12 July 2018

Lies by T. M. Logan [Book Review]

Anyone else dealing with a heat wave? Well, nothing helps me survive a heat wave more than an air conditioned room and a really good book. I had the chance to review the book Lies by T.M. Logan over this July heat wave and I can't wait to tell you about it.

Here's a little bit about Lies (summer courtesy of Net Galley):

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child—and then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? It’s the evening drive home from work, a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But when he unexpectedly sees his wife’s car ahead of them, he decides to follow her—and ends up witnessing her secret rendezvous with another man. The encounter will tear two families apart and leave an innocent man set up to take the fall for a murder. Joe finds himself in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything he treasures. He will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the net tightens around him, his life begins to fall apart. Soon, Joe is in a life or death struggle with a cunning opponent who is always one step ahead. Lies poses the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us? Lies by T.M. Logan is an unputdownable thriller in which each chapter changes the meaning of what came before, keeping the reader guessing until the jaw-dropping finale.

What I Thought: 

This was an incredible thriller. First of all, I absolutely loved the little boy in the book, William. The author described William so well and he became such a vivid and important character to me as much as the father, Joe. When Joe discovers where his wife is going and sees her with another man, my first instinct on this was that this was going to be the standard 'couple's life falling apart due to an affair' type of book. It was so much more than that. The second that Joe finds his wife with another man is just one piece in an enormous puzzle that Joe has to figure out.

Truly, this book will grab you and not let go. Right when Joe thinks he is helping his situation, he makes it worse. And I absolutely didn't see any of it coming. It didn't once make me roll my eyes and think that it was predictable. I tend to read a lot on my bus ride home and I just couldn't wait to read this one.

Oddly, and maybe not surprisingly, I didn't like Mel. Despite everything she did in the book, I feel like there should've been aspects of her that was likable. I didn't trust her at all. I thought she was incredibly phony most times and seemed set out to make the situation worse. Of course, considering what unfolds, maybe that was intentional. Some part of me felt like it was characterization flaw. I wanted to find something deep within her and there wasn't a whole lot that I saw.

Overall, if you like thrillers and reading at the edge of your seat, you must read this book. You will not be disappointed.

Pre-order your copy today on Amazon.com! It's available to purchase on September 11th.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This post also contains affiliate links for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.

23 May 2018

A Book to Read if You Are On a Spiritual Journey [Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez]

Over the past couple of years, I've gotten closer to my faith in God. I grew up going to church and even attended a Christian elementary school, but it wasn't until recently that I took my faith more seriously. This has been such a transforming experience for me and it's been such a tremendous walk with God over the last couple of years. Which is unusual because it's also been tremendously difficult in my personal life. Anyways, so when I had the chance to read Wendy Brown-Baez book "Catch a Dream" which discusses her own spiritual journey, I couldn't wait to read it.

Here's more about the book -


A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

Catch a Dream is available in print and as an ebook on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound


What I Thought -

This took me by total surprise. I wasn't sure that I would like it or enjoy it as much as I did. Wendy did a FANTASTIC job of vividly describing the details of Israel and what it was like. I felt like I was there (did you know this book was based on a memoir? Read the Women on Writing interview to learn more about the author!). And I was just really connected to whether or not the main character would decide to do after she met this love of her life. I was so connected to her journey and what she would decide to do when things started to move in an unexpected direction. I felt the emotions right along with her. 

Anyways, if you are on a spiritual journey of your own, or love to Travel, go on this journey with Wendy and read her book Catch a Dream. I know you will love it and you will be glad you read it. I definitely was!

Find more about the tour by visiting this link here. You can enter to win a copy of the book this week (giveaway ends Sunday, 5/27) and you can also find out more about the author and where else she will be on the tour.

Want to read books like this one? Send me an email to nicole@wow-womenonwriting.com with your blog link and I'll make sure to let you know about upcoming tours.

Have a book you want promoted? Send me an email to nicole@wow-womenonwriting.com and I'll send you information about what WOW! has to offer.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

18 May 2018

A Book to Read if You Love a Good Thriller [The Pinochet Plot]


As I write this, it's raining outside and I love rain in May. It's warm and everything is just so green and lush. What a beautiful time of year! So, thanks to WOW! Blog Tours (with WOW! Women on Writing) I had the chance to review a really good book called The Pinochet Plot. Here's a little bit about the book -

Successful San Francisco attorney Will Muñoz has heard of the brutal former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, of course, but it's not until he receives his mother's suicide letter that he has any inkling Pinochet may have had his father, Chilean writer Ricardo Muñoz, assassinated thirty years earlier.

Her suspicions spur Will on to a quest to discover the truth about his father's death–and about the psychological forces that have driven his mother to her fatal decision. His journey takes him deep into unexpected darkness linking his current step-father, the CIA, drug-experimentation programs, and a conspiracy of domestic terrorism. The Pinochet Plot is not just a story of a man seeking inner peace; it is also a story of sinister history doomed to repeat itself.

What I Thought:

I really enjoyed this thriller! I'm not usually one for political thrillers as this one sometimes felt, but I thought this was captivating and well done. It was written in first person, which gave me close insight to the main character. I liked the main character a lot and enjoyed the details used to describe his childhood, family and the surroundings. The author did an EXCELLENT job of being detailed about everything the character was experiencing and it was such a richly told book. The book also takes you through some very real history which was very interesting! Admittedly, some did go over my head, especially with the CIA angle, but it was a book where I just had to see what happened! I oddly didn't like the female character, Cheryl, in the book. Yet I did like how Will's mom was portrayed and his memories of her and how she was during his youth.

Anyways this book was fantastic and a definite must read!

Visit this Amazon link to purchase a copy of the book.  

Here's also a bit about the author and where you can find him -\

David Myles Robinson grew up in Pasadena, CA. He holds degrees from San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco School of Law. After practicing law for thirty-eight years in Honolulu, Hawaii, he retired with his wife, former Honolulu judge Marcia Waldorf, to Taos, NM. Robinson is the author of three previous novels: legal thrillers Tropical Lies and Tropical Judgments, and Unplayable Lie, a golf-related suspense novel.

Find David Online:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38825244-the-pinochet-plot

David Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DMRobinsonWrite

David Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidMylesRobinson/

David Website: www.davidmylesrobinson.com

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also if you want to join in with WOW! Blog Tours and find incredible books to read like this, send me an email at nicole@wow-womenonwriting.com and I'll let you know about which incredible books are available to read next!

09 May 2018

On Writing Dreams, Reality & Life

I ran into a metaphor for life while cleaning out my closet yesterday. While sorting out an old jewelry box,  I came across a clump of tangled necklaces that I attempted to unravel. One necklace came out nicely, the other two were twisted together and knotted so much I had to leave it. Part of the reason I left it, was because of what the necklace reminded me of. Take a look for yourself -



That word  - dream - that dangles from the end of a dainty little necklace is now twisted and tied up with a beady, chunky, necklace thanks to my neglect. Isn't that life though? I find as time goes by that unless you pay attention to and take care of a dream, especially one you've held onto for years, that it can end up looking messy and unsalvageable, a bit like this necklace.

In the midst of a stressful time period, I've managed to keep writing. What is the "dream" now though? Is it the same as when I was a kid? Of course not. The dream has always been to write and get published, but seeing that dream at 31 is far different from how I saw that dream at 10. Working with authors with WOW to promote their book as well as reading and reviewing books for authors through this blog have both taught me that publishing a book is only step one. It takes more than a good story to get readers. I've read and reviewed many books that didn't get on the bestsellers list and also deserved far more attention than they got.

So, my dream has gotten a bit tangled due to reality as well as the messy qualities of life. It's hard not to let that happen. To untangle the dream from reality and life is work, much like it will take work to untangle that necklace. With patience and determination and an unfailing ability to never quit, I can untangle the dream.

That necklace now sits in a prominent place in my room. Not because it's such a beautiful clump of cheap jewelry, but because it represents something that needed reminding. Don't let go of the dream, but don't neglect it either.




06 May 2018

Loose Ends By Caroline Taylor [A Book Review]

 As spring slowly inches it's way closer to summer, I had the chance to read a good thriller about two characters trying to figure out the truth while running from danger.

Here's a bit about the book (courtesy of the publisher):

In the midst of Bicentennial celebrations, Carson Mahoney narrowly escapes a home invasion that reduces her house to rubble. In a West Virginia commune, her sister Cam kills the commune leader. Now both sisters must flee. Already a suspect in her secretive husband’s murder, Carson fears the police will suspect her of arson and put her in jail. It happened before, back when the two sisters were teenagers, imprisoned in a foreign country. It cannot happen again. But running away is also not an option. Cam needs to find the innocent whose life she has saved. Carson must find the thugs who destroyed her home and her livelihood. All too soon, the sisters learn how impossible it is to hide and how difficult it is to trust those who offer help. Will they survive long enough to clear their names? Caroline Taylor has written a tightly woven thriller full of female empowerment and bravery, with strong women seeking justice and formidable opponents in their way. With twists and turns, jolting from the present to the past, readers will be holding their breath until the very end.

What I Thought:

This book was a great thriller! I enjoyed both characters Carson and her sister Cam, and I just had to continue reading to see what happens. Things really start out with a bang in this book and you are taken right into the heart of the troubles. I enjoyed the character Carson especially and thought that Cam was sort of a mystery. The dynamics of their lives and the danger they found themselves in was interesting and captivating. Definitely a book worth reading!

About the Author

Caroline Taylor is the author of two mystery novels, “What Are Friends For?” and “Jewelry from a Grave,” one nonfiction book, “Publishing the Nonprofit Annual Report: Tips, Traps, and Tricks of the Trade,” and numerous short stories and essays, which are featured on her website at www.carolinestories.com. A collection of short stories, titled “Enough: Thirty Stories of Fielding Live’s Little Curve Balls,” is forthcoming from Literary Wanderlust in April 2018. A longtime resident of Washington, DC, she now lives in North Carolina.

Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon now.

This post contains an affiliate link for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link. 

02 May 2018

The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra [Book Review]

Two things I really enjoy - wine and books. So, why not read a book that has a winery setting? Kind of amazing, if you ask me! As the seasons change from rain and clouds to shining sun back to clouds again, I had the pleasure of reading The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra. 

Before we get into what I thought, here's a little bit about the book:

"In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines that Uriel Macon’s family have tended for generations. Uriel, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships. He prefers the lonely comfort of his vineyard and his horses, until he is reminded of his love affair with Amanda Scanlon; a relationship that ended when she abruptly left the country years ago under a cloud of mystery.

When Amanda returns to Sonoma because of a family crisis, she tries to mend the broken relationships she left behind. In addition, she seeks the truth about her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage.  But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences. In the midst of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlon family struggles to overcome harsh realities with dignity and grace.

Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families, which are facing immigration issues, marital crises, and loss. While navigating these challenges, the couple must decide if they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go.

A Sonoma local, author Joanell Serra’s debut novel is captivating, poignant, and uplifting, demonstrating how seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest."

What I Thought

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I enjoyed the setting. The writer really knew how to take me right into the heart of the winery and the country setting. I felt like I was there, I loved it! I appreciated the romance in the book and really rooted for the characters along the way. The characters were well written and the pace of the book really kept me going. I couldn't wait to see what happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend this to anyone who loves a blend of drama, romance and a strong family core throughout the book.

Be sure to pick up your copy by visiting this page at Amazon.com. 

Meet the Author

Joanell Serra, MFT lives with her growing children, husband and dogs in the lovely Sonoma Valley. After years of publishing short stories, essays and plays, The Vines We Planted is her debut novel. She can be found polishing her second novel at a coffee shop, sipping a perfect Cabernet in a Sonoma winery or at her website:www.JoanellSerraAuthor.com.

Find Joanell Online:

http://joanellserraauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Joanellserrauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/joanellserraauthor/

http://joanellserraauthor.com/author-blog/

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  This book is part of a WOW! Women on Writing blog tour! Interested in being part of a book tour or promoting your book with WOW? Send me an email to nicole [at] wow-womenonwriting [dot] com.

24 April 2018

I'm Not Okay by Renee Antonia [Book Review]

 I'm excited to be part of the latest blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing with this new author Renee Antonia. The book is called I'm Not Okay and I think it's an incredibly important book for our time. Before I get into what I thought about the book, here's a bit more about it:

When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing that goes through Alejandra's head is whether or not she will be forced into another anxiety inducing situation. The struggles of being a young adult living with an anxiety ridden brain becomes too much for Alejandra to deal with. So, with the help of her friends, she forces herself out of the bubble her anxiety has placed her in. She learns to conquer the fears she once thought would destroy her and learns to rely on herself more than she ever has.

Print Length: 203 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: BookBaby (June 24, 2017)
ISBN-13: 9781483598062


I'm Not Okay is available as an eBook at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble,  and Apple iTunes

What I Thought:

I deal with anxiety issues occasionally myself and I thought the author did a fantastic job of describing how it feels. The character also deals with some really deep issues surrounding her anxiety and other mental health problems. And it's a very realistic look into how someone feels dealing with these issues. 

The way the book addresses the issues of mental health was very well done. Alejandra also dealt with some major family issues that led to even greater problems and that conflict was portrayed very well. I was upset, when the character was upset. And this was a major point to conquer for the character. How could she tell her family exactly what she was going through? Would they understand? That's the question the author helps answer. 

One thing that I did notice in the book are occasional spelling and grammar issues in some spots, but it certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. And to me, doesn't take away from the important message of the book.

So be sure you check this one and follow the author along her journey by visiting her social media links mentioned below. I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve!


 About the Author

Renee Antonia grew up in the Los Angeles area with four siblings and two wonderful parents. Having such a strong support system enabled her to decide who and what she wanted to be. However, this question haunted her for years, because she couldn't quite pinpoint what exactly she saw herself doing for the rest of her life. She began to read a lot, hoping to find inspiration between the pages of a book. It was at this time that  she realized one thing. She loved sharing, reading, and writing. Renee decided that she wanted to be a writer, and since that day, she has taken any steps necessary to achieve that goal.

You can find Renee Antonia at:





This is part of the WOW! Women on Writing book tour. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Be sure to check out WOW!'s blog The Muffin to check out other stops on the tour.

17 April 2018

A Book to Read If You Love Young Adult Paranormal Books [Book Review]

 I love when a book takes me by surprise! I tend to read the most during my hour commute home. Lately, it's been especially nice for reading because of the chilly and rainy weather which really makes me want to stay inside.

Anyways, I had the chance to review the book Crossing the Line by Ellen Wolfson Valladares as part of the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour (by the way, if you are interested in taking part in future blog tours send me an email at nicole@wow-womenonwriting.com; better yet, if you want your book in a blog tour, email me about that too!)

So, before I tell you what I thought, here's a little bit about the book:

Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.
Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.
It is her one chance to make sure that what happened to her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.

Paperback: 300 pages
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult Novel
Publisher: WiDO (March 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-1-937178-99-4

What I Thought

Like I said earlier in this post, this book took me by total surprise! I read it over this past weekend and it captivated me right away. I couldn't put the book down. It's one of those books that I would love to see as a series as well.

I loved the main characters in the book, especially Laura and Rebecca's relationship. They both represented similar personalities but also very different. Each chapter gave deeper insight to the character's journey and this was so well done. The paranormal aspect was also well written! It wasn't overdone or "too much" which I appreciated.

While this book dealt with paranormal and the "other side" it also really portrayed how much harm can come from gossip, mean girl tactics, and bullying. It really shows you how much you can do by just reaching out and being a friend to someone. I think it's a fantastic book for teens and adults to read and I think you will enjoy it. 

Purchase a copy of the book now at Amazon.com!

About the Author:
Ellen Wolfson Valladares is an award-winning writer/author, workshop facilitator, community volunteer, and mother. A native Floridian, she grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked as an editor, public relations professional, and freelance writer. Her first book, a children’s novel entitled Jonathan's Journey to Mount Miapu, received several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Coalition of Visionary Resources Visionary Awards Book of the Year award. She also has a meditation CD, entitled “Healing and Manifestation with the Archangels.”
Today, Valladares continues to work as a freelance writer. She also enjoys coaching high school students working on their college essays and helping other writers realize their dreams. She has been married to her husband, Manny, for 30 years and they have two sons, Gabriel and Michael, two dogs, Flash and Chili Pepper, and a crazy cat named Zelda. They live in Weston, Fla.
Find Ellen Online:

Website: http://www.ellenvalladares.com

Twitter: @ValladaresEllen

FB: @EllenValladares444 (link: https://fb.me/EllenValladares444)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023698.Ellen_Wolfson_Valladares

Make sure to check out all the stops on the tour by visiting the links below! Visit the Muffin (first link to win a copy of the book!).

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, April 16th @ The Muffin

Join us at the Muffin for an author interview and book giveaway for the fictional young adult novel by Ellen Valladares, Crossing the Line.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, April 17th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole Pyles reads and reviews “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares. This is a fun young adult novel that readers will be sure to delight in!

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 18th @ Beverley Baird

Beverley Baird reviews "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Valladares. Readers won't want to miss this fast paced young adult novel!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

Thursday, April 19th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Ellen Valladares pens today's guest post at Kathleen Pooler's Memoir Writer's Journey. Don't miss this great post titled "Your Writer's Purpose -- how creating your purpose/vision can keep you on target" and learn more about Valladares latest novel "Crossing the Line".

https://krpooler.com/

Thursday, April 19th @ Write Like Crazy

Mary Jo reads Ellen Valladares "Crossing the Line" and shares her thoughts with readers at Write Like Crazy.

writelikecrazy.com

Friday, April 20th @ BookWorm

Anjanette Potter delights readers at Bookworm with her review of the YA Novel "Crossingthe Line" by Ellen Valladares.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

Saturday, April 21st @ Spark the Wizard

Brandi at Spark the Wizard shares her thoughts in a review of Ellen Valladares novel"Crossing the Line".

http://sparkthewizarduprising.com/

Monday, April 23rd @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen

Wisconsin entrepreneur and school teacher reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. Don't miss this opportunity to find out more about the YA Novel "Crossing the Line".

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 24th @ Finished Pages

Today, at Finished Pages, readers have an opportunity to learn more about "Crossing theLine" the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. Don't miss Renee's review of this YA Novel!

http://finishedpages.com/

Wednesday, April 25th @ Reviews by Deb

Deborah Blanchard shares her thoughts after reading "Crossing the Line" by accomplished author and journalist Ellen Valladares.

https://www.facebook.com/Reviews-by-Deb-1737715249887520/

Thursday, April 26th @ Digging with the Worms

Eric Trant reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. See what Eric thinks of "Crossingthe Line" and find out more about this great book and accomplished author.

http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 26th @ Phy Tallic

Phy reviews the delightful YA Novel "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Valladares.

https://phytallic.wordpress.com/

Friday, April 27th @ Write Happy

Today at Write Happy, Cathy Brown will be interviewing Ellen Valladares about her latest novel "Crossing the Line". Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about this YA Novel as well as hear some tips from the accomplished journalist and author Ellen Valladares.

https://www.writehappy.net/blog

Monday, April 30th @ Ellen Valladares

Crystal J. Casavant-Otto from WOW! Women on Writing reviews "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Valladares and shares her thoughts with readers at Valladares blog.

http://ellenvalladares.com/ellens-blog/

Tuesday, May 1st @ I Just Want to Finish My…

Brittany shares her thoughts after reading "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Valladares. Don't miss this insightful blog stop for this delightful Young Adult Novel!

http://www.ijustwannafinishmy.com/

Wednesday, May 2nd @ Hott Books

Don't miss today's guest post at Hott Books! Distinguished author Ellen Valladares shares her post titled: 'The Inspiration Behind Crossing the Line'. You'll want to learn more about this delightful YA Novel!

http://www.hottbooks.com/

Friday, May 4th @ Frasers Fun House

Melanie at Frasers Fun House reviews "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Valladares.

https://frasersfunhouse.com/

Monday, May 7th @ Word Nerd Media

Elizabeth at Word Nerd reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. You won't want to miss a minute of this captivating YA Novel "Crossing the Line".

https://www.wordnerdmedia.com/

14 April 2018

5 Things on a Saturday Night


I can't even begin to tell you how weird it is to try and blog again.So, I was wandering Reddit.com and came across a post on the "Ask Reddit" forum that asked what are things that you have no interest in that everyone else loves. So, in my attempts to make blogging cool and fun for me again, I thought I'd respond to this.

5 Things I Have No Interest In That Everyone Else Loves

1) Instagram.

Okay, so I have an Instagram account and sometimes will post, but in all honesty, I don't really find it all that interesting. For time wasting social media outlets, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook are far more fun.

2) Salad shakers.

I work with someone who will violently shake their salad so the whole floor hears. You know, in a way it grosses me out. I get that it distributes the dressing but still....cool it, I say.

3) Yoga.

Alright I think I'm way unpopular on this one, but in reality, that's not something that seems all that fun to me. If I'm exercising, I like moving.  I like the music to push me forward and to help me get lost in the exercise. Yoga just doesn't seem all that fun to me.

4) Game of Thrones

Not something I really can embrace. I think I'm more of a Lord of the Rings type of girl.

5) Award Ceremonies for Actors and Actresses

I used to be into this, but over the last several years, I've lost complete interest in these award ceremonies.

Can you relate to any of these? What are things you have no interest in that other people seem to love? 

05 April 2018

Ashes in the Ocean by Sebastian Slovin [Book Review]



I am such a strong believer that the more we talk about our personal mental health struggles and the mental illnesses that impact our society the more that things can change. Mental illness has directly impacted my life by having a brother with schizophrenia. And so I definitely wanted to take part in this blog tour for Sebastian Slovin's book Ashes in the Ocean.

Here's a bit about the book:

Vernon Slovin was a legend. He was one of the best swimmers in his home country of South Africa, and for a time in the world. He prided himself on being the best. The best in sports, business, and life. He had it all, a big home, athletic prestige, fancy clothes and cars, and a beautiful wife and family. Everything was going his way until it all came tumbling down. He lost everything, including his own life. In the wake of his suicide he left his wife and two young children. In this riveting memoir, Vernon’s son, Sebastian Slovin chronicles his experience of living in the shadow of a suicide, and his journey out of the darkness and into the light. Slovin shares his quest to uncover why his father took his own life. A pilgrimage that led him around the world and eventually back to himself. Ashes in the Ocean is a powerful story about facing one’s fears and choosing a different path.

Check out this incredible book trailer -

Ashes in the Ocean Book Trailer from Nature Unplugged on Vimeo.


What I Thought:

Ashes in the Ocean was moving and eye opening. It takes you on the journey when the author first realized his father committed suicide to healing. I was incredibly captivated and touched by the author's honesty. Throughout the book, I felt the anger the author felt, his sadness and soon his peace. I really connected to the book, especially when he realized he needed to learn more about his father in order to really live and move on.

On a technical level, the writing was well done too. The vivid descriptions of emotions and the setting of the beach as a regular backdrop shaped the book to be a powerful read.

This is an important book to read if you have ever lost a loved one to suicide or experienced mental health struggles yourself. It is a difficult read at times but inspiring all the while. I'm glad I read it and hope you will too. 

About the Author
Since he can remember, nature has been a central part of Sebastian’s life. He was fortunate to grow up in the beach community of La Jolla, California, and spent his childhood mixing it up in the ocean. As a young boy, he lost his father to suicide, which would later deeply inspire his path in life. As a young adult, he had the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many of the world’s great surf spots as a professional bodyboarder. Through his travel, Sebastian developed a deep love and appreciation for our natural world, and at the same time was drawn to the practice of yoga.

His love for yoga led him to study at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, California, and his passion for nature eventually led him to pursue a BA in Environment and Natural Resource Conservation at San Diego State University. He also holds an MA in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.

He lives with his wife Sonya in Encinitas, California. He and Sonya have a business called Nature Unplugged, which focuses on cultivating wellness through healthier relationships with technology and a deeper connection to nature. When he is not writing or working on Nature Unplugged, Sebastian enjoys swimming, bodysurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddling (pretty much all things) in the wild Pacific Ocean.

Find Sebastian Online:





Be sure to buy the book now on Amazon by visiting this page and add this book to your must-read list on GoodReads

Be sure to check out WOW! Women on Writing blog for other stops on this tour.  Also if you would like to take part in WOW! Blog Tours and review incredible books like this, send me an email at npyles86 at gmail dot com. 

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. 

15 February 2018

WOW! Blog Tour Announcement: I'm Not Okay by Renee Antonia #BloggersRequired



Looking for a new book to read? Well I'm putting together another book blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing tours and I would love for you to read this book. Or if you simply want to feature the author on your blog via an interview or guest post, that would be amazing too.

Here's a bit about the book:


About the Book
When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing that goes through Alejandra's head is whether or not she will be forced into another anxiety inducing situation. The struggles of being a young adult living with an anxiety- ridden brain becomes too much for Alejandra to deal with. So, with the help of her friends, she forces herself out of the bubble her anxiety has placed her in.  She learns to conquer the fears she once thought would destroy her and learns to rely on herself more than she ever has. 
About the Author
Renee Antonia grew up in the Los Angeles area with four siblings and two wonderful parents. Having such a strong support system enabled her to decide who and what she wanted to be. However, this question haunted her for years, because she couldn't quite pinpoint what exactly she saw herself doing for the rest of her life. She began to read a lot, hoping to find inspiration between the pages of a book. It was at this time that she realized one thing. She loved sharing, reading, and writing. Renee decided that she wanted to be a writer, and since that day, she has taken any steps necessary to achieve that goal. 
You can find Renee Antonia at:
Instagram.com/renee_antonia_
Pinterest.com/writingsbyrenee
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771475.Renee_Antonia
---

Book tour starts on April 23rd and lasts through May 21st. Let me know in the comments your email and blog link or send me an email to npyles86@gmail.com if you are interested in taking part!

One more thing you may be interested in: WOW will send an e-mail blast to 40,000+ e-mail subscribers on the tour's launch day with a link to your blog and information about your blog stop. We will also link to your blog on our blog, and promote the stop on our social media accounts. An extra bonus for blog tour hosts.

11 February 2018

My Thoughts on Real Characters in a Story

photo credit: suzyhazelwood Love vintage books! via photopin (license)

I decided to continue writing a story that needed an ending last week. While I'm largely against the idea of going back to a story I lost interest in, there comes a point where I can't resist. This wasn't a bad idea either. Turns out, I had more story in me. And the character brought me back. She's complicated, I'm finding. I like complicated.

This was a sharp contrast to a story I had already finished writing and had typed. I liked the idea of it, but the character was so flat. She was a foggy, shallow reflection of myself. This usually happens when I attempt writing in first person, to be honest. So my mission is to go back and change this to third person and explore the true character in the story.

All of this made me think of characters. It's the reason I go back to a story I've written. More than the plot line or the setting in my story would ever inspire me.

How do we achieve that real feeling of a character? I mean I have done worksheets before that led me to fill out a characters history, personality, tastes, favorite childhood toy, but if I'm not seeing it, it's all made up. The person isn't real until they form a reality that makes them unique.

So, as I think about the characters I write - the ones that take form as well as the ones that don't - I must remember what makes a character unique and beautifully complicated are found in the very things that make us unique and complicated.

It's found in our sadness and woes...


Our desires....




Our successes and struggles...


Our relationships...



And our imperfections.



What brings you back to a story you've written (or read)? What do you do that gives your character life?



08 February 2018

A Book To Read If You Have a Hard Time Remembering Names




Do you have trouble remembering people's names? I confess whenever I'm introduced to someone at work within seconds their name is out of my head. I would like to be better about this, but in the back of my mind I always figure that I'll pick it up later on. Except I tend to feel bad when they remember mine and I'm like, wow I'm drawing a blank on what yours is.

So I had the opportunity to read a book that I'm so glad that I read. It's called 7 Simple Tricks to Remembering Names.

If you are like me and you have a hard time remembering names, you need to read this book. And actually I already used one of the tips in the book recently and it IMMEDIATELY helped me. Here's what happened, so someone at work accidentally dropped an apple under my desk. And I had been trying to remember their name and I heard someone call this person (the apple person) by their name (it was Ashley) and I'm like, "AHA! Apple Ashley." And that's one of the tips this book suggests. They tell you in the book how to use alliteration to remember names.

And there are so many more tips that will be suitable for any kind person. It's an easy read too and very well written. It also has occasional cute drawings in the book as well, which is always fun to me. The author knows what they are talking about and when you use the tips in the book, I know you will see immediate success.

Ready to check it out? Purchase it now on Amazon (only $.99!) 

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. This post includes an affiliate link for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.


03 February 2018

Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin [My Book Review]

Valentine's Day is almost upon us! Anyone single or maybe in a relationship that is leaving you unhappy? Well gather around because do I have a book for you or what? It's called Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin. I am so honored to read this book as well as launch the tour for this book over at WOW! Women on Writing. First of all, before you read my review, make sure you go to the blog page where I chat with Lynn about her book.

Now, here's a bit about the book:

Book Summary

How does a 62-year-old woman who's never been married find happiness with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . .Craigslist!?

Does she throw caution to the wind and relinquish her freedom, or should she take a crash course in compromises?

Author B. Lynn Goodwin tells all and more in Never Too Late. How she was attracted to Richard's clear expectations, his honesty, and his incredible openness. She'd never met anyone like him. Would she recognize love if it knocked on her heart? And could an educated woman be happy moving into a blue-collar world?

Whether you've been single forever, are trapped in an unhappy marriage, or you're simply curious, you'll find secrets to a happy marriage in Never Too Late.

Paperback: 222 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Koehler Books (December 20, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1633936082
ISBN-13: 978-1633936089

What I thought

This was a good book for me to read right now. I'm single and just reading this gave me peace about my own journey in the romantic department. First of all, it's excellent writing. And it's told in a way that reads like a story. And this is incredible for me because if I was being honest, I almost never read non-fiction. This captured me though. I couldn't wait to see how Lynn and Richard worked out their relationship and how they would learn to compromise and blend each other's lives. It was raw honesty and it was so inspiring to me. 

Second, it's also a really fast read. It's just filled with knowledge and awareness of what will make a relationship work and what it means to make a life together - no matter what your age. So the question remains...is it ever too late for love? I think this book proves the answer is no! It's never too late. 

Pick up your copy of Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin. Make sure you purchase it for a friend on Valentine's Day or purchase it for yourself. It's a must read for this year. It really is. 

Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 is available for print and eBook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.

Praise

"A vivid, engaging, and heart-warming tribute to that rare and wonderful thing: a late-in-life
love."  - Susan Wittig Albert, Ph.D, author of Loving Eleanor and The General's Women

"A book filled with grace and charm." - Aline Soules, author of Meditation on Woman and Evening Sun

"Very different from any love story you have ever read." - Richard J. Smith, Ph.D., author of Life After Eighty, Once Upon A Christmas, and Musings of an Old Man

"For those who think life has passed them by, take heart, and read B. Lynn Goodwin's book, Never Too Late, an unflinchingly honest, personal tale of love found after 60." - Kate Farrell, Author and co-editor of award-winning anthologies: Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s and Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence

About the Author

B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing) and Talent (Eternal Press). Talent was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award and won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Her manuscript, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 was published by Koehler Press on December 20, 2017. Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and elsewhere. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is a manuscript coach at Writer Advice. She always has time to write guest blog posts and answer questions. She loves working one on one, trouble-shooting, and helping writers find what works.

She can be found online at:






Be sure to stop by other stops on the blog tour! There are guest posts and book reviews, so stop by each one and make sure you purchase your own copy of the book. 

----- Blog Tour Dates:
January 29th (Today) @ The Muffin
Interview and giveaway

January 30th @ Mari's #WriteON! Journaling Blog
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger over at Mari's #WriteOn Journaling Blog talking about, "The Power of Honesty."

January 30th @ Polkadots and Plaid
Sara over at the blog Polkadots and Plaid will be sharing her insights and feedback about B. Lynn Goodwin's book.

February 1st @ Miss Harley Rose Blog
Stephanie Cummings over at her blog Miss Harley Rose will be reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late.

February 2nd @ Bring on Lemons
Crystal J. Casavant-Otto will be sharing her thoughts about B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late.

February 3rd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles will be reviewing and sharing her insights about Never Too Late over at her blog.

February 4th @ blog Margo L. Dill
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger at Margo L. Dill's blog on the subject of nevergiving up! Make sure you read "You Don't Lose Until You Quit Trying." 

February 5th @ Bookworm
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger over at the Bookworm blog talking about "The Importance of Telling Your Story."

February 6th @ Happily Ever Adventures
Lena over at Happily Ever Adventures will be sharing her thoughts about B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late in her monthly book round up. 

February 7th @ Making LOL
If you have love on your mind this February, make sure you catch B. Lynn Goodwin's guest post over at blogger Making LOL called, "Finding Love." 

February 8th @ Mommy Daze: Say What???
B. Lynn Goodwin will be talking about, "How to Start a Story You are Afraid to Tell" over at Mommy Daze: Say What??? to inspire us all to write our own story. 

February 9th @ Words from the Heart
Make sure you check out B. Lynn Goodwin's guest post about, "Compromise and Acceptance." An important lesson for us all! 

February 10th @ Bookworm Blog
Anjanette over her blog Bookworm will be reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never TooLate as well as interviewing the author.

February 12th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
B. Lynn Goodwin will be visiting Madeline Sharples blog and discussing one of my favorite activities in her post, "Need a Venting Partner? Try a Journal." 

February 14th @ Beverly A. Baird's Blog
Blogger Beverly A. Baird will be reading and reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book NeverToo Late and sharing her thoughts with us.

February 14th @ Bookends Review
Come by and check out the review of Never Too Late at Bookends Review.

February 15th @ Mommy Daze: Say What???
Ashley Bass over at Mommy Daze: Say What??? will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late

February 16th @ Words From the Heart
Rev. Linda Neas will be reading and reviewing Never Too Late and be sure to check out her insights on this amazing book.

February 17th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Make sure to come by the blog Memoir Writer's Journey and read about Lynn's insight in her post, "The Authentic Writer." Also, blogger Kathleen Pooler will be reviewing Never Too Late as well.

February 19th @ Strength4Spouses
Visit the blog Strength4Spouses to catch Lynn's post called, "Craigslist Dating." 

February 20th @ Bring on Lemons
Nancy Cramer, yoga lover and retired schoolteacher, will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late on the blog, Bring on Lemons. 

February 22nd @ Food Diary of a City Girl
Make sure to catch Cecilia over at Food Diary of a City Girl and her thoughts about the book Never Too Late

February 23rd @ Strength4Spouses
Make sure you come by the Strength4Spouses blog to catch their insights into Lynn's book Never Too Late

February 24th @ Becoming Zen Again
Shell LeBlanc will be telling us about what she thought about the book Never Too Late.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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