Tuesday, September 30, 2014
This is a British cookbook. It begins by explaining why a low sugar diet is healthy and what adverse health conditions a high sugar diet may cause. The book contains a variety of low sugar recipes and while I like that the author did make the amounts of ingredients user friendly for American cooks - the measurements are given in ml, oz, teaspoons and cups, many of the ingredients are British ingredients that are not translated into American terms and many may not be available in the US. The author did give some American terms such as courgettes/zucchini and prawns/shrimp, but other ingrdients are not explained such as passata(sieved tomatoes) - I thought that might be tomato paste, but tomato paste is also listed in the ingredients so perhaps it is tomato sauce?, and English mustard powder, undyed smoked haddock fillets, bio yogurt, groundnut oil, rocket, halloumi, flageolet beans,choi sum, petis pois, tinned cherry tomatoes, little Gem lettuce, and others. Some ingredients are not described in terms that an American cook would recognize - there is chilli (the British spelling - there are lots of those), crushed dried chillies, red chilli, red pepper and yellow pepper, but those are not descriptive enough for me to know what they are. Are the red and yellow peppers bell peppers? What about the chillis? Are they jalapenos, poblano, ancho - what kind of chilli are they referring to? In addition, some of the other ingredients are rather gourmet and will be difficult to find. There are no photographs of the recipes, although in the kindle format - and I have a paperwhite - that is not an issue, in paper copies of cookbooks, I prefer a photograph of each recipe.
Therefore, it is really difficult for me to judge whether this is actually a good cookbook or not. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This is a touching story of two women who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s; one, the daughter of a plantation owner, the other, a slave. Beginning when Sarah was 11 years old and 10 year old Hattie, also called Handful was given to her as a gift, the two women alternate telling the story from their points of view. Sarah's character is based on a real woman, Sarah Grimke, who, along with her sister, Angelina, was infamous for writing and speaking about abolition and feminism. Although the story is fictionalized, it is based on true facts about some of the characters and how slaves were treated at that time. The story is well-written and captivating and I highly recommend it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This book begins with interesting facts about chia and claims that it is a superfood that can do everything from increase energy to aid in weight loss to lowering blood pressure. I am not sure that I believe all those claims, but they are interesting. I did learn that Salba, which a friend of mine sold years ago is simply white chia seeds. The book has a good selection of recipes that include chia and I have tried several of them and they are fabulous! I love the Spiced watermelon feta salad and have also made and enjoyed the ancient grains salad with roasted asparagus and the amazing chia banana nut muffins to name a few. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.
The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde, Matt Lederman, Marah Stets
This book explains how to implement a plant based whole foods diet that was introduced in the documentary "Forks Over Knives". The first part of the book explains why a plant based whole foods diet is healthy and necessary. The "plan" is rather simple and that part of the book tells you to begin by eating according to this diet for breakfast the first week adding in lunch the second week and dinner the third week. There are also interesting nutritional facts in the plan part of the book. The last part of the book is the recipes and they look like good recipes. I like them, but, disregarding the health rules of the book, I have found that many of them are even better when made with chicken broth or with some added feta cheese, olive oil, or butter. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Making & Using Vinegars: Techniques and Recipes for Making Your Own and Adding Herbs for Custom Creations. a Storey Basics Title by William Collins
This book tells various uses for vinegar in cleaning as well as how to make your own vinegar and it also has a nice selection of recipes that contain vinegar. From making flavored vinegars to pickling to soups and deserts, the recipes look simple and delicious. I look forward to trying some out! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
First of all, this book is about Aaron's life growing up in an evangelical family - it is not about his being gay. I think that the part about being gay - which the author is - was added to the title in order to sell books. However, the book is mainly about the author's childhood and teen years in a repressive (which for Evangelicals would be considered normal) Evangelical family. Aaron was not allowed to watch tv or drink or listen to popular music or go to movies or do anything that might not make Jesus happy. It sounds like, in many ways, his family was very loving and there were many positive aspects to his childhood although his father was a bit overboard in his disciplining techniques. The story is well told and very interesting. I liked it a lot and would have given it a 5 star rating, but I really feel that using the word gay in the title is misleading. That part of Aaron's life was barely, almost not even touched on and is not important enough to the book to warrant including it in the title. The author does say that he plans to write another book about his coming out and that book should certainly include the word gay in the title, but this book is not about that at all.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
This is a lovely tale of a girl and her brave and faithful talking cat. Such a fun fantasy to read! Kate, the daughter of a wood carver and an excellent carver herself, encounters many hardships from her father's death to being accused of being a witch to having her shadow stolen by an actual witch. But through it all, she perseveres. She is a spunky, smart and believable main character and Taggle the cat is totally fabulous! I loved this book and highly recommend it for upper elementary school age and up.
Friday, September 26, 2014
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I chose it because I totally love Alice Hoffman's writing. I did not realize that this was her first book. For an author's first novel, it is good. It tells the story of a nameless girl who is in love with a gang leader and becomes his girlfriend. We are not told much about the girl - it seems that her life is only important in relation to McKay, the gang leader and perhaps that is why the author gave so little detail about the girl. The book began rather awkwardly and if I had not been reading to review and if the author had not been Alice Hoffman, I would have quit reading it rather quickly. I am glad, sort of, that I took the time to read it. We see some of Alice's lovely writing style when she talks about the magic necklace and in some parts of the book. The story is raw and gritty and the main character is not really likeable. It is an interesting story about gangs and drugs and the girls who get involved with them. I am glad, however, that I got it for free.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I could not put this book down! After Emmy's sister died in a fire, she used her FBI researcher skills to find out what had really happened. The fire was declared an accident, but why was her sister's furniture rearranged? Emmy finds evidence of a string of suspicious fires and she is sure that a serial murderer is using them to cover up murders. She draws her ex-fiance, Books, an ex-FBI agent, into the case since her boss has put her on leave because she would not give in to his unwanted advances. As they investigate, there are unexpected plot twists and turns. Very suspenseful, but rather graphically disgusting as well.
Seventeen year old Nym is an elemental - a person with paranormal powers that allows her to control the elements, in her case, the weather - who lives in a kingdom that is rather medieval in nature. Most of the people are poor, mistreated peasants, there is no technology, and the rich upper class has no compassion for the poor. Her kingdom has been embroilled in war for almost a century and according to a past treaty, elementals are feared and often killed. Nym is an anomaly because usually elementals are male. She is a slave and is bought by an evil rich woman named Adora who is having Nym and Colin, who is an earth elemental, trained to fight in the war. Their trainer is a devastatingly handsome man (love interest) named Eogin whose touch calms her and helps her to control her powers which she fears because usually when she gets upset and her powers erupt, someone dies either by being struck by lightening or hail or something. Nym is both drawn to and repulsed by Eogin as he teaches her that her curse is actually a gift. But, still, he is training her to be a weapon, something that she does not wish to be. Politics, magic and romance abound in this first book in this series. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and look forward to reading the others.
Monday, September 22, 2014
When I first started reading this book, I read the introduction and realized what a different time period it was written in. Then, the book seemed kind of like a time capsule into the 1970s. At first I thought it was rather funny. Then, just like the main character enjoys sex with her husband for a while and then finds it boring after several years, I enjoyed the book for a very short while and then found it to be boring, overly introspective and whiney. I think that perhaps it was more relevant in the time period in which it was written, which is why it was so popular then, but I do not think it will enjoy a revival in popularity now. The main character, Isadora, is married to a psychoanalyst and goes to Europe with him to a psychoanalyst convention where she runs off with another psychoanalyst whom she craves and desires, but he is rather disgusting and usually impotent. As she tells the story she remembers her past marriage and affairs and analyzes her reasons for all of her poor choices. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
The Book of Black: Black Holes, Black Death, Black Forest Cake and Other Dark Sides of Life by Clifford A. Pickover
This is a totally fabulously lovely coffee table book of trivia and lovely photographs all based on the color black. From black diamonds to the Black Hole of Calcutta, the Black Dragon Society, dark matter, Men In Black, and Dark Shadows to the dark side of the moon, Black Dahlia, black mold and more, this book covers a wide variety of topics with interesting facts and photos. Our family loves it and friends enjoy it as well. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.
Taste of Beirut: 175+ Delicious Lebanese Recipes from Classics to Contemporary to Mezzes and More by Jourmana Accad
Ever since a friend from Lebanon cooked some Lebanese dishes for me years ago, I have been intrigued by their food. This is the first Lebanese cookbook that I have seen and it is simple with nice photographs and easy to follow recipes. The additional notes are very helpful as well. I look forward to making some of these dishes for my family. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This is a lovely cookbook. It has fabulous photos of the food and of people and places in Greece. There are cooking tips and ingredients explanations and little stories about Greece and it's cuisine interspersed among the recipes. Many of the recipes seem labor intensive and/or have rather exotic ingredients, but others seem quite simple. The recipes are well-written and easy to follow. If you want to cook authentic Greek dishes, this is the cookbook for you! I highly recommend it.
Michael is a high school student and a gamer. He spends lots of time in the VirtNet, a virtual reality version of the internet in which the gamer lies in a "coffin" and "nerve wires" attach his body to the net keeping him hydrated, and fed so that he feels like he really is in the virtual world -(bathroom needs are not mentioned). There are some strange things going on in the VirtNet and when Michael becomes involved, the VNS - kind of an internet police force - coerces Michael and his best friends Bryson and Sarah to help find the elusive and possibly dangerous man named Kaine, who is virtually kidnapping people and killing some people in the "sleep" - the virtual world - in a way that also kills them in the "wake" - the real world. They have to find the path to the Hallowed Ravine while avoiding the KillSims and Kaine himself. The book is fast-paced and intense and ends with a major plot twist that was totally unexpected to me and leaves a huge cliff-hanger leading to the next book in the series.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Fifteen year old Colby suffers from an eating disorder and in this book, almost every distatrous situation that you can think of impacts her and the closest people to Colby in her life starting with politics, religion and her dad leaving her mom for another woman, going on to physical and mental abuse, bullying, divorce, rape, suicide and probably some more that I left out. The only big issue not brought into this book seems to be homosexuality. I did find the book to be a fascinating story and a quick read and it was well written and edited and I read it in about a day. I felt sorry for Colby but I felt like many of the characters were so extreme that they were caricatures rather than characters. Despite that, I did like the book and I think it did make some good points. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
This book sent chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. It is a love story and a magical time bending mystery. When Georgie decides to stay home because of an important deadline at work, her husband, Neal,takes the kids to his mother's house anyway and leaves her home alone. Then she realizes how much she loves him and misses him and when she calls him from the landline phone at her mother's house, she reaches him in the past before they ever married. She wonders if speaking to him like this will change the future like in the movie "Back To The Future" but still, she is drawn to the landline phone and calls the Neal of the past again and again as she wonders about the state of their marriage and her job and her family and more. Fabulous story!
This is an interesting book. The author tells his Christian viewpoint of what other religions are about and then how he thinks Chrisians can benefit from some of what he thinks their concepts are. He looks at most of the world's religions, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Baha'i, atheism, and even Confucianism and Primal Religions. The author's views are very open and accepting although I am not sure that members of the various religions that he portrays would all agree with his portrayals of their religions. The author's understanding of the Trinity, which he says Christians can learn something from the Muslims about, is not one that I think fits in with the Orthodox Christian view of the triune God. I think that many readers will find his thoughts on the Trinity and on some other Christian topics to be rather unorthodox. The book has discussion questions at the end of each chapter and it is well written and easy to read. I think that it can lead to some interesting discussions. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Fascinating book - dreadful ending. Supposedly there will be a sequel? Even if there is, the ending is icky. The premise is that Rosie is a student in a school for the arts that is also a reality TV series. The students begin with a ranking system and after a week or so, half of the freshman class is sent home if their viewer ratings are too low - the top 50 are kept. There is mystery - what happens when they sleep for 12 hours?, intrigue - how many of the staff know what is going on? and romance, but also a lot of confusion and in the end, lots of deception. I even feel like the readers are deceived. It was doing so well until the very last part - then - crash and burn. I think that there were not enough details given about exactly what the seeding/mining is or does and how it is done and the lack of detail made it confusing and difficult to believe and follow. If there is a sequel, I do want to read it because I would be interested in what the author does with the situation that was at the end of this book.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
This is a lovely and informative book that can be useful to children from preschool age through middle school. It describes a day in a desert in the US southwest. It contains a map and diagrams, information about a desert food chain and information about many desert plants and animals. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.
I am a beginning gardener and even though this book is about gardening in Great Britain and some of the plants and animals mentioned are not found in the US, I still found this to be an informative and helpful book. The book is easy to read and interesting and I learned several things that will help me with my gardens. I received this book to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.
This book presents a very thorough history of the American views about dietary fat over the years. I have read some other books on the topic and while the information is not surprising or new to me, it is quite detailed and thorough. I think that people who have not yet read about this topic will find it quite interesting and even surprising. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
I found the beginning of this book a bit slow going and I had a tough time getting into it, but once I did, I enjoyed it very much. Koontz's writing is a joy to read with rich and rather zany descriptions. This story is told by Jonah, who is in his 50's looking back to events in his life from ages 8 to 12 in the 1960s. Jonah tells about his family, his love of music, friendship and some of the historical events that occurred during that time period.Jonah experiences magic and mystery, love, joy, hope and sorrow, and overcomes tragedy knowing that no matter what happens, everything will be ok in the end.
I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Bizarre, creepy, confusing and twisted. Skylar tells the story jumping from the present to memories of the past of what happened to her sister Piper in their strange town of Gardnerville and why she can't remember. Is it the forget me not pills? What is the secret of Gardnerville? Why do people escape disease, yet every four years a teenager turns into an insane murderer with bizarre powers? Only Skylar can figure it out. If she dares.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. The crafts included are, I suppose, modern. They are not all simple and many rely on special materials or templates and seem rather labor intensive. I was not particularly impressed with most of them, although I thought the Trompe L'oeil Shoes were kind of cute.
With lovely illustrations, this book tells about the plants and animals on the prairies of North America through the seasons. It describes food chains, the effects of wild fire, the Great Plains and more. There are diagrams and a map and additional information pages about the plants, animals and insects that live in prairies as the book explains the importance of prairies to the ecosystem. I think this book is fabulous for elementary and middle school age children and I highly recommend it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This book claims to contain "fast" recipes that can be made in less than an hour and yet are still rather gourmet. I found the recipes to be rather labor intensive and, as stated, they do contain many gourmet ingredients. I like that many of the "recipes" do not have measurements - just suggestions for amounts and the cook can go from there. While some of the photographs are lovely, others seemed rather plain looking. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This is a nice, simple, illustrated beginner's knitting book. I like that it explains things about yarn weight and types of needles and how to read a pattern and how to read the yarn label and what all that information means. The author explains the differences in the various yarn fibers and how to block and felt projects. I think that beginning knitters will find this to be a useful, helpful book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Cute, informative and rather disgusting too. I think that this book would appeal to elementary school children and would be a fun addition to school and children's libraries. It contains interesting facts about slugs along with quirky illustrations. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This book is beautifully illustrated and filled with fascinating information and facts about coral reef ecosystems. With it's glossary, diagrams, maps and information about many inhabitants of coral reefs as well as how a reef forms, the food chains involved and more, I think this book would be a wonderful addition to all school and children's libraries. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it!
A total masterpiece. What is so wonderful about Gaiman's stories is not only are they fabulously creepy, but the writing is beautifully, richly descriptive. Here is one example from the beginning of the book: "It wasn't the kind of rain you could go out in - it was the other kind, the kind that threw itself down from the sky and splashed where it landed. It was rain that meant business, and currently its business was turning the garden into a muddy, wet soup." Coraline has moved into a flat in a large house with her parents. The other flats house an old man who claims to be training talking mice for a circus, and two elderly women who used to be actresses. The fourth flat remains empty and there is a door in Coraline's drawing room that used to lead to it, but is now bricked over. And there is where Coraline is drawn into a strange, parallel, mirror world indwelt by her "other mother" and "other father" who look just like her parents except they have black buttons for eyes and paper white skin and they never want her to leave. Coraline realizes that only she has the power to save her parents, who are trapped behind a mirror and the other children who had been previous victims of the "other mother". Totally excellent story!
Saving Vegetable Seeds: Harvest, Clean, Store, and Plant Seeds from Your Garden. A Storey Basics® Title by Fern Marshall Bradley
I am a beginning vegetable gardener and I found this book to be very helpful and informative. I had no idea how much I did not know about saving vegetable seeds. I learned that some plants like carrots only make seeds the second year so you have to leave them in the garden and put mulch around them or move them to someplace where they won't freeze if you live in the north so that they will grow the second year and produce seeds. Some seeds have to be fermented and some plants need to be hand-pollinated and some plants should be planted separate from others or they will cross-pollinate and you won't get good seeds from them. The book is well written and the directions are simple enough for even a beginner to understand. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
This book is a captivating YA paranormal romance/mystery. It begins with the mystery. Seventeen year old Salome is terrified of winter after having nearly drowned in a pond on her family property at age six. Every winter she stays indoors as much as possible and has occasional freak outs brought on by cold and snow. She sees and hears things that no one hears, and while her mother has taken her to a psychologist due to these problems over the years, her grandmother seems to know something about it that she won't tell. There is a lot of that - people knowing what is going on, but they won't/can't tell Salome. Then three boys show up as love interests. No mere love triangle for this book - it is a love square. We learn that there are fae/fairies involved as the plot gets more twisted. I really did find the story to be intriguing and captivating - I read it in two days, but there were parts of the background info that did not seem to make sense. Other details also just seemed to kind of be left out - like what happened to her father? I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I enjoyed it and the writing is well done. I look forward to reading other books by the author.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Totally the scariest most disgusting book I have ever read. With vivid descriptions of Ebola and other similar viruses and their effects on human and other animal tissues, this book is both horrifying and disgusting. Parts of the book seemed rather slow and unnecessary and I skimmed over those, but still, I will never forget this book. And now, with Ebola on the rise and people being brought into the US to be treated, it is totally freaking me out. Very scary virus.
This beautifully illustrated children's book retells a medieval Jewish legend about how it is better to make a friend of your enemy than to do something destructive to him. In this story, Samuel is a rich Jewish boy and Hamza is a poor Muslim boy. As Samuel tries to make sure that Hamza never says anything bad about him again, his attempts backfire and result in friendship - a better solution anyway. I think this is a lovely book and it should be in all libraries and I think it shares a timely message. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
With cute, fun illustrations, this book puts extremely large numbers into a new perspective. From the size of our galaxy to the age of the earth to life expectancy, population, food and more, this book gives a unique look at the size of the numbers involved. For example: "If all the enerty sources in the world were represented by 100 light bulbs... fossil fuels would power 81 of the 100 light bulbs." I think this book is fabulous and should be in all school libraries and all public libraries. It is a fun, informative book to share with children and people of all ages. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I found it to be well-written and easy to read. The author takes on 100 questions about God and the Bible and gives a variety of answers to each question explaining which people or groups back each answer. I like that the author gives a variety of answers and does not insist on any one of them being "correct", rather he just explains a variety of thoughts on each topic. I like this approach and find it refreshing. I imagine people who insist that the viewpoint that they agree with is the only correct one will not like this book, but I enjoyed it very much.
I found this to be a very informative and helpful gardening book. It is written for gardeners in the UK and some of the plants and animals mentioned are not found in the US where I live, but I still found it interesting and I learned a lot from it that will help me in my gardening. With chapters about plants and fungi, birds, mammals, insects and many other critters, composting, which plants help one another when grown together and more, this book contains excellent information to help the beginning gardener. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
This is an excellent final book in a fabulous young adult fantasy trilogy. Unlike some trilogies that start out with a bang and end with a whimper, this trilogy is consistently excellent all the way through. Neryn has only a little time to complete her training before the planned rebellion and so she goes to see the White Lady, the third Guardian, to learn the magic of the air with only Whisper, the owl-like Good Folk as her companion. The story alternates between Neryn and Flint as they both struggle to keep the plan of the rebellion moving forward so that they can end the cruel, tyrannical reign of King Keldec and his evil wife, Varda. Neryn is loyal, good and brave and always puts the kingdom first. Action, adventure, romance, magic and intriguing plot twists abound in this satisfying last book of the trilogy. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Another totally excellent book! Neryn, who is now 16 years old, must be trained in order to be a Caller so she must seek out the four Guardians of Alban. Traveling with Tali, she must go to the four corners of the kingdom to be trained and still meet a deadline. In this book, she visits the Sea Hag, who leaves her alone on a rock in the open ocean, and the Lord of the North, who has put himself into a sleep that no one has been able to awaken him from for several hundred years. Her love for Flint grows and the danger that he is in as he serves the king grows as well. There is more magic, romance, action and adventure in this second book and I look forward to reading the third one!