Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

*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-

Maddie is a normal twelve-year-old girl. Well, except for the fake mustaches she carries in her pocket. She likes to make people laugh and slapping on a mustache, especially a fuzzy pink or neon green one, always gets a smile. Maddie hopes that the class queen, Cassie, will find her mustaches as funny as she does and want to play with her at recess. She's been self-conscious lately because her right arm only feels normal when it's curled against her chest and she's constantly tripping over her feet. But that's probably just part of growing up and not something weird, right?

When Maddie's arm continues to bother her, her parents take her to a doctor who gives them a shocking diagnosis: the cause of the abnormal behavior of her limbs is a brain tumor and she must have surgery to remove it. She's understandably afraid as he describes the procedure, but knows she must find a way to be brave and must face her fears--all of them--at the hospital, at home and at school.

She will need all of her courage not only to face her illness, but also to face Cassie at school. Both Cassie and Maddie are auditioning for the same role in the school play, but when Cassie accuses Maddie of lying about her tumor in order to get attention, Cassie's bossiness turns into bullying.

And as Maddie's surgery approaches, she begins to worry more and more about the outcome. What if something goes wrong? What if the doctors don't get all the tumor out of her brain? What will happen to her family? What will happen to her?

It will take all of Maddie's vibrant imagination, a lot of kindness-both given and received-and of course, the perfect mustache to overcome the tough stuff ahead of her.

My thoughts-

When I first started reading Mustaches for Maddie I was not sure I would finish. The beginning part was so slow for me, but I am glad I stuck through that very short lived slowness because I really ended up liking this book. It was full of humor, drama, and life lessons. This is the exact kind of book I hope my daughter will gravitate towards now that they are older. I think the fact that the book was based on an actual kid's experience will make it resonate more with it's audience. I enjoyed the quirkiness, but also that a serious issue like dealing with a brain tumor is seen from a child's point of view, which may help kids deal better with an issue they may be going through. I also liked that empathy for others became a central theme in Mustaches for Maddie

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kristen Miller

*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-

New York Times bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller imagine a world in which you can leave your body behind and give into your greatest desires in the first book in a new trilogy perfect for fans of Ready Player One and James Dashner’s The Eye of Minds. The future is now. And the future is terrifying.

That’s how Otherworld traps you. It introduces you to sensations you’d never be able to feel in real life. You discover what’s been missing—because it’s taboo or illegal or because you lack the guts to do it for real. And when you find out what’s missing it’s almost impossible to let it go again.

There are no screens. There are no controls. You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too. In this new reality, there are no laws to break or rules to obey. You can live your best life. Indulge every desire.

It’s a game so addictive you’ll never want it to end. Until you realize that you’re the one being played. Welcome to Otherworld, where reality is dead. Step into the future. Leave your body behind.

The frightening future that Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have imagined is not far away. Otherworld asks the question we'll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

My thoughts-

I was excited to see that Jason Segel has segued into the Young Adult genre from his previous foray into Middle Grade fiction. I enjoyed his Nightmare books, and I will pretty much read anything he is involved in so it was a given I was going to read Otherworld. To me, this was a new type of sub-genre, as I haven't read too many gamer themed novels, but I really enjoyed the feel of the book. The plot was interesting and dramatic, there was a good amount of suspense, and for the hopeless romantic in me, there was a love story. I read Otherworld in one day because I just couldn't put it down. There was a lot of action in the video game world, and a lot of story line in both the real world and in the virtual reality world.  As much as we are currently addicted to our electronics, this book was an interesting take on addiction and taking technology too far. Otherworld was a winning effort for Segel and his writing partner Kristen Miller, and I can not wait to see what happens in the next book in the series!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nothing Happens in This Book by Judy Ann Sadler

*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 are 100% my own. 

One of my 8 year old boys was looking for something new to read and this book caught his eye on Netgalley so I requested it for him so we could read it together. It did not disappoint. Although it is a picture book, it reminds me a lot of The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak because it does a great job of engaging kids through humor. My son Noah also said that he really liked this book because it was so funny and that the pictures in it make it funnier. He giggled throughout reading it and wanted to immediately read it again. I recommend this book to anyone with kids ages 4-8. We absolutely love it!

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher 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-

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.
But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath.  While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them. 
Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts. 

My thoughts-

I will pretty much read anything that is any kind of take on anything Jane Austen. The Austen Escape was super fun because it wasn't just a retelling of one book, it had aspects of them all and Regency era role playing to boot! I wanted to be in Bath at the  Braithwaite house role playing along with Mary and Isabel. This book was everything a good Jane Austen book would be, full of equal parts drama and romance. My favorite character was definitely Nathan. I would recommend this book to any Austen fan! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Deliciously Keto Cookbook by Molly Pearl and Kelly Roehl

*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 are 100% my own. 

About the book- 

The Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet originally developed to reduce the frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients. More recently, however, it has found a mainstream audience who view it as a real foods-based diet with weight loss and other overall health benefits. By focusing on dietary fat and ketones instead of simple carb-derived glucose as a primary energy source, the body becomes more efficient at burning body fat and is spared the conversion of leftover glucose calories into body fat. The Deliciously Keto Cookbook offers 150 deliciously satisfying recipes for breakfasts, appetizers, snacks, mains, desserts, and sides, all designed to help readers set and reach personal health and weight loss goals. The recipes follow a high fat/low protein/ultra low carb ratio designed to induce readers into a state of nutritional ketosis where they are consistently burning ketones (fat molecules) for energy instead of glucose (carbohydrates). Additionally, readers who have attained health goals and are looking to follow a longer-term maintenance program will benefit from simple modifications for each recipe that enable them to adjust the nutrient ratios to a slightly lower fat and slightly higher carbohydrate ratio. Also included: + Tips and tricks for cooking keto-friendly dishes, eating out on the keto diet, and managing the side effects, including the temporary "keto" flu that accompanies the induction of ketosis. + Helpful modifications that enable readers to modify recipes from a high fat induction phase to a moderate fat maintenance phase.

My thoughts-

I absolutely love that Deliciously Keto has a short intro to the Ketogenic way of eating for newbies and then goes straight into the recipes. This is a no frills book and that is exactly what I want and need sometimes. At this point in my Keto journey, I have bought and/or browsed through countless Keto cookbooks and I am thrilled to say there were some new and innovative recipes to be found here. The breakfast section, my favorite meal of the day, included several fantastic recipes that I can't wait to try. Another section I was super excited about in this book is the sides section, I really struggle there so it is always nice to have new ideas. There were a couple of recipes I was really excited about, especially the chicken tikka masala and the enchilada casserole. This book is a winner. I recommend this book to anyone eating a ketogenic or low carb lifestyle or anyone wanting some delicious new recipes to add to their meal plans! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How To Find Love in a Boookshop by Veronica Henry

*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 requited to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart 

Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers—a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive. 

There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage—she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings. 

Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future—and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.

My thoughts-

Sometimes a book comes along that grabs your attention from the very beginning. I was immediately drawn into this story and I liked that although the original bookshop owner had passed away that we get the opportunity to get to know him through flashbacks throughout the book. I found his backstory to be the most interesting out of the huge cast of characters. I wish the focus would have been more on Emilia and her father, but I enjoyed the stories of the bookshops patrons as well and did think that it was important to the overall story of how the bookshop effected all of these people. It makes me want to open my own bookshop even more than I already wanted to! This was a fun read with lots of references to great books.I recommend this book to any lover of books! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How to Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski (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-

Legions of home cooks are falling in love with the Instant Pot multipurpose pressure cooker, which does the work of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, sauté pan, steamer, and chafing dish all in one. This collection of 100 easy, creative, boundary-pushing recipes makes ultimate use of this amazing and increasingly popular contraption. The only Instant Pot cookbook organized by function, with detailed instructions for mastering each, How to Instant Pot features dishes from satisfying breakfasts through tempting desserts, plus skill-building recipes that offer simple methods for basic dishes (Chicken Soup 3 Ways, No-Stir Polenta 3 Ways, Sweet Yogurt 3 Ways) and surprising hacks that make this already remarkable gadget even more indispensable. Hard-boil an egg in 5 minutes? Yup. Bake a potato in half the time? You bet. Quick pickle some veggies? Why not. Want to know how to Instant Pot? This book is all you need.

My thoughts-

I had been thinking about getting an Instant Pot for at least a year when I started dropping some heavy hints to my husband that it was what I wanted for my birthday back in January. Being the good hubby that he is, he immediately went out and got me one! At first glance, this "magic pot" as some fans affectionately call it, can look fairly intimidating, but once you get down how to work the thing, it is a kitchen must have! If all I ever did with it was boil eggs and make baked potatoes, both perfectly done in the pot, it would be worth the cost, but luckily there are so many other meals to be made! How to Instant Pot is full of delicious food ideas, but before it gets down to the recipes there is a section of basics at the beginning. Remember earlier when I said the Instant Pot could be intimidating? These basics will help you to get started and to see that it is actually super user friendly and easy to use! Then come the recipes! Barbacoa tacos, beef stew, and many other mouth watering main dishes are featured, as well as some great side dishes and desserts. This book is the perfect cookbook and manual for any person who is new to the Instant Pot world or fun anyone looking for fun new electric pressure cooker recipes!