F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way definitely has shock value, if for no other reason than for its title and provocative word choice. Mr. Parkin stresses that by saying “f**k it,” we can learn to let go, relax and simply give in to the flow of life. Saying these two little words can alleviate most of the stress and stressors in our lives because we will no longer take things so seriously, especially those things we cannot change.

In some ways I can understand why saying “f**k it” is equated to the ultimate spiritual way. When we say “f**k it” we begin to appreciate all that life has to offer, taking the good with the bad and accepting that both are necessary parts of life. These two words can, according to the author, offer a freedom and release that are equal to most religious or spiritual disciplines but without the judgment of I’m right and you’re wrong and therefore will burn in hell. By saying these two words and living with the philosophy they embody, you can learn to eliminate worry, a desire for things and end with being satisfied with who you are as a person, where you are and what you are doing.

Mr. Parkin does explain, quite nicely and often with a humorous twist, how one should say “f**k it” to jobs, family, friends, etc. He isn’t saying that you have to give up your job (unless you want to) or your friends and family (again unless you want to), but rather by saying these words to these situations and people we release any ability they may have to cause us stress. Other than the profane word choice, I don’t find that this is all that different from others in recent years, such as “don’t sweat the small stuff” or even “let go and let God.” Having said that, if the more traditional religious/spiritual paths (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, etc.) aren’t for you, then this may offer a starting point to being able to let go, relax and enjoy the ups and downs that is life. 

DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the publisher through the early reviewers’ program at I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Film discusses Harper Lee and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

I love the book To Kill a Mockingbird and last year celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release. Although the book is well known, the author hasn’t written (or published) any additional works and has lived a somewhat reclusive life. So when I read about the release of the documentary to DVD, I thought you might be interested as well. Here’s a link to the review I read: I’m definitely adding this to my DVD purchase wishlist!

Coming Soon…Blog Hops!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be participating in two upcoming blog hop giveaways: Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop and the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop. I’ll be offering an gift card valued at $15 during the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop, scheduled for May 25 – May 31. This hop is being hosted by I’m A Reader, Not A Writer and Page Turners Blog.
I’ll be offering paperback copies of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett during the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop, scheduled for June 25 – June 29 (books to be shipped from The Book Depository). This particular hop is being hosted by Leeswamme’s Blog.

Classics to the Rescue!

I think I’ve found the cure for readers’ block – reading (or in this case rereading) a classic. Okay the herbal tisane and candle didn’t do the trick last night so I grabbed my ereader and pondered my choices. It was down to Jane Eyre or The Secret Garden and The Secret Garden won. I became so engrossed in the story that I read for several hours before I simply couldn’t read any longer. I’ll need to try this cure again if the readers’ block returns, but there’s nothing like classic literature to get me out of a slump. If only I’d thought about that sooner perhaps I wouldn’t have become such a basket case worrying about the problem.

Reader’s Block

I’m currently suffering from a new and tragic disorder that I’ll call readers’ block. I’m sure you’ve all suffered from something similar from time to time, but this is the first time I’ve not been able to get into reading. I tried taking a break from my “required” review reading and started a new title from a favorite author, didn’t help. I tried reading a print book rather than an ebook, but that didn’t help. I even tried reading magazines and the newspaper, no good.

I’m currently debating seeking medical help because in more than 44 years (hey, I’m almost 50 so I’ve been an avid reader for at least 45 years) I’ve never had a problem with reading. My family actually describes me to people as the girl that was in the corner with her face in the book. I was very unassuming in childhood and always read. I attended my brothers’ childhood baseball and football games but I was reading while there.

I’m a reader. I’ve read books in genres I didn’t like and even by authors I couldn’t appreciate but I’ve never been unable to finish a book. I’ve never even had to force myself to read, not even in college or graduate school. This is serious! Just a few months ago I was literally reading a book a day and now I can’t finish a book in a week. 

There’s no way I can possibly be burnt out on reading. That’s an impossibility, right? 

Just worrying about this situation is bringing on a migraine. Ah well, I’ll take a pain reliever, make a cup of rooibos tisane (doctor has prohibited tea and that’s another migraine inducer in itself because hey tea is a great stress reducer), light a lavender candle and stop thinking about it for tonight. Hopefully I’ll awake tomorrow renewed, refreshed and ready for some reading.

Guest Post: "The Case for the Novella" by Naomi Bulger

“Why don’t you write a few thousand more words?” a friend asked me, after I finished writing Airmail. “Your book is too short. People want value for money.”
I tried to explain that ‘padding’ my book with a few thousand extra words would not make it a better value read, just a more tedious read. I tried to explain that a clean, succinct novella made for a rollicking read that didn’t need to ramble.
But my friend was unconvinced, until I also made the point that in today’s time-poor world, there was something to be said for a book that you could start and finish in one rainy afternoon, preferably with a glass or two of red wine to hand. Just like a good magazine.
Indeed, sci-fi author Robert Silverberg says the novella is “one of the richest and most rewarding of literary forms,” and I humbly agree.
A novella is essentially a short novel. Traditionally between 20,000 and 40,000 words, it is long enough to allow for a complex plot and full character development, but is less likely to sustain multiple storylines or a large cast of support characters.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, think Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ernest Hemingways’ The Old Man and the Sea, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s No One Writes to the Colonel, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. All novellas.
Yet Steven King once called the novella “an ill-defined and disreputable literary banana republic,” citing the difficulties of publishing a work that is too long for magazines and too short to fit the standard definition of ‘novel’.
And I confess it is true, the novella has not been popular in recent years. As bookstore mega-giants like Borders close down, and e-books rise in popularity, an increasingly jittery publishing industry is less likely than ever to take risks with formats that lie outside the tried and tested formulae.
But I put it to the jury that in the rush of contemporary life, the novella is due to rise from the ashes as the predominant fiction format of the twenty-teens.
I enjoy a good Gone With the Wind-esque saga as much as the rest of them. But let’s face it: in an era of Internet degrees, microwave dinners and drive-thru pharmacies, a tome like GWTW can take months to finish. On the other hand, what if you could enjoy a full and satisfying read in the space of two or three stolen hours? This is the gift of the novella to the time-poor reader.
Don’t remove that four-generation family saga from your bedside table. But please spare a little (and you’ll only need a little) time for the humble novella. You may just discover a world you’ll love, in an afternoon that becomes utterly and completely yours.
My question for you: You’re given two hours of interruption-free reading time. What do you read?  
Airmail, a new magic realism novella by Naomi Bulger, was published in April 2011, and is available online at Barnes & Noble and numerous other good bookstores. Naomi maintains a blog about writing, creativity and the absurdities of life at, and she promises to write a personal letter of thanks to everyone who buys a copy of Airmail

Coming Up This Week…

I’ll be posting a review of Be Careful What You Wish For by Sibel Hodge later this week. In addition, I’ll review a book (or two) chosen from my personal stash of TBR books. I haven’t decided on the title yet as there are so many to chose from, where do I begin? 

I’m also pleased to announce a guest post for Monday, May 8th. Ms. Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail, will be providing us with a post on “The Case for the Novella.”

Happy reading until then…

Book 105: AIRMAIL by Naomi Bulger

Anouk is currently living in New York City and writes letters about her life, sent via airmail, to a complete stranger in Australia. Mr. G.L. Solomon is that stranger. He’s an elderly retiree and his life is centered around highly structured albeit empty days. This life of his is given a lift when he starts receiving letters from this strange woman in New York City. His life takes an unexpected turn when he the letters begin to state that they are being written from the “other side.”

There’s a bit of quirkiness and the strange woven into this tale that borders on paranormal or fantasy without quite taking the step fully into either of those genres. Ms. Bulger presents us with two lives, Anouk and Mr. Solomon, that seem incomplete without the other even though they don’t really know one another. They both seem to be biding their time and waiting for something miraculous to happen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this story and was pleasantly surprised throughout my reading. This story kept me on edge, never knowing what was going to come with the next line or what the characters would do. If you’re looking for something different to read, then please add Airmail by Naomi Bulger to your list.

DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Julia Ferrar and Marissa Rogers have been friends since their high school days in Michigan. Marissa is an editor for a health magazine and Julia is a publicist for a ballet company in New York. Their friendship survives quite a bit over the years, including an onerous boyfriend breakup in college at the behest of Julia. Now Julia is suffering from traumatic brain injury and isn’t the pivotal point in Marissa’s life. Julia returns to Michigan to recover and Marissa must find the nerve to move on in New York. Although you can’t go back in time, Julia’s return to Michigan brings an old love back into Marissa’s life. Will she be able to withstand Julia’s current machinations? Can they both move forward without reliving mistakes from their past? 

Marissa is, in many ways, the every-woman. She has moments when she is lacking in self-confidence and is sure that those last 10 pounds will allow her to feel more comfortable in her own body. She loves her current boyfriend but constantly wonders about the one that got away. It isn’t until Marissa begins to work as a mentor/coach in an after-school running program that she learns that self-confidence and self-esteem must come from within. I enjoyed reading about the self-discovery and self-awareness that evolves in both Marissa and Julia. I have to say that I didn’t really like Julia as a person or a friend. I thought she was too manipulative and insistent on getting her way no matter what. It’s as if she expects Marissa’s life to revolve around her needs, and this is before the brain injury occurred. However, without Julia there is no impetus for Marissa to challenge herself and move forward. This is not just a “feel good” read but an honest and insightful look at friendship. The Art of Forgetting is scheduled for release on June 9th.

DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the publisher through the early reviewers program at I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Megan and Sean Flynn are sister and brother that have survived losing their parents as children. Now they must survive Sean’s death penalty conviction for rape and murder. Megan knows that her brother is innocent but even Sean’s best friends have their doubts and attest to this in court. It doesn’t help that Megan’s boyfriend, Cole Williams, a detective on the Seattle Police Department, is the arresting officer. Sean finally gives up on the entire appeal process and is determined to stoically face the death penalty. Megan refuses to give up and knows that there is more to this murder than meets the eye. Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, Megan’s juvenile advocate client comes across a dead body and Cole re-enters Megan’s life. Sparks fly between the two old lovers but is it love or hate? Will she uncover the truth in time to save Sean’s life? The clock is literally counting down…

Intrigue abounds in this romantic thriller by Jami Alden. Most of the thrills are centered around Megan’s amateur investigation into her brother’s conviction. Her investigation stumbles upon an underground prostitution ring with loose ties to a serial murderer and this provides most of the suspense. Megan’s actions are credible because most of us are willing to do whatever it takes to legally protect and fight for family. The romantic aspect of this thriller is only truly apparent in the beginning of the story with the burgeoning romance between Cole and Megan. Regrettably their romance dies a sudden and horrible death when he arrests her brother. The mystery and suspense aspects were somewhat predictable towards the end, but this did not detract from the overall storyline or my reading pleasure.

As a romantic thriller, this was a little light on the romance but the thrills were abundant. Ms. Alden has provided a well-written and quick read that I expect will be perfect for weekend or summer beach reading. Beg For Mercy is scheduled to be released on June 1st.

DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the publisher through the early reviewers program at I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”