Book Review: Macro Cookbook For Beginners

review-macro cookbook for beginnersTitle: Macro Cookbook For Beginners

Author: Devika Sharma

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

With the macro diet, getting fit and healthy doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods―and this beginner’s macro cookbook shows you where to start. Learn how to calculate and track your optimal level of macronutrients―protein, fat, and carbohydrates―so you can achieve your health goals while eating everything you enjoy.

Dig into 100 delicious recipes made with simple ingredients and a two-week meal plan that teaches you how to maintain the diet. Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose weight, or just develop a healthier relationship with food, this macro cookbook will set you on the right path.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was impressed by Macro Cookbook For Beginners by Devika Sharma. The books presented science-based nutrition broken down into easily digestible facts. The photography and design of the book were gorgeous and well-organized.

Unlike a lot of cookbooks that are diet-based, a lot of the recipes are tasty, easy to follow, and more importantly, contain readily accessible ingredients that most people will already have on-hand – or at the very least, can obtain easily. This book didn’t feel restrictive or scolding about what the reader eats, but instead, encouraging.

Overall, I think if you are looking to eat healthier in an accessible way, this would be a good place to start.

Book Review: Metabolism Diet For Beginners

reviewcover-metabolismdietforbeginnersTitle: Metabolism Diet For Beginners

Author: Megan Johnson McCullough

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Discover an introductory guide to the metabolism diet that makes it easy to get started. Featuring a simple primer on metabolism, how it affects your weight, and what you can do to take advantage of it, this book provides everything you need to know before jumping into the two-week meal and exercise plan. You’ll also find plenty of delicious recipes and handy tips to keep you on track after the first two weeks and help you reach your weight-loss goals.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What I loved about Metabolism Diet For Beginners by Megan Johnson McCullough is that aside from the recipes, it contained a lot of helpful science-based information on how metabolism works and the common myths diet books often portray. There were also some helpful exercise plans and instructions, not just recipes.

There were a pretty decent array of recipes, but I will warn you that the meal plans and recipes may take some adjusting to get just right for you. If you aren’t used to eating super healthy, some of the ingredients may be foreign to you. I’d encourage anyone to give them a try before writing them off. The plans are a bit restrictive feeling to me – I’m not a huge fan of diets that ask you to completely remove items from your pantry – I feel moderation is more important, and the book wasn’t real clear on why certain items were restricted. Given the in-depth look at metabolism, I think the author missed an opportunity to explain why these foods aren’t a great idea.

Book Review: Witchcraft Therapy

reviewcover-witchcrafttherapyTitle: Witchcraft Therapy

Author: Mandi Em

Genre: Non-Fiction, Witchcraft

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Self-help is hard (and therapy is expensive!), but magic makes it easier than ever.

In Witchcraft Therapy, you will learn how to use the mystical powers of intention, mindful manifestation, divination, and righteous indignation to cope with whatever life throws your way. Author and witchy wellness guru Mandi Em offers advice in her own unique brand of positivity providing spells, rituals, and more that you can do right at home.

Complete with wisdom like “Remember that ‘f*ck off’ is a banishing spell,” Witchcraft Therapy will have you feeling more empowered and liberated than ever.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Whether you are a practicing witch or someone who thinks the craft is all very woo-woo, I think you could benefit by giving this book a read. I really appreciated the no-bull, practical approach the author took to writing this book. It was full of recipes, rituals, and mindful exercises to help the reader with grounding themselves and dealing with things like stress and anxiety while reminding them that sometimes the best thing to do is speak to a doctor or a therapist, and take a proactive approach to their own self-care.

This is certainly a book I’d recommend to anyone looking to improve their overall well-being as well as those new to witchcraft, as it has a very practical and balanced approach that I feel most readers will enjoy.

Book Review: Low-Calorie Weight Loss Cookbook

reviewcover-low-calorieweightlosscoookbookTitle: Low-Calorie Weight Loss Cookbook

Author: Manuel Villacorta

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Reach your weight loss goals with help from this approachable low calorie cookbook.

Lose weight while still enjoying the foods you love with help from this low calorie cookbook. You’ll find everything you need to successfully start and sustain your weight loss journey, including flavorful, low calorie recipes, a 28-day meal plan, and exercise recommendations to supplement your diet.

Packed with simple breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, this low calorie cookbook relies on healthy, everyday ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store. These delicious recipes also include reasonable serving sizes for easy portion control and detailed nutritional information to help you maintain a well-balanced diet.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was a cute and colorful little cookbook, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. The photography was gorgeous and the health advice was both useful and accurate. I liked that the author included exercise routines along with the recipes.

I found quite a few recipes in this book appealing – which isn’t something common to most cookbooks for me. The ingredients were simple and the instructions, easy t follow. If I had one nitpick, it is that many of the recipes felt insubstantial – more like a light breakfast. I wish there had been a little more diversity on that front.

Either way, this is certainly a cookbook I’d recommend to those interested in pursuing a low-calorie diet.

Book Review: Mindful Astrology

reviewcover-mindfulastrologyTitle: Mindful Astrology

Author: Monte Farber & Amy Zerner

Genre: Astrology, Non-Fiction

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In Mindful Astrology, best-selling master astrologers Monte Farber and Amy Zerner teach you how to use the essentials of astrology to more mindfully navigate your life and your relationships.
Ever wonder what’s behind the simple question of “What’s your sign?” While most people are aware of their sun sign, beginning to understand the combination of your sun, moon, and rising signs—also known as your “celestial trilogy”—can give you a deeper perspective on your personality and those of your loved ones. Your sun sign represents your purpose in life, your moon sign rules your emotional intelligence, and your rising sign indicates how you appear to others. Explored together, your celestial trilogy gives you meaningful insights into:

  • Love and relationships

  • Work and career

  • Wealth and success

  • Wellness and mindfulness

Our purpose is to grow, love, and bring ourselves into balance. The mindful practice of astrology can help you achieve self-awareness, learning to truly see yourself and others. With the insights you’ll gain from this book, you can create a more mindful life filled with self-knowledge, peace, and meaning.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I didn’t think I’d dislike this book as much as I did. Astrology is something that has captured my interest from an early age – but I also understand that it isn’t a science. It is built on generalities. It’s fun, and sometimes seemingly accurate — and then again, sometimes not.

My problem with this particular book is that it tried very hard to be too specific, which ruined the illusion of being legitimate. The book also started on a sour note by raving for pages about different scientific theories, but never actually tied them into Astrology. It was like the author was crafting a world-wall of smart-sounding filler to make Astrology seem legitimate, but the information was flat out wrong.

It felt like I was being conned, and it left me with a sour impression.

Book Review: The Path of the Witch

reviewcover-thepathofthewitchTitle: The Path of the Witch

Author: Lidia Pradas

Genre: Non-Fiction, Spiritualism, Witchcraft

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Witchcraft is not one defined path—rather, it is a diversity of practices you can curate and align with based on your lifestyle and unique gifts. Which witch are you?

Do you have an affinity for working with plants and herbs for magic and medicine? You may be a Green Witch.

Is the kitchen and home space sacred to you? Are you able to tap into the sensory and healing properties of food for spellwork? Is cooking an intentional act for you? You may be a Kitchen Witch.

Are you able to easily connect with the spirit world or the liminal realms? You may be a Hedge Witch.

Can you do many practices with ease? You may be an Eclectic Witch.

The Path of the Witchdescribes the many different types of witches, their gifts and abilities, and their practices. Each path shows readers activities and rituals that they can use to discover and explore that type of witchcraft and discern which one is the fit for them.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book was interesting. Though not a practicing witch myself, I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the subjects and have studied a lot of the basics of both witchcraft and the Wiccan religion. The path of the Witch by Lidia Pradas held a generous amount of information about different aspects of the craft – from general knowledge to recipes, and history. It was a lot of information to absorb, but I really appreciated how thorough the author was about different aspects of each practice.

My only real nitpick about the book is the manner in which it was organized. It was divided into specific categories of witches rather than covering the different aspects of the practice as a whole, shared between the different, more specialized paths. The differentiation between Green, Kitchen, Wiccan, and other types of witches felt very narrowing the way it was divided.

That aside, as I said, the book contains an abundance of information, and if you’re looking for an intermediate level read on witches, you are sure to find some good info here.

Book Review: The Infinity Courts

reviewcover-theinfinitycourtsTitle: The Infinity Courts [The Infinity Courts 1]

Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I adored The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman. The worldbuilding and characters had depth, and the writing itself was clear and flowed effortlessly. The romance and tension between Nami, Gil, and Caelan was magnificent – my soul hurts at having the story end.

Speaking of the end… I loved every minute of this book until the last page. The last page? Lame and sort of cheesy. I honestly wish the book would have ended in the palace – and if you haven’t finished the book yet, trust me… put it down there.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I still have a small tortured hope in my heart that Nami and a certain Prince will find a happily ever after. If you like YA Fantasy, I would highly recommend this book. It’s one of the best ones I’ve read so far this year.

Book Review: A Scot To The Heart

reviewcover-ascottotheheartTitle: A Scot To The Heart [Desperately Seeking Duke 2]

Author: Caroline Linden

Genre: Historical Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

An Officer and a Scotsman

Captain Andrew St. James always knew he came from a noble family, but his branch grew far from the wealth and status. Nothing shocks him more than learning that he now stands as heir presumptive to his distant cousin the Duke of Carlyle. There is much for Drew to learn and adjust to—but first he goes home to Edinburgh, to tell his mother and three sisters of their startling good fortune.

A Lady and a Temptress

Ilsa Ramsay yearns for some adventure and fun, not another husband. When she discovers the handsome soldier who sweeps her off her feet for a rollicking dance is her friend’s brother, soon to be an English duke, she tells herself he’s not for her, no matter how tempting he is. But one impulsive kiss, then another, and another… says otherwise.

An Irresistible Attraction

Drew means to marry a respectable, dignified Englishwoman—a very proper future duchess. The spirited Ilsa is none of that. Still, when she’s caught in a dangerous scandal, he leaps to her aid without hesitation. And neither family duty nor future obligation can make them ignore what’s in both their hearts.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thoroughly enjoyed A Scot To The Heart by Caroline Linden. I’ve read only two books by this author so far, both in this particular series, and I have to say that so far, I’m impressed.

This isn’t your typical historical romance – the main female lead is a strong, wild character recently widowed and breaking free from the constraints of her family and husband for the first time, and the main male lead is a staunch military man that is rather inept when it comes to romance. Their relationship was steamy and cautious, and I loved every minute of it.

The book was well written – the narrative was easy to follow, clean of any significant typographical errors, and although saturated with historical context, didn’t feel weighed down by it. The characters were loveable (except for a certain apprentice – hate him.)

Overall, I loved the book, and if you’re looking for a light historical romance to sink into on a rainy weekend, I would highly recommend this one.

Book Review; 5-Ingredient Smoothie Recipe Book

reviewcover-5ingredientsmoothiereipebookTitle: 5-Ingredient Smoothie Recipe Book

Author: Amy Gonzalez, RD, FNTP

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to get the crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to function at its best. This 5-ingredient cookbook of smoothies features 100 balanced recipes you can make with just a handful of basic ingredients for quick and healthy options with minimal effort.

Fewer ingredients means less time in the kitchen, less money spent at the store, and simple, satisfying flavors that can improve your weight, digestion, and overall health. You’ll even find tips and tricks for shopping, calculating nutrition information, and more.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book has an amazing repertoire of smoothie options. I was impressed by the diversity of ingredients, and I like that there are so many different flavor profiles. The calorie and nutrition information was super helpful for someone like me, who is on a restricted-calorie diet.

My one warning though is that not every ingredient is going to be readily available at every big box store – so you may have to do a bit of searching to find the more uncommon ingredients like hibiscus flowers or papaya.

Book Review: Wilderness Survival Guide

reviewcover-wildernesssurvivalguideTitle: Wilderness Survival Guide

Author: Jason Marsteiner

Genre: Non-Fiction, Survival

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Whether you’re an avid adventurer or a bushcraft beginner, this wilderness survival guide can help you level up your outdoor IQ and boost your confidence on remote trips and treks. Get pro tips for navigation, finding food, building shelters, and even applying basic first aid. Discover how to tackle any situation, from running into poisonous plants to staying safe while adventuring in various climates and terrains.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I picked up Wilderness Survival Guide by Jason Marsteiner on pure curiosity. I grew up in the woods, traipsing my family’s lake cabin property, which had no road access, no phone, no internet, no TV, no indoor plumbing, and water straight from an underground spring. All of this has led me to a fascination with survival – because when you live off-grid, you need to be prepared for the worst.

I am happy to say that I found this book to be a helpful and fairly complete guide. There was a lot of useful information on a wide range of topics, from how to prepare yourself for the outdoors, to things like identifying the proper wood to start a fighter… what to do if you get lost, and basic first aid.

If I had one nitpick, it is that I wish there were more photo references included for certain sections, but I also understand why perhaps they were cut out – to keep the book more compact for carrying in your pack. This is certainly a book I would recommend for anyone looking into spending time in the outdoors.