Book Review · Books

Happy: The Journal

Do you need a new journal for 2019? Look no further. Happy: The Journal, is a journal filled with a theme for each month that helps you get outside your funk to helping you be more creative, finding joy in the little things and making this year even more awesome than last.

There are many different things covered like: friendship, family, creativity, mindfulness, and more. I like that each month has a theme, in that it helps focus you on a particular area of your life. With the themes are great questions to answer, places to do doodle your mood for the month and a place to put what you are thankful for at the end. I think this is a great balanced journal to use for this year and would make a great gift as well.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Happy: The Journal by Fearne Cotton from NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. If you love journals then you’ll want to go grab a copy.

Book Review · Books

The Every Day Empath

I am an empath. Anytime a sibling got into trouble I cried probably more than them when they got spanked. I am sensitive to others emotions whether happy, sad, angry, etc. I love having my personal space and time to myself to recharge. I’m a people person, but prefer small groups to big crowds. I don’t handle over socializing very well. I like to keep it to one maybe two events. One time I had 3 in one day and it wiped me out.

The Every Day Empath gives you a great empath 101 overview of what it means to be an empath and how to navigate your world as one. Raven gives hands on ways to cope, how to understand yourself more in depth and why you should be proud to be an empath.

If you believe you may be an empath, or want to understand those who are then I recommend this book. Some of the suggestions outlined I don’t agree with personally, but the way in which Raven explains what being an empath entails is very helpful. I received a complimentary digital ARC copy of The Every Day Empath by Raven Digitalis from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd care of NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are strictly mine.

Book Review · Books

Know Yourself: A Book Of Questions

The cover of this upcoming 2019 release was me 100%. The title, the colors, the max cuteness factor was me and I just had to review it. As soon as I got my approval to read this book of questions I dived immediately in.

Know Yourself: A Book Of Questions is just that. Each page is a different question. Each page is decorated differently with lots of color. Some questions are light hearted and others might make you wince with how deep they are. I thought the best way to review this is to give a sample of some of the questions that spoke to me and share my answers.

Would you rather have a different name?

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a different name. Sometimes at work callers get my name wrong, which makes me wonder what my life would be like if my name was different. Some of my personal favorite names are: Sarah, Emily, Brianna and Amanda.

What’s your fave sound?

My favorite sound is the violin.

Do your personality traits match your zodiac sign?

Yes and no. I definitely can be broody, although I don’t like being a leader. And I can’t stand to be the center of attention. I can certainly have intense opinions and be impatient. I have a challenge of being an impulsive shopper. I do like being babied to a degree.

How old do you feel?

I feel like I’m in my twenties.

What do you do when you are nervous?

When I’m nervous I pick hangnails.

What’s the best thing about coming home?

I love being in my own personal space with my best partner and bookcase.

What’s your greatest victory?

Surviving my preemie birth.

Which of your five senses is the strongest?

My sense of smell.

What story has been making the rounds in your family for years?

My miracle birth.

Would you go back to life without the internet?

I think I just might since communication was more intentional and life was less ADD.

Do you ever fantasize about being famous?

Yes, a famous author.

How important are other people’s opinions when you’re deciding on something?

I cave caring more about other’s opinions of a decision I’m making versus having confidence in my own decision I’ve made. It’s one trait I need to curb. Taking in other’s advice isn’t a bad thing, but I need to be secure in my own decisions.

What color would you give your life?

The color I would give my life would be blue. It is one of my favorite colors. To me it represents both calm and moody or emotional, which I have been quite a bit lately. Also, blue represents clear blue skies or stormy clouds which I love.

Do you tend to ask the questions or answer them?

I ask the questions as I like to deflect answering them.

I received my complimentary digital ARC copy of Know Yourself by Irene Smit and Astrid Van Der Hulst through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you love this kind of book I highly recommend it. This book would make a great great gift or book club book.

Book Review · Books

LaLa Lovely

The title was different. LaLa Lovely. What kind of book would this be? Author, Trina McNeilly, compiles a collection of her essays about life and what it looks like to find beauty in life when all you feel you can see is pain. Her essays range from topics on friendship, family, creativity, self care, doubt, faith and more. Each chapter is graced with photos from her life. This book felt like a warm blanket on a chilly night. It keeps you warm, but eventually certain topics become too, hot, so you have to throw the blanket off and be honest with yourself. These essays are poetic, heart wrenching, inspiring and most of all written with love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you love memoirs, or essays on the above topics you will treasure this beautiful book. Thank you for sharing your heart Trina.

Book Review · Books · Self Care

Find Your Awesome

I’m a sucker for self-help books. When I saw the cute artwork on the cover I couldn’t resist requesting the appropriately titled Find Your Awesome. This short book has 30 different ideas on ways that you can learn how to start loving yourself. Some of the suggestions that stood out to me the most were:

* Rocking my life list

I need to make a life bucket list, so I have goals I am always reaching on meeting.

* Hold a burning ceremony

There are things about my past and myself I need to let go of, but my OCD reparative thoughts like to dwell on those things anyway. A burning ceremony of letting go would be acknowledging these things, but then physically letting them go by burning away their hold on me.

* List 10 people you are grateful for

Writing down 10 people I’m grateful for helps me stay focused on the important people in my life who help influence and shape me in who I’ve become through the years.

* Organize something

Organizing is something I like to do briefly, then my piles start up again. Going through my things and only keeping what is essential is therapeutic. I need to do more of it so there is more room in my life for things I truly need, plus I will feel less claustrophobic.

* Unplug

Unplugging from social media occasionally is important and something I want to do more often. It’s never a dire emergency to check notifications. If it’s an emergency the person will call me and leave a voicemail.

* Be unapologetic

I am a classic apology case. I apologize often to where it even annoys myself. I need to stop apologizing, especially when I’m not truly sorry. It’s a bad form of coming across humble and selfless when in reality you aren’t wanting to own your true feelings about something.

* Write your personal manifesto

Writing my own manifesto on how I want to live my life is something I need to do. It’s a way for me to have a nice, firm reminder of what I believe in, stand for and want to accomplish with my existence.

* Decide what matters

Deciding what matters can be a tough exercise.

* Write yourself a love letter

I don’t like being the center of attention, so the idea of writing myself a love letter sounds egotistical, but I need to honestly love me for me and writing it down will help cement it in my mind.

* Design a book cover for your life story

Some day I do want to publish. A memoir might be a tad strange, but to design a unique book cover for it would satisfy my creative side.

These suggestions each speak to me in that they are ways I can uncover who I am down to my core.

What would your answers be to these different suggestions on how we can love and care for ourselves more?

I think with social media when can get so caught up in following other’s lives that we forget to be ourselves, to be our own unique selves. These suggestions help peel off the layers of fitting in, so that we can love ourselves for who we are. I know I don’t always like what I see when I peel back my protective layers, but it’s important for me to truly like myself, even the scary parts of me (body parts, personality, habits).

If you need a uplifting pick me up, go find a copy of this short book. The artwork alone is sweet and inspiring. I received my free digital ARC of Find Your Awesome by Judy Clement Wall care of NetGalley from HCI Books in exchange for my honest feedback. Thank you Judy for an easy to use self-help book that will help society get their life balance back.

Book Review · Books

Running From God

Elizabeth grew up with a strict and harsh father. She wanted for him to be proud of her, to tell her that he loved her, but it was an exercise in vain. She was an introvert craving to be loved, but afraid of being hurt and ridiculed. Elizabeth mainly kept to herself, until she met and married her husband Bob. He showed her unconditional love, encouraged her to be her even when it was out of her comfort zone. Elizabeth and Bob had kids.

Sadly when Bob passes unexpectedly Elizabeth is thrown into figuring out who she is apart from her spouse and her kids. Running From God is Elizabeth’s journey from exploring her childhood religion of what being Jewish entails to finding a faith that speaks to her without harsh judgement. Through many different spiritual journeys from Gurus to A Course In Miracles, Elizabeth discovers her spiritual home and her way back to God.

I got my free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I enjoyed this spiritual memoir because I can relate to wanting a faith that is yours and not a family members. I was raised a particular faith and set of beliefs. To journey outside that comfort bubble is scary, but also, rewarding. Thank you Elizabeth for opening up your life and sharing all you’ve learned. Your memoir was a joy to read. If you enjoyed Conversations With God, then you just may like Running From God.

Book Review · Books

How To Break Up With Your Phone

I’m guilty of phone addiction. It’s become a crutch to living our lives online vs outwardly. It’s an easy way to communicate on the go, or research a topic, but the myriad app options are time suckers. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to check FB, Twitter, or IG and time has flown by. Did I do anything productive in my time online? I might have, but then again I may have just scrolled to see if anyone replied to a post of mine. Usually only a small handful do. Was it worth all that time lost? Approval addiction is an ugly beast that has a big appetite that demands to be fed constantly. That’s why when we don’t check our phones we get antsy.

I recently read the very short book Off which is a similar book to How To Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price; the difference is that this later book was more in depth. The information packed into this little yellow book is disturbing, convicting, enlightening and depressing.

How To Break Up With Your Phone talks about the behind the scenes ways your smartphone is designed on purpose to be addictive and how apps like FB, IG, etc. are set up to suck you in. The chapter on FB creeped me out. Tomorrow I’m deleting my FB account. My friends are like, “I’m sad to see you leave.” Are you kidding me? I haven’t passed on. I’m still reachable by phone, text, in person, snail mail. That social media platform has become a true social crutch and made people lazy to directly communicate with each other offline. It makes me sick because it shows you aren’t worth keeping in contact with unless you are on FB. This book also, discusses how phone addiction has changed our mental states and ways in which we are able to focus. ADHD, anxiety challenges anyone? I know I have anxiety, but that’s probably from my coffee addiction. Lastly, this book gives you a thirty day step by step plan on how to break up with your phone and take back control of your life. The step by step guide is thoughtful and I can’t wait to complete it.

I received my copy of How To Break Up With Your Phone for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my review. This book should be required reading for schools, work places, friends, family, etc. Let’s be present in our lives. We each have allotted time and who wants to waste it glued to a screen?