Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's Just My Nature! by Carol Tuttle

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Title: It's Just My Nature! A Guide To Knowing and Living Your True Nature
Author: Carol Tuttle
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Non-Fiction Self-Help
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Reveals a startlingly accurate method for assessing your personality and behavioral tendencies with a new system called Energy Profiling TM" (King County Library).
Opinions: This book explains that everyone's personalities down into four types: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth with a thorough explanation of the reasons and science behind this breakdown. Everyone has all four aspects to their nature, but this book suggests that everyone has one of the types that is dominant over all the others. And then explains that if you accept what your true nature is and to live by it that you will feel more at home in your own skin.  I had heard about this premise before from several friends who have already read into Carol Tuttle's Energy Profiling system. When a friend loaned  me this book I was eager to see what all the hype was about. The intriguing thing is it made a whole lot of sense to me. Eventually I was able to pin down that I am a Type 1: Air person who lives by hope and looking up and having an upbeat personality. Secondly, I am a Water type as I tend to be sensitive and also try to make others feel comfortable. The break down of each type is fully explained including the strengths and difficulties a person of that type would face. It also suggests how to work with someone of a differing type then yourself, which I found extremely helpful. The more I read, the more I began to understand other family members better and what it is that I could modify in my own behavior to help meet their needs. I was grateful for the insight in how to work better together as a family to help each other grow closer together. I am looking forward into reading her book Child Whisperer to help me further understand my children's personalities and how I could be a better mother to support who they are. I especially enjoyed being able to go back to my friends who recommended this book and see if they agreed with my assessment. It's a great topic of discussion.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode

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Title: Numbers Game (Numbers Game #1)
Author: Rebecca Rode
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: Murder associated in a dystopian society
Premise: "Treena is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever—a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend the academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life and boyfriend back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there’s Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within her heart."


Opinions: I ordered this book last week, but saved reading it until I could have the author (and friend and critique buddy) sign it last night at the official release party. So yeah. I took the day off today from doing pretty much everything (except making my daughter's birthday cake) so that I could read this book. I could not put it down. Part of it was from fascination to see how the final product fared against the beta draft I read a while ago. Part of it is because of the story itself. Let's just say . . .I loved the final product. It is strong, compelling, and hard to put down.

I love the split point of view between Treena and Vance. I was intrigued by each person's character growth. The secondary characters are strong and definitely add to the story. The part I love most though is the creation of the world, to the point it was its own character to me. Everything about the world was vivid, impressive, and complex. It impacted everyone and everything. The tendrils of information about the past are given smoothly and not an info dump and definitely strengthen the story. Its a fascinating world that Rebecca created.

Some of the timing was slightly confusing to me, but some of that could be because my kids had to be fed and all, and I might have missed something. Especially when it came to the development of the relationship between Vance and Treena, but that's because I'm a sucker for drawing that kind of thing out.

Despite any of that I still stand by what I had told Rebecca previously, "This story is better than Scott Westerfeld's book Uglies . . . and I LOVE that book."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

To read my review of the first book in this series, click here: Steelheart.


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Title: Firefight (The Reckoners #2)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: Mild Swearing, Moderate Violence
Premise: "David and the Reckoners continue their fight against the Epics, humans with superhuman powers, except they may have met their match in Regalia, a High Epic who resides in Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan"-- Provided by publisher.
Opinions: Wow!!!! I mean WOW!!!  I loved David's character growth in this book. I love the questions raised in this book about trust, the ability to change, and hero worship. The characters are complex and fascinating, and the plot is seriously gripping. This book is hard to put down and loved to read with my husband.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Making the Team by J. Scott Savage

To read my review of the first book in the series, click here: Zombie Kid.


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Title: Making The Team (Case Files 13 Series #2)
Author: J. Scott Savage
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid-Grade Horror
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: Creepy Monsters that the kids fight in a humorous way
Premise: "A mysterious private school has opened in town and Nick, Carter, and Angelo join forces with their rivals Angie, Tiffany, and Dana to uncover the mystery behind the school's inhumanly good football team" (King County Library System).
Opinions: This is mild-mannered horror at its best. I love this series.  I usually shy away from horror, but this is mid-grade version of horror. This book is full of laughs, pranks, punchy references, bodily noises, and loads of laugh out loud moments. I love the inter-relationship between the two groups of kids as they are trying to work together and the fantastic relationship with Nick's parents. It is also a great story about learning to cope with change.  For parents: This book is amazing, but it does have monsters that could be scary for more sensitive kids. Keep in mind I'm a highly sensitive adult. I was crept out, but the humor and the kids' ability to work together to overcome obstacles made this all worth it.  So my suggestion is read the book out loud or with your kid to gauge their reactions as to whether or not they can handle it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ruins by Dan Wells

To read my reviews of the other books in this series, click here: Partials, Fragments.


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Title: Ruins (Partials Series #3)
Author: Dan Wells
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: Swearing, Killing Associate With Battle
Premise: "As a war between the humans and the Partials looms, Samm finds himself trapped beyond a toxic wasteland, and Kira finds herself under the control of Dr. Morgan who is desperate to save the Partials" (King County Library System).
Opinions:  Two books in one week. I know. . . amazing.  Well, I'm sick so I get time to actually catch up on reading and reviewing.  Yeah!!!  Anyway, this series is FABULOUS.  The only reason I didn't give all the books in this series top notch ratings  is simply because of the death toll and some swearing. The premise, the characters, and the setting are brilliant. Dan Wells does an amazing job of bringing new twists and turns to this genre. I am completely fascinated by the moral and ethical dilemmas in this book, watching the choices that individuals made and why, and then contemplating whether or not I would do the same.  This is a fantastic book for discussion and an engaging read. Once the cover is opened it is hard to put down. For the whole series I either ignored my family or had to make sure I could read it when they weren't around because I was in it so deep it was hard to stop. So is this series good.  Yes.  Should your teen read it? Well, that's up to you. You know them better than anyone. But it would make a great discussion of right vs. wrong, points of views, self-value, ethics, and dealing with consequences of your choices.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Candy Experiments 2 by Loralee Leavitt

To read my review of the first book, click here: Candy Experiments.

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Title:  Candy Experiments 2
Author: Loralee Leavitt
Reviewer: Karen
Genre:  Non-Fiction
Rating:  FABULOUS!!!!!
Alerts/Warnings:  None
Premise: "Following the success of the first Candy Experiments, this all-new collection presents more ways to destroy store-bought candy and learn some science in the process. Candy Experiments 2 delivers fun science facts from the perspective of a real mom in the kitchen doing crazy things with brand-name store-bought candy. Marshmallows, cotton candy, Pixy Stix, Jawbreakers, Pop Rocks, gummi candy, chocolate, and even soda provide good excuses to get destructive in the kitchen. Do Peeps dissolve when you drop them into very hot water? Can you make gummi candy disappear in water? What happens to cotton candy when you dip it in oil? Candy Experiments 2 is full of new ideas for learning science through candy. Each experiment includes basic explanations of the relevant science. The book is written for children between the ages of 7 and 10, though older and younger ages will enjoy it as well. "-- Publisher's website.
Opinions: Oh my gosh!!! I am SO excited to share this one. My daughter and I did the experiments in the first book and suddenly my daughter wanted to be a scientist.  When Loralee asked me to help beta-test some of her experiments for a second book I jumped at the chance. My daughter went nuts. We were doing experiments every other day. And now here is Loralee's new book out and ready for everyone to explore.  If you didn't love science when you were younger, try exploring this book with your kids and suddenly you'll find yourself loving it. More importantly you will be loving the time and connection you are making with your kids.  I made the "mistake" of handing out my copy of book two to a friend and my daughter is downright mad at me. She keeps asking if I've gotten the book back yet because she wants to do more science.  Now if that doesn't make a book special then I don't know what is.  These experiments let you explore what can happen to chocolate, pop rocks, gummy worms and all sorts of candy when you add a little scientific fun to them.  See what happens when you put them in water, or add a little heat, or in the freezer.   So is this book great?  Heck yeah!!!! Why haven't you gone out and gotten one yet?  Then tell me what kind of fun you and your motley crew have accomplished.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Make It With A Cake Mix by Lizzy Early

To read my review of Lizzy's other cookbook, click here: Your Cup Of Cake.

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Title: Make It With A Cake Mix
Author: Lizzy Early
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Non-Fiction Cookbook
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Do you love the taste of from-scratch treats, but lack the time to slave over dozens of ingredients? Popular food blogger Lizzy Early has the sure fire solution, as she demonstrates that even the most elaborate desserts can be created from a simple cake mix. With dozens of recipes that ensure all of the flavor and none of the fuss, the bestselling author of Your Cup of Cake proves that you don't have to be a professional chef to create bakery-worthy sweets in your own kitchen. From luscious lemon cookies to rich red velvet doughnuts, family and friends will never believe that these gourmet goodies came from a box!" (GoodReads.com)
Opinions: OH MY HEAVEN!!!!  I loved Lizzy Early's first book, Your Cup of Cake, which I got for Mother's Day a few years back and have received rave reviews from many people when I make them any of those recipes.  Then, last week while volunteering at my local library, I saw that she had a new book out. Flipping through the glorious images of her creations my mouth started to drool.  Not only does she provide new cupcakes like S'Mores Cupcakes and Strawberry Red Velvet Cupcakes, but she has expanded her creations. Make It With A Cake Mix also includes such delectable recipes for Red Velvet S'Mores Bars, Chocolate Waffles, Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, Carrot Cake Whoopies Pies, Ultimate Grasshopper Cookies, and Rocky Road Cake. And that's just that start. Everything sounds so amazing and looks completely incredible that I've already put it on my wish list for this Mother's Day.  So if you like to try new things and want to expand your baking options, then you must try out this cookbook.