add a comment
Exit Five From Charing Cross by Valerie Keogh is told in first person. Jake Mitchell begins his story by talking about missed opportunities and wonderful lives almost lived. “A life like mine.” We find out he’s at work at his dream job where he’s worked eight years. He set out to be rich and achieved his goal. “money was God.” But now business has dried up and he’s struggling to hold on. He leaves work to meet his best friend Adam at a café at Charing Cross. Sitting outside the café, is a woman he’s instantly attracted to and hopes to see again.
After this initial opening Jake goes back in time and tells us how he met Adam, and then about his family. Over the course of the book we learn of the lies he told and how, once they were told, he had to keep lying to keep his secrets. One poor decision led to another as Jake set out to build a “wonderful life”. At the end of chapter four he says, “Didn’t know then, in my enthusiastic youth, that every little action, choice and deed had a consequence.”
What makes this book interesting is how we see the world through Jake’s eyes and hear his inner thoughts. We learn why he lied and what led to the destructive decisions he made.
The book was an enjoyable, quick read with a haunting quality to it. The story twists and turns in interesting ways and has a surprise ending. I reminded of the recent movie Gone Girl in that things are always what they appear.
I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers. It’s well written with a strong plot and well developed characters.
Book review of The Immortal Life of Piu Piu: A Magical Journey Exploring the Mystery of Life after Death (Dance Between Worlds Book 1) January 25, 2017Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review, Uncategorized.
Tags: Bianca Gubalke, Michael Newton, past lives, reincanation, South Africa, visionary fiction
add a comment
African author Bianca Gubalke has written an uplifting visionary fiction novel about the journey of soul. It started out in the first chapter with Anata, a soul in the inner realms, talking to an elder about her next life. She’s picked a hard life for her spiritual advancement in a small village in Western Cape coast of South Africa. A place that is beautiful with numerous plant species, animals, mountains, and ocean.
The elder warned Anata that her memory of who she really is as soul will disappear so she can create a new life. She won’t remember her true home but will search for it.
In the second chapter, we met a little girl named Pippa and MadMax (a delightful talking cat). They heard a peep and find a little gosling on the ground. Pippa brought it into the house, determined to take care of the small, helpless creature. Thus begins the tale of Pippa, MadMax and her goose Piu Piu.
The story explored the loving relationship between humans and animals and included many beautiful photographs of plants and animals.
The novel had a powerful message because it delved into the spiritual realms and the longing of soul to return home in a time when many baby boomers are wondering what happens after they die.
In places, the story of Piu Piu, the goose, reminded me of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Both birds long for freedom.
The book also reminded me of Oversoul Seven by Jean Roberts, which is about Oversoul Seven who runs three bodies at once in different times and places as part of his education.
I was exposed to the idea that soul takes part in choosing their next life in Dr. Michael Newton’s work Journey of Souls and Life Between Lives. Dr. Newton hypnotized people to take them back to their childhood so they could heal. Once when he hypnotized someone they ended up in the inner realm where soul goes between lives. After that Dr. Newton took many people back to their life between lives on earth and asked soul about their experience there.
In the Immortal Life of Piu Piu I was fascinated to see how Bianca was able to weave together the idea of soul living more than one life and choosing that life based on what that soul needed to learn for its spiritual growth. I especially enjoyed the action-filled second half of the book that shares the backstory of Poppa’s parents during a raging forest fire.
The end of the book was a treat for it nicely tied up the whole book and brought clarity to the story.
I highly recommend this story for those who enjoy visionary fiction. You might find yourself wondering if this is simply a magical world where animals talk, have human emotions and past life memories or if there is a golden thread of truth that can help us in our own journey home.
Do you believe in reincarnation? Do you have any memories of a past life? Do you think we decide what our next life will be?
Here is a wonderful book trailer of the novel.
Check out Heidi Skarie’s website bluestarvisions.com where you can get a free short story and get on her newsletter.
Book Review of The Bears and I by Robert Franklin Leslie November 15, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: animal story British columbia story, Bear story, book reivew, Robert Franklin Leslie, wilderness story
add a comment
A friend gave my husband The Bears and I. I picked it up to see what it was about and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.
The story is set in the wilderness of British Columbia where Bob, the author, is panning for gold for the summer when an old sow bear leaves him with triplet orphaned black bear cubs. Bob’s heart goes out to the small creatures that he describes as the size of teddy bears and he decides to raise them until they are old enough to survive on their own. The cubs end up sharing his cabin even sleep with him in his sleeping bag.
What makes this story remarkable is the amazing bond of love that develops between Bob and these three bear cubs and the insights we gain into bears. After reading this book I don’t think I’ll ever look at them the same. The bear cubs each had a distinct personality and enjoyed playing tricks on each other. They also had a wonderful spirit of fun and adventure.
As the cubs grew older they also learned to hunt together and to protect each other. They were highly intelligent creatures and soon learned their names and to respond to simple voice commands and gestures. Like when there was danger Bob would say tree and point to the tree and they would run up it.
The book is also an exciting adventure story especially in the first half as Bob tries to keep these three cubs alive against all the dangers of the wilderness including predators that eat bear cubs. There is also devastating fire that sweeps across the forest they live in and a harrowing journey by canoe deeper into the wilderness with a winter’s worth of supplies.
The author vividly describes nature with its planets, flowers, birds, animals and changes in season in such detail that I felt I was right there with him every step of the way.
It helped that I’ve had enough of my own experience in the wilderness to relate to his. I’ve been backpacking in the Bitterroot and Rocky Mountains in the United States and in the Canadian Rockies. I’ve also been canoeing in the Boundary waters wilderness of the US and Canada. I’ve experienced having a bear come to my campsite at night and breaking the branch of a tree where we’d carefully tied up our food bag ten feet above the ground. I’ve also paddled a canoe across rough lakes in the rain with high winds and chopping waves.
I could also relate to Bob’s winter experiences with deep snow and long months of cold weather as I lived just across the Canadian border in Minnesota.
Moreover, the book is enjoyable because the writing is excellent with detailed descriptions, original metaphors and good insights into life. Bob wrestles with questions like how much of the wilderness should be a game refuge or park and how to do we protect wild animals. Bob also ponders the questions of why animals live by killing one another and why is there are forest fires, which wipe out so many of the creatures that live there.
The book was written 1971 and made into a Walt Disney movie in 1974. I haven’t seen the movie but from the movie trailer it looks to be a fun family movie with three cute, mischievous cubs and beautiful scenery.
Do you have any good stories to share about a wild animal? I loved to hear them.
Book Review by Heidi Skarie, Dream Yourself Awake by Darlene Montgomery September 22, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: dreams, healing, reincarnation, spirituality
add a comment
Dream Yourself Awake One Woman’s Journey to Uncover Her Divine Purpose through Dreams
Years ago Montgomery realized her dreams were relating to her waking life. She found they revealed recurring themes and lessons. The images and feelings she began to see formed a map that led to her purpose as Soul. Montgomery states, “Dreams tell a story about Soul’s everlasting wish to journey back home to God.” (p. 18)
The basic premise of the book is that if you have a yearning to know your purpose in life, Spirit will let Soul see its greater destiny and clear away illusions. The law of growth drives Soul on.
Each chapter begins with an insightful quote. Then Montgomery shares a dream, waking dream or inner experience and gives her interpretation of it as she sheds light on the spiritual side of what she’s experiencing.
In the sixth chapter, The Messengers of Life, she quotes from Marianne Williamson: “Ultimately, it is not our credentials but our commitment to a higher purpose that creates our effectiveness in the world.” (p. 28)
In this chapter Montgomery explains that Divine Spirit guides us to experiences that remind us of agreements we made before we were born into this life. Messengers in life may come to us as teachers, friends, movies and books. The people around us show us qualities inside ourselves and help us figure out our life’s mission.
Montgomery also shares what she learned about her career as a writer. In one dream, Montgomery meets Oprah Winfrey. She realized Oprah’s dream appearance intended to awaken her “to my own potential as a voice of change in the world” (p. 11) In the same chapter she says, “To write a book is to open a door literally into another world. Every work of art leaves an impression, which shapes the thoughts of others and more importantly their dreams.” (p. 13)
In Dream Yourself Awake, Montgomery takes the reader on an intimate journey. Through Montgomery’s experience, we see our own fears, failings and limiting ideas. We also see our ability to grow, learn, overcome these limitations and move into a place of love, abundance and gratitude. We see how we are divine sparks of God and how our dreams are here to teach us, give us truth and help us deal with challenges. When we pay attention, dreams will tell us about our higher goals and we can wake up, as Montgomery did. We can become strong spiritual beings, aware that we are children of God, knowing we are powerful, loving beings.
While writing this blog post, I had a waking dream experience at the end of my yoga class. The instructor said she had a quote to share and I knew it was related to this post. The quote is from the inspiring author, Marianne Williamson:
“Relationships are our primary teacher. They are the context in which we either grow into God consciousness, or deny ourselves and others the opportunity to do so.”
Have you had dreams, waking dreams or inner experience that helped you wake up to a higher truth about yourself on your journey home to God? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Hector and the Search for Happiness March 22, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in Movie reveiew, Uncategorized.
Tags: happiness, Hector and the Search for Happiness, movies, Rosamund Pike, Simon Pegg, what is happiness
add a comment
I recently saw Hector and the Search for Happiness about Hector (Simon Pegg), a quirky psychiatrist, who has a good business, a beautiful girlfriend, Clare (Rosamund Pike), who does everything for him, and an expensively furnished apartment. Yet he isn’t satisfied with his life. Everyday he listens to his client’s problems, yet he feels like a fraud because he’s giving them advice and they aren’t getting happier.
The pressure within Hector builds as he listens to a client’s seemingly “trivial” problems until finally he explods and yells at her.
After another incident where Hector overreacts, he decides he needs to take a journey to figure out what happiness is and to resolve some issues from the past. Clare is too busy at work to come on the trip with him and her immediate reaction is that he wants to break up. He says he doesn’t and asks her if she’ll be there when he returns. She asks him how long he’ll be gone. When he replies that he doesn’t know, she says then she doesn’t know if she’ll be there or not.
Clare gives him a journal as a parting gift and he uses it to write down his own insights into happiness. He also asks the people he meets what they think happiness is and jots down their answers. His journey takes him to different places in the world with his focus being on interacting with people not on seeing the sites.
The story is told with humor mixed with some real insights into life and the different ways people look at happiness. In the journey Hector is confronted with life, death, illness, love, wealth, poverty, sex, family, and nostalgia.
The movie is good in that it makes you reflect on what happiness means to you. It shows how each person defines happiness differently and how some people aren’t happy now but think they will be in the future after they make a lot of money or retire or are healthy etc.
As I watched it, I thought about my own concept of happiness and how to live a happier life. I realized I have many good things in my life, but I often don’t see them. For me being happy should be in the moment, in the here and now, not in some time in the future. I don’t have to wait for something to happen to be happy. I also don’t have to let other people’s actions control my happiness. I’m happier when I see the blessings in my life and the gifts that are all around me. I also realized love is the key to happiness.
We’re all like Hector in that we are each on our own journey of self-discovery to find the meaning of life and happiness.
What makes you happy? Have you ever longed for something thinking it would make you happy and when you got it, discovered that it didn’t give you the joy you thought it would? What does happiness mean to you?
Here is the official trailer of the movie.
Louie Schwartzberg: An Amazing Videos February 4, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in photography, Uncategorized.
Tags: beauty, graditude, Louie Schwartzberg, photography, seeing the eyes of soul, Ted Talks
add a comment
For the new year I want to share a special video called Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg. What better time than the beginning of the year to think about all we have to be grateful for. Schwarzberg talks about being present and celebrating life as he shares his amazing time lapse photography. He has captured some flowers unfolding, the movement of clouds in the sky, and butterflies. His talk and films are both inspiring.
The second part of the video is called “Happiness Revealed” and is from the point of view of a child and elderly man. One of the things the elderly man says is to look at the faces of the people you meet. Each one has an incredible stories behind their face.
I hope you are uplifted as much as I was by this wonderful video
The Martian January 29, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in Movie reveiew, Uncategorized.
Tags: Andy Weir, Mars, Matt Damon, outer space, science fiction, The Egg, The Martian
add a comment
Being a science fiction writer and hearing that The Martian was a good film with Matt Damon as the star, I had to check it out. I’m glad I did. It was an enjoyable movie with an interesting premise and lots of drama.
Astronaut Mark Watney is thought to be dead when he’s caught in a terrible storm on Mars and ends up being left behind by his crewmates when they head for home. He finds himself stranded on Mars without enough food to survive until a rescue ship can come for him. He has to use all his skills to find a way to signal earth, stay alive, and grow his own food.
The story is based on real science and the Watney is a funny, smart man who we enjoy being with as the viewer.
The film won two golden globe awards for best motion picture and best actor.
The story behind the movie is also interesting. The book, the movie was based on, was written by Andy Weir, an American software engineer. It was written to be as scientifically accurate as possible. It was first published as a free serial on Weir’s personal blog and received feedback from the readers. At the reader’s request it was eventually made into an e-book that sold for 99 cents. It shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller science fiction list. An agent contacted Weir and it was sold to a large publisher. Four days later Hollywood called for the movie rights. It all happened so fast even the author had a hard time believing it.
Here is the trailer of The Martian.
Another Youtube I ran across was an interview with Matt Damon, Andy Weir, and Dr. Jim Green (from NASA). In this interview we find out that elements in the movie are already being developed by NASA. The people who made the movie visited NASA to make it as real as possible. Here is a link to the youtube.
Do you think we’ll someday go to Mars and set up settlements? If we do, would you want to go there?
Weir’s first work to gain attention was a short story called The Egg that was adapted into Youtube videos. Here is a link to one of the youtubes if you’d like to see one. It’s an interesting story exploring soul’s experience after a person dies.
The How and Why of Author Newsletters January 27, 2016Posted by heidi skarie in Uncategorized.
add a comment
If you’re a writer you will want to read this post by Steena Holms about newsletters: why you need them, how often to send them, what to say in them. And most important– remember newsletters aren’t about you, they are about your readers. Good luck with your writing.
by Steena Holmes
In my last post, I talked about Street Teams and using my newsletter to connect with my readers. It raised a few questions about newsletters to which I replied “but that’s another blog.” The ladies at WITS took me up on that. So today we’re going to talk about …
Some authors groan at the thought while others smile. But when used correctly, a newsletter can be your new best best friend.
Why? Because it’s your number one method of communication with readers.
What can you use your newsletter for?
- Announce the release of your latest book
- Promote when you have a special deal on your book
- Get word out about a special contest
- Boast about a great review or that sparkly new award you won
- Tease your readers about your latest project
However – and this is a biggie – your newsletter isn’t…
View original post 790 more words