Sunday, May 31, 2015

Plant Nation

Plant Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell
Media: Paperback; won through Goodreads
Rating 5 out 5 stars.

Recommendation:  This is a great addition to any kitchen cookbook shelf.  I don't think you need to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet to enjoy this cookbook.

The Plant Nation cookbook is a companion piece to the documentary of the same name.  It is an encouragement to eat plants.  This cookbook provides excellent recipes to achieve that goal.  People tend to think meat and fat based meals need to be a staple, but this cookbook proves that theory wrong.  The images of eat recipes simply make your mouth water with anticipation.  Many of the recipes included are things I never thought to try, and can't wait to get into my kitchen to create.  There are excerpts from the documentary included as well to help give a little more education of plant-based living.  Fascinating read.

As someone who needs to be gluten free this cookbook provides many wonderful recipes that are delicious and will help me adhere to my diet.  Vegetables and other plants are not things to sneer at and be afraid of.  Embrace the goodness of plants and utilize this amazing gem to achieve this goal.  If you are a lover of cooking, eating, and food in general then this needs to be added to your shelf.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Heliocentric by J.W Lolite
Media: E-book: Kindle
Rating 4 out of 5

Heliocentric takes place two months after the novel, Circumsteller, ends.  Ingrid, Ty and their companions have already saved the gate keeper and protected the world from the Anikda from reaching out from the shadows.   But that does not mean these aliens will not make an attempt again.  In the midst of training and learning how to use each of their abilities, Ingrid and her friends begin their search for the remaining keystones and lockkeepers, so that they may have an upper hand against the Anikda for when they attack once again.    Their task will not be easy with various obstacles in their way including nosy law enforcement, frightened parents, and teenage drama.  Through all the obstacles being thrown at them, will everyone be able to overcome their own distractions to work together to defeat those who threaten the existence of the world they live in?

J. W. Lolite is a remarkable storyteller.  The beginning of the book has Ingrid reflecting on the events that happened two months and in those months leading to the start of Heliocentric.  This not only refreshes reader’s memory, but also sets the stage for what will transpire in this novel.  The story is highly descriptive, but not in a way that is overbearing.  When Master Meissa is introduced, rather than simply describing her general features, Lolite describes the movement of her green robed clocked hand as she holds the railing to lifting a cigarette to her mouth.  That presents the image of someone with elegance and poise.  With the character of Ryuji, Lolite adds in Asian influences with the legends and folklore he speaks about and his references to every with san or kun after their names to show respect and formality.  But with Ingrid he doesn’t use those titles because he considers her a close personal friend. This characteristic of Ryuji gives him the appearance of being a wise sage, could he possibly become a Master? Guess readers will have to read more to see.  

One interesting element of the story is the character development.  Rather than focusing on inner thoughts and actions, characters are developed through their interactions with each other.  In the beginning of the story there is hatred and conflict between Kaira and Ingrid, but as they interact and Kaira becomes Ingrid’s mentor, things change.  They evolve from hating one another to learning to become a team and respect each other for their differences.  Readers really see the characters struggling with things throughout the novel.  Heliocentric is full of twists and turns, readers never know what will happen next.  Everything flows perfectly together; nothing seems to be choppy or rushed along, very well written. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Portrait of Stella

Portrait of Stella:  Susan Wuthrich
Media: Ebook
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Portrait of Stella is a novel about a young woman who discovers what she thought of her origin of birth and family history were not correct.  While trying to get a passport for work Jemima discovers she is not a British citizen.  This leaves her completely befuddled and she begins a journey to discover not only who she truly is, but also the history of her mother and father.  With each new answers comes a new question.  She realizes she knew very little of the woman that was her mother and even less about her father.  As she learns her mother's secrets she embarks on a journey which takes her to Australia and South Africa. She quickly learns of the hardships her family endured and in turn faces some of those hardships herself. The answers she seeks throw her world upside down, more so than it already has become.  Along the way, she makes numerous ties in different cities and builds relationships with new friends who will stay into the future and some who do not.  Portrait of Stella is a whirlwind tale of deep family history and finally discovering one’s own heritage.

From the beginning of the book until the end, this story holds the reader captive.  It pulls readers in quickly by tugging at heartstrings quickly.  It builds up the excitement and desire to know what happened to Jemima’s parents, and why her birth certificate was forged.  Never does one think it would become the tale that it does.  It ranges on so many different topics, but does so in a way that it does not seem like too much information.  Just when one thinks they have it figured out something new is revealed which changes the whole course of the story.  The telling of the story through the eyes of different characters was a wonderful element.  It added a depth to the story which might not otherwise be present.  The author develops characters that readers can relate to.  The character of Jemima is astounding, although some of her actions do seem out of character for what readers know of her.  The other characters compel the reader to continue and learn more about them.  

Susan Wuthrich does a phenomenal job at bringing all the elements of the story together.  She brings out various different emotions from happiness to sadness and pain.  It is easily one of those books that can be finished in a night.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Treasure of the North

Treasures of The North (Yukon Quest Book #1), by Tracie Peterson
Media: ebook - Nook
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel for those who enjoy both Christian novels with focus on relying on God as well as those who like old west novels, novels about the gold rush and romance.

Treasures of the North is the story of a young woman, Grace Hawkin, who travels to the Yukon with her governess, Karen Pierce, to escape the potential to marry an abusive man.  Karen travels to the Yukon in hopes of finding her father who has gone missing during a missionary trip among the natives in Alaksa.  Along the way they met and make new friends in Peter Colton, a ship captain who sees the gold rush as a way help establish the family shipping business and Bill, a widower who packs his kids up to head north in hopes of achieving riches with the gold to be found.  Martin Paxton makes his way to the Yukon unbeknown to Grace and Karen.  Martin continues to manipulate her family to bring down their ruin, and he is determined to bring down Grace as well.

This is one of those novels that you can find yourself getting lost in and lose complete track of time.  I almost finished it in one night.  The story is compelling, the characters are thrilling, and you find yourself hoping each of their dreams come true (aside from Martin who you love to loathe).   There are a lot of references to religion and God throughout the novel, so if that is not something you dislike, this isn't a book for you.  That being said those references were done very well, it displayed the beliefs of Grace and Karen, and sometimes Peter.   It added quality to each of the characters to see how their faith fit into their lives. 

Peterson does a wonderful job with this story. It flows nicely and the changes in storylines, meaning changing to the different characters flowed together well. Readers aren't left wondering what is happening or where the story is headed.  There are questions that arise and go unanswered, but that is why there is a second book in the series.  The novel doesn't necessarily end, but prepare readers for the next novel.  It almost leaves you hanging which drops the rating down slightly.

Will I return to it?  I am not sure if I would return to this particular novel, but I will continue to read the series.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Confessions of a Prayer Slacker

Professions of a Prayer Slacker: Diane Moody
Media: Ebook - Kindle
Rating 3 out 5 stars

How many of us will confess we slack in the area of prayer whether it is of the Christian faith or not? Confessions of a Prayer Slacker follows every excuse we tend to give for not finding time to pray and gives reason why those excuses are not good enough.  Diane Moody shares stories of her own failings in the area of prayer, as well as the times when she found prayer to be helpful.  She also talks about ways she made time and the discipline needed to remain strict in her prayer time.  She gives challenges and exercises to help readers become better prayer warriors and have quality prayer time.
Something she suggests that helped in her prayer life was a prayer journal, one with various sections based on the type of prayer: thanksgiving, intercessory, needs etc.  She keeps each of those prayers seperate so she may go back and when prayers have been answered.  She reminds readers many times prayers are answered, just not in the way we expect.
Diane Moody is funny and witty in her writing.  She makes the subject interesting and enjoyable rather than something to dread.   She hits home with the excuses people make and while not intending to, she can make the reader feel ashamed for making those excuses, such as "I don't have time."  If we can make time to catch that show on TV we can make time for prayer.  She doesn't drone on about the subject as some other books are prone to do.  She tells it like it is and comes up with great ideas on how to make your prayer life better and more natural.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Shaekspeare's Lady

Shakespeare's Lady: By Alexa Schnee
Media: paperback
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a fictional story not about William Shakespeare, but about one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies in waiting:  Emilia Bassano.  She is a young woman eager to serve her queen who becomes the mistress to one of the queens cousins.  While a lady in waiting she meets a young play write: William Shakespeare whom she becomes immediately infatuated with.  Soon she becomes with child and is chosen a husband who is not as caring as the duke was to her.  She develops a friendship with Shakespeare that turns into a love affairs despite each being married, the queens standards.

Throughout the whole time that I was reading this novel, it felt like I had heard or seen the story before.  Then I realized it vaguely familiar to the movie "Shakespeare In Love."  I am not sure which came first, but it was hard to get past the similarities.    With that aside, this was a very well written novel.  Schnee pulls readers into the story straight from the beginning with Emilia being excited to be a lady in waiting and wanting to make the queen proud.  She is the type of character that does no wrong, she tries to do everything by the book and maintain moral standards.  She disapproves of the actions of some of the other girls whom fraternize with various gentlemen throughout the court.

I expected a little more interaction or appearances of William Shakespeare, he doesn't really come into the story well into the book, at least half way through if not more.  I would have liked a little more interaction from him with other characters of the book other than being drunk with Emilia's husband or their affair and discussing his plays.  It is a well written novel and I am thrilled to have been able to read it.  Would I return to it thought?  Possibly not, simply because I got the feeling that I already knew the story and characters since it felt too close to the movie I had mentioned.

Recommendation:  I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, Chick-Lit, Period Literature, Historical fiction etc.  It is a novel that you would find yourself getting lost in.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Beginners

The Beginners: by Rebecca Wolff
Media source: Hardback
Rating 2 out of 5 stars

This is the perfect example of why you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.  While the cover is fantastically done and very beautiful, the story is rather disappointing.

This is a story of a young girl who apparently discovers herself in a sexual manner.  New people have moved into town and she is fascinated by them and their story.  Others in the town are skeptical of the new comers including her parents, but she hears nothing of it and continues to spend a large amount of time with them, yearning to experience certain activities with the male.

There are so many different elements in this novel that make it hard to follow.  There is supposed to be references to witch trials, and ghosts; I can across maybe one or two of each.  This novel was classified as young adult, it is the farthest thing from a young adult novel.  I would never let my young adult read this with the amount of foul language and sex involved in this books.  Within the first twenty pages the main character had discovered porn, fondled herself, compared her naked body to that of another woman's, and envisioned what her first time (her "beginning") would be like.  I believe at one point there is even rape, but I cannot be 100% sure. Throughout the novel she daydreams about sex with the male of the new couple in town and actually does end up having sex with him on several occasions.  Those scenes are graphic is detail, enough to make me and my boyfriend blush.

This was the farthest thing from what I expected of the book.  When you read the blurb and the reviews on the back of the book you imagine a whirlwind of a tale.  You imagine a fantastic story of betrayal, ghost, family history etc but that is the farthest thing from what you get.  I cannot even tell you what happens because it became so confusing and so difficult to finish.  Do I recommend this book...not so much.  If you want a book that will make you need to go back and reread things or one that is full of sex and multiple stories falling together then maybe check this book out.  But do not be fooled by a beautiful cover, the company who created a cover did their job well.  I bought the book based of the cover and blurb.