Balancing Acts by Zoe Fishman

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover.  I mean, look at it.  I will wait…….  The colors are eye-catching – bright and delicious… it reminds me of Skittles!  🙂

The second draw to this book was the back cover synopsis….. books about women friendships have always been a draw for me.  I know how important my friendships are to me and just love to read about others.

After that – cover love (yeah Skittles!) and synopsis (women friendships!) the rest was left up to what was between these two draws…. the story itself.

And I entered into the world of Charlie, who owns the Yoga store and I like her instantly.  As I am introduced in pretty much a rapid fire manner to the other characters I got a bit entangled in the who’s who….

Balancing Act is exactly what is taking place as these women evaluate their lives and build school acquaintances into important friendships.   Zoe Fisherman has a way with words and how she initially introduced each woman individually with their own chapter was refreshing.  Zoe has a way with words and I found the story line to be engaging.  While the book wasnt as deep as I had hoped, I was left with a good feeling as the last page was turned.

Yoga anyone?

My Amazon Review


Zoe grew up in Mobile, Alabama. As a wee one, she would walk home from school and talk to herself as she verbally mapped out Barbie and Ken’s upcoming altercation(s) with Skipper. She loved homework and cleaning. She was wild!

Later, she attended Boston University, where she spent her time destroying her teeth with Swedish Fish and explaining to her peers that people actually did wear shoes in Alabama.

After college, she arrived in New York with nary a clue and an inflated sense of self-importance. Her first apartment was dubbed ‘Wild Kingdom’ because of her mouse, roach and pigeon roommates. She took a job in book publishing and, despite a brief foray into the world of web writing – touting luxury goods out of a beige office with bad carpeting in Chelsea and writing horoscopes based on planet formations from Iceland (best job ever, by the way) – never looked back.

Today, Zoe is the Foreign Rights Director and an agent for The Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, whom she met on the subway after four plus years of trying to get up the nerve to say hello to him. Balancing Acts is her first novel.

I received my review copy of this book from Harper Collins

**Note – there was some light language in the book

Morning Meanderings…

I took my bike out for the first time yesterday afternoon.  I took it to Trailblazers in Brainerd and had the tires properly filled with air and after a few errands, I hit the bike trail and I am THRILLED to say that I went 18 miles for my first ride of 2010.

It was windy out and I probably would not have went that far if I would have turned my bike around earlier and felt how hard going against the wind would be… but it was good for me.  🙂

SO if you haven’t heard all the buzz on Alice in wonderland lately you truly must have fallen down a rabbit hole!  Between all the books out there on Alice and of course the movie …. I ran across this fun questionnaire and thought I would send a few questions your way to ponder over.  🙂


These questions are based on the 1951, Walt Disney’s animated classic “Alice in Wonderland”

1) Kathryn Beaumont voiced Alice – what other Disney heroine did she voice?
A) Wendy in “Peter Pan”
B) Cinderella in “Cinderella”
C) The village girl in “The Jungle Book”
D) Perdita in “101 Dalmatians”

2) Which of these characters from the film does not appear in Lewis Carroll’s book?
A) Alice’s Sister
B) The Doorknob
C) The Dodo
D) The Walrus

3) Where does Alice get lost on her journey through Wonderland?
A) The Looking-Glass Hall
B) The Red Queen’s Garden
C) The Mushroom Forest
D) The Tulgey Wood

4) In which category was “Alice” nominated for an Academy Award®?
A) Best Picture
B) Best Song
C) Best Director
D) Best Score

5) What kind of race does Alice join in?
A) A caucus race
B) A human race
C) An unbirthday race
D) A croquet race

I will post the answers tomorrow.  In the mean time, have you read any of the books about Alice – either the original Alice In Wonderland or any of the popular ones now – or have you seen the new movie?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he’s picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It’s there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person’s life when she touches the dead body.

In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise’s help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most ‘sane people’ sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls…or inside.

As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector’s next target.

The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it’s too late?


I have read Ted Decker’s books for years and then it seems like the last few years while I have been a faithful “purchaser” they have remained on my shelves unread.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I have no profound reason other than lack of time, commitment to other books, and that think called life that sometimes gets in the way….  😉

SO….. I was thrilled to be a part of this tour for Ted’s new book, The Bride Collector.  My hope was this book would  remind me of all the things I appreciate about Ted’s writing and cause other Decker books to come flying off my book shelves in rapid formation.

On to the verdict….

The Bride Collector starts with me, starring in the role of “Reader”, going down a path of information gathering.  We begin with collecting  background info on the who, the what, and the where’s, in the book.  Don’t despair!  This is good detective work!  Besides, you want to enjoy this beginning pace of the book…. because…… much like a rollercoaster slowly… click… clacking… it’s… way… to… the…  top….

It doesn’t stay that way for long and suddenly you are rushing downward, hands in the air (and quite possibly screaming) as you plunge into the pages of this storyline…. page by page, flying through the mind of a serial killer who is taking the lives of beautiful women believing it is his calling to find the Bride of God.  A bridal veil is all that is left on the crime scenes leaving a very frustrated FBI as they work hard to put a stop to the madness.

Special Agent Brad Raines, is doing everything he can to track down this killer and put a stop to the terror.  He even goes as far as to seek help from the mental patients in a home that Brad feels may have at one time been associated with this man they call the Bride Collector.


“But wait, Sheila…. Isn’t this book a Christian Fiction read?  It seems so dark….”

It is a Christian Fiction read and that actually makes it all the more intriguing to me.  I have always had an enjoyment for  the mystery/suspense genre and Ted Dekker is known for this style.  While their is murder in the book, it is not gory or graphic.  Ted does have a message in every book and  how he gets to that message is amazing in itself.

The Bride Collector had plenty of the twists and turns along the way that I enjoy in his books.  Having read and enjoyed this one,  I am now looking at his other works that are waiting patiently on my shelf….

Ted Dekker (born October 24, 1962) is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the head hunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

Early in his career he wrote a number of spiritual thrillers and his novels were lumped in with ‘Christian Fiction’ a surprisingly large category. His later novels are a mix of mainstream novels such as Adam, Thr3e, Skin, Obsessed and BoneMan’s Daughters, and Fantasy thrillers that metaphorically explore faith. Best known among these is his Circle Series: Green, Black, Red, White and The Paradise Books: Showdown, Saint, and Sinner.

I received my review copy from Hachette Book Group


Morning Meanderings…

Good morning! You ever have one of those days that just seems to click everything together correctly?


Yeah…. me neither…..


Ok just kidding, when I finally did motivate myself yesterday things did go pretty well. All my returns for the weekend home show were accepted very graciously (I had to return 25 pounds of brats, 43 pounds of hotdogs and 87 packages of hot dog buns). I never dreamed they would take it all back but the fact is the home show traffic was down this year considerably. We had pretty decent weather over the weekend and I am sure that contributed to it.

Anyway – from there I went to the library, back home, and then had some afternoon time to relax and read The Fiddler’s Gun which I am enjoying.

I finally put my bike on the back of my Durango so I can get air in the tires and hope fully go for a ride this afternoon after work. That appeals to me immensely – I am less than a month out now from the first big ride of the year.

We ordered pizza last night and that was the last of eating like that for a while as now I need to go into training mode.

Ok – but bookish topics are a plenty. First of all do not forget the Readathon on April 10th. Reading baby! And now all the links are up so know you can be a participant and sign up today, you can also be a Cheerleader, and we still need Mini Challenge Hosts (which is part of my team so I would love it if you would consider having one!)

Also, I see Natasha has posted the New York Times best Sellers List which I always enjoy going through and seeing what I have read and what I havent.

Also…. while hanging around the water cooler on Twitter this morning I heard that it is Dreadlock Girls Birthday.  Pop over to her blog and wish her a happy one.  🙂

So that’s my morning meandering.  I have a full day that I added to by sleeping later than I should have this morning and missing my morning workout.  Now I need to fit that in somewhere later today.

Whats your Tuesday like?

Women In Leadership Month

I was recently given the opportunity to read and reaview Dawn McCoys book, Leadership Building Blocks.  I am a person who loves to always be sharpening skills and learning new ways to improve on what I am doing.  I really enjoyed Dawn’s book and took notes on parts of the book that I have been applying to my work environment as well as to teams I have the pleasure of working with.

Thank you Dawn for a book now sits in my office along with other books on leadership and skills I hold with great value.

Celebrate Women in Leadership Series
with Dawn McCoy

During the month of March 2010, Dawn McCoy, author of Leadership Building Blocks will highlight great women in leadership during Women’s History Month.

Sheila: Thank you for allowing me to be a guest blogger today at Book Journey. Today, in the Celebrate Women in Leadership series, I want to highlight Anne Frank.

Annelies Marie better known as “Anne” Frank is one the most renowned Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She is not remembered for her death but more for the exceptional quality of her writing in her diary, The Diary of Anne Frank that has become one of the world’s most widely read books.

She was born in Frankfurt, Germany and lived most of her life near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary which documents her experiences hiding during the World Ward II German occupation of the Netherlands. In later years, her diary would be translated into fifty-five languages and would sell more than twenty million copies.

Anne and her family were trapped in Amsterdam due to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands around 1940. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, her family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of her father Otto Frank‘s office building. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Seven months after her arrest, Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

What I most admire about Anne Frank and her writings is that she was simultaneously candid and courageous. Not only did she provide us with the context of historical events but also an understanding of Europe during the Nazi occupation and subsequent Holocaust that impacted thousands.

Here are some of Frank’s most poignant excerpts:

On life: “Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year old school girl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing.”

On self-fulfillment: Happiness….that’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy.”

On legacy: “I shall not remain insignificant I shall work in the world for mankind. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living, even after my death.”

On balance: “Beauty remains, even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.”

TOUR GIVEAWAY: Blog visitors who leave comments  OR radio callers with questions for Dawn are eligible to win an autographed copy of Leadership Building Block and a copy of the Effective Community Engagement CD.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dawn McCoy is author of Leadership Building Blocks: An Insider’s Guide to Success. As one of the youngest elected African-American elected to the Sacramento City Unified School Board, McCoy shares seven leadership fundamentals in her book. Inspiring readers to be top in their field, Dawn shares her insights based upon twenty years serving as a nonprofit and government executive.

A motivational speaker, coach, and founder of Flourish Leadership Group, a leadership development and communications firm, Dawn is dedicated to transforming ordinary people into extraordinary leaders. In recent years, she has worked with organizations to develop their vision and create phenomenal results. Dawn has worked with hundreds of individuals to help them capture their spirit of leadership and truly become the effective leaders they were meant to be.

Visit Dawn online at FlourishLeadership.com.

Read an excerpt online and visit the tour schedule at http://bit.ly/LeadershipBuildingBlocks.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Oh!  Kiss the ground and TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday)!  I worked out annual Home and Builders Show all weekend and I am thoroughly  exhausted.  My plan for Monday is to work out in the AM, complete a few tasks up town (including a quick trip to the library) and then the rest of the day is shut off the phone and the outside world and read.

Looking at last weeks It’s Monday, What Are You Reading our comment winner using Random.org is:

Jennifer G

Congratulations Jennifer G!  Please pick an item out of the Prize Box and email me your address at journeythroughbooks@gmail.com

*Anyone who comments on other Monday What Are You Reading Meme’s and let me know in the comments here, you will receive one entry per every 10 blogs you comment on)

Here’s what happened this past week:

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs (Review and GIVEAWAY!)

Feddie Girl by Nona David (Review!) Meet Cameron, my Guest Reviewer

The Power Of Half by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen (Review)

Girlfriends From Campfires to Crows Feet by Monica Sheehan (Sweet book!)

The Kingdom Assignment by Denny and Leesa Bellesi (REVIEW!) LOVE this book!

The Plan for this week:

A book about four friends – I am just thrilled to dive in to this one!

I love a good Decker book.  Stay tuned for this review coming tomorrow…..

I know I just bought this one and I can not wait… this story calls  to me.

The Readathon Is Coming on April 10.  Cheerleaders, Mini Challenges, and of course participants are wanted.  click the logo to find out more.


I am excited to see what you are reading this week.  Please connect your Monday post to the McLinky below.  And stop back and leave a comment here letting me know how many Monday Memes you commented on to be entered in next weeks giveaway 🙂

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Click here to enter your link and view the entire list of entered links…

The Kingdom Assignment by Denny and Leesa Bellesi

Rev. Denny Bellesi preached an ordinary stewardship sermon to his congregation at the Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. But he followed the sermon with an extraordinary call to action: he handed 100 members of the congregation $100 each. Bellesi told these volunteers that the money was not theirs, but God’s, and that they needed to “invest” it in some way that would build God’s kingdom. In February, the volunteers reported back to a standing-room-only church (and, via a Dateline NBC segment, to millions of viewers), describing how the money had been spent to transform lives, build churches, feed the hungry and comfort the sick. More than anything, this book hammers home the message that the volunteers saw their $100 bills being multiplied into thousands as total strangers offered more money to help them undertake their charity projects. As in the film Pay It Forward (which is what gave Bellesi the idea in the first place), one good turn generated another and another. The book, a collaboration with his wife, Leesa, is not elegantly written, but then it doesn’t need to be; the story itself is front and center here. These invigorating real-life stories offer excellent examples of Christian faith in action, as church members were forced to leave their comfort zones and search for ways to bless others in the community.

I can’t say enough about this book.  The first time I read it I was so inspired by the trust and, no that isn’t the right word, the FAITH, Denny Bellesi put in to his congregations hands.  He gave it all to God and the result is this book of amazing testimonies.

I would not look at this book as a “look at me, look what I did” style of read.  For me, this book was a fine example of faith and what God can do.  The stories that fill these pages are of what happened as the result of this faith – and even in some cases, lack there of.  What really touches me heart is how many went out with the $100 and by sharing with others their Kingdom Assignment, how many wanted in… wanted to be a part of something bigger.  This book is the result of a Kingdom movement that has always effected me like someone pushing an ON button.  I feel charged up and get a little teary eyed when I imagine the possibilities of what could happen, what would happen, if each of us looked at the world this way.

This book has crossed my path several times now in my life.   Many years ago while researching information on the movie Pay It Forward I came across this book.  I ordered it, read it – and loved it.  LOVED IT.  Raved about it and passed my copy on to a friend at work to read.

Flash forward several years and it is 2005 and my Pastor had read about this on line and does this at out church.  I seriously got chills as he handed out envelopes with $50 in them to go out and build the Kingdom.  I came home so excited to look at the book, but couldn’t find my copy.  When I remembered that I had loaned it out I called the co-worker (who no longer worked with me) only to find out that she has passed it on to someone else.

*Sigh*

I ordered two copies that day, one for me, and one for my Pastor.  He loved it,  and after I read the book again I loaned out my copy to someone who also was excited to read it.

Flash Forward again. I read The Power Of Half recently and the book reminded me of The Kingdom Assignment.  I go through my books looking for my copy ad then remember – oh yeah, I loaned it out.  But to who?  I don’t remember… and so – I order two books again.  Why two?  We will get to that.

Both The Power of Half and The Kingdom assignment get my heart pumping a little faster with the possibilities.   I wanted to review this book now, because I love this book and because I have an idea brewing….. an idea that I will reveal on April 1st.

I purchased my copies through third parties through Amazon