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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber (Book Review and Giveaway!)


I have a guest review today on a nonfiction book that addresses the evolution of buildings, transportation and power. If this is something that interest you, read on.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 290 pages
Genre: Non-fiction Futurism
Publisher: DW Books
Release date: July 2020
Tour dates: Jan 11 to Jan 22, 2021
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

The evolution of buildings, transportation and power will determine how our future looks and feels, and in the book Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber argue the Energy Efficiency Megatrend will shape our future technology. Buildings and vehicles will evolve into sentient-appearing machines such that we will be living, working and moving about inside robots. Buildings may develop personalities and the transportation system will have any manner of vehicle available at a moment's notice. This complex, interconnected system will be powered by the clean and efficient conversion of fuels and energy flows that surround us.


Guest Review:
Reviewed by Jack Zaleski:

Five stars. This book really captured my imagination and got me thinking – about a lot of things! Hard to ask for more than that from any author! It is also well written and enjoyable to read.

The overarching theme of the book is what the authors call the “Energy Efficiency Megatrend.” This will be accomplished by the ever-increasing information intensity of digital technology. They make the interesting point (and provide examples) that not all technologies will advance at the same rate – some aspects of technology will change at much slower rates.

One consequence of the megatrend is the convergence of buildings, transportation and the electrical power grid into a single system providing huge increases in efficiency which will require less material, motion, energy, and time. Not only will structures become much more energy efficient in the future, but the construction time to build them will drop drastically thanks to 3D printing, robots, and AI.

A fascinating portion of the book is entitled “Sentient-Appearing Buildings,” where the authors cover topics including programmable matter and how engineering at the nanotechnology level may well allow for buildings to essentially become shapeshifters. New materials, like graphene, coupled with sensors will allow the structure to physically change itself to accommodate the needs of the occupants. Self-repair of itself will likely be a standard feature of most future buildings.

In addition, printed electronics, embedded sensors, and communications technology will allow wall surfaces, both interior and exterior, to serve many purposes such as screens, power generators and as air filters. As the authors speculate (page 81), “Screens will be everywhere. Your walls may serve as a TV or computer screens, display Monet’s water lilies, pick up where you left off in the book you are reading, or conference in your partner at the office.” They point out that the company “Meural” already sells an electronic art screen that can download art and pictures from the internet which you cycle through by waving your hand or can program to play as desired. This interactive screen technology, they believe, will be a standard feature built into future walls. All this left me wondering (hoping) whether this technology can be retrofitted (affordably) into my existing house. 

I was particularly interested in urban farming, and forests because it had never been well explained to me. The authors did a good job of doing just that, by including not just the potential benefits but also the challenges involved and citing examples not just of what, to date, has worked but also what has not – why.

Lots of interesting tidbits can be found throughout the book. For example, the authors point out that covering building exteriors with plants is a good way to help air quality, but that in some climates synthetic carbon capture may be necessary. It turns out that high tech artificial leaves on artificial trees can capture much more carbon than natural trees. They share the observation that, “We may see a mixture of natural and artificial landscapes in the future. Buildings and cities may still be green, but it won’t all be natural.”

The only areas the author’s neglected to address was security and privacy. The highly integrated future presented in the book also seems especially vulnerable to hacking and the intentional disruption by bad actors. Ameliorating outsized security vulnerabilities would require significant (and continuous) defenses which will drive operating costs up. 

At a policy level, exactly who owns and operates this future? The state? Private companies? At the time of this writing the tech titans of Silicon Valley have exerted their power over several politicians and companies in the U.S. effectively silencing them. So, I have to wonder if, in this future, I was to order something from Amazon that was deemed inappropriate (e.g., a MAGA hat), or wrote something that was deemed unacceptable – does my house get shutoff? There are clearly tools of coercion that can come with this future and we should give thought to the tradeoffs involved between convenience and comfort on one hand, and personal freedom on the other.


Buy the Book:


Meet the Authors:


Roger Duncan is a former Austin, Texas City Councilmember and the former General Manager of Austin Energy, the municipal electric utility. He is also a former Research Fellow at the Energy Institute at the University of Texas.

Michael E. Webber is the Josey Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas, and Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a multi-national energy services and ingrastructure company.

Connect with the authors: website





Enter the Giveaway:
Ends Jan 29, 2021






A Rush of White Wings by Pamela Ford (Review and Giveaway!)


Once again, talented Pamela Ford took me on an emotional journey with this well-written Irish-themed love story. Enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: A Rush of White Wings: An Irish Historical Love Story by Pamela Ford
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +), 382 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Aine Press
Release dates: October 2020
Tour dates: Jan 6 to Feb 2, 2021
Content Rating: PG-13: There are two pretty mild love scenes, short and not explicit. Virtually no swearing except the more common Irish versions: "Jaysus" or "Jesus, Mary and Joseph."

Book Description:

The best journey brings you home

Boston, 1849. Shattered by the devastating loss of his wife and children during the Irish famine, Sean Deacey has given up on love and happiness. So when he rescues an infant from an immigrant shipwreck, he gives the orphaned babe to his sister Kathleen and her husband. They raise the boy as their own – until Ailish Sullivan arrives two years later claiming the child is her last living relative and demanding his return. 

A legal fight ensues, and Sean befriends Ailish, determined to change her mind and keep her from destroying his sister’s family. But when friendship leads to understanding, he is torn between the desires of both families. And as his feelings grow for a woman he knows he should not want and can never have, he faces an agonizing choice – stand with his sister or follow his heart. 

Award-winning author Pamela Ford explores the bonds of family as she takes readers on an uplifting emotional journey through grief, sacrifice, and the power of forgiveness.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

A Rush of White Wings is the sequel of To Ride a White Horse, however it can be read as a stand alone. Once again, talented Pamela Ford took me on an emotional journey with this well-written Irish-themed love story. A novel that explores not only romantic love, but familial love between a child and its parents.

Kathleen and Jack Montgomery (characters from the first book) adopt Will, a child that was miraculously rescued from a shipwreck. Two and a half years later his aunt Ailish (I love that name) finds him and wants to raise him as her own as she promised her sister she would do if anything happened to her. The question is, does she have the right to take the child after he has been with his new parents for over two years? And what happens when you adopt an orphan during a time when adoption laws were at its beginning stages? 

I was fascinated as the author explored issues of legal rights, grief, sacrifice, mother-and-child bond, the meaning of family, and following one's dreams. The court case that ensued and how the judge handled the case were so interesting to me. And of course, there is the story of Sean and Ailish, with overtones of Romeo and Juliet. The couple who are each on opposite sides of the dilemma. The characters are realistic, as was the setting and the plot.

I loved this historical fiction story that touched me deeply, bringing tears to my eyes on several occasions. The last quarter of the book had me racing through the pages eager to see how it would all finally be resolved. Emotional and heartfelt, this novel will please fans of historical fiction and women's fiction. A good satisfying and touching book.



Buy the Book
Amazon.com
B&N ~ Apple ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay
Add to Goodreads


About the Author:


Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot. After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam spent many years as a copywriter and freelance writer before inserting a plot twist in her career path and writing her first book. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a National Readers' Choice Awards finalist, a Kindle Book Awards finalist, a Maggie Awards for Excellence finalist, and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist.

Connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 9, 2021

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Face Fitness: The 10 Minute Face Lift by Gregory Landsman (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)


Today I'm spotlighting a book that helps us make our faces look younger naturally.

Book Details:

Book Title: Face Fitness: The 10 Minute Face Lift - How to take years off your face naturally! by Gregory Landsman
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 67 pages
Genre: Beauty & Grooming; Health & Wellness; Self Help
Publisher: Hill of Content Publishing
Release date: Nov 2018
Tour dates: Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021
Content Rating: G


Book Description:

FACE FITNESS: HOW TO TAKE YEARS OFF YOUR FACE NATURALLY! TAKE UP TO 10 YEARS OFF YOUR FACE IN JUST 10 MINUTES!

With no invasive procedures, no anaesthetic, no face fillers, no unnatural substances and no expense, FACE FITNESS shows how to:
• Give yourself a tighter, more youthful looking face
• Enhance your cheek bones
• Tighten skin around the eyes
• Reduce and soften lines around the mouth
• Plump out forehead worry lines
• Tighten jowls, neck and jawline
• Use food to optimise the health of your skin

FACE FITNESS techniques will also improve collagen production naturally, increase skin moisture levels, reduce pore size and smooth out the texture of your skin. Based on ancient knowledge from Indian sages, these powerful techniques have been adapted by Gregory Landsman as an effective and genuine alternative to a surgical face lift that gets results without the huge price tag. It can help you retain and regain a vibrant face without nipping or tucking the skin or the facial muscles. This is not only a technique for wrinkles and sagging muscles, but a means of prevention as well.


Watch the trailer:






Check Out The Entire 10 Years Younger Series:


The complete solution to PREMATURE AGING. The simple, effective, science-based methods in these three books give everyone the opportunity to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age…for next to nothing!
  • Get your skin back on track after the holidays with the most powerful anti-aging ingredients found in everyday foods.
  • Fulfill a new years resolution to look your best self at every age with simple effective methods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin that will take years off the face.
  • Spend some time nurturing yourself and take years off your face for next to nothing.
  • This new year get the same results as expensive cremes without having to leave your kitchen.

    Each book stands alone, focusing on a different method to achieving younger looking skin i.e. Face Value - DIY topical treatments; Face Fitness - facial exercise; and Face Food - anti-aging foods). Together they represent the ultimate guide to younger, healthier and more vital looking skin at any age.

“With knowledge and know how we can counteract and prevent premature aging, as small changes make a big difference to the way we age over time.”
Gregory Landsman


To receive a free copy of Gregory’s e-book, STOP SKIN AGING PREMATURELY, which includes a list of the most powerful cortisol lowering foods go to: https://gregorylandsman.com/



Meet the Author:


Gregory Landsman is one of the most noted global beauty and wellness experts in the world, a best selling author of nine books, and a TV host who specializes in using food to take years off the face naturally.

Having worked in the beauty industry for 30+ years Gregory believes that looking youthful goes well beyond waging war on wrinkles, and that how we age is 100% controllable. His natural methods are used globally by models, shown in universities and recommended by doctors.

Often referred to as ‘The Beauty Advisor’, Gregory’s books and global TV program Face Lifting Food show viewers how to create quick skin-boosting meals and powerful skin treatments using everyday foods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age.

Gregory is a strong voice for inclusion. His book, Faith Lifting Prayers is a celebration of humanity and captures his journey of extremes; from Apartheid South Africa to working at the height of the fashion industry, and his fundamental discovery that regardless of what we do, how we look cannot be separated from how we feel. This is why all of his books, even those about looking younger, all feature his own quotes and philosophy about the importance of feeling good in our skin. His book A Lifetime of BEAUTY also shares messages for early teens and middle years about embracing our differences and our individuality; finding happiness; and standing strong in a world that often judges us for the way we look. This book is endorsed for inclusion in the education system.

Connect with the author: website ~ podcast ~ goodreads





Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 28, 2021


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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Dragons Don't Dance Ballet by Jennifer Carson (Book Review and Giveaway!)


A lovely picture book about perseverance in the pursuit of one's dream and about the power of friendship. 

Book Details:

Book Title: Dragons Don't Dance Ballet by Jennifer Carson
Illustrated by: Eric Afuso
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 36 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Vinal Publishing
Release date: December 8, 2020
Tour dates: Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021
Content Rating: G 

Book Description:

Esmeralda Dragon works the spotlight at the Metropolitan Ballet, but what she really wants to do is dance. Encouraged by her friend Harold to audition, Esmeralda takes a leap of faith only to discover that she doesn’t quite fit in with the other ballerinas. But Esmerelda isn’t ready to give up–and neither is Harold! Dragons Don’t Dance Ballet is a whimsical picture book that challenges body image expectations and encourages little ones to go for their dreams.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Dragons Don't Dance is a picture book about perseverance in the pursuit of one's dream. It's also a book about the power of friendship. Why are there no ballerina's that are heavier in weight yet who are just as graceful in dance? It's hard to break the stereotype of the very thin ballerina. This book shows that all body types can dance ballet if they really practice and set out to learn.

The book is well written and uses ballet terms throughout. It would have been useful and fun to have had a glossary in the front of the book for those readers who may not be that familiar with ballet expressions such as demi-pliĆ©, glissade and petite cabriole. I liked the watercolor illustrations. They were age-appropriate rendering Esmeralda the dragon lovely in all her towering height and body weight.

This picture book shines with the message that bigger children can be ballerinas too. It can help the child who lacks confidence and who does not believe they can be graceful in dance just because of their body size. Dancing is for all ages and sizes! And we cannot forget Harold, Esmeralda's friend who encouraged her, had faith in her and joined her in her dream. A lovely book about breaking stereotypes.



Buy the Book
add to Goodreads


Meet the Author:

Jennifer Carson lives in Michigan with her husband, four sons and many furry friends. She grew up on a steady diet of Muppet movies and Renaissance faires and would occasionally be caught reading under the blankets with a flashlight. Besides telling tales, Jennifer likes to create fantasy creatures and characters and publishes her own sewing patterns. Her artwork and patterns can be seen online at thedragoncharmer.com.

Jennifer's work has been featured in national magazines including: Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Faerie Magazine, Soft Dolls and Animals, Teddy Bear and Friends, and Dolls United.Jennifer's work has been featured in national magazines including: Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Faerie Magazine, Soft Dolls and Animals, Teddy Bear and Friends, and Dolls United.

Meet the Illustrator:

Hi, I'm Eric and I love to tell stories through my art. Even before I knew what a illustrator was, I can always remember having a pencil, paper, and plenty of imagination on hand to illustrate new adventures.

It is with much excitement and anticipation that I announce that two books I have illustrated will be published in the near future in 2020.

I previously worked as a graphic artist in the apparel industry creating numerous pieces of art and designs that were printed on top selling pieces of children's clothing sold through major retailers such as Walmart, Macy's, The Children's Place, and Target.

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest near Seattle, Washington with my wife and two children.


Connect with the author: 

Connect with the Illustrator:



Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 12, 2021


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Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Jan 17 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share our news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

So Quebec is once again the epicenter of Covid-19 in Canada. The curfew, however, seems to be going well. Our numbers are starting to diminish. Because I work in healthcare and with seniors I was offered the vaccine. I was vaccinated on Thursday. The side effects that I felt were a sore arm and fatigue.

It's snowing this weekend. A heavy wet snow...you know the kind that's hard to shovel. But without snow, winter can be long. At least the kids can go out to sled and the adults to ski. I like to take long walks trudging through the snow by the river.

Hope you are all well. Stay safe and take care of each other.


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I reviewed and/or featured last week:
 

This was a  good historical fiction novel set in Scotland during WWI.



I list my bookish and non-bookish goals for the year. So far I'm sticking to them and this has made my blogging more organized.



I spotlight a book that has caught my attention. I like making my own beauty products but sometimes I don't know where to start. Check out the trailer and you will be inspired!



This is an important book that would be an essential addition to any home, school or community library.




Currently Reading in Fiction:



 


Currently Reading in Non-Fiction:



Blue Sky Kingdom by Bruce Kirby
15% complete

He's Not Lazy by Adam Price
20% complete

Heart Breath Mind by Leah Lagos
5% complete 

Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression by Miriam Akhtar
20% complete 




Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.



Friday, January 15, 2021

MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel (Book Review & Giveaway!)


This is an important book that would be an essential addition to any home, school or community library.


Book Details:

Book Title: MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 64 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Mascot Books
Release date: Jan 5, 2021
Tour dates: Jan 5 to Feb 1, 2021
Content Rating: G for everyone.

Book Description:

M.C. is a cancer cell who shares just enough information about the nature of the disease to promote dialogue and minimize fear. The scary part of cancer is the unknown. Learn about doctors who look for cancer. Understand feelings children experience and learn ways to cope. Empower children with knowledge and how to make a difference. M.C. Plays Hide & Seek strengthens communication and builds emotional health.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

MC Plays Hide and Seek is an educational book meant to introduce children to cancer disease. It's a book that will open discussion in a safe way and can be used as a teaching tool whether a child knows of someone with cancer or not. The book is marketed as a story but it's really a book of facts with cancer personified as a gender-neutral cartoon that describes what it does. I didn't particularly like the look of the cartoon, but maybe it was done intentionally since cancer is an ugly disease.

The book uses photos of children and medical staff with few illustrations apart from M.C. itself that appears on every page. The children and people depicted in the photos are of people from different backgrounds and ages. I thought this book a very clever way to help a child understand cancer with a message that hope, joy and love can make good things possible every day.

I think this is an important book that would be an essential addition to any home, school or community library.


Buy the Book


Meet the Author:


Eva Grayzel is a motivational speaker, storyteller, and cancer survivor. When her children were five and seven years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Their fear of losing her was deep, real, and suppressed. When she got a second chance at life, she created the Talk4Hope book series to help children understand cancer and make it less scary.

Connect with the author: 



Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 8, 2021


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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Face Value: DIY Secrets to Beauty and a Younger Face by Gregory Landsman (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)




Book Details:

Book Title: Face Value - DIY Secrets to Beauty and a Younger Face by Gregory Landsman
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 67 pages
Genre: Beauty & Grooming; Health & Wellness; Self Help
Publisher: Hill of Content Publishing
Release date: 2020
Tour dates: Jan 11 to Jan 29, 2021
Content Rating: G.

Book Description:

FIND SOME OF THE MOST POWERFUL ANTI-AGING PRODUCTS USED IN EXPENSIVE BEAUTY CREAMS IN YOUR OWN KITCHEN!

Following the success of the best selling first edition, the new revised version of Gregory Landsman’s Face Value is jam packed with simple DIY secrets to beauty and younger looking skin that can achieve powerful results in a very short time. Featuring an entirely new chapter on rejuvenating night serums, Face Value will change the way you think and approach beauty as you discover that utilizing natural ingredients can provide real and lasting solutions to give you a natural glow and a younger looking face.

Find recipes to…
• Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
• Stimulate collagen production
• Improve skin firmness and elasticity
• Protect skin from damaging free radicals
• Rehydrate, tighten and tone the face
• Restore the skin’s radiance and natural pH levels
• Reduce age spots, pigmentation and blemishes

With Face Value, you can achieve younger looking skin without having to leave your own kitchen!


Watch the book trailer:
After watching this, I was so motivated to start making my own beauty products!





Buy the Book:
Add to Goodreads


Check Out The Entire 10 Years Younger Series:


The complete solution to PREMATURE AGING. The simple, effective, science-based methods in these three books give everyone the opportunity to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age…for next to nothing!
  • Get your skin back on track after the holidays with the most powerful anti-aging ingredients found in everyday foods.
  • Fulfill a new years resolution to look your best self at every age with simple effective methods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin that will take years off the face.
  • Spend some time nurturing yourself and take years off your face for next to nothing.
  • This new year get the same results as expensive cremes without having to leave your kitchen.

    Each book stands alone, focusing on a different method to achieving younger looking skin i.e. Face Value - DIY topical treatments; Face Fitness - facial exercise; and Face Food - anti-aging foods). Together they represent the ultimate guide to younger, healthier and more vital looking skin at any age.

“With knowledge and know how we can counteract and prevent premature aging, as small changes make a big difference to the way we age over time.”
Gregory Landsman


To receive a free copy of Gregory’s e-book, STOP SKIN AGING PREMATURELY, which includes a list of the most powerful cortisol lowering foods go to: https://gregorylandsman.com/


Meet the Author:


Gregory Landsman is one of the most noted global beauty and wellness experts in the world, a best selling author of nine books, and a TV host who specializes in using food to take years off the face naturally.

Having worked in the beauty industry for 30+ years Gregory believes that looking youthful goes well beyond waging war on wrinkles, and that how we age is 100% controllable. His natural methods are used globally by models, shown in universities and recommended by doctors.

Often referred to as ‘The Beauty Advisor’, Gregory’s books and global TV program Face Lifting Food show viewers how to create quick skin-boosting meals and powerful skin treatments using everyday foods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age.

Gregory is a strong voice for inclusion. His book, Faith Lifting Prayers is a celebration of humanity and captures his journey of extremes; from Apartheid South Africa to working at the height of the fashion industry, and his fundamental discovery that regardless of what we do, how we look cannot be separated from how we feel. This is why all of his books, even those about looking younger, all feature his own quotes and philosophy about the importance of feeling good in our skin. His book A Lifetime of BEAUTY also shares messages for early teens and middle years about embracing our differences and our individuality; finding happiness; and standing strong in a world that often judges us for the way we look. This book is endorsed for inclusion in the education system.

Connect with the author: website ~ podcast ~ goodreads




Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 28, 2021


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, January 11, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Resolution/Hopes for 2021

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it. You can do a list of 3 or 5 or 20, whatever you decide. And you can put a spin on the topic if you need to. Each week there is a new list to create. This week's topic is:

Resolution/Hopes for 2021

Bookish Goals:

1. Read 100 Books
Last year I read almost 80 books and I know that I could reach a goal of 100 because I plan on listening to more audio and reading more children's books.

2. Add my reviews to Goodreads
I haven't always been consistent in doing this and then I'm caught scrambling at the end of the year. This year I'm posting my review on other sites as soon as it's published on my blog. No more procrastinating.

3. Read all books in my NetGalley account
I have 7 books currently on my shelf, 4 of which are for upcoming tours and 3 are overdue reviews.

4. Participate in the challenges I signed up for 
Nonfiction Challenge, A to Z Reading Challenge, and my personal ones: I Love Italy Reading Challenge, Time Travel Reading Challenge and Reading the World Challenge

5. Read more books from my personal shelf
I have too many books! Books that I've been wanting to read and that I sometimes forget I own. Time to change that and start digging in my own bookshelves to find my next read.

6. Prepare my posts ahead of time
When I manage to do this, blogging is less stressful regarding deadlines. So I want to be more consistent about prepping my posts.



Non-Bookish Goals:

1. Get more sleep
I want to establish a better sleep routine which consists of being in bed at 10 pm so that I am asleep by 11. It's a hit and miss with me so this goal is priority.

2. Continue intermittent fasting
I've gained some weight during the fall with the lockdown and not being as active as usual. Intermittent fasting helps me to feel better and to lose weight.

3. Cut down on my sugar intake
I'm already pretty good with this but I know I can do better.

4. Exercise more
Getting on my bike and getting a good cardio is easy in the summer but not as easy when the weather is cold. Besides walks I've been negligent and need to work out more.




How about you? 
Do you like to set resolutions or goals to start off your year?



Sunday, January 10, 2021

Beauty Among Ruins by J'Nell Ciesielski (Review and Giveaway!)


 A good historical fiction novel set in Scotland during WWI.

Book Details:

Book Title: Beauty Among Ruins by J'Nell Ciesielski 
Category: Adult Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Scottish
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release date: January 12, 2021
Content Rating: PG (some minor violence, war themes)

Book Description:

In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

A Scottish lord and an American socialite discover love during WWI in this gorgeous historical romance from Ciesielski (The Socialite)…The undercurrent of mystery and Ciesielski’s unflinching approach to the harsh realities of wartime only enhance the love story. Readers are sure to be impressed.’ –Publishers Weekly


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The book description and that gorgeous book cover drew me in to read this historical fiction novel set in Scotland during WWI. Lily Durham is an American socialite who is sent off to England by parents tired of dealing with her frivolous ways. After spending time with her cousin in England Lily joins her as a nurse's aid in Scotland to care for injured soldiers who are recovering in a convalescent home set up at Kinclavosh Castle. There she meets the brooding laird, Alec MacGregor.

Lily has a cheery disposition and she is forever getting in trouble with the matron nurse. She manages to befriend Alec's sister Viola who is sickly and in need of a friend. Lily is not in the least deterred by Alec's moodiness, his temper or his tendency to brood. Her positive outlook cracks through the armor of pride and responsibility that Alec carries heavily on his shoulders since he has been left with his late father's crippling debts, and a delusional cold mother who offers no comfort for their predicament. His castle is falling apart and he is desperately trying to save it. 

Throughout Lily's time helping the injured soldiers at Kinclavosh Castle, several incidents happen that cast suspicion on someone trying to slander and ruin Alec's reputation. This adds mystery to the story but it seemed pretty obvious to me who was out to get Alec. I was frustrated at times that more wasn't done to try to figure out who was behind these incidents. The story was long and it seemed to drag in the middle. 

I enjoyed the setting and Lily's character was refreshing. She had a goodness and a love for life that was misunderstood by her parents, but appreciated by a man who desperately needed someone to believe in him. The romance was good, the story well-written and the plot revolving around the war compelling. The mysterious elements at times detracted, but overall this was an interesting read.



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About the Author:


With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.

Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com. You can also find J’nell on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.


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Beauty Among Ruins



Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Jan 10 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share our news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

What a week! Between the storming riot at the White House to a 4-week lockdown with curfew (8 pm to 5 am) that started here in Quebec yesterday, there is much causing a buzz. Our numbers have risen considerably and our health care system is overtaxed, hence the stricter measures put in place. I have never lived in a place with a curfew before so we will have some adapting to do since the fine varies from $1000-$6000 if caught past the curfew without a valid excuse!

Hope you are all well. Stay safe and take care of each other.


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I reviewed and/or featured last week:
 

I really enjoyed this one. It's a well-written historical fiction novel rich in Irish lore and satisfying in its romantic plot.


Here are a few books I enjoyed that could help with setting your goals for the year




Currently Reading in Fiction:


 


Currently Reading in Non-Fiction:



Blue Sky Kingdom by Bruce Kirby
7% complete

He's Not Lazy by Adam Price
20% complete

Heart Breath Mind by Leah Lagos
5% complete 

Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression by Miriam Akhtar
20% complete 




Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.



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