Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out
Totally awesome, fantastic, amazing, best vegan cookbook ever because it does not have fake processed foods in it! Oh yeah. Got the book from the library and it was so good that I bought one for myself. I made the "fall harvest butternut squash with almond-pecan parmesean" and my husband said that is the only way he has liked butternut squash other than in the soup I make with it. It was fabulous! I made the "broccoli & cashew cheese-quinoa burrito" - we used lettuce leaves instead of tortillas - I love that the recipes have suggestions for alternates like that - and it was fantastic. The recipes are simple to follow and use real, whole foods as their ingredients. That is what I have been looking for. I have looked at tons of vegan cookbooks that rely on fake meats and fake cheeses and tons and tons of soy. The fake processed meats and cheeses are gross - tried several and soy is mostly gmo and I wish to avoid as much of it as I can. I love that this cookbook has so many yummy recipes without all that stuff. And, there is a beautiful photo of every recipe so that you know what it is supposed to look like - not that my food ever comes out that pretty, but it is very helpful. I totally highly recommend this cookbook if you are looking for delicious plant based recipes that don't rely on fake, processed foods and where the "plant" is not just the soybean. 

Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead
Totally beautiful! Such a sad book. So many feelings. I like that the author does not tell you everything at once. You have to keep reading to find out what happened. The writing is beautiful and descriptive and I could not put this book down. When Laurel is assigned to write a letter to a dead person, it turns into a notebook of letters to Curt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart and more - telling her story over the time period of about a year as she comes to grips with her sister May's death and how to deal with it. It is touching and sad and beautiful. I totally loved this book.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons: Finding the Lord's Lessons in Everyday Life by Tamu Smith, Zandra Vranes

Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons: Finding the Lord's Lessons in Everyday Life

This book has funny, inspirationalish parts written by both women and personal stories with morals told by each one separately. There are bits of wisdom throughout that will make you think and lots of enjoyable humor. I found myself getting a bit confused about who was telling the stories at times. I thought there would be more in the book about being black Mormons, which is, from what I understand, rather rare, but that issue was not addressed much and in the one time that it is really directly addressed, it is brushed off as not being important. I think people will enjoy the funny stories and the wisdom of the two authors. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Before They Find Us by Michelle A. Hansen

Before They Find Us
This book is a fast paced thriller/romance. Rebecca had witnessed a murder when she was 11 years old. The murderer is now dead. However, Rebecca, now seventeen years old, has started receiving threatening texts and her best friend Ryan has been framed for a school bombing. Together, they have to find out who is behind it all before they wind up dead themselves. There are plot twists and blackmail, phone hacking, the vegas strip, and a complete fashion makeover. This book had me laughing out loud several times and I could not put it down. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Monday, May 26, 2014

501 Amazing Uses for Salt, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Olive Oil and Lemons by Laura M. Westdale

501 Amazing Uses for Salt, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Olive Oil and Lemons
This book is a great collection of uses for salt, vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemons. It is organized into 5 chapters for use around the house, in the kitchen, health and beauty, arts, crafts and science and beyond the home uses in gardening and outdoor cleaning. I learned quite a few uses for these things that I did not know. I just went outside and sprinkled baking soda on the ground under my tomato plant because it is supposed to make the tomatoes sweeter. I will definitely try out many more of the ideas contained in this useful book! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Another fabulous fantasy! I thoroughly enjoyed this second book as much as I did the first in the series. It has humor, romance, love, hate, betrayal, action, adventure and some serious self-defense moves. The characters are lovable and hateable and funny and and evil and messed up and fantastic. In this second book, Rob Lynburn is trying to take over the town and bring it back to the old days with the yearly sacrifice. Lillian, Jared and their friends are determined to stand up to him and stop him. Can they stop him though? This book ends in another cliffhanger. I look forward to the next book!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Oh my goodness! Beautifully written, ends with terrible cliffhanger - good thing I have the second book too. Lovely paranormal YA romance. Kami has an imaginary friend who she has spoken to in her head for all of her life. His name is Jarred. Then, he moves to her town. He is real after all. And, apparently, a sorcerer, although he does not know it. Magical people in a magical town. Love, betrayal, death, and friendship abound in this fabulous book.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass by Melanie Neale

Boat Girl by Melanie Neale
The author tells her story of living on a boat with her parents and sister sailing around the Bahamas beginning when she was 5 and her sister was 3. She tells about her life as a child, living on the boat, homeschooling, sailing to different places meeting the same people each year and seeing other children occasionally. Then she tells about her teen years and her young adult years when she moves out from her parents and buys her own boat. The story is well written and rather interesting. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Out of My Mind by Pat White

Out of My Mind
Sweet YA romance. Catherine was hit by a car, had a traumatic head injury and was in a coma. It is 6 months later and she is returning to high school trying to take up her life where she left off - a popular, smart, cheerleader. But, she is no longer the same person. She has trouble remembering things and when she looks anyone in the eyes for too long, she sees visions - of the past or future. When JD, the boy who hit her with his car and caused all her trouble, is assigned to be her note-taker in school, she was sure that life can't get any worse. She was wrong. I enjoyed the story but felt like the author told us too much and that the characters were too over exaggerated. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Environmentalism, prejudice, bullying and economic disparity are all covered in this excellent novel for middle school age kids. Told by Paul Fisher, a seventh grade boy who is legally blind but does not remember how that happened, the story begins when his family moves from Houston to a gated community in Tangerine Florida. Paul tries to fit in to his new school and community, but he is bullied by kids at school and not allowed to play soccer there due to his "disability". His parents favor his older brother Paul, a rising football star whose bullying they ignore. When Paul has the opportunity to transfer to another school and play on their soccer team, he does so eagerly even though it is a tough inner-city school. Despite the racism and economic disparity, Paul makes friends there and finds the strength to do what he needs to do. Totally excellent book. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Slimming Meals That Heal: Stop Inflammation and Reach Your Perfect Weight without Dieting by Julie Daniluk

Slimming Meals That Heal: Stop Inflammation and Reach Your Perfect Weight without Dieting
This book is interesting and informative. The first part of the book explains the science of weight loss including the effects of allergies, hormones and more. The author states that antihistamines used to combat allergy symptoms may also trigger weight gain. That is bad news for me. Part two of the book is the SMTH program which the author calles a "live-it", that basically looks like an elimination type diet. Part three is the recipes. The recipes explain what benefits the ingredients have for your health. Many of the recipes include ingredients that are difficult to find like spirulina or chlorella powder, job's tears, celeriac root, hemp seeds, maca powder or ashwagandha powder, coconut butter, ambrosia apple slices,vitamin C crystals and rolled quinoa flakes. I have looked for rolled quinoa flakes in the healthy food sections of four different grocery stores including Sprouts and Trader Joes, but have not found them. The book does, however, include a resource section at the end that tells where you can order some of those items online. I do plan to try some of the recipes but I will most likely substitute for or eliminate the more obscure ingredients. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Draw of Kings (The Staff and The Sword #3) by Patrick Carr

A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr
While I gave the other two books 5 stars, I am only giving this one 4 for several reasons. I do love the series, and I like the characters, but this book stretched things a bit too far in some ways. There was too much description of all the fighting and I finally started skimming those scenes because it was just too much.
Antil's character seemed overly hateful and evil.
The ending just somehow was not totally satisfactory.
I did not understand why a second savior and king was necessary.
I did enjoy the book though and look forward to reading others from this author.
I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Hero's Lot (The Staff and the Sword, #2) by Patrick W. Carr

The Hero's Lot by Patrick W. Carr
Fantastic second book in this excellent series! This story is told in turns by two characters - Errol, and Martin. Errol is put under another compulsion, this time to go kill Valon or die trying. Martin finds out more about the church and it's past - things that no other priests know. With romance, action, fighting, war, politics and fantasy, this is a thrilling novel! I look forward to reading the third book.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems by Brian P. Cleary, Andy Rowland (Illustrations)

Silly haiku poems
Colorful illustrations
And lantern poems too

Fill this cute picture book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It is cute and silly and a fun way to teach the haiku and lantern forms of poetry to children. I think that it would be great to have in all school libraries! 

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Brent Ridge, Sandy Gluck

I received this book as an e-book free to review from Netgalley.  I would love to have a paper copy of it because - well, I prefer hard copies of cookbooks and it is so beautiful and useful.  The book has recipes arranged by seasons and is beautifully adorned with photographs of vegetables growing in gardens, freshly picked, and cooked in recipes.  On the bottom of each recipe page is an area to write your own notes.  The recipes are often unique - like fried lemons and bacon popped popcorn, contain lots of butter and heavy cream and have good cooking tips.  I learned that you can put lettuce in soup, and that if you soak potato wedges in ice water for 30 minutes before baking them, they come out crispy without being deep fried.  I would have liked to see more photographs of the actual recipes themselves because I could not figure out how the summer squash lasagna rolls would work - does squash hang out the ends? I think this is a lovely cookbook that contains delicious recipes and I highly recommend it. 

Cooking with Fire: Techniques and Recipes for the Firepit, Smoker, Fireplace, Tandoor, or Wood-Fired Oven by Paula Marcoux

Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux
This book is not about grilling because grilling is for wimps. This is about cooking with FIRE - real, actual burning wood flaming hot fire! From how to build a fire to how to build your own wood fired oven this book is incredibly comprehensive. Yes, there are recipes, but there is so much more - coal fires, roasting oysters, cooking in clay pots, planked fish, spit roasting, fire pits, tannurs and schwenkers -(read the book to find out what those are). With recipes for not only meats and kebabs, but for veggies, breads and desserts, if you want to know about cooking with fire, this book pretty much has it all! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)
Totally fantastic book - especially as the author's first book. Eighteen year old Errol is the town drunk who runs errands for the herb woman. When he is offered money to deliver a message to the town hermit, he does so in order to get money for more ale. From there, Errol is chased by assassins, learns to fight well and action, adventure and plot twists abound in this well-written medieval fantasy. I got this book for free on the kindle and it is still free and I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading the next two books!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root, Betsy Bowen (Illustrations)

Plant a Pocket of Prairie
This beautifully illustrated book tells children about the prairie land in Minnesota. It begins with a lovely story that encourages children to plant various plants that are native to the prairie and then tells what animals and insects will be drawn to those plants. After the story are pages with information about the prairie and the plants, birds and animals. This book is beautiful and informative and I think that it should be in every school in Minnesota. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.(

Upheaval by Suzanne Perazzini

Upheaval by Suzanne Perazzini
Well, the author edited her own book. Bad idea. Really bad. I found many, many errors, which distracted from the story. The story has an interesting concept - Nyeta is a student at an "outdoor pursuits" school and is kayaking with other students when a huge earthquake sets off a couple of volcanoes and triggers the end of the world as they knew it. Nyeta survives and together with several other surviving students they make their way through the dangerous wilderness trying to get to "the city" where their families live. "The city" is never named and the setting is never really identified, which is a bit annoying. They see lots of dead people, get guns to defend themselves, and Nyeta's first aide skills that she knows because her father is a doctor makes her the nurse/doctor whenever anyone is injured. It is a rather typical YA dystopian novel with a little romance and lots of death defying action, but the large amount of editing errors and lack of description of the setting detracts from the story. I hope that the author hires an actual editor for future books because that is really necessary. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2) by Alethea Kontis

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)
Another fabulous book by Alethea Kontis! This book features Saturday Woodcutter, who seems to have no magical powers in a family where everyone else can do magic. Feeling useless and normal compared to her siblings, Saturday has an adventure and romance and learns that she is not as unmagical as she thinks. Captured by a giant bird and taken from her sister Thursday's pirate ship, Saturday is taken to an icy cavern at the top of the world where she meets Peregrine, a man who had been magically turned into the likeness of the daughter of the deamoness who lives in the caves siphoning magic off of the dragon who is under a sleeping spell. It is up to Saturday and Peregrine to keep the deamoness and dragon from destroying the world.

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Wow. Just wow. This is a well written, touching story. It begins when pregnant, 17 year old Novalee Nation's boyfriend leaves her at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma on their way to California. The story follows Novalee as she makes a life for herself and her daughter and how they make a home and friends in the town where they live. It is filled with joy, and hope, sorrow and pain, love and life, death and sadness. Covering seven years, we see Novalee and her friends and loved ones grow and mature. This book made me laugh and cry.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Delirium (Debt Collector, #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Delirium by Susan Kaye Quinn
This is an excellent short story that is part of a series. I am not sure that I understand that - it really seems like a chapter or two of a book. In this book, Lirium is a debt collecter - he takes the remaining life out of dying people and passes it on to people who pay for it to settle the debts of the dying. The debts get paid off and the wealthy get weeks, months or more added on to their lives. It seems like an excellent story and I would like to read more of it, but I would prefer if it was just put out as a book rather than as a series of chapters. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Hiding Places: A Memoir from the Pirate Princess of Tybee Island by Deborah Elizabeth Merriman

Hiding Places by Deborah Elizabeth Merriman
Too boring to finish. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It is a woman's story of being shuffled around among various foster homes during her childhood in the 1950s. I found the book to be rambley and disjointed and I just could not get into it at all although I tried several times. I finally gave up on it and I cannot recommend it.

Elfin (The Elfin #1) by Quinn Loftis

Elfin (The Elfin, #1)
The characters are caricatures in this fast paced, poorly edited book about elves. Eighteen year old Cassie is totally beautiful inside and out, but of course, she does not know how beautiful she is. She is pure and innocent as the driven snow and is the "Chosen" mate for Trik, the stunningly handsome one thousand year old evil assassin to the eviler king of the dark elves. Because Cassie and Trik are soul mates, once they meet and bond, it is physically painful for them to even be apart from one another. Trik must chose between serving the evil king of the dark elves or giving up all that to please the pure and beautiful Cassie who is his soul mate. Filled with lust, love, friendship, betrayal and magic, this book, even though it is highly exaggerated and very poorly edited with errors like using the word "hall" instead of "haul" and "vile" instead of "vial" which is just a vile error, is a quick, easy read and has an interesting plot. I can see why some people love it, but its flaws can be a turn off to more discerning readers. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten, Tom Malterre

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten
This book is a very comprehensive, informative book about why to eat whole foods that are healthy. The first part of the book explains the different types of diets and why they recommend that you should eat certain ways and it also explains that everyone is different and there is not necessarily a one kind fits all best diet for everyone and which foods are or may be unhealthy and why. I like that the book explains why genetically modified organisms are unhealthy and all the things that they can do to you and which foods can cause inflamation and how and why. It can be overwhelming because the book tells you that even the water we drink is full of toxins and water filters are recommended. The second part of the book has useful information about how to store certain foods and what food labels mean. The last part of the book is the recipes and they look healthy and for the most part, easy to follow and I plan to use these recipes in the future! I recieved this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Love Reborn (Dead Beautiful #3) by Yvonne Woon

Love Reborn (Dead Beautiful, #3)
I stayed up late last night reading this book - read the whole thing yesterday after reading the second book the day before - so this is a series of books that I just could not put down. It has action, romance, mystery, conspiracies, secrets, plot twists, evil child zombies, eviler adults, a fast paced trek through Europe and of course, the search for eternal life.
The series is a bit like Twilight with Renee and Dante as Bella and Edward and Noah as Jacob and it is a bit like the Harry Potter books with the schools teaching esoteric arts and the teachers having the most power and there is a smattering of the Lightening Thief with the links to mythology. I really liked the series and thought it was well-written and quite interesting. In this last book, Renee, Dante, Noah, Anya and a new to the series character, Theo, are all receiving mysterious notes and other help from a mystery guy who signs his notes with the name "Monsieur". He always seems to know what is going on - even before it happens and guides the kids towards their destiny as they follow the map to find the secret to eternal life.
I thought the giving up the senses and memories of them was a bit Biblical - give up your soul life to gain a new life - and found that part of the story to be quite creative.
I kind of thought that the grandfather and the other Monitors were a bit too evil and I thought the ending seemed a bit abrupt, but there were many things about this book that I loved. I look forward to reading other books by this author in the future.

Life Eternal (Dead Beautiful #2) by Yvonne Woon

Life Eternal (Dead Beautiful, #2)
In this second book, having died and received the kiss of death and life from Dante, Renee is alive, but has many symptoms of the undead. Without Dante, her life is dull and joyless. She is sent to a school for Monitors in Montreal because the undead have been restless and more Monitors have been killed. Together with her friends Anya and Noah, Renee investigates her visions, feeling that they are tied to Dante and the recent deaths of Monitors and the mysterious legend of the nine sisters who were thought to hold the secret to immortality. Renee, who her classmates already think is immortal, hopes that the secret of the nine sisters may help her and Dante to live normal lives. The book is fantastic, but ends with a cliffhanger. I am looking forward to the next book!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kiss That Frog: A Modern Fairy Tale by Cate Rowan

Kiss That Frog: A Modern Fairy Tale
This is a cute, short story. When Sofia, an artist, agrees to frog sit for her niece, she has no idea that the frog is an enchanted prince. Still, as she decides that the frog is not nearly as icky as she thought it would be, she decides to kiss it. Sofia's story is preceded by that of Prince Alexander, almost 200 years earlier as we learn how and why he was frogified. The story is cute, but I think that Sofia was a bit quick to hop into bed with her frog prince. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.