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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Outside the Box Second Edition by Marilyn R. Wilson (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)


I'm so pleased to be spotlighting Marilyn R. Wilson's second edition of her first book which I reviewed in the past. (You can read my review here.) This second edition offers new content added to each and every chapter - personal author reflections from behind the scenes. I also had the opportunity to interview Marilyn. Check out her answer to what is the most fascinating interview she's done. Be sure to also enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book!

Book Details:

Book Title: Life Outside the Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Second Edition
Author: Marilyn R. Wilson
Category: Adult non-fiction, 236 pages
Genre: Inspiration / biography / fashion
Publisher: Real People Real Lives Press
Release date: Oct 27, 2016
Tour dates: Dec 5 to 23, 2016
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

This second edition offers new content added to each and every chapter - personal author reflections from behind the scenes.

Get inspired to step out of your box and embrace your potential. From the corporate world, to the arts, to working with the disenfranchised, the message is clear: there is no such thing as a normal way to live your life and no one right solution to any problem. Selected from over a hundred interviews, the stories shared here open a window on the journeys of seven women and three men who have charted their own paths, including Ruthie Davis--top US luxury shoe designer and the winner of the 2014 AAFA Footwear Designer of the Year award; and Geir Ness whose perfume is a staple in Nordstrom, Disney World, and on Disney Cruise Lines. Enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes into the unique ways these individuals have chosen to deal with life's challenges and how they define success in their careers.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble



My Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson

LCR: Welcome back to Library of Clean Reads, Marilyn! I enjoyed reading the first edition of Life Outside the Box. Can you tell me why you decided to publish a second edition?

MRW: Opportunity! In response to the difficulty authors are having making a profit in today's crazy market, my publisher decided to take a step back and move all clients to their own imprint. We each now publish under own name and own all rights to distribution. To accomplish this, our books had to be re-released under a new ISBN number and company name. A side benefit was the ability to add new content before the book file was uploaded to the printer. An iRead Book Tour reviewer had mentioned they would have loved me to share some personal insights on my experiences with each person, so I used this opportunity to add author reflections at the end of every chapter - each unique.


LCR: Are you writing another book in the Real People Real Lives series?

MRW: YES! I am in the process of writing book two in my Life Outside the Box series which is tentatively scheduled for a spring 2017 release date. In this time of division, I feel strongly that this series celebrating the diversity in how we all live is important and hope it will inspire readers to embrace their own unique path. It is humanity's very diversity that is it's greatest strength. In addition to this series, there are other several other books I plan to write that will take a bit different in direction. Want to know more? Sign up for my email updates at www.marilynrwilson.com. I'll be making announcements early in the new year and they will go out to my email subscribers first!


LCR: What creative projects are you involved in when you are not writing or interviewing?

MRW: Writing is my main creative outlet and takes up most of my time. But I do love movement. Dance and yoga are my favourites. I also have an antique upright grand piano. While my skills are now pretty limited, I still love occasionally tinkling the ivories. I'm also trying to bring sewing back into my life. I sewed dance costumes professionally for 5 years before the pressure led to burn out. Enough time has passed that I feel I can let go of the past and embrace the joy of creation. There is something very tactile about manipulating fabric and having an idea in your mind become a 3D reality is definitely a rush. Last but not least, I love taking classes that stretch me in new ways. The most recent was a beginning Calligraphy session taught by one of the top artists in North America! WOW! I'm now hoping to work in a beginner watercolour class in the new year.


LCR: What is the most fascinating interview you’ve done?

MRW: It's really way too hard to pick. Each interview has offered me something unique. However, I do have one that had a huge impact on my life. That was my interview with William Orlowski. I cannot say how much I admired William's courage and generosity. He was an amazing Canadian tap icon who ran the first professional tap company in Canada. It toured internationally. He faced terrible physical challenges in recent years that severely limited his ability to dance, but continued to live life to the fullest. Every day began with a list of things to accomplish that he couldn't possibly finish in several life times. Every moment was purposeful. I asked him his definition of success. I asked him advice for others. Both questions received the same response, "There is no secret, just do and be brave." I repeat this every time I feel overwhelmed. It was devastating to hear he passed in October as I was working on this second edition. He will be sorely missed.


LCR: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

MRW: A good question that I have actually been pondering over the last few months. I have five books on the drawing board, but I'm not sure after that. While I will always be writing in some form, will life lead me in a new direction? I have considered eventually moving my Life Outside The Box series to a submission format where people write their own stories in their own words. I would then edit those selected for publication, package and release as a new title. I also see myself embracing more speaking engagements. It's a privilege to be able to pass on all the wisdom others have shared with me over my decade of interviewing.


LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Who would you meet?

MRW: So many choices here. Do I choose a time or do I choose a person? I decided on a time. I was a "tween" when the summer of love first began. It was a time incredible change where young people began looking at social expectations and the world in a different way. Many walked away from the life they knew. By the time I was old enough to think about participating, the bloom had faded and the reality had become something very different. I would love to be in San Francisco right at the beginning when this movement held so much promise, collecting stories from whomever I met - Who are you? What did you leave behind? What is the future you hoping for? What an amazing experience that would be!


LCR: Any advice for writers?

MRW: 
  • Begin. It's as simple as that. 
  • Write every day. I remember the day my friend talked me into starting a blog - something I always looked down on. During my dark days it became my best friend. There was a time in my the journey as a writer that was very hard. Doors had slammed shut and I was filled with self-doubt. I just wasn't sure if it was all worth it. I challenged myself to write something in my blog every single day for six weeks. No specific topic. My posts didn't have to be fabulous or earth shattering - just something. By the end of six weeks it became very clear that writing was important to me. I had to find a way to continue.
  • Surround yourself with a few friends who believe you can. It takes time to be become a good writer. It is a craft you need to work hard on. So you need patience and you need support that comes without judgement.
  • Get critical feedback as well. From my first article, I have always given the person I interviewed the chance to review what I had written. Their feedback was sometimes harsh, but over time I began to learn where I was missing the mark. I grew. Working with an editor on Life Outside the Box was also a challenge. An editor is not there to pat you on the back and tell you you're absolutely wonderful, they are there to put your book through a trial by fire so that it can move from raw material to shining gold. I am forever grateful to my editor who was kind, but totally honest.
"If you wish to be a writer, write." - Epictetus

“...you are a writer the moment you start writing, not when you've sold your first book.” - Rob Bignell

LCR: Thank you so much, Marilyn, for taking the time to chat with me.


About the Author:



Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and speaker with a passion for interviewing. Her career as a writer began in an unusual way, by answering a Craigslist ad. It was while conducting her first interview the world shifted - she had found her passion. Since 2006, she has interviewed over 150 people from as near as her hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and as far away as South Africa.

​Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a one-on-one interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same-to give wings to the unique journeys of inspiring individuals. This goal first led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Then in 2015, Wilson took her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book, the first in a series featuring the lives of real people living real lives.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Dec 5 Edition



Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Yikes, it's December. Already. I am so looking forward to some downtime when the kids get off school for the holidays. For now, life is busy as ever. I lost a family friend and attended her funeral today. So sad. I kissed and hugged my kids more often after that.

Two books in the mail this past week:


The Skeleton Code: A Satirical Guide to Secret Keeping by Alla Campanella and Ken Massey

THE SKELETON CODE reveals why we keep secrets, how this covert lifestyle affects our relationships, and the different types of secrets we keep, including:
• The “secret” secret, which is the worst secret of all.
• The two secrets you never want to keep from people you love or from yourself."
• The truth about transparency and why it’s a powerful path to personal freedom

In the first part of THE SKELETON CODE, which is stinging satire, the authors provide strategies that have protected politicians and socialites alike. THE SKELETON CODE, interviews with real people whose names have been changed reveal how keeping skeletons in the closet ruined relationships and derailed lives. You can use the facetious strategies of THE SKELETON CODE and maximize a self-deluding way of life.

Or you can discover the The Skeleton Cure and imagine not having to keep up appearances at work, being completely relaxed around your family and friends, not having to remember your cover-ups, deceptions, exaggerations, or excuses.


Sandy's Gift: Walking With the Light by William P. Dunn IV

Sandy’s Gift: Walking With The Light is an intimate and shocking true story of love and courageous struggle against a flawed healthcare system in the wake of a heartbreaking and poignant family tragedy. It is a moving tribute to the virtue of tenacious devotion and a chilling wake-up all for everyone, especially those whose lives have been impacted by the presence and aftermath of mental illness.











It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Kid Konnection: Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle, Illustrated by Becca Stadlander


A captivating exploration of how a family gets a farm ready for the snow of winter, Sleep Tight Farm lyrically connects each growing season to the preparations at the very end of the farm year. 

Book Details:

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle
Illustrated by Becca Stadlander
Chronicle Books
Published Aug 2, 2016
Hardcover, 36 pages
Ages 5 - 8
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

A captivating exploration of how a family gets a farm ready for the snow of winter, Sleep Tight Farm lyrically connects each growing season to the preparations at the very end of the farm year. This beautiful and informative book paints a fascinating picture of what winter means to the farm year and to the family that shares its seasons, from spring's new growth, summer's heat, and fall's bounty to winter's well-earned rest. All year long the farm has worked to shelter us, feed us, keep us warm, and now it's time to sleep.

Our Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani & Son

Ever since our kids were young, we would take them to the apple orchard / farm in the autumn for apple picking and to the sugar shack (in the woods) in spring for maple syrup. Because we are city folk, I always found this was a good way to introduce the kids to farm life. But I never thought of what farmers need to do as winter approaches. My son and I loved reading about the family in Sleep Tight Farm who put their farm to sleep.

When the harvesting season is over, the strawberry patch needs to be covered in straw, the raspberry bushes are cut down, bales of hay are put around the beehives to protect them from the wind and the farm equipment is stored in the shed. These are just some of the activities done. We liked how the family worked together, the mom, dad and their two kids. 

The children would bid goodnight to the different parts of the farm as they worked to put it to sleep. This creates a great analogy of nature that "sleeps in winter" to reawaken in the spring. There is much to discuss and learn with children in the pages of this book. I learned a few things too! And it makes one appreciate and want to support the local farmers in one's area.

The illustrations work well with the book's topic and for this age range, filling the pages with earth-toned colors, and two-page-spread scenes.


This book is a great teaching tool. It would make a good addition to any home or school library and can be used in the school curriculum to teach young children about science. You can even download a teacher guide with experiments that can be done in class or at home (see link below). Reading about how a farmer protects the farm that is his livelihood and prepares for the next season is well portrayed in Sleep Tight Farm.

Download Teacher Guide

Disclosure: Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author & Illustrator:

Eugenie Doyle is the author of two novels for young adults and many short stories. She and her family operate The Last Resort Farm, an organic berry, vegetable, and hay farm. She lives in Vermont.

Becca Stadtlander is the illustrator of many children's and young adult publications. She was born and raised in Covington, Kentucky.



Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

Friday, December 2, 2016

To Warm a Wintered Heart by Deborah M. Hathaway



Read why unlikely friendships can blossom.

Book Details:

To Warm a Wintered Heart by Deborah M. Hathaway
Draft Horse Publishing
Published: October 19, 2016
Kindle e-book: 273 pages
Content rating: G


Book Description:

After an uneventful season in Bath, Miss Charlotte Rosebury returns home to Warwickshire, looking forward to a visit from her mother’s friend. Their expected guest, Mrs. Worthington, has promised that her son will be accompanying her, and as Charlotte has only ever heard stories of the gentleman who rarely leaves his Yorkshire estate, she is most pleased to meet him. But when her warm welcome is returned with a fierce frown from the handsome man, she cannot help but long to be free of him and his blue-eyed glare. 

Despite his mother’s protests, Mr. Gabriel Worthington had made the decision long ago to remain unmarried, but when he meets Charlotte, doubts about his decision creep into his fearful mind, and he wishes for nothing more than to flee from the woman and never return. For weeks, the two are forced to live within the same home, and though they provoke one another with teasing and stolen glances, an unlikely friendship blossoms between them, a friendship that grows stronger than either of them had expected. Will Gabriel concede to the choices binding his heart, or can Charlotte’s warmth be just the thing to strengthen their love and, at last, end their fears?


My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

This novel is very Jane Austen-esque. The heroine, Charlotte, is a lively, kind, pretty young woman. Enter dour, but tall, dark and handsome, Gabriel Worthington. Mr. Worthington had "a grim countenance…..his jaw twitched with irritation, and his gaze narrowed……" The description reminded me of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. True to form, there are many marriageable daughters who are attracted to the rich, handsome master of a Yorkshire estate. After many misunderstandings between Charlotte and Gabriel, true love prevails.

The book is well written, the cover beautiful. The author has certainly captured the "feel" of the Regency period in this sweet love story.

Readers of clean regency romance novels won't be disappointed.

Sandra Olshaski's disclaimer: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

 Deborah McBride Hathaway

Deborah M. Hathaway graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing. As a young girl, she watched her first regency romance (Pride and Prejudice, 1940), before devouring Jane Austen’s novels and being captured by all things Regency. After falling madly in love with, and then marrying, her English husband, Deborah traveled to the United Kingdom, spending time in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. While exploring the beauty of the countryside, she received inspiration within cities such as York and Stratford-upon-Avon, the latter being one of her favorite places in the world. She is thrilled to have three novels out and is already working on her next clean romance.

Learn more about Deborah and her writing: 

Website  ~  Goodreads  ~  Facebook   



Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Cities Book: A Journey Through 86 of the World's Greatest Cities by Lonely Planet Kids


The Cities Book is a beautiful book that is visually stimulating and is full of fun, quirky and common facts about 86 cities from all over the world.


Book Details:

The Cities Book: A Journey Through 86 of the World's Greatest Cities
Lonely Planet Kids
Illustrated by Livi Gosling and Tom Woolley
ISBN: 978-1786570192
Hardcover, 212 pages
Ages 8-12
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Do you know where in the world you can buy drinkable gold; why an 'elephant's foot' is one of the most dangerous objects in the world; or where you might have to swim to school? Discover the answers to these questions and loads more mindblowing facts in The Cities Book, where readers aged 8+ are taken on an incredible world tour through 86 of the world's greatest cities.

Sister title to the bestselling The Travel Book,every page is packed with facts on city living, and gives kids a flavour of what it's like to grow up in each place featured. From food and festivals, to awesome architecture and amazing history - there's something for everyone. A mix of wow photography, beautiful illustrations and hand drawn maps bring each page to life. It's the perfect gift for curious kids everywhere.


Our Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani & Son

I am always on the lookout for books that will attract the attention of my reluctant reader son. He would love to scour through books about animals, the National Geographic Kids Almanac and Quiz books and of course, the Guinness Book of World Records. So when I saw The Cities Book I knew it would be a book he and I would enjoy, and I was right!



First off, The Cities Book is a beautiful book that is visually stimulating. It is a large 9X12 book loaded with pictures and illustrations. Right at the beginning of the book is a two-page spread of the world with the names and locations of the 86 cities featured in the book. So if we looked at Asia, for example, and my eyes fell on the city of Beijing, the page numbers of where to find it is written under its name. This makes it easy to quickly locate a city and read up on it. Apart from this pictorial index, the book has a detailed one in the back of the book.



This book is truly inviting. One can't stop by looking at just a few cities. You want to explore them all. It's a fun book to explore with friends or with your family. It's also a great book for get-togethers, especially if there are people who love to travel in your group. Each city is covered within a 2 or 4 page spread. The photography is eye-popping and the information about each city includes fun facts, quirky facts and common facts about the city. I live in Montreal and learned that my city has 6,500 restaurants, more per square mile than anywhere else in North America. 



The book contains well-known cities, such as Toronto, Rome, Mubai and New York, but also ones I have not heard of such as Thimphu, Ushuaia, and Ulaanbaatar. Along with pictures and illustrations, it has snippets of information about the city, not too much but just enough to get the reader interested in learning about it. We learned a lot of new things! And it made us want to go visit some of these amazing places.

We keep this book on our coffee table in the living room. This book is ideal for homeschooling, and would make a great addition to any home or school library. It stimulates curiosity in young minds about people and their culture, it teaches geography, and its layout is perfect for middle-graders. A truly cool book!

Disclosure: Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About Lonely Planet Kids:



From the world’s leading travel publisher comes Lonely Planet Kids, a children’s imprint that brings the world to life for young explorers everywhere. We’re kickstarting the travel bug and showing kids just how amazing our planet can be. 

We will inspire and delight curious kids, showing them the rich diversity of people, places and cultures that surrounds us. We pledge to share our enthusiasm and love of the world, our sense of humour and continual fascination for what it is that makes the world we live in the diverse and magnificent place it is. It’s going to be a big adventure! Come explore.

Connect with Lonely Planet Kids: 
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Driving Miss Crazy by D.J. Van Oss




He's got a car. She's got places to be. If only things were that simple. Join Adrian and Maggie in their adventures.

Book Details:

Driving Miss Crazy by D.J. Van Oss
ISBN: 9780692685730
Published: May 29, 2016
Published by: Blue Penny Press
Trade paperback: 290 pages
Content rating: G

Book Description:

He’s got a car. She’s got places to be. If only things were that simple. Maggie MacNally always falls short, no matter what she does. Whether it’s her career or her love life, nothing ever ends up right, and even as she tries to put her work mishaps and dating missteps behind her to forge a new life in Washington DC, she wonders: is she really heading where she wants to go, or simply following in the family footsteps? But just as she’s considering packing it all in, an out-of-the-blue proposal from her influential grandmother offers her one last chance at success — a chance which puts her in the path of beguiling and mysterious French diplomat, Valery. 

Meanwhile, diplomatic driver and widowed father Adrian Adams isn’t looking to change anything about his life, he just wants to keep his seven-year-old daughter Charlie safe and happy. The last thing on his mind is finding love again – and the last thing he expects is to suddenly lose his job. Luckily, he’s soon got a new assignment, one which brings him face to face with an overworked, stressed-out, but oddly charming Irish girl with a penchant for talking to squirrels: Maggie. It’s not long before Adrian finds himself, unwittingly, falling in love again. Will Maggie seize the life she's always yearned for, or be left with the pieces of yet another broken dream? And will Adrian take a second, crazy chance at love, or just play it safe? And what's with all the squirrels?


My Review

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski


This is a delightful story filled with humour, fun, love and family. Adrian Adams, a widower, is raising a 7-year-old girl, Charlie, on his own, following the death of his beloved wife. He's a diplomatic driver. Maggie MacNally is the granddaughter of an influential Irish woman who offers her a job at the Irish embassy in Washington, helping to organize a huge fundraising gala. Interesting things start to happen when Adrian becomes Maggie's driver.

I appreciate the skill with which the author developed the characters. I liked Adrian and Charlie immediately. Maggie didn’t grab me at first. I found her shallow and irritating, but, by the end of the story I was rooting for her. My favourite character is Charlie, Adrian's adorable, spunky daughter.

Good novels have a bad guy and in this case the author created an excellent villain. Despite his elegant, sophisticated ways, I was suspicious of him from the outset. Nobody can be that perfect! In Adrian's words, "he looks like he just swallowed a pompous cat who just swallowed a sour mouse."

This debut novel is a skillfully-written, fast-paced romantic comedy. The author does not resort to sexual content to hold the reader's attention. It's easy to read with creative twists and turns that held my interest until the end. Bravo Mr. Van Oss!

Sandra Olshaski's disclaimer: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this book.


About the author:


D. J. Van Oss writes sweet and sunny romantic comedies with an emphasis on second chances; kind of like the book version of finding an extra packet of icing for your fresh cinnamon roll.


When not writing you can find him working in the yard, walking the dog, or staying up too late watching BBC mysteries while eating honey peanut butter straight out of the jar.

He lives in the country suburbs of Iowa with his wife and three step-daughters. His writing partner is Jack, a pretty-boy golden retriever who grunts when you rub his ears.

If you visit his website at www.djvanoss.com you can sign up to get his new releases for only 99 cents, as well as exclusive books, short stories, and other bonuses.
                    




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Falling for the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton (Book Spotlight, Author Interview & Giveaway!)


I'm really exciting to be spotlighting Lisa Loving Dalton's new book which made it as a #1 Bestseller on Amazon soon after it was released. Who is Lisa? She is an actress, a stunt woman who doubled for and worked with celebrity stars such as Cher, Meryl Streep, Katherine Hepburn, Sean Connery and many more. She has been in over 200 films and has now written her behind-the-scenes tell-all memoir.

Check out my interview with her and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of her book and other goodies. And if you are thinking of becoming an actor, she gives great advice. Just scroll down and see what she says. Surprisingly acting is not just about talent.


Book Details:

Book Title: Falling For The Stars: A Stunt Gal's Tattle Tales
Author: Lisa Loving Dalton
Category: Adult Nonfiction, 224 pages
Genre: Memoir, Performing Arts
Publisher: Peak Performance Living
Release date: Oct 27, 2016
Tour dates: Nov 21 to Dec 9, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 + M

Book Description:


AMAZON #1 BESTSELLER!

This Behind-the-Scenes Tell-All About Doubling for Celebrity Superstars Also Reveals the Compelling Life Story of an Insecure Hollywood Arrival Who Rises to the Top of Her Field, But Pays a Hefty Price.
  • Addiction
  • Chauvinism  
  • Big Egos collide with the surprising kindness of superstars.
Discover the magic and the tragic stories of many great films & TV shows through the eyes of a stuntwoman. Dalton reveals what it took to hang over cliffs, get hit by a moving car, drop from five stories up, dodge an avenue full of speeding cars--and to ignore the Universe's more gentle prompts that it was time to quit and follow her passion into acting full-time or teaching acting. 
The resulting career-ending spinal injury has a story of its own, how she researched medical and alternative paths that form the heart of what she shares with the world today. "What stands out in this book is the indomitable spirit the author has, despite the extraordinary price she paid for her stellar career--including misogyny, a miscarriage, and a life-long back injury. And each juicy story she relays in her fascinating chronicle, brings home an important life lesson for the reader--one that she learned the hard way.
  • Stunt Gal Lisa Dalton tattles about humorous and harrowing tales culled from over 200 films, television shows and commercials including 
  • Ghostbusters 
  • Money Pit
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Married to the Mob
  • FX 
  • Legal Eagles
  • The Last Dragon
  • Saturday Night Live  
  • Splash
  • The Highlander
  • World According To Garp
Working with or doubling such superstars as Meryl Streep, Cher, Madonna, Grace Jones, Robert Redford, Katherine Hepburn, Sean Connery, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Ed O'Neill, Michelle Pfeiffer and more.

Visit the Book's Page for more info

Buy the Book: Amazon

Watch the trailer:







My Interview with Lisa Loving Dalton:

LCR: Can you describe your book in 20 words or less?


LLD: A stuntwoman tattles about Superstars and Blockbusters – the good, bad, scary, fun, and painful – along with the life lessons learned.

LCR: What was the most difficult stunt job you ever did?

LLD: I think the most difficult stunt I ever did was a simulated motorcycle crash. I was a passenger on a motorcycle that was supposed to crash head on into a guardrail. The motorcycle was rigged on a mechanism kind of like a mechanical bull. An air pump was supposed to kick the backend of the bike ninety degrees up as the front tire dipped. My driver and I were to launch over the handlebars into pads. Well, the air pump didn’t have enough force so instead of bucking like the bronco is should have, it only went about forty-five degrees. The driver was able to use the handlebars to launch himself clear, but I crashed right into the bars, ending up with deep bruised across my thighs.

LCR: Can you share a short anecdote of a kind gesture toward you by a well-known actor you worked with?

LLD: I was working with Meryl Streep on a movie called Still Of The Night. While we were chatting in the makeup room, I was asked by production to do a stunt. They tried to convince me to do it as an extra instead of on a stunt contract. I was embarrassed that they were doing this in front of Meryl and took the conversation outside. Eventually, I got the contract and did the stunt.

When I finished, Meryl had already gone home for the day. I was bummed at not getting to say goodbye. As I was leaving, the makeup artist caught me and told me that Meryl made sure I had my contract before she left. I was deeply moved. Meryl Streep, along with Cher, who also stepped up on my behalf, are my favorite stars I have worked with.

LCR: Your advice to budding actors?

LLD: I love offering wisdom to up and coming artists. Here are seven points for budding actors:
  • Train in Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique because it prepares you emotionally, physically and psychologically to achieve peak performances in a healthy way.
  • NEVER allow any teachers, directors or fellow actors to abuse you. You deserve to respect yourself for loving this art and you must demand that same respect from all others.
  • Cultivate your relationships to all of the arts as they feed each other. Great Acting is like music and sports, like painting and sculpting.
  • It’s not who YOU know, it is who knows you and LIKES you. So, if you live your life fully, with appreciation for your art, and if you go the extra mile for others, with kindness, professionalism and build strong skill sets, you will work.
  • Talent is the least important ingredient to success. Knowing what you truly want, engaging self-discipline and staying focused are more important than whether you have “it.”
  • If you LOVE doing this, then you have it and should do it, whether it is in community theatre, churches, or professionally. The world needs great healthy actors to inspire them.
  • Acting is among the oldest professions in humanity, found carved into the caves. It uplifts, educates and unites the tribe. It defends more causes than any lawyer. It heals more than doctors do. Five minutes appreciating your performance gives the audience a six-hour immune system boost. So be proud of your love of acting and train like an athlete of thoughts, feelings, and desires.
LCR: How is teaching different from acting?

LLD: Teaching for me requires tuning into each student and opening their hearts and minds to growth. In classes, I am constantly looking to support and encourage the whole group to elevate each other.

As an actor, I am looking first and foremost, to tell a good story. To do that, I need to connect to the larger whole. In film, where everything is broken into small chunks, sometimes you don’t even meet the other actors except for at your rehearsal just before you shoot. So it takes a lot of detective work to figure out how to fit into the style of the story and play the “part” of the whole story convincingly.

LCR: Can you share a life lesson learned from your career as a stunt gal?

LLD: I think the most important life lesson I learned was to listen to the signs the universe is sending you. I truly believe I knew that I had overstayed my welcome in the stunt industry. But I was so caught in the ego, income, and fun that I just didn’t want to walk away. Then, I crashed into a cliff and literally couldn’t walk anywhere, much less away. So, please listen to the signs the universe gives you and don’t be afraid to change your whole world and identity when your true pathway calls.

LCR: If you could go back in time, where would you go? Who would you see?

LLD: I would go back about three thousand years to the Temple of Isis in Egypt. I would speak with the high priests and priestesses about their spiritual initiation practice. I have always been fascinated by that period.

LCR: Thank you so much Lisa for chatting with me about your career!


Meet the Author:




From a bullied, dyslexic, messy, freckle-faced, klutzy pixie, Lisa Loving Dalton grew into a statuesque and skillful stuntwoman, actor, director, teacher, author, filmmaker, leadership and life coach, and ceremonial minister. Always seeking and finding the silver lining, she has made the most of whatever life threw at her. She says, “I spill stuff, trip and drip all of the time so I made a career out of it. My advice: Embrace what is as perfect.”

Dalton appeared in more than 200 films, television shows and commercials in New York, Hollywood and Texas, including work in Ghostbusters, Money Pit, Crocodile Dundee, Married to the Mob, FX, Legal Eagles, and Splash on the big screen and ER, HBO’s Carnivale, Dr. Quinn and Melrose Place among her many TV credits.

Connect with the author:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Youtube ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!


Grand Prize Package: one winner will receive:
1) a paperback copy of Falling For the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton with autographed Last Dragon Pic
2) a paperback copy of A Balancing Act by Emmanuelle Chaulet
3) an e-copy of Murder of Talent
4) a 30-min video chat with author

2nd and 3rd Prize Packages: 2 winners will each get:
1) a Kindle copy of Falling for the Stars by Lisa Loving Dalton with an autographed Last Dragon pic
2) a paperback copy of A Balancing Act by Emmanuelle Chaulet
3) an e-copy of Murder of Talent

USA only
Giveaway ends Dec 17

Monday, November 28, 2016

David Travels to the Past (Review and Giveaway!)



Book Details:

Book Title: David Travels to the Past by María José Mosquera Beceiro and Gonzalo Martínez de Antoñana
​Category: Middle-grade Nonfiction, 72 pages
Genre: Educative graphic novel
Publisher: Saure
Release date: August 2016
Tour dates: Nov 14 to Dec 2, 2016
Content Rating: G (Graphic novel written by educational experts.)

Book Description:

David is a young and restless apprentice painter who wants to know everything about painting. His intelligent teacher, the Master Messina, invents a way of transporting David through time to prehistory. They go there looking for the origins of art, but once they are there nothing will be as they thought.

In a second adventure they travel towards the unknown art of Mesopotamia. This time they won´t go alone. The sympathetic and intelligent Angela will travel to the past with them bringing her particular point of view.


My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani 

As a kid, I used to love reading graphic novels (or comic novels as we used to call them in the 80s). So when I came across this book for young teens that is meant to be educational too, I was thrilled to read it. The publisher Editorial Saure is based in Spain and they publish a whole collection of graphic novels for teens that deal with social issues and focus on artistic, cultural and educational topics.

David Travels to the Past is actually a series and there are two books in this one. The first one is The Rock Painters: Art of the Upper Paleolithic Period. In this first story we are introduced to David, an art student under the tutelage of Master Messina. To help David understand his art lessons, Master Messina take David into his studio office and through hypnosis  they both go back into the past to the Paleolithic Period where they meet a prehistoric nomad tribe of hunters. They follow their day to day lives and learn about how hard their lives are from hunting buffalo for food and women giving birth even as they are traveling. They explore the caves and learn about how these tribes painted images depicting their livelihood.

I found it interesting and satisfying to see that Master Messina acknowledged that there were many things about this time period that are an enigma and still unknown and a mystery to historians. He made the statement that even if art history is little understood it can still be admired. How true!

The second book is The Babylonians: The Art of Mesopotamia. This time David, Master Messina and his niece Angela are transported back in time to Babylon during the reign of King Assurbanipal of Assyria. I enjoyed this book because I have studied the history of the Assyrians and so I was familiar with their culture and art. In this story David and Angela are given the mission of finding the origin of Mesopotamian art.

I think that this series is great for introducing kids to art history. The author does not shy away from using proper names to describe the art time period, techniques and tools, which is good. The illustrations are appropriate and fun for the target audience of the book, which I would say is middle-grade to early teen. There are funny moments throughout the stories for comic relief and David's facial expressions and manner are typical of boys in his age range.

I noted two words that I did not expect in this series: "damn" and "where the hell". In some parts of North America these are considered profanity and it would be best not to include them in an educational series for kids. Also, I did not like that there was a séance scene in which one of the children goes into a trance and is used as a medium.

Apart from these issues, I think that introducing kids to art history through a graphic novel is a great way to spark their interest. The illustrations are very well done. They are colorful and vivid, accurately bringing to life the time period depicted. There are goofy scenes and comical moments that make this series fun and perfect for both boys and girls. 

To read more reviews, please visit the book's page on iRead Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.
Buy the Book:


​UK: Amazon ~ Kindle

Australia: Fishpond ~ Booktopia ~ Kindle



María José is a teacher. She won international illustrations awards.


Gonzalo has a degree in art history. He works in museums and as a tourist guide.

Connect with them: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest


Enter the Giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Nov 28 Edition



Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

I cannot believe that this Thursday will begin the last month of 2016! It seems like every year, time goes by faster. My month of November has been so crazy busy, but I'm enjoying discovering new books.

Another great mailbox with a mix of fiction and non-fiction.


The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman (AUDIOBOOK)

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young Frenchwoman closes the door to her late grandmother's treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she'll ever return.

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian had cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter, Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe's tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother's legacy behind to save all that she loves.


The Golden Sun by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

From the beloved author of Secret Daughter comes a moving new novel of a young man at the crossroads of life.

Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain where they live and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable – but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.

Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.

At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.

Then things start to go wrong: Anil makes a medical mistake with tragic results, his first love begins to fray and a devastating event makes him question his worth as a doctor and as a friend.

On a visit home, Anil rekindles a friendship with the woman who seems to understand him better than anyone else. But their relationship is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier. As the two old friends try to understand their feelings toward each other, they must also finally find a way to balance responsibility with freedom and loyalty with love.



Of Stillness and Storm by Michèle Phoenix

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.


Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey

Clara Humble may seem like your average fourth-grader who doesn’t look before she leaps, but she has a secret: she thinks she might have superpowers. Which is convenient, because things aren’t going so well for Clara. Students from rival R. R. Reginald are moving into her school for the term, and Clara’s favorite neighbor, Momo, is moving to a faraway retirement home.

Together with her best friend, Bradley, the winsome and overconfident Clara becomes convinced that her knack for making liquids spill, overhearing her parents’ conversations, communicating with her pet chinchilla, and maybe even mind-controlling teachers could be used to put a stop to these injustices. Sure, these “powers” may not be as impressive as built-in Wi-Fi or the ability to barf data clouds—both hacks possessed by @Cat, the bionic superhero of the comic book series Clara is creating—but they’re Clara’s best bet.

Told in Clara’s clever, funny, and strikingly authentic voice, this novel kicks off a new series by inviting readers into this memorable character’s inventive mind to share in her misadventures. Annotated with Clara’s comic sketches, it’s a fast-paced read with a spot-on perspective of life as a 10-year-old that kids will surely relate to.

Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart by Sheryl O'Loughlin

The former CEO of Clif Bar, Co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences. With a foreword by Steve Blank.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide. It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.

Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way. In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing companies (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (Stanford University). She tells it like it is: If you don’t invest in your wellbeing, your business will not succeed, nor will you.

Sheryl knows firsthand the difficulty of balancing the needs of her growing family with her physical and mental health, while managing other work and life challenges. In this warm, honest, and wise handbook, she gives you the essentials for killing it in business—without killing the rest of your life.

Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions including:
  • How do you prepare your significant other for your business venture?
  • How do you time launching and growing your business with the ebb and flow of family life?
  • How do you find joy in the day-to-day?
  • How do you maintain meaningful, supportive friendships?
  • How do you walk away and start again?
The ultimate life and business course, Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.


Forever Painless: End Chronic Pain and Reclaim Your Life in 30 Minutes a Day by Miranda Esmonde-White

End chronic pain—for good—with this practical guide from the PBS personality behind Classical Stretch and author of the New York Times bestseller Aging Backwards.

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. But the human body is not meant to endure chronic pain. Miranda Esmonde-White has spent decades helping professional athletes, ballet dancers, and Olympians overcome potentially career-ending injuries and guiding MS patients and cancer survivors toward pain-free mobility. Now, in Forever Painless, she shows everyone how to heal their aching bodies and live pain free.

The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. We need to move our bodies to refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells. Without physical activity, our cells become stagnant and decay, accelerating the aging process and causing pain. People who suffer chronic pain often become sedentary, afraid that movement and activity will make things worse, when just the opposite is true: movement is essential to healing. In Forever Painless, Miranda provides detailed instructions for gentle exercise designed to ease discomfort in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck—allowing anyone to live happier, healthier, and pain-free no matter their age.






It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

 
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