Book Review · Books

No Place Like Here

I have to confess. I wasn’t hooked right off the bat in chapter one. Ashlyn is a teen paying for the crime of her past by being sent off to boarding school. She’s excited to be back home for the summer where she can hang out with her best friend Tatum, except her dad has other plans for her. Ashlyn is set to help out her cousin, Hannah, at a retreat camp. Why can’t she just stay home like a normal high schooler? Her dad has crimes of his own to pay, so he won’t be home and her mom is so messed up from her father’s misdeeds that she won’t be home either.

Ashlyn goes off to help Hannah at the camp and meets two cute fellow staffers, Baxter and Marcus. Both appear to be great guys and one seems to give her a tad more attention than the other. Will Ashlyn have a summer romance, or will her father’s controlling words freeze her up from enjoying her summer despite having to work?

This novel grew on me. Ashlyn’s character is relatable to me in so many ways. I love to write, journal and read. I think it’s great Ashlyn carries around a notebook of her favorite quotes that she writes down. I, also, shy away from speaking up except for when I’m really mad about something. I also, have daddy issues. My own dad isn’t as strict as Ashlyn’s dad, but I know what it’s like to have high expectations to live up to and not feel like what you do is enough. Also, when it comes to parental affection it’s not doled out often. I know what it’s like to have anxiety when hearing from said parent, of being nervous of being in trouble, even when there’s no reason to be. It’s sad, but true.

I received my complimentary digital copy of No Place Like Here by Christina June from Blink, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own accord and mine only. This book is a sweet read. It is a story that opens up the complication that is family and how we do our best to navigate our family relationships. It shows a great example of how we are all imperfect, but how through our brokenness we can heal baby step by baby step. I highly recommend this upcoming summer release.

Book Review · Books

Dutch Girl

Do you love reading about WWII and Hollywood? If so, then Dutch Girl is the book for you. I didn’t know anything about Audrey Hepburn prior to this, but this book gives a great overview of her life during WWII. I have loved reading memoirs and biographies about World War II since grade school so, I was interested to hear about her part during the war.

Audrey grew up in the Netherlands where she lived with her mother and father. After her father left, she was sent to a boarding school in England. Her mother was very strict and not one who showed affection. Audrey started taking ballet which she loved. Even though she was considered tall for a ballerina, she was graceful.

Audrey moved back to live with her mom and a few other relatives. During the war she kept dancing as long as she could. She assisted the war effort by helping with the resistance.

This biography goes back and forth between Audrey as an adult and Audrey during the war. The descriptions in this book are superb. I’ve read a lot of books on this subject and this one has to be one of the most vividly expressed biographies. Reading this book you feel as thought you are there with Audrey experiencing every moment of the war.

I received my digital complimentary copy of Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen courtesy of Smith Publicity and NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own free will. I highly recommend this book. I will definitely be looking out for other biographies by Mr. Matzen.

Book Review · Books

Band Of Shadows

Do you enjoy fantasy? Are you a fan of Sarah J.Mass and Veronica Roth? If so, join me in Scarlet’s world. Scarlet is a 17 year old foster kid who loves reading and being a loner, except for hanging out with her foster brother, Jensen.

Scarlet is weirded out when she keeps dreaming of a door. She has no clue why she keeps dreaming of it, or what it could mean. One day walking with Jensen she sees the actual door. She wants to open it right then and there, but Jensen has to go coach a game so they leave.

Soon Scarlet is determined to go back to the door and open it. Jensen is not as comfortable with the idea, but Scarlet wants to know what’s on the other side. They go back and Jensen attempts, but it appears locked. Scarlet tries and it opens for her. Going through this mystery door lands Scarlet in Avalon.

This place is greener than anything Scarlet has ever experienced. She discovers she is a Faye and it’s her true home. Not only has she been lured to her real home by some mysterious door, but that she has special abilities: being an empath and telekinesis. Why was Scarlet brought home now and what does the leader of the island, Morgana, have in store for her?

I like Scarlet because I am also, a bookworm who prefers a small group or time one on one with others and am am empath. I think it’s fascinating how she learns to understand others by being able to sense the other’s emotions and how to block others emotions from over taking her own.

I received my complimentary copy of The Band Of Shadows by H.P. Waitt from Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own free will. This novel makes me think a bit of Narnia and the Divergent series. This novel has great characterization and scenery description.

Book Review · Books

The Six Gifts Part 1: Secrets

Olivia has an NDE when she is three by almost drowning. She sees this white light, feels peace and love, but then she’s rescued out of the pool. Through the years she longs to discover that peace again. Olivia is so desperate for this peace she felt she attempts to drown again, but it doesn’t work.

When Olivia marries Marco they build a life in NJ until she becomes mysteriously sick. At first her husband feels she’s exaggerating, but when he starts to get the same symptoms they go to the doctor. After many visits they find out their was a pipe leak and they were being slowly poisoned. This leads them to move to a new state for a fresh start, but to Olivia she begins to feel caged. Olivia and Marcos have two sons. One still close with them and the other estranged.

Via social media Olivia discovers her old high school boyfriend was in a fatal crash. Even though she’s long over this ex, Olivia decides to go on a cross country adventure with one of her dogs to his funeral. Marcos is leery of her going alone due to her health, but Olivia feels she has to go. Not only to pay her respects to her ex, but to do some healing regarding her family’s past before Marcos came into the picture.

This is Olivia’s adventure with her dog Tucker. Will she come to terms with her past? Will Olivia ever feel better? What really is ahead for her?

I received my complimentary copy of The Six Gifts Part 1: Secrets by Christie K. Kelly from Bruce Farr Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views expressed are of my own free will and strictly mine. This novel is rich in characters, location description (who doesn’t love the beauty of Colorado?) and a story that will have you begging for more. I know I’m wanting to continue reading more. This novel is fiction with a possible dose of magic.

Book Review · Books

Turn Your Happiness On

Lately I’ve been on a self help kick. Some of the books I’ve read have similar themes and suggestions, but out of all of them, this one is one of the more in depth ones. Norma covers a lot of different topics within the subject of happiness. Some examples range from figuring out what makes us happy, to taking into account what type of people we allow into our lives and how to be grateful for what we do have. At the end of each chapter are action steps we can take to implement to help make our lives more happy.

Some suggestions that Norma has are inspiring. One of the ones that spoke to me a lot is to declutter. I own quite a bit of different items over the years that I don’t necessarily use, or forgot about. If I have less belongings to stress over then I’ll feel much freer. Another suggestion which I’ve heard multiple times is to keep a gratitude journal. It helps you focus on what you are thankful for and have instead of focusing on the lack. Lastly the suggestion to write down what would make us happy in each area of our lives, so that we can take baby steps to get there.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Turn Your Happiness On by Norma Nikutowski. The views expressed are of my own volition and mine. If you need a hearty dose of encouragement for ways to stay happy then I recommend this book. It has helpful action plans to try out. Thank you Norma for a book that was educational and inspiring.

Personal

When Life Throws You Hints

Sometimes Instagram ads inspire you out of the blue. I was scrolling and the ads on there can be annoying. One stood out though. The topic was on becoming a life coach through the program at SWIHA. I logged that information in the back of my brain for safe keeping.

A few months go by and I finally decide to check out their website and contact them for more information. I discover there’s an option of becoming a spiritual coach. Ever since I was little I wanted to be a pastor. Seeing I could go through and get ordained was like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow.

The only roadblock is the cost of the program. It’s a private college, so it’s not cheap, but I believe much less than a whole year at an in state university. Now I just have to save up.

I may not attend a church, or as I like to call it the box, but I still believe by a thread. It’s so ingrained in me I can’t merely throw it out. I’d love to help others on their spiritual journey. My faith has expanded so much in the past 10 years in strange, outside the box directions.

Are you a life coach or spiritual coach? If so comment below. I’d love to connect. What inspires you if you are looking to walk down this same path?

Book Review · Books

Girl Wash Your Face

If a book ever felt like coffee with your best friend this is that kind of book. Girl Wash Your Face sounds like it’d be a beauty book about facial cleansing products, but it’s more than reminding you to keep beautified. Rachel talks about the lies we’ve believed as women socially and within the church. She also, shares stories from her life that aren’t easy to publicly talk about. Some of the topics she tackles are: contentment, sex, motherhood, body image, and so, much more.

Rachel, to me, comes across through her book as one of those pretty, put together ladies who looks all coiffed and perfect, but I know she’s like all of us with everyday struggles. I can understand her love of Los Angeles and California in general. There’s something about Hollywood that has a dreamy, fairytale appeal. I’ve been in the audience of a kid’s show when I was in grade school. That experience ripped off my rose colored glasses on what the entertainment industry can be like. My dreams of acting got a rude wake up call. I can relate to her wanting a name brand purse because once I discovered Poshmark, watch out purse addiction. For some reason I fell in love with the brand Dagne Dover. Rachel goes beyond skin deep in what she personally shares.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own accord and mine only. I enjoyed this book so much I bought myself a physical copy to keep. This book is a short read, but full of a lot of empowerment. I can’t wait to go read her novels she wrote. Keep up writing Rachel. I want to read more of your work.