The Simple Life Comes At A Cost

The Simple Life Comes At A Cost

My Million Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid to Live Simply, by Ginny East

Feeling stuck is a sign that it’s time to make a change. And that’s exactly what Ginny and her husband Mark did. One day they both decided to cash in their life and reinvent their world; packing up their three kids and a dog, they said goodbye to a successful dance studio business, and moved to 50 acres of land in northwest Georgia.

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In My Million-Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid for Wanting to Live Simply, Ginny honestly—with both the optimism of the inexperienced and the wisdom of the exhausted—recounts the four years she and her family gave to their incredibly complex attempt to forge a life that would lead to more poignant and heartfelt relationships with the environment, community and, most importantly, one another. 
Eventually, Ginny and Mark are forced to deal with an even more difficult challenge: will the dream of simple living drive them apart?

Today Ginny is the director of Heartwood Retreat Center and the founder of the Heartwood Writers and Artists collective, a community and school that offers retreats, trainings and writing opportunities for ongoing growth and development of writers. After the divorce she set to the work of reinventing herself, and armed with the lessons of the birds, the bees and her million dollar donkey to guide the way, she dedicated to her own artistic passions, and her strong desire to be of service to others.

There is a lot about My Million Dollar Donkey that I particularly enjoyed:  the   writing style -fluid and engaging- but mostly Ginny’s candor and honesty about her experience. This book is splendid and carries a message so powerful that’s impossible to ignore: Ginny’s story is about love, family, faith and resilience. Because even if sometimes new beginnings can feel like endings and life seldom offers smooth and simple paths -in the end- you don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward and become the best version of yourself.

My Million Dollar Donkey: The Price I Paid For Wanting To Live Simply is the ultimate journey of a woman who wasn’t afraid to try, fail and try again: a wonderful read that I wholeheartedly recommend to anybody.

Follow Ginny’s lovely blog @heartofginny.net


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

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Isn’t this the sweetest picture ever? If you have kids you sure know what I mean: your lovely child sitting quietly with a book in his/her hands.. Key word: quiet!

No kidding.. kids are cool! Hungry for knowledge and ready to experience the world. Super energetic –probably sugar fueled– and always on the move. But you know that can be quite hard to get them reading, and -let’s be honest- when comes to kids, it’s hard race to compete with the Internet, videogames, movies and social networks.

I’m not in the “parents league” but I know about kids. Matter of fact I still am one of them -at heart! I read children books, watch cartoons,  I still go playing on the swings in Central Park (or wherever I see one of those), never pass up an opportunity to pop bubble wrap and  I keep saying things like “when I grow up” even though I am grown up.

Does it make me a reliable source? Here some of the coolest stories I have found-read-loved!

Middle Graders (age 8-12)

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Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble, by Grant Goodman

Agent Darcy is 13 years old and she’s an agent-in-training at the Bureau of Sneakery. Her rival, Agent Serena, is sharp competition and Darcy doesn’t deal well with failure. 

Ninja Steve, 12 years old, lives in the village of Ninjastoria. His sister, Nora, is a ninja genius who graduated from college at the age of 16 (with a double degree in Ghost Studies and Spin-Kicks). 

When Darcy gets sent on her first mission, she’s off to Ninjastoria. And when an ancient ghost is freed from his prison, they’re going to need to rely on teamwork to seal it back up. 

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


 The Gallery, by Laura Marx Fitzgeraldc4adb4117afcf5479bce6c4c17026740.jpg

 It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family.

But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room.

The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what’s really going on with Rose Sewell?

 Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


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Wish, by Barbara O’Connor

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade.  But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true.

That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. 

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


Young Adults (age 13-18)

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The Quantum Door, by Jonathan Ballagh (review)

The mysterious woods behind Brady and Felix’s house have been deserted for years. But things change when a fence goes up and the brothers notice strange things happening at night.

From the moment they dare cross the fence, the brothers enter a world of dark technological secrets that will rock the foundation of everything they know to be true.

And once they enter, there’s no turning back.  Some places are better left alone…

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


cover78858-mediumBeware That Girl, by Teresa Toten (review)

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner.

As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. 

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


cover83093-mediumDreaming of Antigone, by Robin Bridges (review)

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, including a drug problem.

Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she–the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe–is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him. 

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


TwoSummers_cover.jpgTwo Summers, by Aimee Friedman

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . . 
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds.

In one, she travels to France, where she dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue but nothing is as it seems. 

She will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. But a terrible family secret may break her.
From “New York Times” bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.”

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


Secrets

Secrets

Sister Dear, by Laura McNeill

Convicted for a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched her life vanish behind bars

cover80627-medium.pngTen years passed and out on parole Allie is determined to clear her name and find the truth. But what she uncovers is far worse than she imagines. Allie is strong, smart and refuses defeat. Undertaking a battle for the truth, she put her parole status and her personal safety at risk.

A dark secret is now standing between two sisters. The very one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

Sister Dear is a beautiful novel, masterfully written, that perfectly describes how painful is for  ex-cons to clear their names, rebuild their lives, and reconnect with the families.

#toogoodtobejustabook just saying!


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)

 

When Family is All You Have

When Family is All You Have

Evicted. Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. cover74027-medium.pngAll are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. All are going to be evicted.

Based on real fieldwork and solid data of the human cost of America’s inequality, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today, as evictions are becoming more and more commonplace.

I highly recommend you to read this book, because we have to understand how this sick system of removing families from their homes in name of profit is exacerbating cycles of poverty, especially among minorities and women.


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)