Non Fiction Review: In Tune

In Tune by Richard Wolf
In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness
by Richard Wolf

2 out of 5 stars


This book teaches the reader how to meditate by focusing on the breath using techniques of listening and creativity that musicians also use.

As a professional pianist, I didn’t quite find what I expected in this book. I thought it would be a book about USING music as a way to meditate, but this is mostly about how music practice and meditation practice share the same techniques and characteristics. I guess I was looking for advice about meditating WHILE playing an instrument or listening to music, but the author advises meditating in complete silence.

The writing is clear and interesting, but verbose and repetitive. The writing style is beautifully lyrical, but quickly becomes tedious as each paragraph is overloaded with words.

Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The More or Less Definite Guide to Self-Care

The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges
The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care: From A to Z
by Anna Borges (Goodreads Author)

2 out of 5 stars


This book gives practical self-care ideas organizing from A to Z, including things like healthy social interaction, meditation, cleaning and decluttering, making time for hobbies, using positive affirmations, taking a walk, listening to music, and practicing compassion. There is a flow chart quiz at the back of the book to help you determine what type of self-care you need the most.

I took off one star from my rating because of the heavy profanity in the book. It was completely unnecessary, and ruined my enjoyment of the book. I’m not sure why a book about calming self-care would include such ugly words. I thought the point was to surround yourself with positive thoughts and beautiful ideas to enhance the quality of your life. And the profanity completely destroyed that. Continue reading

Board Book Review: A Day at the Zoo

My Big Wimmelbook—A Day at the Zoo by Carolin Gortler
My Big Wimmelbook—A Day at the Zoo
by Carolin Gortler

5 out of 5 stars


This is an entertaining search-and-find book with a beautiful chaos of different people and animals at the zoo. Everywhere you look there is something interesting happening and a story line to follow!

I love the colorful and detailed illustrations! Each page is beautifully drawn with fun little details to draw the reader in. I’m 38 years old, and I was fascinated with each intricate scene!

It’s so fun to search for people in the hustle and bustle of the scenery and follow them from page to page as their little story unfolds. Suzy is looking for her teddy bear, and Hamid is having trouble with his camera as a bee bothers him. Animals everywhere are eating and playing. People all over the zoo are acting out their own dramas and the animals are a focal point of the entire book. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Dot Journaling

Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together
by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

4 out of 5 stars

This book is perfect for anyone interested in the Bullet Journal method, but not sure how to get started. With simple explanations for each step of the set-up, there are many options for how to lay-out your schedule, habit trackers, goals, and diary.

I appreciated how organized this book is, giving clear instructions in each chapter and offering various modifications to make the planner fit your own style.
There are examples for each layout and beautiful photographs of simple bullet journal pages. I got inspired to try out some new ideas in my bullet journal! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Turn It Up!

Turn It Up! by National Geographic Kids
Turn It Up!: A Pitch-Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World
by National Geographic Kids

5 out of 5 stars

This book gives an overview of the history of music and how music developed over time to include different styles. With paintings and photographs showcased in a colorful design, this book is sure to capture the attention of anyone interested in music!

I really love how the information is organized in easy-to-read text boxes. Each chapter focuses on one era of music history, covering Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern, and Post-Modern music.

This book has biographies and songs of music styles like Jazz, Pop, Big Band, Blues, Rock, Reggae, Heavy Metal, and a dozen more, featuring music stars, composers, singers, musicians, conductors, and influencers who created the music we know today. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Breaking Through

Breaking Through by Sue Macy
Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties
by Sue Macy

5 out of 5 stars


“We play for the love of the game, and we are determined to carry on.” – Alice Kell, Captain of the Dick Kerr Ladies soccer team, 1921.

In the 1920s there were few opportunities for women in sports, either as part of the education system in schools or in the professional realm. This book tells about the women and girls who pushed for more sports education, better equipment and access, and for recognition in professional competitions.

I am not an athlete by any means, but I was inspired to see these stories of women who broke the barriers and strove for excellence in their sports. This book has stories, biographical accounts, sports stats, newspaper articles from the 1920s, quotes from famous athletes of the era, and even the stories of people who opposed women’s involvement in sports.

With stunning black and white photographs, this book captures the fiery spirit of these early athletes!

Continue reading

Picture Book Review: We Love Babies!

We Love Babies! by Jill Esbaum
We Love Babies!
by Jill Esbaum,  National Geographic Society 

5 out of 5 stars

This adorable picture book features dozens of baby animals from familiar species like the Elephant and Rabbit, to strange species like the Long-Eared Jerboa and the Serval. The photographs of these cute little babies are colorful and sweet! There are tiny cartoon characters drawn into the corners of the pages who cheer for the babies.

The text describes all the things we love about animal babies, their soft fur, their stripes, and fins. Their hooves, and paws. Their snuffles and snorts, their squawks and peeps. “Big or tiny, fast or slow” we definitely love animal babies!

Photographs of the animal babies are placed in a colorful background design that is sure to capture the attention of little readers.

Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman by Barbara Kramer
Harriet Tubman
by Barbara Kramer

5 out of 5 stars


Harriet Tubman was born as a slave and escaped to freedom. She worked tirelessly to free other slaves and even served as a spy during the American Civil War. She is best known for her work as a “conductor,” guiding slaves to freedom through the “Underground Railroad,” a series of safe houses called “stations” that allowed slaves to travel undetected to the Northern United States and Canada.

I loved the simple writing style, easy for a beginner to understand. There are fact boxes in the corners that explain the meanings of words, and give direct quotes from Tubman. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Susan B. Anthony

National Geographic Readers by Kitson Jazynka
National Geographic Readers: Susan B. Anthony
by Kitson Jazynka

5 out of 5 stars

Susan B. Anthony worked tirelessly to secure votes and liberty for women in the United States. This book gives an overview of her life and her work, with explanations about petitions, laws, newspaper articles, and how these things influenced Anthony’s work. There is also interesting information about clothing styles, employment, habits, and how people lived in at the turn of the century.

I loved the simple writing style, easy for a beginner to understand. There are sections for an adult to read aloud, and then a smaller section with easier words and larger font for the child to read. It’s a great way to teach a child new words, and get them involved in reading together!

The colorful design and old-timey photos captured my attention. There are also activities and questions that get the reader engaged and make them think carefully about the ideas in the book. I appreciated how thoughtful the questions are and how much goes into the design! Continue reading