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Monday, 29 June 2015

Journey to the Volcano Palace - Tony Abbott and Tim Jessell - The Secrets of Droon Book 2


Journey to the Volcano Palace 
The Secrets of Droon Book 2
Tony Abbott (Author)
Dave Merrell (Illustrator)
Tim Jessell (Cover)
Scholastic
ISBN 9780590108416
eISBN 9780545833387

I was right to be leery of starting a series with over 40 books! For now not only am I addicted to these books but my children are also. I am reading ahead of them and reading them a few chapters each night before bed. They love the story so far, and I am thoroughly enjoying it also. To be honest I have yet to read anything by Tony Abbott that disappointed. And going back and reading some of his earlier works has been a blast both for me and for the kids. 

Droon is an interesting world to visit. For when we go there always seems to be a task for Neal, Julie and Eric to complete. And this time is no different. This time they join Princess Keeah, the wizard Galen Longbeard, and we meet new creatures the lumpies and go on an adventure. In the first adventure in Droon the Eye of Dawn a crystal that can control nature was lost to the evil Sparr. In this story our team of adventures head to his secret hideout inside a volcano to try and retrieve it. We also find out that not all things are as they appear, and some who work for Sparr might even be forced to do so. Can the team get into the volcano, can they find the Eye of Dawn, can they get back out again. Come read the story and find out.

Droon is becoming a fun place to visit time and time again. And this story has a bit of everything, a magic doorway, strange creatures, adventure, friendship, the desert, a secret lair and a hook at the end to bring you back again! As mentioned I am enjoying reading the stories, and my kids are also, and hopefully in a few years the younger kids will be able to reread these books to me. But for now Droon is a great part of family reading time. 

The only real drawback is it was only after starting the series that I discovered that only the first 10 books are available electronically at the moment. I can only hope the rest become available quickly, especially at the pace we are reading them. This was the 17th book by Tony Abbott I have read, and a number of those I have read twice. His stories always entertain, and now my kids are at an age where I am starting to share his great book with them. Tony has over 100 books published so check out The Secrets of Droon of some of his other stories they will not disappoint. 
  
Books By Tony Abbott:

Goofballs
1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)

5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

Underworlds:
1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)


Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

5. X Marks the Spot: Treasure Island (2003)
6. Crushing on a Capulet: Romeo and Juliet (2003)

Haunting of Derek Stone
1. City of the Dead (2009)
2. Bayou Dogs (2009)
3. The Red House (2009)
4. The Ghost Road (2009)



The Copernicus Legacy
The Forbidden Stone (2013)
The Serpent's Curse (2014

Novels
Kringle (2005)
Firegirl (2006)
The Postcard (2008)
Lunch-Box Dream (2011)

Author profile interview with Tony Abbott.




Saturday, 27 June 2015

New Years Morning 2015 Juice

New Years Morning 2015 Juice

Great flavor and taste even if the color is shockingly green!

Ingredients:
2 carrots
2 Stalks Celery
1/2 Cucumber
1 Green Apple
2 Handfuls Spinach

Directions:
Wash all veggies and juice. 


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. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet - Tony Abbott and Tim Jessell - The Secrets of Droon Book 1


The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
The Secrets of Droon Book 1
Tony Abbott (Author)
Tim Jessell (Illustrator)
Scholastic
ISBN 9780590108393
eISBN 9780545833363


I must admit I was leery of starting this book. It is hard to imagine starting a new series with over 40 books in it that was started 16 years ago. I feared loving the book and being hooked for the whole series. And as much as I love most of Tony Abbott's books that I have read I also feared not liking it and being disappointed. With mixed feelings I must say it is the first. I now have a much bigger to read pile thanks to venturing into the world of Droon.

I find I go through spurts reading middle grade, young adult, and non-fiction almost alternately. I am really glad I picked up this book. My oldest two children are just at the point where they can read these books to me. It has been really fun going back and reading some of Tony Abbott's earlier works now that they are showing up in ebook formats. This book though simple, was very enjoyable and I know my children will love it. And the benefit is that being part of a finished series they will not have to wait for new books to come out.

This is an interesting fantasy story. For when Julie, Neal, and Eric are cleaning the basement they discover that when the door under the stairs is closed a set of steps appear leading down, those steps lead to another realm, the realm of Droon. They soon realize that Droon is a place in turmoil and after encountering red shiny men, flying lizards, And angry wizard named Sparr and some other fantastical creatures, and a princess that needs their help. And much more. Overall a great little read.

This was the 16th book by Tony Aboott that I have read out of his 100 published. It was a fun read and I look forward to where the series will go next. So give it a try and see, you just might fall in love with Droon also!

  
Books By Tony Abbott:

Goofballs
1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)

5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

Underworlds:
1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)


Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

5. X Marks the Spot: Treasure Island (2003)
6. Crushing on a Capulet: Romeo and Juliet (2003)

Haunting of Derek Stone
1. City of the Dead (2009)
2. Bayou Dogs (2009)
3. The Red House (2009)
4. The Ghost Road (2009)



The Copernicus Legacy
The Forbidden Stone (2013)
The Serpent's Curse (2014

Novels
Kringle (2005)
Firegirl (2006)
The Postcard (2008)
Lunch-Box Dream (2011)

Author profile interview with Tony Abbott.






Saturday, 20 June 2015

Red Energy Juice

Red Energy Juice

First Juiced New Years Eve 2014, wow what an energy kick!

Ingredients:
1/2 Red Cabbage
1 Beet
2 Stalks Celery
2 Carrots
1 whole lemon pealed

Directions:
Wash all veggies and juice! 



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. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have - Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell

Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have
Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
ISBN 9781626562837 
eISBN 9781626562844

This is a book designed to help you get the best return on your investment for personal leadership development. The main focus is finding the middle 70%, not the 20% of key strengths you already exhibit, nor the bottom 10% that are you main weaknesses but that middle ground that you can learn to make small changes at and focus on making changes there. Based on the studies they provide if you only focus on your key strengths you will become stagnant, and to quote Steven Brust:

"Failure leads to maturity
Maturity leads to success
Success leads to stagnation
Stagnation leads to failure!"

If you only rely on your strengths you will eventually either fail or become redundant. But on the other end of the spectrum if you try and change your greatest weaknesses, not only will it take a lot of effort but often there is very little return on investment. The amount you can make changes here is small. However on the other hand if you pick a skill or two in that middle ground and consistently work at you can turn them into key strengths. They will not take nearly the effort of your bottom 10% and the results will be much more dramatic. 

The sections in the book are:

Introduction 
Part 1 About Hidden Strengths
1. What Are Hidden Strengths? 

  • Why Hidden Strengths? 
  • The Risk of Focusing on Weaknesses 
  • The Risk of Overrelying on Strengths 
  • The Reward of Focusing on Hidden Strengths 
  • 2. The Four Principles of Hidden Strengths 

Principle #1: Leverage Your Traits, and Develop Your Skills 

  • Leverage Your Traits 
  • Develop Your Skills 

Principle #2: The Middle Is the Source for Development 
Principle #3: Practice, Practice, Practice 
Principle #4: Always Be Working on Your Hidden Strengths 

Part 2 Uncovering The Gold Mine Of Opportunity 
3. Identifying Your Natural Strengths, Hidden Strengths, and Weaknesses 

  • The Twenty-Eight Skills 
  • Leading Self
  • Leading Others
  • Leading the Organization
  • Leading Implementation 

4. Reviewing Your Results

  • Your Hidden Strengths Report 

Part 3 Harnessing Your Potential 
5. Making Your Hidden Strengths Work for You 

  • Hidden Strengths Development Plan 
  • Step 1: Find Your Motivation 
  • Step 2: Identify Your Goals 
  • Step 3: Choose Your Hidden Strengths to Develop 
  • Step 4: Turn Your Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths 
  • Step 5: Evaluate Your Progress 

6. Leading Your Evolution 

  • Sustainability 
  • The Never-Ending Adventure 
  • Share the Love 

Appendix A: The Twenty-Eight Skills and Why They Matter
Appendix B: Hidden Strengths Development Worksheet 
Notes 
Accessing Your Free Hidden Strengths Profile 
Acknowledgements 
Index 
About the Authors 

This book was a great read and I have already recommended it to a number of people. It clearly lays out the why - focus on the middle 70%, and only focus on changing 1 or 2 at a time. The how - do the online survey, find your area's and work on them diligently.  With the book you get access to the survey and can do it as many times as you need. After you get your results you apply Part three from the book and work on them and turn them into true strengths.

This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it and know I will be using the tools it provides to help me grow that middle 70% and you can also!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Carrot Ginger Mango Juice

Carrot Ginger Mango Juice

Simple and Awesome!

Ingredients:
2 inch piece of Ginger (more or less to taste)
4 Carrots
1/4 Pinapple
1 Fresh Red Mango Washed and Pitted

Directions:
Wash Carrots and Ginger then juice. Wonderful flavor.



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. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Fit Dad Cooking A Tasty Tale - Mark Campanale

Fit Dad Cooking: A tasty tale
Mark Campanale (Author)
Sydney Campanale (Foreword)
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN B00Y3DDF8O


This is the second book published by Mark and to be honest with each book I have a great desire for more output from this author. He is a man who has transformed his life and now has a passion for helping others to make changes themselves. This cookbook will wet you appetite, give you some great jumping off points and serve as a reminder that healthy nutritious food can be amazing to prepare and share.

The layout and design of this book is amazing. I will be honest the first thing I do when I look at a cookbook is flip through the pages and see what photo’s catch my eye, with this one almost every page did and I stopped flipping and started reading pretty quickly. One of the greatest strengths of this books is Mark’s friendly style, he encourages experimentation, and he states “Have fun with the recipes and by all means, make them your own.” For me recipes have always been a starting point, Mark not only encourages that he offers a number of variations or options for modifying on almost every recipe. In fact my only criticism of the book is that Marc said there are no desserts because he does not bake. But I would love to see what he could come up with non-baked desserts, homemade sorbet, fruit or veggie desserts that surprise and amaze. I am sure he could impress himself and us if he gave it a try.

The contents in this amazing book are:

Foreword by Sydney
Intro: Abs Are Made In the Kitchen
Chapter 1: Life Lessons from a 9-Year-Old
Chapter 2: Recipes
Chapter 3: Breakfast

  • An Example in Falling Up:
  • ~ Sweet Potato & Blueberry Pancakes? Bites? Happy Accidents
Chapter 4: Apps and Sides
  • Baba Ganoush
  • Lobster Salad Lettuce Wraps
  • White Eggplant & Spinach Saute
  • Cheesy Garlic Cauliflower Mash
  • Cauliflower Pizza Muffins
  • Apple and Sweet Potato Egg Rolls
Chapter 5: Big Salads
  • Healthy Taco Salad
  • Christmas Kale and Pomegranate Salad
Chapter 6: Main Dishes
  • Bison Stuffed Cabbage
  • Bostolini
  • Cayenne Chicken with Avocado and Red Onion Salsa
  • Turkey Breast Stuffed with Apple, Cranberry and Oats
Interlude: Make it Your Own!
  • Coffee Rubbed Game
  • Cauliflower Pizza Dough
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (AKA The Kick Back)
  • Slap Yo’ Mama Shrimp & Zucchini Pasta
  • Lamb & Bison Burgers with Portobello Mushrooms
  • Acorn Squash Stuffed with Love
  • Love Sick Carnitas with Sufferin’ Succotash
  • BONUS: A Complete Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Outtro: Blank Slate
This is an incredible cook book. Not just because it has great recipes that you can copy verbatim. But because it is a guide to cooking. It will be a starting point to help you become a great cook through trial and error. And like some example in the book sometimes mistakes create something completely unexpected that becomes awesome in its own right; see the example of falling up! So get the book, read it and get experimenting in the kitchen and pretty soon you too can be healthier, wiser and enjoying your time in the kitchen!

Books by Mark Campanale:
Fat Business Man (Summer 2014)
Fit Dad Cooking (Spring 2015)
Fit Business Man (Spring 2015)


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Darker Red Juice

Darker Red Juice

Ginger was a little strong but I liked it, most people would need to cut in half.

Ingredients:
2 Beets
2 Carrots
4 inch piece of Ginger (was pretty strong more or less to taste)
4 stalks of Kale
1/2 Cucumner
4 stalks of Celery

Directions:
Wash all fruit and juice. 


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.