Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn Giel – Book Review

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin

Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei

Manage Your Day-to-Day is a collection of interviews, opinions, and anecdotes from industry leaders on the topics of productivity and accomplishing goals. It’s also full of quotes that can inspire anyone. The book targets common time-wasters such as Social Media, browsing the internet, and checking email and urges the reader to use them only when necessary. Multi-Tasking is also discouraged, as it has been proven to lower the quality of each activity in addition to making them take longer. Among its many tips, tricks, and facts, there was one that stood out from the others. The fact being, that the reason people generally have a hard time achieving their goals is not because they are unattainable, but because they are afraid and they are sabotaging themselves. Finally, the book tells the reader to create a routine and stick to it in order to keep themselves on track to goal achievements.

Manage Your Day-to-Day was a helpful and insightful read and it is the first in the 99u series. I plan to review the other two books in time. This book is ideal for anyone that struggles with time management and productivity, particularly creatives. I love how the book contains stories to show how to use the tips and it also explains why they are helpful. The book is broken up into very short chapters, which made me feel as though I was reading faster than I was and its colorful nature was visually appealing.

About the Author of Manage Your Day-to-Day

Jocelyn Glei is the Editor-in-Chief of 99u, a site dedicated to helping creatives generate ideas. In addition to Manage Your Day-to-Day, Glei has also edited Maximise Your Potential and Make Your Marks, which are a part of the 99u book series. For more Jocelyn Glei info, you can check out her Website.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: May 1st, 2015

Publisher: Amazon Publishing

Pages: 253 Non-Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

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Hipster Animals: A Field Guide by Dyna Moe – Book Review

“A field guide to scenesters, trend-hoppers, and other cutting-edge species you’ve like, probably never heard of. They’re pretty obscure.” – Hipster Animals: A Field Guide by Dyna Moe

Hipster Animals: A Field Guide by Dyna Moe

In the mood for something light-hearted, I was drawn in by the book’s bright cover and interesting concept. Hipster Animals: A Field Guide highlights creatures such as The Moocher On Your Couch and The Social Network “Friend”. The author also lists where the creatures can be found, their diets, behaviors and threats.

Hipster Animals: A Field Guide is a quick, funny read that is full of popular culture parodies and is perfect for anyone looking for a laugh. This book is a nice addition to my bookshelf and I loved the species wacky outfits and the fact that they were animals instead of humans. My favorite hipster animal was the owl AKA The Total Immersion Crafter who can be found on Etsy.com and at Alternative Craft Fairs that sell booze.

About the Author of Hipster Animals: A Field Guide

Dyna Moe illustrated and wrote Hipster Animals: A Field Guide and currently resides in New York City. In addition to HAAFG, Moe wrote Mad Men: The Illustrated World. She is also an alumni of the Upright Citizens Theatre. For more Dyna Moe info, you can check out her Website.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: Sept 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Pages: 112 Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

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Prosperity for Writers: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Abundance by Honoree Corder – Book Review

“If you believe you can, or if you believe you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Prosperity for Writers by Honoree Corder

In Prosperity for Writers, the author endorses positive thinking, visualization, and a “just do it”, kind of attitude. She discusses the importance of setting goals, staying positive, and charitable giving. As she believes that, “If you want something, give it away.” She tells the reader to keep a prosperity journal in order to write down their new goals and commitments and to help remove negative self-talk. Corder interviewed several prosperous writers and included their daily practices in the book so that the reader can begin to implement them themselves. Near the end of the book, she includes a link to her 100-day Action Plan which helps to keep the reader on track to their goals and inspired along the way.

After hearing about this book from author Joanna Penn’s podcast The Creative Penn, I immediately added it to my TBR(to be read list). Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop because the book is so insightful. Prosperity for Writers is an inspiring must-read for new writers and creative types. From the book, I learned to avoid negative thinking, not to listen to naysayers, and to always plan ahead.

About the Author of Prosperity for Writers

Honoree Corder is the author of The Successful Single Mom book series and Business Dating among many others. She is an avid entrepreneur, public speaker, and a life coach. For more Honoree Corder info, you can check out her Website.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: Aug 3rd, 2015

Publisher: Honoree Enterprises Publishing

Pages: 158 Non-Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

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Tragic Renewal by Marlina Williams – Book Review

“Get a life. The message stood out in white relief from the surrounding pencil strokes. When she returned to her apartment, she trimmed around the words and laminated the now business card sized piece of paper. She slipped the card into her wallet where it would sit ready to give her inspiration whenever she needed it.” – Tragic Renewal by Marlina Williams 

Tragic Renewal by Marlina Williams

Harper’s life is spiraling downward. She is still suffering after her divorce from her adulterous husband and she is using food, wine, and pills in order to cope. Unfortunately, things get worse for her when she finds out that her best friend, Cara has been killed by a drunk driver. Left with Cara’s belongings, a farm, a dog, and two horses, Harper decides to move on and pursue her late friend’s dream. However, her past isn’t finished with her and it soon threatens to destroy Harper’s new life.

Tragic Renewal is an epic page-turner. I typically don’t like books that involve romantic plots, but when I read the description, I knew I had to read this book. Williams has created a perfect mixture of thriller, suspense, and romance. This book will keep any reader engaged from beginning to end.

About the Author of Tragic Renewal

Marlina Williams grew up riding and cleaning horses at a local farm and was an Airforce Airman before she became a contractor in the same industry. In addition to writing Tragic Renewal, Williams is also the author of Lost and Falling and The Rad Misfits. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a mini horse in Panama City, Florida. For more Marlina Williams info, you can check out  her website Family Writers.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: Nov 11th, 2015

Publisher: N/A

Pages: 277 Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

I received this book from the author for an honest review.

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The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney – Book Review

“Male leaders are celebrated for their successes, while their excesses are typically excused as the necessary and expected price of masculine ambition.” – The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney

The Woman Who Would Be King is the biography of Hatshepsut, a female Egyptian Pharaoh who’s father was a king and who’s mother had connections to a previous royal dynasty. In her teens, she was married to her brother, the heir to the throne. His reign didn’t last long and he was dead within a couple of years of their wedding, leaving behind a daughter and no suitable male heirs to the throne. Soon, Hatshepsut began to cross-dress and at the age of 20 she became co-regent with Thutmose III, who was a baby at the time. Her reign lasted 22 years and it was one of the most successful and prosperous times of Egypt’s history. Unfortunately, she lost favor and years after her death her presence was all but wiped off the face of history.

I have always loved ancient Egypt, so I was ecstatic when I was given the chance to review this book. Hatshepsut’s story is so interesting and empowering. It is truly amazing how she was able to overcome such adversity in a patriarchal society. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about Hatshepsut and the past of ancient Egypt.

About the Author of The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

KARA COONEY is an associate professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cooney produced a comparative archeology series entitled Out of Egypt, which aired on the Discovery Channel and is streaming on Netflix. For more info about Kara Cooney, check out her website.

This book can be purchased from Penguin Random House.

Originally Published: Oct 14th, 2014

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Pages: 298 Non-Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – Book Review

“Merricat, said Connie, would you like some tea? Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me. Merricat, said Connie would you like to go to sleep? Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!” – We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

There were once seven Blackwoods, before an unfortunate incident with arsenic, left only Merricat, her sister Constance, her Uncle Julian, and her cat Jonas alive on their family estate. That was years ago, and since then Constance hasn’t gone past the family garden and Uncle Julian is still suffering from the arsenic poisoning. Merricat goes into the village weekly to pick up necessities for the family and is constantly taunted and teased by the townsfolk. She tries to protect her sister Connie from them since she is the one who was accused and acquitted of the murders. Later in the novella, her cousin Charles comes to visit and starts to stir up trouble for the Blackwoods, particularly Merricat.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a dark, isolating, weird, and creepy mystery that is perfect for any horror fan. The book has Gothic undertones that add dreadful and spooky elements. This is one the best books that I have ever read and I highly recommend it for a quick read.

About the Author of We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson (Dec 14th, 1916 – Aug 8th, 1965) influenced the likes of Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Nigel Kneale. In addition to WHALITC, Jackson wrote The Lottery, Life Among the Savages, and The Haunting of Hill House. She was married to literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. For more Shirley Jackson info, you can check out her Fan Site.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: 1962

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Pages: 146 Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads

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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick – Book Review

“They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed-run over, maimed, destroyed, but they continued to play anyhow.” – A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

Bob Arctor is an undercover narcotics agent tasked with finding the source of a deadly psychoactive drug known as Substance D. He quickly becomes fully immersed in the drug subculture when he allows a couple of drug users to move in with him, falls in love with a dealer named Donna, and becomes an addict himself. Eventually, Bob’s continued drug use causes his two brain hemispheres to function separately making him less and less capable of carrying out his duties.

Pulled from the author’s own experiences, A Scanner Darkly puts a comedic spin on the serious issue of drug addiction and abuse. Many of the characters are fictionalized versions of friends that P.K.D. knew during his life. Many of them died or were left with permanent issues such as brain damage, pancreatic damage, and vascular damage. In the Author’s Note section, he dedicates his love to his fallen friends and lists them by name.

About the Author of A Scanner Darkly

Philip K. Dick (Dec 16th, 1928 – Mar 2nd, 1982) was born in Chicago, Illinois. He wrote 44 novels and 121 short stories in his lifetime, but he is most known for writing The Man in the High Castle, The Minority Report, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; which was the basis for Blade Runner. For more Philip K. Dick news, you can check out his Fan Site.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Originally Published: Jan 1st, 1977

Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Pages: 220 Fiction

4 Star Rating – Goodreads

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Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine – Book Review

Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

Jaine Austen is a writer, a major foodie, and a murder magnet who lives in “the slums of Beverly Hills”, Los Angeles with her cat named Prozac. She lives next door to her frienemy Lance, who is constantly eavesdropping on her through their paper-thin communal walls. When the killer slips on Jaine’s discarded costume and murders her unpopular neighbor, faded sitcom star Cryptessa Muldoon at a Halloween party, Jaine’s a prime suspect, prompting her to start her own investigation.

Death of a Neighborhood Witch (#11 in the series) is a funny, lighthearted, whodunit, that is perfect for those who want a murder mystery without the blood and guts. The book has a nice flow and is loaded with twists, turns, and subplots; and frequent emails from Jaine’s parents about their adventures provide extra humor to the novel.

About the Author of Death of a Neighborhood Witch

Laura Levine (Laura Levine Mysteries) is from Brooklyn, New York and is a former sitcom writer for Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, and Three’s Company. She is happily married to business journalist Mark Lacter and enjoys gardening and swimming.

This book can be purchased on Amazon

Originally Published: Aug 26th, 2012

Publisher: Kensington Books

Pages: 273 Fiction

4 Star Rating – Goodreads

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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron – Book Review

“Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truely detect the crimes presented to them, using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or the Act of God?”
-Membership Oath of the Detection Club, formed in 1930 by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and other mystery writers.

Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron

Have you ever wished that you could write a mystery novel like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett or Chester Himes, but you’re not sure where to start? Have you ever watched Law and Order and thought that you could write a better story. Well, Hallie Ephron has put together a step by step guide book for the new writer or even the experienced one who is new to mystery writing. This book has broken the writing process down into four parts; Planning, which includes the creation of a blueprint which is used as an outline for the novel, Writing, which covers how to draw your readers in and keep them reading, Revising, which includes ways for you to self-edit your novel on all levels, and Selling, which explains your publishing options and the pros and cons of each. Additionally, the author has included an appendix, which provides information about writers clubs and organizations, conferences, contests, and guides.

I am currently writing my first novel and I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the mystery writing genre. I personally have begun using her four-step process and it has helped me become more efficient, strengthen my plot, add suspense, and come up with more story ideas. This is a book that I will continue to refer to long after I have completed my first novel.

About the Author of Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel

Hallie Ephron (http://hallieephron.com) lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughters. She is well known for her suspense novels, three of which have been Mary Higgins Clark Award finalists.

This book can be purchased on Amazon

Originally Published: Jan 1st, 2005

Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books

Pages: 256 Non-Fiction

5 Star Rating – Goodreads 

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