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Review: Finding Color by Candace MacPhie

After losing her mother, Candace lacks color in her life. Following her therapist’s advice, she sets out on a backpacking adventure to bring color back.

Knowing this book is based on true events, the first chapter really pulled at my heartstrings. Reading how her mother’s death left a gaping hole in her life immediately connected me to the author’s pain. I could relate to how she details the lack of color and the lack of purpose in life. 

The more I read, the more invested I became, and the more I wanted to continue reading. One particular character in the story had me screaming, “Red flag, red flag!” I was frustrated with the author for continuing to invest in and waste time with this person. However, knowing how vulnerable the author was when she started out on this journey makes sense as to why so much energy was spent on this person.

The rest of the people she meets from across the world are very interesting and unique. It felt like I was on the journey with her, not listening to a boring recount.

As much as I was ready for the next country’s adventure, it ended in the perfect spot. 

If you enjoy a fun read, this is a great choice.

Get your copy here (affiliate link – thanks for the support).

Posted in Blog, Reviews

Review: Single Mom and the City by Takiyah

Single Mom and the City is filled with practical life skills for being the best you can be.

When I was given this book, I thought it was a parenting book. However, I quickly learned that the subtitle Create Time, Money, and a Rich Life is a more accurate title. Based on the title, the author clearly had single moms in mind as the primary audience, but the book is useful to everyone – non-parents, dads, etc.

I think young adults and those just about to start their adult lives should read it because it is filled with great pointers that I had to learn the hard way. My favourite pointer was to get life insurance for your kids! When I got life insurance at 19 years old, the only thing my agent offered for the kids was a rider, but had I known to get them their own life insurance, they would be covered now. If nothing else, read that section!

Other parts that stood out were the dressing to impress and the rose and thorn. Dressing to impress is very cliche, and I am the type to go out in pajamas and be lazy, but the way the author explains it, including research, made perfect sense. And in practicality I know that she is right on point. The rose and thorn discussion was something I had never heard of before. I loved that idea and think it is an easy thing to implement.

Finally, it ends with suggested resources so the reader can continue their self-improvement journey.

Overall, I think this is a useful book and an easy read. I suggest gifting it to your teenagers who are about to become adults.

Get your copy here (affiliate link – thank you for the support).

Posted in Blog, Reviews

Review: Third Eye Initiative by JJ Newman

Tsaeris is a young boy alone in a vast city. Growing up as an orphan, he had to fend for himself. He finds himself in the city’s market district. Being caught as a thief changes the projectory of his life forever.

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This is a fun fantasy book with likeable characters. It spans a few years, and we get to see how Tsaeris grows into a young man. His character arc is my favourite part of the book. I also enjoyed many of the other characters and the vastness of the diversity within this world.

Unfortunately, there are many editing errors. They became distracting throughout the book.

However, I was still captivated by the story. It was interesting to read about a secret society that is keeping the city safe… or not… or is? No spoilers! A few parts had my jaw drop making me need to read on.

Near the end, it gave a great twist that was truly shocking. The final pages left me wanting to know what is next for the third eye.

Get your copy here (affiliate link – thanks for your support).

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Review: The Last Magdalene: Book One of the Magdalene Chronicles by Donna D. Conrad

Miriam was born to the reigning Magdalene but lost her mother to an arranged marriage. She is raised in the ways of the priestesses while her parentage is hidden from the world. Miriam wants to control her life, so she flees the safety of the temple only to be met with torment. Upon her return, she continues down the path that was destined for her.

The Last Magdalene is a historical fiction book set during the biblical era. Written from the narrative of the main character, Miriam, the readers are immersed in her world and feel her emotional turmoil. Donna D. Conrad does an amazing job creating the backdrop of Miriam’s world. The depth of her relationships with those around her catapults this story into a must-read.

I loved the depth of emotion of all of the various characters. The pain of losing those you love is not easily expressed, yet this author conveys the emotions so clearly—joy, sadness, and confusion.

At the end of the book, the author includes historical information, giving background to how she came up with concepts within the fictional world of the Last Magdalene.

If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a great read.

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Review: The Illusion of the Perfect Profession by Betsy Gall

The author shares her heart-wrenching story of love and loss. She was married to her husband for many years, had three children and thought she would have the perfect life. However, that was not to be, and her husband died by suicide, shattering her world. Betsy not only shares her feelings but discusses how doctors have a high rate of suicide.

Going into this book, I had no idea that doctors have such a high rate of suicide. After finishing the book, I understand how this can be and appreciate doctors in a new light. Doctors don’t always get to give good news; they often have to tell patients and their families that they can do nothing for them. Or try, as they might still lose the patient. I can remember the look on my doctor’s face when he not only told me I had cancer but also apologized for having to tell me. The look on his face said it before his words. 

Mental health itself carries a stigma. A doctor suffering from mental illness (in this case, depression) carries what can be perceived as a heavier stigma. They are healers, not those that need healing. Betsy mentioned a few times in the book that her husband was worried he would lose his medical license. It had never occurred to me that it could be a possibility.

Most of the book consists of the author’s personal journal entries to tell the story. She shares her thoughts and disillusions about what was happening and how she was powerless to help and wanted to help so desperately. She turned to God and her faith to get through a tragic time. Within those journal entries were gratitude entries to remind herself that even though her life was in turmoil, there were things that she could still be grateful for. Often, it included her children, but it also included the most minor things, like being able to go for a walk. When we are struggling, it can be nearly impossible to see any time of happiness. Having shared those moments of gratitude reminds the reader that we don’t have to be grateful only for significant things but for the small things that make up most of our lives.

Included within the book are quotes from other doctors and statistics about the high rate of suicide among doctors. Suicide, as a whole, is a horrible event that needs to be discussed to shed light and get help for those who require it. Discussing doctors and suicide goes beyond that with triggers that don’t usually affect the general population.

Betsy chose to make the journal entries italicized so they would be easy to identify. I have done this in the past with books, and usually, I agree with the choice. Because this book included large texts, or entire chapters, that were journal entries, I found this formatting choice to be hard on my eyes. It doesn’t take anything away from the content of the book.

My favourite thing about this book was the author’s use of the word ill/illness. So often, we hear a ‘mental health crisis,’ or we need to cope with our ‘mental health.’ The word health tends to indicate something good, whereas, with illness, we immediately know there is a need for healing. I truly appreciated that the author said her husband was ill. He was suffering from an illness that he needed help from. I think we all need to consider the choice of words that we use when describing our situations.

Overall, this is a very powerful book. There is healing in words; this book can help many others going through something similar. 

Get your copy here (affiliate link – thank you for your support).