Non Fiction Review: 5-Minute Happiness Journal

The 5-Minute Happiness Journal by Leslie Marchand LCSW
The 5-Minute Happiness Journal: Practices to Help You Tap Into Joy Every Day
by Leslie Marchand LCSW

4 out of 5 stars


This guided journal explores the meaning of happiness and how it can be unique to each individual. The journal prompts you to write down the things that make you happy, to re-imagine difficult situations in a more pleasant light, and to go after your own style of joy.

The journal questions include things like:
“What is a hobby you’ve always wanted to try?”
“Write about a time when a closed door led to a new opportunity that brought more happiness into your life.”
“Write about a time when you used your imagination to solve a problem.”
“Write down one thing you do regularly that makes you happy.”

Some of the prompts are simple, and others are more complex, leading to deeper reflection. Each page builds on the previous lesson, guiding you further on a journey toward understanding and embracing happiness. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Extreme Ocean

Extreme Ocean by Sylvia A Earle
Extreme Ocean: Amazing Animals, High-Tech Gear, Record-Breaking Depths, and More
by Sylvia A Earle,  Glen Phelan 

5 out of 5 stars


With stunning photographs, this book chronicles the ocean explorations of the author, a marine biologist. Along with personal stories and anecdotes, this book includes the facts and science about everything in the ocean from currents to sharks.

The first section explores waves, tsunamis, and currents, ice shelves, and answers why the ocean is blue and why it contains salt water.

The second chapter focuses on the fish and animals that live in the ocean. There are articles and facts about seals, whales, and other mammals, as well as fish and creatures that live in the deepest parts of the ocean. The photographs of these fish are absolutely gorgeous, showcasing their bright colors and delicate fins. There are also facts about sea plants like kelp forests, and a whole page about coral reefs. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person

The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person by Amanda Cassil
The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person
by Amanda Cassil

5 out of 5 stars

As a Highly Sensitive Person, it is such a relief to have a book like this! It describes the HSP experience so clearly, and gives real and practical ideas for navigating the strong emotions and overwhelming sensations that come with having an HSP brain.

There is a quiz you can take to determine whether or not you are an HSP. The quiz says that if you score a 14 or higher, then you are an HSP. I scored a 24! I am extremely sensitive, and it’s always been a struggle. I’ve felt misunderstood my entire life, and have spent years telling myself, “Why can’t you be like other people? Why does this bother you so much? Why can’t you just let it go?” This book spoke so compassionately to my frustration and emotional pain, as well as my physical struggles. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Essential Oils for Soothing Anxiety

Essential Oils for Soothing Anxiety by Christina Anthis
Essential Oils for Soothing Anxiety: Remedies and Rituals to Feel Calm and Refreshed
by Christina Anthis (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars

The first section in this book focuses on general information about essential oils, their uses, history, and how they are made. There is also information on other self-care practices that can lower stress and soothe anxiety to be done in conjunction with aromatherapy and essential oils. These include meditation, massage, reflexology, and setting up a calm space with pillows, candles, and soft music.

Then there is a section with more details about the 10 most common essential oils used in this book. This gives more specific information about the benefits of each oil, the applications and uses, and precautions for allergies or skin sensitivities. The oils include Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Coriander, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, and Neroli.
Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: 5-Minute Stress Relief

5-Minute Stress Relief by Elena Welsh
5-Minute Stress Relief: 75 Exercises to Quiet Your Mind and Calm Your Body
by Elena Welsh

5 out of 5 stars

The first chapter in this book discusses what causes stress and how it affects our bodies and minds. It goes through common emotional and physical symptoms of stress, and how we can change our behavior and reactions to better handle stress.

The second chapter begins the exercises for stress relief with simple things like focusing on the breath, being mindful of your surroundings, and activities like reading for pleasure, talking to someone about how you feel, quieting your mind, listening to music, and laughing more. Each of these come with detailed instructions that list the benefits of the activity. With guided meditations, positive affirmations, and instructions for using essential oils, this chapter has a lot of wonderful ideas for relieving stress. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga by Diane Paylor
Yin Yoga: Essential Poses and Sequences for Balanced Energy
by Diane Paylor

5 out of 5 stars

This book is divided into chapters for Yin and Yang poses (still or moving poses), with special chapters for rising energy, grounding, seasonal practices, and targeting specific areas of the body. It begins with an explanation of Yin yoga, how to harness the energy of your breathing, how yin yoga helps your ligaments and joints, and how to quiet the mind during yoga.

I really love that each pose comes with instructions for modifications and variations, so that the yogi can choose what feels best to them in the moment. There are also warnings for poses that could affect old injuries, or would not be appropriate for the elderly or for pregnant women, so that the reader can practice poses safely.

Each pose has clear instructions with options to use props like a bolster, blanket, yoga strap, or pillow. You can make the pose deeper if you are ready for more of a stretch, or you can make the pose easier if you want less pressure or intensity.
Continue reading

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

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: Essential Chakra Yoga

Essential Chakra Yoga by Christina D'Arrigo
Essential Chakra Yoga: Poses to Balance, Heal, and Energize the Body and Mind
by Christina D’Arrigo

5 out of 5 stars


This book guides the reader through an incredible journey using yoga to balance the energy in the body known as chakras. The first chapters give an overview of the seven main chakras, and how they affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. Each chakra overview includes positive affirmations about the area of life that corresponds to that chakra, such as emotions for the heart chakra, or expressing yourself with the throat chakra.
Then there are yoga poses, illustrated with simple drawings, that activate and clear each chakra for a smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Continue reading