Sunday, August 7, 2022

BOOK REVIEW [The Joy of Forest Bathing by Melanie Choukas-Bradley]


The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnecting with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life by Melanie Choukas-Bradley was very inspiring. It was a very gentle and loving call back to nature. It was a very easy read and the reading touched on the essentials of this very important aspect of humans as products of nature. The author started off with a lovely introduction about her memories and how she came to love and respect nature. Her nice explanation of the origin of forest bathing was simple and inviting. The book read like a song to me as the author described some of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of making time to enjoy a running stream, your favorite tree, flowers in bloom and observing the directions of a gentle breeze.

The author offers some lovely suggestions on how to begin the process of forest bathing. She makes it sound so easy and she doesn't tie you down to any strict rules on “how to” instead she allows for the reader to develop creative ways of connecting with nature with just 3 simple guidelines to remember for the best experience. See Chapter 1 for these. The author takes you through the seasons of the year as a way of maintaining this sacred union and also understanding that you can start anytime of the year. In each season chapter, she offers ideas on some of the things that you can look for as you explore nature in the winter, spring, summer, or fall.

The illustrations in the book and the fact that it is a hardcover made it very appealing. The simplicity of the drawings was very inviting and lovely. It brought out some of the inner child as I looked at the animals that were drawn, the foliage, and even the photographs that were included, all enticed me to want to get out to nature.

There are also very nice resources and recommendations at the end of the book that can assist with those who are interested in learning more about forest bathing.

I gave this book a 5 ankh because it is a very soothing calm way to disconnect from technology and release some stress. It is also a way of appreciating the natural beauty around us. I'll be forest bathing.

K. Akua Gray
August 7, 2022
Cape Coast, Ghana

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnecting with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life by Melanie Choukas-Bradley at a great discount price. Thank you for your support. 

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

BOOK REVIEW [Yin Yoga Book by Diane R. Paylor]


It’s been a minute since I wrote a review, but I haven’t stopped reading the wonderful enlightening books that you all have been sending and sharing. I live by the words “everything in divine time” and I invite you all to share in the bliss and calm that it brings as you anticipate my review of your divine offerings to the world. So, lets get this party started again with Yin Yoga by Diane R. Paylor!

Although I have been doing yoga for more than twenty years, the words Yin Yoga together as a system had not crossed my path until the second decade of the 21st century. So, upon receiving a copy of Yin Yoga from the publisher, I was quite excited to see what this system of asanas had in store. When I first thumbed through the book, I was immediately intrigued by the many floor friendly asanas which is something I had been personally looking for in my own weekly practice of yoga. All of the yoga routines, from all of the classes, from all of the books, from all of the teachers had you up and down constantly. Seeing, the routines of all floor asanas got me very excited.

As I finished out my Kriya studies for the season, I knew I had to move into Yin Yoga next. I studied and read the book twice, its an easy read to ensure I understood the movements and asanas. A few of them were unfamiliar and had very unique names for yoga poses. Windshield wiper, happy baby, and banana-asana which turned out to be my favorite of all the twenty-five poses were special to do and say. After practicing the individual poses for a couple of weeks as an addition to my daily physical nourishment, I was ready to move into the “Balanced Sequences”! They too had very interesting names that fit quite well how Ms. Paylor arranged them. A few of the ones that intrigued my whole being and opened some intense vibrations for me were the Attitude Adjustment from Chapter 5 Energy Rising, Deep Relaxation from Chapter 6 Grounding, and Spine Saver from Chapter 7 Body Matters. I am now moving into Chapter 8 Seasonal Practices and I intend on using Yin Yoga as a guide into the coming year of my yoga journey.

Now let’s talk about the book. I love the cover with the drawing because it speaks to every woman, she has no defining characteristics except being female. This is a good neutral representation to welcome all. The choice of colors reminds me of papaya, tropical, healthy, and sweet! Great color scheme throughout the book. The author gives a brief introduction on Yin Yoga, and this is good because if you are excited about learning Yin Yoga as I was, you will appreciate her brevity. She then goes on to explain how to do each pose and offers modifications and variations to suit every yoga skill level.

I can imagine by now you know I really liked this book and have thoroughly enjoyed working through the programs weekly. My rating for Yin Yoga: Essential Poses and Sequences for Balanced Energy by Diane R. Paylor is 5 ankhs. I highly recommend it for all those who want an easy way to get into yoga and for those already doing or teaching to add this book to your resources. 

K. Akua Gray
September 16, 2021
Cape Coast, Ghana

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of Yin Yoga By Diane R. Paylor at a great discount price.  Thank you for your support. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

BOOK REVIEW [Intermittent Fasting For Women: Guidance And Meal Plans To Reset Your Metabolism And Lose Weight By Lori Russell]

This is a practical and useful book. Intermittent Fasting for Women is one of those little books that can make a big difference for women who want easy to apply information on intermittent fasting. The topics and the layout are arranged well and easy to follow; Fasting vs. starving, Myths about fasting, The nutritional needs of women, and The health benefits of fasting.

The author includes good fasting schedules graphics and helpful menu suggestions for each of the fasting plans. There are a few recipes included and the two that intrigued my interest to try were the just – spicy – enough citrus energizer. It was surprisingly very delicious considering it is made with grapefruir juice. The second recipe was a delightful surprise. The Moringa Person includes one of my favourite superfoods. Moringa olefera is one of the most nutrient-packed supplements available in all the tropical regions of the world. This warm soothing drink is excellent as morning starter. Now, the recipe calls for tablespoon of moringa powder. However, a teaspoon is a really all the average person needs as a daily intake of this potent nutritional supplement.

In the tips and best practices, the author says everything right; like, drink lots of water, don’t rearrange social plans, and how to quite stomach growls. I think that women looking for a good start in understanding and applying intermittent fasting to their eating life style will find this gentle encouragement just right. Good job, Lori Russell.

My rating for this book is 4ankhs. I was given a free copy from the publisher. 

K. Akua Gray
October 3, 2020
Houston, TX

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of Intermittent Fasting For Women: Guidance And Meal Plans To Reset Your Metabolism And Lose Weight By Lori Russell at a great discount price.  Thank you for your support. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

BOOK REVIEW [Habits & Attitudes by Lance A. Casazza]

 “Live your life like it’s a work of art”
 ~ William Widmaier

Compilations like Habits and Attitudes by Lance A. Casazza and 52 amazing individuals are always a pleasure to read. The variety and resounding words of inspiration creates a continuous flow of good vibes. The book starts off strong with an introduction from the author on his personal journey that helped him develop good habits and attitudes. Casazza opens the way with lightness that propels you with excitement to keep reading.

“So, if jackals presently surround you, you are about to start flying with eagles.” 

The double introduction by Dr. Charmaine Magale adds to the excellent start of the book as she highlights the mental science behind habits and how they function and dictate our daily lives. She informs that, “… an estimated 40 percent of the human day is actually habits that have been programmed into your brain and require very little effort.” Both are excellent introductions.

Each essay in the book has 5 components; first is a business introduction to each writer which is good if the reader wants to follow up with the services or products the writer provides. Second, is their story introducing who they are as a person and a professional. Third, is the habits they developed that add to their success. Forth, is their take on attitude and what it means to their life, and last is a “parting shot” that rounds up the advice and adds a little more treasures to take with you. Overall, the book is good collection. However, some of those typical best practices in life get repeated a lot; like exercise daily, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep. I liked engaging with each author, it was enriching because they all come across as old friends of different personalities; the sponky one, like Kathryn Stark, the old wise one like Dr. Charles Ward, the humorous one like Josh Mathe and the free spirited one like William Widmaier.

I had a few underlines and folded page corners that I’ll be referring back to as reminders for myself. Some of my favorites start with Lance A. Casazza with him quoting John Dryden, “First we make our habits, then our habits make us” and adding, “…how you choose to envision the world is exactly what you will see”. Another quote that set well with me was, “Positivity helps you to focus, work hard and is incredibly infectious” – Jody Steinhauer. I was also surprised to see the publisher of the book, 3LPublising, Michelle Gamble included in the essays! Nice work, Michelle.

Habits and Attitudes delivers what it set out to do. It is a good pep talk kind of book for helping to put into perspective concrete thought processes and actions for long term personal and business progress. Although based on my rating scale, it’s not a 5, I can definitely recommend Habits and Attitudes and give it 4 ankhs. I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

K. Akua Gray

August 20, 2020

Houston, TX

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of Habits and Attitudes at a great discount price. Thank you for your support. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

BOOK REVIEW [Life Transformed; Six Steps to A Future Beyond Your Imagination by Becky Boddicker Prater]


“Sometimes having a plan still results in a future beyond what our mind might imagine. And I love that”.

The call to work on self for health and wellness is the theme of Life Transformed; Six Steps to A Future Beyond Your Imagination by Becky Boddicker Prater. It is a viable workbook that opens the mind to good ideas to change for the better. I see where the writings can be very helpful to beginners in self-care. From Step 1: Know Thyself, the author gives the reader space to explore in detail inner depths of the mind, emotions, and spirit. Step 2 is a very good progression in that it gently encourages several powerful self-reflections on what you know you need to change about your life. This nice evolution of encouragement then goes on to help the reader foster healing through meditation exercises and a law of power reminder to let go of people that don’t support your highest good. Progressing further Step 4: Define the Future, the reader will find an impressive checklist of “must-have” suggestions that are excellent aspirations if you are truly working on your life.

“I am available for abundance, joy, happiness, information, guidance, love and wonderful opportunities”. I like quote from Step 6: Take Inspired Action. This chapter propels the reader towards right now commitments to change. It’s one thing to read about change and talk about change but doing change is the only thing that matters.

The author concludes with a dose of reality and sound advice. Sometimes, a person may need professional help with some situations in life and “healing with help” is an open option. As a naturopath, I enjoyed seeing the information on alternative health modalities being suggested in addition to traditional western treatments. And just in case you start strong and fall off, or if you doubt these methods of change can work for you, the author presents ways of moving beyond setbacks and fear.

Overall, Life Transformed is a unique and well put together workbook that I can recommend to those who are ready for personal growth. The book is very easy to follow and user friendly. Good work, Becky B. Prater. 4 ankhs

 K, Akua Gray

August 20, 2020

Houston, TX

ou are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of Life Transformed at a great discount price. Thank you for your support. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

BOOK REVIEW [Vegetable Gardening for Beginners by Jill McSheehy

I have been gardening for more than twenty years, however I have always had my husband there (he’s really the master gardener) to help in every step of the way from building the raised beds to harvesting and replanting for the next season. This year was different. COVID-19 has separated us on two continents; 5000 miles apart. So, this year, our Texas garden was all up to me and after doing all the preliminaries of getting the beds ready, I wanted to be sure I have done everything to have a successful growing season. This free copy of Vegetable Gardening for Beginners by Jill McSheehy came just in time for me to have a quick and easy resource for my gardening checks and balances. I love this book! It really is a simple guide to growing vegetables at home!

Everything in this book from beginning to end is on point, like 7 things to know before you grow, different types of gardens, necessary tools to have and “nice-to-have tools”, common companion planting combos, building your raised beds, and checking your soil quality. It sounds like a lot of information, and it is, but the layout and writing gives you just the right amount of information.

Jill McSheesy highlights all the common vegetables that most people love. I found all but a few of the vegetables that I planted in the book. Each vegetable page gives all the vital information for a successful crop including growing zones, spacing, sun needs, water needs, what to watch for when growing, harvesting, storing and common problems.

Speaking of problems; spring time equals moths equals holes in the leafy greens. When I first noticed the caterpillars devouring my collards and kale, I came to the book to see what I could do different to save my favorite greens. In 20 years, I had never used a floating row cover or Bacillus thuringiensis and they both solved the problem for me.

VGFB has made this year of gardening on my own a wonderful learning experience. I’ll continue to use this book as a quick reference. I highly recommend this book to all gardeners; new and seasoned. 5 ankhs, love it.
K. Akua Gray
June 15, 2020
Houston, TX

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of Vegetable Gardening for Beginners at a great discount price. Thank you for your support. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


“The important takeaway is that I will continue to catch my missteps, sometime before they happen, sometimes as they are happening, and sometimes after they happen – this means I am learning. Correcting my mistakes by adjusting my thinking and doing is how I will grow as a human.” 

Quotes like this make the first two chapters of I Am What's Wrong by Sheila M. Burke the highlights of the book. She begins with some good straight talk about self-realization and the follies of religions that profess to be loving and compassionate, but:

“If our religions are teaching us that it’s okay not to be inclusive – or that love and respect is optional based on belief-then we need to question what we are being taught because something, somewhere, has been lost in the translation. It is critical for humanity to apply its common sense to our respective religious beliefs and ask how these beliefs support humanity as a whole and also our own consciousness.”

I did find upwards of ten quaotables that I can hold on to for inspiration. Self-help writers really do try to help people with their positive powerful words and that is cleary evident in Mrs. Burke’s book. Every single chapter of the book takes you to therapy. The chapters are short, which is good because by chapter 9, you will get the point of the whole book, however in the remaining chapters, the author keeps saying the same thing over and over in a different way. This type of self-awareness book is good for beginners and I hope it gets in the hands of the right people.

The book can be just as effective by taking out the repetitive information and reducing the size of the book. Another thing about I Am What's Wrong, is that you quickly realize the chapters are collection of self-help brochures with those neat get fixed quick lists that are used for attention grabbers in marketing. For example: 

Chapter Four – 7 Things You Can Do Now to Change the World
Chapter Six – 10 Ways to Grow as a Human
Chapter Seven – 11 Ways to be a Helper
Chapter Eight – 11 Benefits of Inspirational Quotes and Tips for Using Them
Chapter Ten – 42 Healthy Habits for Being a Better Human
Chapter Twelve – 15 Things Animals Will Teach Us About Life
Chapter Fifteen – 27  Easy Peasy Ways to Be a Better Human

Most seekers of self-improvement don’t process wellness information like this especially if they are random or abstract learners. If you’re genuinely on the path of making a difference with your life in the world and you choose to read this book, it would be best to read a chapter, work on the suggestions that apply to you, then come back for another chapter once you are ready for change more.

I was giving a free advance copy of this book for my honest opinion and I give this book 3 ankhs. It is good for beginners.

K. Akua Gray 
June 3, 2020
Houston, TX 

You are welcome to use my affiliate link to order your copy of I Am What's Wrong at a great discount price. Thank you for your support.