Thursday, September 24, 2015

no peace in the middle east, cher.

Being obsessed with Homeland and equally terrified that everything about the Middle East displayed in this fictional show is true, I thought The Knife by Ross Ritchell would help get me geared up for the next season which airs in October, and I was so right.


Dutch Shaw has barely anytime to mourn the loss of his grandmother before he is deployed once again to Afghanipakiraqistan (no really though), along with his special ops team who just want to stay alive, leading to the idea of morality and how it plays a huge role in war. Fathers, sons, husbands, killing people to save their comrades and themselves. Being loyal to their country and nothing else. Honestly, Ritchell took me to some places I really didn't want to go to give readers insight on the horrors of war. But I'm glad I read it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

peacefull & effective parenting.

Being super close in age, I drag down fist fought with my older brother for years. I was obsessed with my baby brother, so fighting wasn't an issue there. But a lot of my friends, especially ones with sisters, fought incessantly with the older or younger sibling their entire childhood, and it wasn't until they both became adults that they actually started to like each other. It could be because their sibling was an asshole. Or there could be more to it than that. Well IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. Ask Dr. Laura Markham.

Peaceful Parenting, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life is a parenting guide to help you build strong connections with all of your children, to eliminate sibling rivalry and the idea that you love anyone better than anyone else (even though you probably do). What I found especially interesting? Getting rid of apologies. Kids (and adults) think that saying their sorry can fix anything terrible they have done. Well, it can't. So encourage your children to problem solve and "repair" the situation to the best of their ability. This book is geared toward families with young children (for example, adding a new baby to the family), so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that Dr. Markham is a parenting expert with other books that could fit your family right now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

women are made to be crazy.

I haven't been in the mood for novels lately. Which never happens. I love novels. I love getting sucked into stories and fictional character's lives. But lately, I just can't get into any of the one's I've started. Spotting Moody Bitches by Julie Holland, M.D. on my nightstand reminded me that I am probably the problem. So I took a break from novels and dove in. Doctor's orders.

The full title is Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, the Sleep You're Missing, the Sex You're Not Having, and What's Really Making You Crazy, and one of the main focuses of Dr. Holland is the issue with women being prescribed antidepressants because they are having a bad day. Or a bad week. Hello, that's being a woman. Our moods are ever changing. I can't even find a novel I want to read. She clarifies that if you literally cannot get out of bed for weeks at a time, seek help, but being a normal human woman means having some crazy up and downs. The doctor moves on to other lady topics, like sex and sleep, female cannabis, parenting, the importance of downtime, and how to stay sane in your crazy life without medication. As a crazy woman, I found her words extremely interesting and rather soothing. I know you will, too.

Monday, September 21, 2015

pokemon encyclopedia

Pokémon is still so incredibly IN according to the younger school-aged kids, who knew? So why not get them reading about their favorite Pokémon with the Deluxe Essential Handbook by Scholastic? Your Pokémon fan will read this handbook daily, no, you may not get why, but if they are reading this book, they aren't bothering you so everybody's a winner!

This book does not contain the X & Y generation, but fun facts or stats for over 640 Pokémon are included from the Kanto, Shino, and, Unova - and I'm over here like, whatever that means. But apparently this book is pretty kick ass according to about 32423 kids.

Friday, September 18, 2015

kick ass giveaway!

Happy Friday! Here's your chance to win a FREE copy of Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe!

....all you have to do is email your name, address, and this book title to: to enter!
Giveaway ends on 9/25 at midnight!
Good luck :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

all the gluten intolerant ladies, all the gluten intolerant ladies.

Apparently what is old is new again because einkorn is a natural wheat that has been around for centuries and only recently became popular again due to it's flavor, nutrients, and realization that it can be eaten symptom-free. No mood swings, no belly aches, no backlash. Wheat is back in and I couldn't be happier.

Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci is filled with all of the foods those with a gluten-intolerant have been missing. Not that einkorn doesn't contain gluten, it does, but a very tolerable amount (that's all explained in the book). But now you can make crackers, pasta, BREAD. Einkorn is like a dream come true and really easy to bake with. All of the recipes have very simple ingredients and many are dairy free. Win, win, win.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

teens and god.

I had no idea who Sadie Robertson was until I saw her on season nineteen of Dancing with the Stars. I had literally never heard of her family, because apparently I don't notice anyone unless they're in sequins. What I do know is that if I had a teenage daughter, I would want her bestie to be Sadie. She's vivacious and fun while also keeping it clean, and that is something that every mama bear can get behind. This girl is out there making it so much easier for the next generation of girls to be good. And her book, Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values is all about challenging girls to live originally and in a way that pleases God. Sadie also touches on the issues many girls are facing as teenagers with an honest voice that is so incredibly real. She is truly a blessing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

it's the truth even if it didn't happen.

In honor of suicide prevention week last week, and the fact that we are all a little crazy, I want to share with you all an extremely interesting read. Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness by Joel and Ian Gold is a book about the influence that culture has on madness, with a focus on schizophrenia and delusions. Mental illness is a disease, and environment does play a role in this disease, just as it does in many others. In this book you will find true stories from actual patients, and also a new perspective on how mental illness is diagnosed and treated. Suspicious Minds is expertly researched and the writing is easily accessible to anyone who's interested.

Monday, September 14, 2015

the latest in english lit.

Before I get started on my review of Estelle Rankin's 7th Edition, 5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature 2016, I want to make sure you all are aware of the purpose of this exam. 1. your child is planning on going to college. 2. your child is interested in majoring in arts and humanities at said college. If neither of these apply to you, do not have your child take this exam because it will honestly be a big fat waste of your time, unless they are going to Harvard. Now, if they are planning on majoring in arts or humanities in college, PLEASE pick them up a copy of this test prep book. You won't be sorry because this is not an easy exam, and the 5 Steps to a 5 books are the absolute best.

5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature 2016 is fully revised, and will fully prepare your child for the AP Literature exam by tackling the sections one by one, and outlining everything your child needs to prepare for including what to read before taking this exam. Important things I noticed? The exam does not give you relevant quotes or summaries of the works you can write about for one of your essays, so you need to be super familiar with a couple of major books before you begin. Literary devices should also be memorized. Multiple choice question anxiety will be ever present during this exam, taking a chill pill should cure it right up. You're welcome.

Friday, September 11, 2015

delicious; the novel & the recipes.

Since primetime wedding season is almost over, I feel like it's safe to review Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe, a brand spankin' new novel that came out on the first of the month about a woman dealing with the aftermath of her fiancé's untimely death. It sounds harsh, I know.

After her fiancé, Alex dies in a surfing accident, Frankie can. not. even. So she runs. I've run for less let me tell you. Frankie takes off to a secluded cabin, away from her overbearing family, and the painful memories, to give her heart time to heal itself. As time moves forward and her time to grieve is interrupted constantly, Frankie sees a truth to her relationship with Alex she never before allowed herself to see. And after being broken into a million pieces, she discovers that the most unlikely of people can make her feel whole again.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

the golden age of spain.

If all history books read like narratives as well as Robert Goodwin's Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682 did, history class would be significantly more interesting. It was as if I was reading a novel, and I love novels.

At the beginning of the modern era, Spain became the centre of the western world by accident. And so began Spain's golden age, and Goodwin's tale of how gold and silver got the country out of debt and into the number spot in the 16th century. Universities expanded, the crown got stronger, and opportunities exploded. Despite that pesky Inquisition, it was a beautiful time for Spain and I was happy to learn about all of the good that happened in the country during that time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

light vs. dark.

I have yet to read a novel as complex or engrossing as Salman Rushdie's Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, the story of an enchanted princess who falls in love with a mortal and together, they bring many powerful children into the world. It's folklore at it's finest as we are fast forwarded to present day (or a little after) where all of the decadents can be found scattered across the world, only tied together by their common lack of earlobes and their superheroish powers. The rest of the novel is apocalyptic, set in Manhattan. There's love, magic, and war. If you like to read about any of those things, then you'll be delighted.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

but are we too late?

After reading Mark R. Levin's Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future I think that every young person should take the time to do the same. As a member of the rising generation, I am going to inherit this mess, and I want to know everything. Levin tells everything.

Our annual debt as a country has exploded from $10 trillion to 18 trillion and rising under the current President. My generation and my children's generation will be paying the interest off this debt in a world where good jobs are harder to come by. And this is just a tiny blimp in the problems our country is facing, and what Levine touches on in this book.

It's clear that Levin doesn't care for Obama, and some may find this book to be a ploy to stop our generation from voting for candidates like Obama, and that may be true. But facts are facts, and current events are current events, Levine is here to educate us. The moral of the story is that if we want a better America, we are going to have to build it ourselves.

Monday, September 7, 2015


::REPOST (because there's no laboring today)::

I just finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by my new spirit animal, Cheryl Strayed. At the age of twenty-six this woman hiked 1,100 miles of the PCT, ALONE. Just her, Monster (her backpack), and her 4 toenails. This is her memoir of her time on that trip, also going back to how she found herself doing something so seemingly impossible. Her mother passed away when she was twenty-two, leaving her heartbroken enough to totally sabotage her marriage and dive into a heroin haze. She decided she needed to find herself, so she went on a very long walk until she did. She had no prior training, just a reference guide and nothing to lose. This was such a beautiful story. I loved the many people she met along the way. And how things didn't go as Cheryl had planned pretty much ever. Her hike was interrupted countless times. There were detours and mishaps, but she finished what she started.

I would love to channel my inner Cheryl Strayed and do something this extreme. But I'm a married lady. So instead I've decided to go to my cottage by myself and do a 3 day juice cleanse. Because, I mean, that's almost the same thing, right?

Friday, September 4, 2015

it may kick ass for you.

I honestly only have eyes for her aunt? relative of some kind? -  but I had to give Stephanie Evanovich a try, and was pleasantly surprised by her debut novel, Big Girl Panties, which I reviewed almost two years ago, here. It was a tad raunchy, but her heroine was a chick I could get behind.

Now I just finished The Sweet Spot, which is Evanovich's second novel, and I want to say was a prequel? Because we met Amanda and Chase in her first novel, and they were already happily married. Well, I don't feel quite as warm and fuzzy about this one. It was like 50 Shades of Gray with a blue eyed Kim Kardashian, if she would have ever dated a baseball player and allowed him to spank her. It started off well enough. Amanda, semi-independent restaurant owner, business lady, foxy meets Chase Walker, America's favorite baseball player, (if America liked New Jersey) and he wins her over by coming into her restaurant every night until she will go out with him. Adorable beginning, really. And then the spanking came. I'm just not into it. Not that other ladies won't appreciate the gory details, the novel definitely still deserves to be featured on the blog, it just wasn't for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

this series is so good.

Alan Sitomer's Caged Warrior series is a kick ass young adult novel collection that your middle and high school aged boys are sure to love. The second of the series, Noble Warrior came out in July and is just violent enough to make the kids who hate reading want to read for pleasure.

The series revolves around McCutcheon Daniels' who is a star fighter in an underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit in the slums of Detroit. These are fight to the death kind of fights, and he is forced to compete to appease his crazy father, and keeps himself alive to protect his little sister. You'll have to read book number one for yourself to get the rest of the details on that one.

Noble Warrior will spoil Caged Warrior, just a little warning before I continue. In Noble Warrior, McCutcheon, his mother, and sister are now in the Witness Protection Program, but McCutcheon still cannot escape his demons. So instead of playing it safe, he decides he wants revenge, and he'll do anything to get it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

a theory that works.

My parents desperately need to train their little yippy dogs, but refuse. They never trained their children either so it makes sense. But I did share what I learned from Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog the Navy Seal Way this AMAZING audio CD I received by Mike Ritland with them. And so far, they are ignoring me. But if you're planning on getting a new dog anytime soon, I would listen up.

First of all, Ritland is VERY descriptive (and repetitive) on how to train your dog. He's super NAVY oriented, lots of teamwork and mutual respect between canine and master, stuff like that. Keep in mind that this book is filled with the basics for every new dog owner, you are not expected to send your puppy into a raging battle on the sea after reading this book. Ritland will also show you how to turn your new BFF into a well-trained social dog which is necessary if you're the sidewalk café or dog park type of person. Which if you're not, you should probably also pick up a self-help book for yourself on being more social. Just a thought.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

when people talk.

Honestly, it's not summer until I've read Elin Hilderbrand's annual Nantucket novel. Sitting right here.

I've been looking forward to The Rumor since the weather got warm, saving it for my three-day mini vacation to my cottage before school begins. This work of fiction was created while Elin was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. And although I didn't fall in love with the characters like some I've met in her past novels, the storyline was on point as usual. The entire premise of the story was to shed light on the ugliness and ridiculousness of rumors spread in small towns (or small islands). It's main characters, Grace and Madeline who are best friends, their husbands Eddie and Trevor, and their children, Allegra, Hope, and Brick had their own share of drama that was all typically misunderstood by the gossiping cliques on Nantucket, except for when it wasn't. These characters also learned that their reputations aren't as important as who they are as people. And the eyes of loved ones are the only eyes they should worry about impressing. Eddie learned that one the hard way.