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Blog Tour: The Well Path by Jame Heskett M.D.

[ 3 ] March 20, 2016

the well path book coverPlease join Jame Heskett M.D., author of The Well Path, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Let me just start out by saying that there are entirely too many self-help/wellness/diet books out there, with a new fad diet or “challenge” popping up each month to make us feel worse about our long journey with weight loss (for those of us on that daily journey). Some fads are ridiculous (such as using a vertical piece of paper to measure your waistline challenge), and some are stupid (is eating tofu to lose weight really worth it if it is now rumored to be made of plaster of paris and epsom salts?). Other fads are just more of the same old tired advice  – eat much less, exercise much more – masquerading as the next best thing.

The Well Path by Jame Heskett, M.D. is different; Dr. Heskett really takes the time to lay out the whys, the why nots, and what we really need to do to get back in balance. The book is split up into three main sections: The Well Path described, The Well Path in action, and another section that covers the myths regarding weight loss and how we age. Each of the 1-8 weeks of the plan to better health are described, as well as the C.H.A.N.G.E.s (Circulation, Hunger/Hormone Balance, Activity, Nutrition, General Health, Exercise) that we need to do to get real results. We are given information about our metabolism, how working out can actually work against us, what we should eat and how, our belly fat and what’s up with that, aging hormones, how to achieve ultimate balance and much more. The beginning of the book explains the body and its functions from a doctor who knows, then the middle and end of the book describe The Well Path, a tool for really losing weight, finding balance and feeling better overall.

There were many points in the book that resonated with me but several really stuck after I turned the last page. The diets and half-hearted workouts that most of us do are worthless. Real change comes when we change our habits to ones that we can maintain for the long term. Our food choices do matter 100% of the time, and we can find balance by being better to ourselves in the short and long run. I learned that cookies are not a snack, but a “treat,” and that it is easier to follow this outline for better health than we think. The back of the book also holds recipes to “start souping,” because soup is a great way to keep weight down while maintaining a high level of nutrition.

I admit, it was easy to start sipping hot lemon water (to reduce aging, boost circulation, and more), and start breathing deeper. But the bigger challenge was to start on the plan and incorporate it into my daily life. I am not usually the one to suggest this but I’d recommend approaching this book by reading the sections that appeal to you the most first. Then, go back and read the entire book cover to cover to make sure you have the reasons for the activities down pat. Finally, you will be ready and versed to start The Well Path properly. It is not a diet plan but a lifestyle change that might make a difference for anyone looking for a better way to maintain a healthy weight, to stop aging so fast, and to manage stress.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper Wave. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd

[ 4 ] March 18, 2016

no shred of evidence book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

No Shred of Evidence is the 18th book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries. I find these to be pretty interesting stories where Ian is a good detective and has to deal with the vagaries of political expediency. And where some feel it is more important to close cases than to do the work to actually catch the guilty.  In this particular case, he has to deal with angry influential fathers.

A group of four young women are accused of attempting to murder a young man; they claim they were just trying to save him from drowning. There isn’t much evidence one way or the other. The original Scotland yard man sent down to investigate died from a heart attack. So Rutledge was sent to replace him. Only there was no paperwork to be found anywhere among his possessions, not even the original statements given by all the witnesses. Leaving Rutledge at square one.

To make matters more difficult, Kate Gordon is one of the women accused. She was cousin to Rutledge’s fiance from before the war and he has a hard time believing she could be party to a murder. At the same time, he can’t be seen being partial.

The one piece of the story the girls told that was not corroborated was that the dead young man had been in his own boat, and that it sank underneath him. Which is why they girls were trying to rescue him from the water. Rutledge takes it upon himself to have the boat found, if it ever existed.

While finding the boat puts doubt into the eye witness testimony, it also raises some more questions and doesn’t make it a clear cut case. Then someone attacks the vicar. While there is no immediate reason to think the two crimes are tied together, two violent crimes in such a sleepy part of the country is certainly an anomaly. And when a third man is beaten to death in an apparent robbery, Rutledge is sure someone other than the girls is at fault. But he needs to prove it.

This was a very good book. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it since everything seemed stacked against anyone finding the truth. This installment was a little more intense that most of the other ones I’ve read in this series but in the end that made it all the better. I still enjoy reading about Rutledge and this story has a hint of things to come in future books.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney

[ 6 ] March 18, 2016

hard red spring book coverI have a copy of Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

1902: Eight-year-old Evie Crowder watches as her parents work in vain to keep their fledgling wheat farm going. Far from their New York home, the Crowder’s struggle against corrupt government officials and inscrutable natives, both of whom have little time for Americans who think that buying cheap Guatemalan land entitles them to any rights. When her parents mysteriously disappear, Evie’s fate hangs in the balance and her legacy will haunt the Land of Eternal Spring for decades to come.

1954: Dorie, wife of the American Ambassador, is entangled in an affair that puts her in the center of the multi-national fight for control of Guatemala. With her husband actively involved in the CIA’s covert operation to topple President Jacobo Arbenz, Dorie desperately wants to flee with her lover, Tomás. Tomás’s loyalties, however, are split between Dorie and his employer, United Fruit—the real source of money and power in Guatemala.

1983: Lenore Beasley was called by God to be a missionary in Guatemala. Or, more accurately, she was called by Pat Robertson to join President Ríos Montt’s drive to bring his country to Christ. Lenore and her husband Dan move into a model village with instructions to baptize the droves of resettled Mayans. As Lenore becomes involved with an enigmatic blue-eyed Indian woman, her faith in God and the mission begin to flag, putting her dangerously at odds with the armed militia controlling the village.

1999: Single mom Jean takes her adopted daughter Maya on a Roots Tour of Guatemala, hoping the trip will heal their fractured relationship. Jean wants to ground her teenager in history, but she also wants validation that taking Maya from her homeland was the right thing to do. The trauma Jean thought was in their past, however, confronts them with full force. In the middle of a nation trying to heal after decades of war, Jean also finds her own fraught path to healing.

About Kelly Kerney

Kelly Kerney’s first novel, Born Again, was listed among the best debuts of the year by Kirkus Reviews, was a Book Sense Pick, and was recognized by the New York Public Library as one of the best books of 2006. A Virginia Commission for the Arts fellowship recipient, she lives in Richmond, Virginia.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour: Playing the Part by Jen Turano

[ 0 ] March 17, 2016

playing the part book coverPlease join Jen Turano, author of Playing the Part, as she tours the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Enter Jen’s 5-book giveaway – open until 4/6 – here

Reviewed by Charity Lyman

Today I have a delightful story to share that will have you in stitches! Jen Turano is the well known author of many novels set in the Gilded Age and her newest one is titled Playing the Part. It is an entertaining tale full of the quirky characters Turano has come to be recognized for. Give me a minute to explain a few of them to you, and then we can talk about the story itself!

In this book we will meet a few new characters but also get to catch up with a few old friends. Well, they will be old friends if you have read the first two stories in the trilogy. Abigail Hart is a woman many of you will remember. She is a widow who has opened her home to the three young ladies the books tell us about, and a meddling matchmaker to boot! In the previous novels she helps Millie and Harriet find real love and in this installment we see her trying to aid Lucietta to her list of successful matches. These three young ladies were in trouble once upon a time and Abigail took them in, giving them shelter and friendship in the process. These are the characters fans of Turano will remember but there are plenty of new ones to get to know in Playing the Part–including Abigail’s grandson, Bram Haverstein.

The plot is an engaging one as Lucietta Plum is an actress and quite a good one. But when she has a conniving fan who takes things to the next level, Abigail takes her to the estate of her grandson, Bram. Only problem is, her and her grandson have never been close, and he has been having issues of his own to contend with which include young ladies chasing after him. Will they be able to stop the crazed fan before things turn deadly? And will the story change for this heroine who doesn’t want to be saved?

Turano really gives us a charming story with characters that pop and situations you will just have to laugh at. I had my family looking at me wondering what in the world was going on while I was reading this novel. It is full of humor but also the reminder that we don’t have to do everything on our own and it is okay to ask for help. A wonderful book as always with a definite 5 star rating!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady

Review copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Most Creative/Prolific Contributor Award!

[ 5 ] March 17, 2016

stack of books As promised, every month I give away a prize of their choice to the most creative/prolific contributor to Luxury Reading. And I just realized that I’ve missed naming winner since December! In that spirit…

Our January and February winners are…

Susan T. and Colleen Turner!

Kudos to everyone for your great comments! Please post a comment here with your selection!

The contest started over on March 10th, and I will pick a new winner around the 10th of April. There is no limit to how many times you can win.

Remember, frequency of commenting counts, but so does the quality – a creative and relevant comment will get you more points than something like “sounds great”. Every month, I will pick a winner and post their name, as well as send them an e-mail. The winner can pick any item that is available on Amazon.com.

Get commenting!

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Review: Nakamura Reality by Alex Austin

[ 9 ] March 16, 2016

nakamura reality book coverReviewed by Bethany Kelly

When I read the description for Nakamura Reality by Alex Austin, I was instantly intrigued by the premise. Unfortunately, I felt that this was a case of an amazing idea being poorly executed.

The main character in the book, Hugh, leaves his two sons surfing in the ocean to meet up with his former girlfriend, and comes back to find them absent from the crowd of surfers. He goes searching for them in the vast ocean, but comes back to shore with nothing but pain, and regret. His eleven-year-old twins are gone.

Unable to forgive him, his wife Setsuko, divorces him and moves back to Japan with her father, Kazuki Ono, a famous author.

Ten years later, Hugh has made the decision to take his own life, but when he swims out to sea to drown himself, his sons appear to him, and start making him consider their true fate. With their bodies never recovered, did they really die? Or is there something else going on?

After finding out that his ex-father-in-law is back in America writing a novel with details familiar to his own life, Hugh sets out on a journey to discover what really happened to his sons that day.

This novel alternates between Hugh’s perspective, and Kazuki’s perspective—where most of it is glimpses of the novel he is writing. I ended up getting very interested in Hugh’s chapters, but I found myself skimming through Kazuki’s. The chapters told from his perspective did nothing but confuse me. I think the author was trying to add an element of suspense to the novel by putting this in the book, but it was poorly executed in my opinion. There also seemed to be a lot of filler in this novel (in both sections)–almost as if there was stuff added simply to hit a specific word count.

Finally, I found myself completely baffled by the ending to this novel. I think Austin was trying to make the ending metaphorical, but again, it was poorly executed. Overall, while I was interested in what happened to Hugh’s sons, I had a rough time reading this book to its end.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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