Tag Archives: books

What We’re Reading

Upon reading Kim Dinan’s first book, The Yellow Envelope, even the most apprehensive among us may start to see that if you believe in the ability of the Earth to take care of you, it will.
After Dinan moved to Portland with nothing but her husband, two dogs, and a few boxes, her generous new boss offered the luxury of her home (and tours of the city!) to the couple. Jump a few years into the future and Dinan had her own home, a different job, and a seemingly perfect life; but she knew that she was missing out on the life she wanted. After talking her husband into selling everything and planning to travel until whenever they decided when, her former boss (now friend) gifted the couple $1,000 in a yellow envelope to help others throughout their travels. They only had a few rules with the money. Don’t overthink it, document it (or not) so that they might be able to see it in the future, and decide the amounts to give away based on how they were inspired.
Throughout their travels in South America, India, Nepal, and Peru, Dinan realized that every time something on her trip didn’t go the way they planned, a native aided them. She was most surprised by the generosity that was shown in India. Between losing a cell phone and traveling in an old rickshaw that was prone to breaking down every time she drove it, someone was willing to reach out without expecting compensation in return.
She speaks openly about how their travels challenged the relationship between her and her husband. The strain of being constantly together in an unfamiliar environment after being in such a stable routine for years put constant tension into everything they did. The distances traveled, the strenuous hiking, and the ever-changing landscape took them as far apart as they could be, changed the outlook they both had on the relationship, but ultimately brought them back closer than ever.
The purpose of the yellow envelope was to make a difference in the world, no matter how slight. It also changed Dinan’s perspective on life completely. Not only did she gain more confidence and happiness through gifting small donations to many people during her travels, but the reality of traveling to Third World places brought her to appreciate the smallest things handed to her. She loved harder and more often. She came out of the three years of touring the world a completely different person.
While not many believe in the reality of dropping everything and traveling for extended periods of time, Dinan’s newly identified lessons can be incorporated into believing in the humanity of the world. It does still exist, and we should not be so scared that we miss the opportunity to experience it. Visit Dinan’s blog, www.so-many-places.com, to learn more about her travels and where to preorder The Yellow Envelope, which will be available for purchase on April 4.

Written by Zoe Pierson

Books We Love

I used to think the whole #adulting thing was something that someone attempted to make popular so they could show off the fact that they bought a lawnmower, or actually loaded and unloaded the dishwasher in the same day. After reading a couple of books exploring the reality of adulting, I am changed.

510VK8Q1dbLAdulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
Through her personal vantage point, she didn’t hold back when she wanted to tell all. She explains things like a friend giving helpful advice, and even gives ingredients to a “grown-up soup.” Not surprising that this one is up there on the New York Times Bestseller list. Self-discovery starts on the first few pages and it was hard, but it helped me to realize that you and everyone you know are not the most perfect people in the world. Making yourself realize you are not perfect is really the first step in lacing up your boots and growing up.  I personally related to Kelly’s struggle to clean the cobwebs off of the baseboards of my 10×10, 67-year-old dorm room. She didn’t shy away from scolding me for not having a separate mop, broom, and dustpan. Moving into college 5 months ago, I firmly believed I only needed a Swiffer.

Womanskills_Hi+Res+CoverWoman Skills: Everything You Need to Know to Impress Everyone by Erin La Rosa
If you’re really into learning exactly how to combat fruit flies or making your own cleaning solutions, this one really gets down to the ingredients of being the ultimate adult. Through encouraging words and detailed advice, the author feeds on the fact that while “adulting” seems hard to wrap your head around, not everyone knows how to do everything you’re “supposed” to know when you move out. Hey, if I can read a book to keep my refrigerator from bursting into flames without learning it the hard way, so be it. The book may be titled “woman skills,” but the vast majority of it is “everyone skills.”

I would recommend these picks to people of all ages, but I’m biased to gifting them to your fellow twenty-somethings, because trust me, they need them. They are hilarious, entertaining, and you can only benefit from reading them.

 

Written by Zoë Pierson

Favorite Summer Reads (June Edition)

Ok, so we would be lying if we told you we didn’t start our summer reading list in May. We LOVE a good book (or three) and we want to share a few of our favorites from this summer with you:

510K4Y1r7LL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Center of Gravity

by Laura McNeill

Ava Carson is a newlywed with a baby and a stepson when she realizes that her new life is not what it seems to be. Her husband, Mitchell, becomes more controlling every day. His behavior becomes recklessly erratic, and when she begins to question his past he files for divorce and custody of their boys. The story follows her fight to defeat Mitchell at his own game and save her children.

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things-and people-are not always what they seem.


51p+GbfjSoL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Imaginary Things

by Andrea Lochen

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents’ rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she’s lost her mind or she can see her son’s active imagination. Frightened for David’s safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon, but what she uncovers is completely unexpected– revelations about what these creatures truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood. As David’s visions become more persistent and threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which danger re real and which are imagined, and who she can truly trust.

 

23014603Those Girls

by Chevy Stevens

Three sisters live on a remote ranch in western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s temper. One night, a fight gets out of hand, and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. Eighteen years later, one of the sisters goes missing, followed closely by her niece, and they are pulled back into the past. This time, there is no where left to run. Those Girls is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil. A story of survival… and revenge.

 

Stay tuned because we are giving away a copy of each of these over on our Facebook page soon!

Summer Reading Giveaway!

Some experts say a lot of knowledge is lost during the three-month break between school years. The good news is– learning doesn’t have to end at the sound of the final school bell. There are many educational storybooks out there for elementary and middle school kids. Check out some of our favorites:

black elks vision cover

Black Elk’s Vision: A Lakota Story, by S. D. Nelson, tells the true story of Black Elk a young Lakota Native American who receives a vision from the Spirit World during a time when his tribe is being oppressed by the White People. The book is told from Black Elk’s point of view and is illustrated with beautiful modern paintings and historic drawings and photographs.

Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency, written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Courtney A. Martin, is about Belva Lockwood who ran for President of the United States in 1884 and 1888, at a time when women couldn’t even vote. The illustrations are beautiful and richly colored.

maritcha cover

Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, written by Tonya Bolden, tells the true story of a young African American girl growing up in New York City in the Mid-1800s, who grows up to be an influential school principal. The book is illustrated with historic photographs and drawings, some directly related to Maritcha, and some helping to set the scene.

Me, Frida, written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by David Diaz, is about influential Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, wife of famous painter Diego Rivera, and her adventures in Los Angeles. The book is illustrated in beautiful, vibrant, paintings modeled after Frida’s exceptional painting style.

plutos-secret coverPluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery, written by Margaret A. Weitekamp and David DeVorkin and illustrated by Diane Kidd, teaches kids about Pluto, formerly known as the ninth planet, why Pluto is no longer considered a planet, and what it really is. The book gives Pluto a voice and is illustrated with cute cartoon drawings and some historic photographs.

We know you want your kids to continue learning and growing all year long, so pick up a copy of these at your local bookstore today. Or enter our contests to win them!

 

Written by Krista Knauer

Ten Days of Mom: Free Night at Early Inn!

Ten Days of Mom: DAY NINE!!!

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Today, the Early Inn is giving away a one night stay to one lucky reader and a guest! A beautiful, historic Greek revival style manor, it serves as a bed and breakfast in the charming small town of Rocky Mount, Virginia.

The Inn is located within convenient walking distance to many local attractions, but surrounded by beautiful scenic property that provides a peaceful, relaxing country setting. This is a great way to treat the busy mom in your life to a memorable local getaway!

We are also throwing in a really cool coffee mug from Wordologies and two awesome books that are great gifts to show mom how much she means to you! Visit our Facebook page for details on how to enter! Good luck!

 

Bella’s Favorite Beach Reads

Vacations are all about unplugging from life and mentally recharging. Make room in your schedule (and your beach bag) for one of the following selections from our favorite authors. These books are excellent vacation companions, but they are also the perfect escape from reality for your summer “staycation.” We have something for every taste in literature– and we are giving away a copy of each one to five lucky readers this month! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for your chance to win!

Do less: A minimalist guide to a simplified, organized, and happy life by Rachel Jonat
Vacations are about recharging and coming back to the chaos of everyday life refreshed and happier. Use your quiet time on the beach to learn new ways to rediscover the simple moments of a serene lifestyle. In a world where we are surrounded with the notion that we need more to be happy, this guide offers an alternative view and encourages readers to scale back their possessions and commitments to just what they really need.

Corrigan_GlitterandGlueGlitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

We could easily recommend any of Corrigan’s books for your summer travels. Her latest, Glitter and Glue, focuses on her relationship with her mother and how it has changed over time. It also focuses on the difference between traveling and having “life experiences” which is something that even adults in their late twenties often struggle to identify. Corrigan shares the lessons she has learned throughout her life by telling the story of her post-college adventures—humorous and serious alike. Her experiences not only changed the way she viewed the world, but also the relationship she had with her mother. You will laugh, you will cry, but most importantly, you may relate to her experiences—both as a mother and a child.

 

 

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes
If you are looking for a story that leaves you feeling emotionally empowered, this is the novel for you. Holmes beautifully narrates the story of Penny Carson, a seventeen-year-old girl who places her heart and her future in the hands of farmhand Trent Taylor. Soon he controls every aspect of her life—until a welding accident forces him to allow her to take a job cleaning houses. During this experience, she meets two new friends who help her realize that she possesses more inner strength than the man who abuses her. Holmes, a local author living in southern Virginia, has other novels you may wish to bring on your trip including Dry as Rain and Crossing Oceans. Her latest novel, Driftwood Tides, will be available in September.

The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All by Don Wallace
Set on the beautiful and charming French island Belle Isle, The French House is equal parts romance, adventure, self-discovery and travel literature. In an attempt to further their careers as novelists and to reconcile the near rock-bottom lows of their relationship, Don and Mindy purchase an old house in ruins on the shores of Belle Isle and attempt to rebuild it. Along the way they encounter locals who give them invaluable advice and friendship as they begin to reconstruct not only their new home, but also their relationship and themselves. Wallace’s ability to articulate the honest struggle that most people face while trying to find their place in life combined with his breathtaking descriptions of the French isle’s landscape make this a perfect summer read.

Factory ManFactory Man by Beth Macy

You may have seen Macy’s work in several national magazines and, locally, The Roanoke Times. She is a fantastic author that writes about outsiders and underdogs. In Factory Man, she tells the story of John Bassett III, owner of Vaughan-Bassett, who employs more than 700 Virginians. Bassett’s fight to save hundreds of jobs in our area is inspirational and gives insight into the great globalization debate. Factory Man will be available on July 15th, but we have one to give away to one lucky reader! Stay tuned to our Facebook page during the month of July for your chance to win!