WOW Book Review – “Pestilence”by Pamela Taylor

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I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence; Second Son Chronicles, Volume 3,  which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

 

 

My Review:

I have always had a fascination with medieval and renaissance times, especially with the royalty. Pamela Taylor’s historical novel takes place in an imaginary realm, complete with lords, ladies, kings and peasants, much like a medieval world.
It is the third book in her Second Son Chronicles and although it can be read as a stand-alone (which I did), I feel it would be enhanced by reading the other books.
I was quickly drawn into the conflict between Lord Alfred, the second son, and his older brother John who is crowned king.
It is Alfred’s voice who narrates the story and even provides a recorded history of what befalls the kingdom. I was fully invested in following his struggles – with John, with his loyalty to his kingdom vs loyalty to John. There is lots of action, plotting, and fascinating characters.
As I read, I could not help but compare the indifferent, incompetent king, the resulting lawlessness and the hatred towards immigrants (and even the pestilence) with what is happening today.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and highly recommend it. With the cliff-hanger at the end, I cannot wait for Book 4!

 

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Book Summary

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At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?

Print Length: 234 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ASIN: B08563V87C
ISBN-10: 1684334810
ISBN-13: 9781684334810

Pestilence is available to purchase as a print copy and as an e-book at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your GoodReads reading list too!

 

About the Author, Pamela Taylor

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Pamela Taylor brings her love of history to the art of storytelling in the Second Son Chronicles. An avid reader of historical fact and fiction, she finds the past offers rich sources for character, ambiance, and plot that allow readers to escape into a world totally unlike their daily lives. She shares her home with two Corgis who frequently reminder her that a dog walk is the best way to find inspiration for that next chapter.

You can follow her online at:

Author Website: https://pamela-taylor.com

Series Website: https://www.SecondSonChronicles.com

Twitter: @PJTAuthor

Instagram: PJTAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecondSonChronicles

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/51487326

— Blog Tour Dates

June 22nd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us as we celebrate the launch of Pamela Taylor’s blog tour for her book Pestilence. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win the first three books in her series “The Second Son Chronicles.”

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

June 23rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Review and Interviews

Stop by Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Pamela Taylor about her book Pestilence.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

June 24th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Visit Rebecca’s blog today and you can read Pamela Taylor’s guest post discussing the allegory (themes) embedded in the narrative of Pestilence specifically and the Chronicles generally.

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com/

June 25th @ A.J. Sefton’s Blog

Visit A.J. Sefton’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://www.ajsefton.com/book-reviews

June 26th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about getting historical details accurate.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

June 27th @ Storeybook Reviews

Join Leslie today as she shares Pamela Taylor’s guest post about her life with corgis.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

June 28th @ Reading is My Remedy

Visit Chelsie’s blog today and you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

June 29th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and you can read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about the authors and books that inspired the creation of the Chronicles.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 30th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Visit Veronica’s blog today and you can read a guest post by Pamela Taylor about the trap of linguistic anachronism – getting the language and word usage right for historical narratives.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

July 1st @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Visit Rebecca’s blog again and you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://rebeccawhitman.wordpress.com/

July 2nd @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://12books.co.uk/

July 3rd @ What is that Book About?

Visit Michelle’s blog today and you can check out a spotlight of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

July 5th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Vickie’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

July 6th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

July 7th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Join Fiona Ingram today when she shares Pamela Taylor’s guest post about data encryption in ancient times.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

July 8th @ Bev A. Baird

Visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

July 9th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Sreevarsha’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

July 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason Canyon’s blog today and you can read a guest post by Pamela Taylor about deriving details for your setting from historical maps.

https://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

July 11th @ Books & Plants

Visit Ashley’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://booksbeansandbotany.com/

July 11th @ A Darn Good Read

Join Yvonne as she reviews Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://adarngoodread.blogspot.com/

July 14th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

July 15th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about period-appropriate names for characters.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

July 17th @ Books & Plants

Visit Ashley’s blog and read Pamela Taylor’s guest post about ways to do historical research.

https://booksbeansandbotany.com/

July 18th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s blog today where you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence. Plus you can read an interview with the author!

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

July 20th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

July 24th @ Medievalists

Stop by Medievalists where you can check out a spotlight of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://www.medievalists.net/

July 25th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Stop by Linda’s blog today and read her extensive interview with author Pamela Taylor about her book Pestilence.

http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

July 25th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Join Megan today and read her review of Pamela Taylor’s book Pestilence.

https://readinginthewildwood.com/

It’s Monday! What are You reading?

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme “It’s Monday! What are You Reading? “, at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

What I Read Last Week

I haven’t participated for a few weeks – my hubby has now been in hospital for 4 weeks. He is feeling somewhat better though, but has a ways to go before possibly rehab.
I did read books 6 books (3 shorter ones) – 2 contemporary romances, a historical romance, a women’s fiction and 2 non-fiction books.

 

Books I read:

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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. What a enjoyable read. What would you do if you experienced your life for an hour in five years and it wasn’t your present life at all?

 

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Year of No Clutter by Eva Schaub. I ordered this from the library for fun – but I  so enjoyed the humour and the few tips. I really do need to declutter.

 

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Changing Gears by Roseanne Beck. This was a sweet romantic ebook – a quick, enjoyable read.

 

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Summer in Sorrento by Melissa Hill. Another sweet romantic ebook which I enjoyed.

 

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Kind Ella and the Charming Duke by Bridget Barton This was an historical romance/fairy tale retelling and well done as well.

 

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox. Love this actor and enjoyed his memoir.

 

What I’m Reading Now 

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs. The latest Mercy Thompson book arrived and I’ve already started it, even though I have several others to read first. So good so far.

On Writing by Stephen King. Long on my TBR, reading this now as part of a book club

Intercepted by Alexa Martin. Needed for a challenge

What’s Up Next – STILL! and determined to finish them – sometime!
Keep it Moving by Twyla Tharp.
Becoming by Michelle Obama

 

Six Degrees of Separation – From”What I Loved” to “Still Life”

Six Degrees of Separation promises to be an interesting and enjoyable challenge, something I need right now.
I have seen this challenge around for awhile but have never participated, until now. I love the idea of the search, the connections, the possibilities.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
o Link the books together in any way you like.
o Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
o Share these rules in your post.
o Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
o Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
o Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
o Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

This month’s book is What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.

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It’s a book about an art historian who buys an extraordinary painting and tracks down the artist and begins a life-long friendship. I have not read this book, but it is definitely one I plan to read. I love books related to art (Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of my favourites).

 

Here is my trail of books to find Six Degrees of Separation.

1. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

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There were several paths I could have gone – art, friendships, for example. But I chose a book I loved – my favourite for that matter. A book involving time travel, grief, finding love.
“When Eva’s film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina’s ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived – and died – long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.”

 

2. The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston

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I chose this as I love the series, which involves time travel as well. I have not yet read this newest book of hers, but as it had garden in the title, and it fit best with the previous book.
“Things gives way to spring, Xanthe is left to reflect on the strange events of the past year. While she’s tried to keep her time-traveling talents a secret from those close to her, she is forced to take responsibility for having inadvertently transported the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time. Xanthe comes to see that she must use her skills as a Spinner if she and Flora are ever to be safe, and turns to the Spinners book for help.

It is then that a beautiful antique wedding dress sings to her. Realizing the dress and her adversary are connected in some way, she answers the call. She finds herself in Bradford-on-Avon in 1815, as if she has stepped into a Jane Austen story.”

 

3. The Wedding Dress  by Rachel Hauck

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I so enjoyed this novel. It involved an antique wedding dress as well, and although no time travel is involved, there were four different time periods explored.

“Four brides. One Dress.   A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

 

4. Vision in White by Nora Roberts

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This was the first in Roberts” Bride Quartet which involved a photographer of weddings.

“After years of throwing make-believe weddings in the backyard, flowers, photography, desserts, and details are what these women do best: a guaranteed perfect, beautiful day full of memories to last the rest of your life.

With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera—ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac’s foundation is jostled again moments before an important wedding planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.”

 

5. Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen

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A book about a photographer which has been on my TBR shelf for ages.

“Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.”

6. Still Life  by Louise Penny

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This is the first book in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mystery series. Loved the whole series. As soon as I chose book 5, this book with a similar title came to mind.

“As the early morning mist clears on Thanksgiving Sunday, the homes of Three Pines come to life – all except one…

To locals, the village is a safe haven. So, they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident – a hunter’s arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead?

In a long and distinguished career with the Sûreté du Quebec, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has learned to look for snakes in Eden. Gamache knows something dark is lurking behind the white picket fences, and if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will begin to give up its secrets…”

 

I took a windy path, from time travel, to wedding dress to photographer to mystery, 4 of which I have read.

Next month (1 August 2020), the chain begins with – How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, a book I’ve not read yet.

 

Connect Five Friday – Retellings

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It’s Friday once again and that means it’s time for Connect Five Friday hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I read an interesting article by Buzzfeed this morning which listed 26 books that are based on iconic characters. (Check it out here). As I read through the list, I found several I had read, all of which I enjoyed and all based on Pride and Prejudice by jane Austen:
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaladden
Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

There are many I want to read, as I find retellings fascinating – how the auther takes the original and infuses it with their own brand of imagination.

Here are 5 I hope to read this year:

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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. A retelling of The Scarlet Letter but in the future like A Handmaid’s Tale.

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The Hours by Michael Cunningham. Based on Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

 

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By the Book by Julia Sonneborn. From Jane Austen’s Persuasion

 

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Ophelia by Lisa Klein. A look at the untold life of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

 

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The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. Based on The Odyssey

 

June Reading Round-Up

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June turned out to be such a stressful month. To add to the stress of all the covid issues, my husband has now been in the hospital for 3 weeks. He went win because his defib shocked him 4 times, and it took several days to stabilize his heart. But what was needed to save his heart, hurt his transplanted kidney. So now they are trying to save it. But the past week, he has gotten a blood infection and now c.diff. At least I have been finally able to see him the past week. So, my reading has suffered – it has been a challenge to focus on 1 book and so I flit from book to book. Fantasy has been a comfort tho, as have been a couple of rereads.

It’s time to share what I have been reading this past month.
The total read for May was 25 books, with the following breakdown:
Fantasy /Paranormal – 9
Historical Romance– 1
Romance – 5
Memoir/Non-fiction – 2
Pix books – 7

Comic book – 1

(Diverse books – (1)

I continue to record in more detail where the books originated – from the library, on my TBR shelves (bought/gifted or won), an e-book, or a charity read (Bought from a charity store). Here’s the breakdown
Library reads –12
TBR books –3
E-books – 10
Charity reads – 0

Here are the books read for my favourite challenges:

Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge (Through Goodreads)
I only read for 2 categories for this challenge, but have to catch up now.
#2 By trans or nonbinary author – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
#8 – Upside down image on cover – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox (upside down skateboard!)

52 Books in 52 Weeks
I read 2 for this challenge – still need to catch up a bit.
#27 – Comic Book – Heroes (of 9/11) – World’s greatest superhero creators honor the world’s greatest heroes 9/11/2001)
#29 -Award winning novel – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Beyond the Bookends
The theme this month was “Sports”
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes

Monthly Key Word Challenge
The key word I used this month was: And
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Kind Ella and the Charming Duke by Bridget Barton

Monthly Motif
The theme this month was “Name or number”.
Kind Ella and the Charming Duke by Bridget Barton

Diversity Reading Challenge
The theme this month was LGBTQ+
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Diversify Your Reading
The theme for June was “Non-Fiction”
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox

Blogger’s Bookshelf

The theme was “author with the same initials as you”

Kind Ella and the Charming Duke by Bridget Barton

Favourite Reads
Here are my top reads:
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes
The Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews (Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, One Fell Sweep)
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Immortal Coil by C.I. Black
The Key series by Nora Roberts (Key of Light, Key of Knowledge, Key of Valor)
Justified by Jay Crownover

 

Looking Ahead to July
I’m taking part in 3 more reading challenges over the summer months.

Here are books read so far for these challenges:

20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge ( here for more info; here for my list/post)

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes

 

2020 Summer Reading Challenge (at The Messy Middle)

A memoir – Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes

Won an award – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Has less than a 100 pages – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox

 

2020 Popsugar Summer Reading Challenge (here for more info)

#5 – LGBTQ+ protagonist – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

 

I am linking with the following:

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Monthly Wrap-up (At Feed Your Fiction Addiction)

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Best of the Bunch (at A Cocoon of Books)

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Friendship Friday Blog (at Create with Joy)

WOW! Book Review – “Walk Your Way to Better” by Joyce Shulman

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I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better, which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

 

My Review

When I first heard the title of Joyce Shulman’s book, Walk Your Way to Better, I immediately added “to better health”. With the impression that this was a book to improve my health, I was on board right away to read and review. Here I was at 68, unfit and stressed to the max and I knew I needed to make changes.
But once I started reading the book, and following the first walk, I realized very quickly that this book was much more than what I had first thought. Each walk involved reading the brief story at the beginning, thinking about the suggestion as I walked and then journaling about what I had processed when I returned.

The walks have touched on many facets of my life and made me think  about and appreciate so many different things:
~ It encouraged me to dream, to expand on that dream and then pursue it
~ It urged me to beat back the negative voices in my head that can immobilize me at times (I so loved Walk 6: Feed the Good Wolf)
~ It urged me to make small, incremental good changes
~It encouraged me to look for small and simple pleasures and to be sure and get out and enjoy nature.
And these are just a small sampling of some of the learnings from the 99 walks.

Although I have not read and followed through with every walk (although I definitely plan to), I have been impressed with the insights I’ve gained and how much better I feel after only a few weeks of walking, thinking and journaling. It has helped with the stress.

As the quote by Laozi that starts the book states:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Take that first step, take a few walks and you will slowly build to miles and to better.

As Joyce Shulman says “Read, walk, process, write, and bit by bit, become better.”

I highly recommend this book. It is already having a positive impact on lessening the stress in my life.

Book Summary

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This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different. Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make. You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus — you’ll feel better and become fitter.

Print Length: 363 Pages

Genre: Motivational Self-Help

Publisher: Kibo Press

ASIN: B08466XHDF

Walk Your Way to Better is available to purchase now on Amazon.com.

 

About the Author, Joyce Shulman

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Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-NR50srbDzKdUBx5BPgQQ

https://twitter.com/joycershulman

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

 

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Mid-YearReading/Book Review

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Here we are almost at the half-way point of 2020  – and 2020 has turned out to be an incredibly difficult one. Besides dealing with the whole covid crisis, my hubby has been dealing with major health issues. He ended up in hospital June 9 after getting shocked by his defibrillator 4x. Then once in emerg, he had to be paddled to get his heart in rhythm. All that week they worked to stabilize his heart, eventually having his defibrillator adjusted.
But his heart was saved at the expense of his transplanted kidney – I know, it had to be done but…
He is still in hospital, actually now at the hospital where he had the transplant in 2003 (he was transferred last weekend), and the team there is working to save the kidney. He has had 2 dialysis treatments so far – his first in 17 years.
They are hopeful it will nudge that kidney to work better. So, he has been there almost 3 weeks and I was only able to finally see him 2x this week.

A little long-winded – but all this has been stressful and I really haven’t felt much like blogging, and at times not even reading. Ugh!

Tonight I felt like joining in with Kathryn (At Celebrating Reading and Books) and Dedra (at A Book Wanderer) in taking a look back at the books I loved most over the first part of the year, as well as a tag that looks at some of what my reading looked like.

 

connect-5-3It’s Friday once again and that means it’s time for Connect Five Friday, hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

The 5 Books I loved Most The past 6 Months

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Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston

books by Katherine Center (even tho there are 3 books, counting this as 1!)

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The Lost Husband  How to Walk Away  The Bright Side of Disaster

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How To Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal

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Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery

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Magical Midlife Madness by K. F. Greene

I reread several books as well these past few months and realized that there are 5 authors who I keep returning to. So here are my 5 favourite authors from this past 6 months:
Katherine Center
Lorraine Heath
Nora Roberts
Jeaniene Frost
Ilona Andrews

 

Mid Year Freak-Out Tag of 2020  

(check here for Dedra’s post)
I am choosing some of the topics from the original tag.

How much have you read?
According to Goodreads, I have read 190 books out of 400, putting me a bit behind. But this month has definitely been an off month.

For my 2 main  challenges:
For the Popsugar Challenge, I have read 28 out of 50.

For the 52 Books in 52 weeks I have read 35 out of 52.

I do a few other challenges – ones that give a them each month and for most, I have completed each theme each month for:
Beyond the Bookends
Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Challenge
Monthly Key Word Challenge
Motifs for Each Month
Diversify Your Reading

What Have You Been Reading?
I keep track on Goodreads, so here’s my genre breakdown so far:
Fantasy/Paranormal/Magical Realism – 42
Historical Fiction/Romance – 22
Memoir – 2
MG/YA – 5
Mystery – 1
NF -4
PBs – 38
Romance – 58
SciFi – 3

Best sequel/series you’ve read in2020?
That had to be The Others series by Anne Bishop, but that was a reread.

I also read:
the Clean Sweep series by Iloan Andrews and really enjoyed that.
The Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Fost
The Key series by Nora Roberts

A new release you haven’t read, but want to?

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I just got Smoke Bitten from the library today and can’t wait to read this #12 book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Biggest Surprise?

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Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.  I am almost finished it and should finish before the end of the weekend. I chose it for a couple of the categories for my challenges, but wasn’t sure about it. But I am definitely enjoying it.

New favourite authors (debut or new to you?)
Christie Ridgway – Nothing but Blue Skies
S. J. McCoy – Like Some Old Country Song
Tessa Bailey – Fix her Up
I am sure there were others but these were the most recent.

Rereads this year?
I have reread more this year than any in a long, long time.
I reread my favourite fantasy series – The Others by Anne Bishop. I so enjoyed re-immersing myself in that world.
I also read:
Born to Be Bad by Naomi Horton
Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
2 books by Avril Tremayne: Kiss Don’t Tell and Here Comes the Bridesmaid
From This Moment On by Bella Andre

Newest favourite character?
The Night Huntress, Cat Crawfield – from the series by Jeaniene Frost. Still have a few more books to read to finish the series.

Books That Made You Happy?
Most of the romance and fantasy books I read. I use fantasy as a true escape when the going is rough – and it has been rough, especially the past month. Rereading favourite books helps as well

Connect Five Friday – Native Authors

It’s Friday once again and that means it’s time for Connect Five Friday, hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

In Canada, this month we celebrate National Indigenous History Month.

From our government’s website:
In June, Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities.
National Indigenous History Month is a time for learning about, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have made in shaping Canada.
The Government of Canada recognizes the importance and sacred nature of cultural ceremonies and celebrations that usually occur during this time. While celebrations and events for National Indigenous History Month may be different this year than those in the past, we can still share and learn from stories, traditions and culture in new ways that keep us together and connected.

* * * * * * *

When I graduated from teacher’s college over 40 years ago (!), I accepted a job teaching in the North West Territories, in a small native community south of Inuvik. I would stay three years, and come to love the land and the people there. I traveled to many places – Inuvik, Yellowknife, Tuktoyuktuk, Whitehorse (in the Yukon). I felt very fortunate to be able to see so much of the far north, to meet so many people and to learn to appreciate the culture and art of the area.

Here I am on the steps of my house, holding my son in a beaded baby belt.

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I have read a number of works by native authors – here are my 5 favourites:

By Richard Wagamese

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Indian Horse     Ragged Company    For Joshua: An Ojibway Father Teaches His Son

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Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christie Jordan-Fenton (a MG book about residential schools)

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Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

 

Here are 5 books by native authors that I own and plan to read as part of the Summer Reading challenge:

2 by Cherie Dimaline:

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The Marrow Thieves                              Empire of Wild

 

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There There by Tommy Orange

 

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Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (This book has been chosen as the “One Book, One Community” choice for 2020 in our area. Looks really interesting!)

 

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Crow Winter by Karen McBride

 

If you’d like more titles, check these lists of books, here and here.

 

One book I loved, own,  saw the special for it and encourage everyone to read (and listen to the songs) is:

Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire (Illustrator)

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From Goodreads:

Secret Path is a ten song album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Guest Post by Alex Franzen: Time for Yourself

wow-logo

As part of the WOW blog tour for the The Checklist Book by Alexandra Franzen, Alex has agreed to share with us how to put self-care into your daily checklist and make time for yourself.

Welcome Alex!

AlexandraFranzen

Making Time for Yourself

Give it to yourself.

“I’m taking a month off,” Megan told me. She’s a busy woman with a husband, kids, pets, and a small, but very successful business.

Most days, Megan works with her clients for five or six hours, and then it’s onto texts and emails, phone calls, working on her blog and her newsletter, sending out invoices… dozens of tiny deductions from her time-bank. Her to-do list never ends. It just spirals onward, like an infinite scroll that rolls down, down, down.

“Whoa. A whole month? No client stuff at all? Nothing? A blank slate?” I asked. She nodded.

Then I asked, “What are you going to do with all that time?”

She smiled and said, “I am going to be quiet… and hear myself think.”

A whole month. Thirty days. Seven hundred and twenty hours. All of that space to breathe, to daydream, and map out the future… what a priceless gift.

I asked Megan, “Was it difficult to clear your schedule and set aside all that time?”

She told me, “In some ways, yes. It took some planning. I had to notify all my clients in advance, for example.” She paused. “But I knew… if I wanted this month for myself, then I needed to claim it. Nobody is ever going to give this time to me. I had to give it to myself.”

I’ve been thinking about that conversation with Megan for the last several weeks. Her words keep echoing inside my head: I had to give it to myself.
What do I need to give back to myself? What is my heart longing for? What do I want?
Several things. I want twenty minutes every morning to drink coffee in bed, sink into a snowy mountain of pillows, and read a fantastic book — twenty minutes of inspiration before I begin the day’s work.

I want three days of solitude to refine my business plan for 2018.

I want two months to study Hawaiian mythology and then write my next novel.

And like Megan, I want time to be still and do nothing at all.

Who’s going to give that time to me?

Nobody except me.

And who’s going to give you the time that you long for — time to write a collection of letters for your children to read when they’re older, time to take that long-overdue trip with your best friend, time to make art, time for yoga and meditation, time for a long bath, time to sit peacefully in a room and hear yourself think?

Nobody except you.

The time that you want. The time that you need. The time that your mind, spirit, and body is aching to take back. The gift that’s worth more than gold, more than anything.

Give it to yourself.

 

Thanks so much Alex.

Be sure to check the other stops on the blog tour for this amazing book.

TheChecklistBook

Find Alexandra’s latest projects, classes, and hundreds of free articles and resources at: AlexandraFranzen.com

— Blog Tour Dates

May 11th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit the WOW blog today and read an interview with author Alexandra Franzen and enter to win a copy of the book The Checklist Book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

 

May 12th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Stop by Karen’s blog today and read Alexandra Franzen’s inspiring guest post entitled, “You Are Going to Survive.”

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

 

May 13th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

 

May 15th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf 

Visit Veronica’s blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

 

May 16th @ Lapidus International

Stop by the words for wellness organization today and read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post about the importance of nature time.

https://lapidus.org.uk/news

 

May 18th @ One Sister’s Journey: Keeping It Real

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://www.lisambuske.com/

 

May 19th @ Chanel Bevis’ Blog

Stop by Chanel’s blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://chanelbevis1.wordpress.com/blog/

 

May 20th @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today and you can read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post about what a checklist can do you for you.

https://andsoshethinks.co.uk/blog/

 

May 23rd @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog and you can read her interview with Alexandra Franzen. Don’t miss it!

http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

 

May 25th @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her post about Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

 

May 27th @ Dog-Eared Days of Summer

Visit Courtney’s blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://dog-eareddaysofsummer.com/

 

May 28th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog today and read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post unplugging more.

https://strength4spouses.blog/

 

May 29th @ Wild Hearted

Visit Ashley’s blog today where she shares her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://www.wild-hearted.com/

 

May 30th @ Memoir Revolution

https://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/

 

May 31st @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Stop by Michelle’s blog today and you can read a guest post by Alexandra Franzen about shifting away from perfection. A post we all need to read today!

https://www.michellecornish.com/

 

June 1st @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog today to read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://strength4spouses.blog

 

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

 

June 3rd @ Rachael’s Thoughts

Visit Rachael’s blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://rachaelstray.com/

 

June 4th @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Visit Michelle’s blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://www.michellecornish.com/

 

June 5th @ Editor 911

Stop by Margo’s blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://editor-911.com/blog

 

June 6th @ Megan Writes Everything

Visit Megan’s blog today and she reviews Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://meganwriteseverything.com/

 

June 7th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Victoria’s blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

 

June 8th @ Dog-Eared Days of Summer

Visit Courtney’s blog again and read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post about focusing on tiny wins.

https://dog-eareddaysofsummer.com/

 

June 9th @ Alternative Grace

Stop by Amber’s blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen’s book The Checklist Book.

https://alternativegrace.com/

 

June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Stop by Bev’s blog again and you can read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post about putting self-care into your daily checklist. An absolute must-read!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

 

June 11th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and you can read Alexandra Franzen’s guest post about getting the phone out of your room.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

 

 

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme “It’s Monday! What are You Reading? “, at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

What I Read Last Week
I read books 4 books -1 contemporary romance, 1 paranormal and 2 fantasies. I read a lot this week – but moved between a number of books and ebooks, but only finished 3. =

Books I read:
The first 2 books in the Key trilogy by Nora Roberts: Can’t wait to read the third book of this fantasy series.

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The Key of Light                                    The Key of Knowledge

 

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Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. This was a reread but I enjoyed this paranormal, the start of the Mercy Thompson series, just a s much as the first time.

 

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Renegade by Laramie Briscoe. A contemporary romance, with an older woman, younger man and an unexpected pregnancy. Enjoyed this a lot.

What I’m Reading Now (Still working on these!)
Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara O’Neal
The Black Tide by Keri Arthur (Book 3)

What’s Up Next – STILL! and determined to finish them before the endo of spring. Had to revise my timeline!
Keep it Moving by Twyla Tharp.
Becoming by Michelle Obama