January 26, 2015

The Real Brass Ring by Dianne Bischoff James

The Real Brass Ring by Dianne Bischoff James is the story of the author’s journey after given some harsh truth about her life from a psychic. Not expecting to drastically change so many things in her life at the age of 38, it wasn’t easy, but was full of necessary changes to help the author discover her true life course.

Book Description
The Real Brass Ring takes The Secret on a high-speed road test in a tale of midlife transformation in the real, flesh-and-blood world of contemporary Chicago. It is the story of a “midlife reboot,” a raw, unfiltered journey of enlightenment that illustrates a woman’s daunting personal reinvention and the rewards of fearlessly pursuing a life’s true calling.” – The Real Brass Ring

My Thoughts
The Real Brass Ring is more of a memoir about the author’s journey than a self-help how-to discover your own life course book, but that is okay because there are a lot of those books out there already. Instead, Dianne gives readers an inside look at her transformation, which is at times funny, sad, happy, and everything in-between.

I quite enjoyed reading about her dating adventures after she and her husband decided to separate. I’m sure all of us in the dating pool can relate to some of those experiences to some degree, and how hard it is to actually find quality people that you want to invest time and emotions in.

Dianne shares an inspiring story that shows you that no matter what age you are, or how successful or happy you may appear on the surface, sometimes what lies below the surface is much different. She shows us that it is possible to make large changes and become a much happier version of yourself.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Real Brass Ring, Turning Stone Press, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 17, 2015

The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible by Phil & Al Robertson

The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible by Phil & Al Robertson is a Bible written by Phil and Al – stars of Duck Dynasty who hold faith very close to their hearts. If you are a fan of the show, or know someone who is, this is definitely a Bible that you will want to check out.

Book Description
The stars of the hit TV show Duck Dynasty are committed to upholding five core values both on and off the screen: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom.

The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible features new stories and testimonials by Phil, the Robertson family patriarch, and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives.

Powered by relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and celebrating Christ’s kingdom, the Robertson family has become influential to contemporary evangelism and discipleship. The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible unleashes the power of their practical insight into critical faith issues, founded on God’s Word.” – The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible

My Thoughts
The features include the full text for the “New King James” version of the Bible, a welcome note written by Phil and Al Robertson, 125 articles on the most searched for topics on “BibleGateway” and also a life application with scripture references for each article, 30 days of testimonials, and topical index and reading plans.

The five core values that Phil and Al believe in that shape their faith are featured in this Bible, and it is something that we can all learn from. To keep faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom important parts of our lives, we live a more content life that we can share better with others.

Overall, I think that fans of Duck Dynasty will enjoy this version of the Bible with the supplemental features included in it. I gave this copy to my Dad, and he really likes it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Life Purpose Boot Camp by Eric Maisel

Life Purpose Boot Camp by Eric Maisel is an 8-week breakthrough plan for creating a meaningful life. If you are looking for more purpose in your life, be sure to read this book!

Book Description
As life gets busier and more complicated we crave something larger and more meaningful than just ticking another item off our to-do list. In the past, we’ve looked to religion or outside guidance for that sense of purpose, but today fewer people are fulfilled by traditional approaches to meaning. Bestselling author, psychotherapist, and creativity coach Eric Maisel offers an alternative: an eight-week intensive that breaks through barriers and offers insights for living each day with purpose. Once you understand how meaning operates, how meaning and life purpose are related, and what concrete steps you can take toward fulfilling your purpose, you will never run out of meaning again. This program will develop self-awareness and self-confidence and give you what you need to fully live the best possible life.” – Life Purpose Boot Camp

My Thoughts
Life Purpose Boot Camp is an excellent book to push you into your life purpose. The author doesn’t use grandiose ideas that are not likely to work. Instead, he is realistic with what can and can’t happen quickly and over time. Seeing that there isn’t just one path to take or one meaningful path for our life is great. Sometimes we take many paths and have meaningful events in our life take place because of it. This book just helps guide us for the meaningful path that is meant for us right now.

This book has you upgrade your personality, deal with your circumstances, determine your life purposes, create a life mantra, and much more! If you are looking for a book that will help guide you to your life purpose, this is definitely one that you should read! I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Life Purpose Boot Camp, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 16, 2015

Hop, Skip, Jump by Marney K. Makridakis

Hop, Skip, Jump by Marney K. Makridakis is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to create a more meaningful life, bring creativity into their life again, and have fun in areas of their life they may have neglected for too long.

Book Description
Most of us view work and play as mutually exclusive opposites, but now you can blend them together in your new route to joy-filled success. The 75 techniques in this book will guide you to be more playful and productive as you move through three vital phases of the manifestation process: dreaming (Hop), experimenting (Skip), and taking action (Jump). Discover your Play Personality and learn how to use it to create more experiences in which work feels like play, and struggle gives way to momentum, ease, and joy.” – Hop, Skip, Jump

My Thoughts
Hop, Skip, Jump is a fun, creative, inspiring book to get dreaming, experimenting, and start taking some action. There are 75 things to do to help with this, which is huge! If you don’t like some, don’t do them – there are plenty more for you to try and enjoy!

Hop is focused on exploring new beliefs. Skip is focused on experimenting and being more spontaneous. Jump is focused on bringing us to actions to accomplish our goals.

Marney is excellent at showing us all that we can combine work and play to become more creative and often more productive. Sometimes getting to this result isn’t easy, but with the help of fun exercises, it can be done!

One of my favorite sections is “The Sparkle Scavenger Hunt” and because I personally like to make lists, so the “Sparkle List” was a favorite example of mine that was in this book. Starting small with doing one thing for yourself with physical, mental, emotional, systemic, and mystical health can create changes in your life.

Overall, I found this to be a fun, creative, and limitless book to help push through creative or emotional blocks and create a meaningful life. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Hop, Skip, Jump, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 10, 2015

Outsmarting Overeating by Karen R. Koenig

Outsmarting Overeating by Karen R. Koenig is an excellent resource for people who need help with overeating. This book will help you with tips and tricks on what to do instead of eating when you are stressed, sad, angry, happy, or any emotion you are having that would trigger you to grab food. If you or someone you know needs help with this, be sure to check out this book!

Book Description
The reason you turn to food when you’re stressed or distressed is that you don’t have better ways of managing life’s ups and downs. According to Karen R. Koenig, an expert on the psychology of eating, you can transform your eating habits — and your life — by developing effective life skills. When you have enhanced skills, you won’t need to turn to mindless eating to make it through the day and will get the best out of life rather than letting life get the best of you. With Koenig’s guidance, you’ll learn how to establish and maintain functional relationships, take care of yourself physically and emotionally, think rationally, and create a passionate, joyful, and meaningful life. When these behaviors take root and become automatic, food becomes what it is meant to be: nourishment and one of life’s many pleasures.” – Outsmarting Overeating

My Thoughts
Outsmarting Overeating is a book that provides comfort without the extra calories. This author has thirty years of experience helping people with their weight struggles and learning how to use something other than food to help with emotions. She doesn’t promise that this book or tips included in it will happen and work for you overnight, it will take time, and commitment on your part to actually put them to use, but if you do, big changes can happen and that scale you step onto each morning can slowly start to go back down. Worth trying? I think so!

This is a great resource for people who overeat, I definitely recommend it to people who have problems with this.

* Thank you to the publisher of Outsmarting Overeating, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 4, 2015

Desert God by Wilbur Smith

Desert God by Wilbur Smith will take you on a journey of ancient Egypt. It is full of action, mystery, magic, intrigue, and romance, and may just leave you wanting more…

Book Description
Game of Thrones meets ancient Egypt in this magnificent epic from one of the world's biggest-selling authors. Conjuring the magic, mystery and bloody intrigue of a fascinating lost world, Desert God presents Wilbur Smith at the helm of one of the greatest stories of all time.

On the gleaming banks of the Nile, the brilliant Taita—a freed slave and advisor to the Pharaoh—devises a plan to destroy Egypt's most feared enemy, the mighty Hyksos. His quest will take him on an epic journey up the ancient river, through Arabia and the magical city of Babylon and across the open seas—all in the company of the Pharaoh's exquisite sisters. With the future of the kingdom itself on his shoulders, Taita plunges into a world where the line between loyalty and betrayal shifts like the desert sands, evil waits in the shadows and death lingers on the edge of darkness.

Hundreds of millions have fallen in love with the magic of Wilbur Smith. In Desert God, he is at the peak of his powers, transporting readers to an extraordinary time and place. This is a novel of supreme adventure, blazing action, heart-racing romance and a sense of history so real that you will feel the dunes moving beneath you and the Nile lapping at your feet.” – Desert God

My Thoughts
Desert God is a captivating novel that has a bit of fantasy mixed with ancient history. I’m not a historian of ancient Egypt, but I do find this culture and part of the world history very interesting, so I especially enjoyed the setting and elements that reflected what I knew about it. The journey of a freed slave to help destroy their enemy, the Hyksos, is an epic tale that I am sure people will be reading for years to come.

I really liked the character of Taita, and the two princesses Tehuti and Bekatha. Most of the characters and plot is believable, which gives the realism that historical fiction needs to draw me in to reading it. This book and the characters within it make me want to read more from this series and author, which I will be doing soon, hopefully.

There are some violent and sexual scenes in the book, so I can’t suggest it for readers of all ages. However, I do definitely recommend it for readers who are of the maturity and age to handle such scenes.

* Thank you to the publisher of Desert God, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 28, 2014

The Inner Camino by Sara Hollwey and Jill Brierley

The Inner Camino by Sara Hollwey and Jill Brierley is an excellent resource for someone who is looking to make a change in their life. If you are struggling to find out what you are meant to do, this may be the guide for you to take you on a journey to discover it.

Book Description
Are you looking to make real and lasting change in your life? The Inner Camino offers a reliable method to support such change effortlessly, even when we feel imprisoned in situations that appear intransigent or hopeless. With easy to follow maps and a compass to re-orientate the reader in the direction of their true purpose in life the Inner Camino guides the reader on an inner pilgrimage. Along the path the reader learns to dream into hitherto undreamt visions for our world and ourselves. This guidebook is practical, unsentimental and packed with immediately applicable insights towards clearly identified and easily accessible goals. The Inner Camino takes the reader on a heroic journey of awakening within. It initiates an extraordinary expedition, both deep into our own psychology, and to the heights of our numinous potential, our mystical capacities. Between these two differing terrains, the Inner Camino follows the way-marks through our most creative source of wisdom, our Intuitive Consciousness.” – The Inner Camino

My Thoughts
The Inner Camino takes you on a journey of your intuitive consciousness helping you to see what it is that you truly want to do and are meant to do. It can awaken or re-ignite passions you never knew you had, or perhaps forgot you had. Only read it if you are serious about finding this for yourself.

This is a practical guidebook with easy resources to help guide you along your path to figuring out your purpose and reach your goals. It isn’t going to lead you on the wrong path because you know what you are meant to do deep down, but sometimes we are too afraid of it and push it really far down, and it takes a bit of a push (like with this book) to discover it again. I especially liked the section on “Chatter or Guidance” because sometimes that inner dialogue we have within ourselves isn’t always so positive, but this section helped me to push aside those negative thoughts and focus on the actual guidance.

Overall, I think that this is an excellent guide for anyone that wants to go on the path of awakening. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Inner Camino, Findhorn Press, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 19, 2014

Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert and Allen & Linda Anderson

Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert and Allen & Linda Anderson gives us an inside look at the lives of famous animal actors. Learn what they do to get motivated to “work”, what they do off-camera, training tips, and much more!

Book Description
When cameras roll and directors call, “Action,” some of the most dependable, funniest, and most enthusiastic actors stand poised on four legs, with ears alert. From Joey in War Horse to the wolves in Game of Thrones, what we see on screen is the result of meticulous preparation and professional teamwork. The eye-popping, heartwarming stories in these pages reveal the trainers, actors, directors, and, of course, dogs, cats, horses, penguins, deer, and other animals in all their behind-the-scenes glory. You’ll discover that some animal actors have diva tendencies and others have rags-to-riches backstories. American Humane Association certified animal safety representatives work carefully to ensure that no animals are harmed, as they have been doing for decades.

Animal stars have done it all — convinced us to eat more tacos, broken our hearts in war dramas, inspired us with enduring love and loyalty, kept us at the edge of our seats as they snarled in the shadows, mirrored human antics to make us roar with laughter, and, like Uggie (from The Artist), stolen the show on the red carpet. Who besides a monkey named Crystal could impress a brilliant comedian like Robin Williams in Night at the Museum? And animal stars will work for food, including only KFC original recipe for Casey the bear — no other fried chicken will do! 

These charming and sometimes hilarious stories will give you a new appreciation for the skill and patience it takes to teach nonhuman actors to perform on camera. Training tips from the pros and personal recollections of celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Hailee Steinfeld, and Steven Spielberg make this insider’s look at the lives and work of these incomparable stars as irresistible as the animals themselves.

A portion of the publisher’s proceeds from this book will aid American Humane Association.” – Animal Stars

My Thoughts
Animal Stars is the perfect book for animal lovers who also enjoy movies and TV shows which feature them. Find out what their lives are like off the screen, get tips from the pros on training them, and much more!

My favorite sections of the book included reading about the wolves Thunder, Harley, Shadow, and Cody (who appear in True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, and Teen Wolf) – only some of my favorite TV series right there! I also quite liked the section on famous cats (like Hermione Granger’s cat Crookshanks in the Harry Potter series) and Mr. Jinx in Meet the Fockers. I learned a few tips on training cats, too, but mine will never be nearly as trained as these famous felines.

I really enjoyed reading about all of the animal stars in this book. It is truly the purrfect book for an animal lover. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Animal Stars, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 11, 2014

Christmas Spirit Essential Oil Blend

Christmas Spirit is a sweet, spicy blend of orange, cinnamon, and spruce essential oils that taps into the happiness, joy, and security associated with the holiday season. With Christmas Spirit on hand, simply open a bottle and start diffusing!

How to Use:
For aromatic use. Diffuse or sprinkle on logs in the fireplace, on Christmas trees, on cedar chips, pinecones, or on potpourri. Use all year round for feelings of the Christmas Spirit.

*Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, contact your physician. Dilute before using on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, genital area, etc. Keep out of the reach of children. Avoid using on infants and very small children. 

For more info on Young Living and essential oils, check out my group's website at: www.essentialdreamers.com

December 2, 2014

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson is a witty tale about love, loss, and the amazing aspects of life in-between.

Book Description
Someone Else's Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.” – Someone Else’s Love Story

My Thoughts
Someone Else’s Love Story is a novel that drew me in right away. It is as the title says, someone else’s love story – and I can’t write too much about that without giving the plot away (which I will not do). Seriously, it is a brilliantly written novel that is worth a read!

The author writes this story from two very different perspectives. Shandi is my favorite, she is funny, smart, a bit if a smart ass, and an extremely likeable character. Will is more logical and matter of fact. I like the yin and yang to this. The story also primarily takes place in the present, but it has flashes of certain events that took place in the past. Nothing too often to take the story out of their current reality, so it was done quite well.

I really enjoyed reading this novel because it was written in a different way than most books out there. It is a distinct style that the author perfected with this book, and the characters truly help to give it a life that will capture you in their world for the time you are reading it. I definitely recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Someone Else’s Love Story, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.