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Archive for March, 2012

 

 

by Lydia Dare
Expected publication: April 3rd 2012 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Summary:

A new sexy Regency paranormal trilogy by bestselling author Lydia Dare features hunky werewolves who need to learn how to behave in polite society. Can this pack of ‘gentlemen’ be trained in the ways of the ton, or is it too late to teach an old Lycan new tricks?

Lady Madeline Hayburn is called upon to lend her respectability and introduce the Hadley brothers to society. Mr. Weston Hadley admires her from afar, yet his very presence draws her in…

Review:

This was my introduction to the writing of Lydia Dare, who is actually the dynamic writing team of two women who take turns writing parts of each book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I have been reading quite a bit of YA books and Christian self-help/parenting books lately and I was in desperate need of a good romance novel, this hit the spot perfectly. This book is technically part of a series, the Westfield Wolves, but it is loosely connected and you do not have to read the books prior to understand this story at all, but be warned, Wolf Who Loved Me is so awesome, you will want to go back and read the others in this series and maybe the vampire ones too.

I love paranormal and historical fiction books and this romance novel fit all the criteria for a wonderful, quick, and lighthearted read for me. I was so into this book that I got up in the morning, started reading it, and pretty much neglected everything else all day, except getting out food to thaw for dinner, until I finished it. I could not put it down.

The story is fast paced, has action, regency romance, oh and a super hot guy who turns into a wolf, could it get any better? I think not. There are good guys, a bad guy, and two hot girls, one who is quite proper and one who is, well, not. This just makes for an interesting plot, though it may seem to have been done before, it hasn’t. This book takes this plot in a whole new direction, mostly because of the paranormal aspect.

I don’t really want to give away the plot of this book, except to say that after reading it, I can’t wait for the books on the other two brothers to come out, I am so in love with this series.

I was surprised to find out that Lydia Dare was not a person, that in actuality two women took turns writing and editing this book, I would never have known, the writing is completely seamless, no mistakes between what one person wrote and what the other wrote. I was completely impressed.

One of the things I loved about this book was that it wasn’t really dirty. I mean, it is a romance novel, so there is sex, but it is not graphic at all. I am not sure I have ever read a romance novel that was not graphic, and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, than the ones I have read that did.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romances, regency romances, paranormal romances, or is just in need of a good old fashioned love story, well with a Lycan mixed in that is.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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 by Poppy Smith
Expected publication: April 1st 2012 by Harvest House Publishers

Summary:
“What do you and your spouse have in common?”
“We got married on the same day.”

Many women can identify with that sentiment. They want their marriages to be happy and honoring to God, but they wonder how when their mate baffles and even irritates them so. Some may even wonder if they made a terrible mistake.

Using Scripture, humor, and colorful illustrations from her own struggles, Poppy Smith offers hope in this upbeat, personal, practical, biblically grounded, and empathetic book. Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? will help women analyze areas of marital conflict by reviewing their backgrounds, parenting personalities, expectations, needs, and reactions. Each chapter provides practical tools to help women learn to accept and enjoy their mate, resulting in a strengthened relationship, better communication, and deeper understanding of each other.

With its how-to emphasis, this book is a useful resource for classes, small groups, or seminars for wives and couples.

Review:

Why Can’t He be More Like Me is a Christian self-help book. I wanted to review it in order to see if this book could be helpful to my husband and I in our ministry. I feel this book could be very beneficial to someone who is having marital problems; if they actually read this book and take an honest look at both themselves and their husbands. The author mixes Bible verses and paraphrases in with marital advice and quizzes to help demonstrate God’s design for marriage. She also ends each section with prayers you can say for guidance.

What I like about this book is that the author does not claim to know everything, and she often states that if your problem is greater than “X” you may need to seek professional help. She states that in some instances, professional help is needed, period, such as in cases of abuse or traumatic events that the reader may have to work through.

There are three parts to this book; the first part looks at the problem of marriage not being what you expected. It asks the question; what happened to my dreams; and discusses facing crossroads and making choices. The second part looks at particular issues that many married couples face such as:

• He’s not my clone
• We weren’t raised in the same Household
• His brain isn’t wired like mine
• We don’t have the same emotional needs
• When I say this, He hears that
• I think “Bargain,” He thinks “Bankruptcy”
• We’re not the same spiritually
• We get “headaches” for different reasons

Many of these topics my husband and I frequently try to cover when we do premarital counseling. Many people do not look at things like how you were raised, how you are going to handle money, and what religion each person is/was and how they want to practice, or not practice it, before they get married.

Engaged couples are so much in love that many think that love can concur all, or that if they just work hard enough or pray hard enough, God will change the other person into what they desire. That is not completely true. Marriage takes work and often prayer on both sides. Poppy (author) uses examples from her own marriage to illustrate these key points. She learned that in order for her husband to change, she also had to change, and that there are some things they may never agree on or be able to compromise on, one person may have to give in sometimes. I totally agree with this principal, a marriage takes two and it takes give and take from BOTH parties.

One of the things I like is that Poppy does not take the super conservative point that women must be submissive to their husbands. I hate that idea. I could go into a lecture on this topic, but I am not going to. Poppy uses the Bible to demonstrate what each person’s role in a marriage should be and reminds us (using scripture) of what God intended a healthy marriage to look like. That is important. Poppy shows both sides of the coin; the side that describes women as being there for their husbands in all ways, but she also makes sure not to leave out the other side of the coin, the side that says men also have a role in reciprocating. This flip side is often left out of Christian books that want to “forget” the part about men and women being equals in a marriage. Women are not subservient to their husbands, we are subservient to each other, marriage is a partnership.

Poppy covers everything from looking at how you were raised and how that can affect your view and responses to situations in marriage, to communication, one of the fundamental key things in a marriage, all the way to sex and its importance in a healthy marriage.

The last part of the book looks at where you, as a married person, can go from here. You can either choose to thrive and work on your marriage, or leave.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is engaged to read before you tie the knot. It has tons of quizzes that you and your fiancé can take to help you work on or at least identify potential problem areas, before you are forever joined together in marriage. This book is also good for couples who are hitting rough patches, or worse. This book can help guide you in your decision to work through your problem, or even help you to know if you really do need to seek professional help. This book is also a good read for any married person, no marriage is perfect, no marriage goes on for 50 years without hitting rough patches and this book can help the reader see where their differences lye and help you to work though them as a couple, prayerfully asking God for guidance along the way.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist clergy in recommending appropriate books for people to read and to identify books couples may find useful.

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by Tara Stiles 

Expected publication: April 3rd 2012

by Crown Publishing Group

Summary:

Do you have a headache? Traveler’s anxiety? PMS? Blurred vision? Cellulite? Depression? A broken heart? Shin splints? Or do you just need to chill the *&@# out? There’s a yoga cure for each of these things. Owner of Strala Yoga and author of Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga, Tara Stiles identifies the problem and then walks you through the yoga positions to help cure it. With Tara’s fresh voice and more than 150 photos throughout, you’ll have no problem understanding the poses and completing each cure.

Review:

I started practicing yoga on a regular basis at a studio about 6 years ago, but life took me in a different direction and my husband and I have moved around quite a bit since our first year of marriage.  It was not easy or convenient for me to find a studio, especially when we lived in farm country in Wisconsin (not knocking- most beautiful place we have lived yet), so I started watching yoga videos.  I stumbled upon Tara’s iTunes podcasts and haven’t looked back.  I started using Tara Stiles’ podcasts to help with a herniated disk I have, and then as my core strengthened, I began to do yoga more to lose weight and for flexibility.  I lost almost 25 lbs doing her podcasts, and have started my day with a minimum of 20 minutes of yoga everyday for the last 4 years.  So, when I was given the opportunity to review her new book, Yoga Cures, I was ecstatic, to say the least.

Yoga Cures has two parts.  The first part has three chapters.  It begins with a chapter on yoga, it’s history, ect…, some of the basic poses, and important qualities and steps of yoga, complete with charts and awesome pictures.  It then goes on to talk about the science behind yoga cures, and the ends with a chapter on breathing methods, and asks the reader to look at their lifestyle; decide what is healthy and what is not.  Tara asks the reader to pick one thing- it can be a simple thing, and work on that first.

The rest of the book is dedicated to specific problems and yoga positions/routines which should, if done correctly, help alleviate that specific problem.

Here are the areas she covers, it is a long list and there is something in there for everyone:

  • Aches and pains
  • Acne
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Bingeing
  • Blurred vision
  • Broken Heart
  • Bulging belly
  • Chilling out
  • Cold repair
  • Couch-stination
  • Cellulite
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Droopy shoulders
  • Exhaustion
  • Fear
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foot cramps
  • Flu
  • Hangover
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot Flashes
  • Jiggly thighs
  • Killer car rides
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Laziness
  • Migraine
  • Monkey mind
  • Office body
  • Office mind
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Party pooper
  • PMS and cramps
  • Pregnancy discomfort
  • Runners Aches
  • Saggy booty
  • Saggy pecs
  • Scattered mind
  • Shin splints
  • Sugar cravings
  • Tension
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Traveler’s anxiety
  • Tummy trouble
  • Under eye bags and dark circles
  • Vertigo
  • Wrinkles
  • Getting sleep

As I said before, there is something in there for everyone, for myself, there are a few things.  I have been working my way through the areas I would like to work on, and so far, so good.  I am super excited to be able to use the one for a long car ride, since my husband and I will be traveling a bunch in the next month or so and at least once a year take a drive from wherever we live, currently NOLA, back to Buffalo, NY, where we are from, to visit family.  I get so stiff in the car and I actually hurt, I will do these simple poses when we stop for gas or food.  I think it will help a ton!

Yoga Cures is very descriptive and has great pictures and verbal descriptions of the poses.  This book is definitely visually appealing.  There is also a “glossary” of the different yoga poses in the back of the book.  This book makes yoga appealing to everyone.  It shows that yoga is not just about meditation (though that is important and can be beneficial), and that yoga does not have to be a spiritual practice.  Tara’s book shows that there are proven health benefits for people who practice yoga on a regular basis.  It explains that yoga can have a healthy effect on the human body and mind, all without cramming the “religion” aspect down your throat.   Yoga Cures is not focused on the spirituality aspect, which can make people who are Christian feel that they cannot or should not practice yoga.  This book presents yoga as a beneficial part of a healthy lifestyle, not as a religion, which, I feel, is very important.

I would recommend this book to everyone, from young adults through adults, male and female.  Like I said before, there is something in this book for everyone and I can honestly say that the daily practice of yoga has changed my life.  I am stronger and more flexible than I was in my 20’s.  Yoga has helped me avoid back surgery and now, with the help of this book, I can really focus on particular areas or specific problems in my life.  I owe so much to Tara Stiles, who I have never met, for making my physical and mental health better.  I will continue using this book for a very long time.  It will have a permanent place on my nook and my computer for easy access.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Lauren Springer Ogden, Scott Ogden

Published September 6th 2011 by Timber Press (OR)

Summary:

In recent years, gardeners have faced increased water-use restrictions, and it’s not limited to dry-climate areas like the Southwest. There are restrictions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. And even for gardeners with no water restrictions, low-water plants are key to a sustainable garden.

“Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens” is a practical guide to the best 200 plants guaranteed to thrive in low-water gardens. Plant entries provide the common and botanical name, the regions where the plant is best adapted, growth and care information, and notes on pests and disease. This practical and inspiring guide includes a variety of plants, from trees to succulents, perennials to bulbs, all selected for their wide adaptability and ornamental value. Companion plants, creative design ideas, and full color photography round out the text.

Review:

I wanted to review this book because; well I have a black thumb.  I am not very good at keeping green things alive (except an African violet I kept alive for three years and had to give away when we moved- but that was a fluke), especially if the plant needs regular watering when it is not rainy.  I always figured the perfect thing for me to plant would be something that could pretty much live on its own but plants like that are hard to find.  Even at garden stores and green houses the experts always tell me, “oh it’s hardy, it could survive just fine” but let me tell you a deep dark secret, I once killed two hosta plants.  I know, I have been told that is next to impossible, but I went on vacation for 3 weeks and when I got home, my beautiful little garden had two dead hostas.  I was sad and mortified, especially since we lived in a cul-de-sac and everyone would comment when they walked by.

This book is perfect.  I am eager to plant some of these drought resistant plants when we get into our new house.  I am already planning my garden.

This book is quite thorough.  It gives a couple different tables, one is a key to the different symbols used in the book and the other is zones, broken down by temperature.  It then breaks the plants into varieties, such as trees, shrub, perennials, ground cover, grasses, bulbs, succulents, palms, and fiber plants.  The descriptions are easy to read and quite complete.  For each plant the book lists a “grows” section that explains how tall a plant gets and how quickly it grows, best zones for it to grow in, each plants special attributes, a couple design ideas, and a related plant in the same genre.

Waterwise also has really beautiful pictures of the plants, and in most cases there is more than one picture of the plant and if the plant looks different during different seasons, like some trees, there are pictures of both seasonal looks.  The wording is colorful, eye catching, and an easy to read font.  It is also a pretty large font, which is nice on the eyes.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what types of plants to plant in areas where you get occasional droughts.  I know this book has been quite helpful to me, and I am a total novice.  If you have any experience, this book will be a great resource for you to add to your collection.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Bridget Heos, Stephane Jorisch (Illustrator)

 Published January 1st 2012 by Millbrook Press

Summary:

Congratulations, crocodilian parents-to-be! You have little ones on the way. They’re called hatchlings. Read this book to find out where to lay your eggs, how you’ll know when the babies are ready to hatch, and what you and your babies will do all day long. Whether you’re an alligator, caiman, crocodile, or even a funny-looking gharial, you’ll find answers to all your parenting questions here. But there’s one condition: don’t eat the book!

Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  It is one of the cutest educational books for kids I have yet to read.  It has great pictures and is filled with tons of interesting facts about the Crocodilian family, especially pertaining to having babies and raising them.

There is a lot of potential for this book to be a teaching tool in a lower school classroom.  It is entertaining, while at the same time being factual.  Come on, every kids learns about alligators and the like at some time in school, this would be a great resource to have in your room.  There is a glossary and a section for additional resources, including a webpage that is connected with this book.

This is not a super quick read, since it is not a lighthearted, fanciful story, so just be aware of that.  It is not super long, but there is quite a bit of reading on each page.  Lower school students would also like this book as a beginning reader type book.  There are enough words that are longer, harder words that it could work and it is educational, which is a bonus.

There are also full page pictures that follow along with each question in the book since this is written in more of a question and answer type format, not so much story telling.  As an adult there are tons of questions that you can ask your kids to prompt them to identify things in the pictures that mirror what they are reading about.

I would highly recommend this book for kids age 3 to maybe 6 or 7, but there is enough information is this book that even adults will learn something new from it.  You could easily read this to younger children, but they may not get as much out of it, and my get bored quick, since it is a bit longer.

I would definitely buy this book for a friend of relative having a baby, I guess I need to create a loom knit alligator to go along with it!

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Carrie Ward

Expected publication: April 1st 2012 by Moody Publishers

Summary:

Christian parents have a responsibility to make sure their children know and love God’s Word. But what if you struggle as a parent to read the Bible yourself. How can you pass a love for God’s Word along to your children if you struggle with it yourself’ That was Carrie Ward’s story. Until God gave her a plan to help her develop a consistent time in the Word, right along with her children. Readers will walk together with Carrie Ward, an everyday mama, as she journeys through the Bible with her small children ” one chapter a day. As her children re-enact the Bible stories readers will be able to see Scripture through the eyes of a child. Parents will learn how to impart God’s truth to their children day by day, and will see its transformative power on their families. Together: Growing Appetites for God is an easy read and includes helpful tools for scripture memorization and charts to follow progress through the Bible.

Review:

I was not crazy about this book, while the premise is good, that you and your children can get a lot out of reading the Bible together, it seemed like the book was just a super long plug for a bunch of other books or programs.

Other than telling us stories about her journey of reading the Bible to her kids, it mostly just advocated other programs.  I do not agree with reading an adult Bible to little children, they will not get out of the stories what is really important, they will just be reenacting Cain killing Abel, as though somehow things like that are a good thing.  It seemed that maybe she started at too young an age with an adult bible, because it seemed like her older children had a much better grasp of deeper meaning, obviously because they were older and were at a different learning level.

It seemed like her husband put a lot of pressure on her to teach the kids scripture and later, pushed her to have the kids memorize scripture, as though that is the most important thing to salvation, all at the urging of a so called “friend” who never had anything to do with the actually teaching part.  It is judgmental people like her “friend” that make non-Christians think Christians are crazy or a cult.  God does not judge you at the pearly gates based on how much of the Bible you have memorized, my Lord- would the version make a difference too?

Now her kids did seem to get into the Bible and especially focused on fasting and prayer, though they needed to be taught how to fast and the proper reasons to fast and pray.  It makes sense that these kids would think fasting was fun; their parents made the whole family do it all the time, to the extent that the kids seemed to think of it as a game unless they were properly directed.

Now the family did go through some terrible times, like the miscarriages, and I personally know how that feels, it is one of the hardest things to deal with ever.  I think they did a really good job of using the Bible to explain to the kids what was happening and sort of the “why.”  Reading the Bible and having a strong faith are very important during times of loss.  It has to be extremely hard to go through all of that and have to talk to you children, help them grieve, all while you and your husband were grieving.  I give her tons of credit with how she dealt with the situation.

In the last part of the book she talks about the benefits of reading the Bible to your kids, and I mostly agree.  Reading is crucial to a child’s development.  Being comfortable reading is also a huge confidence builder, always important in settings where it is easy for kids to pick on one another, like school.

Reading the Bible together also created a daily discipline with accountability to her kids.  They let her know if she wasn’t holding up her end of the bargain.   It also created closeness and gave the children the ability to learn to interpret the Bible and discern God working in their lives, right for the beginning.  It was not something new to them; they basically grew up with it, a very good thing.  Bible interpretation is a hard thing to wrap your head around at any age, but starting young can be a positive thing.

Basically this book has a very Evangelical slant, and I am not Evangelical, but it has some really good points, but I didn’t enjoy it as pleasure reading.  Others might really enjoy this, it is sort of like a religious parenting book, focusing on the importance of scripture in the development of children.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to know more about the effects of daily Bible reading on kids, which were positive, overall.  Or to someone who wanted to start a program like this with their kids.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and clergy in recommending appropriate books for people to read.

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by Hy Conrad

Expected publication: April 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks

Summary:

A series of 115 short essays written by eleven courageous canines who are willing to tell the truth about dogs every last dirty, hairy, bit of it: why they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up, why they eat furniture when endless chew toys are nearby, and why they’re always absolutely starving. Peppered with lively, clever stories and visually appealing photographs, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a must-have for any dog lover. It’s a verbal and visual delight that is laugh-out-loud funny.

“If everyone owned a dog, we would have world peace. If everyone reads this book, they will go and get a dog and we will have taken a big step in the right direction. So this book can save the world.” Terrence McNally, playwright

Review:

Since I received this as an ARC, it was not the complete book, so I can’t really give a full review since I only got to read the first 25 pages, or the first 7 stories that will be in the complete version of this book that people who purchase it will get.  The book is written from the point of view of the dogs, which makes it all the more funny.  You get a rather comical look at what might go on in their brains.

This first story was my favorite; it reminded me of my dog, Tux, 100%.  It has to do with dogs who want what we call in our house the “double feed.”  Our dog is such a mooch and it just made me LOL, it was so funny, I got my husband’s attention and read it aloud to him.  He was LOL too.

I also liked the second story about a dog that pee’s in the herb garden.  It made me think, well I better be sure to wash all green things super well before I eat them!

I wasn’t much connected with the other stories, but I am sure there is something in this book for everyone.  I will probably buy the actual book when it comes out because the little bit I read was so funny that I want to read more.  I hope there is a story about a dog who takes forever to go to the bathroom.  I want to know what is going on in my dogs head when he gets in the position like 8 times before he actually goes.

This book, at least what I read, is appropriate for people of all ages.  The pages are very colorful and it has tons of pictures to make you connect with the character telling the story.  The stories are short and would make a good bedtime story book, or if you are one of those people who put books in the bathroom, it would be great in there too.

I thoroughly enjoyed what I read of this book and am eagerly awaiting its release so that I can get the full version!

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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