Praise for 

 PADDLING WITH SPIRITS -        A Solo Kayak Journey

Lisa Derrer – Irene’s book was hard to put down and I wanted more when it ended. Her re-telling of the family stories were captivating and gracefully woven into the journey she was taking in her kayak. A delightful book that made me both want to explore more of my own family history and go kayaking!

Nancy Low - Well I had to share that I finished the audio recording of your amazing book yesterday!!!  I had to stop and gather my wits as I finished it because I was crying right along with you in your kayak at the end. What a lovely story and what an amazing telling of your journey.  I loved the book, thank you for writing it! (Nancy is preparing to make my book available for the blind through the WA. Talking Book and Braille  Library.)

Pat Torpie – Did I tell you how much I loved your book Irene? We have been passing it around here among our friends in Santa Cruz and everyone loves it. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with all of us.

Keri Sausman -   …so beautifully done I have dreams about it at night…

Josh Ratza – I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. Those last few chapters brought real tears to my eyes. Thank you, loved it!

Peggy Mauro – I finished your story last night. I cried knowing it was the end of the book. What a treasure to have a copy to share with others. I absolutely loved everything about your writing, with the flow of the ancestors and you woven together. It’s magnificent and I hope you write another book someday. Thank you for heartfelt sharing of your soulful journey.

Lane Langford – I just finished your most beautiful book. You imparted in me such a beauty and reverence for so many things. I have come away with so much more than I had before I read it. Thank you from my heart. You brought me tears, and smiles, and laughter, and joy, and wisdom. And thank you to Gregg for encouraging you to “keep writing”.

Kim Stafford (author of Having Everything Right: Essays of Place) – “In this book the long, restless boundary between ocean and land becomes a road of discovery for an intrepid paddler traversing the liminal space between present and past, between the visible world and the unseen resonance of her ancestry. With 'every stroke of the paddle away from shore,' Skyriver plunges deeper into the telling of her familial links to this coast. Her account alternates between stages in her pilgrimage through the water, and fictionalized stories from her kin. In prose that sparkles with bold strokes, this story is told as the journey is taken: with every splash of Skyriver’s muscular observation, story and thought, the reader glides forward on glittering waters.”  


Mindy Richardson - OMG, I was So Sad to finish your book.  I felt like ALL the characters, including your younger paddling self, were so vivid, so real that I knew them.  When I began reading the first chapter, I was struck by your gift with language and thought, “this is poetry!” with your ability to describe the sea, the headlands, a wolf’s footprints, the fog….  The way you weave the stories of your incredibly resilient parents, grandmothers, and great grandmothers into the paddle stories really worked for me… I didn’t know was how much empathy I’d gain for those darling young girls who had such a difficult beginning…  But the way those young women rose above to become whole again, to go on to lead their lives, is truly a story in recovery…


Emma Ewert (blog post) - I do have a great book to share with you today…This book was a wonderful, moving and eloquent examination of a person's present and past. I especially appreciated the warmth and empathy with which Irene imagined her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lives, thanked them for their gifts and gracefully accepted and understood their mistakes…these stories are wonderful reading! This book has a unique structure that worked for me…


Dawn Prince – I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed every single page. So glad to hear you’re working on another one!

Debaura James - Your writing has touched me deeply.  The incredible stories of your sinewy ancestors, the strength and committed love of the grandmothers, seasoned with the graphic tales of your journey were a balm to my soul.  Being a kayaker myself, often solo, (but in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez) I was right there paddling with you.  The arduousness, the tranquility, the absolute solitude, the test of our meddle is something I have yet to find in my other outdoor adventures--and you took me there on these cold winter days of being cabin-bound…

Nancy Ewert - I just finished your book, which I whipped through this week….whew…I am speechless on so many levels. I wish more than anything that you were right here so I could talk to you about it all night!!!! ... It is truly amazing and your stories of your family are so alive... I am in awe. I really appreciate your sharing and believe me, I had a couple of late nights when I could not stop reading!! 

Nichole Vincze - I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your life and adventure and finding myself struggling to put it down.


Barbara Smith - It has taken me a bit of time to start reading, PADDLING with SPIRITS, but now that I am started, it is going to take all of the discipline that I have to not just sit here and keep reading until I have finished reading every word to the end. 

Miriam Kashia - This morning I finished reading Irene's wonderful, amazing, exciting, insightful, tender, rich, interesting and well-written book... What a challenge/adventure/courageous undertaking!!!

Matt Hummel - I really enjoyed it, (except for the lack of car crashes and explosions) it is truly a heartfelt beautifully written story...
The way  you intertwined your journey along with the family history was a great structure for the narrative and the excellent descriptions of your paddle and past events gave it an effortless flow.

Lorri Swanson - (school teacher) - Just wanted to share how much I enjoyed reading your book! I loved your writing it was so beautifully written. At one point I contemplated taking the day off from school to keep reading. I hope you continue to write stories you're a gifted writer.

Betsy Hartzell - Inspiring to me. So simply stated, this story grows on the reader, unfolding from one page to another, so much about the courage and clarity that are in this woman's heart...It is almost dreamlike, the "echoes" of a culture lost...I recommend to anyone who is tempered by loss, and seeks alignment with natural wisdom. You will resonate with Skyriver's journey and fascinating, interspersed stories of family history. 

Jaina Bee - Sparkling, dappled storytelling of the most satisfying quality. Like sitting around a campfire listening to tales of the ancestors

interwoven with a real life adventure tale. Inspiring, heartbreaking, wise and gracious. I never ever wanted it to end.

Sara Parker - ...She is funny, clever, and spiritual, and she makes you fall in love with the PNW and it's people all over again.

Connie - Ahh, this book had me captivated from page one all the way to the last...Storytelling is obviously a gift of Irene's...I must confess that I did not make one meal for three nights and had to eat pasta since that is my husband's specialty. Give yourself the joy of adventure, culture, love and heartbreak by reading this beautifully written book.

Twinkle- I read this book in a two day reading marathon! Me, my woodstove, tea, this book and rainy days made for some serious bliss. It was beautifully and simply written and joyful throughout. Even though she describes family stories that are painful at times, Irene writes with a gentle and lovely sort of honesty. Her descriptions of her own adventures are captivating and accessible and inspirational and filling. I can't recommend it enough.  

 C. Holtz - What an amazing story, memoir, and journey. The word choice and visualizations put you in the moment whether on the water or with her ancestors. I have recommended this book to everyone I see and use it to teach writing techniques to create quality writing that others will enjoy. Irene is a natural story teller.

Iris Graville - Irene Skyriver’s beautiful book braids memoir with family storytelling for a compelling example of personal strength and wisdom. In lyrical, vivid language, she carries the reader through trials and triumphs across generations. Irene’s love and respect for her ancestors is apparent in her kayak journey from Alaska to Lopez Island, WA and in the stories she tells of the ways their lives intertwine. A mesmerizing read.

Kelly O'Dell - Inspirational, beautifully written, and cleverly interwoven (family history and solo kayak journey)! This read surely opens portals for the reader to experience the northwest in a time passed, in parallel to the present. What a sweet read. Thank you Irene!

Jessica Prince - Delicious, inspiring, and cathartic...from the first page.


 Sam Bernardi - Wow, you are on my list of most admired women.  Your writing style kept me in the moment.  I felt like I was in your kayak with you traversing the waters both tame and turbulent.  The narrative of your ancestors story gave me a deeper understanding of you and the kind of cultural disruption that can be visited upon a peoples traditions by European intrusion.  Thank you for the gift of your story.  When I finished your book I was left wanting more.  To me that is a sign of a well written story.