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Friday, March 23, 2018

Knights Who Stole My Heart (Knight Series Book 2) by Sonya Jesus - Book Review

Published: February 28, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 290


Summary



Amelia is back and still in romantic limbo.

Connor still shows the promise of a new, unscathed future. Lia loves the idea, but can she follow through with what he wants? And then there is the baggage that he brings. He’s best buds with Jaime, Meg’s sister, which is a major hit against him.

Then there’s Robins, Lia’s BFF. He’s sexy and he knows her heart from the inside, but he belongs to Meg and he’s not even faithful to her! But why does it seem like their relationship has changed lately?
The soccer gods have come out of the wood work. Since when have they been friends with Lia? She didn’t even think they had ever noticed her!

Throw in Mason and we have an absolute catastrophe!



Hawk is still hiding on the sidelines. He’s still waiting for the day that he will make Lia his Queen. Lia thinks she has problems now, but Hawk is convinced that once they are together, they will never have another problem. He has planned for any that may arise though. He will do anything to be sure of that.
Who knew life at Westbrook could be so eventful? This is definitely going to top Medieval Week! But someone is still pranking Lia. Someone is trying to send her a message. It could be anyone. Is it really a prank? Or will Lia be soon be history?





My Thoughts
Sonya Jesus has done it again! I actually think I like this book even better than the first! Check out my thoughts on Knights After My Heart (Knight Series Book 1) here

From the first pages, I was drawn back in to the story of Lia and Hawk. I love the feel of reading two separate yet completely entwined stories. The author seamlessly blends the two points of view without ever repeating unnecessary details.
I am completely engrossed with Lia’s love life! I so think she should pick….wait, I can’t tell you! Not until you've read it yourself!

The reader gets to see more of Lia’s Vixen and Angel in this book. Those two are seriously fun and seriously relateable! Every girl should be as in touch with their Vixen and Angel!



Hawk’s perspective keeps the reader on edge and constantly trying to figure out his next move.
The hardest part about reading this book was that I moved right in the middle of reading it! After moving all day (and wanting to do nothing more than read this book), I finally snuggled into bed and was ready to read, but my body was so exhausted, I couldn’t! It. Was. Miserable! I started sneaking away to read when I should have been working!

I highly recommend this novel. It is not a stand-alone. It is necessary to read the first novel for the background knowledge, but completely worth it!

Pick up your copy below, then comment your thoughts. I can’t wait to here them! Also, who is your vote for Lia’s knight in shining armor? Do you think she’ll live to choose? 

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in return for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own.


Knights Who Stole My Heart by Sonya Jesus:  Purchase your copy here

Connect with Sonya Jesus on Facebook here

Sonya Jesus on Goodreads


Friday, March 16, 2018

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway: TRIP by T. Torrest!




TRIP is FINALLY here ya'll!!!

I am thrilled to introduce you to an exclusive excerpt from TRIP! This is the brand new book from the Remember When series by T. Torrest. Layla and Trip are back at it, only this time we hear Trip's side of the story! The Remember When series is one of my top ranked series! I legit hear songs that I deem worthy of the movie soundtrack still! I read this series over a year ago and I STILL do this! (When you start making the movie, keep me in mind!) 

If you haven't read the Remember When series, I highly recommend it! (Links to buy below)


Here is my excerpt from TRIP by the amazing T. Torrest!

Excerpt
  
 By the time the bell rang, I’d solidified my place in the Alpha group. For all the places I’ve ever lived in, the formula for popularity was always the same. All it ever took was a little bit of confidence and a whole lot of ballbusting.
   Momjokes. The universal language no matter where you went.  
   Rymer came with me to pit-stop at my locker so I could grab a notebook for English class.
   “So, hey,” he said. “You play any sports?”
   “Yeah. Hockey.” I grabbed my notebook and checked my back pocket to make sure I still had my pen. “I’m checking out the Shermer Heights rink after school. Is it any good?”
   “Definitely. Hey, the bell’s gonna ring, but I’ll see you sixth period.”
   I’d already compared schedules with everyone at the lunch table and found that Rymer and I had study hall together after my next class. “Yep.”
   “And you’ve got Mason now, right?”
   “Yeah.”
   “Heh. Good luck with that.” He snickered out an evil laugh as he started walking backwards, disappearing into the crush of kids barreling their way down the hall. “She’s tough, man. You’d better watch your ass with her. Just a heads up.”
   “Noted. Thanks.”


Summary

The year is 1990. Big hair and Bon Jovi, muscle cars and rock n roll set the stage for this novel. 

Trip Wilmington is the new kid in town, again. He is used to moving from city to city, and making new friends as he goes. It's his normal. He's fits in quickly with the popular crowd at Saint Nicetuis, just like his last school. There is one thing he isn't counting on at his new school, Layla Warren. 

Layla is different than any girl he's ever met. But of course, she has baggage and his name is Cooper Benedict. Coop is her on-again/off-again boyfriend. He's not interested in making room for a newby in town. 

As Trip finds his way in his new school for his final year of high school, he will learn a lot about friendship, life and most importantly, love. 

This is the story of Trip Wiley, famous actor, before he was Trip Wiley, from HIS point of view. 

My Thoughts

I have waited SO long for this book! I have obsessed over the Remember When series for over a year! This book was amazing! It lived up to all of my expectations, for real! 

I loved hearing the Trip/Layla story from his point of view. This novel fills in the gaps from the first series. This novel is filled with the same awesome writing style and passion. I just can't get enough! 

If you haven't read the Remember When series, please do! It is every teenage girl's fantasy written down in a book! Seriously! There are a lot of  80's/90's references making it just that much more fun to read. I mean, I hadn't thought about strolling the aisles of a movie rental store in ages! Which one makes me sound older? The fact that I know what a movie rental store is? Or the fact that I said "ages"? Either way, amazing book to follow an already amazing series. 500 star rating from me. 

Trip and Layla are my couple. I love them. They are relate-able and deep. They are a hot, passionate mess. They are beautiful, unpredictable and so much more. 

I do recommend this book for 18 and older. 

Giveaway

Be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a $50 gift card & more!






Next Stop on the Blog Tour:

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this novel in return for my honest review. All opinions and statements above are my own. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Knights After My Heart by Sonya Jesus - Book Review

Knights After My Heart by Sonya Jesus - Book Review
Genre: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance,
Thriller, Mystery, Supsense
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Summary:

Amelia, aka Lia, is a junior at Westbrook University. Lia spends her time watching the soccer gods, studying and of course eating! Life has gotten weird lately though. She has a new potential boyfriend, Connor. The problem is that Lia doesn't really do relationships. She's been hurt before and doesn't care for it to happen again.

She also has Robins. Robins is her super hot BFF (sounds awful, right?) and their relationship oozes with sexual tension (even more awful, right??).  Add Robins to the equation and let the chaos ensue!

The soccer gods have been acting weird lately too. Maybe there is something going on that Lia doesn't know about? Then again, she does start getting strange gifts and phone calls. It kind of feels like someone is watching her...

Little does Lia know, there is someone watching her. Hawk has deemed Lia his "Queen" and he refuses to let anyone come between them, especially not Connor. Hawk is just waiting for the time to be right to bring home his Queen. Then they can be together forever.

Rating: 5 stars

My thoughts:

Knights After My Heart is Sonya Jesus's debut novel. She did a wonderful job. Jesus writes the novel from two very different perspectives: Lia and Hawk.

Lia is a very likable character. She loves boys, her friends, and cake. She has an inner vixen and angel that often converse, and sometimes take over (I think every girl deserves to hear from those two every once in a while!). 

I still have some questions about Hawk. He is one mysteriously creepy dude! He kept the suspense high while manipulating everyone to fit perfectly into his plans. 

When I started this novel, I had no idea what to expect. It didn't take long before I was roped in and trying to sneak in extra reading time! The story line kept me guessing throughout this romantic thriller. I found myself twirling my hair and trying to determine the possible motives for the many in depth characters. Each player is part of a much larger game with Lia being the pawn. 

I can't wait to delve into the next book in the series. I. Must. Know. What. Happens! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below. 

If you love hearing from me, follow me by email subscription. I'd be forever grateful!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel in return for my honest review. All opinions and statements above are my own.

Purchase a copy of your own below on Amazon. 





Monday, February 26, 2018

An Unnatural Beanstalk (Entwined Tales - Vol. 2) by Brittany Fichter - Book Review

Image result for an enchanted beanstalk entwined fairy tales
Publication Date: February 12, 2018
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fiction, Adventure, Romance

Summary:
Eva has always been the quietest of her sisters. She tries to go unnoticed, but her height makes that impossible. She shies away from love and life, except in her music. She has a love for the harp specifically. All of her dreams revolve around her music. Just when her dreams are beginning to come true, a good deed sends her spiraling out of control. As the old saying goes, "No good deed goes unnoticed." 

The next thing Eva knows, her music is a curse to her and everyone around her, and she's been kidnapped and betrothed to an utterly despicable man. 

Will she be able to bring her music back to life and find the man of her dreams? Or will life become a dreary, submissive place for Eva?

Rating: 5 stars

My Thoughts:
I must admit, my initial thoughts when I started this book were not great. My opinions were not based on the author, or even the cover (the cover is amazing btw!). My thoughts were purely based on my lack of interest in the original tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. I can't really say why, it has just never been a fave of mine. 

Back to An Unnatural Beanstalk, it was awesome! I genuinely enjoyed reading this novel. I love the main character, Eva. She is feminine and self-conscious yet also strong and determined, a beautiful combination.  I enjoyed each new plot twist as they came and it kept me yearning to read more. 

This was another quick read for me. I love that, but I also miss the characters once I'm done. This is one of the joys of the Entwined Tales series. The characters make appearances in each novel, so I don't feel like they are completely gone just yet. I am reading them completely out of order, but it does not take away from the tales at all. Each can be stand alone, but it is recommended to read them in order. What can I say? I guess I'm a rule breaker.  Check out my thoughts on A Bear'sA Bear's Bride (Entwined Tales - Vol. 2)

I would love to hear your opinion of this book in the comments below. 

If you are looking to purchase a copy of your own, please click on the link. 

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book digitally in return for my honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. 




Here are the rest of the Entwined Tales novels for your pleasure!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Bear's Bride (Entwined Tales - Vol. 3) by Shari L. Tapscott - Book Review

A Bear's Bride: A Retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (Entwined Tales Book 3) by [Tapscott, Shari L.]
Publication Date: February 19, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance, Fantasy

Summary:

Sophia is the feisty middle child of a farmer. She longs for excitement and adventure, but her father wants her to settle down and marry. She is determined to rebel against him. 

When her original plan to marry her friend, and her father's foe, goes awry she decides to run away. With no further plans, she soon realizes that she will need help. 

Sophia calls upon her family's fairy godfather, Mortimer. The problem with Mortimer is that he doesn't care for Sophia. She asks him for help, but Mortimer has a plan of his own. 

Sophia is swiftly transported from her home in Astoria to the land of Briadell where she is introduced to Henri. Mortimer tells her that Henri will solve both of their problems. 

Sophia finds herself placed right in the middle of a decades old curse, a bear and scheming trolls, but there is something so irresistible about Henri. Will fate give them the blessing of happily ever after? Or will Sophia remain lost and longing for more?

Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy a good fairy tale retelling. I have enjoyed many and this one is now added to my list of faves. To be quite honest, I have never heard of the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun West of the Moon. I think this made it even more fun for me! I love to learn!

This novella was a great quick read. It was light and airy. I like Sophia's strong willed character. She reminded me of a younger version of me. 

The plot kept me interested and was well written with a good mix of adventure and romance.  

This book is part of a series, however, I read this novella first. They can be read as stand alone, but there is a recommended order. I'll let you know my thoughts on the order a bit more once I've read another. 

I highly recommend this book! I look forward to reading more in the Entwined Tales series. 

If you would like a copy of your own, check out the links below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them once you've read them in the comments. 

Also, if you would like me to review a specific book, I'd love to hear from you! Enjoy!

Disclaimer:

I was given an advanced digital copy of this book in return for my honest review. All opinions and statements above are my own. 




More from the Entwined Tales series:





Friday, February 16, 2018

Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane - Book Review


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 
Date: January 10, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Summary:

Rose, Hazel, and Sophia are three very different women who living in a man's world during WWI. They are about to take action and change the entire war.


Rose has recently lost her husband, Peter, to the war. She learns of his secret life just before his death.  Sophia is in love with a Jewish man. In order to keep him safe, she must risk her own life. Hazel is engaged to John. John has enlisted to fight the war with the Germans and she must wave goodbye to him again.

Each woman wants to help the war. Each have encountered their own version of heartbreak. They refuse to let this war batter them. Instead, each turns their tears into motivation. Now, how to get started. The resistance needs women like them. Women aren't expected to be spies. With the Germans on high alert, the women are only given a 50-50 chance of making it back home. 

It isn't long before their stories intertwine. They're cell smuggles weapons in and people out of France. Hazel is one of the best radio operators around. Sophia is nick named "The Fox" for being undetectable, and Rose is one awesome and dedicated spy. Each has been trained to say nothing to the enemy and all have the ability to end their life, if the need arises. 

Their country needs their help. They have to do whatever it takes to stop this senseless war. France will never be the same. They will be the women everyone whispers about. Three women willing to do whatever it takes, but will it be enough? Will all they've sacrificed be worth it?

My rating: 
5 Stars

My Thoughts:

What an amazing book!!

At first glance, I was drawn in by the beautiful cover art. It is absolutely stunning! 

I began reading and quickly fell in love with Rose, Hazel, and Sophia. Each character so different and beautifully developed. I love the empowering movement they each take. Each is heartbroken, but refuses to give the Germans the satisfaction of winning. They take the term "boss babe" to the next level!

As each woman risked her life for others, they also have their own emotions they are battling. The romance in the midst of the war is an emotion many still know today. I myself was in the military. We were a dual military couple, meaning we were both enlisted at the same time. I had to be a sailor and a single parent when my husband was on deployment. It is so hard to be the one at home, but it is even harder to be the one in battle. These women were dreaming of their loved ones, unsure of their fate, wishing it would all be over so they could go home. 

The novel had a great mix of romance, history and suspense. I loved it! I never felt there was a lull in the reading. I would have read the whole book in one sitting if I didn't have to adult every day. Adulting is hard, reading is better.

I did not even know that women like this truly existed. I have already begun research of my own on the topic. I am learning that there were so many secrets to the war.

I highly recommend this book! It won't let you down. 

Purchase your own copy below. Once you've read it, let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, if you'd like me to review a specific book, I'd love to hear from you!
Happy weekend everyone!

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for my honest review. The statements above are my own. 





Friday, January 26, 2018

Quote of the Day

Success in relationships



Friday. It's finally here! As I sit reflecting on all that has happened this week, I wanted to share a book quote with you that I thought you'd enjoy. First I want to share some about me. 

My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years. We met when we were 19 and 20 years old in the United States Navy. We were both fresh out of boot camp and completing our specialized trainings. There is a term for couples like us. In the Navy, if you meet under these circumstances, it is called an A-School love. There is a negative connotation to this term. It's like saying we were experiencing "Puppy Love". Through the years, we've had many people doubt that we would last. But here we are, still standing and probably stronger than ever. 



Recently, we were with friends and someone asked, "What's your secret?" My husband immediately answered, with a straight face, "Stamina". 

The reactions to this varied. I shot him a funny look, several others laughed. He remained straight faced. This was his answer. How completely and utterly lame! He gave no attempt to sugar coat it by giving the answer any hopeless romantic, like myself, would hope for. There are numerous acceptable answers: love, friendship, commitment, etc. 

We have stamina.

I laughed off the statement and moved on. I have even brought it up occasionally for laughs between friends and family. 

Then I read Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With (my thoughts on the book here). My quote for this week is from this book. 

“Maybe that's what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.”
Emily Giffin, Love the One You're With

Oh. Em. Gee. This is stamina!

Emily Giffin put our "stamina" into beautiful and romantic words! Words that I fully agree with. Words that took my breath away. If my husband had said this, he would have gotten a completely different look! 

So, my husband was right, (don't tell him though) we do indeed have stamina. And stamina doesn't feel so bad. 


I hope you enjoy this quote as much as I do. For more, please follow my blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday weekend!






Tuesday, January 23, 2018

We'll Always Have Paris: A Novel by Sue Watson - Book Review

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Genre: General Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit
Expected Publication: April 3, 2018
by Skyhorse Publishing
We'll Always Have Paris: A Novel
By Sue Watson


Summary:

Rosie Carter has recently become a widow after being married for over 40 years. Her daughters are grown and have families of their own. She feels like a stranger in her own skin. She is alone and unsure of herself. 

Rosie isn't sure she's ready, but she decides it is time to make an attempt at normalcy again. She begins working in her flower shop again, but part-time. The wedding of the year is coming up and they need Rosie's help. Who knew this decision could be the one to change her life?

While at the wedding, Rosie has a chance meeting with Peter. Peter stole her heart years ago and has stayed on her mind through the years. The two of them had dreamt of running off to Paris together. How different her life would have been. 

Peter broke her heart as a young woman, Rosie's not sure she can take that chance again as a grandma. Does fate really exist? Can second chances actually have a happy ending? Or will Paris remain a dream of a life long ago?

Rating: 4 stars

My thoughts:

Oh this is a touching story! I love that the main characters are in their 60's. This is a welcome change to the typical young and beautiful character. As much as we would all love to stay young and tight skinned, it isn't reality. Rosie is reminded of her beauty throughout the novel. Her beauty as a young woman and her beauty as an older woman. A great reminder to women everywhere!

I recently lost my father and can relate to the feelings that Rosie felt in the beginning of the novel. As Rosie discovered her new normal (the one that included her as a widow and living alone) I felt a real connection to her. She almost felt real to me. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I did find it to be slightly repetitive at times though, reminding the reader of events that previously occurred. I also felt it could have been a more fluid read. There were times throughout the novel that the author jumped from one scene to the next with little transition. 

Overall, I highly recommend this novel. 

Order your copy here! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

    

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this title for my honest review. All opinions and statements above are my own.   Professional Reader

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Almost Friday Fun!

It's Almost Friday! Time for some fun!

Who can relate to this?




This is seriously a choice I make on an almost nightly basis!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Go Green without Going Broke: tips and tools for greening your life on a budget (Green Guidebook Book 2)


Going Green Without Going Broke
Genre: Nonfiction
Published: January 2017



Go Green without Going Broke: tips and tools for greening your life on a budget (Green Guidebook Book 2)


Summary:


As we become more knowledgeable about the processes and chemicals used in our foods, natural and organic food is becoming more and more attractive. The problem lies in the affordability. The more natural products and the organic products are often priced higher than processed foods. 

In Go Green without Going Broke: tips and tools for greening your life on a budget, learn ways to better afford more natural foods. Learn about the history behind the green movement and a variety of avenues to living a healthier lifestyle, giving you the opportunity to choose which path is the best for you. 

Pemberton offers a plethora of information and provides the resources necessary to get started. 

Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: 


Going green has been a passion of mine for years, so this book was right up my alley. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and the process of how we, as people, became so knowledgeable about the chemicals used in our food. I also loved learning the technical terms associated with the word "organic". Who knew there are multiple variations of being deemed organic? 

Gardening and farming are also a passion of mine. I wrote down a multitude of resources and tips that I plan to use in my future crops. There is even a resource that includes seasonal crops for specific regions! I just love this! I have had a year round garden for about 2 years. I'm excited to try a few new plants this year with this help. I may even attempt to join up with a farmers market (again with the help of the resources provided by Pemberton)!

I am really excited to take the information I've gained and put it to use. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to start a healthier lifestyle or expand their knowledge in living a more natural lifestyle. I LOVE that the author provided me with so many resources (seriously, maybe too excited)!

To purchase a copy of your own, click the link below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!




Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. All statements and opinions above are my own. 


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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Reading for the busy mom


How to Read and Clean at the SAME TIME!


   In today's world, we all live each day with intentions of doing 20 things, but only getting to about half. We are busy people and constantly looking for ways to get more done in less time. We call it multitasking. We have work, cleaning, cooking, meetings, little league, dance classes, bathing, and bed time routines. With all of this to do, when do we find time to relax? When do we get time to read?

    I've talked to many working parents that don't find time to relax, much less to read. They get their reading time through professional development or social media. Blah! Of course, it's great to spend time devoting to your profession. It's also great to keep up with your high school friends and family through social media (especially when the truth is we wouldn't have time to catch up any other way!) Is that really the future of our reading?

    I can't handle the idea of not reading, even if I don't always have time. I NEED the escape. I need the freedom. I need to read.

    I've found a way that works for me, Audible. Audible is purchased through Amazon. It is audible books. I can listen to my books! I can keep moving, and still get the adventure that I'm craving!

    I don't have a long commute to work, so I don't have the ability to listen in the car. I am a lucky one. I work 5 miles from my home. I have found that I love to listen while I clean! Cleaning is a chore that unfortunately is inevitable. I just can't escape it, so why not bring some joy to it? Seriously, give this a shot and I think you're going to love it!

   So here's how I do it. Depending on what is going on around me, I have a couple of options:

1.) I plug in to my stereo in the kitchen and listen while I cook and clean up afterward.
2.) I use ear buds (one or both) if it's noisy or just turn up the volume on my phone without ear buds if it's not so noisy.

Option 2 gives me the freedom to move around if I'm cleaning a larger area or if I'm moving from room to room.

So, give Audible a shot. Let me know what you think. It's different from physically reading a book, but I really think you'll enjoy it nonetheless. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy!

Click below to check it out.




Disclaimer: I joined Audible on my own. All thoughts and statements above are my own.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reading through the Pain

How reading can help with the loss of a loved one.
Today is a difficult day for me. One year ago today was the last time I would ever see my father. He was admitted into the hospital for the first time in my 35 years. Two days later he was gone.

This has been an extremely difficult year for me. I would typically call my dad often and see him just as much. In his final six months, I had taken on a full time teaching job. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted, to say the least, between work and three children (ages 2, 4 & 13). I hadn't been to see him as much as I should have when he was admitted into the hospital. I made sure to visit him both days he was there, no matter how tired I was.

He asked me to take him home from the hospital. He told me he wanted to be at home. We didn't realize he had so little time, but maybe he did, maybe he knew. I convinced him to stay so they could help him gain strength before going home. I kissed him on his forehead and told him I'd see him tomorrow.

I should have listened.

The one thing that I have found that really helped me during this year, is reading. My children and my husband have helped, but often times they have been at a loss of how to help.

I read this quote in the beginning of my journey through the pain:

This quote by Cathy Lamb, spoke to me. My family wanted to help, but it was impossible. There were just not enough hugs in the world to get through to my emotional chaos. Don't get me wrong, it put a smile on my face, even when there were tears streaming down my cheeks, but it couldn't stop the tears. I wanted to stop crying, for my children, for my husband, for myself. I just didn't know how.

I needed an escape, but not a physical escape. I didn't want to leave my loved ones, I loved their physical presence. I needed something to invade the space in my mind and help me to forget this newly created hole in my heart and in my world. It took some time, but I finally realized what it was that I needed.

Books.

When I pick up a book, I am transformed into a new person. I can be a mermaid or a vampire. A princess of a far away land or a power woman running a huge corporation.  I can travel to places I have never been, some that don't exist even! All of these things are possible, but only when I open the pages of a book.

I felt a physical difference in myself as I sat indulging in my latest fictional find too. I noticed my shoulders release a bit of tension. My head did not hurt quite as much. And my ever present anxiety was not quite as noticeable.

In my life, reading has always been a hobby of mine, but there have been many times it tends to take the back burner. When my dad passed away, I had just recently found some semblance of a work-life balance enabling me to read for pleasure again occasionally. I had been working on the Harry Potter series for years, of course I read other books between each HP book, but it was a slow process nonetheless.  

My dad finished all of the Harry Potter books, one right after another when they were the latest and greatest things at Barnes and Noble. It took me a long while before I even decided to give them a chance. Originally, I didn't think they were going to be "my cup of tea" so to speak. So in 2012, I finally started the first book. In January 2017, when he passed, I was working on the 5th HP book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

When my dad earned his angel wings, I just wanted to retreat from the world around me and cry. I cried for all the time we had and I cried for the time we would never have.

It took a couple months, but I finally picked up my Harry Potter book again. When I did, I noticed a difference in myself. I still yearned to be with my dad, but I could escape to Hogwarts whenever I needed. Once I was there, I was Harry Potter. I did and said what Harry Potter did. It was EXACTLY what I needed (except maybe his invisibility cloak).

As I made more time for my fictional world, I noticed that I began to feel closer to my dad too. I was reading words that he had enjoyed during his life. I loved to imagine him reading and feeling the same things that I was experiencing as I went. Reading this felt like it had a healing quality and am so glad I discovered it.

A year later, I have just recently finished the 6th book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I hope to finish the final book in the series and visit Harry Potter World (fingers crossed). My dad and I had talked about it several times. He did not get a chance to go, but I know he will travel with me in spirit when I do.

I know Harry Potter is not for everyone, but I highly recommend reading through the pain. It really has had a therapeutic effect for me. Maybe your loved one mentioned a book or series they enjoyed in life. I challenge you to go get it. Read it. Feel your loved one laughing and crying along with you as you journey through the pages. You won't regret it.


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