Mystic and the Secret of Happiness


Fiction - Inspirational
330 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2018
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

My name is Anne-Claire Szubaniska. I am originally from a small town in France called Cambrai, but after years of moving around between Canada and the United States, I settled down in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York.

My childhood was a painful experience, but my mother’s parents, Papi and Miman, showed me the way to happiness. They successfully made me feel loved, and my heart fluttered with joy every second I spent with them.

At 16, I sadly lost my ability to surrender to their pure love. I dwelt on the unhappy events of my childhood and became profoundly depressed.

Years later, I came upon my first self-help book. I just couldn’t stop reading.
I wasn’t happy yet. But for the first time in many years, the spark of life was ignited in me again.

I read many other books and attended tons of workshops where I met people who had been through the worst, most unimaginable traumas but had found a way to let the negativity go and be happy.
Inspired, I kept practicing, until one day, while meditating, I experienced the joyful flutters in my heart again—this beautiful ticklish emotion of joy I had only felt with my grandparents as a young child.

It was a miracle!

This radiant aliveness my grandparents had helped me experienced was and would always be within me. They had shown me the way…

Thus, the writing of Mystic and the Secret of Happiness was initiated…




    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is a fictional journey intended to uplift and inspire, penned by author Anne-Claire Szubaniska. Though the author states that the book represents her own emotional journey to happiness, the plot is relayed through the perception of a cat called Mystic. When Mystic’s dear friend Bumpa goes missing, his life seems to collapse entirely. Losing his purpose and his desire to go on, Mystic is lost and directionless, constantly looking inward to the negativity he feels. When he looks at the world beyond his own whiskers, however, the world opens up again in a dazzling new way. The beauty of the world and the power of happiness is revealed to Mystic and the reader, with a bright promise for the future if you can change your thinking to be more like this delightful little cat.

As a straight novel, Mystic’s adventure could be viewed as simplistic in parts, but it’s the overall purpose of Anne-Claire Szubaniska’s writing which makes this work stand apart from its predecessors. Seen through the eyes of small, furry characters, the metaphors for life are stronger than ever by their distancing from the human brain. I found myself wanting Mystic to appreciate life, and in doing so highlighted the self-damaging processes that I know I and many others are prone to do. Mystic and the Secret of Happiness holds up a mirror to the reality of the cages we put ourselves in, and I’d recommend it as an essential read for anyone who knows they are their own worst enemy.

Sarah Westmoreland

Mystic is a very handsome kitty with a wonderful, loving human family, many cat friends, and even an overexcited zoo elephant named Bumpa for a best friend! So why is he always so sad? Mystic doesn’t know, but he can’t help it; he just feels the way he feels, and it isn’t as though he can control his feelings. And is it any surprise that when Bumpa suddenly goes missing, Mystic finds himself wallowing in sadness, depression, and even anger? Follow Mystic’s amazing journey as he tries desperately to find his missing friend, and as he discovers more about himself and his emotions along the way.

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness by Anne-Claire Szubaniska is a fascinating journey through the eyes of an adorable cat with lots of emotional issues. In the form of a fun and adventurous novel, Anne-Claire Szubaniska guides the reader through the ups and downs of emotional turmoil and helps them to experience the little pleasures that can be found in even the saddest of circumstances. Along with Mystic, the reader is able to discover the truth about happiness: that it is not dependent on outside circumstances, but solely on the choice that you make to find happiness inside of you. Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is a fun, well-written novel, with a wide assortment of adorable cat characters, as well as a handful of humans and other animals. Anne-Claire Szubaniska did an excellent job portraying the message of her story without it overwhelming the plot. I highly recommend this book.

Katherine Williams

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is an inspirational novel by Anne-Claire Szubaniska. Mystic the tabby cat and Bumpa the elephant are the best of friends. They visit each other every day in the park. One day, Mystic goes to see Bumpa as usual and discovers that Bumpa is missing. Mystic feels like he has lost all hope and decides to leave his home and loving family to find his best friend. He ends up going on a journey that changes his life. He meets another cat named Freedom who convinces him he doesn’t need Bumpa to be happy. Mystic ultimately discovers what it means to appreciate his life and learns how to create his own happiness.

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is a beautiful novel that will remind you to love yourself for who you are. Adults and children alike will appreciate the cute, funny and charming animal characters, and through them you discover the real themes of self identity, self esteem and joy. Each animal has their own distinct voice and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. Mystic is a character that you can easily empathize with, and throughout the book his pain was palpable. Anne-Claire Szubaniska’s writing is simple; so simple that any person of any age could read this book. The pacing was not too fast nor too slow; it was just enough to get the important messages across. The plot is interesting, original and unexpectedly touching. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute and uplifting read. This book teaches you that the only way you’ll attain happiness is to find it within yourself.

Lit Amri

“If you practiced feeling joyful the way you practice finding excuses to not be happy, you would always feel amazing no matter what happened to you.” Mystic and the Secret of Happiness by Anne-Claire Szubaniska starts with the introduction of a gray tabby cat named Mystic and his friendship with Bumpa, a free-spirited elephant. His daily routine includes visiting Bumpa at his enclosure at the park. One day, Bumpa is removed from the park, an event which devastates Mystic. The manner of Bumpa’s departure angers the cat, and he believes that Bumpa himself wanted to leave Mystic behind. Mystic's encounter with a mysterious black cat encourages him to reexamine his emotions and sends him on a journey that will change his life.

Through its animal characters, Mystic and the Secret of Happiness highlights the intricacy of our emotions, the affections and animosity that can be invoked in us. Having a great best friend and a loving human family doesn’t stop the sensitive Mystic from regret and sadness. The cat tends to overthink, and I’m sure we are all aware what overthinking can do to humans-it worsens anxiety, which then leads to depression. This seemingly unassuming book provides great messages and a deeper understanding of our feelings, how essential they are to our well-being, how they shape our values and affect the way we go through life. Instead of letting inner happiness happen by chance, we can make it an intended choice. Simply put, this is a wonderfully motivating, poignant, and commendable read from Anne-Claire Szubaniska for young and older readers.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Anne-Claire Szubaniska uses a tabby cat, Mystic, to convey across to us the message she personally learned of inner joy. This emotional cat had learned that when he expressed sadness, he gained sympathy and compassion from others. He loved the attention so much he continued doing this, expecting others to share his emotional pain. This silly cat symbolizes behaviors people express when they feel they have been wronged and deserve attention for their suffering. They don't realize their behavior drains other people. Mystic and the Secret to Happiness takes Mystic through the one-on-one training he gets from a stray black cat, Freedom, that wishes to help him overcome his victim mentality and achieve the true happiness that comes by choice, no matter the circumstances in his life. Anne-Claire Szubaniska then backs up her teachings with people expressing the same unhappiness that Mystic was experiencing and the bitter results that come with this attitude.

I found Mystic and the Secret to Happiness not only entertaining, but very helpful in recognizing when people let their circumstances control their emotions. Anne-Claire Szubaniska shows how inner joy will draw others to you because of your happiness and sense of peace. It appears that Anne-Claire could not have taught these truths without learning them for herself. The words of wisdom that came from the cat Freedom must have been learned firsthand. I did find it quite humorous when Mystic first started experiencing joyful intuition. I felt drawn to the author and the contagious joy that she spread to those around her, and consider my life and attitude more enriched because of this book. I felt the main message of this book is that having inner peace and joy allows you a happiness that isn't dependent on anyone person or event.