Monday, November 30, 2015

December Blog Schedule

1 December 2015
Top ten tuesday: Looking to the future

2 December 2015
ebook review: Masters of the Shadowlands

3 December 2015
Thursday thoughts: tips for new bloggers

4 December 2015
fresh reads friday

5 December 2015
ebook review: Caillou waits for Christmas

6 December 2015
Book review: Spiritual warfare and prayer

7 December 2015
Book review: Melophobia

8 December 2015
Top ten tuesday: love at first sight edition

9 December 2015
Book review: Every Last word

10 December 2015
thursday thoughts: Favorite booktubers

11 December 2015
Ebook review: author power

12 December 2015
ebook review: hope for the weary mom

13 December 2015
ebook review: immediate obedience

14 December 2015
ebook review: make money think rich

15 December 2015
top ten tuesday: ultimate list edition

16 December 2015
ebook review: 50 things you need to know about Satan

17 December 2015
thursday thoughts: bookish gifts

18 December 2015
ebook review: 10 ways to say I love you

19 December 2015
Book review: Skinny

20 December 2015
Book review: purge

21 December 2015
ebook review: etiquette and espionage

22 December 2015
Top ten tuesday: Santa baby edition

23 December 2015
ebook review: 10 commitments for dads

24 December 2015
thursday thoughts: an open letter to santa

25 December 2015
ebook review: saved by the bell

26 December 2015
book review: The sea is wide, a memoir of caregiving

27 December 2015
book review: scouting for the reaper

28 December 2015
book review: unleash your inner company

29 December 2015
top ten tuesday: the next six months edition

30 December 2015
January 2016 blog schedule

31 December 2015
Thursday thoughts: how I became a reader

Sunday, November 29, 2015

ebook review: the happiness industry

When Jeremy Bentham proposed that government should run “for the greatest benefit of the greatest number,” he posed two problems: what is happiness and how can we measure it? With the rise of positive psychology, freakonimics, behavioural economics, endless TED talks, the happiness manifesto, the Happiness Index, the tyranny of customer service, the emergence of the quantified self movement, we have become a culture obsessed with measuring our supposed satisfaction.
In anecdotes that include the Buddhist monk who lectured the business leaders of the world at Davos, why the Nike Fuel band makes us more worried about our fitness, how parts of our city are being rebuilt in response to scientific studies of oxytocin levels in our brain, and what a survey from Radisson hotels—that proves that 62% of us believe that well-being is a luxury worth more than work or a good relationship—really tells us about the way we measure ourselves, and continually find ourselves wanting.
The pursuit of happiness only makes us sad—and the rise in depression and anxiety proves it.

My Review:

I've been doing really well reviewing my NetGalley books, and this is one of those that I'm doing again, because when I first signed up for NetGalley I was a really bad reviewer. Now I'm trying to be a good one!

The thing about writing nonfiction is that no matter how boring or academic your subject is, you still need a voice to capture someone's attention. If I wanted to read something dry and academic I'd go back to college. Which is really disappointing, because the premise of this book was really enticing and I was excited to read it--until I wasn't. When our computers crashed at work, I read the first page and told my coworkers "oh, this is already boring." The unofficial den mother of the group told me "then stop reading it."
Hopefully the cure for the common cold isn't in this book.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

ebook review: rewire your anxious brain

Do you ever wonder what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked, and worried? In Rewire Your Anxious Brain, psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle offer a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research.

In the book, you will learn how the amygdala and cortex (both important parts of the brain) are essential players in the neuropsychology of anxiety. The amygdala acts as a primal response, and oftentimes, when this part of the brain processes fear, you may not even understand why you are afraid. By comparison, the cortex is the center of “worry.” That is, obsessing, ruminating, and dwelling on things that may or may not happen. In the book, Pittman and Karle make it simple by offering specific examples of how to manage fear by tapping into both of these pathways in the brain.

As you read, you’ll gain a greater understanding how anxiety is created in the brain, and as a result, you will feel empowered and motivated to overcome it. The brain is a powerful tool, and the more you work to change the way you respond to fear, the more resilient you will become. Using the practical self-assessments and proven-effective techniques in this book, you will learn to literally “rewire” the brain processes that lie at the root of your fears.

My Review:

This is another one of those books that I got from NetGalley a long while ago and am now taking care of since I'm no longer battling my husband for control of the kindle (which he breaks...often). 
I mostly skimmed the first chapter of this book because I already knew the basics of the cortex and amygdala from psych 101. But I'm glad that chapter was included so people who haven't learned it can become quickly up to speed.

Once we got to the actual application part of the book, I was a little disappointed to see it all pared down to breathing and relaxation for panic attacks, and things like exposure therapy for established triggers. While it is cool to know the why behind these practices, I cant say they helped me because I knew the practices themselves have gotten me out of panic attacks before without having to read a book.

Friday, November 27, 2015

ebook review: The Little red book of pr wisdom

The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom, by Walkley Award-winning journalist and public relations practitioner Brian Johnson, draws on decades of experience from both sides of the media fence. This unique and acclaimed book is set to become the essential touchstone for media professionals, students and PR novices alike. Its insight into print, electronic and social media reveals the keys to success in the ultra-competitive world of publicity. With feedback from seasoned media operators, classic case studies, real world samples, examples, Golden Rules and Top Tips, The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom is the essential guide to decoding the media - and using it effectively.

Buy on Amazon

Add to Goodreads

My Review:

I got this book from NetGalley a looong time ago. I got overzealous and am just now getting to the review now.

First I want to say how much I loved Johnson's writing style. It was interesting and made a nonfiction subject interesting too--too often I find a promising subject and find the voice dry or obnoxious. 

Second, I loved the top tips at the end of every chapter, and the comics sprinkled throughout the book. Was this book relevant to my life in any way? Not at all. But I loved reading it just the same.

Anyone who is just starting out with a business or brand should read this book if you're not paying someone who went to school for this stuff. While not quite the end-all be-all of pr/marketing books, it's definitely one to add to your shelf to supplement your learning when starting out into the pr jungle.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Finding time to read

Hello everyone! Guess what we're going to try to bring back? That's right, the weekly rendition of Thursday Thoughts. No link-up this time around, I'm afraid, thought if anyone wants to cohost with me and take part of the linky part of things let me know!

This week: Finding time to read

1. Read multiple formats

Put aside the e-book vs. hard copy debate for a minute and consider this: different formats have different levels of effectiveness at different times of the day. I read hard copies at work when I'm not allowed to  use my phone. I read my kindle copies on breaks or at night when it's dark and I'm almost ready for bed. If I drove, I'd definitely be getting some audiobooks for the ride to and from work.

2. Carry a book everywhere

Going to a party? Pull a Rory Gilmore and stash a book in  your purse, in case it gets boring. Going to the bank or doctor? Bring a book, because we already know there's going to be a line. 

3. Stash books everywhere.

In your car. In your purse. In your other purse. In your coat that has big pockets. In a place at work, if you have one. In your gym locker. By your bed. By your laptop. In the kitchen. In the bathroom. Never be without a book.

4. Plot out your day in hours

My husband and I actually did this as a part of a 'get ready for kids' type workshop. You will be amazed how much free time you actually have. Include sleep, commute, and work/school in your schedule and highlight all the empty parts.

5. Schedule reading goals and set alarms

My goals are different for different formats. I aim for 100 pages of a hardcopy a day, and a whole ebook a week. Whenever I get a kid's book to review, I try to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I don't see the time on my phone when I'm reading, so I set alarms to tell me when to go back to work. I also have alarms to wake up, to do two hours of blog-related activities, one hour of quality wake up time with my daughter, an hour of eating/youtube/entering book giveaways/tumblr, and a half hour of reading before going to work.

That's all for this week, folks! How do you find time to read?
Next week:Tips for new book bloggers

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ebook review: addicted to busy

Are you busier than you want to be?
Than you need to be?
Than you are meant to be? 

It's time to break busy.
We are all spread too thin, taking on more than we can handle, trying to do so much—almost as if we are afraid that if we were to take a moment of rest, we might discover that all our busyness is covering up an essential lack in our lives.

But God never meant for us to be so busy. God desires for us peace. God desires rest.

Brady Boyd shows you how to live a life that embraces stillness and solitude and finds the peace that God wants for you.

My Review:

I've been working on catching up on NetGalley, at least the books I still have that weren't lost forever due to not downloading them on time.

It took me a while to get to this book. I was, ironically, too busy. But the author's voice was easy to follow, and interesting enough to want to keep following. I enjoyed the "breaking busy" challenges at the end of each chapter, but I think thats more of a testament to my character than anything else. I like being able to interact with my books and I LOVE challenges.
While sometimes I felt like if I ever met Brady I may not get along with him, I greatly admired his ability to be 100% honest with himself. And honestly, that's the only way anyone will get to start recovering from anything.
As my office goes into overtime season for the holidays, I might think of this book. But I might also push the thought aside. Either way I'll keep this book in mind for when I get older and ready to slow down. I'd recommend this book to everyone except most people in my generation will take the advice and ignore it like I probably will. But everyone maybe 30 years or older, or working parents who may be too busy for their kids sometimes should definitely give this book a go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top ten tuesday: thanksgiving edition!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week: Top ten books I'm thankful for.
So the reasons for all of these are varied, but not totally surprising. Some of them are because I read them over and over and I know they'll never disappoint me. Some of the ones that deal with real life issues made me feel not so alone as a kid. The religious ones either changed my point of view on something, taught me something, or supported one of my unpopular opinions on religion. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Instant Happy Journal

This colorful diary inspires journalers to apply happiness guru Karen Salmansohn'sInstant Happy principles to their everyday lives, with 365 prompts to encourage a year of gratitude.
     On the heels of Karen Salmansohn's wildly popular gift book Instant Happy comes this happiness journal, with daily prompts to help you think about and apply happiness wisdom to your own life. Each page features a specific intention, inspiring quote, surprising scientific fact, or thought-provoking question to ponder. When you approach your day with Salmansohn's "happiness prompters" in mind, you amp up your ability to notice (and create!) many more joyous moments in your day. But that's just half of what it takes to live a supremely happy life. This journal teaches the top two habits of happy people: to naturally set their intention to enjoy a happy day, then end the day reflecting on what made them happy. When you end your day writing about what went right, you further strengthen your happiness mindset. With fill-in dates so that you can write and reflect at your own pace, this little journal features a graphic design and fresh attitude perfect for today's modern happiness-seeker.

My Review:

I haven't read the companion book to this journal, but the author put her mission statement in the beginning of the journal that gave meaning to this journal and made me want to read the book one day. I got a physical version of this, and the cover is brilliantly designed. It's hard to protect the pages inside but flexible so you can maneuver it to write in the pages without damaging the cover.  It's also got a little ribbon as a built in bookmark.

What I also love about this book--other than it's a journal and I love journals--is the design of the pages themselves. The journal areas are short enough to not overwhelm you and long enough to write down what you have to say in regards to the prompt. And the prompts? Love them. They aren't too vague nor too specific, so no matter what you do for your daily activities, they apply to your life. I haven't used pencil on these pages or crayons, but the pages take to different kinds of pens really well. I haven't yet had to look at a pen and say "well, can't use that one. Bummer." 

And also, you can fill in your own dates. Why is this great? Maybe we don't have time to write every single day, especially on overtime days. Maybe this page doesn't apply to my day as well as THAT page does. The fill-in-the-date format lets you do these pages at your own pace, in whatever order you want. Buy this book for you, for a friend, a coworker, or family member. You won't regret it.

I got this book for free from Blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ebook review: Apocalypse meow meow

Brownie, Apollo, and their ragtag group of strays have raided the grocery store and defeated some very mean mutts--but now they've run out of food. So when the crew discovers a nearby Twonkies factory, and all the Twonkies they could ever eat, they think they've got it made.
The only catch is the cat guarding the factory--and this "cat" is MUCH bigger, and far more sophisticated, than any feline they've ever met. Can the dogs and their friends defeat their foe and claim the Twonkies for themselves?
The Proimos father-son team returns with another irreverent, dog-filled take on the apocalypse, told in a graphic novel paper-over-board format. The instantly accessible artwork and laughs on each page will charm everyone from the most reluctant reader to the coolest of cats (humans and animals alike)!

Buy on Amazon

My Review:

I got this book as an e-arc through NetGalley, so any formatting opinions are self-redacted.

First, the drawings: they were cute without being too childish, and fit the tone of the story well.

The story: was really adorable and I can see grade school readers loving this series. The ending felt a little cut off though, like this originally was a longer piece that got chopped in half. Although, for the second in a series, you'd never know it. It reads like the first of a series and there's a thing that is introduced but never explored or resolved that felt off.

Buyability: not for me. My daughter's too young yet for me to know if she would like it.

Overall: This is a great book to have in a school library, but the cliffhanger at the end means you'll probably want to get the series.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review: The Coffee Run

The Coffee Run: And Other Internship Need-to-Knows is a unique how-to for high school and college students, and includes not just lived but well-researched guidance for those trying to find and make the most of their internships. Based on real and honest internship experience, it is chronological advice, preparation, and lessons for undergraduates interested in any industry. Cleverly told and boldly motivating, this one hundred page pre-internship course book will be a staple of high school and college curriculums.

Buy on Amazon

My Review:

I got this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

This book was like the opposite of what I expected. I saw the cover and the title and the sub-title and thought "oh, funny stories about internship that have lessons learned the hard way." It's actually far more practical than that.

I didn't really like this book as it in no way applied to me nor interested me, BUT I think it will e a very useful book for anyone looking for not only an internship but any kind of job. This sort of book is something I wish I had read when I was looking for my job.

Overall, would I buy it? Yes, but as a gift and I really wouldn't buy as many as I would have if it was the type of book I expected it to be.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Review: A Cure for suicide

A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an “examiner,” the man, her “claimant.” The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress: he is showing improvement, yet his dreams are troubling. One day, the examiner brings him to a party, and here he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicideis the most captivating novel yet from one of our most exciting young writers.

Buy on Amazon

My Review:

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Reviews are encouraged as long as they're honest, but never required.

Well, at least I didn't spend money on it.

I didn't like this book at all. AT. ALL. I mean, I'm the last to scream about "you're telling, not showing!" because I can usually find something great about the writing style. This book is literally all telling, no showing. It's all dialogue. In 35 pages I counted about 3 paragraphs worth of actual prose. I read books, not screenplays.

It would be something if the dialogue was interesting, or showed us something about the characters. Nope. Boring, boring, boring. DNF.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Around the world in Books | Tag

I'll be honest. I wasn't tagged for this. I just love these so much and likewise, if anyone else loves these please go right ahead and tag yourself for me.
The rules:
List a country, and then show which favorite book of yours is set in that country is. You can use the countries I used, add your own, or use completely different ones! Links go to Goodreads.






Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ebook review: Why does the other line always move faster?

How we wait, why we wait, what we wait for—waiting in line is a daily indignity that we all experience, usually with a little anxiety thrown in (why is it that the other line always moves faster?!?). This smart, quirky, wide-ranging book (the perfect conversation starter) considers the surprising science and psychology—and the sheer misery—of the well-ordered line. On the way, it takes us from boot camp (where the first lesson is to teach recruits how to stand rigidly in line) to the underground bunker beneath Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle (home of the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art queue management technologies); from the 2011 riots in London (where rioters were observed patiently taking their turns when looting shops), to the National Voluntary Wait-in-Line days in the People’s Republic of China (to help train their non-queuing populace to wait in line like Westerners in advance of  the 2008 Olympics).
Buy on Amazon

My Review:

Did you know the concept of waiting in line didn't occur to Englishmen (and therefore Americans) until 1837? Apparently while heads were rolling in France, those classy citizens waited in queues for their bakery orders.

The first bit of this book focuses on different types of lines from the author's experiences: boot camp (which gave me bittersweet memories if ROTC), American lines, and Jordan lines in Amman. There wasn't too much of an emphasis on the 'why' aspect of our distaste of lines

As we got more into the history of things and away from personal anecdotes, references would have been great. But a simple Google search for most of the sources won't kill anyone who really really wants to be an expert on lines.

The author explains when lines started and the different types and evolutions of lines. This is awesome information! I didn't realize I was such a fan of lines until I read this book!

So when my coworkers asked me what I was reading today, I said "it's a book about waiting in line." Naturally they thought it sounded boring, but the glory of a talented author is that even this boring, menial subject that few care about was made interesting. I liked reading this. I recommend it for doctor and dentist offices, post offices, and DMVs. Any place with a waiting room, really.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten tuesday: favorite quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week: Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So.

"A study indicates that children laugh an average of four hundred times daily, adults only fifteen ... So what happens between childhood and maturity that damages our capacity for happiness?"

“Success in the arts is not measured in money 

or fame. It is about reaching that inner 

sanctum where the purest form of artistry takes


“To die, thought the lost boy in place of the 

Captain, will be an awfully big adventure."

“Everything that touches this earth leaves a 

special imprint, a unique mark that proves we

 exist in some way - no matter how invisible we

 may feel.” 

“But magic is like pizza: even when it's bad, it's

 pretty good.”

“Forgiveness doesn’t make one person better, 

or the other guy smaller. Forgiving is just 

letting go. It’s turning back toward being what

 we really are.”

“The difference between a story and an essay

 is that the storyteller just wants to entertain 

the reader, while the essayist has been to 

graduate school.” 

“A life is not meant to be half lived. It is meant to be fully, wholly embraced. If you want to make a change in the world you have to be strong. You have to take chances. You have to persevere. Sometimes you must blindly go in a direction that you may be unsure of, but one that you have faith will lead you to the right place.”

"From the noisy, crowded gym at freshman orientation (day 1) to the noisy, crowded gym at graduation day (day 1,387), four years of high school seemed infinite.
On that first day they had no clue that one of them would experience the worst of losses (day 691), and another would watch her family break apart (day 38), and another would fall deeply and dangerously in love without buckling up for the ride (say 1,045). There would be a fatal car accident (day 123), a supreme betrayal (day 489), a kiss with the most unlikely person at a waterfall in the woods (day 943), and a walk along the Seine in Paris (day 352), where a long-held secret is definitely not discussed.

And then there would be that night (day 1,386) when it all unraveled. But back to day one. The beginning."

"In my head, I have a nice, quiet, normal job that involves me running my own business. I carry a briefcase around my office with important documents, I have a nice assistant who calls me boss, and people ask me questions—they ask for my advice because I matter! I’m important to them! I’m recognized as something more than a pretty face and a pair of legs. I have a brain and interests and thoughts about religion, and poverty, and economics. I’m not a miserable girl with a number attached to her chest, stripping her clothes off in a room full of people."