Book Buzz: The Romance Series That’s WAY Better (& Hotter) Than 50 Shades

I don’t know about you guys, but I loved romance novels for a while, but eventually they all kinda felt the same: a demure damsel, a hunky stable boy, badda bing badda boom, steamy scenes, happily ever after, the end. They were fine, then I got over it and stopped reading them.

My BFF – who was also into romance novels and felt the same way I did about the Shades series – not our fave – told me she’d recently been so overwhelmed by the state of the world that she just wanted something FUN to read to relax. She’d gotten back into romances and found the BEST series. She told me I had to at least read the first book. [Read more…]

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Book Buzz: Books Being Turned Into Movies


The good thing about 34 hours of travel, a few days of remote beach time, and 34 more hours of travel back home is that I had tons of time to read, which made me very happy. I haven’t been reading as much lately because of work travel and that always bums me out because I love having a book. Getting through 6 books and being on my 7th has definitely filled my reading cup. Here’s what I’ve plowed through the last 3 weeks:

[Read more…]

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Book Buzz: David and Goliath

If you can read, you should read this book. It doesn’t matter what type of books you’re into. This one contains the most interesting content. There were so many sections that piqued my interest, so many sections I wanted to highlight (yet I still can’t figure out how to do that on my Kindle) and remember for later. I’d always heard of Malcolm Gladwell, but had never read any of his books until now. Now I want to gobble up all his others. 
If you’ve ever felt like the “little guy”, as we all have at some point, this book is for you. It tells the tale of so many important and influential people (and so many you’ve never heard of) in history that overcame adversity in order to succeed. Success is defined differently by us all, but YOUR success is just as important to you as anybody else’s is to them. Finding out how to make your disadvantages your advantages is key. 
This book is a quick read that readers of any genre will enjoy. I highly recommend it! 
What are you guys reading right now? 
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Book Buzz: Dearie – The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Guys, this book is SERIOUSLY good. I didn’t know much about Julia Child until I saw the movie, “Julie and Julia” a couple years ago, but it left me intrigued. I saw Dearie on Goodreads not long ago and ordered it for my Kindle. The great thing about this book is that it’s one that you don’t feel you have to dive into and read until completed. You can pick it up here and there and you feel good about picking up where you last left off, even if a couple weeks have passed. It’s one that makes you just want to get cozy and settle in for a fun story… and then start learning how to cook French cuisine. 
This book goes in massive detail of Julia’s life: her upbringing in Southern California, her time working for the CIA (before it was called the CIA), and her travels all over the world. The thing I loved the most  though was her apparent gumption and attitude: 
“NEVER apologize!” she says to those who have ruined a recipe. 
The love story between her and her husband is also one that will draw you in… 
…and what’s really amazing is that most of her life’s successes didn’t happen until much later in her life. 
Get it. Read it. You’ll love it. 
Side note:  I don’t usually pay attention to how big/long a book is, but when I was talking about it to one of my clients she immediately said, “That book looks like it’ll take a year to read. I’ll read it in retirement!” So then I had to look: 15,000 pages! Now in Kindle pages, that sounds way worse, but I’d never actually paid attention to how many pages each book had, I just looked at the percentage as I was reading. Well after reading this book for about two weeks (about 5 hours total of reading, probably) I looked down and was only %30 through it! Soooo just be prepared, it’s long, but worth every minute! The good thing was that the story was actually over at %65 (10,000 pages). The rest of the book was saved for Acknowledgements and bibliography. : ) 
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Book Buzz: Breaking My Own (Reading) Rules…

I’ve never liked the idea of reading more than one book at a time. It always kinda stresses me out. One book feels like something I’m leisurely spending my time with. Any more than that feels like, “I  need to finish these soon!” As is if they’re another task on my to-do list… This isn’t how I want reading to feel for me. I read for entertainment! For fun! I read for education! Occasionally.  I don’t want my fun reading to turn into an obligation, so I read one book at a time. And that makes me feel good.

Until this month. Holy cow. 
There are so many good books out right now.
  I bought 3 and instantly began to read all of them.
This is what’s on my Kindle right now 
and I’m fluttering back and forth between them  
(and trying not to flip out). 
Let me know if you guys have read any of these and how you like them! 

I’m LOVING this book, though I think it’s possibly a million pages long. 
You can never tell how a big a book actually is when you purchase on an e-reader, 
but I feel like I’ve been reading forever and it’s showing I’m only %15 of the way in… Wha?
It’s all very interesting though, so no complaints. : ) 
Began this one the other night but had to force myself to put it down
as it was getting late and I had to be up at 5am… I can tell it’s going to be a
good one though. Fascinating, for sure! 
via NPR
I started this but then freaked out reeled it in. 
Really excited about it though!
Do you read more than one book at a time? 
What are you guys reading now?
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Book Buzz:

So Sara told me about ages ago. And I’ve just now joined but I can’t tell you how exciting it is! You go on, rate what you’ve read, tell what you’re currently reading and see what all your fellow reading-obsessed buds are reading. 
Whenever I get asked for book recommendations I usually can only remember the last book I read… maybe the last two, if it’s a good day. And when I ask for good books to read, people give me 87 suggestions and I often forget most of them. I’m so excited to have a place to check things out so I can put books on my amazon wish list. And it’s great that you can see what your friends like and don’t like, which will help me make decisions (i.e. I’ll steer clear of my friends whose lists are nothing but super depressing books). 
I was catching up on blogs tonight when Sara mentioned GoodReads again on her latest post, so I decided to check it out. I’ve now spent the last hour rating ones I’ve read and checking out all the books on her lists. I’ve also not gotten in the shower to go meet my buds out… and it looks like that’s not going to happen any time soon now that I’ve gotten excited over so many books. Damn it. I’m only 28 years old, but sometimes it feels like I’m 60-something. Oh well. I know Ashley feels me on that one. 
And a big happy 30th birthday to Bonna! 
We got to have her surprise party last night, which was really fun. 
Bonna, Amanda, Me, Chrissie
Ironically, we were joking last night about how old they all are (since I’m still a year away from 30).
As Bonna had to work early and wasn’t going to stay out too late. 
And Amanda was going to be doing yard-work all day and going to a bunco party tonight. 
I laughed at them. 
And now I’m blogging and reading on Saturday night because it’s entirely too much effort
to shower, get dressed, and meet them out for some music at a local bar. 
Who’s feelin’ old now? : ) 
Anyway… be my friend on GoodReads?! 
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Book Buzz: Triple Whammy

I’ve been reading up a storm lately – being sick and bed-ridden contributed. 
As well as my having to fly every week…
Here’s what I’ve devouring lately: 

#1: No Easy Day
by Mark Owen

This is the story of the SEAL team that took down Osama Bin Laden. This book is SOOO good. I literally read half of it in one day. I’ve always been an admirer of SEALs purely because their physical training is so intense and impressive. Getting a glimpse into what their skill/tactical training is like is even more interesting and highly entertaining. This book highlights not only the Bin Laden mission but several others that lead up to that moment. These guys are so badass and it makes me really jealous. There are times when I think I could pull some of this ish off as well… and then I go play laser tag for my friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and am hit in literally the first 2.5 seconds we’re in the game. And then every other second after that. And then I think, “I’d be dead if this were real combat. Most likely, the first one dead.” And that would be embarrassing. So I think I’ll stick with fitness and let the badasses carry out the serious missions. : )

This book is a great/fast read and I highly recommend it. 
Good for both sexes, so your bfs and huzzies will probably like it as well. Score.
Kindle for $12.99
#2: Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott Berkun

I LOVED this book. As a “work” book, I didn’t expect this one to be entertaining. At all. I knew it would help me along and maybe give me some new ideas that my friends and colleagues hadn’t told me yet… but I had no idea how much I would actually ENJOY it. Scott Berkun writes really well and in a way that feels like he’s actually speaking with you, not talking at you. Like all good speakers, he tells stories that relate to you and that’s where he hits his main points. A lot of this book was him identifying what you can do to prevent a lot of the disasters that can break you when you’re speaking in a public venue. Then he tells you what to do to fix them, because you’re most likely going to make them anyway. This book was highly entertaining – especially the section where he invited a bunch of his friends/colleagues to pen their own embarrassing speaking incidents – hilarious. If you’ve got to do any public speaking/presenting for your field, this book is a must read. High five, Scotty B. Thanks for teaching me a few things & not being boring about it. ; )

Kindle, $8! Holla

Sidenote – I’ll be presenting at my first big conference in March, 6 weeks from now. Let’s hope I can remember half of this ish and not wind up on some viral youtube video with a split in the ass of my pants or having just fallen off the fucking stage…  #fingerscrossed #preptime

#3: Adrift 
by Steven Callahan

I first heard about this story when I read this survival book a few months back. It was so intriguing but only told the highlights of his survival mentality. So I wanted to go straight to the source to find out all the details. It was really worth it. Steven Callahan was SO prepared for a million different scenarios before he took out on his own. His preparedness made the difference in life or death for himself and I found that so incredible. He had some paper and a pencil so he kept a little journal of his time out on the water. 
This book was a little slower to read as it’s obviously just him and the ocean for all of it. I also just needed some breaks to mentally chill out from everything that he had to endure over those few months. It’s absolutely amazing what you can endure when you have to. It definitely makes you think twice about all the stuff you “need” every day. And I thought twice about texting a friend for dinner the other night that I was “starving”… I instead wrote, “I’m REALLY  hungry. Wanna go grab some food?” 
On Kindle for $9
What are you guys reading right now? 
I’ve now read one “work” book. 
So that means I can read 6 “fun” books until I should read another work one… ; ) 
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Book Buzz – Gone Girl

I needed a good “quick read” so I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions… this is always good because a FB post about books will usually yield at least 10-15 responses. I got 23. Six of which recommended Gone Girl, so it won. And since I bought my Kindle last year, I can just go online, purchase it, and it’s there. On my device! Yay for modern-day technology!

Taken from Gillian’s Website:
” On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Ami’s 5th wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter – but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one they love. With his twin sister Margo as his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in the silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?” 

Ooooooh. Suspenseful, indeed!

My thoughts are mixed on this book: 
The writing? Excellent! 
The suspense? Definitely present. I read this in just a few days… 
The 2 main characters? Wonderful, complex peeps. 
For me it was a little depressing though… Maybe just because I’ve gone through a divorce myself and reading about a couple going through marriage issues isn’t super entertaining. Not that I was relating to these characters to the tee; My hubs would have never killed me (nor I him). It’s just a little heavy is all. 
But overall, this book satisfied what I needed out of it. It was well written and a definite ‘can’t-put-it-down’ read. Have you guys read it? What did you think? 

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Book Buzz: Deep Survival. Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

When my book club was getting off the ground I said the only way I’d join was if we didn’t read any depressing books:

No rape/molestation
No children dying
No abandonment
No self-pity, “why me?” victim books. 

Those are serious issues, and ones that I’ve helped other friends get through and frankly, I don’t want to read about it in my spare time. There’s enough horrible stories in real life and on the news. I want to read inspiring, adventurous, fun, sexy, comedic, good books for entertainment.

So I suggested this book, which has been on my Amazon Wish List for a month or so. My first response from that group email?

“How is that book NOT depressing and horrible?!” 

: ) Fair enough, Sarah. Fair enough. However, this is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

I’ve been into outdoor adventures for a long time. I like to climb, hike, packpack, camp, etc. I don’t get to participate in as much as I’d like (when you do work travel on the weekends, it limits your “fun travel” time) but I love learning about what ‘not to do’ when you’re in the great outdoors. My good friend, Jenn has worked for the National Park Service and I’ve heard lots of stories from her about people that die in crazy circumstances and ones that survive in crazy circumstances. It’s a morbid curiosity of mine, but one that I think could potentially save my life one day…

In a nutshell: 

First it shows the difference in personalities that determines who survives life and death situations and who doesn’t. Those that are more likely to accept the crisis situation, figure out a plan, and move forward are more likely to get themselves out quickly, before they die. Those who are in denial, focus on self-pity, and wait for something/somebody to come rescue them usually perish. I like to believe I’m a survivor. I don’t spend time wallowing. When something bad happens (in any situation), I figure out what my next step is, and act. I don’t place blame, I don’t wallow, I figure it out.

Then the book talks about the way the body reacts in certain circumstances that make people make smart/not-so-smart decisions. It gets scientific here, but still captivating.

It supports all these thoughts with many tales of survival (and some of peril) in a really gripping fashion: 
*How one teenage girl walked away from a plane crash with no supplies and survived 11 days in the jungle while other adults, with tons of supplies stayed put and died. 
* How one man survived 76 days at sea because he planned for everything that could go wrong and made the right preparations in order to fish and catch clean water from a small life raft. 
*How two grown men nearly died on a mountain climb because they were so hellbent on making this ascent they ignored several signs telling them they shouldn’t have started the climb in the first place; late start, storm coming, severe lightning threats, etc. 
 I read this book in about 5 days and loved every bit of it.
 If you’re fascinated by the same types of things, I’d highly recommend it. 
Plus, it includes several tips on how to prep yourself for decision making
in the thick of it. 
Kindle edition was only $9
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A trip, and victory…

Sunrise from my hotel room in Chicago yesterday:

Sometimes when I travel I just want to chill the F out. So that’s what I did this weekend. I had to teach a TRX course in Chicago Sunday, so I just pulled into town Saturday, posted up in bed with room service, and read my book! 
And guess what? 
I FINALLY finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo…
It only took me 6 months. 
Victory is mine. 

now I just have to read the next 2 in the series…
Hope you guys had a great weekend. 
Get after it this week! 
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