Book Review: “King Solomon’s Mines” by H. Rider Haggard

Hey friends, Joey here! I know that I am typically the one to read more nonfiction and business-related books, but I have been on an adventure/fiction kick lately. Sometimes, you gotta shake things up to keep it interesting!

This time I read, “King Solomon’s Mines” by H. Rider Haggard.

It is a 5 Star read!!

I was recently recommend this book by one of my friends and colleagues, and I decided to give it a shot. I would consider “King Solomon’s Mines” a true classic novel full of adventure, brotherhood, and romance (not the mushy love stuff, more of the gritty traveler romance you might find in an Indiana Jones movie). The book is narrated by one of the three main characters, Allan Quatermain, who is an elephant hunter in Africa who meets his soon-to-be partners-in-crimes, Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good, on a boat ride to Netal after a failed elephant expedition. Sir Henry and Captain Good are off in search of Sir Henry’s missing brother. Sir Henry’s missing brother was in search of King Solomon’s Mines, which is rumored to be full of diamonds and gold, but he never returned. As fate would have it, Quartermine was the last person to see Sir Henry’s brother AND have a map to the mines given to him on one of his previous elephant excursions.

After the three companions reached an agreement, they set out in search of the elusive mines and Sir Henry’s brother. The book takes you on their journey across the desert to a land inhabited with an ancient tribe where King Solomon’s Mines are rumored to be. Along the way, they fight against all odds the get to this sacred land where their battle does not end. Do they reach the mines and find Sir Henry’s brother accompanied with the riches rumored to be there? Or is it all a wise tail and they end up battered and empty handed?

I hope some of you decide to read this novel as it is a true classic and one of a kind. You can BUY IT HERE now. If you do read it, let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your opinion.

Cheers and happy page flipping!!


eats, life

Book Review: “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon

It’s Melissa again. I recently wrapped up “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon. After reviewing “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn, we chose this as our June book, and we made another great pick! This time, it was my turn to host Book Club, and after reading this quirky story, I was excited to plan a completely Eleanor Oliphant themed evening.

First, let’s start with the review:

4 out 5 stars

“Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon is the unique story of Eleanor Oliphant, a young woman who, after experiencing extreme childhood trauma, struggles to move forward in her life. Eleanor lives by a strict routine, from eating the same meals to scheduling out repetitive days of the week. When Eleanor develops a crush on a local singer, her beloved routine falls to the wayside, and she opens herself up to chaos. Along the way, she finds some friends who will help her pick up the pieces as she tries to uncover the truths of her childhood.

The book is brilliantly written and fun to read, which is why I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Gail Honeymoon does an incredible job of making you feel as uncomfortable as Eleanor acts at many moments throughout the book. Honeymoon also leaves you wanting to know more about what happened to Eleanor. Without giving away too much, Honeymoon also incorporates a twist at the end, which I had wondered about from very early on. Once you read, you’ll have to tell me if you had the same thought too! Overall, I highly recommend this book, and you should BUY IT NOW!

Hitting Close To Home

I wanted to include one side note about how this book hit very close to home for me. From very early on, the book talks about Eleanor’s caseworkers coming to visit her. Because of her extreme childhood trauma, Eleanor was placed in the foster care system. I work for Arms Wide Adoption Services, and we are dedicated to finding forever families for children in foster care. While reading, I found myself wondering,

“Had Eleanor been adopted, would this entire story be different?”

This question made for a great Book Club discussion. Although we decided we’re unsure adoption would have changed Eleanor’s life, we did decide people too often assumed Eleanor was fragile. We think if someone pushed her more about her past, she could have faced her demons earlier on. This may have helped her establish a healthier, more normal (but probably still fairly strict) routine.

Now, More On Book Club

I have mentioned Eleanor’s routine a lot so far! When she found something she liked, she stuck with it forever. Throughout the story, Eleanor would eat the same meal or drink the same beverage every day. That’s why I decided to offer an Eleanor Oliphant themed spread for our Book Club.

From left to right: Cheese scones, ingredients for vodka colas, Magners Irish Cider, and pasta a la pesto. Cheers to Book Club, and cheers to you, Eleanor Oliphant!

If you’re interested in making these delicious gluten free cheese scones, you can find my recipe here. I also show you how to turn it into a delicious B.L.A.T. sandwich!

If you want to keep up with my Book Club, we are currently reading and set to discuss on Wednesday, August 8, 2018:

“The Pisces: A Novel” by Melissa Broder


Book Review: “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn

Hi, Melissa here. This time for the book review, you just get me and my opinion. (Sorry not sorry.) Joey hasn’t read this one, and I’m not sure he ever will, because it’s not really his style. Although Amanda in my Book Club said her husband, Aaron, was really enjoying it – so who knows?

Yes, you heard me correctly. I’m in a Book Club. It’s a fairly new club! We have only met twice, and the first meeting was to pick this book: “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn. Although I missed that first meeting, I’m so glad this book got picked, and I can’t wait to tell you more.

5 out 5 stars

“The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn is an adventurous historical fiction following the stories of European female spies during the World Wars (particularly one named Eve Gardiner), and a female American college-aged socialite in search for her cousin after World War I (Charlie St. Clair). Somehow, their worlds collide together to unfold an unforgettable journey about courage, friendship, female empowerment, love, and revenge.

More Opinions

The book also touches on so many hot topics – from PTSD to unplanned pregnancies. It boggles my mind how people have been struggling with the same things for so long, and societal reactions are still so similar. But that’s a post for another time…

I think my favorite part of the book was the very end, where the author, Kate Quinn, talks about the true history behind her narrative. To learn the real-life stories about the female spies during the World Wars is fascinating! It’s not a topic I learned about in any of my history classes.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to BUY IT NOW if you want to start an incredible reading journey.

If you want to keep up with my Book Club, we are currently reading and set to discuss on Wednesday, July 11, 2018:

“Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeyman

Meet Melissa

1005858_10153547807531263_8551729351876605581_nBorn and raised in Tampa, you can find me embracing the Texas heat. Our air conditioner never goes below 75 degrees because anything less is out of my comfort zone. I’ve never seen snow fall from the sky, but it’s not because I’m not adventurous. I have visited 10 countries and pride myself in being able to try anything once – especially when it comes to food. A large part of who I am is my adoption. It’s what made me want to work in the nonprofit sector. I am currently in fundraising and marketing for Arms Wide Adoption Services, an organization which places foster care children with adoptive families. Although most acquaintances know me for my caring spirit and can-do attitude, my close friends and family know me for snarky remarks and ability to tell you like it is.


What We Like To Read

From Melissa’s love of horror movies to Joey’s love of the great outdoors, it should be no surprise that we enjoy very different things – including genres of books. We wanted to explain our book preferences more in depth, so you could know what to expect in our upcoming book reviews.


What Melissa Likes To Read

I don’t even know where to start when it comes to books and my preferred genre. I love them all – from autobiographies to science fiction. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. I’m not sure where my passion for reading began, but I would have to guess with my parents. They used books as tools for education. I learned early on how books could teach me things, from what it means to be adopted to how to treat others with respect (thanks, Berenstain Bears). Then, I learned you could use them to get lost in another world. One of my early favorites was Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” But nowadays, you can find me reading less poetry and more autobiographies, murder mysteries, and science fiction.


What Joey Likes To Read

Most of the time you will find me reading motivational, business, and non-fiction books, which might come as a surprise to my family because growing up I was NOT a reader. I wanted nothing to do with reading and preferred to be outside playing in the Florida sunshine. (Sorry to my parents for the stubbornness). My passion for reading really didn’t start until after I graduated college, when I was recommended by a friend to read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. After reading that book it was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I had found the type of reading I really enjoyed. This is what you should expect from my book reviews. Now that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good adventure book every once in a while and might throw a few other curve balls into the mix.  I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I do, cheers!