If you want a new thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, read this book from Erik Therme. Erik is one of my favorite authors that always keeps me at the edge of my seat. His first two novels, Mortom and Resthaven are both excellent reads. Just when I think I’ve figured out what is going on, Erik always changes things up and it will leave you guessing all the way until the last page. When you get to the last page, you are always left thinking, “THAT’S IT???” He leaves you screaming for more.
If you are a woman looking for a lifestyle that will help you in your 40s and beyond, you should try Glow 15. Glow 15 is packed with information on how you can live a healthy, glowing life from the inside/out. You are introduced to autophagy and how it can help your body rid itself of harmful pathogens (like cancer). You’ll learn how to eat, create beauty products, and live a healthy, invigorating life. I highly recommend this book. You can read more in my review HERE.
For those who need the next level of Kon Mari, but with your life…get this book. Cait Flanders year of minimizing her life month after month, saving as much money as she can, and foregoing shopping for a year (with the exception of certain items like food, toilet paper, etc.) will leave you inspired. I was very impressed with what she was able to do. It leaves the question if others could do the same. Could I do the same? I think it’s worth a shot. All the while she’s living a year of less, she’s also learning to live with a lot more.
Do you ever wonder what you should read next? There are so many titles to choose from, but what book should you get? Have you seen the prices of books? No wonder why Amazon is putting bookstores out of business…
Wait…maybe I went too far.
Let me take this back a little. A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine visited me. We went into Barnes & Noble so she could pick up a few magazines. I perused the books on all of the tables, but I didn’t pick up any books.
I said to my friend, “I’ve either read everything here or I have the book already.” She responded, “That does not surprise me.” She’s seen my library and all of my advanced copies of books.
Technically speaking, everything I need to read, I already have. I don’t really buy books anymore, except once in a blue moon while I’m on Amazon looking for an answer to what ails me. There are some titles that I am not able to get my hands on because I make it to the publisher’s booth too late (for instance, I missed out on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere” last summer). I have a serious fear of missing out when it comes to books.
So while I was looking for a title I did not own already, I flipped the paperback over to see the price and almost fainted at how much a book costs these days. Now, I understand why Amazon is putting bookstores out of business.
The Answer to My Fear of Missing Out
So every now and again, there’s a title that for some reason does not make it into my hands and I am left going…I kind of need that book! Well, the answer to my fear of missing out now comes in the form of $14.99/month from the Book of the Month club. Not only was I able to get my hands on a new title, I was able to get Celeste Ng’s book for free by using the July code: FIREWORKS.
When you look online, the hardcover is over $20 for “The Summer Wives.” So $14.99 for a new hardcover book is a serious deal. Plus, the more people you refer, the more credits you can receive for more free books.
The way it works is that at the beginning of every month Book of the Month releases a list of 5 new titles that should be the “IT” books for the month. Of the 5, you can pick one for your monthly membership. You can also choose additional titles for an additional $9.99, or you can use credits).
What I love about Book of the Month is that this is a perfect way to start up your very own Book Club. No more fear of missing out on what everyone else is reading. You can stay on top of your reading game. So get your girlfriends to join, your mom, your aunts, cousins, etc. Maybe you can share the different titles between your little network.
So far, I am enjoying this club. It’s every bibliophile’s answer to keeping on top of all of the latest IT titles.
To Join: BOOK OF THE MONTH
P.S. I’m thinking of having our own little book club here based on BOTM titles. If interested, comment below and I’ll work it into next month’s title rotations.
It’s been some time since I wrote a beauty journal entry, so I thought I would update you on my latest beauty regimen. I stumbled upon something called Glow 15 over a month ago and I have to say I am a changed woman!
First of all, as a woman who got hit with peri-menopause early, it is difficult to find a diet that will help you with the changes going on with your body, especially when you feel like you’ve aged 10 years in just a short amount of time. Between weight gain, your hair falling out (is that a bald spot?), feeling tired, light-headed, and sleeping more, you are just a complete mess.
In other words, you are getting older and peri-menopause/menopause can throw you deep into the thick of aging. But what if there was a lifestyle that can help reverse the signs of aging? Guess what? Naomi Whittel discovered it. [Please note this is for women only, not men.]
The reason why this book is called Glow 15 is because of what can happen in 15 days if you follow her recipe for success. As a result of trying out this new lifestyle, in just 15 days I noticed a significant change. A month and a half later, and I am still following the lifestyle, because it is the perfect fit for me.
Glow 15 is all encompassing in that it focuses on every single aspect of your health. You will learn about autophagy and how to trigger it and turn it off.
Autophagy is a self-degradative process that is important for balancing sources of energy at critical times in development and in response to nutrient stress. Autophagy also plays a housekeeping role in removing misfolded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles…as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens. Thus, autophagy is generally thought of as a survival mechanism…
In addition to elimination of intracellular aggregates and damaged organelles, autophagy promotes cellular senescence and cell surface antigen presentation, protects against genome instability and prevents necrosis, giving it a key role in preventing diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, liver disease, autoimmune diseases and infections. – US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
In other words, autophagy is a removal of all of the bad cells in your body, while creating new cell growth. Sounds crazy, right?
Peri-Menopause & Rapid Aging
For me, the reason why I started peri-menopause at 37 was because of a tumor in my parathyroid gland (the gland that synthesizes calcium). This was also my fourth tumor in 10 years, as well as the most dangerous one of the four.
My body changed a lot after that surgery in 2013. As a result, I changed completely.
While dealing with the emotional and cognitive issues, I put the rest of my body’s demands to the side. My body changed completely in less than five years. We’re not talking about weight gain or anything like that. What was happening disgusted me because my body was deteriorating. And I had no clue on how to stop the rapid aging process.
When I saw Whittel’s take on anti-aging, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try to focus on a lifestyle that would focus on anti-aging. Maybe it could reverse what was happening to me. Did it deliver? Absolutely.
After day three, I noticed my skin changing, becoming more supple. At day five, I dropped eight pounds. By day 15, my body was so used to the diet that I could not imagine living without it. I’d lost ten pounds, had more energy, my skin looked amazing, and I was happy knowing that after 30 years of dieting, I finally found the perfect lifestyle for me.
When I went into this, it was about anti-aging. What I came out with after 15 days was a guidebook on how to approach the last half of my life. You see, that’s something most women approaching their 40s, 50s and beyond are not briefed on. We know the ‘change’ happens, but what exactly is it beyond a bunch of pissed off women that don’t have to worry about getting their cycles anymore?
Well, first, you may or may not get your monthly cycle. It depends. Some women go months without it and then it magically appears like the great flood. Other women watch as they go from 3 days to 2 days to 1.5 days to 5 days to…well, you get my point. It is erratic.
But what happens to the rest of your body? Maybe if you are like me…you age quickly. The skin is the first place you notice where you are aging. From wrinkles to larger pores to sagging skin in places you did not know skin could sag (I am not joking about this)…your body goes south very rapidly.
Last year, I went to see my doctor about the rapid aging. I knew this had something to do with the changes going on in my body as a result of the parathyroid gland being removed. She took 8 vials of blood for testing to confirm the peri-menopause (as well as check to make sure there were no signs of the next tumor), and to see what was causing the aging. We discovered I was deficient in certain vitamins like Iron. She prescribed a lot of different vitamins to help combat the issues.
As time went on, vitamin supplements were just not cutting it. There had to be a way to stop the rapid aging. That was why when Glow 15 came along, I was more than willing to try it out. I just wanted to stop the rapid aging process.
Also, one of the other benefits that caught my eye was the ability to reverse cancer. If I could not get that second tumor in my parathyroid gland when I hit the seven year mark, I had a better chance of surviving. So perhaps the autophagy lifestyle was worth trying.
What is the Autophagy Lifestyle?
This lifestyle encompasses every single aspect of your health. You’ll start your mornings with a cup of autophagy tea. On high protein days, you will workout using simple exercises for half an hour. Breakfast is an AvocaGlow (avocado recipe) with eggs. On low protein days, you do not workout. I usually add vegetables with my AvocaGlow so I don’t feel like I’m starving.
On high protein days, I stop eating after lunch in order to begin the 16 hour fast. This 16 hour fast helps to reset your metabolism before going into the low/no protein day. I skip dinner on high protein days so that I can have breakfast (the time I am the hungriest). For those who have dinner on high protein days, you need to eat before 8PM so that you can start your first meal by noon the next day on the low protein day.
I’ve simplified my low days by calling these days my No Protein Veg Days. Three days a week are my no meat days. The other four days are protein heavy days.
Sugar, processed foods, bad grains, etc. are off limits. Most noteworthy is you get to have dark chocolate and wine. Yes, a diet that allows you to have wine every single night!!!
I do have to remind myself constantly that this is not a diet per se. Usually when we think of diets, we think of not eating. I have to remind myself every day that this is not about deprivation. I can eat as much as I want to, but within in the confines of the types of foods I can eat. This is about eating the right foods at the right times.
She also recommends vitamins you probably didn’t even know existed (that I believe works wonders with this diet). But this isn’t just about diet and exercise. This is about your overall general health. It includes mental health, i.e. daily meditation and journaling. It includes self-care, which means mandatory ME TIME that includes sex, spa days, etc. If you’re single or not having sex on a consistent basis, get yourself a rabbit vibrator.
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Seriously, this lifestyle is about taking care of ALL aspects of your general health.
No More Buying Beauty Products
While I am quick to purchase the best products from the cosmetics market to help fix X, Y and Z, I learned how to make my own beauty products using Naomi’s recipes. I am going to tell you right now that I haven’t gone back to my $350 creams since I started making Naomi’s beauty products. They are not only cheaper to make, but they work more effectively than any other product I’ve ever tried.
The facial mask is my favorite. I put it on for 20 minutes two times a week, take it off and don’t have to follow with moisturizers or creams like I have with store bought facial masks. My skin is so much softer and it feels like I applied an effective moisturizer to my face.
Yet, all it is…mayonnaise, wheat germ and bergamot oil. Three all natural ingredients and they beat every single beauty product I’ve ever tried on the market.
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Ever since I started making my own beauty products based on Naomi’s recipes, the thought of putting chemicals on my face just seems stupid. I mean, think about it…putting all of these chemicals on our faces is actually contributing to the aging process! Then we run out to purchase more chemicals to fix the aging process, when we should be avoiding the chemicals completely! The chemicals are aging us! I mean, so many products have formaldehyde in them. Why would we want to put that on our bodies? Leave that for the dead, not the living.
The Current Results
So after being on Glow 15 for the last month and a half (almost 2 months), I am proud to say I am down one whole dress size for the first time in 20 years. My hair is finally making a comeback and looking healthier. My skin is more supple. The keratosis pilaris on my arms started to disappear (this is without applying products to my arms). My skin is also not as dry.
I can actually visually see reverse aging. Not just anti-aging, but reversed aging.
I will be honest that I don’t follow Naomi’s program strictly. I did during the first 15 days, but after that, I worked its way into my lifestyle by taking days off here and there. I don’t reset my metabolism three times a week, maybe one or two times a week. I have one cheat day a week (which is usually on a high protein day).
I will also admit that the only exercise I get is 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night, walking at New Yorker speeds through Manhattan. Nothing extra. I’m sure if I did 30 minutes in the morning like the book suggests, I probably would lose more weight faster. Something to be considered…
I do feel much healthier and my gut feels happier. I believe if I was stricter with this lifestyle, I would see even more incredible results. I enjoy the diet tremendously. I don’t mind the fasting to reset my metabolism. I figured out ways where it will work for me. Skipping dinner is easier for me than skipping breakfast, especially since I need to be in bed earlier.
Oh, that’s another thing Naomi talks about…the importance of sleep. I changed my sleeping habits because of Glow 15. Matthew wakes up at 3:30AM every single morning. He immediately runs to me to wake me up because he wants breakfast. He will not leave me alone until he is fed. So I get up to feed him. But the problem with this is that it was hurting my beauty sleep schedule because I can never fall back to sleep afterward.
So now I go to bed before 9PM. At 3:30AM, I get up, feed him, meditate, get ready for the day and then head to the office early to either do research or write before my work day begins.
Simply put, I realized through this lifestyle that I needed to amend how I was doing life. People may complain that I go to bed too early, but if you had no choice but to wake up at 3:30AM, no matter what time you go to bed, you’ll change your bedtime to make sure you get enough sleep knowing you have to be up at 3:30AM no matter what day of the week it is.
The realizations did not stop with my sleep schedule. There were a lot of things I needed to change in my life. For instance, I hate the commute, so I decided to get around it by going to work earlier…before traffic begins. I can’t write at home, because Matthew sits on the laptop or the piece of paper I’m writing on. So I took my laptop to the office and scheduled two days a week for writing the novel and two days for blogging.
Mondays are research days for the book.
I have to say, getting to work 2.5 hours before I am scheduled to begin has been wonderful. I get so much writing done. It’s quiet. I answer a few emails from my bosses when I get in (because they are up too), and wait for the first one to arrive at 8:45AM. He usually leaves me alone, so I can still get 15-45 minutes more writing time in before my scheduled work day begins.
These early work mornings also mean that I get to punch out at 5:30PM every single day. I don’t have to stay late as much as I’ve been doing for the last 10 years. My guys got so used to me being at the office after 6PM, they would call me after 6PM, knowing I would be there. Now, everything is done long before and they don’t feel the need to contact me after 5:30PM.
I found through all of this that I should stop creating excuses for why things are not turning out the way it should. I needed to change my narrative.
If I’m tired of the neverending issues with the commute, I should just start my commute before the traffic begins. Ever since I had this realization, I swear to you, I am not pissed off every single morning now that I get to work early. The correct word to express my morning glow: RELIEF.
Instead of fighting with Matthew over who gets to use the laptop, I brought the laptop to the office to work on my book.
This is what it means to change the narrative, and let me tell you, I am a much happier person because I did something right for myself. We need to find what works for us, and that usually requires us to change the way we think. Instead of bitching about how life isn’t working out for us, we should ask ourselves: 1) What is not working, 2) What it is we want, 3) What solutions are available, and 4) Implement that solution.
For instance, say you’re late for work all of the time. No matter what you do, it’s not working out. There’s traffic, the bus is late, there’s a disabled vehicle, the trains are not running…basically, it’s the commute from hell and you are not winning.
What you want is to get to work early or on time. So how do you do that? What solutions are available to you? For me, I tested out the train schedules. I discovered that if I took the 6AM train (or bus), there are always seats (all to myself). The morning commute rush hour hasn’t even begun yet and it is quiet. There are also less people I have to deal with.
If I took the bus or train after 6:45AM, that’s when I run into problems, because that is when the commute gets crazy. Too many people on the train. You’re lucky to get on the train.
So the solution here would be to take the 6AM train. I get in early. I can write in peace and quiet without Matthew sitting on the laptop or typing up his own story.
With Glow 15, Naomi helped me tackle every single issue I was having with aging to reverse it. It allowed me to contemplate what I wanted out of life in my meditations and gave me more time to live the life I’ve been wanting by adjusting my sleep schedule.
Most of all, this whole experience has been about learning how to live a healthy life for the 40s and beyond. Just a few changes to my life from Glow 15 turned into so much more…living my life happy, healthy and with purpose.
I highly recommend this for every single woman out there.
Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday is a new novel from Colleen Coble called “The House at Saltwater Point.” [Due out July 3, 2018]
This is book two in the Lavender Tides series. You don’t need to read The View from Rainshadow Bay to get a sense of what is going on, because the story stands very well on its own. It ties in characters from the first book, allowing them to develop their own unique backgrounds within this story.
When I read this book, I kept asking myself which publisher gave me this book. I try not to read the back cover when I start reading a book, because I want to be surprised. There should be no hints as to what this book could possibly be about. I don’t want to know the genre. Yet, if I had flipped to the back of the book, I would have figured out the publisher was Thomas Nelson, a HarperCollins publication.
But I decided to read forward without seeing who the publisher was to see if I could figure it out just by reading the book…and I did figure it out. Some publishers place their own unique stamp (or style) in the type of books they publish. HarperCollins is one of them.
I do not pick up too many religious titles. I avoid them like the plague…UNLESS it comes from HarperCollins. Why? Because even though some of the books they publish may have some sort of religious theme, it is not being shoved down your throat. And I appreciate that.
I knew this was a HarperCollins publication because there were references to ‘praying’ or ‘God.’ No mention of the word “Jesus.” To me, this book passed the test for this site to be willing to write a review. Why? Because in everyday conversation, we may not all be religious, but when people are hurting or need direction, it is perfectly normal to say that we will pray for them or ask God to help them. God is more encompassing of all religions. Using the word ‘Jesus’ limits it to one religion, and not all people believe in that religion.
So let’s talk about “The House at Saltwater Point.”
What drew me to this book was the main character. Not only is she a house flipper, but she is also a blogger for a site called “Hammer Girl.” Ellie is the type of person I would follow on social media. I would probably read her blog, too. She is basically living in a world that many wonder about and would love to know more about. She lives an inspiring life, buying houses, flipping them into something beautiful and then moves on to the next project. I can just imagine how awesome her Instagram account would be!
So throw in a murder mystery with a missing sister (possibly dead) and a bunch of missing cocaine. There is even a terrorist plot underway in her beautiful hometown.
Yes, I said a terrorist plot!!!
Add in a little bit of a love story, family issues, and a lot of suspense in a dreamy locale where you are constantly visualizing the beautiful water with tall boats floating by in a quaint seaside town where everybody knows everyone, and you have the elements of what makes this story worth picking up.
You will have no idea what is going on as the adventure unveils. Is Ellie’s sister, Mac, still alive or is she dead? Is she connected to the missing cocaine? Why is there a terrorist involved in this? What does North Korea have to do with anything? ISIS on US soil? Who is trying to kill Ellie? What did she do? Why is there a dead man in her basement? Why does Mac have information about making EMPs (bombs) on her laptop?
You will ask a lot of questions, and they will all be answered in the most incredible way. Did I see who the mastermind was going to be? No. Then I felt stupid for not seeing the foreshadowing. [That’s how you know it was a well planned murder mystery…when you feel like you should have seen the result coming at the end, but you didn’t.]
I really enjoyed this book. I do not read suspenseful murder mysteries very often, but this one is worth the read. Despite the crazy that comes out of the town of Lavender Tides, it sounds like a dream. The locale seems like paradise, if it weren’t for all of the sinister plots going on.
There are elements in this story that ties in the first book and will likely tie in the third book. What binds the stories together are Shauna and Grayson. Shauna’s story appears in the first book.
She is not a main character in the second book, only Grayson. There is enough intrigue that I looked up the first book in the series. It goes further into Shauna’s tale of what happened the day of the earthquake. The line that hooked me in this book to want to pick up the first book is Coble’s reference to the earthquake being caused by Shauna’s father. Now, she has my attention.
Lavender Tides binge to be continued…
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When I was in my 20s, fresh out of college, my college roommate showed up on my doorstep touting her brand new handbag. My mouth dropped. She was carrying a Kate Spade bag.
She said it was a graduation present from her mom and grandmother.
To someone fresh out of college, barely able to afford rent, seeing a designer bag on the shoulder of a friend causes major bag envy. I could not afford a bag between $100-$400. And guess what? It would take another ten years before I could get my very first Kate Spade bag.
In my 20s, Kate was a dream. In my 30s, I didn’t get just one bag, I got five, because I could finally afford her. Don’t get me started on the stationary line! In my early 40s, I added clothes, shoes and jewelry. To have a wardrobe meant Kate Spade had a prominent right to a space in that closet.
But as time moves on, business plans change. Coach (a brand I refuse to buy) bought out the Kate Spade brand last year, tried to put an end to the online flash sales (the sales that allowed so many women the opportunity to buy a Kate Spade bag), and started pulling the bags from shelves at department stores. As a result of this takeover and how they treated the Kate Spade brand, Coach shares dropped 14% just one month after buying the brand out for $2.4 billion.
Just add that to one of those reasons why I refuse to buy Coach. With their acquisition, it meant my Kate Spade shopping days would come to an end.[Since someone will ask what is wrong with Coach. I do not like to carry what everyone else is carrying. Everybody has a Coach bag. Even with Kate Spade, the majority of people usually choose to carry Coach over Kate Spade. So I’ll go with Kate Spade over Coach. It’s like Louis Vuitton in NYC. Everyone has a Louis (even I do). But I would rather carry my Fendi over my Louis any day, because everyone carries a Louis in NYC. Kind of goes along with the argument: If your friend jumps off a bridge… If everyone else is carrying it, am I going to be like everyone else or stand out on my own?]
Learning of Kate Spade’s death really made me sad. She was a brilliant designer. She really helped bring out the girly girl in me. I wanted to hug all of my Kate Spade at home and love them just a little bit more as my way of remembering her and the little bit of happiness she brought to me every single day. She was a dream to me for so many years.
I remember when I was in my 20s, standing in Saks Fifth Avenue staring at the Kate Spade bags on the shelves. I could not afford anything in that store. But during my lunch hours, I would walk around Saks and Neiman Marcus making a mental wish list of what my life would be like if I made more money. I would own a Kate Spade bag and a Fendi baguette.
I would ask the ladies behind the counters to let me see one of the bags up on the wall behind them. Sometimes all I wanted to do was just hold one, study it, before giving it back and saying to myself, “Someday.”
That bag my friend brought over…I found a similar bag with a dragonfly where the logo would go for $9 and carried that bag for years. It was like Kate Spade, but it wasn’t. The dragonfly represented the Kate Spade June Lane dishes I’ve been lusting over for the last 15 years. During those starvation years when I worked for the Attorney General, I liked to pretend it was my starter bag…the bag like Kate Spade’s bag that would one day lead me to a real authentic Kate Spade handbag.
It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I could make all of those dreams come true of owning all of the fashion I dreamed of owning someday. That’s the crazy thing about New York. For the right dreamers, it is a place where you can make every single one of your dreams come true. Kate Spade was one of those dreamers. She made her dream come true here.
In 1998, Forbes released an article on Kate Spade’s beginnings. On the eve of her first trade show, she got this idea to put the label on the outside of the bag. So she spent all night sewing them on. The next day, Barneys ordered 18 bags, but told her to sew the labels back on the inside.
Incidentally, a Vogue editor saw the bags at the trade show too and decided to feature the bag in their magazine WITH the label on the outside. This is what making something go viral looked like back in the old days…before the internet and social media took over. So guess what Barneys had to do? They had to call her back and ask for more bags with the label on the OUTSIDE of the bag.
Her instincts paid off.
What Kate’s story tells us is that despite what the world tells you, listen to your instincts and follow your dreams. Stay true to yourself. Believe in your dream. That’s what she did. She took chances on her impulses and she created a whimsical and beautiful empire.
I will never understand the reasoning of selling her namesake, but for most of us, we were buying a piece of Kate Spade’s dream. Her dream brought so much happiness to so many of us. We were proud to wear her name. Every single thing that women are afraid to say they love, but they do (like glitter), she let us know that we are never too old to let our inner child shine. She gave us glitter, shine, pastels, sophistication, fun…but also that 1950s housewife vibe…even if we never become housewives.
Ms. Spade, thank you for the last 25+ years of your namesake. You brought so much happiness to so many women. That, right there, should have earned your wings. Your beauty and creativity will be greatly missed. If God decides you should continue to create up there in heaven, just make sure you stay true to who you are.
My prayers are with her family and friends as they grieve the loss of this beautiful visionary.
After losing his entire family in a deadly car accident, Dave Riley is lost, trying to find meaning to life itself. On the other side of the country, Katie Connelly discovers a new story in the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. Both people are suffering from the loss of family member(s). Before Dave’s wife died, he revealed to her that his dream was to ride a motorcycle cross country to the Golden Gate Bridge. She thought it was hilarious. But as his birthday approached, she decided to buy him a motorcycle jacket…a jacket she would never be able to give to him. When Dave finds the jacket, he believes it is a sign. His marketing firm is being offered a chance to represent a motorcycle company in their next ad campaign. Dave sees this as another sign and tries to come back out of his funk to take on the account…even if that means dropping everything, getting on a bike and heading from NYC to the Golden Gate Bridge. What he finds along the way is not what he expected. But isn’t that true of any journey we embark upon? How these two lives intersect…you will never guess the outcome. [Review]
I love books. As a writer, reading books is a livelihood. It is a way to become inspired by other authors who are honing or have already honed their crafts. I want to know what people think, create and escape to when they put a book together. It is not just the stories they are telling. The words. The words are the most important part.
Without words, we would have no story, no way to express the tales that linger within our souls. Words may be elegant. They can be sharp. Each word tied together can create something beautiful that may inspire or enlighten us. Done right, it can even warm our hearts to love even greater.
As we move further into this age of technology, people are spending more time connecting with the internet than connecting with life. Their eyes are constantly on their devices instead of absorbing the pages of books. More and more people claim they are too busy to read books. They read Facebook, Twitter and headlines, never clicking on the story to get further information. The headlines, tweet or meme tell them whatever they need to know in a few words or less. To them, that’s all they need to know everything.
In reality, this method is dumbing people down. For instance, yesterday, when the Supreme Court of the United States released their opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission et al. the only thing people read was that the court sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop in their right to deny service due to their religious beliefs. But that is not what the Court said.
If people took time to read the opinion, they would have found that SCOTUS believed that the baker’s rights were violated by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The baker was accused of heinous things by the Commission. They were hostile towards him and persecuted him because of his religious beliefs. Instead of listening to both sides of the argument in a neutral manner to decide if it legal or illegal for a business to deny service to someone due to religious beliefs (a question that SCOTUS would have answered), the Commission chose to be hostile and punished the baker for his religious beliefs.
That, right there, is illegal under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The decision on Monday addressed only what the Commission said and did to the baker. They did not address whether it was legal or illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ persons. That question became irrelevant when the Commission (the government entity) decided to persecute the baker for his religious beliefs. No government can persecute or act hostile to anyone because of their religious beliefs. In this case, that is what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did. If they had been neutral in their decision, SCOTUS would have discussed the question of whether businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ persons due to religious differences. But because the Commission persecuted the baker, that violation of the First Amendment took precedence.
To sum it up: The Supreme Court did not say it was ok to discriminate against LGBTQ persons. It was not part of the decision.
But the only way you would know that is if you read the opinion or got your news from someone who actually read the opinion. It’s like flag burning. Most Americans have no idea that burning the flag is perfectly LEGAL because it is protected as free speech…just like taking the knee during the national anthem is free speech, whether you like it or not. They would know this if they did a quick Google search.
It disappoints me that people choose ignorance over truth. They choose a meme over the real story, even if the meme is completely wrong. They believe the meme!
But what disappoints me even more is that people don’t read books anymore, at least not like they used to. There are so many people out there with so many stories to tell. From the good to the bad to the ugly…stories connect us. As we grow as human beings, reading books allows us to learn from others who are different from us (or just like us) so that we can better understand who they (or we) are.
The narrative does not belong to just one race anymore. It belongs to all of us, including that dreamer crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. That kid you bullied because they were transgender? Even they have a tale to tell to you about themselves. But you will never know if you don’t take the time to enlighten yourself. You may find that you have more in common with them than you thought you did.
Pick up a book. Learn. Become enlightened. Whatever answers you are looking for in life don’t always just happen to you. Sometimes the answer can be found in someone else’s story…in their own words.
Are Book Reviews Dying?
Not only are we moving towards an age where people are not reading books, but we are also moving into a time where promoting books is a dying business. While Amazon is taking over the market (books are actually their biggest seller), many booksellers are struggling. But it’s not just the booksellers that are struggling. The book reviewer is finding a shrinking marketplace to tell you about the book they read that you really should read too.
Very few newspapers give space for book reviews these days. Even magazines give a short blurb about the book they probably got directly from the publisher. But the funny thing is, depending on the paper, the more intelligent the publication, the more likely they have space for book reviews.
Now, ask yourself…how many intelligent publications are left? Look to see if that media material you are reading has book reviews with 500 words or more. If not, it’s not an intelligent publication.
During Book Expo America 2018, a panel of book reviewers discussed the industry as a whole. Are book reviews dead? Even moreso, is the livelihood of the book reviewer becoming non-existent?
First, when I went to this panel, I had no idea people were paid to write book reviews. I generate income in a different way when I write book reviews. Sure, I could see being a book reviewer was a realistic job back before the turn of the century. But today? We are lucky to find people that actually read books! Getting kids, let alone adults, to read a book is a struggle for every parent and educator. Even adults are finding it more difficult to find time to read books. Where is Oprah’s Book Club when you need it?
At the panel, Christopher Carduff, the Books Editor from The Wall Street Journal spoke about how he was considered the White Rhino at WSJ. When he leaves, book reviews in WSJ will disappear with him. The people that read the book reviews and the weekend book section are the most intelligent readers of the WSJ. They are also the ones that stay on the site the longest to read more articles.
When the WSJ writes a book review, they are looking for the jewels to share with their readers. Believe it or not, finding those jewels are becoming harder to find as the book industry becomes watered down with so many stories from everyone wanting to be a writer (even if they can’t write). Trust me, I’ve read my share of crap books and I had to ask myself just what in the world publishers were thinking asking me to read this crap.
When you read a review in the WSJ, they have sifted through a lot of shit just to find something that wasn’t a piece of shit to share with you. Their reviews are thought provoking and written by a good writer. Believe it or not, book reviewers are all writers. Every good writer reads a lot of books. Just look at Stephen King. He writes and then he reads every single day…and he reads a lot of books.
The Book Reviewer aka The Writer
So if you are going to be an author who writes well, you need to read well. You need to read a lot of books. You need to learn from the masters, as well as the ones who are just horrible (in order to learn what not to do). I also believe that you should share what you read.
They say blogging is becoming a dying art, but there are bloggers that miss it. At least once a week, I see a blogger I love go on a rant about how they miss writing stories for their blog. If you are a writer, don’t ever stop blogging. Do not sacrifice to the whims of the world for a watered down version of yourself or your brand. Keep writing.
There are people that still read book reviews. It still remains to be one of the more popular sections of the Wall Street Journal both in print and online. There are educators and bibliophiles that read book reviews. There are highly intelligent people that read book reviews so that they can find their next great read.
As a book reviewer, it is our responsibility to find those gems out there to share with the world. After all, it is the publisher/author looking for that opportunity to have their book reviewed and shared with the world. They are looking for that sales push (aka free marketing).
Book reviews in the marketplace may be dying, but for those who have blogs and websites…keep reviewing. It will make you into a better writer. Read the classics and bestsellers, but also discover new voices. They will all teach you how to be a better writer.
How to be a Book Reviewer
For those who want to start reviewing books, start by having 1) a blog or website where you can post reviews regularly, 2) an Instagram account and 3) a Twitter account. Optional: Tumblr & Facebook.
The first one is self-explanatory, but keep in mind that if you want to be taken seriously as a book reviewer, you absolutely cannot write a short blurb about every book you read, unless you are doing a short summary promoting books like you will find on my PW Book Club page. You can create a similar page, but make sure your actual site has complete reviews.
When you post a review, make sure to let the author and the publisher know about the review. The easiest way to do that is to tweet it on Twitter. Most authors and all publishers have Twitter accounts. Add them to your tweet when you publicize the review.
On Instagram, take creative pictures of books you are reading, book hauls, bookstores, etc. In other words, anything that promotes books. Some book reviewers post a short review of the book they are reading on Instagram, encouraging people to click on the link in their bio for more. [NOTE: Don’t do socks with books. It was cute in the beginning, but now it is overdone and boring to publishers.]
For other social media accounts, I find that sharing books with friends on Facebook gets the most traction, because many of my friends read my blog and want book suggestions. Tumblr is also very popular among the younger generation.
I also recommend posting a portion of your review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads (save time by linking your Amazon and Goodreads accounts).
How to Get Advanced Copies of Books
When you’ve built up a rather large amount of writing on your site, there are different ways to get review copies. For newbies, I highly encourage you to post reviews on Amazon, but also make sure you create a public profile on Amazon [example] that allows authors and publishers the ability to contact you.
I’ve met many new authors this way and discovered some great books this way.
Also, for those starting out, get yourself to a Book Con. Book Cons are designed for fans of books. You can get advanced copies of books from many publishers for free. If your blog has been around for a little longer and you’ve established yourself as a legitimate book reviewer, you can sign up for the Book Expo (which is strictly for those in the industry). The Book Expo is generally more expensive, but they also include panels and MORE FREE advanced reader copies (aka galleys or ARCs). You’ll have more access to what is expected to be the IT books of the year at the Expo. It is also not as crazy as the Cons.
If you are at Book Expo level, you can also sign up for NetGalley. You’ll get your ARCs delivered electronically through Kindle documents. You will need to post your blog review to NetGalley, as well as on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a requirement to read ARCs from NetGalley.
If you are at Book Expo level, it is important that you develop relationships with the publishers. Make sure you come equipped with business cards and a willingness to market your site verbally to the publishers. I’ve developed great relationships with publishers over the years by marketing my site when I talk to them about my business plan in relation to promoting their books.
It is also very important to tag the publisher in your book review tweets. They remember the review, especially if it is a very good one. For instance, my most recent review was on Siri Daly’s cookbook. I tweeted the review to both Siri and her publisher. At the Book Expo last Thursday, Siri was there signing her new cookbook. I introduced myself and told her I reviewed her cookbook at Perfectionist Wannabe. Both she and her publisher lit up, knowing exactly which review and which site I was referencing. They both exclaimed how much they liked the review.
When you write reviews that are well received by both the author and the publisher, it helps in their decision making process on whether they will work with you in the future for future book reviews. Those coveted titles you want to get your hands on before anyone else does…it helps if you have a good relationship with the publisher.
One publisher I love working with is Simon & Schuster. They have created incredible opportunities for me as a writer to learn from their bestselling authors on how to write better and to just plain finish the damn novel! They are usually the first to open up the door for me in both the writing and reviewing realm.
That is another reason why it is important to develop relationships with publishers, especially if you are writing a book. They will help you develop as a writer by giving you the tools you need to learn how to become a better writer by learning from their best-selling authors on how to troubleshoot the writing process, develop techniques and inspire you to complete your novel. For me, it also helps me in the decision making process on which publisher I want to work with to publish my book. I look at each book they hand to me to review as a calling card of what their company can do in the editing, marketing, and talent handling processes. To me, it’s not just a book to be reviewed, it’s an extension of who they are as a publishing company and whether I want to work with them in the future.
So if they hand me a lot of crap books to review, what does that say about the company? Something to think about if you are looking to publish your novel. I would prefer to work with a qualitative editor and publisher than just a company that will publish anything and everything.
There are other ways that book reviewers receive their advanced copies, but these are my ways that work very well for me.
It’s that time of year when all of the really awesome movies come out. From the much anticipated Avengers: Infinity War to Solo: A Star Wars Story, if you are like most movie lovers, you want to see all of the big movies up on the screen.
But the thing you may not like are the ticket prices.
MoviePass – Not Such a Smart Investment
In the past, I promoted MoviePass as your way to save the most money when you go to the movies. But they made a big mistake last year when they decided to drop the membership price down to $10/month. While anyone can see this is an awesome deal, the movie theaters did not.
When I went to my local theater, the manager told me they no longer accepted MoviePass, even though the app listed the theater as a ‘participating’ theater. The reason why had more to do with the theater not getting the money and the business model of MoviePass did not allow mom and pop style theaters to survive.
It did not stop there. AMC 25 in New York City would not give me AMC Stubs credit for the movies I purchased using MoviePass. Then they started marking my ticket MP when I purchased tickets. I knew something was up.
A couple of months later, MoviePass released their new terms, which meant that all of the theaters that did not want to be part of MoviePass were taken off of the app and the theaters stopped taking MoviePass. While MoviePass would like to say that it was their decision to do that, it was the theaters that asked them (via a lawsuit) to be removed from their program.
Based on the news reports of MoviePass’s current financial situation, they are losing millions and unless they have a turnaround with investors, plan on this ‘good idea’ failing soon…as in, it won’t last the year. Most financial analysts give it 3 months max.
MoviePass should have kept the membership the way it was. It was the $10/month deal that pissed off the theaters and brought this ‘too good to be true’ deal to an untimely end. For those who still have MoviePass and can use it, enjoy it while it lasts.
Life After MoviePass
Knowing that AMC was going to lose a lot of their loyal moviegoers after many (not all) of the theaters stopped accepting MoviePass , they devised a new plan.
If you are an AMC Stubs member, you can now get movie tickets every Tuesday for $5. Becoming an AMC Stubs Premiere member has its rewards. For every dollar you spend, you receive 100 points. You can use those points towards movie tickets and concessions. The points add up very quickly.
Also, being an AMC Stubs Premiere member means you have VIP status. There are separate lines at the ticket counter and at concessions for Premiere members. That long line…I can’t tell you how many times I bypassed that line and was the next person served.
On days like Tuesdays, you are better off purchasing your $5 ticket directly through the AMC Theatres app, because even the VIP line becomes extremely long. Purchasing through the app means you go directly to the ticket taker. Show them your ticket on your device and you are on your way. [I like simplicity. And if you’ve been in NYC as long as I have, you really hate lines.]
So if you are looking to take your family of 4 to the movies, consider an AMC Stubs Premiere membership. Make Tuesdays movie night. Tickets for the four of you will cost $20. And always be on the lookout for concessions deals on the app or on their website. [For instance, right now, teens can get a Frostee + bag of popcorn for $5 when they show their student ID.] [Note: There are two AMC Stubs memberships: Insider and Premiere. Insider is free, but not worth it. The Premiere membership is usually around $15/year, and they do sales on the membership often to entice you to keep renewing (as of this writing the membership is 20% off, i.e. $11.99). Premiere members get free passes to advanced movie screenings 3-6 times a year. They also have VIP status. Trust me when I say the VIP status is everything. You also earn points faster. 100 points for every dollar versus 20 points for every dollar spent as an Insider. Generally, I get my money back from the membership in a couple of months or less (if I go to the movies on a weekly basis). The Premiere membership is totally worth it.]
To Save Even More
Every now and again, Groupon and other discount sites offer movie gift certificates at a discounted price. When you see your movie chain being offered, purchase it!
The best way to make sure you get notifications for these special deals is to download the Groupon app or sign up online. I usually receive an email or a notification when these deals go live.
Also, check to see if your workplace offers perks like Plum Benefits or Perks at Work. These websites offer businesses special corporate discounts for many things, especially movie tickets. For sites like Perks at Work, you can earn WOW Points that can be used as currency towards future purchases.
For most movie chains that use apps, you can easily upload the gift certificate information to the app. That makes purchasing movie tickets so much easier.
Disney Movie Rewards
If you are not a Disney Movie Rewards member yet, sign up. I know most of you reading this will probably go to a Marvel or Star Wars movie. Disney owns the rights to both. So why not rack up points every time you go?
When you head to the movies, keep your ticket stub and upload it to Disney Movie Rewards to get points to use towards either Disney related merchandise or gift certificates for movie concessions, movie tickets or Starbucks.
For a family of 4, that’s around 300 points each time you go to a Disney/Marvel/Star Wars movie. Currently, it’s 550 points for a $5 concession certificate and 1100 points for a $10 movie certificate.
And don’t forget to read their email newsletter. They always give away a few free points in the newsletter every single month. Every point counts.
Also, as an added bonus, if you have a Regal Crown Card, you can connect your account to Disney Movie Rewards for extra points.
For those who have access to local non-chain movie theaters, please go. Sure, it is not like the experience you will get from the big chain theaters, but they will offer cheaper prices.
For instance, my local movie theater only charges $8 for movie tickets. Concessions are half the price as the chain theater. Because I go so much, the manager usually comps tickets for me every now and again. If I’m the only person in the theater and I am late, he will restart the movie for me.
There are less previews and ads prior to the movie (usually only one preview and then the movie begins). One movie preview is so much better than sitting through 20 minutes of previews. Yes, the previews in the chain theaters run for 20 minutes now.
What I love about local movie theaters is that you are giving back to the community when you choose to go local. Not only are you saving money, but you are also keeping a neighborhood icon alive. Trust me, you will miss it when it closes down. That’s why you need to help keep these local businesses alive.
Always check out your favorite movie theater’s website for deals. Many theaters do special family deals during the summer.
For instance, all summer long, participating Regal Cinemas theaters offer $1 movies at 10:00AM on the weekends. Most of the movies are already out on DVD or television, but this is a good way to get the kids out and into some air conditioning surrounded by other kids for a couple of hours.
There are a lot of movie chains all across America that offer these little programs. Just check their website. Some offer special ticket discounts on certain days. Others offer discounts on concessions.
I haven’t paid $16+ for a movie ticket in a very long time. I find every avenue I can to go at a cheap price. The discounts are out there. You just have to know where to look.
Should the American public read Jim Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty? If you care about the facts, truth, democracy and America, then YES! you need to read this book.
“What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay.” – James Comey, p. 276.
This book is not about Trump or a disgruntled former government employee trying to get his 15 minutes of fame. This book is about ethics and leadership. Someone is ringing the liberty bell sounding the alert that something is very wrong. We need to pay attention to what is being said and what is happening.
Every fact in this book is being echoed and repeated again and again everywhere we turn. These very facts were even featured in the Democratic National Committee’s complaint in DNC vs. Russia, Trump, et al. that was filed in court on April 20, 2018. If you have not read the complaint, take time to read the facts. It details how the Russians interfered with our election and how the Trump Campaign worked with the Russians to commit treasonous illegal acts to get Donald Trump elected.
While those of you who may read this post are not Democrat and will dismiss the action because it is a lawsuit filed by the DNC, the point I want to make is that the DNC echoes what the former FBI Director mentions in his book and in his memos. The truth is being repeated again and again. It is up to you whether you want to take the politics out of it and focus on what is more important, the truth or the lies.
As Americans, we cannot dismiss what is happening. Take the politics out of of it. That is what Comey is doing here and has been doing ever since he first became a public servant. He serves America, not any political party. After reading this book, I think you will understand how stupid and nasty politics can be. There is no place for it in our justice system.
Before I begin my review of James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty, I need to do a full disclosure.
I do not know Mr. Comey personally, but I do know former AUSAs (Assistant US Attorneys) that worked with him and for him. Two of them are actually his friends. I am proud to call all three of those former AUSAs “my guys.”
The characteristics I admire the most about Comey, I see in my guys. The ethics, professionalism and leadership are all things they learned from him. These are all traits I cherish greatly in my guys, so to see people challenge Mr. Comey, it is like a punch in the gut to me. People are saying the things I love the most about my guys are not worthy of praise…when they are.
With leaders like Comey, you can see how they inspire and challenge people to be better than they already are. One of my guys did that with me. His leadership skills are a direct result of what he learned from Comey. This is him in a nutshell:
“Effective leaders almost never need to yell. The leader will have created an environment where disappointing him causes his people to be disappointed in themselves. Guilt and affection are far more powerful motivators than fear.
They love this man, know he loves them, and will work tirelessly not to disappoint him. People are drawn to this kind of leader, as I draw on all those years ago to Harry Howell, the grocer. A leader who screams at his employees or belittles them will not attract and retain great talent over the long term.” – James Comey (p. 135)
That is why you should read this book, especially if you are in a leadership role, or want to one day be a leader. Comey’s leadership points are all the points I value in ethical leadership.
But we can’t talk about Comey without talking about the elephant in the room.
There is a consensus among us that Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails was ill handled. I would not have gone running to Congress or made an announcement that there was a ‘matter.’ He should have waited until the investigation was concluded before saying anything. Because in the end, they found nothing worth prosecuting her for.
Comey thought about this from every angle (after the fact), including what his colleagues would say. No surprise, they said those things. Imagine their surprise when I pointed to the exact passage in Comey’s book where their criticism of his handling of the emails was what he knew they would say about him.
He even thought about what someone else would have ultimately decided if they were in his place (concealing until the investigation was complete). He chose to speak, rather than to conceal. That is a decision he does not regret making. The only thing he regrets is that Clinton ever had a laptop to begin with. He wishes she never did this with her emails.
He presents all of the facts and all of the factors influencing him in this decision and asks if you would have done things differently. Or would you have done the same thing?
That being said, I do believe that as each and every one of us has a right to speak, you also need to let Comey speak. He has that same right, too. After all, he is one of us now…a private citizen.
I attended his first stop on his book tour. When my guys asked me how it went, they were shocked at my response, because I walked away from the event hurt and sad. Comey was okay. He is everything and more than I expected. It was what happened that night that bothered me.
When I arrived at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, I saw 30-40 NYPD officers out front. There were several manning the doors to the store. At first, I thought there was a bomb threat or a situation going on and I needed to evacuate. That’s when I saw them.
Sectioned off to the side were two groups of protesters with signs with Trump’s words about Comey on them. Trumpers.
When I realized that was why all the cops were there, I showed the cop my bracelet and he opened the door for me. As I made my way upstairs, the escalator leading to the event was blocked off. People were just standing around looking at security. So I asked security if the event was full. She started to say something and I showed her my bracelet. She waved me through, saying I was okay.
I took my seat in a room packed with people that not only bought the book, but support Comey. They were there to hear what he had to say, because really he’s not the bad guy. He is the good guy that Trump decided to make into his enemy.
Comey arrived and described what is in 11 of the 14 chapters of the book (you know, the part the media is not talking about). When he switched to answering pre-submitted questions, a protester spoke up and started shouting at him. The rest of the room tried to drown her out so that the microphone and cameras could not pick up what she was saying.
In that moment, I felt complete sadness and disappointment in the human race that our political climate has led us to irrational monsters like this. I looked at Comey as all of this transpired. Even though it was like they were throwing shit at his face, he did exactly what his childhood mentor, Harry Howell, would have done. He turned the other cheek and smiled.
Five minutes or so after the first protester was removed, another stood up holding up some flag about fascism. What that has to do with Comey, I don’t know. But as I felt that disappointment and sadness again, I looked to Comey. Once again, he stood there silent, waiting for the woman to be removed. He had turned the other cheek and smiled. This is what I call a man with good moral fiber.
As I left at the end of the event, I took the escalators down. On the next floor, a group of protesters waited. One woman saw me and pushed people aside and almost climbed onto the escalator. She started yelling at me and anyone that would listen: “Did he even apologize?”
Of course, I am thinking, “For what?” But I am not about to take the bait and argue with a woman acting bat shit crazy. I mean, she was trying to jump onto the side of the escalator to get to me. I just gave her a complete look of disgust because this is not normal. This is not how people act.
As I started to leave, a NYPD officer held the door open for me. I did not even have one foot out the door of Barnes & Noble when a Trumper yelled something so horrible at me, the cop reeled back in disgust.
I think I stopped, realizing something was amiss and turned in the direction the words came from. The cop quietly said to me, “Just ignore her and walk away.” I don’t even know what the person said. I just followed what the officer said because he was trying to protect me.
I crossed the street into Union Square and almost cried. Why? Because of how low humanity has become. I felt disappointed that people act this way. I was sad for humanity, but even sadder for Comey. Everyone deserves the right to speak, including him.
That is the purpose of this book. This is Comey trying to tell you about his life and career and what led him to making all of the decisions he made.
DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT go by what the media is telling you this book is about. Read it for yourself like I did. I bought four copies. I gave one to each of my guys.
And for that Trumper protester that said shit to me…and I know you are the same person who said you were banning Barnes & Noble when I first arrived. My only response to your ban is: So? You probably don’t read books anyway. You should try. That way you won’t be wasting your time outside of a bookstore yelling at it.
A Surprise For You
So I recorded the audio from the event. I didn’t get the first few minutes of it, because I wasn’t thinking. But I did get the majority of it, including the protesters. When the second protester came by talking about fascism, I covered the microphone on the phone.
While I believe that everyone should have their right to speak, there is a time and a place for it. If you are shouting something bat shit crazy that the world does not need to know, I am not giving you MY platform to continue your crazy.
So whether you, the reader of this post, think this is unfair, keep in mind that there are certain ideologies that should not be passed around. Those truths belong to that woman. I don’t need it and the world does not need it. She needs it.
This event was about Jim Comey, not her. You came here to read about Comey, not the ideologies of a deranged woman. Bearing that in mind, I am sharing with you the audio from the event.
The Review From Someone Who Actually Read the Book
“The credibility of the Department of Justice is its bedrock. The American people must see the administration of justice as independent of politics, race, class, religion, or any of the many other things that divide humans into tribes.” – James Comey
There are 14 chapters in this book. Only 3 chapters detail what happened with Trump. The rest is about Comey’s life and career. One surefire way to tell if the person of the book review actually read the book is one simple thing…did they find the bombshell Comey drops in the book? If there is no mention of the bombshell or that it even exists, then guess what? They didn’t read the book.
Comey even dropped the clue in the audio feed (see above). I was not that far into the book when he mentioned it, but now that I’ve read the book, I am like…WHOA! And guess what? I am not going to tell you what the bombshell is. You have to, I don’t know, read the book to find out.
I say that to be mean, because I know a lot of the reviews out there are based on people reading the last three chapters of his book. They skip over the first 11 chapters as if they are not relevant, when they are. I would call every single one of those book reviews FAKE NEWS. And each and every single media person that published their reviews as such should be ashamed of themselves. What happened to ethics and integrity?
Then there are also the plagiarizers. You know who you are. Read the book.
What you need to know…
Why You Need To Read the Book
When I first began reading Comey’s book, I did not know what to expect beyond the fact it was about ethics and professionalism (and something in there about Trump). And truthfully, I am glad I did not know what to expect, because it was a pleasant surprise. I wanted more and more of what Comey had to say about his life and career.
The Thursday before the book came out, I stood in my work husband’s office as he showed me framed collages of his work at the US Attorney’s Office SDNY taking down notorious criminals, including the mob. [After prosecutors successfully convict a notorious criminal, someone in the US DOJ compiles all of the newspaper headlines, shrinks them down and puts them into an artful collage to give to the prosecutor.] So imagine hearing those stories and then opening up Comey’s book and reading about those same stories from another, more in depth perspective.
From the mob stories to being on the edge of your seat as Comey races to save the day against agents from the White House who sought to take advantage of an incapacitated Attorney General to Comey’s discomfort, trying to hide from President Trump, almost to the point of jumping out the window, his book will intrigue you as you beg for even more. You will laugh, cry, feel heartbroken and proud that this man tried to stand up to do what he believed was right every single time.
More importantly, he tried his best to distance himself from politics so he could focus on the rule of law. Comey stresses how important it is for the DOJ to be separate from the White House and politics. They must be independent so that they can protect Americans and the US Constitution. The FBI does not protect the President. That’s what the Secret Service is for. The FBI protects Americans and the Constitution. It should never belong to any President or political party. It must be independent.
“We are fortunate some ethical leaders have chosen to serve and to stay at senior levels of government, but they cannot prevent all of the damage from the forest fire that is the Trump presidency. Their task is to try to contain it.” (p. 275)
When I mailed this book to one of my guys that decided to return to the senior levels of government to be one of the people Comey references above, I noted that everyone gets a little something different out of what they read in books. For me, it has a lot to do with things happening for a reason.
The part that stuck out to me as the main theme throughout is that he keeps repeating everything happens for a reason.
When he was a teen, the Ramsey Rapist paid a visit to his home. What happened that nightmarish night would later help him go down a path that would lead him to becoming the FBI Director, putting away criminals like the Ramsey Rapist.
When he was learning the ropes, fresh out of law school, he would watch as AUSAs prosecuted members of the mob. He would later become an AUSA prosecuting mobsters, to one day becoming the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
When they lost their infant son, Collin, to sepsis (a blood infection), his wife tried to find meaning in the loss. She never wanted what happened to her to happen to another mother. So she went on a mission to make sure the laws in America changed. And they did. Collin Edward Comey’s death is the reason why today, pregnant mothers are tested for the Strep B virus, and the babies are treated with penicillin when they are born.
“But sometimes it isn’t when we face death ourselves, but rather when death takes away those we love the most, that we really learn about just how short our time on earth is and why what we do with that time matters.” (p. 43)
It is in reading these stories from moments in his life that you can see how James Comey shaped his own fate. When bad things happened, he (and his wife) looked for the silver lining. They never let those moments deter them or destroy them, instead, they used those experiences to help guide them in their journey to becoming better versions of themselves.
It is in understanding the moments that shaped James Comey that will help you to understand the decisions he made with regards to Hillary Clinton’s emails and Trump.
Can We Trust Comey?
Someone asked me recently if Comey is credible. I am going to say, “Yes.”
It is not in his character to be the bad guy. He is not going to lie about the things that matter the most. Sure, he used to lie about playing basketball in school, but that is only because the lie did not matter. But the truth is the lie did matter. He regretted ever lying to begin with.
What tests your moral fiber of whether you are innately good or bad is when you do something bad like bully or lie. How did you feel afterward? Did you feel remorse? Did you hate that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you did something wrong? Or no? You felt nothing?
I think at some point, in order to test who we really are, we have to stand on both sides to understand our own moral compass. Comey talks about the years he was bullied (including the wedgies), and then the time he bullied someone else and regretted it. He also talks about the lies he told people about playing basketball, and then later regretted.
He uses himself as an example to compare the good/bad moral compass when he describes the bullying and lies coming from Trump. It is far different and allows you to see this presidency from a different perspective – his own.
You must keep in mind that Comey is a Republican. He donated to campaigns that ran against President Obama. But you will see his respect for Obama as a leader and what he learned from him on how to be a more effective leader.
You don’t have to be from the same political party to respect someone as a leader. When you take the politics out of it, things get done. You learn more from each other.
Working under Bush and then Obama, Comey learned many things about leadership. Knowing how a president is supposed to act, taking notes means that something is amiss and not right. In a way, everything that happened in his life up until that moment, prepared him for what was to come. It helped him to make the decisions he made, including legally releasing the unclassified memos as a private citizen, and writing this book.
In the End
With Comey’s firing, I wonder how this will shape the next part of his story. His book sold out within two days. He sold 2x more (600,000 copies) than Hillary Clinton’s book sold (300,000 copies) in the first week. That $18 signed first edition copy I got was worth $500 just six days later.
He may never return to government service. Maybe he’ll continue to write more books, sharing his stories from his mob days or his days as Deputy Attorney General or FBI Director. Or maybe he’ll continue teaching the world the importance of ethical leadership.
If you want to know what I really think…everyone who cares about what is going on today should read this book. I enjoyed this book immensely. When he described the White House encounter with Trump and how he was trying so hard to hide, I laughed hysterically. I cried when he described the note his mother kept in her drawer. My heart broke when they lost Collin. I sat on the edge of my seat as they sped down Pennsylvania Avenue to get to the Attorney General. And my head shook at the evil words Trump delivered to Andrew McCabe.
I want to leave with this quote from his book that goes perfectly with what Perfectionist Wannabe is about. This is an example of what one of my guys learned from Comey about leadership. He passed these qualities along to me and it helped shape me into who I am today.
“LeBron James…he is never satisfied he is good enough. I have read that he spends every off-season working on some part of his game to improve it. At first glance, that seems crazy; he’s already better than everybody else. But it makes complete sense when you consider his perspective: he isn’t measuring himself against the other players; he is measuring himself against himself. The best leaders don’t care much about “benchmarking,” comparing their organization to others. They know theirs is not good enough, and constantly push to get better.” (p. 135)
This book is unlike any other YA book I’ve read in the past few years. We live in a world where we leave the fairy tales in the books or up on the movie screens. But what if magic was real in the world around us? After Ozzy’s parents are kidnapped, he is left to fend for himself for seven years. When he stumbles upon a mechanical raven his father built, his life begins to change. He starts to venture outside of his home in the middle of the woods. He discovers the beach, other humans, regular food (not in a can), and school. His desire to get out into the world lies more with his quest to find his parents. He ends up hiring a wizard that may or may not be magical. As they go deeper into this labyrinth of truth, you have to question if magic in our world is real…or not. BOOK REVIEW.
For those who feel stuck in a moment, Derek Rydall shows you how to get out of it. Sometimes when you are feeling like nothing is going right. Or maybe you are lost and need to find a way out. Wherever you are in your life, Rydall will teach you how to tap back into the great Source of abundance. If you want a life of abundance, start here. This goes beyond the law of attraction. You will learn to go within, to the permanent source of who we are and what we are to become. You can read more here: book review.
Whoever thought I could get hit with a broken heart? I started off this year all gung ho about my new mission this year: TO LOVE MYSELF. The first eleven days were fantastic. I focused on my health, my mind, my body and just doing the things that would bring me joy. I reminded myself with each change I was making: you are doing this because you love yourself.
Then I got hit with a massive snowball that knocked me flat on my ass in the middle of the snowy dirty sludge of a New York City gutter. Ok…maybe it wasn’t that bad. But the fact remained, someone had broken my heart. And it took me three months to realize that.
First of all, I was being forced to say goodbye to someone I did not want to say goodbye to. Well, I say forced because that is what it felt like.
We were not in any kind of romantic relationship, but we had a very special bond that people always spoke about. Everyone said they had never before seen the kind of relationship like we had. We worked very well together as a team. He changed me for the better. Most of all, he inspired and challenged me to be better than I am.
He tapped into that part of me that strives to be better (i.e. the tagline for this site), gave me the tools I needed and guided me to becoming a better version of myself. This is the only person I’ve met in this lifetime that has done that for me. He is my perfectionist guru and because of that, I think the world of him.
Unfortunately, all great things have to come to an end. As we were saying our final goodbyes, he said something to me…a lie. And for anyone that knows me, they know that they should never lie to me, because the entire truth will come forward. I will see the truth.
The lie was a little lie. Nothing bad. He must have heard my boss say this, because we have this type of relationship he was describing. I did not have this type of relationship with him. He tried to use an example and that’s when I saw the truth. His heart was finishing the story. I realized he was in love with me. Then I saw how the universe had been conspiring for the past few months. I looked at him and asked myself: now that I know how he feels, how do I feel? I realized I felt the same way.
And just like that, he broke my heart. You see, he was leaving that day. Never coming back. I was left devastated.
Come the next business morning, I had a meeting with my boss. We got coffee and beignets, sat down and talked about what happened. He wanted to get to the root of why I was so devastated. I had absolutely no idea why I felt this way. So many people come and go in my life. Why was this one so different? I mean, I was really messed up!
Sitting there talking to him about this, it seemed like we were in couple’s therapy, trying to improve on our relationship. We talked about why I was so devastated, but I did not actually tell him what happened. You will not believe what he did next.
He picked up the pieces of my shattered existence and started putting me back together by inserting himself in the place where the other person had left a hole in my life. For that, I am lucky I have him. He is the first person I’ve ever met that refused to let me go through this alone. We became closer because of it.
Three months later, I realize what happened that day…my heart was broken. And I was not okay with that. How can someone just open up the door to my heart, pull on my heart strings and walk right out? I mean, what did I do to him for him to be so cruel?
I meditated about this and asked God to help me get back to the person I was before this happened. Help me to heal this broken heart and get me back on track to my goals I planned for myself.
The next day, he let me know that this devastation was about a broken heart. So while I was perusing the upcoming book release database, I noticed a new release called “How to Fix a Broken Heart” by Guy Winch. And surprise, surprise, the psychologist works in Manhattan!
When I bought the book, another book popped up in the recommendations called, “This is Me Letting You Go” by Heidi Priebe. I bought it immediately, because that is exactly what I needed to be able to say.
I binged the books over the weekend and here is what I learned.
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How to Fix a Broken Heart
You may know that feeling when someone leaves that you need to keep in contact with them somehow. You text, call, email…anything for some recognition from them that they are not completely gone. Guess what, kiddies? That is an addiction. You are going through withdrawal.
While none of the cases mentioned in this book had anything to do with what I was going through, it still explained some of the psychological patterns people experience when they go through a loss.
Here are some points I took from the book:
- To heal from a broken heart we have to first stop making things worse.
- What makes letting go so challenging is that we need to let go of far more than mere emotional pain – we need to let go of hope, of the fantasy in which we undo what went wrong, of the psychological presence the person or pet has in our daily thoughts, and thus, in our lives. We need to truly say goodbye – to turn away from love, even when there is no longer a person or animal there to receive it. And we need to let go of a part of ourselves, of the person we were when our love still mattered.
- Numerous studies have found that recovering our sense of self and getting in touch with our core is a crucial variable in our ability to heal from heartbreak.
- Recovering from heartbreak always starts with a decision, a determination to move on when our mind is fighting to keep us stuck. The battle ahead requires courage and determination but also knowledge and awareness:
- We have to fight the addictive tendency to keep those whom we have lost in our lives, whether via memories or reminders.
- We have to rebuild our self-esteem by practicing self-compassion.
- We have to recognize the voids that have been created in our lives and take steps to fill them.
- We have to reconnect to our core so we can get back in touch with the essence of what makes us who we are.
- Our heart might be broken but we do not have to break with it.
Especially relevant is mention of an interesting study of how devastating a broken heart can be to a person. They concluded that the pain from a broken heart is just as intense as subjecting your body to extreme pain (10 on a scale of 10). So that pain you feel in your heart is the equivalent of your body feeling like you are in extreme, excruciating pain. Interesting study, to say the least.
After I read this book, I felt that I was probably one step closer to healing. Maybe I was ready to move on towards letting go.
This is Me Letting You Go
Based on the title, you would think this book is about telling someone to fuck off, because you are letting them go. I am sorry to say…nope. This is the perfect book to read to get you back to who you are, to really, truly heal.
This book is a collection of short essays the author wrote to help her get over the various degrees of letting go. The most important lesson to learn in all of this is to learn to continue loving that person even though they are no longer in your life. You were loved and you loved them in return. It is a wonderful feeling, but you also have to learn to let them go when it is time.
People are in our lives for a reason. They can be here for a short time or they can be here for the rest of your life. You don’t know how much time you have with someone, but when the time comes to let them go, you need to let them go. But let them go with love.
Here are some of the wonderful points I got from this book. Not everything is just about healing. Some of the words are just beautiful and loving, including learning to love yourself.
- To love without expectation, you learn to appreciate what’s there. Other people are not ours to own or rearrange or expect things from and the more anticipation we pit onto others, the more we let ourselves down in the end. All we can do is appreciate who we have when we have them, and let them go when we do not. To lend our hearts like vacant hotel rooms: celebrating others when they come in and letting them go when they leave. Understanding that at the end of the day, all we can do is refuse occupancy. But we cannot force anyone to stay.
- To love without expectation you have to be okay with yourself. Okay with opening your doors, spreading your arms, baring your heart and understanding that not everyone is going to be gentle with it. You have to know that you can recover from those aches, that you can heal your own wounds, that you can trust yourself to walk away from the situations that do not grow or aid you.
- Need for others to accept you, to validate you, to tell you that you’re good and worthwhile and strong. And if you can do that for yourself – if you can live up to your own expectations and desires, then the need for other people to do so disappears.
- Take a chance on me. Because the timing’s always going to be wrong and the stars are never going to align but I would break every clock in this city and I’d shut every star down from shining if it meant that for one afternoon we could cast all that aside and give in.
- Take a chance on me – because tomorrow the Universe could collapse in on itself and this city could disintegrate to ashes and the sun could burst into a thousand disjointed rays and goddammit if I am going to die never knowing what it feels like to have your lips on mine.
- I have been promised too many forevers to have much faith in them anymore so instead I’d like to offer you right now.
- Through every twist and bump in the road that threatens to tear us apart I will choose you with the ferocious certainty I’ve felt since the fist time I ever laid eyes on you. I’m not worried about falling out of love with you baby, because I never fell in. Loving you was a waking, conscious choice and it’s one that I’m going to keep making until the day my heart stops beating.
- You have to show up to your new life, your new world and your new way of doing things, no matter how painful and raw it all feels. You have [to] face forward toward the future you hadn’t planned for and the life you didn’t know that you would lead. You have to stop showing up to the land of used-to-be’s and could-be-stills and show up to this world. The one where it hurts. The one that’s unfair. The world that is here, because it’s the only one you have left.
- To learn from people you’ve lost and to embrace the people that you have left. To embrace the life you have left.
- And maybe this is the Universe where I learn to not need you anymore.
- We want to capture it and hold it between our palms forever – not realizing that we have to let it go for it to mean anything at all.
- Maybe anyone worth loving is worth loving inconclusively…to allow yourself to love someone with everything you’ve got – and then to fully and completely let them go.
- This is me knowing that we’re going to grow old. That your life is going to be huge and important and chockfull of love but that it’s all going to transpire without me.
- I want you to take whatever crooked, twisted path you need to take if it will lead you towards your dreams. This is me letting you go.
What I Learned
In the second book, “This is Me Letting You Go,” I noticed that there is more than just one love being talked about that I did not consider before. There is the love from the people around me, helping me get through this. My friends express their love in their own ways.
Especially my boss, doing something like picking up the pieces from my shattered existence and trying to put me back together again, that is love. All I wanted to do was yell at him and tell him to leave it. Let me sweep it up and throw it in the trash. Except, he would not let me do that. He picked the pieces up for me and tried to be the person I needed after suffering this loss. What boss does that? Most would just tell you to get your shit together.
This one, though, I think he knew what he was dealing with before I even knew. For that, I am thankful I have such a wonderful person in my life. That is love. [I also realize he may read this…just know, I appreciate what you’ve done for me.]
You see, love is not always just romantic love that leads to intimate relationships. Sometimes it is the love of family, friends, bosses, even complete strangers. They are all part of the process of helping you to heal. I am thankful that the Universe has been conspiring all throughout to help me get through this.
Go With Love
As mad as I am that he left the way he did and could not leave like a normal person, I realize maybe I really did need to know I was loved. And I needed to confront the truth that maybe I loved what he did for me in my life. He made me into a better person during the short time he was in my life. Even though I live by the motto that when you find someone that inspires you to be greater than you are, you never let them go. This time, though, I had no choice but to let him go.
I need to let him go with love. My life was amazing with him in it, but sometimes you have to let guys like him go so he can go change the world. You cannot keep him forever. The world is calling for guys like him to help change our world. He has a bigger fight to fight.
Right. Did I mention he is perfect? Yeah…he is one of those guys out fighting the good fight. I’m not joking when I say that. He really is. That is why he left. And I am proud of him. I just kind of wish he left without pulling my heart strings on his way out the door.
These two books helped me to let him go. The point where my broken heart healed is when I realized I needed to let him go with love. Letting someone go is never easy, because it creates a finality of the moment. Sometimes when the moment is so amazing, you don’t want it to end. That was the case with me.
Letting go with love means that you don’t stop loving them. You just let them go so they can chase after their dreams. You can’t stifle someone’s journey in life. Wish them the best and give yourself fully while they are in your life. There will always be a part of them you carry inside your heart; and there will always be a part of you that they carry within themselves. Let that be the love that is carried along in your separate journeys in life.
That is how you let go.
On Tuesday, Shadow Mountain released two new books “Wizard for Hire” and “The Other Side of the Bridge.” One book is for the kids, the other is for those searching for answers when you feel like you have nothing left.
Wizard for Hire
This new YA book from Obert Skye is very different from most YA books I’ve read these past 20 years. Most books have this fantastic, magical journey that is jam packed with action from start to finish. This book, on the other hand, has the adventure, but it also has the emotion of loss and loneliness throughout the entire book.
While I usually do a short description of what happened in the book, this time I am going to share only my thoughts.
The title leads one to believe that this book is about magic, I believe it is more about facing reality. While it seems unbelievable that a child could go seven years without human contact, caring only for themselves, could it indeed happen?
When we take stories like Harry Potter into account, we see children diving into the world of magic without parents, but truthfully there are always adults around. A teacher, parent or guardian is nearby willing to help the kids. In this story, there are no adults for seven years. Just a seven year old boy who is on his own with no electricity, a cellar full of food and everything he could possibly need to survive on his own.
When Ozzy is introduced to his new non-human friend, a talking mechanical bird with a sentient mind, the story starts to push Ozzy outside of his comfort zone and into the world. It is in the world where synchronistic moments begin to happen, from meeting his first human to asking a wizard to help him.
I never could quite figure out if Rin was a real wizard or not. Maybe there was some magic, but this is the real world. Does magic even exist? That is the question that is posed throughout the book. While there are no wizarding schools like Hogwarts in our world today, could magic still exist?
The answers Ozzy is looking for do not turn out well. He discovers truths that could cost him his life. His faith and trust in new friendships, and even in a little bit of magic is what saves him.
This YA book is not like any other YA novel I’ve read in the last 2 decades. In other YA books, you don’t question whether you believe in magic. You just do, because books are designed to transport you to new places of wonder, where you can escape reality. Skye instead transports you to reality and makes you ask yourself if magic is real in our world.
The answer to that question is in this book. I know it makes me look at the world very differently now.
The Other Side of the Bridge
This emotionally gripping book is a must read this year. And I mean, you need to read this. This story intertwines the lives of two people that have one thing in common: the Golden Gate Bridge. They live on two separate sides of America. One is a researcher, the other is a NYC executive.
Dave Riley loses everything in one instant. He loses his wife and kids, leaving him to struggle with what comes next. Everything in his life comes to an abrupt stop. He has no idea what he is supposed to do next.
His entire life loses all meaning, because everything was taken away from him. But something inside of him is pushing him to move forward and to find new meaning.
Before his 40th birthday, he tells his wife about his dream to ride a Harley across the Golden Gate Bridge. While she teases him about this silly dream and how he feels like he can find whatever answer he is looking for when he crosses the other side of the bridge, she still supports him. She finds the perfect Harley leather jacket for him right before his birthday.
Months after she is gone, he finds the jacket. It is as if this is a sign. When his marketing research firm receives a request from a motorcycle company to help their ad agency with their next marketing campaign, Dave knows this is a sign and works towards getting his life back together to be trusted enough to take on the account.
He heads to the nearest bike shop and starts his research. As a result, his research lands him on a bike. That bike leads to riding lessons. Then, he goes on his first ride. Until finally, he decides to just jump on the bike, not care one bit about his job or anything he will be leaving behind, and just rides to the bridge.
Meanwhile, Katie, the researcher, discovers a journal her father kept hidden. He used to work on the bridge, talking people down from jumping off the bridge, saving so many lives.
She discovers this journal belongs to one of the original steelworkers that worked on the bridge. Her father was trying to find the family to return the journal to them. So she decides to continue the search for him. This is her way of finding her own closure with her own father’s passing.
Meanwhile, Dave’s ride to the bridge reminds us that sometimes finding the answers we seek are found along the journey, not at the destination. What we think we will find does not necessarily turn out the way we hope. Sometimes what we find will make us turn right back around and choose a completely new path in life, one we did not know existed.
For Dave, halfway to his destination, the perfect solution appeared.
This is the part of the book that really hit home with me. When Dave’s bike runs into some problems, it is as if the universe is forcing him to stop for a moment so that he can find what he is truly looking for. But people do not always notice when the answers in life are presenting themselves. You are just there in the moment, experiencing something you did not know you had in you. And then you run, thinking this is not what you need.
As a result, Crystal watched Dave leave and it shattered her. The universe threw them together for some strange reason for a short amount of time, and it was exactly what they both needed.
Dave tells her this is not the right time and leaves. As a result, she is left devastated. This is like having someone open up the door to your heart, pull on your heart strings and walk right out the door. You have no idea if they are coming back or not. As a result, you are left devastated, because who are you to stop someone from finding the answers to the questions they are asking. Maybe they will realize the answer lies with you.
Dave continues on his journey, eventually making it to the bridge. Did he find his answers? Did something magical happen there like he hoped? What about the researcher? Did she find the person she was looking for? What brings Dave and Katie’s story together?
You’ll need to read the book to find out.
For me, I needed to keep reading Dave’s story, because I needed to know if he would be able to find his answers. Maybe, in a way, I wondered if I would find the answer I was looking for in this story.
For those looking for answers in this journey in life, Dave’s story is one to read, because it will inspire you. Maybe it will even give you that feeling that you need to go on a trip to find your own answers.
When I read the author’s notes afterward, I appreciated the story more. Sometimes the stories that touch your heart are the ones that need to be shared. This story was based on a similar real story the author heard when he was a young man.
In conclusion, there are times you need to find your own answers and just leave everything behind and keep on riding until you reach your destination. Consequently, you may not find the answers at your destination, but along the way, you will discover yourself.