Blog Category: Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday wrapped up a year ago this coming May. I can’t believe it’s been eleven months since we concluded our year-long reading of two books a week! It was intense and wonderful. I was just talking to my husband a few nights ago about how much I grew during that season of deep reading, especially with all the non-fiction work I processed through. It reminds me of how Joseph Campbell spent his early twenties reading for NINE HOURS a day, broken up into chunks of time.

No wonder he was so brilliant.

He talks about the process in his book, The Hero's Journey:

So during the years of the Depression I had arranged a schedule for myself. When you don’t have a job or anyone to tell you what to do, you’ve got to fix one for yourself. I divided the day into four four-hour periods, of which I would be reading in three of the four-hour periods, and free one of them.


By getting up at eight o’clock in the morning, by nine I could sit down to read. That meant I used the first hour to prepare my own breakfast and take care of the house and put things together in whatever shack I happened to be living in at the time. Then three hours of that first four-hour period went to reading.


Then came an hour break for lunch and another three-hour unit. And then comes the optional next section. It should normally be three hours of reading and then an hour out for dinner and then three hours free and an hour getting to bed so I’m in bed by twelve.


On the other hand, if I were invited out for  cocktails or something like that, then I would put the work hour in the evening and the play hour in the afternoon.


It worked very well. I would get nine hours of sheer reading done a day. And this went on for five years straight.

-Joseph Campbell

Wow. Think of all the learning that takes place with a reading schedule like that. That sounds brilliant. 

As for you and me, even though Bookfest Friday is long over for us, I hope you're still reading diligently and enjoying the process.

My pace slowed by about half, averaging right around a book a week, but I continue to dive in, and I'm loving it.

Here are some of my reads over the past eleven months, both fiction and non-fiction.

I’ve rated them 1-5, with 5 an “awesome!” and a 1 a “I wish I had passed.” 



Here they are:

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon (5+) F

Contagious Optimism by David Mezzapelle (1) NF

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (5) F

Siren by Kiera Cass (1) F

1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer (2) NF

Collard by Nicole Williams (1-) F

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma (5+) NF

God Space by Doug Pollock (2) NF

The Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (3) F

Let Food be Thy Medicine by Don Colbert (4) NF

The Summer of Great-Grandmother by Madeleine L’Engle (5+) NF

The Life You Were Born to Live by Dan Millman (1, but I LOVE his book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior) NF

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany (4) F

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (5+) NF

The Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan (5+) F

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (5+) NF

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (3) F

Love Wins by Rob Bell (5+) NF

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (4) F

Sex God by Rob Bell (5) NF

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (5) NF

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (4) F

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (4) NF

Everything, Everything by (3) Nicola Yoon

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern (4) F

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (5) F

An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers (5) F

As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers (4) F

I Dare You by William Danforth (5) NF

A Better Way to Live By Og Mandino (5+) NF

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino (5) F

The Greatest Secret in the World by Og Mandino (5) NF

The Choice by Og Mandino (5+) F

The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino (5) F

The Return of the Ragpicker by Og Mandino (5) F

It has been a lovely eleven months. My nightstand holds about a dozen more books which I'm halfway through, and my desk shelf ... oh my ... it's covered it a stack of titles I'm salivating over! But I'll tell you about all those reads later.

In the meantime, be on your toes, everyone! Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day! My husband always tries to get me. It started with my mother-in-law. She's so tricksie. Now it's a family thing, and I kinda like it.

Stay alert! 

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! ;)


Bookfest Friday

Well, everyone. That's a wrap. April 29, 2016 ended our year-long Bookfest Friday journey.

We officially did it. Two books a week for a whole year. 12 months, 104 books.

One of my long-standing goals has been accomplished. And it feels good. 

In fact, it feels so good, I think I shall keep going. I learned so much, grew so much, enjoyed myself so much, that I can't see myself stopping.

I'll keep you posted on my reads, and you keep me posted on yours.

The most important thing? Keep reading!!

Below is a list of my final six books: 

Show Up, Be Bold, Play Big by Kim Hodous

The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart

Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Achieving Excellence & Captivating Readers by Barbara Baig

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Keep reading all! 




Bookfest Friday

I can’t believe I have a stack of 20 books to share with you! That’s 10 weeks of reading.

You guys.

What’s even crazier? We’re nearing the end of our year of Bookfest Friday reading!!! Two books, every week, for an entire year. We're only a few weeks away from the end of our journey. Can you believe we’ve actually done it? We’re better for it, that’s for sure.

I’m going to summarize the books I read this last ten weeks by deeming each with a “MOST” award. It’s the quickest and easiest way I can think of to get across a main thought I have about each book.

Okay, no time to waste. Here’s what I read over the last ten weeks, listed in the order they’re stacked in the picture above, starting with the books I read on my kindle:

 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (MOST hard I cried at a book. Ever.)

After You by Jojo Moyes (MOST hard to read after I read the first book.)

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (MOST slow beginning, yet semi-redeeming middle and end.)

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (MOST able to skip and never read. Zoe’s first book …)

Physical Expression on Stage and On Screen by Bill Connington (MOST Helpful for my public speaking events.)

Ragged Richard by Horatio Alger (MOST enduring children’s novel on this list. It was originally published in early 1900’s. Richard’s name is actually shortened in the book title, but my husband makes fun of me when I say it.)

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (MOST in need of a less cliché’ last quarter of the book. Too many “coincidences.”)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling (MOST “Well, here we go…” feeling.)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (MOST, “Yes, here we go…” feeling.)

Of Love and Evil by Anne Rice (MOST provocative for spiritual analogy.)

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman (MOST awesome, finished in one day, wow.)

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox (MOST necessary to be read by every parent, ever.)

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink (MOST intriguing and full of statistics and tidbits.)

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (MOST, best re-read EVER. Fourth time just as good as the first. It never gets old.)

The Irresistable Novel by Jeff Gerke (MOST liberating book on the writing craft.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (MOST, “Digging in and opening a box of worms, what’s going to happen in book four” feeling.)

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (MOST easily able to skim. Not my favorite.)

A Ghost in the House by Betty Ren Wright (MOST fond of in my childhood. Interesting how much more intriguing it was twenty years ago...)

Who Switched Off My Brain by Caroline Leaf (MOST intrigued by the original edition. Didn’t like this one as much.)

An Unnamed Book Title That I’m Too Modest to Put Here On My Blog by Mantak Chia and Rachel Carlton Abrams (Most Positive Read For My Marriage.)

You guys, we only have THREE WEEKS OF THIS BUSINESS LEFT!! I can’t believe it. Please read six books before the next time I post for Bookfest Friday! My tears are already flowing, and I can’t believe a year is almost up. Is it really almost May 2016? Unbelievable.

Love to all,


Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday

Week 36, 37, 38, 39

Some good reads over the last four weeks, my friends.

Not surprisingly, both fiction and non-fiction books help inform the novels I'm writing SO MUCH. My husband and I flew to Las Vegas for the International Builders Show last week, and on the airplane, I went through a pad of post-it notes, marking up pages in these non-fiction books--references to ideas to use while I'm writing. Lots of content--actually almost all content--that I read helps with character development within my books. I suppose that's part of why I enjoy psychology and personal growth and development books so much.

But what I REALLY can't believe is that we only have a mere 13 weeks left to complete a WHOLE YEAR of Bookfest Fridays. Reading two books a week for a whole year. Wow. Way to go us.

The next couple of months are going to be especially tricky for me, because I'm diving more intensely into my first draft of THE MOD CODE BOOK #2. I always tend to naturally pull away from reading during these times, because I'm obessessed and distracted with the story in my head and consequently intent on getting it down on paper. BUT. I'm going to press forward and stay on track with two books a week, because ultimately, continual reading keeps me continually inspired. And that's a good thing.

With no further ado, here is my past four weeks of reading material:


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (LOVED. So good.)

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (This sequel was not so good. Totally disappointed after such a great start by Yancey.)

99 Days by Katie Cotugno (This was on the NYT Bestseller list, so I read it, but the language and promiscuity were a bit much for me. I'm more conservative, but still. I'm always shocked when I ponder the fact that this type of book is what our teens are exposed to and reading.)

Never Never, Book 3 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (I liked the book overall, but my reading buddy thought the story ended with too many loose ends.)


The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden by Robert A. Johnson (This author dives into archetypes, human psychology, spirituality, and humanity. Loved.)

The Naked Now by Richard Rohr. (Discussion on Christianity and spirituality that moves perspective to a whole new level. LOVED. Richard Rohr is a beautiful human being.)

The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (His follow-up to his "Power of Positive Thinking." Loved this book just as much as the first.)

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra (If you like metaphysics, are intrigued by archetypes, love your dog, or are ready to expand your mind, read this book.)

Keep on reading, my friends! And have a lovely weekend!!


Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday on The First Day of the NEW YEAR

Week 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, & 35

Happy New Year Everybody!

2016 is off to a great start already, I just feel it.

After the release of my books in early December, it was fun to sit back, relax, reminisce, and READ for the remainder of 2016. (I also wrote a bit, of course. But only because it makes me very happy.)

Over the past few weeks, I read my own books on my kindle for the first time (very cool experience), dove into some Christmas books (I thoroughly enjoyed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, seriously LOVED this book), took time to go through boxes of stories I wrote when I was a child (I forgot how much I loved to write when I was twelve!), and of course, caught up on all my Bookfest Friday reading that got lost in the shuffle of releasing TWO books in the month of December.

Since I'm currently working on a middle grade book series for girls ages 8-12, I pulled a book out of my own favorite series as a 3rd grader---THE BABYSITTERS CLUB. I also found Mandy, by Julie (Andrews) Edwards, in the boxes of my childhood items, and read that one as well. It's about an orphan girl who finds a secret cottage outside the walls of her orphanage and makes the cottage her own. This book secured a special spot in my heart when I was in elementary school.

I also read a handful of transforming non-fiction works. At the top for me were The Four Agreements and The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. My husband makes fun of me whenever I use the phrase "These books changed my life!" (which is often), but it's true people, it's just so true. These books changed my life.

Here's a list of the twelve books I read over the last 6 weeks:

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Don’t read the reviews and find out the plot twist! Just read and enjoy. It’s a feel-good romance for new adults--meaning college-aged readers.)

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (a YA--that’s young adult/teen--book that had a great main character voice, but the plot was just okay for me.)

The Garden of Eve by K. L. Going (got Kelly’s middle grade book at a writer’s workshop that she led at the Highlights Retreat Center in Pennsylvania!)

The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin (Ms. Martin is my childhood hero. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Babysitter’s Club. Did I say LOVED? I mean LOVED.)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (reading this was so much better than any movie I’d ever seen based on the book! I read this book while cozied up by our Christmas tree. It was wonderful.)

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy (AMAZING.)

The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers (this man has the most spectacular heart for children)

An Amazing Year by Amy Crumpton (my dear friend wrote this!)

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (AMAZING.)

True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh (beautiful)

Be Happy by Patrick Lindsay (what great reminders)

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, the Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music movie)

I hope your own Bookfest Friday reading is coming along just grand.

If the end of 2015 caught you a bit too busy to snuggle up with a book, maybe you can take time this weekend to enjoy some reading? If your looking for something fun, I have suggestions for great reading material--my books! ;) Go here:

Love to you all!


Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday Continues…

Weeks 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29

Hello all my dear reader friends!

How are the troops doing this holiday season?

Below, you will see my past six weeks of reading material...

I think it's notable to mention that WEEK 26 marked our HALFWAY point to an entire year of reading two books every week! You guys!! Awesome job! Keep up the good work.

I feel compelled to mention a few things:

1) My husband's birthday is in five days. (Totally unrelated to the stack of books above, but, none-the-less, quite important.)

2) The book The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane changed my life. So did The Art of Possibility by Benjamin & Rosamund Zander.

3) I fell in love with the main character voice (Julep) in Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer. (btw, isn't that an awesome title?)

4) I'm friends with the author of the book Rooted, by Josh Foliart. Nice work, Josh.

5) I've personally met Lisa Grace Byrne, author of Replenish, at a workshop/retreat in Pennsylvania.  She is a beautiful person. She helps moms to replenish--just like her book title says.

6) Brene Brown rocks. So do her books.

7) Here's a list of the books I read--in order of the stack in the picture above:

- The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

- Replenish by Lisa Grace Byrne

- Rooted by Josh Foliart

- The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

- French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

- Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

- The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

- Rising Strong by Brene Brown

- I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

- The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

- The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander

I'm excited to read some Christmas stories coming up this December! Find some fun holiday books and get to reading!

Also, stay close! I'll have book launch information coming soon on the two books I've been working on publishing!

love to all,


Bookfest Friday

Hi friend!!

This reading two books a week is NOT for sissies! But I'm so proud of myself, I'm STICKING TO IT! My videos are lagging, but READING IS HAPPENING! :)

You've still been reading your two books a week, yes??? Yay!

Then you're no sissy either! ;)

Here's what the last five weeks brought for me:

Week 19, Friday Sept. 11

Where She Went by Gayle Foreman (enjoyed this SO much more than If I Stay)
Setting by Jack Bickham (some sections a bit outdated regarding the writing craft)

Week 20, Friday Sept. 18

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (one of my top favorites for the year)

Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard (heavy read full of lots of good advice)

Week 21, Friday Sept. 25

Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella (this was the cutest book ever! made me laugh so hard. LOVED.)

The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho (deep life questions posed via ficiton regarding good vs. evil)

Week 22, Friday Oct. 2

Love Gone Wild by Amy Matayo (found for free on Kindle! she's my neighbor:)

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie (a re-read after listening to the audio four years ago. LOVED it just as much now as I did then. Most valuable advice ever in this book about living life fully and without worry/stress)

Week 23, Friday Oct. 9

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (women, if you have not read this book, it is an AWESOME love story about redemption. so good.)

Speed Wealth by T. Harv Eker (quick read that gets the brain jogging to look for opportunities in new ways)


The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane (I'm totally PUMPED for this one)

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (a magical YA novel, not to be confused with Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" which we read a handful of weeks ago, and which is VERY different from this book!)  

I'll plan for a video in a couple of weeks from now. In the meantime... KEEP READING!


Bookfest Friday

You guys! I can't believe we've been doing this for EIGHTEEN WEEKS!! This is some sort of awesome reading record. We're over a third of the way to our destination of 52 straight weeks of reading TWO books per week! Ya-hoo!

The video below provides my (brief) review of this week's books: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, and The Entrepreneur's Solution by Mel H. Abraham.

Next week, we're reading Where She Went, by Gayle Forman, and Setting by Jack M. Bickham.

See you next Friday!


Bookfest Friday

I loved the reading for this week! Paulo Coelho ROCKS. In the vid below, you will find me briefly talking about two of his books. The Alchemist and By The River of Piedra I Sat Down & Wept.

I know, I know, I went over my two minute vid time! Sorry! Just this once! I promise! I couldn't help it, there were too many awesome tidbits to share... Forgive me??

For next week, we are going to read:

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

The Entrepreneur's Solution by Mel H. Abraham

See you next Friday!


Bookfest Friday

Hey all! Here's Bookfest Friday Week 16 video!

Two books, two minutes. On this video we talk about: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller and Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

Next week is a Paulo Coelho week! I'm so excited! We're going to read his The Alchemist and By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept. It's my first experience with Coelho, and I've only heard good things, so this should be AWESOME. We'll get a novel and a parable all in one. (With both books!) That means entertaining reading + life lessons. WHICH I LOVE.

Stay tuned! See you next Friday!