Friday, January 29, 2016

who is johnny anonymous?

Some of you are going to take one look at Johnny Anonymous, secret author of NFL Confidential: True Confessions form the Gutter of Football, and start playing a tiny violin. I mean, boohoo to the man who was forced from the sidelines to the field and is now making a ton of money to play a game he signed up to play only to complain about it. Me? I get him. As someone who is naturally just not a hard worker (except when it comes to my own business and my house), I feel his pain. He got paid a nice junk of change to do absolutely nothing, and that's kind of my dream.

The whole idea behind this book is to share with football fans what really goes down behind the scenes in the NFL. Because honestly, no one realizes how harmful such a game and organization can be. The injuries, the mind games, the pain killers, the racism, the havoc wreaked on the bodies of players, no one cares. And people should. Johnny Anonymous shares the corruption and political drama in such a funny way, you may not even realize how disturbing it actually it is.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

harmony for everybody.

Boss ladies Lisa Nichols and Janet Switzer have created quite the personal/professional development book titled Abundance Now. As a firm believer that personal development trumps professional development in any career, it was nice to see them both together as Nichols shares not only her own story, but her unique formula on how to lead a more abundant life. The 4 E's: Enrichment, Enchantment, Engagement, and Endowment focus on developing yourself, your relationships, your career, and your finances. I especially found the Engagement chapter encouraging because it made me confident that I am where I am supposed to be, starting a photography business, using my talent to serve the people of my community.

I recently joined a Boss Lady group at my church where women entrepreneurs come together and share their strategies and knowledge, and I am definitely going to recommend that Abundance Now be one of our readings.

Monday, January 25, 2016

an american tale.

I had never heard of New England's Market Basket supermarket chain until I was perusing the new releases on Amazon, and saw We Are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement That Saved a Beloved Business. Being a huge fan of loyalty myself, I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

No one has loved their CEO more than the employees of Market Basket, and when he was ousted from his long-time position in the name of change, they fought back. They as in the managers, associates, customers AND suppliers and vendors. None of them took this injustice lying down, they picketed and marched and defended their leader. And as you can see by the title, they won. Authors, Korschun and Welker went behind the scenes to inform readers that you actually can be the change you wish to see in the world.

Friday, January 22, 2016

couldn't put it down.

There are certain topics that I shy away from in any social situation. Politics, religion, and race. I am breaking that rule today with my review of Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race--and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us by former NFL player and commentator, Benjamin Watson. Why? Because it was too good to ignore. I work in a city school district, but it's not inner city by any stretch of the imagination, and I still have students (mostly jokingly, but sometimes seriously) calling me racist when I ask ANYTHING of them. They just throw around the word like they have any idea what it means (in this town, I truly don't think they do).

My favorite quote of the entire book is this one: "I'm angry because white people don't get it. I'm angry because black people don't get it, either." THIS SAYS IT ALL. Watson absolutely addresses the issues facing black people today. But he doesn't pretend that he has any idea of what REAL segregation is. Because he doesn't. And he doesn't put all of the blame on white people for the segregation seen today. He wants to know why black people don't reach up and grab the opportunities white people do. I really enjoyed his chapter about growing up and how kids know that black and white looks different, but it doesn't matter, until it does. Until someone makes it matter. In my opinion, that is where the problem lies. You should absolutely read this book for yourself. It gets uncomfortable at times, but Watson is a great writer and his experiences and views on the past vs. the present definitely got inside my head in a good way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

israeli mystery.

When young volunteer at the Organization for a Migrant Aid, Michal Poleg is found dead after actively helping refugees and asylum seekers in Israel, Officer Anat Nachiamas is given her first lead on a murder investigation. Things get super confusing super quickly when a refugee that Poleg gave her time and energy to mentor confesses to the murder. Nachiamas, and her boss, Itai Fisher know it in their bones that he's not really the one to blame and begin to work together to find the real killer.

The topic, both social and political, may be a serious one (and it's not for everyone), but author Liad Shoham leaves room for romance and humor, and I just love a male writer who creates a strong female heroine. Asylum City is smart and the writing experienced.

Monday, January 18, 2016

bio of the queen.

I have a healthy obsession with the royal family like any pureblood American girl. I cried when Princess Diana died, I watched the Royal Wedding live, I wonder how Queen Elizabeth has lived so long. It's all very normal.

Having never read up on Queen Elizabeth's childhood, I was extremely excited to read and review Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen by Kate Williams. It was like she wrote it just for me, which every reader will appreciate. Princess Elizabeth of York was born in April, 1926...and so on and so forth. Williams touches on her family, her ascendance to the throne at age 25 (which has always impressed me as she's been crushing it ever since), and surprisingly some royal gossip which you will eat right up. The bio is a bit hefty, but when you've been alive 90 years, that happens.

Friday, January 15, 2016

seriously, what doesn't jerry rice do?

As a born and raised Bills fan, the Super Bowl is a huge disappointment to me as you can imagine. Even when we've made it, it was a huge disappointment. For the last, what, 22 years?, I still pick a team to root for, and make the best of things by binge drinking and eating lots of nachos and pigs in a blanket. So don't feel too sorry for me. What I love about 50 Years, 50 Moments: The Most Unforgettable Plays in Super Bowl History by Jerry Rice is that the Bills are mentioned (when they played the Giants and only lost by ONE POINT). I know almost doesn't count, but what a fricken game. Okay, I was five, but I've heard stories. The book as a whole is exciting and necessary for any football fan. There's a lot of behind the scenes pictures and details that will definitely take you back and psyche you up for February 7th!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

third century rome.

Today I'm taking you back. WAY back to AD 235 in Harry Sidebottom's new series, Throne of the Caesars. Book 1 titled, Iron & Rust opens on a surprise attack and the brutal murder of Emperor Alexander and his mother. Alexander is then replaced by Maximinus Thrax, and our story really begins. I definitely wouldn't call it a light read, and I didn't love the characters for obvious reasons. But the Roman politics sure were entertaining, mildly shocking, but entertaining. The second installment of the trilogy is already out, so you should start your binge reading now.

Monday, January 11, 2016

not your everyday mystery.

Set at the close of the 19th century, Arden is a famous FEMALE illusionist who is being accused of her husband's murder. She has one night to prove her innocence. And that my friends, is The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister. A breath of fresh air really, extremely well-written, and filled with twists unlike any novel I have read recently. The story goes back and forth between Arden telling her tale and the point of view of Officer Holt who arrested her. Honestly? I preferred Arden's narrative. Her life story and everything that has happened to her up until that point absorbed all of my attention. I ate, slept and dreamt this novel, until the end. Still worth the read, but the end did feel a little rushed.

Friday, January 8, 2016

kick ass giveaway.

Win a FREE copy of the super delicious Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat!
....all you have to do is email your name, address, and this book title to: to enter!
Giveaway ends on 1/15 at midnight!
Good luck :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

girl meets painting.

Since turning thirty, I have tried to let go of my preference for twenty-something heroines and embrace the thrity-somethings. Meet thirty-one year old chef, Annie McDee. As Annie searches for the perfect gift for her boyfriend at a thrift store, only to be stood up at his birthday dinner, she is left with a broken heart, and what turns out to be a long lost painting. The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (as her debut novel) takes readers deep inside the London art scene. And once Annie discovers what she lost has so little value compared to what she's found, the story really gets good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

how to make your marriage happy.

Being a wife is the hardest job I have ever had. And that says a lot since I work with kids of all ages in the classroom and behind the camera. One of my New Year's resolutions is to work on bettering my role in my marriage. Over the last year and a half I have learned that marriage is give and take, but to make it work, it's mostly give. And giving is so hard sometimes. I found Dr. Karl Pillemer's 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage to be extremely helpful, especially the parts on how to talk to your spouse without allowing the conflict to get the better of you. So much of this collection of advice spoke to me, because the struggle is REAL sometimes, and it's nice to know that people have gone through a lot of what I'm going through right now, it makes me feel less crazy. Now to implement it in my house...

Monday, January 4, 2016

keeping meals colorful.

Everybody who knows remotely anything about me knows that Mexican food is my spirit animal. Since the start of the new year, I have been trying to clean up my diet a bit and would really like to add more meatless meals to the menu. Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel is beyond perfect for me as it includes traditional and delicious Mexican recipes, without the meat. I mean, as long as I can still have tacos I'm good with pretty much anything. The recipes scale from homemade tortillas to Pumpkin Mole so there's really something for every skill level. A beautiful history is revealed throughout the pages and every recipe is fresh, colorful, and good for your body.

Friday, January 1, 2016

for your little olympian.

Okay, not that I'm a parent or have a lot to say on the matter, but I do have friends who are parents and I know that my mom-friends are way more focused on what they are eating than what their kids are eating. Not that I blame them. Children reek havoc on the bod. But children do have their own nutritional needs, especially active children. Ages 8-18, bodies are changing, and I never knew important adolescent nutrition is until I read Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete by Jill Castle.

Castle is a registered dietitian and touches on pre-game and post-game refueling with the types of foods that will keep your children energized and help them gain muscle. Her advice is practical, giving you advice on what to feed your sporty spice and when. Castle is very specific on the do's and don'ts of adolescent nutrition, including carbo-loading and supplements. And being a specialist, you can trust her.