Month: September 2021

Halloween Yoga Book Review

Get excited for Halloween and learn some simple (and not spooky) yoga poses at the same time with Little Mouse and friends! 

About Halloween Yoga

Tammy McDoodle and her friends are dressed in their favorite costumes and so are Little Mouse and his best friend, Mr. Opus the cat, in this fun book which combines Halloween with straightforward yoga postures.

“Before you go out to trick or treat,” says Tammy’s mom, “Let’s do some Halloween yoga poses to keep calm”.

Your little ghosts and goblins will delight in simple, not-so-spooky Halloween yoga moves, such as witch, ghost, black cat, and jack-o-lantern poses. Children will get excited for Halloween while learning an easy way to stay calm and get healthy activity in this beautifully illustrated board book set to rhyme.

Our Thoughts

Yoga is a great way to get young kids (and adults!) to slow down, focus, ground themselves and be mentally and emotionally prepared to face the world. Halloween is always so much fun (it is by far my favourite holiday of the year) but with all the decorations, sounds and distractions it can be overstimulating and overwhelming for young children. How many meltdowns have you witnessed as a parent of an overstimulated, overtired (and likely had way too much candy all day) child? It is so important to give them the skills that they need to take a deep breath, perform a calming pose and then carry on with their activities. These skills, if developed and encouraged at a young enough age, will become great habits as they become older.

In this story, before the group even sets out to have a magical, mysterious fun night, they participate in some very calming (and spooky) themed yoga poses. The book itself is easy to read, fun to follow along with and to do the poses as you read it (we would stop and practice the poses and it did not take away from the story). The story has adorable illustrations that the whole family will love. Children will fall in love with the spooky and fun poses that they can incorporate into practice every day of the year (not just at Halloween). I loved how she made the practice fun – this is such an important part of encouraging, guiding and supporting young children, make it fun and they will want to do it over and over again. This will make a great addition to your child’s home library.

You can pre-order a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Teresa Power is an internationally recognized educator, keynote speaker and bestselling author of the award-winning series, Little Mouse Adventures and The ABCs of Yoga for Kids which have been translated into four languages.

In the 1980s, she started practicing yoga to de-stress from the vigor of law school, and subsequently became a yoga teacher. She is a sought-after speaker, having appeared at conferences, schools, and libraries across the nation.

Teresa enjoys volunteering and has worked with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Choose Health LA, Let’s Move! West LA, University of Southern California and others. Teresa has been featured by Good Morning America, USA Today, Parenting, Reader’s Digest, Fox11 LA, Telemundo, CBS LA, and other media outlets.

In addition, she is the founder of the International Kids Yoga Day, whose mission is to make the life-changing practice of yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of age, location or finances. A graduate of University of Southern California, she earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, and in 2002 completed a yoga training program with Indigo Yoga.

About The ABCs of Yoga

Our goal is to present parents, grandparents, teachers, and educators with a fun, unique and creative method to teach children a powerful art form, mindfulness outlet, and physical activity that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Yoga has been shown to have numerous mental and physical health benefits that can help emotionally balance children, encourage more acute mental focus, and also serve as a beneficial physical exercise that they enjoy doing.  Our products use an intrinsically engaging and colorful method of inspiring children to learn yoga.  Enjoy the benefits of a more focused child with enhanced clarity and a calmer demeanor—thanks to the benefits of daily mindfulness through yoga.

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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Dad: A Novel

Dad: A Novel chronicles the sacred legacy of fatherhood following three generations of Dads.

About Dad: A Novel

Three generations of dads, playing traditional roles in each other’s lives, arrive simultaneously at significant crossroads. The decisions they make and the actions they take will directly – and eternally – affect each other.

After a life of hard work and raising children, Robert is enjoying his well-deserved retirement when he discovers that he has an illness he might not be able to beat. At 19, Jonah is sprinting across the threshold of adulthood when he learns, stunningly, that he’s going to become a father. And Oliver – Robert’s son and Jonah’s dad – has entered middle age and is paying its demanding price. While reconciling the time and effort it has taken him to reach an unfulfilling career and an even less satisfying marriage, he realizes that it’s imperative that he keep it all together for the two men who mean everything to him.

When different perspectives lead to misunderstandings that remain unspoken – sometimes for years – it takes great strength and even more love to travel beyond the resentment.

My Thoughts

When I first started to read this novel, I am not sure what I expected but by the mid-point in this novel, I could not put it down and found myself in tears. I lost myself in Robert, Oliver and Jonah’s stories – finding a bit (or a lot) of my own stories in there.

Robert reminds me very much of my own Grandfather – the protector and the provider. Always present on the sidelines but not quite in the thick of things. He is firm in his beliefs and is a strict disciplinary figure, he loves his child but shows his love in a different way. While the extremes of this type of discipline at that time can be argued with, his beliefs on family, hard work and sacrifice are to be applauded. Especially as he works so hard to pass these on to his own son, Ollie. Like so many of us, Ollie uses his own childhood experiences to guide his own journey in fatherhood and adulthood. He disciplines his son in a new way, encouraging him to show feelings and provides for his son so that life isn’t so hard. Does this backfire on him? Maybe, maybe not. Jonah is a young man on the brink of becoming an adult and trying to find his own way in the world. What appears on the outside as him being lazy, is perhaps him trying to understand his own place in a world that is constantly changing.

It is a sudden illness and the realization that time is not limitless, that each of the men in this story are able to open up about their experiences, their memories, ask for forgiveness and to understand where each individual is coming from in order to move forward. Our childhood experiences may guide our adult actions and the relationships we have, but it is important to understand and appreciate that our parents did (and do) everything they can for us and in the moment, truly do believe that what they are doing is for the best. While each generation strives to get better at parenting and raising responsible, bright, moral young adults – we will make mistakes, our children will find faults in our actions and perhaps we will even find understanding in the actions of our parents as we learn more about them, their history and their childhood.

This is a very touching book, I found myself crying several times through the last quarter of the novel. The relationship that we have with our Father (and father figures) is so important and equally important for us to understand, to forgive and to be patient. Time is not endless (and given all that has happened in the last two years this should hit home) and it is so important to say I love you, to talk about what has hurt us and to forgive and move forward. Dad: A Novel is a must read story that you will not put down.

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 bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. 

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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Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo

iRead Book Tours

Join the fun as the two lead authors and 50 other contributors offer their humorous take on how the workplace really operates in Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo. With almost 600 diabolical definitions to enjoy, you’re sure to find plenty to smile about.

About Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo

Need a laugh to get through your workday? You’ve come to the right place. Ambrose Bierce’s classic The Devil’s Dictionary took on life in general. Now a century later, it’s time to lampoon the business world. There’s no richer target than being told to think outside the box by leaders spouting off about synergy, teamwork, and innovation while at the same time exhorting you to stay in your swim lane. If as famed business guru Peter Drucker writes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” then we’ve been asked to eat a dog’s breakfast at work for far too long! A little truth in every joke. Join the fun as the two lead authors and 50 other contributors offer their humorous take on how the workplace really operates. With almost 600 diabolical definitions to enjoy, you’re sure to find plenty to smile about.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon .

About the Authors

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of nine books, including Emotionomics, which was an Advertising Age top 10 must-read selection and features a foreword by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons. In 1998, Dan founded Sensory Logic, Inc. whose clients represent over 50% of the world’s top 100 advertisers. Besides having spoken to audiences in over 25 countries, Dan has had media appearances ranging from ABC’s “Good Morning, America” to NBC’s “The Today Shows,” CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ESPN, and the Tennis Channel. Dan was also a regular guest on PBS’s “Mental Engineering” show, hailed by Bill Moyers as “the most interesting weekly half hour of social commentary and criticism on television.” In print, Dan has received front-page coverage in the New York Times for his work in pro and NCAA Division 1 sports and was a non-partisan columnist for Reuters during the 2016 presidential race. Nowadays he hosts the podcast “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” which appears on the New Books Network (NBN), the world’s largest book review platform with over 1.7 million downloads monthly. Dan was educated at St. Olaf College, Oxford University, Brown University, and Rutgers University.

​Howard Moskowitz is a legendary product market researcher, experiential psychologist, and inventor of world-class market research technologies used by virtually every company that matters. Howard earned his PhD in experimental psychology from Harvard University. In 2004, he was the subject of a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, “The Ketchup Conundrum,” which became the basis for Gladwell’s TED talk entitled “Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce.” In 2014, Howard founded Mind Genomics Associates to investigate how people think about aspects of their daily lives. In addition to over 400 scientific articles about the minds of consumers, Howard has written/edited 28 books, a roster that features the very popular book Selling Blue Elephants.

Connect with them on their website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Grand Prize: Signed copy of Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo + a copy also of my other recent book Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others.(one winner) 

Runner-Up Prize: a signed copy of Blah, Blah, Blah (one winner) (USA only) (ends Oct 12)

Enter this giveaway here.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Zither! Spotlight Tour

iRead Book Tours

A nutty religious cult rustles a herd of prime gazebos (huh??) and it’s up to bumbling P.I. Mars Candiotti to rescue them. Wannabe author Mars chronicles his quest in Jeffrey Hanlon’s rom-com mystery Zither.

About Zither

​A nutty religious cult rustles a herd of prime gazebos (huh??) and it’s up to bumbling P.I. Mars Candiotti to rescue them. Wannabe author Mars chronicles his quest in Jeffrey Hanlon’s rom-com mystery Zither.

Guided by his magically prescient IHOP waitress, Mars strives to mitigate the shocking global consequences of the gazebo heist, even though he has no idea what the word mitigate means.

As Zither swallows its own tale, Mars finds it increasingly tricky to distinguish between real people and his rambunctious fictional characters. Zither becomes the romper room where his reality meets fantasy – and get frisky with each other.

Mars’ international odyssey leads to an explosive conclusion in Panama. Teevees around the world tune in to watch live coverage of “Carnage in the Canal”.

And amid the lunatic havoc that is Zither there is (of course!) an epic love story as Mars meets Marian, the brainy librarian he had dreamt of. Marian says his books are “slapstick existentialism with subjective reality couched in parable”. (This is news to Mars). But is Marian real, or just another illusion in Zither World?

And in Mars’ klutzy (yet endearing) courtship of the enchanting Marian will he ever muster the nerve to ask her for a date???​

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

About the Author

I was born in a Southern California beach town.

My family moved to Northwest Oregon when I was 7. Or maybe when I was 8.

Had we stayed in the Beach Boys town, and knowing myself as I do now, I suspect I would have grown long hair, started a rock band, and been heavily into drugs. The rock band would probably have been pretty good. The rest of it, not so much. I’d likely have joined the ranks of those like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

We moved to a mountaintop. The last five miles to get there were gravel. The final two miles were steep and to the end of the road.

That’s where we lived: the end of the road, 22 miles to the nearest town.

Our closest neighbor, about a mile down the road, was a hermit who lived in a shack. He had a goat. About once a month the goat would visit us. Then the hermit would show up to retrieve his goat. I think the goat liked us better than the hermit, which is why the goat kept showing up. Goats are funny animals. I think they aspire to be house pets.

And speaking of animals, we had cats. Lots and lots of cats. Because we were remote and at the end of the road, unkind people – and ‘unkind’ is the kindest description I can use here – would dump their unwanted cats on or near our property. The cats would find our house. We gave them Fancy Feast and our love, and in turn they loved us.

My childhood friends didn’t visit too often. That was at least partly because when they did show up my father would say something like this: “Great! We have a job that could use an extra hand. Won’t take more than five minutes.” Well, that five minutes usually turned into an hour or two – volunteer labor! – and that friend would seldom visit again.

So my favorite childhood playmate was a 2000 pound Hereford bull, a big boy with horns spanning three feet. I’d go out in the pasture and the bull would strike a pose not unlike what you’ve seen in the movies where the bull was ready to charge, head down, eyeing me. But he wasn’t going to charge me. He just wanted his forehead scratched. And so I would scratch his forehead. He liked that, shaking his head every so often to show his approval. Then we’d elevate to a game that the bull might have called ‘Let’s see how far we can toss this little kid!’ and I’d place my right hip against his massive head and he’d toss me into the air like a sack of flour. Over and over, farther and farther, higher and higher. I could have done that for hours – I can fly! – but after a few tosses the bull would grow bored with the game and wander off. Probably to chase some cute heifers.

The nearest library was 30 miles away, and we ventured there often. It was a majestic old building, and the Grand Room had books on all four walls with reading chairs in the center. But that was not where I wanted to be. I figured all those books were popular books or books I was supposed to read. I wanted something different, so I would enter the room with a small sign that said ‘Stacks’. It was row after narrow row after row of books, floor to ceiling, dimly lit, dusty. It was like entering a cave. Filled with treasures!
It was in those Stacks that I discovered the likes of Kerouac and Heller and Huxley and Fowles and Steinbeck and Ellison and Bradbury and Hemingway and many many others.

As Stephen King said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

And those, each in their own way, was the inspiration for the first book I wrote at the age of eight or nine: ‘Pond Scum’.

It was illustrated.

Jeffrey currently lives at an undisclosed location on the shores of the Caribbean where he spends his days is shorts and sandals making up stories.

He has a pet goat.

You can connect with him on his website.

Book Trailer

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Bring the Magic of Halloween to Life with Pumpkins After Dark

Halloween and the fall season in general are by far my most favourite times of the year. I love the change in the weather, setting up seasonal décor (love my pumpkins and scarecrows!) and watching movies with the family under a warm blanket. Over the last year, COVID has (like for so many other families) disrupted our normal routines, took a loved one from us and changed the way we go out and participate in activities. Not only does this event have everything that I love about the fall season but it is COVID friendly for families like ours, who are just not quite ready to get back to packed events or who perhaps have a family member too young to be vaccinated.

Pumpkins After Dark is located in Milton, Ontario and was a short roughly 35 minute drive from our home in the GTHA area. Our youngest thought it was the perfect setting as we passed by some very interestingly shaped trees that looked like they came straight out of a horror movie (my youngest’s words exactly). They were older trees that looked misshapen and broken over time but fit the backdrop perfectly. The drive was nice as we travelled down several older roads and the traffic was light at that time of day. The entrance was a bit harder to spot but they had employees outside directing patrons into the site.

I had heard of Pumpkins After Dark a few times in the past but was not entirely familiar with the event. The site is a 2.5km (roughly forty-five minutes to one hour) pumpkin display exhibits. The art that was created from these pumpkins was incredible. The exhibits use a combination of craft and real pumpkins and each one is hand carved in 2D and 3D to fit their specific exhibit. Throughout the event, you are taken on a journey through movies, fairytales, cars, anime and so much more. I loved that the exhibits had a touch of scary but they were also appropriate for all age groups .

You enter into the exhibit by queueing in the parking lot just inside the entrance. Guests are expected to remain inside the vehicle at all times so I would strongly recommend bringing some snacks for the kids (and the adults!). We rolled down each of the windows (and even the sun roof so our youngest could sit on the arm rest and watch at times from there especially in the tunnels – the speed was incredibly slow so there was not much movement as he sat there) and had so much fun at each exhibit. I learned that my children were very much lacking in their nursery rhymes education (they did not get Humpty Dumpty!) and I was so excited to see their faces light up when they saw Kong and their favourite anime characters from Naruto (this was a huge surprise for all of us and I think was the icing on their cake for them that night). My personal favourites were the animals and the Greek mythology exhibits.

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Tips for the Event:

  • Order your tickets online in advance as tickets are not sold on site due to COVID (you can purchase tickets here and use the code September15 which will give you 15% off for the month of September dates)
  • Arrive no more than 15 minutes early as entry is based on the time of your ticket
  • Pack your snacks and warm drinks
  • Turn your radio to the assigned station and turn the volume up high
  • Roll down those windows, open your sun roof and get ready for some fun!

Pumpkins After Dark is a fun, family geared art exhibit that will meet the likes of every member in your family. There was a little bit for everyone and we loved that we were able to get out and participate in something fun despite our reservations due to COVID.

Have you been to Pumpkins After Dark? What was your favourite exhibit?

Make sure to follow Pumpkins After Dark on Facebook, and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to the event, all opinions expressed are my own.

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