Thursday, September 30, 2010

Winner: 250 Die Cut Business Cards

The winner of the 250 Die Cut Business Cards from is #17 Stephanie!

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy them!

Thank you so much to for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Q&A: Deborah Duda, author of Coming Home: A Practical and Compassionate Guide to Caring for a Dying Loved One

Deborah Duda, author of Coming Home stopped by for a Q&A.

1. What inspired you to write Coming Home?

The seed for writing Coming Home was a friend who was dying and whose husband forbade her friends to talk with her about it.  I was furious.  We go through the agony and ecstasy of being born, living our lives as best we can, and then are denied our dying and deaths, often by a conspiracy of silence.  The most important thing in my friend's life at that time was her dying and her friends couldn't share that with her.  She was isolated and alone as everyone pretended that she was not dying.  I buried this experience in the back of my mind until after meeting Mother Teresa.

2. Tell us about your experiences meeting Mother Teresa.

In the 1970s, as many did, I looked to Eastern philosophy and religions as a source of wisdom and set off on a spiritual pilgrimage.  At one point I was living in a tiny village in Nepal, where I lived happily until I began to have nightmares that I or my father was dying.  After weeks of nightmares, a Sherpa (the mountain guides) walked three hours up the mountain path to my village and brought me a copy of Newsweek with a photograph of Mother Teresa on the cover.

That night I had a dream about Mother Teresa instead of about dying.  I decided the way to get over my fear of dying was to put myself if the middle of it.  I would go to Calcutta and ask Mother Teresa if I could work in one of the homes she created for the dying.  The next day I packed my bag and made my way across Nepal and India, walking, taking buses and airplanes.  When I arrived in Calcutta, I was very sick but I dragged myself to the public telephone, dialed O for operator and said, "I want to speak to Mother Teresa." Miraculously, she was on the phone in a few minutes and said "How can I help you my child?"  I told her I'd had a dream about her and asked if I could come see her.  She said, "Yes. Come right over my child."

I took a rickshaw to the Sister of Charity Convent where she lived.  In her tiny office, seated across the desk from her, I had the feeling that I'd always known her and she knew me.  I told her my story and asked if I could work in one of her homes for the dying.  She said, "No my child.  There is suffering and sadness around you at home. Go home and work with that."

And I did. I returned to live in the US for the first time in my adult life, completed a master's degree in psychology, became a counselor with her terminally ill, and wrote Coming Home.

3. You cared for both your mother and father when they were ill. What are some of your happiest memories with them?

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of helping to care for them when they were dying and was left with so many beautiful memories.  Tender little moments come to mind. Sitting at my dying father's feet giving him a foot massage twice a day. Dad and his grandson playing with the dog we'd just brought home from the pound.  The night Dad died,  watching Mom peacefully holding him in her arms in the bed they had slept in together for 35 years and feeling that love had made their journey together worthwhile.  My mother's death fills me with smiles and even joy.  She chose where, when and how she would die and went out smiling and saying "bye".

4. Despite the hardship of caring for a terminally ill loved one, what can caregivers do to treasure the time spent with sick family or friends?

Take time to really be present for their loved one.   Let go of busyness. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to impress.  Probably the most important thing we can do for ill or dying loved ones is simply to be present for them with an open heart.  Listen not only with our ears, but also with our hearts.  Share family stories and memories, old photos, games, touch, music and silence.

Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet and philosopher wrote "Step out of the circle of time into the circle of love."  In the midst of a home dying, if we step into the circle of love, we are uplifted by giving love and feeling loved.  Perhaps we can help the dying find meaning in their experience by suggesting that the most important thing a person can do is love. No matter what abilities or faculties they may have lost, they can still love.

5. How can people learn about joy while caring for a dying loved one? 

Joy is part of our essential identity.  We cover it up with fear, busyness, clinging to security, limiting beliefs about ourselves, and all our material and social concerns.  When we're caring for someone we love, all our pretenses tend to drop away.  Dying and death may strip us down to the core and at the core is joy. Dying loved ones remind us that love is the most important thing in the world, to live in the moment because we don't know how many moments we have and to be grateful for being alive.  Lives lived with those understandings tend to be joyful lives.

6. For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, what are some good ways to honor their memories?  

We honor them best, I think, by living the positive things they have taught us in their lives and deaths, including the importance of loving, living in the moment and gratitude.  You might ask yourself, "What can I give to others to honor that life?"  A poem?  Garden? Tree?  Story?  Sculpture?  Donation?  Endowment?  It's important that we don't forget to honor them when they are still with us.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Coming Home

I want them to feel empowered, to know that they can handle a home dying.  I want them to know that they are far more competent and loving than they perhaps imagined.  I want them to know that the ultimate human freedom is freedom of attitude.  That no matter what the circumstances of their lives, they can always choose their attitude and their attitude will determine the nature of their experience.

About the book:

Today, in increasing numbers, terminally ill people are choosing to spend their last days at home in the warmth of familiar surroundings, rather than in an impersonal hospital or nursing home. Coming Home will provide you with information, inspiration, and sensitive yet straightforward answers to questions such as:

Can I handle a home death?
How do I deal with my grief?
Can we afford to stay at home?
Can I give an injection?
Can pain be controlled at home?
How do I prevent bedsores?
How can I find meaning in the dying process?
What do I need to know about legal issues?

First published in 1981, this groundbreaking step-by-step guide has been used to train hospice staff and volunteers for over two decades. Like a supportive friend sitting with you at the kitchen table, Deborah Duda helps you to create an experience that makes your loved one's final weeks as comfortable and meaningful as possible.

About Deborah:

Deborah Duda earned a master’s degree in psychology from Goddard College and has traveled the country delivering lectures and workshops on caring for dying loved ones. In addition to working as a family therapist for the terminally ill and their families, Duda also helped found a hospice and served on the board of directors for Kauai Hospice and the Kauai AIDS Foundation. For more information about Duda and Coming Home, visit

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The Undaunted Life by Robert C. David

Don't let the outside world determine your destiny. Take control now with proven success strategies to become richer, smarter, healthier and happier in spite of it all. Here is a fresh, bold guide for your ultimate quest - to bravely and freely live your best life on your own terms starting right now. You will discover how to:

* Vanquish procrastination
* Purge self-limiting beliefs, thoughts and emotions
* Eliminate financial self-sabotage
* Save yourself from worry, stress and premature aging
* Boost energy, well being, personal and professional power
* Show resiliency during tough times
* Shield yourself against energy drainers and time wasters
* Unlock and nurture your natural talents, strengths and abilities
* Get Referral Rich with better, stronger, deeper relationships
* Achieve focus and gain insights to work smarter and live better
* Experience joy, meaning, purpose and passion in your life
* Become unstoppable
* And much more

Received from the author for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was packed with genuinely useful information on all sorts of life aspects.  The chapter on building your "assets" through maintaining a healthy body was especially good.  Although this is more geared for the upper middle class who have enough money to even worry about investing and such everyone who works in an office can find at least a couple things to take away.  The motivational information should be thoroughly enjoyed by sales reps and other commission based earners and is recommended for them in particular.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: The Partnership by Stephen J. Harper

Debut novel from the author of the true-crime award winner "Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster's Story" "The Partnership" opens a window into a secret world. A mysterious death, illicit romantic liaisons, courtroom drama, and crises of personal conscience frame a titanic struggle at the nation's most lucrative law firm. A twenty-first-century legal thriller with a twist, "The Partnership" reveals what happens to rich and powerful insiders as the business school mentality extends its tentacles across a once-noble profession. The themes resonate; "The Bonfire of the Vanities" still burns.

Albert Knight has reached the pinnacle of power as one of the "magnificent seven"-leaders of the international legal powerhouse Michelman & Samson. Only one step remains: Knight and his archenemy Ronald Ratkin are front-runners to replace the Executive Committee's retiring chairman. Knight and Ratkin were once best friends, but that was long ago.

Despite their twenty-year animosity, each has embraced the firm's transformation to a bottom-line business and the stunning wealth it produces. As the price of success, they endure and inflict profound personal damage along the way. When gifted trial lawyer Ronald Ratkin's $100 million client defies protocol by interrupting the sacrosanct Executive Committee meeting, all seven attorneys are suspicious. The news, Ratkin suspects, could upset his ongoing billion-dollar trial, send stocks plummeting, and destroy his client, his law firm, and his personal wealth. But the wily Ratkin has a foolproof plan. Or will his own greed and that of his fellow partners undo him?


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  Despite the rather small print this was incredibly readable.  The extremely well written story was immediately engrossing, on par with a Grisham.  While I didn't particularly like all the characters as people I appreciated their merits as characters and their dialogue was believable and not forced at all.  This intensely interesting story is a perfect legal thriller for Scott Turow fans.  

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review: Nature's Secret Messages by Elaine Wilkes

Receive Wise Guidance from Your Mom—Mother Nature!

Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Mother Nature is always speaking to us . . . but in what language? When we learn how to discern her secrets, a world of information appears that can help us live healthier, happier, and more balanced lives.

This intriguing book will arouse your curiosity by combining ancient wisdom with modern research, and imagination with science, to help you see Nature in a whole new way.

You’ll discover how to . . .

· Recognize divine designs, hidden in plain sight, to forge a more profound mind-body-soul connection with the environment
· Look at food in new (actually, ancient) ways and choose self life over shelf life
· Cope with change, challenges, and time pressures by asking, What would Nature do?
· Become aware of what society is doing to the environment, and learn easy green solutions to save money and help the planet

Exercises throughout the book will empower you to tune in to Nature’s wisdom in order to develop a healthier mind, body, soul, and planet.

Received from the author for review.

My favorite quotes from the book were:

Nature generally doesn't multitask; she maintains a determined, sharp resolve.

Just like Nature, our lives contain many hidden symbols and patterns that, if we discover and examine them, can help us grow and flourish.  Recognizing this is vital to positive change.

This one gets four stars.  This was genuinely interesting and informative.  The discussion on the Fibonacci sequence was particularly intriguing.  The Test Your Nature IQ quizzes sprinkled throughout were a fun review and reinforcement of the material.  Part IV was my favorite section, where I particularly enjoyed the Stepford Chives portion.  The section is mostly geared towards city and suburban dwellers who have no clue about where their food comes from but is still informative for those who already know.  This would make a lovely gift for an eco-friendly friend or one you are trying to convince to become more responsible towards the Earth.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: What Would Rob Do? by Rob Sachs

From rising NPR star Rob Sachs—irreverent takes on handling life's sticky situations based on the popular What Would Rob Do? podcast

What do you do if you get a bad haircut? Do you have trouble remembering people's names? What happens if you clog the toilet at a friend's house? NPR's Rob Sachs has given prudent and entertaining advice for dealing with all sorts of everyday challenges in his successful What Would Rob Do? podcast series, consulting with experts ranging from Fabio to Erik Estrada on dozens of daily dilemmas and common conundrums. Now he brings a wealth of this advice together in a single survival guide to fixing some of life's most vexing minor mishaps and speed bumps.

* Entertaining yet practical advice on what to do in tricky life situations

* Includes tips from interviews Sachs has conducted with celebrity experts

* Written by Rob Sachs, who has been a producer, reporter, and director for NPR shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Day to Day. Sachs also has a successful NPR podcast series

What Would Rob Do? tackles the full spectrum of life's absurdities and shows how to turn them into an opportunity for adventure, fun, and best of all, laughter.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  As I obviously don't listen to NPR I had no experience with the author beforehand, but I was very pleasantly surprised!  This is geared more towards men, but is nonetheless amusing for all readers.  It covers everything from using a host's bathroom at a party and clogging the toilet to leaving a good voicemail message.  This is funny, but it actually does provide you with a wealth of useful information on each topic addressed.  This would make a lovely gift!
★★★★ = Really Liked It

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Me, Myself, and Paris by Ruth Yunker

Me, Myself & Paris is author Ruth Yunker's droll pastiche of her days, free and unaccompanied, in Paris. Three years in a row she rents an apartment, stays for six weeks, and takes on Paris, half resident, half visitor. She is a short attention span tourist, a wide-eyed voyeur, and irreverence saves the day when the chips are down. Her stories are about bonhomie and savoir-faire, American style, while treading the hallowed and slippery cobblestones of Paris.

It's about every day errands, and sorties into dutiful sightseeing. It's about run-ins with grocery store cashiers and metro ticket agents. It's about desperately trying to speak French. It's about attempting to emulate the chic, windblown Parisian woman wearing no lipstick, while Ruth wouldn't be caught bare lipped outside the boudoir.

She conquers the metro, no mean feat for a Californian glued to a car. She hears ghosts in cathedrals, and smells bread toasting every morning across the courtyard. She learns to make correct change without her reading glasses. Comes to understand that direct eye contact is a flagrant disregard of manners, even when she most needs a hug.

Me, Myself & Paris is what Paris looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like, to an American woman, free and unfettered, sense of humor and bonhomie alive and well, alone and loving it, in the most beautiful and temperamental city in the world.

Received from the author for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was utterly delightful!  It was humorous, touching, and thoroughly enjoyable!  My favorite stories were Eye Contact and Exact Change as anyone who has traveled abroad can especially appreciate them!  It was beautifully written so you felt as if you were right there with the author.  This charming book would also make a perfect gift!

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: In Sorrow All Our Days by Christopher Burns

Adam and Eve, the love story . . . Even now, in the small towns north of Boston, people can tell you about the week ten years ago when Feeney and his crazy friend Scooter kidnapped two women from a halfway house for the mentally ill and ran off into the first blizzard of winter, pursued by the hospital maintenance man and his half-wit nephew, by the police, of course, by art lovers and gallery owners, and by the media, baying about free-love hippie lunatics and the real meaning of the Garden of Eden. She was Marigold Jannsen, suicidal and brilliant, painting the first murals of her short and meteoric career. He was the mayor s grandson, a serious young man on his way to law school. And they were in love. Even now people can tell you how her wild, erotic paintings of Adam and Eve, left that week on the walls of abandoned buildings, sparked joy in some and religious outrage in others. How families put baskets of food out, hoping the loonies would choose their barn to hide in that night. How a mob of local men, angry and drunk, conspired to corner the runaways in a gypsy salvage yard down by the salt marsh, and burn them out like rats. And how the town, in all its shame, sought to atone for its crime by creating a monument of art so astonishing and miraculous that the lost, the lonely and the permanently distracted still make their way up the hill to be healed. Even now.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  The premise of this was just so different that I simply had to read it.  It was well written, engrossing story with a good flow that made it quite readable.  There was a vague pervading sense of sadness throughout which left me a little uncomfortable.  This was certainly more literature than light reading but if you're looking for a deeper sort of read, this would be perfect for you.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Giveaway: 250 Die Cut Business Cards, is allowing me to do the most fabulous giveaway! One winner will receive a set of 250 custom printed die cut business cards!

These are the perfect business cards for personal or business use, or blog advertising (think BEA 2011!).

Contest runs from September 21, 2010 to 11:59 PM EST September 29, 2010. Winner will be announced September 30, 2010. Open to residents of US ages 18 and over. No PO boxes.

Winner will receive:
  • 250 Die Cut Business Cards
  • 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.75 x 3.5” (slim card)
  • Die cutting options available: Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded One-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle
  • Paper Type: 14pt Cardstock Gloss, Matte, or High Gloss; 13pt Cardstock Uncoated
  • Color: 4Color Front, Blank Back; 4Color Front, Black Back; 4Color Both Sides
To enter:

Required Entry:

You must be a Google Friend connect follower of this blog, and leave me a comment on this post that says "I'm a Google Friend Connect Follower". Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Extra Entries:

  1. Follow me on Twitter, and leave me a comment on this post that says "Twitter Follower".
  2. Tweet this, by clicking the Tweet This button and come back here and leave me a comment with the link to the tweet. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  3. Blog about this contest and include a link to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your blog entry.
  4. Leave a comment on any other post (anything except another giveaway, i.e. reviews, interviews, Bored Now, etc.) and leave a comment here telling me which post you commented on. You can do this up to five times for five additional entries.
  5. Grab my button (in sidebar), post it on your blog, and leave me a comment with a link to your blog. If you already have my button, leave a comment telling me that.
  6. Visit The Animal Rescue Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  7. Visit The Rainforest Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
  8. Visit The Hunger Site, click the Click Here to Give - It's Free! button and come back here and leave me a comment telling me you clicked. (once daily, leave a new comment each time)
Post one comment for each entry.
Each comment must include your e-mail address.

Disclosure: As a gift for hosting this giveaway, will be sending me a set of 250 business cards as well.

Review: The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily, Ordinary First Day of School by Albert Lorenz

On the first day back to school from summer vacation, John is the new kid. When the librarian asks him if the school is any different from his last one, he begins a wildly imaginative story about what it was like. What follows are hilarious scenarios—his old school bus was a safari jeep pulled by wild creatures, the school was a castle, and the lunch menu included worms! His imagination wins him the attention and awe of his librarian and peers, setting the tone for a compelling story about conquering the fears of being a new kid, as well as the first-day jitters that many children experience.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  It was an amusing story, but not wonderful.  The illustrations were nice, but combined with the multiple speech bubbles and relatively large amount of text the pages felt a bit cluttered.  The Extraordinary Facts sidebars were genuinely interesting and I learned quite a bit.  This is certainly recommended if you're looking for a new or different type of children's book.

★★☆☆ = Liked It 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton, Ph.D.

EAT IT UP! incorporates a whole person, mind/body/spirit approach to prevent weight regain in the months and years following weight loss surgery. Each chapter explains obesity's negative impact and offers skills and strategies to overcome difficulties following surgery. Written with humor, compassion and a "firm and fair" approach, EAT IT UP! is a must-have for the millions who are obese or overweight. Regaining weight in the months and years following bariatric surgery is a devastating reality - one that can be prevented.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets two stars.  The religious (not spiritual) aspects were more than a bit disconcerting.  After I read the story about the author's "beloved" dog who was hit and killed by a garbage truck I just could not tolerate the author any longer.  How "beloved" could he have been if she left him run free in the street.  Not that beloved, that's for sure.  The author's "better than you" attitude also grated.  The author has clearly never been significantly overweight so she really cannot create a bond with the reader.  Frankly, I was just not impressed at all.  While some readers may find the information beneficial it felt to me rather like someone who has never driven a car trying to teach another to drive.  The book knowledge is there, but all the book knowledge in the world can't replace actual real life experience.  This may be worth a look, but I wouldn't rely on it as your sole source of information.

☆☆= Just Okay

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: The Enchanted Rope by David D. Bernstein

"The Enchanted Rope" is a fairy tale of one boy's journey into a fantasy world. Since his mom died Jack was a very sad boy. Then with the help of his magic rope he discovers he can visit his mom anytime he wants. 

"Jack stood there among the wildflowers and never ending fields of dreams. His Magic was missing one small red flower. He knew that his mom had kept it. Then a huge smile appeared on his face, and the Alaskin sun smiled back at him.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  This struck me as a strange story with a vaguely religious tone.  I'm just concerned that children may misinterpret the story and really try to build a magical rope.  The oddly fifties style illustrations of the mother wearing a dress and apron were appropriate for the target audience, but not ideal.  This is certainly worth a look if you know a child who has lost a loved one as the message of the book that you can always visit your lost loved ones inside your own heart was a nice one.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: Cooking with Healthy Girl by Mandy Potter

I started revising recipes a couple of years ago when I decided it was time to be as healthy as possible without the loss of the foods that I love. I did a lot of research on foods, nutrition, and the body to discover everything I could to enhance the recipes. Every time I create the healthy version of a recipe, I would follow these 6 points:

1. Healthy - decreasing the bad nutrients and increasing the good nutrients
2. Tasty - the recipe needs to taste the same or better
3. Good Portion Size - enough to make you fell full
4. Easy to Make - with two kids I have to make this quickly!!
5. Common/ Everyday Ingredients - ingredients you can buy at the local store and use until they are gone
6. Complete Dinner - pairing a side with an entree makes things a lot easier when trying to feed the family

As you will see with my recipes, I still use some of the staple ingredients that I used when I was cooking the unhealthy versions - I just change how much of those ingredients are used and how those ingredients are used. I also added many new staples to my kitchen that help change my recipes to the healthy version.

These recipes have helped change my family to a new and healthy lifestyle and I hope they do the same for yours.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was simply packed with lots of great recipes and tons of beautiful photographs to show them off.  I was happy to see the Zucchini Joes on page 57, as well as several other zucchini recipes since I always seem to have a glut of zucchini from the garden.  I'll also definitely be making the Beef and Pepper Stew.  It should make for a nice, hearty Fall meal.  Although I'm normally a full fat cooking girl, a la Barefoot Contessa, I really enjoyed this and came away with many new recipes to try.  Almost everyone can find something to try from this comprehensive cookbook.  I look forward to seeing more releases from this author.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: Public Schools are Archaic by Dr. M.R. Ussery


Every parent, politician and concerned citizen should read this book. Education hasn't changed much since Ben Franklin opened his Latin School. Each year, the system procreates itself as a carbon copy of what it did the year before.

21st Century public schools are inadequate for the modern world. Many say that we need deep educational reform. Our schools need fixin!


Confucius said "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

This point is very important in our search for the new school. We learn best by DOING!


In a typical public school classroom TIME is CONSTANT, and LEARNING is VARIABLE. Time allotted to learning a set body of information is one semester or term. Unfortunately it turns out that LEARNING is the VARIABLE because no two students digest the same amount of information at the same speed. Teachers spend a constant amount of pouring knowledge into student receptacles (brains). Students retain variable amounts of learning.

Our aim is to make LEARNING the constant and TIME as the variable.


In today's school environment, very few teachers have the time, knowledge or technical skills they'd need to produce individual systems of learning. Even fewer are equipped to develop high-tech educational media modules. Though most teachers are experts at operating in the present classroom environment, it takes technically trained writers to generate the kind of formal manuscript which would lead to the development of effective self-paced, individualized media modules.

Needless to say, we cannot put this kind of burden of development upon teachers. Their job is to manage learning, motivate students and inspire the next generation. That's why we must assign module development to media professionals. Then, these same professionals would train teachers in effective utilization.

I realize it will take more than lip service to persuade teachers of the benefits of using media modules. But I'm convinced that once they experience it for themselves, they'll realize the efficiency and effectiveness that individualized media modules will bring to their classroom. Most important of all, they'll be building bridges which lead our deserving students to their highest potential.


Business, industry, and government agencies are already using individualized, self-paced materials and methods very successfully. A few institutions of higher education are using these techniques in varying degrees. In a few places, this dynamic approach to learning has filtered down into primary, elementary and secondary schools. Evidence of successful results is overwhelming for those units incorporating proper design and implementation. 

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets two stars.  The author struck me as rather arrogant and believes that his way is the only way, which really grated on me.  The author's attitude, combined with the many words in bold really took away from what could have been an interesting book.  Some of the theories were interesting, but hardly viable on a large scale.  Overall, this as marginally interesting and could have been handled much, much better as it ended up being just plain annoying more than anything else.

☆☆= Just Okay

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide. 

In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.

This is the story of his life, lived large.

Received from the publisher for review.

I know I'm in the minority here, but I genuinely enjoy the author's work so I was really looking forward to this.  Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed as this was read by the author who, although he is British, has none of the char, voice, or flow that would keep you listening during the entire 17 plus hours required to finish the audiobook.  His voice is hypnotic, so this should probably not be listened to while driving either.

This one gets three stars.  If it were in book form this would receive four stars since the material itself was good, but the presentation left me unsatisfied.  Really, if the author wasn't reading his own material I would have thought that he was bored by reading it.  In short, the writing was good, the story itself good, but get it in book form.

★★☆☆ = Liked It 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub (audiobook)

Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"

In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.

And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come."

As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead."

With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.

Received from the publisher for review.

This was yet another author read train wreck. There are bad readers and then there is this guy. Really, after this aural bombardment, A.J. Jacobs sounds like Josh Groban! There are simply no words to describe his voice. Just imagine that boring physics professor you had who droned monotonously and left people in a drooling trance at the end of the hour. Then double that and you come close to this experience. Seriously, leave the reading to the professionals! Just step away from the microphone!

This one gets one star. I couldn't even focus on the material and message because the droning lulled me into a trance. I made it through half a disc before I just had to turn it off. Just don't do this one. Walk or click right on by. Your ears will thank you.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (audiobook)

In his first book, Tony Hsieh - the hip, iconoclastic, and widely-admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer - - explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos's Core Values ("Deliver WOW through Service"), and the reason why Zappos's number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else - great customer service, long-term branding - will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.

Received from the publisher for review.

Let me just start by saying that this was read by the author. Unfortunately, he ranks with A.J. Jacobs in the top ten authors who should never, ever read their own books.

This one gets one star. The author simply comes across as a bragging jerk. He begins the book by bragging about how he sold his first business for $265 million. I gather that this lovely tidbit was
supposed to be inspiring, but it just made me dislike him. He just came across as yet antihero clueless management idiot raking in the profits while the people actually doing the work get paid minimum
wage. His Jack Canfield "I'm better than you." attitude was simply intolerable. The only thing I did like was that the guy actually wrote the book and didn't use a ghost writer as 99.9% of other celebrity "writers". The bottom line is that if you can get past the grating attitude and you're looking for a sleep aid, skip you Ambien and turn this on. You'll be asleep in minutes.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It

Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: Black Hills by Dan Simmons (audiobook)

Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, first encounters General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at Little Bighorn. He believes--as do the holy men of his tribe--that the legendary general's ghost entered him at that moment and will remain with him until Sapa convinces him to leave.

In BLACK HILLS, Dan Simmons weaves the stories of Paha Sapa and Custer together seamlessly, depicting a violent and tumultuous time in the history of Native Americans and the United States Army. Haunted by the voice of the general his people called "Long Hair," Paha Sapa lives a long life, driven by a dramatic vision he experiences in the Black Hills that are his tribe's homeland. As an explosives worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, he may finally be rid of his ghosts--on the very day FDR comes to South Dakota to dedicate the Jefferson face.

Received from the publisher for review.

This gets one star. It was just too boring for words. I could barely keep my eyes open while listening to it. The almost twenty one hours was entirely too long for sanity. I barely made it past the first chapter. The readers were just nit interesting in the least. It was almost as if they were whispering. I found it creepy and weird, and frankly annoying. There is a slight chance that this might be better in book form, but I wouldn't hold out high hopes.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (audiobook)

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Received from the publisher for review.

Really, this more appropriately qualifies for a Bored Now post rather than a review, but alas, here is my review.

This one gets two stars. This bizarre premise was just entirely too far fetched. There was certainly no Buffy here! It was dark, depressing, and really rather annoying. I just kept thinking "Oh my god, this is SO boring." The only positive thing I can find to say is that reader was a good fit for the material. I doubt this would be any better in print so I'd recommend a complete pass on this one.

☆☆= Just Okay

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review: Scapegoat: Targeted for Blame by Dr. Clifton Wilcox

In scapegoating one thing is clear. The individual, group, or object that is deemed the scapegoat had been perceived as the cause of the troubling circumstances and has become the target of aggression. Scapegoating is the quintessential example of a ritual practice that magically shapes the natural world The scapegoat's sacrifice enables the group to live another day and indelibly makes the survivors a tighter-knit group.

 Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  This was certainly comprehensive and clearly written.  The readability was hindered somewhat by the numerous footnotes compiled at the end of each chapter instead of the end of the book.  The author also approached the subject in a manner I had not been previously exposed to.  It felt almost like a college course on the topic condensed into a single volume.  I can't say that this was a particularly enjoyable read, topic wise, but it was certainly informative.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Post: Tosca Reno and Stacy Baker authors of Your Best Body Now

Tosca Reno and Stacy Baker, authors of the book Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way, stopped by to share with us a piece they wrote.

7 Tips to Start Your Best Body Now
by Tosca Reno with Stacy Baker,
Authors of Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way

Because I'm in the spotlight and in front of the cameras so often, readers often ask how I manage to look so young. While great food and fitness habits are fundamental to looking youthful and radiant, we can all use a few tweaks to our routine.

1) PURGE YOUR COSMETIC BAG, DRAWERS AND CLOSETS. Old makeup can be contaminated with bacteria. Throw out opened products more than a year old -- or three months for mascara. Most skin care products, such as night creams and sunscreen, have an expiration date on the packaging.

2) CARRY YOUR ESSENTIALS. Carol keeps her five basics in her bathroom, purse, travel bag and gym tote so she can easily transform in five minutes or less. Even just a swipe of gloss or mascara midday can rejuvenate how you look and feel. I buy duplicates of these five basics and stash one set in my purse, one in my home and one at the office.

3) FIND AN ARTIST. Carol recommends using the resources around you, which includes finding an expert at a beauty store or spa in your area. She can work with you to help you use products you have or teach you to apply what you've bought. All you need is one session and then you can go back seasonally for updates on new products, techniques, brushes or shades.

Most women have colors that resonate with them. If you're more comfortable with peach tones, start there because you're more likely to stick with a routine you're confident with. Also, rid your cosmetic bag of shades that no longer work for your skin tone or lifestyle. You can explore new shades or products once you're into a regular beauty habit you like.

5) INVEST IN A GOOD PALETTE. Many brands design their makeup palettes with the idea that the eye shadow and blush colors can be mixed and matched together for easy and coordinated application. Find one palette you like and experiment with the shades -- it's a great place to start to feel more comfortable with trying new colors or techniques.

6) PERFECT A SMOKY EYE. Even though the smoky eye you see in movies and on television and in magazines seems unattainable, it can be really simple to do -- and it's a great way to feel sexy at any age. It's easiest to start with a palette because your highlighter, lid shades and contour shades are all included. All you'll need in addition is liner and mascara. The easy how-to:
  • Apply the lightest highlighter shade from brow to lash to create a canvas.
  • Use the middle shade -- whether smoke, taupe, brown or gray -- over the eyelid, then blend it into the crease softly and then toward the outer corner. Softly wing out to elongate the eye.
  • Smudge the darkest shade from halfway on the lid to the outer corner and out at the edge to add depth and darkness.
  • Use the dark shade to smudge under lower lashes as liner.
  • Line top lash line with black liner and smudge. Finish with mascara and light peach, pink, or nude lips
7) FIND THE PERFECT NATURAL LIP COLOR. Look for liners and lipsticks in colors no deeper than a shade darker than your own for the quintessential natural look. Carol loves this look with the smoky eye in the evenings, and it works for day when you need a touch of color.

The above is an excerpt from the book Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way by Tosca Reno with Stacy Baker. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Tosca Reno with Stacy Baker, authors of Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way

About the book:

Bestselling author Tosca Reno knows exactly how you feel. She went from being a flabby, 200+ pound woman to a slim and sexy fitness expert—all past the age of 40! Now, for the first time ever, she reveals her secrets to looking better every year. Using the simple, Eat-Clean principles that have helped millions lose weight and featuring all-new advice from Tosca and her team of top experts, discover how you, too, can:

· Boost your metabolism to burn fat fast
· Turn back the clock and age-proof your body
· Look and feel younger than you have in years
· Create your best body—now!

About the authors:

Tosca Reno, B.Sc., B.Ed., author of Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way, is the bestselling author of the Eat-Clean Diet® book franchise, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. A magazine columnist and fitness model, she has spent the past decade putting her principle of health, fitness and wellness in motion in her own life, and sharing her proven plans with readers through her books, regular columns in Oxygen and Clean Eating® magazines and media appearances. She has appeared on Good Morning AmericaFox & FriendsExtra and The Doctors, among others.

Visit her at and and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Stacy Baker, coauthor of Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way, is a health and fitness writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Self, Shape, Fitness, InStyle, Women's Health, Family Circle, Prevention and more. 

Review: Objects of Our Affections by by Lisa Tracy

After their mother’s death, Lisa Tracy and her sister, Jeanne, are left to contend with several households’ worth of furniture and memorabilia, much of it accumulated during their family’s many decades of military service in far-flung outposts from the American frontier to the World War Two–era Pacific. In this engaging and deeply moving book, Tracy chronicles the wondrous interior life of those possessions and discovers that the roots of our passion for acquisition often lie not in shallow materialism but in our desire to possess the most treasured commodity of all: a connection to the past.

What starts as an exercise in information gathering designed to boost the estate’s resale value at auction evolves into a quest that takes Lisa Tracy from her New Jersey home to the Philippines and, ultimately, back to the town where she grew up. These travels open her eyes to a rich family history characterized by duty, hardship, honor, and devotion—qualities embodied in the very items she intends to sell. Here is an inventory unlike any other: silver gewgaws, dueling pistols that once belonged to Aaron Burr (no, not those pistols), a stately storage chest from Boxer Rebellion–era China, providentially recovered family documents, even a chair in which George Washington may or may not have sat—each piece cherished and passed down to Lisa’s generation as an emblem of who her forebears were, what they had done, and where they had been. Each is cataloged here with all the richness and intimacy that only a family member could bring to the endeavor.

“Even as we know we should be winnowing, we’re wallowing,” observes Lisa Tracy in one of her characteristically trenchant observations about America’s abiding obsession with “stuff.” A paean to the pack rat in us all, Objects of Our Affection offers an offbeat and intriguing mix of cultural anthropology, Antiques Roadshow Americana, and military history and lore, as well as a thoughtful meditation on the emotional resonance of objects—what they mean and the oh-so-fascinating stories they tell.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets three stars.  Despite the unfortunate rather small print, this was an interesting look into what we all experience at one time - the packing up of a loved one's home after a loss.  Of course, this is the WASP version, complete with their upper middle class accoutrements, but it was nonetheless interesting.  The dozens of photos of the items discussed were a nice addition to the text.  At the end, I was left feeling vaguely irritated by the author's flaunting of her family's wealth and status.  If you can get past the money issue, it's worth a read.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: Snow Day by Billy Coffey

In this debut novel, Peter is a simple man who lives by a simple truth--a person gains strength by leaning on his constants. To him, those constants are the factory where he works, the family he loves, and the God who sustains him. But when news of job cuts comes against the backdrop of an unexpected snowstorm, his life becomes filled with far more doubts than certainties.

With humor and a gift for storytelling, Billy Coffey brings you along as he spends his snow day encountering family, friends, and strangers of his small Virginia town. All have had their own battles with life's storms. Some have found redemption. Others are still seeking it. But each one offers a piece to the puzzle of why we must sometimes suffer loss, and each one will help Peter find a greater truth--our lives are made beautiful not by our big moments, but our little ones.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets two stars.  It was quite readable, like listening to a friend tell you a story.  I was mildly intrigued by the book until the rant on why saying "Happy Holidays" was offensive to Christians.  That just really disturbed me - and not in the pro "Merry Christmas" way.  The messages presented were, at times, valuable and told well.  What kept this from three stars, for me, was the pervasive religiosity of it.  The rah-rah "Yea for Christians!  Down to everyone else!" attitude was more than a bit grating.

☆☆= Just Okay

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Waxed by Robert Rave

Waxed is the story of three relationship-challenged sisters working together at New York’s hottest waxing salon, catering to socialites, actresses, and regular folk alike.

Yank. On the surface, glamorous Carolina Impresario—-big sister and owner of Impresarios—-unapologetically wants it all, but secretly she is caught between her successful boyfriend and the only man she has ever truly loved.

Pluck. After a painful divorce, middle sister Anna reluctantly reenters the workforce and puts on a brave face while attempting to raise her children, one of whom is decidedly different.

Tear. Newlywed Sofia is a hybrid of her two older sisters: She loves the idea of a domestic life like Anna’s, but is entranced by New York nightlife and a new best friend, resulting in some major complications at home.

Amid the sticky confines of a perfectly manicured world, these three sisters search for love, friendship, and better versions of themselves.

Waxed is a funny and heartfelt novel that illustrates the lengths to which some women will go to present a seemingly flawless exterior, even when it involves pain. . . .

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets four stars. It was very readable with a great flow.The delicious shallowness makes it a perfect beach read. Think Sex and the City if the characters actually had to work real jobs.  This is  definitely recommended if you're looking for something light and quick.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Nito's Tale by Judith M. Newton

A fun book to show kids how assistance dogs are trained and what they do.

Received from the author for review.

The only things I really know about assistance dogs are from Dean Koontz's stories about his dog Trixie who was a retired assistance dog so I'm certainly no expert on the subject.

This one gets three stars. While I don't particularly agree with the use of dogs as work animals, the book was cute and informative for children. The adorable illustrations by Sue Blackburn added nicely to the text.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Review: Because All is Not Lost by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

We have all lost a dear one at some point in our lives. Grief, depending on the relationship with the one deceased, affects us differently. I feel my Dada and Mausi's absence every single day for disparate reasons. But these two losses have taught me that their time had come. And that life is about celebrating those alive and not just mourning those who have moved on. Optimism and faith are the keys to overcoming the roadblocks life puts in our way.

This book tries to state that there is always hope for anyone coping with grief. No one can tell us exactly how; the voyage has to be undertaken by each of us individually.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  I don't usually do poetry after the horrors of college English courses, but this sounded intriguing and I was pleasantly surprised.  This was, of course, sad yet also curiously uplifting.  The slim volume, of just 24 pages, is certainly recommended for fans of the genre.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: Purrsnikitty by Kathy Brodsky

I'm a very special cat! I say that every day - I love myself so very much and always get my way. Cat lovers young and old know these words ring true. They all agree, "Yes, that's my cat!" If you love cats, you'll laugh and sigh with each page of Purrsnikitty.

Received from the author for review.

This one gets four stars.  It is an adorable children's book with cute illustrations.  The cat was actually modeled on a real cat named Charlie, who won the author's contest to find the star of the book.  This was completely charming and cat lovers will find it absolutely perfect as it genuinely captures the attitudes of cats!  This would make a lovely gift for cat lovers with children!

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review: Worst Case by James Patterson and James Ledwidge (audiobook)

One by one, children of New York's wealthiest are taken hostage. But the criminal doesn't crave money or power--he only wants to ask the elite if they know the price others pay for their luxurious lifestyles. And, if they don't, he corrects their ignorance--by killing them.

To Detective Michael Bennett, it becomes clear that these murders are linked and must be part of a greater, more public demonstration. With the city thrown into chaos, he is forced to team up with FBI agent Emily Parker, and the two set out to capture the killer before he begins his most public lesson yet--a deadly message for the entire city to witness.

From the bestselling author who brought you the Alex Cross novels comes James Patterson's most action-packed series yet. With the heart-pounding suspense that only Patterson delivers, WORST CASE will leave you gasping for breath until the very end.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets two stars.  The incredibly distracting sound effects throughout distracted from the story although even the cast of excellent readers could not make the story tolerable enough to sit through the scant six hours required to finish this.  I had to abandon this midway through the first disc.  I'm sure this would be decent as a book, but as an audio it failed miserably.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review: True Compass by Edward Kennedy (Audiobook)

Edward M. Kennedy is widely regarded as one of the great Senators in the nation's history. He is also the patriarch of America's most heralded family. In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Senator Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candor about his extraordinary life.

The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. As a young man, he played a key role in the presidential campaign of his brother, John F. Kennedy. In 1962, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he learned how to become an effective legislator.

His life has been marked by tragedy and perseverance, a love for family and an abiding faith. He writes movingly of his brothers and their influence on him; his years of struggle in the wake of their deaths; his marriage to the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; his role in the major events of our time (from the civil rights movement to the election of Barack Obama); and how his recent diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor has given even greater urgency to his long crusade for improved health care for all Americans.

Written with warmth, wit, and grace, True Compass is Edward M. Kennedy's inspiring legacy to readers and to history.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  Unfortunately the he reader had a rather wearying voice.  Of course, the fact that the book spanned 17 discs and nearly 19 hours also had a bit to do with it.  The length was off putting, but it was a genuinely interesting autobiography.  I didn't know much about the author before I listened to the book so I really didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.  This fascinating look into one of the most powerful families in the U.S. should be enjoyed by Kennedy fans and history buffs alike.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Friday, September 3, 2010

Review: Mannie's Diet and Enzyme Formula by Emanuel Barling and Ashley Brooks

At one time, "eating healthy" meant eating fruits and vegetables from the Food Pyramid charts posted on classroom walls and doctors' offices since the early 1950s. We both thought we were eating healthy foods until we started becoming ill. We soon learned that our so-called healthy foods were polluted with pesticides, preservatives and dangerous food additives. While you may think that you are eating a healthy diet, you will soon learn that many of your food choices are polluted.

All humans are distinctly different and there is no perfect diet that works for everyone. Our goal is to teach you to create your own elimination-style diet based upon testing and charting your meals using our suggestions. We help you identify food intolerances, allergies and eliminate toxic ingredients while creating a safe list of foods specific to you. We include organic recipes, planned menus and charts of purines (uric acid) contained in foods that affect your pH balance. We do not suggest that you radically change the foods that you eat. Rather we suggest you switch your choices to organic choices of the same foods you are already eating.

Mannie's Diet also focuses on the importance of natural enzyme supplements. You can effectively stop, minimize or control the effects of inflammation leading to illness and disease by taking natural enzyme supplements. Mannie's Diet and Enzyme Formula are neither expensive nor burdensome.

The goal of our books is to help change a person's lifestyle to prevent arthritis, gout, Crohn's, IBD, IBS, heart disease, cancer, liver, kidney ailments and other illnesses and diseases caused by inflammation, allergy, intolerance or genetic predisposition. We believe based upon our experiences that Mannie's Diet and Enzyme Formula are the ultimate in preventive medicine.

We cite more than 1,500 medical treatises, journals, surveys, tests and periodicals in the References section of this book in support of our facts, theories and opinions. You can look up every theory and opinion and read the source material yourself.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars.  It was certainly comprehensive but that led to it being a bit of a tome with a very hefty, textbook feel.  There was a great deal of interesting information packed into the pages but it could be a bit dry to read.  The dietary adjustments and enzyme suggestions can be rather extreme but may be beneficial for some.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. From the Big Bang to the end of time, it's all in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON.

Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets four stars.  It had a great feel and flow with a quite readable style.  The chapters are short enough to be read in a single sitting which is a nice bonus.  Despite the subject matter the tone is not in the least condescending.  My favorite chapters were The Poisoner's Corridor and Elements as Money.  I was pleasantly surprised that I genuinely learned quite a bit from the book.  This would make a nice gift and is certainly recommended for those even minutely scientifically inclined.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown

Once there were two color kittens with green eyes, Brush and Hush . . .So goes the rollicking tale of two pouncy kittens who make all the colors in the world. First published more than 50 years ago, this much-requested title is now available as a Little Golden Book Classic, with its original cover!

From the library.

I happened to see this at the library and snapped it up immediately for the 2010 Cat Book Challenge!

This one gets five stars.  I remembered loving this as a child and it was no less wonderful this time around.  This was seriously one of my top three favorites of childhood (along with the Paddington books and The Wind in the Willows).  Hush and Brush were simply adorable and the story charming.  The illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen just added to the text wonderfully.  Although it is obviously aimed at younger children it is still perfectly lovely and is definitely highly recommended.

★★★★★ = Loved It

Review: Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown

Curiosity just might be the death of Mrs. Murphy--and her human companion, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. Small towns are like families: Everyone lives very close together. . .and everyone keeps secrets. Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder. Crozet's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back. Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues. Meanwhile, Harry is conducting her own investigation, unaware her pets are one step ahead of her. If only Mrs. Murphy could alert her somehow, Harry could uncover the culprit before the murder occurs--and before Harry finds herself on the killer's mailing list.

From the library.

I picked this up for the 2010 Cat Book Challenge since Mrs. Murphy, one of the main characters, was a cat.

This one gets three stars. Overall it wad rather good, but the whole Southern aspect of bashing "Yankees" and referring to the "War of Northern Aggression" (keep in mind that this was published in the 1990s) wore very thin very fast. The story itself was good, but I'm going to stick with my New England and English mysteries. I don't need to be repeatedly offended by my pleasure reading material. Tucker and Mrs. Murphy were nice additions to the basic amateur detective story recipe. Southern cat lovers should enjoy, but apparently Northern ones need not apply. The author appears to be so well sold that she can alienate Northern readers at will. So, if you live north of Pennsylvania, don't bother reading this.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Review: True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You

The first look at the philosophical issues behind Charlaine Harris's New York Times bestsellers The Southern Vampire Mysteries and the True Blood television series

Teeming with complex, mythical characters in the shape of vampires, telepaths, shapeshifters, and the like, True Blood, the popular HBO series adapted from Charlaine Harris's bestselling The Southern Vampire Mysteries, has a rich collection of themes to explore, from sex and romance to bigotry and violence to death and immortality. The goings-on in the mythical town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, where vampires satiate their blood lust and openly commingle with ordinary humans, present no shortages of juicy metaphysical morsels to sink your teeth into.

Now True Blood and Philosophy calls on the minds of some of history's great thinkers to perform some philosophical bloodletting on such topics as Sookie and the metaphysics of mindreading; Maryann and sacrificial religion; werewolves, shapeshifters and personal identity; vampire politics, evil, desire, and much more.

  • The first book to explore the philosophical issues and themes behind the True Blood novels and television series
  • Adds a new dimension to your understanding of True Blood characters and themes
  • The perfect companion to the start of the third season on HBO and the release of the second season on DVD
Smart and entertaining, True Blood and Philosophy provides food—or blood—for thought, and a fun, new way to look at the series.

True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

Received from the publicist for review.

Although I have yet to read any of the book I am a (non-rabid) fan of the show and found this quite interesting.

This one gets four stars.  It brought up a number of really intriguing topics such as human/vampire interactions, when to turn a human, sex with vampires, and religion.  While this was a bit on the intellectual side it was a genuinely thought provoking look into the dynamics of Sookie's world and the characters who live there.  I was quite impressed with the breadth of topics covered and the detail of each essay, as well. This would make an interesting gift for any True Blood fan.  Perhaps the publisher should also send a copy to the Playboy Mansion since Crystal and Hef are True Blood fans!

★★★★ = Really Liked It