Book review: Yoga by the Stars

Thank you, NetGalley, Jilly Shipway, and Llewelyn Publishers, for this advanced copy. Yoga by the Stars includes yoga practices inspired by the zodiac wheel; this consists of asanas, meditations, visualizations, and breathing exercises. I’ve honestly never considered the symbolism between yoga practice and zodiac signs, yet reading the book and completing some of the sequences, it feels very intuitive. 

The book is broken into two parts. Part one focuses on Shipways approach to blending yoga and the zodiac wheel. Part two leads you through each month and the corresponding zodiac sign and yoga sequence to accompany that sign.

Jilly Shipway does an excellent job of providing information on the zodiac wheel, the poses, the breathwork, and mantras to get even the most novice yogi going. With the intention of improving health and wellness, mind, body and soul you will move through the months of the year gaining valuable personal insight. The book is filled with a wealth of information. As a yoga teacher, I enjoyed her creative sequences and will incorporate this into my practice and with my students. Yoga by the Stars will make a wonderful gift to any yoga student (beginners included!) or yoga teacher. 

Earth Almanac Book Review

Thank you to NetGalley, Ted Williams and Storey Publishing for an ARC of Earth Almanac in exchange for an honest review.

Earth Almanac is organized by the four seasons, beginning with winter, spring, summer then fall. Each season provides images and interesting facts and information about all manner of plants, birds and animals. It’s evident that Ted Williams is very knowledgeable on the content and it is clearly well researched. But what I especially love is the beautiful way the information is written and described, and oh my goodness, the lovely illustrations!

Honestly, Earth Almanac is a beautiful gift to readers. From the cover and throughout, the images are appealing and the writing is masterful. This is a wonderful resource book to keep on display on a coffee table. As a homeschooling mom, this book will be a wonderful resource for our weekly nature walks and discussion on plants, animals and birds. I recommend this book to everyone, especially fellow nature lovers, it’s one you will treasure.

Pages – 256
Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Little Cornish Inn- Book Review

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria & Aries/Aria Publishers for a copy of “No Room at the Little Cornish Inn” in exchange for my honest review.

I love a sweet Christmas romance, and this one was wonderful! Rosie Anderson, the single mom to her son Danny, has her Christmas holiday plans upended by an over-demanding boss. Rosie works for Johnson Hotels, and her boss, Susan the Sacker, is sending her to the Old Bell Inn to sort out why the inn is receiving negative reviews, oh, and she has to fire the manager , Michael Fitzpatrick. Despite this mission ruining her young son’s Christmas plans, Rosie agrees because she is anxious to finally earn a well-deserved promotion. There is only one problem when she and Danny arrive; they discover there is no room at the inn; they are overbooked! 

While the staff at the inn are lovely, Rosie continues to deal with a demanding boss. Susan calls at all times, basically whenever she wants and demands an update. Rosie begins to realize there is more to this story than she realized. With random yet abundant customer complaints and the determined way Susan is behaving, Rosie starts to question the legitimacy of the negative reviews. Oh, and there is money missing from accounts, creating lots of suspicion . 

On top of everything she is dealing with, Rosie’s’ ex-boyfriend, Danny’s father, decides to drop back into their lives after years of being gone. There is a lot going on in this story, including some holiday romance, leaving you cheering for Rosie to have a happy ending. 
I enjoyed this book a lot. I love the writer’s style and flow and found this book to be a delight, perfect read for the upcoming Christmas season. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Pages: 250

Spiritual Practices for the Brain- Review

Thank you NetGalley, Loyola Press and Anne Kertz Kernion for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review. 

Spiritual Practices for the Brain: Caring for Mind, Body, and Soul is the book I have needed since 2020 started! As a long time fan of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila, I recognize the value of spiritual and meditative practices. But as it goes in life, I often forget to use the tools and examples I have been given, forgetting is so easy. This book is a fantastic reminder, encourager and set of tools to bring me back to nurturing these all important habits that are salve to my soul.

The book is broken into chapters that focus on intentional steps to take to improve spiritual and physical health. She supports her views and suggestions with current research. As a professor, I always enjoy cited sources. She provides suggestions including focused breathing, gardening, practicing kindness, living in gratitude, exercise and even play as opportunities to improve our lives, mind, body and soul. 

I love the practical and friendly style of her writing. I love the quotes she included. Every chapter was so relatable and practical. Beginning the book with the information about the importance of taking a minute to breath is huge. Breath work has such a huge impact on our state of mind, whether we are in fight or flight or using our breath to bring us to the present moment- how we breath influences everything! Anne Kurtz Kernion demonstrated a wealth of knowledge in the topics she discussed, the research she cites and the wisdom she shares. 

This book is truly written for everyone. You do not need to belong to a specific faith group to find value in the practices outlined in this book. Given how chaotic 2020 has proven to be, I cannot help but think we all can benefit from tending our mental, spiritual and emotional health. I definitely recommend this one!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Length: 144 pages

Book review: Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward (The Liberty Lawrence Series #1) by Bea Stevens was a fun read that has drama, mystery, humor and romance woven throughout the story. This is my first read from this author and find her writing style to be both engaging with an on point sense of humor. I always enjoy a good mystery and this one delivered. 

The main character, Libby, is young, she works hard, enjoys fashion she cannot afford and tends to overthink things. As the story progresses, Libby finds herself working to solve a mystery with her best friend Cassie. Detective James Harper is also working the case and the fact that he’s gorgeous doesn’t hurt. But Libby is not happy when the detective does not agree with her theory about the crime that has occurred. Will she ever convince him or does she have it all wrong? You will have to read it to find out. 

I enjoyed this fun book, and the ending left me excited about book two in the series.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy a good mystery and entertaining characters. Grab it now while it’s free!

Length: 299 –
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Floriography – Book Review

I would like to thank NetGalley and Jessica Roux for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Floriography, An Illustrated Guide to Victorian Language of Flowers

This book is magic! I love all things Victorian, and this book is swoon-worthy. Because behaviors during the Victorian Era were widely scrutinized, any open display of emotions was limited and discouraged. So flowers were used as a secret form of communication, so romantic!

This book is a beautifully illustrated botanical encyclopedia that flower lovers will cherish. In this full-color collection of florals, each beautifully illustrated flower or herb includes its meaning, origin, and complimentary flowers to pair along with the meaning of the pairings.

A section dedicated to bouquets is also included. The bouquets are gorgeous illustrations and the details of which flowers are included and the meaning of the bouquet. While many flowers and bouquets communicated feelings of love and friendship, not all were intended to share positive emotions. There are florals and bouquets for warnings, bitter ends, and apologies.

Floriography would be a beautiful gift for the flower lover and the romantics in your life. It would make a lovely coffee table book for Victorian era lovers!

Pages: 224
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

photo credit: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Freebie Friday – Insta-Highlight Covers

Happy Friday Ya’ll! This weeks Friday freebie is an Autumn collection of highlight covers for Instagram! There are a total of six covers included. To download, click here and safe the zip attachment. Once you unzip you will find 6 individual images you can upload to Insta to get those fall feels going! If you have any question, just send a message, enjoy!

Magic Lessons- Book Review

A huge thank you to Edelweiss, Simon & Schuster, and Alice Hoffman for this ARC of Magic Lessons.

For all of us fans of Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, we finally learn the story of the legend, Maria Owens, the woman who cursed love for all generations of Owens women.

Maria Owens was abandoned at birth and discovered by a wise woman, Hannah. Maria was raised by Hannah in the forest, enjoying her quiet childhood alongside her constant companion, her familiar, a crow names Cadin. As Maria grew, she became increasingly aware of her skills in the “unnamed arts” skills that could cause her trouble if the public knew about it. But Hannah kept Maria safe in their forest home, where her life was happy…. until it wasn’t. After tragic events left Maria running for her life, her travels led her eventually to 1600’s Salem, Massachusetts, not the place for a practitioner of the “unnamed arts.”

Despite Maria living a life committed to being a friend to countless women, helping them with their problems, all while being careful to adhere to what Hannah taught her, “do as you will, but harm no one,” she finds herself in an impossibly difficult situation. The unjust treatment she received from someone who should have cared more left her furious. In her anger, Maria unleashes a curse that would be felt for generations.

Magic Lessons is just so good. Alice Hoffman will surprise you and hold you captive, one page after the next. The ominous 1600s Salem witch hunt vibe is felt throughout. Hoffmans writing is spellbinding as she weaves the incredible story of the Owens matriarch, Maria. One of many quotes I love from this book:

Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage.
Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.
~ Alice Hoffman

This prequel has left me wanting to read The Rules of Magic and Practical Magic again. If you are a fan of Alice Hoffman and the Owens family, then this is a must-read, and how brilliant to release this book in October!

This book will be released on October 6, 2020 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

book & coffee bookmark- Friday freebie

Happy Friday! We have a new Friday Freebie for you. This week it’s a books & coffee bookmark. Simple click the image to open the image file, then right click to save!

This bookmark is 2″ x 7″ and 300 DPI so it will print a crisp image. You can print it on heavyweight paper, or regular printer paper and laminate. Enjoy!

Book & Coffee bookmark
Sept. 18 2020 Friday freebie

Sky Gazing – Book Review

Book Review

I received an advance reader copy of Sky Gazing: A Guide to the Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, Eclipses, and Constellations to read in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley and Storey Publishers.

Meg Thacher did an impressive job with the organization of the book and the depth of information she provided! She excels at writing content that is understandable to the audience it’s intended (9-14 years old) and is also appealing to adults.

The book is organized into the following sections/chapters

  • the sky
  • the moon
  • the sun
  • the planets
  • the stars and constellations

Thatcher provides an overview of the topic within each chapter, providing eye-catching call outs for defining terms. She provides activity ideas like starting a sky journal and includes a list of supplies and what your sky journal should consist of. I especially appreciated the information regarding best times for sky gazing, calendars of full moons and eclipses, and even directions for using your hands and fingers as a cosmic protractor! We are keen to try her directions for making a red flashlight for night vision.
Thatcher gives excellent details around looking for constellations and the months to find them in the sky for seasonal sky gazing. As a visual learner, I found her visual depiction of a star’s life cycle extremely useful.

The Appendix is filled with essential charts and dates of eclipses, meteor showers, buying binoculars,etc. and a thorough glossary of terms.

As a homeschooling mom, I cannot say enough about this book. Besides the valuable information covered in this book’s text, she includes beautiful and relevant illustrations. My teenagers and my middle-school-aged son all loved reading this book. We plan to incorporate this book into our homeschool curriculum. If you enjoy using Unit Studies in your homeschool, you will find that this book will exceed a unit study. We plan to focus on the learning content over a semester and continue to refer to it monthly as we sky gaze! Oh, and I also love that the book has a hardcover, perfect for a resource book that will likely get a lot of use and even spend some time outside on clear nights, so having a sturdy cover is appreciated.

Skygazing will be released on October 13, 2020. It is a fantastic resource that belongs in every homeschool and school library. We will be referring to it often throughout our school year.