Friendly Market of Florence KY

A chore-free Saturday leads to adventures.  This week, I visited some stores I have had on my list to peruse for a long time.  Friendly Market of 10050 Norbotten Dr, Florence, Ky was a little hard to find but worth the effort.

One building holds several small businesses. They all specialize in Kentucky made items such as teas, olive oils, fresh meats, cheese, jellies, honey, handmade candles, fresh seafood, and of course ice cream. I sampled several cheeses but I fell in love with the kulfi flavored ice cream at The Colonel’s Creamery. I was not familiar with this Indian dessert until my visit to Friendly’s but now it is a favorite treat. The smell of the seafood was a little overwhelming inside so step up to the service door without entering the building if you are just stopping for the ice cream.


The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn (review)

Davis Bunn is a prolific author with several bestsellers.  This book deserves to be added to his list of accomplishments. The story begins with a peek into the world of risk analysis in a large bank.  The protagonist is a brilliant young woman named Esther who leads her own team in analyzing the risk factors of their bank’s investment decisions. She is also analyzing risks in her personal life. A troublesome childhood has made it difficult to forge friendships and her hospitalized  brother depends on her for support. When Esther realizes that several banks are making foolhardy financial decisions she resolves to expose “the domino effect” that may cripple the world economy. This exposure could also cause the same effect in her own life. Esther’s risks cross the line from computer readouts to dangerous consequences.

Esther’s warnings are so clear the reader will wonder which parts of the book are  fiction.

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians- a guest review by Keith Mecklem

“Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians” by Virginia Waring taught me a lot about a man who did far more than lead an entertainment group of singers and musicians. I was somewhat familiar with Waring from growing up in Pennsylvania while Waring continued to tour. To my young eyes, he was another big band era, Lawrence Welk type of entertainer who attracted the same older crowd. I since have learned that Lawrence Welk was the follower; Waring was the original and best.

Waring invented a music system for singers to enunciate words perfectly. The Pennsylvanians, the book says, could be understood perfectly in every song. One humorous story relates how a fan told Waring they enjoyed a new group because it reminded the fan of Waring’s group. His reply, “But did you understand what they were saying?” The fan admitted he did not. Waring’s system was passed on through schools and colleges, but never with the perfection the Pennsylvanians carried it out.
Waring was the first to be famous for directing a choral group, then, later was the first to direct a regular group of singers and musicians. In fact, his musicians were often the singers.

Waring started Shawnee Press, a music publishing company, so he could control his own output and reap the financial rewards. He risked his own fortune and reputation in his efforts to get music arrangers royalties, arguing that the songwriter may have written a piece of music; but the arrangers turn it into a hit. Waring even stood up to unions. He already paid more than union scale for his performers.

Waring bought a new invention that later became the Waring Blender. The inventor died shortly after selling Waring on the idea. He paid royalties to the inventor’s widows for decades, even though he legally did not have to pay anything.
The book covers the joy and trials of a large group of performers who were together so much practicing, traveling, and performing it was like a large family. They all had marital problems because of the lifestyle, including Waring. Waring and his brother, Tom, had vicious fights about the group’s direction and had to part ways. Yet, everyone supported each other.

“Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians” was a fun book to read, full of funny and tragic stories. Packed with details of how the Pennsylvanians were trained to perfection. Full of back-stage drama and big star visits — a fun book to read.

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The Gap of Time- A Disappointing Tale

    The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.  I was intrigued by the idea of a modern recreation of this classic story.  It was an unfortunate choice of literature.  The Gap of Time uses the cookie cutter ideas of current bestseller drivel encased in simplistic vocabulary.
Repeated use of obscenity and salacious lifestyles are two of the hot buttons that drive today’s fiction market. Add an ineffective psychologist to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for today’s publisher to snap to attention. The only thing lacking was a zombie or two.
It was an utter disappointment.
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for this review.


The Gruff-a restaurant review

Any book elf would fall in love with this restaurant.  Just start with the name! The Gruff refers to the Three Billy Goats Gruff. They worked hard to cross a bridge to find greener (and locally grown) grass on the other side.  

Book elves will be beguiled by the restaurant name and its atmosphere. Then, they will want to layer on the flavors of its menu: brick oven pizza, crispy waffle fries with homemade ketchup, sandwiches, salads, and house made soups.

It has been a long time since I have fallen so completely in love with a pizza.  This Italian Meat  version was the perfect combination of meat with fresh basil, red sauce and cheeses.

Located next to the Kentucky side of the Roebling Bridge in Covington, The Gruff is the perfect stop for lunch or dinner before you stroll along the Ohio River. Don’t forget to grab some dessert at the deli before you leave. We bulging book elves must keep up our image!


King’s Folly by Jill Williamson (a review)

Fantasy novels follow  cliche patterns of monarchies, prophecies, and a society filled with doom.  This tale is no exception.  However, Jill Williamson manages to entice the reader to give fantasy another perusal. She creates excitement with chilling scenes of witchcraft and child sacrifice. The characters are imperfect heroes living in a world that is literally crumbling away.  Some believe prophecies that explain how to escape while others choose to ignore the warning signs of peril.

King’s Folly is Book One of a planned trilogy called The Kinsman Chronicles. Ebooks are also available for the Kindle crowd.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review.


Review- The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

As an antithesis of the beauty of Alaskan terrain, this tale makes a good winter read with its descriptions of deep cold and a relentless dark in bold silence. It is a winter night that seems to have no end.
A young deaf girl and her mother travel through these elements in search of the girl’s father who must certainly be dead. Of course, things are not as they seem. A villain pursues them through an avalanche, storms, and icy river in much the same way that a monster plods behind a running heroine in an old movie.
One of the disappointments of the book is the constant switching of the point of view. More than one main character was given a turn to tell their piece of the action. The tale would have been more captivating if the child had told the entire story.
Another disappointment was the treatment of the subject of fracking. The dangers of fracking are real. All types of energy production has its dangers. A fictional tale of a stereotypical tyrant will not succeed in convincing a reader to reject fracking as a resource.
This novel is an enticing tale that never quite crosses the threshold of the believable.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Review of Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

A South African boy succumbed to a strange illness that left  him trapped in his own unresponsive body. Aware of his surroundings but unable to respond, Martin was vulnerable and lonely.  One amazing massage therapist began to suspect that there was more to Martin than anyone guessed. An excruciatingly slow journey of learning to communicate began. Martin’s experiences “speak” for themselves as testaments of what is possible for many people in similar medical dilemmas.

Today, Martin has broken forth with the fervor of enjoying life and advocating for others. You can follow his adventures on Twitter and Facebook.  I also enjoyed watching this video that he made when submitting his book for publication.  Seriously, who could resist that smile?



Tempt your family’s bulging book elf with these recipes. Citrus by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson is an enticing collection of recipes featuring a variety of citrus fruits. Grab your whisk and get started! There are recipes for the common fruits in your fruit bowl as well as the unusual ones such as Buddha’s hand. The multiplicity of recipes is so appetizing the reader cannot resist.There are drinks, main dishes, salads, spreads, and desserts. Some recipes tasted a little strong but can be easily adjusted to an individual’s preference. Greek Lemon Herbed Potatoes was my family’s favorite.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Seriously, who could resist this cover?