The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:

Super-interesting, mostly-research-based book that details the habit loops of people (from athletes to addicts) and organizations. It’s full of interesting anecdotes and small business history lessons and functions mostly as a quick and easy read, one that is full of little snippets of advice on how you might change your personal habit loops, as well as concrete examples of how such patterns have worked in the past. There are definitely times when he’s chosen to present one particular side of a very controversial event, and other times where things seem to be a bit glossed over, but it’s a fun read (which I valued slightly more for entertainment/habit-thought-provoking, than actual research).

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Posted in Nonfiction

Because Dragons Love Milk (Chinese and English Editions)

It’s bedtime and Tycho is worried about the monsters in his room, particularly the dragon, a T-Rex, and an alligator. But his wise and loving father knows just how to handle the scary monsters and make sure that Tycho’s sleep is sweet and peaceful. Introduce your young precious ones to Because Dragons Love Milk, a new classic book they’ll hold in their hearts forever. Book is written to read smoothly in both languages, so that it’s a bilingual book for children.

There are three versions: English only, Traditional Chinese and English, as well as Simplified Chinese and English.

Like Unwell, this is a book that’s by one of the friend’s of our site, and also edited by friends from this site.

Posted in book promotion, Children's/Young Adult

Counting by 7s (Holly Goldberg Sloan)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:

Well-written, middle-school-appropriate story about a genius outcast/orphan who has to deal with the grief of losing her beloved adoptive parents and struggles to find a new home situation. There’s a lovable cast of side characters (the underachieving school counselor, the dictator-like Vietnamese matron, etc), a nice progression from super sad (the parents die in the first opening scene) to happy equilibrium/resolution, and lots of fun/quirky moments in-between. I’m not a big fan of the genius-protagonist thing, but this was fairly well-conceived and mostly believable.

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

The Book with No Pictures (B.J. Novak)

(great for 2, 3 year-olds and up)

I love it, my 3.5 year old loves it, even my 2 year old loves it.

As long as you’re an adult who can have a good sense of humor about reading lines like “My head is made of blueberry pizza,” it’s hard to go wrong.

Yes, it’s one long-running-meta-ish joke about being a nonsense book that’s all about “tricking” adults into saying their best friend’s a hippo named “boo boo butt” and yes, it may get old hearing your children repeat certain lines from the book, but even despite that, I think it’s a huge win.

This is the book we hand to our friends when they visit. It’s the only book that can reliably tear my toddlers away from the legos almost instantaneously. It’s one where the adults can’t help but make funny voices (to match the funny, nonsensical words), and it really is a must-have.

 

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Posted in Best of, Children's/Young Adult

Some Bugs (Angela DiTerlizzi, Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel)

Recommended, Repeatable

(great for 2-4 year olds)

This is a charming book — it’s one of those books that’s fun to read, that makes you just want to keep flipping the pages to finish the rhyme, and there’s just so much going on in every page that it’s sure to keep your kids completely entertained.

It’s a short, quick read, but one that my toddlers have asked for time and again.The words are fun and memorable (it quickly made it onto my son’s “completely memorized” list), the drawings are bright and whimsical, and there’s a last couple of pages of just bugs and bugs and bugs (that your kids will pore over and really, really concentrate on…)

Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Thief of Shadows (Elizabeth Hoyt)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:

Some nice characterization, some very intense sexual chemistry, and a lot of nice twists here and there: she’s the wealthy and experienced one, he’s the virgin with no real position. The background intrigue is just so-so (I often find it hit-or-miss) and the story-within-a-story was similarly just… ok and the Maiden Lane series with its many, many Ghosts of St. Giles is not holding together as believably as I’d like now that I’m a few books in. Still, the core romance is strongly written and has believable dips and climaxes that keep you entertained and emotionally involved.

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Posted in Romance

The Ideal Bride (Stephanie Laurens, Cynsters #11)

1.5 out of 5 stars

Definitely a disappointment…

This novel follows Michael Anstruther-Wetherby (he was tangentially introduced in Devil’s Bride, as he’s Honoria’s younger brother)during his search for the perfect political wife… someone who is passably pretty, who is a talented hostess and will help him in every step of his career. We’ve got the normal “what I think I want” vs. “what will make me happy” tension in that he originally picks a young, malleable gal and eventually sees the error of his ways, and there’s the trademark Laurens sensuality as well as the typical mystery/back story (spoilers below). The problem is… this was actually a very boring novel. Micheal is so supercilious about all-things-political that it was hard for me NOT to roll my eyes whenever we were following his thoughts…  also, because political careers are at stake, it’s all about not only social machinations, but the theories behind what it means to be diplomatic, and unobtrusive, etc, etc. It just… doesn’t have the normal depth of heat of her other novels, and is definitely a skippable-entry in the Cynster series.

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Posted in Romance

A Week to be Wicked (Tessa Dare, Spindle Cove Series)

3.5 out of 5 stars

This is one of those books that you really have to be in the mood for — not just that it’s romance, but that there are so many silly, inconceivably ridiculous twists and turns that fall flat (unless you’re perfectly in the mood for really over the top contrivances. The main characters are, themselves, interesting: the prototypical bookworm who runs into tree branches while reading and the charming rake with the tortured past.. They’ve always teased and fought with one another, but it’s during their week of traveling (and sleeping together, initially platonically!?!?) that they fall in love. While there are moments of sparkling dialog, for me, the crazy twists and turns were just too much, and I spent more time feeling exasperated than moved or involved.

 

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Posted in Romance

Leopard Prince (Elizabeth Hoyt)

3.5 out of 5 stars

This book has intense sexual chemistry, pretty decent character growth, some seriously interesting side characters, and a meh intrigue-danger side plot. Though I really enjoyed the book overall, it’s getting the slightly lower rating because I think there were some missed opportunities here. The difference in class (she’s the lady! he’s HER servant!) was super interesting, and could and (perhaps relative to the time period they’re living in) should have been explored more thoroughly. The emotional part of their relationship really felt contingent and dependent on some of the physical chemistry, and though it was enjoyable, it didn’t seem as good as it could have been.

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Posted in Romance

The Temporary Wife/A Promise of Spring

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This collection of regency-era romances isn’t really as strong as many of her other stories. While they’re both very readable, and each has its own moments, this is of the quickly read/quickly forgot variety. The Temporary Wife in particular feels like the more angsty-rewrite of her novel The Ideal Wife (which I found sweet and charming), and A Promise of Spring was too over-ridden by misunderstandings run amok. I felt that both had pacing issues, and while there were again, romantic moments in both, I don’t think either (separately or combined) justify the purchase price.

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Posted in Romance