Saturday, February 18, 2017

Eat Right for Great Skin

Organized by the season from spring to winter, Wendy Rowe, internationally known make-up expert, gives tips on how to eat right to have healthy, glowing skin. Each season features foods appropriate to the season, a discussion of why they help to improve your health and skin, and recipes for how to use them. If you’re familiar with healthy eating, you'll recognize the foods. I particularly love avocados. I tried her recipe for guacamole, and it’s great.

The book opens with Wendy’s tips for staying healthy: avoiding stress, maintaining a good digestion, quitting sugar, and eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, among other suggestions. All of these ideas can be found in other books about health and wellness, but Wendy’s succinct presentation is helpful for recalling the importance of these ideas.

At the end of the book Wendy discusses common skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, oily skin and more. In addition to discussing what the conditions are and what causes them, she discusses foods that can help to control the problems. She also gives recipes for making your own scrubs and cleansers. The final part of the book discusses her skin care routine and gives a section on plants, like ginger, aloe vera, and cinnamon, that can be used to treat ailments,.

I found this a very helpful book. The recipes I’ve tried are delicious,and the information about skin care is valuable. The pictures are beautiful showing young women with perfect skin. I do wish some older women had been featured to show what the routine can do for women older than twenty-somethings.

I recommend the book if you’re looking for healthy recipes and a good way to take care of your skin.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Riveting Story Exposes Abuses in the Fashion Industry

Over two-hundred people are killed in a terrible fire in a clothing factor in Bangladesh. Cameron Alexander, General Council of the Presto Corporation, is upset by the horror of the fire, but when he sees a young girl lying on the ground with a pair of pants covering her face, pants that were destined for Presto stores, he knows there’s trouble ahead.

The pants were being manufactured in a factory that Presto’s supply chain was not supposed to use. At first Cameron thinks his company is in the clear, but as he begins to explore the company’s supply chains, he realizes that something is dreadfully wrong. Something he must acts on to preserve the corporation.

This book is a novel, but it also exposes the abuses in clothing factories in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Jordan. The story is interesting. Cameron is a driven character who tries to act for the best, but finds that he must cross lines that could lead to serious consequences for himself and for Presto.

The exposure of working conditions in third world countries is very well done. The novel keeps you reading, but the investigation of the clothing industry is the most interesting part of the book. It is almost as if the novel was written for the purpose of exposing the dreadful working conditions.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you enjoy a good story with believable characters. The descriptions of the terrible conditions in the factories that produce our clothing are sobering. It’s good to know what is happening to the people who produce our luxuries.

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers for this review.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Dog Witnesses the Last Days of the Messiah

Barley lived with a woodcarver and his wife. He dearly loved the old couple who had rescued him as a pup, but he could also remember a young boy who played with him before he was rescued. When Duv and Adah, his owners, are murdered, Barley finds himself on the streets again. Ultimately he arrives in Jerusalem during the last days of Jesus.

The story is told through Barley’s eyes. He’s a wonderful character, loving, wanting to have a family and help his people. The first chapters are slow. We meet Adah and Duv. Barley dreams of his young boy and the tenor of the book is comfortable. However, when Barley gets to Jerusalem, the tenor changes. Some of the scenes he witnesses are quite violent.

The setting is well done and believable as are the characters Barley interacts with. Although the pace is slow in the first half of the book, it picks up at the end as Barley witnesses the violent end of the Messiah.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it. Although it’s an adult book, the writing is clear and simple as befits the story told by the dog. Unless there is an objection to the violent scenes, this book could also be enjoyed by young adult readers.

I received this book from the Lifuse Publicity Group for this review.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Family Struggles to Recover from Tragedy

Nine-year-old Abby thinks her father, a preacher, has all the answers until tragedy strikes. The family is on vacation enjoying the beach. Josh, her four-year-old brother, is tired. Matt, her older brother, volunteers to carry him, but John decides to carry Josh himself. As they walk along the road to their cottage, a car burst on them striking John in the legs. Josh goes flying, hits his head on the pavement, and is killed. The family is stunned. They can’t believe what happened.

When they return home, the tragedy remains with them. John retreats from the family and God. With John unavailable, Matt begins a destructive course of action that leads to more tragedy. Abby watches her family dissolve around her, not knowing what to do. Her mother, Renee, knows they need to move on from this tragedy, but she, too, is stuck.

This is a beautiful, sad, emotional story told from the viewpoint of nine-year-old Abby. She is a thoroughly believable character. She watches what goes on around her, not really knowing how to interpret it. It’s a reminder that when tragedy strikes, parents need to be mindful of how their behavior is affecting the children.

The story is one of faith. John, the father, travels a long road to come back to his family and regain his faith. It makes you want to cry, but it is also a heart warming story of how the family sticks together in this dark period.

I highly recommend this book. It’s well written. The setting draws you in and serves as a good background for the characters. However, the best part of the book is the light shown on a family in tragedy and recovery.

I received this book from Shiloh Run Press for this review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Detective and a Forensic Investigator Held Together by a Secret

A copy editor is found hanging above the assembly line in the processing room of the Cleveland Herald, the cities largest newspaper. The death was meant to look like a suicide, but Maggie Gardener, forensic investigator, has her doubts, so does Jack Renner, the detective assigned to the case. Maggie is nervous about working with Jack again. They share a secret, and she’s not sure she trusts him. Jack operates as a vigilante bringing criminals who avoid the system to justice. Maggie wants him to stop, but how can she make sure that happens?

Maggie and Jack are good characters. The tension between them is palpable. Sometimes Maggie seems over the top in trying to figure out whether Jack is keeping to his promise to avoid his vigilante activities, but that's not unreasonable. Jack is tough. He likes Maggie and wants to protect her, but he doesn’t like being constrained.

The setting in a major newspaper is realistic. I enjoyed envisioning how newspapers operate almost as much as I enjoyed the mystery. The plot is good and well fleshed out. There are twists to keep you trying to figure out what is happening, and the resolution is realistic.

I recommend this mystery if you like fast paced action, an interesting setting,
and realistic characters.

I received this book from Kensington Publishing Corp. for this review.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Time Travel Gone Wrong

Tom Barren lives in the kind of world science fiction authors have been writing about for years: flying cars, a focus on entertainment, food that doesn’t go bad. It seems like paradise. The problem is he’s a screw-up. His father is a genius, but Tom can’t seem to find himself which leads to a difficult relationship with his brilliant father.

When Tom’s mother dies, his father tries to give him another chance. The great next frontier is time travel, and Tom’s father thinks he can master it. He has trained chrononauts ready to go. Tom’s father adds him to the team as the understudy of the most promising chrononaut. This would be fine. Tom would never get a chance to time travel, but the best chrononaut becomes unable to take the mission. Tom decides to go and ends up in a very wrong place, 2016 in our world. Needless to say there are no flying cars and other amenities. Now Tom has to decide whether he wants to go back or stay in this strange land.

This is a clever story, and Tom is an interesting character. He engages in lots of soul searching about why he has so much trouble. One reason is that he’s not a genius like his father. It’s easy to empathize with Tom. He’s a believable character.

The book is slow starting. Tom spends pages telling us that he made a terrible mistake, taking us into his world, and providing his family background. I found this section much too long, but when he actually gets to time travel and ends in the wrong place, the action picks up.

If you like science fiction and are interested in time travel, this is an amusing book.

I received this book from Penguin for this review.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bourbon and the Potter Field Christ

Willie McFee grows up in Twisted Tree, Kentucky. His family is relatively well off, although the town is suffering the effects of having the bourbon distillery, owned by the McFee family, shut down by Prohibition.

Although Prohibition is over, Barley, Willie’s father shows no interest in reopening the distillery. Willie encourages him dreaming of becoming the distiller as his grandfather planned. Then a drifter comes to town. He dies and is buried in the Potter’s Field on the McFee property, but that’s not the end of the story.

Gossip circulates giving the man credit for performing miracles. Soon people arrive to pray at the site. Rumors that he is the Second Coming of Christ spread changing the town and the McFees.

This historical novel is true to the time presenting the problems and dislocation caused by Prohibition and the Depression. It’s also historically accurate that during the period itinerant preachers and drifters wandered from place to place giving voice to the word
of God and sometimes miracles happened.

The characters in the book are well developed. Willie struggles with his ambition and his father’s retreat from the world. The townspeople are representative of people caught in a difficult situation they cannot control.

The story is full of twists. The several plots coming together from World War I and the Depression to the problems of Prohibition. If you enjoy a well written historical novel, you’ll enjoy this book.

I received this book from Harper Collins for this review.