Tag: Best

Book Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner was actually assigned to me for a Literature class that I took my sophomore year in college. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to reading a 371-page novel at the end of the semester when I had four large papers and finals looming over me. I decided to read the first thirty pages so that I could pass the “reading quiz” (I know, that’s so lame) and then sell the book back to the bookstore. After fifteen minutes of reading, this plan was shot. I ended up staying up most of the night, devouring this book. Hosseini’s debut novel is so amazing that I literally could not put it down!

The Kite Runner is the story of two young boys growing up in Afghanistan. Amir is the son of a wealthy business man. His father is one of the richest merchants in Kabul and his mother, who died at childbirth, had royal blood. Amir is a Pashtun (Sunni). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hasssan is the son of Amir’s father’s servant. He is a Hazara, a Shi’a minority so looked down upon that they are barely even mentioned in textbooks. Although these boys come from completely different backgrounds, they are best friends (though Hassan also acts as a personal servant to Amir). Hosseini gives adequate background but the real story begins in the winter of 1975, before the Russian invasion. In fact, the entire novel surrounds an event that took place on the day of the annual kite-fighting tournament, a long-time winter tradition in Afghanistan. On this day, the lives of the boys changed forever, putting their friendship and characters to the test. The rest of the novel chronicles the next twenty-five years of the boys’ lives.

This is a story about love, friendship, betrayal and redemption. This is by far the most realistic portrayal of human nature that I have ever read and it left me absolutely breathless. In fact, just writing this review makes me want to read the book again. This was simply one of the most fabulous novels I have ever read. Although I was disturbed by some of the actions of the characters throughout the novel, it really spoke to me because this is truly how people are, at the core. Hosseini does such an amazing job of capturing the human spirit. Some of the issues tackled are hard to swallow but at the same time, this is real life. This was real for young men in 1975 Afghanistan. This was real for growing men in 1980’s Soviet occupied Afghanistan. This novel was so real, so poignant and so awe-inspiring. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini has written a touching yet utterly realistic novel. The Kite Runner is a masterpiece and a must-read!…

Best Cooking Recipes Reviews

Best Cooking Recipes Reviews

Maybe you just moved into a new house and you are just trying to determine how can you make it on your own, and how can you keep up with the increasing demands of your children about food. If you are looking for diverse combinations, you will probably need a new source of recipes. Here are some ideas about choosing a cooking book with the best cooking recipes reviews.

Don’t choose a book by its cover, they say. It is true, as you will not need the most expensive and popular cooking book available. It all depends on your preferences and lifestyle. For example, if you are an active person that doesn’t like to cook too much at home, you will probably need the best cooking recipes for microwave. This is a lot different from a young mother, who would probably look for healthy and complex recipes for her children.

Content vs. Style

Photos and videos are ideal when you are looking for best recipes online; however, there is a secret when choosing a recipes book. The really useful books don’t have so many illustrations. Maybe it is OK to post a photo of the recipe at the end, but make sure the purpose of photos is to educate, not to impress. Maybe you will not be happy that your foods don’t look exactly like the ones in the book, and this is definitely affecting your morale. If you are just looking for a cooking book with the best recipes reviews for microwave, you will not need so many photos showing the food in the oven all the time.

Navigation

Maybe you are the kind of cook that likes to stay on the phone while waiting for the food to be ready, or maybe you are looking for a complicated recipe with foreign spices. Any good cooking book needs a glossary and a list of terms useful for the cook. Without this, you might end up spending more time with translations then with actually cooking.

Clarity of recipes

People looking for microwave recipes are usually looking for fast recipes that are easy to understand and make. It is why the clarity of the recipe is the secret of its success. Read it from the start to the end, and make sure you understood everything about it before starting.

Extra information

We live in a modern world where the taste of the food is not the only aspect that matters. People are interested about calories, carbohydrates, long term diets and healthy foods. Make sure your recipe book has many positive reviews and that they are also giving dietary advises and information.

Niche

Some recipe book readers are looking for specific recipes, such as the one for microwave. Read the reviews about any cooking book you are about to buy, and make sure it addresses specifically to your needs. Don’t worry, as there are specialized recipes books for grilling, baking, but also for specific appliances such as the blender or microwave oven.…

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

I was just standing there on the street corner scoffing at people going into a Bible Study group, say Robert Johnson, former Atheist and newest member of Christian Reading Always Carefully Keeps People Off Things (CRACKPOT) Ministries. “But when Reverend Zeke Gage handed me the classic Chick tract, ‘Hi There,’ I had no idea of the changes that it would make in my life.”

Due to budget constraints and lack of support which the good reverend blames on the influences of Satan upon the world, the tract had been printed out on the parish’s inkjet printer rather than the classic small black booklet format found in non-Christian religious books on bookstore shelves the world over. Usually a perspective reader will have to pick up a copy of the Talmud, Tao Te Ching, or Koran to come across the works of comic book theologian, Jack T. Chick.

Chick tracts, which are known the world over for their factual portrayal of religions like Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism and especially Catholicism can be ordered off of the site Chick publications or many can be printed out and downloaded because of the author’s conviction that sharing the gospel and spreading the word about the Vatican ties to the Communist party are more important than making a profit. In fact, the tracts have been so successful that they have spawned several fan sites such as the Monster Wax Museum.

“I had no idea that not accepting Jesus as my savior was endangering my soul. Man, if I’d known not praying that simple prayer found at the bottom of that comic would have put me eternally in a lake of fire and brimstone, I’d have prayed it much earlier. The best part is I don’t even have to change any of my behaviors. It seems once when I get saved, I stay saved no matter what I do. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”

Andrea Johnson said that such ignorance of the word of God is common as a secular public education system does not stress the gospels nearly enough citing inappropriate concerns over separation of church and state. “What is more important? Making sure freedoms and rights or respected or keeping people away from an eternally hot destination?”

Doctor Will Smith said, “You may think CRACKPOTs are only concerned about keeping you away from the work of the devil, but that is an erroneous assumption. We are also committed to providing good, Christian reading material in an effort to get more souls for Jesus. We cannot very well justify taking something away from people unless we put something in its place. That just would not be right with God.”

Robert Johnson said that he looks forward to his glorious mansion in Heaven and committing acts of further Evangelism for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Man, I can still do drugs and beat up people and it is all right as long as I ask for forgiveness.”

 …

Best Books About Dragonflies for Kindergarteners

Best Books About Dragonflies for Kindergarteners

Are you working on preparing a dragonfly themed lesson plan for your kindergarten age children? If so, don’t forget to throw a few books about the insect into the mix. Here’s a quick rundown on several that you may find beneficial:

“Are You a Dragonfly?”

Judy Allen’s book “Are You a Dragonfly?” would make an excellent opener to a dragonfly focused lesson plan. It introduces just enough information about the insect to pique a child’s interest. I’d suggest pairing it with Susie Caldwell Rinehart’s book “Eliza and the Dragonfly.” Its storyline focuses on a child that learns to appreciate the insect for what it is.

“The Life Cycle of a Dragonfly”

JoAnn Early Macken’s “The Life Cycle of a Dragonfly” is another book to consider. As the book’s title indicates, it will give the children an overview of the insect’s life cycle. Full-color photographs are included as well. Thus, it would be perfect to read right before a science related activity. I’d suggest pairing it with Heather Lynn Miller’s book “This is Your Life Cycle.” Her book covers similar material and is just downright giggle worthy.

“Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies”

Blair Nikula’s book “Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies” certainly has classroom appeal as well. I thought that the large photos were wonderful. The book also contains a decent amount of information about various dragonflies that could be incorporated into a child’s lessons. It could feasibly be paired with Cheryl Coughlan’s book “Dragonflies.” It contains nice photos too. In combination, the two books should give the children a basic awareness of various species.

“World of Insects: Dragonflies”

Emily K. Green’s book “World of Insects: Dragonflies” is also worthy of a look. In my opinion, it may be used to teach the children about a dragonfly’s physical characteristics and capabilities. The children should also appreciate the interesting facts contained within the text.

“Dragonfly’s Tale”

If you want to teach your children about dragonflies and cultural diversity, I’d recommend picking up a copy of Kristina Rodanas’ book “Dragonfly’s Tale.” Its storyline focuses on the retelling of an indigenous legend. Personally, I found the author’s handling of the subject matter appropriate and the illustrations were beautiful. You may want to consider pairing it with Yolanda Cullagh’s book “Sabrina the Beach Fly” just for fun. Its storyline focuses on a dragonfly with social aspirations.

“Over the Steamy Swamp”

Although the storyline doesn’t entirely focus on dragonflies, I still found Paul Geraghty’s book “Over the Steamy Swamp” worthy of inclusion too. What I found valuable about the book was the author’s measured portrayal of the circle of life. It shows how different creatures, including the dragonfly, look at one another as food. The illustrations were nicely done and age appropriate as well. As such, I would suggest using the book as a stepping off point for discussions about the dragonfly’s place within the food chain.

 …

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

If everything is going according to plan, I am currently sitting beachside with a copy of Titanshade in one hand and a margarita in the other!
**If everything is not going according to the plan, someone might want to send bail money.

After vacation edit: I survived. No bail money required!! I was grateful enough to start Titanshade beachside and hope to finish it by the end of the month!

But, you are not here to talk about my beach adventures. You are here because of your desire to consume and devour books and hopefully find a new book obsession, right? Lucky you, I have this fun little interview with the author of Titanshade, Dan Stout and all of the info one could desire about his newly released noir fantasy thriller…TITANSHADE!
line 1

This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.
Dan Stout, Titanshade, Urban Fantasy, Noir, Fantasy,
amazon-logo-1
goodreads
barnes-and-noble-icon
ibooks
Dan Stout, author, fiction author

Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on his travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller.

Dan’s stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Mad Scientist Journal.
Author Interview, Interview, Author

Everyone welcome Dan Stout to Booked & Loaded!

B&L: Welcome, Dan! I have been looking forward to getting my hands on Titanshade after being struck curious by its cover and totally intrigued after reading the blurb! I will never apologize for being a cover junky!!!

Dan: Thanks for having me. And no need to apologize— I am unashamed about my love for cover illustration and design! This past year I scored a major holiday haul when I was gifted copies of Art & Arcana and Paperbacks From Hell, both of which are deep dives into the kind of cover art and illustration I loved as a kid and an adult.

B&L: What did expect before seeing the cover for yourself?

Dan: So, one of the incredible things about working with DAW Books is that they love it when the author has a vision for the cover. My editor, Sheila Gilbert, asked if I had any suggestions, and I was able to pitch a rough idea. When the cover artist, Chris McGrath, got involved, he got an advance copy of the manuscript, and checked in regularly to make sure the artwork was in-line my vision of the characters. DAW just connected us on email and let us go at it. Seeing my characters come to life like that was geek heaven.

Of course, Chris is a brilliant artist, so he took my rough concept and delivered something far beyond my initial ideas. He pretty much blew my mind with every sketch and iteration. He also brought a ton of small details that help put it over the edge—things like the aviator sunglasses that really make the cover pop.

B&L: Do you feel it accurately reflects the feel of Titanshade?

Dan: Absolutely! After seeing Chris’s artwork, I knew that the final look was going to be good, but the finished design exceeded my expectations. From the slight tilt to the artwork to the spray-paint feel of the title logo and the distressed treatment give the book a torn and ragged feel that’s a perfect match for the story inside. It’s so clear that the team at DAW really got the feel of the book and took the time to bring it to life. I’d love to give a shout-out to Katie Anderson, who did the jacket design, and Alissa Rose Theodor, who did the interior.

B&L: What inspired you to write a book where 8-tracks are high tech?

Dan: I’m really fascinated by the concept of fantasy worlds apart from ours: …

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

It’s no secret that when any book is made into a movie, the film is going to blow if you’ve read the book first. But, is it possible that a film made into a novel could actually be better than the movie? I think so, and as proof, I offer Jerrod Balzer’s novelization of a William Winckler screenplay, The Double-D Avenger.

Released through Skullvines Press, this comedy of Double-D proportions is about Chastity Knott, a woman who runs the most successful pub in town. But after a breast exam reveals that she has cancer, she closes up shop to travel to South America in search of an erotic cousin of the banana that has magical healing properties. But that’s not all it does, as Chastity soon learns that she has superpowers thanks to the Crockazilla plant.

Upon returning home, her celebration is cut short by the evil plots of Al Purplewood (snort) who runs a bikini bar across town. Al sends his three sinister strippers to bump the chesty Chastity off, and instead, Greek goddess Hydra Heffer shoots and kills Chastity’s cowpoke suitor Bubba Olympian. This leads Chastity to swear to use her powers to bring to justice the trio of Hydra, a former pirate named Pirate Jugs and a thawed out cavewoman, Ooga Boobies.

The battles in the book are truly of Tit-anic proportions, and with a plot like this, you can expect breast jokes to be overrunning the bra cups. Being a fan of puns, this book worked for me quite well, since I was alternating between giggling or groaning at the jokes. (Groaning in a good way, mind you.)

Jerrod’s sense of humor actually helps make the script even better as he fills in gaps in the histories of the characters, which weren’t covered in the movie. One of the best jokes involves a scientist dying of a heart attack, and another involves the sexual molest of a stuffed bear.

Fans of schlock comedy will find very little to complain about, and as adaptations of screenplays go, this helps to make a goofy comedy into a solid page turner where the only pauses you’ll make will be to laugh or groan at the jokes.

I give The Double-D Avenger four stars and recommend it to anyone looking for the breast, er the best in comedy entertainment.…

Touchy Topics and Censorship in Literature

Touchy Topics and Censorship in Literature

After reading a few vague facebook posts raging about a book, my curiosity got the best of me. So, I did what any crazy over opinionated blogger would do. I searched Twitter for the source. My emotions went from annoyance over censorship, mortified by the content discussed and ultimately confused and disgusted by the support.

To further my knowledge on this particular book, I took to Goodreads. The place feared by authors and frequented by masses of readers. I wanted to be as educated as possible, without traumatizing myself or supporting the author by purchasing the book. I swam through the reviews of praises, freak-outs and a few very well written reviews giving specific incidences in WHY they rated this book the way they did. Thank you book reviewers.

In case you are staring at this with a blank face, here is the gist of it. Amazon banned said book, which I am going to call EWWW from here on out, from its site. Amazon’s censorship caused rage and spurred debates on both sides. One side about the book’s content. The other side about censorship. The censorship comes into play regarding incest. FULL DISCLOSURE I have not read this book. And I certainly have zero plans to. But, I will elaborate a little here, since maybe *some* incest might be just weird (like cousins or step-siblings). Taboo for sure, but not illegal or full-on disturbing. Other incest is disturbing as fuck, like fathers and daughters. YUP. This book goes there FULL ON. Adding to the level of disgust is the age of the daughter, who is underage.

So, here is the thing. I am not a fan a censorship in general. Yet, I believe some things shouldn’t exist to be censored. Romanticizing things like rape or sexualizing children shouldn’t even be part of romance. And just to be super specific – I am talking about romanticizing, not just existing. Lots of disturbing things exist in our world and I am NOT saying that just the good things need to exist in fiction. Lots of horror, thriller or mysteries might contain rape or various other hideous things. Again, I am not saying that those things need to change. Many times those books can push boundaries and create discussions about cultural issues that need to be talked about. But this particular book is supposed to be romance. EWWW is clearly marketed as romance. EWWW contains many sex scenes. EWWW clearly is making an attempt to romanticize a father / daughter sexual relationship. This shouldn’t be OK.

A standard should exist within the community and our society where these types of books don’t have the platform to exist. As a mother – I stand tall in stating that the subject matter and how it is portrayed is not OK.

Adding to my level of discomfort is the fact that the author is clearly using the banned issue as a marketing point. Making money off of something this dark and disturbing is beyond my level of comprehension. You see, this isn’t just fiction to some people. Some people have experienced being raped by their father, by their mother, by a friend…..no one deserves to have their trauma portrayed as fucking romance. And they sure as shit don’t deserve to have someone make money off of it or trying to.

Some of the support I have seen for EWWW seems to stem from a fear of censorship from Amazon. Stop it. Fear should not influence a decision that ultimately places you on the side of the argument that is supporting a sexual relationship between a father and daughter. This is not an OK message to send to our youth or our peers.

Taboo’s are one thing. Normalizing and romanticizing something this disgusting is NOT OK. Any healthy human being should be repulsed by this entire subject. It isn’t borderline anything. It is outright WRONG. The support I am witnessing is truly bothering me on a level I am having a hard time articulating.

We all need to stop and think long and hard before supporting ANY romance book that has such a high potential to do great harm.…

Book Review ~ Alphas of Seduction

Book Review ~ Alphas of Seduction

Overall, I give this set 4 stars. Some stories were AWESOME, some were ok. It is a great anthology however, for a great cause and for that alone I would purchase

Thread Bare ~ Victoria Blue: My first thought when reading this story was meh not really feeling it. This story did not hold my attention at all. It did have a good start and I would have loved more.
Always and Forever ~ M. Clarke: Hmmm a female Alpha. Crystal must have Max and goes full force after him. Hooked from the beginning of this steamy story.
Little Tease ~ Avery Flynn: Short but oh so hot. Love the best friend’s little sis turn lover. So far, my favorite.
Lost Seduction~ Anissa Garcia: Holy hell hot. Woman expects escort but that is sooooo not what she gets. I think my kindle caught on fire.
Seducing Sophia ~ Jenna Jacob: Oh I love when a rocker falls and Burk fell HARD. A manwhore only because he is trying to get the one he really wants out of his system. Short, secy & very heated. I want MORE.
Just a Little Mischief ~ Isabella LaPearl: Yowzers! Tease! I want more! Short and hot as h***. Georgia is looking to loose her virginity and hot, mysterious Brian in a bar is the one to do it. One night of amazing sex, then she disappears. WHAT???? More… please give me more.
Picked Up ~ Mickey Miller: Short and ummmm sweet? NOT. Hot but with a twist that was kind of expected. One night stand… maybe?? Maybe not.
The Secret Note ~ Lauren Rowe: Ok, this is now my favorite. I loved Ben and his Aussie hotness. Shy and what? How is he still a virgin? Kayler, who is a wildfire decides to go after Ben. Fast forward 7 years and they pick up right where they left off, only now Ben is more experienced and is determined to have Kayler in his life forever.
Hard as Stone ~ K.M. Scott: An interesting short. I see this one developing into more. It was just to short and left me hanging. Playboy Ethan meets nice girl Summer, results in an explosion.
Red & White ~ Sierra Simone: Yowzers hot! MFF and oh what a very very naughty combo it ended up being.

This book was provided from the author for the purpose of providing a review. Regardless of how any book is obtained, all views given are my personal and honest opinions. Please assume all links in this post are affiliates and Booked & Loaded has the potential to receive monetary gain from any purchases used via the links. These purchases help support the blog and help pay for the cost of running this site. Thank you for your support.…

The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review: Prepare to Be Addicted

The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review: Prepare to Be Addicted

Stephenie Meyer is best known for her popular teen vampire series Twilight and by now we have all heard her name, the majority of us have rushed out to buy her any of her 5 books. The Host is her first novel aimed for adults and it does not disappoint as she crosses over into another realm.

A sci-fi thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, just waiting to find out what happens next. Part thriller and part romance you will ultimately find yourself intrigued as you turn the pages of this mind capturing book. This is just one of those books you can not seem to get your hands to let go of and spend hours reading until you hit the last page.

The Host’s storyline is about the aliens, who years ago, have slowly taken over Earth in an effort to make it paradise. Cleaning it up and making it “perfect” but some of the humans want Earth as is and left alone. The aliens, considered Souls, make their home in a human host. taking over their mind and body.

Follow Melanie Stryder, who just will not submit her mind over to an alien called Wanderer. Melanie is desperately trying to fight off Wanderer from taking control, in the effort to find her brother and the man she so deeply loves. The story is narrated by both of them and highlights their fight for Melanie’s mind.

Now Wanderer controls Melanie’s body but within no time Wanderer starts to feel those very same feelings that is driving Melanie to fight so hard. Soon enough they set off to find the people that mean the world to Melanie, being careful not to receive any unwanted attention from the other Souls. In this case the Souls would find the other humans, too.

When Melanie and Wanda, Wanderer’s new name, finely find who they have been looking for there is an effort on the humans behalf to get along with the Soul they have learned to hate. Wanda is torn between her new feelings and her duty as a Soul, her struggle is an ongoing and difficult one. You will also have fun reading about the little love triangle but I will leave that one up to you to discover.

The one thing I am waiting for is the second one, I am hoping for another gripping, non-stop page turner like The Host, which leave an opening for another book, so I can only hope that is what Stephenie Meyer is going for.

 …

Book Review ~ Reviving Olivia by Becca Jameson

Book Review ~ Reviving Olivia by Becca Jameson

HOLY S***! That sums this book up in two words. I just thought the other six in this series got their claw into me, nope. Reviving Olivia was like a drug. I had to finish, I could not put it down, I could not sleep until it was over. Everything comes together and I was speechless. Olivia is the key, the question is what does she unlock. She was a nurse who was frozen but wasn’t sick. Why? What does she have to do with everything? No spoilers I promise. Damon is responsible for keeping her safe. He was responsible for bringing everyone else back to life, but can he keep her alive. Almost from the time Olivia woke from her coma Damon was drawn to her. Next is Spencer, he is the hacker of the group and use to work for the enemy. Shy in a way, and he craves both Damon and Olivia. He is there because there are questions about Olivia’s past. Particularly who is she really. The heat between these three is off the charts! Is that because of adrenaline or is there something between them. The goal is to stay alive then maybe just maybe they can explore more.

This series is best read in order as each has info that leads into the next. If you want to start this series, Reviving Emily is the first and is currently free on Amazon.

This book was provided from the Author for the purpose of providing a review. Regardless of how any book is obtained, all views given are my personal and honest opinions. Please assume all links in this post are affiliates and Booked & Loaded has the potential to receive monetary gain from any purchases used via the links. These purchases help support the blog and help pay for the cost of running this site…