Life Is Good

Life Is Good

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Trying to hit my 2013 book goal!

Winter SolsticeWinter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rosamunde Pilcher is one of my favorite guilty pleasure authors. I love the way she weaves people's lives and stories together but I just didn't love this book. I like Elfrida fine except that I could not for the life of me figure out why she would leave her life to live with a man she barely knew--and a poor man at that.

I didn't like either how the teenager's (I can't even remember her name now) mother and grandmother threw her away. The lack of family cohesiveness was weird. Cousins were great friends but siblings and children were throw aways.

And the lack of conviction in Elfrida's life, other than doing all her life what she wanted to do for herself, was off putting.

Trying to tie in a church and religious perspective simply did not work. Why bother if morals don't matter?

The really truly best part of this book was the detail and description of Scotland countryside. So this book isn't necessarily bad, just not good.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bad Book

Devious (New Orleans, #7)Devious by Lisa Jackson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I would not have finished this book except it was the only book I had while on a trip.  This was my first Lisa Jackson book and it is probably my last Lisa Jackson book. This was far too contrived and silly.  If I were Catholic I would be offended by this representation.

Way too many contrivances that never tied together.

And finally, if an orphanage were about to be torn down they would not simply destroy the records in the basement. Really?

Sorry other Lisa Jackson fans but this was lame.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

Nemesis (Harry Hole, #4)Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I always thought of the Scandinavian people as happy and healthy but these books out of Sweden and Norway lately have made me change my mind. Rather than Pippi Longstocking think Vikings--brutal Vikings.

This is gritty and dark (not quite as gritty as the Girl with the Tattoos series but still gritty). Other than a few of the main characters it was difficult to keep everybody straight. You can't put this down and come back a week or two later and expect to pick up where you left off--there are too many plots, sub plots, characters, and character history.

So, yes, I'd probably read another Jo Nesbo book but I won't rush out to buy it.

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Mission Statement Month!

The month of October marks 25 years since Dr. Stephen R. Covey launched The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, introducing new paradigms and revisiting principles that have impacted the way people and organizations worldwide pursue personal and organizational effectiveness. For 10 of the 20+ years I’ve been with FranklinCovey, I worked directly with Dr. Covey at Covey Leadership Center and what an honor it was. Dr. Covey was a human being, a fun and funny man, and I can attest that this man walked the talk; every action and every word was grounded in the principles of the 7 Habits.

One of the most profound aspects of The 7 Habits was the charge to create a personal mission statement, a central teaching of Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. For many of the 25 million people who have read The 7 Habits – myself included – their personal mission statements have helped to define their lives. Uncovering one’s personal mission—more a process than an event—allows each of us to align our priorities with our purpose in life.

I personally feel so strongly about mission statements and their positive influence in one’s life that as an adjunct faculty member at a local university where I teach the 7 Habits, the mission statement is the central focus of the course. Most of my students have not paid the price of discovering their life’s purpose but they soon learn that a personal mission statement, a life purpose, is inherently within each of us. 

Most students come to college with goals but those goals have no meaning and purpose behind them other than “to get a job do I can pay the bills.” I believe that this lack of vision contributes greatly to why we see a high percentage of students who don’t graduate.  I’ve never seen a study on it but I think it would be very interesting to know of those students who graduate from college, how many had written mission statements. And of those drop-outs, the same question. I would wager that most who graduate do have some kind of written mission statement. I know that for my students, defining their life mission is an incredibly rewarding experience and a blinding epiphany. They are ecstatic about what they can and will do. And it’s hugely rewarding for me as a teacher to be part of that journey.

So, in honor of Dr. Covey’s legacy we commemorate his birthday, October 24, as the Dr. Stephen R. Covey Mission Statement Renewal Day. I encourage you to take the time within the next few weeks to reflect on your personal mission statements or to create one, if you have not yet done so.

To help you in revisiting your own mission statement, FranklinCovey has created a complimentary online mission statement builder  -- the most visited feature of our website. 

I'd love to hear from you about the significance of the personal mission statement in your life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

BEA BOOK #? I've lost track.

The Valley of AmazementThe Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read the other reviews and I don't know what I'm missing but this book was not 5 star worthy. It was brilliant in places but tedious in others. It all felt TOO contrived and TOO predictable.

WARNING SPOILER ALERT IN THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS: Amy Tan likes to address the mother daughter relationship and does so again in this book although I could not relate. I would do ANYTHING to find my child even if I was told she was dead.

As I read the book I couldn't help but feel like we were romanticizing prostitution and that good prostitutes find a way out and live happily ever after (think Pretty Woman). I read the whole book and I learned a lot about courtesans and Shanghai. So if you like romance novels and if you like some historical fiction then this is not bad--not great--but not bad.

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Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Entertaining car-ride read. I started the next one but I just never really got invested in the characters enough to finish book 2, Insurgent. My teen daughters raved about this book.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Who Asked You?Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read a Terry McMillan book before but I had heard a lot about her books. I found this to be witty and wry and just plain enjoyable. I felt like it was honest look into the life and world of middle class African Americans of which I know very little about. Buyt I do know that this is a heartwarming story that applies to my generation. We question what we did right and wrong with our children and we're here to pick up the pieces as we watch our own children make mistakes that we feel we caused.

This is an easy read and you'll love the characters--especially Betty Jean.

To be released September 17, 2013.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

BEA Book #6

I feel like I've read a whole lot of less than stellar titles lately. Here's to finding a real gem amongst this year's BEA ARCs.

Heart Like MineHeart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I would have liked this a whole lot more if I had liked Victor. The female characters were well fleshed out and the story was interesting and appealing. But, it was all too predictable. I didn't care a lot for Kelli and in fact, I frequently skipped or skimmed her chapters.

It's quick and entertaining.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

BEA Book #5

A Killing in the HillsA Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date August 2013.

I picked this book up at BEA because I like this kind of book. I like the murder-mystery-detective series and I really hope there is a follow up to Belfa Elkins. Well written, thought provoking, geographically descriptive, and timely topic. For a first time novel by Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, this is pretty darn good. There were a few week spots, I was totally bugged by Carla's story line.

Please write another one soon Julia.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Only because I promise to write a review...

GorgeousGorgeous by Paul Rudnick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For the Scholastic lady who told me this book was incredible: are you nuts? This book was only average. And I do like YA books but this was downright silly. It's a romance novel with a reach to the supernatural/spiritual/whatever. I guess teen girls with a bent towards loving the fantastic will like this. For adults, I don't recommend this.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book #3 from BEA Advance Reading Copy

CovetCovet by Tracey Garvis-Graves

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like romances you'll probably like this book. The writing is very good, timely scenario, and believable. Sometimes I got hung up in all the daily detail of her life but it was necessary in order to realistically capture her feelings and the reality of why people do what they do. I just don't like romances and this didn't change my opinion.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013


inGenius: A Crash Course on CreativityinGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars really. I don't care what your job is, applying even just one of her suggestions will improve it. This is quick and insightful and chock-full of great and simple ways to increase your creativity. I've already created and am using a future projects box.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

London Book Fair 2013

Check in at the ParkCity in Kensington. Shabby Chic but the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly.

Meeting up with Kerstin at Earl's Court for the London Book Fair.
Flat Stanley and I catching the subway at Gloucester Road for our trip to Kew Gardens.

Kew Gardens Princess of Wales Conservancy
Kew Gardens Palm House

Flat Stanley and the Kew Palace footman.

Flat Stanley picking out candy for Brooklyn Wilson.

The Returned

The ReturnedThe Returned by Jason Mott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Passes the acid test! Im still thinking and wondering about what transpired.

Loved the story although at times it was a bit tedious. The book doesn't answer the BIG questions but it raises the human question of life and our purpose in it. I love that the protagonist is so unlikely in fiction and media.

I'm very anxious to see how this does upon release. I recommend you read it.

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P.S. Loved the cover. Very intriguing cover. Kudos to the design team.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is 3 3/4 stars--not quite a 4. It is a perfect blend of Jane Austen and P.D. James. I am more of a P.D. James fan. I did enjoy the writing, the Austen-like descriptions, and the narrative. I hated that there were some holes in the story that kept this from being really good. It's fun and it's entertaining.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

In Memory of My Friend

I really miss Stephen and his sense of humor and his voice. For 20 years
I never felt like I worked FOR Stephen, he always made me feel like I worked WITH him. Some of my fondest memories of Stephen include flying back on a private jet from a Denver public program in the very early days of the business, the really small and fun Christmas parties with CLC, parties at the family cabin, hugs, inside jokes that were never really funny, and so many more. Just posting this makes me teary.

So in memory of Stephen, there's a cd and book in memory of Stephen and it reminds you of his most powerful quotes and stories. Stephen R. Covey authored one of the bestselling audiobooks of all time – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – and audio remains a terrific way to capture the essence of his most profound teachings on business, success, management, family, and love.

THE WISDOM AND TEACHINGS OF STEPHEN R. COVEY is available on CD and for download with an introduction read by Sean Covey! 

You can listen to an excerpt from this commemorative collection here:

or link here to buy it on Amazon.

My Family

My Family
Christmas in OH

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Harvest 2015