Tag: books

Book Review- Grace, not Perfection

October 8
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Grace, not Perfection by Emily Ley- book review. How to have a happy organized home without all the pressure.

As a blogger and a librarian one of the few perks I receive is access to early review copies of books. Thomas Nelson Speciality Division was awesome and let me review an ebook copy of Grace, Not Perfection, a new book by Emily Ley.

I have been following Emily Ley on social media for a few years now. She is an adorable designer and mother and the owner of the company named after her which makes the Simplified Planner. I have been using this planner at for work about 8 months now and love it. Emily is a great lady who really cares about women and how they make the most out of their days. In her new book she talks about her struggle trying to obtain perfection and how that is in fact not the end goal. She also shares tips on how to make the most of our days while still enjoying the small joys of life.

I am one of the millions of women who try to lead a perfect life. I am you type A first born. I want everything correct and how I think it should be. Often times this leads to overextending myself trying to be everything for everyone and keeping a perfect home at the same time. You can only go 110% full steam ahead for so long before you fall apart. I try to help everyone and do all the things, but in doing so ignore myself both physically and emotionally.

One of the quotes that really hit me was this one:

Have you ever wondered why flight attendants tell travelers that if oxygen masks deploy, you should secure yours before helping your kids or anyone else? They give this instruction because if you can’t breathe there is no way you can help anyone else. 

Grace, not Perfection by Emily Ley 

Emily shares her own personal story of trying to do it all and how it took a serious health scare to make her realize she can’t aim for perfection and must instead look for grace.  She shares both the reasoning for the suggestions she makes as well as real steps you can take to make these changes in your life and home.

Emily is a great christian woman and this book is from a christian perspective.  It is not preachy, however if mention of God is not something you are comfortable with then this book might not be for you.  As a christian this was not an issue for me, but I want my readers to be aware before they purchase.

This book is mostly geared at parents however I feel that I got just as much out of it as a non-parent.  In all reality anyone who feels over-extended like they are doing too much will enjoy this book. It is a quick read and is full of discussion questions so that you can really think about what you’ve read and write down what you can do in your own life to make these changes.

 

Grace, not Perfection comes out October 11th. You can preorder it on Amazon.

Note: this post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store.  This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you.  Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page. My printables are free.

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June Favorites

July 1
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I can’t believe June is over already. It seriously flew by! Anyways, we are in the thick of summer now and I want to go ahead and share with you a few of my current favorites.

App: Anylist
This nifty little app has been very useful for us.  It allows users to have both personal and shared lists.  I use it for our grocery list.  I am the worst about remembering the items my husband requests I purchase at the store and when I am in the store often times he is unreachable by phone for his requests.  With the app I just have him (and myself) add items as we find we need them and then whoever is in the store can pick them up.  I also have an personal shopping list in there for items I want to remember to purchase when at the store. Right now AnyList is only available on iOS devices. Oh, did I mention the best part?  Its free!

Avocado

Just like the rest of America, I am currently OBSESSED with avocados.  I put them in my smoothies, on my quinoa, on toast, and in just about whatever else I am making.  For Father’s day I tried out a new recipe that was delicious on chips.


My Planner Life blog
A week ago I ran across a new blog, My Planner Life, and I fell in love!  Nicola has beautiful free printables for planners and she includes Silhouette files.  Anyways, check her out and don’t forget to add her on Instagram.

 
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What I read: May 2016

June 13
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Copy of March Favorites (3)

This year is my second year participating in the Goodreads reading challenge.  I love using the site to make a goal and then see and follow my progress.  They keep me on track and let me know when I am ahead and behind in my goals.  My goal for 2016 is to read 50 full-length books.

 

goodreads may 2016

As I transitioned into new employment I have been listening to a lot of audio books this last month.  This allows me to be use my commute time as reading time.  With this I was able to get a few books read in May, but not as many as I would have liked to.  Below is the list of books I read along with short reviews.

The War that Saved my Life– Kimberly Brubaker Bradley:  This children’s book (middle grades) is a great piece  historical fiction on World War II.  The story follows a brother and sister from London and their experience being evacuated to the countryside to escape bombing.  The main character Ava, was born with a club foot.  The author did a great job giving readers an understanding of how life was like for a child born with this defect and how her mother dealt with it.  Although this book was written for children is is a deep read and a tear jerker for adults.


Lucky You– Carl Hiaasen:  I love this author; his books are hilarious but also a great reminder of the environmental issues that Florida has, and continues to deal with on a daily basis.  Lucky You is about greedy lotto winners who were not content with  a 14 million dollar win and instead do whatever it take to try and get the rest of the winnings.  I love Hiaasen for vacation reads as they are not too deep and always good for some laughs.

 


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: David Sedaris- This is the first book by Sedaris that I have read, but I enjoyed it.  His books are collections of essays about his life and experiences.  They are laugh out loud funny and great to read or listen to in short bursts.  I listened to this on audio and it is narrated by the author which is always fun.

After You: Jojo Moyes- No I haven’t seen the movie for Me Before You yet,  ( My husband would go with me if I asked, but I know he doesn’t want to.) Anyways, I did get a chance to listen to After You which was a great way to continue the Story of Luisa after Me Before You, especially if you have interest in, or are dealing with loss of a loved one.

 

I have several half finished books to report on next month.  Keep your eyes out for a long list!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store.  This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you.  Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page.

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Hamilton: The Revolution

April 13
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Hey guys, I just wanted to take a second to tell you about a book we just purchased.  My husband has been a huge fan of the new musical Hamilton.  We haven’t had the chance to see it yet, but we have listened to the album on Amazon Prime. (Free to stream and download for prime members!)  Anyways, when we heard that Lin-Manuel Miranda had written a book with an annotated libretto (lyrics), the history of the musical and cast, and photographs; we had to have it.  Due to our Amazon Prime account we were able to have it delivered Tuesday (the day it came out.)  I was super surprised to see how big the book was!  It is the size of a college textbook. Anyways, I just wanted to share about it for a second in case anyone was on the fence about this title.  Although I haven’t had a chance to totally dig into it, I really think we are going to enjoy going through this book together.

Here are a few shots from the book.  When we pre-ordered the item I wasn’t sure what all it entailed so I figured a few images would help you get the idea.

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My husband’s favorite part?  The rough-cut pages.

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Are you a Hamilton fan?  Have you seen the musical?  What did you think?  Have you tried Amazon Prime?  If not, try a free 30 day trial today.

 

Disclosure:  The post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from any purchases made via these links. This does not affect the price. I use these links to help offset the costs of hosting this site.  Thank you for your understanding.

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Books for planners

February 4
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Check out this list of books that are perfect for planners and people into betting themselves and organization. Learn about your habits, how to make the most of your time, and how to pick only the most important tasks to focus on. AmberDowns.net

 

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I’m going to let you in on a secret.  I haven’t always loved “self-help” books.  For years I thought they were for saps who couldn’t take care of themselves.  I figured that I had my head screwed on tight enough so I didn’t need the help of some professional to tell me how to live my life.

Well..

It turns out I was wrong.  I started reading some of these self help/organizational books in late 2014 and I loved them.  These books weren’t just some feel good garbage, they were real life tips on how to make the best of your life from real people! Life hacks and pro tips,  my favorite!

So today I want to share some of my favorite “self-help” books that I think planners, bosses, organization lovers, and just about anybody would enjoy. Click the image to be directed to Amazon to purchase.

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner

This is a great book for over stretched, over worked women who don’t know how to do it all.  We live in a world where every expects themselves to be “Pinterest Perfect.”  In this book Jessica shares how to pick the most important things in your life and spend your time on them, even if it means the laundry sits for a few days.

Getting Things Done- David Allen

This business world classic is a great read for anything looking to seriously evaluate their planing and organizational process.  If anything it needs to be read to be aware of his systems.

Super You by Emily V. Gordon

Although I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet I am very much looking forward to it.  In this book Emily, a former therapist, shares how to be the best you.  We all have a dark past, but Emily shows you how to get past adversity and become better from it.  (Think super hero origin story.)


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less  by Greg McKeown

Ever feel like you are so busy juggling so many things that nothing is getting done as good as it could be?  According to the author, this is nonessentialism.  In this book you will learn how to decide what is the most important to you as well as how to say no to the things that don’t need your time and attention.

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

This is one of my favorite books to recommend to friends who are looking to better themselves. Here Gretchen explains how to make, keep, and enjoy habits.  My favorite part about this book is that readers will learn about their personal habit keeping processes and what works for that personality type.

It is my hope that at least one of these books might be helpful to you.  If you do read one of these and enjoy it let me know!  Contact into on the top right of each page.

Have you already read on of these?  What did you think?  Share below!

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I may receive a small comission.  This helps cover the costs of operating this site.  Thank-you.

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Holiday Book Guide- Part 2

November 25
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Holiday book guide part 1

I wanted to share some more book gift suggestions with everyone.  As I have mentioned before, I am a youth services librarian so most of my recommendations will be related to children and teens. This post focuses on books for middle grades through adult.  Enjoy!

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

I love Rebecca Stead. I loved When You Reach Me  and always look forward to her new books.  I was lucky enough to receive a early preview copy of her newest book, Goodbye Stranger via NetGalley, which is a book service for librarians and other influencers.  Goodbye Stranger takes place in New Your City over the course of a year with several middle school characters.  This book tastefully deals with the sensitive topic of texting photographs and the repercussions of what can happen. I think this is a great title for both boys are girls who are beginning to deal with life on the internet and the idea of a digital footprint.

 

Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media by Aliza Licht I picked up this book on a whim from the New Book shelf at the library.  It looked cute and seemed like an educational read.  After reading the first chapter I knew this book was a star. Aliza gives a no nonsense approach to how to be successful in your first job.  As someone who works with teens on a daily basis I can tell you that this is information young people need.  The author shares fun antidotes as well as a checklist onto how to follow her suggestions and really rock your job.  The rest of the book goes over how to get a promotion and really be successful and smart with social media.  This book would be an awesome gift for anyone from high school seniors through young professionals.  It would definitely be a great gift for a college graduation.  I know it looks girly, but this information in this book is for both guys and girls.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. CareyThis book was suggested by a friend on Facebook and it sounded a little interesting so I went with it.  The Girl with all the Gifts is a story about a girl who lives in a jail and that is the only life she has ever known.  As the story progresses we learn more about the new and different world this story takes place in. However, I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I’m saying.  This is a great thriller for readers looking for something new and fast paced.  Although this is an adult book, I would suggest it for high school and adult aged readers.  Also, I haven’t heard anything yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a movie in a few years.  ‘d see it.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Do you have a teen who is still obsessed with Hazel and Augustus from “The Fault in your Stars?”  If so they need to read Everything Everything.  This is a great love story about Madeline, who, due to an extremely rare disease cannot leave her home.  Everything is going swimmingly until a boy moves in next door and suddenly her world is upside down. Perfect for teens and young adults who love a good love story.

Every Day by David Levithan Every Day is a story about A, a person who wakes up every day in the body of someone else.  This book tells the story of the first time A falls in love and what its like living in his unique world.  This book is the perfect blend of realistic fiction and a hint of sci-fi. Great for a teen or young adult into romance or science fiction.  

Did you receive a favorite book as a gift? Comment below with your favorite memory of a book gift!

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Holiday Book Guide- Part 1

November 13
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Holiday Book Guide part 1- Great Thanksgiving and fall books for kids.  Amberdowns.net

This post is the first installment of my Holiday Book Guide series.  My goal is to recommend quality new and classic titles that would be great gift options for children and adults. Today I am reviewing some titles that would be great for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas and other gifting needs. Interested in a title?  Click the photo to be directed to the amazon page for that book.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
This book just came out a few weeks ago and is destined to be a Thanksgiving classic.  In the story the child goes over all the simple things s/he is thankful for and then at the end s/he is thankful for “you.” This is a great gift item for both a children and adults. Wondering what to get someone who is so helpful in your life?  THIS BOOK IS THE ANSWER.  I know I will be ordering a couple copies for gifts. This book is great for preschoolers through adults.

Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
Sophie’s squash is an adorable fall story about a girl who befriends what is supposed to be dinner.  The story, told over several seasons, shares the importance of friendship, even if found in unusual places. This book is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary students.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
This awesome book came out in February of this year and is my favorite of 2015.  As you can see, Red is a crayon who clearly isn’t red.  This beautiful tale reminds us that we must be true to our inner selves regardless of what others tell us to be.  FYI this can be a serious tear jerker.  This title is perfect for children of all ages and adults.

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr(FYI This is another tear jerker) Todd Parr has done it again. He has taken a difficult topic and make it something simple to understand for little ones as well as adults: dealing with loss of a loved one. This book hits on many levels without going into too much detail.  The bright, simple, way he explains the feelings of loss are great for confused children as well as adults who are still coming to grips with this very personal topic. This title is perfect for children of all ages as well as adults.

Little Tree by Loren LongLittle Tree is a lovely story about a tree that refuses to let go. After his leaves turn brown in the fall the little tree does not drop them.  It is not until he can let go of the leaves that he can grow again. This is another story that children in preschool and elementary school will enjoy as well as adults who have been through similar situations.

 I hope that you have enjoyed my book recommendations.  Check back later this month for more titles as well as Christmas books and great chapter book gifts.  Have a suggestion of your own?  Share it in the comments!

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