Monthly Archives: November 2009

ZUMBA by Beto Perez

I would have never believed that this would be for me… but once I got started I really couldn’t stop!  ~ Sheila


Created by celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez, Zumba® combines fun, easy-to-follow dance steps with hot Latin beats to help you shed pounds and inches fast. Now the DVD and classes that have hooked millions are available in book format, with a complete workout program, fat-burning diet, and an exclusive instructional DVD with 60 minutes worth of music to help you Zumba your way to the perfect body.


Using the principles of interval and resistance training, the simple dance and sculpting moves (inspired by the traditional cumbia, salsa, samba, and merengue) tone and shape your body. And because it burns 600 to 1,000 calories per hour, you don’t have to restrict your meals to boring or bland-tasting diet foods. The Zumba diet begins with a 5-Day Express Diet to jump start weight loss (lose up to 9 lbs in 5 days) and then offers 14-day meal plans and recipes that target weight loss in the stomach and thighs. You’ll find:
• Hot moves that make you feel like you’re on the dance floor-not on the elliptical machine!

• Recipes for mouthwatering meals that boost your metabolism

• Dozens of workout combination’s so you never get bored

• An exclusive jump-start program to get you ready for that big event next weekend

• An easy plan to help you keep up your progress and maintain the weight loss

So start moving, grooving and losing with Zumba today!

In My Opinion:

I honestly had never heard of Zumba before I read this book.  When I flipped through it to see what it was about I noticed there was a Demo DVD in the back of the book.  I felt that was as good of a starting place as any to learn what this was about so I popped the DVD into my laptop and watched the demo.   The music got me right away.  I love a good beat and I love working out to good strong rhythmic music…. this was exactly what I was watching as they demonstrated the basic moves.  I liked it.  A lot.

The book is filled with step by step instructions of the dances with lots of pictures to follow along.  I loved reading about the tips about healthy choices and taking care of yourself.  I enjoyed the lists of healthy foods and the sample menu’s. I took a lot of notes and practiced with the Demo DVD.  I will refer to this book frequently in the future.

I enjoyed this so much I went on line to find a class near me.   I am going to pursue this more and I am actually considering taking the instructor classes they are offering in January in Wisconsin.  I seriously am loving this high energy workout!

 

I received my copy of this book from review from Hachette Book Group

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

This is a weekly meme hosted by J Kaye’s Blog.  I enjoy doing this because it allows me each Monday to browse the book shelves and set a plan of what I would like to accomplish in reading for the week.  To me, it’s kind of like shopping in a book store all over again :)


This morning I grabbed my coffee cup…. browsed the shelves and came out with this:


It looks like a lofty goal but it really isn’t.

Say You’re One of Them is audio so that can play in the car and when I am working around the house.  I probably will not get it finished this week, but I will be started on it.


Shadow of Tears I have been working on.  It is about escaping Iran so it is a bit heavy and I have not been able to read it straight through.  I am hoping to finish it this week.


The Smart One and The Pretty One I started on yesterday  and I am flying through this delightful read.


The Readers Choice:  200 Book Club Favorites is a book I am just itching to get into…. its a book on books and what is not to love?  :)


Children Of Dust is one I planned on reading in Honduras and did not get to it.  This one will be the one that I will probably be spending the most time reading this week.


The Possibility of Everything is on tour this Wednesday and I finished this a couple weekends ago when I had some down time.  This one is on tour this Wednesday.


God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas are also on tour this week.  These will go up wither later today or tomorrow.


Currently I have quite a few books done that are waiting on their review.  I am trying to get a review up a day, two if I can do so without crowding them….  I would love to know what you are reading this week!  Stop over at J Kayes Blog and add your post to the link so I can stop by as well as others!

Thanksgiving at the Inn by Tim Whitney

Warm characters that you want to connect with, you want to share a cup of coffee or cocoa with ~ Sheila

Ever since his mother left, life hasn’t been easy for Heath Wellington III. Between his father’s (Junior’s) bouts with alcoholism and literary rejection, and Heath’s own wrongful suspension from school, there hasn’t been all that much to be thankful for.

But following the tragic death of estranged grandfather Senior, father and son alike stand to inherit a life-changing fortune . . . with one catch.

Heath and Junior must spend the next three months managing Senior’s bed and breakfast, located in the same Massachusetts home Junior has spent the last eight years trying to escape.
Upended from his everyday life and relocated to a town where everyone knew and loved the grandfather he can’t even remember, Heath finds an inn full of some of the strangest people he’s ever met, such as:

  • Winsted, the old, wise Jamaican man who used to lead the prayers in Senior’s factory;
  • Mrs. Farrel, an elderly woman giving away her late husband’s fortune letter by letter;
  • Mustang Sally, the muscle-bound, tattooed grease monkey who doubles as a children’s author;
  • Carter, the silent TV news junkie and secret Harvard graduate.

And at a nearby school is Savannah, Junior’s first love, and her adorable, autistic daughter, Tori.

But most of all, there’s Junior himself, vinegar to Heath’s oil. As Heath adjusts to his new world, what he needs most is to start anew with his father, to understand that Junior, too, is dealing with loss, and to realize that, even in the most tragic of times, there’s a lot in life to be thankful for.


In My Opinion:

Thanksgiving At The Inn was a timely read that I had intentionally left for Thanksgiving weekend to read.  I enjoyed 12 year old Heath as the narrator of the book.  I think this perspective really added to what this book was and I can not really imagine what it would have been read like if it would have been told from Jr’s perspective.  Author Tim Whitney made a smart choice when he wrote the book this way and it really made me think how books can totally change when told by a different character.

A smooth easy read, I found the book lite enough for the MG (middle Grade) it was written for, and at the same time the subject line had an inner deepness that I found surprising and appreciated as an adult.  I guess what I am saying is that while this book would be a good read for a younger person, I didn’t find it too simply written.  The characters were good fits with the book and I enjoyed learning that each one had a bit of quirkiness.  For a young person reading this book I think these characters are a good way to remind us not to judge someone and that you really don’t always know what a person has going on inside.

Over all a good read that I really enjoyed.

I won this book from Miss Remmer’s Reviews

Morning…. er, Afternoon Meanderings….

I had good intentions of putting up a post this morning but that didn’t happen.  I went to the 8:15 am service, came home and our oldest son was here so he and I put away the lawn furniture… yes, that same furniture I took a picture of and posted about two weeks ago that I needed to get that done before the snow came.  Well… it is done now and so far, we are snow free.  (Tiny “woo hoo” to that one!)

So now – the house is quiet.  Brad has gone home, Al is taking a nap… and I am in my favorite chair in the reading room, curled up with Laptop, Coffee Cup, and the next book I am planning to sink into, Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz.

Last night, I was on Twitter.  Honestly… I dont know a lot about Twitter.  I only use for my book communications and I enjoy connecting with fellow bloggers, authors, and publsihers through Twitter.  But I dont really get it beyond the basic updates and chatting.  For instance, I want to do #FF (Follow Friday) but I dont understand how.  I have a hard time sending a message to someone if they have not sent one on Twitter first.  Yeah… I am really bad.  I just dont follow how it all works.

So last night people are tweeting from the tweet deck (which sounds really cool like a big old deck of people chatting and eating appetizers) or from something about a wave (I really have no idea about that)… twitterfeed, twittergadget…. uh yeah, I got nothing…. BUT then I seen a tweet cloud and I had to try it and seriously… it was easy to do and basically it takes whatever words you use frequesntly in your tweets and puts them in this cute little cloud:

I mean come on…. is that cute or what?

So do you twitter?  I mean tweet?  If you do, do you use any of the different options to tweet?  Are there ways that work better than others?

In My Mailbox

Another week of great books.  You can tell the season for our business is winding down because my work load is as well and my reading this time of year naturally goes up.  Colder weather keeps me inside more, the bike tournaments are over for the year and my natural cold weather remedy is books.  :)  This meme is from Kristi’s Blog:  Story Siren

I am excited to share this weeks mailbox treasures with you!

Americans In Space by Mary Mitchell: Life is a challenge for 36-year-old Kate Cavanaugh, high school guidance counselor to a motley group of at-risk students. Two years after finding her young husband dead in bed beside her, Kate’s storybook life has vanished, and she and her two children are still reeling. Her daughter Charlotte, once a sweet girl, has morphed into an angry, tattooed, tongue-studded teen; and Hunter, Kate’s four-year-old, keeps his feelings sealed tight inside and an empty ketchup bottle clasped to his heart. When a tragedy occurs at the Alan B. Shepard High School, it’s Kate who finds herself in need of counsel and guidance. What she does next catapults her and her family down an unfamiliar road, on a trajectory into space – toward understanding, forgiveness and healing.

Doesn’t that sound good?  GAH!  I want to read it now!


Cold Streak by Lewis Aleman (with a bonus insert to his new book Faces In Time coming out in December!):   Laura has lost it all. In one strange and tragic night her husband and daughters were brutally murdered as she worked late at the office. The news sent her into a downward spiral of depression and regret. It became all the more intense when she knelt in the blood of her husband’s last struggle. Unable to cry, unable to release the pain or share it with others she folds herself into a coiled rage ready to explode as soon as the time is right. Tugged by wisps of memories, her feet move her in whatever direction the pull dictates so long as it leads her closer to understanding what happened and who was responsible.

This one is signed!  Oh… and in case you notice a theme with the two above books having dead husbands… that is just a wierd coincidence that I just noticed too…. ;)


Fablehaven by Brandon Mull: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

Doesn’t this look fantastic?  I was so excited to get this book!  It is a win off of the great With A Good Book blog.   AND it came with this super cool bookmark!


Love In Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga: Stuck. That’s how 33-year-old aspiring singer Celeste Duncan feels, with her deadbeat boyfriend and static career. But then Celeste receives a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms which just might be the first real clue to the identity of the father she never knew. Impulsively, Celeste flies to Japan to search for a long-lost relative who could be able to explain. She stumbles head first into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems—a land with an inexplicable fascination with foreigners, karaoke boxes, and unbearably perky TV stars.

Seriously how much do you love this cover? And do you see this great swag that came with it?  The cards and then a cd that I haven’t listened to but I am excited to see what that is!


What a Christmas by B.R. Roberts: There’s a war going on, and Clementine Rose Miles has her eyes open. She’s just ten, but nobody can size up the situation better than this future investigative reporter with her knack for vocabulary and fondness for coffee.

Is the new hired hand a Nazi spy? Can the shootout with her twin cousins ground them for life? How long does the smell of strawberry Jell-O last on a wool skirt? Do mailboxes really talk? Will Christmas still come to the Miles family when there’s a tragedy? Can anything else possibly go wrong? You bet!

Whether it’s helping Grandma churn butter, understanding her teen-impaired sister, approaching the unapproachable Mrs. McPugh, or praying for her uncle’s unredeemed soul, Clementine stays on the case until it’s solved. She tells a very grownup story with a child’s humor and candor.

In spite of one disaster after another befalling the Miles family, tears, love and laughter anchor them to their faith. And when everything comes to a crashing climax at the Christmas pageant, the whole town is saying, “What a Christmas!”


Beating Diabetes: A weight loss plan on how to take care of you

I love books like this.  I am always interested in healthy eating tips and exercise!

The Ghost, The Eggheads, and Babe Ruth’s Piano by Larry Sweitzer: It’s the summer of 2004 and Freddie Holtzman can’t wait to get to Camp Mason, a summer camp for eggheads or rather, gifted teens. He hopes to reconnect with Ginny Haig, a girl he met at camp last year. Freddie’s old friends, Logan and Monty, are there along with some new faces. He tries to win Ginny’s affection, but every time he tries to talk to her, he says—and does—nerdy things.

At Camp Mason, a science fair pits the eggheads against one another for the top prize of a five thousand dollar scholarship. But, when the projects go missing, friendships are put to the test, relationships get put on hold, and everyone’s a suspect. To make matters worse, the camp is haunted by young Billy Mason who died there decades ago. The boys are determined to solve the mystery of the ghost and the missing science projects.

Freddie’s quest to win the scholarship—and the girl of his dreams—are constantly in jeopardy. There are complications at every turn: the ghost, a creepy caretaker, Freddie’s high school nemesis, a cantankerous camp manager, and a saboteur all threaten his chance to win the prize and Ginny’s heart.

Yeah the title threw me too but reading about the book… it sounds good!  This is a blog tour in December.


From Doon To Death by Ruth Rendall is a book I won during BBAW.  It arrived on Saturday from Australia!  Wild huh?


Books I purchased:

Breathless by Dean Koontz I purchased from Amazon.  It was just released this week and I do not usually pass up a Koontz book!

The final picture is of my two sons on Thanksgiving.  I purchased two copies of Hunger Games which I told them they both had to read!

So thats what was in my mailbox this week.  What was in yours?  Be sure to stop over and see Kristi at Story Siren to link on to the In My Mailbox link!  :)

Behold The Dawn by K.M. Weiland

I was already a fan of Historical Fiction before I read  this book…. I am even a bigger on now.  ~  Sheila

Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famed for his prowess on the battlefield, thought he could keep the secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him find justice for the transgressions of sixteen years ago, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Third Crusade.

Wounded in battle and hunted by enemies on every side, he rescues an English noblewoman from an infidel prison camp and flees to Constantinople. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn’t even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago.

In My Opinion:

As excited as I was to receive this book, I have to admit I was nervous as well.  I had chatted with author K.M. Weiland on line and we had discussed her book.  I found the cover fascinating (if you know me you know I am a big cover snob) and the subject matter intriguing…. of course neither of these two favorable things make a book.  It is very important to me to always give an honest opinion and I knew that no matter what I thought of this book, I had to reveal that in my review.  A book grabs me with what is within its pages, the moments that take me out of my own little world and brings me within its own.  I hoped that this book was going to do just that.

The language of this book, the flow of the words… I enjoyed.   I was impressed with K.M.’s easy grasp of it and found it easy to follow the pace.  As the words flowed page to page I could draw the pictures in my mind of what this layout looked like, I could clearly see Marcus with an internal as well as external battle.  The story unfolded literally before my eyes. I enjoyed being a part of each characters stretching and growth.  It felt real and that is not always as easy task for any author to pull off – especially when you are writing out of our own time period.

K.M. Weiland came through in flying colors and I closed the book with an ironic smile thinking that I had been concerned I may not like this read.  I did, I really really did and am thankful to authors like Katie (K.M.) who can really put a book out there that can pull you within the story and at the same time make you think about your own battles and know there is Hope.

The book was honestly a wonderful  read that was so well written that I don’t even know how to express how impressed I was with the story line and the writing itself.  Hopefully, I just did.  :)


K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the sand hills of western Nebraska, where she still lives. A lifelong fan of history and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her novels and short stories. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors and AuthorCulture. She lives in western Nebraska.

My Amazon Review


I received my review copy from the author, K.M. Weiland

Donate A YA Review for the Holidays and Win!

This giveaway is now closed!

Have you had the pleasure of meeting Reagan at Miss Remmers’ Reviews?  I hope you have!  Reagan is going to school to be an English Teacher and her blog has a wonderful theme, it is all about finding great reads to draw Young Adults into the pleasure of reading.  When Reagan told me about her plan to find YA reviews throughout the blogesphere I knew I wanted to help her promote this.  :)

All you need to do to participate in this is go over to Miss Remmers Reviews blog and connect your great YA review to her Mr Linky.  Check first to make sure she does not already have the review and that she doesnt have it on the schedule… but if you are the first one to offer her a review of a YA book, this would be a great help to her to continue her encouragement to get Young Adults to find books they enjoy and start planting that “need to read” seed in their hearts.

I am so excited about Reagan is doing that I would like to add to her challenge.  Anyone that connects over at Miss Remmers Reviews with a YA review (or two, or three…) let me know here (in the comments) what book review you linked her to on your blog.  For each review you link her to, let me know on a separate comment here and I will choose a winner using random.org on December 24.  If I have 20 comments here with book reviews you have offered Reagan to use I will give away a $10 gift card to Amazon.  If I have over 30 separate comments of reviews given to Reagan, I will make it a $20 gift card *Remember – each comment is to let me know that you did sent her a book review link and what that book title is for me to count your comment in the giveaway.

Because I can send the gift card by email to you, this giveaway is open world wide!

I hope many of you will do this!  Most of us have read a YA that we have enjoyed, by allowing it be posted at Miss Remmers Reviews she is linking it back to your blog as well as letting YA’s that may not be big readers yet know about the real enjoyment you can get out of reading.

Thank you everyone for helping out a fellow blogger and making great reads available to others!

** You must connect over at Miss Remmers Reviews first with your YA link..then come back here and let me know what YA book review you gave her.

Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
By Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
October 2009; $27.99US/$35.99CAN; 978-0-312-54552-9

From the authors of the groundbreaking Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day comes a new cookbook filled with quick and easy recipes for healthy bread

Their first book was called “stupendous,” “genius,” and “the holy grail of bread making.” Now, in their much-anticipated second book, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François have taken their super-fast method and adapted it for the health-conscious baker, focusing on whole grains and other healthier ingredients.

The method is still quick and simple, producing professional-quality results with each warm, fragrant, hearty loaf. In just five minutes a day of active preparation time, you can create delectable, healthy treats such as 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Grain Garlic Knots with Parsley and Olive Oil, Black-and-White Braided Pumpernickel and Rye Loaf, Cherry Black Pepper Focaccia, Pumpkin Pie Brioche, Chocolate Tangerine Bars, and a variety of gluten-free breads. And many of the recipes are 100% whole grain.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day will show you that there is time enough for home-baked bread, and that it can be part of a healthy diet. Calling all bread lovers: Whether you are looking for more whole grains, watching your weight, trying to reduce your cholesterol, or just care about what goes into your body, this book is a must-have.

In My Opinion:

While I openly admit, I dont eat a lot of bread products day to day, I do enjoy a really good bread.  really good bread to me is a hearty bread loaded with flavor, grains, fruit, vegies…. those are the ones I find hard to resist.  What I discovered in this book, Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day was a whole book full of recipes as well as tips to make just the kind of bread that I would find hard to resist.

I thought Thanksgiving would be a great time to create one of the mouth watering recipes from this book.  On page 145 I found just the recipe, 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread?  Sound good?  Good didnt even begin to describe it!  Using whole wheat flour and old fashioned oats, I followed this recipe step by step to make a delicious tasting and smelling bread that filled the house with a pleaseantness that had my whole family wanting to know – when do we get to eat it?

For a person who doesn’t really do anything slow… this was a lesson in good bread making.  I need two hours to let the dough rise and collapse.  On the bright side of this, the bread dough can be made up to seven days in advance and kept refrigerated until you are ready to bake – so a fresh loaf could be at your fingertips!

The end result was a good looking loaf of bread that I was pleased with and the flavor of maple and cinnamon made for a “skip the pie” worthy treat.

Author Bios

Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., coauthor of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients, is a physician with twenty years of experience in health care as a practitioner, consultant, and faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His interest in baking and preventive health sparked a quest to adapt the techniques of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for healthier ingredients.

Zoë François, coauthor of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients, is passionate about food that is real, healthy, and always delicious. She is a pastry chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to teaching baking and pastry courses nationally, she consults to the food industry and is the creator of the recipe blog http://www.zoebakes.com. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two sons.

The authors answer bread questions at their Web site: http://www.healthybreadinfive.com.

I received my review copy from FSB Associates

Virtual Cookie Swap

For the past 12 Days I have drooled over recipes that Kathy from Bermuda Onion and Julie from Booking Mama have put up on the blogs.  Today they are asking that we join in on this recipe swap by writing our post and linking here.

Here is one of my favorite cookies that can not sit in my home because I could eat them all!  I learned this one at a cookie exchange class a friend and I attended a few years ago where we all met in a huge kitchen in a school and each made 20 dozen of a recipe they gave us, then we all got to take home one dozen as well as the recipes.  It was a lot of fun!

 

Cookie Surprise

1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. softened butter
1 c. peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 c. flour
1 bag of mini Snickers (must be mini – not fun size!)
Cream together sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and flour; mix well.  Wrap dough around each mini Snickers bar, forming a ball.Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Virtual Cookie Swap (2nd recipe)

For the past 12 Days I have drooled over recipes that Kathy from Bermuda Onion and Julie from Booking Mama have put up on the blogs.  Today they are asking that we join in on this recipe swap by writing our post and linking chocolate recipes to Booking Mama and traditional cookies to Bermuda Onion. Both sites are offering a copy of The Christmas Cookie Club book to one lucky winner who submits a recipe!

This is a recipe my grandma used to make when I was a kid.  This is a second recipe being submitted for the Virtual Cookie Swap.


Favorite Sour Cream Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups chopped fav. nut (optional)


Directions:

1.

In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Then stir in the sour cream. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the nuts. Cover this and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

2.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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