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Holly Scudero has commented on (54) products.

Carly's Gift (P.S.) by Georgia Bockoven
Carly's Gift (P.S.)

Holly Scudero, April 27, 2014

For sixteen years, Carly Hargrove has been living a life she's mostly happy with, the one she chose when she set the man she loved free after her own life was irrevocably changed. She has been able to live with that decision for all these years until that very man, David Montgomery, walks back into her life. Soon, the delicate web of secrets Carly has woven to protect her eldest daughter draws David in, binding them together more tightly than ever. But when tragedy threatens to rip everything apart, how will Carly, David, and their families be affected?

Readers who pick up Georgia Bockoven's new novel, “Carly's Gift,” will be sucked in with just one chapter. Carly and David, two very different and perfectly imperfect characters, are immensely appealing, and the author does a good job of immersing readers in the small town of Baxter. The story seems like one which should be predictable, but there are a few twists that really threw me for a loop! “Carly's Gift” was a lovely novel, full of both happiness and heart-wrenching sadness, but one you will be glad that you picked up.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Beginning Pearls by Stephan Pastis
Beginning Pearls

Holly Scudero, April 27, 2014

Fans of "Pearls Before Swine" love the comic strip for its dark, often twisted sense of humor. Now Stephan T. Pastis is introducing his colorful cast of critters to a new generation of readers in “Beginning Pearls.” Rat is a mean little critter, while his best friend, Pig, is easy going and willing to put up with a lot of nonsense from his buddy. The rest of the animal gang includes Goat, Zebra, and the Crocs. Together, these guys will make you smile and maybe even giggle out loud occasionally. Each character gets to introduce himself in a spread that lasts a couple of pages, and each introduction is followed by a bunch of strips that highlight that character and give readers a broad sense of their personality and what they contribute to the strip. This is a great "Pearls Before Swine" collection for any new reader, no matter the age, and devoted fans will probably enjoy having this one in their collection no matter what. Pastis's art is colorful and has just the right amount of detail to engage readers, while the jokes in the individual comics are humorous and will keep you turning the page for the next strip. This is a great way to hook some new fans.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Baby's First Food by Kristen Michaelis
Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Baby's First Food

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Kristen Michaelis is well-known in the blogging world for her site “Food Renegade,” which focuses on a traditional foods diet. Now she has applied her knowledge of nutrition to baby-making; “Beautiful Babies” is all about how to eat right to promote fertility, being healthy while pregnant, how a woman's diet can improve the quality of her breastmilk, and venturing into the world of solid foods once the baby is ready. Like many in the traditional foods movement, Michaelis promotes the dietary principles advocated by the Weston A. Price Foundation; unlike some names from that community who have been in the blogging spotlight of late, Michaelis is refreshingly non-judgmental towards women who do not maintain a “perfect” diet. Good nutrition is indeed important, and it is the author's goal to help women work towards it, but she keeps a very positive attitude about it all, offers suggestions to help those who are having a hard time eating certain recommended foods, and even has a section devoted to recipes that even the newest newbie to traditional foods will not find daunting. She also presents tons and tons of research to support what she claims, sourced from a wide variety of places (and with an extensive source chapter to back it up). Michaelis freely admits that she has no educational qualifications for this book, but she is a mom who has researched these topics thoroughly, and the book she has written provides a lot of good information in a very accessible format.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Skinny Bitch in Love
Skinny Bitch in Love

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Clementine Cooper is a rising star in the Los Angeles culinary world, a young vegan chef with all kinds of potential. When she loses her job because of a jealous coworker, Clem finds herself suddenly without any job prospects at all. She wants to open a restaurant of her own, but lacks the capital to get started. Instead, she launches a whole line of other small careers: cooking classes, a personal chef business, restaurant consulting work, and even her own line of baked goods, all under the name Skinny Bitch. And then she meets Zach Jeffries, a devoted carnivore with plans of opening a steakhouse in the location Clem's had her eye on for years. Clem finds herself undeniably attracted to Zach, but can two people with such strong personalities and completely opposing views on life hope for any kind of happiness together?

Kim Barnouin is known for her non-fiction Skinny Bitch books, which present a no-nonsense argument for a vegan diet and all kinds of recipes to tempt you. Now she dips her toes into the fiction genre with “Skinny Bitch in Love,” a clever and, perhaps not surprisingly, mouth-watering story of a vegan chef with big dreams. The story is fluffy and cute, not necessarily deep but one you will want to finish. The descriptions of Clem's creations will give readers some serious cravings. For a fun, light read, don't miss this one.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

It doesn't take a genius to see that there is something wrong with the modern conventional school system. Why do so many children hate learning? Why is it so stressful, and why do so many children not seem to learn things for the long haul? Psychologist Peter Gray tackles this topic in his wonderfully insightful and important book “Free to Learn.” He describes the history of our school system, and how it is better suited for indoctrination than education. He talks about what he calls the “seven sins of our system of forced education,” and shows how it is justifiably comparable to a prison. He discusses how our system fosters cheating and promotes bullying. And he talks about how all of this emphasis on education, starting early and taking up so much of our kids' lives, combined with the rise of helicopter parenting have contributed to the decline in free play, arguably one of the best ways for kids to learn on their own. Gray also highlights a better option: the democratically-minded Sudbury Valley School. As a mother of a toddler, the topic of education is very much on my mind, and this timely book was an extremely enlightening read. There is so much valuable information contained within this book, and reading it is sure to cause readers to look at the concept of education in an entirely new light. This is a book that every parent should read.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



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