The Checklist Book by Alexandra Franzen

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  • Published: January 14, 2020 by Mango
  • Genre: Self-Help
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Rating: 3 stars

Simplicity at its best: The checklist is one of the world’s oldest―and most effective―productivity systems. If anything, author and entrepreneur Alexandra Franzen shares, it is just as valuable now as it was during the days of the Roman Empire. Writing out a simple checklist allows us to tangibly plan our day and set in stone what we want to accomplish.

Cut out unnecessary noise: There are countless apps and organizational systems out there to help us straighten out our lives, but often they only add to the madness. Trying to keep up leaves us feeling drained and overwhelmed. Learn how to choose your highest priorities, set realistic goals, celebrate tiny wins, and feel calmer every day with the magic of checklists.

Be realistic about the time in a day: By physically writing down our tasks on a single piece of paper, we force ourselves to limit how much we can do in a day. Too often, we cram our day with tasks and chores and leave almost no space for self-care or time with loved ones. We end up disappointed in our inability to complete our never-ending to-do list. Checklists help you plan your day in a more gentle, realistic way. You accomplish what needs to be done―and enjoy things you want to be doing, too.

Self-Help is not a genre in which I have read many books, but I pleasantly enjoyed Franzen’s The Checklist Book! Personally, I’ve never really created checklists for my daily routine; however, I was a strong believer in keeping up with a student planner during my school years!

In this book, I felt like the author did a wonderful job at explaining the importance of a checklist and I discovered that there are several different types of lists; I had only known of the standard one where you check off items you have completed for the day/towards your goal.

I can safely say that everyone will walk away with something from this read! I walked away with so much knowledge about lists and the tools to successfully create ones that will not be setting myself up for failure. Even if you currently use checklists, I still encourage you to pick this one up because there is tons of useful information that can further boost your own lists.

*I’d like to thank Nicole Pyles and Women on Writing for allowing me to participate in this tour.

To Catch A Rat by S. J. Grey

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  • Published: March 30, 2020 by Acelette Press
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 342
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

She said she was being spied on. No one believed her. Now, she’s dead.

Emma’s best friend Joss had a wild story to tell. She’d been hacked. She was being watched. She was in danger. No one believed her. Not even Emma.

Now she’s dead. The police write it off as accidental death, but Emma’s not so sure.

The more she learns, the deeper she’s drawn into a web of deceit and dark motives. Turns out Joss’s brother developed a revolutionary dark web application, one that people will kill to get their hands on. He’s now in jail on a dodgy manslaughter charge. And then there’s Emma’s boyfriend, who she discovers is lying about his identity.

Now Emma’s the one in danger, and she’s not sure who will believe her or who she can trust. Joss’s murder was only the start.

I must say that this was my first read by Grey, but it will not be my last! I devoured this title and truly believe this is a psychological thriller at its finest! The author included just the right measure of the following elements: mistrust, paranoia, and predation to keep readers turning the pages.

Emma seems to have it all: a well-paying occupation, a close knit group of family and friends, and a perfect boyfriend. However, a friend from the past showing up on her doorstep shortly before she is murdered brings that image crumbling down. Her career becomes in jeopardy, her loved ones are faced with choosing sides, and her “perfect” boyfriend doesn’t seem to be as he has always appeared to be.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to start doing her own investigation into her friend’s strange death; it also doesn’t help reduce the amount of paranoia that she begins to experience on a daily basis. She starts to believe that maybe her friend had been telling the truth when she claimed to be getting spied on, but if that was true who was the culprit?

Her interest in gaining justice for her friend leads Emma and her loved ones into some dangerous waters. It also allows for an old family friend to step in and help make things right once and for all, but even he has a shady history; can this person be trusted in a situation like this?

This title is non-stop action, which is what I enjoy in thrillers! You will want to add this book to your TBR; if you happen to be a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this title for free!

*I received a copy of this book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Dali Summer by T.J. Brown

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  • Published: May 5, 2020 by Tule Publishing
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 344
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

Her wild and vivid visions inspire an icon…

Nothing is more important to prim, colorblind Dolors Posa than family and living down the shame of her illegitimate birth, but when the sudden onset of fantastical visions threaten her sterling reputation, she must search for answers before the inhabitants of the tiny village of Cadaqués brand her as demente— crazy like her mother. In a quest to stop her hallucinations, she befriends a beautiful, intoxicating fortune teller and her handsome anarchist brother, as well as becoming a reluctant muse for thirteen-year-old Salvador Dali. In a summer that changes everything, Dolors must choose between her family’s reputation and a life filled with adventure, friendship, rapturous color and the possibility of love.

Set against the political upheaval of 1917 Spain, Dali Summer captures the fierce spirit of Catalonia, the generosity and stubbornness of its people and the blossoming promise of a woman who thought life was bland and empty and had long ago passed her by.

I happened to finish this title in one sitting; it has been so long since I have read a historical fiction novel that captivated me like this one managed to do. The author provides an interesting array of characters, risky situations, and lots of love that will provide readers of all ages an enjoyable reading experience.

Dolors is a young woman who is colorblind and has been since she was six years old; she doesn’t have any close pals other than her brother Bernat, who has gained his mother’s concern due to still being unwed. The duo shortly cross paths with a fortune-teller named Lidia and her brother Xavi and establish a friendship with the pair despite their mother’s disapproval.

With the increasing amount of time spent with Lidia and her brother, Dolors and Bernat find themselves in some uncertain situations. Bernat seems to be falling in love with the fortune-teller, but are the feelings to be returned? Xavi seems to have affection towards Dolors, but will the woman who has never been in love find herself falling for the beau Lidia has forbidden her to fall for?

Love is constantly in the air during this novel; whether is love to be gained or love lost, Brown will keep you on your toes and constantly flipping through the pages to discover what is awaiting you next!

*I’d like to thank Trish Collins and TLC Book Tours for allowing me a spot on this tour and giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well behaved women rarely make history. Teri Brown lived that quote way before she ever even heard it. The two things she is most proud of, (besides her children), is that she jumped out of an airplane once and she beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a novel writer, head banger, pet keeper, math hater, cocktail drinker, booty shaker, book reader, city slicker, food fixer, French kisser, rule breaker, wine sipper and word scribbler. She loves her husband, kitties and chocolate.

The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib

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  • Publication date: May 5, 2020 by Swoon Reads
  • Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

I never should have let go.

In her head, that day is still a blur of shrieking metal and blinding ocean spray. One moment

she’d been searching the coming twilight for the first wink of stars and the next . . .

She didn’t remember in pictures exactly, because the images were blue and purple and black,

like the bottom of the harbor. But she could remember the jump of her heart as the boat cap-

sized against the rocks and the crush of surf that had rolled her over and over.

The tide had caught her limbs, surging up and down as it pushed the breath from her lungs. And against her hands, she could remember the rough scratch of underwater rock and the slick feel of algae as she tried to protect her head. There was something else, too. The silk of skin against hers. Liddy’s fingers tangled with her own, and then nothing but the frantic thought that raged against her temple. Get to the surface.

Had Liddy had that same terrifying thought? Had she had the same realization that she couldn’t tell up from down in the dark?

“It was an accident,” Evan says simply. “Nothing you did or didn’t do would change that

outcome.”

“You weren’t there,” she says. “You don’t know that.”

“You guys wore life jackets. Liddy was just dragged under when the boat tipped. You know this.”

But did she? Casey can’t remember breaking the surface. She can’t remember the first rush of

oxygen into her lungs. So, at what point had she been saved and Liddy lost?

Other flashes of that day rush back—Liddy’s easy grin, the excitement that bled into her laugh, the rev of the boat’s engine— and with it a wave of nausea.

“I have to use the bathroom,” Casey says, turning on her heel and rushing toward the back of

the house. She takes the main set of stairs. They curve sharply, and she races onto the landing,

past the photos of Liddy at equestrian training, vocal recitals, and family vacations. The entire house is a testament to the wonderful person Liddy had been and now serves as a stark reminder of everything her parents had lost—everything Casey had lost in a best friend.

Hands grappling for the right door, she takes refuge in the bathroom, only to find a framed photo of Liddy staring back at her from the shelf mounted beside the sink. It seems that with her passing, more and more pictures had appeared in the house.

And she was always wearing that impossibly bright smile.

Casey tips the photo facedown and barricades herself behind the bathroom door, pressing the

lock with her thumb and running her hand up the wall for the light switch. There’s a fuzzy edge to the silence in the dark. Almost like watching a snowy television screen. The sound of

nothingness, of that blurry noiseless whisper, grows into a pulse she can feel beat beneath her skin as she slides down against the door.

If she squeezes her eyes tight enough, all she can see is black.

Shapes grow out of the darkness in her mind. Tall reaching tree limbs. A black wood, shrouded in shadow and stone, covered in mounds of turned earth.

Casey tries to blink the images away. It’s not the first time this has happened, these grief-

induced daymares.

…Casey?

She freezes. The voice is new.

Excerpt from novel
Photo of author

Elizabeth Hrib was born and raised in London, Ontario where she studied nursing at Western University. She now calls the East Coast home, where she works as a nurse in Halifax. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found at the piano, planning her next Netflix binge, or attempting to keep her small, windowsill garden alive.

Selah’s Painted Dream by Susan Count

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  • Published: April 30, 2018 by Hastings Creations Group
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Fiction
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 202
  • Rating: 3 stars

One word can ruin a great life–moving.
Unless thirteen-year-old Selah can convince Grandpa she should live at the farm, her life is ruined. She’ll be forced to move hours from her horse and abandon her equestrian dreams.

Determined to stay, Selah must distract Grandpa from his new sweetheart. She searches for a painted dream horse from Grandpa’s past. But, Selah finds his old equine partner neglected and near death.

Then Grandpa reveals his life changing decision that tramples Selah’s plans.
Will the one thing that stood in Selah’s way become her saving grace?

When Selah discovers that her father has a potential job offer that would involve the family relocating to Texas, she makes it her mission to find a way to prevent it. Her rescue plan involves her beloved grandfather, who she spends weekends with at his farm where her beloved horse Sweet Dream is.

However, when her grandfather begins dating a local neighbor Selah’s plan goes awry. As any teenager would in her situation, she begins acting out and trying to compete for his attention. When these efforts fail, Selah begins to realize that she is not going to be able to escape her looming future in another state.

Accepting defeat at last, Selah begins preparing for the move; however, just when all hope seems lost an opportunity presents itself and could change everything for the better!

This was such a delightful read that is suitable for readers of all ages. I recommend picking up a copy of this book because you won’t regret it!

*I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Feed Your Reader!

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These books vary in genre and length, but the ladies are sure readers will find at least one new read to binge! Click HERE to view the list!

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The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo

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  • Published: November 18, 2019 by Down & Out Books
  • Genres: Crime, Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 292
  • Rating: 3 stars

Frank Thompson, a recent widower and aging Vietnam veteran is down from Maine visiting his nephew, Bill, and his family in New Jersey.

While at a trap range, he and his nephew have a chance encounter with a strange man who claims to remember Frank from the war.

That night, the windows in Bill’s home are shattered along with the quiet peaceful lives the two men had been living.

Three veterans from a special combat unit directed by the CIA during the Vietnam War have gathered to discuss what they are going to do about a man they claim killed one of their own over forty years ago.

Jasper, Birdie and Pogo were part of a team that called themselves the National League All Stars. They were a squad of psychopathic killers trained by Special Forces to cause death and mayhem during the war. Now, they have banded together to hunt down and kill the professional soldier who led them all those years ago.

Drawing on his military training and a resurgent bloodlust from his tortured past, Frank prepares for a final, violent reckoning that will bring him full circle with the war that never left him.

This book’s synopsis does a good job of summarizing the entirety of this novel, so I will spare you all my usual recapping storyline paragraphs. I found this title to be a quick, engaging read; Frank’s character is struggling to overcome the events of his military background and adjust to a life of solitude after his wife’s recent death. The author does a wonderful job at gauging Frank’s reactions to certain events based on the emotions of a man in his position.

If you are a fan of thrillers, a fan of books with military references/plots, or just a fan of books that you can knockout in a day or two then you will want to add this one to your TBR! I am sure you will be pleased by this decision.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Seduced Into Darkness by Carrie T. Ishee

Trigger Warning: This novel contains the following content that may be sensitive for some readers: attempts of suicide, drug use, emotional abuse, inappropriate relationship with person of authority, and manipulation.

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  • Publication date: August 1, 2020 by Terra Nova Books
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 286
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

This poignant memoir chronicles the traumatic psychological abduction and sexual exploitation of depressed college student Carrie Tansey at the hands of her psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Romano―thirty-one years her senior. For three years, their secret “affair” was carefully calculated and controlled by Romano, as Carrie’s mental and emotional health continued to deteriorate, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.

Their dual-relationship―clinical and clandestine―finally came to light when Carrie’s suicide attempts landed her in a world-renowned psychiatric hospital. Gradually, she began to reclaim her power, reported Romano to the state licensing board, successfully sued him for malpractice, and testified before the state legislature to help pass a law aimed at curbing such abuses.

As Carrie tells her tale, it is a journey paralleling that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, reemerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others. Today, Carrie Ishee is a widely respected art therapist and life coach as well as a teacher specializing in the issues of ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.

For those of you who follow my blog, you are probably aware of the fact that memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read and review. With that being addressed, I was excited to be included in the tour for Ishee’s novel; this memoir is different from any other memoir I have read!

Throughout the novel, Ishee shares her own personal experience of being in an intimate relationship with her psychiatrist; as she documents the progression of their relationship from professional to unethical, the author draws on comparisons from the Greek mythology of Persephone. For those unfamiliar with the story, no worries as the author includes parts of the story prior to sharing her own personal connection to the tidbits shared.

Carrie is a twenty-one year old college student struggling with an immense amount of anxiety and depression when she is introduced to Dr. Tony Romano. The author’s only goal is to pinpoint what is causing her mental health issues to spiral out of control and for her mental health professional to be able to provide an effective method of treatment. To her relief, Dr. Romano does not think she requires medication. He suggests three years of psychotherapy and for her to take a break from her graduate studies despite the fact that she is only six months away from completion. Desperate for any possibility of feeling normal again, Carrie and her family are in support of Romano’s treatment plan.

Isolated from her friends, Dr. Romano gradually begins isolating Carrie from her parents as they begin to suggest that some of his activities with their daughter is overstepping boundaries. Ishee begins lying to her parents about her whereabouts, so that she is able to spend time alone with Dr. Romano who she now only calls by his first name: Tony. It is on these secret escapades that her psychiatrist begins supplying her with marijuana, coaxing her into nude photoshoots, and more. Carrie feels like these events are wrong, but through the manipulation of Tony she believes he has her best interest at heart.

This cycle continues on for a couple of years before the author is able to truly acknowledge her personal experience with Romano. When she “graduates” Tony’s course of counseling, she begins seeing a new therapist; it is during this time that she begins to understand how unethical her relationship with her former doctor was. She begins to slowly open up to her new counselor and finds the courage to seek justice for his wrongdoings.

I was able to binge this story in one sitting, it was that good! I personally feel like those individuals on the opposite end of a situation like this could view the author’s actions as unimaginable and as a position they would never wind up in, but Carrie is able to bring awareness to her readers that it is possible; like her, she had no intentions of falling for her mental health professional. However, over time the psychiatrist was able to use her weaknesses against her and would find that it would be years for her to process this experience for what it truly was.

This novel is empowering and eye-opening. If you enjoy memoirs, stories of female empowerment, or just wanting a new unique read then I encourage you to consider this one when it hits shelves!

*I’d like to thank Nicole Pyles from WOW, Women On Writing, for reaching out to me to participate in this blog tour. I was also provided a free copy of the book in exchange for posting my honest review.

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler

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  • Publication date: March 25, 2020
  • Genre: Fantasy

Twelve-year-old Chloe Rose lives a quiet, happy life in her hometown Wilmoton, but she’s haunted by the same nightmare night after night—one with guns and swords and lost fathers. When another brewing battle has her town preparing for war, Chloe’s fears are made into a reality. Promises are left unfulfilled, her family is torn apart, and she must leave her comfy life in Wilmoton behind when she and her mother move into the King’s palace. Living in a castle seems like a dream come true, like the new beginning they need, but Chloe’s not convinced. After a series of altercations, Chloe Rose is kicked out, more desperate for hope than ever. To restore what she’s lost, Chloe travels to an enchanted maze where wishes come true and fairies rule. But with evil forces working against her and her new friends, can Chloe complete the trials of the maze or will her heart’s desires be left unfulfilled?

Veronica Elle Butler is a Middle-Grade author as well as a military wife and mother to twin daughters. They were her inspiration for this book and she hopes other children will love it as much as they have.

Selah’s Stolen Dream by Susan Count

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  • Published: January 1, 2020 by Hastings Creations Group
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Fiction
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 262
  • Rating: 3 stars

One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat. Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen.

Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

This is the final book in Susan Count’s Dream Horse Adventure series, although the books can also serve as standalones. Readers will follow Selah on one final journey and will delighted by the story’s outcome.

GIVEAWAY!

ENTER HERE.

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.