Friday, September 22, 2017

50 Cities of the U.S.A. by Gabrielle Balkan (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

My thoughts-

From the team that brought you The 50 States comes 50 Cities of the USA. Explore skycraper streets, museum miles, local food trucks and city parks from Anchorage to Washington D.C., and discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, culture, and diversity that have helped make America what it is today.

Cities include Anchorage • Atlanta • Austin • Baltimore • Birmingham • Boise • Boston • Burlington • Charleston     Charlotte • Cheyenne • Chicago • Cleveland • Columbus • Denver • Detroit • Hartford • Honolulu • Houston   Indianapolis • Jacksonville • Kansas City • Las Vegas • Little Rock • Los Angeles • Louisville • Memphis   Miami • Milwaukee • Minneapolis-St. Paul   Nashville • New Orleans • New York • Newark • Newport • Oklahoma City • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Pittsburgh • Portland, ME • Portland, OR • Rapid City • Salt Lake City • San Francisco • Santa Fe • Seattle • St. Louis • Tucson • Virginia Beach • Washington, D.C.

My thoughts-

50 Cities of the U.S.A. is a great book for introducing your kids to other places in the United States. It is a really cool book that kids ages 7-11 would likely enjoy. My little geography buff absolutely loved seeing all of the facts about these different cities, and seeing just how different cities within the same country, and some even within the same state, can be vastly different. We talked about the places we have already been, and the places we would love to go visit. I recommend this book for older elementary aged kids.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (by Melissa De La Cruz (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

My thoughts-

I will read pretty much read anything that is an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and I have never come across one with a gender reversal on the main characters, so I was excited to come across this one. This adaptation was a modern version of the novel, with Darcy Fitzwilliam being a successful businesswoman. Somehow this Darcy was not as endearing as Austen's Darcy, who was downright swoonworthy by the end of the novel, but this Dary also was more likeable by the end. It definitely read like chick lit and I enjoyed the lighthearted feel of it, and thought it was a great read to get amped up for the upcoming holiday season. I would recommend this to any Jane Austen fan, or anyone who enjoys a light women's fiction novel.















Thursday, September 21, 2017

Birthdays Around the World by Margriet Ruurs (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I love children's books like this because it gives me the opportunity to expose my kids to other cultures and traditions. We get books like this often at the library but I have never seen one specifically about birthday celebrations. I have one child in particular that is super interested in geography and other cultures so he and I looked at this book together. His verdict: this book is awesome! We enjoyed learning about some of  the birthday traditions in some other far away lands, and even some closer to home. This is a fun book for any kid to read. It also might be a fun way to incorporate new Birthday traditions!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Keto For Cancer by Miriam Kalamian (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Although evidence supporting the benefits of ketogenic diet therapies continues to mount, there is little to guide those who wish to adopt this diet as a metabolic therapy for cancer. Keto for Cancer fills this need.
Inspired by the work of Dr. Thomas N. Seyfried, keto nutrition specialist Miriam Kalamian has drawn on a decade of experience to write the first book to lay out comprehensive guidelines that specifically address the many diet and lifestyle challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Kalamian, a leading voice in the keto movement, is driven by passion from her own experience in using the ketogenic diet for her young son whose com­pelling story is woven throughout the narrative. Her book addresses the nuts and bolts of adopting the diet, from deciding whether keto is the right choice to developing a personal plan for smoothly navigating the keto lifestyle. It is invaluable for both beginners and seasoned users of the ketogenic diet, as well as for health-care professionals who need a toolkit to implement this targeted metabolic therapy
The book guides readers to a deeper understanding of the therapeutic potential of the ketogenic diet-which extends well beyond simply starving cancer-emphasizing the powerful impact the diet has on the metabolism of cancer cells. Nutritional nuances are explored in sections such as "Which Fast­ing Plan Is Best for You" and "Redefine Your Relationship with Sugar," while simple meal templates and tracking tools are provided in "Plan for Success."
Kalamian also discusses the importance of self-advocacy and empowers readers to get off the bench and "get in the game." Keto for Cancer is a playbook of tips and strategies for cancer management that can be incorporated into a truly personalized treatment plan.

My thoughts-

I don't have cancer but I have an enormous family history of it. I currently have 3 great aunts and uncles all battling different types of cancer, and have seen many more family members fight battles the last five years or so. I started following a ketogenic diet myself back in late July and I have noticed how much better I feel so I wanted to gather information to share with my family. Keto For Cancer is a comprehensive overview. It explains the science behind the ketogenic diet, the difference between it vs. Atkins, and the author's personal journey with her own son. The beginning of the book is about the science and reads a little bit like a medical journal so it might be difficult for some to follow,  but after that the tone becomes more conversational. I really liked that the author included all of the things an oncologist might say to discourage a ketogenic diet, mostly due to lack of information on their part about the diet, so that you will be armed with the information of why this way of eating can help people dealing with cancer. Since Keto is a sugar free diet this makes total since to me since cancer feeds off of sugar. I recommend this book to not only anyone going through cancer, but to anyone with a family history of cancer.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Shortlisted for the Giller Prize • A local schoolteacher is arrested for a heinous crime, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct—with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence—is it possible?—Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.

My thoughts-

I thought the premise behind this book sounded interesting, a hero or a villain? Can one be both? That said, the book did not at all flow at all the way I imagined it would. I thought it would be more about the charges against George, and his impending trial. I did think it was an interesting look into the behind the scenes of what a family goes through when their loved one is accused of a heinous crime that becomes high profile. I didn't at all mind the insight into the family's struggle, I was just disappointed to not get the trial or thoughts of George, it seemed almost like an afterthought. If you go into reading the book realizing it is more about the family than about the crime and procedure, then you will probably enjoy the book.




















Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Holiday Cookies by Elizabeth der Nederlanden (Cookbook Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies. 
This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate–Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

My thoughts-

It has been a long time since I have been giddy over a good cookbook. I absolutely love the holidays. I love everything about the holiday season, and since I love to be in the kitchen, baking is a big part of that. I thought I had seen every Christmas cookie imaginable, and there are definitely some more traditional cookies like gingerbread men, thumb print cookies, and Mexican wedding cookies, but there are also plenty of gourmet -would have never thought of- recipes within as well such as the saffron biscotti and glazed eggnog madeleines. I also really loved that there is a section for holiday cookies from around the world. I am so excited to use this book to create beautiful boxes of gourmet Christmas cookies for my friends and family this holiday season!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition by DeeDee Stovel (Cookbook Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

The 139 recipes in The Pumpkin Cookbook celebrate the varied ways that pumpkin can be used in everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts. Some of DeeDee Stovel's creative spins on incorporating this highly nutritious, low-fat vegetable into delicious dishes include: Caribbean Black Bean Pumpkin Soup; Pumpkin Sage Risotto; Spring Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pepitas; White Bean, Chicken, and Pumpkin Chili; Pumpkin Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese; Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Pumpkin Sauce; Lemon-Pumpkin Strudel; Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies with Apricot Surprise — and seven different kinds of pumpkin pie!

My thoughts-

Who says pumpkin is just for pies? While you will find seven different varieties of pie alone, The Pumpkin Cookbook offers pumpkin dishes in every category you can possibly think of to add to your fall menus. I do usually prefer my pumpkin to be in desert, but I am not opposed to putting it in chili or soup, or a myriad of other dishes. Pumpkin is not only tasty it is good for you! The Pumpkin Cookbook will help you add in more of this delicious food to all aspects of your meal! I recommend this book to pumpkin lovers who love to cook!