Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): From the author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House, a novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.

Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.

Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.

This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for Jamie’s help, and Jamie agrees, knowing the journey will take him perilously close to Tall Oakes and the ruthless slave hunter who is still searching for him. Meanwhile, Caroline’s father learns and exposes Jamie’s secret, and Jamie loses his home, his business, and finally Caroline.

Heartbroken and with nothing to lose, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation where Pan is being held with a former Tall Oakes slave named Sukey, who is intent on getting Pan to the Underground Railroad. Soon the three of them are running through the Great Dismal Swamp, the notoriously deadly hiding place for escaped slaves. Though they have help from those in the Underground Railroad, not all of them will make it out alive.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: The long awaited second book by Kathleen Grissom was another home run.  Wow.....I actually finished this book about a month ago, and have postponed writing the a review.  Just like The Kitchen House, I can't let go of Glory Over Everything. It haunts me (in an good way).  The story picks up with Jamie, but brings back characters and pieces of The Kitchen House.  Maybe you can tell....I am just rambling.  

Glory Over Everything is an excellent story focused around Jamie, Belle's son and Master Marshall.  You fell everything Jamie has gone/is going through while you are reading the book.  The characters and book pull you in, just like you are there.  I am still in shock at all Pan went through when he was kidnapped.  Jamie did the right thing by going after him, even though he feared for his own life by going south.  

Even though Glory Over Everything is a sequel to The Kitchen House, you can read it as a stand-alone.  The real question I have....is why would you?  They are both so excellent.

Favorite Character(s):  Pan is my favorite character.  Oh, if I could just wrap my arms around him and take care oh him, I would. 

Fast read/slow read:  I actually read and listened to this book via Audible.  I love how the characters come even more to life for me by listening to the book.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Without a doubt I would read anything Kathleen writes.  I had the pleasure after to The Kitchen House to email with Kathleen and she was always giving me updates on her book progress.  I am in awe of her talent.  She takes me back to the early 1800's like I was there.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Kathleen Grissom is now happily rooted in south-side Virginia, where she and her husband live in the plantation tavern they renovated. In addition to The Kitchen House, she is also the author of Glory Over Everything.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Geek Girl

Synopsis (from Amazon): Geek + runway = a runaway UK hit! Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious, internationally bestselling series that's perfect for fans of Louise Rennison and the Princess Diaries series.

Harriet Manners is a geek. She always has been, and she thought she always would be—but when she's discovered by a modeling agent, she leaps at the chance to reinvent herself. There's only one problem: Harriet is the definition of awkward. Can she transform from geek to chic?

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Absolutely loved Geek Girl.  Harriet is smart, funny and goes through a whirlwind of a modeling experience when she is found at an outing with her best friend.  I really liked all the characters in the book.  Geek Girl is a very funny book.  

I got this book at my schools book fair and I am so glad I did.

Fast read/slow read:  Very fast read. I just couldn't stop reading it.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I just found out there are other books - this is a series.  I can't wait to read them over the summer.

Holly Smale was unexpectedly spotted by a top London modeling agency at the age of fifteen and spent the following two years falling over on catwalks, going bright red, and breaking things she couldn't afford to replace. By the time she had graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare, she had given up modeling and set herself on the path to becoming a full-time writer. Geek Girl was the #1 bestselling young adult fiction title in the UK in 2013. It was shortlisted for several major awards, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Holly currently lives in London, England.

Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Thanks for reading my review.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Five Truth About Work-Life Balance + Giveaway

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Work-life balance has nothing to do with work. Really. It also doesn't matter what words you use to describe it. The fact is, most people share a similar desire to create easy joy and meaningful engagement across the roles, relationships and responsibilities that make up life.

Our current habits and perceptions often get us stuck and prevent us from creating the life we desire. Get unstuck, learn the truths about work-life balance.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Work-life balance is one of my favorite topics.  I have been trying to balance both for 20+ and love to read books on the topic.  More recently, I have felt out of balance everywhere.  I started a new job in May as a CFO, moved my family from New York to Ohio in August, my husband started a new job in September, the kids stated new schools and sports teams in September, and my son got hurt in hockey in December and had surgery in January.  It is nice to know that one of the truths written about in the book is about being in and out of balance.  Guess what? Its okay! 

I truly enjoyed The Five Truths About Work-Life Balance.  Check out this quick video.

Fast read/slow read:  So fast, you can read on your lunch break!

What Others Are Saying: Make sure to check out what others are saying at the iRead Book Tours.
April 25 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
April 25 - The Booksnake Etc. - book spotlight
April 26 - Olio by Marilyn - review / giveaway
April 26 - Book Referees - review / giveaway
April 27 - Everyday Gyaan - book spotlight / giveaway
April 27 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 28 - Take It Personel-ly - review / author interview / giveaway
April 28 - Sahar's Blog - review
April 29 - First Impressions Reviews - book spotlight / guest post
May 2 -    Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review
May 3 -    Room With Books - review / guest post / giveaway
May 4 -    Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
May 4 -    Collecting Moments - review
May 5 -    Laura's Interests - review / guest post / giveaway
​May 5 -    A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
May 6 -    #redhead.with.book - review / giveaway
May 9 -    Amie's Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
May 10 -  Outset-Rakhi Jayashankar's  Blog - book spotlight / author interview
May 10 -  Collecting Moments - guest post
May 11 -  Heidi's Wanderings - review / giveaway
​May 12 -  Readers' Muse - book spotlight / guest post
May 12 -  Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
May 13 -  Book Loving Hippo - review
May 16 -  Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
May 17 -  Northernmsw - review
May 18 -  Deal Sharing Aunt - review / giveaway
May 19 -  Genuine Jenn - review / giveaway
May 20 -  Create With Joy - review / giveaway

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read all the other books by Jae.  The entire Mindful Life Collections looks really great.

After years in senior communication roles crafting content for executives, Jae collapsed from stress-related adrenal fatigue. This life-altering experience propelled her to research human behavior, neuroscience, mindfulness, and organizational relationship systems.

In 2008, Jae founded Simple Intentions and developed the Mindful Life™ Program, which includes four group coaching workshops to generate reflection, awareness and action at the organizational and individual levels. Jae has taught the skill of awareness to thousands of employees at multinational corporations in more than 50 countries including China, Russia, India, Japan, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States.

Jae contributes to the Awareness at Work column for Mindful Magazine, the Healthy Living section on Huffington Post as well as the Simple Intentions blog. Jae has a master’s degree in Communication Management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She holds certificates in co-active coaching and organizational relationship systems coaching and is the author of seven books.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

Buy the book:  Amazon

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

1,001 Ways to Live Wild

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Bestselling author Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer pours her creativity into an irresistible book of bite-size inspiration for leading an adventurous, happy, and fulfilling life. Filled with light-hearted quick hits of encouragement for anyone looking for a jolt of "get out there and live."  Short entries—musings, things to do, and inspirational quotes—are paired with stunning artwork, creating a beautiful keepsake to give as a gift or to keep on your bedside table.  Presented as one continuous list accompanied by whimsical sidebars and thought-provoking quotes, the text touches on many and varied themes such as: following your passions, staying curious, appreciating nature, traveling, trying new things, and living life with courage.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:   Looking for a gift....graduation, birthday, special occasion? Look no further, 1,001 Ways to Live Wild would make a perfect gift.  1,001 Ways to Live Wild is great book full of little tidbits that you can implement into your life.  Some are very easy and can be done daily.  Others are a little extreme and would take some planning.  Those would be more of a one time experience (or more if you choose!!).  There are also Wild Lists through the book that give you wonderful ideas.  For example, Wild List Fears to Face, Wild List Children's Activities to Do as an Adult.  Here are a few of my favorites

To do daily: 
75. Don't listen to a bully
139. Notice everything. Everything is interesting.
155. Care less about what other people think.
631. Make eye contact with everyone you meet.

Will talke planning:
238. Collect Sand from each beach you visit.
271. Ride an elephant.
460. Ride a bike across England in an week.

Great statements to live by:
203. Your wishbone will never replace your backbone.
399. You'll never know what you can do until you try.
795. Try to go a whole day without saying anything negative.
911. Help someone today.

My favorite Wild Lists:
Wild Rules to Live By (really wowed me)
Ways to Be Brave
National Park Landmarks to See

Even my kids incorporated ways to live wild....
83. Drink milk straight from the carton!
297. Let a dog walk you.
771. Always find something to laugh at.

Pick up 1,001 Ways to Live Wild today, you won't be sorry.

Fast read/slow read:  Fast

Cover:  Very eye catching and colorful.
What Others Are Saying:  Make sure you check out what others are saying on the tour.
Tuesday, April 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, April 13th: Create With Joy
Thursday, April 14th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Monday, April 25th: Breezes at Dawn
Tuesday, April 26th: Happy Simple Living
Thursday, April 28th: Book Hooked Blog
Sunday, May 1st: Hiking for Her
Monday, May 2nd: Everyone Needs Therapy
Monday, May 9th: midlifemommusings
Tuesday, May 10th: Midwife For Your Life

Wednesday, May 11th: Seaside Book Nook

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would to read her other books.

Barbara Ann Kipfer has written more than 60 books of wit and inspiration, including 14,000 Things to Be Happy AboutThe Wish ListInstant Karma as well as numerous others.  Kipfer holds Ph.D.s in linguistics, archaeology, and Buddhist studies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Year of Yes

Synopsis (from Amazon): In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Loved, loved, loved this book. Shonda is very funny and shares a vulnerable side of her.  She is so remarkable.  My son was in the car a few times while I was listening to the book.  I was surprised but our conversations and how much he picked up.  He is 14! 

I recommend you read or listen to Year of Yes, you won't regret it.  The audio is read by Shonda....bonus!

Fast read/slow read:  A fast listen via Audible.  
Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Absolutely, with no doubt, yes.

Shonda Rhimes is the prolific writer, executive producer and creator of the hit ABC series "Grey's Anatomy," and "Scandal." In addition to creating the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff series "Private Practice," which ran on ABC for six seasons, Rhimes is the executive producer of the ABC series "How to Get Away with Murder," which premiered in 2014 as the number one new show of the Fall in adults 18-49.

Entering its twelfth season, "Grey's Anatomy" continues to be hailed by audiences and critics. For her work on the series, Rhimes received the 2007 Television Producer of the Year by the Producers Guild of America, the 2007 Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Drama, the 2007 Lucy Award for Excellence in Television from Women in Film, the 2006 Writers Guild Award for Best New Series, in addition to Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series and Writing for a Drama Series. For "Scandal," Rhimes was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Peabody Award. Rhimes was the recipient of the 2012 GLAAD Golden Gate Award, 2010 RAINN Hope Award and a 2009 GLSEN Respect Awards Honoree. Additionally for "Private Practice," Rhimes received the Television Academy Honors award in 2010 and 2011 as well as the Prism Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series in 2011. As an executive producer on "How To Get Away With Murder," Rhimes was honored with the 2015 AFI Award for TV Program of the Year as well as the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Across her shows, Rhimes was the 2005, 2013, 2014 winner of the AFI Award for Television Program of the Year. In addition, Rhimes has won an unprecedented 6 NAACP Image Awards for Writing for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series plus 8 NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. 

Rhimes has twice been included in TIME Magazine's 100 list of the most influential people along with Fortune Magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business," Variety's "Power of Women" and Glamour Magazine's "Women of the Year." In 2013, Rhimes was appointed by President Obama to serve as Trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2014, Rhimes, along with producing partner Betsy Beers, received the Directors Guild of America's prestigious Diversity Award. This marked only the fifth time the organization had bestowed this award. Rhimes was additionally a 2014 recipient of the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard, the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award from The Hollywood Reporter and was named to both the 2014 New Establishment list for Vanity Fair and the New Guard List for the most connected women in America for Marie Claire. In 2015, Rhimes was awarded the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement from the Writers Guild of America, West, as well as inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She was additionally honored with the Ally for Equality Award from the Human Rights Council and was also bestowed the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women's Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation in recognition of her work in changing the face of media.

Aside from her success with network television, Rhimes wrote the feature film "Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement," released in August 2004 by Disney. Additionally, her original script, "Crossroads," was released in 2002 by Paramount. She also co-wrote "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," produced by HBO and nominated for numerous awards, and for which Halle Berry won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Best Actress in a miniseries for her portrayal of Dandridge. In 2004, Rhimes created her production company Shondaland.  

In November of 2015, Rhimes will release her first book, "Year of Yes" from Simon & Schuster. The book candidly chronicles her moving and humorous attempts to come out of her shell by saying "yes" to everything that scares her.  
Shonda Rhimes is the writer, executive producer and creator of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice," and "Scandal." She's also the executive producer of "How to Get Away with Murder."

For her work, Rhimes has received numerous honors including the prestigious Peabody Award. In 2013, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as Trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Rhimes received her MFA from USC's School of Cinema-Television. The youngest of six, she was raised outside of Chicago, IL, and now resides in Los Angeles with her three daughters