Frequently Auto-Approved
Reviews Published Challenge Participant

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Make Space by Regina Wong

I will definitely be buying this book! It is full of helpful tips about decluttering, meditation, gratitude and, generally living a more peaceful life.  I especially found the sections about decluttering books and paper useful. It is hard to keep only those books that you love and will reread when you have a whole lot of unread ones, however! Wong probably doesn't say anything new about decluttering but she does tell you how she deals with 'stuff' and I liked her suggestions.

She even has a section on budgeting which can be summarised by Oscar Wilde's advice: 'When you only have two pennies left in the world, spend on on bread and the other on a lily.' He valued the need to eat, but he also wanted beauty.  Wong sets out how to budget in a minimalist manner.

I also liked the sections on finding one's passion and putting all the advice together. Wong's story of how she found her passion is interesting and I also liked her advice about letting go, dealing with stress and considering the worst that can happen.  She also provides a useful list of resources and notes.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Eight is Enough A Father's Memoir of Life with his Extra Large Family by Tom Braden

(The cast of the TV series 'Eight is Enough,' Wikipedia)

I would love to have a big family and I enjoyed this series, but, unfortunately, I found this book a bit dull and polemical.  I wanted to know more about the children and less about the differences between the generations.  I did think that it would be more of an amusing and light book.

However, I really enjoyed reading about the famous people who Braden and his wife knew.  For example, they were good friends of the Kennedys - Jackie and Joan (Braden's wife) seemed to be especially close.  There was also a fascinating anecdote about Rosa Lewis and the old Cavendish Hotel.

Braden's book about his time in the OSS might be more interesting.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

After Many Years Twenty - One "Long Lost" Stories by L.M. Montgomery by Carolyn Strom & Christy Woster

Sand Dunes on P. E. I. (Wikipedia)

This collection of short stories by L.M. Montgomery isn't as enjoyable as the novels but it does have Montgomery's charm and magic. Filled with unusual characters and descriptions of the beauty of Prince Edward Island, they are a joy to read. Any Montgomery fan will want to read them.

There's the naughty orphan boy who makes friends with the old judge, old Miser Tom who sits under the apple tree, the strange and messy family who provide their judgemental neighbours with a wonderful dinner and the matchmaker who uses reverse psychology to get a young couple together.
These are just some of the memorable characters in these stories.  Montgomery has an almost mystical relationship with nature so even trees, such as the apple tree, become like people in her stories.

I prefer her series, but I have always loved L M Montgomery's stories as well so it was wonderful to find a new collection.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION  Paperback
ISBN         9781771084994
PRICE      $21.95 (CAD)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How To Color Like An Artist Instructions for Blending, Shading and Other Techniques by Veronica Winters

This is an excellent introduction to using coloured pencils by artist Veronica Winters. She recommends the best pencils and paper to buy, explains techniques, such as rubbing and shading, and textures and provides lots of step-by-step demonstrations. It is probably better to buy the printed version unless you are used to printing pages from ebooks.

Winters also provides tutorials and video demonstrations at her website. Most of them cost a small amount of money.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION
ISBN
PRICE

Saturday, July 08, 2017

God Moments Unexpected Encounters in the Ordinary by Andy Otto

I went to a service in Exeter's beautiful cathedral last Easter where I listened to a brilliant service partly about  finding God in the moment.  It was an extremely cultured presentation, however, and a bit difficult at times. I would like to read it!

This book is a clearer and simpler extension of the subject and not just for Catholics, although it is certainly written from a Catholic perspective and based on St Ignatius's system of prayer.  The most important principle of Ignatian spirituality is finding God in all things.    helps readers to do that and uses anecdotes to show how this has helped him during his life.

Many suggestions in God Moments involve using steps. For example, Otto lists the way to make an important decision using Ignatian spirituality. He also writes about St Ignatius's famous Examen in detail, explaining all the stages required to complete this each day. I found the firs part of this very helpful - asking God for a grace in the morning. It's certainly a lovely and soothing way to start the day when you remember to do it!

Many religious books are quite heavy and boring, I am sorry to say. This one is well-written, profound and interesting, and I actually enjoyed it!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION
ISBN
PRICE

Friday, July 07, 2017

Illuminating Women in the Medieval World by Christine Sciacca

Christine de Pisan educating women. http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/winter_2010/endnotes/an-educated-lady.html

This is a beautiful book which is worth buying for the luminous images of the medieval manuscripts but it is also a fascinating look into the world of the women in this era.

Medieval women are usually thought of as being  idle and wealthy, damsels in distress, nuns or prostitutes. The truth is very different. Women played a big role in the economy. Merchant's wives sold their crafts at markets and participated in the trade of goods and poor man's wives worked in the fields. Aristocratic women often commissioned manuscripts, became patrons of art and the higher-ranking ones even played a part in negotiations. Saint Hedwig, for example, had seven children, assisted her husband, a former duke, with peace negotiations, and after she and her husband made vows of chastity, she sponsored religious houses and cared for the poor.  She is also supposed to have performed miracles so she became a saint.

Some women, such as Christine de Pisan, Helouise and Hildegarde of Bingen, also played important roles in the arts. Christine de Pisan and Helouise wrote while Hildegarde composed wonderful music, amongst other things. Other women illuminated manuscripts themselves or had their own images or words placed in works that they commissioned.

This book covers a wide range of topics, such as how women were viewed, the ideal women,'bad' women and marriage and courtly love. Each chapter contains manuscripts illustrating these subjects.  Although piety and obedience were regarded as virtues, I liked the fact that strong-willed and courageous Biblical women, such as Judith who slayed an Assyrian general in his sleep to save her people, were also greatly admired.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval women.

I received this free book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's Always Summer Somewhere. Lilly. Palm Beach, Tropical Glamour and the Birth of a Fashion Legend by Kathryn Livingston

By WestportWiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Lilly Pulitzer should have had the world at her feet- she had a wonderful husband who was also handsome and wealthy and much-loved children - however, she found herself suffering a nervous breakdown in a New York institution. She married young and eloped, thinking that it would 'be just another adventure,' however, she started to find marriage difficult and the heat and humidity of Florida wore her down.  After a few months there, the psychiatrist told her that there was nothing wrong with her and she just needed to find something to do! 

This was hard because she dropped out of college and she had an extremely privileged background although she had worked as a volunteer for the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky which was very tough. Lilly had to travel long distances in mountainous terrain riding a mule or a horse and assist at home births in this wild hinterland.

Her husband grew orange trees in Florida and Lilly came up with the idea of selling orange juice from a stall in a swish street in Palm Beach. She also delivered oranges to back doors of houses which she was accustomed to entering from the front! Beautiful and dark-haired, Lilly looked like a barefoot Gauguin princess as she made the orange juice. She was friendly and approachable so all the wealthy shoppers stopped to chat and buy some juice.

It was uncomfortable selling orange juice in the heat and Lilly was inclined to spill it so she designed a brightly coloured printed dress that wouldn't show the stains! So many women asked her about the dress that she started selling them and the 'Lilly' was born. Soon, Lilly was able to get her sister, who had more experience in fashion, to help her and she was also assisted by famous artists. She opened her own boutique and when her old friend Jackie Kennedy started wearing Lilly dresses, the business really took off. The dresses even sold in the winters. As Lilly said: "It's always summer somewhere!"

Lilly Pulitzer's story reads like a fairy-tale, although she certainly had her share of problems. I really enjoyed this book with its fascinating history of Palm Beach and Lilly Pulitzer's success, however, I did feel that the author was a bit too impressed with incredible wealth and glamorous parties at times.  

I certainly want a Lilly dress myself now, but it will have to be a maxi, unfortunately!

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.