Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the story. I found old friends in new circumstances and discover new friends in somewhat old circumstances. Now there were a few "what the?" moments--Voldemort had a child? What? WHAT!--and some cheesy moments (Hermione and Ron, in almost every scene). But overall, so much fun to go back to that magical world and let the world come alive again. Albus and Scorpius. So good. Developing the adult characters. Lovely. It was nice to escape for a little bit. Maybe not the strongest storyline, but I definitely want to see it on stage.

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Review: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Got bored and couldn't finished. Not engaging enough for me. Maybe I'll take a stab at another day, but not likely.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: The Lantern Bearers

The Lantern Bearers The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. When I started reading it, it didn't really catch my attention, but by the end I couldn't put it down. The unexpected attachment I felt for the main character impacted far more than I had realized when I began to cry at the end. Rosemary Sutcliff had cleverly crafted such a tale that I couldn't help but feel some emotional attachment--and what a great emotional triumph for Aquila. If you like reading well-research historical fiction about Britain during its Roman era, this book is perfect for you. It was written in the 1950s, so the vocabulary may seem a bit old-fashioned at first, but it all works perfectly by the end.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating look at the brain and how it works. Most of the "rules" are pretty much common sense type of things, but I loved how the author applied it to school and work situations. The pratical application is the value of this book.

Here are some of my favorite rules and what I learned from them:

Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
Not only is exercise beneficial for muscles and endurance, it also helps out with the brain. Even thirty minutes of exercise each day will get your brain going, helping you to remember things better and increasing overall brain health. If you're not exercising, start now!

Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
Even though all of us have a brain, the way your brain works is slightly different than the way my brain works. Never assume that just because you may understand something in a certain way that other people understand it in the exact same way. Everyone's brain is working with the body that it has.

Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things.
This is especially useful to know if you're teaching a class or doing a presentation. The best way to do it is to break up the information and every 15 minutes or so, recap or tie the information into a story, a joke, or something else that people will remember. After 15 minutes or so of information, people stop paying attention. The brain needs some time to absorb the information and a break from continuous information coming at it.

Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
Getting a good amount of sleep is great for your brain, not because it's resting, per se, but because it allows the brain to do it's thing—taking all the information that it acquired during the day and analyzing and putting the info away so the brain can access it later. If you're cheating on your sleep, you're cheating on your brain health.

Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way.
If you're stressed out, your brain will be stressed out too. The information it acquires will be gathered and used in the "stressed out" mode, either for good or bad. Living under stressful conditions will cause the brain to adapt to those conditions, but even when the stressful conditions are no longer there, the brain will continue to act as if those conditions do exist. Fascinating chapter.

Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
I read this and went "No duh!" This chapter turned out to be really interesting. All brains deal with emotions, but how the brain processes emotions depends on nature, nurture, and gender. Male and female brains respond differently to acute stress—women will remember the emotional details whereas men get the gist, the overall picture.

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Review: The Martian

The Martian The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was really interesting to listen to. And for the longest time I couldn't figure out if this book was a tragedy or triumphant survival story because it could have gone either way. If you've seen the movie, then you already know the outcome. The book delves deeper into the math and science of pretty much everything, making it seem realistic. There's also a bit of a humor in it and is well-paced.

Warning: the f-word is used a lot along with other swear words. One reason why I only gave it 3 stars.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: The Christmas Sweater

The Christmas Sweater The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty good book with sweet message. Really got me thinking in some parts, but cheesy in other parts. Overall I liked it, but felt that it got preachy in some places.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 16: #90DaysChoosingHealthy

It's been sixteen days and things are going pretty good. I find that I have a lot more energy. I was practically bouncing off the walls at the gym tonight. One of my weaknesses, though, is portion control. And another weakness: eating late at night—well, eating after nine, really. So, the next ten days, that's what I'll be working on.... just in time for Thanksgiving! Anyway, portion control and no eating after nine p.m. With these two on my team, the 90 days of choosing healthy will be a success!
Like Stockton to Malone, I got this! 

In other news, the Christmas season has started. No, I haven't forgotten Thanksgiving. But I do enjoy a good Christmas tree lighting. Here's one from Traverse Mountain Outlet.

Speaking of Christmas, you still have plenty of time to pick up my calendar and Christmas booklet! Perfect gifts for all in your family.