Friday, November 21, 2014

YogaLean:Poses and Recipes to Promote Weight Loss and Vitality - for Life!, by Beth Shaw

Title: YogaLean: Poses and Recipes to Promote Weight Loss and Vitality - for Life!

Author: Beth Shaw

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Date: September 9, 2014

Paperback: 352 pages

About the Book
Forget diets and guilt and judgments! Achieve your optimal weight by developing what internationally recognized yoga and fitness expert Beth Shaw calls Lean Consciousness. The ultimate path to weight loss, weight management, and whole-life wellness, Lean Consciousness grows out of filling your mind with good intentions, fueling your body with good food, and then moving your body intentionally. Combining the latest nutrition and exercise science with yogic wisdom and principles, YogaLean offers an easy-to-follow and inspiring holistic lifestyle program.

My Take
I was given the opportunity to review an amazing life changing book, YogaLean. This book is chock full of information on how to take your life and change it for the best. Yes, there are a ton of diet and exercise programs out there, but this one shows you how to mentally and physically change your lifestyle.

The book has two parts: The Power of Lean and Gaining Lean Consciousness. The first part of the book gives you all the background of yoga and the different parts. It shows you how to mentally achieve what you are trying to do. The "learning" section. The second part is the physical part. It shows you different yoga positions (which comes with amazing step by step photos, descriptions and the benefit of doing the pose), meditation, cardio and weight training, and most importantly, how to eat lean.

The section on eating lean is amazing. She breaks down what are considered good foods, how to eat them, store them and amazing recipes to try. I tried two of the soups right away and was not disappointed. I tried Beth's Immunity Soup (recipes for immunity). It was really good. I am going to try to eat this at least once a week. I also tried the Spicy Tomato Soup (metabolism recipes). Another home run. My daughter even liked this one.

Another part of the book that a lot of people will find very helpful, is The YogaLean One-Week Jumpstart. Here she maps out one week of what to eat, how to exercise, and how to meditate.

Like I stated before, this is a really amazing book and anyone who reads it, will learn from it. If you like yoga or want to physically and mentally get better, then this book is for you.

About The Author

Beth Shaw is the president and founder of the world-renowned YogaFit training systems and the author of Beth Shaw's YogaFit. She and her company have been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, More, Entrepreneur, Yoga Journal, Glamour, Self, and USA Today, as well as CNN, NBC, CBS, Showtime, and E! Entertainment Television. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.

This complimentary book was given to me for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Date: September 5, 2014

Paperback: 240 pages

About the Book
Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge. And that suits Bess Riehl just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word of explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes when Billy's cousin Amos proposed--for the third time--and beginning to plan for her Christmas wedding.

When a "lost" rose is discovered in a forgotten corner of the greenhouse at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. His plan is to get in, identify the rose, and get out. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose--and he can't get Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

My Take
Let me start off first by saying, I wasn't to excited while reading this book. I thought it was going to have a different feel to it, being that it is an Amish book and set around Christmas time. I love Amish books and read them all the time. I just felt like this one didn't have that same feel. It seemed to be just another story with an Amish "surrounding".

The book has a very easy read to it. Maybe a little too easy. This might have been why I felt like it was just a "story". I wasn't able to submerge myself into the story like I usually do when reading books. The images of the characters didn't pop out for me. I couldn't really visualize anything, sadly not even the roses.

I don't want to make it sound like she is a bad writer. It is just not the type of Amish story that I am use to.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

This complimentary advance copy was given to me by Revell for my honest review.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Secret of a Thousand Beauties, by Mingmei Yip

Title: Secret of a Thousand Beauties

Author: Mingmei Yip

Publisher: Kensington

Date: November 25, 2014

Paperback: 320 pages

About The Book
Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother's belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow flees rather than become a ghost bride. In the city of Soochow, she joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting, betrayal and jealousy emerge withing the group.

Spring Swallow become entangled in each woman's story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the strength to forge a life that is truly her own.

My Take
I can sum this up by saying this book was an amazingly heart wrenching read that had me not wanting to put the book down until I was done.

I loved this story. The writer is very good at what she does. I have never read any of her books before, but she has a new reader. I really enjoy books where authors take you on a journey to the past and mix some history amongst their story, and that is what Secret of a Thousand Beauties is like. You get to learn about some of the traditions that the Chinese women had to go through, whether they are bad or good. You also get to learn about the whole artistry of embroidery, which I also did not know about.

I actually felt like I was right there with Spring Swallow, watching her go through everything that she encountered. I could envision all the surrounding areas, different outfits, people and every emotion that they each experienced. I truly felt for Spring Swallow. She was a very strong person who wouldn't give up on life even though it dealt her one challenge after another. She did whatever it took to survive and tried her best to help others along the way.

Not wanting to give too much away about the story, I feel like everyone should read this book. You will not regret it. I can guarantee it.

About the Author

 Mingmei Yip was born in China and received her PhD from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. The author of the critically acclaimed Peach Blossom Pavilion, she has written for major Hong Kong newspapers and has appeared on many national and internations television and radio programs. She lives with her husband in New York City. Visit her at

This complimentary advanced copy was given to me for my honest review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived in...Turkey/Norway, by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...Turkey

Series: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: November 29, 2013

Paperback: 26 pages

My Take
I am doing something new today. I am reviewing two books at once, seeing how they are from the same series. As I have stated in past posts, I love these books. They are very helpful when trying to learn about new cultures. They are filled with a lot of information. I know for a fact that every time my daughter reads one of these books, she actually learns something new. 

Just like the other books in the series, If You Were Me and Lived in..., they start out showing you where the country is located along with the capital of that particular country. We are then given an interesting fact about the capital/country. For instance, Oslo (the capital of Norway) has 343 lakes and two rivers and Istanbul (a city in Turkey) is the second largest city in the world. As the journey continues, we learn about the different foods that are eaten, names children might have, money that one would use, and much more. The part that really excited my daughter is learning about holidays and traditions that take place in other countries. At the end of the book there is a list of pronunciations.

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway

Series: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: September 12, 2013

Paperback: 30 pages

The art work is just as amazing. Bright vivid colors along with cartoon like drawings help draw children in and keep them interested in the book.

Like I have stated before, I really like this series and think that everyone would benefit from having them in their homes. It would be even better if you would go out and purchase your child's school a couple of them so that they can learn about the different cultures around the world.

About The Author

Award-winning author Carole P. Roman has added Turkey and Norway to her delightful series, If You Were Me and Lived in... A former social studies teacher, she loved helping children understand and connecting them to different cultures around the world. Roman's first book, Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life, received The Star of Remarkable Merit and was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012.

I received these complimentary books in return for my honest review.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Charlie and Felicity Go Wild, by David Driscoll

Title: Charlie and Felicity Go Wild

Author: David Driscoll

Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing

Date: January 8, 2014

Paperback: 56 pages

About the Book
Charlie and Felicity Go Wild is the imaginative children's story about two fishcakes who meet on the river. Charlie is a male fishcake who wants to meet a female fishchake.

After Charlie meets Felicity, everything goes wild! First they take an exciting canoe ride down the river, where they have a dangerous encounter with a crocodile. Charlie takes on some elephants to rescue Felicity and just then, hippos pop up and say hello.

A slippery snake sticks his nose into things, Charlie loses so much weight, his swimming trunks fall down! Felicity has fun bouncing on giant mushrooms and Charlie falls asleep in the boat.

My Take
Do you want to go on an adventure? Why not read the book Charlie and Felicity Go Wild, by David Driscoll. You will meet two lovely fishcakes that meet up and go on a wild adventure. As you read this story to your child, they will get to learn about the different animals that can be encountered on a boat ride. For instance, they encounter a crocodile, snake, elephant, etc. You also get to see how much fun one can have not only on the waters, but also on land when Felicity decides to pull over and see what is in the woods.

The story itself is cute. The writing style is simple enough for a young reader to be able to read to themselves. They may need help on a couple of words, but for the most part they should be able to handle it by themselves. The book isn't too long either, so the younger readers will not get overwhelmed with the length. I feel like the ratio of pictures to words is spot on. I have encountered some books where you have more of one than the other, but this book has it balanced out just right.

I love the artwork in this book. It is a form of pencil drawing, which I like because it shows how much time and effort was put into the pictures. It is very detailed and colorful.

About the Author

David Driscoll is director at Homestead PDS Ltd commercial painting contractors in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He writes and manufactures film scripts, and supports local charities. The author has written a body of work; this is his first published book.

This complimentary book was given to me for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Garden Safari: Vegetable Soup, by Eluka Moore, Larry Puzniak and Marianne Walsh

Title: Garden Safari: Vegetable Soup

Series: Kitchen Club Kids

Author: Eluka Moore, Larry Puzniak and Marianne Walsh

Publisher: Bread & Butter Publishing

Date: May 6, 2014

Hardcover: 38 pages

About the Book
Explore numbers, colors and vegetables as you learn how to create a tasty soup in ten easy steps. Join the Kitchen Club Kids as they visit the garden to find fresh vegetables to eat. They search and count. They cut, dice and stir until the meal is complete. This rhymey-good-timey recipe adventure story offers basic cooking lessons and promotes healthy eating. The colorful illustrations and layered learning opportunities on each page will keep your child's interest from beginning to end. Kitchen Club Kids books are also real, hands-on cooking activities that help teach 2-6 year olds how to follow recipes. But, you don't have to be a chef to enjoy these books. Whether you're reading with your child before mealtime or before bedtime, Kitchen Club Kids books turn story time into a culinary, learning adventure. Gold Medal Winner - Mom's Choice Awards 2014 Book of the Year Award - Creative Child Awards - Creative Child Magazine

My Take
Every time I review a children's book, I seem to think that I am not going to find one to top it. I have to say, this one is at the top of my list right now. What an awesome idea for a book. Not only do your children get to hear a lovely story, but they also get to learn how to count (the ingredients are numbered in the book), learn their colors (each color "word" is in its particular color) and cook soup in the process. Now, this book is for children 2 - 6 years old, but I have to say, when my daughter saw the book, she was just as excited and she is 11 years old. I believe the whole "interactive" part of it and the fact that it rhymes, is what is going to draw a lot of young readers to it. And the fact that the soup had vegetables in it, made it so much better. At the end of the book you will find the soup in an actual recipe form (I am guessing this is for the parents) with cooking directions. There is also extra ways to make it taste even better.

The illustrations in this book are amazing! I love how they have kids of different races. It will allow the children looking at the book to feel a part of it because they can see "themselves" in the book. The colors are bright and vibrant. Even though it is in "cartoon" form, every thing is pretty realistic looking.

Garden Safari: Vegetable Soup (along with End of the Rainbow: Fruit Salad) is an amazing book in the Kitchen Club Series. I definitely will be getting the first one (End of the Rainbow: Fruit Salad) and purchasing the third one (Feed Your Senses: Homemade Bread) when it comes out.

About the Author

Eluka Moore
For over twelve years I worked as a marketing professional, developing campaign strategies for a variety of well-known consumer brands. Today, Kitchen Club Kids allows me to bridge my professional experience with my love for cooking and education. My hope is that our books give parents a reason to start cooking with their children and experience all the wonderful learning opportunities it has to offer.

Larry Puzniak
For me, the Kitchen Club Kids storybooks are an opportunity to apply count-and-identify lessons, making the learning real … real tasty. So, don’t be surprised if a “grill creations” adventure shows up in the collection at some point.

My favorite part of this venture is that it gives me the chance to bring the best of my professional career and personal life together, utilizing my brand savvy and communications skills to create ways to “dad” smarter.

Marianne Walsh
Currently working in the advertising industry, Kitchen Club Kids has allowed me to tap into my roots in education. My first job as a kindergarten teacher and later as a child behavior therapist continue to fuel my passion for children’s books.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lodger, by Louisa Treger

Title: The Lodger

Author: Louisa Treger

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Date: October 14, 2014

Hardcover: 272 pages

About the Book
Dorothy Richardson is existing just above the poverty line, doing secretarial work at a dentist's office and living in a seedy boardinghouse in Bloomsbury, when she is invited to spend the weekend with a childhood friend. Jane has recently married a writer who is hovering on the brink of fame. His name is H.G. Wells, or Bertie, as they call him.

Not wanting to betray Jane, yet unable to draw back, Dorothy free-falls into an affair with Bertie. Then a new boarder arrives at the house-striking Veronica Leslie-Jones and Dorothy finds herself caught between Veronica and Bertie. Amidst the personal dramas and wreckage of a militant suffragette march, Dorothy finds her voice as a writer.

My Take
This was a amazing read. I really liked the story. Every time I picked the book up to read, I felt this calming feeling as I went from one page to the next. The story takes you to another world and draws you in to the point to where you can actually visualize the people and the places they go. This to me, shows a really great author. One who truly knows how to write. Seeing how this is her first novel and realizing how great it is, I know she will have more great reads to come.

We are taken on a journey in the time of the twentieth century through the eyes of Dorothy Richardson. She is not doing all that well financially, but is able to survive. It starts of with her spending some time with an old friend and realizing that she has fallen for her husband. Even though that is something that shouldn't be touched, they decided to start to see each other. In the midst of it all, she meets up with a lady named Veronica, who winds up caring for her also. Dorothy is torn between who to care for. During that time, a life with Veronica would be looked upon as not being normal. Then again, if she stays with her friends husband, she could ruin a very important friendship. Along the way, she decides that she wants to take a stab at writing, just like her lover, who happens to be H.G. Wells. Through all of this, she experienced a major life altering crisis. Who does she choose? How does her life turn out? Does she become a writer? Of course your going to have to read the story to find out.

I can't see anyone not liking this book. It was well written and is a simple read. The story and dialogue isn't too over complicated so you can easily get in to the story and not want to put the book down.

About the Author 

Louisa Treger, a classical violinist, studied a the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher. She subsequently turned to literature, earning a Ph.D. in English at University College London, where she focused on early-twentieth-century women's writing and was awarded the West Scholarship and the Rosa Morison Scholarship "for distinguished work in the study of English Language and Literature." The Lodger is her first novel.

I was given this complimentary book by Kathleen Zrelak for my honest review.