The Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry, Gary Chapman

THE MARRIAGE CAROL
By Chris Fabry, Gary Chapman

Moody Publishers, $14.99



The publisher tells us this:  
 On Christmas Eve twenty years earlier, Marlee and Jacob were married in a snowstorm.   This Christmas Eve, they are ready to quit, divorce is imminent. Their relationship is as icy as the road they’re traveling and as blocked with troubles as the piling snow. They take a shortcut to get to the lawyer’s office, on a slippery, no-fault path. She thinks they need to stay on the main road. He disagrees. They fight. Story of their lives and they slam into a bank of snow , spinning, drifting, falling, out of control. Just like their lives. Reluctantly, freezing cold, hungry, scared, she trudges up the hill. Paul is nowhere to be found. Her ears frozen, fingers and hands red, she comes to a house on the hillside, built like a Bed and Breakfast, a green wreath on the red door and the door-knocker is in the shape of a wedding ring.
The red door opens and the first thing she notices is the fire in the room, blazing hot, a warm, inviting, friendly place and the voice of an old man welcomes her in. There are three golden pots on the hearth, shining, glimmering things. The old man claims that they are used to restore marriages. She laughs—and begins a journey through her past, present, and future that will test how she views her lifelong love. There are two futures available. Which will she choose?

Marlee and Jacob Ebenezer.  I love it already! Marlee and Jacob are on their way on their twentieth wedding anniversary to sign the papers that will end their marriage when a car "accident"  sends them careening off the road. And where oh where do they end up?  When Marlee comes to, Jacob is no where to be seen. She starts off on a journey to find Jacob and comes across a cabin where she meets Jay and his wife. Now, this is no ordinary couple. You saw that coming, right?!

It seems Jay is the "ghost" that will take Marlee on her visits to the past, the present and the future by using a great plot device...magic snowfall!! And like the Dickens' inspiration, this snowfall allows Marlee to see things in a different light, how our decisions in life affect our present and our future.  In some ways, I also was reminded of the spirit of "It's A Wonderful Life" in that we can make or break our own world and the world of the others around us.

Authors Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman have woven a magical tale in A Marriage Carol, one that shows us that we can do great harm in our relationships with others and that we do have a "cause and effect" system in our lives, both for the good and the not-so-good.   It shows us that in this cynical world, where we throw relationships away when they get difficult, that marriages are for ever, for better and for worse, and that God brings life into the marriage.

Brilliantly written, this little book (under 130 pages) has more warmth and heart than others twice is length. I just can't tell you how much I enjoyed this magical story.

A copy of A Marriage Carol will find its way under the Christmas trees and into the stockings of a lot of my friends this Christmas, and I think it will become my new favorite gift for friends about to be married.

 God bless us, everyone!

5 out of 5 stars!

This e-galley was provided to me at my request, by the publishers through NetGalley.





Say You'll Be Mine by Julia Amante

Say You'll Be Mine
By Julia Amante

Grand Central Publishing, $13.99








What the publisher wants us to know:

Isabel Gallegos, owner and CEO of Gallegos Wines is tired of always being responsible. Tending to everyone else's needs before her own has left her divorced, unhappy, and unfulfilled. The winery had been her parents dream, but never hers, though she devoted herself to making it a success. After much thought, Isabel decides to sell the winery, move to the beach, and finally take back her life.
But just as these changes are about to take place, Isabel's cousin and her husband are killed and she becomes the legal guardian to their three young children. Convinced this must be a mistake, Isabel returns to Argentina, intent on finding a more suitable home—and parent—for the kids. But as she spends time getting reacquainted with her family and her past, the decision to return to her own life grows complicated. Should she bring the children home with her, or find a way for them to stay in Argentina? Should she stay with them? Can she really give up her own dream, just as she's about to realize it?


What I want to share about this book:

I was really psyched about Say You'll Be Mine.  A  woman at a turning point in her harried and frustrated life has an opportunity to begin again, with a new life in Argentina by  leaving the vineyards in California behind and becoming a surrogate parent to her late cousin's children.  Sounds like a great plot and a fabulous opportunity to show growth and the discovery of love in Isabel's life, heart and soul.

I struggled to stay with Say You'll be Mine. I did read it and finish it, but it took several tries, as it just didn't hold my attention. I just didn't care. I thought Isabel should have grown up, developed a heart and moved in a more positive direction, especially with the children and.  In some strange way, Isabel reminded me in a way of a modern female Scrooge. Cold, driven, selfish and heartless. The way the character "cared for" and treated the kids just made me want to throw my e-reader across the room. OH... I wish I had been sent a printed galley as I would have tossed it.

I thought the premise was SO full of great story possibilities...and yet we got too much repetitive information. Reading over and over about the issues Isabel's ex has with her when she doesn't have the kids just got old for me.  This could have been great! I mean, come on, the cover art was FAB-U-LOUS! The story? Not so much.

I am giving this 3 out of 5 stars, some parts are OK and I am sure others loved it.  Maybe I just expected too much.


I was provided this e-galley from the publishers through NetGalley, and that in no way affected my review.




GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO gets 3 new TV spots

Look at what's popped up on TV while we were off carving turkey and shopping last week!


The great people over at Sony Pictures have released 3 new TV spots for Columbia Pictures film  THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO!! YEA!!!!!!


Of course we know the film is based on Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy.


Look for the movie in theaters on December 21.  


Here they are:


#6




#7




#8




Video source: Movieweb.com

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I'd like to take a few minutes to say thank you to all who visit Novel Chatter. 

The site has grown so fast over the last year, 
thanks to you all.


Let's all remember be thankful for the many blessings that we have

 and take a moment...

to say "thanks" for all that we have.













HUGO opens Wednesday, Nov. 23

This is one of the NOT TO BE MISSED movies of the year!  Magically beautiful!  It's for adults and kids of all ages.  I was in love with this book when it came out, written by Brian Selznick, and originally titled THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and shortened to HUGO for the movie.

Get the book, it's amazing and is pretty much a large graphic  novel with some words to move the wonderous story forward. It's unlike anything I had ever seen before. 


It started with a book:   



And now there's a movie directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley.  








Hugo movie site

Cover image - Scholastic, Inc.









The Legacy by Katherine Webb

The Legacy
By Katherine Webb

$14.99, William Morrow Paperbacks





What the publisher wants us to know:
When they were children, Erica Calcott and her sister, Beth, spent their summer holidays at Storton Manor. Now, following the death of their grandmother, they have returned to the grand, imposing house in Wiltshire, England. Unable to stem the tide of childhood memories that arise as she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings, Erica thinks back to the summer her cousin Henry vanished mysteriously from the estate, an event that tore their family to pieces. It is time, she believes, to lay the past to rest, bring her sister some peace, and finally solve the mystery of her cousin’s disappearance.
But sifting through remnants of a bygone time is bringing a secret family history to light—one that stretches back over a century, to a beautiful society heiress in Oklahoma, a haunting, savage land across the ocean. And as past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two shocking acts of betrayal . . . and the heartbreaking legacy they left behind.

What I want to tell you about this book:

The Legacy by Katherine Webb is my kind of book!   Anyone who's read this blog for any time now, knows that I love dual time period stories, so dang, this one had me when I read the first page when we learn that in 1905, Caroline Calcott  flees Storton Manor with a pillowcase over her shoulder.  Caroline turns out to be Erica and Beth's Great-grandmother, a Great-grandmother with a secret.

Author Katherine Webb then fast forwards the reader to the present time, when Erica and Beth return to their Grandmother Meredith's home after her death to sort through the house and its contents.

As Webb takes us back and forth in time and the sisters make the decision to live in their "legacy" home, old secrets and webs of betrayal are uncovered. Webb deftly moves us from story line to story line, past to present and back again as slowly but surely the well plotted mysteries are revealed. The elements of a good and engaging story are all here in The Legacy, envy, betrayal, secrets and deceptions.  All there, just waiting to be pieced together.

I've said that I enjoyed this book, but I want to really stress that The Legacy is one of the best, and most engaging book I've read all year!

5 out of 5 stars!

I received this e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley at my request, and that in no way affected my review.





Zero Day By David Baldacci

Zero Day
By David Baldacci

$27.99 Grand Central Publishing




The publisher tells us:  John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth. 


Now, Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered. The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation. As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he's seen in this small town, and no one in it, are what they seem. Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force. 


Look out world, John Puller's in town!


What I like the most about David Baldacci's writing is that he always starts his stories out with engaging and engrossing action!  And in his latest Zero Day, he doesn't let us down. John Puller is as strong and solid a character as Baldacci's written in a long time. I've been a Baldacci fan since I first read Absolute Power.  I like Baldacci's writing style. I like the way he puts words together without a lot of fluff.  It's at the beginning of the second chapter when he gives us what we need to know about lead character John Puller. 
"National Security.
That was why John Puller was here."


Not long after Puller arrives in the coal mining community,  there's a couple of murders and  Puller wonders why he's alone in this. Or is he?  Government secrets, betrayals, and a tightly woven plot all go to make this another winner for Baldacci.  I thought the addition of Sam (Samantha) Cole, who he partners with on a local level, is a great addition to the story, Sam's well developed and smartly written, the character works well within the story arc. 


I've read the comparison's to Lee Child's Jack Reacher character and I don't see too many similarities. And I'm a fan of Reacher's too. Yes, he's a lone ranger, ex military investigator. But to me, that's where the comparisons end. 


I say: read it and enjoy it for what it is, a tightly drawn suspense novel.  


I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.









This ARE was provided to me by the publisher, and that in no way affected my review. 











39 Clues "Rapid Fire"


How brilliant is this?  I wish there was something like this when I was kid!!  


Source - PRNewswire.com


Scholastic to Launch "The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire" Daily eBook Short Stories for the Holidays 

Seven Original eBook Short Stories to be Released on Seven Consecutive Days: December 25th- December 31st, 2011
           NEW YORK,   Nov. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --





 This holiday season, Scholastic breaks new ground by expanding upon the global success of the bestselling multi-media adventure series The 39 Clues with the launch of "The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire," a series of seven original eBook short stories released on seven consecutive days. Beginning December 25th, a new top secret "The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire" eBook short story will be released each day leading up to an explosive final story on December 31st.  This marks the first time that Scholastic is launching original eBook short stories in the phenomenally popular franchise. "The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire" stand-alone adventure stories will be available for sale at online retailers for $0.99 each. 

The 39 Clues, the groundbreaking multi-platform adventure series written by a dream team of authors, was the first series of its kind in the publishing industry. Film rights for The 39 Clues have been optioned by DreamWorks with the script being penned by Jeff Nathanson whose credits include Catch Me if You Can and Rush Hour 2. The 39 Clues Madrigal Maze App for the Apple iPhone™ and iPod Touch® has been ranked among the top "Paid Kids Games" in Apple's App Store since release. Foreign publishing rights for The 39 Clues have been sold into 25 countries to date. 

 "We are thrilled about the enormous popularity and global reach of The 39 Clues series," said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade. "We love hearing feedback from readers around the world through online platforms like The 39 Clues Message Board and the message from fans is clear: they are excited and want more content and cannot wait for the next installment in The 39 Clues series. With the launch of 'Rapid Fire' during the holiday break, we're offering kids and The 39 Clues fans everywhere the instant gift of reading every day." 

The 39 Clues® series launched on September 9, 2008, with Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. On December 2, 2008, Book 2: One False Note by Gordon Korman was released and also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Since then, the series, including Book 3: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (March 3, 2009), Book 4: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson (June 2, 2009), Book 5: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman (August 11, 2009), Book 6: In Too Deep by Jude Watson (November 3, 2009), Book 7: The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis (February 2, 2010), Book 8: The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman (April 6, 2010), Book 9: Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park (May 25, 2010), and Book 10: Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix (August 31, 2010), have appeared on theNew York TimesUSA TodayPublishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

 In addition to all-new information about the powerful Cahill family, "The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire" eBook short stories will each contain pieces of a code that when combined will unlock an exclusive virtual card and online content on The 39 Clues game site (www.the39clues.com). There are currently more than 11 million copies in print worldwide for the interactive adventure series, which combines books, collectible cards, and an online game where kids age 8-12 become a part of the story. The 39 Clues online game also continues to attract readers in all 50 states and 191 countries with more than 1.7 million registered users to date.


Photo and logo images:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111111/NY05013 http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110222/NY52258LOGO 

Veteran's Day 2011

Thank you Veterans everywhere for keeping us safe and free!




I'd like to spotlight a book, about a WWII veteran, Louis Zamperini. I wrote about this book by Laura Hillenbrand last year here on NovelChatter and in honor of all Veterans, I'll post my review again today.



"Unbroken"
By Laura Hillenbrand


Hardcover: 496 pages, $27.00
Random House (November 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1400064163
ISBN-13: 978-1400064168













On June 23, 1943 three American soldiers had been drifting in the Pacific Ocean for twenty seven days. The rafts were deteriorating, their bodies were covered in salt sores, and they didn’t know it at the time, but there would be another twenty days of drifting ahead for them. Only two of the three would survive.  One of them was former Olympic runner Louis Zamperini whose life would never be the same. 


Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is an amazing study in resilience, defiance and strength that takes you on the journey of one man’s lifetime. Zamperini was an incorrigible child, a natural runner, and a man who would not be broken. He survived unspeakable torture and deprivation at the hands of his Japanese captors only to find himself being tortured by his memories after returning home at the end of the war.

Being over taken with the reoccurring tortures that resided in his mind, Zamperini turned to alcohol. He reclaimed his life after hearing an inspiring speaker in a tent on a street corner in Los Angeles. That speaker was Billy Graham.  Graham taught him about total forgiveness. It was then and there that Louie was able to release the hatred and take hold of his own life and destiny.


Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, brought the story of depression era wonder horse to us all. Now she brings us the story of Louis Zamperini, who as of this writing is ninety-three years old and residing in Los Angeles.  Hillenbrand said that she came across an article about Louis Zamperini while doing research for Seabiscuit and set it aside.  I’m glad she went back to Zamperini’s story. In one of her countless interviews with Mr. Zamperini spanning seven years, he assured Hillenbrand that “I’ll be an easier subject than Seabiscuit, because I can talk.”   Although Unbroken is over 450 pages in length, but there’s never a dull or lagging moment, just the opposite. The story flows quickly and the suspense keeps you turning the pages. 

Zamperini’s struggle to reclaim his life is beautifully told by Hillenbrand. In Unbroken, Hillenbrand captures the spark of a man determined to survive what he had to and to come out the winner he’d always been.



If I gave stars, I'd give this one a big 5 out of 5. I received this book as an advance readers copy upon  my request to the publisher. I like it so much, I'll be at the brick and mortar book store Tuesday to buy a copy to add to my own library.

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  Hillenbrand’s NEW YORKER article, “A Sudden Illness,” won the 2004 National Magazine Award.  She and actor Gary Sinise are the co-founders of Operation International Children (www.operationinternationalchildren.org), a charity that provides school supplies to children through American troops.  She lives in Washington, D.C.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
By Arthur Conan Doyle

Penguin Classics
Pricing varies depending on the form of publication.






What the publisher says about this collection of classic Sherlock Holmes short stories:


Sherlock Holmes’ fame has also brought him notoriety and there are those in the criminal underworld who must move against him or find their schemes in ruins...

While Holmes and Dr Watson solve what will become some of their most famous cases – Silver Blaze, The Greek Interpreter and The Musgrave Ritual among them – the forces of international crime plot their revenge against the detective.
And it is in The Final Problem that Dr Watson has the sad task of telling the grisly, fatal and shocking tale that saw Holmes finally meet his match – in the guise of the diabolical Professor Moriarty and a terrible struggle at the Reichenbach Falls...


What I have to say about The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is that  it's fabulous!  But also know that these are "classic" stories and the eleven that appear in this collection have also appeared in other publications. That being said, if you haven't had a chance to read many of Doyle's short stories, this is a treat! Who am I to criticize the master of detectives? I'm a reader, and since I am writing about this collection of short stories, I thought the idea of having Watson narrate was "elementary"!

The stories are brilliant and Arthur Conan Doyle never disappoints me.  Need I say more?

I hope he never disappoints you.

4 1/2 put of 5 stars.

This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley and in no way affected my review. 


Helene Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham







The folks over at Deadline.com have posted this great image from the highly anticipated Mike Newell adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.


This new adaptation also stars Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, David Williams, Robbie Coltrane and Sally Hawkins. Great Expectations is slated to be released in the fall of 2012.  Can't wait!


I think Bonham-Carter looks fabulous, and...ah-ha... what a thought! Casting someone who's age appropriate for the role! And while I am making editorial comment...it's nice to see this very talented actor do something that doesn't have anything at all to do with:
  1. Tim Burton
  2. Johnny Depp
  3. Any movie in a series


For more info and another pic please visit the Deadline.com for more information on the production and another photo. 



Image:  BBC Films, Number 9 Films, Lionsgate UK

















The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers


By Philippa Gregory
Touchstone Publishing, $27.99







Publisher's synopsis:



The Lady of the Rivers is #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s remarkable story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses.
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.
Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.
The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.
Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
A sweeping, powerful story rich in passion and legend and drawing on years of research, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother of the white queen.

The Lady of the Rivers is the third in Philppa Gregory's "Cousins War" series and I have to admit that I didn't love this one, heck I just did't like it.  I was excited to get the e-galley because I am a huge fan of Ms. Gregory's previous books in this series. I don't know what happened to the third, but I was so disappointed!  If I hadn't been reading this on my Kindle, I'd have thrown it across the room.

I found the constant need to repeat the names and titles of the characters is really irritating and makes sentences hard to read and the story hard to follow. It's like she's dumbed the series down.  And I'm not a fan of things written in the first person, present tense. Well, let me rephrase that, I'm not a fan of THIS book being written in that manner.  For whatever reason, for me, this one didn't click.


The plot seems to be to be a bit of the "same old-same old" ...and I was bothered by the way Jacquetta derived her power. Not trying to be mysterious, but I don't want to give plot details away for those who will read it.

I think you get the point, I won't go on.

However, I do think the cover art is gorgeous!!

Sadly, I give The Lady of the Rivers 2 out of 5 stars.


This was provided to me as an e-galley by the publisher through NetGalley, and it in no way affected my review.


Scott Rudin buys film rights to "The Marriage Plot"







Interesting book-to-film news today on Deadline.com that producer Scott Rudin (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) has acquired the film rights to Jeffrey Eugenides'  "The Marriage Plot".  The book was published earlier this month.




Summary from the publisher:
 It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the caf├ęs on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.
As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus—who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.
Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.
Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.



BEST OF THE BUNCH - OCTOBER 2011




BEST OF THE BUNCH  - OCTOBER 2011






Last month, I literally stumbled on this great book blog with an awesome idea. The book blog is Lyrical Reviews  and every month they host a meme showcasing the  "best of the bunch" out of all the books that you review each month. 


So here's my "Best of the Bunch" book for October...
  

















Breakthrough by Shea Vaughn

Breakthrough

By Shea Vaughn
HCI, $16.95






Shea Vaughn is a fitness expert, professional trainer, and wellness coach with a lifetime of mind-body experience. Shea has gained national recognition as an inspirational speaker and media personality and is admired by a devoted group of students and clients including athletes and celebrities, helping them all to build strength and flexibility, prevent injuries, "stay in the game," and live more fulfilling lives. She's also the mother of actor Vince Vaughn.

Shea Vaughn's written an interesting and well researched book that touches on total body, mind and spirit wellness. Shea shares her own background,  and how she started out as a hairdresser, following in her mother's footsteps, but her real love was dancing. Shea had to follow her own dream. And she has done just that. This truly a heart felt life and body wellness program, and I admire that in a self-help book.

Breakthrough takes you step by step, page by page on a journey with Shea as she sorts through her thoughts on mind - body connections, being in the moment, how we think about ourselves, how we move and how we bring the principles of well being into our lives.

Vaughn provides a few recipes for nutrition boosts and also adds in some photos of exercises, stretches and movements that fit into her program for defeating stress and gaining more energy. Ms. Vaughn seems to draw from Eastern and Western ideas on meditation and stress relief in order to gain total body well being.

Breakthrough is a chatty and up front self-help book. While the photos are nice, I wish a short DVD had been included in the book.  Trying her movements while holding the book or propping it up, just doesn't work too well. I would have liked to have had some sort of video. I know there's a DVD out there, but something with the book would have been nice.

All in all, it's a well thought out, nicely written book focused on whole body wellness.

I'd give it 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided to me by the publicist and that has in no way affected my review. 



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