Like No Other by Una LaMarche

>> Friday, July 25, 2014

Like No Other by Una LaMarche
RazorBill (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-1595146748
Published July 2014
Trade paperback, 368 pages
Ages 12+

I loved reading this book. I found it refreshing, different and realistic.

Devorah is brought up in the strict Hasidic way of life. This means all her friends and relatives are Jewish, she goes to a Jewish school, wears long skirts and black tights even in the heat of summer, and she rarely leaves her tight community in Brooklyn. She is expected to marry a Hasidic boy her parents will choose for her.

Jaxon, on the other hand, is a smart black boy who isn't comfortable around girls, even though he has four younger sisters whom he loves. He has a good relationship with his parents too and a best friend who messes things up when he tries to help out. Both Devorah and Jaxon live on opposite sides of the very same street and have never met, would never had met, if it were not for that hurricane storm that left them stranded together, in the dark, in a hospital elevator.

Their chance meeting leads to a relationship that is strictly forbidden, and makes Devorah question her way of life. The more they risk being together, the more things go wrong, and the couple find themselves making hard decisions. There is much at stake and both will learn changing life lessons.

There are so many themes explored in this novel, from religious tolerance and intolerance to racial prejudice, family loyalty, women's rights and first love. The author really immerses the reader into the life of Devorah and her Hasidic way of life. Although there may be much we may not understand about the restrictions Devorah lives with, the author deftly makes us respect Devorah's religion even as we know the changes Devorah brings about are good.

Jaxon is so easy to love. He is a fun guy who is a big brother to his sisters and a source of pride for his parents because he is book-smart and can make it far in life. When he meets Devorah and starts to lie to his parents, feeling guilty about it, while experiencing the thrill of secretly meeting the girl he fell in love with and who loves him too, he gets drawn in deeper into a difficult situation.

The plot and story line brings the reader into a climax that has to do with choosing life changes more than love choices. I appreciated this so much! The journey there was not easy for these two love-struck teens but I felt in the end they made the right choice and learned from each other's journey of discovery. I applaud the author for writing a novel about people from diverse backgrounds who are proud of their heritage despite the prejudices against them. This was a thought-provoking story that shows teens you need to stand up for what you believe, even while respecting where you come from.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read. There is one scene with heavy kissing and there may have been some profanity but I honestly don't remember. I think there were a few name-calling words in a few scenes at school.

Reviewed by Laura









Disclosure: Thanks to Vikki from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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Wellness Feature: Day by Day Beauty's Vitamin C Serum

>> Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Wellness Feature is a bi-monthly feature hosted every second Thursday. Feel free to tell us about any book or product that promotes well-being or that you would like to see reviewed here. This week we are reviewing a skin care product from Day by Day Beauty called Vitamin C Serum.


The first thing I noticed about this product is that it comes in a glass bottle and has a simple look which I like. No fancy packaging to distract from the product. It arrived two days after the order was placed by Pamela, the co-founder of Day by Day Beauty who offered this full-sized product in exchange for an honest review.

The pump comes with it and is easy to screw on the bottle once you remove the bottle cap. The pump squirts far so you need to make sure you point it close to your fingertips. The serum is clear, non-fragrant and easy to apply. It felt fresh on my face, was smooth, but non-greasy and dried very quickly. I loved the feel of it. I'm a gal who doesn't like to put heavy creams or foundation on my face so I immediately loved the lightweight feel of this product. I have a hectic schedule and my morning routine is usually hurried but this product was super easy to incorporate, especially since it dried quickly.

The company (family-owned) has excellent customer service and Pamela, the co-founder personally sends her customers a short series of emails to coach them on how to best use the product. I appreciated having these instructions. I have applied the serum consistently in the mornings, once a day, and I have noticed that, although I've been going to bed later than usual and eating more greasy foods at all those summer BBQ parties, my skin has looked great.

My weakness is potato chips which I try to avoid eating because I always break out with acne when I do, but I noticed that since I've been using the serum, my skin hasn't had this problem! And when I did begin to have a few pimples show up (I told you my skin is sensitive to greasy foods) the serum would help them heal quite quickly. I have been using this product for about a month now, and I will continue to use it.

What attracted me to this product is that it is from all natural and organic ingredients and comes at such a reasonable price (currently $23.95 on their website) which I think is a steal. I've bought natural beauty products before and I know they are expensive. I still have 2/3 of the product left so it will last another two months if I continue using it once a day.

The website says of the Vitamin C Serum that it can make you feel great about:
  • smoother skin texture 
  • line/wrinkle reduction 
  • tighter, more elastic skin 
  • brighter, more even skin
  • calmed inflammation
Being in my forties, I need all the help I can get with my skin. I also tend to get sun spots so I want to see how continued use of this product will affect that. So far, I like what the Vitamin C Serum from Day to Day Beauty has done for my skin and I will continue to use it and I will purchase the next bottle. Currently this company carries two products and I hope they will produce more skin care products in the near future!

Learn more about this product at Day by Day Beauty along with their skin care beauty tips.







Disclosure: Thanks to Pamela from Day by Day Beauty for sending me this product for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 21 Edition

>> Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

A review book for my son and I:

Kids Who Are Changing the World by Anne Jankeliowitch

Forty-five young people from around the world (including twelve from the U. S. and four from Canada) are doing something every day to make the world a better place. They discovered issues thatconcerned them and did something about it. With skills ranging from singing, drawing and painting to fundraising, public demonstrationsand events, they have fought climate change and pollution, and worked to protect animals and their natural habitats. This inspiring book also includes reference materials and suggestions on how readers can get involved.



This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.  The kidlit version is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

Read and reviewed:
Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Nikki Danforth (reviewed by Sandra)
Some Bunny Loves You by Jesse Thom (this will become a classic! includes musical CD)

Bookish Posts:
Book Spotlight Tour: Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia with Giveaway! Love Italian cooking? Enter to win this cookbook.

Currently Reading:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (very good)


Up next:
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristin Cambron (can't wait to read this one!)



Hope you all have a great reading week!

Laura

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Some Bunny Loves You by Jesse Thom (book and musical CD)

>> Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Bunny Loves You by Jesse Thom, illustrated by Christache
Thom Foolery Books & Music
ISBN: 978-0991919109
Published January 1014
Hardcover with CD, 20 pages

Simply put, this little book is an absolute gem! It is charming and so heartwarming it will steal your heart. My son loves it just as much as I do. We both felt it made the message of "I love you" special, introducing a cast of cute and eccentric characters.The illustrations are simple and adorable, with splashes of colour.

This book comes with a full-length CD with the song 'Some Bunny Loves You' which my son and I loved instantly the moment we heard it on the book trailer. Jesse Thom has the soothing voice that you can listen to for hours. The rest of the tracklist is made up of beautiful instrumental music, some of which are different variations of 'Some Bunny Loves You'. Each song is so unique, highlighting a musical instrument with the occasional sound effects.

The accordion music of 'Waltz of Chester's Moustache' reminded me of my favorite French composer Yann Tiersen and appealed to my European roots. Liza's Dream with its twinkling bells transported me to a land of soft clouds and multi-coloured rainbows. The flute renditions, especially Gwen in the Glen reminded me of Enya's music. Truly, I enjoyed every single song on this CD and I applaud the musicians for the variety it included. It will appeal to families of various cultures.

This is a beautiful little book that would make the perfect gift for couples expecting their first baby or for any parent with young children that wants a good book with a soundtrack that can be played in their child's room to soothe, to lullabye and to make the imagination soar. I hope Jesse Thom produces more of such quality children's books. This book has the makings of a classic. Highly highly recommended. Visit the author's website for more info and more beautiful music to listen to.

Watch the book trailer and I promise you that little song will charm you!


Some Bunny Loves You (book/CD trailer) from jesse thom on Vimeo.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura & Son

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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Book Spotlight Tour: Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia (with Giveaway!)

>> Friday, July 18, 2014


Maria Loggia’s kitchen door is always open. Her home and garden are a gathering place for friends and family, who come to share her easygoing enthusiasm and generosity – and her inspired Italian cuisine. In this, her second book, Loggia celebrates the seasons with 16 sumptuous menus – from a spontaneous al fresco garden party to a slow-simmered midwinter feast and a traditional Sunday family lunch.

Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia is on a spotlight tour from July 14 to 18.

Author & Chef: Maria Loggia
Category: Non-fiction
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine, 176 pages
Publisher: Cardinal Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2012

Amazon.ca  *  Cardinal Publishing  *  Amazon.com


Try One of the Recipes!


Petto di Pollo Farcito con Uva e Noci
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Grapes and Walnuts


Ingredienti

For filling:

1 tbsp (15 ml) unsalted butter
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
¾ cup (180 ml) walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup (125 ml) red seedless grapes, quartered
2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp (30 ml) bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
7 oz (200 g) soft goat cheese, cut in 6 slices 

For chicken:
6 tbsp (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
6 bone-in chicken breasts, skin on
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter, softened
1 orange, cut into wedges
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, each cut in half
5 bay leaves
 
To serve:
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange

Preparazione
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

To prepare filling: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet and sauté shallots until soft, 1 to 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, grapes, chives and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly. Leave goat cheese aside for now.

To prepare chicken: Oil a 14-inch (35 cm) round earthenware tiella or roasting pan with 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the olive oil and set aside. On a baking sheet, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Make a lengthwise slit in each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. (This will form the pocket for the stuffing.) Rub remaining 4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil into the chicken (including in the pockets). Divide stuffing equally among chicken breasts, stuffing it into the slit in each breast, and top with a slice of goat cheese. Pull the chicken skin over the filling and secure with toothpicks. Smear butter over the skin and season again to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently transfer chicken to prepared tiella. Scatter orange wedges, rosemary and bay leaves around chicken. Roast 35 to 40 minutes, or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced. Then broil 2 to 3 minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden. Drizzle with orange juice and serve warm with pan juices.

Serves 6

Tips from Maria:

Consigli di cucina (kitchen tips)
The chicken breasts can be assembled the day before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. When ready to serve, bring chicken to room temperature and cook as instructed. Doing it this way allows the flavours time to meld together beautifully.

Che cos’√®? (what is it?)
I’m convinced food tastes better when cooked in a shallow, glazed earthenware dish known in Italian as a tiella. I find earthenware dishes distribute heat slowly and evenly as the food cooks. Aromas and flavours are intensified and casseroles never stick or dry out.

To season a tiella: Before using your tiella the first time, immerse the dish in cold water to soak overnight. The next day, empty the tiella and wipe it dry. Rub the inside with olive oil and place in a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for 1½ hours. Remove seasoned tiella from oven and place on a wooden board or thick tablecloth to cool. (If placed on a surface like granite or a cold stovetop, it will crack.) To clean a tiella, soak it in warm, soapy water, then scrub with a soft sponge.


Meet the Author



Maria Loggia is one of Montreal's best-loved Italian cooking teachers. Her Tavola Mia cooking school in the village of Hudson is a warm, inviting place to learn about Italian cuisine. She also appears regularly on television, is featured in newspapers and magazines, and leads culinary tours in Italy.

Maria finds inspiration in her Italian heritage and draws on family recipes that go back generations. She founded Tavola Mia, her at-home cooking school in 1999. Through her study of Italy's regional cuisines, which has included numerous sojourns back to her native country, she has acquired great expertise in the art of Italian cooking. Her passion, humor and dedication to excellence have made her an inspiring teacher. Using fresh local ingredients, Tavola Mia celebrates the seasons in authentic, irrepressible Italian style.


An Interview with Maria Loggia



Maria Loggia from Pierre Blais on Vimeo.


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