Book Review: 5-Minute Focus by Dr. Tiffany Shelton Mariolle

Focus. Fast. Five minutes is all it takes.

It’s a fact: You can improve focus and concentration in just five minutes a day. Five-Minute Focus shows you how with smart, mindfulness- and neuroscience-based exercises so you can flex your focus—like a muscle—and get more done every day.

Get 75 quick, easy, scientifically-proven tips and tricks you can use to tackle stress at home, at work, in relationships, and beyond. Five-Minute Focus can help you live a more meaningful life through developing creative passion and personal connection to who and what matters most. Five minutes a day is all it takes. Take a deep breath. Let’s get focused.

This daily exercise book includes:

  • Focus fast—Discover what focus is, why it’s essential, and how to get focused fast—anytime, anywhere.
  • Practice makes perfect—You’ll get guidance on setting a schedule to find focus through actionable solutions to help speed up your performance.
  • Concentration-building solutions—Simple exercises like basic breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga can help build your concentration.

Sharpen your focus and boost your performance—in an instant—with Five-Minute Focus.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from Callista Publisher’s Club. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I don’t read many self help books these days because they often repeat the same idea in many ways and include a lot of extraneous info just to make their idea long enough to make into a book (in my opinion). 5-Minute Focus doesn’t do that, but, unfortunately, it was still a self help book that doesn’t help me.

5-Minute Focus teaches how to keep yourself focused when performing any task. It is written well, and it gives 75 exercises to help you do that. It does incorporate some meditation and exercises and some of the tips within the exercises can be helpful, but I don’t need to prepare myself to be an alert driver. And I don’t care what I do, a boring meeting won’t be less boring with tips given by anyone.

Those who haven’t learned how to de-stress or to survive tedious or boring tasks will probably benefit from 5-Minute Focus. Fortunately, it’s something I learned long ago.

Book Review: Wings & Broken Things by Trixie Silvertale

A crime with no eyewitnesses. A determined psychic sleuth. Will her search for clues take her where angels fear to tread?

Mitzy Moon is eager to test her expanding abilities. Although she’d love to look into the hit-and-run that struck down her favorite veterinarian, leads are slim to none. And before she can suss out a single tip, the advances of a charming green-eyed stranger provide a dangerous distraction.

Desperate for any hint, she goes undercover at the high school and lands on the wrong side of the law by lunch. And her “get out of jail free card” comes with the help of her meddling Grams, an interfering feline, and her alchemically inclined attorney. But when a gypsy curse puts her powers on the fritz, she may not be able to save everyone…

Can Mitzy juggle dating and sleuthing, or will a hex knock off more than her halo?

Wings and Broken Things is the third book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural misfits, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s twisty whodunits


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Fries & Alibis and Tattoos & Clues, the first two books in this series, and I really enjoyed them, so I was happy to read this book when it was available.

Mitzy Moon’s vet is a victim of a hit-and-run and, as usual, she’s determined to find out what happened. She has no leads to start with, but with a little help from her growing abilities and her amazing cat Pyewacket, she is able to begin her investigation.

Mitzy hasn’t been in town long since she inherited her grandmother’s bookstore, but she’s viewed as a local rather than an outsider. She’s finally found a home. It’s too bad her grandmother had to die before she finds a place to call home, but at least she’s getting to know Grams in her ghostly form.

The characters in this book are great. Mitzy is independent yet she appreciates it when her Grams sets boundaries. Grams in the ghost form is funny and must have been a force of nature when she was alive. The two men in Mitzy’s life are completely different. Rory makes it known that he wants Mitzy, but there’s something about him…I can’t believe she likes him as much as she does! The sheriff, on the other hand, hasn’t even asked her out, but she flirts with him endlessly, and he seems like a good guy. Much better than the sketchy Rory!

These books are quick and fun reads. I enjoyed Wings & Broken Things and definitely recommend it, as well as the other books in the series. I can’t wait for the next Mitzy Moon mystery!

Trailer for the first book

About the Author

Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lillian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.


Book Review: Drywall by Joe Carter

The second installment of the Marshall T. Trowel series focuses on Marshall T. and his family of tools as they drywall a house. Children will see the benefits of a career in the trades and the importance of practice, patience, and dreaming big.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Drywall is the second book in the Marshall T. Trowel and Family series. This series is an effort by the author and his daughter to encourage children to consider trades-based careers. Along with explaining each trade in a fun way, each book has an inspirational theme.

There are several tools needed for putting up drywall and each is given a name such as Tim Texture Sprayer or Mary Mudpan. The illustrations show what the tools are doing as the process is explained. They’re cute and colorful!

The lesson of this story: “You can be anything you want to be! If you practice and practice, you’ll be able to reach your goals, too!” I think this is an important lesson for children to learn, especially nowadays.

I like these books and plan on keeping them to read to my grandson when he’s a little older. He’s only 7 months old but he was here today and enjoyed looking at the colors in the book. The author was kind enough to send the first book in the series, Concrete, for me to read to my grandson as well. They make a great set!

One of the illustrations

About the Author

JOE CARTER is the husband to his wonderful wife Janelle and the father to three fantastic children: Michael, Hanna and Samuel. Joe grew up in the small, northern Iowa community of Hanlontown. He graduated from North CentralManly High School and later, Iowa State University with an Industrial Engineering degree. Joe worked as an engineer for General Motors and Rockwell International before he began a long career with MARSHALLTOWN, a U.S. manufacturer of high-quality construction tools.

Between times of working as an engineer, Joe graduated from law school at the University of Arkansas and practiced law with Strong and Associates in Springfield, Missouri. He returned to MARSHALLTOWN and moved to Marshalltown, Iowa. In 1998 Joe became the president of MARSHALLTOWN and later added CEO to that title.

Joe met the love of his life, Janelle Andersen, at Iowa State University where she also graduated with an Industrial Engineering degree. Janelle worked for General Motors, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, and MARSHALLTOWN. Today she works on the local school board, special business projects, and the Board of Directors for Farmers Savings Bank.

About the Illustrator

HANNA CARTER is an illustrator and graphic designer. She grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She moved to Oregon after college in 2016.

Hanna has loved both books and drawing for as long as she can remember. In fact, her first job was at the Marshalltown Public Library, where she spent a lot of her time leafing through children’s books. She’s pretty psyched that she got to make her own books with her dad.

Hanna has worked on editorial illustrations, book covers, animations, comics, children’s books, brand merchandise, and exhibits her artwork in galleries. She makes illustrations and animations about food-related things for the Los Angeles Times, VinePair, and other publications.

Hanna lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, Chris and many, many books.

Book Review: Horses! A Coloring & Activity Book for Kids by Valeria Deneen

Giddy up! And get started on these awesome horse activities

Saddle up for an activity book of over 60 pages full of coloring and games about horses for kids ages 4–8. Children can use their imaginations to bring the horse pictures to life with their favorite colors. Gallop through mazes, connect-the-dots, and more―there are interesting facts about horses for kids at every turn. Fun is waiting, so come along for a ride!

This coloring book of horses for kids includes:

  • Blue ribbon breeds―Learn about all kinds of breeds, from strong Belgian draft horses for heavy farm work to little Caspians for kids to ride.
  • Leaping into action―See all the different jobs and activities horses can do. For instance, miniature horses can be service animals for people with disabilities!
  • Activities galore―Jump into a variety of activities about horses for kids: mazes, dot-to-dots, word searches, spot-the-difference, and plenty of pages to color.

With tons of activities about horses for kids, this book will provide hours of fun for any horse-crazy child!


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from Callisto Publishers. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Horses! is a book for children 4-8 years old. It not only has activities and many opportunities to color, but most pages have an interesting tidbit about horses. For example, on one coloring page of a horse that won the Kentucky Derby: “The Kentucky Derby is a famous horse race. It’s also called the Run for the Roses because the winner gets a blanket made of red roses!”

This activity and coloring book can be a source of hours of fun for children and they might even learn something while they’re having fun.

About the Author

Valerie Deneen is the founder of where she writes about what to do with kids, creative play for all ages, parenting tips & tricks, learning & educational activities for kids, craft ideas for tweens & school-aged children, and gardening with kids. Valerie is a speaker, creative play advocate, brand ambassador, television personality, and active Rotarian. Her work has been featured in Highlights High Five, Family Fun Magazine, PBS Parents, various morning talk shows, and several online publications. For creative play ideas sent directly to your inbox, visit Valerie’s blog at and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.