Dementia in Lewy Body and Parkinson’s Disease Patients: Partnering with Your Doctor to Get the Most from Your Medications by J. Eric Ahlskog

2 stars Nonfiction

I have a family member who has been recently diagnosed with Lewy Bodies Dementia so I was pretty excited to find this book at the library.  I was hoping for some good information that I could use and according to the synopsis, Eric with 30 years of experience, would provide that for me.   He would “arm patients and families with crucial information that would enable them to work in tandem with their doctors.”  He would, “clearly explain all aspects of these disorders, their causes, symptoms, most effective drug treatments, proper doses, and which treatments to avoid.”  He’d also discuss complications from these disorders, give us choices of medications available, their side effects, and interactions.  Well, I found some of this information to be correct.

If you want to read about medications, this book is for you.  That is what the bulk of this book is about: medications.  I thought it started out okay as it was discussing different aspects of the disease and then, the conversation switched to medication and it stayed on this forever.  The book talks about medication- all aspects of medications.  The author states at the beginning of the book, that you don’t need to read it like a typical book but that you can jump around.  I started reading from the beginning but when it started to talk endlessly about medications, I started to skip sections.  I would read a bit out of each section but it was about medications, how medications interacted with other medications, or something along this line.  When there was a topic that I might be interested in, say hallucinations, I would dig in only to find, “hallucinations are primarily due to the disease itself: however, certain drugs can exacerbate this problem.”   Then, that section would talk about clinical trials, drugs, and then……finally, “they may be caused by sleep deprivation or a urinary infection.”  Finally, a bit of information that doesn’t talk about drugs.  If I wanted more information about hallucinations, I was referred to a different chapter.  That other chapter was only 4.5 pages long and it too talked about medications.  Over half of its pages were about medications.    

I didn’t want a book about medications, I understand that it’s part of these diseases but to spend the majority of this book discussing them, it was too much.  I also realize that there’s no treatment but drugs can’t be the only answer. This book was a big disappointment to me.   2 stars

A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting: A Complete Step-by-Step Course by Tracey Lord

5 stars Nonfiction

I want this book!  I have been wanting to learn how to knit and crochet so when I saw this book at the library, I grabbed it.  I’ve heard that you can teach yourself this at home and since I’m a beginner, here’s my sign.  Between books and online videos, I figured that I could be successful.  I’ve had a difficult time attending class while I learn something new, in the past.  I get anxious, confused, and stressed about the process and I feel myself tuning out.  If I can get some knowledge about knitting from this book and online, perhaps I could take a class in the future and strength my skills. 

I like that this book is oversized so I can spread the book open and see clearly what each page is all about.  The book clearly understands me as it seems to have everything covered from what to look for in yarns, needles, reading patterns, what other accessories I might need, how to even go about starting a project and how to make my project presentable.  I like that the book presents projects for you to complete too. 

The book starts with simple easy projects and progresses to more complex ones.  So, from making a basic knit stitch, to making a slouch beanie hat, to knitting some baby shoes, this book will help me along the way. I know absolutely nothing about knitting except that I’ll need some knitting needles and yarn.  I like that this book explains everything in simple terms and includes lots of detail.  I had no idea that there were 6 different weights of yarn and the book even tells me what to look for in yarn and what yarn to use for what project.  I’ve heard of the terms “casting on” and “casting off” but what they are I had no idea.  The book explains it and shows me how to do it with step-by-step illustrations.

There’s even information on how to read a pattern.  I do think that there are some workshops (projects) in this book that I don’t really want to complete so we shall see if I attempt them but I like that they are there for me.  These “workshops” (projects) build upon one another, getting more difficult as you progress through the book.   I’ll learn at least one new skill as I create something new in each workshop with their detailed directions and illustrations.  Yep, this book is just what I need to get me knitting.   It’s a 5-star book for me.


I’ve been picking up these Wonderbook’s from our library lately and I thought I’d give a shout-out to them.

These are Wonderbook’s that our library has been purchasing for the younger readers in our area. What is a Wonderbook? To me, a Wonderbook is a great resource for kids and adults alike. These books read to a child while at the same time, they allow the child to follow along with the printed text in the book. I know…….some of you might be thinking, I’ve seen books like these before, picture books or other character driven books where you’re supposed to push the colored-buttons and they’ll tell you to turn the page. Well, what I think sets these books apart is the variety and diversity that you’ll discover with these.

Not only do they cover easy picture books but you’ll find some nonfiction children books, Level books, children’s chapter books, and books for children in different languages. books. Pretty amazing, huh? Yeah, I thought so too.

These books come with easy-to-use instructions right inside the front cover and you can stop them whenever you need to and they pick right back up, where you left off. Our library charges them up when they get returned to the library to make sure they’re charged up for the next patron so we don’t have to worry about the battery dying (they can be charged with a micro-USB too). You can adjust the volume, jump forward and backward in the book using buttons also. There is a read-along mode and there is learning mode with each Wonderbook. In the read-along mode, they instruct you on how to proceed with the Wonderbook – where to start and when and what the sound will be like, when you are to turn the page. In the learning mode, they ask questions about the book: what character did you identify with the most? If you could ask the author a question, what would it be? What’s the books main idea? etc.  

These books are expensive to purchase, I’ve checked into them so I’m glad my library has this option available and I’m so excited that they brought them to my attention. 

My three-year grandson’s like to take these books and sit on our comfy furniture and listen to them on their own. I think they’re finding their independence. I like watching them as they listen as they’re scanning the pages with their eyes. It’s like their eyes are trying to follow the text and the look at the picture at the same time. The voice is slow and clear so they’re able to understand which is great. This is a good option for them and I’m glad that they’re excited to read them. They do cut into my reading time with me, as they want to do them on their own after I read through them once with them but I have plenty of other books to read with them. I find the pace rather slow but the kids like it and that’s what matters. 

 I just checked out a Wonderbook for me to listen to: Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly which is a middle school read.  This is the second book in the series and I’ve been wanting to read it.   I read a lot of middle school books and I think this will be interesting.   So, what do you think?  Have you heard of a Wonderbook? 

Here are a few links if you want further information:

Fantastic Feet Up Close by Melissa Stewart

4.5 stars Children’s Nonfiction

What animal is the fastest digger on Earth?  Using its long claws, which are shaped like shovels this animal’s feet are perfect for digging up the food that it eats.  Do you know the answer?  If you guessed a camel, you are wrong.  If you guessed an aardvark, you are correct. 

Looking at this animal in this book and then, looking up close at its feet, I can see its long, sharp claws and see how it can dig up tiny ants and termites as those toes look like super long toe nails with points on the end.  What an interesting book!  

I liked how this book shows its reader a variety of animals and then, shows them a close-up view of the animal’s feet so they can actually see what the focus is all about. The author explains why that specific animal has that type of foot also.  The pictures inside this book are photographs so the reader is able to see the animals in their own environment. Easy-to-read text accompanies with this bright picture book. 

There is a list of books and a few websites listed on the back page is the reader would like additional information.  An index completes this 24-page book.   4.5 stars

Insect or Spider?: How Do You Know?

5 stars Children’s Nonfiction

I always knew that spiders had 8 legs, that’s how I knew a spider, was a spider.  Not that I would try to count a spider’s legs, if I was encountering one just to make sure it was a spider.  I just knew that fact.  After reading this fun, educational children’s book I know much more about spiders.   What about their senses?  What do they eat? What about their bodies? 

As the author compares and contrasts a spider to an insect, I learned a great deal how these two are different.   A spider seems much more aggressive to me yet after this book, he doesn’t have much of an advantage than an insect.

This was an interesting book and I would recommend it to any child.  I’m sure they’ll learn something exciting inside this book.  I think children would enjoy looking at the photographs too as they fantastic.  These pictures aren’t drawings or cartoons but they’re photographs of real spiders and insects (with their name listed beside them) in their own environments which just adds to the enjoyment of this book.  An educational book with bright, colorful pictures with easy-to-read text makes a fantastic book by my standards.  5+ stars

Alligator or Crocodile? : How Do You Know? by Melisssa Stewart

5 stars Children’s Nonfiction

You don’t need to love alligators or crocodiles to enjoy this educational children’s book.  I found this book fascinating as I loved how the author compared and contrasted these two different reptiles in such a easy, informative way that gives kids this information.  There is lots of different information from how and where they live, to their physical features, their babies, and then, the author wraps up the information in a few illustrations at the end. 

The author included some websites and a list of other books on this topic at the back of the book for future research, if you’d like more information.  This 24-page book wouldn’t be complete without an index and that’s in the back also.

I enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it to any child.  I’m sure they’d learn something about these reptiles or it would refresh what they already know.  I know children would enjoy looking at the photographs inside this book as they fantastic.  The pictures inside this book aren’t drawings or cartoons but they’re photographs of real crocodiles and alligators in their environments which just adds to the enjoyment of this book.    Fantastic book!  5+ stars  

Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle: How Animals Get Ready For Winter by Paula Salas

5 stars Nonfiction Children’s

This is a very informative book and I liked that it covered more than just hibernate.    Normally when we think of animals in winter, we think of hibernate but this book talks about what other animals do beside hibernate and this is greatly appreciated.  I also liked that it covered some nontraditional animals which is always good to learn about.   The illustrations are bright and colorful and the pages weren’t too busy and disturbing.   Told in verse, this is a fun informative book.  5 stars

Broken by Jenny Lawson

5 stars Nonfiction

Jenny is real.  Jenny’s books remind me that I need to enjoy life, no matter what comes my way.    Everyone faces issues in their life and I like Jenny’s approach to the obstacles that she faces in her own life.  When I read Broken, there were many times that Jenny had me laughing out-loud or snickering, as I couldn’t believe how candid she was.  Yet, there were times where she got serious in her conversations and she got me thinking, seriously thinking.  Yes, life should be like this…… I follow Jenny on social media and I’ve read one of her previous books and her use of humor in dealing with her illness is shown again in this book.  As I read Broken, I felt empowered.  We all can and should apply Jenny’s approach to our own lives.

Jenny talks openly about her mental health issues and I appreciated her upfront approach and her honest opinions and emotions.  Discussing depression and anxiety, she lets her readers know that we all have our own issues and that we all take our own unique path in life.  I liked how Jenny described this in her book.  For it’s all in how you look at it.  You’re here at this specific spot, this right spot at the right second, for a purpose.  It’s all about your perspective: literally and figuratively. 

        “It’s not the same path that everyone else takes, and that can be hard and lonely, but I was reminded that there are amazing things that I would never see with normal eyes and other paths.”

I liked that Jenny was not afraid to be open.  Jenny was sincere and truthful with her readers.   She’ll say what many individuals are thinking but they’re too afraid to say it out loud.  She’s real and she’ll definitely make you feel accepted and normal. I really enjoyed this book. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Jenny at a book reading a few years back and I was thrilled.  I can tell you; she was as personable and friendly, as she is in her books.  A calming atmosphere filled the room as she spoke, it was as if, a good friend had stopped by to chat. I read Broken poolside at a resort, this year on vacation.  I had many people look at me as I laughed away the morning,  so I’d just hold up the book and smile at them.  Sitting next to my husband, I’d have to stop reading many times so I could read him parts of the book.  Her stories were things I could relate it and some were so funny, I just had to share.   I know I will be revisiting this book in the future.   I want to thank Goodreads, Jenny Lawson, and Henry Holt for my copy of this book as I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.  This review is my own personal opinion of the book

One: Simple One-Pan Wonders by Jamie Oliver

3.5 stars Cookbook

This is one terrific looking cookbook.  The pictures of the recipes look fantastic, almost too pretty to eat.  The recipes look like masterpieces that took hours to create but if you read the directions, most of them took under an hour to prepare.   Jamie wants to make cooking easy, practical,  and tasty. 

Let’s talk about why this cookbook is amazing.  I’m going to start with the layout of this book.  It fits many 2-page spread cookbook layouts with a recipe the left side of the page and a picture of that recipe on the right but I think this cookbook steps it up a notch.  On each of the two-page spreads, you will also find the nutritional value information in chart-like format, at the bottom of the page.  Along the side of the recipe, you’ll find pictures of the ingredients that you’ll need for the recipe.  So, you need some garlic, you’ll see a picture of garlic.  Need rosemary, there’s a picture of rosemary.  If you have 8 ingredients listed for your recipe, you will see 8 small pictures on the side.  I liked this little addition to an otherwise empty space.  The pictures of the recipes take center stage on the right side of this 2-page spread.  Nothing unnecessary competes with this space but the completed dish. Like I mentioned before, these pictures looked amazing.

There are a lot of interesting recipes in this cookbook. I’m not a fish eater but there were plenty of fish recipes in here and the pictures made me think that I could eat it.  The Upside Down Fish Pie, Teriyaki Shrimp, and the Shrimp Fried Rice, wow….they looked delicious! Jamie Oliver sure has presentation down perfectly!  The one issue that I found with this cookbook is that although the pictures of the dishes look fantastic, I only found a few of them that I would actually prepare.  Sure, there were a couple recipes that I might create but there were only a few that I knew that I would definitely try.  The Smoked Pancetta & Bean Pasta and Honey Roast Chicken looked like something that I would definitely eat. 

Jamie does make each recipe easy to prepare with detailed instructions and I found that the ingredient list is not complicated, he tries to use items that most individuals can find at their local grocery store.  Jamie doesn’t include anything personal, nor does he include any additional tips or ideas on these two pages, you just get the recipe and your picture. If you’re looking for something personal, you’re going to have to look at some of the other pages in the book where Oliver talks about each of the different sections in this book, his own personal journey and why this cookbook is so special.

If you like to try new dishes or want some easy recipes that’ll make you look as if you’re an award-winning chef – you need to check this book out.   3.5 stars.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

4 stars Nonfiction

This was a quick read and I found that I could relate to many of the topics that the author covered.   I’m an individual who loves to read and I can get wrapped up inside a good novel, like I can a good blanket so when Anne discussed how getting hooked inside a good book and how a book seems to just fall into your lap when you need it, I knew exactly what she was talking about.  Anne doesn’t try to navigate her way into your bookshelf nor into your reading world, Anne explains her own world and if you look closely enough, you just find might find some similarities with her world.

Anne has her own pile of TBR books but somehow that “perfect” book lands in her lap just when she needs it.  When I read this part of the book, I took a few minutes to think how many times that has happened in my own life.  How many times I needed an escape and the perfect book was there? How many times I needed a good laugh and the book I was reading provided that?  This past month, I read We Spread by Iain Reid.  I won this book on Goodreads but I can’t tell you what made me immediately pick it up and start reading it.  I have so many other books that I needed my attention first but let me tell you, I needed that book!  In We Spread, the main character started to have some issues which were also starting to occur with someone in my own family.  I couldn’t believe how similar this felt.  To have won this book, received it, and immediately feel the need to read it – this book fell right into my lap.


This was a comfortable book, one that reminds me why I like reading so much.  4 stars.