Month: January 2017

The Plague and I Audio Book Review

The Plague and I

From the author of The Egg and I, comes the story of The Plague and I – looking at how Betty battled tuberculosis.

The Plague and I

About The Plague and I

“The Plague and I” recounts MacDonald’s experiences in a Seattle sanitarium, where the author spent almost a year (1938-39) battling tuberculosis. The White Plague was no laughing matter, but MacDonald nonetheless makes a sprightly tale of her brush with something deadly.

“Anybody Can Do Anything” is a high-spirited, hilarious celebration of how “the warmth and loyalty and laughter of a big family” brightened their weathering of the Great Depression.

In “Onions in the Stew”, MacDonald is in unbuttonedly frolicsome form as she describes how, with husband and daughters, she set to work making a life on a rough-and-tumble island in Puget Sound, a ferry ride from Seattle.

My Thoughts

I absolutely fell in love with the Plague and I! I wasn’t too sure about the story when the audiobook began but as her story went on, I felt outrage, sympathy and the need to learn more about tuberculosis during the time period she was living in.

Betty had a rough childhood from today’s standards – her Father kept her following the latest health regiments to ensure she had optimal health (some of which I can’t even begin to imagine doing myself especially in the cold). Despite all of this, she still managed to develop tuberculosis as an adult with her own children. I was shocked at the way patients were treated with tuberculosis, the way society treated them and the actual treatment plans that were developed. The nurses sounded horrendous and the patient care was disgusting – I felt that no wonder so many died at the time. But I do believe they were doing the best with what they had. This story actually had me looking up and researching tuberculosis during this time period just to learn more.

Throughout all that she went through, Betty remained herself – the happy, go lucky, funny Mother who always tried to smile through it all. I think that is why I loved this audiobook so much. She really helps to give perspective on life and what we think may be the end of the world, may actually be a blessing in disguise.

If you are looking for a good laugh, an important and well worth lesson on life then this audiobook is for you. The story is well written and the narration is excellent. Heather has an excellent voice that draws you in to the story – not to mention she made me laugh with her voices of some of the characters in the story (especially the Southern belle!). This audiobook was an excellent way to unwind, learn and gain a new perspective.

You can purchase a copy of this audiobook on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

The Plague and I

About the Author

Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, andThe Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald’s Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.

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The Plague and I

About the Narrator

Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts.  Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire;  and Sharon Creech’s The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children’s Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine.   She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry.  In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I.


The Giveaway!

GRAND PRIZE: $100 credit for the Post Hypnotic Press Website

The Plague and I Runner Up

$60 credit for the Post Hypnotic Press Website

The Plague and I 3rd Runner Up

Disclosure: I received an audiobook of this novel. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Arm Knitting – Power Up 2017

DK Canada Power Up 2017

It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s fun – it’s Arm Knitting featured by DK Canada Power Up 2017.

Arm Knitting Power Up 2017

About Arm Knitting

30 quick and easy step-by-step projects that utilize the hottest needle-free trend in knitting: arm knitting.

It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s fun. Arm Knitting features 30 step-by-step projects for head-to-toe wearables, accessories including bags and baskets, and items for the home. Every project is needle-free, and, though you can create the same stitches and use many of the same techniques as in regular knitting, big stitches and chunky yarns allow for much more rapid results.

Let the photography inspire you as you work through each project, whether you want a new scarf for the winter or a new wreath for your door. From choosing yarn to weaving in ends to sewing pieces together, Arm Knitting guides you every step of the way.

Perfect for those who don’t know how to knit but want to learn, this popular needle-free technique will give you beautiful results in hardly any time at all.

My Thoughts

I was actually introduced to arm knitting by one of my co-workers. She had made a beautiful selection of scarves and it blew my mind that she had made them all using her own arms. I just couldn’t picture the how behind it (I definitely wasn’t alone with this!) and we spent a good time just watching her make her creations and admiring her creativity and skill.

Fast forward a couple of months later when I saw this book on DK Canada’s Power Up list and I knew I had to have this book to try it out myself. I had wanted to learn how to arm knit the moment I saw my friend making a scarf at work but I was just too nervous to ask (besides that I also knew that I am definitely the type of person that needs to learn by reading and then doing it myself).

This was my first time approaching any type of knitting project and I appreciated that the book starts off with an explanation of all the basics – the stitches, what you will need (besides your arms!) and uses clear and to the point instructions. It wasn’t that it was geared to just novices (no worries for those who have the basic knitting skills) but the instructions were so clear that a novice to a more advanced knitter would appreciate the basic stitches instructions. The book was further divided into scarves, bags, baskets and items for the home. In each section, we had items that were for beginners, some for intermediate to a more advanced knitter. The hardest job you will have is deciding where to start! I am starting with a simple scarf but can not wait to advance into a full blanket for me to curl up on when I am binge watching my shows on television.

If you are looking for a new hobby or want to create some unique statement pieces for your wardrobe and home in 2017, really consider giving Arm Knitting a try! This book is incredibly useful in teaching you the basics and getting you started on some beautiful pieces not only for yourself but your home too. This is a craft that I can see really taking off as it is fun, easy and your only really needed equipment is your arms so you can do it anywhere.

You can purchase a copy of Arm Knitting on DK Canada here.

Rating: 5/5

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

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100 Weight Loss Bowls – Power Up 2017

DK Canada Power Up 2017

Eating recipes specifically designed to be easily put together in a bowl is a great way to enjoy healthy food and weight loss – this is the basis behind 100 Weight Loss Bowls, featured in DK Canada’s Power Up guide.

100 Weight Loss Bowls

About 100 Weight Loss Bowls

Bowls are a delicious way to lose weight and eat healthy, but they can also be laden with hidden calories. Every recipe in 100 Weight Loss Bowls comes in at under 400, under 500, or under 600 calories. The book is clearly labeled to allow you to easily build a meal plan each day that meets your daily target for gradual and sustained weight loss. The recipes are inspired by the very latest bowl food trends, such as pho, grain, smoothie, rice, poke, acai, and Buddha bowls. They are all color-coded with calorie bands, so you can easily find a nutritious, balanced bowl that suits you. Delicious, simple, and surprisingly indulgent, every bowl in 100 Weight Loss Bowls is guaranteed to be low in calories and high in flavor.

The book includes:

  • 100 delicious recipes and a feast of different bowl types, including pho, Buddha, poke, burrito, grain, rice, smoothie, and acai bowls.
  • Color-coded recipes by calorie count: either under 400 calories, under 500 calories, or under 600 calories-this makes it easy to select recipes that meet your required calorie intake for the day.
  • Recipes organized into quick breakfasts, relaxed brunches, portable meals, bowls to create in under 20 minutes, and “instant-assembly” bowls.
  • Smart tips for shopping, stocking up, prepping ahead, and building a weight-loss plan to suit any age and body type.

100 Weight Loss Bowls

My Thoughts

I was so excited to receive this book! Who doesn’t love a healthy bowl of goodness, especially when it helps with weight loss?

This book comes divided into breakfast, on the go and meals more geared at lunch/dinner. They are further divided up into calorie groups (under 600,400,etc..) to better help you figure out where you want to be calorie wise and what options would better suit your diet. All of the recipes were easy to follow, with clear directions and ingredients that you would more than likely have on hand at home. Each recipe also came with a caloric breakdown that included total calories, protein, carbohydrates and fats (which I loved as I base my meals on higher proteins and lower carbohydrates).

The accompanying photographs were bright, large and appetizing! I was hungry just looking through this recipe book. It was hard to pick one to start off with but I narrowed it down to a brown rice and lentil combo to prepare before a night shift. The bowl was delicious and filling for my shift (not to mention easy to make as I prepared dinner for the rest of my family). I love how I can easily build a week’s worth of breakfast/lunch/dinner with similar ingredients that doesn’t take hours to prepare but still gives me a lot of variety and choices. There was an excellent selection of meat/non meat recipes, as well as a variety of meat options (fish/chicken/turkey, etc..) that will suit the needs of a variety of readers.

This recipe book makes a weight loss plan easy to set up, prepare and follow – it takes all the work away from you! You can purchase a copy of this book on DK Canada.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Heather Whinney is an experienced home economist, cookbook writer, and food stylist. She has served as the food editor for several national magazines in England and the United States. She’s the author ofCook Express and The Gluten-Free Cookbook (both by DK Books), and she was also the cookery school manager at Cordon Vert in England, where she developed her love of writing recipes.

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

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Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir: Be Miraculous!

Shout! Kids Factory

Straight from the heart of Paris, a third volume of the action adventure, comedy of Ladybug and Cat Noir is coming your way! This DVD will have you laughing and ready to Be Miraculous! The DVD will be available on January 10th, 2017.

Be Miraculous!

The time is now and the city is Paris. And two amazing heroes, Ladybug and Cat Noir, stand to protect its citizens against evildoers. But can this uncanny duo continue to keep their city safe from these dastardly ne’er-do-well and get their homework in on time?! That’s right. The superheroes known as Ladybug and Cat Noir are actually Marinette and Adrien, two young students with super-secret lives filled with super-awesome excitement!


  • Ladybug & Cat Noir (Origins, Part 1)
  • Stone Heart (Origins, Part 2)
  • Animan
  • Simon Says
  • Pixelator
  • Guitar Villain
  • Kung Food

Our Thoughts

Our favourite two superheroes are back: Ladybug and Cat Noir! These two characters are funny, brave and always positive. They are the perfect superhero characters for your children in the positive messages that they send to children – not to mention their great humour! The characters are real, with everyday problems (even though they super powers) and are characters that your child can relate to. The animations are fantastic and one of the best cartoon animations that I have seen in a long time. This DVD is better suited for children 5-12 to truly appreciate the humour, lessons and plots. Be Miraculous is not only great for afterschool but will be a great addition to family movie time.

The Giveaway!

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win their own Be Miraculous DVD and get ready to be fabulous with Ladybug and Cat Noir! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below – Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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The Mark of the King Book Review

Litfuse Book Tour

In The Mark of the King,  twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana.

The Mark of the King

About The Mark of the King

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

My Thoughts

An incredible novel looking at the lives of those who lived during the eighteenth century both in France and New Orleans. France wanted to colonize it’s towns in North America – so instead of sending over willing individuals, they populated their colonies with convicts whether by choice or not. A practice that was actually quite frightening (not because of their criminal history or choices in life) but more so for the fear that these individuals must have gone through. They were sent with little choice into the unknowns and some were forced to wed in order to further populate the colonies. I can’t even begin to imagine the fear, uncertainty and anger they must have felt.

Julianne is one of these individuals but her criminal history almost blows your mind. She was imprisoned and branded over the death of her client! At a time when child birth was quite dangerous, it is hard to believe a midwife could be held responsible for the death of the Mother and further branded a criminal and imprisoned. Julianne felt her only way to escape the life that was now imposed on her was escape to New Orleans. I don’t think she could even imagine what she would have to deal with once she arrived.

There is little order, little rules and crime rules in this new world. Through Julianne, we uncover a harsh world, mysterious discrepancies and dangerous world. Marc-Paul is a man that she meets when arriving in New Orleans – after her marriage to another convict. Marc-Paul is there to provide support, guidance, care but also harbours his own secret that is tied to Julianne’s family.

The Mark of the King is well written and fabulous novel. I could not put it down in fear of missing what was going to happen next. I loved the rich history, culture and strong character development. This was one amazing novel that you will cherish over and over again.

You can purchase a copy of The Mark of the King here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

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