Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Superfoods Every Day" by Sue Quinn

Every wondered what superfoods are and how to incorporate them into your diet?  This book uses scientific yet simple terms to explain all of that.  There are even helpful illustrations to illustrate what different superfoods do in the body.  As for the recipes, those are really nice.  The smoothies and salads are especially delicious...and easy to make!  What I love about this book is the pictures.  On the left page, there is a picture of all the ingredients you need for a recipe laid out.  On the right page, there is a picture of the final product.  The recipes also highlight which superfoods are used and how they aid the body in health.  The physical instructions are in paragraph from yet are kept short.  This book has a good balance.  The recipes aren't just normal food with superfoods mixed in.  Neither are the recipes just superfoods with nothing else.  From breakfast to sides to snacks to meals, this book will help you learn to cook and get more healthy food into your system!

"All Aboard the Ark" by Zondervan

This children's book is downright adorable.  Told from the point-of-view of animals, readers learn about Noah's ark.  While Noah himself is not really mentioned--or people in general--the animals take center stage.  They playfully board the ark, clean up, exercise, share, and hope in God.  The words in this book are very large font and following a rhyming pattern.  The illustrations are cute and look like watercolor art.  The pages are wooden and have a sturdy feel to them.  At the very end of the book, the animals go to sleep and have sweet dreams.

"I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai

This girl is downright remarkable.  She stood up for women's education in Pakistan.  Faced with the Taliban--an extremist Muslim group that declared it illegal for girls to go to school--Malala stood her ground.  She never gave up, even after she was shot in the face by a Taliban terrorist.  Malala's dream is for education for girls...and boys.  Wherever schools close their doors, ignorance opens its own.  What was most touching was how Malala stood by her faith.  I am not a Muslim, but I admire how she kept praying to God even as other Muslims were being extremely violent towards her.  Regardless of how others portrayed religion, Malala knew there was a real God who loved her and cared about her.  That is really amazing.  At the end of the book, there is Malala's speech to the UN.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

 This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  Like the two that came before it, this book was excellently written and kept me anxiously turning the pages.  Here, Katniss has thwarted the Capitol once again—this time by destroying the Hunger Games arena force field.  Taken up in a rebel hovercraft, however, she is separated from her partner Peeta who was captured by the Capitol.  Working with the rebels to overthrown the Capitol and trying to save Peeta begin to conflict.  Katniss’ personal struggles ensue when she must be the face of the rebellion as the Mockingjay and put on a front for camera that record her propaganda tapes.  The issue of who Katniss will choose—Peeta or Gale—as her boyfriend is not easily predicted, and the personality of all the characters does change a bit due to post traumatic stress syndrome of the Hunger Games and being in a war.  There is some violence and romance in this book, but it is not at all graphic.  I find this book suitable for youth but parents are suggested to use their own discretion.  All in all, this is an excellent read with a good twist at the end.  Well done, Suzanne Collins.  Well done.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Fill the Void" directed by Rama Burshtein

This film is breathtakingly honest and the viewer will feel like they are in the living room of this Orthodox community.  Esther is Shira's sister.  Esther married Yochay and had a baby named Mordecai.  However, Esther died in childbirth.  Yochay is propositioned to marry a widow in Belguim, but Mordecai's grandmother doesn't want Yochay to move away.  So, an idea forms--for Shira to marry her late sister's widower.  Shira is eighteen but still considerably younger than Yochay.  She is torn between her personal interests and the desire to fulfill her family's wishes.  From the cover of the DVD, viewers already know that Shira married Yochay.  However, what is really worth watching is the emotion.  Viewers will be left with their own questions as they ruminate on this movie.  The film is rated PG and it is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

Book 2 in the Hunger Games trilogy is as fast paced and suspenseful as the first.  The story begins right where the previous one left off.  There is no time wasted explaining all of book 1, but the reader is able to catch on fairly quickly.  In this saga, the protagonist Katniss is forced to marry Peeta.  Both have professed love for each other on screen to aid in their survival of their first Hunger Games.  However, Katniss is confused as she weighs the feelings she has for Peeta with those of her male friend Gale at home.  When Katniss and Peeta think that violence is over for them, they are pulled once more into their second Hunger Games together.  Readers will discover how Peeta and Katniss make it out alive and what the Districts are doing or not doing to aid in a rebellion against the cruel Capitol.  Can't wait to read Book 3 next!   

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

The popular book 1 trilogy that made history in the box office is a phenomenal read.  The book tells the story of Katniss in Panem.  The Hunger Games are a cruel show where the elite are entertianed when poor people literally fight to the death for extra food rations.  Worst of all, the games are for children.  When Katniss' younger sister is picked for the Hunger Games from the lottery, she volunteers in her place.  Katniss is not the only one from her area who goes.  Peeta, a baker's son, also attends from District 12.  Both play off a love story to win pledges.  With pledges, wealthy people send supplies like food and medicine to contestants in the Hunger Games.  Throughout the story, readers see Katniss fall for Peeta.  Katniss thinks it is all a show for the games but the reader is left wondering if Peeta really loves Katniss.  In the end, there is a huge twist that I will not give away.  All in all, this is an action-packed age-turner.  There is no graphic romance, and the violence in the book is kept to a minimum.