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    adult books, book reviews, giveaways

    Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career + A Giveaway!

    Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career by Lisen Stromberg

    The first time I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I wondered how becoming a parent would alter my everyday life. Even though I was elated to be pregnant, a part of me was afraid of all the unknowns. More specifically, I was worried about how I would manage having work/life balance especially when my son came around just 15 months after having my daughter. Perhaps you can relate.

    This book dispels the outdated thinking of putting our family first means we’ll be forced to abandon our careers. No longer should women be afraid to live the lives they want to lead just because they have children. Read this book to find out how you can build a career and have a family without killing or abandoning your career.

    With Stromberg’s guidance, you’ll learn:

    • Who pauses and how and why
    • How pausing can enrich both your career and your life
    • How to innovate your own path by strategically incorporating a pause into your career
    • What we can—and need—to do as a society to make it pausing possible for more people to achieve their personal and professional goals

    The workplace is changing, slowly.  Many workplaces now offer more flexibility for working moms, parental leave is on the rise and so are return-to-work internships.  This book covers those topics and so much more.  It helps you get clear on what it is you truly want and provides tips on choosing the right career and company to fit your needs.  The backmatter includes a an interesting and useful appendix that summarizes the results from a recent “women on the rise” study.  The goal of the study conducted was to ascertain how highly qualified women are integrating kids with careers and assess whether pausing for parenthood does actually kill a career.

    The Giveaway!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway details:

    • Prizes: One of 15 copies of Work PAUSE Thrive by Lisen Stromberg ($25 ARV)
    • Dates: February 21, 2017 – March 11, 2017
    • Entry Options: Readers may enter the giveaway via the widget with the following options:
      • Tweet a message
    • Notification: Winners will be randomly selected and notified by CLEVER by March 14, 2017
    • Terms & Conditions: The official Terms & Conditions are included in the widget; here is the high-level eligibility criteria:
      • Age 18+
      • US resident only
      • Only one winner per household

    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    adult books, giveaways

    P.S. I Love You Giveaway: Win a Copy of Ladies Drawing Night!

    The Hopping Bloggers is hosting a mega Valentine’s Day giveaway blog hop called P.S. I Love You.  I’m so excited to be a part of it and to sponsor a copy of the book Ladies Drawing Night by Julia Rothman as my personal contribution.

    About the Book

    Speaking directly to today’s explosion of creativity, Ladies Drawing Night is for women looking to deepen their creative connections and expressions. Join rock star illustrators Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole for ten evenings of fun and art-making. The nights are led by two talented guest artists and themed around a particular topic, from large-scale ink painting to making art with kids. Samantha Hahn, Mary Kate McDevitt, Joana Avillez, and many more share their expertise. Each chapter includes loads of exciting artwork, insights about drawing, and instructions for that night’s project. A rare peek into the minds and sketchbooks of some of the best female illustrators working today, this inspiring volume is an irresistible invitation to host your own Ladies Drawing Night!

    Enter the giveaway here!

    Ladies Drawing Night Book Giveaway

    Also, be sure to enter for your chance to win the grand prize and visit some of the other amazing bloggers involved in the giveaway blog hop!


    Welcome to the P.S. I Love You Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!

    Hosted By: Mama Smith’s and Women and Their Pretties

    Co-Hosted By: Everyday Life, Crazy Busy Family Life, Life with 5 Monkies, & The Robin’s Nest Designs

    Sponsored By: Teach My


    GRAND PRIZE: Two Teach My Deluxe Learning Kits
    Choose between Teach My Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, and Kindergartener Deluxe Learning Kits

    Teach My are makers of award winning learning tools that help your child get a head start! Their products teach babies, toddlers and preschoolers the basic skills, things like; the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, reading and even math! Their aim is to encourage early learning, parent child interaction, self-esteem and help children to develop fine motor skills and excellent hand eye coordination. Bond. Teach. Play… 20 minutes a day! Purchase here.

    Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!

    Are you a blogger looking to connect with brands? Join The Hopping Bloggers database and get started today!
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    adult books, book reviews, currently reading

    The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades (A Book Review)

    The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades

    Publisher: Dafina (Kensington Publishing Corp.)
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 320

    To the world, Best Lightburn is a talented writer rising up the masthead at international style magazine James, girlfriend of a gorgeous up-and-coming actor, and friend to New York City’s fabulous. Then there’s the other Best, the one who has chosen to recast herself as an only child rather than confront the truth.

    Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, Best and her two older brothers took a shortcut over a frozen lake. When the ice cracked, all three went in. Only Best came out. People said she was lucky, but that kind of luck is nothing but a burden. Because Best knows what she had to do to survive. And after years of covering up the past, her guilt is detonating through every facet of her seemingly charmed life. It’s all unraveling so fast: her new boss is undermining and deceitful, her boyfriend is recovering from a breakdown, and a recent investigative story has led to a secret affair with the magazine’s wealthy publisher.

    Best is quick-witted and headstrong, but how do you find a way to happiness when you’re sure you haven’t earned it—or embrace a future you feel you don’t deserve? Evocative and emotional, The Thunder Beneath Us is a gripping novel about learning to carry loss without breaking, and to heal and forgive—not least of all, ourselves.

    Survivor’s guilt.  It’s something many people deal with at some point in their lives.  People living with survivor’s guilt for extended periods of time often experience depression, self-loathing and self-punishment.  In each situation in their lives – whether it’s a relative living as an addict, a parent being a full blown alcoholic, or being the lone survivor in an accident – they feel like they had somehow, unfairly, escaped the doom and gloom that seemed to prey upon the people they love the most.  Sometimes they even believe they caused it.  As a result, people suffering from survivor’s guilt end up wasting a lot of time and emotional energy trying to answer questions like, “Why them and not me?”  If you’ve ever experienced the pain of survivor’s guilt in some capacity then The Thunder Beneath Us is the book for you.

    The opening line of this book made me laugh out loud – literally!  It immediately intrigued me and drew me into the story.  Best (short for Bathsheba) is a beautiful, accomplished magazine journalist dating a hot actor.  What more could a woman ask for, right?  Although it sounds like she has it all together on the surface, her life is a hot mess! She’s been living with so many secrets that eventually begin to come bubbling to the surface and rock her world upside down.

    Although I think the first half of this book was a bit slow to develop, the second half definitely made up for it and had me turning the pages so fast wanting to know what was going to happen next!  After having a breakdown, Best visits her childhood home in Canada.  That’s when we learn what really happened ten years ago when she was the sole survivor of a terrible ice accident that tragically took the lives of her two brothers. What she had to do in order to survive turns out to be the mystery.  For years Best lived with survivor’s guilt, without ever expressing her feelings.  Can you imagine what that must feel like?

    While Best isn’t the most likeable character, I did find myself relating to her in some chapters.  Her personality can be described as sassy, witty and funny.  Some may even call her a hater.  No matter how you feel about Best Lightburn I think you’ll find yourself cheering for her, laughing at her, crying with her, cursing her out and wanting to reach out and give her a big hug at times.  She’s not perfect – she’s human.

    I love the author’s attention to detail and the way she describes each character, their actions and the scenery around them.  The Thunder Beneath Us is a very thought-provoking, gripping, compelling and emotional book with themes of: love, family, relationships, personal discovery, self-acceptance, healing, loss, forgiveness, coping with the past and moving forward.  There are some valuable personal growth and self-discovery lessons to be learned for people who have struggled with things that haunt them from their past.  Best is forced to finally confront her tainted past so she can finally move on, forgive herself and experience happiness in her life once again.

    Add this book to your holiday gift list for yourself or a friend.  This book has it all: fresh, detailed and concise writing, scandal, secrets and workplace affairs it’s great for reading while traveling or over the weekend.

    About Nicole Blades

    Nicole Blades is a novelist and journalist who has been putting her stories on paper since the third grade. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, by Caribbean parents, Nicole moved to New York City and launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine. She later co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks, and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Now a freelance writer, her features and essays have appeared in MORE magazine, Cosmopolitan,,,, BuzzFeed, SELF, and BlogHer. Nicole has been a speaker and panelist at BlogHer, Mom 2.0 and the MA Conference for Women. She also created Ms. Mary Mack, a blog that aims to bring compassion and common sense back to parenthood.  Nicole currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.

    Connect with Nicole Blades!

    Website| Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

    adult books, book reviews, children's books, holiday gift guide series

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda

    The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda

    Publisher: Candlewick
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 12
    Age Range: 5 – 8 years old (and up)

    Hope and joy radiate from the pages of Robert Sabuda’s new pop-up book celebrating the Nativity.

    Long ago in the town of Bethlehem, on a bright and starry night, a baby was born, a child who was called the son of God. Announced by an angel, born in a humble manger, laid in a bed of straw, visited by shepherds and wise men—the age-old, awe-inspiring story of the birth of Jesus is lovingly brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six gorgeously imagined scenes, culminating in a 3-D manger sheltering humans and beasts, guarded by an angel above. Glinting with touches of gold and pearlescent foil, The Christmas Story is a visual feast, a holiday treasure to be shared with the whole family.


    Before there were 3D movies, there were pop-up books.  As a child, I used to love pop-up books because the action literally jumped right out at me as I turned the pages.  Opening each page was like unwrapping a gift.  There was always a surprise awaiting on the next page to reward me.  So fun!

    Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda is the master at transforming a blank piece of paper that lacks dimension, texture and movement and turning it into a beautiful piece of art.  That’s exactly what he has done with the book The Christmas Story.  It’s truly a marvel in paper engineering that your kids, and even some adults, will be pretty impressed by.

    My kids love looking at all of the intricate art on each page.  As I read the story, they like counting the number of items they see on each page like: doves, sheep, palm trees and camels.  They also love pointing at the gold foil accents that make certain things in the book stand out like the stable where Jesus was lying in.

    Reading this book really gets me in the holiday spirit.  It features six imagined scenes from the inspiring story of the birth of Jesus.  Little readers will see scenes of the angel who came to tell Mary she would soon have a baby named Jesus, a scene of the three wise men traveling, and more.  The book ends with a beautiful nativity scene with the three wise men giving Mary precious gifts befitting for a king.

    This book makes a really special holiday gift for children or adults.  While I wouldn’t recommend it to be held by the smallest readers due to the fragile pop-up art, I think children ages 5 and older would handle it just fine.  The pages are sturdy and so is the cover, but the pop-up artwork is fragile.  A true delight to read and marvel at all the beautiful scenes featured.  A holiday book that can be enjoyed as a family again and again each year during the holiday season. Perfect for religious families!

    Your turn: Have you read any of Robert Sabuda’s pop-up books?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    adult books, book reviews, children's books, currently reading

    Food Anatomy by Julia Rothman (A Book Review)

    Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World  by Julia Rothman

    foodanatomyPublisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 224

    Get your recommended daily allowance of facts and fun with Food Anatomy, the third book in Julia Rothman’s best-selling Anatomy series. She starts with an illustrated history of food and ends with a global tour of street eats. Along the way, Rothman serves up a hilarious primer on short order egg lingo and a mouthwatering menu of how people around the planet serve fried potatoes — and what we dip them in. Award-winning food journalist Rachel Wharton lends her editorial expertise to this light-hearted exploration of everything food that bursts with little-known facts and delightful drawings. Everyday diners and seasoned foodies alike are sure to eat it up.

    I’m so impressed with the Anatomy series by Julia Rothman!  I’ve read the two previous books and this third one surely didn’t disappoint – it’s so deliciously gorgeous!  Being a fellow foodie, I enjoyed this book immensely and learned so much from it.  Food is a topic that literally everyone can get behind because it’s something we all need in order to survive.  There’s something for people of all cultures in this charming international guide.

    The book starts out providing readers with a brief history of food from 80,000 BCE right up to modern day. It also includes detailed illustrations of place settings from different cultures around the world: formal American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Indian/Nepalese.  It’s filled with interesting nuggets of information like this of all things related to food – one of my favorite subjects.

    Did you know there is a special type of fork for eating asparagus or a special spoon specifically for eating grapefruit? Or that in the Philippines people typically like to eat banana sauce on their french fries?  Do you know how to braid a challah or make tofu or chocolate?  You’ll learn the answers to these questions and so much more by reading this book.  What makes this book so scrumptious are the whimsical illustrations on every page.  They look good enough to eat!  In addition, the paper quality is top-notch and really helps to bring out the lovely hand-drawn illustrations.

    It’s evident a lot of time and research went into compiling all of this information.  I think this book is well suited for adults and children alike.  It serves as a wonderful reference book and will make a lovely addition to any coffee table.  There are also several recipes included throughout the book for things like: creamy maple mocha pudding, shikanjvi (a spiced lemonade drink from India) and noodle pudding.

    I believe readers will enjoy the crisp, clean perfectly imperfect lines and detailed information that has been the hallmark of Rothman’s work since the very beginning.  Not to mention all of the tidbits of information and the recipes.  It’s a true gem!  This books makes an excellent gift for readers of all ages – especially for food lovers.  Did I mention that I love this book? 🙂 I’m sure you will too.

    Check out all the books in this series: The Julia Rothman Collection | Farm Anatomy | Nature Anatomy


    The Julia Rothman Collection presents all three of Julia Rothman’s popular Anatomy volumes in a handsome giftable box set featuring a specially designed slipcase and 10 framable prints.

    Your turn: Have you read any of the books in this series?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    adult books, book reviews, children's books, family fun

    Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout! (A Book Review)

    Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood

    by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
    Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
    Age Level: 7 and up
    Grade Level: Kindergarten – 12
    Pages: 184
    Available for Sale: January 10, 2017


    Parents and grandparents will delight in sharing this exuberant book with the children in their lives. Here is a songbook, a storybook, a poetry collection, and much more, all rolled into one. Find a partner for hand claps such as “Eenie, Meenie, Sassafreeny,” or form a circle for games like “Little Sally Walker.” Gather as a family to sing well-loved songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Oh, Freedom,” or to read aloud the poetry of such African American luminaries as Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. And snuggle down to enjoy classic stories retold by the author, including Aesop’s fables and tales featuring Br’er Rabbit and Anansi the Spider.


    Oh, the hand clapping and jump rope games in this book bring back so many memories for me.

    Remember this one?

    “Down, down, baby, down by the roller coaster. Sweet, sweet baby, I’ll never let you go. Shimmy, shimmy coco pop, shimmy, shimmy pow!” 

    Or how about this one?

    “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
    All dressed in black, black, black,
    With silver buttons, buttons, buttons,
    All down her back, back back.”

    Growing up as a kid, my sister and I used to love playing hand clapping games with each other and our friends. We didn’t have all the fancy technology that’s available for kids today. We simply used our imagination and made up songs and games or we learned from other cultures and made the songs/games uniquely our own by adding different rhythms and movements.

    There are also some beautiful spirituals, hymns, proverbs, psalms, fables, parables and circle games included in this book.  Some of my favorite gospel songs are featured too like: “This Little Light of Mine”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”.  I had fun teaching my daughter some of the hand clapping games like “Miss Mary Mack” and “Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop”.

    I truly enjoyed this book…it’s a treasure that will no doubt be passed down for many generations to come in my family.  Not only is it jam packed with games, songs and stories that I can relate to, it also has some of the most beautiful swirling watercolor and ink illustrations to accompany the text.  Each game, song or story is preceded by a note from the author describing the origin/background or sharing a personal story from her childhood memories.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the author of this book grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1950s.  It’s a collection of her favorite childhood games, songs, poetry and stories that are directly linked to her African-American heritage.  That being said, if you grew up in the 1950s, in either Missouri or Tennessee you’d probably relate best to this book.  However, I’m not saying this book is specifically geared toward that audience. What I am saying is that depending on what decade you were born and where you grew up, the wording to some of the hand claps and jump rope games may vary.  For example, the words to some of the songs featured in this book are slightly different from the words we used to sing.  Keep in mind I grew up in the 1980s in the Northeast close to NYC, which is a totally different time frame and geographic location than the author.  Also, some of my favorite hand claps like: “CeCe My Playmate” weren’t included in this book.  Perhaps that’s because the author didn’t sing that one as a child or maybe it wasn’t popular in the 1950s in the area where she grew up in.

    Overall, I’d highly recommend this book for every African-American household.  Even if you’re not an African-American family, I’d recommend checking this one out and using it as a reference.  I think it’s wonderful!  Also great for keeping in a school library or classroom.  Look for this one in January 2017 or pre-order a copy now!

    Your turn: What are some of your favorite hand clapping games, songs or spirituals from your childhood?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    adult books, giveaways, parenting

    The Art of Blissful Parenting + A Giveaway!

    BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for The Art of Blissful Parenting by Sharon Ballantine. The blast will run October 24 – October 26, 2016. collages14

    About the Book

    artofblissfulparenting Title: The Art of Blissful Parenting | Author: Sharon Ballantine | Genre: Parenting Number of Pages: 190 | Publisher: Balboa Press | Publication Date: November 24, 2015 Book Description: What if you had the ideal relationship with your children? This book is for every parent that wants to have a powerful bond with their kids. Parents have the opportunity for newfound freedom and joy when they teach their children about their Internal Guidance System. Tools and guidance are offered in this book for exacting the art of blissful parenting by practicing alignment. It’s fun and easy to work with the Universe and a short lesson in the Law of Attraction is part of this script. Parents-live and also teach your children how to manifest what they want by thinking in a more positive way and deliberately creating their lives.

    Amazon | Balboa Press | Barnes & Noble

    What others are saying… “This book is filled with amazing tools for any adult who wants to sharpen the innate gifts of the children in their lives and support them in developing and following their internal guidance. Beautifully and thoughtfully written with clear practical exercises to allow you to put into practice what you have read.” – Debbie (Amazon Reviewer)
    “The Art of Blissful Parenting offers readers a refreshing, out-of-the-box approach to raising happy children. Sharon offers practical tools and tips for teaching kids how to thrive by using the law of attraction and following their internal guidance system.” – (Amazon Reviewer) “This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to raise confident, independent children. The author presents her unique ideas in a thoughtful and insightful way” – Cheryl (Amazon Reviewer)

    About the Author: Sharon Ballantine

    1475380012 Sharon Ballantine is a Parenting Coach and certified Law of Attraction Life Coach. She has successfully raised three children and is the author a new book “The Art of Blissful Parenting.” Sharon is the founder of “The Ballantine Parenting Institute,” her online parenting program. Ballantine is a sought after speaker, and was host to her own Internet TV Show with Conscious Evolution Media Network from 2013-2014. The platform of The Sharon Ballantine TV Show featured a conversation with passionate spiritually minded guests. Sharon also had her own column with “Parenting on Purpose.” Sharon was interviewed on TV, February 15, 2016 for her new book release, “The Art of Blissful Parenting” on KING 5 New Day Northwest, a live daytime talk show in Seattle. Ballantine has been interviewed on several radio shows including Blog Talk Radio in Los Angeles, Chat with Women radio show in Seattle and Conscious Evolution Media Internet TV in Denver. Her interview with Hay House Radio will air by summer ’16. Sharon’s website is which features weekly teaching blogs, podcasts and slideshows. You can see her educational videos on her YouTube channel, Sharon Ballantine. Sharon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Jay.

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

    Book Blast Giveaway

    Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway