Wednesday, January 23, 2013

World Book Night - deadline for Giver applications is Friday 1/25

Just a quick shout out for World Book Night USA this April 23, 2013.   The organizers have extended the deadline until this Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.

Sign up to be a giver, to hand out 20 copies of a book that you particularly enjoyed to help spread a love of reading. What could be better?

This is the second year of WBN USA.  I remember the excitement of planning and actually going up to strangers to offer them copies of The Book Thief.   I'd been a bit shy and awkward at the start but some people really lit up when hearing about the book and how they could share it with their older kids.  It was an amazing experience and I hope to be able to do it again this year.

Curious?  Want to see what books are will be handed out?  Want to join up?  Head to WBN USA's website at  

The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There by Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen

I feel like I've been dieting for years and while I've gotten a bit of diet fatigue, I'm still interested in reading well recommended diet and fitness books. Dr. Cohen's The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There seems like a sensible guide, it reinforces much of the advice that I've come across through other programs and through Weight Watchers.

First, Dr. Cohen makes a point of suggesting that instead of following a table with your suggested weight based on your height, he recommends computing your "Right Weight" based on your weight history and current weight. First add your healthy and light weight at age 18 to your heaviest weight then divide this number by 2 (A1). Then add the lightest weight you'd ever been after 18 years of age and your current weight then divide this number by two (A2). Add both A1 and A2 and divide this by 2, this is your "Right Weight". When you've gotten used to this weight and maintained it for at least 6 months, you can then use the same formula again to come up with your next "Right Weight" and so forth until you are at a healthy weight and are happy with your weight (and it also follows the healthy BMI listed in the table). This Right Weight then tries to get you to lose the weight slowly, encourages you to change your behavior and to be able to maintain the weight loss.

The book includes a list of spices and herbs with different ways to use them, suggested ways to pair the particular spices with various vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, meat and dairy. I found this section interesting as I'm always looking for new spices and ways to flavor my food without falling back on butter or oils, etc. For instance, I'd never considered pairing cloves with cabbage and haven't used cloves on meat or soup much and am looking forward to experimenting more with the spice.

There is also a food equivalency section that I found interesting/helpful. For instance, 4 oz of fish = 4 oz of chicken = 2 eggs = 4 oz of shellfish = 4 oz lean meat = 2 oz hard cheese = 3 oz lean ham = 1.5 cups (12 oz) nonfat yogurt

Through the Weight Watchers program, I've gotten used to using equivalencies and points instead of specific calories and it was easy to start using Dr. Cohen's equivalency system.

The diet has 3 phases which he calls "Cafe", "Bistro", and "Gourmet." Cafe kickstarts the diet and is expected to bring about a loss of 1 lb/day and shouldn't go beyond 10 days. Bistro period lasts for 2-3 weeks and is expected to bring about an 8-11 lb weight loss. The final phase is Gourmet which is expected to bring about a 8-11 lb weight loss in the first month and 6-9 lb per month for the next 3 months. It looks like the diet mainly relies on portion control and gives tasty recipes and menus. Dr. Cohen stresses eating mindfully, appreciating the food, savoring the entire experience so that you feel more satiated with your smaller portions. Also, quit snacking between meals, eating on the run, etc. Drink more, eat more fruits and vegetables, have lighter dinners ("eat breakfast like a prince and dinner like a pauper"), and exercise regularly - all familiar advice and helpful habits. The lifestyle changes that he suggests will likely lead to weight loss if you're willing to stick to the actual diet.

Here are a few of the meals that I thought particularly interesting/tasty: 3 oz of cod, 2 cups winter squash for lunch followed by vegetable soup for dinner; apple pork and carrots, beet and apple slaw; scallops and capers; porteugeuse-style baked fish fillet and green beans; grilled flank and vegetables (eggplant), apple meringue, artichoke salad and yogurt. You can't eat all these items at the same time, but each dish looks flavorful and satisfying.

I'm wiling to give the Parisian Diet a try - and will definitely make use of the recipes.

ISBN-10: 2080201395 - Hardcover $26.00
Publisher: Flammarion (January 1, 2013), 288 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Prime program.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Charles Todd's Proof of Guilt Blog Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to the first stop at Partners in Crime's blog tour for Charles Todd's latest Inspector Ian Rutledge novel, Proof of Guilt!  I love historical detective novels and I'm a big fan of Charles Todd's writing.   I'd learned about the mother-son writing team a few years ago and have gone through a period where I read everything that I could find of theirs.  So I'm now at the stage where I eagerly await the newest novel in their  Inspector Ian Rutledge series and Bess Crawford series.

Inspector Ian Rutledge was the only man in his army unit to have survived the World War I.  One of the most traumatic moments of the war involved having to order the execution of his second in command, Hamish MacLeish, for disobedience when he refused to order them men on what proved to be a suicide mission.  By the time that the series begins Rutledge has returned to his prewar occupation as a Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard.  Having survived the horrors of the war, he carries much of the trauma with him but as PTSD or "shellshock" was seen as cowardly, Rutledge struggled to keep the  effects of war hidden from everyone around him.   He'd been able to repress the trauma although it would sometimes surface in the person of Hamish whose voice would sometimes speak out, much like an angry and resentful conscience or guide.  Inspector Rutledge is dogged, reckless, and a brilliant detective although he's not popular with his superiors.  Aside from the unusual and perplexing cases that he draws, Rutledge has the added challenge of  his war baggage and the petty grievances and orders from his superior at Scotland Yard.  All of these obstacles give Inspector Ian Rutledge novels an added texture and drama - so much so that I find them addictive.

In Proof of Guilt, we find Inspector Ian Rutledge's with a new superior officer, Chief Superintendent Markham, as Inspector Bowles has been temporarily removed.  We're not sure whether the new boss will be better or worse, for while he hasn't been overtly prejudiced against Rutledge, there are indications that he could be difficult, perhaps even more difficult than Bowles.    A well dressed and unidentified man is found on a well kept street in London.  Though his body has been dragged and all his papers have been taken, he carries a distinctive and expensive French pocket watch and the street is undisturbed - no trace of a body having been dragged.  An unidentified body doesn't usually merit a visit from Scotland Yard, but Rutledge is assigned to the task.  

Careful detective work leads Rutledge to find the owner of the watch and to look into the secrets of a respectable and successful merchant family.   He finds a family fortune made in Madeira, an attempted murder by the son of a business associate, a jilted lover, prominent business partners missing.  As Rutledge sifts through the conflicting evidence, through interviews and testimonies, "weighing every expression and every word",  he takes us with him to a complex investigation.  The novel has the fluid and understated prose that I associate with the best of British mysteries (although the authors of this series are Americans!).  I savored Proof of Guilt and am almost disappointed that I've finished reading it and it'll likely be another year until the next Inspector Ian Rutledge novel comes out. 

ISBN-10: 0062015680 - Hardcover $25.99
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and Partners in Crime Tours.

About the Author:
Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand alone novels.  A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina respectively.

To enter the giveaway, please comment below and share if you've read anything by Charles Todd and why you'd like to win the book.  For an extra entry, tell us about a book that you loved recently and why.  Contest ends on Feb. 28, 2013.
(1) You must be a follower of the blog to enter.
(2) Limited to U.S. residents only.  
(3) Maximum of two entries per household.

Would you like to read an excerpt from Proof of Guilt?  Head to Partners in Crime blog for an excerpt of the novel before it's released. 

To read more about Charles Todd and Proof of Guilt, head over to the sites below.  Enter into their giveaways for The Confession, an Inspector Ian Rutledge novel. 

January 21st:  Review & Giveaway~Gaby @ Starting Fresh
January 22nd:  Review & Giveaway~Vera @ Luxury Reading
January 23rd:  Review & Giveaway~Kriss @ Cabin Goddess
January 24th:  Review & Giveaway~Jean @ JeanBookNerd
January 25th:  Review & Giveaway~Kathleen @ Celticlady's Reviews
January 26th:  Review & Giveaway~Kristi @ Books and Needlepoint
January 27th:  Review & Giveaway~Inga @ Me and Reading 
January 28th:  Review & Giveaway~Eileen @ Books R Us
January 29th:  Review & Giveaway~Ruth @ My Devotional Thoughts
January 30th:  Review & Giveaway~J.C. @ JC Martin Fighter Writer
January 31st:  Review & Giveaway~Stephanie~Curling Up By The Fire
February 1st:  Review & Giveaway~Alan @ Electronic Scrapbook
February 2nd:  Review & Giveaway~Cheryl @ Sweeping The USA
February 3rd:  Review & Giveaway~Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews
February 4th:  Review & Giveaway~Misty @ The Top Shelf