Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts
Three months ago I read an article in the New York Times that was discussing the new trend of adult coloring books and how they are a new trend and that adults gravitate towards them for lot of reasons but mainly for the stress relieving aspect of just zoning out and coloring.  Well I immediately went on Amazon to order that coloring book but it was sold out.  Then later that day I got an email asking if I wanted to review an adult coloring book....SWEET!!! Of course I did.  The only issue was because of the New York Times article the coloring book was sold out and I was going to have to wait till they ran another printing.  Well it was worth the wait (Ironically I bought myself another coloring book to color with Miss J and this one came in the mail that day).

Well the book is beautiful to say the least.  It contains all hand drawn designs that are both beautiful and detailed.  Also since they are the Mandalas they are all these interconnected circle designs.  When looking at them it is hard to decided where one flower starts and the other ends.  There is something almost meditative in even looking at them and contemplating which part of the design is one flower.  

I bought myself new pencils, markers, and pens to color with-because frankly I didn't want to share my coloring book or my coloring utensils with the children.  I loved doing it and it was super relaxing.  

The book suggests coloring for 30 minutes with relaxing music which is a lovely idea but one of which my mommy self just laughed at because....if I had 30 quiet minutes to listen to music I would be sleeping not coloring!

I would highly recommend this book it retails for ten dollars but it is currently on amazon for under six!!!! (Affiliate Link Here)   and it also comes with the ability to download more designs online that did not make it into the book.  I feel it is well worth it....especially for mom's who can now have a fun coloring book that doesn't involve cartoons!
This summer at the book sale in the town that we vacation in I picked up Three Cups of Tea-By Greg Mortenson and David Relin.  It caught my eye because it was a book about building schools in Pakistan.  The new course that I teach at my school is History of the last 20 years and we spend a lot of time talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan.  This book tells the story of Greg Mortenson and his quest to build schools in the most impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

I have to be honest this is one of the few books I have read lately that I have been torn about how to review.  I finished it a few weeks ago and have delayed review because I didn't really know what I would give it.  Then I decided.  I am going to give it two review ratings.  As an educational resource on the area of Pakistan and life in that nation I would five it four stars out of five.  From a standpoint of a regular book to read I would give it 2.5 stars.

This book gave a beautiful personal look in to part of Pakistan that not many people get to encounter.  It showed what family and village life are like, the struggle of the people. and the ill effects of terrorism on the society.  I was fascinated to read about the people and the experiences of Mortenson and how he was able to work with the people of those nations and build schools or the children of some of the most impoverished areas of these nations.

From a strictly read for pleasure standpoint there were parts of the book that were very slow.  I mean so slow that I took breaks from the book because it dragged.  I feel that this story may have been better and an extended interview piece in a magazine or a shorter book.  The book is a hair over 300 pages and I think it would be at least 50 shorter.  I can see how the author would not want to trim because it is an amazing story to tell, but I personally felt part of it dragged.  As a reader of history this wasn't anything that took away from my reading as a historian but as a pleasure reader I felt it took away from the overall book.

So basically-if you want to learn about live in Pakistan or the amazing life of Mortenson and his charity work in this area of the world go get this book.  If you are looking for a nice easy read-this won't be your cup of tea (pun totally intended) 


So as you can imagine I am sort of over 2014.  I stumbled across and amazing website called The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans .  I have read stuff by them before here and there but I really fell in love with what they were gearing up for the new year.  They are reading a great book that I am reading now called 52 small changes. 

  (Click on link-It is free for Prime Members-Which is a great deal in my mind)-Where you focus on one change a day for 52 weeks so you are not overwhelmed by change, they are doing an instragm piture a day based on this, and they also suggested rather than a resolution or goal for your 2015 that you pick one word.

You all know I love to talk so that was hard to think about just one word.  I think my word for 2014 might be F-You (oh wait that is two words).  Maybe I will write about my holiday and new years...but maybe I need to move on too...who know. word for 2015.   I always make resolutions and either don't achieve them or break them quickly.  So I thought long and hard about my word.  At first the word was SURVIVE.  With vacation and the holidays happening right after my father's death I figured I felt that is what I have been doing.  Then I realized I don't want to just survive-that is not what this word is about.  This word is what I want to use to inspire me.  I wanted a word that would help me both in my physical and mental journey I want and need to take this year.  So I finally figured out what my word would be....what I needed most these past few month and will continue to need....STRENGTH

I need STRENGTH to continue on in my journey of living without my dad, I need STRENGTH to put the mental energy into loosing weight.  I need STRENGTH to accomplish my fitness Goal for 2015.  So this years word is STRENGTH.  I plan to use that to help me when I am feeling like I want to give up.  

So what are your thoughts on a one word Mantra for the New Year.  What would your's be?


Several months ago I finished a wonderful booked called "The Husband's Secret"  by Liane Moriarty as part of the Mom's Reading group on Facebook. This is a great little online book club for those of you like me who are dying to be part of a real life book club but don't know of any (hint anyone in my real life who reads this....if you do book club feel free to invite me).  I read this book and was instantly sucked in.  Mainly because I wanted to find out what the hell was going on.  The book begins by telling several characters stories.  Each person's story is one chapter and each chapter switches narrators.  With the switching not only did you get to know each character from their own perspective, you very quickly want to figure out how the hell everyone is connected.  The leading ladies range from a housewife who sells tupperwear and is living the dream, a woman who just found out that her husband wants to leave her for her childhood best friend, and an older woman who is still recovering from her daughters death many years earlier.  Sadly, I can't tell too much about the plot line of the of the book because it would give away major aspects of the story.  I think the figuring out how all these woman are connected is one of the better aspects of the book and I don't want to take that from anyone reading the book.

My only complaint of the book is small, is it the epilogue.  Oddly, it gives a commentary on the ending of the book and how things may have been different or why they happened.  I felt like it was unnecessary and almost like the stories lines the author didn't go with.  It didn't ruin anything, I just felt it wasn't needed.  I would highly recommend this book, especially with the summer months coming up.  This is a great little read.  I would go 4 out of 5 star rating.

Also if anyone is interested go check out the Mom's Reading Group on Facebook, the have book talks both in June and July.  I won't be participating in the June one but I am off to by the July one right now!

Along with my recently reviewed book by Alison Sweeney  I was also asked if I wanted to review a book from Amazon Publishing called Prime Time Princess.  The author of this book Lindy DeKoven was a real life TV producer for major companies her in the United States.  Her book is a take on the industry as well as a lovely little romance and change your life book.  What I mean by change your life book is that is one of those books where the main character is headed in one direction in their life and because of a major event/s they change their life.   The book centers around the main character Alexa and her life as a TV executive.  It starts out as the classic girl works to hard has no life meets a guy story but goes so much farther than that.  It almost acts in some ways as an expose of what life is like in a business that is run main by men and how a woman fits into the world-or in this case doesn't.  There are several great characters in this book that I enjoyed including the main character Alexa's arch nemesis Jerry.  I loved that this character was so well written that you hated really do.  He is such a piece of work you love to hate him.  For me one of the qualities that I look for in a book is how well are the characters fleshed out...are there enough details that you get invested in them good or bad.  Do you find yourself wanting to know more about the characters then what is offered...for me this is the mark of a well written book.  DeKoven does this very well in Prime Time Princess.  My only critique of the book is that I felt that there were a few sections that dragged and bit and could have been trimmed but other than that  I feel that it is a great summer beach read.  I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

If you would like to win a copy of Prime Time Princess be sure to enter my giveaway here.  The winner will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So maybe I have been lucky, or maybe I am just not well known enough in the blogging world to have never experienced an Internet meanie yet....well that all changed this week.  I posted a review on a book that I really enjoyed.  I enjoyed it for a multitude of reasons it was informative, relative to what I teach, and just interesting in general.  Well apparently a woman on amazon where I posted my review thought it was her place to tell me that because of my opinion I must be a bad teacher and an all around bad person.  At first a just laughed and was like....."seriously you have time to comment on a person's review on amazon" then I got pissed.  I don't care if I ripped the book apart or called it the greatest book I had ever read in my whole damn life the things that woman said to me she had no right to say to me, or anyone else ever.  I would never ever say those things to a person I really disliked and had committed some great wrong against me I could not imagine saying this a total stranger.  If you are interested here are the comments 

Then I started to think about this...I am an adult and I responded to this in adult manner and told that lady she had no right to say those things to me and make those accusations then I had a good laugh at this woman and clearly her major issues.  As an adult I know how to process this sort of thing, get pissed off,and move on.  What about my students who are surrounded by this sort of hating all the time.  They get this sort of commentary all day long from facebook, twitter, and texting.  They are surrounded by this all the time.  It makes me sad for them.  Sad that it wasn't like I was in high school where if someone was being a jerk to you-you went home to house and shut the door and tried to forget about.  Now there is no safe place for them to get away from negative comments and the sort of nastiness that I came across this week.  

Although I did get upset I know I will not change what I do, how I do it, or who I am because of this troll on the internet....yet I know everyday there are kids whose whole lives are destroyed by stuff like this and for that I am really really angry.  I am angry that an adult woman would do it and not know any better.  Shame on her and anyone else out there who acts like that towards others.  
Momma Hunt
AFTER The Before & After: A Real-Life Story of Weight Loss, Weight Gain and Weightlessness Through Total Acceptance About two months ago I was reading one of my weight loss blog sites and someone mentioned that another blogger had written a book and was talking it up at fitblog.  So I checked it out and it looked like it would be worth a read.  Now I will say that this book spoke to me in many ways.  It was a great discussion on how for the author loosing weight needed to be not about the number on the scale but more with a more positive relationship with herself.  Loving herself as she was.  It also discussed the heartbreak of loosing weight and then gaining some of it back.  This is something I have been struggling with over the last few years.  I lost a bunch of weight then gained it back, partially due to poor habits and partially due to those two amazingly cute kids a had.  So this book was an eye opener for me.  It made me realize that along with working on my eating issues with a professional maybe I can spend some time on my own looking at some of the various resources that Anderson presented in her book. Now I know that every one's weight loss journey is different and there were some things that she discussed in the book that I would not really be into there were other books and websites that I plan to spend part of my summer reading about.  I also liked that this book read like I was reading a bunch of blog posts, which we all know that I love!!  I think that this is a great read for anyone who is struggling in their weight loss battle but more importantly this is a must read for anyone who is struggling with self acceptance!
Momma Hunt
I have recently finished reading Secrets of the Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan and I have to say that it fits my Tubor England mood well.  I have been really into this time period lately and I am fascinated by how the English lived and dealt with King Henry.  I also love reading about what life was like for women and the roles that they played.  The parts of this book that I found extremely interesting was the in depth look into the life long feud between the Howards and the Seymours .  It was a great story and did a nice job telling the tale of the numerous wives of Henry VIII as well as Duke of Norfolk.  Although not the greatest book I have ever read on Tudor England still a great read and well worth the time if you are into this Era as I am.  I would rate the book Four out of Five stars.  
Momma Hunt
I can honestly say that The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks was one of the greatest books that I have ever read. Not only was it interesting from a scientific perspective it was also a gripping tale of the lives of Henrieta Lacks. This book centers on Mrs. Lacks who died of cancer some 40 years ago but her cells were taken and cultured and are now used in most science labs world wide because of their ability to grow. They are used by almost all scientists in their research. Not only was I drawn into the scientific implications of Mrs. Lacks's cells and the story of the cells themselves, I was absolutely drawn into the store of her children, especially her daughter Deborah. As much as this book was about the science of her cells, the book was also about the daughter that was left behind. I find myself laughing, crying, and more important contemplating the fairness of it all. Here is a woman whose cells have forged some of the greatest scientific discovers of the last 30 years and her children are living in poverty, grown up without a mother, and until this book was written really had no idea about those cells and what exactly they meant to the world. This is a fascinating read, I can truly say that I haven't read anything like this ever and I am truly amazed by this book and feel it is a must read for everyone.
Momma Hunt
The Romanov Bride-By Robert Alexander

Let me start off my saying I am obsessed with this part of Russian History. In college I was privileged enough to take a course that was only about the rise and fall of Tsar Nicolas and his family. Although Alexander's book "The Kitchen Boy" is in my pile of to be read books, this was a Christmas gift that caught my attention and moved quickly to the top of the pile. I loved the book from beginning to end and can honestly say I might need to add to my Robert Alexander collection.

What I liked about this book was that there was just enough back story for those who might not know Russian history (or in my case forgotten it). This is a lovely story telling the tales of both a Romanov woman (Grand Duchess Ella) and a Revolutionary (Pavel). It is a great showing of how these two people lived in juxtaposition in Revolutionary Russia. I was very fascinated by the details of Ella's life and how after her husband's tragic death she went on to a life of service. I was also drawn to the inner turmoil that she felt as a character about her families inability to change and make headway in this harsh period of Russian History. Although I won't go into detail for those who hope to read this some day, the ending in which these two characters are intimately tied forever was amazing.

Again, this was a lovely book with just enough drama and history to keep me sucked in to the very last word. I can't wait to finish a few more books and get to my next Robert Alexander book.