Frosted Cowboy – Fun Novel by Debut Author From Agoura Hills


Signed copy of Frosted Cowboy available for giveaway this week! Comment below to enter.3d-cover-frosted-cowboy-large

Charlene Ross was the original Agoura Hills Mom for the once-awesome Agoura Hills Patch. She graciously did not get mad OR punch me in the face when I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I contributed some of my work here to the same site under that same name after she had moved on to better things. Are you still with me?

In fact, Charlene was so awesome that we became friends, and now I am very proud to share with you that her first novel has been released by Velvet Morning Press and is for sale on paperback and e-book at Amazon now.

Frosted Cowboy “a delightful debut novel that follows aspiring fashion designer Laney – 32 years old, recently single, recently unemployed – through a year in her life when she struggles to find herself. But this is no slog through despair.” I reviewed the book on my other site, but if you don’t want to click over and read that, just trust me: it’s a fun, entertaining, and easy book to read when you want to escape life for a little while. At the beach, poolside, or in the car while you’re waiting to pick up your kids from their 3rd activity of the week. Just me?

Frosted Cowboy by Charlene A. Ross
$11.99 on paperback at Amazon
$3.99 for e-book

I got an extra copy of the book to give away to an Agoura Hills Mom reader, and Charlene even signed it! It seems only fitting, right? Just leave a comment here to enter between now and Thursday, March 31st at 11:59PM. I’ll choose a winner at random from qualifying entries and notify the winner on Friday, April 1. Once I receive your mailing address I will send the book at my own cost.


On My Way To School by Sarah Maizes (Children’s Book Review)


We’ve been back at it for a month now, and the bloom is off the rose. Every weekday morning there are groans and whining instead of bounces and enthusiasm like there were during the first few days of school.

While Sarah Maizes’ latest book in the On My Way To… series came out before school started, I am finding that it is useful now that school is a daily reality that has sunk in, however unwelcome.


It seems funny to review a children’s book, but our kids have preferences for certain things just like we do, right? The best way I have figured out how to discover my own boys’ tastes is just to to put piles of books under their noses and see which ones they pick up again and again. It was easy when they were babies and I read them Goodnight Moon every single day and night. They had no choice. But once they got older and actually started learning how to read, well, let’s just say they expressed their opinions with no reasonable doubt.

That’s why I hoped and prayed that they would love the series by Sarah Maizes. She is my friend and colleague, and she has persevered against all odds (i.e. the intimidating world of book publishing) to publish not one but now three children’s books inspired by her own daughter Livi who stalls and hems and haws when forced to go to things like bed, a bath, and now school.

On My Way To School is the fantastical journey of a little girl who doesn’t want to go to school. “School is for people who need to learn stuff. I have gone to school and hundred times and I already know lots of stuff,” declares Livi. Boy, have I heard that one before.

Turning the mundane, routine task of getting out of bed and getting dressed for school into an adventure filled with snails, pirates, kangaroos, a red carpet, and more, Maizes channels Livi into a story that can help kids wrap their little minds around going to school. Michael Paraskevas’ colorful and imaginative illustrations will hopefully inspire them to create their own adventures out of otherwise ordinary days.

This book is perfect for my 7-year-old who is just getting a handle on reading, and loves the pictures and the story. He creates fantasy worlds for himself all the time, and can, no doubt, relate.

I think I’ll put it under his pillow and hope he awakes with a sense of adventure for school that he receives by osmosis during the night.

On My Way To School
by Sarah Maizes
$14.29 on Amazon

Doomsday Kitchen: “Meals in a Jar” Cookbook

meals in a jar cover

I’ll admit first off that I thought Meals in a Jar sounded like a FANTASTIC idea, sort of along the lines of Dream Dinners. I imagined a book of step-by-step recipes that would end up in a jar, only to be brought out sometime later when I run out of fresh ingredients and I want to prepare a quick meal that was home-prepared without all those pesky chemical preservatives.

That’s what I got. Sort of. And so much more.

I’ll admit also that this book is not for me. But since I’m not the only person who reads this site, I had to share it with you because a) you might be interested and b) I thought it was fascinating that there are people who do these things in real life.

Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille is not just a cookbook. Oh no. It is also a very lovingly prepared instruction manual for how to feed yourself and all of your nearby survivors in the event of an apocalypse. It’s impressive – Languille teaches you how to can and dehydrate food and how much to prepare and how long it will last. She includes recipes like Cream of Asparagus Soup and Braised Chicken and Mushrooms and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.

I was disappointed, actually, because I kind of want to make Tamarind-Braised Pork Ribs, but I don’t want to make it for 8 people three weeks after a massive zombie attack. I would rather travel to Languille’s house on Whidbey Island in Washington state with what’s left of my family’s canned goods as a peace offering and hope she invites us to stay for dinner. I suppose that after the power goes out we will need a sailboat. My husband will come in handy there.

Okay, I suppose I shouldn’t be so flippant about it – next year is the 20th anniversary of The Big One – the Northridge Earthquake that turned the power off for much of Los Angeles for quite a while. If I had a bunch of meals in a jar, a stash of propane, and a full 50-gallon water drum, we would be just fine.

And Languille does publish the meal planning website, where “normal” recipes like Healthy Apple Chicken can be found for free and a lot more is available to members.

If you live in a place that is at risk of hurricanes, floods, and blackouts, AND you are not afraid of phrases like “retort pouches,” then this is the cookbook for you!