Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer



SUMMARY FROM AMAZON.COM:
Artemis Fowl is going straight. As soon as he pulls off the most brilliant criminal feat of his career.
At least, that’s the plan when he attempts to sell his C Cube, a supercomputer built from stolen fairy technology. When his efforts to broker a deal for the Cube with a powerful businessman go terribly wrong, his loyal bodyguard and friend Butler is mortally injured. The only thing that will save him is fairy magic, so once again he must contact his old rival, Holly Short.
It’s going to take a miracle to save Butler, and Artemis’s luck may have just run out.
MY TAKE:

I really enjoyed the first two books so I was looking forward to reading the next two books in the series, thanks to NetGalley's special release.
The Eternity Code finds Artemis Fowl trying to run one last shady business deal before he turns good. However, he bites off more than he can chew and thus begins a chain of events that lead to an interesting development in Artemis' life.
I really liked this one, as usual. Artemis is at his scheming best. He is one step ahead of the villain, even when you think he isn't. Holly Short is less annoying in this one, and while she still isn't one of my most favorite characters, she's slowly becoming more tolerable to me.
The premise of the plot is simple enough. It's straightforward and so is how the conclusion is reached. The journey to the awesome ending is pretty awesome, though.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. Artemis is at his best.
  2. The premise is interesting.
  3. You learn new things.
THE BAD:
  1. It may seem too formulaic.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"I am that male. Artemis, the hunter. I hunted you."
READ IT IF:
  1. You're a fan of the series.
  2. You like programming things.
  3. You want to read action-packed YA books.
RATING: Photobucket

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:

Adventures in Cartooning Christmas Special by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
The Golden Flute by Catherine Lanigan
Eat The City by Robin Shulman
The Eternity Code & The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
Scales to Scalpels by Lisa Wong
Hollywood in Heels by Charity Gaye Finnestad
All The Things You'll Do! by Kevin Glavin
The Receptionist by Janet Groth
Gems from Warren Buffett by Mark Gavagan

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Swipe by Evan Angler


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.
The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.
When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.
MY TAKE:

I don't usually read YA dystopian novels but the premise of this book was very interesting.

In Swipe, most people are Marked when they turn 13. Most kids would be excited by this. Logan isn't, especially after what happened to his sister.

The idea of people having barcodes is not a new idea. It sounds like a cool idea, technology-wise. Of course, it has a lot of issues.

The book's concept is brilliant. The plot was interesting although I could occasionally tell where it was going. Logan is a perfect hero. He's kind of a weakling, but not completely incapable of functioning. Erin is my kind of heroine. She's bad-ass but not overly so. You can definitely imagine her doing what she does, without rolling your eyes.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-ARC. Publication date of Swipe is on May 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Interesting concept.
  2. Strong characters.
  3. Lots of potential.
THE BAD:
  1. Still lacks a little something.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
There weren't windows in the traditional sense, but the walls were indeed lined with glass, behind which were simulated, three-dimensional video projections of vistas from all over the world- a reminder to the students of how thigns once were.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like YA dystopian novels.
  2. You've thought about a world with unified ID systems.
  3. You like mysteries.
RATING:
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Spiked Desserts by Fox Chapel Publishing


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Raise your plate and say "cheers" to the newest idea in cooking and entertaining‑‑booze‑infused treats! Already‑delicious desserts are loaded with extra flavor when you add a hint of spirits to batters, frosting and more. From martinis and daiquiris to grasshoppers and tequila sunrises, you can turn your favorite cocktail into an intoxicatingly delicious treat for your next adult party.
MY TAKE:

I don't really drink alcoholic beverages, but I don't mind it when they're mixed with desserts.

Spiked Desserts has recipes for both baked treats and frozen goodies. There's a lot of variety when it comes to the liquor used. Right now, I'm eyeing the grasshopper cupcakes. It's mostly creme de menthe, which I like.

A special thumbs up for the food styling, too. It's a little more up-close than I would have liked, but it's still very pretty.

Thanks to NetGalley and Fox Chapel Publishing for the e-ARC. Publication date for Spiked Desserts is on May 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Gorgeous layout.
  2. Interesting recipes.
  3. Enticing photos.
THE BAD:
  1. Some of the ingredients may be hard to find, especially if you don't live in the U.S.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:

Come in and make yourself a drink... and a drink-inspired dessert.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like booze.
  2. You like desserts.
  3. You like baking.
RATING:Photobucket

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Luca Lashes and His First Trip to the Dentist by Nicole and Damir Fonovich


SUMMARY FROM AMAZON.COM:

Prepare for your child for their first trip to the dentist with Luca Lashes! Please enjoy your reading experience with this multilingual, educational eBook series.

This eBook reintroduces Luca Lashes as he experiences his first trip to the dentist. Immerse yourself in this eBook, which includes parent suggestions and focuses on a relatable character.

“Luca Lashes and his First Trip to the Dentist” is intended for 0-4 year olds, and promotes literacy in children while highlighting key concepts to help children through new experiences. By combining the original text and artwork with features that entertain and promote reading, this eBook appeals to beginning readers of all ages.
MY TAKE:

I am terrified of dentists, although when I was a kid, I wasn't. Maybe it was because my dentist gave me free stuff like toothbrushes and cute VHS tapes. If this book existed back then, I'm sure she would have given me a copy.

Luca Lashes and His First Trip to the Dentist is obviously about Luca's first trip to the dentist. The book makes use of rhymes and illustrations to tell Luca's story.

Lucas is cute and reminds me of my nephew. The story didn't have as much of a plot as what I would have wanted, but since this book is aimed at toddlers and young kids, it's just right.

Thanks to NetGalley and Luca Lashes, LLC for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. There are tips for parents regarding their kid's dentist visit.
  2. Luca's magic lashes seem like a great trick for parents to try on their kids.
  3. Luca is cute.
THE BAD:
  1. Some people might not like the illustration style.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:

So Luca did blink
twice, just right
before

They got to the
dentist's office and
opened the door
READ IT IF:
  1. Your child is scared of the dentist.
  2. Your child is going to the dentist for the first time.
  3. You need tips before you go to the dentist with your child.
RATING:Photobucket

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo's story while searching for some way to get him back home-if he can survive long enough in the modern world.
MY TAKE:

I'm not really a fan of The Hunchback of Notre Dame but I did like the premise of this book.

Thanks to magic, Ophelia and Linus find themselves face-to-face with Quasimodo. Meeting a literary character is fun but keeping him a secret is another matter entirely.

I really liked this book. It has an old-timey feel to it, thanks to the style of the narrator. It gives me a sort of nostalgic feeling, kinda like the one I get when I read The Boxcar Children.

Something that sets this book apart is the way it writes the definitions of difficult words. Some may find it distracting, but its very useful for children who want to widen their vocabulary.

The plot is not particularly deep, but it's very interesting in its own right. There's a lot of potential in the premise of the book. It's something that any book lover would definitely want to try. I'm not sure if this is part of a series, but if done right, this could be a very successful series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zondervan for the e-ARC. Publication date of Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame is on May 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. The plot is interesting.
  2. The writing style is very whimsical.
  3. It works as a teaching tool for kids.
THE BAD:
  1. The definitions can be distracting.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
There is room for only so many talentless pop stars and reality TV nincompoops, believe it or not, and thank goodness for that.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  2. You like the idea of literary characters coming to life.
  3. You like books wherein the narrator interjects a lot.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Why don't Linus and Ophelia tell this story themselves? Easy. Not just anyone can write a piece of fiction!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Non-fiction Feature: Essential Nourishment Recipes from My Estonian Farm by Marika Blossfeldt

For this Non-fiction Feature, we have a guest post and some yummy recipes from Marika Blossfeldt, the author of Essential Nourishment: Recipes from My Estonian Farm.
Shifting Seasons

A shift of seasons is always a good time to reexamine our habits and tendencies and ask ourselves: do they still serve us or is it time for a change? When observing nature we can easily see that life is cyclical and constantly changing. Would it make sense to change our patterns as do the seasons? According to ancient ayurvedic wisdom the key to living a healthy and happy life is in fact to live in harmony with the cycles of nature. These refer as much to the seasons as to our body types and the rhythms of each day.

Seasonal Body Types

Ayurveda means “The Study of Life” and is rooted in Indian philosophy. It proposes that all manifestations of life come in three different qualities: kapha, pitta and vata. Kapha has the quality of spring – the elements are earth and water. Pitta has the qualities of summer – the element is fire. Vata has the qualities of winter – the element is air. Body types also fall into these three categories.

Spring is a very wet and heavy time of year. The earth is saturated with water from snow melt. Persons with kapha body types are big-boned, full-bodied and physically strong. Their solid skeletons protect them from osteoporosis. They are frequently easy going, slow, methodical types with balanced peaceful temperaments. Kaphas have a slow metabolism and strong intestines, and the ease with which they assimilate nutrients means that they do not need to eat much in order to stay in good health. In fact they should avoid overeating because their main health concern is the danger of obesity.

Like summer, pitta people are fiery, passionate and expressive. They are physically oriented with more muscle and temperament. They have a strong and athletic constitution. Their skin is sensitive and might have a tendency towards rashes. They often sweat a lot and are easily irritated. Pittas tend to be leaders and are well-organized, intelligent and charismatic. They are usually emotional, competitive, passionate and in need of a good eight hours of sleep to cool off and feel rested. They have enormous appetites for food and life experience, and can become gluttons if not careful.

Winter is the coldest season, it is dry and windy – the wind can blow without restriction as the trees are without leaves. Vata qualities are cold, dry, light, rough and constantly changing. The vata body type is thin-boned, tall and skinny or short, slim and petite. Vatas have sharp minds and a tendency to worry. They are light sleepers and have nervous dispositions. These people usually have a fast metabolism, experience difficulty gaining weight, and are characteristically weak in their intestines, suffering from poor absorption of nutrients. Vatas require highly nutritious foods to promote healthy assimilation.

After reading about these three body types, you probably have a good idea which you most identify with.

Seasonal Eating

After the cold winter with heavier warming foods, spring is the best time for a cleanse, using naturally occurring astringent greens like water cress, dandelion and arugula, any sprouts and herbs like basil and parsley. These foods help to decrease the seasonal tendency towards mucus, congestion, colds and allergies. Turnips, radishes, daikon and the whole onion family are great fat melters. Using less meats, fats and salt is beneficial as well.

When it is hot during the summer months, use the cooling effect of seasonal fruits, berries, lettuces and vegetables. Have more raw foods. Now is the time for salads. Eat complex carbohydrate rich foods to stay energized during the longer days of summer.

The late fall harvest is rich in nuts and grains – both warming and insulating to combat the cold of winter. Meat too is warming and can be eaten in larger quantities, as well as salt. Prefer cooked food to raw food. Eat a lot of warming soups and increase intake of fat and oils to keep the body lubricated in this dry time of year. Eat vegetables that traditionally could be kept over the winter, such as potatoes, root vegetables, winter squashes and cabbage.

Daily Seasonal Rhythms

While the cycle of the seasons is easy to observe each year, on a more subtle level, each day reflects a change of “season” every four hours. From 6 am – 10 am we experience a period of spring. Our muscles get stronger and the body becomes heavier. This is a good time for physical activity. From 10 am - 2 pm we move through a period of summer. Digestion is strongest during this time period and metabolism is at its peak. From 2 pm – 6 pm winter sets in. Our nervous system is strongest and therefore this is a good time for mental activity. From 6 pm – 10 pm spring returns as our metabolism slows down in preparation for sleep. This is another good time for some light physical activity. From 10 pm – 2 am summer is back, a time when our liver is actively cleansing our body. From 2 am – 6 am winter returns. Our body feels light and therefore traditionally this has been the best time for meditation.

Living in harmony with the cycles of the day could mean going to bed early, around 10 pm, before the liver kicks in. It is best to be resting as the liver detoxifies the body. By staying up late day in day out, our liver is not able do its job properly and toxins can accumulate in the body and cause health problems. Getting up early will be easier than getting up late, as the body is lighter in the earlier part of the morning. Digestion is strongest during mid day. Therefore it is best to have the largest meal in the middle of the day. Have dinner in the early part of the evening, so that you can digest in time before going to bed. Allow at least three hours between dinner and bedtime.

By acknowledging and paying attention to the cycles of the day and adjusting our lives to going with the flow of nature we can experience an ease of being, feeling rejuvenated and energized instead of drained and tired.
ABOUT MARIKA BLOSSFELDT:

Marika Blossfeldt is trained in the visual and performing arts. She was both a painter in the late 1970s in Berlin and a featured soloist in the New York dance scene in the 1980s and ‘90s. She also conceived and choreographed multimedia dance works and toured internationally in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. On screen, she played the role of the bald bartender in the Hollywood movie Bright Lights, Big City.

While in her late thirties, she purchased an old farm in her native Estonia – a dream come true – and transformed it into an international art and wellness center called POLLI TALU ARTS CENTER (www.pollitalu.wordpress.com). Once the restoration of the farm complex was complete, Marika began to facilitate yoga, cooking and wellness retreats during the summer months. As a budding self-taught natural foods chef, she created her own herb and vegetable gardens and harvested the wild greens and berries growing on her land. To this day, she personally oversees the quality and tastiness of all meals served to her guests.

After a decade of pampering visitors with delicious healthful food, Marika decided to formalize her culinary skills by completing a program of study with world-renowned nutrition specialists at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.

The institute was a life-changing experience. Marika shifted her focus from making individual works of art to making life itself a work of art – by practicing a holistic lifestyle where body, mind and spirit are integrated and deeply cared for. As a holistic health coach (www.MarikaB.com), she now inspires her clients to step into the limelight of their own lives, to make self-care a priority. Clients learn how natural foods, enjoyable physical activity, a sense of purpose, building community and creating a high-quality lifestyle will restore their vitality and boost enthusiasm for pursuing their dreams and passions.
Author Links:
Marika’s website: www.MarikaB.com
Polli’s farm and arts center: www.pollitalu.wordpress.com
Marika on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mblossfeldt
Essential Nourishment on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EssentialNourishment

ABOUT THE BOOK:

ESSENTIAL NOURISHMENT, Recipes from My Estonian Farm by Marika Blossfeldt

Drawing from her vast knowledge of natural foods and her experience in conducting private and group health coaching programs as well as wellness retreats, Marika Blossfeldt has put together an inspiring, concise and very useful nutrition guide, weaving together food, art and the joy of living a healthy and fulfilling life with gentle, easy to implement suggestions for balanced eating, abundant energy and genuine well-being.

Essential Nourishment - once and for all - ends the confusion around food and helps the reader to:
choose food purposefully, making food our friend and not our enemy
understand how our moods and energy levels are affected by the foods we eat
discover how we can stabilize our blood sugar naturally by consciously eating balanced meals and
achieve weight loss the healthy way - without dieting - simply by eating great-tasting, nutrient-dense foods.

At the same time Essential Nourishment is a beautifully designed everyday cooking guide. Each whole food recipe is easy to recreate and accompanied by a sensuous full-page photograph - taken at Polli's farm in Marika’s birth country Estonia, where she spends her summers conducting yoga, wellness and cooking retreats.

Essential Nourishment is the perfect book for women and men looking for a common sense approach to nutrition that is flexible, feels natural and can be maintained for the rest of their lives – without strict rules or regulations – without sacrificing taste and pleasure.

The first Estonian edition of Essential Nourishment was published in 2009 and quickly became a bestseller. The book landed 5th place in the weekly ranking of Estonia’s largest bookstore chain. Essential Nourishment was competing against Stieg Larsson’s „The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“ and „The Girl who Played with Fire“ which came in second and third. The first English edition was released October 1, 2011.

On March 6, 2012 Essential Nourishment was awarded a GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD in Paris, France. It is also nominated for the BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD in the US.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:

Spiked Desserts by Fox Chapel Publishing
Edible Party Bouquet by Fox Chapel Publishing

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review: The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Learn with Lily and her friends just what it means to be beautiful in God’s eyes—inside and out!

In a society so focused on the idea that external beauty reigns supreme, it can be difficult for young girls to figure out what “true” beauty is all about. This unique and creative book for girls ages 7–11 answers the common questions girls ask during this often confusing and overwhelming stage in their lives in an inviting and conversational manner.

Filled with fun quizzes, imaginative activities, and cool illustrations, The Beauty Book offers cool, relevant information about everything from great hair styles to tattoos, from skin care to clothes, and much more. Above all, the message that God-confidence is beautiful is highlighted on each and every page.
MY TAKE:

There are a lot of books that offer beauty advice to young girls, but I don't think any of them are like this.

The Beauty Book is sort of a companion book to the Here's Lily book and series. It contains tips and tricks and step-by-step guides to enhancing your God-given looks. There are also activities, like fill-in-the-blanks, and Bible verses and reflections that explain how each lesson relates to God. If you've read Here's Lily, you'll be familiar with the girls in the Girlz Want to Know sections.

This is a useful guide for young girls who are just learning to love their body and make themselves prettier.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-ARC. Publication date for The Beauty Book is on May 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. It has step-by-step guides.
  2. Moms will find this a great help when teaching beauty and hygiene to their daughters.
  3. It's easy for young girls to understand.
THE BAD:
  1. Some of the Bible verses does not fit the topic exactly so they seem just a tiny bit forced.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:

Does that mean somebody who was beautiful forty, fifty or four hundred years ago wouldn't be beautiful today? How much sense does that make?
READ IT IF:
  1. You have a daughter.
  2. You are trying to balance the idea of being pretty and not being vain.
  3. You like books that apply Bible verses to modern life.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

MY VAMPIRE CREATOR TOLD ME THIS:

"Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?"

I didn't then, not really.

I DO NOW.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
MY TAKE:

I don't usually read vampire novels, but considering that this was written by Julie Kagawa, I figured I'd give it a try.

In The Immortal Rules, a virus has killed a lot of humans and has left the rest to be servants of vampires. There's more than just vampires to worry about, though. Rabids and other humans are also a threat to the existence of humans who just want to survive.

This world is very chaotic and is basically a war zone. As you would expect, the humans and vampires in this book aren't weaklings or sparkly. Most of them, anyway. That is, they aren't weaklings. Nobody sparkles here.

Allie is a tough girl, which is great. She did get on my nerves, occasionally, though. The other characters did annoy me sometimes, too. There were very few characters in the book that I liked.

What kept me going was the plot. It reads like an episode of The Walking Dead or something. It's gruesome and gross and you definitely get the picture. I don't know if I'd read the next book in the series, but if you like vampire books, you'll like this one.

Thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Immortal Rules is on April 24, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Class A world-building.
  2. No sparkly vampires.
  3. Excellent writing.
THE BAD:
  1. Some of the characters can be annoying.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:

Because within the pages of every book, there was information of another world - a world before this one, where humans didn't live in fear of vampires and walls and monsters in the night.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like your vampires tough.
  2. You like kick-butt heroines.
  3. You're tired of watered-down, fairy tale young adult books.
RATING:
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: The Lean by Kathy Freston


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Lean In for a Leaner You
If you've ever dieted, you've undoubtedly worked very hard to achieve results -- only to experience the disappointment of having the pounds creep back on. But what if losing weight didn't have to be difficult?

Now wellness expert Kathy Freston lets you in on her secret. With this book she shares the powerful concept of The Lean -- a radically effective approach to positive change -- with an incredibly easy 30-day plan to transform your health. You can jump-start weight loss in the most gentle and automatic way possible. In fact, it can be fun -- yes, fun!

"Leaning in" is about setting an intention for what you want, and then nudging yourself ever so gently in that direction, even if getting there seems impossible. It's about making choices to eat foods that are delicious, filling and supportive of your weight loss goals.

Each day of the Lean plan, Kathy shows how to make and commit to small, realistic diet and lifestyle changes that, over time, yield unexpectedly significant results. It's as simple as adding an apple to breakfast (Day 2), swapping in nondairy milk for cow's milk (Day 6), or having a handful of nuts instead of your usual snack of chips (Day 5). These changes propel you almost effortlessly toward increasingly healthy choices, and work together to boost your progress. There is nothing in these pages that is drastic or strict. In fact, there are only two rules:
All you need is the willingness to take just one step.
As you add the healthier foods to your diet, eat the new foods first.
By gradually adding in these nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, you'll simply stop feeling cravings. On Kathy's Lean plan, you can experience ongoing, healthy, and permanent weight loss -- plus more energy, improved digestion, clearer skin, and a renewed sense of purpose.
Complete with more than 45 recipes, and grounded in the latest science and research, this breakthrough book reveals the missing link to weight loss that you've been waiting for. The Lean offers a path to truly leaner body -- and the inspiration we all need to achieve lasting change.
MY TAKE:

I usually don't follow through on diets because the diet books I read feel so hard to follow.

The Lean isn't about making a total change to your diet right away. It's about taking baby steps. That's what makes this such a great book. It's easy to follow. You make changes to your diet, one change per day for 30 days.

The book explains the benefits of each task by citing studies and other scientific facts that show you that this diet is grounded on sound scientific knowledge.

It's not just about food, though. Some of the tasks are things such as loving yourself and having fun, things that we often forget. The book also has a what-to-eat guide, recipes and resources. The caprese panini recipe sounds promising. I might try that.

Thanks to NetGalley and Weinstein Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. The writing style is very conversational.
  2. It's doable.
  3. There are yummy recipes.
THE BAD:
  1. The scientific and studies part may be boring for some people.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
I like to do things with the least amount of effort to get the biggest possible payoff.
READ IT IF:
  1. You want to lose weight the healthy way.
  2. You like to take baby steps when dieting.
  3. You want to lose weight but find it difficult.
RATING:
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Here's Lily by Nancy Rue


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Grow with the spirited, sometimes awkward, but always charming Lily as she learns what real beauty is.

In this fun, entertaining story, readers meet awkward sixth grader Lily Robbins who, after receiving a compliment about her looks from a woman in the modeling business, becomes obsessed with her appearance and with becoming a model. As she sets her sights on winning the model search fashion show, she exchanges her rock and feather collection for lip gloss, fashion magazines, and a private “club” with her closest friends. But when the unthinkable happens the night before the fashion show, Lily learns a valuable lesson about real beauty.

This best-selling, biblically based fiction series for girls—with a fresh new look and updated content—addresses social issues and coming-of-age topics, all with the spunk and humor of Lily Robbins as she fumbles her way through unfamiliar territory. As readers come to love Lily and her stories, they’ll also benefit from the companion nonfiction books that will help them through their own growing pains.
MY TAKE:

These days, people place a lot of emphasis on looks. This book is a good way for young girls to differentiate between primping just to be pretty and emphasizing your looks to enhance it.

Here's Lily tells the story of Lily Robbins, a young girl with some self-confidence issues due to her classmates' bullying. As with what you see on shows like America's Next Top Model, awkward can translate to high fashion, and Lily finds herself in a modeling class run by a modeling agency.

For young girls with an interest in modeling, this is a great way for them to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at a modeling agency. However, this book isn't just about physical beauty. It's also about having faith and trusting in God's love for us.

Lily got a little bit annoying sometimes because of the way she constantly put herself down, but as she became more confident, she got easier to like. I also didn't like the way that her parents just let her brothers tease her. Some of their comments were beyond mean. Of course, by the end, her mother did straighten them out, but still, it's not nice.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-ARC. Publication date for Here's Lily is on May 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. It has a good lesson.
  2. It encourages girls to have more faith in God's love for them.
  3. Girls will find it easy to relate to Lily.
THE BAD:
  1. Some people might find this book a little bit preachy.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"I taught you to look at the special gifts and qualities God gave you."
READ IT IF:
  1. Your daughter feels she's not pretty enough.
  2. You want your child to be closer to God.
  3. Your child loves modeling and fashion.
RATING:
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
We'll get there. But today is just about one thing: drinking water.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Dog Number 1, Dog Number 10 by Ami Rubinger


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Dog Number 1, Dog Number 10 takes readers through a world of playful pups that love to count! Each spread's rhyming text leaves out the last word, allowing little ones to chime in and shout out the missing number. The amusing illustrations provide countable clues for the numbers that have been left out.
MY TAKE:

Just like Ami Rubinger's other books, I enjoyed this one.

Dog Number 1, Dog Number 10 is part-storybook and part-activity book. Rubinger brings his usual fun rhymes to the book and illustrates them with cute, colorful illustrations. If you're a fan, this is a must-have for you.

Thanks to NetGalley and Abbeville Kids for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. It has a plot, of sorts.
  2. It's educational.
  3. The coloring is pretty.
THE BAD:
  1. Some kids might prefer a different illustration style.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Ten dogs and ten cats-- I think that's plenty!
Count them all
and you get...
READ IT IF:
  1. Your child like dogs.
  2. You're teaching your child how to count.
  3. You want something you can read with your child.
RATING:
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In a world where ZOMBIES control banks and governments, only one young man sees the way things are and emerges from the CHAOS and destruction: GUY BOY MAN. While he tries to end human suffering worldwide and in his high school, Guy Boy Man meets a cute PINK-HAIRED girl named BABY DOLL15 who has a UNICORN that follows her everywhere. An EPIC ROMANCE begins, but forces BEYOND THEIR CONTROL are intent on keeping the young couple apart. One of those FORCES may—or may not be!—Guy Boy Man’s closest friend, a handsome African-American NINJA named SWEETIE HONEY; another could be four EXOTICALLY BEAUTIFUL, genetically engineered and behaviourally modified EASTERN EUROPEAN girls; yet another, the principal of their HIGH SCHOOL . . . not to mention an impending standardized test known as the ZOMBIE ACCEPTANCE TEST! Will Guy Boy Man find a way to be with Baby Doll15 in a WORLD WHERE EVERYONE IS DOOMED to become either zombies or zombie food??!!

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies is part Napoleon Dynamite, part The Matrix, and ALL AWESOME. It’s the first book in the How To End Human Suffering series.
MY TAKE:

In any ninja versus ____ scenario, I always root for the ninja. As such, I was very intrigued by the idea of this novel.

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall is about Guy Boy Man, a self-proclaimed savior who takes it upon himself to save the world from zombies.

When I started reading the prologue, my first thought was "What the heck?!" The prologue is one very long run-on sentence. I thought about abandoning the book but since I try to finish NetGalley books, I decided to give it a few more chapters.

It's a good thing that the main chapters use proper punctuation. There are some paragraphs that read like a teenager's hyperactive mind, but for the most part, this book is quite readable. It's actually very humorous once you get into it. This book's strength is its dark humor and sarcastic take on everything. There were quite a few moments when I couldn't help but laugh out loud. It did get a little tired near the end, though. Less astute people might get outraged by the tongue-in-cheek statements found in the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and ChiZine Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies is on May 15, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's laugh-out-loud funny.
  2. It's sarcastic and doesn't take itself too seriously.
  3. It has ninjas, pirates and zombies!
THE BAD:
  1. The run-on, rambling sentences can be very distracting.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Strangely, when the window breaks, it doesn't make a sound! Ninjas must be trained to jump through windows silently! And, on the way down, tehy probably grab the broken pieces of glass before they hit the ground! ninjas are so awesome!
READ IT IF:
  1. You like ninjas, pirates and zombies.
  2. You like dark humor.
  3. You're not easily bothered by tongue-in-cheek statements.
RATING:
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