Reviews of Three Diet Books…

If you know me, you know I have this small obsession with diet books. I love to read them and contemplate them and compare and analyze them.

What I don’t like to do is follow them.

So – for today I have a quick overview of three diet books that I’ve read through Net Galley. I have not followed their plans. My goal here is to give you some information on these books so you can decide if you want to read them yourselves.

The first book I read was “The S factor Diet” subtitled “the happiest way to lost weight” by Lowri Turner.  The “S” in the title refers to serotonin. The premise behind this book is that chemical imbalances lead to weight gain and/or inability to lose weight. I liked the premise of this book as it seems logical scientifically. I also really liked how the author doesn’t push supplements but gives various  venues to find these needed chemicals naturally through foods. According to the checklist provided, I need more serotonin and less cortisol in my system. Sounds reasonable to me.However, at the same time, I can’t find any credentials on Ms. Turner. There is no little list of letters after her name suggesting she is a nutritionist/dietician/doctor/etc. Perhaps I missed something?

This book releases in January and is not available for pre-order (that I could find) on Amazon.

The next book I read was “The Zen Diet Revolution” by Faulks, Faulks, and Faulks (one listed as “Dr”),  which focuses on the importance of meditation and in making small changes in order to exact big differences. While I love this premise in principal, I’m not sure it would work for me. My body tends to hit a saturation point where I can no longer make incremental changes (think: marathon training). I would love to believe, though, that I could slowly adjust to eating about 1200 calories a day – over time – and be at peace with that.

This book also releases in January.

Lastly I read “The Virgin Diet”. At first I thought, “Um, may be too late for this one.” However, this book was written by nutrition expert JJ Virgin. She espouses that many people have food intolerances and these are making people’s bodies inflamed and unhealthy and unable to lose weight. As a person with food allergies, this book really spoke to me. It makes sense that if your body is reacting to the things you put in it, you won’t be healthy. Virgin proposes that you cut out the seven most common allergens: gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, peanuts, corn,and eggs for a period of time (3 weeks) to calm your system, then slowly add them back in to see if you can tolerate them. Her byline is: drop 7 foods, lose 7 pounds, in just 7 days! For me, this was a bit drastic. I will say, though, that I cut way back on dairy (specifically milk and cheese and yogurt) and found that my stomach felt much better – so perhaps she’s on to something!

Have you read any good diet/nutrition books lately? If so, let me know!

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copies!

YA Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Yes – it’s another YA thriller read about wealthy prep school kids – one of my favorite genres for a quick, downtime, finish-in-one-sitting read. In this story, which I got through Net Galley, high school senior Sera is forced (by her parents) to go to her ex-best friend Ariel’s birthday party. The only thing she’s really looking forward to is seeing current pop idol Hudson Winters perform. However, right at the height of the party, masked men break in and start killing everyone, holding the majority of the teens hostage, while they seek to take over Ariel’s dad’s multi-billion dollar company. In the initial chaos, Ariel slips unnoticed into a secret passageway in the walls and plans on staying there until the crisis is over. Only Sera knows where she is (she is her ex-best friend after all!). Will Sera rat her out in order to save her own life? Will everyone continue to be brutally murdered as this book goes on? Will we figure out who is behind this violent atrocity? Read it to find out! Due to violent/disturbing scenes, I have to say not for the younger set. Kudos to Ms. Benedis-Grab for making some of the “prep school” kids not ridiculously rich and all of them fairly typical!
Thanks, Net Galley and Merit Press, for my copy!

Quick Review: “Princess Elizabeth’s Spy” by Susan Elia MacNeal

I grabbed this novel from Net Galley as it seemed like the type of historical cozy mystery I would like: it’s the early 1940’s, and Maggie Hope, young British spy and former secretary to Mr. Churchill, takes on a mission as math tutor to Princess Elizabeth (today’s QEII) in order to keep an eye on things at Windsor Castle. Maggie has no shortage of folks that seem suspicious, and she starts to have feelings for a few of the men she comes to know. There is plenty of back story here as this is the second novel in a series. Maggie struggles in her spy training. She is looked down on for being a woman. She has a fiance who is missing in action. She has a complicated relationship with her father (whom she always thought was dead). She questions her mother’s death in an accident. There’s even more going on in these books that I won’t go into — but I really enjoyed the period, the details, the plotline, and the fast-paced writing. It kept me reading until the end (which I had figured out in advance, but oh well!). They reminded me of Rhys Bowen’s “Her Royal Spyness” series.

Thanks, Net Galley and Bantam Press for my copy!

Review: “The 13th Day of Christmas” by Jason Wright

I’ve received a few Christmas books to review this season through Net Galley, and “The 13th Day of Christmas” by Jason Wright is one of them. This book, which I would classify as Christian Lit, tells the story of the friendship between Marva, an elderly but still spunky widow, and Charlee, a nine-year-old whose family has fallen on tough times since her dad lost his job. Their special friendship brightens both of their lonely lives, and Miss Marva shares with Charlee the special Christmas tradition of her advent calendar and the twelve days of Christmas – with the thirteenth day being a very special one. In the course of this story both Marva and Charlee develop cancer, and it is their special friendship, along with the true message of Christmas, that helps them to keep going in the face of hardship.

If I say any more I’ll give it all away!

I did enjoy this book and really loved the characters of spunky Miss Marva – with her aprons for any occasion – and Charlee, a little girl who refused to let her situation crush her spirit.

Great Christmas reading – or actually any time of the year!

Thank you, Net Galley and Shadow Mountain Press, for my copy.

YA Review: “Being Henry David” by Cal Armistead (releasing March, 2013)

It is my pleasure today to review “Being Henry David” by Cal Armistead, which I received as an ARC through Net Galley. I know Cal and her husband through my theater circle of friends, and when I heard she had written a book I couldn’t wait to read it!

“Being Henry David” is a rich blend of emotions, humor, and action as it tells the story of “Hank”, a teenager who finds himself in Penn Station with no memory of who he is or how he got there. His only clue is the tattered copy of “Walden” he is holding. Giving his name as “Henry Davidson” – borrowed from Thoreau – Hank escapes some tough characters in the city and arrives in Concord, Massachusetts in order to try to figure out who he is and what he is running from back home. Hank’s journey has him cross paths with a local historian and a friendly and attractive local high schooler as he slowly starts to remember who he is and what has happened to him.

I just loved this story! Of course, if you know me, you know I love anything that takes place near where I live. I love when I can read a book and it has places in it where I’ve frequently been. I also love, love, love the Concord authors and really enjoyed the tie-in to Thoreau and the Transcendentalists in this book – though it was not overdone or preachy. Mostly, though, I loved this story of a young man who is coming to grips with his actions and learning about forgiveness.

Grab yourself a copy of being Henry David and let me know how you like it – I promise to let Cal know!

I personally think it’d be a great read for high schoolers, especially reluctant readers.

Thanks, Net Galley and Albert Whitman Teen Press, for my copy!

Review: “Little Wolves” by Thomas Maltman

“Little Wolves” was a recent find on Net Galley. It tells several story lines in one (a point which at times served to confuse me!). The novel opens with a Minnesotra small town shooting, carried out by a teenager who then commits suicide. Why did he do this heinous act? How will the people left behind carry on and make sense of this tragedy? At the same time, his father is struggling to come to terms with his grief over his wife’s death — now compounded by the senseless death of his son. Small town rivalries and old hurts are cropping up all over.

On the other side of town, the preacher’s wife, who is in her last trimester of pregnancy, is dealing with the deaths, too. The shooter was her student and a valued member of her English class (she is an expert on Beowulf). She grapples with his act of violence and the fact that he had come to house that day on his way to the carnage – and is it her ghost she is seeing? At the same time she is working through the kinks in her marriage to the town minister and her past family secrets, related to the disappearance and death of her mother. Analogous to all these plot lines is Norse mythology and the story of the “little wolves” that her father told her as a child. Throughout the book, a family of coyotes (befriended by Seth previously) make an appearance.

Does all this sound confusing? At times I had a hard time keeping everything straight, but overall Maltman blends these parallel stories into the overall plot – seamlessly and suspensefully. I kept reading as I needed to know what would happen. In the end it all made sense, and I found it a satisfying read.

Thanks, Net Galley and Soho Press, for my copy!