• Book Review

    Book Review: Spellbound by Christopher Pike

    Christopher Pike was one of my treasured authors back in high school. I had a collection of his horror/thriller/suspense-themed paperback novels and I always had one on me. I read them over and over, studying the character development, re-reading to see if I could figure out the red herrings drop along the way. Somewhere, during one of my many moves after high school, I lost the entire collection. I probably couldn’t fit a box of books into my car and donated them, but now that a lot of these are out of print, I’m really regretting that. I found a small stack of them a few years ago at a library book sale…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

    Synopsis: From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis – that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

    I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon the powerhouse that is Rachel Hollis. It may have been on Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love podcast. Lately, I’ve been finding so many interesting people on podcasts! Anyway, I was inspired by Rachel’s story. She graduated early from high school, decided not to attend college, and instead headed to Los Angeles to conquer her dreams and marry Matt Damon! The last part didn’t really work out but she did find a man of her dreams (David Hollis) and kicked off a successful career in event planning, wedding planning, and is now an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, and creator of Chic Media. After following Rachel on…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Crossing the Line by Ellen Valladares

    When I got the e-mail about Ellen Valladares and the blog tour for her new YA novel, Crossing the Line, I jumped at the chance to review the book. A teenage girl ghost from the 1980s? A mystery? A young journalist as the protagonist? I couldn’t not check out the book, as these are themes near and dear to my own heart. Thanks to Crystal Otto with WOW! Blog Tours for offering me the chance to participate! You can check out an interview with the author here. About the book: Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca,…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Ashes in the Ocean by Sebastian Slovin

    Today I’m hosting author Sebastian Slovin in support of his touching memoir, Ashes in the Ocean: A Son’s Story of Living Through and Learning From His Father’s Suicide, during his blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing. Here’s what you need to know about the book: Vernon Slovin was a legend. He was one of the best swimmers in his home country of South Africa, and for a time in the world. He prided himself on being the best. The best in sports, business, and life. He had it all, a big home, athletic prestige, fancy clothes and cars, and a beautiful wife and family. Everything was going his way until it all…

  • Book Review,  cookbooks

    Book Review: Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

    I don’t know about you, but I discover many great recipes on social media channels. Someone will share a recipe or I’ll see one of those cooking videos that makes preparing a dish look so easy that I’ll seek out the blog or Facebook page it originated from. That’s how I found Gina Homolka and Skinnytaste.   I can’t remember which recipe of hers I tried first, but I love how she uses real food ingredients in her dishes and includes the Weight Watchers points for anyone who may be on the program. She also has many slow cooker offerings. I’ve saved many of her recipes and cooking videos on Facebook and Instagram,…

  • Book Review,  writing inspiration

    Book Review: The Rules of Half

    (This article originally ran in the September 2017 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS.) When Sherrill’s Ford resident Jenna Patrick first got the idea for her debut novel, “The Rules of Half,” she was juggling the demands of a career in engineering and the schedules of her two daughters, who are both competitive gymnasts. She says it took her about a year to finish the first draft of the book, which centers around a family dealing with mental illness set in small-town America. While Patrick’s path to publication was different than she first imagined it, she couldn’t be happier with the reception of her novel. She says she first got the idea for the…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

    A few years ago I took my daughter to a literary festival called EpicFest in uptown Charlotte. This was yet another one of those events where I used my sweet, accommodating daughter as an excuse to go and hear one of my favorite children’s authors speak. Lauren Oliver has written many books I’ve enjoyed, as well as one adult novel that confused me a little bit so I’ll probably need to read it again. I’m mostly drawn to her young-adult novels such as Panic, Vanishing Girls, Replica, Before I Fall (which was adapted into a film this past year), but I picked up a copy of her middle-grade novel, Liesl and Po,  for…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

    People always talk like there’s a bright line between imagination and memory, but there isn’t, at least not for me. I remember what I’ve imagined and imagine what I remember. I imagine this book had to have been one of the hardest to write for author John Green, because much like the main character, 16-year-old Aza, he has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  Prior to reading this book, much of what I knew about OCD centered around behaviors I’ve seen on TV and in movies (think Jack Nicholson in “As Good as it Gets” or the clean-freak Monica in “Friends”). Turtles All the Way Down gives you a first-hand look into the mind of a person…

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Last Night at the Viper Room

    Halloween is fast approaching, and along with it is the anniversary of the death of an icon I adored in my teen years, River Phoenix. “Stand By Me” continues to be one of my favorite movies of all time. I knew vaguely of Phoenix’s background–that his parents had been “hippies” and he and his siblings lived in a commune for a while, and he didn’t eat meat. Beyond that, I guess you could say I knew what he and his management allowed the public to know. I do know I was devastated (and shocked) when I learned of his death by drug overdose during my senior year of high school. There was a…