Posts filed under ‘book review’

Book Review: Donkey’s Kite & The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey

Donkey's Kite

Book Description:

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it’s a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey‘s kite doesn’t work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

My Thoughts:

There are a number of valuable lessons in this book including teaching children the importance of being kind to others and taking the time to help those in need.

None of Donkey’s friends seem to notice that he built a kite that can’t fly. Donkey asks for assistance, but Jack is too busy coloring his kite, Lax is too busy bragging to his friends and Max is too busy eating to help. When Donkey feels discouraged there is no one around to help and just when you think his day can’t possibly get any worse he wanders off sadly and encounters a goose that ruthlessly teases him.

Luckily a magnificent and beautiful bird named Gusty comes to his rescue. Gusty puts the nasty goose back in his place and offers to help with Donkey’s kite. There is an important lesson in the exchange between Gusty and Donkey. Gusty recognizes Donkey’s distress and is eager to take the time to help Donkey feel better about himself.

I like that this book teaches children the importance of looking out for others. Despite being busy any one of Donkey’s friends could have offered to help him or at the very least offered to help him after they were finished working on their own kites. Unfortunately, they were all so busy they didn’t realize how sad their friend had become.

This book focuses on the importance of empathy. Even very young children can learn to recognize the thoughts and feelings of their friends and family members. When Donkey’s friends eventually realize just how sad their friend has become they all pitch in to help him build a truly magnificent kite.

This book is a follow up to the story The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey. In the original story the Donkey is actually the bully. Although the bullying section of this book is quite small, (just a few pages  compared to the original), I like how the author turned the tables on the characters and made the Donkey realize just how painful it is to be picked on. Despite the fact that Donkey no longer picks on others it is an important reminder to choose kindness over cruelty.

We all know childhood can be an extremely emotional and difficult time. This book will help children realize just how hurtful their words and actions can be on those around them.

While it is certainly important to be aware of the thoughts and feelings of others it is equally important to answer their calls for help. I think both books would make a great introduction to bullying and the importance of being kind.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

April 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 4

Aoleon The Martian Girl Part Four
Book Description:
Aoleon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.
After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoleon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoleon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

My Thoughts:

Part Four of the Aoléon Martian Girl contained much fewer action scenes than the previous segments.  While parts one, two and three were packed with adventure part four focused much less on action and much more on character development.

There seemed to be deeper lessons in these chapters. For example, when Bizwat, Aoléon and Gilbert are lost in the dessert Aoléon says “just follow the yellow-brick road. Wouldn’t that not be nice… to have a golden path all laid out before us to follow. If only life were that way,” but Bizwat quickly replies “Life would be pretty boring if it were laid out in advance. It would lose all of its sense of adventure.”

I like the way this sentiment is expressed to the middle-school children who are the intended audience of this story. As kids we often want to take the easy path in life. We want to know exactly what will happen today, tomorrow and into the future. I like Bizwat’s clear-cut approach to the unknown; excitement comes from NOT knowing what’s around every corner. There are so many adventures and events we experience in our lives that we never could have predicted as children.

I also enjoyed reading Bizwat’s thoughts on what it means to be a soldier. He says, “Being a soldier is not about blindly following orders, it is following orders in the service of a higher cause. When that cause is betrayed we are no longer soldiers, just mindless drones dying for the wrong reasons. That faith has clearly been betrayed.” There are many books, movies and video games that depict military sequences and soldiers, but I’m not sure how often children think about the missions or lessons of those games. I like how Bizwat clarifies his desire to follow a higher cause. To do the right thing so that when he dies, he dies without regret. Bizwat makes mention of a higher purpose and talks ever so briefly about having faith.

There seemed to be a lot more in-depth conversations between characters in part four of the series and I enjoyed learning more about the characters and their motivations. This book is not just about aliens and space battles it is also about human connection. When Gilbert talks about divorce, Aoléon says, “being telepathic forces us to embrace our vulnerabilities. It is what makes us real and bonds us together.” It’s certainly an interesting idea. After all, if you cannot hide your emotions, thoughts and feelings then it’s easy to see how stronger one-on-one connections would exist.

I enjoyed part four of this series on a deeper level than the previous three and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

April 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 3: The Hollow Moon

Aoleon The Martian Girl Part Three

Book Description:

Spying on the Luminon, Aoléon and Gilbert uncover his plot to steal Earth’s milk cows and make the disturbing discovery that the Martian leader plans to disrupt Mars’s galact supply. The duo races to warn Aoléon’s father, Deimos, a manager at the galactworks, before the Luminon’s saboteur can act.While still on the run, Aoléon takes her pilot’s exam so she can join the Martian intergalactic exploration fleet. However, during the test-run, something goes horribly wrong. The two are put in a life-threatening situation and only Bizwat, Aoléon’s Procyon commando friend, can save them.Gilbert finally gets his chance to learn to skyboard, but the lesson turns into a test of skill as he and Aoléon are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.Will they survive?

Don’t miss this exciting part 3 of 5 of the middle-grade sci-fi series Aoleon The Martian Girl.

My Thoughts:

If you thought part one and two of Aoléon The Martian Girl series contained a lot of action and excitement just wait until you jump in to part three! The story of Gilbert and Aoléon’s adventure continues as they use a device provided by Bizwat, (a super-elite member of the Martian commando unit who just happens to disguise himself as a pizza delivery guy), to hack through security systems and deactivate force fields. With the force field deactivated they climb through an air duct and overhear Luminon’s plans to steal Earth’s cows. It seems the Martian leader hopes to attain absolute power by conquering Earth and acquiring its precious milk supply.

Luminon plans to cause an accident at Galactworks that would disrupt the flow of galactmilk. With production halted Martians will begin to starve. As the shortage of milk continues Luminon believes the Martians will be easily convinced to look for alternative sources for sustenance. The Martians will look for milk wherever they can find it and Luminon believes it will not be difficult to persuade the Martian population to invade Earth and steal Earth’s dairy cows.

Gilbert and Aoléon race to Galactworks to warn Aoléon’s father, Deimos, of this devious plan. The action continues as they do their best to avoid danger while trying to save Gilbert’s home planet.

I enjoyed reading part three of this series just as much as parts one and two. The story is quite approachable for middle-school aged children, (the intended audience of this series), as the story of stealing cows is easy to understand and relate to without being too scary.

The images and graphics once again bring the story to life before the reader’s eyes. The pictures of the bad guys like Luminon help the reader visualize this foreign world while the pictures of Gilbert and Aoléon racing to save Earth make you feel the flurry of action that helps keep the story moving at a rapid pace.

Although this story is intended for a middle-school audience it has certainly captured my attention. The language is easy to read and absorb and the pace of the story enables you to read it from cover to cover in just over an hour!

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

March 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Pants! No Chance!

Pants No Chance

Book Description:
Lulupop rarely puts up a fuss, except when it comes to wearing pants. Dresses, dresses, dresses, is all she will ever wear! With time, a little drama, and no lack of imagination, Lulupop realizes that wearing dresses is not always the best choice.

Author Interview:

  1. In your picture book “Pants No Chance,” Lulupop, the main character loves dresses. When you were a little girl did you love dresses? If yes, do you still love dresses?
    • As a little girl I did love dresses but only certain ones, depending on the fabric and style. I remember being around three years old and my mother wanted me to wear a particular dress. Although I was still too young to express my discomfort with it, I do remember throwing a tantrum to get out of wearing it. Unlike the mother in my book, my Mom won the argument and I was forced to wear the uncomfortable dress.
  2. What genre do you write and why?
    • “Pants! No Chance!” is my first picture book but I write for adults as well. I have short stories about everyday things that happen to me.   Real life is where I get my ideas. I decided to write picture books because when my kids were little I read to them a lot. Many picture books did not appeal to me. Because we read picture books over and over to our kids, as a parent, I wanted to write a book that was entertaining for parents and their children.
  3. Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
    • I get writer’s block all the time. To overcome it, I take a break from my writing and hope that eventually I will have a breakthrough. Sometimes I begin a totally different story. Often I rely on my subconscious to work while I am focused on another task. It usually does and then I revert back to writing the old piece.
  4. Do you write every day?
    • Although I wish I could answer yes, I don’t. Often whole weeks will go by and I haven’t written anything. My three kids are still young and they take up a large amount of my time. Writing is currently a hobby but once my kids are a bit older, I hope to make it my profession.
  5. Do you think it’s important to have a mentor? Did you have a mentor?
    • Yes. Without my mentor, I’m not sure I would have written this book. Having someone with experience in the industry supporting me made all the difference. My good friend Elaine Arsenault is my mentor and the author of eleven children’s books. When I mentioned to her that I had an idea for a picture book she encouraged me to write it and once it was written she pushed me to send it out to publishers.

My Thoughts:
As a little girl I distinctly remember asking to wear dresses every single day. My mom was fortunate enough to receive bags full of hand-me-downs from a family friend and my closet was filled with dresses of every texture and color.
When I look through the photo albums of those early years I see picture after picture of myself wearing those dresses. There I am sitting in front of my Easter basket with a violet dress trimmed with delicate floral shaped buttons. On Christmas day I am posing in front of the tree wearing a deep red velvet dress adorned with white lace.

My mom only kept one or two dresses from my childhood, but despite not having seen them for over thirty years I can still distinctly recall the way a few of them looked and the way I felt when I wore them. I loved putting on tights and dress shoes and twirling around the living room as the dresses fluttered up and down around my legs.

By the time I was six or seven I completely outgrew this phase. My mom said I quit wearing dresses cold turkey. One day I woke up and said, “I don’t want want to wear dresses anymore.” I don’t remember this decision, but when I told my mom the story of Pants! No Chance! she said I behaved exactly like Lulupop. One day I simply changed my fashion preference.

As a mom to a three year old boy I have never faced a fashion conflict. Well that’s not entirely true, I do struggle to get my son dressed every morning since he would much rather run naked throughout our home, but thankfully he doesn’t fuss over which shirt or pair of pants is chosen. I know a lot of mothers with young girls though who say getting their children dressed can be become quite a power struggle.

I love that the mother in this story allows her daughter to wear dresses even when she doesn’t think it’s a great idea to do so. I also love the fact that Lulupop learns from the natural consequences of her actions.

After failing to heed her mother’s advice she figures out that wearing dresses might prevent her from participating in enjoyable activities like playing sports, riding her bike and picking apples. After dealing with the consequences of sitting out, getting bug bites and ultimately catching a cold she reflects on her decisions and recognizes that she can now choose a wiser path.

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Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 25, 2015 at 8:00 AM 1 comment

Book Review: Baby Comes Home: A Parent’s Guide to a Healthy and Well First Eighteen Months

Baby Comes Home

Book Description:

Unlike most baby care books, expert pediatrician and health communicator DR. PAUL Roumeliotis takes a unique approach by emphasizing what scientific advances have confirmed—that what happens early on in life affects one’s overall health decades down the road.

Baby Comes Home communicates the latest science that explains how positive or negative early childhood experiences can have lifelong consequences. The book begins by describing the vital changes that occur in a baby‘s brain during the first 18 months. It then explores the new “Science of TLC”, that shows how tender, loving, and caring relationships with babies help to positively shape their brains. The book then presents important practical information on safety in the home and outdoors, baby routines/patterns, immunizations, injury prevention, nutrition, and more. To complete this useful guide, DR.PAUL also reviews common baby care issues and concerns as well as illnesses and conditions commonly seen during the first few years of life.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, daycare teacher or child caregiver, this book is an excellent reference resource for your baby‘s current and future health, wellness and prosperity.

My Thoughts:

Dr. Paul begins this book by focusing on why the first eighteen months are so important to the health and development of a child. He starts out the book, (on page four to be exact), with the science of coddling and loving your child. He explains how children are born with “many more brain cells (neurons) than adults and the ones that get used are the ones that remain. During the first few years of life these brain cells start to develop connections that on the outside we see as development. When the baby’s brain grows, it is actually these nerves – the wiring – that are forming, interconnecting, and expanding.”

Due this important time in neural development it is extremely important for babies to live and thrive in an environment that promotes “their brains, nerve cells, connections, and learning/cognitive abilities to develop to their full potential. We know that, if they do not achieve this development properly or fully, there can be long-term consequences.”

My husband and I are big believers in hugging and coddling our three year old son. We provide a lot of hands on attention, time and love and I enjoyed reading about why these have all been and will continue to be important to his development and overall well being.

As a personal finance blogger I love how the author of this book puts love and attention in the context of money. In essence, he points out that none of these things require money. It is more about the time, attention and care with which we care for our children. Not the money we spend on them or the toys we purchase to fill their playrooms.

Much of Dr. Paul’s chapters focus on the health and safety of babies and young toddlers. I think this book would function as a great guide to the common health questions and concerns of any parent. He discusses everything from constipation, earwax, nasal congestion to more series issues like allergies, apnea, croup and ear infections. In fact, over 150 pages of his book are dedicated to the symptoms and treatments of childhood diseases.

As a new parent this isn’t necessarily the type of book that you need to read cover to cover. While the first few chapters are quite helping in preparing your home for a new baby, the rest of the book could be kept as a guide to any medical issues that might crop up in the first few years of your child’s life.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 17, 2015 at 8:00 AM 2 comments

Book Review: The Monster That Ate My Socks

The Monster That Ate my Socks

Book Description:

A young boy, who is about to be grounded for going through so many socks, discovers that a monster has been eating them.

Max is a young boy who is constantly getting in trouble for his socks disappearing. He doesn’t know where they go, but he does know that if he doesn’t do something quickly his mom will ground him for summer. Max soon discovers that a little green monster is sneaking into his room at night and eating his sweaty socks. His mother, of course, doesn’t believe him, so Max calls on his best friend to come for a sleepover to catch the monster.

They devise a trap and capture the monster only to learn that the creature can speak. It hasn’t meant to cause any harm, it’s just trying to feed its family. The monster shows them his home and his three little children and begs the boys not to turn them over to the adults. Adults, he says, want to destroy monsters.

The boys are left in a pickle. Allow the monsters to be and get grounded, or turn the monsters in,​ knowing what will happen to them? Neither idea seems good, so they come up with a new plan!

My Thoughts:

This is the kind of story that touches your heart in a very unexpected way. The story starts out with a typical problem many of us have faced at one point or another in our lives; socks that seem to disappear from the laundry.

Max, an inquisitive young boy, sees a tiny piece of torn clothing on the floor and investigates the problem. Max and his friend Ryan create a trap that catches the green monster with three eyes. This all seems par for the course for two young boys. I could see my own son trying to devise a trap like this a few years from now to investigate mysterious problems.

Spoiler Alert:

What I liked most about this book though was how kind and compassionate the boys were once they caught the monster. After finding out that the monster had children of its own the boys asked to see them. After greeting the babies the boys realize they need to come up with a long term food solution that doesn’t involve their dirty socks.

The monsters discover that they love eating bad homework just as much as socks so the boys devise a plan to take them to their school where they can dig in the trashcans every night to look for papers with bad grades.

I love how the two boys who originally want to capture the monster and possibly harm him end up finding them a better home where the entire monster family can be fed and happy.

At the basic level this is a story about two boys and a monster, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find it’s also a feel good story about understanding the problems of those around us and finding solutions that can help us work together.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 9, 2015 at 8:00 AM 7 comments

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl Part Two

Aoleon The Martian Girl PART 2

Book Description:

Aoléon and Gilbert receive a special mission from PAX, a wanted criminal and leader of the Martian resistance movement to investigate the Luminon of Mars, who he suspects is planning an invasion of Earth to steal its milk cows. Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

At Aoléon’s home, Gilbert meets Aoléon’s family, her sister Una, mother Phobos and father Deimos as well as her overzealous pet Zoot. He is also introduced to Bizwat, a covert operator and Procyon Commando, who uses his Saturn Pizza delivery job as a cover.

Gilbert then gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates. After class, Gilbert and Aoléon get to train in zero-G and Gilbert is treated to a Psi-ball match between Martian Space Academy and Martian Science Academy.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading part two of the Aoléon series and imagine young readers would love learning about Aoléon’s home world and the people she interacts with on a day-to-day basis. Despite living on a distant planet the relationship between Gilbert and Aoléon form as though she were a new neighbor who moved in next door. Their interactions, like eating pizza with the rest of her family feel natural and close to home. The author made this alien home world feel quite approachable. Although he adds a sci-fi feeling to the characters and activities their world doesn’t seem so much different than our own.

The people’s emotions and flaws feel particularly human. I love that Gilbert can read the alien’s minds. For example, he can see that the young girls who taunt Aoléon are struggling with family problems of their own. I like the humanity with which the author describes these brief glimpses into their thoughts. As adults we know that an individual’s actions are often deeper than what meets the eye. As children though we don’t always understand that actions are motivated by unseen factors like sadness or problems at home. This book highlights the underlying feelings that can impact behavior; a lesson that children are never to young to learn.

The vivid graphics and colorful illustrations help you envision the world the author wishes to portray. The comic book like feeling continues throughout chapter two but the intensity of images greatens. You can really envision the spaces where these aliens live. Everything from the chairs at the dining table to the meeting spaces and open air squares of the city.

I think this book would certainly capture the interest of any young reader who wants to explore far off places and distant lands.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Teenagers Book


The O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Teenagers Book is a short and very concise book that introduces teenagers to a wide variety of financial concepts including budgeting, emergency funds, debt, credit cards, inflation, investing, protecting your identity and insurance.

It reads somewhat like a comic book. It’s a very small book with few pages and lots of bright graphics to help explain concepts in ways that are easy to understand.

For example, in the chapter on budgeting the book depicts an image of a young man balancing on a tight rope with a very long pole. On one side of the pole is a sign for income on the other is a sign for expenses. The details read “Picture yourself with a long pole to keep your balance with income on one end and expenses on the other. You need to keep them in balance so you don’t fall off the rope.” Comparing budgets to a balancing act is a great example of the accessibility of this book. It’s easy to create a mental snapshot of this concept and to keep it in mind.

The budgeting chapter was actually my favorite of the book. For a short book the authors actually hit the mark on the most important pieces of creating a budget. They stress the need to know your income and expenses and to check your balance often to know how much money you have available.

They discuss variable costs versus fixed expenses by pointing out that an allowance may provide steady money but gifts and babysitting payouts do not. The authors also detail the importance of needs versus wants and why its important to distinguish between the two. That is a vital concept to controlling your finances at any age.

There are a lot of key ideas included in this tiny book. In the chapter on credit the author’s write, “The first thing to know is credit is really debt.” I am in love with this sentence! If you purchases items you cannot afford and do not pay your credit card in full each month you will immediately be in debt! Credit cards are a direct link to debt and its a very important concept for anyone receiving their first card to understand.

This book would provide a great introduction to any teenager beginning to manage his or her own money. I would suggest parents and teenagers read it together. While It does not go into great depth on any of the subjects it does provide a solid starting point for discussing financial topics with your children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

January 27, 2015 at 9:44 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl

The Martian Girl

Book Description:

Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never…until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.

My Thoughts:

I remember looking up at the stars as a young child and wondering what existed beyond our world. I still believe other forms of life must exist in far off galaxies. Somewhere it seems there must be a planet similar in nature to our own that can sustain life in some form. Haven’t we all wondered what life must look like on other planets? We may not ponder this question often as adults, but as children the unknown fascinates us. This book will speak to those children who wonder what might exist outside of our world.

Part One of this book, (the only part I was given to review), is full of action and adventure. The story begins with a young boy staring into a telescope, wishing to get away from his feuding parents and wondering why the crop circles were forming in wheat fields in Nebraska. As the boy stares out into the sky he notices an object moving quickly toward him, followed by a bright light at a nearby farm. His adventure begins when he encounters a Martian who takes him on a fast paced spin around the globe while the United States Air Force pursues the space ship at record speeds.

The rapid chase is followed by a journey to the aliens home on Mars where the sheer advancement of technology make the young boy’s head spin in amazement.

The book includes colorful illustrations that appear to be computer generated. They add a comic book like effect to the story that helps the reader envision the alien, the chase around the globe and the Martian homeland. The images of the planets and moons as seen from outer space definitely help the reader feel like they are flying.

I think most children would love to read this book. You never know what a young Nebraska farmhand is going to encounter next on Mars and the speed at which this story moves is certain to capture their interest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

December 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Corporate Cowboy

Corporate Cowboy

Book Synopsis:

Restaurant Management: First Hand Lessons from the King of Steak Houses
Black Angus Beef Chain Founder shares business tips, food recipes and personal memoir

Stuart Anderson had led a fascinating life for the past 90 years. He built Black Angus, America’s #1 restaurant chain of the 1980s, and ranched on a 26,000 acre spread where he raised cattle. His circle of friends has included Hollywood stars and corporate bigwigs. You’ll discover his personal history is a lot like the man – larger than life!

Anyone seeking to go into the restaurant business or moving into a food industry management position will benefit from the lessons offered in this book as Stuart Anderson shares both his success and failures. Told with wit, simple cowboy logic and clever business savvy, there are numerous vignettes included in this memoir to include tales from World War II, Business Startups, Management Feuds, Love Affairs, Community Service and semi-Retirements.

Aside from the personal story and professional information, readers – especially those who ever ate at a Black Angus restaurant in the past – most notably in the 1980s – will enjoy such recipes like the BLACK ANGUS POTATOES AU GRATIN, ORIGINAL BLACK ANGUS RANCH BREAD, BREAKFAST STIR FRY and BAKED STEAK WITH MUSTARD SAUCE just to name a few.

My Thoughts:

As a co-owner of a small company I really enjoyed reading about the entrepreneurial success of Stuart Anderson. This is one of those whimsical, easy to read memoirs that makes you smile. Anderson makes you feel like you are right in the room with him through every step of the way. Their is a candidness in his words. When he talks about the local liquor inspector he mentions mumbling, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

Or the way he talks about the patrons that lined up at his bar waiting to be seated for dinner. “Say there’s a couple sitting in the bar looking straight ahead, rarely speaking, and when they do, they’re certainly not looking at each other. They want to be called to dinner NOW. Couple Number One consists of two spouses married to the wrong people. ” He goes on to talk about “Couple Number Two, who can’t get enough of each other. They don’t look at anything or anyone else and could not care less about when they’re called. You would love to move them down the list and move Couple Number One up.” The problem is you have to follow the order of the list. You can’t just move people up and down because some of them seem more uncomfortable sitting across from one another.

I love the way he speaks to the human nature of the patrons and employees of his restaurants. As you read his words you can picture the uncomfortable couple seated across from one another experiencing a blind date or the unhappy married couple who are going through the paces of going out to dinner even though they seem absolutely miserable in doing so.

There is an honesty and rawness in this memoir that I truly enjoyed. Despite his success Anderson certainly doesn’t come off as pretentious. He seems like the kind of guy you’ve known for years who is sitting around the card table stories. It’s an easy read with a lot of entrepreneurial advice particularly for those interested in creating a food service related company.

As a bonus the book includes a couple recipes in the back that sound utterly delicious. I have my eyes set on making Breakfast Biscuit Brulee.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

December 15, 2014 at 1:56 PM 5 comments

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