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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, by Carole P. Roman

Title: Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis

Series: A Captain No Beard Story

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Plateform

Date: September 23, 2014

Paperback: 42 pages

About the Book
Captain No Beard's a brave pirate, with a loyal and hearty crew. Usually Hallie, Cayla and the rest of The Flying Dragon's crew are ready for any adventure, but as the captain sails ever-northward, they start to worry.

It's cold on the arctic seas. Icebergs float by, and every one's timbers are shivering. More alarmingly, Captain No Beard doesn't want to tell the crew where they're going or why.

When the crew finally learns their mission, they're shocked. The captain wants to steal something beautiful. The crew of The Flying Dragon may be pirates, but they all know stealing is wrong. Can they talk Captain No Beard out of his plan before he does something very bad?

My Take
Every time I read one of the Captain No Beard stories, I think this is a really great story. Can it get any better then this? Yes, each of the stories are great, but I have to say hands down, this is one of my favorite ones. I really like this story and the message that you receive when you read it.

Winter is coming and what better time to read this story with your children. On this adventure, the captain and his crew head north, while dealing with cold weather and icebergs. While traveling, they learn about the North Star, how it is wrong to steal, and the aurora borealis. Children will not only learn new things, but there is an art project that they do at the end that you can have your children do.

Just like the other books, this one has great artwork. The cover alone made me want to read the story. When you open the book, you get that nice winter feel from the pictures. The little snowflakes, the icebergs, and the warm clothes the characters wear.

I really enjoyed this book and do think that it should be added to your shelf.

About the Author

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turn businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

Her first book, "Captain No Beard - An imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 as well garnered the star of remarkable merit and was just named as one of Children's Indy Best - The Pinnacle Award of 2013. "Strangers on the High Seas" was named Readers Views Kids Award - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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

Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life, by Carole P. Roman

Title: Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life

Series: Captain No Beard

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 

Date: July 3, 2012

Paperback: 40 pages

About the Book
Captain No Beard and his pirate ship The Flying Dragon set sail for a voyage of the imagination with his fearless crew of four: First Mate Hallie, Mongo the Monkey, Linus the loudmouthed lion, and Fribbet the floppy frog. Normally a young boy named Alexander, his cousin Hallie, and three stuffed animals, once they board his bed their world is transformed into a magical vessel sailing the seven seas on dangerous and exciting adventures!

My Take
This is another cute series that my daughter and I have been lucky enough to read together. The adventures they go on are amazing and you will find some sort of message in each one of them. The story is written simply enough to where your child can read the book to you or by themselves. With a little imagination and  your child jumping onto their bed, just like Alexander (Captain No Beard) and his cousin Hallie (First Mate Hallie), they can be taken on a journey along with their "stuffed" friends.

In this story, they go on a trip and the waters get rough. In order to make sure everything goes well, they have to work together to make sure everyone makes it to safety. Captain No Beard learns that being the main person in charge isn't as easy as he thought it would be.

The graphics are just as amazing as the story. They are so cute. You can really feel what the characters are going through because of the expressions on their faces. They are very detailed. The colors are very vibrant, which will keep your children wanting to read the story.

I really like this series and think that you will too. So, go out and purchase it and add it to your collection.

About the Author

Captain No Beard An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life is Carole P. Roman's first book in this series and was named to Kirkus Best 2012, received the Star of Remarkable Merit, the Pinnacle Award for 2012, and just recently The Erik Metzroth Award for Best Children's book 2013.

I received this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Come Back Dear Sun, by Geena Bean

Title: Come Back Dear Sun

Author: Geena Bean

Illustrator: Cheri Webber

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: January 3, 2013

Paperback: 36 pages

About the Author

In 2003, Geena Bean graduated from Rutgers University with an English degree. For the past ten years she has been in the nanny industry, working with children and journaling her experiences with them. She has observed that the age of technology, including television, video games and computers, has often stifled the creative imaginations of children and discouraged them from going outdoors to engage in innovative free play. Her interaction with children encourages them to use imaginative play outdoors, which was the norm years ago before the age of advanced technologies.

About the Book
When the sun disappears for a long time, curious Kaylee cannot wait to have the sunshine back. her imaginative plan unfolds like only an eight-year-old can conceive, and the wonder and smiles begin. She ans her six-year-old sister, Mattie, along with their two friends, Fran and Lilly, plan an adventurous sleepover in an attempt to coax the sun into shining again. In a very imaginative way, they talk to the moon only to discover that the moon is very tired due to working overtime during the sun's absence.

Follow Kaylee and her friends on their energetic quest to learn why the sun has disappeared and where it has gone. The insightful message of this story impresses both parents an children alike in order to grow appreciation of the world around us.

My Take
I really like this book. I found it to be extremely cute. It has a really great message that gets inserted into the story. I do believe that children need to spend more time outside and not indoors. We have gone from sunshine to TV time and not enough outside time. I think that if parents read this book with their children, they can find a way to get them to go back outside and play rather than spending most of their time indoors. It can also get parents to go outside and spend time with their children. The story can bring out creativity in your children. When you see how creative the children are in the story when trying to get a hold of the moon, children can take that and use it in another way.

The graphics in this book are just as cute as the story. It is very colorful and bright and will draw any child to the book.The characters are very expressive and you really understand how they feel in the situation they are in.

This complimentary book was given to my by the author for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived in...India, by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...India: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

Series: If You Were Me and Lived in...

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: January 30, 2014

Paperback: 28 pages

About the Book
If You Were Me and Lived in...India: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World - the fun and exciting series that takes children around the world is back with and interesting new country and an educational look into the culture of India. Focusing on what life would be like for children if they lived in another major city or country, the series continues to show young readers the diverse world around us and the value of all different cultures. The travel channel for children in book form , this captivating adventure takes children on and exciting journey to the mesmerizing county of India!

My Take
I am a big fan of this series. Every book that my child and I read together is another learning experience about a place we have never gone. Like all the other books, it starts out with a picture of the country and where the capital is located. I really like this because not only does my child get to learn about the country, she gets to see what it would look like on a map and then it is shown what it looks like on a globe. As we take a "trip" around India, we see the sights, sounds, and cultures. We learn what your name would be if you were a boy/girl, how you say mom/dad, a famous place, games you would play, foods you would eat and a famous holiday. In the back of the book is a pronunciation guide and also some of the colors from India are used throughout the book. There is also a little building by the numbers of each page (which I just love). With the book also being in cartoon form, it makes it more interesting for children to read.

So if you already haven't, add this one to your collection. And if you don't have the collection, go out and get it. Trust me, you will not regret it.

About the Author

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is delighted to add India to her growing series. She has recently completed If You Were Me and Lived in...Portugal, Greece, and Russia; which she researched and wrote with her five year old grandson, Alexander. Her first book Captain No Beard An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life was named to Kirkus Best 2012, received the Star of Remarkable Merit, the Pinnacle Award for 2012, and Just recently The Erik Metzroth Award for Best Children's book 2013.

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Keys to Successful Living: 12 Ways to Discover God's Best for Your Life, by Derek Prince

Title: Keys to Successful Living: 12 Ways to Discover God's Best for Your Life

Author: Derek Prince

Publisher: Chosen Books

Date: September 16, 2014

Paperback: 144 pages

About the Author
Derek Prince (1915 - 2003) is the author of more than 50 books. his concise way of explaining the Bible has helped millions build a foundation of faith and walk in freedom.

About the Book
Life rarely goes the way you hope. But you can take action!

Important secrets to living a successful life are found in the 12 keys of the book of Hebrews. Bestselling author Derek Prince uncovers these keys and reveals how they will unlock God's provision and blessing for you. No matter what situations you are facing, you can step into the successful future God has planned for you.

My Take
I don't know anyone who doesn't want to live a successful life. In this day and age, people are trying even harder to live a successful life. But what may be success for one person is different for another. Success for one person can be all about money, while another person it can be growing closer to God. In the book Keys to Successful Living, it shows you how to live successfully with the help of God through through the Bible.

In this book, you will find the 12 keys broken down and explained in depth for your understanding. Some of the things you will learn about will be fear, diligence, drawing nearer to the Throne of Grace, considering one another and offer up a sacrifice. Throughout the book, you will find the key points linked with versus from the Bible to help out with explanations. In some of the chapters, you will find biblical characters like David and Abraham that have gone through certain things and how they have used one of the keys to help them live successfully.

At the end of the book, he reviews each of the 12 keys for you. This way you can quickly look at them if you need to without having to read the book all over again. He also includes a small prayer for you to pray at the end of the book. He also includes two indexes, a general index and a scripture index.

This book isn't for everyone. But for those of you who want more of a biblical understanding to the success of life, you should read it. It is small, so it can be completed within minutes and you can start transforming your life before you know it.

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Deceived, by Irene Hannon

Title: Deceived (#3)

Series: Private Justice

Author: Irene Hannon

Publisher: Revell

Date: October 7, 2014

Paperback: 416 pages

About the Author
Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at

About the Book
For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

My Take
As I read through this book, I noticed there were times when I did not want to put the book down. It had me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was going to happen next. I was really excited when key points were revealed and the story was coming together and to and end. I felt like I was on the journey with Kate as she was trying to piece the puzzle together. Trying to visualize each character and seeing there emotions unfold on the pages, was a treat in itself. If you don't think you will enjoy this book, you are wrong. Irene Hannon is an amazing writer and will keep you reading until the end.

Irene Hannon's writing style is very simplistic, so you will not have a hard time getting through the story. When I get in to books, I usually visualize everyone and everything that is going on. Not so much in this one. I kind of was able to see everything around them and maybe one or two characters, but not necessarily their faces. I don't know if I was so engrossed into the story that it just didn't seem to come up or if she just wasn't descriptive enough. But it didn't matter. I still enjoyed the story just the same.

I am not one who likes to read romance novels, as this one is listed as Romance Suspense. I felt as though she didn't overdue it to the point to where it took over the story. It was just the right amount and I actually enjoyed that part of the story too.

Deceived is book #3 in the Private Justice series. Book #1 is Vanished and book #2 is Trapped. After reading #3 ( I always tend to read things out of order), I think I am going to go back and read #1 and #2. If they are as good as this one, the deserve to be given a chance.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Hockey Saint, by Howard Shapiro

Title: The Hockey Saint (book #2)

Series: Forever Friends Trilogy

Author: Howard Shapiro

Publisher: Animal Media Group

Date: October 14, 2014

Paperback: 150 pages

About the Author
Howard Shapiro has written four children's books. The Stereotypical Freaks, the first book in the Forever Friends Trilogy won the 2013 Best Graphic Novel also a finalist for the Young Adult Library Services Association's Great Graphic Novel for Teens Award. Hockey Player for Life has been the off and on #1 downloaded children's hockey e-book in November 2011. His first children's hockey book, Hockey Days, was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Magazine Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children.

About the Book
The Hockey Saint is the highly anticipated second book in the Forever Friends Trilogy, which covers the unlikely friendship of the world's best hockey player, Jeremiah Jacobson and college sophomore, Tom Leonard. Their friendship is immediately put to the test when Tom discovers his idol is not as perfect as he appeared to be. Can Tom save Jeremiah from this checkered past and fast lifestyle?

My Take
First I must say that I am a fan of hockey, but not to the point where I can name the best and follow stats. I know, it doesn't sound like a fan, but I do love the game. Second, I love to read. What better book to pick up then The Hockey Saint. This happens to be the sequel to The Stereotypical Freaks, which I haven't read. But I guarantee you, I will be getting a copy to read. If it reads anything like The Hockey Saint, it is worth a buy.

The book is a very easy read and only has 150 pages. It goes by pretty fast because the author does a great job of telling a story that keeps you engaged. I felt as though the characters in the book could have been real people going through real situations. He made the characters very real to life and ones you feel as though you can sympathize with. You could actually feel their emotions coming off the page. At least that is how it was for me. I also felt like this story had a message to go with it. One that is not just for teens, but adults could also learn from.

In conjunction with a great story was amazing artistry. The pictures are filled with brilliant color, which really adds to the book. A great deal of thought was put into it which in turn made for a great book. I really enjoyed reading it and think that anyone who picks this book up will not be disappointed.

I received this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos & Jorge Pineda

 Title: Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe

Authors: Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos & Jorge Pineda

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Date: September 30, 2014

Hardcover: 176 pages

About the Authors
JOY PIERSON is co-owner of the Candle Cafe, Candle Cafe West, and Candle 79, and coauthor of The Candle Cafe Cookbook and Candle 79 Cookbook. Certified in nutritional counseling, Joy has appeared on the Todayshow, Good Day New YorkCBS News This Morning, The Food Network's TV Food Diners, and NPR.

ANGEL RAMOS is executive chef at Candle 79 and Candle Cafe West. His recipes have been featured in the New York Times and Vegetarian Times, and he helped develop the nationally distributed Candle Cafe Frozen Entrees line. In 2010, Angel was named the VegNews Chef of the Year. Pastry chef and kitchen manager

JORGE PINEDA developed the nationally distributed Candle Cafe Desserts and Candle Chef's Cuisine for Whole Foods Markets, and his pastries have been deemed the "Best Vegan Desserts in America" by the Los Angeles Times.

About the Book
This collection of vegan holiday recipes—the first of its kind from award-winning chefs—elevates plant-based fare to a new level. With fresh, inventive menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Lunar New Year, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, Passover, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Independence Day, this cookbook blends favorite traditions with a modern sensibility. Tantalizing dishes include Sweet Potato Latkes with Almond Crème Fraîche for Passover; Porcini-Crusted Seitan with Glazed Cipollini Onions and Mushroom Gravy for Thanksgiving; and Red, White, and Blue Margaritas for the Fourth of July.

Now home cooks can entertain in the spirit of New York’s premier vegan restaurants, Candle Cafe, Candle 79, and Candle Cafe West. With forewords by Alicia Silverstone and Laura and Woody Harrelson, plus sumptuous photography throughout, this festive cookbook invites vegans and omnivores alike to gather around the holiday table and enjoy.

My Take
If you are like me, you love a good cookbook. I can't really cook but love to eat. So cookbooks are a good thing for me to have. I actually like to collect them and have quite a bit of them. The Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, I will say is my first vegan cookbook. I never really thought of vegan eating as something that would look/taste good. When I think of vegan, I think of bland healthy food. But after perusing this cookbook, I realized I was wrong.

The Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe is broken down into 10 sections. Each of these sections being holidays we celebrate. They have everything from the Super Bowl to Passover. Under each section, you will find different recipes that you can cook and enjoy. Most of the ingredients can be found in your home, so cooking should be extremely easy. Like the Make Your Own Chili Bowl recipe, I had everything in my pantry already. This one is listed under the Super Bowl Big-Game Party section, but can be enjoyed at anytime, like I did the other night. My daughter even liked it and she is a picky eater. Some of the other mouth watering recipes are Soba Noodle and Seaweed Salad with Wasabi-Tahini Dressing, Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée, Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Pesto, Crispy Black Bean Tacos, and much more. I guarantee you, if you get this book, you are going to want to try just about every recipe in this book.

The presentation of this cookbook is eye catching. Not only does the cover look great, but the pictures inside are just as enticing. I personally feel like a good cookbook has pictures that make you want to keep opening it up and creating all the recipes over and over again, and this one does not fail. Even though it is broken down for specific holidays, you can use the recipes (meals, desserts, and drinks) anytime of the year for a casual meal or a spruced up one with guests.

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