Review: The Self-Care Solution

Title: The Self-Care Solution

Author: Jennifer Ashton, M.D., M.S.

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: self-improvement

Source: library

Publication Date: December 30, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is an ob-gyn and top medical correspondent for Good Morning America. In January one year, she announced on air that she was having a dry month – thirty days of no drinking. By the end of the month, she felt so good and inspired, she decided to set up monthly challenges for herself including push-ups and planks, drink more water, eat more plants, and walk more. By the end of the year, she felt fitter, healthier, and happier than she could remember being in the past.

Part memoir, part self-improvement, The Self-Care Solution is a light, informative, and entertaining read.

I loved this book. Between the topic and Ashton’s narration on the audio book, I loved listening to it and implementing her advice. At first I wasn’t sure if it’d be for me; I don’t drink, and therefore couldn’t really relate to her “dry month” challenge. However, once we got past January and her challenges branched out, I was hooked. Even though she does things month by month, I’ve rushed ahead and have been trying to incorporate some of her challenges in my daily routine. I’m up to 16 push-ups and 1 minutes of planks. I’m drinking 96 oz of water a day and I’ve started walking during my lunch time.

This book is similar in content to The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine, but I enjoyed this much better. It was written in a more engaging manner and a lot easier to follow for me.

I also liked the mixture of memoir and advice. Each chapter starts with Ashton’s story, then delves into the science before turning to how the reader can accomplish the same challenge.

If you like books on self-improvement or books about people tackling challenges during their year, this is one for you. I highly enjoyed this book and hope others give it a chance.

If you were to try and improve one habit for thirty days, what would it be? Let me know below!

Weekly Wrap-up | January 19, 2020

Oy, what a week! Seriously, though, this week was absolutely insane! On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at about 2, my smoke alarm/CO2 monitor started going off. It was just chirping every few seconds, so I didn’t think it was sending off an alarm. I tried to open it up to take the battery out, only to find that the unit was attached by wires to the ceiling, and I couldn’t figure out how to get them unhooked. I also couldn’t read any of the information on the back except the part that said to call the fire department if it went off.

I ended up calling the non-emergency number, but she treated it like an emergency. She had me go and wait outside, in the cold (okay, okay, California cold, but still) and wait for the fire truck and three firemen in full gear to arrive. They went into my apartment, scared the cats, and tested the air. They eventually determined that the smoke alarm itself was defective or past it’s expiration date and needed to be replaced. They unhooked it from the ceiling and left, leaving me to try and get a few hours more of sleep. It didn’t work all that well.

On Thursday, I was out of school for a training in math. It was also the same day my dad, who lives 300 miles away, went in for surgery. I spent the whole day checking my phone, waiting for updates. Around three, my mom texted to say that it would be a couple more hours. I left the training (with a full bladder) intending to drop by home, use the bathroom, grab my gym clothes, and go to the gym. I arrive to find out that my water had been turned off because of a problem in the building. Frustrated, I packed my shower gear and went to the gym. While working out, I decided that it made more sense to do an extra thirty minutes on the treadmill after strength training, because then my water would be turned on. Meanwhile, two hours came and went with no word from my mom. Finally, my brother texted and said it would be another two or so hours. I almost started crying in the gym. The good news came later that he was fine and out of the surgery.

The next morning, I woke up a little crabby, but ready to slay the day. I jumped in my car and my tire pressure light was on. Again. This put me in an even more sour mood, but I persisted and the day went fine.

Saturday was awesome because I ran two and a half miles to the gym, did a work out, did a stretching class, walked home and stopped for lunch. I was swimming with endorphins. Also, I found out I made it to the second round in the RoadTrip Nation trip I’m trying to get chosen for.

Then, today, I woke up to take my car to get tires replaced, only to find my front tire completely flat. I had to call a tow truck and was late to my appointment (I did call to tell them), but it’s basically going to take all day for the car to get fixed. Oh well. It’ll give me time to write and relax, I guess.

So, that’s a lot of words that have nothing to do with reading or books. For most of the week, I didn’t get much reading done because I was tired or stressed. But I did finished The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh on Friday and Crashing Upwards S.C. Wynne. I saw the later on a list of best M/M romance and, having never heard of it, had to read it. It was fine, but Red, White, and Royal Blue was vastly superior as a romance. Way more romantic.

I’m now getting ready to start A Touch of Madness by Rebecca Crunden. I feel so bad. She sent me the book months ago, and I haven’t read it yet. I should, however, have it done by next week (barring any more disasters). The first book in the series was super enjoyable, and I have no doubt this one will be great as well.

Monday: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Need to Read in 2020

Thursday: Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown (review)

Saturday: Reading & Writing Goals for 2020

Monday: The Self-Care Solution by Jennifer Ashton (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Friday: TBD

So, how was your week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

Title: Modern Girls

Author: Jennifer S. Brown

Publisher: Berkeley Books

Genre: historical fiction

Source: borrowed from Mom

Publication Date: May 1, 2016

Dottie Krasinsky is a modern girl. She’s a bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan who’s just gotten a promotion, has a steady boyfriend, Abe, with whom she’s madly in love, reads all the latest fashion and home magazines, and has a group of girlfriends with whom she regularly socializes. At the same time, she’s a good Jewish daughter to her immigrant parents on the Lower East Side. However, her life is turned upside down when she finds herself pregnant after a drunken night with a charming and totally unsuitable man.

Rose Krasinsky, Dottie’s mother, has had five children and assumes that she’s done. She’s anxious to get back to her own life of social activism. As a young woman, she’d been on the front lines protesting and rabble rousing and, now, with tensions rising in Europe, she’s ready to get back to it. And then, disaster strikes: at forty-two years old, she finds herself pregnant once again.

Both mother and daughter are in impossible situations and have to navigate a changing world, making choices they never thought themselves capable of.

I am so glad I finally read this book. I kept putting it off as my TBR list grew, but I finally made time for it, and it’s really a gem. As a Jewish person removed from my heritage, I like reading about Jewish families and how they navigate the world. This book was rich with descriptions of Sabbath, food, Yiddish terms, and the Jewish immigrant experience. It also explores the differences between the families on the Lower East side and the more wealthy families in Manhattan and how they navigate being Jewish in the modern world.

Beyond the Jewish aspects, it’s just a great story. I really felt for both Dottie and Rose and loved reading their unique perspectives on life in their voices. To Dottie, at the beginning, her mother is quaint and old fashion, very traditional, and living in the past. When you read from Rose’s perspective, though, you see a woman with strong beliefs and passions who is determined to put her stamp on the world and make it a better place. Like Dottie, she views herself as a “modern woman” who is settled in the new world and navigates through with confidence.

Truth be told, I liked reading Rose more than Dottie, although I did enjoy both POVs. Dottie is so headstrong and determined to fix all her mistakes herself. While admirable, she’s also very young and doesn’t always think things through. Rose was more steady and thoughtful in her decision, although she runs into trouble as well. Maybe it’s just my age showing, but I related more to Rose even though I haven’t had five children while living in a two bedroom apartment.

This book has a vivid setting, wonderful characters, and a gripping story. It was hard to put down and kept me engaged the whole way through.

I recommend this one two levels. One, if you’re Jewish or interested in Jewish life, this is a great book to read and a picture of that life. And, two, if you like reading realistic historical books about the 1930s and see a slice of life, as fraught as it is, then you’d like this book a lot.

Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Books I Need to Read in 2020

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is Top 5 Books I need to read in 2020. I’m insanely pressed for time this morning, so I’m doing the short version.

It was hard getting this list down to just five! There are so many books from last year that I still need to read, and so many more coming out this year that I’m dying to read. But these are my top five.

What are some of your must read books this year? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Weekly Wrap-up | January 12, 2020

Wow! This was a super busy week! I barely even had time to sit down in the evenings, much less read. My poor cat was desperate for affection and whenever I was sitting down, plopped on me for cuddles. Sadly, I was only able to give him a few minutes of them before I was up and rushing to whatever I had to do next. I did managed to get some reading and cuddling in yesterday, though, so we’re all good. With any luck, this week won’t be quite as busy and I can get back to my regular schedule of cat-cuddles and reading.

Monday: Atomic Habits by James Clear (review)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Beyond the Grave by C.J. Archer (review)

Monday: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Need to Read in 2020

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: TBD

How was your week? Also, is anyone actually interested in my Saturday Snippets, or should I stop posting? Have a great week!

Review: Beyond the Grave by C.J. Archer

Title: Beyond the Grave

Author: C.J. Archer

Publisher: ?

Genre: paranormal romance, mystery

Source: library (audio book)

Publication Date: November 24, 2015

When her stepson goes missing, Lady Hartcourt asks Lincoln to investigate. Even though she’s supposed to be recovering from her ordeal at the hands of a madman, Charlie throws herself into the investigation. Inadvertently, she raises the spirit of a woman who has the ability to override Charlie’s control over her. Now, a spirit is loose in London, Lincoln is furious, and the Ministry is becoming increasingly disapproving of Charlie’s presence in Lychfield. To top it off, Lincoln continues to run hot and cold with his feelings for Charlie, much to her ever increasing exasperation. But when the investigation begins to reveal the darker side of London, one that even Charlie had never known, she and Lincoln find themselves united.

At first, I was very frustrated with this book. The last one ended in an entirely satisfying way for my romantic heart, only to immediately have it dashed by this one. Charlie and I were both bewildered and frustrated by Lincoln’s pig-pigheadedness and stupidity. I had a hard time enjoying it at the beginning.

However, once Charlie began investigating and exploring the dark underbelly of the medical scene in London, it got much more interesting. I loved that she met the spirit of a woman who was competent and smart and who knew a little more about her powers than Charlie did.

The mystery was well done as well. Lady Hartcourt’s stepson goes missing and it seems like it has something to do with the Ministry of Curiosities, since he’d been reading his father’s journals on it. The investigation is complex and requires Lincoln and Charlie to use all their wits to figure it out. I was completely lost for much of it, which made it lots of fun.

The ending was also very satisfying. It calls on one of my favorite tropes, which I can’t tell because it would be a spoiler, but was amazing. I can’t wait to read the next book.

I highly recommend this whole series. Charlie is a wonderful protagonist, her romance with Lincoln is tense and romantic, and the characters are colorful and fun. Please pick it up if you get a chance.

WWW Wednesday – Jan. 8, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are invited to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, this week is bumping along for me. I’m back to work and back to my writing routine, which means I’m up at 4:30 so I can get my journaling and breakfast done and start writing for an hour at 5:30 and still get to work on time. Basically, it means I’m exhausted today. But that’s okay, because my coffee will wake me up and everything will be great. Really.

Onto the meme.

Currently reading:

I’m finally reading The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, which I’ve been wanting to read forever. I’m not very far in yet, but I’m enjoying what I”m reading so far. I really like Celine and her spunk.

I’ve also started The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s interesting, but kind of dry and not as readable as Atomic Habits and The Power of Habits were.

I’m listening to The Self-Care Solution by Dr. Jennifer Ashton, because I”m a sucker for books where someone does a series of month-long challenges. So far, it’s good. Dr. Ashton is narrating and she’s a lively narrator that keeps the pace flowing.

Recently finished:

I finished The Vampire Lestast on New Year’s day, which killed me because I really wanted to finish it last year. But, instead of staying home on New Year’s Eve and reading, I went to a party, which was only okay. The food was good, but some of the people were really crabby and I think I would have had more fun reading. Anyway, I really liked the book and can’t wait to read Queen of the Damned, which I got at a book sale for fifty cents.

I also finished reading Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown. It’s about a mother and daughter in 1935 who both find themselves pregnant at the same time, much to both their dismay. The book is how the deal with their problems and how they grow together while, at the same time, growing apart. It was very good, but sad.

Reading Next:

The only book I know for sure I’ll be reading next is The Chosen by Chaim Potok. It’s for my Jewish book club and as I didn’t read any of the books last year, I figure I should make more of an effort this year. (For the record… no one else read anything, either. It’s kind of a “book” club.)

What are you reading this week?