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Twenty Books I Highly Recommend

Twenty Books I Highly Recommend

Book lists make me laugh, because they are often composed by groups of people, which causes them to contain modern novels that I doubt will be remembered a few years down the road, in addition to archaic classics that they just can’t seem to let go of. Here is a list of twenty books, that I know not a lot of people have read, and the reasons that I believe everyone should read them. This is a fun, and challenging, list. Beware; I have several series in here, so the count is longer than twenty.

1.     How To Raise A Healthy Child….in spite of your Doctor: Robert S. Mendelsohn. This book is an absolute staple in our home. Every single time that we have a sickness, whether it be one of the children, or my husband or I, I go to this book. It helps me to remain level headed in medical situations. Not only is the author a personal hero of mine, he paints an honest picture of why doctors do the things that they do.       
2.     The Crowning Glory of Cala Lilly Ponder: Rebecca Wells. Although, wells most popular books involve the Ya-Yas, this one is my favorite by far. I do not often put up well with books that make cry only for the sadistic amusement of the author. This book made me sob, but with genuine meaning. It is beautifully written as well, the words truly paint pictures.   
3.     Watership Down: Richard Adams. Although I know that some people have read it, I also know a lot of readers that skipped this book. It was one that I read as a child and had a large impact on my understanding of the world. Like the creatures in animal farm, the rabbit characters portray the behaviors of humans.                             
4.     Traveling Mercies: Anne Lamott. Ann is a brilliant writer, and stunningly honest about her own life challenges. Her writing had a huge impact on me, having read her work at an early age. This book is my favorite of hers. 
5.     Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe. Because, everyone knows what an outstanding book it is, but few who weren’t assigned it in school have taken the time to read it. This is my favorite book. If you have not read it yet, it is time.                                                                        
6.     Something Wicked This Way Comes: Ray Bradbury. This and Dandelion Wine, are my Bradbury favorites. This story is so well composed and deeply disturbing, that I can no longer listen to any song by The Doors without being reminded of it. It is deliciously creepy.                  
7.     Stones from the River: Ursula Hegi. This is the first book that I read by the author, and she blew me away with her storytelling abilities. The book is set in Germany during the holocaust. This story is complex and heartwarming.                      
8.     A tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens. I am not a big fan of all of Dicken’s stories. If you struggled through Great Expectations like I did, I strongly recommend giving this one a shot. I absolutely love this book, it is a beautiful story, and chock full of history.                                
9.     Cry to Heaven & The Feast of All Saints: Ann Rice. I fell in love with both of these books. I have rarely seen historical fiction done better than this. The first is a story about the castrani in the eighteenth century, and the second is set in Louisiana. Both are beautiful compelling stories.                                                                             
10. Mao: The Unknown Story: Jung Chang. This one was a big challenge for me. It is a long and gut wrenching story about the atrocities that Chairman Mao inflicted on the world. It is difficult to read about the truly terrible things that the man did, but I think that it is important that everyone know them.
11. The Host: Stephanie Meyer. Yes, the author did write the twilight series. I did not see this movie, but I would read the book over again in a minute. The storyline is absolutely brilliant and the book is a wonderful read.
12. The Virgin River Series: Robyn Carr. This is a romance series that I would recommend to absolutely anyone. When my children are old enough, I will honestly encourage them to read these stories simply because the characters in them are such genuine human beings. Yes, there is adult content, and it is brilliantly written. There are quite a few books in the batch. Here is a link to the first:                                                                                                                                      
13. Jitterbug Perfume: Tom Robbins. I love all of Tom’s books. This one is a favorite of mine. As are most of his stories, this one is witty, and quirky. The author has a way of making the reader just uncomfortable enough to get them well engaged in his stories.                       
14. The All Souls Trilogy: Deborah Harkness. I honestly read the first book because a review referred to it as a vampire novel for intellectuals. I fell in love with the author’s writing. The third book in the series comes out in July and I cannot wait to read it. Here is the link to book one:                           
15. Dracula The Undead: Dacre Stoker. I just looked this book up so that I could post the link and was appalled to discover that it has a two and a half star rating on Amazon, and some truly bitchy reviews posted. That kind of thing breaks my heart. I read it six years ago and remembered to mention it, because I found it so interesting. It gives a completely different perspective from Bram’s Dracula, and is written by one of his descendants. If you read it please support the author by posting a review.
16. We’ll Be Here For The Rest Of Our Lives: Paul Shaffer. This book actually fascinated me. I am not big on celebrity gossip, but I love music and musicians, and Paul’s stories are truly fantastic. The man has lived a heck of a life.                                                                                     
17. The Bad Place: Dean Koontz. This is my favorite Koontz. I have always admired his ability to tie character storylines together, and this book is the best example of that ability. This is a true horror story with deeply creepy and evil characters, so be well prepared.    
18. The Night Huntress Series: Jeaniene Frost: This is one of the best Vampire series that I have ever read. If you enjoy kick-ass female characters, and sexy writing; I can’t imagine that you will not enjoy these books. The final book in the series was just released this month. Here is the link to the first:
19. The Stark Trilogy: J. Kenner. This series of books is written with a similar plotline to the Shades of Grey series, but of the different takes on the concept that I have read, (there are several), this one has been my favorite. The characters are strikingly more real, and the writer manages to avoid creating some of the annoyances that were voiced about the original series. These books are equally adult, and very enjoyable. The first in the series is called Release Me. 
20. Woven: Kristin Mataluni. I can recommend it because I have read it no less than thirty times. It is now available on Amazon in Kindle format. My vampires are vibrant and delicious, and the story is a blast to read. I am currently working on the book’s sequel, Forgotten. If you get the opportunity to read the novel, please leave me a review.


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29oz pumpkin puree - 1 lg. can
1 stick unsalted butter - softened
8oz cream cheese - softened
5 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. honey
1 c. GF flour 

Whipped cream:

1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Honey to drizzle on top.

Making it Happen:

Combine all of the ingredients for the pie in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until well combined. When the batter is smooth, pour it into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for one hour.

Allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

To make the whipped cream, blend the chilled heavy cream in a chilled bowl on high speed until it begins to thicken, add the vanilla and continue blending until the cream is thick. 

Plate pie with whipped cream & drizzle with honey. Enjoy!