Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Children and Prayer

Each night for over a year now I have prayed with and over my children before bed. It started after reading Mark Batterson's Praying Circles Around Your Children. After the first week or so my oldest asked me why I was praying over them each night. So I told her I read a book and felt it was important to pray for them. This started the dialogue about prayer and it's importance. In the last 2 years my oldest daughter has memorized the Our Father and the Hail Mary at school, and those have been added into our nightly prayers. Sometimes her leading and some times me. My son memorized both by praying them with us before he got to grade 1 where my daughter learnt them. A few weeks ago my daughter aske to say her new prayer, it is one she learned this year in school. 

Lord open my heart
to be a good friend.
Help me to treat
others the way you did
with kindness, caring and love

It is a nice prayer and I enjoy saying it with her. But as I pray it I think about Jesus over turning the tables in the temple, rebuking the Pharisees, and other events of his life. I am not saying we should not try and emulate the prayer, but love goes beyond simple platitudes and sometimes love is hard. But I need to find the softer side in my life, in my prayers.

(Special thanks to Jared Zimmerer author of The Ten Commandments Of Lifting Weights for allowing me to use the image above.)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Green Goddess Smoothie - from Body Rebooted - Smoothie Saturday

Green Goddess Smoothie

Guest post by Christina Russell from Body Rebooted a fellow member of Team DDP.

Mix together all ingredients and serve! (Serves 2)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 cups spinach
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp Maca Powder (optional Superfood)

The Green Goddess Smoothie gives you a blast of vitamins and minerals to get your morning going.  Packed with vitamins A, B-6, C, and E and full of fiber and antioxidants - you'll definitely want to add this smoothie to your weekly line-up!

Check out Christina's blog for even more great health and fitness tips.

Check back next Saturday for another great Smoothie recipe and remember I collect mine and favourites from around the web you can find them shared here in an EverNote notebook with like to original sources.

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 a OneNote notebook, there are subsections for Juices, Smoothies, Gluten Free Options and Other. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Man in the Moon - William Joyce - The Guardians of Childhood

The Man in the Moon
The Guardians of Childhood
William Joyce
Atheneum Books For Young readers
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781442430419

First I must state that my children and I love the movie Rise of the Guardians, so when we started reading books about some of the characters there was a little trepidation, at least on my part. But those worries were unfounded, this and other picture books we have read by William Joyce have all been amazing!  This story tells the tale of the Man in the Moon or MiM for short. He was the first guardian, and his story begins before the dark times, for he was born during the golden age, a time of hope, happiness and a time when dreams could come true. The moonboot crew whistled jolly "toot toot's" and the giant glowworms provided light for him to read. And he had a guardian named Nightlight a devoted friend who watched over him. Their ship their home the moon clipper sailed from one peaceful planet to another. Ever night Nightlight sprinkled dreamsand over the MiM and sang him this lullaby:

"Nightlight, bright light
Sweet dreams I bestow.
Sleep tight, all night.
Forever I will glow."

And as long as Nightlight watched over him he was safe from nightmares. But darkness came to the golden age it came in the shifting shape of Pitch, the king of nightmares. He sought out this boy who had never had a nightmare and vowed to make him a price of nightmares.  The MiM's parents were taking him to earth to him him when out of the night came Pitch, on his Nightmare Galleon.

The MiM's parents made Nightlight take an oath:
"We will watch over the children of the Earth,
Guide them safely from ways of harm,
Keep happy their hearts, brave their soul, and rosy their cheeks.
We will guard with our lives their hopes and dreams,
For they are all that we have, all that we are,
And all that we will ever be."
A great battle was waged. But that is just the beginning of the story. To find out the rest of the tale you will need to read this wonderful book.

The story is wonderful and the illustrations are fantastic. My children will pick up this book and go through the pictures again and again. Overall a wonderful book for the whole family!

Books by William Joyce:
Guardians of Childhood Novels:

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (2011)
E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core! (2012)
Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies (2012)
The Sandman and the War of Dreams (2013)

Guardians of Childhood Picture books:
The Man in the Moon (2011)
The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie (2012)

Rolie Polie Olie:
Rolie Polie Olie (1999)
Snowie Rolie (2000)
Sleepy Time Olie (2001)
Big Time Olie (2002)

Other Books:
George Shrinks (1985)
Shoes (1986) - Written by Elizabeth Winthrop
Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo (1988)
A Day with Wilbur Robinson (1990)
Bently & Egg (1992)
Santa Calls (1993)
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (1996)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Doll Bones - Holly Black

Doll Bones
Holly Black
Margaret K. McElderry Books
an imprint of
Simon and Schuster
ISBN 9781416963981

From the second I saw the cover of this book there was something that compelled me to track it down and read it. It was likely a combination of being a big fan of Holly Black's works and something about the cover made me think about the book Children by Maggie Clark. And this book did not disappoint. This book was my top pick in the second quarter of 2013 and my second top fiction read in all of 2013. But that being said it had taken me a long time to circle back and write my review. In part I was hesitant because the book had such a strong impact I did not want to over react in my praise of it. And in part the book is different enough I was unsure how to approach writing a review of it. The story is dark, spooky, a little creepy and a whole lot of awesome.

Poppy, Alice and Zach have been friends for a log long time. And for most of their friendship they have played 'The Game' a continuous and continuously changing game. They use props for the game and take turns deciding what happens next, it is a high adventure of thieves, mermaids, pirates and more. But ruling over all the lands is the Great Queen, a bone china doll, who resides in a display case. The Great Queen will curse and dispose of those who displease her in the game. When Zach suddenly stops playing and declares the game over mid adventure it looks like their friendship might be at an end also. But Poppy lets the others know she has been dreaming about the Queen, and soon the game and reality seem mixed and the three going on a real adventure to help put a restless spirit to rest.

 The story was a very compelling read. Almost like a campfire ghost story coming to life. Something to entertain that ends up scaring. It was very well written. If you are a fan of Black's other works it is a great addition to her canon. If you like a spooky story this one will grab you and not let go!

Other Books by Holly Black:
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories (2010)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (2013)
Doll Bones (2013)

The Modern Faerie Tales
Tithe (2002)
Valiant (2005)
Ironside (2007)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide (2003)
The Seeing Stone (2003)
Lucinda's Secret (2003)
The Ironwood Tree (2004)
The Wrath of Mulgarath (2004)
Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations (2005)
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You (2005)
Care and Feeding of Sprites (2006)

Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song (2007)
A Giant Problem (2008)
The Wyrm King (2009)

The Good Neighbors
Kin (2008)
Kith (2009)
Kind (2010)

The Curse Workers
White Cat (2010)
Red Glove (2011)
Black Heart (2012)

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (2009)
Zombies vs. Unicorns (2010)
Welcome to Bordertown (2011)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Beet Blaster - Smoothie Saturday

Beet Blaster 

1tbsp Flax Seeds 
1tbsp Chia Seeds 
1/4 Lemon Pealed 
1 cup Frozen Raspberries 
1 Beet quartered 
1 Beet Greens chopped 
1/2 Cup Orange Juice or is using a Juicer 2 Oranges 
1/4 inch Fresh Ginger chopped 
Water to max line 

I use a NutriBullet so combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and frothy. If juicing then skip the water. 

This is the first in a new series of post. I will post a new recipe from time to time on Saturday as I experiment with Smoothie recipes. And I collect mine and favourites from around the web you can find them shared here in an EverNote notebook with like to original sources.

Nutritional Information:
357 Calories
62g Carbs
9g Fat
10g Protein
37g Sugar

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 a OneNote notebook, there are subsections for Juices, Smoothies, Gluten Free Options and Other. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tin Star - Cecil Castellucci

Tin Star
Cecil Castellucci
Roaring Brook Press
A division of Holtzbrinck Publishing
ISBN 9781596437753
eISBN 9781596439146

Every book I read by Cecil Castellucci impresses me more than the last. I have read each of her book multiple times and often go back for a quick reread because I enjoy them so much. This one even more so.

To journey to the star's is something humans have dreamed about for generations. Unfortunately once we got there we were considered a minor species and Earth Gov retreated back into an isolationist stance.  But for Tula Bane, aboard the Prarie Rose, is a young woman journeying to a new colony called Beta Grande with a group called the Children of Earth. Led by the unequivocal and charming Brother Blue. The novel begins with Tula being beaten unconscious and abandoned by Brother Blue for asking too many questions. She is abandoned on the remote station the Yertina Feray, there she is helped and becomes partners with Heckleck a soft of giant alien beetle and strange aid from a Loor, the constable on the station Tournour.

Tula Bane is a no-nonsense type of girl. She is learning to do what she must to survive. She is the only human on a remote space station with no way to get home and no way to move on. She is stuck grieving for her lost family and for being betrayed and abandoned. When a trio of humans about her age arrive and immediately start offending everyone on board she is torn between the life she has built on the station and the need to communicate with her own species. The book has a number of twists and turns many leaving you hanging.

I must state I loved the book and have already read it twice. I reached out to Miss Castellucci upon finishing it and have confirmed there is a second book coming in 2015. This was one of my favorite reads in 2013 and I highly recommend it! 

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, 13 January 2014

Unsoul'd - Barry Lyga

Barry Lyga
Barry Lyga LLC

Any book that begins with this line is going to be interesting: "That day, I had a bagel for breakfast and sold my soul to the devil. In retrospect, the bagel was probably a mistake." You see Randall Banner is thirty-five years old, a struggling author with a devoted fan base who is desperate for more, yes he wants more money, more fans more of everything. I recently had the opportunity to interview Randall and now for more about the book about him!

Randall Banner sells his soul to the devil in order to get a mega hit book. He wants to be Stphen King big, J.K. Rowlings big. No he wants to be bigger he wants to be more. But sometimes success comes at unexpected costs and with unexpected complications. Randall is about to find out that all his dreams and most of his fantasies can come true but what has he given up to get them.

Read this awesome book and follow Randall as he pursues everything on his bucket list and then some. Find out if there is an out? Or figure out how it feels to lose your soul.

This book is Barry Lyga's first adventure into adult fiction. As someone who love his Young Adult writing. I did approach this with a little trepidation but it was unwarranted. No be warned there is a lot of graphic sex in this book, there is lust, gluttony, greed, avarice just about all the 7 deadly sins. But it is a great read and will keep you glued to the pages. So join Randall as he goes on a romp from struggling author to mega star!

Books by Randall Banner:

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
The Flash Book 2 (2018)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)

Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
Trading Worlds
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan

Contributed to:
Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sorrow's Knot - Erin Bow

Sorrow's Knot
Erin Bow
Arthur A. Levine Books
an imprint of Scholastic
ISBN 9780545166669

Erin Bow is a local author and though I have yet to meet her in person with each of her books I read I have a greater appreciation for her skill and talent as a written, from her poetry published as Erin Noteboom. This book was a very compelling read, once started it was always hard to put down. And I found that for days afterword's the story and characters kept coming back to mind. Sometimes remembering the events from the story and sometimes wondering what happened later.

Sorrow's Know is set in what could be comparably a Native agrarian socity. But it is a world haunted and living things are hunted and always need to be vigilant for every patch of darkness or shadow can contain the shadow beings that will enter you and consume you. Most people live in the plains away from trees, forests, hills, and there shadows. But some carve out an uneasy living in the forest, living in towns protected by wards made from magically knotted cords. Each young woman is chose to train or apprentice under another so that the community will always have the skills it needs to survive. Otter believe her mother will chose her to train as a binder under her as she becomes a woman and takes he place in society. She is devastated when Willow does not pick her and it is just the beginning of things becoming untied. 

With a great darkness rising and an attack coming can the untrained and unprepared Otter figure out what needs to be done to save not only her friends but her whole village? This is an incredibly well written book give it a try!

Books By Erin Bow:
Plain Kate
Sorrow's Knot

Prisoners of Peace:
The Scorpion Rules 
The Swan Riders

As Erin Noteboom:
Ghost Maps: Poems for Carl Hruska
Seal up the Thunder
The Mongoose Diaries

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town - Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town
Holly Black
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 978031621310
eISBN 9780316213110

I have yet to read a book or short story by Holly Black that I have not enjoyed, in fact he books almost always end up in my Top ten List for the quarter or the year. But this book blew me away. It takes the original short story by the same name and expands upon it in such an amazing way. It is a story of revenge, of survivors' guilt, of hope and of love. It is a vampire story that asks lots of questions and leaves many things open to interpretation.

Coldtowns is the American response to a worldwide vampire epidemic. Vampires, and those infected are isolated into walled cities. Humans can enter but you can only get out with a token earned by turning in a vampire. Coldtowns have life feeds to the internet making them look like a part every night. But the reality is darker, bloodier and a mix of prey and predator.

Tana is a teenage but not typical. Her mother had become a vampire and attached her. She constantly deals with the guilt of that event. One morning she wakes up in a house full of corpses after a party, her and her overly charming and conniving ex-boyfriend are the only two left alive. Chained in the room with her ex is a vampire. Tana decides to tray and save them both. In order to try and save them she must race to the heart of the nearest coldtown but like so much in life not all is as it appears.

This story was gripping and compelling. I did not want to put it down. The story with take you through a range of emotions, from anger to sympathy, to angst to hope. But of all emotions hope is the most dangerous. This book will take you for a ride, and leave you wanting more.

Other Books by Holly Black:
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories (2010)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (2013)
Doll Bones (2013)

The Modern Faerie Tales
Tithe (2002)
Valiant (2005)
Ironside (2007)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Field Guide (2003)
The Seeing Stone (2003)
Lucinda's Secret (2003)
The Ironwood Tree (2004)
The Wrath of Mulgarath (2004)
Arthur Spiderwick's Notebook of Fantastical Observations (2005)
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You (2005)
Care and Feeding of Sprites (2006)

Beyond Spiderwick
The Nixie's Song (2007)
A Giant Problem (2008)
The Wyrm King (2009)

The Good Neighbors
Kin (2008)
Kith (2009)
Kind (2010)

The Curse Workers
White Cat (2010)
Red Glove (2011)
Black Heart (2012)

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (2009)
Zombies vs. Unicorns (2010)
Welcome to Bordertown (2011)

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Circle Maker for Kids - Mark Batterson and Antonio Javier Caparo - One Prayer Can Change Everything

The Circle Maker for Kids:
One Prayer Can Change Everything
Mark Batterson (Author)
Antonio Javier Caparo (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780310724926

After having read a number of the other Circle Maker books by Mark Batterson, I was really excited to get this and share it with my children. It did not disappoint. It is an amazing book for kids to teach them the importance of praying and praying about and for everything. The story is wonderfully done for children. The illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo are amazing. My son loves picking up the book and just going through the pictures again and again. This book will be a great gift for any young children in your life. It is amazing.

Books by Mark Batterson:
The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker Enhanced eBook Edition
Praying Circles Around Your Children
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
The Circle Maker Student Edition: dream big, pray hard, think long

The Circle Maker for Kids
Be A Circle Maker
All In
All In Student Edition
Going All In
Praying Circles Around The Lives of Your Children
Jack Staples and the Ring of Time (With Joel Clark)
Soul Print

ID: The True You
In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day
Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
Chase the Lion Stepping Confidently Into the Unknown


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Goals for 2014

Goals for 2014

I have not been a big new year's resolutions person. Maybe because I spent so many years in University that for me the year still begins in September with the beginning of the academic year. But Some great posts got me things, first Sarah Reinhard from Snoring Scholar had a great piece called They're Not Resolutions They're GOALS; and from that she linked to Lisa M. Hendey's piece My 14 Goals for 2014 - What Are Yours? And both of them mentioning Bullet Journal; I watched the video a number of times and love the concept. But working in IT and working across numerous devices I took the Bullet Journal and turned it into an Evernote nested notebooks system. I have templates Monthly Goald, Monthly Tasks, and Monthly Calendar, I have created a notebook for Collections also, and an Index notbook and use Note Links to link it all together. So that being said I am going to elaborate on my goals that were started in my piece: A Chance Encounter, Prayer and Life.

That being said my Goals for 2014 are:

1. Read the Bible Every Day
2. Pray with more focus
3. 2 Blog Posts per Week
4. Eat right, 90% whole foods
5. Exercise Daily
6. Read at least 1 Book Per Week
7. Redacted
8. Redacted
9. Plan at least 1 Date Night per Month
10. Make a retreat
11. Finish at least 1 Computer Certification
12. …

Diamond Dallas Page states that we need to set SMACK goals.

S: SPECIFY - Know what you want to accomplish
M: MONITOR - Monitor your progress
A: ACHIEVE - Find out what you really want
C: CHOOSE - actions compatible with your goals
K: KEEP IT GOING - turn it into habits, make it your ritual

He also states "If we train ourselves we can live life at 90%. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. We can begin to control how we react, how we adapt, and how we breathe and how we take action." He often asks what we want to get out of life. He says "We need to set goals because they are our own map our personal directions. We need to set goals to make ourselves accountable to ourselves." And the way we achieve that is to "Write goals down so we see them every day. So we burn them in our brain." So I have set some goals and will be working on achieving them what about you?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013

1. Draw the Circle - Mark Batterson

2. Redacted
3. A 40 Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics - Bob Rice

4. Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai - Margaret Bunson and Matthew Bunson

5. The Circle Maker - Enhanced eBook - Mark Batterson

6. The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson

7. Death by Living - N.D. Wilson

8. Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health - William Davis 

9. The Circle Maker For Kids: One Prayer Can Change Everything - Mark Batterson and Antonio Javier Capara

10. ?

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year: 

88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996