Monday, July 30, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.


First line:
"If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life."

Loved. This. Book.
Reminded me of the Attolia series, which I also loved. Both are clever, witty, smart and I fell in love with the main characters in both.
The book opens on the day Sage's life changes. He's paid for and taken from an orphanage to learn to become the false prince. From the first day, Sage had to use his brain and muscle to stay alive and keep his benefactor, Connor, on his toes.
Sage also has to compete with two other orphans. One is brainy, one is all brawn. Sage is clever. But Connor is not impressed with him. From the beginning, the two clash and Sage is constantly testing Connor and his patience.
I figured out some of the twists but am totally not clever to figure out everything.
I'm ready for the next book! And this series will be in my personal library.

Rating: PG
V: No
L: No
S: No

Liked:
Everything Sage
Storyline

Disliked:
Having to wait for the other two books

5 STARS


Friday, July 27, 2012

Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin by Ahmed Abdullah MD

Millions of individuals describe themselves as being confused about the steps necessary to improve the appearance of their skin. After all, the average consumer is regularly confronted with advertisements and recommendations for a dizzying array of skincare products, not to mention conflicting messages about the skincare practices that are most helpful. It’s no wonder most individuals are unsure of what their skin needs; uncertainty that often leads to the implementation of regimens that do more harm than good.

In Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach, Dr. Ahmed Abdullah presents readers with the scientific facts related to skincare. By highlighting the most relevant pieces of information in an approachable manner, he intends to create an empowered consumer – one capable of making smart choices about the products they use and the skincare practices they employ. After all, as Dr. Abdullah reminds readers throughout the book, beautiful skin can only be expected from healthy skin.


A board-certified plastic surgeon actively practicing in the United State and Dubai, and an internationally recognized aloe researcher, Dr. Abdullah has been promoting a back-to-basics approach to skincare for nearly 15 years though his practice, his skincare brand, and his skincare clinics. Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach represents a collection of some of his most effective advice.


First line:
"For centuries, humans have been searching for the exact formulation of ingredients that will erase the signs of aging from their faces."

Dr. Abdullah explains the ingredients in skincare products, what they do, which ones are good and which to stay away from. The doctor also addresses the myths behind certain products.
He claims the only regime we need, men and women, is a simple four step one:
Cleanse
Exfoliate
Moisturize
Protect

I like the simpleness. Then he takes us on a tour of the ingredients and how they work.
This book was easy enough to read and understand. I'll read my skincare labels with a newer understanding of what is good.
Dr. Abdullah also spends quite a bit of time explaining and talking about aloe vera.

3 1/2 STARS
Thanks to Netgalley for the ebook.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

What happens when Joey and his sister, Mary Alice -- two city slickers from Chicago -- make their annual summer visits to Grandma Dowdel's seemingly sleepy Illinois town? August 1929: They see their first corpse, and he isn't resting easy. August 1930: The Cowgill boys terrorize the town, and Grandma fights back. August 1931: Joey and Mary Alice help Grandma trespass, poach, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry -- all in one day. And there's more, as Joey and Mary Alice make seven summer trips to Grandma's -- each one funnier than the year before -- in self-contained chapters that readers can enjoy as short stories or take together for a rollicking good novel. In the tradition of American humorists from Mark Twain to Flannery O'Connor, popular author Richard Peck has created a memorable world filled with characters who, like Grandma herself, are larger than life and twice as entertaining.

First line:
"You wouldn't think we'd have to leave Chicago to see a dead body."

Oh. My. Hilarious.
Grandma's antics and paybacks were hysterical. I loved her! And her grand kids learned a lot from her, never mind they weren't always honest. But somehow, Grandma balanced out the not-so-honest with heartwarming service.



Liked:
Grandma!
Grandma's antics

Disliked:
Got lost in some of the words but it wasn't a big deal

4 STARS

Friday, July 20, 2012

CROSSED by Ally Condie

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by the Society to his sure death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of a rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices every thing to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.
Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.


First line:
"I'm standing in a river. It's blue. dark Blue. Reflecting the color of the evening sky."

Another good read from Ally Condie.
Ky is taken to be a village decoy and will die. Cassia is making her way across several provinces to find Ky. Cassia and Ky tell their stories in alternate chapters.
Each character is new and crisp and real. And do you know what I really liked? There was no misunderstandings between the chracarters like we have in junior high and sitcoms. Real dialogue, real characters, real problems.
 Secrets are kept to save each other and given when needed. Ky and Cassia come to know and understand some of their weaknesses and come to terms with them.
Ms. Condie writes beautifully and pens many amazing lines in this book. Sometimes too many and I have to stop and reread them. There was a lot of internal dialoguing in this book. It was slower paced than Matched, I thought but more info into the characters and why they act--and react--the way they do.
I'll read REACHED when it comes out.

Liked:
Cassia
More insight into characters

Disliked:
Slower book
Waiting for the next one


Rating: G
V: Death, fighting
L: No
S: No

4 STARS
I will re

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32 by Joan W. Blos



This novel, written in diary form, tells of "a pivotal year for 19th-century New Englander Catherine Cabot Hill--one of change, loss, and leave taking . . . a low-key, intense and reflective book."--School Library Journal, starred review. 1980 Newbery Award book.

First line:
"I, Catherine Cabot Hall, aged 13 years, 7 months, 8 days, of Meredith in the State of New-Hampshire, do begin this book."

And thus begins the journey we take with Catherine. From harsh winters, sweltering summers, best bosom friends, school, new mamann's and death.
I enjoyed the historical events woven into a story from the viewpoint of a thirteen-year old girl.
Catherine, her sister Matty and their father live in a small home where Catherine is in charge, her mother having died after giving birth to a son, who also died. The reader gets a glimpse of life in New England in a hard time. I enjoyed the stories Uncle Jack told, the innocence of life in this era and uplifting way most people treated each other.

Liked:
Stories from 1830's
History woven into story

Disliked:
Wanted to know more about Catherine after 1832!

4 STARS

Friday, July 13, 2012

BECOME by Ali Cross

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.


First line:
"The knocking at his door was as sharp and insistent as lightning in a dry sky."

Ali graced us at the local library where she gave a fun presentation on writing AND donated her book to the library!
This story is about Desolation, daughter of Satan. She's sent to earth for punishment or to help get more followers for her dad. But she isn't all dark. She has a warmth inside that she hides from her dad. Ironically, she's rebeling against her dad with a spark of warmth/hope.



Rating: PG 17
S: Inuendos, etc
L: Yes, sprinkled throughout
V: Fighting, Satan demons

Liked:
Ali!
Cover
Desi

Disliked:
Sexuality
Language

31/2 STARS

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Unspoken by Karen Rees Brennan

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?


First line: 
"The Return of the Lynburns by Kami Glass."

Interesting story about love, imaginary friends and magic.
There is a mystery surrounding the Lynburn estate and Kami Glass is determined to solve it. With the help of a few friends, she embarks on a dangerous path. But who can she trust?
Kami reminds me a bit of Nancy Drew. She wants to be a reporter and she likes to solve mysteries I pictured in her plaid many times). When she was younger she had an imaginary friend she talked to and was ridiculed. Suddenly, the imaginary guy friend, Jared, becomes very real and moves into her town where his ancestors are from. What do you do?? 
She can't decide if she should like him, hate him or kiss him. He's moody and angry and sometimes annoying. He's ruined their relationship by being real. And a Lynburn. And he has a cousin who is cute and sensitive and hot. 
Kami also has a few friends who are great. One just wants to nap all day and thinks boys are a waste of time even though guys are drawn to her. Kami's dad is funny too. Kind of showing where she gets her humor.
Sometimes I felt like Kami wasn't sacred/nervous/careful enough and that took away from the story for me. Also, I wanted to slap Jared a few times, the jerk. But I did like how protective he was of Kami. 
Also! If you don't like cliffhangers (think Hunger Games but seven times worse) wait and read all three books! You've been warned. Again, I wanted to slap someone.





Liked:
Kami Glass
BFF


Disliked:
Snobby Lynburns (a good dislike. well written villians)
THE ENDING!
And...it's a trilogy.


4 STARS

Friday, July 6, 2012

Eating Mindfully

This book introduces and adapts the concepts of mindfulness and acceptance to the observation and management of eating habits. The result is a series of exercises and meditations that reinforce healthy habits and lead to greater tranquility at meals.
The book describes the four foundations of mindful eating: mindfulness of the mind, the body, the feelings, and the thoughts. It doesnít encourage a diet of deprivation, but instead provides a checklist for the wide variety of mindless eating approaches, which include fasting, dieting, and restricting certain foods, rapid eating, eating when not hungry or when tired, and food rituals.



First Line:
"Imagine for a moment that you are holding a bowl of chicken noodle soup." 
Thus starts the voyage of eating mindfully. The chapter headings tell the reader what they will learn:

Mindful of the mind
Mindful of the body
Mindful of the feelings
Mindful of the thoughts
Mindful eating motivations


As the reader learns the different ways s/he appraoaches food and eating, it gets easier to pick the right foods. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.


3 STARS