Friday, March 30, 2018

No One Ever Asked Interview with Katie Ganshert

Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district--and in their lives.When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?

Pick up your copy here...

Welcome Katie...

1.       Tell us about your new novel, No One Ever Asked.
No One Ever Asked is a story about three very different women whose lives are brought together when an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors. Camille Gray is the wife of a corporate executive, mother of three, and a long-standing PTO chairwoman. Jen Covington is a newly adoptive mom who’s struggling with a happily-ever-after so much more difficult than she anticipated. And Anaya Jones is the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. It’s a story that explores the implicit bias impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human?
2.      What inspired you to share this story?
A couple years ago, I was listening to an episode on a popular podcast called This American Life. The episode was titled, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, featuring investigative reporter, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who covers race in the United States. She was sharing about a modern-day integration story, wherein a Missouri school district comprised almost entirely of low-income, black and brown students lost their accreditation, triggering a law that allowed these students to transfer to a mostly white, affluent school district nearby. The podcast included several sound bites from a town meeting held in one of the affluent district’s high schools, and the pushback from the parents was shocking. I couldn’t believe it was from 2013. It was a story that captivated me about a topic that impassions me. So when it came time to write my next novel, this was where my heart kept returning.  
3.      The book is told from the perspectives of three main characters with different experiences and backgrounds. What did your research process look like to accurately capture each of their voices and stories?
Writing a book truly takes a village, especially a book like this one! I’ve never been on the PTA, and I’ve never organized a color run (a district-wide fundraising event that takes place in the story), but I have friends who have, and they let me interview them. While I am an adoptive mother, like Jen, I’m not very familiar with the struggles that often come with adopting an older child. I’m part of a Facebook group much like the one Jen is a part of in the novel, so I reached out to the moms in that group quite often with specific questions. As far as things in Anaya’s life that are unique to the black experience, I listened to a lot of people, and I read a plethora of books, memoirs, and articles, all of which helped bring authenticity to Anaya’s character.
4.      How can readers engage in racial reconciliation in their own homes and communities? What are some good resources that can point readers in the right direction?
If you’re white, I think the most important starting place is listening to people of color. Tune into black voices. Follow people on Twitter. Watch documentaries. Listen to sermons. Read books and poetry (check out The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, or Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, or Citizen by Claudia Rankine). There is so much information out there. Join Latasha Morrison’s Be The Bridge Group on Facebook. Subscribe and listen to Pass the Mic, the official podcast for The Witness, a black Christian collective. Check out Scene on Radio’s ‘Seeing White’, a fourteen part podcast series. If you’re a parent, start talking about these issues with your children around the dinner table. Talk to your friends at church. Learn about your community’s racial history. Educate yourself about the current issues in your city and how these issues impact communities of color. Use your vote in such a way that reflects your desire for racial reconciliation. Find and support organizations in your area that are already doing the work. The Bible has so much to say about this topic. Let what it says guide you on your journey. Resist the urge to defend yourself or center yourself. Resist the urge to minimize pain or explain away another’s experience. Sit in the tension. Press through the confusion. Don’t retreat if you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. Keep on listening. Don’t succumb to white guilt. Rather, use your privilege to remove yokes of oppression, wherever and whenever you find them in your midst.
5.      What are you currently reading?
I just finished listening to Every Last One by Anna Quindlen on audio, and holy buckets! Talk about heart wrenching. She captivated me with her honest prose, and when I reached the part in the book where the title is first mentioned, I literally gasped out loud. It’s definitely not a light read, but it is a moving one. I’m also reading Becky Wade’s Her One and Only, which has had me laughing out loud at several points, and smiling big throughout. She writes wonderful romance!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Read-aloud Family By Sarah Mackenzie

Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.
Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.

Pick up your copy here...

Sarah Mackenzie is an author, speaker, and podcast host. On the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, she helps parents all over the world make meaningful connections with their kids through books. She lives in the Northwest with her husband, Andrew, homeschools their six kids, and loves making sure her family is well-stocked in the best books she can find.

My Thoughts...

This a really good book for families, I am a firm believer that mommy's and daddy's should be reading books every night to their little's.  
I gave this book 4 stars. I recommend it to all parents. Give it as a gift to a new family.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chasing The Wind By Paula Scott

Welcome to the Chasing the Wind blog blitz and giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Here is a little excerpt from Chasing the Wind...

Peter felt the tremor in Isabella’s hand. “Why didn’t you tell me you came from this kind of
life?” He waved his other hand out over the ballroom.
“I didn’t come from this kind of life. I came from a rancho.
You came from wealth and privilege.
She smiled, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. The Vasquezes were deep in debt. My brother
had to marry Rachel because of Don Pedro’s gambling debts, and s+ll, in the end, everything
was taken by the Americans.
You could have stayed here with your sister. Married a ship captain in tall boots who would
build you a mansion in this city.
“I don’t want a mansion in the city.
“What do you want?” His throat +ghtened as he waited. He hadn’t shared his dreams with
anyone but Maggie, and that had gone so wrong. Jedediah said that with God, all things were
possible. Was it possible to build a happy life with Isabella?
“I want a farm with chickens and as many children as God will give us"
Paula Scott has a background in journalism. She and her husband live on a farm in Northern California with their sons. They also have two grown daughters and several grandchildren. Paula writes historical and contemporary fiction, and blogs about life, love, and farming at


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I've Been Thinking... By Maria Shriver

A book of reflections for those seeking wisdom, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration on the road to a meaningful lifeAs a prominent woman juggling many roles, Maria Shriver knows just how surprising, unpredictable, and stressful everyday life can be.

In this moving and powerful book, she shares inspiring quotes, prayers, and reflections designed to get readers thinking, get them feeling, get them laughing, and help them in their journey to what she calls The Open Field--a place of acceptance, purpose, and passion--a place of joy.

I've Been Thinking . . . is ideal for anyone at any point in her life. Whether you feel like you've got it all together or like it's all falling apart--whether you're taking stock of your life or simply looking to recharge, this is the book you will turn to again and again. Spend the weekend reading it cover to cover, or keep it on your nightstand to flip to the chapter you need most. Like talking with a close friend, it's the perfect daily companion—an exceptional gift for someone looking to move forward in life with hope and grace.

Pick up your copy here...

My Thoughts...

This is a must read.
What I took away from I've Been Thinking... I always have something that I can give to someone else. My unconditional love. Love is something I give freely, on one has to earn it.
This is a book to change your way of thinking.
This would make the best gift for your best friend are that special someone in your life.
I gave this book 5 stars. I HIGHLY recommend it.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Healing Power of Essential Oils By Eric Zielinski

Eric Zielinski, D.C., host of the Essential Oils Revolution summits, offers a soup-to-nuts guide to mastering essential oils for vibrant health and well-being, featuring dozens of recipes and formulations for restful sleep, reduced inflammation, balanced hormones, and more.Achieving true health is not an easy task. For many people, it might be easier to pop a pill or push aside lingering discomfort in favor of finishing everything on your to-do list. In The Healing Power of Essential Oils, Eric Zielinski, D.C. shows readers how to make their health a priority with the life-changing benefits of essential oils. Essential oils are the natural solution to everything from anxiety and depression to deep-seated inflammation. For beginners, Dr. Z teaches everything you need to know to get started, including the top seven oils you should stock from Day 1 and the commonly used techniques and tools. He illustrates daily practices you can follow to enjoy the properties of essential oils, including a five-minute devotional using frankincense and neroli to set you up for a productive and stress-free day, and a simple bedtime routine harnessing the soporific effects of lavender.

Backed by extensive research, Dr. Z also supplies essential oil blends that promote hormone balance, reduced inflammation, improved digestion, increased immunity, and so much more. You'll be armed with over 150 recipes for every health need, and a special section on women's health includes dozens of formulations for PMS, fertility, pregnancy, candida, and menopause. Even those well-versed in essential oils will benefit from this thorough approach. With your newfound knowledge, you can begin tailoring an essential oils practice to your unique pain points and lifestyle right away - and start experiencing amazing results.

Pick up your copy here...

ERIC ZIELINSKI, D.C. has pioneered natural living and biblical health education since 2003. Trained as an aromatherapist, public health researcher, and chiropractor, Dr. Z started in 2014 to help people learn how to use natural remedies like essential oils safely and effectively. Now visited by more than four million natural health seekers every year, it has rapidly become the #1 source for Biblical Health and non-branded essential oils education online. An accomplished researcher with several publications and conference proceedings, Dr. Z currently sits as a peer-reviewer for multiple journals. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and four children.

My Thoughts...

I am new to essential oils and this book is so full of great information.
The health benefits of oils and the right way to use them is so hard so helpful and all of the different information shared in this book have given me so much hope.
So many people use itworks fat burning wraps, but you can make your own that work better and don't cost near what the itworks cost.
The personal care products are numerous in the book.
So many recipes and healthy remedies in this one book. 
This is a 4 star book that I will be referring to over and over. I HIGHLY recommend it if you are new to oils are if you are looking for effective remedies and recipes.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.