I use both a Nook and Kindle so if you see a book you wish to borrow just let me know and let's be

February 24, 2014

Book 14 of my 2014 Goal

Prepper's Pantry: A Survival Food GuidePrepper's Pantry: A Survival Food Guide by Robert Paine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book's information goes beyond that of prepping for any kind of disaster although that is its intent. This is information that can be used any time, for example I could have used this information two years ago when I had my garden and had so many tomatoes that I was giving grocery bags of them away to strangers because we just couldn't eat them fast enough. Then when the winter hit, guess what I did? Yes, I went to the grocery store and had to buy tomatoes. Why? I haven't a clue what to do with them to keep them. I never 'canned' anything in my life and don't even know where to start. After reading this book, I do now! No, the book don't give you "how to can tomatoes" instructions but what it does give is good information on the different containers for different foods and the pros and cons of each including canning. It also does give the cost of the machines involved in preserving food so you have some ideal of price involved. The price for the basic dehydrator is said to be about $50 in the book and that is around what I paid. The vacuum system is said to be up to $200, I also have one and it was on sale for $160. So I am assuming the rest of the prices in the book are pretty accurate depending on model, make, or features. Also mentioned is the difference methods of doing the same thing. A water bath canner is mentioned and it says it can run between $40-$60 while the pressure canner can run between $100-$200. I didn't even know there were different canners so that is why I said at least now I know where to start. And even if the prices have gone up from the book's price listed, I know the water bath canner is cheaper than a pressure canner and I can now research each to see which one will meet my family's needs.

After reading about preserving food there is a whole section on how to obtain the food and save money on your grocery bills. (I just finished reading a whole book on saving money on your grocery bill and this book which isn't even totally on this subject has more useful information in it than the one totally on the subject!) There are methods to save time and money which I can use now for my family even if I don't plan on stockpiling food for any kind of disaster. I can take advantage of a sale on cherries and buy bulk and either freeze or can them, that way even in winter we can have some cherries instead of waiting for them to 'come into season' or pay high prices for cherries shipped from somewhere else. The author even put a list with common fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. and the best method on how to cook, preserve them and even when they go on sale (e.g. beef roast or brisket goes on sale around end of May while a pork roast is usually going on sale the beginning of May).

Since there is a lot of information that is in this book that I think would help save every family money on their grocery bills (I know, the meats are a problem since not all of us have extra freezers but not everything has to be frozen) no matter if you're stockpiling for a disaster or not, I highly recommend this book to everyone.

View all my reviews

February 23, 2014

Book 13 of my 2014 Goal

2012 Family Guide to Groceries under $250 a Month2012 Family Guide to Groceries under $250 a Month by Melissa "Liss" Burnell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Family Guide to Groceries Under $250 a month by Melissa Burnell was a book I had high hopes for providing me with new ways to cut my grocery bill down. I already do mostly everything mentioned in the book including the coupons, vacuum sealing, and my own recipes. I also am aware of the packaging deception, placement of items on store shelves, and the club stores bulk buying. There really was nothing in the book that I found new or useful except some of the recipes which I can just substitute frozen vegetables in place of the canned.

I am not sure where the author lives but the prices (too low even for 2012 in CT) and some of the suggestions in the book are unrealistic to me and don't take in account for special diets such as low sodium, gluten free, or for a diabetic. Stocking up on canned vegetables my be cheap but unless we are putting together a survival shelter, we don't eat them. They are full of sodium among other things so we only have frozen or fresh.

Even on sale, there is just so much room to store frozen items and fresh don't stay 'fresh' forever so stocking up on these things is not an option. If we bought another freezer to put these items in, the cost of the freezer and running it is more than what few cents we would save while the item is on sale.

I really don't even know how to rate this book because if someone is just starting out with their family and didn't have some parent that told them this information about groceries, it would be very useful to them but for me and everyone I know, it really is just common sense.

View all my reviews

February 22, 2014

Book 12 of my 2014 Goal

Craft Business: Sewing Books with 99+ Places to Sell for ProfitCraft Business: Sewing Books with 99+ Places to Sell for Profit by Mary Kay Hunziger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Craft Business: Sewing Books, 99+ Places To Sell For Profit, 60+ Sew Resources Like Etsy, Dawanda, Ebay, Pinterest & Beyond by Mary Kay Hunziger isn't really what I expected. I thought it would have more ideals of what to sew but only has the doll clothes for example, it is more of a resource on how to market whatever it is that you sew. Now with that being said, it never claimed to have all these ideals of what to sew (So why should I find this disappointing?) and the author claims it is a resource guide on how to market what you sew which the book does....very well at that!

The book uses doll clothes as the hobby. Why you would choose to make them and the different dolls you can make them for. It gives you the process of thought behind this so you can apply it toward whatever craft you sew. Then the book takes you through the process of 'marketing' the clothes. The importance of how you display them, importance of photos, and where to list them. She provides numerous links to all these sites as well as that look like programs that can help with this task. I didn't click on all of them, as I said I thought the book was something it isn't and never claimed to be but the links I did click on did work, as well as the Facebook Page.

I am not at this point in my crafts but for those who are, I think you will find the resources in this book very helpful.

View all my reviews

February 12, 2014

Book 11 of my 2014 Goal

Survival Seeds: The Emergency Heirloom Seed Saving GuideSurvival Seeds: The Emergency Heirloom Seed Saving Guide by M Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Survival Seeds: The Emergency Heirloom Seeds Saving Guide by M. Anderson was the perfect book for me to read after Survival Guide for Beginners by Vitaly Pedchenko. Although these are two different authors the information they provide go hand in hand. Survival Seeds: The Emergency Heirloom Seeds Saving Guide takes it one step further and instructs you how to save seeds and grow your own crops for long-term survival.

If there was ever a threat to the global food supply, how would you and your family survive for even a year? What would you eat if there were no food in the grocery stores? If you were prepared as most books explain you probably only have a month of food stored for yourself and your family but what if it is going to longer, much longer? Survival Seeds are the answer (even mentioned in several other books to have some) but what do you do with them? This book gives you the answers.

Not only does this book explain what survival seeds are, it goes into the types of seeds, pollination of seeds, climate, rotation, and even fertilization. But don't get turned off yet, this book isn't only useful for a survival situation, anyone who has or wants to start a garden will find the information provided very useful. It goes into the subject of cover crops, of course bugs/pests, and seed viability. There is a lot of useful information for any garden including a patio garden.

Not only does the book tell you about different seeds/plants, it has list after list of some of the most common plants that are good to grow for food in different climates, what time of year, (after all, if you plant everything at one time and they all ripen at the same time, what do you do for the fall and winter months?) The information on the plant itself is excellent. It tells you the difficulty level, how it is pollinated, how much sun it needs, soil pH levels, where the seeds are located, isolation requirements (more about this later), harvesting instructions of seeds, storage instructions of seeds, and some basic information such as if it can be grown indoors. There is a lot of good information in this book (although those who are really into gardening may already know this information) but I didn't know it all and I had a garden for years. I also did things that I know I had to but never understood the reason why I was doing it.

Two of the chapters I found really useful and interesting is the one about cover crops and the isolation of plants (by distance) so they can not cross-pollinate.The book goes into enough information about the reason behind both of these subjects so even beginners can understand why you wouldn't want your plants to cross--pollinate and why you would use a cover crop. I found these both very interesting.

I recommend this book for gardeners even if you are not interested in planting a survival garden.

View all my reviews

February 11, 2014

Book 10 of my 2014 Goal

Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot - Book 1Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot - Book 1 by Randa Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot by Randa Handler is a very cute children's story which I read to my grandchildren (ages 4 & 6) although the older ones did listen and join the discussion. (More about that part later.) I won't recap the story as you can read the author's description for yourself however what you may not realize is that it is has many colorful pictures throughout the story of the different characters in the different scenes. They are much like the cover of the book which depicts a scene in the book. It is bright and colorful plus not only do you get to read the description about them, you get to see the pictures too which really helps the little one visualize what they look like and what is happening.

The story basically is about friendship (among other things) and when I read a few pages, I would stop so we could have a discussion about the different things (depending on what was happening on those pages) relating it to my grandchildren's real life. An example of this is when the three boys protected and became friends with Cubbie and his dog, we discussed that it doesn't matter that Cubbie didn't look like the boys or had different color skin or even that his dog had two tails, they still were friends. The boys didn't make fun of him for being different and it didn't matter how big or small he was or even if his dog had one ear or four. Friends can come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and may look very different from you. You shouldn't tease or not be friends with someone just because they are different. I must say I was quite surprised the older children joined in this discussion, I didn't even realize they were listening. They were playing a game but they joined in and we all had a great time reading and discussing the book. The way the story is written is in a way that makes these 'lessons' easy to talk about.

There is one issue I had with the book and perhaps it is just because I am over cautious but with the way the world is going today I feel like no one can start the discussion too soon or talk about it too much. Naturally I understand this is a children's book and they don't need to be subjected to the harshness of reality all the time but I did use the opportunity for a discussion about being approached by strangers who want to be your friend. I didn't want them to believe everyone who walks over to them (including adults) and are nice or ask for help are their friends. I know it sounds like I am contradicting what I said above about friends coming in all sizes and shapes but we talked about it so they know the difference, basically we discussed 'friend' vs. 'stranger'. This is just my personal opinion but I just felt this should have been addressed by the boys using some obvious caution because just by Cubbie telling them not to be afraid and he needed their help and as he told his story 'the boys relaxed' wasn't obvious enough to a child reading the book to themselves yet the 'friends coming in all sizes' comes across loud and clear.

The story itself wasn't so long it bored the children yet so short it took only a minute to read. I did have to define a few words because the younger ones didn't know what they mean (e.g. telepathically) but for the most part the words were easy enough for the older children to read themselves and I didn't notice any format issues or typos. I think this was a fun, adventurous story (with great pictures) and it promotes wonderful 'qualities' as well as giving way to meaningful discussions about various topics with the child/ren.

* I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. The free copy in no way influenced my opinion.

View all my reviews

Book 9 of my 2014 Goal

Close Your Eyes, Sweet AngelClose Your Eyes, Sweet Angel by M.J. Winn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To think I almost passed on Close Your Eyes, Sweet Angel by M. J. Winn because after reading the description, I thought I wouldn't like it since it was about a prostitute. That just turned me off and didn't seem like something I'd enjoy reading about since I am not into romance, sex, or smut but the description does go on to say, "her secret regret ultimately lead to redemption," so I figured I would give it a try. After all, it is a 'short' story so even if I don't like it, it isn't going to take that long to read it so it isn't like it can drag on forever. I am so glad I read it, it was one of the most amazing short stories I have ever read!

The author's development of the main character, Chandra, is excellent. Not only did I know enough about her past to make this so heart wrenching, I knew her present and I could feel her pain, sorrow, and an array of other emotions. The secondary characters are developed enough where I was able to visualize what they looked like and what their personality is like without any problems. I even could visualize their reactions to what is being said or the way they acted.

Some authors are great on describing scenes like what is in a room, or what the street looks like but fall short to make me really 'feel' what the character feels. Not this author! He is great at describing the scene and I could feel the long, tired, colorless days of Chandra's life. It is almost like the feelings of depression, hopelessness, despair.

Even the cover of the book portrays the feeling of lonesomeness and isolation over time with its lack of color and just one child on the stairs looking down between the rails as if she is longing for someone to come up them. Of course the cover has other significance which I will not say due to the possibility of giving any spoilers but the impact of the cover really 'feels' like how Chandra did. I thought it was an excellent choice of covers on the author's part.

The story is only about twenty seven pages and if there is any format or typos, I didn't notice them. It isn't long but it is such a powerful story. It is one of those stories when you finish it you sit back in the chair and say, "Wow!" The ending is really amazing as well. Best way to describe it is 'satisfying'.

Due to the language and content of this book I would only recommend it to adults.

View all my reviews

February 10, 2014

Book 8 of my 2014 Goal

Survival Guide for BeginnersSurvival Guide for Beginners by Vitaly Pedchenko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am not a person who is into the Zombie Attacks or Dooms Day Prepper such as I have seen on TV where I think aliens are coming to wipe mankind out or some of the conspiracy theories where everyone from invading nations to the government are coming to get me. What I was interested in is how to be prepared for disasters where my family could survive without utilities when a disaster strikes. By a disaster, I am talking more so about natural or man-made disasters that we already have faced time and time again. Everything from tornadoes which seem to be on an increase even here in New England to all these blizzards, super storms, and hurricanes that knock out the power for days/weeks. Lets not forget the possibility of power plant leaks, terrorist bombings, or even plane crashes. No matter what the disaster is, I want to be prepared so my family can survive even if all utilities are not working and going to get gas or to a grocery store is not an option. Reading "Survival Guide for Beginners" by Vitaly Pedchenko is a wonderful place to start to gain knowledge about this task.

The book has different lists of supplies needed for different disasters. After all, if you need to survive a devastating blizzard in the dead of winter, you will need different supplies from someone trying to survive a Tsunami in the middle of summer. These lists do seem repetitious throughout the book since some of the basic supplies are needed no mater what or when the disaster is (e.g. shelter, food, water) and although the author could have possibly made one list of these basic needs at the beginning and just referred future pages/disasters to it, it does save a lot of page turning plus makes it easier to see a complete list for any disaster that is covered so in this book, I thought the repetition is needed.

Not only does the book tell what list of supplies you should have, it tells you which kind is best for storage and how much. In cases of long-term, it even goes on to tell you how to do certain things like the different ways to purify water and the pros and cons of each. It also covers subjects such as being mentally prepared, what you need to take or do if you are being evacuated, and much more.

In the back of the book is a website for more survival and preparedness tips however I wasn't able to get it to work on my browser (not sure if it is my browser or the site is no longer available) although I was able to get to the Facebook Page that was also listed. I looked at it briefly and saw the seven best 'Bug Out Bags' (these are also covered in the book) as well as other supplies found to be really good for survival. I will have to go back and spend some more time there as it has some great information.

This book is written in easy language and has a lot of useful information although I do wish it would cover 'where to get it' or 'how to get it' type information for some of the items. An example of this is about the suggestion to have a month's supply of your prescription medication on hand. Great suggestion since if there is no power or you're snowed in for a week you can't jump in your car and go to your pharmacy to pick up a refill but the problem is no drug store or insurance company I have dealt with would allow me to get an 'extra' month supply of my medication. They will say it is not time to refill it nor will the insurance company pay for it. So how do I go about doing this? Do I need to go to the Dr. first, get a one time prescription for each (explaining why I want the extra month supply) and just fill it paying cash? Will the pharmacy fill it even though it is the same pills I am currently taking? Another suggestion is to have antibiotics and it lists a few as well as what they are used for in your first aid bag, but I don't know any Dr. I can go to with a list of antibiotics that will write me a prescription for them when I am not currently sick. So how do I go about filling my first aid kit?

Other than the problem I face on how and where to get some of the things mentioned in the book, I thought it was good advise and a good starting place for being prepared for a disaster. I do recommend this book for everyone who are just starting out to put a survival items together.

View all my reviews

February 8, 2014

Book 7 of my 2014 Goal

314314 by A.R. Wise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by the cover but when I saw the cover of 314 by A.R. Wise it really looked interesting and I love mysteries, paranormal and such so figured it was right up my alley. I should have read the description first but more about that later. The cover really is what sold me on getting it.

I won't recap the story since you can read the author's description for yourself. Just remember this is book one of a trilogy so don't expect every question you have to be answered in this first book. This book covers the building of the story and character development for the most part. The author does a great job with the characters and I did feel a special connection with the main character, Alma. I am not sure if it is out of sorrow for what she went through as a child or if it is because now as an adult she is haunted by the not remembering what happened and needs to put it behind her so she can go on with her life. Between this and her mothers death, her father after her, and a boyfriend she loves but just can't seem to stay in a relationship with, nothing seems to be going right. I can also feel the doubt she has if she really was responsible for her brother's disappearance. It seems for the past 16 years her life has been a nightmare with all these things playing in her mind and the ever present number 314, if she can only remember what really happened.

I have to admit when I was first starting to read the book I became a little frustrated with the way it was written. It kept switching back and forth from 16 years ago to present day. I have read stories where the beginning was the background of what happened a long time ago and then the story jumps to present day and continues but this was written with a little glimpse of this or that which happened 16 years ago and it almost seemed unrelated to what was going on in present day. It was like reading bits and pieces of two different stories however I stuck with it and it wasn't that long until I realized why the author wrote it this way. It was brilliant! Something I wasn't expecting and totally made sense plus I loved how it came together in the end.

Now, back to why they say you shouldn't judged a book by the cover. I read at night before bed for the most part to relax me and I eventually drift off to sleep. Not so with this book and I would have realized it if I read the "Warning" in the author's description. This book is indeed graphic and led me to some disturbing nights of sleep which was totally my own fault. But let me explain, I often look at covers and don't read the description of books to get surprised as the story unfolds. By reading the description I often pass a book by because it really don't sound interesting to me but come to find out, it is a fantastic story. This is one of those books. Had I read the description I would have passed this book by because I am not into the real graphic stuff and I would have missed this great story. Even though it was disturbing to me the story was so good and captivating I couldn't put this book down. The reason I am mentioning it is because if you are not into graphic scenes, don't read it. It will give you nightmares. (Remember, this is the goal of the author and he succeeded with flying colors, 5 stars to you!) So with that being explained, I only recommend this book to adults who like horrors with graphic scenes.

View all my reviews

February 3, 2014

Book 6 of my 2014 Goal

Floor FourFloor Four by A. Lopez Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover of Floor Four by A. Lopez Jr. looked creepy enough and I love paranormal stories so figured I would give this author a try and I wasn't really that disappointed. It was a little slow in parts and repetitive while other parts were a little confusing but the plot was good and it had plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested.

I won't recap the story as you can read what the author wrote for the book description for yourself but to me it seemed like the author concentrated more on the plot then on the development of the characters. They were developed enough to understand who and what is happening but I really didn't feel any connection with any of them. This didn't stop me from enjoyed the story though.

There was a few typos but they were easily overlooked and it really didn't take away from the story. I loved the way the author ended it! Although this isn't what I would rate as 5 stars, I still do think it is a good story and worth reading.

View all my reviews