Monday, 30 September 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: The Mine (Northwest passage #1) by John A Heldt

The Mine by John A Heldt
Series: Northwest Passage #1
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 12 February 2012
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

A little bit about Author
Works as a reference librarian
Has 4 published novels
Is an award-winning sports writer and newspaper editor

Why did I choose this book/Source?
This was a review request from the Author - I received the book in exchange for an honest review. I was intrigued by the time-travel description in the blurb, plus this was my first official Author Review Request.

What is the book about?
In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, just days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE is a love story that follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come

My Review:
I was not sure what to expect when I started reading this book and maybe that was a good thing as this book blew me away. It tugged at my heart strings, had me choking back some tears and I was utterly absorbed in Joel's story of when he landed up in 1941. (This book is part of a series but  each book can be read as a stand-alone as well)

Characters 4/5
Joel - I loved Joel! He is sweet, charming, caring and very mature for his 'age' in the book. Joel's reaction to landing up in 1941 was a bit too mellow for me to comprehend in the beginning, but this showed how level headed he was. I would have panicked a bit more, yet I liked the way he bounced back when his plans didn't work out, and that he truly considered the consequences because of his knowledge of  what could 'muck things up for multitudes'. The predicaments he was in had me contemplating and discussing the scenario with my hubby most of the weekend! Sometimes I wondered if Joel missed his parents/friends at all? I didn't pick up in any sadness or homesickness at all until the very end. 

Grace - I adored Grace. She is a beautiful sweet 1940's girl who surprises you and you fall in love with her every step in the story. I love how she truly brought out the best in Joel. She has a heart of gold and is such an amazing character. 

Tom, Ginny & Katie - I loved this little group. I don't know if I would have been able to say good bye to Tom if I were Joel knowing what he knew; or interact with Ginny knowing who she was or would be in my future. Katie played more of a background role to the end but is a real sweetheart throughout the book -  she is that friend that would never judge you for your secrets or actions and is a true friend until the end. 

Plot & writing style  4/5
It's a sweet and easy read. No real action or twists until the end, but a good romance that you can get completely lost in. Nothing intense or steamy but perfectly set for the 1940's. The story has a moderate pace. This is a book that tugged at my heart strings and had me choking back tears quite a bit. I was not crazy about the cover but this is a series I will definitely keep on reading. 

My Rating:

Books in the series:

Favorite quotes: (Not Spoilers)

"This knowledge could be both a blessing and a curese. He could enrich himself and benefit others. Or he could muck things up for the multitudes"
"Either way, it's no big deal. We're happy to have you. Dad thinks you're the best salesman on the planet, Mom wants to adopts you, and Brenda wants to bear your children. That's what I call a productive week" ~ Tom speaking to Joel

Keep an eye out: I am quite excited that I will be reviewing the rest of this series soon as well :) 

Enter to Win a copy of The Mine & The Fire by John A Heldt
This competition is open Internationally

Friday, 27 September 2013

~ MWYA Random Ramblings: Exhibition Basics ~

Random Ramblings : Exhibition Basics 

Hello there! 
Welcome to Mean Who You Are's Random Ramblings post. This will be a post where I can ramble about any topic that I feel needs to attention and also to help create some awareness from time to time. 

I have been wanting to write this post for a while about Exhibition Basics, but life has been a little bit hectic! I am sure I am not the only one who has has a few questions about Art and Photography Exhibitions, so I decided to Interview a friend of mine, Cedric Vanderlinden who will be opening his own Fine Arts Gallery next month, Underculture Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery

Last month I attended a photography exhibition for the first time and I loved it, yet I had quite a few questions. In helping create awareness, here are some of the basics below:

Here is the link to my previous exhibition post: 
Seeing Things by Karl Schoemaker

Where can you find out about Exhibitions in PE?
A good place to start is ArtEC in Bird Street but, generally, any of the serious galleries (GFI, ART, Underculture, ArtEC, the Athenaeum) will know what’s going on at any of the other venues and will be able to advise you.
 And, of course, last but not least (the most important, in fact):

What are the goals of hosting exhibitions for artists?
Artists exhibit for two main purposes. The first is to develop their name. This is, essentially, a marketing excursive where artists get to show what they are doing. Exhibitions aren't just simply shows, they are a statement (a bit like publishing a book) about where the artist is right now. A good exhibition should be something bold, new, and fresh. It should be a statement. 
Secondly, artists hope to sell their work too, but this goes hand-in-hand with the first type of exhibition (you can’t sell if no one knows about you and so on). The best shows, of course, do both but for most artists, they should approach each exhibit with one or the other frame of mind.

I also recommend looking at Wikipedia:

Photo by Karl Schoemaker
So, in Port Elizbeth, we (artists and galleries alike) need the public to come and see. An artwork that no one sees is useless. Even if the public hates it, artists need feedback and need to interact with their community and their audience. The artists and galleries often go to great expenses to put on these shows (exhibiting isn't cheap), and so they hope that people will come and see.

What is the cover entrance fee? 
There is no fee. And this goes hand-in-hand with what I discussed above: the artists and galleries put money out of their own pocket to put on shows, and these shows are free. And they do that because they believe that the show is important, relevant, interesting, stimulating, and so on. But we need a public that’s willing to come and see. Galleries are open to everyone – you don’t need to ‘understand’ art to attend. Artists and gallery staff are always (ALWAYS) willing to talk about their work, to engage with the public and discuss. There are no stupid questions. And the public should be encouraged to ask (in art-speak: ‘to engage with the artwork’)

Photo by Karl Schoemaker
Importantly, exhibition openings are in the early evening (generally around 18:00) and some galleries (like mine, for example) are open later. This makes it a perfect 1st stop on a date or a night out. You want to impress, I mean really impress your date? Take them to an exhibition first, and then go to the restaurant… It’s the way that it works in overseas. Visiting galleries is a pastime and often leads to stimulating discussions later.
Similarly, children are naturally curious and fascinated by pictures and art. If parents are looking for free entertainment that educates and stimulates, taking children to galleries is a perfect place to start. For that, we highly recommend the Fine Arts Museum on Park Drive. In fact, that’s something that is missing sorely in Port Elizabeth: children in art museums and galleries. In Brussels, where I come from, the art museums always have school children in them.

Karl & myself sitting in front of
my favorite photo at his exhibition
How often are exhibitions held?  
That really does depend on the type of gallery and the art that is shown. As I mentioned, exhibitions are expensive and take a lot of work to put together, and artists need to work (sometimes for years) before they have a ‘body of work’ (more art-speak) to exhibit. As such, exhibits tend to be once a month, if not less. On average, you can expect between 8 and 12 exhibits a year from each gallery. ArtEC is a notable exception because they are so active in the art community.

I hope you have found this post as interesting as I have! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Jamie Baywood ~ Rooted in New Zealand ~ Interview

~ Jamie Baywood ~

Today I am excited to introduce to you, Jamie Baywood! I have not read her book yet, but after this interview I am sure you will want too as well :) 

Getting to know Jamie

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m from California. For the past three years, I've been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I've lived in five countries now; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England.

Tell us a little bit about your book:
I’m from California. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so. I kept finding myself in unbelievable bizarre situations that I had difficulty processing. I wrote them down and shared them with others to verify I wasn't losing my mind that these things were really happening. 

What is your favourite part of your book?
“Just like “biscuits,” the word “rooting” has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in California.” (Page 55)
I had a lot of culture shock moments, learning the Kiwi slang definition of rooting inspired the title of my book. One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate Liam and I said, 'I'm really excited to live in this house because I have been traveling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted.'

He started choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I was hitting on him. 

What has been your biggest lesson since beginning this journey?
I really feel travel is the best teacher. I didn't know a soul in New Zealand before I went there. Within two weeks of my plane landing in New Zealand, I found a place to live and a job. I don’t know anywhere else in the world you can do that. I've been living abroad since 2010. It’s made me resilient, self-reliant, fearless and adaptable.  I've really learned to trust my instincts and believe in myself.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would like to write a book about each country I've lived in. It would also be great to return to New Zealand to work as a writer and turn Getting Rooted in New Zealand into a TV show or movie.
Which writers inspire you?
Traveling alone and being celibate for a year was how Elizabeth Gilbert found her husband in Eat, Pray, Love. I probably took it too literally like an instructions manual, but it worked for me.  I also enjoyed reading Area Code 212 by Tama Janowitz, The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.
Are you working on any new books?
I plan to publish another book next year about attempting to settle in Scotland. 
What genre are your books?  Funny travel memoirs.
What draws you to this genre?  I only know how to write my truth.
When did you decide to become a writer and what inspired you?
While I was in New Zealand I meet a director named Thomas Sainsbury, he asked me what I was doing in New Zealand. My everyday stories made him laugh and he asked me to write a monologue for him. I had never done anything like that before. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush that came with storytelling and making people laugh.  The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I've chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travelers who worked abroad in New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
My life has been so strange it sounds like fiction, but it’s really too weird to be made up.  My books write themselves.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I don’t have a Kindle. Although Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and eBook.  I've never actually read an eBook.  I’m sure eBooks are great; I've never been good at keeping up with trends. I like the look, feel and smell of a real physical book. I like to turn pages.

I designed my book cover; front, back and spine. It’s a shame that eBook readers can’t see the whole book design. 
Tell us about the cover and how it came about:
I designed my book cover myself. The girl with the suitcase is a drawing of me. The striped dress and red hat was my first outfit I bought when I moved to New Zealand. The birds are New Zealand native birds like the kiwi and fan tail. The city is Auckland and the tower is New Zealand’s Skytower. The sky in the back ground and the water are pieces of a watercolor painting I did of the New Zealand coastline.
In what formats is your book available?
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and eBook on Amazon:
What is your favourite motivational phrase?
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
“I’m only smart enough to know I can’t predict the future.”  -Paul Pena
I’m always amazed by people that have five year plans for their lives. Although I am now married, I’m not settling down.  I have no problem committing to my husband, but the idea of living in one place forever makes me feel claustrophobic. My husband and I love traveling and having adventures. We plan to move internationally again mid-year 2014, but we aren't sure where it.  In five years, I hope we are living somewhere warm, beautiful and near the ocean with my husband.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t worry so much.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Be yourself.                   
How can readers discover more about you and you work?

About Jamie
Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.

Book Blurb
Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

"I've got this book and finished read it all so quickly, because I couldn't stop reading it. it's just so hilarious!! I can't wait to read her next book. I highly recommend to read this book for everybody. I absolutely loved it!!" (5 out of 5 stars) S Halls (Amazon Customer Reviews)

“Honest Humour... A great read! Honestly and effortlessly humorous. I giggled lots and really felt for Jamie at her times of struggle. Thank You for sharing so openly your experiences, obstacles and breakthroughs” (5 out of 5 stars.) Sparkles (Amazon Customer Reviews)

I hope you enjoyed getting to Jamie as much as I did! 


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Four Agreements: Part 4 ~ The Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally

Hello my lovelies and welcome back :) 

I hope everyone had a blessed Heritage day. This week we are covering the Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally. This is something we all do and if we can master this agreement, our lives would become much less complicated.

Please do remember, this is only my personal interpretation. If you enjoy the parts I cover I do encourage you to purchase this book to get a more clear and thorough picture of the Toltec Teachings. Click here for Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 if you missed it. 

This was quite a big lesson I have had to learn through out my life so far. My hubby and all my friends know I am a super sensitive person. And time and time again I have to remind myself 2 things:
- What people think of me is none of my business
- How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves. 

Just as my world is about me, their world is about them. Often we forget and assume we are the most important person in their lives too, but this is our own illusion. Yes we are important to the people close to us, but their lives are about them, and just as we make decisions based on what is best for us, so do they. 

If someone insults us, we only take offence if on some level, we ourselves believe this. This person is offering you poison and you are accepting this and making it your own. 

'You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell. What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about "me".' ~ The Four Agreements

What other people do is not about you, it is about them. If they insult you, they are trying to make themselves feel better, the opposite applies. If they compliment you it is because they are a happy person and are not looking for any darkness within you, they only see your light. 

"Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you, What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.' ~ The Four Agreements 

I'll never forget a conversation I had a long time ago; maybe someone was rude to you and you got upset and took it personally. It ruined your day and you kept wondering "what did I do wrong" when maybe they had indigestion or a headache. They were snappy because they weren't feeling well. Now sometimes when someone is snappy I just think to myself, maybe they have indigestion, I end up laughing and walking away. Ten to one, the next time they see you, they won't even remember what happened and act like nothing happened anyway. 

If we can learn not to take on other people's baggage, our load becomes much lighter. Don't accept their poison, it will only make you unhappy. Let it go and walk away. If we can master this agreement, we can disable 75% of our 'silly' agreements we have made with ourselves. 

'I know that when you are happy you will tell me, 'Miguel, you are such an angel!' But, when you are mad at me you will say, "Oh, Miguel, you are such a devil! You are so disgusting. How can you say those things?' Either way, it does not affect me because I know what I am. I don't have the need to be accepted.' ~ The Four Agreements 

What people say can only hurt us if we still have the wounds that are tender. In your life, what you see and feel is based on your beliefs and agreements. If we have made peace with our 'hurts' and we acknowledge our 'weaknesses' no one can use it against us as we won't have the need to defend ourselves. 

Your point is view is something very personal to you and it is your truth. It does not belong to anyone else. When we feel fear, anger and jealousy, we project this onto others. because we are afraid and this has now become our truth. 

'If you live without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of those emotions, it is logical that you will feel good. When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself.' ~ The Four Agreements 

We are beautiful beings of light and are made of love. This is the only thing you need to believe about yourself. What other people think doesn't matter. Don't set yourself up to suffer, as this is a huge tendency for us. It is so easy to believe the bad, and takes us ten times longer to believe the good. Not taking anything personally sets your free. 

'You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments and actions of others.' ~ The Four Agreements

This my friends is my wish for you this week. Find some peace and know you are wonderful and don't need the approval of others. 


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Book Blitz ~ Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1) by Mia Hoddel

Deadly to Love 

(Elemental Killers #1) by Mia Hoddell
Release Date: 13 February 2013

Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-291-41025-9


The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.

Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.

Available from:
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu

and only 99c / 77p on Kindle for September!

“I couldn't put it down. So I finished it last night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.” Brianna (Book Blogger)

I loved how the author took a different approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

I will admit I scoffed at the way it started but in the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern. This story had
such a good plot and the story structure was sound.
Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

About the Author
Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still - despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series 'The Wanderer Trilogy' and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series 'Elemental Killers' before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.


Happy with the amount of photos I had collected I started to head back out of the forest, still flicking through my shots. As well as close ups, I had taken a few landscapes and as I was almost at the edge of the forest I noticed something in one of the photographs that made me stop.
In the left hand corner was a figure that looked mostly human, but was blurred as if they were moving on the spot.
A cold shudder shot through me.
Looking over my shoulder I became slightly panicked and felt as if someone was following me.
My eyes flicked and searched the shadows. Even though there was no sign that anything had ever been behind me, the forest looked different now - dark and threatening.
Instinctively I broke away and ran, still clutching the camera that was displaying the freaky image. Surrounded by trees I didn’t stop until I was free of the forest and back in the open light and sight of my house.
Throwing open my door, I slumped against the inside of it, regaining my breath from the short sprint. Once I had recovered I looked down at the photo once more, just to make sure that I hadn’t been seeing things. The old saying “the camera never lies,” came into my mind and for the first time I wished it not to be true. Sure enough though, as I looked down at the screen, the figure was still there and this time I noticed a red and orange glow around where its feet should have been. The image almost looked like the person was on fire but I thought I would have surely noticed if there had been a burning man in front of me.


Mia Hoddell is giving away an Amazon gift card this month only there is a slight twist: the more entries she receives the more money she will put on the gift card to giveaway! For example:

No matter what = $5
100 entries = $10
150 entries = $15
200 entries = $20
and so forth...
So if she gets 1000 entries she will give away $100, there’s no limit!

To enter all you have to do is buy or have bought Deadly to Love. It's only $0.99 or £0.79 on Amazon for the duration of the giveaway! This will also unlock extra entries for you so you can earn more points by sharing the giveaway. Remember the more entries she gets the bigger the prize for you so share!

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt! I know I will be adding this book to my collection soon :) 

What did you think?


~ Teaser Tuesday #3 ~ 24/09/2013 ~ Lash by LG Castillo

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read • Open to a random page  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser for today:

Lash (Broken Angel #1) by LG Castillo

Page 54

"Lash mentally slapped himself to attention. This wasn't the time or place to be noticing stupid things like how the dark curls around her temples highlighted the sheen of her skin or how his fingers itched to trace the little patch of freckles on the base of her neck."

Books Description
Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn’t have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash’s powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.

Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe. 

Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can’t bear to lose.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak :) This is a book I am thoroughly enjoying!

What are you currently reading?
Leave your own sneak peek in the comments or a link to your post.