Colored Pencil Painting Portraits by Alyona Nickelsen

Alyona Nickelsen has written and illustrated a book that is not only informative, but beautiful.  When I opened the book, I have to be honest, I simply could not believe that the pictures I was looking at were done in colored pencil.  They are exquisite!

However, she does an amazing job in sharing what she knows, as an artist, with complete instructions and tips on achieving the results for the reader.  She takes the r4eader step by step, illustrating each of those steps to help achieve the desired results.

I realized very quickly that I was not ready for this book.  I was simply too new in using colored pencils for art, and certainly not ready to do portraits. As a result, I purchased her previous book, the Colored Pencil Painting Bible and am now actively engrossed in creating my own paintings with colored pencils.

I hope to “graduate” and dive into Colored Pencil Painting Portraits.  Meanwhile I do use it to help guide me in my work.

When I first started playing with various artistic mediums, watercolor pencils became by favorite tool.  I quickly realized that with pencils I could create interesting results, actually much easier than with a paint brush.

I am excited about the possibilities I have discovered in this book.

More Info

About the Author

Watcon-Guptill Publications, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-38534-627-6

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Shakti Rising: Embracing Shadow and Light on the Goddess Path to Wholeness

Shakti Rising: Embracing Shadow and Light on the Goddess Path to Wholeness by Kavitha M. Chinnaiyan MD.

Publication date: October 2017

“Pulling from Eastern traditions including tantra and yoga, and focusing on the feminine principle of divine energy also known as Shakti, this book bridges the divide between dualistic concepts and non-dual philosophy. By exploring the symbolism of the Mahavidyas (Kali, Tara, Tripurasundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Tripura Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Baglamukhi, Matangi, and Kamalatmika)—each with a veiled face representing a destructive quality that perpetuates ignorance and suffering, and a true face representing the wisdom that stimulates profound transformation and liberation—you’ll learn to embrace and incorporate every aspect of who you are.”

Fabulous book!!! I not only totally enjoyed it, but benefited from it as well. I have read the books on the Mahavidyas by Sally Kempton and David Kinsley and this author is right up there!

Chapter by chapter you will explore the 10 Mahavidyas, all aspects of Shakti Herself.  You will find things to consider, meditate about and exercises to use to help you identify these archetypes within!  Much of the work is to help you move from our mundane dualistic way of viewing the world. Highly recommend!


The Book of Greens by Jenn Louis with Kathleen Squires

The Book of Greens is a truly beautiful book.  It, and books like it, are what make a book lover want the real thing – an actual book!  When I picked the book up for the first time, I was amazed by the texture of the cover and the embossed lettering.  I felt as though I were caressing something I loved.

Then I opened it. 175 recipes using greens – all kinds of greens, many I have never heard of.  I am so excited to begin exploring these recipes for new taste delights.

The photographs, by Ed Anderson, are stunning.  The foods are rich in color, each picture a work of art that creates a mouth watering response!   I love to cook and so cookbooks are an essential in my home. I have always been a believer in eating whole foods and plenty of vegetables and I admit, greens are my favorite.

Tomorrow night I am going to try the Grilled Romaine Hearts with Bagna Cauda for a spicy, salty treat!

A related article by authors – Go Green.

And another – Tender Bok Choy Salad with Chicken and Orange

More information about the book.
Here you can read an excerpt from the book.
Read about the book from the publisher – see the praise for the book and view the fabulous table of contents. Take a look inside the book to see what I am talking about!

Author Bio

The Book of Greens
Ten Speed Press, California/New York
ISBN 978-1-60774-984-4

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola

I have been familiar, as most are, with the work of Dr. Mercola.  From his TV shows to Internet advertising, he has come to be known as a health expert.  In Effortless Healing, Dr. Mercola reveals the nine simple secrets to a healthier, thinner you.

I am already a very healthy eater, paying close attention to getting plenty of fruits and vegetables and protein in my diet.  I was surprised to find out that whole grains were on his do not eat list but I understand.  They may take longer to metabolize into sugar but eventually they still do.  I am thinking that if weight is not an issue, then some whole grains are fine but to lose weight – they have to come off our list of healthy foods to eat!

His nine steps include water consumption, enjoying the sun, a healthy gut and one of my favorite things to do – “going barefoot.”

I make my own yogurt and kefir. I make and consume fermented vegetables. I eat healthy fats and am very careful about the fish I purchase.  So the information about whole grains, I will take to heart and restructure my eating plan.

I like his natural approach to healthy eating and truly believe that it is the primary key to good health.

Mercola D.O., Joseph, Effortless Healing, Harmony Books, Penguin Random House, LLC, New York  2015 ISBN 978-1-101-90289-9

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss by Stephanie Rose Bird

I have to tell you – I am having so much fun with this book!  First let me tell you this is NOT another diet book!  This book is for those of us on an Earth Path who struggle with diets that don’t work! It is filled with Goddess lore, rituals chants, affirmations and so many natural ways to support natural and healthy ways to nourish our bodies so that we reach our goals while at the same time – well – we have so much fun!!

When we seriously want to lose weight, going on a diet is not the answer.  What does work –  taking a look at how we nourish our bodies – what we put in it and examining if it supports a healthy, lean body or not.  There are many books, Internet articles and other ways to inform ourselves about that.  But what none of them do is give us wild, beautiful ways to support ourselves as we do what we know we must do to have healthy and happy bodies.

Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss brings us help from many different pantheons, with crafts to make, things to do, and rituals that will bring us the power of those goddesses, being supported all the while with aromatherapy and flower essences.

So, if a healthy, happy body is where you are headed, bring your sensible weight-loss program and grab a copy of Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss: How Earth Rituals, Goddess Invocations, Incantations, Affirmations and Natural Remedies Enhance Any Weight-loss Plan.

To read all about it from Stephanie herself go here…

Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss

Stephanie Rose Bird

To purchase a copy

Bird, Stephanie Rose, Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight ISBN: 978-0-9955478-4-1, Green Magic Publishing, Somerset, England, 2017

skinnytaste Fast and Slow

book coverHow can you go wrong when you offer a cookbook that covers all this?

  • Quickly prepared food
  • Food cooked while you are away in a crockpot
  • Food to help you slim down
  • Food that tastes fantastic
  • Food that looks beautiful
  • Food that is healthy and good for you
  • Easy to follow recipes
  • Images of the finished product

Gina Homolka has done an amazing job of providing all of this in skinnytaste – FAST AND SLOW.

I am a cookbook lover!  That’s because I love to create in the kitchen and I enjoy, not only using great recipes but using other’s recipes to create my own inventions in the kitchen.

I love cookbooks that offer basic kitchen set up ideas, common ingredients used, recipes that are easy to follow and images that make my mouth water.

Gina Homolka has succeeded in all of this plus she has added a full month of “good for you meals” for a 1500 a day calorie food plan for every meal of the day.

Gina Homolka’s Website

Read About it at Publisher’s Site

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow
Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes
Homolka, Gina
Jones, R.D., Heather K.
Clarkson Potter/Publishers
Crown Publishing
New York, October 2016
ISBN 978-0-553-45960-9

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”


Extraordinary Ordinary Moments: A Journal

Extraordinary Ordinary Moments: A JournalI had a wonderful surprise left at my doorstep today. I received a copy of Extraordinary Ordinary Moments: A Journal by Jorey Hurley. The description of the book mentioned mindfulness, which is why I was interested in getting it. I try to be in the present moment as much as possible and have found life to be so much more enjoyable because if it.

I am a total failure at keeping a journal. I really want to write down thoughts and feelings but when I pull a journal out, I sit there with nothing to say. My friends and I have discussed this and I know it isn’t just me.

To my delighted surprise, I don’t think I will have that problem with Extraordinary Ordinary Moments: A Journal. Jorey Hurley has managed to create a journal perfect for me and I am sure many, many others. Each page has a short little phrase suggesting in such a way as to just be a nudge, to start you thinking … and writing. Also, she has a small illustration in a corner of each page to go along with the suggestion.

What is wonderful about the book itself is the cover. It has been made so that you can lay the book flat on a table for writing and it won’t hurt the spine.

I am delighted and have started my journal with page one, “something full of possibilities.” How nice to end each day with some small idea that brings out an extraordinary ordinary moment.

About the Author
Jorey Hurley studied art at Princeton, design at FIT, and law at Stanford. Today she is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and the author of three children’s books, Nest, Fetch, and Hop, which have been praised by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Apartment Therapy, and others. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, two young daughters, and dog. Visit her at to see more art and to purchase prints.

ISBN: 978-0-553-45946-3
Clarkson Potter/Publishers
Crown Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC
August 9, 2016 | 368 pages

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

A Modern Way to Cook

A Modern Way to Cook
large-cover-anna-jones by Anna Jones
150+ vegetarian recipes for quick, flavor-packed meals

I love cookbooks.  This one arrived today and I am devouring it with such excitement that I can’t wait to get in my kitchen! It has wonderful pictures of the completed recipes with ingredients that are fresh, flavorful and exciting!

Cooking is my hobby and I am always looking for new ways to prepare my food.   Ms. Jones offers ideas to get your meal on the table in a few short minutes to those asking for a longer investment of time. These recipes are Innovative, creative and mouthwatering! This book makes vegetarian eating look like a whole new idea.

What excites me the most is her liberal use of herbs and spices in her amazing vegetarian delights.  She offers recipes for meals at any time of the day as well as desserts.

One thing I really like is that she creates a type of meal – a meal in a bowl – a salad – and then gives you options in combinations of ingredients to add to your bowl – each one a different meal and so easy to prepare!

This is a beautiful, hard bound book and one you will love adding to your cookbook collection!


“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”