Tag Archives: non-fiction

The Read List: Do Your Om Thing, by Rebecca Pacheco

Do Your Om Thing

Do Your Om Thingby Rebecca Pacheco:

YOGA, MEET LIFE.

Sometimes an hour-long yoga class is the only chance we get to connect meaningfully with our bodies and our minds during an otherwise hectic week. For a brief moment we’re able to let our worries melt away and feel relaxed, centered, and fully ourselves. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to bring that experience out of the yoga studio and into your everyday life?

In Do Your Om Thing, master yoga teacher and creator of the popular blog OmGal.com Rebecca Pacheco shows us how to do just that. The true practice of yoga, she says, goes deeper than achieving the perfect headstand—it is about bringing awareness and intention to every part of our lives. In her warm, personal, and often hilarious prose, Rebecca translates yogic philosophy for its twenty-first-century devotees, making ancient principles feel accessible, relatable, and genuinely rooted in the world in which we live today.

Quotable: 

What I have to say about meditation boils down to this: it never hurts. It always helps. It costs nothing, and it improves everything. There are so few things on earth of which this can be said.

My thoughts, in list format:

  • Do Your Om Thing wasn’t quite what I expected. I think I expected more of a memoir-like book, which this really isn’t. And really, now that I’ve reread the synopsis, I’m not sure why I drew that conclusion in the first place!
  • I’m new to yoga myself, and there is a ton of stuff in here that’s really interesting. And there are pictures! In black and white, but still quite helpful.
  • My favourite chapter? The Chakras: Feeling Light from the Inside Out. It feels comprehensive without being too overwhelming, and each chakra is accompanied by an “essentials” box that I’ll definitely be turning to over and over again.
  • I probably would have enjoyed a more me-to-you style, but there’s so much information in here and I think the author’s teacher to student style works well overall. There is a lot to take in, but I never found it dry or boring.
  • The book’s subtitle is “Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life Style”, and scattered throughout are suggestions on how to do exactly that. In the chapter on yoga philosophy, for example, there are sections throughout on how to do your om thing, with practice tips and thoughtful questions to ask yourself.
  • This isn’t a book to read through just once. There’s a lot in here, and I think to truly get the benefit of the book you have to commit to really incorporating all these things into your life.

Overall, an interesting book for someone interested in going beyond attending a few yoga classes a week.

Thank you, once again, to the fabulous Trish and TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to investigate this book!

Reading Journal: Working Stiff, The Damned

Since I don’t write a whole lot of reviews (although I’m hoping to change that—but the idea is still a speck in my mind’s eye, so to speak), I thought I’d start a weekly “Reading Journal” post. More for myself, really, to help me keep track of my thoughts about my reading.

Because, you know, Bad Book Memory. Oh, so bad. I’m surprised sometimes I remember what I read last week.

Anyway …

Working Stiff

I just finished Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell and it was so good. I listened to it in audio, which was a great choice; narrator Tanya Eby was a good fit to the material. As you might expect, there were some (well, okay, lots of) gory bits but I was so enthralled with this behind-the-scenes look at a medical examiner’s life, I winced but easily moved on.

Near the end, Melinek recounts her time working in the aftermath of September 11, and these scenes stole my heart. She was right there—cataloguing the bones and fragments of bones, because for the most part that was all there was to catalogue. If you’ve been thinking about reading this one, you should definitely take the plunge.

What’s next? I have three books that I need to get to. Three scary novels by Canadian authors! I missed the Dark Side Tour—partly because I had a heck of a time finding the website for the tour and then when I did, I could have sworn I added it to Todoist but I can’t find the link now and Google’s no help. My memory tells me my last chance to meet Andrew Pyper, Rob Pobi and Nick Cutter here in Toronto was this past weekend, and I wasn’t able to make it (and I really really wanted to “do” an author event! *wails*). But it’s okay, because I have their books to read still. That’s what really counts, right?

I’m probably most excited about Andrew Pyper’s The Damned, because I had quite enjoyed his previous book, The Demonologist (my review here– yes, I actually wrote a review of it!). The synopsis for The Damned:

Most people who have a near-death experience come back alone…

After he survived a fire that claimed the life of his twin sister, Ashleigh, Danny Orchard wrote a bestselling memoir about going to Heaven and back. But despite the resulting fame and fortune, he’s never been able to enjoy his second chance at life.

Ash won’t let him.

In life, Danny’s charming and magnetic twin had been a budding psychopath who privately terrorized her family—and death hasn’t changed her wicked ways. Ash has haunted Danny for twenty years and now, just when he’s met the love of his life and has a chance at real happiness, she wants more than ever to punish him for being alive—so she sets her sights on Danny’s new wife and stepson.

Danny knows what Ash really wants is him, and he’s prepared to sacrifice himself in order to save the ones he loves. But to do this, he’ll have to meet his sister where she now resides—and hope that this time, he can keep her there forever.

Sounds good, right? And I’ve read a few reviews that say it’s a good read. So The Damned is definitely up next. Along with Good Omens and A Dark and Twisted Tide, both of which I’ve started.

What have you been reading recently?

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, by Joe Dispenza

I’ve been reading Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, by Joe Dispenza as part of an informal book club with some of my friends. And since I happened to be in a sketchnoting frame of mind while I was reading it, I ended up taking sketchnotes of every chapter.

Here are my notes from chapter one (click on the picture for a bigger version). Please excuse the sparkly nature of the pen; I’d just come across an old set of really nice gel pens and couldn’t resist using them (I used a different colour for each chapter of the book – thankfully, the lighter pens were used for later chapters!).

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As you can see from my notes, the book goes quite a bit into quantum mechanics, and how we can apply what we know of the quantum field to “rewiring” ourselves and breaking out of old habits. It’s a very interesting discussion, although sometimes the application of theory seemed a little bit forced to me. But since I believe there are mysteries of life and consciousness that just aren’t explainable by our current scientific knowledge, that didn’t bother me much.

For me, the power of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself lies in the four week meditation program outlined in the last half of the book. I actually spent several weeks going through the process – but found myself resisting taking it beyond week two every single time.

But luckily, I’ve been reading this book with some friends of mine, one of whom went all the way through the four week process – and rather inspiringly, she has been experiencing all sorts of lovely and welcome career-related surprises in her life. I am currently standing at one of those proverbial forks in the work/life road, and such surprises would definitely be an asset right around now!

So I ended up going to Joe Dispenza’s site and buying the MP3 download of the guided meditation, which was what my friend was using as a companion to the book. The book refers to this meditation a few times; unfortunately, access to the meditation doesn’t come with the book but both Ward and I have been doing the meditation for a few days now and I’d say it’s well worth the $4.95.

For one thing, each time I’ve finished the meditation (which, at over an hour, is quite long) I find myself just bopping with energy. This morning, right after I finished, it occurred to me to go to the local coffee shop and work on my current novel. I spent a wonderful two hours there, and managed to discover the solution to a plotting problem I was facing.

Pretty powerful stuff. If you’re into the quantum mechanics aspect of changing old habits, you’ll probably find the book interesting. And if you find yourself having problems with the meditation program outlined in the book, you might want to give the guided meditation a try.

At the very least, Ward and I are both enjoying our meditation practice a lot more these days!

Kobo eReader, and What I’ve Been eReading

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I was given a Kobo eReader for my birthday and yes, it’s definitely been keeping me busy!

I was able to move my library of ePubs bought from the Sony Reader Store onto my Kobo eReader – it was something I could have done before on my iPhone, by moving the ePubs to the Stanza app, but I never got around to it before now.

If you’re new to the Kobo eReader, or thinking of getting one, I highly recommend downloading the Calibre ebook management program. I was already using it to convert public domain PDFs from Project Guttenberg into ePub format, as well as converting my own WIPs into ePubs so I could do a first readthrough on my iPhone, but as it turns out, it’s a fabulous program for managing ebook content on the Kobo eReader; it’s a great way to selectively weed out the 100 classics that come preinstalled on the device.

But the thing I really like about my Kobo eReader is that I can now read DRM-protected PDFs on the go!  I have several of these, and up until now, they’ve been stuck in my “I’ll get around to reading them someday” pile because I haven’t been using my netbook very much, and I simply don’t like reading books on my desktop monitor.

Mind you, it’s not perfect (and that’s a function of PDF as a format for ebooks, and not the device itself)  – the reading experience depends on each individual PDF. With some PDFs, I can select an optimum font size and I’m still able to read each page in whole on the screen; other PDFs require me to choose either a too-small font size in order to fit an entire page onto the screen, or scroll back and forth. And let me just say, scrolling back and forth on a page (or up and down), is not fun.

So DRM-protected PDFs are now (mostly) readable on the go. But when it comes to my preferred ebook format, it’s definitely ePub.

I’ve been reading a fair bit on my new eReader. The funny thing is, I still prefer reading on my iPhone (which is why I’m holding out for an iPad for Christmas …).

What I’m eReading on my Kobo eReader right now:

No One Lives TwiceNo One Lives Twice, by Julie Moffett. This ePub came to me courtesy of NetGalley and Carina Press. Carina Press is Harlequin’s digital-only imprint publishing across a wide range of genres, and No One Lives Twice sounded like a book I’d love:

I’m Lexi Carmichael, geek extraordinaire. I spend my days stopping computer hackers at the National Security Agency. My nights? Those I spend avoiding my mother and eating cereal for dinner. Even though I work for a top-secret agency, I’ve never been in an exciting car chase, sipped a stirred (not shaken) martini, or shot a poison dart from an umbrella.

Unfortunately, it turned out I was wrong – and this is through no fault of the book itself. It’s just that it isn’t a match to my taste as a reader. I’d been anticipating more of a thriller novel with a female genius computer hacking main character doing lots of extraordinary things, but No One Lives Twice is more of a romantic suspense novel, with two possible love interests (who are both referred to in the rest of the synopsis, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t warned), and the extraordinary genius computer stunts are performed by one of the love interests and a set of super-smart twins (so far, anyway – I’m on chapter 18 of 26).

While it’s not really to my taste (I’m just not much into romance when it comes to books), there are lots of fun dollops of humor in it and the writing style is an easy read, so if romantic suspense is a genre you enjoy, you can check out the excerpt at Carina Press here.

Hacking Timbuktu

Hacking Timbuktu, by Stephen Davies, is a YA novel scheduled for release this coming November. I received my ACR courtesy of NetGalley and Clarion Books, and have just started reading it.

Danny is a freelance IT specialist–that is, a hacker. He and his pal Omar are both skilled at parkour, or freerunning, a discipline designed to enable practitioners to travel between any two points regardless of obstacles. This is fortunate, because they’re off on an adventure that’s filled with obstacles, from locked doors to gangs of hostile pursuers. Together they follow a cryptic clue, find a missing map, figure out how to get to Timbuktu without buying a plane ticket, and join the life-and-death treasure hunt, exchanging wisecracks and solving the puzzle one step at a time.

I am familiar with parkour, or freerunning, because it’s something my husband is interested in (and participated in, until he hurt his knee last year). It’s exciting to watch, and the pairing of it with the computer hacking is intriguing to say the least. So far, I’m on page 70 of 274, and Hacking Timbuktu is living up to its promise.

The LineupI am midway through The Lineup: : The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler:

What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Jack Reacher a drifter? How did a brief encounter in Botswana inspire Alexander McCall Smith to create Precious Ramotswe? In The Lineup, some of the top mystery writers in the world tell about the genesis of their most beloved characters–or, in some cases, let their creations do the talking.

If you find these questions interesting – and I definitely do! – you’ll love The Lineup. I’ve also discovered some mystery series that I’ve now added to my TBR list. As a writer, the essays in this book are especially interesting; it’s a peek into how a series character has developed, and absolutely fascinating from a writing point of view.

The Element

I’m also on chapter 3 of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, by Ken Robinson:

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.

I’m really enjoying reading the various stories of all the different people in the book; the rest of the material isn’t quite as interesting, as it simply reinforces what I already know to be true. But it’s fun learning things like the fact that Elvis Presley didn’t make his high school glee club because the director of the club thought Presley couldn’t sing!

Mailbox Monday – March 2

mailboxIt’s time for Mailbox Monday again – Mailbox Monday is hosted each Monday by the Printed Page, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to check out the books people have added to their TBR piles in the last week.

Here’s what arrived in my home this week:

Chick lit: Midori by Moonlight, by Wendy Tokunaga. I won this book in a giveaway over at S. Krishna’s Books and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Mystery: The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz. This one caught my eye while I was out shopping – it looks like a fun quirky mystery kind of like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovitch.

Paranormal: Marked, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast. This is the first in the House of Night series.

Young adult: Family Affairs: Secrets of My Hollywood Life, by Jen Calonita. This isn’t the first in the series, but I bought it anyway – it just looked too interesting to resist.

Non-fiction: The Towering World of Jimmy Choo, by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira De Rosen. I love shoes – need I say more? ARC courtesy of Bloomsbury.

Children’s Books: Little Skink’s Tail, by Janet Halfmann. This delightful picture book has already reaped a tower of awards; I’m definitely looking forward to reviewing this one. Review copy courtesy of the author and Sylvan Dell Publishing.

What books came into your house this past week? And don’t forget to hop over to the Printed Page to see what treasures have arrived at other book bloggers’ houses, too!

Mailbox Monday – A Big List

It’s Mailbox Monday again – this is where I get the chance to list all the books that came into the house this past week.

This past week, I more or less made up for the the sparse new arrivals a few Mondays ago

I made the mistake of ambling over to Chapters.ca to buy a few non-fiction titles I’ve been really wanting to read. “Mistake” I say, but of course, my bookish heart doesn’t really mean it! I had a load of fun (I ended up spending a very long time in the bargain section, too), and it was kind of like Christmas all over again when the two big boxes of books were delivered. Then, a little later in the week, my husband and I popped into Sam’s Club for a look, and I couldn’t resist a few more books.

Here’s the list of what I bought this past week:

Non-fiction titles:

Memoir: Yes Man, by Danny Wallace. I just couldn’t resist this one – it sounds like such a happy, fun read.

Spirituality: Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn, by Florence Scovel Shinn. This book, and the following five titles are on the recommended reading list of a course I’m taking.

Spirituality: Awakened Imagination, by Neville Goddard

Spirituality:Bridging Science and Spirit, by Norman Friedman

Spirituality: Miracles of Mind, by Russell Targ and Jane Katra

Spirituality: Three Magic Words, by U.S. Andersen

Spirituality: Your Faith is Your Fortune 1941, by Neville Goddard

Children’s books/Non-fiction: The Cranium Big Book of Outrageous Fun, by Cranium Inc. This was on sale, and I couldn’t resist. (Note: I’m not sure how many more times you’ll read “I just couldn’t resist” in this post. No need to count, though. Seriously. I already know I’m letting my book-a-holic status out in the open with this post.)

Fiction titles:

General fiction: Thanks for the Memories, by Cecelia Ahern (I see that Amazon has this listed as Hardcover, to be released in April 2009, but the copy I have is a UK paperback version, published 2008). I enjoyed the movie PS I Love You (although I haven’t read the book), so I thought I’d give this one a try.

Children’s books/Mystery: The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright. This is a book I talked about in a recent Friday Finds post.

Chick Lit: Diary of a Blues Goddess, by Erica Orloff. Couldn’t resist this one.

Chick lit: My Heart May Be Broken, but My Hair Still Looks Great, by Dixie Cash. Couldn’t resist this one, either.

Chick Lit/Mystery: The Prada Paradox, by Julie Kenner. I read the Givenchy Code and enjoyed it, and this one was listed at a bargain price, so I thought, why not? (Those two little words lead me into trouble a lot). I also recently discovered I had The Manolo Matrix in my stash, unread, so the timing seemed right.

Children’s books: The Private Notebooks of Katie Roberts, by Amy Hest. This book combines the two diaries of Katie Roberts (age 11, and then age 12) set in the years after World War II.

Young adult/Fantasy: The Kingdom Keepers, by Ridley Pearson. I haven’t read this series yet, but it’s been on my i-want list for a while. What exactly happens at Disney after dark? What a great premise!

Young adult: Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong), by Carrie Rosten. I simply could not resist this one.

Children’s books/Mystery: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas (Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars), by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin. This looked good, and is a great fit for the Baker Street reading challenge I’m doing this year.

But wait! There’s more!

A few weeks ago Michelle from Random Reading and I arranged to do an exchange of books, although it was a lopsided exchange, to say the least, as I got a whole bunch of Ngaio Marsh books plus a Donna Leon book, and Michelle only wanted two of mine in return! As luck would have it, Michelle’s package arrived last week too:

Mystery: A Venetian Reckoning, by Donna Leon – I have read one previous book by Leon and enjoyed it very much, so I’m thrilled to have this one in my stash now.

Mysteries, all by Ngaio Marsh (the links are to the only versions that Amazon has; they aren’t the versions I received): Death in a White TieVintage Murder, False Scent, Scales of Justice, Died in the Wool and Singing in the Shrouds. If you enjoy British mysteries you’ll probably like Marsh’s Scotland Yard detective, Roderick Alleyn. It’s been a while since I last read a Ngaio Marsh mystery, so I’m definitely looking forward to rereading these.

Last but not least (if you’re getting this vague picture of me drowning in books, you’d be pretty close …) the library also called with a few more holds that I had requested:

Mystery/Suspense: The Pagan Stone, by Nora Roberts. I haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy yet, but this is the one that arrived first, so it looks like this will be the one I’ll read first! I haven’t read a lot of Nora Roberts, but this series sounds interesting.

Mystery: Christmas is Murder, A Rex Graves Mystery, by C.S. Challinor. I can’t remember why I put a request in for this one – I’m sure it was something I read on someone’s blog, somewhere! But now that I have it, It does sound good – kind of Agatha Christie-ish.

Fantasy: Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. This book is huge – 960 pages. I suspect I will dip into the library version, and then if I get into it, I’ll just buy it so I don’t have to rush through it.

Finally, I’m all done! If you’re interested in adding new titles to your own list of books you’d like to read, head on over to the Printed Page for more of other book bloggers’ Monday Mailbox titles.

Book Tour: Recovering Me, Discovering Joy, by Vivian Eisenecher

Recovering Me, Discovering JoyRecovering Me, Discovering Joy, by Vivian Eisenecher, is an inspirational book detailing the author’s journey from the “triple whammy” of depression, social phobia and alcoholism, to a world of inner and outer joy.

Honesty and Clarity

The book is divided into two parts. In Part One – Recovering Me, Eisenecher writes honestly about the challenges of dealing with depression, social anxiety and alcoholism. She intersperses her own experiences with facts and advice about each of these three issues, and her writing is clear, frank, and easy to read.

As she discovered:

My triple whammy (depression, social phobia and alcoholism) complicated my recovery from any one of them, causing me to relapse over and over again. By treating my alcoholism, my doctors were putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. My drinking was an outward response to my profound internal struggles. I used alcohol to quell my social discomfort, and not until I could conquer that could I ever conceive of living a normal life.

This truly spoke to me; someone very close to me suffered from alcoholism, and it wasn’t until she had unsuccessfuly gone through years of rehabilitation programs and addiction therapy that it finally became clear. The route to recovery could come only by treating the problems causing the alcoholism.

Eisenecher’s honesty serves to dispel many of the myths and stigmas that are still attached to depression, social phobia and alcoholism. She writes clearly about the challenges she faced, and the difficult road to her recovery. But her writing is filled with hope – it’s her ability to see the gift underlying her challenges that is so inspirational:

This may seem counterintuitive, but “bottoms” provide many benefits. They give us a chance to stop our free fall, to change direction. At the lowest level of any predicament, there is only one direction out, and that is up. “Bottoms usually provide us with a time out, a space in time to look at possible solutions. They can be devasting enough that we are temporarily relieved from the daily pressures of life. At my “bottom,” the only hope I had was that things would ultimately get better, and I clung to that.

The Power of Faith

In Part Two of Recovering Me, Discovering Joy, Eisenecher writes eloquently of her road to joy. Faith and God played a large role in her journey to happiness; she also learned to make her own happiness a priority. Each chapter is divided into shorter sections, providing guidance that is clear, inspirational, and easy-to-read. There are many nuggets of advice throughout this section – for example, on getting things done, she describes her approach:

Today, I know that if something doesn’t get done immediately, chances are there’s a good reason for the postponement of the task, and it will probably get done later. I no longer let my “to do” lists mess with me. Lists are excellent tools to get us organized, but they don’t have to become a dictatorship. If we don’t complete our “to do” list today, we’ve got tomorrow’s list already made.

Part Two ends with several chapters in which Eisenecher talks about her Christianity, and the important role her faith has played in helping her get to this happier, more joyous life. These chapters did not speak as powerfully to me, but this was probably because my personal spiritual path is different from Eisenecher’s. I nevertheless found Eisenecher’s writing about her faith to be both inspirational and passionate; however, readers who do not share Eisenecher’s religion may not find these parts as compelling.

The book ends with the chapter “Living in the Sweet Spot”; it’s a wonderful chapter filled with short, practical and passionate pieces on how one can “live in the sweet spot” (that place where factors combine to create a particularly desirable situation).

It has been difficult for me to come forward with my profound inner struggles, but I knew from experience that there must be others with the same challenges. I couldn’t be the only person on Earth who suffered the way I did, and I needed to show how recovery was not only possible, but also quite rewarding. … I figured that  if I could find joy, anybody could, and I could quite possibly teach them how.

And Eisenecher has indeed done this with Recovering Me, Discovering Joy. This book does have a very Christian emphasis, but for readers who are comfortable with this, it is an inspirational read.

The Book Trailer

More About Recovering Me, Discovering Joy

Recovering Me, Discovering Joy is about recovering (from any ailment or condition) not to normal but to a better normal. After numerous attempts at sobriety, stints in more than three rehabs, followed by repeated relapses, Vivian shares the “secret” that finally brought her lasting recovery and profoundly changed her life. In an effort to improve the success rate of recovery and quite possibly save lives, one of the book’s main goals is to raise awareness about the profound correlation between depression, social phobia, and alcoholism. Vivian has struggled with these disorders and is in recovery from all three.

In addition, Recovering Me, Discovering Joy is a remarkably honest book of creative non-fiction about the positive nature of life’s problems. It is about the journey to know oneself. With a sense of humor and an uplifting spirit of gratitude, the author suggests ways to live a more meaningful life. She offers a fresh look at enduring truths which we all tend to forget in our day-to-day fast-paced lives. By using stories from people in recovery, personal reflections, and the Bible’s wisdom, she re-establishes the importance of faith in the healing process. Her experience, strength and hope provide the reader with keys to living a richer, easier and happier life.

About the Author

Vivian Eisenecher has been an inspirational speaker, mentor and writer since 1996. Using her experience, strength and hope, she is committed to helping educate and enlighten the general public about the puzzling aspects of the addiction/recovery process and the strong correlation between anxiety, depression and alcoholism. With her husband in recovery from a massive stroke since 1993 and her own recovery from three life-threatening diseases, she felt compelled to share with others important lessons she’s been able to learn only in recovery. Recovering Me, Discovering Joy addresses both her and her husband’s respective struggles as they climbed from the trenches of despair to discover new and ever-unfolding joy. Her progress in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual areas of her life has led her to better understand the recovery process, its limitlessness and life in general.

She holds a marketing degree in Business Administration (magna cum laude), and a certificate in Gerontology. Her previously published works include articles for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Woman’s World, Viewpoint, JUST FINE: Unmasking Depression and Anxiety Disorders(due for release in 2009).She has been a regular speaker at The McDonald Center for over twelve years and has also given talks at Pamarro and The Aurora Behavioral Institute among others. She is involved with Junior Achievement, the San Diego Heart Walk, the 2005 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk and has been featured in Momentum magazine. Her memberships include NCHIC (a speaker’s organization for hospitals and institutions), Publishers & Writers of San Diego (PWSD), and PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association.

This book tour was arranged by Pump Up Your Book Promotion; follow along with Vivian Eisenecher as Recovering Me, Discovering Joy makes further blog stops this month, by checking out Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, where you can see her past blog book tour stops, as well as upcoming ones.

Mailbox Mondays: Cats, cats, cats

I’ve already spotted quite a few Mailbox Monday posts in my feed reader – it occurs to me I’m always running a bit later than everyone else when it comes to posting. Actually, it occurs to me that most book bloggers have a TON of energy and I’m not sure how they do it!

I seem to find my blogging rhythm in the evenings, as I’m settling down to more fun and unwinding before bed …

Here’s what came in the mail for me this past week: I’m very excited about these two books – I first read these when I was in my early twenties, borrowed from the library, and they were out of print even then so I could never get my own copy, and I wanted my own copies so very much!

I’ve had them in the back of my mind for ages, and kept meaning to wander over to Abe Books to see if I could find a copy or two or four. Then last month, for some reason, I decided to check Amazon – and discovered they were re-released last November! So I bought these as a post-holiday treat for myself, and I’m so looking forward to reading these back-to-back! Both my Siamese cats have passed on, and I won’t be able to get another one for a while, as our resident feline is a holy terror and would gobble up a kitten alive, but I’ll be able to dip back into my memories with both these books.

Cats in the BelfryMemoir/Non-fiction: Cats in the Belfry, by Doreen Tovey. Don’t those two little imps look so mischievous? I remember laughing my way through this book, and at the same time, felt such familiarity with the antics of Sugieh and later on, her kittens. They were so much like my own cats. This first book starts with the adventures of Sugieh, and then her two darling kittens, Sheba and Solomon.

Cats in MayMemoir/Non-Fiction: Cats in May, by Doreen Tovey. Cats in May is the sequel to Cats in the Belfry, and continues to follow the antics of Sheba and Solomon.

I’m still waiting for The New Boy and Double Trouble to be available, but in the meantime, I just know I’m going to fall in love with these two books again. If you’re a cat lover – and especially if at some time you’ve been (or are) the slave companion to a Siamese cat (or two or more) – I definitely recommend both these books.

Friday Finds: A Fantastical Week

My list this week includes several fantasy books – making it a fantastical week! Almost all the items in the list have come from blog hopping – lots of fabulous book blogs out there, reading some really wonderful books that are very definitely new-to-me.

From Stella Matutina’s great list of Fantasy Picks for the Holidays Part II, I added the following books to my TBR (and expect to have them both in my hands very soon, in which case they might very well appear in next week’s Monday Mailbox post!):

Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, by Ysabeau S. Wilce. What a great title! And Stella’s review of the book really sold me on this one.

Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books by Francesca Lia Block. Another great looking title – I love the story idea, and you get all the Weetzie Bat books in this one omnibus, except for the one about Weetzie as an adult, which sounded like a great bargain to me.

Because of this week’s Tuesday Thingers, I ended up adding the following books, courtesy of LibraryThing’s popular books list. I’m hoping to have a few of these arriving here soon, too:

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron. I love cats, and I love libraries, and this one puts both together, which sounds good to me.
Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. This futuristic alternate universe novel sounds like it might be very captivating. I decided to keep it on my want-to-read list even after finding out it’s 960 pages!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This didn’t jump out at me initially, but then I visited other Tuesday Thingers posts and changed my mind (see? It doesn’t take much to influence me, really: something like “This book is good” works well.)

I discovered the following book on another of my blog hopping rounds, but forgot to star the review that I had read, unfortunately, so I can’t point you in her/his direction, but whoever you are, thank you! It was a great review and I added the book to my want-to-read list right away as a result!

The Darcys and the Bingleys, by Marsha Altman. I actually don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books – I first read it when I was 13, and have been re-reading it every year or so ever since. The humorous spin that Altman puts on this “sequel” sounds appealing to me.

Finally, on a “quick trip to the library to pick up some holds” I of course did some wandering around (my personal dictionary has a different definition for “quick” when it comes to library visits). I picked up the following discoveries:

The Christmas Visitor, by Anne Perry. I haven’t read any of Perry’s detective fiction; as mentioned above, I don’t read very much historical fiction, and even though her series is a detective series, it just hasn’t called to me (yet). But this might be the start of it all, right?

The Yoga Teacher, by Alexandra Gray. I have not read anything about this book – I see that there aren’t any reviews up at Amazon yet, either. But I like yoga (when I remember to make the time for a class, that is), and the premise was interesting: a pharmaceutical rep decides to become a yoga teacher and goes from England to California back to England again.

And okay, honestly, the thing that caught my eye the most in the blurb? This: “With an eye for the absurdity and humor in every encounter, Alexandra Gray gently skewers our society’s preference for a quick-fix nirvana, in this chronicle of one woman’s quest for love and meaning in a world numbed by materialism and psychotropic drugs”. I’ll have to see if the book lives up to the blurb.

How to Be Single, by Liz Tuccillo. I actually did read a review of this on a blog a couple of weeks ago, and my apologies again, I didn’t make a note of the link. I still was unsure whether I wanted to read the book, but one thing stuck in my mind from this review. The reviewer said it reminded her of Sex in the City meets Eat Pray Love. So when I saw this at the library, I decided, why not.

So that completes my round-up for today’s Friday’s Finds. And I’m going to try very hard to remember to star the reviews which prompted me to add a book to my want-to-read list.