Mark of the Medallion Book Review

Mark of the Medallion is the spellbinding first novel in The Wizard Academies YA fantasy series. If you like sword and sorcery, enchanted adventures, and suspenseful coming-of-age stories, then you’ll love Mike Shelton’s action-packed tale.

About Mark of the Medallion

Fifteen-year-old apprentice Kyril is sick of being bullied. And after a tragic fire leaves him orphaned with out-of-control thoughts and powers, he can’t wait to escape constant taunting at the wizard academy. So when a dicey faction entices him with companionship, he ignores the grim warning signs.

Even as Kyril’s power grows within the group, he’s left out of the crew’s dangerous plans to derail the authorities. And when being accepted comes at the expense of making questionable choices, he fears his newfound friendships aren’t worth the deadly price.

Can Kyril master his new magic before his shady companions send him to his doom?

My Thoughts

I love reading about magic, and this book delivers magic, an excellent plot and incredible characters, making it a great read for young adults and adults alike.

Kyril comes from a poor family and was orphaned at a young age. He is alone in the world and others make him feel worse about his position in life. He is bullied for many reasons, and like most victims none of it is deserved. He would do anything for a friend, to be appreciated and to feel power.

Something strange begins to happen at their academy, people are acting out of character, doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Kyril is one of these individuals – and is gaining power at great leaps and bounds. These powers don’t go unnoticed and soon he is brought into the folds of a powerful group who have ulterior motives for him. Because of his past, he doesn’t realize he is being used and begins to behave and act in ways he never would have before. The plot that begins to unravel has many dark turns and unexpected twists, keeping you on the edge of your seat through the entire read.

Mark of the Medallion is very well written with an excellent plot that develops at a great pace. You are never left feeling lost or as though you are missing information. Mike introduces each character and gives you the right amount of information to understand their magical powers and how the characters are connected. I loved the plot – it was not what I was expecting and kept me engaged. The book is geared toward young adults but I loved every moment. A fantastic read from start to finish!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Mike is now on his fourth YA fantasy series. For information on his new releases, book reviews, and other relevant info, please join him at www.MichaelSheltonBooks.com.

Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn’t put that great book down).

Other than reading, Mike enjoys the outdoors, disc golf, and spending time with his family. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career, publishing his first books in 2016. He has now published 15 YA fantasy books full of adventure, magic, and wizards!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A Jingle Valley Wedding Spotlight Tour

iRead Book Tours

New York executive Julie Tate knows what it takes to win in the financial world, but her big-city success could never prepare her for her latest career move. 

About A Jingle Valley Wedding

New York executive Julie Tate knows what it takes to win in the financial world, but her big-city success could never prepare her for her latest career move. When her brother abandons the failing family farm, Julie hopes its salvation lies in transforming it into western Massachusetts’s newest premier wedding venue. With her social-savvy friend Freddy in her corner, Julie feels infallible. But as their bank account dwindles and one obstacle after another crops up, the business partners wonder if their venture is doomed for failure before the first bride walks down the aisle. Maybe the best way to succeed in a business based on romance is to find one.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Martha Reynolds was raised in Rhode Island, spent a year of college in Switzerland, and is always planning a return visit. She completed an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and decided it was time to do something she really liked.

She now writes full-time and has set a personal goal of releasing a book a year until she dies. Her writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and her very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during NPR’s Tell Me More poetry challenge.

Her novel VILLA DEL SOL won the 2018 Book Award in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

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The Instant Pot Diabetes Cookbook

The ultimate Instant Pot cookbook for people with diabetes, from the diabetes food and nutrition experts!

About The Instant Pot Diabetes Cookbook

This Instant Pot–authorized cookbook from the experts at the American Diabetes Association contains ninety easy and healthy recipes made with simple ingredients. Inside, you will find nutritious Instant Pot recipes that will easily transform into mouth-watering meals.

Each recipe includes detailed instructions to walk you through every step of cooking with your Instant Pot. Recipes include family favorites as well as a wide range of options inspired by Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian, and Cajun cuisines. Whatever you have a taste for, you’ll find it in this book!

Each recipe meets the nutrition guidelines set by the American Diabetes Association.

My Thoughts

Statistics Canada reports that in 2017, 7.3% of Canadians, 12 years of age and older, reported having diabetes. In the US, CDC reported in 2015 that 30.3 million Americans were living with diabetes.

With so many individuals living with diabetes you would think there would be greater acceptance and understanding. I still find that diabetes has a stigma and people dealing with it are faced with this daily. I was privileged to sit in on a research talk about diabetes and the stigma attached to it (they indulge too much, lack of self control, they did it to themselves, overweight, etc..) and how sometimes when we want to help our loved ones, we actually make it worse. Especially when we tear down their food choices, nag them to eat better and so on. Our well meant advice can have that opposite affect and make our loved one feel hurt and angry.

So how do we help those we love?

I love cooking – it brings us together as a family and helps us bond. Since food is constantly around us, what better way to show we care and understand then preparing meals that are healthy for the whole family but also take into consideration the dietary needs of a loved one who has diabetes. You aren’t forcing them to have a special meal, you are not signalling them out and making them feel bad about themselves. Instead, you are enjoying a healthy, nutritious meal that is good for all members of the family.

When this book came in, my husband started going through it and his mouth was watering. He almost didn’t want to give it up to my Dad who was diagnosed with diabetes roughly two years ago! All of the recipes looked delicious – they certainly did not look like they were geared to a special diet. I think this is one of the most important parts about this book, it doesn’t make you feel bad about having diabetes. Instead, you can choose recipes that taste delicious, everyone can enjoy and no one feels left out or bad about themselves.

The recipes themselves were easy to follow, with simple instructions and many of the ingredients you would have on hand. My Dad had purchased an Instant Pot a few years ago as a Christmas gift but never really used it, so this came in handy! My Dad loves to cook so this was a perfect book for him. He had no problem with the instructions and loved the taste and quality of the recipes.

If you have a family member who is living with diabetes and you are looking at ways to encourage healthy eating for all members of the family, I strongly encourage you to pick up this book and start cooking. It is so important that people living with diabetes feel included and not ashamed for having diabetes. Including recipes that all family members will enjoy is a definite must have.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Nancy S. Hughes is a bestselling author and leading food consultant. She has written more than 20 nationally published cookbooks and developed recipes for 60 additional cookbooks with over 7,500 published recipes to her credit. Nancy has been honored to work with clients across the U.S. and Canada. She works with major corporations, health-focused organizations, magazines, and web-based clients including: the American Heart Association, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens, Betty Crocker, Del Monte Foods, the Canola Council, National Processed Raspberry Council, Rice Federation, eMeals, and Nestlé.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Easy Keto Meal Prep Book Review

DK Canada

A cookbook that takes the guesswork out of keto meal prep planning, with over 60 low-carb recipes and 8 easy-to-follow weekly meal plans.

About Easy Keto Meal Prep

Eating keto can be challenging, and cooking keto recipes that are satisfying can be even more challenging! You need to make sure you’re eating enough fat to stay in ketosis, while still eating food that is satisfying. Weekly meal prep can help ensure that you stay in ketosis while still enjoying fresh, delicious, keto-friendly recipes that aren’t the same every week. With Easy Keto Meal Prep, planning and preparing your weekly keto meals has never been easier!

Each recipe in Easy Keto Meal Prep includes specific macro ratios and detailed nutrition information to ensure you’re always eating the right ratios to stay in ketosis. With over 60 delicious recipes, you’ll enjoy a large variety of recipes and never grow tired of eating the same recipes again and again. Eight weekly meal plans offer a broad range of recipe combinations to ensure you’ll never have to eat the same week of meals twice, and each prep plan includes detailed shopping lists, step-by-step prep day instructions, and handy equipment lists to help you prepare a week of meals in just a few hours. Also included is helpful guidance for eating keto and sticking with the diet, meal prepping like a pro, and safely storing your prepped meals.

My Thoughts

Roughly four years ago, I made massive changes in my life to lose over a hundred pounds. I changed the way I looked at my diet, what I ate and how active I was. I was (and still am) very proud of how far I came and how I struggled but succeeded.

What I couldn’t be prepared for was the mental battle that came afterwards and how hard it is to maintain that type of weight loss. In the last six months, I have regained fifteen pounds due to poor food choices and lack of exercise. I have no excuses – I have been lazy and lax in my ways, making up excuses that my regain isn’t that bad.

Over the holidays, I did some research on how to kick start back into my weight loss and getting physically fit again. I lost a lot of my weight following a high protein, low carb diet – so keto isn’t new to me. What I struggle with is variety, so that I don’t get bored and don’t return to an unbalanced diet or struggle with meal planning.

This book cotains over sixty recipes along with weekly meal plans. He includes all of the macro breakdowns, shopping lists, equipment lists and even how to start your prep day plan. The prep day plan has to be my favourite feature – prepping for a week can be daunting. To have someone tell you what order you should start each item, set them aside and so on is a lifesaver!

The recipes themselves are very easy to follow – ingredients are listed to the left and instructions on the right. The instructions are very easy to follow, direct and to the point. You can usually complete the recipe in five to six steps. He also includes tips for almost every recipe, which is super helpful for those who are not huge fans of cooking and meal prepping. Aaron breaks down the nutrition content for you, and I can’t stress how important it is to track your meals and every bite you take. It is amazing how quickly calories and carbs add up!

This is an excellent resource and cookbook for those new to keto and those who are returning to the lifestyle. There are recipes that all individuals will enjoy (my husband and eldest enjoyed the spicy pork taco bowls, we just adjusted the recipe for our son) and are easy to make. You don’t have to go out and buy ingredients that you will never use again as so many items you will either already have or purchase weekly. Aaron makes the keto diet easy to understand, prepare and follow. A definite must have for those who want to start keto or those who need new ideas.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Aaron Day is the author of Keto Sweet Tooth Cookbook and an accredited nutritional therapist and advanced sports exercise nutritional advisor. He has a passion for health and nutrition, and as an advocate for the ketogenic diet and keto lifestyle he’s the recipe developer, food photographer, and videographer behind the popular FatForWeightLoss website where he creates and shares delicious ketogenic recipes that are comforting, quick, and simple to make.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sports Legends Book Review

DK Canada

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to stand on an Olympic podium having just won a gold medal? Or what it takes to become a record-breaking soccer player? Find out all about sports stars and their inspiring achievements in this nonfiction book for kids.

About Sports Legends

Perfect for young sports lovers, this chapter book for kids tells the stories of a range of different sports people who have risen to the top of their game. From Usain Bolt, to Steffi Graf, and Muhammad Ali, to Ellie Simmonds, in Sporting Greats readers will learn about the unique stories of these athletic heroes.

Sporting Legends is a new Level three title in the four-level DK Readers series, aimed at children who are beginning to read alone. Developing a lifelong love of reading, DK Readers cover a range of subjects to support children as they learn.

Packed with fun facts, this series of guided reading books balance amazing photography with non-fiction narratives tailored to specific reading levels. DK Readers are assessed on both Fountas & Pinnell and Lexile levels, and are ideal for learning to read while building general knowledge.

Sporting Legends covers a topic that will inspire and educate kids, encouraging reading for pleasure, which is linked with improved reading and writing abilities, as well as a wider vocabulary and greater self-confidence.

Our Thoughts

We are HUGE sports fans in our home – you can always find us watching sports (soccer is very much the number one match to be on) or playing sports. It is how we bond, how we have fun and how we keep physically fit together.

It can sometimes be hard to find a book topic that your child loves, especially if you have a reluctant reader. Our eldest was this way when he was younger, we had to really search for books that would engage him and were on a topic he would like.

Sports Legends covers some of the greatest athletes of all time from all types of athlethic backgrounds – from track to the court to the field and to all seasons. Many names you will know but some you may be newly introduced to.

My youngest loves Pele – we watched a documentary on him a few years ago and since then he has looked up to him with all that he had accomplished at such a young age. It was fantastic to learn that he played for his country at the age of 16! Which is a goal that he himself is working towards. We learn about more incredible athletes and the sucess they had including: Jackie Robinson (first African American player in the MLS), Wasim Akram (Pakistan cricketer), Richie McCaw (New Zealand rugby player), Ma Long (Chinese table tennis player) and so many more.

The book contains photos of the athletes in motion along with short bios and descriptions of their biggest achievements. The book itself has a great flow – starting with field sports, sports on court, track and field and then other sports. In between chapters, are sections on young stars, record breakers and winter sports athletes. There is even a quiz at the very end of the book! It is written in a way that your child (or yourself) can easily read aloud or an older child can read on their on.

This is a great learner book for young children, especially those who have a hard time finding books that they can engage in. My son’s only complaint? He wanted the section on Messi to be longer!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters.

About the Author

Caryn Jenner writes and edits a variety of books for children of all ages, including both fiction and nonfiction. For DK Publishing, she has written Eyewitness Workbook: Earth, as well as several titles in the DK Readers series. Her picture book, Starting School, was one of the eight books longlisted for the UK’s 2012 School Library Association Information Book Award in the Under 7 age group. Caryn also teaches English to speakers of other languages and volunteers at a local school. She grew up in the United States but has made her home in the UK for many years.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are my own.

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