Book Review: Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

I can’t say enough good things about Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee.

It’s a research-based look at the aesthetics of joy, but the information is presented in a casual way that makes you feel like you’re chatting with a best friend. It’s not a heavy read by any means (rightly so, as it’s titled Joyful!) and is filled with fascinating anecdotes.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

Reading this inspired me to make a variety of changes in my own home, including making our laundry room (the way we enter our home 99% of the time) a more welcoming space, with cheerful yellow paint and inviting decor. It is SUCH a nicer way to walk in the door.

I could go on and on, but in short, this book is a must-read for anyone searching for ways to appreciate the little things in life.

The biggest takeaway for me was that, with time, we lose that childlike wonder at things that spark joy for us.

Joyful is all about owning and reclaiming those things which bring us happiness.

Book Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’m a bit torn as far as how to review this one. On the one hand, I feel like this book is really inspirational in that it shows that with enough grit and determination, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, no matter how hard.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

On the other hand, while her life being in turmoil was what led her to begin her trek, it seemed the same poor decision-making continued throughout the entire journey. I kept waiting for a significant “a-ha! moment,” but it never seemed to come. I was just baffled that someone could make so many poor choices that had led her to the trail and not come out on the other side a different person. Or maybe she did, and the book just didn’t go into everything that happened AFTER finishing the trail.

Either way, I enjoyed Strayed’s writing style and found it to be an interesting read. And one thing is for certain – she is one resilient woman. I do admire that she perservered through the many hardships she faced.

Book Review: Trust the Wolf by Zoe Ashwood

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

I read the prequel to the Shift series, Bearly Married, and absolutely loved it. So I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Trust the Wolf.


Ashwood is a brilliant writer. She has this amazing ability to pull the reader into a story and get lost in its pages. Emilia’s and Jason’s relationship unfolded in a way that felt so real, and the world-building in this story was just incredible. And there was tons of action, which I really enjoyed.

Ashwood is a brilliant writer. She has this amazing ability to pull the reader into a story and get lost in its pages. Emilia’s and Jason’s relationship unfolded in a way that felt so real, and the world-building in this story was just incredible. And there was tons of action, which I really enjoyed.

I also loved how she connected this book to the prequel. Even though they can be read independently of each other, she wove the stories together beautifully.

Trust the Wolf has much more steam than I’m used to reading, so I did find myself having to skip a few pages here and there. But the story was SO compelling I didn’t mind – and for fans of this genre, that will be a big plus anyway. Just keep in mind this isn’t a YA read. 😉

I think Ashwood is a writer to watch for sure. If you like steamy paranormal reads, you will fall in love with her stories.

Book Review: The Purple Haze by Andrew Einspruch

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

The Purple Haze is a fantastic, family-friendly fantasy adventure.

It’s appropriate for both upper Middle Grade and YA readers and is just good ol‘ clean fun.

The worldbuilding is impressive. And I realize this sounds like an odd thing to say, but one of my favorite parts of the book was the names of the various villages. You’ll see what I mean once you read it. 🙂

You can tell Einspruch put a lot of love and care into writing this adventure, and you’ll fall in love with Princess Eloise, Jerome and her other companions. The action really ramped up in the last quarter of the book, and while there is a cliffhanger, it’s a good one.

Click here to grab your copy today.

Note: I was provided with a copy of The Purple Haze by the author, but I am voluntarily writing this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

You can get a free copy of the prequel, The Wombanditos, by joining the author’s newsletter. Just CLICK HERE.

Missed my review of The Wombanditos? You can read the original post here.

The New Paranormal Romance Series You Need to Read Before Everyone Else

Please note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you click through and make a purchase – at no additional cost to you!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know that to say I’m obsessed with vampire books is a massive understatement (after all, I am writing an entire vampire series right now!).

But when I saw the cover for Bearly Married, the prequel novella to the Shift series, I just had to pick up a copy. And I’m so glad that I did because I may have just stumbled upon a new favorite author!

As the name and cover suggest, Bearly Married is a story about bear shifters. But really, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful romance between Christine and the swoon-worthy Alexandre. You’ll be rooting for them from the start, and while the romance was my favorite part, there are some great action scenes, too! (There is definitely some steam, so be aware of that before picking up a copy. )

I don’t know if other readers struggle with this, but a lot of times when I pick up a book, it takes a good few chapters to get in the flow of the author’s writing. But this was NOT the case with this book. The writing flows so smoothly that I found myself totally lost in the story.

If the rest of this series is half as good as the prequel, readers will not be able to devour it fast enough. I can’t wait to read Trust the Wolf next! I guess I’m officially a fan of shifter books now. 🙂

Oh. And best of all? You can read Bearly Married for free by joining Ashwood’s newsletter.

The YA Paranormal Romance You Need To Read Immediately

V Games is the first book in Caroline Peckham’s exciting YA paranormal romance series The Vampire Games. And let me tell you – I absolutely loved it.

Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical.

But y’all

After reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in its own totally unique way.

The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough.

If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

Enjoy this review? Check out my other book reviews here.

Books to Motivate You in the New Year

We all strive to be the best versions of ourselves. We want to find success in whatever we do. The question is… how?

This is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about lately. Not only do I want to take my author career to the next level…

I want to take my life to the next level.

In recent months, I’ve spent countless hours listening to podcasts and reading up on self-improvement, particularly as it relates to business. And I found the following three books especially inspiring.

I want to share them with you today because I truly believe you will get a lot out of them.

I believe I first heard about High Performance Habits on one of Rachel Hollis’ podcasts. I’m so glad I checked it out.

It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a to-do list of exactly what habits you need to implement in order to become successful ( like wake up at 5:00 a.m., meditate for 10 minutes a day, etc.).

Instead, it was more of a guide to help you discern your priorities and build your own habits around them.

My favorite part about the book was where Burchard explained the importance of weekly chek-ins. As he put it, “If you aren’t consistently measuring the major areas of your life, then you couldn’t possibly know what the balance you seek is or not.”

His technique is something I have begun implementing, and it definitely is making me more aware of how much attention I’m actually putting toward the things that matter most in life.

Funny enough, I actually worked in real estate for a bit. And Keller Williams was my brokerage. As in Gary Keller – the author of The One Thing. I remember everyone talking about how great this book was, but for whatever reason, I never actually read it.

I’m kicking myself now.

This book is powerful.  Yes, you can probably imagine the gist of it by the title. But believe me when I say that the examples and explanations Gary Keller provides are eye-opening and worth reading for yourself.

It will help you in all areas of your life, not just business.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success.

I have so much respect for this man. He is one of the hardest working people ever. Steve Harvey does a daytime TV show, Family Feud, his radio show, books, etc. If I remember correctly, I believe in the book he said he starts his day at 3:15 a.m.! I still don’t fully understand how he does it. It’s all I can do to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to write.

Through sharing stories from his own life, Steve Harvey will fill you with motivation to go after your dreams with all your heart. And I especially loved the end of this book where he discussed the importance of using your success to help elevate others.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful. I personally found these books to be incredibly inspiring, and I have no doubt that you will get a lot out of them, too.

Book Review: The One by Kiera Cass

The third book in The Selection series did not disappoint.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

If you enjoyed The Selection and The Elite, you’ll find The One to be a great conclusion to America’s and Maxon’s story.

While I expected the dystopian element to play a larger part in things, this series is definitely more of a romance than anything else. I thought I had the ending figured out, but while there is an HEA, the way it played out was shocking. The action really ramped up, which made for a page-turning ending.

This series is a great little mindless read. It’s fun and entertaining and a fun escape.

Haven’t read it yet? CLICK HERE to grab your copy.

If you enjoyed The Selection series, then you might also enjoy my Fate Abandoned series featuring a rebellious princess and a dangerously charming outlaw.

And finally, if you read The Selection series, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

Book Review: The Wombanditos

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

The Wombanditos is unlike anything I’ve read – in the best way possible. In a novelette, author Andrew Einspruch has managed to create a whimsical yet believable world inhabited by an OCD princess and her talking chipmunk companion Jerome (who was my favorite character!). Together, they set off on an adventure – and run into trouble along the way. Princess Eloise is kidnapped, and it’s up to her and Jerome to outsmart her captors – the Wombanditos.

I actually found myself smiling as I read this story. There have been plenty of books lately that have made me teary-eyed, but I can’t remember the last time I SMILED while reading. It’s one of those books that’s a great little escape.

Though this story can stand alone, it is the perfect teaser for the series. While it’s technically a YA book, it can certainly be enjoyed by a younger audience as there is no violence or graphic language. As a parent, it’s always nice to come across a fun story that can be enjoyed by all ages.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

You can get a free copy of The Wombanditos by joining Andrew Einspruch’s Reader Group! Just CLICK HERE.

 

Note: I was provided with a copy of The Wombanditos by the author, but I am voluntarily writing this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

Enjoy this post? You might also like:
Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

Books That Will Change Your Life

As a YA sci-fi and fantasy author, I don’t think it’s any secret that I love reading books in those genres. But in-between the fiction books, I love reading books that help me understand myself better, open my heart and give me the tools to grow as a person.

So today, I’m sharing a selection of books that have made an impact on my life in one way or another. I hope you find them as healing and transformative as I did.

Note: These images are affiliate links, which means that I get a small amount of money if you click through and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m guessing you’ve probably heard of this one. Julia Roberts even starred in a movie based on this one. This book is all about healing and reflection.  Through masterful storytelling, Elizabeth Gilbert takes us along on her journey of self-discovery – changing us, too, in the process.

 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is one of my all-time favorite books. I recommend it to everyone. Technically it was written for creatives, but honestly, this should be required reading for EVERYONE. It’s all about finding the courage to pursue your calling and put in the work to make things happen. It is the most motivating book I have ever read, and I find myself quoting it to myself when I’m in need of some encouragement. Honestly, I never would have published any of my books without it.

I first learned about this book during an interview the author did with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday show. If the book’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me.

 

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This book was one of those books that touches your heart in unexpected ways. I honestly didn’t have any idea what this one would be about, but Emma Watson recommended it as part of her Our Shared Shelf book club on Goodreads, and something told me to give it a shot. The first 50 pages or so dragged a bit, but once I got past the author explaining her credentials and going into the actual storytelling, I was blown away. Women Who Run with the Wolves analyzes various folklores and fairy tales and extracts the hidden wisdom within. Trying to summarize it or explain it just doesn’t do it justice. But I promise it’s worth reading, especially if you’re a woman.

 

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai


I am in complete awe of this young woman. Of course, I’d heard her story countless times on the news, but short news segments do not do her tale justice. The book provides so much more context as far as what was going on in Pakistan at the time, her family life and how her father influenced her worldview. In order to fully appreciate the story of this brave young woman who stood up to the Taliban, you need to read this. I dare you to do so and not to be inspired. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated what a gift education really is until I read this book.

 

I could go on and on about the many non-fiction books that have shaped me, but these three have made the biggest impact.

What are some of your all-time favorite books? The ones that have touched your heart and changed you?

Let me know in the comments below.

Books have the ability to inspire and transform us. Today, I'm sharing books that will change your life and touch your heart.  Books have the ability to inspire and transform us. Today, I'm sharing books that will change your life and touch your heart.  Books have the ability to inspire and transform us. Today, I'm sharing books that will change your life and touch your heart.  Books have the ability to inspire and transform us. Today, I'm sharing books that will change your life and touch your heart.  Books have the ability to inspire and transform us. Today, I'm sharing books that will change your life and touch your heart.