Life is a 4-letter Word

This was the perfect book to read during the COVID19 crisis. Life during this time has definitely been a four letter word. I have so much for which to be grateful, and yet each day is a struggle. This book was a breath of fresh air, more user-friendly than any self-help book I’ve read recently.

I needed David Levy’s lesson “Life isn’t fair, but it’s easier with companionship.” It’s so true right now. I don’t know how I’d make it without my husband being beside me while we’re quarantined. With both of us having pre-existing conditions, we’ve been tucked away in our nest for over 5 weeks now. I’m sure many of you can relate!

There are 40 autobiographical essays, and each one contains a relatable life lesson. Humor and inspiration abound in this self-help book.

NUGGET GAINED: There are too many to list. Here’s my favorite: There’s not much I can control right now, and it’s ok! I’m happier when I’m easier on myself.

Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours, David Levy, and Mango Publishing for my gifted copy of this book that has helped me so much!

5 Stars!!!

You’ll love Adunni!

I predict The Girl with the Louding Voice will be one of my top 5  reads in 2020! I’ve been thinking about the book for days, for me this signifies a fantastic read. Thank you and congratulations Abi Dare for writing this gem!

Adunni is a 14 year old girl in Nigeria who wants more than anything to go to school. Her mama instilled this desire in her before she became ill and died. There’s not enough money for Audunni to go to school. Her father doesn’t see the value of education either. When the family is struggling with expenses, he decides upon a dreadful solution. In exchange for money, Adunni will become an old man’s third wife for the purpose of birthing a male child for him. 

As you can imagine, this situation doesn’t end well, and eventually she is sold secretly as a household slave to a wealthy woman, but under the guise of a housekeeper. She’s abused physically, verbally, emotionally, with near sexual abuse as well. Throughout her ghastly struggle in this role, she stays focused on education and learning English. She longs to become a teacher in order to make the world a better place. She keeps this goal in the forefront of her thoughts almost continually.

I enjoyed reading how Adunni used the dictionary and The Book of Nigerian Facts she found in the library of the house where she was working. The dictionary becomes a valuable tool as she begins to learn and understand English. Later in the story, she finds an amazing woman who helps her learn proper verb tenses and write an important essay. I particularly loved that many of the chapters began with a fact about Nigeria. Did you know that Nigerians are known for their love of parties and events, and in 2012 they spent over $59 million on champagne? 

Will Adunni triumph by using her “louding voice” to help women in the world who are hurting? You’ll need to read the book to find out!

Favorite quote: “Your schooling is your voice, child. It will be speaking for you even if you didn’t open your mouth to talk. It will be speaking till the day God is calling you come.” 

NUGGET GAINED: Education is a gift that parts of our world don’t receive. Never stop learning! 

Do you have any 5 star reads for 2020? If so, what are they…I’d like to know so I can check them out! 

New Podcast!

Lots of good information I can use right now!

Hi friends! I want to tell you about a new podcast I listened to today while I worked out. The Supercharged Life with Dr. Judy is a new podcast featuring Dr Judy Ho, a Los Angeles based triple board-certified Clinical Neuropsychologist. 

The goal of her podcast is to teach listeners to take control of their lives in relationships, career, physical and mental health. Each week she plans to interview amazing guests. She provides scientific tips that can be implemented right away. 

I listened to the third episode today. It’s entitled “Racism, Grief, Joy & Laughter in COVID19.” On the show with her were actress Margaret Cho & actor Nico Santos. This episode is extremely pertinent to what the world is currently experiencing. 

Nuggets gained:

  • Laughter is medicine! 
  • Be kind to all people, no matter their race or sexual preference. 
  • Self care is important especially during this time. 
  • I’ll make it a goal to explore more things that make me laugh!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Dr. Judy, Margaret, and Nico. They all shared information that I can use right now in my life. To find this podcast, simply search for it on your iTunes Podcast app or whatever podcast app you use. 

Thank you @suzyapprovedbooktours @drjudyho @stage29podcasts for turning me on to this podcast! 

You can find the podcast here:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/supercharged-life-with-dr-judy/id1501219826

Do you have any suggestions on ways I can work more laughter in to my day? Are you watching any funny TV shows? Are there any funny books you can recommend? How are things where you are?

Past #socialdistancing…

How’s #socialdistancing working for you? I remember when the only social distancing I did was each day at 1:00 when I’d put my kids down for a nap and watch my soap opera. That was Social Distancing at its FINEST! MY soap opera was All My Children, so that I could watch Silver Kane and her sister Erica Kane. It was my guilty pleasure!

How exciting that Deborah Goodrich Royce, the actress who enlivened Silver Kane on television has yet another outlet for her artistic craft: She authored Finding Mrs. Ford, her debut novel. Thank you @suzyapprovedbooktours for bringing me on this tour!

I am not the only one noticing Deborah’s hot first book. Check this out:
Named one of the five must-read summer mysteries for 2019 by forbes.com.
Named one of the top ten summer reads of 2019 by Good Morning America.
Named one of the top fifty summer books of 2019 by Book Riot.

The book begins in 2014 in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, where very privileged Susan Ford lives in one of her homes. From there we flash back to 1979 suburban Detroit where twenty something Susan had her beginnings. There’s just one thing that seems off, Susan‘s past doesn’t seem to jive with her present. Why is this? What is Susan hiding? Who is the handsome Chaldean Sammy Fakhouri? When the FBI showed up on Susan’s doorstep with questions; I wanted to hear the answers too. There was no way I could put the book down then!

The alternating timelines, twists and turns, and interesting characters made this a mystery I quickly devoured.

Thank you Post Hill Press, Deborah Royce, and Suzy Approved Book tours for my copy of the book.

NUGGET GAINED:
Own your past or your past will own you.

Have you ever watched a daytime television soap opera? These days I don’t watch soap operas; are they even around anymore? What are you binge watching latel

Children of the Stars

Beautiful story framed around history that we should never forget.

“Once people begin to hate, they stop asking questions. Stop using their brains. They just look down on other people.”

What would it be like to be a Jewish child growing up in Europe during WWII? How would it feel to be separated from your parents? How terrifying would it be to undertake having to find them?

In Children of the Stars, author Mario Escobar makes these questions come alive. Young brothers Jacob and Moses Stein are forced to stay with their aunt in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Their parents have left them in order to search for work and a safe place for their family to relocate. After their aunt goes missing, the boys are forced to leave France and find their parents. They only have some letters from their parents to use as a map.

This is a beautifully written book that drew me in immediately. It shows not only the horrific French gendarmes that Jacob and Moses had to escape numerous times, but also caring, brave, and kind people who helped them along their journey. The boys’ sweet relationship and strong determination tugged at my heart.

The book is well researched, includes an accurate timeline, and it had me googling events that had sparked my interest.

NUGGET GAINED: Kindness matters.

Thank you Thomas Nelson, TLC Book tours, and Mario Escobar for including me on this booktour. I’m grateful for all of you today! This is an important story and needs to be shared.

https://tlcbooktours.com

http://www.marioescobar.es

China in Another Time

This is a fascinating book from which I learned a bit of what it was like to live in China during the first half of the 20th century. China in Another Time: A Personal Story is the memoir of Claire Malcolm Lintilhac. She was the daughter of Canadian missionaries doing service in China. Claire was born in North China where she lived and served as a nurse for most of her life.

“The ultimate principle of life is love.”

The book is laid out beautifully with photographs taken by Claire on each page. Some of the pictures are marked with audio icons that correlate with Claire’s own voice on the book’s website. This made the book come alive even more for me.

I found the description of women’s foot binding, long nails, and plucked bangs intriguing. We see how women were repressed by men. Not a new concept at all. Same old thing, but different in China during the 1900’s. Claire shares descriptions of living behind walls, rickshaws, water purification, routines of their homes, nursing, delivering babies, and the communist takeover.

Favorite quote: “When you bind the feet of a nation’s women for so many centuries, you bind more than their feet. And when you release those feet, you release more than just feet.” Perfect quote for National Women’s Month, right?

Claire was an example of a selfless woman who lived to serve others. She was a valuable asset and friend to the people she helped during her life. I am deeply touched by her story.

NUGGET GAINED: “The ultimate principle of life is love.”

Big thanks to Suzy Approved Book Tours for my gifted copy and stop on this enlightening tour!

https://suzyapprovedbooktours.com

https://www.chinainanothertime.com

Don’t Put the Boats Away

One of my 2020 goals is to read more historical fiction. I’ve been averaging every third book being thrown into the mix of my go to genres, contemporary fiction and romance.  

Don’t Put the Boats Away is one of my March historical fiction selections. It’s the story of the Sutton family following WWII. The family is dealing with the death of Eddie, a son and brother, who died while fighting in the war. We see Eddie’s sister, Harriet, brother Nat, his mother, and father all cope and manage their grief in different ways, all while dealing with their own life’s issues.

This is a well-researched book that showcases the trauma, grief, and time period of WWII. The story spans 25 years allowing the author a place to highlight the inequality of women in education and the work force. Along with grief and inequality, alcoholism, PTSD, divorce, and guilt are all woven into the story in a way that works beautifully. 

NUGGET GAINED:

Be grateful for the advancements in women’s equality, even though we still have a long way to go! 

Do you have a favorite genre? Do you try to read a mix of genres? How are your 2020 reading goals panning out?

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours, author Ames Sheldon, and She Writes Press for my gifted copy. 

https://suzyapprovedbooktours.com

The Moonshiner’s Daughter

From the moment I opened The Moonshiner’s Daughter and read the first line, “The only memory I have of Mama, she was on fire.” I was captured right away and could not stop hearing the story of Jessie Sasser and her search to know about her mama’s short life.

If you have a mother, a mom, or a mama, this is a book for you.

If you have ever rolled through the hilly curving roads of the North Carolina mountains and wondered how the locals can drive faster and more skillfully than you can, this is a book for you.

If you have ever tasted, sniffed, or thought about moonshine or prohibition, get your copy of this book and start reading.

Have you every tasted “shine”?

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser and her daddy, younger brother and aunt and uncle had “moonshine running in their veins” and the story of their days is unforgettable. Told from the perspective of Jessie, the reader is drawn into her struggle to understand her role in the “family business” that she blames for her mother’s death, along with being a troubled teen-age high school student. Jessie’s loyalties and struggle bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths, and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

This story has wonderful descriptions of sounds, smells, and scenery of the North Carolina woods. I recommend it to lovers of Southern historical fiction. This would make for a great group or book club read. There is also a “Reading Group Guide” with questions included in the back.

Have you ever tasted ‘shine’? Do you prefer it shaken or stirred…or straight from the jar?

NUGGET GAINED: While others may come and go in our lives, our family is always our family. 

Thank you Donna Everhart, Suzy Approved Book Tours, and Kensington Books for this book in exchange for my honest review.

https://suzyapprovedbooktours.com

The Hollows

Give me a story with women characters who are independent, strong and determined, and I’m all in! The Hollows provides this and so much more. It’s the second book in the Kinship Series by Jess Montgomery, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Do you enjoy sassy women characters?

In 1926 Sheriff Lily Ross is called to the scene when an elderly woman is found dead along the railroad track in the Moonvale Tunnel. Who is she? Did she die by suicide or was she murdered? Who is the mysterious ghost-like woman people are seeing near the tunnel? Lily is tasked with finding the answers.

She enlists her friends Hildy and Marvena to help her solve the mystery. The story is told from alternating points of view between Lily and Hildy. I loved Lily and her resolve to prove herself worthy of fulfilling the previous sheriff’s position, who happened to be her husband who was murdered in the previous book. I enjoyed the author using language consistent with the time period.

As Lily solves the case, tough issues are woven into the story, i.e., sexism, racism, the Underground railroad, WKKK (Women’s KKK— I didn’t know this existed!) and prohibition. The book was thoroughly researched. I don’t read many historical mysteries, and since I enjoyed this one, I’m looking forward to seeing what Jess Montgomery has in store for us in Kinship Series #3!

Do you enjoy sassy women characters as much as I do? How about historical fiction?

NUGGET GAINED:
Women can do every job men do!

Thank you TLC Book Tours, Jess Montgomery, and Minotaur Books for my gifted copy!

https://tlcbooktours.com

https://www.instagram.com/careylovestobook/

If You Want to Make God Laugh

This  beautiful, heartbreaking, and powerful book  is set in Johannesburg, South Africa during the 1990’s when Nelson Mandela became president, and the AIDS epidemic was at an all time high. It’s the story of three women bound together by their love of a day-old baby boy left on a doorstep. I listened to the audiobook; there are 3 narrators who read Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa’s parts, and the narration is fantastic! 

I loved Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa!

I loved hearing how the women endured and overcame many obstacles. I didn’t know much about apartheid going into this book and was able to gather more insight.  Bianca Marais deals with issues such as rape, AIDS, homophobia, teenage pregnancy, religion and racism. I highly recommend this book! 

NUGGET GAINED: 

Don’t let past secrets keep you captive. 

http://www.biancamarais.com