TBT: Anastasia Krupnik

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Do you remember my post about Paperback Crush? Well, I thought a fun new addition to the blog might be a fun way to revisit some of those books that I hadn't read mentioned in that book. Hence, the THROWBACK THURSDAY Post!

I read Number the Stars but had never heard of Anastasia Krupnik. This was a quick read and I enjoyed it. A bit more information for anyone who is interested...

Author: Lois Lowry
Summary from Amazon:
Anastasia's tenth year has some good things, like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother, and some bad things, like finding out about an impending baby brother.

Have you read this one?

Happy Reading!

Guest Post with Renee Linnell

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hi Everyone! I am happy to bring you a guest post today from Renee Linnell. Please help me by welcoming her to the blog!

Why I Wrote The Burn Zone
by Renee Linnell
I wrote The Burn Zone as a catharsis; I had to get the story out of me. Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I believe she is right. The story was consuming me. It was tearing me apart from within. I was filled with anger and hatred and confusion and I had to let it go. So I wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. I vomited all of it onto paper. Over and over and over again. The same scenarios, the same pain, the same periods of my life. I wrote hate letters that I never sent. I screamed into pillows. I wrote letters to God. Over 700 pages I wrote. And it helped. The heaviness began to lift. The anger began to abate. The fits of rage dissipated. The overwhelming sadness turned to hope.
As this happened I began to speak bits of my story to loved ones. I began to share what I went through, what I signed up for. People were shocked, amazed, and . . . impressed. I began to realize my story had worth. I began to realize it was a story of strength; a story of the fight of the human spirit; a story of uncovering my True Self from deep within the shattered pile of a whole lifetime’s worth of rubble. As I spoke my story I began to get a consistent similar response, “You have to write a book.” It was then that I realized I had been writing a book; it was then that I made the decision to publish what I had written.

But, it wasn’t easy. Reading through my journals was painful. Reliving those stories, those states of mind, was sickening. However, I kept doing it. Because as I did it I realized I had inscribed a map. It was a description of what so many of us (I may even venture to say all of us) do as we create a life to please others. And it was a map, a stepping stone path, out, back to authenticity. I realized I had to print and share my story; even if it helped only one other person. 

I suppose my background as a seeker and as a Buddhist monk influenced my writing in that I felt safe being raw. Vulnerable. “In my defenselessness my safety lies,” says The Course in Miracles. I took it to heart. And it has been liberating. Publishing my whole story is so freeing because I get to just be me. And it turns out I’m really good at being me. I sucked at being the versions of me I thought I was supposed to be to please my parents, my teachers, my friends, the rest of the world; but it’s actually not much effort at all to just be me. I had a great writing teacher in high school who taught us all the rules of grammar, but then encouraged us to break them. So, you will notice I break a lot of writing rules, but I write the way I would tell a story. Thought by thought, sentence by sentence. Again, authenticity. This is the way I would tell you a story if we were face to face in my living room; why should I write it any other way?

It is my sincere desire that readers would feel liberated after reading my book. I love to imagine the little child within them smiling, finally feeling like s/he gets to call the shots. I love the idea of my readers making the commitment to love and nurture themselves; to treat themselves to the little joys in life that they love. I would love for my readers to finally let go of shame; to start claiming and even celebrating their stories. Especially the “skeletons in the closet.” I imagine shackles around the soul being removed; the shackles of shame, the shackles of not-forgiving, the shackles of wishing this or that never happened. I love imagining the spirits of my readers dancing around in the joy and wonder of their Earth Walk. Changing their mental paradigms to believing their life has been a wild adventure instead of lugging around the baggage of regret. I love imagining the flames within their hearts, the light within, igniting. And I would love for my readers to pull up to the surface, and feel safe in the exposing of, the parts of them that make them different. I would love for them to put my book down knowing their difference is their destiny and feeling ready to show and tell the world about their story, their fight of the human spirit, all that they have gone through, all that they have learned. I would love for them to discover the exhilarating freedom that comes with forgiving all of it, embracing their battle scars, and using those scars to go out in the world and fulfill their true Divine Purpose.
Thanks Renee for the post!

About the Author:
Renee Linnell is the author of The Burn Zone (She Writes Press). She is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and cofounded five companies and has an Executive Masters in Business Administration from New York University. Currently she is working on starting a publishing company to give people from diverse walks of life an opportunity to tell their stories. She divides her time between Colorado and Southern California. For more information, please visit https://reneelinnell.com and follow Renee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Happy Saturday. Here to bring you a Stacking the Shelves post. 
This is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. 

Here is what they say about it:

What is Stacking The Shelves all about?

We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you’re anything like me, you are probably hoarding books and even though you are excited about your latest book arrival, it might be a while before you get to review it and Stacking The Shelves is a good way to express your undying enthusiasm for those titles!


To that end, I wanted to share a few new additions here:

Have you read any of these?

Happy Reading!

Guest Post with Sandra Ingerman

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here to bring you a guest post from Sandra Ingerman. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome to the blog!

The Hidden Worlds
by Sandra Ingerman

I have always loved working with children. Since the 1980s I have been teaching children of all ages how to perform shamanic journeys as this is such a powerful way to help children and young adults feel empowered by challenging life situations. Over the years I have also worked with children who needed healing work to retrieve their lost soul essence, to remove a spiritual blockage causing an illness, or to help children deal with nightmares.

I felt it was important to write a book that included not just how power animals can assist children of all ages, but also life practices that are the same taught to children in shamanic cultures. For how to navigate challenges of life, to live a life of harmony with nature, and where children are acknowledged for their gifts and strengths are all taught as early as possible to children living in indigenous cultures.  Our children are our future and deserve a way to work with the personal and planetary challenges they are facing.

So I set my intention to write a beautiful book that would incorporate the practice of shamanic journeying and how to live in harmony with nature.

When I submitted The Hidden Worlds to my agent she said, “This is the worst book I have read of yours.” My agent was born to be a mother, and she knew this book would not capture the imagination of readers. It was too heavy on spiritual lessons with not enough of a story to draw the readers in.

It was clear that as I did not have children of my own, I did not understand how to write an engaging story.

I was leading a reunion of shamanic teachers I trained. And Katherine Wood and I had lunch together. Katherine had a long career as a school teacher, and through our long history together I knew her work with children was simply brilliant!

She agreed to work with me and take the story I had created to become an engaging teaching adventure for young adults. Then the magic began.

Initially Isaiah, the main character of the story, appeared to me in a dream. In the dream I could see that he was frail and quite sick. I could easily see how writing a story of how Grizzly Bear could befriend and bring guidance and healing to child who was ill would be a great start to the story.

Then I wanted to bring in other characters who had certain issues. I created Rose, George, and Magda who were all so different.  Isaiah who was frail, George who had special needs, Rose who was Chinese was so angry about being adopted and fought so much at school, and Madga was so popular and a great soccer player. I paired them with Grizzly Bear, Octopus, Giraffe, and Panther to help them with their issues at home and with other students at school.

With Katherine’s help, we devised a story to bring more adventure into the book. For in the first draft I only had the characters meet each other and their power animals in their dreams—not enough intrigue for children to get hooked into the story. And I did not create much character development. Katherine with her knowledge of how children can act out in life and behave towards each other in school brought in the details of their stories and their personal challenges. She brought texture to the characters to make them alive so that readers could really relate to them and their struggles.

We came up with idea of the children meeting each other in a dream. And then during the day they met while wandering on their own during a break. They all found themselves at a pond that was filled with dead birds. This unlikely group of friends decided to become detectives to find out the source of the pollution. They did not tell their parents or any school officials what they were up to. By putting their heads together and also asking for help from their most trusted power animals they found that a toxic waste plant was disposing of poison illegally.

I have found that when crafting a story there is a point where the character’s lives deepen to the point that they take control of the plot. It was great for me to experience this as the four worked together to shut this plant down. The story took interesting twists as they developed respect for each other’s gifts, performed rescues, explored romance, confronted bullies, and resolved their conflicts with each other. I hope they will remind our readers of the limitless possibilities that are available in their own lives.

Thanks Sandra for the post! 

About the Author:

Sandra Ingerman, MA, is an award winning author of twelve books, including The Hidden Worlds and The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life. She is a world-renowned teacher of shamanism and has been teaching for more than 30 years. Sandra is recognized for bridging ancient cross-cultural healing methods into our modern culture, addressing the needs of our times. For more information, please visit https://sandraingermanbooks.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Comics will Break Your Heart

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Author: Faith Erin Hicks 
Summary from Amazon:

A sweet, funny contemporary teen romance for the inner geek in all of us from graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks.
Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

Personal Review:
First of all, Happy Book Birthday to this book today! When I first saw that this book was being released, I knew I needed to get it. I have been dabbling in the world of graphic novels for awhile. When comics meets YA, it is a yes please.

This book did not disappoint! It was a story about Miriam and the challenges in her life. No spoilers, but it will keep you turning to the end to find out what happens next. I am glad that I had a chance to read this one, thank you for the opportunity.

 Disclaimer: I was awarded this book from Netgalley. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Stopping by to let you know about a readathon event going on this week (Feb 10-16)! Hosted by Cristina at Cristina's JourneyVanessa over at Paper FaerieMelissa over at The Bookish BabblerHannah over at the Tiny Book DragonJay at The Awkward Bookworm and Gia Over On Twitter @giatuits

Here are the challenges:

I hope to participate! Will you be reading along?

Happy Reading!

Guest Post with Sheri Langer

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hi Everyone! I am excited to be here today with a guest post from Sheri Langer.  I had a chance to ask about what inspired her book and I think you will find the guest post very entertaining! You may even decide to buy an early Valentine or to treat yourself to the book!  

(Note: not an affliate link, just helping to get the word out!)


We all have dreams. As a child, mine was to have long polished fingernails, a sparkly diamond ring, a husband, kids, and a puppy. It was my firm belief that my children would be the luckiest on earth because I would love them beyond reason. My only other wish was to be a movie star, admired by all.
We all have dreams that change. As a child I loved movies, especially the ones where sultry, stunning actresses had to do nothing but stand in a room to have every man in sight desire them. Their allure was disarming and enviable and as I got older, I wanted to be one of them. As a teen, it became somewhat painfully obvious that a 5’2”, very bosomy, bottle- blonde was not exactly the ingenue Hollywood was banging down doors to find. I still watched movies with palpable yearning, but as a matter of practicality, I knew I would have to switch gears.

We all have dreams that change us. I went to college because I had no choice but to graduate and be a “something.” I had given up my dreams of being an actress and so I returned to my most organic desire -to be a wife and a mother. My first serious boyfriend didn’t feel ready to comply with my wishes and broke up with me. Shortly after, I met the guy I believed was Mr. Right. He transferred to my school so we could be together. It was all very romantic in the screenplay I was writing in my head.

We all have dreams that work-until they confuse us.  We got married. I went for my MA in English Ed so I could actually be a “something.” I loved words. The problem was I didn’t want to be a teacher or a journalist. I didn’t want to be anything that required punching a time clock or reporting to a boss. I wanted to write movies, but as far as I was concerned those were created in some far-off land by nameless sprites. 

We all have dreams that shape us. I got pregnant and realized that being a mother was my truest calling. Except for the pen and paper that beckoned me in the wee hours, I was a mom all the way from colic to toddlerhood and then onto my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy. All the while, my movies kept me company. They reminded me, while my own marriage was unraveling, that true love was still out there.

We all have dreams that save us. I got divorced. It was a blessing, but destabilizing, nonetheless. I was no longer part of a couple. We divvied up the friends, but I got to keep the videos. The weekends I didn’t have the kids became my nights for take-out and romcoms. I needed to reinforce my childhood notions of love. I started dating, which I found was not the way to secure those notions. The more I dated, the more I needed my movies.

At some point, we all stop dreaming and start doing. One day, my sister said, very matter-of-factly, “just write your movie already.” Really? Maybe she was right. Maybe the only way I could have the love I wanted was to create it myself. I started writing a screenplay and while developing the main conflict, decided to reach out to my first serious boyfriend. I was in NY. He was safely tucked away in Florida. Maybe he would be able to explain why I was relationship-challenged.

We all have dreams that come true. My former boyfriend was now divorced and seemed to have been waiting for my call. We kept in touch and after a few weeks he said he needed to see me. Our time together convinced me to keep writing. Upon the advice of my late, treasured mentor, I novelized my screenplay and LOVE-LINES emerged. My boyfriend moved to NY, proposed, and after a mere dozen years of living together, we got married this past New Year’s Eve.

Keep dreaming.
Thank you for  the post Sheri! 

More information:
If you are interested in reading in excerpt from her book, Love Lines or learning more about her

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday: Outer Order, Inner Calm

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by to let you know about a book that is releasing March 5th and I cannot wait! It is the latest from Gretchen Rubin. 

Summary from Amazon:
For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. And for most of us, a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution doesn't work. 

The fact is, when we tailor our approach to suit our own particular challenges and habits, we're then able to create the order that will make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. 

Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of our stuff makes us feel more in control of our lives. By getting rid of things we don't use, don't need, or don't love, we free our minds (and our shelves) for what we truly value. 

With a sense of fun, and a clear idea of what's realistic for most people, Gretchen Rubin suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment—one that helps us to create the lives we want.


Happy Reading!