Monday, May 9, 2011

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Here is the description from
"Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties." Anticipating this happy transformation, Tally meets Shay, another female ugly, who shares her enjoyment of hoverboarding and risky pranks. But Shay also disdains the false values and programmed conformity of the society and urges Tally to defect with her to the Smoke, a distant settlement of simple-living conscientious objectors. Tally declines, yet when Shay is found missing by the authorities, Tally is coerced by the cruel Dr. Cable to find her and her compatriots–or remain forever "ugly." Tally's adventuresome spirit helps her locate Shay and the Smoke. It also attracts the eye of David, the aptly named youthful rebel leader to whose attentions Tally warms. However, she knows she is living a lie, for she is a spy who wears an eye-activated locator pendant that threatens to blow the rebels' cover. Ethical concerns will provide a good source of discussion as honesty, justice, and free will are all oppressed in this well-conceived dystopia. Characterization, which flirts so openly with the importance of teen self-concept, is strong, and although lengthy, the novel is highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and a disturbing commentary on our current public policies. Fortunately, the cliff-hanger ending promises a sequel."

MY REVIEW: I have read a lot of people compare this book to "The Giver" and I can see that. The government controls everything, even making them take pills and telling them what they should be. The Giver is my favorite book so it's no wonder I loved this one. I think everybody wishes they could change something about themselves in order to look prettier. This is only book one of a four part series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Swiss Chicken Casserole

This cheesy chicken entree screams comfort food! Moist chicken topped with tangy Swiss cheese, creamy soup mixture and divine savory herb stuffing. This main dish satisfies everybody.

My in-laws are hysterical. I serve up anything gourmet and they thank me politely. I serve up something baked in good ole' cream-of-chicken and they sing my praises and ask for the recipe. This recipe wowed them. Hubby and I are the ones who ultimately decide what the rating is though and even we were impressed at this comfort food recipe. We give this 4★.

Swiss Chicken Casserole (adapted from

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1 package Stove Top Stuffing (savory herb flavor strongly suggested)
(You will need some extra butter and water for the stuffing preparation according to package directions)
2 Tbs melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Prepare Stove Top Stuffing according to package directions using the microwave.
2.While stuffing is being microwaved, arrange chicken breasts in the baking dish. Place one slice of Swiss cheese on top of each chicken breast. Combine cream of chicken soup and milk in a medium bowl, and pour over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with prepared stuffing. Pour melted butter over top, and cover with foil.
3. Bake 35 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Mother's Day Giveaway links!

This will be my first Mother's Day as a Mom! Yay!! There are some FABULOUS giveaways going on right now in celebration (not because I am a mom but because of Mother's Day in general). I LOVE local giveaways even better because these bloggers are so personable and kind and you have a better chance to win. (Honestly, what are the chances of winning the Pioneer Woman's giveaways? Slim to none!) Check out these fabulous givaways going on right now:

Cranberryfries is giving away a signed copy of Chocolate Never Faileth Cookbook. I love Debbie and her contests.

Make it Work Mom is giving away a 60 minute complete pedicure with opi nail polish at Sanctuary Day Spa in Salt Lake City.  What mother doesn't need some relaxation time?

I'll update the list if I find any more!