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Tiffany Schlarman

I am an avid reader and the mom of 2 beautiful girls. I also work outside the home. I love to read, shop, and relax with my friends and family.
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Crestmont

Step into the lives of Gracie Antes and the Woods family of Eagles Mere Pennsylvania. Gracie, who decided to take control and live her life, left her sheltered family in 1925 to pursue her dreams. Crestmont was a summer job, a way to start earning money in order to follow her dream and sing. Little did she know she would find herself, friends, and a family of her own by taking a job at the Crestmont Inn. The woods own the Crestmont and spend their time keeping the dream of Mrs. Woods’s father alive. The Crestmont is not just and Inn, but a place of happiness and solitude for many guest as well as the charming staff. As you read this wonderful novel, you will be taken back in time to the 1920’s. You will feel you are part of the Crestmont and its staff. As Gracie’s’ story unfolds you are vividly aware of the decade, its people, pastimes and its trials. The book is truly engulfing. You will not want to put it down. The characters are unique and charming, giving the book a truly small town feel with a get away to dream of. I really enjoyed this debut novel. I felt I was actually part of Eagles Mere and the Crestmont Inn. The characters are charming and loveable. It makes you want to visit the modern day Crestmont, though I’m sure you would arrive and be disappointed. The book is a work of historical fiction, combined with actual history, The Crestmont is a wildly entertaining read. Everything is well presented and thought out. The descriptive nature enables you to envision life during this time. The author does a wonderful job at drawing the reader in and making them welcome, wanting to be part of the story and happenings. She has a way of making the business of running an Inn feel charming and delightful. It is a pleasure to read.

A Hot Dog Stand In the Himalayas

As a child our imaginations are endless, our ambitions know no bounds, our dreams are realistic possibilities and our feet are never still. Somewhere along the way our feet pause and slow down. Our dreams fade to what will probably never be, and our ambitions have boundaries. We lose sense of our imagination because we are no longer innocent and our imaginations are easily blocked by the harsh realities of life. As far away as these qualities may go, they never disappear. Deep within us all lays our imaginative self, the ambitious dreamer, the child within. A Hot Dog Stand in the Himalayas captures this child and doesn’t let her go. It is grandma’s memories, a granddaughter’s words and actions spoken, a beacon reminding us all that we are life. We are all the excitement, joy, hopes and dreams. Who says only children can keep that alive? The book challenges you to find your inner five year old and remember. Take your wisdom and knowledge of the years and use it to help fuel those ambitions and dreams, never loosing sight of your imaginations. For “It is if you believe it is”! I really enjoyed this book. It was simple and easy to read. It was short, a nice cleansing of my mental palette, a break from the longer novels I have been reading. I was wrapped up and drawn into my own childhood memories of my beloved Nana. It was as if I were five again and learning to cook and dream big. It is a flashback, but yet a glimpse of the future. It will challenge you, if not for yourself, then for future generations. I would recommend this book to all readers, young and old. It will hold something different for each, because we are all different. One thing will remain the same, the memory of your youth and the thoughts that young child dreamed and imagined.

Look Before You Leap: A Premarital Guide

Look Before You Leap, is a wonderful guide for couples thinking about getting married or wishing to better their relationship. This guide starts off with an introduction of what it takes to have a good marriage. These pages are filled with fundamental principles and issues that marriages involve. It is honest and raw, it is not meant to make the reader comfortable, but rather to evaluate and think, as any helpful guide should. The book has a personality quiz and relationship quiz with discussion Reponses for both. These are meant to enhance and help the couple through questions that might stump them or be hard to answer. The response chapters are extremely helpful and a wonderful addition to the quizzes. The author doesn’t leave you hanging on your own, but truly tries to help you as a couple in understanding each other and the difference in your possible answers. The guide also has Communication and Conflict resolution tips suggested solutions for problems that might arise in a relationship. Case studies and examples of couples and their stories are given throughout the book, with a focus towards the end. These are meant to help guide the couple and show that everyone has issues. They can be big or small. Some are overcome and others are deal breakers. All of them agree that it would have been better to find out before the marriage rather than during or after. As in most relationships the longer your together and the more advanced the relationship becomes, the more hurt you will endure in the event of it ending. Divorce is not only upsetting, it is also very expensive. The author gives a guide to different personality disorders at the end. This was extremely interesting to me. I found it very helpful to understand why some people act and react the way they do. I thought this was an interesting and helpful approach to add to the premarital guide. Lastly, the guide has a chapter on “people you may meet”. This is meant to help understand each other and how you deal with different types of people. Every couple has friends, family, co-workers and ex-relationships that will merge into your lives together. It is unavoidable, but you are able to help curve the situations by understanding your mate and their personality along with others personalities. The author gives an appendix with recommended resources for further review or more specific review of a given topic that you as a couple want or need to explore. I can’t say enough about this guide. I loved it! Having been married for six years, I was able to fully review how helpful this guide would be to those who have not yet been married. The questions and quizzes are full of legitimate information and questions that should be discussed when thinking of marriage. The author brings many good suggestions and helpful advice to the table. I feel the author was very real, in that she didn’t make this guide condemn anyone. She is realistic in her approach to the issues couples face today. I would suggest everyone buy a copy of this or borrow it from your local library and go through it together as a couple. It has a wonderful section on communication and its importance. Even if you have a strong relationship, you can always learn something. My husband and I learned more about each other through this guide. It is well worth the money you will spend, and your time spent exploring each other along with your compatibility.

Island Story

After returning from a two year low budget honeymoon around the world, Ayumu Takahashi decides to have the next adventure in his homeland, on the island of Okinawa, in Japan. The adventure is one that will prove to be both exciting and challenging, ultimately changing his life. His goal was to build a self sustaining village on the island. Island story is a vibrant, photographic journal of his quest. The process took eight years, however the self sustaining village is a paradise, lush, green and vibrant! Amazingly, it was built from nothing. Island Story chronicles Ayumu’s journey along with his friends who set out to help him. This small group of friends created shops, an Inn, and a place where visitors and residents could spend their days with the spirit of fun. Using only the resources around them, they accomplished their goal. It is a paradise that will inspire you, as it has inspired the world. This book is amazing. It was hard to overcome my difference in personality and way of thinking, at first. Our personality traits are so different, that it was almost too difficult to open my mind and think as Ayumu does. Once I did, it amazed me. The feat of what these people have accomplished against all odds and negativity thrown towards them, is inspiring. Their determination to be independent and rely only on themselves and the land is eye opening. It took hard work, effort, determination and the good will of others who could share and envision the dream to make this island possible. I realized that this book is much more than adventure and fun. The experiences in this book and the eight years chronicled are what has made Ayumu and his friends who they are today. Ayumu was basically like a freshman in college. He was not sure who he wanted to be, or what job he wanted to have. He was full of life and wanted to dream big and accomplish something. He put his mind to it, and he did accomplish his goal. This experience molded him and help him discover these parts of himself. Today is he successful and still sharing the dream with others all over the world through his book and his island. The book was wonderful for just the pictures and beauty of the island of Okinawa, the story was just a second amazing part to this book.

Let's Play Ball

Political scandal wrapped up in a nations past time, Let’s Play Ball is an intriguing story of sisterhood; friendship and scandal that will make you doubt every relationship. Miranda and Jessica are ambitious, successful sisters that have grown up loving baseball. Miranda, who is married, has an important government job with homeland security, a nice home and a prominent lawyer husband. Her sister Jessica is outspoken, unconventional and a sports writer, who has built her career based on her instincts and investigative journalism. She owns her own publication “Let’s Play Ball”. Her first renowned article was about her soon to be husband Manny Chavez. Manny is a baseball star that traveled to Cuba to retrieve his abducted son and bring him home. When Jessica invites her family to join her in the luxury suite to watch Manny’s championship game, no one is prepared for the events about to transpire. Manny is abducted after the game and held hostage in Cuba. Jessie trusts no one. While struggling with her own marriage and issues, corporate greed and international politics throw Miranda into a world unlike any she has ever known. The book highlights the sisters relationship along with their ambitions in the midst of international conflict, immigration issues and a nations past time. Let’s Play ball will keep you wondering who can be trusted and will justice prevail? I enjoyed this book; however I felt parts of it were a little slow, especially in the middle. It was easy to be wrapped up in the book while major events were taking place. It wasn’t as easy to keep interested during the moments of speculation, where the characters were trying to figure out what exactly had happened, along with who let it happen, with nothing but gut and speculation. I feel this book is very similar to what takes place in most of today’s political scenes. The author did a great job with the story and its “likeness” to real life. I would classify this book as political fiction and recommend it to anyone who likes politics and sports. If you’re not into politics, the book is still a good read; you will just enjoy it differently.

A Bridge Back

On a stormy night the worst tragedy of Mt. Kleven takes place on a lift bridge over the Esarno river. Many speculate and conclude the accident occurred because of two young lovers plan to elope. Nate and Laura drift apart following the immediate tragedy that they take the blame and guilt for. Nick moves away at the advice of his beloved grandfather. Nate, whose is now a top lawyer in New York City, finds himself returning to Mt. Kelvin for the first time in eighteen years. A documentary being filmed about the tragedy has Nate sent home, undercover, for a client of his firm. With deep opposition to the return, Nate goes and is faced with the past, the truth and the discovery of himself. Nate and Laura are soon thrown into remembering that fateful night and discovering that for eighteen years they have been living with guilt that might not be rightfully theirs. Through discovery Nate learns Laura has been keeping a haunting secret and both learn the truth of that fateful night. A Bridge Back is a gripping novel. It had me spellbound from the start. It will bring you through a variety of emotions, and keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of the truth. Mt. Kelven is a beloved town that has been hurting for the past 18 years. The truth enables everyone to be set free and finally move on with their lives for good. It was a wonderful novel from beginning to end. Many lovable characters and exciting pages! A Bridge back is a novel of the past, present and the future. It is the realization that all three make us who we are and what we will be. It is self discovery and understanding. I would recommend this book to any reader. It will capture you and you will not be disappointed.

The Renewal of Love

The Renewal of Love: Nancy J. Dowdy-Adams: 978-1-4115-0845-4 Madeline Lewis should be the happiest woman in the world, but her happiness is destroyed when she tragically looses her fiancée on the eve of their wedding in a fatal car crash. After two years of intense therapy, Madeline is deemed “cured” and sent off to put her life back together. Her older sister surprises her with a three week trip to Greece in celebration. While in Greece both women find love, but Madeline resist. She is forced to confront her tragic history and open herself to love. Both women discover themselves and re-gain a normal life through their trip. This book has so much untapped potential. The story, characters and writing are all there, but aspects of each need improvement. The story felt so rushed and crammed. The book is only 133 pages and took me about two hours to read. I really wish the story was drawn out more, written in a slower pace and developed deeper. Instead I found myself flying through month’s worth of relationship in a matter of days. Most of the relationship focused on sexual attraction. The characters are wonderful, but needed some development. They are adults, Madeline owns her own company, but quite often I felt they acted quite childish and immature. The drama was a little much for me. The authors’ writing was easy to follow and read enjoyably. I didn’t like that the author put forth comments from the characters in regards to racism. A specific line in the book stated “…they were more wonderful that she had ever imagined them to be considering she was African American. She chided herself; after all, this wasn’t America. Not all people were racist. She had never dated outside of her race; in fact it had never crossed her mind…” This excerpt bothered me greatly. Racism is everywhere, and is not simply about the color of your skin. For example, she was worried about how Chryses’ people would accept her because he was royal and she was not. Racism can also come in regards to the class system. I also feel America has come a long way in regards to racism, for a romance novel of today to make it seem race is still a huge issue. For many Americans there is not racism, we have many different races in the United States. We have many inter-racial relationships and marriages. Just because one might live in the U.S. does not mean that the person is automatically racist. The character also contradicts herself in the next line. She has never dated outside her race and has doubts about doing so. Why is that? Couldn’t that thought be at least partially considered racist? If you are truly not racist why would it cross your mind as an issue once confronted with the attraction to another race? Overall, I enjoyed this story, but feel is really needed to be longer and less dramatic. The characters needed to act like adults and not revert back to their childish manners and then decide to be adult again. It started to be annoying because it was too rushed and dramatic. I felt there was so much story to be told that wasn’t. The story didn’t feel real, as if it actually happened, because it was too unrealistic. I appreciated the moral that the book put across. Love is there, it can be found. If taken away it can come back. Love never leaves us; sometimes we just fail to realize its form. “The Renewal of Love” is a quick easy read that any reader can find some pleasure in.

Jane Eyre : Readable Classics

Jane Eyre in all of its original splendor has been brought to readable classics. The original version has been adapted only to update the language to make it easier for the modern reader of today to understand. This classic beloved tale of the orphan Jane Eyre will captivate you and keep you reading until the end. Jane Eyre, a orphan who is taken into custody by her uncle after her parents death, and ten years after his death sent away to school by her unloving, unkind aunt is everything the original manuscript is. Jane thrives and learns at school. She becomes a teacher and then a governess under her master Mr. Rochester and falls in love only to learn his shattering secret. Her life takes a turn and later reconnects to her past. She finds true happiness where she belongs. I loved every minute of this book. Though I have read Jane Eyre multiple times before, I was able to see this novel in a new light, due to the let down of a language barrier. Our vocabulary does not consist of the formalities in 1847. We do not converse on the same level, more so we discuss more freely and openly today. The novel in its new form is everything Charlotte Bronte gave to her 1847 readers, but updated for ease in understanding for today’s reader. This is a must read! I am a firm believer that you should read the original at some point in your life. However, if you have ever read Jane Eyre or if you have had trouble understanding the original this readable classic will draw you in and keep you spell bound to the end. I highly suggest this book to any reader. It is a wonderful classic novel. I look forward to reading and expanding my library to include other readable classics.

Eating for Pregnancy: The essential guide and Cookbook

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition guide and cookbook is a wonderful tool for all women, especially pregnant women. Whether you know a lot or know nothing about healthy eating for mommy and baby, this book has something for everyone. The cookbook is not only full of delicious recipes (who says you have to be pregnant to make them?!), but also very helpful information on foods the baby needs and that your body needs to help sustain the pregnancy and keep you healthy. Along with these delicious recipes that are easy to make and are what I would consider “normal”. The recipes are not flamboyant, but everyday pantry items or easy to find in you local grocery store. There is also a ton of helpful information to help answer any pregnancy questions in regards to your diet and what you should or shouldn’t be eating. Some of these questions include; “What should I be eating? What is dangerous and why? If I eat this how is it benefiting the baby and I?” There is also a section for your last 9 months after baby is born. The exercises and eating tips are designed to help you loose the baby weight and regain your body! This book is truly for those considering having a baby to those who have had their baby and everyone in between! Among the many helpful tidbits of information you will find helpful list that give sources of fiber, vitamin C, and other important nutrients. There is information on how much fish, water, vitamins, and other items that you should or shouldn’t be consuming. The recipes are in convenient categorized sections and come complete in a seven day menu planner. The author gives a list of pantry items needed for each categorized chapter of recipes along with time saving tips, storage tips, conversion charts and a variety of other very helpful pieces of information. The recipes range from breakfast to dinner with snack and vegetarian dishes. Eating for Pregnancy will quickly become a part of your family even after your baby is born. The recipes are for families too! If your pregnant, planning to get pregnant, recently had your baby, are a health care professional or simply like to collect cookbooks or are interested in good nutrition, Eating for Pregnancy is for you! It would also make a wonderful gift for any expectant mother to be! It is well worth the time and money.

A Book About Tony Chestnut

Tony Chestnut and his sister Eileen move to a new house and start the first day at their new school. Tony is happy at the thought of making new friends, but Eileen is still sad because she had to say goodbye to her best friends. At Recess all the kids are playing except for Eileen who sits lonely on the playground bench crying. Seeing his sister cry makes Tony sad so he decides to cheer her up. He tries begging her to stop but it does not work. He tries acting like a circus clown and making silly faces but those don’t work either! Eileen just cries harder. Tony decides he must be brave, so he stands up tall, takes a deep breath and starts to sing so loud the whole playground can hear him! As he sings Eileen cheers up and everyone joins in on the fun moves that go along with Tony’s song. This book is an exciting, colorful, and interactive edition to your children’s library. My daughters absolutely enjoyed it and so did I. The book comes with a CD, so you can follow along to the music after reading Tony’s wonderfully illustrated story! The story itself is an endearing and wholesome story about a kind brother trying to make his sister happy. My daughter asked to take the book to preschool for show and tell so I let her. Her teacher was very happy to read it to the class and they all enjoyed the book and dance tremendously. The moves are very simple and even my two year old can follow along! I would recommend this book to anyone with children ages 0 -8 years. Of course, if you’re a big kid at heart, you will enjoy it too!

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