Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better by Julie Cove // Absolute Motivation and Feel-Goodness

Saturday, 30 April 2016 0 comments
Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better, by Julie Cove
Publication: March 1, 2016, by Appetite Random House
Genre: Food, Cookbook
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

Clean up your diet and detoxify your body with the alkaline lifestyle. This beautifully packaged book, complete with more than 150 inspiration recipes and an easy-to-follow four-step program, is focused on long-term health and well-being.
Eat your way to better health! In Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better, Julie Cove explains how having too many acid-forming foods in your body creates an environment that can cause inflammation, resulting in everything from headaches to muscle pain to chronic illness. But, she argues, by adapting to an alkaline-based lifestyle you can ward off ill health, aid digestion, eliminate acid reflux and increase your energy. In this beautiful book, Julie gives you everything you need to quickly feel the benefits of the alkaline way of life.
In Part I, Julie explains the basics of alkalizing, the science behind the food choices you make and what happens in your body when you eat certain foods. Julie then introduces her easy-to-follow 4-step program. In the first step of the program, Inspire, you ease into the alkaline lifestyle; step 2, Desire, encourages detoxification; step 3, Aspire, helps you dump years of toxins; and finally, step 4, Acquire, shows you how to maintain a balanced alkaline lifestyle with food, exercise and a positive outlook.
With the basics covered, Julie then gives you more than 150 nutritionally-balanced, inspirational recipes to get started. With easy-to-find ingredients and simple preparations, these recipes offer a multitude of options for alkaline-balanced eating, including: nourishing smoothies, breakfasts, salads, soups, warm dishes, savory bites and sweet treats. The recipes are easily adaptable and full of flavor, ready for you to mix and match to help you meet your alkaline goals.
Julie's personal story of overcoming illness is behind the writing of this book. Now a holistic nutritionist and certified plant-based cook, she is the picture of an energetic, healthy and balanced lifestyle, and she wants to give you the tools to get there, too. Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better is a book that will help balance your body and revitalize your life, and will be your blueprint for improved good health for years to come.

My Thoughts:

Before I begin, we should just really talk about how beautifully laid out the pages and cover of this book are. Julie Cove and her wonderful designers at Random House, I presume, have done such a beautiful job at making this cookbook and guide even beautiful than it already is with the recipes and goodies that are inside. Let's show you all some examples—after this, you will certainly run to purchase this, all from the availability of your local bookstore. Support Canadian chefs, people!

It's gorgeous, as you can tell. Julie Cove makes alkaline and the way people are able to cook and play around with it so easy! It's a beautiful way to cook and play around with food that you already have in your fridge or cupboards. When I was asked to request for some books, this cookbook caught my eye. There are so many things that the author/chef talks about in her bundle of recipes that can have a person motivated to do what the title says: eat better, live better and feel better. I have tried some of the recipes, and so has my mom, and we both really love the selection! From smoothies to detoxing drinks, to desserts and munchies, Julie Cove has literally thought of everything! And my favourite thing is that Cove speaks about her specialty, alkaline based meals and her theories behind the way to eat. There are so many beautiful photos and this would make a great gift for anyone!

Here is my own take on one of Julie's recipes: Blackberry Coconut Creamsicles. I did not have blackberries at home, so I changed the variation up a little and used strawberries. THEY ARE SO GOOD AND HEALTHY. My sister and I devour them up every time!

Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better is a beautiful compartment of recipes and tips to make anyone feel good and follow the title. It's beautifully formatted and has many recipes that makes your stomach actually gurgle when you take a peek at the photos. I have so many picks that my mom and I want to try! Love this!
*A copy was provided by the publisher for review! Thank you so much!*

What is your favourite cookbook right now? Have you ever heard of alkaline dieting?

Waiting on Wednesday #38: Strange the Dreamer

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 0 comments

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1), by Laini Taylor
Publication: September 27, 2016, by Little Brown BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 528

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.

BEA 2016, HERE I COME. This book is going to be the new Truthwitch of BEA. Last year, the whole crowd went MEGA INSANE for Susan Dennard and Truthwitch, and I NEED to get in line for Laini Taylor. I LOVE THE COVER OF THIS BOOK. LIBRARIANS? GODS? CITIES? BLOOD CANDY? Holy moly, this is a fangirl's dream come true, it's incredible. The title itself is extremely poetical. I cannot even imagine what the book itself holds.

I have never read anything by Laini, but I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS!

What are you anticipating the most this week? What BEA 2016 books have captivated you and your crazy attention spans?

Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter // A Boring Adult Drama

Monday, 25 April 2016 0 comments
Minister Without Portfolio, by Michael Winter
Publication: August 27, 2013, by Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Henry Hayward is a drowning man. With a soured long-term romance finally at an end, no family, and no refuge to be had in work, he progressively spends his days in the solace of alcohol and his nights with a series of interchangeable partners. In a quest to simultaneously recover from unrequited love and to find meaning in what is becoming an increasingly emotionally arid life, Henry travels to Afghanistan as an army-affiliated contractor.
When Henry becomes embedded in a regiment, he doesn't have time to think about his fixation on Nora or the fragments of his old life, a life he wasn't really living anyway. But everything changes during a tragic roadside incursion when a routine patrol suddenly turns fatal. And Henry, who survives, knows in his heart that he is responsible.
Upon returning home, now tormented by guilt in addition to ennui, he begins to feel even more rootless and restless until the question of his deceased friend’s summer home arises. Soon Henry is trying to bring meaning back to his life and to make posthumous amends by planning to buy and repair his friend’s dilapidated family house. But he hasn't factored family history into the picture—and his deceased friend’s girlfriend has a revelation of her own that may change everything.

My Thoughts:

You see—I cannot reconcile this book; I cannot remember anything about it, to be honest. After being introduced to the Canada Reads debate by my English teacher, I decided that I wanted to read a majority of these Canadian novels. Minister Without Portfolio was one of them. I wanted to read one of those books that are comical, but come with a point. Maybe this is because I'm a teenager; I just do not get these "adult concepts." By concepts, I simply mean adult situations. I have not been tormented in the way that Henry has, or have had marriage issues. I just could not relate to this book or the author's writing. This story seemed like a chore, not a book that I read just for enjoyment. If you are older than I am and enjoy these simple, philosophical stories, this could simply could go well for you. I am not saying that a teen cannot like this—no. There is a large possibility, but everyone always has their different opinions on books.

But hey—there are positives. There are things that I actually enjoyed about Michael Winter's story. He must be a popular author for those reasons. Winter creates a character who acts like he's in his mid-life crisis, which seems comical but is completely serious. Henry deals with some kind of PTSD, stress disorder that takes him out of living his normal, ordinary life. He walks around, but as I could tell, there was no meaning in his footsteps. He moved through the story being quite depressed, which demonstrated a completely depressing mood for the whole story. I am still confused to this moment if that was what the book was supposed to provide; I could just not tell. 

Minister Without Portfolio is a story where the readers endure. They endure all of the plot's events and how Henry goes on his own personal journey of his life. Once again, I am unable to relate to Henry's character in any way, which is something I usually rave about a character after reading a great book. This seemed a little too boring for my liking. If you expect some serious action, this is not the right story for you. Instead, we have a slow-moving continuation of a man's life and how he himself cannot contemplate his own feelings. 

What are the great things about this story? It's written by a Canadian author in a Canadian setting, it's extremely comical, and you feel bad if you put it down. I endured some kind of sympathy for Henry, for a man who is stereotypically supposed to undergo his feelings and save himself. I found myself giggling from time to time, and you seriously cannot take this book seriously. Everything was meant to be placed into this book for a reason, but there are only a few readers who understand why, and see the positivity; I am not one of them. There, I have said it. I am not the biggest fan, whoop dee-doo. 

Minister Without Portfolio could be seen as the most boring adult drama you have ever read. Meh. But if you look at this from another perspective, you see an interesting view of adulthood. You see, as a teenager, we do not know about the hardships that our parents or family members experience with jobs, love, all of that crazy stuff. This is it, except a little into the extreme. There is a bunch of romance drama, which is extremely interesting to read from the perspective of a grown man, and everything clicks together in the end. There is a possibility for you to enjoy this, especially if you are a teen.

Have you ever read some boring adult books? What are some Canadian books you have read?

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee // We Learn Something New Everyday

Saturday, 23 April 2016 0 comments
The Girl With Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee
Publication: July 2, 2015, by William Collins
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?
Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.
She could not return, since rumours of her escape were spreading, and she and her family could incur the punishments of the government authorities – involving imprisonment, torture, and possible public execution. Hyeonseo instead remained in China and rapidly learned Chinese in an effort to adapt and survive. Twelve years and two lifetimes later, she would return to the North Korean border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most arduous, costly and dangerous journeys imaginable.
This is the unique story not only of Hyeonseo’s escape from the darkness into the light, but also of her coming of age, education and the resolve she found to rebuild her life – not once, but twice – first in China, then in South Korea. Strong, brave and eloquent, this memoir is a triumph of her remarkable spirit.

My Thoughts:

I always had wanted to know what it is like to live in the experience of someone like Hyeonseo Lee. Of course, I would NEVER want to be stuck in her situation, but to read about one's experience in a first-hand manner is exquisite. It is something new, beautiful and memorable. The situation itself is never, ever beautiful, but the words that authors usually put their experiences in are. The Girl With Seven Names' title seemed awfully weird when I first discovered this memoir through a friend. Why seven names? Is this symbolic for North Korea or something? And then I began reading; I fell in love with this story and all of the memories that Hyeonseo had to share with readers. This is honestly our only chance to discover the life of a girl who escaped from North Korea. 

I feel hesitant to write this review. We do not know, in our society, what we are allowed to say and what we cannot say. With a dash of magic in her easy-to-comprehend, rich writing, Hyeonseo allows us to learn what we could say and what we cannot. We are in a free society, after all. In the end, we realize our gratefulness for Hyeonseo's retelling. Our society could have just sat behind and went on, but she delivered her interesting story to each and every one of us.

"The audience is silent. I began to speak. I hear my voice trembling. I'm telling them about the girl who grew up believing her nation to be the greatest on earth, and who witnessed her first public execution at the age of seven."

Every reader will feel that this book hit them hard, that they are transformed afterwards. I love reading non-fiction because it delivers new experiences to my heart, even though my eyes have not seen them, but the fact that my heart has. I cannot really comment on the life of a girl, as things happen when they are absolutely meant to happen, but I must say that the writing was practically perfect. I have read many, many memoirs, and almost none can compete to Hyeonseo's. Lee delivers a first-hand experience of tough hardships, romance and just about the experiences that any young aged woman undergoes in a new society, just as if I decide to move to New York City one day. While living a completely different life than many of us, her story is just about the same, honestly.

I LOVE THIS MEMOIR. Although I have been reading it for the longest time, thanks to the busyness of school and all, every moment was memorable. I LOVED IT, and hope that Hyeonseo's story is as inspiring to others as it was to me. I would really, really want to meet Hyeonseo and hear her legacy once more from her own words, verbally.

What is your favourite memoir? Have you read any about North Korean defectors?

Waiting on Wednesday #37: Something In Between

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 0 comments
Something In Between, by Melissa de la Cruz
Publication: September 27, 2016, by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 384

The story centers on the daughter of Filipino immigrants, who is living the American dream until she learns that her family is in the U.S. illegally and may be deported. De la Cruz’s novel represents the crux of the new imprint, which will focus on empowered female characters and explore topics and situations that highlight the challenges and joys of being a teenager today.

If I (sadly) do not snatch myself a copy of this beauty at BEA this year, I will go crazy. I NEED THIS GORGEOUS BEAUTY IN MY LIFE. When I first saw the cover, I instantly realized that this is YA. My world changed from that moment on. I NEED EVERYONE TO PUT THIS ON THEIR TBR LISTS, BUT TO NOT GRAB A COPY BEFORE I DO. *laughs jokingly* Okay, maybe I'm kidding. A little. I want this too, you know! SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE ALSO IS PART OF THIS PRETTY'S PUBLICATION! Us teens are going crazy, I guess! 

What are you anticipating the most this week? Do you like Melissa de la Cruz's writing?


The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow // That Took an Interesting Turn...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 2 comments
The Last Place on Earth, by Carol Snow
Publication: February 23, 2016, by Henry Holt and Co. BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Daisy and Henry are best friends, and they know all each other's secrets. Or, so Daisy thinks, until she wakes up one morning to find that Henry and his family have disappeared without a trace. Daisy suspects Henry's disappearance is connected to their seriously awkward meeting the night before, but then she finds a note from Henry, containing just the words "SAVE ME." Deeply worried, Daisy convinces her unemployed brother to take her on a rescue mission into the California mountains. As they begin to home in on Henry's exact location, they also start to find some disturbing clues... clues that call into question everything Daisy believes she knows about her friend. Why is he so hard to find? What kind of trouble is he in, exactly? And most importantly, who is actually saving who?

My Thoughts:

The Last Place on Earth inwardly made me fall apart. This is a thrilling story that is NOT just about the theme of loneliness and isolation that Daisy undergoes; Carol Snow shocks readers and adds a science fiction twist to the wilderness setting story that first captured our attention with its gorgeous cover. This beautiful story has so much wondrous meaning to it as well as beauty that I would not trade for another experience. Everything fit together like peanut butter and jam and the story just kept turning tables wonderfully. I was always at a surprise and for contemporary fiction, this is completely interesting and different. I have always enjoyed reading books that give readers an experience with a twist—this story certainly did. It literally even spun me upside down and made my feelings burst into tens of thousands of pieces.

This fictional novel is revolved around a group of two best friends who were in the early stages of a real, romantic relationship, in a sense. Daisy and Henry both share many of the same interests, go to the same school, talk about the same people and have a kind of connection where other classmates call them a couple. Daisy is kind of obsessed with Henry—I'll get to that later. When he goes missing, as well as his family, Daisy panics. I do not know how, but her brother helps her out once by basically stalking Henry's house and barging into it. Things get EVEN crazier afterwards, without sharing a similar concept to what the contemporary part of the story even held.

ONE THING I HAD AN ISSUE WITH (before we get to the positive stuff):

Daisy. Had. An. Attachment. Problem. With. HENRY. Guys, I do not think it is normal for a girl to be THAT obsessed with a guy. I know that Carol Snow wanted to make the story click together and make absolute sense, but REALLY. Stalking? Parking on the driveway? Remembering the passcode? Toilet paper? Notes? This is a rundown, uglier version of John Green's Paper Towns, in that sense. However, everything was much better. It's just that Daisy was too obsessive for anyone, not just for a main character who is in love with her best friend. This takes it to the max. 

The great things that this book featured was just about everything else. I adored the plot and how Carol sculpted the story together and basically made the magic happen. I fell completely in love with every other bit that I came about. THIS TURNED OUT TO BE SO GOOD. 

I completely recommend this story to any lovebug of contemporary or sci-fi fiction with so much love for unique stories. This was definitely one of the best, ever. Get your butts up and head for the bookstore for this beauty! It's gorgeous inside, and out. (I'm tempted to visit Big Bear now!)

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

Has a book shocked you lately? What do you think about contemporary turned sci-fi?

Waiting on Wednesday #36: The Sun is Also a Star

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 0 comments

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Publication: November 1, 2016, by Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The Sun is Also a Star has the prettiest cover ever, and it is written by a debut author of 2015 who stunned me so much with her debut. Nicola Yoon writes with such depth and perfection in her words that I am so sure that this will also feature the same that her first book introduced. When I saw the cover for this and realized who it is by, I THOUGHT THAT I WOULD FREAK. This is beautiful.

What is your most anticipating book this week? Have you read Everything, Everything?

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend // Practically a Perfect Middle-Grade

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 0 comments
Where You'll Find Me, by Natasha Friend
Publication: March 8, 2016, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself…
Dumped by her best friend, Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade “hanging out with different people.”
Deserted by her mom, who’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
Trapped in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.
Stuck at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.
But what if all isn’t lost? What if Anna’s mom didn’t exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna’s stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn’t such a bad fit after all?
With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.

My Thoughts:

Never in a million years did I imagine that when I'm a teenager, I will be reading pure middle grade fiction. And you know what? Middle-grade fiction is honestly a beautiful genre. Many authors capture moments in a protagonist where they still carry that childlike innocence where nothing is important except having fun, being a kid/girl and/or eating popsicles. That's the honest, evident part of MG fiction and is some of the reasons why us bloggers choose to read these books. Once in a while, I like to splurge on the books that I know my sister would read/eventually read. I honestly meant to give this one to her, but I hogged it anyways because I requested it. Har-dee-har-har. Natasha Friend's stories have always been with me through thick and thin when I was a tween, full of attitude and no good decision-making skills whatsoever. 

With Anna's character and the way Natasha chose to portray her character in a bundle of 300 or so pages, I took a flashback back to the years where I was a tween. There were many instances in this book where I felt that I was reading about my younger self and the awful things I did or said. That's life, quite frankly. Where You'll Find Me is a story of self-discovery, deciding what you want to see yourself doing in a few years and how you would like to see yourself acting. Anna was the perfect, most splendid protagonist to showcase the perfect role model for little girls like herself. There are many, young or old, who could relate to her misfits and struggles of fitting in or doing the right thing(s).

"It's hard to describe how it feels up there. The whole space is ours, and, even though the words aren't really ours, we own them right now. We've put them together in our own patchwork way. We are brave, we are rebels, we are dreamers who dare to dream. Our voices are pure and strong and open and defiant." (231-232)

Anna is a thirteen year old, who is honestly stuck in a messy situation. Her mother is recovering from a suicide attempt, she was recently dumped by her best friend for years, and her father is remarried. Did I mention the fact that she has a baby sister? She's second guessing everything, making doubts and thinking that everything occurred because of her, which is what children always end up thinking at one point of time.

Where You'll Find Me is actually heartbreaking. It could tear the heart of anyone, letting them know that there is a little girl (many of them) out there who are dealing with the same emotions and situations that Anna dealt with throughout this story. My heart felt for Anna and she was just so adorable. She had a mother-like personality, independently trying to do things and being so understanding, showing love for everyone around her, even if they didn't show it back. I feel like this is a book for every little girl out there. Everyone needs to grab a copy of this beauty and showcase it in their shelves with a big giant trophy stating, "Best Middle Grade Book Out There. For All." Y'all need to add this on your TBR lists right this instant. 

Natasha Friend has blown my mind with this beauty. Little girls, or any woman or man, if you enjoy coming-of-age stories, this one cannot be beat. I'm sure that the beautiful, sweet cover has already captivated you enough. Anna will speak to you through her words as if she's right in front of you, telling you her story and making dreams come true. This was exquisite.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is your favourite middle grade story? Do you know any MG stories that deal with suicide themes?