Recipe from The Mayo Clinic Diet

Thanks to Anna at FSB Associates, I get to share a recipe from the writers of The Mayo Clinic Diet (click here to see my review)

Morning Glory Muffins
By the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H.
Authors of The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight.


1 c. all-purpose (plain) flour
1 c. whole-wheat flour
¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. egg substitute
½ c. vegetable oil
½ c. unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chopped apples, unpeeled
½ c. raisins
¾ c. grated carrots
2 tbsp. chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
3. In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to blend evenly.
4. In a separate bowl, add egg substitute, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in apples, raisins and carrots. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but still slightly lumpy.
5. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake until springy to the touch, about 35 minutes.
6. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve.

Pyramid Servings:  
Fruits 1
Carbohydrates 1
Fats 1
Per Serving (1 Muffin)  
Calories: 170
Protein 3g
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Total fat: 7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol (trace)
Sodium 195 mg
Fiber 2 g

The above is an excerpt from the book
The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight., by the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Reprinted from The Mayo Clinic Diet, © 2010 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Good Books (www.GoodBooks.com). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine and a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He is also an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. A specialist in nutrition and weight management, Dr. Hensrud advises individuals on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. He conducts research in weight management, and he writes and lectures widely on nutrition-related topics. He helped publish two award-winning Mayo Clinic cookbooks.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,600 physicians and scientists and 50,000 allied staff work at Mayo, which has sites in Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients a year.

For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

the mayo clinic dietFor more information, please visit www.goodbooks.com/mayoclinicdiet.







Review: The Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic Diet (and journal)
by the weight loss experts at Mayo Clinic
Genre: Health, self-help
Rating: 5

the mayo clinic diet


The Mayo Clinic Diet is a great book that guides you through a healthy way to loose weight. They focus on changing your eating habits, eating the right amount of the right thing, self control, self motivation, and staying healthy.

The word “Diet” has a bad reputation. People hear it and shutter. I don’t think Diet was the right word to use in the title of this book, I think they could have used something like “Health guide” or “lifestyle” because it’s not really a diet. Sure there are guides on what to eat, but there aren’t any super strict guidelines saying “don’t eat this” or “you must eat this.” This book is all about loosing weight right, and doing it healthfully.

The Mayo Clinic Diet asks some basic questions that get the reader thinking, like “why do you want to loose weight,” “what are your goals” etc. and the reason behind them. You really get down in to why you are bothering to change your body. Sure it’s good for you. But there are other reasons why people want to shape up. The Mayo Clinic Diet asks the right questions and gets you thinking so you can find your reasons, so you can find your motivation.

The actual “diet” part of this book is great. It talks about which foods to eat, which things to eat more of, which to eat less of, how to pick the right meat/cheese/milk etc. (note, for the sake of sharing with you a quick opinion, that the only thing I don’t agree with in the book is their view on skim milk. They recommend it. I don’t. It has no nutritional value, and you need whole milk, or low-fat at the least.). It talks about portion control (the key of weight loss!) and offers visual cues for identifying the right serving size, like “hockey puck” and “tennis ball” and “deck of cards” serving size, explains how to eat healthfully (yes there is a special way to eat!), gives advice on what to eat for snacks, lists exercise tips for beginners (easy to follow, not complicated or requiring equipment), and even identifies obstacles you may come across (excuses, habits, depressed thoughts etc.) , and strategies to get through them.


the mayo clinic journalThe journal is not necessary for the diet, but is a helpful tool that will guide you through the program. It follows the timeline given in the book, includes space for meal plans, weekly weigh-in, a section for goals and notes for the day, places to record what you ate, and habit tracker, and even a daily food pyramid checklist. It could even be used independently of the diet book, but I recommend using both together because the book has a lot of helpful information, and the journal is a motivating way to put it into action.

Recommendation: Anyone who needs to loose weight but is afraid of “another diet.” This is not the same diet you’re used to. Again, I think “diet” is the wrong word. This is a new lifestyle.


Win an ARC of Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Steph Bowe’s Hey! Teenager of the Year is giving away an ARC of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It’s open international (:D) and ends Feb. 28. hurry!

Review: Shadow Blade

Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Science Fiction
Rating: 3, DNF

shadow blade

From goodreads:

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira's day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she's got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira's hands.

Then there's Khefar, the dagger's true owner -- a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever....


The thing about a book is that it should make you want to keep reading it. At least by halfway though you should feel like you’re halfway through a plot line, you know the characters, and you know what’s going on.

I have no idea what’s going on in Shadow Blade, and I’m more than halfway through it.

Now that’s not to say that I am not following it, it’s just that nothing is happening. Which kind of upsets me because the first few chapters felt great, and they were exciting, and I couldn't put it down… and now I’m like, “Ok so what exactly is going on?”

I really get Kira. I really like her. She’s a bad-@$$, “don’t mess with me” kinda girl, and I like that. She reminds me of Charlie in The Better Part of Darkness. She also has more weapons than I could list, and I really like that (guilty pleasure). But I don’t really get the other characters, they’re not important to me, and I don’t really give a rat’s poo about what happens to them.

Again with the whole “not seeing the plot” thing. Halfway though a sci-fi adventure book I should have trouble putting it down, right? No problems here. Now it’s great if I just feel like settling down and going through a few chapters at leisure, but that’s not what I want out of a sci-fi adventure book.

Another weak aspect was the writing. There are a lot of fragments in this book, a lot of lame sentence structure, and the writing in general is just mediocre. Fragments get on my nerves. Hence my hatred of Meg Cabot that I’m sure you all have picked up on by now.

Now, with that in mind, I did enjoy the book, and I’m still enjoying it. I may keep it around at my bedside table so I can finish it, because I’m liking it. But I’m not particularly sure why I like it, especially because I don’t really know what is going to happen at all. Maybe I just really like Kira.

If I do finish it, I’ll post a quickie update on my opinion. But the thing is, why read mediocrity when you could be reading something else? Hence the reason I put this one down.

You may like it more than I did! I have a giveaway for one copy of Shadow Blade here!



Review: Make That a Table for Seven

Make That a Table for Seven by Angie and Storm Davis
Genre: Kids fiction
Rating: 4.5


From Goodreads: "Make That a Table for Seven" is a story about two bears left in the woods looking for a home. Ferbie and Peppie are scared and alone and do not think anyone really wants them. One night before dinner, there is a knock at the Grizzly's door, and there stands Ferbie and his sister Peppie. The Grizzly Family is immediately drawn to these two lonely cubs and offer them their home. The Grizzly children, Zeus, Smoo, and Princess, are excited to share their family and have another brother and sister. It is a story, based on real life events, of love, rescue, and redemption from lonely places to safe places. It is about a family expanding in number and love. It is a story that challenges us all to be the hands and heart of God to children in need.

Make That a Table for Seven is a cute story about two bear cubs who don’t have a family. It takes a lot of courage for the oldest bear to knock on a neighbor-bear family’s door and ask if he and his sister can live with them, but when he does, he is greeted with kindness, love, and assurance. This is a great story illustrating adoption—both literally and spiritually.

The only downside is that there are a lot of words on each page, so it may be hard for a younger kid to listen to it being read. Kids have pretty short attention spans.

All in all however, Make That a Table for Seven is a great story with very cute child-friendly illustrations and an easy to follow story.

Recommendation: Ages 4-6


Review: Stitch Style—Mittens

Stitch Style—Mittens: twenty fashion knit and crochet styles
Genre: craft
Rating: 4/5


These are some inspiring mittens! Everyone probably knows by now that I have a fetish for mittens. Well this book makes my fingers itch. I love them and cannot wait to make them all.

There are very good color photos, good instructions, and variations for many of the patterns. In the back there are basic instructions, although I would not recommend this book to beginners who do not already have a good knitting foundation. Mittens are easy, but not for a first-time project.

My only complaint is that some of the photos are very artistic and show off the mittens/gloves pretty well, but I can’t see the whole mitten. That gets a little annoying… but it’s not really that big of a deal and I’ve had no problem envisioning the finished product.

Recommendation: Intermediate/Advanced knitters


Haley… where are you?

Ok I’ve kind of been illusive this week. What’s up with that?

I’ve started dancing again. I know, crazy, right? no, I’m dancing at school in the fitness lab (better than the YMCA, that’s for sure) and painfully getting strength and flexibility back. It’s been a long week.

Plus school. But it’s not like anyone cares about that… right? no! School is fine. it’s just… I’m not taking any interesting courses so it’s a little dull.

However I have one huge list of reviews to post this weekend. So hang in until then… :)


super mega contest!

So… signed copy of Wake? a truckload of swag?


Over at Just Blinded Book Reviews. ends March 19th


Wherever Nina Lies giveaway!

so everyone is trying to get their hands on Wherever Nina Lies, right?


So you can. At Library Lounge Lizard. She’s having a giveaway for 3 copies! Ends March 9th

git over there!


Giveaway and Tour: Shadow Blade

Click here for my review


shadow blade

(From Goodreads)

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira's day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she's got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira's hands.

Then there's Khefar, the dagger's true owner -- a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever....


Thanks to Sarah at Pocketbooks, I have ONE (1) copy for a giveaway, USA only. Runs February 25 through March 12th.

Please note that I will not e-mail the winner. So either bookmark this link and check back, or (even better!) become a follower.

To enter:

first entry (required)—leave a comment and tell me your ideal favorite weapon.

+1 retweet, post in a sidebar, facebook link, whatever other link
+5 blog post link
+5 comment on review 
+2 old follower
+1 new follower
+3 become a fan on facebook (see sidebar for the widget)
+4 enter any of the other contests I have running (see the sticky post at the top of the blog)

Good Luck!



ARC Giveaway!

Lindsay over at Crazy Books &Reviews is having a giveaway for 2 ARC’s of  Dark Life. If you’re not already a follower, you should be! she’s awesome.


Review: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn emily
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4

Summary (from goodreads): An astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson’s own mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America’s greatest poet. What if the old maid of Amherst wasn’t an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems. Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life. Charyn has written an extraordinary adventure that will disturb and delight. 9 illustrations.

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is an enchanting piece of art. Charyn dives to the depths of Emily’s mind, traveling down “organized rabbit trails” of her random but poetic thoughts. Her character is distinctly unique, her story frightening but beautiful.

This book feels like hot chocolate going down—delicious, sweet,  but surprisingly fiery, leading your thoughts here and there, but keeping the flavor of Emily in your mind the whole time.

Content and Recommendation: Emily’s experiences are not for “young” people, but it would be appropriate for ages 16+

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is released today!

 haleyknitz knitter

Review: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Genre: (Classics) Historical, Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5


Mrs Bennett is ecstatic when a young single man moves in to the house nearby, and she is convinced that one of her daughters will be married by the end of his stay. At the ball that her daughters are destined to meet Mr. Bingley and his friends, they are shocked when they meet a very unlikeable man—Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy does not like anyone, he is proud and haughty, and rude to the point that he spoke of Elizabeth Bennett, in hearing distance, that he did not find her pretty at all… hence begins her prejudice.

But when situations of luck and chance force Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to get to know each other more, Elizabeth is not expecting Darcy to propose to her. She flatly rejects him—and then falls in love with him, of course.

I don’t think that I can really say anything about Pride and Prejudice that has not already been said, but I will say my honest opinion, as always. My mom has been bugging me to read Austen’s work for a very long time, and now I understand why.

Austen has crafted an intricate, beautiful, utterly romantic story that will spirit you away into another time and place. I felt the pain and the tension of the characters, the annoyance that poor Elizabeth felt about her dreadful mother, and I despised Mr. Collins, and pitied his wife.

The reality of the romance between two characters is always very important. Mr Darcy did not love Elizabeth for no reason, nor because she was pretty. In many contemporary romances, what happens between the characters is not always realistic or logical. But the love between Elizabeth and Darcy was founded on character, had depth, and elapsed over a realistic time period. This was no three-week whirlwind romance.

Pride and Prejudice will absolutely be a permanent addition to my bookshelf— my e-bookshelf, also:

Audio: I listened to the audio book of Pride and Prejudice. I got it online for free at www.librivox.org (this link is a direct link to the page I downloaded it). Those of you who don’t know about Librivox, it is a community of readers who record books on audio that are no longer copyrighted, and are in the public domain.

The version I listened to was recorded by Karen Savage. She did an excellent job reading. She added to the book instead of taking away, as some audio books that are hard to listen to tend to do. She has a perfect English accent, good voices for the different characters—though they’re not overdone to the point that they sound silly—and she read fast enough that the book did not drag. Savage has done a fantastic job, and she is the best reader I’ve listened to all year.

Gutenberg text for Pride and Prejudice.
Audio link
Karen Savage 

 haleyknitz knitter

The person who invented MyMathLab needs to die

Ok so those of you who don’t already know, I have dyslexia. That means that when I look at words—or in my case, numbers—instead of seeing 487.3 I see 874.3 or 348.7 or any variation therof. It’s annoying when you’re being graded by a computer that does not account for typos or people who can’t read.

I know. A book reviewer that can’t read? It’s pretty pathetic.

I hope I haven’t ruined my reputation…

Naw I can read. I just flip words and numbers around sometimes. But MyMathLab (math homework done online) is a royal pain in the… yeah you know the word I’m thinking.

*mutters to herself*

ok Haley stop complaining. Do you have anything of any importance to share?

No. None whatsoever. That is why I blog, silly.



I will if you want me to

There’s a reason some books are classics. They are all deserving of the title, or else they would not become one.

I am currently lost in Jane Austen’s world of Pride and Prejudice *grins while typing*. Basically I was offered a review copy of Dawn of the Dreadfulls and I have not read P&P and decided that it would not be funny or make sense if I had not read the original. So I downloaded the free audiobook online from Librivox.org, and—

I’m Loving it.

Now with that in mind, I realize I haven’t done a single review this week. They will come this weekend, don’t worry. But I’m up to my ears in Stats homework right now.

But I will review books this week, and if you want me to, I’ll review P&P while I’m at it.

The reason I ask is because it is, as I said earlier, a classic. And everyone already knows how great it is so why bother reviewing it?

However, since I love writing and I love reviewing and I love you guys (<3) just tell me “Yes Haley, I’d love a review of P&P” or “No Haley, we already know it’s great, don’t be silly.”

or just stop by and say hi.


Win an ARC of Linger!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget. Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here. Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

10-book giveaway!

So you’d like to win:

1 Finished copy of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
1 Finished copy of The Sight by Judy Blundell
1 Finished copy of Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
1 Finished copy of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
1 Finished copy of The Line by Teri Hall
1 Finished copy of The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
1 Finished copy of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
1 Finished copy of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
1 Finished copy of Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
1 Finished copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver



cuz I know I would :)

So head over to The Undercover Book Lover (not really) and enter!

(no, but really enter) ;)




So here’s the first section of Thunder, the story that an wonderful (read evil) muse banged me on the head with on Friday night. If you want to read more I’ve got it on this site.

Naomi is, as you’ll see, a book blogger. She is running from her small town in North Carolina for a purpose the reader does not yet know, and is only in search of one thing—freedom from her past.

Chapter 1—starting fresh

I slammed the car do behind me. That had a lot of significance to me, just slamming the door. I slammed it on my memories, I slammed it on my past. I was starting over. Nobody here would judge me, nobody here was prejudice against me, nobody here knew me. Although that last thought wasn’t exactly an encouraging one.

It was a little unnerving, walking up towards the dorms, not knowing any of the people around me, not knowing any of the landscape or buildings. I had never even visited the campus. I didn’t even know if I was in the right spot.

I had not picked Campbell University for its reputation or its pretty campus or its programs. I picked it because it was the first college that sent me an advertisement, the first one that accepted me, and the one with the most financial aid. After all, almost every college had a writing program, I lucked out when I found they had a good Library Science also. I didn’t care where I got the degree, I just wanted to get it.

If I was being honest with myself, I’d admit that I hadn’t gone to college to get a degree, because I didn’t really want one. I had a job, I had a career, I had made a name for myself. But I needed to get out of New Bern, and college seemed like the fastest way out. It would keep me busy. I could study, work, and read. That was the story of my life, recently.

I knew there was more to my life than just study, work, read. But lately, that had been the only thing I wanted. So I had strived for just those things. No friends, no family, no social life, limited internet (because you can’t be a book blogger without being on the internet, it just doesn’t work). I didn’t want to think about anything except the things that were important. And since those were my priorities, those were the things I worked for.

I trudged up the stairs to my dorm room, carrying my few bags. I was on the top floor, directly across from a boys dorm which I couldn’t remember the name of. I could look into their windows and see guys moving back into their rooms after their Christmas breaks. I made a mental note to keep my windows shut at all times.

When I finally got to the top, I swiped the card that I had gotten from the check-in earlier. The door unlocked and I pushed it open, exposing a small room with five doors. On either side, there were two rooms that were shared by students. On the back end was a bathroom.

I turned directly to my right: Room 221B. I bit my lip, feeling a little smug. I wasn’t a bit like Sherlock Holmes, but I knew some serious studying would be going on in that room, just like Sherlock had mused over his facts and various cases.

I had the room all to myself. I had come in halfway through the year, starting in the spring semester instead of the fall one, as this whole college thing had been a whim. I knew I was lucky to get a room. This had been the last empty room in the college. I had been offered my own room, or a chance to share with four other girls in a suite. I picked solitude.

It was a weakness of mine, as I had been noticing in the past few months. A nasty habit that I knew I’d have to change. If I was going to make any friends this semester, I would have to start interacting with people. But I wasn’t ready for that yet.

I just wanted to get moved in. That was my goal. Focus on one thing at a time, Naomi. I told myself.

After a few trips I had moved everything in. I organized my clothes, I organized my shelf with my few objects of importance. An empty picture frame that my brother had glued sequins to and given me when he was four, a jewelry box with two pairs of earrings that I never wore, a TI-86 plus graphing calculator, and a pencil cup filled with mechanical pencils and led refils.

Then I organized my books. I set them up on my floor by the foot of my bed, with the top priority ones closest to the window. I used the classics that I always kept with me—Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, the complete works of William Shakespeare—as a bookend on one side to keep them from falling over. On the other side I stacked the low-priority ones.

I dumped my extremely expensive textbooks on my desk and started filling my 3-ring binders with filler paper. As I looked at my textbooks, I mused why couldn’t I be a textbook reviewer? I would love to be able to get a $189 textbook free in the mail for review…

All of a sudden I heard a huge crash and a loud screech. I dropped my 3-ring binder on the floor, the filler paper spilling out everywhere. Pounding started in the other room, like someone was banging on the doors and screaming. I dashed out of the room and thrust my head into the room across from mine.

A tall brunette with curly brown hair and a little nose ring was jumping around the room, moving her body in ways I recognized but never had enough gut to try myself. A short blonde was turning down the volume of a boom-box… I realized the pounding and screaming was what she called music.

The brunette turned off the music when she saw me, and smiled an obnoxious smile. Immediately my defenses went up. She looked like she was going to say something to try to intimidate me.

“Hey! I’m Lexi you’re the new girl Dory told us about, aren’t you? Sorry about the music I guess I should have said something, did I surprise you?”

Well, I thought, she sounds friendly. I tried to relax but had a hard time. Her expression still looked a little proud. “Um, it’s ok. I just… didn’t realize it was…” I stopped before I said something she’d consider offensive. “I mean I didn’t recognize the artist and I thought… I mean it sounded like… actually—I’m sorry I just… I totally said that wrong.” I finished weakly, utterly embarrassed. Here we go again, I thought woefully.

She laughed. “It’s ok, I did the same thing to Lisa last semester, she thought I was killing someone in here.” She motioned over her shoulder to the blonde girl, who was looking at me suspiciously for a reason I couldn’t understand. I looked back at Lexi when she started speaking again. “Like I said I should have warned you don’t feel bad.” She winked.

I smiled, relieved she wasn’t annoyed at my apparent lack of contemporary music education.

“what’s your name?” Lisa asked me when Lexi stopped for a breath.

“Naomi.” I tried to smile.

“that’s… different.”

I tried to hide my expression, but I wasn’t even sure what my face looked like. I didn’t know how I felt about that.

“Thanks,” I think. “Um… What time is dinner?”

“Any time. They’re open from 7am to 9pm. Just go when you’re hungry.” Lisa turned around and began sorting various inanimate objects on her tiny shelf above her desk.

“Ok… thanks.” I smiled at Lexi and left them as quickly as I could.

If that was the kind of music they played in this dorm… I would either have to get some ear plugs, or I’d have to do all my work in the library. And the library was one of my biggest distractions. Maybe I could find a coffee shop around here or something. But then again, it was Buies Creek. I had to drive two hours through back country roads to get here. I was 45 minutes away from the nearest Wal-mart. The only thing out here to do besides study was talk to the cows. And I wasn’t even sure they had cows.

I looked at my stack of books. I had three books to read and review this week, and two more due the week after. I had a stack of low-priority books that didn’t have deadlines but still had authors waiting for reviews, and of course I had my textbooks. I was going to have to find somewhere to read.

But I tried not to think about that right away because I had a lot to do today. I had to figure out which buildings were which and where I belonged when and—

On my way out the door to go back to my car, I almost walked into two other girls. The girl in front was tall with straight brown hair pulled back into a knotted bun at the nape of her neck, flat brown eyes, high cheekbones, and a turned up nose. Her eyes squinted slightly when I almost hit her.

Excuse me,” she snapped. “Watch it.” she pushed past me. The other girl, whose hair was styled similarly but a lot messier and was about a foot and a half shorter than Lisa skipped after her, pulling three suitcases. She didn’t tell me to move it, but she didn’t apologize when she rolled over my foot, either. I tried not to glare at them as I left the dorms.

A red-haired girl in the room beside me poked her head out, a tired, dreary, almost dopy expression on her pale face. “Don’t mind Emily, she’s always mean.” She said. Another girl who looked exactly like her poked her head out beside her. The other girl looked happy and was flushed with excitement. It struck me as funny—like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum from Alice in Wonderland. I smiled a little and nodded at them, then made my escape and went off to find the cafeteria and maybe a coffee shop.

This was going to be an interesting semester.

So that’s the first chapter.

Comments? Criticism? It is probably the fastest story I’ve ever gotten. I was inspired on the 12th of February, and I’m already on Chapter 3… Maybe I should be majoring in writing instead of Criminal Justice? idk. Why not both?

We’ll see ;)


Blog survey results…

Ok so the survey I had didn’t go as well as I planned… not a lot of people participated. But I think I got a pretty random mix. So I’ll post the basic rundown anyway.

Favorite thing: The thing most often mentioned were the rants. Which kind of surprised me… but ok. A lot of you liked my writing voice (I’m going to attempt to keep that from going to my head ;D) After that the most often mentioned were contests and reviews.

Least favorite: not many people had anything critical to say (again, gonna try to keep my head on my shoulders) but some didn’t like the layout or the background. Others wanted more diversity in the books I read. I’ll say right now, mostly the genres I’ll work through will be YA, Adult fiction, crime thriller, and an occasional literary novel. Rarely a bit of non-fiction, but it’s sprinkled in there.

See more of: in order of most often: reviews, contests/giveaways, free stuff, book excerpts, and interviews/guest posts.

See less of: Everyone answered the same: Memes (haha.) And I agree. memes get old after a while since everyone does them. who really remembers which blog got what in their mail box, who’s waiting for what on Wednesday, and do you really expect me to read all those teasers? (I’m being sarcastic here. I do enjoy seeing these things)

but my favorite answer to “what would you like to see less of” would be one person said “A lot of stuff on the right” referring to my overloaded sidebar from my previous layout ;) this made me laugh.

A few answered things like “book excerpts.” and such. Which if I were you I’d probably want to see less of my ramblings and messed up stories online too ;)

how often do you follow: 2-4 times a week, every day, new

for entering contests: Most of you like all entries in one comment, then second favorite was form link or embedded form. Only one person said one comment per entry

for comments: pop-up window was the favorite, then embedded below the post, then a separate page.

and most of you generally love me :) Which is cool because I love all of you guys too.

However I cannot do a valentines giveaway because I am broke.


Review: Totally Toned Arms

Totally Toned Arms by Rylan Duggan, CSCS totally toned arms
Genre: Exercise, Nutrition
Rating: 5

(from the back) Since she burst into public consciousness, Michelle Obama has proudly displayed her lean, toned, sexy arms, which have become the envy of women everywhere…. Now certified personal trainer and body-sculpting authority Ryan Duggan presents his groundbreaking program designed to help you develop amazingly toned arms. This three-week program will boost your metabolism, burn fat, and build muscle.

Totally Toned Arms is a Totally Terrific program. It centers around burning fat the right way, building muscle the safe way, and boosting the metabolism the healthy way. It explains the different kinds of fat, the different problems you may have with fat-burning and muscle building, and explains things that you may worry about or question.

The concepts behind the processes in the book are very well explained, so even those who have no knowledge whatsoever can understand what is going on in their body when they follow this program.

The program itself is not that scary. It’s designed around simple exercises that anyone can do (yes, anyone). What makes them hard and what makes them work if anyone can do them? How fast, how many, and how hard you try. So who does this book cater to? Everyone—old, young, athlete, couch potato. Now it won’t leave you looking like a body builder, but it sure will make a difference. (of course, if you are a couch potato you’re going to have to work a little slower to build up. In a worst case scenario, you may have to do the program twice… and that’s not such a bad idea for anyone now is it?) There are black and white photographs and very clear instructions for the exercises.

In fact, you don’t even need a gym to do this program—all you really need is something to lean against, a stair or bench, a theraband (very inexpensive, and I recommend the medium or heavy. Not the super-heavy unless you’re an athlete of some kind), and a few hand held weights. In fact, you don’t have to buy hand held weights, you can do what I did as a kid—use cans of soup.

Speaking of soup… Totally Toned Arms doesn't just focus on exercises, it also has a nutrition program that targets what you eat, how much of it you eat, and how often you eat it. And water… Everyone knows you’re supposed to drink 8 cups a day, right? Well here’s something I learned from Totally Toned Arms—8 is the minimum for a properly functioning body. 10-12 is the recommended amount. How many of you drink that much water?  I know I don’t… *winces guiltily* But I’m gonna try to start…

There’s also a 21-day plan for the exercises, and even meal plans (so you don’t have to get too creative).

With all this great stuff… the only thing it doesn’t have is after-work out stretches… which, as I learned from biking, ballet, gymnastics,  even horse-back riding and just about every other PE activity I’ve done, is that stretching after exercising is crucial to healthy muscles. So if you go out and buy this book… stretch a little after your workout. And take a hot shower that night… You’ll need it if you want to be able to function two days later (no it’s not that bad. I’m being sarcastic. But you do understand, right? Stretch!!).

         I’m going to end this review by giving you a little note about myself (which I know isn’t customary, but bare with me): You may ask “What gives you the authority, Haley, to say that this book is a good book or a bad book for weight loss, muscle development, and nutrition?”
          My answer is this: Not much. I don’t have a degree, I am not a trained physical therapist. However—I was a ballet dancer for five years. I’ve been trained by many teachers from all over—Prima Ballerina from Mariinski Ballet (Kirov) in Russia, Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet and the dancers there, Ballerina and Soloist from St. Louis, to name a few—who all have very good understanding of anatomy, muscular development, and therapy. I’ve had injuries, and worked with physical therapists (CB’s therapist for their dancers, local therapists, chiropractor) on and off for about two years for my own injuries. When I became a substitute teacher, I helped others by giving exercises and suggestions for their training. One of my ballet teachers (for three of those five years) studied nutrition in college at NCSA.
            As a ballet dancer with no studio over the summer, I used to dance by myself, and do therapy for my various injuries (knees are 25 degrees off centre! among other things) by myself—and after having to tape my knee for two years, I did therapy for a week (5 days at the gym) and was able to break myself of keniseotext tape for the rest of my dancing career.
           Enough about ballet—as a biker, I ride pretty fast and pretty hard. My regular speed is 18 mph (no wind, flat surface) and my record is 26.9 (same. no wind, flat surface.). I got there after riding for about six months straight, that was after I quit ballet.
         I hope you don’t think I’m bragging or trying to give myself authority that I don’t have. Because really I don’t have any authority whatsoever. What I’m trying to prove is that although I don’t have any official authority, I have a  whole lot more general knowledge about muscles and nutrition and experience and practice than the average person.

I hope you’ll trust me on this one—Totally Toned Arms is a very good program.

Recommendation: Ages 12-ish to adult


Review: Lone Star Legend

Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda lone star legend
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: 2.5, DNF

Sandy S. has a second identity online—she blogs at a personal blog as Miss TragiComic Texas, and works for a website called Nacho Papi. Sandy is good at living her dual-identities and keeping them separate. But when people start connecting the the personal blog and the new website, and then recognizing her on the streets from the videos…

(From back of the book:) No matter how many passwords and aliases we use, there really is no such thing as privacy when you live your life online. Celebrities expect this, but what about the average person? Gwendolyn Zepeda’s novel plays with this idea of public vs. private and what happens when those lines get crossed.

I found Lone Star Legend to be very slow. It was hard to get into, and even halfway through the book I wasn’t sure what the actual plot line was.

There is a lot of drama. She breaks up with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s students find her personal blog and her rants about him and it embarrasses him. People recognize her in the coffee shop from TV. The man she interviews on a whim becomes the new biggest internet phenomenon, but he doesn’t want his photo on the t-shirts that she has already started to sell. These are just a few things that happen in the story, and none of it really leads anywhere.

And if a story doesn’t lead anywhere, and I have no desire to finish it, I’m not going to. Because I could be reading other things.

With that in mind, my positive comments include these: Zepeda is a pretty good writer. The writing and the dialogue is witty and fresh and alive and pretty funny at times. There were some great lines, great scenarios, and great laugh-out-loud sections… there just weren’t enough to keep me reading. The characters are well developed and defined and likeable, and it’s a pretty enjoyable read… little bits at a time.

But Lone Star Legend just wasn’t my thing, I guess. It kind of stinks, too, because I love the idea. As a blogger, people I know personally always tell me about stuff they read on my blog… but however much I wanted to enjoy it, I just couldn’t get into it.

For other reviews on Lone Star Legend, check Amazon or this list.


win an ARC of White Cat!

Over at Shooting Stars Mag there’s a contest for an ARC of White Cat by Holly Black. Go and enter! the more people enter, the higher chance she has of winning a contest, too!

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

So we’re all waiting for Elizabeth Scott’s new book The Unwritten Rule to come out! If you’re not, then what is your problem?


Elizabeth is also having a contest at her blog… here’s the details:

I'll be giving away fourteen (yes, 14!) ARCs* to one lucky US resident.** Oh, AND your name will be mentioned in the acknowledgments of my 2011 book with Simon Pulse AND--if you want--you'll get a phone call from yours truly!

Seriously? Seriously. head on over here to sign up!


February 13th—TWLOHA

Ever heard of TWLOHA? it means To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA is a nonprofit organization that stands up and reaches out to depressed, self abusing, and suicidal teenagers.

Every 13th of February, the day before Valentines day, is TWLOHA day. We who support TWLOHA write “Love” or “TWLOHA” or anything else creative, inspirational etc that we can possibly think up, on our arms. If people ask… we get a chance to tell them about TWLOHA and even to share the gospel.

Here is my picture for this year:


the idea is With You, I can do all things. With Jesus I can stop cutting or stop smoking or stop drinking or doing drugs. (please be aware I don’t do any of that stuff.)

Spread the word about TWLOHA today. Do a post or a shout out or a photo. Link it back here in the comments. Let’s spread the word about them.

With Hope,

A Contest

Here’s a contest that you should check out: You could win the three-book sequel series of Pride and Prejudice called The Darcy Trilogy over at Enchanted by Josephine.



No I’m not going to post the cover of #3 now titled MOCKINGJAY because you’ve probably seen it at every other freaking blog on the face of the planet by now.

which i don’t have a problem with .

i just don’t feel like going through the trouble of saving the picture on my computer and getting it to upload to blogger etc. cuz I'm lazy like that.



A few contests

Library Lounge Lizard is giving away a signed copy of In A Heartbeat and a copy of My Soul to Save. Y’all have heard of that one I’m sure. Go check it out. If not for the book, then for the blog. I mean, C’mon. It’s Library Lounge Lizard—how much cooler can you get?

Mis(h)takes is giving away an ARC of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. it ends Feb. 22

Patricia’s Vampire Notes has a 3-book giveaway for 3 winners that lasts for 3 days. Head over there—ends on the 14th!

Pure Imagination has a giveaway for 5 YA romance books. Contest ends 2/16

Ramblings of a teenage bookworm is giving away a copy of Incarceron go here to enter!

Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf has a giveaway for a Georgette Heyer book The Masqueraders (for those of you who read my review of BEAUVALLET and want to get your hands on one of these books!)

The Book Butterfly has a contest for Need (and a great guest post about pixies!) and In a Heartbeat.

Bloody Bad is giving away a copy of CAPTIVATE (Need #2)


Ok so the whole Photography book response (or lack therof) is getting depressing… but here’s the new winner:

Linda Kish




The lord is my shepherd I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul


Jer 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Ezekiel 25:17
And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

#5—Jen Unsell

My very favorite bible verse is, "The Lord has done great things for us whereof we are glad"! Psalm 126:3

#1—Rex Robot Reviews:

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." 6:24-26 NIV
This is my favorite verse because my mother gave it to me once with a note that said, 'let this remind you of your PapPap.' I always keep it on my desk.


E-mail me at haleymathiot@yahoo.com before February 15th with your mailing address and I’ll forward/send your prizes!


Census Scam! Beware!

One of my friends posted this today, I thought it would be good to share. Be careful, people!

With the U.S. Census process  beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first
phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country.

Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age,
gender, race, and other relevant data. The big question is- how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

• If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge , a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag , and a confidentiality notice .

• Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.

• Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone , even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.

While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, they will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Thx, Meg!


Review: Beauvallet

Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5/5


When Dona Dominica sets sail on the Santa Maria, she wonders if she will ever meet the infamous El Beauvallet, the English pirate with a reputation of being able to do anything because of witchcraft. But she does not expect her ship to be taken by him, Nor does she expect to be kidnapped by him and taken abord his ship the Venture.

Sir Nicholas Beauvallet captures Dominica and her father and proclaims that he will take them home to Spain, as Dominica has demanded. But falling head over heels in love with her was never part of his plan. In order to please her, he agrees to returning her to her country, but also announces that he will wed her before the year is up. How is Sir Nicholas supposed to come back to Spain to claim fair lady as his bride if all of Spain wants his head? The answer is easily—because Beauvallet can do anything, of course.

This was such a sweet story! I cannot think of words enough to describe how much I adored Beauvallet. The romance was fast-paced, the adventure was exciting, and the language was eloquent.  I absolutely loved it. It was a pretty fast read and I read it in a few days. Georgette has many little surprises spread all through the story and tells amazing creative adventures of Beauvallet’s wits, fights, and escapes.  It was a perfect blend of a sweeping romance and a gripping adventure.

The story is told in third-person omniscient, so you don’t always have all the details. It was a little hard to get inside the character’s heads at first, but once I learned who they were It was very easy to relate to them.

A wonderful thing about Beauvallet is that when El Beauvallet falls in love with Dominica, he does not claim her as his “love” or as his “mistress” or, in our culture, his “girlfriend,” he claims her as his bride. Which is really the most romantic aspect of it all.

The end was so sweet I won’t tell what happened but rest assured it was wonderful.

I loved this story so much! I have already run out to pick up more books by Georgette Heyer, I am officially a new fan! I cannot wait to read other books by her.

Content: Gloriously clean: no language, no sex.

Recommendation: Boys and girls (it’s such an adventure that boys would like it too!) Ages 13-Adult. It’s not aimed specifically to teens or young people, and would be perfect for an adult as well.

(Beauvallet was first published first in 1929. Reprint copyright to Sourcebooks: 2010)


Borrow-my-book swap

Ok I’ve decided to go ahead and do it. Here is the book swap!

Just fill out the form at the bottom for which book you’d like to read and review.

Rules:  When you review your book, link it back to this post, and then post the url of the review in the comments.

Some are ARC’s, some are Review Copies, and some are finished books. You can sign up for as many as you like, but you may not be added to every list. I will determine which books you receive.

Occasionally I request a book for review that, based on the summary, sounds like something I’d enjoy. But then when I receive it ends up being about something I didn’t expect. When this happens, I’ll add it to the book tours, and hopefully the book will get some fair reviews. Some of these books are books I loved. Some I just haven’t gotten around to review.

Review the book within two weeks of getting it in the mail. When you get it, you’ll e-mail me to let me know it got to you. When you’re done, you’ll e-mail the next person on the list and get their address.

Each book will have a Bookcrossing ID. When you get the book, make sure you enter it into the system.

Have fun!

Form to sign up



The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between (Signed ARC)

light dark ember

A collection of short stories, each a splinter's reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.
Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.


Magdala (Review Copy)


What if Mary Magdalene's path from dutiful priestess to spiritual leader were the central story we considered?

What if Mary Magdalene and Jesus loved each other into divinity?

MAGDALA is a transcendent love story, the kind that helps us learn not only how to rise again after the most unimaginable losses, but rise and thrive more fully and magnificently than before, if only we are willing to do one thing.

MAGDALA is the tale of a woman who is everywoman, one who struggles to find and at last stand in her own truth.

MAGDALA is the account of Mary of Magdala, expected to become the Queen who restores peace to her occupied land of Israel, but who, alongside her betrothed, the warrior-king Jesus of Nazareth, comes to envision a peace that extends beyond every border, into every home.


The Five Secrets from OZ (Signed paperback review copy)

5 secrets

Everyone suffers, from something or in some way. And when you are arrested and thrown in a holding cell, reaching up to a better life doesn’t seem at all possible. In The Five Secrets from Oz, six unique, suffering souls find the courage to want to change and truly transform their lives and the lives of others. No other motivation has done it before, but these five secrets provide a rare vindication in their lives. Ever been in a slump? Knocked down and couldn’t get up? Life isn’t what happens to you, it’s what you do within it. Stop thinking that change is impossible. Discover how five basic secrets can create endless possibilities for your life. Anyone can change, you just have to be willing to use the tools from the secrets every day to get you there. It’s getting knocked down and demanding to get back up. It’s peeling back the layers and unveiling the “why” in your life. These tools can help you take back your life and find your inner light. This book gives you more than just a plan, a goal or an idea. It gives you the tools to allow you to make whatever positive transformation you need in your life – and in your world. One secret at a time.


Dreamhunter (Finished paperback)


Laura comes from a world similar to our own except for one difference: It is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the dreamhunters. These are individuals with the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters’ unique visions.
     Now, fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of dreamhunters, are old enough to find out if they qualify to enter the Place. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. In the midst of a fascinating landscape, Laura’s dreamy childhood is ending, and a nightmare is beginning.







Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.