Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: What Einstein Didn't Know Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert L. Wolke


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Discover how cricket chirps can tell us the temperature, why you can't unburn a match, why ice floats, and a host of mysteries of modern living — including some riddles that maybe even Einstein couldn't solve. From the simple (How does soap know what's dirt? How do magnets work? Why do batteries die?) to the more complex (Why does evaporation have a cooling effect? Where does uranium get its energy?), this book makes science more understandable and fun.
Author Robert Wolke provides definitive and easy-to-comprehend explanations for things that we take for granted, like the illumination behind neon signs and the mysteries of beverage carbonation. Wolke also dares readers to explore and conduct their own experiments with food, kitchen utensils, and common household products. This fifteenth anniversary edition of his bestselling popular science classic has been completely revised and expanded.

MY TAKE:
I've read quite a few reference and trivia books before, but none quite like this one.

In What Einstein Didn't Know Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions, readers learn the answer to some questions about everyday life and even the answers to some questions they haven't thought about asking before. There are also sections in some of the trivia included wherein readers can try certain experiments and learn additional trivia.

Compared to other books I've read, this book is very heavy on chemistry and physics-related questions and answers. Now, while I enjoyed physics in high school and college, college chemistry was one of those subjects that I understood and studied and promptly forgot once I graduated. As such, there were some parts of the book were I lost interest, particularly the ones I already learned in college. However, there were some really interesting parts I did like, and I did learn a number of cool, new things. One of which was a different and faster way to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa (Celsius to Fahrenheit = ((C+40)(1.8))-40; Fahrenheit to Celsius = ((C+40) divided by 1.8)-40).

The tone of the writing is a bit more sarcastic and funny than your usual trivia books, which is nice and makes the material feel a little bit easier to understand. The book could do with a little more color and creative layout, though.

Thanks to NetGalley and Dover Publications for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's very informative.
  2. You'll probably learn something interesting.
  3. The writing style is entertaining.

THE BAD:

  1. It could use a little bit more color and a more creative layout. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The result is a thoroughly pampered, humored, and overindulged egg.
READ IT IF:

  1. You like trivia books.
  2. You like chemistry.
  3. You like physics. 

RATING:
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family's chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy's confection dynasty.
With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family's struggling business, and Juliet figures it's a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet's fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet's not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she's ever tasted….

MY TAKE:
If you like eating chocolates as much as you like romance novels, you'll probably enjoy this one.

In Unmasking Juliet, the Arabellas and Mezzanottes are two chocolatier families that are in the middle of a feud. One night, Juliet shares a passionate kiss with a stranger who turns out to be Leo Mezzanotte. Their attraction to each other is strong, but is it enough to end their families' feud.

I'm pretty choosy when it comes to romance novels, but I couldn't resist requesting this one when I saw that the main characters were chocolatiers. I consider myself a foodie so I figured if I didn't like the story, at least I would enjoy reading the descriptions of the food.

It's been a while since I read Romeo and Juliet, but I'm familiar with the story. The story follows the original closely but omits the darker parts, which is a good thing. However, truth be told, I kind of think that the story would have been better as an original one. By that, I mean that the novel's strongest parts are the ones that deviate from Shakespeare's version. The descriptions of food and food contests and festivals are very mouthwatering and make me think of Top Chef and Masterchef. The sweet moments between Juliet and Leo that weren't inspired by a scene from the original were also nice.

The scenes based on the play ended up being a little too saccharine for my taste. The use of lines from the play, on the other hand, sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. It usually worked when it was updated in some way. Adapting a classic like Romeo and Juliet is always tricky, but overall, I think the author did a pretty good job.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin HQN for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The chemistry between Leo and Juliet is pretty intense.
  2. The descriptions of food will make any foodie happy.
  3. This is the perfect book to read while drinking wine and eating chocolates.

THE BAD:

  1. Some scenes can feel a little too sweet. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
She glanced around at the shelves stocked with boxes of rum-flavored chocolate cigars and rich chocolate desert wines, then at the cases filled with hand-rolled truffles. chocolate dipped orange peels and what he'd been working on for the better part of the evening - Pave Glace, melt=in-your-mouth blocks of hazelnut, saffron, dark chocolate and butter, covered in cocoa powder and meant to resemble cobblestones. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You enjoy retellings of the classics.
  2. You like chocolate.
  3. You like watching shows like Masterchef and Cupcake Wars. 

RATING:
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Shifting Sands Life in the Times of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad by Kathy Lowinger


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The stories of three young people who experience the tumult -- in three eras -- as new religions are about to be born.
Dina is a slave, a weaver for the royalty of Ancient Egypt. Summoned to the royal chamber, Dina learns she will move south with the Queen and the Pharaoh to a bountiful oasis, but far away from her family and her Jewish faith. When Moses, a Hebrew who has defied the Egyptians, comes to visit, Dina must make a choice between the predictable life of a slave, or an uncertain one that promises more by following Moses into the desert.
Fifteen hundred years later, Rome's oppressive rule has impoverished young Mattan's family. He sets out from his home in Nazareth to make his own way, joining forces with an old trickster, to eke out a living performing around Galilee. When they come upon a man preaching in Capernaum, their lives change forever as they become followers of Jesus.
Around 622 A.D. Fallah, a Bedouin boy, flees from his desert home to break out of the grip of the blood feud that killed his father. Though he becomes a successful poet in the marketplace of Mecca, he and his brother are condemned to live forever as outsiders in a society dominated by a powerful tribe. Muhammad and his Companions offer them a different future -- if they are brave enough to grasp it.
Drawing on both the historical and the imagined, Shifting Sands brings the past to vivid life. These stories expertly recreate how life might have been for young people living in the time of three of the world's most important figures. Informative sidebars and full-color illustrations add historical flavor.

MY TAKE:
If you like fiction that includes famous figures, you might enjoy this one.

In Shifting Sands Life in the Times of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, readers are introduced to three people who lived during the times of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, respectively. The story focuses on these individuals' lives and touches upon how they meet or come to know Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

I liked the premise of the book so I was excited to read this one. I liked that you really get a sense of life in those days. I also liked that the notes at the end of the stories and the books helped readers gain a better understanding of the men and the religions mentioned.

Since I'm a Catholic, I was already familiar with the stories of Moses and Jesus. Perhaps that's the reason why I didn't find the first two stories as interesting as the third one. I took a course on world religions in college so I was familiar with Mecca and the Kaaba. However, I've already forgotten the rest of the story and it was nice to read about the prophet Muhammad's life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press Ltd. for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It helps you learn a little bit about Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  2. The stories seem well-researched.
  3. The plot twists are interesting. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some parts may feel a little boring if you already know the original story. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
I tried to take it all in: the rowdy cries of the shopkeepers as they set out their wares for the day, the sharp, sweet smells of spices, the reds and blues and rich yellows of bolts of cloths, the mounds of dried fruits that made my mouth water. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn about Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
  2. You like historical fiction.
  3. You want to see what life was like during the times of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad.

RATING:
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Eerie America Travel Guide of the Macabre by Eric R. Vernor and Kevin Eads


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
America is the land of the beautiful, but it is also a land of mystery and many haunted and bizarre places. With 150 images, addresses, and directions, go state-by-state to tour the macabre side of the United States. Journey to haunted old battleships, abandoned prisons, creepy lunatic asylums, the Amityville Horror House, the Winchester House, museums such as Edgar Allan Poe’s home, New Orleans Voodoo Museum, the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, and much more! In addition suggesting places to visit, where to stay, and places to eat, chapters on each state have a break down of how best to experience the curious and bizarre – sometimes just a building and other times a whole town. Come on this unusual but richly satisfying tour. You won’t be disappointed.
MY TAKE:
I'm not that brave, but as long as it's daylight, I like reading books and watching TV shows that document weird and strange things like this one does.

In Eerie America Travel Guide of the Macabre, readers are given short descriptions about the haunted or odd places around America. The sites are arranged by state, and addresses, websites, contact information, ticket prices and other pertinent information are included.

This book has a lot of potential use for people who like supernatural things and like going on road trips. Two things I liked about the descriptions in the book were the inclusion of places that were odd and bizarre, like a mob museum and the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, as well as mentions of events that each place holds.

I recognized a number of the places mentioned, like The Catfish Plantation, because I've seen them on television or read about them before. I guess that's why I was a little bit disappointed with the book. I'm so used to books like this delving a little bit more on the ghosts or other interesting tidbits about the place. With this book, there were a number of places that only had vague descriptions of what to expect. I guess the assumption is, since this is a travel guide, you might be going there anyway and to save on space, some descriptions weren't included anymore. That's all well and good if you can travel to these places, but if you can't and you just like reading ghost stories or the history of haunted places, not all of the descriptions here can provide that.

I also noticed a number of grammatical and typographical errors, mostly in the first half of the book. I'm not sure if I got an e-ARC, but if I did, it's probably been corrected already before publication.

Thanks to NetGalley and Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It covers all the states.
  2. It specifies places to stay and places to eat that fit in well with the book.
  3. There are a lot of places included, especially for New York and Pennsylvania.

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the descriptions feel a little lacking when it comes to descriptions of the ghosts. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. - St. Augustine 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like shows like Ghost Hunters.
  2. You want to go on a unique road trip through America.
  3. You like odd things. 

RATING:
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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!

The wisest doctors know that science is not omniscient.
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Monday, May 26, 2014

American Ride Book Blast and Giveaway

American Ride

Host of AMERICAN RIDE, 
Stan Ellsworth breaks the mold of the stereotypical High School history teacher.

Former history teacher Stan Ellsworth tours the country on a Harley Davidson for the television show “American Ride.” Ellsworth’s approach to American history in AMERICAN RIDE removes the “bow tie and sweater vest” of history professors, puts on the “skull rag and denim vest” and breaks down stereotypes. His adventurous spirit and love for the United States is contagious and engaging. His approach is more like an invitation to walk (and ride) with him through the footsteps of history. He hopes the stories and “postcards” from the highways and byways of the country will make American history relevant to today’s audiences, and motivate them to take an active part in the preservation of the values this country was built upon.
Now in the sixth season, Stan takes you across the world to see how the clouds of war gathered once again and what led America to enter WWII. New episodes air each Monday 9PM ET/ 7PM MT on BYUtv. If you've missed any episodes, you can catch up with all of the previous seasons online anytime at www.byutv.com/americanride



Stan

ABOUT STAN ELLSWORTH

The 6’ 2”, 300-lb muscle-clad Harley Davidson-riding host of BYUtv’s acclaimed American history program, American Ride, would like nothing better than to inspire the next generation of George Washingtons, Susan B. Anthonys and Thomas Jeffersons. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised in the Carolinas, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Ellsworth was steeped in the landmarks and stories of American history throughout his formative years. His family lineage includes such historic luminaries as Revolutionary War patriot Ethan Allen; both Generals of the Cival War, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant (also the 18th president of the U.S.); and American folk heroes Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.
Ellsworth’s goal—both when he was in the classroom, and now in his weekly television program—has always been to “wake people up” to the stories of our founding fathers and mothers, and to the sacrifices they made in creating this nation. In his gruff baritone voice, he speaks eloquently of our heritage and extols the wisdom and bravery of those who came before.

“LET’S TAKE A RIDE” ~ Stan Ellsworth

book blast button







Blast Giveaway


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/17/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

In My Mailbox


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

FROM NETGALLEY:



Shifting Sands Life in the Times of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad by Kathy Lowinger
When Lunch Fights Back Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson
What's Great about New York? by Ann Malaspina
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

World Cup Mouse Blog Tour


For this blog tour, we have an interview with Richard Seidman, the author of World Cup Mouse, by the mouse, François DuBois.
Bonjour, I’m François DuBois.
I’m here interviewing children’s book author, Richard Seidman.

François: Richard, I enjoyed reading World Cup Mouse, 
especially the parts with me in it!
 Your books are really funny.

Richard: Thank you, François. I love to make jokes
 and funny business. That’s one of the main reasons 
I enjoy writing – to amuse myself and children 
(and also the big children that we call “grown-ups”). 
For me, funny business is a way to love life, and it’s 
also a way to transform sorrows.

François: Why do you like writing about mice like 
me and Louie?

Richard: Some of my favorite literary characters are mice: Stuart Little,
 Dr. De Soto, Norman the Doorman, Desperaux. It’s fun to write about 
you mice guys.

François: Thanks. Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child?

Richard: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I was a really shy child, and to tell you the truth, I’m still pretty shy. I didn’t really know how to play chess when this picture was taken, but I liked moving the pieces around. My father, Herb, was one of the best chess players in the U.S. When I was growing up, playing games and sports and reading were the favorite things I enjoyed, and they’re still the favorite things I enjoy today! In high school and college, my number one passion was running.

François: My last name, you know, means “of the trees.” I heard that you were part of a tree-planting organization.

Richard: Yes. In the 1970s, I moved to Portland, Oregon, and in 1989 I founded the nonprofit tree-planting group, Friends of Trees. I’m proud that all these years later Friends of Trees is still going strong. More than 10,000 volunteers have planted more than 500,000 trees since the beginning of the organization.

François: Wow, that’s a lot of trees! What other accomplishments are you proud of?

Richard: Well, I’m proud of the book I wrote for grown-ups, The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters. In 2014, I’ll be publishing a revised version, The New Oracle of Kabbalah. And I’m proud that in the fall of 2014, after training in the martial arts for eighteen years, I finally earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

François: Congratulations. Remind me not to pick a fight with you.

Richard (laughing): Don’t worry, François.

François: My cheese soufflé is almost done. Is there anything else you want to say about yourself before we close?

Richard: Yes. I’m a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a founding member of a local children’s book writing critique group. I helped create a nonfiction children’s book for Benchmark Education, I Am Deaf and I Dance: A Memoir. I now live in Ashland, Oregon with my beloved wife, Rachael Resch, our chickens, and our myriad stuffed animals and other small friends.

François: Any mice?

Richard: Only a stuffed toy Despearaux looking over my writing desk.

François: I guess that’s better than nothing. Well, thanks for the interview.

Richard: Thank you. Please say hi to Louie for me.

François: Oui. Au revoir.

ABOUT RICHARD SEIDMAN:


Richard Seidman loves to make jokes and, as he puts it, “funny business.” He says that’s one of the main reasons he enjoys writing – to amuse himself and children (and also the big children that are called “grown-ups”).

For Richard, funny business is a way to love life, and it’s also a way to transform sorrows. His ancestors, their hearts full of stories and hopes, fled to the U.S. from Poland and Ukraine in the early part of the twentieth century. Forty years later, Richard was born in Brooklyn, New York. 

When he was growing up, playing games and sports and reading were the main things he enjoyed, and they’re still the main things he enjoys today! 


Richard wound up in Portland, Oregon where in 1989 he founded the nonprofit tree-planting group, Friends of Trees. In 1996, he was honored as a “Community Hero” for his role as the group’s founder and carried the Olympic torch in its national relay. 

In 2001, St. Martin’s Press published his nonfiction book for adults, The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters. Richard will be releasing a revised edition, The New Oracle of Kabbalah, in fall of 2014.

He’s a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a founding member of a local children’s book writing critique group. He’s also the editor and compiler of a nonfiction children’s book published by Benchmark Education, I Am Deaf and I Dance: A Memoir.

In the fall of 2013, after training in the martial arts for eighteen years, Richard earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

He now lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife, Rachael. For more information about Richard and his books for children, visit www.richardseidman.com.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

“Where there’s a mouse, there’s a way,” says Louie LaSurie. But it will take more than lofty words for Louie to achieve his goal: to be the first mouse to play for France in the World Cup soccer tournament.
World Cup Mouse (May 2014) by Richard Seidman is a comic, action-filled tale of friendship and pursuing one’s dream even when it seems impossible. For example, how can Louie ever manage to kick a human-sized soccer ball and not just the dried pea with which he has been practicing? How can he avoid getting squished by the thrashing feet of the giant humans? And can he overcome his own self-doubts and fiery temper? Aided by his best friend, François, and the human girl, Rose, Louie gives it his best shot.
Louie's ambition and personality are brought to life through Seidman’s words and artist Ursula Andrejczuk’s illustrations in this book for seven to ten-year-olds. “I love the humor and absurdity of Louie’s aspiration,” Seidman says, “and at the same time I admire his crazy determination and chutzpah. He inspires me, even as he makes me laugh.”
Seidman will contribute a percentage of the profits of each book sold to organizations that support youth soccer around the world.
“I had tears in my eyes and chills up my spine,” reported one reader. 
Another reader said, “You know, I thought it would be for really little kids because there's a talking mouse, but actually I really enjoyed it and I'm almost eleven."
World Cup Mouse releases just in time for the 2014 World Cup tournament that begins in June in Brazil.
Richard Seidman lives in Ashland, Oregon where he writes books for children and adults. For more information, go to www.worldcupmouse.com.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Amazing Magic Tricks by Thomas Canavan


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Make coins disappear, bend spoons, and read through sealed envelopes! Anyone can be a magician with the help of this guide, which explains how to perform mystifying sleight-of-hand maneuvers and feats of mental agility with playing cards and common household items. Humorously illustrated, step-by-step directions explain the magic behind dozens of captivating tricks.
MY TAKE:
I've always been fascinated by magic, even though I'm more interested in learning the science behind it than actually being able to perform the tricks.

In Amazing Magic Tricks, readers are shown through step-by-step illustrations how to perform magic tricks. The tricks range from magical escapes and illusions to number tricks. There are also a few joke tricks mixed in.

I appreciated the variety of magic tricks because that means there's something for everyone, even those who aren't as good at sleight-of-hand tricks. My favorite tricks were the number tricks because they were quite easy to do and yet they were still impressive because it's harder to guess how they work. I also thought the "exactly the same number" trick was funny and definitely worth a try, especially if you're a good comedian.

The use of illustrations and step-by-step instructions was perfect because it's easier to follow. The bunny is pretty cute too. However, I think it would be much better if there were also explanations included which detailed the principles behind how the trick works. Of course, with some of the tricks, it's pretty obvious, but some of the tricks use science and mathematical concepts, and it would be cool to see the science behind the magic.

Thanks to NetGalley and Dover Publications for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The illustrations and step-by-step instructions are easy to follow.
  2. There are many kinds of tricks included.
  3. Some of the tricks can be done right away, even if you're a beginner. 

THE BAD:

  1. It would be better if there were explanations detailing the science behind some of the tricks included. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Magicians call quick tricks "throwaway gags."
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn magic tricks.
  2. It's easier for you to follow step-by-step instructions with illustrations than if the instructions were in paragraph form.
  3. You like number tricks. 

RATING:
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Green Mama What Parents Need to Know to Give Their Children a Healthy Start and a Greener Future by Manda Aufochs Gillespie


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
What are the most pressing problems facing new parents today? As the world has gotten increasingly more complicated, so has parenting. New parents are concerned about pervasive toxins in the environment and anxious to raise their children in ways that will protect them as well as safeguard our already-fragile world. Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama, discusses a variety of topics that affect the health and well-being of our children.You'll find help getting back to the basics, at a time when the "basics" are being redefined: clean air, nutritious food, simple play, healthy indoor and outdoor environments, and less stuff. Manda covers prenatal care for mothers-to-be, detoxifying the nursery, cloth versus disposable diapers, baby skincare, nutritious baby food, children's toys, and car seats. The Green Mama helps parents to become what they were always meant to be: experts on the care of their own children.
MY TAKE:
I've always meant to go green when it comes to raising my child, but going completely green seems too tough, expensive and inconvenient sometimes.

In Green Mama What Parents Need to Know to Give Their Children a Healthy Start and a Greener Future, parents are introduced to the concept of raising their child in a safe, healthy, chemical-free environment.

This book is one of the most useful "green" books I've encountered. For those who are already practicing most of the things in the book, this book can be used as a reference, particularly a chart of harmful compounds you might encounter, as well as their effects.

There were several concepts and philosophies I encountered here that I either tried immediately after or found out that I was doing it correctly all along. I tried to do the elimination communication thing right after reading this book yesterday, and while it hasn't been successful yet, it looks promising, even if my kid laughs at me when I do the "ehhhh" sound.

I already share the same philosophy when it comes to food. While organic is harder for me to do, I definitely don't buy or use commercially-available baby food. My husband's family warned us against using those kinds of food because it tends to make kids picky eaters when they grow up. I figured that all the chemicals and sugar would definitely do that. I'm also wary about giving my kid too much salt or sugar so I tend to give him bland things. It's nice to know that it's okay to add a little flavor, like the ones suggested in the book (butter, etc.).

As for keeping the TV exposure to a minimum, that's easier said than done in our household, but I'm glad to know that my decision to just let my child do as he pleases in his crib (free play, supervised), actually makes sense.

Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the e-ARC. Publication date of Green Mama What Parents Need to Know to Give Their Children a Healthy Start and a Greener Future is on June 14, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are plenty of useful information.
  2. There are recipes for baby's skincare products (bum cream, baby wipes, etc.).
  3. It's well-researched and really makes you feel like going green isn't that difficult and is the best option. 

THE BAD:

  1. It can make you feel a little bit paranoid. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
You can "decode" the PLU code to decipher the food in your grocery store, If the code begins with 9 it's organic, 4 it's conventional, 8 it's genetically engineered. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You're thinking about going green.
  2. You're looking for a good resource for "green" parenting.
  3. You want your child to be as healthy as possible. 

RATING:
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: The Wedding Secret by Jeannie Moon


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Harper Poole might technically be an assistant, but with a Harvard MBA and killer instincts, she helps keep Reliance Software’s billions of revenue flowing smoothly. She’s made an amazing life for herself, has job security and exceptional wealth. She’s come a long way from the poor, wrong-side-of-the-tracks childhood that she hides in her past. She’s got everything she ever wanted – except, as she realizes while sitting through yet another emotional wedding, love. But a one night stand with the bride’s brother can help take a girl’s mind off anything…
Kevin Rossi is a star baseball player with a million-dollar image to protect. He’s been fooled by his share of gold diggers and has learned not to put his heart on the line. But he can’t get Harper off his mind. It seems like good luck when they reconnect almost a year after their hot night together. But Harper’s secrets go deeper than a mysterious past—nine months after their night, she had a baby. Can Kevin forgive her long enough to realize what his allstar life is missing… love?

MY TAKE:
After reading this book, I'm a little unsure as to how to rate it.

In The Wedding Secret, go-getter Harper Poole and Kevin Rossi have a one-night stand. One year later, their baby is already 3 months old, but Kevin still has no idea. Aside from that, Harper's hiding a few more secrets about her past. Will Kevin and Harper still have a chance at making their relationship work?

There were a number of things that I liked and didn't like about this book. Let's start with the positives. I liked that Harper was smart and hardworking. She was also a complex character. Her relationship with her daughter and her mother were also realistic.

What I didn't like was the way the other characters reacted to the first reveal. Maybe it's because I don't have siblings, or because I wouldn't have lied the way Harper did, but the way they reacted seemed so over-the-top and petty to me. Thankfully, by the last part of the book, they chilled out somewhat and I started to like them better. I thought Kevin's reaction to the second reveal was too much, as well.

I did like the ending, though. I thought the prologue was a little saccharine and maybe unnecessary, but the last scene was cute, so I finished reading the book with a smile on my face.

Thanks to NetGalley and InterMix for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. Harper's relationships with her mother and her daughter were realistic.
  2. You come to care for the characters.
  3. Harper is a tough woman.

THE BAD:
  1. Some of the characters' reactions feel over-the-top. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Just knowing she'd be holding her sweet baby in a matter of seconds made her feel better.
READ IT IF:

  1. You like reading romances about strong women and their baby daddies.
  2. You're a mom.
  3. You like interesting characters. 

RATING:
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SOUNDS INTERESTING?
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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!

The wedding might have been winding down, but the wine cellar was getting kind of hot.
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Goddess Born Book Blast and Giveaway

goddess born cover
Goddess Born

Pennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?
2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist


ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer
Set in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1730, this riveting novel begins as 18-year-old Selah Kilbrid runs into Quaker minister Nathan Crowley, a man who “labor[ed] under the delusion that [Selah] would soon be his wife” despite the fact that she was betrothed to a man on his way to America from Ireland. Nathan tells Selah that if she refuses him, he will have her “charged as a witch” because of her ability to heal the sick. To avoid Nathan’s plan to marry her the following Sunday, she leaves for Philadelphia to wait for the arrival of her betrothed and marry him before returning home. In Philadelphia, she discovers that her betrothed has died at sea. She then purchases Henry, an indentured servant, and convinces him to pose as her husband and help protect her from Nathan. As the story continues, the reader learns of Selah’s family history and the powers she possesses; Selah is half human, half goddess. It's important that her secret stay safe, because if discovered, she could be killed. The characters are well developed and relatable; the reader empathizes with Selah and her plight. The fast-paced plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing and in suspense. The end leaves room for a sequel, which, after such a tremendous beginning, would be anxiously awaited. A clear winner!



Kari Edgren
Author Kari Edgren

Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.


Goddess Born Tour
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Blast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

In My Mailbox


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

FROM NETGALLEY:


Amazing Magic Tricks by Thomas Canavan
The Art of Medicine Healing and the Limits of Technology by Herbert Ho Ping Kong
Eerie America Travel Guide of the Macabre by Eric R. Vernor and Kevin Eads
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Missing Lily Book Blast and Giveaway

 missing lily

Missing Lily
“You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house.

He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night.

Lylin was not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants, and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family.


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Author Annette K. Larsen
I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.

I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
Missing Lily Tour
Not yet read Just Ella?
It is on sale for $3.99 for the duration of the blog tour.
Grab your copy on Amazon.
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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/10/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Prom Impossible Book Blast

Prom Impossible

Prom Impossible Summary

1 girl +
1 prom +
3 guys = Prom Impossible
Cassidy decides her senior year, including prom, will be about Michael, the boy destined to be her soul mate. One problem. He hasn’t figured that out yet.
But certain events meant as innocent pranks—that weren’t completely her fault—introduce her to Zeke, the reformed bad boy. And cutting deals in the boys’ bathroom with Jasper, the hottest guy in school, lands her in a complicated web of half-truths.
At the end of the year, she’s dateless the day before the big night but risks a lot more than her pride if she can’t fix her mistakes.
Prom Impossible is a modern-day Shakespearean romantic comedy in the world of teens, true love, and life.







Prom Impossible Excerpt



Jules crouched next to me in the scratchy bushes outside of Michael’s house. Lately, she’d been extra nice. Total guilt complex. I wasn’t complaining.
Only two people knew about my love for Michael: Jules and my brother, Carter. He guessed it from my swoony expressions over certain heart doodles in my room. Talk about nosy. And Jules knew from the very start because for years we’d been more than just cousins. We were best friends even though she was slightly more popular. Okay, a lot more.
She nudged me. “Spying on the biggest dork in school? That’s the big emergency?”
“Hey, he’s got potential. And I’m not spying. I’m observing the behavioral patterns of my future boyfriend.”
She giggled. “Well, he might be kinda cute behind all the dorkiness. I’ll give you that. And I’ve never had a chance to get to know him. Maybe he’s cool.”
I’d known Michael since he peed his pants the first day of kindergarten from pure nerves and the fear of asking how to find the bathroom. We’d been on and off friends and engaged in frequent conversations about Smaug, Aragorn as an alpha male, and Gollum’s greatest moments.
We were destined to fall for each other with a passionate forever-kind-of-love. Someday, he’d take me in his arms and sweep me off my feet with the most romantic, passionate kiss in history.
“This is crazy,” Jules whispered. Then in an act of complete betrayal, she grabbed some pebbles and pelted the downstairs window.
“What are you doing?” I jerked her arm away but it was too late.
“Helping you. I assumed that’s why you called me. You said it was an emergency. You said you couldn’t do it alone.” She stood and brushed the dirt off her shorts. Before I could complain she hugged me. “You can do it, Cass. Good luck!”
A window slammed open.
“Who’s there? I’ve got my death ray gun that can sizzle your brain in three seconds and I’m not afraid to use it.”
“Oh. My. God.” She stifled a laugh. “He’s all yours.” And with that Jules shoved me into open view.





laura pauling
Author Laura Pauling

Laura Pauling is the author of the exciting young adult Circle of Spies Series and the time travel mystery, Heist. She writes to entertain and experience a great story…and be able to work in her pajamas and slippers. Prom Impossible is her newest YA romantic comedy, published as of May of 2014. To keep up on her new releases sign up for her newsletter so you don’t miss out!



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Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/6/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
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