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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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18 11, 2015

Review: Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

By | November 18th, 2015|Categories: Exercise & Fitness, For Men, Gift Ideas, Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Rating:

living with a seal book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Self-made entrepreneur Jesse Itzler lives a comfortable lifestyle with his wife, Sara. Between the two of them, they run two successful businesses: Marquis Jet and Spanx. Jesse also has an interest in fitness and has competed in marathons. After deciding on the next marathon he wanted to run, he dragged his wife out to the race with him. One of the competitors, a solidly built African-American male, caught Jesse’s eye. He tracked down the man’s name and called him up, inviting him to live with his family and train Jesse for an entire month.

The man, known only as SEAL in Jesse’s memoir, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, promptly moved in and began a rigorous training with Jesse, pushing his body and mind as

10 11, 2015

Review: One by Sarah Crossan

By | November 10th, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, Family, For Teens, Gift Ideas, Love & Romance, Siblings, Social Issues, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

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one by sarah crossan book coverReviewed by Carrie Ardoin

I might have passed One by Sarah Crossan by if I had known beforehand that it was written in verse; I’m glad I somehow missed that fact because I wouldn’t have been able to experience this eye opening story.

Tippi and Grace are sisters, twins, and more than that–conjoined twins. At 17-years-old they have lived well past the life expectancy doctors gave them at birth. And now, they are getting ready to take on a challenge they never thought they would: high school.

The novel is told in verse through Grace’s voice. She is the more passive, quiet twin, while Tippi is quick to let people know exactly what she’s thinking. So while Grace is not quite ready to leave her cozy homeschooled life, Tippi is ready to get out in the world and make friends–and

7 11, 2015

Review: Mirrored by Alex Flinn

By | November 7th, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, Family, For Teens, Gift Ideas, Series, Social Issues, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

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mirrored book coverReviewed by Amanda Farmer

Everyone knows the story of Snow White and Mirrored by Alex Flinn is a fairy tale retelling of this classic. Mirrored is the story of Violet, an unpopular teenager who endures constant taunts from her classmates. She believes that if only she can be beautiful then everyone will love her. She meets Kendra (those who have read Flinn’s other stories will remember her character), who teaches her that she is in fact a witch and can change her appearance on a whim. Violet does this but even as she becomes beautiful, no one befriends her. In turn, she becomes obsessed with her friend Greg and believes herself to be in love with him. No matter what Kendra tries to tell her, nothing can change Violet’s mind.

The story is divided into two sections told from different point of

1 11, 2015

Review: The Last September by Nina de Gramont

By | November 1st, 2015|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Gift Ideas, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Mysteries/Thrillers, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance|Tags: , , , , , , |5 Comments

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the last september book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

As The Last September opens, readers are introduced to Brett, who has stumbled upon the unthinkable. Her husband Charlie has been murdered in their seaside Cape Cod home, with his mentally ill brother Eli present at the scene. Eli disappears, and Brett and the readers are left to wonder: did Eli murder his brother? And what led him to it?

Author Nina de Gramont begins Brett’s story in the middle, and takes readers back and forth through time. Brett and Eli were best friends in college, but on the night she met his free-spirited brother Charlie, their relationship changed forever. Months later, Brett watched in horror as Eli experienced a mental breakdown.

At the time of her husband’s murder, Brett and Charlie have a young daughter. Charlie is unemployed and their marriage is under great strain.

22 10, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

By | October 22nd, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, For Teens, Gift Ideas, Love & Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Series, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

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illuminae book coverReviewed by Christen Krumm

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s newest young adult offering takes experiencing a novel to a whole new level. Illuminae is not simply a book you just read, but one you experience right alongside the characters.

Illuminae tells the story of Ezra Mason and Kady Grant. On the day of their break-up, their planet is invaded and destroyed. Somehow they make it off the planet and are separated in two of the three rescue ships. With the enemy hot on their trail and a mysterious virus turning its victims into high functioning zombies who run around brutally murdering everyone in their path, Ezra and Kady have to call a truce with each other and form an alliance with the least expected ally in order to survive. It is a love story. Oh, and the entire thing is told through

15 10, 2015

Review: Sticker Creations: Under the Sea & Discover: Earth

By | October 15th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |3 Comments

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under the sea book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

As a homeschooling mom of seven children under the age of 13, I am constantly on the look out for books that will inspire a love of learning and appeal to a wide range of ages. The Smithsonian has come out with two great new books that fulfill both of those needs for our family.

Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Under the Sea by Emily Rose Oachs is as beautiful as it is informative. My children absolutely love the aquarium section of our local zoo and are attracted to any kind of Under the Sea type of programs that they can find – they have learned a lot! This fact made me wonder if they would find much interest in Sticker Creations: Under the Sea, or if they would be bored by the same general information in

6 10, 2015

Review: Ping Ping Panda’s Bamboo Journey by Maurice Pledger

By | October 6th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |2 Comments

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ping ping panda book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

To be honest, I have a literal bookshelf packed with board books for little hands. There are touch and feel books, lift-the-flap books, fiction, non-fiction and so on. I have come to the point where I need to be picky and weed out a few in order to make room for those that are truly worth keeping, such as Ping Ping Panda’s Bamboo Journey by Maurice Pledger.

Ping Ping is not simply another cute board book with a fuzzy panda on the cover. It is also not just another over simplified, lift-the-flap book. Pledger has done an excellent job of mixing a cute fictional story of an irresistible panda bear with a bit of information concerning different animals and their habits and diets.

As Ping-Ping Panda searches for more bamboo to eat, she runs into quite a few

29 09, 2015

Review: My Messy Body by Liza Fromer & Francine Gerstein MD

By | September 29th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |5 Comments

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my messy body book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

My Messy Body, part of the Body Works Series, by Liza Fromer and Francine Gerstein MD is a great picture book that plays off of a child’s sense of humor while explaining various bodily functions and the messes they can make. While the illustrations by Joe Weissman are playful and comical, the information given by Fromer and Dr. Gerstein does not talk down to children in the least.

Fromer and Gerstein do a great job of explaining the way our bodies work and the various messes that result in a way that kids will be able to grasp without too much difficulty, while still working in great vocabulary and medical terms and descriptions.  They have also included a glossary that further explains more difficult terms, and many interesting facts (some I never knew I

10 07, 2015

Review: DudeFood by Dan Churchill

By | July 10th, 2015|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, For Men, For the Cook, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction|Tags: |5 Comments

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dudefood book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

I’ll admit that I am not a member of the target audience for Dan Churchill’s DudeFood: A Guy’s Guide to Cooking Kick-Ass Food. Being a creature of habit, I tend to make the same thing over and over (and over) again; I just never feel I have the time to find something new, do the shopping, then actually cook it. I picked up DudeFood because the recipes looked appetizing, the ingredients were common (I didn’t have to find a specialty store for something I’ve never heard of), most of the recipes come with a beautiful full color picture of what the final dish should look like, and very impressively, Churchill has selected ingredients that place a variety of color onto the plate.

Churchill’s rhetoric is humorous. Most recipe books break down the food by main dish,

22 12, 2014

Review: Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

By | December 22nd, 2014|Categories: Contemporary, Genre Fiction, Gift Ideas, Great Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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bittersweet book coverReviewed by Colleen Turner

Bittersweet revolves around the lives and loves of the four Latimer sisters, two sets of twin half-sisters who are as close as sisters can be while also having very different personalities: Edda, the oldest, is the absolutely brilliant protector of the group that longs to become a doctor, something not many women are able to accomplish in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s when the novel takes place; Grace, Edda’s twin, longs for marriage and a life of comfort being taken care of by a husband; Tufts, the most down to earth and practical twin, is determined to make her own career and never lose herself to marriage; and Tuft’s twin, Kitty, the sharp-tongued, strikingly beautiful sister, wants nothing more than to be loved and appreciated for something other than her looks. All four sisters grow up