November Book Reviews

Hi all! I have finished reading two books this month that I want to share with you. But first, speaking of reviews, I am elated to tell you that my own novella Heart of Stone received a five-star review on ReadersFavorite.com. Stay tuned at the bottom of this post for a link to the review and my book.

Now, on with the show. This month I read North Haven by Sarah Moriarty and I listened to the audio version of the five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom. I enjoyed both books, but definitely had a favorite.

I received this book quite a while ago as a Kindle First Read with my Prime subscription. North Haven is literary fiction, and every sentence – every word even – is packed with meaning. This story is a peak inside the minds and lives of four adult siblings fighting over whether to keep or sell the lake house they inherited from their late parents. Each character has been shaped by their summers at the lake house in different ways, and they all have strong reasons for their opinions.

I thought North Haven was very well written, but I personally had a hard time identifying with the setting. The many references to sailboats and the region bogged down my enjoyment of the story. I do want to say Moriarty did a wonderful job of developing the characters. I was definitely intrigued by all of them. I would recommend this book for readers who are familiar with New England and the east coast.

I borrowed the audio version of the five people you meet in heaven (read by Erik Singer) from my local library to listen while making the long drive to and from my farm last weekend. I loved this story! I was hooked right away with the whole ‘begin with the end’ tactic. I had no idea what to expect going in because I had never read any reviews of this book before. I really liked the way Albom told the story of Eddie’s life in stages as he progressed through the beginning of heaven.

I definitely recommend this book. It was warm and sad and happy, just to name a few of the emotions. And on a side note, the reading by Erik Singer was great also.

So those are the books I completed this month. As you know from my previous post, I am currently reading Moby Dick. I feel pretty sure I won’t finish until sometime next month, so check back then for my review of the classic.

My own book, Heart of Stone is available exclusively on Kindle. Amy Raines of Readers’ Favorite says “Cannon makes it easy to bond with the characters and feel what they feel as she lays out the plot in a very realistic manner.” Seeing her review of my book made my day yesterday. I was on cloud nine! Here is a link to her full review:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/heart-of-stone/1

If you are looking for something quick and fun to read between turkey dinner and pumpkin pie, this just might be the thing. I appreciate all readers and all feedback.

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Until next month, happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Happy Book Birthday, Moby Dick

I discovered while checking out ‘this day in history’ facts online today, that Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was first released on November 14th, 1851.

In honor of this historic event, I’ve decided today is the perfect day to begin reading my recently acquired copy of the book.

I am a sucker for old books. I scour garage sales and flea markets for well-read, classic and much loved editions of books. I especially love to find copies where previous owners have made notes in the book.

I found this particular copy at my local Half Price Books store, and it appears to have belonged to one Joe Embry in March of 1956. I’d like to thank Mr. Embry for sharing his book forward.

And to all of the avid readers out there, let me know what classics you are currently reading, or have read lately. Maybe you’ll spark my interest to add something new to me ‘to read’ list.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Halloween

Hey all! I hope you’re having a spook-filled Halloween overflowing with candy and kids dressed up as goblins. Oh, I miss the fright nights of my youth, running around all dressed up, spastic in a full-on sugar rush, and no parents around to disrupt the mischievous acts of my brothers and me. It was the good old days.

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Photo Source: Pixabay.com

In the spirit of all things creepy, I am sharing a link to a story I wrote about a very strange black cat. It was published about a year ago on medium.com. The link is below. I hope you’ll click and ready my ghastly little tale.

Shelter Cat by Andrea Cannon

Thanks and have a safe and fun All Hallows Eve!

Cooking Perfect Hard-boiled Eggs

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Source: Pixabay

I love eggs, especially hard-boiled, but I have always struggled with cooking them to the right consistency. My eggs always seemed to be under-cooked in the yoke, or not set enough for me to peel them without destroying their beauty. So I threw my hands in the air and set to work. I scoured the internet for recipes and tips. I dug out all of my old cookbooks. I tested every set of instructions I found and finally…

 ** drum roll and fireworks, please **

…the perfect hard cooked egg!

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Picture by Mona Sabha Cabrera (Source: Pixabay)

It was easy to peel. It was done through the yoke. It was not slimy or rubbery.

Just yumminess-in-your-mouth perfection!

This is the method I found for cooking perfect hard-boiled eggs. I always cook three eggs at a time. Start with a small saucepan. Fill with water until the eggs are completely submerged. Put the pan on the stove and set the burner to high. Now don’t think you can run off and do something else while you’re waiting for the water to boil. Trust me. Multi-tasking at this stage of the process does not go well with cooking perfect eggs. It shouldn’t take long for the water to boil. Feel free to scroll through your phone while you wait. Silly cat pictures are always a great time killer. And POW! The water is boiling.

Give it about ten to fifteen seconds and then turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan, but DON’T move it. Set your kitchen timer for twelve minutes. Now you may multi-task as long as you are within range of hearing the timer when it dings. As soon as that baby starts beeping, run back to the kitchen and tend to those eggs.

Carefully, using the lid to hold the eggs in the pan, pour the hot water out and then refill the pan with tepid tap water. Pour that water out and repeat, this time with cold tap water. Then pour the water out again, and this time you want to cover the eggs with VERY COLD water. I dispensed mine from the water cooler. You could also use bottled water from the fridge. The important thing is that the water is super cold.

Now let the eggs sit in their cool bath for at least five minutes and viola – perfect hard-cooked eggs to garnish a salad or transform into deviled eggs. Or, as I like to do, you can eat one with a little salt and pepper for a healthy, protein-packed breakfast.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any great cooking tips, or recipes with eggs, please feel free to share in the comments. 

If you’ve read my bio, then you might remember that I write and publish short fiction on medium.com. I’d like to share with you a fun little flash fiction piece I published last year.

https://medium.com/@AJCannon/there-was-an-old-woman-cc995c74731e?source=friends_link&sk=43991d99a6bb9aaa7a91babce0703869

I’d love to know your thoughts on the story, and thanks again for reading.

View story at Medium.com

My October Book Review

Hey friends! So I recently finished reading Innocence Lost by Carlton Stowers. This is an older book; it was published in 1990 (I believe) by St. Martin’s Press.

Why am I reading this 28 year old book now? Because enough time has finally passed for me to revisit the events covered in this book.

Innocence Lost is the true crime retelling of the murder of undercover police officer George Raffield in the small town of Midlothian, Texas – the town I grew up in. The murder occurred in the fall of my eighth grade year. Midlothian was tiny back then, and trust me, everyone knew everyone.

I found this book while browsing my dad’s bookshelf a few weeks ago and decided it was time for me to read it. I loved the book. It tells the story of the investigation from the officers’ perspective, which is very enlightening. All I had remembered is what all the kids were talking about in school.

George Raffield’s murder was a tragic and heartbreaking event. It shed light on drug use in the town that everyone was aware of but nobody ever talked about. It changed the small town that I grew up in. That incident marked the beginning of the end of Midlothian’s status as a small town. Suddenly it seemed the entire world had heard of Midlothian. We were no longer anonymous, no longer a quiet, sheltered town where we could pretend the big city problems had no reach.

I enjoyed the book very much. This is the first true crime novel I’ve ever read, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. But I thought it was well-written and told the story honestly and respectfully. I definitely recommend this book, and I plan on reading more of Carlton Stowers work.

Now I’m off to find my next reading material. I’d love to know what you guys are reading. Feel free to leave comments. Until next time…happy reading.

Book Review – September

I recently finished reading One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I cannot even begin to describe how fabulous this book was!

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Once I started reading I had trouble putting this gem of a story down. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves suspense.

Until next month….happy reading.

It’s National Read a Book Day!

So, I have been MIA for a while. But now I am back. In honor of National Read a Book Day (which comes around every year on September 6th) I thought I’d share a list of all the books I’ve been reading these past several months.

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On a side note, who needs a national holiday to read a book? In my world every day is read-a-book day!

While I do love to read a lot, I also have a family and a job and I have been working on my first novel. This accounts for about half of the reasoning behind my long absence from My Whatever Blog. The second half would be this huge life change called selling our home and moving a hundred miles to our new home in the woods. It’s absolutely fantastic! I am a huge fan of nature and all things outdoors, so I am loving our new home. But let me tell you, packing up all your stuff after living somewhere for eighteen years is quite the chore. I may never get completely unpacked, but that is okay as long as I have my books and my laptop.

Now, my reading goal for 2018 is twelve books. I know, it’s kind of small, but I had to rethink my scheduling to fit in my writing time. (More about my upcoming novel soon.) I’ve decided to also expand my reading subject matter, add more diversity, if you will. I read one book per month and alternate between fiction and nonfiction. Here is a list of the books I’ve read so far this year.

The Twentieth Train by Marion Schreiber

The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

C is for Cupcake by Carolyn Haywood

Decision Points by George W. Bush

Match Making for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

On Writing Fiction by David Jauss

Wives of War by Soraya M. Lane

And that, my friends, is where I’m at – 9 down, 3 to go. I will be posting reviews of some of these fiction titles before the year comes to an end. For now, I’m off to read for as many hours as possible on this wonderful National Read a Book Day.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Real Books are Better

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Well, let me rephrase….I prefer printed books to their digital counterparts.

I like the weight and the feel of a hard cover book in my hands. I like to strum the corners of the pages as I read. I enjoy picking out bookmarks that complement whatever book I happen to be reading. I highlight passages and make notes in the margins.

I write the month and year on the inside covers of books when I read them.

I’ll admit the Kindle app on my phone is wonderful when I am standing in line or waiting for appointments. And my husband is grateful to Nook for enabling me to read in bed with the lights off. I’ll never take another road trip without an audio book on hand.

But print still is and always will be my favorite. Why? It’s the memories.

I can browse through my bookshelves, run my hand along the spines, pick up a book and be instantly reminded of the times I’ve read it. It’s like reuniting with an old friend. In my mind the story becomes intertwined with my life – how old I was when I read it, what was going on, what the season was. I even remember walking through the bookstore and choosing that particular book, opening it, scanning the cover matter, flipping through the pages.

I love immersing myself in story worlds. Reading memoirs awakens my sense of compassion. The only thing I enjoy more than reading is writing. I hope that someday, someone will pick up a book that I have written and feel the same sense of …. Hmmm, how do I describe it? Fulfillment, wonder, happiness? I don’t know. I just wish that others will enjoy my stories as much as I have enjoyed the tales of other writers around the globe. Having a printed book in my hand makes that wonderful feeling tangible. And that is why I love printed books best.

Photo by Anthony from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/book-stack-books-classic-knowledge-158834/

 

Summer of Reading for Fun – Post 7

Summer is almost over, friends, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop reading for fun. I will never stop reading. EVER! Seriously, I love reading that much. 

I have finished A Dog’s Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin. So, skype book club with my nieces didn’t work out. We could never get our timing in sync with all the summer activities. One of my nieces didn’t even read it! I am ashamed to admit that I gave up on the whole idea. But I read the book anyway. This book was so touching. I found myself almost crying during several scenes. I finished the book with a smile on my face, so everything worked out great in the end for Squirrel, the main character. This book is marketed for kids ages 8-12. I definitely recommend it. The underlying theme of having compassion for animals is a great lesson for kids to learn.

Now I’d like to share another book that I have read this summer. In fact, I have read this book several times over the past 2 years. 


My son wrote this book. I have been helping him with editing and publishing. I hope you don’t mind me doing a little shameless marketing for him. He just graduated high school last year, and he has been working on this manuscript since his sophomore year. We did the final edits over the summer and published it about a month ago. 

Peter Haven by Jacob Steinman is the story of a boy trained to be a super soldier. A secret department of the government has been his surrogate family for his entire life, and Peter learns that he is scheduled to be terminated. He escapes only to end up in an even worse situation. This book is the first of a series that will be published over the next few years. Jacob is feverishly working on book number 2 as we speak. 

If dystopian adventure stories interest you, I hope you will hop on over to Amazon and download a copy. And thanks again for allowing me a few minutes to brag about my son. 

On to more fun reading. My next issue of Carve Magazine arrived this week. I am just itching to dive into it. I also found myself at Barnes & Noble yesterday, where I couldn’t help but pick up the most recent copy of American Short Fiction. I’ll add this to my stack of books and mags ‘to read’. It’s growing faster than it’s shrinking, so I’ll just have to spend even more time reading. Darn the bad luck!

Happy reading everyone, and please do comment. I’d love to know what you all are reading.

Summer of Reading for Fun – Post 6

I am back home – my vacation is over. It was a fun-filled trip to Colorado. I went hiking every day and basked in the beautiful mountain landscapes. So with all of that hiking I didn’t have a lot of time to read. I managed to finish one book and a couple of short stories.

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I loved The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  This book completely surprised me. I kept thinking Rachel was the killer right up until the last few chapters. So imagine my shock when the true killer was revealed! An excellent read. I recommend this book for all lovers of suspense.

Rent Money: A Stiletto Stories Quick Read          Casualties of Love: a short story

Now for short stories. I recently discovered a new author on Kindle. Her books are short enough to read in one sitting, about an hour or two.  These are fun stories for killing time and escaping the monotony of work or travelling or whatever. I guess they are sort of in the contemporary fiction category. I liked them because I love to read all the time, but sometimes I just want something quick and light. I don’t always want to commit to a novel that will take weeks to complete with my busy schedule. So if you feel the same, here is a link to Joanna Goodlove’s Amazon page.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/17019917.Joanna_Goodlove

I’d love to know what you all are reading this summer. Feel free to comment and share your reading list, and your feelings on any of the books I have reviewed.

That’s it for now…back to reading 🙂 …..