Category: book review

Mindfulness at the Park Book Review

Lovable Little Mouse is here to help kids use yoga and mindfulness to solve problems and manage emotions in “Mindfulness at the Park,” the second book in the acclaimed Little Mouse Adventures series from international bestselling author and Kids’ Yoga Day creator, Teresa Power.

About Mindfulness at the Park

Little Mouse and his family live in a cozy burrow nestled in young Tammy McDoodle’s backyard.

Tammy and her mother love to practice yoga and mindfulness together, and Little Mouse loves to follow along!

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, adorable Little Mouse and the wise and lovable lazy cat, Mr. Opus, follow Tammy’s family on an adventure to a bustling neighborhood park filled with new sights, sounds and people, while practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques along the way.

Our Thoughts

Mindfulness is an incredibly important tool for all individuals – where we purposefully quiet our mind and bring calm and focus to the current moment. It helps us to refocus and calm our minds and emotions in the present moment, regardless of what may be happening around us. This skill is so important, they are even teaching it in my son’s school and I have participated in workshops through work.

Little Mouse returns in book two of this adorable series. In this book, Little Mouse is introduced to mindfulness through Tammy and her Mother. Little Mouse goes to the park with Tammy and her family where there is a lot of excitement and new people. The family practices mindfulness and I love the way Teresa coaches us, the readers, through the practice as part of the story. My favourite line was, “Sometimes we have too many thoughts in our heads…focusing on our breath helps to calm those thoughts and enjoy the world around us”. This is so important for young minds to understand, they are full of emotions and can react negatively in stressful situations, it is important for them to know how to calm their mind, focus on the present so that they can be happy and present in any situations. This is such an important life skill that we as parents can give our children.

This is a beautiful children’s book that is fun to read together but also to practice mindfulness together as a family. It gives you great starting tools to begin your own practice as a family and to understand the importance of mindfulness. Combine this with adorable characters and illustrations – this book is a win win!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Teresa Power’s books have sold over 270,000copies worldwide. In her roles as award-winning author, renowned yogaexpert, and keynote speaker, her mission is to share strategies and tips to help children, parents and educators enrich their lives and managestress. Teresa has been featured by Good Morning America, ParentingReader’s Digest, Fox11 LA, Telemundo, and more. She is also the founder of International Kids Yoga Day, which is celebrated annually on the first Friday in April.

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

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Bound Book Review

iRead Book Tours

What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? 

About Bound

What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? What happens when that same mother, shortly after diving into her newly discovered sexuality, develops a cancer that forces her to accept radical changes to her body, and then another that forces her, and everyone around her, to confront her mortality? In Bound, Elizabeth Anne Wood addresses these questions as she chronicles the last eight months of her mother’s life―a period she comes to see, over the course of months, as a maternity leave in reverse: she is carrying her mother as she dies. Throughout their journey, Wood uses her notebook as a shield to keep unruly emotions at bay, often taking comfort in her role as advocate and forgetting to “be the daughter,” as one doctor reminds her to do. Meanwhile, her mother’s penchant for denial and her childlike tendency toward magical thinking lead to moments of humor even as Wood battles the red tape of hospital bureaucracies, the frustration of planning in the midst of an unpredictable illness, and the unintentional inhumanity of a health care system that too often fails to see the person behind the medical chart.

My Thoughts

Bound is an amazing read from start to finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the summary of the book but it blew me away.

This book focuses on the relationship between Mom and daughter as they struggle through an extremely difficult time – her Mother’s cancer and being a caregiver. Like many illnesses, they could never have known the road that they would go down based on the initial diagnosis and the stress, pain, uncertainty that cancer brings with it. The relationship between Mother and child (like so many of us) was complicated. So many times, Dr. Wood was more of a parental figure throughout her childhood, teen years and as an adult. Despite this and having to deal with the ups and downs of cancer, their relationship was special. Dr. Wood accepted and loved her Mother, she championed her Mother’s choices and never made her feel negative about the lifestyle she chose later in life. What I found interesting was how Dr. Wood connected the power that her Mother felt in her BDSM lifestyle and how this could possibly be connected to the insecurity and lack of power that her Mother must have felt as a child and in her marriage.

Dr. Wood shares an open and honest story of their battle with cancer, palliative care, navigating the health care system, struggling with her choices to ensure her Mother’s best interests were a top priority. While I initially thought the book would focus on the BDSM lifestyle, it was so much more. Instead, it tied in the confidence and power she found in her lifestyle, to her struggles with the health care field, her marriage and through palliative care. She openly shares the struggles they had with the health care system and how so often because of health care being viewed as a business with so many rules, the human aspect is removed and the negative impacts that this has on the patient.

I loved the way this book was written, you cannot put it down. It is an emotional journey – I laughed, I cried and my heart was sore at so many time throughout the story. This has been one of the best books that I have read this year.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kew and Willow.

In honor of her mother’s birthday, Dr. Wood has arranged to the price of the e-book to $0.99 for the length of this tour (June 24, 2020 to July 10, 2020).

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Elizabeth Anne Wood is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. She is also Senior Strategist for Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the nation’s only human rights organization working full time to protect sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. She earned her PhD at Brandeis University in 1999 and has written critically about sexuality and society ever since. Born on an Army base in Kentucky, Wood grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now divides her time between Queens, New York and Jamaica Plain, Boston. She is a devoted fan of Amtrak and an avowed cat person.

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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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The Menu Book Review

The Menu is a spiritual journey involving a modern-day tale that reaches far beyond the boundaries of reason.

About The Menu

Blessed with a high emotional IQ, Phinn Reed enters the world with the promise of finding his soul mate. With heaven’s memories erased, his romantic quest teaches him that the heart often sees clearer than the eyes—and that not everyone has ordered the same items from The Menu. Evidence that love stories come in many different forms, The Menu is a spiritual journey involving more than just a man and a woman; it is a modern-day tale that reaches far beyond the boundaries of reason.

My Thoughts

The Menu is a beautiful story that really touched me, with perfect timing given the situation so many of us find ourselves in right now. Our lives are guided by a series of choices we make and the prices we have to pay for those choices.

This story starts with a very special menu and conversation between Phinn and God. Phinn must make important choices for his own life before starting on his journey but there are a few important things to note – not everyone will make the same choices and there is always a price that comes with each choice. Phinn is a beautiful soul who is troubled at first, he is upset about some of the choices he makes and choices others make that he could not control. He appears to feel lost and is searching for love – he receives some of the best advice from a young boy (don’t kids always seem to give the best advice? They have such an honest way of looking at the world around him). It is only when he embraces the advice, that he finds the love and purpose that he was looking for. They share a beautiful love – you laugh and cry reading their story. The end of the novel was not quite what I was expecting but perfect for the story and an excellent reminder that things happen in our lives for a reason.

This is a beautiful story with important messages woven throughout the whole story. Life is a series of choices that we must make, some have great impacts and others become little bumps in our lives that we barely notice. Every choice comes with a price and it was interesting to see it played out the way it was in this story. I also loved the way our characters were tied together in this story, it really drove home that we are never alone. Even in our darkest moments, God is always there if we are able to open up and listen with our hearts and minds. What can be the hardest to deal with in life is that sometimes life throws things that us that hurt us, cause great pain and we struggle to see why this would happen to us but in the grand scheme of things, it has great importance.

The Menu is a beautiful story from start to finish, a definite must read.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island; the national bestsellers, Ashes, The Changing Season and Three Shoeboxes; the multi-award winning novel, Goodnight Brian; and the beloved holiday podcast drama, The Thursday Night Club. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is a multi-produced playwright, as well as the winner of the 2017 Los Angeles Book Festival and the 2018 New York Book Festival. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit: www.StevenManchester.com.

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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The Wrong Mr. Darcy Book Review

What begins as a job soon has Derek and Hara hurtling into the beauty of complicated family, friendship, and love and begs the question: Was this an error of judging by first impressions—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

About The Wrong Mr. Darcy

Hara Isari has had her eye on her career. Born and raised in Oregon, and looking for the chance to hit it big in the world of sports reporting as an African American-Japanese American woman, Hara is determined to let nothing stand in her way. The only thing that matters to Hara now is covering enough sports stories to keep her small-town paper in business, while climbing the national ranks in a male driven domain to make her father proud, not to mention keeping her mother off her back about impressing men. Love is nowhere on her agenda, despite what fate might tell her.

Basketball rookie Derek Darcy is well-known as the team bench rider in Boston. But lately he’s been trying to score big to maintain his spot. When he meets Hara, first while she’s eavesdropping in a SUV and the next time during an interview with his teammate, she has every idea who Derek Darcy is and ends up chasing after a story that could bring down his team. What begins as a job soon has Derek and Hara hurtling into the beauty of complicated family, friendship, and love and begs the question: Was this an error of judging by first impressions—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

My Thoughts

Hara is a hard working, determined young woman with one dream on her mind – to make it in the male dominant sports reporting world. She has always loved sports but her life was changed when her father was sentenced when she was a young girl. Her Mother has since then done all she can to try to ensure Hara finds a young, rich man but Hara wants to make a name for herself writing about sports. The two are at odds throughout the novel, as her Mother does not seem to truly understand her daughter.

She wins the chance of a lifetime – the opportunity to travel to the big city and to interview one of the top basketball rookies. She can’t even begin to fathom her own luck. The opportunity of a lifetime soon becomes rocky and things are not quite what they seem. She doesn’t fit in with this crowd, no one trusts her and worse – she may have won this opportunity through an unfair advantage. My heart was sore for her, as I know so many of us as women can relate to this situation – where you feel as though your opinion doesn’t matter because you are a woman or you have earned an opportunity unfairly because you are a woman (especially in a male dominant sector).

The one person she thought she could never trust (Derek) ends up being the one person who is truly on her side as she goes through a series of ups and downs in this novel. There are a lot of ups and downs in this novel so be prepared, some which may be difficult for readers. The book touches on abortion, attempted suicide, miscarriage, so please keep this in mind when you begin to read the novel.

This was a light novel that gave a different look at the world of basketball and a young woman’s journey to break into the world of sports reporting. The one part that I wish had a stronger focus on it was the secret world of bribery and scandals that could rock the basketball world.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 3.5/5

About the Authors

EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. She is best known for her role on VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives (2010-present), OWN’s hit series Livin’ Lozada (2015), author of the first installment of the book series: The WivesAssociation: Inner Circle (2012) and creator of Healthy Boricua (A Puerto Rican Lifestyle Guide to Healthy Living). Evelyn has become a national trendsetter, a “go to” fitness export, jewelry designer, fashion and beauty maven, social media royalty and a stimulating voice and proactive supporter of causes that effect women and girls through the Evelyn Lozada Foundation. Evelyn is a Bronx native, mother of two (Shaniece Hairston and Carl Leo Crawford) that currently resides in Los Angeles.

Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.

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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A Goddess Among Men

iRead Book Tours

From the primitive ruggedness of the Amazon rainforest to the privileged society of New York, three generations experience triumph and tragedy in this saga of loyalty, corruption, greed . . . but one woman has the power to change it all.

About A Goddess Among Men

In 1907, Julian Welch and Alan Reid meet by chance in the jungles of the Amazon attracted by the riches of the rubber boom. Pioneers in an era of uncertainty, they form an unlikely alliance and establish the foundation for a successful empire, Reid & Welch. However, with Julian’s death, the empire is left to Alan, as is the responsibility for Julian’s newborn daughter, Christel.

Yet for Christel, there’s no growing up as a privileged heiress. Instead, Alan subjects her to a life few endure, much less overcome. Through her will to survive and being as uncompromising as she is beautiful, Christel puts the horrors of her past behind her and begins to build a seemingly bright future. But when the success built on corruption starts to crumble, Christel will be forced to address the past or pay for the sins of the fathers.

My Thoughts

I was very intrigued when I saw this book cover and read the description, I had to read it! The book is multi-generational and covers a wide range of topics – greed, betrayal, deceit, family secrets and more (so many aspects that creates a novel that you don’t want to put down).

The story I feel is based on this odd relationship that is formed between Julian and Alan. They have an unique first encounter – which Julian first feels like the luckiest man alive but is soon left to deal with Alan’s consequences. This starts this odd relationship they have, Julian is the kind, thoughtful person who wants to earn enough to just make it in the world, have a wife and do good, while Alan is the smart but cruel businessman (who will do anything to get what he wants). Alan seems to be lacking any compassion, understanding or care for others (and as we get glimpses of his childhood, we begin to start to understand the damage that was done there). Together they build an empire, which from the outside seems to be a sound, wealthy business with good practices but on the inside the empire holds dark secrets, which we only begin to learn how evil some of it truly is near the middle to the end of the book. Just before Julian’s death, he finds out he is a father and to ensure his daughter’s safety he entrusts Alan (warning bells here) with her care and to ensure she receives Julian’s portion of the company. I am sure you can just picture what Alan does to his daughter, Christel.

Christel spends all of her childhood as part of an experiment that Alan commissioned and later becomes a weapon for Alan, as she uses her beauty to gather secrets. She is physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally abused. She almost becomes a shell of a person and it isn’t until later in life when a good hearted soul (who never stopped looking for her) helps her discover her worth.

This is an intense, well written novel. Some of the parts of the novel are hard to stomach (especially when we learn parts about Christel’s past) and may be difficult for some readers (they do not go into great detail but we are given high level descriptions of the events she endured). Christel is a strong woman, who despite enduring so much wants to ensure she rights the wrongs of the past. She is sometimes caught between wanting revenge and wanting to heal at parts in the book. Like her Father, she is constantly bearing the weight of the sins of Alan and his very shady practices, she is determined to make right all that they did wrong but some sins are difficult to make right. Alan made me angry throughout the novel, how could one person behave in such a way and that Julian turned a blind eye so many times does not make it right (despite how much humanitarian work he does).

I enjoyed this novel and could not put it down, I wanted to know how Christel’s story played out. Would she be able to forgive, heal and move forward? Could she find healing in her own family and giving back to others? Could she ever right all the wrong that Alan and Julian did? Christel ends the story a stronger, better and open to healing. I loved every moment.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Born in 1969, Brazil, Daniel Davidsohn’s novels have been called exciting, gripping, and engrossing, garnering him praise and rave reviews. He is passionately attracted to unfamiliar things and enjoys taking readers off the beaten path. His books include From The Nile to The Euphrates (2009), Mare Crisium (2015), A Higher Power (2016), The Karma Code (2017), Leave Her Out, a 2018 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist, and A Goddess Among Men (2020). Connect with him on his website, Twitter and Facebook.

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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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