Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Littlest Christmas Kitten

This book is perfect for children, cat lovers, and Christmas Eve story time. This is the story of a mama cat searching for her lost kitten in the stable on a cold night in December. She looks looks high and low in the stable, in the loft, under the manger, in the cubby holes but is unable to find her baby. When a man and a woman enter the stable the mama cat quickly hides in the manger where she finds her kitten fast asleep! Mama carries the kitten off to be with the rest of the cats and before long the woman who entered the barn gives birth to a baby and puts her son in the manger where the kitten had just been sleeping. All the animals looked on reverently because they knew that this baby was special. The cats had shared the manger with baby Jesus! As the tale concludes, "Now, down through the history of cat kingdom, Mother and Father cats tell this story to their kittens. They tell about the night Baby Jesus slept in the same manger the little kitten had found for its bed."

This Christmas story will give a different perspective of that sacred night to children who will be able to view it through another creature's eyes. Two miracles occurred that night, the mother cat found her kitten and Baby Jesus was born. Miracles, no matter how small, can take place if we only believe. This is a great story for parents and grandparents to share with children to get a close up view of what happened on Christmas Eve. The accompanying illustrations are vibrant and rich and seem to jump off the page. A must for any Christmas book collection!

I received this book for free from Book Crash in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Vegan Holiday Cooking

This book made me so very hungry. The pictures were exquisite, the captions, mouthwatering, and the selection superb!. If you have meat eating friends who are skeptical of the vegan lifestyle, then this is the book to convince them otherwise! Make them a recipe or two from here and, while they may not convert, they will definitely understand that plant based meals can be tasty, satisfying, and totally worthwhile!

I knew the book was going to be a winner when I opened it and saw that there was a forward from Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson in the beginning. If they were fans, how could I not be!? Since I live no where near New York, I can't go visit one of the Candle Cafe locations to sample the food so I'll have to rely on this handy cookbook to give me a good taste of what is offered in their kitchen. Each chapter focuses on a different holiday (Valentine's Day, Superbowl, Sedar, Thanksgiving, etc.) and has several different, drinks, appetizers, main courses, and desserts to choose from. Not all of them are cheap, and many of them are seasonal (depending on what fresh fruits and veggies are available), but even so, there is plenty to choose from! I have bookmarked the scallion pancakes with homemade kimchi and wasabi aioli (it's a little labor intensive but looks and sounds soo delicious!), rosemary portabello steaks with celeriac puree, cabernet reduction, and brussels sprouts (the picture was literally mouthwatering, I even had a dream about it!), chile-crusted corn (I plan on trying this one tomorrow!), and roasted squash soup with almond cream and spiced pumpkin seeds.

This isn't a cookbook for beginners so I plan on starting small. It is however, easily a staple for any vegan kitchen. I can't wait to get started on these recipes!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Robertson Family Christmas

Fans of feel good holiday stories and the Robertsons will delight in this charming Christmas novella. Miss Kay Robertson (along with the help of Travis Thrasher) has fictionalized her Christmas traditions and added a little something something for Duck Dynasty fans wanting to know Christmas is like in their bustling household.

One lucky teen gets to spend the holidays with the Robertsons. Hunter Clarke has no idea that his mother has entered him in the contest of a lifetime. When he wins he is angry; he had wanted to spend Christmas with his dad and brother, now he has to go down to Louisiana to spend it with a bunch of rednecks? As a result he's moody and sullen. When he arrives at the Robertsons they do everything in their power to improve his mood but it's all to no avail. No matter how many traditions they show him, he seems to be distant. Hunter enjoys participating in charades, duck hunting, baking, and other zany traditions but it just makes him wish he had a family like the Robertsons and makes him more sullen. Will Korie Roberson and the rest of the Duck Commander family be able to pull Hunter out of his funk?

This is a perfect family holiday story. You can read it to your kids or read it to yourself. You'll learn more about the Robertsons and get some great ideas for family traditions.

Also, you're in luck! I'm raffling up an extra copy o this book! If you want to win a copy just comment below!!

I received this book for free from Tyndale in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Willie's Redneck Time Machine

It's no secret, I'm not a huge fan of the Duck Dynasty franchise (it's everywhere!) but I thought that I had better see what all the fuss is about. I'm a public librarian and some of the most frequently requested items are the Duck Dynasty books, memoirs, cookbooks, DVDs, etc. If all my patrons are into it, than maybe it's time I see what the hype is about. I might as well start small so I decided to go with a kid's book. "Willie's Redneck Time Machine" is one of four "Be Your Own Duck Commander" titles, there are also: "Phil & the Ghost of Camp Ch-Yo-Ca," "Sin in Space," and "Jase & the Deadliest Hunt" in the series.  I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that this was a choose your own adventure book!

The reader plays the part of Willie Jess Robertson (This book caters mainly to boys, obviously. The only women mentioned are not strong adventurous women like the MEN of the family, but hey, whatever floats their boats!) who discovers an odd looking outhouse in the shop. Readers will laugh out loud as they get to decide what to do at the end of each chapter. Should they go in the outhouse? How far back in time should they travel? Should they listen to their belly and go to dinner instead? Unlike the original "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, there is no dying in this series so need to worry about scaring kids. If something "bad" happens (think dinosaurs), Willie just wakes back up in the shop. No harm done.

This book series is perfect for little boys (poop jokes, dinosaurs, hunting, etc.) and fans of the Duck Dynasty franchise. It's clean (except for poop jokes) and perfectly sensible for little kids. No death, no guns (except to kill adorable little ducks), no scandalous behavior.

Also, you're in luck! I have a copy to raffle off to anyone who comments on this post! If you want to win a free copy, just let me know why in the comment section below!!

I received this book for free from Tyndale Press in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

The Drop

I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer first so I can only picture Tom Hardy as Bob and James Gandolfini as Cousin Marv. Honestly though, I don't think that's a bad thing. I mean, have you seen Tom Hardy? Yowza! That was one of our main reasons for picking this for book club, because we knew we'd have a great movie to look forward to as well!

This book is quite short for Dennis Lehane novel, in fact, this was originally a short story entitled "The Animal Rescue" that Lehane expanded, and then wrote a screenplay for (his first), at the request of a producer. The resulting story was released at the same time as the movie.

If the movie is half as good as the book, I am going to love it. "The Drop" is phenomenal, it's easily one of my favorite crime/thriller reads of the year. It's gritty, engrossing and totally packs a punch at the end. For being so short, there is some amazing character building. Bob, the bartender and animal rescuer is awesome. Why don't I have a Bob in my life? Tom Hardy seems like an ideal fit to play him. I don't want to summarize the book too much and give it away. Just trust me on this, read it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters

Laugh out loud funny, this book is for any b-movie aficionado or Syfy channel fan. The author of this (im)practical guide states that, "Mother Nature is Angry. Can you blame her? We treat the planet like a rental car with full coverage." He then provides strategies and information on how to "study, avoid, and survive," for thirty five different scenarios of unnatural disasters or monsters. There's helpful advice on bataclysms, firenados, mongolian death worms, and sharktopus. For each event or monster there is a helpful picture, high risk groups (generally former child star actors, eccentric billionaires, mathematicians in leather jackets, etc.), threat to humanity factor, risk of encounter, and Fin's WTF factor. All of these useful tidbits will help prepare you in the unlikely event of one of these disasters occurring near you. For example in the event of a swamp volcano, don't drive through lava, no matter how tempting it sounds or how badly you need to get to Starbucks. To avoid running into bigfoot, make sure to carry bear defense pepper spray. "You can find it at most sporting goods store. Popular brands include Counter Assault, Sabre Frontiersman, and Axe Body Spray."

All of the (un)natural events and creatures in this book have been featured in some sort of Syfy Channel movie, which you can easily look up in the guide at the end of the book. Some bonus features included at the end include:  "The Sheperd Survival Assessment Test" (according to my results I'm a chum, no hope for me!), unnatural disaster kit, emergency supplies for your vehicle, Space Shaknado book excerpt, and filmography.

An entertaining read, that will have you laughing out loud and groaning at the ridiculous puns and jokes (see chapter on "boaricane").

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween: An American Holiday, An American Tradition

I'm not gonna lie, when I first picked up this book I was a little skeptical . I'd read "The Halloween Tree" by Ray Bradbury, I knew all their was to know about the history of Halloween, how could their possibly be any more to the story? Well, that's where I was wrong. Author, Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, painstaking researches the origins of traditions, feast days, and folk lore going all the way back to the Celts, Druids, and Romans. Even though the title of this book boasts the "American History," Bannatyne does her research and takes the reader all the way back to Europe to get a glimpse of the first origins. She then talks about how it was meshed with other cultures and religions (the Roman Empire, Christianity, etc.) through the centuries and how it finally was celebrated on October 31 (November 1 is All Saint's Day or Hallow's Day, so October 31 is Hallows Eve). Once it was joined with Scottish and Irish traditions, it started to more closely resemble the holiday we celebrate now: costumes to blend in with the dead, begging for food door to door, carrying turnip lanterns (pumpkins were a new favorite when they came to America), and playing pranks or tricks on one another (picked up from Guy Fawkes Day). Once the immigrants brought their traditions to the United States, things escalated and by the late nineteenth century, ladies magazines were producing articles on how to throw the best Halloween parties. When the Halloween tradition came to America, it lost a lot of the "communion with the dead" aspects. The Victorian age simply turned it into another reason to party.

Overall, it was a fascinating read. I learned soo much about one of my favorite holidays and I definitely appreciate it even more, knowing the rich history behind the traditions. A must read for any fan of Halloween or things that go bump in the night. It's filled with great poetry, pictures, and drawings to go along with the history. I do wish there had been more about the Day of the Dead and the evolution of costumes (how did they get so slutty?!), but hey, this book is 25 years old, I understand :)