Monday, February 29, 2016

catholic teen fiction.

I'm not Catholic. But many of my friends and students are. I know that all of the girls going to church school working towards their confirmation would really appreciate a Catholic teen fiction read like A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman for a lot of reasons. One being that this read will show a little more appreciate for their religion and the power of prayer.

A year after sixteen-year-old Katelyn Roberts' grandmother dies in a plane crash, a single rosary bead (that included initials) is found from the rosary her grandmother had with her on the plane. Her mother has been in a deep dark depression since the tragic loss, causing Kate to lose her faith in God. Throughout the story, Kate talks to and meets other people who find her grandmother’s beads and share the miracles that have occurred, giving comfort to Kate and her family, helping her find her faith again.

Friday, February 26, 2016

fresh grade school series.

Goosebumps meets Diary of a Wimpy kid in this new late-elementary-to -early-middle-school series about a boy named Desmond Pucket who loves designing monstrous special effects that always end up getting him in trouble.

The third installment of this graphic novel series is definitely one your child should not miss. In Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors, there is no doubt that the kid has dreams and a flair for the dramatic when he creates a an amazing show at his school's Carnival of Horrors using all of his skills and scary props. Desmond's character is goal oriented. He is passionate about something. Yes, it gets him into trouble sometimes, but the kids got heart, and that's exactly what this age level should be reading about.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

for the movers and the shakers

Trying new diets or as they call them now "lifestyle plans" is one of my favorite things. Which I'm sure isn't the point because I change it up so often, but how else am I going to find my favorite one without dabbling in all of them? Exactly.

Up to bat is The Stark Naked 21-Day Metabolic Reset by Brad Davidson. So take a moment, forget what you have ever read or been taught about diet and exercise, and listen up. Davidson starts off strong in his intro with his "life is meant to be lived" speech. Davidson's approach is energy based for people who are living busy lives. If you want to do well at work, you need energy, etc. He only has major restrictions (like no wine and sugar) for the first phase (also wants you to limit exercise, I think I can manage that), making phase two feel like a vacation. What sets Davidson apart from the other health gurus out there is that he wants you to focus on how you FEEL, not how you look or what the scales says. He wants to end your exhaustion and stop you from depriving yourself. He wants you to have good sex and good sleep. And I think we all can get behind that.

Monday, February 22, 2016

black widow.

I like a lot of novels. But you can always tell when I REALLY like a novel. There are symptoms. I have bags under my eyes. I'm (extra) antisocial. My husband has to eat eggs for dinner. I said goodbye to everyone before diving into Orchard Grove by Vincent Zandri, the premise alone, wow.

Ethan Forrester has officially fallen from grace as a screenwriter. He and his wife, Susan are officially living in Albany, New York off HER salary as a teacher, and the pot they have growing in the backyard. Enter Lana, their new seductive next door neighbor who just happens to be a psychopath. When she sinks her teeth into Ethan, it's all over for him, and lots of other people. This novel has sex, passion, violence, and murder, all of the makings of a great thriller.

Friday, February 19, 2016

simple ways to succeed.

I haven't had any assigned readings in ages, which I've missed because it usually forces me to read something I normally wouldn't. The group I joined at church, The Boss Lady Group, which I've mentioned, has monthly professional development readings. First up, Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran which is the story of how she turned $1,000 into a billion dollar real estate business.

Although my business is far from selling real estate, I still got a lot out of her story and how to set myself apart from others in my field. I loved how she took a memory/lesson from her childhood and showed how it helped her with a problem while beginning her business. Her family, especially her mother, played a huge role in her success, and I also loved how she paid tribute to her small town and the people in it. Okay, there was a lot I loved. Barbara started with next to nothing, a loan from a skeezey boyfriend, and it took off into a wildly successful career solely because she made it so. She is smart (even if she doesn't think so), learned from her mistakes (she almost lost it all if you can believe it), and is an inspiration to all women entrepreneurs.

I just loved this quote so much! Reminds me of my amazing mom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


I find ballet to be such a romantic form of expression, and I appreciate the time and effort put in by those ballerinas who take on dancing as a career. The pain, the body issues, the things they give up. I have a respect for their will to "make it." The whole idea is fascinating to me. I could never give myself to something like that.


Girl Through Glass is Sari Wilson's debut novel set in 1970's New York City with a promising ballet student named Mira. When her parent's marriage unravels, Mira seeks structure that only the ballet world can give her. Wilson's narrative does have a heavy focus on dance and all that it costs our heroine, but the way she alternates past and present day creates a coming-of-age story you won't soon forget.

Monday, February 15, 2016

pocket travel.

Although I've visited the big city more times than I can I care to count at the moment, there are still things I have never done. I've never been to a Broadway show. I've never been to the New York Public Library (I know, crazy). I've never been to Coney Island. ALL of these things are still sitting on my bucket list while I spend my Friday nights at Yankee games (I've been to 5 or 6) and Sundays drinking my body weight in bottomless mimosas. The struggle. Receiving DK Eyewitness Travel's 2016 Top 10 New York City reminded me that travel books are for everyone, even the seasoned tourists. Yes, I have been to most of the top spots listed in this DK Publishing effort, but their itineraries (that are updated in this edition) still blow me away. Like, I want to do them all immediately. Whether you have two days or ten, DK has you covered with walking route maps, dining, shopping, and off-the-beaten-path ideas that will make your visit to the big apple more memorable than ever before.

Friday, February 12, 2016

collection of art.

I kind of missed the Star Wars boat in the sense that I have never seen any of the movies. But as a photographer, I know high-quality images when I see them, and The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak is filled with beautiful art on every page. Definitely a collector's item. I'm actually giving my copy to my nephew for his birthday. He dressed up as Chewbacca when he went to see the new movie which was totally adorable because he's 9.

Szostak offers readers amazing insight into the detailed art direction and production design that went into creating The Force Awakens from beginning to end.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

a comedy about suicide.

I am always looking for novels with a unique storyline, if you are the same you must check out A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell which came out in paperback last month.

This novel is set in 1999. Back in 1999 my mom had our basement packed with canned goods and thermal sleeping bags. In this story, three sisters are planning their suicide. Tomato, tomato. But on a more serious note, Lady, Vee, and Delph live together in Manhattan, and considering their family history, know that one or all will succumb to the family curse of dying by their own hand, so they decide to die together. Stop the madness. End the bloodlines. But before they go through with it, they take readers back in time, telling their family history from the beginning. I don't know how a story can be hilarious and depressing at the same time, but Mitchell makes it happen. I spent the entire novel hoping the sisters would find a light out of such darkness.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Being a creative person by nature, The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Planner for Women Entrepreneurs by boss lady Natalie MacNeil came into my life at exactly the right time. Winter is a slower time of year for my business as a natural light photographer, and I like to use this time to think about my goals. This book is designed for women who are following their passion. No MBA's, no training in finance or management or advertising. Just plain old doing what you love, and figuring out the rest later. Well, later is now, and MacNeil has got you covered with a more enjoyable way to business plan and also loads of advice on how to conquer every aspect of your business.

Friday, February 5, 2016

when in doubt.

In any profession, you cannot remember everything. So it's normal to have reference books piled high on your desk just in case you need to be sure about something. The Tech Contracts Handbook, David W. Tollen's latest reference book specifically for drafting and negotiating technology contracts is designed for lawyers and businesspeople alike who need to prepare themselves for technology  negotiations and licensing. Whether you're a lawyer who needs to brush up or you're a businessperson who wants to skip hiring an attorney to represent you, Tollen (who's a Harvard Law graduate) has got you covered with all of the fundamental principals of IP licensing. And when asking around, the 2nd edition is definitely worth the buy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ramen for every occasion.

Every college student who has ever lived in a dorm room knows how to doctor up a bowl of ramen noodles, but apparently it's prisoners who have perfected the art. Prison Ramen by coauthors Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez and Clifton Collins Jr., is a collection of stories and ramen recipes from the author's friends and some big-name celebrities who have developed ramen delicacies behind bars. Yes, even Shia Labeouf had something to contribute. Prison Ramen would actually make a great graduation present, the chilling stories should keep your college bound kid out of trouble, and the recipes (there are sandwiches, soups and salads) are pretty inventive.

Monday, February 1, 2016

a little too real.

First things first. I would definitely recommend you adding What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross to your 2016 Must-Read List. If you don't make lists like this, I also recommend that you start.

The only thing missing from Lucy Wakefield's idyllic life is a child. When it becomes obvious that having her own was not going to happen, Lucy got desperate. When her husband (who wouldn't even consider adoption) leaves her for a younger woman, Lucy gets really desperate. Desperate enough to take a baby (Marilyn's baby) from a shopping cart and raise her as her own. Over two decades later, when 21-year-old Mia discovers the truth about Lucy's crime, everything goes to hell as you can imagine.

What Was Mine is written in short chapters, each from the point-of-view of the three main characters in the book, Lucy, Mia and Marilyn. It's perfectly paced, emotional, and suspenseful, especially if you're a mother.