Thursday, May 30, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Albina 2nd Edition: A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland

This is the second edition of the novella Albina. Set in an early industrial age society, in a time not now and a world not of our own, it tells the story of the childhood and coming of age of a young woman named Albina, the only daughter of the main protagonists in "Far Haven" (Part III of the epic Windflower Saga trilogy). Albina is mixed race, a twin, and "a brain" (as her friends and cousins say it." From early childhood, she has an interest in science, especially chemistry, at a time when few women have yet entered these developing fields of study. Albina leaves home to pursue her studies. In the process, she also encounters her mother's indigenous culture and comes to grip with her identity and her faith. Romance beckons and Albina must also come to grips with what love really means. A charming and sweet story told by Albina herself. The second edition includes several color illustrations.



Albina has been revamped by the author in this rare special 2nd edition. The story remains the same as Albina focuses on Loris and Keridwen’s daughter from the third Windflower Saga book FAR HAVEN A QUEST FOR CERTITUDE. A QUEST FOR JUSTICE. Written in 1st person Layland capture Albina’s voice with such sweet intelligence you will fall for her instantly. Read my previous review here.

As bonus pictures have been added giving Albina that special 2nd edition lure. Luring in new and old readers alike.


Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Western Caroline Islands where she helped build school classrooms and cafeterias, low-income housing, and simple village water distribution systems. Her other interests include arts and crafts, family genealogy, religion, and spirituality, fostering peace in the world, and enjoying retirement with family and friends.

The Windflower Saga series is comprised of the following volumes which trace the lives of members of the fictional Ansgar ducal family against a background of struggles between forces such as good and evil, love and hate, and war and peace. The series is a unique blending of traditional love stories and adventure and action stories in an "other world" setting, with serious spiritual and moral themes which are addressed in an overall uplifting tone. For all that the characters may face harsh realities, the story of the Ansgar family is a happy one.

Part I of the Trilogy:
"Ansgar: The Struggle of a People. The Triumph of the Heart."

Novellas and Stories Related to Part I:
"The Feathered Crown"
"Far Endeavor"
"Three Brothers of Ansgar"
"Bright Star, A Pony of the Kimbrii, A Windflower Saga Story for Kids"
"Tiyo, The Dog Who Saved Ansgar, A Windflower Saga Story for Kids"

Part II of the Trilogy:
"Of Wisdom and Valor: The Art of War. The Path of Peace."

Novellas and Stories Related to Part II:
"Bind Not the Heart"
"Leofric of Longridge"
"Keri and Kalina, A Windflower Saga Chapter Book"
"Golden Skye of Ansgar, A Windflower Saga Middle Grade Novel"

Part III of the Trilogy:
"Far Haven: A Quest for Certitude. A Fight for Justice."

Novellas and Stories Related to Part III:
"Courage of Ansgar"
"Swords of Ansgar"
(being written) "The World of The Windflower Saga, An Illustrated Companion and Author's Commentary"

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: An Introduction to 4 Dietary Lifestyles - A Guide to the Paleo, Keto, Vegan and Okinawa Diets by Yanjuan Lou

The latest book by Yanjuan Lou, An Introduction to Four Dietary Lifestyles; A Guide to the Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Okinawa Diets, is the type of book that the dieting industry has long feared to explode onto the scene.
Everyone who has any interest in dieting has already heard about the paleo, keto, vegan, and Okinawa diets – but very rarely are these diets explained in full without bias towards one over the other. It’s no secret that every diet under the sun won’t work for everyone, and Yanjuan Lou has put together a comprehensive guide to each diet without pulling any punches or playing favorites. She leaves the final choice up to you for which diet you want to commit to, and whichever diet you chose, Yanjuan’s advice remains as practical and poignant as ever. If you’ve struggled to stick with a diet in the past or didn’t know which diet would work best for you specifically, then stop fantasizing about finding the right book to help you, because it is in your hands right now!



If you have ever wondered why every diet fad you tired has failed then you need this book. Yanjuan takes the 4 top trending diets today and offers you a little history and answer key on how to be successful on each of these diets. It is really interesting as Yanjuan pulls the veil up behind these popular diets learning that they’ve been around for some time.

 You learn it's not really a diet at all but a lifestyle change which remains prominently the key to the success of all your diets really. I love how Yanjuan stresses this in her book. Besides talking about each of these diets you also get meal plan ideas for each diet. What to do when dining out whether its Italian, Mexican or Chinese. 

A grand book to acquire if you are planning on starting any of these trending diets.


Yanjuan Lou was born in Shenyang, China. China is a very conformed society with an extremely low tolerance for mediocrity or mistakes. She has spent most of her time in China being told what to do, then doing it. This was just how things were there. Before she left China on a personal quest, she had written non-fiction books. The topics she usually used to write about were often related to health, beauty products, and financing. Her husband, daughter, and herself–moved to California in 2015. By then, she was ready to leave China behind— not for good—but at the time, it matched with where she was in her life. Besides, while visiting the U.S., she realized that if she really was going to spread her message and enter a new phase of life, she needed to relocate away from her past. She dabbled in a few different jobs after moving to the U.S. She was a customer service representative for a travel agency, and then later, she got a second job as a model for the occasional magazine ad and the like. However, neither of these was very fulfilling. Even worse, they were extremely stressful. They ate up all of her time, paid marginally well at best, and were beyond demanding. She hit a point where she couldn’t take it anymore. She has left those jobs behind and has finally decided to return to her passion for writing. She truly believes in her heart that a person, regardless of age, culture, family inventions, can learn to live in harmony with themselves.

Friday, May 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Heavenly Mist, Earthly Dew: Poetry, Photography, and Reflections by Kimberlee J. Benart

This small collection of poetry was inspired by the Baha'i Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in and near Haifa, Israel. The poems vary in style. While some reflect the spiritual aspects of pilgrimage, others address broader issues of life. In addition, some photography and poetry are included that reflect the author's homes in Virginia and Africa.



An alluring book of poetry, photography, and reflections inspired by her pictures from her pilgrimage and visit to the Bah’ ai gardens. Each of her poems tells a story, and Benart writes her poetry, some in classic a rhythmical style, while others are more modern style.  My favorite has to be “Roundabout on a Straight Path.” We are then greeted with more photography images from her trip to the gardens which are truly beautiful. Then it transitions into a personal reflection of what it all meant to her in her pilgrimage that inspired this whole book. A beautiful book to have on your coffee table.


Ms. Kimberlee J. Benart graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She retired from Federal civil service in 2009 after more than 35 years as a senior installation engineering manager primarily for the United States Air Force and worked at military installations in Japan, Germany, Italy, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia (The Pentagon). She is also a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Civil Engineer) for the Palau Islands (now the Republic of Belau). She received numerous awards and recognition during her federal career, including a NATO Medal, Exemplary Civilian Service Medal, and Civilian Career Service medal. Ms. Benart's other interests include family genealogy, arts and crafts, sustainable small-scale farming, and religion and spirituality. She is married to research mathematician and composer Peter O. Sagay.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: FirePath (The Rose Prophecy, Book 1) by Sidney Nesti

When 16-year-old Jude Turner bikes home from school, in New Jersey, she doesn’t expect that she’s about to be murdered. Well, almost murdered. The gray-haired man who attacked her disappeared into nothing like a ghost after calling her ‘Scion of Fire’. And why did he say she must die or she’ll destroy the whole world? The only one who has the answer is a frail child, alone in a dark prison, and he appears in Jude’s mind crying, calling her ‘sister’, pleading for her help. Jude never had a brother, and her older sister Sylvia abandoned her after their mother died. That’s why Jude will not abandon that desperate child – she will free him. But is he really a child? Or rather something ancient and vengeful? Now she’s on a dangerous quest that takes her from Jersey to a Pueblo in Arizona and then to Italy, Prague, and China. Together with her self-centered sister and a Romani alchemist, Jude must fight demons and struggle to master the mystical forces growing inside her. If she fails, she will die. If she succeeds, the world may come to an end.



You have to love fantasy that hooks you at first page. Firepath does just that and does not disappoint all the way through. Firepath is filled with fantasy, suspense, and supernatural with tons of travel.

In Firepath gruesome murders of mediums is discovered in Turin, Italy. Back in New Jersey, we meet 16-year-old Jude a budding athlete on her way home from a practice game only to finds out she might be better off dead. Then the dreams start of a child who calls her sister and pleads to be saved. Filled with emotions for this child Jude chooses to set out to find him. What will she find though? A real child? Or something else?
A Fantastical debut for Nesti! Perfect for all ages. It is a book you are going to want to read again and again!


Sidney Nesti started her career as an author writing academic works, and only later in life decided to dedicate herself to creative writing. Firepath is her first fantasy novel, and also the first in a series on which she continues to work. After years spent in New York, she recently moved back to the West Coast and she is now living in Seattle with her kids. To her stories, she brings her love for travel, for anthropology and her Italian and American cultures.

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