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review 2018-07-25 11:38
Only for people already familiar with both forms of exercise
Yoga-Pilates: The Ultimate Fusion for Health and Fitness - Jonathan Monks

I will keep this review short and on point. I do not think Pilates and yoga should be combined in any way, shape or form. They are two separate forms of exercise and have their own rules, principles and outcomes. 


Pilates is a safe method of exercising that doesn't make the body bend in any unnatural way or go into any movement that we do not already use in our daily lives. Yoga is almost the opposite. The movements in yoga are those of extremes and in my opinion only experienced and knowledgeable people should do it. Those people are familiar with moving their body to the extremes through safe methods whilst the casual practitioner can do a lifetime of lasting damage to the body. One sudden movement in a complicated position can dislodge something, twist something, strain something, break something etc.


I am all for exercising and living healthy but I also think that people do not educate themselves enough and do not go into exercising with a concentrated and prepared mind so the exercises given to them should be the safest and harmless as possible. Then the person can get all the benefits it they go into it with their heart and mind but also if they do not, they will not suffer any consequences. That is why I believe that combining Pilates and yoga is not a good thing or a good way to go.


Apart from that, the book is not meant for beginners or for people who have never heard of any basics of Pilates and/or yoga. This book offers some good advice in certain areas and some exercises and it offers a nice sequence of exercises but that is pretty much it.

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review 2018-01-21 14:28
A guide to dusting your heart and clearing out your soul. Simple and beautiful.
A Buddhist Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind - Shoukei Matsumoto

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Sometimes I read the title and the description of a book in one of my favourite genres and it is intriguing enough or it has something that makes me want to read it. But sometimes I see a book that is completely different to what I normally read but still, it seems to call me and this is one of those books.

As I am about to move (houses and countries), I thought a book about cleaning (not only our houses but also our minds) might be an asset. And, oh boy, was I right!

This book does what it says on the tin. I can’t guarantee you that you’ll end up cleaning more if you read it, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make you think about the process.

I don’t know how accurate a translation of the original this is, but I loved the simple style of writing. Although the sentences are not elaborate or complex, and the ideas it contains seem extremely simple, they are beautiful in their simplicity and unassuming. This is not a book of advice that will quote analytics, statistics, and numbers of followers. It just explains what life for Zen monks living at a temple is like, and explains their philosophy.

I am not very house-proud and I can’t claim to spend a lot of time cleaning (and even less thinking about cleaning), but there are some chores that I do enjoy, and some whose mechanics can free my mind and make me forget the things around me. Although this is not what the book is about (it is a way of life and it is very specific and ordered), I think most of us will identify with some of the thoughts behind it.

The book highlights the importance of respecting nature, our bodies, our possessions (and we don’t need many), all life, and each other. It is a short book and it is also a relaxing read that will make you look at things differently and give you some pause. And, as I said, you don’t need to be big on cleaning to enjoy it.

I thought I’d share some examples of passages I highlighted from the book, so you can get an idea of what to expect:

I hope you enjoy applying the cleaning techniques introduced here in your home. There’s nothing complicated about them. All you need is a will to sweep the dust off our heart.

‘Zengosaidan’ is a Zen expression meaning that we must put all our efforts into each day so we have no regrets, and that we must not grieve for the past or worry about the future.

It goes without saying that dust will accumulate in a home that is never cleaned. Just as you have finished raking the leaves, more are sure to fall. It is the same with your mind. Right when you think you have cleaned out all the cobwebs, more begin to form. Adherence to the past and misgivings about the future will fill your head, wresting your mind from the present. This is why we monks pour ourselves heart and soul into polishing floors. Cleaning is training for staying in the now. Therein lies the reason for being particular about cleanliness.

I hate ironing. I must say that after reading this I know what I’ll think about when I have to iron something from now on:

How to Iron. When ironing, visualize yourself ironing out the wrinkles in your heart.

By letting go of everything, you can open up a universe of unlimited possibilities.

 A lovely book, a deep book, and a simple book. I kept thinking of friends and relatives who might enjoy/benefit from it (and I don’ t mean because of the state their houses are in!). And I am sure many of you would enjoy it too. Just try it and see.

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review 2017-08-25 21:18
Join the ladybird for another adventure.
What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday - Julia Donaldson,Lydia Monks
Julia Donaldson gave herself a really hard act to follow with The Gruffalo - on Amazon UK this has over 1,000 reviews and an average of 4.9!! Both my grandchildren love it and their parents already know it off by heart. So it was with high expectations that I requested a copy of What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday from NetGalley. 

I gave this a run-through and found the rhymes a bit awkward, so I borrowed it's predecessor, What the Ladybird Heard, from my grandson, to compare them. To my delight, I discovered that in the paper copy of the book, the ladybird has texture - so instead of saying 'where's the ladybird' on each page of my review copy, my son was directing, 'touch the ladybird', which is already so much more fun. But I also found that the rhyming in the original copy takes a few reads to get the hang of, to get the rhythm right. 

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday is intended for a slightly older audience (3 - 6 years) than The Gruffalo (2 - 5 years), so my grandchildren are still a little young for it, but they loved the animals and will get more involved with the book as they understand the story better.

I may be giving this one 4 stars, based on the slightly awkward rhyming, but it's still an excellent choice for all young children.


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review 2016-08-25 00:06
Thraxas and the Warrior Monks (Thraxas #2)
Thraxas and the Warrior Monks - Martin Scott

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.anobii.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Thraxas and the Warrior Monks

Series: Braxas

Author: Martin Scott

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 256

Format: Kindle digital edition









Thraxas is hired to defend an apprentice who is accused of murdering his master. At the same time, some dolphins want him to find their magic healing stone, 2 rival groups of monks are trying to kill him to recover a 2 ton statue AND a shipment of the king's gold goes missing. And if that isn't enough, thugs are after Thraxas as are some of the leaders of the Guards.


In fact, it seems everybody wants Thraxas dead.



My Thoughts:


This was complicated, convoluted and fun; in fact, it was just as fun as the previous book. Sometimes, humor across books can change but this keeps the same tenor.


I tried to keep things straight in my head while reading so I could write about it, but half way through I just gave up. I just let the story roll me along like a pebble in the ocean.


When I'm done these Thraxas book, I'll have to go see if Scott wrote any more.

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text 2016-04-07 04:01
On My Nightstand
The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills - Daniel Coyle
How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild - Mary A. Kassian
Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life - Kathleen Norris

I couldn't help but add a few more books to my nightstand book pile. I have been meaning to read Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild for years and this is my chance to cross it off my list. I heard about How To Be A Woman from Emma Watson's Book Club and thought it was an interesting read. I haven't decided which one I will read first but I can't wait to dive in.

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