Friday, June 24, 2016

White Sand Volume 1

Title: White Sand Volume 1

Author: Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin

Illustrator: Julius M Gopez

Published: Dynamic Forces, 21 June 2016

Series: Book 1, White Sand

Pages: 160

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Summary: On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss -- a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love Brandon Sanderson's books so I jumped at the chance to read this one early as I try to get my hands on everything Sanderson has written. I was a little nervous as I'm not the biggest graphic novel fan but it's Brandon Sanderson so it has to be good.

The art style is quite interesting. It's quite unique compared to other graphic novels I've tried out. I'm not a visually minded person so I did find it hard to tell some characters apart from others. I felt their names were a bit confusing too. That being said this is the first book in the series so it was setting everything up and I definitely think I'll be reading it again soon.

The story itself is mostly setting things up and I'm really hoping that the rest of the books will things well because I honestly feel a little confused. I almost feel like I need to wait until all the books are out so I can see the whole picture.

Overall, I enjoyed the story but I wasn't completely blown away by it. I think I'll definitely be needing to read this one again soon to try and wrap my head around it some more. I would definitely recommend it to fans of Sanderson and fans of graphic novels. I think that because I'm not a regular reader of graphic novels it's hard for me to say if this is good as a graphic novel or not. That being said, I am definitely excited for the next book in the series.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Yoga Books: Forty Days of Yoga by Kara-Leah Grant

Title: Forty Days of Yoga
Sub Title: Breaking Down the Barriers of a Home Yoga Practice
Published: Aarohati Publishing, 2013
Summary: Forty Days of Yoga is a powerful resource for anyone interested in committing to a home yoga practice. 

Drawing on her years of home practice experience, yoga teacher and writer Kara-Leah Grant examines many of the obstacles - both internal and external - that one can face when undertaking a self-directed practice, especially while living an ordinary life in the busy, modern world.   (Taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts: This was the second book about Yoga I found and read. It's about how to create a home practice and it talks about what a home practice is and it also gets you to think about how you can create a home practice.  I think it's definitely a good resource to provide a person with the tools to start and maintain a home Yoga practice.

One thing I really like about this book is that it isn't just a book you read, there are also activities to fill out and it really gets you thinking. I love her idea of starting out slowly and just practicing Yoga for 40 consecutive days. I actually followed this plan and have been practicing Yoga every day since.

The back of the book has a lot of resources to books and videos and all sorts of Yoga related things and I found that to be really helpful as in the beginning it was pretty hard for me to find more Yoga related resources.

Now, I am just starting out on my Yoga journey and am nowhere near the point of starting a home practice even though I do see that happening somewhere down the track. I do think this book is a really good resource and I'll be keeping a hold of this so that I can go back to it in the future.

I've also recently discovered that she has a new book out which is a guide to Yoga to give you confidence to get out there and get to Yoga classes which is something that I really need so I will definitely be checking that one out soon.

Where to Purchase the book:

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Title: The Miracle Morning

Author: Hal Elrod

Published: John Murray Learning, January 2016

Pages: 224

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: What if you could wake up tomorrow and any - or EVERY - area of your life was beginning to transform? What would you change? The Miracle Morning is already transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world by showing them how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take your life to the next level. It's been right here in front of us all along, but this book has finally brought it to life.
Are you ready? The next chapter of YOUR life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. It's time to WAKE UP to your full potential...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts after reading the book: I'm not usually one to read self-help books but for whatever reason, this one stuck out as being one that I should read. Now, I am going to be honest in my thoughts and say that I was originally open minded but also skeptical of this book. I know that some self-help books can be extremely repetitive and also really cheesy. I wasn't sure how much this book was going to help me, but I was willing to be open-minded about it as a whole. 

The beginning of the book has a few pages of peoples praise for the book and I always ignore those because I have noticed from past experience that people tend to give excess praise and it just annoys me and makes me appreciate the book less. So, I read the first page or two and then decided that I would read this book in its entirety that day so I could get started on my Miracle Mornings the next day.

There is a lot of helpful information in this book about how to get started and what to expect. There are lots of little strategies and Hal Elrod explains the whole plan really clearly and in great detail. It was enough to get me really intrigued and willing to give this a go because really, I have been looking for a way to get up early and work on practicing Yoga in the mornings before work.

I do have a couple of things that bothered me a little. One of those is that every few paragraphs Hal Elrod mentions that you can check out his website for lots of extra free resources. Sure, I think it's great that the book has complementary material but I also hate when people try and push things at me constantly. Maybe the book isn't meant to be read in one sitting, and in which case I guess that would be less irksome. I did check out the free resources and utilized the Fast-start kit which is a little pdf file of how to get started on your 30 day journey.

Now, I read this book 33 days before I posted this review and that is because I decided that there would be no point in me talking about how great of a book this is (or isn't), if I didn't take the time to actually implement the advice being given. So the evening after I finished the book I decided that the next day would be the day that I tried out the 30 day challenge.

Thoughts after trying this out for 30+ days: Elrod's system is comprised of a series of things to do known as life S.A.V.E.R.S and he talks about how to personalise them to create our own miracle morning situation. So, before I started on this journey I did a little bit of customising. I set the intention to use this time to further my Yoga practice and leave me calm and more productive during the day through meditation and Yoga. So, I fine-tuned my mornings around this practice. Now, applying the life S.A.V.E.R.S principle I decided to get a little S.A.V.vy (see what I did there) and combine the first three principles into one guided meditation because that's what I wanted to do.

The way I set up my mornings was then: 1) Guided meditation, 2) Exercise, 3) Reading and 4) Scribing. (For a more comprehensive break-down of this check out my Yoga blog which contains the Scribing part of this). I will admit that I felt a lot better doing the whole miracle morning thing but I fell off the bandwagon in terms of the scribing aspect just because I don't really care about my writing anymore. I didn't really have anything to say and so I didn't see the point in trying to write something I didn't care about. I also did not manage to complete the 30 day challenge due to lots of little things happening that got in the way. However, I will be trying to get up early again for the next 30 days starting today and I'm just going to focus on my Yoga practice. I don't see the need to follow all the steps because really the point is to just get up earlier and do something to make yourself more productive.

So, 30 days after I read the book I have changed my mind about it a bit. It's a good idea but I feel like it has a lot of extra things that I don't need to do. So I'm simplifying it down into something that works for me.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Unspoken by Heather Graham

Title: The Unspoken

Author: Heather Graham

Published: Harlequin Mira, 2012

Pages: 384

Series: Krewe of Hunters, Book 7

Description: 1898: Bound for Chicago, the freighter Jerry McGuen goes down in Lake Michigan, taking with it every man aboard. But what other fate could befall a vessel carrying the ill-gotten sarcophagus of an Egyptian sorcerer?

Now: A veteran diver and "ghost ship" expert is exploring the legendary wreck for a documentary. He dies inexplicably inside the freighter's main saloon. Then another diver is killed and panicked rumors rise like bubbles from the lake: ancient demons have awakened below!
The expedition's beleaguered financier calls paranormal investigator Katya Sokolov to Chicago to save the film—and perhaps some innocent lives. Along with media forensics guru Will Chan, Kat plumbs the depths of an evil that may date back to the time of the Pharaohs. But some secrets are best drowned in the seas of the past... (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is the seventh book in the Krewe of Hunters series, and before that are the Harrison Investigation series which are somewhat related to these books. So, by this point I have read about 16 of these paranormal investigations series. I still have a pile of 4 more Krewe of Hunters to read of my own collection.

In the beginning I found these books to be really interesting mysteries with a creepy supernatural aspect. Now that I've read so many of them I notice that the focus is more on the romance and less on the murder mysteries. The books are also getting a little more formulaic in which they follow the same kind of pattern.

I picked up The Unspoken and was surprised that this book actually followed on more closely from the book prior to it, in that they both feature the Pharaoh Amun Mopat and they actually discussed the events of the previous book.

The mystery felt like it was more of an afterthought and the main focus was the romance aspect. That was kind of unbelievable though. Neither of the main characters seemed that appealing and they honestly didn't seem like they had chemistry.

Overall, I thought The Unspoken was OK. I didn't think it was anything special and the mystery aspect was held so far on the backburner compared to the romance that I was a little disappointed. At this point in time, I will read the next book in the series but if they continue to degrade in quality then I'll give these books a miss. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The New Zealand Section: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

Title: The Rehearsal
Author: Eleanor Catton
Published: Granta Books, 2010 (First published 2009)

Synopsis: A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Before she wrote The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton wrote The Rehearsal so I decided to start here rather than The Luminaries.  Not to mention that this book is a lot smaller than The Luminaries. Anyway, The Rehearsal is Eleanor Catton's debut novel and I believe she originally wrote it as part of her MFA.

I really enjoyed The Rehearsal, it's not at all like anything I would usually read but I found that to be kind of refreshing. The opening page was so strange and fascinating that it drew me into the book and I read it in a couple of sittings.

As this book is set in a New Zealand high school, I found that I could actually relate to a lot of what the character's were going through and what they were talking about. It was pretty easy to sympathise with the characters and it was kind of cool to see references to things that girls at my high school also did.

I really enjoyed the writing of The Rehearsal, Eleanor Catton just seemed to write in a fasinating and wonderful manner.  I definitely feel like she's an author I could read more of so I will be reading The Luminaries some time soon.

Where to purchase the book: