The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life

The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life

by Karen Linamen

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Overview

Ready to Make Some Sweet Changes?

Karen Linamen dishes up a satisfying blend of moxie and mocha, sharing stories from dozens of women who reveal savvy strategies for embracing a sweeter life—even while traveling rocky roads. If you’re hungry for more joy, reasons to laugh again, ideas to help you heal, and reliable hope leading to a sweeter future, this journey will leave you satisfied.
 
Funny, transparent, and uplifting, The Chocolate Diaries is like taking a road trip with good friends who are wise about life. And while you’re at it, indulge (just a little) in the quirky recipes for concocting chocolate delights out of whatever ingredients you can round up in your kitch. The road may still be bumpy, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307729590
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 956,217
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

No stranger to good chocolate, Karen Scalf Linamen is a popular speaker and the author of fifteen books for women, including Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt and Chocolatherapy: Satisfying the Deepest Cravings of Your Inner Chick. Karen writes, entertains, cooks, and pursues the sweet life with her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt

Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen

Bumpy roads may be inevitable, but misery is optional.

Two nights ago I discovered my fifteen-year-old in the kitchen at 3 a.m., whipping up pasta and shrimp in a garlic-and-lemon cream sauce. Blinking, I asked, “What are you doing?”

Kacie shrugged. “I couldn’t sleep. I kept dreaming of recipes.”

No surprise there. Kacie’s gotten the whole family hooked on the Food Network. In fact, the kid has fallen in love not only with cooking but with Italian cuisine in general and with one teenaged Italian bakery delivery boy in particular.

It all began when we started watching Cake Boss, a reality show recorded at a century-old bakery founded and run by a boisterous Italian family in New Jersey. One of the many relatives who works at Carlo’s Bakery is seventeen-year-old Robert Faugno, nephew of Buddy Valastro, the master baker. Kacie is so taken with Cake Boss, the summer after she turns eighteen, she wants us to take a family trip to New Jersey so she can visit the bakery and meet Robert (a.k.a. her future husband). Kacie’s plan is to marry Robert and complete a brief pastry internship at the family bakery before the happy couple opens a Tuscan restaurant and starts giving birth to their own brood of boisterous future employees and reality TV stars.

Granted, Robert has yet to be informed of his pending engagement. But that’s nothing more than a small glitch in the grand scheme of things. We tried to jump-start the relationship by looking for him on Facebook, but we couldn’t find him. So if you happen to know Robert Faugno, would you please have him call Kacie?

I love that Kacie started watching the Food Network, fell in love with Cake Boss, and now sees her future life unfolding. I mean, what’s not to like? You’ve got a big gregarious family. You’ve got festive events like weddings and bar mitzvahs. You’ve got chocolate.

Unfortunately, when I watch the Food Network, the programs that seem to best represent my life are part of a series called Chopped. In every episode up-and-coming chefs compete for ten thousand dollars by whipping up extravagant dishes in thirty minutes or less. The timer starts as each chef is given a basket containing three or four ingredients that must be included in the dish.

I’m not talking about flour, sugar, and eggs. These chefs have to create dishes using zany combinations such as oranges, grapefruit, and bacon! Or apples, shrimp, and peanut butter. My favorite episode is the one where the chefs are asked to create an appetizer with chocolate and sardines.

A tasty chocolate-and-fish appetizer. You should see the looks on their faces.

And then the timer starts.

Now that’s real life. After all, you and I are given a limited amount of time on earth. (Sure, it’s longer than thirty minutes, although we’re never sure how much longer. Thirty years? Sixty? Ninety?) Then we’re given a variety of zany ingredients with which to make something of our lives. Inevitably, some of the ingredients are things we don’t want and may not even know how to handle.

Just yesterday a woman was telling me about her pending divorce. Through tears she said, “It’s not what I thought I’d have to deal with in my life.” I’ve had that same feeling. My guess is that you have too.

As we stare into the kitchens of our lives, we see all sorts of ingredients we didn’t ask for. There are ingredients that don’t play well with others and some that are downright unpleasant. We see signs of our

Sweet Secrets

Q: What’s your secret to a sweeter journey on the rocky road of life?

A: I try to find others who need encouragement. So often my crisis becomes less of a crisis when I take my eyes off myself and look at the needs of those around me. You get to wallow in your crisis and have a pity party for yourself during the tough times, sure. But after that, you have to reach out to those who are in their own crises. That’s when you realize that giving is the greater medicine.

—Cindi Chase Joseph, California

hard labor and great effort—scattered flour and dirty pans and potato peelings on the floor—but not always the results we long for. When this happens it’s easy to become discouraged. We can even become convinced that we’ve been given such bitter ingredients that nothing can ever make our lives sweet again. (After all, it’s hard to imagine even a skillful chef making something palatable out of a childhood hurt, a mistake from long ago, baggage from a difficult marriage, or lingering disappointment!)

But this philosophy suggests that the ingredients are more important than the life they produce. Don’t believe it!

After all, Food Network chefs are routinely handed bizarre ingredients (such as sardines and chocolate) and manage to rise above their dismay to create the most amazing dishes despite haphazard combinations of flavors.

You might be thinking, Well, of course they do. It’s television! Even if it is a reality show, it’s still entertainment. And yet you and I know real people who exhibit the same talent, don’t we? People who have been handed some really distasteful things yet have managed to fold them into the batter of their lives in such a way that the end results are not just appetizing, they’re also amazing! These are people we love to be around, because their lives aren’t characterized by bitterness despite the hardships they have experienced. Instead, they’ve extracted both the good and the bad from their pasts and blended it all to create lives that are rich and satisfying.

If you’ve never met anyone like this before, be patient, because in this book you will. Even better, these amazing folks are going to share their secrets for embracing a sweeter journey in spite of the rocky roads of life.

Some of the ingredients in our baskets are tasty. Others are bitter, and if they aren’t handled well, they have the potential to overpower the entire recipe. And yet if we know the secrets, the bitter flavors can not only be tamed, sometimes they also end up being the very thing that transforms our efforts from ordinary to truly remarkable.

Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t traversed rocky roads (and only a few who aren’t rattling over a few bumps even now). So why are you and I so surprised (or dismayed, or afraid, or even overwhelmed) when it happens to us?

We resist the bumpiness of life because it seems so unfair and it’s always unwanted. But the truth is, rocky roads are inevitable. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that even though hard times are unavoidable, the rockiest roads are veined with the greatest treasure, meant to be experienced fully and even mined for their riches.

A few months ago I tried to communicate this idea to one of my children. When Kacie complained that we were short on money, I assured her we were going to be fine, then went on to inform her that having too much month at the end of the checkbook was one of life’s rocky challenges that I wanted her to experience!

Truth be told, I want each of my daughters to know what it feels like to

• have ten bucks in your account until payday and have to figure out how to manage until then.
• fight with someone you love, then experience the joy of discovering how to forgive each other, resolve things, and move forward.
• become frustrated with a messy house, then enjoy the satisfying feeling of bringing order back into your world.
• be stressed and figure out how to reclaim peace.
• experience the mountain peaks of love and the deep valleys of loss, and discover how to find beauty in every landscape and terrain of the soul.

We can’t escape it. Life brings these challenges many times over, and I want my daughters to have the moxie to know how to handle them as they arise. I also want my daughters to be women of depth and wisdom, traits that are rarely picked up along the broad, smooth, easy highway of life.

Depth and wisdom are most often discovered as we stumble along dim and twisting back roads, trying to find our way back home. As much as we wish these treasures could be gleaned from comfort and success, the truth is that the bumpier roads offer the richer rewards.

Some days I understand all of this. That’s when I say things to my kids like, “Rocky roads are chock-full of treasure. Grab a spoon and dig in!” On other days, however, I lose my bearings, and the last thing I want to do is celebrate the mettle-producing benefits of difficult terrain.

On those days, I may be reeling because my own rocky roads have taken sharp, unexpected turns. I feel lost and overwhelmed, my journey suddenly turning dark and disenchanting. For that moment I’m no longer a member of the search and rescue team, but the one huddled under a tree, waiting for someone with a working compass to show up and encourage me toward home.

And yet this is what makes the adventure so very, very grand: we need one another! Whether we’re high on living the sweet life or trudging fatigued on the ol’ rocky road, we’re not in this alone. Best yet, as we whisper to one another the encouraging secrets we’ve learned along the way, our journeys will be so much richer.

Java Therapy

A few weeks ago I had dinner with a couple of my girlfriends. We were in Debbie’s dining room, enjoying a wonderful meal of bread and hummus and fruit. I’d just asked these women about their rocky roads. I wanted to know what they did to cope—no, wait, not just cope, but actually thrive—when life got hard.

Ronlyn knew about rocky roads. So did Debbie. So did I, for that matter. Among the three of us, we pretty much had all the bases covered, including single-parenting challenges, financial stress, career mishaps, depression, childhood trauma, health problems, and broken hearts.

“As you know,” Ronlyn shared, “I went through a really tough time last year. But I think I began to cope—and really heal—in the Starbucks drive-through lane.” (Now this is my kind of coping strategy! I waited eagerly for her to continue.)

“I’d been depressed,” she reminded us, “really struggling with a lot of stuff going on in my life. One morning it dawned on me that if I didn’t find a way to take my thoughts off my problems, I was going to drive myself crazy!”

An hour later, on her way to work, Ronlyn pulled into a Starbucks drive-through lane. Waiting in line, she had a crazy idea. When it was her turn to pay, she handed her debit card to the clerk taking orders at the window and, on a whim, announced: “I want to pay for the car behind me too.”

And so Ronlyn’s addiction began.

It started innocently enough with two or three random acts of Starbucks-drive-through kindness a week. Then she started looking for thrills in other places, like McDonald’s and even Taco Bell. One afternoon she paid for the person in the car behind her while her kids were with her. And just like that, they were hooked. Before long, her entire family couldn’t get enough of the giddy rush of good deeds at drive-through lanes.

Not that there weren’t sacrifices. Ronlyn, a single mom, never knew (until the deed was done, of course) if the driver behind her had ordered a cup of coffee or venti cappuccinos for the entire office. Sometimes the bill was a few bucks. Once it was nearly thirty.

This was not a cheap habit.

But maybe that was all right. It was cheaper than therapy. Plus, it gave Ronlyn a renewed sense of hope. Even though she was still living in her private quarters of stress and hurt, she had discovered a window to a happier world. And the more she created happiness for others, the more she found the courage to believe that happiness could exist in her
future too.

Ronlyn couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of how her newfound vice was impacting her innocent victims. As they drove away with their complimentary cup of joe or sausage biscuit, were they smiling? shaking their heads in grateful disbelief? Did they feel luckier or happier or even a little less invisible than when they’d rolled out of bed that morning? How were Ronlyn’s random acts of drive-through kindness making a difference? She would never know.

Or would she? One morning on her way to work, Ronlyn pulled up to the Starbucks window and reached for her debit card. The clerk grinned and said, “There’s no charge. The car in front just paid for your coffee.”

I guess it’s possible that nobody knows the troubles you’ve seen. But it’s more likely that others have not only traveled the road you’re on, they’ve also discovered a few secrets for making the journey a little sweeter. I believe your journey can be sweeter too.

You and I love our chocolate, don’t we? Not the bitter stuff; we like our chocolate smooth and sweet. We want our lives smooth and sweet as well. Unfortunately, you may have learned, as I have, that it’s a whole lot easier to control your choice of chocolate than your life.

And yet the next time life hands you a bitter ingredient, don’t despair.

After all, if sardines—with enough chocolate—have the makings of something truly amazing, think what hope there is for you and me!

Food for Thought

Which reality TV show best portrays your life, and why?
What are some unpleasant ingredients that you have had to fold into the batter of your life?
Are you in danger of letting the bitterness of certain experiences overpower and define your life?
If so, what are your other options?
Has a friend ever shared something she learned from traveling her own rocky road that helped you get through a rough stretch?
What did she share, and how did it help?
Have you ever had that kind of impact on someone else?
How did Ronlyn make her rocky journey a little sweeter?
If you tried something similar, how might it help make your journey sweeter?

Because Real Women Don’t Need a Cookbook

Crazy for Coconut

Recently I had a craving for something sweet, so I starting ransacking the kitchen. I found about a quarter cup of lonely coconut left in its package, so I dumped it into a bowl. I poured plenty of chocolate syrup over the coconut and added a couple of almonds on top. Wow! It tasted just like an Almond Joy, my childhood favorite.
—Beth Lueders, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Want More?

To find more chocolate recipes, or to post your own, go to www.thechocolatediariesonline.com.

Customer Reviews

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The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Organicshoes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Good fix for the Ups and Downs of LifeLinamen has sculpted a book of the stories of everyday women like you and me and the ups and downs that are faced on a daily basis. The Chocolate Diaries is full of anecdotes (and chocolate) that bring laughter and tears, occasionally at the same time. Each chapter brings little pick me ups and how everyday readers handle times of stress.Linamen has crafted a story full of the sweet and bitter moments in life. This book was enjoyable, reading about the lives of real people and the ways some women have learned to cope with stress and to find laughter in otherwise dreary situations. This book is a great read, good for reading straight through or to come back to when you¿re in need of a pick-me-up (don¿t forget the side of chocolate!)Each chapter also brings along delicious recipes for when those chocolate cravings hit. Every chocolate lover will appreciate this book!I received this book complimentary from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through their reviewer exchange program. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. This review is solely mine.
JDove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an insprirational and delicious book to read. It is filled with wise words and common sense and some great recipes too! A must read.
Cynthia357 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book with lots of good advice and cute stories. I plan to pass it on to another reader soon.
Auj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Karen LInamen has written this funny inspirational book filled with advice for living in a world filled with challenges and opportunities. She illustrates the advice with stories from her life, friends and family. Each chapter is divided into short segments which makes it easy to put down if need be, and pick up again. At the end of the chapters is a section titled "Food for Thought" and several though-provoking questions are asked. These can be used for self reflection, group discussion, or simply ignored. The theme of the book is dealing with the rocky road of life which may have contributed to the 'chocolate' title. Apparently Karen asked the question "What's your secret to a sweeter journey on the rocky road of life?" on her website, and readers have answered. Sporadically throughout the book, this question and answers are highlighted in a box on the page. The recipes included are also from readers. But no one included my favorite which is to take a spoonful of peanut butter, a spoonful of chocolate frosting and zap it in the microwave for about 12 seconds until it is soft and creamy. Stir it together and eat with a spoon. As it cools, it firms up a little and tastes like chocolate peanut butter fudge. I like to use a tiny demitasse spoon to eat this slowly.I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
graffitimom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an advice for living book with a Christian perspective. Much of the author's advice involves making lists and trying to look on the better side of things. She shares stories of incidents from the lives of her family and friends, as well as from her own life. There are some chocolate "recipes" in the book which are mainly simple ways to enjoy chocolate, such as dipping a spoonful of peanut butter in chocolate chips for a quick treat.
Erolene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ms. Linamen is a funny, spunky, and encouraging writer. There were a lot of great stories and a lot of great chocolate recipes. Yum! I'd recommend it to anyone who needs some spiritual support... and a bit of chocolate therapy. I'll definitely be passing this one on to my friends.
mariah2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read ¿The Chocolate Diaries¿ for the purpose of reviewing it for the LibraryThing¿s early reviewers program. I thought this was a wonderful book, and I am glad I was one of the people chosen to receive a copy. I probably would not have read the book if I was not chosen to do so. In honor of the author I will make a list of reasons why someone should read this book:1. The reader learns new ways to prepare chocolate for human consumption2. The book has an appendix that provides resources for further reading3. The author made me laugh4. The author presents stories of survivors, and discussed their coping mechanisms. 5. The author gently reminds the reader that life is not supposed to be perfect. We can grow and become better during the tumultuous times of our lives.6. The reader learns new ways to prepare chocolate human for consumption¿.oh, I already mentioned that one. I guess it deserves a second mention due to its importance.
Talford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
great book! took me longer to read because got busy with other stuff. Enjoyed the great recipes a nd common sense advice.
TheLoopyLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Chocolate Diaries was a light uplifting read although I didn't really learn any "secrets." The recommendations for a sweeter journey were what you would expect: pray, read the Bible, spend time with friends, listen to music, cry when you need to, laugh whenever you can, and of course, eat chocolate. But the stories that some of the women shared were very inspiring, and the book itself is a good pick-me-up. The author also inserted a great deal of humor. I would give this book as a gift, maybe as part of a basket with indulgences like bubble bath and chocolate truffles. Though I didn't learn anything new, I felt encouraged after reading it. I also liked the collection of recipes that were scattered throughout the book. I don't cook, but for many of the recipes there was no cooking required. Overall, The Chocolate Diaries is a feel-good read featuring godly women that have endured much but have learned to live lives of joy and peace despite great hardship and trial.
vickielanette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sweet Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life.I give this book 5 stars. It is like sitting around with your friends talking about Chocolate, and giving each other advice on what to fix up for a sweet treat. Glad I received this book for my kitchen collection. Chocolate, and more chocolate.Vickie
polarmath on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book with much inspiration. The book has laughter with encouragement to keep you reading for more. A great read for anyone especially women. This is a good read all at once, or in good bites.
RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
KAREN SCALF LINAMEN'S "THE CHOCOLATE DIARIES" (REVIEW)"The Chocolate Diaries" is an inspirational, feel-good book of the year. Every story reminds you that you can get through life by placing it in the hands of God and of course a little taste of chocolate from time to time. These stories from real women make you want to lead a good life and explore what it's like to give more. A lot of times you may find yourself receiving more as a result.I would recommend every woman to read this book and take the lessons to heart, they are definitely life-changing and don't forget the chocolate!-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
bburke79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as part of on early reviewers group. I liked it ok...but it is not one of my favorite books. It took me awhile to get through it even though I started it right away. It is very much like sitting around with some girlfriends and doing the whole "solve all of our problems while consuming chocolate". I for one however prefer to do this with real people and real chocolate. This might be a perfect book for someone working out of town away from friends and family or stationed overseas with her spouse. It was a "sweet" book and also includes several recipes revolving around chocolate (some of those sounded really yummy!). It gave most of the advice that you get from any self-help book. Pray, take time for your self, confide in friends etc.etc. The one thing that did really stand out for me was her ability to laugh at herself. I think picking up that habit would help a great many of us in this day and time. Overall- an ok book. Would probably make a nice addition to a basket of truffles, bath and body stuff and a bottle of wine for a friend having a rough time.
snidbits More than 1 year ago
The title is what grabbed my attention - being a lover of chocolate and all. I thought the chocolate recipes at the end of each chapter were definitely inspiring. The book was an overall good read though I had it in my mind it would be a little more uplifting than it was. All of the stories were encouraging but I just felt the mood was a little less positive than I would have liked. The story that stood out to me the most was about Karen's friend who made a habit of paying for the people behind her in the drive-thru line. I've done this a few times and have made it a goal of doing it more this year and the feeling is absolutely amazing! Just wondering what's running through the other person's mind? It's a rare thing to have a complete stranger pay for your food. I liked how short each chapter was (about ten pages), making it easy to read a few chapters in a sitting.
The_Dame More than 1 year ago
The Chocolate Diaries is not a recipe book. It's a book that contains sweet life stories, tips and quotes that could make a tough battle with life bearable. I got inspired by the drive through lane story. I would love to do that once in a while, but in my own little way. {I wouldn't want to be a spoiler and re-tell the whole story. You have to find out yourself.} It taught me on how one person can be good when everything is just a mess. The morale of the story will hold you back to do miserable and pathetic things that seems too easy (or stupid) to do when our life seems to suck. The author also gets to talk about scientific processes that occur when we feel down or happy. Like how stress causes adrenaline, and in the process, fats are released into the bloodstream. So, we have all the reasons to be happy. Everyone doesn't like to be called fat, right? And, I love Top 10 Reasons to be a Writer. Once again, I am disclosing those reasons. The article inspired me more to become a writer. I want to be a writer, even though it means only writing for myself. It is my passion. Even though I may suck at it, I still want to be a writer. But, if it's infinitely possible, I would write for my readers. However, I found reading the book to be dragging and redundant at times. That doesn't erase the great stories and thoughts that one could derive from the book though. To end the review, let me share to you some of the quotes I love in this book: The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep. -- Henry Maudsley When you need a quicker picker-upper, you can reach for a paper towel or some chocolate. Chocolate may taste better, but paper towels provide more dietary fiber. Tough choice, I know
Amandapants More than 1 year ago
Normally, I try to be as objective as possible while writing a book review, since most books have both good and bad points, but I honestly can't think of a bad thing to say about this book. I enjoyed it so much that sucked me in and I could hardly put it down once I started reading. I love that it written by someone that most women would be able to relate to. She regales stories of her own life experiences along with some of those of her friends, and each chapter ends with a Food for Thought segment and other peoples chocolate treats and recipes. Each chapter is inspirational, and it is a great read for anyone who might be traveling some of life's rocky roads. Even if you're not going through hard times... even if you're just a huge chocoholic (like me), I would highly recommend this book to anyone. WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided me with a complimentary copy of "The Chocolate Diaries"; however, a positive review was not required.
LadyLeslie More than 1 year ago
"The Chocolate Diaries" by Karen Scalf Linamen was a refreshing and inspiring book. I really enjoyed getting to know Karen through this book. I will definitely be picking up other books that she has written. This book came at a great time in my life. I had battling the blues and this book was uplifting and encouraging in so many ways. I love that I was able to really relate to the personal reflections that Karen shared. I am a foodie at heart and that is really what drew me to this book. Mod-way through each chapter were little excerpts about how to make life sweeter. I loved these little parts because they were anecdotes from others who Karen is connected to. It is a GREAT READ!! It's funny and honest and I completely and totally recommend it!
luv2read-kmg More than 1 year ago
The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen is a compilation of thoughts and experiences to encourage and lead others to a "sweeter journey on the rocky road of life." As indicated by the title, chocolate is a main them throughout the book. Each chapter includes interesting and unique recipes to quench your chocolate cravings. Most of the chapters are even titles with chocolate references as seen in chapter one's title "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen." Each chapter also includes a section called "Sweet Secrets" where selected individuals share their "secret to a sweeter journey" in just a few sentences. Also, the book includes a "Food for Thought" section which helps you reevaluate each chapter. If you are looking for a very light-hearted read which includes somewhat encouraging messages without much Christian depth, this is your book. I was disappointed that the Bible was not referenced more. Prayer is included but definitely not emphasized as being the most important ingredient in a rocky journey. Sharing laughter and personal experiences does give momentary relief and encouragement but Jesus Christ is the only one who can give lasting peace. I wished the book had pointed more to Him. On a lighter note, since I am from Kentucky I was deeply impressed that the author's Aunt Cora was the one who gave Harland Sanders his famous fried chicken recipe. I received this book free from the publisher through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
LoriBehrens More than 1 year ago
Inspiring little book with practical advice packaged in light-hearted humor Author and speaker Karen Scalf Linamen delivers uplifting stories from her own life and others.  Each of the fifteen chapters digs into a unique aspect of coping with the bumps we all experience at some points along this road we call life. Each chapter also closes with a few "Food for Thought" questions useful for more in-depth individual or group study.  Scattered throughout the book Linamen includes quick and easy chocolate recipes for those inevitable times when emergency chocolate intervention is required. These recipes are graphically enclosed in boxes which she humorously entitles "Because Real Women Don't Need a Cookbook".  More biblical content and scriptural references could have been included to point the reader back to Jesus and His Word as the true source of wisdom in coping with life's ups and downs.  However, overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Chocolate Diaries.  Linamen's style of writing has a way of capturing and keeping the reader's attention.  I would love to see an accompanying Bible study guide, with recipes of course! Recommend? Yes. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, through the Blogging For Books book review program, for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Patty_Mc More than 1 year ago
The Chocolate Diaries, is a feel good book, with personal stories, that make me sad and smile with the stories. This book left me thinking and feel like I can relate to the book stories. Using metaphors about sweets and recipes, the author make me identify with her with my own personal experiences in many of the Chapters, not to mention that left me craving in a couple of chapters. I felt it was very easy to read and left me thinking about the book for hours after I finish the last page. It also left me with a positive way of seeing life. Is the first book I read from Karen Linamen and by make me relate to her stories I definitely will start looking her past books or any future books. i just like it.
JanSD More than 1 year ago
From the first chapter, "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen," I was hooked. Karen Linamen shares personal stories and the experiences of friends in a humorous way that made me want to keep reading. The author's stories and scripture are encouraging and inspirational. One of my favorite chapters was on 'thought toxins.' You know, the negative thoughts that pop up, wasting our time and causing us stress. The author shares emotional 'pick-me-ups' sprinkled with a few great chocolate recipes sent in by her readers. You'll find plenty of concrete suggestions in this book, but it's much more than just "how to." Each chapter ends with "Food for Thought," questions to help you further examine each topic as it applies to your life. I finished this book feeling entertained and empowered to make simple changes in my life which will, as the title says, sweeten the journey. I also immediately went to my cupboard to find the ingredients to make the Three minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug, from page 139! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the stories in this book.....and the recipes!! Can see myself having a bowl of coconut..shredded...chocolate syrup and a few almonds! A Mounds?? Who cares...it takes care of that craving! There is a lot of healing in laughter! Add in tears and of course the main ingredient...Prayer! What great messages! Karen is a girl after my own heart with Chocolate!! YUM! There are some good chuckles...loved in Chapter 10 how her boyfriend asked her "who are you?" Great descriptions. You even find out about Aunt Cora...KFC indeed! Each chapter has Sweet Secrets and Food for thought! Throughout all lean on God! I recommend this enlightening book and delightful book filled real stories! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
4boysmama More than 1 year ago
I once read that every woman needs several girlfriends, one that is the life of the party to help you have fun, one that is serious and calm and can be there in times of crisis to be a rock and a tell it like it is girlfriend who, true to her name, will say the things you need to hear even when you don't want to hear it. Karen Linamen is all of those girlfriends rolled up into one and sprinkled with chocolate! Regardless of where you are on your journey, this book is a great road map to get you where you are going. You will laugh, cry, and shake your head in wonder that someone knows just what you are feeling. And then the Chocolate. The Sweet Secrets at the end of each chapter give great advice from other women on their life's journey and as a bonus there is a delicious recipe for sweet chocolate therapy! It is impossible to walk away without being changed in some way by this book. Grab a little chocolate and settle in!
BookLover40AH More than 1 year ago
This book is like sharing short life stories with friends and learning to laugh, heal, and find hope or more joy in what has happened. The author takes you on a girls roadtrip, so to speak, while finding spiritual recipes out of ingredients in your life for concocting chocolate delights out of it all! I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
MissCara More than 1 year ago
Recently, I've struggled with the circumstances of my life. It's been a challenge to stay positive when things are not what I want them to be. Are they ever? In light of my recent turmoil, I thought that The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen (a book about weathering the difficult times in life) might provide something to think about and ways to grow. Karen is known as a humor writer, using her own life and the stories of others to discuss spiritual truths. She tells a joke or two, but I didn't find her particularly funny, though my standards are high. She had some good things to say, ideas for coping including: taking time for yourself, reading the Bible more and spending time with friends with whom you can be vulnerable. However, these are words that have been said over and over to me (and countless other people). The main thing that seemed to separate this book from the countless others telling you to persevere even when it's hard was the emphasis on chocolate, both in recipe form and throughout the text. While I like a good piece of chocolate as much as anyone, and agree that it can be helpful for a lift in mood, I don't think it's enough on which to base a book, or a life. If you're looking for reminders of what is important, peppered with personal stories and recipes, this may be just what you're looking for, but just like a box of chocolates, not all pieces are going to thrill you, and this one didn't thrill me. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review