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Book Review: COVIDinners

Amazon.com: 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.

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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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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Book Review: Single Again, and Again, and Again

Single, Again, and Again, and Again: What Do You Do When Life ...Single Again, and Again, and Again tells the story of Louisa Pateman (though this is a pen name to protect her identity) and her quest to find “the one”, get married, have a couple of kids by the time she is 30 and live happily ever after. Seems pretty reasonable, right? I think most of us have a similar plan even if we don’t actually have it written down. Louisa is pretty independent and quite the world traveler. When she isn’t traveling and having jobs in various countries, she is trying to have a relationship. She’s tried living with the guys, she’s tried the long distance thing, for whatever reason none of the relationships seem to work out for her long term. As her 30th birthday approaches and then passes, she finds herself reworking the timeline on her life plan. Eventually at 36 or 37 she ends up taking things into her own hands to try and make sure she can have her happily ever after.

I was looking forward to reading this book because I have also found myself ending up single again, and again, and again. While I didn’t have any plans to be married with a family by 30, this isn’t quite the plan I had for my life either. It was nice to commiserate with someone else and see what strange things the guys she tried to date ended up doing in comparison to some of my horror stories. (I think her “Towel Guy” wins, though. Yikes.) While I commend her for the decision she ended up making (I won’t say what since that is probably going to count as a spoiler) it would not be the decision I would make for myself but I am happy that things worked out for her.

For any other girl out there whose love life isn’t quite going according to how they planned it – you are not alone! Hopefully reading this book will show you that and also help you laugh and think about things a bit differently.

I received this book from Reedsy Discovery in order to write this review!

About the Book

Do you feel like you will never find the one? Are you sick of failed relationships? And are you fed up with friends and family telling you to settle down before it’s too late? Well, you’re not alone. Single, Again, and Again, and Again… tells the story of Louisa Pateman’s quest to find her happily ever after. Diligently, she spent decades trying to fulfil her life plan; the path set by society—find her soulmate, get married and have children—but things didn’t exactly go to plan… Through boyfriends and breakups, she found herself single in her mid-thirties wondering where she went wrong. Feeling disappointed and defeated, she had to reassess her priorities and play the cards she was dealt. Finding inner courage, she discovered ways to create extraordinary life experiences despite her perceived failures.

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Book Review: Kludged Singularity

Kludged Singularity has a lot of twists and turns that you truly need to be unaware of for it to have the full impact, so it is hard to write this review and not give anything away, so I do apologize if I am being a bit vague.

This book has 2 main characters – Alan and Surendra. Both have been chosen based on their previous work records to be interviewed for a new position at their companies. Alan is “off site” in Orlando and Surendra is working on a vacation island that houses all the companies workers. I wasn’t sure at first if they were working for the same company or not and if their paths would cross. But once they do cross – things get really interesting.

Alan was a bit of a lazy genius – he created Kludge, software who could make sure his work stats were up to par and do some of the easier IT tasks for him while he used company time to improve on Kludge (think, Alexa) and do other non-work related activities – some of which could probably get him in legal trouble.

Surendra was more by the book and wanted for the promotion because of his attention to detail and doing things by company policy.

Alan ends up making a mistake at work, Surendra and his team end up involved… and it’s worth a read to find out what is going on. I do apologize for not going into more detail – but the gasps of shock I let out during reading this book were one of the reasons why I loved it so much and I’d hate to ruin that for anyone else!

If you are interested in AI or IT in even the slightest bit, then I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery to read and review!

About the Book

Alan is wasting his time in technical support, dreaming of the future. Accidentally releasing an advanced computer worm wasn’t how he imagined it would start. Now he’s just trying to hold everything together with digital duct tape and wishful thinking.

His employer’s sinister secrets throw a wrench in those plans as he learns the technological singularity is imminent. When “working to live” takes on a literal meaning Alan realizes the future may not be as bright as he’d hoped.

Alan fights to guide the future of humanity before control, and freedom, slip from his fingers forever.

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Book Review: Who Is Alex Trebek?

We welcome Alex into our house every night at 7pm, but I must admit I didn’t know much about him.  This book does a great job of going back to the beginning – how his parents divorce affected him and how he at one point considered becoming a priest.  I had no idea that his career in the US is thanks in part to Alan Thicke or that he had a brother he didn’t meet or knew existed until he was 50 years old. (Cute story after they met and they realized they were “related to Alex Trebek!”) A quick read but a lot of great background and detail on his life.

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

About the Book

After a contestant wrote “We love you, Alex!” as his Final Jeopardy! answer, fans around the world quickly chimed in to proclaim their own love and support for beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. In the wake of his devastating cancer diagnosis, the moment provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the show — and the man – meant to them.

It was no surprise, since millions of devoted viewers have long considered Alex Trebek to be a part of their daily lives ever since he began hosting the show in 1984. Now, bestselling biographer Lisa Rogak gives readers a look at Trebek’s early life, his career, and his personal life throughout the years, drawing on many sources to tell his full story for the first time.

There are many surprises, like the fact that Trebek was almost 50 when he discovered that he had a half brother, as well as the revelation that for a short time he actually dreamed of becoming a priest. The native Canadian also struggled with depression after the failure of his first marriage, and for years afterward he despaired of ever having a family of his own until he met the woman who would become his soulmate.

Who Is Alex Trebek? is the first biography of the much-loved game show host, and as such, celebrates the man who has created a remarkable legacy that will live on in popular culture for generations to come.

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Book Review: Disney’s Land

I have been to Disneyland once and was interested in learning more about the conception and creation of it.  I didn’t realize that when Walt was envisioning this “amusement park” that others around the world (including Coney Island!) were on the decline and many of his family and friends thought that it was a ridiculous endeavor.  I think we all know who ended up being right in this scenario.  Things didn’t go perfectly or smoothly from the beginning, but eventually things righted themselves and worked out.  Definitely a lot of interesting history and behind the scenes information in this book, very in depth and I enjoyed reading it and now will have to plan another trip to Disneyland once traveling to CA will be safe again!

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

About the Book

A propulsive history chronicling the conception and creation of Disneyland, the masterpiece California theme park, as told like never before by popular historian Richard Snow.

One day in the early 1950s, Walt Disney stood looking over 240 acres of farmland in Anaheim, California, and imagined building a park where people “could live among Mickey Mouse and Snow White in a world still powered by steam and fire for a day or a week or (if the visitor is slightly mad) forever.” Despite his wealth and fame, exactly no one wanted Disney to build such a park. Not his brother Roy, who ran the company’s finances; not the bankers; and not his wife, Lillian. Amusement parks at that time, such as Coney Island, were a generally despised business, sagging and sordid remnants of bygone days. Disney was told that he would only be heading toward financial ruin.

But Walt persevered, initially financing the park against his own life insurance policy and later with sponsorship from ABC and the sale of thousands and thousands of Davy Crockett coonskin caps. Disney assembled a talented team of engineers, architects, artists, animators, landscapers, and even a retired admiral to transform his ideas into a soaring yet soothing wonderland of a park. The catch was that they had only a year and a day in which to build it.

On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates…and the first day was a disaster. Disney was nearly suicidal with grief that he had failed on a grand scale. But the curious masses kept coming, and the rest is entertainment history. Eight hundred million visitors have flocked to the park since then. In Disney’s Land, Richard Snow brilliantly presents the entire spectacular story, a wild ride from vision to realization, and an epic of innovation and error that reflects the uniqueness of the man determined to build “the happiest place on earth” with a watchmaker’s precision, an artist’s conviction, and the desperate, high-hearted recklessness of a riverboat gambler.

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Book Review: Tiger Wars

If you’re like me, you may want to go back to simpler times during quarantine when everyone was obsessing over binging Tiger King and the war between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.  So to try and make it last a little big longer, I decided to read Tiger Wars – which goes a lot more in depth about both Joe and Carole and their lives and their Zoos/Sactuaries.

While the story follows similarly to the Netflix series, there is a lot more backstory that I found to be very helpful with rounding out their stories a little bit more.  Still off the wall and absolutely insane though.

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

About the Book

Discover the shocking story of Joe Exotic versus Carole Baskin, as seen on the Netflix phenomenon, Tiger King.
The global smash-hit Netflix documentary mini-series, Tiger King, introduced viewers to the weird, crazy and chaotic life of private zoo owner and big cat breeder, Joe Exotic, and his war against Carole Baskin.

Baskin, who runs the Big Cat Rescue in Florida, a sanctuary for abused and abandoned wild cats, waged a long legal battle to have Joe’s exotic animal park in Oklahoma shut down for the maltreatment of his animals. But Carole had her own dark past and Joe wasn’t going down without a fight; he responded by plotting to have her murdered.

Tiger Wars delves deeper into this stranger-than-fiction tale and tells the shocking story of this big cat war, the cult-like characters involved and the spiral of obsession that landed Joe Exotic in jail and exposed the dark heart of America’s big cat obsession.

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Book Review: You Look So Much Better in Person

True Stories of Absurdity and Success

You Look So Much Better in Person is an autobiography from Al Roker, who you probably know from The Today Show! The book tells all about how his career got its start with each chapter or “Altruism”.  This was a quick read but very amusing and interesting! I’ve always liked Al so it was nice to read more about how he got his start and the challenges he faced.  I also really liked hearing his behind the scenes take on what it was like playing Old Joe in Waitress! (The only show on Broadway I have seen twice!)  He also tells a great story about the ONE time he overslept and didn’t get up at his usual 3:45am wake up time. (I can’t even imagine being up that early – let alone doing it thousands of days in a row, yikes!)

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

About the Book

Today coanchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of “yes!”
These days, the road to success can feel jam-packed with scheduling, networking, nonstop hustle, and flat-out absurdity. And no one knows that better than Al Roker-beloved cohost of the Today Show, weatherperson extraordinaire, and the man we all secretly wish we could turn to for wisdom and wisecracks in our everyday lives. From his college days as a polyester-suit clad weather forecaster in Syracuse to battling and buttering up the “Butter Man” during the legendary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al has learned worthwhile lessons over a long successful career. And now, for the first time, Al is ready to unleash savvy advice on how to embrace happiness and the power of saying “yes,” alongside a host of humorous tips and tricks about how to succeed in life.

In You Look So Much Better in Person, Al teaches us how we can weather the storm of life, no matter how torrential the downpour, and shares anecdotes from his own treasure trove of memories in the spotlight. And it hasn’t always been easy-believe it or not, even Al has been yelled at by his boss, suffered an emotional breakdown at work, and told he’d be better suited in another position. Within these pages, he looks back on his own career and shares valuable “Altruisms” that can be applied to our own endeavors, such as how to:

· Navigate the special hell that is socializing

· Craft the perfect comeback line during a confrontation-and know when to use it

· Get up early and actually make the most of your time

· Cry at work without freaking people out

· And much, much more!

Packed to the brim with cackle-inducing and cringeworthy behind-the-scenes insight and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach. You Look So Much Better in Person will leave you laughing out loud and inspired, and feeling not alone amidst life’s best and worst moments.

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