Friday, June 5, 2020

Everyday Stress Relief by Ruth C. White

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Stress is a natural part of life, and there’s no way to eliminate it entirely—but we can control how our bodies respond to stressful situations. Everyday Stress Relief is the guide to understanding your own stress and finding personal strategies that work to calm your body and focus your mind.
Learn what causes stress and how your body reacts to stress triggers. Then, let research-backed exercises and thoughtful advice give you the tools to effectively manage and mitigate the effects that stress has on your everyday life.

My thoughts-
I think pretty much everyone is extra stressed these days, but even just in our daily lives there can be big stressors that can cause all kinds of mental exhaustion. I like that this book was set up by different kinds of stress that can occur and offers a suggestions for countering that stress with breathing techniques, physical exercise, mantras, ect. I feel like this book could be helpful for literally any person that exists so I recommend it to absolutely anyone. We, especially in the United States, tend to go, go, go, and not really pay enough attention to self care. Everyday Stress Relief is a great place to start to change that.


Friday, May 29, 2020

The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-


After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…


My thoughts-

I have definitely been traveing vicariously through books as all of my travel plans keep getting canceled because of the crazy time we are living in. The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts transported me to a quaint little village in England. I absloutely adored this story. It was a cute boy meets girl after long time apart and girl is now way hotter. There are some cute moments and laughs. This is just the bright spot I needed in my reading repetoire right now, and I cant wait to revisit the town of Cranbridge and Amber and Josh (hopefully) when the next one comes out! 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Stitching a Life by Mary Helen Fein

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-


It’s 1900, and sixteen-year-old Helen comes alone in steerage across the Atlantic from a small village in Lithuania, fleeing terrible anti-Semitism and persecution. She arrives at Ellis Island, and finds a place to live in the colorful Lower East Side of New York. She quickly finds a job in the thriving garment industry and, like millions of others who are coming to America during this time, devotes herself to bringing the rest of her family to join her in the New World, refusing to rest until her family is safe in New York. A few at a time, Helen’s family members arrive. Each goes to work with the same fervor she has and contributes everything to bringing over their remaining beloved family members in a chain of migration. Helen meanwhile, makes friends and—once the whole family is safe in New York—falls in love with a man who introduces her to a different New York—a New York of wonder, beauty, and possibility.

My thoughts-

Stitching a Life is fiction but is based on the author's grandmother's immigration story. The fact that it is rooted in truth and some of these things are things that her grandmother may have gone through makes the story resonate with me more. I spend a lot of time researching my family tree and one of my favorite things to discover in both my tree and my friends when I help them research their roots is the family member that came to the United States.  I imagine their stories, and I imagine Helen's in great detail with this beautiful young adult novel. I can imagine the fear of having to leave her family behind, of having to travel all alone to meet her father in the United States, the anxiety about being in a new country. This was a great story that I urge anyone who enjoys historical fiction or learning about the past to read.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The 30-Minute Gluten-Free Cookbook by Jan Withington

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-


Whether you have a gluten intolerance or you’ve recently decided to cut gluten from your daily diet, making the switch to gluten-free has never been faster, easier, or more delectable. The 30-Minute Gluten-Free Cookbook is the perfect way to start eating smarter and healthier with tons of recipes you can make at home in just minutes.
From Mexican Chili Corn Pie to Teriyaki Chicken Burgers, this complete gluten-free cookbook takes the guesswork out of being a glutenless gourmet. Discover everything you need to whip up delicious dishes you’ll enjoy. With this all-in-one gluten-free cookbook, you’ll feel great with good food that tastes great too.
My thoughts-
My family all tend to do better on a gluten free diet. I know for me in particular that when I eat foods that contain gluten it causes digestion issues and acid reflux a lot of the time so I definitely try to limit the gluten at our house. I tend to follow a more ketogenic/low carb lifestyle but some gluten free recipes can definitely plug in to those ways of eating and lots of gf recipes for my kids to give a try. We are a pretty busy family between scouts, soccer, and other multiple after school activities between my 3 kids (when we are not on lockdown for a global pandemic, that is) so time saving recipes are my jam for regular weeknights.  There are tons of great recipes in this book for all different times of day, and I like that they lean on the healthier side of things because even eating gluten free you can eat in a not so healthy way. Even though the recipes are healthy they sound like they would be delicious, especially the pistachio cranberry energy bites (which would be a big hit around my house with adults and children alike), sheet pan chicken fajitas, pepperjack stuffed chicken, and pressure cooker beef stew. I am also excited to try a few of the desserts, particularly the lemon curd with mixed berries, which sounds like a perfect end to a summer day. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Essential Middle Eastern Cookbook

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-



Fresh herbs and spices, creamy yogurt, savory skewered meats, and flaky baklava—Middle Eastern cuisine is famous for its vibrant flavors. Now, you can recreate iconic dishes in your own kitchen with The Essential Middle Eastern Cookbook. Packed with 100 classic recipes made simple, this complete Middle East cookbook gives you a true taste of one of the world’s most influential culinary regions.
Try your hand at delectable dishes like Tabbouleh, Lebanese Chicken Fatteh, Spiced Beef Tagine, and homemade Pita Bread with Hummus. All of the ingredients in this Middle East cookbook are easily found in your neighborhood grocery store, yet they stay true to the authentic flavors and textures of each traditional meal. Let’s eat!
My thoughts-
I am married into a Middle Eastern family so I also married into the delicious food of their culture. My husband's family comes from Iran, but we also know that there are plenty of great dishes to be discovered from all of the other surrounding countries, and we often try new cuisines together (whether they be Middle Eastern or from some other far off place). We love discovering the many delectable dishes that are available if you just have a sense of adventure and the patience to look for them. The Essential Middle Eastern Cookbook combines flavors from all over the Middle East, allowing us the opportunity to try new things from many different places, as well as having some of our favorite Persian recipes (Shirazi salad, Gorheh Sabzi, and Kashke Bademjan). There are plenty of Turkish, Lebanese, and recipes from all kinds of other places we can not wait to try. If you have never had food from the Middle East and are intimidated by the different flavors, I urge you to be adventurous and give it a try!

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Shamoun Koya

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-


Ramiza Shamoun Koya reveals the devastating cost of anti-Muslim sentiment inThe Royal Abduls, her debut novel about an Indian-America family. Evolutionary biologist Amina Abdul accepts a post-doc in Washington, DC, choosing her career studying hybrid zones over a faltering West Coast romance. Her brother and sister-in-law welcome her to the city, but their marriage is crumbling, and they soon rely on her to keep their son company. Omar, hungry to understand his cultural roots, fakes an Indian accent, invents a royal past, and peppers his aunt with questions about their cultural heritage. When he brings an ornamental knife to school, his expulsion triggers a downward spiral for his family, even as Amina struggles to find her own place in an America now at war with people who look like her. WithThe Royal Abduls, Koya ignites the canon of post-9/11 literature with a deft portrait of second-generation American identity.

My thoughts-

This book was an emotional one for sure. Books about life during and right after 9/11 are always difficult and emotional, but this is the first one that I have read from the perspective an Indian family, and I know that is even more difficult. I can never pretend to understand what it was like to be seen as a terrorist just for the color of my skin, but my step dad (who was born and raised in Pakistan) and my husband (who is 1st generation Iranian American) can so I have heard these stories and heartbreaks first hand. The Royal Abduls packs a lot of emotional punches and had some pretty heavy content so it is not for the faint of heart, but for a reader who likes to gain perspective on other people's experiences, this book is for you. I did feel the ending was a little anti climatic and open ended, but the author obviously intended it to be so, I just like my stories to be neatly tied up at the end so I know how things turned out, but overall this was a beautifully written book. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Easy Puerto Rican Cookbook by Tony Rican

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-



Puerto Rican cooking is rich with diverse flavors and textures that come together to create a unique culinary experience you could only find on the Island of Enchantment—until now. The Easy Puerto Rican Cookbook is packed with 100 classic recipes made simple, so you can create mouthwatering meals in your own kitchen with ease.
Discover dozens of weeknight-friendly recipes, including a number of dishes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare and serve. Simplify your routine with recipes containing five ingredients or fewer, one-pot meals, slow-cooker dinners, and more. The authentic recipes in this Puerto Rican cookbook focus on whole foods, so you get all of the incredible flavors of traditional cuisine without the salt, fat, and processed ingredients.
My thoughts-
I think this may be the most well organized cookbook I have ever seen. I wanted to read the book to learn more about Puerto Rican food and gather some new recipes but I was impressed by the sheer volume of content, and was particularly thrilled to see catergories like "under 30 minutes" and "one pot" in addition to the traditional categories that you normal find in cookbooks. I was thankful for the introduction at the beginning that briefly goes over Puerto Rican culinary history as I don't know a lot about this particular type of cuisine. The recipes seemed accesible for the most part, although there were some odd ingredients here and there that may not be on the shelves at your local grocery store and may need to be ordered online. There were distinctly Puerto Rican flavors throughout (lots of plantains and sofritos in this book!), which is exactly what I was hoping for. I can not wait to try out some of these recipes.