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Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)
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The Book of Courage
The Book of Courage
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiration!, Feb. 9 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book was not quite what I was expecting. I did not read the product description and just bought it based on the title and the author. That being said even thought it was not what I expected it is a really really good book. The description of the book is: “The measure of your life will be the measure of your courage. Matthew Kelly Between 2000 and 2003, Matthew lost three people very close to him to cancer. Matthew's father died in August 2003 after a two-year struggle with cancer. During his father's illness, Matthew would jot down different inspirational quotes on note cards and send them to his father in Australia. His father would often comment on how these bit-sized portions of inspiration brought a simple focus and joy to his daily struggle. After his father's death, Matthew decided to pull all the quotes together and publish them as a book, accompanied by an essay explaining the role of courage in our lives. This is the origin of The Book of Courage.” So it is basically a collection of quotes with a very short introduction. However that being said there are some incredible quotes that Matthew Kelly has collected. As I was reading it a number of times I shared quotes with specific people, and they often asked for a copy so they could be reminded of the truth presented.

Matthew in the introduction states: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the acquired ability to move beyond fear.” He goes on to say “So much can be accomplished in one moment of courage. And so much can be lost to one moment of fear.” And the truth of that echoed as I read the book. Matthew says “Courage is acquired by practicing courage. And like most qualities of character, when practiced our courage becomes stronger and more readily accessible with each passing day.” So in reading these quotes and applying them we can learn to grow in our courage if we follow this advice. “The words that fill the pages of this book represent thousands of years of wisdom, but just like the words that fill other books, they are just words until we decide to allow them to transform our lives.” And a final piece of advice from the introduction is “Life is short and you are dead an awful long time. Live life passionately. Laugh often, love always, cultivate soul, don’t be afraid to dream the big dreams, and embrace your God.” So will you give this book a try do you have the fortitude to pick it up and see if you can find more courage?

Some of the best quotes from this books, at least for me at this point are:

“The most secret, sacred wish that lies deep down at the bottom of your heart, the wonderful thing that you hardly dare to look at, or think about – the thing that you would rather die than have anyone else know of, because it seems so far beyond anything that you are, or have at the present time, that you fear that you would be cruelly ridiculed if the mere thought of it were known – that is just the very thing that God is wishing you to do or to be for him. And the birth of that marvelous wish in your soul – the dawning of that secret dream – was the Voice of God himself telling you to arise and come up higher because he had need of you.”
– Emmet Fox –

“First do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and before long you will find yourself doing the impossible.”
– Francis of Assisi –

“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke –

“I believe that nothing that happens to me is meaningless, and that it is good for us all that it should be so, even if it runs counter to our own wishes. As I see it, I’m here for some purpose, and I only hope I may fulfill it. In the light of the great purpose all our privations and disappointments are trivial.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer –

“I believe that nothing that happens to me is meaningless, and that it is good for us all that it should be so, even if it runs counter to our own wishes. As I see it, I’m here for some purpose, and I only hope I may fulfill it. In the light of the great purpose all our privations and disappointments are trivial.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer –

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
– William Penn –

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
– William Penn –

“Most of the people I know who have what I want – which is to say, purpose, heart, balance, gratitude, joy – are people with a deep sense of spirituality... They follow a brighter light than the glimmer of their own candle; they are part of something beautiful. I saw something once... that said, “A human life is like a single letter of the alphabet. It can be meaningless. Or it can be a part of a great meaning.”
– Anne Lamott –

“Do or do not. There is no try.”
– Yoda –

“Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then throwing them back merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.”
– Henry David Thoreau –

“Before you can understand, motivate, and lead others, you must first understand, motivate, and lead yourself.”
– Paul Myer –

“The measure of your life will be the measure of your courage.”
– Matthew Kelly–

And almost 100 other amazing quotes. I am interested to see what sections I highlight my next time through. Give it a try a great book to help you and to help your friends.

Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer
Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for the journey, Feb. 7 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Father Roderick came recommended to be by a friend who is a recent convert, but this book completely blew me away. Father Roderick's faith, his passion for new media and his commitment to living for Christ Jesus is inspiring. A few times I found myself unable to put the book down, even though I should have and saying to myself just one more section. This book is filled with stories, personal struggles, and a plethora of geekdom knowledge and experience. I highlighted over thirty passages in a book of just 164 pages. I have already recommended it to a few friends.

Going back and writing about his time in secondary school, attending an event with the pope in the Netherlands he states: "When the pope lifted the consecrated Host to show it to the crowd, it suddenly dawned on me that this had to be the secret of John Paul II's strength and calmness. It was God's own love, offered to us in the Body and Blood of Christ. Now I understood why the pope was unfazed by all the criticism around him: He was filled with God's love, even for those who attacked him so aggressively." And meeting the pope and writing about all the opposition to his visit even by Catholics Father goes on to say "John Paul II became the most influential superhero in my life. But if I truly wanted to follow his example, I would need to take a few more steps." He was changes but he knew that was not enough he knew he needed to grow he says "First of all, I thought, if God truly exists, if everything I hear in church is not just a metaphor or a fairy tale but reality, then I must get in touch with God. I knew that the best way to do that was to pray. But how on earth did that work?" And so began the journey that he is still on today. He struggles and strives to know Christ and to make him known. You could almost say that Father Roderick's motto is "With abundant grace comes great responsibility." And again later while he was a seminarian he had the opportunity to meet the pope and the man who would become pope he says "Looking back, it still feels surreal that, as a young seminarian, I had the chance to personally meet John Paul II and the man who would succeed him in 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI. We all need role models to inspire us, and these two men of God became my role models for life." And what Role models they were and how they helped to shape not only his call to the priesthood but his call to using the web as a ministry.

Father Roderick has a Superhero Checklist, this section was incredibly powerful, drawing from the comic book world he makes parallels to spiritual development and finding our personal vocation:

Superhero Checklist
Seek Solitude
Study and Read
Discover Your Strengths
Acknowledge your weaknesses.
Be Humble
Listen to your friends
Expect trouble
Do not be Afraid
Be faithful and persevere.

This whole section I read over a few times on being humble he writes "It's an attitude Jesus himself asks of his followers on multiple occasions. Life is not about honor and prestige; it is about becoming a servant to others, about humility in all you do because everything you are and the talents you have received have been given to you as a gift. Finding your calling in life ultimately comes down to finding the answer to the question: "How can I help?"" and in the section on be not afraid he says "Jesus kept saying to his friends and followers, "Fear not!" The essence of faith is abandoning fear and beginning to trust again: trusting yourself, trusting others, trusting God." Even if we can only learn to live these two we will have a much greater and better impact on our world. In summarizing this chapter Father says "Discerning your calling in life is one of the most important things you can do to find true happiness. Happiness ultimately never depends on material possessions, or even on success in life. It stems from the inner knowledge that you are who God wants you to be, that you are doing what he wants you to do." We can all learn from the examples in Father Roderick's life and the examples he draws from the stories that have shaped the world, Tolkien, Star Wars, and many more are the tools he uses to draw out the truth of the faith.

There is an amazing section in the book called The Disney examination of conscience. It was an excellent little piece of advice. I will be honest and say that I love the sacrament of reconciliation and I love the liturgy. Even when I have attended mass in languages I did not understand I have always felt the presence of God in service. Father Roderick states: "Liturgy is, in many ways, a ritualized form of storytelling as well. Every time we leave the worries of our daily lives and enter a church or a cathedral, we are transported to another world, a place where stories, songs, images, colors, and rituals all lead us to discover the hidden mystery of our world: the love of God that transcends liturgy itself and becomes something that can change the way we live in the present and give direction to the future." That is what makes mass so amazing.

Quoting from one of his teachers on using new media as a tool for the Catholic church he says "Our Church has the most beautiful message in the world, but who is going to notice it if we do such a lousy job presenting our message in the media?" I must admit I am a little late to the pod cast party. Only really having started to listen to some of them in the last 6 months. I was always the blog or book guy. But some of the Catholic podcasts I have discovered are amazing and going back and listening to old series by Father Roderick or those he mentions gives a lot of great food for the spirit and the mind.

Father Roderick has a section on his physical transformation called From Couch Potato to Marathon Runner. Highlighting how he made some changes and then started podcasting on that as well. He also found the healthier he got his body the healthier his spirit became. He says "At the same time, I had noticed how much my new running passion had started to positively affect my spiritual life and my working discipline. What if I were to record a podcast about these topics- something about the connection between body, mind, and soul, about how to get physically healthy, but also about how to maintain a healthy spiritual life? The series Health and Holiness was born." He says "The show had two overarching goals: a reflection on how to live a healthy and balanced life, and a question that was perhaps even more important: how to live a holy life." And again he has a list:

Runner's Tips for Wannabe Saints
Running a marathon begins with running the first mile.
You'll never finish if you don't set a goal.
Progress is made by training and constantly pushing your boundaries.
Be sure you have the right equipment.
Follow a training schedule.
Seek advice from other runners.
Don't overdo it.
Don't give up too quickly.
Stay hydrated and pay attention to what you eat.
Enjoy the process!

This was another section of the book that I read through a few times. There are so many gems of advice in this section! But a few of my picks are "In the same way, holiness begins with the resolution to become holy. You have to take the first step. Start reserving time in your life to live with God. Make it a firm appointment in your agenda if you are busy." And "Your spiritual progress can also benefit from good advice. Find a spiritual director, and share your journey with friends, either in your local community or perhaps even via the Internet. Sharing your spiritual struggles and progress can help others, and it will benefit you, too. And don't forget the saints! They have shown that it is possible to live a holy life. Read about their lives and take advantage of their experience!" He also declares "Your spiritual life requires a similar balance. Develop reasonable habits. Don't expect to pray for hours every day, or to be constantly, 100 percent focused on God and ready to receive the most beautiful mystical experiences. You might disappoint yourself if you can't keep it up. Take small steps first, and let the Holy Spirit guide the process." One of the most important to me is "In your spiritual life, good nutrition and hydration are just as important. Here I'm not just referring to the prayer books you take with you to the chapel. We are constantly consuming information and entertainment, but just like junk food can have nefarious consequences for our health, so can junk media. Without becoming overly scrupulous, ask yourself whether or not a book, a movie, a video game, or other forms of entertainment are really enriching your life. Good content can enrich your spiritual life; trash media can hamper it. Be picky- it's for your own good!" With advice like that how could you not give this book a try?

The final list is the book is:

Seven Things Pope Francis Taught Me
1. It's Not About You
2. Be Humble
3. Don't forget the poor.
4. Never despair.
5. Don't pursue what you don't need.
6. Protect others in friendship.
7. Reach out to the world and reach for the sky.

So to end the same was he does in the book what are you waiting for!

Messy & Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool, And Evangelize the World
Messy & Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool, And Evangelize the World
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and challenging, Jan. 31 2016
This book packs a huge punch in a short number of pages! The hard cover comes in at 79 pages and ebook at 49. I believe I first heard about this book through The Dynamic Catholic Institute, but I cannot remember if it was a tweet, email or Facebook link. But however I stumbled across it I am very thankful. I am currently working through a list of Catholic books to read this year, and this was the first one I finished.

The sections in this book are:

INTRODUCTION: The Problem (and the Goal)
It's time to make a mess
What needs to change

PART ONE: On Messes (and Thinking Differently about Them)
Messes can be good
How to make a good mess
The work of an artist
Where it all breaks down
Where the mess must start

PART TWO: On Foolishness (and What It Looks Like)
Why be a fool? A fool's heart
What we need
The radical life
Time to dance

PART THREE: On Evangelizing the World (When and How to Do It)
When you can start
So how do we do it?
The most foolish act of all

What's next?
Notes

This book stirs a lot up in our hearts and in our imaginations. The more if it I read the more excited I got. The book begins with: "There were no pews or seats, only cold, wet sand. But that wasn't going to stop three million energetic young people from celebrating Mass that day on Copacabana Beach in Brazil.
"Go!" said Pope Francis. "You have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community."" Talking about World Youth Day 2013 and the commission that Pope Francis gave to the youth present. He also quote Pope Francis in There were no pews or seats, only cold, wet sand. But that wasn't going to stop three million energetic young people from celebrating Mass that day on Copacabana Beach in Brazil. "Go!" said Pope Francis. "You have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community." And that is the premise of this book. We are called to be fools for Christ and to make a mess in the world. And through the rest of the book Matthew gives some guidance in how to go about that!

In the chapter on it being time to make a mess Matthew states: "Sure, we can point to many bright spots worth celebrating within the Church today, but the bleeding continues. None have yet reversed the mass exodus of modern man from church. We're in the midst of an identity crisis. We've forgotten we were made to live courageously." First he outlines some of the problems and then he goes on to challenge us to look at our own lives and mission and make changes to fufill the commission. He also declares "Are you ready to start a new era of evangelization unlike the world has ever seen? Good. Now let's get started.
Pope Francis was right. It's time to make a mess. It's time to change the world. And we are just the fools to do it." So will you take the rick, pick up the book and read it, but don't just put it on a shelf when you are done learn to live it!

Next he goes on to outline what needs to change. "Christianity has a very specific vision for how we should see the world and ourselves - a vision of man fully alive. But modern minds are skeptical. They don't take us seriously." And only we can do that by our witness but not specifically what we say but by what we do. Matthew says "Sure, we need inspirational leadership. We need solid teaching. Our organizations need to be more professional. We need to do community and fellowship better." And one of the most impacting statements in the book for me was "The truth is that the function of every no in Christianity is to provide us the freedom to say yes to something better, something corresponding positive points rather than the negative - when we talk about our faith in terms of what we are for rather than what we are against. This is an approach referred to as "affirmative orthodoxy." And it's an important lesson, but it's not enough." And "In other words, instead of talking about how beautiful the faith is, let's show the world its beauty. Instead of insisting how good the Church is, let's be good. Instead of lecturing about truth, let's live a life transformed by it." The only real lasting witness we will have is our own lives.

Matthew declares: "We forget that being a true Christian is not really about having the right opinions; it's about having the right heart - which is a very different thing. An orthodox life is not the mental challenge of staying between the lines, but an exercise in wildly overflowing the boundaries of the heart. Jesus' love is not measured and controlled. It is total and wild." Can we learn to live a strong passionate faith from a heart flowing with the power of the Holy Spirit? Again quoting Pope Francis: "Pope Francis points out that "the Church grows by attraction, not proselytizing." 6 The beauty in the Church is irresistible. The problem is that our sin distorts it. The saints learn to magnify that beauty through their love and humility, rather than distort it with proselytizing and pride. We need saints. And not just saints of the past - your sainthood." We need to be saints, saints in the world, living and working and serving.

There is an interesting quote from Peter Kreeft that really got me thinking "Can you imagine what twelve more Mother Teresas would do for this world? If twelve more people gave Christ 100 percent of their hearts 100 percent of the time and held nothing back, absolutely nothing?" Can you imagine how the world would be turned upside down? Later Matthew says: "We're scared to let go of our need to succeed. We're scared of not getting credit. We're scared of not getting the honor and power that come with whatever career path we're on. We're scared of missing an opportunity. We're scared of having our struggles and achievements go unacknowledged. We're scared of not maximizing our potential and our productivity. We're scared of being alone." So are you going to let your fears win, or will you open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and learn to be Jesus's hands and feet in the world.

This book will defiantly challenge you. All you have to lose is your frustrations, disappointments, and focus on self, And you have the whole world to gain and to serve! Will you try?

Stella Batts Needs a New Name
Stella Batts Needs a New Name
Price: CDN$ 5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book in an awesome series!, Jan. 27 2016
Recently I read my first Stella Batts book to check them out before recommending them to my daughter. I loved the concept and the writing, so I showed them to my oldest who is 9. She loved the cover and description so we added book 1 Stella Batts Needs A New Name to our reading list. Shortly thereafter my daughter received a homework assignment, she had to pick a book, read it, and make a bookmark representing the story and a brief description. She choose this book and so we read it together. Currently when we read together we alternate pages. She loved the story and as soon as she was done her assignment we started book 2.

These are great fun reads. They are much more realistic than a lot of children's fiction. They are stories about a family, and revolve around family and school life. Each book begins with a series of facts about Stella Batts, in Stella Batts Needs a New Name the list is as follows:

A List by Stella Batts: Things You Should Know About this Book
1. It's an autobiography. That means I wrote it and it's all about me. I'm eight years old, I'm in third grade, and I live in Somers, California. My favorite place in Somers is Batts Confections - that's the candy store my family owns, and there's a lot about it in this book.
2. There's also stuff about some of my favorite people, like my best friend, Willa, my parents, and even my sister, Penny, who copies me a lot but she's still one of my favorites.
3. I even wrote about some people I don't like very much, like Joshua, the biggest meanie in my class. Joshua calls me Smella, because of something that happened on our class nature walk.
4. That's when I decided I had to change my name to something that does NOT rhyme with Smella.
5. You'll just have to read this book to find out what happened next!

My daughter and I both really enjoy these stories. My daughter who is a somewhat reluctant reader pounced on the start of reading another book in this series. As such I cannot give it a higher recommendation. My daughters summary of the book is:
"Stella Batts needs a new name because on a school field trip she fell in dog poop. A boy in her class started making fun of her and started calling her Smella. Stella started to want to change her name, because of the teasing.

On the next field trip to Batts Confections, her family's store, Stella shares her wish to change her name with her friends. They decide they want to change their names as well. For their new names they decide on candy names, Kit Kat, Caramel, Truffle, Candace. By Changing their names things get very complicated very quickly.

Reading this book opened my eyes to the power of words. It made me realize that something done in fun can really hurt someone. Words really can hurt so we need to be careful about what we say. It also made me appreciate my name and the importance of names."

And she even handed in her assignment a week early she was so excited to work on it. As you can see it is a pretty powerful book for you and for children in your life. Give it a try and you might just become hooked on Stella Batts also.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun book great series., Jan. 19 2016
This was the second Encyclopedia Brown book That I have given a read. In some ways it is interesting reading these books and also the Hard Boys Books with my son currently. I first picked up a book in this series because Barry Lyga made mention of it on his blog. These are fun reads, especially waiting for meetings to start at work. And with almost 30 books in the series it will provide a lot of entertainment.

Leroy Brown known to everyone around town as Encyclopedia Brown, born is a ten year old detective from Idaville. Brown has a gift, he can see through events, stories and items and sort the facts and come up with the truth. His opening his own detective agency began one night at the dinner table when he helped his father the Chief of Police solve a case. His business sign states:

Brown Detective Agency
13 Rover Avenue
Leroy Brown, president
No case too small
25Cents per day
plus expenses

And with that the adventure begins. The cases in this volume are:
The Case of the Secret Pitch
The Case of the Balloon Man
The Case of the Ambushed Cowboy
The Case of the Forgetful Sheriff
The Case of the Hungry Hitchhiker
The Case of the Two-Fisted Poet
The Case of the Wounded Toe
The Case of Excalibur
The Case of the Glass of Ginger Ale
The Case of the Stomach Puncher

The cases in this volume are interesting. I did manage to figure all but one out. Though I did need to go back and reread one story as I had missed a crucial fact. I like that the books help a reader to really pay attention. I find that since I started reading these stories I have been more focused in my other reading also. I look forward to reading many of these stories with all three of my children.

One of the best guides for a children book I read is do I want to read it with my children and for these books that is an absolute yes. So pick it up and give it a try and if you read them when you were young introduce them to a young reader in your life.

Dragon Masters #1: Rise of the Earth Dragon (A Branches Book)
Dragon Masters #1: Rise of the Earth Dragon (A Branches Book)
Price: CDN$ 3.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Good beginning and should be a good series., Jan. 17 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book showed up in my recommended books because of reading some Dragon books by Chris d'Lacey and I thought I would give it a try. It is a good fun read and is now in the too be read list for my son and I to read together. There are currently 4 books available in this series with a 5th planned for the spring of 2016. The illustrations by Graham Howells are very wonderful and are on every page of the book. These books are geared for early readers from 1st-03rd grade and are set at a reading level of grade 2.

Young Drake is an onion famer and likely one of the poorest children in King Roland's Kingdom. One day while harvesting onions a soldier rides up and proclaims that Drake has been summoned to the castle. When Drake arrives he is informed that the Dragon stone has indicated he has the ability to become a Dragon master and so he has been brought to the castle to train. But he is not the only student there; the other students are Rori, Bo, and Ana. And each of them already has their own dragon. Drake is soon introduced to his dragon a brown earth dragon, that he names worm. Griffith the wizard is their teacher and advisor. And the one who interprets the Dragon stone. Soon the 4 children are training together but not really getting along well. As the children discover that not everything is as it appears events take a dark turn.

This was a good read, and introduction into the series. It was wonderfully illustrated, and well enough written that I have picked up the other books that are available to give them a read. Young children will love the illustrations and the story. It is a good beginning let's see where the story goes next.

Revenge of the Tiki Men! (The Weird Zone, 8)
Revenge of the Tiki Men! (The Weird Zone, 8)
Price: CDN$ 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun read, Jan. 14 2016
I went from reading the first book in this series to reading the last. My mistake but still a great read. There was nothing in the book that made it feel like anything was missing. If a book in a series can be read as a standalone, it holds up well especially books for children. I have enjoyed everything that I have read by Tony Abbott, I have read across series, genre's, from early readers to much more serious reads and they are all good reads. It is great to see Tony's earlier series coming back into print in eBook formats by Open Road Integrated Media. They are bringing back to life three of Tony's series, The Danger Guys, The Weird Zone and Cracked Classics. They have made 20 of Tony Abbott's out of print books available and I think that is awesome.

This the second series Tony Abbott wrote, and it was originally published in the mid 90's. These books are set in Grover's Mill and it is a town known to be more than a little strange. Sort of the center of a Triangle of strangeness. It focuses around close friendships, and our key characters are Liz, Holly, Sean, Jeff and Mike. They consider themselves normal, and most of the residents of the town are Zoners. Maybe Grover's Mill is so weird because the town lake is called lake lake. Or maybe it is because it sits in the center of a triangle made up of a secret government UFO testing base, a dinosaur graveyard, and Humongous Horror Movie Studios. This group of friends have nicknamed their town 'the weird zone' and to be honest a day would not be normal there unless if something really weird happened. Mike wishes for it to be a non-weird day but that does not last very long. For soon a giant Tiki head raised up from the ground right at home plate on the ball diamond. Followed by the appearance of Buddy Kool and an ever growing army of jungle men dressed in grass and mud and twigs, sort of covered in weeds. And that is just the beginning of the weird ness. Soon giant Tiki Heads are popping up all over the place and a primeval jungle starts taking over everything. It is up to the friends to save the day again!

This book was a good fun read, and I have started reading them with my son who loves them. It is like the earlier series Danger Guys, or later series Goodballs in many ways. It is a good fun read that children will enjoy. It is geared for a younger audience than some of his books, but he writes from 4-16 but as an adult I have enjoyed many of his books. I highly recommend this title. And look forward to reading more in the series.

Stella Batts: None of Your Beeswax #7
Stella Batts: None of Your Beeswax #7
by Courtney Sheinmel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 9.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good read should be a great series., Jan. 12 2016
I will be honest I sometimes start a series of children's books out of order to see if the books can stand alone. If a book later in the series can stand alone I am more likely to give the series a chance. To be honest I cannot remember how I first encountered the Stella Batts books, either a review from a blog I follow or a recommendation based on one of the book sites I use. But I thought it was a series my oldest daughter would be interested in so I gave this book a go. I was very happy with the results. These are very realistic reads. I have now started them with my daughter and she is as enthusiastic as I am about reading them.

The book starts off with Stella sharing "7 Things You Should Know About Me: Batts:
1. My name is Stella. (Oops, you knew that already.)
2. I'm eight years old.
3. I live in Somers, California, with my mom, my dad, my sister, Penny, and my baby brother, Marco.
4. My family owns a candy store called Batts Confections-we named it that because Batts is our last name and confections is a fancy word for candy.
5. Of all the things they sell at Batts Confections, fudge is my very favorite.
6. Some of my other favorite things are dolphins, the TV show Superstar Sam, and the color purple, since that was the color of my dress at Aunt Laura's wedding.
7. Okay this is number seven-did you know that this is my SEVENTH book, and did you know seven is a lucky number? I don't know why. But it doesn't matter, because it's time to get on with the story."

This book is the seventh in the series and currently there are 8 books available. In this book Stella discovers that secrets can be a bad thing. Even if the intent of the secret was good in can be very harmful. Stella deals with secrets about a pet that dies, a new2 surprise at their family store, and a secret project for a school assignment. Read and learn how she comes to terms with making a promise that in hindsight does not see that wise. And to some extent all of the secrets cause her problems, either at home, with her friends, in her class and more.

It was great reading a book that was so realistic. I think they will be great reads to share with my kids and friends of the family. I look forward to reading more of Stella's adventures and even trying some other books by Courtney Sheinmel.

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, Jan. 10 2016
I picked up this book because Barry Lyga made mention of it on his blog. I recall knowing the name but had never read an Encyclopedia Brown book until recently. Growing up with a dual form of dyslexia I did not read a lot of books when I was younger. In fact it was high school before I really became a reader. And maybe that is why I read across so many genres and love reading a good children's, middle grade or young adult book. I am very glad I added these books to me to be read list. It is always interesting starting a series of books that is finished and has a number of books. There are 28 books in the Encyclopedia Brown Books, a few have had title changes but 28 books is a long series no matter how you look at it. If they are all as good as this one I have a lot of reading ahead of me.

Encyclopedia Brown, born Leroy Brown is a ten year old detective from Idaville. He has a great gift for seeing through the straw and finding the needle. It all started one night when his father the Chief of Police shared details of a case over dinner and Encyclopedia pieced it together quickly. That summer he decided to open his own business the sign reads:

Brown Detective Agency
13 Rover Avenue
Leroy Brown, president
No case too small
25Cents per day
plus expenses

And with that the adventure begins. The cases in this volume are:
The Case of Natty Nat
The Case of the Scattered Cards
The Case of the Civil War Sword
The Case of Merko's Grandson
The Case of the Bank Robber
The Case of the Happy Nephew
The Case of the Diamond Necklace
The Case of the Knife in the Watermelon
The Case of the Missing Roller Skates
The Case of the Champion Egg Spinner

I had to read the solution for a few but after that I slowed down paid closer attention and figured them out. I am really looking forward to reading these with my son and oldest daughter. They are fin light easy to read mysteries.

My criteria for enjoying a book intended for young reads are 1. did I enjoy it as an adult, 2. do I want to share it with my children or children I know, 3. can I say yeah this was a good read regardless of intended audience? This book hits all three. And as such it was a great read. I have already gone on and read book two in this series and know I will read some more soon.

The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet Cookbook: Juice, Smoothie, and Plant-based Recipes Inspired by the Hit Documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet Cookbook: Juice, Smoothie, and Plant-based Recipes Inspired by the Hit Documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Price: CDN$ 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource., Jan. 7 2016
I have watched both Fat Sick and Nearly Dead I and Two a number of times. I have also read most of the books that Joe Cross has written and found all of them useful and well written but this might be the best if you are not going to read them all. It packs a lot of information in to just under 200 pages. It has great resources for why to juice, how to juice, hot to cook for a family while juicing. Then it has some amazing juice recipes and also recipes for a fruit and veggie dominated diet for after your reboot.

The chapters in the book are:

Introduction
How To Use This Book
Juicing
How to make a juice
Tips for storing juice
To peel or not to peel?
Juicing produce preparation guide
Substitution guide for juice ingredients
Let's talk about pulp
How to get the most nutritious, delicious produce
Juicing, blending, what's the difference?
SHOPPING AND COOKING
Produce shopping
Storing produce at home
Washing produce
Organic, local, or conventional?
A-Z produce prep for cooking Reboot-friendly veggies
Feeding The Family While Rebooting
Rebooting For Thyroid Conditions
Rebooting For Diabetes
After Your Reboot
The Recipes
Juices
Coconut Water Juices
Smoothies
Salads
Soups
Sides
Mains
Pulp
Resources
For Your Doctor

It contains 53 juice recipes, 4 coconut water juices, 11 smoothies, 11 salads, 5 soups, 5 sides, 5 main courses and 7 recipes to use up some of the pulp from your juicing.

Like all resources from Joe Cross and Reboot with Joe this book is an excellent addition to your health and fitness library. It is a great book and I enjoy using the recipes as jumping off points for my own creations.

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