Audio Book Review: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Posted January 17, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

ISBN: 0553397575
Length: 7 hours
Audio Book Review: Lincoln in the Bardo by George SaundersLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Cassandra Campbell, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris
Published by Random House Audio Publishing Group on February 14th 2017
Format: audiobook
Source: library
Buy on Amazon

7 hours, 29 minutes

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy's body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul.Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders' family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance:

Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL "DASH" COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O'Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY "PERFESSER" LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator

Praise for the audiobook

"Lincoln in the Bardo" sets a new standard for cast recordings in its structure, in its performances, and in its boldness. Now, let's see who answers the challenge." - Chicago Tribune

"Like the novel, the audiobook breaks new ground in what can be accomplished through a story. It helps that there's not a single bad note in the cast of a whopping 166 people. It's also the rare phenomenon of an audiobook being a completely different experience compared to the novel. Even if you've read the novel, the audiobook is worth a listen (and vice versa). The whole project pushes the narrative form forward." - A.V. Club "The result is an auditory experience unlike any other, where the awareness of individual voices disappears while the carefully calibrated soundscape summons a metaphysical masterpiece. This is a tour de force of audiobook production, and a dazzling realization of Saunders' unique authorial structure."--Booklist

"The finished audiobook's tapestry of voices perfectly mirrors the novel."--Entertainment Weekly

Praise for George Saunders

"No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time."--Khaled Hosseini

"Few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does."--Junot Diaz

"George Saunders is a complete original. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity."--Dave Eggers

"Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny."--Zadie Smith

"There is no one like him. He is an original--but everyone knows that."--Lorrie Moore

"George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We're lucky to have him."--Jonathan Franzen

"An astoundingly tuned voice--graceful, dark, authentic, and funny--telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times."--Thomas Pynchon

I just want to point out that I am Profoundly Deaf since birth and received a Cochlear Ear Implant In my right year in 2016 and my left ear in 2017. So audiobooks are really REALLY new to me, and I use them to practice my listening mostly. My reviews are what I thought and felt while listening and sometimes I have trouble or can’t understand a book and I will say so HOWEVER, this is to be taken into consideration that I am a recent implant recipient and it should in no way discourage you from trying out the audiobook! Often if I cant understand a book, I will seek out the print book, and that will probably be my “real” reaction to the story or information contained therein.


I hate to say it, but this is my first DNF of the year. I had heard great things about this, so I borrowed it from the library and when it finally was my turn a few days a go I dropped everything and eagerly listen to it and…I couldn’t understand shit at first. Then I understood a word here and there, and finally, I understood some sentences, but I wasn’t getting the story.

If it weren’t for Goodreads, I would never have known what the story was. While other people liked the one million people on the audio production to a newly implanted Deaf person, it was mostly gibberish. It reminded me of being in a crowded room and trying to understand people not knowing who was going to speak next. That is never good.

I am sure if I could understand it I would have liked it. I still like the idea of the story, so I am in line for the ebook. I am number one million so maybe I will get to it this year. Crosses fingers

I hated to have to give up on this. I gave it two hours, and after that, I had to conclude defeat. Ah well… I guess I have my limits of what I  can understand with my implants. I just wished it was not on an audiobook that I was really REALLY looking forward to.

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

You Can’t Edit a Blank Page

Posted January 16, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

You can't edit a blank page #truth


This Post was originally on my other blog HillaryNicoleRoberts but since I am combining blogs I decided to move it over here.

If I could count the number of times I heard someone tell me they wanted to blog but they didn’t know what to say, or their brain turns into a hopeless mess of nonsensical ideas when they see the blinking dot on the computer screen I tell them to stop..take a deep breath and pound out that shitty first draft.

I first came up with the idea of shitty first drafts when I first read Bird by Bird. Before I faced the same issue of thinking that what I typed first had to be perfect. I believed that skilled writers wrote that way naturally. That the words just flowed perfectly from their brain into the computer screen. I thought I was the only one who seemed to struggle and fight for every word. Many times I felt that what I wrote was a total piece of shit and I would just delete it and wonder why can’t I be a GOOOD writer?!?

A college professor encouraged me to read Bird by Bird, and it was life-changing. Seriously. Here was an accomplished writer who owned the fact that what she first put on the page was crap. She encouraged people to get that “shitty first draft” down and then revise revise revise.

I came to understand that what we read as the finished product is NOT what the author wrote down at 2 am when inspiration struck. No… What we see is the result of some serious editing, and rewriting and rewriting til their mind and fingers bleed and the story is permanently ingrained in their soul, and they are sick of it. The publishing houses all have a team of people to edit a book.


They can’t edit a blank page, and that is why it is so important to get that first draft down. And DO NOT attempt to “edit as you go” I have tried that, and it was a piece of shit. Ha Turn off you inner editors brain write write write

Some days it will feel like pulling rotten stumpy teeth out trying to get words on the page. In fact, this article idea came to me when I was working on something else and everything that I wrote stunk like week old fish. I was telling a friend that all my work was shit and maybe I should just give up and get a ‘traditional” job then he asked,” What would I tell someone if they said that?” and I would tell that person to get that shitty first draft down. That the faster you get the crap out of your brain, the faster the good stuff will come.

I think when we write we rip our soul open a little more each time and we feel naked and as if our souls are on display and people can see all of our secret sins and we freeze up, and we feel like there is no way to hide. And when people criticize your SOUL well it hurts. So we think it must be pure perfection or nothing at all.

But here is the thing no one is going to see the shitty first draft unless you show it to them. It is between you and your computer. I have talked with enough people that everyone thinks their first draft is horrible. We are our own worst critics.

It can be hard to get past that bitchy inner editor. Which is why I love morning pages. I use Day One to type out 750-1000 words after I work out and I write down everything that is in my brain. I get it all out so that there is space to let the words that I want to show the world come out.  For a long time, I did not know about morning pages. A couple of years a go someone gifted me The Artist Way. At first, I was like this is all hokey stuff but as time went on, I saw that if I empty my brain, then I am in a better frame of mind to put my inner bitch editor up and write more freely.

You have to get past the part of you that says you can’t write and just get your thoughts down. The first draft is only a skeleton of what you will show to the world. Click To Tweet

No one will see it!

That is the important thing to remember when you are writing something for your blog. I know so many people who struggle with this and they just sorta give up. I was looking at Pinterest the other day, and I saw how many blogs have been abandoned or neglected, and this makes me sad. This is true especially of book bloggers that I used to follow. People think ohhhh I love to read and free books, but they fail to realize how much time and effort the top bloggers in any niche put into their blogs. You can’t just whip something up and expect it go viral.

 But you have to START

So write down the shitty first draft. Pour your heart out. Dig deep inside and put it all on the page.

Ever since I read Bird by Bird, I have followed her advice and just sat down and opened up Scrivener and Brain.Fm and type. Some day the words just flow, and sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get anything worth typing about on the page but still, I write, and I remind myself that this is only the shitty first draft and I rip my soul open and type.

My writing has considerably improved since I started doing this. I remember back in the days when I was felt it had to be perfect to put it down, but it does not. Even when it is seriously shitty, I put it down, and then later I go back and revise it. Scrivener is great for this. You can have two documents open side by side. The shitty first draft and the better second draft

shitty first copy about page

This is a pic of me working on an article in Scrivener. I had what a REALLY shitty first draft was. In fact, it was so shitty that it was painful to read. But alas I  opened it up and fixed it.

Never be afraid of your shitty first draft.

No one will see it

Open up Scrivener and get to writing!

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

What I am Reading Jan 15 2018

Posted January 15, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 4 Comments


As I said yesterday my reading mojo is back! I am reading these days! I may not be speeding through books, but that is ok. I am still reading, and that is what matters. I ran out of my ADHD meds, and I have to wait til my insurance kicks in to get more, so that is why I am so slow right now it is tough to concentrate without my Strattera. I should get them this week so fingers crossed Here is what I read last week

what I am reading January 18 2018

Whole 30 (review here)

Year Of Magical Thinking– (Review coming soon)


I DID listen to two hours of Lincoln in the Bardo, but I couldn’t understand it enough to make sense of it. I will write a review of that this week also.

For this week I want to read:

Feed – This is one of those books that I started reading a while back then my library time ran out. I made me a list in Trello of my library books and when they are due so I can read all my damn books before the library uses their magic powers to take it off my kindle.

The Arctic Incident   I started reading this out of order cause I had no idea it was a series when I picked up a book in the library. I hate reading stuff out of order so I started over and this is the second book in the series I think…

Lots Of Candles Plenty of Cake– I heard about this on a blog I forgot where but I looked it up and it sounded interesting so I got it from the Library.

And for an audiobook The Four Tencidies in Scribd. 

I know that seems like a lot, but I feel that I can do it.

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Sunday Post 1-14-18

Posted January 14, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 3 Comments


Hi Everyone!

We had some glorious spring-like temps last week.I was all like yay the cold is ooovvvveeerrrr after that nasty polar vortex we had but noooo.I woke up yesterday to snow! That is right it went from 60 degrees to 20 OVERNIGHT! I was all like this is nuts… On Friday they were all like SNOW STORM, and mom even dragged me to the store with the rest of the county to get “supplies”  I was all like it is spring mom was all like nope and guess what she was right. Hmmph


I got my driver license again… That is right after the last few years of debilitating anxiety I finally feel up to tackling driving again. Granted it took a year of therapy and 800 mg of Neurontin three times a day but alas I am back behind the wheel.

My reading mojo has returned! This past week has been glorious. My mom was right when I take ALLLLLL of my meds I am glorious when I don’t I am in the depths of my own personal hell. So I bought me one of those pill scheduler container thingies so I can just look and see if I have taken my pills and  Young Living supplements. The only Supplement I can’t put in there is my fish oil but  I never forget that so no worries.

Have you ever come across a podcast and fell in love and just had to listen to all of their backlists? That happened to me last week. I came across the Skinny Confidential The Him and Her Podcast, and I was like OMG I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE!!  Seriously. I have found myself cleaning and stuff just to listen to the backlist. On Friday I had a full day of errands to run, and I was playing the podcasts ALL..DAY..LONG…The podcast has business tips AND life tips, and she even has some good book suggestions that I like in her newsletters.


Guess What??? I made a Youtube video. I used to love doing them, so I thought why not start back up? I have some ideas of what I want to do. I am trying to get used to talking on a screen so one day I will feel comfortable doing a webinar one of these days. I have been talking a lot ( with my voice) on InstaStories. (Shameless plug here I am on Instagram)

I lost control over my diet and workouts last week. Nothing happened I am just a lazy ass when I have to do it at home. At my gym in Cleveland I am more motivated, but when I try and do at home I am just like ughh… I don’t wanna but being around fit people at the gum and people like me who are trying to improve their health just makes me so damn motivated.

In Bookish News I was reading Black Edge and tapped out of it on My Kindle to check something else, and when I went back to resume reading, I got the dreaded Your Library Loan has ended. GRRRRRRR I got back in Line, and I am number 4, so I am hoping it won’t take TOO long…I really need to pick up the pace with reading. I feel like I read so slow. Maybe after I do my whole 30 and get all the gunk out of my system, then my brain will work faster. I hope. It did last time so why not again?

I spent all of yesterday reading Year of Magical Thinking and OMG I love Joan Didion. I want o read her whole backlist now. I love it when I discover a new to me authors that I love so much I want to read EVERYTHING by them!!

I have tried to listen to Lincoln in the Bardo. And well while lots of hearing people rave about the full cast for a Deaf person it is like being in a crowded room and just as I am starting to understand one narrator another pops up and I am all like what??? Rewind!!! I am not giving up though. So we will see what I think when I get to the end of it.


I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Book Review: The Whole 30: The Official 30-day Guide To Total Health And Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig (Goodreads Author), Dallas Hartwig

Posted January 13, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

ISBN: 9781473619555
Book Review: The Whole 30: The Official 30-day Guide To Total Health And Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig (Goodreads Author), Dallas HartwigThe Whole30 by Melissa HartwigDallas Hartwig
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on April 23rd 2015
Pages: 432

Get on the path to better health, effortless weight loss, and incredible improvements in sleep quality, energy, and mood with THE WHOLE30.

Melissa and Dallas Hartwig are the authors of New York Times bestseller IT STARTS WITH FOOD, which has taken America by storm, and the founders of the Whole9, an online community focused on health, fitness, and sanity serving 1.5 million visitors a month.

Their new book THE WHOLE30 provides all the resources you need to reset your health. Based on Paleo diet principles, this is not a traditional diet book but a way to implement lasting change in your life by eating real food for 30 days. By following the WHOLE30 programme, the authors argue that you can reclaim your health and transform your relationship with food in the long term. The authors' positive empowering message and the health benefits and weight loss this programme can bring make this book potentially life changing.

Motivating and inspiring with just the right amount of Dallas' and Melissa's signature tough love, THE WHOLE30 features real-life success stories, answers to common questions, detailed elimination and reintroduction guidelines, and more than 100 recipes using familiar ingredients, from simple one-pot meals to complete dinner party menus.

I am doing a strict whole 30 in February.  I  am following a paleo diet at the moment, but I need a reset. I am still feeling fog-headed and am having difficulty concentrating and all of that. I need to get my system clear, and with my shitty eating habits of the past year, it is going to take longer than 30 days to reset my system. I am not sure HOW long it will take exactly. I will just have to see. So anyway, I am redoing the whole 30 AGAIN, and I can’t wait to feel like heaven once again. I know the entire  #whole30 inside and out by now, but I LOVED It starts with food and wanted to read this book in the hopes of learning something that I did not know yet.

This is a GREAT book if you are new to the #whole30 and want all the information in one place. I know when I went on my first whole30 a few years ago I would have loved a book like this. I remember having to google SO. MUCH during my first #whole30. It was insane. I would be at the food store, and I would be all like CAN I HAVE THIS?? OMG, TRUE LEMON HAS SOY?!?! Seriously I had a freakout about the soy cause I avoid soy like the plague. I used to have thyroid issues but they…went away… they do think it was my bipolar meds, but I am not taking any chances, so I was all like WTH WHY is there soy in True Lemon?

This book has a section that answers what you can, and can’t eat and guess what TRUE LEMON is on there no frantically texting friends at the food store involved!


If you are new to the #whole30 I say run and buy this book. It will save you countless hours of frusteration and time looking up what you can and can eat and what the rules are. There are even some tasty recipes that I copied into my Plan to  Eat thingie that I can’t wait to try!  To be honest, i am going to buy the book for myself. I can always use a primer each time I go through the whole 30 plus this book is so new that it contains a lot of “can I eat?” With newer products. Plus that Recipe Section looks to die for! I loved this book, and I recommend it to everyone!


I highly Recommend the #whole30 book.Click To Tweet




I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

How I Hygge :Updated for Winter 2018

Posted January 12, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

How I Hygge Updated for winter 2018
*Hi!!! This post contains affiliate links. If You decide to purchase through this blog then all proceeds go to hosting and running this blog at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use and love so you can be sure that they are not junk! Thank you SO much for your support!*


The Holidays are over, and we are in the long slow months that seem to stretch out forever until that hot day of  June. Yes, June. Here in Cleveland, it is cold until June unlike in the south where it is summer in APRIL. Funny Story: My Parents live in Southeastern KY and last year I got my second CI Implant. It was time to visit the audiologist to get the outside part hooked up to the inside part, and it was in the middle of April and Cleveland it was NASTY. Cold hard rain falling in sheets of water pour from buckets in the sky, and it was dark and cloudy meanwhile in KY it was 80 degrees and sunny. I warned my parents that they better bring their winter clothes and a coat, but they brought summer outfits. They arrived in Cleveland and was like what happened to the weather? I was all like ha ha ha you gonna freeze your ass off, and they did the whole trip.  Anyway, the point is it is miserable in Cleveland til about June BUUUUT every year I come upon great ways to make it not soo miserable! Below is how I do it!


When I first moved from the south to Cleveland That first winter, I was miserable. Plus winter here last nine months. I felt a deep depression and wondered how I was going to survive living here.I love the city, but the prospect of its long, brutal winters was daunting. I knew that I had to do something to find somehow a way not on to survive but also to thrive during Cleveland Winters.
I thought I was so smart when I thought of this but it turns out the Danes were the ones who came up with it first. Winters there are even more brutal and yet they remain happy.  I haven’t heard of it until a couple of years ago but I am pleased to report that I last year I finally made it through the winter without feeling depressed how did I do it?

take mega doses of fish oil


(Click here for the brand I take)

I first heard about this when I went paleo a couple of years ago. Then I found research that to help with depression you have to take a shit load of omega 3. So I got the only fish oil that I can stand to take and calculated the omega 3, and it came to 5 tablespoons! At first, I was like that is a lot of fish oil but I choked it down, and after about a month I noticed a remarkable difference. I still don’t like taking it. I tried pills but they all have fishy burps, but this one doesn’t taste half bad. I can choke it down, so that is a big plus. I also HATE fish. So if you think ewwwww fish oil, then this oil don’t have a fishy taste to it. Since I even refuse to consume fish, I take the whole five tablespoons of oil a day. Helps with depression and anxiety.

took mega dosages of vitamin D3


(Click here for the brand I take)

The dr took my fit d leaves, and it feels in the normal range, but Mark Sission says that the average range is low so I went and bought this vitamin D3 and take 1500 a day and OMG my depression lifted entirely after about three weeks on it. It was amazing. And here in Cleveland, it is sunny about once a month in the winter so this was a godsend.

light millions of candles that smell good

I love Danielle LaPorte candles at the moment. I have also bought other candles, but I discovered her candles, and they smell amazing. I love them so much!

diffuse essential oils

( click here if you want to buy a starter kit)

Last year I was dumb and bout Esstibnal Oils off of Amazon and SUPRISE THEY DID NOT WORK!  Then a Friend convinced me to try  Young Living oils and stuff and OMG I AM IN LOVE. ( shameless self-promotion i “sell” young living stuff so if you want to try them out just email me!) They have changed my life for reals. I ALWAYS have something pumping out of my diffuser, and I use their soaps and lotions and everything!

Take long bubble baths

I have recently discovered bath bombs. Why did no one tell me about them before?! Nothing better than a great smelling bath bomb and a good book.


My shrink has been after me for years to work out. And for years I was like blah. Then my friend verbally kicked my ass, and I went to planet Fitness down the street, and now I am a big believer in exercising. It helps keep me in a good mood, and it helps control my anxiety.

stay paleo

I think my body hates carbs. Or at least non-paleo carbs. If I eat bread or pizza or something I always feel sick afterward and being sick is no fun and it makes me sad, so I have learned to avoid the stuff that makes me ill and I feel tons better.

cozy up with a good book

there is nothing a good book can’t cure especially if you read by the fireplace

have skype dates with close friends

my closest friends live outside of Ohio, so I always make sure to keep in contact with them.

lots and lots of floor lamps or any lamp

Am I the only one who hates overhead lights. Ugh, they are so bright and ugly. I love the soft glow of lamps, so I have a million in my apt, and I love them.

good coffee

Not the cheap maxwell house but rather coffee such as Death Wish Coffee. lousy coffee ruins a person day
There you have it. The trick is to find things that make you feel good and do them a lot. If you feel good, then you will be less likely to be depressed, and if you are happy then you can weather almost anything
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Audio Review: The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks by Mike Dow

Posted January 11, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Audio Review: The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks by Mike DowThe Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks by Mike Dow
on September 15th 2015

A new epidemic is sweeping the country. Some people call it ADHD, scatter brain, or brain fog. Some simply say they just don't feel like themselves - and haven't for a long time. People are thinking and feeling worse than ever. Why? Because our brains are not getting the support they need to produce the essential brain chemicals that keep us energized, calm, focused, and inspired. In fact if you look at the way most of us live, it's almost as though we've chosen a lifestyle deliberately intended to undermine our brain chemistry.

Fortunately there is a solution. The Brain Fog Fix is a three-week program designed to help you naturally restore three of your brain's most crucial chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol. Rebalancing these three brain chemicals will, in turn, enable the rest of your brain's chemistry to reach optimal levels. You will find yourself thinking more clearly, remembering more accurately, learning more quickly, and unleashing the floodgates of your creativity. You will also find yourself feeling more optimistic, calm, energized, connected, and inspired. The good news is that this is easier than you think. Instead of trying to ambitiously overhaul one aspect of your life entirely with some difficult-to-maintain resolution, begin by making small and achievable changes in many different areas of your life.

"If I've learned one thing from the thousands of people I've treated, it's that you have to take the whole person into account if you want to think and feel better." (Dr. Mike Dow)

Listening Length: 7 hours and 43 minutes

I just want to point out that I am Profoundly Deaf since birth and received a Choclear Ear Implant In my right year in 2016 and my left ear in 2017. So audiobooks are REALLY new to me, and I use them to practice my listening mostly. My reviews are what I thought and felt while listening and sometimes I have trouble or can’t understand a book and I will say so HOWEVER, this is to be taken into consideration that I am a recent implant recipient and it should in no way discourage you from trying out the audiobook! Often if I cant understand a book, I will seek out the print book, and that will probably be my “real” reaction to the story or information contained therein.

I was browsing an audiobook to keep me company through a colossal week log anxiety attack and the words “BRAIN FOG FIX” lept out at me on overdrive and it as like maybe I can cure the brain fog that I have been experiencing. So I downloaded it and listened to it with Libby (LOVE THAT NEW APP!!).

This book has the same idea that I do for people wanting to lessen anxiety and depression and brain fog and all of that. I belive in a  more extreme paleo style version, but the concepts he espouses are good for people wanting to dip their toes in the eat a better diet. He says to cut out the white flour, sugar, and to eat plenty of fish for omega 3’s. I hate fish, so I take this fish oil.

I love this book for what he says about treating the WHOLE person. He also included something that I have been severely neglecting and that is the spiritual part of my life. I quit going to church cause reason best not to get into here, but I haven’t really “fed” my spiritual side. I am more Danielle Laporte than a strict Christian anyway. I am a hybrid of religion. Part Christian part Buddhism part new age all mixed.I need to find a way to feed all of them. I feel like the dude in the book who ha pretty much everything but feels like something is lacking. I so identified with that and Mike Dow suggested that he walk in nature or some other activities to feed his spirit. I do feel that there is somethinging bigger than us out there, but every time I think of Christians ai get a bad taste in my mouth from my Appalachian upbringing.

I have mentioned on the blog before that I have bipolar and anxiety that comes with it. While I know that I will never be free of my cocktail of pills I realize I can feel even better if I follow the advice in this book, I also isolate myself in my apartment I have started changing that by going to the gym and the library twice a week and I have met some people that way. It seems that almost my whole life is online and sometimes i just crave that face to face connection that I need to make more of an effort to make.

I really loved this book. It tells about the WHOLE person on how to “fix” problems such as anxiety, depression and among other things. I suffer mostly from depression and anxiety related to bipolar disorder, and that is what I tend to focus mostly on when listening to these types of books. On that note I found this book to be very enlighting, and I loved how he had tips on meditation and eating lots of omega threes and having face to face connections with people among other things. I am going to try out some of his tips.

On the narration

I understood it fine, and I liked it. I could even listen while doing other things such as housework and cooking dinner and still understood it. Mike Dow had a really soothing voice that really helped as I was having a severe anxiety attack while listening to this.



I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

My Core Desired Feelings for 2017

Posted January 10, 2018 by Hillary in Goals / 2 Comments

My Core Desired Feelings for 2017

I have seen a lot of people blog about their one word for the year, but for me, I prefer to do the desired map. In the desired map, we have our core desired feeling. You find out the way that you want to FEEL and then plan your stuff around that. When I first read the Desire Map, it broke me open into a whole different way of living. I used to be a plan A type of person who thought that the whole Getting Things done method was the BEST…THING. EVAR… I took the whole GTD thing seriously when I first started my business. I kept hearing about the Desire Map and thought well …I will see what everyone is talking about and I have never been the same since.


Every December I reflected on the year and asked myself what worked and what didn’t. And then I think about how I want to feel in the coming year. This is what I came up with for 2017.

First, there was the whole me getting “sick” with my bipolar in 2017. I realized that if I don’t take care of MYSELF then I will be useless and then I will be unable to achieve any of my goals. I realized that my type A personality is not going to cut it anymore. I HAD  to make changes. The basics are my sleep, diet (paleo) and exercise and meditation and journaling. I still use the day one app for my morning pages, but I have started using the app for journaling also. The app is AMAZING!! I will write about it once I get some useful data to show it.  I want to focus on ALL of me so that I am in tippy top shape for this wild and one life that I have here on earth.

After I started making money again last year, it felt nice to be able to go out and eat and stuff and not have to worry about every last penny. It felt nice to be able to order things from young living and to go on a healthy habit kick. I LOVE YOUNG LIVING, so I was sooo glad to be able to do that. To do all of that though I need cold hard cash. And yes I liked the feeling of being able to lend friend money and all of that also. I read a couple of books on money blocks, Get Rich Lucky Bitch, and You are a Bad Ass at Making Money, and I started to see wealth in a whole new way. I wrote here how my Appalachian Upbringing really hindered me from thinking regarding wealth and after I realized that I wanted to break the generational poverty cycle that is so prevalent in these parts.

I want to feel like I can take on stresses and healthily deal with them. I am failing at this so far in 2018 as I already had one major freak out but I want to be able to take the stresses of living and running a business in stride.

I also want to be in shape. At the moment I am 270 pounds, and I want to get in shape so that I can go on adventures. I am tired of turning down friends who want to g ziplining and stuff because I either can’t fit or I am afraid I will break something. I have been eating paleo and working out to Beach body on Demand at my mom’s house. When I am at my apartment in Cleveland, I go to a Planet Fitness down the street and work out with one of their trainers.

The above encompasses how I want to feel this year in 2018. I sat down, and the words that keep coming to my head were Healthy, Wealthy. And Strong so that is what I decided my core desired feeling would be

Healthy  Wealthy    Strong



I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Book Review: Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey Miller

Posted January 9, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 1492647497
Book Review: Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey MillerMask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey Miller
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 29th 2017
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley, publisher

I Needed to Win.They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

I was browsing NetGalley, and I used to well I still do love fantasy, and I am trying to veer away from all the nonfiction that I read last year. I read the thingie about it, and I fell in love with the description, so I requested access and crossed my fingers and sent up some sacred smoke and incense and prayed o the fantasy book Gods that I would get a copy, and I DID!!!

My review is somewhat late because I fell into the worst reading slump of my life last year. I read in one intense spurt then nada for the rest of the year. I finally got my reading Mojo back after the clock struck 2018 and finished off this baby in one day!!

This is a case of not reading reviews until you read the book. I have been on a nonfiction kick, so this was the first fantasy book that I have read in a  looooong while. I liked it. I mean yeah there were some flaws, but it will forever go down as the book to get me out of a six-month reading slump, so of course it is gonna have a high place on the list.

I thought it was a nice story set in a fantasy world that could have used more worldbuilding. Yeah, the worldbuilding was…..lackluster…i have SO MANY QUESTIONS but it is a duology, and I am hoping to the Lady that the authors answer the questions and world builds better in the next book.

Yes. I am gonna read the next book. I know many say they are not but I dunno how you can just abandon a book with that many questions. I mean there is a WAR going on at the end of the book, and I must know WHO WINS…So I am going to keep my eyes peeled on NetGalley, and I fail to get approved for the second book than on my library hold list.


While I thought it was a nice little story overall. It is ….lacking in that SOMETHING that makes a story go BOOM right in yo face ya know so for this one just go to the library.


I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

What I am reading 1-8-2016

Posted January 8, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 4 Comments


I am reading again!!! Slowly but surely my reading mojo is coming back. Mostly I have a severe anxiety attack that lasted a WEEK (I am all better now), and all I did was listen to my audiobook on Brain Fog Fix to bring some relif. Who knew that audiobooks had that capability?!?!

I also FINALLY read my ARC Mask Of Shadows. Tthe review should be up tomorrow! I managed this in bouts between when my anxiety lessened, and I could focus.

As for my anxiety, it was brought on when I neglected my self-care practices over the holidays. That brought on my new means of healthy living is EVERYDAY!! Holidays or no. So lessoned learned.

My copy of Lincoln in the Bardo audiobook came in for me on overdrive! I haven’t really tried fiction on audiobooks, but after seeing how so many book bloggers LOVED it on audio, I wanted to give it a try. I am going to listen to that this week and read my copy of Whole30 as I have started the whole30 for the year. Yeah I am doing a whole360 lol.

I also want to read Joan Didion  Year of Magical Thinking that I have out from the library.

I think I will start with those three and see how that goes this week. I miss the days I could get through a book a day, and I AM still getting better from being “sick” last year. I know mental illness is as valid as cancer and I should take things slow as if I was recovering from something such as cancer people would tell me to take it slow, so I just gotta remember that.

Also If you haven’t, I would love it if you would take a survey on what you want to see on the blog in the coming year!

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!