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A Secret Life: Enduring and Triumphing Over OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Spotlight

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Are you one of the millions who reside within a secret life, a life which constantly feels out of your own control: Are you plagued by repetitive thoughts and/or actions which interfere with your daily activities?

About A Secret Life: Enduring and Triumphing Over OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Are you one of the millions who reside within a secret life, a life which constantly feels out of your own control: Are you plagued by repetitive thoughts and/or actions which interfere with your daily activities? The author lived for more than 40 years with an undiagnosed form of mental illness, a phobia now known as OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder. His emotional pain and suffering were at times almost unmanageable. In his mid-sixties, the author, a loving husband, father and accomplished high school teacher and athletic coach, discovered a unique psychologist within the Denver therapeutic community who utilizes a radical but highly successful treatment that’s allowed the author to control his OCD symptoms almost 100%. “A Secret Life” is one of the few books written by an OCD sufferer and descries in detail the pain and chaos living with this illness can cause not just the victim, but those closest to him. This story doesn’t stop there, but provides readers with options and advice dealing with OCD from someone who broke the curse of living a secret life. Now he’s ready to share his story in order to help others.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Jim Juliana was a hard-working family man with a devoted wife and adoring children. As a teacher, he taught numerous subjects over a 28-year career, was an assistant principal/athletic director for three years and mentored generations of youngsters in the classroom and in athletics. Juliana was a coach for forty years at the high school level. Coach Juliana has been a part of two state championship teams, a city championship team and several league title teams. He spent two years as a college instructor and football coach. But Jim Juliana had a secret life, one over which he had no control. For most of his life, he also fought – and eventually defeated – an embarrassing and almost debilitating OCD. OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder that effects three to five million adults in the US each year. OCD involves irrational fears or repeated thoughts or obsessions that drive an individual to engage in repetitive behaviors or compulsions. Jim Juliana’s life was finally changed when he found a therapist whose treatment all but eliminated his OCD incidents. A Secret Life chronicles Juliana’s battle against his OCD and gives readers options and information for treatment based on his experiences. You can connect with him on his website and Facebook.

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Disclosure: This is a spotlight post, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Wrong Mr. Darcy Book Review

What begins as a job soon has Derek and Hara hurtling into the beauty of complicated family, friendship, and love and begs the question: Was this an error of judging by first impressions—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

About The Wrong Mr. Darcy

Hara Isari has had her eye on her career. Born and raised in Oregon, and looking for the chance to hit it big in the world of sports reporting as an African American-Japanese American woman, Hara is determined to let nothing stand in her way. The only thing that matters to Hara now is covering enough sports stories to keep her small-town paper in business, while climbing the national ranks in a male driven domain to make her father proud, not to mention keeping her mother off her back about impressing men. Love is nowhere on her agenda, despite what fate might tell her.

Basketball rookie Derek Darcy is well-known as the team bench rider in Boston. But lately he’s been trying to score big to maintain his spot. When he meets Hara, first while she’s eavesdropping in a SUV and the next time during an interview with his teammate, she has every idea who Derek Darcy is and ends up chasing after a story that could bring down his team. What begins as a job soon has Derek and Hara hurtling into the beauty of complicated family, friendship, and love and begs the question: Was this an error of judging by first impressions—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

My Thoughts

Hara is a hard working, determined young woman with one dream on her mind – to make it in the male dominant sports reporting world. She has always loved sports but her life was changed when her father was sentenced when she was a young girl. Her Mother has since then done all she can to try to ensure Hara finds a young, rich man but Hara wants to make a name for herself writing about sports. The two are at odds throughout the novel, as her Mother does not seem to truly understand her daughter.

She wins the chance of a lifetime – the opportunity to travel to the big city and to interview one of the top basketball rookies. She can’t even begin to fathom her own luck. The opportunity of a lifetime soon becomes rocky and things are not quite what they seem. She doesn’t fit in with this crowd, no one trusts her and worse – she may have won this opportunity through an unfair advantage. My heart was sore for her, as I know so many of us as women can relate to this situation – where you feel as though your opinion doesn’t matter because you are a woman or you have earned an opportunity unfairly because you are a woman (especially in a male dominant sector).

The one person she thought she could never trust (Derek) ends up being the one person who is truly on her side as she goes through a series of ups and downs in this novel. There are a lot of ups and downs in this novel so be prepared, some which may be difficult for readers. The book touches on abortion, attempted suicide, miscarriage, so please keep this in mind when you begin to read the novel.

This was a light novel that gave a different look at the world of basketball and a young woman’s journey to break into the world of sports reporting. The one part that I wish had a stronger focus on it was the secret world of bribery and scandals that could rock the basketball world.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 3.5/5

About the Authors

EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. She is best known for her role on VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives (2010-present), OWN’s hit series Livin’ Lozada (2015), author of the first installment of the book series: The WivesAssociation: Inner Circle (2012) and creator of Healthy Boricua (A Puerto Rican Lifestyle Guide to Healthy Living). Evelyn has become a national trendsetter, a “go to” fitness export, jewelry designer, fashion and beauty maven, social media royalty and a stimulating voice and proactive supporter of causes that effect women and girls through the Evelyn Lozada Foundation. Evelyn is a Bronx native, mother of two (Shaniece Hairston and Carl Leo Crawford) that currently resides in Los Angeles.

Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A Goddess Among Men

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From the primitive ruggedness of the Amazon rainforest to the privileged society of New York, three generations experience triumph and tragedy in this saga of loyalty, corruption, greed . . . but one woman has the power to change it all.

About A Goddess Among Men

In 1907, Julian Welch and Alan Reid meet by chance in the jungles of the Amazon attracted by the riches of the rubber boom. Pioneers in an era of uncertainty, they form an unlikely alliance and establish the foundation for a successful empire, Reid & Welch. However, with Julian’s death, the empire is left to Alan, as is the responsibility for Julian’s newborn daughter, Christel.

Yet for Christel, there’s no growing up as a privileged heiress. Instead, Alan subjects her to a life few endure, much less overcome. Through her will to survive and being as uncompromising as she is beautiful, Christel puts the horrors of her past behind her and begins to build a seemingly bright future. But when the success built on corruption starts to crumble, Christel will be forced to address the past or pay for the sins of the fathers.

My Thoughts

I was very intrigued when I saw this book cover and read the description, I had to read it! The book is multi-generational and covers a wide range of topics – greed, betrayal, deceit, family secrets and more (so many aspects that creates a novel that you don’t want to put down).

The story I feel is based on this odd relationship that is formed between Julian and Alan. They have an unique first encounter – which Julian first feels like the luckiest man alive but is soon left to deal with Alan’s consequences. This starts this odd relationship they have, Julian is the kind, thoughtful person who wants to earn enough to just make it in the world, have a wife and do good, while Alan is the smart but cruel businessman (who will do anything to get what he wants). Alan seems to be lacking any compassion, understanding or care for others (and as we get glimpses of his childhood, we begin to start to understand the damage that was done there). Together they build an empire, which from the outside seems to be a sound, wealthy business with good practices but on the inside the empire holds dark secrets, which we only begin to learn how evil some of it truly is near the middle to the end of the book. Just before Julian’s death, he finds out he is a father and to ensure his daughter’s safety he entrusts Alan (warning bells here) with her care and to ensure she receives Julian’s portion of the company. I am sure you can just picture what Alan does to his daughter, Christel.

Christel spends all of her childhood as part of an experiment that Alan commissioned and later becomes a weapon for Alan, as she uses her beauty to gather secrets. She is physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally abused. She almost becomes a shell of a person and it isn’t until later in life when a good hearted soul (who never stopped looking for her) helps her discover her worth.

This is an intense, well written novel. Some of the parts of the novel are hard to stomach (especially when we learn parts about Christel’s past) and may be difficult for some readers (they do not go into great detail but we are given high level descriptions of the events she endured). Christel is a strong woman, who despite enduring so much wants to ensure she rights the wrongs of the past. She is sometimes caught between wanting revenge and wanting to heal at parts in the book. Like her Father, she is constantly bearing the weight of the sins of Alan and his very shady practices, she is determined to make right all that they did wrong but some sins are difficult to make right. Alan made me angry throughout the novel, how could one person behave in such a way and that Julian turned a blind eye so many times does not make it right (despite how much humanitarian work he does).

I enjoyed this novel and could not put it down, I wanted to know how Christel’s story played out. Would she be able to forgive, heal and move forward? Could she find healing in her own family and giving back to others? Could she ever right all the wrong that Alan and Julian did? Christel ends the story a stronger, better and open to healing. I loved every moment.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Born in 1969, Brazil, Daniel Davidsohn’s novels have been called exciting, gripping, and engrossing, garnering him praise and rave reviews. He is passionately attracted to unfamiliar things and enjoys taking readers off the beaten path. His books include From The Nile to The Euphrates (2009), Mare Crisium (2015), A Higher Power (2016), The Karma Code (2017), Leave Her Out, a 2018 Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist, and A Goddess Among Men (2020). Connect with him on his website, Twitter and Facebook.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Nature’s Light Spectacular Book Review

Lightning, rainbows, auroras! Discover Earth’s most amazing natural phenomena in this adventure around the globe, including a glow-in-the-dark poster. 

About Nature’s Light Spectacular

Follow two intrepid explorers as they witness the Northern Lights, marvel in wonder at glow worm caves, go hunting for double rainbows, and dodge volcanic lightning. A perfect book for young explorers. Turn off the light to see a tear-out poster, featuring the stages of a solar eclipse.

Each spread features an enchanting illustration of a different natural phenomenon, animated by a description of the science behind it, told in exciting prose.

You will explore:

  • volcanic lightning
  • meteor showers
  • double rainbows
  • sun dogs
  • glowworm caves
  • super blood moon
  • light pillars
  • auroras

Our Thoughts

I love books that engage children on educational topics and encourage further learning. This book is perfect for young children who love science and are eager learners (not to mention for parents – I learned so many new things!). We have been trying to come with complementary educational activities for our kids during COVID-19 since we have been home, and this book was perfect for helping me as a parent come up with new topics to cover that my son will actually enjoy learning about.

In this book, we learn about twelve natural phenomena that happen around us. Some of the events you may have already heard of (solar eclipses, meteor showers) but some may be new like volcanic lightning, firefall and light pillars. Each topic has two pages dedicated to it with the illustrations spanning both pages. We learn about what happens during the event, the science behind the event, where they can be viewed, cool facts and even some historical beliefs (and since I love history – this was pretty neat to learn how cultures interpreted these events). While some of the events you may be familiar with, you may learn some new facts about them. Did you know that light pillars, while they look beautiful, are actually a sign of light pollution? Or that the Vikings thought that the auroras were caused by the shining weapons of immortal warriors? Neat, right?!

The book is stunning – with beautiful illustrations, fantastic facts and even includes a glow in the dark poster that you can remove that shows a solar eclipse. This is a great learning resource for parents to use to get their children interested and wanting to learn more about these topics (perhaps create your research project for your child – they can do a Power Point presentation on one of these events).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Katy Flint is an author, editor, and musician, based in London. She studied violin at the University of Southampton, before moving into children’s books. She is the author of the best-selling sound book The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker, and has worked on many other non-fiction titles—from human bodies to dinosaurs. 

About the Illustrator

Cornelia Li is a Chinese born illustrator currently based in Toronto, Canada. Her clients include: New York Times, Chicago Readers, PBS Newshour, Reader’s Digest Canada. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Three Paws’ New Family Book Review

The adventures of Boots, the grizzly bear cub, continues as he befriends a black bear named Sockeye and her Mexican brother, Pepe, the iguana.

About Three Paws’ New Family

Sockeye has lost her mother and is not old enough to live on her own. Her prayers are answered when she meets little Pepe. He escaped his human family’s home in Ketchikan to explore the beautiful Alaskan wilderness but lost his way back home. A lonely bear cub and a lost iguana become a “family” relying on each other for companionship, friendship, and survival skills.

What does a bond of friendship and family have in common? You always know who will be there for you when you need them most.

When Boots, the three-pawed bear cub, comes face-to-face with the open jaws of a hungry lion, he is left to wonder who will help him.

If he survives this attack, how will he defend himself in the future with only three paws? The answer may be waiting for him high above in the mighty Sitka spruce, the official state tree of Alaska.

Our Thoughts

In book two of this beautiful series, we revisit Alaska and Boots’ family. Boots is an unique grizzly bear cub – he had injured one of his paws and was now known as the three-pawed cub. Boots never lets this injury stop him from being just like other cubs, he is resilient and brave – always believing in himself and his own strength.

In this story, his sister hurts herself and Boots sets off to find pine needles to help heal her injury. He sets off and soon encounters danger! To the rescue is an unlikely pair, a bear and iguana. Both of these animals have had their own difficult pasts but have adopted each other as family and take care of eachother.

The trio find more than just friendship in each other, they find a new family and home through their brave adventures. They not only save the day but they find hope and happiness. This is a beautiful story from start to finish, with incredible characters. The characters are full of adventure, strength, compassion and a great example for young children. The book has important lessons for children told in a way that they can understand. The illustrations are lovely and soft, which suits the tone of the book. A lovely story from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Karen Struck discovered the joy of children’s literature as she read to her daughter before bed each night. She decided to take writing courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature after being inspired by the Harry Potter book series.

It was after an Alaskan cruise with her family that she had the idea to create a hopeful story about the majestic wildlife she’d seen there. So, for one of her writing assignments at the ICL, she did, and Three Paws was born!

She wrote the Three Paws children’s book series to inspire children to be brave and believe in themselves despite challenges they may face.

Outside of being a children’s book author, Karen is a registered nurse and works in the aesthetic industry. She works with her husband, Steve, a plastic surgeon in Atherton, CA and they live in Los Gatos, California. She has a daughter, Rachel, and two stepchildren, Danni and Evan Struck.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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