Thursday, May 1, 2014

Welcome to May! It's Celiac Awareness Month

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything new here, but that's not because I haven't been reading! April was an incredibly busy month, and while I always find time to read before bed, blogging hasn't always been front of mind. That doesn't mean I don't have plenty of books to review, and I'm already in the middle of several reviews!

May is an important month at my house, because it's Celiac Awareness Month. My son is gluten free, and I think it's important to spread the word that not everyone who is gluten free is buying into the Gluten Free trend, but that there are many, many people who must live gluten free for their health. My son is one of those people.

When he eats anything with gluten (and  that includes even eating something with a few crumbs of gluten), he gets incredibly sick. Rashes, diarrhea, stomach cramps, weight loss, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies, and more are all symptoms he suffers whenever he's accidentally fed something with gluten.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: Listen to the Squawking Chicken

Listen to the Squawking Chicken

When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)
Elaine Lui

Life lessons from Elaine "Lainey Gossip" Lui's mother, the Chinese Squawking Chicken, as Elaine lovingly calls her. A wonderful mother-daughter memoir full of seemingly radical parenting advice that got results!

When Elaine Lui was growing up, her mother told her, "Why do you need to prepare for the good things that happen? They're good. They won't hurt you. My job is to prepare you for the hard times, and teach you how to avoid them, whenever possible." Using Chinese fortune telling, feng shui blackmail, good old-fashioned ghost stories, and shame and embarrassment in equal measure, Elaine's fiercely loving mother (the Chinese Squawking Chicken, as Elaine calls her) raised her to be an intelligent, high-achieving, devoted and grateful daughter. 

In Listen to the Squawking Chicken, Elaine's mother's lessons are recounted in 9 chapters in which the Squawking Chicken teaches Elaine about hard work ("Miss Hong Kong is a whore"), humility ("I should have given birth to a piece of barbecue pork"), love and friendship, family loyalty ("Where's my money?"), style and deportment ("Don't be low classy"), finding one's own voice ("Walk like an elephant, squawk like a chicken") among other essentials. Along the way, Elaine poignantly reveals how her mother earned the nickname "Tsiahng Gai" or "squawking chicken" growing up in Hong Kong, enduring and rising from the ashes of her own hard times.

For anyone who's ever had a mother, or been raised by a parent, Listen to the Squawking Chicken is a loving mother-daughter memoir that will have readers laughing out loud, gasping in shock, and re-considering modern parenting tactics.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brasheres

The Here and Now

Ann Brasheres

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 
Publisher: Random House Children's
Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Big Fat Disaster Book Tour!

I'm very excited to be part of the book tour for Big Fat Disaster, a brave new book that details a young girl's struggle to cope with the destruction of her family, her weight, and her difficulty loving herself. This book tackles some serious topics, but still manages to maintain a sense of humor.

Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative’s trailer, where her mom’s contempt swells right along with Colby’s supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby’s role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she’s only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
“Colby’s life … is difficult enough, but it gets worse very quickly once she discovers a photo of her politician father kissing another woman. The fast pace, lively … dialogue, and timely topic make it a quick and enjoyable read.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

Pre-Order this Novel From These Fine Retailers: 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)

by Kelley Armstrong

From NetGalley: In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire's worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters' journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they've ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court--one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Lifestyle Change for my Birthday! (Via Celiac Baby!)

Yesterday, I posted a pretty personal article on my other blog, Celiac Baby! 

I'm embarking on a lifestyle change, and I'm excited to start this journey with my readers in the loop, and I'm hoping that any of my readers who are also undergoing their own changes will let me know so that we can support each other!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: The Wives of Los Alamos

The Wives of Los Alamos

by TaraShea Nesbitt

From NetGalley: Their average age was twenty-five. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago—and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses with P.O. box addresses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn’t exist as far as the public knew. Though they were strangers, they joined together—adapting to a landscape as fierce as it was absorbing, full of the banalities of everyday life and the drama of scientific discovery. 

And while the bomb was being invented, babies were born, friendships were forged, children grew up, and Los Alamos gradually transformed from an abandoned school on a hill into a real community: one that was strained by the words they couldn’t say out loud, the letters they couldn’t send home, the freedom they didn’t have. But the end of the war would bring even bigger challenges to the people of Los Alamos, as the scientists and their families struggled with the burden of their contribution to the most destructive force in the history of mankind.

The Wives of Los Alamos is a novel that sheds light onto one of the strangest and most monumental research projects in modern history. It's a testament to a remarkable group of women who carved out a life for themselves, in spite of the chaos of the war and the shroud of intense secrecy.
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book Blast: The Frost of Springtime & A Giveaway

I'm very happy to be part of the Book Blast for The Frost of Springtime! I love everything that has to do with Paris, and since it is the most romantic city in the world, a romance set in the City of Light sounds incredible!

The recent release of The Frost of Springtime, by debut author Rachel L. Demeter, transports readers to the war torn streets of nineteenth century Paris. Driven by paradoxical characters, steamy encounters, and a compelling storyline, it's a bittersweet tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love. Described as "poignant," emotionally devastating,” and “beautiful," The Frost of Springtime is sure to please historical and romance readers alike. Available now in both eBook and paperback. Currently Amazon Prime members can read the Kindle edition for free!

The Frost of SpringtimePublication Date: February 14, 2014
Black Lyon Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Kindle eBook

Genre: Historical Romance/Historical Fiction

To rescue her was to rescue his own soul.

On a cold Parisian night, Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre forges an everlasting bond with a broken girl during her darkest hour, rescuing her from a life of abuse and misery. Tormented by his own demons, he finds his first bit of solace in sheltering little Sofia Rose.

But when Aleksender is drawn away by the Franco-Prussian war, the seasons pass. And in that long year, Sofia matures into a stunning young woman—a dancer with an understanding of devotion and redemption far surpassing her age.

Alongside his closest friend, Aleksender returns home to find that “home” is gone, replaced by revolution, bloodshed, betrayal—and a love always out of reach. Scarred inside and out, he’s thrust into a world of sensuality and violence—a world in which all his hours have now grown dark, and where only Sofia might bring an end to the winter in his heart.

Inspired by the 1871 Paris Commune, The Frost of Springtime is a poignant tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Happy International Women's Day!

Today is International Women's Day, the day we celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It's also the day that we acknowledge how much work there is still to be done.

When I think of influential females, it's only natural that I think of those close to home: My paternal Grandmother, married at 15, left waiting for her husband to return from war. She left her home country to start a new life in Canada, where she had no family and couldn't speak the language, yet managed to find work and raise 4 children alongside my Grandfather.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Whisper (Lakeview #2) by Stacey R. Campbell

Whisper (Lakeview #2) 

by Stacey R. Campbell

On a snowy January night, just days after a fire that nearly destroyed the school’s library, Elsie Stewart, daughter of the headmaster and founder of Lakeview Academy, dies slipping beneath the ice of frozen Clearwater Lake. Unable to right the wrongs she committed before her tragic death, Elsie’s spirit walks the halls of her father’s school, waiting for someone who can.
One hundred years later, while joining her sister’s friend Leigh to help clean out the school’s administration building before the big remodel, Halle stumbles upon Elsie’s hidden journal. 
Obsessed with what she finds, Halle searches the school for clues that may lead to solving a century-old mystery. The only problem is that Halle also talks Calum Stewart, Leigh’s worst nightmare, into helping them. 
Once Leigh and Calum are forced work together, sparks fly and no one around them, alive or dead, is left unaffected.
Publisher: Gemelli Press LLC
Publication Date: Dec. 25, 2013