Friday, January 30, 2015

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy (Defy, #1)
YA romance with a bit of paranormal. Alexa, who is now 17 years old, because OMG, all girls in YA romances are 17 years old, is disguised as a boy in the army with her brother Marcel, now both serving as guards for the handsome prince. After Marcel's death, Alexa, or Alex as she is known, is appointed as personal guard for Prince Damien, who is rude, arrogant, spoiled and totally hot of course. When they are kidnapped by the opposing army, Alexa learns that not only the handsome prince, but also the other guard kidnapped with them, Rylan, also knows that she is a girl. And of course, both men are in love with her because in YA romances, often times the girl has two boys in love with her because only one would not be enough to stoke her ego or whatever the reason for the whole love triangle genre may be. Alexa/Alex is the strongest and best fighter of the guard and it is ultimately up to her to save her prince and the entire kingdom. Can she do it? Read and see. I read this book in a day. It is well written and fits into the YA romance with a bit of magic genre. I do plan to read the next book. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Shadows (Lux, #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I enjoyed this novella because it tells the story of Bethany and Dawson which fills in some of the background of the series. I just did not find their characters as exciting and interesting as Katy and Daemon.

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

One Plastic Bag by Miranda  Paul
This is a beautifully illustrated book about how one woman in Gambia, West Africa decided to reduce the amount of plastic bags littering the area and killing animals when they ate them by crocheting items out of the plastic and selling them. I think that the book shows the problems from the plastic bag pollution and how one woman helped to change the situation. This book would be great in elementary school and middle school libraries to use when teaching about pollution and recycling. I have crocheted items from plastic bags and the plastic is not as gentle and comfortable to knit with as yarn or fabric. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stuffocation by James Wallman

Stuffocation by James Wallman
This book is a fascinating look at today's society and economics. The author posits that our culture has gone beyond materialism because we can easily afford all that we need and more and we now realize that stuff does not make us happy and we have too much stuff. He feels that a new age is dawning, one where we, as a society will value experiences more than stuff, something that he calls experientialism. He explains the reasons for this shift in attitude and proof that it is happening and gives many examples. He states that the internet, and social media in particular helps to promote experientialism because people can broadcast their experiences to everyone. The author feels that experientialism is a good and valid replacement for materialism because it still produces consumers who will spend money on experiences and stuff that goes with them which will keep the economy afloat. He even gives a list of steps towards becoming an experientialist yourself. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Opposition (Lux, #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Totally fantastic ending to the series! I loved it! I love Katy because she is a strong female character and not a wimp like many are. I love that she is a book review blogger although I do wonder if the author made her that to suck up to all of us who have book review blogs. I love the whole aliens taking over the planet thing and I just totally loved the entire series. I also like that the book includes the prequel novella "Shadows" that I am now reading.

Fat Witch Bake Sale: 67 Recipes from the Beloved Fat Witch Bakery for Your Next Bake Sale or Party by Patricia Helding and Lucy Baker

Fat Witch Bake Sale by Patricia Helding
This lovely cookbook is filled with beautiful mouthwatering photos of incredibly delicious looking sweet treats and well written, easy to follow recipes. The recipes fall into a variety of categories including Halfway healthy - and I want to make those sweet potato brownies, gluten free, vegan, and unexpected - which includes bacon brownies. Totally fabulous and I want to just eat all of these wonderful treats! I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

The Unorthodox Haggadah: A Dogma-free Passover for Jews and Other Chosen Peopleby Nathan Phillips

The Unorthodox Haggadah by Nathan Phillips
Written by an author who does not believe in God, but thinks it is "cool that some people do", this book is for "people who want to participate in weird rituals without the hassle of dogma." The book is funny and irreverent, includes proof from the internet that aliens built the pyramids and the newest Passover song, "I believe I can fly." I like this book because as Jews, we can laugh at ourselves and allow other people to laugh at us without going nuts and killing people. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and it made me laugh.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Origin (Lux, #4)

So, this book gets a bit darker and more violent. The government organization, Daedalous, that deals with the aliens at Area 51, is majorly into torture and killing with no mercy in order to get what they want. Which makes things for Katy and Daemon rather unpleasant when they wind up there. Once again there is lots of action, romance, alien mojo, humans with superpowers and a huge cliffhanger at the end. Great book. On to read the last one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Opal (Lux, #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
More action, romance, drama and plot twists ending in a huge cliffhanger. Katy is awesome and Blake is horrid and Daemon is romantic. I can't write a longer review because I have to read the next book now.

The DASH Diet Younger You: Shed 20 Years--and Pounds--in Just 10 Weeks by Marla Heller

The DASH Diet Younger You by Marla Heller
This book explains the Dash Diet which has been around for many years and claims to have a brand new Dash Diet anti-aging program. The diet is one of the only diets proven to improve health and help with weight loss and is a very healthy diet. Despite the claims of new research and new food choices to benefit anti-aging, I see very little new information in this book. The author claims that new research shows that having healthy gut microbes will reverse the aging process and that her new plan can promote a healthy gut leading to weight loss, healthier skin and a longer life and more.
While this plan is excellent, and I do highly recommend it, I don't think it is new or remarkable. I think it is being marketed that way because that is what people tend to want. The concept behind this diet plan is to eat a whole foods plant based diet and get a proper amount of exercise. The diet is healthy and should be very beneficial to everyone. I think that by now, most people should have heard that if we stop eating processed foods and eat real foods, mostly plants, we will be healthier. The problem is that it is much easier and more convenient to eat processed foods. I was hoping that the "Younger You Meal Plans" would be helpful, but they are not very practical. The serving sizes of the recipes range from 4 to 8 servings and the weekly plans don't allow for leftovers or using up the rest of the ingredients if you chose to cut a recipe in half of quarter it.
Despite that and despite the fact that I think the anti-aging claims are over the top, and the 10 weeks time period is rather random and just put in to get people interested, there are many things that I like about this book and this plan. The diet is well balanced and healthy and the foods included are not outrageously expensive or hard to find. Sugar is discouraged and probiotic foods are encouraged. Juicing is discouraged and so are dietary supplements.
I think that the whole book could be summed up by saying eat healthy whole foods, mostly organic if possible and exercise. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I recommend it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley
Beautiful and heartbreakingly sad. At age 27, with her whole life ahead of her, Daisy has learned that her cancer has returned. Aggressively. How should you live your life when you know there is not much left of it? We may think we know, but it probably wouldn't work that way. As she struggles with her own mortality, Daisy decides she should find a new wife for her husband Jack, so he won't be alone after she dies. There is humor mixed with the sadness weaving a story that I could not put down. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Onyx (Lux, #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Ok, so, read it in a day. Romance, intrigue, aliens, humans with super powers, plot twists, betrayals. I have the next two books on hold so far. Fantastic second book in the series.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
It is not just the story, but its telling that makes this book so wonderful. The beautiful flow of the words and the pictures that they paint set you right into the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky in 1985 with Kevin and his grandfather and Buzzy. After witnessing the tragic death of his younger brother, 14 year old Kevin and his mother have gone to stay with her father to be healed by the earth, the very mountains that are being destroyed by the mountain top removal mining process. Longing for "A world without the weight of judgment, the sting of reproach, the crush of blame.", in his fourteenth summer, Kevin finds peace despite the horror in the mountains. This story is just beautifully written and it is hard to believe that this is the author's first book. I look forward to reading future book by this author. I received this book free to review from Netgalley and it was an advance copy so the quote I included may or may not be the same in the book.

Monday, January 12, 2015

This is No Ordinary Joy: How the Courage of Survivors Transformed My Life by Sarah Symons, Nicole Evans

This is No Ordinary Joy by Sarah Symons
For over ten years, Sarah has run charities that help women and children who are survivors of human trafficking and slavery in third world countries. Her current group, Made by Survivors, has schools and shelters that offer education and employment skills and help the survivors to start their own businesses. Sarah describes the horrific conditions in India, Thailand and other third world countries where human trafficking, slavery and abuse of women and children is a normal and accepted part of life. She describes the courage of the survivors and the joy that she receives from helping them to gain a safer environment, education and employment. her work and that of others is very important and should be supported. Sarah also tells about events and struggles in her business and personal life.
In the US, we were horrified and outraged to learn that Ariel Castro held three women hostage in his home and abused them for ten years, but most people do not realize and do nothing about the millions of women and children who are enslaved, trafficked and abused on a daily basis throughout the world. I hope that this book brings more attention to these issues and draws more support for human rights groups.

Ennara and the Book of Shadows (Ennara, #2) by Angela Myron

Ennara and the Book of Shadows by Angela Myron
I liked this book better than the first one. The children are now older - Ennara is 13, and she and Kithe are now at the Academy studying magic. They are not really accepted by the other kids or teachers because they are not rich and royal like the other students, and Ennara is being bullied by some girls. Things begin to go really wrong when Ennara accidentally creates zombie flowers. Then, Gevin arrives to visit and the troubles increase. After fighting a dragon turtle, Ennara and Kithe are expelled from the school - for their own protection. Assisted by Ennara's aunt and uncle, the kids have to help save the school and the country from the evil spells that are controlling the teachers,the Council and the military. There is a lot of action and adventure and a little romance in this second book in the series. I recieved this book free to review from Netgalley.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees by Ann Ralph

Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph
This book explains the concept of pruning fruit trees to keep them small and easy to manage for a backyard fruit tree grower. I like the idea - it makes the trees easier to care for and you don't get more fruit than you can use. The book explains which varieties work best small and how to chose one for your area. It explains how to plant your tree, how to weight young branches so they will grow horizontally, when and how to prune them, proper watering, pest and disease control and harvesting. We currently have no fruit trees, but if we do grow some, we will consider this method. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites by Clotilde Dusoulier, Melina Josserand

Edible French by Clotilde Dusoulier
With lovely watercolor illustrations, this is a beautiful book of French "edible idioms" - idiomatic sayings about food. The author explains the background and meaning of each idiom. There are also a few French recipes in the book as well. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Greens 24/7: More Than 100 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes for Eating Leafy Greens and Other Green Vegetables at Every Meal, Every Day by Jessica Nadel

This cookbook contains lovely photos, delicious easy to follow recipes and contains vegan  recipes and gluten free options.  There are several recipes that I want to make from it including the butternut squash and millet salad bowl with chickpea croutons and the zucchini oatmeal cookies.  Some of the vegan options included are ones that I personally have already tried and do not like such as cashew cheesecake - gritty texture, and fake food ingredients like vegan cheese shreds and vegan butter - highly processed, lots of soy and icky.  Some of the recipes have hard to find ingredients, but there are also simple and delicious recipes included as well.  I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp

Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp
Despite some Christianese statements like "Satan uses a lot of things to distract us" in reference to clutter, this book has some very good practical advice about dealing with clutter. The author's focus is on getting rid of clutter, but she explains that we may need to examine why we hold on to things and how to shift our thinking and get rid of the things that we do not use and love and would not buy again. I already had a junk pick up scheduled for tomorrow, but finishing this book inspired me to get rid of more and I added about 5 or 6 more bags to the pile that I will set out to be picked up. I think that many people will find this book quite helpful. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
This book is a fabulous teen paranormal romance. Katy and her mom move to Virginia and live next door to two incredibly good looking teenagers - twins, Dee and Daemon. As Katy becomes friends with Dee, she realizes how much of a total jerk the incredibly good looking Daemon is. Strange things seem to happen around them and eventually Katy learns that they are aliens called Luxen along with quite a few others who live in her town. This knowledge is dangerous because there is another group of aliens who are the bad guys - they are dark while the Luxen are light - and becoming close to humans is forbidden because it endangers the Luxen. The tension between Katy and Daemon is fabulous and she is a strong female character. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ectasy (Debt Collector #3) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Ecstasy (Debt Collector, #3)
In this third installment/chapter, Lirium searches for Ophelia, finds himself involved with an underground children's hospital and becomes involved with the mob. Like the others, it is fabulously written and ends with a cliffhanger. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words About Food by Eric-Shabazz Larkin


This book is a true gem!  It is just fabulous!  I think it belongs in all school libraries and all libraries in general and it would make a great gift.  The author/illustrator has filled this lovely little book with poems and graffiti art about food including topics from "The Food Desert In Harlem" to "Ashley Won't Eat it if She Can't Spell It".  I found the book so funny and lovely and inspiring that I wrote a poem as a review of it.

A goofy graffiti artist dude
wrote a book of poems all about food.
He wrote and drew on photographs
that are guaranteed to give you laughs.
There are corny jokes,
healthy eating admonitions,
from serious to silly,
including some nutrition.
So grow your own food
skip that sad happy meal
because if you can't spell it
that "food" is not real.
To readers all ages
I do recommend
you must read this book
from beginning to end.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Agony (Debt Collector, #2) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Agony by Susan Kaye Quinn
This is the second book or chapter in the serial. Lirium has to meet with his psych officer, Candy Kane, and she is concerned so she sends a mentor to meet with him. The writing is great and the story is fabulous and intriguing. I look forward to reading the next installment. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
In this steampunk adventure/romance, Penny has a clockwork heart that is slowly wearing out. It was installed by Dr. Warwick, who is now on trial for murder after experimenting with his augmentations on many unwilling patients resulting in their deaths. Now that he is on trial, he is desperate and suddenly Penny's parents are kidnapped and it is up to Penny, and her brother Nic and their friends and the handsome young military leader Marcus to find and rescue them and stop Warwick. There is adventure and romance, but the world building is lacking with not enough detail in some areas and too much focus on the description of clockwork elements in others. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.