Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Differences Make Us Who We Are

Hi there readers!

Happy Thursday/Friday to you!  (No, I'm not crazy but I know most of you probaby won't get to read this til Friday since I'm posting late in the day and I want to have my bases covered.  Anywho....It's been a long and fairly interesting week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...or at least it has been for me.  Whew!  Between life, work, reading and well...life...it's time to call it a week and give you another book to add to your wish list.

This time around we have a title that is written by a very young author (she finished this book at the age of 16...talk about making one feel behind in the success column but more power to her!) intent on welcoming you to a world of magic, wonder, and danger.  *dun dun dunnnn*  it's an interesting ride so without further adieu, I give you the book of choice for today....

Journey Into the Realm:
The Elf Girl
by
Markelle Grabo

From the back cover....
"Sure, there are many explanations for why people are so different from one another, explanations that made sense.  Could magic be classified as one of them?"

Now that's only a brief clip from the back, but it works to illustrate my point well...you'll see.  Ramsey Wilder, our fifteen year old main character has always known she's different....she just never envisioned just how different she'd turn out to be.  One day on her semi regular trip to her local bookstore (gotta love a character that likes to read, right?), Ramsey discovers a tome of a book that she's never seen the likes of...'The Mysterious Guide to Fantasy'.  It may not sound eye popping to one and all but for a girl that likes a bit of magic in her life (like Ramsey) it's a match made in heaven. 

But wait...ever since the moment she set eyes on the book, strange things have been happening.  Like what you ask?  Well, how about the girl at the checkout (Addison) knowing her name despite them never having met...or the personalization in the book directing her to a certain page having to do with elfens.  No?  Still not strange enough?  Okay, how about when a tendril of WATER attacks her and a mysterious (and handsome) stranger barely manages to save her life?  Yep...told you, strange things.  They may seem out of the blue, but they're not when considering Ramsey's past and she's about to learn quite a bit in short order.  Let's hope she catches up quick because their are lives, worlds even, at stake....including her own.

Now we begin the analysis since you have the back story...I'll be relatively brief.  The story had A LOT of potential, it truly did and while I can't say I didn't like it (because I did), it fell short in a few areas for me.  First, the story seemd to circle back in a repetitive cycle....outcast character, finds a place of belonging, crisis situation and repeat without a real sense of resolution.  The scenary changed and magical aspects were introduced (some pretty clever ones too) but I could all too often foresee what was going to happen because of the repetitive formula. 

Second and pretty much my last "grievance" of sorts was...***SPOILER ALERT*** the secret that is Ramsey's (or rather is about her) and is referenced to a thousand and one times in the book is NEVER revealed.  Nope.  Never. ***SPOILER OVER***  This could well be resolved in the next book of the series but it seemed like an awfully big part of the puzzle to withhold from readers after 352 pages.  I was rather exaspirated myself....but I digress.

I will definitely tip my hat to the author's ability to create a 3-dimensional world....especially for a first effort.  You could really see the Realm take shape as you were reading, the good and the not so good.  The characters were distinctive (love the little gnome) and their beauty will not go unnoticed...nor their fury when dealing with the fairies *shudders*.  Even the relationships, both platonic and romantic are represented well and in good measure.  Rest assured though their are emotional entanglements to deal with, that is NOT the heart of the story.

In my opinion, the heart of this story is Ramsey and her quest to find a place in this world (or the magic Realm) where she truly belongs.  It's a story about accepting others for who they are not what they are, or rather what they look like, because in the end love is what matters.  Love for oneself, love for others and love for the world around us.  A recommended read for all ages as there is something for everyone in the story.  Rest assured I'll be keeping an eye out for book two and hoping for a big reveal!

Review copy courtesy of Maryanne Grabo and author Markelle Grabo.  (Thanks ladies!)  For more information on the series as well as the author's current works in progress, visit her online at GoodReads, Twitter, or her website.

Until next time....happy reading!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Wild Soccer Bunch: Diego the Tornado by Joachim Masannek

Hi there everyone!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today we dive into the review for the title we sampled in brief yesterday.  This one is perfect for all ages but young boys may find it most appealing....especially those who don't give a flip about reading (the horror).  It gets a strong voice thanks to the author's experiences and teaches a valuable lesson.  May I present the book of choice for today....

The Wild Soccer Bunch:
Diego the Tornado
by
Joachim Masannek

This is book two in an extensive series for young readers and in it we find the Wild Soccer Bunch at the end of the line.  You see, at the end of book one, the gang beat the biggest baddest soccer group around but the high ended up rather short lived.  A new kid's in town and although he loves the game as much as this motley crew, he won't be playing with them anytime soon....especially if his super soccer star father has anything to say about it.

To add insult the injury, when the boys try to find out the reason behind the obvious snub, they're met with a one two punch to both their egos and team spirit.  For a team that was barely a team in the official sense of the word, this could be the end of the line....unless they find a way through the animosity, it very well could mean no more Wild Soccer Bunch.

When I first started reading this, I was less than drawn in.  For me, the technical aspect of the soccer plays were getting me lost...I mean I have no vested interest in the game so a play by play on the events was a bit much for me BUT I kept on reading and I'm glad I did.  Now on to the reasons why...

I loved the range of personalities represented by the characters on the team.  I loved the real life reactions - disbelief, lack of support, ridicule - that the characters faced.  Even if it was tough to see them treated that way, it was real and only served to drive the message home.  What message?  Where to begin!

The story taught that while strength can come from others, it must start with you.  You have to believe in yourself before you can expect others to believe in you....even more so when your goal seems like a long shot.  Perhaps most importantly especially for our competitive little friends....winning isn't everything nor does it always net us a trophy.  Sometimes the richest rewards are not the ones we can see or flaunt...but the ones that are felt and help us become the people we want to be.

All in all, a great experience and one I'd gladly recommend to young readers round the world.  Special thanks to the
Wild Soccer Bunch team for the review copy.  For more information on this great series written by an author who has been there done that (he was actually a coach and the stories were inspired by his experiences), seek out the fully interactive website.

Until next time, as those 'wild' kids would say....all's well as long as you're wild...and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taste Testing Tuesdays (83)


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...a book that's soon to be finished, but still eager to be shared.
Ready for a taste?
 
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We all put gel in our hair and wore black sunglasses - we were looking real cool.  Under our arms we carried our piggy banks, tin cans, pillow cases, hollowed-out stuffed animals or whatever we used to stash our allowance.  We still had no idea what Danny was planning, not until we stood right in front of the bank. 
-- pg 90, The Wild Soccer Bunch:  Diego the Tornado (bk 2) by Joachim Masannek
It's not what you think.....but what does occur is simply well planned and over the top.  You can't but smile at the efforts of this group of kids, or the antics.  You gotta hand it to them, once they put their minds to something, there's no stopping them.....a great message to young readers as well. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR.* 

 
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Until next time....happy reading!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Book Birthday....James Patterson!

Hi there readers!


Welcome back to another week here at the site...and my second post via smartphone. (This time I remembered to put it on the right blog...hehe.) Today we are part of a 8bookish birthday celebration for a new children's fiction novel from an unexpected source. How so? Well, this particular writer is well known for their works of adult fiction but the kid lit scene is a whole other ballpark. Truth be told though....I think you're really gonna like this one.  Ready for it? Here goes. Today's book of choice is...


Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life

by

James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts


Rate Khatchadorian is like most middle school kids. Life is all about fun....okay not really In fact, for Rafe life is about as far from fun right now as you can get but it's about to get a whole lot more interesting if he has anything to say about it. You see, he and Leonardo the Silent have come up with a full proof plan to make this the best year ever. How?  By setting out to break every rule in the book ....the school rule book that is. Better still, the more elements of daring incorporated into the actual act, the higher the point value of the deed.  That's right...there's a point system and Rafe is aiming for the ultimate high score.  But will his actions net him the her of his dreams or will he end up with more trouble on his hands than he could have imagined? After all, rules were created for a reason....




Let's see. Where to begin. I came across this ARC as it arrived at the bookstore and I must say it pass actually passed on by my super at the time. You see, the cover was unique and vaguely reminiscent of the "Wimpy" series...in short, not their style. Me on the other hand though I've not cultivated an interest in the aforementioned series was greatly intrigued. I mean how could you not be? The cover (of which I've included my ARC one here) addresses the rules for pre-publishing via some nifty hand drawn people one can only assume will be in the book....and that assumption would be most accurate too.



Then you have the fact that the author was kept a mystery. That's right...you were reading blindly so to speak. Interesting concept and I could totally see why it worked in their favor because I've seen first hand the surprise on people's faces when they discover the new Grisham book they came to buy is on fact a Kids Fiction title. For some reason authors (and readers for that matter) get boxed in, making it seem as though the only type of book they can write is adult fiction or crime but if they have the desire, the story within them to share that just so happens to be outside their first 'field of expertise' why shouldn't they be allowed to pursue that dream as well and have it read by readers with an open mind? We'd want the same chance, wouldn't we? Anywho, let's move back to the story.



As the title suggests, it's about life in middle school and the trials and tribulations that go along with that impressionable age but that's only scratching the surface. Along the way we discover so much more about Rafe and Leonardo (not to mention the bully, his teachers and home life), the special relationship they have and how for better or worse they are always there for each other. The reasons behind his acting out are revealed in due time and trust me, you won't see this revelation coming. Oh and lest I forget, along with the touching aspect of the story with also step a bit toward the serious with Rafe's home life though I must say the way things are handled provides a great example for young readers.



As for the pictures....oh wait, I'm sorry. Did you not think there would be pictures? Think again. As it seems, rafe is an artist and gracing the pages throughout the story are his artistic interpretations of events as they unfold. It adds even more depth to the story and a rather fun edge too. Would it be good without them? No doubt...but their inclusion gives it that little sonething extra.


In short, a book of surprising depth presented with kid appeal from an author breaking the mold on their presumed genre box. This story has style, attitude, but most of all heart. Recommended read for the middle schooler in your house or anyone wishing to see those years through a new creative set of eyes. It has equal appeal to boys and girls, and may even snag the attention of those more reluctant readers.


Until next time....happy reading!

Passions Many Faces: The Tourist Trail by John Yunker

Hi there, insatiable readers!
How's your weekend shaping up so far? Good I hope.
Welcome to my first post created entirely on my Blogger app via my new smart phone....so if there are any bloopers (such as the fact that this was to post YESTERDAY and it didn't because yours truly posted it to her test blog by accident...oye) or lack of normal formatting, be kind okay? Oh and as for the winner of the recent contest, that will be announced very soon so hang tight and good luck! Now on to the review....

Penguins and conservation and passion, oh my! Today we are dealing with all three of these in a BIG way thanks to this unique fiction title. But just how fictitious is it? (I wonder...) Time for the big reveal. Today's book of choice is...

by
John Yunker

From the back cover.....
Some people stop at the water's edge.
Some keep going...


Now that's not the full back cover excerpt but then again I don't want to give everything away either. This novel ties together the beauty of nature with the reality that is life in all its raw splendor. The bulk of the events occur in Patagonia at the Penguin Research Station, both are places that actually exist too (check out The Penguin Project for details on the penguin census the author took part in...the link to which is available on his site at www.thetouristtrail.com). Here we find biologist Angela Haynes following her passions and working with the local penguin population when a stranger washes up on their otherwise peaceful shores. He's not just any man though...he's an eco supporter and a known felon. Yep..things are about to get a bit sticky especially when she finds herself falling for him. Will she risk her life, her career, and the birds that she loves just to protect this one man?

Turn the page and we discover another storyline unfolding with Ethan and Noa....soul mates or ships passing in the night? In either case the ending may be traumatic than either counted on. Then we have FBI agent Robert Porter who let a renowned criminal slip through his fingers once and is determined it won't happen again. Sometimes it's the smallest most unexpected connections we make that bind us for life.

The multiple character story lines all weave together by book's end though it's not always apparent how the author will pull it off. Trust me, he does and with enough flair to keep you interested. The beauty of the landscapes and creatures seen is not lost on the reader nor is the attention to detail paid when reviewing the knowledge imparted on the lives of these beautiful, resilient and yet fragile creatures. You'll walkaway with not only a great story under your belt but a wealth of knowledge and perhaps even a renewed desire to lend a helping hand to preserve their ecosystems.

All in all, I'd say this is one for young adult readers through adults. The few sensuality tinged scenes are managed demurely so the the message of the story remains in the spotlight. What is that message? Well to me it was one of following your passions and making a difference in the world during our brief time here. To you...it may speak differently, but speak it will. Review copy courtesy of author John Yunker. (Thanks! ) For more information on this title as well as links to other eco and wildlife causes, be sure to check out the authors website.

Until next time.....happy reading!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reminders and Realizations

Hi there everyone!
It's the Insatiable Reader here, come to bring you the news.



First, a quick REMINDER that your chance to win a copy of My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody ends TONIGHT at MIDNIGHT CST.  The question posed was to see how many of you would actually try what Brooklyn does in the story...most are leaning towards a resounding no...but hey, the comments going along with your answers are interesting nonetheless.  So feel free to get your entries in THROUGH MIDNIGHT....it really was a fun read....I think you'll like it too.  ^_^


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Second....the REALIZATION of which I referenced in the title of this post....it stems from my lack of online time as of late.  I recently got one of the sparkly new smartphones (yeah...a bit of a learning curve but I'm getting the hang of it) and so I can pop on now and then throughout the day but as you may have noticed something happened yesterday that hasn't for...well, years.  I didn't have a post.


O_O


Yep.
It nagged at me for a bit but you know what?
I'm over it....not blogging, just the "if-I-don't-have-a-new-post-everyday-I-will-die" attitude.  I mean don't get me wrong, I'll still try to have one up every day; call it just my natural instincts to want to bring you new material, or whatever.  However if I can't, I'm not going to fret about it.  I'd rather give you a quality post than just put something...ANYTHING....up to keep it fresh.  So, if you see a post that is sans pictures, I probably typed and posted it from my phone....but it will be of the quality I strive for.  If you don't see a post, I haven't quit the blogosphere....I just probably didn't have a chance to put the finishing touches on the one I was working on.

Will this drop my follower count?
I hope not.  *gulp*  ...but if it does, I'll brave through it.



So that's it....for now.
Will be working on a post for later today on the phone, so stop back to check that out if you get a moment.  Otherwise...have a FABULOUS weekend....and of course, HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This girl's out of this world....LITERALLY!

Hi there, insatiable readers!
Welcome back to your daily serving of bookish goodness here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  You may or may not notice a bit of a resurgence of my presence online....got a new phone with unlimited web use so...hehe....you can bet I'll be checking things out as often as I can.  ^_^  Focusing back on the bookish side of things....prepare yourself for this transmission....

(OH...and one more thing....PARDON the lack of pictures....BLOGGER was being overrun by gremlins again and yeah...it wouldn't let me post any.. *grr*)
---------------


Hello earthlings.

Today we uncover the story of a friend of mine who Space Splashed light years from home in order to bring back the perfect specimen.  she was willing to sample many to uncover the one revealed to be her match by the great Zook....and many would have gladly allowed this tranfer of DNA for you see out tale is about a lovely Vahalalian Traveler who is on a mission, and time is running out!  Today's book of choice is....

by
Gary Ghislain

From the publisher...
 
David Gershwin's summer is about to take a turn for the weird. When his dad's new patient Zelda tells him she’s from outer space and on a quest to take Johnny Depp back to her planet, he knows he should run away screaming. But with one look from her mean, green eyes, David's hooked, and soon he's leaping across rooftops, running from police, and stealing cars just to stay by her side. He might not be a typical hero, but David's going to get the girl even if it takes him to the ends of the earth—or beyond.

A short and unusual read....oh come on...you had to guess that last part was coming from the title at the very least....you may be surprised to know that I wasn't entirely sold on the idea from the start.  That's right.  When it arrived on my doorstep, all I could think was, what in the world???  In keeping with the tone of honestly, the way the story jumped back and forth from brief scene to new character introduction and back again over the course of a single page....I was having a bit of trouble connecting the dots (or finding a reason to care about the characters and their fate)....not to mention the whole mission was a bit absurd.  I mean really, her match was suppose to be the Johnny Depp.  Yeah...I'm sure there's a gazillion other Earthlings that would claim the same thing right now if given the choice.

It wasn't until about halfway through the book (which thankfully wasn't too many actual pages number wise) that Pudin' (aka David, aka the new willing slave of space girl) and Zelda (same said space girl) are making their way closer to their target that things really started to come together.  We get more of a background on Zelda, who she is, her people's history, the de-le-o on her choice of Barbarzilla wardrobe...as well as the "key" that needs to be transferred to her match before it's too late (too late as in it will no longer work to open the portal to her world).  David's family life becomes clearer as does the appearance of his backbone (well, at times at least).  The scenes are more connected though still kept light enough to move this short story along fluidly, building towards an ending you don't really expect but whose arrival works perfectly to fulfill your renewed interest in the storyline.

All in all, I don't regret the read....it was short, it was interesting, it was out of this world...so to speak.  Recommended read for older children and beyond as there are some references to body parts and acts that the youngest audience may not be quite ready for, though they are still on the tame side.  Both male and female readers will have something to cheer for in this book and with its quirkiness, it may even draw in those relunctant readers still looking for something to hook their interest.  So Space Splash (sorta like disappearing and reappearing really fast) your way to a bookstore near you and see just how our Vahalalian counterparts approach the Earthly concept of finding "the one".  You may be surprised at their methods, appalled by their intents (because they aren't taking them home just to look pretty), but you can't argue with the efficiency.

Hungry for a sample?  Wish granted!  Courtesy of Chronicle Books....take a scroll through the excerpt below.....
How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend



ARC for review courtesy of Chronicle Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, feel free to visit them online or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about the mind behind the book, check out author Gary Ghislain online or send him a tweet.

Until next time....happy reading!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taste Testing Tuesdays (82)


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...a title coming to a bookshelf near you that's very curious indeed.  Ready for a taste?

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What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters but a monster itself, staring down from its perch on the hill with vacant hunger.  Trees burst forth  from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like antibodies attacking a virus -- as if nature itself had waged war against it -- but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angles and the jagged teeth of sjy visible through sections of collapsed roof.
-- pg 79, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Wow...this one is an intersting roller coaster.  One minute you think there's no way any of it can be true and the next, leaves you with MORE than a shadow of doubt.  Stay tuned....review to come soon.....
 







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR.* 

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Until next time....happy reading!

In My Mailbox (81)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag this week....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
(courtesy of Eric at Quirk Books)
I'll tell you what, this IS one PECULIAR book indeed!  I love the writing style used, you really get into the mind of our young guide and the story keeps you guessing.  Did I mention the photographs included in the book?  Think more along the lines of an adultish version of "The Jolly Postman"....trust me, loads of "fun" and I'm only halfway through!




Stay by Allie Larkin
(courtesy of Plume /Penguin Book Group)
This was an unexpected arrival on my door but...awww, look how cute the little guy is?!?!  Can't wait to see what this charming story will hold.  Scheduled paperback release is set for July 26th, 2011.



The Gift of Illusion by Richard Brown
(courtesy of the author)
A paranormal thriller...hmmm....from the site description, sounds good...potentially creepy, but good.  Review to come this August.  Stay tuned for more and in the mean time, feel free to check out the author's site.


------------------------------------------------


Bought

It's Not Easy Being Green by Jim Henson



The Books of Renfield by Tim Lucas
Deck the Halls and The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

 
 
 
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That's it for this week.

What did you get?
Do tell!


Until next time...happy reading!




Monday, June 20, 2011

The Roving Reader

How cute is this one? Seriously...it may have some good advice too...LOL. =o)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Roving Reader

Isn't it lovely? It's an old American Booksellers Association bookmark. Love the pic, adore the saying: 'Books fall open, you fall in.'

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Read All About It: Nicolas and Co


Hi guys!
Welcome to the weekend edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
I'm on my way out the door but I simply had to share a little bookish news with all of you before I do.  Get ready to read all about this exciting new release coming September 15th to a bookstore shelf near you....or should I say "watch all about it" as we take a look at the book trailer for Nikolas and Co: A Creature Most Foul from Aero Studios!  Ready?  Just click PLAY.....




Exciting, right?
Here's even more to get excited about....




The first 100 pages of the book will be released on June 30th.
Guess who is all signed up for a sneak peek?
Yep...yours truly....
~happy dance~
...and of course that means a mini-review extended to you.



So get ready.
A grand adventure is coming....



 
To view a vlog from author Kevin McGill himself, just check out the official YouTube channel, and to discover more about this exciting tale coming our way, feel free to visit the official website or follow along on Twitter.


Until next time....happy reading!



Friday, June 17, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life...and of Books

Hi there readers!
It's Thursday and whew has it been a week here.  How about you?  Whether crazy, calm or something in between, I hope it's been treating you right.  For a little added fun, don't forget to get your entries in for a chance to win My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody....just click the link in the right hand tool bar under "Current Contests".

Anywho, it's a new day and time for a new post...what shall we review?  We started the week off with a little mouse with a big dream, turned Wednesday's corner with a horror-ific delight....today we take things in an entirely new and unexpected direction.  The featured title is from a genre I don't tend to frequent but this one intrigued me with not only it's unusual title but the potential story shared.  Ready for the big reveal?  Today's book of choice is....

How I Learned to Love My Body Ditch Dieting and Live Large
by

From the publisher...

Too many women put life off until they are “thin enough.” They hold back on going after that new job, taking that dream vacation, or asking out that handsome stranger because they don’t feel that they deserve happiness at their current weight. Kim Brittingham once experienced that same struggle - until she learned how to love her self unconditionally, find her confidence, and fully enjoy her life.


With READ MY HIPS: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large (Three Rivers Press Original, on sale May 3, 2011) Kim offers an unflinching, humorous, and uplifting memoir about food, fashion, love, body image, along with straight advice about how to ditch anything that hurt your self-esteem and get to living a life where moments – not calories – truly count.
 
 
I know, you're shocked right?  A self help style book on my site....gasp shock and awe.  But admit it, you're intrigued.  I had to see just what this author had to say about it all after that little intro.  What I expected was a marginally interesting read with a few pointers on living life to its fullest whether that's in size or grandeur, what I got was happily a bit more with a few spots of discomfort along the edges.  Allow me to explain.

This book is part memoir, part self help in the fact that you get to see life through the author's eyes, but also gain a bit of insight to better help you come to a place of understanding and acceptance about your body image.  There are times you will laugh....like around page 19 where you get the infamous 'Sixteen Candles' quote...

Samantha:  Hey, but a lot can happen in a year.  You could come back next fall as a completely normal person.
Farmer Ted (considering for a moment):....Really?
Samantha:  (shrugging)  Sure.
--Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall

There are times you will cry....like when she is rejected by this butt of a guy who doesn't deserve the time of day even.  There are times you'll be shocked....such as the snack raids her and her fellow diet center workers had on unsuspecting boxes of diet peanut butter bars.  There are times you will take notes and try things for yourself....like unleashing your inner 'Marilyn Monroe' with a strut (totally works....totally).  It's an interesting mix of life experience and lessons gleaned and shared from the heart.  The strength that it took to go through some of those experience and then to share them with the world in such a frank manner....if we were holding votes for world's strongest woman, she'd have to be amongst the contestants. 

I respect and am all for the way the author came to terms with her self image and realized that it had no bearing (or rather shouldn't have any bearing) on her self value.  No one is less worthy of love, respect, acknowledgement, etc simply because of their weight or lack thereof.  There were times though that I was uncomfortable as a reader.  The derrogatory nature of the terms "fat", "overweight", even "big" that our society has ingrained in us versus her comfort level (or perceived comfort level) with throwing them around left me squirming.  I mean, okay...I admit it.  I'm not the thinnest person on the planet by any means nor am I the largest but even if I was I don't think I could truly accept those terms into my own vocabulary to openly refer to myself.  Just a personal quirk perhaps, but one that struck me while reading nonetheless.

Though diets were more of a fad in my house, I can certainly understand where the author was coming from with the mention of the "let's do this" attitude as opposed to the eventual "do we have to do this" mentality.  It takes A LOT of commitment to stick to a regimented diet and the more restrictions there are, the easier temptation can step up its game and knock you off your high horse.  I remember Mom trying a diet or two in my youth and while I never thought she needed one, she did....that was what mattered.  Did they work?  Sure....for a while, but the true change of image came later in life when she found that middle road that worked for her.  Some of the lifestyle chances she made along the way even stuck with the family.  Changes like moving from whole milk to skim, regular cola to diet....they seem little and insignificant, but they add up along the way. 

The moral of the story....it's not bad if you're "big", but your health is another matter altogether.  Striking a balance between these two opposites as well as your own happiness is truly the most we can hope for out of life...and we should accept nothing less.  My personal opinion....eat healthy and in moderation.  Start making those choices early (even today...it's never too late) and it will become a part of your body's make up allowing you to have your salad and eat your cake too.

Recommended read for older teens and adult readers interesting in the life and times of a fellow traveller on this crazy road we call life or simply looking for someone who has "been there done that and is going back for more".  You'll laugh a little, learn a lot and best of all learn the meaning of unconditional acceptance as it applies to others as well as yourself.  Review copy courtesy of Jonathan at Crown Trade Paperbacks / Random House, Inc.  (THANKS!)  For more information regarding this title as well as the Three Rivers Press full catalog, feel free to visit them online or follow along on Twitter.  To find out more about the powerhouse behind the book itself, seek out the author online at Kim Writes.

Until next time....happy reading!
 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Roving Reader

Okay, so my cell camera is having an off day...the colors are much more magically enticing in person, but doesn't the overall artwork (along with the title) look/sound like a fun read?
I think so....how about you?

Hexes and Hemlines
by
Juliet Blackwell



What caught your eye when out and about?
 
Do tell!


** The Roving Reader is a MEME type feature created by yours truly to share those book covers spotted when out and about that catch your eye for one reason or another. Want to get in on the fun? You're welcome to use the MEME, just give a little credit love. Simply snap a picture of your recent find and post away! Happy reading! **

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dread of Night, Vol 1 by Joshua D. Boeringa

Hi there!
Welcome back to....well, here.  ^_^
Thanks for making my site a part of your day and hopefully you discover a book or two to add to your own "to-read" list.  I must apologize for the MIA off and on though; life she is crazy right now but I'll definitely be trying to make the blog visit/comment circuit here as regularly as possible.  As for reading and reviews, you can count on fresh material....even if the reading is done anywhere and everywhere because let's face it, you CAN'T say no to reading.  The horror....and speaking of horror....

Today's featured title is a little chilling, a little creepy, and at times down right haunting.  It's geared towards older children and young adults, but may even have adults looking over their shoulder a time or two...you know, just to be on the safe side.  *ahem*  Ready for this horror-ific review?  Today's book of choice is....

Dread of Night, Volume 1
by
illustrated by
Robert Forest

From the back cover....
Thirteen tales to keep you up at night.  Check the closet and under the bed, grab a flashlight and huddle under the covers.  In these tales you'll encounter monsters straight out of your nightmares.  A helpful stranger is not as kind as he seems.  An old man has a hard time letting go.  A fisherman's first catch of the day may be his last.  The young man renting the room upstairs is hiding a terrible secret.  Read on if you dare, but don't turn off the lights.
Horrors are lurking in the shadows.

Creepy right?  ~shudders~  The stories within are perfect for a quick chill or thrill, easily digested when you only have a few moments to spare (or if you're like me and read whenever spare time presents itself....even waiting in a LONG line...hehe).  Being that it is a collection of short stories, I'll approach this one on that individual level.  There's always a few in these situations that don't quite hit the mark for one reason or another, but in this case, the majority ruled and came out successful. 

You have the unexpected twist encountered in "Crunched for Time" where you certainly learn that timeliness is next to godliness (or at least receive a great reminder of why we are taught to avoid strangers).  "Turning the Soil" proves that no book should be judged by its cover not person by their outward appearance...or plants.  In "Teddy", we see that doors are locked to keep things out as well as in and "The Fishwife" will leave you with a healthy respect for people's privacy, lest you desire to lose ten pounds in a hurry.  My favorite by far was actually the last story...."Toward the County Line".  I think it was the real aspect of it, the "this-could-actually-happen" that sends shivers up you spine. 

All in all, an interesting read.  Be sure to take note of the poetry inserted here and there in the book as well.  They are not listed in the "contents" but add a little something extra to the collection that you won't want to miss.  All of this when coupled with the inkblot-esque or negative space illustrations will have many readers reaching for their trusty nightlight...or teddy bear...or dog.  Keep someone or something close by and delve into a world of shadows....just be sure to keep your head about you lest it be picked up by a wandering soul.

Recommended for preteens and older looking for a little "boo" in their daily reading routine.  Review copy courtesy of author Joshua D. Boeringa.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title including excerpts and audio renderings, as well as his other works, feel free to visit his website or follow along on Twitter

Until next time....happy reading! 



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