Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The McGinty's of San Antonio Series by Donalyn Maurer

On Episode 60 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast I speak with Donalyn Maurer, author of the McGinty's of San Antonio series.  The series follows the McGinty family, focusing on different characters in many of the books (they are a large family, with plenty of siblings, so the series can definitely go on for awhile).  The first book, Falling into Blue is about Jaycee, and at first glance it seems like a typical romance novel, but things turn dark rather quickly. As I often do when I post about series, I'll only be giving you the description of the first book.  For the rest, you'll just have to read on your own!

This is the story of Jaycee McGinty. While finding herself in a slump a year after her grandpa's death, she meets Rocky Jennings and believes he might be the person to help bring her back to life after her loss. But as soon as she begins to hope and slowly wake from the nightmare of Grandpa's death, she wakes to another nightmare. Rocky is not at all who he appears to be. She suddenly finds herself fighting not only for her own life but for the life of her family and true love as well. Jaycee has courage and determination, but will it be enough to end the danger or will she have to end it by allowing Rocky to end her? (Source)
As I mention in the episode there is a trigger warning for this series, especially this first book, which deals with domestic violence and sexual assault. What Jaycee thinks (and hopes) will be a wonderful new chapter in her life turns into something she fears will actually end her life.

Parts of this book and the series as a whole are based on things that have happened in Donalyn's life and in the lives of some of her family.  In the 4th book in the series she writes about PTSD and ways that people who want to can help people who are living with it. She wants others to know that they aren't alone in their struggles and to seek help when things get bad.

  • Romance
  • Thriller
  • Women's Fiction

What I enjoyed:
  • The way Donalyn is able to tell her story, and her family's story, in a way that may be helpful to others who have gone through similar experiences.
  • The McGinty family. They are loud, they are in each other's business, they conform a little too much to gender stereotypes for my personal taste (it is Texas, after all), but they love and support each other no matter what.

Who should read the The McGinty's of San Antonio series?
  • Fans of romance and women's fiction with some suspense thrown in.
  • Fans of stories that revolve around a large, close-knit family.
  • Fans of Texas, especially the Hill Country. These books made me nostalgic for bluebonnets, brisket, and barbeque.
  • "I'm sitting on the porch swing reading the latest romance, dreaming of the day I can find that love for myself, but it seems my destiny is to become a spinster and collect stray cats." Jaycee in Falling Into Blue
  • "I think every southern girl should have her very own Magnolia tree." Jaycee in Love is Forever Blue
  • "'I hate [effing] Wal-Mart. The whole [effing] town is always here.  Jesus Christ, this is why I go to Target.'" Nick in Honeysuckle's Fire

Where you can find Donalyn online:
Facebook: @donalynmaurerauthor
Twitter: @donalyn_maurer
 Instagram: @author_donalyn_maurer
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Donalyn-Maurer/e/B01M1924SS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15223066.Donalyn_Maurer

Author Bio:

Donalyn Maurer is the author of The McGinty's of San Antonio Series Novels
Donalyn was born and raised in Texas. She currently lives in a small town outside of San Antonio with her husband of 32 years. She enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren and large Texas family. Encouraged and inspired by her family she began writing and although her books are fiction she shares bit and pieces of her life and memories throughout the pages. (Source)
For the interview with Donalyn please click here

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Of Lite and Darke by ML Ruscsak

Episode 58 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast is my interview with ML Ruscsak, author of the Of Lite and Darke series.  There are currently 2 books available in the series.  The first is The New Reign and the second is The Fallen (which is actually a prequel).  The third book, and second prequel, Secrets, Lies and Betrayal will be coming out in March.
Melisa didn't come to writing in the same way as a lot of authors but started writing as a way of helping regain her health after experiencing a series of strokes in 2011.  She had to re-learn to do most everything, including reading and writing, and this series is a direct result of that process. I'm always impressed by the authors I interview, but Melisa's story definitely touched and impressed me.

Eighteen years ago, Princess Nisha became an orphan just days after her birth. Her parents and all of those with Fey blood all gone. All consumed by a fire that none had been able to stop. Or at least this is what is told. This is what is spoken aloud. Truth? Perhaps. But these are words Nisha has never trusted. Couldn't trust since they have never sounded quite right. Yet, not even her beloved aunt ever believed her when she questioned the events of that night.
No one believed her when she had turned thirteen and she became the queen of the Under Kingdom. They didn't trust her when her powers and natural abilities began to grow to frightening results. That was fine, if they didn’t want to believe her then once she home and crowned Queen of Darke, then she would show them. Once she was Queen then she would find every answer that she had ever wanted.
It wouldn't matter who or what stood in her way, for she would show them why she should be feared. She would show them what was created when her parents were stolen from her.
For she is Nisha and she is the daughter of the darkness. (Source)
As the first in the series The New Reign sets up the characters and storylines, leaving a lot of room for more development of both.  A lot of the questions the reader is left with from this story will be answered in the subsequent books according to Melisa.

The main character, Nisha, is an incredibly powerful young woman.  She is also stubborn, loyal, and something of a terror to her family.  The cast of secondary characters (most of whom will have significant roles in following books) are diverse and I look forward to learning more of their stories as the series continues.

The one thing I found frustrating in the book is actually part of the fabric of the story:  Melisa deliberately uses typos and grammatical errors as part of the story as a whole, but the reader won't find out why until the last book. I admit to being very interested in finding out the purpose of these deliberate errors.  I also admit to finding it really hard to read through them.  I kept wanting to bust out the red pencil and make corrections.  I'm very happy that they serve a purpose as part of the story, but it did make the reading more challenging for me.

  • Fantasy
  • Young(ish) Adults

What I enjoyed:
  • The relationships between Nisha and her family, especially her cousin Lily, with whom she should probably be enemies as Nisha is the crown princess of Darke and Lily is the crown princess of Lite.  They work together to create their own relationship that isn't defined by their places of origins.
  • The different types of fairy (or fey) creatures represented.  There are many familiar-sounding characters that can be found in other fantasy books, but Melisa makes them her own and they are all unique.
  • The world-building that went into this story.
Who should read the Of Lite and Darke series?
  • Fans of kick-@$$ young heroines who are incredibly powerful but still maintain a sense of compassion and loyalty.
  • Fans of fantasy.
  • Fans of stories with complex casts of characters all of whom could be important as the series goes forward.
I am Nisha, the only daughter... the only child of the late Queen Adrianna and her husband Myrddin. Both died... vanished... were taken? I do not know the truth. Those who might are no longer of the living nor the dead. And how do I know this?
Because I am the Queen of the Under Kingdom. The Queen of the dead. And I have questioned every person... every being that has ever existed... as to what had happen that night. No one knows the answer. So I must wait until my eighteenth year. I must wait until I take what is mine by birthright.
I plan every day to find the truth. I plan to destroy anyone who dared to take my parents away. With help of my dear cousin, The Crown Princess of Lite and her Betrothed we press each other's natural abilities not daring to learn anything that does not come naturally. Least not yet.
But soon. Oh So Soon I will teach those who doubt me... those who took my parents from me... Exactly why they should fear me.
I am Nisha... And I am the darkness.

Where you can find Melisa online:
Facebook: @OfLiteAndDarke
Twitter: @M_L_Ruscsak
Instagram: @m.l.ruscsak

Author Bio:

Born In 1982, a native to Lorain Ohio, Melisa grew up living with her grandparents Frances and James Lasure. She attended Clearview High School as well as Lorain County J.V.S. While in J.V.S she attended the Culinary Arts program graduating in 2001. In 2003, she welcomed the addition of her daughter Chyenne. Who inspired her to start to put her dreams to paper. A story she wrote after her daughter's birth, although not published, became the stepping stone to everything else she would eventually write. In 2011 near tragedy struck as Melisa's health began to decline. By summer of 2011, she would need to use a cane to get around. Suffering a stroke she required a craniotomy where she suffered her second stroke. Leaving her with a partial impairment of her speech, and weakness on her right side. After surgery, she would need to learn not only to walk again but speak as well as recognize the alphabet. Two years later in the fall of 2012 after a divorce, she would meet the man who would push her not only to fight to regain her physical strength but to put her creative mind to work. No longer allowing her to dwell on what she could no longer do but what she could. In December of 2013, they would marry. With determination, Melisa would walk down the aisle without the need of a cane. In 2016, she would see her dream come true. With her daughter as her editor "Of Lite and Darke" was born. (Source)
To hear the interview with Melisa please click here.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Rewind - Kristin Rockaway, Author of The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World

It's been awhile since I've done a Sunday Rewind, so I'm happy to be getting back to it.  Today's post is about my interview with Kristin Rockaway on Episode 18 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast.  The day Kristin and I did the interview GSMC had just moved offices, so I remember sitting on the floor of an empty office with nothing but the phone and my notes.  Kristin is very easy to talk to, though, and her book was really enjoyable, so the surroundings didn't matter, it was still a fun interview.

Objectively, Sophie is a success: she’s got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn’t quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it’s secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls’ trip, and Sophie falls for Carson, a free spirited, globetrotting American artist. He begs her to join him on his haphazard journey, but she chooses responsibility and her five-year plan.
Back in New York, that plan feels less and less appealing. As Sophie recalls the dreams she’s suppressed, the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips no longer feel like enough. Carson isn’t ready to let her go either, but as they try to figure out their relationship, Sophie realizes she may have to pursue her passions with or without him. (Source)
The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World reminded me a lot of one of Sophie Kinsella's novels.  Sophie (the character, not the author) is a professional woman who travels a lot for work, but most of the other areas of her life are in a bit of a disarray.  She isn't completely content with her job, but it pays her bills, lets her travel, and fits into her neatly mapped out life-plan.  Then she meets Carson and her plan gets turned upside down.

Eventually Sophie begins making changes in her life, but one thing I really appreciated about the book is that she doesn't meet Carson and her life suddenly, and miraculously, turns in a new direction.  In fact, Sophie and Carson end up having an impact on each other in various ways, and each learns more about themselves from being involved with the other.  The book is romantic, funny, well-written, and gave me a serious case of wanderlust.

  • Women's Fiction
  • Romance
  • Travel

What I enjoyed:
  • The descriptions of places Sophie and Carson visit on their travels.  If I can't travel myself, then reading a book set in an interesting location is the next best thing, and you can tell that Kristin herself loves to travel from the way she writes.
  • As I mentioned above, Carson doesn't swoop in and save or rescue Sophie.  They develop a relationship and from that both begin to learn things not only about the other, but themselves as well.  Because of this learning curve each has to make some decisions about where they see their lives going and if they think the other might be a part of that future.
  • The humor.  It's not zany or slapstick, but like Kinsella's novels, Kristin gets her characters into (and out of) some crazy situations that are guaranteed to make you laugh even if you might also be rolling your eyes.

Who should read The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World?
  • Fans of Women's Fiction.
  • Fans of travel (or just reading about travel).
  • Fans of romantic comedies.
You know I normally put some of my favorite quotes in this section, but sadly this is another book I loaned out and haven't gotten back yet so I can't look up those quotes.  (Note to self:  STOP lending out books until you write the quotes down somewhere!)

Where you can find Kristin online:
Website: http://kristinrockaway.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristinRockaway
Twitter: @KristinRockaway
Instagram: @kristinrockaway
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KristinRockaway/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kristin-Rockaway/e/B01LYQTE1E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1519000297&sr=1-2-ent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15294188.Kristin_Rockaway

Author Bio:

Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker and recovering software engineer. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she finally traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of code. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, browsing the aisles of her neighborhood bookstores, and planning her next big vacation.
Her second novel, Start Me Up will be released from Graydon House/HarperCollins in the Summer of 2019. Her debut, The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World, is in stores now.
To hear the interview with Kristin please click here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Not Just Me by Lisa Jakub

On today's episode of the GSMC Book Review Podcast I interview Lisa Jakub about her book Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression, and Learning to Embrace Your Weird. I read her first book, You Look Like That Girl several months ago (on the train commuting to work where I got a LOT of weird looks because I was laughing, and occasionally snorting, while reading) and greatly appreciated not only humor but how open and matter-of-fact she was in writing about her issues with anxiety and depression.  so when I saw that she had written an entire book on the subject I knew I wanted to read.  When she agreed to be a guest on the podcast it was icing on the cake.

Lisa Jakub has always been a little weird.
Sensitive. Emotional. Introverted.
What else would you expect from a former child actor turned writer?
But the issue wasn’t just an artistic temperament; Lisa was constantly trying to hide her debilitating anxiety and depression. She assumed that retiring from her eighteen-year acting career and leaving Hollywood was going to be the cure for all of her issues. Guess how that worked out?
Lisa was still having three panic attacks a day and found it hard to leave her house. But when anxiety-induced vomiting claimed the life of her iPod—she knew it was time to get help. It was time to talk about the things that are hard to talk about.
She started to embrace her weird.
In searching for a deeper understanding of mental wellness, Lisa explored her own history and reached out to others to learn how anxiety and depression impacted their lives. She interviewed Veterans with PTSD and ten-year-olds with sensory integration issues, people with eating disorders and cutting habits, those whose lives were saved by medication and those who found yoga to be the answer. She went to Colorado to learn about the effects of cannabis on anxiety, and attended a meditation retreat in North Carolina to sit quietly for hours and hours and hours in “noble silence.” Without a phone.
Not Just Me is a hopeful, entertaining, enlightening look at the root causes of anxiety, the latest research on mood disorders, and ideas for how we can all live authentically with more peace, power, and purpose. Part memoir, part journalistic exploration—this book reminds all of us that we are not alone. (Source)
The book description alone gives you a glimpse of how great this book is, equal parts humor and factual information.  As someone who has gone through my own struggles with both anxiety and depression I had so many "yes!" moments while reading.  It reminds us that no matter what that voice tells us, we aren't alone and we aren't weird in how we are feeling.


· Memoir

· Non-Fiction

What I enjoyed:

· The way Lisa writes.  The book is full of humor, facts, and it gives a lot of incredibly helpful information while remaining engaging and entertaining.

· The stories of the people Lisa interviewed, who share their own difficult experiences and what they have learned from those experiences.  She interviews people with eating disorders, PTSD, those with substance abuse problems, former cutters, and more, so there is a wide range of struggles that readers might resonate with.

· Lisa's passion about this topic, her honesty about her own experiences, and her willingness to do whatever she can to help others who are struggling.  She gives concrete methods throughout the book of things to try, from yoga and meditation, to breathing techniques, to form letter that can be downloaded to help you talk to your doctor about your experiences.

Who should read Not Just Me?

· Anyone who is or has gone through anxiety and/or depression.

· Families, friends, and support networks of people with anxiety and/or depression.

· Anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to live with anxiety and/or depression.

    • "But I've learned that there are actually a bunch of us that feel like this. And not one wants to talk about it. Until someone else brings it up. And then it's all they want to talk about. Anxiety is real."
    • "What I really want is for all of us to go sit in a coffee shop and talk about our struggles so we feel less isolated, but there isn't a coffee shop in the world big enough to hold us all. So this book is the next best thing I could come up with."
    • "Here's why it's okay for you to be okay: Happy, grateful people are good for everybody. It's more effective to help the world from a place of inner peace than to suffer in solidarity. Greatness does not need to come from suffering; it comes out of being awake to the intricacies of life."

    Where you can find Lisa online: 
    Facebook: @lisajakub108
    Twitter: @Lisa_Jakub
    Instagram: @lisajakub108

    Author Bio:

    Hello. I’m Lisa – a writer, speaker, writing teacher, traveler, yoga teacher, and wife. I also make really good spinach gnocchi.
    I began my acting career at the age of four in Toronto, Canada. For the next eighteen years, I worked consistently in the film industry in Los Angeles, in projects that ranged from Hollywood blockbuster to cutting room floor.
    At the age of 22, I realized that there must be more to life than premieres and pretending to be other people. I suspected that there was something outside of movies that would feel more authentic to me. I left the film industry under the guise of following the man I loved to Virginia. Luckily, the man I loved really was in Virginia, so it all worked out and we lived happily ever after in our own version of a Hollywood ending.
    While figuring out how to be a normal person, I have dedicated myself to my lifelong love of words and my profound respect for a well-told story.
    My memoir, You Look Like That Girl, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or by requesting it from your favorite independent bookseller. Personalized signed copies are available here. It is the story of growing up in the film industry and making the decision to leave in search of some peace.
    My second book, Not Just Me,  is a hopeful, entertaining, enlightening look at the root causes of anxiety, the latest research on mood disorders, and ideas for how we can all live authentically with more peace, power, and purpose. Part memoir, part journalistic exploration—this book reminds all of us that we are not alone. Personalized signed copies can be ordered here.
    My writing has appeared in Newsweek, Today.com, Huffington Post, Yoga Magazine, US Magazine, Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog, Vanichi Magazine, ASPCA, and Hello Giggles, where I am a contributing writer. I’ve appeared on HuffPost Live, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, and CBC. I do speaking events at high schools, colleges, and conferences and run weekend workshops about writing, yoga, and living an authentic life. (Source)

    To hear the interview with Lisa please click here.

    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Co-Parenting From the Inside Out by Karen Kristjanson

    For episode 55 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast I chatted with Karen Kristjanson about her book, Co-Parenting From the Inside Out: Voices of Moms and Dads.  I was contacted initially about having her on the GSMC Relationship Podcast, but wanted to include her on the Book Review Podcast as well.

    Effective co-parenting, or sharing significant parenting time with an ex-spouse, is one of the best gifts separated parents can give to their children. The interviews in Co-Parenting from the Inside Out are with real moms and dads in diverse circumstances, showing them making choices, sometimes struggling, and often growing. Their stories offer insights into wise decision-making, as well as practical strategies that strengthen families. Parents can see that they are not alone as they navigate their feelings and build a future. While pain exists in most stories, there is also hope. Co-parents often feel that they have become more confident and compassionate, and parent better than before. The effects of their personal growth and their children’s are the silver lining in the dark pain of divorce.
    Karen L. Kristjanson has brought together real life co-parenting stories that inspire separated parents and help them understand co-parenting better, offering practical tips and tools that directly benefit families. (Source)
    Karen wrote this book after her own experience with co-parenting her 2 sons with her ex-husband.  She had wished at the time that there were more resources available that would help them through the process and be a source of support, so when she was in a position to do so she wrote the book she had needed herself.  Karen is passionate and compassionate about the subject and wants to advocate for families to have the best resources possible when making difficult decisions about the future of their family structure.

    Karen interviewed 14 fathers and 28 mothers who had gone through or were in the process of Co-Parenting with their ex-partner.  The families involved were fairly diverse from those with special-needs children, both hetero- and homosexual parents, as well as families with financial, addiction, or mental issues.

    • Parenting
    • Family and Relationships
    • Non-Fiction

    What I enjoyed:
    • The stories from the moms and dads Karen interviewed.  The stories are often difficult, but reading them gives a sense of the obstacles, challenges, and successes that can come through the process of Co-Parenting.
    • The way the stories were divided into categories based on types of families and experiences.  Anyone reading the book will be able to find situations and families that resonate with their own experiences.
    • Karen's passion about this topic, her honesty about her own experiences, and her desire to offer other families a resource to help them through and emotionally charged period in their lives.

    Who should read Co-Parenting From the Inside Out?
    • Anyone considering or already co-parenting
    • Families, friends, and support networks of couples who are co-parenting
    • Anyone with questions about this process or who might be wondering under what circumstances co-parenting should or should not be pursued
      • "The forty-two parents who told their stories ranged in age from twenty-seven to sixty-five.  Some were straight and some gay. Some struggled financially, some were well off.  Some endured high conflict situations, while others had minimal strife in their separations and divorce. Some parents had children with special needs, and some parents themselves had mental health problems.  Fourteen were fathers and twenty-eight, mothers."
      • "We can teach our children only what we have already learned ourselves.  This is a central truth of being a parent."

      Author Bio:

      Karen L. Kristjanson, MSc, MA is a professional life coach, writer, and member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting. A co-parent herself, she has over thirty years’ experience supporting adults tackling change, to help them both survive and grow. Kristjanson writes for Divorce Magazine and the Huffington Post Canada. She lives in Surrey, British Columbia.

      For the interview with Karen please click here.

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018

      Forks, Knives and Spoons by Leah DeCesare

      Today's interview on the GSMC Book Review Podcast came about thanks to social media.  Leah DeCesare is one of the 17 Scribes authors and we follow each other on Twitter and Instagram.  I kept seeing her posts and thinking she was hilarious.  I also kept seeing her book, Forks, Knives and Spoons, and thinking I should invite her to be a guest on the podcast.  Then one day it happened.  She posted that she had just shown the move When Harry Met Sally... to her daughter for the first time.  I love that movie, have loved it for years, and quote it all the time.  I posted a quote in reply to the tweet, Leah answered, and the rest is history.  I contacted her about the podcast, she said yes, and here we are.

      Now, I *could* just spend this post writing quotes from the movie but as much as Leah may or may not appreciate that, I think I'll talk about the book because it is just as enjoyable with as many quotable quotes.

      There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond.
      Beginning in 1988, their freshman year at Syracuse University, Amy and Veronica meet an assortment of guys—from slotted spoons and shrimp forks to butter knives and sporks—all while trying to learn if the UCS holds true. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves—and not to settle in love or life. (Source)
      I was in 8th grade in 1988 and have absolutely no desire to go back to that age for myself (ugh...Junior High), but it was a lot of fun to go back to the era of big hair, no cell phones or email, and, um, interesting fashion choices.  Amy and Veronica reminded me a lot of my college roommate-turned best friend and myself and it was fun to watch their collective stories unfold and evolve.

      • Women's Fiction
      • Romance

      What I enjoyed:
      • All of the details that Leah includes in making the time period come alive. From Aqua Net to crimped hair to Crest Flouristat toothpaste and beyond I was reminded of so many little things I hadn't thought about in forever.
      • The sometimes ridiculous and often amazingly accurate details of the UCS.  I never would have thought to include as many categories as what evolves throughout the book.
      • The friendship between Amy and Veronica and it's consistency throughout the story.
      • The overarching theme of learning to believe in yourself.  Yes, this book is in many ways a romance, but above and beyond relationships and the UCS it's about learning who you are as a person and believing in that person.

      Who should read Forks, Knives and Spoons?
      • Fans of Women's Fiction.
      • Fans of books about female friendship.
      • Fans of romance.
      • Fans of When Harry Met Sally...
        • "Veronica hesitated, unsure if Amy was seriously evaluating this guy with a code of cutlery she'd assumed was just a lark."
        • "'Do you really think it's true that men and women can't just be friends?  We're friends,' Amy said. 'Don't you think Harry is totally wrong?'" -Amy
        • "'You should make each other better...It took some time to figure out that I needed to truly be myself, and even longer to learn how to do that.  Arthur has always been my best friend.  I wish that for you, sweetheart.'" -Amy's Aunt Joanie
        • "Believe you are worth being loved and don't ever settle." -Amy's dad

        Leah DeCesare’s childhood dream was to become an author though she never expected her first book to be about parenting. The Naked Parenting series stemmed from her main gig as mother of three and she writes between car pools and laundry.
        Forks, Knives, and Spoons is her debut novel. (SparkPress, April 2017).  Leah has also written articles for publication in The Huffington Post, the International Doula, The Key, and other online outlets and local publications.
        More than 25 years after her father used a fork, knife, and spoon to give one final lesson about boys before sending her off to college, Leah DeCesare shares the Utensil Classification System.
        “I met my perfect steak knife even though he wasn’t in the package I’d expected. I have the most amazing husband and I want to let other young women know that they shouldn’t settle,” DeCesare says. “It’s important for women of all ages to be true to themselves and believe in themselves.”
        Married for over 22 years, Leah’s current parenting adventures revolve around kids, tween and teenagers, creating the basis for her Mother’s Circle parenting blog, where she shares perspectives on parenting from pregnancy through teens.
        Her pre-baby professional experience was in public relations and event planning and for the past fifteen years, her career has focused on birth, babies, and early parenting as a certified childbirth educator, a birth and postpartum doula.
        In 2013, Leah spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda and co-founded the nonprofit, Doulas of Rhode Island, in 2008.
        She parents, writes and volunteers in Rhode Island. (Source)

        For the interview with Leah please click here.