Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Review: Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

May 28th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

My Thoughts

I have to admit it pains me to give this book 3 stars because I love Lauren Layne’s writing so much but I have to admit this one just didn’t do it for me. The premise is interesting enough and I was curious to see how it would play out but neither main character got me invested in their story. Yes, I felt bad for Oliver for having to deal with his father’s condition, especially since he admits several times he didn’t actually like his father before he developed Alzheimer’s. Naomi’s character was lukewarm for me. I admire that she made so much of herself through hard work and her own grit but she just wasn’t as likeable as the heroines in other Lauren Layne books. Without caring much for either character I never really became invested in their relationship.

As for the storyline itself, it wasn’t bad but the ending was a big turn off for me. I didn’t care for the conflict, especially the way Oliver reacted. It made me actually dislike his character for being so cruel and brushing off Naomi’s feelings and past. I also felt like Naomi let him off too easily in the end and that he never truly felt remorse for the things he said to her.

The saving grace for me in this story was actually the supporting characters. I loved Naomi’s friends, Claire and Audrey, and I am hoping to see Clarke get his own book!

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

Blog Tour: Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen Excerpt + Giveaway

May 19th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

 


About the Book:

Addison Murphy is the funny friend, the girl you grab a beer with—the girl voted most likely to start her own sweatshirt line. And now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. She’ll get through this wedding if it’s the last thing she does. Just don’t ask her to dive for any bouquet.
When Tucker Crawford returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see the nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Certainly doesn’t expect to feel his heart beat faster when he realizes they belong to one of his best friends.
If he convinces Addie to give him a chance, they could be electric…or their break-up could split their tight-knit group in two.
Hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him—he was just too stupid to realize it—now she’s leaving to follow her own dreams. He’s going to need to do a lot of compromising if he’s going to convince her to take a shot at forever with him—on her terms this time.

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Excerpt

The concern faded as a smile curved her red lips, somehow unsmudged despite the kissing and drinking. “Will just talks about your games so much, and I’d like to try my hand at it. I don’t think I could get my mother on board for poker at the reception, though. Pretty sure she’d have a heart attack if I even mentioned it. She thinks I’m crazy to be getting married here and moving here, and basically, she just thinks I’m plumb crazy. Which, when it comes to that sexy man over there…” Her gaze drifted to Shep and a dreamy quality entered her features. “I am.”“It’s nice to see, actually. And the townspeople will love you forever for having the wedding here and letting them be part of it.” Addie picked up one of the stray coasters and spun it to give her fingers something to do. “And I’m sorry about saying that wedding planning is boring. It just…”

“Is,” she supplied. “I mean for me it’s overwhelming, but like I said when I asked for your help, I know it’s not your thing.”

“I seriously don’t mind helping. But admittedly teaching you poker is something I’m way more qualified for.” It also gave Lexi more bonus points. Clearly she was embracing small town life and trying to fit into the group, and hopefully that meant things wouldn’t have to change too terribly much after they were married. It also gave her an excuse to text Tucker and ask him to bring by a deck of cards if he happened to swing by the bar to catch some of the game.

While Addie waited for his response, she and Lexi made yet another to-do list from the master to-do list. Addie took the items she thought she could handle, or at least could find townspeople willing to help make them happen. In a lot of ways, discussing everything that needed done and how they’d go about handling them highlighted their differences, but along the way, they also connected.

Which was probably why, when Tucker showed up and tossed a deck of cards across the room to Addie, Lexi felt comfortable enough to ask if she thought Tucker would be interested in Brittany. Evidently, the meticulous brunette couldn’t stop talking about the way he’d swooped in and offered his car, and how sexy he was.

What Addie wanted to say as she pulled the deck of cards out of the well-worn box was I’m not sure she’s his type. But his type had always been pretty Southern belles, ones who didn’t understand or care for Addie. So honestly, the bridesmaid was right up his alley, and now she was remembering that during the whole car-breakdown debacle, he’d requested she put in a good word. “Yeah, he’d probably be interested,” Addie said, and why did that make a pit form in her stomach?

It had to be because she’d been thinking about “what would happen if all her friends coupled off and she got left behind. But she forced herself to push that worry aside and say, “I’m sure he’d give her a call if you gave him her number.”

More gut sinking immediately followed, which was stupid. Well, not exactly stupid. They’d been apart for two years and it sucked. With him in a different city, and communication between them slowing to a trickle, there’d been a few times when she wondered if she was forgettable. Replaceable, even.

Mostly just on dark days when she’d been missing Tucker more than usual, or when she’d felt especially lonely. Part of the fault belonged to her, too. The roads went both ways and she could’ve made more of an effort. So she resolved to do better, even if he got a girlfriend. She’d also try to ignore the jealousy—jealousy she’d feel for anyone who took away any of her time with him.

She met his gaze, and he winked at her, a smug, semimocking grin on his lips that made it clear he was teasing her about her current wedding-planning situation. It also made her heart stutter the tiniest bit.

Underneath the table, she thumbed out a text.

ADDIE: FYI, I’m going to drag you with me to at least half these tasks, so wipe that smug look off your face.

TUCKER: Why don’t you come wipe it off for me?

A swirl went through her stomach. Because of the challenge—she loved a good challenge.

ADDIE: Oh, I’m coming for you. But it’ll be when you least expect it. Be afraid. Very afraid.

TUCKER: Unlike most guys, I’m not afraid of you.

Her mouth dropped. He did not just go there.

Giveaway:

$15 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Author:

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Posted in Blog Tour, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

Podcast Thoughts: The Life Coach School Episode #244 Thinking Big

May 8th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Access The Life Coach School’s Episode #244 here.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been on the hunt to find books, podcasts, YouTube videos, etc. to help my kids grow and listen/watch things besides video game or random YouTube videos. I’ve stumbled across some great books and podcasts that have lead to some interesting discussions with my 8 year old and 11 year old. My 8 year old son and I listened to this episode while waiting for my 11 year old to finish practice and while this podcast is geared towards adults it had some great nuggets that my son was also able to apply to his life.

I found that both my kids will sometimes say that learning to do something new is “Impossible!” and that they will “never be able to figure it out” and want to give up trying. I’ve tried to point out to them that they’ve said this same thing when they were first trying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels or tie their shoelaces and now those things are pretty much second nature to them. In this podcast Brooke Castillo points out how beneficial and necessary it is to set “impossible goals” for ourselves and to think big because that is the only way we truly grow. It’s so easy to stay in our comfort zone and do the things we know we are good at and never venture beyond that but then you stay stagnant in life. She talks about business goals and weight loss goals but I pointed out to my son his big goals can be learning a new skill or right now he’s working on dealing with anger and frustration issues. Mastering that could be his big goal and we talked about how he could break down smaller goals to lead up to that ultimate goal, things he could do every day to work his way towards that goal and how to deal with potential obstacles to achieving that goal. I think having discussed those smaller steps and pointing out other “impossible goals” he has already achieved helped make his other goals seem more achievable even though they seem so big to him now. He did have me pause the podcast at some points to explain what certain words meant or to more fully explain a point Brooke made which I thought was great. He really listened to what she was saying and worked to understand how it could apply to him. This is a great podcast for both kids and adults.

Posted in Kids, Podcasts | No Comments »

Children’s Podcast Review: But Why? Episode: Why Is Money So Important

May 6th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Access the But Why? episode here.

I’ve been working with my kids to read some self-development books or listen to some podcasts that aren’t necessarily video game related which is how they like to spend the bulk of their screen time doing and I stumbled across this great podcast called But Why? They have episodes on topics that are not only interesting to kids but also have some interesting nuggets of information. This episode was all about money and covered topics like the evolution of paying for items and services via bartering, trading shells for goods & services and eventually the creation of coins and paper money. It also talks about why people have to work, having to balance wanting things in life with how much money will it cost you, saving money and taking out loans to but things.

As we listened to the podcast my 8 year old, 11 year old and I discussed points that stood out to us. My 11 year old said she learned she never wants to borrow money because she doesn’t want to have to pay interest. So that lead to a discussion about does she really NEVER want to borrow money? Or are there situations where maybe the interest payment is worth what she could get by taking out the loan. My 8 year old was interested in why certain jobs pay more than others and how going to school and learning new things could affect the types of jobs he could get. They also loved that the podcast covered their question on why is the dime smaller than a penny if it’s worth more. I honestly didn’t know that answer myself and found the answer interesting. All in all, it was a great podcast and amazingly my 8 year old sat through the entire 24 minutes and was engaged the entire time.

Posted in Kids, Podcasts | No Comments »

Kids Book Review: Baditude! What to Do When Life Stinks! by Julia Cook

May 2nd, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: August 15, 2015

Publisher: Boys Town Press

About the Book

So much of Noodle’s life just stinks! Homework stinks. Practice stinks. Yard work stinks. And family pictures? They REALLY stink!

Luckily, Noodle’s mom and teacher are there to help him understand how his bad attitude, or “baditude,” is affecting his mood and those around him. Even his friends are starting to avoid him! If only he can stop looking at everything so negatively, more positive results will follow!

Join Noodle as he learns to turn his “I have to’s” into “I get to’s,” his frown into a smile, and his “badtitude” into “gratitude”! This is the 2nd title in the Responsible Me! series.

My Thoughts

I stumbled across this book as I was browsing children’s books suggested for fostering a growth mindset in kids and requested it from the library. My 8 year old read it today and it was a great discussion book. We often have discussions about how his outlook on a situation can affect how good or bad an experience is for him. He has had a habit of complaining if he has to wait “one million hours” or if a situation at school was “just not fair!”. This book covered so many of the situations both he and my 11 year old complain about like having to go to bed early and wake up early, having to do homework, having to practice something, etc. Some of the key points the character in the book learns are, the more you complain about something, the more things you will find to complain about and try to change your baditude into gratitude. So instead of complaining about HAVING to do something, focus on how you GET to do something and how that can be a positive thing.

There is a list of things parents can do with their kids to help turn baditude into gratitude in their kids (and these apply to adults too!). My son and I talked about which situations in the book also applied to his life and how he can change his outlook on these situations. Some things we have been working on that tied in nicely with this book was when we talk about how his day went in addition to talking about what may have gone wrong that day he also has to tell me three things that went well that day too. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives that you gloss over the things that did go right. We also have discussed that sometimes you just have to brush off other people’s negative attitude. Just because someone says something about you doesn’t make it true. If they tease him that doesn’t make their criticism true and maybe it’s even hiding some insecurity in themselves. He may not be able to get them to stop saying something but he can change how he reacts to the situation.

I love the closing quote in the book and this is the second book we’ve read recently that mentioned this quote: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it!” – Charles Swindoll and I think it’s a great quote to embrace in life.

Find it online

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Posted in 4 Star Books, 5 Star Books, Books, childrens | No Comments »

Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

April 30th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: February 28, 2012

Publisher: Random House

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the Book

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded by transforming habits.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

My Thoughts

I’d say this was more of 3.5 stars but not quite a 4 star read for me. It started off great and I was honestly fascinated but the studies the author references and in particular the anecdotes about how Starbucks trains their employees. Maybe that just stuck with me because I do love my tea/refreshers from Starbucks and have to say how amazing most of the Starbucks employees I’ve encountered are. Their attitude as a whole are so customer focused that even when I do encounter issues with my visit they go above and beyond to fix it.

That said once you drill down into the basic concept it’s pretty obvious that most of our life is lived through a series of habits we form and that changing those habits can have a huge effect on the direction our lives take. While I found reading the book enjoyable I kept waiting to read more about how we can change these habits but that is not really addressed until the very last chapter of the book. I guess I was hoping for some “miracle” bits of advice that would make interrupting an existing pattern and replacing it with a new pattern easier but of course that never comes. The author does give some good methods to try and narrow down what your cues are for habits you want to change that are great for practical application. I just wish that had come earlier in the book. I could definitely tell when I felt the book started to get a bit repetitive because the number of highlights I made dropped of significantly. This book could have been a lot shorter and a much tighter read in my opinion. I’d say the first half and then the last chapter are definitely worth reading and the rest could be skimmed.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Non-fiction | No Comments »

Review: Toxic Game by Christine Feehan

April 2nd, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Series: Ghostwalkers #15

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

My Thoughts

I started this series years ago and was totally addicted to it but I started to drift away from it at some point. The story lines just haven’t gripped me the way the early books did but I happen to pick up the recent books from the library and got sucked back in. I ordered this one on release day and it was a great pick.

I enjoyed both Peony’s and Draden’s characters and their situation makes you think about how would you behave in their situation. If you knew you were going to die a painful life, how would you spend your last days. I also liked how much Peony and Draden respected each other’s abilities. Often in these types of books the hero can easily tip over into too much macho, protect the lady despite how capable she is, type of personality. However, Draden struck that perfect balance. He had a few understandable moments of wanting to save Peony but I think those were understandable reactions so they didn’t feel overbearing.

Another great thing about this story is despite Peony and Draden having to be isolated due to their illness we still got to see several of the characters from earlier books. I always love seeing how the couples from earlier books are doing. All in all I am glad I came back to this series.

Find it online

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance | No Comments »

Review: The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

March 26th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Savio Republic

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book

Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself?

Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment.” Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self.

It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do, you’ll be in great company. More than 8 million people have watched Mel’s TEDx Talk, and executives inside of the world’s largest brands are using the tool to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

In The 5 Second Rule, you’ll discover it takes just five seconds to:

Become confident
Break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt
Beat fear and uncertainty
Stop worrying and feel happier
Share your ideas with courage

The 5 Second Rule is a simple, one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face —we hold ourselves back.

The secret isn’t knowing what to do—it’s knowing how to make yourself do it.

My Thoughts

I waffled between a 3 and a 4 star rating for this book because it’s a great concept and I can see how it can help but I’m not sure it required an entire book. I have listened to Mel Robbins on a couple podcasts so that may have also contributed to why the book felt so repetitive to me but I honestly feel like you can get the basics of this book from listening to Mel Robbins online.

Once she goes over the basics of why the 5-4-3-2-1 method works I felt like the bulk of the book were just examples of how people applied it to their lives. So if you are the type of person who gets inspired by reading real life testimonials you will probably enjoy this book. Otherwise, I think you can get by on watching her videos.

Memorable lines from the book…

“The counting distracts you from your excuses and focuses your mind on moving in a new direction.”

“The more that you believe that you are in control of your life, your actions and your future, the happier and more successful you’ll be.”

“Right before we’re about to do something that feels difficult, scary or uncertain, we hesitate. Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for a just nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one small hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than—you guessed it—five seconds.”

Find it online

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books | No Comments »

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