“A Rugged Man Who Neither Drank Nor Smoked”

Additional Writings

“deleted scene” from Dennis and Greer: A Love Story

true nonfiction love story letters

“A girl who knew him said he was “all teeth and eyes.” A fellow Marine described him as a “rugged man who neither drank nor smoke.” He never ventured to describe himself but did so time and again, unknowingly, in his many letters to me. All his gentleness, his roughness, his enthusiasm came through in his letters and a letter was simply another meeting with Dennis, they were never cold or dissatisfying as letters often are.

They were Dennis. He sent a part of himself in each one, holding back nothing.

Having known each other for only 2 months when we began writing each other, the letters were indeed revealing and proved a delightful way to come to know Dennis.”  -Greer King



My Favorite Audiobooks

Audiobooks I recommend

Some of my best “reading” experiences were through an audiobook. I love listening to audiobooks when I’m in the car or doing housework or exercising.

Audiobooks add a whole new dimension to the reading experience because the reader can evoke more emotion through their voice. You can hear the anger, fear, sorrow, sarcasm, etc. in the narrators voice and sometimes it almost feels like you are right there with the characters.

I have read many audiobooks. I am very picky about the narrator’s voice and I will quit listening if I don’t love their voice and if I feel as though they are just reading the words and not acting out a character’s part.

Please comment and let us know what your favorite audiobook is!

The following list of audiobooks were my favorite and I highly, highly recommend:

harry potter audio book review blog blogger fantasyHarrpy Potter By J.K. Rowling

Narrated By Jim Dale






scorpio races maggie stiefvater book review blog

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham




deliDelirium by Lauren Oliver

Narrated by Sarah Drew




mary pearson adoration of jenna foxThe Adoration of Jenna Fox By Mary E. Pearson

Narrated by Jenna Lamia




the 5th wave rick yancey book review blogThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Narrated by Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole





city of ember jeanne duprau book review blogCity of Ember by Jeanne Duprau

Narrated by Wendy Dillon




alan bradley book ya childrensThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Narrated by Jayne Entwistle




laini taylor book review blog ya young adultLips Touch Three Times By Laini Taylor

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell




these broken stars ya sci-fi novel


These Broken Stars By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Narrated by Cynthia Holloway, Johnathan McClain, and Sarge Anton





Review: Orphan Train and Blueberry Pancakes and Butter Syrup Recipe

orphan train christina baker kline novel book review blog recipe

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

and My Blueberry Pancake and Butter Syrup Recipe

Genre: Historical fiction

Description from Amazon: Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

My Review: 4 out of 5 Stars. I had never before heard about the period in American history when orphans were sent on trains, lined up on platforms, and plucked away by complete strangers. Orphan Train tells the story of 2 very different orphans from 2 different time periods. However, as the story progresses, you begin to see the similarities between these 2 girls who have lost their families.

I really enjoyed this book and getting a glimpse into what it might have been like for an orphan in the early 1900s and even today. I will definitely be recommending this to my book club!

Food Quote from Book: “I think she’d prefer pancakes. Do you think she’d like blueberry pancakes?”

“Who doesn’t like blueberry pancakes?”

Blueberry Pancakes Recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/8 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • Fresh Blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients until smooth. Poor onto hot griddle in 1/4 c measurements. Sprinkle with blueberries. Flip. Server with syrup and more blueberries.

Butter Syrup Recipe (You’ll never want to buy syrup again! and this recipe is so easy!)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • dash salt

Melt whipping cream, butter, and sugar over med heat. Stir until mixture comes to barely a boil. Wisk in vanilla, baking soda, and dash of salt. Remove from heat. Serve over pancakes or waffles.



The Whistling Season and Pork Stroganoff

adult book review blog recipe pork fiction novel

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

and Pork Stroganoff

My Review:  Oliver Milliron is a widower of three sons who hires a housekeeper from a newspaper ad. She brings along her brother, Morris Morgan, whom happens to be the most delightful character as he takes over the teaching duties in the one-room schoolhouse. There isn’t a lot of drama in this book–the story is mostly focused on the intertwining relationships and the hardships of living on a farm in the Midwest in the early 1900s and the trials of  running a one-room schoolhouse. I enjoyed Ivan Doig’s style of writing and I even laughed out loud in some parts (receiving funny looks from my husband) but the book is slow at times. Overall a charming realistic fiction read.

4 out of 5 star read

Quote from The Whistling Season:  Father dug into his meal with vigor. “…this is excellent Pork Stroganoff, by the way.” …for once we were eating civilized food.

Pork Stroganoff Recipe

  • 5 pork chops cubed
  • 2 Tbls oils
  • 8 oz container muchrooms sliced
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3/4 C Sour cream
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • parsley
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • rice or noodles

Brown pork chops in oil and remove from pan. Add mushrooms and onion and simmer for a few minutes. return pork chops, add water and spices. Cover and simmer for 15 min. Add sour cream and heat until warm. Sprinkles with parsley and serve over rice or noodles.

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and a Turkey Sandwich

young adult novel book review blog romance

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

and My Bomb Turkey Sandwich recipe

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Love at first sight is possible because I experienced it myself.When I was 16 years old I was at a house party, sitting alone, lamenting the fact that my best friend was making-out with a guy she just met in the upstairs bedroom and nobody (no boy) was paying attention to me. Eventually, a brown-haired, cute (but wasted) guy (21 yrs. old) came up to me, introduced himself, “Hi, my name’s Dan,” and asked me if I wanted to go into his friend’s room to “talk”. I knew he didn’t have any intentions of talking so I turned him down with a polite, “no thank you,” and that was the end of that conversation. About a month later, I was at a different house party with a different friend and I saw Dan’s tall figure across the room. I wondered if he saw me if he would remember me from the month before. He had an angry disposition about him but I kind of just watched him for a while and then I just had the thought, “I think that’s my future husband.” It wasn’t just a thought, though. It was a feeling that permeated through me. He never saw me and we never spoke that night.

About a year and a half later, I was in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car. We were waiting for people to arrive at the meeting place (a friend’s house) before caravanning to the desert for a bonfire party. Two guys approached my friend’s car and the  tall, dark-haired one asked if he and his friend could ride in our car to the desert. He said to me, “get out and sit next to my friend in the back and I’ll sit up front. Boy girl, boy girl.” I popped out of the car and sat in the back seat, the shorter guy sliding in next to me. During the drive, I completely ignored the boy sitting next to me–all my attention was focused on the cute guy sitting next to my best friend. I was intrigued by the way he was engaging in conversation with her. He was completely focused on her, asking her every question under the sky and acting genuinely interested in the answers she gave him. I remember thinking, “This is just the kind of guy I have imagined myself marrying.”  I thought I recognized him but I couldn’t quite figure out who he was. After the bonfire party, a group of people went to someone’s house to hang out. We were all sitting in the family room. I chose a spot next to one of Dan’s friends and struck up a conversation with him. Dan would tell me later, that it was when I was sitting next to his friend on the couch, that he watched me jealously from across the room and knew then that I was his future wife.

We didn’t talk. He didn’t get my phone number either. 2 months later, I ran into him at the bowling alley. His first words to me were, “Molly Mason, where have you been the past two months, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” I was surprised because I didn’t even think he knew my name.

We sat down and had our first real conversation. It was electric. I knew I would marry this person, have his children, grow old with him.He got my phone number. He never called.

A month later, we ran into each other in the Salt Lake City Airport. We were taking the same flight home to Phoenix. We didn’t sit next to each other though because I was traveling with family and he was traveling home with friends after a snowboarding trip.

At the time, Dan had a girlfriend, but later I would find out that he pointed me out to his friend (I was sitting a few rows up), and said, “That’s the girl I’ve been talking to you about. That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”

Maybe a month later we ran into each other at the bowling alley again (I don’t know why Dan was always at the bowling alley (he never bowled. he would just sit around with friends). I  had a reason to be there. I was taking a bowling correspondence course because my mom made me drop out of High school mid-way through the first semester of my senior year. By the time 2nd semester came I desperately wanted to graduate high school. I convinced my mom to let me go back to school.I had to take 10 classes that year to graduate. Bowling was one of those classes). Anyway, he finally got my phone number again (he lost the first one) and he called me that Saturday at 10 a.m., waking me up, telling me he was going to see an 11 o’clock movie and would I come with him? I did and we were pretty much attached from then on, marrying a year later.

 My Review: What girl hasn’t had the fantasy of meeting and falling for a guy on an airplane ride? This is a quick, fun, romantic read that is the fulfillment of every girl’s airplane romance fantasies.

It is uncanny how much I personally related to Hadley and Oliver. I related to Hadley because she is struggling with the  fact that her father has left her mother to start a new life with another woman–something my father did. And Oliver, because he is dealing with the death of a loved one whom he didn’t have a very solid relationship with–a trial that I’ve also faced.

All in all, this read was enjoyable and I loved that I could cozy up and finish in one sitting.

4 out of 5 Stars!

Food quote from Book: “She dissects her dinner with all the care of a biology experiment.”

Molly’s Bomb Turkey Sandwich Recipe

  • Bread (Obvi)
  • Turkey (don’t be lazy. Get the fresh sliced Turkey from the supermarket Deli)
  • Havarti cheese
  • avacado
  • Bacon
  • Purple onion
  • sprouts
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • salt and pepper
  • mayo (yes, Mayo. Hadley, from Stat. Prob. of Love @ 1st Sight would be appalled)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Snickerdoodles

ya book review blog young adult romance

To All the Boys I’ve Love Before by Jenny Han

and Snickerdoodles

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Amazon Description: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Review: 5 out of 5 STARS! A perfect read for Valentine’s day! From the back cover blurb, I expected a cheesy read but was pleasantly surprised when the story took off in a direction I didn’t expect. Lara Jean, the main character, was witty and adorable. I also found myself endeared to the secondary characters, which I often find hard to do because often times, authors write cliché secondary characters that make we want to gag. I read it in one sitting because it was so delightful.

It was a delightful surprise to find several cookie recipes in the back of that book! Here, I will share the Snickerdoodle cookie recipe I grew up with.

Food Quote from book: “I wave a spoonful of cookie dough under Margot’s nose and she hesitates and then opens her mouth. I feed it to her like a baby.”

Molly’s Snickerdoodle Recipe

  • 1 C butter
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 C flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, then dry ingredients. Roll into walnut sizes and dip in mixture of 1/4 c sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Place on cookie sheet (do not flatten). Bake for 8 min.


Suffer Love & Bbq Chicken Pizza

pizza food blog book reviw new adult blake

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

and Bbq Chicken Pizza

Description from Amazon:

Sam Bennett falls for Hadley St. Clair before he knows her last name. When Sam finds out she is that St. Clair, daughter of the man who destroyed Sam’s family, he has a choice: follow his heart or tell the truth about the scandal that links their families. Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

My Review

Suffer Love is a New Adult book full of angst and a nail-biting love story. I can’t say too much without giving away the plot but Sam and Hadley are falling hard for each other when Sam learns Hadley’s father is the reason his family is destroyed. I couldn’t put it down!
4 out of 5 stars
Quote from Suffer Love: “She bites into the pizza.  A long, gooey string of cheese extends out from her beautiful mouth, which I am definitely not staring at.”
Molly’s Bbq Chicken Pizza Recipe:
Pre-made crust (I like Boboli)
Tomato or basil pesto
Mozzarella cheese
Cheddar cheese
Grilled chicken
BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
Top crust with ingredients in order and drizzle with Bbq sauce.  Cook on grill or oven according to package (don’t use a cookie sheet for a crisper crust)