" />Reviews Published 50 Book Reviews Professional Reader 2016 NetGalley Challenge

domenica, dicembre 31, 2017

15 Best Traditional Christmas Recipes for a Big Family by Tracy Gibbs

15 Best Traditional Christmas Recipes for a Big Family by Tracy Gibbs is a stunning, yumming and delicious cookbook with 15 ideas for create sweet and unforgettable dishes during the Christmas Time.
Christmas is important like also Epiphany because, writes the author,  remember us the importance of having a family.
Surely these dishes represents the best American tradition.
We find cookies like Cinnamon Stars, pecans of Candy, but also dishes like the Glazing Apricot and Brown Sugar Ham or the Farmer's Orangy Goose Roast, Caramel and Apple Pork Chops and a Traditional Egg Casserole.

Ham for example is not one of my favorite meat, but Americans love to cook it adding also brown sugar and honey and maybe the taste is bettered by these ingredients.

Great recipes for great days!

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

From Thanksgiving to Christmas (Exotic&Exciting Recipes) by Crawoford Torr

From Thanksgiving to Christmas (Exotic&Exciting Recipes) by Crawford Torr is an amazing E-cookbook with 30 succulent and original recipes that you can't lose if you want to experience a pretty diversified Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
At first, the history of Thanksgiving. Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863. This feast is celebrated in different weeks only in Canada and USA and turkey is the main character of the season, although sometimes I think that the poor animal would want to go somewhere, precisely run away else during November :-)

The first Thanksgiving celebrated in 1621 after the arrival of the first Pilgrims. They met at first a Native American and he taught them how to fish, plant corn creates maple syrup. Pilgrims celebrated that year the first Thanksgiving because corn harvest was a success.

Recipes are from these areas of the world: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Liberia, Norfolk Island (Australia). Most of these recipes are fresh, delicious, for a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

BAKING 12 delicious recipes for Scones, Doughnuts and more from Our Favorite Cookbooks: Ovenly, Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats and Sugarlicious.

Harlequin donates to their readers a stunning eBook BAKING 12 delicious recipes for Scones, Doughnuts and more from Our Favorite Cookbooks: Ovenly, Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats and Sugarlicious. The ones I loved the most: Salted Apple Bread, Double Chocolate-Chip Glazed-Over Donut Holes, Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free!) Zombie Marshmallow Pops.

The eBook if plenty of instructions for create these recipes and more at the best.

I downloaded this Ebook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Letters Away A Christmas Collection by Elias Raven and Sharon Johnson

Letters Away A Christmas Collection is a work of fiction written by Elias Raven and Sharon Johnson.
A series of poems written by Jacob Tanner to his beloved wife, Belle Tanner on 1952 when they were separated. Worries, love, dreams, the arrival of the mail man with another letter of the beloved husband/wife, excitement, waiting,
Tender, loving set of poems, perfect for the Christmas Season and after all for every day of the year for being read and re-read.

Highly recommenced.

I downloaded it on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

A Christmas Squirrel by Shelagh Watkins

A Christmas Squirrel by Shelagh Watkins published by Mandinam Press is a wonderful children's book and it reports the story told in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Just, the terrible, avid Ebenezer Scrooge is substituted by an apparent tender squirrel called Squooge.

Squooge lived separated by the rest of the other squirrels. He didn't have any friends, he hated to seeing other squirrels happy and joyous.
He worked all the time for accumulate a great amount of nuts for the Winter Time a season when squirrel live in their own and warm little houses waiting for the arrival of spring.

A group of robins, birds, tried to convince Squooge: "Give something to the poorest animals" but the squirrel sent them to hell.
Squooge had a helper a poor shy mouse called Sam Scratcher.
Squooge paid in peanuts this poor worker.

Squooge all alone for Christmas Time fell asleep but pretty soon he was awaken by the arrival of a friend of him Jake Rabbit.
Jake died many years ago and promptly he told him that he would have been visited by three spirits.

It was true. The first one, an owl, will let show to Squoode his past Christmases, a bat the current Christmas and and a raven a future remote Christmas where no one cried for the departure of Snezer Squooge the Squirrel.

Said that, Squoode changed his existence exactly as did Ebenezer Scrooge.

Beautiful story.
You know I am an estimator of A Christmas Carol but also this version of story for children with participation of animals and not humans is very well done, intense, nice, cute, complete and gives an idea of important thematic like the one of socialization, keeping open our eyes when we see people in need, and sharing what we have with other people. Friendship another thematic I consider important.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman

Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman  is a free short story eBook part of The Pebble Creek Amish Series published by Harvest House Publishers. You will find this short Amish story good, relaxing and plenty of optimism.

Grace is an Amish. She is a teenager in love for Adam from six months and we are close to Christmas Time.

She draws beautifully well, she is a good girl, and like all the rest of Amish girls she is not just busy with her own life but with many other chores as well.

A lady, Audrey notices her beautiful drawings and one night, guest of Grace's family, Audrey tells her she would be happy to see her as a book illustrator offering a great job.

At first Grace and her family don't see this one as a great idea but then maybe they will change opinion blessed by everyone.

Another great story where family, food, at the end of the eBook two yummy recipes! local culture, respect of traditions and at the same time good opportunities are mixed together for create a relaxing, wonderful short tale.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, dicembre 30, 2017

Nelly the Reindeer who saved Christmas written and Illustrated by Genesis Ano

Nelly the Reindeer who saved Christmas written and Illustrated by Genesis Ano is the story of a reindeer and her biggest dream: to be part of the team of reindeer that every year share with Santa Claus the magic of Christmas. How to do that? A lot of animals put her down. "You won't never be in grade to become that kind of reindeer" they continuously repeated her. Nelly sobbed and cried a lot because she would have loved to be part of that team, meeting Rudolph, the special reindeer of Santa with red nose, so famous everywhere.
Her parents tried of not discouraging that beloved nice reindeer with such a beautiful dream in her heart. But Nelly needed someone to show her the way to fulfill all her dreams.
Nelly discovered Rudolph and the team of Santa's reindeer but she seemed she was too little for a trip like that one, plus a female! and put down by other famous Santa's reindeer. Maybe an episode will let change the opinion of Santa.

This children's book help us to learn various lessons: never put down someone who have a dream. At the same time the story recognizes that Nelly arrived thanks to her good work and perspicacity at Santa's Team.
Nelly encourages everyone to keep alive their dreams.

Highly recommended.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Fingerspell & Recognize 100 Last Names Using the Fingerspelling Last Names Learn American Sign Language - ASL By Adele Jones

When I downloaded this eBook I completely remembered the importance of this language when we went to school. We also "talked" with our hands, spelling phrases, words. It was another way for communicating between us.
Fingerspell & Recognize 100 Last Names Using the Fingerspelling Last Names Learn American Sign Language - ASL By Adele Jones will let you discover at first how to spell with your fingers all letters of the American Sign Language and then how to "articulate" with them a lot of words.
You will see: it will be fantastic to learn it.

You can involve everyone and it will be great to discover a lot of words not just spelled commonly. You can use this system like another secret language for communicating with people.

Don't forget the power of it!

Highly recommended.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Letters From Dad by Trinda Latherow

What a beautiful book is Letters From Dad by Trinda Latherow.
This eBook is for all that people, children, adults, caregivers, interested to keeping a distant contact in an old-fashioned way.

In particular, contact with letters received by Dickie, the husband of the author from his Dad made the difference in his kid-life letting him discover his dad Harry Latherow, thanks to his drawings, his long letters for all of them. This contact created an intimate connection between them still strong and important to him.

It was 1955, and well American society at that time encouraged family and unity of family.

President was Eisenhower, I always love to remember he was the founder of PTPI, People to People International, an organization wanted for sharing brotherhood, understanding and a message of peace through all Nations in our world.

A stamp at that time cost just three cents and so correspondence was encouraged tells the author, and Dickie's dad could write him very very often.

Harry Latherow was an iron worker at that time, and his mother a homemaker.

Abundance, tells ms.Latherow came later in Dixie's family but these ones are remembered by Dickie and all his family as the richest years of all his life.

Dickie's parents worked together and hardly for building a good existence to all of them. They built the house, they have had their children. They made all of it with the power of love.

Mrs. Latherow exchanged frequently letters with her husband telling him something about their house, their children, their situation, and it was a joy to reading the latest ones from Harry.

Each morning and each night mr.Latherow wrote to his beloved woman and his children.

Mr Latherow didn't just write letters but included drawings sketches as well, everything that could make smile his children.
He was attracted by nature and he loved to being an outdoor guy and he loved to portraying what he saw around him.

This eBook is accompanied by many pictures of letters sent by mr.Latherow to his family like also his drawings to his children. I loved in particular the story of the rabbit and the fox.

Many drawings are dedicated to Easter's Time other to colored ducks, mallards and many other aquatic birds.

In a drawing mr Latherow portrayed one of the ship with which Columbus reached America in 1492.

Harry Latherow was blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. What he loved to do was to paying attention to all his family in a material way but also most importantly he followed all this numerous family with great attention and devotion.
Harry loved to camp, boat, shop, visit friends and family together. He loved to explore the American Countryside.

He was born in Pennsylvania and then moved South when young. When he died all his family was close to him. The best blessing a man can waits.

The author remarks something: we must pay attention at the bond of love we create. The bond of love we form in this life is forever with us.

This book is a real treasure I warmly suggest to everyone. A real hymn to a wonderful Dad, and a homage to all Dad's of this world for their work, for their being here and for their constant attention regarding their families.

May all families be blessed with a Dad like  Harry  Latherow was.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas and the meaning of it

Christmas will continue to be part of my blog.
It's years I dream for the "perfect" Christmas.
The one without problems, disgraces, loss and unfortunately it's a lot of years that our Christmas is heavy, very heavy, veiled by a lot of sadness.

For this reason I search for Christmas in every book, in every story, in every cook book, in every special place where I can feel that Christmas Spirit that after all should characterize our daily life for 365 days and not just for one day.

I still remember going to the church all excited for the the Christmas's Eve mass.
Surely we would have sang pretty horribly Tu scendi dalle Stelle, but there was a great ferment and excitement because Baby Jesus was born, and it was time for regeneration.

It was a great joy, people were all happy, plenty of joy laughs, smiles, and we wished to everyone Merry Christmas. We were happy. Not just our family but our community.

When I remember it, I admit it is heartbreaking this change during the time of customs and moods because of what happened to most of us. Sometimes I think that life is unbelievable.

To all my readers a big thanks for reading!

Happy New Year

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas Poem and Dedication to my Wife by David Stokely

Christmas Poem and Dedication to my Wife by David Stokely is a little ebook of few pages, a pure, sensual tender homage and hymn to  Stokely's wife and what his wife means to him.
It's so romantic, these collection of poems are a great thank to a companion who means the world for the author.
Why mr Stokely's wife is so important? For her body, her soul, because she changed for better this man, because her presence means the world for him.
Tender, felt, I highly suggest to everyone this little eBook for discovering through the words by mr.Stokely the biggest declaration of love that a man in love can invent for his beloved wife, during the Christmas Time.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Amish Bookseller by Abigail Augsburger

The Amish Bookseller by Abigail Augsburger is a short tale classified as Amish Mystery.

Miriam is an Amish and she started to work in a book by an english lady, Stella Wilson. Stella married a man much more old than her 30 years of difference, although she assured the girl she loved him profoundly. Miriam loves books so badly and so although this lady is english, she loves to working in her bookstore.

One night, she had an appointment with a boy, she remembers she had forgotten something at the bookstore. Once arrived there, she had left the owner in the store, she discovers the body of Stella.
Shocked by what she saw Miriam will call the police without problems although at first police men suspected of her. I started to love Amish Fiction because it gives tranquillity, that simplicity lost somewhere else in a life too complicated sometimes.

I encourage you to read Amish Literature. These tales, long or little are a balm for the soul.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Mrs. Santa Claus's Christmas Cookies Make Impressive Holiday Treats by Dennis Weaver

Mrs. Santa Claus's Christmas Cookies Make Impressive Holiday Treats by Dennis Weaver, - my favorite American baking website - and published by Prepared Pantry is a wonderful, delicious, captivating, stunning cook book, where you will see revealed every possible techniques for perfect cookies with delicious recipes included.

The first part will absorb tips and toppings. Various, different cookies and how to bake them in the perfect way but also what to use in terms of ingredients for obtain the most from them.
Mr Weaver will teach you how to bake cookies very well and thanks to him you will become if you are still not, a perfect baker.

Sections are: Drop Cookies, Hand Form Cookies, How to Make Cookies with multi-colored dough, Refrigerator Cookies, Rolled Cut-out Cookies, Bar Cookies and Other Cookies.

It's impossible that you won't find the perfect recipe for you and all your family.
I want also remember that a lot of free-eBooks are available at Prepared Pantry.
And trust me when I tell you this, they're all fabulous!

I downloaded this ebook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas in Paris Photo Collection with Smartphone (mukusya) Japanese Edition by Mamy

Christmas in Paris Photo Collection with Smartphone (mukusya) Japanese Edition by Mamy is a series of pictures from the French Capital. Some of them are spectaculars, other more common ones but if you like Christmas this eBook can give you a different perspective of the city. Who took these pictures in fact visualized a different Paris, corners I didn't know, but without forgetting french patisserie is for example.
I have had the impression that, more than searching for cultural and famous spots of the city, the author was driven by a personal tour.

I downloaded this ebook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Favorite Christmas Cookies from the authors of Ten Christmas Brides Ruth Cardello, Nina Bruhns, Donna Fasano, Rebecca York,Helen Scott Taylor, Ptrice Wilton, Mona Risk, Annie Jones Alicia Street Mimi Barbour

Favorite Christmas Cookies  from the authors of Ten  Christmas Brides Ruth Cardello, Nina Bruhns, Donna Fasano, Rebecca York,Helen Scott Taylor, Ptrice Wilton, Mona Risk, Annie Jones Alicia Street Mimi Barbour is a cookie book you must absolutely add to your library because it makes the difference.
Not only you will find the most common Christmas Cookies, but what I loved of this book it's  the originality of recipes. Not common ones. It's a cultural trip in several part of the world, you will see.

Why this? Thanks to the authors and their origins. I re-discovered for example the Swedish and Finnish recipe of Pepperkakor, the first recipe I tried of the ginger cookies one, thanks to a Finnish correspondent.
In this case ginger cookies thanks to different spices added in this recipe are more dark than not the common ones.

You will discover also a swedish Teacake Cookies recipes, a butter cookies recipe, a Southern Sour Cream Cookies one. Then in Europe, we will discover a Scottish Shortbread recipe, and if you like cinnamon a spice in grade to capture friendship keeping away false friends, there is the recipe of Festive cinnamon cookies.
If you are in love for eggnog, why shouldn't you try the spiced eggnog cookies?
Possible to re-create Italian Baci but there is also a recipe with fruit jam from Eastern Europe.

If you want to live a special moment traveling the world and enjoying different tastes of cookies, for Christmas or...after Christmas, this cookies eBook is for you!

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Under the Mistletoe: A Christmas Short Story by J.Parker

Under the Mistletoe: A Christmas Short Story by J.Parker tells the story of a frustrated mom and wife.
Married from a lot of years with Todd, Grace feels she is abandoned by him and his love.
Grace remembers with melancholy the first years of their love when Todd was plenty of attention and loved to remarking with special gifts  and attentions his sentiments to her.
Who did he become now? A workaholic without any kind of attention for her.
And after all what Grace would want is just some attentions and something under the Christmas Tree.

Todd knows that her woman is not happy as she was in the past. He will prepare a big surprise to her with the help of a special person...

Beautiful and sunny romantic short book!

I downloaded the eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Waiting for Christmas by Amelia J.Hunter

Waiting for Christmas is an erotic  short story written by Amelia J.Hunter. The scenes proposed to readers are classified for adults, although I discovered the most unusual so romantic happy end for a book like this one. 

The story: Rebecca waits for her night of passion with his Luke every year during the Christmas Season. It's a lot of years that they have these weird encounters.

They see each other just one night every year and that's all.
In that night it's flames and passion.

But this time there will be an unusual wonderful happy end for  Rebecca the protagonist of this story.
Maybe these encounters with Luke won't be just sporadic...

I downloaded this ebook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

Homemade Christmas Gifts 14 Gift Ideas& DIY Home Decor

OK OK, Christmas is over true like also worries and stress for gifts but Homemade Christmas Gifts 14 Gift Ideas& DIY Home Decor, to my point of you can be an inspiration also for the rest of the year if you have sufficient imagination and creativity.
Published by Fave Craft and Quick and Crafty, this book is dedicated to all that people who treasure to present to someone a special item made with their own hands.
14 special items for you described very well for a perfect result! You will find a special Christmas Pillow, but also French vintage cards, vintage holiday planner (a notebook), bookmarks. Some ideas can be great also during the rest of the year, changing colors, themes.

I downloaded the eBook on Amazon.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, dicembre 28, 2017

A Christmas Squirrel by Mike Doodson illustrated by Ian Beck

A Christmas Squirrel written by Mike Doodson and illustrated by Ian Beck is a beautiful sunny tale for children and it remembers under many aspects the famous A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Just, in this case protagonists are animals and there are no ghosts around.

Everyone in the wood celebrated Christmas and were joyous or they tried to be. Animals without too much food on their table, other luckiest ones, all happy and joyous together.

Just an animal lived in complete solitude and all alone.
It was an avid squirrel.

Very rich of food but unable to share his richness with anyone, he loved to seeing the food and opulence accumulated in his stores with avidity and with the right of keeping everything for himself. Sure: he accumulated all alone that nuts.

At the same time a numerous and indigent family of moles tried to search for some food during the Christmas Day. Badger couldn't assure them that the lunch would have been so rich but he would have been glad to share what he had on his table with them in the real Christmas' Spirit.

At the same time the voice of conscience speaks to the avid squirrel, once generous and opened with everyone - remember the story of Scrooge? - when young and I can tell you that there will be a happy end for everyone.

A wonderful very well illustrated children's book that I am sure will speak to the heart of everyone.

I downloaded this eBook on Amazon but you can also find the physical copy if your kid prefers that one.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, dicembre 24, 2017

Il meraviglioso viaggio di Nils Holgersson, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson by Selma Lagerlof

Il meraviglioso viaggio di Nils Holgersson  , The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson by Selma Lagerlof is one of the latest and most waited books released by Iperborea Italian publishing house dedicated to North European literature for adults and children.

When I read that they would have released a new version of Nils Holgersson this time completed (I didn't know that my version of 30 and more years ago wasn't completed!) I jumped on my chair.
I read Nils Holgersson many times! when I was little and per months I kept close to me religiously that book presented to me during Christmas.

Nils Holgersson during my childhood age was one of my favorite companions of fantasy thanks also to a beautiful and very well done cartoon.

All my family I remember loved to watch it. Living in a countryside the messages Nils wanted to communicate strong and at the same time understandable to everyone.

This little blond Swedish teenager is transformed one day in a little elf because of an enchantment created for exasperation by the little elf of Holgersson's family.

I just hope you believe in these elves.

They're little creatures and probably you won't never see them.
They live in every house and it depends by the kind of elf you have, they pretend to let you smile with some tricks An example? When a fork falls without explanation from the table, or the door slam but there's no wind. They add a touch of humor in your life.

They are more silent when in a house there are problems. They become meditative.

The little guardian of mr Holgersson's farm lived with this family from a long time being helpful in various ways.

Nils, at home for reading the Sunday Sermon, sees this strange creature and rude as he is with every other creature, he tries all his best for upsetting him.

Pity that the revenge of this little magical creature is the miniaturization of Nils.
Nils doesn't know what to do, and he tries to see if he can sort out this mess.
No: it's impossible. He won't return to be a normal teenager so soon. Now: what to do?

Nils understands a thing: that the enchantment of the little elf left him the possibility of understands what the other creatures says him.
Cows, ducks, he understands every language and he can interacts with them with extreme simplicity being understood.
I can tell you that no one of that animals could tolerate this boy because too rude with them and his parents as well.

Wild ducks passes at some point directed to Lapland calling domestic ducks for joining them.
One of the domestic ducks of mr Holgersson's farm "accepts" the invite: Marten. Why not?

Nils doesn't want to permit that this duck leaves their farm and tries to stop Marten. At the same time he starts to flying with Marten and the rest of the wild ducks in the blue sky.

An amazing, free, wonderful, enchanting trip this one where freedom, open spaces, interaction with the most beautiful, and wild nature is lived in a daily base.

Nils and these ducks will live a lot of confrontations, perils, but there is an extraordinary touch of magic as well with peculiar and beautiful stories.

The dimension of dream is incredible like also the one of travel lived not just like a wanted experience.

Nils didn't want to go anywhere, Nils was just a selfish boy and the desperation of his parents and all farm's animals.

Travel in Nils Holgersson is the discovery of his self. Travel in this book means solidarity, friendship, winning diffidence with real acts of courage and friendship.The one of old duck Akka is a real  community that helps each other. At the end of this travel, we will see Nils' spiritual and human growth. A best teenager for everyone, parents and animals.

Nils Holgersson remains in the story of Sweden and North European Literature, - personally also in my personal story as a child - one of the most beloved classic and a character respected by everyone.

From transportation to coins, you can find Nils and his portentous, young, fresh in every sense message resonating everywhere in Sweden.

Nils speaks of nature and respect for nature, respect for all human being and animals, and important lessons learned for becoming a great good man thanks to the most extraordinary wonderful adventure someone can dream to live!

Highly recommended to everyone, children and adults. Children must return to dream with healthy stories and classics are the most stunning starts. Adults shouldn't never lose the dimension of dream.

There are special sections dedicated at parents and relatives for reading aloud passages of this book.


If you can read all this book, some portion per time every evening to your children when they go to bed it's better. Don't worry because they won't never lose interest and their night dreams will be populated  by beautiful distant lands populated by animals, forests, green.

I thank Iperborea for the physical copy of one of my most beloved children's books.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, dicembre 21, 2017

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

A very beauty and intricate life-story the one created by Manda Collins an author in love for the past and for historical romance.

In her latest Christmas book, With This Christmas Ring , readers will find a warm and at the same time engaging story, written beautifully well and in grade to capture the attention of the most romantic readers 'til the end.

The story is this one: Merry Parks makes a promise at a dying friend: she will bring the little and soon orphan daughter of this girl at her biological dad.
Just, Merry doesn't know that the dad of this girl is the cousin of Viscount Wrotham a man the girl can't still forget although a lot of water passed under the bridges.
But she must do that. She must search for this man because this daughter must reaches her dad.

When Viscount Wrotham discovers the reality, that his cousin created all this mess he accepts to reunite the little baby with her father, but he will also create the conditions for trying to re-conquer the heart of Merry during the Christmas Season thanks also to meteorological conditions in grade to trap them somewhere during the trip.

Enjoy this historical romance!

I thank NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, dicembre 19, 2017

Come Away My Beloved Daily Devotional by Frances J. Roberts

Come Away My Beloved Daily Devotional by Frances J. Roberts, by Barbour Staff will be published this Jan 1 and it is a strong, powerful devotional book you should read and meditate slowly.

It is precious, it's profound, it's made for trying to connect you with God with more intensity and for finding the answers you are searching for but also for meditate and reflecting about life, and the meaning of it.

Many thematic touched, present, future, expectations, happiness, I loved personally The Cross in the Star, The Spirit of Life.

I didn't know this author but for what I read this book contains excerpts from her books like Come Away my Beloved, a million copy book, Dialogues with God,  Progress of Another Pilgrim, and On the Highroad of Surrender.

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley

How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley is a book published by Princeton University Press.

What is propaganda and how can it be legitimate in liberal democracies?

It is amazing the message spread by mr Stanley.

The author doesn't have doubts: propaganda is a contribution in liberal democracies or let's use this expression, another voice, an additional voice to public debate and discussion and can take these shapes: non linguistic and linguistic forms.


Because propaganda uses posters, movies, spots, everything in grade to reach people for changing their mind. Not only: propagandistic message in general is very clear for everyone. Propaganda wants to spread a message, eroding reasonabless and certainties in individuals.

Stalkner talked of: "ruling out situations."

What does that mean? Let's see. I ask you an information and you give me a certain direction. I give certainty to certain facts.
The example can be a store where I can buy a Christmas Tree.
Doing this, I exclude automatically other realities, other "worlds" other streets, and  paths, other stores where I could buy a Christmas Trees. Why? Because not anymore existing.

After all aren't there many other stores where I could go for buying a Christmas Tree? Yes, but I ask for a direction, you give me that and that exchange changes the relationship between us. I trust you, you trust me.

What I do during this process is including and excluding. I include the fact that the world I want to describe and where I want to go is the world I asked to you for and at the same time you believe that.

The author adds that this one is a great way of communication.

Now let's see another phrase where we can read secrets meaning.

If I tell to someone: "I spent part of every summer time until I was ten with my grandmother, who lived in a working-class suburb of Boston" you can see that there is to reflect a lot. There are many hidden messages in this phrase.

Why? Because intentionally I want to let you know something about the social status of my granny. She didn't live in Beacon Hill but in a working-class suburb and it means that other questions will follow with this first, apparently innocent phrase.

But other example follow. Did you know that some words in an expression can be used as a hedge?

If I tell to someone that "The President is about to give a speech, I hear" the function of "I hear" alters the common phrase "The President is about to give a speech" profoundly.

Most common propaganda works like it: "Repeating association between words and social meanings" explains Stanley. Not only: propagandists uses both imagines and words as basis for their conventional meanings.

Social meaning and what it means for our society.

We can start from from a couple and then a marriage and then the born of various children. A family is the first nuclear society, are we all right about it?
Great. At every levels we have laws and institutions. Marriage is a contract as well and laws must be respected for example in a marriage as also for extension in our society.
Propaganda loves to attach problematic social meanings.

I will stop here...

I could continue telling to you that at first the author traces a definition of propaganda and how in the past Plato and Aristotle although imperfect thought that democracy was the best government people could ask for.
But I want to let you discover all the rest, a lot by yourself. It's an absorbing book this one, it can't be finished in one night. There is a lot to reflect about.
It's a philosophic trip this one through times, through minds and chapters about a word so important in our days at different levels.

I highly recommend this book to everyone remembering it is a book dense of concepts, pretty philosophical (it will open your mind) but absolutely one of the best ones I read.
I knew something about propaganda but this book, you will see will be in grade to make the difference in your life.
It's important to be conscious of our choices and to think correctly first of all because we will be and we will live free :-)

I thank so much Princeton University Press for the beautiful physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, dicembre 17, 2017

42 Days to a More Powerful Prayer Life A Simple 6-Week Guide by Glenn Hascall

42 Days to a More Powerful Prayer Life A Simple 6-Week Guide by Glenn Hascall will guide you in a process of transformation through a more close relationship with God.
This book invites you to write down in a journal your thoughts, through a process of understanding of your life, your journey while the process of reading and meditation goes on.

Glenn Hascall suggests you to use this powerful tool in a group or with a friend as well. Not a bad idea, don't you think so?
What we know for sure is that God has a plan for us and so we mustn't be scared for it.

Praying for Others, Praying for Myself, Praying God’s Will, Praying through Tough Times, Hearing God, The Model Prayer, Praise as Prayer the important themes developed for this 42 days of intense spiritual work.

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this beautiful eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin

It's so poetic, beautiful The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin because the writer and gardener wants to invite you to enjoy your garden during the various seasons of the year. In these important, sweet, tender, acute essays about Martin's garden, descriptions of flowers, starting from daffodils and later lilac during spring and various changes that every season does slowly slowly analyzed with great cure and love.
 Seasons are extremely important for nature, plants, flowers.
Nature is real perfection and you will discover it while you will read this book. Spring is the joy of re-born and it brings enthusiasm, strong colors, smells, vivacity of life. Summer is intensity, maturity ready to bloom, but also fall and winter will be rich of surprises.
Each section, spring, summer, fall and winter divided in: Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, Taste.


The book will be released on April 4th.

I thank NetGalley and Timber Press for this beautiful eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

How God Grows a Girl in Grace A Devotional by JoAnne Simmons written with Jodi Simmons and Lilly Simmons

How God Grows a Girl in Grace A Devotional by JoAnne Simmons written with Jodi Simmons and Lilly Simmons, JoAnne Simmons' daughters, is a book published by Barbour.

It's a bubbling devotional book this one with a great preface written by JoAnne Simmons.
She introduces herself wishing to know every girl will read her book.   I found it beautiful! and it gives me the sensation that there is a real interest for her readers.

The purpose, being the book dedicated mainly to girls, is the one of a fresh approach.

This one is a book for learning how to be Girls in Grace.
What does it mean?

In a world pretty confused, growing up daughters religiously, or, with that special touch that it is grace is difficult, but God is not an abstraction and can be lived in a healthy way.
There are very good advice, many serious thematic touched like forgiveness, real beauty, the importance of little things, Time, Love.

A devotional is dedicated at trouble, another one wants to admonish girls at staying out of the trash.

I love this book because it's fresh and because JoAnne expresses her feelings starting from her real experience with her daughters, and so lessons she learned while she was and she is educating them, while she spends time with them, writing them down now advice for giving to you a direction as well.

According to my point of view this one is a great wonderful and fresh reading.

I suggest this book to everyone in particular to all that girls who, in a complicated society like this one don't want to lose their contact with God or they want to live with grace their existence.

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, dicembre 16, 2017

John W. Garrett and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad by Kathleen Waters Sander

After the stunning reading of Evergreen the beautiful tome that the Johns Hopkins University Press dedicates at The Garrett Family and their legacy in terms of philantropism and culture my fascination for this Irish family continued.

The best thing to do was to request John W. Garrett and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad by Kathleen Waters Sander.

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press this one is more than a historical book: it's the fusion I would say between the personal story of John W. Garrett, his family and the one of a city, Baltimore and a railroad, the B&O Baltimore and Ohio. Maryland and Baltimore in search of visibility and competitions with other cities like Boston, New York at the beginning of 1800.

The USA a country in ferment, evolution also thanks to new modalities of communications developed for facilitating commerce and of course trips like the B&O railroad was born for.

People of Baltimore started to think that maybe the idea of British, a railroad, could be taken in great consideration.

It's a common saying everywhere I guess: where there is a railroad there is a different atmosphere and cities more opened, more friendly, more accessible under many aspects. A railroad brings more vitality.

This one is the story of a city and various people, most of them influential and busy for trying to better the country where they lived in.

The story of Family Garrett is beautiful.

John the patriarch left Ireland for the USA with a lot of children and his wife in search of fortune. A trip in one of that ships plenty of hopes, dreams, desires, new life somewhere else.

The main idea was to continuing the work in a farm at first once arrived in the new world, and Garrett had some relatives in the East Coast. Unfortunately during the trip John died. Robert Garrett one of John's children didn't like  farm's works and tried something else becoming a merchant and once married was convinced by his wife to return to Baltimore. His fortune started to bloom and the one of the Garretts the realization of the American Dream.

His males children John W. Garrett and Henry first of all, there is a sister as well and Robert lost two children as well, studied in good schools before to start to work for him.

John was the most private, closed one, Henry the sociable guy, easy going in comparison to his brother.

The two will be crucial for the future development of the B&O. Great friends with Johns Hopkins, John W. Garrett will become President of the B&O with the blessing  and thanks to Johns Hopkins for so many years, from 1858 to 1880. He was nicknamed the Czar of Maryland, because of his power and his influence.

To him the vitality of B&O railroad was crucial. His brother during the Secession War thought that the cause of the South more than correct. Let's remember that the South supported and continued to want to use the work of black slaves for their plantation of cottons.
The North thought that this one was truly unfair and that everyone, black, white, needed a chance in a free country.
This discussion brought at the Secession War of 1861 ended up with the complete defeats of the South in 1865.

John supported the North and he tried all his best for helping the so-called Yankees also thanks to the railroad, attached more than 100 times in the while during the war.

Henry died after the Secession War and John tried all his best for cleaning up the Secessionist past of his brother, remembering him with remarkable initiatives.

Garrett was the brain and mind of the B&O per decades and not all the time was simple, but it was a great adventure, while the wealth of the family grew up enormously.

When he died, a broken heart because of the departure of his very beloved wife ten months before John W Garrett left his so loved B&O in a very good state.

John W. Garrett has been a great philanthropist although Peabody and Johns Hopkins created the guidelines and models for future donations.

I fell in love for this book at first because of the cover, it's stunningly colored and warm.

Inside a lot of pictures about the making of the railroad, a lot of pictures of family Garrett and of  most of the protagonists of this book.

I highly suggest this book to everyone. It will be an appreciated gift.

I thank Johns Hopkins University for the physical copy of this beautiful book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Biografie van En Uitgeberij - Biography of a Publishing House Stefan & Franciszka Themerson & Gaberbocchus contributions by Jasia Reicherdt & Nick Wadley

I start to thank Jasia Reichardt, Nick Wadley and Willem van Dewetering and his publishing house Huis Clos located in Amsterdam for the book review copy of: Biografie van En Uitgeberij - Biography of  a Publishing House Stefan & Franciszka Themerson & Gaberbocchus.

The book is bilingual and tells through the published books by  Gaberbocchus Press the literary and creative life of Stefan and Franciszka Themerson.

I loved this collage of words, contributions, drawings, colors, books. It's the perfect representation of the life of these two wonderful intellectuals of the XX century.

I established nine years ago a great contact with Jasia Reichardt, niece of Stefan and Franciszka Themerson particularly when I discovered on the net that Stefan Themerson wrote an opera called: St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio or Brother Francis' Lambs Chops An Opera in 2 acts.

At that time reporter and collaborator of Tutto Gubbio a local free press of  Gubbio, Italy, I was fascinated by stories involving people from different countries connected with us for a reason or another.

Jasia Reichardt sent me the book and I remember I translated that opera in half hour on a sunny Sunday morning. It has been the funniest story I have translated since now! about this religious legend.

I hadn't never imagined that someone would have portrayed our Saint Francis and the Wolf like that. Hilarious!

The wolf is pretty cynical, someone I would say, realistic about life and the dynamic of it. Disenchanted, in a word.

St.Francis seen as an ingenuous chap, someone too idealistic for finding a good place in this world. Sure a candid, candid soul unable to do anything wrong to anyone.
Extra-funny I can tell you that.
The dream the one of seeing the opera soon or late represented in Italy where St.Francis was born. But this one is another story.

The article was a great success.

I haven't never lost contacts with Jasia Reichardt and I have been invited by her at various art exhibits dedicated to the Themersons but for a reasons or another I haven't never been in grade to attend these past event in London but I don't lose the hope :-)

When I understood that there was the possibility of reading and reviewing this book I asked for it with enthusiasm.

Substantially this one is the story of the publishing house founded, created and wanted by Stefan Themerson and his wife Franciszka and the legacy that this publishing house leaves.
Stefan Themerson in fact said once as remarks in his contribution Nick Wadley that there will always be the necessity of keeping good writings available.

It's important. It's maybe the most important aspect of literature and books this one.

The love-story by Franciszka and Stefan Themerson interesting and wonderful. A great couple,very united, 'till the end.Stefan and Franciszka lived separated for three years during the Second World War Conflict.
Once reunited in 1942 the two will always live in London.

London has always been their headquarter in terms of creativity. They were true creative people, writers, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, film-makers, publishers and their characteristics were: originality, surrealism, eccentricity, nonsense,  desire of giving an intellectual touch able to make the difference in the market.

Their books represented the synthesis of drawings, illustrations and words put all together. This  mixture added glamour, modernity, a different vibe and energy to their books. Vivacity. This one was the essence of Stefan and Franciszka put in words and drawings.

Stefan Themerson added that he didn't go for best-sellers but for best-lookers books, because of the peculiarity of their personal creative touch.

Why naming the publishing house founded on 1948 Gaberbocchus?
It's the Latin translation of a word Jabberwocky used by Lewis Carrol the father of Alice in Wonderland in a nonsense poem where the main protagonist was Jabberwock. The logo of the publishing house is a friendly dragon, with a book or a fountain pen as sword.

This publishing house searched always for originality, profundity, brightness, surrealism.

Stephan Themerson wrote twelve children's books all original ones, giving to toddlers a funny vision of reality.

The first book to being published by the publishing house was Jankel Adler - An artist seen from one of many possible angles by Stephan Themerson while in 1950 with Barbara Wright: Mr.House Builds His House.
The idea of translating this children's book a desire of the couple but a first translation rejected by them.

Then, the meeting with ms. Wright. Later ms. Wright will tell all the most amazing and beautiful things about the Themersons and how it was thanks to them that she discovered a talent and a gift she didn't imagine at all: the one for translations.
Not only she collaborated with the Themersons in fact for the realization of this children's book, but she was encouraged by them to become a translator. If she did it, it was just thanks to them, she told.

The most famous book published by Gaberbocchus is Ubu Roi but I would want to mention by Stefan Themerson: The adventures of Peddy Bottom, Professor Mmaa's Lecture with a preface by Bertrand Russell. Gaberbocchus published by Bertrand Russell: The Good Citizen's Alphabet.

Other books: Comedy, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning by Christian-Dietrich Grabbe while The Shape of the River by Gwen Bernard wants to capture the magic of the Thames in drawings.
Kurt Schwitters in England: 1940-1948 by Stefan Themerson will be a visual experience for sure!

Gaberbocchus Loose-Leaf Series in 1958 dedicated the attention at these writers and poets: Walt Whitman, Jonathan Swift, James Laughlin, Charles Dickens, W.H. Auden, Samuel Butler, Huxley, Thomas Paine.

By George Buchanan I want to signal: Conversation with Strangers. It's an essay of reflections on the things able to keep us separated as people, individuals but also as nations.

Europa by Antol Stern remarks the end of a dreaming world and the entrance in scene of mechanization. The modern city seen with the limits that can bring to every individual. In general the poem traces an apocalyptic vision of the city.
This poem offers a reflection pretty modern about Europa and it was written in 1929!

Bayamus and the Theatre of Semantic Poetry by Themerson is so funny! A story of people with more limbs, eccentric, in the perfect Themerson's style.

But Franciszka and Stefan Themerson collaborated together as well in the creation of Semantic Divertissments. Franciszka did all the drawings and later Stefan Themerson added words.

If you like this story and if you have seen the movie with Johnny Depp by Tim Burton of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in 1973 Gaberbocchus published: The True Life of Sweeney Todd by Cozette De Charmoy, a satirical collage-novel published for the 25th anniversary of the creation of this publishing house.

The Urge to Create Vision by Stefan Themerson is a book about the Golden Age of avant-garde cinema. Words are accompanied by  stunning images. Stefan Themerson writes about movies he created while he was still living in Poland between 1932 and 1945. Only one of them survived that war and it was a satiric film: The adventures of a Good Citizen.

The last book I want to signal is another collaboration of this amazing couple: Unposted Letters.

During the war, and precisely from 1940 to 1942 Franciszka lived separated by Stefan Themerson. Themerson was at Vichy, in the Army, while Franciszka in London. These ones are letters, diaries, drawings of a girl in love waiting for his distant boy.

Books written by Stefan Themerson includes also nine philosophical novels. His books have been translated in eight languages.

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson were so united and they left this world the same year as well. Franciszka died on June 29th 1888 and Stefan Themerson on Sept 6th 1988.

The Themerson Archive at long in London is now to the National  Library in Warsaw.

Very successful in Netherlands, Themerson called that land "My adopted Country."

Highly recommended book for discovering two beautiful souls, wonderful books, great intellectuals, and an imaginary world rich, funny and plenty of great visions.

I thank Jasia Reichardt, Nick Wadley and Willem van Dewetering and his publishing house, Huis Clos for the physical copy of this amazing book!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, dicembre 14, 2017

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay published by Thomas Nelson is a great book if you are a Jane Austen's estimator.

Everything starts with Mary, the protagonist of this story. She is an engineer and her life is very good, productive. She is surrounded by great collaborators and friends.
She lives a conflictual relationship with Isabel her childhood friend for some various different reasons. Her dad one of these main ones although it will be her dad who will ask her of speaking again with her for a clarification.

One day Isabel offers her a vacation of two weeks in a big mansion in England. Mary answers her positively.
Mary won't be alone in this trip. She will share these two weeks with Isabel and their common past.

There is to add that Mary is fascinated by Jane Austen because her mother was a great Jane Austen's estimator, and so she always kept religiously well the books by Austen that her mother treasured so much. 

With the time she found this author interesting and captivating. She read and  re-read these books a lot of times and Austen became an author who permitted her to "read" better people and situations.

Maybe it is true: if you read Jane Austen a first read can't let you understand all the messages she wanted to transmit.

I found the book quick, I absolutely adore the cover, because it gives completely the idea of the tale you will read and the book is written according to my point of view in the perfect Jane Austen's atmosphere.

Highly suggested.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, dicembre 13, 2017

Colors of Christmas Two Contemporaries Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas by Olivia Newport

Colors of Christmas Two Contemporaries Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas by Olivia Newport have been written specifically for people in sufferance.

I can tell you I felt a lot this book because it's a series of years we live at various levels robust sadness in our family during this period of the year because of little or big problems and or/loss.

Questions are many and Christmas' meaning is the born of a new baby, new life, but Christmas was and remain also a feast of Light, of vision, of redemption.
If just an example like Ebenezer Scrooge can become true, Christmas is a miracle for the hearts and souls of people.

It's a feast against the obscurantism of our feelings, our sentiments, it's a feast that wants to give and wants to spread the best of us, our joy, our enthusiasm for future in the moment of the year in which there is the most profound lack of light in the real sense of the word and where the shadows of darkness, figuratively could attack us with more simplicity.

It's a feast for children and families. Children because of course being Little Jesus Christ the Star of the festivity it is felt a special sentiment for babies and children.

But, it's undoubtedly a feast for families. All reunited. In their functionalities and dysfuncionalities.

Sure, it's not said that in this moment of the year we won't receive sufferance or grief, pain and tears. How can we metabolize pain when is it too much? How can we find comfort?

The author speaks for everyone. People with a loss in the family, dad, mother, sibling, a friend, people without job, people in sufferance for a divorce, a break-up.

These two stories are very intelligent and beauty.

I focused my attention in Christmas in Gold and being a reporter, who started this job interviewing people in pain during the last Second World War Conflict it was wonderful reading Astrid's story.

Astrid is in his 80s and falls injuring various bones. Her son doesn't live close to her and so he thinks it's arrived the moment for her mom of spending her final years in an apartment and structure for elderly people.
Astrid is sad to leave her house, her normality for this new reality and apartment although she discovers pretty soon a new world and routine made by physiotherapists, and new friends. The time the one close to Christmas.
Astrid slowly slowly remembers the time during the Second World War spent in Germany, her devotion for her parents and her papa, the decision of becoming catholic, the trip to the USA. It's also a culinary story this one, German food one of the most beloved and appreciated of the USA.
At the same time this tale tells also the story of Carly, her little son and her ex boyfriend a real stalker. But maybe thanks to Astrid and her optimism the future of this girl won't remain obscure for too much time!

I loved so badly to read this book, as always another great one by Barbour.

Highly suggested for sure for everyone!

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas in Kilts: the writers confess their Christmas to our readers!

Sometimes I guess we are all very curious to understand how our favorite writers, movie-stars or singers spend their Christmas' season. What they do, their traditions, their special holiday.
Christmas is the taste of our family.

In this Q&A (I thank St.Martin's Press for this material) we will discover much more about the writers of Christmas in Kilts   published by St.Martin's Press.

So, enjoy their answers!

Terri Brisbin

When do the holidays official start for you?
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family! And now watching the grandkids celebrating!
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Our traditions have changed a bit as my sons married and grandkids began arriving. The one thing we still do is gather to decorate the Christmas tree at our house.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Christmas Vacation and Elf   
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
I just love reading holiday romance anthologies!
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
A Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
I love walking in my neighborhood after a new snow.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
My favorite gift was when I arranged a surprise family trip to Disney World for Christmas! It was hard but I succeed!
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
None yet but there will be!
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
It's been a really difficult 2017 so my resolution for 2018 is to make sure my loved ones know they are...loved.

Lecia Cornwall

When do the holidays official start for you?
We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season's first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13--that's my husband's birthday--we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up. 
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family and food.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Hard Question! The Bishop's Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas, and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children's book called Once In Royal David's City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I'm not sure if it's the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book, and treasure it.
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Another tough question! "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters,
"J-I-N-G-L-E Bells" by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt's album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don't turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father's rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year's Eve whenever it's cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they're gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside).
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I've been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me that's the best Christmas gift of all. 
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever growing) to-be-read pile! There's also the traditional Miss America answer to this question--a wish for world peace--but doesn't it just seem more important than ever this year?
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I'm usually good about achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.

Bronwen Evans

When do the holidays official start for you?
Mid December
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Guilt free reading and being with my family. Even an author needs down time.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Besides putting up my Christmas tree? I always make a pavlova with kiwi fruit for our Christmas day dessert. Remember it's summer in New Zealand.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
I have three - Love Actually (one of my favourite movies of all time) and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. I love action movies.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
No, but I will say one Christmas a friend kept telling me to read JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood as I had never read it. So I decided to read book 1. Well, over the Christmas break I read all 12 in a row!
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Mary's Boy Child by Boney M
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Well, it's summer in New Zealand at Christmas, and I love simply getting out my Kindle, pulling up my lounger, and lying by my pool reading a great romance book.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
I love giving, who doesn't. So I usually give anonymous gifts to my friends children. I knew one child was saving for a present but would be short, so I sent him a card with money in it from Santa. Seeing his joy was priceless. My most memorable gift was when I was 7 and I got my first puppy. I'll never forget seeing his little nose poking over the edge of the box and hearing his little barks.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Not really. I have a book wish list and at least everyone knows I'm easy to buy for.
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I haven't thought about it yet, but I usually just wish for my family to be happy and healthy.

May McGoldrick

When do the holidays official start for you?
The holiday season has no start or end in our house. We are a multi-cultural and multi-denominational family. One holiday hands off the fun to the next...and the next...and the next...And then we start again! Our full name is 'May Your Holidays be Endless McGoldrick'! (You can call us 'Festive' for short.)
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family get-togethers
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Before Christmas, we have a 'Gingerbread House Night.' I always think simple...graham crackers, candies, some frosting for the roof of a quaint little cottage. My competitive and mildly cutthroat family members, however, build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White House...
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Love, Actually
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
The Night Before Christmas
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Christmas is All Around You (Bill Nighy via The Troggs)
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Pick your own peaches. Pick your own apples. Pick your own pumpkin. Cut your own Christmas tree. And reading.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
For all the years our sons were young, we hid Christmas gifts all over the house. Assembly and wrapping took place after the boys were asleep on Christmas Eve. I remember the year when I used the last bit of wrapping paper while congratulating myself on my precision and planning. What I didn't know was that Jim had yet to wrap my gifts.
The next day, we all lined up on the stairs and then raced down to see what Santa left for everyone. The most charming gift was sitting under the tree. A large black trash bag containing Nikoo's gifts...tied up with a bow.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
A cottage on the beach in Southern California. Jim says, "Keep writing."
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Smile every day.
Write every day.
Make others happy.

Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick

Christmas in Kilts   by Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick is a book containing a bunch of wonderful romantic tales! written by great authors. I know you will fall in love for all these romantic story.

The book presents A Highlander's  Hope by Terri Brisbin, then A Highland Christmas Wager by Lecia Cornwall, continuing with
A Scot For Christmas by Bronwen Evans, and ending with two other fabulous tales: Leftover Mistletoe by Lavinia Kent and Sweet Home Highland Christmas by May McGoldrick.
All these tales are historicals, so if you also love to mix romance and history, in particular in a fairy land like Scotland is, this book is for you!

I thank NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, dicembre 11, 2017

You are Chosen Inspiration to Reassure your Soul by Darlene Sala

Sometimes in life you are not chosen. Work, sport, partners, you are put aside, and it seems that there is always someone better than you.
The author talks of her past in the local sport team of the school and I smiled. Like her I was chosen at the end not being into sport a lot.

In this book, You are Chosen Inspiration to Reassure your Soul by Darlene Sala by Barbour, you will understand that you are not alone, and that God has chosen you from the first moment of your existence, when you were just still a little egg penetrated by a sperm in the belly of a girl and you started to become a creature of God.
You had to be here and just for this reason your existence deserves all the best.

If sometimes this society can't appreciate everyone God surely appreciate the gifts He donated to you, all your potentialities and He is close to you in every second of your existence, also when you think that He is distant and distracted.

Many example of common men and women about God's Touch in their existence.

Another wonderful book by Barbour for reflecting about God's Word and its impact in our existence.

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

3-Minute Devotions for the Workplace 180 Inspiring Readings by Pamela L. McQuade

3-Minute Devotions for the Workplace 180 Inspiring Readings
by Pamela L. McQuade   by Barbour Publishing is an inspiring religious book written for reflecting about work in a religious way, in a daily basis. You can bring this book at work, and when there is a moment of relax, you can enjoy to read some of this devotionals like also you can do that once returned home or before you leave your house for going to work, for trying to stay focused on a certain matter, problem that maybe that days is interesting you.

We know the complexity of work in our times and the sadness of a precarious job. When we work the ability of developing a good collaboration with all our colleagues. This book is for you but also for whoever you will want to share it with.
Work has a great sacrality and read under God's Word is stunningly beauty and intense.

You will be refreshed and comforted once you will read these devotionals, plenty of new  hope for the present and the future.

I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this beautiful eBook!

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, dicembre 08, 2017

Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride by Sun Chara

The beauty of Sun Chara's books is the happiness that you breath reading them and the enthusiasm they spread, because there is a constant vein of optimism.
Love,a mix of attraction, sex, friendship and complicity will win against all adversities.

These stories are very good, positive sexy, mostly dreaming and in grade to capture the attention of romantic readers for a moment of relax.

Sun Chara's latest book released today Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride tells the story of a fascinating millionaire, a recluse millionaire, Stan Rogers, who is forced to meeting again her old sexy and exotic  love Stella Ryan because of a legal problem: the custody of his son.
Of course between them there is still electricity, and they are who knows? maybe still in love. Sure Stella remembers her past with him, but she also knows her feelings for this man.

What will happen between them during the following days? I can't tell you all the story, but this book won't present any sad and unhappy end be sure of it! So if you want to read a sexy, romantic novel, this book is for you.

I can tell you I am affectionate to Sun because one of my first authors interviewed years ago.
She is a Harper Impulse writer and the book launched her career as a writer was Manhattan Millionaire's Cinderella.
She also appeared on stage and movies in  How the Other Half Loves, General Hospital, and McGee and Me.

Wishing happy reading to everyone! I thank NetGalley and Harper-Impulse for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Santa's Countdown to Christmas 24 Days of Stories A Storytelling Twist on the Timeless Advent Tradition by Kim Thompson Illustrated by Elodie Duhameau

Santa's Countdown to Christmas 24 Days of Stories A Storytelling Twist on the Timeless Advent Tradition by Kim Thompson Illustrated by Elodie Duhameau is a charming, beautiful book for children with 24 little tales starting on Dec first, for discovering what happens to the North Pole during the days of the so-called human Advent, our Christian Season of preparation to the arrival of little Jesus Christ. In particular taken in consideration the days from Dec 1st to the 24th.

Also the North Pole during this season, it's in ferment because this one the busiest moment of the year. Everyone from Santa to his elves to the rest of Santa's "staff" work for the creation of another beautiful Christmas for all the children of this world.

You will discover Santa busy while receiving and reading e-mails and letters with gifts-requests and falling in love for kids' drawing (PS: don't forget to send to Santa beautiful drawings, he seems to appreciate them so badly!), how presents and gifts are created with great cure.
You will understand Santa can't resist at some sweet chocolate cookies, but also that for Dec 24th everything must be ready for the most amazing trip of all the time and... space, because Santa in one night will bring to all the good children of the world some gifts.
It's a magical gift this one.

A so tender, beautiful book, it will warm your children's heart and these cold winter-days of waiting 'till at the arrival of  HO HO HO Santa Claus! on Christmas' Eve.

Highly suggested to all the children of this world!

I thank NetGalley for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

Homecoming in Christmas Falls by Ciara Knight

Homecoming in Christmas Falls by Ciara Knight is a romantic novel about again, the important thematic of "return" during the Christmas Season.

The protagonist of this novel is Ashley Brooks. Ashley or Ash in the past lived in the little town of Christmas Falls but later she decided to move on.

Just few weeks before Christmas and after many years of absence from that town to her a closed chapter of her existence she receives a letter from her teacher.

The teacher, a nice lady she remembers with great joy asks her to return in Christmas Falls. She must speak with her with a certain urgency.

Ash in that town left all her best and sad memories and a boy who made the difference in her life. Who knows what happened in the while to all her ex friends?

Not a call from them during the years and vice-versa.
Her parents are still living in Christmas Falls while the rest of her siblings left for biggest cities.

Who knows what she will wait?

Ash loved in fact Brent and also Brent's family would have approved an union with Ash. Who knows if Brent is married, maybe with some children? Time passed by and Ash didn't search for any news regarding him.

The return will be like a tempest, she will end up in a place she wouldn't never thought she would have visited, but Brent will start soon to be close to her.

Her ex teacher will ask her to do something important during that Christmas and at the same time Ash will re-meet again her parents and the people of the village.

Will it be a real return in a wonderful place, with wonderful people and maybe her old love?

I loved this story because very well built, romantic, profound under many aspects and it won't be the last book I will read of this author.

I thank NetGalley for this eBook!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, dicembre 06, 2017

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid by George S.Everly & Jeffrey M.Lating

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid by George S.Everly & Jeffrey M.Lating is a support, a guide, a book for all that people interested to learn how to bring first psychological help after a disaster with extreme efficiency.

We live in a society of big uncertainty where terrorist attacks, attacks of private crazy individuals in churches or other places, tragedies like quakes, tsunami, are frequent and questions of survivors many and complicated and help at people who maybe lost some relatives or entire families a priority.

For this reason the Johns Hopkins University studied time ago the RAPID PFA.
PFA means Phychological First Aid.

People involved in PFA must be specialized and in grade to help pretty quickly people in great psychological sufferance.

They must individuate the psychological problematic of people for giving them a quick answer and for re-balance their mind as soon as possible.
Sure they can't cure any previous psychological disturb but the one created by the stressful event they lived in the immediate.

At first the book describes various situations experienced in the world, from past episodes, like the big fire in a nightclub of Boston where perished more than 400 people, 9/11 and other many other recent disturbing facts and tragedies.

It's the same for a massive quake, for a flood. Survivors must find  light and an immediate psychologic comfort first base for the reconstruction of their lives.

Then the book continues to define various kind of psychological illness people can suffers of in these moments.

Later, strategies for giving all the best, for giving back at the society a person surely with new, important wounds but in grade to continue to walk along this Life's Path.

I loved the psychologic dialogues in the book between Matt and Claire. Matt works in the RAPID PFA. Claire needs help.

The book doesn't avoid differences between various States. In the USA better to keep eye contact and a sufficient distance. If you go somewhere else in the world and you try eye contact it can be considered rude. You can hug an italian for giving comfort, you can't do the same with an American or a British.

A last chapter considers advice to the volunteer, psychologist, paramedic of the RAPID PFA: listening these stories, living these moments can be tiring also for a psychologist, paramedic specialized in this field, so it will be important to de-stress the mind, eating well, doing exercise, sleeping appropriately and saying no when necessary.
An advice, after all very good for everyone :-)

This manual is read and taken in great consideration by Medicine Sans Frontiers and the World Health Organization.

I thank Johns Hopkins University Press for the physical copy of this wonderful and informative book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, dicembre 05, 2017

Madison Park A Place of Hope by Eric L. Motley

Madison Park A Place of Hope by Eric L. Motley is a book published by Zondervan, and one of the most beautiful one I read this year.

It's a common and extraordinary story this one but a story of  great importance for the beautiful message it wants to communicate.

A history of a harmonic community, of good people, where brotherhood, help, friendship the best values they knew and where negative sentiments closed out from their doors and unwanted.

It's a story that you must read because not only it will enrich your soul but it will let you become more good and optimistic with your friends, your own community, your neighbors.
If there are people like the ones of Madison Park, everyone can emulate them, everyone can be like one of them. Your community thanks to this book can become a best place.

The author through this memoir wants to tell to everyone what a joy has been to him to growing up in Madison Park, Alabama, sharing with all of us its own perception of reality, the importance of a healthy  community in grade to be helpful for everyone. If he became who he became it was thanks also to the people of Madison Park. This one a great homage to them all and to a place in grade to make the difference.

Mr.Motley with the time became an important person and he worked as a special assistant to President George W.Bush but many other people of that town built beautiful existence in various different fields.

Mr. Motley tells in his book that this place Madison Park created near Montgomery, Alabama by a group of freed slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation wanted by Abe Lincoln on January 1st 1863.

More than 3 millions of slaves set free, these people decided to build up a special community.

These people adds mr Motley: "Took care, because they desired it, of bodies, souls, minds and they desired freedom not only from slavery but also from poverty."

As you will see without to telling to you too much the personal story of mr. Motley complicated at first although he found wonderful people close to him in grade to let him become who he is now.

He tells at the end of the book that he loves to return to Madison Park also for this reason: because he feels the necessity of indulging in his hometown, stopping by to the cemetery for...Gratitude.
For thanking all the people who gave him good advice permitting him to become who became.

Many sacrifices, this man in love for books is an avid reader and collectors of first editions but also someone who, with an extreme grace will tell you his little corner of the world, where people in most cases made fortune without forgetting their community, but, all the opposite, once returned home they were helpful in every necessity.

The community divided in two sides as it happens often: "This Side" and "Over the Bridge" where also political views were different.

You will discover what it means "creating a community" as the author says and feeling to be part of a community, where people can work for you without asking money, or in grade of opening the door at some children because there are dying parents who can't grow up them anymore and ask to you to do that.

I wanted to read this book because I also live in a little rural community.  I found great warm and a lot of similarities with our own land.

Highly suggested for sure!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Anna Maria Polidori