January 26, 2015

Book Club Secrets: 4th Day Hair

Image Source

I am a casual reader, don't misunderstand - I love a great book, but it has to be great. I don't read everything. Sometimes I show up at book club, having not read the book. Even then, there is always something to gain. I have been so surprised by all the "life changing" things I have learned in book club that didn't come from a book. The main reason many of us participate in book clubs is so that we can have a girls night, plan a party, and chit chat about everything but the book...until that more structured moment of discussion, right?

Did you know that you can wash your hair once a week? Seriously...could be life changing right? Well, I was visiting with a few girls that I would describe as having celebrity hair - long, thick, gorgeous locks of loose curls.
I always assumed that these girls (any girls with hair that looks professionally styled) must spend at least an hour on just their hair everyday. I must own my background here - I grew up in the land of LL Bean, Gap and Lands End. I'm not even sure that stores stocked flat irons. It was just a very simple kind of beauty, less manicured, more carefree. Now I am in a completely different culture with a whole new system for defining/creating beautiful.

This is me with 4th Day hair yesterday...I forgot to get a real picture taken, so you get to see my son too. We had a nice train ride.

dry shampoo
Celebrity Hair: Here is how you do it (all while listening to an audio book of course).
Day 1: Wash and Blow dry your hair with product, then style. This is the day you put the time in...it will pay off.
Day 2: Spray dry shampoo on the roots, then massage it into the roots and do a quick blow dry in a horse shoe shape around the top of your head to refresh and give lift to the hair, it also livens the color again.
Day 3: Repreat Day 2, but if you need to refresh the hair around your forehead just do a quick wash in the sink of that small clump of hair, then blow dry and finish styling.
Day 4: Repeat Day 2
Day 5: Repeat Day 3
Day 6: Start all over again with Day 1.

I had used dry shampoo for 2nd day hair, but never thought to try for 3rd or 4th. I also had heard it isn't good to wash your hair too much, but I didn't know the strategy. After adopting this strategy...but I feel comfortable till Day 5 and then I wash it. Your hair will adjust over a couple weeks, just stretch a day at a time and keep pushing it till you are comfortable. As for the type of Dry Shampoo, I don't think it matters. One of the girls uses really high quality Pureology regular shampoo, but she says "I just Suave it up the rest of the week" with Suave dry shampoo.

Another girl noted that because her hair is dark, she makes her own dry shampoo out of corn starch and cocoa powder.
Click here for the "Recipe"
Here is a quick tutorial on making your own. I already had Tresemme, so I have continued using it. I love how freeing this is with my morning routine, and what a huge time saver it is.

What "secrets" have you learned in your book clubs?

Warmly, Elizabeth

January 24, 2015

Join Delicious Reads in National Read-A-Thon Day

Forget your laundry. You can run your errands later. Pay the bills tomorrow. Just slip into your comfy pants, some fuzzy socks and GET READING!

That's right, folks - It's National Read-A-Thon Day. Starting NOW! Now usually National Read-A-Thon Day is when libraries around the U.S. host Read-A-Thons from 12-4pm and help raise money for programs that promote reading (go to http://nationalbook.org to find out how you can make a difference by reading and pledging money). But today, we are asking our Delicious Reads friends to join in on the fun from home.

So give your kids a stack of books and pick up your own. It's cold outside (at least in Utah), so cozy up to the fire with your favorite book. Or if you're lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, go outside and enjoy some rays while you devour the last book in that trilogy.

I'm starting my kids early on chapter books . . . no, actually this is what I'm reading for National Read-A-Thon Day -
Jennifer A. Nielsen's "The Shadow Throne" (the #3 book in the Ascendance Series)

Make sure you tag @deliciousreads with photos of what you are reading and we will repost some of our favorites.

Now stop reading this and go get a book!


January 21, 2015

Book Review: The Eye of Minds {by James Dashner}

Delicious Reads Book Review
TITLE: The Eye of Minds (Mortality Doctrine #1)
AUTHOR: James Dashner
book cover from The Mortality Doctrine series

NUMBER OF PAGES: 320 pages
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
READING LEVEL: 12 and up (7th grade +)
GENRE: Science Fiction (YA)

SUMMARY:   Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And one gamer has been doing exactly that, with murderous results.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid to the back alleys and corners of the system human eyes have never seen—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

OUR BOOK REVIEW: After our fun The Eye of Minds Game (check it out here and a free printable quiz too), we got to know the author James Dashner, who is also the author of The Maze Runner, the new blockbuster movie.

The Mortality Doctrine
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)
In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.
Check out this awesome interview with James Dashner where he dishes on everything about the book! The three words he used to describe The Eye of Minds were: Twisty. Fast. Fear. We totally agreed with this.
Before we get into the discussion, you have to watch the book trailer for The Eye of Minds:

Next we had some great discussion on the crazy topics of this book (questions in bold, our answers in italics).

Discussion Questions:

1.) When talking about meeting his friends in the VirtNet, Michael said, "Life is boring." What's the point in meeting for real if they've paid so much money to have the top of the line coffin to make the VirtNet feel so real?
 - We decided that there is a difference because you take chances in the VirtNet, but without the risk.
 - In the book, Gunner Skale said, "Who knows the true definition of real? When you've been trapped in one place in the sleep for this long, it's all as real as anything else." If they spent so much time in their coffins, then that was their "real" life. Everyone in the real world had to work or go to school, but often dragged through it to get back to the VirtNet.
 - When Michael had his core removed, he said, "It's all real now," even though he was still in the sleep. Maybe it was the risk of losing one's life that made it really REAL.

2.) If Michael led the agents to Kaine, he would be set for life. What does that mean when you have the VirtNet?
 - People paid money to get upgrades in the games they played in the VirtNet. There are plenty of virtual games now that are popular in our society where people do just that (Sim City, etc.). The possibilities were just bigger in the VirtNet
 - Michael maybe wouldn't have had to work and could "live" in the VirtNet more because he would have the "real money" to pay for his "fake life."

The coffin from The Mortality Doctine James Dashner
Inside "The Coffin" (Source)

 3.) Would you consider suicide if you were held hostage like Tanya was? Or make a new life like Gunner Skale?
 - Is there a 3rd  option? Be like Michael and save the world!
 - The horrors that Kaine put in Michael's mind felt real to him. If it felt so real, it would be almost as bad as if they were real.

4.) Would you change your appearance in the VirtNet or stay yourself so it feels more real?
 - Definitely shed a pounds! We agreed that most of us would want to be skinnier, prettier, etc. Though it would feel more real to remain the same, often how we perceive ourselves is how we come across. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just perceive ourselves a certain way and it would happen? 
 - It was funny that Michael's friend Bryson said he made himself not as attractive in the VirtNet. 

5.) If you could live in the VirtNet like they did, what would you want to do?
 - Become a superhero. Save lives. Be someone important.
 - Make yourself the perfect body and buy the Louis Vuitton shoes we could never get in real life (we really aren't that shallow, but just thought it would be fun to not have to worry about it).

The coffin from The Mortality Doctrine

6.) What do you think were the scariest things they encountered in the VirtNet?
 - The battle scenes were pretty gruesome in Devils of Destruction, but the chracters kind of played it off like it wasn't a big deal. We wondered if having to experience killing others and being killed in the VirtNet would change you like it would in real life. Maybe they just got desensitized to it like we do watching TV shows with similar things.
 - The never-ending hallway with no light would be hard because you couldn't see - like being blind.
 - Corpse hallway would be creepy. Being alone would be hard as well (especially after Bryson and Sarah's deaths).

7.) What did you think of Michael and Sarah's relationship? 
 - We wanted more!
 - In one interveiw James Dashner talked about not liking to write romance. We decided if there was anything lacking in the book, it was that. In life, love is part of who we are as humans. Not to include it, is an injustice to us all (can you tell that we really wanted more lovin'?)
 - We are curious what is going to happen now that Michael is in a different body (actually, I guess it is technically his first body. Ha!)

8.) What do you think? Is this going to be how out world is 20 years from now?
 - Technology 20 years ago. If someone tried to explain a tablet or iphone, we would have thought they watched too much Star Trek and yet here we are. 
 - The idea of coding in the book. Some of us thought that is might not be possible to be able to find code and rewrite it while everything was happening. Maybe in 20 years, there will be some kind of technology that makes it possible to think something up and have the computer translate it to a program or something. Maybe that is part of how the "core" in the book works. 

8.) What were your overall thought and predictions for the next book?
 - We did not see it coming that Michael wasn't real. What a shocker!
 - Some of us thought that Kaine might not be real, but did not predict how it came about.
 - We think that Sarah and Michael have to meet and there better be some steam, but after reading the interview, we are guessing there wont be :( . 

Our Content Rating:

moderate (d-word, hell, etc.)
mild (flirting)
heavy (suicide, murder, war, monster attacks)

The mortality doctrine

We were all excited to see where the series is going and we were relieved to find out that the 2nd book in the Mortality Doctrine series, The Rule of Thoughts, is already out. There is also a Mortality Doctrine 0.5: Gunner Skale available. The 3rd book, The Game of Lives, will be out August 2015.

Now get your game on (or at least go read it)!

Delicious Reads member, Robin King, recently had her first book published, Remembrandt, a YA suspense (with romance . . . Take that, James Dashner!). Find out more on her website

*Don't forget to see all the photos from our book club meeting for The Eye of Minds!

January 19, 2015

Delicious Dish: Fast and Easy No-bake Mini Cheesecakes

fast easy and cheap dessert lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

I love to try out new recipes and every once and a while I do like to delve into some of the insane Pinterest desserts and appetizers. BUT, as a mom of five, sometimes I don't have the time or money to do something extravagant. That's why I like to have a few fall backs when it comes to bringing something fun to book club or any other event for that matter.

I try to always keep a no-bake cheesecake mix in my cupboard at all times. I stock up on these when they are on sale or I have a coupon. I love making things from scratch, but I have found that it is cheaper to do it by the box (after you buy the cheesecake pudding mix and the graham crackers, the $2-3 for the box is the more frugal route and saves the most time). These cheesecakes were the perfect answer to a busy day when I needed to make a dessert for our book club on The Eye of Minds by James Dashner. If you've read the book, you can just call these "Mini Lifeblood Cheesecakes."

No-Bake Mini Cheesecake Recipe

1 Box of No-bake Cheesecake Mix
1 1/2 cups of milk (I like to use skim milk to keep these more on the healthy side)
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Margarine or Butter (again, you can use the lighter version of these)
1 can of fruit topping (I like strawberry or cherry pie filling the best, but blue berry and lemon are yummy too)
Cupcake liners

Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Open your box of cheesecake mix.
Pour the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

Melt the butter in the microwave. Pour it into the crumbs and stir with a fork. 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Don't press it down until you have evenly distributed the crumbs. 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs down.
 lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

Pour the cheesecake pudding mix (that came your no-bake box) into a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk. 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

Beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until it starts to thicken. 

Immediately spoon it over the pressed graham cracker crusts. 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

You may have to press it down or smooth it out to flatten it.
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

Now, THE SECRET: put it in the freezer! 
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds

I'm telling you, these babies taste the best if they are all the way or slightly frozen. I don't take them out of the freezer until I'm about the serve these. Then I add a fruit glaze. You can use canned pie filling or make your own (check of this yummy fresh raspberry sauce I made to drizzle over pavlovas).
lifeblood cheesecakes for the eye of minds  

You can make these a few days ahead of time and they taste perfect. Just take out of the freezer, place on a fancy plate, and add your fruit filling over the top right before you serve and these are too-die for. You may want to make a couple of batches because I rarely go home with any and I could eat 3-4 of these without the slight bit of guilt.

Best part? It only takes about 10 minutes to make and the cost is always under $5. If you buy the box mix that already comes with the fruit topping (my preferred choice), it is only about $3 for a dozen mini cheesecakes!

Check out the rest of our menu from The Eye of Minds book club night too.


Author of Remembrandt, young adult romantic suspense

January 16, 2015

Book Club Ideas For: "The Eye of Minds" {by James Dashner}

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

This is book #1 in The Mortality Doctrine series. In January we had our Book Club on it. Shalease was our moderator for this book and she did such a great job coming up with the decorations and menu for the night! Luckily for us her husband recently rediscovered his old gaming system so she brought them to create some fun decorations. Do you remember Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda and Tetris?! Seeing those games sure brought back memories. 

Shalease brought a simple black table cloth, framed pictures of the games and old gaming system she had with the remotes. You could use new gaming systems also.

Gamer Decor

Super Mario Bros


The Legend of Zelda

Us girls just can't stop talking once we get together!
 It's so nice to be able to have a Girls Night once a month where we get to talk, have fun, eat good food and discuss our current read.

Let's Eat! 
book menu

This book was a little harder to determine the type of food we wanted to eat because all the food was virtual food. But, Shalease was a genius and came up with foods to eat that were named after important things in the book. (See pic above.)  
 Lifeblood Deep Beverages
Shalease wanted punch and that is a great idea also but I was in charge of this one and thought it might be fun to make labels to wrap around red drinks. I chose some strawberry Gaterade (for those non carbonation peeps) and Red Cream Soda and Strawberry Fanta. There was a little something for everyone's tastes. 
Lifeblood Deep Drinks

Veggies from the VNS
You can do any veggies you would like here. We chose the usual carrots, tomatoes, celery, broccoli and cauliflower with a yummy dip.
Kill Sim Salad
We love Karen's homemade Gourmet green salad and salad dressing so we requested she bring it tonight and it was to die for or to kill for! No, seriously, it's AMAZING, you'll want this recipe for your collection!
Fruits from the Forest of Mendenstone
Who doesn't love fruit. We had fresh strawberries and purple grapes with the sweetest fruit dip. Yum.
Gamer Snacks
Our gamer snacks included brownie bites, apples and caramel dip, a fluffy feel like air in your mouth cheesecake and a super yummy ├ęclair cake.

The Brownie Bites with added Frosting
Brownie Bites

Black and Blue Club Sandwiches
See what I mean by cute food ideas. The Black and Blue Club is the nightclub the main characters blackmail the bouncers into letting them in. These can be home made or just stop by your local sandwich shop and chop them into smaller pieces. 
Club Sandwiches

Devils of Destruction Cake
Use a Devils Food Cake with chocolate frosting

Devils Food Cake

Mini Lifeblood Cheesecakes
Mini cheesecakes with a  cherry red topping.
(recipe coming soon)

The Eye of Minds Game
Created by Shalease
There was some pretty stiff competition going on here. We divided the group into two teams and had a face off with another player. The first to grab the grenade got to answer the question. If she was correct then their little toy soldier got to move one square towards The Mortality Doctrine. If you answered wrong you had to move back one square. The first team to the end wins.


The winning team (yay!!! I was on that team) got the cutest prize of a Skor Bar and a PayDay Candy Bar. Competitions always bring us closer together.

The Losing Team.
Better study better next time girls. They are so sad they didn't get the candy bars.

Author James Dashner
By the way a couple of us have meet him and he is a really nice guy. Glad he is doing so well and having tons of success. You probably saw The Maze Runner this last fall. Catch his next movie The Scorch Trials coming this fall. Also the second book in The Mortality Doctrine Series just came out. It's called The Rule of Thoughts. You won't be disappointed with his books.

Hope you can have as fun of a book club as we did with all these ideas.
Keep Calm
Read On
(All Book Club Pictures were taken by our members)

January 14, 2015

Still Alice {Book to Movie}

Still Alice comes out January 16, 2015.
It is rated PG-13 and is an adapted screenplay (written by the directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland) from the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova. When I read this book I couldn't put it down. Lisa Genova did such a fabulous job of making me feel the way Alice felt. I needed to know what was going to happen to Alice and how her story ended. I even teared up a few times when Alice realizes what is happening to her and the level of sorrow she experiences for her loss of the one thing that she was proud of the most: her mind. This really made me more aware of the Alzheimer's Disease and how hard it is for everyone who is touched by it. I hope that the movie can capture the emotion that the book does.

Golden Globe News
Oh my goodness! I just saw the Golden Globes and Julianne Moore just won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. Congratulations! This will definitely bring more publicity to the film. Good Luck at the Oscar's, Julianne. I'm sure this will mean you will be nominated.

Book Synopsis

(Photo Source)
Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's.
Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova's debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror.

(Photo Source)

Movie Synopsis
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested.
Check out the Parental Guide to see why it's rated PG-13. I love the parental guide because it is super detailed on what to expect.

{Meet the Howland Family}
Julianne Moore - Dr. Alice Howland
Talk about a huge career in film. Julianne has been in so many movies I can't count them all. Some of her most popular movies are: Magnolia , The Big Lebowski , Crazy, Stupid, Love , The Kids Are All RightThe Lost World-Jurassic Park , Non-Stop and The Hours and of course one of our Favorites The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 . Her upcoming projects for 2015 are: Seventh Son , The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 , Freeheld and Maggie's Plan .

(Photo Source 1 2 3)


Alec Baldwin - Dr. John Howland
Oh Alec Baldwin how we love you. Let me count the ways: 30 Rock , Beetlejuice , The Departed , The Hunt for Red October  , It's Complicated and of course Saturday Night Live! He has been in so many movies and TV show I can't possibly name them all. He has many projects coming up this year. Here are a few of them Adron - The Black Labyrinth , Mission Impossible 5 and a few unnamed projects Untitled Warren Beatty Project and Untitled Cameron Crowe Project .

(Photo Source 1 2 3 )

 Kristen Stewart - Lydia Howland
Well we all know Kristen from the infamous Twilight Saga. I remember her first from Into the Wild and also Zathura-A Space Adventure . But her huge break was being cast for Bella on the Twilight Movie. She has been in many movies since including all the four of the Twilight Movies. Here are some other movies you will know her from: Snow White and the Huntsman , and The Runaways (playing the infamous Joan Jett). She has three upcoming movies this year: Anesthesia , Equals and American Ultra .

(Photo Source 1 2 3 )

Hunter Parrish - Tom Howland
He is most well known for his TV role in Weeds , and has been in the movies 17 Again and It's Complicated (with Alec Baldwin). He has just finished filming Hell with a View which will be out later this year.

(Photo Source 1 2 3)

Kate Bosworth - Anna Howland-Jones
 Don't you just love that she has two different colors of eyes? I think it is fascinating. I love Kate the first movie I saw her in was Blue Crush (oh how I loved that movie). But she has been in many more movies such as: Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! , Superman Returns , 21 and Straw Dogs . She has a ton of upcoming films that are coming out this year, Unconscious , Somnia , Bus 657 ,  and Life on the Line . Kate is married to Michael Polish a director whom she met on the film the did together called: Big Sur he is also the director of the movie Kate just finished Unconscious. How fun to get to be able to work with your hubby on films!

(Photo Source 1 2 3)
Shane McRae - Charlie Howland-Jones
 Shane has been in several movies and TV shows some the ones he is most well known for are: The Help , The Adjustment Bureau , One Small Hitch  and the TV Show The Following . His current project he is filming is Stereotypically You coming out this year.

(Photo Source 1 2 3  )
Directors & Screenplay Writers
Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland
I just found out that Richard and Wash (who are also partners in life) work on the show America's Next Top Model (one of my favorites). They also directed The Last of Robin Hood . These two have been working side by side for many years at least back until 2001.
I am sure this movie meant a great deal to them having to live with another disease ALS. I am quite excited to see what they put together for us.

(Photo Source 1  2  3 )
Richard has ALS and there's a great article on these two from The New York Times that is worth reading. Check it out!
Author Lisa Genova
Let's hear about Lisa in her own words...
I'm a Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, a Meisner-trained actress, and an entirely untrained writer!

My first novel, STILL ALICE, winner of the 2008 Bronte Prize, nominated for 2010 Indies Choice Debut Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, and winner of the 2011 Bexley Book of the Year Award spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been translated into 25 languages and was chosen as one of the thirty titles for World Book Night 2013.

Originally self-published, I sold it out of the trunk of my car for almost a year before it was bought at auction by Simon & Schuster.
LEFT NEGLECTED, also a New York Times Bestseller, was a #1 Indie Next Pick, the Borders “Book You’ll Love” for January 2011, and the #4 Indie Reading Group Pick for summer 2011, and a Richard & Judy Book Club Pick.

LOVE ANTHONY, also a New York Times bestseller, is about autism. It was an October 2012 Indie Next pick and a People Magazine Great Read. USA Today calls it “beautifully written and poignant to the point of heartbreak.”

"After I read STILL ALICE I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, YOU HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK." - Beverly Beckham, Boston Sunday Globe

“Lisa Genova is the Michael Crichton of brain science. What she proved with STILL ALICE, she proves again with LEFT NEGLECTED. This is huge, powerful human drama at its elegant best."
-Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

She has a new book coming out this year called Inside the O'Brien's .

(Photo Source 1 2 3 )
Movie Trailer
Maria Shriver interview with Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart
This movie looks like it is going to be amazing. And critics are already raving at the acting performances of this cast. If you want to see a movie that will move you then go see this movie this weekend.


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