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Showing posts from January, 2015

Beyond Books: Crockpot Chicken Soup

I'm taking a step away from books today to share one of my favorite recipes. This is the first in a new series I'm adding to My Book Retreat called Beyond Books, where I will share some of my favorite things, including recipes, travel destinations, gardening and more. Don't worry! I'll still try to tie it all back to books in some way!



I love my Crockpot and one of my favorite recipes is a very simple chicken soup that my whole family loves. After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver a couple years ago, I started getting most of my meat and vegetables from local farms or my own backyard. So for this recipe, I generally try to use a chicken from a local farm, as well as whatever vegetables I can get from the farmer's market or my garden. If you want to make this even better, make your own broth instead of using store-bought.

Crockpot Chicken Soup
Ingredients
3 - 4 lb whole chicken or stew hen
Mixture of vegetables cut into small pieces (I use carr…

Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

Jack Torrence has been struggling lately, but he's ready to turn his life around and reconnect with is wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny. So he takes a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, which sits on a mountain in Colorado. Because of the harsh winters, they will be snowed in at the hotel for several months, but this will be the perfect time for Jack to focus on family and to finally finish the play he's been writing. The hotel has other plans.

The Shining is a classic Stephen King novel. Most people I know have seen the movie, but I actually have not. I will say that I spent the entire time picturing Jack Nicholson in the role of the father, but the storyline was all new to me. I loved it. There's a lot of supernatural stuff going on in the story, from Danny's ability to read other people's minds, to the many ghosts of the hotel. But there was plenty of realism to make it interesting, particularly around the relationship between Jack, Wendy and Dann…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had time to do a lot of reading last week! I had a little time over the weekend as I traveled out of town for my brother's memorial service. But I haven't made as much progress in the books I'm reading as I would have liked. I think I'm at a point where the reading will pick up, though, so I'm sure I'll be starting something new very soon!

Reviews and Blog Posts
I got a couple reviews written last week, as well as a list of books that will soon be movies. I can't wait to see most of them!

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
10 Books to Become Movies in 2015

Reading
I'm still reading The Shining by Stephen King in memory of my brother, who passed away earlier this month. It's a bit different than I was expecting but I'm enjoying it. It's getting very freaky at this point! I also started reading Gathering Blueby Lois Lowry, which my son, who is 10, read recently.…

10 Books Being Made into Movies in 2015

I've recently seen several lists of books that are being made into movies in 2015. It seems there are a lot more than usual this year, or perhaps I just haven't noticed this trend in recent years. As I read through the many lists, I found 10 books that I've read (or am going to read soon).

All of these will be released in theaters in the next year or so, and I'm very excited to see just about all of them. If you haven't read the books yet, get to it before the movies come out!



Insurgent by Veronica RothRead my review


Serena by Ron RashRead my review


Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsRead my review


The Martian by Any Weir Read my review


Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. JamesRead my review


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. StedmanRead my review


Room by Emma DonoghueRead my review

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith Read my review 


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsRead my review


I haven't read and reviewed these last two yet, but they are my bo

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

It all starts with kindergarten orientation. Madeline has been through it before and is ready for all the politics that go along with a group of moms who all think their kids are special. Celeste is frazzled and anxious about her very active twin boys starting kindergarten. And Jane, a young single mother who just moved to town, is worried that her son won't fit in with the other kids. These three women are all brought together because of their children, but there's a lot more to each of their stories.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is a novel about friendship, marriage, motherhood and all the little lies we tell each other every day. We get to see inside each of the three women's lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. Jane is sad and overly worried about her son, Ziggy. She has moved often and never feels comfortable enough to settle down. Madeline and Celeste befriend her and try to understand more about her past and her fears.

Madeline is dealing with a…

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up, he is alone in an elevator. He knows his name but he can't remember anything else about who he is or why he is here. When the door opens, he finds himself in a place called The Glade that is surrounded by a massive maze. The only other people here are about 60 other boys who have created a community of their own. They explain that every 30 days, another boy arrives. But the day after Thomas arrives, a girl arrives with a note that changes everything.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is an action-packed dystopian young adult novel that kept the suspense going to the end. The world the boys built, with a council and different jobs for everyone was interesting. I also liked the premise that all of the boys' memories were wiped, so they didn't know where they came from or what was really happening. And the maze itself helped set this book apart from many other dystopian novels.

It was a fun survival story with plenty of suspense and excitement. However, I…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a fabulous week. The sun is shining brightly today and I think it's supposed to get up to about 60, so I'm in a great mood. It also helps that it's a holiday here, so I'm not working today. Instead, I'll be getting together with friends and taking the kids to see Penguins of Madagascar, followed by a trip to the playground to enjoy the weather.

Reviews and Blog Posts
I only wrote a couple things last week because I've been very busy with updates to the blog.
Mini Winter Bloggiesta
Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Bloggiesta is continuing through today since it's a holiday. I've completed most of my list. I just have to write some reviews and put a few on Amazon, then I'll be done. Check my new pages:
Books Read in 2014
2015 Challenges
Bookish Links

Reading
I finished reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I really enjoyed it. Now I'm reading The Shining by Stephen King! Big difference!

C, who is 10, is reading G…