Worry Free Money by Shannon Lee Simmons (118)

This is a wonderful new book about how to manage money. I always love books like this.  I believe the author presents a fresh new way to think about money.

Managing your money can be frustrating and confusing. Life is expensive today. Whether you make $30,000 or $130,000 a year, you might feel like you’re constantly broke. Can you afford that new car, that vacation, that night out?

You may think so, but knowing for sure feels impossible. And rigid budgets that force you to spend your money in unrealistic ways don’t make things any clearer either.

But what if there was a new way to manage your money? one that left you certain you had your bases covered and then let you enjoy the rest of your money by spending it.

Shannon Lee Simmons is a fresh voice in the world of personal finance. He understands the new and very real pressures to survive modern life and keep up in the age of social media.

Shannon doesn’t lecture, judge or patronize. He is the founder of the wildly popular New School of Finance. He recognized that most of her thousands of financial planning clients felt broke, no matter what their income. And feeling broke can be as bad as actually being broke, because it can lead to overspending and misery. So, she came up with a new plan that is outlined in this book.

her approach takes a different approach to finances, looking at the root causes of the pressure to spend and showing why traditional budgets don’t work. It is a very practical book that will break the cycle of guilt, understand why you overspend and banish unhappy spending from your life.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author just outside Toronto, Award Winning Author, Finances, Money, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dance Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks (117)

This is a wonderful story that grabbed my attention because of the title!  I love books that are about dance, be they metaphorical, as this one is or real.  It brings me back to younger days when I was a ballroom dancer.

This is a story about a 27-year-old Frieda Zweig. She is at an impasse in her life. Behind her is a string of railed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter.

She is at the point where she has to find a real job and figure out what normal people do with their lives.

Then a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up her dreams of being a dancer. Hmmm…I was wondering as I was reading this story.  Now what?  Is there a catch?

Well, there is alas!  Gladys is a ghost.

However, this ghost encourages Frieda to see her life in a new way. After this encounter, her life is anything but ordinary and normal.  My take on this book is that perhaps we never know when and who or what will cause us to see things in our life so very differently. And sometimes these chance encounters can reignite our lives with vitality and meaning.

I just love stories like this!  They are uplifting and inspiring!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Alberta, Courage and strength, Dance, Emancipation, Empowerment, Lives of Women | Leave a comment

The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben (116)

I just love books that argue for the idea that animals have emotions such as love, grief and compassion. I have observed that myself and it makes me think that this author is definitely onto something right.

This book is funny in places and serious in others. Peter Wohllenben explores through vivid stories of devoted pigs, two timing magpies and scheming roosters. This book shows that Peter Wohllenben has a wealth of personal experience observing nature n forests and fields with the latest scientific research into how animals interact with the world.

Peter Wohllenben argues that horses feel shame, deer grieve and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices, and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up.

Peter Wohllenben follows the hugely successful previous book of his entitled The Hidden Life of Trees which I also reviewed here on my blog. This book is just as wonderful with insightful stories into the emotions, thoughts, and intelligence of animals around us. Animals are different from us in amazing ways, and they are also much closer to us than we would like to admit.

I love books that enliven and enlarge your mind. And this book really did that for me.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Animal Emotion, Book on Nature | Leave a comment

Lost Treasures by Larry Verstraete (115)

This is a wonderful book about treasures that can be found everywhere, even under water. Treasure means different things to different people. It comes in many forms and shapes, and is just waiting to be discovered. What is considered valuable or great varies from one person to another.

In this book, you will read about treasure hunts, follow treasure hunters on their quests, discover where their treasures are on display and learn some treasure-hunting secrets along the way.

It is a book for young and old, despite the fact it is geared for the junior reader.

Imagine finding a sunken fortune in gleaming coins, a single stamp worth over a million dollars, Nova Scotia’s elusive Oak Island Treasure, the world’s largest gold nugget and a painting worth millions. These are all treasures that are available for the finding. All we have to do is to eagerly look for them.

I loved this book. It is unique and it is unlike any book I ever reviewed here!  So, I am quite happy I picked it up!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Ontario, Book on Nature | Leave a comment

The Perfection of the Morning by Sharon Butala (114)

This is a memoir-type book about her journey from a career in academe to the West with her new husband. She obviously made a lot of sacrifices. But I am sure there are still things that she misses about her previous life.

In 1976 Sharon Butala left a promising academic career to marry a cattle rancher in southwest Saskatchewan.

Initially, she was overwhelmed by the isolation of her new life. She struggled to find a connection with the land that encircled her.

Through her dreams and visions, Butala embarks on a spiritual journey to define herself as a woman and as a writer, learning along the way to find a guiding force in Nature.

This book illustrates evocative and moving prose. It is a revelation of self and affirmation of the healing power of Nature that will echo in the mind and heart if only we are open to it.

I loved the book and will buy a copy from ABE books.

Rating: 5 stars


Posted in Author from Saskatchewan, Award Winning Author, Emancipation, Empowerment, Excellence, Lives of Women, Nature, Nonfiction | Leave a comment

The Garden of Eden by Sharon Butala (113)

Here is another book by Sharon Butala!  This one is a fictional book. It is written almost poetically. It is like a good meal, it has all the flavours and textures to make a delightful story.

This is a sweeping, many-layered novel of death and redemption that takes us from the Saskatchewan prairie to famine-stricken Ethiopia, and into the hearts and souls of two women.

Iris is a farmer’s wife living comfortably near the small town of Chinook. She finds her life suddenly out of control. Jolted out of her complacency by death, grieving for lost love, guilty over an aging mother, she sets out on a quest for self-understanding. If only she could find her niece Lannie, whom she once raised.  Then perhaps she could understand her troubling dreams, and the mysterious ache in her heart.

This book is Sharon Butala at her best!  This is a brilliantly imagined novel of family disintegration and renewal written in he simple but powerful style that so endears her to her readers.

The story is grounded in the prairie landscape that Butala has made very much her own. It is a universal story interweaving history, myth, dream and vision. It is a story that will capture a reader’s attention and encourage the reader to keep reading the story until the last word has been read. I just LOVE stories like that!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Saskatchewan, Book about Nature, Compassion, Courage and strength, Creating Balance, Cultural Diversity, Culture in Canada, Emancipation, Fiction | Leave a comment

Lilac Moon by Sharon Butala (112)

I have recently started reading this author that I was completely unfamiliar with before.  I saw the books at my local library and they tweaked my attention immediately. I just love prairie authors. I have been trying to pick as many books by authors from Saskatchewan. It has become my second hobby and interest.

Sharon Butala is one of these authors that once you start reading her work, you won’t want to stop. This is a nonfiction book about what it means to live in the Western part of Canada where it is cold and the snow is constant.

What does it mean to be a Westerner? What is the Western experience and, by extension, what makes up the Western soul?

In this book, Sharon Butala challenges and inspires us to think about the West in fresh ways. She begins by transporting the reader to her Saskatchewan ranch, where there is a soft lilac moon lights the vastness of the prairie landscape.

Then, in a series of wide-ranging chapters that ponder the question What Makes a Westerner? she explores the myths, the history, the people and the three prairie provinces.

From the pioneer past to Western stereotypes, from racial and ethnic equalities to party politics, from rural legends to urban realities, this book effortlessly interweaves strands of history, family, politics, and culture.

Butala’s deep western roots — her family blends both French and English culture as and has lived in the West for five generations–and her eloquent, perceptive and questioning style combine to produce a book rich in insight and revelation.

This is a book not just for westerners but for all Canadians who want to experience their own dream of the West.

After reading this book, I have definitely put Saskatchewan on my list of places to visit in the near future!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Saskatchewan, Geography, History, Nonfiction, Prairie Nature | Leave a comment