Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Posts Tagged ‘change’

HOW TO CHANGE A LIFE: A Foodie Fiction Novel ~Stacy Ballis

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

I want to start by saying I loved reading HOW TO CHANGE A LIFE every single page!  Perfect timing, fabulously written and not the least bit insulting, as the emotions were real and appropriate and they were not acted out in petty, small or mean actions.  This is how folks can best make change and it is also very fun – very fun.

The food is amazing and I can also state that I did not gain weight while reading even though there are some of the top recipes at the end of the book and a reading group guide!   I did make the quick Lemon Chicken pasta dish for two that was made for one of the characters for a lonely Friday night and even without a recipe spelled out, it was yummy.

Stacey Ballis is the author of ten foodie novels: INAPPROPRIATE MEN, SLEEPING OVER, ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT, THE SPINSTER SISTERS, GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT, OFF THE MENU, OUT TO LUNCH, RECIPE FOR DISASTER, WEDDING GIRL, and HOW TO CHANGE A LIFE.  She is a contributing author to three nonfiction anthologies: GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS, EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, and LIVING JEWISHLY.

Author page at Amazon

Three 39 year old friends meet at their favorite teacher’s memorial service and renew their friendship.  They found each other when their birthdays were all the same week in May and those dates were used as a sorting tool for group work in high school. They have not kept in touch as well as they would have liked and now are working on revitalizing their friendship.  They all share their thoughts and one suggests that they pick out something they wish to change and accomplish before their 40th birthday celebration.  Theresa is an Italian Mother who wishes to broaden her horizons and work on finding a part time job, Lynne is a successful entrepreneur who wants to purchase a house and land a 7-figure contract, and Eloise a chef, would like to start dating after a break up and enlarge her social connections.  Each one adds a dynamic to the other’s change list and they check in on progress regularly.   They add a bet that the loser must pay $5,000 to their former teacher’s foundation funds.  The tension mounts as they work on their lists and expand their horizons.

Theresa is the negotiator who keeps the friends connected; they all speak kindly to each other and recognize their emotions readily.  They are for the most part happy to have suggestions and to help discover other options or change their thinking on most problems.  This was so encouraging to read.  None of this current “mean girls” nastiness; the three women were mature and thoughtful and recognized how their differences enhanced their relationship.   Refreshing and yet made the read dynamic and optimistic. I was encouraged and I found lots of chuckles and clever moments to capture my attention. I am giving this book to at least 3 young women for holiday and birthday gifts this year. With a little help from our true friends we can certainly change and enjoy our life more.

Roxanne-Jones, Associate Publicist at Penguin Random House

“With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis’s writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious”  -Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of BY THE NUMBERS

RELATED READING
Fudge and Jury
Family Tree
Life From Scratch

BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward.   There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives.  We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:

Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
Becalmed

BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward. There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives. We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:
Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
Becalmed

NOTE TO SELF: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth ~Laurie Buchanan, PhD

Monday, April 24th, 2017

NOTE TO SELF is the book I chose to begin the year 2017.  I have a consistent habit for the last 24 years of choosing a book that will facilitate self-realization and change within myself.  I also added the revised edition of THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF by Dr. Bruce Lipton to my studies, and procured a new spiral notebook; setting aside a time each day for this activity.  The timing must have been just right, as though I was one of the three bears or Goldilocks, and this has proven to be a superior combination of study materials and activity for me.  I have successfully made some changes that I have been longing for during the past three months.  I hope my words will be an inspiration for others to find this book for your future self to enjoy.

“The baggage we carry on life’s journey is tied to a specific self, its core characteristic, an associated wellness, and a shadow side.  These include:

  1. Self-preservation, survival, physical wellness, and self-destruction
  2. Self-gratification, pleasure, occupational wellness, and self-denial
  3. Self-definition, personal power, social wellness, and self-importance
  4. Self-acceptance, love, emotional wellness, and self-rejection
  5. Self-expression, creativity, environmental wellness, and self-repression
  6. Self-reflection, intuition, intellectual wellness, and self-absorption
  7. Self-knowledge, divine connection, spiritual wellness, and self-unawareness

“As a holistic health practitioner and transformational life coach, I work with a wide range of clients – from young children to seniors and every age in between.  My specific areas of focus are energy medicine, inner alchemy (personal transformation), and spiritual awareness. “  Laurie’s opening words.

Buchanan is a minimalist in her life and in her expressions and writing.  Extremely positive with major portions of reality and optimism; research is surrounded with anecdotal stories which combine to form opportunity to take another step and then another.  The explanations are clear with no mask of poetic confusion.  All this with appropriate quotes found in the right places. There are lots of whimsical moments that are guaranteed to bring release. The end of the book is marked by the inclusion of 365 questions to send you to your journal and pinpoint one’s thinking for a whole year of focus.

“Each ‘key’ chapter includes ten sections:

  • Mind-Body Connection
  • Color Therapy
  • Diet
  • Aromatherapy
  • Affirmations
  • The Business of Being
  • Breathwork
  • Wellness Inventory and Vitality Check
  • Action Steps
  • Personal energy Signature”

After finishing one segment I literally saw orange everywhere I looked and it gave me an insight into the South African woman who previously owed my house who was a gardener at heart.

“Creativity is more than the capacity to be inventive or innovative.  It’s more than the ability to create great works of art, music, or dance.  Creativity is an inherent tool that’s needed for wellness.”

What is your mission?  How do you love yourself?  Have you outgrown the old rules that you adhere to?  Where do you feel powerful?  What is your favorite moment of joy?  What are you holding on and carrying with you?

I have followed Laurie Buchanan on her Blog – Tuesdays With Laurie www.tuesdayswithlaurie.com for a number of years, and Laurie is the most faithful commenter on my blog reviews.  I admire her spunk, guidance, and joy filled attitude.   I highly recommend this book to all – NOTE TO SELF.

Laurie Buchanan Facebook

“While we are all passengers on a planet called Earth, we can choose to enhance the way in which we travel-emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.  In fact, we can, through the pages of this book, discover new ways to travel that are lighter, more fluid, and life-enhancing.  The author, a wise and dedicated traveler, is also the right kind of guide – caring, inspiring, uplifting, knowledgeable – for your journey of self-discovery.  I recommend this tremendous book to anyone seeking the companionship of good energy and joyful presence.”
-D.A. Hickman, author of THE SILENCE OF MORNING: A Memoir of Time Undone.

Related:
The Silence of Morning
The Myths of Happiness
New: Understanding our need for novelty and change