Another Day with Yoga

Book Reviews, life

While I had tried yoga in the past, even taking a class, it never became a routine for me until recently. Sometime late last year, I decided to give yoga a try again. This time, I decided to do yoga every day, not just once a week or whenever the urge took hold of me. Daily yoga soon became a habit I looked forward to. In fact, I had to do my yoga. I was hooked.

What was different this time? Why was I able to stick to yoga? Well for one thing, doing something daily, especially at the same time daily, becomes a habit. Another big thing is that I felt the differences that yoga had made on my body as well as my mood. Yoga is great at reducing stress. Yoga got rid of my aches and pains. No more getting out of bed and feeling stiff. The elbow and hip soon felt better. The shoulder, that seemed out of place, took a bit longer to mend. But with daily yoga, even the shoulder is now perfectly fine. After actually feeling the difference, there is no doubt in my mind that yoga is a wonderful way to start each day. I guess I am now a yogi.

Yoga does not have to be intense or take very long. A simple twenty minute routine is all that is needed. I like to do yoga along to videos. Many can be found on Youtube. After becoming familiar with yoga, building one’s own yoga program is easy to do. A good book of reference for this is Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga A Beginner’s Guide to Health, Fitness, and Relaxation by Alan Finger and Al Bingham.

As always, Happy Yoga Practice!

My Take on…The Apprentice My Life in the Kitchen- Jacques Pepin

Book Reviews

I was gifted the book The Apprentice My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin. It is a biography written by Jacques Pepin of his life, how he came to be an apprentice in the kitchens of France, how he came to America, and how he became a televsion personality and cookbook author. And what would a biography of a famous cookbook author be without recipes sprinkled throughout the book? This book does not disappoint.

Jacques Pepin had me hooked on this book from the beginning. It is far from dull! Pepin, obviously a humorous man, told laugh out loud stories from his childhood and beyond. There were also interesting looks into the life of the little boy he was during war torn France during WWII. Of course, there were plenty of details into the life of an apprentice in the many kitchens of France. Upon coming to America, Pepin, always a hard worker, detailed the many jobs he had and the choices he made that led him to become a famous chef. Every chapter highlights a recipe with an introduction, in Pepin’s own words, as to what makes the recipe special.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Apprentice My Life in the Kitchen! What a fascinating life. I would say a lesson learned by reading this book would be to do what you love and to enjoy life to the fullest. And of course to eat good food. I highly recommend reading a copy of this book. It would also make a wonderful gift to anyone interested in cooking.

As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on Portrait of a Murder

Book Reviews

Art, murder, mystery, romance, are all combined in Portrait of a Murder by Kerry J. Charles. This is the first book in the Dulcie Chambers Mystery series. After finishing Portait of a Murder, I can not wait to start on the other books in the series.

Kerry J. Charles has quite an impressive resume. She has worked as a researcher, writer, and editor for National Geographic Magazine, the Smithsonian Institution, and Harvard University. She has also worked for major textbook publishers. All of this experience has surely come in handy at penning her own works.

The mystery is set on the coast of Maine. Dulcie Chambers is a curator for the Maine Museum of Art. She wants to acquire a watercolor by Winslow Homer to complete her exhibit. The museum’s director, Joshua Harriman, volunteers to go to Christie’s auction house in New York to bid on and hopefully obtain the watercolor. But before Dulcie can lay her sights on the watercolor, she instead comes across a body. She is now in a sticky situation, but police detective Nick Black is on the case.

I enjoyed Portrait of a Murder very much. At 137 pages, it was not a super long read, however, it was a page turner. There were just enough suspects to confuse things and keep one guessing. I would recommend this book and I am planning to continue reading the series. The next book is titled, From the Murky Deep. Sounds interesting already! As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on Rules for Visiting

Book Reviews

My latest read was a book I asked for and received for Christmas, Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane. Rules for Visiting was an easy read. This book will make one think of the way in which they live their life and the role friendship plays.

The novel is about May, a botanist, and how she decides to catch up with old friends, and perhaps find herself, during bonus time off from her work. May is a gardener at the local university. Being granted a months vacation from her job, May decides to take four seperate vacations to visit friends from her childhood through her college days. While May does have friends of her own, she is often intrigued by other peoples relationships with their frineds. Why does her life seem lacking? Will she find what she is looking for?

Kane’s novel is a wonderful read. A book about life that could easily be made into a movie. It also has plant and tree facts sprinkled throughout the book. This helps define the character and may also teach the reader a thing or two about plants. As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on…Bomb Girls

Book Reviews

I just finished reading Bomb Girls by Jacky Hyams. This book is about the women who worked in Britain’s munitions during WWII. The book is a rare treat, especially for those interested in history.

Bomb Girls starts out by introducing the reader to munitions factories and what it was like to work in one of these factories. But what is even better are the following chapters, the memoirs of the actual workers, the stories they tell of their life experiences. The chapters read as though the women are right there, telling their stories in person. Each woman tells a little about her life before working at the factory and then details of her experience at the factory and what she did after the war was over. The last chapter gives more details about each of the munitions factories that the women in the book worked at and what happened to the facility after the war.

This book was an easy read and kept me interested the entire time. I had no idea that once a girl turned 18 they were called up to work in factories of this kind during the war years. It was very dangerous work. Accidents happened and some were deadly. So what got these women through this stressful time? Friendship, doing what they thought was right to help their country, and the hopes of helping the men they knew and loved.

I highly recommend Bomb Girls. If you love history, have an interest in WWII, or want to learn more about women and their efforts during the war, this book is a must read. As always, Happy Reading!

I Have to Read What!

Book Reviews

Back in high school, my teacher assigned the class to read Dracula by Bram Stoker. What! I was none too thrilled to say the least. Of all the books, why on earth did she have to choose that! I had NO interest in reading a book about vampires, or so I thought…

I should have known that this particular teacher (who was one of the best) would not let me down. Shortly into the book, I was hooked. Dracula, of course, is a classic. This is with good reason.

Since high school, I have read Dracula a few more times. I just recently finished reading it again. It is one of the few books that I have read more than a couple of times. It is a great read around Halloween. I am also a fan of reading this book at night; helps to set the scene.

So the moral of my story is… it is hard to judge a book by its subject matter alone. It is a good idea to try reading books one would not normally choose. One never knows what they may be missing.

As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on… Nottingham vs. Robin Hood

Book Reviews

I read the book Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk and was a bit disappointed. Is this the same Robin Hood that I remembered? Maybe it was time for me to refresh my memory. So here is where my research began.

My son was a HUGE fan of Robin Hood as a child. I even made him a Robin Hood costume for Halloween one year. So I went to the source to ask for a copy of The Adventures of Robin Hood. He leant me his copy, which I devoured. Now this was more like it!

Nottingham was a rewrite of the legendary Robin Hood story. It reads like a movie. Makaryk is writing his novel in a ‘what if?’ fashion, hence, changing things up a bit. He makes lesser characters have larger roles and greater characters have lesser roles. What has he done to Robin Hood?! In Makaryk’s version, it is made out that Robin Hood did not really want to help the poor and did the job only because he felt made to do it. Really! Come on! No, this was not how I remembered Robin Hood. I felt too much liberty was taken with the story, especially in the character of Robin Hood.

The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green, was on point to me. This was the Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. This was the Robin Hood who cared for his followers. Every chapter was interesting and had me wanting to continue. While Robin meets the same fate in the end of each novel, they are in two completely different ways. I prefer the storyline and ending in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

While Nottingham is a well written book, I felt that the book took too many liberties with the storyline and characters. I could forgive most of the changes, but not those to the integrity of Robin Hood. Maybe I just prefer classics to be left alone. After all, if it isn’t broke, why try to fix it?

My Take on…Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Deep End

Book Reviews

Jeff Kinney is at it again. His latest book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Deep End, is out. I pre-ordered my copy and happily found it in my mailbox a few days ago. I just finished reading the book. Being a fan of the series, I knew things would not go smoothly for the Heffley family. Of course, I was correct.

The story picks-up where we left off in the last book, Wrecking Ball. With the Heffley house left in shambles, they are forced to move-in with Gramma. Of course, this leads them into close quarters and in the needs of a vacation. Having seen how the Heffley’s other vacations have turned out, it was no surprise that this vacation would not exatcly find the Heffley family in paradise. However, when Greg’s mom is determined to do something, do it they do.

Pick-up a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Deep End, and join the Heffley family on their RV road trip. With the Covid pandemic, I think we can all feel a bit of what Greg and his family are going through on their vacation. But don’t forget to laugh.

As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on…Two Novels by Wendy Jones

Book Reviews

I was gifted the book The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones. I thought to myself, what an odd book to give someone. Is this about funerals? How morbid!

The book, however, is not about funerals persay. It is about the life of a young man who happens to be an undertaker. Wilfred Price. Wilfred is an interesting young man. A very likable chap really. The book is based around the one mistake he makes, by asking a young woman to marry him and then deciding he has made a mistake. So before things get out of hand, Wilfred decides to take back his proposal. Of course, things are not as simple as that and so the story continues.

The book is set in 1920’s England. In a quaint village where everyone knows everyone and everyone wants to know everything. It is hard to keep secrets in such a place. Although there are secrets being kept, which will lead to complicate Wilfred’s life.

The book is well written. I can “see” the village and the characters very clearly. The book is amusing, funny, serious, mysterious, etc… A nice read.

I enjoyed The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals very much. So much so that I ordered the next book, that finishes Wilfred’s journey, before I had even finished the first. The next book, The World is a Wedding, takes right off from where we left off with Wilfred and the other characters. It really is a must read or however will one know what happens to Wilfred. The World is a Wedding is full of new adventures and surprises. It was not a disappointment and left the reader with a complete feeling at the end.

I would recommentd The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals and The World is a Wedding. I would also suggest getting both. One does not want to be left hanging at the end after all.

As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on… Picnic in Provence

Book Reviews

In a recent post, I gave my take on Lunch in Paris, a memoir with recipes by Elizabeth Bard. Having enjoyed her first book, I decided to follow her journey to the French countryside of Provence. Picnic in Provence is full of more of Bard’s recipes, this time with a flair for the French countryside.

In Picnic in Provence, the now pregnant Elizabeth and her husband set off on an adventure to Provence to visit the home town of Rene Char, a poet that her husband finds of interest. To their surprise and great luck, the home that Char used to inhabit is now available for purchase. Falling in love with Provence, the couple decide to leave Paris for the countryside. They learn to live at a slower pace and decide to become entrepreneurs as well. What town could not use an ice cream shop?

After reading Picnic in Provence, I am ready to pack a bag for France. After all, I am fond of lavender, French cooking, and ice cream. Picnic in Provence did not dissapoint. It was a perfect follow-up to Lunch in Paris. I highly recommend making some croissants and sitting down with a copy of Bard’s latest memoir. Au Revoir!