7 Recommended Reads for Holiday Gift Giving

7 Recommended Reads for Holiday Gift Giving

Do you have avid readers on your shopping list with a variety of interests?

Here are seven suggestions for holiday gift giving:

  1. Magnetic Love by Jennie Lynn

Magnetic Love is a magical guide to creating the life of your dreams. Enhanced by the author’s conversational style and courage in sharing her own spiritual journey, it is anchored in real results and timeless truths. I’ve been a student of spiritual laws and an avid reader of personal development books for years. Yet Jennie Lynn’s Magnetic Love resonated with me in new and unexpected ways. I felt as if I developed a relationship with the author because I can relate to so much of her story, from her frustration with doing everything right (or so she thought), only to receive the opposite of what she wanted, to learning how to truly and deeply love herself and appreciate her body.

In easy-to-understand language, Jennie explains the importance of recognizing and shifting paradigms (stubborn belief systems embedded in our subconscious minds) and becoming the vibration of the things and people we want to attract. Throughout, she shares practical exercises and online resources she has developed to help her readers transform their lives. Each chapter ends with a place for handwritten notes, along with prompts to help you glean your most important lessons and insights from what you have just read. As suggested by the title, the book features plenty of practical wisdom, based on spiritual laws, to help you find your Soul Mate, while making a clear distinction between romantic love and other various forms of this multi-dimensional energy — the most powerful force in the world. If you’re seeking to understand and apply the Laws of the Universe to arrive at a true understanding of who you really are, I highly recommend Magnetic Love (and Jennie Lynn) as your partner in manifesting all that you desire!

Purchase Magnetic Love here.

Listen to my interview with author Jennie Lynn below:

2. The Mentor in Me by William Todd

William’s honesty in sharing his journey in such an engaging way makes you feel as if he’s a good friend. It also brings him down to earth: in spite of his amazing success as an entrepreneur, he still struggled with his own fears, negative thoughts, and embedded paradigms. Becoming Bob Proctor’s protege is a humbling experience, yet one he embraces fully — at least in the beginning. As suggested by the subtitle, What To Do & What Not To Do, William describes his resistance to taking his mentor’s advice, “the times when, to his detriment, he failed to make the most of opportunities presented.”

The book’s chapters are organized according to the Seven Levels of Awareness – the process we all undergo as life unfolds. William explains each level, supporting its premise with real life examples of how he demonstrated a particular behavior, for good or ill. Each chapter closes with his Mentor’s MessageWhat To Do / What Not To Do (questions to consider), and Words of Wisdom.

It’s organization and ease of reading, combined with the author’s genuine tone makes The Mentor In Me a practical guide for improving every aspect of your life and becoming the person you were meant to be. No wonder why Bob Proctor calls it “a book you form a relationship with.” It’s overall 5-star rating on Amazon is well-deserved.

Watch Bob Proctor discuss the book below.

Spanish speaking readers on your list? El Mentor En Mi is now available on Amazon.com.

3. Cadain’s Watch by Daniella Bova

In Cadáin’s Watch, her final installment in the Storms of Transformation Series, author Daniella Bova delivers a powerful rejoinder to the forces of control and oppression. Having read the first two books and followed her characters through their harrowing ordeals as little by little, their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are stripped away, I was thrilled to see them fight back against a soulless bureaucracy — with a little assistance from the warrior angel Cadáin, whose presence adds a welcome supernatural element to the story. Bova also introduces a new major character in the form of Michael Wallace, whose reunion and subsequent telepathic relationship with his son enhances the plot. Even the character of Michelle has grown up considerably in Cadáin’s Watch, at last demonstrating courage and resolve, rather than dissolving into tears over every outrage. As per the author’s style, I enjoyed reading the story from the perspectives of multiple characters and appreciated the fact that for some of the story’s evil-doers, actions do indeed have fatal consequences. Her descriptions of a godless, dystopian society that exists within the remnants of what was once the greatest country on earth — including horrific gulags, forced sterilizations of women over a certain age, and diabolical experiments on children, gave me chills. It also filled me with gratitude that real life seems to be imitating art as Americans, much like Jason, Michelle, Brad, Michael and others in Cadáin’s Watch, have finally said, “enough.” In the case of Bova’s book, that final stand takes place in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, where her descriptions of the natural scenery offer a welcome contrast to the tension infused throughout the novel. And while the future remains uncertain, the author leaves us with hope that all individuals with the will and desire to live free, as deemed by their Creator, will find a way as long as they look to him for guidance. Congratulations to Daniella Bova on another outstanding accomplishment!

Buy the book here. Watch the book trailer below.

4. Remembering Eternity by Richard Maddox

In Remembering Eternity, gifted author Richard Maddox takes the reader on a sensory journey of self-discovery and enlightenment while evoking nostalgia for the innocence of youth. His enchanting prose and relatable characters draw you in as you follow main character Skylar through his various life transitions and search for deeper meaning. Juxtaposing time zones, the authors switches back and forth from the older, wiser Sklyar navigating his way from the pinnacle of success (as defined by western society) to his spartan new life as a divorced dad – to the young boy who delights in the simple pleasures of his Midwestern childhood until the layers of the illusion of a happy home peel away to reveal the underlying heartbreak and dysfunction. Yet Skylar remains a thoughtful observer and participant in life, savoring the “small things” like the beauty of a sunset over the Pacific Ocean and discovering truths from the spiritual Masters. Beautifully written, Remembering Eternity is a mesmerizing tale with a higher purpose: to impart metaphysical knowledge and an understanding of who we really are. I’m looking forward to reading Richard’s next book!

Listen to my interview with Richard below. Purchase the book here.

5. Amy Lynn: Into the Fire by Jack July

In the fourth installment of his Amy Lynn Series, Jack July continues his tradition of excellent storytelling. Into the Fire balances international intrigue, man’s inhumanity to man, and the relentless pursuit of justice with heart-pounding action, moral dilemmas, and palpable human emotion. As with his previous books, the pages of Amy Lynn: Into the Fire are infused with rich characterizations and love of God, family, community and country. The pacing, which juxtaposes multiple subplots and time-frames (expertly tied together in the end), along with cliff-hangers within the chapters, compels you to keep reading. I especially enjoyed the exploration of PTSD and the fine line between justice and revenge, as portrayed by Amy’s sessions with Dr. Earle in a country retreat in the mountains of West Virginia. My favorite character, Uncle Jack, takes a prominent role in Into the Fire, with the author drawing upon the character’s harrowing past, which is a formidable influence on his present actions in the aftermath of a chilling event that hits too close to home. Whether you’ve read the entire series or have just discovered the works of Jack July, you’ll love Amy Lynn: Into the Fire. If it’s your first exposure to Black Oak Alabama and its residents, you’ll be inspired to read the previous books. If, like me, you’ve been following the adventures of Amy Lynn and the Braxton family from the beginning, you’ll look forward to the next installment. Congratulations on another fine effort Jack!

Purchase the book here.

6. Gypsy Energy Secrets by Milana Perepyolkina

Healer, psychic, and spiritual guide, Milana Perepyolkina became a writer in order to share the ancient wisdom and magic of her Romani ancestry that she uses every day to make a difference in the lives of others. Having suffered throughout her life from countless physical and emotional ailments, Milana found that reconnecting with the energetic world allowed her to completely heal, transcend her troubles, and live a happy and more fulfilled life. In sharing that wisdom, Milana saw the powerful impact that the simplest techniques could make in transforming the lives of others. She wrote Gypsy Energy Secrets with the hope that her valuable knowledge could be spread to all those whom she could not personally reach. Milana continues to embrace a lifestyle of consciousness, spirituality, and happiness, and seizes any opportunity to share her wisdom with others through personal consultations and readings. She presents a comprehensive approach to heightened well-being, focusing on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements. It is the mindful attention to each element that turns any day, no matter how bad, into a good day.

Listen to my interview with Milana below. Purchase the book on Amazon.

7. Lost Found & Rewired: Mind Tools to Shift You from Stressed and Frazzled to Calm and Vital by Cynthia Dougherty, Ph.D

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. The world has changed at lightning speed over the last two decades. As a result, most of us are living our lives in a frantic blur of incessant emails, social media engagement, text messages as well as an over-abundance of multi-tasking – which leaves our minds in a state of low concentration, high stress and fragmented attention. Our minds are wasting away in this damaging environment which has become a normal way of life for the majority of people. Lost, Found & Rewired will give you the tools you need to shut off that distracting mind chatter, rewire your brains so you can get back to feeling calm, happy, purposeful, connected and joyful. When you understand how your brain has evolved, then you will be able to learn how to re-wire it and reap the endless benefits.

Written by a neuro-psychologist, but taught in language that everyone can understand.

Listen to my interview with Cynthia below. Purchase the  book on Amazon

Happy Shopping and Reading!

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How to Write a Quality Book Review

How to Write a Quality Book Review

Since authors spend a great deal of time and effort on their books, writing a review is one of the best ways to show your appreciation and offer constructive feedback to help them improve their craft. For potential readers, a thoughtful review can mean the difference between purchasing a book or clicking onto the next title in their search for a good read.

But what comprises a quality book review?

First, let’s talk about what constitutes a bad book review. No, I’m not referring to legitimate criticism of characters, plot, pacing, writing, or any other vital aspect of a compelling story. I’m talking about generic reviews like, “I loved the book!” or “Wow, this is excellent!” or “This book is a must-read!” that omit any substantive descriptions as to why the reviewer is offering such effusive praise.

Conversely, the same principle applies to pithy one-or-two sentence reviews like, “Awful book!” “I can’t believe anyone would write this drivel!” or “Don’t waste your time reading.”

Either way, the reviewer does the author and his or her potential readers a disservice by omitting specifics. Whether you love or hate a book (or fall somewhere in-between), here are some guidelines on how to write an effective, useful review for both authors and readers.

  1. Demonstrate You Have Actually Read the Book– sounds counter-intuitive, but I’m not advocating that reviewers should give away spoilers. However, it is possible to mention a few specifics about what you liked about the main character, themes, narration, dialogue, etc. What did you like or dislike about the protagonist or supporting characters? Why did the plot draw you in? Was the book thought-provoking? Edgy? Enlightening? Why?  Even if you select just one aspect and explain why it had an impact on you (either positively or negatively), it will demonstrate your knowledge of the book.
  2. Offer a Balanced Perspective– as I mentioned, a great deal of time and energy goes into the production of a book. Whether you rate it 5-stars or 3-stars (more on that further down the post), point out specifically what the author does well and the areas in which he or she could improve. Is the dialogue stilted but the prose captivating? Say so. Is the pacing too slow? Too fast? Explain why and give an example. Is a character well defined or one-dimensional? Offer a specific example that supports your opinion.
  3. Limit Your Review to One-to-Three Paragraphs– for maximum impact, keep it pithy. Select a few qualities about the book that stood out to you, whether it involves a secondary character, a particular scene, or the overarching themes. Again, you don’t want to give away spoilers; you want to focus on your most indelible impressions of the book. No one wants to read a lengthy, rambling review, and from a copywriting/marketing perspective, such reviews do more harm that good. The objective is to provide constructive criticism/praise to better inform the author and prospective readers.
  4. Give the Author at Least 3 Stars– here I am taking my cue from my friend and author Daniella Bova, who states at her blog DaniellaBova.com, “Authors put their heart and soul into their writing, so I will never give any book less than 3 stars. I just won’t review it at all.” Words to live by. If you really hate a book for whatever reason (poorly written, plot holes, undeveloped characters, etc.), it’s best to heed our mothers’ advice while growing up, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In such a case, I recommend contacting the author directly and privately (if they’ve made their email public or have a public FB page where you can message them) and sharing your thoughts. By doing so, you’ll be helping them improve while saving them the embarrassment of a 1-or 2-star public review. Do unto others, as you’d have done to you, after all.

A while back I received positive feedback on a book review I posted for the book Soul Mates & Angels. The person who read it complimented me for following the guidelines I’ve outlined above, instead of posting a generic opinion. She even used it in a promotional email she sent out on behalf of the author, Betty RaeI’m posting it here as an example:

This beautiful story drew me in from the moment I began reading. Written in the first person, its tone is at once hopeful, joyful, inquisitive, and thoughtful. Blessed with a supernatural ability to communicate with angels, the main character Anita Lyn Riley struggles to reconcile the mundane aspects of her life — from high school bullies to adolescent crushes — with the knowledge that evil exists everywhere, not just in some far away places.

On a personal level, she knows what it feels like to be misunderstood and feared for being different. When we first meet Anita, she is adapting to her new public high school, having upset the religious sensibilities of the priests and nuns at her former Catholic institution with her tales of reincarnation and otherworldly visions. As the book unfolds, her journey becomes progressively more difficult as circumstances force her to take courageous stands for justice, spurred on by righteous anger.

Filled with endearing characters and thought-provoking insights, Soul Mates & Angels celebrates the unbreakable bond that exists between all humans as children of God, the power of good to overcome evil, and the unseen realm where angels and loved ones are always there to help us.

Happy reading…and writing (book reviews)!

Do you need help with self-publishing, editing, ghostwriting or copywriting?

Contact me here.

Read the reviews of my book, Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal, here, where you can also preview and purchase it in paperback or Kindle.

 

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