My #EtsyShop

white and pink floral freestanding letter decor
Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

 

That’s right, I have any Etsy Shop!

I’ve posted about it some on Twitter and Instagram, but I wanted to formally announce it on my blog as well. 

Sings Of Our Life on Etsy 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SignsOfOurLife

featuring Photography, Adult Coloring Pages, Digital Art, Printables, and Garden Signs 

Right now I create digital download products – available instantly – so no waiting or paying for shipping 

I would love for you to check it out, favorite my shop and purchase an item that strikes your fancy if you feel so inclined. 

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic #Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines | ARC #BookReview

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 

Pages: 144 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gymnastics, women speaking out, learning more about the culture of abuse, strong women 

Foodie Vibes: oooh, that’s a tough one when it comes to gymnastics – ideally it should be a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbs and lots of vegetables, but in reality it’s probably a lot of disordered eating 

 

Synopsis:

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Rachel Haines for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • She was able to speak her truth and current perspective of John Geddert. She enjoyed having him as a coach. Many other people have spoken out against his abusive coaching techniques, which I absolutely believe. But the problems of the sport of gymnastics are not one sided, so its good that everyone can tell their story. 
  • Hearing her perspective of the story (her’s only), not just what we were getting from the media
  • I can see this being the first of many books written, by different authors, about the same subject. Finally the world is getting a more complete view of gymnastics – the good and the bad.

Love: 

  • She’s using her voice to tell her story and speak out against the abuse and toxic culture of the sport.
  • Discusses the abuse without being unnecessarily overly graphic, IMO
  • Discusses the abusive culture of gymnastics as a whole, because it’s not just one person’s bad actions 

Dislike:

  • The culture of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that’s been allowed throughout the sport of gymnastics, because of the people in charge not putting athlete safety and well being first 

Wish that:

  • It was a bit longer. The content is great and the perfect length, but I would have liked to hear more about the sport as a whole and the culture of abuse across multiple gyms. Maybe that’s for another book and I would absolutely read that too.

Overall, a very necessary book about the current culture within the sport of gymnastics. A great read about a difficult topic. I think everyone needs to read Rachel’s story, especially anyone currently or ever involved in the sport. 

 

How many of you did gymnastics as a kid?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Where I’ve Been . . .

I’ve been super busy lately. Well and have some migraines that make reading and type book reviews a bit difficult. But mainly busy with life and creative projects. So for now to save time, I’m not posting my reviews here on my blog. They’re still being posted on my Goodreads and NetGalley. So be sure to follow me there, so you don’t miss out!

 

And you can find me on Twitter and Instagram, talking all things bookish, fun, and creative.

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee | ARC #BookReview

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The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee 

Published: April 2, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, history, feminism 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about strong military wives 

Foodie Vibes: coffee and a freshly baked coffee cake to offer guests even when you’re grieving the loss of your husband —- because you have to be a good Navy Wife

 

Synopsis: 

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.

On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton.

Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands.

In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • I could see this making a good movie. 
  • Different women and their personalities represented 
  • Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians 
  • A not too political look at the Vietnam War 

Love:

  • The feminism
  • The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam War #BadAssLadies

Dislike:

  • Many parts are boring and drawn out – the first 1/2 of the book 

Wish that: 

  • It was not as underwhelming 
  • Got to the interesting parts quicker 

Overall, a good interesting book about the strong women whose husbands were POW/MIA soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s a heartwarming story about a terrible event, but the details don’t interest me that much. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski  | ARC #BookReview

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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski 

Published: March 26, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 320

Genres: non fiction, self help, science, psychology, feminism

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: stressed out caregivers, women trying to figure out how to make their life better

Foodie Vibes: a healthy balanced meal with a dessert that you can eat at a leisurely pace without stress

 

Synopsis: 

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
• how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
• how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
• why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Emily and Amelia Nagoski for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Very educational, especially the science behind burnout and stress
  • There’s a book talking about burnout – need more of these!!!
  • Examples of how family and friends can step up and help reduce the stress on the caregivers – even though I don’t anticipate my family doing those things to help me

Love:

  • The explanation about the emotional expectations for caregivers – so spot on !
  • Goes into how stress can affect the body physically 

Dislike: 

Wish that:

  • It was more what I was hoping for. I was hoping for more practical applications, not just telling me the science of it. 
  • More examples of people dealing with burnout that related to me — didn’t see myself represented much in the book despite myself being a caregiver experiencing stress and burnout

Overall, there’s lots of good, science based information about stress and burnout. However, I wish that I related to the book more as I thought it was really going to help me. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson | New Release #BookReview

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A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

Published: January 29, 2019 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, memoir, true crime 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: truly honest memoirs, true crime books from a different perspective

Foodie Vibes: barely anything, because you’re too stressed to eat

 

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?
 
In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichita celebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

 For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson, and Kerri Rawson for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • It’s about the infamous BTK killer without being too graphic
  • Shows how manipulative BTK was to even his own family
  • Interesting to read 
  • Sparked a conversation when I told other people what I was reading 

Love:

  • Get a different perspective than many other true crime books
  • The author gets to speak up about how her dad’s crimes impacted her life – seems validating

Dislike:

  • There was so many pages about a family hiking trip, early on in the book. It made some good points, but became redundant. 

Wish that:

  • I knew why there American society as a whole is fascinated by serial killers. 
  • The pacing was a bit better.

Overall, an interesting book that I would recommend to people looking to read about serial killers from a completely different perspective. 

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

 

The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford | ARC #BookReview

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The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford

Published: March 19, 2019 

Publisher: The Experiment 

Pages: 272 

Genres: non fiction, science, history

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about science – in particular evolution, looking at the world in a different way

Foodie Vibes: a nice chopped salad 

 

Synopsis: 

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but is there really anything special about us that sets us apart from other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox – that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special – lies at the heart of who we are.

In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.

THE BOOK OF HUMANS tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals, and reveals how we are extraordinary among them.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the Experiment, and Adam Rutherford for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Opportunity to learn even more about evolution 
  • Shows the specific genetics and behaviors that contribute to evolutionary change
  • Many visuals to help with understanding of the text

Love:

  • Everyone can learn something from this book
  • Complex information that’s written in an easy to understand way. You don’t need a college degree in science to understand the information 

Dislike:

  • Not so much a dislike, but more of a warning- there’s chapters on sexual activity ( because how else are new animals and humans created) It goes in depth into various sexual activities, mating practices, and genital touching. So heads up, if you end up listening as an audiobook without headphones. 

Wish that:

Overall, a well written, comprehensive book about the step by step process of evolution. Written in an interesting easily accessible manner. I definitely recommend if you’re interested in the topic!

 

In high school, did you love or hate science class?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)