Blogger Book Club – August Book Review

So yeah, I’m a total Blogger Book Club Member failure.

book club

If you recall I did not read the book club book for July, and it pains me to admit that I did not read the book for August either. The difference is that I did not read July’s book (America the Beautiful by Ben Carson) because I couldn’t find it in stores; and I did not read August’s book (START by Jon Acuff) because I had no interest in reading it. Truth. I just can’t read a nonfiction book if the topic holds no interest to me, which this one really didn’t. So, I apologize to all of you who may have been expecting a review of START. Instead, I’ll share what I’ve been reading lately and a couple of books that are on my reading wish list. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in!


ZOO, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge


 So this book pretty much gave me nightmares and yes I could not put it down. From the James Patterson website: “All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.”

How’s that for a hook, right? So this biologist (who has seen this thing coming for years, but nobody would listen) is trying to get various world leaders to sit up and pay attention to what’s happening, and of course nobody will listen to him until it’s too late. I don’t want to give away what happens, but what scared me was that the scenario Patterson has created is completely believable and scared me half to death. Seriously. For the next week I was scared of any animal that crossed my path, included squirrels and dragonflies. Totally worth the read.

11th Hour, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

11th hour 

Yes, I may have gone through a mini James Patterson phase this past month. That seems to happen – weeks will go by without touching any of his novels and then WHAM! I’ll pick up one and end up reading three or four in a row. What I love about Patterson is that he’s that good. And he writes like thirty books a month, so I always have new ones to look forward to!

11th hour is (obviously) the 11th book in the Women’s Murder Club series – and follows Lindsey Boxer on her latest case. I have to admit I didn’t think this book was as good as some others in the series. I felt it moved too fast and didn’t have as much emotion as he normally packs into his books. Still, it was entertaining and I read through it in a few days.

Angel Sister, by Ann H. Gabhart

angel sister

I picked this book up at the lending library in my office, completely on a whim. I needed something to read while I was waiting for The Husband to pick me up and before I knew it I was hooked. Angel Sister takes place in 1936 and follows the lives of the Merritt family as they deal with alcoholism, a dire financial situation, and a little girl left on the steps of the local church. I’m only about halfway through but my fingers are itching to pick it back up so I can find out what happens! It’s beautifully written and I love historical fiction, so it’s a total win. Check it out!

Some other books waiting on my “to read” pile include:

the house i loved The House I Loved, by Tatiana de Rosnay


 the weird sisters  The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown


gone girl Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

 aviators wife  The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin


What good books have you read lately? Any recommendations?

WordPress Family Award

Happy Friday, everyone! Thankfully I am feeling better than I have been in days…not yet back to 100% but at least I’m not sleeping away most of my days and sucking on ice to soothe my throat! Thanks for your thoughts and kind words!

Another bright spot on my otherwise sleep-hazed week: I was nominated for the WordPress Family award by David at Quinquagenarian Runner! I love following David and his journey “from jogger to marathoner” – he really inspires me to keep going, even when I want to quit! Thank you, David!

wordpress family


“This is an award for everyone who is part of the “Word Press Family” I started this award on the basis that the WordPress family has taken me in, and showed me love and a caring side only WordPress can. The way people take a second to be nice, to answer a question and not make things a competition amazes me here. I know I have been given many awards, but I wanted to leave my own legacy on here by creating my own award, as many have done before. This represents “Family” we never meet, but are there for us as family. It is my honor to start this award.”


  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.
  4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them.

My Family Members (I only nominated five because the others I would have nominated were already nominated, and I didn’t want this to end up as some endless award nomination circle…:-))

1. Joan at FitJourney50

2. Amanda at PlanksandPaleo

3. Patrick at Run5kaDay

4. Kaitlin at California Endless Summer

5. Sabrina at Nutritiously Sweet

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pesto (Dairy Free)

The thing that I love most about having a food blog is when I get an idea for a recipe or a dish in my head, instead of just thinking about it, I actually go try it.

And more often than not it works!

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pesto - Dairy Free.jpg 1

The only downside is that now I have a whole bunch of cookbooks that I never use.

Since starting our Whole30, I’ve been trying to come up with new recipes for the blog that are Whole30 approved. Don’t get me wrong, The Husband and I fall back on the regulars a lot – hamburger patties, crockpot pork carnitas, and roast chicken in lettuce cups frequently star in our weeknight dinners, but I love the challenge of creating new dishes that don’t include grains, dairy, legumes, sugar or alcohol.

Enter this sun dried tomato basil pesto. Hello, Love.

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pesto - Dairy Free

I love pesto, but I don’t love that it usually includes parmesan cheese and is therefore not Whole30 compliant. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the parmesan cheese in pesto, just not while on the Whole30, for obvious reasons.) So, I decided to see how I could recreate a dairy-free version without sacrificing the flavor.

This is where the sun dried tomato makes its debut.

I love sun dried tomatoes. I’ll add them to a salad, chop them up in pasta, or eat them plain. So it was only natural for me to add them to my basil pesto, right? Of course right! (Bonus points for anyone who knows the movie I just quoted!)

Sun Dried Tomato basil Pesto - Dairy Free 2

This turned out to be another thing I wanted to eat for dinner. With a spoon. I added a splash of lemon juice and some sea salt to add the tang that was missing from the parmesan, and this stuff came out better than I could have imagined!

The Husband and I proceeded to eat it topped on hamburger patties, added into some chicken salad, and we even used it to make roasted eggplant – which was to die for.

It’s that good.


yield: 1 cup pesto

time: 10 minutes


2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (julienned)

2/3 cup toasted pine nuts

3 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice


In a food processor, add all ingredients except the olive oil and pulse to combine. While your food processor is running, add the olive oil until your pesto forms. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula occasionally to ensure everything is combined well. Done!

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