Finished Wham! George Michael and Me: A Memoir by Andrew Ridgeley this week. It was interesting reading about their path to stardom. I loved hearing about their musical influences growing up that helped shape them because Andrew went deeper into it than George did in past interviews. 🎵
George was my inspiration for my pop star romance series and I had Andrew's album, Son of Albert, too (ask my mother how I played Red Dress non-stop). I loved reading about their time before the band took off and it was fascinating learning the behind the scenes info. Just a very well written memoir that's respectful to everyone he writes about. I read a lot of music memoirs, bios, etc. for my writing research and this is one of the best I've read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Women of Courage: A Forty-Day Devotional from the (in) courage community
This devotional shares examples of courageous women in the Bible dealing with subjects like: Women of Beautiful Brokenness (including Leah and the Samaritan woman), Women Better Together, Women of Daily Grace, Women of Leadership (including Lydia), Women of Friendship, Women of Hope, Women of Hospitality (including Rebekah), Women of Gratitude, Women of Second Chances, and Women of Bravery (including Abigail). One of the things the introduction shared set the tone for the whole book which was, “Out hope is that by putting yourself in these women’s sandals, you can walk the same brave roads they did, through brokenness, betrayal, and tragedy, to gratitude, hope, and second chances. We hope you can learn, just as we are, to live courageously despite unusual, difficult, or even frightening circumstances.”
Each devotional begins with scripture and then goes deeper into what the woman in the Bible was dealing with and how she kept moving forward, showing trust and faith in the Lord. The devotional them aims to bring the reader into it by making it personal to them. It concludes each day with a prayer.
I like that the devotionals are a little longer than some I’ve read and that it goes out of its way to include the reader directly into it. I personally don’t connect with devotionals that are about someone else’s personal journey, so I loved the fact they brought the reader into the story to help us connect to the women of the Bible. Yes, it can be nice to read about someone else coming through an issue, but this devotional aims to help you feel supported as you go through your own hardships and issues. It’s a very personal devotional and I enjoyed returning to it each day. This would be a nice gift.
I received this book from BH Publishing and Lifeway in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
It can feel scary and isolating going through this alone and I have found reading books about people going through it as well helped me feel less alone. I have written about my own experiences in 3 books and 1 of them is on sale here. There's a lot of great resources here.
"AlzAuthors is built by caregivers for caregivers. Our mission is to provide carefully vetted books and blogs to help you find the answers and guidance you need. The majority of our authors have “walked the walk” with a parent, spouse, or other loved one, and have chosen to write their stories as balm for the soul, and to share with others the information they wished they’d had on their own dementia journeys.
November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month, which makes it the perfect time to recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and love caregivers bring to caring for a loved one with dementia or any long-term illness. In honor of their efforts, we are hosting a book sale and giveaway. It’s a terrific way for caregivers who are looking for knowledge, guidance, and support to build a library of carefully vetted books to help guide and inspire them every day.
Starting today through November 25th, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books for free and reduced prices. We offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s and teens literature. All are available in Kindle, and many are available in other digital formats, paperback, and audio.
Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one – or two, or more! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey."
Follow the link to learn more and find books to help: alzauthors.com/2019/11/21/alzauthors-3rd-annual-caregiver-appreciation-month-book-sale-giveaway-is-november-21-25
You can check out my features here:
How Young Adult Fiction Helps Heal and Educate: alzauthors.com/2017/02/01/krysten-lindsay-hager-how-young-adult-fiction-helps-heal-and-educate/
Writing Fiction for young adults with family members dealing with dementia:
Today I welcome Joanne Macgregor to the blog.
When not writing books, Joanne Macgregor is a Counselling Psychologist in private practice and deals mainly with victims of crime and trauma. It's tough work and to combat creeping burnout, she started writing fiction several years ago. Now she consults and writes on alternate days, and in completely different head-spaces and physical environments.
Although she lives in the frenetic adrenaline-rush of the big city, Joanne has always been in love with nature, and escapes into the wilds whenever she can. She's a Harry Potter fanatic, bakes the best choc-chip cookies on the planet, and is addicted to chilies and bulletproof coffee.
She loves writing about, and for, teens and is the author of several books for Young Adults, including Turtle Walk, Rock Steady, Fault Lines, Scarred, Hushed, Recoil, Refuse, Rebel and the award-winning The Law of Tall Girls.
Author website: http://www.joannemacgregor.com
Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/063981090X
Blurb for Turtle Walk (book 1 in the eco-warriors series):
Changing the world isn’t easy, but that won’t stop these teens from trying!
When thirteen year-old Samantha Steadman starts high school at an elite boarding school, little does she know that she will soon be engaged in an ecological war for the survival of the endangered leatherback turtle.
Samantha and her friends — rich and sassy Jessie Delaney, and politician’s daughter Nomusa Gule — take the fight from the classroom to the open seas. Their adventures range from dangerous night-time skirmishes with illegal fishermen, to crazy antics for television cameras.
Back at school, they have to deal with romances and heartbreaks, a joint musical production with the neighbouring boys’ school, encounters with an eccentric bunch of teachers, conflicts with parents, and skirmishes with bitter rivals.
The trio will need to work together to face their fears, and to hold on to the hope that individuals can make a difference.
The girls were allowed to go home for the weekends, provided they had permission and were returned to the school by six o’clock on Sunday evenings, but most chose to stay at school, because the weekends there were wonderful. They could play tennis on the courts, or swim and laze by the pool, or take hikes along one of the many trails that led into the mountains. Nearby stables offered horse-riding lessons and outrides. And, once in high school, the girls were allowed to catch a ride on the school bus on Saturday mornings into town — a privilege also allowed to the boys from Clifford Heights.
Izintaba was a small town with little to offer the teenagers from the boarding schools who flocked into it on the weekends. There were no clubs or cinemas, but Samantha was happy to discover that it did have a bookshop and a coffee shop which Jessie pronounced to be “not half bad. Especially,” she added, “as they sell health food.”
“Health food?” Samantha said sceptically, eyeing the large chocolate muffin which Jessie was eating with evident relish.
“Health food,” Jessie said firmly. “All brown food is by definition healthy. Just think about it — brown rice, whole-wheat bread, bran fibre. See? Definitely healthy!”
“In that case, let me be sure and drink my greens,” Nomusa said, and proceeded to slurp her lime milkshake.
The bell on the coffee-shop door rang as another few students came inside.
Jessie immediately sat up straight and coloured slightly, saying, “Look who’s here, Sam!”
Glancing over her shoulder, Samantha saw that it was her brothers, James and Dan, who had entered. She called out a “Hi,” and they waved back. To Jessie’s chagrin, James went over to a table in the far corner where a couple of grade eleven girls were sitting, but Dan sauntered up to their own table.
“Howzit,” he said to them all, and then asked Samantha, “Have you heard from Dad about next weekend?”
“No, what’s up?”
“He’s going down to the bungalow at iSimangaliso.”
“Isi-where?” Jessie said.
“iSimangaliso — it’s on the north coast, between St Lucia and Kosi Bay.”
“If you say so,” Jessie said.
“We have an old bungalow there on the beach,” Samantha explained.
“Dad wants to know if you want to come along for the weekend. Says there’s still a chance of seeing the turtles.” Dan drew up a chair and broke off a piece of Jessie’s muffin to pop into his mouth.
“Hey!” she protested.
“You’re welcome to join us, Nomusa,” Dan said. And then, almost as an afterthought, he told Jessie, “You can come, too, if you like.”
Jessie, her gaze flicking between her rapidly disappearing muffin and James — who was still chatting to the group of now-giggling girls in the corner — said with a bright smile, “I’d love to join you guys! It’ll be great to meet … the whole family.”
A slow grin broke out on Dan’s face as he watched her watching James. “Excellent.”
Looking disappointed, Nomusa said, “I don’t think I can come. We’ve got a family wedding that Saturday.”
Sam groaned in disappointment.
“Why don’t you bring your sister along, too, Jessie?” Dan said to Jessie.
“Uh, no, it’s fine really. I get to see more than enough of her at school.”
“Oh, c’mon, bring Cassie along. Give her a break from this place,” Samantha urged.
“No, really, it’s not necessary. We won’t want her tagging along all the time, she’d only” — here Jessie glanced again at James — “get in the way.”
“Nah, she won’t get in anyone’s way. I’ll tell Dad he can collect you straight after school on Friday. Don’t be late and don’t,” Dan said, giving Jessie a pointed look, “pack too much.”
Helping himself to the last morsel of Jessie’s muffin, he pushed back his chair and stood up. “The chocolate muffins here are really good, Jessie, you ought to buy yourself one,” he said, then walked off to join James.
“That brother of yours!” Jessie said irritably. Then her eyes locked onto James as he turned to give Samantha a goodbye wave and a smile, and she sighed dreamily. “And that brother of yours!”
Book review of Best Friends...Forever? from Readers' Favorite
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Best Friends...Forever? Landry's True Colors Series: Book Two by Krysten Lindsay Hager is the story of a young girl who is trying to come to terms with how time can change certain things. You would think that being a model would be a great way to gain popularity at school, but Landry Albright knows this is not the way things are. There was a time when she had a great set of friends and a boyfriend to call her own, but things changed very quickly for her. While the rest of her class is getting excited about starting high school next year, she is trying to come to terms with the fact that her boyfriend just broke up with her and she doesn’t seem to have any friends anymore. To make matters a little more difficult, she gets to have two makeovers so that she has a higher chance of winning the American Ingénue modeling competition. With so many things happening at the same time, it is hard for her to find her footing. Can she figure out what is happening around her before her time runs out?
This was an entertaining and fun novel to read. I felt for young Landry, I really did. This is a great novel for the teens and tweens who are either in middle school or are starting high school soon. They will experience the ups and downs of high school beforehand and, hopefully, they’ll also get a head start on how to act and how to cope if things are a little too hard. Landry is a great role model; she is calm, collected and she just never loses her temper. She does get nervous, but she handles the situation with grace and sets a good example. Her character growth is great; from the nervous girl at the beginning of the novel, she turns to be a strong and powerful young woman in the end. Impressively accurate about the emotions and drama of a high school. I enjoyed it! This fast-paced novel is great for all ages!
Best Friends...Forever? is a 2019 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Children - Preteen genre!
Find the review on their website here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/best-friends-forever
Book Review: Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson
Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson
I love books on creativity and reading about artists reflecting on their work and craft, so I was eager to read this book. Andrew Peterson is a Christian songwriter, musician, and author and in the book he shares his beginnings in songwriting and the music industry. We see his thoughts on writing and creativity and he shares his inspirations and other books that helped him along his path such as Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. He talks not only about his experiences getting started as a songwriter, but in touring, dealing with being dropped from his label, and using his music as a ministry.
Some of the topics he covers are: serving the work, serving your audience, selectivity, discipline, discernment, how art nourishes community and vice versa. He shares advice for creatives, humbling experiences, and lists of books that will help the reader.
I enjoyed his sharing his own experiences and how his faith pulled him through. I also liked that he included book suggestions as well as poetry that has inspired him. One part of the book that stood out was his sharing how other artists can inspire you to keep going. He cited C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as examples as Lewis encouraged Tolkien to keep writing his series when he started to doubt himself.
I sometimes underline passages in books, but I rarely write in the margins and I found myself both underlining and jotting notes in the margin. This is definitely a book I will be reading again and again. I wish I could get every writer I know to read this book. This is a terrific book for anyone who is pursing the arts in any form.
I received this book from BH Publishing and Lifeway in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
There's a new review for In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety today on the tour from Hurn Publications. "Refreshing read with relatable characters.
This is one of those books that's refreshing to read.
Sure, the main character is fighting through her anxiety and facing the realism of life and its quirks, hard times and revelations, but aren't we all? It was nice to have a character that's not only relatable but entirely real. I feel like we all have a little bit of Cecily as part of us. Its a great read for those younger generations, who have yet to fully come to terms with their lives and it becomes a way for them to see the positive transformation and some guidelines.
For those of us who have already walked that line, it's a good reminder of where we've come from. This is well written, the characters have depth and the story is beautiful."
You can read the whole post here and enter the Amazon/Barnes and Noble gift card giveaway on their site here:
New review for In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety from InD'tale Magazine.
"Cecily Taylor is in over her head. Navigating high school is tough enough, but when you are secretly dating a pop star the word “complicated” doesn't even cover it. Cecily is certain that she likes Andrew, but what can a guy like him see in her? It doesn't help that her best friend is blowing hot and cold on her just when she needs her. With Andrew's schedule, it's hard to find time to be together and when they're apart, doubts plague her. Social media is filled with stories about his former girlfriends, about every aspect of his life, and all it does is prove to Cecily that they're traveling in different worlds. Then Cecily gets a chance to do a model shoot in New York and learns more about Andrew's world. Romance is never smooth, so when Andrew's world once more intrudes in their relationship, can Cecily trust that what they have is meant to last?
"In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety" is a sweet teen romance with a Cinderella storyline! It is every girl's young fantasy to wonder what it would be like to date her heartthrob. There is a lot of angst, texting and roller-coaster emotions at play. Krysten Lindsay Hager deftly captures the high school world, its language and the ups and downs of young love. The story progresses in a predictable manner and relies on misunderstandings for the conflict. Even so, teen romance fans will enjoy Cecily's journey and will be waiting to see what her next step is in the world of lights, camera and anxiety!"
Buy at Amazon:
Link to Book One review:
Book one audio review:
In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety was just released in paperback! You can find it here:
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2ZuKQun
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRYS65N/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon Japan: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07VRYS65N
Amazon Italy: www.amazon.it/Over-Her-Head-Anxiety-English-ebook/dp/B07VRYS65N
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Krysten+Lindsay+Hager
I got a lot of messages today about one of the songs that inspired my book, In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety, so I thought I’d do a post on it. Yesterday a blogger posted my book's playlist and a lot of people were loving this music! The song is called, “Flesh and Bone” by MaRina who is a Polish singer. She is one of my favorite singers and she posted in her Instagram story about my post and I got a lot of people asking what she wrote about it since it was in Polish. I am Polish-American, but I don’t speak the language, but Google translate helped me out here! (The original post is at the bottom.)
She writes, “She wrote her book while listening to Flesh and Bone, On My Way (the album) it is amazing that my music went without any effort and went abroad inspired someone to write a book. Wow.”
The first time I heard the song it stopped me in my tracks because it so fits how Cecily feels at her first magazine photo shoot and also how the bigger name models, Scarlett and Neneh, still feel after all their success as models. Cecily feels overwhelmed and out of her league modeling and learns even the models she thinks look so perfect feel that way sometimes, too. It was after listening to the song that the title for the book, In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety, came to me.
Here’s a few lines of the song so you can see why I liked the song so much and why it inspired me:
Flesh and Bone lyrics -- MaRina
I'm not perfect
If you can only see
Beneath the surface
I'm only human, flesh and bones
I gotta face me on my own (on my own)
If you could only know
I feel alone when I'm in the crowd
Nobody knows what I'm feeling now
Make sure to check out this song for yourself! It’s so beautiful and you can find it on Amazon, Spotify, and itunes.
You can get her album, On My Way here:
You can listen to it here. Let me know what you think of the song and how it fits the book!
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Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Star Series, Dating the It Guy, & Can Dreams Come True