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November 24, 2013

Book Thirty-Four of my 2013 Goal

A Kiki Lowenstein Short Stories Anthology Volume 1A Kiki Lowenstein Short Stories Anthology Volume 1 by Joanna Campbell Slan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kiki Lowenstein Short Story Anthology Volume 1 by Joanna Campbell Slan contains Kiki Lowenstein and the Soldier's Gift, Kiki Lowenstein and the Shark Bait, and Kiki Lowenstein and the TP Caper with excerpt from Wave Good-Bye. All of these were great short stories and I enjoyed the excerpt as well. I only read one other short story before these but what I can say about what I read so far is the author keeps her writing very easy to read so these even make great reading before bed since there is no need to take notes on who did what and when. These are all very easy to follow, great pace, not only believable characters but for the most part believable stories, and totally enjoyable.

Kiki Lowenstein and the Soldier's Gift was a little bit on the emotional side and hit a little too close to home for my comfort but just goes to show you how the story is mimicking reality in the sense that just because your at a crop doesn't mean everything and everyone will be just grand. Life as well as reality does come around and in some odd ways that you have no way to prepare for and you just have to deal with it.

Kiki Lowenstein and the Shark Bait really got to me most of the story. I wanted to grab hold of Kiki and shake some sense into her and tell her to stand up for herself. In this story she is still in college so in her defense, she is young. I was so relieved when she actually felt comfortable not fitting in with where she was and around the people she was with and picked herself up and got on with her life.

I was afraid this story was going to be one of those 'dumb woman' stories. You know the kind you see on TV in horror films where the woman is acting like she can't think for herself when the ax murder is in the house and instead of running the other way she just stand there and screams right before she gets chopped up. Well, it isn't like that I am happy to say. This story is more of her innocence and having to learn a hard lesson about love and wealth. Another believable story for the most part.

Kiki Lowenstein and the TP Caper was really a twist I wasn't expecting. Kiki has convinced me that I need to spend much more time at my local scrapbook store, I am just missing too much! Again Kiki finds herself in a situation where there was no way for her to know or prepare for it but has to deal with it.

I also am glad to have the recipes and information on some of the different techniques mentioned in the book (complete with website addresses so I can look it up.) Mostly, I am so thankful when I read that a portion of this anthology will go to the Wounded Warrior Project (again, website address given).

Seriously, how can a reader go wrong? Three great stories (warning: Kiki Lowenstein is addicting), recipes, instructions and/or information on different scrapbooking/cardmaking techniques, and helping our wounded military! This is a win/win/win situation in my book and I'm not even an author!

I did want to also mention the excerpt from Wave Good-Bye. I can so see this happening! In fact, I know it has and that is exactly how they do it. I know you don't understand what I am saying because I am not writing spoilers but let me just say from the excerpt that is in the book I totally believe the story so far including that so called customer's actions.

I recommend this book to every paper crafter and everyone who likes mysteries and young adult stories.

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November 20, 2013

Book Thirty-Three of my 2013 Goal

The Halloween Close Call (Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series, #8.5)The Halloween Close Call by Joanna Campbell Slan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Halloween Close Call (a Kiki Lowenstein Novella) (Kiki Lowenstein Series) by Joanna Campbell Slan is the first book I have read in this series. I really didn't know what to expect and I was so pleasantly surprised by the wit of the author to use such imagination to be able to turn a paper craft store owner who was so wrapped up in planning a crop around Halloween that her friends finally talk her into going to the farm for some fun into such a mystery.

The story is not that long but is priced fairly and it is easy to read plus if you are into any of the paper crafts you would understand it more and appreciate the events that take place all the more since you will be able to relate to it. Once more, any book that tells you that they ate this or made that and at the end of the story you're given some of the recipes and directions on how to make what they were making is definitely one step above average.

I also like how one book leads right into the next. This book leads right into Killer Paper Cut which picks right up where this leaves off. Speaking of leaving off, that was one great mystery ending!

The only thing I can say that remotely can be taken as a negative is that I am unclear which book is first in the series. I wish they were numbered clearly. It may have said inside and I missed it but even so, I read this book and it is a complete stand alone book and I didn't feel I was missing anything. Now there is good writing for you! The only reason it bothers me now is because I know I missed books and this one was so good I want to read them all.

I recommend this book to all paper crafters who enjoy a relaxing, easy read with a great mystery.

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November 15, 2013

Book Thirty - Two of my 2013 Goal

The Secret BurdenThe Secret Burden by Michelle Bybel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading 'The Secret Burden: Letting Go of the Shame, Anger, and Guilt of Emotional Eating' by Michelle Bybel and in the back of my mind I was thinking, here we go again! This is going to be another one of those diet books with all the contradicting advise from one of these so called 'authorities' on how to loose weight and why you eat the way you do. I knew it was coming just by looking at the cover of the book, anyone with all those letters (LCSW, CHHC) is going to be saying what we all heard before, "you're eating because you were traumatized as a kid", "because your parents divorced when you were young", "because your mother did it", etc. Well, you know that old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover" and I should have listened because it was nothing like that. I didn't even know I was an emotional eater!

The author entered this field because of her own experience struggling with her weight and tells what she learned, tried, what worked and didn't. If she knew what is wrong with doing this or that (which some do go against some of these so called experts advise) then she states it. She doesn't go with the flow just because others before her said this is how it is done. This is a real account of what she learned and she is coaching the reader on how to follow through with the variety of exercises (and I don't mean physical exercises, I mean writing, thinking, exploring, things like that but don't get me wrong, she does eventually get to the physical exercise) to change your own mindset.

The majority of the book is all about mindset, what it is and how to change it which is not something you can do overnight. In fact, it takes many weeks and months to do some of these exercises. The author also includes sheets, websites, and excellent instructions on how, when, and why. The directions are easy to follow and in some cases a matter of going to website and printing out a page to fill in the blanks. The stress is all on your mindset and for you to understand it, as well as understanding your own body both physically and mentally. Once you understand yourself and change your mindset, then you can work on really loosing weight otherwise you are going to be on that roller coaster of loosing weight just to put it right back on a few months later and make yourself miserable (and deprived of your favorite foods) in the process.

Then the exercises are put together and you create a personalized plan for you to follow. Don't worry, she tells you how and remember, this is a plan you put together using your answers on your exercises. This is not someone who barely knows you and hasn't a clue what your likes and dislikes are and you going crazy trying to follow a plan that you can't do or hate. You put together your own plan.

For once I have finally found a book that makes sense! I didn't know about "triggers" and totally enjoyed the practical and realistic advise as well as the totally doable sample recipes at the end. I also love that this book is about the total person and not just the waistline. If you don't do things for yourself and feel good about yourself then chances are not only will you suffer at meal time, you will suffer in the many other ways which are explained in the book. It totally makes sense!

I would recommend this book to everyone even if you don't think you have an eating issue.

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November 7, 2013

Book Thirty One of my 2013 Goal

The Cancer CodeThe Cancer Code by Andrew Findlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found 'The Cancer Code' by Andrew Findley is a fast paced story but drawn out in parts. I was delighted to find it is not full of scientific details and bogged down with formula talk instead it is an easy to understand thriller about a scientist who finds the cure for cancer (and other diseases as well).

It starts off with a very interesting opening of Jim, the main character and a brilliant scientist who found the cure for a variety of cancers. He receives a letter under his door warning him he is in danger from men hired to do him harm. The letter tells him to leave now because they are on their way.

Although Jim found this 'cure' on his own he works at a drug company and signed a policy stating that any discoveries he makes while employed by the drug company are the property of the drug company. So naturally this drug company wants the 'cure' so they can sell it for thousands of dollars a bottle. Jim doesn't want to give it to them because he wants everyone to be able to afford it and wants to sell it for something like fifty dollars a bottle. So with the constant stalling by Jim to hand over the 'key' sequence the drug company takes matters into their own hands.

Jim was sort of an odd person, brilliant in science but not in relationships or 'life'. He sort of reminded me of the characters in The Big Bang Theory on TV. He was developed as a person but he is so...odd. The other characters were developed as well as they needed to be to make the story believable.

It was a good story and the whole concept of it is believable. I would recommend it to anyone who likes scientific thrillers, dramas.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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