Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress

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

Synopsis:  Discover the transformative power of leisure to recapture your calm and creativity.
We live in a time where busyness is often seen as a badge of honor. But are your busiest days really the ones that make you feel the most accomplished? If all of your hard work isn't working, it might be time to question the common assumption that “busy” = “productive.” After reaching breaking points in their careers, business coach John Fitch and AI researcher Max Frenzel both learned the critical importance of taking time off. Now these former workaholics are here to help you revolutionize the way you get things done.
Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress reveals how history’s greatest minds, as well as some of the most successful leaders, thinkers, and creatives of today, found success by practicing a more balanced approach to work and life. Embracing their insights on how constant hustle can be your worst enemy, you will realize that time off means much more than just taking a break. By learning how to slow down, you will rediscover a more fulfilled and versatile version of yourself and unlock your true creative potential.
In Time Off, you’ll discover:
  • The most effective methods to reclaim leisure, while increasing productivity and creativity
  • Why your work ethic needs to be supported by an equally solid rest ethic
  • Tactics for getting away from the work without the dreaded guilt
  • Why time off and leisure will be key competitive advantages in the future of work
  • How to thrive alongside AI and use technology to become more human
  • The many ways in which time off improves your leadership skills, and much, much more!
Reshaping the way you think about work and leisure, Time Off is a reinvigorating guide to doing more by laboring less. If you like relatable personal anecdotes, historically-sound approaches to downtime, and scientifically-backed strategies for increasing your creativity, then you’ll love John Fitch and Max Frenzel’s life-changing resource.
Get Time Off – for yourself or as a gift to the busy people in your life – as a healthy reminder to put down the busywork and pick up what actually matters most to you.

Buy: amazon 


Rest Ethic

Take in a deep breath and hold it.

Keep holding.

How long can you hold your inhale until it gets uncomfortable?

Thirty seconds? A few minutes? It doesn’t take long until we all, eventually, need to exhale. 

Think of your work ethic as the inhale. (It is, in a way, as essential to your career as air is to your body.) With a good work ethic we make, execute, coordinate, manage, fulfill, and get things done. Task list—inhale. Project execution—inhale. Making our ideas come to life—inhale. 

But we can’t keep inhaling forever. Eventually we have to exhale. This exhale is your rest ethic, and it is just as essential.

A solid rest ethic gifts us inspiration, ideas, and recovery. It allows us to build up our enthusiasm and sustain our passion. Gaining a fresh perspective—exhale. Project ideation and “aha” moments—exhale. Letting big ideas incubate in your mind—exhale. And just as a deep exhale prepares you for a better inhale, your rest ethic enables you to have a better work ethic.


Excessive hours don’t guarantee quality work. And quality work, not quantity or busywork, is what a good work ethic is all about. Now, there are plenty of fantastic books out there about improving and refining your work ethic. Titles like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Relentless, Mastery, and Turning Pro have got you covered. Our focus here will be on your rest ethic, leisure, and the wellspring of creativity and impactful ideas your time off can produce.

So, what might a well-designed rest ethic look like?

This book will teach you that it involves much more than taking a vacation or a day off. A great rest ethic is not just about working less. It’s about becoming conscious of how you spend your time, recognizing that busyness is often the opposite of productivity, admitting and respecting your need for downtime and detachment, establishing clear boundaries and saying no more often, giving your ideas time and space to incubate, evaluating what success means to you, and ultimately finding and unlocking your deepest creative and human potential.

A rest ethic and a work ethic—we need both. They are two sides of the same coin. But today, it seems like too many of us are running around holding our breath for way too long. How effective is our work ethic without enthusiasm and creativity? How can we be effective leaders and come up with the big, innovative, impactful ideas our world needs if we’re stressed and burned out?

The team behind this book experienced the need to exhale firsthand. John reached a breaking point in his life and discovered a novel concept of time while on a life-changing sabbatical. Max was drowning in busyness without feeling productive, and during some quiet days in the mountains started thinking back to his leisurely but highly productive Ph.D. days. Our illustrator Mariya was falling out of love with drawing because she had taken on too many projects and had to relearn to emphasize quality of work—and enjoyment—over quantity of projects. All three of us had a bumpy and winding road discovering the importance of having a rest ethic. We wrote this book to make your road a bit easier.

Max Frenzel is an AI researcher, writer, and digital creative. After receiving his PhD in Quantum Information Theory from Imperial College London and working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Tokyo University, Max has been involved in several tech startups, focusing on the intersection of AI research and product design. Most recently he has been interested in the applications of AI and deep learning to creativity, design, and music. Some of the AI-art Max has been involved in was exhibited at places like the Barbican Centre in London, and he is a regular public speaker on topics such as AI and creativity. In his time off, Max enjoys good coffee, tries to perfect his bread baking skills, and produces electronic music and performs around Tokyo. You can find him online at

John Fitch is a business coach, angel investor, and writer. He is a recovering workaholic who wrote Time Off for a former version of himself. John studied Business and Media at The University of Texas at Austin. He has built a career designing digital products and as an active angel investor in technologies that are automating the mundane work that most people don't enjoy. He cares deeply about the future of work and is optimistic that everyone has the opportunity to join the creative class in the near future. He cultivates great ideas and inspiration by hosting a dinner party, training Jiu-Jitsu, taking a short trip to somewhere new, farming, playing music, and dancing with his partner, Sara. You can find John at

Twitter: @johnwfitch and @mffrenzel


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

My Kind of People

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

Synopsis:  From Lisa Duffy, the beloved author of The Salt House and This Is Home, comes My Kind of People, a profound novel about the power of community and a small town’s long-buried secrets as a group of New England islanders rally around a recently orphaned girl.

On Ichabod Island, a jagged strip of land thirteen miles off the coast of Massachusetts, ten-year-old Sky becomes an orphan for the second time after a tragic accident claims the lives of her adoptive parents. Grieving the death of his best friends, Leo’s life is turned upside down when he finds himself the guardian of young Sky. Back on the island and struggling to balance his new responsibilities and his marriage to his husband, Leo is supported by a powerful community of neighbors, many of them harboring secrets of their own.

Maggie, who helps with Sky’s childcare, has hit a breaking point with her police chief husband, who becomes embroiled in a local scandal. Her best friend Agnes, the island busybody, invites Sky’s estranged grandmother to stay for the summer, straining already precarious relationships. Their neighbor Joe secretly knows about issues between Sky’s adoptive parents in the months leading up to their accident, and struggles with keeping this to himself. And among them all is a mysterious woman, drawn to Ichabod to fulfill a dying wish.

Emotionally complex, deeply moving, and perfect for fans of Celeste Ng, Mary Beth Keane, and Ann Leary, My Kind of People is a riveting, impassioned, acutely sensitive novel about the resilience of community and what unites us all in the face of tragedy.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  What a wonderful story about a small island community and love.  I really like all the characters in the book and how the twists of their pasts impacted their current day life.  Absolutely loved the ending (no spoiler alert)!  My favorite Lisa Duffy book so far!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have read This is Home and The Salt House.  I enjoyed them both!

Lisa Duffy is the author of The Salt House, named by Real Simple as a Best Book of the Month upon its June release, as well asBustle’s 17 Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017 and This Is Home, a favorite book club pick. Lisa received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. Her writing can be found in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children. My Kind of People is her third novel.

Atria Books | On Sale: May 12, 2020 | ISBN: 978-1-9821-3715-1 | $17.00


Monday, May 25, 2020

Royally Crushed

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  A wildly funny, ridiculously romantic spinoff from best-selling author Melanie Summers…

Princess Arabella of Avonia is bored out of her ever-loving mind. No twenty-eight-year-old wants to live an endless loop of high teas, state dinners, and the same five conversations. They want freedom and adventure. After a wild night out in Ibiza ends in disaster, the royal handlers have shortened her leash considerably. Desperate for an out, she sneakily signs up to co-host a new nature docu-series, starring Will Banks, the man dubbed McHotty of the Wilderness.

Will has ladies all over the globe lining up to meet him until a hot, new adventurer comes on the scene, and his ratings take a nose-dive. Producers decide an emergency change in format is in order. Enter Princess Arabella. The pampered and proper royal is the perfect foil to Will’s rugged outdoorsman.

It’s hate at first sight, but their on-screen loathing makes for great television. Surprisingly, when the cameras stop rolling, these two finally see each other’s good sides. Can these opposites find their forever in each other’s arms, or will their differences be their undoing?

One (or more) Sentence Summary: AHHHHHH!!!! My favorite author is back with a new series- Royal Crazy Love and book 1 is out!!!  Okay it has been out since April 3rd.  On publication date, I was still in crisis mode due to COVID-19.  Once things got somewhat "normal" I have been allowing myself to read one chapter a day (while riding my stationary bike) in order to make it last.  It is like a Christmas Advent Calendar only better! 

I absolutely LOVED it!  Royally Crushed is now my favorite Melanie Summers book.  One of my favorite tv shows is Survivor.  Survivor-like (or Bear Grylls) + make-me-laugh-out-loud author Melanie Summers  = one hilarious, can't put it down and don't want it to end type of book.

Princess Arabella is Arthur's sister (Crown Jewels Series) and this is her story!  She is tired of always being told what to do, how to dress, where to be and realizes things need to change during a tour of the palace.  She takes it from one extreme to another and is dropped (literally) into the wild with the host of Wilderness, Will Banks.  Will is also the brother of Harrison (The Honeymooner) and Emma (Whisked Away) from A Paradise Bay Series. 

Princess Arabella wants to change her image and Will wants his bonus from the show to buy back a family boat for his brother. Their adventure in the wild is just so darn funny. The bonobos had me laughing so hard, I just about fell off my bike!  The very end there is an email between Princess Arabella and "Prince Harry" which is extremely hilarious.  "I just knew those Canadians were nastier than they seem…." from the Canadian author!   

You all know Melanie Summers is one of my favorite authors and her books make me laugh so much.  Now more than ever, we all need some humor in our lives.  Pick up any of her books and I can guarantee you will giggle your day away!  Be healthy and safe!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  LOVE THEM!  Give me a Melanie Summers book any day.  I adore her books. See why I love her books: 

The Royal Treatment (Crown Jewels Romantic Comedy Book 1)
 The Royal Wedding (Crown Jewels Romantic Comedy Book 2)
The Royal Delivery (Crown Jewels Romantic Comedy Book 3)
The Honeymooner (A Paradise Bay Romantic Comedy Book 1)
Whisked Away (A Paradise Bay Romantic Comedy Book 2)
The Suite Life (A Paradise Bay Romantic Comedy Book 3)
The After Wife (stand alone - will make you cry too)


Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published eleven novels and three novellas. She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three sporty nerd children, their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog, Lucy, and a small furry dictator named Nelson. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something—more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International. Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.



Buy it: Amazon 


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Summer Set

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

Synopsis:  With a setting inspired by the real-life Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires where stars like Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Graham, and Chris Pine have performed, THE SUMMER SET (Graydon House Books; May 12; $17.99) is a salacious rom-com, beach read perfect for Broadway nerds and Hollywood gossips alike.

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood's hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she's pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career—and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.
It's not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history.
Until Charlie's old rival, Hollywood's current “It Girl,” is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she's been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

Author: Aimee Agresti
ISBN: 9781525823589
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Publisher: Graydon House Books



Charlie studied herself in her bathroom mirror. In just a week her bruised eye had faded to the dull gray of rancid meat, now easily disguised by concealer. She flat-ironed her raven hair, securing it in a sleek, low ponytail, then rummaged the closet for her most professional-looking getup: that slim black suit, pale pink silk blouse with the bow at the neck and the stilettos she only wore when she felt compelled to impress. Her wardrobe from that perfume ad a decade earlier but timeless nonetheless, just like the moniker that had been etched in script on the curved bottle of the fragrance.
Outside, Boston did its best impersonation of her supposed hometown, London. (Though she had lived away from there enough during childhood to have eluded the accent.) The dreary May rain made her think of her mom: the estimable Dame Sarah Rose Kingsbury. News of Charlie’s incident had warranted mentions in a few celebrity weeklies and, unfortunately, made the hop across the pond. Her mother had called, texted and finally, after no response, emailed: Charlie, Did you receive my voice mail and text? I trust you’re alright. Another of your stunts? Please respond. Love, Mum. Her mom’s correspondence always scanned like a telegram, full of stops and full stops—much like their relationship itself. Charlie, reveling in being briefly unreachable and not in the mood to answer questions, hadn’t yet bothered to replace her phone and had indeed missed the call but wrote back assuring her mom that she was fine, though the accident had not, in fact, been performance art.
By the time Charlie reached the foreboding Suffolk County Courthouse, her lawyer/friend Sam—who had shepherded her through the theater purchase (while questioning her sanity)—was already there pacing, barking into her phone.
“This should be easy,” Sam told her, hanging up, hugging her while scrolling her inbox. Sam wore suits and radiated responsibility, two things Charlie found comforting in a lawyer. “Be contrite and it should be open-and-shut for community service.”
The sterile courtroom’s pin-drop silence made Charlie shiver. Next to her, Sam tucked her phone in her bag and rose to her feet, gesturing for Charlie to stand as the judge materialized at the bench. Charlie found it oddly reassuring that the judge was the kind of woman who wore pearls and a frilly collar outside her robe.
“You were okay with my email, right?” Sam whispered, as they sat again.
“What email?” she whispered back.
“My email. An hour ago? You have got to get a new phone,” Sam scolded.
“I know, I know—”
“There was this arrangement, last minute, I hope you’ll be amenable to but—”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Charlie pleaded.
The judge had begun speaking, so Sam hushed her. Too late.
“Ms. Savoy, this is the part where I get to talk.” The judge looked up from the paper she had been reading aloud. “Maybe it was different in your episodes of Law & Order?”
“No, ma’am, I mean, Your Honor, sir, ma’am, no,” Charlie stumbled. She had been wrong about the judge. The woman continued on about the damage Charlie caused and the significant hours of service required like Charlie was the honoree at one of those Comedy Central roasts, albeit one that could end with her in a jail cell.
Until finally, the judge cut to the chase: “…an assignment has presented itself,” she said slowly. “Which will make fine use of Ms. Savoy’s expertise…” Charlie caught Sam’s side-eye. “So Charlotte Savoy shall be required to complete sixty days with the Chamberlain Summer Theater in—”
“NO!” Charlie expelled the word, an anaphylactic response. The judge scowled as though jail might still be an option. “Sorry, Your Honor, I just mean—can I object?” Sam shot her a lethal glare. “It’s just that, well—” Charlie tried again as a door at the back of the courtroom creaked open, footsteps echoing. She turned to discover the equivalent of a ghost.
Nick Blunt—director, ex, first love, disappointment, invertebrate—heading her way.
“Mr. Blunt, thank you for joining us,” the judge said, unimpressed.
Charlie’s posture straightened, heartbeat ticking faster than seemed medically sound. She felt betrayed by her own being, muscles, nerves, ashamed of this reaction.
“Sorry, Your Honor,” he said in that deep rasp.
Charlie wished she hated that voice. And it seemed an abomination that he could still be attractive—physically at least.
Rugged with an athletic build, he wore black jeans, a blazer and aviator sunglasses, which he pulled off as he walked (pure affectation since, to her knowledge, it was still raining outside), tucking them into the V of his slim sweater.
He took his place beside Charlie, flashing that smile he deployed when he aimed to be his most charming.
“Hi there,” he said, as though surprised to be meeting this way.
“Shouldn’t you be wearing a cape?” Charlie rolled her eyes, focused on the judge reading again, and returned her body to its proper slouch, recalibrating her expression between boredom and disgust.
“I missed you too, Charlie,” he whispered back.
From the corner of her eye, Charlie spotted the sharp beak of that tattoo—the meadowlark—curving around from the back of his neck. It was still there, which gave her a pang of affection, a flare-up she forced herself to snuff out. She imagined how they might look to those few people sitting in the rows behind them. Nick and her with these identical birds inked onto the backs of their necks, midflight and gazing at each other anytime he stood on her right side, as he did now. Mirror images, bookends, the birds’ once-vibrant golden hue as faded as the memory of the hot, sticky night she and Nick had stolen away from campus to get them together.
Over the years, she had considered having hers removed or morphed into some other design, but why should she? She liked it. At face value. Charlie sighed again, more loudly than intended, as her mind sped to how this summer would now be.
“Ms. Savoy, is there a problem?” the judge asked, irked.
“Your Honor, I just wondered—is there a littered park or something? Instead?”
“We’re fine, Your Honor.” Sam patted Charlie’s arm in warning.
“Ms. Savoy will report to service June 1.” The judge slammed the gavel, which, to Charlie, sounded like a nail being hammered into a coffin.
“I had a client last week who’s cleaning restrooms at South Station this summer,” Sam said apologetically as they walked out.
Charlie just charged ahead down the hall, an urgent need to escape, her mind struggling to process it all.
“So, craziest thing happened,” Nick launched in, catching up to them at the elevator. “I was reading the news and saw about your little mishap—” He sounded truly concerned for a moment.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t have a Google alert on me,” Charlie cut him off, stabbing the down button too many times.
“You always were a terrible driver—”
“That river came outta nowhere—”
“But a stellar swimmer—”
She nodded once. She couldn’t argue with that.
He went on, “So I made a few calls and—”
“Don’t be fooled by…that.” She waved her hand back toward the courtroom. “You need me more than I need you.”
The elevator opened.
“We’ll see about that.” He let them on first. Charlie hit the button again-again-again to close the doors, but he made it in. “How long has it been, anyway?”
“You know how long it’s been,” she said as the doors closed so she was now looking at their reflection. It had been six years, three months, two weeks and two days since they last saw each other. At the long-awaited premiere for Midnight Daydream—which should’ve been a thrilling night since a series of snags had pushed the film’s release date back two years after filming. But instead of celebratory toasts, it had ended with a glass of the party’s signature cocktail—a messy blackberry-infused bourbon concoction the shade of the night sky—being thrown. In retrospect, she thought, there’d been so many signs the movie was cursed.
“You’re just mad your self-imposed exile is over.” He smirked.
“Always with the probing psychoanalysis.” She watched the floor numbers descend, doors finally opening.
Sam scurried out ahead of them. “My work here is done. I’m sure you two have a lot of catching up to do.” She gave Charlie an air-kiss before striding off.
“Wait, no, I just need to—” Charlie tried to stop her, but Sam had already hopped in a cab.
“So, I have an office not too far, off Newbury Street, off-season headquarters for Chamberlain—” Nick started.
“Luckily you’re usually phoning it in, so I haven’t had the privilege of running into you around town.” She walked ahead in the cool, pelting rain.
He stayed where he was. “I’d invite you out for a drink—”
“It’s, like, 10 a.m. That’s too early. Even for you—” She glanced back.
“Summer is gorgeous in the Berkshires, as you may recall,” he shouted, sunglasses back on, absurdly, and that smile again. “Welcome back to Chamberlain, Charlie.

Excerpted from The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti, Copyright © 2020 by Aimee Agresti. 
Published by Graydon House Books.

Aimee Agresti is the author of Campaign Widows and The Gilded Wings trilogy for young adults. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine's coffee table book Inside Hollywood. Aimee's work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer, and she has made countless TV and radio appearances, dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and HLN. Aimee graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC, area.

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Twitter: @AimeeAgresti
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