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A Woman and a Van

van - A Woman and a Van Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning.
by Stacy Fisher
Nonfiction (Adult) | Travel
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 5 Dec 2020
four star - A Woman and a Van

Have you ever faced a life-changing decision?

You won’t always know you’re ready until you’re ready, but when you’re ready, you’ll go.

When it became clear that my marriage was ending, I felt paralyzed and overwhelmed. In an attempt to simplify my life, I bought a Sprinter van, pared down my possessions to only what would fit inside it, and set out on a spontaneous drive across the country to explore new possibilities for my life.

Travel is good medicine.

During my cross-country trip, I grieved. I wrestled with forgiveness. And I slowly reclaimed my sense of personal sovereignty.

LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases on affiliate links to Amazon.

In Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning*, I share some of my greatest lessons from the road, and how I transitioned from living in survival mode to becoming the designer of my life.

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This is a true story told by the author about her drive and stay in a van to find where she would go next after her divorce – her 2nd as it happens.

Initially, she just had the bare van – with nothing in it but some furniture for a sink – with 2 bottles of water – fresh and grey in the cupboard under it and a camping mattress and boxes of her belongings.

She was lucky in that as she travelled from Washington State to Florida in this van, she had friends she could call into to have a night on a real bed and a proper shower rather than any that she could find in a campsite. She did have plenty of experience of camping and van type travelling luckily, even though her van was not tricked out properly. By the end of her journey her van looked more like the one pictured above as she had some building work done and also she and her Dad did some work on it.

What surprised me, being in the UK, was that she had lots of doctor visits before she set off as travelling from state to state on her journey she had no health care insurance if anything happened to her. I am so thankful for our health service and the arrangements we have in Europe too…

One thing I found very interesting, and that made me realise that I needed, was her daily habit of journaling. Gratitude journaling. I had heard about it before but as someone who has survived what could have been an extremely serious illness and is now still unwell and will need to take a lot of care for the rest of my life, I need to work more on gratitude and less on negativity as to what has been taken away from me. Her 8 dimensions of self-care are also interesting as I been told to take more time on my self-care by several health professionals, so it was interesting to see what she means by it.

Stacy lives and talks about her self-care and has a website that she plugs but overall I was disappointed that her van journey was short and whilst she ‘explored’ on her journey, the places she visited were really obvious tourist sites.

This could have been a better book in my opinion as Stacy really uses it to plug her business and I wonder about her motivation in writing it and whether she had decided to do this before she started the journey. But still the style was good and easy to read.

STACY FISHER is a registered dietitian, lifestyle coach, health & travel writer, and speaker with more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the founder of LivingUpp, she teaches women how to build a solid self-care foundation using a unique framework and planning system that she developed. Her methodology empowers women to simplify their lifestyles, so they can experience more ease and better health. Stacy has been featured in The Costco Connection and is the author of three other books, including The Lifestyle Design Planner.

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Dog Wars: Book Blitz

Text in Show
(An Accidentally in Love Story, #4)
by Melanie Summers, Whitney Dineen
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: June 10th 2021

It’s a dog text dog world…

Autumn Jones is at a crossroads. With no job offers in sight, she can either return to Koshkonong, Wisconsin to work at her dad’s feed store or she can move to New York and help her older sister Helen coordinate the Manhattan Kennel Club Show. She and Helen may fight like cats and dogs, but Autumn would rather live with a thousand Helens than go home after seven years of college.

Jack Campbell is the veterinarian to Manhattan’s elite. Despite their adoration, he does not love them back. In fact, he’s vowed never to date anyone who walks through the front door of his clinic. He spends his days caring for pampered poodles sporting diamond encrusted collars and placating their high maintenance owners. When he meets Autumn, he assumes she’s going to be another client with more money than brains.

Autumn is thrown into a bizarre world of highly competitive rich women who will do anything to win the coveted title of Best in Show at Manhattan’s most exclusive competition. With her haughty sister breathing down her neck, and a high-strung poodle following her everywhere she goes, she doesn’t have time for love, even if she does find herself face-to-face with America’s hottest vet every day.

Will Autumn run back to Wisconsin with her tail between her legs? Will Jack find out that appearances can be deceiving? Will Helen’s dog Fifi win Best in Show? Find out in the hysterical fourth edition of the Accidentally in Love Series, Text in Show.

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It’s a dog text dog world…⁣

Will Autumn run back to Wisconsin with her tail between her legs? Will Jack find out that appearances can be deceiving? Will Helen’s dog Fifi win Best in Show? Find out in the hysterical fourth edition of the Accidentally in Love Series, Text in Show by @whitneydineenauthor and @mj_summers_author

EXCERPT

The bell over the door chimes and a young woman walks in with a freshly groomed silver standard poodle, full-on with painted nails and a diamond collar that probably isn’t fake. I look from the dog to her owner, relieved that I don’t know either of them. My gut reaction is to despise her. Anyone who paints their dog’s nails is on my not happening list, even if she is really pretty—which she is. She’s totally got that trophy wife air about her, except there’s no giant rock on her finger, so she must be a wannabe trophy wife. Her dark blonde hair is up in a ponytail. She’s dressed in yoga pants and a fitted long-sleeved T-shirt for that cute girl-next-door look. She probably paid an extra hundred for that tiny hole near the bottom of her shirt, you know, to make it look like she’s not trying.

Aldo points to the door and yells, “NO DOGS!”

The chances that a woman like her will take no for an answer are about as good as me painting my own nails. In other words, it’s not happening.

She gives him a pathetic look, complete with puppy dog eyes. “I’m just here to pick up my order and I’m worried about leaving her outside.”

There it is. She’s clearly not used to hearing no and she’s about to put up a big fuss. I bet she’ll threaten to skewer them on Yelp before she leaves.

“No dogs. OUT!” Aldo shouts.

“Can you bring me the pizza then? It’s under the name Autumn.”

Autumn. That figures. These Upper East Side women always have chichi froufrou names.

The man in line turns to glare at her. “Would you mind waiting your turn?”

“Sorry, yeah,” she says, looking more flustered than I’m used to seeing in this neighborhood full of privilege.

Also, she just apologized and is now leaving without yelling, threatening, or telling him he just made the biggest mistake of his life. She must be very new at being filthy rich, but she’ll learn.

Autumn turns around to open the door, only to get caught up in the leash. I watch as she loses her balance, then flails her arms which, unfortunately for her, is the universal sign for “let’s wrestle” in the dog world. The poodle leaps up, wags her tail, and bounces as though agreeing to the terms of play. The owner’s weak words of “Celine, no!” mean nothing. In fact, the volume and panicked tone only excite the poodle more. Before I can get up to help her, the woman tips sideways and lands in a huge potted plant with the dog pinning her to the dirt and licking her face. “Celine Dion Josephine Bonaparte, get down girl,” she says, uselessly.

“That’s it, now you’ve upset my plant.” Aldo hollers. “Go!”

“I’m trying!” she calls back.

Oh, for … I get up and firmly take Celine Dion Josephine Bonaparte (what kind of name is that?) by the collar, lift her off Autumn, and firmly tell the canine, “Stay.”

Then I pluck the leash out of the woman’s hands and unravel her legs from it. Wow, she smells amazing. Or is that the poodle? Dear God, I hope it’s not the poodle because if so, I’ve got some very expensive years of therapy ahead of me.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.

Whitey - Dog Wars: Book Blitz

Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to. 

She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.

Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.

Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.

Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.

Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017

Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
Author Links:

https://whitneydineen.com/

https://twitter.com/whitneydineen

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8145525.Whitney_Dineen

https://www.instagram.com/whitneydineenauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/Whitney-Dineen-Author-11687019412/


Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Melanie - Dog Wars: Book Blitz

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally – then she’ll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she’s not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something–more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International. 
Author links: https://mjsummersbooks.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/mjsummersbookshttps:

//www.instagram.com/mj_summers_author/

https://www.facebook.com/MJSummersAuthorPage

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17105602.Melanie_Summers

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Shall we go to China? On a sail boat?

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Devilish Dukes
Amy Jarecki
Fiction, Historical, Regency
Oliver-Heber Books
January 5, 2021
294
four star - Shall we go to China? On a sail boat?

When it comes to women, the Duke of Danby is an audacious rake... but when it comes to ridding the kingdom of smugglers, he's leading the charge. The Prince Regent has bankrupted the country more than once, and Danby isn't about to go down with a sinking ship. The Honorable Eleanor Kent hides behind the image of a self-proclaimed spinster... though in truth she's one of England's most sought-after privateers. When their paths cross at a royal dinner... Danby suspects the stunning redheaded woman is more than she seems. He engages her to consult on a chinoiserie remodel and Eleanor gladly accepts. Indeed, she'd rather keep her enemy close where she can watch his every move. Though neither duke nor lady has a clue of how tangled the web they're spinning will become. As the heat ratchets up, so does their unbidden attraction. Will they get burned before it's too late to run?

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Oh a woman who is not doing as Society expects – but has to do it in private because women can’t run businesses – of course. And then the business that she runs just happens to have an illegal side to it. Smuggling!

Well Society likes its fine linens, silk, alcohol and so on, but wants it a really ‘good’ price. And there are, as always, taxes to pay on imports.

So if you can be a profitable importer, it pays to add a cargo without taxes!

Eleanor has managed to buy a ship – The King’s Jewel – which is fast and travels into exotic locations like Japan and China and brings back artifacts from these countries for Prinny – the Prince Regent. Who likes exotica and has furnished his palace in Brighton with a marvel of artifacts that did not come in through the usual ports… If you supply the Prince, it would be difficult to accuse you of smuggling as that would implicate the Prince. But if you need income for the Crown to pay for wars etc then there is are in a dilemma.

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image - Shall we go to China? On a sail boat?

The Brighton Pavilion still stands mostly how Prinny furbished it and is really wonderful to go and visit.

This is a nice story, well written, with some solid economic and political points.

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Islands in the snow: book review

island - Islands in the snow: book review Christmas Island by Natalie Normann HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter You Like Them One More Chapter Romance Pub Date 30 Nov 2020

In the bleak midwinter… A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined. Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine. Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.

We could be in one of the far flung Scottish islands – but we are not, we are in Norway – on one of their far flung islands where there is a very small community, everyone knows everyone else’s business, there is nothing to do, and it is very cold, very wet and very dark most of the year. Yes, the correct type of place to hide away in total isolation and be a hermit. it is also rather windy as next stop is America and the wind comes across a cold ocean. [No point having a balcony when you go across by boat we found out after having paid extra for one!]

As with many of these remote islands, the animals, usually sheep, are of a rare breed who have learnt to survive on a very particular diet which only exists on one island. Like the Soay sheep or the Boreray sheep or the Orkney sheep which live on seaweed. Many of these are now feral or are in rare breed farms. So our heroine’s brother has a flock of his rare breed sheep – Norway has a few too – in fact there are more rare breed sheep than any other type of animal as man has spent of his energy on cross breeding them for his particular environment. the funniest looking is this one – serious coats here!

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Leicester Long Wool
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Orkney
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Boreray
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Soay

We also have a lovely cat belonging to our hermit – a Norwegian Forest cat – this is a large breed of nicely mannered cat but they are smaller than the Maine Coons but just as friendly – we now have 2 Maine Coons and this is our male:

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Note the creamy coloured tail – like fair ground spun sugar! He is a ‘Red’ and very amiable and talkative- he calls for the next door cat to go on patrol! Oh and 16 pounds in weight and over 3 foot in length.

I did think that our hermit had seriously got the Covid and the whole island had the zoom etiquette down pat.

In many ways a quite traditional romance story – beauty and the beast trope – with a nice twist with the island, winter, xmas, and cat.

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Drifting where? Author interview

Adrift
Haven Island
Isabel Jolie
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: June 8th 2021

I can be your dream girl…for a price…

Ever heard of Only Fans? It’s not my ideal job, but it pays the bills.
It’s even made me somewhat of a celebrity. My subscribers love my provocative shots, and I’m oh-so-good at teasing them.
Then he shows up in my small town and complicates everything.
See, Mr. Green-Eyed Gazillionaire is so far out of my league it’s ridiculous. We’re polar opposites.
That doesn’t change the fact that even though I’m a fantasy to most men, I only want to be his reality.
But nothing real can ever happen between us. Logically, I know that.
Too bad logic and I have never had anything but a passing acquaintance.
Because now, if I’m not careful, I’m afraid this sexy billionaire will smash my poor, pathetic heart into oblivion…

A delicious hot billionaire romance featuring two polar opposites adrift on a resort island with a small-town atmosphere, right of the coast of North Carolina.

This is a steamy contemporary romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhanger, and no cheating.

 

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Isabel Says:

  • What is your favourite genre?

Contemporary romance. Next favorite would be Historical romance. Always, always, romance.

  • Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

I’d have to say Jewel E. Ann. Mainly because she has absolutely refused to follow a similar pattern for her plots and her storylines are each so unique. She doesn’t even write many series (which is almost shocking in the Indie romance space). I think because her books are so unique, I justified writing different subgenres in one series…because I felt like ‘hey, she did it…and she kicks ass doing it.’

  • I write in a series world, but because of her, I felt emboldened to write what I wanted to write. For example, in my first series I have both a rom com and a romantic suspense. Same friends. Very different stories. It’s not exactly what she does…and it’s not at all recommended by the “experts”. But, I think she kind of proves you can do things your own way. I’d like to be her when I grow up.
  • In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing.

Hands down Jana Aston.

  • If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?

My old standby to this answer used to be Claire from Outlander.  Because I’d really love to be able to time travel and I’d really, really love to find Sam Heughan in this alternate reality.

But, I recently read Him and Us from Sarina Bowen….and I don’t know. Jamie Canning would be a damn good character to be…he’s got a great family and one hunk of a hockey husband. AND he’s a kick ass goalie spending his days coaching.

And there’s Becca from Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen…she marries Nate, who might be one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends. I *love* me a sexy nerd.

This question is a tough one. Because, then I think…I’d really love to be a rock star. So, I could be Nikki from Elle Greco’s Heartbreak Beat…leggy, gorgeous with an edge, jamming on the drums for not one but two bands with a hawt front man…. I’d bet she’s even wrinkle-free.

So many options…but I suppose the way I’m feeling this morning, I’m gonna go with Nikki and gain some musical chops.

  • If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

My husband and I often have these conversations. Our kids love North Carolina and I have to say, we live in a great area for a kid to grow up. There’s a lake in our backyard, the neighborhood is safe. It’s a good, easy life. That said, the day after we unload the youngest at college, we’re planning on relocating. So….where to? Top of our list includes Edinburgh Scotland, Dublin Ireland, Vancouver Canada, Seattle Washington and Santa Barbara California. Why? These are all places we’ve been that we absolutely love, with great vibes, proximity to the ocean, and enough of a city to feel alive but not such an enormous city that it feels dirty or claustrophobic.

There’s an island off the coast of North Carolina called Bald Head. My husband and I were married there and we visit almost every summer. You have to take a ferry, there are no cars, and even though it’s really close to the mainland, you feel like you’re in another country. It’s the inspiration for my Haven Island Series. And the next series…currently titled Twisted Vines…will take place in Napa Valley…another one of my favorite places to visit.

Author Bio

Isabel Jolie, or Izzy to her friends, is an Amazon bestselling indie author with an unquenchable thirst for a good, sexy love story. Izzy’s heart pumps faster for stories with strong heroines, down-to-earth realism, and an unexpected twist.

When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be found with a glass of wine in hand relaxing with her husband, daughters, and good friends lakeside.

Izzy fills her Instagram feed with funnies, inspirational “brain candy”, and anything that meshes with her mood of the day. #mood.

Isabel - Drifting where? Author interview
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19801964.Isabel_Jolie

https://www.facebook.com/isabeljoliebooks/

https://www.instagram.com/isabeljoliebooks/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19801964.Isabel_Jolie
https://www.facebook.com/isabeljoliebooks

To Purchase:

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/adrift/id1552590364

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/adrift-77

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Isabel_Jolie_Adrift?id=v1MmEAAAQBAJ


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