Books for The New Year!

Hi All, how’s your 2020 going? Mine is going okay.  I’m trying to eat better and exercise more.  It’s hard to improve yourself, you know?

Below are some great books to help along your resolutions, or just make you smile!

Gratitude with Attitude - How Journaling Thankfulness for Just 5 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life

 

Gratitude with Attitude: How Journaling Thankfulness for Just 5 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life by Ronnie Walter ($10.65 USD) — Whether it comes at the start of our day or the end, making time to think about what we’re grateful for is beneficial in many ways. Practicing an attitude of gratitude strengthens our spirit and quiets our mind, even if just for a moment. It provides the peace and zen we long for and need in the midst of busy days and packed schedules. Find inspiration through writing prompts and quotes in this gratitude journal by bestselling author Ronnie Walter. The creator of The Coloring Café®, a coloring series dedicated to stress relief and fun, Ronnie brings over twenty years of successful illustrating and writing to this daily journal dedicated to personal growth and happiness. By using this 5-minute journal to record things we’re grateful for, spot meaningful intentions, and celebrate tiny victories, we create a space to grow in gratitude for what we have and see better who we want to be.

Life Is a 4-Letter Word - Laughing and Learning Through 40 Life Lessons

Life Is a 4-Letter Word: Laughing and Learning Through 40 Life Lessons by Dr. David A. Levy ($16.95 USD) — The path to living a smarter lifestyle is not always smooth. Levy encourages readers to embrace all the feelings his book may bring out as they read his stories, from laughing to wincing, and learning along the way. Discover the power of positive thinking as Levy shares a lifetime journey of personal reflections, growth, and wisdom.

Dive into Dr. David Levy’s latest book, Life Is a 4-Letter Word, and find…

40 autobiographical essays, each one containing a relatable and applicable life lesson
A unique source of both humor and inspiration that reassures readers that life is good
A self-help book for men and women from a published professional in psychology

I'm So Full of Happy Today - The Hygge Wisdom of Children

I’m So Full of Happy Today: The Hygge Wisdom of Children by Martin Andersen and Moira Tuffy ($4.58) — Is there anything more likely to make you laugh and put a smile on your face than the innocent and funny remark of a child? The Danes have a word for the feeling of happy delight that you get from simple things in life, such as the funny things kids say: hygge.

I’m So Full of Happy Today is a heartwarming collection of the remarkably observant, funny and wise things said by children. All of the stories are real and personal, and include the name and age of each child. These playful, sometimes tongue-in-cheek tales straight from the minds and mouths of kids will have you learning, laughing, and sharing the love long after you’ve turned the last page.

The Healthy Teen Cookbook - Around the World In 80 Fantastic Recipes by Remmi Smith

The Healthy Teen Cookbook: Around the World In 80 Fantastic Recipes by Remmi Smith ($12.99 USD) — Who knew healthy cooking could be so awesome and delicious?! This Chopped kid chef and entrepreneur is on a mission to bring healthy food options and easy-to-cook scrumptious recipes to a busy and heavily-scheduled generation of teens. The Healthy Teen Cookbook is not your typical teen cookbook: it’s written “for kids by a kid,” and is filled with tried-and-true recipes with budding cooks in mind, using limited ingredients and steps. Through the colorful, easy-to-read book, Chef Remmi sets out to inspire her peers to adopt healthy eating habits by introducing them to the glorious pastime of cooking. The Healthy Teen Cookbook takes you on a culinary journey across the seven continents, highlighting countries and their top foods. Each section features a map, a full menu (from appetizer to dessert), fun facts, helpful tips, and fantastic recipes―making it a geography lesson, a cookbook, and a social studies class all in one.

The Crafty Gardener - Inspired Ideas and DIY Crafts From Your Own Backyard

The Crafty Gardener: Inspired Ideas and DIY Crafts from Your Own Backyard by Becca Anderson ($16.33 USD) — The perfect gift for any gardener! Gardening allows us to live in a much more human way, grounded in nature and connected to Mother Earth and all she provides. It adds pleasure to your life and gives you a sense of calm. With your garden, you are quite literally growing a bounty of blessings. Lifelong gardener and bestselling author Becca Anderson has put her love of crafting and of gardening together in this book of inspired DIY ideas. Along with gardening tips and secrets for growing flowers, herbs, and veggies, Anderson shares dozens of how-to’s in this delightful guide on making candles, potpourri, bath salts, essential oils, floral waters, tinctures, liquors, pickles jams, and even fountains, birdhouses, and fairy doors. Even if your garden is just a hanging basket of cherry tomatoes or a windowsill filled with herb pots, you will still reap the benefits of gardening.

 


There are so many good books to get the year off to an amazing start!  Are you reading anything helpful for fun currently?

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2019 — Books for Gifting

Hi all, I’m back with another gift guide.  This time it’s books!

I have put together a list of fun books that make great gifts.  I love to give and receive books, they are so much fun! Read on to get some ideas!

Just Peachy

Just Peachy by Belinda Smith-Sullivan ($ 14.49 Hardcover, $10.99 Kindle) — Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan, granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, is the go-to resource for everything peaches. Not only does she provide perfect peach recipes, but she also has information about the variety of peaches, history, growing and growers, as well as festivals. There are approximately 70 recipes for breads, breakfasts, appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, desserts, peach pies, sauces, preserves and condiments, and drinks in this beautifully photographed cookbook.

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A Baker’s Passport: Recipes for Breads, Savory Pies, Vegetarian Dishes, Tarts, Cakes, and Cookie Classics. (Original-Fourth Edition) ($39.99) — Travel the world with A Baker’s Passport, a road trip of baking classics in their homelands. With over 225 sweet and savory recipes and lively photographs, Pastry Chef Susie Norris takes you on a tour of regional baking through the world’s great culinary capitals. This technique-driven baking book for home cooks offers well-tested recipes for classics like Quiche Lorraine, Black Forest Cake, Moon Cakes, and Creme Brûlée. A Baker’s Passport, based on the award-winning culinary travel blog, FoodMarketGypsy.com, brings stories of the world’s great baking traditions home to you.

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The Making of Outlander: The Series: The Official Guide to Seasons Three & Four by Tara Bennett ($31.49 hardback and $) — From its very first episode, the Outlander TV series transported its viewers back in time, taking us inside Diana Gabaldon’s beloved world. From the Scottish Highlands to the courts of Versailles to the shores of America, Jamie and Claire’s epic adventure is captured in gorgeous detail.

Now travel even deeper into the world of Outlander with this must-have insider guide from New York Times bestselling author and television critic Tara Bennett. Picking up where The Making of Outlander: Seasons One & Two left off, this lavishly illustrated collectors’ item covers seasons three and four, bringing readers behind the scenes and straight onto the set of the show. You’ll find exclusive interviews with cast members, including detailed conversations with Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan (on-screen couple and real-life friends), as well as the writers, producers, costume designers, set decorators, technicians, and more whose hard work and cinematic magic bring the world of Outlander to life on the screen.

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Holiday Jubilee: Classic & Kitschy Festivities & Fun Party Recipes by Charles Phoenix ($19.39) — You’re invited to celebrate America’s favorite seasonal traditions like never before. Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix mixes and mingles spectacular vintage Kodachrome slides of New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with his eye-popping, original recipes for epic edible centerpieces and party pleasers from his colorful Test Kitchen―including his legendary Cherpumple creation! Be prepared for your imagination to be inspired and your holiday spirit to soar!

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Create: Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life by Marc Silber ($13.38 paperback and $10.49 Kindle) — Creative conversations from some of the world’s top photographers, filmmakers, Grammy award winners, TED presenters, actors, CEOs and more!

Time for a new mindset. Many of us think of creativity as something distant and incompatible with daily life―a skill that artists get to use, but not the rest of us. Maybe you feel like a land-locked surfer, yearning for exhilarating rides. Or maybe you live for the few hours a week when you can take photographs, paint, or write. It’s time for a new mindset. Create shows you how to rediscover the artist within you.

Live a more creative life. People who make a living in the creative arts know that there is a cycle to unlocking the imagination. Visualize, know your tools, work your craft, refine, share. When you tap into this cycle, you’ll find ways to operate at your highest state in all aspects of life.

Find your creative purpose. Overcoming the barriers to innovation is easier than you think. Marc Silber, best selling author, award-wining creative and educator, shows you how to avoid the traps of procrastination, overthinking, and self-doubt. The exercises in Create are specifically designed to help you find certainty and confidence in self-expression.

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It’s Your Weirdness that Makes You Wonderful by Kate Allan ($13.41) — Step into a state of mindfulness: Depression and anxiety are topics that can be uncomfortable to talk about, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided. If anything, it means we need to be more aware and have more conversations about them. With the help of her adorable illustrations, art blogger Kate Allan (known through her remarkably popular Tumblr blog as “The Latest Kate”) urges us to be mindful of our mentality.

Work through anxiety and depression with the help of enlightening words: Allan, who suffers from anxiety and depression herself, understands what it’s like to deal with feelings that are difficult to fight through. In this book, she provides the personal kind of encouragement that she herself needs to hear. These encouraging words, along with writing prompts, can help readers sort through and express their feelings.

Practice self-love through self-care: Kate Allan’s creative journal meets us where we are―in the midst of the feelings that say we’re not enough, we can’t handle this life, we won’t make it. Her whimsical art and simple words lift trampled spirits and combat thoughts that lead us to believe our weirdness makes us weak. Young and old, we are encouraged to love ourselves exactly as we are.

 

 

Summer Book Roundup

Hi all!  I hope you had a great weekend!  My daughter is in town this week, and we’ve been having fun!

I’m back with a book roundup.  I haven’t done one in a while.  I’m featuring a few books I have received to review.  They are all fun summer reads!

Little Lovely Things

Little Lovely Things — An unremarkable morning commute mutates into an unthinkable tragedy for one family, when Claire Rawlings makes an ordinary decision that results in disaster for her and everyone she loves.

A wife, mother, and soon-to-be-doctor in her final year of residency at University of Chicago hospital, in a race to drop her beloved daughters off at daycare and make it in time for rounds, Claire ignores the troubling signs of an allergic reaction. Finding herself speeding down the highway, on the brink of losing consciousness, she’s forced to pull over.

Moments later, she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom.

Her car – and her girls – have vanished.

A deftly crafted page turner that is as heart-wrenching as it is bursting with life and love, the story of LITTLE LOVELY THINGS unfolds in four distinct voices: devastated yet strong-willed Claire; Moira, the Irish Traveler turned transient abductor who is thrust into instant motherhood; soulful Jay, a recovering alcoholic whose grisly discovery brings him to the center of the tragedy; and finally Andrea, the scrappy take-no-prisoners, wildly talented tomboy who knows only enough to know she doesn’t know the truth of her past.

With an action-packed plot, a deep well compassion for its characters, and thematic chords concerning the wisdom and power of nature, strength of the human spirit, and connectedness of us all, LITTLE LOVELY THINGS marks the arrival of a powerful new voice in the current contemporary fiction landscape in Maureen Joyce Connolly.

Radiant - Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin

Radiant – Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin — For more than 20 years, Hanna Sillitoe suffered from severe psoriasis, eczema and acne. They dominated her life and shattered her confidence. At times she even resorted to wrapping her skin in clingfilm to stop her clothes rubbing against her raw skin. When her doctor told her the only remaining treatment was chemotherapy, she started researching diet and skin, and ultimately changed her life, cutting out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and wheat, with dramatic results.

Now free from all skin complaints, Hanna is sharing her methods. Beginning with a juice cleanse, Hanna’s plan then moves on to a range of delicious, skin-loving meals including Turmeric and Ginger Chia Pudding, Immunity Ramen, Beet Burgers and even Clean Tiramisu. There is also a selection of homemade beauty products such as Avocado and Honey Facemask and Rosemary and Lemon Salt Scrub. Uplifting and inspiring for those who have been searching for an answer to their skin woes, Hanna’s programme is also suitable for people without specific complaints who just want to improve their overall health and complexion. A recipe for good health and clear skin, from the inside out.

The Big Book of Missouri Ghost Stories

The Big Book of Missouri Ghost Stories — Reader, beware! Turn these pages and enter the world of the paranormal, where ghosts and ghouls alike creep just out of sight. Author Troy Taylor shines a light in the dark corners of Missouri and scares those spirits out of hiding in this thrilling collection. From a headless ghost who stalks the aptly named “Murder Rocks”, to a large hairy monster that roams the banks of the Missouri River, there’s no shortage of bone-chilling tales to keep you up at night. It’s even rumored that the devil himself came to St. Louis in 1949, but nobody knows for sure if he ever left. Around the campfire or tucked away on a dark and stormy night, this big book of ghost stories is a hauntingly good read.

I live in Missouri, so this was a fun book to get!


What books are you enjoying this summer?  I’d love to know!

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 — Books Gifts Part 1

Hi all! Happy Friday!  I’m so glad it’s the weekend!  I’ll be decorating and Christmas shopping this weekend (and working on more gift guides).

If you’re not done shopping yet, think about giving a fun book as a gift! I’m going to be featuring a bunch of books this season. All of the books below will make thoughtful gifts and they are available on Amazon and most on Kindle for quick and easy giving!

An Old-Fashioned Christmas
An Old-Fashioned Christmas

An Old-Fashioned Christmas ($12.95 USD) — An Old-Fashioned Christmas presents a carefully curated collection of inspirational, meaningful and fun quotes celebrating the spirit of the holidays.

Deck the halls with boughs of jolly and the An Old-Fashioned Christmas. Chock full of holiday sentiments and joyous words, this Christmas quote book is the perfect stocking stuffer book for the season.

 

 

The Enchanted Sonata
The Enchanted Sonata

The Enchanted Sonata is a fresh, whimsical retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, which will captivate readers of all ages. The Enchanted Sonata was written by Heather Dixon Wallwork, who has worked as a storyboard lead for Disney and is the author of two novels published by HarperCollins.

In The Enchanted Sonata, 15-year-old Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!), and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker. Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as magic…and the future she thought she wanted.

Dixon Wallwork is a musician, animator and author. Working under Disney Interactive, she has illustrated for many popular franchises including Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar, and was the story lead for the Moana playset. She is the author of two novels published by Greenwillow Books – HarperCollins: Entwined and Illusionarium.

Ciao Italia Lifelong Adventures

Ciao Italia Lifelong Adventures ($25.12 Legions of loyal fans of Mary Ann Esposito’s groundbreaking PBS cooking show CIAO ITALIA have enjoyed cooking with and learning from this beloved television personality, a trailblazer who helped spark a billion dollar food media industry and paved the way for countless other television chefs. Fans have three words to describe her cooking style: traditional, authentic and passionate. From creating and launching CIAO ITALIA in 1989 to authoring 12 cookbooks, Esposito has inspired a worldwide audience who want to know more about Italian food and culture.

Musing Mediterranean
Musing Mediterranean

Musing Mediterranean — ($15.56 USD) When Beth Daigle’s husband, Tony, announced that he was planning a two-week Mediterranean cruise, she wasn’t exactly excited. Plagued by anxieties about leaving home and air travel, as well as the fact that this was to be a multi-generational family vacation including her parents, daughters, sister and her family, there was some definite potential for disaster. Despite that phobia and reluctance, though, the Mediterranean called her in a way that she couldn’t deny—she’s half Greek and half Italian, and seeing her ancestral countries had always been a dream. Musing Mediterranean is the full account of that dream coming true—from the planning phase to the return home, Daigle takes us along on her family’s journey through Rome, Sicily, Athens, Ephesus, the Greek Islands, and Naples.

In her warm and approachable prose, Daigle communicates the beauty, history, architecture and culture of each location that her family visits, and a sense of awe that the trip has given her for what is truly a life altering experience. Whether or not you’ve experienced the beauty of the places Daigle visits in this book firsthand, you’ll feel like you have after going on this journey with her. Most importantly though, in a time when we could all use a bit of an escape now and then, Musing Mediterraneanis an unequivocally happy book that injects humor wherever possible. One that will make readers glad they’ve read it.

Do you like to give books for gifts?  What kinds do you like to give (or get)?

New Fiction Books Released Spring 2018

 

I have been so busy the last couple of years, that I am ashamed to say I haven’t read as much as I used to.  So, I made a Goodreads goal of reading 20 books this year…I’ve read two.  I need to pick up the pace!

Below are new fiction books that have either just been released or will be released soon:

The Darkling Bride

The Darkling Bride: A Novel –by Laura Anderson — The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?

The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova — Released on March 13, 2018 — Twenty-seven years ago—and a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall—found herself traveling to Bulgaria.  Like the protagonist of this novel, she was young and eager to learn about a place she’d never been before. She stayed on for six months, traveling to remote areas and interviewing its inhabitants about their lives. During her journey, she fell in love with this foreign, seemingly enchanted land and also with her future husband.

It’s not hard to imagine Kostova in the shoes of Alexandra Boyd, a young American woman who arrives in Sofia, Bulgaria hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. But within an hour of landing in this elegant Eastern European city, Alexandra helps an elderly couple into a taxi and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression—and risk her own life to solve the mystery behind his.

 

A Nantucket Wedding

A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer  Ballantine Hardcover, on-sale April 3, 2018 —  A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?

Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.

 

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir — Release date May 17, 2018 — Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking.  For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a haunting incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.

But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures Anne as his new queen—forever altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son, or will she be cast aside like the women who came before her?

I’m so excited to read these books this spring (and summer, maybe fall let’s be honest)!  What are you reading now?

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 — Fab Book Gifts!

Books are such amazing gifts to receive.  From fun fiction reads to books that teach you something new, I love to give the people in my life the gift of adventure and learning!

Here are a bunch of great books that the readers in your life would love to receive.  Starting with baking books, to inspirational books to amazing fiction and fun stocking stuffers; there’s a little bit of everything on my list!  This is a long list, so curl up with a cup of coffee or tea and get ready for some great gift ideas:

CAKE, I LOVE YOU: Decadent, Delectable, and Do-able Recipes

CAKE, I LOVE YOU: Decadent, Delectable, and Do-able Recipes By Jill O’Connor ($24.95 USD, on sale at Amazon for $15.09!) — What better way to celebrate life’s big and small achievements than with cake? There is something inherently festive and special about a homemade cake. Master baker, Jill O’Connor walks home cooks through the cake-making process with crowd-pleasing recipes, perfect for the holidays.  It offers more than 50 divinely decadent recipes home bakers will want to make right away.

Organized by flavor profile (banana, coconut, chocolate, caramel, spice, fruit) and level of difficulty, each chapter in this cookbook presents a wide range of sweet choices, from easy weeknight sheet cakes to showstoppers layered with frosting and ganache. With photos that will make readers want to reach out and swipe their fingers through the frosting, Cake, I Love You offers foolproof cake-making advice for beginning bakers and master mixers alike.
Taste of Home 365 Days of Cookies

Taste of Home 365 Days of Cookies ($24.99, on sale for $19.99) —  When it comes to smile-fetching sweets you can’t go wrong with cookies! From soft and chewy to crisp and crunchy, the buttery sensations always get thumb-up approval. This new book features hundreds of full-color photos, this must-see edition offers after-school snacks, coffee-break bites, classroom treats, bake-sale favorites and holiday delights that are perfect throughout the year. You’ll even find cookies that celebrate days such as National Potato Chip Day (March 14), Jelly Bean Day (April 22) and National French Toast Day (November 28). Best of all, a Christmas- Cookies Bonus Section makes this cookbook a home baker’s dream come true!

Crystal Bliss

Crystal Bliss by Devi Brown — ($18.99 USD) —  If you’re feeling worn out, uninspired, and unmotivated, you can change your energy with the help of crystals. Crystal Bliss provides you with everything you need to harness the innate energy and vibrations of crystals. This guide walks you through the process of selecting crystals, cleansing and preparing them for use, and incorporating them into your meditation and energy healing process. 

With the help of Crystal Bliss, you can learn how to boost your own energy, beat back negative vibes, open your heart to love, manifest wealth, and promote good health.

To Hear The Forest Sing some musings on the divine

To Hear The Forest Sing some musings on the divine by Margaret Dulaney ($14.98 Paperback and $4.49 Kindle) — To Hear the Forest Sing is a collection of essays by the founder of the spoken word website Listen Well. Margaret Dulaney has been accumulating a life’s worth of spiritual musings for the past two decades. In 2010 she founded the spoken word website Listen Well, which offers one recorded essay a month to a growing number of followers. Listeners tune in for ten quiet minutes as she explores sacred and secular themes through story and metaphor.

Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success

Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success by Esther K. Choy – ($24.95 Amazon price $21.17) — It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.

Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.

Real Life Super Heroes

Real Life Super Heroes by Nadia Fezzani ($22.99, $15.63 on Amazon) —  t’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Stuart, the CPA from down the street! Dressed like heroes from comic books and action movies, Real Life Super Heroes dress up at night, fight crime, save people, and some of them even have secret identities. Are they ordinary, mild-mannered citizens, or are they larger-than-life characters, determined to fight crime, risking life and limb to defend victims of violence and injustice? In her revealing new book author and investigative journalist Nadia Fezzani shines a spotlight on the people who come home from work, change into their uniforms (or costumes), and patrol the streets looking for crime to fight and victims in distress.

The Edge of the World

The Edge of the World: A Visual Adventure to the Most Extraordinary Places on Earth ($26, on Amazon for $15.16) — With a foreword by world-renowned photographer Jimmy Chin and an introduction by Outside magazine’s editor Christopher Keyes, The Edge of the World is a stunning collection of the best photography ever published by the leader in outdoor adventure photography and journalism. Created in partnership with Outside magazine for its 40th anniversary, this includes Outside’s most compelling stories from throughout the years and offers readers an inside and dramatic look through the lens of the world’s top adventure photographers.

Christmas in London

Christmas in London by Anita Hughes ($15.99, on Amazongfor $9.99) — It’s a week before Christmas and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren’t hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day, so she agrees.

The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge’s. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food.

And then there’s Kate, the show’s beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew’s in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work.

Set during London’s most festive time of year and filled with delicious food, CHRISTMAS IN LONDON is about love and friendship, and the season’s most important lesson: learning how to ask for and give forgiveness.

Best Day Ever

Best Day Ever:A Riveting Psychological Thriller about the Perfect Marriage by Kaira Rouda ($26.99, $16.27 at Amazon) — Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.

Help! Oh I was talking to myself!

Help! Oh I was talking to myself! by Offshoot ($10.89 USD) — This activity book plays a vital role in reducing stress by helping the readers stand above an issue. They acknowledge it, and treat it lightly in the awareness that they are touched by the issue but not contained by it. The activities take the readers’ minds off the banality of everyday life. There is an affirmation for the readers on every leaf of this book. It reminds them that they are much more than the problems life throws at them.

Shocked!: When office doesn’t rock!

Shocked!: When office doesn’t rock! by Offshoot — ($9.95, $1.79 at Amazon) — Pressure, deadlines, workload and race against time.Banging heads and lost in files, oh my god, I have lost all smiles―an alarming microscope of the oddities of life in the workplace fishbowl, the book works as a buffer for your daily rants and curses. Caustically funny illustrations make it the book your boss would never want you to lay your hands on. So, here is the chance to cope with office drama and fine tuneyour worries and frustrations with this awesome book of activities.

 

Do you like to give books as gifts?  What are some of your current favorites?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017 — Fiction Books

I find that books are such great gifts for the holidays.  I give everyone in my immediate family a couple of new books every year to help them get through th cold winter!

Here are some amazing new books I was sent for my gift guides.  Check them out:

Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures Vol. I

Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures Vol. I is twenty-one unfinished projects from one of the twentieth century’s most popular and prolific writers, lovingly reconstructed by the author’s son

Delving deep into the creative process of an American original, the Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures project brings to light complete, unpublished novels as well as the hidden story behind the most mysterious and ambitious of his works. In this first collection, Beau L’Amour presents nearly two dozen never-before-seen drafts, using his father’s handwritten notes, journal entries, and correspondence, along with his own memories, to provide biographical context and speculate on how the pieces might have ended.

The scope of these selections celebrates L’Amour’s vision and virtuosity, including variations on the traditional Western—the first seven chapters of a powerful novel about the Cherokee Trail of Tears and a story of the American Revolution featuring a character who may be one of L’Amour’s well-known Sackett family. At the other end of the spectrum are classic adventures, such as The Golden Tapestry, set in 1960s Istanbul, as well as several uniquely different attempts at what would have been the most profoundly intimate of all of L’Amour’s novels, a saga of reincarnation that stretches from a time before time to the period of Alexander the Great, and on to Warlord-Era China.

Illustrated with rare photographs and copies of handwritten notes, this book reveals the L’Amour you have never known, his personal struggles as a writer, and the contest between mortality and a literary legacy too big for one life to contain.

Purchase at Amazon and other fine book stores.

Chimera

CHIMERA: A Weregirl Novel by C. D. Bell [Chooseco Publishing] is the highly anticipated YA paranormal thriller sequel in the Weregirl Trilogy and a must-read this fall, on shelves November 1, 2017. Weregirl, the first of the trilogy, presented the origin story of Nessa Kurland, a high school junior focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running… until a dangerous late-night encounter with a trapped wolf in the woods renders her transformed: not just into a more competitive runner, but into a WEREGIRL learning to transform with the moon and use her powers to combat evil in her small town. In Bell’s follow-up novel, CHIMERA, Nessa is stronger and has more control over her transformations, but there’s more at stake than just the moon cycles.

Purchase at Amazon and other fine book stores.

Full Service Blonde

Here is a book that would make for the perfect gift for any book lover, Vegas goer, or murder-mystery fanatic: Full Service Blonde [out November 7, Imbrifex Books], the prequel to the successful Las Vegas comical mystery debut Getting Off on Frank Sinatra, by Megan Edwards.

Enchanted by this unlikely city locale, author Megan Edwards continues to set ‘Sin City’ as the backdrop in her prequel Full Service Blonde which follows aspiring journalist Copper Black, who meets Victoria McKimber, an outspoken prostitute at one of Nevada’s legal brothels. Victoria offers Copper the exclusive right to tell her story. Not only will the Las Vegas Light’s “calendar girl” get a byline, but maybe even a front page cover story after Victoria is shockingly murdered and Copper is thrusted into the investigation. With twists and turns revealing more into Copper Black’s background and own journey toward self-discovery, Full Service Blonde offers readers the chance to dive further into the dark side of the Southwest’s city that never sleeps.

Purchase at Amazon and other fine book stores.

Do you like to give books for gifts?