Great Camping Resource - Camp Cooking in the Wild

It's right in the middle of summer, and it's camping time. At least for us, and while we don't rough it much outdoors (like driving miles and miles to hike out in the middle of nowhere) we enjoy setting up our tent in the many campgrounds around us. No matter where we camp, menu planning is somewhat a challenge at times: finding the right balance between great tasting meals and ingredients that can be packed and stored without much effort. Camp Cooking in the Wild (Mark Scriver, Wendy Grater and Joanna Baker) has great cooking tips as well as provides excellent menu ideas. It is based on the teachings and outings from the Black Feather Wilderness Adventure Company based in Canada.

Read the full review Camp Cooking in the Wild.

Feature & Follow: What Required Book Did You Actually Like to Read?

Hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog.

F&F: First you leave your name here on this post using the linky tools, grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post, and then visit as many blogs as you want on the list and tell them “hi” in their comments or respond to their question. If someone follows you, it's courtesy to follow back. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

Q: Summer Reading. What was your favorite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school?

A: This one's easy: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson!! One of the best short stories of all time.

What was your book?

Tapping Into Ultimate Success by Jack Canfield

Tapping is a tool that helps remove obstacles standing in the way of personal success and is founded on the Meridian Tapping theory of acupuncture, based on the energy meridians. Tapping Into Ultimate Success uses physical tapping of the body combined with mental triggers and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to overcome fears and limitations. Jack Caufield is the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. This book is a combo DVD and book set.

Chapters in the book include topics for creating success in your life: A New Technique for Creating Success; Removing Fears; Overcoming Limiting Beliefs; Foundations for Success: Responsibility and Forgiveness; Accelerating Success: Tapping for Action and Results; Healing the Past: Removing the Trigger That Slow Your Success; Creating the New You: Tapping for Empowerment and Transformation; Creating New Habits for Success: Tapping to Make Live Easier; Financial Success: Tapping for Money and Prosperity. Chapter checklists and glossary are included.

Throughout the exercises, Caufield combines both negative and positive focus statements for the reader to repeat and use to remove any limiting factors for goal achievement. In one chapter, he even suggests to keep a score card for success, no matter how small, as it is harder to acknowledge personal success than failures. The more your brain is aware of positive energy the less it will be of the negative.

I found it a little hard to follow, and I'm guessing it is because the DVD wasn't present to help with the physical parts of the book. Having said that, the basic principles in Tapping Into Ultimate Success are sound. Many limitations are purely emotional or mental and if you can get through that part, can be easily overcome. Recommended for people who are interested in the Meridian Tapping therapy or are familiar with the energy meridians and would like to use those for personal success.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

The World in Your Lunch Box by Claire Earmer

This is a Juvenile literature title with histories of favorite lunch box food items. Author Claire Earmer has selected different appropriate lunch box fare (sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, pita pockets, pizza, easy finger foods, and snacks) and breaks each component down tracing its history. While the history is both fun and well written with a kid in mind, the illustrations and art by Sa Boothroyd were really captivating and brought the words to life.

Read the full review for The World in Your Lunch Box, a Cookbook of the Week.

Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies: 30 Romantic Jewelry Projects

Purple Rope Neclace. Photo courtesy Lark Crafts.
When I think of romance and jewelry together, I think of bold gems, soft curves, and lots of color. Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies has 30 projects with those elements and more. And her poetic use of focal beads brings a touchable elegance to them.

Read the full review of Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies.


Math and You: The Power and Use of Mathematics by Ron Larson

Math is hard at times and it gets progressively more difficult the older you get: think annual percentage rates, amortization, depreciation, the list goes on. I have long been hoping there was a book out there that presented real-life logical math problems in a way that was simple enough for everyone in the family to understand. Ron Larson, Penn State Professor of Mathematics, has written just that book and Math and You will most likely end up being the family math bible, especially as the kids get older.

Math and You covers the broad range of mathematics used in everyday society and divides the examples into mathematical chapters: Calculation; Consumption; Logic and the Media; Inflation and Depreciation; Taxation; Borrowing and Saving; Patterns and Nature; Likelihood; Description; and Fitness and Sports.

The book is intended as a teaching tool with both student and instructor resources. Problems are well defined and examples are thoroughly explained. Answers to all the odd numbered exercises can be found at the back of the book. Math and You is well illustrated and things as complex as the Fibonacci pattern is easily grasped; my 10 year old enjoyed creating her own Fibonacci spiral as a craft project with the example and solution in the book.

Fabulous reference book to have, no matter what age the math student is, or even if they are still in school. The real-life applications put mathematical reasoning into everything around us. If you have the basics of math down (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), then Larson's excellent teaching skills will help you understand even the most difficult of math situations - even if you think you can't learn it. I'm anticipating this will be a much referenced book as the kids reach middle school and high school.

Book Information:
Further Reading:
  • Math and You Website: Interactive access to the book as well as a great TOOLS feature with interactive math games and calculators. 
  • About the Author: Ron Larson's website with his bio, listing of his books, and a link to his calculus chat room.
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher. Any opinions are my own.

The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

Book Trailer:
Camilla can set her watch by her hunky rocket-scientist neighbor who jogs past her window each day. She relishes each glimpse of his shirtless abs, and is dying to see more. But it's hard to connect with a man who doesn't seem to know she exists...Ivan feels at home in the lab, not in social situations. When he finally approaches his attractive neighbor, it's not for a date--he wants tutoring in how to behave at an important fundraiser. Ivan doesn't expect the chemistry between them to be quite so explosive, and is surprised when Cami actually accepts his proposal to embark on a series of "lessons." Cami soon discovers Ivan's schedule isn't the only thing he likes to be strict about--he needs to be charge in the bedroom as well. She's shocked at how much she comes to enjoy her submissive side, but wonders if a real relationship is in the equation...
Camilla is the girl next door and she has been harboring a crush on her super smart neighbor, although he is blind to that, and she thinks he's uninterested. Ivan, the genius scientist neighbor needs help in dealing with people and at social functions. Because of her secretly being in love with him, she agrees to help him out.

But what begins as her tutoring him becomes him tutoring her in other ways. Camilla thinks Ivan is uptight but she realizes while he can be taught everywhere else, in the bedroom he must have all the control. His control and need for dominance are real. She gives it up and submits not because she's into that scene but she just likes the guys - and they both realize what they have is much more than simply a two-way tutoring session.

This could have been a heavy story, but Dryden livens up the pages with fun dialogue and actual humor. I think Camilla was a little too eager to please Ivan in the beginning but I ended up rooting for them in the end. For those squeamish with graphic sex scenes this isn't for you; it has strong BDSM language. For me, it didn't taint the story, though. But the whole complete nerd who is the world's greatest Dom was an interesting character twist that I've never come across before, and Ivan's odd little idiosyncrasies made him real in the end.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This e-ARC was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

No Safe Place by Taylor Wilmering

Book Trailer:

Shortly before September 11, 2001, Joe Biden warned, "The question is not if we will be attacked by terrorists, but rather when and where." In the pages of No Safe Place, terrorism has come to America once again. Sleeper agents for a radical Islamic terrorist group that calls itself Ansar Inshallah have managed to blend into American society and go undetected - until now. As Ansar Inshallah's sleeper cells awaken, Americans discover that appearances can be deceiving and the people around them may not be who they seem. Homeland Security Counter-Terrorism Division agent John Anderson and his field partner, Agent Erin Walker of the FBI, are racing against the clock to uncover and bring down Ansar Inshallah. But how do you fight a war when your enemy is hidden among you?

I'm a spy nut, and stories like this intrigue me. When I read the sample on smashwords, I wanted to read more and I wasn't disappointed. This is Taylor Wilmering's first book, and while it detailed a little too much on FBI team procedures for me, the pace was quick and action seemed real. It was scary reading some parts because you never know, really, who your enemy truly is. Sleeper cells are talked about in the news frequently but this book details what it may be like to have them sound an alarm and go into action.

In order for the story to be real, Wilmering details what different law enforcement teams do and how they work together, and how they handle different situations. Even though I guessed correctly how a police officer would handle a scene at a train station, it was both harrowing and relieving to see how action profiling or closely looking at a person's actions actually saved countless people. It is unnerving to know that sleeper cells could live among us without us - the general population - ever knowing who they really are. Even their own family members may be unaware.

I found myself wondering if the group Ansar Inshallah was indeed real. I appreciated the author's background information at the back of the book, and some events that were mentioned in the book were sobering, including her real-life role playing experience in training exercises for her local police department. I think her acting out the different roles helped make some scenes real because she understood the characters mindsets. I enjoyed No Safe Place and look forward to more action thrillers by this author.

Book Information:
  • No Safe Place by Taylor Wilmering
  • ISBN13: 9781467993838
  • Paperback and ebook versions

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own.

Feature & Follow: The Hypothetical Two-Book Wish List

This Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs.

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to the original post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you want and tell them “hi” in their comments or respond to the question (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

Q: Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever that costs). What two books will you buy?

A: Okay, the first book would be the next el Bulli volume. Since I'm a pastry chef, I'm a foodie first and foremost LOL. I have the 1998-2002 hardcover, and would love the 2003-2004 volume. For those unfamiliar to the now-closed restaurant and chef behind it, here is the link to the el Bulli books on Amazon (no affiliate link here, just a search for the books on amazon). Some amazing stuff in those pages.

The next one would be David Morrell's latest, The Shimmer. I'm a sucker for any of his work and this is a crossover sci-fi/government conspiracy thriller. 

But then, if these two picks are mysteriously gone from the Amazon catalog by the time I use my hypothetical gift card - I'd just pick two random romances completely by impulse based on the covers to read on my Kindle Fire while the kids are playing in the pool. :) 

For the link to Moonflower's discount on Smashwords, the code is at the end of the review. It ends on July 22nd.

Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson

Book trailer:
After Josephine Woods' father dies of cancer, her mother up-roots the two of them and moves to the city. Josie hates her city life, but her teenage issues are of little consequence when they have a car accident and she wakes up in a strange land (reminiscent of Victorian Europe) alone. Lost, with her school backpack as the only connection to her world, Josie struggles to find her way home. She is found by Lucius Conrí, the son of a Marquess, who possesses royal blood and the gift to shift into a wolf’s form at will. Can the kind-hearted Lucius help her find her way while winning her love, or will she fall for Donovan Conrí his older, more serious brother and heir to the Conrí wealth?

I really loved this book. Josie is a teenager who awakes after a major car accident in a forest in a different world. As she struggles with finding her way back home, she encounters one of two brothers who saves her from a dangerous encounter. She ends up staying with the brothers and learns of their royal blood lines and shapeshifting capabilities, and then truly finds herself liking both of them. Josie is very likable as a character and I found myself unconsciously rooting for one brother. The brothers are the opposite extremes, and both of Josie's mind and body are pulled between their strengths and weaknesses.

While this is YA fiction, the story will appeal to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance or fantasy writing. I found it hard to put down once I began. The writing is very well done and I pictured myself having the same reactions as Josie if, like her, I were thrust into a different world. The book ends with the possibility of a sequel (I'm hoping for one), and I look forward to more of EDC Johnson's work.

* Promo offer for this book: The author has given me permission to share a 50% discount for her new book. Limited time, ends June 22nd, 2012. Enter XB94G at checkout for Smashwords. Book link is here: Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson.

Book Information:
  •  Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson
  • 2012
  • Smashwords edition, multiple eBook formats available

Firestorm by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Book trailer:  
FIRESTORM (Book 6): As a smoke jumper, Reyne Oldre–friend to Rachel Tanner and Beth Morgan (Refuge)–once led a team of courageous firefighters into a blaze that ended in unspeakable tragedy. Now crippled by fear, she conducts fire research from a safe distance, determined not to risk that kind of pain again. But when the flames of love begin to flicker between her and smoke jumper Logan McCabe, Reyne must face the fearsome storms from her past and battle the raging Firestorm that burns in her soul.

Firestorm is a 2-in-1 Christian contemporary romance and is the last in a series titled The Full Circle Series by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Unlike some Christian fiction, this isn't peppered with scripture making it good for all readers of romance and contemporary fiction. The main story is about Reyne, a fire-science researcher, and her relationship with Logan, a BLM smokejumper. The story was good without being too sappy: girl who is afraid to love meets ruggedly handsome boy and they fight a fire together and fall in love. While to me the book was a little slow in the beginning, ended up being a good read. I liked all the fire fighting research the author put into this book, and the terminology used throughout led the story line's credibility.

The side story is about Beth and Matt, friends of Reyne's, and the devastation breast cancer can bring to families. The second part of the book is actually a short story entitled Sandcastles (10 chapters, 81 pages) about Matt's finding love again. I actually thought the second story was better.

This was the first time reading Bergren's books. I liked her style and her take on romance. For those who like simple love stories, this would satisfy.

Book Information:
  • Firestorm by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  • Waterbrook Press; 2001
  • ISBN: 1578564462
  • Paperback, 337 pages

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Where There's Smoke by Karen Kelley

Book Trailer:

Sexy wannabe-demon Destiny Carter is in Ft. Worth, Texas, with one week to corrupt a soul. Or else. She slips into a slinky red dress, and heads straight for the delicious, corruptible looking cowboy at the bar. But Chance Bellew has his own agenda-saving souls. He's not your typical angel-he likes drinking and sex way too much, and not necessarily in that order. And then he meets Destiny...
I thought the story was fun - a not-quite demon who intends to seduce a soul to bring back to hell so she can become a true demon, who ends up falling for for a part-angel (um, an 'angel cowboy') who works on actually saving her soul.

It's a paranormal erotic romance, and there is much work between them trying to seduce the other to bring them to each others sides - good and evil - all the while trying to keep their true identities a secret. All the secondary characters are great, too. Chance's posse are all very likable. The story of Destiny's past was sobering as well as Chance's response and the play between heaven and hell was fun. They each have a week to turn the other around. I liked the whole pyramid-scam-by-the-demons premise. As always, I love happy endings, too.

This book begins quickly and sets the pace for the rest of the book, making it a fast read for those who like them. This was the first time reading Karen Kelley, and I'll look for her work in the future.  


Metal Jewelry Surface Effects Book - Heat, Color, Set and Fire

Etched Copper Neckpiece. Image courtesy Lark Crafts.
I just took a class at home called 'Heat, Color, Set and Fire' and is suspiciously the same name as the title by author and jewelry artist Mary Hettmansperger. Actually, just reading Heat, Color, Set and Fire: Surface Effects for Metal Jewelry is like taking a metal jewelry surface effects class at home and Hettmansperger does a superb job at breaking down both the intricate and simple elements of decorating metal jewelry.

Read the full review for Heat, Color, Set and Fire on my sewing and crafting blog.

50 Climate Questions by Peter Christie

50 Climate Questions is a non-fiction title that will spur kids into creative thinking and thinking scientifically. This is a fun science book with answers to 50 climate questions with some projects worked in, too. Kids are interested in climate change and the history behind Earth's major timelines and events, especially with dinosaurs. This book combines them both. Peter Christie's science writing is accentuated by Ross Kinnaird's fun illuatrations.

There are six chapters that divide the questions: Snowball Earth and Mega Mammals; A Human for All Seasons; Gone with the Wind; When the Sky Gods Are Angry; War, Plague, and the Scoop on Poop; Keeping Our Cool; and Wondering Weather.

This book is geared for grades 4 and up, but would appeal to the younger children, too. The Q&A format makes reading it easy, or it can be studied in sections.

Book Information:
  • 50 Climate Questions: A Blizzard of Blistering Facts; by Peter Christie and illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
  • Annick Press; 2012
  • ISBN13: 9781554513741
  • Paperback and hardcover versions available, 120 pages

Disclosure: This galley was given to me by the publisher. Any opinions are my own.

Garden Guru - by Stan-Lee - Review

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I received this book except perhaps a garden book. What I got was a cut-and-paste collection of newspaper clippings, canning books and pages of photocopies of things not even remotely related to gardening, such as the Beef Chart and Pork Chart from the National Live Stock and Meat Board, and an article on a 'junkyard dog' hot dog by a Hot Dog Champion. Huh?! Which makes me wonder if the publishers of the original publications he took this stuff from would appreciate his 'reprinting'. The price for this hardcover book is $36.00 which is ludicrous, and if this is representative of the types of garden books being made by this publisher, they should honestly take a look at what is being created by some writers. This was a free book and even then I was disappointed flipping through it.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Feature & Follow: Why We Get Started Book Blogging

This Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs.

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to the original post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you want and tell them “hi” in their comments or respond to the question (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

Q: What drove you to start book blogging in the first place?

A: I started blogging in the beginning for business and business only, as a way to reach my customers in a quick-hit format via my pastry blog with industry info and my latest specials. Book blogging is a completely different story; it was started purely for pleasure - I enjoy reading. I started this book blog after writing a cookbook review. A publisher liked how I tackled it and began sending me books. It snowballed and soon I had many non-fiction titles from other publishers and self-published authors. This book blog was a way to house them all, but it also opened the doors for me to try new fiction, too. I've read some amazing reads from brand new authors on Smashwords that rivals some of the hardbacks I've purchased full price at the book store, which has opened my eyes to different ways authors can now connect to readers. It's all been a learning curve, but the readers of book blogs and book bloggers themselves are all very helpful if you're new, and opened me up to genres I never thought I'd read which has been very fun. 

What about you? Enter the linky below.

Story Cookbook by Jo Ann Bender

Story Cookbook is a self-published title featuring Jo Ann Bender's family favorites and recipes from her B&B, the Lazy Bee located in Colville, WA. Alongside each recipe contains an introduction or paragraph story, thus the name.

The names and variations of the recipes range from interesting to unique: Five-Star Zucchini Chip Cookies; Pretty Anytime Rhubarb; Chicken So Good I Stole the Recipe; and Devil's Chicken Sealed the Deal. Since it is sold as a cookbook, the addition of a table of contents or creating chapters to separate the recipes into different categories would be helpful, and would make subsequent editions much easier to navigate for the reader. As it reads now, a Honey Mustard Salad Dressing is alongside recipes for white fudge and leg of lamb, and the individual stories get lost in the mix.

There are over 120 recipes included in Story Cookbook. In each of the recipes, Bender writes where the recipe came from, why it is special, a story involving the recipe, or something completely different. Bender seems friendly in the introduction and entertains the reader with her tales of past guests at her B&B, and even includes directions on how to get there in the very beginning of the book. I appreciated the cover design being adapted from a crewel embroidery piece done by the author's daughter when she was 11 years old.

Book Information:
  • Story Cookbook: Featuring Americana Basics from the Northwest Mountains; by Jo Ann Bender
  • Bender & Assoc; 2012
  • ISBN13: 9781475161267
  • Paperback, 128 pages

Disclosure: This book was given to me by the author, and any opinions are my own.

The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mellos

The Complete Middle East Cookbook

This regional Middle East cookbook was first published in 1979 and has had numerous reprintings. My version was a 2002 reprint. The Complete Middle East Cookbook has just about everything you want to know about Middle Eastern cooking with photographs and illustrations throughout. Tess Mallos does a great job of describing the recipes, and divides the cooking by region: Greece; Cyprus; Turkey; Armenia; Syria, Lebanon, Jordan; Iraq; The Gulf States; Yemen; Egypt; Iran; and Afghanistan.

Read the full review of this Cookbook of the Week.

Friday's Feature and Follow: Different Genres

This Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs.

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

The Hosts and Featured Bloggers are listed below. If you comment on this question below, let me know you followed, I'll follow you back!

Q: Jumping Genres: Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don’t like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

A: Okay, I know I'm going to break some people's hearts, but I have not liked YA fiction. For a long time, and even when I was considered 'young adult'. Typical high school dramas dealing with family and heartbreak just doesn't do anything for me, even when I was younger. I like mysteries and love political and crime thrillers. I like to be transported into a different world from the one I'm in, and which is why I love historial fiction. Then I start a book blog and was introduced to paranormal fiction where the boundries are blurred from modern fiction to something from literally another world. Suddenly, YA fiction isn't so kiddish and so much more edgy. I've read recommendations from other book bloggers and tested the waters with their choices. What I found was I never really knew what I was missing in the paranormal realm. My latest read (I haven't reviewed it yet, just read it) is YA Fiction: Moonflower. It is about a 16 year old crossing into another world seemingly similar to old England. There's a love triangle, there's shapeshifting royal wolves, and yes, a 16 year old girl who ultimately finds herself and what she wants. I loved it, and I found a new appreciation to a genre I typically avoided. Well, I still have to warm up to contemporary YA Fiction, but I wish paranormal YA fiction books were being written awhile ago. :)

What about you?