Posts from the ‘young adult’ Category


Protect Yourself: A Message for Everyone

Written by M.K. Wilson

This short book contains a powerful message for tweens, teens, and young adults. It contains eleven tragic stories with photographs of young people who died too soon. They are just like the person who lives next door. Some of them had previously experimented with drugs, but many became victims of fentanyl given to them by friends or drug dealers who had laced pills with deadly fentanyl.

The author includes photos of the victims which highlight their personalities. A successful model, athletes, musicians, honor students: lives snuffed out before they had the opportunity to bloom. Letters from their parents magnify the loss experienced for each family. Wilson’s bottom line is that each young person must PROTECT THEMSELVES. No one can rely on a promise or the word of a “friend” who might be an enemy in disguise.

All of us can work together to wipe out the fentanyl epidemic. Take the first step today by reading this book.


A Parent’s Guide to Boosting Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is essential to success in school and in life. You play a major role in helping your kids retain the information they read. There are basic and more advanced strategies that any parent can use to assist their children in this area.

Basic Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Make it fun. Your child may already feel uneasy if reading is an area of weakness. Project a calm and happy attitude and even try to turn reading into a game.

  2. Practice. Practice. Practice. Encourage your children to take advantage of every opportunity to test their reading skills. In addition to books, they can read street signs and cereal boxes.

  3. Select materials that match the reading level of your child. People retain material best when they can read at least 90% of the words. Otherwise, they’ll get distracted by asking questions or trying to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

  4. Choose subjects your kids love. It’s easier to get your kids to read if you keep their passions in mind. Browse your local library for new books about dinosaurs, fairy princesses, or any other area of interest.

  5. Create a summary. Ask your child to recap what was just read. If they struggle, prompt them gently by dropping some clues. When they get it right, praise them for doing a great job.

  6. Take time off. Small children and even some adults have limited attention spans. Alternate between reading and other activities such as baking cookies or taking a walk.

  7. Break long texts down into smaller segments. Approach a large textbook a few pages or one chapter at a time. You can gradually increase the length of reading assignments as your child progresses.

  8. Find a comfortable reading spot. Designate a special area for reading. It could be the corner of the living room couch or while sitting at the dining room table.

  9. Discuss the reading material. Encourage conversation about whatever you and your child are reading. Question one another and share your impressions.

  10. Supplement reading with other activities. Generate more enthusiasm by combining reading with other special activities. This will give your children something to look forward to. If you’re reading a book about the American Civil War, you could plan a family outing to a local museum or even Gettysburg.

  11. Read aloud to each other. Take turns reading aloud to each other. Kids learn faster when they hear and see words at the same time.

  12. Go back and re-read. Let your kids know that a smart student goes back and re-reads sections that they find difficult. Tell them that even adults do this.

Advanced Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Scan the text before reading. Give a complicated textbook the once-over before you plunge in. Suggest that your kids focus on the chapter titles, section headings, and any words in bold or italics.

  2. Take notes. Purchase a memo pad and sticky notes so your children can jot down thoughts and questions as they read. This is called active reading. Older kids may be more comfortable taking notes using their eBook reader.

  3. Experiment with inferences. Explain what inferences are and how to use them. Making an inference is when you draw conclusions based on clues in the text and your own experiences.

  4. Spot flag words. Talk with your kids about how flag words help you to understand a text by establishing word relationships. Give examples such as analogies, cause and effect connections, or comparing and contrasting.

  5. Map the story. Some readers have a more visual learning style. These kids may benefit from drawing squares or circles and filling them in with elements of the story such as characters, plot, and theme.

With skillful guidance, even children who are reluctant to read can discover the joys of reading for pleasure. As a parent, you’re the best role model and instructor for helping your kids to build reading comprehension skills and love of literature for a lifetime.





11 Healthy Ways to Put Yourself First



The ability to set goals and achieve them requires mustering up the courage to take responsibility for your life. That involves putting yourself first. By putting yourself first, you are simply making it a priority to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Creating the life that you desire is no one else’s responsibility but yours. You cannot do that if you keep getting in the way of yourself by thinking and caring too much about others. No doubt, caring for the needs of others is a natural human instinct, but it should never be to your detriment. 

Many people are oblivious to the realization that they are the architects of their fortunes. They like to believe that putting the needs of others first, before their own, follows a universal moral code of conduct that you must adhere to, the failure of which makes them less human or less fortunate in life.

There are various reasons why people believe that putting the needs of others ahead of their own is the best and only way to live. They may think people will stop liking them, or that being a tireless caregiver gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Some sincerely feel responsible for others, or worse, they don’t feel worthy of making themselves a priority.

Whichever one of the above categories you may find yourself in, the good news is that you can reset your thinking. Sadly, many people today suffer from thoughts of negating their own needs for the benefit of others. It is, however, essential to know that this thinking is false. You need to unshackle yourself from them to successfully take charge of your life and fully accomplish your goals.

Rather than confining your thoughts to the preconceived notion of scary consequence that would supposedly befall on you if you put yourself first, it is much more reassuring to focus on the numerous benefits guaranteed by putting yourself first. The importance of this is tied to many wholesome benefits some of which include:

  • Being more productive
  • Being happier and more joyful
  • Having more energy
  • Receiving more respect from others
  • Improved relationships
  • Experiencing less fear
  • Suffering from less stress
  • Feeling less resentment
  • Experiencing less depressed

These are the key areas where you stand to benefit if you learn to put yourself first. In this report, we will be looking at various healthy ways to put yourself first to gain the many wonderful benefits.

Strategies for Putting Yourself First

Below are some healthy ways and tips that can help you develop the habit of putting yourself first without burning bridges or negatively affecting your energy, enthusiasm, and motivation. Following them will help you achieve your goals, protect your mental and physical wellbeing, and overcome even your biggest challenges.

  1. Choose Your Purpose

Having a clear purpose in life is essential. It is the simplest, most basic thing every person needs to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. Without a clear sense of purpose, you will end up living your life haphazardly. Your purpose also makes it easier for you to say ‘No’ to people and things that do not align with your highest good. Being aware of your life purpose and living it helps you identify those things that you need to do and when you need to do them. By consciously reaffirming your purpose regularly, you will be inspired to multiply your efforts of taking action to see your purpose fulfilled.

  • Live by a Vision

Putting yourself first also requires that you develop a clear vision of the life that you want to lead. A vision keeps you focused on the journey of your life. A clear vision will allow you to effectively prioritize your tasks and projects as the important things will align with your purpose and vision of your ultimate life. To get clear about your vision, start by reflecting on these three questions:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • How do you want to feel?

If you are unsure about your vision, ruminating on these questions will assist you in getting clear about what you want out of life.

  • Set Personal Goals and Plan

Setting personal goals is a wise way to ensure your vision becomes a reality. Goals make the realization of your vision much more achievable and will keep you motivated and focused on what you want out of life. After taking the time to set your goals, set aside regular time to plan how you will achieve each of them.

  • Learn New Skills

As you draw up your goals and develop your vision, you may find you need to learn new skills to make your ideal life a reality. Take some time to identify those areas that you may be lacking in knowledge and skills. Then take proactive steps to bridge the gap between your present level and your desired level regarding your knowledge and skills.

  • Set Personal Boundaries

Setting person boundaries is a skill you need to master when learning how to put yourself first because you will need it a lot on every step of your journey. That is especially true if you tend to be a people-pleaser. Others are used to you backing down and giving them what you want, so you’ll need to stay strong. Look them in the eye and kindly say, “No, thank you.” Even when they try to convince you to think otherwise, practice sticking to your decision by not get pressured into consenting. Setting personal boundaries is a vital skill because it enables you to defend your time and your rights which is an essential component of putting yourself first.

  • Get Exercise

Putting yourself first isn’t only about goal setting and getting ahead. It’s also about taking the time for self-care. After all, if you don’t take care of your health, you’ll be unable to live your purpose or fulfill your life’s vision. Put yourself and your health first by starting a program of regular exercise as soon as possible if you aren’t already doing so. Engaging in a brisk daily walk is all that’s needed to improve and maintain your health.

  • Eat Healthily

A healthy diet is equally as important as your body’s need to exercise. Eating a nutritious diet is a huge part of taking care of your health and putting yourself first. If your diet needs a major overhaul, take it one step at a time and work your way up to your ideal diet. Remember, putting yourself first is about being kind to yourself.

  • Sleep Enough

Getting sufficient sleep is another essential component of putting yourself first. It is also necessary for boosting your performance and replenishing your energy. By getting enough sleep, you will be better equipped to face the hurdles of the new day with greater confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. Never allow anyone or anything come between you and the need to get enough sleep.

  • Schedule Relaxation

Sometimes you may be lacking the energy you need to live your ultimate life. Rather than trying to push through such times, it is better to maximize your relaxation and recovery. You can engage in activities that will help reduce fatigue and replenish your energy, such as meditation, yoga, massage, or a quick nap. If you find you run low on energy and motivation on a regular basis, start scheduling relaxation or downtime into your day. A consistent relaxation routine will keep you on more of an even-keel, so you don’t burn out.

  1. Journal

Apparently, you have 60,000 or more thoughts per day. When you feel you have a lot to do and you are overwhelmed with too many ideas, journaling will help clear your head. Journaling can also lead to better self-awareness, which is the foundation of putting yourself first. You can journal any way you wish—with paper and pen or by using an app. You might choose to journal every day or only when you feel overwhelmed or unsettled. Whatever works for you is perfect.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Take some time each day to reflect on the positives in your life. It’s easy to focus on the things we’d like to change and neglect to be appreciative for all we have. It is very important to have a realistic perspective on your life and identify the positives for the sake of your health and wellbeing. As you find the time to write down and reflect on all the things you are grateful for each day, you will reduce your stress levels and naturally find more and more to be grateful for in your life.


Putting yourself first is something you must make a conscious effort to do. You must fill your cup first, or you will end up with nothing left to give to others. Even when you face negative reactions from people who feel that you are selfish for putting yourself first, remembering the tips outlined above and applying them will give you the wherewithal to go on regardless and live the life that you desire.


The Women of Washington’s Spy Ring

Written by Kit Sergeant

If you enjoy historical fiction and American Revolution nonfiction, you will love this book. Sergeant focuses on three female members of the Culper Spy Ring, George Washington’s main source of spying on British intelligence during the war.

Readers follow the lives of three women, Elizabeth Burgin, Margaret Coghlin, and Sarah, Sally Townsend. Slowly and inextricably, each of these woman’s lives entertwine with more familiar names in history like Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold.

An intriguing and compelling read for fans of spy novels and historical fiction featuring lesser known but important historical figures.



This report includes nine powerful tips and three actionable steps you can take right away.

It also includes a list of suggested reading for those who are looking for even more information.


When you think of spring-cleaning, you probably think of the time of year where you go all out cleaning up your house. You know the time you move the fridge and sweep out all the nooks and crevices. What if you took that same idea, but instead of cleaning your physical surroundings, you tidied up your life? If you don’t quite understand what that means, here are nine examples that can get you started.

  • Take Stock

Before you start to spring-clean your life, you should take careful stock of how you are currently doing. Do you have goals? How are they going? Are there any areas of your life you’d like to change up? Taking stock of where you are at will help you direct your energy where it’s needed.

  • Clean Up Your Relationships

Do you have any toxic relationships? Maybe it is time to part ways with these people. If the people in your life don’t cheer you up, lift you up or build you up, why are they in your life anyway?

  • Tidy Up Your Habits

It might be time to clean up those bad habits of yours. Bad habits add up over time and cost you in the long run. If you feel like you already do a good job of that, focus on building some new positive habits.

  • Clear Your Mind

We all got a lot going on in our heads. Maybe you should take some time to clean things up a bit. Developing a daily meditation practice is a great way to clear your mind. You might also try journaling. Getting those thoughts spinning around in your head onto paper can make a world of difference.

  • Unplug

Technology is great, but sometimes we need to unplug and live in the moment. Don’t be afraid to prune some of our social media accounts. Aim to spend less time on your devices and more time just taking in the world around you.

  • Refresh Your Fitness Routine

Has your fitness routine got boring or stale? Do you even have a fitness routine? Why not shake things up? Spring-cleaning is all about out with old and in with the new. Find a new exercise, sport, or activity that gets you excited, and try to fit it into your daily routine.

  • Sort Your Diet

A great way to tidy up your life is to clean up your diet a bit. Think about adding more natural whole foods and cut down on your guilty pleasures. Find a healthy way of eating that you can sustain.

  • Organize Your Workspace

This is almost real spring-cleaning! Organizing your workspace is a great way to boost your productivity and get more excited about working in general. Reorganizing is less about cleaning and more about making sure every item has its space and every space has a purpose.

  • Rearrange Your Goals

For the vast majority of people, some of their goals work out, and some don’t. This is why it’s important to adjust your goals once in a while. Figure out what is working, and double down on that. Find out what isn’t working, and figure out why. Make it a regular practice to check in on your goals.


  1. Reflect on the past year of your life. Make a list of things that worked and another list of things that didn’t. This will help you direct your “cleaning” efforts.

  2. Tidy up your social media by unfollowing the people who constantly annoy or push your buttons. Think about who matters to you, and unfollow those that don’t.

  3. Schedule your spring-cleaning time into your calendar. Choose a few days over the upcoming weeks to focus solely on tidying up your life.


  • Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
  • 30 Days – Change your habits, Change your life
  • Change Your Schedule, Change Your LIfe
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life

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The Haunted Lighthouse: Tales of the Lost and Found

Written by Shana Gorian

Thirteen-year-old Noah Wright and his twelve-year-old sister, Oakley have just begun summer vacation in Westport Harbor, a coastal town in Maine. Noah’s best friend, Andre, and the family dog, Cooper are ready to have some fun. What could go wrong?

Noah possesses insatiable curiosity and takes too many risks. Oakley demonstrates more caution but enjoys action. Andre’s personality tends to be more cautious, but he is also ambitious. Cooper, like most dogs, never hesitates to jump into an adventure.

It takes little time for the friends to snoop around and uncover a decommissioned lighthouse where they find clues about a mystery that has haunted the sleepy fishing village for the past century. An antique boat store, a mysterious shipwreck, and scares from the supernatural combine to create an intriguing novel for middle-grade and young adult readers.

I received an advance review copy from the publisher and voluntarily chose to read and review it with my honest opinions for no monetary compensation.



This post is sponsored by Rebecca Laxton. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.


The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

Written by Rebecca Laxton

Illustrated by Gracie Laxton

Ages 10+ | 252 Pages

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc | ISBN-13: 9781960146236

Publisher’s Book Summary: Thirteen-year-old Emma Murry has three goals for summer vacation: finish her art terms project, land an ollie, and help the environmental club save the monarchs.

But then her Instagram crush Jeb Scott and his celebrity dad Chester make a surprise visit to Black Mountain. At first, Emma is thrilled, but then she overhears their plans to destroy the monarch butterfly garden to build a ski resort. She and her best friend Sophie add a new summer goal: STOP. THE. SCOTTS.

Emma ignores Sophie’s warnings and makes friends with Jeb, convinced she can change his mind. Then when Chester receives a mysterious death threat, Emma teams up with Jeb to investigate. She slowly discovers people are not what they seem as she attempts to untangle friendships, organize a protest, and uncover supernatural secrets hiding on the mountain.

Emma will have to go through her own metamorphosis by overcoming her fears and facing what she dreads. If she fails, she could jeopardize everything—butterflies, friendships, and her family.



Barnes and Noble


Rebecca Laxton has served school communities as an afterschool program director, reading specialist, and school psychologist. While working for Boone County Schools, she was named the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year for collaborating with teachers and administrators to write and evaluate an emotional intelligence curriculum. 

Rebecca is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Charlotte Literary Arts, and the North Carolina Writers Association. Her short memoir, “Throw Like a Girl,” about playing on a mostly boys Little League team can be found in The Love of Baseball (McFarland 2017). Currently, she is a dyslexia practitioner and enjoys reading, writing and spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three dogs. 

Rebecca invites you to visit her online at


Gracie Laxton is a freelance graphic designer and dance choreographer from North Carolina but is currently based in New York City. A 2021 graduate of Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, NC, she studied art as part of The Savannah College of Art and Design’s high school joint enrollment program. Currently, she attends Marymount Manhattan College, pursuing degrees in dance and art.


The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

Written by Rebecca Laxton

Illustrations by Gracie Laxton

Thirteen-year-old Emma Laxton plans three goals for her summer. Emma needs to complete an art project, perfect her skateboarding skills, and plant a garden for the migrating monarch butterflies. She is spending the summer at Black Mountain with her family and best friend, Sophie.

Things rapidly get complicated when the Scotts come into town with a plan to develop a ski resort that will endanger the eco system. To make matters worse, young Jeb Scott develops a romantic interest in Emma. She is determined to get closer to Jeb to derail their family’s plans.

The dialogue in this novel fits perfectly with the characters who represent coming of age teens struggling to find their own identity and express their interests within their communities. Laxton manages to teach art lessons through her chapter introductions. That is an unexpected bonus to reading this novel. This book covers topics that may be of particular interest to middle grade and young adult audiences. I learned about the ollie in the art of skateboarding and the world of the monarch butterflies. The elements of a budding romance and hints of the supernatural keep the plot unpredictable and appealing to a struggling, coming of age audience.

The book kept a baby-boomer engaged; I predict that it will be a page-turner for the targeted pre-teen and young adult audience.


One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A SWAG bag that includes:

 – A signed hardcover copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

– A tote, puzzle, word search, small skateboard sticker, small butterfly sticker, and large vinyl butterfly sticker made with the illustrator’s graphics.

Five (4) winners receive:

 – A signed paperback copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry



Monday, April 17, 2023The Children’s Book ReviewA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Tuesday, April 18, 2023The Momma SpotA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Wednesday, April 19, 2023Life Is What It’s CalledAuthor interview with Rebecca Laxton
Thursday, April 20, 2023My Reading GetawayA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Friday, April 21, 2023Heart to HeartAuthor interview with Rebecca Laxton
Monday, April 23, 2023Barbara Ann MojicaA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Tuesday, April 24, 2023Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersAn article by Rebecca Laxton
Wednesday, April 25, 2023icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Thursday, April 26, 2023Cover Lover Book ReviewAuthor interview with Rebecca Laxton
Friday, April 27, 2023The Fairview ReviewA book review of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Monday, April 30, 2023The Children’s Book ReviewAuthor interview with Rebecca Laxton
Wednesday, May 10, 2023Confessions of a Book AddictA book giveaway of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry



Speakers! The Quick Public Speaking to Business Method: Turning Your Talk into an Ongoing Revenue Stream

Written by Ellen Finklestein and Connie Ragen Green

The only course you will ever need if you are just starting out in business or want to incorporate speaking into your business as an effective tool.

While I have followed both of these authors in blog articles and videos, this book brings all the tools together in one place. It is easy to read, follow, and implement.

As a historian, I appreciated the section on the history of public speaking because one must know where something comes from and how it evolved in order to understand its role in our lives today. Readers are taught how to choose appropriate topics, set goals, find audience niche, and then use public speaking as a means to create an ongoing revenue stream for a business.

The authors discuss the importance of influencer relationships, creating funnels, and the various ways to transmit your talk. Then there is the art of storytelling and the types of stories you can use in public speaking.

The book creates a feeling of joy and optimism that will incentivize the reader to jump in and seize the opportunities offered by public speaking.

I highly recommend this guide to anyone at all curious about public speaking.



Never Look at a Failure As Final

Do you know anyone who seems to be bulletproof? You know, that friend of yours that takes failures in stride and is always smiling and moving forward in life. How do they do it? You know they’re not immune to setbacks or hardship. They just seem to be able to bounce back quickly. Life’s inevitable difficulties don’t keep them from living the life they desire.

By the way, that person can be you. Mental resilience is something that can be developed. It’s not a character trait you have to be born with. Every time you suffer some type of loss or failure, you have an opportunity to respond with resilience and emotional control.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

That is such a powerful reminder that your outlook is everything. The person with resilience chooses a positive outlook. They understand that negative things are going to happen in their life. Yet they don’t allow that to be the end of their journey.

They don’t embrace any single failure or loss as the final declaration of who they are.

Just Take One More Step

Resilience means persisting. You keep going. You push forward and see life’s difficulties as nothing more than challenges. You can either become stronger and more capable or allow a defeat or failure to be a statement of who you are.

This can seem like simple advice, but the truth is, sometimes, the hardship we encounter in life can be truly debilitating. We simply don’t see a way out. The worst of possible things has happened, and there’s simply no way that we see any good coming from this.

When this happens, as it inevitably will in life, just take one step forward.

Don’t worry about some big end result. You may be in a terrible situation. If you are, just make one positive movement.

Have one positive thought. Move in the direction of a positive outcome. Even if it’s miles away, don’t worry about that end result. Just take the first step that moves you a little bit away from the difficulty you encountered.

Never let any single defeat be your final defeat. The instant you decide to relentlessly push forward, you show the world and yourself that you are a resilient human being. You won’t be kept down for long because your unbreakable mental resolve won’t allow you to be defined by defeat.

You can learn to bounce back and help others do the same.




The answer is PROBABLY NOT!

Take a look at these scenarios.






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