A Life With Books

A Life With Books

Mom, wife, book lover,
crafter, movie lover, TV -aholic, blogger, friend.

4 Stars
Avidly Reads Screen Time by Phillip Maciak


Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this 
advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.  
When I read the description of what this book was about I was intrigued by the subject matter and the timetable the book covers. 
In the early 1980's my father worked for AT&T and I remember him telling my sisters and I that in the near future you'd be able to to see the person you are talking to on the phone on a screen!  It was such an exciting concept to me and as a middle-schooler I was hoping this technology would hurry up already!  (It wasn't fast enough for me!)
Phillip Maciak does a great job of covering all the bases of what screen time was way back when and the meaning of screen time in present day.  The memories of what it was like to have to sit in front of a screen at the exact time a program was being broadcast to VCR's, DVR's present day streaming services and everything thereafter; the internet, personal computers, tablets, smartphones and apps
I sometimes felt really nostalgic reading this book, remembering simpler days.  Maciak adds his personal touch to the book with stories of his family and screen time experiences.   When you think about it technology really has come a long way in quite a short time. This book presented a coherent timeline of various forms of screen time and gave information and research I hadn't thought about. 
If you're interested in the advances in technology over the past 30+ years and how it has changed how we communicate and entertain ourselves you will find this book interesting. 
Purchase on Amazon @
Avidly Reads Screen Time



4 Stars
P!NK Raise Your Glass by Annie Zaleski


Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this 
advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.  
I've always loved Pink's music and knew a bit about her
personally because she grew up about an hour away from my hometown. I remember seeing a lot on the news as she was starting out in the music industry and thought this would be an interesting read to get the full story on her life thus far. 
This book is a wonderful compilation of Pink's beginnings, struggles, triumphs, accomplishments and everything in-between. 
There are beautiful photos throughout the book that correlate 
with the timeline being presented in each chapter.  The author has added quotes from Pink taken from various interviews throughout her career.  The book is extremely reader-friendly with a comfortable storyteller approach.  
 I enjoyed reading about how some of the songs came about and now want to go back and listen to each of her albums and pay closer attention to the lyrics as I listen!  
If you're a fan of Pink's music this is a must read!! 
Purchase on Amazon @
P!NK Raise Your Glass



4 Stars
Late, Late At Night A Memoir by Rick Springfield
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Let me start out by saying I was in elementary school (4th grade to be exact) at the height of the General Hospital frenzy and Working Class Dog album. I was not watching the soap, but some older neighbor girls were. And of course the music was all over the radio.  The movie, Hard To Hold was released in theaters in 1984 and I'm pretty sure I saw that a year or so after its release.  Throughout the 80's Rick Springfield had many other hits that if I heard them now I would recognize many of the songs. This was pretty much the extent of my knowledge about Rick Springfield. 
The very first thing that shocked (and I mean SHOCKED) me is that Mr. Springfield is only two years younger than my mother!!!  As I write this my my Mom is 75, Spring field 73!!!!
This factoid totally threw me for a loop!  I was very interested in his writings about his early years in Australia, his relationship with his parents, love of writing music, guitars and dogs.  The parts I could've done without were all the intimate partners he had throughout his life.  ( Don't get me wrong, I'm not naive about the rock star lifestyle, but I think Rick's 'adventures' were much more than the norm.)  He's described it as a 'habit' rather than sex addiction.  
I was unaware that he had some popularity in the early 70's in the United States and how editor-in-chief of 16 magazine, Gloria Stavers, was set on making Rick a teen idol just like David Cassidy. I also had no idea he dated Linda Blair from the movie Exorcist fame when she was only 15 years old!! 
 (Springfield was 25.)  
Rick will be married to his wife Barbara Porter, for 39 years on October 27, 2023.  This woman is a saint in my eyes. She endured Rick's infidelity for many, many, many years and it is beyond a miracle that the two of them are still together. 
Happy for them that they are, but a lot of turmoil in this marriage to say the least.  And he wrote the song "Don't Talk To Strangers" while he and Barbara were dating because HE was worried SHE was going to get involved with other people while they were apart!  He has said, "Back then, I was scared that she was f**king around because I was doing the same thing."  HA!!
The last thing I will leave you with in this book review is that Rick tried to commit suicide when he was 17 years old and has struggled with depression since puberty.  He references his depression as "Mr. D" throughout the book; I never in a million years would've thought that he struggled with depression.  
The insight to all he has dealt with throughout his life with depression is very sad, but extremely real. 
I commend Rick Springfield for laying out the nooks and crannies of his life in this book.  Although the writing style at the beginning of the book was a little choppy, he finds his voice throughout the book (with some flash forwards & flashbacks at spots) and he truly is an excellent writer.  Don't underestimate this guy, he is talented and I believe he has a great heart.
Purchase on Amazon @
Late At Night by Rick Springfield


Source: http://allaroundthecircle.blogspot.com/2023/06/book-review-late-late-at-night-memoir.html
5 Stars
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
My Rating: 5 Stars
This book starts with the reader already knowing the ending. Some reviews I've seen state that it would've been better to save what Mallory's fate is until the end of the book, but I feel that the reason Elin disclosed her illness was so you could appreciate what a full life she led, although bittersweet.

This book is based on the play and movie, Same Time Next Year. Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud come into one another's life via her brother Cooper Blessing and connect romantically almost instantly in 1993.  Although they have chemistry from the beginning, Jake is in a relationship with his childhood sweetheart and Mallory is starting her life over on Nantucket. They agree to spend Labor Day weekend together every year, no matter what is happening in their lives.  are not to contact one another throughout the year unless there's a marriage, pregnancy or death, which they abide by.
I loved how each chapter began with real life highlights of events that were happening in the specific year.  Another highlight was the mouth-watering details in the meals they prepared and ate!!! I need some recipes for these dishes Elin!!!  She also peppers characters and businesses from her other books throughout the story, which is very comforting; makes you feel like you've been here before (and if you've read any of her books before, you kind of have been!)

- I did not enjoy the politics within the book. (Beach Read...trying to escape reality here!!) - At times I felt sad for both Mallory and Jake because their situation could've been different if they were just honest with themselves and others in their lives.  They could've had more time together during their lifetime (life is short!)  - Infidelity. It is bothersome that both characters so easily could drift back to one another for one weekend a year and then just return to the rest of their lives for the remainder of the year.  ( they did find it difficult to separate and thought of one another when not together...torturing themselves.)
If this is your very first Elin Hilderbrand read, please don't totally judge her on this book alone.  It was a bit more 'serious' and depressing than some of her other books. Checkout 'The Blue Bistro' to experience just one of my favorites of hers!
Click here to purchase your copy! 
Source: http://allaroundthecircle.blogspot.com/2020/07/book-review-28-summers.html
3 Stars
The Menopause Diet Plan



I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of The Menopause Diet Plan by Hillary Wright, M.Ed., RDN and Elizabeth M. Ward M.S., R.D. from NetGalley.


I was looking for new information on this topic (menopause,) but really did not learn anything new from this book. However, if you're looking for more information on healthier eating habits and learning more about health concerns as you age, this book is for you! Topics covered are heart health, lowering your risks for diabetes and cancer, healthy bones, being cognizant of what you're drinking, physical activity and dietary supplements. All of these topics are covered in relation to menopause. The last two chapters are dedicated to the Menopause Diet Plan and provide eating tips and recipes.


Both authors are registered dieticians and present the topics with ease and in a way you can understand the subjects at hand. There are many studies and facts that are cited throughout the book, as well as a helpful resource list at the back of the book.


This is definitely a good book to have on your shelf for reference to look back on. I found myself highlighting things that I want to remember about specific vitamins and dietary supplements. I would definitely want my daughters to read this book when they are a bit older to understand the importance of all the topics discussed in this book!




Get Your Copy Here!

3 Stars
How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

"One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's reaction to them."

As I read this book the main word that kept jumping out at me is 'manipulation.' 
By doing (or not doing) certain things, you are kind of manipulating the person into doing what you want. I am not a proponent of manipulation by any means. I do feel that helping the other person come to their own conclusions through some of these principles is helpful. 

I read a review on this book by a reader on GoodReads and she said that this book had a negative effect on her life. With any self-help books that you read, you must take things with a grain of salt. With "How To Win Friends And Influence People," I believe many of the insights are mainly geared to a person who is in business (salesperson.) That is not to say parts may not be applied to personal friendships/relationships. I think you have to remain true to your personality and not force something that is not natural. 

The negative reviewer said "The book basically tells you to be agreeable to everybody, find something to honestly like about them and compliment them on it, talk about their interests only and, practically, act like a people pleaser all the time. After being a smiley happy person with loads of friends for about a year, the unpleasant realization began to creep in, that by being so agreeable to everybody else, I rarely ever got my way. I also sustained friendships with people who were self-centered, so talking about their interests was all we got to do together, which drained me of my energy. The worst thing still, is that by trying to find something to like about every person, I completely disregarded their glaring faults. It didn't matter that those people did have redeeming
qualities - they weren't redeeming enough! I ended up with a bunch of friends I didn't really want and, because I was so preoccupied with "winning" those friendships I missed out on the chance to form relationships with good people."

I think what the reviewer did was to conform to the different principles and took them to heart a bit too much. There is definitely a time and place for everything and if you're using these principles all of the time, well that can seriously get tiring in my opinion. If you're thinking of reading this book because you are lonely & want friends, don't read it. 

I read this book on my Kindle and plan on going back to all of the notes I highlighted. A lot of what is presented in this book is common knowledge, it's just that it is presented in a way that really makes you think about how to use the principles. Having examples of each is also extremely helpful.

I think this book should be a requirement for college or anyone working in a business setting. I also believe it was completely written at the time aimed towards salesmen. Not all people have the natural ability to do the things presented in this book; some do. This book is obviously a best seller for a reason and I think the reason is the way the principles are presented.

3 Stars
Book Review: The Drama Of The Gifted Child by Alice Miller
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self - Alice Miller, Ruth Ward

I picked up this book thinking it was going to be about what everyone thinks of when they hear the words 'gifted' children....the academic or artistic kind. That it was not.

The context of gifted in this book refers to a child who is a victim of their parents actions and how the child deals with those actions by suppressing their wants & needs and becomes ultra sensitive due to the narcisisstic parent(s). (Narcissism in this book does not necessarily mean self-centered, and the author touches on that subject as well.)

I think everyone could probably see bits and pieces of their life in some of the examples shared in this book. No parent is perfect and many different generations of parents believe in different things. The main focus in this book is that children suppress their feelings, wants and needs to please their parents. Not exactly earth-shattering information to me, but important because if a child continues to do this, they lose their true-self and will most likely struggle with this throughout their life, which introduces the need for therapy later on to uncover why they're suppressing what they really want out of life.

The book is definitely written for other psychologists and not necessarily the general public.
I found myself bored at times because it seemed as if points were being restated over again.
I wish I had highlighted some of the 'light bulb' areas of the book because there were definitely some good nuggets within the text. I just think the book was a bit drawn out on the topic it covered.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Book Review: The Inner Critic Advantage by Andrea Patten
The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace with the Noise in Your head - Andrea Patten, David-Matthew Barnes

This book was recommended by one of AVON's top representatives, Lisa M. Wilber, Platinum Executive Leader. Lisa also wrote a recommendation at the very beginning of this book. Andrea Patten addresses the fact that everyone has always been told to hush the inner critic within you. Her approach is to try to work with that voice so that it can work for you, instead of against you. "Finding benefits hidden by annoyances is not an easy process. It takes effort, energy and focus. And creating a new, more peaceful relationship with your Inner Critic is complicated by the fact that, for years, experts have been offering advice on how to silence the Inner Critic." She believes that by trying to 'kill off' the inner critic brings it back to be "even stronger and naggier than before." What is an inner critic? Patten describes it in this way: "An Inner Critic is our brain's misinterpretation of stimulus or data that: amplifies harsh self-judgement, creates negative self-talk and, interferes with the confidence needed to take action toward personal goals and desires." The author also gives many ideas and skills to help "transpose the negative into positive." "Your Inner Critic can brilliantly detect threats but is none too bright about priority-setting." Patten also recommends giving your inner critic a new name....something that "brings both comfort and confidence." "Personal growth strategies are not Swiss Army knives: I can't think of a single one that works in every situation, that's why it's such a good idea to try them on for size." "Part of nurturing an inner ally involves deciding which messages to focus on and which ones to let go." Some negative key words mentioned within the writer's vocabulary in this book are: demoralization, enemy, flaws, faults, tension, bad mental habits, threaten, warning, shatter, permanent, worrying, harmful, dangerous, panic and undesirable, Positive vocabulary used in this book to counter-act the negative words above are: brave, honest, relax, soothe, energize, safe, forgive, strengths, peaceful, strong, partnership, healthy, powerful, brilliant, nurturing, honesty, acceptance, courage, flourish, opportunities, benefits, focus and energy. I wish I could say more and believe more about the topic presented in this book. I've tried many times in my life to turn things around by mental ability. I honestly think this is way to continue to motivate yourself to just keep moving on in life. I don't think that just by 'thinking' about something that it will happen. I could post examples here, but will refrain because I do not want to drudge up old memories just to upset myself on a book review. Change takes action, that I believe. But even sometimes with action and doing the best you possibly can do, that still isn't enough. It's discouraging, and unfortunately we learn to live with it. I do not totally disagree with the thoughts and exercises presented in this book. Like the author said, it's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Definitely read this book to get ideas to help yourself deal with your inner critic. Try to apply the mental exercises presented and choose the ones that are best for you!

4 Stars
Book Review: The Island by Elin Hildrebrand
The Island - Elin Hilderbrand

The thing I liked most about this book is the isolation of Tuckernuck Island. I wasn't a total 'fan' of the characters and their attitudes towards one another; a bit childish at times. There were mother-daughter & sister dynamics, as well as marriage, divorce, death and love thrown into the mix. I've seen it said in another review that "the author makes you love & hate the characters".....this is totally true! With that said, it was definitely believable and not far-fetched, but be prepared for some drama!

4 Stars
The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
The Castaways - Elin Hilderbrand

This book is centered around the death of Greg and Tess MacAvoy and their circle of friends, three couples, who recount their past travels and memories with the deceased couple. Each couple thinks about how they may have contributed to their deaths. The book revisits the days when the friends met and grew up on the island and the chapters alternate between each friend's memories and viewpoint. There's a lot of storylines and characters to keep up with in this book. Affairs, gossip, drama, mistrust....a lot to keep up with.

3 Stars
Book Review: Summer's List by Anita Higman
Summer's List - Anita Higman

Summer Snow's grandmother is dying and has written a bucket list for her!
The first item is to locate a childhood friend named Martin, who meant so much to Summer.
Summer finds herself in the middle of Martin and his quirky, dysfunctional brothers and their family secrets.

This book was a 'midway' like for me; meaning there were parts of the storyline I really liked, and others not as much; just some odd & quirky things to me. I liked Summer's grandmother out of all the characters, and Martin's brothers the least.

It would've been a quick read had I been more interested in the story, but I actually set it aside for awhile.

I was given this book as an Advanced Reader copy from NetGalley-----Thank You!!!!!

4 Stars
Book Review: The Guest Cottage By Nancy Thayer
The Guest Cottage: A Novel - Nancy Thayer
I received this book in exchange for 
an honest review from NetGalley.
Sophie Anderson has been a supportive wife to her husband Zack for sixteen years.  Her husband's life revolves around his work as an architect, while Sophie is focused on raising their two children, fifteen year old Jonah and ten year old Lacey.
Zack doesn't call to tell Sophie he'll be late for dinner so she decides to check his schedule on his computer.  What she finds is a memo 'Remember L's bday.'  She guesses it's his secretary's birthday.  But then she sees the memo for the next day, 'Discuss Div with S.'
When her husband returns home she decides to confront him about the second memo and this is how she finds out her husband wants a divorce.  She's shocked and confused and tells her husband that a college friend had phoned the day before checking to see if they'd want to rent her family's summer home in Nantucket in July and August.  Sophie is hoping Zack will come with them to work on their marriage.  Zack refuses and says he won't pay for it.  Sophie decides she will use her inheritance from her Aunt Fancy to take her and the children to the cottage for the summer.
Trevor Black owns his own software company and is a widow with a four year old son named Leo who is having a difficult time coping with his mother's death and showing obsessive behaviors.  Trevor consults with a phychologist and the doctor suggests a vacation; somewhere Leo had never been with his mother.  Coincidentally, one of Trevor's old college friends calls him with an offer to rent his family's summer home for July and August and he accepts because it is just what the doctor has ordered.
As you may have guessed, Sophie and Trevor both head to Nantucket and need to work out the situation between them both renting the guest cottage for the summer.
Sophie's children grow close with Leo, Sophie finds a beau in one of her daughter's new friends in the area and Trevor fights his attraction to Sophie.
This is a light, flowing read; perfect for summer.
4 Stars
Book Review: Recipes For Melissa by Teresa Driscoll
Recipes For Melissa - Teresa O'Driscoll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book in exchange for 

an honest review from NetGalley.


Melissa Dance is turning twenty-five years old.  Her mother Eleanore passed away from cancer when Melissa was only eight years old.  Elenore started a journal in August 1994 and made plans with her attorney to have the journal given to Melissa on her twenty-fifth birthday.  Melissa's father Max does not know this journal exists.


Eleanore's original idea for the journal was to only include recipes that were handed down from her mother and grandmother and to included photos of her and Melissa cooking throughout the book.  The journal turned into a way for Eleanore to share her thoughts and wisdom to help her grown-up daughter.  She chose age twenty-five because that was the age she gave birth to Melissa.



The chapters throughout this book rotate from Melissa's point of view in present day (2011,) Eleanore's writing of the book and dealings with cancer back in 1994 and Max's issues in the present.  This book definitely keeps you interested in wanting to find out what Eleanore has to say next in the journal and what possible secrets she has to tell her daughter.


This book is heartwarming, heart wrenching, nostalgic, full of emotions and extremely realistic.  It could very well be a true story.  You will also find yourself wanting to make some of the recipes included throughout the journal, so be prepared to save them for later!

4.5 Stars
Book Review: Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
Blueprints - Barbara Delinsky

I received this book from NetGalley

in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

***This review does NOT contain any major spoilers***


Main Cast Of Characters:


Theodore MacAfee- Owner of MacAfee Homes, father of Roy MacAfee, grandfather to Jamie MacAfee and ex father-in-law to Caroline MacAfee


Roy MacAfee- Father to Jamie MacAfee, ex-husband to Caroline MacAfee, husband to Jessica MacAfee, father to two year old Tad and marketing manager for MacAfee Homes


Caroline MacAfee- Mother to Jamie MacAfee, host of the public television show 'Gut It!' and master carpenter


Jamie MacAfee- Daughter of Caroline and Roy MacAfee , fiance to Brad Greer, architect for MacAfee Homes and 'Gut It!'


Brad Greer- Attorney for MacAfee Homes and Jamie MacAfee's fiance


Jessica MacAfee- Roy MacAfee's third wife, mother to two year old Tad and stepmother to Jamie MacAfee


Taddy MacAfee- Roy and Jessica MacAfee's son, Jamie MacAfee's step-brother


Dean Brannick- general contractor for 'Gut It!' and friend to Caroline MacAfee


Annie Ahl- Landscape designer for 'Gut It!' and Caroline MacAfee's best friend


Claire Howe- producer of 'Gut It!'


Brian Levitt- General Manager of the television station that hosts 'Gut It!'


Williston, MA, twenty miles west of Boston, is home to a local home improvement television show called Gut It!  MacAfee Homes is the main builder in the area but they are fearing another family builder by the name of Barth may be trying to worm their way into the area.


On the morning of Jamie MacAfee's Mom's birthday her father Roy wants to meet with her at the local diner.  He tells her that the television station wants to make some changes to the show to improve ratings and they want Jamie to be the new host.  Jamie is an architect and appears on Gut It! with her mother Caroline, the host.  Jamie decides not to tell her mother because it's her birthday and believes this change is due to her mother being middle aged!  Jamie hopes she can convince her father, producer and general manager that this is not the right decision for the show.  Unfortunately, Caroline does find out, but not from Jamie, and it causes a huge rift between mother and daughter.


There is an unexpected accident and Jamie's life changes forever, but she's not on speaking terms with her mother so she must handle many of these changes and challenges on her own.


The beginning of this book was a bit slow for me, but once the first major event in the story occurred the book flowed nicely. The main theme in this book is life changes for women of differing ages and how they handle what is thrown their way. Other subjects touched upon are personal growth, ageism, sexism, relationship and family issues.




Available June 9th, 2015

4 Stars
Book Review: The Sound Of Glass by Karen White
The Sound of Glass - Karen White

I received this book in exchange for 
an honest review from NetGalley.
This is the first book I've read by author Karen White.  I wasn't quite expecting a storyline with a serious underlying issue that spans throughout generations of the novel's women characters.  With that said, you will not want to put this book down!!!!
Merritt Heyward is a widow who has inherited her mother-in-law Edith's home in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Merritt is a northerner from Bangor, Maine but decides this move is just what she need to begin over after being widowed.  
She doesn't expect her young step-mother and step-brother, that she's never known. to show up in South Carolina for her fresh start!  Merritt also must contact the brother in law she's never met so that he can collect any items from his grandmother's home that he would like to keep.
Little do any of them realize the bonds and friendships that will be formed as they uncover family secrets while also learning about history that has has an affect on them all without any of them knowing it.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars only because I was confused for awhile with the cast of characters.  This could've been due to me reading this book late at night before bed and then not coming back to the book for a day or so.  That said, I read more than half of this book in one day because I really got into it.
I wish I could say more about this novel without giving you any spoilers, but I cannot.  I want anyone who decides to read this book to go into it without knowing too much of the backstory because it will be more enjoyable for you this way.  Enjoy!

3 Stars
Book Review: Home Blooms By Tammy L. Grace
Home Blooms: A Hometown Harbor Novel (Hometown Harbor Series Book 2) - Tammy L. Grace

My rating3 of 5 stars

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.



Home Blooms is Tammy L. Grace's second installment of her Hometown Harbor series.  You can see my review of her first book, Finding Home: A Hometown Harbor Novel (Volume 1) HERE.

The story continues with Sam and Jeff planning their wedding, getting married and trying to play matchmaker to Sam's friend Max and Friday Harbor's florist, Linda.  About a quarter into the book Ms. Grace transitions nicely from focusing on Sam and Jeff's relationship to the blossoming friendship of Max and Linda.

The newlyweds endure a tragedy and rely on Max and Linda to help them through tough times ahead.  Linda also uncovers a family secret and begins opening up to Max as their relationship and trust in one another grows. 

I enjoyed the storyline of the book, but felt it could've moved along a bit quicker.  Also, I don't think I've ever read a book with so much eating involved that it actually made me hungry when I'd read the book!  It seemed like they were either getting pies from the coffee shop, pastries from Sweet Treats, pizza from The Big Cheese, eating at restaurants, ordering in or preparing meals at home.  Maybe next time the reader would enjoy some recipes thrown in the mix so they could try their hand at some of the coffee shop's famous pies or some of the other recurring meals in the story.  


(Tammy does offer a FREE pie recipe for readers who wish to subscribe to her e-mail list and receive her updates here.) 

The next installment in this series is A Promise Of Homewhich I will be reading around Christmas time this year.  This series is a very enjoyable, laid back, light read and I recommend it to anyone looking to escape to the small town of Friday Harbor.

currently reading

Progress: 20%