Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In this prequel to The Narrowing Path Series, three brothers work together to survive the Green Path - a competition among the boys of the Ascor, the wealthy in the community to survive and guarantee a place for themselves to hide in the limited underground shelters from the scorching sun that makes the planet unlivable for a few weeks every six years. The boys must fight, bargain or help a fighter and be interesting and cunning to win a place for survival. Of the three brothers, only two will be chosen to live if any of them are at all. One brother will have to die. Eolnar tells the story of himself and his brothers and how they use their wits to survive and as he does, he sadly comes to terms with the death of one of his brothers. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won't Work
This book is a really really inconvenient truth. Well researched and documented, the author explains why everyone in the entire world needs to eliminate all animal products (meat, dairy and fish) from production and consumption in order for the world to be able to feed everyone sustainably and avoid debilitating global warming. He explains how the land and oceans are being depleted and the adverse affects of eating animal products on our health. He does not think we can take "baby steps" and merely change our ways of food production and eating animal products, but that we need to cut out eating all animal products completely. He explains how the land that is currently used to grow grains to feed to animals that we eat could instead be used to grow healthier grains that would feed many more people and be healthier for the people and the environment. The book is in depth, scientific and presents a frightening picture of what will happen if we continue on producing and consuming animals the way we do now. Everyone should be made aware of this! However, awareness alone will not change us. I know. I understand this book and believe it. I have heart problems and am on two medications for that and I absolutely understand that I would be healthier if I ate no animal products. I have been reading various vegan and vegetarian cookbooks for the past year trying to find healthy real food recipes that don't include gross fake meat products and processed foods. And after reading this book, when I went to the grocery store - I bought a roasted chicken and some crumbled goat cheese along with the produce that I purchased. It was really good too. I imagine that if the animal products were even more expensive and good produce and grains were less expensive - and if I can find better recipes for vegan foods - including ones that my picky kids will eat, it might be easier to just up and quit consuming animal products. Our culture, beliefs and taste buds are hard to change though. If everyone were more aware of this, and we all work together on it, I think we can do it.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Fantastic story for middle school girls! Gwendolyn has been going through a lot of changes lately with puberty - growing breasts, getting her period and now floating to the ceiling. As she learns to deal with the fact that she is a Night Flyer, she also learns more about her father, who disappeared years ago and how to deal with her emotions and her friends and family. This is a sweet and funny book and I think that middle school girls will really enjoy it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I slogged through a bit over 60% of it before I gave up and skimmed to the end. I had hoped that the plot would redeem itself and become interesting and worth the time I had taken on the first part of the book. Sadly, it did not. The book begins with the story of William Bellman, a nice enough man who is a hard worker and does well in business. When his wife and 3 of his children die from a fever, he seems to make a deal with the devil - Mr. Black, for the life of his only remaining child, Dora, who, although she survives, is an invalid for the rest of her life and once it is certain she will live, Bellman pretty much ignores her. Bellman then opens a funeral business and becomes a total workaholic working himself, literally, to death, occasionally wondering where the mysterious Mr. Black is, so that he can share his business with him as he thinks he promised. In the end, we learn that Mr. Black is, I think, Bellman's memories of his life and of his loved ones who have passed on and Bellman has ignored them and worked so hard that he has neither enjoyed nor remembered the good times he once had in his life. There were also a lot of references to rooks - black birds like crows, and I think that was supposed to be some sort of symbolism or something. I do not recommend this book.
Monday, December 9, 2013
This book is an excellent resource for everyone who wants to eat a more healthy diet and get unhealthy preservatives and other chemicals that are put in food our of their diets. The authors begin by explaining that just because a processed food may call itself healthy, that certainly does not mean that it is actually better than other processed foods. In a comparison of Classic Lays Potato Chips vs Baked Lays Potato Chips, the baked ones appear to be healthier based on the fact that they have lower calories and lower fat and sodium content. However, when you look at the ingredients - the Classic Lays contain just Potatoes, Vegetable oil and salt. The Baked Lays contain Dried Potatoes, Cornstarch, Sugar, Corn Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin and Corn Sugar - actually a less healthy option than the Classic chips. This book explains what many of the poor food ingredients are - since some of them are chemicals and most of us have no idea what they really are or where they come from or how they are created, and how and why they are bad to consume. The authors advocate a whole foods, non-gmo food, organic when possible diet free of as many processed foods as possible. They give recipes for making your own foods like almond milk, mayonnaise and ketchup and they rate and list a variety of foods by brand name as being rich or poor foods. I found the book well written, highly informative and easy to use. It is limited by the fact that it does not - and cannot rate all foods in any category and also by the fact that processed food companies change their products from year to year. However, it is an excellent and timely resource and I highly recommend it.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Oh my, what a sad book. An island with magical healing fish. A fish boy. Sick people who need to eat the magical healing fish to stay alive. A teenage boy who befriends the fish boy. Cruel fishermen who abuse the fish boy. Interesting concept. Very sad. Good book.
In this rather different apocalypse type story we follow 3 groups of people - one in Australia, one in the USA and one in England as communication crawls to a standstill, many people go insane, modern conveniences stop and people must fend for themselves. The cause of this catastrophe appears to be the changing shape of the moon. Prayed to as a goddess by some, its' changing shape affects more than just the tides.
Kimberly lives in the US and after things start falling apart, she goes to her mother's house in the country and befriends a pregnant and distressed woman named Alice. Together they traverse the post apocalyptic world with various groups of people trying to survive and evade the "ring gangs" - groups of insane men and helping the plethora of pregnant women.
Ray, Kimberly's husband is stranded in England, after having gone there on a work trip unable to return since planes are no longer flying and society has gone to hell in a hand basket. Hanes, a kind airport worker takes Ray home and they travel around England with a group of people for a while, trying to survive, Ray, all the while wanting to return home to his wife.
Scott and his friends - a group of people who are watching the skies for aliens in Australia are the third group of people who are followed in this tale as the strange behavior of the moon has caused similar problems in Australia as it has in the other parts of the world.
I found the story interesting, but it does have some editing errors and is not entirely well explained. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.