Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

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Wonderfully informative and humorous guide to Meditation.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren. I chuckled at the Table of Contents and how accurate the section and chapter titles were when applied to human nature. Some of the headings are “I Don’t Have Time for This”, “If I Get Too Happy, I’ll Lose My Edge” and “People Might Think I’m Weird”. So great and opens up the path for humor in its pages. I was excited to discover the app that accompanies the instructional meditation given in this book. The commentary is full of humor and deals with thoughts that swirl through our minds as we try to relax and meditate. Short and easily doable meditations are introduced along with helpful, concise cheat sheets. I love the “RAIN”, “Walking Through Sound” and “Ten Good Breaths”! This quote captures the true essence of this practical and useful book, “Meditation is basically the end of boredom.” I was surprised and disturbed by the results of the study “Pandora’s Box” where people were left alone in a room with no stimulus, except a button that produced an electric shock. Many of the participants chose to give themselves electric shocks because of their discomfort of being quietly alone. Wonderfully informative instructional guide on meditation for anyone who wants to try but is skeptical of meditating, 5 stars!

Assassin’s America: Four Killers, Four Murdered Presidents, and the Country They Left Behing by Jessica Gunderson and Joe Tougas

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A must for American history buffs! Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Assassin’s America: Four Killers, Four Murdered Presidents, and the Country They Left Behind by Jessica Gunderson & Joe Tougas. The true story is told in four parts, one for each president, describing the assassin and how our country may have been different without the assassination. A detailed report of each assassin and each president is followed by the description of the killing and the state of America and, finally, a timeline. I have read about the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy many times but never Garfield’s or McKinley’s. It saddens me to think the last two could have lived with better medical care. Very tragic. Informative and laid out in an interesting way, this book is a must for history buffs, 5 stars!

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

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Thanks to NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read and review The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid. Prince Edward Island is the setting of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series and this book brings all that Anne saw to the reader’s eyes with beautiful photographs, both old and new, plus the wonderful descriptions given by L.M. Montgomery in the stories of Anne and also her own personal journal writings. Also, an in-depth look into Maud’s life experiences, both happy and difficult, this book opens her world up to us and shows the similarities between herself and the fascinating character she created in Anne. 5 stars for this reverent and beautiful dedication to the author of a true classic!

Can Your Outfit Change the World? by Erinne Paisley

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Thanks to NetGalley and Orca Book Publishers for the opportunity to read and review Can Your Outfit Change the World? by Erinne Paisley, a book in the PopActivism series full of information on eco-friendly choices in clothing. PopActivism is Activism fused with pop culture. “Buy less, choose well, make it last” -quote by Vivienne Westwood, fashion icon that sums up the content of this book. This book contains a basic education of where our clothes come from and what they are made of, sweatshops, child labor, debt slavery and the story of Iqbal Masih, who was in bonded child labor, escaped and joined the Bonded Labour Liberation Front and helped over 3,000 other children escape before he was murdered at the age of twelve, which inspired the creation of Free the Children; an organization that fights for human rights. Some blogs and websites that help in the search for positive brands are listed: Freestate, Style Wise, Eco Fashion World and The Good Trade. There are many ethical companies in the world and this book gives details of several of them and the good things they do, such as TOMS giving shoes and eye exams to those in need. I’m impressed by Emma Watson’s fashion statement when she wore an outfit made from recycled plastic bottles which was created by Calvin Klein along with Eco-Age. I’m equally impressed with Melissa McCarthy’s clothing line, Seven7! Resources are listed at the end of the book, by chapter. Amazingly informative, 5 stars!

The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin

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Thanks to NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read and review The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin. This gardening book is separated into the four seasons with each season further categorized into the five senses. Beautiful photos of all types of plants, weather, some birds and even a cat are included for this journey of the senses throughout the year. Advice and wisdom is bestowed upon the reader by the knowledgeable author regarding asparagus, kale, wild grapes and even winter’s frost. A relaxing, enjoyable read for garden inspiration, 5 stars!

The Teen’s Guide to Social Media by Jonathan McKee

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Thanks to NetGalley and Shiloh Run Press for the opportunity to read and review The Teen’s Guide to Social Media by Jonathan McKee. This helpful guide contains “21 Tips to Wise Posting in an Insecure World”. Each tip is given its own chapter and a clever name, which summarizes the advice. The book opens with a letter of relevant advice to parents and all caring adults that might be feeling overwhelmed with the technology overload and in need of possible rules and guidelines for raising children in a world with constant internet access. This guide reminds us: to keep up our social skills, to check privacy settings, that posting is permanent, of the detrimental effects of pornography, to seek out a mentor, to be accountable, don’t talk to strangers, to take less selfies, don’t become addicted to likes, to know the apps, to reevaluate online time, to find tech-free zones, to friend people you know, to rethink your media, to think before posting, to use kind words, don’t let your driving become distracted, no nude posts, to be truthful, sleep and stay aware.
Questions to ponder and something to think about sections at the close of each chapter/tip and a resource list at the end of the book give readers more to think about and research. 5 stars for this beneficial, relevant guide to online safety!

Plum Dandi Knits

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Thanks to NetGalley and Interweave for the opportunity to read and review Plum Dandi Knits by Alicia Plummer. Not for beginning knitters, but full of a wide variety of projects awaiting knitting needles and a knitter for their creation. Lists of needed supplies and knitting instructions for each project, as well as photographs, give helpful directions. From leg warmers to hats and scarves to socks and more, this book will inspire knitters, 5 stars!

Sweet Revenge by Heather Kim

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Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone, Switch Press for the opportunity to read and review Sweet Revenge by Heather Kim. The subtitle “Passive-Aggressive Desserts for your Exes and Enemies” says it all! Cleverly named recipes for all the different reasons you could possibly have a need to rid yourself of relationship frustrations. Creatively named sections classify each recipe and the author states “revenge is best served warm” and “ kindness is rare” so the goodness will come back around. The concept of taking your frustrations, hurt and anger out while creating yummy goodness is refreshing and therapeutic. Imaginative and laced with humor and fun visuals will make even the most down-day humorous. Two Thumbs up and 5 stars for a sumptuous, creative book full of yumminess!

 

Lalylala’s Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies by Lydia Tresselt

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Thanks to NetGalley and F+W Media for the opportunity to read and review Lalylala’s Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies by Lydia Tresselt. Instructional book for crocheting amigurumi along with a story of transformation which uses the completed projects to illustrate, plus patterns to make outfits for your amigurumi creations. Tutorials and different stitch instructions and photos are included to help crocheters make the cutest little insects. Purely adorable and helpful too, 5 stars!

 

Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling

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Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling which tells the story of events that took place between the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1848 and when women were given the right to vote in 1920. The appendix includes a list of the primary sources used for this book’s research and there’s also a timeline included. The preface describes how women from both sides of the suffrage movement approached a political candidate for his support in 1920. I’m shocked that some women were actually against having the right to vote! The story opens with an eleven year old Elizabeth Cady (eventually Elizabeth Cady Stanton) mourning the loss of her twenty year old brother Eleazar, the last male heir in the family. Her father is inconsolable and she makes it a mission to be everything her brother was and this became the beginning of Elizabeth’s goal towards learning and courage. The support for women’s rights is impressive and includes Frederick Douglass (an escaped slave and civil rights leader), Sojourner Truth (an escaped slave and strong speaker) and Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist) and many more supporters. A march for the suffrage movement in 1913 became so powerful that a mob forced the marchers into a single file. The marchers suffered from police brutality and this brutality was helpful to the movement because women gained public sympathy and attention. Picketers in 1917 took their stand in front of the White House and were arrested for “obstructing traffic”. These protesters were released eventually because the government was worried that the women would become martyrs. Later in this same year, picketers were sent to workhouses with unsanitary conditions and mistreatment. Alice Paul, the suffrage leader during this time, was severely mistreated and began a hunger strike which many other protesters joined. By 1920, the Senate approved ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is a definitive account of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s and many others’ actions towards women’s rights that will be a perfect source for research. 5 stars!