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Scrapbook Saturday – December

Hanson in the snow, Stephen Kellogg, 98 degrees, Jon McLaughlin, David Archuleta

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Book Review: Neurogarden

Neurogarden (NeuralTech Corporation Book 1) by [Bryon Vaughn]Brenna Patrick is a genius, but when video gets leaked from one of her projects at NeuralTech, the media begins speculating just what is going on behind the closed doors there. As part of her Master’s Capstone, Jenny Mercado is supposed to give a presentation to Brenna and her team. She decides instead to go off the cuff and tell them what they need to do to stay on top of the viral video and keep the posts in their favor. Jenny’s classmate and maybe boyfriend, Leo Martino, is also there for the presentation and doesn’t seem too pleased that Jenny went off script. But Jenny ends up getting offered an internship at NeuralTech from Brenna. This ends up getting Jenny and Leo in the door to a big presentation that Brenna is giving on what their technology can do (along with creating more videos to “leak” before the wild ‘what ifs’ take over).

This story moves fast and it is a tech thriller through and through from the very beginning. I have been looking for a really good tech thriller that grabbed me and was pretty excited to see that this book seems to be the first in a series. Generally I don’t like to dive into a series when I am not sure when subsequent books may be available, but while the end did leave things open ended, it also satisfied me enough that it wasn’t a giant cliffhanger and I have to dive into more right away. And while everything is based in tech, it is not overly complicated and anyone should be able to jump on this roller coaster of a book even with no technical background whatsoever. The book will keep you on your toes and you probably won’t be able to guess what will happen next – shocking twists and turns are everywhere in this thriller!

I received a free e-copy of this book to review for Reedsy Discovery!

About the Book

Brenna Patrick is a brilliant technologist specializing in neural-cognitive functions and AI. She has cracked the code to solve one of the most troublesome problems in the field, and turned that into the multi-billion dollar NeuralTech Corporation.

Working quietly with the U.S. Department of Defense, NeuralTech is poised to leapfrog the competition with a revolutionary system for tracking people, starting with the world’s most wanted terrorists. But there are only so many terrorists in the world, so who’s next?

When a pair of Columbia graduate students, Jenny and Leo, stumble on the dark secret of NeuralTech’s success, it kicks off a tense game of cat and mouse. As they fight to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against them, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance…

NEUROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they’ve read the last page.


Book Review: Fixer

Fixer by Sally VedrosThe book begins and we meet Meghan, who has just been let go from her job and is starting a new relationship with Diego. Diego is a software developer and is really into Meghan and helps her get a job at his company. But Diego and his best friend from college, Kari, have been spending almost every moment of free time they have working on their own tech start up app. Kari’s girlfriend, Kira (yeah, that’s not confusing at ALL to keep up with throughout the book!) lends at hand at times as does another one of Diego’s friends, Ravi. They all need to decide if they want to be “all in” on this company and if they believe in this concept and that it will solve a lot of life’s problems. We get a background of all of the characters to help find out what grounds them and what other conflicts they may have in leaving their day jobs behind and taking a leap of faith with what Diego and Kari are trying to put together.

I found this book to be a quick read, and I quickly felt attached to all of the characters, even if some of them were a bit annoying at times. I’m always interested in reading fiction about tech and startups and the likes because as a software engineer myself, I’m always interested to see how in depth descriptions of things go. I thought that this book had a good balance in not having information that would go over most people’s heads, but still efficiently explained everything that was going on with these friends, their lives and the project they were all trying to get off the ground. So even if you are not as tech savvy as I may be, this book is still a good quick read that will probably leave you thinking about yourself, how you use your free time and your relationship with your friends and family. It is almost 6 stories in one – the main plot of them dealing with Silicon Valley and getting this start up going and then each of the sub plots of the life of each of our friends.

I received a free copy of this book to review as part of Reedsy Discovery!

About the Book

Diego is a software developer and solver of life problems. After graduating from Stanford, he sets out to build the ultimate life hack that could forever change the way we live. Diego’s bold vision inspires four friends to join him, but as they build their startup, real life bites back, and each must make tough choices to commit to his or her own ambitions. Learn more at:

Book Review: COVIDinners Katie M Zeigler: BooksCOVIDinners: Adventures in Quarantine Dining is by Katie M. Zeigler. In an effort to keep her families spirits up while sheltering in place, her kitchen whiteboard became the home to daily silly dinner drawings. They were amusing to family and friends so she thought they may be amusing to the general public as well.

There are about 50 drawings in the book, all of with the name of the dinner du jour, an adorable illustration but what really gave me the giggles was the hashtag at the bottom of each photo.

If you’re anything like me during this pandemic, you’re probably completely over having to make dinner (and maybe haven’t ever had to cook so much for yourself and your family every before!) so you probably also need a laugh. Be sure to check out COVIDinners. It’s a really quick read, but also a guaranteed laugh or two.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to review from Reedsy Discovery!

About the Book

A hilarious and heartfelt collection of daily quarantine dinner menus! Irreverent and, at times, downright ridiculous, Zeigler’s creations will keep you laughing and well-fed!

What began as one simple drawing on author Katie M. Zeigler’s kitchen whiteboard, quickly turned into a sounding board for the daily highs and lows of quarantine life. Irreverent, at times political and downright ridiculous, Zeigler’s creations will keep you laughing and well-fed.

From Fauci Fajitas to Socially Distant Soup, COVIDinners not only offers a daily dose of laughter for anyone needing a distraction from quarantine life, but provides a glimpse into what brings us together as a community.

Scrapbook Saturday – November

O-Town, New York City, David Cook, RICC

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Scrapbook Saturday – October

Atlanta, Nashville, Tyler Hilton, Christina Aguilera, Lance Bass

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Book Review: The Little Book of Life Skills

Deal with Dinner, Manage Your Email, Make a Graceful Exit, and 152 Other Expert Tricks

The Little Book of Life Skills is full of a lot of great information on things that you’ll need to know how to do in life.  The book is broken down into several chapters and each chapter has various things related you should now how to do – Waking Up, Getting Places, Working Smarter, Being Productive, Getting Organized (A big one that I need help with and am actively working on!), Making Chores Easier (another one I need to work on!), Cleaning, Being Handy, Dinner, Hosting, Self-Care, Personal and Interpersonal Game, and Finishing your day strong.

Each skill subsection starts out with stating what the skill is.  Some also start with a quote related to it.  Then it lists the steps of what you need to do in order to achieve this skill.  There’s also sections called ‘The Expert’ and ‘The Explanation’ which explains why this should be something you are actively trying to achieve in your life.  There is also a “Bonus” section that has various additional tips or resources to help you out.

This seems to have a LOT of information packed into a relatively quick read.  It is broken down in such a way you can do a skill a night before bed, or maybe a chapter if you want to read for a bit longer. In the end, there will at least be a couple things that you aren’t doing that you realize you can easily start actively doing them in your day-to-day life!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The Little Book of Life Skills uses leading experts from every field to solve the trickiest problems we encounter every day.

We all have areas of our lives that make us feel disorganized, unprepared, or stressed out. Wouldn’t it be great to have one book that told you how to solve all of those problems in one place? Whether you need advice on how to end an argument, iron a shirt, or keep your weekend plans straight, Erin Zammett Ruddy has spoken to experts like Rachael Ray, Dr. Oz, Ariana Huffington, and many more, and condensed their wisdom into easy to follow steps. Divided into sections like Morning Routine, Household Chores, Managing Your Calendar, and Presenting Well At Work, The Little Book of Life Skills offers simple strategies for being better grown-ups, and is the perfect gift for anybody who wants to get organized, be more efficient throughout the day, and finally learn the best way to fold that #$% fitted sheet.

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Book Review: Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Résumé Screening

Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Résumé Screening (Second Edition) by [Michael Lachance]

I never realized that it is only statistically 2% of people who get their resume past the screening process. I haven’t paid much thought to my resume in a while, but as I finish up my Masters Degree, it’s time to start looking for that dream job.

This book really breaks down exactly what you need to do not only with your resume but with cover letters to make sure that it has all the content that those who are doing the hiring are looking for. I had never heard of the “Job Scorecard” so I appreciated the book bringing this to my attention.

This book is a super short quick read, but it definitely let me thinking and motivated to revisit my resume and while it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in this book – I finally made the leap to start an online resume as well. Here’s hoping that within the next year or so I will land my dream job!

If you’re also looking to make that leap into new and rewarding with your dream job, be sure to check out this book first to make sure that you are fully prepared for the resume and interview process!

I received a free e-copy of this book to review from Reedsy Discovery

About the Book

Apply to your next job with confidence. While other books focus only on crafting the perfect résumé or cover letter, the truth is, you need a strategy for the entire job application process. A strategy that communicates your experiences, achievements, and results in a way that provides value to hiring managers. In Land Your Dream Job, you will go from rejected to hired by learning how to: – Read the job description (or job scorecard) – Write your dream-job-worthy cover letter – Craft your dream-job-worthy résumé – Prepare for your interview using the 7P strategy – Use the 1-Hour Job Application Challenge to apply to your dream job Whether you’re applying to your first job or are an established professional changing careers, this book will teach you how to communicate your achievements so you can get hired.

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Scrapbook Saturday – September


Denver, Big E, Elton John more »

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Book Review: How to Succeed as an Online Student

With everything going on in 2020 many students may be finding themselves now as an online student when they weren’t before. Eric Tangumonkem has written this book with 7 secrets on how you can excel. He believes that “knowing” is not enough, you also have to be “doing”. There is a discipline needed in order to be an online student. You have to also be flexible because you aren’t meeting at the same time each week in a classroom. Things are fluid. In addition to the 7 secrets, there is also an 8th, spiritual approach included at the end of the book.

I am currently in my last tri-mester of an online masters program. I knew that doing things online only would be different and probably difficult. I wasn’t wrong. The book talks about how Flexibility is not equal to easy and I think that was the most important thing I had to learn. You’re not meeting every M, W in a classroom. The professor may not post assignments when you are expecting them and you can’t try to make any sort of solid schedule in advance. While you can be studying anywhere you can bring your laptop, that might mean airports on work trips or vacation with friends. The other big thing is to avoid distractions. You need time management. Being on the computer for your lessons means social media and the whole internet is at your fingertips. Set time aside to avoid all those distractions and get your lessons done.

With the pandemic making a lot of schools go online, I think that a lot more students will need to know what it takes to excel online and I think that the 7 tips in this book will really help. (There are also a lot of really great quotes in the book as well that may be helpful too!)

I received an e-copy of this book to read and review from Reedsy Discovery! 

About the Book

How do you know if you have what it takes to study online and be successful? From what I have observed over many years as a teacher, there is a clear chasm between “knowing” and “doing.” If knowledge were all that was necessary for success, many more people would be hugely successful. But knowledge alone is not enough. Fortunately, the design of this book will support you in moving from just “knowing” into actively “doing”. We will share seven secrets to success with you and, by making a concerted effort to apply this information, you will place yourself in a stronger position to achieve the online success you desire.

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