Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

rating: 4.0/5.0

Book Descripiton:
In this Jane Austen-inspired comedy, love story, and exploration of identity and destiny, a modern LA girl wakes up as an Englishwoman in Austen's time.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney's borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.

Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman-and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.
I enjoyed this book. I liked the Courtney is thrown back in time to the era she adores in literature. I also loved her humor as she navigated a completely foreign world without daily bathing and simple hygiene that she was familiar with. I also really liked the way she dealt with Jane's mother.

A very cute, amusing story and I was always wondering what would happen next. Was Mr. Edgeworth a good man or a scoundrel? Will Courtney return to the 20th century. Can she love again after being left by her fiancee? It was a very enjoyable story that produces swoon-worthy moments and laugh out loud moments.

For those that love Jane Austen books - this is a fun book and a fun look at Austen-era society.

Binding: Trade Paperback
On-sale Date: May 2008
Publisher: Plume
Pages: 304

Review Copy Arrival: Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

Defenders of The Scroll by Shiraz

Publisher: iUniverse
Release: June 29, 2009

A teenage boy.A dark wizard.A mystic scroll. And the fate of a world hangs in the balance. . . When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk. Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.Winner in the Fantasy category of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in the Action-Adventure and Young Adult Fiction categories of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in the Multicultural Fiction and Best Overall Design Fiction categories of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi category of the 2009 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi and Teenage categories of the 2009 Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention in the Wild Card category of the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival

About the Author
Shiraz was raised just outside Toronto, Ontario and like the characters in this book, currently has no home. His life as a software developer has allowed him to live on four continents and keeps him moving almost every year. While he has had a passion for writing since he was eight, this is his first published work.

Review Copy Arrival: The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond

The Well Behaved Child by John Rosemond

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release: October 13, 2009

A parenting workshop in a book!

The biggest frustration felt by today's parents is in the area of discipline. Family psychologist, best-selling author, and parenting expert John Rosemond uses his thirty-six years of professional experience working with families to develop the quintessential "how to" book for parents. Rosemond's step-by-step program, based on biblical principles, traditional parenting approaches, and common sense, covers a wide range of discipline problems applicable to children from toddler to teen.

Sections include:

  • Essential Discipline Principles
  • Essential Discipline Tools
  • Perplexing Problems and Simple Solutions
  • Not Your Everyday Problems
  • General Questions and Answers (Troubleshooting)

Filled with real-life examples that anyone who's ever been around children can relate to, this book is sure to be one of the most valuable, helpful resources parents have ever stumbled across.

Review Copy Arrival: Ecoholic by Adria Vasil

Ecoholic (when you're addicted to the planet) by Adria Vasil

Ecoholic is an eye-opening guide to separating the green from the greenwashed in the maze of products lining our shelves. Unlike other eco guidebooks, Ecoholic names names and gives you the dirt on what not to buy and why, as well as the dish on great clothes, beauty products, home supplies, and more.

We all know that the earth is in trouble, but we’re often left scratching our heads over how to change things. How do we avoid poisoning the planet and ourselves with the products we slather on our scalps and squirt onto our floors? And what safe alternatives actually get the job done?

Filled with tips on everything from which seafood is safe to eat to getting the hormone disruptors out of your kids, your carpets, and your love life, Ecoholic is a witty and indispensable guide to the small ecochoices that make the biggest difference.

A bonus article from the author:

Green Report Card: Is Your Child's School Flunking the Environment?
By Adria Vasil,

Author of Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products & Services

You'd think schools would be role models for good behavior now wouldn't you? Oh sure they might talk a good game about the importance of recycling paper and protecting polar bears, but are they walking the walk? Not if they're leaving the lights on day and night, spraying the school grounds with toxic pesticides and mopping up with hormone-disrupting chemicals! Here's a subject-by-subject breakdown on how your kid's school might be failing the planet, as well as some pointers for helping them boost those grades.

Grassy school yards see a lot of activity, so no matter how old the students (and teachers) are, toxic pesticides shouldn't be sprayed on school grounds. Many are linked to cancer, neurological damage, and developmental problems. Youngest kids are the most vulnerable because their organs can't easily eliminate toxins from their systems and their nervous systems are still developing. After several incidents of chemical pesticides like Roundup wafting into school vents, kids swallowing insecticide granules, and fumigants making students sick, the federal government was kicking around a bill (the School Environmental Protection Act) that would force schools to notify parents when pesticides were used on school property, but the bill didn't get enough votes to pass.

Room for improvement:

  • Ask your school/school board about their pesticide policy. Demand that students and parents be notified before bug-killing chemicals are used.
  • Press school leaders to establish an integrated pest management policy that looks at switching to safer options. The Environmental Protection Agency recently asked schools to do so by 2015 (google School IPM 2015 for details), but if you want it to happen sooner, you'll have to push for it.
If your child's school says it's too cash-strapped to bring on earth-friendly changes, remind them that going green can actually save them serious coin. One out of every four dollars that schools spend on electricity is needlessly wasted on inefficient boilers and leaving lights on, according to the US Department of Energy. Check if your school has an action plan for cutting back on excess energy use.

Room for improvement:

  • Make sure programmable thermostats are set no lower than 75°F in the summer and no higher than 70°F in the winter.
  • Be light-bright: switch to ultra efficient compact fluorescent, T8 bulbs. Install motion sensors and timers to save even more.
  • Post signs above monitors and switches reminding students to switch off computers and lights at lunch and recess. Consider installing motion sensors or timers on lights.
  • Get schooled on the benefits of upgrading computers: Energy Star models can save up to $55 a year in energy. For more tips, see the US Department of Energy's

No doubt, kids are messy, but did you know each student churns out about half a pound of garbage per school day? Multiply that by all the students in America and we've got some serious landfill clogging going on.

Room for improvement:

  • Are there recycling bins in every class and hallway? The easier they are to find, the more likely they are to be used.
  • Are printers and photocopiers loaded with 100% recycled paper high in post-consumer content? Ask about a paper-saving policy for teachers and students.
  • Is the school composting? Organize food scrap bins in the cafeteria and build a composter outside. Students can spread all the highly nutritious soil it generates on school grounds. Teachers can even work with their classes to build a composter from scratch, as described at
  • Is the cafeteria handing out disposable cutlery and plates? Make sure reusable forks and dishes are promoted and try to ban hard-to-recycle plastics like polystyrene from your cafeteria.

If your older child's school has a cafeteria it's probably serving up a bounty of tantalizingly fresh, local ingredients, right? Fat chance. It probably serves more frozen fries and greasy burgers in a day than you can count. You might have trouble convincing your school to spend more cash on organic goodies, but you may be able to persuade the powers that be to cook with local ingredients (especially in prime harvest season!).

Room for improvement:
  • Encourage the school to set up a farm-to-school program (it's already in 9000 schools!).
  • Look into the possibility of getting students to plant an organic food garden on school property.
  • More and more schools are already serving up certified organic options. Talk to your school about including organics wherever possible.

Gone are the days of teachers cleaning mouths out with soap, but kids are still taking in questionable chemicals every time their school gets cleaned. Petrochemicals, bleaches, and caustic solvents found in industrial cleaning products have been linked to asthma, hormone disruption, and allergies. Back in the 80s, one school janitor collapsed and later died after cleaning a bathroom floor with a product that contained butyl cellosolve (an ingredient still used in professional cleaners today) without any ventilation.

Room for improvement:

  • We've got to be realistic here: your school's not about to switch to baking soda and vinegar. Instead, give school officials a list of eco-friendly institutional cleaning products approved by trusted third-party certifiers like Green Seal (

Getting your school to go fully green can be about as easy as getting a class full of 5-year-olds to sit still. It's even harder when you're just one person, so join forces with a group of like-principled people. Some school boards already have parent environmental networks -- be sure to ask.

Room for improvement:
  • Junior and senior high schoolers can form an environmental club (e-club) with the help of a geography or earth sciences teacher. They can do stuff like assess their school's impact on the earth by measuring its ecological footprint (learn how at
  • Start a Green PTA. If the local PTA isn't keen on going green, concerned parents can start their own coalitions with other conscious moms and dads who want "idling-free" zones outside, Energy Star computers in classrooms and organic milk in the cafeteria.

©2009 Adria Vasil, author of Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products & Services

Author Bio

Adria Vasil, author of Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products & Services, is a best-selling author and journalist for Canada's NOW, where she has been writing the "Ecoholic" column for five years. She lives in Toronto.

For more information please visit

Review Copy Arrival: Love Your Body, Love Your Life by Sarah Maria

Love Your Body, Love Your Life
5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently
By Sarah Maria
Published by Adams Media
November 2009;$14.95US/$17.99CAN; 978-1-60550-153-6

Eating Disorders. Steroids. Plastic Surgery.

We'll do anything to look better -- and yet we still feel bad about how we look. Self-loathing has reached epidemic proportions. But there is a way to end self-destructive thoughts and behavior. In Love Your Body, Love Your Life, noted body-image expert Sarah Maria presents her proven five-step plan anyone can use to overcome negative body obsession (NBO). She helps you:

  • Commit to change
  • Identify and detach from negative thoughts
  • Discover who you really are
  • Befriend your body
  • Find your purpose
  • Love your body, love your life
Complete with exercises, case studies, and testimonials, you can learn how to stop obsessing over food and your body and achieve permanent peace with both. You'll banish NBO forever, and feel healthy, radiant, beautiful, and desirable -- every day!

Author Bio
Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently, is the founder of Break Free Beauty (, a company dedicated to helping people love and accept their bodies and discover the beauty that they already are. She is a body-image excerpt, speaker, and coach who speaks and writes on the topics of body image, self-esteem, health, success, and spirituality. Her mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the bodies they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams. She has studied and trained with many well-known spiritual and self-help teachers, including Deepak Chopra and physician Dr. David Simon, the co-founder and medical director of the Chopra Center for Well-Being in Carlsbad, CA. She lives in Carlsbad, CA.

For more information please visit:

Here is a bonus article by the author:

Go Ahead and Pamper Yourself
By Sarah Maria,
Author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently

Gone are the days when self-pampering was considered overly-indulgent, self-aggrandizing or narcissistic, right? Well, if those days aren't quite gone for you, hopefully they will be gone by the time you finish reading this post. Here we go:

Many of us have been raised with what I call delusional thought patterns. These are any thoughts that prevent us from knowing and experiencing ourselves as the inherently beautiful, perfect, glorious beings that we are and always have been. These are the thoughts that make us think we shouldn't pamper ourselves. Maybe we don't quite deserve it; maybe we haven't worked hard enough. Maybe we will do it after we have finished this project; perhaps after we take care of everyone else. Maybe then we will pamper ourselves . . .

Here are some of the stories you might be telling yourself:

"Pampering myself is too expensive."

"I should be working instead of playing."

"I should be taking care of the kids."

"I don't really need whatever I think I need."

"I don't deserve to give myself what I really want."

"I should be exercising."

"I should be doing something productive."

Pampering, love, affection, adoration, as if any of this had anything to do with merit! It does not. You don't deserve to be pampered because you have earned it any more than a baby deserves to be fed, clothed, and changed. Consider a baby -- would you ever say "Okay, I am going to feed you because you have been a good baby." You would consider this parent to be completely deluded. You feed a baby simply because that is what should be done when a baby is hungry.

And yet this is the way we think we should love ourselves -- that love and pampering should somehow be based on merit. We think that somehow we should only pamper ourselves when we have done something to deserve it. Wrong! There is no deserving of pampering -- there is simply love longing to be realized. In the same way you would feed a hungry baby, so too should you give yourself what you need and honor the brilliance that you are. Love and pampering should be given to yourself with unlimited abandon -- joyously, endlessly.

And how do you pamper yourself? Give yourself what you need in each moment -- moment by moment. Do you need rest? Plan for rest. Do you need inspiration? Read the books that feed your soul. Do you need relaxation? Get a massage. Do you need clarity? Spend time in silence. Do you need support? Reach out to friends and loved ones. In each moment, life will tell you what you need. Listen. Listen and follow the guidance, the inner-wisdom that is always at your disposal. In every single moment, you have everything you need to give yourself what you need in that moment.

There is nothing more important than your well-being. The better you feel the more you can live the life you want to live. You cannot climb a summit if you are feeling depleted -- you cannot conquer your inner-demons with a fragile and exhausted mind. The most effective people are not those who have been denied love, either by themselves or by others. Study after study demonstrates that the healthiest, most effective people are those who love with abandon. Deserving to be loved, pampered, and cherished doesn't end when we become adults.

Consider this quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who has influenced me most profoundly and whom you will see me quote often, since his wisdom is worth hearing again and again:

The unlimited is already perfect. You are perfect, only you don't know it. Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders. All you need is already within you; only you must approach yourself with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors. Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of the love you bear yourself; all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect. Deny yourself nothing -- give yourself infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond.

You are love yearning for the perfectly lovable, and you, yourself, are the perfectly lovable that you long to experience. Give to yourself with unlimited abandon and you will discover that what you once considered selfish turns out to be the epitome of selflessness, for when you know yourself as love, you love everyone, unconditionally, unboundedly, eternally. You will discover that there never was anyone more deserving of love than you, no one more perfect than you, and no one to love other than yourself. Perfect your love of yourself and you will love everyone and no one perfectly.

©2009 Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently