Review: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

From Goodreads: From best-selling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

Jennie’s Thoughts: I’ve had this book on my shelf since it was first published, but kept passing it over for some reason. When I did pick it up, I was almost immediately engrossed, both loving and loathing Jobs as I read.

It’s rather interesting to get such a detailed biography of someone who impacted the world during my own lifetime. I’m used to reading biographies of people that founded or presided over our country, or of people who haven’t directly impacted my own life, but I’m typing this on a MacBook with my iPhone next to me, my iMac in the other room, and an iPod stuffed with music somewhere in this house.

The insight into the creative process left me flabbergasted and awed. Learning more about Steve Jobs as a person left me a little queasy, but not enough to turn me off from ordering to new iPhones last night. :)

This is a thick book, but I highly recommend it for anyone who’s a computer geek, tech nerd, or anyone else, because Jobs impact really did change the world.

Review: The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir

From Goodreads: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Jennie’s Thoughts: I had multiple friends rave about this book last year when it first came out, but for some reason it took me this long to pick it up. Which is a travesty because it’s SUCH a Jennie book. Science and snarky characters and crazy suspense = my kind of story.

Oh, man, did this book bring the suspense! It was told in alternating points-of-view between Watney and NASA personnel, and each time you start to think things are going to calm down, some crazy awesome stuff happens and then everything is insane again. Watney is the perfect narrator, bringing the snark and levity, but also bringing the heart. This is the worst review I’ve possibly ever written for a book I loved (5 STARS!) but it’s hard to describe without SPOILERS.

So, if you’ve been avoiding this because you think it’s too heavy a subject or not something you’d enjoy, I highly suggest you get yourself on the library hold list and give it a whirl.

For the Romance Readers Out There

Lately I’ve been on a romance binge, dancing between contemporary and historical, some pretty H-O-T and some tame in the bedroom (at least tame in what is described on the page).

I know I’m one of the only WSR ladies that reads romance novels, so I thought I’d share a few of my new favorite romance series with our readers. Just in case any of our readers are looking for a steamy read or two. 😉

The Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. The first book is The Best Man. Another bookish mom friend recommended this series to me, saying I would love it. And she was right on the money. I devoured these books! You know, ignoring my family to read, hiding in the bathroom for a few more pages…that kind of thing. The next book comes out in December (I believe) and I’m already dying for it!

Hearts and Crafts by Nicole Michaels. First book is Start Me Up. Confession: Nicole is a local-to-me author and one of the nicest people I’ve met. Seriously. Which might surprise you when you read the steamy scenes in her novels! :) I just finished her newest in this series a week or so ago, and it was delicious and heart-warming. So. Good.

Love By Numbers by Sarah MacLean, the first book: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I loved Sarah’s more recent historical series, so I thought I’d try her first series and I was not let down. I prefer her more recent series, only because of the gaming hell aspects, but Love By Numbers still brought the awesome heroines and those super sexy romances that only Sarah MacLean can do!

Audio Review: Etiquette and Espionage


From Goodreads: Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education

Erin’s Thoughts: Absolutely enchanting, completely delightful, funny, and just plain fun.  I’ve now listened to the first three books in this series and I am desperate for the fourth to come out because they make my car rides and workouts amazing. I have to admit that I didn’t think that steampunk was really “my thing”, but these books have proven me wrong.  Carriger’s writing is full of humor and those great tongue in cheek moments that I always love so much.  The narration by Moira Quick is so well done!  Her voices make the characters completely come to life.  Plus, how could you not love a finishing school for intelligentsias, mechanical pups name Bumbersnoot, and ridiculous characters with names like Lord Dingleproops.  These books are such a treat! While the Finishing School series is Young Adult, I’m excited to check out Carriger’s adult series, The Parasol Protectorate and The Custard Protocol.

Review: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

From Goodreads: A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book; a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.

Jennie’s Thoughts: Is there anything as perfect as a Kate Morton novel? I’m really certain there isn’t. The sweeping storylines, the characters so real, the twists and turns and decades and romance…perfection. And this novel ranks right up there as my new KM novel of all. (PS, she has a new one coming out in October this year!)

The mystery of the tiny girl kept me guessing throughout the entire novel. Just as I’d be sure her parents were this person and that, things would upend my suspicions completely. And, the descriptions of the setting and Blackhurst Manor…oh, how they had me daydreaming about flights and vacations. I wanted to stroll through the forgotten garden, and fall in love with a new place alongside Cassandra.

My review isn’t doing this book justice, so I’ll finish up just to say, this book will be within my top ten books of 2015, no doubt. So, read it and fall in love as I did!

Review: The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

From Goodreads: Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Jennie’s Thoughts: If you haven’t picked up a Trish Doller book, DO SO NOW. She writes H-O-T romances and beautiful hearts and real emotions and crazy awesome suspense. For example, this book here. From the very first page, I knew this book would be the type that would keep me up overnight listening for bumps and bangs from the boogeyman. I had to force myself to stop reading it at bedtime…okay, okay, an hour past my usual bedtime.

I finished it the next day during the kiddo’s naptime and I was still totally creeped out, even in the daytime. The end was heart-pounding action and I probably left finger imprints on the library book’s binding from gripping it so hard.

Cadie was the perfect teen narrator, not perfect as in does no wrong, but perfect as in, a real person frustrated and overwhelmed, with dreams worth going for. Only she gets a little turned around with the hottie cousins she meets at a campground one night and things get insane.

I highly recommend this book!

Review: Yoga for Emotional Balance


From Andrea—-For my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), one of my homework assignments was to read and review a yoga-related book. I thought I’d share here :)

Summary: This book specifically addresses how breathwork and yoga can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Forbes explains in detail how the two conditions can exist in tandem, while having opposite effects on the body. She touches on the prevalent use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, and how they are often taken together with both beneficial and contradictory effects

Forbes breaks down her book into two parts: The Path to Emotional Balance and Breathwork and Restorative Yoga. The first part is then broken down into five sections: Understanding Anxiety & Depression, What Gets in the Way of Change, How True Healing Happens, Five Ways to Transform Your Emotional Patterns, and Finding Meaning in Anxiety & Depression. Each of these five chapters shares anecdotal stories and explanations of the topic from Forbes’ psychotherapy and yoga sessions. The chapters each end with a breath work exercise. Each exercise begins with establishing a baseline, doing the breathwork (1:1, 1:2, etc) and noticing the difference after the practice.

The second part of the book focuses completely on determining your emotional style and developing a Restorative Yoga practice based on that. There is Anxious Mind/Anxious Body, Depressed Mind/Depressed Body, Anxious Mind/Depressed Body, and Depressed Mind/Anxious Body.

Review: I found this book to be very enlightening and applicable to my own life.( I especially like the anecdotal method of explanation, as I was a bit concerned that a book by a PsyD would be rather clinical). You can tell that Forbes genuinely lives her yoga, and isn’t out to make a buck off people looking for a quick fix. In fact, at the very beginning of the book she tells the reader that they can either read the chapters or not, but that the heart of the “cure” is in the practice, and in consistent practice at that. She acknowledges that reading the book in its entirety, combined with consistent practice, would be the most beneficial method, but really stresses the breathwork above all.

Forbes is able to explain the effects of the breath on the mind and body in an easy-to-understand manner. She suggests a 1:1 breath to maintain a calm, balanced mind, or a 1:2 breath to calm a racing, anxious mind.

I think this book would be beneficial to offer to anyone who struggles with anxiety and/or depression, provided they are open to the commitment of steady and consistent practice vs a quick fix.

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