Sunday, April 5, 2015

REVIEW for Gorge

I was lucky enough to read this book through Net Galley.

TITLE:        Gorge

AUTHOR:   Kara Richardson Whitely

GENRE:      Memoir


My short review would be I LOVED THIS BOOK.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one but I was captivated by the blurb and wanted to know more.

Sure, I can honestly say that I have never had any burning desire to hike up the Kilmanjaro but I was fascinated by the premise that a woman weighing 300 lbs could do it (or even wanted to do it).

What followed was an absolutely amazing and inspiring story of Kara who faced both her body issues and her fears about what lay ahead on her journey.

This book worked so well for me because it represents Kara's connection with the mountain and her weight issues. Throughout the book you can feel that often what Kara was feeling or thinking could easily be applied to both her trek and her life at the same time - the juxtaposition of both - the reality of an overweight woman daring to tackle such a huge task, while at the same time not managing to put down the candy was a fascinating and EXTREMELY TRUE look at what food addiction is.

I loved, loved this story and felt for Kara every painful step of the way.

I also loved how Kara does not preach or tell us that she found a miracle by attempting this trek. Rather it is about a woman and her feelings and thoughts as she tries to do something that has always been a dream.

I cannot say enough good things about this book and kudos to the title - this is an inspiring read for anyone, but especially for women who think food addiction means the end of your life.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

REVIEW for We Can Work it Out

Thank you, thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:               We Can Work it Out

AUTHOR:          Elizabeth Eulberg

GENRE:             YA


First, I have to say how much I love this cover - anyone reading the book will understand why this cover was used and all I can say is that the obsession continues in this one - making for some cute and funny moments.

Penny is an engaging character - she now has to face a new reality - is it possible to date a nice guy? and if so, what happens to the Lonely Hearts Club.  This is at the centre of this book, as Penny discovers that she now needs to move forward and start growing, instead of just retreating into the Club she created in order to get away from her emotions and her fears.

The author does an excellent job of showing us how conflicted Penny feels throughout the storyline, as she meshes normal teen angst about dating and growing up with the very real pain that Penny has had to deal with in the past.

I do agree with other reviewers who commented that at times, it feels as though the author seems to shift her writing style more towards younger teens, which does take away form the book.  A level of maturity that remained constant would have elevated this story.

Nonetheless, not a bad read.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

REVIEW for A Kiss to Build a Dream On

TITLE:               A Kiss to Build a Dream On

AUTHOR:          Kim Amos

GENRE:             Romance


For those who know me, I rarely read romance novels, unless they are chick lit and are geared towards single women who get into all kinds of troubles (hence, chick lit).  However, one of my favorite authors sent me her new book  - a romance, which is a departure from her other types of books.

At first, I wasn't sure if I could do this book justice, but I instantly loved the cover (yes, I am ONE OF THOSE) and dug in.  

I really liked the plot and since it is written by one of my all time favorite authors, I KNEW that I would have no problem with the writing style.  

A Kiss to Build a Dream On is as much about home improvements as it is about discovering love, going to your past and oh, did I mention, the sexy love scenes?  As a bonus, Willa is converting her house to a B&B - which happens to have been a dream  I had in my mid thirties. Sadly unrealized, which means I also got to live "vicariously" through her.

Burk is a bit "too" everything for me and at times I thought "wow, there are no guys on this earth that are quite that perfect"LOL but then some cute and funny (challenging) dialogue would erupt and I would be right into the story again.

I have to admit I am worried though.  I really, really don't want this author to stop writing her other "type" of books though (YA), so she will have to figure out a way to "clone" herself LOL.

If you love romance novels that are not dumbed down - this is the perfect read.

Friday, March 6, 2015

REVIEW for Backlash

Thank you to the wonderful Nikole at Scholastic Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:              Backlash

AUTHOR:         Sarah Darer Littman

GENRE:           YA


In full disclosure mode, I LOVE Sarah Darer and everything she writes.  I have gone on record as saying that Want to Go Private is one of the best books I have ever read.

Backlash once again tackles difficult YA issues - related to technology.  Its always amazing to me when I think back about my youth - we had no technology to worry about, although bullying was certainly an issues.  I guess, though, it wasn't quite as easy to bully when you didn't have the ears and the eyes of the world at your disposal.

This is what Backlash tackles.  Just how one "silly", "impulse" can ruin your life and those around you.  How one click of the button can basically destroy the world of the people around you - its actually pretty scary.

The other thing this book does extremely well is expose bullying and all its dark sides.  The ease in which people (including those who should have known better) want to get into the act of bullying with you, but also the sheer destruction of it and how it haunts you.

The writing is beautiful, direct and from the heart.  Although this book is very difficult to read because, let's face it, everyone has bullied or been bullied at some point, it is also engrossing and thought provoking.

The touching friendship of the younger siblings, while everything is falling apart around them is beautiful and made me smile.  They were often more mature and the voice of reason than anyone around them.

Finally, I devoured this book and it is a must read for both parents and YA - hopefully, it can be seen as a tale of caution.

I can't wait to read Sarah's next book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REVIEW for Out of It

Thank you to the people at James Lorimer Company for auto approving me on Net Galley.

TITLE:             Out of It

AUTHOR:        Michelle Kadarusman

GENRE:            YA


I have read many, many books published by James Lorimer & Company and they have all been great reads.

The Sidestreets series publishes wonderful books featuring YA and current social issues that are always spot on and Out of It is another example of how incredibly important it is to print these types of books in today's world.

Author Kadarusman writes about two best friends that share everything until one of them decides to explore her inner demons by drinking, doing drugs and getting herself into a situation that she cannot get herself out of. The characters of Lacey and Suri are actually very well fleshed out, considering how short this book is.

I found the story compelling and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens to both of them. I liked that this is not your typical "mean girl" story, in fact the direction the author chose to take with this friendship was refreshing and honest. I found myself rooting for both of these girls who each have their demons to fight.

I also loved the fact that the love story (of sorts) is NOT the main focus of this book, but rather its about two young girls who find out that they are truly there for each other no matter what.

Loved it.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

REVIEW for Kiss and Tell

Thank you to HBG Canada for offering me a copy of this book through Net Galley.

TITLE:         Kiss and Tell

AUTHOR;   Jacqueline Green

GENRE:       YA


I would have loved to give this book amazing reviews, unfortunately, I just could not get into the storyline at all.

I was intrigued by this book because it sounded like a creepy whodunnit especially since the story unfolds in a tiny, remote town.   However, this book felt like it was a plot line with nowhere to go.

I think part of the problem was the author's determination in giving the story twists, which only bogged down the story.

This book is not intriguing, creepy or particularly interesting.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

REVIEW for Walking on Trampolines

Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:              Walking on Trampolines

AUTHOR:         Frances Whiting

GENRE:            Fiction

Okay, in full disclosure mode, I am NOT usually a fan of this type of fiction, however, the plot was very interesting to me - mainly because I lived something very similar when I was a young girl and a YA (minus the sleeping with the guy).

For many years, I could not get him and us out of my mind and when I read this book, it brought it all back.  The pain, suffering, emotions and ultimately the decisions that are made by Annabelle, Lulu and Josh then and now make this book a compelling read - mainly because the question kept coming to me "do we make decisions" or "are our actions and thoughts (and decisions already planned for us)??? having thought of this very often through my life, I have always believed that our lives are predestined, which means that no matter what Annabelle, Lulu and Josh did or didn't do, the end result was already determined.  

Reading this book - comparing it to my life and believing that everything is predetermined, gave me a take on this plot that was both discouraging, empowering and a tad sad.

Can friendship survive betrayal and bad choices?  Only the powers that be can answer that - unfortunately, but this book WAS a very good read, but having said that, I realize that even me reading this book was not an accident.

I know this was a bit of a weird review, but I guess this book really made me think - which is never a bad thing :) 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

REVIEW for Hope To die

TITLE:              Hope to Die

AUTHOR:         James Patterson

GENRE:           Thriller


** spoiler alert ** I have read all of Patterson's Alex Cross books and, for the most part, have truly loved them. I just love Alex Cross, which is why I was so happy to read this one. I consider my once a year Alex Cross books as a huge treat.

Unfortunately, this one left me "meh". While its not horrible, its fairly boring focusing solely on Cross trying to save his family (left off from the previous book).

What works, for me, when it comes to Alex Cross is that he can be incredibly analytical and its a treat to read his exploits as he follows the clues and tracks his prey - they never stand a chance. Except that in this one, Cross is reduced to reacting instead of planning and using his intelligence. I don't like that Alex Cross.

Additionally, this book pushes a little too much when it comes to certain things - at times, its just not credible, especially the scene when he has to "rescue" himself. There is almost no mention or presence from Sampson and everything is about his family, which I find tedious even when the story is great (which it is not here).

Finally and this is MY BIGGEST beef with this one - Patterson uses silly ploys to lure his readers and then, chooses to PLAY IT VERY, VERY SAFE. This book could have had a saving grace - the author could have taken a chance and really done something daring which would have moved the story forward greatly for this book and for the others which will follow - except he went and played it safe - what a bore and a total let down.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

REVIEW for Gone Too Far

Thank you to Sourcebooks for allowing me to read this book through Net Galley.

TITLE:            Gone too Far

AUTHOR:       Natalie D. Richards

GENRE:           YA


I really enjoyed this book, mainly because it just wasn't your standard boring story about a girl in school who gets revenge.

Yes, Piper gets the opportunity to really make like difficult for some of the "popular" kids in school who have basically made her life difficult, an interesting thing happens along the way.

The popular kids are just not that bad, in fact, they are very similar to Piper (great little plot twist).  

So, how does Piper get herself out a very difficult situation?  

Loved the pacing in this book and I really appreciated that the author actually went the "other" way by making the main character realize that not everyone is bad just because they are popular.

The suspense is good and I was trying to figure out how the author would write the character out of this mess.

Very engrossing read and I was actually upset when the book ended.

Loved it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

REVIEW for Premium Edible Oils by Alpha Energy

I was asked to review this product (an honest review) by (for those of you who read my blog, you know that I have NO problem giving an item (book or otherwise) a negative review if I feel it deserves one.  But fortunately, I did not have to even come close on this one :)

I have read so much information when it comes to the best oils to use that I feel I am very well equipped to decide which oils offer the most benefits, all the while maintaining their taste. 

When I received Premium Edible Oils, my first "taste test" and the most revealing, in my opinion, is to apply a dab on your finger and taste it. This may sound "basic" but I have found that many oils are not that good when they are at their source. This was not the case here, the "taste test" went very well and I liked the taste.

Secondly, I used the oil in cooking a light meal - and I was thrilled to discover that it did not make my food taste fatty, slick or heavy. In fact, it gave my meal a light, somewhat refined taste that enhanced my foods instead of drowning them in fatty tasting items.

Thirdly, I love that this oil is literally "balanced" in that it offers some healthy fats while helping me keep a low carb food plan. I don't like certain exercises so I do a lot of yoga and I certainly don't want all the benefits my body gains with my yoga sessions to be destroyed because I am using the wrong type of oils - Premium Edible Oils helps me stay healthy and sane (somewhat sane, anyway!). 

Finally, there are many gluten-free issues out there today and while this is no my issue, I have a friend who is gluten-free and after reading up on Premium Edible Oils, she is thrilled with what she is reading and is investing in her own "stash". I loved this product and I intend to make it my new oil!
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