Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family


The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really really enjoyed this book! I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I found it as a suggestion from the Pioneer Library, these haven’t been the best suggestions this year. 😦 However, this one was great! I was shocked to find that it was written by a local author, and that he was in turn so open and honest about his feelings and experiences with the faith he grew up with, and that of his family. (LDS) Generally I really do no like LDS authors, this one was much different and quite rejuvenating. It was fascinating learning about the turrets, how it has affected his life, and the lives of those around him, and how he learned to live with and conquer at times “Misty”. Fabulous read, I think we can all find something that relates to us and give us more understanding and compassion. Great read, highly recommend. Well written, flow, rhythm and engagement all rate at the top of the chart for me.

Finished 30 December 2013

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss


Anna and the French Kiss
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Gag me!
I started out really enjoying this book and it moved quickly at the beginning, but then it started sneaking in some of the teenage lovey crap that is completely unrealistic. The teenage mentality, writing & dialog drives me batty. Sometimes, I think this author (Ms. Perkins) took writing lessons from Stephanie Myers. 😐 This has such potential but horrid teenage girl useless drama. She seriously writes like Stephanie Myers. 😦 I’m only continued on for the sake of finishing… I was so grateful that this finally ended! I felt such a rush of relief!

Finished 12 December 2013

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Review: World Regional Geography


World Regional Geography
World Regional Geography by Douglas L. Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really thought this book was fabulous! I know it’s a text book and required reading. But I found it informative, engaging, and fascinating! It was so fun learning more about cultures,economics, governments, historical data, landmarks, climates, industries, cultural attributes, you name it. I thought that the book was thorough and comprehensive in teaching. I felt that much of the focus had a lot to do with sociology and cultures played into the natural landscapes of the world and how we were able to effectively or ineffectively trade, grow and develop. I found myself constantly preferring to read my text book than my fluff books, and I feel that says a lot about how well this book was written! Highly recommend to everyone. I know it took a long time to finish. It was quite comprehensive, and I tested out of the class. As soon as I finished this class my reading changed to my next class and had to refocus my efforts in finishing the two textbooks allocated to that class instead. Again, fascinating read, even if it’s not for school!

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Review: Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life


Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life
Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life by Gordon B. Hinckley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely loved the Way To Be!, just as much as I adore President Gordon B. Hinckley! It was wonderful to read this book again, to hear his voice and feel he pure love that exuberates from him. How I’ve missed this great man. I’ve read this book a few times and will read again. Always new applicable points and views! I highly recommend for anyone of any background, faith, religion, etc. Just basic and profound views and points, of being a good person – just because you should try to be a good person.

My uncle wrote on his coffin, “Do good because doing good is good to do. Not because of threats or promises of Heaven or Hell.” I love that. I think that this book helps mostly guide on simply BEing a good person!

President Hickley stated in the book, “Rise above mediocrity, above indifference. Become involved and speak with a strong voice of that which is right. ”

I originally took fantastic notes while making my journey through this book. But looking back. I feel like I highlighted the whole book! 😐

Nonetheless, the 9 Be’s we should all remember are as follows:

9 Be’s:
Be Grateful
Be Smart
Be Involved
Be Clean
Be True
Be Positive
Be Humble
Be Still
Be Prayerful

Finished the book 1 October 2013.
I highly recommend this book to all, over and over again! Enjoy and BE an amazing contribution!

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Review: Briar Rose


Briar Rose
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this book about 17 years old (16 years ago). This is a book that sticks with you. You know the type, the kind that randomly will run through your head or something else will trigger your thoughts that will end up drifting back to you. For the last 16 years I have considered this on my top books list. It still is for the record. But how I remembered the book and how I internalized it this time were drastically different. But I know it’s the same book nonetheless.

I didn’t remember from before:
* The way Gemma’s story was intertwined with ‘today’ and told in bits and pieces.
* I don’t remember so much detail about the holocaust camps
* I didn’t remember a thing about the Prince!

For whatever reason this book came to mind so much this year that I felt compelled to read again, I was enthralled to find a copy of it on Amazon. (I love Amazon).

Since this was a book-book, it did take me a little longer to get through. Most days I found myself wishing I could simply stay home in my quiet peaceful and clean home enjoying the coolness of the weather and finish this delightful story once again that has lingered in my mind and heart since the last time I read it 16 years ago. I certainly wasn’t disappointed in it, many others re-reads were highly disappointing.

I loved meeting all the characters and hearing their bits and pieces of Gemma’s history with their own. However, most of them were very short. However, “The Prince’s Story” seemed very long! It’s went on for chapters. Not that it’s bad and it’s interesting, and nauseating at the same time. Not because of the writing, but because of what happened. Ah history… but it’s been interesting to see how much his story is elaborated upon.

Overall I still absolutely love Jane Yolen, and look forward to reading more of her books. I love her style, her rhythm, and great talent for story telling.

I tend to have been drawn to many books around WWII, I felt years ago and still that Ms. Yolen has a unique talent for relating the hard stories. Highly recommend!

Favorite Quotes from the Book:

Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.’ That depends… on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Time may heal all wounds, but it does not erase the scars.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Stories,” he’d said, his voice low and almost husky, “we are made up of stories. And even the one’s that seem the most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths.”

― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

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Review: I Am Number Four


I Am Number Four
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first part of this book. I found that most of it was really interesting, it was engaging and had a great pace. However when I stopped over the weekend, it was hard to re-engage and the relationship, banter and conversations between John & Sarah bugged the crap out of me! The authors conversation writing left much to be desired. Much was written to more of a young adult crowd. Mostly because that’s the maturity level and thinking level of the main character. I did really like most of it. I just lost interest and momentum when putting the book down. Granted when I picked it back up there was a battle against the bad aliens that went on forever and ever! Then, at the end it just drops you off with no real closure. I see it was a good stopping point, but the is no closure at all. Grr.

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(Finished on 5 November 2013)

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Review: That Perfect Someone


That Perfect Someone
That Perfect Someone by Johanna Lindsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in only two days!! I nearly forgot HOW much I love Johanna Lindsey!! Her books might be very predictable, but she is a delightful and engaging storyteller! Always such a breathe of fresh air and fluff for my brain! 🙂 🙂 I had to put this away before I finished it in one day so that I might relish in the story longer…

This book as well as her other books was fun, light-hearted, full of funny moments and real life situations and lessons. She does have small lovey scenes that if you are sensitive, you might want to skip over, but they are really pretty mild.

In addition, I’ve decided I am going to finish my crazy hard end of months with a great fluff book. 🙂 Totally makes it better! That is going to be my little treat to myself. 🙂

(Finished 30 August 2013)

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BLESSINGS ABOUND with UTA!!!!


BLESSINGS ABOUND!!! 

Last week… Sorry this was accidentally saved as a draft…

I lost my UTA Transit Pass this morning after taking a different connection than usual to try out. I got confused was at the wrong stop (wrong side of the street) and missed the bus to work. I ended up walking four miles because that was faster than waiting for the next bus. (It never caught up to me.) During my walk my pass must have fallen out and was lost. However, my nice brisk walk was rejuvenating and quite enjoyable!

English: by me UTA bus

English: by me UTA bus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My transit pass is a perk from being a Salt Lake County Bicycle Ambassador. I called reported that one missing and they are sending me a new one. This pass has been a tremendous blessing! I also had no idea I was even getting one for being an Ambassador, until it was handed to me! I was super excited! And so grateful for it daily!!!

In the meantime, I had no cash on me, and evidently also left my debit card at home from paying the bills the other day!  So, my Co worker Kristal, was sweet enough to loan me $6.00 so that I could get home. Thank you!

Then when I went to get on the first bus (Park City Connect – which Rocks!) I asked the driver how much the fare was. He looked at me strange and I have a sympathetic look and said my pass was lost this morning. He looked at me and said “Sweetheart, keep your money and enjoy your ride.” Boy was I excited and grateful!!! Then, on my connection I go to pay in the next one asked again how much it is. He asked why was I asking. I again said that I lost it this morning during my commute. He also said to keep my money that he recognized me, and there was no reason to waste my money when he knew I had a pass. Wow!! So grateful!!! Thank you UTA!! And thank you Heavenly Father for blessing me with kind Bus Drivers!! 🙂 🙂

Salt Lake Bike Party

Salt Lake Bike Party (Photo credit: Der Blaue Reiter)

See, I really should ride the bus more often (as long as I can make the 470/903 Connections anyway, otherwise I hate the world when I drive. Not to mention, it was GREAT study time, and honestly my original plan to study while on transit. Too bad, I need my car to go to the gym during lunch! Maybe I’ll start leaving it at work overnight… maybe, that makes me nervous.

Normally during good weather,  I bicycle 18 miles each way to work from Bountiful to the mouth of Parley’s Canyon (I’m a wimp and need to get over the cold). Some days I cheat and take the UTA Trax up the steep hill to the University of Utah, then continue riding down Foothill Blvd to my office. I also use UTA when I’ve ridden too far and I’m exhausted – they’ll always take me home! 🙂 It’s a fantastic ride and makes my day go by so much better! I feel better, I have more energy and my brain works better.  Not to mention I get in my daily work out and my commute! For me Bicycle Commuting is the way to go! Not to mention I help make a difference at not being one of the vehicles creating more fumes for our valley that holds them in so well. I’m a huge advocate for Bicycle Commuting and love being part of the Bicycle Ambassador Program. Key highlights of our program is to create awareness about Cycling, and definitely promote Bike Safety and knowledge of laws and resources available. One of our main goals with our education program is to help people get over the fear of cycling to work. We help educated on gear, techniques, routes, you name it! We will even ride with you on your first practice run for your commute. It such a highlight for me and I will talk to anyone that’s interested.There is a lot more that we do, but that’s the basic gist of it. If you have any questions about our program, please feel free to reach out to me.

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Review: If I Stay


If I Stay
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, this was definitely a book that makes you ponder your own life and feelings.

I enjoyed that most of it was back story, I feel that the plot of Mia’s decision moved well, with her reliving her life through memories. It makes me wonder how many of us really have that same decision, do I take the easy road and move onto the next life? Or fight for a little more life? A little bit more love? More trials, tribulations, and joys that make it all worth it.

I feel that the author was very talented in telling the story, but could use work on her dialog. The length was just about right. Anymore, would have felt that it dragged, which it didn’t. She kept a fairly decent pace and rhythm. Overall very interesting read. Heartbreaking and triumphant story.

Finished 18 November 2013

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Review: The Tale of Despereaux


The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure they made a movie out of this book. Frankly I’m not sure why. I’m not sure of why there was so much hype about this book or why people were so excited. Completely baffles me!

I was first surprised that it has the same sort of rhythm as Dumas and Hugo, telling the story of one character for a while then jumping to another and trying to make the world complicated. Which was ok at first but then it just felt like the author was trying to hard, at which point it got really annoying.

By page 95 I was ready to be done with this! I didn’t care, it just rambled and I wanted to be done. But because it was so short I carried on, hoping that it might redeem itself. It didn’t. Now I’m just annoyed. 😐

The tag line on Good reads says, “Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious.” — BOOKLIST (starred review)” Yeah I think they were digging too deep and trying to hard to find a point…or they were paid off. Either way my opinion horrid book!

Side point, towards the end of this book I looked up the author. I was very surprised to see that she wrote “Because of Winn Dixie“. Hard for me to fathom that they were written by the same author, then again I read that well over a decade ago…

My recommendation for this book…. keep moving, don’t waste your time!

This book is so stupid! I”m so grateful that it’s short! I don’t like the style. And completely do not understand that point of this story! I really don’t understand why there was so much hype about this book. Gag me! I’ve been pushing through it only so I can be done with it!

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Review: Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story


Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

Dame Daphne

Dame Daphne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw this book recommended from my library, and needing a new biography to read, I jumped on it. Being the Granddaughter of an Elephant Trainer and having a great love for the wonderful gentle (in my experience) giants, I was ecstatic to read this! Perhaps I thought this book would be more like the stories I have heard all my life of my Grandfather & his Elephant friends, and the additional memories of my Father working with him and my own memories. Or perhaps I thought it might be similar to Water for Elephants, which I also loved. Perhaps I thought I’d hear more of the stories that I heard from my former in-laws of their lives in Africa (Angola, Congo & Botswana) before coming to America as refugees….

To my surprise this was uniquely not like any of what I had expected.  Dame Daphne is definitely an interesting person, who

David Sheldrick

David Sheldrick

has lived an extraordinary life and I feel made a greater impact on the world than she realizes, let alone Kenya, and the rest of the African continent and it’s largest population. While there were something’s she shared in her life, decisions and actions that I personally don’t agree with she is still a stellar woman. Who undoubtedly ADORED her second husband David, who helped build her ultimate legacy as well as his.

In the reading of the book, I felt that at many times it dragged on and on. That Dame Daphne obviously prefers the company of animals to humans, and that the relationships with them, how brief some may have been were much more significant than those of anyone outside of David and her two daughters. That being said the stories of the animals, which are the basis of this writing, seemed never to end and went into considerably too much detail, which made me want to skip a lot, although I never did. But then it felt like a chore to persevere through the book rather than go along for the ride.

English: Baby elephants in "The David She...

English: Baby elephants in “The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust”, Nairobi, Kenya. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has, between 1987 and 2009, successfully hand-reared over 85 newborn and very young elephant orphans through its Nairobi Nursery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This being said, there were many wonderful parts of her story that ultimately teach us lessons and leave us yearning to make a difference in the world around us. To follow our hearts, our passions and find our greater purpose here on Earth. Sadly most of the greatest parts of this book were in the last few pages. However, I’m sure that without reading the entire epilogue that they would have not been as dramatic or left such a deep impression. I feel that reading this book has left an impression on my heart that will stick. A further love of the African Wildlife, and fascination of Africa, more rooted desire to visit there someday and find my own way to serve there and here at home.

Avril Jenson

Avril Jenson

Dame Daphne Shledrick

Dame Daphne Shledrick – http://http://youtu.be/dqvDHx0vJrI

Passages that really stuck out were about Elephants and their amazing memory. A few of my most vivid memories are those with the Elephants, myself, my Grandfather & my Father. I’d always heard this my whole life… Until I was a teenager I didn’t fully comprehend. I remember going to The Hogle Zoo with my family, where my family had worked. My father was a boy/teenager when he’d worked at the zoo with his father. But I remember the elephants come running and seemingly so excited to see my father. Normally the elephants would ignore the tourists unless they were giving them food. But all my father had to do was walk up to the fence, say softly “There’s our girl. Hey Toka.” She immediately turned and ran to my father trying to reach him over the ‘moat’ around her pen. She seemed to be smiley and giddy as a child, mimicking my fathers similar reaction. My father hadn’t been there in years, and had been a boy. But I knew then Toka, Toni and Hydori all remembered my father, and associated the love and joy that my Grandfather (Avril Jenson) gave to them for all those years with my father as well. As you can imagine the times of going to the zoo with my Grandfather were even greater, with similar but more intense reactions of love and excitement for my Grandpa, who simply loved and adored these amazing creatures.

Dame Daphne relates a similar experience when one of her elephants joyously runs to enthusiastically greet a former caretaker from 30 years in the past. Her closing statement of the book Is that she has learned her lives greatest lessons from the elephants, wherein which no matter the wrong that had been done to them they had such a high resolve to forgive the trespasses against them, without the ability to ever forget. What a strong lesson in that simple statement! We as humans have the ability for things to slip from our minds, to actually forget many things after a great or small wrong as besought us, yet forgiveness is such a huge thing for us to obtain or give, and we can let it go, we can forget it ever happened and go on with life! Imagine never being able to ever to simply forget, but having to consciously forgive and take the higher road, to give others the chance to grow, learn and become better individuals, even though they might never do so.

She also elaborated on things such as a conviction that Elephants must be able to communicate telepathically. This, I find simply fascinating! I’m anxious to follow the studies through the rest of my life to see what we are able to figure out about their higher level and ability to communicate. In addition she also made reference to the fact that the animal kingdom seems to function at a higher level of understanding, in a much older and adjusted world. As if they have been given blessings and understandings than any of us humans could ever comprehend. Thinking on this, I believe she is right. We already know that God has only given us so much knowledge in this life so far, because of our cardinal selves, and the fact that we haven’t been able to raise ourselves high enough yet for further enlightenment. What a cool time that will be!

Despite the sometimes long and drawn out seasons of this book, I still highly recommend.

If you are interested in learning more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and how you can be involved go to their website to learn more: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org You can also follow them on Facebook, & YouTube.

david-sheldrick-wildlife_152012217521.jpg_article_singleimage

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Review: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work


English: A table illustrating statistics menti...

English: A table illustrating statistics mentioned in the source’s journal article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised!! I thought it would be some mumbo jumbo, feel good stuff. But it’s actually full of some really interesting research, and application points. I tried some on various days… I think it helped for sure! Granted one of them was me laughing at a picture on my digital photo frame of that Coke drinking chicken at the hostel in Hawaii! lol he he

Coke Drinking Chicken

Coke Drinking Chicken

This chicken is the maintenance guys pet and loves to drink coca-cola. It was a sight to behold!

Honestly though, great read, great points, great research and application points. I thought the author was engaging and entertaining. I really felt a change in myself as I progressed through this book. A change in my attitude, my life, my circumstances, and overall happiness.

One of my biggest mantras in life is “Happiness is a Choice” I love reading books that back this up! Great read, highly recommend for everyone. I immediately bought an audio and print versions of this upon completion.

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English: Happiness cause percentages based on ...

English: Happiness cause percentages based on Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Review: The Husband List


The Husband List
The Husband List by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders B...

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders Books and Music in Braintree, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

At first I struggled with Janet’s attempt to branch out to other time periods and plots. I could definitely feel the influence of the Doreen Kelly, aka not Janet’s methods and styles. However after the first few chapters she found her groove and her characters and we had smooth sailing from that point on. It was a fun

 

little read and nice to have Janet but a different story line, even though her formula reins supreme. Fun read, glad she is branching out with other stories beside Stephanie, Joe & Ranger and Diesel and Lizzy. 🙂

 

(Actually Finished June 24th 2013)

 

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Review: Beatrice and Virgil


Beatrice and Virgil
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Life of Pi is one of my all-time favorite books! I was SO excited about reading Beatrice & Virgil hoping for the same or similar at least depth. Perhaps this had it, perhaps not. I felt like the whole book was attempting to ‘set the plot’ and then all of a sudden at the end it all blows up in your face within a matter a few pages! Literally!

I felt confused and what is this all about through the whole book…. I felt that it jumped around a lot and really lacked a plot. The story within the story is about a donkey and a monkey that live on a shirt – not kidding. They end up somehow being survivors of the holocaust and the taxidermist who is the writer of the story was a torturer within Hitler‘s realm.

The ending felt like the editor had put pressure on Mr. Martel and he hurried and tried to close the story. I was upset and vexed most the story and especially at the end. I don’t recommend this one at all! If you like Martel previously this one might put a hiccup in your love for him. 😐

Either all this or I don’t have a deep enough conscience to comprehend all the subliminal messages

(Actually Finished July 16th 2013)

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English: Canadian Booker prize-winning author ...

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Review: Enna Burning


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enna Burning
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read the second book of the Books of Bayern Series, I had just been struggling through the awful “In Courts of the Sun” and was desperate for something actually good. Since I had such a great experience with “The Goose Girl” I thought this would be a great reprieve from my book despair.

While it was a million times better than Courts of the Sun, it wasn’t as good as Goose Girl and I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t hate it though. I really enjoyed Enna‘s character in the first book and the princess, now Queen Ani was still delightful. I’m sure I’ll still finish the series hoping this was a hiccup, and the rest is great. The ending left it hanging and I need some resolution.

Granted, the part where I really started struggling was when she was in love with what’s his bucket “for a week” and they had just immediately fallen in love and she had turned her back on her friends… it was weird and I was upset. I don’t believe in love at first sight and it tends to cloud everything else out. However, I felt much better after realizing that he had the people speaking gift that can make people make decisions and do things against their will.

(Actually Finished August 24th 2013)

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Review: The Help


The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m one that has a really hard time giving in to read really ‘popular’ books… so I procrastinate and procrastinate simply because I don’t want to simply follow the crowd. Well I have to admit on this one, it was a simply amazing book! What courage, dedication and resolve these strong women showed in the face of adversity. I don’t know that I would have had the same courage and conviction, if I were in any of those roles, to be the difference, I pray that I would, but I just don’t know.

The writing style was well done in this book, easy to follow and most definitely engaging! Once I got into it, it did take a minute, I couldn’t put it down. I found every opportunity I could to read, and found myself laughing and crying all the way through. Definitely heart wrenching.

I am curious though, I know it was based on a true story. But if that’s the case and this is the story about them writing their story, and their story in the book is titled “The Help” then where is the other book??

I wish I would have had the few minutes to write the review when I finished this book. However, I delayed because I wanted to give it the time and dedication in writing a review it deserved, and unfortunately I’m writing it 3 months later and not giving it the love I wanted it because it’s faded a bit.

Regardless, fantastic read everyone should put on their list, popular or not.

(Actually Finished June 3rd,2013)

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Review: The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People


The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People
The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People by Gary Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Gary Chapman and his 5 Love Languages since I was introduced to them at the age of 18 in 1999. How grateful I am to my friends and their recommendation! It’s been one of the best blessings in my relationships & life!

Naturally because of my admiration of Dr. Chapman

English: Gary Chapman speaking at an Associati...

English: Gary Chapman speaking at an Association of Marriage and Family Ministries conference in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘s work I was intrigued with this idea and concept. I found that it was very applicable and fun learning more about each of the 5 languages and how to more effectively communicate appreciation to my colleagues that I spend so much time with, even if I am a bit of a hermit at work. I am very aware of those that assist me and so appreciative of their efforts! I also know that I am happier in my workplace and with the efforts that I also put forth when I know that I’m also appreciated. I’m very hard on myself and expect a lot out of myself. Unfortunately I’m not always my own best friend. Positive reinforcement and appreciation goes a LONG way with me!

My love languages are acts of service and quality time, which are not always easy to express or receive in the work place. Especially with me sticking to myself until I don’t feel like I’m the new girl trying to prove that I am capable and make a difference.

I think this book is a great asset to have under your tool belt and I can definitely see the the many positive affects that it might place in motion when implemented throughout a company, albeit slightly awkward at first.

The first 3/4 of the book, was great and hard to put down. It moved quickly was engaging and fascinating. It all remained fascinating and very easy application steps and follow. The last 1/4 of the book moved very slowly. But still really great book! Highly Recommend. I actually immediately bought myself a audio and print version of this book upon completion! 🙂

(Actually Finished August 8th 2013)

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Business, Career, Education, Health & Nutrition, Humanity, Life, Relationships, Schooling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: Mom & Me, & Mom


Mom & Me & Mom
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Maya Angelou and was very excited to learn more about her life, what it was like and what made her who she is.

That being said, it was interesting to really learn a lot more about her and things in her life I would have never guessed! I really learned much about this astounding woman. In addition I have added more levels of appreciation.

That being said, this was a hard book to read. It didn’t follower her normal writing styles and seemed to go on and on. It just goes to show the differences of what we all find interesting and important about our lives. It could have been that it was a hard read for me since it immediately followed me finishing “The Help“.  Out of the biographies I’ve read, I’d have to say, this isn’t my favorite. But still good to read.

Nonetheless, I found it an informative, interesting, and enlightening to one amazing and “Phenomenal Woman“!

(Actually Finished June 26th, 2013)

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: Beauty of the World, Education, Family, Life, Relationships, Schooling, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: The Sea of Monsters


Rick Riordan at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, ...

Rick Riordan at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sea of Monsters
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know, I’m late in jumping on the Percy Jackson band wagon, and it’s official. I LOVE this series!! Rick Riordan rocks. I love his style, he is talented and has such a fantastic imagination! I love how much he teaches us in each book of Greek Mythology and of core principals. Great read! Highly recommend to everyone of all ages… 😛 I can’t wait to read the next one, but spacing them out to continue enjoying the adventures!

(Actually Finished June 2nd 2013)

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Categories: Humanity, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health


Wheat

Wheat (Photo credit: kewing)

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

January of 2012, I started on a fitness challenge through Gold’s Gym with the encouragement of my personal trainer. I was hesitate and felt that whatever I did, I wouldn’t stand a chance in the competition but it made sense to me to pay $20 and receive 3 extra training sessions for free. I joined and honestly gave it a shot. Figured if I had any chance what so ever I had to cut more nutritionally even though I already ate really ‘healthy’ the only thing I had left to cut was my wheat bread, wheat pasta, brown rice, very few processed food and my weekly ‘treat’. I figured that I could maintain this for three whole months, even though I’ve never been one to do a ‘diet’, I thought I’d at least give it a chance.

In that three month time I shed 22 lbs and 10 1/2 inches, and was so busy that my working out had even decreased, my main difference was my nutrition. I found that I felt better, my brain worked better, I had more energy, my stomach aches nearly vanished and I just overall felt better!!! What a surprise!

At the end of the challenge I went back to allowing myself a sandwich once a week and rice here and there, pasta I have never been super fond of so that kinda stayed away. The next month I only shed one pound and felt like crap the whole month! From that point on I made a oath with myself to only allow things into my body that make me feel good and to listen to my body on everything.

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: CeresB)

At that point I became really dedicated and excited about what I was doing, I started researching and learning more and more and started up with “Real Food Only” type groups. I would occasionally hear oh you must have read “Wheat Belly” or that I should read it… I kept brushing it aside. Eventually I ended up finding the Paleo Lifestyle and realizing I was already there. I’ve been 100% dedicated since May of 2012, and at this point shed 75 lbs!!

This spring it came up on my availability list and I decided to go ahead and see what it said, boy was I amazed at the teachings this book holds! I was amazed that the things that I had already learned on my own. I was also grateful for a few things that I was in the middle of figuring out, different triggers that would take me down or affect me immensely whenever I gave into temptation. At this point, it’s rare when I give into temptation, but the adverse effects are immediate. One of the most fascinating points I found was the affect that wheat played on the mental state of our brains. As a woman, we all have those moments when and where we feel a bit crazy (thanks a lot hormones) but I feel it might be the moment that we stop thinking we might be crazy that we’ve officially crossed over and joined the crazy train. Sorry for my digressing. The point is that they tested patients with schizophrenia and very sensitive brains and how the reacted on days with wheat and days without. The study was astounding! I noticed in addition, my days that I ‘felt crazy’ were days that I had cheated… well if that’s not enough to cure you of the addiction?! 😐

A note from my progress points; “Ok, just finished Chapter 11 on Brain functions and Vertigo. It says that it’s un-reversible and that once the damage is done its done. I can’t believe this. The body is amazing at healing itself so is the power of belief. In the book it said that stopping the wheat will only prevent further damage, and not reverse itself like everything else. Reason in that alone says no! But, this is good to know! It makes sense”

Really this book was fascinating in the studies, the research, the science and everything to back it up. Maybe a few things were a little overboard, or maybe I’m just not there yet. However, I think this book holds an immense amount of truth and that we need to take a closer look. This was another book that I bought after finishing. Highly highly recommend! Save your own life and that of your body’s! Also start researching Paleo and Autoimmune reversals. I’m here to testify that your body really does start healing itself from the inside out when you give it the nutrition it needs and purge all of the toxic crap out of your life! Good luck! Follow my blog at www.jenniferadventures.wordpress.com

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(Actually Finished May 23rd 2013)

Categories: Culinary Delights, Fitness, Fitness Transformation, Health & Nutrition, Paleo, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Review: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW!!! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book! Since I have finished it I bought myself two copies, one audio, and one print. To nearly every woman I come in contact with I have highly recommended!!! The book was engaging and entertaining. Mrs. Sandberg addressed so many things I have personally dealt with in the workplace and life, that never gets addressed. I appreciate so much what she is doing and how she is helping career women everywhere! One thing she mentioned that really stuck out to me was that we need to be uplifting the other women around us, often times we don’t support our own and that needs to change. I love that she addressed how so many of us are afraid or make career choices based on we want to be mothers and wives, so we shoot ourselves in the foot now and down the road for something we don’t yet have and might not ever have. That was her “Lean In” theme, lean into our careers, lean into our lives, give it everything we’ve got and when other blessings come along like husbands and children things will work themselves out, but don’t self-sabotage in the meantime. If we want to be a stay-at-home mom, we can, retire at that point, or whatever we want, make the adjustments when the time comes, but don’t limit our possibilities to make a difference and truly enjoy our lives. There is so much that I could elaborate on and frankly I wish I had been able to write this review immediately upon finishing. This might seem like a hard core feminist book, it’s not, (and she addresses that too!) but it’s a realistic view of what things are like, where we came from, how things have progressed, where things are headed and how we can be and make a difference! Phenomenal book! Well written best biography I have read in a very very long time!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

(Actually Finished July 12th 2013)

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Categories: Business, Career, Education, Family, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Explosive Eighteen


Explosive Eighteen
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the little change in the plot adding in Hawaii and her even more ‘complicated’ status to her Morelli & Ranger relationships. The Hawaii part was a lot of fun since I was actually blessed with the opportunity to go to Hawaii this last spring! It also made me incredibly grateful that I didn’t have any major issues! Somehow I can see my life altering just slightly to be as chaotic as Stephanie’s and while I thoroughly enjoy her stories and life, I’m grateful it’s not mine! 🙂 Only one more book to read until I’m waiting like the rest of the world. I’m not one that re-reads many books unless it’s over an expanse of like 10 years, however, I might have to make an exception so that I don’t go through complete withdrawals.

(Actually finished August 11th 2013)

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Categories: Career, Family, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Smokin’ Seventeen


Smokin' Seventeen
Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What can I say, I LOVE Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Lula and Grandma!!!
I’ve been trying to space out reading them, but I generally miss my friends, but always welcome them back with such relief! I know it’s essentially the same stories with different variables, however they warm my heart and make me laugh. What more is needed? I just finished Stephanie Plum 17. I can’t believe there is only two more left until the release of the new book in November… not sure how I’m going to deal with this. I’ve read all of Janet’s books already… but I can’t seem to get enough! 😐

(Actually finished June 30th 2013)

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Categories: Career, Family, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Goose Girl


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Goose Girl
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to think when Kylene recommended this to me. Honestly I took a look at it and said yeah, I probably won’t be super into it, but probably won’t hate it. Kylene hasn’t led me astray yet with decent books, so I thought I’d give it a chance, besides I don’t get too many recommendations from people, just the online library that certainly does lead me astray! In addition, I was surprised to find so many friends who had already read this unknown book. So I put the book on hold and found it surprisingly engaging from the first chapter. It was fun to learn about the fantasy and folklore of people who have underlying ‘language skills’ of the animals, birds, people, wind, fire, etc. Fascinating concepts frankly. I found myself connecting quickly with the Princess Anidori, and certainly falling in love with her prince as well. I love the depth the book displayed so elegantly of the princess. She was highly capable and incredibly loving, she took her bad situations in stride, but never gave up, she was enticing, witty, engaging and smart! Great book, I highly recommend as well. I’m excited to read the rest of the series, and grateful the story goes on!

(Actually finished July 7th 2013)

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Family, Humanity, Life, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: Les Misérables


English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine

English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Les Misérables
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Les Miserables between 12-14 years of age. I have to say this was one that I remembered much differently. This is the primary reason I’ve enjoyed going back and re-reading many of the books that I read 15+ years ago. I enjoy seeing how my perspectives have changed.

Now, this being said, this is a story that we are all very familiar with. Seeing that it is a classical literature art piece, and then adapted for stage and film. Not to mention the phenomenal music score.

Unfortunately, I think that I like the stage/film versions best. It takes the very best of this very long book and all levels of it’s wordiness and helps you take away the greatest lessons it teaches. I know, normally I’m not a fan of abridging. But I felt that because of the extended length of this even if it’s been abridged takes away much from the lessons Mr. Hugo wanted to teach and instill within our souls.

I found that with the extensive length that I would get distracted by random annoyances. I also was disappointed by the parts that I felt that really had the greatest affects on the characters were not elaborated upon as much as other parts continuing on describing things that in the big picture didn’t play a vital detail. That was frustrating.

I also have come to realize more and more lately that I have a very hard time with ‘Love at First Sight’ or the like. I was so annoyed and mad through the sections that went on an on about what’s his bucket’s (I know, I should know – writing this review a few weeks after finishing) love for Cossette, when they’d never even carried on a conversation! He’d only seen her, and basically stalked her. Then Cossette conveniently falls in love with him because she notices him back and enjoys his behavior, mind you he’s terrified of her father and she plays games, like, Oh, Father, I didn’t even see whom you are talking about… etc, etc. Gag me! When authors expound and go on and on about their undying love for when they have never even had a conversation I want to do violent things to people! Gag me!

On the positive note, I do enjoy the handful of references to songs that the people have integrated into their lives, makes the whole stage/movie versions of this a bit more reasonable to see how they were able to more realistically convert and retell this story.

The story finally started getting good around page 1,200. The battles, the mercy… although still I was saddened the parts that I really love were not as well expressed. 😦

Taking an overall look at this story and what we learn from it, I love the story of trials, tribulations and overcoming ourselves and allowing love and mercy to ultimately work in our lives, for the greater good of ourselves, our loved ones and those who despise us. I love how one simple act of mercy changes the entire life and outlook of one man. Of that change of heart the changes and good he is able to deliver to the world and make it a slightly better place. I love seeing the selfless acts of service and sacrifice and how no matter how things don’t work out completely for him he continues to pay it forward in all that he does. Even in the end when Valjean shows a parallel act of mercy to the one man who hates him most in this world, Inspector Javert, whose whole life purpose almost seems that it is to destroy Jean Valjean, Javert can’t handle it. He doesn’t take the chance, he can’t allow the love and Mercy in his life, and kills himself. Likewise, how do we respond when shown the same love and mercy? What do we do with it? Cossette’s young husband’s attitude changes so drastically himself when he finds out of the wrongs Valjean has done in his life, but his heart softens and overflows with love in an instance when he finds out the other side of Valjean’s story of love and sacrifice.

I think ultimately we need to take a good hard look at this story and what we learn from it, how it applies to us, how we can improve our own self beings and implement into our daily lives. Obviously, with my annoyances, I still highly recommend this great classic.

(Actually finished August 23rd 2013)

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Family, Humanity, Life, Literature, Relationships, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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