Review: Party for Two

Party for Two by Bruce Cadle
Genre: Cooking
ISBN: 9781456519186
Published: January 19th 2011 by CreateSpace

Rating: 4

Party for Two was a really neat recipe book designed to help you plan a great date night for you and your spouse. Cadle's date nights are regular occurrences: he says when people get married they stop "dating" their spouse, and although the love doesn't go away, it changes and fades into something less passionate than it was when they got married. But Cadle says his regular date nights with his wife have made a huge difference in their marriage.

The book is divided into two parts: the first part consists of reasons why you should schedule a regular date night with your spouse, how to do it for a reasonable cost, what to do with the kids, and even how to present and arrange the food. Part two has recipes ranging from sauces and dressings, appetizers, entrees, and more.

The recipes are easy and affordable, and Cadle gives tips and advice on how to find them for an even lower price than normal, how to plan the food ahead of time to save money, and how to use purposeful leftovers in meals for the next few days. These recipes could be used for nice dinner parties, potlucks, or dinner guests as well.

My only complaint about the book is that there are no photographs of the recipes in the book. The recipes sound very complicated (Grilled Brie, Conch Fritters, Gorgonzola Bruschetta) even though after reading them I can tell that they're not, but I'd still like to see what it looked like. On a very minor note, there was some weird formatting and type face stuff going on, but I'm not sure if the untrained eye would notice it or not. It took me a few times looking at it to notice.

To learn more about Party for Two, check out Bruce Cadle's website, The Date Night Chef.

Review: Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig

Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig
by David Ira Rottenberg, illustrated by Lesley Anderson
Genre: Children's Fiction
ISBN: 9780910291033
Published: October 24th 2008 by Cedar Crest Books

Rating: 5

From Goodreads:

Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig tells the tale of Gwendolyn and Omar-two best friends who have big dreams. Gwendolyn longs to dance ballet, and Omar wants to join the football team. There's just one problem—they're both pigs! How will Natasha Levertov, "the greatest teacher of dance in ze vorld," help them make their dreams come true?

Gwendolyn, The Graceful Pig was adorable. The story was sweet, the pigs made you want them to succeed in their goals, and the Russian ballet teacher was true to the core. The illustrations were priceless! And it had a great conclusion. There was a little bit of humor that made it an enjoyable read for young dancers and parents or ballet teachers. Perfect for ages 3-6 for any young dancer with stars in their eyes. 

Tour: T-Rex Virus

About T-Rex Virus: 

A small hunk of ferrous rock from an ancient asteroid which has roamed the cosmos for eons falls to earth. Discovered by a university paleontologist, a long dormant enzyme impregnated within the galactic stone is revitalized by accident in a university laboratory. A deadly virus erupts from the small boulder, taking the lives of the laboratory team within days. Member of the U.S. Army biological warfare operations staff from Fort Detrick, Maryland seize the extra-terrestrial ore. During transportation to a U.S. Government weapons research facility, the rock and its escorts disappear. Now, an off shore megalomaniac pharmaceutical giant, possess the deadly diseased rock, and the only know antidote. Driven by greed of billions in profit, he won't give up the cure until the virus becomes widespread. FBI agent Dale Fox hits the ground running in pursuit to recover the geode, and the medicinal remedy for the viral infection that now affects hundreds of thousands of people. Battling an elite team of killers within the pharmaceutical company, he has very little time to succeed, since he too has contracted the terminal virus…

Check out T-Rex Virus at Amazon. My review will be coming soon.

Review: The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Genre: Children's adventure
Published: April 5th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Rating: 4, DNF

I have mixed feelings about The Emerald Atlas. It was exciting and funny and interesting, the  characters were real enough and personal enough to slip into and to understand, and the plot was very engaging and surprising.

However, it was missing that essential aspect of making the reader NEED to read the rest RIGHT NOW. I realize it is written for a younger age group than my own, but I feel like it could have been more… addicting? When I forced myself to sit down and read it, I enjoyed it (or as much as one can enjoy a story about orphans and magic and scary wolves and evil princesses). But I didn't feel the need to read it outside of the due date for my review that I ended up missing anyway.

I hate writing negative reviews. I hope this doesn't deter anyone ages 8-14. I believe that was the age group this book was written for, and maybe it just wasn't enough to keep my interest. Sadly, I don't have time in my day to read books that don't make themselves priorities.

This review is copyright Haley Mathiot and Night Owl Reviews.

Review: Quip Factory

Quip Factory: Millions of Quips, Rips, Dingers, Zingers, and Barbs, and How You Can Create Many More by Caleb Spalding Atwood
Published: November 24th 2010 by CreateSpace

Rating: 3.5

Quip Factory was very interesting and inspirational. I had many images in my head while reading through the lists and varieties of quips.

If you have no idea what a quip is, it's basically an entertaining funny thing to say that illustrates your point without saying it upfront. Example: "A woman needs a man like a kangaroo needs a pogo stick."

Quip Factory is divided up into two sections: Chapters where quip formulas and lists of words and examples are presented, and appendixes with just lists of words for you to make your own.

Quip Factory sounded intriguing and educational, and there was definitely many inspirational sections, but most of the time I felt almost like I was being talked down to, or like it was harder to understand than it really is. Atwood breaks down popular quips into "formulas" that really don't need to be broken down (example: X needs Y like a needs B). He could have said all the same things he said in about half as much space, and he gave so many examples that the examples felt like the appendix. I expected more than a bunch of unnecessary formulas and lists of words, but it was definitely useful.

All in all, Quip Factory was interesting and I will probably use it in my books and to experiment with language (and honestly, come up with some creative insults and comparisons), though I don't feel like it quite reached it's potential.

Recommendation: Anyone who likes quips, puns, or playing with language.

Review: Pointe Shoes: Tips and Tricks

Pointe Shoes: Tips and Tricks for Choosing, Tuning, and Care
by Angela Reinhardt
Genre: instructional, dance
ISBN: 9781852731151
Published January 21st 2008 by Dance Books Ltd

Rating: 5

I was very satisfied with Pointe Shoes: Tips and Tricks. It was packed full of more information than I expected and thought possible in such a small book (it's a quarter inch thick, perfect size for a dance bag). There were sections on how to pick the right pare, info and history about pointe shoes, tips and tricks, and physical therapy exercises on how you can fix up and strengthen your feet.

The main section of the book, the tips and tricks, is on how you can cut, sew, trim edit, change, and fix shoes to make them fit the foot exactly. Some of these tips I encourage you to use for your flat shoes too!

Pointe Shoes Tips and Tricks is a fantastic resource that every intermediate/advanced pointe dancer and teacher should have!

Review: Amazing Crayon Drawing

Amazing Crayon Drawing by Lee Hammond
Genre: Art, instruction
ISBN: 9781440308109
Published: March 5th 2011 by F+W Media, Inc.

Rating: 4.5

Amazing Crayon Drawing was truly amazing. Remember how Awesome used to be a word to describe something that was truly "Awe-some?" well, it's Awesome.

Looking at the drawings were really inspiring and amazing. When I think of crayons, I think of cheap kids art supplies. My family business is retail art supplies and art classes for kids ages 4-12, and we don't have your typical Crayola crayons. We have the fancy pastels and the high-quality pencils and stuff. But Hammond uses Crayola, something I never considered a professional artist's tool.

Crayon drawing looks a lot like colored pencil or hard pastel on a gritty paper. depending on how hard you press you get either a buffed glossy look, or a light colored pencil look.

The instructions are good, though I can't draw and don't feel that this book would make me any better at it, but it definitely leads artists through the step by step process of laying down colors in a realistic way.

Recommendation: Ages 8+ to anyone who loves to draw with color (at a very reasonable price).


Here's a video about Crayon Drawing:

Couples who Pray

Couples Who Pray by SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt
Genre: Biblical Instruction
ISBN: 9780785227946
Published: February 8th 2011 by Thomas Nelson

Rating: 4

This book was very engaging. Most of it I'd already been told by my parents (I've explained before how they have a great marriage) but Couples Who Pray had the data and research to back it up. I was surprised to learn that many Christian couples don't pray together. I was also surprised at the changes in their relationships when couples started praying.

It was really neat to read all the stories and see how God works in His people's lives. There are lots of great tips for married couples, couples who are dating or engaged, and there is even a short section on praying with the opposite sex who you are not married to. Couples Who Pray was encouraging and educational, and every couple needs to know the information in here.

I felt like the majority of the book was trying to convince couples that it was a good idea to pray with each other. There were a lot of stories and basic instruction, but it felt almost as if they drew it out a little too long and kept going over the same thing in every chapter. Basically it could have been more concise.

Recommendation: Couples in need of a spiritual revival, or singles thinking about marriage in their future.


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.