Review: 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go by Sophia Dumbling

My Rating 4 out of 5

 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go by Sophia Dumbling

Do you want to go the biggest yard sale ever that stretches from Michigan to Alabama? Or do you want to go for a retreat with breathtaking natural surroundings? Do you want to visit Lizzie Borden’s house (the girl with an axe) or go water rafting? This is the book that will help you get what you are looking for and so much more!
The book has something for everyone, for the book lover, the outdoorsy, the spiritualist, the artist or the history buff. Sophia Dumbling lets readers know that this is a completely subjective collection in her introduction. However, the choice of places is so wide. Sophia is visibly passionate about her country and has actually visited most of the places she vividly describes.

The book is written according to the chapter such as get to know America, which has several national parks and cities. The American history has important events every woman should know such as a memorial to women who serve in the armed forces and the museum that’s solely dedicated to pioneer women. There is also a girl section, with lots of fun information such as the best places to have afternoon coffee and going shopping at Tiffany’s. Every chapter ends with websites where one can get more information or books that are related. There’s an index for persons visiting a specific part of the country who would like to check out the sites.

I actually read the entire book cover to cover and couldn’t put it down. In the end, I learned so much I didn’t know about the United States especially about the women who participated in its history. I just wish I has read this book when I went on a visit to California. I realized that I missed something I would have loved to see, maybe I will have to go back!

Review:Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey through Chile by Sarah Wheeler

My rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sarah Wheeler

As a child, I spend the happiest years of my childhood in Chile and it was the beginning of my love affair with Latin America. My parents loved to travel in the country and I was always tagged along, going to the South to the icecaps and North to the Atacama deserts. I learned Spanish from my mother. Sadly, we left Chile after Salvador Allende was overthrown in 1973.
Sarah Wheeler went to Chile in the 1990’s and begun traveling through the country starting from the North all the way to the South and finally managing to get to Antarctica.
Sarah is a keen, witty writer. I loved her evocative descriptions, both of the people she meets and the country’s natural beauty. Near the Atacama Desert, on Christmas day, she silently watches as a flock of flamingoes fly off: “great sprays of pink foam”. The people she interacts with come alive here: Pepe who resembles a “young Dali” and who rescues her when her car breaks down and Gloria, a curator of a Mapuche museum, an independent woman not the type that’s found in the rural setting.

What I love in the book is the way the author intertwines the past and the present, giving a clear connection between the two.
My only problem with Wheeler is that she often leaves out details every avid reader would love to know about. For example, she says that stayed at the worst hotel but she never mentions what really made it so awful, or she says she stopped to have a hot sandwich but doesn’t say exactly what she ate(I love food and I really felt offended!).
However, her journey through Chile brought some nostalgic memories and made me want to head there straight away.

Eli’s Top 10 Favorite Books

Eli’s bedtime routine goes like this: Bath time (full on in the big boy bath! He has transitioned into the big bath and he looks like such a big boy! So proud of him!), little massage on the changing table, reading time with daddy, nursing with mommy (although we are in the process of weaning), cuddles with mommy and daddy, cuddles with Lonnie the Lion, bam BEDTIME!

My husband cherishes the reading time between him and Eli and I cherish that time to lay down for ten minutes and regain my strength so I can work on my mile long to-do list once Eli goes to sleep. But I also cherish hearing my husband read to Eli and I love seeing how much Eli enjoys it. Now that Eli is getting older he is paying so much more attention and loves to turn the pages, point out different things in the book, and gets really excited during certain parts of the books that he knows are coming.

I thought it would be fun to share our favorite books right now with Eli. It would be fun to make a book basket for a friend who is expecting or for a mama friend of yours with some of these books! I can’t wait to do a book basket for an expecting friend soon.

1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site:
this one is a BIG favorite. The illustrations are really fun and it’s just so adorable.

You can find the book HERE.

2. Little Blue Truck:
considering my son’s obsession with all things truck this one is a big favorite in our house.

You can find the book HERE.

3. Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears:
Okay, so this is a momma favorite! :)

You can find the book HERE.

4. Go, Dog. Go!:
this one is a classic, but a must have!

You can find the book HERE.

5. What up, Duck?: A Book of Opposites:
This is such a cute and important story! It will be really handy to introduce the concept of opposites when Eli is older, but for now just the illustrations are enough to keep him engaged and interested!

6. How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies?:
seriously, that is a great question! This book has some scratch n’ sniff pictures and some really fun cookie recipes! Eli does not understand the scratch and sniff right now (nor does he understand the greatness of a GREAT cookie recipe!), but he loves when we read this book to him!

You can find the book HERE.

7. That’s Not My Tractor:
This book has a lot of different textures for babies to feel and so many fun and bright illustrations! It is really good at keeping Eli’s attention! There are several other books similar to this one from this author in a whole series. I highly recommend these as a gift for a new mama. They are always very popular!

You can find the book HERE.

8. One Gorilla: A Counting Book – Love love the illustrations in this book! Also, I really love the educational aspect in this book and how it teaches counting and numbers.

You can find the book HERE.

9. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises:
I have to be honest, I am over this book! But the boys love it! They read this one EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and every single night I hear my husband loudly say, “BOOM BOOM BOOM!!” Eli loves it and he loves to say “boom boom boom” now too and yes, it is adorable, but I am just over this book! I will allow it to stay since my boys love it so much. You just won’t find me reading it too much!

You can find the book HERE.
10. Corduroy – this would NOT be a baby book list without Corduroy. Does it even need an explanation? Nope. It’s that awesome and if you have not read it then I am not convinced you live on this planet and it is a must have for your library collection at home!

You can find the book HERE.

There ya have it – our Top 10 Books for Eli at the moment! Reading is so very important to us and we want to always be stimulating Eli’s mind with new and fun books and for him to have a huge, creative imagination!

What is on your reading list right now?

with love,


Review: “Coexist (Keegan’s Chronicles #1)” by Julia Crane

My Review:
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

coexist reviewCoexist by Julia Crane
Paperback, 210 pages
Published June 19th 2011 by Valknut Press
Review Copy: Provided by Author
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

What drew my interest to “Coexist” was the cover, first and foremost, followed by the fact that the story was about elves. I’d yet to read a young adult novel about elves and figured, why not? So I downloaded the book for my Kindle, unsure of what to expect, but interested in learning more about Keegan. It took me a few months to read “Coexist” (I finally took the time to read it after signing up for the blog tour via A Tale of Many Reviews), and while it wasn’t my favorite book this year, I did enjoy it.
One of the most interesting parts of the story was the idea of elves having a chosen – someone meant for them, someone they are not supposed to meet until both individuals turn eighteen. What’s interesting, though, is that Keegan knows her chosen’s name already, although they’ve yet to meet formally.

He, Rourk, spends his time watching her, unable to resist her pull whenever she thinks of him. Rourk watches Keegan closely, unaware of her name, but aware that soon enough, she would be his. But when Keegan finally meets Rourk and learns he is her chosen – she feels nothing for him. There’s no connection, no longing, nothing. Which seems to be setting the story up for a love triangle – especially given the final line – I’m not big into love triangles, but I am curious as to where Crane will be taking the story from here.

Crane has crafted an intriguing world within “Coexist” that’ll easily pull you in. I enjoyed reading about Keegan and Rourk and will be continuing on with the rest of the series.

Review: Dark Eden (Dark Eden #1) by Patrick Carman

My Review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

dark eden
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Review Copy: NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

“Dark Eden” is the first book I’ve ever read by Patrick Carman, although I can assure you it will not be the last. Talk about a thriller! “Dark Eden” will capture your attention from beginning to end, finding a way beneath your skin.

Everyone has a fear, or fears. But for some, those fears are crippling.
Take seven teenagers suffering from crippling phobias and insert Fort Eden, an institution where the teens are sent to ‘cure’ them. But what will it cost them to be cured?

The story is told through the eyes of Will Besting, one of the seven teenagers sent to Fort Eden by his parents. As someone who likes to look on, to listen, Will steals the files of his fellow patients, trying to learn more about them. Through their recorded sessions, Will is already well acquainted with the others well before he even meets them on the bus for the first time. After being dropped off along the trail leading to Fort Eden, Will separates from the other six – refusing to step foot in Fort Eden. Instead, he watches as they enter, staying put in the woods until it becomes too cold. Seeking shelter, he runs towards the bunker where he makes a temporary home in the bomb shelter where there are monitors allowing him to see what’s taking place in Fort Eden.

Will is a wonderful character. Even though I found myself questioning some of his actions through out the story, I understand why he did what he did. He takes time to study his surroundings and those around him. He’s a smart, brave character and I liked seeing the story from his perspective.
If you’re searching for a thrilling read that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat – give “Dark Eden” a chance. While the story does start off rather slowly, it does pick up pace and there are enough twists to keep you eager to reach the next page.
Although I received an e-galley through NetGalley, I went ahead and purchased the Kindle book upon its release. The extra content (audio/video) is really worth checking out. It truly adds to the story.