Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Power Pressure Cooker XL Cookbook - Vanessa Olsen

                I am not a lover of pressure cookers. My earliest memory of them is as a kid and every Sunday the evening meal would be cooked using a loud and dangerous stove top pressure cooker. The food would have no colour and definitely no taste. My father warned us to never touch or go near it because it could go off like a bomb if we raised the lid. I saw this book and just had to take a look because I couldn’t believe that there could possibly be two-hundred recipes for one of these horrid machines. After reading this recipe book, Ms. Olsen has changed my mind about pressure cooking and I think I may be purchasing one like is used in the book in the near future.                           
                This book is based on the Power Pressure Cooker XL which, where I live, is $120 and that is probably a higher price because things are quite expensive here. The author does provide information about how to gear the recipe towards other types of pressure cookers if you don’t own this particular kind. There are recipes for everything in this book, from breakfast to snacks, and it’s quite unbelievable that so many things can come from this piece of equipment. I took a week to try some of the recipes that caught my eye using a stovetop pressure cooker and, I have to say, they turned out quite well. There is a lemon poppy seed cake recipe that tastes just like my husband’s grandmother’s cake. I also made a huge pot of clam chowder that was to die for.  There were some recipes that didn’t turn out so well but I think that was due to my own mistakes and not the recipe itself. Boiling eggs is not something I will be using the cooker for since I never found that they came out the way I wanted them to.
                Ms. Olsen starts the book with a history of the pressure cooker which is actually quite interesting. I never imagined that it has been around for as long as it has been. She then gives lots of information about how to use this type of pressure cooker and it was very helpful. At first I thought the whole book was very much like an infomercial but it is so well set up and easy to use that I quickly fell in love with the book. The recipes are easy to read and understand and the step-by-step process makes them easy to carry out. There is something for everyone here and this is a great book to have, especially if you’re not comfortable with pressure cookers. I do wish there were pictures which, for me, are key to a cook book but overall, this is a great book to add to my collection.
                I read it on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. The cover relates to the topic and draws the eye. Excellent!

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Hand-The Mirror of the Soul - Talma Brill

                I’ve always been interested in things that can supposedly predict the future, even if I don’t always believe in the predictions. We all want to know the good things about our future and hope nothing bad is predicted. When I was younger, a “palm reader” said my life line was very short so I needed to be very cautious about things. That was the end of palm reading for me. Then I saw this book, The Hand, written by Talma Brill, who has been a chirologist (hand reader) for over thirty years. This lady knows what she is talking about and manages to write a 432 page book about reading the hand and makes it all very interesting. The style of writing is one I found perfect for this type of book. There’s a lot of information and Ms. Brill sets the book up in an easy to read manner that makes it easy to retain the information that has been read. There are four parts to the book plus a forward. I usually skim the forward but in this case I recommend not skipping any of it.
The first thing I read that I found interesting was that the lines of your palm can change over time. The author writes about each line and the difference between the right and left hand. The information (and there is a lot of it) is fascinating. There are helpful illustrations throughout the book that help the reader to understand what the author is referring to in the information. For example, when talking about a square palm and the characteristics of a person having one, there is a picture so that the reader can identify exactly what that would look like. By the way, most of the information is dead on. A square hand (not including the fingers) means the person is rational and wants order in their life. That pretty much describes me to a T.
                The author also includes studies done on people with schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies, and psychiatric patients, among others, and what their hands look like in comparison with their mental health issues. It is extremely fascinating to read these studies and learn just how much can be told by looking at a person’s hand. At the end of the book is a list of recommended reading provided by the author that looks quite interesting.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about reading such a large book about something I didn’t really believe in but this whole book was entertaining to read and filled with an incredible amount of information. It’s a wonderful read!
I read this on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. The cover is eye-catching and pertains very well to the book.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Digital Now - Roland Allnach

                I’m not someone who reads a lot of science fiction so I wasn’t sure about whether or not I would enjoy The Digital Now. The cover didn’t really entice me although it does resemble how most science fiction covers tend to look to me. However, I read a review comparing this book to the television series Westworld so I thought I’d give it a try. It took me a while to get used to the vernacular, and the style of writing made me wonder if this book was a part of a series where I should have started with book one in order to understand the dystopian world much better. I think, though, if someone is a regular reader of sci-fi they would understand the wording and hecticness of the writing. I did get used to the style and, even though it’s not a style I would normally enjoy, it does work well for this particular book. It is representative of the storyline itself where the characters never really know who is real and who is just a “wipe”, someone whose mind has been wiped by Central and reprogrammed to be whomever Central chooses for them to be.
                Carly Westing’s everyday consists of patrolling and policing the streets and murdering the occasional “cone” (a regular human being) as the need arises. In this dystopian world, cones are considered no higher than cockroaches. Carly begins to have flickering memories that make no sense to her and they lead to trouble because in this world, you don’t ever have a unique thought, only those that Central gives you. It is definitely a complicated story and, although it turned out to be very enjoyable, it wasn’t the easiest book to read. Again, this could have been because I am not familiar with the science fiction world. There are numerous exciting twists and none of the characters are at all predictable. Just when I thought I had someone figured out, the author threw another spanner into the works and I discovered something new about them. I didn’t really root for anyone, except maybe a bit for Noel, and I didn’t like Carly at all but that’s only because the author wrote about this dystopian world so well that the characters became a part of a place I would never want to exist in.
For someone who doesn’t usually enjoy science fiction, I really found myself invested in this book. I read it in digital format on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. As I said, the cover didn’t really entice me but it works for the science fiction genre

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself - David L. Wallace

                Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself is a children’s book meant for kids ages six to ten. It’s an adventure story about a little floppy eared rabbit named Ralphy who wants nothing more than to find a home and have somebody to love him. A little girl named Marta falls in love with him at the pet store and, against her parents’ better judgement, takes him home. The adventure starts when Oscar, a stray cat, comes to live at the home and turns out to be a bad seed that wants to be top pet.
                One of the hard things about reviewing a children’s book is that it is difficult to write about what sort of characters there are because the books are so short to read. Mr. Wallace manages to make all of the characters, in particularly the animals, very individual and also very realistic. It is very easy to compare them to everyday people. Ralphy is the outcast and feels out of place because of his floppy ears. Oscar Is the misunderstood rebel from the wrong side of the tracks who really just wants to be loved and accepted. Goldie, the gold fish, is the wise friend who tries to help Ralphy regain his place in the house after Ralphy makes a mistake and gets banished to his cage. All of the characters that are expected in a good book are here, only they are in the form of animals. The writing style is perfect for those starting to read chapter books. The vocabulary is appropriate for the age level intended and this makes a great starter book for young readers. There are some great moral lessons in the story as well as a cute little lesson about crossing the road. The ending is sweet and positive.
                I only have a couple of nitpicky issues with the book. There are a few editing mistakes where a word is left out which could throw young readers off. Also, it would be nice if there were more illustrations and those that are there be in colour. I think it would keep a child’s attention better. Overall, this is a well written book that I would gladly give to my young reader to enjoy.
                I read the digital version of this book and it formatted to my ereader well, including the illustrations. The cover is eye catching for young readers.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Lawrence Wallace

                Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a self-help manual about how to use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to deal with anxiety, depression and some phobias. It’s often done with therapists but this book provides a way to do it at home, for those more comfortable in that setting, as well as being a way to touch up on what you’ve already learned at therapy. The book breaks down exactly what CBT is, how it works, and gives the seven main steps needed to do the therapy. It also gives an in-depth look at how to incorporate CBT with various religions or with non-believers, depending on how you feel. One of the parts I found interesting was a section about sin and what it is, how it affects us and how it ties in with CBT. This section is not based so much on religion but how sin can affect us. There is also a list of additional books that can be read for further information and help, if needed or interested. At the back of the book, there is a workbook that goes along with what is discussed in the book. If you read the digital version of the book, as I did, you can always print off the pages needed or set the workbook up on your own. I found this part to be particularly helpful because it gives the reader a little nudge to do the work that the author discusses in the book.
                I’ve had experience with CBT through a therapist and, to be honest, found it useless. There’s nothing like trying to work through your issues while the therapist subtly looks at her watch constantly. This book allowed me to sit down at my own leisure in a comfortable setting and start to work on CBT. The author writes in a simple and understandable way that makes it easy and interesting reading. He makes it clear that this is not an overnight process and not an easy exercise but it is doable. I liked the fact that the author comes across as likeable and not over my head. He called it achieving a harmony in your mind and that is so true. The workbook is very simple and it is explained throughout the book as to how to do it. There are a lot of helpful quotes from various sources that also provided a lot of insight.
                I read this on my ereader and it formatted very well. The cover was eye-catching and grabbed my attention. This is truly a worthwhile read!