Monday, December 30, 2013

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
While a family was being gruesomely murdered, the youngest child toddled off to a nearby graveyard, thus escaping death, or so it seemed. Raised by the dead, living in the graveyard, Nobody Owens, or Bod, as he was called, learned the ways of the dead. His friends were the dead and he learned how to Fade from sight and walk through walls, and open the ghoul gate and yet, he was lonely for the company of the living. As long as he is being hunted by the one who killed the rest of his family though, he can't really join the world of the living. This is a lovely and fascinating story of a child raised by and among the dead.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
"Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless like they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world."
A lyrical and magical journey through the fears and joys of childhood all wrapped into a short novel.
Just amazing.
Read it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull (Jim Morgan #2) by James Matlack Raney

Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull by James Matlack Raney

Jim and his friends go with the pirates on quite an adventure in this second book in the series. A magic island, fairies, harpies, a sea serpent, merpeople, an evil storm, talking animals and more abound in this rousing sea tale. Lots of action, fighting, magic, luck and friendship make this a fun book for kids to read. I look forward to the next book! I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Eric Brown, Wendy Brown

Browsing Nature's Aisles by Eric Brown

Well-written, and interesting, this book tells about one family's quest to learn more about foraging and eating wild foods. After many years of research and growing their own foods at home, they spent one year incorporating foraged foods into at least one meal a week. The book is well-researched and explains that if one is going to eat foraged foods, you should check at least three sources to make sure that what you are eating is what you think it is and that it is not poisonous, that you should only take one third of what is edible from an area at any given time, and that it can be good to find a teacher or mentor to show you how to find edible plants in the wild. While the only "foraging" I have done is eating wild blackberries that we found growing when I was a child, I do appreciate the wisdom in this book. Compared to the concept of the doomsday preppers who stockpile massive amounts of canned goods, it seems more useful to know how to identify and eat foods that one can find commonly in the wild and in your suburban neighborhood. I don't think I will be going out foraging any time soon, considering the fact that last week I saw and smelled paint pouring out of a drain into the creek near our house, which would be the closest area for any wild foraging. I did call the city and they sent someone out and when I went back, there was no longer anything coming out of that drain. We are near the start of that creek, and it eventually dumps into a local lake where there is recreation and fishing. I am sure that the paint I saw being dumped from a construction site into the creek is not the only icky stuff that is in the creeks and in our local environment. I did learn that the weed that we cut down, but keeps coming back that we found covered with pretty black and yellow caterpillars one day is most likely milkweed and is edible and the caterpillars will be monarch butterflies, so we will stop chopping it down and leave it for the caterpillars. I think this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat Well When the Power Goes Out by Jon Robertson, Robin G. Robertson

Apocalypse Chow by Jon Robertson
What can a vegan eat during a power outage? Pretty much anything, as long as you have water and a cooking source. This book recommends using an indoor single burner butane stove and filling the bathtub in preparation for something like a hurricane. Since "nine times out of ten when the lights go out, it isn't the actual apocalypse", the authors explain, with a good touch of humor, how to prepare for a variety of disaster situations that could leave you home with no power for a while like hurricanes, ice storms, or terrorist attacks.
Whether you chose to make "Duck and Cover" Tortilla Bake, Tournedos of Tabbouleh Salad, or Red Rum Chili, you will be using lots of cans of beans. The recipes look pretty good and the book is very funny. I highly recommend it.

Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

Apocalypse Cow by Michael   Logan
Never mind mad cow - these are zombie cows. When a virus being made by the government as a potential biological weapon is accidentally released in a slaughter house, the cows attack - everyone. The story follows Terry, the lone surviving slaughter house worker, Leslie, a journalist trying to land a good story and Geldof, a fifteen year old boy whose mother is a nudist vegetarian and father is a constantly stoned ex-military man. Leslie finds out too much and Brown, the mad scientist who runs the facility that created the virus wants to silence her forever. The story is rather slapstick, quite crude, and very funny.

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff
Laura tells her story of how she befriended Maurice, a poor, troubled boy, and how their friendship helped both of them to have better lives. The story is true and therefore, not perfect. It is well-written and interesting and inspiring. We all can make a difference in someone else's life if we just stop and let others into our life.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Breed by Chase Novak, Scott Spencer

Disturbing and creepy, Alex and Leslie, desperate to have children, finally go to the expensive and secretive fertility Dr. Kis in Slovenia.
His treatment is very unorthodox, but it does allow them to have children - twins = Adam and Alice. However, it has rather gruesome side effects on their parents including abnormal hair growth, an appetite for fresh meat - like small animals and perhaps even larger ones, and a decrease in mental acuity. Some animals do eat their young. As Adam and Alice try to survive and escape their parents' abnormal appetites, they encounter other children whose parents also received services from Dr. Kis and all suffer similar problems.

Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children by Reid Wilson, Lynn Lyons

Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children
Well researched, with many anecdotal stories, this book helps to explain the family dynamics involved when a child is anxious and gives practial advice on how to overcome the cycle of anxiety. I think that parents of children who are suffering from anxiety will find this book to be quite informative and helpful. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

The Maker's Diet Revolution: The 10 Day Diet to Lose Weight and Detoxify Your Body, Mind and Spirit by Jordan Rubin

The Maker's Diet Revolution by Jordan Rubin

Snake oil salesman alert! For those unfamiliar with the term, snakeoil sales refers to marketing a product using fraudulent claims - like this book does. I had read " The Maker's Diet" by the same author several years ago, but I had forgotten what it was about. This book claims that it has a 10 day diet to lose weight and detoxify your body, mind and spirit. 10 days sounds fairly simple and I thought it might be good. I was wrong. Jordan Rubin has several different companies selling supplements and health "foods" and his books serve to advertise for his products. This book focuses on his Live Beyond Organic company - a multi-level marketing company that sells "organic" processed food products.
At the beginning of the book, Jordan explains how he went on an evangelical trip to India even though he was afraid of the parasites in their food and water because his wife and son had visions that they should go. Then, God spoke to Jordan and told him that since he was so faithful to go and evangelize in India, He would honor Jordan "by giving him an innovative idea and strategy to transform the health of people." God then told Jordan to have his organic food company make and market a product that he could advertise by writing this book! God is such a businessman.
The book's concept begins with a 10 day "fast", which can be done in two ways. One way involves drinking water and eating primarily vegetables during certain hours of the day. The other option is to purchase the "Daniel Diet 10-Day Transformation Pack", which the author claims you can have shipped to your door for "about the same price the average American spends on food per day." The 10 day pack costs $300.
If you believe that God spoke to Jordan Rubin and told him to sell all this stuff, then feel free to spend your money on it. Considering that Jordan Rubin has been taken to court in the past for making fraudulent claims for his Garden of Life Products, I, for one, am not buying this stuff. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I am glad that I did not pay for it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Before (Betwixt .5) by Melissa Pearl

Before (Betwixt, #0.5)
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It is a prequel to the book "Betwixt", which I have not read. "Before" tells the story of Dale, a rebellious preacher's kid who is running with the wrong crowd. When he overhears his parents talking about their own past, which was less than perfect, and more importantly to Dale, kept secret, Dale uses that as an excuse to continue with his partying ways. I found this book a bit too Christianly formulaic. Preacher's kid rebels, finds out his parents are not perfect, gets into drinking and sex, but neither really satisfies him, and the results are rather tragic. Still, it is a well written, well edited and interesting book.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Loved it! Alice awakens on the floor in a gym, from a strange dream that she does not understand. She has apparently fallen off of a bike in her spin class and hit her head. She has no idea why she is in a gym and has forgotten the last 10 years of her life. After her sister meets her at the hospital and she is released the next day, having lied and told the doctors that her memories are returning, Alice must try to figure out what has happened in her life for the past 10 years and why she is divorcing her husband. It really makes you think about what you might think about your life today from the point of view of your 10 years ago self. Would you like yourself today? Are you doing what you thought you would be doing now? The story is told rather realistically and I love seeing the younger Alice's perspective on her current life and how it changed her. Totally fantastic book!

Serafina and the Silent Vampire (Serafina's, #1) by Marie Treanor

Serafina and the Silent Vampire (Serafina's, #1)
Totally love the zombie banker vampires. Just do. This book has a new twist on the vampire plot and is funny, sexy and mysterious. Serafina, a psychic, has never believed in vampires - until she encountered some. Now, she and her friends who work for her psychic detective agency which combines her real psychic abilities along with con-artistism, are caught up in trying to stop a major vampire problem. With a Darth Vader moment, and an incredibly sexy vampire, Serafina may be in for more than she was expecting. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it. Warning - adult content.

Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children by Barbara Nicholson, Lysa Parker

Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children
This book is an excellent resource about attachment parenting. It is well-researched and I think that all parents to be and parents of babies and toddlers should read it. It is well written and easy to read and explains why attachment parenting is important and how to do in in a variety of steps. I wish that this book had been around before I had children. I would have found it quite helpful.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Trailersteading: Voluntary Simplicity in a Mobile Home by Anna Hess

Trailersteading by Anna Hess
I got this book free on Amazon - the last time I looked, it is no longer free - but honestly, it really is a good book! I have no plans to live in a trailer. Ever. But, the title of the book sounded interesting and it was free, so I got the book. I found it to be interesting, informative, well thought out, well edited and quite thought provoking. The author posits, based upon her own experience and that of others, that if you have land and can get a cheap or free used trailer or mobile home hauled there and set up, that trailers are easy to DIY and fix up and can be a very affordable and comfortable housing option. The book goes into great detail about how to find the land and trailer, how to get it moved, and many aspects of how to remodel a trailer and make it into a really nice home. With lots of examples, photos, diagrams and more, this book really is a great resource! I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Cruel Path by David J. Normoyle

The Cruel Path
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

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

The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding

The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding
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.

Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
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

Rich Food Poor Food: Your Grocery Purchasing System by Jayson Calton, Mira Calton

Rich Food Poor Food: Your Grocery Purchasing System
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

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
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.

The Artemis Effect by Kasia James

The Artemis Effect by Kasia James
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.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Originals by Cat Patrick

The Originals by Cat Patrick
I picked this book up at the library yesterday evening and finished reading it around midnight. Very interesting concept and good Young Adult novel. Sixteen year olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey look like triplets. But they are not. They are clones and they are in hiding. They take turns going out living their three lives as one person so no one will find them out. They make it work out well, with one girl taking morning classes, then going home and switching out at lunch for the next girl and the last one taking some night classes at a junior college. It works fine - until Lizzie meets Sean and Ella is pursued by David. And, a mysterious woman seems to be following Lizzie and she learns that her mother does not go to work where she has always said she did. As the boy troubles and mysteries pile up, the girls yearn to live their own lives in public rather than a three in one life in hiding. The book is intriguing with mystery and romance and teen angst.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes
This book can change your life! Really. I read a lot of health and fitnees books - especially lately due to being older and having health problems of my own. This is totally the best book I have read on the topic. Ever. It is simple and comprehensive, well-researched and it makes sense, is doable and explains lifestyle changes that can help you to be more healthy. The back of the book inludes a 30 day challenge of lifestyle adjustments to do each day. In addition, there is a website on which you can answer questions and get daily reminders sent to you for 30 days. Most of what is in the book about eating, I already knew most of what the book tells about food, but don't always eat correctly anyway like most of us, but I found the reasons to eat right in this book encouraging and it has good tips like putting healthy snack foods at eye level. I learned a lot about movement that I was not aware of including the fact that we retain more that we learn if we move immediately afterwards - and I am totally moving a lot more now than I was before reading this including walking daily and incorporating more movement into my daily routines. Lastly, I learned a lot about sleep that I was not aware of including reducing light levels in the hour or so before bedtime and the importance of a good night's sleep on our overall health. Each chapter of the book ends with a list of three bullet points that sum up the main ideas about eating, moving and sleeping in that chapter. I signed up on the website for the daily reminder e-mails and am using this book as a reference book for lifestyle changes that I am sure will help me to be healthier. I recieved this book free to review from Netgalley and I am so glad that I did! It is a fantastic book and I highly recommed it!

Endless by Amanda Gray

A timeless romance. A romance out of time. This book is a lovely combination of reincarnation, time travel and romace. Seventeen year old Jenny has always been able to see the past. Now, the past is reaching out to her. It begins with a Ouija board, then continues with a mesmerizing music box that she finds with Ben, her new neighbor. A handsome man invades her dreams and shows up in her paintings. What is the truth about Jenny's mother? Can she save Nikolai? This book has action, adventure, and romance. It seems rather endless, with a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but is a lovely read. I received this book free to review from Netgalley

Monday, December 2, 2013

Broken Lightning: Legend of the Qi Symbol by Jonathan V. Cann

Broken Lightning: Legend of the Qi Symbol
Siddown and I'll tell yer how dreadful this book is. Yer not gonna believe how bad it is. I am just sayin' that because I am bein' honest. Ehh ehh ehh, this book made me wanna yell Herragh! I gotta tell yer that I got this book free to review from Netgalley. I hadda quit reading it because not only is it full of the words in the review above, but the wording is awkward and therearepartsofitthatareinitalicsthatareallruntogether. I am not sure if that was done on purpose or is a formatting error.
I canna recommend this book to anyone. Ever.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

There were things that I liked about this book and things I disliked. I would actually give it a 2.5 rating out of a 5 star rating scale if I could. This is the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy. It explains some aspects of their society and shows what the rest of the country was like, but it still ignores the rest of the entire world. We finally find out what is going on, but it is rather bizarre and totally unrealistic. Good fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian fiction has a world that is believable in it's own setting and this one is not. I did not like the ending. At all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Board Stiff by Piers Anthony (Xanth #38)

Board Stiff by Piers Anthony
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. It is the 38th Xanth book. I have been reading these books since the 1980s close to the time they began being written, when I was in college and my boyfriend and I would fight over who got to read each new novel first. I do think that the earlier books are better than the latter ones, but if you love the Xanth novels, then you will enjoy this one as well. It is full of puns including many computer related puns this time and the plot revolves around a group of characters on a quest. Kandy has been turned into a board by a wishing well and given to Ease, who wished for the perfect woman. Together with Tiara, who has unmanageable hair, Mitch, whose hair is rather unusual as well, Pewter, a manifestation of Com Pewter, and Astrid, a basilisk in lovely human form, the friends traverse Xanth in a variety of settings aided and hampered by magic, puns and Demons as they attempt to save Xanth from a pun destroying virus. Magic, romance, adventure and puns abound in this fun novel. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)
I chose this book to read because it is on the World Book Night 2014 list. It weaves together a variety of bizarrely fractured fairy tale elements into the story of Sunday, a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter in a magical family of too many children who live in a rather unusual home. Sunday meets a frog, who of course is an enchanted prince and falls in love with him - as a frog. Will she know him as a man? Romance, magic and love abound in this twisted tale of fantasy and fun! I enjoyed this book very much!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
I chose to read this book because it is on the list of books for World Book Night 2014.
I substitute teach and have given out books from World Book Night to students for the past two years. I like to give books that I totally love and can highly recommend to the students. Hoot is a funny book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not sure, however, if kids will enjoy it as much. It is a book about kids, but it is written in a more adult voice. Roy is 12 years old, and the new kid in school, since his family moves a lot. He is being hassled by the local bully, which, having often been the new kid, Roy is rather used to, but, reluctant to put up with. When he sees a barefoot boy running by the school bus, he is intrigued, and decides to investigate, which lands him right in the middle of a standoff between the barefoot boy and a pancake house and some endangered owls. Toss in some incompetent adults and some humor and it makes a funny story.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) by Lindsey Fairleigh ,and Lindsey Pogue

Into The Fire by Lindsey Fairleigh
Better than the first book. Dani is now in the Colony, which is run by a maniacal man who has the power to control other people's thoughts and is trying to - well -  rule the world basically. Her friends, Zoe, Jason, Jack and the others are trying to find and rescue her. MG, the man of her dreams, is now Gabe and he is really not so dreamy. There is a lot of action, some romance and plot twists and the book is a really good read. There is no more e-mailing - which was odd anyway, instead, there is telepathic communication between the girls, but there are way too many coincidental relationships. It is the end of the world as we know it, yet somehow, all of the main characters wind up having known each other or having been related to one another before the virus that wiped out most of the population and left the rest of them with mental abilities like telepathy, the ability to wipe other people's memories and other super powers. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I do recommend it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
This book has some fantabulous first lines! First line of the book: "During the third attack, Hazel almost ate a boulder." First line of chapter XXIX: "Percy was relieved when the demon grandmothers closed in for the kill." And, chapter XLIII: "Piper didn't plan to shoot blueberry muffins." Those are just a few teasers to the adventure that lies within this book. Amidst the fun of fighting off monsters and demons and traveling through Tartarus, the book also includes humor, a little romance and the breaking of a cultural taboo. I see that many people were upset by that, but actually, it was part of the ancient Greek and Roman lifestyles and it is part of today's culture too. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was fantastic!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
I found this to be a very open and real memoir and an interesting book. Nadia is an ex-alcoholic and stand up comic and she became a Lutheran pastor. She tells about her past and present lives and her struggles with being a pastor. I found some quotes in her book that I really enjoyed including: "I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God." "I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive. Otherwise it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine." She started her church as one for the outcasts like herself - the tattooed, the homosexuals and others outside of "regular" church attendees. I love that when the soccer moms and business men started attending too, she got over her initial feelings of "they don't belong here" and was able to really have an all-inclusive church. This is an interesting book and I enjoyed reading it.

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #3) by Andria Buchanan

Infinity by Andria Buchanan
Lies, betrayal, war and death abound as Allie's aunt tries to take over the kingdom and the throne. Who can Allie trust? Will ruling as queen turn her into a bloodthirsty monster? What does Allie really want and what will Fate allow? Read to find out in this third book of the series. I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I enjoyed the series and highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Evanescent (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #2) by Andria Buchanan

Evanescent by Andria Buchanan
Fantasy, adventure and romance abound as Allie, now Queen of Nerisesette, and her boyfriend Winston, a dragon and her best friend Mercedes, a dryad along with her loyal subjects, fight to keep their world safe from the Fate Maker, who, having disappeared, is not really gone. All the while, Mercedes, Winston and Allie really want to find a way to get back home although Allie is torn between her love for her friends and family and her loyalty to her kingdom. Allie learns that being Queen can be rather boring and frustrating at times as well as being a quite dangerous job. The book is fast paced and action packed and I look forward to reading the next one!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everlast (The Chronicles of Nerissette #1) by Andria Buchanan

Everlast (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #1)
Allie was a fairly normal teenager until one day, she and some friends "Opened the book...fell through the hole in reality, woke up here." Here would be Nerissette, a place that Allie had only read about as a fairy tale. Now, she and her friends are trapped there and she is to become their queen. With dragons and dryads, evil trolls and giants and the most evil of all, the magicians, Nerissette needs a queen to save them all. Apparantly, that would be Allie. Fantastic adventure and a lovely fairy tale! I am looking forward to reading the next two books!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ever Wrath (A Dark Faerie Tale #4) by Alexia Purdy

Ever Wrath (A Dark Faerie Tale, #4)
Best in the series. I think this book wraps up the series very well so far. While some book series start off with a bang and end with a whimper, this one starts out in dire need of an editor and ends on a high note. I did not find editing errors in this book at all - either because it was edited better or because I was so wrapped up in the story. I like that Shade is a strong female hero and that while the books have romance, they do not have sexual content and they are quite appropriate for the Young Adult audience. With fantasy, action, adventure and romance, this is a great YA novel.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ever Winter (A Dark Faerie Tale, #3) by Alexia Purdy

Ever Winter by Alexia Purdy
Getting better! I did not find as many editing problems in this book as I did in the earlier ones. That helps a lot. In this book, Shade comes into her power, is enmeshed in the fairie battle, and brings her family and best friend into it as well. With more action and romance, this was a really good book!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ever Fire (A Dark Faerie Tale, #2) by Alexia Purdy

Ever Fire by Alexia Purdy
I received this book free to review from Netgalley, so I went on and got the first two books to read as well. I think this book is better than book one and book 0.5, but it still needs an editor. I don't know why authors chose to publish books without hiring an editor. Alexia, HIRE A GOOD EDITOR! The books would be much better if they were properly edited. The story has action and romance. I am not thrilled about the whole Twilightish two boys are in love with me and what should I do now thing, but the story was still pretty good. I do recommend this book.

Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale #1) by Alexia Purdy

Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1)
Shade is 18 years old and has always heard "voices" in her head. Now they lead her to a situation that takes her to the land of fairie where she learns that she is half faery and only she can save their world. So, she takes off on an often dangerous quest through faery to retrieve the magic waters that will save the land according to one of the two factions of faerys who are fighting. The book contains some inconsistencies and needs better editing, but is an interesting adventure.                  

Evangeline (A Dark Faerie Tale 0.5) by Alexia Purdy

Evangeline (A Dark Faerie Tale, #0.5)
Perhaps it is better to read the other books first? I read this because it is supposed to be an introduction to the series. It is choppy and needs editing and cannot stand alone. At least it was free. I hope the other books are better.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Lightning Charmer by Kathryn Magendie

The Lightning Charmer by Kathryn Magendie
Sorry, sorry, sorry. Strange, strange, strange. When an author cannot express her character's emotion in any other way than repeating the same word over and over - usually 3 times - is 3 times the charm? - then it is time for the author to increase her vocabulary a bit I think. The book is not well written and is poorly edited and is rambling and confusing and contains inconsistencies. I received it free to review from Netgalley. I am giving it a two star review rather than a one star because there is a bit of a plot in there somewhere trying to be found and I was able to actually finish the book although I did want to just give up on it for a while because parts of it are so bad. I don't recommend this book.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm No Angel: From Victoria's Secret Model to Role Model by Kylie Bisutti

I'm No Angel by Kylie Bisutti
Kylie tells her story of what it was like being a fashion model as a teenager and how she won a Victoria's Secret Angel contest. She explains how she saw the ugly side of the modeling industry and how she became a Christian, married a Christian man and how that changed her views of the modeling that she was doing. After finally seeing that the modeling she was doing was simply selling sex, and seeing that the top of the industry is just as bad as the bottom, she was convicted by the Lord to quit modeling. She now has a ministry to girls about modesty and beauty. I think that the book is well written and interesting - I read the whole thing in a few hours today and I think that it does send a good message to girls and women.

The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore

The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
In book 4 of the series, all of the Lorians are brought together when they find Five. Lots of fighting - both the Mogs and each other - abounds in this book as the Garde tries to plan a way to keep the Mogs from taking over earth. Ella, however is having strange dreams featuring Setrakus Ra, the evil Mog leader and Five is not terribly friendly. The book ends in a cliffhanger and has excerpts from several of the "Lost Files" novellas at the end. If you enjoyed the first 3 books, you will enjoy this one as well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Daniel Cure: A Guide to Improving Your Physical and Spiritual Health by Susan Gregory, Richard J Bloomer

The Daniel Cure by Susan Gregory
I received this book free to review from Netgalley. I realized that it is sort of a companion book to the book titled "The Daniel Fast" by the same author and I bought that book although you don't need to read one to read the other - they can each stand alone. The Daniel Cure book explains the Daniel Fast concept - which I will go into later, and takes it further, adding a few more food choices and making it a lifestyle choice due to the author's documented cases where eating this type of diet can "cure" diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Daniel Fast is basically a vegan diet with no sweeteners and no drinks except for water. It is a 21 day diet based on the verses in the book of Daniel from the Bible where Daniel refuses to eat the meat and wine and rich foods that the king offers because they are not kosher and he and his friends prove that they can remain healthy and strong on a vegan diet.

This book goes into detail about the causes and symptoms of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammation and then explains how eating according to the Daniel Fast diet can help cure those problems.
The book includes a 21 day diet plan, and devotional plan along with recipes and tips for how to change your diet into a lifestyle of eating healthily. The Daniel Cure part of the diet adds in a bit of meat and dairy to the purely vegan diet and allows for occasional splurging on treats.

I have read a variety of diet and health books and this one does not contain anything that I have not read elsewhere. They just put a religious spin on the vegan whole food diet by relating it to the Bible and adding a devotional to it.
I think the diet sounds like a healthy one although I was disappointed in the recipes in this book. I found a few recipes in "The Daniel Fast" book that I have tried and enjoyed, but I did not find any in this book that impress me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inhuman (Fetch #1) by Kat Falls

Inhuman by Kat Falls
In this YA dystopian novel, a virus called Ferae has been accidentally released into the US, and a wall was built blocking off the part of the country that is east of the Mississippi river to keep the virus from spreading to the rest of the country. Sixteen year old Lane lives west of the Titan wall only having heard rumors and bedtime stories about the hybrid human/animal mixes that the virus creates. Then, she is thrust into the feral zone in order to rescue her father and she sees the results of the virus firsthand. An animal lover, she hates to see the hybrids who have not yet gone feral - violent and no longer thinking as humans - mistreated. Can she complete her mission in this wild and dangerous world and keep from getting infected? Fortunately, two handsome boys who both have the hots for her are there to help her in her attempt to rescue her father. This is the part that I have a problem with. The teenage girl with two guys in love with her theme is way overdone now. It became wildly popular with "Twilight" and continued with "Hunger Games", but it has now been repeated in so many YA books that even the kids are getting tired of it. I substitute taught in a 7th grade Language Arts class last week and showed a clip of preview trailers for books in the book fair that is coming to their school next week. One of the books features the teen girl with two good looking guys who both like her and she has to chose between them theme and the 12 year old kids began complaining about that theme being stupid and overdone.
Kat Falls is an excellent writer and the book is well-written, and gripping with lots of action and a little romance and fits the YA category well. I really did enjoy the book a lot, but I do wish she had stayed away from the whole two hot boys who both like the teen girl theme. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reality Boy by A.S. King

Reality Boy by A.S. King
Amazing book.
When Gerald was five years old, his family starred in a reality TV show. One of those ones where a nanny is brought in to help the family with their unruly children. Because Gerald, at age five, chose to take out his frustrations by pooping in various places - like on the dining table, in his mom's shoes, etc... he was the focus of the show and the "problem child". In reality, his behavior was due to the horrible dysfunctionality of his family - especially his older sister.
At age 17, Gerald is often called the Crapper and has problems in school as well as his family life. Then, Hannah, the junkman's daughter, a coworker and classmate of his befriends him. Romance blooms and the two dysfunctional teens help one another to overcome their insane families and find normality. The book is touching and funny and sad and just awesome. I highly recommend it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin
The military has endorsed development of a virus that was found in the Amazon jungle with bats that made people vicious and strong and unkillable - until they died. So, they used death row convicts to experiment on to try to make the virus safer to make an army of unkillable killing machines. Except of course, it backfired, unleashing the virus and the 12 killers into the world causing an apocalypse leaving the world a dangerous place full of vicious virals. Except for Amy, who was injected with the virus at age 6, with the lowest dosage, which made her the key to curing the whole thing. The author spent the first one third of the very long book introducing this along with Carter, the 12th convict injected, and the only innocent man from death row, and we don't hear from him again - perhaps he will be important in later books.
Honestly, this could have been done in one or two chapters rather than the whole first third of the book.
Then, it is almost 100 years later and we are with a colony of people who are dependent upon an aging and dying electrical system to light up the colony at night and keep the virals away. The last two thirds of the book deals with these characters and they run into Amy, who has now aged to about 14 due to the age slowing properties of the virus. Together, a group of young people and Amy travel to find other people and find a way to stop the virals.
There are two more books after this.
I got the second one.
It is really long.
No surprise.
The last one is not written yet.
I bet it will be long.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Oh dear. This was a difficult book for me. I did not like the main character Victoria, or her foster mother, Elizabeth. The story is well written and drew me in at first and I found it fascinating and difficult to put down because I wanted to find out what was going on. Then it became difficult to read because I realized what was going on. Victoria, who had spent her entire life in the foster care system after being abandoned as an infant had her last chance to be adopted at age 10 by a woman named Elizabeth. The story is told in flashbacks from Victoria's adult life beginning at age 18 back to her childhood then her year spent with Elizabeth. While I understood Victoria's childhood decisions, I was appalled by some of her actions that she took as an adult. The book is wonderfully written and I understand why many people like it, but at the same time, it was also very difficult. I enjoyed seeing the different meanings of flowers and thought that was an interesting thing to include.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Story by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

My Story by Elizabeth  Smart
I found this to be a very moving book. Elizabeth tells the story of her kidnapping and the nine months she spent captive.  She is quite defensive and that definitely shows and it is a bit sad that she feels the need to be so defensive, but her story is well told and very inspirational. It is a quick read and it is inspirational that throughout her 9 month ordeal, Elizabeth felt strengthened by the Lord and that she is now helping other people who have been abused to recover.