Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Magician's Lie Book Review

The Magician's Lie

By: Greer Macallister
The Magician's Lie
Good Reads Synopsis:
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder --and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.
My Feelings on The Magician's Lie:
So The Magician's Lie came out January 13th, and I was able to download it from the library that same weekend, SCORE for me!  This was such a thrilling book that I often had to re-read parts of it to make sure what I read was true!  I loved that this book went back and forth between Arden's life before she became a famous magician and her life as it was now, sitting in a policeman's house telling her story.  I love the deception and the action that is found in this book. There was a passionate story of love lost and love found and how that related to our choices that we make for ourselves. 
My favorite quote from The Magician's Lie is:
“Life is always better than death. Always. No exceptions.” 
― Greer MacallisterThe Magician's Lie

Thanks for listening!  I hope you decide to pick this one up and give it a shot!

 Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dragonfly in Amber Book Review

Dragonfly in Amber

By: Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
Good Reads Synopsis:
With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander....

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...
My Feelings on Dragonfly in Amber:
OMG , how does she do it!?!  I am in LOVE with this series after 2 books!  I cannot believe how one book can keep you on your toes, make you cry, smile, laugh and make you worried for the characters.  So I picked up the first book of the series, Outlander when the series started advertising.  So, it is somewhat nice having somebody to picture as these characters. The OUTLANDER TV series premieres August 9, 2014, at 9pm on STARZ! I cant wait I cant wait I cant wait!!
I gave this book 5 stars and am looking forward to reading the next installment to see what happens in the lives of Jamie and Clair and some other characters I met along the way!  I can honestly say each book has kept me on my toes till the very end and leaves me wanting to run straight to the library to get the next book in the series.  AHHHH-MAZING!  Here are my favorite quotes from the book!
 Jamie Fraser "I dinna think I'll take up attacking women" from Dragonfly in Amber (Diana Gabaldon, Outlander)

I leave you with this!  I LOVE this card!  I know Mr. Bedford would completely think I was off my rocker if I did this!  I wish kilts were easier to find, and I would!  Oh so sexy is a man in a kilt!
Yes, Kilts... we must have kilts...
Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Room Book Review


By: Emma Donoghue

Good Reads Synopsis:

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
My Feelings on Room:
I liked this book, but I didn't LOVE this book.  It was touchingly sad and made me want to slit my wrists.  It was well wrote and well conceived.  I had a love hate relationship with Jack telling the story, I found him whiny most often, rightfully so, but it got on my nerves after a while.   Here is one of my favorite quotes from Room.

 From ROOM by Emma Donoghue
This was a touching tale of confinement and one that was well written to show how people might deal after this certain life predicament.  I gave this book 4 stars, and hope to read more from Emma Donoghue!
Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Garden Spells Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: 
The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them. 

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways. 

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future. 

My Feelings on Garden Spells:

So obviously from the Goodreads synopsis you can hear a little bit of practical magic floating through the words. Practical Magic is probably one of my FAVORITES of all time!  Even though I compare it is not a valid comparison both are wonderfully put together and I loved both equally as much!  I loved the magical aspects of all of Sarah Addison Allen's books.  It really just captures me right away and often these are a quick read since I want to get to the end to see what happens next.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book. 

Everything is beautifully written and now I am ready for her next book that again talks about the Waverley family, in First Frost!  

Here is a sneak peak into her newest book!

Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Sunday, January 4, 2015

1st 30 before turning 30

Wow - only the first weekend in the new year and I have completed one off the list!
So number 30 can be crossed off the list!  Whew!  I was so blessed after receiving a text from my dear friend Natalie asking if Mr. Bedford and myself wanted to go up to Rosemont Winery for the day.  I of course jumped at the chance, and excited to be able to go with good friends.  

So Rosemont Winery is close to Lake Gaston, which our friends Jeff and Kristen go and visit often.  They are also part of the wine club down there, so they knew the ends and out and we carpooled with them. Here is an excerpt from their Website about the Winery.  

 The 450 acre Rosemont Estate has been in the Rose Family since 1858, with the home place actually dating back to the mid-1700’s. Over generations, our farming operations have included vegetable farming, a peach orchard, beef cattle, dairy farming and commodity crops such as hay, tobacco, corn and soybeans.
In 2003 we continued the journey as stewards of the land, planting over 32,000 grape vines across 22 acres. Construction of the Winery began in November of 2006, with a beautiful early American style building that houses a state of the art gravity-flow wine production facility underground and in 2007 we produced our first in-house vintage.
You’ll discover that we combine our knowledge of this land with modern winemaking techniques to produce premium handcrafted wines, all of which are 100% estate grown, produced and bottled on our estate. Being involved in every aspect of winemaking, from budbreak to harvest and bottling, allows us to produce wines of the greatest quality that showcase this great Virginia terroir. 

Some of our favorite wines here were...

So here is some of the fun we got into: 

Here are the couples! 

Meet Madison!  She loved to eat everything we were eating!!

 All of us in the barrel room!

Thanks for listening!  Hope I will have more to add sometime soon!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Defending Jacob Book Review

 Goodreads Synopsis:
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

My take on Defending Jacob:
This was a book club pick, and definitely not something I would pick for myself, but I read and ended up liking the book.  I did not think some parts were completely well throughout, so I ended up only giving it 4 stars on Goodreads.  I liked the murder/mystery aspect of this one, it just seemed more and more far fetched as the book went along.  I am sure if this book were to be made into a movie it would do rather well, with the Gone Girl phenomenon going on right about now.  It gives that twisted plot just like Gillian Fly is able to do.  This is my favorite quote from the story here.
An emotion is a thought yes, and idea but it is also a sensation, an ache in your body.  Desire, love, hate, fear repulsion, you feel these things in your muscle and bones not just in your mind.  

Very moving indeed.  I liked how this book went through the different emotions of a family who is struck with tragedy.  How they dealt with this tragedy really made the the book what it is!

Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My take on New Years Resolutions 2015 - 30 before 30

WOW- did 30 just sneak up on me or what?  I am going to turn 30 this year on APRIL 1st!  Oh my!  So instead of doing the whole resolution thing that I always NEVER stick to.  I decided to make my own list of things to accomplish before I turn 30.  So I've got 3 months to make this happen!

The 30 before 30 Challenge

In no particular order, here are the 30 things I would like to cross off my bucket list before I hit the big 3-0:
  1. Read 3 books, 3 audio book and 3 ebooks.
  2. Become closer to God.
  3. Learn how to play the guitar, I bought one for Mason but there isn't any harm, right?
  4. Visit friends in Charleston.
  5. Write 30 handwritten notes.
  6. Backpack somewhere… anywhere. Just backpack for at least 2 days/nights.
  7. Participate in a 5K event.
  8. Sew something for yourself!
  9. Lose 10 lbs.
  10. Complete 30 acts of random kindness.
  11. Go to a restaurant alone. (I’ve been to the movies solo, however getting a full meal experience alone sounds daunting… but I’m up for the challenge!)
  12. Write a will. (I know, I know… how morbid. But, you never know what can happen.)
  13. Refinish a piece of furniture.
  14. Establish a morning routine.
  15. Complete 30 Pinterest projects (and review them for the blog, eh? Whether I’m a success or failure! ;]) 
  16. Get a facial. 
  17. Go on a girls only trip.  I'm going to need help with this one!
  18. Write a children's book.
  19. Make Creme Brulee from scratch - not the pre-made stuff.
  20. Organize ALL my photos and crafting supplies!
  21. Submit an article or essay into a magazine.
  22. Volunteer
  23. Take cooking classes.
  24. Go on a random adventure.
  25. Blog consistently (atleast one post per week :/ ).
  26. Do a “cleanse” for one solid week. 
  27. Become closer with one or more friends.
  28. Have a real, fresh macaroon.
  29. Print out and display more photos - really like to do a new gallery wall.
  30. Go wine-tasting.

So that's my list - hopefully I'll be coming back soon to check some things off of the list!!  :)  If there is anything anybody would like to help me out with, that would be great as well!  The more the merrier.  Have a great 2015!