Overall: A very complete book that is sure to teach everyone from the novice to the professional something about makeup in a way that is easy to understand and duplicate (hopefully! - I haven't tried ALL the examples).

About the Author: (From the publisher)
Bobbi Brown is an internationally renowned makeup artist and CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Her products are sold in more than 400 stores and 20 countries worldwide. Bobbi is also the exclusive beauty editor of NBC's TODAY show and a frequent guest on E! and the Style channels.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Many thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday every week!

It is so much fun to see what everyone is getting in the mail.

Thanks for taking the time to visit ~ I just love hearing from you! Please let me know if you have read any of these books - I'd love to hear how you liked them!! :)

Here are the books that came into my house last week:

Blood Lines by Mel Odom - Fiction / Christian / General - Received from the publisher as part of a WildCard Tour.

Cathy's Ring ARC by Stewart, Weisman & Brigg - YA Fiction - Received as a surprise from the publisher.

Family Bones by Kimberly Raiser - Fiction / Thriller

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell - Non-fiction (Purchased from Amazon)

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman - Non-fiction (Purchased from Amazon)

Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs - Non-fiction / Diet/Health / Self Help - I received this for a WildCard Tour (plus an extra for a giveaway as part of my Health and Beauty Focus through the New Year!)

The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer by Chantel Hobbs - Non-fiction / Self-Help / Diet/Health - I received this for a WildCard Tour (plus an extra for a giveaway as part of my Health and Beauty Focus through the New Year!)

The Plague ARC by Joanne Dahme - YA Fiction - Received as a surprise from the publisher.

The Quarter Horse Foal ARC by Inda Schaenen - YA Fiction - Received as a surprise by the publisher.

Rainy Day Rescue ARC by Inda Schaenen - YA fiction - Received as a surprise from the publisher

What was in your mailbox last week??

If you would like to participate in Mailbox Monday, head over to The Printed Page and grab the logo. Make sure to visit other blogs hosting Mailbox Monday and comment/leave your link!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: The Beauty Prescription by Debra Luftman, M.D. and Eva Ritvo, M.D.

Title: The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful
Author: Debra Luftman, M.D. and Eva Ritvo, M.D.
Pages: 304
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 26, 2008)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Beauty / Self-Help
Edition: Hardback - many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!! And thanks go to Mini Book Expo for connecting me with the publisher!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Professional Use, Great for understanding beauty

In a nutshell: This book is written by two friends, one a dermatologist and the other a psychiatrist. The authors start with a bang! The opening pages have changed my life in a huge way! I have always struggled with self-confidence my entire life. The first page of the introduction promises to "tell you how to make yourself 20 percent more beautiful in just a few seconds" (page xi) - boy was I skeptical, and I have never been more wrong. After reading those first few pages, I had to put the book down and really think hard about what the authors were telling me. I even slept on it and got up in the morning, and looked at myself in the mirror. I smiled to myself and realized that yes - I am more beautiful! I'm still astounded, and that is just based on the first few pages. The following pages and chapters provide the reader with valuable information pertaining to beauty (inner-beauty, health, outer-beauty and environment, all which make up the beauty-brain loop, all working together to create our beauty). The authors also provide you with some quizzes to help determine where your strengths and areas of opportunity are with your inner and outer beauty. They also give you the tools to work on those areas of opportunity. In all, you will learn how to improve your outer beauty on the surface, while also improving it from the inside out, by focusing on improving your inner beauty. This is a wonderful book, and I honestly think that anyone can learn something valuable from it!

From the Publisher:
From the Back:
Every woman deserves to feel beautiful. But what does it mean to feel truly beautiful on the outside and the inside? In The Beauty Prescription, physicians Debra Luftman and Eva Ritvo have redefined beauty around a groundbreaking concept: The Beauty-Brain Loop. In this revealing, candid look at the science and spirit of beauty, Drs. Debra and Eva give women of all ages a prescription for mastering the Beauty-Brain Loop, including:
How to see beauty in everything around you
Making time to get fit and healthy
How a kind, loving, positive demeanor makes you more attractive
Staying beautiful in times of crisis
Understanding beauty products and cosmetic procedures
Creating a lifetime beauty plan
Every stage of the Loop-Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty, Health, and Environment-has the power to enhance your attractiveness, self-esteem, and well-being . . . if you know how to make the most of each one.
Packed with personal stories from Beauty Buddies, tips on physical and psychological wellness, wisdom from top professionals in the beauty industry, and much more, The Beauty Prescription is an owner's manual for every woman who is ready to move beyond today's narrow definition of beauty. If you're ready to become your most beautiful on the inside as well as the outside, Drs. Debra and Eva have the right medicine for you.

Overview & Table of Contents:
Best friends since they met at medical school twenty-five years ago, Dr. Debra, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, and Dr. Eva, a South Beach psychiatrist, join their expertise to take a unique look at beauty of the body and mind and have created this inspirational guide to getting gorgeous, inside and out. Their empowering message that all women are beautiful will help you discover how to bring out your maximum potential as you blossom into a more charismatic, self-assured, and multidimensional woman. That change starts with you, starting now.

Care for your health, the foundation of beauty
Learn the art of self care in today's busy world
Create and surround yourself with beauty wherever you go
Manage stress in ways that are healthful
Live with kindness, passion, empathy, and humor

Table of contents
Introduction: You’re Twenty Percent More Beautiful Than You Think
Part I: The Real Law of Attraction
Chapter 1: Beauty: Skin Deep and Deeper
Chapter 2: The Beauty-Brain Loop
Chapter 3: Give Yourself a Faith Lift
Chapter 4: The Beauty and the Brain Quiz
Part II: Living the Brain Loop
Chapter 5: Inner Beauty—It All Begins Here
Chapter 6: Health—Winning With the Hand You’re Dealt
Chapter 7: Outer Beauty—It’s OK to Want to Look Fantastic
Chapter 8: Environment—Living in the World You Make
Part III: Beautiful for Life
Chapter 9: Lending Nature a Hand
Chapter 10: Beauty 911
Chapter 11: Your Life Beauty Plan
Chapter 12: Wearing Pearls With Scrubs

First Paragraph:
We're going to tell you how to make yourself 20 percent more beautiful in just a few seconds. Impossible? Well, let's give it a try. first, look in the mirror. Then, while assessing your image, factor in the premise that other people see you as 20 percent better-looking than you see yourself. It's true.

Extended Review: The introduction will shock you and help you see yourself as 20% more beautiful than you already are. The first section will provide you with some key information regarding beauty, and what truly impacts a person's beauty. It will also help you determine the strengths and opportunities of your own inner and outer beauty. The next section will help you to improve those areas of opportunity you discovered in the first section. The last section will provide you with guidance beyond what the other sections have touched on.

Content: The book starts off with a very powerful introduction, and is followed by three sections: The Real Law of Attraction, Living the Beauty-Brain Loop, and Beautiful For Life. At the back of the book is a section with information about different beauty products in a broad range of prices (gentle cleansers had 12 products listed by name, providing a general price range for each).

Format: The book flows nicely from one section to the other, building on what the reader has already learned.

Readability: The book is easy to read and contains a lot of great information - some of it is life-altering (in a good way).

Overall: An information-packed book that helps talk about inner and outer beauty, providing the reader with the tools to become a more beautiful person. It also provides wonderful suggestions for different beauty products in all price ranges.

About the Authors: (From the publisher)
Debra B. Luftman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, has a busy private practice in Beverly Hills. In addition Debra lectures on topics including laser surgery, liposuction, skin aging, and sun protection. She has appeared as an expert on “Good Morning America” and “Extra” and has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Vogue, Allure, InStyle, and O. She has developed her own skin care product line called Therapeutix.

Eva C. Ritvo, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist, is vice chair and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, where she also has a unique joint appointment in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery. She serves as the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. A published author, Eva has appeared as an expert on “Today” and “Extra;” has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Self, O, and Psychology Today; and is a frequent contributor to the Miami Herald, Miami Sun-Sentinel, and local news programs.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Review: Get Positively Beautiful by Carmindy

Title: Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Gorgeous
Author: Carmindy (Makeup Artist for TLC's #1 Show What Not to Wear)
Photography: Peter Buckingham and Devon Jarvis
Pages: 224
Publisher: Center Street (October 7, 2008) (Part of Hachette Book Group)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Beauty
Edition: Hardback - many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Great gift for a girl getting into makeup (promotes positive self image), Professionals in beauty/makeup field

In a nutshell: I absolutely love Carmindy Vision! She has a great way of encouraging the reader to think positively about their unique beauty, and to focus on what sets them apart from others, she even includes Mirror Mantras throughout the book to help reinforce the positive thinking. She shows the reader how to find their best feature and how to make it shine! She has provided beauty tips for everything! For the eyes: How to best compliment your eye color, what to do for the shape of your eye, different types of products, how to use them and when to use them. She also covers the skin, lips, cheeks. She has a great (and very helpful) chapter for beauty tools too! Then my favorites - beauty tips for each season, different moods and special occasions! I've wanted to learn that smokey eye look for quite a while - thanks Carmindy!

This is a great new book for a girl just starting to become interested in beauty and makeup (I highly recommend it!) as it will help instill a positive self image and teach good beauty essentials. It would also be great for anyone wanting to update their look, or for beauty professionals.

From the Publisher:
According to a recent study, only 2% of women describe themselves as 'beautiful.' The media instructs women how to 'look ten years younger,' 'cover up wrinkles,' or 'get fuller, plumper lips.' And even makeup products play off womens' insecurities, promising to conceal perceived flaws, define cheekbones, or make eyelashes fuller and longer. The underlying message? That there's something inherently wrong with the way women look and that they have to spend time, money, and energy keeping up with all the ways they should 'fix' themselves.

In GET POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL, makeup artist Carmindy from TLC's hit program What Not to Wear shows you how to change your mindset from negative fault-finding to a positive beauty philosophy. You learn how to find and focus on your best features and how to combat negative thoughts about your appearance. Carmindy demonstrates easy makeup techniques for eyes, brows, lashes, lips, cheeks, and skin, and how to adapt looks to different weather conditions and 'beauty moods.'

First Paragraph:
Chapter One: First Things First

I believe looking good starts with feeling good.

Before we consider what to put on our faces, we must confront what's going on inside our heads! For a lot of us, it's a blurry mess of negativity. But right now, we can choose to make a change: we can decide to sharpen our focus and start seeing the positive.

My Review:
The first paragraph (and all the ones that follow) really help to set a positive tone for the entire book. Add to that the wonderful Mirror Mantras throughout the book, and you really will start seeing yourself in a more positive light! The book is filled with great information, vibrant colors and great tips for everyone!

Content: The book starts with helping the reader to create a more positive self-image, and proceeds to help you find your "Feature Focus", or the thing that is unique to you, that makes you beautiful. Carmindy provides different chapters to address the eyes, skin, cheeks, and lips. She then moves into beauty tools. Finally, she showcases how to change your look with the changing seasons, and how to create different looks for different moods (romantic, seductive, strong, fabulous and carefree). And who doesn't like beauty makeovers? There is a section dedicated to before and after pictures, with explanations for each transformation. At the end of the book, she provides a Shopping Guide which covers each section and gives suggestions for each product with a range of prices.

Format: The books starts with a positive message, then does a good job of progressing through the different areas of the face and beauty.

Readability: Very easy to read, with clear pictures and easily understood instructions. The pictures show real people, and how they look with the different techniques.

Overall: A wonderful book for all women from girls just discovering makeup, and women wanting to re-do their look, to the beauty professional who wants to redo their technique and incorporate a more positive outlook to beauty! I highly recommend this book!

About the Author: (From the publisher)

Every week, millions of viewers count on Carmindy to teach them about the latest makeup tips and tricks on TLC's hit show “What Not to Wear.” Her unique vision of empowering women through lip gloss has created an army of followers looking for ways to erase insecurities and enhance their natural beauty. Carmindy teaches women not only how to choose their best feature to focus on but also how to see only the positive and celebrate who they truly are.

Since her Southern California childhood, Carmindy has dreamed of traveling the world doing makeup and meeting inspiring people. Through hard work and an unstoppable attitude, she's made that dream a reality. She's painted faces in the studios of Paris, on the beaches of Brazil, and on the streets of Havana. She's lived in Los Angeles, Milan, Miami, and now makes her home with her husband, Javier, in New York, where she has established herself as a top fashion makeup artist and a natural beauty revolutionary.

Carmindy's work can be seen on the editorial pages of leading magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, InStyle, O, Essence, Self, Lucky, Seventeen, Marie Claire, and Glamour. Her commercial clients include Sally Hansen, Maybelline, Sephora, Clairol, Matrix, Avon, Aveeno, CoverGirl, Almay, Bath and Body Works, Crest Whitestrips, and Q-tips. She is the author of two fabulous beauty books titled The 5 Minute Face and Get Positively Beautiful. She has co-created a natural line of cosmetics called Sally Hansen Natural Beauty inspired by Carmindy available in drugstores nationwide.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My 2 Year Old's Birthday Cake - Made With Love (and a little help from Confetti Cakes for Kids!)

So, I realize that this has nothing to do with books . . . well, it DOES, but it is more for fun than anything else.

Today, I spent most of the day working on my almost-two-year-old's birthday cake. You see, he was born on Christmas Eve, so on top of getting ready for Christmas with family, we are also getting ready for a 2-Year old's birthday party with relatives (who else is going to come to a birthday party on Christmas Eve? Many thanks to my relatives by the way!!) for tomorrow.

So, what I thought would take an hour or so ended up taking me all day. Please keep in mind that I am NOT an experienced cake decorator, and all I had to help me was a picture I found online, and the book Confetti Cakes for Kids, which will have a review VERY soon!

The cake is all Betty Crocker - but the frosting - it's all from Confetti Cakes . . . a wonderful vanilla buttercream recipe, that was very interesting for a novice like me, but worked wonderfully!

I'll be adding a few flags and a banner that says Happy Second Birthday Logan!! or some such thing in the morning as I am now simply too tired to finish tonight.

As for the birthday itself??? Sledding in the snow in the morning (assuming it doesn't rain and create too much ice overnight), followed by family and food in the afternoon, then presents and cake. Don't know which I'm looking forward to the most. I know he LOVES sledding, but I think he'll enjoy tearing the paper off the presents and stuffing the cake in his face too!

Happy Holidays everyone, and blessings from our family to yours!

Winner: The Christmas Edition by Robin Shope

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to stop by and participate in this giveaway!

Without further ado . . . . the winner is: Kaye

I have sent you an email and left you a comment on your blog! Please make sure you send me your name and address so I can forward your information to Robin, who will be mailing you a brand new copy of the book.

If I don't hear back from the winner by next Wednesday, December 31st, I will go to the next name via random.org.

Happy Holidays ~ Wendi

Excerpt: The Winter of Candy Canes by Debbie Viguie

I just received the book, and have not had a chance to finish it, so watch for my review soon!

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Winter of Candy Canes

Zondervan (October 1, 2008)


Debbie ViguiƩ has been writing for most of her life. She has experimented with poetry and nonfiction, but her true passion lies in writing novels.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from UC Davis. While at Davis she met her husband, Scott, at auditions for a play. It was love at first sight.

Debbie and Scott now live on the island of Kauai. When Debbie is not writing and Scott has time off they love to indulge their passion for theme parks.

The Sweet Seasons Novels:

The Summer of Cotton Candy
The Fall of Candy Corn
The Winter of Candy Canes
The Spring of Candy Apples

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310717523
ISBN-13: 978-0310717522


Candace Thompson was once again eye-to-eye with Lloyd Peterson, hiring manager for The Zone theme park. This time, though, she felt far more confident. She had already spent her summer working as a cotton candy vendor, and she had worked one of the mazes for the annual Halloween event. She had even saved the park from saboteurs.

Now she was back, and this time she was interviewing for a job working the Christmas events at the park. Surely after everything she had done for the Scare event, she had nothing to worry about. She tucked a strand of red hair back behind her ear as she gazed intently at the man across from her.

“So you want to work Holly Daze?” he asked.

She nodded. Christmas at The Zone was a big deal, and the park began its official celebrations the day after Thanksgiving.

“You keep hiring on for short bursts of time and then leaving. Do you have some sort of problem committing to things?” he asked, staring hard at her.

She was stunned, but answered, “I don’t have any problem with commitment. I signed on to do specific things, and the jobs ended. That’s not my fault. I didn’t quit.”

“So, you plan on making a habit of this?” he demanded. “Are you going to show up here again in a -couple of months expecting me to give you some kind of job for spring break?”

“No, I — ”

“I know your type,” he said, standing up abruptly. “You’re just a party girl. No commitments . . . no cares . . . just grab some quick cash and get out. You think you can handle Holly Daze? Well, you can’t! You’re weak and a quitter. You’re going to bail on me as soon as your school vacation starts, and then what? Well, let me tell you, missy. You aren’t wanted here. So just pack your bags and get out!”

By the end of his tirade, he was shouting, eyes bulging behind his glasses and tie swinging wildly as he shook his finger under her nose. Candace recoiled, sure that he had finally flipped out. I’m going to end up as a headline: Girl Murdered by Stressed-Out Recruiter, she thought wildly. Well, I’m not going down without a fight! She jumped to her feet and put some distance between her and the wildly wagging finger.

“You need to calm down!” she said, projecting her voice like her drama teacher had taught her. Her voice seemed to boom in the tiny office. “Pull yourself together. You’re a representative of this theme park, and there is no call to insult me. Furthermore, I’m not a quitter. I’ll work for the entire Christmas season. Then the next time I come in here, I’ll expect you to treat me with some respect. Do you even realize what I’ve done for this park so far? Seriously. Take a chill pill.”

She stopped speaking when she realized that he had gone completely quiet. She held her breath, wondering when the next explosion was going to come. Instead, he sat down abruptly and waved her back to her chair.

“Very good. You passed the test,” he said, picking up a pen.

“What test?” she asked, edging her way back into the chair.

“The ultimate test. You’re going to be one of Santa’s elves.”

“Doesn’t Santa, you know, have his own elves?” she asked, still not sure that he was completely in charge of his senses.

“Of course Santa has his own elves. However, when he’s here at The Zone we supply him with courtesy elves so that they can continue making toys at the North Pole,” Mr. Peterson told her.

“So, I’m going to be a courtesy elf?” she asked.

He nodded and handed her a single sheet of paper. “Sign this.”

She took it. “What? Just one thing to sign?” She had expected another huge stack of forms that would leave her hand cramped for hours afterward.

He nodded curtly. “You’re now in our system as a regular seasonal employee. All of your other paperwork transfers.”

“Regular seasonal” sounded like some kind of contradiction to her, but she was still not entirely convinced his outburst had been a test. She scanned it, signed her name, and then handed it back to him.

“Good. Report to wardrobe on Saturday for your costume fitting,” he said.

“Okay, thank you,” she said, standing up and backing toward the door.

“Welcome back, Candy,” he said, smiling faintly.

“Thanks,” she said, before bolting out the door.

As soon as she was outside the building, she whipped out her cell phone and called her friend Josh, a fellow employee of The Zone.

“Well?” he asked when he picked up.

“I think Mr. Peterson has seriously lost it,” she said. “He totally flipped out on me.”

Josh laughed. “Let me guess. You’re going to be an elf.”

“So he was serious? That was some whacked-out test?”

“Yeah. Elves are considered a class-one stress position, and it can get pretty intense.”

“How hard can it be to be an elf?” she asked.

She was rewarded by a burst of laughter on the other end.

“Josh, what is it you’re not telling me?”

He just kept laughing.

“Okay, seriously. You were the one who convinced me to work Holly Daze. I think it’s only fair you tell me whatever it is I need to know.”

“Sorry!” he gasped. She wasn’t sure if he was apologizing or refusing to tell her.

A girl bounced around the corner and slammed into Candace.

“Josh, I’ll call you later,” she said, hanging up.

“Sorry,” Becca apologized.

Becca was one of Candace’s other friends from the park, one who had some sort of bizarre allergy to sugar that made her uncontrollably hyper. Candace looked suspiciously at Becca. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes were glistening, and she was hopping from one foot to the other.

“You didn’t have sugar, did you?” Candace asked, fear ripping through her.

“No! Promise,” Becca said.

“Then what gives?”

“Roger made me laugh really hard,” Becca explained.

Roger had a crush on Becca and had wanted to ask her out since Halloween. It hadn’t happened yet.

“Oh,” was all Candace could think to say.

“So, are you working Holly Daze?” Becca asked.

“Yeah. I’m going to be an elf.”

Suddenly, Becca went completely still, and the smile left her face. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“Why?” Candace asked.

Becca just shook her head. “I’ve gotta get back to the Muffin Mansion. I’ll catch you later.”

She hurried off, and Candace watched her go. Okay, now I know there’s something -people aren’t telling me.

She debated about following Becca and forcing her to spill, but instead she headed for the parking lot where her best friend Tamara was waiting. She walked through the Exploration Zone, one of the several themed areas in the park.

The Zone theme park was created and owned by John
Hanson, a former professional quarterback who believed in healthy competition at work and play. His theme park had several areas, or zones, where -people could compete with each other and themselves at just about anything. Almost everyone who worked at The Zone was called a referee. The exceptions were the costumed characters called mascots. Most of them, including Candace’s boyfriend, Kurt, were to be found in the History Zone. -People visiting the park were called players, and the areas of the park they could reach were called on field. Only refs could go off field.

Candace cut through an off field area to get to the referee parking lot. She waved at a few other -people she recognized from her time spent working there. Finally, she slid into her friend’s waiting car.

“So are you going to be the Christmas queen?” Tamara asked.

“What am I, Lucy VanPelt? There’s no Christmas queen in Charlie Brown’s Christmas play, and there’s no Christmas queen in The Zone,” Candace said.

Tamara fake pouted. “Are you sure? I think I’d make a beautiful Christmas queen.”

Candace laughed. Tamara was gorgeous, rich, and fun. Her whole family practically redefined the word wealthy, and, with her dark hair and olive skin, Tamara was usually the prettiest girl in any room. She didn’t let it go to her head, though. Anybody who knew Tamara would vote for her as Christmas queen.

“Although I think you would, they’re only hiring elves.”

“You’re going to be an elf?” Tamara smirked.

“Hey, it beats being a food cart vendor,” Candace said.

“But you’re so good at it. Cotton candy, candy corn . . . you can sell it all.”

“Thanks, I think. So, what are we doing tonight? Kurt’s going to swing by at six to pick us up.” Just mentioning her boyfriend’s name was enough to make Candace smile. She closed her eyes for just a minute and pictured him as she had first seen him — wearing a Lone Ranger costume. With his charm and piercing blue eyes, she had fallen for him right away.

“You told him my house, right?” Tamara said, interrupting her thoughts.

“Yeah. So, who’s this guy you’re taking?”

Tamara sighed. “Mark.”

“Uh-huh. And?”

“Remember my cousin Tina?”


“Well, she broke up with him over the summer, and he’s been all shattered since then. He won’t date other girls; he just mopes over her.”

“Attractive,” Candace said sarcastically.

“Tell me about it. Well, Tina asked me if I could help him get his confidence back and get over her or something.”

“A pity date? Are you kidding me? You want Kurt and I to double date with you on a pity date?”

“You don’t think I’m about to go by myself, do you? No way. That’s the best-friend creed. When you’re happy, I’m happy. When I’m miserable, you have to be too.”

“Great,” Candace said, rolling her eyes. “So, where are we going?”

“That’s the problem. I was thinking dinner, but then we’d have to talk, and frankly, I don’t want to hear him go on about Tina. Then I thought we could see a movie.”

“You wouldn’t have to talk to him,” Candace confirmed.

“Yeah, but what if — ”

“He tries to grab a hand or put his arm around you.”

“Exactly, and I don’t think me giving him a black eye was what Tina had in mind.”

“I guess that also rules out any kind of concert possibilities?” Candace asked wistfully.

“Yup. Sorry.”

“So, what did you come up with?”

“I was thinking . . . theme park?”

“No way. Kurt doesn’t like to spend his downtime there.”

“I thought he took you to that romantic dinner there over the summer.”

“It was the nicest restaurant he knew, and he got an employee discount.”

“Charming,” Tamara said.

“Plus, ever since we got trapped in there overnight, he’s been even more adamant about avoiding it when he’s off work.”

“I can’t believe you two get to be the stuff of urban legend, and you don’t even appreciate it.”

Candace sighed. It was true that she and Kurt had spent one of the most miserable nights of their relationship trapped inside the theme park. Urban legend, though, had since transformed the story so that they were supposedly chased through the park by a psycho killer. It was still embarrassing to have -people point at her and say that she was the one. Around Halloween she had given up trying to correct -people. They were going to believe what they wanted.

“Earth to Candace. Helloooo?”

“Sorry. So, what does that leave us with? Shopping?”

“No need to torture both our dates,” Tamara said.

“Then what?”

“I don’t — miniature golf!” Tamara suddenly shrieked, so loudly that Candace jumped and slammed her head into the roof of the car.

“Tam! Don’t scare me like that.”

“Sorry. Miniature golf. What do you think? Built-in talking points, lots of movement, and zero grabby potential.”

“I like it. I’ll have to borrow one of your jackets though.”

“At least you’ll have an actual excuse this time,” Tamara teased.

A few minutes later they were at Tamara’s house and upstairs raiding her wardrobe. As Tamara considered and discarded a fifth outfit, Candace threw up her hands.

“Maybe if you’d tell me what you’re looking for, I could help.”

“I’m looking for something, you know, nunlike.”

Candace stared at her friend for a moment before she burst out laughing. She fell to the floor, clutching her stomach as tears streamed down her face. Tamara crossed her arms and tapped her foot, and Candace just laughed harder.

“I don’t know why you think that’s so funny. You know I don’t go past kissing.”

“Tam, nuns can’t even do that. And if you’re looking for something that will completely hide your body, then you’re going to have to go to the mall instead of the closet. You don’t own anything that doesn’t say ‘look at me.’ I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

“Really? Maybe we should go to your house. Think I could find what I’m looking for in your closet?”

“Not since I started dating and mom made me throw out all my old camp T-shirts,” Candace said with a grin.

“Then hello, you’ve got no call to laugh.”

Candace stood up, stomach still aching from laughing so hard. “Tam, I’m not criticizing. I’m just telling you, you’re not going to find what you’re looking for.”

Tam reached into the closet. “Oh, yeah, what about this?” she asked, producing jeans and a black turtleneck.

“If you’re going for the secret agent look, it’s a good choice.”

Tamara threw the jeans at her, and Candace ducked.

“I could wear some black pants with this. Would that be too funereal?

“For a pity date? Go for it.”

Candace opted to borrow Tamara’s discarded jeans instead of wearing the skirt she had brought with her. They turned out to be slightly tighter on her than they were on Tam, and she had to admit when she paired them with her red scoop-neck top that she looked really good.

When Kurt arrived a few minutes later, he whistled when he saw her.

“Keep the jeans,” Tamara whispered to her. “Obviously, they work for you.”

Kurt then looked at Tamara and frowned slightly. “Did you just come from a funeral?”

“No, but thank you for thinking so,” Tamara said with a smirk.

“I don’t — ”

Candace put her finger over his lips. “Don’t ask,” she advised him.

He smiled and kissed her finger, which made her giggle.

The doorbell rang again, and Candace turned, eager to see the infamous Mark.

Tamara opened the door, and Candace sucked in her breath. Mark was gorgeous. He had auburn hair, piercing green eyes, and model-perfect features. He was almost as tall as Kurt, and he was stunning in khaki Dockers and a green Polo shirt.

“Hi,” he said, smiling.

Tamara glanced at her and rolled her eyes.

“Hi, Mark.”

Kurt drove, and Candace was quick to slide into the front seat with him, leaving Tamara and Mark to the back. She shook her head. Mark was not her idea of a pity date in any sense of the word. Maybe Tamara would come around if she actually talked to him.

They made it to the miniature golf course and were soon on the green. Candace got a hole in one on the first time up to putt, and Kurt gave her a huge reward kiss.

When they moved on to the next hole, Tamara whispered in her ear, “Thanks a lot. This is supposed to be a no grabby zone. Now Mark will be getting ideas.”

“Tam, you really need to relax a little.”

They made it through the course in record time, and Kurt gave Candace another kiss for winning by one stroke. After turning in their clubs, the guys headed inside to order pizza while Candace and Tamara went to the restroom.

“This date is the worst,” Tamara groaned once they were alone.

“What’s wrong with you? He’s gorgeous.”

“Really? I guess I just can’t see past the Tina mope.”

“What mope? He hasn’t even mentioned her, and he’s done nothing but smile all night. You should totally take him to Winter Formal.”

“No way. This is a one-date-only kind of thing. I’m not taking him to Winter Formal.”

“Fine. Suit yourself. I’m just telling you that if it weren’t for Kurt, I’d be taking him to Winter Formal.”

Tamara laughed.

“As if. There’s no way you’d ask a guy out.”

“I don’t know. You might be surprised.”

“It’s a moot point anyway. I’ll find someone to take.”

“You could always take Josh,” Candace suggested.

“You’re not setting me up with Josh, so just forget it.”


“Find out for me, though, if Santa needs a Mrs. Claus,” Tamara said.

“You’re going to find some way to be the Christmas queen, aren’t you?” Candace asked.

“Even if I have to marry old Saint Nick.”

They both laughed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Teaser Tuesday: Breathing Space by Katrina Repka


My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today: (Ok - so this one is a bit more than 2) This is a non-fiction book.

After so many years of feeling trapped by my emotions, I allowed myself to hope. Instead of just talking about the problem, Alan had a practical solution. And if it worked for me, who knew, maybe my dad would try it! He had as much need of it as I did, if not more. And it seemed to be the right time. To my amazement he had recently expressed his own desire to change the things he didn't like about himself.

~ p.81, “Breathing Space by Katrina Repka and Alan Finger"

From Amazon:
When Katrina Repka moved to New York, she was eager to shed her past and begin a new life, but she soon discovered that her old problems had followed her to the big city, and that instead of finding herself, she was more lost than ever. It was when she was almost ready to give up on everything that she read a magazine article on Master Yogi Alan Finger and knew that she had to meet him. It was a meeting that would change her life.

Over the next twelve months, with Alan's help, Katrina tackled and overcame many of the obstacles holding her back. Dealing with issues that every woman will relate to--criticism, emptiness, balance, family, and creativity (among others)--the twelve chapters in Breathing Space follow Katrina's ups and downs in New York. At the end of each chapter there is a simple but effective breathing exercise that will help readers eliminate harmful behavior patterns and speed their own process of personal transformation. Breathing Space is an inspiring and instructive book that offers every woman the chance to follow the author's path and become the person she truly wants and deserves to be.

~ Wendi

Tuesday Thinger: Holiday Gift-Giving

Today's question: Holiday gift-giving. Do you give books for the holidays? Did you participate in LT's SantaThing, either this year or last, or in other blogging gift exchanges? Were you happy with what you received?

My Answer: I will give someone a book (or more than one) if I know it is something that would interest them. I am more likely to give a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or another book store I know they enjoy if they already have a lot of books or go to the library a lot - that way I'm not duplicating their books. Sometimes I am more likely to give them throughout the year as it is easier to simply ask if they have a certain book, then surprise them.

As far as the SantaThing, I didn't participate. Money is tight this year and I already have plenty of books to read in my tbr pile. I did participate in the Secret Santa that some of the bloggers worked on (Nymeth and Dewey). I was very happy with what I got, I received a beautiful journal, a holiday book that looks great and a gorgeous lotus flower candle holder (glows and looks like a lotus flower when lit).

Update: Beginning next week I will be hosting Tuesday Thinger, so please join me next week for a special thank you to Marie and another great question (I hope!). Many of you offered to help me with questions, so if you have any, please go ahead and email me at wbarker(at)hotmail.com and I will begin getting some posts scheduled!

~ Wendi

Review: Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard (Excerpt Included)

Title: Before the Season Ends
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
Pages: 348
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)
Genre: Regency Romance / Christian Fiction
Edition: Paperback - A special thank you to the publisher who sent me a copy of the book to review as part of the WildCard Tour!

Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read (Contains Discussion Questions)

In a nutshell: A wonderful Regency Romance, set in England in 1813, with the added benefit of a little faith added in. Ariana, the 19-year-old strong-willed daughter of the Forsythe's, has determined that she is going to marry the 60 year old village rector! In an act of desperation, her parents send her to her Aunt in London for a season. When she gets to London, at her first real outing, she bumps into Mornay, the man her Aunt has told her to avoid! This is a charming faith-focused Regency romance that is sure to be a favorite for Regency romance readers!

Extended Review:

Characters: We follow Ariana on her adventures in London where she is sent to stay with her Aunt . . . and where she makes the acquaintance of the season's confirmed bachelor, Mornay. I really enjoyed Mornay's character - as he actually took an interest in helping Ariana, and as he transformed into a better person throughout the book.

Story-Line: The author has included many wonderful details from the era to help the reader easily visualize what is happening in the story. In true Regency-form, the main character Ariana goes to London to have a season, where she will participate in the rounds of dinners, balls and parties where many of the ton will try to make a successful marriage match.

Readability: For me, the book was an easy read, even with over 330 pages. I've read many Regency romances, so I am very familiar with the words used during that time (ton, tendre, fustian, etc), but for those who aren't, the author has included a wonderful glossary at the end of the book!

Overall: A delightful Regency with an emphasis on faith and values! I sure hope Ms. Burkard has another Inspirational Regency Romance on the way!

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Before the Season Ends

Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)


Linore Rose Burkard lives with her husband, five children, and ninety-year-old grandmother in southeastern Ohio. She homeschooled her children for ten years. Raised in New York, she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York (Queens College) with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. Ms. Burkard wrote Before the Season Ends because she could not find a book like it anywhere. "There are Christian books that approach this genre," she says, "but they fall short of being a genuine Regency. I finally gave up looking and wrote the book myself." She has begun four other works of fiction in the category.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 12.99
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925511
ISBN-13: 978-0736925518


Chesterton, Hertfordshire



Something would have to be done about Ariana.

All winter Miss Ariana Forsythe, aged nineteen, had been going about the house sighing.

“Mr. Hathaway is my lot in life!”

She spoke as though the prospect of that life was a great burden to bear, but one which she had properly reconciled herself to. When her declarations met with exasperation or reproach from her family—for no one else was convinced Mr. Hathaway, the rector, was her lot—she usually responded in a perplexed manner. Hadn't they understood for an age that her calling was to wed a man of the cloth? Was there another man of God, other than their rector, available to her? No. It only stood to reason, therefore, that Mr. Hathaway was her lot in life. Their cold reception to the thought of the marriage was unfathomable.

When she was seventeen, (a perfectly respectable marrying age) she had romantic hopes about a young and brilliant assistant to the rector, one Mr. Stresham. It was shortly after meeting him, in fact, that she had formed the opinion the Almighty was calling her to marry a man of God. Mr. Stresham even had the approval of her parents. But the man took a situation in another parish without asking Ariana to accompany him as his wife. She was disappointed, but not one to give up easily, continued to speak of “the calling,” waiting in hope for another Mr. Stresham of sorts. But no man came. And now she had reached the conclusion that Mr. Hathaway--Mr. Hathaway, the rector, (approaching the age of sixty!) would have to do.

Her parents, Charles and Julia Forsythe, were sitting in their comfortably furnished morning room, Julia with a cup of tea before her, and Charles with his newspaper. A steady warmth was emanating from the hearth.

“What shall we do about Ariana?” Mrs. Forsythe, being an observant mama, had been growing in her conviction that the situation called for some action.

“What do you suggest, my dear?” Her husband reluctantly folded his paper; he knew his wife wanted a discussion of the matter and that he would get precious little reading done until she had got it.

She held up a folded piece of foolscap: the annual letter from Agatha Bentley, Charles’s sister, asking for Alberta, the eldest Forsythe daughter, for the season in London. It had arrived the day before.

Aunt Bentley was a childless wealthy widow and a hopeless socialite. For the past three years she had written annually to tell her brother and his wife why they ought to let her sponsor their eldest daughter for a London season. She owned a house in Mayfair (could anything be more respectable than that?) and knew a great deal of the big-wigs in society. She had, in fact, that most important of commodities which the Forsythes completely lacked: connexions. And as Charles’s family were her only living relatives, she was prepared--even anxious--to serve as chaperon for her niece.

Much to the lady's frustration, Julia and Charles had annually extinguished her hopes, replying to her letters graciously but with the inevitable, “We cannot countenance a separation from our child at this time,” and so on. Charles was unflinching on this point, never doubting his girls would reap a greater benefit by remaining beneath his own roof. They knew full well, moreover, that Aunt Agatha could not hope, with all her money and connexions to find as suitable a husband for their offspring as was possible right in Chesterton.

Why not? For the profound reason that Aunt Bentley had no religion whatsoever.

And yet, due to the distressing state of affairs with Ariana, Julia wished to consider her latest offer. With the letter waving in her hand she said, “I think we ought to oblige your sister this year. She must be lonely, poor thing, and besides removing Ariana from the parish, a visit to the city could prove beneficial for her education.”

Ariana’s father silently considered the matter. His eldest daughter Alberta was as good as wed, having recently accepted an offer of marriage--to no one’s surprise--from John Norledge. Ariana, his second eldest, had been irksome in regard to the rector, but to pack her off to London? Surely the situation was not so dire as to warrant such a move.

“I think there is nothing else for it,” Mrs. Forsythe said emphatically. “Ariana is determined about Mr. Hathaway and, even though we can forbid her to speak to the man, she will pine and sigh and like as not drive me to distraction!”

Taking a pipe out of his waistcoat pocket (though he never smoked), Mr. Forsythe absently rubbed the polished wood in his fingers.

“I recall other fanciful notions of our daughter’s,” he said finally, “and they slipped away in time. Recall, if you will, when she was above certain her destiny was to be a missionary--to America. That desire faded. She fancies this, she fancies that; soon she will fancy another thing entirely, and we shan’t hear another word about the ‘wonderful rector’ again.”

Mrs. Forsythe’s countenance, still attractive in her forties, became fretful.

“I grant that she has had strong…affections before. But this time, my dear, it is a complicated affection for in this case it is the heart of the ah, affected, which we must consider. It has ideas of its own.”

“Of its own?”

Mrs. Forsythe looked about the room to be certain no one else had entered. The servants were so practiced at coming and going quietly, their presence might not be marked. But no, there was only the two of them. She lowered her voice anyway.

“The rector! I do not think he intends to lose her! What could delight him more than a young, healthy wife who might fill his table with offspring?”

Mr. Forsythe shook his head.”Our rector is not the man to think only of himself; he must agree with us on the obvious unsuitability of the match.”

The rector was Thaddeus Admonicus Hathaway, of the Church in the Village Square. Mr. Hathaway was a good man. His sermons were grounded in sound religion, which meant they were based on orthodox Christian teaching. He was clever, and a popular dinner guest of the gentry, including the Forsythes. If these had not been true of him, Mr. Forsythe might have been as concerned as his wife. Knowing Mr. Hathaway, however, Charles Forsythe did not think a drastic action such as sending his daughter to the bustling metropolis of London, was necessary.

Mrs. Forsythe chose not to argue with her spouse. She would simply commit the matter to prayer. If the Almighty decided that Ariana must be removed to Agatha’s house, then He would make it clear to her husband. In her years of marriage she had discovered that God was the Great Communicator, and she had no right to try and usurp that power. Her part was to pray, sincerely and earnestly.

Mr. Forsythe gave his judgment: “I fear that rather than exerting a godly influence upon her aunt, Ariana would be drawn astray by the ungodliness of London society.”

“Do you doubt her so much, Charles? This infatuation with Mr. Hathaway merely results from her youth, her admiration for his superior learning, and especially,” she said, leaning forward and giving him a meaningful look, “for lack of a young man who has your approval! Have you not frowned upon every male who has approached her in the past? Why, Mr. Hathaway is the first whom you have failed to frighten off and only because he is our rector! 'Tis little wonder a young girl takes a fanciful notion into her head!”

When he made no answer, she added, while adjusting the frilly morning cap on her head, “Mr. Hathaway causes me concern!”

Mr. Forsythe’s countenance was sober. “’Tis my sister who warrants the concern. She will wish to make a match for our daughter--and she will not be content with just any mister I assure you. In addition to which, a girl as pretty as our daughter will undoubtedly attract attention of the wrong sort.”

Julia was flustered for a second, but countered, “Agatha is no threat to our child. We shall say we are sending Ariana to see the sights, take in the museums and so forth. Surely there is no harm in that. A dinner party here or there should not be of concern. And Ariana is too intelligent to allow herself to be foisted upon an unsuitable man for a fortune or title.”

Too intelligent? He thought of the aging minister that no one had had to “foist” her upon. Aloud he merely said, “I shall speak with her tonight. She shall be brought to reason, depend upon it. There will be no need to pack her off to London.”

If you have reviewed this book on your site and would like me to add a link here, please leave a link to your review in the comments section!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Many thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday every week!

It is so much fun to see what everyone is getting in the mail.

Thanks for taking the time to visit ~ I just love hearing from you! Please let me know if you have read any of these books - I'd love to hear how you liked them!! :)

Here are the books that came into my house last week:

Be Strong and Curvaceous by Shelley Adina - Fiction

Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life by Cherie Calbom, MS with John Calbom, MA - Non-Fiction / Health / Diet

Mesi's Season of Change: A Friendship Story by Pam Davis - Kids 6-12 - Fiction (Received for participating in the blogging promotion of the Girls 'n Grace Contest)

Silent on the Moor ARC by Deanna Raybourn - Fiction / Regency Mystery - Available March 2009. I was SO excited to receive this one! I contacted the author about this book quite a long ago - I loved her first book!!

Sydney Clair: A Girl 'n Grace in the 1960's by Pam Davis - Kids 6-12 - Fiction (Received for participating in the blogging promotion of the Girls 'n Grace Contest)

Ultralongevity: The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You by Mark Liponis, MD - Non-Fiction / Health / Wellness

The Winter of Candy Canes by Debbie Viguie - Teen Fiction - Received as part of a WildCard Tour coming up.

What was in your mailbox last week??

If you would like to participate in Mailbox Monday, head over to The Printed Page and grab the logo. Make sure to visit other blogs hosting Mailbox Monday and comment/leave your link!

Giveaway: Snow Valley Heroes by Robert J. McCarty (2+ Winners)

The authors of Snow Valley Heroes very graciously sent me two copies of their book to giveaway on my site.

The book is a wonderful children's book (fun for adults too) that has been used to help encourage reading.

To read my review of Snow Valley Heroes, click here.

To be included in the giveaway (make sure you leave your email in one of the comments so I can contact you if you are the winner!):

1. Leave a general comment here (1 entry)
2. Leave a comment on my review (2 entries)
3. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and report it here (1 entry)
4. Become a follower and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held Monday January 5th. Winners: I will send you each an email, after you reply, I will send the book directly to you. In the event that a third winner is chosen from the UK or Ireland, the author will mail the book directly to the winner.

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States and Canada.

If you live in the UK or Ireland and would like to participate, make sure you state what country you live in in your comments! The author may be willing to pick a third winner from those countries, and I need to be able to keep a separate list.
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