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25 August 2015

Little Bits of Karma by Laura Simmons - Book Review and Interview with the Author

Little Bits of Karma by Laura Simmons is one of the books I enjoyed the most this summer. It was very kindly sent to me by the author in exchange for a review in collaboration with Bostick Communications, a U.S. press release distribution company. I always love to receive books to review home; it’s so beautiful that authors want to interact with bloggers and vice versa, and it’s beneficial for both since a party receives a book whilst the other improves their book’s visibility.

Little Bits of Karma is a story of romance and divination. Holly is a middle aged woman who’s going through a troubled time in her relationship with her companion James. After an intriguing encounter with her colleague, Charlie, she realizes she might be developing a crush on him. Curious of how things might turn out, she books an appointment with a psychic medium and finds out more about her past lives, which feature both adultery and crime… But where will her karmic path ultimately lead?

The plot of the book is definitely an intriguing one: the themes of love, adultery and karma make a great bookish cocktail leading to a gripping story. I would have liked to find a bit more suspense in the beginning and found myself surprised at quickly events happened at first; on the other hand, this made the book smooth to read from the first page. I felt like the plot smoothed out after the first few chapters and the narration became more regular – or maybe it was me getting adapted to the rhythm of the book.

The themes of karma and reincarnation were what I loved the most about the book. I had never read anything about such topics and found them very interesting. I see myself as a spiritual person as I feel like it is very important to listen to one's inner intuition and I believe in karma, even though I think that free will and acts count even more. I also found the tarot cards reading a cool activity and did some research on the internet. I don’t usually give these methods too much weight, but sometimes I read the horoscope for fun and thought this could be fun as well :) I don't know whether to believe in reincarnation or not, but I want to go and read more about it and would love to find out about my past lives. That would be so cool!

I absolutely loved the protagonist, Holly. She is such a sweet character and I liked her attitudes towards others which are always very compassionate. While most book or movie characters tend to get cross about bad things that happen in the story (or should I say bad karma that gets in the way?), she is willing to forgive other characters and be kind to them.

The male characters were sometimes a bit na├»ve and idealistic to me – men aren’t usually that romantic 24/7. The way most relationships turned out happily didn’t feel very real either. However, these weren’t the most relevant aspects of the book to me.

I am surprised to say this, but the style of the book is overall very feminine. I found that the whole story was told from a woman’s point of view, from the physical description of the characters to the intuition linked to the tarot cards and the future. I thought this was very cute :) 

I recommend this book for any time of the year; it’s light hearted and very pleasant to read, and I enjoyed reading it on the beach. Also, read it if you want to find out more about divination.

My edition: Simmons, Laura, 2015. Little Bits of Karma. Denver, Colorado: Outskirts Press. 329 pages. This is a beautiful paperback edition with a lovely cover. The font is fairly big and easy to read.

Stars on Goodreads: 4/5.

After having read and reviewed Little Bits of Karma by Laura Simmons, a great book in my opinion, I asked her for a brief interview to post on my blog as I became interested in the main topics of the book: reincarnation, karma, and tarot cards. These are themes that perhaps most of us don't deal with daily, but which can intrigue and bring us to ask questions about our life, destiny and the understanding of these in an abstract key.

Before the interview though, I would like to introduce the author of the book, Laura Simmons. These are some facts about her.

Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys soap making, writing, jigsaw puzzles, bowling, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems. Little Bits of Karma is her debut novel.

And here are my questions and Laura's answers. 

Starting with a simple question, when did you first find an interest in reincarnation and karma? Was there a specific event that led you to look more into it?
I’ve had an interest in reincarnation most of my adult life. It started in my early 20’s, shortly after the divorce from my ill-fated, too young, first marriage. I naively thought my life would follow a predictable pattern of marriage, children and happiness and when things didn’t turn out as planned, I began to question everything I grew up believing. This questioning led me to an interest in New Age topics and as I got older, I read everything I could get my hands on about reincarnation, astrology, numerology, tarot cards, psychic mediums, etc. The karma part regarding cause and effect didn’t really sink in until much later. I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a child and the idea for Little Bits of Karma kept nudging me until I sat down to write it.

In the book, Holly, the protagonist, experiences past life regressions with much intensity. Have you ever gone through past life regressions yourself? If so, how vivid were they?

I have never experienced past life regression. As I was writing the story, I bought a past life regression hypnosis CD (just like Holly did) and tried to do it. I don’t think I have the type of brain that can be hypnotized because the only thing that happened was that I fell asleep! I’ve tried other types of meditation and self-hypnosis programs and I usually end up falling asleep, or a part of my body will start to itch and distract me. I’m sure it works for some people, I just have too much mind chatter going on and when I get very relaxed I go out like a light. Before sitting down to write the story, I searched the internet for stories about people who were able to regress to another life and what they experienced and how they felt. The experiences were different for each person and since I was writing a fictional story, I felt free to make the regressions really vivid for Holly in hopes that it would make the story more interesting/dramatic. The past life stories were challenging and frustrating to write.

In the book, Holly explains that besides the reincarnation of one's soul, other souls tend to reincarnate simultaneously and meet the former soul's path - more concretely, having various kinds of relationships with people in real life (i.e. love relationship, friendship, partners in crime, etc.). For example, Holly's soul and Charlie's have met in several lives and, according to the karma, they have fell for each other repetitively. I found this idea amazing as, following this hypothesis, I thought that people close to me in this life might have been close to me in past lives as well. Could you tell us more about this theory and how is it supposed to apply to reality, even in abstract ways?
This is a tough question and I don’t know if I can answer it very well. From what I have read about the pre-planning process, we coordinate with other souls that we have shared past lives. The other souls have things they want to work on in their next life as well as negative karma they wish to clear. We discuss the things we want to work on and how the people we are close to will fit into our picture to help us with our mission, if at all. I read that sometimes our enemies or adversaries in life are actually our closest friends on the other side. They love us so much that they agree to play a bad person role in an attempt to help us overcome something. It’s my understanding that we don’t get the same group of people in every incarnation, although there are souls we share more lifetimes with than others. It all depends on the individual souls and what they want to work on. Some of our nearest and dearest might not want to reincarnate at the same time we do, they might want a break and share a life with us at some other time.

In line with the previous question, the encounters of people we meet during our life have been, somehow, determined by destiny. In love, we often say "we belong to each other" or "we weren't meant to be together" and so forth. Do you believe that our lives have been pre-planned according to some higher spiritual entity or record or do you think that our free will is stronger and can change our path?
Yes to both, and this is an excellent question. I personally believe that we plan our lives before we are born to a certain extent. However, I think free-will trumps everything and can change our intended path. With regards to love interests, I believe relationships begin and end according to soul contracts we made in the pre-planning process. Some people contract to be together for a lifetime and others have several partners throughout their life. I also think that we make contingency plans in case things go off track due to our free will and the free will of the other people we contract with. Once we become physical beings, anything can happen because we forget what we came here to learn and accomplish. It’s mind bending when I think about it, and amazing.

Let us now focus on tarot cards reading. I found that very interesting as well in that the cards do not have to mean the truth for us; they are only supposed to give us hints on the future and lead us to the answers that we probably already know in our deepest selves. Do you do tarot cards reading often and what kind of influence do you think it has on people? Is it beneficial for them or do they tend to get scared to know about the future?
I do readings for myself occasionally, that’s where I got the idea for Holly to draw a random tarot card to see what the day might bring. I don’t do readings for other people much anymore, but I used to do them at parties. The host or hostess asked me to bring my cards and I enjoyed reading for those who were interested. Sometimes I did readings for co-workers. I had a particular co-worker who thought tarot cards were really cool and she spread the word to her friends that I could do them. There was a guy in our office that I didn’t know very well and he asked me to do a reading for him. I knew nothing of his personal life and yet when he drew the cards they told me all about the problems he was having with his wife! He was nodding his head in agreement as I explained the cards message. I don’t know if the reading was beneficial for him, but it was eye-opening for me! Most of the people I have read for usually found some truth in the cards and weren’t surprised by what was revealed. I don’t think any of them were scared about the future. It might have encouraged them to think about the best course of action to take regarding their situation.

Could you suggest some clear, explanatory books (or other sources) on reincarnation, karma and tarot cards reading for someone who has an interest in these topics but is still a beginner?

Yes, there are many good ones out there. Here are some that I think are easy to understand. I’ve purchased most of them from Amazon.
Learning Tarot:
Tarot in 10 Minutes by Richard Kaser – This is a quick and easy method to learn the tarot. I have used it many times and I like it. There are many beautiful tarot card decks available (I have four different decks). I suggest looking through the options and choosing the deck or decks that you feel drawn to.
The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need by Skye Alexander – Easy to read and understand. I use this as a reference book.
Reincarnation, Karma:
Your Soul's Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born by Robert Schwartz. This book is excellent and rather heart-wrenching to read. It is very thought provoking and really makes you think. I still have trouble believing we actually choose to experience some of these things. It has changed the way I think about everything. Robert Schwartz has written another book which precedes this one. I plan to read it someday.
Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton. I read this book a long time ago and thought it was wonderful.
A Little Light on the Spiritual Laws by Diana Cooper. I read this recently and keep it on hand to stay on the path of positivity. It’s not necessarily about reincarnation, but it’s an excellent read on ways to better your life according to universal spiritual laws.
- I highly recommend the following websitewww.healyourlife.com

I visit this site often and the articles are excellent. They also have an interactive angel card reading application that lets you ask your angels questions and you click on the cards to receive an answer. I love angel cards and use this application more often than the tarot. The answers are more direct.

I want to thank you for this interview and if you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at any time. I like your blog and plan to visit often!

Thanks Laura, for this great opportunity! I hope the readers enjoyed too :)


You can purchase the book here

4 comments:

  1. Hey, what do you mean, men aren't romantic 24/7? :) Just kidding. You're probably right. Anyway, it's nice to see a sweet character playing the lead. Per your curiosity about reincarnation, you might give my post a try :) https://shakemyheadhollow.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/who-sees-dead-people/

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    1. Hahah! The romantic bits were a bit cheesy to be honest, so that's why I said it. I'm going to read you reincarnation post straight away! :)

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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  2. I absolutely love the sound of this book hun, I've never really read a karma/reincarnation themed book either so this is so interesting. Totally agree with authors reaching out to bloggers too, it's so nice that they recognise we have a voice!

    Elle
    www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

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    1. It's so interesting. you should look it up. I'm planning to do more research about it. And yes, I love when people support each other online too! :)

      Assia | www.assiashahin.com

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