2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Sometimes the Universe speaks really loudly. I have been struggling to maintain my blog that I keep almost exclusively for book reviews. And just two days ago, the blog broke – or at least I seem to have lost a whole lot of posts. While I try to get them back up, I realize that I’m past the due date for announcing the 2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge. So I’ve decided to move it to this blog and possibly open it up to more people.

I had challenged myself to read 250 books in 2016 and I’m falling behind by about 10 books at this point. However, I’m certain I can push in at least 3 more. Still not 250, but I’m not complaining. This year, I read far less non-fiction than I wanted to and a lot more quick (read ‘mindless’) romance novels.

Taking a cue from Modern Gypsy, I’m going to reduce the number of books for 2017 and focus more on creating rather than consuming. Yes, it’s going to be the reverse of an ‘outdo yourself reading challenge’ for me! 😉

My personal challenge for 2017 will be a 100 books including at least 40 non-fiction titles.

What will be your book reading goal for 2017?

2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

The Book Vixen who very kindly passed on the hosting of this challenge to me last year, had some great ‘rules’ in place. So I’m not changing any of them.

If your goal for 2017 is to read more, then this is the reading challenge for you! Are you up for the challenge?

Reading Challenge Details:

Runs January 1, 2017– December 31, 2017 (books read prior to 1/1/2017 do not count towards the challenge).

You can join anytime from now. Sign up in the linky at the bottom of this post.

The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more in 2017 than you did in 2016. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.

Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).

Books can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, mystery, etc.).

Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.

Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.

To join the challenge, grab the 2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge button below and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too.

2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

You do not have to be a blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc., so as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the 2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge and your profile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.

Levels:

Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

Sign Up Here

Please include your name & the name of your blog (e.g. Corinne @ Everyday Gyaan.com) with the direct URL link to your blog post or dedicated shelf (on Goodreads/LibraryThing/BookLikes). Any links to a blog’s home page or main profile will be deleted.

Image of books via Shutterstock

Ask Me Again

Ask Me Again

Today I’m happy to share with you about a book called Ask Me Again with a note from its author, H M Shander. Although the book itself is in the womens’ fiction/ contemporary romance genre that I normally share on my other blog, I’ve chosen to share this with you here, because over the next two weeks the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to a great cause.

Also, since I’m writing for #NaBloPoMo, I thought it was right for the message and the giveaway to reach a larger audience.

Ask Me Again

After years of walking on eggshells and feeling trapped in her unhappy marriage, 30-something year old Charlotte feels alone and unwanted. She longs for a time when she was happy and truly loved. When her world is turned upside down by a broken waterline, the true loneliness of her life becomes overwhelming. How did she end up here?

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Andrew is a good-looking, Russian man with the heart of gold and the ability to make Charlotte’s heart come alive after years of it slowly tapping along. When he shows up on her doorstep as the Project Manager in charge of repairing her flooded home, it seems she will have to fight hard against her feelings. She’s married and he’s engaged, and they have a history.

It’s been more than 13 years since Andrew and Charlotte broke up, but that doesn’t mean the past is forgotten. The more time they spend together repairing the house, the harder it becomes to resist their intoxicating chemistry.

Through death, lies and betrayals, Charlotte leans on Andrew, finding solace in the fact that she never needs to hide herself from him. When a huge loss pushes her to the edge and makes her question everything, she has to decide if she should stay in the life she’s created and make the best of it, or risk it all for a second chance at true happiness.

Note from H M Sander

h m shander

I’ve been writing since I was fourteen. My original stories were handwritten on loose-leaf paper tied together with yarn, complete with its own custom cover courtesy of cut-outs from whatever magazines I had around.

My early love developed into a passion for writing contemporary romance novels. Now, as an adult who has experienced reality (not like my wildly naïve fourteen-year-old self) my characters overcome tough odds, with real (and dark) obstacles. However, the rewards are sweeter.

My heroes who are swoon-worthy and handsome and gentle, who have their own issues. No domineering alpha-males from me – I’ll leave those to many other wonderful authors I know and adore. My heroines are less than perfect with a very select few she’ll call friends. She’s neither popular nor outgoing but deeply loved by those lucky enough to know her.

Right now I am hard at work on a sequel to Duly Noted as well as a second-chance romance story. I’m also tinkering on a novella which follows after Ask Me Again as I’ve received many emails from readers asking for more from Charlotte and Company.

It’s because of wonderful readers that I continue to write and develop my stories. I absolutely adore it when readers connect with me on Twitter  because I’m very chatty on there, more so than my Facebook page . However, regardless of the way you contact me, I’m sure to respond.

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For the first two weeks of November, all PROFITS from the sales of ASK ME AGAIN are being donated to the SAIF Stop Abuse in Families – Society. (www.stopabuse.ca)

This not-for-profit organization provides services and counselling to its clients (and families) who are experiencing abuse. They also have support groups, and have partnered with schools and community groups to give education and prevention. Locally run and operated, they are an organization near and dear to my heart.

Buy the book:

Amazon www.amzn.com/B015JV8ZSI
Smashwords: https://goo.gl/zuHbnj
Kobo: https://goo.gl/GefRuL
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/Ir0OVF
iBooks: https://goo.gl/29ib6V

Giveaway

The author is offering an e-book giveaway during the Ask Me Again Book Blitz! THREE lucky readers have the chance to win an ebook copy of RUN AWAY CHARLOTTE.
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Soul Selfish

Soul Selfish

Family counselor and author Jane Wyker,  says choosing to be “soul selfish” is the most vital lesson a woman can learn, at any age. Her memoir, Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a “Good Girl” (Lioncrest, June 2016), traces Wyker’s path of overcoming multi-generational and cultural influences, shedding conditioned beliefs, behaviors and roles, and gradually taking ownership of her own womanhood.

Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a “Good Girl”

Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a “Good Girl” (Lioncrest, June 2016) explains the importance of becoming aligned with your true self to create a path to sustained happiness.

In Soul Selfish, Wyker illustrates how her childhood patterns of being a “good girl” continued into mid-life, as she routinely prioritized others’ needs and desires before her own. Through insightful and spiritually uplifting stories, she shares her journey towards happiness, creativity, freedom and peace possible for anyone dedicated to honoring their authentic self—their soul.

Recounting a remarkable life story that spans eight decades, Soul Selfish illustrates the happiness, creativity, freedom and peace possible for anyone dedicated to honoring their authentic self. Wyker looks back on her life with the unique perspective and wisdom that only time provides to reveal how true, lasting happiness can be achieved when we dare to be selfish for our soul. She credits her 46-year immersion in diverse psychological and spiritual teachings for her enlightenment. Soul Selfish, traces Wyker’s path of overcoming multi-generational and cultural influences, shedding conditioned beliefs, behaviors and roles, and gradually taking ownership of her own womanhood.

About Jane Wyker

janewykerJane Wyker, an 80-year-young accomplished family counselor, former teacher and spiritual explorer, is a smart, passionate woman, eager to share the fruits of her forty-six-year inner journey. Her memoir, a début book, aims to do just that.

Wyker experienced many of life’s challenges — marriage, parenting, divorce, indebtedness, career-building, forgiveness and loss. She believes that her stories will inspire women around the world, and the men who love them, to honor their true, authentic selves.

After her 18-year first marriage ended in divorce, she started her career as a parent educator, a brand new concept in 1977. She opened a school for parents, became known for her innovative program and quickly expanded into facilitating women’s personal development groups. In response to requests from participants, Wyker began counseling private clients about marriage and family issues, career, addiction and loss. She later developed a corporate seminar program focusing on parenting skills and balancing work and family responsibilities for working mothers. It was a topic she understood intimately as she managed her thriving career while raising her four children and pursuing her own spiritual growth.

Wyker earned an early childhood development degree from Cornell University and has spent decades studying psychological and spiritual personal development principles from master teachers.

When she is not spending time with her children, six grandchildren or traveling the world with her second husband of thirty years, she enjoys practicing Pilates, playing tennis, dancing and blogging on women’s issues.

Connect with her on  her website www.janewyker.com | Twitter | Facebook

My review: 4/5

As I inched towards midlife I started to realize the importance of giving my own needs the respect and value they deserved. So when I read the title of this book, I realized that it was one I certainly wanted to read. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed.

I loved the authenticity and honesty of Jane Wyker’s writing. Taking us from her early years to the present time, the author shares her responses to life’s challenges. It’s rich with insight and really shows us the journey of a soul that struggles and grows, deals with loss, learns to forgive herself and live with compassion.

The book was successful in making me take a good look into my life, which any good book does.

I would recommend this wonderful, true story if you’re looking to get more authentic and live with soul.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Standing On My Brothers Shoulders #suicideprevention

Standing On My Brothers Shoulders #suicideprevention

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention day – a day dedicated to bring focus on how we can prevent the tragedy of suicide and all the grief and devastation it leaves in its wake.

Last year I read a book that I got through NetGalley and though I was supposed to share a review of it a long time ago, it somehow didn’t happen. However, the book and its author have stayed in my mind and I would recommend that you read it too.

Standing on My Brothers Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide

Tara Lal is a full time fire fighter with Fire and Rescue NSW based at Woollahra fire station in Sydney. She was born in North London in 1971 to an English mother and an Indian father, but moved her life to Australia twenty years ago.

Tara Lal’s childhood was battered by her father’s mental illness and by her mother’s death when she was thirteen. Caught up in grief and despair, she developed a deep, caring bond with her charismatic and kind older brother Adam, though he struggled silently with growing anxiety and depression. Four years after their mother’s death, Adam committed suicide.

Grief and insecurity threatened to engulf Tara, but eventually she found, through a dialogue with the words her brother left behind in his diaries, her reason to live.

Ever since her brother’s death Tara held onto his diaries with the intention of doing ‘something’ with them. She remained acutely aware of the tragic beauty in his writing and an overarching sense that he wanted them to be read. Some twenty odd years after his death, the time finally seemed right and Tara began transcribing his diaries. The break-up of a relationship in her late thirties combined with a call to a suicide at work thrust Tara into reliving her teenage grief. So began what felt like a vomit of words onto the page. As the writing unfolded she began to feel an overwhelming sense that somehow by telling her and her brother’s story between them they could shine a light for others as they navigated their darkest days.

 

An honest and insightful book

Tara loved and hero worshipped her brother and when he took such an extreme step, he left her totally devastated. The book is honest, insightful and I was totally caught up with Tara’s story of loss and survival and how she broke the cycle of grief and despair in her own life.

Follow Tara Lal on Twitter.

Read these articles in Huffington Post and Mail Online to get more insights into the book.

The book includes an Afterword on the possibilities for recovery and growth following a tragedy, written by Miriam Akhtar, author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression.

Buy Standing on My Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide – A True Story on Amazon

Let’s work towards #suicideprevention

Tara and Adam’s story is unfortunately one that is repeated around the world.  Just recently, I wrote about a young girl who commited suicide and how communication and a little more attention to her might have prevented the tragedy.  Today, let’s rededicate ourselves to connecting, communicating and care to prevent suicide.

Please read these two posts from bloggers I admire :

Katie Paul – whose significant other commited suicide writes a post for those left behind.

Roshan Radhakrishnan – who writes a post on suicide on this day every year. His post today is here.

 

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Be Careful Of Books  #FTSF #FridayReflections

Be Careful Of Books #FTSF #FridayReflections

My parents always encouraged me to read and I developed book love rather early in life. But they never gave me this advice :

 “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Clockwork Angel

Be Careful Of Books

When I close my eyes, I see a small darkish room in a guest house where I began to read a book that seemed a little too heavy for a 11 year old. But I loved it. And there began my journey with Miss Austen. The book? Pride and Prejudice.  Soon after I read Emma and then there was no stopping me. I read all of her books. And I’ve read them all over and over again.

Don’t ask me what the draw is exactly? Especially when I now know all the stories and the characters. But it seems that I’m not the only one who is Austen obsessed. I’m not the only one who is still filled with excitement when I read these lines about Elizabeth’s first, and somewhat furtive visit to Pemberley, the estate of Darcy.

Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.

The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.

Elizabeth’s mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;- and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

I must confess watching various versions of Pride and Prejudice didn’t help. For instance, the famous scene in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy jumping into the lake and emerging from it dripping wet is forever implanted in my memory. Funnily, this scene does not form a part of the novel and yet  fantasies memories in many female minds like mine and is even celebrated with a statue!

Reading several Austen inspired books down the years and watching the televised versions of many of her stories, including Becoming Jane  – a biographical film about Jane Austen, has only peaked my interest in all things Austenian.

be-careful-of-books

Lyme Park – this was used to depict the outer facade of the imaginary Pemberley in BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice series.

As different a world as the one Austen’s heroines lived in is from mine, the advice that comes through is so relevant to modern day living, even if some of it comes off as being cynical. Let me share some with you.

It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble. —Emma (1815)

Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. —Emma (1815)

The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense. —Pride and Prejudice (1813)

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. —Mansfield Park (1814)

Indulge your imagination in every possible flight. —Pride and Prejudice (1813)

They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life. —Mansfield Park (1814)

Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable. —Emma (1815)

Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope. —Sense and Sensibility (1811)

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. —Northanger Abbey (1817)

Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings. —Mansfield Park (1814)

And finally the one that appeals to me so much and is so relevant to this post:

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Are you similarly afraid of books?

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Linking into #FridayReflections hosted by Sanch Vee and Write Tribe and responding to the prompt: “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Clockwork Angel
Also linking into Finish the Sentence Friday. This week’s sentence is “When I close my eyes, I see…”  The hosts are Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Kerry Kijewski of Her Headache.

#blogsharelearn Linky

 

The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance

The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance

Today I’d like to share with you details about a booklet  by Jae Ellard, the founder of the Simple Intentions website, The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance.

The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance has nothing to do with work. Really. It also doesn’t matter what words you use to describe it. The fact is, most people share a similar desire to create easy joy and meaningful engagement across the roles, relationships and responsibilities that make up life.

Our current habits and perceptions often get us stuck and prevent us from creating the life we desire. Get unstuck, learn the truths about work-life balance.

The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance

Category: Adult non-fiction, 102 pages
Genre: Self Help
Publisher: Simple Intentions
Content Rating: G

 

Meet the author:

After years in senior communication roles crafting content for executives, Jae collapsed from stress-related adrenal fatigue. This life-altering experience propelled her to research human behavior, neuroscience, mindfulness, and organizational relationship systems.

jae-ellard

In 2008, Jae founded Simple Intentions and developed the Mindful Life™ Program, which includes four group coaching workshops to generate reflection, awareness and action at the organizational and individual levels. Jae has taught the skill of awareness to thousands of employees at multinational corporations in more than 50 countries including China, Russia, India, Japan, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States.

Jae contributes to the Awareness at Work column for Mindful Magazine, the Healthy Living section on Huffington Post as well as the Simple Intentions blog. Jae has a master’s degree in Communication Management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She holds certificates in co-active coaching and organizational relationship systems coaching and is the author of seven books.

Connect with the author: Website   Twitter   Facebook

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