Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review - How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans: Plastic Ocean - Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Philips

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans
Title:    Plastic Ocean

Review:  You can argue about the environment, whether the crisis is manmade or natural, and what we should do about it until you are blue in the face.  The problem most of the green movement is faith based and is actually volatile to true science.  But trash is an exception.  Trash is clearly a man-made object, and as humans we are terrible at disposing of it in a consistent, efficient, and clean manner.  Any walk about your community or even a local nature area will demonstrate how we fail at this, with litter accumulating everywhere you look.

But this book is not about trash in general, rather it focuses on the world of disposable plastic and how it works it way into our water supply, especially the Pacific Ocean.  Captain Moore starts out talking about sailing with his family as a youth and experiencing clean oceans; that it would be rare to see any floating trash.  Fast forward to getting stuck in the gyre (I am not an ocean guy, but I took this to mean the part of the ocean that is not in the currents, thus relatively “trapped” sections the size of very large states) and noticing lots of debris; mainly plastic as it tends to float.  This began the personal mission that would fill up his life; Why is there so much plastic in the ocean, and where did it come from?

The mistakes I think most people make when talking about plastic is they believe it is easily recyclable.  The truth is a lot more complicated as you cannot take a bottle and make another bottle; rather you make something less down the chain.  And that all plastic is recyclable while the truth is there are thousands of varieties of plastic and more being invented all the time.  Also plastic never really breaks down, it just becomes small and smaller insomuch sea creatures begin ingesting it, and then so do we.  And the sheer volume of plastic in our world today is staggering.  I am sitting here using a chair, computer, keyboard, Ipod, water bottle, watch, desk, phone all containing plastic materials right now.  Even my shirt buttons are plastic.  It is truly everywhere.

We are literally killing ourselves with plastic in our disposable age, and it seems no one cares.  No when I read this book I do come away with the desire to completely remove all plastics from life, besides that would be impossible.  Take travel for instance, you would be unable to drive a car or take an airplane anymore.  In situations like these I look to the pragmatic steps we can take right now.  Number one plastic polluter – disposable shopping bags.  We can all take steps to reduce our usage right there for a start.  Then start looking for more areas where plastic makes inroads to your disposable lifestyle and start implementing small changes.  Use real dishes and utensils, buy products based on less packaging material or even non-plastic materials, buy larger size containers of items you do use that the non-plastic choice isn’t readily available (i.e shampoo, etc), and please, please, please clean up your own mess and your communities whenever you can.

You probably won’t change the world, but you can significantly alter your little corner of it.  The only knock on the book is it is a little dry and not accessible to the average reader.  When you read the book you will get the irony because Captain Moore recounts the years it took him to get more academic to be taken seriously by the scientific community.  But the audience here is just regular concerned citizens and the book could have used a lot more anecdotes to fill out the statistics.  For example, he mentions the sinking of a cruise ship, losing all aboard, due to the propeller getting caught in a abandon plastic fishing net only in passing.  A few paragraphs on that could have awakened a whole population of cruise go-ers to the possible dangers.

Please read this book, or at least watch Captain Moore’s short video I have attached here to get a feel for his message.  There are changes you could be making to create a safer world for all of us.

Publisher:  Avery

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  337

ISBN:    978-1-58333-424-9

Quick Review: 3 ½ Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read It: I had heard about this subject before and was excited to read the book when I saw it.

Where I Obtained the Book: My local library

Synopsis:   A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age and a growing global health crisis.
In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast "oceanic desert" where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a "plastic soup." He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet-a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean's food base, by a factor of six to one.
In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life and hidden properties of plastics. From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers. A call to action as urgent as Rachel Carson's seminal Silent Spring, Moore's sobering revelations will be embraced by activists, concerned parents, and seafaring enthusiasts concerned about the deadly impact and implications of this man made blight.
Captain Charles Moore 
Author Biography:  A third generation resident of Long Beach, California, Captain Charles Moore grew up in and on the Pacific Ocean. His father was an industrial chemist and avid sailor who took young Charles and his siblings sailing to remote destinations from Guadalupe Island to Hawaii. Charles attended the University of California at San Diego where he studied chemistry and Spanish.

After 25 years running a woodworking and finishing business, Charles founded Algalita Marine Research Institute in 1994. In 1995 he launched his purpose-designed, aluminum-hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania, and helped organize the Australian Government's first "Coastcare" research voyage to document anthropogenic (human-caused) contamination of Australia's east coast. Upon his return to California, he became a coordinator of the State Water Resources Control Board's Volunteer Water Monitoring Steering Committee and developed chemical and bacterial monitoring methods for the Surfrider Foundation's "Blue Water Task Force." As a member of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project's Bight '98 steering committee, he realized the need for and provided a research vessel so that Mexican researchers from Baja California could participate for the first time in assessing the entire Southern California Bight along the coastline from Point Conception to San Diego.

Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita and its Captain found their true calling after a 1997 yacht race to Hawaii. On his return voyage, Captain Moore veered from the usual sea route and saw an ocean he had never known. "Every time I came on deck to survey the horizon, I saw a soap bottle, bottle cap or a shard of plastic waste bobbing by. Here I was in the middle of the ocean and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic." Ever since, Captain Moore has dedicated his time and resources to understanding and remediating the ocean's plastic load. Along with collaborators from the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project he developed protocols for monitoring marine and beach micro-plastics which are now used worldwide.

Other Reviews:  Kirkus, Huffington Post

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TLC Book Tour - Review - The Exceptionals - Erin Cashman

The Exceptionals
Title:  The Exceptionals

Author: Erin Cashman

Review: If you like Young Adult Fiction, then this is a great book to pick up. It is a coming of age story about a girl with an unusual gift that to her, seems rather useless. She attends a school for people with special abilities but hides the fact that she even has her own “special.” She is surrounded by extremely gifted friends and family who have powerful specials. But she discovers that by using her unique ability, she can save the school, her family, and her friends.

Cashman is a pretty good writer. I liked her style.  It took me about 1/3 of the book to really get into it, but after that, I looked forward to sneaking moments here and there to read it.

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars is because, while I enjoyed the story, it didn’t seem so original to me. In a nutshell, it is about someone with special abilities who attends a special school that is under attack by a former disgruntled student. I feel like I have read a lot of books with a similar premise. I did, however, like the fact that these characters aren’t supernatural, but rather they have the ability to use more of their brains than the average person. If you are looking for a quick, fun, easy read, then the Exceptionals is a good choice.

Thanks go to Heather for this review.

Find the Prologue here.

Publisher: Published February 1st 2012 by Holiday House, Inc. (first published 2012)

ISBN: 9780823423354

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 236

Quick Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Why I Read It: sent by TLC book tour

Where I Obtained the Book: sent by TLC book tour

Synopsis: Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, 15-year-old Claire Walker has deliberately chosen to live an average life. But everything changes the night of the Spring Fling, when her parents decide it's high time she transferred to Cambial Academy--the prestigious boarding school that her great-grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities.
Erin Cashman
Author Biography: My debut YA novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, is now available! I live in Massachusetts with my husband, three children, and our dog.

tlc tour host

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review - The 7% Solution: You Can Afford A Comfortable Retirement - John H Graves

Title:    The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement

Author:  John Graves

Review:  This book is full of strategies and advice on how to handle your retirement.  I was impressed with the fact that the author laid it out in such an easy to follow method.  Our financial advisor is telling us this and that and I cannot really wrap my head around all the jargon and double talk, but this book cleared lots of confusing aspects of money management out.

Bonds, stocks, mutual funds, annuities, and more explained in an easy to understand format.  Some of the ideas seemed technical and above me at first, but as I read I think I figured them out.  I always wondered how we would actually get an income from our retirement accounts and what was the best place to put our money now.  If you wonder about how you are going to retire I think this book is a must.  You don’t have to have huge funds saved to retire comfortably of course that wouldn’t hurt you.  7% on average from all your investments along with Social Security and your company pension will be plenty. Even less will be needed if you take his advice in the beginning of the book and get out of debt.

This is a great tool that everyone should read.  Don’t let money management fears keep you from saving or keep you from questioning your financial planner…remember they are in it for the money…not necessarily for what is best for you.  Read this book and learn what they failed to teach us in school.

Great tool for everyone who plans to retire someday, BTW that is all of you.

Publisher:  Safe Harbor Publishing, LLC. (April 1, 2012)

Copyright: 2012

Pages:  250

ISBN:    978-0983573128

Quick Review: 5 Stars out of 5. 

Where Did I Read the Book:  Sent by The CadenceGroup for review.

Synopsis:   You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement!
For the millions of Americans wondering how to get to and through retirement comfortably, The 7% Solution will provide the guidance to achieve your retirement goals with confidence.
Drawing on his 30-years of successful retirement planning, financial expert, John Graves, will show you how to:
•    Take Control of your Financial Future
•    Save Thousands in Fees that Bleed Your Retirement Nest Egg
•    Catch Up to Where you Need to Be to Retire Well
•    Achieve a Financially Secure Retirement
 “This delightfully written guide is both comprehensive and wise – a must have for those seeking a secure retirement.”  – Robert Stubbs, retired CEO of Bell Atlantic Capital Corporation
“Finally, a realistic roadmap for a new generation of retirees. This valuable resource is worth its cover price many times over.” – Vanessa Drucker, Editor, Fund Strategy Magazine
Author Biography: John Graves, ChFC, CLU has spent 26 years advising people how to become better stewards of their resources. As an independent financial adviser and managing partner in The Renaissance Group, LLC, he focuses on designing and maintaining client portfolios consistent with their needs, rather than some market paradigm. John is a Chartered Life Underwriter and and Chartered Financial Consultant through the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

He has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries’ stamps in his passport. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. In his previous career, John was a chef. He does enjoy a nice meal with a Bordeaux or a Montalcino.

John agrees with Benjamin Graham that the search for value is far more interesting than a brief joy ride in the markets. His passion is sharing his knowledge with others so that they too might embrace all that life has to offer.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday - Reading Quotes - Happy Memorial Day

Great Quotes of Reading and Books....Happy Memorial Day!!

“I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself. Movies show you the pink house. A good book tells you there's a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style,park your own car out front. My imagination has always topped anything a movie could come up with. Case in point, those darned Harry Potter movies. That was so not what that part-Veela-chick, Fleur Delacour, looked like.”
Karen Marie Moning, Darkfever

“My alma mater was books, a good library.... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.”
Malcolm X

“She read all sorts of things: travels, and sermons, and old magazines. Nothing was so dull that she couldn't get through with it. Anything really interesting absorbed her so that she never knew what was going on about her. The little girls to whose houses she went visiting had found this out, and always hid away their story-books when she was expected to tea. If they didn't do this, she was sure to pick one up and plunge in, and then it was no use to call her, or tug at her dress, for she neither saw nor heard anything more, till it was time to go home.”
Susan Coolidge, What Katy Did

I love to get lost in a good book!!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review - Brandon Marlowe:And the Alpha in the Omega - Eric Livingston

Brandon Marlowe and the Alpha in the Omega
Title:    Brandon Marlow and the Alpha in the Omega

Author:  Eric Livingston

Review:  I don’t really know how to write this review.  I read the first of the series and the review of that book can be found here.  This book left me confused in the beginning with what was going on…I’m still not completely sure about why a jacket?  The middle became more clear and interesting enough that I read more than half in one sitting.  The end?  What can I say about the end?  I really do not have a clue.  I’m not sure where the author was going with this book…Banned Book Lists…maybe?  I am one of the brainwashed human enslaved by the Demigod Alpha….I guess?  Am I insulted?  No…I’m just extremely confused what the heck!

I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone reading it or planning to in the future so *SPOILER ALERT – Christ is the son of Zeus and he enslaved the human race with illusion and demigod magic…Brandon and his buddies must bring him down and rescue the followers from him and the Apostle John(maybe it was Peter….I wasn’t really paying attention at this point.)  So Banned Book List…most likely….do I care….NO….disjointed by this story and the way the characters are developing…YES and not just the weird twist with Christ…the weird twist with the whole story line.

I wish I could tell you that the story has redeeming values worth overlooking the rest….I didn’t find any…but you might.  Finding out what Brandon was up to after the last book was worthy of the ½ star.

Publisher:  EDL Epic Designs (January 26, 2012)

Copyright: 2012

Pages:  296

ISBN:    978-0984829606

Quick Review: 1 1/2 Stars out of 5. 

Where Did I Read the Book:  Sent by the author for review.

Synopsis:   The war between Humans and Gods threatened the existence of both races when the powerful half-human, half-god offspring of the Gods known as Demigods brought their powers into the struggle. The Gods knew that for their way of life to continue, they had to fade into Humanity's memory. To do so, Zeus unleashed one of his most powerful weapons as a distraction - his own son, Alpha, the most powerful Demigod in history. Alpha's incredible powers had soon enslaved the Human race, so Zeus locked his son away forever before Alpha could use his Followers to challenge the Gods of Olympus. At the School in Tartarus where students learn the skills to continue to wage the war on the Gods, Brandon Marlowe is back, continuing his second year. Having attained a ranking as the 10th best student in the School, Brandon is finally granted access to the restricted Omega library. Driven there by his relentless desire to learn the truth about his older brother's death, Brandon will also discover the carefully guarded secret of Alpha's existence. As more about the terrible threat he posed to the Human world is revealed, the top students in the school learn an even more terrible truth. Alpha's Followers are poised to release him into the world once again, and unless Brandon and the other ranked students can stop them, Humanity will fall.
Author Biography:  Eric Livingston is a University of Tulsa graduate, with a degree in biochemistry. He married his college sweetheart, an English major who encouraged him to pursue his writing career. They currently reside in Houston, Texas, where Livingston was born.

Friday, May 25, 2012

TLC Book Tour - Review - The Most Dangerous Thing - Laura Lippman

The Most Dangerous Thing
Title:    The Most Dangerous Thing

Author:  Laura Lippman

Review: I struggled with this book; not because it was bad, but rather it is a break in style from what I expect from Laura Lippman.  I can genuinely claim Lippman is in my top 5 favourite authors, and I anxiously await each new release.  The Most Dangerous Thing has her taking risk with her voice and unfortunately that collided with my preconceived notions.  I believe this is an acquired taste and could prove to be one of her best books.

That said there are plenty of things I did love in the book.  Given my background in psychology (and family science) I am always intrigued when an author successfully demonstrates the consequences of a quirk in human nature.  In this book all the main characters act out of a perceived interest of the needs of the others, but yet no one talks with each other.  Too often the stumbling blocks in life are not random, they typically are caused by our assumptions and general fear of confronting difficult situations. 

The Most Dangerous Thing features five friends, their parents, a priest, and a homeless man.  Lock into the prison a small neighborhood creates they all go about forging relationships built on secrets and distrust.  That is pretty standard fare for most people, but their situation is brought to a head with the death of the homeless man.  The events of that night are banished from the memories of all involved, never to be discussed again.  Something isn't right, and everyone stirs with those problems, but yet remain silent out of solidarity to the other.  Each assuming they are the only one struggling.  

This plan works well, or at least passably until the youngest of the group some 30 years later, who has relapsed once again into alcoholism, is killed in a single vehicle accident; or maybe it was suicide.  This brings all the surviving characters together once again, and this time the past won't stay silent.  Truth, no matter how hard will win out eventually.

With this tale Lippman has revealed a great life lesson.  Problems must be dealt with, the sooner the better.  Either you deal with them in the present when they are at their smallest, or you postpone them to face later when they are bigger, accumulating more baggage and inflicting more damage as they steadily roll along.  The best you can hope for is a miserable life and death before the truth finds you. 

A recent This American Life detailed the story of Jeff Smith, a state senator from Missouri, who made a small mistake (a slap on the wrist crime) but decided to lie about it.  He spent a year in Federal prison by the time he was done.  Or we have the numerous examples of professional athletes that used illegal steroids from BALCO who thought it would be a good idea to lie to federal investigators.  They still lost their reputations and all their officially recognized accomplishments, and now they went to jail too.

The beauty of what Lippman has done is create a complex interwoven tale of lies and secrets that will leave you pondering just what happened, why it happened, and just who is at fault.  The reality is no one and everyone are at fault, much like the problems in our life. Happiness is not found in blame, because that is like pushing the river trying to get it right.  Rather happiness is found in forgiveness and living in the now.  Getting up from your mistakes and trying to live well today;  to try again.

The only downside for me was the method of telling the story.  Typically a book will start with the action, the big event, then spend the rest of the story explaining it.  Lippman starts with the past and jumps to the future, switching perspective between all the main characters every chapter.  The whole time she circles the main event in ever tightening circles until she finally gets there in the last pages. This had me wondering where we were going the whole time, and this ambiguity left me feeling uncomfortable.  That is more of a statement about me, always liking to know where we are going, not wanting to give up control.  I think a second read would much more satisfying, knowing all the spoilers.  But again that's my personality and not a statement about the quality of the book.

Publisher:  Published May 1st 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published August 23rd 2011)

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  368

ISBN:    9780062122926

Quick Review: 3.75 stars out of 5

Why Did I Read the Book:  This is an author I keep as current as possible with.

Where Did I Get the Book:  Sent by the publisher for the TLC Tour.

Synopsis:   Some secrets can't be kept. . . .
"The Most Dangerous Thing"
Years ago, they were all the best of friends. But as time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past--and the terrible lie they all shared. But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown together for the first time in years.
And then the revelations start.
Could their long-ago lie be the reason for their troubles today? Is it more dangerous to admit to what they've done or is it the strain of keeping the secret that is beginning to wear on them and everyone close to them? Each one of these old friends has to wonder if their secret has been discovered--and if someone within the circle is out to destroy them.
Laura Lippman
Author Biography: Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TLC Tour - Book Review - Giveaway - Dead Beautiful - Melanie Dugan

Dead Beautiful
Title:    Dead Beautiful

Author:  Melanie Dugan  Giveaway at the bottom of the review.

Review:   Dead Beautiful is a modern version of the story of Hades and Persephone.  The author presents the book in first person and each chapter is another characters view point of the events that happened.

Persephone is a head strong teenager who enjoys living on earth more than living with the Gods on Olympus.  She tires very hard to fit into the lifestyle her mom has given her but she finds she is looking for something different and that is when she meets Hades. Persephone is attractive to his darker side and feels a connection to Hades.  The story revolves around Persephone desire to with Hades but there is a catch he will not be with her until she knows what she wants. Demeter, Persephone's mother, is a bit controlling but its only because she wants her Daughter to become a lever 1 Goddess and fulfill her duties.  Cyane is Persephone's best friend and the only witness to the "abduction" of Persephone.  I found the author portrayal of Cyane a bit disappointing.  She creates Cyane as a teenager who is annoying and seems to only be Persephone friend because Persephone is popular.  The story of Cyane is one of true friendship because she was Persephone childhood friend and she tires everything to keep Hades from taking Persephone to the point she loses her life.  I don't think the author needed to go as far to kill off a character but the author had opportunity to bring a little more to the character Cyane than making her a ditzy friend who wanted to date Persephone potential boyfriends.
The Author humanizes the Gods. Zeus is the head God who is tired of dealing with everyone's problems on earth and Olympus and just wants some time alone with his wife Hara. The stress of life as a Head God has gotten to him and that is why he is unaware of what Hades has done.  The author writes Hades as a people person, someone who is looking for a lasting relationship even though he is the God of the underworld.  I applaud the authors decision on writing Hades as a caring, overworked people person and not the revengefully God that he is known to be. The authors modern tone made it difficult for me to enjoy the story.  I would have enjoyed the story more had the author left out references to Jesus, stocks, retirement plans, Beckham, Uggs, books and S&M.  I feel since the story is about why we have seasons the modern language takes away from the simplicity of the story.
The authors’ writing was well written and she kept true to her writing style from the beginning of the book to the end. Which I feel is difficult to do when writing in first person when you have several different characters and each with their own version of the "abducation". Dead Beautiful is a decent young adult novel that is appropriate for the per-teen\teen audience.  There is no sex or language in the book and it gives the young read enough romance without going into detail. 
 Thanks goes to Heidi for this review.

Publisher: Published May 2012 by Upstart Press

Copyright: 2012

Pages:  165

ISBN:    9780978377472

Quick Review: 3 Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher for review – TLC Tours

Synopsis:  Dead Beautiful is a contemporary retelling of the classic Greek myth of Persephone. This was the myth the Greeks used to explain how we came to have the change of seasons. In the traditional version of the myth, Persephone – the daughter of Demeter, Goddess of agriculture and fertility, and Zeus, the top god on Olympus – is abducted one day by Hades, God of the Underworld (which is also called Hades).
Demeter refuses to do her job until her daughter is returned to her, and the earth is plunged into the first winter: no crops grow, cold settles on the earth. It turns out that while in Hades, Persephone has eaten six pomegranate seeds. As a result, for six months of the year, she must live with Hades; this is when it is fall and winter on earth. For six months she lives with her mother – then we have spring and summer.
Dead Beautiful asks, what if Persephone, like many adolescent girls, didn’t tell her mother the whole truth? What if Hades didn’t abduct her? What if she made the decision to go with him? (She is, after all, 18 millennia old.)
The result is a novel that examines the complex dynamics between mothers and daughters, and explores the challenges faced by young women as they move from childhood into adulthood and independence. It is smart, fast-paced, funny and profound; a book that will appeal to women young and old, to mothers and daughters.
Author Biography:  I was born in the U.S. and now live with my family in Canada. My third novel, Dead Beautiful, will be published 12 May 2012 by UpStart Press.

Other Reviews:  Into the Hall of Books
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bon Appetit Buzz from Buzz Agent

Campaign Image
I was sent two free coupons from Buzz Agent to try this new frozen meal concept and the cutest chef hat that Cenneidigh confiscated and wears every time she is in the kitchen.  She loves it and looks adorable...she keeps it in her room so no one steals it from her.

 I went to Walmart and purchased the meals(I bought three I just couldn't decide on two) which cost $6.99 at the time and Gunnar tried the Pork in Chipotle Barbecue sauce and thought it was delicious and something he should stock at college.Bon Appétit™ Pork in Chipotle BBQ SauceJT also ate the same meal and loved it and for a picky 10 year old that is not bad....he hates anything normal like hamburgers and chicken...loves seafood and vegetables.  He loved the idea of food wrapped in a corn husk.

My parents tried the Bon Appétit™ Smoked Apple & Uncured Bacon ChickenSmoked Apple and Uncured Bacon Chicken and thought that one pouch was plenty for the both of them and it made quite an enjoyable delicious, along with another nights dinner just waiting in the freezer for a busy evening.  I tried the Bon Appétit™ Beef in Red Wine SauceBeef in Red Wine Sauce and was impressed by the flavor and the texture.  It was like a home cooked meal but without all the home cooked fuss.  WAY to go BON APPETIT.....Thanks.  I also was sent several half of coupons which I gave out to people I talked with about this product.(I love to talk about things I love.)

Book Tour - Review - Seeds - David Ankrah

Title: Seeds

Author: David Ankrah

Review: I love the idea of this book! Teaching our children about money, working, saving and giving should be foremost in our minds.

To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with this book after I read it. I understand the need to make it simple enough for a child to understand, but in doing so, the story itself seemed choppy. I also did not like the names of the different people; Zoniye and Nastalior. They didn’t flow very well in my head and I think that simpler names would be better suited for children.

So, I was slightly disappointed in the story itself, but then my 8 year old son read the book. After he finished, I asked him what he thought and he said “I loved it!” he also said “I really like at the end how it asks you if you would like to be like Palooko or Greecho. I want to be like Palooko.” He talked about how it is important it is to save your ‘seeds’ so you can have enough for your family and so you can share them. It started a discussion between him and me. We talked for quite a while about saving your money, we also discussed getting into debt, and why people choose to do that. He hadn’t really thought much about it, but I also shared the basics of investing and how we grow our own ‘seeds’ as a family. He then asked permission to read the book again to substitute the word ‘seeds’ with the word ‘money.’ He thought that was pretty cool.

So, while I probably would have given this book a 3 star rating on my own, I added a fourth star because it actually worked! It started a discussion about finances between me and my son. That is what the book is all about. It would be a great way to break the ice on the subject with any child.  

Thanks go to Heather for this review and her son.

Publisher: Evolu-Sol Publishing (April 14, 2012)

ISBN: 978-0957145702

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 23

Quick Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Why I Read It: Sent for review by the book tour.  Pump up your Book!

Synopsis: Whether you are 6 or 60, you should find that this children's story has one or two parallels in your own life... So let's find out what happens to a fellow named Palooko, and and a fellow named Greecho, as they go through life and one mysterious day an event takes place that would change their lives forever... Zoniye... A wonderful place to live... And that is where our story begins...
david ankrah
Author Biography: David Ankrah is a quiet individual with a background in media, finance and all things creative, full of ideas and compassion for those around him.

He lives in London with family and likes nothing better than to help people and put smiles on faces.
The inspiration for this book came out of wanting to see an end to some of the hardships we face in modern times with a simple story that everyone can enjoy and in particular for adults to read to children all over the world so that they can share the ideas that come to them as they read about the inhabitants of that wonderful place called Zoniye.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review - The Bride Wore Blue - Mona Hodgson

The Bride Wore Blue: A Novel
Title:    The Bride Wore Blue

Author:  Mona Hodgson

Review:  I’ve read the last book in this series and enjoyed it much more than I did this one.  The rules were a bit different for this story, but the romance was not there like in the last one.  The romantic aspects of this book were few and far between in my opinion and that was one thing I missed.  The family dynamics were there and yet I still do not quite understand the way this family works exactly.  The sister had no job and no money and yet she was paying for a boarding house in a town where three of her married sisters live and could put her up for free?  Forced to work in a ?  You will have to read the book to find out that one, but as an older sister I would have paid her rent or had her move in with me before things got so desperate.  Yes the sisters all have busy lives, but come on….

Cripple Creek is a town that many readers enjoy and I did in the last book, but this one fell short of my expectations.  I was really looking forward to this book and started reading it right away and yet…now I wonder why.  The story was OK and that is about it.  But if you have read the rest you will want to read this one to keep up with the comings and goings of  The Sinclair family.

Publisher:  Published May 8th 2012 by TheDoubleday Religious Publishing Group

Copyright: 2012

Pages:  320

ISBN:    9780307730305

Quick Review: 2 ½ Stars out of 5. 

Where Did I Read the Book:  Sent by the publisher for review through Blogging for Books.

Synopsis:   The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek—Book 3
Headed toward a fresh start but tethered by her past, Vivian longs to break free, to find forgiveness and love.
At last, the sisters are reunited! The youngest Sinclair, the family“ baby”, is moving from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado and joining Kat, Nell, and Ida. But Vivian is a young woman with a will of her own, and made some decisions back in Portland that have begun to haunt her. Will she be able to live up to the expectations of her three perfect and now happily-settled sisters?
The sisters warmly welcome Vivian to the mountain west, but the wild-and-woolly mining town isn’t ripe with opportunities for a respectable young woman. The youngest Sinclair sister is determined to make her own way, so
when she’s offered a job as a hostess in a sporting house, she takes it, thinking the position is appropriate for a tainted, unlovable woman like herself. Although she’s convinced she’ll never be asked to entertain privately, Vivian
keeps her employment a secret from her sisters, knowing they’d be mortified—as will Carter Alwyn, the kind and godly sheriff ’s deputy who’s sweet on her.
Vivian is descending into a life of secrets, lying to the very people who love her and could help her heal from her mistakes. Will an outpouring of grace remind her that she is still God’s beloved and that her past can be washed as clean as Rocky Mountain snow?
Mona Hodgson 
Author Biography: MONA HODGSON is the author of TWO BRIDES TOO MANY, TOO RICH FOR A BRIDE, THE BRIDE WORE BLUE, and TWICE A BRIDE, The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series published by WaterBrook Press. Her writing credits also include nearly thirty children’s books, contributions to eleven books for adults, and hundreds of short stories, articles, and poems in newspapers and magazines. One of Mona’s favorite things to do (besides writing or eating dark chocolate) is to speak at women's retreats and schools, and for women’s groups, librarians, and at writers’ conferences throughout the United States and Canada. Mona lives in Arizona with her husband, Bob.

Disclaimer for all reviews sent by the publisher, publicist or author for review.