Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Liked My Life

I have been a very, very bad book blogger...I must confess. I am extremely late getting my review for this book out into the blogosphere...which I feel even more horrible about considering how much I enjoyed the book once I started it.

I thank, and apologize to, Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book to review...that came out in JANUARY. 😬

I was going to insert a picture of me hanging my head in shame, but I need to dye my hair right now and I'm too embarrassed by my roots.

Okay, enough self-flagellation...and onto the good stuff.

I Liked My Life is the debut novel of U.S. Author Abby Fabiaschi. Fabiaschi resigned from her tech job to pursue writing when her children were toddlers, and is an ardent advocate for victims of sex trafficking and extreme abuse...which automatically endears her to me (and I point it out because...) it's a cause that I have been reading up on a lot recently due to my favorite sister's work in that area, and the work of a good friend and neighbor of mine.

I Liked My Life begins with Maddy optimistically looking for a replacement wife for her husband. You see, she has committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the library where she volunteers...and yet she is still here...and she's worried about her husband Brady and her daughter Eve. They are not handling the sudden loss of the mother and wife who did it all, and appeared to be happy, very well. Surely finding someone else to fill the void will make it all better, right??

Brady worked hard, and was great at bringing home the bacon. He was always pretty secure in his marriage. He'd never been unfaithful. Yes, his hours were long...and they did fight over some small things...but was he really so bad that she could leave him like this?? And what is he going to do with Eve when Maddy had always made it look so easy??

How is Eve supposed to go to parties, and hang out with her boyfriend...and do the normal things teenagers do, when her mother killed herself?? Was she really such a bad child?? What is she supposed to do now? And why don't people realize that their weird comments don't make it any easier for her??

And can Maddy really manipulate them from beyond, when she can feel herself getting farther and farther away from them every day??

I was absolutely HOOKED on this book. It took me about a chapter and a half to really get into it, but then I couldn't put it down. I read this one until the wee hours of the morning.

Each chapter is told through the eyes of the three main characters, Madeline, Eve and Brady...and they are all written with such distinct voices that I am blown away by this being a debut novel. That teen-aged angst is so good...and although I can't tell you what a man's inner dialogue sounds like, it felt very real to me. And of the characters is a ghost, but it doesn't feel hinky. It just feels heart-breaking and yet magical. I really loved Maddy.

This would make a phenomenal book club selection, as just the insight into marriage would be enough to talk about for an hour over wine and nibbles. There is even a good passage about Maddy's book club, and Eve's disgust when she finds out what her mother talks about with her friends during their "book" talk. I was literally laughing out loud because I'm pretty sure I've had a similar discussion with my girlfriends!!

I don't want to give a whole lot more away, so I'm just going to end with how sorry I am that I waited so long to read this one. I'm giving it 4 1/2 stars, and rounding up to a 5 on Goodreads. Being the fly on the wall for Brady and Eve trying to figure out how to have a relationship without the glue that held their family together was thought provoking, to say the least. And I hope someone out there has made a printable of Maddy's sage advice because I'd buy it in a heart beat. I'll be putting this one on my Favorites list, for sure.

So, at the risk of my friends piping up in the comments with stories I'd rather not have on the internet for the world to read, if you're in a book club...does the conversation always stay with the book?? Or do you also occasionally veer into the personal also?? Let me know in the comments here, or over on my Facebook page! And a HUGE Thank you again to Netgally and Abby Fabiaschi! Can't wait to see what she puts out next!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Your Best Year Ever (Or Yet!)

 Your Best Year Ever by Kelly Exeter | Review on Tomes and Tequila Blog
This review is going to be short and sweet, because this book is short and sweet. 

While I was writing my post about a few of my favorite Podcasts yesterday (you can read it here), I noticed that one of the ladies who makes the Straight & Curly Podcast, Kelly Exeter, has written a couple of books. I'm not sure if I really got across to y'all just how quickly I fell for this duo...but with a price of (at the time) $3.99 and $7.99 for the Kindle, I felt compelled to purchase both of her books. may also have had to do with the fact that she was nice to me on Twitter. Basically, if you send me a smiley face or a nice comment on social media, I will buy your book. What can I say, I'm a cheap date. 

But back to the review. 

So last night I read the smaller of Exeter's two books, Your Best Year Ever (inexplicably titled Your Best Year Yet on Goodreads). I was able to read it, after working until 8 pm at the library, and then Skyping both my daughter at college and my husband on his "extended vacation to a foreign, sandy country" because it is a short and sweet 90 pages long (or 45 pages according to Goodreads?!?). 

I actually loved this little book. It helped me get to know a bit better one of the women behind a Podcast that I love so much, but more than was filled with those little bits of knowledge that maybe you've heard before, but I always seem to need a good reminding about. 

 Your Best Year Ever by Kelly Exeter | Review by Tomes and Tequila Blog

As a self-help and self-improvement book junkie, there wasn't a ton in here that I haven't read in other places...there usually isn't. But, you can hear things a million times and all it takes is that one person to say it in a different context, or wrapped within a personal story that resonates, and all of a sudden it sticks. I felt like Exeter's delivery of her tips about Time Management, Habit Building, "Wobbly Courage" and more were so down to earth and grounded that they really sat well with me. I highlighted darn near the entire thing...and I was still thinking about it this morning. That doesn't happen all the time. 

Totally worth the $3.99, in my humble opinion...but then as I said...I am a self-help junkie. 

So, I'm giving it 5 Stars...and vowing to work harder on writing my own story of who I am, and who I want to be. 

And that's my attempt at Short and Sweet! LOL Hope you all have a fabulous Hump Day!! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Top 5 Podcasts

I'm doing something a little different on the blog today, and moving away from books for a few minutes.  Brace yourself...

If you've been reading for a while you know that I am a big fan of self-help and personal development books. I am reading at least one nonfiction book at all times...I just can't get enough of them. In addition to reading copious amounts of books, I'm also a big fan of Podcasts. I generally listen to them while at work, but I've also been known to listen while on the treadmill or cleaning the house...and even while laying in bed. (Have I mentioned I don't sleep a whole lot?) If I were in my car more I would probably listen to them in there too, but I barely have time to get through one Bee Gee's song on my way to the Library in the morning. 😊

So, I thought I would introduce y'all to a few of my favorite Podcasts. I usually listen on the free Podcast Addict app on my phone but I know there are numerous apps out there at your disposal to listen on...including Itunes. I subscribe to my favorites so that I don't miss out on any of the good stuff! For this list I will probably stick with ones that are of the "nonfiction" variety, but I have friends who really enjoy the classic radio serial type...I am just not as familiar with those.

Happier With Gretchen Rubin

 Happier With Gretchen Rubin Podcast

As I have mentioned repeatedly on the blog, but mainly over here, I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin. I have read and enjoyed all of her books, and I'm a regular devotee of her Podcasts. Happier With Gretchen Rubin  is the happiness and habits-centric podcast that Rubin does with her sister, TV writer and producer Elizabeth Craft. In it they discuss numerous hints, tips and information relevant to increasing your happiness and developing new habits in relation to your personality type. I normally come away from each podcast of hers that I listen to with at least one tangible piece of applicable info, be it a new step to add into my routine or a website I want to check out, etc...and that is no small feat. I can't sing it's praises enough...and this is the Podcast I have been listening to the longest.

What Should I Read Next? With Anne Bogel

 What Should I Read Next Podcast

Okay, maybe I shouldn't be sharing this one with you, but I feel like you can never get too many book recommendations...which is why I like the Podcast What Should I Read Next by Anne Bogel, otherwise known as Blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy. Her Blog is what I aspire to one day. On her Podcast she interviews a different person on what books they love, what books they hate and what books they are currently reading. This lady really knows her literature, and I always find a new, or old, gem to add to my enormous To Read list!

Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields

 Good Life Project Podcast

As I mentioned over here, I really liked Jonathan Fields book How to Live a Good Life. After I read the book, I not only started listening to the Podcasts, but I also joined the Facebook Page...and it is one of the most positive and feel good areas of the Internet I've ever found. The Good Life Project Podcasts  cover all sorts of things that were touched on in his book, along with other things that might help you to lead a better life. I may be being slightly vague, but that's only because he covers so many different topics and has interviews with so many interesting people. Seriously...the positivity surrounding this guy is fairly epic.

Straight and Curly

 Straight and Curly Podcast

Okay, I'm fairly new to this Podcast, but I fell in love fast and hard after listening to an episode dedicated to being skeptical of who to trust when it came to self-help gurus. Straight and Curly is a Podcast put together by Carly Jacobs and Kelly Exeter, who claim to be obsessive self-improvement junkies just like me. Every week they discuss some sort of improvement hack or theme, and their take on it...from fitness trackers to the theory that "outer order equals inner calm". I would honestly listen just for their accents, but I mainly love just how down to earth and practical all of their tips and discussions are. These ladies are just like the rest of us, and I have quickly put their episodes on heavy rotation and am playing catch-up! 

Vibrant Happy Women with Dr. Jen Riday

 Vibrant Happy Women Podcast

This last Podcast I haven't listened to quite as much as the others, but I'm excited to get to know better...and I think that MY readers will really enjoy, especially the mommies out there. Vibrant Happy Women with Jen Riday is a by women for women guide to staying positive and taking care of yourself, so that you can be there for the other people in your life. A lot of women, especially mothers, are great at doing everything for others while putting themselves on the back burner...and this Podcast is dedicated to helping you find a better balance. That can only lead to good things!

So, do you know of any Podcasts you think I should be listening to regularly?? Are you already listening to any of these? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Opposite of Maybe

 The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson | Book Review by Tomes and Tequila Book Blog
As I have mentioned copious times, mainly over here and here, I am a HUGE fan of Maddie Dawson and her books. I love the sassy and smart voices she gives her forty-something females, and her books are just clever. So, I am basically on a quest to read everything she has written. This led me to purchasing her 2014 selection The Opposite of Maybe.

The Opposite of Maybe tells the story of Rosie. She has been in a successfully-unmarried relationship with teacup-obsessed Jonathan for so long, they're the butt of jokes within their group of friends. But things are puttering along okay with them until the day Jonathan decides to change up everything and propose, along with telling her they're moving across the country, in a very uncharacteristically over-the-top manner. Rosie decides, rather abruptly, that things aren't going the way she wants, so she decides instead to move in with the only family she has...her eccentric grandmother Soapie. This is when life for Rosie goes from ho-hum to exciting. But how long will it take her to figure out what she really wants out of life?? 

A fun group of eccentric characters show up to help Rosie figure things out. We have the good-looking gardener/care-giver with a heart of gold, Tony, whose own life is a bit of a mess. George, who has always loved Grandma Sophie/Soapie, and spends his days with his Alzheimer's-riddled wife Louise and nights at Sophie's house drinking G&T's and dancing to Frank Sinatra. And then we have Soapie. 

Grandma Soapie is the alcohol-swilling, cigarette-smoking, expletive-shouting, eccentric author of the famous "Dustcloth Diva" book series, who raised Rosie from the age of 3 after her mother died. They have a strained relationship, which to me is at the heart of this book more so than the romantic life of Rosie. But her declining health is part of what keeps Rosie tethered to her past, and unsure of what to do with her future.

And then there is that whole unexpected pregnancy thing. What on earth is Rosie supposed to do?? Isn't she a bit too old to have a baby?

 The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson | Review by Tomes and Tequila Book Blog

I enjoyed this book but I'd be lying if I said it was my favorite of Maddie Dawson's. I think that title still goes to The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness. But it's still a solid book, and I honestly think I'll buy anything this author puts out.

I had a fairly good idea of where this book was going, but I still enjoyed the ride. The big saving grace for me was the way she writes her characters. I love their voices, although I honestly kept waiting for Rosie to lose her shit on Jonathan at one point. I am just a big fan of her characters. They are people I want to be friends with, and I felt the same way at the end of this one. I think I would enjoy playing Scrabble with Rosie, Tony, George and Soapie...sitting in their living room with Frank Sinatra or Michael Bublé playing on the stereo and a Pina Colada in my glass.

So, I'd recommend this if you're looking for a modern-contemporary fiction book that's not too difficult of a read, but with some fun and eccentric characters. I think it would make a pretty good book club book for maybe the over-forty crowd, as there are definitely some interesting conversation topics in well as a section of discussion questions at the end of the book.

I should have quite a few reviews coming up for you, as I'm halfway done with probably 8 books at the moment. I just need to buckle down and finish them instead of picking up something new! I'm curious, do any of you read multiple books at one time? I never used to, but have started to recently. I think I'm just struggling to find a REALLY good 5 star book at the moment. Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page!

Monday, March 20, 2017

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

 How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White | Review by Tomes and Tequila Book Blog
I have a confession to make. I am what Dana K. White refers to as a slob. I am terrific at projects and big cleaning sprees before social gatherings, but I'm not so great at keeping my house looking bright and shiny on a regular day to day basis. I have read numerous books in the past...printed out fabulous cleaning schedules off of Pinterest...come up with amazing plans throughout the years, but nothing has ever really stuck. Enter Miss White.

I just finished listening to How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing With Your House's Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White on Audiobook and I really enjoyed it.

She starts off with an intro detailing who this book is for...and who it's definitely NOT geared towards. If you're already very organized, don't bother picking this one up. It was made for folks like me and I'm sure the naturally tidy people would find it basic and not worth their time. But if you have parts of your house alphabetized yet refer to one of your closets as "The Harry Potter closet" because it reminds you of the Room of Requirement, this book is for you.

It is written in a style that can best be described as girlfriend...and that is even more noticeable listening to it on Audiobook. There is zero condescension. It is more like you're sitting at your friend's house talking over a glass of wine about how hard it is to keep on top of laundry when your kids are CONSTANTLY changing and dirtying everything! It is witty and wry yet chock full of a new way of thinking about cleaning routines.

One of the terms White coins in the book is "Slob Vision". This is a phenomenon that I can wholly relate to. I chronically have a pile of papers on the bar in my kitchen. They just gravitate there...and I am so used to seeing that pile of papers that it doesn't even register anymore. That's Slob Vision. I could list other areas of my house where Slob Vision routinely makes an appearance, but I want my friends to still set foot in my house so I'll leave it at that. But throughout the book she talks about fighting that obstacle to cleanliness, and it really hit home.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I like books that detail the hows of a subject. Say it's a book about insomnia, I want it to give me realistic hints and tips that I can actually try in my day-to-day life in an effort to sleep better. Give me a list of essential oils to put in my diffuser, some suggested meditations to do before crawling in bed, a list of Youtube videos of ambient music, what foods to avoid before bed, etc. I am very picky on this point. You're probably not going to see a 5 star nonfiction book if it doesn't detail the How. This book gave me some serious hows to work with.

White starts the book very simply with doing your dishes, and then progresses to bigger tasks. She even delves into deep cleaning and decluttering, along with a great chapter on how to get rid of the items you're purging from your house. She covers E-bay and consignment shops along with thrift stores and yard sales.

I probably wouldn't recommend Audiobook as the perfect format for How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, mainly because it's a book you'd probably want to go back and reference particular bits and pieces of later on..and it's harder to do that on Audible. But the author narrates it to perfection, and I really enjoyed listening to it at work. I just think for this subject I should've gone with a different format.

But this was very much a 4 star book in my slobbish eyes, even though I've never called myself that before. I'm definitely going to go to her website and see what she has going on over there. It also looks like she has a podcast, which I'll need to put in regular rotation. Hopefully I'll be able to put into action her tips and get my house under control. My neat freak husband has had to put up with a lot over the years and deserves a consistently neat and tidy that doesn't have a pile of papers on the kitchen bar. Mind you, he gets a little too excited by vacuum cleaner marks in the carpet so I think God put us together for a reason.

So, is your house immaculate all the time? Does cleaning come naturally to you? Or are you good at projects, like me? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My (Not So) Perfect Life

 My Not So Perfect Life By Sophie Kinsella | Review by Tomes and Tequila Blog
Hello hello everyone!! So sorry I went a Friday and a Monday with zero content on the blog. I really strive for a M-W-F schedule, and am usually pretty reliable, but my insomnia has been epic recently. I am normally pretty good at keeping life up and running regardless but for some reason the last couple weeks have just been hard. To top it off, I was trying to read a book that was just depressing. So I decided to put that book down for a bit and look for something a little more lighthearted and fun. Enter Sophie Kinsella.

I have to start by saying that I've never read her Shopaholic series, or any of her other books...although I know they were popular for quite a time. My main reason for grabbing this one was it's fun and perky cover, because we all know I regularly judge books by them. But when I read the blurb I was truly intrigued by the premise...and honestly feel it's a very pertinent and relatable story for the time we are presently living in. So I jumped in looking for a fun respite from my sleep-deprived state.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella tells the story of Katie Brenner. But, well...she wants to go by Cat now that she's living in London and working at a fancy marketing agency. Her Instagram tells the story of the life she's worked so hard for. The Perfect Life...full of beautiful coffee mugs placed at just the right angle on an outdoor cafe table (too bad she can't afford to drink there, and takes the pics when others go to the restroom)...artfully filtered shots of her basking in the grooviness of her adorable London flat (that pic's not of her place either, which she shares with two horrible roommates)...cropped, tweaked and perfectly molded to project the life she has always dreamed of. A life like her boss Demeter. SHE has everything she could ever want and then some.

But then Cat is let go at work...made redundant...fired. This isn't how her perfect life is supposed to go. What will everyone think? Will a trip back to her family farm help Katie/Cat figure out what she wants to do with her life? Is she as good at Marketing as she thinks she is? Will she ever find another job that isn't on the farm? What is her father going to think about her being fired? And...what on earth is the perfect Demeter doing booking a holiday at her family's new Glamping business??

I really enjoyed this book, but that could be because the last one was such a downer and this one is so bright and fresh. I think it would make a good, easy-to-read Book Club selection because there is quite a bit to discuss in it. The biggie being how social media impacts our lives, and whether constantly seeing people's filtered highlight reels changes how you perceive your "real" life...warts and all. The conversation is too big for a book review...but it's part of why I wanted to read this book, and it fulfilled my expectations perfectly. It also delves into family roots and embracing your heritage. Who says you can't delve into serious subjects in what could ostensibly be referred to as a Chick Lit Novel?? I sure as heck don't!!

 My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella | Review by Tomes and Tequila Blog

I would definitely recommend My Not So Perfect Life, and I'm giving it 4 stars. I liked the characters, laughed at Katie's description of her trek through London to get to work in the morning (I miss England!!) and despite having an idea of where it was going, I was interested until the last page. Maybe I just needed something I didn't have to struggle too much with, but this book hit the spot for me this week.

So, should I pick up any other Sophie Kinsella books? What are your thoughts on Social Media and it's impact on women in particular when it comes to trying to have a "Perfect Life"? I'd love to hear about it in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bookish Goodies Vol. 7 The Shakespeare Edition!

*this post contain an affiliate link, please check out my review policy for more info

I am an absolute fiend for Shakespeare. I always have been. I grew up next to a fabulous Shakespearean theater in Southern Oregon, and for field trips we regularly went to see plays. I took for granted that everyone had seen multiple versions of Romeo and Juliet before ever reaching High School. As a parent, and living nowhere near Oregon, I strived to raise little Shakespeare fans myself. I don't know whether my oldest would shout from the rooftops that he's a fan, but my youngest has been schooling her teachers on what Harold Bloom thinks of Coriolanus for years now (even before Hiddleston!!). I have raised a Shakespeare snob...mind you, one who proudly owns insult bandaids. So...for the girl who struggled to choose between History and English...I give you my 7th Bookish Goodies Guide devoted entirely to William Shakespeare. Enjoy!!!

 Shakespeare Soap Dispenser on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila Book Blog

I'm loving this Lady Macbeth soap dispenser by ClearstoryGlass for $19. I literally laughed out loud when I found it! Perfect statement piece for your guest bathroom. You really can't beat it! I'm imagining an entire Macbeth inspired bathroom... 

 Bards Dispense Profanity Game on Etsy | gift guide by Tomes and Tequila book blog

Okay, this is one I have already purchased! I sent it in a care package to my daughter in the hopes of getting her to play it in her dorm room with her friends instead of that other game making the rounds. She said it was a big hit! It is full of insulting things straight from the mouth of Shakespeare himself (or so he said) and definitely not for kids. You can find it on whysoever for $19.95

 prose before hos bumper sticker on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila book blog

I don't really know what to say about this one other than it made me laugh...hard. I may have even snorted a little bit. The perfect statement sticker for thespians and smart-asses alike. It can be found on Bookfiend for $2.95

 Shakespeare Phone Case on Etsy | gift guide by Tomes and Tequila blog

I couldn't have an Etsy list without a phone case...and I thought this Shakespearean quote case was very cool. I don't think the average joe realizes how many of our sayings come straight from Shakespeare. It really is quite amazing, and this phone case would be a great conversation piece. You can find it on InfiniumDesigns for $9.99

 Shakespeare mug on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila book blog

This is the perfect mug for that incredibly smart know the one. The same one you bought the T-shirt that says "That's what I do...I drink and I know things" for. This is that friend's next gift. Just trust me on this one. You can find it on perksandrecreation for $13.99+

 Shakespeare Bracelet on Etsy | gift guide by Tomes and Tequila blog

This bracelet comes stamped with the Macbeth quote "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes". I have to be honest, it reminds me more of the movie that scared the daylights out of me as a child than Shakespeare...but I still think it's cool. You can find it on WickedWordsmithCo for $30.02

 Shakespeare Pencils on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila book blog

Once again, they just make me laugh!! Like a lot of my friends, I have a "thing" for office supplies...pretty pens, paper, stickers etc. And these pencils just fulfill a deep urge that obviously was not fulfilled as a child. 😜 I crack jokes but you can have a container of To Be or Not To Be pencils when you work at a Library...heck, you can have them anywhere. Fulfill the urge folks...fulfill the urge. These are from CouldYouPlease for $8.50.

 Hamlet Bag on Etsy | Gift guide on Tomes and Tequila book blog

I am obviously not in a very serious mood today...and if you are a regular reader you will note I usually have a bag in every shopping guide. Today I have a bag...and it's funny. What can I say, from where I sit you can always use another tote bag. I use one almost every day just going back and forth to do all my coworkers. I use them when I travel. Most people use them when they shop. Why not make a statement when you're carrying one?? You can find this bag on OakCityDesignCo for $19.95. 

 Macbeth Print on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila blog

Here is the print to put on the wall of your Shakespeare themed guest bathroom. It matches your Lady Macbeth soap dispenser you purchased when you saw it up above...the one you bought right after you stopped laughing. You can thank me later. This one is by LawandMoore for $10.01. (Hey, I have a friend with a hunting half-bath...complete with deer head, which is a lot in a half-bath. You can have a Macbeth bathroom!) 

 Shakespeare T-shirt on Etsy | gift guide on Tomes and Tequila blog

I like this shirt, and it sums up perfectly how we can have the insult games and incredible quotes. In the Etsy description it says "Shakespeare was a Badass"...and I couldn't agree with them more. Show your love for The Bard by wearing this glorious t-shirt. This one is made by Ravenchicstudio for $19.99+.  It comes in sizes up to XXL. 

This guide was so easy to write, my Blog Favorites List on Etsy is still FILLED with Shakespeare goodies I didn't have room for! If you haven't had a chance to view my other lists you can find the latest ones here, here and here. If you have a Fandom you'd like me to make a Goodies guide on, please let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook Page. Now go read some Shakespeare!! 💛💛

Monday, March 6, 2017

Get Your Sh*t Together!

 Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight review by Tomes and Tequila Blog
I have to thank Netgalley and Little Brown and Company for sending me the most appropriately titled book for my present mood...Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. It couldn't have come into my life at a better time as I'm really feeling like I need to make some changes, and if even one tip in a book helps then it was worth reading. And I highlighted more than one thing in this little book.

Get Your Sh*t Together was so funny, I actually read bits out loud to my son. That's not to say it isn't a self-help book, or wasn't filled with the sort-of tips you'd expect in a book about straightening your life out and getting your act together because it was all that and then some. But it is written in such a sarcastic manner that I was entertained so much I almost forgot I was "learning" something. And to be completely honest, I initially thought this book, and Sarah Knight's other cuss word titled book, were pure I was happily surprised by the legitimate helpful content.


Okay, so that's not really teaching me anything...but it made me laugh. And before anyone gives me a hard time, one of my favorite people in the world is a vegan. That doesn't mean it isn't funny. (I love you Aja) 😜 I was going to put the quote in that disparages Texas also, but I'd like to still have readers tomorrow.

As for the learning portion of the book, in between all the swearing and jokes, there really is a good message. It's basically all about strategy, focus and commitment. She likens it to your keys, phone and wallet. You'd have to read her description to get it really...but it makes sense. The plan outlined in this book centers on breaking things up into small, manageable chunks and focusing on them one at a time. Sounds simple, yet it's something I struggle with on a regular basis.

One thing I read in this that I hadn't really heard in other books involved the power of the negative. That involves focusing on those negative things that annoy you the most, and channeling your feelings into action. Or as she says "Rather than chasing those pretty, aspirational butterflies that have long seemed to hover just out of reach, stomp a few unsightly cockroaches that are right there on the floor in front of you." This makes sense to me.

The book also says that everyone is one of the three Chipmunks...Alvin, Simon or Theodore. I have always loved The Chipmunks therefore this speaks to me also. I actually think she may have written this book just for me personally. I'm not sure how many other Chipmunks-loving, potty-mouthed, messy bibliophiles there are out there...but if you're reading this, we are kindred spirits!!

I'm really trying desperately to give this a nice, serious review...but even looking at my notes I mainly highlighted the funny stuff!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's only about 300 small pages long, so it's a quick read. I have to give it 4 stars. I got some great tips on productivity and strategies to work on things I don't like in my life...but I also got some serious laughs along the way, which I need more of. Now I need to get her other book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck as that's another area I could use help in!

So, since I always like to end with a question or two...are you a fan of the Chipmunks also? LOL Did you think these books were pure satire too?? Got any shit-sorting books you think I might enjoy?? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page.

Friday, March 3, 2017

New Books For Your To-Read List

It's been a little while since I've made a New Release Blog Post, and there's no time like the present! So here are some New Books I've added to my To-Read List that I think you might enjoy. Of course, there's that small chance they may be wretched...but I've scoured the reviews and synopses and feel like these might be worth our highly-coveted and oh-so-precious reading hours. Enjoy!!

 The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

This new Historical Fiction book, published the 21st of February, is set in Nazi Germany. It tells the story of Noa. At 16 she was forced to give away her child, and while working at a train station she steals a Jewish baby on it's way to a concentration camp. Forced to flee she finds refuge in a circus, where she bonds with Astrid, the lead Aerialist. I'm hoping this is a cross between Water for Elephants and The Nightingale, or All the Light We Cannot See. It has incredibly high ratings so far, so it's sitting high on my To-Read List. 

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Okay, I'm cheating here. This one was published the 3rd of January, but I still haven't got my hands on it. I picked it up once at B&N but talked myself out of spending the money seeing as I have so many unread books at home. But I REALLY want to read it! This book is a collection of short stories about women. Sassy women...complex women...sexual women. It has my name written all over it. (Difficult much??)

 My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Another slight cheat, as it was released the 7th of February...but it's on our New Release shelf at work so it still counts. I have to admit, I've never read any of Sophie Kinsella's books. For all my chick-lit love, I'm not a "shopaholic" for some reason didn't feel compelled to pick up any of her series by that name. (To my friends who have seen my makeup collection...shhhhh) But the description of this book has caught my attention. This is a story (from what I can tell) of a woman who, while unhappy with her current life situation, finds solace in a not-quite-so-truthful Instagram that emulates her oh so successful boss Demeter. But when she runs off to her family's vacation business and sees what Demeter's life is really like...what she perceives might not be true. It's a story I think could be good...and fun.

 Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

This Contemporary Mystery came out on the 7th of February also. Swimming Lessons tells the mysterious family story of a missing mother. Ingrid writes letters to her husband and hides them in his extensive library...and then disappears from the beach one day leaving behind said husband and two daughters. Many years later her husband thinks he sees her one day but no one believes him. Their daughter comes to take care of dad, not realizing the mystery of her missing mother lays in the books that surround her. This one had me at books, letters and mystery!

 All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

I enjoyed Jami Attenberg's book The Middlesteins, so was excited to see this new novel of hers coming out the 7th of March. This latest book is the story of Andrea, a 39/40 year old single woman coming to terms with who she is and the decisions she's made in her life. At only 208 pages, I think this short take on a purposely single with no kids woman my age could be very interesting and worth checking out. Plus I think it has a very catchy cover!

 We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel

Now for the Nonfiction, this one comes out on the 7th of March also (popular date for this blog post!). Written by actress Gillian Anderson and her good friend Jennifer Nadel, this book is said to have "9 Principles to Live By". And although the descriptions vary on different websites, between manifesto on women supporting each other to spiritual practices to help women with the challenges we face in our lives, the pre-publication buzz is pretty strong. Plus, I gravitate to books like this! 

 The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron with Leslie Wilson

With a publication date of the 21st of March, this Memoir is the one we have to wait for the longest. It tells the story of Anna LeBaron, daughter of Ervil LeBaron...a notoriously radical cultist who killed anyone who tried to leave his clutches. I have often wondered about the children born in not just polygamist families, but cults such as these...and the ramifications of the extreme lifestyles that must feel like the norm to them. I think this would be a fascinating read. 

Do you have any New Releases on YOUR radar that you think I should add to my list?? Have I missed something coming out by your favorite author?? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page. OH, and if you have any bookish themes you'd like me to write about, let me know. Want me to do a shopping list all about Twilight? (LOL) Need me to research some hot new cookbooks coming out? (they  make those don't they??) If it's book related and you want to hear about it, let me know!!