Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others by Robert Glazer

Wow, I really liked this book. When my sister suggested that I read and review it, I wasn't sure what it would be like.  I researched the author and he seemed legit and it was being published by Sourcebooks, which is a publisher that I've come to greatly respect over the years I've been reviewing books (since 2007).  I decided to find a review copy and read.  I was not disappointed.

Most people who say they want to improve themselves never do anything about it.  They wait for some outside force to magically make them a better person.  I won't happen. Author  Robert Glazer gives examples and concrete activities to undertake to improve, or rather, elevate ones self.
He talks about four elements of the self : spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional.  He emphasises efforts in all four areas at the same time for a balanced growth.

It is clear to me that Mr. Glazer lives what he talks about.  This is well thought out and supported by outside research from a wide variety of resources.  He provides a bibliography for those who want to do further readings, and you will if you are planning to follow his activities.  Though this is a slim volume, it contains a wealth of information and much that you will find yourself pondering.  For example: what are your core values and your goals in life.  Not only your career goals, but your personal goals.  Do your goals match up with your values.

Now that I have read an e version, I am going to purchase a paper copy as I know I'll be coming back to this book again and again as I work my way through the suggested activities.  One of my favourite is making a list of the 30 most significant people in my life.  Each day of the month your are to pick one and have a meaningful contact with them.  A phone call, email or letter, your choice.

Special thanks to my sister for recommending this book.  She has been on Mr. Glazer's mailing list and read his Friday Forward message for quite some time.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Edelweiss and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I remember the mid 80's when there was lots talk about this new disease that seemed to be plaguing the gay population.  Very quickly we learned that people from all walks of life very dying from what became known as AIDS.  This is the book for those who weren't around at that time but who are curious about it was like to grow up then.  

Michael , James and Becky are teen  best friends living in New York City.  They are trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.  Michael is gay but can't tell his family and his older brother was kicked out of the house when he came out.  James is also gay and trying to make a name for himself as a performer.  Becky is dating Andy, though doesn't know if they should remain together.  One thing they all have in common, is that they are scared by this new plague that is striking down so many people in their city.  They are either at risk of catching it, or seeing their friends become sick.  

These are thoughts that teens should not have to deal with.  Their lives should be safe, their parents should want to protect them and not kick them to the street just because they are different.  I remember, at that time there was a saying 'sex is death'.  If that isn't scary to a 16 year old, I don't know what is.

I feel that author Helene Dunbar has handled these topics carefully and respectfully.  She hasn't diminished the importance of them, nor has she glorified any one sides views.  She has been honest and I would say, blunt.  I could almost feel James' fear as he considered when and how to tell his parents that he was gay.  It would never be a good time to tell his dad, but it was getting harder and harder to live with his true self hidden away.

A wonderful book that should appeal to young people as well as those who remember the 80's.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris

The Magic Misfits
This is a delightful start to a new series for middle school readers.  Magic is never more popular than when it is in the hands of children. By magic, I mean the mis-direction and distraction of illusion. You know what I'm talking about, card tricks and such.

Since he was orphaned at a young age, Carter has been living with his not so nice uncle.  Even though this uncle is good at such card tricks, he uses them and Carter to distract his audience while he steals more valuable goods from them.  When he can no longer tolerate what his uncle is doing, Carter flees.

A train lands him in the distant, small town of Mineral Wells.  Carter now must find his way and some allies to help him fit in and feel at home.  Hard to do when living on the street and your own wits.  But help is not far away...  I really can't tell you more without spoiling all sorts of fun and mischief that Carter encounters.

Young readers will enjoy the antics of Carter and those who befriend him.  Parents will like the good choices that he and his friends make and how they support each other.  I appreciated that the children where smart enough to know when it was time to turn to an adult for help.   There are currently two books available in this series with a third due out September 10, 2019.


Monday, 15 July 2019

oops, I have to rip back a bit

I have been holding back here.  I had hoped to post this about 2 weeks ago, but I made a mistake and didn't want to admit it to myself.
The strip the is supposed to go in the middle between the two side panels in the short cowl that I am crocheting is a few inches too long.

How did this happen, I was so careful to count rows.  I even made a chart so I could cross off the rows as I went.  oops, I forgot to include the 8 set up rows. 
Now that I have ripped them back, I am still too long.  Since I have lots of yarn, I am going to add a few more rows to each of the side panels till they reach the length where the edge reaches the lime coloured stitch marker.

Usually, my problem with crochet is that I am too short, but the two side panels are actually longer than the pattern states, so not sure what happened here.  I think I am going to need six rows to match this up.  Not too bad. I can live with that.

Already pondering my next stitching project, oh cross that out, I am going to crochet the SAL with Mikey at the crochet crowd.  He is hosting along with Yarnspiration "Study of Planet Earth".  There is a step by step video tutorial as well as a printed pattern.  I did the last one with him and stitched along with the videos. His tips are great.  I am using one colour from a gigantic ball of yarn that I bought at the Spinrite Outlet in Listowel a few weeks ago.  Yes, that is the home of Yarnspiration.  I'll show you my progress, but first must finished this.

A special request: Please go and visit Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts.  A nasty customer sent her a vile email because there were some errors in a free pattern  that she had published.  The customer was way over the top.  I have met Lorna and bought several of her patterns, one just before writing this post, and she is a lovely woman inside and out.  Please click on the link above and read the letter for yourself and leave a supportive comment for her.  If you feel like it, go check out and purchase one of  her patterns, they are amazing.  I have no personal connection to Lorna, though I do hate when people use the anonymity of the Internet to behave in such horrid manners

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray: Elements of Genius 1 by Jess Keating

Elements of Genius #1: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray
Nikki Tesla has always been a loaner.  When she did attend school, she was bullied and made fun of for being so smart.  Now that she is home schooled she is free to explore subjects that interest her the most.  That is, until a mishap in her lab brings her and her mom unwanted attention.
At her new school, Genius Academy, she must learn to work with the other students there or face expulsion.  Of course, this school is not at all what it seems, and there is much more at stake than Nikki being in class.
There is much to love about this book.  Nikki is finally with a group of students with much in common.  Not only are they all super smart, they all appear to have complex backgrounds.  Can she trust them with her huge secret, will they still have her back once they know.
 I really can't tell you any more about what happens as I don't want to review any plot twists.  This new series from Scholastic is a great addition to the STEM line up of books for middle school readers.   Note: this book reads at a higher level than the Ellie, Engineer series by Jackson Pearce.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, 27 June 2019

the one by John Marrs

I could The Onehardly put this book down.  The premise of finding you perfect match via DNA testing totally caught my imagination.  Even now, a week after reading it, I am pondering such possibilities.

Five very different people decide to send their DNA samples for testing and matching. Their results are very different.  As they proceed to contact and get to know their destined mate, things don't necessarily go as expected.  There are so many twists and tweaks  to their tales that I was kept on the edge of my seat continually.    I can't even begin to tell you more about this novel with out giving away delicious plot points.

I do want to talk a bit about the concept of finding your mate via DNA matching.  This takes away the choice of relationships in the traditional sense.  No randomly meeting and dating and exploring potential partners.  If you had never dated before and just went straight into a match, then you would have nothing to compare your relationship with.  Likewise, if one partner had had a very bad previous partner, how would they feel going straight into such a match.  How could one go from an abusive partner  right into a 'perfect match' and give it an honest try.

The DNA matching had a drastic and almost overnight impact on society.  Traditional dating was coming to an end, existing marriages were being abandoned and current relationship being second guessed.  People were jumping straight in with new partners without getting to know each other.    At the end of the book, I was left questioning whether these new marriages would truly last, or would the newness wear off and the usual things that break them up happen.  What would their children be like. Would they be happier with parents who were perfect for each other.  Then decades later, what would it be like for the children of matched parents to marry.  Would we be looking at some sort of designer people.  For me, one sign of a great book, is whether it sticks with me long after I finish the final page.  This is a great book.


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

I was blown away by this book, it was amazing.

In 1936, American President Roosevelt started the Pack Horse Library project to bring books to people living in remote places.  One of these places was in Eastern Kentucky in the watershed of Troublesome Creek.

Cussy Carter wanted to one of those women.  She wanted to bring reading to her neighbours.  While carrying out this job she faced many difficulties: being a woman riding out alone, visiting people she didn't know and mostly, her colour.  Cussy was blue. She was one of the rare blue people of Kentucky, possibly one of the last.

I like the way author Kim Michele Richardson presented Cussy's clients.  Some welcomed her with open arms, hugging her and thanking her for the books, others greeted her at a distance yet were cordial, some were outright distrustful and wouldn't come near her.  It clearly showed the joys and challenges of the job.

This book is a microcosm study of racism.  Cussy's colour was held against her more so that of the brown/black people.  Much was blamed on her and her people such as bad luck.  Many blue people were killed just because of the colour of their skin.  Even when science showed that the blue colouring was a genetic condition that was treatable, they were still shunned.

We all accept today that literacy opens doors to jobs and increased income.  During the time in which this book was set, schools were not available to all in such rural areas.  The book women also helped to teach their clients to read, which brought them hope for better lives.

For those residents with a distrust of the government, the book women were a positive message that their president cared.

I learned so much reading this book.  There was a lot of history mixed in with the fiction which made for an amazing read.  It also made it hard for me to keep in mind that Cussy was a fictional character and not a real life hero.

I received an advance copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., and Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review.