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Meet Eileen Kramer, Dancer, Choreographer, Designer, Author, Artist, and creative powerhouse at 107 years old! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference, we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. #WATWB was started in March 2017, this month marks our forty-fourth opportunity to share positive uplifting stories to inspire, give hope and motivate others. The last Friday of every month bloggers share their stories led by two co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Mary J. Giese and Belinda Witzenhausen.

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


 


“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~Sophia Loren.

Hopefully, the stereotype of elderly women sitting in their rocking chairs is long gone, replaced by the vibrant, creative, and resilient woman who has lived a full life and is far from done.  Eileen Kramer is a perfect role model, a dancer, choreographer, author, costume designer, portrait painter and inspirational creative force at 107 years old. 

Eileen began studying singing and music in Sydney in the 1930s but attending a performance of the Bodenwieser Ballet in 1940 inspired her to change her career to dance and she hasn’t looked back. After successfully auditioning and completing years of training with Gertrud Bodenwieser’s dance company she joined the main troupe and forged her career in professional dance that has spanned 82 years. Eileen performed internationally and has become a respected name in dance. At 100 years old Eileen crowdfunded, choreographed, and performed in an original piece A Buddha’s Wife, inspired by her travels in India which received high praise.

In recent years she has focused on her art, collaborating with a designer to create a line of scarves to raise money for the Arts Health Institute and performing when she has the opportunity. She also makes it a habit to write a story a day, and has produced books containing collections of her stories and art.  Even though working on a video was curtailed by the pandemic she still opted to be creative…“I couldn’t go out to the location of the video, so I wrote a book instead,” she said not letting anything slow her down.  Eileen is a perfect role model for living a creative life! 

To learn more about Eileen and her incredible accomplishments… 

Eileen’s website: https://eileen-kramer.com/

Check out a feature on Eileen on BBC here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-57250509

 

 


“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”~ Betty Friedan.

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview ~The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk #bibliomystery #mystery

Review

Department of Rare Book an Special Collections Cover

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

A Novel

by Eva Jurczyk

Release date: January 25th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk from Net Galley and Poisoned Pen Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…I particularly love the authentic protagonist, Leisl, whom I found to be an incredibly relatable character…

When I noticed this book on Net Galley I was thrilled, a biblio-mystery set in Toronto, what could be better? Librarian Leisl Weiss, close to retirement, has been forced to step-in as interim director of the rare books department at a Toronto university when the director, and her immediate boss suffers a stroke. One of her first items on her agenda as acting director is to prep an exhibit highlighting the incredibly rare Plantin Bible set. When she begins to tackle her duties, she cannot seem to find the rare bible volumes and begins searching everywhere, attempting to determine where her boss could have put them for safe keeping. With the department on alert, they search everywhere only to realize that the volumes are nowhere to be found in the library and must have been stolen. The image conscious president of the university is relentlessly pushing Leisl to get results to appease the many donors of the library. On the one hand he emphasizes the need for the donor’s confidence, and on the other, the need for discretion, forbidding her to involve the police. The staff begins to turn on each other and tensions mount as fingers are pointed and innuendos made. When a professor is working on a research project another book is found to be a fake adding to Leisl’s already hectic life.  Leisl, worn down and tired, makes a decision when a co-worker and friend disappears, Leisl is forced to think the unthinkable and contact the police and the investigation takes them in an odd direction.

The author is brilliant at helping the reader is gain insight into Leisl’s thoughts, in particular, about aging and feeling invisible, we see the evolution of her relationships as well as emphasis on the plight of those whose loved ones are suffering from mental illness.

I have to say debut author Eva Jurczyk doesn’t disappoint, The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is a well-written, authentic feeling story filled with multi-faceted characters as well as an intelligent and intriguing plot. I really enjoyed the plot, the twists, the turns which surprised me at the ending. I particularly love the authentic protagonist, Leisl, whom I found to be an incredibly relatable character. I loved this book and would highly recommend it!

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#NetGalley #BookReview ~ The Greek Histories: The Sweeping #History of Ancient Greece as Told by Its First Chroniclers: Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch by Mary Lefkowitz & James Romm #AncientGreece

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The Greek Histories Cover

The Greek Histories:

The Sweeping History of Ancient Greece as Told by Its First Chroniclers: Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch

by Mary Lefkowitz & James Romm

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Release date: January 18th, 2022


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Greek Histories: The Sweeping History of Ancient Greece as Told by Its First Chroniclers: Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch by Mary Lefkowitz & James Romm from Net Galley and Random House Publishing Group in order to read and give an honest review.

…Well-researched, this book is a valuable resource for those beginning their journey to understand our past…

I have recently been studying Ancient Greece and have read quite a bit from Herodotus but have always been interested in hearing from other great minds of the time. Lefkowitz and Romm have produced a wonderful introduction to four distinct and learned voices from ancient Greek historians, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch.  Each section begins with an introduction discussing the historian in question and the time before delving into details of momentous events. Each section helps the reader to step back in time and gain insight into what we know of Greek History. 

Well-researched, this book is a valuable resource for those beginning their journey to understand our past. Containing accounts of battles, plagues, and journeys, this book has it all. Each section ends with endnotes containing valuable references and includes an appendix at the end “Warfare and Battle in the Greek World” by Jon E Lendon.

Thrilled to have had the opportunity to read and review and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the History of Ancient Greece.  I found the book interesting, and it will definitely be a book I delve back into time and again. 

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Garden of Sins (#AVictorianMystery No.6) by Laura Joh Rowland #Historical #Mystery

Garden of Sins

A Victorian Mystery #6

by Laura Joh Rowland

 

 

Release date: January 11th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Garden of Sins A Victorian Mystery Book No. 6 by Laura Joh Rowland from Net Galley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

a captivating read, I still enjoyed the twists and turns which this series is well known for

I have been a fan of Laura Joh Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series since reviewing the first entry, and I have been fortunate enough to read and review all the books in this series. Although I found this book very entertaining, I did not enjoy it quite as much as the previous books in this series, although each are fast paced, this almost seemed to have too much going on.  

The story opens with newlyweds Crime Scene Photographer, Sarah Bain and her new husband Detective Sergeant Thomas Barrett traveling by train through London when the train suddenly derails. Being true to their natures Sarah and Thomas begin searching the wreckage for other survivors stumbling across the body of a woman who perished in the crash, upon closer inspection they realize that the woman was had been strangled. They immediately begin to investigate the case and when it leads them to a member of the Royal Family, Scotland Yard recruits them for a top-secret mission to uncover the truth while preserving the reputation of the monarchy. During the investigation they learn the victim was a Pinkerton detective who had traveled to England in search of a missing American heiress. Clues lead them to Cremorne Gardens, a combination of part freak show, part circus and part theatre which hides murderous secrets.  

Grittier than her previous books in the series Garden of Sins, I feel, the author overwhelms with too many incidents occurring. In addition to the investigation Sarah faces, an incident with Thomas and his ex-fiancé which places a heavy strain on their marriage, she is trying to uncover the truth and save her father who is on trial for the murder of a young woman twenty years prior, Hugh is despondent and malingering after the events from Portrait of Peril, and nasty Inspector Reid is out for vengeance doing everything he can to get Sarah to share what she knows about Jack the Ripper. Although it was not my favourite in the series it was still a captivating read, I still enjoyed the twists and turns which this series is well known for. The book is an entertaining fun read I would highly recommend. It would work as a stand-alone, however I really recommend reading the books in order. 

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Yoga Prescription: A Chronic Illness Survival Guide by Cory Martin #Health #Yoga #ChronicIllness

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The Yoga Prescription:

A Chronic Illness Survival Guide

by Cory Martin

Release date: January 11th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Yoga Prescription: A Chronic Illness Survival Guide by Cory Martin from NetGalley and Write Out Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

“….an amazing book for those of us who struggle with chronic illness, it doesn’t make empty promises but helps us gain tools to help us live our best life possible…”

As someone with a chronic illness I wish this book had been around ten years ago when I was struggling. Cory Martin does an incredible job at describing honestly the overwhelming thoughts and feelings one goes through upon hearing a diagnosis that can change your life. Suffering from MS and Lupus herself, Corey sums up perfectly the things that it took me over a decade to learn by myself. I came to yoga late in my illness and I still struggle to maintain the perfection of a pose even though I usually suffer afterwards by going too far. Cory teaches one how to adapt postures and manage possible symptoms through a series of simple poses, explaining their purpose and how they will help you.

Cory speaks “with” the reader not “to” the reader, offering easy to understand, non-intimidating advice that comes from someone who has walked the path. Looking for relief over the years I have read book after book on the benefits of yoga, gleaning some information but always walking away feeling disappointed that I cannot do everything as suggested. With what I have learned from The Yoga Prescription I definitely feel that I can take my practice to the next level. This is an amazing book for those of us who struggle with chronic illness, it doesn’t make empty promises but helps us gain tools to help us live our best life possible.

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#NetGalley #BookReview A Three Book Problem, (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #7) by Vicki Delany #Cozy #Mystery #CrookedLaneBooks

A Three Book Problem 

A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #7

by Vicki Delany 

Release date: January 11th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Three Book Problem, (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #7) by Vicki Delany from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… an intriguing and solid entry filled with twists, turns and plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing to the very last chapter! …  

Gemma and crew are at it again in this entry in the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore Series. When Donald enlists Jayne and Gemma to cater for his friend David Masterson’s Sherlock Holmes themed Weekend at Suffolk Gardens House, a notorious estate, it’s all hands-on deck. David a dedicated devotee to the Sherlock Holmes franchise throws a mysterious weekend for friends and family to revel in the greatness of all things “Sherlock.” Gemma assists with the weekend which is supposed to be an opportunity to highlight her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and the neighboring Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, run by Jayne, but instead it turns out to highlight the mysterious murder of the host David. When all in attendance become suspects Gemma steps up to do some sleuthing despite being asked not to. In the past Gemma has been accused of sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong causing quite a bit of animosity on behalf of the police, including Gemma’s boyfriend, Ryan, and his partner Detective Estrada. As the weekend progresses it becomes evident that David had a lot of enemies and Gemma is on the hunt for the one who hated him enough to want him dead.  

I am a devoted fan of the series, and this book did not disappoint me. Although not my favourite in the series it was still an intriguing and solid entry filled with twists, turns and plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing to the very last chapter!  

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Maid by Nita Prose #mystery #PenguinRandomHouseCanada

The Maid

by Nita Prose

Release date: January 4th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Maid by Nita Prose from NetGalley and Penguin Random House in order to read and give an honest review.  

I absolutely loved everything about this book, clever, quirky, and refreshingly unique

Molly Gray is not your usual protagonist, unique, interesting, and quirky. She definitely stands alone in a sea of cookie cutter characters usually found in the cozy mystery genre.  Molly, a 25-year-old maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, is seen as different to everyone who meets her and is invisible to most.  Molly’s job is her life since her only family and anchor, her Gran, passes away.    Molly struggles with basic social skills, she tries to be kind to everyone she meets but lacks a real connection with anyone.  When her Gran was alive, she was Molly’s mentor who helped her navigate through any difficulties she experienced but now that she is gone Molly is on her own which leads to crossed wires and social faux pas. Molly’s job makes sense to her and defines who she is in her life. Molly loves being a maid, clean and orderly is her life, but soon her life turns into anything but. Although extremely intelligent in some ways yet she lacks the ability to understand certain situations. When Molly stumbles upon the body of Charles Black, one of the hotel’s regulars, her orderly life goes off the rails. Due to her lack of social skills, Molly lacks the ability to see through people’s facades and uncover ulterior motives which gets her in a world of trouble and makes her number one suspect in Mr. Blacks Murder.   As Molly becomes entangled in a web of lies, she quickly learns who her real friends are and who does not have her best interests at heart. 
 
I enjoyed hearing Molly’s voice; she definitely isn’t invisible to the reader. I absolutely loved everything about this book, clever, quirky, and refreshingly unique. If this is the author’s debut, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.