Category Archives: book review

The Slight Edge: An Introduction and a Concept Worth Considering

I just started reading a new book called The Slight Edge and wanted to share my very first takeaway with all of you about how the little habits in our lives are what make us successful. Becuase you know I’m all about changing our small habits to make a big change in our lives!


In the introduction to The Slight Edge, the author, Jeff Olson, says that when we’re close to or at the point of failure, we do daily little actions to bring us back to a level of average, or survival mode, which is where we feel comfortable.

But the problem is that we then STOP doing these actions, leading us slowly back down towards failure, only to recognize what’s happening and start back up with our positive habits again until we get back to average. Can you see how this becomes a cycle of oscillating between the levels of comfortable and falling apart?

BUT if we KEEP UP those daily little actions even when we’re feeling comfortable and average, we can get up to  the level of success…

… and if we KEEP DOING THEM at the level of success, then we can actually STAY there. Jeff Olson says that everyone is an average person, but we don’t have to live an average life. We get to choose to become successful by simply working hard and doing these simple little actions every day and doing them with a positive philosophy, which then trickles down into our attitude, our actions, and the rest of our life.

This concept translates so well into exercise.

Often, we find the right way to start losing weight and once we’ve lost a few lbs we think, oh great! And those little habits start to slip. We skip a few workouts, we have a few days where we skimp on the veggies, and sooner or later we find ourselves back where we started. BUT if we had just kept up those positive habits like getting enough sleep, eating lots of vegetables every day, exercising 5-6 times a week, etc., then we can reach a level where we feel AMAZING rather than just average or comfortable.

Again, this idea applies to any goal in our lives, not just exercise. Whether you want to succeed in school, in your job, make a difference in your church, create a great homeschool for your children, remodel your house, save money, etc. You CAN be really successful, you just have to keep up the habits that get you there past the level of being comfortable.

But why don’t we do that?

I believe we all have a level of fear of success within us and I’ve definitely recognized it within myself. Many of us have this deep down fear of what will happen if we do succeed? Then what? What if we can’t live up to everyone’s expectations or keep it up? It’s so much easier to stay in a realm where we KNOW we can handle the circumstances and we feel comfortable. But is that where you want to live all aspects of your life? Or do you want to give success a try? I know I do!

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just reading the introduction of The Slight Edge has created so many revelations for me in various areas of my life. It inspired me to sit down and really think about where I’m stopping and letting myself be average, and what habits I can work on to improve in the future and head towards success. Some of mine include:

  • Connect with a new person every day.
  • Workout/move six times per week.
  • Eat 5 servings of vegetables every day.
  • Do visualization and meditation every morning.
  • Center myself and prepare well before every call with a client.
  • Get outside every day.
  • Apply to a new job every day
  • Read my bible every day.
  • Write down things I’m grateful for every evening.

The key for me is to KEEP doing these things after they start working, rather than think I’m good now and stop doing them every day. Hopefully, this book will have some tools to help me do just that!

Did this concept make you realize anything about your life?

What are a couple habits that you need to start and/or keep up every day, no matter what?

Book Review Palooza!

Remember back in the day when I used to do book reviews? Yea, that feels like a long time ago. I’ve read a LOT of books this year (91 to be exact…) so I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts on some of them! Let’s not pretend all 91 were New York Times Best Sellers list novels or anything, haha, there are definitely some fun, quick reads on that list and I thought I’d try to share a bit of a selection.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


I finally started this series after it had been recommended to me a few times and I have to say I’m intrigued. The first book left off very open-endedly, so these are definitely one story broken up into different books, but I am enjoying the story so far and I like that the author went in more of a sci-fi direction, which makes it different from a lot of the YA dystopian novels I’ve read in the past.


In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark

In the Land of the Long White Cloud

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

Helen Davenport, governess for a wealthy London household, longs for a family of her own—but nearing her late twenties and with no dowry, her prospects are dim. Responding to an advertisement seeking young women to marry New Zealand’s honorable bachelors, she corresponds with a gentleman farmer. When her church offers to pay her travels under an unusual arrangement, she jumps at the opportunity.

Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, beautiful and daring Gwyneira Silkham, daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder, is bored with high society. But when a mysterious New Zealand baron deals her father an unlucky blackjack hand, Gwyn’s hand in marriage is suddenly on the table. Her family is outraged, but Gwyn is thrilled to escape the life laid out for her.

The two women meet on the ship to Christchurch—Helen traveling in steerage, Gwyn first class—and become unlikely friends. When their new husbands turn out to be very different than expected, the women help one another in ways they never anticipated.

Set against the backdrop of colonial nineteenth-century New Zealand, In the Land of the Long White Cloud is a soaring saga of friendship, romance, marriage and adventure.


Since I read so much, I use Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month) rather than buying each individual book that I read. One of the books recommended to me on Kindle Unlimited was The Land of the Long White Cloud and I have to say, I was first drawn in by the cover and after reading the description, I thought, “this could be interesting?” It turns out I had no idea what I was in for. About 12% in (kindle talk for pages) after spending a couple hourse reading, I realized the book was 650 pages long… Fortunately, the only frustrating part about that was that it took so much longer to find out what happened to everyone!

This novel exceedd my expectations. From the very beginning, I was hooked on not only the two main characters’ stories, but eventually the story of every single person they came in contact with. The author had me dying to know what happened to each of them, and as a multi-generational story, by the end I finally got my answers for how each of their lives turned out. The length may make this book intimidating, but I highly recommend giving it a try!


Shelter by Harlan Coben

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar, #1)

My rating: ⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mickey Bolitar’s year can’t get much worse. After witnessing his father’s death and sending his mom to rehab, he’s forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.

A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey’s train-wreck of a life is finally improving – until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley’s trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn’t who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey’s father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury – and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

First introduced to readers in Harlan Coben’s latest adult novel, Live Wire, Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about. With this new series, Coben introduces an entirely new generation of fans to the masterful plotting and wry humor that have made him an award-winning, internationally bestselling, and beloved author.


In case you were curious, Kindle Unlimited doesn’t include very many new or overly popular books, so to find those I use the Kansas City online library. The downside of this is having to wait so long to get some books! The upside: I’ve saved myself hundreds of dollars (that I don’t have… 😉 ).

This book was another that came up on a list of books recommended for me and, like Cinder, it was unconclusive as a stand alone novel. It was a little odd, mostly because the story felt underdeveloped. New concepts or characters would pop out of nowhere and it took a lot of suspension of belief to just accept them into the story.This first one felt more like an introduction than a story in itself. I have the next book in the series on hold at the library, so I’m going to give it another chance.


Broken Grace by E.C. Diskin

Broken Grace

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

And someone is watching. Someone willing to kill again to protect a secret.


OH MY GOSH. This book was crazy and so suspensful! If you like mysteries where you’re trying to figure out who did it before the book tells you, then this is for you! And no, this is nothing like the older mystery books your parents read, it’s written in a very fresh and young tone and you quickly fall in love with Grace, the main character. I highly recommend this one!


The Other Side of Someday by T.K. Leigh

The Other Side of Someday

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

You know how you always say “Someday I will”?
Well, I’ve hit my someday.
Someday begins today.

Baylee Morgan is at a crossroads of her life. Leaving her marriage of ten years and the only life she’s ever known, she starts over in a penthouse ocean-front condo in Santa Monica, California. She soon finds herself immersed, albeit reluctantly, in the daunting and perilous world of dating as an almost thirty-something in Los Angeles, unsure of how to act, what to do, or whether that hot guy she meets in yoga class is straight.

Sebby Powers’ dream has always been to work in the film industry. At the age of thirty-five, he’s one of the youngest up-and-coming producers in Hollywood. His life is perfect. Perfect apartment. Perfect girlfriend. Perfect dog. Until a friendship with a beautiful new woman with vibrant red hair and a similar taste in cheesy movies throws his perfect life into a tailspin.

The Other Side Of Someday is a fun, sexy story of looking for Mr. Right in a world full of Mr. Wrongs, when Mr. Right could be just next door.


Another Kindle Unlimited read, The Other Side of Someday, was definitely a cute, fun novel, perfect for when you just want to dive into a good book to get away from the real world. I wouldn’t call it a page turner, but it was a very cute story and a fun to read.


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?


This is a HIGHLY RECOMMEND in my book! Another cute read, and about an almost High School senior, it may not be for everyone, but I certainly didn’t feel like the author was writing for a high school audience. I actually came across this book when it was one month’s selection for Lauren Conrad’s blog’s book club and I’ve been waiting for it at the library for months! It was a very cute story and I really got into it and fell in love with all of the characters. It’s only partially a romance, but so much more about both friends and figuring out who we are as people both with and without the relationships around us. Such a fun book!


What are you reading right now?

What’s one of your favorite books you’ve EVER read? 

Book Reviews: Personal Development

Ever since I really committed to reading 10 pages of a personal development book every day, I’ve actually finished several of them over the past two months. It’s amazing! You all know I love to read, but I struggle feeling enthused to read anything that isn’t a novel. Although I love what I get out of these books, it’s just hard for me to sit down and focus for very long. Taking bite-sized chunks out of them each day has led to some serious accomplishment! Please feel free to take this lesson and apply to any area of your life. 😉

Today I thought I’d share my book reviews on three personal development books that I’ve read recently:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Goodreads Synopsis:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

This is one of the few non-fiction books that I actually flew through and had no trouble concentrating on. For anyone who has ever wanted to pursue something creative, whether that’s writing, art, photography, dancing, acting, etc., this book is incredibly inspirational. I also don’t mean pursue as a career necessarily – you might not think you’re the creative type, but everyone has creativity inside them, we merely suppress it because we believe our talents don’t hold up to some standard. Creativity is something to be done for yourself, not anyone else. If they happen to love it, well then all the better.

“Trust me, your soul has been waiting for you to wake up to your own existence for years.”

Not only is this book full of great advice, wisdom and inspriation, but I love that Elizabeth Gilbert weaves all of her own experiences and stories through the books, including many, many “failures.” We often think that someone who writes a hit like Eat, Pray, Love must be producing successes all the time, but her story is incredibly relatable as she shares her own fears, her many, many works that were never picked up, and the time and effort she put into developing her craft. People who have a “big hit” aren’t any different from you and me, they just had the right inspiration at the right moment and time.

I absolutely loved Big Magic and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a little creative inspiration.

Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ready to activate your dream life?
You know that sneaky voice inside your head telling you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, whatever enough? That’s your Mean Girl. And she’s doing her best to keep you stuck in Fear Town, too scared to go after the life you always imagined.
But enough’s enough! Melissa Ambrosini has made a life beyond her wildest dreams, all by mastering her Mean Girl, busting through limiting beliefs and karate-chopping through the fears that held her hostage for years. And now she wants to help you remember not only what you are capable of, but how amazing you truly are!
In this inspiring, upbeat guide, Melissa provides a practical plan for creating your own version of a kick-ass life — one that’s wildly wealthy, fabulously healthy and bursting with love. Designed to propel you out of stuck-ness and into action, this is a must read if you’re ready to let go of your Mean Girl and start living the life of your dreams.

Mastering Your Mean Girl is a book filled with both incredible wisdom, but also actionable tips and advice that you can incorporate into your life. Along with each chapter, Melissa Ambrosini includes little tidbits like “Inspo-Action,” which gets you to immediately apply what she’s saying to your own life. I found these incredibly helpful as I often read a personal development book, underline, make notes, and then feel too overwhelmed to go back through and really apply what I’ve learned. These Inspo-Action pieces allow you to take the application step by step rather than feeling overwhelmed with an entire book of ideas.

No matter where in your life you find yourself filled with fear or a lack of worth, Melissa reaches out to you with tips, advice, and a lot of cold hard truth. Whether you’re struggling to find a new job, have a negative body-image, hate giving presentations at work, aren’t happy in your career, or don’t have fulfilling relationships, this book is for you. It actually inspired me to run my own mini-challenge last month to help women conquer their inner mean girl. I learned quite a bit from this book and definitely recommend it to anyone needing a some wisdom and good dose of truth.

“It’s exciting when you finally realize that you are the director, producer, and leading actor of your own life movie… we get to create our own lives exactly how we want them, moment by moment. You have the power, my darling.”


The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods, not empty promises. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there.

I originally picked up this book as a recommendation from some other women in my coaching group to help with my business, but I soon found that this book is incredibly applicable to all types of people, no matter what your daily life or career path looks like.

As you might imagine from the title, The Magic of Thinking Big really inspires its reader to push him or herself to not settle for simply being content with a life that may not bring them joy, but to really push themselves to reach for the things that many of us wish we had but don’t truly believe we are capable of achieving.

“When you believe something is impossible, your mind goes to work for you to prove why. But when you believe, really believe, something can be done, your mind goes to work for you and helps you find ways to do it.”

Honestly, I recommend this book to everyone, even if you love your life! This world could certainly use some more big players, whether that’s someone to build an amazing start-up or someone to create an enriching sunday school program at their church. Not only that, but anyone who follows the principles in this book would be a person I’d certainly enjoy to be around:

“Taking an ax and copping your neighbor’s furniture to pieces won’t make your furniture look one bit better; and using verbal axes and grenades on another person doesn’t do one thing to make you a better you or me a better me.”


Would you read any of these books?

What are you reading right now?

Your Holistically Hot Transformation [Book Review]

I met Marissa years ago at my very first blogging conference and absolutely loved getting to know her. It’s been so fun to see her business change and grow over the years and I’ve been so impressed with everything she’s done. When Marissa reached out to me earlier this year to read and review her new book, Your Holistically Hot Transformation, I just HAD to see what she’d put together and now that I have, I’m so happy to be sharing her book with all of you!

Your Holistically Hot Transformation

Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion, and Self-Judgment by Marissa Vicario

The first thing I did when I downloaded her book was to look at the contents and I was immediately thrilled to see that this book isn’t just about nutrition and fitness, but about a transformation of your entire self, including your heart and mind.


Marissa walks through her entire healthy lifestyle, starting with how she changed her own life, how she removes the “diet mentality” from her lifestyle, and the science behind eating, to details on her diet choices, meal planning and prep, cooking, listening to your body, exercise, and having a healthy mindset.


I really appreciate that she’s all about creating a sustainable lifestyle based on each person’s individual needs rather than following trends. She also encourages you to start small (my number one tip!) and gives tips that are easy to add into your life. I already use several of the suggestions she gives in the book, so I recommend to any of my followers and clients to read through and find some great ideas and recipes to incorporate into your own life.

One of my favorite parts of the book is an example she gives about two women who are eating out, one choosing a diet soda and the other choosing a coconut water. While yes, the coconut water contains more calories, it’s considerably more beneficial to her body than the soda, and it won’t make her crave sugar-filled sweets either. Being healthy is about so much more than calories in and calories out and Marissa does a really good job of using her own story to help her readers relate to her and to the benefits of her tips and suggestions.


You can find Marissa’s book, Your Holistically Hot Transformation, on Amazon! And just FYI, I was given Marissa’s book for free to review and, as always, all opinions are entirely my own!

Book Review: Gracie’s Song

I was gifted the ebook version of Gracie’s Song by Michelle Schlicher in exchange for my honest review, so here we go!

Gracie's Song

First, the Goodreads Synopsis:

“Everything can be undone.” That’s what someone tells Gracie Brannen, but she’s doubtful. After graduation, she walked away from everyone she knew with barely a word. Ten years later, she’s back. Even as familiar places and faces bring back old pain, Gracie finds hope in rebuilding old ties and forging new ones. Maybe everything can’t be undone, but perhaps everything can be overcome.

This was not only a cute story, but the novel was very well written. The story pulled me in immediately and I couldn’t stop reading it once I had started. Right off the bat I loved the main character, Gracie, and was intrigued by her story. The author doesn’t share why Gracie left home without telling anyone until much later on in the book, leaving me dying to know what had happened and how her childhood/high school boyfriend, Finn, would react when he found out.
The bond between this couple was so clear but it never felt overstated or overdone. This story felt like a story about forgiving ourselves and others and learning to move forward, rather than a romance, but the romance fit in just perfectly and naturally. No teenage or high school drama.; just life and learning how the choices you make not only impact your life but the lives of those around you. Additionally, the author demonstrates all relationships, including broken and abusive ones, so I never felt like the story was just too “perfect.” The story really makes the reader wonder about fate and if we’re really meant to be with one person.

The only thing I didn’t love about the novel was how the author used the flashbacks. Although they were necessary and helped to understand the characters’ stories, I started to get annoyed by them. About two-thirds through the book I was so wrapped up in what was happening in the current story that the flashbacks started to frustrate me. I wish more of then had occurred near the beginning of the novel and fewer near the end.

I really enjoyed reading Gracie’s Song and definitely recommend it to you all! I’m so thankful I said YES to reading and reviewing this book!

What did you read most recently?

If you could be the main character in any book, who would you be?

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