Month: December 2019

Llewellyn’s Little Book of Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important tools you have for connecting with others. It supports the mutual exchange of love and nurturance, and it helps foster community, cooperation, belonging, and a sense of spiritual vitality.

About Llewellyn’s Little Book of Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important tools you have for connecting with others. It supports the mutual exchange of love and nurturance, and it helps foster community, cooperation, belonging, and a sense of spiritual vitality.

But sometimes empathy can present challenges, especially for people who experience too much empathy. Difficulty can also arise for those who feel too little empathy or twist their sense of empathy to manipulate others. Llewellyn’s Little Book of Empathy shares effective solutions for working through your under- or over-empathic tendencies, and it shows how you can process the underlying issues that lead to manipulation. You will also learn about the different kinds of empathy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Popular author and long-time intuitive counselor Cyndi Dale shares dozens of exercises and quick tips to prevent empathic downsides and support the positives of this ability.

My Thoughts

Empathy is an important skill and gift to have – it can make you a better parent, sibling, friend, co-worker and supervisor. It helps you connect with others and to understand them better. It gives others the confidence to confide in you and know that they can trust you. You are fully able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they are feeling without judgement.

I first have to appreciate how adorable and warm this book is – it can easily fit into the palm of your hand and it has a warm, comforting green cover. The cover is simple, which fits the tone of the book. The shades of green and gold are found throughout the book and I loved the font and design of each page. It helped to make the concepts easy to follow and you felt connected to the book.

While I thought I was familiar with the definition of empathy, this book opened my eyes to the many forms including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Cyndi broke down each of these topics and uses easy to understand terms and relates them to real life experiences. For example, in physical empathy she uses several examples of individuals feeling the actual illness, or having an illness manifest in themselves over the physical empathy they were feeling for another (an example was a young girl with her dying dog).

Cyndi doesn’t just explain the topics but also provides helpful exercises and tips. Each exercise first breaks down why we are doing the exercise and then uses steps to help guide you through each part of the exercise. She keeps the exercises easy to follow and to the point. You are never left feeling overwhelmed or confused. Throughout the book, Cyndi also shares helpful tips with the reader to help better connect you with the content.

This is a beautiful book that covers such an important topic. It is great for those who are wanting to learn more about empathy and for those who may know they are an empathetic individual and need guidance on how to better manage and guide their skills.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Cyndi Dale (Minneapolis, MN) is an internationally renowned author, speaker, healer, and business consultant. She is president of Life Systems Services, through which she has conducted over 65,000 client sessions and presented training classes throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Cyndi is the author of more than a dozen books, including Llewellyn’s Little Book of ChakrasThe Spiritual Power of Empathy, and Awaken Clairvoyant Energy.

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

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Firewall Book Review

Action-packed and full of twists and turns, this third book of the Emma Streat Mystery series does not disappoint!

About Firewall

Former opera singer Emma Streat has survived the murder of her husband and the destruction of her beautiful old house. Now a full-time single mother, she struggles to move forward and make a home for her two sons. Because of her detection skills, she has become a go-to person for help―so, when her rich, feisty, socialite godmother is blackmailed, she turns immediately to Emma.

Soon, Emma founds herself thrust into the dark world of cybercrime. Mounting challenges take her to exclusive European settings where she mixes with top people in the financial and art collecting worlds and has intriguing and emotion-packed experiences with men―including her dynamic ex-lover, Lord Andrew Rodale. When she is targeted by a cybercrime network using cutting-edge technology, it takes all of Emma’s resilience and wits to survive and bring the wily, ruthless criminal she’s hunting to justice.

My Thoughts

Firewall is an action packed novel with a powerful female main character in Emma that you will not want to put down. .

We are introduced to Emma, who has made a second career for herself solving crimes for the government. We learn that this was after the murder of her husband where she refused to take the simple answer and decided to investigate the case herself. This marked the start of her new career and life as a single mother. I did not realize there were other books in this series but this did not impact my comprehension or enjoyment of the book. Eugenia gives you enough information to understand the current plot and how it is connected to Emma’s past but doesn’t overload you with the previous plots and history.

I loved that we have a single, strong female character who has flaws that so many of us have but she embraces them which makes us love her even more. She is loving, kind, thoughtful but also vulnerable, honest and looking for more in life. She has been through a lot with the loss of her husband and having to reinvent herself but she comes through it fighting each step of the way. Eugenia does a great job with her female characters – Emma’s Godmother who we meet at the beginning at the novel, is feisty and full of fire. I loved how she developed her female characters in this novel – they were the heroes and did the rescuing, something we need to see more of in novels.

The plot was very well planned and laid out in the novel. Emma travels around the world solving what started off as the blackmailing of her Godmother. Eugenia keeps us on our toes, continuously guessing what will happen next as Emma solves multiple cyber crimes. Emma is put to the test many times throughout the novel to solve a string of seemingly unrelated crimes but as we find out later in the novel are woven together expertly by Eugenia.

This is an excellent novel from start to finish – it was fun, thrilling and I could not put it down.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Eugenia Lovett West (known to her friends as Jeannie) was born in Boston, MA. Her father was Reverend Sidney Lovett, the widely known and loved former chaplain at Yale. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and worked for Harper’s Bazaar and the American Red Cross. Then came marriage, four children, volunteer work, and freelancing for local papers. Her first novel, The Ancestors Cry Out, was published by Doubleday; it was followed by two mysteries, Without Warning and Overkill published by St. Martin’s Press. West divides her time between Essex, CT and Holderness, NH, where she summers with her large extended family. Visit her at

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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Middle Eastern Cuisine in Hamilton: Paramount Fine Foods

Hamilton has become recognized in the GTAH area in the last several years for the development of great restaurants, great shopping and cultural experiences. You can find excellent restaurants that offer you more than just the commercialized dining experience.

Located on Upper James and just past Stonechurch Road in Hamilton, is Paramount Fine Foods. Don’t let the name throw you off – they are an unique, family centred, high end restaurant serving delicious Middle Eastern cuisine. I was not actually aware that the location was even there (thinking that the closest one to us was in Mississauga area!). The location is ideal – close to major shopping stores, car dealerships and the main parkway (Lincoln Alexander Parkway) that connects the east and west mountain and major highways (Highway 403 and Red Hill Valley Parkway) entering into Hamilton.

The restaurant itself has a laid back but upscale environment. It felt like we were walking into a family’s home – we felt welcome and enjoyed the warmth and presence of the restaurant. The atmosphere is warm and elegant with a lot of attention paid to the small details. The staff were extremely welcoming, kind and helpful.

The restaurant even includes a small child’s playground area, which when you are dining with kids is an excellent option to have. They can get bored sometimes waiting for their food to arrive, they tend to finish faster and so on. Having an option for them to go play, climb and explore is a fantastic option for parents, who really just want to relax during their meal and take everything in (especially when you don’t get out much!). Even with having the play area in the restaurant, the noise level was never high and it was never distracting (in fact the kids were adorable as they tried to climb the highest).

The food at Paramount Fine Foods is divine. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the love and pride that they put into their food. I don’t think that there is anything on the menu that we don’t like – from their manakeesh (cheese is my favourite), to their shared platters to featured mains like lamb chops, there is something for everyone on their menu.

The restaurant also features a children’s menu if you have a picky eater or want smaller portion sizes. We are easily able to share a platter as a family of four with everyone getting something they love (funny enough on the platter – the favourite is the rice and beef skewers and shawarma!). Bonus – everyone is completely stuffed by the end of the meal (like make sure you have stretchy pants on because your stomach will be full and satisfied!).

You can learn more about the Paramount Fine Foods story on their website. Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We were invited to visit Paramount Fine Foods in Hamilton. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Scottish Witchcraft: A Complete Guide to Authentic Folklore, Spells, and Magickal Tools

Take a journey through the magickal folk traditions of Scotland in this wonderful book.

About Scottish Witchcraft: A Complete Guide to Authentic Folklore, Spells, and Magickal Tools

Take a journey through the magickal folk traditions of Scotland. Barbara Meiklejohn-Free, a Scottish hereditary witch, shares her own spiritual awakening into the craft and shows you how to integrate these practices into your own life. Discover the secrets of divination, scrying, faery magick, and communication with ancestors. Explore herb and plant lore and specific rituals to address what you most desire. Filled with inspiring anecdotes, craft history, and step-by-step instructions, this book will help you begin a new chapter of spiritual discovery.

My Thoughts

I have always been fascinated by Scottish heritage. I love reading books about the Highlands, the history and their people. I find so much of the history fascinating but heartbreaking as well. This beautiful book honours not only Barbara’s craft but also her family history. She weaves their history throughout the story and encourages you to open your mind to a new method of thinking. I found the book moving in so many ways as it not only celebrates the beliefs and traditions but honours the Scottish people and acknowledges the hardships they faced – they were persecuted, sent away from their own lands and many times tried for their beliefs. My heart hurts for all that they lost but I admire how even in the face of that, so many are still working to preserve their heritage and beliefs and sharing it with others to ensure it is never lost.

This book covers several topics, including: thresholds and rituals, working with ancestors, seership and divination, staff, stone and earth, herbs and spells. I found with this book, I read the whole thing at once to get a good sense of what the book was about but then went back chapter by chapter taking my time and really diving into each topic (some days I spent more on one chapter to ensure I really understood it). I think it is important that you ensure you take your time, read each chapter and then read it again to ensure you understand her guidance and advice. I found I missed some parts the first time I read through a chapter, so this was important for me. Reading the book once and then a second and third time, really helped me to hone in on which areas interested me the most (I loved the section on herbs) and which areas I needed to learn more about.

I loved how Barbara introduces each topic with both a personal and historical account (her personal stories throughout the book are just wonderful and add a great touch to this book) along with practical applications and how we can approach this in real life while honouring those who came before us and our natural environment. I appreciated the part of thresholds and entering sacred spaces and touched me deeply. I remember to this day when I visited Rome and just walking the same path that so many have before me and entering historical sites and how this affected me emotionally and physically. During my visit, I felt like I was walking in another time and experiencing things for a second time. It left me feeling blessed and inspired.

This is a well written, thoughtful and incredible book that touches on a powerful subject area. This will make a great gift for those who want to be more in touch with themselves, the world around them, the Earth and those who have a strong interest in folklore, witchcraft and everything in between. There is something for everyone who wants to get in touch with their spiritual side in this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Barbara Meiklejohn-Free (United Kingdom) was born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland. She is an author, singer, drummer, flautist, and storyteller—all of which she employs in weaving together the ancient craft of the shaman, seer, and mystic. After the passing of her spiritual mentor, Barbara was bestowed the title of Highland Seer. She is also the cocreator of the Dark Goddess Oracle CardsWitches’ Kitchen Oracle Cards, and Witches’ Wisdom Oracle Cards.

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

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Law and Addiction Book Review

Law and Addiction is real-life drama at its finest ― a book that clears away the darkness page by page, spotlighting a profound truth about our society through expert storytelling.

About Law and Addiction

One week before his law school graduation, Jake Rutledge is shattered. His fraternal twin, Blake, has died of a drug overdose. When Jake returns to his hometown of Oakley, West Virginia, he discovers that his brother was not the only person hooked on opioid painkillers. The entire region has been ravaged by an epidemic insidiously planned and carried out by one of America’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies.

Still wet behind the ears, Jake is determined to seek justice for all the victims of Big Pharma’s greed. He soon learns that the drug companies’ tentacles reach far and deep. His only hope is to get Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis to help. A partner at one of the country’s most powerful law firms, Deke’s “as tough as a two-dollar steak” and well-known for his winning tactics against corporate wrongdoers. With just enough persistence, Jake coaxes Deke to see Oakley’s devastation firsthand. Overwhelmed, Deke agrees to join forces with Jake.

And that’s when the real heat begins. Death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizure schemes – all are connected to the massive distribution of both legal and illegal drugs. Everyone is impacted, from the highest levels of corporate America to corrupt local officials to their lackeys and hapless victims. The complexity of the schemes is overwhelming.

Working tirelessly, the lawyers begin to uncover the truth. Along the way, Jake falls in love with Anna Fowler, a former homecoming queen who has succumbed to the power of opioids. With his support, she weans herself off the drugs. Hope begins to bloom ― when suddenly, Jake disappears. As Deke undertakes a desperate search to find him, questions swirl. Has Jake abandoned Anna and his crusade? Can the case against the evildoers move forward without him? Will Oakley and its residents survive?

My Thoughts

Law and Addiction was an incredibly powerful, thought provoking novel. I was pulled right in from Chapter One and could not put it down. I felt a range of emotions throughout the novel, anger, compassion, hurt – but definitely a lot of anger.

The story begins with the death of Blake, Jake’s fraternal twin from an overdose. Jake, who was just finishing law school, is shattered as he never saw the signs of addiction in his brother. He is left wondering how did this happen, could he have done more, should he have seen the signs and so many more emotions. His hometown has been ravaged by opioids – people he has known his whole life are struggling with addiction. The town has quickly become a ‘zombie land’, where there is no hope, poverty and the citizens are feeling the physical and mental damage from opioids. The book really brings home that addiction is not always what you believe it is – any one can suffer from addiction and we need to pull apart the stigma of addiction, so that they can receive help.

Jake (like so many of us), feels anger – anger for his brother and the people of this town. But when he starts to do some digging, the facts that he finds is astonishing and he knows that he wants to make a difference, to ensure that no one suffers the loss he felt. He is prepared to go to war with the pharmaceutical companies to ensure that this is stopped.

As he begins his lawsuit (with the help of two other lawyers) against the pharmacy companies, the story really speeds up. We uncover bribes, death threats, illegal distribution and the list goes on. The story has so many working parts but it never feels overwhelming. Instead, you realize how far people will go for financial gain and corporate greed. It leaves you feeling disappointed with people but with some hope that there are still good people out there fighting for the rights and protection of all people.

This is an amazing novel from start to finish – a definite must read novel. The plot was fantastic – not what I was expecting but incredible all the same. It was educational but entertaining, but definitely leaves you with a lot of food for thought.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Autho

Mike Papantonio is a truth-teller, a crusader who uses fiction to entertain and inform his readers about some of the most pressing issues of our time. In each of his thrillers, from Law And Disorder to Law And Vengeance, and now Law And Addiction, he lays bare the conspiracies and white-collar crimes that hurt ordinary Americans ― and that are rarely covered by the national media.

A senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the country’s largest plaintiffs’ law firms, Papantonio uses his own cases as springboards for his novels. He has aggressively taken on Big Pharma, tobacco, weapon manufacturer, and the automobile industry, among other bastions of corporate greed.

One of the youngest inductees into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is also a well- known media presence as host of America’s Lawyer on the RT America television network and co-host of the syndicated radio show Ring of Fire. A skilled musician and athlete, he is based in Pensacola, Florida.

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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