Friday, March 30, 2012

Above World by Jenn Reese

Above World (Above World, #1)
In the future, since the world's population had grown past the point of sustainability, people created ways of altering their genetics so that they could live in the ocean - the kampii - like merfolk, the skies - the winged aviars, the deserts - the centaur-like horse people, and many other altered humans.
Aluna is a thirteen year old kampii, about to swallow the ocean seed and grow her tail. But, she has seen that the breathing necklaces that keep her people alive are failing, and so she decides to go above world to find help. Her tekie friend Hoku follows with a message from the past that his grandmother gave him that may help matters. Together they meet the aviars and fight the mutant upgraders who are harvesting body parts from anyone that they can catch.
An action packed sci-fi thriller, this book will keep you reading and wanting to find out what happens next.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

I found this book to be intriguing and interesting. Pamela,an American writer now living in France, shares the differences between the American and French views on pregnancy, child birth and child rearing. I wish that the US had such high quality subsidized child care and nutritious school lunches as the French do. I am impressed with the French attitudes about paretnal authority and children's autonomy. I really liked the parts about food and helping children to learn to enjoy a variety of foods and not be picky eaters.

As a mother of 3 children, and a teacher, I find it fascinating to learn about the culturally different attitutdes about child development.

Some of the "French" attitudes about children are similar to what is mentioned in the book Free-Range Kids - that children can and should learn to be autonomous and responsible for their own actions.  I think that we could learn a few things from the French about that.  Other things, like the fact that breastfeeding is not seen as important and is discouraged in France, I disagreed with.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
This book picks up 7 months after the end of the book Rot & Ruin. Tom and Benny and Nix brought Lilah, the Lost Girl back to town and she has been living with the Chongs, and Tom has been training Benny, Morgie, Chong and Nix in Sammurai and Zombie hunting and surviving skills.
Tom, Benny and Nix plan to leave town and go east in search of the jumbo jet they saw and the civilization it might represent. Chong goes with for the first night to see them off - or at least that was the plan. In reality, they cannot leave without confronting Gametown, where children are tossed into pits to fight the zoms while adults place bets on it. Once again, we are faced with the question of who the real monsters are - and it is not the zombies.
This book is very intense, filled with action, mystery and a bit of romance.
I hope the author continues this series.       

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rot & Ruin by Johathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura, #1)
Intense.  Majorly intense. 
In one night - the "last night", the apocalypse struck in one fell swoop.  Unexpectedly, without warning, the entire earth was struck with a virus that turned the majority of the population into zombies - who then bit most of the remaining living people and turned them into zombies.  Thirteen years later, in a small, mountainside area is now a town poplulated by some of the few remaining surviving people.  One of them is 15 year old Benny, whose brother Tom is a Zombie Bounty Hunter.  Benny hates Tom and thinks he is a coward, until he goes out into the Rot & Ruin with him and sees what he really does as his job.  Benny learns that the living dead are not the real monsters, instead, it is some of the living who should be feared.
This book shows man's inhuman side and in that respect, reminds me a bit of Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness (which was made into the movie Apocalypse Now.)
Totally excellent book.
And by the way - did you know that the CDC has a preparedness plan for a zombie apocalypse?
Just in case you need to know that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

unPLANNED: The dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line by Abby Johnson with Cindy Lambert

Unplanned by Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson shares her story of how she became involved with the Planned Parenthood organization in order to help women by providing them with birth control in order to prevent and reduce the number of abortions. She loved helping women so much that she eventually became the director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Tx. She shares her experiences through the years with the Coalition for Life group that prayed on the other side of the fence at her clinic trying to talk women out of getting abortions. Eventually, after 8 years, she assisted in an abortion and actually seeing what happens along with the fact that, for the first time, Planned Parenthood had given her a goal of increasing the number of abortions at her clinic in order to bring in revenue, Abby changed her mind and joined the "other side".

I appreciate the fact that Abby presents a fair and balanced view of both sides of the issue. I found it sad that she experienced rejection from two different churches - one because she worked at an abortion clinic and later, another church because she had quit the clinic and was no longer seen as pro-choice.
I appreciate that the Coalition for Life just prays for and helps women and does not participate in the killing of abortion doctors and bombing of clinics and other outrageous things like that.
I also like that they pray for the people who work for and volunteer at the Planned Parenthood clinics.
I personally have always thought that both of the groups - those that are pro-choice and those that are anti-abortion are too extreme and I have been offended by the ones with the graphic signs and appalled by those who justify murdering doctors because they see it as saving lives.
I hope that Abby's group prays for those extremists as well. 
I think this book really shows the power of prayer and it's role in Abby's life.
I found this book to be very thought provoking.    

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy
What an enchanting book! When Elizabeth gets an after school job working at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, she learns that magic really does exist and that many of the magical objects referred to in the Grimm fairy tales are kept in the repository. The Table-Be-Set, which fills with food when asked to is a fun magical object. Snow White's wicked stepmother's magic mirror is mean and bad-tempered. Some of the magical objects from the Grimm Collection, however, have disappeared and some have been replaced with non-magical duplicates. Together with her friends, co-workers Anjali, Marc and Aaron, Elizabeth is drawn into the mystery.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

What a totally awesome, fantastic book! 
An intriguing look at what life was like in the early 1960s in the south for black people before and during the civil rights movement.
What was it like to work as a black maid for a white family then?  The issue is explored with stories of several women in a fascinating tale.
The characters are well-developed and interesting and the story is one that you just can't put down.
I look forward to seeing the movie.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen

Ruth Rosen wrote an excellent biography about her father, Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus, a Christian missionary group devoted to sharing the gospel with Jews.  She explains how her father was raised in a nominally Jewish household, where many Jewish traditions were followed just because that is what you are supposed to do when you are a Jew, but without any real regard for the Lord. I understand that, because that is similar to the Reform Judaism that I was raised in.  Moishe, who was named Martin and only later changed his name to Moishe, became a Christian as an adult and felt that he was supposed to share Jesus with his fellow Jews.  Ruth shares about his missionary work and how he wound up starting the Jews for Jesus organization.  She shares about his character strengths and flaws and the book is filled with quotes by Moishe and others who knew and worked with him.

I found the book to be very interesting.  When I was a teenager, I went through an anti-missionary program that was put on in one of the Jewish youth groups that I was active in.  As a result, I thought that Jews for Jesus was a deceptive group that pretended to be Jewish in order to draw Jews in and then convert them to Christianity.  This book shares some of the problems that Moishe had with som Messianic Jewish groups because they wanted JFJ to be more Jewish and found it too Christian for their liking.  I had thought that JFJ was the same as Messianic Judaism and it is interesting to learn that not only are they not the same, but they had conflicts among themselves.

I got this book free to review from Booksneeze.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
This book is a re-telling of the story The Secret Garden.  The characters are given different names and the setting is a bit more modern and there are some parts of the story that are a bit more magical and others that are darker. I think that if a child has not read The Secret Garden, they may enjoy The Humming Room.  In this re-telling of the story,  Roo Fanshaw, a diminuative 12 year old girl whose parents apparantly were drug dealers and were killed, winds up in a foster home for a while, then is taken to live with a rich uncle that she had not known existed who lives on an island in a building that was once a children's hospital. Like The Secret Garden, there is a servant girl, Violet who is friendly but mysterious, and a boy who takes care of animals, Jack, who in this story is either an orphan or a magical creature, and her uncle has a sick, unpleasant son, Phillip, who is hidden away. There is also a neglected hidden garden that the children care for as they all grow stronger and develop their friendship.
Personally, I think the original story is much much better, but this one is well written and a shorter book that will be easier for children to read.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

if it makes you healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons by Sheryl Crow & Chuck White

If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons

In this cookbook, are photos of Sheryl Crow and recipes by her personal chef Chuck White who travels with her when she is on tour and prepares all of her meals and snacks then and prepares meals and snacks for her when she is working when she is not on tour too.  The recipes are healthy and information is given throughout the book about how and why to chose organic foods.  While some recipes include ingrediets that I don't use nor would I be likely to purchase like truffle oil, most of the ingredients, are, refreshingly, normal seeming ones that I am likely to have and use. 
Tonight I made the Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sweet GReen  Chili Cornbread Muffins.  I forgot to add the canned tomatos to the soup at the end, but it was really good anyway.  I also did not add the green chiles to the muffins, although I think they would be good - I just did not have any this time.  And the muffins were great anyway. 
I also made a modified version of the Caprese salad and it was great too.
I showed the cookbook to a friend of mine who came over tonight when the soup was cooking and smelling delicious and we both agreed that we want Chuck.  If we had him cooking these delicious foods for us constantly, then we would be as thin as Sheryl Crow too.  Even if we wouldn't, we still want Chuck. 
This is really a good cookbook filled with simple, delicious recipes that don't have a lot of exotic ingredients.
I am looking forward to cooking more delicous foods using these recipes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Didn't Ask To Be Born (But I'm Glad I Was) by Bill Cosby

I Didn't Ask to Be Born by Bill Cosby

This book had me laughing out loud many times. In his usual style, Bill Cosby shares his memories and thoughts on a number of things. I especially enjoyed his chapter titled "The Missing Pages" where he explains that the Bible must have been poorly edited and has pages missing because there are so many things we are not told, especially in Genesis. It is just a fun book to read and I really enjoyed it.       

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Line by Teri Hall

The Line by Teri Hall
In this dystopian young adult book, 13 year old Rachel lives with her mother on The Property tending the orchards in the greenhouse near the Line, the National Border Defense System. Many years earlier, on the brink of nuclear war, the government made the decision to make the border smaller than the entire US, because there was not time to protect the entire country. Those left outside, in the area now known as "Away" suffered the radiation, and there are rumors about those who were left behind - are there survivors? And if so, what condition are they in? One day, Rachel finds a recorded message asking for help from someone in "Away" who apparantly knows Mrs. Moore, who owns and runs The Property where Rachel and her mother work. This changes all of their lives.
I look forward to reading the sequel to this book, which is titled "Away".        

Friday, March 9, 2012

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure
This is NOT a diet book, although it does have suggestions for how to reduce one's weight.  It is an interesting book with recipes that sound great and common sense, practical advice for living a healthy lifestyle.  According to the author, French women don't diet and don't exercise unless they just happen to enjoy exercising.  The author shares how French women live w/ out getting fat and she also shares a regimin that will help women to change to a healthier lifestyle and drop some pounds and keep them off.  She suggests eating fresh whole foods in season, walking as much as possible, drinking lots of water and eating smaller portions of a wider variety of better foods - just 3 meals a day - no snacking. 
I think that in order to reap the full benefits of this book, I should go to France.

Cloaked by Alex Flinn


What happens when you take a bunch of fairy tales, mix them up and put them together into a modern day setting? When Alex Flinn does it, it is enchanting, delightful, incredibly funny, romatic and magical. Zis iz vun book zat you vill not vant to put down! Johnny runs his family's shoe repair shop in a fancy hotel. When a famous beautiful princess stays there and has a broken shoe for him to repair, he is drawn into an insane magical mystery when she asks him to search for her brother the prince, who has been turned into a frog by a witch. Using a magical cloak, and later helped by his friend Meg, who runs the coffee counter next to his shoe repair shop, Johnny encounters talking animals who used to be people, fights giants, and learns that many things are not what they seem to be.
I totally absolutely loved, loved, loved this book!
It is soooooo fantastic!
Alex Flinn is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more of her books!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

It is 1895 and Sadie Wagner has left her family in Indiana and moved to Kansas to work as a store clerk to support her family after her father was injured.  Her cousin Sid has invited her there and also offered her the opportunity to sing in the town's new opera house.  When she arrives, Sadie is suprised to find that the opera house is in a cellar, and that Sid, who is her cousin by marriage, but not blood, is in love with her, and the handsome new sherrif is very interesting. When her singing job turns sour and she learns that her boss is selling illegal liquor, Sadie wants to leave, but feels she must stay to support her family even though, as a Christian, she despises what she is being asked to do. How can she allow the sherrif to court her when she is involved in illegal activity? 
This is a touching Christian romance with action and intrigue.
I received this book free to review from Litfuse.

Win a Nook Tablet from Kim Vogel Sawyer and RSVP for her "Song of My Heart" Facebook Party {3/29}! Celebrate with Kim by entering to win a Nook Tablet and connecting with her at the Book Chat Party on 3/29!

One "songbird" winner will receive:
  • A Nook Tablet
  • Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/28/12. Winner will be announced at Kim's Book Chat Facebook Party on 3/29. Kim will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and much more!
So grab your copy of Song of My Heart and join Kim and friends on the evening of March 29th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
This is a well-written and intriguing story of a young lady in 19th century England whose father has died and the man her mother remarried to is an unscrupulous gold digger. When he learns that Margaret, rather than her mother is set to inherit a large amount on her 25th birthday, he schemes to have his nephew marry Margaret. When she finds out how far he will stoop to have his way, she flees the house in fear and winds up becoming a maid at Fairbourne hall, the home of two of her former suitors, one brother who she rejected for his older brother, who then rejected her. As she works, disgusised with a wig and make-up, she learns the truth about the brothers and finds out what it is like to work for a living. Filled with suspense and some romance, this is a nice story to read. I received this book free to review from Litfuse. Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.
Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

Sixty Acres and a Bride

Like Ruth following Naomi, Rosa joined her mother-in-law, Louise and left Rosa's home in Mexico to go to Louise's farm in Texas when their husbands died in a tragic accident. Having been rejected by her family for joining the Garners in the Christian religion, Rosa hoped to find a new husband and new life in Texas. After learning that they owed back-Taxes on the farm,and working hard to earn enough money but failing, Rosa is finally sent to ask the handsome, but heartbroken widower relative Weston for help.
Fighting the wether, an undesirable neighbor, and not wanting to be in another loveless marriage, Rosa is torn about what to do with her life.

This is a well-written Christian romance. I got it for free to review from Litfuse.

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/27!
Win a Kindle Fire from @ReginaJennings in the Sixty Acres and a Bride Giveaway! RSVP for #Facebook Party on 3/27.

Celebrate with Regina by entering to win a Kindle Fire and coming to her Author Chat Party on 3/27!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/26/12. Winner will be announced at Regina's Author Chat Facebook Party on 3/27. Regina will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and some beautiful silver jewerly!
So grab your copy of Sixty Acres and a Bride and join Regina and friends on the evening of March 27th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

About the book:
She's Finally Found a Place to Call Home... How Far Will She Go to Save It?

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can't help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention.

Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future. Read an excerpt:
About Regina:
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children. Meet Regina here.

Learn more about Regina by visiting her website,

Monday, March 5, 2012

More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre by Debora M. Coty

This is a funny and cute advice book.  It is divided into 4 sections: Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty, Undergarments by Fruit of the Spirit (Not the Loom!), and Beautifying My World. 
The author shares her struggles as she ages with beauty both outer and inner, dealing with other people, friendship, love and the Lord.  It is funny and inspiring and an enjoyable read.
I received this book free to review from Litfuse.

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/22!

Transform Your Inner Ogre with a $150 Visa Cash Card from @DeboraCoty! Using Biblical advice and her trademark humor, Debora Coty urges women to conquer guilt and re-institute hope in More Beauty, Less Beast. Celebrate with Debora by entering to win a $150 Visa Cash Card!

One "beautiful" winner will receive:
  • A $150 Visa Cash Card (Treat yourself to a spa day or weekend get-away!)
  • A Debora Coty Library (More Beauty, Less Beast, Too Blessed Too Be Stressed and Everyday Hope)
  • Chocolate (Every good things begins with chocolate!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/22/12. Winner will be announced at Debora's "Divine Beauty" Facebook Party on  3/22. Debora will be hosting an evening of chat, fun beauty trivia, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Debora via Skype.)

So grab your copy of More Beauty, Less Beast and join Debora and friends on the evening of March 22nd for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 22nd!

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

This is a short, simple motivational book.
It basically recommends that you write lists, prioritize, do the most difficult tasks first, do your best, and be positive. And, the author managed to fill up over 100 pages with that, have it published, and sell it! That is success. It is a simple, quick read.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society by Amy Alkon

I See Rude People by Amy Alkon
This is a well-researched, funny, and thought provoking book. Amy tells how she has battled rude people through the years including hunting down the man who stole her car and badgering him until he returned it and taking on Bank of America when she suffered from identity theft due to their errors. In many ways, Amy herself sounds rather rude, but, objectively, what she says and does, makes sense and from the photo on the cover on the book she does NOT look like a tranny. You will have to read the book to see what that refers to. I found it interesting that research shows that our brains are wired to function well in a community of up to 150 people without needing any policing, but when there are more people than that, we need laws, rules, and law enforcers. Her thoughts on poor parenting, which she calles underparenting, and the fact that all adults may participate in telling children how to behave in France, are quite interesting. Her stories of how she fines and sues telephone solicitors for wasting her time, and hunts down criminals who are misguided enough to mess with her are very funny and while I won't do those things myself, it is satisfying to know that someone does and that at least some annoying telemarketers, spammers and criminals are getting back some of what they dish out.     

Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh M. O'Brien

Prized (Birthmarked, #2)
This is the second book in the Birthmarked trilogy. I totally enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one. In a dystopian future where the world has been damaged and water is scarce, 16 year old Gaia, carrying her newborn sister after their mother died in childbirth, has barely escaped from the city where, as a midwife, she had been commanded to remove some of the newborn children she delivered from their mothers and give them to the leadership of the city because they had a declining genetic pool. She winds up in Sylum, a sickened community ruled by women, and where the men outnumber the women by 9 to one. As a midwife and doctor, Gaia wonders why more boys than girls are being born there, and she finds clues when she assists with an autopsy as to what is going on. Forget love triangles, when the men outnumber the women by such a large number, Gaia winds up in a love square or worse. She resists the powerful Matrarc, the blind, pregnant strangely charismatically controlling leader of the group for as long as she can. This book is filled with suspense and romance, issues of politics and human rights. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. I am eagerly waiting for the third book to come out!