5 Awesome Reasons You Might Want to Read Wind Catcher

wind catcher novel 5 Awesome Reasons You Might Want to Read Wind Catcher

This fantasy adventure series is steeped in American Indian culture and so much more.

Winner: Mom’s Choice Award — Silver Metal
Winner: Awesome Indies — Seal of Approval
Recipient: Readers’ Favorite — 5 Star Review

Today is the release date for a new YA novel called Wind Catcher that I had the chance to read in advance and want to recommend. Here are the five key reasons you might want to read this book:

1. Father / Daughter Author Team

The book is co-authored by Jeff and Erynn Altabef, a father/ daughter writing team. That’s just cool. It’s rare, it’s unique, it’s special and it leads an original perspective to the novel. Both authors’ voices are incorporated into the story without weakening the plot line in any way.

2. Native American Fantasy

This book is considered a Native American YA Fantasy. It incorporates history and culture from Native American belief systems with fantasy writing and contemporary young adult issues. I’ve never read anything quite like it before, although in a tangential way it reminds me of one of my favorite books, Woman on the Edge of Time 5 Awesome Reasons You Might Want to Read Wind Catcher by Marge Piercy. I think it’s because of the way that spiritual/ psychological issues are tackled through a lens of mystery and fantasy. What’s spirit? What’s fantasy? What’s “crazy”?

Screen Shot 2015 02 03 at 3.23.33 PM 5 Awesome Reasons You Might Want to Read Wind Catcher

3. It’s About Choosing

The main character faces a series of choices about where to go with her life, choices that reflect the decisions that teens face when teetering between childhood and adulthood. That’s something that I find super relatable. After all, we all made choices as teens and young adults that shaped a lot of what followed.

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4. It’s a Good, Fast Read

True to YA format, it’s a book that you can read quickly. I love to immerse myself in a story for a few hours and read it from beginning to end (although admittedly I read quickly). I love to finish a book while traveling on a plane or when I can’t sleep one night. But I don’t want to compromise quality for quickness.

5. It’s a Series

This is the first book in a series called Chosen. That means that if you like this book, you can look forward to the ones that follow. The second book is due out in November 2015.

And Now for the Prizes!

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Soul Sessions: A Book About Soulmates, Serendipity and Life After Death

 Soul Sessions: A Book About Soulmates, Serendipity and Life After Death

Soul Sessions image Soul Sessions: A Book About Soulmates, Serendipity and Life After Death

As soon as I saw the campaign for this book, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Soul Sessions just looked like something that was unique from the other books that are out there and it piqued my interest. I quickly ordered it on Amazon and I began to read it as soon as it was delivered to my doorstep. It’s a quick and compelling read that I sat down and devoured in one sitting, pausing to make more tea and eventually to pour a glass of wine but otherwise staying glued to my couch, beneath my favorite crochet blanket, turning page after page.

About Soul Sessions

Soul Sessions is the story of a man who goes through a tragedy and struggles with suicidal depression. However, he meets a psychologist who uses past-life regression to help him understand what is happening with him. Through this, he discovers that there’s a woman he has been partnered with in many other lifetimes and he becomes compelled to find her again in the current life. It’s a love story and it’s a story about the bigger question of what happens to our souls when our bodies die.

What I Loved

  • I really appreciate stories that look at depression in an honest way.
  • I also appreciate that there are many different ways to get out of depression and I think this one – the potential to find a lost love in this life time – is an intriguing one.
  • It’s a love story. How can I not love a good love story? But it’s not a traditional love story in any sense of the word.
  • It’s thought-provoking. It’s really more than  love story. It’s a story about spiritual growth.

cefd Soul Sessions: A Book About Soulmates, Serendipity and Life After Death

Food For Thought

Although the book is a simple read, Soul Sessions is filled with complex ideas and offers a lot of food for thought. Mulling over some of the questions that the book poses challenge me to think about my own belief system. I’ve always had this push-pull feeling about past lives. Sometimes I believe that we’ve been here before and will be here again. Sometimes I believe this is true only in the sense that the star stuff in our bodies will come and go in different incarnations. And sometimes a series of past lives that we can understand in this lifetime is just beyond my grasp and I doubt it. But what do I really believe, when all of the doubts and questions fade away? I still don’t know but the book has my mind wrapping itself around and around these questions. It’s inspiring in that way.

You Might Like Soul Sessions If:

  • You like quick-read stories.
  • You’re looking for something different to read.
  • You believe in soul mates.
  • You are curious about life after death.
  • You love a good love story but want to experience one that’s different.
  • You are inspired by spiritual growth stories. One reviewer said that reading this book was like getting a spiritual hug!

Learn More

Learn more about Soul Sessions and author Carson Gage here.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Movies About Mid-Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

Louie Zamperini, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking … Somehow I find that I’ve been recently watched several films (in the theaters no less) that are biopics of amazing, interesting, unique men.

Unbroken poster Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

Unbroken, Imitation Game and Theory of Everything have a lot in common. They’re all primarily set in the mid-20th Century; the first two are about WWII. They are all about men who are unique from others in some big way. Zamperini was an Olympic athlete and the other two are cutting-edge mathematicians/ scientists. Each of the men is challenged in life in some huge way (as a prisoner of war, persecution for homosexuality and with a degenerative disease). In each case, the film is based on a book about the life of the person as told by someone other than the man himself. And they were all nominated for Academy Awards.

The Imitation Game poster Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

I don’t usually watch movies or read books where men are the main characters. It’s not intentional. I suppose as a woman I tend to be drawn towards women’s stories. I usually read women’s memoirs. And most Hollywood films have women as main characters. In fact, the main women in the lives of both Turing and Hawking do play a big role in the film and I was endlessly interested in them. I wanted to know a lot more about Joan Clarke, the only woman working with Turing, and about Jane Wilde Hawking who choose to love (and eventually leave) her brilliant husband. But ultimately, the films are about the men, and the lives that they led in part by choice and in part out of happenstance.

Theory of Everything Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

Each of these films brought tears to my eyes, always right at the end of the movie. With Unbroken, my eyes welled with tears at the end when I learned that Zamperini eventually did go to the Olympics to run the torch in Japan, the place where he had been tortured so many years before. There was something so amazing about the resilience in that and so beautiful about the global recognition of that important thing. The film says that he married and had two kids and I couldn’t help but wonder what his life was really like, what kind of PTSD he might have lived with, how his family relationship really worked out. But the teariness was because of the way the film suggests that there was some kind of personal resolution at the end.

zamperini Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

With Imitation Game, the tears were from anger at the injustice of it all. Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality and put on chemical castration hormones. The film doesn’t go into detail about how those chemicals affected him, but I can imagine that they were awful in terms of wreaking havoc on the body and emotions. A year after starting them, Turing committed suicide. And reading that line at the end of the movie just made me cry.

alan turing Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

 

I can’t even wrap my head around the war as told from the lenses of these two different men – a prisoner of war held in Japan after 40 some days at sea and all the death witnessed and pain experienced there followed by a life that presents on the surface at least as relatively normal and a man who created the cutting-edge computer system that broke the German code and helped to bring that war to an end but who died shortly after in a tragic way by his own hand.

stephen hawking Movies About Mid Century Men and Musings about Mental Health

I’m not sure what in Theory of Everything made me teary. It was a different kind of teary. Maybe it was the dissolution of the couple’s marriage. Maybe it was the scene at the end when Hawking imagines being able to just get up and pick up a pencil that has dropped, something so simple for most of us. Is it a blessing or a curse that he was trapped in that non-working body but that his brilliant mind was unhindered?

Perhaps because what’s always interested me is human psychology or perhaps because I’m immersed in counseling studies for my program but I can’t help looking at the stories of each of these men and wondering about their mental health. I wonder about Zamperini and PTSD. I wonder about Turing and depression. I wonder about Hawking and grief. I wonder what makes them able to persevere (or perhaps not, in Turing’s case) and what the quality of life is in terms of mental health rather than what output they offered to the world.

I don’t have answers. Just musings.

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Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

Seaside Sunset Cover Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

To help celebrate the release of her newest Romance, bestselling author Melissa Foster,has created a fun Street Team for readers of her books and lovers of the Romance genre. As part of this launch, she will be giving away lots of prizes—and I mean lots. From chocolate gift baskets to autographed books to super swag, she will be giving away more than 20 prizes, and as many as 520!

If the Street Team reaches 500 members by Monday, December 22, every single member will score an Advance Review Copy of her upcoming novel, Seaside Secrets. That means that you can enjoy the newly released Seaside Sunsets and then immediately read the next installment in the series. Pretty cool, huh?

Melissa Street Team Banner Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

Not in the mood to join the team? Not a problem! You can still enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and autographed book.

Now that I know you’re excited, read on to learn more about Melissa’s Street Team and her newest release, Seaside Sunsets.

About Melissa’s Street Team

Melissa Street Team Badge Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

Do you LOVE Melissa Foster’s hunky heroes and smart, sexy heroines? Want to tell others about her books and help spread the word while gaining exclusive peeks at upcoming releases? Join Melissa’s Street Team, and become one of her most trusted fans!

Fab fan benefits:  Personal interaction with Melissa, lively discussions with other super fans and romance junkies, sneak peeks into future publications, exciting challenges with great prizes/swag, and fancy badges for your website, blog, and social media profiles.

Join today:  www.facebook.com/groups/melissafosterfans

About Melissa’s Newest Release

*SEASIDE SUNSETS WAS CHOSEN AS ONE OF AMAZON EDITORS’ BEST ROMANCE BOOKS OF DECEMBER 2014

For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother–and falling in love is not in his plans.

From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sensual, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the blond beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie’s life–and his heart–upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away

Recommended for readers aged 18+

Get Seaside Sunsets on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, or Google Play!

Giveaway

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4D Things

Last week I went to my first 4d movie (Hunger Games) where my seat shook and the wind blew on me. I’m not usually into action movies of any kind and it definitely engaged me more. I do have to say I was disappointed that the 3D visual effects (no glasses required) weren’t very good because that would have really added the right stuff for me but all in all it was a good unique experience and a terrific glimpse into the future of entertainment.

Above you’ll see a video of the first “4d” printed dress. We’re barely starting to see 3d printing hitting the mainstream and we’re already moving on to 4d. And I love it!

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Crochet Blog Awards

Every December over on my crochet blog I do a series of daily posts recognizing my favorite crochet bloggers for the specific cool things that they are doing. One of this year’s winners, Crochetbug, wrote this very lovely post on her blog today that included the following:

“It is an absolute delight to have my work recognized by Ms. Vercillo. To say that she is tireless in her efforts to promote crochet is an understatement, and her encouragement is a reminder to me, in this season of giving, that sometimes the most important gift is the one where we acknowledge of the humanity and efforts of those around us who do the many things (large and small) that make it possible for us to carry on with our lives.”

I was so touched by the post and the sentiment!

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Issey Miyake Fashion and Technology

issey miyake design Issey Miyake Fashion and Technology

Almost every day I walk past a boutique clothing store on my street that has an Issey Miyake fashion display in the window. The volume of this designer’s clothes doesn’t seem like it would work on my body but I’m always so intrigued by what he’s creating. Today Dezeen has an interview with the fashion designer about his new collection and the technology being used to produce it.

Excerpt:

Dan Howarth: How does the technology work?

Yoshiyuki Miyamae: Let me quickly talk about the latest concept before we get into the technology. It’s called Windscape, this latest collection. I was inspired by the natural patterns that winds create. It could be about the shape of clouds, a sand dune changing shape, maybe the ripples on the surface of the water. It’s also to do with lightness. I wanted to express the lightness of those phenomena and translate them to the clothes.

We created paper prototypes of the shapes. We tried many patterns including squares and triangles. We usually tend to work like that and to make one paper prototype takes about a day to make it work. The way I came to this point is through endless research and experimenting at the paper stage and gradually translating it into fabric.”

Full interview here

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Just Girls – YA LGBTQ Book Review

RachelGold JustGirls Cover Small 667x1024 Just Girls   YA LGBTQ Book Review

Just Girls is a young adult LGBTQ novel that stands out to me as innovative and aware while simultaneously touching on the topics that affect many teenagers as they enter the college scene for the first time.

The Story

Just Girls is the story about Ella Ramsey, a MTF transgender woman who is starting as a new student in college and hasn’t come out to people there even though she has gone through the coming out process in her hometown.

She becomes friends with Jess. She’s a cisgender lesbian who has overheard slurs and bullying comments about the transgender person on campus and pretends that she is transgender as a way to raise awareness of trans and LGBTQ issues. She doesn’t know at first that her friend Ella is the person she’s defending in this way.

The story is about their individual and shared experiences in these early days at a college campus.

What I Love

Author Rachel Gold does a great job of raising awareness of myriad LGBTQ issues in this book while still retaining the story itself as the primary focus. Reading it, I was concerned about the characters and their inner lives and their relationships. I wasn’t focused on anything as a “trans issue” and yet noticed that there was a lot of information and advocacy happening in those pages. I love that Gold was able to balance her writing in this way.

A Memory

Continue reading

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