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Monday, September 21, 2020

The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner Review

I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.

At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.

She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.

After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.


"Gardner has created a likable character in Angela, who faces off with the class bully in defense of herself and her best friend. Alternately full of sass and seriousness, Angela quickly learns that writing in her new journal may lead to some unintended consequences, some hilarious and some grave. An enjoyable tween romp about the familiar world of bullies mixed with a bit of magic, this one would be great for a class read or group discussion." Seattle Book Review

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complementing each other in the way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instills some important lessons and values,much like the old 80's and 90's cartoons used to do. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints that a sequel may follow, and it's certainly something I would consider picking up. If you're looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkling of magic in everyday life, then look no further." K.J. Simmill, Award-Winning British Author

"The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner is a charming story of action and consequence. Gardner presents her characters and their problems with an equal touch of magic and reality. This allows the message of the tale to come through while entertaining instead of preaching. Gardner does a great job of taking what could be a clichéd story and putting a few twists in it to keep it fresh and humorous." Kris Moger, Readers' Favorite

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is an engaging and fun coming-of-age story about a twelve-year-old girl who is suddenly the possessor of great power. I loved following as Angela began to appreciate her journal's powers and realized the importance of carefully considering everything she wished for.Throughout the story, Gardner addresses the issue of bullies and bullying, which is something all kids and most adults have to deal with at some point, and she shows how Angela learns to differentiate between solving the problem and descending into bullying behavior herself.Gardner also admirably addresses the stress and confusion felt by kids and tweens when their mom and dad get divorced. The Journal of Angela Ashby is a marvelous fantasy that brings up real-life issues without lowering the magic and fun potential for a moment, and Sam Shearon's illustrations really make it all come alive most brilliantly." Jack Magnus, Author

Book: The Journal of Angela Ashby
Written by: Liana Gardner
Reviewed by: Angie Amezcua

The Journal of Angela Ashby follows a 12-year-old girl navigating her emotions and desires during her parent's divorce while also dealing with a bully at her school. Not to mention a magical journal that manifests her journal entries into becoming a reality. Although a little predictable at times the story was still very enjoyable and heartfelt. One of the many things I enjoyed about the book is the inclusion of Angela’s best friend, Mallory, character arc. As a reader, we not only got to see our protagonist grow but we also got to see the supporting character grow as well which I loved. Another aspect I enjoyed was the protagonist not being afraid of the bullies for a change. Angela’s wit and bravery to stand against the main antagonist for not only herself but Mallory as well is inspiring, and I hope young readers can resonate with Angela’s attitude.

Overall this a fun read for children and adults alike. It also promotes a healthy way of navigating your emotions when you don’t know how to talk to someone about them. When Angela needed a safe space to express herself she wrote in her journal. Even if her desires weren’t written with the best intentions at first after a few mishaps she was able to reflect on the causes of her actions and fine-tune what her true desires were.

You can purchase The Journal of Angela Ashby at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Liana Gardner

Liana Gardner is the award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution and the Misfit McCabeseries. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”


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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Netflix: Hubie Halloween Trailer - Adam Sandler, Kevin James & Julie Bowen

Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) thanklessly spends every Halloween making sure the residents of his hometown, Salem, celebrate safely and play by the rules. But this year, an escaped criminal and a mysterious new neighbor have Hubie on high alert. When people start disappearing, it’s up to Hubie to convince the police (Kevin James, Kenan Thompson) and townsfolk that the monsters are real, and only he can stop them. Hubie Halloween is a hilarious family film about an unlikely hero with an all-star cast including Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Noah Schnapp, Steve Buscemi and Maya Rudolph, produced by Happy Madison.

Film Release Date: October 7, 2020
Directed by Steven Brill
Written by Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler
Produced by Adam Sandler, Kevin Grady, Allen Covert
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Chiklis, Tim Meadows, Karan Brar, George Wallace, Noah Schnapp, Paris Berelc, China Anne McClain, Ben Stiller with Steve Buscemi and Maya Rudolph

Hubie's not a popular guy in Salem, Massachusetts, but that won't stop this good-hearted but easily spooked man from keeping his town safe on Halloween.

Photo Content from Netflix
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without adverts or commitments.
jbnfilms, jbnspotlights

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Netflix: Rebecca Trailer - Lily James, Armie Hammer & Kristin Scott Thomas

After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo with handsome widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a newly married young woman (Lily James) arrives at Manderley, her new husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast. Naive and inexperienced, she begins to settle into the trappings of her new life, but finds herself battling the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, the elegant and urbane Rebecca, whose haunting legacy is kept alive by Manderley’s sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas). Directed by Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Free Fire) and produced by Working Title Films (Emma, Darkest Hour), REBECCA is a mesmerising and gorgeously rendered psychological thriller based on Daphne du Maurier’s beloved 1938 gothic novel.

Film Release Date: October 21, 2020
Directed By: Ben Wheatley
Screenplay By: Jane Goldman and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse
Based on the Novel By: Daphne du Maurier
Produced By: Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Nira Park
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Keeley Hawes, Ann Dowd, Sam Riley, Tom Goodman-Hill, Mark Lewis Jones, John Hollingworth, Bill Paterson

A young newlywed arrives at her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.

Photo Content from Netflix
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without adverts or commitments.
jbnfilms, jbnspotlights

Friday, September 18, 2020

L.B. Gschwandtner Interview - A Place Called Zamora

Photo Content from L.B. Gschwandtner

L.B. Gschwandtner has attended numerous fiction writing workshops – the Iowa Writers Workshop and others – studied with Fred Leebron, Bob Bausch, Lary Bloom, Sue Levine and Wally Lamb, won awards in Writers Digest and Lorian Hemingway fiction competitions and published 4 adult novels, one middle grade novel and one collection of quirky short stories. She lives on a tidal creek in Virginia.


Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I was lucky to meet some wonderful writers who also teach writing. The first, and for that reason alone the most important, was Fred Leebron at the University of Iowa. His book Creating Fiction A Writer’s Companion is simply the best book on writing craft I’ve ever studied – and I say “studied” because you don’t just read it. It’s a full course. It’s funny that the cover on Amazon is upside down. I took other workshops with Fred over the years and each one gave me deeper insights and uinderstandings of the process of putting a book together.
But I have to add to that, the following writer/teachers: Bob Bausch, Lary Bloom, Sue Levine, and Wally Lamb.
I also have to give a shout out to a little book about plot called Novelist’s Essential Guide To Creating Plot by J. Madison Davis. After years of workshops about “literary” writing where plot is a never-uttered word, I really found this little book of great help. My own copy is so highlighted, starred and notated that it’s almost im possible to read anymore. I’m pleased to report its cover on Amazon is right side up.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There’s great satisfaction in the process of finishing a book length work. And there’s immense joy when readers get what you meant. But I think the surprise when readers find meaning I never saw in my own work is the most rewarding. A book, after all, is for the readers.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?

They’ll probably see parallels between my fictional story and the reality of America today. Not only America, but any country where corruption has dug deep roots and is affecting the lives of millions or hundreds of millions of people. Hopefully they’ll see the struggle the book’s characters go through – both the internal and external struggles – to find their own paths through the corruption to a better place. I hope they think about resilience and how people can make a difference leading to a better life.
But really, I just hope they enjoy the story and save the thinking for after they’ve finished.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
My anger and frustration about America’s corruption. It was both my distraction and my push forward.

What part of Niko and El did you enjoy writing the most?
It may seem odd but my favorite characters to write were Old Merrie and Huston. Old Merrie’s scenes just seemed to write themselves. Both Huston and Old Merrie are characters in hiding. That is to say, they’re not what they seem to the world. Both of them are playing a game, seeming to fit into their society and at the same time working secretly to undermine it. One from a position of powerlessness and subservience and the other from a place of immense power and authority.
I liked both Niko and El and enjoyed writing them, but they take up more real estate in the book and that required much more of my mental agility and plain old hard work.

Can you tell us when you started A PLACE CALLED ZAMORA, how that came about?
The idea really began because of an article I read about a fancy high rise in Caracas, Venezuela. Known at the time as the world’s tallest slum, it was also dubbed the Tower of David because it was the work of a wealthy developer named David Brillembourg. The city was as corrupt as they come, in a country headed by Hugo Chavez, who was elected with a substantial plurality on a promise of reform and democratization but in actuality he was a Marxist-Leninist aligned with Cuba’s Castros. Supported by the high price of oil, his initial programs did well but faltered when oil sales collapsed. 

As oil went so went the dreams of a gleaming financial center with its most lavish building designed as a bank and office building, which was never completed and abandoned after the sudden death of Brillembourg from cancer. Thereafter the building, which was essentially a concrete and steel shell, was taken over by squatters who formed a defacto city state inside its walls and lived in unspeakable conditions for years that way. That got me thinking about when a society collapses in on itself how people will adapt to any inhumane conditions just to stay alive.

After reading as much as I could on the Tower, its demise and aftermath, I was intrigued by the resilience and resourcefulness of the people who eventually made it their home, a complicated and daunting feat on many levels.

And then my own country seemed to come unraveled with the election of Trump and all the corruption he brought with him. I see this endemic corruption as a kind of disease that eats away at society and culture and, rather than simply rant about it, I took out my disgust, rage and sadness through writing this story. So I think of it as a harbinger, a warning and a call to arms against the corruption we now have in America.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d like to introduce Old Merrie’s cat to Black Beauty. They’re both survivors.

  • 1. “I’m not a thief,” Niko said but kept hold of the pipe.
  • “Of course you are,” the man said and dropped his arms. He took a last puff on the meskitta. “We’re all thieves at the right price. I have nothing against stealing.” He shrugged and dropped the stub to crush it underfoot then looked up and smiled at Niko. “What’s your price?”
  • 2. A cat lay under the slab, curled into a round ball of orange fur, its nose hidden between its front paws. It seemed peaceful, except one ear was missing a wedge, and one front paw was mangled so its pads splayed like leaves from a branch.
  • 3. There, on certain bright, sun-filled days, at the very apex of the sun’s path, by leaning so far over that a person felt in peril of falling and being lost forever to the ground below, a tantalizing glimmer appeared. It was mesmerizing, frightening, beckoning, enthralling.
    “There is a better place,” some of them said and nodded knowingly. “We still remember.” Niko had heard them whisper: “A place called Zamora.”
  • 4. El moved closer to the edge but, instead of looking out to the horizon, she peered over to the street below.
  • “Tonight they’ll face this,” she said. Inadvertently she weaved slightly toward the abyss.
    “Nothing you can do about that,” said Old Merrie. “You got to look out, not down. You got to think about what’s better than what you got.”
    Then El raised her chin and fixed her eyes on the faraway place that now shimmered a hot green against the lowering sun.
    “What is it?” she asked, her voice filled with wonder.
    “The glimmer,” Old Merrie said simply. “And beyond that, somewhere, Zamora.”
  • 5. “Sometimes one must have faith in the future. Even when the present seems hopeless, we must remember that God is all around us. He manifests in the kindnesses we do for others and in the faith we keep.”
  • 6. “So tell me,” he said. “about love. Does it always end badly?”
  • 7. Remember: There was a time long ago when the Pope led an army across the continent of Europe. I may be a man of God, but He commands us to be righteous. Each of us must decide what ‘righteous’ means and how we must fight for it.”
  • 8. Fuller patted one of the closed computers. “I make it my business to know things.” He squinted at Gruen. Light was beginning to filter through the windows in the other room. The sun would be up soon.
  • 9. “So, change is coming to Infinius,” Fuller said. “Let’s hope we survive it.”
  • 10. “Back there … back at Infinius … I knew who I was. I knew how my day would start and probably how it would end. I had confidence in myself back there. Now I don’t know anything anymore. I only know that you’re the only completely good thing that ever happened to me. And I ruined it.”
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Haha. That’s a funny question. When you lasso a calf for branding you tie 3 of its legs together.

That was a trivial pursuit question I had to answer at a party once and the guys on the other team challenged it but it was correct. I know because I’ve lassoed a calf. I doubt anyone else at that party had ever seen a calf close up.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
My five-year-old granddaughter and I were on a bed pretending it was a cruise ship and she kept throwing stuffed animals overboard and then we had to do sea rescues. Finally I got tired from these rescues so I said it was time for wine and cheese on the promenade deck. And she repeated:
“Everyone, it’s time for wine and cheese on the promeNOSE deck.”

It just got me laughing so hard I couldn’t stop. So her mom came in to see what was going on and we all collpased and couldn’t stop laughing. I do think laughter is catching.

Best date you've ever had?

I met a tall Austrian in Evian, France at a lovely inn overlooking Lake Geneva where a girlfriend and I had stopped for dinner. It was a very romantic place. He was having dinner at the same time. We decided to stay for a few nights. He was already vacationing there. On my last night, he asked me to have dinner with him. My friend had left that day. After dinner he asked me to marry him. That was 46 years ago. We’re still married.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Hmmm. I’m not a person who looks back much unless it’s to tell a story. I’ve had a blessed life. It’s had its challenges and heartache mostly during childhood and through my early twenties. I have some wonderful times to look back on and also some terrible ones. I don’t really want to go back to one time or place but I will say that many of my memories have to do with being on or near water – a river where my grandmother lived, beaches in Florida, lakes in Maine, the Long Island Sound in Connecticut where I learned to sail, scuba diving in the Keys, snorkeling in Bonaires, tarpon fishing with my father, the endless beaches on Ocracoke Island, kayaking from my own boathouse on a tidal creek … I’d go back to any of those if anyone has a magic wand handy.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

A woman who owned a flower shop that sold only silk flowers and plants hired me and another teen to make little papier maché flowers that would end up attached as decorations to four-foot tall papier maché caroling angels. These angels held open papier maché song books and attached at their backs they had large wings. They also had halos and flowing gowns. My flowers were stuck along their sleeves and dresses at various points. Two gay men were in charge of this operation. They were, as I remember it, quite chatty and fun. The shop owner was also chatty but not fun. After fabricating these tall angels, they were painted gold and ended up as Christmas decorations in some large department store in New York City.

It was a fun job since I was also an art student at the time and enjoyed making things and had worked with papier maché before. After a couple of weeks of making flowers I was graduated to making the angels’ caroling books which were quite large. That went well until one day the woman who owned the store started ranting about her black maid. She went on and on and finally said something about the woman not knowing her place. The two gay men glanced at each other and I cringed. I finished the book I was working on and quit the next day. I regret that I was not brave enough to tell her why I was quitting and what place I thought she should occupy.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
Maybe my 25th birthday when my mother called and said: “I need you. Your father’s sick.” And when I went over to their place, this energetic, smart, hedge fund founder and former Marine was sitting in the bedroom in a catatonic state and I learned that he’d lost fifty million dollars (some of it mine) in the market. Later I realized that luckily for me, when I was fourteen I’d used some bonds my grandmother had left me to buy a Georgia O’Keefe flower painting. But at the moment it seemed like my whole world had collapsed.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Fall in love.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I’m scared at some point every day these days. I know I’m not alone in that.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?

I think the time when I read my writing mentor’s comment on the first manuscript I ever worked on seriously. He wrote: “Transportive.” That’s what fiction should be – transportive.

Niko and El are trapped in a politically corrupt dystopian city where brutality rules. After winning a cynical race where only one rider can survive, Niko tosses aside his chance to join the city’s corrupt inner circle by choosing lovely, innocent El as his prize―thus upsetting the ruling order and placing them both in mortal danger. With the Regime hunting them and the children of the city fomenting a guerrilla revolt, the two attempt a daring escape to the possibly mythical utopia, Zamora. But as events unfold, the stirrings of love El once felt for Niko begin to morph into mistrust and fear. If they reach Zamora, will Niko ever claim his secret birthright? And what will the future hold if he loses El’s love?
You can purchase A Place Called Zamora at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you L.B. GSCHWANDTLER for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a Copy of A Place Called Zamora by L.B. Gschwandtner.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lauren North Interview - One Step Behind

Photo Content from Lauren North

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Growing up, I devoured books. From the classics to Enid Blyton and the Nancy Drew novels. YA wasn’t such a big genre when I was younger, so I leapt straight into John Grisham and Stephen King, often scaring myself silly at night. There is no doubt in my mind that these books influenced my writing. But a standout book for me was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although it’s a horror, the story is filled with emotional depth and creepy inescapable tension that inspired me to become a writer. So for me, the books I read growing up, and still read today, influence my writing more than anything or anyone else.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There are two standout events for me. The first is a woman who contacted me after reading my debut (The Perfect Son). She told me she’d not picked up a book for years but reading my book had made her realise that she’d been missing out and now she reads all the time. Knowing I’ve had a hand in opening the door to the amazing world of books for this one person is magical and extremely rewarding.

The second most rewarding experience was going into a store and seeing my book on the shelves. For someone who has been dreaming of being an author for a long time, it doesn’t get much better than that.

In your new book; ONE STEP BEHIND, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
One Step Behind focuses on Jenna – a wife, a mother and a doctor, and a woman pushed to the brink of a breakdown by an unknown stalker. This man is tormenting her life. He’s leaving creepy gifts on her doorstep, he’s emailing her colleagues at the hospital, he breaks into her house.

Jenna knows she’s at breaking point and can’t take much more, but then her stalker is wheeled into the emergency room where she works and suddenly it’s Jenna that has all the power and she must decide how many lines she’s willing to cross to take back control of her life.

  • 1. It’s set in a fictional seaside town called Westbury
  • 2. Westbury is based on the real seaside town of Southend on Sea where I grew up. I changed the name because there is a hospital in the novel where Jenna works, and I wanted to make some changes to the hospital in my story
  • 3. Jenna is a doctor who has lived in Westbury for 13 years. This was some creative licence on my part. Had she been a real-life doctor she would have had to move around every six months or so to complete her training. Only in the last few years would she have been able to settle in one place. I kept Jenna living in Westbury as it made it easier for marriage and family and her friendships
  • 4. Jenna’s house is based on my Dad’s house in the real Southend on Sea
  • 5. Jenna’s son Archie is an imaginative 7-year old. He loves to fight aliens on his imaginary planet Bong.
  • 6. I borrowed planet Bong from my daughter and her friend who created the imaginary world
  • 7. Another main character in the book is Sophie. The reader sees past chapters from Sophie from when she’s eight until when she’s an adult. Sophie’s teenage experiences with friends isn’t very nice. It’s based on my own experience.
  • 8. In a very early draft of One Step Behind Jenna was single and didn’t have children.
  • 9. I changed Jenna to being married with children because neither Jenna nor the book was working
  • 10. In order to write the hospital scenes I had to watch a lot of documentaries about the emergency room and then asked a friend of a friend who works as an emergency room nurse to read the book to make sure I got my facts right
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
The thing I find surprising about my characters in every book I write, is how much they change as I’m writing the first draft. They come to life for me and suddenly they are these living, breathing, talking people with opinions, and they don’t always want to do what I’ve planned for them to do. It’s exciting and frustrating in equal measure.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Am I allowed to say myself? I will find a hundred and one things to do around the house, errands that I must run that very second, anything in fact that isn’t sitting down and writing my book. And when I do strong arm myself into my office, Facebook and Twitter cause even more distraction.

It’s for this reason that I set myself daily word count challenges to keep me focused. I like to wake up early before my family are up and write. It’s too early to be moving around the house doing jobs so there is no excuse not to write.

What part of Jenna did you enjoy writing the most?
Her fierceness in her passion for her work and protecting her children. She is a jump in the deep end kind of person which made her great to write about.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love for Tess from The Perfect Son to meet Jenna from One Step Behind. Tess is struggling with grief and depression and I think she’d benefit from some of Jenna’s fierceness and drive. Both are mothers who would do anything to protect their children and I think they’d find common ground there.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
My son is ten years old. He loves watching animal documentaries and knows a lot about animals. My most ridiculous is one he told me the other day. If you took all the fur off a tiger, it would still have its stripes because the stripes are on the skin too.

  • 1. I love running. I do it for fun and not for exercise.
  • 2. I’m crazy about Twix. I eat at least one Twix a day and must dip it in my coffee
  • 3. I’m super competitive and love board games.
  • 4. I’ve also been known to cheat. Watch me very carefully if you want to play a game with me.
  • 5. My happiest nights are ones when I’m tucked up in bed by 9pm
  • 6. I have super long toes and my childhood nickname was Lauren Long toes
  • 7. When I’m lost in writing, I say the words out loud as I type. I only realised this when I started getting funny looks when I was writing in cafes
  • 8. I don’t like summer. It’s too hot or not hot enough but you have to wear summery clothes anyway. Autumn and woolly jumpers and warm socks rock!
  • 9. I can’t watch or read anything about zombies. They interfere with my imagination and I have very vivid nightmares. Even an advert for The Walking Dead can trigger a weird dream.
  • 10. I smile at dogs when they walk by (and get funny looks from the owners). They are just so happy and tail wagging.
Best date you've ever had?
A few years ago I went to Iceland with my husband. It was our first trip away without children since we were married. We went to see this huge waterfall. It was freezing cold but utterly beautiful and we had such a good time together. He really made me laugh that day. So that’s probably the best date I’ve ever had.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
It’s been one of those days when life has really got in the way and writing has taken a back seat. Don’t beat yourself up. Nobody shouted or cried today. Tomorrow the children will be back at school and then you can write, but make sure you get up early and focus!

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I’m really not that interesting I’m afraid. My life would put a lot of people to sleep if it was made into a movie.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I have really thick, bushy sort of curly but not quite curly hair. It would have been perfect for the 80’s style, so for this reason I’d chose the 80’s so I could see what it’s like to fit in as a teenager.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I don’t like birds very much. All that flapping and flying around my head.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I ate too much cake.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
The moment when I found out my debut novel had sold in America. It was completely unexpected. I found out at 4.30am and sat at my desk for an hour just staring at the email before I woke my husband up to tell him.

Where can readers find you?

I’m on Twitter: @Lauren_C_North and Facebook: @LaurenNorthAuthor. Please do get in touch if you read and enjoy my books. It really makes my day to hear from readers.

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.

Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?


“The lives of two troubled women intertwine in this unsettling psychological thriller….A nice see-sawing of emotions and motives will keep most readers guessing to the end. North remains a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly

“A great psychological thriller with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged to the very end.” —Red Carpet Crash
You can purchase One Step Behind at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAUREN NORTH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of One Step Behind by Lauren North.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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|Podcast| In Service to Love - Darlene Green

Photo Content from Darlene Green

Highly sensitive, an empath, healer, teacher and scribe, Darlene Green has followed her heart's direction in discovery of the sacred. What started as a personal journey ignited by profound events Dec. 2017 has become the extensive work of In Service to Love. 

In collaboration with Masters of the Council of Light, what has unfolded is a frequency rich, guided pathway and new paradigm to enlightenment.

“The sense of mission has been the background of my life.” Highly sensitive, an empath, healer, teacher Darlene has pursued work and studies that would delve deeper into the extraordinary expression that has always beckoned her into the discovery of the sacred in life.

“There are defining moments that forever alter our trajectory. In facing circumstances that call into question what I thought I knew of myself, the space opened for events beyond what I thought possible. The miraculous as a daily reality.” Following trauma from a car accident early in 2017, a deep internal process of healing began. Profound spiritual events of Dec. 26, 2017 signaled a new expression. And the divine collaboration of In Service to Love began.

This work answers the question, “What becomes possible when we live from our soul’s vision?”

JBN Podcast   JBN Podcast   JBN Podcast

1. Day 7: As you move unhindered to the Now moment, beyond habit and restriction of your thinking, a new door opens. Yet to be defined by your expectation, experience and limitation, the blank canvas of your being offers you the gift of seeing newly.

2. Day 12: What if your choices are the access to your higher level of consciousness? What if choices are also your limitations? What if your choices can shut down the expansiveness of possibility? What if your level of consciousness governs what is possible within your realm of choice? 

3. Day 14: As you engage your full presence in the Now, you activate action as opposed to passivity. Your full presence is empowered with access to potential, awaiting direction for creation. As you participate on the field of your life, instead of sitting in the bleachers, your perspective takes on a whole new level of activity.

4. Day 34: Your still point is not a space of lack of action; it is the access to your inner light and knowing. Rather than viewing stillness as an end, consider the possibility of stillness as a portal to your highest expression. 

5. Day 50: Like an open-ended question, the affirmations of your day allow space for creation in the moment. The door is open to inspiration as you drop the limitations of unconsciousness. The affirmations at the start of your day are immensely powerful. They immediately move you off autopilot.

6. Day 68: Whatever thoughts you have, know that they are creating. Consider fine-tuning the ability to focus your thoughts in the direction you choose. Choosing the thoughts that are high frequency and that are in alignment with the highest expression of you will also bring into your awareness the thoughts that are not that. So, when thoughts that are not in alignment with your highest frequency come into your mind, you may ask, “AM I being a contribution in this moment?” “Is my energy at this moment expanding or contracting?” In asking the question, the answer will arise. Then you may declare, “I choose to reframe my perspective.”

7. Day 77: 
Inspiration on its own is a beautiful moment.
Inspiration with action is transformation.

8. Day 85: The divine nectar of the light you hold amplifies all of you. Like eating the highest value of nutrition possible that accelerates your well-being exponentially, the light you are incorporating into your experience is manna for your highest expression. The result is an experience of not just surviving but thriving on all levels. The frequency of light you are incorporating into your awareness is the equivalent of jet fuel for your growth. All aspects of your being are elevated: body, mind, and spirit.

9. Day 101: Once the hard edges and borders are removed, what becomes possible is the conscious experience of the infinite flow of your full expression. The alignment with the divine design of you resonates. The experience is of movement toward Love, peace, joy, fulfillment, compassion, abundance, and awareness of your soul’s vision. Rich, in every sense of the word.

10. Day 119: Who must you be to be both student and teacher? Who must you be, to elevate each environment you step into? Who must you be to have the ear of divine Masters? Who must you be to call forth Stargates? Who must you be to feel the clay of creation? Who must you be to follow the siren song of your soul?

We don’t take anything you do in light or in form lightly. We see you, the divine creator, creating. As you disentangle from the way it used to be, you move in the realm that always has been.

In Service to Love offers a pathway for shifting your awareness from the de-stabilizing chaos of the external world to the ever-present, potent, multi-dimensional, innovative expression of Love that is your authentic nature. When it is time for you to discover your own purpose and truth, In Service to Love offers a modern day mystery school that elevates your conscious awareness, catalyzing transformation and ultimately enlightenment. Revealed through daily messages, scribed by Darlene Green from the Masters that comprise the Council of Light, you experience your own unique, exquisite process of enlightenment. Each day’s message holds rich frequency. Simple foundational concepts, exercises, meditations, light infusions and activations guide your experience, allowing your own resonance to reveal truth.

Enlightenment is not a privilege to be earned, it is who you are at your essence. The process of enlightenment uncovers what gets in the way of your greatest expression. With each step made on your unique journey, the experience of your life here and now is enhanced. The work of In Service to Love masterfully aligns your awareness to your divine nature so you may hear the voice of your soul and create your best life possible.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I Don't Know How to Give Birth! by Ayami Kazama Review

I Don't Know How to Give Birth!
Story & Artwork by Ayami Kazama · Available August 18, 2020

A humorous and heartfelt autobiographical comic essay of a manga artist new to the challenges of motherhood! Follow her journey as she learns the ins and outs of pregnancy and childbirth-and the impossibility of finding comfy maternity underwear!

Book: I Don’t Know How To Give Birth
Written by: Ayami Kazama
Translated by: Julie Goniwich
Reviewed by: Angie Amezcua

I Don’t Know How To Give Birth written and illustrated by Ayami Kazama is an autobiographical comic essay that takes on societal taboos in a humorous and heartfelt manner. Some of the subjects covered in the book include infertility, pregnancy, female anatomy, and parenthood. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the way Kazama was able to deliver such an insightful look into what a woman’s journey with infertility can look like. Of course this is only one experience out of many but it still allowed some important information to be delivered to the audience in a non-threatening and funny way.

Kazama is able to offer her audience a very raw look into what pregnancy is like. Another one of my favorite aspects of the book is the discussion of labor, and what delivering a baby truly means. Despite her attentiveness to be prepared for when the day came and what she would do to pass time, everything went out the window once the contractions really started to get to her. One of the most memorable moments of the book for me is when she’s getting ready to push, but she doesn’t know how. Yet, this goes hand in hand with any new life experience we may come across. We can prepare for something as much as we’d like, but the truth is once we reach the moment anything can happen. We just need to maintain a positive attitude as much as we can and understand things aren’t always going to go our way. Overall, I Don’t Know How To Give Birth is the perfect combination of educational information and experience as well as an insight to how powerful women are. The reading not only left me feeling powerful, but it also left me with a good laugh.
You can purchase I Don't Know How to Give Birth! at the following Retailers:

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail*
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