Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review - Hangman

I love Faye Kellerman.  All of her books are fantastic and I love getting to read about Detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus every once in a while.

Hangman is about a hitman named Chris Donatti, his wife, Terry, who goes missing, and their son Gabe.  After Terry goes missing, so does Chris.  With nowhere else to go, Gabe turns to Peter Decker for help.  While the LAPD is searching for Terry, they come across a dead body and the book is all about the two investigations.  It drew me in from the beginning and I read all 536 pages in about two days.

This book was absolutely fantastic!  I would highly recommend it.

I am really excited for Faye Kellerman's next book, Gun Games.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daughters of Iraq

I love reading.  Because I am Jewish, I especially love reading books about other Jewish people.  I don't go out of my way to search for Jewish novels, but I love coming across them.  When I was approached to review Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz, I was thrilled to not only get to read about Jews, but to read about Jews from Iraq (which I have never done before).

The book revolves around three main characters: sisters Farida and Violet and Violet's daughter, Noa.  We get to know Noa and Farida through her present day experiences.  We get to know Farida both in the past and in the present time.  We get to know Violet through a diary she started keeping for her children after she was diagnosed with cancer.  

Farida and Violet's family had to emigrate to Israel from Iraq in the early 20th century.  They had to leave because they were Jews and were not safe in Iraq anymore.  They left all of their wealth behind to start over anew in Israel.

Even though this is a fictional book, it is amazing to watch Noa get to know her mom in a way that she never knew her before.

For Jews and non-Jews alike, I highly recommend this book.  Below is a guest post from Revital titled Writing, family and love.  Please read the guest post and then be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Writing, family and love
by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

Love is a motto in my life. I aim for love, give love and know that love is the answer to all society's sickness. If we had more love in our troubled world, life would be so much better. I sometimes find myself singing to myself “Imagine” by John Lennon, thinking how clever those words are, and how unlucky he was losing his life to violence.

Love to my husband brought me to marry him and have four boys with him. We lived together for three years before we got married, and just celebrated twenty years of marriage, which put our life together for a total of twenty-three years. (And I may say “knock on wood” for good luck.) I met my husband at a party and fell in love with him then. He is the love of my life, the food to my soul. Thanks to my husband and his constant support I have “A Room of My Own” and I can write.

When I started working on my first novel I was 35. Until then, I never thought of myself as a poet or an author. It took a long time for me to realize that this is what I really would like to do “when I grow up…” I'd written poetry since I was a young child, and wrote diaries since I was ten. I also wrote just a few short stories through the years, but really did not see myself as an author, until one day, while I was a Masters degree student in Tel-Aviv University, something made me angry.

Anger has always been a motivation for me. I aim to change the world to make it into a better place. I am eager to protect the groups of people not getting justice. So there I was... I met a subject that had no justice in my point of view, and that injustice brought me to write my novel, Daughters of Iraq, a novel based on my family's exodus from Iraq to Israel in the 1950s, during a time of Iraqi persecution against their Jews.

It was out of anger, and out of love of writing their story that I was able to complete and publish Daughters of Iraq. When I lecture about my book I always have tears in my eyes from telling my family's story.

Family always comes first for me. I put them first, and this is the reason things take a long time for me to write. Writing my first novel took five years. During that time we had our fourth child. I chose to focus on my kids first. I've been working on a second novel for about four years now, hoping to finish writing it next summer. I call it “baby steps.” I am working slowly toward publishing it. I am working slowly toward being noticed in the whole world. I dream out of love and I dream out of passion. And I dream one day soon now my books will be on shelves in every house.

Be blessed wherever you are, Revital

Links for Revital Shiri-Horowitz:
Barnes & Noble:

The Giveaway:
Please comment below on how love has helped you accomplish what's important to you and enter to win a copy of Daughters of Iraq. In one week, Revital will pick a winner of this book! Available in any ebook format or as a paper copy. Also available in English or in Hebrew. Let us know the format and language when you contact your about winning! We will ship you a copy anywhere in the world.

For the Giveaway Grand Prize: Everyone who comments is eligible to win a lovely Mama Nazima's Jewish Iraqi Cuisine ( Revital will pick a lucky winner at the end of November 2011 and can ship anywhere in the world. Good luck!


What people are saying about Daughters of Iraq:

Flawless narrative and wonderfully drawn characters, whom I came to know and love. -- Georgina Young, Author of The Time Baroness,

Revital's story touches the soul with human kindness, loss, tenderness, hope, the circle of love that weaves all hearts together, a delicate golden thread tying generations into one tapestry of life./Jackie Madden Haugh, My life in a Tutu,

Truly, Revital, I have no words to praise you... You novel one of the best I ever read... --Olga at

I felt that I was actually living within this inspiring story, and with each turn of the page, I became more and more a part of this sad, happy, and historical story. --Simon Palmer, Author of Loosing to Hate

In a twisting plot with intriguing characters Shiri-Horowitz grasps the attention of the reader in a novel that is both instructive and heartfelt. --Anthony Blumfield on

I was provided a copy of this book to read and the author is providing a book to the winner.  No other compensation was received.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arsenic and Old Lace

I have always loved going to high school plays.  I had friends in theater in high school and have just always gone!  San Marcos High School's fall play is Arsenic and Old Lace. We went last night for opening night and it was fantastic!

I didn't know anything about it so for anyone in my shoes, here is a plot outline.  The story takes place in Brooklyn.  It is about Mortimer Brewster (a play critic) and his crazy family.  We mostly went to see David, the boy who plays his brother, Teddy.  Teddy thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt.  Teddy lives with his aunts who are crazy (but you wouldn't know it!)  They also have a crazy third brother who shows up.

The play had us laughing from the beginning until the very end.  If a theater near you does this play, go see it!  I think I am going to rent the movie with Cary Grant!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review - Hannah's List

I accidentally read two books by Debbie Macomber in a row.  They had both been sitting on my shelf for a while and happens.  That's okay though because her writing is great and the books were really different.

Hannah's List is about Dr. Michael Everett.  He receives a letter from his deceased wife on the 1-year anniversary of her passing.  In the letter, Hannah asks him to start dating again.  She even lists three possible women for him.  I don't want to give much more away, so I will just say that the bulk of the book is his getting to know the three women his wife suggested for him.

This was a really great, feel-good book.  I would highly recommend it.

I can't wait for Debbie Macomber's next book, A Turn in the Road.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Made with Love Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Made With Love Event hosted by The Reynolds Mom and Seventeen Sirens! This event features at least $25 or more in handmade prizes on each of the participating blogs. Be sure to go through the linky below and enter for your chance to win! This event will close on November 13th at Midnight EST. 

Good Luck!

My prizes are:

1) A large plush Fugly Friend named Luchay for your pet.  He comes with a heart, fortune and squeaker hidden inside.

2) A Brown and Blue necklace and anklet set from Nicole's Creations

After you enter my giveaway, be sure to check out the linky below and enter all of the other giveaways!

To enter Rafflecopter giveaways, read the directions for each task, do each task and click "I did this" after completing each one.

The Made With Love Giveaway Event will begin on November 8th and will end on November 13th Midnight EST. This giveaway event is opened to residents specified on each participating blog (US, Canada, Worldwide, etc) that are 18 years or older. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Please understand that The Reynolds Mom, Seventeen Sirens, and the "Made With Love Giveaway Event" bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. However, we are responsible for contacting our sponsors regarding the winner's prize at the close of the giveaway. We expect that our sponsors will fulfill their prize agreement and ship them to the winners in a timely manner. Please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping. If, after 6 weeks, you have not received your prize, please contact the blog that you won a prize from for a follow-up. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winner - Trick or Treat Hop

Congratulations to the winner of the Trick or Treat Hop Jafra gift certificate.

Stephanie Gaffney -

Santa Barbara Axxess Blogging...Year 3 #2

I was super excited the other night to use my Axxess card at Killer B's BBQ & Bar.  They are newish and I love new places!  That is two times so far this year that I have used my Axxess card!  And then I forgot to take pictures.  So...please forgive me!  The deal there is Buy 1 Entree, Get 1 Free.  We also went during happy hour and got a 1/2 off appetizer!  But with Axxess...we saved about $10!  They also offer 15% off after your first use!

I was really excited to try their fried mac and cheese puffs appetizer.  You get 6 little mac & cheese balls with yummy dipping sauce!  And it was only $2.49 because of happy hour!

My dad ordered a bbq brisket sandwich for dinner.  It came with coleslaw in the sandwich and a side of onion rings.  He ate half his sandwich and loved it.  My mom ate the other half for lunch the next day and also loved it!

I ordered a smoked turkey sandwich (yes I order this a lot!).  It came piled high with turkey and included avocado.  Yum!

My mom wants to go back and try this place "fresh" so we will definitely be going back.

I want to be clear that I bought the Axxess Book on my own and went to the restaurant on my own.  I received nothing from any mentioned company.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hummus Bar & Grill

A few different friends recently recommended a restaurant in Tarzana, CA to us.  It is called Hummus Bar & Grill and it definitely lived up to everyone's recommendations.

Their menu is 1/2 English and 1/2 Hebrew which is just cool to look at!  We ordered a variety of items.

We started with hummus & beef.  There are no words to describe how tasty it was.  I even forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone!

They also start you off with HOT out of the oven laffa.  Laffa is basically big pita bread.  I had never had it before...but now I can't wait to have it again!

I ordered schnitzel for my lunch.  Schnitzel is basically boneless meat, flattened, coated in bread crumbs and fried.  My mom said it looked like any other chicken patty...but she just doesn't appreciate the amazingness of schnitzel!

My mom, nana and sister ordered meat kebabs.  I don't understand the appeal of those so I guess we are even!

Some crazy people in my family ordered Israeli salad as one of their side dishes (the entrees all come with two!)  Israeli salad comes with tomatoes and cucumbers and you could not pay me enough to eat either of those.

The staff was all friendly.  The food was all delicious.  I am so glad we were able to take my mom there for her birthday!  I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Blog or Treat Gift Exchange

I recently participated in a Halloween Blog or Treat Gift Exchange hosted by Shannon at The Mommy-Files.  I was paired up with Shana from My Three Wisemans.  We went shopping for one another and then both received goody boxes!  Mine came in a really heavy shoe box so I was convinced it had tons of awesome stuff in it...and I was right!

Pretty candle holders and decorations!

Cute, festive signs!

Candles, candy and Fall embellishments!

I also received a bonus gift from Hasbro for participating.  They sent me a KRE-O Transformers set.  Since I don't have of my little cousins will be getting this next month!

What little boy wouldn't love this?

Thanks so much Shana, Shannon and Hasbro for making my Halloween a little more special this year!