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Monday, May 27, 2013

Stevia Cookbook review

I don’t normally review cookbooks, but like most people I do like to have a few around.  I found this book while just searching for ways to cook with stevia.  A friend had informed me that stevia is a healthier alternative to sugar.  It comes from a plant and is full of fiber.  It is just as sweet, though has a bit of an after taste for those not used to it.  Unlike Equal or Sweet and Low, stevia is completely natural and is calorie free.
My interest in stevia rose from the fact that so many people around me are developing health problems all of it due to sugar and refined foods.  Anyway, this recipe book is short and provides simple, basic recipes using stevia instead of sugar.  It has the good ones: muffins, brownies, even one for hot chocolate.
Stevia: 55 Naturally Sweetened Recipes isn’t a bad book and the price is reasonable.  It’s only 55 recipes, but it does provide a good place to start if you wish to cook with stevia and eliminate sugar from your diet.  I recommend this book for anyone interested in making this change.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What is your favorite genre? Part 3

In this final section of my your favorite genre, I want to talk about Mystery or humor.  I love mystery books, but I tend to prefer the more light hearted ones.  Don’t get me wrong.  James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels are pretty good, but sometimes his books are too heavy for me.
I like the Nancy Drew series, the original that came out in the 1930s not some of the more modern ones.  They always had intriguing cases that Nancy had to solve, but were also light.  There’s now sex or drugs in them which make them perfect for children.  The Nancy Drew books are also very quick reads.  They get ou involved in some mystery that can be resolved in a few hours.

I have recently discovered  the Black Sheep Knitting series by Ann Canadeo.  I find it a nice entertaining set of mysteries that don’t dwell on the dark stuff.  I like the idea of a bunch of knitters who somehow manage to get involved in murder and solve it.  They are also humorous as well.  I like books with a good amount of humor in them.  Life is serious enough as it is.  

What sort of mysteries do you go for?  Do you like the John Grisham kind, or the more light-hearted ones?  Let us know.  You may have discovered a set of books that no one else has.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What is Your Favorite Genre? Part 2

I also like Dystopian literature.  I have read Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Animal Farm, and Brave New World.  They are considered classics, but are also very good books.  None of them are very long either but are chocked full of detail that brings their vision of the future to life.   

I do like the more modern Dystopian books as well.  I love the Hunger Games Trilogy.  They are geared towards a younger audience, but the story is still compelling.  You can’t help but feel for Katniss as she tries to save her family from the cruelty of the hunger games.
Divergent wasn’t a bad book.  I thought the writing style could have been more mature, but the story kept me interested.  Unfortunately, the second book dragged for me and I lost interest in Veronica Roth’s world.  I’ll probably read the third book when it’s released, and I hope it picks up the pace.  I apologize to any Divergent fans out there, but the second book ruined the series for me.
Why dystopian literature?  There is something about the genre that appeals to people.  Most dystopian books are set in the future in a horrific and violent world where people are told they live in paradise, but in reality their lives are a nightmare.  In Fahrenheit 451 the people believe they live in a great society: a world without books.  Books, and ideas, are banned and burned.  Any caught with a book is arrested and killed.  The main character burns books and is quite good at it.  But, he starts to question his world and the rule committing the gravest of crimes: he hides and reads books.  I find it interesting that in this world people have their minds turned to mush by watching hours and hours of television.  They stay entertained and compliant because of it.  Something to think about in our modern world of HD TVs and our constant need for entertainment. 

Dystopian literature taps into the fear the we all have that our lives might be controlled by some government force, or secret group of people, and we don’t even know it.  One thing dystopian books do is they make us ask questions and question our current way of life.   That is why they are so popular.  Besides being entertaining, they point out certain problems within our society and make us think.  Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of the lone hero that stands against the established order and questions what has always been?

Thoughts about dystopian literature? Comment below.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What is Your Favorite Genre? Part 1

What is your favorite genre?  Part 1
We all have our preferences on the types of books we like to read.  Some love horror or dark fantasy, while others prefer to read something of a more humorous nature.  Some people, like my dad, like to read books about history or politics.  Only nonfiction will do for him.
I like to read almost everything.  I love history and read just about any book I can find on the subject.  Yes, I read nonfiction.  Oh, the horror!  Sorry, I know some who detest nonfiction because it is boring to them.  But I like to read biographies or books on parts of history that you never learn about in school.
I have read biographies about Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin.  Let’s face it, the only thing you learn about these guys in school is that they were important and you should know their name when you see it on an exam.  Or maybe that was just my History class.
If you ever get the chance to read the book 1421 you should.  It is very interesting.  It discusses the time the Chinese actually discovered America.  They did not know they had discovered a new continent, but most importantly, they chose not to settle here and went back home.  Think of how different the world would be if they had established colonies.
Besides nonfiction, I love novels.  Fantasy is one of my favorite genres.  I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  I read some of The Wheel of Time series.  Unfortunately, I got bored after the end of book 2 and stopped reading the series.  However, now that the final book is out, I might take it up again.  It’s just difficult to read an almost 1,000 page book when you have an extremely busy schedule.

I love Harry Potter!  Not trying to be a “follow the crowd” sort, but the series really blew me away.  When I first heard of Harry Potter, I thought it was just another stupid kid’s book.  However, my mom talked me into going to the first movie when it came out in 2011.  The movie was phenomenal.  I couldn’t believe how lost I got in the story.  Naturally, I went out and bought the books afterward and read them in a week.  Then, like everyone else, I waited impatiently for the rest of the series to be released. 
I like how the books are written for a younger audience.  It makes for a fast read which is important when you are always on the go but still want to enjoy a good book.  But the story has elements that are perfect for adults.  Each book has something in them that always comes back later in the series.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is another good set of books.  I don’t know if they are entirely fantasy, but I couldn’t think of where else to put them.  They are very quick reads, but the books e=never get old.  I love how Snicket managed to create an entire series about three children who are hounded by misfortune.  But he writes it in a way where it is humorous and heart warming and you can’t help but root for and feel for the Baudelaire children.  But I love how the author begins the story.  He starts by telling you to put the book down and walk away, which makes you continue reading.  Ingenious!

So what are your favorite genres to read?  Comment below.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Release by Erin Armstrong: The Twisted Truth

Book Title: The Twisted Truth
Author: Erin Armstrong
Release Date: May 30, 2013
Genre: Urban Fiction
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours


Michelle Marshall is a strong independent woman with a lot of baggage. Raped right before the start of her senior year of college, Michelle grows to be a caring, single mother to her daughter. Things begin to look pretty grim when the Charity House, the women's shelter she founded, is on the brink of having to close its doors. That is, until Tyler Austin, a mysterious and handsome stranger comes into the picture. Helping Michelle resuscitate the Charity House, Ty also helps her learn to trust, love and feel what she hasn't in years. Not everything is quite as perfect as Michelle would like though, as occasional hints lead her to believe something is not quite right. Her suspicions are confirmed when even more frightening developments occur and start to become...deadly.

Erin Armstrong graduated from Franklin High School. She currently works for Easter Seals NJ where she assists families with children who are disabled. She has been with the company for three years. With Easter Seals, her goal is to always live by their slogan which is to enable individuals with disabilities of special needs and their families to live, learn, work and play in their communities with equality, dignity, and independence.

There is no greater reward to her than being able to make a difference in these families lives.

At an early age she knew that she wanted to be a writer. Some of her first stories she wrote when she was only ten years old. It wasn’t always easy for her and she struggled to find her niche. She has written several short stories but never published any of them. Eventually she was able to sit down and write down all of her ideas and was finally able to make her dream a reality.

Erin lives at home with husband of five years and her two boys Davien and Cameron. She enjoys spending time with them and watching them grow every day. 


Playing Patience

Book Title:  Playing Patience
Author:  Tabatha Vargo
Release Date:  April 26th 2013
Genre:  New Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Presented by:  As You Wish...


Sometimes all you need is Patience.

Life’s been hard for Zeke. Being a punching bag for his alcoholic father has turned him into stone. Not even the dodgy trailer park he lives in can scare him. Fighting is his release and sex, drugs, and his guitar bring him peace, but deep down Zeke isn’t quite as hard as he makes himself out to be. When he meets Patience, she finds all his broken pieces and puts him back together, but she’s a ray of light in his shadowed life and the last thing he wants to do is bring her into his dark world. Playing careless is easy, playing the bad guy can be fun, but playing Patience is impossible, especially when she can see right through him.

Zeke isn’t the only one who’s broken, and for the first time, in a long time, Patience feels alive. Her black and white world gets a shot of color when she meets Zeke. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever met with his tattoos, piercings, and blunt honesty. She wants nothing more than to let go and ride the wild side with him, but some wounds never heal and the broken pieces of Patience aren’t so easy to find.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers.***

Excerpt from the book:

She reached up, tucked her hair behind her ear, and bit at her lip like she knew what I was thinking. She closed her eyes and sighed when I ran my thumb across her bottom lip.
“I think I want to kiss you.”
There. I’d said it. It was out there and there was no taking it back. I hadn’t kissed a girl since I was fourteen. Mainly because it felt entirely too personal, but with Patience I wanted to be personal. I wanted to taste her in ways I hadn’t tasted other women, and kissing was the only way I could do that.
Her eyes widened, and her throat bobbed up and down as she swallowed hard. Her breathing accelerated as I gave her a minute to let my words sink it. If she wasn’t okay with being kissed good and hard, I was giving her plenty of time to say so. I had a feeling that once my mouth connected with hers it would take a lot for me to stop.
“I think I want you to kiss me,” she whispered.
I looked down at her sweet mouth and bit at my lip ring. I tilted her head up to meet mine and moved in. I let my lips skim hers and they were every bit as soft as they looked. A tiny noise escaped her mouth and I lost it.

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Tabatha's been writing since she could pick up a pencil. Her first publication was a little poem in her elementary school paper, from that point on she was hooked. When she was a teenager, she traded in her girly magazines for personalized writing notebooks.

At nineteen, she met her own personal prince charming and writing took a back burner for a while. She's now married to that prince and the mother of a beautiful seven-year-old princess/rock star. Once her daughter was born, writing came back into her life, and she finished her very first novel, Wicked Fate, in May of 2009.

She's now pursuing her English degree and she hopes to one day teach while continuing to write.
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