Book Spotlight: Relationship Solutions

It’s Non-Fiction November and I am happy to share Relationship Solutions by Sonia Frontera! I am also happy to tell you that this book is now available for review!

RelationshipSolutions_ebook (1)

Relationship Solutions

Publication Date: October 27, 2020

Genre: Non-Fiction

Your personal GPS to freedom and joy!

Your marital troubles are not the end of the road but a detour on the road to happiness.

Speed forward from heartache to healing!

Whether you’re unhappily married, on the road to divorce recovery or somewhere in between, this inspiring guide will lead you step by step through a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation, so you can create the happiness you deserve–with your spouse . . . or alone.

Reach your destination and enjoy your best life now!

SONIAS~3

Now Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Sonia Frontera is a divorce lawyer with a heart. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage who is now happily remarried. Sonia integrates the wisdom acquired through her personal journey, her professional experience and the lessons of the world’s leading transformational teachers and translates it into guidance that is insightful and practical. She is a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer who offers workshops and retreats.

Sonia Frontera | Twitter | linkedIn | Youtube | Facebook

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If you wish to request a copy of Relationship Solutions for review, please contact shanannigans.readsandreels@gmail.com 

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It’s that time of year again!! Time to join all your other reindeer in the Reindeer Readathon and compete to get as many points as you can over the month of December! There will be 5 different teams and you will get sorted into one of them! All of the prompts will be below but they will also be emailed to you when you sign up! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Winning the Game of Work

Welcome to the blog tour for Winning the Game of Work, by Terry Boyle McDougall! Today I have an excerpt from the book, and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Terry_McDougall_Winning_the_Game_of_Work_Amazon_Ebook_CoverWinning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms

Publication Date: April 10, 2020

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Career Coaching Guide

You can be happier and more successful when you learn to play the game of work. If you’re not currently satisfied in your career, it could be because you’re playing by the wrong rules.

In Winning the Game of Work, Terry Boyle McDougall shares the rules she learned from wise mentors and coaches, as well as the lessons she learned the hard way. She entered the workplace as an ambitious “go-getter” and was confused about why she wasn’t advancing at the pace she expected. She learned that being smart and working hard aren’t enough. The reward for developing a strategy for the game of work is success and happiness with less stress and duress.

This book will help you:

* Get recognized for your value on the job
* Develop and appreciate your unique “superpowers” at work
* Cope with a bad boss without burning out or getting fired
* Get the promotion you deserve
* Deliver more impact on the job with some simple hacks
* And more…

Winning the Game of Work is the essential guidebook to help you develop your unique skills as a “player.” Now is the time to see the whole field, make the savvy moves and win the game of work on your own terms!

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Excerpt

Chapter 5

When You’re Dealt a Bad Hand: Coping with Toxic Work Situations

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Toxic Workplaces Are Common

Workplaces can become toxic when the work demands, culture, and/or coworkers cause serious disruptions in the rest of your life. According to a 2019 research report published by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly two-thirds of working Americans have worked in a toxic work environment at some point in their career, and 26 percent have worked in more than one. That’s truly astounding!

We spend a lot of time working, and most of us are dependent on work for income and a sense of purpose. When work becomes toxic, it can have a devastating impact on both job and life satisfaction.

Here’s a story of a toxic work environment that I lived through back in the late 1990s and the lessons I came away with.

In Comes Shelly the Screamer

About four years into an otherwise great job, I had my first encounter with workplace toxicity. My department was restructured and the department leader who worked in another city hired a new director for our office. Shelly left a global consulting firm for this role and moved to the Southern city where the company was headquartered.

Within the department, Shelly made us wary. Her direct style clashed with the gracious and courteous culture of the organization. Admittedly, when I moved there a few years before, I quickly realized that small talk in this culture was a requirement if I wanted to develop productive relationships within the organization. Getting directly down to business, which had been the norm at my employer in DC, was considered rude there.

Culture Shock

Shelly was fast moving and direct. And when she became upset, she tended to scream. (Yes, scream!) One day, I was unfortunate enough to hear her side of a phone conversation through the office wall I shared with her—at an incredibly high decibel, I heard her berate the dry cleaner in the building for allegedly losing the pants to a suit she’d dropped off for cleaning.

As time went on, I realized that this was not a one-time loss of composure on Shelly’s part. This type of unhinged behavior became shockingly common. I shook my head and could not believe this was my job and that she was my boss. I mean, who acts like that?

Shelly’s approach to management alternated between ingratiation, manipulation, and micromanagement of female subordinates and colleagues. With men, she also included flirtation, which I suppose is a form of manipulation.

Her frequent emotional outbursts tended to be confined to times when only subordinates on the marketing team were present, which meant that it took a while for her dysfunction to become apparent to her business partners, HR, and leadership.

Stress and Self-Medicating Behaviors

I began to dread going to work and encountered health issues such as insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. As much as I hate to admit it, I began drinking wine just about every night after work to relax and forget about the chaotic situation at work. Though I didn’t recognize it at the time, I was dealing with a toxic boss in an otherwise supportive workplace.

I was experiencing some of the common responses: depression, anxiety, weight gain, self-medicating behavior, a drop in productivity, and reduced ability to focus. Other common responses include self-harming behaviors, workplace absence, increased illnesses, raised blood pressure, and other negative health effects.

The Dangers of a Toxic Environment

A toxic workplace can leave you feeling trapped. Most people work to earn money for material needs and enjoyment. Work can also contribute to self-esteem and a sense of purpose. When you are in a toxic workplace, you can feel like your existence is being threatened, and that can cause you to retreat into survival mode.

You may stop doing the things that you enjoy, which disrupts your ability to relax and recharge. Stress increases, and you may become fixated on how to “solve the problem” of work. In my case, initially I had a hard time seeing what was really going on as I redoubled my efforts to avoid, then please, my demanding boss.

Coping with a Toxic Work Situation

Whether or not your bad work situation rises to the level of “toxic” doesn’t really matter. If you’re finding that work has gone from enjoyable (or at least tolerable) to draining and dreadful, you can take three actions:

  1. Do nothing and continue to endure the situation as it is,
  2. Leave to find a better situation,
  3. Stay and try to improve the current situation (including making changes in your own behavior, discussing the issues with someone who has the authority to effect change, such as HR or a supervisor, or other actions).

To help you decide which path you should take, here are some questions to consider:

  • How long has this been going on?

Is it related to a specific project or deadline? Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? If it’s a relatively short-term situation, you may want to wait it out. The stressors may pass, and the environment may return to a state that you can tolerate or even go back to enjoying. If this is the “new normal,” you may be motivated to make a change.

  • What caused the change in the environment?

Was it sudden or gradual? Did the situation change due to new leadership or organizational structure, new policies, or a change in market conditions? If you can pinpoint when and where the situation started, you may be able to understand whether you can potentially change or adapt to it.

There’s a big difference between lobbying for a change to a poorly conceived policy and arresting the effects of a tanking economy. Some things you have the power to change, and some you don’t. Understanding the root and magnitude of the issues at hand is a good start.

  • What influence do you have over the situation?

Are those in leadership aware of the impact that the environment is having on you? How able are you to have a frank conversation about it with your boss or another person in a position of influence? Sometimes the issue is not with your boss. It could be coming from higher in the organization and your boss may have little influence on the expectations. Or it could be that your perception of what is expected is not aligned with your boss’s.

Getting clarity and bringing ideas to the table on how to do things better is often welcomed. After all, those in leadership may not fully understand the impact their decisions have on your day-to-day experience. Speaking up could result in positive changes. Give it a shot before deciding on more radical actions.

  • Are others in your organization having similar experiences? How are they coping?

Sharing your experiences with coworkers may help you to feel less alone. You could learn tips on how to better “manage up,” or build a coalition to influence leaders to make changes. Building alliances with fellow employees can help ensure management doesn’t perceive you as a “problem employee” in case a true structural or management problem is at the root of the issue.

  • Will opportunities at your organization allow you to leave the toxic work situation?

Is it your boss or department that is causing the situation, or is it a more systematic malady that exists throughout the entire organization? If the toxicity is confined to your specific department, you may decide to explore other opportunities to leverage your current organizational knowledge and network. If the toxicity is rampant throughout the organization, you may need to get out to save your health and sanity.

  • Is the environment unique to your organization, or is it a reality of the industry?

Can you consult people in your network at other organizations to find out? Your skills and experience may be in demand at another employer that has a better culture or is in a more favorable position in the marketplace. Getting a view of what it’s like at other companies can give you information you need to decide if you should stay, go, or try something completely new.

  • What does it cost you to remain in your current situation? Is your confidence waning?

How is the situation affecting your health and relationships? Sometimes people will stay in a situation for much longer than they should. It’s hard to consider leaving without another job, but sometimes it can be the best option before their relationships, health, or confidence are eroded to the point of not having the energy to look for another job.

Sometimes hanging in there can eventually lead to being fired by an unreasonable manager or pegged as the scapegoat for mistakes. Both of these scenarios can be hard to bounce back from. Though leaving a job without another job is not ideal, sometimes taking control of one’s destiny is preferable to continued suffering and abuse.

  • How egregious is the situation? Has it risen to the level of illegality?

Does blatant abuse, harassment, or discrimination take place? Are you able to document it? If the abuse is significant, you may consider consulting an employment attorney to explore your options. Some companies may be open to a negotiated exit, which could include a severance package.

Some employment attorneys provide free consultations, and, even if you need to pay for an hour of their time, it could be well worth the investment. Experienced attorneys often know a lot about specific employers. They may know whether your employer would negotiate or if they’ve been accused of other employment law violations. At the very least, they can advise you of your rights.

  • How much of this situation is based in reality and how much is your perception?

Sometimes people will label a situation “toxic” when it’s actually just uncomfortable because it requires them to develop new skills, adapt to a new structure, or learn new processes. Take a close look at yourself and ask whether your experience could be different if you responded differently.

If other people are not having issues with the situation, it could be that you need to learn some new skills to cope. It’s always helpful to get perspective on the situation. A mentor, coach, or experienced friend can sometimes help you see the bigger picture and help you decide what options you have.

What’s within Your Control?

Without going into too much detail about my role in the toxic dance with Shelly, suffice to say, initially I didn’t handle it well. As a manager, she sought to control me and I, in turn, tried to avoid her. Eventually, I realized that I would hurt myself if I didn’t begin to respect her position as my boss.

Because the department leader was in another city, he wasn’t witness to her worst behavior, and she was able to control the narrative with him. Any complaints to him from her direct reports were seen as the team getting used to the new structure.

Taking Control of What I Could

I finally woke up to the fact that I would need to proactively show my support for Shelly even if it meant I had to grit my teeth and paste a smile on my face when I checked in to say hello to her each morning. What I found was that she relaxed and actually began stopping by my office to get my opinion on things.

My job became easier, as I was no longer the target of her vitriol and frustration. Once I turned over this new leaf, I found acceptance of the situation took less energy than the resistant stance I’d previously taken. When I approached the situation differently, Shelly’s response to me changed. However, that didn’t mean she was reformed.

Shelly Finds a New Target

Unfortunately, a colleague soon became the new target for Shelly’s nitpicking and bullying. Though I knew nothing of it at the time, Shelly’s bullying of my coworker was the proverbial “last straw.” She had finally overstepped the boundaries between poor management and documented abuse (with witnesses) so that the HR department could take decisive action.

One evening as I sat in my office finishing up a project, the voicemail light on my phone suddenly blinked red. As the message played, I realized my fervent prayers had been answered. The departmental leader stated that effective immediately, Shelly was no longer employed by the organization. Shelly’s ten-month reign of chaos had ended.

Lasting Lessons from a Horrible Boss

As painful as that episode was, I am glad that I went through it. I realize that both despite and because of her poor management skills, I learned several important lessons that have served me well since then:

  1. If you want to lead change, you need to know where you’re starting from. It’s important to understand the situation you’re entering, communicate a vision, and gain buy-in before trying to lead a change. Shelly had been hired to lead a team that was already high-performing, close-knit, and collegial. She approached the team as if it were in need of a turnaround rather than a basic tune-up, and because she neglected those steps, she met resistance. More open dialogue would have gone a long way to gaining buy-in with the team.
  2. Regardless of the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of a supervisor, it’s imperative to respect the role. Avoiding interactions with my boss served no purpose for me or the organization, other than to make me insubordinate. It wasn’t my place to pass judgment on her effectiveness. I was also obliged to ask her for what I needed—such as reminding her to provide feedback on the projects she was reviewing so I could keep them on schedule. I needed to be fully responsible for my part of the projects, regardless of whether she was delivering on her side. Though her style was frustrating to me, I had no excuse not to keep up my work commitments or to respect her authority as my manager.
  3. Have a contingency plan. While it wasn’t my place to judge, it would have been wise of me to take note of her lack of effectiveness and document my own actions so I could explain project delays caused by her slow review and approval of project deliverables. If there had been an accounting for why projects were not being completed on time, the blame could have easily been placed on my shoulders, even though the delay was caused by her failure to provide timely feedback. Though documentation can be time-consuming, sometimes it’s a wise insurance policy if you foresee the situation taking a bad turn.
  4. Keep some perspective. Nothing is forever. During that time, I allowed myself to become highly stressed, and then suddenly one day, the cause of my stress (Shelly) was gone. At that moment, I realized that I’d been walking around loaded for bear, but suddenly the bear was gone. All at once, those big guns were heavy and unnecessary. At that moment, I realized that it had been my choice to be defensive and resentful. In fact, I was the cause of my own misery due to my beliefs and how I chose to respond to Shelly.
  5. Working through personnel issues can take some time in the corporate world. HR issues are confidential and only those who need to know will be privy to what’s going on. It may seem like the abusive employee is getting a free pass and that no one in authority is taking notice when, in fact, due process may be moving along behind closed doors. For several months, as Shelly continued to bully and cause mayhem, I believed that the HR department had left me and my coworkers at the mercy of a madwoman. That’s what it felt like. I later found out that the department leader was aware of the problem and was working on a resolution with HR.
  6. Beliefs create mind-sets, and we have control over our beliefs. This is the big takeaway—I was stressed and overwhelmed not because I had an ineffective boss but due to my own beliefs. I was capable of being happy. I could have chosen to leave work behind when I went home at the end of each day. Instead, I chose to bring the troubles home with me and whine about my situation over a few glasses of wine. When Shelly was gone in a wink, I realized I’d been resisting harder than necessary, and it felt strange when suddenly I had nothing to resist. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders with that realization!

Working for Shelly wasn’t a pleasant time in my life, but I learned some extremely valuable lessons from her, for which I’ll be forever grateful. So, to Shelly, wherever you are, thank you for teaching me these lessons. And I hope you found your suit pants.

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Terry HSs-3

Terry Boyle McDougall is an executive coach, speaker and best-selling author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms. She works with managers, executives and professionals who want to draw upon their greatest, most authentic abilities to positively impact their organizations. She supports clients who are creating change, driving innovation, and navigating transitions.
Terry relies on both her formal training as a coach and firsthand experience as a corporate leader to support her clients as they work towards their goals. In coaching engagements, Terry serves her clients as a partner and encourager as they break new ground; as a sounding board, supporting them as an objective listener; as a scout, who sees the larger context, their possibilities and potential; and, as a catalyst, helping to spark their commitment and action.
After 30 years of corporate business experience, 15 of which were in senior managerial roles, Terry chose to become a coach to concentrate on helping leaders step fully into their potential to lead satisfying careers. Though the majority of Terry’s professional experience is in financial services and marketing, her work exposed her to a wide variety of industries, business climates and corporate transitions such as mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and restructures.
Areas of leadership skills development include: Goal setting Prioritization Staff management Delegation Strategic thinking Decision making Project management Facilitating meetings
Change management Effective communications Customer relations (internal/external) Onboarding & career transition

She has worked with clients from: AbbVie ACCO Brands BMO BMW Chubb Ernst & Young Four Square Hyatt
JLL JPMorganChase Kendra Scott MediaCom
Mindshare Motorola Newsela Nuveen
Univar Solutions USG Corporation Wells Fargo Zillow

EDUCATION CERTIFICATIONS University of Maryland, MBA College of William & Mary, BA, Economics iPEC, Coach Certification Training ICF, Professional Certified Coach iPEC, Master Practitioner, Energy Leadership Predictive Index, Talent Optimization Partner

Terry B. McDougall| Twitter | Facebook

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I took a dive back into my contemporary and rated my John Green Books from worst to best! Let me know which one is your favorite! Check out the video below:

Book Review: When Life is Full of It

I may have been moving to a new house but our guy Chris has been keeping the reviews coming while I am away from the office. This time, he reviewed When Life Is Full Of It: Antidote for your Mind by Stan Belyshev.

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Warning, this book is not intended to tickle your selfish ego with more motivational encouragements, give you an essential oil massage or to give you simple principles on changing your attitude so you can claim your participation trophy at the end. Heck no! My goal is to slap you with a reality check of common sense by throwing you into the boot camp called LIFE! And with that said, life can be defined in a short sentence: It’s not what happens; it’s what you do with it.”

This is a motivational book that uses aphorisms along with inspirational profiles from people who changed the world. For me, the biggest inspiration is that Stan Belyshev, tired of his life’s direction, sat in a hotel room to write this book. As far as I can tell he had no background in any motivational-related studies when he started writing. He’s gone on to be an entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

In the book, there are biographies of people who changed the world, or who demonstrated the power of courage and forgiveness. Among them are the financially successful. Biographies of those people aren’t really inspirational. Many of them amassed their wealth by exploiting workers, and the ones left alive continue to fight against giving workers a living wage or benefits.

Another reason why biographies, in general, aren’t always inspirational is because motivational biographies rely on a cognitive bias called survivorship bias. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

E.g., During WWII planes were returning from missions with bullet holes in the wings, tail, and belly. The air force decided to armour those parts. A mathematician stopped them. He said the planes survived despite bullet holes so those parts of the plane weren’t as crucial. He said they needed to discover what happened to the planes that didn’t return. Those planes had holes in the cockpit and engine areas. These areas were more crucial to survival so those areas needed reinforcement. This saved lives and more planes returned. If they had just relied on the information from the survivors all their reinforcements on the belly and tail wouldn’t reduce causalities.

Motivational books that derive advice from the successes are putting “armour on belly and tail”. Successful people say they are successful because of their habits, attitudes, and strategies. However, for every successful or inspirational person who did these things, there are another 1000 people who did exactly the same things yet failed.

We’d learn more about success by examining why people failed despite doing everything the successful did. Incidentally, the biggest predictor of financial success is being born into a rich family with highly placed connections. You can ignore all the inspirational strategies and still be financially successful.

Mixed in with biographies are aphorisms in bullet form, most of which will be familiar. Aphorisms without context, though, are as enlightening as a fortune cookie.

An improvement would be to have chapters devoted to one aphorism, and then demonstrate how to evaluate it for practicality in your circumstances. For example, “Never give up no matter how many times you are rejected”. Detail the types of rejection (you, your work, your ideas, your strategies). Add information from counselling and psychology that review the nuances of not giving up vs altering strategies vs yes, you really need to give up. Look into how cognitive biases and logical fallacies keep us “putting good money after bad” (to use an aphorism). Explain when to persist, when to stop, when to move diagonal, when to jag. (Cop Land: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nifWUdAZRcY)

For example, I didn’t achieve my dream of being a marine biologist. So, I “gave up” and became a terrestrial biologist. That led me to teach invertebrate zoology, which includes a great deal of marine biology. It led to work in the Arctic, in the mountains, on the tundra, in deserts, AND in marine environments. I obtained a broader range of experiences and still ended up doing marine work as a terrestrial biologist. I gave up (or “went diagonal”), but found more than expected on the new path. In the words of cowboy philosopher Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em…”

Cognitive psychology and counselling fields explore the ways we make bad decisions; they suggest strategies to minimize errors in our thinking, and how to avoid cognitive pitfalls. Experts like Richard Wiseman and his Quirkology bring this information to the viewers in entertaining ways. Cognitive psychologists like Stephen Lewandowsky work with scientists to aid them in communicating their findings with the general public so there’s less misunderstanding on important science issues. Incorporate the work of these and many other experts.

In a small sideline, Belyshev falls into the confirmation bias trap. Confirmation bias occurs when you notice things that support what you already believe, and disregard the things that contradict what you already believe.

He writes he’s worried for the future, Because we are witnessing a fragile generation which cannot handle a little heat, called reality. That’s why so many people call them “snowflakes.”

So “many” (citation needed) people call them snowflakes because that’s a lazy stereotype that relies on confirmation bias. You can point to every single generation in existence and find some examples who are “snowflakes”. Anti-war protestors in the 60s and 70s had their hardiness questioned too.

The two generations born since the 1980s (Millennials and Generation Z) are fighting to fix a broken political system and an ailing earth that they’ve inherited. They are driven to change things for themselves and their children.

I’m not from those generations. However, I know how resilient, informed, and hard-working they are because they’ve been my classmates when I’ve returned to school. They’ve been my students when I was a professor (five different universities and colleges). They’ve been my coworkers at consulting firms. They understand issues on both global and local scales; they coordinate with people in countries around the world to enact change. They’re more politically involved than any other generation including the 70s generation, and many countries have elected their “youngest ever” politicians. Look at the social change they’re forcing with Climate Marches, Equality Marches, Black Lives Matter, and Me Too protests. Now that’s inspirational.

A 52-year old Navy Seal who went to Yale thinking his classmates would be sheltered snowflakes came to respect them as well. https://gen.medium.com/my-semester-with-the-snowflakes-888285f0e662

He’s also optimistic about the younger generation.

Let me assure you, I have not met one kid who fits that description [snowflake]. None of the kids I’ve met seems to think that they are “special” any more than any other 18–22-year-old. …

If this place is peopled by “snowflakes” I’m proudly one of them. I’m a snowflake with a purple heart.

While Belyshev’s motivation to write his book is inspirational, the book itself lacks the depth, research, and context that would make it a thought-provoking read. Perhaps a younger reader may see it differently.

Book Rating: 2/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give our honest review.


Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

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You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



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Anyone miss concerts? I know it has been awhile since I have been to one and miss the sound of live music. Here is a video of me using concert prompts to talk about some books! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Women Meditation and Power

Welcome to the blog tour for Women Meditation and Power by Liz Lewinson!

Read on for book details, an excerpt, and a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

38247527Women, Meditation, and Power

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Women’s Studies

Publication Date: January 7, 2020 (New Edition)

Women are the power species on the planet. Why? Because life force or kundalini flows through women more strongly than in men. The primary aspect of the female person is power. The primary aspect of the male person is love and humility. Somewhere back in time, the roles got switched.

Men in charge have unwittingly created a heavy, inflexible power structure that lurches towards destruction. Now is the time for the woman in all of us to up-end the confusion, unravel the deep-rooted lines of misunderstanding, and make it right.

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Excerpt

Lewinson WMP Quote Twitter 1

Women are the power species on planet Earth. We are the leaders, the strategists, the negotiators, the collaborators, the seers, the matriarchs. We are naturally excellent at experiencing inner stillness—the ultimate nexus and balancing center of life power.

Women today are rising from thousands of years of repression. Women are shattering glass ceilings and previous perceptions of what women can and should accomplish. The women shattering glass ceilings are those who find a way to express their power and energy, fighting to achieve this all the way. They bring a peerless power and energy to their tasks.

The adolescent girls of today are the leaders of tomorrow. But if their education is neglected, if they are given inappropriate knowledge about their own abilities and potential, then the results are disastrous for the planet. Girls in so-called liberated nations often face a crisis in their teen years. It’s when being sexually and physically attractive to boys or other girls often trumps becoming educated and powerful.

Westernized teens, with all that built-in energy and power that come with a strong, young nervous system, often weaken it with destructive and unfulfilling sex, bullying, violence, drugs, and overfocus on what others are doing instead of building confidence in self. The result is a long confusion period, especially for women, in which it takes years to regain the state of energy and assuredness that was lost in the teen years. Some women never regain it and instead make poor choices that burden them for the rest of their lives.

Regaining or understanding for the first time their full, unlimited power is, for most women, a journey of identifying and overcoming past restraints.

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About the Author

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LIZ LEWINSON is an award-winning author in biography and Buddhism. Her travels and career in technology and communications have allowed her to observe the inversion of the roles of women and men around the world. She speaks on the topics of women, meditation, and power to students, corporations, and community organizations.

Liz Lewinson

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Other Books by Liz Lewinson

Power of the Loving Man

American Buddhist Rebel

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Blog Tour Schedule

April 27th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Photographer’s Way (Review) http://www.thephotographersway.org

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

April 28th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

April 29th

Triquetra Reviews (Interview) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Read and Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

April 30th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

May 1st

Bookish Lifestyle (Review) http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

C Vonzale Lewis (Spotlight) https://cvonzalelewis.com/index.php/blog/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours


Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

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You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If you have read the Hunger Games series or watched tho movies then you will be able to understand! I did a tiered ranking of all the characters and how I felt about them. Check out the video below:

Book Highlight: Should I Go To College?

43817231Should I go to College? What About Student Loan Debt?

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: March 14th, 2019

If you’re a high school student, chances are you’ve been thinking about where you will go to college. Or if you will go to college at all. I’ve been there. And as a former teacher, I’ve seen thousands of students there, too. So I wrote this book to help you.

This book offers sound advice about deciding whether or not you want to go to college, and, if you decide to go, how you can save time and money along the way.

“This is the book about college I wish I had read when I was younger.” – My 30-year-old self

SHOULD I GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOAN DEBT?
•Describes what college is
•Promotes thoughtful self-reflection
•Outlines your options post-high school
•Offers tragically hilarious truths about teaching
•Reaffirms the code of personal responsibility
•Likens student loans to dragons that need to be slain

ALL PROCEEDS OF THIS BOOK GO TOWARD HELPING STUDENTS PAY OFF THEIR
STUDENT LOAN DEBT.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

I AM JUST GOING TO SAY IT, LIKE ALL THE other people I admire, even though I know some people are not going to like it: Not everyone is cut out for college.

Repeat: Not everyone is cut out for college.

REPEAT: NOT EVERYONE IS CUT OUT FOR COLLEGE.

And that’s okay. It’s really okay. You can be a happy, successful person and not go to college. You can make a lot of money and never need to go to college. You still have worth as a person, you can still get job training, and you can still learn a craft or skill or art or anything. There isn’t some sacred part of life you’re missing out on by not attending college.

Even so, there seems to be no end of people who will convince you that college is necessary. Parents, guardians, teachers, other students, salespeople, politicians,—all of these people sit on an imaginary jury of sorts, and they are all giving you the same verdict: “GO TO COLLEGE!”

SIDE NOTE: Please don’t consider that subliminal messaging.

But — but! — all of these people are not you. You are in the best position to decide if college is something you want to pursue.

Your peers include many people who simply go to college because it’s the “thing to do.” Taxes are the “thing to do.” College is optional, and it is your choice.

Your parents love you (I assume) and your teachers want to guide you (I assume), so it can be hard to find yourself at odds with others over the issue of your future. Others, like the politicians and the marketing companies, see you as a profit.

There are several reasons that there’s so much debt in America; it’s not just because a lot of people wanted to go to school and then the economy dropped. Many of the college recruiters who call you and the pretty brochures they send you are there to make you want to go to college. It works because there are a lot of legitimate reasons to go. But going to college might still not be the best option for you, and you have to be willing to stand up to any number of people who disagree with you, including salespeople. Many people who have student loan debt are people who wanted to change career fields, wanted higher pay, or wanted to look for better jobs and opportunities. These are the people who look at those brochures and take these calls with an end in mind. When you are not sure of what you want to be when you grow up, it can be easy to be swayed by the honeyed words of a salesperson who is paid on commission.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Author Pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

Giveaway!

Click the link below to win a copy of this book!

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CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

ShouldICollege

Charity Blog Tour Schedule

July 15th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

July 16th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com/

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

July 17th

Kim Knight (Interview) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

July 18th

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

I’m All About the Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

July 19th

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Adventure Thru Wonderland (Review) http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours


Check out my latest Wrap Up video where I talk about the books I read in the month of June and announce the giveaway winner!

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Book Review: From Foster Care to Millionaire

What’s up bookworms? Have you been reading lots? I know that I sure have. This recent read of mine was called From Foster Care to Millionaire: A Young Entrepreneur’s Story of Tragedy and Triumph by Cody Maclain.

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Synopsis: Cody’s story offers all the components you’d expect from the success story of a young entrepreneur with Aspergers-motivation, drive, perseverance, focus, and passion. You might call it a rags-to-riches tale, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But that here-to-there narrative is only the top layer. Cody’s story unfolds to reveal a narrative that is more complicated and yet simpler, more central, to the human experience. What remains is the story of a boy, burdened like all of us with deep wounds and great gifts, searching for a purpose. What remains is a story that will inspire readers to find their true calling and work like hell to achieve their dreams.

Would you call this a memoir if the person is still alive? An autobiography? Well, this was a book about Cody Mclain’s life and it was an interesting journey.

I liked being able to see how he viewed the world and was very analytical at times and realistic at others. I have to give him props for starting a business when he was 14. That takes a lot of guts and time/commitment and he was successful in his efforts.

I believe that the title is a little misleading because he only really stays in foster care for a short time but it did show his development as he was hit with hardship after hardship throughout his life. There were so many people that he encountered and they all had integral parts in the building of his character.

He also had a dog named Max which was cool because that is what my dog’s name is! And his Max sounds just like my Max when he was younger.

The book was good. There were definitely parts where I felt like they could have been a little shorter but it all adds up and tells the story of his life and how he achieved success. He has all the skills of an entrepreneur and taught himself everything he knows.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read about what it takes to not give up and follow your dreams (aka do what you want to do in life).

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review. 


I made my latest TBR video where I talk about all the books I will be reading in June and the buddy reads I will be taking part in. The new TBR jar also commences its journey with me.

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Author Spotlight: Albert Nasib Badre

Albert Nasib Badre’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

Looking West;

The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant

Tour Begins April 8th2019

 Looking West Cover

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: WidO Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07N6LR52T
  • ISBN: 9781947966130

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Looking-West-Journey-Lebanese-American-Immigrant-ebook/dp/B07N6LR52T/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

About the Book

In 1960, the Badre family emigrates from Beirut, Lebanon to the United States, a dream come true for fourteen-year-old Nasib.

Nasib struggles to assimilate as a teen in Albany, New York. With limited English skills, he attempts to learn new customs, make friends, and adapt to a different culture. In Beirut, the Badre family was well-known and socially privileged. In America, they are unknown nobodies. Nasib adopts his father’s name “Albert,” and to further Americanize his name, young Albert becomes “Al.”

Despite the many frustrations and difficulties, Al’s ultimate goal is to become a successful American. The new anonymity actually inspires the young man. Excited by the opportunities available to him in his new country, he determines to make a potent contribution to society.

As he strives to adapt, Al reads voraciously, becoming increasingly interested in religion and philosophy. Books become his “American friends,” and reading soon prompts him to ask deep theological questions about his family’s Lebanese Protestant roots, his mother’s conversion to Catholicism, and the contrast between the Protestant and Catholic faiths. This ultimately leads to his Catholic conversion.

Al’s search for meaning in life leads him to social activism among New York City’s poorest. And, in time, to graduate studies, where his desire is to improve the human condition through information technology.

Al Badre– like many other American immigrants–works his way through hardship to achieve a meaningful place in his adopted nation.

Rhode Island Family Photography, RI Family Photography, Dimery Photography

About the Author:  

Albert Nasib Badre is an American author born in Beirut Lebanon. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1960 at the age of fourteen. His family made Albany, N.Y. their first home in America where he attended a private Catholic high school through his Junior year. After three years in Albany, the family moved to Iowa City, Iowa, when his father accepted a professor position at the University of Iowa. He finished his senior year at Iowa City High School, then went on to the University of Iowa where he got a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies.  After college, he spent a year as a social worker in New York City. Deciding social work was not for him, he went on to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he got his Ph.D. in 1973.

He spent the next thirty years at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and today he’s Professor Emeritus of Computing. During his tenure at Georgia Tech, he was an international consultant specializing in designing technology to enhance the human experience.  Dr. Badre was an early pioneer in the field of human-centric design, with some thirty years of experience in human-computer interaction, learning technologies, and human-centric e-learning. His background combines expertise in the empirical methodologies of the behavioral sciences and the design approaches of the computing sciences.

Dr. Badre authored numerous technical papers, is co-editor of the book Directions in Human Computer Interaction, and the author of the book, Shaping Web Usability: Interaction Design in Context, which was adopted in several dozen courses worldwide. His memoirs, Looking West, is the story of his coming of age immigration to America and subsequent conversion to the Catholic Church.

Today, Dr. Badre and his wife live in Providence, R.I., near his son and family, where he leads a very active volunteer life, in service to the community.

Find Albert Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/197752.Albert_N_Badre

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anbadre

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anbadre/

Website:https://www.badremusings.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12819942



Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – April 8th

Albert Nasib Badre launches his tour of “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!

April 11th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Nicole Pyles shares her review of “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” with readers at World of My Imagination. Don’t miss a chance to learn more about this heroic memoir.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

April 12th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto shares a 5 star review or the touching and empowering memoir “Looking West” by Albert Nasib Badre.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

April 15th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Cathy Stucker interview Albert Nasib Badre about his empowering memoir “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant”. Readers at Selling Books are looking forward to learning more about this touching journey.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

April 16th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha Sreejith 

Sreevarsha Sreejith reviews “Looking West” by Albert Nasib Badre. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Sreevarsha and visit To Write or Not to Write.
http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

 

April 16th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interview

Don’t miss today’s empowering and honest interview between Lisa Haselton and Albert Nasib Badre – you will want to learn more about “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” in this touching memoir.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

 

April 17th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro

Well known book reviewer and fellow memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro reviews “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” by Albert Nasib Badre.

http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/

April 19th @ Memoir Revolution with Jerry Waxler

Jerry Waxler thoroughly enjoyed reader “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” by Albert Nasib Badre and shares his thoughts with readers at Memoir Revolution. Don’t miss this insightful review of Badre’s touching memoir.

https://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/

April 22nd @ Author Anthony Avina

Author Anthony Avina delights readers at his blog as he reviews the moving memoir “Looking West” by Albert Nasib Badre.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

April 23rd @ Beverley A. Baird

Beverley A. Baird reviews the memoir “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” by Albert Nasib Badre.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 26th @ Breakeven Books

Today’s author spotlight at Breakeven Books is none other than memoirist and immigrant Albert Nasib Badre with his touching story “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant”. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about this inspirational coming of age memoir.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

April 29th @ Coffee with Lacey

Lacey reviews “Looking West” by Albert Nasib Badre – readers at Coffee with Lacey will delight in this beautiful coming of age memoir and one man’s journey as a Lebanese-American immigrant.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/ 

April 30th @ Choices by Madeline Sharples

Today’s guest post titled “The Backstory: Letters, Photos, and Conversations” is penned by Albert Nasib Badre. Don’t miss this great post and opportunity to learn about Badre’s memoir “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant”

http://madelinesharples.com/

May 1st @ Lisa M. Buske

Description: Fellow author Lisa M. Buske reviews the inspirational and touching memoir Looking West by Albert Nasib Badre. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Lisa’s thoughts on this powerful story.

http://www.lisambuske.com/blog

 May 7th @ Bring on Lemons with Karen Levy

Israeli-American author Karen Levy reviews “Looking West; The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant” by Albert Nasib Badre.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/


Is anyone taking part in the Harry Potter Magical Readathon? Here is my video showing the books I chose to read for my OWLS! Let me know in the comments if you are participating.

15% off smart designed infant mitts and boots bundles. Use code SPRING15.

Book Review: Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World

Sara sent me a great review of a book she read. It wasn’t on our TBR but it was her little side project and clearly, she loved this book. Take a look at her review below.

*Sidenote: If you are looking for Christmas presents for someone, Sara makes these adorable little craft creatures. Check out her Etsy Shop to see what she has. I know the Potterheads will love her little creations.*

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Synopsis: When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

I think the best summary of this book is one of the final paragraphs in the book:
“I don’t tell you not to worry. I tell you to worry about the right things. I don’t tell you to look away from the news or to ignore the activists’ calls to action. I tell you to ignore the noise, but keep an eye on the big global risks. I don’t tell you not to be afraid. I tell you to stay coolheaded and support the global collaborations we need to reduce these risks. Control your urgency instinct. Control all your dramatic instincts. Be less stressed by the imaginary problems of an overdramatic world, and more alert to the real problems and how to solve them.”

This book is amazing. Everyone should read it – and I don’t ever even read non-fiction!
This book explains why the world is better off than we think, and what some of our major misperceptions are. The impressive thing, though, is that this is explained in an entertaining, and easy to understand way. It’s a quick, easy read, that thoroughly and simply explains major misperceptions we ALL have about the world, and where our focus actually should be – while still being backed up by plenty of easy-to-follow evidence.

Seriously. Read this book. It’s an easy read and helps you realize that things aren’t as bad as we think, and where we should actually be directing our efforts to improve the world. Read this book. Buy this book for someone.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was an extra read that Sara took on to for a fun side project. It was not asked of her to review it. She just chose to.


Deals of the Week: New deals every week, online only!

Book Review: Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir

New book review up on the blog. This one is called Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari.

Synopsis: Trailer Trash tells the story of Angie Cavallari, your typical girl growing up in the 1980s who finds herself cradled in an arm of a society that would be considered anything but your paradigmatic suburban neighborhood.

In 1980, Angie and her two siblings are dropped into a world of the poorest tenements during a decade where material wealth was worshipped. But these are not your usual run-of-the-mill Florida retirement occupants—these are tenants with issues that Angie soon realizes are the same that can happen anywhere—even under her own roof.

Her place in society is further confused by the fact that she doesn’t live in a trailer but nonetheless, shares a postage-sized backyard with a less-desired community by societal standards and attends a prestigious private school more than 45 minutes from her cinderblock castle.

After spending a decade living in a world of indiscernible differences, Angie’s family decides it’s time to pull up stakes, sell the trailer park and buy a double-wide trailer of their own in the Carnie Capital of World, Gibsonton, Florida.

Funny at times, nostalgic throughout, Trailer Trash hits on some serious notes and undertones about societal differences and the trials of surviving childhood in any decade and any environment.

I really enjoyed this book. The writer tells the story of her life with such ease and humor. It was very easy to read and cool to see how she grew up. I never knew what it was like to live in a trailer park but now I have some insight into it.

The author seemed to have a lot of guilt pushed on her about her weight as a child and that saddens me to know that her mother would make her feel like she had to look a certain way. We all have those relationships with our parents that regardless of how they unfold, tend to mold us into who we are today. If you read my last review for Fat Girl on a Plane, I talk a bit more about body weight issues and how we need to make ourselves feel empowered in our own skin.

At one point she talks about wolf spiders and if I was in that trailer where they were, I would be sleeping in a sealed tent outside. No way in hell would I be anywhere near those things…

My favorite character would probably have to be her grandmother. She could be a hardass at times but she seemed like a very fun woman. I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants some light reading and to have a laugh. Angie will keep you smiling as you read how she took on life as a child and young adult in the world of trailer parks and all the fun/interesting people that come with them.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon or Goodreads or connect with the author on Twitter 🙂

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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