Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mickey and the Plow Horse, by Edward Dreyfus PhD

Title: Mickey and the Plow Horse

Author: Edward A. Dreyfus, PhD

Publisher: Edward A. Dreyfus

Date: September 30, 2014

Paperback: 172 pages

About the Book
Mickey Brandfield is a 12 year old self-proclaimed nerd who spends his time alone with his iPad, his iPod, and his countless video games. His ongoing struggle with asthma renders him unable to participate in the rough and tumble activities kids his age enjoy, including sports, but that doesn't stop his parents from packing him off to camp for the summer. There he meets Jackson, a lonely and beaten down plow horse that seems to need Mickey's friendship as much as Mickey needs his. The moment Mickey touches Jackson,something magical happens: he discovers that he and the plow horse share a gift that will change their lives forever.

My Take
I was lucky enough to ascertain a copy of the book Mickey and the Plow Horse. When I first received the book, I wasn't sure how great it was going to be. Whatever doubt I had was gone the minute I started to read the book. The author had me reeled in on the very first page. Within the first chapter alone, I was wondering how it was going to turn out and pretty much didn't put the book down until I was done. Once I had finished the book, I remember turning to my daughter and telling her she had to read the book. I actually started to tell her what the book was about after a couple of pages in and she told me to stop.

The book is set up for readers of all ages. Granted it was written for the younger group. I also really like how the words are spaced on the pages. It isn't jumbled up with small print like most books. I was able to easily see the words and move right through the book. I know this is going to appeal to my daughter as well. His writing is simplistic enough so that the younger readers will not have a hard time understanding the story. His style of writing is so amazing that I was able to visualize everyone and everything around "me" in the story. A good writing will make you feel like you feel like a part  of the story and that is exactly how I felt reading this book.

The characters in this story are all enjoyable. I don't think there was a character that I hated. I do know that you will feel for Mickey and "laugh and cry" with him all the way through the book.

Like I stated before, I really enjoyed reading this story and think everyone should include it in their home or school library.

About the Author

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus was born and raised in The Bronx in New York City, attended City College of New York, and earned his PhD. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas. He has been a practicing psychologist for the past fifty years in Santa Monica, California where he offers individual psychotherapy, relationship counseling, sex therapy and life coaching. He has been married to his wife Barbara for thirty years, has three grown children and five grandchildren, and a pooch named Charlie. He has published five previous books, and has written several screenplays.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stolen, by Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD

Title: Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor

Author: Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD w/ Cecil Murphey

Publisher: Revell

Date: October 7, 2014

Paperback: 240 pages

About the Book
Katariina Rosenblatt was a lonely and abused young girl, yearning to be loved, wanting attention. That made her the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman-someone Kat wished she could be like-who pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. A cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.

As Kat shares her harrowing experiences, her ultimate escape, and her passionate efforts to now free other victims, you"ll see that not only is sex trafficking happening frighteningly close to home-it's also something that can be stopped. Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.

My Take
First off, I am very critical when I read  books. I tend to see them as more than just a story. I have a bad habit of critiquing books while I read them. It is just what I do. I love reading and do enjoy different styles, but sometimes have a harder time with some over others. This unfortunately is what happened with this book. Don't get me wrong, the story is an amazing one. For someone to come out of a situation as strong as Katariina did says a lot but, it's just her way of writing her story that I felt came across like somewhat of a mix between a book and a lecture. I also felt at times she jumped around too much. Like I said, sometimes I can be very critical, and in this case this is what happened.

I do feel as though Katariina is a very strong person. To have had a full life filled with one heartbreak after another, most people wouldn't be able to say 'I made it and I am here to stay'. But her will, strength and trust in God brought her through her tough moments and had her come out on top a true survivor.

While thinking about sex trafficking, I don't tend to think of it as happening in the United States. That is probably where a lot of us go wrong. We tend to think it is something that happens in other countries, so our children won't necessarily become victims to it. This story let me know that it is right in our "backyard". I also learned that it is not necessarily just "street" prostitution that kids get sold into. It can be a friend, neighbour or just someone you least expect. Stolen, shows us that we need to keep an eye on our children and make sure we know who they are hanging around and what they are doing. They may feel like we are overbearing, but I would rather be a somewhat overbearing person, than to have my child be sold into sex trafficking. And like she states in the book. More so than not, people don't tend to make it out and those that do make it out, don't tend to live past their twenties.

When you reach the end of the book, there is a section on how your church can start up a ministry to help others that are in need of help.

I think this is a book that most parents should read. Especially those who have the quieter type of children (which she mentions as prime targets).

About the Author

Katariina Rosenblatt, LLM, PhD, is living proof of the promise she heard long ago at a Billy Graham crusade that God would never forsake her. Katariina has PhD in conflict analysis and resolution and a LLM graduate law degree in intercultural human rights, and she works closely with law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Homeland Security to eliminate human slavery. She also founded Stolen Ones - There Is H.O.P.E. For Me, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing other victims of human trafficking. For more information, visit She lives in Florida.

Cecil Murphey has written or coauthored more than 130 books, including the bestselling 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper and the autobiography of Franklin Graham, Rebel with a Cause. He was a collaborator on the bestseller Gifted Hands with Dr. Ben Carson. Cecil resides in Georgia.

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

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.