Book Review: The Racketeer by John Grisham

RacketeerAuthor: John Grisham

Publisher:  Random House (Bantam Dell) 

Summary:  The Racketeer by John Grisham is a story in which we meet Malcolm Bannister, former attorney and current inmate, at a federal prison camp near Frostburg, Maryland.  Malcolm knows why federal judge, Raymond Fawcett, was murdered and who carried out the deed.  This information is his “golden ticket” and the means by which he gains the attention of the FBI.  However, what is Bannister’s end game…freedom, revenge or some other objective? Trust me, you have to read the entire book to find out.

My Thoughts:  Before getting into my thoughts on the story line, I want to briefly discuss the narrator and main character, Malcolm Bannister (former lawyer-turned convict).  The first sentence of the book reads: “I am a lawyer, and I am in prison.”  The repetition of the words (“I am” verses “I’m”)  made me wonder: “Is he attempting to draw attention to this identity?  and “How does he want the reader to view him?”.  Maybe this is looking too deeply into the words but in this case these words matter.  Bannister’s public image is completely tarnished in the story line. So, I think an integral part of understanding his perspective is recognizing his need to reestablish his identity on his own terms.

Other than the narrator’s concerns about how he is identified, I found him interesting enough to want to learn more about his story.   I have stopped reading many stories because the narrator put me to sleep.  Fortunately, Bannister intrigued me and  I wanted to learn more about how he ended up in prison. More importantly, I was curious about the ride Grisham was going to take me on to get those answers.

Now, let’s get into the story line.  I appreciate that we learn about how this lawyer ended up in prison (with sufficient detail) fairly early in the story. However, when Bannister reveals to the FBI that he has information that could lead to the arrest of the murderer of Judge Raymond Fawcett, one may start to think that this is a simple “barter for freedom story”.  In true Grisham style the plot line is not quite that simple. There are some surprises, deceptions and double-dealing in this story which add to its appeal.   As Bannister tells the story, we see that he has some revenge in mind when he agrees to assist the government (the same body that is responsible for his predicament), in apprehending the guilty party. He has a scheme to right some wrongs and as these plans unfold Grisham picks up his writing speed.  He begins to weave together plans and actors that assist the main character on his quest for retribution/justice (it’s a matter of perspective).  So, it’s important to slow down and pay attention or you might miss some much needed details.

I must admit that given my legal background,  I may look at legal plot lines more critically than I should.  Honestly, at points during this novel I rolled my eyes or thought “Umm…yeah right”.  With that said, I kept reading and had an overall enjoyable experience. The story line kept me engaged and pleasantly preoccupied with anticipating the next turn of events. This novel is a great read for a relaxed weekend and I would advise you read it with that frame of mind.  Though it has loosely interpreted elements of the law and the appeal of a wronged man getting his due,  it does not rise to the level of a “legal thriller” which you might expect from Grisham.  With clear expectations in mind, I say that this one is still worth the effort.

Purchase this book and others Grisham from Amazon or the publisher.

*Disclaimer:  This book review solely represents my thoughts and opinions.  I did not receive any compensation in any form for this review. This post contains affiliate links.  The photo above is the property of http://www.jgrisham.com.  

Thanks for reading!

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Top 5 Skin Care Tips for Fall!

 

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Over on the Organic Bath Co. blog I shared my thoughts on the changing of seasons as well as my concerns about dry skin.  This time of year is so lovely…..cooler weather, beautiful changing foliage, cozy sweaters and homemade pumpkin chai lattes.  Well, at least that’s what I enjoy about the transition from summer to the cooler seasons of fall and winter.  However, I don’t enjoy the fact that even the hint of cooler weather means that my skin becomes much drier than usual.  I experience chapped lips and dry itchy skin. Fortunately, I know that this is coming so I’ve managed to find some ways to enjoy the season and keep my skin comfortable and moisturized.  Here are my top five tips for moisturized skin during the fall and winter:

  1. Stay Hydrated:  Properly hydrated skin begins on the inside, as does all optimum states of health and beauty.  So, I like to drink plenty of water during the day.  I also drink coconut water, particularly during or after working out.  It both hydrates the body and replenishes it with natural electrolytes.  When looking at external ways to hydrate your skin, consider using a humidifier within your home.  Creating an environment that replaces some of that humidity can help you avoid the harsh dryness that comes with many electric heating systems.
  1. Eat Nutrient Rich Foods:  As with drinking water, the nutrients that you take in greatly impact the feel and appearance of your skin.  So, focus on eating a balanced diet complete with foods that are nutrient dense and free of questionable ingredients and empty calories.  I know that we all probably love a slice of pumpkin pie or a warm latte.  Treats in moderation are fine but don’t overdo it.  Also, I prefer making these treats myself with as many local ingredients as possible.  It’s much easier to track the sources of these ingredients and ensure that you are putting quality products into your body.
  1. Exfoliate Regularly: Dead skin cells can lay on the top of your skin and make it difficult for your skin to absorb moisture from external sources.  During the colder months of the year I have to exfoliate a lot more to maintain moisturized skin.  I use gentle, organic scrubs all over my body, such as Organic Bath’s organic body scrubs.  Polishing away those dead skin cells makes all the difference in my skin’s ability to absorb oils and butters.
  1. Moisturize with Natural Oils and Butters:  I’ve learned that not every product that claims to be moisturizing lives up to billing.  In fact, some products that contain ingredients such as petroleum actually block moisture from entering your skin.  So, I choose to use as many non-toxic and organic body oils and butters as possible.  As I said, I have dry skin, so in cooler months I primarily use butters on the driest areas of my body and I continue using a variety of natural oils for my face.  I apply these products right out of the shower to make sure that those natural oils are able to lock in the moisture.  This method works like a charm.
  1. Dress For the Weather:  We all have to go out at some point.  No matter how much you prepare the natural elements can zap the moisture right out of your skin. If there is a fight between my delicate skin and the weather, the weather wins hands-down! Mother nature is powerful and not to be underestimated.   So, be proactive and cover up if you are going to spend time outdoors.  I do…and I just love the chance to wear pretty scarves. :)

I’m sure that this is going to be a great season for all of us.  Remember, to try these tips for keeping soft and moisturized skin during the next several months.  If you have any other tips please share them below in the comments.

Happy Fall!

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Tea of the Month: September 2014

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Before we get too far into October I want to share a little about the tea that I turned to most in September. I mentioned in my August Tea of the Month post that white tea was turning into one of our favorites.  We could be found sipping on white tea almost every morning in September.  It was our go-to after early morning workouts and I found myself having additional cups during the day.

In terms of brands, Uncle Lee’s Legends Of China Organic White Tea was a new but good choice during the month.  This tea comes in bags that are great for home use or travel when you desire a mild flavor and an antioxidant boost.   As a word of caution, white tea is very delicate and could become scorched at higher temperatures.  So, it should be steeped at a temperature below boiling ( around 175 degrees ) for 4-5 minutes.   If you desire a more bold flavor add another tea bag to your pot.

I usually drink this tea without anything added but my husband loves it with raw honey.  Either way it makes a lovely cup and will probably stay in our morning rotation moving forward.  I think this is a good choice for anyone interested in trying white tea.

*Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

 

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Say Hello to Fall With a Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte!

 

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Yesterday was the first day of fall.  Where I live it was like someone turned on a switch and the weather completely changed overnight.  We went from a warm sunny weekend to cool, raining days.  I’m not complaining though because the cooler weather makes be wish for all things “comfortable and cozy”.  It’s the perfect time for cozy cardigans, candles and of course – cups of tea.  Particularly, chai tea was made for cooler weather.

During the winter I shared my recipe for an Almond Milk Chai Latte.  I used that recipe as the base for this one with a few revisions. The most significant change was that I gave it a pumpkin spice makeover.  I think this will be my signature fall latte.  If you have a favorite fall drink please share it below.

Ingredients:

1 chai tea bag or 1 teaspoon  loose leaf chai tea (I used Original Chai by Pukka)

1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons organic pumpkin puree

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

2 tablespoons organic raw honey

Directions:  

Steep tea bag in 1/2 cup boiling water for 4-5 minutes and remove tea bag.  While the tea is steeping, combine almond milk, vanilla, honey, pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon. Continuously whisk mixture on medium heat until it starts to bubble.  Pour milk over chai tea mixture. You may top this mixture with another dash of cinnamon and nutmeg if you like.

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Have a safe, comfortable and cozy fall season!

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Exciting News From Author Sherryl Caulfield + Book Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now closed.  A special thanks to those of you who participated or joined the conversation in any form!  Stay tuned for more great things from Sherryl Caulfield and Honey Lemon Tea.   :) 

Hi friends!  Earlier this year I had the pleasure of taking a literary journey to Newfoundland for a few days, courtesy of  Sherryl Caulfield’s debut novel, Seldom Come By.

When I completed reading this novel, I described it as a “startling – epic – romance”. Samuel and Rebecca’s love story has definitely stayed with me. If you missed my full review you may check it out  here.  Now, on to some exciting news….

 

Book News! 

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On September 19th Sherryl will release book 2 in The Iceberg Trilogy, Come What May! It starts close to where Seldom Come By ended and although Seldom Come By is a complete book with a satisfying ending – no cliffhanger. However,  to really enjoy Come What May, to fully immerse yourself in the story, it’s best to read Seldom Come By first. To that end, Sherryl is sponsoring an amazing giveaway for Honey Lemon Tea readers.

 

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Before getting into the details of the giveaway, here’s a short overview of what you can expect when reading this novel:  Seldom Come By is a confronting coming of age love story set in Newfoundland and the Western Front during the First World War. It tells the story of a restless teenager, Rebecca Crowe, and how her fascination with icebergs leads her to save a shipwrecked sailor, Samuel Dalton, who becomes the love of her life. Rebecca’s story is universal and timeless – she could be any woman who longs to experience more of the world and through the choices she makes has to live with the devastating consequences of her actions. Seldom Come By is an exquisite tale of love, loss, forgiveness and healing.

Giveaway Time! 

After that brief overview I’m sure you are anxious to get your hands on a copy.  :) To enter the giveaway you have to do three simple things:

  1. Like Sherryl’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/SherrylCaulfieldAuthor.
  2. Comment on any post on Sheryl’s Facebook page saying you came from Honey Lemon Tea and would love to win a copy of Seldom Come By.
  3. Come back here, leave a comment saying ‘Done’ and tell me the name of another fictional couple whose love story really moved you.

I will announce the giveaway winners on Wednesday, October 1st.  Stay tuned for updates…Best wishes!

Giveaway Details: You must enter by Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 11:59(EST).  This giveaway is open internationally.  Only one entry is allowed per person.  Three winners will be randomly chosen and announced on this blog as well as contacted directly.  Each winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.  The products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, no purchase necessary.  My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.

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Teas of the Month: August 2014

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Hi Friends!  I’ve missed “talking” to you all.  My career life has kept me super busy but I still wanted to share my August  Tea of the Month. Johnny and I have been focused on working out and improving our overall health.  I mentioned in my Summer Sweet Fruit Salad post that we work out early in the morning. Then, we follow up with breakfast and green tea.  So, the month of August was all about fitness and green tea.

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We started out drinking the Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea by Tea Vivre (that was a mouth full) pictured to the right. I’ve been drinking tea from this company all year so it was easy to just steep some of their quality leaves. This tea has the freshest aroma and a mild, sweet, vegetable taste. I love that it’s organic and always packaged well.  Unfortunately, we exhausted our stash early in the month.

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Luckily the kind folks at  Palais des Thé sent me  one of their signature blends, their Thé Du Hammam, which is a fruity green tea.  It is meant to call to mind a Turkish steam bath, fragrant with roses, green dates, berries and orange flower water.  This tea has a fruity flavor that is blended quite well.  No one aspect of the blend (particular rose) is too apparent.

 

All in all, August was a great month for green tea.  We are already into September and it looks like white tea is going to be the winner this month.  Stay tuned to find out more.

Cheers!

*Disclosure:  The bottom two pictures are courtesy of http://www.teavivre.com and http://www.us.palaisdethes.com, respectively.

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Flash Sale at Jacq’s Organics + Coupon Code

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Hi friends!  I know that some of you are interested in trying safe, organic , bath and beauty products. So, I thought that you would be interested in this flash sale.  For today and tomorrow (August 26-27th) Jacq’s Organics is having a 48 hour flash sale!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the company, Jacq’s Organics offers all natural, organic products that are safe for the environment and the entire family.  On their site you will find everything from organic soaps and facial care products to lip balms and body butters.  What’s great about this company is that they don’t leave anyone out.  The entire family is covered with products for men, women and children.

The company is offering this sale to say “thank you” to bloggers and all of their readers.  You can score some organic body care products for the entire family and save 20% off of the entire site in the process.

To take advantage of this offer visit:  jacqsorganics.com.  At checkout be sure to use the code:  bloggerlove (lower case)  to take advantage of the discount.

Have a great day!

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