Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?: And 99 Other Answers to Your Everyday Diet and Nutrition Questions to Help You Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Healthy by Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich

Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?: And 99 Other Answers to Your Everyday Diet and Nutrition Questions to Help You Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Healthy
The puns. Oh. My. God. The puns. My review started with, "Oh, this is a little punny" to "It's unfortunate that so many puns were included" to seriously considering this as a DNF book. The regular writing style is breezy, informative, and interesting. So why so many puns? Especially since they are more annoying than fun-filled and unerringly point to expanding waist-lines rather than health. The most useful (and readable) parts come when the authors are more serious. A few scattered puns? Engaging. Starting, ending, and then scattering up to 3 more in each 1 page section? Infuriating.
This book started off a little smug - in discussing bagels, they say, (19) "the taste may not compare, but we love our asses in our favorite jeans more." It's just a retread of "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." It's tone-deaf in a book that's supposed to be about healthy choices.
But the information about whether to blot your pizza (question 3, the answer is no) is more helpful, as are most of the answers to the (again) pun-filled questions. And that's the most frustrating thing about this book, it's seriously helpful but nearly unreadable. If you're looking for a weight-loss book, this is as good as any other. Unfortunately, I think this was supposed to be a nutrition book and in that regard, fell short.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina

We've met both Diana and Nate in previous Book Club Belles Society books. And it always seemed that they were destined for each other but we find out it is now three years later and, due to a Big Misunderstanding, the two parted ways. Diana is now firmly on the shelf (although wouldn't she have been at 24 as well?) and a bit meeker, a bit quieter than she used to be. She laments often that her good friend Cathy, the other "quiet" one of the group, has married and left town (well, more sad about the latter and happy for her friend about the former).
Captain Nate Sherringham is in town on a piece of business. He's not sure how he got roped into bringing along a rather notorious divorcee (actually, he knows that he's a sucker for helping women) but he's glad that he'll have a chance to show snooty Diana that he's made something of himself.
How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne FresinaThere were misunderstanding on both sides but the two slowly start to realize what those mistakes were and a trip to Bath, where the two meet again and can start anew, might just let them find their HEA.
I really vacillated between a three and four-star review on this one. I had a lot of issues with the book (the Bath scenes are a bit drawn out and seem out of character for Diana) but it was overall not out of the way Fresina has framed this series so I think that people who enjoyed the first two books will really enjoy this one as well.
This book comes out Jan. 5, 2016.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh

The Door by the Staircase by Katherine MarshMary's life is like a fairy tale. Unfortunately, it's the first part of the tale. She's been orphaned and left to one of the less desirable places to live. There's no hope that she's going to be adopted so she tries to escape instead. She's thwarted by a strange wind which turns out to be a good thing since a strange woman, Madame Z, shows up the next day and wants to adopt Mary. From then on, Mary learns the ins and outs of living with Madame Z and in the strange new town of Iris which seems to be full of tricksters and magicians. But are some of them using real magic? That's not possible. Is it?
I very much enjoyed this story, especially the way some of the usual fairy tale tropes are subverted to make a truly charming tale.
This book comes out January 5, 2016
Four stars

The Lady's Command by Stephanie Laurens

We so rarely get romance books that start at the marriage, I was really excited to read the latest from Stephanie Laurens (well, over and above the usual Laurens excitement level).
Declan and Edwina Frobisher have only been married three weeks when his top-secret government job pulls him back into play. While Declan was happy to marry Edwina and delighted to discover her link to Neville Roscoe ("The Lady Risks All"), he wants to tame some of her more...  adventurous tendencies. Oh, not all of them, just the ones that might lead her into danger.
The Lady's Command by Stephanie LaurensThis one didn't have the... overwhelming sense of urgency running throughout the entire book that many of Laurens' adventure novels have. And yet, I didn't feel like it suffered. And there was only one mention of someone's [adjective] [soul/spirit/etc.] which was a great relief since it got more than a little repetitive even when I first noticed it in Chillingworth's book.
A very nice addition to the Laurens canon and I can't WAIT to read the next one.

Four Stars
This book comes out December 29, 2016

Saturday, December 26, 2015

America's Favorite Holidays by Bruce David Forbes

A look at five holidays that seem to be a major part of the American (at least United States culture); Christmas, Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.
I liked his point about the variety in Christmas celebrations not only being religious vs. cultural but also parts of various branches of Christianity.
America's Favorite Holidays by Bruce David ForbesIt was interesting to read about Valentine's that it was a fully-commercialized holiday long before Hall ever created Hallmark. I also enjoyed Forbes' discussion of how the symbol of the heart became part of our culture and discussion on why it has that particular shape.
All of the holidays had interesting stories and links to various "beginnings." An interesting read with okay writing but sometimes the repetition of specific points or ideas gets to be a bit much.
Three stars.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee

Death Crashes the Party by Vickie FeeI'm starting to find a divide in the cozy mysteries that feature a perky heroine with a niche job: those heroines that do it smart (let the police in on the clues they find, tell people where they're going, etc.) and those that are idiots. Unfortunately, Liv falls into the latter category. She does some really dumb things like breaking into houses and taking evidence that could have been used in court to nail the bad guys. Basically, hindering the cops. Like, a lot. This may not annoy other readers though. And the premise of having her be a party planner could get her into some interesting places without the author having to contort reasons for her to run into bodies. I did also love the fact that Liv is married (to Larry Joe, how's that for a name?), so no love triangles!
Book comes out Dec. 29, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

Anything for You by Kristan HigginsLOVED this book. Loved it. 4 1/2 stars. There was a B story that I felt was distracting and not needed but we finally get to see restaurant owner Connor find his HEA. He's already found his true love. Hell, he found her 21 years ago. But they've had a rocky road and Jessica has very valid reasons for why she doesn't want to have a "real" relationship and we get to see many of those reasons as we skip along their relationship's past. And Higgins once again tugs on the heart strings while creating a truly happy-ever-after.

Four and a half stars
Comes out on Dec. 22, 2015
Follows: In Your Dreams

Monday, December 21, 2015

An Improper Arrangement by Kasey Michaels

An Improper Arrangement by Kasey MichaelsThis book starts off with a Big Secret... which could lead to a Big Misunderstanding and I was a bit trepidatious, but this was Kasey Michaels so I trusted her. And I was so glad I did. She not only had the hero talk to the heroine about the Secret, she gave the heroine a Big Secret of her own and they talked about it. It was so lovely to read.
Okay, so the Big Secret is actually introduced after the prologue wherein our hero and his three friends entrust some instructions for a large battle to a young man who, instead, runs to safety. And then his father bought a medal for him. So Gabriel Sinclair is pissed. Well, not as pissed as he used to be since it's over a year later. Instead, he's more concerned that his uncle, the duke, has retired to his bed. It seems the last five dukes have all died close to their sixtieth birthdays and he is rapidly approaching that age. Meanwhile, Gabe's aunt has just returned from the United States and is bringing a surprise.
Dorothea, "Thea" Neville is twenty-two and this trip seems to be her last chance for marriage. She's not particularly interested in Gabe, even though he's the ducal heir. But there's something about his wit (he feels the same about hers), and their mutual attraction that seems to be pulling them together.
A fast and fun read. I also enjoyed the B plot of Thea's maid, Clarice, being elevated to companion and getting engaged to Gabe's friend Rigby (the requisite "silly" one of the group.)
Next up, is Cooper Townsend, recently given the title of Baron, who also had several pamphlets written about him. He needs to get married so women will stop chasing him. I do love those stories.
Book comes out December 29, 2015.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray: A Critical Appreciation of the World's Finest Actor by Robert Schnakenberg

The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray by Robert SchnakenbergI'm not a HUGE Bill Murray fan (I like his work, but am not obsessive) but thought this looked like a fun book offered from NetGalley so I requested it. I guess Murray is pretty darn private so there didn't seem to be anything groundbreaking about the book. I'm guessing that this book might be more geared toward the hard-core fans but I could be wrong. For someone who doesn't know much about Murray other than his general body of work and the fact that he seems to photobomb an ungodly number of people, it was just okay.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Meditations on Intention and Being by Rolf Gates

Meditations on Intention and Being by Rolf Gates
A really interesting read. I loved most of the meditations and even got some ideas for some new ones of my own. There are many that could be adapted for yoga classes or other group settings. I wish there had been a bit more background about meditation but maybe that is more in his first book which I haven't read. Definitely a book that could be read by beginners to expert level.
4 stars
Comes out Dec. 8, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Broken Resolutions by Olivia Dade

Broken Resolutions by Olivia DadeBeing a librarian, it can be hard to read a book that has one as the main character because the setting/people are often so far off what a professional librarian would be/do. However, Olivia Dade was a librarian (assuming in a public library since that's where she set her book) so this rings a bit more true. Although few librarians I know would have been able to run as many "risque" programs as Angie. Although she didn't really run the New Year's program this is centered around. She tricks her friend Penelope into it. Penelope is wanting to spend the evening at home with a burger and TV but she trades all of the Saturdays in January for this one evening (assuming that they are both salaried, this could work (What? it's harder for me to suspend disbelief for librarian books, this thought actually crossed my mind). While at the New Year's Eve party, Penelope meets Jack Williamson and they are instantly and majorly attracted to each other. There are library shenanigans as games are played (it's a singles event), all of which are again, risque being fairly focused on erotica.

I was annoyed with the last little twist. Especially considering that they both thought they had found their soulmate after less than 6 hours of first laying eyes on each other but it was overall a fast and fun story and I wanted to know what happened with Angie so I immediately got the next book (review to come on Jan. 12, 2016).

This book comes out Dec. 8, 2015