The Nanny

My lovely friend, Elizabeth Barone, asked me if I wanted to read her newest book in exchange for reviews and feedback. I jumped at the chance because I am always down to read a book and even better when it’s free. (I sound like such a miser but really I am just trying to curb my terrible habit of buying ALL THE BOOKS and then crying because I don’t have time to read them all.)

A little bit about Elizabeth’s work:

“Elizabeth Barone writes contemporary New Adult romance and suspense. Her stories focus on the gritty side of being a twenty-something, featuring characters who chose an alternative path in life. (read more on her about page).”

nannybookThe book she gave me for advance review was titled The Nanny With the Skull Tattoos. It was a romance story about a young man, Max, who is struggling to grow up while also caring for a daughter he had very young. He hires a nanny to live with him, Savannah, and romance and heartache and tense times follow.

The story flows quickly and easily. You find yourself moving from chapter to chapter without realizing that in one sitting you’ve easily burned through five or six chapters. The characters are well formed and as you read you want to know them. I found myself very frustrated by Max making stupid decisions and wanting to know how Savannah was going to react to certain things that were unfolding. I also quickly decided who I liked and who I didn’t among the other characters.

The events in the book could be seen as unbelievable if it weren’t for the fact that the characters felt real. When it comes to love everyone has their opinions of “what would actually happen” versus “what is totally unrealistic.” But no matter the situations the characters found themselves in you didn’t question the reality of it, instead you just shook your head, either yes in agreement or no in disbelief.

I found myself reading the final page with immense satisfaction. As all good stories do I couldn’t help but feel an emotional tug towards everyone in the book and hoping that their lives after the final printed words truly did pan out for the best.

I really enjoyed the story that Elizabeth crafted and look forward to reading more of her work. If you like contemporary stories about characters that could be your friends and family you should check out her body of work. I can guarantee there’s something there for just about everyone.

Read more information on The Nanny With the Skull Tattoos and preorder the book at a special price by clicking here. (Preorder is available for Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play.)

The Nanny With the Skull Tattoos will be released February 24, 2015.

Are you excited for Elizabeth’s new book? What are some books you are reading right now?

**This copy was provided in exchange for review by the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Field Guide to Happiness

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Sometimes I pick out books simply because they sound like something I wouldn’t normally read. I’ve read some amazing books that way and some not-so-amazing books.That’s how I came to read A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up by Linda Leaming. I don’t normally read memoirs but something about it caught my eye. I had never heard of Bhutan and it was a relatively short book and I wanted something fun to read.

Leaming’s book is a collection of stories, practices, and advice she’s picked up living in Bhutan. This book doesn’t tell her whole story but rather gives snapshots of her life. She tells you a story about her husband, about climbing up the mountains to visit a nearby village, her garden, the bull she tried to tame and each time you a glimpse into her life. She gives you little snapshots of what her live is like at different points while encompassing things she’s learned living in Bhutan.

Now she splits her time between Bhutan and Nashville, TN. She writes about how she tries (and sometimes fails) to bring Bhutan with her when she comes back to the U.S. She will tell you a story and give you some advice about how she (and you) can incorporate Bhutan into your life.

Bhutan is a small Buddhist country in the Himalayas. Leaming’s stories are quirky and she’s always quick and willing to point out her foibles navigating living in a world that’s completely different to the one she was raised and socialized in.

I’d classify this as a nice Sunday read. If you are in the mood to read something light, grab a cup of tea and settle in. Leaming’s stories are easy to read and it feels like having a conversation rather than reading a collection of essays. It’s easy to breeze from one chapter to the next; the stories flow not unlike the stream she lives near in Bhutan.

If you are looking for something to read and Buddhism, memoir style writing, or Bhutan interest you pick it up, give her book a read through. You might even find one of her stories or pieces of advice useful.

What are you reading right now? Have any awesome recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.


Tap, Tap, Tap

I picked this book up out of curious frustration. I’ve been stalled for the last few months with my weight loss. I’ve changed my eating habits and I haven’t incorporated as much exercise as I should, I know, but I was growing increasingly frustrated that my weight wasn’t moving, at least a little bit. I was stuck. I recently found out that part of the issue is some underlying health problems that I didn’t know about and had been ignoring the signs because I wasn’t ready or willing to deal with them. I picked up this book before I knew about those issues to see what it had to say regarding weight loss.

The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss and Body Confidence by Jessica Ortner is a body confidence book disguised as a weight loss book. It focuses on using EFT, emotional freedom technique, to help you identify and heal your weight loss issues. EFT utilizes tapping along meridian points while consciously focusing on limiting or hurtful thoughts, emotions, or beliefs to help you heal from those thoughts or beliefs.

I say that this is a body confidence book disguised as a weight loss book for a few reasons. Ortner does a great job at highlighting that for most people (aside from a medical condition or some other condition) weight loss is a symptom of something else in your life. She mentions many factors that could cause you to gain the weight and/or keep from losing it; anything from using it as a shield to go unnoticed by others in a desirable way, a way to deal with childhood trauma, or even as a way to keep you from focusing on really painful issues. It’s easy to focus on your weight and ignore something else that may be going on in your life.

The tapping sessions that Ortner walks you through really help you get at the heart of your weight issues. She starts with a basic tapping technique and works through more and more specific exercises. She teaches you how to do tapping on your own personal issues and help you heal.

Ortner mentions time and time again that the only way to truly lose excess weight and keep it off and stop yo-yoing once and for all is to love yourself and then you will naturally start making better choices for yourself. Once you learn to make decisions for your body from a place of love rather than a place of fear or disgust you will naturally lose weight and keep it off.

I’m still making my way through the tapping exercises and I am not focusing on losing weight. I am working through some body image issues and I can definitely feel a difference after I have completed the exercises. After working through the exercises I feel less stressed and like a weight has been lifted. Those negative thoughts and feelings regarding my weight or the way I look seem far away and instead I am left physically feel lighter and happier about myself.

Even if you aren’t looking to actively lose weight but still have some negative issues regarding your body I highly recommend this book. Some parts of the book might be uncomfortable as you work through some issues but using EFT really helps you find out what is at the root of whatever issue you working on, whether it’s weight issues or stress headaches.

I might still be working my way through this book but I’m finding it enormously helpful in helping me have a better attitude towards myself and appreciate myself more. I think that’s something everyone could use a little help with.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

The Power of No

 photo powerno.jpg I’ve always been a bit of a pushover. Often I’d find myself agreeing to things I didn’t want to do, didn’t have time to do, or because I was afraid the person who was asking for the favor would not like me if I said no. I’ve changed in many ways and I am much more confident and okay with telling people no, yet, sometimes I feel I still struggle with this.

I was excited to read The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James Altucher and his wife, Claudia Azula Altucher. I am always looking for ways to change and shape myself for the better.

Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with this book. While I can see how it can be a helpful book, perhaps its audience is those who are at a very different point in their life than me.

The book is told in a conversational format with certain chapters and sections switching between John and Claudia. It’s a mix of personal stories, general advice, and what has worked for them. Along with this are exercises at the end of most of the chapters.

While I’ve always approached books that are “self-help” in general with the attitude of taking what worked for me and leaving the rest, I found myself leaving..quite a bit of the book behind. It was unfortunate that this book did not resonate with me as it has with so other people. Perhaps I am just at a different point in my life where I don’t need a book such as this one to guide me.

I believe their personal stories that comprise much of the book could be good anecdotal advice and I do think that if you were extremely shy, not confident, or just extremely afraid of life this book could be a good starting point if you need outside validation that it is in fact okay to say “no” to things that drain your life.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Don’t Worry, All is Well

As part of my desire this year to get serious about my health, and just to live a happier life in general, I have been reading a lot of wellness books. I have a few books that I deem as “Holy Grail” books that have just been a wealth of knowledge and I am so glad that I found them. I do plan on discussing those at some point, I’m just working on reading through some research and finishing one of the books before I write about them. (I guess the urge to do research never really goes away if it was something you loved. It’s one of things I enjoyed most about college.)

In looking into certain topics I’ve been interested in I have found several authors and books that I have mentally filed away to read “at some point.” One of those authors is Louise Hay. She was one of the pioneers of the self-help movement and her first book came out in 1976. If you’ve ever ventured into self-help or wellness you’ve probably heard her name or someone that learned something from her. She also heads Hay House which publishes some of the leading authors in self-help, alternative medicine, and other categories.

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I was intrigued by her newest book, written with Mona Lisa Schulz titled, All is Well. It takes the idea of utilizing your body’s intuition, affirmation, medicine, and understanding the emotional centers of the body to heal yourself. The book has each emotional center split up by chapters and along with details about what areas of the body are affected by each emotional center it utilizes case studies of people showing how everything is tied together with your body.

The nice thing about this book is that it isn’t designed to be read cover to cover. It starts with a “Self-Assessment Quiz” to see what areas you should focus on. Using the answers from the quiz you can then turn to the corresponding areas and just read that section.

This book is a good introduction if you are coming from the mindset of modern medicine is the only way to cure what ails me rather than someone who already uses a few alternative medicine practices in their life. For me, I regularly use herbal medicine for colds and such and have use an acupuncturist in the past, and found this book lacking in some areas. But it is truly set up to give a complete newcomer a view into a new way to achieve whole body health.

If you are someone who has never thought of using anything other than the advice of your doctor I’d recommend this book just to get a new perspective on how to heal your mind and body. But if you are, like me, someone who has already spent some time dabbling in alternative health and know a fair bit this book might lack some of the in depth information you would be looking for.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it does do a wonderful job of setting the stage to use affirmations to change some of the negative mindsets you have that contribute to certain health problems.

How do you guys feel about things such as affirmations in general? Do you enjoy reading alternative health books or do they not interest you in the slightest? Let me know if you think you have a book I just have to read!



FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.