Monday, December 20, 2010

Giveaway: Lastingness by Nicholas Delbanco

America grows older yet stays focused on its young. Whatever hill we try to climb, we're "over" it by fifty and should that hill involve entertainment or athletics we're finished long before. But if younger is better, it doesn't appear that youngest is best: we want our teachers, doctors, generals, and presidents to have reached a certain age. In context after context and contest after contest, we're more than a little conflicted about elders of the tribe; when is it right to honor them, and when to say "step aside"?

In LASTINGNESS, Nicholas Delbanco, one of America's most celebrated men of letters, profiles great geniuses in the fields of visual art, literature, and music-Monet, Verdi, O'Keeffe, Yeats, among others - searching for the answers to why some artists' work diminishes with age, while others' reaches its peak. Both an intellectual inquiry into the essence of aging and creativity and a personal journey of discovery, this is a brilliant exploration of what determines what one needs to do to keep the habits of creation and achievement alive.



Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have two copies to give away!


Contest ends 11:59 PM EST January 8, 2011. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:
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Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winner: Blackboard Books Boxed Set

The winner of the Blackboard Books Boxed Set from FSB Associates is:


nfmgirl

Congratulations!

Thank you to all who entered!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pre-Review: CSN Stores

After much deliberation I decided to review the Cuisinart CCP-10 Electric Cookie Press from CSN's Cookware.com.  I always bake a ton of cookies for the holidays and have always wanted a cookie press and to find an electric one is just a bonus!  I can't wait to receive it and put it to work!



Make more cookies in less time with the Electric Cookie Press from Cuisinart. This easy-to-use press turns out professional-looking cookies in minutes! There are 12 cookie discs to choose from, including special seasonal patterns, as well as 8 designer pastry tips for decorating cookies and desserts or filling pasta shells, deviled eggs or pastries. Automatic one-touch operation and an ergonomic handle make this press easy and comfortable to work with.









Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Release Update: Traction by Gino Wickman

You may remember that I reviewed Traction by Gino Wickman back in April and I just wanted to update you that it is being released as a trade paperback in January so its message will be available to a wider audience.  Here's my review again in case you missed it the first time.  :)



Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars. While the book does have quite a bit of heft when holding it and the print is on the small side, it was packed with valuable information. This clearly, but not quite concisely, discussed each of the six components of the system (Vision, People, Data, Issues, Processes, and Traction) and then brings them all together in a final chapter. The Organizational Checkup quiz at the beginning was a nice tool to determine your starting point as well. This was certainly not a light read, but it would make for wise and informative, while not quite pleasurable, reading for any entrepreneur desiring to make his or her business all it can be.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: GoD and DoG by Wendy Francisco

GOD AND DOG is a phenomenon. First appearing on YouTube, the video of Wendy Francisco's charming animated illustrations and moving song tells of the unconditional love of both God and Dog.

With over 2 million YouTube viewings to date, Francisco's story appeals to all ages, to animal enthusiasts, to people of religious persuasions, and especially to anyone who has been loved by a dog.

Now in book format, Wendy's touching narrative will be expanded on through additional lyrics, illustrations, photographs and some of the powerful mail that is continually being sent to Francisco.


Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets one star.  Frankly I was not impressed.  I was not "touched" or "moved", but simply annoyed.  I have no idea why this tiny little book that could be read in about 2 minutes was even made into a book, let alone a hardcover that is priced at $10.99.  Just say no.  Seriously, not even as a stocking stuffer.
 
☆☆ = Didn't Like It



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Giveaway: Blackboard Books Boxed Set

The first three titles in the Blackboard Books series are now available in an attractive box set! Test your knowledge on all subjects, from English Lit to Western Civ, from Grammar to Idioms, from Physics to Math and so much more. Inside you'll find:

i before e (except after c):
old-school ways to remember stuff In this clever-and often hilarious-collection, you'll find engaging mnemonics, arranged in easy to find categories that include geography, time and the calendar, numbers, and astronomy. Perfect for students of all ages!

My Grammar and I...Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right Avoid grammatical minefields with this entertaining refresher course for anyone who has ever been stumped by spelling confusion, dangling modifiers, split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are.

I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot from School
Take a trip down memory lane with this light-hearted and informative reminder of the many things we learned in school that have been forgotten over time, from Shakespeare and diphthongs to quotients, phalanges, and protons. After all, as Stantayana reminds us, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."


Thanks to FSB Associates I have one set to give away!


Contest ends 11:59 PM EST December 18, 2010. Open to residents of US only. No PO boxes.

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.

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  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)
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Post one comment for each entry.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Oogy by Larry Levin

In the bestselling tradition of Rescuing Sprite comes the story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.

In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen—one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue—ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home. 

Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.


Received from the publisher for review.

My favorite quote from the book was:

Oogy simply had no idea that he was a being separate and apart from the boys. In his view, he shared his life with them, and therefore there was never a doubt that they shared their lives with him.


This one gets four stars. Yes, it does deal with some heartbreaking material that brings you to tears, but it is a simply beautiful story about the power of love. You could really tell that Oogy and his family loved each other completely. The adorable pictures of Oogy and the family at the end of each chapter just illustrated their love. This is highly recommended for any animal lover.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: Too Rich and Too Thin by Barbara DeShong

Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident. 

Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn't your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy, will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.

Your journey opens when Jessica is summoned to profile the killer who drove a spike through the heart of the notorious Bernice Jackson. Jessica is more than a little excited. Not because Bernice Jackson is dead, but because Bernice who'd soared to fame and wealth by shamelessly re-writing treasured historical events into wildly successful soft-porn novels and movies was a psychiatry patient of her husband's at the time of his death.

You see, Jessica is convinced her husband was murdered to bury a secret revealed in therapy. Since watching him dragged from the bottom of Lake Austin a Hilton receipt and another woman s wedding rings in his pocket Jessica has been a little crazy, obsessing over his files, even stalking patients with dodgy reputations.

The police dismiss her claims, leaving Jessica on her own to land your Texas tour smack in the middle of the bizarre movie-making family starring a doped up basket case son, a daughter on a death wish eating binge, and the ghost of Bernice Jackson who'd pushed her obsession with seeing herself as young and beautiful beyond any psychotic dream. 


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets two stars. Unfortunately, the text was rather small and tightly packed which quickly translated to eyestrain. The story was well written with a good flow and had an interesting plot, but the sheer length of the book (over 300 pages) made it a bit wearying. I wanted to like this, I really did. It sounded so interesting, but it just wasn't for me. I didn't really connect with the characters so there was no emotional hold to the book for me which it made it much easier to dismiss the book than if the connection had been there. I just didn't care about what happened to the characters. Perhaps if you enjoy complex mysteries set in Texas this would be for you.

☆☆= Just Okay



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: Sex & Love at Midlife by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D.

Is it really better than ever? Now that the children have grown and you have plenty of time on your hands, do you find that the love and intimacy is still as strong as ever or has it gone from your life?

In this honest, down-to-earth volume, Bernie Zilbergeld, well-known sex therapist and author of The New Male Sexuality (over 100,000 copies sold), draws on his many years of clinical experience to explain why we should be enjoying our love making and our intimacy even more as we mature. Replete with stories and anecdotes that present a variety of tools and techniques to help us develop the kind of openness we desire, he honestly tells us why age is no barrier to a better and more rewarding sex life.

It is a fact that as we mature, our sexual drives mature as well, but it is also a fact that while you may slow down and your lovemaking may be different, that doesn't mean that the quality has to be lower or your pleasure less. Meticulously researched, Dr. Zilbergeld presents evidence that a good number of men and women are having great sex in both their long and short-term relationships.


Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars. It was no Laura Berman, but it was still good. Since it was written by a man it is perhaps a bit more for the male population. The rather lengthy interview excerpts were a bit tedious after a while, but informative. Overall, if you'd like to read about 40+ sex from a male perspective this is the book for you. Female readers may glean some insights but I'd really recommend a female author for them.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review: Side Effects: Death by John Virapen

"Side Effects: Death" is the true story of corruption, bribery and fraud written by Dr. John Virapen, who has been called THE Big Pharma Insider. During his 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry internationally (most notably as general manager of Eli Lilly and Company in Sweden), Virapen was responsible for the marketing of several drugs, all of them with side effects.

Now, Virapen is coming clean and telling all of the little secrets you were never intended to know!

Received from the author for review.

Some of the most interesting tidbits I discovered in the book were:

Did you know that large pharmaceutical corporations spend about $35,000 - $40,000 per year and per practicing doctor to persuade them to prescribe their products?

Maybe you've already noticed, new illnesses appear in the media, that nobody has ever heard of before and nobody you know has ever had. Then, brand new drugs quickly appear, helping to relieve the symptoms of these very illnesses, which nobody ever had before.

This one gets four stars. It was extremely informative and well written. I knew that the pharmaceutical industry was dirty, but this detailed look into their practices frankly sickened me. The book clearly discusses many well known drugs such as Vioxx and Prozac which should be extremely interesting for the many people taking those drugs. I found it especially appalling that the side effects listed in the book for Prozac included "suicidal thoughts" and "suicide"! Seriously, how a pill with a side effect of suicide is even on the market just illustrates how corrupt the system is! This clear, concise book is a must read for anyone concerned about pharmaceutical corruption and repercussions in his or her own family.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: K 9 Heroes by Nicole Arbelo

K-9 Heroes presents stories of courage and duty, friendship and family, loss and love, as told by the men and women serving with Military Working Dogs, whose tasks include scouting, search and rescue, and the detection of explosives. Families and friends remember the servicemen and women, and their dogs, who gave their lives in their country's service, as well as presenting a vivid picture of the life and adventures of a K9 handler. The book is lavishly illustrated with over 100 photographs.


Received from the author for review.

As an animal lover I was extremely hesitant to read this. I have strong feelings about using domestic animals in so-called "work" situations. I was certainly pleasantly surprised though.

This one gets four stars. It was alternately sad and happy, yet always beautifully told. On every page you could feel the respect, and perhaps what they would call "love" the soldiers feel for their canine companions. The almost 100 photographs clearly show the bond between the dogs and humans. This is perhaps not the best choice for animal lovers as some situations are disturbing, but it is still a worthwhile read. It is certainly recommended for those interested in the K-9 Handler military program.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pre-Review: CSN Stores



You may remember that I have done a couple reviews form CSN Stores and loved the bookcase they sent me last August!  They offered me another great opportunity to review one of their awesome products!  Since they offer virtually everything (from bookcases and rugs and TV tables to bedroom furniture to cookware!) in their 200+ stores I'm still pondering my options.
 
I absolutely love this Paula Deen Snowman Mold which would be perfect for baking holiday cookies!






I also love this Tivlum-Scanbirk Spectrum 46" Bookcase and CD Tower which would perfectly match my other bookcase.


There are just so many choices!  I'm like a kid in a candy shop!  I'm definitely going to browsing for quite some time to select my item!  As soon as I make a decision and it arrives I'll be posting back about my experience!



Review: Boomergeddon by James A. Bacon

Driven by uncontrolled deficit spending, a mounting national debt and rising interest rates on that debt, the U.S. government will go into default within the next 20 to 30 years. The resulting crisis will change the political landscape beyond recognition. It will mean the end of American empire, and it will shred the retirement safety net for tens of millions of Boomers and the generations that follow. "Boomergeddon" details how runaway health care costs and a global shift from capital surplus to capital shortages will create a death spiral of mounting national debt, rising interest rates and soaring debt payments. The author also explains how partisan gridlock and the power of the entrenched political class in Washington, D.C., will thwart the painful changes needed to return the country to fiscal sustainability. The final chapters give Boomers a primer on how to survive Boomergeddon and, if they want to undertake the herculean task, how to avert it.


Received from the author for review.

The most enlightening tidbit I gleaned from this was that if the US only adopted the fair tax system they could increase revenue by $350 billion. Just from that single change.

This one gets four stars. Despite the incredibly depressing subject matter this was a fascinating dissection of the situation and what can be done to fix it. Of course, as we all know, none of the suggestions will ever be taken. We live in the only industrialized nation without national health care for goodness sake! Like so many before it, this is a lovely, coherent, perfectly applicable system but it will never be implemented. Just knowing the information and that the relatively simple fixes are available but are actively being ignored left me more depressed than when I started the book. Although the information is for Baby Boomers people of all ages should read this - especially if you're delusional enough to think that you'll ever get back a single cent of the money you've paid into Social Security.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Author Q&A: Susie Fishbein author of Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings

Susie Fishbein, author of Kosher by Design:  Teens and 20-Somethings, stopped by for a Q&A.



You've produced six bestselling cookbooks in less than ten years. Was this what you had in mind when you started?

Not at all. But the response from the early adopters of Kosher by Design was so enthusiastic, I just kept going. My family and friends were very encouraging, as well. And the world of kosher food has shifted dramatically in the last decade. We have choices today that would have been unthinkable ten years ago, with world class kosher wines, kosher sausages, kosher gelatin, and many new kosher ingredients. Also, we have a proliferation of fine kosher restaurants which have influenced how people cook and entertain at home.


Your latest project focuses on teens and 20-somethings. Why this group?

There are really two groups in this demographic. There is the segment that subsists mostly on fast food, whose idea of home cooking is a store-bought entree warmed in the microwave. I want to widen their choices. Then there's another segment that is really into cooking, that has a more developed and health-conscious approach to eating. This group is more aware of ingredients, portions, nutrition, and actually reads packaging labels. I've observed firsthand that this is true of boys as well as girls. They are looking for new recipes and new approaches to eating. I also have in mind the college student cooking in a dorm or a first apartment. I considered the adventurous teen who wants to have friends over for something more substantial than pizza and pretzels. More personally, I have teens in the kitchen now. Their tastes have changed; they and their friends are more sophisticated. You should see what my kids can create in our kitchen! My recipe designs are crafted with all these in mind, as well as the adults who cook for them.


So this cook isn't just limited to the young, aspiring home chef?

Not at all. Over-30's will find great ideas in Teens and 2-Somethings. And if you are a parent who cooks for this age group, you'll be very happy because they'll love the diverse cuisine - not to mention that all the older adults I've surveyed said that they would use this cookbook for their regular meal planning as well.


From looking at your previous cookbooks, it seems you like an international mix of recipes. Does that carry through in Teens and 2-Somethings?

I simply write about what I like to eat. I like to keep things fresh and exciting in the kitchen. I look for inspiring ideas from countries that have interesting cuisine. I take an eclectic approach and end up with fun combinations. Imagine coming home to a dinner made by your college student, featuring Mexican Pizza Empanadas, Creamy Gnocchi Pesto Salad, Thai Chicken Burgers, Hoisin Vegetables, and finishing with a Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust. There are dozens of suggestions here to "eat your way around the world".


It's an odd question but how "Jewish" is this kosher cookbook?

As you'll notice with Kosher by Design Short on Time, Teens and 20-Somethings is not a thematically Jewish cookbook, though many of the recipes are great for Shabbat and holiday meals. Among the 100 new recipes, few are discernibly Jewish (OK - the Hot Pretzel Challah, perhaps - and there is a good recipe for traditional Chicken Soup). You'll find some pretty tantalizing American-style dishes such as Turkey Sliders, Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast, Tater Tot Casserole, and Tie-Dye Cookie. But they are all kosher.


How labor-intensive are these recipes?

They were designed for young people in minimally-equipped kitchens - like a dorm room or a first apartment. They are simple, quick, fun to prepare, and really delicious. While these reaps are really for anyone anywhere, we've prepared them with a specific demographic in mind that has shown a keen interest in eating and learning about cooking.


Is this the last installment in the Kosher by Design series?

Would you be surprised to know that I'm already thirty recipes into the next project?



About the book:

Susie Fishbein knows fun cooking; her best-selling Kosher by Design series has revolutionized kosher cuisine. Susie also listens; so when teens and young adults asked for a cookbook that fits their lifestyle - fun food that's delicious and quick to prepare - she responded. Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings is just for them - just for you.
Want to make amazing food at home instead of ordering another takeout meal? Thinking about surprising your mother with a superb full course dinner, but need help? Need creative ideas to plan a great party at home - even on short notice? Looking for simple-to-do recipes that don't require fancy kitchen gadgets? You're in luck! Here are 100 uncommonly delicious alternatives to common fast food!

Young people, newlyweds, students, and the ones who feed them - will all welcome Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings, the newest and most anticipated member of the KBD family.
• 100 easy-to-prepare new recipes
• Large full-color photo featured with every recipe
• Icons to indicate vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, & gluten-free recipes
• Unforgettable party ideas: a backyard bash, game night, and more
• Comprehensive cross-referenced index


About the author:


With the release of Kosher by Design Teens & 20-Somethings, we welcome the arrival of the seventh exciting cookbook by kosher cook and author Susie Fishbein. Her wildly successful Kosher by Design series has already sold over 400,000 copies worldwide and has led to hundreds of appearances by Susie from coast-to-coast and Canada. She has been the featured celebrity guest on cruise ships as well as at a week-long culinary adventure in the Galil in Israel. Profiled in the New York Times and on CNN, Susie has been named one of the 50 most influential Jews by the Forward. She has been a guest on dozens of network TV and radio shows. Susie was featured at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Disneyworld, and taught at the Degustibus cooking school in NY. Recently, Susie was an honored guest at the White House in recognition of National Jewish Heritage Month. Susie resides in Livingston, New Jersey with her husband and four children.