1/17/17

Essential Readings & Study Guide - K. V. Dominic


5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
“K. V. Dominic Essential Readings” gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: “Winged Reason,” “Write Son, Write” and “Multicultural Symphony.” A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic’s prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.

Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic’s keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (Poet) -
Internationally acclaimed poet Prof. K. V. Dominic (Kerala, India) is the author of three major volumes of poetry about the natural world as well as social and political commentary: Winged Reason, Multicultural Symphony, and Write, Son, Write.







MY THOUGHTS -
Very impressive. These poems were amazing. Honestly it kind of blew me away. I was not expecting for them to have this much emotion. They were raw, honest, edgy, thought provoking and sometimes controversial. But if you know me, that's the part I love!

These were poems about real people. Some were sad, some joyous and celebratory. There were poems about death and dying. Political poems and poems about nature and cats! Poems of equality and inequality. These are the kind of poems that make you go Hmmmm.. then go back and read it again.

This book is divided into four sections - Winged Reason, Write Son, Write, Multicultural Symphony, and A Collection of New Poems. I think Multicultural Symphony was my favorite section but I really loved them all.

Here are a couple of my favorite parts -
Multicultural Harmony, Part Two
    Dear my fellow beings
    why are we crazy of labels?
    Western people, eastern people
    white men, black men
    Europeans, Asians
    American, Africans
    Indians, Chinese, Japanese
    Germans, French, English
    Australians, Canadians, Egyptians
    Christians, Muslims
    Hindus, Buddhists
    Bengalese, Punjabis
    Malayalees, Tamilans
    Brahmins, Kshatriyas
    Vaisyas, Sudras.
    The Creator made no divisions
    except man and woman
    He made the division
    to continue creation
   In truth they are one
   two sides of the flow.


And this part from -
Cohabitance on The Planet  
My neighbour believes
his wife is his own
his sons are his own
the mansion and compounds
are his own
all birds and animals on compounds
are his own
the earth and the air
are his own
He fails to learn
and millions fail to learn
that God is the sole owner
Empty handed we come
empty handed we go

This is definitely a collection I will read over and over. It is writing that will make you think and re-think something different every time you read it. Parts of it are graphic and very sad, but it is all real! This is what is going on in the world. There is a lot of sadness. K. V. Dominic just dared to write it all down for us to read.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving an audio copy of this book from Poetic Book Tours. Thank you! 
Order your copy from amazon - HERE 
 

1/16/17

Boots and Bedlam - Ashley Farley


4 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Lowcountry. All Sam Sweeney wants is to marry her man on Christmas Eve surrounded by family and friends. But emerging complications, some humorous and some not so humorous, threaten to converge and derail the best-laid plans during the busy stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Amidst the chaos—dealing with real estate, planning a wedding, running a seafood market, honoring traditions, and contending with teenagers—even the weather rears its head when the weatherman forecasts a white Christmas. Never has family support been more needed, but will it be enough to restore order and save the day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Ashley Farley is the author of the bestselling series, the Sweeney Sisters Series. Ashley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you've read the last word, then she's done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

Ashley loves to hear from her readers.
Feel free to visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ashleywfarley or twitter.com/ashleywfarley.

Visit her website - HERE

MY THOUGHTS -
I have been a big fan of Ashley Farley's for a while now so I was very excited to read the third book in the Sweeney sisters' series. And... I will be getting the forth "Tangle of Strings" to review so be looking for that one! I have read 5 books by this author and she has never disappointed me. The only one I haven't read is "Saving Ben" and I am sure I will read that too someday.

This book started out a little slower for me than the others and took me a while longer to get into it, but it did quickly turn around about a third of the way in. Once it reached the halfway point it started getting real good and I basically wanted to read the last half of the book in one sitting. 

The character development was great, as usual. Boy, Sophia was a piece of work! This book really made me fall in love with Jamie, Sam's college son. What a great kid!

One thing I did miss in this one though was the chapters taking turns with each sister's POV. The author chose not to do it this time and that is always something I have loved.

The ending... Holy Crap! Now that's what I call a cliff hanger. Well now I know what the forth book will be about. Another good reason to read the forth one - as if I needed a reason! LOL
Tangle of Strings - This one is gonna be great! I just know it!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving an audio copy of this book from Caffeinated Virtual Services . Thank you
 
 Order your copy from Amazon - HERE
 Check out Ashley's other books and the rest of the series - HERE

1/14/17

Rice and Rocks - Sandra L Richards


5+ Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.

Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.

Finalist in the 2016 USA Best Book Awards

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Sandra L. Richards is a debut picture book author. With Rice & Rocks, Sandra brings a unique contribution to the world of children's books. An American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, she hopes the book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity.

Check out her website - HERE


MY THOUGHTS -
What an awesome multi cultural book! This is a great way introduce the meaning of tradition into a young child's life and also teaching about other cultures.

The pictures are gorgeous and the story is absolutely delightful! A  young boy along with his Aunt and a talking African Gray parrot discover they are not the only ones to have "Rice & Rocks" aka - Rice and Beans as a traditional family meal. Travel with them as they go to Japan, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans. As well learning about the tradition from their own home - Jamaica!

An easy to read, easy to understand story that crosses four countries in such a way that will teach and be fun for any child! I can't wait to share this with my future grandchild! I think it would be fun to read this book and make your own Beans and Rice.

This book is getting all 5 star reviews and I can't imagine it getting anything less!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving an audio copy of this book from Kate Tilton's Author Services. Thank you

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE

Here is a recipe for Black Beans and Rice, I choose black beans because I like them better than red beans. If fact I think I will make this for dinner tonight!



Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium, low fat vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained

Directions

  1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the spices and black beans.

1/13/17

Mystery on the Bayou - Linda Weaver Clarke (Audio)


4.5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. With the help of her partner, Rick Bonito, the business is flourishing.

While at the beach, Amelia is approached by a woman who is concerned about the son she gave up for adoption 16 years ago. Millie has been having nightmares that make her fear he is in danger. She petitioned the court to view the sealed records but was refused. Will Amelia and Rick be able to convince the courts to help them? If her son is in danger, will they get there in time? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of an award-winning sweet romance, Melinda and the Wild West, for the “Reviewers Choice Award.” She has several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, and a children’s book. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy. All her books are family friendly.  

Visit her website - HERE

MY THOUGHTS -
There were so many reasons to like this story. I really felt connected to this one, even more so than the others. Maybe because I lived in the south for a while. I lived in Savannah GA for a couple years and loved it! So when Linda's writing talked about the hanging moss it took me back! I could really picture it and made me feel right at home. I also loved the parts about Cajun food! I love spicy food and like trying new things. I have tried snails (as mentioned in the book) I didn't hate them, but it was kind of like chewing rubber cooked in garlic. So yeah not my favorite thing to eat. And the Sautéed Parmesan Asparagus - this sounds freaking amazing!  

The story also goes into detail about Marfan's syndrome. I had never even heard of this before so this part was very interesting. Linda certainly does her homework before writing each book!

I think I also liked this because Amelia and Rick are finally married and now on their honeymoon. I like the way the series follows their relationship and it gets a little more developed with each book. Yes, there is a nice little mystery in each story, but for me I think its all the extras that keep me loving her books.

Each of Linda's books are a nice, easy reading, quick, clean cozy mystery with some nice romance added to it.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving an audio copy of this book from the author. Thank you! 
 Pick up your copy from Amazon - HERE

1/12/17

Among The Lost: In Dante's Wake: Book 2 - Seth Steinzor


3 Stars

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (or Poet) -
Seth Steinzor protested the Vietnam War during his high school years near Buffalo, New York, and his years at Middlebury College, advocated Native American causes after law school, and has made a career as a civil rights attorney, criminal prosecutor, and welfare attorney for the State of Vermont. Throughout he has written poetry. In early 1980s Boston he edited a small literary journal. His first, highly praised book, To Join the Lost, was published in 2010.

MY THOUGHTS -
This was a story (kind of) told in poems, which I love. This review is hard for me to write. Parts of this I loved and parts couldn't keep my attention and other parts I just didn't get. I think part of the problem (actually 2 problems) was that - this was book 2. Another reviewer said it didn't matter and this could be read as a stand alone. But in this case I think you should really read the first one, at least in my case I think I would have "gotten it" if I had. And the second - I never read the original Dante, I know! I can hear you gasping through the computer. I always wanted to but never did. And again - I think if I had I would have like this better or at least appreciated it more.

I will say that the writing was excellent!. The parts that I liked - I really liked. Like in the very beginning where he is describing a woman giving birth in the delivery room. This was very real and I actually liked this part very much. I just wished the whole book could have held my attention more. I definitely think if you are a fan of the original Dante you would probably love this.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Poetic Book Tours. Thank you! 
Order your copy from Amazon - HERE

1/11/17

Zucchini's Zany Life - Marilla Mulwane

 
5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
This is the story of the house duck named Zucchini who steals hearts and provides the dearest bond anyone could experience. Ever thought about having a duck as a pet? I don't mean an outdoor duck in a pen or that wanders around your pond. I mean a duck that lives in the house with you, sleeps with you, eats with you, plays with you. If you never have considered it, you just might once you've read about Zucchini. If you have considered having a house duck, then this book will teach you everything you need to know to keep your duck happy and healthy. Learn useful information such as: -How to set up a duck cage -What to feed your duck -How to diaper your duck at all ages of life -How to bond with your duck -How to keep your duck healthy and illnesses to watch out for -How to clip wings -How to train your duck (It's possible!) and much more! All this information is interspersed with fun tales and pictures of Zucchini's zany life!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Marilla Mulwane is a small town girl that loves to write, game, and craft. She loves animals and has many pets.

Besides being author of Zucchini's Zany Life where she entertains with her fun stories about life with a house duck, she is also the author of the Ilmarinen series and fantasy novel Halos & Brimstone.


Check her out at her many social media venues:

Website: WriteGameCraft
Facebook: MarillaMulwane.author
Twitter: RillaMulwane
Instagram: m.m.mulwane
Goodreads: Marilla Mulwane
Pinterest: Marilla Mulwane


MY THOUGHTS -
This book was awesome! I love ducks. I have always loved ducks. No, I never intend on getting one and keeping it in the house. But I don't really think that matters with this book. That is the main point, but I think you can fully enjoy reading this book even if you don't keep a duck in the house.

I learned so much from reading this. It was just so interesting - and fun! And of course I loved the pictures at the end.

After just the first page I thought of my best friend A. She has a pet bunny that lives in her dining room. And no, I don't mean in a cage in the dining room, I mean the dining room is her cage. The bunny is litter trained and has full access to the house but feeds and sleeps in the dining room.

Parts of this book reminded me so much of raising a baby. I am a nanny and one of the four children I watch is a crawling 10 mo. old baby. Anything and everything goes in the mouth. Everytime I put her down I have to survey the room looking for chokables.

The duck diaper section is great. Of course this includes several patterns which the author invented herself. I am a sewer and I don't think I could have developed a better one!

All-in-all this was a very fun and interesting book with lots of duck facts that I didn't already know.
Its a quick read that will give you a smile.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from the author. Thank you!
 Order your own copy from Amazon - HERE
This reminded me of one of my favorite books - Sitting Duck by Bryce Fraser. It is a true story about a man who ends up raising ducks. I have actually read this book twice. I highly recommend it. Although it is no longer in print so, hard to find.

Here is the link for Amazon - HERE
 

1/10/17

Superlife: The 5 Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome - Darin Olien

5+ Stars!

About SuperLife
 In this groundbreaking health and lifestyle guide, the superfoods expert, nutritionist, and creator of Shakeology provides the key to understanding and utilizing the five life forces—the sole factors that determine whether or not we will be healthy, fit, and free of illness. In Superlife, Darin Olien provides us with an entirely new way of thinking about health and wellbeing by identifying what he calls the life forces: Quality Nutrition, Hydration, Detoxification, Oxygenation, and Alkalization.

Olien demonstrates in great detail how to maintain these processes, thereby allowing our bodies to do the rest. He tells us how we can maintain healthy weight, prevent even the most serious of diseases, and feel great. He explains that all of this is possible without any of the restrictive or gimmicky diet plans that never work in the long term. Olien has traveled the world, exploring the health properties of foods that have sustained indigenous cultures for centuries. Putting his research into practice, he has created a unique and proven formula for maximizing our bodies’ potential. He also includes a “How-to-eat” user’s guide with a shopping list, advice on “what to throw away,” a guide to creating a healthy, balanced diet plan, and advice on how to use supplements effectively. Written in Olien’s engaging conversational style, Superlife is a one-of-a-kind comprehensive look at dieting and nutrition, a timeless and essential guide to maintaining the human body and maximizing its potential.



 Purchase Links

About Darin Olien -
Darin Olien is an exotic superfood hunter, supplement formulator, environmental activist, and widely recognized authority on nutrition and natural health. He partnered with the fitness company Beachbody to formulate the wildly popular whole-food supplement Shakeology and the comprehensive plant-based Ultimate Reset 21-day detoxification program. He also sits on the board of Raincatcher.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean drinking water. He holds a BA in exercise physiology/nutrition and an MA in psychology, and lives in Malibu, California.
Find out more about Darin and SuperLife at his website, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

MY THOUGHTS -
This book was absolutely fascinating! Seriously one of the best books on healthy eating and nutrition I have read! I started just skimming through enough to do the review and ended up reading half the book. Now I will have to slow down and go back and re-read so I can obtain all the great information that is in here.


This is the sign of a great book and I am only half way through -
I will start by saying that I am a vegetarian and do eat pretty healthy. I try to eat as much local (even from my own garden) and organic food as I can. I did have a problem with my weight for a few years. That was largely due to snacking (even too much healthy snacking can be bad) and total lack of exercise.

In the past two years I have lost 40 lbs and am almost where I want to be. I walk 3-4 miles at least 3 times a week and do an exercise class once a week. I also use my exercise bike and dvds once in a while. I am a huge promoter of healthy (and vegetarian) eating and exercise!

This book is not only a great tool to use if you want to loose weight and get healthy but to also get back on track if you have "fallen off the wagon". There is just a plethora of information in here! And it is all written so it is easy to understand.

I love the "Simple to-do list" at the end of every chapter. These kind of sum up the chapter and breaks it down.
Broccoli is one of my favorite foods! I eat it several times a week. I do know it is very good for you.
"Broccoli contains thousands of chemical substances, many of them still unknown even to science. But we do know that broccoli is insanely healthy. If somebody developed a pill that contained every lifesaving substance in a serving of broccoli, we would all start taking it immediately, and we'd give its inventor the Nobel Prize. But it is beyond science's ability to create such a pill, and anyway we don't need one. We can eat broccoli."
I love that! I love how he just talks to us. And then he goes into why broccoli is so good for us. You'll have to read the book to see more!

I also love the part about drugs and medicine - I am also a huge advocate of Natural and alternate healing and medicine. I have been for years.
"They mask the problem. They treat the disease not the person, and certainly not the nutritional deficiency.
We don't merely take these drugs until the illness goes away, because the illness never goes away.
The drugs just allow us to live without going through all the trouble of changing our habits and fixing what's really wrong...
... When something is wrong with us, drugs should be the LAST resort, not the first." ~ Amen!
I know there are a lot of people out there that don't even know how eating even affects the body, besides making us fat or slim. Eating can make it or break it for us health wise. If we all stopped eating junk and chemically induced foods and started eating all the nutrition we should - think of how healthy we would all be! Oh but then the Medical association would have nothing to do and loose money!  Well boo for them. I make it my person goal to put them out of business!

I think this is such an important book for all of us to read. Well for those of us who care about our bodies and what goes into it! And everyone should. I am very excited about this book and can't wait to read the whole thing (slower this time!).

I would love to have a sit down dinner (healthy vegetarian of course) with this author and just pick his brain!


I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from TLC  Book Tours and Harper Collins. Thank you!
Order your copy from Amazon - HERE