Category Archives: In the Mailbox

In the Mailbox: Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman

I just got the most wonderful book in the mail today.  It’s called Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul V. Stutzman.  Paul queried me about a tour before Christmas and was I excited to finally get the book in the mail.

What makes this book so unique is that the story evolved after Paul’s wife died from breast cancer and he decided to take some time and heal by trekking across the Appalachian Trail.  Does that sound like a great book or what?

Here’s a bit from the back cover:

“As dusk settled over the highlands, I summoned just enough energy to scramble up one of the rock formations and watch the last glimmers of the setting sun fade behind the rolling peaks.  From my roost on the rock, I looked over our three tents arranged on the green grass of the bald, and found myself smiling at the absurdity of this moment of my life.  I am sitting on a rock somewhere in Virginia.  All my belongings, everything I depend upon for survival, are in my tent.  I quite my job.  All I do is walk all day.  I should be lonely – and often I am – but something is very different.  Smething that has been eluding me for years has finally overtaken me.  Contentment.  I’ve been living life too fast.  But now that Im traveling at two miles per hour, contentment has caught up with me.”

Opening paragraph:

“It always happens to someone else.  A dreaded knock on the door late at night while parents lie in bed wondering why a child is not yet home.  A call from the hospital saying a spouse is waiting in the emergency room and heart-wrenching decisions need to be made.  For me, it had always happened to someone else; the bony finger of death had lifted people out of my sphere, but so far that grim reaper had only been working on the periphery of my life.

That all changed with one phone call.”

We haven’t really confirmed which month he’s touring, waiting back on that, but if anyone would like to host Paul (either February/March or March/April), send me an email to and please put “I want to host Paul Stutzman” in the subject line.

This book I have a feeling is going to be a terrific read.  You can visit Paul’s website at  Terrific pictures you don’t want to miss.

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Books! Books! Books!

Well it’s that time of year again – summer is in full swing!  It’s buzzing here on the island – boats, jet skis, people riding bikes, you name it, are all whizzing by my front door.  It’s crazy, I’m telling you, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…just can’t get away from the ocean, lol.

But I love it.  We had a disastrous trip to the Smokies last month what with the rental breaking down and the cabin being haunted – creepy stuff, so hopefully this one will be filled with nothing to do but relaxing stuff.

I do want to mention I’ve gotten in lots of wonderful books lately, so because I’ve had my nose in tours for weeks on end, I thought I’d take the time now to let you know what goodies arrived at my doorstep.

Oh where do I begin…not necessarily in the order of preference they are:

Too Many Visitors 2Too Many Visitors for One Little House by Susan Chodakiewitz.  I will be giving it a review on the 31st, but it is sooooo cute.  Beautiful cover and inside, the illustrations are masterfully done.  It’s a beautiful little picture book.  Susan is in fact one of our clients on virtual book tour this month and what a joy she has been to work with.

Gracious Living on Social Security by Valerie Kent.  Cheryl Malandrinos is in charge of her tour but I asked if I could have a review copy so I could review it here.  Cute cover with an old lady and old man dancing and in the prime of their life so that gives me the impression this book is going to help me when I’m at that ripe old age which isn’t that far off!  I haven’t even attempted to read this yet and I think I better check to see when I have to review it for the tour, but it shouldn’t take too long.  It’s roughly 130 pages so I should be able to do that in a couple of sittings but I do have to mention the illustrations inside are really, really cute.

Coming for MoneyComing for Money by F.W. Vom Scheidt.  Another one of Pump Up’s clients and another book I’m really looking forward to reading.  The book is labeled a literary fiction and I can now see why…this guy knows how to write!  I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to review it before his tour ends in August, but the review will be forthcoming!

Summer HouseSummer House by Nancy Thayer.  Yep, another client.  Look, this woman I have admired for years ever since I bought her book The Hot Flash Club.  And omg, I have started reading this….no wonder she’s a NY Times Bestselling author!  I’m taking this book with me to South Carolina and hopefully while I’m sitting on the beach, I can finish it.

Writing as a Sacred PathWriting as a Sacred Path by Jill Jepson.  Another client…Jill will be touring in August and let me tell you this is a wonderful lady.  Her book is EXCELLENT.  I’ve only read a few pages just out of curiosity but I’m hoping to have her a nice review before the end of her tour.  Another book I’m taking with me to Myrtle Beach.

Angel LaneAngel Lane by Sheila Roberts.  Sheila is an old bud of mine and I was so excited she was coming back to Pump Up in October.  Love this woman!  But look, this book is so up my alley it’s not even funny.  The main character moves to a scenic lakeside community and they all decide to do one good deed a day, or at least that’s what I’m getting from it.  It is from this  good deed doing, she falls in love.  I haven’t even started into this book, but I think it’ll be another one I’ll take to the Carolinas.

Affordable Paradise by H. Skip Thomsen.  Even though he spells his name quite different from the way I do, he can’t be half bad with the same last name as me!  Skip emailed me a few months ago about a tour which we’re getting ready to set up, but he wanted to send me his book so I could see just what it was all about.  Okay, who wants to move to Hawaii?  Me!  Me!  I wish I had the guts to move all the way across country but it sure is tempting.  The thing is, we all think it’s expensive to live in Hawaii, right?  Well Skip says he has found ways to live in Hawaii and not have to spend your life savings doing it.  Really looking forward to reading this book!

Distant ThunderDistant Thunder by Jimmy Root, Jr.  Jimmy (doesn’t it feel weird calling a pastor by their first name?), but Jimmy is so down to earth and not only that, this book is excellent. I’ve only skimmed it so I’ll let you know more later when I review it but whew this guy can write.  Jimmy is touring with us in August and September so you’ll be hearing a lot about him over the course of his tour.

Night of FlamesNight of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson.  Who doesn’t love books about WWII?  I was frothing at the mouth to get this one.  Douglas will be touring in September and October I believe, but omg, this looks like a great read.

American LionAmerican  Lion by Jon Meacham.  Talk. About. A. Huge. Book.  This book is almost 500 pages but I LOVE biographies and supposedly you’ll be hearing about all kinds of things Andrew Jackson did in the White House that you never knew about.  Jon, btw, is editor of Newsweek and get this…American Lion was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  So you know I have to read this one.  He’s also been touring with us this week, so check out some of this reviews, guest posts and reviews…excellent writer and what a fantastic historian.

The Spies of WarsawThe Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst.  Another Pump Up client touring this month.  And another book that was based on history – WWII.  It’s gotten excellent reviews.  The L.A. Times says, “…one does not so much read them as fall under their spell,” when talking about Furst’s books.  I cannot wait to read this one either!

Homer's OdysseyHomer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper.  Another one of Cheryl Malandrinos clients at Pump Up and I just had to email her to see if I could review Gwen’s book.  What’s not to like about a cat story, you know?  But it’s no ordinary cat.  Homer is blind and supposedly he teaches a woman how to love, so there’s going to be a love story in there, too…sounds terrific!

Well that wraps it up.  Too many books, so little time, but my suitcase is going to be really heavy come the first of August!

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mailbagI’ve had this book for a few days now and I just now picked it up and started reading. This is hilarious stuff!

It starts out like this:

“Are you overweight? I am. Doesn’t it suck?”

Then she goes on to say:

“I think our bodies shape themselves into what they should be regardless of certain measures we take to prevent it when we live our life normally and happily. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure if I exercised for four hours a day and only ate rabbit food on a regular basis I may not be fat. But who wants to exercise four hours a day and only eat rabbit food every day? I don’t.”

making-light-of-being-heavy1And that’s not the funniest part as I couldn’t help myself and kept reading. This book is the bomb. I asked her tour coordinator if I could host her for a few days next month when she’s on virtual book tour with us and I’m waiting on her answer. No, I’m not the only one taking books on tour and, no, I don’t have a say (or too much, lol) on where she ends up, but after reading a few pages, I immediately asked Tracee if I could host her here for three days and I’m waiting on her answer.

This book hits so close to home, but I won’t spoil any of it until she comes in May. But, how many people who are naturally big can laugh at the situation? Kandy Siahaya is my role model. I was born a skinny person and up until about a year ago, I started really considering dieting. I have gained 50 pounds (shudder) since the birth of my first child. Of course, I was in my twenties and I was SKINNY, remember?

So, this ought to be fun. I’ll let you know if I can get Kandy here we can find out more about her, but it will include a review at least.

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IN THE MAILBOX: Keys to Living Joyfully by Life Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff


I’ve had this book for a few weeks now and want to say I am enjoying it immensely. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn how to live joyfully?

Let me quote Sheri from her first page:

“Friends, I am writing this book for you. Every one of us has a tragic moment, event, or deep sadness that changes our lives forever. We may wonder if we can feel love, happiness, or joy ever again in out liftimes. At the same time, we may become deeply sensitive to others and more tolerant for the daily stressors in life. Our lives take a different path than one we imagined.”

keys-to-living-joyfullySheri’s “tragic moment” came when she was about to turn seventeen years old. She was thinking of cheerleading and her upcoming birthday party, and everything was great in her world.

That is, until she arrived home and found her brother dead, lying in a pool of blood. So began her search to reclaim happiness that had evaded all those years.

I so closely relate to Sheri and that might be why I am finding her book so healing to read.

I, too, found a member of my family dead. My mother. I was nineteen years old and had just married.

I, too, ran out of the house screaming and I, too, found it hard to heal such a deep wound.

I don’t believe the wound ever heals but time has a way of helping you to go on.

I’ll let you know in the upcoming weeks how Sheri’s book turns out, but I know where she was coming from when she wrote it. We’ll talk about joy and healing and how we can still claim happiness no matter what.

BTW, Sheri will be on a virtual book tour in March and April. If there is anyone who would like to host her during her tour, all it would involve is for you to either review her book, interview her or let her guest blog on your blog during the months of March or April. Leave a comment below with your email address and I’ll get back to you asap.

Sheri, if you are reading this, Godspeed to you.

If you would like to visit Sheri’s website to find out more about her book, visit


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I’ve had this book for a little more than a week, but tours have been keeping me sooooo busy.  But this morning, I picked it up and started in because I want to have this reviewed by the end of the week.

The title is pretty much self-explanatory and judging from its page length (85 pages), I wondered how this book could be any different from all the other self-help books out there on divorce and breakup.

However, I was immediately drawn in by her very first paragraph:

“Although my marriage of 16 years was far from perfect, it never occurred to me that it would end.  In fact, if I were a betting woman, I would have wagered my life savings I would be married to the father of my children ‘until death do us part.'”

How many women have said that?  I know I did and I still believe to this day as rotten as the ex was at the time, he’s still a good man.  But then, it’s been about 15 years and I tend to let bygones be bygones.  And I’m wondering how many other women feel there is still that bond between them and their parted spouses?

Sure, most of us have children that keeps them together in a sense, but how many women truly believe that no matter what they did to us, we still love them?

Well, here goes my relationship expert hat back on.  I used to write a lot about relationships.  When Pump Up started, I just didn’t have time to do both and keeping that roof over my head became the most important thing, but I have to say that when two people come together, no matter what happens, they were truly meant to come together in the first place for a particular reason or set of reasons.  Perhaps in my case, it was to bear children as companion soul mates are known for, but to this day, I can’t release that bond we had.  And I know we’ll never get back together nor would I want to.

Ack.  Anyway, I’ll give you my review of Tammy’s book this Friday hopefully.  So far, it’s looking pretty darn good.

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I have a new client over at Pump Up Your Book Promotion named Kelly Epperson.  Kelly will be touring with her book, When Life Stinks, It’s Time to Wash the Gym Clothes, which is, as you guessed, a collection of humor stories.  Actually, they’re from her columns she wrote over the years which she gathered the best of to put in this darling book.

I say darling because already I’m smitten.  Man, I hate that.  I went in with my serious face and I swore to myself I wasn’t going to laugh out loud unless it was really funny.  Damn, page 13 was as far as I got when the LOL attack hit.

She writes, “I must admit that buying the Carpenters’ CD made me smile.  I was banished to the bedroom to enjoy my new purchase.  I cranked my boom box (okay, I guess one does not really “crank” the Carpenters), and surprisingly I remembered every word to songs I had long forgotten.  I grabbed my hairbrush microphone to lip sync for my boys.  They went scurrying for Daddy.  ‘Help! Mom is acting weird!'”

I know the reason why I laughed.  I could relate.  If a reviewer (or reader) can instantly relate, you’ve gone past first base.  I’ll be talking about Kelly’s book in future posts, but I’ll let you know if I hit a home run.  Something tells me, she’s not going to let me down.

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In the Mailbox: Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Patricia Mendez

I have a funny story to tell before I introduce today’s book that was in my mailbox the other day.

When I first got married, I couldn’t even boil water. My new husband wanted me to make some tea and I had to ask him how to do it. That’s when I became the relative who couldn’t even boil water which my new husband couldn’t wait to share with the Thompson flock.

I remember making Hamburger Helper one day and it was so horrible, the dogs wouldn’t even eat it. I didn’t know you had to drain the grease out before you served it. As in, ych.

You want me to go on?

I made chili for the first time and instead of putting 3 teaspoons of chili powder into the mixture, I put 3 tablespoons. Needless to say, the dogs wouldn’t eat that either.

I eventually learned how to cook, but wouldn’t it have been neat if I had had this book I got in the mail the other day, Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Patricia Mendez. Patricia knows her stuff; but more importantly, she knows just what recipes to include in her 172-page book so that the aspiring Betty Crocker can not only feed her family, but throw a fabulous party, too!

I’m browsing now…all these recipes are great for entertaining. Easy, too! I’ll be giving Patricia a nice review on October 17, just in time for those Halloween gatherings and before the Christmas holidays so stay tuned for that!

Also, I will be turning the pages of her new book in upcoming blog posts to let you know just what’s inside! You’re in for a treat!

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