Blog Tour: Creatrix Rising

Written & Narrated by
Nonfiction / Self Help Memoir / Aging & Longevity
Publisher: Narrating Sound
Length: 4 hours, 43 minutes
Publication Date: February 22, 2022

Ever since Eve was banned from the garden, women have endured the oftentimes painful and inaccurate definitions foisted upon them by the patriarchy. Maiden, mother, and crone, representing the three stages assigned to a woman’s life cycle, have been the limiting categories of both ancient and modern (neo-pagan) mythology. And one label in particular rankles: crone. The word conjures a wizened hag—useless for the most part, marginalized by appearance and ability.
None of us has ever truly fit the old-crone image, and for today’s midlife women, a new archetype is being birthed: the Creatrix.
In Creatrix Rising, Raffelock lays out—through personal stories and essays—the highlights of the past fifty years, in which women have gone from a quiet strength to a resounding voice. She invites us along on her own transformational journey by providing probing questions for reflection so that we can flesh out and bring to life this new archetype within ourselves. If what the Dalai Lama has predicted—that women will save the world—proves true, then the Creatrix will for certain be out front, leading the pack.

Stephanie Raffelock is an author, speaker, and voiceover artist. She is the editor of the anthology, Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis (2022). Stephanie is the author of Creatrix Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women (2021) and she penned the award-winning book, A Delightful Little Book on Aging (2020). She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and a goofy Labrador Retriever named Mickey.


Rating: 5 out of 5 STARS
*Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion and does not reflect the viewpoints of the author or publisher. A finished e-audiobook copy of this book was provided for review.*

Creatrix Rising is a self-help-style book that allows the reader to take moments throughout the book to reflect. After each chapter, the author provides self-reflection questions. A creatrix is described as a woman who is creative without the limitations of age set by society.

Each chapter in this book allows the reader to be transferred inside the mind of the author. The reader gets to be a part of the thought process of the author as the author analyzes pivotal moments in her life, which shaped her to become the person she is today. This includes diving deeper in order to truly understand the full make-up of a woman’s life and the cultural projection constantly forced upon women. Women are seen as obsolete beings once they hit the age of 40, and at the spark of a creative high are seen as having a mid-life crisis. For decades women have been seen as “less than,” compared to men. Women were meant to give up their dreams and serve as a caretaker for many.

Stephanie takes a stance on highlighting aspects of her life where she has worked to take back the authority taken from women by men for decades. She shares stories of family, the choices of women in her life, relationships, survival, recovery, healing, loss, forgiveness, and her life in the workforce. She talks about the impact of relationships she developed and her connection to her ancestors. She begins to fully understand the choices her mother and grandmother made in their lifetime and starts to see them as the women they were.

Throughout the entire novel, we get a chance to truly understand how the author has grown to become the person she is today. She finally finds her voice and learns to share her story and allow her story to impact others. This includes her being able to watch her life come full circle and inevitably achieving her dream of becoming a writer.

This central text provides such a diverse set of contexts that you are able to connect to every story shared, every moment of realization, and every relationship dissection. I highly recommend this novel to any woman regardless of age. This novel highlights many aspects of a woman’s life and the challenges women continue to face. It will reignite a fire in you that encourages the reader to give themselves space for their creative minds to prosper. 

I enjoyed the audiobook narration. The story flowed very well and I was able to stay alert throughout the reading. I listened to the audiobook in one sitting and loved it.

This book and author are truly one-of-a-kind, and I cannot encourage you any more emphatically to run to shelves to grab yourself a copy of it.

Each receives an audiobook + a print copy of
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/16/22.)

Continue reading Blog Tour: Creatrix Rising

Blog Tour: Road to Hope

How One Woman Went from
Doubting Her Path to
Embracing Her Inner Journey
Dena Jansen
Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Christian Life
Publication Date: November 15, 2019
Number of Pages: 240 pagesScroll down for a giveaway!

Have you ever felt stuck? If so, you are not alone. As a 36-year-old wife, mother, and corporate executive, Dena Jansen’s life looked successful by society’s standards. But she found herself at an intersection—stranded at a real-life crossroads in her life.

Over a matter of years, darkness and doubt slowly crept in, leaving her unsure and unsettled in her life, marriage, and career. And after stalling out multiple times and nearly wrecking everything, she finally grabbed hold of a life-saving truth:
She had a choice to make. She could stay stuck, or she could try and find new roads that would lead to the peace and joy she was looking for.

With a glimmer of hope, Dena embraced the gifts of curiosity and grace and began a journey of self-discovery. And she chose to believe in a new truth:

She was meant for more and could no longer settle.

In Road to Hope, Dena invites you to join her as she wanders the roads she traveled and take anything you need from her story to help you in yours. She shares how she grew from a woman who doubted her path to one who is confident and ready for the next adventure. And she wants you to experience a similar shift. And more than that, she believes you can.


Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT


Have you ever felt stuck? Have you ever reached a point in your life where you wondered how you got there? Author Dena Jansen reaches that point in her life where she realizes that maybe the life she is currently living isn’t meant for her. She concludes that she has achieved society’s expectation of what her life should look like from the outside in. However, she reaches a point where she is no longer happy and starts to reexamine her current situation looking for answers as to why. She lives a “perfect” life compared to others but she is still left unfulfilled. Dena must face the hard truth and make a decision on her happiness and for once put her needs above her family’s.

This Christian inspired memoir takes a unique approach to present the reader with the events of Dena Jansen’s life. Dena does an exceptional job of capturing the reader from the beginning with a relational opening paragraph that encourages critical thinking. She dives into her self realization journey allowing the reader to engage with her full thought process and emotions. I enjoyed the full disclosure from the author which allowed for a better connection between the reader and the story dialogue. She breaks down every interaction with her family, her therapist, and her friends. Dena essentially reaches a point in her life where she has achieved success but doesn’t feel like she has. She is stuck. Her accomplishments do not link up with her feelings, leaving her feeling empty and exposed. She must take herself on a journey to find herself. During her journey of self-discovery, she encounters people along the way that challenge her sense of identity and her purpose. She later realizes that she has a choice in the life she wants to live. We essentially must come to the end of ourselves before we can hear God speaking to us. The remainder of the novel is her embracing her spiritual connection with God and Christ. I felt her vulnerability through the page while reading her internal dialogue with God and her growing in her faith and allowing his presence to fill her.

The question remains, what do you do when you are stuck? What do you do when you reach a crossroads in your life? I recommend starting with this novel to gain a first-hand look at how Dena handled the same questions. It is refreshing to see an author write a memoir that allows for full disclosure into her thought process, essentially allowing the reader to be in the passenger seat of her journey. I highly recommend this memoir for anyone interested in a well-written self-discovery book that will encourage you to shift the way you look at your life now. This memoir will have you re-evaluating your purpose.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!

Dena Jansen’s calling to lift others up is profoundly personal. She understands the fears and doubts that hold people back because she has them too. Her own path to fulfillment is a real-life journey that’s still very much in progress. As a CPA and retired partner from Austin-based CPA firm Maxwell Locke & Ritter, she launched Dena Speaks to inspire potential seeking individuals and businesses. Dena shares life and love with her husband, JP, and their two children, Trace, and Elizabeth in Buda, Texas. She loves romantic comedy movies, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her family and friends.

ONE WINNER: Signed copy + $10 Starbucks Gift Card + Dena Speaks swag
TWO WINNERS: Signed paperback OR audio code + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
JANUARY 21-31, 2020
(U.S. Only)

Author Video
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page
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Timestamp: Musing of an Introverted Black Boy

Genre: NonifictionifpkHs5QS9iUolGmCJPKJw

Shelf Location: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished copy.



I’m a twenty-two-year-old Black introvert who overthinks everything, can’t get a date, yet somehow managed to graduate from Harvard.

My story is probably not like yours. I’m a Black boy from the Midwest. I’ve never been kissed. I’m desperately in love with two women: Aretha and Whitney. I struggle with a mild form of social anxiety. I sing to myself almost everywhere I go. I’m an ex-chitlins (with hot sauce and ketchup) lover. I’ve been called an Oreo. I’ve been stopped by the police while walking home. I’m the descendant of slaves, and a Harvard graduate.

Though our stories may not be the same, the universal themes explored in this poignant and personal literary collection—love, identity, hope, social justice, and coming of age—bond us together. Timestamp: Musings of an Introverted Black Boy is many things: It’s one Black boy’s journey through college and into adulthood. It’s a compilation of intimate musings, short and long. It’s an anthology of reflections linked to distinct moments in time. It’s a series of meditations on life, love, and the lack thereof. It’s not simply a “Black” book, or even a “millennial” one. It’s a human book.

I wrote it for everyone—and that includes you!

Final Thoughts

This book is unapologetically written about Marcus Granperson. It is a pure expression of his thoughts and wonderfully written. He dives into issues that many people of color face but don’t have a platform to discuss it on. This book is written in a diary-style format with dates and titles. The author allows the reader to be involved fully in his thought process, his challenges, and the identities people have placed on him. I related a lot to his testimony and I enjoyed the religious aspect of the novel. This book hit all of my high points for a memoir-style novel. It discussed social injustice, colorism in the black community, racism, and religion. I enjoyed the fact that the author was completely honest with the reader, exposing the challenges he faced and the ways he overcame them. One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

Life is too short to spend time entertaining people committed to misunderstanding us. There’s work to be done, and we must be free to do it—because the world needs us. Most importantly, we need us.

Marcus is an African American male who graduated from Harvard and now lives in New York. He has never experienced a romantic kind of love but embraces the love he has experience with the people he interacts with. He fully emphasizes the impact of the intimate encounters he has had with friends and family. He never truly feels alone, loves Jesus, and fully dissects every encounter. He delves into the now and states that “every moment is a last moment.” I highly recommend this novel for any person of color or anyone interested in a humorous and thought-provoking novel written by a person of color about themselves.

You can purchase your copy of this book on Amazon here

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

fullsizeoutput_15ebGenre: Young Adult Poetry
Pages: Print 304
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I purchased on my own.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. Please note I share a piece of my personal experience with sexual assault merely to emphasize how this book resonated with me and how I feel connected to the storyline. 

Goodreads Synopsis

Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

Final Thoughts

I purchased a copy of this book because it is my most anticipated read of 2019. I connected with the main character in Speak and wanted to read her poetic memoir. I was expecting nothing less of raw emotions, honesty, and empowerment. It’s hard to review a memoir due to it merely being about the author’s life. You can only review the writing style and look at it from an editorial purpose only. I kept this in mind when reading this memoir.

Overall I thought this was a well written, compelling, poetic memoir that provided insight on the challenges faced by this author. After reading this, I understand what an emotional obstacle it is to write about something so real. I understand the true emotional turmoil of reliving the same day over and over again and trying to find ways to cope. The author takes a unique approach to tell the story of her life in three parts. The first part of the book talks about her mother, father, and sister — this where we learn of the rape that leads her to create the characters in Speak. We also learn how she coped with the struggles of her parent’s marriage, the ghosts of her fathers past, and the rape that shattered her from within. The author delves into the relationship between her parents, her schooling, and her ghosts. In part two, we take a journey on how she spoke about Speak in schools. We learn that some schools tried to censor her book, saying that a book about sexual assault did not belong in a school. Halse Anderson wanted to share this book with everyone, to promote the concept of consent, and to be a voice for those who were afraid. We learn about how she created the character names in the novel and the challenges she faced while writing it. In part three we learn the fate of her parents and the closing remarks.

This book focuses on the challenges of being a victim of sexual assault and how one story can touch many. Halse Anderson showcases that there are many people out there with a story to share afraid to speak up. She highlights the injustices associated with being a victim of rape. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:


study that number,

and no matter what it is,

forgive yourself

because no, my friend.

you are not overreacting

not one bit.

It is hard to forgive yourself and try to move on because the ghost from your past still haunt you. I recommend this book for any teen but be mindful for any victim of sexual assault; this may contain some trigger words. I had to put the book down a few times to take a break before I could complete it. To anyone battling the demons of your past, it will get better, and it’s not your fault. Some moments I still feel like that six-year-old girl watching her favorite cartoon on the television. In the moments those memories resurface, I take a deep breath and try to come back to the present. To the author, you did a fantastic job with this book and your others, and I say #metoo Laurie Halse Anderson.

To purchase your copy of this novel you can visit this link to view purchasing links

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung

X3XQ87PqTEGbmfu3Hx+DIAGenre: Graphic Novel (Autobiographical Memoir)
Pages: Print 177
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Author: Debbie Tung
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I checked out from my library.  This review does not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or library I checked it out from. 

Goodreads Synopsis 

Sweet, funny, and quietly poignant, Debbie Tung’s comics reveal the ups and downs of coming of age as an introvert.

This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung’s experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie’s life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet

Final Thoughts 

I stumbled up this book while browsing through my social media feed. However, this wasn’t the first time I viewed comics by this author before. I noticed these comics in a few articles I read in the past year but did not know there was a book.

The graphic novel starts with Debbie in college during her last years trying to navigate life as an introvert and figure out how to become an adult. She struggles to grasp the concept of social gatherings and dating. In true introvert style, she prefers to spend her time at home alone reading or in a quiet space. The author provides humorous illustrations to describe the everyday challenges of introverts. Debbie struggles with meeting new people, understanding specific social cues, and interacting with people. Social interactions, to her, cause a physical and emotional strain causing her to have to recharge after an event. We watch Debbie navigate through dating, finding a potential suitor, and interacting with others. She even faces the dreaded post-graduate life where you have to find a job and be an “adult.” In the end, she figures out who she is and learns that she is okay. That there is nothing wrong with her. She decides to do her research, read a few books to understand her personality, and truly embraces who she is. She can finally understand why she is the way she is and fully accepts that it’s okay not to be “normal.”

This graphic takes a humorous approach to describe the challenges of being an introvert. Debbie Tung illustrates a time when she attends a social gathering and the aftermath of her needing to recharge after interacting with so many people. She will typically spend a day doing nothing and just enjoying the lack of social interaction to prepare for her next gathering. Introverts may appear to be happy at events, but you will notice when they become distant and wander into a corner. I try to stay away from large gatherings because I have two versions of myself: one that gets nervous and talks way too much, the other that sulks and hides in the corner limiting social interaction. I usually go home and prefer to hibernate for 8 hours to prepare. I hate talking on the phone for more than 30 minutes after a day of work because I’ve been talking to people all day and wanted a break. If you are an introvert, then I highly recommend you picking up this graphic novel. You will soon see your everyday interactions come to life on a page.

To purchase your copy of this book, visit the website at for access to purchasing links

Comment below your introvert stories and how you handle it! 

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Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

img_0353Genre: Young Adult Autobiographical Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy borrowed from a library I work at. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 

Goodreads Synopsis 

Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. Click here for this synopsis on Goodreads.

Favorite Quotes

“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.”

Final Thoughts

I heard about this book while watching a booktuber discuss books that you must read. I also heard about this book on Instagram and felt like I had to pick it up. I was a bit nervous to actually read this graphic novel memoir after reading the description. I haven’t read many books that discuss the challenges faced by children who have parents who are drug addicts. I personally picked up this book because I felt it was important to see how someone else dealt with an issue I dealt with my entire life.

Jarrett Krosoczka uses humor, emotions, and graphics to describe his childhood in this gut-wrenching graphic novel memoir. The author used his love for art as a medium of escape from the harshness of his reality. He discusses the real challenges faced by someone with a parent that is faced with a debilitating addition. In the face of the biggest challenge of his life, Jarrett has an amazing support system to fall back on. In this novel you watch him grow up, be a normal young man, and face the ghosts from his past in order to truly move forward in his life. I cried while reading about his relationship with his mom and the wonderful companionship he received from his grandfather. The pure innocence of a child is displayed exceptionally in this graphic novel through Jarrett’s hope of his mom overcoming her addiction.  It is hard to rate someones personal story which is why I gave it five stars. It takes a lot of courage to tell the entire world your story and the things you overcame as a child. This graphic novel memoir aims to shed light on the what it is like to live with two absent parents. Jarrett overcame a lot as a child to become what he wanted today and I definitely think that would not be possible without his grandparents. Out of the entire graphic novel, I enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end. I enjoyed reading about his life after he graduated high school, learning about what happened to his grandparents, learning about his parental relationships and how they developed and reading his appreciation of his family. I recommend this book to any guardian or parent who has a child that has a parent with an addiction.

How this story relates to me

This graphic novel touches on some of the challenges of having a parent that is an addict but not all. All situations are unique.  My dad was a drug addict and later died from the effects in 2007. I watched my dad live a life that we all knew would lead to his death. As a child , you hope that your parents will overcome their addiction, you hope they will choose you over an addiction, and you hope for normalcy. However, that isn’t the case in most situations. I had to face my own demons and overcome my own nightmares in order for me to move forward. It is okay to hope for your parents to get better but at the end of the day their choices are their choices alone. I had to understand that addiction is like a disease and my dad could not and was not ready to receive the right treatment. I completely understand as an adult that I did all that I could as a child and his addiction had nothing to do with me. If it weren’t for my maternal grandmother, I would not be here today. The past events shape who you are today but they do not define you. I definitely think I used books as a way to escape the harshness of the reality I lived in and that’s okay.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the Scholastic website at for access to purchasing links

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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