Review: Deep Fitness – The Mindful, Science-Based Strength Training Method To Transform Your Well Being In Just 30 Minutes A Week

Deep Fitness –

The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week

Author: Philip Shepherd, Andrei Yakovenko


North Atlantic Books


“Deep Fitness” is a 302-page book based on fitness through strength training by authors Philip Shepherd and Andrei Yakovenko. (Philip Shepherd is one of the leaders of the global embodiment movement, Andrei Yakovenko is the founder of New Element Training, which focuses on improving your entire metabolism with a half-hour workout once or twice a week.)

This 302-page book covers the simple steps that anyone can take to make a major difference in their health and vitality. It combines the principles of strength training and embodied mindfulness.

The authors note that the loss of strength that many of us are experiencing effects not just our ability to run or move through our day-to-day activities but it can affect our ability to breathe. They also note that aging and diseases of modern civilization are 100% related to sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass as we age). A nice addition is a partial list of conditions associated with sarcopenia.

Some very interesting thoughts are presented in this book, such as muscle doing much more than moving our limbs around (it also acts as an endocrine organ in that it produces and secretes endocrine-signaling mediators that promote the beneficial effects of exercise on almost all cell types and organs.

Another interesting thought is the overview of the way in which myokines (a peptide or protein secreted or released from skeletal muscle cells) affect our health. The stronger a muscle is, the more myokines it produces.

The authors set up the working part of this book by going into the principles of strength training, including momentary muscle failure, one set is enough, slower is better, and the thought that strengthening happens after a workout.   

There is a strong section on getting the most from Mindful Strength Training To Failure – one that is based on being honest with ourselves. We must look within and see where MSTF fits into our lives, and how it matches our personal values. Then we must follow up by putting the MSTF principles to work in our lives.

There are several workouts presented: a whole-body workout (with emphasis on the upper body), a workout that emphasizes the lower body and core muscles, and a comprehensive whole-body workout. There is an entire section of exercises that are machine based, with excellent instructions, including photos. There is another section that deals with exercises done without using a machine. Again, with excellent instructions and photos.

Included in this book are four personal accounts of how individuals are making the best use of the MSFT program. It is a wonderful bird’s eye view into how this program can be used.

At the end of the book is a glossary, reference notes from the authors, a resource section, and an index.

While the authors include background information and terminology that is specific to the scientifically oriented, it is presented in a manner that is readily understood. The information provided is detailed and informative, with charts and lists that give a broader idea of what is involved. Each chapter includes talking points on what was covered, which act as an excellent reference.

The bottom line here is very important – including strength training in our lives not only improves the quality of our life, but has a positive effect on our aging process. It is something that we can all do for ourselves and encourage those around us to do. An amazing mind/body connection and a wonderful tool for rewriting our own view of aging! We are talking half an hour a week of resistance training – that is doable!

Muscle is an active resource for better living! I recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a better mind/body connection and a better quality of life.

© March 2023 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Review – Ancestral Grimoire: Connect With the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, & Magic

Ancestral Grimoire:

Connect With the Wisdom of the Ancestors through Tarot, Oracles, & Magic

Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Foreword By: Benebell Wen


Weiser Books

ISBN# 978-1-57863-777-5

Grimoire: “a magician’s manual for invoking demons and the spirits of the dead” (from Merriam-Webster). Hendrickson’s path with “Ancestral Grimoire” is nicely summed up in this quote from her introduction: “We are born magicians, who have forgotten our magic.” It is a natural follow-up to her previous work “Ancestral Tarot”.

She reminds us that we all have ancestors that could work with the weather, dream the future, and use herbs for healing. They spoke to nature spirits, trees, animals, and the sea. Magic, and being magical, was an everyday part of their lives. The intent of this book is to show us how to use tarot, runes, pendulums, and other forms of divination to connect with our ancestors across the centuries. In doing this work, we chart our own magical future. In our personal Grimoire, we will be chronicling our own ancestral communications, divination experiences, magical traditions, and wisdom.

One very important note that Hendrickson has included in her introduction is that if the reader uses other magical tools than are mentioned in this book, they will add power to the work being done. Whatever you use – astrology, runes, numerology, angels – don’t be afraid to add it to this ancestral work.

At the beginning of the book the reader is told that they will need a deck to work with – that is a given. Then they are asked to answer two questions: (1) On this very first day of working with Ancestral Grimoire, I believe my most potent form of magic is … (2) Why are you here?

The book is laid out in two parts: Part I is Tools For Divination, Part II is Building Your Ancestral Grimoire. Part I talks about the tools that the reader will need, as well as the importance of how you set up your Grimoire (months, seasons, or sabbats). To create their Book of Shadows, it is suggested that the reader find a blank notebook that appeals to them. That they gather pens and colored pencils, glue, and at least one Tarot deck, one or two oracle decks, a pendulum, index cards, and something to cast.

The second chapter in Part I gives a very nice explanation of which cards represent our ancestors in the Tarot. This would be the people cards (court cards). The ranks and elements are discussed, as well as the shadow side of the court cards. (For example, The Queen of Pentacles upright represents a physical nurturer, while reversed, she represents smothering.) Commentary is included for each of the sixteen court cards, including their shadow side.

The third chapter in Part I deals with seasons, months, and sabbats. This chapter will give the reader a clue as to how they want to arrange their Grimoire. The names of each are given, as well as the dates they are celebrated.

Chapter Four talks about the Land of Tarot and entering each card through the magic of visualization.

Chapter Five features a very nice listing of Tarot decks under the heading of North America, South America, Africa, and Europe. This makes it easier, IMHO, to connect with the land that your ancestors came from and to connect with them. There are also suggestions on how to make a pendulum board. There is also a short commentary on using oracle cards, casting, and using sigils. Then there is the “sidewalk oracle” – messages received when you are out and about in the ‘hood. Runes, Rune decks, the Lenormand, and energy work are also mentioned.

Part II talks about working through a solar year with our ancestors. Essentially, the reader is taken through a complete year of work with their ancestors. This is definitely a personal growth period for the reader, as they are connecting across space and time with ancestors that they have never heard of.

In the first chapter of Part II, Hendrickson talks about visiting twelve realms in four areas of magic. The four areas of magick are Family, Personal, Elemental, and Celestial. Each of these areas has three months associated with it (for example, Family Magic covers (1) January – Inherited Magic, (2) November – Ancestral Magic, and (3) December – Magical You.

Each month is listed with the type of magick (January is Family Magic – Inherited Magic), tools (January’s tools are tarot, the pendulum, and sidewalk oracles), how to find out who your ancestor is, and practicing seeing signs. It is suggested that a daily card be drawn asking for messages that help the reader use their inherited magic.

Each month the focus is different, the tools are different, and the questions that the reader asks themselves are different. (I loved that Tarot spreads were also included.) The focus is on connecting without ancestors and better understanding the magic that they are gifting us with.

At the end of the twelve months is a chapter on our ancestors asking us a question. Essentially, the reader is putting to work the wisdom they have gained about themselves over the past twelve months.

The chapter that follows has the reader asking themselves the same questions they were to answer before they began their journey: (1) Today, I know that my most potent form of magic is … (2) Why was I really here?

There is a resource appendix at the end of the book, as well as charts on the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana Correspondences (element and astrological sign).

This book is for those that are willing to put in the work. It is written in a conversational tone and presents a ton of information in small, digestible bites. Anyone doing this work will learn about themselves and expand who and what they are through working with the monthly exercises, divination techniques, and rituals. Each Grimoire/Book of Shadows is personal to the individual writing it – it represents their ancestors and the magic that their ancestors are sharing with them.

(c) September 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Selling a Hoarder Home – The Ultimate Handbook For Realters

Author: Lynda Hykin

Independently Published


ISBN #9798834548188

“Selling a Hoarder Home” is a compact (101 page) treatise addressing how realtors can address the issue of selling a home belonging to a hoarder. Above all, this is a peopling issue, not just a “What do I do with all of this stuff!” issue.

Dedicated to her mother, Hykin was led to write this book after dealing with her mother’s estate after her mother suffered a stroke and went into long-term care. It took three long months to go through her mother’s house, separating the treasures, from the keepsakes, from the trash. In this book, Hykin offers the tools and resources to make sound decisions at a time like this.

In the end, her mother’s home went from being a hoarder’s home to one that was ready to be sold at fair market value. That was a 360, and then some!

Hykin notes that moving or downsizing when dealing with a hoarder is difficult for the client, and difficult for the real estate agent. What is overwhelming to some people is a “safe zone” for the hoarder. It has taken years for them to accumulate all of the items in their home, and they may not want to let them go.

Of particular note is Hykin identifying hoarding as a mental disorder that needs to be dealt with. Hoarders can be anxious about throwing things away, indecisive about what to keep and what to give away/throw away.

Hykin offers chapters on preparing the home for sale, preparing the hoarder (and showing respect), allowing the client to feel in control, as well as what questions to ask.

There are black and white photos included that show before and after images of truly out-of-control hoarder homes that Hykin has worked with herself. Talk about overwhelming!

The second half of this book is a bonus! It addresses ways in which a realtor can deal with a non-hoarder that has simply accumulated a lifetime of stuff. She discusses our emotional attachment to things, and why they are so hard to let go of. Also that our possessions become extensions of ourselves.

Then there is the keep/toss/donate scenario. That is a difficult one. And a chapter on the top ten ways to declutter a house to sell. (I distinctly remember a house that I was looking at as a prospective buyer – I opened a hallway closet door to see how big the closet was, and stuff was jammed in there so tightly that it just started to fall out!) Hykin goes room by room, with the best way to deal with items in that room.

While this book is aimed at realtors, I find that it could help any of us decluttering a house (or a relative’s house). When we do so, it also declutters our lives.

(c) July 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written consent of the author.

Review – Raising Our State of Consciousness to Fulfill Our Soul’s Growth

Raising Our State of Consciousness

To Fulfill Our Soul’s Growth

Author: David Lacopo

Light and Love Production

ISBN #978-1-7772328-0-1


Lacopo sees the Tarot as a tool for personal development, as well as gaining understanding and raising our state of consciousness. He also feels that Tarot can be used to restore personal balance on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In this book Lacopo brings to the reader a collection of his personal experiences, Divine knowledge received from his personal guide and spiritual mentor (Achquelin), and spiritual growth exercises. The exercises include working with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to manifest positive changes and working with the Kabbalah (The Tree of Life) to help understand and improve human relationships.

At 229 pages, this is a nice sized book. In other words, it does not overwhelm. It is packed with full color images from the Tarot (using the Rider Waite deck), as well as black and white and color images of the Tree of Life. There are charts included throughout the book, and a focus on understanding the four energy levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In his introduction Lacopo speaks of receiving Divine downloads and Divine guidance from his spiritual guide Achquelin. In 2017 he was guided to start speaking out about his journey.

From 1997 onward for fifteen years, Lacopo walked what he terms “darkness”. It wasn’t until 2008 that he reached a crossroads – he left his musical dream behind and began studying the Bible.  He went on to study the Kybalion and the Sefir Yetzirah.

In his chapter on meditation Lacopo does an excellent job of defining the four aspects of our being – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, as well as the chakra system. He takes the reader through the process of meditation, including correct breathing, and introduces the concept of working with the Tarot.

Included in the exercises in this book are raising our vibration and working with our yearly lessons (using numerology). There is a wonderful section on the Tree of Life, the Three Pillars, the Four Worlds, and the Ten Sephiroth, and the Twenty-Two Paths (which associates each path with a card from the Tarot Major Arcana).

This may all sound complicated, but it is not. The heart of this book is focused on having the best relationships that we can have, by raising our state of consciousness. The tools used are the Kabbalah (The Tree of Life), Tarot, meditation, and Lacopo’s own personal experiences, along with wisdom gained from his personal Guide, Achquelin.

The material in this book is very easy for the reader to understand, and to incorporate in their life. I recommend it for individuals from diverse backgrounds that want to apply themselves to raising their consciousness.

© September 2020 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Grandma’s Gardens

Grandma’s Gardens

Author: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton
Artist: Carme Lemniscates
Philomel Books
ISBN #13: 978-0593115350


“Grandma’s Gardens” is a lovely book, a wonderful addition to any library. It is about family – grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. It is about gardens, flowers, love, and connection. The writing is very nicely done, the illustrations outstanding.

We follow Grandma Dorothy as she shares her love of gardens with her daughter Hillary, and her granddaughter Chelsea. The warmth of this story immediately comes through, reminding me of my childhood, and my mother and grandmother’s love of flowers and gardening. It is written at a level that children will understand, but also written in a manner in which it can be shared by an adult reading to a child.

I love this book as an adult, I would have loved to have my mother or grandmother read it to me when I was a child. It brings back many wonderful childhood memories. Gardens are magical places where birds, bees, ladybugs and all sorts of things can appear and amaze. They can be places of introspection and healing.

This coffee table size book is definitely going to be kept out where I can pick it up and go through it any time that I want to! For me it is a comfort book, and that holds great value.

© May 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review: Swerve – environmentalism, feminism, resistance

environmentalism, feminism, and resistance

Author: Ellery Akers
Blue Light Press
ISBN #978-1-4218-3640-9



“Swerve” is a very appropriate name for this book, as it references sudden “swerves”, or changes in direction (i.e. one day the Berlin wall, the next day no Berlin wall). As an environmentalist, Akers notes that we do not know that the future holds.  In this short (53 page) but amazing book, Akers addresses the topics of environmentalism, feminism, and resistance as issues that we need to confront.

Within these very well written poems we find a way to grieve our current state of affairs, at the same time that we are seeing hope for the future. We walk away with a new perspective on issues that confront us every day. We need to know that we are not alone, and that our grief needs to be experienced, then released, so that we can move forward.

The book is divided into three sections: The Earth, The Women, and Resistance. One of my favorite poems from “The Earth” is “Our Grief for the Earth Is Hidden”. Akers talks about how our world is being diminished, how species are becoming less populated, how we need to pay attention to the insects that are leaving us. In other words, we need to pay attention to the world around us.

There is a poem in “The Earth” entitled “The Buddhist Practice of Bowing”. The gentleness of Buddhism fascinates me and draws me. Akers is bowing to iron bracelets on prisoners, to women at both ends of the social/financial spectrum, and to young men who love cars. All of these things are part of life. In bowing to them Akers is acknowledging them. It is good to acknowledge things, but then to place them in our life where we can handle them.

In “Women”, the poem “Smoke” describes two different groups of people, both of whom are going to die. One group wants to make sure that the other group dies sooner. How reflective of our world!

In “Resistance”, the poem “Not Too Late” expresses the thought that as much damage as there has been on this earth, there is still time for a “rebirth”.

Akers poems are beautiful, sharing the truth of things we may not want to see. This little book is a gift, a gift that allows us to understand ourselves and the world around us much better. There is an imbalance in this world, which we need to acknowledge and move through. Grieve and move forward.  Answer the call to activism.

What a wonderful resource for these very trying times!

© March 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission.

Review: And Then They Were Gone – Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown

And Then They Were Gone
Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown

Author: Judy Bebelaar, Ron Cabral
Sugartown Publishing
ISBN #978-0-9987096-8-0

I remember when this happened – the shock of 918 lives lost, the story of a spiritual leader gone rogue. There is so much more to the story than I remembered – or perhaps I just never knew the whole story. Co-Author Judy Bebelaar was a creative writing teacher at Opportunity II High School in San Francisco, California, where many of the children of the Peoples Temple attended. Ron Cabral was also taught there, covering the subjects of Music Appreciation, Journalism, and Radio Production. Between them they have re-created the story of these vibrant, talented young people, largely in their own voices.

Things were a bit “off” from the very beginning. The students from the Peoples Temple were allowed to register en masse, which was not something that this school did. The students were good students, and very well behaved, but they were also very “closed off”, not talking a lot to the other students.

One of the important things about this book is that it is framed around the teenagers, and not around the spiritual leader, Jim Jones. We hear about Jones and his policies/actions only to the extent that they affect the teenagers.

The authors were there, teaching at the school, and knew the teenagers. They may not have known the true extent of what these kids were going through, but they knew them as human beings. In putting this book together, both memories and research came into play. They reached out, and tried to get everyone’s story to the best level that they could.

Throughout the book we see black and white photos of the students, which help the reader connect to them. Bebelaar has also included poetry from the students that help us to connect with how they see things, and how they are processing their own lives.

The afterward is quite unique, in that the author’s reached out to individuals that were mentioned in the book that lived through Jonestown, and how they reacted to the deaths.

There is also a listing of teachers and students from Opportunity II High School during this time, showing where they are now, and what they are doing.

This is a well written, well researched book. Be aware that as a reader you will be seeing the dark side of Jim Jones, and his Jonestown community. Not everyone who died wanted to die. Some just could not escape, some were too exhausted to try. The dream that drew these people together turned into their worst nightmare.

© March 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.










Review: Murder In The Museum – An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery

Murder In The Museum –
An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery


Author: Karen Shughart
Cozy Cat Press
ISBN #978-1-946063-50-2

“Murder In The Museum” is the first book in an intended series , featuring retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief Edmund DeCleryk. While the book is well written, I found it to be very wordy, with far too much attention spent on description (description of everything!), and not enough on action.

The characters have depth, and interact well, but we see each one as a “stand-alone”, and not as a part of the community. It took almost half-way through the book for me to feel like there was a pace, that I was getting somewhere. Having said that, the writing does hold together, there is a reasonable storyline, and the ending was quite unexpected.

There is certainly room for more books in this series, as Edmund DeCleryk is an independent consultant to law enforcement agencies. His wife, Annie, brings in her own game as director of the Lighthouse Cove Historical Society and Museum.

While I did have a few issues with this book (too much description heading that list!), I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

© January 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the auth

Review: Conversations With RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law

Conversations With RBG –
Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law


Author: Jeffrey Rosen
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN #978-1-25023-516-9

I consider Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be an icon, and a wonderful example for anyone (male or female) to pattern themselves after. In this book Jeffrey Rosen (law professor, author, legal journalist, and CEO of the National Constitution Center) shares a lifetime of conversations with Justice Ginsburg that cover … well, they cover the whole gamut of life! As the cover states, she literally talks about life, love, liberty, and law.

I have lived through much of the time that she is discussing, so it is very real to me – the names, the people, the places, the topics. Considering that on a daily basis we are being bombarded with happenings on very high levels that we would have never believed would occur, it is very grounding to read this book and be able to find a sense of balance.

I came to understand why Rosen refers to Justice Ginsburg as a “minimalist”, and why that is a good thing. I loved being able to view her as a complex individual, with a great sense of humor (and a love for opera!), as well as being the exact person that we need at this time on the Supreme Court. My thanks go out to her for continuing to serve her country, when she could have retired a long time ago.

It is interesting to try and understand her viewpoint on Roe v. Wade, and on the #MeToo movement. My personal views have been fine-tuned after reading her thoughts. You have to love the “Notorious RBG”! It is also interesting to see what she sees for the future as far as it relates to the justice system. It is a privilege to see the behind the scenes action on the court’s decisions.

Rosen writes in a very straightforward manner, and with great clarity. The reader feels that they are in the room with RBG, sharing coffee and conversation. This is a book that I will certainly reread – many times!

© January 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.


Review: Aromatherapy For Self-Care – Your Complete Guide to Relax, Rebalance, and Restore with Essential Oils

Aromatherapy For Self-Care –
Your Complete Guide to Relax, Rebalance, and
Restore with Essential Oils


Author: Sarah Swanberg, MS, LAC
Rockridge Press
ISBN #978-1-64611-221-0

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to take responsibility for all aspects of our life – to be both active and pro-active about self-care. I am a strong proponent of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils (says the lady who has a bottle of lavender oil readily available on her desk).

Included in this book are over 100 modern remedies for total wellness, practical self-care advice, and 50 essential oil profiles. What a wonderful start to building a personal foundation for self-care!

You do not have to have any knowledge of essential oils to work with this book. Both beginners and those already on the essential oil path can benefit from this book.

The book is broken down into specific sections: Part One (Aromatherapy ForThe Real World) addresses self-care and aromatherapy, as well as the use of essential oils, while Part Two (Aromatherapy Remedies For Self-Care) addresses emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

At the end of the book there is a reference section, as well as a resource that includes apps, books, videos, and websites, and an inclusive index.

I am impressed with the lovely, “gentle” manner in which this book is put together – the cover done in up-lifting tones, positive colors used throughout, lots of images, good organization, easily read and followed, and a treasure trove of ways to use essential oils. It certainly is going to stay on a shelf that is within easy reach of my desk!

© January 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.