Nonfiction November: Nontraditional Forms & Mini-Views

November 21, 2015 Book Review, Book Talk 7


Are you a fan of nonfiction? What’s your favored form? This week for Nonfiction November we are discussing nontraditional forms of the genre. You can learn more about Nonfiction November in my introductory post  or through these lovely hostesses: Katie at Doing Dewey, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Becca at I’m Lost in Books, and Leslie at Regular Rumination.  This week is hosted by Becca at I’m Lost in Books.

While there are numerous nontraditional forms of nonfiction my favorite is the audiobook. I daresay over 75% of the audiobooks I have are nonfiction. Although I’m fairly picky about the narrators. For example, Brené Brown’s books have had some fantastic narrators. BUT, I’ve watched both of her Ted Talks enough times to only expect her voice to come through the speakers.  The same with Andy Stanley’s books. I’ve been listening to his program Your Move every Sunday night for years. So when I hear a stranger reciting The Principle of the Path or The Grace of God it just does not come across well {for me}.

So on to a few books I’ve really enjoyed.

Quiet the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I am such a champion for this book.  For most introverts, this book is a validation and a cheerleader ~ a validation for the good {and not so great} quirks that we introverts share and a cheerleader for celebrating the special brand of leadership we bring to the table. For anyone who is an introvert, knows an introvert or loves an introvert this book is a fabulous resource.


Yes PleaseYes, Please by Amy Poehler. I feel like I’ve been living under rock. Who knew Amy Poehler was so darn funny! Narrated by Amy Poehler herself, this audiobook gets you up close and personal with the girl next door. She does have a few added narrators that chime in, which at times adds to the performance and others, becomes a bit disconcerting.  Amy’s development and dedication to  Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is so inspirational and makes me love her more. APSG is “……dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves.”  Overall, this audiobook rocks! Inspiring, positive, and most definitely, smart.


is everyone hanging out without meIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. Truly my first introduction into comic memoir. Narrated by Mindy. I only listened to this one while walking so I would stay motivated to walk. It’s not that there were really that many profound moments, more that Mindy and I were ‘hanging out in a coffee shop’ and she was regaling me with her life story. Entertaining, humorous and engaging.


its what i doNot conducive to audio so I have this next one in hardback. This nonfiction is through photography and narrative: It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario.  An engrossing storyteller both through the written word and with her photographs, Addario’s memoir is a must-read {and this is from someone who has never been a big fan of memoir!}. Her compassion and empathy are apparent in each photograph she publishes. If you read the New York Times you’ve most likely seen her photos. If you are on Instagram look up her account – stunning, heartbreaking and oh so real. This is nonfiction at its best. For a sampling of her work visit

I’d love to know ~ where do you stand on nonfiction? Do you have a favored medium?

AND, if you could, share a few humorous nonfiction audios I should be on the lookout for.







Book Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

November 19, 2015 Book Review 3

I received this book for free from complimentary review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie PrestoThe Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Published by Harper on November 10th 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 512
Source: complimentary review copy


Having read all of Mitch Albom’s books, I was looking forward to his newest release, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.  Mitch Albom has a way with storytelling that can completely immerse one into the lives of his characters.  His novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven I still hand out to friends and loved ones. It’s one of those books I’m an immense champion for and believe everyone should read.  along with Have a Little Faith. oh, and Tuesdays With Morrie. Haha! can you tell I love his books?


The secret is not to make your music louder, but to make the world quieter.

World-renowned musician, Frankie Presto, has just passed away in the most public of fashions – was it murder? or something else entirely?  “Music,” as the narrator, takes the opportunity to interview several important guests to Frankie Presto’s funeral {and influential in his life} sharing the story of Frankie’s life – how he became the musician and the man.

The book is filled with music references to both the actual playing of music and the musicians beloved by many. If you play music or just enjoy listening to music, especially classical, then you’ll feel right at home amongst the pages.  The entire book is a metaphor as to how music has the ability to heal.

Do not let go of your own music, chava. Or you will let go of yourself.

The storytelling aspect of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is in typical Albom genius.  Each chapter leaves you wanting to learn more. Albom has the ability to reveal the motivations and inner recesses of the mind in a way that keeps you quickly turning the pages; however……personally, I did not like the narrator.  Music as the narrator was a bit confusing and frustrating and the music references went right over my head.  The story is great. The life lessons are superb. It’s simply the narrator did not work for me.

Have you read a book you expected to love but found the narrator to be annoying or obtrusive?

To see what other bloggers had to say about The Magic Strings follow along the blog tour.

Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for inclusion in the Book Tour!

tlc tour host


10 Must-See Book-to-Movie Adaptations

November 10, 2015 Book Talk 9


Top Ten Tuesday is a feature of The Broke and The Bookish.

Books I’ve already read and anxiously awaiting the movie!

As a Hunger Games fan I cannot wait for Mockingjay 2 that comes out in JUST 10 DAYS! My youngest daughter and I have been to the premiere of each of the previous Hunger Games movies BUT she’s away on her internship so I’m guessing I will be watching this one on my own. Anyone in ATL area want to go with me?!? Release date 11/20/15.

Look for the bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife….Oh my gosh I love the The Jungle Book. I can still sing every song from the original Disney version! Scarlett Johansen as Kaa and Bill Murray as Baloo! BUT the trailer alone looks much darker than “The Jungle Book” of my childhood. Hoping that’s just the trailer! Release date 4/15/16.

I remember seeing the trailer for In the Heart of the Sea several months ago and thought wow – the cinematography alone will be worth the $10 to get in to see it on the big screen. Not to mention the epic story! Release date 12/11/15.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a fantastical series. Ransom Riggs’ series about peculiar children {based on old photos} is imaginative and strange and wonderful. I cannot wait to see how it is translated from book to movie! Release date 12/26/16.

Books I’ve got to hurry up and read before the movie releases!

Secret in Their Eyes is one that I just have to see. It has all the elements of the fiction I crave – mystery & thriller, great storytelling, dark atmosphere, historical references and the solving of a deadly crime. The trailer is fabulous and I can’t wait to see Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman together! Release date 11/20/15.

The BFG. With a powerhouse duo of Roald Dahl classic and Steven Spielberg directing this is a must see in my book! {pun absolutely intended}. Release date 7/1/16

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. Another powerhouse duo ~ J.K. Rowling’s debut in screenwriting and the director from the last 4 Harry Potter films, David Yates. and no, as much as I love Harry Potter I’ve never read this one. Release date 11/18/16.

Two of my all-time favorite movies have to do with aliens inhabiting our world. These two oldies but goodies I typically watch about once a year: “Independence Day” and “I Am Legend.” With high ratings on Goodreads The 5th Wave has been on my radar to read for a while. With a 1/15/16 release date, I’ve got to get busy reading! Hoping it will prove to be a new favorite alien-invasion movie!

The Lost City of Z. Based on David Gramm’s nonfiction account about British explorer, Percy Fawcett’s, search for the fabled lost city El Dorado, which Fawcett dubbed as “Z.”  Set to release in 2016 the movie has been likened to the Indiana Jones series. I’m a sucker for everything Indiana Jones, so my ticket will be purchased and ready once that release date is announced!

Also with a release date to be sometime in 2016, this movie, based on the book by Patrick Ness, will either break hearts in a million pieces or allow healing and a voice to those with parents suffering from a terminal illness. A Monster Calls is about an 11 year old boy visited by a tree monster as he is dealing with his mother’s terminal illness.

Are any of these on YOUR watchlist? If not, what upcoming adaptation are YOU looking forward to most?




Reading with YaYa: What Pet Should I Get + Free Printable

November 8, 2015 Book Review 1

Reading with YaYa: What Pet Should I Get + Free PrintableWhat Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
Published by Random House Children's Books on July 28th 2015
Genres: Children, Picture Books
Pages: 48
Source: purchased


Would you believe the Little Monkey is four now! And so so smart and clever. Here’s just a few of our most recent conversations:

YaYa, let’s go to Chick-fil-a so I can share a milkshake with you. . .” and play in the indoor playground for hours.

YaYa, I don’t have markers those colors. Can we get those so you and I can color together?” I’ve only got every color under the sun except that particular shade of red…and red is our favorite color…

YaYa, will you read this book to me?” while climbing up into my lap, snuggling in and patiently waiting for the book to begin…who could resist?

Our latest book is the recently published What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss. This book was discovered in a box of Dr. Seuss’s things while his wife and secretary were cleaning out his office. If you read One Fish, Two Fish, you’ll recognize the brother and sister duo.  In What Pet Should I Get? the pair are off to the pet store together to pick out a pet. Should we get a bird? a dog? a yent? and so on.

The beginning starts off strong, but about half-way through the story lags. It did not seem to be quite up to par with Dr. Seuss’s normal hilarious and off-the-wall antics. The underlying moral and message is not as clear and concrete in this book as it is in say, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or even Are You My Mother.  The main message seems to be “just make up your mind!”

With that said, we still enjoyed reading the book and discussed everything from having a new pet dinosaur to a new pet snail. Fortunately, we are an hour away from the pet store, so no new pets were welcomed into the home 😉

For this book we completed the printable I’ve added below. We had a lot of fun imagining our own dream pet.  In a ‘you’re special’ package I mailed to my nieces to congratulate them on their new baby brother, I included the book, the printable + crayons, and this clay.  It’s a great method for tactile learning and another opportunity to foster imagination.

Let me know if you try out the book & the printable or send me photos on Instagram! I’d love to see what your kiddos or grand-kiddos create!

what pet should i get printable



Nonfiction November ~ My Year in Nonfiction

November 4, 2015 Book Talk 18

A few years ago I heard that if you read one nonfiction book per month that your smarts increase exponentially.  For the life of me I cannot recall where I heard or read this, but it stuck with me.  This will be my first year participating in Nonfiction November. I’m looking forward to adding to my list of must reads and catching up with old and new blogging friends!

Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Becca at I’m Lost in Books, and Leslie at Regular Rumination.


2015 Nonfiction READS

Favorite Nonfiction for 2015 

Of the nonfiction books I’ve read for 2015, I’d have to say Brené Brown’s Rising Strong is my favorite. She is so incredibly humble, a talented storyteller and a gifted researcher.

It’s always helpful to remember that when perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. ~Brené Brown

Most Recommended Nonfiction of 2015

If you ever needed inspiration to get moving for 30 minutes a day then read Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, MD. Just walking for 30 minutes, moving your body and getting your heart rate up makes a world of difference in our physical, mental and emotional health. The research revealed in this book shows how the brain is transformed by exercise.

. . .the message I want to leave you with is that even as your body changes, exercise will keep your mind firm and taught. ~John J. Ratey, MD

Nonfiction I Haven’t Read Enough of This Year

Social justice. Racial problems. Environmental issues.

a few I really want to get to sooner than later:

  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Goals for Participation in Nonfiction November

  1. Discover nonfiction I haven’t heard of yet but should be reading
  2. Get my blogging mojo back
  3. Learn, share and discover new-to-me blogs AND old friends blogs

What are your thoughts on nonfiction? Do you have a favorite type of nonfiction you are drawn to?