Friday, May 26, 2017

Portraits of Courage Review

As soon as the book Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush landed on my desk at the library, I knew I needed to read and review it. Now, before I lose half of my readers due to politics, let me say right off the bat that this review is going to have nothing to do with politics. I am one of those people who likes to keep my political opinions to myself normally, and this is not a political blog. I have Republican friends, Democrat friends, Libertarian friends, and friends who don't know what that last one means...and I love them equally (normally). I lost zero friends during this last election, and I don't plan on starting to alienate anyone now. But what this review WILL be about is our military.

Now, if this is the first time you've ever been to my blog (and a giant welcome to you!!!) I will start this review by saying...I am not unbiased when it comes to our this will not be an unbiased review. I can't pretend to have kept my personal life out of things when reading, because my background is just a part of who I am. I don't write about it a lot on the blog, but I am married to a career Air Force guy. I also have a daughter attending the Naval Academy at the moment. I just left my job at a Library on a military base, and we are headed to the DC area for what may be the last location in my husband's long military career. I am not going to go on a pro-military, pro-gun, pro-whatever tangent...but the military is a large part of my life and the lives of the majority of my friends.

Portraits of Courage truly moved me, and I'm giving it 5 stars without an ounce of hesitation.

In his retirement years post-presidency, one of the things George W. Bush has done to occupy his time is to start up the hobby of painting. I don't have an artistic bone in my body, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who can paint or draw someone, and have it turn out looking like the desired subject. I'm not being self-depricating, I'm sure I can find a photo to illustrate this from one of the times I went to a wine and paint event with my girlfriends. I had a blast, but to call my finished piece art would be pushing the term.

I rest my case....
Bush took up the hobby when he heard that Churchill had painted. The intro where he talks about deciding to paint, finding people to teach him, and evolving from cubes to eventually painting the wounded warriors that fill this book is both funny, clever and filled with a wit and self-awareness that was at times missing during his presidency. And that's just the intro.

Portraits of Courage is filled with paintings and profiles of wounded warriors that Bush has met during his golf and mountain-biking events through his Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. (and his net author proceeds of the book go to the center) Each profile details the military member's service career, how they were wounded, Bush's interaction with them, and a little about their issues since they were wounded and how they've been helped afterwards. It calls attention to Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries, along with the physical wounds that many came home with. Most of these Veterans ride bikes, do triathlons, and play golf with missing limbs...eye injuries...and wounds I can't even wrap my head around.

Reading the book, I was both moved by Bush's genuine care for these Veterans and by their extreme strength and tenacity, which was expressed throughout the volume. I read many passages out loud to my husband and son. When Bush described having tears in his eyes when visiting with some of these guys at Walter Reed, I knew that it came from his heart because as a military spouse I have paid attention to the stories of him visiting hospitals...I have seen the photos of him moved to tears. I also know that for every story that I've seen, there are many more that I haven't. His love of the troops feels honest to me, and you can feel it as you read this book. And although it looks like a standard coffee table book, it is one of the rare books that I read from cover to cover...including every foreword, dedication, post-script and acknowledgment.

And if this review doesn't make you want to give the book a glance, watch his interview with Jimmy Kimmel...or with Ellen. You will see that this is a passion project for him.

So, 5 stars all the way. I went to bed last night counting my blessings, because this book was a big reminder of how lucky my family is...and a reminder yet again of how resilient the members of my giant military family are. We live in a weird time, where people's feelings about the military are often incredibly conflicted. This book puts a face to a lot of people who would say they were ordinary and just doing their jobs, but who others would unequivocally call heroes. I am blessed to be surrounded by people like this on a regular basis. This book was a reminder.

And on this Memorial Day Weekend, I think we should all pause to remember the people who have died serving to protect our Country. 💛

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It's Always the Husband Review

Sorry for the few and far between blog posts the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately and realistically, that will probably hold true for a few more weeks still. We should be out of our house here in North Dakota by the end of next week, and traveling to DC the week after. Right now my life has revolved around cleaning, purging and yard sales...with not a lot of time for reading or writing. Next week it will be about packing...the week after about driving!! I have a giant stack of new books that I'll be loading in my car with me, and possibly an audiobook for the road. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel...but as of today it's still a tiny speck.

My biggest disappointment blog wise is that our move coincides with the 1 Year Anniversary of the blog!! Tomes and Tequila will be a YEAR OLD on June 8th...the day after my 42nd birthday (egads!!). My big plan was to do another giveaway for the anniversary, but I think that will have to wait until we're settled into a new house in DC. So...keep reading folks, as I have big plans for that one!

Okay, on to the book review.

I just finished another new book that was sent to me from Booksparks for their Summer Reading Challenge 2017, It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell. This was another contemporary murder thriller, that once again had me pretty much in the dark about what actually happened until the last page of the book....although it wasn't quite as mysterious as Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and had a quarter of the cast of characters. (The books in no way need to be compared, I just read them back to back, so it's all fresh in my mind.)

It's Always the Husband tells the story of three friends who meet when they become roommates at the prestigious Carlisle College in New Hampshire. Jenny, Aubrey and Kate are three completely different people. Jenny is the local ambitious good girl with high aspirations. Kate is the reckless spoiled rich girl and ringleader. And Aubrey is the flighty girl without a penny to her name, who fought tooth and nail to get into the school but doesn't really know what to do with herself now that she's there.

The girls become fast friends, although their relationship is odd and destructive from the beginning. There's drugs, manipulation, hard-partying, excess, jealousy and then some...but somehow the three-some are still pretty tight until one night something tragic happens that breaks them apart. One goes her separate way, and life goes on. But when she returns to Belle Haven, tensions rise and between the old and new hurts, bad things happen. When one of the women ends up dead, the question becomes a combination of how responsible are the other two women in her demise and/or the age old question of Was it the Husband??

I really enjoyed reading this one. It wasn't a fast paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that was going to keep me up all night, but I was still up reading it way past my bedtime. It was more of a slow-burn mystery. And the first and second halves of the book felt very different to me. The first half of the book felt almost like a Young Adult book of college excess, but I knew that there was a middle-aged section coming up...and my kids often give me crap for still being a teenager inside, so it didn't turn me off in any way. I agree with other reviewers who said they could tell the author has experience in Ivy League schools (she's a graduate of Harvard and Stanford). The tales of spoiled rich kids bingeing on pills to get through midterms because they'd partied too hard through the rest of their classes sounded eerily similar to articles I've read about real problems in Universities. It all felt very plausible. And as for the knew a lot. The author gave you a lot...but she didn't give you everything until the last page. So once again, don't be a heathen and spoil it for yourself!!

I'm giving this one 4 stars. It wasn't overly complicated...I didn't have to think very hard while reading it. But it was just the sort-of thriller that my tired brain needed right now. I'm not sure I could've handled anything overly complicated this week! I didn't really like any of the characters again, but as I've said before, that doesn't bother me at all. I think you'd probably like this if you're a fan of Liane Moriarty's books....and you've also sat through a couple seasons of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars.

I can't guarantee when the next review will be posted, but please be sure to follow my Facebook page, as I'll be updating that pretty regularly. I've also somehow managed to stay pretty active on Instagram and Twitter, so you can always find some good literary fun from me over there until I can get settled into our new location and back on a regular schedule!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Review

Hello Everyone!! I have a new review for you, albeit a day late. My review schedule will probably be a bit wonky over the next month or two, and I'm going to apologize in advance for it. With our upcoming cross-country move, my routine is thrown off completely. But I promise I will try my best to keep I know I will still be reading. 😀

Booksparks will be sending me books throughout the summer to review for their Summer Reading Challenge!! (Check out my Instagram for photos of all their goodies as they arrive!!) I was blessed to be picked as an Influencer, and have been pinching myself ever since. The boxes I've received have not only held mostly hard cover copies of some amazing new books, but also beach bags, Itunes gift cards, and more. I'm a lucky girl! And the first book of the summer is the highly anticipated book Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train!

This mystery is going to be a hard one to summarize, but I'll try.

A River runs through the town of Beckford, and it has a bend in it known as the Drowning Pool. Throughout the years numerous women have died there, either by suicide or at the hands of others. Jules is called in the early morning hours and told that her estranged sister Danielle (Nel to her friends) has been found dead in the Drowning Pool, so she returns to the town she grew up in...and quickly left make arrangements and to take care of Nel's teen daughter Lena. When she arrives you learn that Lena's best friend also died in the pool a few months back, and Nel was writing a book about the Drowning Pool and it's many mysteries. So...was it a suicide, or did Nel anger the wrong person?? And what caused the rift between Nel and Jules? Is there something truly sinister going on in Beckford?

The Mysteries in Beckford are too numerous to summarize really, and I found the book to be incredibly intriguing, although completely different from The Girl on the Train. I'm giving it 4 stars, but I think I might be in the minority on really liking it, which I think happens often when it's the book AFTER an author's BIG HIT.

This novel is a true complicated mystery, and you really don't know exactly what happened until the very last sentence of the book (so no skipping ahead, you heathens!!). There are a multitude of characters, and in the beginning it will feel like every chapter is written from the perspective of someone new...and you will be extremely confused. Think George R.R. Martin, or The Casual Vacancy for J.K. Rowling. Plus I would say that The River is another very important character in the story. During the first 1/4 I kept flipping back to remind myself of who on earth this person narrating was, but after awhile I began to get the characters straight in my mind, and found myself fully engaged. It didn't help that initially I was interrupted a lot, and had to keep putting the book down. This is definitely a novel that requires you paying attention to what you're reading.

It kind-of reminded me of the show Broadchurch, if you've ever seen it. (If you haven't, I highly recommend you search it it's an amazing show. Plus it has David Tennant in it.) Everyone has something going on...some agenda, or one is as they first appear really. And a lot of the drama would've never occurred if people would've just had a freakin' conversation with each other.

So, if you don't mind your mysteries complicated and drawn out, with a massive cast of characters, none of which are truly likable....don't hesitate to pick this one up. If you are someone who complained you needed a cheat sheet to watch Game of Thrones, this book probably isn't for you. But I enjoyed it. I told my husband, I just needed to figure out if Nel killed herself or not...and for that I had to wait until the very end. And I was satisfied...

These are the other books that were sent to me for May, so expect reviews of them in the next few weeks!! Let me know if any of them are on your reading list for the summer! And pray that my move goes smoothly. It's been a little over 5 years since we relocated, and it feels like the older we get the harder it is to transition to a new place. But I'm very excited to live on the East Coast for the first time EVER...and maybe have the chance to do some new and exciting things on the blog because of it!

 Booksparks Summer Reading List for May | Tomes and Tequila Book Blog

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It Happens All The Time Review

I'm going to start this blog post with the warning that, this book review will be more serious than normal. I like to think my writing is usually a bit humorous and always light-hearted, but today that's just not going to happen. I will try my best to keep from spilling my guts on the Internet for everyone to read, but this book felt that may be a bit difficult. And the subject matter isn't pleasant. Consider yourself warned.

While browsing through Twitter last month I noticed that Booksparks was teaming up with author Amy Hatvany for Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month...where if you purchased her book It Happens All The Time, and sent them the receipt, they would donate 30% of the sale to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.  Now, I don't live in King County, WA but I thought why not purchase a book that will give money to a cause that is close to my heart? So I immediately went on Amazon and bought the book without even reading the description, sent in my receipt, and book on my TBR pile.

Then when it arrived at the house, and I read the description, I thought...this one might be tricky to read and review.


It Happens All The Time tells the story of Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks. They have been best friends since middle school, through some of the toughest times in their lives. Tyler helped Amber when she struggled with an eating disorder. Amber helped Tyler through his parent's divorce, and his issues with his controlling and manipulative father. Through thick and thin they have always relied on each other. Best friends forever.

But Tyler has always been in love with Amber.

When Amber comes back from college with a fiance, Tyler is not happy. One night out at a party, after a lot of tequila, some flirtatious dancing, and a kiss...everything goes horribly wrong. And nothing is ever the same again.

The book alternates between Amber and Tyler's point of view. You get to be in both of their heads before the event that changes their lives and after. And it is all about consent.

I don't think I could say that I liked this book...that's not the right word for it. I think this book is important, and I'm giving it 5 stars. If you read it, and you'd never been a victim of sexual assault, would you give it 5 stars? I'm not sure. I couldn't separate 15 year old me with 41 year old me as I was reading it. It just feels like an important book, and I'm going to tell you for a minute why I think that's so.


This book paints rape with a different paintbrush than you normally see in a novel. Tyler is a "nice guy". HE thinks he's a nice guy. They are FRIENDS. She kissed HIM first. They were BOTH drunk. There were no weapons. No bad guy with a gun to her head. They were at a party. They KNEW each other. And this stuff is important for people to read.

And I'm not even going to get into Amber's eating disorder, which is another sensitive subject in this book. It was hard to read also, and once again...very true to life in my opinion.

According to RAINN 7 out of 10 perpetrators of sexual violence know their victims. But in a lot of people's heads, that's just not the case.

I'm not going to turn this review into a PSA, but I really felt this book handled the whole thing incredibly well. It was raw and emotional...I had tears in my eyes for a few sections. There were things that Amber said that could've come straight out of my diary in 1991. But this was not a man-bashing book. Tyler was a well rounded character. As in life, this was not a black and white was all shades of gray, and it just goes to show how delicate and confusing the messages we all receive about sex can be. It was filled with very good information, and I would say very well researched. I commend Amy Hatvany, who says in the back of the book that she was inspired to write the book by her children growing older and her still remembering so vividly her own sexual assault as a teen.

So...5 Stars. Well worth the $14 I spent on Amazon.

 RAINN Hotline

Instead of peppering the post with graphics I normally make personally, of cute quotes I enjoyed from the book I'm reviewing...this time I'll be using some from the RAINN website. I have personally used their resources before, and have donated to them in the past. They had a great page for SAAPM full of pre-made tweets and Instagram I'm borrowing from them. They not only have a hotline phone number (1-800-656-HOPE) but an online chat line...where my 38 year old self was actually called normal (for the first time ever) when I asked if you could 20+ years later start losing sleep over something that had happened to you. They are good people...

I'll try to make my next post a bit happier. 😊

Monday, May 8, 2017

Swimming Lessons Review

I feel like all of my blog posts lately start with an apology, so I'll refrain from repeating myself and get straight to the good stuff!

I was really excited to read Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. This was a novel I'd heard about, and seen photos of, for AGES before it showed up at the Library. The buzz was good and strong, and I was incredibly intrigued. I checked it out as soon as I could get my hands on it.

And then it sat at my house for a while.

I do this sometimes. I don't know why. I had picked it up and read the first couple of chapters, and then got distracted by life and other books. Mind you, my life has been a bit exciting recently...between eyeballs acting up and husbands returning after months away, I haven't been reading as much as I normally do. But I picked it up this weekend determined to give it another shot. Once I actually gave it the attention it deserved, I was hooked.

The novel tells the story of Ingrid...told in letters she's left to her eccentric husband in the books he collects throughout their house. The letters tell of their relationship from beginning til mysterious end. The chapters of Ingrid's letters are tucked between chapters told from the viewpoint of her daughter Flora.

In the present day that Flora lives in, her mother may or may not be one really knows for sure. They found her clothes by the water and no body. But her Dad thinks he may have seen her, right before he fell off the promenade and hurt himself badly. When she rushes to his side, along with her older sister Nan, she finds a dad who has become a hoarder rather than a collector. His house is now filled to the brim with books. Her father is also dying of Cancer.

What Flora doesn't know is that her mother's story is all around her, hidden in her father's books. The letters tell the story of a woman whose life didn't turn out how she thought it would. Who is broken down by her older husband's mistreatment and abandonment. So...did she drown or disappear?

I thought this book was incredible. The writing painted such a clear picture for me of this colorful and eclectic family. I grieved for Ingrid, and the traumatic events she endures. I loved the character Flora, in all of her whimsical naked-walking-around-the-house, drawing-on-her-boyfriend glory!! Plus it was filled with BOOKS. There were literary references left and right. I can't say I was a fan of the father, Gil...but the fact that he collected books for the things that were left inside, and the writings in the margins, just cracked me up. It felt incredibly real and unpretentious.

Coming in at 350 pages, it wasn't a light and fluffy read, definitely not a light-hearted contemporary novel...and although labeled as such, not strictly a mystery (I'm not sure I can think of a good label for it!) I am giving this one 4 stars. It's probably more of a 4 1/2 stars (I really wish Goodreads did 1/2 stars!). I think I would recommend it for fans of eccentric family dramas.

I have some great books to review for you in the coming weeks. Booksparks is sending me books all summer long to review as part of their Summer Reading Challenge, and I am SO EXCITED for it!! Take a look at my Instagram page for a few photos of the books that have already arrived. I also have a new Reader Spotlight that I absolutely can not wait for you to read. This woman is so inspiring to me, and her story needs to be shared far and wide. So be sure to follow the blog, and like my Facebook Page, so you don't miss out on the action this summer!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reader Spotlight: Dawn Welburn

I have been tinkering with an idea for a somewhat regular feature on the blog, and finally decided to just run with it and see where it leads us. I want to work harder at supporting other women (and I say women because I know that my blog is mainly read by females). Sometimes we aren't the best at lifting each other up, and I think that's a shame. I will continue to try and share with you new, debut authors and their works...but what about the passions of my readers who aren't authors? I've decided to give you a chance to participate in an interview on the blog. We can talk for a few about what books you like to read, and your feelings about literacy...and then you can tell me and my readers about your Passion.

My first Interviewee is my big sister Dawn...because there has to be some perk to being harassed endlessly by me for almost 42 years. I truly am the bratty little sister. We were born 4 years and 2 days apart...are very different and yet oh so similar. I can tell her anything and she will love me anyway. So here's my first Reader Spotlight Interview 😄

Moi: I guess we should probably start with the beginning and work our way to the present. In my memories, we were surrounded by books growing up. Both of our parents were readers, and you always had a book with you. What were your favorite books as a kid? Did our parents reading habits rub off on you? Did I ever destroy any of your cherished books, and are you still pissed at me over it? LOL I remember being very envious of your books with Cinderella and other stories in them.

Dawn: I loved books then and I love books now! Favorite books as a kid.... that's tough because I loved so many books. So interesting that you mentioned my books with Cinderella and assorted stories in it. I just asked my daughter, and she does still have those big hardcover books of mine. I also had a large set of individual Disney stories, which my daughter still has as well!  There's one of those Disney books, where Mickey and Pluto go into the haunted house. I loved that book! And Button Soup. By the time I reached those double digit ages, I was only reading adult books and well into a lifetime of horror books. The first in that category was The Exorcist and Amityville Horror. I cannot remember how I was able to check those books out of the library at the age of 9, but somehow I did. I remember reading them in bed, often by flashlight so Mom wouldn't know. She had to approve my adult books and she would never have approved of either of those at that age!  By Junior High, I was reading horror. My first Stephen King read was Christine. And I fell in love with a vampire in a series by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. 

As a kid, I was definitely following in our Mothers footsteps, book genre wise. I had the blinders on and horror was my genre. With an occasional romance book thrown to mix it up a bit. That is Grandma Jean all the way! As an adult, I have ventured into the spy and espionage books that Dad loves so much. 

I think I would remember something as traumatic as the ruination of a favorite book, so never ruined any of my books. And at this time, the only books I can remember us reading together were our Winnie the Pooh books. You were a great little sister and I can't imagine you ruining books...ever!

Moi: And you were a great big sister. You were always letting me read your books. I think I just liked being around you, and your room was infinitely more fun than mine.

What type of books do you like to read now? I know you mentioned spy and espionage books. Do you ever read more than one book at a time? I usually have one nonfiction and one fiction book going at all times. I know that you read to Mom out loud now...usually Stephen King right? (Our mom has troubles reading her beloved books, so my favorite sister helps her out.) OOH, and have you ever been involved in a book club? I write about them a lot because I'm convinced everyone needs to be in a good book club...but I don't think I've ever heard you mention one before. 

Dawn: Thank you!
Dance Circle Earrings Etsy
I read a more eclectic mix of books these days, though never venture too far from my favorite authors and genres. I am ever faithful to Stephen King and Anne Rice, but now add in classic literature, historical fiction, those spy and espionage books I mentioned before, sci-fi fantasy on the Game of Thrones vein, whatever genre you put Outlander in. In non-fiction, I tend towards books on ancient religions and cultures as well as shamanism, interspirituality, interfaith resources, dream work, palmistry (hard to find a good palmistry book these days!), nature religions, Goddess, with the occasional memoir and womens self-help/empowerment/spirituality book. I am always open to exploring new books that you or my best friend Jayce recommend. You both know me well enough for me to trust I will love whatever you read and think screams Dawn. 

I often have a non-fiction and a fiction book going at the same time. I never read more than one fiction book at a time though. I am a full immersion reader and if I must be in our world as well as the book world, those two are enough worlds for me at one time!  Since I moved down here to Louisiana with Mom, I have been reading aloud to her, primarily Stephen King books that have been published since she stopped reading. We started working our way through The Dark Tower series primarily to prepare for the upcoming movie. That series is my absolute favorite..both of Stephen King books and of books overall.  Mom had read the first three when they were originally published but that has been a great many years, so we started at book one and worked our way through. It was so great to take that epic journey with her, where we now share words, phrases, and concepts that seem to come up every day in general conversation. And I loved reading aloud and expressing the personalities of the characters through my voice! So fun!  Her and I are now working through the Mr. Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King. We are on the second book, Finders Keepers. 

Three Strand Freshwater Pearl Necklace Etsy
I have never been involved in a book club. I have thought about it and looked into them for many years but never seemed to find one that read books in genres I was interested in reading. When I met my best friend, Jayce, I was overjoyed to learn he is a voracious reader as well, and was open to both exploring my favorite books and sharing his with me. He is to thank for my exploration of classic literature!  I can now discuss my annoyance at D H Lawrence and my love of Wilkie Collins. (and I just read To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, I know...)  I don't know why I never thought about starting my own book club. I think I was always under the assumption that no one else would want to read what I was reading. 

Moi: You should start your own!! It's what I do now! LOL I spent a lot of years not thinking that was an option either, but now I figure life's too short. 

Okay best big sister in the whole wide world, we're going to get away from the books for this last section. A big part of why I wanted to start a Reader Spotlight feature on the blog was because in addition to having a passion for books, I also feel quite passionately about supporting other women in their pursuits. I feel like we should be raising each other up, and being each other's biggest cheerleaders...and that's not always the case. I want to help other women get the word out about their Passions. 

You have a few Passions that I'd love for you to share with the Tomes and Tequila Community!! Tell us a little about them. 

 Dawn Welburn

Dawn: I am on a lifetime journey to know myself better, to know God/dess deeper, and express all of that as fully as possible through my hands, my voice and my words.  I am currently deepening my journey through an Interfaith Seminary program at One Spirit Interfaith Alliance in NYC, with deeper spiritual self work and the study of major world religions.  My Passions are how I am (hopefully!) expressing myself and God/dess in my journey. 

One of those Passions is creating jewelry. I have been creating jewelry for around 15 years now.  I have always felt a deep connection to the earth, to nature and the healing and sacredness of them. I love the energy of stones and crystals, the feel of them in my hands as I ask how they wish to be expressed and worn. Its a multi sensory process to create a piece of jewelry. My intention is to listen and create something that is both beautiful to the eyes and body, and healing to the whole self at the same time. I have always loved rocks and this is definitely the evolution of that love!  I hope to dive deeper into this work and expand...well, in whatever directions inspiration and God/dess lead me.  You can see my work on my Etsy site at

Another of my Passions is Touch. About 20 years ago, I was part of a spiritual group where we met to explore different facets of metaphysics from crystal healing to past life regressions, channeling to energy healing modalities. It was here that I realized I wanted to facilitate healing through touch. It took me a very long time and significant self work to get from that group to a Massage Therapy program. During my two years of massage therapy study, my insight into the power of touch and how deeply it was transforming and reawakening me, increased my passion for this healing modality and my expression of it. I love this work and I love talking to people about the multiple levels on which this touch healing modality can assist in healing and life transformation. I am currently a Licensed Massage Therapist in both New York (#27 025007) and Louisiana (#LA8410). You can read more about my passion and work at

 Dawn Welburn Jewelry on Etsy
Carmelian and Rosewood Necklace on Etsy
Moi: I feel like this would be where I would normally insert some joke about my big sister dancing naked under the moonlight in some field somewhere after hugging a beautiful tree, right after a sentence referencing Oregon and Birkenstocks...but the truth is I love that you feel so passionately about these things. They are what makes And I wouldn't have you any other way, lady!! 

One last thing before we go. You and I are sitting together, BSing about Outlander over some lovely libations...what are we drinking?? 

Dawn: Hahahaha....I am certain that you've been making such jokes for most of my life...and I always love that imagery of me! Thank you for loving ME 

If we are BSing about Outlander, then we must be drinking... Scotch whisky (not american whiskey)!

So there you first Reader intro to my big sis Dawn, in all of her mystical Stephen King Loving Glory. 😊 I know this is a slight deviation from the regular book blog fare, but I'd started thinking that when most people want Author interviews...I think about reader interviews. It's not that I don't want to hear from the Authors. I very much do. But I love people. And I really just like the idea of occasionally throwing something different in the mix. Let me know what you think in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Monday, May 1, 2017

Reinvent Yourself

Before I get into the book review, I have a few things to share. Firstly, my apologies that I've gone almost a week since I've posted anything on the blog. I woke up one morning to a very angry eye that hasn't wanted to sit through my workday on the computer, let alone stare at it in my spare time. I have a broken blood vessel, and because I'm's actually causing me some discomfort. I'm hoping it will clear itself up pretty soon because I haven't even been able to read much. I'm basically just babying my peepers...doing goofy things like wearing sunglasses inside, no mascara (egads!!) and resting my eyes when I can. It's made for a boring blogging week really.

And the next big thing happening in my neck of the woods this week was the return of my better half from his exciting trip to the desert for 7 months!! Yippee, Hooray, Praise the Lord, Hallelujah and all that other jazz! So despite having weird eye issues, I am one happy camper!! My daughter is coming for a visit next week also, and then we'll be starting our prep for our move across the country in earnest. I plan on trying to blog through it all, but there may be less original photos involved...and more like I made today! But the good news is I should have a bit more time to read, so there are definitely some pros to go with that con.

And now for the book review. James Altucher has written quite a few books but Reinvent Yourself is the first one that I've picked up. The idea of reinvention really appealed to me, and you know how much I love my nonfiction and self-help books, so when I came across this while perusing titles on my Kindle one night I figured I'd give it a go.

This book really reminded me of another one I'm working my way through, Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss, only a lot less comprehensive and far more casual. Altucher has compiled some of the wisdom from the guests on his Podcast, and other people he admires...just like Ferris. Only this book is WAY smaller and easier to digest.

Plus it has an entire chapter devoted to Eminem's last rap battle in the movie 8 mile...and how the tactics perfectly represent how to be a good salesperson. As I was reading it I thought...never in my life would I have believed this if I hadn't actually read it myself. But then Ferris has some truly weird shit in his book too each his own I guess.

Reinvent Yourself wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. I think I'd give it 3 stars, but just barely. It had the feel of a book that was just thrown together and kind-of phoned in, if that makes sense. There wasn't any heart in it. Some of the chapters didn't have anything to do with reinvention, and some were lacking cohesion or any kind-of flow to make the pieces come together as a whole. Plus, I'm not sure how he could write about Barbara Cartland as inspiration and misspell her name for almost an entire chapter. As an author, shouldn't you get another author's name right?!?

There is some good stuff in here about perseverance and determination though. Some good talk about sticking with goals, and not expecting to become a sensation overnight. And he really pulled from a big variety of people...from Einstein to Snoop Dogg, so I give him a few points for keeping things fresh.

In the end I think I'd say, give it a pass unless you're a self-help junkie like me, or you're just looking for something to pass the time and maybe pick up a few new quotes from. But maybe I'm just being overly cranky and hard on Altucher because my eye is bothering me. 😏