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The Law of Nines

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Although those who have never read any of Terry Goodkind's work can still easily follow and probably enjoy this book, those who HAVE read the Sword of Truth series will get much more out of it.
Skinny Bitch in Love

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I know a lot of people hate this cookbook because of all the substitute products, but I enjoy vegan meat/dairy substitutes, and every recipe I've tried is SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS!! I've tried over half the recipes, and I plan to make every single one in here. These recipes will NOT help you lose weight though as there is a lot of fat in most of them. Also, they go overboard on the salt sometimes. However, if all you're going for is good taste and natural ingredients, and you're not a gourmet chef, this is a great book.

Some of my favorites -
Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
Dream Bars
Crabby Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
Herbed "Egg" Salad Scoops
Spicy Mixed Nuts
Veggie Enchiladas (includes a from-scratch enchilada sauce recipe - so, so delicious and tastes really authentic)
"Meatloaf" with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Hummus, Tempeh, and Cucumber Wrap

If you'd like some vegan weight loss recipes, try Dr. Barnard's Breaking the Food Seduction or anything by Dr. Fuhrman or Dr. McDougall instead.
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning

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Truly this is a 3.5 star rating. I really couldn't give it anymore than that though, since this is more of just a cute tale and not any wonderfully epic book.
I enjoyed the setting - seems like it's in Victorian times with the clothing (in the illustrations at least) and the houses with large libraries, but it actually is set in more modern times.
I liked Violet and Klaus, since they were so polite and intelligent.
Sunny was just an annoying part of the book, but I guess her presence does figure into the plot at some point.
What I liked most about reading this was that it was reminiscent of Roald Dahl's books with the intelligent, lovely kids and the adults who are either absent, oblivious/unbelieving of the children, or evil.

I've started on the second one already since they're such fast reads. We'll see if the series gets anymore interesting.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

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The only thing about this book that wasn't to my taste was the few chapters that were purely about football and the history of football. Even though I care way less about sports than I did while growing up, I still do enjoy learning new things, so these chapters weren't entirely bad to get through.

The rest of the book was the story of Michael Oher's life and his transition from extreme rags (Michael grew up in one of the poorest zip codes in the US) to extreme riches (He moved in with a family who owned a private jet) - it's the major reason I wanted to read this book in the first place. I think it was told pretty well. I kept wanting to know more about Michael and his life before the Tuohys took him in, but he was a mystery to everyone who knew him. You finally do learn more about his past at the end of the book though.

My other reason for reading is that the events of this story took place just a few years ago in the city I live in. I've never been to Michael's original neighborhood, and I'm glad I got to visit it through a book rather than actually going there.

It's worth reading if you're a football fan, of course, but it's also worth a read if you're interested in reading about major cultural transitions just by moving a few miles.
French Women Don't Get Fat

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I thought this book had a lot of good advice, and it was a really interesting look at French culture from an insider's point of view. Actually, it was even better because the author is also an American - she was raised in France but then married an American, so she has good insight on both cultures. This was nice since she wasn't too hard on Americans, and she didn't come across as being all "The French are better, nyeh!"
I guess this book was not structured enough for me, but the whole point of the book was not to follow some structured régime (and I believe that word actually means "diet" in French). It was about changing your culturally ingrained American habits and making slight shifts and fixes to how you live.
This book however was a little annoying to me with its very nonvegan recipes (can we say butter, heavy cream, eggs, cheese, yogurt, duck, chicken, fish, oysters, horse! - which by the way she never liked eating for "sentimental" reasons but her parents made her every week when she was growing up), but that was to be expected since French cooking isn't exactly friendly to les végétaliens. I did appreciate her points about eating things in season and using the very best quality ingredients, so that your food needs very little added flavor in the form of fat and/or sugar.
So, read this book if you're a Francophile or just interested in another culture but don't read it if you're looking for some secret miracle cure - kind of ironic since she nicknamed her French doctor who helped her lose the weight she had gained in America Dr. Miracle.


Series of Unfortunate Events #2, A: The Reptile Room

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Well, I can't say this one was a whole lot better than the first, but I have a feeling I will just keep reading these just to see what kind of crazy situations the Baudelaire children will end up in next. Each book starts up exactly where the last one left off, so I will probably just keep going and going until I hit #13, haha. They are such quick, easy reads. I can't say the plots have been awesome in these books, but what's keeping me interested is the new setting and a new eccentric character in each book so far (I'm on #3 right now).
I'm starting to suspect that the main reason the author wrote these books was to teach children new vocabulary words, although he really took more liberty in defining the words in this book than the last which can be humorous when you really know what those words mean, but it concerns me that he's really going to mess up some kids' understanding of some words.
Kushiel's Avatar

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One thing I didn't like about this book was just feeling like I knew what was coming next. There were hardly any surprises except at the beginning when the plot was being set up. A couple hundred pages into the book, I felt like I knew the whole ordeal that Phèdre had to go through to resolve the series. So most of the time I felt like I was just suffering through endless description just to see if anything interesting was actually going to happen.

I really liked how the relationship developed between Phèdre and Joscelin through the trilogy. I also thought the intense darkness in the middle of the book was an interesting change, since in the other two books the conflict just seemed light and fluffy - traitors to the oh so precious Terre d'Ange and blah blah blah. Here we come face to face with pure evil. That part was difficult to read though!
As much as it's nice to see Phèdre and Joscelin have so much love and devotion for each other, I've never been able to feel the chemistry between them. It makes me go "eww" every time they physically get together, LOL.

Three stars for an epic tale. Minus two for a SLOW read and for feeling somewhat distant from (but still admiring of) the characters.

One observation I've made about myself recently is that I think I just really can't LOVE a book that has first person narration. I wonder how differently I would have felt about these books if they had been third person.
Eragon: Inheritance, Book I

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Definitely didn't love this book. However, that may be because I took five months to read it. I think I need to reread this one to decide if I truly like it, and I will be doing it with pen and paper at the ready to keep track of characters and places. The end of this book sets it up for a sequel, and it seems intriguing, so I'll probably be reading the next book too. I can't decide whether I should reread this one first though.
Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

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Ugh, this book was SOOO BORING!! It was a chore to read this thing. I had to take 10 pages at a time, and even that was too much. Elphaba had such potential to be an amazing character - what a disappointment. She did have a few great moments of dry humor, and I could identify with her occasionally, but I could just never understand what she was all about or even how exactly she turned into the person everyone came to view as a witch. This is one of those rare cases where the "movie" (musical, actually) is better (in this case, WAY better) than the book. The only reason I gave this book 2 stars was because I thought the whole Animal rights thing was really interesting, but even that seemed to be covered better in the musical. *sigh*
Maybe most of what this book was about is just over my head or something. I just wish there would have been more heart in this story to accompany all the allegorical stuff.
Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings---And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally

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This book was my first ever introduction to vegan diets. I randomly decided to buy this book one day when I was at some mall on Michigan Ave. in Chicago. I think the title appealed to me.
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