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Top 5: My Favourite Self Development Books

Top 5: My Favourite Self Development Books

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Hello All,

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday! I received such great responses from my last post on self development books I first off want to say a huge thank you. I appreciate all the love and support out there in the book blog community. I never could have imagined all the positive feedback and the number of views I received for Self Development Thursday! It is truly humbling to see and I am excited others enjoy these genre of books as much as I do. I have decided to continue on with the Self Development Thursday theme. I bring to you today my top 5 favourite self development books of all times. Each book in their own way has touched my soul and helped me reach my potential- even in areas I did not think possible. So without further adieu, here we go!

1. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Holli

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What a great women powering book!! Rachel outlines that it is okay for women to have aspiring goals that go outside the family group. Rachel also gives lots of tips and tricks to help you stay motivated and reach your goals! Some of these include having daily practices such as a gratitude journal, writing your goals down every day and the 5 to Thrive! If you listen to the audio book it is read by Rachel herself so you can hear the enthusiasm which empowers you even more!

2.Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

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This wouldn’t be a top 5 self development book if there wasn’t a Tony Robbins shout out. The king of motivation and self development Tony Robbins has inspired and helped millions. This short read will be sure to motivate and inspire you to be the best version of yourself! My husband loves Tony Robbins. He has read a bunch of his books but highly recommends this one and I have to agree with him.

3.The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

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Probably one of the more famous books on this list most people have heard of The Secret. Maybe you’re more familiar with the movie but hey it’s actually a book. Not everyone may agree with the Laws of Attraction. Self development is the ability to take in knowledge and see what suits you the best. I enjoyed the Laws of Attraction for the main reason that it’s based in positive thinking. You get what you put out into the world!!

4.The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

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Another oldie but a goodie on this list is the Four Agreements! It is a self powering book that increases self awareness. The 4 agreements with yourself include: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. These seem so simple and we would already do these but hey it’s a lot harder than it appears. Don gives us tips and tricks to try and incorporate these into our everyday lives. All of these books sound like they promote daily habits – seems like my first Self Development Post!

5.The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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This is a great book to learn to live in the moment and be present. It follows the mindfulness movement and outlines that our current emotional stresses are a result of our thoughts not who we actually are at the core. It’s a lot to wrap your mind around but its a super great and eye opening read. Worry and anxiety are a product of our thoughts and it’s our job to learn to live in the present moment and allows our thoughts to pass through our mind without reacting to them.

I hope these have opened your eyes to all the possibilities out there in book form to help you change your life- if this is what you are looking to do. If you have any self development books you would like to recommend I would love to hear from you. Also if you have read any of the above books please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts and feelings regarding the content!

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Happy Reading and Development!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, inspiration, Literature

Book Review: By Chance Alone by Max Eisen

Book Review: By Chance Alone by Max Eisen

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Hello All,

If you have been following my blog you know that I have mentioned this book in my top 5 memoir books! I just recently started to enjoy reading WW2 books so I thought why not give this one a try. Man am I glad that I did! It was so emotional and eye opening! This personal perception of concentration camps was shocking and I found as I read more I was more and more shocked. I was utterly appalled at the sheer disrespect for human life. I know we have all studied the Holocaust in school and maybe some school went into more depth than mine. I guess I never really thought too much about the people affected just that it was a tragic point in human history. Well this book clearly changed my view and I am very glad that Max was brave enough to share his story with the world!!!

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By Chance Alone started off with the prologue of Max in present day going to Poland with his Toronto students to participate in the March of the Living. He goes back to Auschwitz and the barracks where he was held as well as Auschwitz II where the crematoriums were . What would that even feel like? He knows this is where he lost his family to a horrible death. What a brave man.

Now the story starts and we see Max’s childhood in Czech. He lived in a Catholic dominate village but most of the shops were run by the Jewish families. His grandfather taught him a great deal but of course like any little boy he had a rebellious streak. We see just how tight nit his family was with his extended family as well. The summer of 38 was when the Nazis invasion started. Britain and France at this point signed rights away to Hitler to avoid a war. March 1939 the Nazis troops invaded Czech and Max and his family find themselves thrust into a fascists system.

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1941 hit and Jewish males 18-45 were taken to labour camps. Max’s family is finally torn apart by the war. In the 5th year of the war 1944 we see that the Hungarian Jewish people did not know about the death camps. His grandfather said no to the ferester because it was passover – how their lives might have been different if he had just yes. Max was finally taken to the concentration camps. After being taken from his mother and sister he along with his father and uncle got tattooed and put on their uniforms. These made them feel like nothing as all of them were the same – all in order to control a vast number of people.

Throughout the weeks there Max’s father learned of the fate of his wife, 3 young children and his parents. Max was sent to Auschwitz 1 the bigger of the camps. There he saw the falling ashes coming out of the crematoriums. He realized it was human ashes from the extermination. The manual labour he faced here was astonishing. At this time he was the only living member left of his family as his father and uncle were sent to the chambers.

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During one of his laborious days he suffered a devastating blow to his head that in reality saved him. Up until now his father would send him scraps of food so Max was completely by himself. Dr. Orzesko saved his life by giving him a job in the surgery ward, not having to go back to the labour fields. Max saw all sorts of crazy heroic things here. One day a Polish woman was brought in and an abortion was preformed but Dr. O said she needed an appendectomy. Some humanity left in the world.

The next horrific journey for Max was the death march. Max describes 10 days of humiliating, degrading and cruelty of the Nazis. They had no food, minimal clothing and many died. Once again out of the camps Max was saved by the small kindness of others, Misha giving him a job.

At this time, after everything was over Max was still left in limbo in Marienbad . This allowed the survivors a safe place to heal both physically and emotionally – as much as they can.

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Now in Prague Max and his new friends tried to find forged passports to make to move to Canada. They got caught and sent Max to jail. At this point it’s hard to believe that this could really happen to someone who survived the Holocaust. How insane is life. After all this only to end up in jail most people would give up, not Max.

He got out and on his way to the American camp he had to pass through the area he had 5 years ago as a Jewish prisoner. He made it to Canada and got married, had a successful job. The resilience and determination to live that Max showed us through is memoir is a true triumph for humanity. Even through all the adversity Max was able to have a happy life.

At the end of the book he recalls the Nuremberg Trials and specifically a Nazis soldier he personally remembered. They amount of brain washing these soldiers had is sickening. Even after being caught and knowing how the world reacted to their actions this soldier did not accept his part in the killing of many. He simply said he was following orders.

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So for those of you who like reading about the strength of the human spirit Max’s story is for you. The amount of bravery not only to endure what he went through but to be able to remember it and tell the whole world is mind blowing. I hope that by sharing this review it will inspire more people to want to pick up Max’s story and continue the sharing.

I did leave out quite a lot of details. Max just went through so much I tried to pick out as many main details that people could link to history as possible. There are so many extra in his book I did not want to ruin it for future readers. If anyone else has read this book I would love to hear how it affected you! Please leave a comment below!! Thank you Max for being brave and sharing your story!!

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Happy Reading!!!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, inspiration, Literature, self development, top 5

Top 5: Self Help books for Healthy Habits

Top 5: Self Development books for Healthy Habits!

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Hello All

I know this does not look like a typical blog post and it’s not!!! I am so excited to roll out something new on Bookfestishsite! I love reading – ha! I love reading all kinds of books and self help/motivation books are right up there. I know my page has focused on fiction and non fiction mostly but I really want to bring to you posts that could help with your daily lives and be a healthy individual. So I invented ‘Self Help Thursdays!” The self help book trend is so big right now I hope to intrigue at least some of yo out there! If you are self help book guru or new to the genre I hope you find the information on my Self Help Thursday’s useful!.

For the new fall season, back to school and back into a routine I thought I would kick off the Self Help Thursdays with my top 5 books to help you develop healthy habits. I have read ⅗ of these books and the other 2 come with great recommendations and are now on my TBR or shall I say TBL (to be listened) to list. My preference for self help books is listening to them. My husband and I have an audible account and love it!!

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear Goodreads 4.31
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First on the list is a book called Atomic habits. This was one of the first books I listened to on habits. James covers how small daily habits that you don’t think really matter when practiced consistently make a huge difference in your future. He breaks down the importance of habits in order to live a happy successful life. He outlines how to make good habits and break bad ones. He takes a system approach that is easy to follow. After this book I started off making my bed every morning and doing the dishes before bed not thinking it would make a big difference. I can honestly say that now practicing this for 4 months these habits have given me a sense of calm and made my morning more enjoyable!. If you visit https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habit his website elaborates on his concept and offered printable worksheets that he discusses in his book! Run time is 4 hours, which is a shorter book on this list so great for those trying out personal development books for the first time!

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Goodreads 4.09
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This is a great read/listen! Both my husband and I have listened to the 7 habits and found this book extremely helpful! It has been a popular book for 30 years and people are still finding it relevant today! It is a lengthy listen 11hours in total but think of all the knowledge that you receive!!! It followed 3 major areas in life where we can develop great habits: independence, interdependence and continual improvement. The 7 habits outlines and elaborate each one which include: be productive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw/growth!. The may seem abstract or too simple but with the explanation in this book it sets the reader up to be the most productive/successful version of themselves.

  1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Goodreads 4.08
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The Power of Habit is one of the more popular books on this list. This book follows success stories of people building success from nothing. Charles explains how habits have helped all these stories end with a huge success! He takes a holistic approach to habits and how we can rewire our neuro state to develop healthy habits! It soo great that he gives examples of how these habits help successful people come to fruition. It also is a longer book 10 hours but pop those earbuds in and listen on your bus ride to school or your daily run!

  1. Rewire : Change your brain to break bad habits by Richard O’Connor Goodreads 3.8
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I have not listened to this book yet but it’s definitely on my wish list on audible. I have just recently finished another rewire book – for anxiety- so I thought I would enjoy this one as well. Richard explains why bad habits are so hard to break. He then goes on to discuss how to ‘rewire’ your brain to break these and make new ones. I do believe this book is a bit more technical on the science and neurology side so great for the super nerds like me out there! Once again it is a run time of 10 hours. I know this can be daunting but hey I think you get the most for your money with audio books. I play them when I am cleaning or hook it up so I can play them on my long drives. My husband gets stuck in daily traffic so he loves these to pass the time over the radio!

  1. Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life by William McRaven Goodreads 3.96
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A shorter book on this list with a run time of roughly 2 hours is great again for the readers newer to self development books. This one follows the basic principles as the others that small daily habits truly change your life for the better. Admiral McRaven outlines the 10 principles he learned while in training to be a Navy SEAL! He discusses his stories as well as others throughout the book covering healthy habits and change.

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So what did all of you think about this new Self Development Thursday’s post? Yay or nay? If you like this and want more please please comment below so I know. I have a lot of ideas for future post! If you have any self development genres you want to know more about please also leave a comment below! I am open to great discussions. What are some of your healthy habits or even bad habits – no judgement here. A bad habit that I have and find hard to kick is definitely binge watching Netflix when I could be doing more productive things oh and too much screen time haha! Also if you have read any of these I would love to hear what you thought on the books!

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Happy Reading!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, inspiration, Literature, top 5

Top 5: Memoir Books

Top 5: Memoir Books

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Here with another top 5 I bring you my fav memoir books that I have read over the years. Now I already know that some people will add the Micheal Obama’s book and Shoe Dog to this list. Unfortunately I have not read them yet but from what I have heard about their reviews they are amazing. I have just recently gotten into reading biographies and memoirs and I am finding I really enjoy them. It’s something about the awe inspiring life stories and the strong spirited people in this world that make for a great read. Some of the stories really put your life into perspective. I think it takes a lot of courage for the authors to put their lives on display for millions to read. Whatever feels you get from reading their stories I appreciate the work that goes into each book and hope by mentioning the books below you have a change to appreciate them as well.

  1. By Chance Alone by Max Eisen Good reads 4.51 stars
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This has to be my favourite memoir book! By Chance Alone puts the Holocaust both leading up to, during and afterwards into sickening reality. What Max and his family went through was unspeakably evil and hardships. Throughout the book we see that he was able to survive on the kindness of strangers and pure determinations. When the story is so dark it’s nice to see glimmers of light scattered throughout. I found it incredibly shocking how resilient the mind and body can be without breaking while still being about to live a ‘normal’ life after the events occurred. To see how trivial human life was treated and what other humans can do to each other was a real eye opener. We all learned about the Holocaust in high school but to read of first hand accounts puts things into a different perspective. The trial at the ends was another injustice for the survivors.

2. Educated by Tara Westover Goodreads 4.49 stars

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I got this gem for Christmas last year and what a great present it was. Tara shares her past with us and what it was like to grow up in a doomsday Mormon household. I found it baffling to read the hardships both mental and physical Tara and her brothers/sisters went through growing up on their farms. To the multiple car accidents to the many injuries sustained on the junk fields it’s crazy to think they all survived with minimal health care- in some cases none. To see Tara struggle in adulthood and the shear powers and determination to change was inspiring. To break habits and beliefs has to be one of the hardest things to accomplish. This an inspiring read of overcoming hardships in the quest for a better life and a life one truest to oneself.

3. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindout and Sara Corbett Goodreads 4.22 stars

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This was the first memoir I has to opportunity to read and wow what an intro it was. A House in the Sky is the heart wrenching story of worst case scenarios. Amanda was kidnapped while doing journalism in Somalia for 460 days! The utter thought of being kidnapped is unthinkable but to add being tortured is unbelievable. They only way she survived is to take herself out of her body to the ‘house in the sky’. Even when all hope was lost that the government would step in Amanda was able to hang on to hope that one day she would be back home. Once again we see the resilience the mind and body exhibit when pushed to the limits.

4, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo Goodreads 4.22 stars

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One of the more well known memoirs this was on Oprah’s book club list. To relate to modern day this is an older version of the Me Too movement. Maya is open with all her life hardships with poverty and racism. She tells of all the tragic events that take place but shows how her strong spirit prevails over all. If you are looking for a read when a woman can overcome all obstacles this is the book for you!!!

5. Mourning Has Broken by Erin Davis Goodreads 4.15 stars

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Mourning has Broken is the story of how Erin Davis (A Canadian radio host) lost her beloved daughter. Her journey through grief is revealed all the way through to its core. I may have cried a few times while reading her openness with death and tragedy. Erin’s real and raw emotions were so well told I felt her loss through the pages. It is refreshing for someone to say everyone grieves in their own way and it’s not wrong if you grieve different than what people expect of you. My takeaway is never tell someone who has lost a loved one an ‘at least’ statement. When in doubt say nothing!.

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I hope these have given you a great insight to how wonderful life stories can be. Whether you are reading a tragic life story or a story of overcoming hardships there is a lesson to learn in all of these authors’ courageous books. The resilience of everyday people is amazingly inspiring! If you have any other memoirs you enjoyed please comment below!!!

Happy Reading!!!!!

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Top 5: Beach Reads

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It is the season of sandy toes and soaking up the rays.  Imagine being warmed to the core by sun beams all while having the majestic view of light dancing along the water in front of you.  What better way to enjoy this feeling than with a god read curled up on a beach chair sipping bubbly beverage. One of my favourite places to read in the summer is on the beach/eater front.  I think I have mentioned this before in past blog post but here in Canada we do not have a long truly hot summer season. I try to enjoy the warm weather and beach scenery whenever I get the chance.  Bringing along a great read just enhances this experience for me. There are so many amazing books to appreciate while lounging in the sun. These 5 are just a scratch on the surface of available beach reads this year.  If you have any suggestion for your favourite beach reads I would love to hear them!!

  1. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (2016)

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I just recently read Love and Gelato and thought it would be a great book to enjoy in the heat of the summer.  Somehow hot weather, love and icecream all go hand in hand and this book and all 3! 

It follows Lina who just recently lost her mother to cancer.  Her mother’s dying wish was for Lina to go live in Florence with a man Lina has never heard of or met -Howard.    Lina then discovers her mother had a whole different life in Florence. One of her mother’s old acquaintances giver her a journal and from there ensues a journey throughout her mother’s previous life.  With the grandiose backdrop of Florence Lina goes to all the places her mother mentions in her journal trying to figure out why she left and how Howard turned out to be her estranged father. With the help of a local boy Lina journeys through so many emotions and feels I could not put the book down.  It also made me crave gelato like mad which is perfect to enjoy by the beach side.  

2. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin  (2018)

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Another one of my recent reads All We Ever Wanted went straight to the top among my books I loved in 2019 list.   It’s a great women’s fiction contemporary piece with an easy to read feel. If you’re looking for a story of lives interchanging and values  questioned and chosen this is right up your alley. Is a great book where the reader can really get invested in the lives of the characters, which is one of the ticket items I look for in a beach read.

This story follows a couple main characters while they try to navigate through a horrible situation.  Nina and her son Finch face allegations that he took a horribly inappropriate picture of fellow classmate Lyla.  This all takes place in a rich private school in Nashville. Lyla’s father tries to stand up for Lyla and her values while battling the powers of wealth and privilege.   It really brings into light current hot topic issues of social media in today’s society along with wealth versus middle class social rights.   

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)

It may be an older title but man what a psychological thriller!  The dark, gloomy suspenseful feel of this book is in stark contrast to the light warm feeling i get at the beach.  I think this parallel is why I like reading thrillers and murder mysteries on the waterfront. Even though these books send shivers down my spine the warmth I feel at the beach counteracts this.  What do you all feel about reading gloom and doom while enjoying some summer fun? Ya or nay?

Gone Girl is one of those books is a crazy out of this world ending.  Nick Dunne finds that his wife Any is missing. Throughout the novel suspicion of course falls on the husband.  Relationship issues come to light and mysterious journal entries explain 2 very different versions of a marriage.  Where is Amy and why is she gone? Is Nick Dunne the perfect husband or is he a villain? Is Amy an innocent victim or a horrible wife?   All these questions and answers unwind in a fast paced, page turning, you can’t put this book down feel!! Great to binge read while drying off in between dips in the water.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017)

I just finished this one in June.   Little Fired Everywhere was a delve into the picture perfect family in the picture perfect neighbourhood.  Low and behold no family is picture perfect. It takes a mother and her daughter renting their rental house to truly bring all the family issues and resentment to light.  The Richardsons rent their house out the Mia and Pearl. The children soon become fast friends but their friendship brings out the best and worst of each person. After an adoption issue rocks their little perfect neighbour hood even more secrets come to light.  This is a great for anyone who loves a page turner where each chapter reveals something scandalous. Core issues of mother daughter bonds and family ties writtle this dynamic read!

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott  Fitzgerald (1925) 

So this is a considerably older read from the novels I have mentioned above.  This classic just seeps with summer fun. From crazy parties with a mysterious host to forbidden summer love it has everything I want to drift off to while taking in the sun.  Classic books are not for everyone. The Great Gatsby is an easy to read relatively short novel that is a great bring along to any beach day.  

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Who among us has not curled up on a blanket riddled with sand and opened up the crisp pages of a book?  Beach reads have to be one of my favourite things I look forward to while I wait out the endless months of winter.  Which are your favourite beach read? Do any of you like a specific genre while you are watching the waves roll in?  

Happy Reading!!!!!