Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blue Print Cleanse for the New Year

I've decided to do my first cleanse in the hope that this will get me on the right track for 2012.

I'd reviewed a book about the entrepreneurs that created Blue Print Cleanse and have heard glowing reviews about their product/the feeling of accomplishment after the cleanse, I've decided to go with their beginner cleanse.  It's pretty pricey at $65/day especially since they recommend doing a 3-day cleanse to get the full experience.

New Yorkers can order with free delivery and you can qualify for a buddy discount if you have a group of 3 (10%) living at the same address or a corporate discount for a group of 8 (15% discount) or if you decide to do it at work, you can negotiate for larger discounts.  Or if you're a bride-to-be, they have a special package and discount for you.

I thought about sending an email to our condo listserve to see if anyone else wants to do this, but it struck me as too much information.  Perhaps if I decide to do this another time.  So, I've opted to pick up my juices at Union Market in Park Slope.  You can now purchase individual bottles in NY (Whole Foods, several yoga & gyms, specialty grocery stores), Boston (Exhale Boston & Exhale Battery Wharf), Connecticut (Bikram Yoga Norwalk & Elements Yoga in Darien), California, Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey,  Texas, Florida, and Indiana.   Check this list for the exact locations.  I did a quick price check (because that's how I am) and Whole Foods and Union Market sell the juices at these prices: green/red/gold - $9.99; cashew milk $11.99; and spicy lemonade $6.99.

R might do this cleanse with me - although he's signed up for a race tonight (midnight).  I'll keep you posted.

Has anyone else tried these cleanses?  What did you think?  Any advice?

Happy New Year, everyone!! Hoping that we all have a healthy and prosperous year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Warror Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
ISBN-10: 0786839171 0 Paperback
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (February 27, 2007), 448 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley.

The blurb:
Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity.  Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-school students.  Then one day Jack skips his medicine.  Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before.  And it feels great—until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself:  He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us.  At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game—a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death.  The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre magical heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind—he’s one of the last of the warriors—at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

The only problem with The Warrior Heir was that it ended too soon.  As I put it down,  I just had to read the next two books in the series.  Am so thankful for my kindle and that it takes less than a minute to order and download the next book.

What is it about The Warrior Heir that I found so engrossing?  Cinda Williams Chima's world building, the complexity of her characters, the unusual and difficult predicaments that she throws them in, and the way that these heroes maintain their sense of honor and integrity despite life threatening odds and the strangest situations.

The Warrior Heir gives you a hero whose world has fallen apart in front of him.  He fights back his own way as he tries to make sense of these changes.  (SPOILER ALERT!) As he struggles, learns, and invariably succeeds, he becomes someone to care about, cheer for and a character that we want to read about.

About the Author (courtesy of her website):
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima grew up with talking animals and kick-butt Barbies. She began writing poetry and stories in third grade, and novels in junior high school. Her Heir Chronicles young adult contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir (2006), The Wizard Heir (2007), and The Dragon Heir (2008), all from Hyperion, with two more books forthcoming.   Chima’s best-selling YA high fantasy Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King (2009), followed by The Exiled Queen (September, 2010) and The Gray Wolf Throne (August, 2011.) The Crimson Crown is scheduled for fall, 2012.

Chima’s books have received starred reviews in Kirkus and VOYA, among others. They have been named Booksense and Indie Next picks, an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, to the Kirkus Best YA list, and the VOYA Editors’ Choice, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Perfect Tens lists. Her books also appear on numerous state awards lists. Both series are New York Times bestsellers.
Chima was a recipient of the 2008 Lit Award for Fiction from the Cleveland Lit and was named a Cleveland Magazine Interesting Person 2009. She lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.  Read more about Cinda Williams Chima, her novels, her writing and advice to writers on her website at

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen

 I haven't been writing as much lately with the holidays and increasing personal and professional obligations.  I have been reading just as much though.  As I catch up on my reviews, I'm happy to spread the word about The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen.

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen

In the fictional village near London called Bedsley Priors, young Lilly is struggling to keep her family and their business together.  Her mother disappeared without a word, her disabled brother needs looking after, and helping out at her father's apothecary shop.  Lilly's spare time is usually spent with her neighbor Mary and looking out for the ship that her mother may have sailed on.

Lilly isn't  sad or helpless - she's gifted with an amazing memory and an even temperament.  A quick learner, hard worker and a generous heart all make her a lovable character. 

When her mother's relatives reach out to her family and offer to sponsor a London season and a chance to travel, Lilly must decide whether to go into the world or to stay at Bedsley Priors and help her father and brother through some tough times.

In London, Lilly blossoms.  When Lilly receives an offer from one a wealthy suitor, we wonder whether she will she take this chance to a whole new life.  When her father falls ill, Lilly returns home for a short visit and finds the apothecary in shambles.  As Lilly tries to help revive the apothecary business, she reconnects with old friends and finds that her father's old apprentice has grown up. 

Julie Klassen's The Apothecary's Daughter is such a wonderful read - lovable characters,  unexpected twists, and the charming town of Bedsley Priors.  If you enjoy historical fiction, you're sure to love The Apothecary's Daughter.

ISBN-10: 0764204807 - Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (January 1, 2009), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by NetGalley and the publisher.

About the Author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She is a fiction editor and novelist. Her book, The Silent Governess, won a 2010 Christy Award and was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit for more information.

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

The blurb:
Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can't say no when someone asks for help--even when she knows better.  When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet.  Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.

Is the boy a victim of child trafficking?  Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him?  When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy's are in jeoopardy, too.  In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

While Scandinavian mysteries have been popular for some time now,  The Boy in the Suitcase stands out because of the female lead, Nina Borg.  A "do-gooder" who can't say no even when she knows better captures her exactly.  She's cares quickly and a little too much but fortunately she also has investigative skills to support her good Samaritan actions.

The other characters fall closer to the type.  Kaaerbol and Friis deliver clear, crisp language and a well crafted story.  Through descriptions and actions we understand the emotions, activity, and danger that seems to chase after several seemingly unrelated characters.

The boy's mother realizes his disappearance but is baffled by the absence of any kidnapper's note. As she tries to figure out who might have taken her son,  we read about how Nina's errand turns into a nightmare of sorts.  Nina agrees to pick up a suitcase for an acquaintance and is horrified to find a naked and live three-year-old. 

Nina must juggle her professional and familial obligations while trying to help this young boy.  The boy doesn't communicate and doesn't seem to understand Danish.  Instead of bringing the child to the police, she finds herself feeding him, clothing him, bathing him and trying to track down who may have left the boy inside a suitcase.   She finds an unlikely ally and determines that the boy's family might still be alive.  As Nina tries to learn more about the boy and to keep him safe, a ruthless mercenary is angry and is on the hunt for the boy and his ransom. 

Carefully crafted, suspenseful, and with all sorts of unexpected twists, The Boy in the Suitcase is a gripping and memorable read.   If you enjoy detective novels with complex characters set in unusual locations, you'll enjoy The Boy in the Suitcase.  It has the unusual advantage of advocating for the rights of women and children - without ever seeming heavyhanded or at all preachy.  Just through  the subtle selection of the crimes in the novel, Kaaberbol and Friis make us more aware of the particular vulnerabilities of poor children and women.

ISBN-10: 156947981X  Hardcover $24
Publisher: Soho Crime (November 8, 2011), 313 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Authors:
Lene Kaaberbol has sold more than 2 million books worldwide as a fantasy writer.  Her collaborator, Agnete Friis, is a children's writer.  Their bestselling Nina Borg series has been translated into nine languages.