Becoming by Michelle Obama

I will admit that I didn’t know too much about Michelle Obama beyond her being First Lady and her work to promote healthy eating for children. I have great respect for anyone who can pull off being married to the President with grace and style, and I also wondered how stressful it was to raise children in the White House. This book was an amazing insight into Mrs. Obama’s life — her upbringing in Chicago, her thoughts and feelings about Barack when she first met him, her wild ride into the White House, her time as First Lady, and more. I absolutely loved this memoir and found it so interesting! One of my favorite parts was reading about her close knit family while she was growing up. You could just feel the love and connectedness that she shared with her parents, brother, and extended family. I found the Washington years so interesting, especially when she talked about some misconceptions in the press’ portrayal of her (which I remembered). All in all, this was an insightful and positive read, which I actually listened to as I got it with my audible credit. It is read by Michelle Obama herself, which makes it extra special.

Two thumbs up for this one!

Educated by Tara Westover

Since I still have my lengthier than ever commute, I used my Audible credit last month for this novel which I had heard so much about. Everyone has been VERY EFFUSIVE about it, so I assumed that I wouldn’t like it, because I rarely like the things that everyone else raves over (I’m weird like that).

However, I was wrong. This was a fascinating read/listen about an amazing young woman who overcame significant odds to become the person she is today. The description is about education (hence, the title) but there is so much more in this book about family and sibling relationships. Julia Whelan’s narration was spot on perfect and I highly recommend the audiobook. Readers should note that there are some triggers in this story in regards to emotional and physical abuse.

Here’s the overview, which pretty much sums it up!

Number-one New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Boston Globe best seller

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

One of President Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of the Year

Bill Gates’s Holiday Reading List

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Award in Autobiography

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book

Finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington PostO: The Oprah Magazine Time NPR Good Morning America San Francisco Chronicle The Guardian The Economist Financial TimesNewsday New York Post theSkimm Refinery29 Bloomberg Self Real Simple Town & Country Bustle Paste Publishers Weekly Library Journal LibraryReads BookRiot Pamela Paul, KQED New York Public Library 

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. 

“Beautiful and propulsive…. Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?” (Vogue

“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Lessons from the Prairie by Melissa Francis

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I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this book to review by Ms. Francis’ publicist. I absolutely ADORED Little House on the Prairie as a child, first the books then the show, and I certainly remember Melissa Francis as the fictional “Cassandra Cooper”. What I didn’t realize was how funny she was in real life – or how smart. This was an interesting read, with some parts being laugh out loud funny and some parts being so touching they made me a bit teary. While I thought it would be all about Little House and what it was like on set and off, it went through Melissa’s life and some of her personal journeys as well.

Thank you for my review copy!

Lessons from the Prairie delivers one belly laugh after another as Melissa tees up an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to tackling life’s toughest challenges, and making your life happier.” – Megyn Kelly
For fans of the beloved TV show Little House on the Prairie, a self-help book by Melissa Francis, bestselling author of Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter and child star of Little House, revealing important life lessons inspired by a childhood on set.
Melissa Francis was only eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.

Now in Lessons from the Prairie, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, and lessons learned from the show’s dynamic creator, Michael Landon, that have echoed throughout Melissa’s adult life. With novel insights on hard work, making mistakes, and even spirituality, Francis shares inspirational and practical life lessons that will appeal both to her current TV fans, and fans of one of the most adored TV shows of all time.

Biography

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Melissa Francis, anchor of MONEY with Melissa Francis and Markets Now on the Fox Business Network, did not get her start on television in news. At the age of eight, she played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie, working alongside 1980s icons Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Jason Bateman.

In her book Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter, Melissa recounts her life as a child star in the 1980s, a life wholly controlled by a highly neurotic and dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” Now the mother of two young boys herself, Melissa reflects not only on her past but on the subject of parenthood and the impact of relentlessly driving a child to succeed, an approach that sent Melissa’s sister into a deadly spiral.

“What I have learned from a difficult childhood is that, no matter what has happened in the past, you can take charge of your life and be happy. Your life is your own. In fact, a tough past is actually a richness of experience to draw upon. You know what doesn’t work,” says Melissa.

Melissa eventually left acting, earned a degree in Economics from Harvard University, and went on to a successful career as a broadcast journalist. Today, Melissa Francis lives in New York City with her husband and two children. She anchors two daily shows on the Fox Business Network, including Money with Melissa Francis, which covers the intersection of Wall Street and Main Street. Prior to her role at FOX Business, Melissa spent nine years at CNBC, where she anchored shows such as Power Lunch, The Call, and On the Money, and made regular contributions to the Today show and Weekend Today.

THE GOOD BOOK by Deron Spoo – Litfuse Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for THE GOOD BOOK – 40 Chapters that Reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas by Deron Spoo. This is a great little volume to keep near your bedside to use for a daily or weekly devotional. It highlights a chapter of the Bible (included), then writes on it, tying it in to real life, then presents some reflection ideas. It is very readable!

Here is the overview:

Book Info

The Good Book 

offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible’s biggest ideas.
A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.
Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible,  The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.
The Good Book:
-is a great evangelism tool for explaining the major themes of Scripture to those who want to know more about God, Jesus, and the core beliefs of Christianity;
-gives new believers an overview of the Bible and lays a framework to help them understand Scripture passages;
-helps longtime Christians rediscover the basic themes of Scripture and experience these truths in a new way; and
-encourages Scriptural literacy as it pushes readers to read both one chapter of the book and one chapter of the Bible each day for forty days.
The Good Book is great for individuals, and it can also be used by small groups in an eight-week church-wide program or a forty-week journey that focuses on one Bible chapter each week.
 
The Good Book will help people understand and live by the transformative truths of the Bible.

Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as “down to earth” and “authentic.” His television devotionals, “First Things First,” reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Find out more about Deron at http://www.readthegoodbook.com.
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I really appreciated this book and actually asked for my review copy in print (I usually always get a mobi) so I could share it with my family. As a Catholic family, I find sometimes we struggle with Biblical interpretations as the Catholic Church, while using the Bible weekly, in general has a different role for the Bible (or at least that is how it was in my 1970’s and up upbringing) with a heavy emphasis on the Gospels and a weekly emphasis on the pastor interpreting readings from the Old and New Testaments, but not a lot of individual interpretation. As an adult, I am now seeing (at least at my parish) Bible study groups and Bible reading groups, which is new to me. So – I love finding books that help me to interpret the many wonderful passages of the Bible.

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Here is a You Tube about the book:

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON by David Grann

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Description

THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore

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I received this book from Net Galley back in the fall. It is the true story of the women who worked in a watch factory, using radium to illuminate the dials. These young women suffered horrible effects from ingesting the radium as they licked their paint brushes:

Description

Lee Wolfe Blum’s BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL – A Litfuse Blog Tour

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I’m happy today to take part in the Litfuse blog tour for BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL by Lee Wolfe Blum. I enjoyed this easy to read novel of inspirational stories about women facing hardship and challenges and coming out a changed person, with beauty truly coming from within. To be honest, I found some of the stories intense and almost disturbing in their harshness (but really, that’s life – not a bowl of cherries!). I had planned to share this novel with my young teen, but will wait a few years.
This was a good read and a strong reminder of how our culture can sometimes need to get its priorities straight.
Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!
Overview:
Our culture bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection. 
Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?
Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.

Find out more about Lee Wolfe at leewolfeblum.com.
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Blog Tour Schedule:
 
5/2
Ashley | Aahales.com
Stacey | Books, Dreams,Life
Leila | Leila Tualla’s Bookshelf5/3
Katherine | Katherine Scott Jones
Laura | Once Upon a Storyville

5/4
Shannon | Mrsreadsbooks

5/5
Faith | Faith Raider
Julie | Surrender Issues and Chocolate
Renn | Heart to Heart Books
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Jami | Jami’s Words

5/8
April | Writing and Other Acts of Faith
Heather | Compared to Who?
Marjolaine | Books, Beautiful Books

5/9
Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Erin | ReviewsByErin
Jendi | Jendi’s Journal
Kelli | Kelli Sommers

5/10
Erin | tragically dull adventures of an almost librarian
Jennifer | Adventures in Unsell Land
Kelly | God’s Writer Girl
Kristie | Moments
Jessica | Girlz 4 Christ

5/11
Aimee | Family Compassion Focus
Annie | Just Commonly
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Colleen | ColleenRichman.com
Kay | Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
Marjorie | The Writer’s Tool

5/12
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Amy | Pause for Tales
Carole | The Power of Words
Julie | More Of Him
Pat | An Ordinary Woman Pursing Splendor

5/13
April | Dixie n Dottie
Bree | Bibliophile Reviews
Emilie | Thinking Thoughts

5/14
Alexis | God is Love
Jennifer | A Peace of Mind
Sarah | Running Through The Storms

5/15
Denise | Ramblings of a California Couponer
Mindy | A Room without Books is Empty

5/16
Bethany | The perfect beginning
Lydia | Noveltea
Rachel | Smiling Book Reviews
Susan | In This Together
Amelia | Rejoice Evermore