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The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 7+ hours
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The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins, narrated by the author, is a long narration of how to use the 5-second rule to change your behavior and achieve your goals. In addition to a short explanation of how the rule works and how to apply it, she does offer some answers to frequently asked questions she’s received over the years and information about the psychology behind why the rule works.

Much of our indecision and regret are tied to our emotional responses to thoughts and goals — we effectively talk ourselves out of acting on our goals or ideas. Count down from 5 and then act — this leaves no time for your emotions to talk you out of accomplishing your goals or taking action. This advice can be life changing, and her examples demonstrate how it can change behaviors and build confidence in yourself. Invaluable advice and information.

However, there are far too many testimonials and it ends up sounding like a long-winded sales pitch. This could have been much shorter and succinct, with a link to a bunch of testimonials on her website for those who were interested.

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins is a little long-winded and promotional, but if you want the CliffNotes version, view her TEDTalk.

RATING: Tercet

Tigers at Twilight by Mary Pope Osborne

Source: Gift
Paperback, 72 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Tigers at Twilight by Mary Pope Osborne is one of a bunch of books my aunt sent my daughter over the summer. It is book 19 in the series, but kids can follow along pretty well reading them out of order. Personally, this would drive me crazy not reading them in order, but my daughter is not bothered.

Jack and Annie are siblings who have adventures in a magic tree house. In this book, the kids are sent to India in search of a gift to free Teddy the dog from his furry state. Using a nonfiction book as their guide, they meet langurs, elephants, a hermit, and a tiger. There is danger, fun, and a bit of fear that they won’t uncover the gift or find their way home.

My daughter took to this book instantly, and part of it is the mix of fiction and nonfiction. She likes to learn about the natural world while reading fiction and this has both. Tigers at Twilight by Mary Pope Osborne was a good adventure story that’s not too scary, but packs in enough information about a real place to help kids learn about the world.

RATING: Quatrain

Mailbox Monday #550

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

The Journey Home To Pemberley by Joana Starnes, a blog giveaway win.

A chance encounter in the wilds of the North brings more joy to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy than either of them dared hope for. But her world is rocked by blow after blow – and the truth would only cause him pain. ‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ is Elizabeth’s guiding precept, and she chooses her path. Yet time, circumstances and new acquaintances teach her she had made a terrible mistake.

How can she regain what she had lost and rebuild a future with the only man she will ever love, but for whom disguise of every sort is his abhorrence?

What did you receive?

The Broken God by Laura Roklicer

Source: the poet
Paperback, 89 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Broken God by Laura Roklicer is a slim, questioning collection in which trauma and broken pieces are picked up, rearranged, and reassembled into something hopeful and more beautiful. We all make mistakes and feel pain when we lose someone we love, even those who leave us that we know were no good for us. But like many of us, these poems speak to the root of the problem.

In “Cowards,” the narrator asks, “Can you even tell/the good from the bad?/We’re noble for the world,/cowards for ourselves.” (pg. 37) How many times do we speak for others without raising our own voices for our own selves? How many times do we offer advice to others that we don’t even listen to in our own lives?

From "Follow Me" (pg. 73)

Put some more make up on my soul,
Shape me into something my love wouldn't recognise.
Give me something my hatred won't laugh at.

This fear of advocating for ourselves leaves others to do it for us or no one at all to do it. Roklicer looks at these situations from multiple angles — a person who drinks and drinks, a person who molds into the life of another and loses it all — these are the broken gods. The broken people unable to pick themselves up and rearrange into better people. But all is not lost.

The Broken God by Laura Roklicer explores our turmoil — internal and external — as we search for something outside ourselves to make us feel complete. But what we need — the god we seek — is within us all. We only need to reach out and grab hold.

RATING: Tercet

About the Poet:

Laura Roklicer is a 23-year-old freelance writer, scriptwriter, lyricist and a filmmaker, whose educational background is in film production and psychology. She has worked with over a hundred artists worldwide and is a citizen of the world who doesn’t believe in borders that people put up (geographical or mental) and finds her thrill exploring different areas of the world, as well as exploring the cultural differences, individuality, and different worldviews.

She believes the true beauty of nature lays in those differences and the power of subjectivity. Laura is on a mission to contribute to the world change for the better and she hopes to do so through her writing and films. Please view the Book Teaser on Facebook.

View the guest post.

Buy the Book:

Guest Post & Giveaway: A Case of Some Delicacy by KC Kahler

I’m always intrigued when the boundaries of society are pushed to their limits and in this one we have Darcy and Elizabeth working together toward a common goal. How wonderful. Please check out the book and the excerpt. You’ll be rewarded with a giveaway.

Book Synopsis:

A secret alliance grows when an unwanted suitor arrives at Longbourn…

When rumours of Jane Bennet’s impending betrothal to her father’s heir begin spreading at the Meryton Assembly, Elizabeth vows to save her dearest sister’s happiness from being sacrificed in marriage.

She finds an unlikely accomplice in Mr Darcy, the taciturn man whose heroics on the cricket field have managed to turn Lydia Bennet’s infatuation away from redcoats. Upon overhearing a heated exchange between Elizabeth and Mr Bennet, Darcy is stunned not only by her devotion to her sister, but also by her defiant words to her father. An inexplicable desire to help Elizabeth draws Darcy into the match-breaking scheme, despite knowing that he should want nothing to do with a family like the Bennets.

As the new allies work together, their friendship deepens into mutual admiration. But they must navigate a complicated web of sisters, parents, friends, cousins, and aunts, some of whom may be attempting their own manipulations and romantic schemes. Eavesdropping and jealousy abound, cricket balls go astray, and love blooms in spite of Mrs. Bennet’s misguided matchmaking.

Please check out this awesome excerpt from Ch. 7:

Elizabeth was so tired—tired of listening to Mr Collins’s inanities, tired of this terrible rift with her father, tired of keeping secrets. In fact, she realised with no little astonishment, the only person from whom she kept no secrets was Mr Darcy. No one knew of her clandestine meetings with
him, for she could not tell Jane about such impropriety, and though she was eager for Charlotte’s opinion on the matter, they had had no privacy to discuss it. Yet Mr Darcy knew all of Elizabeth’s secrets. Mr Darcy, who disapproved of her family and found entertainment in her struggles. Mr Darcy, whose surprising dimples had been revealed that morning. Mr Darcy, who, via his unforeseen ability to say exactly what she needed to hear, had provided her only bit of sanity over these last two days. Mr Darcy, whose visit she eagerly awaited now. How had this ever happened?

So lost was Elizabeth in her thoughts that she failed to notice Mr Collins’s uncharacteristic silence and absorbed stare at Jane. Usually, this was precisely the moment when Elizabeth would employ him on some topic of interest. But in this instance, she allowed him to ruminate for too long—a huge error.

Mr Collins stood and cleared his throat. “If I may be so bold as to request the honour of a priv—”

“Mr Collins!” Elizabeth almost yelled his name before subduing herself. “Sir… I had hoped… you would tell us more about… Miss de Bourgh. Yes, Miss de Bourgh sounds like such an admirable young lady and we all wish to know more of her.”

“I would be most gratified to elaborate on her many charms, Cousin, but as I was saying, it is a very pleasant day out and—”

“Oh yes, do let us go into the garden where you can tell me about her! Does she play the pianoforte? Does she draw? She must have had excellent masters to teach her, for Lady Catherine would be ever so conscientious of the advantages offered by such an education.”

Elizabeth was certain her volley of questions and her last observation in particular had served the purpose of engaging him on his favourite subject, but then Mrs Bennet interfered. “Let poor Mr Collins finish a sentence!”

Lydia and Kitty snickered at the absurdity of such a command. Mrs Bennet ignored them. “What on earth has come over you, Lizzy? Why are you not out rambling in the woods on this fine day? Leave Jane and Mr Collins to their own conversation for a while, will you not?”

Elizabeth was truly in a panic.

Mr Collins suddenly remembered why he had stood up. “Oh, yes, I was about to request the honour of escorting Miss—”

“Mama!!” squealed Lydia from the window. “He is come! Mr Darcy is come with Mr Bingley!”

“Oh excellent, my dear Lydia! Here, pinch your cheeks—yes, just so. Lizzy, pinch your cheeks.

Go on… that will have to do.”

The next few minutes were spent pinching cheeks, smoothing hair, arranging skirts, and stowing away ribbons and bonnets. Even Mr Collins checked his cravat and smoothed his waistcoat.

“Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy, ma’am,” announced Mrs Hill as the two men stepped into the room, the former with a wide smile and easy greeting for all assembled, and the latter with an assessing look at Elizabeth. She knew she must appear positively wild, between the fright she’d had a few minutes earlier and all that ridiculous cheek-pinching.

“We are very glad you have come, Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley. Is that not so, Lydia, Lizzy?”

Elizabeth would have grimaced at Lydia’s enthusiastic, lash-fluttering affirmations, but she was too relieved by the sudden appearance of the gentlemen. She caught Mr Darcy’s eye as she replied, “Indeed, our moods are considerably lightened with your timely call, gentlemen.”

“We are pleased to be of service.” Mr Darcy glanced about the room, seemingly taking stock of the players. If he sought entertainment, he was bound to get it today.

“Yes, indeed!” said Mr Bingley as he looked at Jane, who, Elizabeth noted, had an uncharacteristically flushed face. Mr Bingley paused before addressing Mrs Bennet again, “We wished to inquire about Miss Lydia’s health. Darcy and I have been most concerned for her.”

Mrs Bennet was pleased by this admission. “How kind of you to worry for dear Lydia! As you can see, she bears her injury well. Lydia has always been full of vigour and good cheer, never one to complain.”

“Yes, but I’ve been ever so bored cooped up here, Mr Darcy,” complained Lydia. “Oh! But I wanted to thank you for carrying me off the cricket field! I was quite astonished to hear of it from my sisters, for I do not remember a thing from when that ball knocked me down to when I sat
with Jane in the shade. Lord, but my head hurt then! And you warned me about playing too silly not an hour beforehand! What a laugh!”

Everyone looked to Mr Darcy for a response. Elizabeth decided to intervene on his behalf. It was the least she could do for the poor man. “I suspect Mr Darcy is too much of a gentleman to say he told you so.

About the author:

KC Kahler lives in northeastern Pennsylvania and works in online education, after having dabbled in sandwich making, bug collecting, and web development. She discovered Jane Austen fan fiction in 2008 and soon began dabbling in writing her own.

KC blogs about Austen and other pop culture topics. In 2015 and 2017, her popular Austen + The Onion Headlines meme was featured in The Atlantic, Flavorwire, and AV Club. In 2017, she made the requisite pilgrimage to Jane Austen country, where she took the waters in Bath, walked the lanes of Steventon, didn’t fall off the cobb in Lyme Regis, and stood awestruck in Chawton.

KC’s first novel, Boots & Backpacks, was published in 2014. Her second, A Case of Some Delicacy, released in 2019. Visit her KC’s social links:
Blog, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Giveaway:

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on October 18. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entries.

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace (audio)

Source: Purchased from Audible
Audiobook, 2+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace, narrated by Barry Shannon, is well researched, offering tidbits about Regency versus Victorian traditions. Whether Jane Austen would have had a Christmas tree, is one big question many wonder about — you’ll find out in this volume. I love that the length of the holiday celebrations are longer than our own — imagine taking several weeks to spend time frolicking, playing games, and more. Sounds like a child-like illusion, doesn’t it?

A time when Christmas was not just about presents and kids, but about adults and enjoying one another’s company. On audio the cooking and recipes are not as interesting as seeing them in print, but getting a chance to see how things really were in the past, is an eye-opener.

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace, narrated by Barry Shannon, is a book that any writer in the Jane Austen spinoff/continuation realm must have on the shelf.

RATING: Quatrain

Mailbox Monday #549

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White for review.

Melanie Trenholm should be anticipating Christmas with nothing but joy–after all, it’s the first Christmas she and her husband, Jack, will celebrate with their twin babies. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in the garden of her historic Tradd Street home has been a huge millstone, both financially and aesthetically. Local students are thrilled by the possibility of unearthing more Colonial-era artifacts at the cistern, but Melanie is concerned by the ghosts connected to the cistern that have suddenly invaded her life and her house–and at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer….

And these relics aren’t the only precious artifacts for which people are searching. A past adversary is convinced that there is a long-lost Revolutionary War treasure buried somewhere on the property that Melanie inherited–untold riches rumored to be brought over from France by the Marquis de Lafayette himself and intended to help the Colonial war effort. It’s a treasure literally fit for a king, and there have been whispers throughout history that many have already killed–and died–for it. And now someone will stop at nothing to possess it–even if it means destroying everything Melanie holds dear.

Skin Memory by John Sibley Williams from the poet.

A stark, visceral collection of free verse and prose poetry, Skin Memory scours a wild landscape haunted by personal tragedy and the cruel consequences of human acts in search of tenderness and regeneration. In this book of daring and introspection, John Sibley Williams considers the capriciousness of youth, the terrifying loss of cultural identity and self-identity, and what it means to live in an imperfect world. He reveals each body as made up of all bodies, histories, and shared dreams of the future.

In these poems absence can be held, the body’s dust is just dust, and though childhood is but a poorly edited memory and even our well-intentioned gestures tend toward ruin, Williams nonetheless says, “I’m pretty sure, everything within us says something beautiful.”

What did you receive?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (audio)

Source: Audible Purchase
Audiobook, 5+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson takes elements of Buddhism and westernizes them in a way that most readers can relate to them. This is an approach to life that requires an individual to take a hard look at themselves, realize their own limitations, and keep those in mind as they make choices about their work, play, and relationships. Unlike the generations he talks about in his book, I was not treated as special simply for showing up and I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons. Some of the lessons I learned may not be as hard as lessons learned by others, but they have provided me with a certain perspective on my own limitations.

We all have flaws and limitations and we need to accept them. Point taken.

Manson expresses himself with his no-holds-barred language and jokes — some of which may make you cringe — but his points are these:

  1. Deal with the bad and the good equally.
  2. Stop relying on outside forces or values to make you happy.
  3. Establish value priorities and stick to them. (not like earning more money)
  4. Be honest with yourself and others.

I do feel the author relied a little too much on a certain four-letter word, but even with that, the book offers some advice that many people might need. Do I think those people will pick up this book? Maybe, but most likely not. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is an interesting listen, but much of the Buddhism is lost in the tropes and the humor.

RATING: Tercet

Interview with Eric D. Goodman, author of Setting the Family Free

Happy publication day to Eric D. Goodman.

Eric D. Goodman is the author of four books, including Tracks: A Novel in Stories, which I reviewed back in 2012. His new novel, Setting the Family Free, is about a preserve of exotic animals being released into an Ohio community.

Today we talk with Eric about his new book and his writing.

Setting the Family Free sounds like an unusual and interesting premise. What inspired you to write this novel?

Setting the Family Free was inspired by a real event, although the characters and actions in my book are entirely fictional and the locations have been changed to similar but different places.

There are many times when I read or see or hear an extended news story, especially the ones that unfold over a period of time, and think that it would be a great idea for a novel. Usually I write a few pages of notes and file it away for the future. In this instance, I was inspired to jump on the topic right away.

I spent a good amount of my time in Ohio during early adulthood, so I knew the places well. I’d always wanted to write an “Ohio book” and an “animal book,” and this was an opportunity to do both. I visited the places where the real events happened, and the places where I set my scenes, and I made a point to drop in on a number of zoos and animal reserves during the writing of the book.

Another unique thing about this novel is the way you tell it. Some sections are traditional narrative from main characters, but others sections are news transcripts, newspaper article excerpts, and sound bites from people involved with the events or who knew the people involved. Tell me about that choice.

My main inspiration was to explore the story of why a person would release his dangerous animals into the community and what would happen when he did. But I also found myself interested in how a real news story unfolds and how different people and groups view what transpired differently.

The entire issue of exotic animal ownership was one that conjured many different viewpoints, but adding the personal perspectives of people involved seemed like a great opportunity to experiment not only with multiple perceptions of individuals, but different ways to tell a story.

As happens in real life, I wanted to “break” the story with the sensational headlines and reports, and show how the news was reported differently by different sources with various agendas. In an almost mockumentary way, I wanted to paint a picture of the situation and the main characters involved with sound bites and news clips, and then to delve deeper through the perspectives of the characters involved. Not only the owner of the animals, but his estranged wife, workers, those attacked by the animals, the hunting party with their own varying views—from veterans to veterinarians—and even the animals themselves.

It’s interesting how often we see a news headline or catch a few minutes of a news broadcast and think we already know the story. I wanted to dig deeper and get the story as it existed to those intimately involved.

Did the novel or series, Zoo by James Patterson, influence Setting the Family Free?

It’s funny you should bring that up. To be honest, I have not read the book or watched the movie. I wouldn’t allow myself to, because I didn’t want it to influence my rewrites in any way. I wrote the first draft of Setting the Family Free before I knew Zoo existed.

I wrote the first draft of the book while I was the Fall 2012 writer-in-residence at the Ox-Bow Artist Colony, part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s School of Art. I finished the first draft and felt really good about having an original story unlike anything else. On the way home, I stopped in at an airport book store and what do I see? James Patterson’s Zoo.

I’m sure a lot of writers can relate to this, but it’s not the first time this serendipity has happened to me. I wrote my first draft of Womb: a novel in utero ten years before it was published in 2017. Within the same year, Ian McEwan published a novel in utero, Nutshell.

But more important than the similarities in these novels are the differences that make each story unique. Although I haven’t read or watched Zoo yet, I believe it’s about the animals in zoos across the world changing genetically and attacking people. I think it has a supernatural or science fiction or aspect to it in that way. My book is closer to literary fiction than it is to science fiction; it’s about absolutely normal animals being put in a bad situation—and the people of nearby communities being put in equally bad situations as a result.

Now that Setting the Family Free is out, I’ll look forward to reading Zoo, just as I waited until Womb was published before reading Nutshell.

So, Zoo did not inspire Setting the Family Free. Did you find inspiration from any other books?

Certainly. I found inspiration in the Tim O’Brien novel, In the Lake of the Woods. I really admire O’Brien’s work, and was blown away years ago by the way he told that story with “evidence” chapters and “what if” chapters. In an earlier draft of Setting the Family Free, I actually had some “what if” sections that contemplated different outcomes and motivations, but decided it didn’t work in this book. But the alternate formats and perspectives, I think, made for an interesting way to explore this story.

Also, John Steinbeck would sometimes weave very short and seemingly unrelated chapters between the ongoing story chapters—like a turtle crossing the road—and that inspired some of the animal-POV chapters.

You’ve been writing for a long time. When did you first discover you were a writer?

Sea turtles instinctively know to head for the water after they hatch on the beach. Writing, for me, is like an instinct, or drive, that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I vividly recall an early elementary school assignment that solidified that storytelling instinct. I was in the third grade when our teacher instructed us to write a short story. Most kids came in with two or three pages of scribbling. I came in with an epic romp about a boy creating a good monster to fight off the evil beasts of an apocalyptic world. From that point, I realized that writing was not just something I liked to do—it was something I instinctively needed to do.

What is it about writing that drove you to pursue it as a career?

Although I didn’t understand it at the time, back during that elementary school writing assignment, I believe the desire to bring people together and to promote understanding through common storytelling was what sparked my interest and kept me writing. Even before I realized it, many of the stories I told had common themes at their heart: bringing unlike people together, getting opposites to understand one another, and trying
to see things from multiple perspectives. I remember writing a story that was essentially a retelling of Star Wars from the point of view of a Stormtrooper wising the terrorists (rebels) would stop undermining the laws of the government.

Much of my writing is centered on just trying to tell a good story. But beneath that surface, I do want to create work that people from different walks of life can relate to, and to perhaps help people meet in the middle to look at things in a new way.

How does Setting the Family Free compare to your past books?

Setting the Family Free is similar to my other books because of my empathetic writing style and my effort to look at each individual as a flawed but decent person—not good or bad, but human. It’s similar to Tracks: A Novel in Stories due to my use of multiple perspectives, although Tracks told different stories that intertwined while Setting the Family Free is essentially telling one story from multiple perspectives. Like my previous books, this one character-focused. That is, the characters tend to be more important that the plot.

But Setting the Family Free is very different from anything I’ve written before. Although characters matter most, this book is far more action-driven. The characters grew out of the “what” of the story rather than the other way around. And my storytelling method is something new to me: moving the story forward with the use of broadcasts and quotes from those involved and article excerpts and political tape transcripts—even blending in real quotes with the fictional ones.

The effect, I hope, is a story about the event, but one enriched with multiple perspectives and multiple storytelling methods. And one that will keep readers turning the page.

Is there a connection between the title of the book and the plot?

Setting the Family Free is what Sammy, the owner of the exotic pets, believes he is doing when he releases them into the community. He considers his animals his family. But it also refers to other families in the book: the traditional families that react to the animals, the self-made families or fraternities of people who join together for a common interest or cause, or the family of community, like the sheriff’s team. I try to examine the family unit, which isn’t always as cut and dry as the traditional definition.

Setting the Family Free has earned endorsements from authors like Jacquelyn Mitchard, Juno Diaz, Lucrecia Guerrero, and Rafael Alvarez. If you could get this book into anyone’s hands, who’s would it be?

Besides Oprah and Spielberg? I’d love for Tom O’Brien to read it; I sent a copy to him. But I’m really thankful for the blurbs and reviews I’ve received and feel like the validation from other authors and journals is worth its weight in book sales. Every review and rating on GoodReads or Amazon or anywhere helps, especially for small-press authors.

I think it would be great for the people involved with the real incident or similar incidents to read it. I think and hope they would see that I didn’t demonize or glorify anyone, but instead tried to show everyone involved from different perspectives as well rounded—just as real people tend to be.

Thanks, Eric, for stopping by today to share with us your new book. Please do check out his book launch in Baltimore, Md., if you’re in the area or pick up a copy of the book from your local bookstore or on Amazon.

Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press releases Setting the Family Free by Eric D. Goodman as a hardcover, trade paperback, and e-book on October 1, 2019. The Ivy Bookshop (6080 Falls Road, Baltimore) is hosting the official book launch on Sunday, October 6 at 5 p.m., and animal-themed wine and snacks will be served, along with a reading from the novel.

Mailbox Monday #548

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

The Home Front: Life in America During World War II by Dan Gediman and Martha C. Little from Audible.

Narrated by Emmy Award–winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home—part of the Greatest Generation—who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts: the rationing of meat, dairy products, and sugar; an explosion of war-related jobs; and, despite mixed signals, a greater role for women working outside the home. Thanks to Martin Sheen’s performance and the voices of ordinary Americans throughout this Audible Original, listeners can feel what life was like during a disruptive and uncertain period of American history. Martha Little is the Executive Producer, and Dan Gediman is the series producer of The Home Front.

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions: Jane Austen Regency Life, Book 1 by Maria Grace from Audible.

Many Christmas traditions and images of “old fashioned” holidays are based on Victorian celebrations. Going back just a little further, to the beginning of the 19th century, the holiday Jane Austen knew would have looked distinctly odd to modern sensibilities.

How odd? Families rarely decorated Christmas trees. Festivities centered on socializing instead of gift-giving. Festivities focused on adults, with children largely consigned to the nursery. Holiday events, including balls, parties, dinners, and even weddings celebrations, started a week before Advent and extended all the way through to Twelfth Night in January.

Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the traditions, celebrations, games and foods that made up Christmastide in Jane Austen’s era. Packed with information and rich with detail from period authors, Maria Grace transports the listener to a longed-for old fashioned Christmas.

What did you receive?

Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon by John Himmelman

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 144 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon by John Himmelman is the third book in the series, and as you probably guessed, my daughter loved this one too. She now has me acting out the scenes using her favorite stuffed animals.

Here, Bunjitsu Bunny continues to learn lessons in kindness and patience, as well as the value of practice. In the same zen-like manner, this bunny tackles the challenges she faces with calm thoughtfulness. One great lesson is to look in front of you for the answers you seek before running around everywhere else to find the answers.

In addition to the Bunjitsu Code, which is in every book, there is an interview with the author. Kids can learn about Himmelman’s favorite subject in school, which just happens to be my daughter’s favorite — art. I loved learning about the origin story for Bunjitsu Bunny, especially since this talented martial artist is based on a real young woman who had similar talent in martial arts.

Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon by John Himmelman is another fantastic installment. Isabel is the best bunjitsu student, but she also has a big heart and is willing to help others and be responsible. There are so many wonderful lessons for children, and they can read these books to you.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move by John Himmelman

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 128 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move by John Himmelman is the second book in the series and further explores how kids and bunnies can avoid fighting even when someone is determined to fight with you. The power of the mind and kindness are on full display in these adventures.

These are great beginning chapter books for kids. My daughter sometimes asks to read just one more chapter before bed, if she’s not really tired or really interested in what Bunjitsu Bunny is doing next. While many of these adventures just take one chapter from beginning to end, it gives kids a chance to see how longer chapter books continue a story with the same characters. It gives them an opportunity to see that longer books are not necessarily going to be too hard or boring.

One of my favorite adventures in this book teaches patience and the importance of practice. It involves a little bit of origami and even offers step-by-step instructions on how kids can make their own paper bunjitsu bunny. Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move by John Himmelman is wonderful second book that moves the series out into its own and away from revamped folk tales.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

The Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny