Author: cvegnad

Puzzle Time in Outer Space with Raincoast Books

With all the extra time on our hands, why not keep little ones (and yourself!) having fun with a challenge? How about a three hundred piece challenge?

About Outer Space 300 Piece Shaped Scene Puzzle

Outer Space 300 Piece Shaped Scene Puzzle from Mudpuppy features a colorful illustration of planets, spacecraft, satellites, and more. The puzzle is in the shape of a spaceship, adding a wow-factor when completed!

Our Thoughts

It has been just over two months since our lives have been turned upside down. We left work and school not realizing that only two days later we would find out that we would not be returning to campus for the foreseeable future. We had to quickly adapt to these changes and while it has not been easy, it has brought with it some benefits.

We now have more time to just be present in the moment and spend time together as a family. While it has been hard balancing work from home and family time, these moments have meant the most to me. It also means being creative to keep the little ones occupied. We love activities that keep us challenged, working together and learning.

We were excited to pull out the Outer Space 300 piece shaped puzzle. We read 300 pieces but still had a bit of a shock when we saw the pieces come out of the box – it just seemed like so much more! At first we felt that we may not be able to complete the puzzle but while challenging it was well suited for older children and the pieces came together easily as we worked together. It was awesome watching the spaceship come to life with its images of planets, astronaut and more, with its bold colours and lines. I enjoyed that we were able to also use the puzzle as a starting point for learning about the planets in our solar system. We were already looking at ways to supplement their learning right now and this was a perfect opportunity for us. It was a definite win-win for our family.

Puzzles are a fantastic way of bringing families together and this one is perfect for young families. It is beautiful, bright and fun with the right amount of challenge for children and adults. Get ready for some healthy competition (we somehow managed to find a way to compete on who could fit the most pieces together!) and build learning opportunities off of this time spent together.

You can purchase this puzzle on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received this puzzle in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Whole-Ass: Stop Living a Half-Assed Life and Enjoy an Extraordinary Existence

Do you have that nagging feeling that there is more to life, but you just don’t know how to access it?

About Whole-Ass

Most people crave a life of plenitude and peace, but they are living way too half-assed to ever actually experience it.

Being Whole-Ass is giving absolutely everything you’ve got, while going beyond all perceived limitations, defenses, fears, hesitations or doubts.

Discovery, growth, accomplishment, joy, connection, and feeling life coursing through your veins are all habits that you can develop and this book will show you how.

Being Whole-Ass is the way to be, not only to empower your life into extraordinariness, but it is how we all need to be for humanity to make this world the place we know it can be.

My Thoughts

Sometimes we need a reminder that we are just getting by in life, we are not really living but instead just going through the motions. We need a kick in the arse to wake us up, refocus on our passions and start to live again.

I love the way the book is written, it is a guide but it is also a personal conversation with Maharani (so grab your favourite cup of tea or coffee, curl up in your favourite spot and get reading!). I never felt that I was being judged and in many parts of the book I recognized myself in Maharani. She spoke about her past openly and honestly – regardless of what people may think of her actions. You will likely find yourself as she explains her teen and early adult years, the uncertainty, experimenting, relationships and so much more. She writes with honesty and humour, which was a great balance to the seriousness of the topic. It encourages you to be open and honest with yourself because there is no judgement, allowing you to be open to recognizing our faults, actions that are preventing us from living fully and how we can change this.

We started off by identifying our ‘ass-type’ and I found the two that fit me perfectly. I am a bit of a perfectionist (okay a lot) and I tend to take on more than I can handle at times (I always find it hard to say no, despite not wanting to add anything more to my plate) and find it so hard to balance it all. I also noticed some of the other listed traits in others around me, incredible how at the end of the day we are all so similar. We then jump in and learn how to identify our passions and what makes us happy at a high level before diving in to how to go after this whole-ass.

I enjoyed every moment of this bold, humourous, honest book that really helps to give you the kick in the butt you need to get moving in a positive direction, to live your life fully and to give yourself fully to what makes you happy. This is so important in times like this, when we can feel like giving up or not having enough to give, to refocus on what is the most important to us and how to give ourselves fully to this. You will learn a lot about yourself and give yourself tools to move forward living fully in the moment.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Maharani is a monk and international meditation teacher. She is a passionate explorer of human nature and our relationship with each other and the world. She is a true lover of life and tacos (not necessarily in that order).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Act of Deception Book Review

Is it medical malpractice, or is the attorney just another ambulance chaser?

About Act of Deception

It’s 1995, and Houston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Bob Brady has been sued for medical malpractice; a mysterious infection caused a knee replacement to end up as an amputation. Donovan Shaw, a ruthless plaintiff’s attorney, has taken the case and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he and Brady share a number of friends. “It’s not personal!” Shaw says. But it feels personal—especially when Shaw threatens, “I will do anything, and I mean anything, to win the case, even if I have to destroy you and that pretty wife of yours. I will stop at nothing. You remember that!”

And Brady isn’t the only one in his practice being sued. How is Shaw getting his inside information? Can the patients afford to say no to filing lawsuits, even if the claims aren’t valid? Through a series of twists and turns, and with the support of his wife Mary Louise and their professional investigator son J. J, Brady once again doggedly goes into “sleuth mode” to get to the truth of the matter—even after his life is put in jeopardy. Will he survive, only to find himself at the mercy of the wild and wooly Houston court system? Is this whole mess his fault? Or is there an act of deception involved?

My Thoughts

I loved the characters and plot in book one in this series (learn more about the first book here), so couldn’t wait to see where book two would take us.

Dr. Brady is an orthopedic surgeon, who loves his work and helping his patients. He loves his family, seeks to only do good and has a natural curiosity that tends to get him in a bit of trouble (but also can save the day!). In this novel, Dr. Brady is being sued by a former patient who had lost his leg months after his procedure. Dr. Brady has reviewed the case over and over, with his colleagues and himself but still something doesn’t sit right with him. There is something missing from the lawsuit and case – something that may clear him from any wrongdoing.

His concerns are blown off by lawyers (‘don’t worry – that’s what insurance is for’) but this is more than just insurance – this is his passion, his livelihood, his pride. He becomes fed up with the answers and the lack of help he is receiving and takes matters into his own hands. He begins an investigation not only into his case but into the lawyer who is part of the lawsuit against him. He begins to uncover lawyers preying on patients, theft of medical documents, threats and more – not only stemming from his own case but from other cases in the hospital. Will he be able to defend himself before someone tries to silence him?

I loved this fast paced plot – it is unique, well developed and engaging. It kept me on my toes – I wanted and needed to know what would happen next. I felt anger at people preying on vulnerable patients, manipulating information and theft of medical documents. I wanted to see justice both for the patients but also the physicians. The ending of this novel was excellent and perfect for the plot. I enjoyed every moment of this well written novel.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Lost for over 20 years, Act of Murder is the first rediscovered novel in a new medical thriller series set in the changing environment of medicine in the mid-1990s. Bishop’s sense of humor and surprising wit create a story of medical miscreants capable of murder, mayhem, and greed. His 30 years as a practicing orthopedic surgeon give the reader a unique glimpse into the medical world with all its problems, intricacies and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of most health care professionals.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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We Are Water Protectors Book Review

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all” – We Are Water Protectors

About We Are Water Protectors

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption – a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Our Thoughts

This book first grabbed my attention with the front cover. It features a strong, proud and brave young girl with swirling water around her. There was something about her stance and the determined look on her face that grabbed my attention and made me want to read the book.

The story shows us how we come from water in the womb and that water is what nourishes us – water is vital to life. We learn about the black snake, that has been foretold to destroy the land, poison plants and animals and spoil the water. This black snake is found now in our current world and it is our job to have the courage to stand up to the black snake, to come together to defend those who cannot fight and to protect our water and lands for years to come.

This is a beautifully illustrated book with an extremely important message. We are all one living on this land and it is so important to care and fight to protect it. We need to address and speak up about how we are polluting our water and what we can do to stop this. I loved how this book empowers youth to take a lead and to stand up for our home. The flow of words is perfect and I loved how the illustrations captured the meaning of each page. The illustrations are spectacular, they are full of movement and emotion. They help guide you through the page and leave a strong impact. I love art and the attention to detail is incredible, from the details in the animals to nature, they are beautiful (I found myself running my hands over the pages!).

This is a powerful, beautifully illustrated book for children, youth and even adults. It is a definite must have in your home library and would be a great resource to have in a school classroom or library.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About the Author

Carole Lindstrom is Anishinabe/Metis and is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians. She was born and raised in Nebraska and currently makes her home in Maryland. Michaela Goadeis an artist and graphic designer living and working in Juneau, Alaska, where she was also raised. Her childhood was spent in the forests and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska and her artistic style is rooted in the depth and beauty of its landscapes. Forever inspired by the coastal wilds of Southeast Alaska, she works to capture its magic and honor its vibrant cultures. Michaela is from the Raven moiety and Kiks.adi Clan from Sitka, Alaska.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book

I am sure by now you are looking for new ways to keep your child engaged and learning. The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book gives you so many options to keep your child having fun during this difficult time.

About The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book

This action-packed activity book is full of things to find, amazing scenes to color, and spot-the difference puzzles.

The book features a wide range of topics, from dinosaurs to the solar system, and with fun facts to discover throughout, it is guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment!

Our Thoughts

I am sure that all of you are going through the same struggles we are right now – finding activities to keep your child engaged and busy. Our kids have been home since roughly the second week in March – so almost two months! While the first few weeks were fun, boredom has set in and we have been struggling to come up with new activities that are fun and that we can make last for a good chunk of time.

The Great Big Search and Find Activity book is full of over five hundred activities for your child to do. The book is organized into different sections that include: geography, dinosaurs, ocean, jungle, farm, city life, museums, zoos and even space. In each section, your child will be challenged to spot the differences and find specific items. The book is also full of great facts that help to support learning around a wide range of topics.

Your child can work their way through the book in any order that they feel like, you don’t have to go from start to finish. They can skip a few pages in each section – whatever works for them and you! The images were bright and fun, perfect for young children to help gain their interest and encourage them to do more.

This is a great resource for parents and caregivers as we look to find new and exciting ways to keep our children learning and their minds active. While our son could have easily worked on the activities alone, we had a great time completing them together.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Joelle Dreidemy has drawn and painted ever since she can remember. After graduating from the prestigious Emile Cohl School she moved to Paris, from where she now illustrates for English, American, French and Korean publishers, as well as teaching at Emile Cohl.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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