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Old English Medical Remedies, Mandrake, Wormwood and Raven’s Eye, Sinead Spearing

Old English Medical Remedies, Mandrake, Wormwood and Raven’s Eye,  Sinead Spearing

Genre:  Health, Mind & Body , History

I’m kind of conflicted about this review. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which was actual historical remedies and then a discussion on individual issues from them in the light of today’s knowledge.
I’m fascinated by old ways, remedies that were surprisingly effective, gained from acute observation of patient, remedy and effects mixed in with what seems to us much weirdness, gathering herbs on certain days, standing in certain position, using different coloured materials and of course the ever present evils of the day….What I got was an intensely interesting read, but which was much more like an academic treatise, at times pretty hard going for a hobby historian like myself.
I think that really needs to be made clearer in the description as I can see from reviews several others felt the same.

I really enjoyed the remedies and discussions when they cropped up, learning about how many are finding their way into modern medicine. The discussion too on why practices that seem so irrelevant to us now, with our science knows all outlook, things like times, days, colours, that are all set down so precisely were so important and not the side dressing they appear.
It reminded me of the way I read years back that so many recipes called for “the water of a man-child” and that seems sexist. Did they really think male urine was somehow stronger, more special? No, but the penis naturally allows urine to remain sterile longer while female urine can get skin contamination more easily as its gathered. Simple but important stuff. They may not have know why, but observation and records will have shown them that male urine was more effective.
Then too we now have a whole school of theory based around bio-dynamics, incorporating moon schedules for planting etc.

I found fascinating the research now done on intention of thought, where research was done on stands of human DNA, one group were asked to hold the vial while maintaining a heightened state of emotional positivity, the second asked to mentally intend to unwind the strand of DNA and the third group asked to do both. There was a marked difference in the first two groups compared with the third, with that one showing material change. It lead to a conclusion that focused intention could produce a material change, a small study but certainly food for thought, and one that could explain why intention was regarded as so important.
We’re so quick to dismiss what doesn’t fit our current science theories that we often dismiss old words, and yet as shown on the MRSA antibiotic, we could be losing valuable cures. Just because there seems no science base, no logic doesn’t mean a theory or remedy in invalid. I remember my shock years back when my PC/IT son told me about water being research for computer chips as water has a memory…I still find that hard to take 😉

Its a fascinating read, but so intense and academic that I found it hard at times, and I’ve skimmed through, reading sections that catch my eye. Its certainly a read I’ll dip back into for sheer interest, and its very clear the author has a real knowledge and passion for the subject. I had convinced that what she wrote had been thoroughly researched and checked, and wasn’t just an opinion of hers, but something gleaned from thorough analysis of the texts available.
For me though a read that was a bit lighter, or a better description so I knew what to expect would have made me happier.

Stars: 4, a great read for anyone interested in old remedies and the history of why they were so used.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

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A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, Shoukei Matsumoto

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, Shoukei Matsumoto

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind by [Matsumoto, Shoukei]

Genre: Health, Mind & Body , Religion & Spirituality

I like to read books about other cultures and religions, and thought this sounded interesting. Its a quick and easy read, very slanted towards monks and temple life but with some parallels that apply to everybody.

I do find when I’ve had a mammoth blitz on the house that I feel better, that I get pleasure from seeing a clean room so I can understand the ethos about taking pride in cleaning, in doing a job well. I think the message I got from it was that and also give a task your full attention, don’t let your mind wander but focus and appreciate what you are doing as an important task. Its not just cleaning a floor, but making the home smell good, appealing to visitors, a place you can take pride in and focusing your mind while doing so lets some of the other clutter in there go, relaxes us. Well, that’s the way I read it 😉 and it does make sense to me.

I made a note about this part that resonated with me. “Adherence to the past and misgivings about the future will fill your head, wresting your mind from the present. That is why we monks pour ourselves heart and soil into the polishing of floors. Cleaning is training for staying in the now. Therein lies the reason for being particular about cleanliness.” Sometimes we’re so busy looking ahead, to whats yet to come but which can change and looking to the past which we can’t change that we don’t appreciate today. Its time we’ll never get back so enjoy it.
When early in the book he is talking about Buddhism, and not harming other creatures he explains by keeping the temples clean they avoid insect and other infestations which they would then need to deal with, so its easier to keep to their beliefs by preventing it happening in the first place. My agnostic cockney gran used to say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so clearly that transcends countries and religions.

I am going to try to take on some of the things I’ve read, make cleaning a regular schedule instead of my current ad-hoc when-I-feel-like-it one…and to focus on what I’m doing wholly instead of letting my mind wander. Like most of us I could do with some calm so its well worth trying.

Stars: 5. a short but very interesting book. Mostly centred around monks and temples it never the less has an ethos we can bring into our own cleaning regime.

 

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

 

Thirty Years in Wilderness Wood by Chris Yarrow

Thirty Years in Wilderness Wood
by Chris Yarrow

Thirty Years in Wilderness Wood by [Yarrow, Chris]

Genre: Biographies and memoirs, Outdoors and Nature

Its taken me a while to review this as its not a kindle ARC, but an Epub, and I have issues reading on a PC, but finally got through it.
Its a really interesting read, detailing a family’s progress from first idea, searching for the right wood, purchasing and of course building a home and business from it.
I enjoyed reading about their day to day struggles, with not just Nature but Those (nominally) In Charge. The Officials who make the rules, but don’t always realise the one size doesn’t fit all, and things like soil type can vary within a few hundred yards, therefore growing some kinds of trees, while it may be in Local Plans, just won’t work.

I think in the UK we can get OTT over planning, obsessional almost over control, and Chris and Anne find this again and again. They want what ostensibly the planners want, to return a woodland to a working woods, to look after, to protect, to encourage healthy trees, but sometimes – as I’ve found myself – officials are too ready to land Tree Protection Orders on trees that just don’t need it. Rules and regulations get in the way of practicality and doing whats right for that woodland, not necessarily whats right on paper or proscribed in Local Plans.
I really felt for them when they came up against officials and locals determined not to listen to their plans, convinced they were out to ruin the land. Somehow though they work through, and I loved the successes and the descriptions of the working wood, and that gorgeous house.

It gave me lots to think about, opened my eyes to the many things that can be done with woodlands. I wish I’d been able to do something along these lines when younger.
I’ve always had a love of nature, enjoying growing things and seeing them mature, and trees of course can take a very long time to reach maturity, but there are ways of making money from younger trees while encouraging mature ones for future generations.
It’s not just wood that’s harvested, but leaf mulch, charcoal making, school trips and education, cafes and woodland walks, basket and hurdle making, so many things not just planks and logs from trees.
Of course we also get the benefit of plants and fungi that flourish in healthy woodland, the animals, birds and insects that depend on the trees in all states from young to rotten, and of course they way trees clean the air.
I love the keeping of old crafts, of the way woods were used in the past, I feel we do let so much old knowledge go in the quest for modernisation. The UK has a centuries long forestry heritage, and I’d like to play a part in keeping that.

Its not all fun and games though, trees take a lot of work, and though I’ve only four acres of land it seems there’s always tree limbs need pruning, sapling thinned out to encourage strong growth and dead trees to be felled – only yesterday, 30th December, we had to remove two silver birches in danger of falling into the road. It natural progression that trees age and need to be managed, but its expensive if like me you can’t do it yourself. Its been entertaining read of Chris and Anne’s struggles and successes, and anyone interested in doing something along these lines will learn much for the book.

Stars: five, a practical and entertaining read, with careful dollops of gentle humour to balance.
Arc supplied for review by Netgalley and Publishers

 

My Journey, A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods, A Book That May Save Your Life, Valarie Hendriks

My Journey, A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods,
A Book That May Save Your Life, Valarie Hendriks

My Journey: A Victory Over Cancer Through Alternative Methods by [Hendriks, Valarie ]

Genre: self-help, health, mind and body

Having had cancer myself 22 years ago, stories like this interest me and I’ve always had an interest on complemetary and alternative medicine.
I think its a very long time though since a book has made me as angry as this one.

Its a dangerous book IMO, that suggests conventional treatment kills, that  current treatment is basically a stitch up between doctors getting paid by treatment, drug companies wanting to make money, that the medical profession as a whole are ignoring these simple and inexpensive cures. She posits that alternative treatment cures, and the book is full of sweeping statements that have no data or available research to back them up, though plenty of info from the makers of each. No bias there then.
Its presenting these statements, opinions and speculations as fact that angers me, and I feel its very dangerous for those who are desperately hoping for a cure.
I know I searched hard when I was undergoing treatment, to see what I could be doing to help myself, and back then its was all Sharks Cartilage, Apricot Kernels and coffee enemas that were the holy grail of alternative remedies. ( Coffee enemas feature here too…)

There were times when we agree, she promotes healthy eating and looking after your body and I feel that’s very true, we need to ensure our bodies can cope with what we want, give them the tools to fight off abnormalities. Its a common sense approach that a physically strong body should respond better to whatever treatment, whatever illness were dealing with.
She’s a strong promoter of God and Prayer, for me its Positive thinking – I’m not a non believer, but I’m not sure if its god that’s who I believe in, but it helps to think there’s someone, something greater than us who can push our health in the right direction.
I did find the religious pushing, the constant cheeriness, exhortations to Smile, group hugs, the use of Lots Of Capitals and Exclamation Marks were trying after a while!!!!
Its a tone that didn’t work for me though, but it’s just a personal thing and will be fine for others.

What made me cross too was her constant pushing of certain manufacturers, her constant stating of her opinions and online finds as facts – ie Citing a case quoted by the inventor of the hot sandwich, how within one week of eating a “hot sandwich” every day – that’s basically habanero peppers, garlic and organic butter on organic bread -the tumours in both his (patients) colon and liver had disappeared. (loc 2670)
Kelley Eidem, inventor of this sandwich also has a hub page – “how I cured stage 4 cancer in two weeks for less than the cost of a night at the movies.”
Hmnn now – do I think that’s true? Is there details of the person who was cured? Is there any form of backing data, facts, real people coming forward who have been cured by this method? Is there really a huge conspiracy against this and similar treatments by the whole medical profession and drug companies, ensuring we still get ill just to keep them in jobs? They’re not perfect, they’re human and make mistakes but to take things that far is something I can’t feel is right.
Then she goes on about how awful chemo is, ( true – but sadly necessary for lots of us), how more people die from the chemo than the cancer – again no backing data, and a quick sentence sneaked in among the heavy pushed alternative remedies tells us she had treatment of Rituxan – but that’s OK because “Rituxan is not chemotherapy. Rituxan is a type of antibody therapy….”
Well, that’s true to an extent, its what the makers say, but its certainly conventional treatment for certain cancers, and not one of the natural vitamin supplement or coffee enemas she’s so fond of. Chemotherapy is just that to me, therapy made from chemicals, from research of all kinds, some of which are man made and some found in nature. Rituxan is certainly that, so to suggest her cancer was cured solely by alternative methods is a little stretching things. Rituxan is actually made by fusing part of a mouse body with part of a human antibody, not quite a simple therapy.  There are deadly remeies in nature too, arsenic, cyanide, lead, so many things that are “natural2 can also kill. Its not nature good – man-made bad. Both have points for and against

Maybe the treatment in US is very different to UK, but when I underwent chemo some 22 years back I had a battery of tests, x-rays, CT and MRI scans, blood tests, urine tests both before, during and after to ensure that my body was able to cope with the chemo, that it would help, not hinder recovery. My chemo was tailored to me, not a blunderbuss of “might help” chemicals. She kind of suggests in US they throw that sort of treatment at a patient without all that monitoring, thus the many that she says die from the treatment not the disease, and I find it hard to believe it would vary so much from UK/rest of the world in US.
I’m just so angry that she derides conventional treatment, makes these sweeping statements about how her research has shown that more people die of chemo effects after they’ve been cleared of cancer, that having chemo is akin to a death sentence, that with the right combo of vitamins, coffee enemas, using Bentonite clay inside and outside the body, massages, special saunas, fasting on juices for up to 14 days at a time etc you can be cured ( and the power or Prayer, she’s a great fan of God’s help – and that’s good for her but not for everyone.)
When people are diagnosed, especially when the chances of living are minimal, then its natural to look for something we can do ourselves, and this book just takes me back to those sharks cartilage days. I worry that people will only see the alternative remedies as the cure, and not the very real conventional treatment she had.
Spurning data backed, tested and verified results of conventional treatment in favour of those alternatives could mean the difference between life of death. If anyone is going to do that don’t just rely on one person’s words, check facts, look up some of the science, look for results, for real people that have undergone what your doing.
I’m not saying blindly accept what is offered conventionally, you should ask questions there too, what, how, why am I having….Its your body, you are the one taking the risk so look very carefully.

What I can say is don’t be disheartened by this book, don’t feel its all one way or the other, that if you don’t follow this regime, if you go with conventional treatment you are going to die.
I have been cancer free for 22 years now, after an amputation and two rounds of experimental chemotherapy. By the time my tumour was diagnosed it was very big, very advanced, I was lucky it hadn’t spread. My chances of surviving were assessed at just 15%.
Ididn’t have lots of alternative therapies, I did put my trust in the doctors who treated me having asked them and received answers to my questions. I didn’t go for healthy eating all the while – I tried as much as I could but didn’t always feel like eating anything, never mind swallowing a battalion of supplements. I couldn’t have afforded them in all likelihood anyway, nor the special saunas and as for coffee enemas, well, I’d have to be very convinced they work.

I’m glad that whatever worked for her did, but whether it was the conventional treatment or the alternative that worked who knows?
I’m all in favour of complementary therapy, something many cancer hospitals offer, all in for helping ourselves, of trying to wrest some form of control of our illness, not let it take over our lives, but Cancer is unpredictable – we can do a lot to help ourselves by way of avoiding unhealthy lifestyles, by ensuring we eat and drink sensibly, look after our bodies, and sometimes it regresses for no known reason. It just isn’t as simple as she makes out and I worry she’s putting out a dangerous message.

Stars: One, sorry, I’m sure Valarie put her heart and soul into writing this book, I’m sure she strongly believes what she’s written but that doesn’t mean alternative is best or that conventional kills.
If you want to go the alternative route talk to your doctors, research for yourself what actual results have been verified, not just someone saying “xyz people have been cured by….” Don’t get fooled by smoke and mirrors

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens by [Adler, Debbie]

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine , Parenting & Families

I’ve been lucky in my family, my children have never had allergies that are a serious issue. My daughter was brought up on goat milk as she reacted against cows milk, but she outgrew that by around two years old.
She became a strict vegetarian at nine, so food labeling and ingredients became a normal part of life for us. Its amazing what gets tucked into the most innocent of foods, and we found animal based gelatine crept into so much.
Then her third child was born with multiple allergies, cows milk, goat milk, soya, wheat, eggs, and she was advised to avoid meat and fish at weaning plus all nuts. It meant sticking strictly to label reading again, and I found 20 years on manufacturers still putting in things that to my mind weren’t necessary. Orange ice lollies, the juice kind, we were amazed they have dairy in them. Why? Its not needed.

For anyone in that situation, or indeed anyone concerned about what exactly we’re eating this book is perfect. I doubt it’s for those who claim “intolerance” but eat those foods “on a good day”, they don’t have the determination to change what they eat, just to inconvenience others….
Allergies are serious, life threatening, not a choice issue.

If I was starting my family again I’d use this book as a key element of family nutrition. Its not full of weird recipes and ingredients everyone is unfamiliar with, but favourite ones that Debbie has carefully researched, so they can be reproduced from ingredients that are both healthy and non allergenic.
It does mean changing the whole way of looking at food and ingredients though. I’ve always done what I think of as “clean” eating, making most of out meals from scratch, not buying ready meals. That’s how I was brought up, and it wouldn’t be difficult to change that to this way of eating.
Debbie’s done all the hard work, and though the initial food lists look daunting they’re not and I’m sure it would soon become second nature to use these instead of what we ordinarily have in the cupboard.  It’s a simple matter to swap the usual ordinary flour, sugar, fat etc to one of those she recommends. That way you can still use your old favourite recipes, just make them better for everyone.
Its not all dry nut-roast, lentil burger and meat free loaf stuff either, but recipes that really do sound mouthwatering and attractive.
I remember when Brennan ( the grandchild mentioned above) was one, the challenge to find a recipe for a cake that was egg, dairy,wheat and soya free. Even the hospital swap lists didn’t really deal, advising those with wheat allergies to swap with soya, the same for dairy. If you’re allergic to them all they didn’t have an answer. Fortunately Vegan recipes helped me source a chocolate cake recipe, that was tasty and satisfied the Birthday Cake remit. If we’d had this book though, we could have varied his diet so much more, with food the whole family would enjoy.

If my children were young I’d definitely use this as a daily eating guide and change my pantry ingredients. With the internet its pretty easy to source most foods now, and the ones in here can mostly be found in big supermarkets now anyway. Its just ingredients to hand and mindset that really needs changing, and I’m sure after a few weeks it would become second nature.

For personal preference I think conventional print format is better for recipe books ( in fact most non fic books). It makes browsing and choosing what to cook so much easier I find. As I’ve now eye issues and can’t read them though, I’m thankful of the e-book versions.

Stars: Five, the book to give anyone as a new home gift. Packed with mouth watering healthy recipes.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Colored Pencil Painting Portraits, Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life. Alyona Nickelsen

Colored Pencil Painting Portraits, Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life.  Alyona Nickelsen

Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life by [Nickelsen, Alyona]

Genre: non fiction

Like many artists I’ve accumulated a mass of materials. Some artists stick to one medium, I like to try anything and everything so my summerhouse/studio is crammed with materials.
Not so expensive as it seems, I paint for fun, sell a few, and from the start any sales I made support new materials. Throw in birthdays and xmas and it soon adds up. In among them I’ve some watercolour pencils, some like traditional ones, some very waxy. I hadn’t really considered soft and oil pastels as pencils either, but in a way they fit the description. I do like the immediacy of these, the way my hand is on the canvas without the brush barrier in the way.

In this book Alyona tells us about different types of pencil and ways of making them last. The traditional sharpening method is incredibly wasteful, something I hadn’t realised. Also I’ve used sandpaper and gesso treated board with soft pastels, but never thought of using coloured pencils on them.
As with all materials the quality varies considerably, and my ethos is to always buy the best you can afford.
I’ve seen people very dispirited with their paintings, when they’re trying to use cheap, thin paper, grainy poster paints, pound shop brushes etc. Nan always used to say “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” and that’s really true with art materials. Better to buy a dozen top quality basic colours and learn how to blend them, than a fifty pack of cheap pencils. Those will fade, won’t blend easily and the colours will be bland as they’ve little real pigment. Another of Nan’s adages – “cheap always comes dear in the end”, where money is wasted if you can’t use what you’ve bought, and end up spending more on getting what you balked against buying because of cost.

I’m certainly going to get my pencils out again and play. One of the issues I found was that once I’d added a layer of colour its difficult to get a second one on, unless I used it very lightly, and almost impossible to add a third as the tooth of the paper was covered. Alyona mentions a fixative that gives another sort of coating over the colours, without spoiling them, but allowing more colour to be applied on top. That’s really useful, and great for whites and other pale highlights. I’m a bit of a spontaneous artist, add the pencil, paint, whatever, and work along making the painting up as I work. That means so often I’ve already coloured over where I later decide I want a highlight, but now with some fixative I can add it.

There is lots of advice on portraits of course, from how to pose the sitter, to how best to flatter them without losing the identity of the sitter.
Techniques too are covered with some wonderful step by step illustrations, and lots of completed paintings with tips.
I’d never thought of using a medium or physical shaper for blending either, as I do with paint, only ever used fingers, and that gives yet another different effect.
Pencils are such a great medium for taking out and painting outdoors, easy to transport, very little needed except pencils, support and maybe some fix and blenders. I’ve done a little of that using my sketches for further paintings in other mediums, but of course now I see how I can use them to create artworks in their own right.

I think one of the issues facing those promoting their use is that they are still seen as very much a child’s toy, very limited in application for artists, when in fact after reading this book I can see they are incredibly versatile.
Its a mindset thing, something that takes time to change but with fabulous portraits like the ones in this book we can see just how versatile pencils can be.

Stars: Five, a fabulous addition to the artists library

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The A-List Diet, Fred Pescatore. Tom, Ann Voss Peterson

The A-List Diet, Lose up to 15 Pounds and Look and Feel Younger in Just 2 Weeks, Fred Pescatore

The A-List Diet: Lose up to 15 Pounds and Look and Feel Younger in Just 2 Weeks by [Pescatore, Fred]

Genre: Health, Mind & Body

Hmnnn, if like me you’ve been in a lifelong weight battle that headline Lose up to 15 Pounds and Look and Feel Younger in Just 2 Weeks will appeal. So I eagerly dived into this book and….
Well, if you’ve a Science degree maybe you’ll follow it better. My degree is Law, and some of those papers were pretty dull, but they had nothing on this.
It felt like my poor word selection lookup on my paperwhite was in use several times on far too many pages with all the fancy/complex terms he uses.
I’ll pick a page totally at random and quote a few lines just so you can see what I mean about words. Ok, its loc 1194: “…of the cell to the mitochrondria, where it is used to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel that powers all cellular activity”. Further down that page he talks about Aspartic acid being good for the mind, increasing NADH which boosts production of neurotransmitters, and removes excess toxins from cells especially ammonia, which is damaging to the brain.
You thought this was a diet book didn’t you? A magic fix to help you lose that stone quickly. Well, there are recipes and ordinary-ish advice, but they come quite a way into the book after you battled through all the science stuff first, and read about recommended tablets etc. And of course there’s lots of them, but it’s OK, Fred sells them.
So he starts off with a week long detox, assuring us we will not get hungry, and citing a patient who had persistent and so far untreatable pain and fatigue issues. She was one of the first to try his detox, and after looked like a whole new person! She lost 8 lbs, regained colour to her face, and talked about going back to work after she’d thought she wouldn’t ever be able to. Sounds a little miraculous to me.
Of course there’s also the proviso found in all diet books, the one we never pay attention to, that says check with your GP before starting and you may not lose as much weight as suggested.

So what is the detox? Well, basically nothing for first two days except water and herbal teas, then a little broth after that. Later in the week we get to add…eggs, then avocado and finally a few nuts and fish. And the pills of course: a good multi-vitamin, which he sells at 2 three times a day, a detox supplement formula ( again he makes one) at 2 three times a day, and one Reg’Active ( that’s what’s written,not sure what it is) twice per day. Its not hard to see how a week of this will result in weight loss, but a lot harder for me to believe I won’t be hungry, especially the first two days!
After that it depends on what sort of person you are as to what you eat, he breaks people down into six different types and treats each differently, which I found interesting. There’s some pretty comprehensive lists of foods according to what type of person you are, but they seem to be mainly along the lines of lean protein and vegetables, avoiding carbs and starchy veg and including only a little fruit.
It kind of makes sense as these foods are good for the body and do increase metabolism, but I’m not yet convinced.
One issue I have as a UK reader is that I know many of these foods by a different name, but there are also many that I haven’t a clue what they are, and they’re certainly not available in the rural part of the country where I live.
I know the internet is great for sourcing most stuff, but not fresh food. I’m thinking of creme fraiche qurut, coconut butter soy milk ( unless maybe that’s two things and a misprint?), queso fresco Gervais, chaource, eposses, harz, livarot ( that doesn’t sound good for liver 😉 ) caprini, abondance….you see what I mean here? This is just a fraction of the list. Once past week one and the supplements needed there, we need more for the next parts of the diet, specially formulated by Fred.

What I like about the diet is no calorie counting, no fat gram counting and long lists of foods that can be eaten ( even if I don’t know what many of them are). I enjoy reading about why and how certain things work, it helps me to stick to a diet when i know, for example, that lean protein boots metabolism which in turn helps fat burning.
There’s a useful section of recipes included in the second half of the book, but they are once more pretty complex. For example breakfast of fried egg and gruyere on a bed of avocado has nine ingredients and mexican fried eggs has thirteen..vegetable soup has seventeen, stuffed chicken and squash ribbons has fifteen. I find the more ingredients, the less likely I am to make a recipe for every day use. Too long in the kitchen and I want to nibble.
I do like that Fred sells the specific tablets needed.

What I don’t like about this book though is that Fred sells tha tablets. Yep, that’s ight, I do and don’t lie it. Do in that its easy to get them ( in US anyway), and don’t in that the cynic in me is thinking do we really need them? Is this just a way to get more money out of people?
Then IMO he goes too far in the explainations, blinding the reader with scientific terms and stats and words we’ve never heard of. That makes me a bit suspicious, maybe I’m just a cynic, but I like simple transparency. Not everyone is like me though, some like the fuller texts.
Back at work some 20 years ago I was talking to a head teacher about one of the floors we cleaned. I told him I’d brought a new product for the cleaner to use, no machine polishing needed, as it was a new trial of a self shining, floor sheen emulsion. Or something like that… It was a tiny school, very little profit and the company wouldn’t spring for the expense of a floor polisher. If I’d said no need for a machine I’ve got a different polish, he wouldn’t have been happy. Suggest its something new and fancy and he was. Some people need the complexity more than they want the transparency. I guess its like needing scientific terms to let you be able to believe, rather than just understand how it works.
I think in theory this is a good weight loss book – if you can stick to it and don’t mind spending lots on supplements.
I think the headline 15 lbs in 2 weeks is something most people will focus on and few will achieve. Celebrity diets are fine, they tend to have chefs to source, weight, measure and cook everything, but for the ordinary person I can’t see this book being really helpful.
For me its not a diet that appeals, I’d rather get my vitamins and nutrients from real food than a pill.

Stars: Three, for me its not tempting but I guess it might appeal to others who are dedicated to what they eat, and have patience to follow this. It does have some useful advice, even if its all locked up in jargon and soundbites.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Tom, Ann Voss Peterson

Tom (Renegade Magic) by [Ann Voss Peterson]

Genre:  Romance, Mystery and thrillers

I knew this was a trilogy, written by three different authors, but didn’t realise each section would be so short, this part of the story is only just over 1000 kindle locations, around 80 pages I’d guess.

I have issues with shorts, novellas, I find they just don’t let me explore the characters and the story in the depth I need to enjoy it. That’s not so for everybody, many readers love the brevity of stories like this, especially those with little free time.

It did mean that though I found the story interesting, intriguing even, although I hadn’t read part one, but that I felt it was just too slick, cut and dried, easy answers.

Hardly had an event happened that the solution was found, everything was very quick with no time for the characters to mull over, make mistakes. It felt like problem, solution, sorted, within a few pages.

There’s such a lot going on here that it means nothing really gets explained, contains any great mysteries or needs deep thinking to ponder whats going to happen, because turn a few pages and it does 😉

Its well written, intriguing and has characters and a storyline I think I’d like if I could know them in more detail, but for me its all just too quick, too short.

If that’s what you want though, a quick, sensual read with a side of mystery and puzzles that get solved promptly, then this is a read you may love.

Stars: Three, its a good read, just too short for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Candy Is Magic, Real Ingredients – Modern Recipes, Jami Curl

Candy Is Magic, Real Ingredients – Modern Recipes,  Jami Curl

Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes by [Curl, Jami]

Genre:   food and wine, cooking.

I love my kindle but there are some books, non fiction mostly, that I feel are better in print and this is one of them.
I read it on my kindle fire, at least there I can appreciate the stunning colour photos. and drool at the wonderful confects created.

When my kids were young I used to make toffee, mainly for toffee apples and millionaire’s shortbread, something they all loved. ( And probably with a million calories in, though very delicious…)
Of course I burned it a few times, soon learned that soaking burned pans lifted off the burnt sugar in time, but the results of my experiments were always a bit hit and miss.
I didn’t have kitchen scales or a thermometer, used to use the cold water cracking method of timing, which isn’t accurate…somehow having several bad batches put me off and I stopped.
Reading this book though gives me the enthusiasm to restart, make some for Xmas gifts and birthdays, and just for fun.

The recipes are clearly set out and very well devised, so that the amateur cook can follow using the recommended tools.
There isn’t a need to buy too much, scales and thermometer seem to be the basic must haves, with other things recommended but not essential. The recipes don’t have 101 hard-to-find ingredients. That is so off putting when something you want to make has ingredients you just can’t find, or have to buy a huge pack to get the few grams needed for a few lollies or toffees.
The combinations used for flavouring sound delicious, and will also spur the reader on to their own ideas.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to flavours, some you’ll like and some will get a pass…but all will be perfect if you follow the easy steps laid out here.

I want to get back into toffee making, know now why my attempts at fudge went wrong, and the lollipops, those clear ones with little seeds etc in for decoration, I really want to try those. Maybe some candy canes for the tree at xmas too. I love all things glitter and metallic so I thought I could add some edible gold leaf or some gold dust to the clear lollies and have a bit of edible glitz for xmas.

Stars: Five, an inspiring book, to create sweets to satisfy cravings without filling your body with preservatives and artificial flavours.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Inspired!, True Stories Behind Famous Art, Literature, Music, and Film, Maria Bukhonina

Inspired!, True Stories Behind Famous Art, Literature, Music, and Film,  Maria Bukhonina

Inspired!: True Stories Behind Famous Art, Literature, Music, and Film by [Bukhonina, Maria]

Genre:   Biographies and memoirs

I love the stories about who, why and how inspiration brought about paintings, stories and relationships so this was a fun read.

I’m a bit of a wiki addict and this was very much like reading that, but in a bit more depth.
There’s some fascinating stories here, and I was absorbed reading about them. I didn’t read right through, but picked up and put down absorbing individual stories, rather than info-dumping with too much.
My husband brought me some paperback about individual artists a few years back and some of this overlapped but there was also much more that I didn’t know, which let me onto a fact finding mission via the internet for more details.

I’m always pondering how and what inspired works, and thinking if things were different, if people hadn’t met in that way, or perhaps not at all, if their families had been more or less supportive, it makes me wonder just how things evolve.
In my own case it was being suddenly disabled and retired from work that led me down the art path – if things had been different would I have taken that journey or gone a different way. so much of our lives interacts with what we do that there are many possible different ways unfolding over the years.

If you like not only looking at paintings, reading books, watching films and going to theatre but researching how these things came about you’ll find this a fascinating read.
I have it as a kindle file and its ok like that but its one of the few books that I feel are best appreciated in traditional prints format.

Stars: Four, an interesting and absorbing read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money

Reblogged from http://nicholasrossis.me/
Interesting reading for authors. I recently had an email with a survey on what I enjoy in romance reads, and I think this kind of data is important for authors.

You can write any book of course, and you can choose what you want it to be about and that’s your choice but if you want to make a living then you need to know what readers of your genre want. Having written your book data like this from Nicholas is important so you don’t waste your precious funds on places that don’t deliver a return.
It mentions Facebook – I’m assuming that’s some kind of ad promotion rather than just posting on own sites, and hoping others pass it on – I’ve found lots of gems that way. Read a brilliant one last night on KU that I found via that kind of FB post

Patricia Finney  Love without Shadows Love without Shadows by [Finney, Patricia]

 

From: http://nicholasrossis.me/2016/11/04/call-to-arms-year-long-survey-reveals-which-book-advertiser-offers-the-best-value-for-money/

Last year, I shared with you the result of my Call to Arms, on my very popular post, Book Marketing Results 2015. I now have collected enough data to follow up with this year’s results. Like …

Source: Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money

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