Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Mostly True Story of Jack - Kelly Barnhill

The Mostly True Story of Jack
Kelly Barnhill
Hachette Book Group Canada
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780316175234

This is one of those books where the cover grabbed my attention. Not the current cover but the older version of the cover. There was something so haunting and yet intriguing about it that just grabbed my attention. And I am so thankful that I picked up the book and gave it a read. To be honest it was introduction to the writings of Kelly Barnhill but I know it will not be my last book by her. In fact I started a second as soon as I finished this one. While reading this I could barely put it down, in fact I read it in under 3 days and in three sitting.

This is the story of Jack a young boy who has always felt invisible, even in his own family. But when his parents are going through a separation he is sent to live with family in Hazlewood, Iowa to live with his aunt and uncle. And he no longer seems invisible, in fact everyone one seems to see him and want him for something. He makes friends for the first time with Frankie, Wendy and Anders. He is also beaten up by the town bully Clayton Avery. Clayton's farther MR. Avery is the most powerful man in town and he seems to have it out for Jack from the time he becomes aware he is in town.

This is a story about friendship, about healing, about magic and about finding your place in the world. Jack encounters each of those elements and as the story progresses it also becomes a tale about sacrifice. Sacrifice for a greater good, for those you care about, for friendship and for doing what is right even if it is really really hard.

This was a great read. I highly enjoyed it and can also highly recommend it. One of the greatest compliments I can give a book is my plans to share it with my children when they are older. This book is on that shelf waiting to be read again this time with them. Overall a very good book!

(Note: The cover that grabbed my attention was this one below.)

Books by Kelly Barnhill
The Witch’s Boy
The Mostly True Story of Jack
Iron Hearted Violet

Books in Progress:
The Boy Who Loved Birds
The Sugar House
Nathaniel Barrow and The Mermaid
The Firebirds of Lake Erie

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Manual for Spiritual Warfare - Paul Thigpen

Manual for Spiritual Warfare
Paul Thigpen
Tan Books
ISBN 9781618906533

Like it or not, you are at war.

This book is excellent. To be honest I had no idea where to begin with writing a review. So I went back to the book and copied my highlighted texts from the introduction and first chapter to give you a taste.  To begin with we have: "First, belief in Satan's existence and activity is today widely dismissed as an outdated superstition. As a result, most Catholics hear very little about him, leaving them unprepared to understand and defeat him. They need to know their Enemy and his strategies." Having been involved in university campus ministry for over 20 years this statement is true not only of most Catholics but also most non-Catholic Christians. From there Paul states: "The first part of this book lays out the biblical and theological foundations for our warfare with the Devil. The second part offers aids for the battle: Church documents, scriptural texts, words and anecdotes from the saints, prayers and hymns, and further resources for study." It absolutely lives up to that goal. I have already read this book twice and know I plan on reading it again.

One of the mail goals of the book sis "Our hope is that countless Catholics, and other Christians as well, will find this manual so helpful that they will carry it with them and make frequent use of it. For this reason, the book has been produced in a sturdy, compact edition that allows you to keep it handy and refer to it often." And I honestly believe it will do that. I have already recommended it to a number of Catholics and other Christians for I know it will be an invaluable tool in their life and ministry.

"Like it or not, you are at war." Every time I see this it stirs something in me. To be in a war and be unaware of it will only lead to failure. There have been many quotes about the church being a field hospital for wounded hurting people. This book can server as a weapon for those on the front lines, and those helping to tend the wounded. We are the army of Christ but our biggest responsibility is to support the field hospital.  And on that same note "God allows evil because He's powerful enough to bring out of even the greatest evil a much greater good." God can work all things for our good and to fulfil his plans.

The last quote I will leave you with is from the end of the first chapter. "Meanwhile, our days in this life provide a season for God to test, purify, strengthen, and perfect us, making us fit to live with Him forever in heaven. To that end, the demons serve as useful tools for Him as they constantly test us by tempting us, so that we become purer and stronger and closer to perfection every time we resist the temptation." Those are just a few of the gems from the first few sections of the book. The Contents of the book are:

How to Use This Manual
Part One: Preparing for Battle

1. Know Your Enemy
2. Know Your Battle
3. Know Your Commander and Comrades
4. Know Your Weapons
5. Know Your Armor
6. Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

Part Two: Aids in Battle

7. Church Teaching About Spiritual Warfare

  • From Catechisms
  • From Church Councils
  • From Papal Documents
8. Scriptures for the Battle
  • Scriptural Names and Images for the Devil and Demons
  • Incidents in Scripture Involving the Devil and Demons
  • Scripture Verses for Warfare
9. Help From the Saints
  • Words From the Saints
  • Spiritual Warfare in the Lives of the Saints
10. Prayers, Devotions, and Hymns for Battle
  • Prayers to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
  • The Blood of Jesus
  • Litany of Christ Our Champion
  • The Name of Jesus
  • Prayers to Our Lady, Vanquisher of the Enemy
  • Rosary Meditations for Spiritual Battle
  • Prayers to the Saints and With the Saints
  • Prayers to the Angels and to God for Their Assistance
  • Prayers for the Church
  • Prayers for the Family and Home
  • Prayers With Sacramentals
  • Prayers From Traditional Liturgies
  • Prayers for Strength and Deliverance
  • Scriptural Prayers for Deliverance
  • Hymns for Spiritual Warfare
For Further Study

I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone wishing to go deeper in the spiritual life. As soon as you pursue God and his will you will encounter opposition. This book will help you understand that opposition and strengthen you and provide tools and knowledge to stand against it. Be bold. Follow Chris and stand firm!

This is an amazing book you need to read it!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Stone in the Sky - Cecil Castellucci - Tin Star Book 2

Stone In The Sky
Tin Star Book 2
Cecil Castellucci
Roaring Brook Press
A division of Holtzbrinck Publishing

ISBN 9781596437760
eISBN 9781626721517

I read this book about 6 months before its release date. It was an absolutely incredible read. It was my 3rd favorite read in 2014 out of 187 books. I have said it before but with every book by Cecil Castellucci that I read I am more impressed. This one was amazing. Literally I finished it and started reading it again at a slower pace to savor it because the first time I could not pause and raced through the book to finish the story. 

One of the greatest strengths of Castellucci's writing is her strong female characters. In this case we return to the story of Tula Bane. I thought the first book in the series had plot twists and unexpected turns, this second part of the story make it look like a walk in the park. Tula is now a wandering human alone in space, trying to warn other humans and still intent on seeking revenge. But she is also finding that her path is a different one than she expected. 

This story is a strange mix of revenge, love, family and some sense of redemption of justice. I know I plan on going back and rereading both books back to back again. The writing is incredible. It is an excellent read and if you have not picked up the first book give it a try. 

Books by Cecil Castellucci:
Boy Proof (2005)
The Queen of Cool (2006)

Beige (2007)
The P.L.A.I.N. Janes (2007)

Janes in Love (2008)
Geektastic (Editor & Contributor 2009)
Rose Sees Red (2010)
Grandma's Gloves (2010)

First Day On Earth (2011)

Odd Duck (2013)
Tin Star (2014)

Stone in the Sky (2015)

Music By Cecil Castellucci
Twist Her - Nerdy Girl (1996)
Whoever - Cecil Seaskull (1998)

A Visual Bibliography for Cecil Castellucci
Author profile interview with Cecil Castellucci

Monday, 23 February 2015

Bad Yogi Cleanse Kit - Erin Motz

Bad Yogi Cleanse Kit
Erin Motz
Bad Yogi LLC

Doing this cleanse was an interesting experience. The workouts were great, the meal plan was fun and interesting. What you get

10 Video Workouts:
Day One: Fresh Start
Day Two: Unsweetened
Day Three: Clear & Glowing Skin
Day Four: Medium Raw
Day Five: Liver & Kidneys
Day Six: Rest & Digest
Day Seven: Get Heart Healthy
Day Eight: Gain Mental Clarity
Day Nine: Balancing Act
Day Ten: Rest & Digest Part II

The benefits:
No complex grocery list
No harsh supplements
No Extreme measures
No spending hours in the washroom

50 healthy Snacks
10 Cleanse Approved Deserts
5 Bad Yogi Cocktail Ideas
6 Special Thanksgiving Meal Options

The workouts vary in length from 11-20 minutes. These were awesome. I loved them and know I will come back to them often. The Healthy Snacks idea is a downloadable pdf and it has some great ideas but I only see 3 not the advertised 50. Each day there is a new video and a meal plan. Each meal has ingredients, directions and a list of benefits.

Overall I was very happy with the product. I was disappointed that the videos are only available online. It would be really nice to have them to go. As such you need to log into the website each day to access the videos. Also because most content is only available online, for example the meal plans, you are stuck in how you use the resource. And each meal is 3 tabs that need to be clicked through. It would be really nice if there was a 10 day guide pdf that could be downloaded for the meals. So with the design and layout you spend a lot of time browsing back and forth through webpages or tabs within the page. Yet even with those drawbacks it was a great experience and is worth it for the workouts alone. But you will get some great meal idea's you can use during your cleanse and beyond. Well worth the money! So give it a try.

Books By Erin Motz:
This Not That: Your Go-To Yoga Pose Correctional Guide
Stick It!: 11 Badass Exercises to Help You Stick Your Handstands
Bad Yogi Cleanse Kit

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Carrot Ginger Surprise

Carrot Ginger Surprise

Awesome color and flavor. Great alone or to use as a base and experiment with adding greens or other root vegetables. 

3 Carrots
Green Apple
Red Apple
Golden beet
3 inch piece Ginger 

Wash all and juice. Really nice juice. Balanced, smooth, The Ginger just popped!

I will continue to post new recipes from time to time on Saturday as I experiment with Smoothie and Juice recipes. And I collect mine and favourites from around the web you can find them shared here in an EverNote notebook's with links to original sources.