Sunday, 31 July 2011

Review - Definitely Dead by Charalaine Harris

After flying through Dead as a Doornail, I jumped into Definitely Dead. Sookie Stackhouse is now over her ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, and her other lover, Eric, and she is ready to get on with her life. That’s when Quinn, a weretiger, shows interest in her and they soon start dating. The Pelts family comes to Bon Temps looking for clues to where their daughter's, Debbie, whereabouts, and Sookie is doing everything to ignore them. When Sookie’s life starts to turn average, the unexpected happens. Her cousin, Hadley, passed away. Hadley was a consort to the New Orleans Vampire Queen.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Book Review - Dead as a Doornail

Dead as a Doornail (Original MM Art): A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)Dead as a Doornail
BY: Charlaine Harris
ISBN: 978-0-441-01333-3
Pages: 310
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

After finishing Dead to the World and watching the current season of True Blood, I realize that I an addicted to Sookie Stackhouse mysteries and was eager to jump into the next installment, Dead as a Doornail, picking up the previous plotlines. Sookie’s bother, Jason, is now a werepanther, by force, and joins the other werepanther Hotshots. As Jason learns to be a panther, Sookie’s boss, Sam, is shot by a mysterious sniper. But Sam isn’t the only victim, there are others and they are all shape-shifters. This has Sookie fearing for Jason’s life.

Now for a twist, Sam asks Sookie for a favor - for her to ask the vampire Eric if Sam could borrow one of his vampire bartenders. Eric can never say no to Sookie, therefore the vampire pirate Charles joins Merlotte’s in Sam’s absence. Meanwhile, Tara is now in the control of the dangerous vampire Mickey.

Dead as a Doornail focuses more on the weres and shape-shifters than it does vampires. If you are watching the current season, you’ll realize that some of the plot elements in Dead as a Doornail are in it, mainly with Jason. Vampire favorites Bill, Eric and Pam have very little to do with the novel, and involves more of the Hotshots and werewolf clans. The death of Debbie Pelt is coming back to bite Sookie in the you-know-what, as private investigators are looking into her disappearance. I liked that the author laid out more of the werewolf mythology into the modern world. Sookie’s fairy-godmother, Claudine, is a riot and fun character unlike the fairy plot from True Blood. The fifth book in the series is great read.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Review - Goosebumps Halls of Horrors: Night of the Giant Everything

Goosebumps: Hall of Horrors #2: Night of the Giant EverythingGoosebumps Halls of Horrors: Night of the Giant Everything
BY: R.L. Stine
PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-28935-1
Pages: 127
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Wow! This one has been sitting on top of my computer monitor for a few months, and since I just received the third book in the series in the mail on Saturday, I thought it was time to pick it up. Like the previous installment, the book opens up with a narration from the Story-Keeper, which reminds me of the Crypt Keeper, in which introduces the main character and sets up the story. Steven is the main character. He is in love with magic and the occasional practical joke. For a quick laugh, he plays a harmless trick on his two friends Ava and Courtney, but they dislike the joke and plan on getting revenge. The girls trick Steven into drinking a mixture they created in the school’s lab. Steven instantly feels weird and shortly after, he shrinks to under 10 inches tall.

After reading the back cover, I was a little skeptical about starting this book because it sounded like a reused plot from other Goosebumps books - where a kid is at home, the kid somehow changes, and races across town to find his friends for help. But there is a new twist by the name of Mr. Pinker, a piano teacher, with a hobby of collecting miniature houses, and, of course, Mr. Pinker is not who he seems to be. This is where the story reminds me of the Goosebumps television episodes, "Chillogy,” which wasn’t based on a Goosebumps book. Night of the Giant Everything isn’t scary, but it has enough twists and turns to keep the average young reader interested.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Book Review - Treasuring Emma

Treasuring Emma (A Middlefield Family Novel)Treasuring Emma
BY: Kathleen Fuller
PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59554-775-0
Pages: 304
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Emma Shelter's life is turned upside down when her mother passes away, leaving she and her ailing grandma to run her falling apart farm. Her only other family is Clara and her unemployed husband, Peter. Clara wants Emma to sale of the family tools, so she open a fabric store in the old workshop, but Emma isn’t ready to let go of the past, until Adam Otto returns to town.

Adam had left the Amish community years ago and moved to the big city where he took odd job. After buying a car, a television, DVDs, and ending his on and off again relationship with Ashley, he realized that his life was missing something. Then one day, he retrieved his mail and found a letter sent by an Amish friend, who informed him of Mrs. Shelter’s death. He packs a bag and heads home. Despite Adam’s shunning, his mother welcomes him home with loving arms, but his father gives him a cold shoulder.

Peter’s cousin, Mark, also returns to the community and he is interested in one thing - stealing Clara away from Peter. Meanwhile, Emma and Adam reunite and their old feelings return, but will Adam’s new life interfere with their future.

Treasuring Emma is heartwarming story about second chances. I have read a few other books by Kathleen Fuller and this one doesn’t disappoint. I was instantly hooked from the first chapter where Emma is dealing with her mother’s death and ponders her future. Adam would have to be my favorite character from the novel, a young man who is lost in the world, but desires a family of his own. With all the economic problems in the world, I thought the character Peter was a nice touch, along with his wife, Clara, who loves and supports her husband despite the fact he cannot hold a job. I pleased to able to review this delightful novel that put a smile on my face.

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Book Review - Dead to the World

Dead to the World: A Sookie Stackhouse NovelDead to the World
BY: Charlaine Harris
ISBN: 978-0-441-01218-3
Pages: 310
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

After leaving work at Merlotte’s Bar in early hours of New Year’s Day, Sookie Stackhouse finds the Viking vampire, Eric Northman, walking barefoot on the highway. He has no memory of who he is, so Sookie, out of her kind heart, takes him home with her. She calls Eric’s henchwoman, Pam, and informs her of the situation. It seems that a coven of witches have taken claim in the county, and they want to takeover the vampire’s reign. Sookie volunteers, well she is getting paid, to take in the Eric until his memory is restored.

With Sookie’s ex, Bill, out of the country, she calls her brother Jason for assistance, but he shortly disappears later that night. Now, Sookie must worry about her brother, and fight off her feelings for Eric.

I started reading the 4th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series last June. My plans were to read it before the third season of True Blood started, but I got sidetracked and the book eventually went back on the bookshelf. After watching the first episode of the 4th season, I decided to read Dead to the World. After a slow attempt, I managed to finish the book on July 4th. The basic ‘witches plot’ is the main plot of the 4th season of the television series. The subplot of the missing Jason is currently being used too, but Crystal and the Hotshots were introduced during the third season. I was disappointed to learn that Bill had a very limited role in the book, but I was glad to see ‘Bubba’ (who is absent from True Blood) had a part. I laughed out loud when Eric was watching Sookie’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer VHSs while she slept. I thought Charlaine Harris has done marvelous work showing Eric’s human side as he fell in love with Sookie. The only downside of the novel was the so-called ‘witch war’ with vamps, weres, and witches, as I thought it could have been longer. Overall, I enjoyed getting back into Sookie’s weird world.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Book Review - The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels

The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels for Your Mind and Body: 101 Natural Body Care Recipes (Back-To-Basics)The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels For Your Mind and Body
BY: Marlene Jones
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing
ISBN: 978-1601383693
Pages: 288
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Let’s face it; the economy is not getting any better. The food cost and household items are getting more expensive every week. People are looking for ways to save money. The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels for Your Mind and Body contains over 101 natural body care recipes that you can make at home.

The book gives a brief history of aromatherapy, an overview of essential oils and how to handle the oils. There is a long list of common carriers and base oils, like - cranberry seed oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and many others. Then you learn about the common essential oils, like - balsam of Peru, cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, tea tree, and etc. You learn about the 30 uncommon essentials oils and what oils to avoid. From there you’ll get a brief 101 on soap making. The recipes range from household cleaners, to bathroom soaps and shampoos, beauty and wellness treatments, and other oils.

Wow! I didn’t know there were so many different kinds of oils! I like the concept of making soaps and cleaners at home, but I wonder if some of these ingredients can be found outside of big cities, like - geranium oil, apricot kernel oil, and many others. The book also includes simple home remedies, backache blend, cold and flu blend, and my favorite - cold sore blend, but I have no idea where to find tea tree oil or geranium oil. The recipes look simple if you can find the ingredients. I enjoyed reading about the different oils.

*I would like to thank Atlantic Publishing for sending me a copy to review.

Book Review - Eat All Day - Drink All Day

EAT ALL DAY - DRINK ALL DAY: A Never-Hungry way to get slim and stay slimEat All Day - Drink All Day
BY: D.G. Long
PUBLISHED BY: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 978-1-4327-6671-9
Pages: 192
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

There are countless diet plans and how to diet books out there today. Eat All Day - Drink All Day is by a F.F. (Former Fatty) D.G. Long who uses the simple fact that it is way easier to burn off 100 calories than 500 calories or more three times a day. She doesn’t go to the gym, but goes by the 10,000 steps a day method; therefore the average person can easily understand and follow the diet plan that is introduced in the book.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Well, you should never skip breakfast and it should always be eaten within an hour of rising from bed.

The only equipment you need for this diet plan are the following: a liquid measuring cup; a set dry measuring cups; a set of measuring spoons; a blender; a small non-stick skillet; and a little kitchen scale.

There are drinks, salads, soups, sandwiches, fish, beef, eggs, chicken, snacks, and many other meal recipes including 100 calories recipes.

Eat All Day - Drink All Day follows a simple plan of eating small nutritional meals throughout the day. In the back of the book the author has provided a three day meal plan that includes 8 small meals a day. Each day is under 770 calories total. You don’t have to be a chef to try out the meals in the book. All of the recipes look easy enough for anyone to make. There’s even a cheese sandwich recipe that is only 100 calories. Some of my favorites are Mocha Mama, Coffee Creamy, and Good for You Cocoa. I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to everyone.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Review - The Promise of an Angel

The Promise of an Angel (A Heaven On Earth Novel)The Promise of an Angel
BY: Ruth Reid
PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59554-788-1
Pages: 304
Type: eBook
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

While Judith Fischer was telling a fairy tale to the children that she was left in charge of, her younger brother, Samuel, decides that he wants to help the men with the barn, and he climbs onto the roof only to fall. Judith is the first to run to his aid and she is the only one to see an English man disappear into a fog. Samuel is hospitalized, and he can’t feel his legs. Judith blames herself for the accident, but she starts to have faith when she runs into the English man, again. But he is not an English man. His name is Tobias, an angel, and tells her that Samuel will walk again.

Nobody believes that Judith Fischer is telling the truth about the angel. Some think she is fooling around with an English man, including her fiancĂ©e, Levi Plank. She had been dreaming of becoming Levi’s wife, but that all changes when he betrays Judith with her sister. To make matters worse, Tobias continues to visit her, and she is also having strange visions. The Bishop’s son, Andrew, may be the only person who will believe her. Is Tobias an angel or just her imagination?

This is the first Amish novel I have read that has a supernatural theme to it, which I thought was a nice twist and adds an interesting mystery to the over-published genre. Judith Fischer is a strong-willed Amish character that any reader will relate to. She questions her faith, as she tries to understand if the Tobias is a messenger from God, or could he be a false prophet, or is she losing her mind. Despite the fact she might be shunned, she tries to tell her family friends about the angel, as she prays that her brother will be healed. The Promise of an Angel is a riveting Amish mystery that will keep you turning the pages till the very end. I recommend it to everyone.

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me a copy to review.